Search my WHIMS n WISHES!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

TAGETTY TAGETTY TAG!!!

Tagetty Tagetty Tag!!
Two more I have in my bag.
Groaning and moaning,
though thought of postponing....
Knuckled my head, told myself to go ahead.
As has been said, long ago in the past....
"The wise does at once what the fool does at last"
Wise I am not; but as a fool to be slot!!!
Oh what a shame.....I dont wish to be defamed
So here i am, trying hard to rhyme....
Off on a jig, grunting like a pig....
"Tagetty Tagetty Tag"

[Do pardon this rhyming monstrosity!!! Only the unlimited, unbridled freedom blogland gives, gave me the courage to indulge in this whimsical nonsense]

AWARD-cum-TAG 1 :

Thanks Sucharita for this Award and the (necessary evil ;)) TAG.

The Rules for this tag are:

1. Link the person who tagged you

2. Copy the image above, the rules and the questionnaire in this post.

3. Post this in one or all of your blogs.

4. Answer the four questions following these Rules.

5. Recruit at least seven (7) friends on your Blog Roll by sharing this with them.

6. Come back to BLoGGiSTa iNFo CoRNeR (PLEASE DO NOT CHANGE THIS LINK) at http://bloggistame.blogspot.com and leave the URL of your Post in order for you/your Blog to be added to the Master List.

7. Have Fun!

The 4 Questions to be answered along with MY ANSWERS:
1. The person who tagged you: Sucharita Sarkar
2. His/her site's title and url: Past Continuous (http://pastcontinues.blogspot.com/)
3. Date when you were tagged: 28th June 2009
4. Persons you awarded and tagged: Rajesh, K Parthasarathi, Deep, Imp's Mom, NS Iyer, Ishita, Koel


TAG 2 : Things / Persons which/who annoy me!!
I was tagged by my new Blogging Buddy - Ishita!

Too many to tabulate ...still, without prioritising as to which or who annoy me the most, i'll just jot down the first few which are coming to mind!

1.Nosey people....people who take it upon themselves to assume they are my GREATEST well-wishers and pry and peep and generally try to know every and any personal detail about me and my family even before we have proceeded beyond the 'acquaintance' stage!

2.Procrastination (yes, yes...call me a hypocrite!)...Yes procrastination annoys me no end and that applies to myself too...I hate myself whenever I procrastinate or delay unnecessarily.

3.Clutter : A damp towel on the bed, shoes anywhere but the shoe rack, toys strewn all over but not being played with, newspapers lying scattered all over the living room, the kitchen slab with a pile of this and that and an unclean gas stove with oil splattered long after the cooking is over and done with.....oooooh the list is endless!

4.Continuous rainy days . The grey gloomy sky, the mouldy & damp smelling pile of half dried clothes, depress and annoy me.

5.A wet bathroom....I'm forever mopping and wiping, hollering and complaining each time SD uses the bathroom and leaves it as if a tornado passed through it....but to no avail....god has given him two ears and so....!!!!!

6.Govinda movies or for that matter the loud and slapstick comedies which go on to become smashing hits!!! Am I the only one who does not get the humour in them???

7.People spitting on the roads, walls etc and treating public property as their personal spittoons!

I am supposed to pass on this ANNOYANCE TAG...

Since I am not too fond of doing TAGs myself, I feel awkward to impose this TAG on anyone! Hence I am not passing it on to anyone in particular ...

But all of you are welcome to take it up and share with us, the cause/causes of your annoyance !!

Monday, July 06, 2009

Budget Buzz.......

Just a few hours and the suspense will be over!
The countdown had begun weeks ago....
The hows, the whos, the markets, the wallets, the masses, the classes....the talk is ON !!


Well, with the kind brouhaha created over the budget over the past few weeks, with any and every news channel airing something or anything and predicting, speculating, analysing with the different or same sets of experts, the BUDGET 2009 seems more to be a media circus and PR exercise than a statement of intent for the next fiscal in term of broad economic policies.

Never during our growing up years and thereafter have we been bombarded by such 'facts & figures' as has been the trend in the last few years! The crescendo has reached its peak during the current year when the tamasha has taken the minds of the junta by storm!

What we fail to realise is that the budget has never been full and final and can never be! And the government is at liberty to change, modify and introduce policies and taxes as per the need of the hour, throughout the year!

Well, as has been obvious in our present media-led society...the TRPs dictate...be it Ekta Kapoor's serials, T20 matches, Lakme fashion week or now.....Budget 2009!

So today as the day unfurls, We the People of India, will be glued to our TV sets, internet sites, watching, hearing, reading.... the BUDGET LIVE!!!!

PS:-Hats Off to the Marketing Guys....for successfully turning a serious matter into a Marketing gimmick, lapped up by us all

Monday, June 29, 2009

Procrastination, Amnesia & then procrastination again....

This is a Tag I had received ages and ages ago from Naperville Mom of Ponderings of a Porcupine. Kept pushing it to the back of the cybershelf and then conveniently forgot all about it!

A fews days ago, a blogpost by a co-blogger regarding the same tag restored my amnesiac memory. Well, the chronic procrastinator that I am, again considerable time was spent dilly-dallying ..and now finally, here I am with the Tag...

The TAG is : A story revolving around the 6th Picture of the 6 Folder in my (digital) Photo-Basket ....

A down-in-the-dumps AD with tears streaking down her cheeks as her friends look on ....

On the morning of her Playschool's Annual Day, the excited kid was all eager to go to school and 'perform'. But the moment she entered the school gates, and saw the deluge of parents and grandparents waiting at the Shamiana for the programme to begin, my 'lion-indoors-but-timid-mouse-outdoors' AD burst out into tears and clung on to me, panicstricken....As I took her to their classroom which had her friends, teachers and ayahs 'waiting in the wings', she cooled down considerably. The little friends, wiped a tear or two and tried their best to cheer her up! It was such an amazing sight to see these three yrs somethings displaying such affection and camaraderie....I had my camera with me and clicked!
Of the many lovable pics clicked that morning, the above is the 6th Pic of the 6th Folder in my (Digital) PhotoBasket!
I am supposed to tag 6 persons....but I'll keep it open to ALL!
Whoever takes it up, do drop a line at my comment box so that I can stop by at your Blog to see your 6th Pic in your 6th Photo Folder!!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

There are three kinds of lies.....

Just back from my weekly vegetable and grocery shopping with heavy bulging bags and a much lighter wallet.

I have this habit of keeping a note of my daily expenditure in a diary.

While turning the pages of the diary to make today's entry, the diary opened to the date 12th May 2007, when I'd bought, amongst other things, 10kgs rice for Rs.150 (@Rs.15/kg) and the week's vegetables for Rs.163.

Today's entry for the same items are Rs. 325 and Rs.398 respectively.

Exactly two years and every eatable on the supermarket shelves has doubled or tripled and yet the Economic Times has been gleefully celebrating every Thursday morning that inflation is -0.1%.

Is this what is meant by "lies, damned lies and statistics!!"


Monday, June 15, 2009

'Far from the Madding Crowd'

(This is not a travelogue...it's just glimpses of a wonderful experience from which I havent yet recovered)

Coinciding leaves and holidays of two and a half individuals is always a headache….the half is a teeny weeny three and a half-going on thirteen opinionated young lady!

Well, we finally managed to squeeze in a weekend and a bit more of free together time! A quick planning, hurried booking and off we were on a much needed break.

