Wednesday, December 28, 2011


The disdainful walk,
The chewing of gum
As a statement of rebellion.
Bullying their way
Through discussions
Opinions and observations.
Monkeys on hormone high
Making rudeness their language.
Vandalizing etiquette
Walking over manners.
Are these attributes of Juvenileness
Or just a general Attitude
That cusses with profanities
And calls it the language of coolness?
From when did politeness and respect towards others become so outdated??

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Being a small towner had its great advantages. Almost every one I ran into knew my father. People were friendly, neighborhoods were closely knit and the peace and quiet of being in a suburb prevailed. going to school in a manually pulled rickshaw was a lesson of life too..though it seems almost inhuman now to think of one man riding a carriage of half a dozen kids back and forth from the school that was in the literal outskirts of the town :-) I used to sit at the end of the coupe, looking out longingly at wall posters of movies, graffiti and the random cattle grazing on the sides of the road. Streets were not as busy, people weren't either. School was the crux of excitement - it opened me to a vastness that figuratively found place in my heart. Huge campus, neatly stacked building and a portico overlooking a painstakingly nurtured garden of roses and lilies. The one thing that held my attention for the biggest point of time was the statue of Mother Mary, holding Jesus Christ. It was built with great aesthetics, looked like a shallow cave paved with stone bricks on the outside almost feeling like a shell in which Baby Jesus was cradled. I used to walk into the premises, eyes fixated on the statue - observing the Anglo Indian teacher and sisters that stopped by to say a silent prayer. They used to close their eyes, move their lips in a hushed prayer and bring their wrists upto their shoulders in a mesmerizing movement. The little girl in me was endlessly charmed, to a point where I used to do a funny and incorrect copy of the movement. I was too young to understand religion but Jesus was making his impact on me surely and slowly.

There used to be random questions to my parents - how do you guys look at sending your kids to a Christian Missionary School? Don't you think they'd be brainwashed? etectera...I am eternally thankful to my parents for not letting narrow outlook curb our development as human beings. I was raised as a staunch brahmin kid moderately following all the rituals of Hinduism but that didn't curb my love for a foreign faith that unfolded in the school campus. A dainty and long cross with Jesus adorned the wall, above the blackboard - and I subconsciously used to gaze at that cross while thinking about a math problem or cooking up an imaginative essay. Christ felt like a person in the class without actually being there all the time. I started believing that he existed in the little chapel, in the nooks and crannies of the campus and the Christmas season only reinstated that belief. The fattest of the kids used to get into Santa grab, there used to be hours of entertainment after the much dreaded half-yearly tests and the follow up of a substantial vacation always got the kids excited. The nativity scene used to be played with tennis rackets tied up at the back , cascading with sheer fabrics. A Jesus doll used to be placed in the center with the whole entourage performing in a trance. I used to get goose bumps just like I get now as I go back the memory lane. There were readings from the Bible, songs sung in the praise of the Son of God - the sound and the silence resonated with pure bliss - the bliss of faith. Christmas was a world of its own in the school in the little town. It was a phenomenon that enthralled a little girl to no end. It was a celebration of faith and love, it was indeed the most wonderful time of the year.

Fast forward a couple of decades - it almost feels like Christmas chased me and unfolds to me its many facets and angles. This experience is worlds away form that little idyllic setting but the spirit that it rekindles gets back a part of my childhood. Shopping malls and parking lots overflowing with patrons of Jesus, in the spirit of giving - under all the glitz and glamour of oversized Xmas trees and holiday grab - the spirit of the season seeps into my heart, magically transforming me into an eight year old that moved her hand clumsily around her shoulders. I stuff my shopping cart with random presents - toys, activity pads and a teddy bear for my little one, a hand written note for my love, Espresso maker for my best friend, skincare for my girlfriends on the wrong side of thirty, cook books and baking paraphernalia for my budding star chef God Niece, digital picture frame for a elder brother figure of a friend, Hello Kitty accesories for the kid's best friend, Lightning McQueen for her little brother, Ornate costume jewelry for the bracelet lover friend and odds and ends for the house keeper, the ballet teacher and the neighbor. I pause and think - what has Christmas come to mean for me? Did it really change much from many years ago? I ponder for an answer. I walk out of the cozy mall, busting at seams with the spirit of giving disguised as merchandise. I see volunteers ringing bells and making small talk at the entrance as they open door for Patrons that come to shop. Bits and pieces of the stories of generosity that flash on my comp screen around this time of the season pop up in my heart. I tuck a few dollars in the collection bin, and walk out only to see an overflowing bin of brand new toys donated for the toy drive at ToysRus. A warm feeling floods my entire being - the blinking lights shine in the background with busy shoppers hauling loads - I see them all in red and white and as slightly over weight - with kind smiles and loving gazes...Christmas emerges as more than a religious holiday, The spirit shines through, the trail of thoughts halt - a smile breaks on my pensive face - What do you want for Christmas? Pick something for under the tree, the significant other says...I politely turn down the offer, I seem to get more than I ever ask for during this time of the year - I get to sense the love, the spirit and most importantly, the feeling of being a child again:-)

Sunday, November 06, 2011

To be continued.

I grew in a time age and place when being nerdy was the best thing a kid could do. Geeky kids who scored the most marks were teacher's pets and the envy and admiration of classmates. The first ranker would get the highest pedestal of respect in the class. So, it is given that a good report card and place in the top 5 ranks was every parent's dream. I do not recollect my mom sitting with me and making me do my homework - she would just check it at the end of the day, and that too till I was in middle school. Good result on the report card was mandatory though or else the kid would be lectured clear and loud about starting a cottage industry to sell appadams which is equivalent to the present day mom's threat of working in Mc Donalds. Running around in the streets with the pretext of playing was the recreation. There was no ballet, art or tennis involved in our day to day routine and hauling a bag load of books back and forth from home to school was the only activity - amid all this expectation on academics, I strayed on to the path of color, sketch and paint. One fateful afternoon in my second grade, it clicked to my little grey cells that I could actually recreate, or attempt to recreate the painting of a little girl in a frilly dress and a bonnet that adorned my notebook cover. I promptly began to draw on a piece of paper - the teacher, who was filling in for an absent colleague, walked to my table, looked at the picture and asked if I drew it. My hazy, unformed ego was flattered and thus the self taught, mediocre, imitation of an artist came into being. Ever since, I tried to copy the images of Gods and goddesses on the complimentary calendars that decorated our blah walls. Sometimes they turned out good, sometimes bad and at other times they were down right ugly - but who was paying heed anyway about the quality of those sketches? Art was my escape, it was my fulfillment. It was a bonafied testimonial to my self discovered talent. I was at it consciously, subconsciously and every level of consciousness in between.
In the meanwhile, many assessments came and went and there was the pressing pressure of academics as usual. I think somewhere down the line, the integral part of art in a child's life was totally undermined. Actually, it did go unnoticed till it dawned upon me that, though I am a self taught artist, I had it in me to teach the same technique to my child and see her appreciate art if not excel at it. Now I started teaching little kids - as little as 3 something and it does sound very ambitious and pressing to teach a barely 4 year old the nuances of art - but believe me,

