Sunday, July 23, 2017

Stone Ages and Other Age Issues

People say, "Age is just a number", "You are as young as you think you are!" But people say all kinds of things! Someone said baby peacocks are born from tears and that GST was the magic wand our country needed. We live in denial most of the time. My close friends call me an ageist as I obsess over my age a lot. Nevertheless, selfies do not lie so I stopped taking those.

Age is a touchy topic, my view may differ from yours and you may act like the RSS (who cannot allow differences to exist) and send the vigilante knocking at my door.

A few weeks ago I had fever and I felt the submandibular gland swell up (that is the salivary gland on the left jaw line). Thinking it to be mumps, I searched the net and the symptoms matched.

Mumps mostly infect children. I felt elated that at least my body still thinks I was a kid and had invited a childhood infection to breed.

The blood reports were sadly negative. The doctor now asked for a CT scan and a sonography of the swelling. The pictures were not pretty. There were four or five of them all in a neat row strung into my saliva gland like a garland. Everyone who heard this replied with a shocked "What? Salivary gland stones! I am hearing this for the first time."Well so was I!
Well at least now, I know the cause of my silence in blogging. I had marbles in my mouth! 

Life in these stone ages is rough. I have to eat sour things 24/7 (sour food cause more saliva secretion). The sales girl behind the counter stared at my grey hair when I asked her to give me the sourest lozenges she had.

My double chin looks very "healthy" now with stones and all. It is painful yes, but I get a good reason to skip my walks and lay in bed dreaming that the ENT surgeon, who plans to literally slit my throat, may wake me up from my anaesthesia induced slumber and say, "Here are your diamonds, Madam".

 Here is a spoiler to my diamonds in the sky dream, Salivary Duct Stones occurs in middle-aged adults only. 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Twilight musings

The morning alarm rings. I wake up with body ache. Something is not right with the left side of my body. My left hip joint is paining. My left shoulder feels stiff (O My God, I sound like a hypochondriac). In September, my blood test revealed I had hypothyroidism. So now, its hypertension, hypothyroidism, Perimenopause all rolled into one 50-year-old body!
My birthday celebrations this year was over shadowed with the nation celebrating demonetization, thanks to the PM's momentous announcement. So with creaking bones and all I move ahead to face the approaching new year.

I am not apprehensive about the future. After all, I have survived in this jungle for half a century. I have seen all species of the homosapien. Can there be any more earth shattering revelations left to witness?
If I was told I could go back in time, I swear by my receding and thinning hairline, I would refuse.
The bullying and peer pressures at school.  The lack of self-confidence at teenage. My confused 20s. Mastering the impossible art of being a good parent at 30s. To do all that learning, understanding, gaining insight into the complexities of human nature all over again! No, thank you. I think I am quite okay where I am right now, muffin top, double chin and all.
I have been there, done that. I do not have big regrets. Of course, I have taken many wrong decisions. However, like someone wise had said, "Sometimes a wrong turn can take you to the right place!" So no remorse what so ever.
Do not mistake this to be arrogance; it is just self-confidence that has come with age, exposure and with countless experiences big and small.
When I  was very young I secretly idolized my cousins. They were about10 years my senior. They looked very wise and grown up. I always felt small and humble in their presence. Today when I look at retired folks, a similar thought flashes across my mind. They look so confident and content with themselves. Well, it is only just a matter of time. Like this friend of mine who always use to say "Time and Tide Waits for None". And time, my friend, goes by faster than you can imagine.

The lessons I learnt so far (Well I am still learning, mind you): Treasure your days, they are numbered. Keep your life simple and keep your heart free of sorrow. Revere nature, it will be around long after you are gone. In this vast galaxy, you may be a small star but be a happy twinkling star.

Sunday, October 23, 2016


My father was asked to deliver my sister's lunch box to school. He was to say "Kaberi Das" and "4th grade" to the nun at the office. When my father reached the school, it transpired that there were two girls called Kaberi Das studying in the 4th grade! My father not having a clue about the complexities of classes and sections was then presented with both the girls. As the story goes, it seems that none of the girls was his daughter!
The nun, being kind and patient agreed to take my father for a short tour of all the sections of the 4th grade to identify the missing daughter. They walked down the corridor peering into all the classes and inquiring about the presence of a Kaberi Das in the class. However, the exercise proved futile.
By now, a very worried parent and the nun were desperate to resolve this dilemma. They were hurrying back to the office to check on the records when suddenly my father spied a familiar face sitting in the first bench of class 5A. It was the real Kaberi Das, his daughter!
It so transpired that my poor sister had been sitting in the wrong class for almost a whole month of the academic year with the wrong books and my very puzzled mother every evening struggling to make sense of the home-work  given.
The student, the teacher, the school and the parent had no clue that such a muddle that been going on.
Almost four decades have passed by since that 'confusion', and Kaberi Das has become Kaberi Bhuyan, a successful C.A, wife and mother.
My parents, whatever their parenting style, have produced two happy children.

