For as long as I remember Home for me was where I would wake up to my Dad’s monotonous voce droning out my dreams, where my mother’s filter coffee spread its tantalizing addictive scent into all around and where I would scramble and fight with my brothers and where my father and I would literally leap to the door at the sight of the paper. I still have a feeling that he stood for a minute longer each day to see who won, or deliberately aim the paper in differeant directions. It was where I came home to my mother’s dinner, to my Father’s scrabble and news nights every night. That was where my heart is. After what seemed like a lifetime I moved to a place which was now referred to as my home and I moved further where I was expected to make my home. The funny thing about heart is it dosen’t follow directions, it comes with its own set of directions, which often means it wanders around when I try to settle and make itself comfortable in people’s mind and houses when I don’t want to. Just beacuse I was instructed to make my home and refer to people as my parents didn’t mean that I wanted to do it or I was prepared. There was however a comfort level I got into with increasing familiarity. It didn’t happen in sequential manner, it happened. I have made my home now, far far away from the little place I had called home, and a distant cry from the big world contained in a tiny room which seemed to exapnd with friends and the walls that held my secrets tight. The wind is different. It seemed to carry the conversations I had and was a part of my bandwagon of mates. Over here it just seemes to be suspended in midair. I am not sure if it listens to the woe betide me stories or laughs at my rib cracking thoughts I speak aloud. The moon seems a little different too. But amidst al these I have slowly learnt to call this place which I scrub and scrouge, where I trip over the stairs, where I play Uno with my equal (Not better, equal) half and where the smell of the weak brew I pour down my throat tries its best to waft gracefully. I feel a twinge when I leave the place to fly home. I feel homesick before I leave and glad when I am back. Does it mean I like the place where my heart was a little less. Is the place where your heart used to thrive for 20 odd years your true home or the place where your heart learnt to adapt? Is it even possible to live in two worlds and call them each your home? My home is with my mother with whom I learnt to love, cook and paint. It is with my father who made the rest of my life. It is alos with my love who I gave my heart to and willingly followed him to the end of the earth to make my home where he went. My home is with these people and my heart learns to love them all in its own different way
Monthly Archives: July 2006
I have a friend who is rapidly disappearing, one is almost disappeared and another who is thinking of taking the plunge. They have it in their minds that they need to look shriveled and not healthy, lose weight rather than eat healthy and exercise and most importantly think about it all the time. Why do people go on diets? For one thing it is too much of a strain on the brain, trying to calculate all those calories, trying to figure the percent fat, protein, carbs in each food then trying to figure out how much calories you need today. There is one important reason that my math teacher failed to insist upon when she was waxing eloquently about the lifelong gains that we would have see from studying mathematics. And the second thing is it wastes too much time. ou go shopping for groceries, stopping at each and every aisle for minimum of 10 mins examining the ingredient list, calculating, comparing, with furrowed brows rapidly scan the list, grab another compare the two then grab yet another one and compare that with the previous two, then put don all three and grab a fourth which has the words whole grain, complete grain, bird seeds or tastes like mud written on it. I am not by any means critiscing people for taking care of their weight or being careful about what they eat. In a rapidly growing country in ways other than the economic sense, it is very very essential for good food habits to be cultivated. But sometimes there is a tendency to take things to the other extreme. I am not sure if we were naive or unworldly or just plain ignorant, somehow in India I was never exposed to the weighty problems of excess adipose tissues. I have always been going around as my doctor so subtly put it “a slightly larger frame” but a lot has to do with genetics. Don’t think I am just taking the easy excuse. I know my genetics especially when they are walking around as clear as daylight. Maybe it had to do with all the walking I did or the proper 3 mother made meals a day, I never found it to be a problem until I came here. I cook, so watching the TV and gulping the indiscernible contents on the plate seems like fun. But I have not been barraged with the reduce weight in minutes ranging from 15 to 120, and a wide varitey of contorsions to which if I subject my body, I am promised I can loose all my belly fat and tone each and every muscle in just under a month…GASP!!! but then they also ask me to stick to whole wheat bread, no milk products, no carbs, limited fat and most importantly a whole lot of green salad. I am vegetarian true blue one who eats milk and milk products, but even for me a green lunch is as tasty as chewing on a piece of rotten bark. As my very learned father said, there is a reason why we stopped walking on four legs, so that we could take a break from grazing. There is fun in pouring some gingelly oil, grinding