Thursday, July 21, 2016

Paperboats :)

Doesn't everything look different in rains, dear blog. Every time I look outside my window, all I want to do, is get into my bed, snuggle in a blanket and read a nice book or watch a good movie, while munching on hot bhajiya and chai. The city and my neighborhood looks brilliantly green and I can't help but get amazed at what rains can achieve. There are puddles, potholes, insane traffic and the constant fear that my clothes are going to be smeared in mud, but there is something mesmerizing about rains.

I remember when I was young, covered in a life sized raincoat, I used to rush to get to the school bus. When I would come back, mom would dry me up with a towel, inspect my white skirt and shoes for mud stains and then let me go out to play with friends.  I can still recall vivid images of paper boats which would sail in our verandah. On some odd days, there was no school, and on other our garage had water till my knees. But all it meant was long play days and yummy hot soups.

I remember this one time, when I was in Roorkee, it was monsoon and my chachu was going on a bike ride. I wanted to go with him and he convinced my grandmother, that it will be a short ride and I can go with him. How thrilled was I, I mounted myself on the bike, in front of him and it rained like never before. When we came back, after a long ride, we were not just wet, but shivering with cold. I had the time of my life and my Chachu got a good scolding from everyone.
Last year AD and I were in Bandra, for general chilling and it started to pour. We ran like children for we had no umbrellas and we found a teeny tiny shade for one person to stand. AD made me stand and ran again to get the car, by the time we got into the car, I was slightly wet and AD was drenched. We dried ourselves and laughed at how Mumbai rains are crazy beyond measure. Here is to the beautiful, damp, mad monsoon! May you continue to give me stories that last a lifetime :)

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Sorry Kate Middleton!

A few days back, Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge was here in India and there were reports that went on and on, about what she wore during the trip. One such report in the leading Times of India mentioned how her skirt billowed when she paid respects to our martyrs at the India Gate. The English daily posted a picture of her and remarked that she had a Marilyn Monroe moment of sorts. A few people ridiculed the daily and there was outrage in some quarters while others just looked at the picture and said that she should have chosen her outfit more carefully! If this was not enough, madam Shobhaa De went out of our way to advise and criticize, her body, her outfit, her style. I mean really, are we living in stone ages? She is a visitor to the country and she carried herself with grace and poise, little we could do was to not shred her to pieces.

It is always a matter of debate, what a woman wears, how she looks, is she fat or thin, dusky or fair. We rarely talk about what she says. I have at least not come across one report about the things she does or the things she believes in. All I know about are the prints and the lengths that she chose to wear. How difficult it has become to separate a woman’s clothes from her character and her beliefs.

We have women from all walks of the society, accomplishing feats that have been unheard of. From Dipa Karmakar to Chanda Kochhar, from Priyanka Chopra to Arunima Sinha, all these women proved that they have substance and strength to reach wherever they wanted to. But no, we will continue to remark and criticize guests and students and just anyone who doesn’t fit the bill. 

Last week, I chanced upon a video by the Pepsico CEO, Indra Nooyi and what should change in the corporate sector so that there is better women participation. She categorically said, that women don’t help women enough. They compete with other women and pull them down. She said young women hope for male bosses and colleagues, because that would be so much simpler.

We need to really become better sisters and friends and bosses and mentors. One day we may reach there, but right now, will have to stand up and say, this is not done TOI!


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Mangoes, memories, magic!

I just had a sweet, juicy mango dear blog and how I relished it! There is something about mangoes that touches my heart, you know. Because mangoes were not there all the time. They were special, reserved only for summers and always served with a whole lot of love.

Like everyone else, I love mangoes but every time I have the first of the season, I am reminded of my school summer vacations. The long, hot summer months, a good part of which I used to spend in Roorkee, my grandparents place. I remember how my Daddy Ji, used to get cartons full of mangoes so that I could have as many as I wanted. I remember how, my Badi mummy would make a lachha parantha which also I used to have with a mango and if there was some boredom during the day, I would leisurely sip on Frooti kept in the fridge. I never thought of that mango eating as anything extraordinary or anything that I would miss a few years later. It was as normal as it could get. Anyway, today during lunch my colleagues and I started discussing Mata ki Chowki, which is quite common in the northern part of the country and how as a little girl, I was made to dress up like a Mata, and bless everyone who had come with my tiny hands. To give full authenticity to the setting, I would also mount a lion, usually some uncle or cousin who would be dressed in a lion attire and take rounds of the pandal. I mean honestly, how cool was that. I never thought that I will ever think or even vaguely remember that but here I am, blogging about it, creating a web memory of sorts.