Parenting has become a difficult job these days with all the information available. It is a tough choice between being a Tiger or a Free-Range Parent. Every child has a unique personality. No two children are similar (even from the same parent) and no parenting style can be 'the best one'.
I was never too serious about life and my parents didn't force things on me. I am still not serious about things but life is okay!
In the school where I teach, its Open Day for parents every Friday. I wait patiently for them to walk into my class to discuss their child's progress. As I sit and listen to them, I remember my 'lost' sister and my confused dad searching in the corridors of another school a long time ago and a smile spreads across my face.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Pink-Not A Movie Review

It had been a long tiring week and when I got home dog-tired on Saturday afternoon, my husband informed me that movie tickets for 'Pink' had been booked.

Pink hits you hard from the first scene. It is that kind of movie that takes over you completely. The film has a remarkable cast and some superb acting. I am not disclosing anything about the movie here.Walk into the theater with a blank mind and come out captivated. 
That it is a powerful movie is an understatement. Everyone needs to watch Pink. There are no two ways to this. It is that relevant a film.
For those who still need to read a review, please click on the link below.I wish to be a Lazy Blogger today.

Monday, August 15, 2016

My Mother's Cow

With all this 'tamasha' going on in India about cow crusade and 'Gau-Raksha',I am reminded of a funny incident from my childhood related to the 'gaiya' or 'goru' as we in the Brahmaputra valley call the cow.
By the way,'Goru' is also used as a harmless abuse in Assam.We use it to insult anyone who we think has less brains and is an idiotic simpleton.(If any member of the RSS is reading this,please ignore!)

                                                                                                   Gau Mata

Politics is obnoxious,let's not bring that up.Today I just want to share this cute little story about a cow.
My mother came from a land owning community in Kerala.They had lots of cows,goats,chickens, ducks around their house.When she married and settled down in Assam,she missed her 'mini Kerala zoo'.And so she kept whatever animal she could in our little house in Guwahati.
Guinea  pigs,dogs,cats,rabbits,pigeons,parrots,fish,all shared space with us during our growing up years.
One fine day my mother decided we had to own a cow too.Our 1200 square yard of grassy lawn seemed a waste with no cows grazing on it she stated matter-of-factly.The children could get fresh unadulterated milk and butter she reasoned.After a lot of cajoling my dad finally agreed to buy a cow.
The cow came with much fanfare.A shed was specially made for her and a Nepali help was employed to perform the cow duties.

                 And so we owned a cow.

One summer afternoon I woke up to loud heated arguments between my mother and kancha (the Nepali help).It transpired that OUR COW HAD DISAPPEARED!

My mother was in a fit.She ordered my dad to cut short his much loved siesta and go on a cow-hunting spree around town and not return till the animal was found.

After almost three hours of cow-hunt dad was finally back.He ordered my mother to serve him some  tea and said he had been successful in locating the cow. Kancha was bringing the lost cow back tied firmly with a rope.
 When the cow finally came home,my mother ran to the gate to receive her.But to her utter horror and shock it wasn't our cow!

                   I am the wrong cow!
Kancha was then asked to go right back and return the wrong cow from the place where they had found her munching merrily on the garbage.We couldn't keep someone else's cow my mother concluded firmly. 
And so off went Kancha to return the wrong cow.As luck would have it,on his way back, he was confronted by a couple of men who were out searching for their "lost cow"!They saw our Kancha pulling the cow with a rope and walking down the street.Nepalis in Assam are not very fluent in Assamese or Hindi so although Kancha tried his level best to explain things to them,they didn't buy his story and I guess it was too complicated anyways.The  men beat him up calling him a cow-thief. Kancha left our house that very day,"no cow,no Kancha"he said, refusing to take up any other domestic responsibilities.
What followed is any one's guess.My dad remained at the receiving end of my mother's mutterings and nagging for his failed attempts at  "Gau-Raksha"!   

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Hope On

The atmosphere in the house was gloomy. Nobody wanting to eat, watch TV or even speak to each other. Everyone walked around with lost eyes and drab expressions. It was the summer of 2005.Our plans of visiting Assam that year had to be shelved the last minute. Duty calls, he said, and sometimes priorities change, informed my better half solemnly. He was on election duty for the entire month! My  daughter's school holidays had just started and all our bags had been packed. We were crestfallen with the sudden change in plans.

