Candid, not Candied

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Uncle 1 meets Uncle 2

It is Sunday today and, both Uncle 1 and Uncle 2, are at the Sunday Bazaar to "do" some household shopping. Uncle 2 has two big bags full of vegetables and is trying to fit all that on his 15 yr old loyal Bajaj scooter. This is when Uncle 1, holding newspaper and milk in one hand and eggs and bread in another, meets Uncle 2.

Uncle 1 (U1) : Arre, arre... Good Morning, good morning ji! How are you?

Uncle 2 (U2) : *surprised and smiling wide* Hello, good morning! I am in good health. You tell, how are you? Where have you been? Didn't see you for a long long time!

U1 : No, no. I am here only. Where will I go? You are a big man. I hardly see you. Busy a what? Sunday shoppingaa? *gesturing at U2's big bags*

U2 : Haaaaan, now what to tell? Children are sleeping and wife said if I did not bring vegetables, there will be no food! What can a poor man like me do? You also come for shopping?

U1 : Ha ha ha haha.... Yes. Yes ji. It is the same. Come come, my house is here... we'll have nice hot tea with bisckits.

U2 : Nahi, aaj nahi. I have no time to stand. I have to go.

U1 : It is the same. No one has time now. Life is so busy. What are your kids doing?

U2 : Badi is in First yr engineering and Choti is in 12th. Both very busy with classes! Your son is also in engineering no? Computer? Which college?

U1: Haan. His 4th semester is going. He also so busy, I tell you. Does not have time to raise his head from books!!! Very good college but. Nice teachers. Even if I gave a huge donation, it is not a waste.

U2 : Very good. Very good! It is nice to know children learning. Nahi toh, children nowadays! *slaps forehead*

U1 : What to say! So many rave parties, drugs, daaroo. It was soo different in our times, no. We did what our babuji told us. Always respecting parents.

U2 : Really! But our children are gems, I am telling you. They will shine our names.

U1 : Yes, yes. I am sure. *does namaskar and touches forehead* Your two daughters will shine your name in their sasuraal. They are pretty and talented also, no? I wanted to ask you? Are you seeing a boy for your badi? There is a nice boy, I know. Looks like Salman Khan. Very rich also.

U2 : *makes a face* Now what to tell you bhaii saab?! My wife tried to talk to her about her marriage. She gets angry. Badi wants to complete studies and she wants to do MBA also. And that also in foreign. Now tell me, how will I afford all this? I am middle class. And I have two daughters. How to manage? Tell me.

U1 : God will help you, see. Good things happen with good people only. You should not worry. Have you seen the latest??? Anna Hazare and Jan Lokpal Bill? My son wants to go to Delhi to fast! Who will study now, tell me?

U2 : That one?!! I was seeing. On paper, on tv. Everywhere there is Anna. What a man! What a man! Really, I think. He will do big aandolan.

U2 : He will. I am also sure. Who else can save our country? All politicians are chors, saale. They want money and money. Govaarment is useless.

U1 : No bhaii saab. People also voting same same people. What to do now? Very sad it is. See, how this road is also not repaired for so many days.

U2 : Arre haan. When you said road, I remembered. What happened to the fight between you and your neighbour? Did you build that private road or not between your houses?

U1 : *shakes head violently* nahiii... Where now I will run after small small fights? Tell me. He knows big people. He has contacts. I did not do anything. I heard he is leaving house in a year. I will build road when he goes away.

U2 : Yes, you should do that. Tell me if you need any help. I have a civil contractor friend. I can tell him to see. He is very close. He is my wife's jijaji's nephew. He will do your work for less.

U1 : Haan, will tell you surely. How is bhabhiji? My wife was complaining... nowadays, you both don't come only! Come sometimes for evening chaii and bhajiya.

U2 : Yes yes. That day they went for sale shopping together and all they did was complain about us! My wife was telling.

U1 : Accha? When did they go shopping? *irritated* Arree, everyone knows! I only don't know!

U2 : That new shopping mall is there, no? What is its name...... ummm... something Paradise. There they went. Bhabhiji must have forgotten to tell you.

U1 : Arrree reee, I remember. Remember now. Court Paradise no? She told me, I forgot.

U2 : My girls go there often. Never buy anything, but they go with friends.

Uncle 1's cell phone starts ringing.

U1 : Hello. I am here only... where means? market, where else? I am coming baba.... coming coming. I met bhaiisaab. What? What? Cannot hear... hello... what??? Ok ok. will tell. will tell. Haan haan coming.