Four days of peace, tranquility, sea, sand and rock. Throw in a handful of spirituality; sprinkle some lip smacking medley of French-Tam cuisine, 24x7 beachside cafes; Lace it with a splash of multi-linguistic experience of Tamil-French combo, with smatterings of often unintelligible English and Hindi; Garnish with treasure troves of handicrafts, aromatic candles and incences; frame it with the delightful old world charm of heritage Villas and Bungalows...and hey presto! You have the magic of Pondicherry staring soulfully at you....


An interesting anecdote which was on display in a beachside cafe we frequented during our midnight strolls on the beach....
The Puducheri of yesteryears has come a full cycle. This coastal town named Puducheri (meaning in Tamil "new settlement"), was twisted to suit the French tongue who pronounced it as Poudicherry. And then some grouchy British clerk made a silly clerical error (mentioned in the poster in a tongue-in-cheek style as "a forgivable felony of a slack eye and hand") whereby the 'u' of Pouducheri was changed into 'n'. Thus was born the more stylish and Anglicised Pondicherry. Pondicherry was easier on the tongue and thus stayed on! And finally after a few hundreds of years and a medley of rulers later, it's back to being called Puducheri !

The serenity of the town struck me almost instantly. Tranquility opened her arms the moment we entered and wrapped us up in a warm welcome embrace. The canopy of green over the villa lined streets made me want to get off the car and walk on.... Quaint little bungalows, a deluge of bougainvilleas, emerald green-blue sea and black rocky stones guarding the lashing waves, Pondicherry stole my heart. I fell in love with the little town.
Where we stayed added to the spell of love at first sight. A delightful 18th century mansion, restored and brought to life. With non-identical suites and rooms named Mahe, Chandernagore, Karikal, Calicut, Yanaon and so on, it oozed old world charm wherever we went and whatever we touched. A central courtyard with a giant neem tree, this is where we had our breakfast. Early morning rises to catch the sunrise, so alien in our lives in the concrete jungles, we breathed in gusts of fresh sea breeze thus rejuvenating our senses and detoxyfying our souls.... Late night strolls along the beach concluded with cups of coffee at the little coffee shop on the Beach, while the sea roared on, and wild waves lashed itself on the rocks on which sat the cafe. The midnight moon shone through the swaying palms while the far horizon shimmered in its silvery glow....

Back in our hotel room, the freshly made bed would have a fresh garland of jasmine adorning the pillow, with it's delicate fragrance caressing the air we breathed in as we retired for the day....
The Universal Township of "Auroville" is an experience to be savoured and assimilated deep within. The few hours that we spent there were too too less to do any justice. I wish we had planned our trip in advance. Due to our unplanned visit, we couldnt enter the inner sanctum of the Matri Mandir and had to be content seeing this remarkable architectural marvel from a distance.

If only to live the experience of entering and meditating in the awe inspiring Matri Mandir, seeing from close, the crystal which is known to be the largest spherical crystal, I made a promise to myself.....I'll come back again, to savour the magic of this city.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Back to my cyberhome !

When some friends I'd never met in my life knocked on my (cyber) door and my mailbox to enquire about my absence and well-being, my heart swelled with joy! Man is a social animal and loves being loved and missed.

The cause of my absence? A few hectic days in office, followed by an almost impromptu but much needed short break where we consciously decided to stay away from the cyberworld (be it for work or leisure).


It indeed was a refreshing and relaxing break where we went leaving behind the humdrum compulsions everyday life is all about!

Returning to the normalcy of routine life was inevitable but I wished the utopian life of holidays and leisure could continue forever.....But that is not to be and even if genie grants this wish, I doubt such a life would retain it's charm without the groaning and moaning of the real world ticking at the back of the mind.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Mommification - Part II

"The world is full of women blindsided bythe unceasing demands of motherhood, still flabbergasted by how a job can be terrific and tortuous. " - Anna Quindlen

Motherhood...the most wonderful yet difficult of all responsibilities taken up by a woman.....the creation and nurturing of life, the shaping of a personality and the grooming of an individual.

Joy, ecstasy, anticipation, trepidation and panic...the first nine months of the process of creation was a medley of all these emotions and more...(Read here)

But when I first held this tiny scrap of a human, all I initially felt was wonder and awe. And then I fell in love.....forever and ever, never to recover!

And now my blogger friend, Imp's Mom, asks me to jot down five things I love about being a Mom.

In a sea of emotions, when I'm asked to pick five little scoops, what do I pick?

* Becoming a more sensitive and aware human....yes. Motherhood has made me a slightly better person. More aware and sensitive of my surroundings, to the environment, fellow humans in general and more grateful to the Almighty for having given me so much...

* The sensation when I see her face lighting up with joy the moment she spots me in a crowd or after the day in her school!

* When the drama queen that she is, asks me everyday, in her mushiest of voices, "Ma can you take me in your lap and put me to sleep?" ("Ma, tumi ki amaye kole niye ghoom parate paaro?). It's a daily routine, but everyday, my heart melts hearing these words.

*And when I pick her up to put her to sleep, I love the way she wraps herself like a little octopus and while pretending to go to sleep, keeps on with her non-stop chatter. (Of course, daily, the lovey-dovey cootchie cooing ends with a whack on her bums which FINALY and ACTUALLY puts her to sleep!)

*Reliving the little moments of childhood...the joy of playing with friends, the sorrow of being brushed aside or bullied, the angst of a fight, the demands for a her favourite food (which keeps changing) in her lunch box, the playacting where she's the Mom and all her toys are her children ! It's like I'm growing up again, through her , with her....

But Motherhood is always not sugary and sweet, it is not always showering love and indulgences..their are moments of anger and frustrations, tackling unruly behaviour, stubbornness and tantrums, difficult moments and tough decisions, anxious, heart wrenching moments of illness and pain.....

As it has been said ....
"Loving a child doesn't mean giving into all his whims; to love him is to bring out the best in him, to teach him to love what is difficult"

And with this thought, the Mommified me, carries on in the wondrous journey of motherhood...where as she grows,
basking in our love,
moulded by our teachings,
imbibing the influence of her surroundings,
manifesting her inherited genetic designs,

we (SD & I) grow with her....
maturing as persons,
learning the lessons of life,
unlearning bookish sermons and
relearning the world from a different perspective altogether....


And finally, I pass on this tag to five wonderful mothers....to share 5 things they LOVE about being a MOM
Naperville Mom, Sucharita, Roshni, Reflections and Reks

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Saturday Morning Rants

Since morning the television is blaring and SD is glued to the set, devouring the statistics of wins and losses, as the presenters, commentators scream and holler into their microphones!

Television in the morning is something I just am not fond of! I like my mornings peaceful and serene...maybe a raga or soulful music playing in the backdrop while I sip my tea and glance through the crisp fresh newspaper....of course the latter again is a luxury, as on most days, when I get to read the paper (in the evenings), they are crumpled with a page or two missing!

Well today my complaints and cribbings WILL NOT be entertained. I have been categorically informed ....the counting process is on and the dance of democracy of the last few months comes to its (il)logical conclusion!

