Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Joie de vivre

Whoever coined ‘monday blues’ needed to meet me yesterday for a 180 degree turn in opinion. The focus of the day was 100% unadulterated fun and Ro and I had just that.
After about a decade, I indulged in cotton candy. Rancorously pink. Sickly sweet. Making my face and hands sticky and filling me with a delight long forgotten in my tumultuous adult road trip.
The other treat was a ride on the Ferris wheel. It was quite literally breath taking. The wooziness notwithstanding, it felt so damn cathartic! The last time I rode a Ferris was back in Delhi, in the Hindu College campus during their annual college fest, screaming my lungs out and IK holding my shoulders tightly, assuring me that the laws of physics wouldn’t allow me to ‘eject’ from the seat! That ride had ended with me retching on his much-treasured shirt and he falling in love with me. Strange world this!
As a result, (embarrassed by the retching not the declaration of love!) I had vowed never to ride a Ferris again, and I kept it till now. Last evening, however, got seduced by the idea of trying something I always thought I don’t have the guts for. This time I just screamed, amusing Ro, but other than that I did fine.
Later that evening, we went to meet my best friend’s family. Cozy evening with a much cherished hot cup of tea and relaxed talk.
Yesterday, I rediscovered the meaning of joie de vivre.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Crisis & Tagore

Guernica
Pablo Picasso, 1937
Last evening, I went to a concert of rabindro songeet at Chowdiah Memorial. The publicity brochure promised 20 chosen Tagore songs that bring out the various facets of crisis…both personal and otherwise. The concert theme was Crisis and Tagore. There were a few celebrated voices from Kolkata but what appealed to me was the innovative attempt to fuse robindro songeet with a symphony orchestra. This brought in a diverse flavour to the much-celebrated songs. Particularly the closing song “sonkochero biubholotaye nijere opoman…”, which Tagore wrote to encourage the women students at Shantiniketan to learn jiu jitsu from the Japanese master whom he had invited to stay in Shatiniketan, adapts well to the symphonic style. A few others were memorable too like “eki labonno purno praan…”sung by Poroma Banerjee, which Satyajit Ray used widely in many of his films (Ghare Baire to name one). Though the attempt to give robindro songeet a different dimension, succeeded just partly, I am enthused to know that we are opening up what we consider an integral part of our identity, to these kinds of experimentation. For this alone I am glad. I am aware that many dislike and trivialize such attempts (I heard someone say "Rubbish! This is Tagore in Crisis!") but I strongly believe that experimentation is one way of keeping culture alive.
Ohhh! I must mention that the concert stage backdrop was Picasso’s Guernica.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Midas V

At Rex.
She was late. The last one of the quartet to arrive at the theater. She curses herself again but well life is like that. When you want to be on time and kind of not make a bad impression the reverse unfailingly happens. Grouping in the dark she safely takes the seat between AP and BO and tries hard to concentrate on the movie. They watch Catherine Zeta Jones do those amazing high kicks. She is a goddess! During intermission they meet this lovely babe from across their office. She has a distinct feeling that he didn’t want to be seen with the three strange creatures of infamy that was them. Anyway she was busy keeping her trap shut least she blurts something unforgiving.
The movie gets over among mirth and chatter and a blur of wellbeing. AP and BO suggest coffee so they troupe to the ground floor coffee shop inside Mota Arcade. The entire day she had waited for that one moment of glory where she makes a complete ass of herself!
At the Coffee Shop.
AP and she had this on-going joke about ‘firang tickets’. She would spot a ‘firang’ and point him out to AP and say “Hey that’s your ticket to US or anywhere out of here!” Here too they spot one together and both of them loudly point out the ‘ticket’ to BO. His striken expression compels her to look. He is so totally embarrassed that she actually apologises. He blushs and gives her a big embarrassed grin.
It must have been the faulty lighting that made his eyes shine. And staring at him right there in the middle of the cacophany in a Coffee Shop, she falls in love with him.
His voice gets her back to reality. He says he would introduce her to this tall pretty babe who works in his dept. since she is married to a bong and looking for bongs to hang out with. With all that overwhelming love, her wit of course had to desert her. Despite herself she makes this absolutely ridiculous statement. “No thank you. I stay away from bongs as much as possible.” Jesus! What was she thinking! He must think she is one hung up bitch or worse he doesn’t think anything of her at all.
Coffee over it was time to leave. Walking out, AP teases her saying he being the chivalrous male, would drop her home since both AP and BO had their own bikes. Why does AP has to do this? Is it to embarrass him? He is visibly uneasy. Thankfully by this time her famous foot-in-the-mouth disease had receded. She smiles. “No. I will ‘rick’ it and thanks all of you for a great time!” She honestly meant it. That said she crosses the road and heads for a waiting autorickhaw with a vague excitement of how it would be if he had indeed dropped her home.
Someday maybe he will. Someday...