U1 :See your bhabhi called. She is calling you home. She is not listening to any excuse. you have to come for chaii.

U2 : Bhaiisaab, it is getting late for me. Next time will pakka come with wife.

U1 : No, no, no, no.... no listening to you this time. Come, it hardly takes 5 minutes from here. Chaii will be ready when we reach home. She is making also for you.

U2 : That way then you should promise to come to our house in the evening with bhabhiji and your beta. Only then I will come now.

U1 : Haan haan pehle you come.

Saying this, U1 rides pillion with U2. A lot more is exchanged between the two during the five minute ride to U1's house.

Friday, 19 August 2011

How people change

One moment they are friendly, the next they behave strangely obtuse! Such are some people, who have the knack to turn down others without as much of remorse. Apparently, there is no reason for such change in behaviour. Or rather, if there is, it is hardly communicated, which leaves the other person in turmoil of emotions in addition to being clueless. 

The same thing has happened to us. There was this family (R) we knew since a long time back. Long time means around 10-15 years. In fact, their daughters were the same age as V and me. Let's call them Sm and Sy respectively. R-Aunty was also pretty friendly and chatty. The families were introduced through me and Sy. Although in different schools, we used to often talk/ discuss about our curriculum. She was my playmate too. That brought us really close. Eventually, R-aunty decided to pay us a visit. 

Friendship between my mom and R aunty also blossomed. Idle chats, coming over for tea, invitations for pooja and every other small things that is involved in women friendship was present. As time passed by, trust and faith seemed to deepen. Soon R-aunty started opening her heart to my mom. She would often speak about her domestic hitches. How her husband would not provide enough money at home, how it was difficult for her to manage expenses despite her salary, how insensitive the girls were, how they don't pay attention to studies, how her husband was least bothered about savings, how in this world was she going to get her daughters married etc. 

She would often come to our place to unload her baggage. She said it relieved her to speak it out to my mom, as she was a good listener and her advice made sense to her deranged mind. She would also come for small favours. "I will not be home today evening when Sy comes home. Can she stay here till I return?", "Do you have a change for Rs. 100?", "Would you mind taking Marathi tutions for Sy? Both (me and Sy) are in the same class. You can teach her when you teach your daughter."

One day there was an unusual favour asked "Can I tie Rakhi to your husband? He's like an elder brother to me."My mom heeded to this humble request. That year during Raksha bandhan, R aunty came armed not just with a pretty Rakhi but also gifts for all of us. Mom felt a bit uncomfortable at this, since we had only bought a sari for her. In spite of politely denying her gifts for us, she insisted that my mom was now like a bhabhi to her and we were like her own children. 

As days passed by; which eventually became months; R aunty would be a regular visitor. Every time she would wail out her woes, curse her husband and say how lucky my mom was to have such a beautiful household. She would sing praises of her new "bhaiyya" and nephew and niece. 

These sessions started getting a bit out of hand. Every single day, she would come and start crying. Ours was a happy household. In spite of hardships, we were never dissatisfied. Even in worst situations, we have never seen our parents slapping their foreheads. Neither did they like that. It would thus be very awkward and uncomfortable for us when she continued her lamentations. 

Mom still didn't have a heart to tell her directly that what she was doing was undesirable. Discreetly, however, she made R aunty understand that problems were every where and crying over them would never help. She said the first thing you should do is stop grinding the problem, instead look for a solution and work upon it. If husband was not supportive, then it was time for her to involve her daughters and take them into confidence. If they never came to know of their mother's hardships, how were they going to help? 

Thankfully, these words of wisdom did have a positive effect on her and slowly the sad visits dwindled. Her problems seemed negligible before her enthused self. She truly rescued herself from miseries. 

The Raksha bandhan stint lasted for just 3 years. After that she conveniently forgot all about her "elder brother" whom she worshipped. Although, all this time she was friendly and would discount a polite conversation on two whenever we met. Growing kids left no time for idle afternoon chat. Thus, meetings were strictly restricted to meeting on the way to the market. 

Within some more months, some more changes took place. Where my mom was always the first one to be invited for all sorts of poojas to her place, now she came to know of them through other ladies. Not just that, R aunty started avoiding talking to her even on the way to the market. Whenever they met, she would only answer the questions asked and try to get away as soon as possible. 