Of the many highlights being passed on to me by SD, a few which caught my attention :
* Mamata seems to have swept the election in West Bengal....I wonder how! A politician who successfully drives away industrialisation and industries from a state in dire need of it, wins people's hearts and votes!! And not only the rural votes...she has won several seats in the heart of the urban metropolis!
*The mechanised counting process in India is way ahead, in terms of time and speed given the mammothness of the numbers and the geographical spread, compared to the most developed nations of the world! And I am supposed to feel privileged to be able to witness the execution of such a gargantuan task, LIVE!! Well, actually, one privileged person in the family is enough....
*Chiranjeevi is almost on the verge of extinction even before he strengthened his foothold in the political arena
*Of the dames of democracy, DIDI is up, BEHENJI is down and AMMA is floundering !

Even as I finish this post, the television continues to holler, papers and toys are strewn all over, AD's cartoons are on and with a throbbing head I get down to the business of bringing order to complete disorder....

Pictures : courtesy -Google images & http://promiseofreason.com/; http://www.manjul.com; http://www.lead.timesofindia.com/images/letthegamesbegin.gif;

Off to a new start, with a prayer on my lips....

The D-day is almost round the corner!

With the arrival of the new uniforms, new books, crispy brown paper rolls, my excitement knows no bounds!!

I can finally take a long breath and state that the raving, ranting and tension of the past few months (here and here) are officially over. There was some confusion, nail biting sessions in between when we had to choose between the two schools into which AD had got admission. The choice was made after much deliberation and head breaking ...as if it was not admission to LKG but deciding and finalising a career choice!! Huh!! (Never imagined I would become a hyper Mom!!)


So my little one is on the threshold of a new world.....a world, which along with our love, support and guidance, will shape her into the person she will grow up to be....

There will be happy moments and sad.

Good times and bad....
Moments of achievements, success and highs.
Some of disappointments, frustrations and anxious sighs.
Bitter fights, scary scoldings, taunting and teasing.
Lunch times bursting with glee....eating, sharing, games and scraped knee!
Homework & tests, exams & marks end either in
Unbridled ecstasy or despair ..oh so stark!
Inspiring teachers who make learning a joy;
And devil's incarnates will be there too...devious tactics who love to employ.
Discipline and moral science,
Bunking classes and acts of defiance.
Favourite subjects and lousy ones.
Lots of Friends and loads of fun....
School life will be all this and more.
A storehouse of knowledge, values and wisdom galore

Hope my princess grows and imbibes
all that it takes to lead a sincere and honest life...

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Interior Decor!

Lately I've been awestruck and impressed [and a wee bit envious too!!! ;))] of the latest blog templates being flaunted by my blogger friends (here, here and here). They are arty, fancy and creative and oh-so-much better than BLOGGERS' boring and limited options. But when I go to the same sites, nothing seem to impress me enough. All the good ones have already been taken!! **sob sob sob**

But I was getting too bored of the same template. So thought I'll give it a moderate makeover ...nothing drastic or adventurous; as either would be way beyond my scope, given my almost negligible knowledge of html.

Hence just assembled some stuff lying around my room and clicked a pic and added it as my header image. And chose a different template from Bloggers' modest options.

Not that I'm ecstatic with the result, but at least it's a change....which is always welcome!

So tell me friends....any suggestions or comments on the relatively 'NEW LOOK'!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Marriage, Misery or Mockery!

As the phone screamed out, shattering the afternoon stillness, I had no choice but to receive it. At least to stop its deafening cacophony. The sleep induced dazed mind was brought to consciousness by the high pitched voice on the other end. It suited a heady teenager more than a mom of a preteen. It was my friend R. I responded groggily, my Sunday slumberous intonation clearly giving away my activity! But the news filtering through my comatose grey cells galvanized me into the sitting position and we both, after an initial bout of silly giggles, reverted to our more sensible selves. Realisation dawned that it was not a laughing matter and a sensation of hollowness and a strange helplessness pervaded my being! Why, we discussed, was this farce being allowed to happen and the repercussions of this on all concerned !

This is about P...someone we knew from our growing up years. He was getting married next month and his engagement had already been held a week back.

Later, as I sat sipping tea on a quiet, still afternoon….memories of P kept flitting across. I remember him clearly.... a funny, entertaining fellow but different from the rest. After college got over, whatever little association we had with P, came to an end too. However, we knew vaguely what he was doing, where he was working etc etc. But it was his difference that would come up in our conversations from time to time.....
Though academically superlative and professionally successful, P was remembered by us for being a comical caricature...he himself had proudly narrated how popular he had been during his school days-enacting roles and mouthing dialogues of the reigning silverscreen queens! College was no different and he continued his exaggerated performances.

P was unambiguously effeminate…the walk, the talk, the gestures and facial expression.
Intelligent as he was, he loved (or so it appeared to us) to showcase his difference and seemed to bask in the misplaced attention he received! Leg-pulling, ridicule, crude comments never detered him.
He had the guts to be himself, indifferent to whether society laughed at him or with him ..

To me, a staunch introvert, this quality of his never failed to amaze me.....that he could laugh at himself and knew how to use the jokes and ridicule to his advantage by being in the limelight wherever he was! He was completely uninhibited and at ease with himself.

Back then, most of the guys would be in and out of love, infatuations, but not P. As a matter of fact no one expected him to fall in love in the ‘normal’ way. He never discussed this aspect of life....
So, even as many of us got married, and some confirmed bachelors continued living their bachelor lives, and some were too busy with careers to spare time for a family life, P always stayed clear of relationships of any kind. At least none in the public eye.

So news of his forthcoming marriage was shocking! The intricate details left me reeling and sad. Here was this 30 something fellow...successful and well settled in life, whose sexual preference was definitely NOT hetero; but emotional blackmailing by parents had forced him to sacrifice himself at the alter of popular preference. He has supposedly informed his parents not to expect anything more from him other than marrying the girl of their choice at the given date…his duty ended with that and the welfare of the girl was to be the parents’ responsibility!!!
I wonder what happened to the guy who was comfortable in his own skin and had the guts to be himself! I dont remember having known the escapist hypocrite who shielded the truth...but ten years is a long time and social stigma and parental pressure to conform to norms must have taken its toll...

And then what of this girl who was his fiancé? This girl, rather woman, of affluent background, was not only highly qualified, but a high-flying career woman. So what had compelled such a woman to agree to enter this farce of a relationship? Feigning ignorance regarding P was impossible as one just had to spend a few minutes in his company to know....
The woman’s point of view intrigued me more. Was she too succumbing to parental / social pressures of some kind?

Why is marriage so important in our society? And at what cost?
If even the well-educated, well-heeled and urban population are reduced to being mere puppets to unwritten social norms and would rather live a life of lies, hypocrisy, compromise and escapism, what happens to the less fortunate of the society!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Calendared Moodswings

Hate is a strong word. I don’t use it often. But in this context I am using it … or rather my heart compels me to do so….
No, not a person nor an object nor any food. I hate something abstract.. I hate a certain period of time. I hate three months in a year….for their bleakness, for their uneventfulness, for their all-work-and-no-play nature. I hate the months of May, June, July! And my hatred has almost reached a crescendo as I sit here, almost on the threshold of my days of sorrow……
***
Our country is a land of diversities in everything one lays one’s eyes on. From languages to rituals, colours of its people’s skin to cuisines, traditions to local costumes, everything is in multitudes! So when it comes to holidays, it’s an assortment of the various religious, social, cultural celebrations, anniversaries and national days of pride thrown in, in full measure. The whole year or for that matter a major part of the year is sprinkled by generous servings of holidays! A saying in Bengali aptly describes this state of affairs Baaro Maashe Tyaro Parbon whose literal translation would be - Thirteen festivities in twelve months.