coconut, jeera, red chilli, coriander seeds and a little hing. Chopping some onions till they brown up and throwing the spinach into it with the ground stuff along with a handful of boiled lentils. That is what I consider food and I have my parents backing me up for it. My parents were pretty liberal when it came to foods, no fuss, no hold backs, they are and were very active people and found no reason to stop eating good food. There is ofcourse the famous incident when my mother valiantly proclaimed that she was going to go on a fruits only diet for one meal a day and she figured dinner was the best. So for three days she munched on a every fruit my father laid his hands on in the fruit shop. My father being the man he is showed his supoort by doing the same. So life went on. One night my dad wakes up at around 2.00 to go grab a drink, when he spots the kitchen light. Alarmed he tips toes slowly to see my mother furiously mixing rice with “Onion Sambhar and making curd” She exclaimed and declares she is officialy back to eating normal food. She couldn’t do it anymore. Imagine my suprise when I wake up to nature’s screaming and find my mom and dad in the dining room with a candle light so as to not wake up anyone digging into food and some leftover cake for all the days they didn’t eat dinner. My father calls it the most romantic dinner in his life and my mother mouth full nods. As you can see there is a reason why I like my icecream and like eating it too. I do restrain myself every now and then that is and excercise regularly given the fact that there is nothing here in “Walking distance”. But I just can’t figure out why people would refuse to eat a perfectly good pizza, or a beautiful “Chunky monkey” or “Dulche de luche”. I am not saying hog, I am saying know what you want and eat what you want not what you wish you had or how much you wish you could eat. I find Good Food Indian or otherwise had sitting down on a table with family and friends is the best diet there ever was, and don’t forget to eat the fruits in the end.
As time goes on, it carries forward with it people who in the rumble, tumble of the path that they walk on change. Life changes not in dramatic flashes, but rather in slow measured movements barely perceived and much less understood, untl one day you pause to take the look back, you throw caution to the wind and go against all the warningsmthat you have been given to not look back. You stop on that path for a moment and turn fully expecting people behind you to turn into stone, but they do not. What you get instead is a whole group of people who were not around the time you started your walk, atleast don’t resemble any of the people who came along with you. It is puzzling. change is supposed to be good. Here you are so far away from where you began, you have crossed the point where all you can see is the long road in front of you and you croos all the accomplishments that you set out to achieve. And yet here you are stopping, for a fraction a moment time has ceased to move and you stand there wishing you could go back to that simple, yet uncomplicated life you lived in, longing for only the love of the people you recogonized. The time when you were dissolving in peals of laughter when your cousin fell from the high bar, and giggling like a bunch of theives when you snuck behind your grandmother’s house wih the whole basket of three dozen mangoes and devoured them with your n number of cousins, chewing the skin vigourously, and sipping and goobling that sweet nectar of Gods,before it hit the lily white dress your mother bought. Running like the hounds were behind you when the watchman from the apartment down the block chased you for aiming a rocket under his chair and hanging upside down for most of summer from the parallel bars till there was so much blood in your brain that everything looked red and there were round things dancing around your eyes. You look at the person who first taught you how to drive a two wheeler and at the big strapping brother who protected you from the wandering eyes of a romeo. The games you played with six stones and a scarf and sometiems with nothing at all. the songs you sang as you drenched yourself in a glorious river and relished the warm and sweet taste of pongal made with jaggery in a stone pot hit your throat. The days when you chugged along in a train for three days and four nights and how you roped in the entire compartment for a game of anthakshri. Time it appeared had ceased to be then, an yet there it was all along chipping in the changes that would make us who you are today,sculpting in the curves that would impact your lives delicately yet profoundly and along those curves, a plethora of discoveries would be made as they discover their life waiting for them, waiting to mould them into people they knew not and into people they never imagined they had in them. You walk on unaware, being guided by your own little light. You walk till one day you hear your heart beating amidst all the noise and you realise the music that had been playing around has reduced to a gentle hum and you like the soothing tones of the strained melody and yet you yearn for the cacophony of noises that would erupt when you sang with your friends and family. You feel lost and yet you feel the need to go on. It is perhaps with the hope that somewhere down the other curve that you pass, you will see all those people who created those noises waiting for you to catch up with time, change and life. You perhaps must have missed a moment when you stopped, instead of just walking. That was why they asked you not to look back.