Midas IV

After two weeks.
He joins them for coffee in the morning a couple of times a week. She still doesn’t know him that well. They never speak to each other directly. It’s always a part of a larger conversation.
Today suddenly AP invited him for a movie. It’s a movie AP and she had planned only the day before. He accepted. She said nothing. AP and BO made the plan and they decided to meet next day afternoon for the matinee show of ‘Chicago’ at Rex. She never really expected him to say yes and she was certain he wouldn't show up.

Midas III

Next week.
She is late at office. AP and she always have coffee in the morning around 9.30 or so. Today AP was already at the narrow ledge a little away from the elevator lobby that had become their ‘coffee joint’. She smiles and AP asks her to join. Never one to miss the coffee time and the talk that usually borders on the silly, she starts up her system and carries her cup to the balcony and realizes that AP and BO are not alone.
He is there too. Well she smiles and say hi. He said hi a little indiffenrently she thought. She was definitely intruding. They were discussing some hapless fellow’s encounter with fate. He has this casual grace and friendly air about him that is very natural. Despite herself she cannot but notice how handsome he is. She watches carefully as the expressions change on his face. He was talking about his cricket matches. They talked and she mostly listened. She was too drawn to him to contribute much to the conversation. Moreover, they were talking about their college and there isn't anything that she can contribute there in any case.
In all of this she realizes how different he is from her. AP teases her a bit. Asks whether cat got her tongue cause other days she is the one making the silliest of remarks. Strangely, for her the morning felt exhilarating.

Midas II

A few days later.

He came over to her desk. Actually not her desk but Jan’s. Right across from her. They conversed about some one Jan met who is just right for him. She tried hard to concentrate on the screen. She had work to do and she had promised to be home early.

Slowly, he comes over and picks up her desk calendar casually. Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces. Dad gave it to her in the beginning of the year and it was kept atop her system at home before she decided to use it in office.
She held her breath. Ignoring her racing pulse, she keeps her eyes on the screen.
He says “Nice models”.
His attempt to begin a conversation.
She smiles and looks at him and wants to say something profound but hears herself say “So you like models...” in a tone edging on sarcasm. He smiles shyly and she points at the calendar and says “But they stay at my desk”.
He apologies quickly and keeps it back. Someone calls him and he walks away. She curses herself with gritted teeth. All she wanted was to say something nice and sweet but well it happens to her a lot. When she really likes someone she make a complete ass of herself.

Midas I

Circa 2002. One day at work.
She saw him today. The man who would be her midas. He didn’t notice her ofcourse. There were the others. He was rushing towards his workstation unaware that she was in fact staring. Celestial comedy it must be to see someone for the first time and know that her life would change from then on. He looks confident, completely in control of himself and painfully handsome. There is something about him that makes him stand out in a crowd. Everyone seems to know him. And from them she heard his name. She stared for what seemed like eternity. He passed by without noticing anything.
Next to her, AP says “Wow is someone in a hurry or what!”
AP and she met during the interview and joined work the same day and they hit it off right then. She thinks AP is part crazy part cute but mostly friendly. It felt odd to be back in office after two years of staying and lazing at home.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

scrap of a conversation

She: “Sorry, I didn’t call u last night. Had slept off really early. Getting tired easily. Looking terrible. Not finding anything interesting enough.... is this old age? But of course how would you know if it is...”
He: “Oh ok!!! That's ok....it's good if you can rest and get a good night's sleep....it's a luxury that I have not known in a very long time now....!!! And what the heck does...'but of course how would you know if it is’ mean eh?!!!! “
She: “It means you are not getting as old as I am. See that’s the beauty in this...no matter how old you get I would always be older! “
He: “That's all you will ever have over me…”

Gogol was a Bong?