And that’s where my heartburn comes into the picture….amidst a plethora of holidays round the year, why didn’t the months of May, June, July get at least one or two! Why are the poor months stark, unwelcome, barren periods devoid of happiness ..ahem…holidays! Unfair, biased, deprived trio...my heart screams out!

Every year, during January, when the holiday calendar is first displayed, I take my first peek ...with anticipation and excitement….the first look would always be at September-October, to check up when Pujo would be and which day of the week the Dussehra/Bijoya Dashami falls. That triggers my mental holiday planner and from the first of January, my plans for the Pujo vacation starts taking shape. This is closely followed by the cheerful winter months and the summery fiesta.

In my personal context, the 'bright & cheerful' season begins in August! That’s when my very own happy days begin… when there’s a spring in my step, dreaming of the upcoming festivities, and of course, the patriotism induced glee (!). In September – October, my joy knows no bounds and again October – November, arent bad either, what with Diwali, Id, Guru Nanak Jayanti all tumbling around in the calendar, bumping into one another. And December, with birthdays (OK no holidays, but still cause for celebration!!), Christmas, New Years and of course the wonderful holiday-mood-inducing-weather, is a joyous month indeed! January isn’t bad either and in February, it being our organization’s birthmonth, we are privileged to have an exclusive holiday!!! March also has its share of colourful mirth and my foster-state’s new year’s etc etc! and April is just about tolerable with a day of holiday thrown in!

And then tragedy strikes!!! Gloom descends. And along with the sweltering heat and thereafter downcast skies, my mood also oscillates between grouchy irritability to utmost melancholy. There’s not a day to look forward to….stark barrenness stares me in the face making me dejected ….making me wish away the three months from the calendar…making me crave for the light at the end of the tunnel - the auspicious August when Vignavidhaata arrives to remove all obstacles in the path of my mental peace and gives me FREEDOM from depression & deprivation!

Statutory Warning : May you all not BURN in envy reading the list of holidays during my nine HAPPY months!

I continue to be, as informed earlier, an underpaid and overworked employee. But the red spots on the calendar do give me immense pleasure. And whenever SD & AD enjoy their holidays (which are many more than my measly numbers), I dont hesitate in indulging in a Casual Leave or two....joining in the fun!!!!
For your peace of mind, let me reiterate.....My Holiday Count, unfortunately, continues to be a depressing 10 per year! sob sob sob....

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Democratic Rights....

The world's largest democary goes to the polls today onwards ...to renew its tryst with destiny, to reinculcate its faith in the power of its people, to shape its destiny, to give it leaders who will dare to think, to implement and empower a nation where its intrinsic diversity shapes its unity!

When an astounding 750 million voters are eligible to exercise this right of democracy, an evolved infrastructure and fool-proof system need to be in place. The voting machines we use are indeed an evolution from the days of manual vote counting..but are they enough?

As the city which has been my home for the past year or so goes to vote today, here I am sitting in front of my computer 'enjoying' a holiday...a passive participant in a dynamic process! I am not alone....there are thousands like me, who are unable to vote due to their frequently changing co-ordinates! Who are away from the city where they are registered in the electoral rolls! So dont people like us have the right to vote and be a part of the elaborate exercise of choosing the mandate?

In a country touted as a software superpower, churning out lakhs of engineers every year, cant we expect introduction and implementation of a new technology to address this handicap of a nation of mobile citizens?

If money transfer, bill payments, and many other exercises in which unique identity is not only crucial, but also essential, through mobiles and internet can become part and parcel of our lives, why cant the voting system be made online? An unique identity number or smart card (containing relevant details about a particular citizen) generated by the Office of the Electoral Commission can be used to cast our votes through SMS or the internet.

True, I'm simpilfying a complicated and a mammoth process involving years of micro and macro tasking. But with our giant force of technocrats, highly qualified technical experts, world reknowned and reputed software giants and a comfortable gap of five years between two consecutive elections, is it really an impossible task?

I doubt..... though such a system should have been in place during this year's much publicised, much maligned and much hyped General Elections, I sincerely hope, the forthcoming government will put this system in place in 2014 in joint collaboration with the best brains in the world!
So that wherever I am, I can exercise my democratic rights! Am I asking for too much too soon??

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Shubho Naboborsho!


Shubho Naboborshe shokolke janai priti o shubhechha!

Today being Bengali New Year's Day, I wish you all

A VERY HAPPY BANGLA NEW YEAR!!

Picture : greeteasy.com

Monday, April 13, 2009

Weekend Woes & Midweek Ecstacy

Every Saturday morning I am in a horrendous mood to put it very mildly!

While I wake up in the normal ungodly hour and drag myself into the drudgery of everyday existence, SD and AD are blissfully asleep. Believe me, all kinds of nasty thoughts flit through my mind ... thoughts of how to shake from their slumberous stupor into complete wakefulness!! But the honourable wife and mother that I am (or attempt at being), however tempting the prospect may be, I desist from letting the devil in me take control and let my better and more noble self prevail.
But every Saturday, it is indeed sheer torture to go to office while the father-daughter duo indulge in their long lazy weekend activities....and my anguish reaches almost unbearable levels when a holiday on a Friday or a Monday (which I, the overworked and underpaid, am almost always deprived of....like on Easter...sob sob sob!!) add to their weekend ecstacy.

But this time, matters are a trifle different! I have been bestowed with a midweek holiday which neither SD nor AD have...the sadistic devil within me was ecstatic for a second or two before gloom descended....
what's the fun of a holiday in an empty home....
the spice of life lies in AD's mischief and mirth (which more often than not drives me nuts),
in SD's holiday-mood-induced-sloppy presence and quiet, deadpan, humour (which predictably almost always make me lose my temper, as it is intended to),
in the topsy-turvy, untidy mess the house turns into, everytime the father-daughter are at home (which again makes me shout out, in my most disciplinarian intonation, to retain orderliness and is ALWAYS ignored!) .

The laughter, the noise, the fights, the squabble, the medley of scattered toys-paints-crayons-newspaper-laptops, the special aroma from the 'holiday' kitchen are what our holidays are all about!

So on a midweek holiday, in an empty, orderly, silent house, what am I supposed to do?
Let's see.....maybe indulge in some me-time, pamper myself silly at a fancy parlour, or have a girls' day out with some friends, or JUST spend time sleeping late and lazing around!!!!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Summer Holidays

"Everybody has a summer holiday
Doing things they always wanted to"..... crooned Cliff Richard half a century ago.