At first, we didn't pay much attention to this. Mom disregarded it saying probably she was caught up in something. 

We shifted our house when V was getting married. She was invited for the reception. There she was her usual self. Showering blessings on the couple and filling N with details and saying how lucky she was to be in the family. Naturally we thought all was well. 

Since we'd moved to a new area (though not too far from our old house) crossing paths with R aunty was rare. Whenever it did, one would think there'd be hour long chats exchanging pleasantries and swapping news. Instead, R aunty started looking the other way, and sometimes even resorted to crossing roads just to avoid my mom. 

Through Orkut, I came to know her elder daughter, Sm, got married. Among 500 odd people that were invited, we were blissfully forgotten. Decked in gold and diamond jewelry, the bride was looking stunning. Not to mention the exquisitely decorated, orchid filled mandap! 

Not being invited didn't hurt as much as not being informed at all even after meeting by chance after the wedding. Mom did not bother asking. She was way too dignified to demand an explanation for the same. Recently again mom was face to face with her. And it certainly isn't her nature to insult any person standing in front of her. She acknowledged R aunty with a smile and got back as much as a grimace from her. 

Through some sources, we came to know that R aunty holds a high position in her work place now. Mom wonders if this fact has some thing to do with the haughtiness in her attitude. Is financial position a valid reason to strike off friendships? To forget those who have been there when needed? To throw people off your life like they were a fly in the milk?

If that was the case, my mom should have never befriended her in the first place. There was a time in our lives too when there was not a single Re. in the house to be spared for extra expenses. Hardships knocked hard on our doors too. Parents have dealt with such situations maturely, not once letting it show on their faces. Relationships are the same as they were before. A promotion from 2 bedroom house to a large 3 bedroom house; from a second hand Premier Padmini to a Honda City and Alto; from unemployment to high post salary did not even once affect the good relations we have had with people all along. 

I wonder whatever went wrong. I wonder why people change. I wonder how is it justified. 

Is it how people are meant to be? Or are we living in prehistoric times?

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Because, I am PREGNANT!

Once I broke the news to my friends, a lot of them bombarded me with questions! Many asked how I felt, others asked when did I find out, and many more related questions. My feelings never found justifiable words and nor can there be any, for this is far more than just being euphoric! 

When did I find out? 

It was in April end - May start that I had my initial suspicion with the first obvious symptom of any pregnancy. Still, I waited and waited for the second symptom, i.e puking, which never came. As a result, I was confused. In my confusion, I consulted my clueless husband. Who else could I turn to? I didn't want to cause disappointment to parents (who, as always, were waiting with baited breath for the "good news") if it was a false alarm.

Husband shrugged an I-don't-know-what-to-do. I waited some more. Mid May, I thought it was best to start with a home pregnancy kit. We went to the local pharmacy. And boy! what range of pregnancy test kits!! I could hardly choose. 

Again, I asked my clueless husband, "Which one?"

"Don't ask me. I hardly know these things." 

"Like I know a lot of it!!!", I shouted back irritated. Pregnancy hormones were already surging through me. Husband looked at me from top to bottom, screening me as if something had got me. I quickly apologized and said nervousness made me do that. 

I was so excited that I decided to put it to test on the same evening. I ended up doing everything wrong, and not even a single strip turned blue! I knew I was competent enough to screw things, so intelligently, I had chosen the kit which had two strips. 

I then patiently read the instructions and slapped my forehead. I was supposed to keep it lying for 2 minutes. Instead, I was holding it in my hands vertically for five minutes and wondering what the hell was wrong! 

I decided not to waste the second one and was eager for next morning. 

Husband collapsed on the bed at 5 AM for he was working whole night. That was when I woke up and could hardly go back to sleep. I was not feeling pee-ish either. I had to count seconds till then. I wanted to shake my husband awake and talk gibberish. However, the realisation that he was up all night, didn't leave me with much option. 

At 7AM, I decided I had to do it. With shaky hands and drowsy mind, I dragged my feet to the bathroom and did the needful, exactly the way it was instructed. I thought it would take forever for the 2 minutes to slip by. It didn't. Before I knew it, my eyes were clouded with tears. Holding the 2 blue stripped device, I ran to the bedroom, shook the now-groggy husband and waved the thing in front of him. I was choking and words just wouldn't come out. 

I hugged him and must have wailed like a baby myself. "I am preggy" I said in between sobs. 

"It's going to be alright. Don't worry." he tried consoling me, while patting the back of my head. 