Anyone remembers Akakii Akakievich, the habitually solitary hero of Nikolai Gogol’s The Overcoat ?
While reading it just now after a gap of few years it struck me.
‘akakii’ in Bengali means one who is alone’.
Coincidence?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

a Gift

Couple of mismatched plastic beads
Few inches of string
Promise of forever love
Two bright eyes
An impish grin
Tears of joy
A circle of life
Complete

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Yogi Bear

"Do you have a brain?" Swamiji asks the odd five hundred people who had gathered on 21st February evening at Satya Sai Samskruta Sadanam. "Yes" some of us murmur hesitantly unsure where this is leading to. "How do you know that?" Swamiji smiles. "Well, we just know" someone says a little loudly. "All right, now how many parts of the brain do you have?" A doctor, (introduced himself as Dr. Pai) started to explain, "Cerebrum, cerebellum, brain stem..." Swamiji says, "Right, but I was talking about brain function and control." "Left and right Swamiji...." some one says. "Yes... and do you know what has become of us today?" asks Swamiji. Silence. Swamiji smiles. "There is nothing right in our left brain and nothing left in our right brain....." The hall bursts with laughter. "Imagination is the cause of hypertension," he continues. "We are influenced by the opinions of others and base our life and living on what other's think of us. No one except you alone can help yourself. Change yourself, change your opinion." He goes on to narrate a story to explain his theory. Then he talks about Yoga and how it can improve our quality of life.
I have always been fascinated with yoga. Back when my grandfather who was an ardent follower, made us spend the entire summer vacation practicing several ashanas and pranayams, the significance of yoga wasn't imperative, but I did realize that this path was worth a venture. Couple of months back in January, I championed along with our CEO, mandatory yoga classes at my workplace and was met with casual indifference. But after about two months of persistence, the response was thrilling and the ESAT (the score was published today) has taken cognizance. We partnered with Atma Darshan Yogashram for the Yoga@Work program and now we have a 'Y Huddle' before we begin work everyday across locations and shifts. It involves a quick unfurling of yoga mats on the work floors beside the work stations and do a few easy ashanas and a simple pranayam. The entire exercise lasts 10 mins and leaves the entire floor energized and bonded and has been particularly appreciated by the employees who work at night. This leads me to believe Yoga@Work truly works!
For sometime, I have been trying to introduce this idea at home and get Ro to practice the undemanding adapted version. I had taken him to the Ashram three weeks back and spent a day there to get him familiar. Though the ashram cat garnered more interest than the meeting with Swamiji, he did show some promise. Post our visit he didn't show any interest and I left it at that. But recently, for the last seven days he has been getting up early and joining me for the session in the morning without having anyone to tell him to do it. For now, my fingers are crossed and I hope the 'good senses' prevail even after the school reopens.
Hari Om!

