Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Toote ga nehi to jude ga kaise ?

"So you live in Delhi?"
Overseas airports are strange places at night- strange,cold and impersonal, yet you meet people who mattered the most or at least did once upon a time. The  coffee vending machine whirred and I payed up the slot machine and filled my cup.
" You haven't changed much!"
 Is he being polite?
I smiled. I have changed from a girl to a middle aged lady, from a teenager to a grand mom...I have changed in many ways, yet it was nice to hear some  one say I haven't changed.
Though I cannot say the same for him....He looked changed and different- older, richer, balder except for his eyes! So I still remembered his eyes?I smiled again and he smiled back. Wonder what he is going on in his head.The warm coffee was a balm to the chill. And the last 45 minutes of bumping into a stranger whom I knew so well was a twist in the tale.
The WhatsApp pinged, " Hope you are awake...Drink your coffee and don't fall asleep - See you and soon!" - The fixer and the breaker. I was surprised at my own thought. Really time dulls so much. And I heard my flight being announced.
"See you again!"
A handshake , a brush on the cheek and I was on my way out. This time I was not tempted to turn back and take a last lingering look, cos I knew I was going home.

Friday, 31 March 2017

Pee, poo and period !!!!

This morning I watched a video going viral- on periods and all things related to the taboo. I am amazed that in the days of open relationships, open sex and all other openness why do we still wrap it all in a whisper?
I remember when my peer group started theirs and how it was a matter of being the privileged one with the cramps, sit outs in the games class and and discussing the color of Stayfree. One by one my friends all belonged  to the club, all except me - I was considered the baby and not to be taken into the inner wheel of the red young ladies. Being fed up of being the outcast, I faked chum to be with my bumchums !!!! I faked cramps, sit outs in the PT class, though I hated it, and spoke about imaginary stayfrees !!!! It's a different matter that I finally started my periods while I was almost 13 and almost 2 years later than my friends. The periods of course made Ma look red - she was forever worried that me being me I should not shout in glee!!! Her sermons were long and tiring that included the fact that I should sit quietly and not wear shorts and certainly not stain them!!!
I remember that I was in Benaras when I stepped into womanhood, and the first person I blurted out to was Baba, when he came to receive us at the Howrah Station much to ma's horror and no amount of pinching would make me stop from giving in all the gory details. Baba being baba, said " Doshshi meye ta to boro hoye gyalo!!"
I stopped at 50 just short of my birthday after a surgery at the same OT where my son was born. I don't think I was sad to let it go...Menopause has it's freedom whatever you say !!!!
And if pee, poo is no taboo then why Whisper about period?  Period !!!!

Friday, 24 March 2017

Mr Mole

UNITED KINGDOM - CIRCA 1979: A stamp printed in Great Britain shows The Wind in the Willows (Kenneth Grahame), circa 1979And we have been living with this big,fat, stinky mole since God knows when. It has a way of finding a way in the house and digging into the kitchen bin despite me putting up all kinds of barricades at all the probable entrances.

This mole is certainly not cute and civil like the Mr Mole of Wind in the willows - Chibu's regular bed time read when he was a child - but this one is squeaky, noisy and poos at all odd corners and beats the pest control at all cost. Last night as I pushed the pedal of the kitchen bin with my foot , out jumps the creature on my foot and slid under the gad burner, while I screamed down the neighbourhood. Bhaskar probably thought I was having some kind of an attack and before he opened his mouth it was " What kind of fauji were you? You cannot even protect me from a mole.....no wonder we had infiltrators....bla bla bla..." I raved and ranted....The mole peeped out and looked at B....." Ahhh look at his size and yours... He must be petrified of you....just like me!!!" The last was under his breath as he locked out the mole and the kitchen door .  Ode to all things big and small......

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

" But you don't say I love you anymore"- He complained as he watched her tinker around with the Sunday chores.
She sighed .... "I love you, do I have to say that? I keep your house sparkling, pillows fluffed and combs clean! Doesn't that show that I care ? What is love anyway?"
He sulked and she grimaced.
Life brings in that  monotony where love takes a backseat amid Sunday cleaning, shopping for the week, overseeing kids projects to be submitted and parent visits. She went into the kitchen and thought about it . I love you - how easy it was when they were dating , writing notes to each other and texting and saying sweet nothings out of the air. So where has love gone? She peeked at the mirror that she was polishing with a piece of wet newspaper - umm not out of the magazine cover surely and certainly not a person who will turn heads anymore!
Another sigh! It's been so long that she actually looked after herself, thought about what she wanted and did something just for herself. Putting others before self has almost become a habit.
"So where is the me ? The spontaneous, give two hoots to what others say, the carefree me?"
She put down the piece of wet paper , straightened her dress and patted her hair and walked back to the room where he was engrossed in the cricket match.
-" Let's go for a movie !"
-" It's a touch and go situation here. Come on.....come on ...INDIAAAAA" His eyes never left the screen.
Sigh and sigh ........and she finished her chores and picked up her mobile and booked a spa. A bit of guilt here as a thought crossed that the money could have been used somewhere else. But then again today is the best day - with the kids away at grandparents,and him being glued to the TV, this was the best chance to indulge herself.
As she picked up her purse, the pen fell out - and on a spur of the moment she scribbled "I love you....still" on a piece of paper and stuck it on the fridge
And this time instead of the usual sigh, she smiled....for in that instant she found the self that she had lost in time.
Happy Women's Day to all - though a day is not enough to dedicate to what we give a life time :)

