Saturday, December 31, 2011

I Wanna Run - A new year resolution!

                                                 courtesy,Google images

Hey!New born year..
Hello!Sunny Sun..Listen!
I just wanna Run!

Aches and pains, please surrender..
From darkness till dawn,
I just wanna Run!

Empty ,hollow promises..
Remember,we are done!
I just wanna Run!

Feet,take me far..
With My Mind,here I come,
I just wanna Run!

Till I feel the flush on my cheeks
and a rush in my veins..
I just wanna Run!

Thoughts ,pack your bags..
Ideas,please be fun..
I just wanna Run!

Dear Haruki Murakami,
--thanks a ton!
2013 marathon, I won't chicken..( Half marathon please :0)
I just wanna Run..and I will Run !!

 :D:D New year promise by a lazy-bone to herself :D:D

Monday, December 26, 2011


The Pain...
creeps in..unseen,
ebbs and flows in my veins..

The Pain..
like a stab in my chest
grips my being,
swells... and scales the crest..

I know not its pith,
nor can see it coming,
yet,it seizes with a vise so tight,
it's oh so vexing to unhitch.

Nest not ,the mind said
but the heart delves deep..
deeper into the labyrinth,
where the ache is staid

Friday, December 23, 2011

Wake up kid !

Disclaimer-This post does not talk about creating awareness of any kind in the minds of kids .It also says nothing about real awakening of any sort.It is only about the very mundane aspect of leaving the bed at an unearthly our to go to school every single day for at least fourteen years of your life.Any coincidence of any kind is purely not unintentional because that is how all kids are, or so I am told ( by my kids ).

Life has been difficult in my case with Cookie leaving her teens a few days back and Muffin entering his teens at almost the same time.Parenting teens can be a daunting task and I have poured about my times with teens here before.No credit points to myself for keeping a gap of seven years between kids.What was I thinking if at all I was!!By the time I am through with their teen age , I will be on the threshold of my old age .

I love all kids....
I love kids if they are mine...
I love kids more if they are sleeping...
I do not feel the same when I have to wake up kids..

Things are more complicated for me because I keep late nights ,reading,studying , writing or gossiping with Hobbs ( men do gossip and whoever says they do not, is lying ) So the sleep time is flexi but wake up time has to be precise or else things come to a standstill .Alarms are a must for for people like me who are not born with a functional built in body-clock-cum-alarm.Hobbs is gifted that way but he does not like sharing his gifts so I have to heavily depend on external alarms.To help us cope with everything in-time,all the other clocks are deliberately adjusted ahead of time.This is the only way to manage time .
                                                courtesy-Google images                      
The sequence of events for me ,first alarm---->;snooze---->; Blackberry-ping to the kids------>; second alarm----->;leave the bed----->;stumble down to kids bedroom---->;shut the ac , put on the lights ---->;hug and kiss sleeping beauties.
The sequence of events for kids ,ignore ping from mom--->;pull sheets closer---->;tuck in tight to cover all body parts especially the cheeks to avoid early morning wet kiss from mom--->;make enough room for mom to hug without making it obvious.A warm hug is welcome but a kiss is not.Since I like to follow my heart, I steal the moment (plus, it works as a daily dose of energizer for me :p).

Pinging merely conditions their subconscious mind and prepares them for the sequence of events but does nothing to the actual process of waking them up.Actual process starts with the next phase of action which I call 'shake up kids'.This starts as a gentle nudge and ends at that on most days .Since cookie is in college and considers bunking as her birthright ,nudging may not be enough when she has intentions of bunking.On such days what I hear is a feeble mumble "there is nothing important today and plus I am not well mom!!"  A mother has to be extremely quick with her next POA and in such situations it demands remove covers, forehead-check,neck-check (for fever),and declare " you are fit to resume duties" .A forced feeble groan escapes followed by lot of sighs...but all are to be ignored.

After the sickness issue is resolved you see cute index fingers raised to plead for "just oneeee more minute mom ,promise, laaasst ..'' I have to kill my soft motherly instincts at this point to avoid raising uneducated kids.My tone changes steadily in sharpness and pitch as I call out their names alternately.I am so bloody habituated to this routine that I sometimes do this on Sundays and holidays too.Thankfully no one is up early on those days so it is still a secret well kept.

Earlier when they were younger ,I had this additional job of knocking on the bathroom doors every five minutes  to make sure they were doing what they were supposed to do inside a bathroom.They used to keep the water running in the bath while they caught a few extra winks sitting on the pot :D:D.That phase is over and done with now .Small mercies!!

Once they are dressed and ready you feel like borrowing their energy and enthusiasm from them.Leaving behind a trail of things,they are out of the house in a jiffy.I walk behind and wait till the lift door shuts noisily.I make myself a cuppa chai and settle down for some uninterrupted me-time at leisure with the morning papers.Another day beckons...

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Do I need religion in my life ?

I have blogged before about my inability to meditate.After yet another foiled attempt,I questioned myself-why am I coming back to it again and again?Is it the fear of defeat-that, this is something,I can not do and others can?Do I care if people ridicule me on my failure while they gloat over how divine the experience was?
I just want to experience how it feels..once! What does meditation achieve? Peace of mind is the answer most commonly given by successful ( in meditating) people.Hmm..then what ?I have two experiences while in the process of meditation-
1.sudden rush of hitherto non existent ideas and list of things to be done at once and the strongest urge to leave and take charge,or
2. go to sleep.
Former is most definitely not anywhere close to peace of mind and if by any chance someone says that the second reaction is closer to the feeling of being at peace..then I am sorry I beg to differ.A state of inactivity called peace of mind is not what I am looking for.

While my mind was in a state of unrest and I was scanning my sources for answers,I chanced upon a couple of lines staring at me in the airport bookshop.It was Khushwant singh .I have read and re-read most of the uninhibited ,passionate works of both Khushwant singh and Amrita Pritam. To say ,I love them, would be an understatement. The book was promptly picked up and surprise, was on God and religion..another field that intrigues me.Coming back to the lines, the author beautifully put forth that if meditation was necessary for peace of mind,why was a calm mind necessary in the first place?All the inventions and discoveries are a result of very agitated minds.Creative,artistic thinking minds are restless.
True that,and I second that!