Friday, May 18, 2007

In Pursuit of Happyness

Today I decided to take a break from life. Well not exactly from life life but my usual Friday life. The day began early with the habitual morning tea and newspaper. Then the routine morning chores and the task of getting ready for work. Driving to work I get caught in the legendary Hosur Road-Koramangala traffic snarl. Ten minutes. Fifteen minutes. Close to half an hour. The air-conditioned confines of the car starts to feel constricting. The traffic police with their neon-orange plastic outfit were directing traffic in all possible directions and further complicating the labyrinth. Drumming my fingers on the wheel impatiently, I try to listen to RJ on radio.
“Good Morning Bangalore! This is Cindu on the Big Breakfast…it’s a bright and sunny morning and welcome to the Classic Brew. Today’s mix includes INXS, Aerosmith, Queen and other legends. So keep it locked on 91.9FM.” ‘I want to break free. God knows God knows I want to break free’ Freddie croons. I look outside. To my left a little ahead is the Forum Mall, exactly 200 meters before my office on the same road. The traffic crawls ahead slowly. At the Forum entrance, I turn in. On the rear view mirror my smile looks almost evil. The parking lot is nearly empty. I take the elevator up to the top floor. PVR Cinemas it says in big blue neon. Headed for the counter I scan the screen above showing the timing and availability.
“Welcome to PVR. How may I help you?” Sweet boy at the counter.
Spiderman 3 - 13:05 and Life in the Metro – 16:10. One ticket each for today”
One ticket?” Sweet boy looks almost incredulous.
“Yeah, one” I stare at him defiantly.
Why do we find it so difficult to accept a woman going for a movie alone? Ditto when I have lunch alone at an eatery. I have been asked this question before, by well-meaning friends (How can you go alone?) and some have been sympathetic (Sweets, if you were that lonely, why didn’t you call me?) Now, how do I make them understand that I do a movie alone or lunch-out alone because I want to. My usual reply is that one cannot possibly be alone in a theatre with two hundred others gaping at the screen! Moreover, I see people around me inhibited to do something they really want to because of lack of company. My view has always been, if you want to do something, just go ahead and do it. Lost cause they call me. So be it.
Tickets in pocket I head to the basement parking and off to work.
“I am taking the second half off” I announce post the morning meeting.
Why? Is everything ok?” Bossman looks puzzled.
“Couldn’t be better” I say with a smile and trudge off without any further explanation.
Around lunchtime I leave office and head to the mall leaving my car parked at office. (The parking fees at these malls are unreasonably high and in any case it’s a short walk) In the mall, it’s easy to get lost in the crowd. As I grab a bite at the food court I watch the giggling, mumbling, visibly happy people that you would typically find in a mall. Hunger sated, I head for the PVR floor on top.
It always fascinates me that despite the row/seat numbers clearly printed on the ticket and these swankier theatres making it child’s play to find ones seat, people still invariably ask the usher for help. Old habits dies hard I suppose. Generations of theater goers have been subjected to the torchlight wielding ushers of the ‘old-gen’ theaters who invariably would shine the light on an undetectable point in the rows of seats which no person of reasonable eyesight can locate without asking, irritating and mauling at least a dozen fellow cine goers.
Coming back to PVR, I settle down eagerly in my plush G1 seat. I must confess that I absolutely love the advertisements and the movie trailers that play before the movie, and sometimes like them more than the movie itself. The theatre versions of the TV ads are longer and looks better on the large screen. And the trailers are a treat in themselves. Therefore you would rarely find me late for a movie. Just so that I don’t miss the ‘treats’. Here, after drooling over Johnny Depp in ‘Pirates of the Caribbean – At World’s End’, the scheduled Spiderman 3 begins.
Let me confess again, I am not a Spidey fan. Never was and post this never will be. With the first movie release of Superman, Christopher Reeves stole my heart when I was not more than five. Subsequently, I fell in love with Batman. I realized early that I prefer my super heroes to look seductive, wear their underpants on top and swish a cape. So I have been bowled over by Batman of Gotham City with his dark, brooding good looks, his menacing attitude and his appetite for fancy gizmos. Therefore the close-to-three-hours special effects galore of Spiderman 3 failed to convert me. Although I liked the ‘sandman’ digi-effects and empathized with Mary Jane, the only positive I can say is that I didn’t get bored. But when it got over it didn’t leave me with any thoughts, not even inconsequential ones. I felt thirsty and waited the next movie.
One quick coffee and I was ready for Life in a Metro. I settle down easily in my K5 seat this time, to watch the trailer of ‘Ek Chalish Ki Local Train’. People trickled in. The movie began. The crowd is matured. Thankfully, I didn’t spot any kids here since it was certified with ‘A’. Three hours and the movie got over. I am not going to critique the movie. I liked what I saw and that’s that. Konkona was brilliant. Dharmendra was inappropriate. Shilpa was sensitive. (she looks really bad when she cries though!) But the movie belonged to Irrfan who was the spark of the movie. But most of all I loved Pritam's ‘goth-rock' inspired score. (I am sucker for angst-ridden torments of the soul..heheh!) On the flip side, the apt title for the movie should be “Life in a Call Center” Or better still “Look Who is Sleeping Around Now!” Honestly, looking at this industry as closely as I do, it isn’t like the caricature that got portrayed. But that's Anurag's take and he made the movie.
Post the double dose, I sat sipping yet another cup of coffee and wrote this post, while trying to answer some of the pending emails that had piled up. At the end, it was a day well spent.
P.S. Those of you who know my boss, keep this info to yourself :) Thank you.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Toast to the Jams of Bangalore