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Misty morning and a railroad to no where...a far cry from the city I was visiting a week ago.
I had looked up at the skyscrapers and sighed.... I had wished  I was living here for a bit and not on a whirlwind. This city was my first flavour of traveling abroad. With its shimmer and sing-song accents  and glitter and all things legitimately sinful it was my first taste of all things glitzy and foreign.
And this was all so different , yet on my wish list for almost a decade and a half! It was barren and basic, yet the simplicity makes you realize you want  so little in life after all. The warmth of the people and the village boys and girls dancing lithely to the beat of the drums beats the discos across the globe.
Two different world, two attractive in different ways ......and the morning made me ask which one should I choose if i must, if I have to....Ahh mornings and solitude are never good for my head and my heart. And I ran into Saraswati poojo right here amid these village tribal school. Never thought I would offer anjali again, especially after the year that was mine, Chibu's and Baba's last poojo together. But then life has it's surprises - sad ends and happy beginnings...and to happy beginnings and to a railroad that takes one to a destination that makes you smile again ...cheers!!!!

Friday, 23 December 2016

Wishlist Circus :)

Circus season is here ....and with all the cries of animal cruelty the circus has actually lost it's charm. I watched the tents being put up at the Patuli just as winter arrived in the city. The lights started to shimmer again ,  and the place was buzzing! Each year I plan to visit the circus , and it never happens....When the tents are taken down at the end of the season , I just watch the elephants as I am passing by. And I miss being there again.
Circus used to have a place in my imagination, thanks to the stories by Enid Blyton, who made life in a circus so exciting- with it's trapeze acts and animal stunts it was indeed a life of nomadic adventure- of glitzy shows and life in a caravan.
My first brush with circus happened when Dada took me to the Gemini Circus and I was so fascinated with the pretty foreigner in a short pink dress, who walked in with a huge Hippo and fed her one loaf of bread after circling the ring. And there were the tigers and  the lions and elephants all at the beck and call of the ring masters. I did not know about animal cruelty then and was fascinated with the world they lived in.
Do I get to visit the circus this year? Amit lamented, "Didi, ticket er boddo daam!" And I felt a little guilty, may be I am too frivolous these days. I remember Baba getting us passes for the circus at Park Circus and and how we bunked college to be there. I guess I will just buy Amit a ticket even if I am not able to make it.
I see enough of Circus everyday - of a different kind that makes me feel exasperated, hold my breath,  gasp and laugh to myself ! To end on a cliche.....life is a circus really, and the clowns who make you laugh are unhappy because they are clowns, and the trapeze stuntperson(s) die a thousand death everyday and Enid Blyton's world is just a make belief .....yet when I see the tents in the evening with its fairy lights and music playing I go back to that day in Gemini Circus , when i just did not want to leave and go home......

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

So this is Christmas...

"Did you write your letter to Santa?" She asked her daughter, who was busy making drawings on a piece of paper.
"Umm....not yet ! And I wonder if Santa would be able to fit in what I want through the window rail!"
"What is that?" She asked
"A doll's house", her daughter replied and kept sketching a house where all her dolls can stay. She drew a big house with rooms and furniture and a little garden.
She peeped at the picture and smiled. It reminded her of her own home far away...out of this town and out of the closed neighborhood where the windows opened to another person's house , another person's life . Her own world was so different till she moved in into this town, with it's lack of open spaces. The only green that she saw each morning was the green water of the pool across the road , where young boys jumped off the tall rickety concrete board with an abandon that was long gone from her life.
She took a peek at the drawing now slowly becoming more colorful....the red roof and the green lawn and a gate that opened to a world so different from hers. She looked quizzically at her daughter and wondered what kind of a life she would have...She was wilful and stubborn with a mind of her own. Often at loggerheads as she refused to listen to the diktats of the elders. "A trouble!" She  had heard the relatives whisper. And in many ways she wasn't sure if it was good or bad.
The doll's house came for Christmas, it wasn't the big one like the one in the drawing, but it had a garden and could fit in the doll's bed and chairs and the smile on the daughter's face was one of joy and happiness, of a happy surprise.
Years later, the house was being cleaned, the unused loft was being cleared of the junk that had accumulated over the years. Out tumbled the Doll's House - now discolored, and chipped with the garden frayed and faded. The house remained in the junk to be thrown out - till the cleaner's little daughter spotted it - tinkered with the door and the gate and looked longingly at her mother. The mother nodded a no and made eyes as she did not want to lose this daily wage job.
The lady of the house saw this and smiled....called the little girl and asked, " Do you want this?" The little one nodded. "But the house is broken, what will you do with this?"
"My father is a painter, he repairs houses, he can mend this one too!" She said hopefully.
"Then take it, and buy something for your dolls with this money" The lady gave 200 rupees to the girl and watched with delight how the expression of joy spread on her face...unexpected abandon. And she smiled remembering a Christmas morning so long ago! Joy has no season , and the FM played "So this is Christmas............"