I am never convinced that one should look for answers within.What answers ,pray?!What truth?Of why and how was I born??How..I know ,science taught me and I am convinced.Why....I do not care.I was born,I am alive,I believe in the abundance of nature and my role in it and most importantly..I need to work and contribute in my little or big way towards working of this intertwined thread called life.Period. Through this journey,I shall not believe in what texts (religious or otherwise) say .I shall trust my eyes,ears and experiences to form my own constitution which shall abide by the constitution of the place I live in, at any particular time.I may be born a Hindu but that will not be the backbone of my existence.I do not need any religion to live.All religions have beliefs which constrict my view.I do not like confinement.If I say I believe,I am admitting to a doubt lurking under the surface.I want to only trust....myself.
Osho says,religions have done utmost disservice to humanity by confining believers to a system of this is right and all else is wrong and by suppressing his instinct to explore on his own and find out by himself.(Read a wonderful post on right and wrong by the blunt blogger here) Osho explains by giving a beautiful example of a plastic flower and a real flower.Plastic flower is belief-manufactured,does not take birth or die,does not grow or change.If you do not want it ,you have to destroy it.Trust is real flower,born,nurtured,grows ,evolves and is existential in its being.
  Freud saw religion as 'a universal obsessional neurosis' ,Ellis viewed it as equivalent to irrational thinking and emotional disturbance.
To many,these philosophers may seem extreme in their thinking but to me they make sense because,philosophy and science are based on logic ,experiments,their conclusions and facts and most importantly,they are constantly being challenged ,questioned and hence they EVOLVE.Religion on the other hand is stagnant,based on something that was relevant and moral then, at that time when the texts were written. Who questions religion,who challenges? My mom taught me drinking was immoral and my mind was accordingly conditioned.If my daughter takes a sip,does that make her immoral? Is being gay,immoral,as was once thought? While the aspect of morality has been questioned,over a period of time,religious beliefs have remained largely unquestioned.Fanaticism of the religious kind has led to wars not atheism.
I do not want to subscribe to something that does not evolve and change according to time.If religion is needed to keep the society in check,to tell them what is right and wrong,then universal laws are good enough to do the job.We have evolved and have the empathy to understand what will bring harm to another human being or society ,so why do we need fear of religion?If you do this,God will punish you or you will rot in hell! Why should I live in fear? Fear is not liberating!The thought of doing no harm to anyone  is!! I could never subscribe to the fear psychosis associated with God and religion.I am sure we have all observed that the most devout are those who sin the most.Charity to humanity is a yes,to places of worship -a big NO.

When in doubt,I just need to put myself in the position of the other person and I am sorted,well mostly!That almost sums it up for me.I am human,I err,but I am free to question and learn.No religion can teach me  peace.I am at peace :))

Thursday, November 17, 2011

ऋतू - नामा

गीली धरती के तर ओंठों की ओर,
झुकी जाती हैं डालें ...
                              रीझी - रीझी सी सराबोर


courtesy Google images

 कसक अनजानी सी जगाई यूँ है ,
  के  रुत बदली- बदली सी और            
                              ये  फिजा इठलाई सी क्यूँ है .                

मेघों की  रवानगी के बाद ,                                                                                  
सर्द रातों की ठंडक और ,
                             फिर इंतज़ार एक नर्म - नम आगोश का

 गर्मियों की तपिश और सुलगती धूप....
  तेरे बाद ही लागे  प्यारी
                            गुलाबी सर्दियों की वो ऊब

इक आनी जानी रुत है और आता जाता जीवन
इक दुःख का ये पल है देखो
                         पीछे खड़ी ख़ुशी  है ...




Prisoners of the mind- Part II

This is part ii of the series .Readers are requested to read part i before this to understand the story better.

They kept him sedated for the night. Namit woke up late in the morning with a splitting headache and a vacuum in  the pit of his stomach.Mom! he called out feebly,holding on to his head.Two arms supported him as he struggled to get up from his bed.Slowly he opened his eyes and blinked to see strangers around in an alien world.Then it all came back to him ...the events of last night. He still could not fathom why his mom did this to him.She who was his world, she who slipped him little 'I love you' notes in his school lunch box.She who was his constant companion,friend,guide and pillar of support. She was the only one who he could discuss all his future plans with.How could she let the others know about his future plans? How could she betray his  trust?How could she do this?Did dad know?Of course he did not!

He gazed around to search for his phone and realized that he was in hospital garb and his bed side was devoid of anything he could all his own.Nothing ,except his body and soul was his own and now he had a serious,nagging doubt about that too.How bad was he? What did he do?He could not answer his own questions but if he was here,surely he must have managed to do something at home !The doctors were on their morning rounds.They approached his bed and he lay down quietly for them to complete the physical examination.He heard them talk about some tests to be run and few samples to be collected. Substance abuse also cropped up in their discussions. He decided to have a talk with the senior doctor to seek answers to his questions.

Shagun stepped out of the shower and popped a painkiller to ease her body ache.She sat down to gather her drained strength .She closed her eyes only to see a dark tunnel with no  light at the other end.Doctors she spoke with on the phone,were optimistic about the treatment but non- committal about the outcome.So does that mean,they were going to grope in the dark while Namit was inside ? She looked at the clock and hurried with the breakfast and lunch before she left for the hospital. They wanted her consent for something she was told.

At the stroke of eleven,the ward boy told Namit that his mom was in the visitors lounge .Namit tripped on his own feet to meet the most loved person in his life and then stopped suddenly in his tracks. His mind started racing and his emotions surging with a new found intensity.He thought of just going and hugging her close.He always felt secure in her arms. This was different situation altogether,he had to find an answer..what was it that pushed her into taking such a drastic step?Tell her to go away ...he heard a voice say..he barely recognised the voice as his own.Ward boy came back with a bag of clothes,some essentials and a big lunch box--the one that he carried to school. He knew that the note was there inside and he never had longed to see that as much as he did now. He turned his back towards the door and cried himself to sleep.

Shagun sat till evening and came back.She knew he will come around eventually and she was ready to wait.Each day she came with his favorite food which was shared by the staff and other patients at the end of the day.Namit did not touch the was not the food that interested was the notes.A young girl slipped them under his bed every day without a word.She was the young counselor as he came to know much later .Fourth day,Shagun decided to take the first step in her son's direction.She observed his movements that day and knew that the moment had come.Her determination,her self confidence flew out of the window as the moment approached.Her heart pounding furiously,she tried smiling as she saw Namit approach her bench.