Today, like any other ordinary day, I woke up, got dressed, went to work and came back to have a mango. May be today will also become extraordinary some decades later. You know, I will think about how I used to look, what I used to wear, how I used to write, what songs played in my head and I will again laugh and warm my heart by recreating what was here today, in this moment, in this day.

Aren't all of us dear blog, just made up of memories and experiences and feelings and songs and fragrances and food. Isn't just everything else too trivial too bother, too small to be important, too irrelevant to be ever relevant. I don't know, may be it is, may be it isn't, may be I will know when the time is right, or may be I know it now, just while I write this. 

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Show some love - Part 2

We watched the movie Airlift yesterday and liked it very much! And I am sure, so many other people share our sentiments, which I believe is a good good thing. At some level, all of us belong to a common identity, a nationality which is above everything that we stand for. While, I am in no mood to give a sermon and I am sure, whoever is reading this right now, does not need a prescriptive lecture about the identity that I am talking about, this is more to do with a dialogue that is an absolute must.

Day and night, we talk about issues with our country - corruption, pollution, crime, just everything that is depressing and dirty. I rarely ever come conversations that are positive and talk about the good things that happen all around us. For example, I had no clue about bringing back of Indian nationals from Kuwait, during the Iraq invasion, however I have read and heard so much about the Babri Masjid issue. The point to be noted here is that both events took place within a couple of years of each other, one lead to so much hatred and blood shed and the other was the quiet reassurance that being Indian gives you an identity to belong to wherever, whenever.

How difficult can it be dear blog, to accept that there are hundreds of acts of kindness, of humanity, of love that take place all around us. How difficult can it be to talk about them more often, how difficult can it be to write posts and make documentaries and movies on events and issues that have brought about a positive change, however small it may be. While, I see social media increasingly taking our mind share everyday, I also observe how it is used for making our unpleasant experiences known to the world. Like a rude driver's pictures, like a delayed flight status, like a defective product, like long traffic jams etc, I rarely ever across someone posting, way to go #indigo or that #flipkart  almost never disappoints or that #trafficpolicerocks.

Let's be a little more kind dear blog, a little more humane, a little more happy. By the way, just as an after thought, I love the reverberating sound of national anthem that is played in Mumbai cinemas, how nice it would be if it was played across all the screens in our country. A little love, and a lot of respect can never hurt.

Good night :)

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Mid life crisis or what!

Can you believe dear blog, first post of the year and I am going to write about experiencing mid-life crisis cum career issues! It is slightly early, I suppose for having such ideas, but then can I help it! Not really, so I will rant till my heart's content. As you know I love my job, on most days that is and today was not one of those love-hate days, it was in fact a normal, unassuming kind of a day, nothing which can have an impact positively or negatively but still I was getting these weird, absolutely non-practical kind of ideas. Hence, I thought, what can be a better idea than typing it down, to create a day-memory just in case I get serious about changing my career some day.

You know what my problem is, I am not satisfied with the ordinary, I like everything with a little more. Like these days I am feeling, I am not doing that little more outside of work and hence the need to look at alternate career choices. While discussing and thinking about a range of career options from being a pilot to being a failed software engineer, I realised I am not as smart as I think I am. Infact, there is hardly any real job that I can do, except what I am currently doing. But you know, there are a lot of non-real jobs, the jobs that don't pay for the lifestyle, that I may really want to do some day. Like teaching, teaching children who don't have access to good quality education, like being a project manager for health and sanitation somewhere in the rural part of the country, like starting an enterprise to encourage the small-scale artisans somewhere in interior Rajasthan. I mean, there are real people who do these non-real jobs right. Only, if I had some encouragement, a lot of courage and no desire for this big bad city life that I almost love.

Oh dear God, why can't I have it all :) 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

M for Men!