"I KNOW it is going to be alright!! I am not worried! I am crying because I am happy." the hormones made me shot back again! 

What followed then was calls to our parents. Incidentally, it was my parent's wedding anniversary when we told them. Their happiness knew no bounds, as was that of my in laws. Advices, congratulations and blessings  poured in through international calls!

Everything was confirmed with a subsequent doctor's appointment and ultrasound. :) 

Everything happy happy, isn't it? You wish!

The puking business started a few days after the doc visit. I had evening sickness. It would start roughly at the time when KK came home from office. Naturally, he bore the brunt of my mad hormones. I have screamed at him for coming home late, when I knew he was working. I threw a fit when I didn't like a movie. I took offence and retaliated at every little general statements he made. 

All this would be my mood, before puking. After the oral combat stage, I had a stage of "something is happening to me. DO SOMETHING!" I knew poor KK had no clue and more than that no means of making me feel better than his soothing words. But I wanted someone to pull me out of the misery. 

Let me not discuss my miseries here. I am far more happier now to discuss those times. 

That nice, dear husband of mine did everything that he could. I wonder how he bore the "First Trimester Monster" that had become of me. 

"Because, I am PREGNANT!" was the only sentence I spoke in those days. It indeed was my way or the highway for him. He decided to always take my way just to keep his preggy lady happy! 

Looking back at it all, I have a multitude of feelings. I am amazed at KK's strength and determination, not to give up on me; his bigheartedness to ignore my sometimes very sly comments; his ability to hold and comfort me; his stamina to work at office and at home. I feel sad that I haven't been able to do much for him during that time, except throw tantrums and tears despite my efforts not to do so. And somethings were plain hilarious.

'I don't like the shirt you are wearing today!', 'Why?', 'Because, I am PREGNANT!'

'Don't tell me about your friends!', 'Why?', 'Because, I am PREGNANT!'

The first thing in the morning I said 'I wanna eat pav Bhaji, right now!', 'What? Now?? Why?', 'Because, I am PREGNANT!' No points for guessing, he made the most delicious pav bhaji for me that instant. 

'Don't go to the office today!.', 'Why?', 'Because, I am PREGNANT!' (which was not heeded to, since now he had learnt to see when I was genuinely flaunting my mood swings and when I was faking it)

'I don't like that woman in blue.', 'Why? What has she done to you?', 'Because, I am PREGNANT!'

'I want to go out now!', 'Why? the sky is overcast and it will pour any minute!', 'Because, I am PREGNANT!' (He did take me out for a ride when it poured so badly that we could hardly even make out the tail light of the car in front of us.)

KK, I love you! And this is not just 'Because, I am PREGNANT!'

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Baby Update - 06/08

Recently, I had my monthly check up and boy! do I look forward to them!

Well, I expected an ultrasound, just so that I could take a peek at Jr. again. I wondered if I could get a glimpse of tiny arms, legs and head moving about. Alas! No U/S this month, the doc said; next month! Me is counting days till September 5th now. 

Anyhow, it was the usual. Doc asked me if I eat. I am sure she meant nutritional. I thought I did, and said a confident 'yes'. After all, I eat only home cooked delicious meals. However, the stupid weight machine revealed that my weight has increased only by 1kg since the last month. And I am now ordered to put on 2 kgs per month. 

Do you drink milk? she asked.

Yes, I do. I said. 

Do you add Horlics/ Bournvita to it?


Well, since childhood, me and Horlics/ Bournvita/ Boost/ Complan have 36 ka aakda! I have always prefered plain milk. But now, things are different. Other than Horlicks (which I have in the morning), there's another powder which I am supposed to add to milk at night! 

Anything for my Jr.!

Except the weight, everything is pretty normal, she said. I also got a Tetanus shot. Next one due next month. 

 In a nutshell ::

5th Month : 17 weeks

Weight : 55 kgs

Tum-tum : Starting to pop out, just a bit; certainly not showing.

Diet : 8 AM : Overnight soaked almonds

8: 30 AM : Breakfast + Calcium pills

10 AM : Milk with Horlicks and something to eat (most of the times, some fruit)

12:-30 - 1:00 PM : Lunch + Milk

5 PM : Coffee with something to eat

7 PM : Timepass snacks (Baby craves, not me)

8: 30 - 9:00 PM - Dinner

10 PM - Milk with nutritional powder and folic acid pill

Well, people keep asking me what I do to pass my time, now that I am out of my routine. There is perhaps not a lot what I do, physically. I read, I write (not just blog), I take time to talk to my in laws (this is the first time that I get to live with them since wedding, so I am making the most of it by trying to get to know them and vv), talk to mommy, who is always full of do's n don'ts even when we speak every day of the week, sometimes I prepare something in the KITCHEN and then there's always internet. 