He looked pale and tired.His gait was slow and unsure.His eyes were red , his hair was cropped and he had lost weight .She wanted to hold his hand and take him far away.She can manage surely,as she had done till now.At least HE will be happy in that situation.She knew the heavy medication will cause further side effects like wobbling of feet,tremors in extremities and general blunting of  reflexes.She brushed aside the thoughts as she remembered last month's events.Mania, suicidal tendencies,danger of harming oneself..and the pressing need for rehabilitation in such a situation.She closed her eyes momentarily to clear the thoughts and take charge of her emotions.

Namit walked slowly towards Shagun after hesitating for a minute,sat down beside his mom at some distance.Shagun closed the distance and held him close .Mother and son sat there for a long time silently.Then he asked for food.I have not eaten he said....They may have been feeding my body through these tubes but I am hungry ma ...very hungry ...and suddenly the cloud burst....drenching the two in the process and washing away all traces of anger ,hurt and doubt.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Prisoners of the mind- Part 1

Kalki was rudely woken up from her  deep slumber.It was her cell phone.Must be a patient in pain,she thought and promptly picked up the phone.She heard a muffled cry at the other end.When her hello failed to fetch a response,she checked the number and jumped out of the bed .It was Shagun and she knew what this call was all about.It was going to be a long call as she quietly walked out of her bedroom .
"Shagun, hang on,calm down will you and please tell me what this is all about."
"Kalki, I am scared,very scared...something is wrong with Namit . His neck is twitching ,his eyes are blood red and he looks dazed. Manav is not in town and I do not know what to do!
"Tell me quickly,what happened ..Where was he all day,did he drink, any medicines he ingested that day before this happened."
 Shagun had a doubt that Namit was into some kind of substance abuse. She thought,he picked it up during his college stint abroad.
Being a friend and a doctor,Kalki was Shagun's confidante.Shagun often called her up to seek advice or to  crib,vent out her frustrations or for plain gossip.
"Namit wanted to do hukka and when I took him shopping,he kept insisting  that I let him go with his building friends.I refused obviously lest he go and do hukka at some shady joint but later bought him one to smoke non tobacco, flavored hukka at home .We had dinner as usual,he had severe cold so I gave him prescribed medicines and a cough syrup .His childhood friend came over to stay so I went off to sleep. I woke up to strange noises and saw Namit in this state.The friend is scared and won't speak up.What do I do ??"
Kalki's fears were true, Namit managed to do it yet again.She shot few quick questions at her friend about Namit's activities, woke up another doctor friend to confirm that nothing was serious and then consoled her friend on phone.She kept track  of Namit's condition on phone for a while and hung up as he went off to sleep after having a few glasses of water.Both women were awake through the darkness.
Namit's life as she knew it, flashed like a movie in front of her eyes as Kalki settled down with a cup of tea in the living room. It pained her to see Namit in this pitiable state.he had always been an extraordinarily brilliant student,an all rounder,and a member of Mensa owing to his high IQ levels. He always had behavior issues since childhood. He was in and out of the principal's office. When complaints became one too many,and switching schools almost like a habit, he was referred to clinical psychologists for counselling. Shagun always walked that extra mile with him. Namit resented counselling but at times,would himself urge Shagun to take him. He changed doctors too, stating that they were not competent enough to understand his mindset.
Manav being out of town for most part, played the indulgent parent while Shagun was more practical of the two.Namit went to best boarding schools, went abroad for graduation , left studies halfway,switched to aviation studies ,left again.In short this was his story,intelligence coupled with fickle mindedness .He had peaks and valleys of  highs and lows in his life.It got worse when he went to the USA .Shagun sensed something was amiss whenever she spoke to him. He spoke enthusiastically about some aircraft manufacturing at times and was severely depressed and spoke about ending his life at others.His girlfriend had ditched him and he was depressed about that.Shagun did not have to coax him much, Namit decided to come back to India on his own.
 Kalki observed that Namit had changed ,he looked different,his gait was slow and his eyes...well they had no life.Kalki knew the signs,she was all too familiar with the look. Now she listened to Shagun's routine talk about her son more intently and made a mental note of significant signs.Some notes read thus:
-He walked out of the house in the dead of night leaving the house open and came back on his own.Why is he so desperate for smoke?Does he do drugs?
-He ran down spotting something across the street and when he came back he was fuming ..he said he saw a man troubling another across the street and he ran to save the poor man.There was not a soul on the street as Shagun observed from her window.
-Kalki ,he is obsessed with the idea of manufacturing aircrafts and selling them to the world....please drill some sense in him.
-He plays a particular game in which he lives another life online at a stretch for 24 hrs,without eating ,or getting up ,like someone obsessed, Shagun once complained.
-He says he knows the tricks to be a perfect mafia man ..
Meanwhile,his violent side was surfacing more often where he would get abusive and aggressive towards his family.Kalki's concerns were true..and she was scared for the boy and the family.She researched ,consulted and suggested few experts whom Shagun could consult and she did over a period of time.After multiple visits to various experts in the field,there were two words ominously raising their ugly heads-bipolar and schizophrenia.Suspected substance abuse had to be investigated before arriving at a definitive conclusive  diagnosis.
Namit would refuse to visit docs and when he did ,would try his best to mislead them...he knew the answers to their questions...he had heard them all.Shagun was worried for his sibling ,more so when he slipped into aggression.Manav couldn't be relieved from his job and Shagun was alone to handle the situation.After many table discussions,it was decided to treat him under institutional care where ,round the clock medicinal treatment and counselling was available.
There was only one such place in the city and they were well equipped to handle such patients.She drove him down to the institute after he reluctantly agreed to consult a psychiatrist. Shagun's heart bled at the thought of what she was forced to do.She drove in silence,holding back her emotions.The staff was prepared for the visit.The huge grilled door opened slightly to allow one person at a time, Namit was swiftly ushered in and before she could blink,the door snapped shut..locked automatically.Shagun did not have any time to explain..she was searching for words on the she will prepare him for this phase and now ,here, she stood without a chance to even say farewell for a few days.
She looked at her child and froze.Her baby's eyes were wide in disbelief .Hurt and betrayal were conveyed from across the grill. words had no place in this widening space between the mother and son.
As she retraced her defeated steps,she knew in her heart that he would never understand and she clutched at her chest where it pained like it was stabbed.
He looked at the retreating frame he knew as his mother and could not fathom why??He too slept under the influence of medicines behind the grill door clutching his heart where it hurt very bad.
They will never be a medicine to shoo away this pain...
They were two prisoners ,of their own minds.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

In Time----Movie Review

                                            courtesy Google images                                     
Watched a Hollywood movie after a long gap in time.
A movie by Andrew Niccol , 'In Time' was a must watch according to Muffin who is a big Sci fi fan like his dad.
The movie begins with a bang-a brilliant concept of time being money.Grandpa's oft repeated line 'time is money,do not waste it' is kind of true in this fiction world and is even shown writ large on a window by a donor of time.