This came as a mail forward. Author Anon. Interesting read I thought.
Over these last few years of living in Bangalore, I have slowly grown to like the jams, which this city provides in abundance.
These jams do build your patience and character. Is it a coincidence that India 's most patient cricketers, Dravid and Kumble, hail from this city of jams? (Dravid is even nicknamed "Jammy"). Does it tell you something? Sri Sri Ravishankar…does he get his daily dose of spiritual inspiration while in a jam?? And will I also get a halo after a few more years of this "character building"?? There are, I am sure, thousands of future Anands stuck in the Adugodis and Anand Rao circles, who are plotting their moves against future Kramniks… those poor little Kramniks stand no chance. And if you see a professor-like guy prancing around the Palace road jam, you can deduce that a postulate in Physics has just been proved.
A few days back, I had a thought - If we can have reviews of movies, which occupy only a few hours of our life in a month, why not reviews of traffic jams, which takes up significant hours of our day?? So here is my review of some of Bangalore 's famous and not-so-famous jams(in no particular order).
But before that, a general comment - As they say, the taste of food in a restaurant is dependent on the ambience ; similarly, the way I see jams, cozy inside the office shuttle or public transport, is different from the way the owner of the swank new SUV sees it. (btw, if you are the owner of the swank new SUV, don't run me down).
1. The Hosur Road Jam - Unarguably, the mother of all jams. We (ex-) Infoscions are proud of being (once) associated with a great company. We are equally proud of contributing in no small extent to this jam. This jam gives a great glimpse of the Other India - colorful music-blaring interstate buses, garment factory workers, highway trucks, smoke spewing lorries and such. Provides ample food for thought for socialist minds. (Rating: ***1/2)
2. The jams around K'mangala/Forum mall - Definitely the best jams in town. PYTs (Pretty young things), fancy cars, and fancy restaurants; this has it all. But you can't afford any of those. Never mind!! Your sadistic brain can take pleasure in the fact that the guy in the fancy car next to you is cruising around for a parking space, feasting his eyes on the PYTs , while his family is having dinner in one of the fancy restaurants. (Rating: ****1/2)
3. The KG Road jam - To be experienced in the evenings before a long weekend. Every auto/taxi in town seems to be stuck while going towards the City railway station - your hair stands on end, you start sweating, the heart beats faster, and you get the rush that a Michael Schumachaer gets on his last lap. And just as the auto moves, a movie show ends and a few hundred more vehicles pour out… Which was the train that hooted just now?? (Rating: ***1/2)
4. The Jayanagar jam - The puzzle-lovers jam; Jayanagar is maze of bylanes, one-way streets, no right-turns, no left-turns, traffic signals and whatnot. It is an establised fact that Point A to point B, in Jayanagar, can be reached in 6436 distinct ways. But whichever way you take, you are left with a hollow feeling that another route had a better and bigger jam? (Rating: **1/2) 5. The jams around Marathahalli/ Whitefield - The IT professional' s dream jam; As she sits in the office shuttle looking at other office buses, she can make her career plans. A typical evening in this jam goes thus:
Voice from Company A bus : "Any J2EE developers in your bus?". Three guys from Company B bus respond "Yeah" and get down. By the time, the bus crosses the Marathahalli bridge, the first guy is hired as a J2EE developer. The second guy, who didn't know what J2EE meant, is hired as a project manager and the third guy is rejected as he realised late that he has already worked for Company A last year. (Rating: ****)
6. The Airport Road jam - Similar in taste and character like the Koramangala jam but has socialist twist. This jam treats the rich businessman, who will later travel business class on Jet, the same as a poor programmer, who had unusually come to office early in the morning, 3 months back, to buy one of those cheap airline tickets. (Rating ***)
7. The BTM 7th Main x 7 Cross jam - Close to my home, so close to my heart. But alas, the spoilsports at BDA finished the flyover at the Jayadeva circle and brought an end to this jam. But for a couple of years, this jam used to give me pure joy as vehicles of all types created a tangle in the small bylanes of BTM layout. The BDA is now planning a new flyover at the Udupi Garden junction; so there is still hope (Rating ***1/2).
We jam lovers - currently this club consists of only me - have petitioned the government to protect and preserve traffic jams as a cultural asset of Bangalore . Just so that traffic jams are not endangered in the future, we have these suggestions:
1. Build more flyovers - Flyovers do not reduce jams. They just transfer it to the next junction. And in the 2 years that it takes to build them, you are assured of some joyous jams. I am drooling...
2. No public buses - If everybody goes by buses, where will our culture go?
3. Make Tata's 1-Lakh car cheaper by making it tax free - Imagine every two wheeler replaced by a car...The prospects are mouth-watering.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Dragon Tales