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Self worth

I once tagged a family member as the most intelligent person I'd known - this intelligent person in question is a one digit ranker in the famous IIT JEE, attended an Ivy league school on full scholarship and finished his PhD and went to become a very sought after researcher in his field - all from the humble beginnings of a small town boy from India. Now - this most intelligent person I know came back to me saying that he is not the most intelligent person I know - in fact one of his seniors from IIT who happened to go to school with me is the most intelligent person I know. Well, the person I'd mentioned as intelligent is a very straight forward no nonsense person and would not waste time in false humility. So that got me thinking! I had the good fortune to know another older person in my social circle who basically does not have any illustrious achievements to his kitty and barely talks sense in his egotistic conversations - I am sure, he would rate himself as the most intelligent person I or anyone who knows him knows! Complicated indeed! So what is up with how we rate ourselves? Well, my ponder attempts to unearth this mystery. Let's put it this way - I thought I was a good singer till I heard those little kids in the reality shows sing - I thought I was a good writer till I read the numerous talented bloggers on the world wide web and I thought I was a good artist till I saw some amazing works of art by budding students in an art gallery. When we are a the proverbial frogs in the well - we are the rulers of the well...but we are in such ignorance that there is a whole world that exists beyond our little well. Let me not boast too much about how mature I am for my thirty four year old head - but I do think that I's seen enough of the world to rate myself humbly - and truly humbly. As this special species of homo sapience, we are susceptible to immense self love. When my five year old plays 'angry birds' on TV - she talks about strategy - she blabbers in a mock sophisticated tone trying to teach me the strategy of knocking those 'green piggie thingies' (as she calls them) and every time I win - she duly takes all the credit - "Look" - she exclaims, her face beaming in all that self appreciation "Good, you listened to me - that is the advantage of following my strategy" (did I tell you she has a good blabbering vocab that the language loving momma is proud of) - the other day I told her that she needs to read bigger syllable words like a friend of hers - my point was not to pitch another little girl against her but to tell her that it is always a good practice in life to acknowledge someone who is better than us and try to learn from their example. The toddler got mighty upset. I had to explain it to her that we are not and we cannot be the best in every thing. Between my little girl and my most intelligent relative, I could pretty much figure it out - that it comes naturally to all of us - the art of appreciating ourselves and rating ourselves as the best human beings in all walks of life - but what we need to do is cultivate a sense of how legitimate our self determined self worth is - I only wish that comes naturally to us as well - but alas - it doesn't. When our vision of the world is smaller, our image of ourselves is larger than life - and as our vision of our words expand, we come to realize that we are not spinning the world and what we are is a bird dropping in an ocean:-) How we love ourselves is inversely proportional to how much world we have seen. So the next time we come across, a pompous, self loving egotist - we don't need to put him in his/her place -we should just take mental notes not to transform into those pompous, self loving egotists. After all - rising above the self love is what makes us live a better life and spread the love.

Saturday, October 08, 2011


This is going to be a very hilariously ironic blog for a overly verbal and vocal person like me, but just for the fun of it, I want to attempt to ponder on the 'expression in action' thought. I think it is a law of physics that opposites attract and to me, attractiveness lies in using fewer words and more actions. Years ago, as a student of language, I used to wonder why my writing instructor used to insist on "Show - Don't tell" exercise while writing. So, instead of saying a flower looks red, the writer should show the hue - probably by describing the hue and not using the word red - tricky isn't it? But then I ended up reading a short story by a creative director of a successful ad agency - The story deals with an abduction. The writer told the whole story without using the word abduction or any of its remote synonyms. I don't know how much of the craft of writing I picked up there - but I did end up being a good reader - my workshop had changed the way I read - not just mere words but the world around me as well. But like I said, this is going to be an ironical blog - so I should admit that I love finding words for people. I am usually the one who supplies words to people who stumble with finding the right word to describe or express something. But ironically, I also realized that in this super fast era of mobile phones and SMSing, we did end up being more about talk and less about action. There is eloquence every where - there is better copy being written for sales pitches. FB status messages baffle me for the kind of articulation this generation has. Just about every thing around me from user manuals to best sellers got better in the craft of words. Ever read Steinbeck? The first book I read of him left me so immensely charmed because of the choice of words. They are so simple and not as flowery or articulate as, say, J K Rowling - while I do not mean any disrespect to Ms. Rowling and her super human spin of imagination and craft of words, I just mean to drive home the point that sometimes, it is not how you say it - it is more about what you are saying. I just hope that this era of communication doesn't take away from the more profound 'action' part that is more essential than anything else. I used to write essays in grade school - we were graded more for the craft of words than the thought or the passion for a given topic. There are hundreds of people around us that do things for us - they might not really open their mouths and tell us how much they love us or what we mean to them - but in their most sincere way, they would pack our lunches, tip toe while we sleep or may be pray for our well being and bask in our smiles. There are millions of little expressions of love that are not captured and condensed into words that miss our notice. There are less articulate people with more intense emotions that bloom into simple actions of love and affection. In fact, there is more action in this world that goes unnoticed than the words that get the royal treatment. We as a generation, have bit into the 'articulation' so much that we are just shutting our minds to things that are unspoken. I think that all eloquence in the world cannot hold a candle to a sincere action. I am guilty as charged for talking more than acting - which I think is the down fall of the world today. May be, we should all focus more on doing things than talking about them - may be we should stop and feel the love that is being expressed in little acts. Helping hands are better than praying lips, thoughtful actions are better than beautiful words:-) Ironical? Indeed!!

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

This and that.

Sometimes, it becomes hard to write. The ideas cross the mind and vanish into oblivion within no time. There are people who inspire to think, to love and to rebel, there will be stories to tell, opinions to express and observations to record but it just becomes hard to write. Which kind of makes me wonder if having a routine and a commitment to be answerable is the only way one can be at their productive best. But blessed are the self motivated, self committed folks - the few of those folks who change the world for people like me. God bless their grit, their tenacity to outdo themselves and their love for living a meaningful life. On that note, to the few regulars here, I wish to apologize for not taking the blog seriously, since I notice that my quality of life improves when I ponder aloud on the world wide web.. It is almost like a soul searching monologue that the leading lady rattles in daily soaps. When I don't write, I feel a part of me missing from my being, so I hope to keep my commitment to write, as often I can, as much as I can. Thanks for the time you invest in my ponders and for the said and the unsaid comments - unsaid comments as well - since I believe they'll reach me somehow and make me better at my mediocre thoughts.
Much has happened over the course of the past few months. There were constant ponders in my mind's world about my choice of being a stay at home mother, the world around me, the art of raising kids, the tact of avoiding arguments and and most importantly, the life skill of knowing and understanding the people that make your life. Aarti had started her regular school as a kindergartner. It is just so liberating to walk out of the house early in the morning and to see little children marching to school like ants. Parents walk them - there is so much promise in the day when you look at it through that scene - children who have no sense of time pausing to jump in the puddle formed by the sprinkler on the sidewalk or to pluck the random dandelion to wish upon. Almost all of them look so happy to be marching to school. Some ride their colorful bikes and some come on their roller shoes, and once the bell rings, the whole scene comes to a hushed silence. I walk back home thinking about all the lessons that my little girl would get etched onto her mind in the process of growing up and finding something meaningful to do. I make a mental note to introduce her to classic reads, to make her paint and sing and to do all I can as a mother to make my little one give her personal best to her life. I read to her, I help her to read and instruct her diligently about washing hands and saying thank yous. But I see that no matter what I teach her, the things she learns are the ones that she sees me do. She doodles all the time, just like me - she likes nail polish, is into cooking and when she talks to kids younger to her, she uses the same words of endearment that I use and imitates my mannerisms to the tee. parenting is indeed a very serious job - we unknowingly leave so many scratches on their tender minds and leave them to live with that damage. I have to admit that I am being much more careful about what I say and how I say it in my daughter's ear shot - which makes me second guess myself about what I say out of her ear shot - like they say - a child gives birth to a mother! :-)