My parents are movie buffs. When we were kids they always took us along with them to the theatre. Once the movie had been a blockbuster and ran to full house. We went for the matinee show but disappointment awaited us there. Tickets were all sold out. It was a hot afternoon and the return journey, without getting to watch the film, was long and torturous. I thought apprehensively about how my mother would now tell me to change into my home clothes and worse, take out my school books and prepare for lessons. I sulked all the way back home.

That day the world seemed a ruthless and cruel place. From time to time soft whimpering mourns would emit from me from the back seat of the car just to let my parents know of my displeasure and pain. Suddenly I got a flash of one of my favourite things, food! I  asked my dad if we could stop for a treat. My dad agreed. I immediately got all happy at the sight of yummy samosas and jalebis. Things didn't look too bad after all, I thought gleefully to myself  as I chomped on the hot snacks. The trip had not been a complete waste. Those snacks saved my day!

That year when our holiday travel plans got postponed and the long summer days threatened to stretch  bleak and empty, I had made a list of things I would do. My list was simple-Sightseeing trips around town with some photography thrown in, trying out new restaurants, reading a couple of books, learn to swim and watch lots of DVDs. That list was my hope. It gave me some aspiration to dream on and to hope that those vacations were not wasted after all.

Life is not always smooth sailing. Well made plans can sometimes get messed up. Hope is a good thing to have in such times. Finding little joys in the mundane can make difficult times bearable. Hoping that things get better, that things work out gives us a positive energy. And well, in the mean time there is always yummy samosas and jalebis to hog on!

Happy vacations everyone!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Stupid Cupid

Do you choose whom to fall in love with?

My meeting my husband in the year 1988 was pure serendipity and, as the events turned out, most timely. Till I was appearing for my 3rd year B.A exams I had no intentions of leaving my home town Guwahati and travelling to the capital of India. But then I did, and as things happened to be I joined  the Delhi University. By the end of the two years masters course in History I befriended my classmate and decided to tie the knot with him. He was from Bihar and I, till then had little knowledge about this region, except that it had dowry,dacoits and lalu Prasad Yadav. I was planning to marry a boy who's native language  I couldn't speak nor could I read or write the Devanagiri script. Yet we managed our married life quite okay. In spite of hiccups, love still triumphs in my little home (touch wood).
                                                   Photo taken in 1993 My husband and I.
I have always believed that you don't choose whom you fall in love with, 'kismet' chooses. And ironically that lady fate is blind to innate things like language, religion, region even gender and age.
The other misconception people often have is about "FALLING IN LOVE''. I am often asked this rather silly question, "When did you fall in love?"
There was no earth shattering, church bells ringing, high octave choir music moment when this happened. There never is. I blame the authors of romantic novels for weaving this hocus-pocus.
When two people meet and converse, they slowly discover they enjoy each other's company. They become close friends. Share each other's thoughts and views on everything under the sun. As time goes by, the "friendship" may transverse to the next level. That is how  a deep bond is created. That is how you choose to love one another.
Sometimes fate may choose to terminate a love or a friendship. Like a lamp without oil, its flame extinguished (more on this note in some future blog-post).
Can we choose whom to love? This is a tricky question. Some people are so conditioned to social norms and etiquettes that they are guided by what is expected of them all the time. They only choose to love whom  the society deems fit. They never allow their guards to fall. They will never venture into the open seas. They lead disciplined lives where things are governed by laws of the state or laws of the Manusmriti. They judge a person within their set boundaries and ponder deeply over everything.
But some of us live life wild and carefree. Often we are impulsive and don't judge others by social parameters alone.

 My parents  met during the Annual sports meet in Dibrugarh medical College while pursuing MBBS in 1960s. My dad was the Sports Captain and my mom a promising lady athlete of the college.They spent time together and enjoyed each other's company and before they knew it everyone in the campus was saying they were a couple "in love"! My mother was fated to travel all the way from the southernmost state of Kerala to be married to my dad who was from Assam. They both didn't speak each other's mother tongue.Their culture, food and even religion was different. Yet they felt a strong bond of friendship and decided they needed to give fate a chance and look at them now, happily married for more than 50 years.
                               Photo taken in 2007-My Parents-A Living Testimony Of Love
Do all relationships and friendships have love in them? Yes they do. Some are deep and strong while some are enjoyed till the expiry date catches up.

The only essential ingredients needed for the recipe of love to succeed is a little portion of care, a little concern,some respect and understanding and of course you have to enjoy each other's company as well and add everything to fuel that bonding!
Most of us don't choose whom to love, it just works its magic and then before you know it, that person becomes an important part of your life.
Look for the inner beauty of a person, choose to love the soul, the rest as they say is only skin deep