Yesterday I received a wonderful mail from a dear friend wishing me for Mother’s Day. We both are working moms of boisterous boys. Therefore the mail, which talks about the mothers who do everything right and those who don’t, made both of us smile in agreement. Then there was another wish from my best friend that called me a super mom. (Now, if I did half a good job as his mom I would be happy with myself!)
For one, it feels nice to be acknowledged for a role that is all too obvious and at most times taken for granted. But then the crass commercialization hits on the face. “She gave the best years of her life for you. Buy her a diamond to show how much you love her” Excuse me? I don’t even LIKE diamonds!
[In our house, we are two women (Ma and I), both mothers. And since we are not particularly gender-biased the gents (Baba and Ro) make up the other half of the household.]
Being a Sunday, I decided to surprise Ma by making the morning tea. She sipped with a smile but I realized soon enough the brew wasn’t even close to what she prepares every morning.
Bad start.
The rest of the morning we decided to laze. And suddenly, almost on impulse Ro came up with the brilliant idea of painting tattoos.
“Make a special tattoo for me, Mommy. It's Happy Mother’s Day!”
Huh? Aren’t you supposed to do something for me?”
“Noooo! I want to show them how good you paint.” Infallible logic.
So we sat down, to draw a dragon. Chinese one. No wings and lots of flames.
After about twenty minutes.
“That’s a coooool dragon!” he smiles smugly at the result.
“You like it?”
Yeah!” Tight hug and a wet kiss followed to show me just how much.
He ran downstairs even before the paint had dried.
The aftermath.
The rest of his friends ran home to demand tattoos from their respective mothers and some of them even called me in distress. “Happy Mother’s Day” I said with a smile.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Moon Knows Its Own

My current inspiration. Created by an emerging artist . The title of this work is the title of this post.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

wAnNa jOiN?

How will I be defined in the dictionary?

PiYa

[noun]:

A person of questionable sanity who starts their own cult.

'How" will you be defined in the dictionary?'

Thursday, May 10, 2007

What kind of a monster are you?

You are a vampire!
QuizHeaven.com
You are suave and seductive. Eternal life is yours and you never tire of coming up with crazy ways of amusing yourself and others. Sometimes, however, your taste for blood comes in the way of friendships as you are constantly turning your friends into vampires.

Take this quiz at QuizHeaven.com

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

"My fancies are fireflies..."