On a different note, I also realized that there is an element of good in every bad we notice. Sometimes we are so hard wired to see things in our perspective that we don't really see things for what they are - we especially do this mistake when we deal with our close associates - friends, spouses, parents. And when the mind is seeking the things that it doesn't like, it sifts through a lot of good to get to that little bad that is left back. when we look at what is not working for us, we just magically become partially blind - which causes great distress to ourselves than to anyone else. We confidently forget that there is so much in us that might not be liked by the people around us. I was just thinking - how blissful this world would become if we are a little more open in our mind's eye to look at things the way they are than to attach our own baggage to it. It is an exercise we all need to consciously practice.

And as a conclusion to this aimless ponder, I just wanted to say that envy seems to be the resident ruler of all vices. There is so much of it that I see in the world. I read somewhere that it is that fine art of counting another person's blessings. I see people who get insecure about other persons' achievements and accomplishments and take it as an insult to themselves. When each of us are concentrating on what is served on our plate, we'll have a hearty meal and a healthy mind. As much as we try to be better, we are all humans - but the uniqueness of being a human is that you get the opportunity to make a choice - a better choice, a sensible choice! I think if we look at others' happiness as our own, we have arrived. Or at least, we should stop looking at it as our misery. I hope that no one ever stoops to a level where they find happiness in someone else's misery.

Phew...that sums up the overly corny entry - Here's to a hope to find the inspiration and the will to write - regularly:-)

Friday, August 19, 2011


When thoughts pour out
Without a care,
No traces of mistrust
Just a will to repair -
Little peeves
Come peeking out
Letting you gaze
Into my world.
I wind down the window
Of my automobile
Facing the other side of the road.
While you steer away
In the opposite direction,
Window still wound down -
We look at one another
With reassurances galore.
Our journeys
Take the same road
You to this end
And me to that....
But there comes a time
When we come face to face
And we magically see
The destination we are set to reach.
For such moments my friend
Thanks to the high Heavens.
Thanks to whatever it is
That bestowed me with you.

Friday, August 12, 2011


As I age, I notice - that what we talk speaks a lot about who we are and while we talk, we actually put a display of our thoughts - like a scan of what we would go through in our minds while we speak. And in my day to day life, I see them all around me - People who talk like they mean it, talk and don't know why or what they talk, people who talk sense, nonsense, people who talk out of their hearts and then some who do through their backsides. Here's a run down of the specimens in my research.

The weather reporter - I know of a person, a sweet, diffident one - that comes to me every time we cross paths and gives me an analysis of how I look. The person would walk to me, greet me in the sweetest smile and tell me how I look for the day. "You look tired today" "You look dull" "You look really fabulous in dangle earrings, you should wear only dangling ones" "You look pretty today - keep wearing this top" " you gained weight from the last time I saw you - you look fat" - the report goes on and on - mostly like a under enthusiastic weather reporter reading out the daily forecast. The only problem I have with the reporter is that on an average day, unless I am sedate on pain killers, I do know if I feel or look dull, fat or tired. I don't need a reminder of how I look every time someone sees me, (specially, if that someone sees me on a daily basis) -as to what kind of a look I am wearing for the day - chances are, I peeped into the mirror on my way out of the house and even if I didn't, my look for the day will not effect the day in anyway.

The Quiz Master - The quizzer needs to know it all - and at once. In the first meeting, the quizzer would ask you how old you are, why you are that old, how much your husband makes, how much you paid for your new refrigerator, how often you clean your house etc....if you give the quizzer answers to all those questions - the quizzer will quickly encroach your privacy and ask you questions you might not ask yourself. The quizzer's main focus in life is 'others' and the no stone is left unturned till you let it all out. The quizzer, more often than not, tests your patience and your ability to get away with ambiguous answers and your knack to be politically correct. The quizzer has no respect whatsoever for your privacy.

The Butcher - You could use the term "Dockers" loosely for a dress pant - but not in the presence of the butcher - your every word will be dissected to fine pulp, pulverized to no end. The butcher's aim in life is to look for inconsistencies, mistakes, grammatical errors and low IQ levels in the person he is talking to and then attack them with a sharp as a butcher's knife criticism. If you post a general observation about terrorism - the butcher will quickly come in and smack you down for posting an observation and not really joining the anti-terrorist squad and laying your life down for the cause you passionately talk about. If you repeat wise words of a wise man - the butcher will still come in and tell you why the words are not worth being uttered by a wise man in the first place and then as to how much useless it is to repeat them by giving his own take on the said quote.

The wannabe stand up comedian - This specimen doesn't mean any harm - the only aim in his/her life is to pull humor out of every situation to make them look like messiahs of sense of humor. They want to be the life of the party, the pride of the group but somehow end up making irritable comedies of their own self. Sadly, they end up hurting feelings as well sometimes - all in the name of God blessed humor.

The Know All - from rocket science to Vedic texts, from para sailing to pet care - the know alls are walking, talking search engines that have enormous knowledge at their finger tips. You tell them about an observation made a couple of minutes ago - ofcourse, they had seen it, been there, done that, nailed it. Go figure...and most importantly, keep shut!

The parrot talker - Most of the time, you have a difficulty understanding what they are trying to say. The parrot talker has a halo effect around his/herself that leads them into believing that they are being this profound, though provoking conversationalists - but for the most part they lay eggs right left and center - they do provide a lot of comic relief though - from the more spiteful specimens.

The a$$ - This specimen walks away with all the awards - this is the one that has no consideration for the feelings of anyone - including children - and in his/her most vicious and vile self can call a child in glasses as an old man or make fun of a handicap with a trademark condescending humor. The a$$ handpicks topics of discussions - the ones that are sensitive and can cause discomfort to others and goes ahead making his point and crushing hearts and feelings in the process. The a$$ (animal, not body part BTW) will point out your shortcomings in a sadistic way and smiles contently as the people around them sigh in despair.