This is how I picture a few of my weekends. Wake up, Load up on caffeine. Enjoy the happy sounds of the morning, take a walk, eat some breakfast, randomly walk around house straightening odds and ends, rambling away to parents and grandparents. Make lunch. eat a nice lunch with an awesome ovie. Fall asleep on the couch. wake up. settle in the relative comforts of the cushions with a die for book and a cuppa. do something in the eveninn like play a game of tennis or hang around the mall, come home have dinner, sit out in the summer night and count the stars. go to sleep.
Now picture this. Wake up, Load on the caffeine. Hit the net to figure out places to go, look for traffic patters and weather. decide between five different places to go. argue to no end. wolf on some breakfast. still nowhere solid. So just take the car and randomly drive, becasue it is boring that there is nothing to do and come home with a headache and fall asleep.
I am very much a travel enthusiast. I love the adventure of seeing new places, the mystery in experienceing new things, flavours and the whole nine yards. But I like the rustic charm of not doing anything today weekends every once in a while. In todays’ world where the person is often evaluated on how interesting he or she is by the level of activity on weekends make my rustic weekend look like a sob story. I have seen people go camping, rafting, hiking, and all ohter odds and ends just becuase their friends have done it too and they didn’t want to not do it and appear to be sad by sitting at homes. I love doing all these things, but not for the pressure of doing it, it is for the fun. and somedays I have more fun just wallowing in my bean bag. and I don’t see what the big deal is. It is not as if armageddon is around the corner and there is some tickets to escape into a distant planet if you see and do everything there is to do in the world. I like taking my things slow. I love walking in a new town, seeing the not so common sights and absorbing the out of ordinary. I don’t see the point in a weekend when you have to rush to do things and end up more exhausted and more tired for your monday morning when you are supposed to have ahoilday and rejuveunate yourself. Maybe that’s where the orgination of the term “Monday morning blues” is from. people are so blue by Monday mornign from all the running around, that all they want ot do is collapse. Some folks do have fun. They like the out of home experinence and the sense of achivement and satisfaction and high that the weekend of outdoorsy fun gives. I like it too. I however also like my books, my catnaps and my icecream at 3.00 in the afternoon. And that is one darn good reason for me to stay home and take back my weekend.
This post was supposed to be about how on the weekend I managed to watch two sets of dark haired Superheroes and Bald Villians. Saturday was filled with Superman and the bald but totally hot Lex Luthor and Sunday ofcourse the dark haired Materazi and the puzzling actions of Bald Zidane. But then yesterday happened and this post is actually a stop and start from yesterday.
Superman would have perhaps rescued more people and I dearly wish it could have been a single known enemy like Lex luthor, unfortunately wishes aren’t horses. It is heartbreaking especially since I have close connections to Mumbai and more than that sad. It makes me home-sick and very very confused. I have been reading these two books “Maximum city” and “India” the latter by Shashi Tharoor. MAximum city was eerie. It deals with the ’93 bombings and the author Sukethu Mehta takes us on a journey into the slum areas, police interrogations, Muslim areas and basically describes how things work. The horrifying part is people actually know what is going on. I could visualise in my mind, so this person would have arranged for the bomb, and this person could have known it and this officer will talk about investigations and so on. It was chilling to say the least and the book is damn good.
India on the other hand basically deals with everything that is India. its religion, caste, ethinicity, language. This is the point he makes and it was true. Even though there is a base board of patriotism in each of us, given the way we live our lives and the way we have been divided. we think of ourselves in terms of our immediate area first, like for example a hindu malayalee nair would think of himself first as a Hindu and a Keralite, then a nair and then maybe in the end an Indian, and in a way he is perhaps true, Bombay seems so far when I look at it from the deep south, it seems like this whole other country. It is not said in a degrading way mind you, he is just trying to explain why we are who we are. This is how he sees it, every nation in the world has somthing common that binds them, Most Europena countries are majority Christians speaking English, and the nationalities have a common language. But we are not a single nation, we are nation of Pluralities and in a way that is what is what makes us unique and helps us stand out from the crowd.
