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


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