Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Finding A Small Reason To Be Happy

Circa 1980- Flashback: Watering my garden
Early winter morning 2013: Watering my garden

The water hose spray the dust away from the leaves and left them shimmering in the soft morning light. They glittered like emerald. Suddenly a couple of butterflies choose my garden to dance in and birds started a chirpy song somewhere in the shade of the tree overhead.
Why was I feeling so pleased with myself? Why did I suddenly feel I was back in my childhood home doing what I used to do so often, as if the years didn’t exist in between! The morning went by with a smile on my face and I was happy!

That’s the point of living: Finding a reason in our daily life to be happy. It may be a call or a text from a friend, a smile from another, a good book, a song over the radio, a dish you made for your family. But this small reason can give us  enough happiness for the rest of the day. 

 Have a good day!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

When In Rome

Our first posting was in New Delhi in 1994 we lived there till 2003. Incidentally I have lived in this city and done my post-graduation before that, so I can claim to be familiar with its nuances and moods, but here I am talking of just the dressing of its female denizen. The women in the streets are smartly attired and well groomed. They wear the latest in Desi fashion whether it is the Patiala salwar, salwar kameez, churidar-kurta. These days jeans and kurti and western wear is popular too. It’s like committing hara-kiri to turn out in grumpy clothes and dishevelled hair. The ‘Bibijis’ mostly  wear tailored to fit. The thing about Delhi is the area speaks of the class of people you are going to bump into. Khan Market and G.K will be high in Fashion Quotient while Rajori Garden and Pritampura may be less. But everyone on every street turns out well. And  New Delhi parties come with a warning- attend only if you have fortune to shell out because the checking you will be subjected to is akin to immigrations at JFK! After all, Delhi is the fashion capital of India, Bhaiya!
(Delhi women are always well turned out)

Punjab is similar to Delhi in ladies fashion, but a notch higher on glitz! The ladies of Punjab love Kitty Parties and I, talking about Punjabi kitty party gear will be like me talking about Bombay Stock Exchange!! But this much I know that each party will have a theme (animal print, floral, a specific colour, western outback, animation!!!)  You need to shell out big bucks to wear a designer garb each time! Or you could take help from “” a website actually exists)! Moral of the story: Oye Chak De Phatte!!

(Women of Ludhiana, Punjab)
Mumbai is a whole different ball game! Everyone wakes up, throws on some clothes (accessories optional) sits on the local and goes to work. The dress is crushed and very ordinary, picked off the rack; no thought goes into the hair or the face. The SOBO college kids (a small hand full of exceptions) may sport the latest Indi-fashion, but that’s that. I have been a Towner and I have no knowledge of the suburbs, sorry. In Mumbai you get to save on your beauty treatments and designer boutiques because  everyone is buying BIBA, Lifestyle or Pantaloons. In some pockets of this Metropolis you will even find “Nightie”clad women roaming the streets doing their daily chores! The Gujju ladies can however be easily spotted; they will be the most colourful and the most vibrant lot! Dressing well is a minuscule minority here. Motto is dress as you please! Sab Kuch Chalta Hai Yaar! 
(Women shopping at Colaba, Mumbai)

Nagpur: Wow! what do we see here on the streets, well we don’t! The girls are all covered up in scarves and dupattas and only their eyes are visible!!! The Taliban will love this place. I thought it was the heat but they are still all covered up and it’s November for Christ’s sake!! Don’t ask, I have done the research; some say pollution, some say it’s to avoid stares, some just shrug their covered shoulders and shake their covered necks!! Poor dears!!

So can we safely declare our national dress as THE SALWAR KAMEEZ!? It’s overtaken the sari (which I think looks gorgeous when well tied) and all other regional dresses. So all Indian ladies on the road in ill fitted ugly salwar suits, Now that’s like a scene from a zombie movie! And I too am one of them cause I believe in the phrase “When in Rome, do as the Romans do". Sigh!

Sunday, November 24, 2013


The corpse,
Naked and forlorn
Sans desires
Sans longing,
Waiting for the final consummation.
Wishes laying wasted
Dreams abandoned
Like the fading twilight.
To the all-enveloping darkness.
Time like a shroud
meaningless now.
Seasons changing,
Lover's tears,
Words of endearment
Just futile and empty they fall.
Trapped in my wants and wishes
I bid farewell to the ghosts from my past.

On Being Unladylike

I have a confession to make. I’m going to ignore the fact that this is a lousy place to make a confession. I think I don’t have a single ladylike bone (if there is such a thing) in me. I realized this many many summers ago. My earliest memory (now isn’t memory a fickle thing) is of this very gawky teenager dropping her big sister’s nail polish bottle and staring at the ugly spill on the floor. Why i picked up the bottle in the first place beats me, because I never knew what it was for anyway. I used to wear my sister’s hand me downs or her “designed” dresses. Yeah we are old; we belong to the era before readymade clothes. I remember staring at women’s magazines and wondering how they managed to look so pretty, totally ignorant about such things as make-up, hair style, waxing and what have you till almost my late 20s. These days I see girls who are in their single digit age discussing ombre hair and nail art (who ever thought of such atrocious things?).
When I got married and set up house, my dear hubby(God bless him), set up the kitchen, brought all the knick-knacks  and even taught me to make tea, cook daal, rice and a basic meal. The rest I learnt (literally) from around the country where ever we went on postings and had friendly neighbours (they are a rare thing, let me tell you).
 Embroidery is like Latin and Greek to me, i can’t seem to be able to even thread a needle. When i was in school and we had needle and craft classes, all my final products for submission looked so good (with 100% contributions from mother and sister) that my teacher never believed they were mine inspite of my eye lash batting looks!!! These days bad eye sight is a good excuse, but imagine me as a new bride in my in-laws house, when my extremely talented sister-in-law starts filling a whole bed cover with intricate creepers and flowers! And when my mom-in-law tells me to knead the flour for chappatis (I fibbed a stomach pain and disappeared into the toilet till the coast was clear!)
When we invite guests over for dinner i stick to safe dishes like Paneer, Chicken, Dal, rice or order dinner from outside. Wait, isn’t a get together with friends suppose to be fun and not a platform to show off your cooking skills? Then i die of guilt when we go over to exotic Moroccan or Malaysian dinner spread  and the hostess proudly  announces  “I made all the food myself!” and I practice my fake awe look and polish off a  few more hors-d’oeuvre!
I am so useless with art skills (painting, sketching, photography, paper cutting, even drawing a straight line) that when my daughter gets projects from school, no marks for guessing where i run to. She now has all the skills to handle those scary projects all on her own.

Now, being unladylike comes with a lot of disadvantages, especially since i am a mother of a very ladylike girl- she even has a blog called “All That Estrogen”! But i have an advantage- my better half (now that’s the reason why we call them that) is highly skilled in cooking. He loves to cook! The more exotic, the taster the dish he turns out. He loves buying the weekly vegetables, fruits and non-veg. He loves to plan the menu and has green fingers in our garden. My daughter and he sit and plan the furniture and other stuff when we move into a new house, choose the curtains and the paint for the walls. Thank heaven my daughter is quite ladylike and yes she bakes cup-cakes and does her own French manicure!
(Brownies my daughter baked yesterday!)