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

Parenting

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

Friday, February 19, 2016

The Pain Of Loss

Have you ever loved and lost.......said the lines in a blog post. It opened a floodgate of memories from my past. Images opened up an old pain.Something that I had buried deep,so deep came back to haunt me and make me vulnerable once again.


Slowly I walk back, each step fills me with longing. Nostalgia rips my soul. The pain is unbearable now and tears start to flow. I am held  transfixed.
   
The doctor had given his final verdict. He asked me to take her home. She had only a few weeks to live, he said. The words pierced me and tore me apart. How can I  live without her? This cannot be. It's not true. Sometimes truth hurts so much that you would rather live a lie. I was left with no choice.

I took her home. Her head on my lap. She lay there softly breathing. I whispered her name again and again. She looked up at me with so much love, just pure love.

She had been a part of my life for six years now giving me so much happiness and joy. Every waking hour we spend together was so perfect. Her eyes lit up every time she saw me.The love for long walks, good food and afternoon siesta held us together.I did most of the talking, she was a good listener. The bond grew with the passing years. I got so used to her, did I start taking her for granted?

Out of the blue she fell ill. She was tired and exhausted all the time. Her hair fell in clumps and she lost her appetite.Nothing made sense any more.Tests revealed a tumour so malignant that she had just a few days of life left to live.

That last night we spend together, I woke up every hour to check on her. She would look into my eyes and as I slowly stroked her soft hair and whispered her name, she  would wag her tail. That was the last time she wagged her tail. In the morning she was gone. Her still body lay lifeless in the couch. I held her and wept till I could weep no more.



I buried her in my garden under the shade of  a tree and said a prayer. Rani you will be missed. No one can replace you and I will never stop loving you. Have I loved and lost? Yes I have loved,lost but gained many lessons in love.
(This Post is written in line with the IndiSpire Prompt 105 #LifeWithoutYou)






Thursday, February 18, 2016

The JNU Imbroglio


The dry and dusty landscape dotted with red brick apartment blocks greeted me as my DTC bus approached Munirka.The year was 1989. It was the year that had witnessed historic events like the ending of the Soviet-Afghan war,George.W.Bush taking over as the new President of the United States,the students protest at the Tiananmen Square etc. 
I was a young 22 year old  student of Delhi University pursuing post graduation in History and I was visiting the JNU campus to meet some friends.

Free thinking, unrestricted discussions,debates and non-judgmental attitudes has been the hall mark of this institution.The list of alumni  that had walked the steps of this pre-eminent campus lends an aura to this place.I was enthralled with the atmosphere of intellectual learning around me.

Today I am anguished that some people are hell bent on maligning this respectable institution.


What happened in JNU, on the morning of 9th February, should have stayed within JNU. It was a protest organised by the students outside the vice-chancellor's office.The university authorities should have made enquiries and taken the necessary disciplinary action. If some individuals, whether students or outside miscreants had raised certain objectionable slogans, then actions as per law, should have been taken.Why blame the whole institution and defame its esteemed reputation.This issue should not have been allowed to snowball into this massive national controversy.

 In all free societies, students have stood by and advocated all sorts of extreme demands.They must be free to do so. American students protested against their government during the Vietnam War.The Scotish,Welsh,Quebecois in Canada,Catalans in Spain demand for secession from their home land. They are not being termed by their country as "anti-nationals"?Instead their voices are being heard as legitimate democratic claims.Their right to dissent is not questioned.

Differences in thoughts is healthy.Only open societies allow the freedom of thoughts otherwise, you have the Tiananmen Square and Tahrir Square incidents.


Our Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and expression, within limitations of course. And slogans raised at a students meet although a little reckless and volatile,can hardly be said to breach those limits.

Youth is the time of fearlessness, the age to take up challenges and the age when mistakes are committed. Is it fair to blame the whole illustrious institution for this fiasco?


Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Writer

 I haven't written anything since months!My blog was laying somewhere in cyber space orphaned and lonely.Even Facebook sent me a text,"You Haven't Posted in 106 Days!The Lazy Writer  hasn't  heard from you in a while."


I used to compose poems when I was a young girl. I still have that book dated 1984.Its  filled with words about teenage love and heartbreaks. The pages are yellow, its writing is faded. I smile every time I go through these poems, they fill me with nostalgia about my sweet childhood days.The emotions locked within the words are overwhelming they still fill me with pride and joy.

In 2013 my daughter told me to start a blog.She said it would be like a hobby,something I would be proud and happy to pursue.She guided and coaxed me to write down whatever came to my mind.Till then I had never known how much I loved to write.Once fired there was no stopping me.My blog gave me a sense of accomplishment.The frequency of posts almost seemed as if I had chosen the wrong title for my blog 'The Lazy Writer'.


And then it had happened!The block!My blogger arteries got chocked.The words stop flowing.I went into a writer's coma.Lethargy kicked in and the sluggish hand always reached out for the tv remote.Days turned to weeks and weeks turned to months.I had written almost nothing.Everything else had become a priority except my writing.Sometimes it was evaluation of test- papers,sometimes social functions,the meals needed to be taken care of,the house,the pet,the husband,the child,the in-laws. Something or someone always got the precedence over my writing.
As we grow older we get tied down to obligations.We engage our lives in knots and twists.We forget to live even a moment of our day for our exclusive self.
Don't get me wrong I haven't grown a single pragmatic bone in my body.I was just busy dealing with life's mundane issues and I haven't given up on my blog.
We all need to be proud of something,something self created.It may be as simple as a dish or as extraordinary as a piece of music.Something that as we grow older keeps us romantic,passionate and adventurous.Something that never lets us surrender to a humdrum monotonous existence.


It's my ego-boost time now.Today I will do nothing else but be with myself.I will visit my paradise, hear the tapping music of the keyboard,let my words cascade into the blank screen.Like a butterfly I shall spread my wings and fly, just for the sheer bliss of flying.



 
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