And I couldnt agree more.....Summer Holidays or Goromer Chhuti were indeed the favourite and longest of all vacations during our growing up years. An almost two month long break from school, studies and schedule. Cousins coming over from different parts of the country. Lazy afternoons filled with games and gossip.
-Hide and seeks in the nooks and crannies of the attic and staircases, under the beds and behind the giant almirahs;
-climbing guava trees and scraping knees;
-listening to the radio in warm summer afternoons, all heads jostling for space right in front of the radio;
-recording our voices on the blank cassettes inserted into the coveted tape recorder;
-buying ice cream sticks from the ice-cream vendor who would take a break from his cart pushing right in front of our gate and call out "K..W...O....O...L....I...T...Y" repeatedly till we kids compelled our mothers to let us out and buy the orange or chocolate fudge sticks from him;
-sitting on the terrace oblivious to the blazing hot sun, gorging on the 'stolen' homemade mango/tamarind pickles, which had been put out on the terrace for the sun to give it a finishing touch;
-the Poila Boishaakh (Bengali New Years celebration on 14th/15th of April) celebrations and get-togethers....
Memories of summer holidays are full of fun, frolic and laughter. Days spent at cousins' or 'best' friends' places, family reunions and sometimes a family vacation.
Of course, the fights and squabbles, teasing and taunting, anger and making up were also there in all its glory...but that's what gave summer holidays its multihued tinge!
***
As I see my little AD growing up in a nuclear world so different from the one I grew up in, without her extended family to pamper and indulge her, I feel a trifle sad that she's missing out on the companionship and camaraderie with cousins and siblings that we took for granted. Her Summer Holidays too, are poles apart from our summer holidays.


In her world, routine is not abandoned for a month or two. The scheduled life goes on....The long and relaxed, fun-filled vacations are replaced by choc-a-block activity filled summer camps. Not camps in the true sense of the word, but planned, 'scientifically' chalked out programmes to keep kids busy in a host of creative lessons and activities. A continuation of her playschool sans the academics....I wonder whether they are half as much fun as the impromptu and myriad activities we indulged in during our prolonged vacations, eons ago....I hope so.


Times have changed. We parents are busy. And corporate jobs do not give us the luxury of long vacations. And living in a city with no family and equally busy friends as our social network, with cousins and extended families scattered all over the globe, summer holidays of yore have become an almost extinct phenomenon.
So the much advertised, exhorbitantly priced summer camps are not an option but more a necessity!

Last week as I went on a short trip to attend the last rites of my Mamu, AD met some of her cousins for the first time...Dadas (elder brother), didis (elder sister), bon and bhai (sister and brother). They played, they fought, they squabbled over a box of crayons or a teddy or just fought for the sake of fighting. They made up and played again....to fight all over again.....
I was glad ... to give her a slice of life as it was when we were kids. To cherish the companionship, the unadulterated love, the complex rivalry, the bowing down to say sorry, to resume normalcy and let bygones be bygones...

I hope every year, if not a long leisurely one, at least a fun filled brief holiday with cousins is what I can gift my AD...so that she grows up with her own handycam stored memories of summer holidays in contrast to our album filled with sepia tinged snapshots.....

"We're all going on a summer holiday.
No more working for a week or two.
Fun and laughter on a summer holiday...."

Friday, March 27, 2009

Morning Cheer!

Putting her to bed and making her sleep is a perennial fight! Various strategies, carrot dangling, and more often than not a whack succeed in making her succumb. Yesterday night the tussle was on in full swing, and AD was at her crankiest best, throwing a tantrum so that she be allowed to watch Jungle Book. I tried to calm myself and instead of the light whack strategy, decided to 'talk' to her. I sweetly told her (while grinding my teeth in anger within...the time was 11:45pm and my patience level was at its lowest ebb!!!) that she needed to sleep and sleep quick so that she could wake up with a smiling face just like Mowgli does!

Surprisingly...she slept soon after. Whether my words had any effect or she was too tired to resist sleep any longer, I know not.

I woke up today morning with a 'HA HA HA' sound by my side. (Believe me, it was really the theatrical HA HA HA!).
My AD, with her eyes closed, was laughing out loud. And she instantly opened her eyes, shining with happiness, and informed me ...
"Ma, shokaal hoye gechhe...dekho ami Mowgli'r moto haashi haashi ghoom theke uthechhi...ekhon ami Mowgli dekhte parbo!!" ("Ma, it's morning! I have woken up with a smile/laugh, just like Mowgli....I can watch Mowgli now!!")

I was too stunned to react...was she dreaming of the morning cheer & Mowgli all night??

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Einstein @ 5 or Tagore @ 4? Make a choice and make it FAST!!!

AD’s playschool cum Daycare Centre has been recently acquired by a franchisee run company. In its previous avatar, it was a Mom and Pop establishment ..an informal setup with excellent infrastructure, lot of space, warm and friendly teachers and care givers and a high standard of hygiene. In its present and more glamorous avatar, it has assumed a pseudo corporate getup! Amidst the various improvement schemes, a newsletter- cum- group mail system has been introduced through which we get notices, information about the school & activities and also feedbacks sent by various parents and guardians are circulated to all other parents.

Today I received one such email …a feedback from a parent singing paeans about the school . I was about to click the window shut, when something in the latter part of the mail caught my eye and I couldn’t help but read on….a wish list for his 9 month old baby enrolled in the daycare.
Just reproducing the relevant part of the email :


“Wish list from our side:
1. In addition to the good care that day care kids are getting, we will really appreciate if some brain development programs are conducted for kids of age 6 months and more. We attended a session in our office from K...Gl... school staff (http://k...gl....com/). Please go through the website and see their presentation. We are not suggesting you to copy them, but we feel there is no harm in getting good things from anyone. They have some programs for brain development based on research done by an American scientist Glenn Doman. They claim that babies of 6 months can learn reading. Curious to dig further, we searched internet and found many web sites and research articles that support this fact. For example: see the video (with sound ON) at the home page of this website - http://www.y....c...com/ . Also there are lots of videos available on you tube...."


I was initially amused and then wondered, where are we heading? Is it really needed….a 6 month old baby reading?

What’s next? PhD in Astrophysics at the age of 5yrs?

Why cant we let babies be what they are supposed to be ....just babies! And let them grow at their own pace!!!

The sky high and sometimes impossible dreams parents dream on behalf of their kids put tremendous pressure on the kids to perform. Some kids either baulk under the burden of expectations or just give up on life in general. With students' suicides on the rise, isnt it time, we, as parents introspect....restrain our ambitions from setting unattainable targets for the child and let them 'grow' and 'bloom' first into good human beings and not mere degree spewing/money-churning machines.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Final Goodbye!

Death is a full stop. An end of a lifetime, an end of dreams, aspirations.
What stays back are memories, slices of life....of moments shared, of funny times and sad.
In a lifespan of three decades and a little more, not that I have spent a lot of time with him. A short holiday now and then during childhood, another few days scattered througout my growing up and grown up years were all that I spent with Mamu. But there are those who leave a stamp on your life without really playing a major active role in it.
He was one such human being. Jovial, full of fun and wit, with a wonderful camaraderie he shared with almost everyone whose lives he touched. Memories of Mamu will always be of a giant of a man, with a loving smile and a hearty laugh! A singer whose rich baritone could put many a 'singing star' to shame, a story teller par excellence, whose ghost stories could send shivers down our spines, a giver of my hand in marriage to SD (he conducted my 'Kanyadaan'-giving away the bride) are some beautiful memories that I have of him.
But it was during the last two years of his life that I realised that apart from being a genuinely good human being, what a strong willed, optimistic person he was.
A valiant fighter he was, fighting tooth and nail against the ravages of cancer and a failing heart, but always ready with a smile and joke. He carried on his normal lifestyle, driving around, going to work, participating in social functions, amazing us and the doctors, making us wonder where, amidst all his pain, he got the strength, to smile, laugh and be so cheerful!
A connoisseur of good food...though in recent times, he could not touch his previous favourites due to medical restrictions galore. That, however, did not stop him from regularly visiting my foodblog, appreciating and egging me on to write more...even giving lists of his favourites dishes.
His enthusiasm about anything we 'youngsters' did was so infectious & encouraging. Even on his last day, he had a joke or two for the nurses and visitors!

