Outlook

Have been reading all articles which talk about last year s achievements, what worked, what not. The PR machine works like Maya, so even a non entity like Poonam Pandey has a mention in last year’s synopsis. While taking my last walk of this year, I was contemplating to write about the year that was for me. Could not find a single achievement. Then I realized how negative I have become. City bashing, Politico bashing, Male bashing but the primary thing is Self bashing.

I have become so bad that when I walk on Shivaji Park, all I can see is the crumpled plates thrown, the new concrete structures by Shiv Sena in the name of park beautification, the ugly flood light poles in the middle of the park, the ice cream cone shaped dustbin broken n abandoned but not removed in the park beautification. There was a perfectly nice Ganpati temple which has already taken over a lot of the park space as they continued concretising the area around the temple. Now the temple is broken and a new larger one coming in its place. Will ensure some more Marathi votes in the upcoming BMC elections.

As I walk feeling bad for us with the fear that I can’t raise my voice against the goons, a thought comes. Where in Jharia were there open spaces when I was growing up? It was a concrete jungle. The open spaces were abandoned coal mines where the smoke still came out due to the fire underneath. There was one Lions Children Park where we went for a couple of picnics. Very soon it became a place for men to drink and sleep. Lions club moved on to better projects which will show them in good light in their district / state level meetings. The Government, Central Fuel research Institute colonies, the Tata colonies had greenery ad open space. I have grown up in concrete.No way could one walk alone thru the by lanes in the afternoon or nights. Now with years in Mumbai, I have become this typical Bombayite. I just crib. With all the education and reading habits, I am quick to find faults.

What if for a moment, I change my outlook and start looking for the good in people and places? Received a letter from a friend in the USA. Its an annual letter which the family sends to their friends telling them about the year gone by. They put some pics and they talked about all their trips, weekends, weddings attended and some small moments which touched them. Did it make their year without anything untoward happening? No. But they choose to leave the year with fond memories.

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Mom

As a child, I never liked my house. I always thought other people had better prettier houses. I always longed for a house with a lawn, sunlight, driveway, breeze , flowers, well done up bedrooms and a huge kitchen. In Jharia , we grew up in a concrete jungle, Long before Mumbai became one. There were makaans next to each other or with a three feet gap. Tree lined avenues was something I saw in Mumbai. In Jharia, all windows faced the street and the other houses.Most windows opened inside your own house. The aangan was on the first floor and some windows opened there. Mom n Aunt made a garden on the store room terrace which had no ladder or staircase. So we all jumped from one terrace to an aluminium sheet shed to this terrace garden. Even the water to this garden was sent by buckets in the same manner. Jharia had a severe water shortage in summers. With coal underground there was hardly any well water and rivers would dry so no municipal water. There was a huge overhead tank from where our water supply would come. One year, they found a dead body in that tank. We did not have water till they emptied and cleaned that huge structure.

Same way I thought other people s Moms were so well dressed,sweet and kind. Its so strange, I used find everything better in others, material or otherwise. I am constantly lacking and missing out on the goodies was what I thought. My cousins and friends thought I had such a pampered and lavish lifestyle courtesy my father. The discipline which my Mom instilled in me, I appreciate it now. I have Of course taken this several notches higher. I now tell my Mom what she should be doing with her life. She feigns tolerance at times and then doesn’t miss an opportunity to tell me how I can better the way, I raise my children. We are constantly in competition as to who does a better job. She wins hands down, Look at me:)

Aaj ki Raat

Aaj main kya likhoon? Aaj toh bada din hai aur saari dharti pe log araam kar rahe honge. Joh thode bahut kaam kar rahe hain, unke liye main jaan jalaana uchit nahin samajhti. Jaise ki woh airline waale, bus drivers, conductors, hotel staff, BPO staff.Cops ko kaise bhoola jaa sakta hai. Aur bhi honge bijli paani vibhaag ke log. Aur dukaanon ka kya kehna. Woh toh saale lootne mein lage hai. Hotel restaurants toh issi liye khule hai kyunki abhi unki kamaai ka waqt hai.

Hamare ghar kaam karne waale saare aaye they aaj…teen bai, doodhwala, ghaadi saaf karne waala, istri waala. Yahan tak ki jab main DOn 2 dekhne gayee toh wahaan waale bhi kaam kar rahe they. Ab galtiyaan kiss se nahin hoti. Hum nashe mein nahi they par Don dekhne ki galti fir bhi kar baithey. In sardiyon ka maahoul hi kuchh aisa hota hai, Insaan jaante hue bhi galtiyaan karna chaahta hai.