I have more that I should record, more thoughts that hit me. Shall probably revisit this - but this is an attempt to come over the writer's /thinker's block.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Taking lazy turns
Around bustling isles,
Steering way through
Busy streets,
Steaming veggies, brewing tea!
Changing sheets
And dusting furniture,
Teaching alphabet, singing lullabies,
Cooking meals and pruning shrubs,
washing clothes, scrubbing tubs
Reading poems and writing blogs -
It lingers through little tasks
Triumphs in errands
And thrives on wee joys,
My Ambition - or lack thereof!

Saturday, May 28, 2011


"Trains are liable to make up or loose time" the painted foot note read - on the little black board she used to write the arrival timings of the trains in that small town Railway station she worked in. She would look at the sentence and cringe. "loose time!" "loose time"? Really?How could a picky language lover tolerate the confusion? But no one ever seemed to notice it like she did - or no one ever seemed to bother if they'd noticed it in the first place. Till he came in to the picture on a bright weekday. The crowd thickened around her counter window- but he waited- till he got a chance to come closer to speak to her from the other side. "But it has to read Lose, Not loose!" He pointed out. She looked at him with immense interest, almost like she had found a voice resonating with her own. Almost as if she was in shock to realize that there was another person existing in this world that looked and noticed the little things the way she did.
"It is painted that way" She offered her explanation, her acne accented cheeks which were already red from the inflammation turned a shade brighter as she spoke. Her perfectionism making her wonder if he thought she'd painted the letters that way. She suddenly remembered the way one of her uncles asked how stationary was different from Stationery when she was in primary school. She remembered how she felt insulted that he'd think she'd not know. This young woman, all of eighteen was a lover of all things perfect and Her language topped the charts.
"Just saying!" He smiled. With a twinkle in his eyes and disappeared into the busy platform. She looked in his direction and smiled without her knowledge.
"What are you so happy about?" A colleague's question brought her back to the moment and she got back to her work in the enquiry counter.


"Is the east bound train coming in anytime soon?" A familiar voice made her look up from the book she was reading. She was in her night shift and the relatively free schedule of trains allowed her to dig into books. She looked to find him again - her face broke into a beaming smile.
"oh, you? How are you"
"Very well!"
"Yeah, the train will be here momentarily"
"Thanks - By the way, what keeps you so engrossed?"
"Oh- this book" She lifts the book into her hands and flashes the cover.
"Anna Karenina?" Nice read. Heavy, tragic - but nice read!"

"You read it?"
" I think I did!"

"You read a lot?" Her heart was racing now. There is a connection with this person.

"I am bound to. I teach"

Now she got up from her seat.
"Awesome!" She squealed in joy.

"Don't tell me you teach English"

"Yes, my dear! I do!"

"Grade school?"

"Graduate school!"

"No kidding - So tell me we can discuss 'Paradise Lost'

"Sure we can. Tell me when and where?"

She wanted to say "Right here, right now" but contained her excitement and said whenever you can spare some time.


Now it was obvious he loved her. Like his own, and how would a hopelessly romantic eighteen year old not love him back? They were walking back to a nearby coffee shop to get refreshments.

"Get something" he insisted. " I think I am okay" she excused herself. She was lost in the way he sang to her on the platform - a divine hymn singing the glory of Goddess Shakti. She got off her schedule to meet him on the platform while he waited for a train to arrive. They both sat on one of those benches planted into the concrete of the platform, oblivious to the world around them. From a distance, it was an amusing scene - for no bystander would understand what connects them so intensely as to make them lost in each other on a busy platform with all the hustle and bustle thrown in.

The train arrived and his guest who was passing through the station, got off the train to wish him. "Meet my friend" - he would introduce her to the guest. "Meet Daya Mata - the head in our Ranchi headquarters - he told her, as she joined her hands to greet the guest. He was heavily into spirituality and meditation - one of the other aspects that intrigued her to no end.

"I am dropping you home" he confirmed as the train took away the passing guest - without asking her if she wanted him to.

"I'll take the bus" She insisted.

"Follow me! No arguments"

They drove home on his motorbike - lost as ever in their own world.


He drove to her home with the copy of his Thesis. Read it - you'll love it" He offered. And then he asked her to come over to meet him at his work - in the nearby Degree college.

She walked to his work - found the college peon and told him that she was here for the English professor.
"Sir told me Miss" The peon would flash a grin. "Please wait while I get you some tea" He'd walk her into the staff room and offer her some tea.

"There you are" He said - with unmistakable joy in his voice.

" I hope the peon recognized you"

He pulled a chair to sit next to her and lowered his voice to a mock whisper "I told him there would be a girl looking for me in the evening - A strikingly gorgeous and poised one"

His love and awe for her out did the collective efforts of the all the boys who hit on her. His words made her feel beautiful and confident.

She managed a silent embarrassed smile.

"What are you smiling about? You know right? - You are a very pretty and sensible young woman, and I wanted to warn the peon beforehand so that he would get ready to lose his heart"

Her smile stretched from ear to it not enough that this man taught her ' Paradise Lost' and made her discover Milton? Is it not enough that the man connects with her like magic and sings to her and awes her with his outlook on life and endears her with his gentle kind ways? Is it not enough that he charms her with his intellect?

She collected her notes that day and walked home feeling like a pageant winner.


It is their usual place of meeting. The coffee shop opposite the railway station. A man walks to him and wishes him

"Good afternoon professor, what brings you here?"
"I had to meet some friend passing through"

The man looks at her and recognizes her.
'So, she works here with the Railways?" the man asks him.
"yeah she does - what might interest you is that she is a student of literature as well"

"My daughter is a student of literature too - the man adds. It is endearing when daughters take up their fathers' passions"

She understood the misconception going through the man's mind and attempted to offer a clarification.

"Yeah, it is endearing - he cuts her off" and hurriedly takes leave of the man saying he has some work to attend to.
She follows him while saying bye to the man they just met.

On her way back home, sitting behind him on his motorbike, she asked him
"But the man thought I was your daughter - it is funny though, one of my traffic controllers called me the other day on the network line to give me some work related info and he assumed the same thing as well - telling me he was your student and he never knew that I am your daughter, it seems the other day he saw us in the coffee shop together."

"What did you say to him?"

" I told him you are my daddy's friend. You know what was funny? He was telling me how handsome you were in your day. Funny cause I think you are hands down one of the most interesting and handsome men I'd met so far"

He let out a loud laughter.
"Thank you I guess?"

"But anyway, why did you not tell this man I wasn't your kid?"

"Because I feel you are mine"

She smiled to herself - one of those beaming smiles that bloom on her face when she is in his company.

And they drove back home lost in one of those conversations.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Work in progress...