His pain is no more as neither is his mortal form.
But the soul, wherever he is, wouldnt want us to shed tears. Rather, I can only visualise him chuckling in his characteristic style, cracking a joke or two, seeing us all down in the dumps.

A regret I'll carry all my life is why I didnt make that little extra effort to go and meet him as he so often would remind me..I just couldnt imagine everything would be over so soon....his zest for life was such!
Goodbye Mamu....I only wish AD could grow up and meet this wonderful Dadu...but that was not to be...
Well, Mamu.....the heaven will be a funnier and happier place now, with you around, spreading the cheer and sunshine !!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Hyderabad on the Rocks!

Millions of years in the making....smoothened and polished to perfection by the ravages of the elements. Cradling the cycle of life on a miniature scale in its nooks and crannies. And a mute witness to the birth of a city, its growth, its political turmoil, and again fast paced heady rediscovery and growth of the modern times! And then the silent bystanders were blasted away..silenced forever exposing in its place, ugly scars which tell no tales. Yes...the city is growing, its roads are widening but environment is being held ransom!

The unique grey-black granite structures which lend Hyderabad a distinct spot in the geological map of the world and has rendered a rustic awe-inspiring charm to the city’s landscape are what I am talking about. They are almost like pieces of abstract art and are a sheer delight to the eyes. However, insensitivity to the heritage nature has bestowed on us, a nefarious greed to encash on the real estate boom of the last few years and frenzied and unplanned growth of the city, has resulted in destruction of these beautiful rock structures which dotted the terrain of this city...located right in the heart of the Deccan Plateau. In most places what remain are skeletons of the erstwhile beauties....ugly quarries in place of natural splendours.

Geologists say that these are amongst the oldest and hardest rock formations in the world dating back to 2500 million years ago!!! The Government has woken up after the mass destruction is almost over to ‘protect’ a handful of the more prominent structures. But what about the other not-so-prominent, yet fine pieces of nature’s artwork? Just last month one such structure, right in front of my daughter’s school was blasted away to make way for a palatial concrete atrocity!

I am all for growth. I, like millions of my countrymen, want to see India at the pinnacle of success…as a leader of the world. But at the same time, I want my country to retain, nurture and cherish the bounty of nature that we are blessed with. Economic development will cease to happen in a country indifferent towards social and ecological responsibility. Our insensitivity towards ecology, lack of basic civic sense, a growing disparity between the haves and have-nots are not what leaders of the world ought to be. A balance must be sought. Where material progress, infrastructure growth happens… but not at the graveyard of ecosystem equilibrium.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Say, I Care - With Books

Reproducing a mail I received from a friend JHUMPA GHOSH mailto:jhumpa.ghoshray@gmail.com), closely associated with NGOs working to promote sustainable livelihoods in communities in and around rural and semi-rural West Bengal and upliftment and improvement of their life in general.
They have taken up a cause to come to the aid of children who due to various circumstances have to put a halt in their education midway.

I request my Blogger friends to please spread the word to help this cause which will help hundreds and thousands of school going children. Some are talented beyond imagination. Most are so keen to study further. A little help, a small encouragement from our ends will go a long way in ensuring that the fate they were born to, doesnt become a permanent curse on their lives.

Small villages, Kantabelia and Madandanga in the Nadia district, have been facing a nagging problem of continuing education after the fifthstandard. The village school is till Class IV, and after completing that, if students wish to continue with their studies, they have totravel 5 to 10 kms. That is where the problem lies. Each year, a major percentage of students drop out due to this reason. For they say,that, the added travel expense would be a burden on the family income, not to forget the cost of books. In an ethnographic research in a collaboration with KIIT School of Rural Management, Bhubaneswar it has come out that a large number of students drop out every year after primary education because of the inability of their parents to buy books. In an educational awareness programme, a proposal for a mobile textbook library for class V to class X has been offered from Change Initiatives. Change Initiatives is already running a project - Telecenter on Wheel (ToW) - over there (Some details on ToW are available here, here and here). A manually run tricycle van has been equipped with ICT tools forinformation dissemination in rural communities. The library would bean added feature of the same. A set of textbooks for class V to class X and a few children story books kept in ToW have been displayed as amodel library. The library will start functioning from May 2009 alongwith the academic session. The members of the library will be allowedto read the books only. The van will be taken to the nearby villagesby rotation. The van has a portable three set tube light so thatstudents can read at morning as well as evening hours with adequate illumination. Change Initiatives has requested the local schoolteachers to involve the guardians and villagers as volunteers for the library. ChangeInitiative also proposed the local teachers to organize a meeting withpresent and retired teachers for making this initiative a success. Andwe are also planning to give books to needy students of Kantabelia andMadandanga for the session of 2009-10. Change Initiatives is seeking support from people like you for thesuccess of this mobile textbook library. You can contribute by donating the new textbooks and/or old used textbooks according to thenew Madhyamik and HS (Madhyamik - Class X boards & HS-Class XII Boards of WB Boards)syllabus, from Class V-XII. If you wish to support us but don’t have the books, we could send you the booklist and then you could buy them for us. We also need to encourage the reading habit of the students, so if you have fiction or non-fiction books that you wish to donate, please letus know.

The address where you need to send these is:
Change Initiatives
GC-79, Salt Lake City,
Sector –III,
Kolkata-700106

You could also contact Arundhoti Dutta (9831898803) for any further details Or mail at changeinitiatives@gmail.com.

All donors would be acknowledged, through the books they donate.

Your help can bring hope to many students finishing school, who are presently forced to leave study, start earning, stay home and lookafter their younger siblings or migrate for a better living.

____________________________________________________

Donations to CHANGE INITIATIVES exempt from income tax under Section80G of the IT Act, 1961.
_______________________________________________
CHANGE INITIATIVES, an NGO based in West Bengal, India, does development research and works for sustainable development with communication tools such as ICTs, videos and print.
The aim is to promote sustainable livelihoods by facilitating communication, raising awareness, promoting knowledge and enhancing access to information in communities

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Of a Woman by a Woman

I was reading an article on Women in Workplace and how glass ceilings are being shattered here-there-everywhere. During the past few days, the media has done its bit to woo the fairer (?) sex. Advertisements on Billboards, television channels, print media and so forth... On women, their progress, their achievements and also the flipside of it all....their backward subjugated role in a major segment of the society irrespective of the social / economic strata to which they belong!
Normally I'm the unsentimental kind. Not one to be swayed by the much commercialised sugar dripping DAYS...the Valentine's, the Mothers, Fathers, Friends and what not....they do not touch my heart. The selling of emotions leaves me cold. I dont feel compelled to wish or send a card to the concerned persons in my life because I just cannot contemplate restricting their significance to a DAY per year. And thankfully, none of them care a hoot either for these DAYS!!!

However, today was a trifle different...
On the eve of International Women's Day, the other working woman in my house returned to her workplace....my home. My live-in maid (M), after an almost month long break, came back from her village. I've spent several bytes of cyber space recounting her workplace activities (here). But after three weeks of super juggling and multitasking, to say that I was elated to have her back, will be an understatement.
This evening when I saw M, I was shocked....the healthy woman who had left my home three weeks back, to meet her ailing mother, had come back a dark, skinny, starved and almost unrecognizable version of her former self. She had fallen ill, she said. And running around for her mother's medicines had supposedly taken its toll.