                                            courtesy Google images                                                                                  
In a new age world, humans are genetically engineered to stop ageing at 25 years ,after which their body clock starts ticking and from there on , they have to earn their time on this planet.Humans get timed out ( die ) if they are not able to keep up with the time.If you miss the opening , you kind of get shocked to hear Justin Timberlake call out to a lady as young as him as 'mom'.I would often think about the fun we would have if we stopped ageing but to see three generations looking the same age on the silver screen,was kind of weird.

The story moves on with a few subplots, along with the central theme.If you think,time being money,would eliminate the big class divide,you are sadly mistaken.The rift is depicted to be deeper with the poor living in a ghetto running behind time and the rich getting richer by saving time in banks.Poor slog ,live each hour and through the day while the rich have centuries on their arm clocks.The ticking neon arm clocks look scary though, with their furious runs .There are a few witty lines coming across which instantly bring a smile to your face.Then you see the grim side of  time being money,people stealing time,borrowing it,stashing it ,loaning it and then getting killed for it.So far so good ..the movie tries to build a plot to a level but then it stagnates.Nothing changes basically.
Another subplot has a rich evil man's wide eyed daughter ,Sylvia (Seyfried) falling reluctantly for our man from the ghetto Wills Salas.Timekeeper,(Murphy) tries hard to be convincing enough in his role as the upright man.All along ,you go with the flow thinking the plot will evolve but it just does not and somewhere the movie loses its grip.
My verdict-Watch it for the concept.
Will I have the DVD in my collection? -I don't think so.

When Words Fail Me

A keen observer,a silent and patient listener,person brimming with new ideas,a fantastic storyteller,that is Rajkumar Hirani for most.I met him the other day and I was not surprised when I heard that he needs solitude to write and that sometimes he leaves town to be away from the mundane to write in peace . He draws inspiration from the common man he said and I observed that he listened more than he talked.Now,I am no Premchand of literature ,I  only express with regularly,irregular posts on my blog.I write whenever,whatever comes to my mind.Some beautiful people read and comment,most do not know me at all.but that does not mean,writing is just a pastime for is something I have done ever since I learnt how to make sentences in school.I think about what to write next,I have always been a good listener,I have developed extra sensory powers to eavesdrop on other people's conversations(bad!) ,and I guess, I am slowly getting there , honing my skills all along .Will I be able to write in solitude? I really do not know :o Will try my hand at it but where is solitude to be found??First will have to work towards that!!

If only inspirations were more frequent....Sometimes for days on end,nothing comes out of my brain.There are days when I sit nibbling on my pencil  till it resembles a Neem Daatoon  but words fail me . In complete contrast to this,there are days when my grey cells are hyperactive and writing one whole  thesis can be a cake walk. For someone who has never been tongue tied , this becomes frustrating.
Typically ,ideas never strike when they should and hound you with alarming regularity when they shouldn't .
Where would you reach out for the writing instrument when you are hanging for your dear life at the door of a local train clutching at the holding bars with handbag pressed somewhere between your chest / belly and the side panel of the compartment.I hardly take the local now but back then when writing was more about scribbling notes on scraps of any paper ,such situations were very common.By the time I would reach my destination,all in one piece,the idea would be gone with the wind.

The other day,Muffin wanted help with his Physics and I was lost...Poor son thought mommy dear was engrossed in trying to solve his work force energy numerical ,whereas, mommy was sprouting shaayri in her head. ;p Life is tough when you have to handle Physics and Shaayri together.Once in the middle of my under sea walk,I wanted to reach out to my pen and paper .Being a  non-swimmer,it was a memorable experience for me and one of the  most scary ones at that.The vast expanse of sea,the might and force of water around, my utter helplessness underneath and the beauty of life forms around,left me spellbound .The words were not the same back into the hotel room when I finally sat down to write.
Many times when caught in situations like having to listen to a monologue from my dear MIL about the daily grind like the bhaajiwaala, maid 1 ,maid 2 or the driver,I automatically switch  to'gaze-intently-listen-sparingly' mode.Years of practice has made me near perfect in returning from my own thoughts to the real world ,just in time to catch  the end of the monologue which typically ends with a question thrown at me -"Tula kaaye vaat tay,barobar aahe na?"(what do you think,am I right?).Situation is salvaged in  the nick of time as I am ready with the answer she is expecting-"Tumcha barobar aahe"( you are right).All through the talk,I make several trips in my head to different interesting worlds and am itching to write.A hurried excuse gives me a good write up but a delay means none whatsoever.
Presently I am working on four subjects but when I go back to read it after a while, it  all seems forced ,so drafts they will be until I get the flow..But writing about the mental block has helped and as I end this post,I am getting clear ideas about one of the drafts. :D :D

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Why am I in love with Mumbai..

A comment on Purba's post(my own about what irks me as a Mumbaikar),and it set 
me thinking..Before I knew it,it turned into a  full post about why I love Mumbai.
could go on and on but this space has its own limitations ,so read on a few lines 
about my dear Mumbai... 

                                                        courtesy google images                    

After a long struggle, when I finally got married to Hobbs, we decided to shift base to Mumbai. This was in the early nineties and we were being fed on stories about big bad city of Mumbai by almost everyone who was even remotely connected to this city. Hobbs always dreamt of making Mumbai his home but waited for me to finish my post-graduation before we tied the knot. I was secretly hoping he would change his mind but in vain.