She roams around almost lazily in the Magnificent cathedral - looking at the stained glasses the depict the life and times of Jesus Christ. The visitors go about the expanse, animated, letting out sighs of awe. The scene looks like a vintage motion picture sans dialogues. Her eyes rest on a sculpture. Jesus - bleeding while surrounded by his followers. Numerous candles light up around the scene, giving it a 'back in time' feel. She gathers her scarf around her elbows and picks a candle to light. She reaches out to a shining candle nearby and dips the wick into the gentle flame. The warm glow illuminates her face - a generous forehead letting out tell tale signs of a jump start of the process of aging when looked at in that illumination, Calm, peaceful eyes and a perfect nose that stands out and anchors the features. Her lush hair falls back in a tight braid while wisps of deep black hair escape and cascade onto her cheeks. She is effortlessly beautiful, dressed in a dull cotton tunic and a pair of conservative indigo jeans. Her face has no traces of makeup, the only aspect of adornment that competes with her absentminded smile are the generous solitaires she wears on her large earlobes. The off white knit scarf around her neck falls on to her bust while covering every inch of her long and slender neck. It is hard to say if she has any more decorations - fabric covers every inch of her body. Her tender feet nestle on the cool floor of the cathedral as she presses them hard into the surface in an attempt to cool the warmth the hurt sculpture of the Lord creates in her. The corner of her eyes get misty. She lets our a little mock cough...a reflex that comes out when she realizes the moistness in her eyes. She clears her throat and slily wipes her eyes in a make believe attempt that looks like she is wiping a grain of sand away from the tip of her lashes. The enigmatic smile plays on her full lips all along.

She finds a seat on the bench. and lifts up to look at the endless ceilings. It is hard to believe that it is middle of the day with the all powerful sun frolicking at his hottest, brightest best on the outside - the dark expanse of the inside of the cathedral has no traces of artificial lighting. The stained glass accents glow in the darkness along with the nimble wicker of the naked flames from the candles that are lit around. She is lost in a trail of thoughts again - drawing comparisons of how the inside of this dark place of worship with little flecks of light coincides with her own inside. Little flecks of thought shine in her gaping, empty heart. She is transformed into the past...a past that comes and gets her a decade and a half later.

Saturday, May 07, 2011


She limps up the stairs with a pot of water on her hip, her sari pleats tucked into her waist. She stops for brief moments, as if to gather strength to take the next step. Her eyes have a ring of grey, giving away the age which she denies by going about like a machine running on fuel. She carefully pours the water into a stainless steel drum and repeats the drill. On random days, when her luck fails along with the municipality water supply, she does this chore to make sure there is enough water to drink and use around the house. Her younger days aren't any different. She wakes up before dawn to cook for a big family, packs her lunch along with the others' and takes a public transport to go to the school where she teaches. Her evenings are filled with household chores and cooking and cleaning after grown up kids. Now she is retired. Old enough and worked enough to rightfully deserve a 'retirement'. She keeps her lips zipped and her hands and mind busy. Never waits for her daughters in law to chime into the chores. Diligently cooks, cleans and feeds an ungrateful family that should, ideally, take care of themselves and then take care of her as well.
Her service is the tip of the iceberg.
"Take it if you like it" she'd offer her every worldly possession from saris to accessories. "Do it your way" she'd withdraw, when family decisions are being made. "Let me take care of that" she'd volunteer to wipe the butt of a grandkid.
Her daughters in law afford the luxury of PMSes, boredom and break from the kids in forms of shopping trips while she works like a machine that could have been fortunate enough if she were an actual machine, that she could break down and stop working from the overuse.
The pampered sons and daughers in law think they deserve it, think they are so good that their mom is all over them slogging her last bit of energy off, repaying them for their worth!


If there were a human form to anger, ego and selfishness - this has to be THE man. He'd gamble, drink, womanize and come home to a dreading family that hides behind the doors when he smashes his dinner plate into the wall just because the fish isn't done right! His wife would weep silently while the sons and daughters follow instructions to the q, not looking in the eye, not questioning, not rebelling. He'd have it his way - shouting at the pitch of his lungs and making the house a living hell. The last time he comes home with an overdue bill at the local bar, the son pulls out the money earned from tutoring and pays the dues. The daughters cook and clean while the wife silently suffers the atrocities of holy matrimony. He specially makes it a point to show off in public as to what a dread he is to his folks and how much respect he commands and how disciplined his family is.

Little does this monster of a person know or realize that it is their love for him that makes them endure his eccentricities and to question a person and put him in his place, it does not take a whole army and ammunition - all it takes is a little giving up!


The boy lives with a purpose - to love the girl. He has eyes only for her. He yearns for nothing except to give her what makes her happy. Smiles, cards, chocolates, flowers, gifts, reassurances - you name it! She chases a goal, a mirage, a nothingness - which makes her blind to the emotion, to the pure love that is being served to her on a platter. She doesn't look at the love, or may be she doesn't care to admit - for her world lies elsewhere, an elsewhere where there is everything but love. She admires him, acknowledges him but when it comes to realizing how lucky she is, she fails - she moves ahead in life, leaving a shattered heart that holds her in its every little piece. She gets what she wants, but will never live to realize what she threw away was a million times precious than what she chased.


The worst thing in life is not lacking it - it is lacking the realization of having it.

Thursday, May 05, 2011


Hey you - I am asking you!
What matters?
More than a smile that comes your way
When thoughts of despair doom your day!
What matters more than
A bellyful of grub,
Dreams to be - small but meaningful.
Does a closet of full of clothes
Define your inside?
Like the words your speak
Or thoughts you think??
Adornments, sparkly and shiny
Don't take away from the filth within.
What matters more
Than a friend in need?
Than a helping hand,
When you are hurt and pained?
A shoulder to cry
A word of love
That'd take the turmoil away!
A conviction to speak
And not be afraid
Of telling the truth
Or supporting it!
What matters more?
Than a non-judgmental take
On things you might not like
Or do yourself!
Does anything matter more?
Than being yourself
And loving and giving
What you can spare??
What matters more than a good deed
A kind word?
A caring seed
For folks around you?
What really matters
Is spreading the love
Not driving cool cars
Or fighting big wars!
The bags of money,
The heaps of wealth..
All stay back
What matters is health!
A healthy mind,
A healthy thought
What matters more
are battles fought
To fight our egos
To kill our selfishness
To be a Samaritan
Of humanness -
Is what matters more than
Having it all!


Your thoughts that follow
Like a persistent toddler
With separation anxiety.
Your Emotions that cling
Smothering my existence.
Your words echoing
In the abyss of my heart
Your never-felt touch
Mocking me of the lack.
Your love that was there
Without ever announcing itself,
Or impacting me,
Like the way your absence does.
Dreams of you
That take me back in time
Leaving a void in my present.
Where do I live?
In the non-existent past
Or the painful present??

Wednesday, May 04, 2011


I sift my thoughts
Through the debris of the past
A heap clumped
with the moistness of my tears
I gather cysts of pain
Malignant, life taking -
Know not what they would come to mean.
I dig the graves
Of buried hopes
Cry over the remnants
And mourn the loss.