I woke up today with “Akash bhora shurjo tara…” Quickly realizing through the early morning slumber that Ma was playing one of her favourite CDs. I listened through the quietness of the morning. This is not how ordinary Wednesdays begin.
But then this is no ordinary Wednesday. Today is ‘Ponchishey Boiskakh’, the Poet’s birth anniversary. Rabindranath Tagore. Robithakur, as we were to know him in childhood. This man has been an anchor in Ma’s otherwise clich├ęd life.
As a young bride, she determinedly completed her then-considered exalted education (she was the only girl in her batch of Jadavpur Univ. B.Tech) despite pressures of a traditional joint family and a boisterous child (me), uprooted all her known ties and followed my father to an alien land.
In the clutter of a new land, she hung on to his words, his wisdom, his poems, his songs. We had been at awe. Not so much for his words but for Ma’s devotion to him.
We assimilated well, bhai and I, with the world outside home. We went to school just like other kids in the neighbourhood. We made friends, spoke deutsch, ate sauerkraut with relish. But once inside, it was a different world. A world filled with Rabindranath, Bankinchandra, Saratchandra and other stalwarts and of course Ma’s enormous collection of bangla music. From puratoni to calcutta youth choir, she had it all. And what she didn’t have in records, she would sing. Her beautiful voice would fill our hearts with a longing but we didn’t quite know for what. It would take us to the world we sampled during our annual visits to Kolkata and a world we found difficult to relate, at times. She took us through the meanings behind those mellifluous words and helped us learn the bangla script. With patience she corrected our intonations till she was satisfied. She took enormous pride when bhai could sing “alo amar alo ogo…” with near-perfection (he lisped a little), when he turned five.
My mother was undoubtedly the mistress of the house. And everything ‘in’ the house was essentially bengalee. Or rather as bengalee as one can get in an ‘alien’ land. Baba never interfered and I believe he secretly enjoyed and indulged Ma’s obsession with turning us into genteel bengalee bhadrolok. “This is who you will always be” she told us gently, “no matter where you are”.
Over the years I rebelled and I balked. I indulged in music and thoughts that Ma considered anguished. My new world of Sartre and Camus, Floyd, Morrison, Iron Maiden and later Nirvana and the rest of the urban angst didn’t appeal to her. Successively, life took me to various cities away from home and as I moved through the maze much got lost. But somewhere the strains of music long forgotten stayed with me.
Today, I listen to the same music with care. It appeals to me in ways it had never appealed before. Today I want my son to appreciate this legacy. Life has indeed come a full circle.
For that alone, I salute you, The Poet.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Black Hole Sun

6.52PM.29th April 07. Bangalore.From my 7th floor window.

I hate sunsets.
They leave me melancholy.
I dread the twilight halo
and let it pass
hiding in my windowless cubbyhole
on weekdays.
But Sundays are particularly tough.
All of my seventh floor apartment windows face west.
Ironic?
I try to ignore, but the orange glow
seeps in under the heavy drawn curtains
taunting me.
***********
You are getting obsessive
my mother says.
So I decided to work on it.
Last Sunday evening
I pushed the curtains aside
braved the disparage carroty blaze
And stared out for a while.
The sun
placid and unfriendly
all consuming and shameless.
The familiar inexplicable hollow feeling.
When will I learn to deal with it?

Much ado about...

Ro lost his first upper front tooth today. An event of utmost importance in his life. Dislodging the front upper tooth has been his pet project for the last 2 months and he has not left any stone unturned to meet his objective. He had even braved a visit to the dentist along with my father. But the tooth remained ‘unmoved’. The apparent trigger has been his ‘peers’ in school who have all lost their ‘uppers’. In the 6-years-old circle, a missing ‘upper’ is a writ of passage to be considered ‘arrived’.
Every morning for the last one month he would religiously asked me to ‘test’ his now slightly wobbly tooth and predict the date by which the tooth would ‘fall off’. Thus ensued serious calculations for forecast, which would dominate our morning teatime. In jest, I had told him 1st May. And in his innocence he had believed.
Today, over breakfast the much-revered tooth comes off the ‘hook’ and unceremoniously falls on the dish filled with his half-eaten tuna sandwich with a ‘plonk’! All conversations stop. Eyes rivet on the blessed tooth. Split second. My mother rushes to help him wash off the blood that followed the ‘plonk’. My father, being the practical person that he is, wonders how he will eat the rest of the breakfast now that he has a gaping hole for a mouth. Ro of course is overjoyed and wants to call all his friends with the breaking news. In between his gushing he looks at me with wide-eyed amazement and says “Mommy, today is 1st May!”
In the middle of a rushed morning, I got myself a believer.