Hindi movies those days had scenes depicting a bechara /bechari being duped as soon as he/she arrived at VT station  ( CST now) by a thug or a taxi driver circling the city to fleece a hapless passenger. Mere mention of Bombay would elicit a negative response from almost everyone- ”Arre Baap Re!!” being most common of all. Some reactions would read thus:
-        Arre… you will be looted as soon as you step inside the Mahanagri !
-         Bhookhe mar jaaoge! You live like a king here,in your own house, but out there ,you will be paupers.
-        Have you seen the houses there…twenty people live in one tiny kholi and strangers share a bathroom.
-        You will earn for others. EMI bharte – bharte zindagi khatam ho jayegi.
-        Bimaar hoge toh roti khilane wala koi na hoga. You will die a lonely death.
-        One well meaning auntyji whispered in my ear “You are used to pears and Sunsilk and ready made napkins for ‘those days’ …do you think you will be able to afford these ‘luxuries’ after paying off your debts?”
-        Joote ghis jayenge beta Bombay ki sadkon par. Here you have gaadi-ghoda at your beck and call.
    The typical Marwadi style melodrama was to dissuade me both from my marriage to a Maharashtrian as well as the shift to Mumbai. Hobbs faced emotional blackmail of a subtle kind at home. His parents hoped that atleast,the youngest son would stay back at the ancestral property. The decision was already made and the shift was smooth with one sack full of useless wedding presents and one suitcase each of clothes.
I admit I fell in love with Mumbai as I gazed at the city during my first taxi ride to the suburban home of sis in law which we shared for a while . Her living room was our first bedroom . I loved the city more when I shifted to my own tiny rented apartment. Having spent most our growing years in bungalows surrounded by sprawling gardens ,the matchbox sized apartment was nowhere close to luxury. Shuru hote hi khatam ho jata tha. I loved the city all the more when the city gave me the independence of traveling on my own by public transport at an unearthly hour without fear. It sharpened my sensory perception, I could recognize local stations by their smells and sounds even in sleep. Mumbai taught me the value of a fraction of a second of my time. I learnt to  recognize the person at the door by the time of his arrival even before I opened the door. 7am –milkman,7.30am-paperwala,7.45-car cleaner and so on.. 7.30am bell can not be your dhobi’s bell unless informed well in advance. I fell in love with the gastronomic delights, ranging from, sabse sasta ,filling, street food to the exotic,  ridiculously priced , bland platter. The street shopping grew on me, and so did the AC confines of the swanky malls. Most important of all,I loved the anonymity in the crowd that Mumbai gave me. No one gave a damn about who I was ,what I wore, where I came from or where I was headed. All my life I was aware that I was a girl, and hence was aware of how I walked, what I wore, where I came from and where I was headed. I was aware of my being a female in a sea of humans and unconsciously crossed my arms in a crowd to avoid being touched ‘unintentionally’. Mumbai made me feel human and I could hang my arms by my side and swing them for all I cared, without attracting a single eyeball. Mumbai grounded me and taught me to stand in a crowd rubbing shoulders with a fisherwoman, a scrawny looking but energetic sabjiwali, a CEO or an IAS from Mantralaya . Once in the local, they are professionals and homemakers rolled into one and can be seen preparing for evening meals while chatting, bitching about in-laws or singing bhajans. This city gives aam aadmi  the recognition of being anonymous at some level.
Is that an advantage or disadvantage? Go figure!
For me, wherever I go, I need to and long to come back and Mumbai welcomes me with open arms. This is the city of my dreams,so what if the politicians choose to use and abuse it .The common man however, has nothing to do with politics and does not boast about his ‘connections’while crossing the road or while peeing in public. One day, people will wake up and move on from being more than mere spirited Mumbaikars and bring on a change.
For all of the above and much more beyond the scope of this post,I Love Mumbai!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Festivals-Done for the season!

We are a loving (till date) family of 14 members who enjoy being on each other’s toes very often. While men of the family are vaguely aware of a few short people living in their houses, we women do care about our kids and occasionally enquire about their well being by calling  wherever they are found in the three family houses. The nuclear family set up is for namesake only lest we feel we are not privileged enough to have one.
Festival times are chaotic as well as fun especially for the short people when days seamlessly blend into nights ,cleaning and  kitchen services are never closed and beds are always ready to welcome anyone who suddenly crashes owing to exhaustion. All bedrooms are guestrooms and hosts (we take turns ) are secluded to one end of the house so that they are not a hindrance in the activities of the short people. All gaming consoles, cricket gear, TT table (you heard it right!), carom board ,cards of all kinds,viz. Playing,Uno,Pokemon,wwf etc are arranged. 
The house looks battered and bruised. Once I yanked a piece of transparent tape holding an ugly poster of a beefed up wrestler, only to find that the tape was actually holding a chunk of freshly painted edge of the wall. Did I imagine or did I actually hear the wall yelp in pain! The assaulting hands-in- glove still holding the culprit cork ball were sleeping innocently at a distance. Meanwhile, a loud vibrating sound caught my attention and I turned around to see a violently shaking washing machine which had gone berserk. It had managed to wriggle out of its niche as if threatening to walk out of the house. Some short people, fearful of over reaction from bigger people, had over stuffed the poor thing beyond its capacity with coffee/tang/pasta/Maggie stained bed sheets .Thank God it does not have a voice box!
                                      courtesy-Google images         
Pre Diwali nights are usually at my place .The sleepover is to facilitate getting up at dawn for ‘Abhyangasnan’ but it turns out to be more of a stay over to stay awake, till exactly half an hour before wake up time. So one can imagine the wake up routine .The routine starts with gentle terms of endearment from the mothers, proceeds to shutting the ACs off, putting the lights on, goes on to removal of  the  covering sheets and finally ends with a scream and an ultimatum. One by one the kids are pushed inside the bath room with one elder standing guard outside, to ensure that he does not doze off on the potty seat again. Such times , one feels that all rooms should be bath rooms. By the time the second kid is done with the arti-tikka-bath, the first one is hungry and bored . A team of barely awake humans is busy whipping up breakfast for the crowd . End of breakfast marks beginning of lunch preparations and the routine continues right through the next morning. Meals come with pre-decided menu,prepared fresh every time ,in addition to a large selection of dry snacks and mithai as fillers.With a bunch of hyperactive kids around,I am always amazed at the speed with which the food disappears sometimes before it even reaches the table.It is NEVER more and  I am screaming in my head-“HOW MUCH WE EAT!!!”
                                            courtesy Google images
Lashmi-pujan followed by dinner is hosted by  elder sis-in –law ,so small individual puja at our own house,diya-baati,lights and off we go. No crackers for us though. When we are blessed with such patakhaa kids ,who needs firecrackers? A small maa-chis and they are all ready to burst. Padwa ,we rest and Bhai – dooj is hosted by the  second  sis-in-law. All through the commotion ,rituals are namesake, fun being the central idea. Over the years and after a few disapproving comments, MIL has given up on us. I still remember when my offer to make chawal ki kheer as a new bride was rejected by MIL as Maharashtrians made it for shraddha (death) and never for festivals. My argument later that how can any food be auspicious or inauspicious, worked and so we slowly did away with many other unwanted rituals.
I love festivals..  hate rituals, I love families..  hate crowd. I love things which come attached and free with things I hate so basically I am stuck.
I am done being ,
-a cook,
-a jhaaduwali,
-errand girl,
-gift shopper,
-wife and
-indulgent mother for the season.
Appeal- If you see a woman ,walking aimlessly on the street, talking to herself, refusing to acknowledge human presence and signs of life around, it is me and you are requested to leave me alone. I am just trying to recover and rediscover my inner strength to endure the onslaught of next festive season.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Déjà vu