M too was today's Woman; A working Woman. Not by choice, rather by compulsion. Married at fifteen, widowed at eighteen with a one year old child, she had started working since her child was 2 years old. The child was brought up by the grandmother. M was the youngest of seven brothers and two sisters. When she joined me a year and a half back, I had asked M, a woman in her late twenties or early thirties, why she had never remarried..she still could, I told her. She couldnt, she replied. Her brothers had promised her a piece of land in their village, on condition that she retain 'purity of character', by not remarrying!!!
And we talk of Women's emancipation!
I wondered aloud - what's the guarantee of actually getting the piece of land from the brothers, who do not hesisate to demand money from the widowed sister, for the mother's upkeep and treatment. Their justification being....it was M's duty, apparently, as the mother was taking care of HER daughter!!
"They're my brothers after all...they cant cheat me. And if they do, that's my destiny!" was her naive reply.

The sentimental mushy mood I was in, I forgave her for her work-shirking, lazy attitude. I excused her habit of procrastination and gossiping nature. It was here at my home, her workplace, that M was indulging herself in a life otherwise devoid of any indulgences.....

As you & I wish our women friends and colleagues a Happy Women's Day, basking in our confidence and right to choose, remember we are a minority. In our country, women like M belong to the majority, for whom life is all about a constant struggle, to stay afloat. Choice is not a word they can afford to have in their dictionary. For them, being a woman, is a curse of destiny.

HAPPY WOMEN's DAY!

Monday, March 02, 2009

FunnyMen aka PoliceMen

Just couldnt not write about the traffic police of the city after sharing roadspace with them for almost 2 long years!


They are a strange lot. Almost docile, followers of Gandhian principle of non-aggression and non-violence, Policemen here (in most cases) are caricatures of their profession! They dare not fine a lady driver, despite her violating many a sundry traffic rules for which her male counterpart will be fined. But there again the fine would vary depending upon how much cash he is carrying. They are considerate enough to allow the offender to keep the change!! And if the offender is the assertive and hostile kind, they'll just let him go.....


Barring a few bulky mustachioed ''Men-in-Uniform", the rest of the lot are lanky, giggly just-out-of-teens "Boys-in-Uniform". And if the consequence of their immaturity and inability to handle the daily morning /evening choc-a-block traffic condition hadnt been so frustrating, their antics would have been downright comical.

Scene I : A group of two or three lanky, malnourished twenty something boys-in-uniform, standing in a cluster right in the middle of a busy crossing. A digital camera in hand, one of the group is showing something and the other two (or three) gangly chaps are giggling away, their backs to the honking traffice jam. Red light has turned green and green into red...the cars are all in a go-as-you-like mode. Chaos all around. But the boys (in their new avtar as cameramen) are oblivious to the pandemonium surrounding them...

Scene II : A lone youth-in-uniform, again with his back towards the chaotic rush all around, is happily chatting away on a cellphone, laughing and talking. That he is on duty which requires contant vigilance is a fact he is apparently unaware of.

Scene III : Again at a busy 'chaurasta', manned by a burly mustachioed man-in-uniform, geared up for action with a baton in hand, supervising another skinny chap in an ill-fitting uniform, shooting images of the passing cars on handycam. So what if the traffic has gone berserk and Autorickshaws, Cyclists, Mercs, BMWs and modest mortals like us, are vying for inches of roadspace. Neither of the Laurel-Hardy police duo bothers to budge from their self-designated spots on the road to clear the jam.


These are a few of the many scenes I am a witness to, daily to and from work.


Now coming to the catalyst for this blogpost?
SD received an inland letter. We were pleasantly surprised, because in todays age of e-communication, inland letters are remnants of the past and we were receiving one after almost a decade or two. We teared open the blue folded sheet in anticipation and wonder only to be deflated and disappointed that it was an e-challan (Traffic ticket) for jumping signal!! And that's when the mystery of the utility of those handycams and digicams was solved!


Just a question to City Traffic Police dept? Innovative and effective though the idea may be to punish the violaters, wouldnt automated cameras be a better idea and let the 'men' do the manning of the commotion that our road traffic is?


PS: I am waiting for an opportunity to click pics of the antics of the men in uniform. If and when I successfully do so, I will amend this post and add the pics

Saturday, February 21, 2009

HAPPINESS is no more

An email which left me sitting still on my chair for I dont know how long. An email about a little girl of 11 years. An email about the girl called 'HAPPINESS'**.
HAPPINESS is no more.....
She was my ex-colleague's only child.

One day of fever....normal at any age
Consulation with doctors the next day....normal routine whenever someone isnt well
Declared dead within 15 minutes of 'checkup' (the staff tried to give oxygen followed by administration of IVF) by the doctor's team where parents were not allowed, despite the child yelling for them ...Abnormal
Death Certificate claiming it to be Dengue....Abnormal

As a mother who has had the misfortune of seeing her 11 month child suffer in dengue, I know for sure that Dengue cannot be detected in a day and cannot be confirmed without specific bloodtests.

A wrong treatment resulting in a death. Who do we blame?
A system gaping with loopholes ?
Callous, incompetent and mercernary doctors ?
Or destiny?

A case can be filed against the hospital and doctor. And ought to be.
But who will do it?
-The shocked and traumatised father who still hasnt come to terms with his tragedy and still walks around talking to the daughter he had taken walking, to the doctor's clinic?
-Or the mother who sits silent and dazed ...her eyes devoid of any emotion?

HAPPINESS is dead. Her parents' lives have come to a standstill.
But the hospital and doctors continue to do their 'business' of licensed killing.

**-The child's name meant HAPPINESS in Sanskrit

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The new whim....

I've been busy! Not the busy busy, but silly busy, but still busy!!

Confused? Of course you are.....
I started a new blog on COOKING!
Ma was pleasantly surprised as I was never famous for my LOVE for cooking like she or most women of my family are.
But the idea was triggered when I had to make a particular dish which I had made only once before but couldnt find the recipe when I needed it the most....
So I thought why not just maintain an online diary and make a blog out of it!
But who would know that a normal blog and a food blog were not the same ball game!!!
A food blog required detailed photographs of ingredients, pics of the in-process activies and of course, of the end product in a well presented way!
So while cooking, I had my faithful camera with me in the kitchen, right by the side of the vegetables-spices-knife-wok and was clicking away furiously while cooking and chopping! SD found it hilarious and called it my new craze. AD was perplexed and asked 'Ma, are you cooking the camera?'
Today dinner was served an hour late as my simultaneous activity of chopping-mixing-clicking-cooking took a tad bit long! And to add to the self-inflicted woe, M has gone off to Kolkata for ten days on an emergency visit to her village.
So pandemonium reigns supreme at home and more particularly in my kitchen as the new whim is on in full swing....let's see how long this lasts!!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Pricks and Pain

AD is down with fever since yesterday evening. So I am at home today trying to keep a physically down but high spirited 3 year old entertained. When I realised that it may be a bit more than just fever as she was throwing up whatever she was eating, took her to the Paediatrician who apart from prescribing a few medicines, prescribed some blood tests. A petrified me shuddered while remembering the several nightmarish incidents of taking blood samples from AD in past 22 months that we've been in this city at the so-called reputed and much frequented clinics and diagnostic labs of the city. As I drove to the recommended lab, I said a silent prayer to the ALL-POWERFUL-UP-THERE, to let the blood drawing be fast and smooth and let the already sick baby not be troubled further.