Kal jab hum raat ko do baje Strawberries aur cream khaa rahe they , tab thoda darr sa laga.Nahin , Baba, yeh Dilli nahin hai, waisa koi darr nahin thaa. Main toh nashe mein dhoot bachon ki baat kar rahi thi. Bees saal ki umr, lad khadate hue paaun, haath mein sutta aur doosre haath mein ladki. Mujhe bas yeh darr thaa ki kahin inki ghaadi ka accident na ho jaaye. Bambai ki Police ki sarahna deni padegi. Sab jagah nakabandi chaaloo thee. Main aur woh iss mausam ka lutf nahin uthha rahe they. Hum in saare naujawaanon ki chinta kar rahe they. Chaah ke bhi mein hamari baaton ka topic nahin badal paa rahi thi. Baar baar nazar unhi pe jaa rahi thi. Aaj subah newspaper kholne mein bhi darr rahi thi. Ek nahi aise nashe mein kitne saare bachein honge.

Bada moralistic stance nahin le rahi thi, par mann kuchh khatta sa ho raha thaa. Comedy store ki haansi aur jokes bhi mere ya unke chehre pe muskurahat nahi laa rahe they. Hamara hasi ka nasha pura utar chukaa thaa. Apne din yaad kar rahe they. Main mere Breach Candy hostel ke aur woh apni engineering college ke. Log toh tab bhi peete they aur sutta bhi par ek sayam jaroor hota thaa. Ladkiyon ke saath , ladke thode responsible behave karte they. Ladkiyon ko ghar pahuncha kar apne ghar sahi salamat pahunchne ki har ek for fiqr thi.Lekin aaj kal ki recklessness missing thi, Khuda ka shukr hai.

Kissi mitr ne kaha ki woh apne bete beti ko kahin nahin jaane deta Christmas aur New year s eve pe. Main ne puchha kya woh atthrah saal ke hain. Usne haan bhar di aur main uss se lad padi. Kyun baandh ke rakhte ho apnon ko? Kyun unhe jeene nahi dete? ghaltiyaan nahin karenege toh seekhenge kaise? Unhe trust kyun nahin karte? Apni upbringing ko kyun trust nahin karte ki tumhara baccha koi ghalat kaam nahin karega? Fir koi aur aa gaya aur woh jawaab dene se bach gaya.

Kal raat ke baad laga ki mujhe kissi ke beech mein nahin bolna chahiye. Har ek ka apne santaan ko bada karne ka tareeka alag hota hai. Main kaun hoon usse sahi ya ghalat kehne waali?

Travel and my fears

I love traveling but I do not like the baggage which comes along. I have been a bad packer always. the worst packing I did was on my honeymoon. We went to Langkawi and Negombo. I packed for all weathers and all occasions. I am just happy the husband did not utter a word. Then I shopped like a maniac at Odel in Sri Lanka. I feel so stupid now about doing that. I was this typical Indian honeymooning bride who got her first chance to shop with the husband s money. Even packing of that shopping gave me stress. So now I have learnt not to shop and to pack less then what I think I will need. Even that is more.
So I can scream hoarse about how I like traveling and seeing new places, I detest packing. Packing makes me loose the entire fun of travel. The suitcase comes out a week before the date of departure. I start putting in stuff which i remember. Then I look at the wardrobe and think I will need all of this. So this goes on till the night before. Then I have to do the same for the children.A friend has taught me to take old clothes on trips and leave them or donate them there. We all follow that strictly. Its much better now as we come back with lighter bags. I try to shop as little. The things which look good on me on a vacation, do not suit me in Mumbai. I stick to souvenir shopping. I am amazed at friends who leave to go on a trip so easily. That is also the reason why I do not plan a trip. I just sit and crib that no body takes me on a holiday. Once the dates and destination are fixed, I plan the hotels , rates, sightseeing and hubby takes care of the transport side of it.

This still doesn’t stop me from being jealous about all my jet set flier friends. Please give me your energy, organization skills and peace to pack fast and travel well. And then those friends n family who come from the far off nations once every two years, I wonder how they manage to pack. I have actually searched the internet to pack well kind of sites. Yes, they do have it for people like me. I can not even handle long drives. For me, there is no romance in burning fuel and driving endlessly in Mumbai or its outskirts. I have friends who are zipping on the highway and decide to make it a weekend trip. I am not one of them but I don’t know if I am glad about it.
Another thing I cant imagine is traveling without our children. They have always been a [part of all our trips and I cant go on a holiday without them. I know people who find it difficult to travel with their own children. These are the ones who also find it difficult to take their child out for dinner to a restaurant. They d rather feed the child in front of the television before they step out for a meal.

Idle musings, when on Christmas eve , our children have been invited to a kiddies party and we are at home. Merry Christmas!

What kind of a traveler are you?

Materialism

My Granny always said Living for yourself is no fun, you have to live for others. No, I am being diplomatic here. Let me tell you her exact words: A dog can also raise his family, what’s the big deal about it? It is only if you do something for others, you enjoy. So far I kept saying, I am writing the blog for myself and it is therapeutic for me. Its just lately that I feel it is so much more fun when I write for you. When I share it with you, my joy increases.