                                                              Courtesy Google images                      
We have all some experience of a feeling,that comes over us occasionally,of what we are saying and doing ,having been said and done before, in a remote time - of our having been surrounded,dim ages ago,by the same faces,objects and circumstances - of our knowing perfectly what will be said next, as if we suddenly remember it ! ( Dickens in David Copperfield- chapter 39)

Deja vu, and intuition ,closely related yet entirely different terms in meaning have intrigued the skeptic in me for a long time.Literature,movies have explored the topic over the years and average human being  across the world  is well aware of it.
Deja vu,a french term coined by Emile Boirac is also known as  paramnesia.As high as two thirds of adults claim to have had a deja vu experience at least once in their lives.
Deja vu is of many kinds:

1.deja eprouve - already experienced - The most commonly described experience out of the many mentioned below.
2.deja pense - already thought - tumne mere munh ki baat chheen li - kind of experience.The subject typically experiences this almost as soon as someone else blurts out his thoughts and never before.If you are conditioned to 'think' before you talk,you might have several deja pense moments in your life.
3.deja reconte - already recounted- My neighbor Mr Bee is ideal example of this.Try talking about any experience under the Sun and Mr Bee slips into his own deja reconte mode .
4.deja senti - already smelt,felt
5.deja su - already known (intellectually)
6.deja trouve (already met ) / deja recontre -(already met)- hum pehle  bhi kahin mile hain!,maine tumhe kaahin dekha hai ! This is one experience that I dread the most.Not being a regular figure at family gatherings and not being good with faces ,particularly of the 'relative' kind,I am subjected to this every time I decide to attend any family event.I freeze in my tracks when I am spotted by some random relative who wants to test my memory and patience .I have no choice but to use the above lines while the offender explains with great enthusiasm,the last time and place that we met and of course his own  importance in my life at that time and place .By the way ,the above also happens to be the lamest pick up line oft used by lame people.
7.deja dit - already said spoken (content of speech) / deja parle ( act of speech) We go through a combined deja dit and deja parle thing when  the speaker of parliament goes on and on like a record playing in loop with-"kripaya baith jaayiye..unko bolne dijiye..shaant ho jaayiye..please..."
8.deja lu - already read-Chetan Bhagat is all I can say here! :D
9.deja presenti - already sensed -Freaky ,I must say!
10.deja reve - already dreamt -repeated episodes lead to insomnia,not good for health ,if you ask me!
11.deja visite - already visited-Those swearing by this kind either participate in 'Raaz pichhle janam ka ' TV series or end up on the shrink's couch (pun unintended)
12.deja entendu - already heard
13.deja goute - already tasted
14.deja fait - already done-when you get the feeling of been there done that.
15.deja vecu - already lived
16.deja volu -already  desired
17.deja connu - already known ,(personally)

Types of deja vu,source: The various manifestations of deja vu experience)

There could be many logical explanations for a typical or atypical deja vu experience
- One might have seen a picture of the place or person in the past
-Might have read about the experience/person/place
-Might have seen a movie on the subject
-Might get triggered by similar sense of smell/taste,color,decor,surrounding etc
- Looks,mannerisms,clothing,body language of a person might remind you of a similar person from your past
-Some insist that this has nothing to do with memory and that it may only be a perception

This has been a topic for extensive  research and various theories have linked medical conditions like schizophrenia,epilepsy,anxiety, internal stress and internal conflicts,with deja vu .However,medical experts,Psychiatrists,Psychologists,Psychics and various religious sects have not been able to arrive at a plausible explanation to this phenomena yet,so the stories continue..Some stories make you grin ,while some freak you out! Have you ever experienced deja vu ever?!  

                                                                                       Courtesy Google images 


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Intuitions - Gut feeling or mental glitch!

                                                               courtesy Google images            

"I had a gut feeling that this would happen and OMG I was so right"              
"I had a hunch that this would go wrong and BOY ,do I have a black tongue?!"

Ever heard people say the reverse? Very rarely people own up that they erred in their observation, judgment, or intuition. Intuition, déjà vu, premonition, sixth sense, gut feeling , hunch ,are various closely related terms widely and casually used by one and all. People use them to be one up on the lesser mortals, to prove that they are the gifted ones.It is a very- very slippery area so to speak. Jitne muhn utni baatein. Playing with intuitions has its highs and lows .

If most of your intuitions turn out to be true, you are truly blessed and may end up blessing people in turn with your special powers. Who knows you may even end up on the city billboards with a monstrous blood red tilak spanning your forehead .You will be rechristened ‘Sach Bolti Maa’ or ‘Mantaa Maa’or some such name and adorned with accessories. All your medical, dental bills will be taken care of by your followers. This is sure sho(r)t way to riches and stardom.

However, if you are empowered with a negative sixth sense or have a kaali zabaan, someone will sing “ Jaa Chudaill” to you and it won’t be a film song let me tell you.The plus side in this case however, is similar to or may be more lucrative compared to the earlier case .This is because we Indians are shit scared of curses, black magic and the like.Any mention of the above sends us running for cover and any antidote suggested for the said poison is lapped up at unmentionable costs.

You can terrorize people with your dark powers.Marketing your dark powers on cable TV as 'Bi-paashaa ji bungle ',is all it takes to attract the affected .Learning a few mantras is easy and attire should be matching your powers-Black! Freedom to use abuse to harm the client's enemy is an added advantage.Periodic ads in the print media will ensure steady flow of victims of black magic (jadu -tona ).They are basically losers who are convinced that the cause of their misery is everything and everybody else but their own selves.Soon you will have so many gone-cases in hand that you may be forced to buy an island somewhere with their money.

According to a study,intuition is essentially, memory based, wherein , thoughts of one concept spread to thoughts of another related concept making them more likely to be recalled by a person.This was substantiated by a study by Brain bugs:
Answer the first two questions aloud and then blurt out the first thing that comes to your mind in response to statement 3 below:
1.What continent is Kenya in ?
2.What are two opposing colors in the game of Chess?
3.Name any animal.