Is this getting them back?
Or letting them go?

Sunday, March 27, 2011


She finds words
like luck in loads.
To translate a picture
into strokes with language.
She finds words
Like swift sharp swords
To haul attacks
At atrocities.
She finds words,
Like simple codes,
To put forth her thoughts
Of everyday life.
She finds words
To feign her feelings
To mask, to conceal
And confuse the world.
Alas...she finds not
A single letter
To tell Him
How much it hurts
When the love
Emerges out, piercing her heart!

Friday, March 04, 2011


In search of answers

looking for them -

In grass, side walks,

Flowers and buds.

In critters and bugs

Trees and bushes!

In search of answers

While lumbering around -

In bloomers and suspenders,

squeaky boots and pom pom caps!

Till the bloomers bloom into formals

And then the transformation of

Question and answer sessions

Take unexpected turns

Looking for them in people -

Their ages, lives, their homes and dreams

Inquisitiveness takes an ugly twist!

Ah…the pains of growing up:-)

Sunday, February 06, 2011

The Plea.

This review contains Spoilers.

I got some down time, finally, to watch Guzarish, the film that I'd been wanting to watch all these days. Sanjay Bhansali intrigues me as a director. I saw his debut "khamoshi" and noticed him for his keen observation skills and sensitivity to the handicaps that exist around him. It was a failed but laudable attempt by a new kid on the block, brave enough to questions the 'song, dance, fight, cry and happy ending" sequence of commercial Bollywoood cinema. If my friends' observation of my taste being 'weird' is true, I seem to like cinema that addresses more than entertainment. I do enjoy the mindless dramas or romances that Indian cinema churns out, but I love directors who look beyond what meets the eye and make attempts to put forward a message. Who ever said that cinema is meant only to entertain and not to preach or teach or invoke thought, is, according to my humble and honest opinion - wrong! I see the influence of cinema all around me. People imitate the style, the dialogue and even the mannerisms of the characters that are created and depicted on the silver screen and we all do, consciously or otherwise, get influenced by the medium, which collectively, can effect the face of the society we live in- so to present a deep, thought provoking subject is a very laudable attempt in an industry where most movies are made with an intent to succeed at the box office.

Guzarish, or a plea - touches the sensitive subject of "mercy killing" or Euthenesia as it is popularly known. According to the House of Lords Select Committee on Medical Ethics, the precise definition of euthanasia is "a deliberate intervention undertaken with the express intention of ending a life, to relieve intractable suffering*

To come back to the plot, a slightly plump Hrithik Roshan, who plays a quadriplegic (Ethan Mascarenas) tied down to his bed, but not tied down by his spirit, counsels the hale and healthy brethren that calls him for advice and teaches them a thing or two about love, life and living, through the medium of a radio show. Aishwarya Rai plays his extremely diligent nurse (Sophie D'Souza) of twelve years, who'd not taken even a day off from her work during this period. Enters Shernaz Patel with her theater-trained performance, as the buddy and lawyer( named Devyaani Duttaa) of Ethan Mascranecas , and it is then and there that she takes away form the dumb looking Aishwarya with her out of place costumes and expressions. Aishwarya, I'd opined earlier, and I do again, is a woman India should be proud of - but not by any stretch of imagination is she an actor that is watchable. In the scene in which she confronts her husband that conveniently appears at the fag end of the movie, to make the 'marriage' of the leading characters possible, Ash displayed acting skills of an armature - and pulled the movie down with all her might and main. I am not critiquing her costumes or the scripting of her character - to me, Aishwarya is not born to act - and she seemed to not have learned form all the experience of being mentored by directors like Bhansali and Ratnam. She falls as flat as ever!

Back to the plot, the movie, for dealing with a sensitive and controversial subject like Euthanasia, didn't evoke the thought or emotions that I anticipated. This is coming form a movie goer that could cry at the slightest provocation, and I am surprised that no scene in the movie spoke to me in terms of sensitivity. The student's character played by Aditya roy Kapoor is worth a mention for his very natural acting skills but again, the character is not molded to its true capacity.
Bhansali is known for his grandeur both in terms of sensitivity and sensibility, but his movie is more like a first draft that would have had a great potential if it was worked on the way Bhansali is known to work on. Hrithik shows the shades of the actor in him which is a pleasant and powerful change form the star we usually get to see. The rest is mediocrity at its best. The soul of the film is flawed and so are the characters and the execution. The sub plots that walk in and out at their will are loose ends that leave the audience with a lot of questions about the love and rivalry aspects of the protagonist's life.
There are a lot of layers to the person that is Ethan Mascrenas and those layers are meant to be manifested in the numerous relationships the film portrays - but none of them kindle the underlying warmth or passion the director envisioned. There are a few scenes that attempt to steal the show - like the one in which Ethan refuses a hug saying he has enough attachments and the one in which he opines to have undergone 'Chinese torture.' All these moments lack the depth the intensity of the subject demands.
I shall remember Guzarish as a brave and expensive attempt with unnecessary ostentation that distracts the viewer from its soul. It is like the beautiful statue of a woman - breathtakingly beautiful, but lifeless and lacking personality. All it displays is the sculptor's skill and attention for detail. All else fades in the glory of the visual.

*courtesy - Wikipedia.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011


This is how a tiny little angel (from the pre-k class I volunteer) with cherub cheeks, hailing form the country of Pyramids and Pharos, wrote her name on her art work, post a mile long vacation to her homeland.




Today, I was introduced to yet another joy of facebooking - Controversial comments! Ahem, and I apparently made one such disgusting, demeaning and un-parliamentary (so what does this word mean anyway? something that is not appropriate to use in a parliament? - if so, why do they often compare ours to the fish market? I wonder aloud!) comment about women belonging to a certain state. I looked at one of these wedding pics a dear friend posted, looked at the stunning bride and said in all genuineness, that "Malyalee girls are hot!" Before I go further, I just have to acknowledge that I am not the kind of person that would say something nice or otherwise without meaning it. I had the good fortune in recent years, though I was mentored by a school of Malyalee Nuns in my childhood, to realize that these women are well read, well bred and good-looking all at the same time.
Enters a man who e-shouts at me - that the OCCASION doesn't warrant such comments and I should 'understand' this as a 'woman'. At first I thought there was some miscommunication - since the ever wordy yours truly who cannot say a simple phrase in less than 500 words happened to reply in all the lengthy glory, which contained a lot of negations to convey an utterly positive observation, as a response to the friend's playful feedback to the alleged unparlimentary comment.
Then, I panicked - I think - ever so slightly, since what my general physician said about my recent jaw pain and doc's visit was ever so slightly true and I do, in reality have some mild anxiety that comes as a side effect of having a over active toddler and a job that offers no fiscal benefits and loads of physical deficits, or because I have this OCD of a guilt complex that only a fellow sufferer of 'middle child syndrome' could empathize with.
I read and reread and then took the aid of the kid sister who chanced to call at the same moment when the concoction of ever so slight panic and middle child syndrome occurred. "The dude got offended by your "Hot" comment she offered which put me in a 'lack of reaction' mode. I could not, for once, figure if I had to laugh my heads off or feel sorry for the self appointed etiquette police on planet Facebook.