It's beautiful coming back to my blog, I always say that and I always mean that because it's this blog that makes me feel at home. Isn't home that only place which could be messy or small or big or palatial but it will make you feel good, it will make you see the world with rose tinted glasses. Well I could go on and on, about how I feel about my blog right now but that's not the point, because I want to write about something that I usually never write i.e men.

Apparently it is Men's day today but that's not how I got on to this idea of writing about the wonderful men in my life. It actually struck me when I was chatting with a colleague at work about this adorable movie - The Intern. We talked and talked about how the movie was so warm and fuzzy with real people and real relationships. The one thing that really stood out in the movie was the character of Robert De Niro. He was that quiet, mature man, who always knew the right thing to do and the right thing to say. That is the class of gentlemen, that may be rare but surely not extinct. Take my dad for example, he is amazing, intelligent, supportive and always a thorough gentleman. Then there is my husband who is charming, smart, caring and humble. I have a good boss too. And I can bet, how these men, make life so much simpler and sweeter. The slight challenge with today's women including myself is that we think we can do it all by ourselves. And may be we really can, but then do we want to. I mean I know for a fact, that I don't like driving,  I hate paying bills, I can't change a tube light, I can never reach the top of my wardrobe and the list will never end. But more importantly you know, I need a strong, broad shoulder to cry on, a big hand to hold while crossing the road and someone to call my own.

Like everyone else, men too need to know, how much they are valued and loved. How life wouldn't be the warm, comforting life that it is if it were not for them. So, all the wonderful men out there,please don't change and continue to be who you are.

Hugs ( only to dad and hubby :))

Monday, August 31, 2015

People :)

It’s weird where and how you meet people, its weird how you meet them for a little while but they leave you with something - a thought, a moment, a grudge or just a smile. Last month, I was in Delhi, yes, yet again, and I was in a cab heading home. A young boy, not more than 5 years old, came and pressed his little hands and nose on the window pane. He mumbled something to the effect of being starved. I reached out to my wallet and handed a 20 rupee note. Just before he fled away, I screamed from the window Khana khanaThat was it, suddenly my well behaved Uber driver got upset with me. He told me, that what I just did, was unethical and is encouraging the menace of begging. He further added, that it is the day job for these kids, to find people like me, get their sympathy and earn a quick buck. I smiled lightly and commented, what is a quick buck – getting meager 20 rupees for food? He didn’t let me off the hook and went on to talk about begging, the parents of the street children who force them to get money for alcohol et al. I tried reasoning with him, on how it is difficult to say no to young, shirtless child, asking for food. My driver was not convinced and told me about his life, his struggles. He said, he married and has two children, both of whom study in school. He mentioned how his wife insists if he doesn’t go to work on a particular day. He said that today, he is able to take care of his family because he works hard day and night. Likewise, he shared that all men, irrespective of what their socio-economic status is, can if they want to raise their children, feed them and send them school, and it is only men who don’t want to take responsibilities, send their children to beg and their women to fake illness outside.

Other day, while I was heading for work here in Mumbai, I saw this auto rickshaw person who blatantly spat twice the red betel paste right in the middle of the road. I got furious and called him out, I asked him if he does behave the same way in his home the way he behaves on the road. He looked straight in my eye and said he does. I told him further that he should clean up the mess he has created, and this littering is a way of misbehaving. He growled at me and accused me of smoking, well I looked straight in his eyes and said “I don’t smoke so he might as well leave the argument”. The traffic light turned green and I went off. I was also in Ludhiana for some work and chatted with an Ola cab driver. (Don't know how I end up chatting so often though :-)) You know dear blog, he was so excited to know that I work in Mumbai. He told me how he was going to go to Canada once, but then family responsibilities held him back. He had this little that he could never move out of his small town life.  May be all he really wanted from his life was to live in a big city and not drive the cab around in Ludhiana. 

I guess I like talking to people, to people who aren’t even friends or family or acquaintances. I just like the way you become a part of their life by sharing a story, by listening to a story. I am a HR professional and sometimes the best part of my job, is to be able to talk. I can talk and I can listen, and mostly it is about how people from different backgrounds, interests and thought processes have traversed different paths to reach where they have. Many people in fact most people have simple, non-descript kind of stories but that is what makes it special, makes it endearing. Simple stories, simple people!

I am dear blog, in a breezy, reflective kind of mood. You get it, don’t you? :)