A good majority said zebra for statement -3 , different African animals are named by a select few but interesting point to note is that,out of the blue when asked to name an animal ,less than one percent said Zebra. Conditioning of brain you see! Scientists  say,you can and you must hone your intuitive skills for it is a combination of science and intuition that makes a  man smart.We like smart people not mere geeks.

                                                   courtesy Google images

Albert Einstein was convinced that the only real valuable thing is intuition . So when do you listen to intuitions and when do you use your head?
Listen to you intuitions when:
-Doing something you are experienced in ,
-Nagging medical symptoms,-do not take 'its nothing' for an answer,take second opinion if symptoms persist.
-Shopping :D  
Use your head when:
-hiring someone,
-judging someone or something.. 
Everybody gets intuitions.Some are just more aware and use it to their advantage while skeptics brush it off as coincidence. An old  patient of mine now based in Kolkata is a victim of my sixth sense. His case being an interesting clinical case study in my field,is often quoted and discussed by me during workshops.Whenever  I make a mention ,I see the poor guy in my clinic within a few days. knowing the dough he spends on each visit ,I feel kinda guilty now and try to blame it on telepathy:D

I have my regular motherly 'hunch' to my kids' rescue .I have daily gut feelings while stuck in traffic . We all have sense of deja vu when we watch Hindi movies-the feeling that we have seen something like this before..I can also sense what my cook is gonna give us for dinner on days that I am too busy or too irritated to leave instructions.

Actually,Edward Murphy beat me into forming his own laws and postulates ,warnaa hum bhi aurat kucch kaam ke hi thhe! Who knows, when I am old and grey ,I might have the guts to come up with my own book aptly but not so creatively titled 'Gut  feelings' :p

Saturday, September 17, 2011

When I really miss you

When I really miss you at times,
I close my eyes and sit alone,all by myself,
I feel you so close to me,yet it aches to reach
I whisper your name  ever so softly 'cause
to my heart you are just a heartbeat away.
I hold my breath with your thought mere,
Afraid to miss that beat without care
When I sit down and think of you,
When I really miss you..


क्यूँ  हमसे ही दूर लिए जाती है ये चाहत हमें 

               क्या जाने कहाँ लिए जाती है ये चाहत हमें 

यूं  जाने की वजह तो कोई नहीं 

               यूं  ही  वक्त  बेवक्त आकर 

सता ही लेती है ये चाहत हमें .



आज को जी ले ,इस पल ही

कल ...

हम थे अकेले 

न कोई साथी , न सहारा 
चले जा रहे थे ,अनजान राहों पर ,खामोश मायूस से ..
न कोई  चाहत, न मंजिल, 
बस साँसें थी,ज़िन्दगी थी तो ज़िंदा भी थे ...

आज ...

तुम हो 

साथी भी है , सहारा भी, 
जीवन के सफ़र में  हमसफ़र भी ,
चलते हैं उन्हीं राहों पर ,मंजिलों की आस लिए ..
क्या जानें और क्यों भला, के ये राहें कहाँ ले जायेंगी,
थामे हैं हाथों को तेरे तो सफ़र ही  हसीं है 

कल ...

आस है ..

अनजाना, अनबूझा कल, किसने देखा है?
गर देखा होता , जाना होता, तो कहते...
फिक्र नहीं ए दोस्त, क्यों खोया  कल और कल में ..
साथ भी होगा,साथी भी,तू  भी होगा ..मंजिल भी ..

आज को जी ले ,इस पल ही 


महफ़िल के चिराग

हर शाम का आलम क्या कहिये, 
महफ़िल की रंगत क्या कहिये, 
गूँगे शायर  हैं मौजूदा ,
गजलों का समाँ क्या कहिये ,

महफ़िल रंगीं  करने को ,कुछ बेजुबां शायर आते हैं 
सदियों से आना जाना है ,कुछ बेकार बेबात की बातें हैं ..

एकाकी,यादें , उदासी ,रंजो-ग़म, बेबसी,बेकारी ,बेकरारी -
यही वे दिलजले  हैं, सदियों से ,जो हर  शाम, पल- पल जला  किये हैं..
यही हैं वे ,जो हर   महफ़िल के चिराग हैं ,
औ यही हैं वे, ए दोस्त, जो  दिलों की दुनिया को रोशन औ आबाद किये हैं 


Monday, September 5, 2011

She came, She saw,She conquered!

I penned my thoughts remembering my guide,my guru on this day last year.

                                                                    courtesy google images
Perfect day to remember those guiding stars in your life,those who guided you,pushed you,instilled values in you. You were like putty in their hands. Over the years,many hands changed and influenced you like different strokes with different brushes .A stroke here ,a pat there and the canvass became more colorful with each contribution.
  Question is ,do you seriously remember them all?.. There are only a few who must have left indelible impression on you. For me it was much later in my student  life, in degree college, that I found such an influence. Till she came into our lives,we were like scores of other p.g.students,abandoned by a transferred guide ,directionless...
  She entered impeccably dressed ,with her head held high,exuding an air of absolute authority. She took mental notes and set about setting our student life right :-)
 First she removed all partitions to make the department sans any cubicles which served as our hiding places away from the prying eyes of teachers.
LESSON 1-If you feel the need to hide,you are doing something you shouldn't be doing 
Next she geared up for cleanliness drive.By then we had enough rebels to resist the idea so next day as the staff trickled in,they were greeted by our HOD cleaning the sinks!! One by one she was joined in by the sheepish staff and we had a sparkling deptt.
LESSON 2-No job is below dignity .
LESSON3-Set an example for your students and staff.
Next she took charge of our messy schedule.Many post lunch sessions were earlier spent in the library to cope up with the backlog of studies and the backlog was created in turn due to our crazy appointment scheduling.She made sure we spent enough time with each patient and never rescheduled any.
LESSON 4-Respect time your own and everyone else's too and time will respect you.
She hates lies, even the most harmless ones and respects an honest explanation, always...
She took complete charge of not only our studies,but even those aspects of our lives which would affect our learning process.She made sure we were fit,ate well,were not distracted all the time etc..Distractions were part of student life and one major distraction is still a mammoth distraction of my life (Hobbs,the hubby) :-D
I even learnt the art of covering and maintaining books at the ripe age of 20 years from her.

During my stint as a teacher,I tried to emulate her in the right spirit as much as I could and the fact that I am remembered fondly by my students to this date is also thanks to her ..

I may not say it in so many words and not so often but I know, she knows, that I care ..
I am proud to be her student and can spot her students from a crowd of students anywhere,any time such is the aura of Dr.Sabita Ram.