As it turned out, GOD, I guess, was busy or my prayers were not weighty enough....

As I entered the clinic AD bombarded me with questions as to why we were-where-we-were and I tried to calmly explain that to cure her tummy ache and fever, some tests had to be done. She screamed a loud NOOOO and I had to almost drag a suspended-in-air kid to the reception counter where the uniformed people gave us a bright smile and a candy to my AD. To avoid recurrences of the past, I enquired whether the lab technicians were experienced to draw blood samples from kids whose veins were too fine to be detected easily. They verbally assured me of their expertise and busied themselves in preparing the bill. As an uniformed employee of the clinic accompanied me to the 'Sample Room' and explained in the local language (which I am ashamed to say I dont understand but my daughter does and hence started bawling!) about the test, I repeated my query regarding his expertise. He looked blankly at me for a second and mumbled something unintelligible and took the rubber tying band and tied it on the left arm of an almost hysterically howling child. No soft words of reassurance, no mild handling of her arm. I kept my temper in wraps. He pressed here and poked there to decipher a vein but his incompetence was too evident to be ignored. I firmly put a stop and repeated (this time sternly) whether any competent person was around , otherwise I would prefer to go to another clinic. Hearing my raised voice (probably), a confident and very busy looking lady-in-a-white coat entered the room. Without giving me a glance, she once again tied the rubber band of AD's arm. Took out a disposable syringe and got down to work, oozing confidence. I was assured. (That appearances can be deceptive, I realised much later.) Deciding not to interfere further, I tried to do my part of the work by soothing AD and distracting her from the morbid going ons.

In the next few seconds (or was it minute I dont know!) what happened shocked me at the insensitivity and lack of professionalism. The lady pricked AD deftly (it was pseudo deftness) and when no blood would come out (as it wasnt a vein at all), she continued twiggling and turning the needle under the skin making the child scream in pain. She took it out and was about to prick it at another point to continue with her trial and error mode of extracting blood, when I hollered and hollered out LOUD...thus making her stop short. I yanked the band off AD's arm and asked her to just let us go. We did not want HER or the bl***y clinic's services. I walked off with a howling, child running a temperature and in (inflicted) pain due to the incompetence and sheer callousness of a bunch of people who open fancy clinics to mint money. As I was about to exit from the premises, the receptionist returned the money I had paid. I was too angry to care ....

I went to another clinic. AD again was hysterical fearing a probable repeat act of the horrendous experience! This time luck was on our side. An expert nurse was on duty. And the whole process of blood drawing was over even before AD could fill enough air into her lungs to scream out loud! I thanked her profusely with tears in my eyes. She was too taken aback to receive my sincere gratitude for a mundane task she probably does countless times a day...

Well, God finally found the time, I guess, to receive my SOS and act upon it!!!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Adieu Babyhood!

Adieu Babyhood, Welcome Girlhood!
Today I'm a wee bit sad. Yet happy. Strange we are and strange are our mixed feelings which more often than not defy logic!
Today my baby shed the last remnant of her babyhood. The thrill was there indeed but a twinge of sadness enveloped it.
AD has been an early talker and a coherent and logical one at that. At the age of three years four months, she not only speaks fluently but often (to my utter amazement and at times shock & despair) argues vehemently, and often cracks jokes. But despite these precocious tendencies, the babyhood was firmly in its place due to the lisping of the ‘R’s into ‘L’s. Like a Rose would be a Lose, a Rabbit would be a Labbit and so on.
In her make believe world, where she’s the perennial Hanuman (and sometimes Mowgli), and SD oscillates between ‘Ram’ - ‘Ravana’ (and ‘Sher Khan’-'Baloo'), the battles between Hanuman (or Mowgli) and Ravana (or Sher Khan) are fought valiantly during many a bedtime with the pillows and bedsheets doubling up as the pseudo-killer weapons, the war cry of Lavana” (or SHEL Khan)!!! would have us into splits.
Today during one such bedtime ritual between father-daughter, I stopped in my steps when I heard a distinct RAVANA instead of the usual LAVANA!
I couldn’t believe my ears.
I turned to AD and asked her to name her favourite flower and crystal clear came her reply “ROSE” and not the expected “LOSE”.
Thrilled instantly that the baby lisp was cured, the mother in me suddenly descended into gloom…my baby’s growing up and growing up too fast.
I was already missing the lovable lilting "Ling-a-ling-a-loses…” and "Lound and Lound the Mulbelly bush....."
Goodbye babytalk! Welcome girlietalk!
Bibliography
Hanuman, Ram, Ravan - Characters in the Indian Epic RAMANAYA.
Mowgli, Baloo, Sher Khan-Characters in Jungle Book.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Mommification-Part 1

A mundane activity like an enrollment into an online community 'Mom Bloggers Club' brought back a rush of memories...

I was never the maternal kind though I always loved babies. Others' babies... My cousins' kids, friends' kids, the neighbours' kids. Till I was well into my twenties, the thought never occured to me as to how I would react to being a mother myself. However, contradictory though it may sound, that I would have a child was never even a question in my mind. Call it social conditioning or a latent feminine instinct, I knew I would.
So when I conceived, elation, excitement and happiness were the prevailing emotions during the whole tenure of 9 months. Maybe the pampering and love & care I received from all my loved ones and well wishers contributed greatly to my consistent positive state of mind througout the period.

Well there was a short break in this uniformly hunky-dory state of affairs!
Just a day prior to my scheduled Caesarian Operation, the day after the Doc gave the verdict that Caesarian it would be, the fact hit me that life wouldnt be the same anymore.
All of a sudden a black cloud eclipsed the excitement, the nervous-anticipation, the euphoria of planning, that had been the flavour of the past nine months. A claustrophobic fear gripped me, assaulting me almost physically, terrifying me at the thought of a cataclysmic change creating havoc in my usual orderly life. The gargantuan responsibility of a human being would be on me. Just as I ran to my Mom at the slightest hint of a problem, to the tiny scrap of a human being who would be arriving the next day, I would be expected to be the SuperMom with all the answers. I shuddered involuntarily......
Believe me, that one day was sheer torture. SD took me on a long drive to calm my nerves, and followed it up with a nonsensical movie to distract me. He was only partially successful.

The long, depressing day ended. Like the new dawn, I woke up...refreshed, rejuvenated and happy. My change of mood surprised me the most. The depression of the day before seemed like a forgettable nightmare. The day began on a beautiful and auspicious note. The autumn weather was at its best. The Kaash Phool swaying in the wind, the azure blue sky and the fleecy white clouds bathed in the soft golden sunlight were sending out a cheerful note of optimism all around as if nature was all geared up to welcome the DEVI in all its splendour. What better day to welcome the life within me to Planet Earth? That beautiful Autumn Day transformed my life forever...with a change of status...from a Woman/Wife/Daughter/Sister to MOTHER of my princess!

I was MOMMIFIED for life!

Bibliography :

Devi - Devi is the Sanskrit of Goddess. Here it means Devi Durga, a manifestation of Shakti, who is worshipped during September-October.

Kaash Phool - A seasonal grass with white flowers which bloom during Autumn. A common sight in Bengal and signals that Durga Pujas are just a few days away.