My brother once came home, post the 'Slumdog' fever, form a trip to a shopping strip in San Francisco and related to me a story about a co-shopper, who walked to him, confirmed that he's indeed Indian, and told him that "The hot little thing" in Slumdog is giving him sleepless nights and in his 'halo effect' mindset and said that he wants to go to India and fall in love with all the women! My brother managed a thank you I guess - and came home and told me the story as if he were Aishwarya rai's brother and was just relating to his sister, the extremely memorable and endearing compliment a very enthusiastic fan had urged him to convey. He didn't see anything unparlimentary about the words, hot OR little thing - and neither did I. I am thankful - since, had he been the self appointed police of 'saving the grace of Indian women' the guy would have though very highly of the Indian Gentry :-D
I feel the necessity to mention here, that on a site like facebook, where every one and their neighbor's forefathers have more friends than humans I'd ever seen in my three decades of living, you say a thing and it gets noticed more often for what it is perceived to be, than for what it is. I have this extremely funny younger friend who finds endless humor in 'gay' related statuses and comments. Though I am not a whole generation older, some of his observations come across more as 'cheeky' than funny. Like I said, I have an OCD guilt complex and often wonder how a 'fighting with the sexuality, still in the woodworks person' might get effected by that humor. I once happened to watch a telugu movie that was a mega hit in it's times for a comedy that ridicules speech impediments. By a strange twist of fate, we watched it with a neighbor that had stuttering issues and I could not, for the life of me, get to understand how a full house could go into a mass hysteria of laughter that is aimed at a handicap. I am probably in the minority and would be branded as a 'holier than thou' snob but Back on track - I would personally not make humor targeted at a certain group, but I do have the dignity to keep my opinions and judgments to myself when I am not asked for them and when the said 'comedy' is being expressed on people's own walls and blogs. So, why would anyone get offended if I called a certain group of women 'hot' in a space other than his, under a picture other than his, and a senior, well respected, head on shoulders member of the same fraternity seems to have taken it as a beaming compliment?" I fail to understand.
Like some wise soul opined in one of her blogs recently - "that people attach their own egos to what is being said - and seldom take things like they are meant to be, or it is just the fact that we are so engrossed in finding faults with every thing we set our eyes on, that we forget our boundaries of grace. I say that being judgmental is the worst thing anyone could do - and I just did that worst thing by saying what I just said. But Hey, I am trying to make a point here - meaning, like beauty, lies in the eyes and mind of the beholder.

Monday, January 10, 2011


"Hey Alex*- how are you? " I inquire enthusiastically as he comes and pulls a chair opposite to mine.
"You remember me?" he asks - without looking surprised!
"Of course I do!" I add wondering if he remembers me.

He lookes like he remembers me, or may be he doesn't care to remember... or care to remember if he rememberes!

He has that same carelessness about him - but a tenderness masked in that carelessness.

He pulls a sheet from the pile that is stacked in front of me.. I try to help him get it without rummaging the stack. He shoots a look at me with his mouth pursed tightly and his eyebrows knotted and pulls the sheet with all his might. I let go in fear of tearing the sheet into two. He lets out a carefully concealed smile but quickly goes back to his grumpy expression.

I get lost in the things I need to finish at the table - and when I look in his direction I let out a little shriek...

"What are you trying to do?" I ask him without sounding too bossy! "This is not how you do it!"

He shoots back that same disdainful look at me. A look that I try not take personally. He pauses a couple of seconds and holds on to the craft work tightly.

" I want to do it my way!" he almost yells.

" Your way?" I question back helplessly. Looking at a supposed snowman - that looks like a pile of unclean dishes with food drying on them. The embellishments that need to go on the snowman are probably dumped into a pool of glue and scattered with the hand. The hat stuck to the center with some feathers that are soaked in Elmer's washable glue.
I give up. I cannot really win with this kid! He has a very strong mind of his very own.

"All done" he smiles and walks with careless aplomb to put it on the drying rack.

The Following day:

"Hey Alex! How are you this afternoon" I question like a hyper door to door salesperson.
He doesn't answer. He just looks back at me with a pouty mouth and knit eyebrows. I smile and he makes a silly face at me. I look to my sides to see if anyone noticed his making fun of me.

"Never mind!" I say aloud. " DO you want to come and make a penguin?"

He doesn't answer. He grabs the sheet and attempts to cut the outline.

I look away to help the other kids at the table.

By the time I look back he has what looks like a Halloween ghost cut-out in his hand, instead of the "rounded at the edges" rectangle.

"let me trim it for you" I offer.

"NO" he yells. "This is his hair" he say pointing to a horn like protrusion on the 'supposed to be penguin' craft work.

Then he glues the eyes to make it look like a couple of belly buttons stacked in the center of the stomach.

"My way" he pouts mischievously.
"Is this a monster you made here?" I ask in funny mockery.

"It is a penguin silly" he snaps back and glides to the drying rack.

The 'supposed to be penguin' leers through a row of actual penguins grabbing my attention just like this little guy does in a class full of cute toddlers.

"I want to do it my way" I over hear him saying.

He is a menace, but an original menace!

God bless creativity!


*identity changed!

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Soft spot

A few years ago, when Titanic made all the hoopla after it's release, my then fiance called me up and told me how moved he was with the movie. I vowed to watch it with him, and thus, didn't really care to watch it till a couple of years later when we became a couple. Zack and Rose became these larger than life icons of true love and I did sit up and notice Leonardo DiCaprio and of course, Kate Winslett, the porcelain skinned, wholesome beauty. By wholesome, I don't mean chubby. I just mean that she is the perfect balance of a woman who didn't look particularly emaciated or perfectly beautiful. She was this tender, believable and lovable young lady with whom a free spirited boy like Zack would have fallen in love.
I noticed them, and then, like my usual self that cannot be in awe with a single thing for long enough - moved ahead with my life. I have a problem when people ask me what my favorite movie, actor, color, dish, restaurant or book would be. I don't pick favorites I say - or I just say that my favorites depend on a lot of things. For instance, if you ask me what my favorite color is, I'd say - My favorite color on the walls of my living room would be a minty, saga green and on my finger nails would be a nude, pinkish beige and on a sari it would vary from a delicate, organic off white to a deep, enigmatic navy blue. So - you get the idea! I cannot understand when people say their favorite actor is Shahrukh Khan or Paul Newman. I always like to keep my favorites unlocked so to speak. I like a lot of things and why I like them depends on a lot of things, so, I should give Leonardo DiCaprio the credit of holding my attention for a decade into noticing him all because of his one portrayal - and probably his debut - as a mentally challenged brother to a painfully young Johnny Depp. "What's eating Gilbert Grape" is a story that unfolds so realistically on the celluloid, and the raw talent of Leonardo only adds to the depth of the soul of the movie. If I am ever asked what acting means to me, I'd refer to that outstanding performance by Leonardo.
Like I said, I am very non-committal about favorites, but the DiCaprio lad haunts me from time to time. On one such haunting episodes, I googled him recently to find out that he is older to me. So - I can officially declare Leonardo as an actor who is my semi favorite. You might wonder why his being older to me would entitle him to that honor in my books - it is because I look at every one younger to me with an almost motherly attitude - probably because I was only the second oldest in a gang of a couple of dozen cousins and I grew up with these little siblings and cousins around me. So for me to be in awe with someone, that someone has to be older - so luckily for Leo, he still holds that 'soft spot' owing to his year of birth! LOL. My superiority complex would not allow me to look at anyone younger to me with a 'admiration' quotient. I only look at younger people with an older sisterly or motherly quotient.