I guess I am more curious to learn about my country since I feel by readin about it I can still feel connected and probably understand it better. Truth is I don’t think I ever can. India is too deep, too enigmatic and far too complex to be understood by reading books, to know India you will have to feel it, be there and be amongst its people to know why inspite of seven bombings, one major flood and countless bandh, a state is still able to pick itself up and go about their lives. Is it a testament to their resolve to not be bogged down, or is it a familiarity with the situation tha they no longer fear it or are bothered by it. Being the optimist I am I will say the former. I like to believe in the spirit of the people and in their obsitancy to walk striaght and with our head held high. I read and article in rediff about how one man was comparing the 9/11 and the people’s reaction and the way the authorities reacted. He was angry at why India was silent and why we were not turning up the heat. He was angry at our cowardly behaviour. This is my answer to him. India is not a cowardly country, we are far more brave, we have weathered far more troubled waters and experience has taught us to be patient and not blindly rampage nations. We are the land of the tiger, not the wounded bull. Try putting in 14 million people each speaking a different language,7 very crowded train, a rain storm and you will know the enormity of the situation. It is not easy being India, it takes great courage, greater patience. We don’t condemn people beacuse they sing the national anthem in different languages, we are the more tolerant variety. I am proud to be an Indian. We might have the lousiest bureaucracy, the most corrupt politicians, the unreliable goverment services and police. But there is no place on earth like India. Mera Barath Mahaan.
I hope Bombay recoveres soon.
This is a little late coming, but this in relation to the prompts and write by Midget diaries:
I’m a bit of a dreamer. I like to imagine things that will be, I like to float above myself and look at my world and imagine the possibilities. When I read a book, I dream of being amongst the characters and watch their lives play out, something akin to the common man in laxman’s cartoons. When I see through the peephole, I see a world unexplored. The first thing that catches my eye are the cars parked neatly in a row, red, blue, silver and greeen. I see a dusty road and my mailbox shiny and nice and then I look beyond, I see what I did not the first time. I see trees, shaking of the self induced slumber of winter, I see flowers stretching their fancy petals up to the sky, I see butterflies dancing to the tunes of the wind, I see birds calling out to the sleeping world. I see these through my peephole and I dream. I dream of eternal spring, of hope, joy and love. I dream of a world where people could stop and live instead of exist. I see myself doing a skip, hop and a jump. I also see change and pray like the tree, the flower, the butterfly and the birdie, I gather the courage to live through these changes and never lose my ability to see though the peephole or lose that bit of me.
It is hard trying to be a sports fan, harder when the two sports that you support the most looks bleak in the same week. Geez…I am getting a headache. Agassi bids adieu, and so do Germany. I have chalked it all upto fate. I mean if I hadn’t moved from the damn carpet, the goal wouldn’t have gone in, I mean is it really necessary for me to focus on my own comfort. (Groans and shakes fist at nobody)Whatever, No more sports talk here for a while.
On lighter notes, I have been seeing a rainbow for the past four days. As amazing as it sounds it is true. Same time around four-five in the evening, at different places in the sky.
I just realised that my jasmine plant which has remained flowerless for the past five years has been blooming profusely(Knocks on wood). I am guessing my passionate pleas during the matches must have energised them, Those plants sure have a ear or root for sports. heheheee
Been seeing the July 4th fireworks. Hard not to reminsce about good ol’ Diwali and the number of times the rocket went zooming on the road when the ketchup bottle toppled over and zipped right under the chair of the mean watchman who guarded the apartmetn down the road. Man he will never fall asleep at 3.00 in the morning again.
Icecream tastes the best when had at 1.00 in the night.
There is no comfort food like some really awesome curd rice made to the consistency of butter, and sprinkeld with mustard seeds and urud dal and eaten with real tangy lime pickele after more than three days of world cuisine.
Priya Pickle, the brand of pickle I get makes gujarathi chunndo and my day has been made.
People read my blog and actually even wonder where I am(dances a few steps)