I am not a shopper. I cannot window shop and I cannot shop if I don’t want something. I don’t fall in love with anything that I have to buy. Maybe, love at first sight is not what happens to me. Something has to grow on me for me to like it. Slowly and surely. I will never be in the trendiest clothes as I cant conect so fast. But I enjoy shopping for others. I like shopping for gifts. I like buying things which I feel my friends can use.

In Dhanbad where I was growing up, there was no concept of gifting to anyone. One gave money if there was a wedding or a function. If we visited someone, we did not carry gifts. I experienced this in Mumbai. I realized I loved receiving gifts till I became discerning. Or should I say judgmental about the gifts and the feelings with the gifts. I am very content in this mad shopaholic world. Retail therapy doesnt work for me. I am amazed when my friends enjoy their shopping, try out their new spoils and are waiting to wear it. I am so complacent when it comes to wearing new things.

Another thing which I cant do is chill in a Spa. I remember the husband gifting me a full day at the Spa for my birthday and me not accepting it. I thought that the five star charged too much for the spa. I would feel alone there the full day like a patient. I will be so keyed up with all strangers that there is no way I shall relax.
Plus all those therapists with five star attitude asking me to strip and pawing me is not my idea of relaxing. After that He has stopped giving me exotic birthday gifts. We stick to the basics like diamonds. Long lasting joys and something to show to my Mom. Spa may not guarantee a calm Parul or a beautiful me.

My Mom is a very simple lady.If she sees diamonds on me, she feels I am happy and well taken care of. Then, she feels good about my choice of the husband though he is not from our Ghetto. I am trying to follow my Mom s way of ‘Simple living and High thinking.’
Materialism is not me. Ghetto mentality is there,properly hidden.

Women

Never knew writing to you was addictive. Aaj nahin likha toh sara din suna suna lag raha thaa. I thought it was because the husband was travelling on work that I felt this way. Well I was mistaken. Our Building has put some funny artificial Christmas tree and so has the school.Very sad ones all that I have seen so far. There is so much tackiness in the tree. I should be feeling happy that no one here is cutting down real trees. The way we are loosing our green cover, I wonder if my Grandchildren will get to see any trees. Let me also wonder if I will be alive to see my grandchildren.

Till one is not married , one is footloose and fancy free. I used to think these kind of conversations are made by overtly boring old people. With marriage, there is a funny attachment which comes in. It is so strong that it tears me down. Being a housewife makes me a worrier. Today there is this innate urge within me to generalize all that I am writing. With this generalization is the urge to ‘Belong’. When I want to be exclusive, I say I do things differently. Using the word ‘Better’ as that would be immodest.

As soon as I walk into a party, I check out whether I want to belong or ‘un belong’. Talking to men makes me ‘un belong’ amongst the wives. I am always wondering and worrying that they should not think I am eyeing their husbands. When I talk to the women, there is an unsaid censure I experience. I have worked in the corporates earlier, the housewife brigade feels I don’t know a thing about running the house. They are the ones who married at the right time and have kids in their teens. The working women in the crowd think that she anyways would not have been able to be successful in her job.Then there is this whole lot of artistic women who have some defined talent like singing, dancing, teaching or people passionate about a cause, I completely admire them. I just don’t understand their talent or their passion. So again I don’t really belong. The kitty party type of women are dressed to the hilt, Power dressing in the party terms. I am too ill groomed for their liking. My hair has no highlights, no black nail polish or French manicured hands and definitely no heels. I don’t even know how to put eyeliner properly.
I also can’t chat up young kids. I find it best to leave them alone. Men, well, I don’t mind them. With them, I am myself no inhibitions no fears. Even if they say something not so nice, I laugh it off. With men,I joke and get away with it.
But with women, I care. With women, I watch out.

What’s the big deal about Love?

These last ten days of 2011 I am taking on thanking all the people who have shown love to me in my life.

Is Love noticed or felt? Kindness in shown in actions or words. But Love ka kya karein? Love is difficult to show or act. Does love become something else if it is shown in material ways? Does love become different if shown in a physical way? What way is love to be expressed? Is it to be expressed or just felt by the other party? Is it the name of a feel good emotion? Is it that only I have to do with it and no one outside me?
Do I feel love when someone cooks for me in my kitchen?
Do I feel love when someone gives me a lift in his Merc?
Do I feel love when someone springs a surprise?
Do I feel love when someone shows concern?
Do I feel love when someone worries about me?
Do I feel love when someone calls to check on me?
Do I feel love by these action or do I feel “Loved”?

Will I feel love if no one acknowledges me?
Will I still feel love if the same person does not call?
Will I still feel love if that person doesn’t show concern?
Will I feel love if I am ignored?
Will I still feel love if he/she is rude?

So transient is this feeling of love. So delicate is this mesh called love. So easy it is to feel ‘unloved’ and ‘un love’ someone in today’s world. Pining for love is just a pause till the next Love comes our way. So Love away…..anyways.