I named my Nook e-book reader Leo. I'll probably own a sexy car one day and call 'him' Leo. If I get a chance, I'll name a baby boy (other than mine) Leo. Like I said, I don't believe in fanaticism...I just semi believe in it!

Sunday, January 02, 2011


We all seem to have it for certain things and lack it for others. Like I did for color. I had this huge aptitude for color. Actually color and words - and lacked it for spelling. Actually, spelling and numbers ( more for numbers). Right from my first grade, I knew my problem area. I seldom attended the Math class - mentally that is - and the few times I attended it, I didn't make heads or tails out of it. I hard wired my brain to refuse all data involving numbers so it was the biggest academic ordeal to by heart the multiplication tables and even till date, I take the aid of a calculator to do simple arithmetic. I spent the better part of my life hating numbers and proudly proclaiming to be a math atheist but when I look back now, I feel that it was just a mental trick I played on myself due to lack of understanding for the subject. There came a time in my academics when I couldn't afford to not like numbers and it is then that I kind of developed an aptitude for them only to shun them for ever after a deviation in my undergrad to language and literature.
Now I see a "mini me" in the making. My little daughter. She can sit and color and paint and write the alphabet and sing and dance for ever - but when asked to write the numbers, she doesn't refuse to learn but never really learns them the way they are supposed to be learned. "But I want to be an artist" she'd announce and whine and sulk till I let her get away without writing the numbers for me. Determined to make her develop an aptitude for numbers, I employed the logical half of the marriage to teach the kiddo some numbers - it resulted into a "Indian parliament in session" kind of scenario in the household for the past so many days. I see an otherwise cool dad rising his voice and an otherwise peace-loving child getting into wild argument and name calling. Helplessly, I intertwine and give the little lady and ultimatum that if she doesn't learn it form me, I'll look for places that she'd learn it from (read boarding schools)
I still am not successful to make her love numbers as yet, but it is a public promise that I shall - very soon! So all this drama gets me to think - Is there really something called aptitude, or is it just a pretty mask to disguise the laziness to learn things that need more than a quick scanning?? The answer is pretty simple if one ponders about it - just like we blame our mood on things we don't want to do/not do - we do take the pretext of aptitude as well. I once told a very intelligent friend of mine (who happens to be an Ivy league grad and Fellow in technology - that I am technically challenged and I don't really care for it) all this, during an internet chat! He was quick to bite back - "how can you use a medium so fondly and not like it?" he asked! "Liking something is all about making an attempt to know it for what it is" - I hold on to these words like a talisman, and the more I thought about what he said, the more similarities I found in prose, poetry, technology and numbers. writing a computer program is like writing a classic piece of poetry and solving a math problem is like creating characters in a novel - all these acts require brains and creativity. Come to think of it in a "knowing something before loving it perspective - how could I have loved the person I married if I had not made an attempt to know him in the first place? Right?? - Right! - so does aptitude really exist? May be it does - and so does determination, concentration, grit and conviction. I might never enjoy numbers as much as I do words, but that need not be a reason for being ignorant about numbers - so I'd say, inclination should rule over aptitude. It is said that we use only a minuscule part of our brain - may be we can increase the usage a wee bit more and we might not really have anything that we'd not enjoy. And the' girl things' and 'boy things' we divide tasks into is also a hopeless stigma - that is probably the reason why I love women who can repair a computer and men who can make yummy food.
I look back and regret why I didn't love numbers, and why I didn't pay heed to my intensely mathematical sister when she chased me around to teach me exponents. I'd have had a beautiful relationship with them and solving number problems would have probably taught me a thing or two about life itself - as a compensation I promise myself - I'll not let my daughter be a slave of aptitude. She'll know all and do what she loves the most - even if it means that I need to pop in a Tylenol for that stress induced headache to argue with a logic-less toddler over logical numbers. It's all in the game of parenting, living, making mistakes and learning!

Saturday, January 01, 2011


It was very exciting starting new academic years. I'd wait for the class teacher to arrive and then know more about who else would teach us. It was a mad excitement to cover our books, get our school supplies and get ready for newness like never before. There was this anticipation to make things work better than the previous year, to score better and to learn better and to secretly wish that the teachers would love me better than my previous year. It was like a magical new beginning with a promise of freshness with no mistakes at all.
Much like New years now. A new year - tough it is just a mark of a new calendar - kindles a lot of hopes, aspirations and ambitions big and small. New ventures form in the grey cells. New hopes sprout in the form of firm resolutions - like wanting to rise before the sun, yearning to lose the flab around the midriff or giving up junk food or wishful thinking to learn to play an instrument or revisit Algebra and figure out why it really was a challenge back in school days. New years day sees the temples overflowing with devotees who flock around the Heavenly father to convince him to be on their side for the year to come. "New" - the buzz word becomes ubiquitous in all hearts and minds thereby encouraging new hopes. The second day of a brand new year dawns and the squeaky clean shine on the new year tarnishes ever so slightly - It isn't that new any more. Resolutions still go strong till about the time Valentine's day hurries in. The hopes, aspirations and expectations start exiting slowly but surely. The magic is gone, along with the newness. When the newness goes - most things lose magic - Cars, electronics, homes, fashion, food and even relationships. That is probably the reason why most magazines I read have "ten ways to put the zest back into your marriage" or "top three mistakes you make to drive your partner out". As a child I read a self help book that claimed to teach the readers how to stop worrying. "Live in day tight compartments" it said - urging the readers not to look beyond any give day. The idea is to make the most of the day you have on hand and not worry about what might happen ten years form now. In a similar fashion - if we probably start looking at each day as a new day, we'll have the zeal and the grit to make the most out of a brand new day - the one that is fresh without any mistakes - chances are we'll have a new hope each day, every day and the resolutions will stay put through mother's day, father's day, 4th of july, labor day, haloween, thanksgiving and Christmas. We'll not really have to wait till the magical new year to put some pizazz into our lives. Each day is new, each minute, each moment - enjoy responsibly - live fully, entirely!

New Beginning

Wishing all my supporters, cheerers, well wishers and all the world wide web a wonderful New year Ahead :-)