Friday, August 26, 2011

Harishchandrachi Factory--A must watch.

I love Marathi theater but I rarely watch Marathi movies unless strongly recommended by someone whose judgement I trust.Of late,Marathi cinema has been churning out mainly slapstick comedies ,not my idea of fun for sure.I have been delaying it for a long time but Natrang and Harishchandrachi factory were on my wishlist so I ordered both only to be informed that Natrang was not available that day.Late at night,armed with a big bowl of popcorn and a bigger pitcher of  lemon iced tea,we settled down to watch HF .And boy,am I glad I watched it?!Endearing,warm,so simple in treatment!
                                                  A biopic on Dhundiraj Phalke,the movie was much more than what I expected it to be.It depicts Phalke's journey towards making the first movie of India.The casting of characters was near perfect or so it seemed ,due to the effortless performances by the cast.Having seen a British 'moving image' in a local make shift theater accompanied by his elder son,Phalke becomes obsessed with the idea of producing India's first' moving image'.As always,this 'revolutionary' idea was ridiculed by the society so much so that his loyal friends drug his cup of tea to get him admitted to Thane mental hospital.(Is it that old!!) .Jobless Phalke fuels his idea by selling off his possessions .This scenario mostly in our potboilers is projected as a tearjerker and our so called actors ham through the scenes but not in HF.Here, the super cool wife and kids do not bat an eyelid and even end up joking about it.Particularly funny was this scene where  Phalke returns home to see a mourning crowd only to be told that they were mourning the selling off of a family cupboard -(kapaatache gelyaaache kadle ,meaning,we heard that the cupboard is no more).
The film very subtly ,in a flow, highlights the society and its beliefs back then.How movies were looked down upon,how difficult it was to convince women to act in theater and how men were trained to play female characters.The myths and fears attached to trains,the reluctance to shave off the mustache(even while playing a female) and many other things have added to the comic situations in the movie.
I loved Mrs Phalke's character- loving,cool,composed and hardworking.She is an ordinary woman with extraordinary faith in her husband's capabilities.The mood of the movie is upbeat throughout.The passion,obsession and one point agenda of.  Phalke along with his image as a family man is very well portrayed.Cookie and Muffin remained glued till the end without any demands of extra food,coffee etc and enjoyed the movie .
The movie will appeal to non Marathi speaking audience too, thanks to the subtitles.Planning to watch it once again.Very few movies do that to me.Simple, pure and delightful is how I will put it in a nutshell.A must watch!        

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Babe,Snake And Camping Fun!

Dazillion medical camps later ,as a student ,I decided not to be part of any more such non-productive camps.This was decades back and I am no student anymore so when a senile and overzealous social worker friend ( all of that and more in one person) emotionally blackmailed me ,I did the same to a bunch of other people (read-hobbs-the hubby,six interns from my clinic,three staff members and of course Cookie and Muffin as tag-essentials!) and we were off to a very remote village in rural interiors of Maharashtra.

Having spent 24 premarital years hopping from one city to another with dad in a transferable job, small towns and rural scenes are not alien to me but nothing prepared me for what lay in wait this time.We were received at the nondescript station by a proud,self declared, matric- fail ,'taempuwala'.After we loaded our physical selves into and all over it, our tempo looked like this: 
tempo-courtesy google images 

We were piled and arranged like sardines in the vehicle in such a way that the younger bodies fanned out of the sides of the tempo and this arrangement gave the young blood ,ample opportunity to outstretch their arms in air like Shahrukh Khan!

courtesy google images 
I am not sure and I don't want to know why they seated me where they did ,inside the tempo.Thinking  I was privileged,I had short lived tears of gratitude  before I disappeared beneath a pile of smelly backpacks.They even arranged the bags to leave enough air pockets for me to breathe.Breathing and moi are related  at strictly subconscious level and any consciousness in that regard leaves me breathless and I have advertised this fact far and wide for my own safety.Next 30 minutes,I braved  the olfactory onslaught of the worst kind.Air reeking of perspiration,BO,deo, garlicky   pav -bhaji and vada-pao from dinner the night before and what have you...The twenty somethings  held on to each other's halves inside the tempo while the other halves continued with the bollywood tamasha.I recalled the old Fevicol ad :

Two German doctors in the group looked like ghosts at the end of the journey and had to be brought back to the living world .It was just a tin shed and four brick walls in the name of school and it was the only one for miles together.The camp was productive and I am not saying that because I was part of it.It  was just a question of ready resources at that stage and manpower of course, and both we had in abundance.The lack of basic facilities was no laughing matter but in this case ,for city youngsters out in the wild for the first time, it was both,-unbelievable and unbelievably funny.While they jotted down notes for each facility or lack of it,they also exchanged hilarious experiences regarding the same.The enthusiasm was infectious and energy levels,an all time high.

Giggles (German import, giggly girl in short)as she was aptly called,suddenly could not be found and a frantic search ensued.Evening was weary and night fast approaching.Giggles was found stupefied behind the bushes where she had gone to ease her overburdened bladders.She was rendered speechless and stunned by  a kid-snake crawling away a few feet across.Cannon ( another German so named ,as she was always clicking with her namesake camera) slapped her out of that state and all was well .

Giggles could be seen helping around as we assembled bedding necessities  for sleep time, viz.mattresses, old sarees as bedspreads and searched for elevations of any kind on the walls and around, to tie the mosquito -net- strings ,(naada to be precise, borrowed from village belles :D) .When the nets were tied together in sequence and then the whole thing hauled together to be tied to the hooks,nails,chair handles and window grills,the actual purpose of it all suddenly dawned on the two They were absolutely 'in character',Giggles broke into peels of giggles and Cannon went berserk clicking.

Cannon clicked everything in sight from all possible angles, poverty excluded ,team yougistaan  made sure of that .On our way back,Muffin , my son and Cannon were spotted with   their object of interest in a gutter just outside the railway platform.It was a pig in all its guttered glory .

                                                            courtesy google images
Tiny Muffin refused to believe his mother when she said that ,what he thought of as a new  animal species,  was actually a pig.Now this pig was no Babe ,he was as Indian in character as they come..half -and-half. like an order of Pizza  ie gutter side black and other side grey/brown /whatever..The beautiful  image in his mind of a pig called Babe was shattered !

I consoled him and reminded him of another fact of life he had learnt not so long ago..that milk actually is given by cows ,so what if it comes in clean tetra packs to our homes.He still has to come to terms with that but he  thinks aaji's and naani's habit of getting up and pottering about the house at 4 am is cool.



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