When I am doing none of the above, I take rest, or I look at the fishes in our cute aquarium. I am pretty much interested in watching them swim, eat their food, nibble at each others tail. Cute lill folks!

Next update will be in September. With the ultrasound, YAY! and hopefully me heavier by 2 kgs! :) ;)

***Highlight*** I am already feeling flutters in my tum tum. It goes even before I can widen my eyes in amazement. I so LOVE them! Jr.'s starting to make me aware of his/her presence. :) I hope s/he kicks hard soon! :D :D

Monday, 1 August 2011

Why do I read? - Tagged by Uma

Hmm... interesting question indeed!

Why? Well, let me begin by answering 'what'. As far as memory allows me to stretch it, I remember flicking through Archie's comics even before I could read words. Those vivid colourful pages were a bonus to V's animated laughter. I loved the goofy expressions on the characters' faces; they made me laugh. I guess, my eyes read pictures before they read words. Slowly as schooling progressed and improved my reading ability, I graduated to reading the comic instead of simply enjoying the scenes.

Champak, Tinkle, Chandamama, Panchatantra, Amar Chitra Katha, Chacha Choudhary, Billo, Pinky followed soon after. School library and friends who dared to smuggle story books in bag packs were the sources. I read these books until mid-teens. I was not yet ready for anything colourless and devoid of pictures. Soon as I subscribed to a nearby library, my reading horizon began widening. Nancy Drew became my first best friend, which was immediately followed by Famous Fives, Secret Sevens and the likes.

Romance with Mills and Boons was pretty short. I found all the books same and boring. In stead, Harry Potter's magical world renewed my enthusiasm. Sidney Sheldon mermerised me. The first ever Sidney Sheldon book that I laid my hands on was "Nothing Lasts Forver" and the second, "Tell Me Your Dreams". Both left me stupefied and I discovered a new place yet again in the booksworld. Many Daniel Steele, John Grisham, Jeffery Archer books later, I am currently into fiction by Indian authors and short stories.

Coming to the point: I am a highly imaginative person. Perhaps my imaginations are not always vocal, but it runs wild and weird. Reading books have massaged that factor in me. I don't read words; they just help me to build a pictorial story in my mind. That's why I can laugh better, feel the pain and understand many emotions that are portrayed in a book.

Like the movie 'Inception' where dreams are designed, I can architect an entire book in my mind. And if I happen to read the book for the second time, I see the same world unfurling before me.

I like spiralling in a world, which is created by someone yet enjoyed by me. I prefer reading to movies.  I believe I have better imagination than any movie director.

Reading brings me peace and stoical calm. It is my meditation and sometimes my medication too. It puts my swirling mind to rest.

In spite of the above, I cannot claim to consume books at the rate at which I would like to. I don't read everyday. Nor do I read everything that I ideally would want to. I cannot proceed if I cannot draw a clear picture. I am picky. I am finicky. And I am not a voracious reader. Compared to what other book lovers have devoured, I am at the grass root level. And perhaps I may not rise from there.

I read what satisfies me. I do not read because my friend reads it/ likes it/ recommends it. I cannot. I cannot read just because the book is a bestseller. I read it because it appeals to me in a certain manner. I have liked some unheard-of books, and I have hated some award winning ones. I have my own tastes. I shy away from recommending books since I am not sure if it'll please others or not.

One more thing, I like books. Physical books. Not Kindles and Apple e-book readers. I adore turning pages. I love searching for the last read page. For that matter, I don't even like using bookmarks. I like being around books. Take me for an evening outing to any biiiiig library or Crosswords with lots of books; and I will be forever indebted to you.

I would love to pass on this book love to my children. Hope that happens.

Currently reading :: "Indian Voices", a compilation of short stories, prose, poetry by Indian authors.

(The stories are winning entries of some competition that was held some time back. One of the authors is my best friend, Shweta Virmani-Mehta)

Thank you again, Uma for this wonderful tag. I am open to such kinds of tags in future. Keep me in mind. :)

I tag Nitin "Dagabaaz" Prabhu! :P


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