Tuesday, December 22, 2009

good old greeting cards

as i sit here picking up greeting card ideas to be sent to the aam-junta with love from the administration i wonder what happened to the family routine of sending greeting cards on diwali, or on new year.

when we were young it was a ritual that was very important as it gave us a vent for trying our cursives in the newest ways. papa would get us samples to choose from. we would debate about the last theme we had selected them on. some were chosen for the wordings that they carried, some for an appealing picture and some for a cause.

there were friends to be remembered and relatives too. a boss here and an aquaintence there. they all needed to be sent the season's greetings and their new year to be heralded in that awesome manner that the card conveyed.

we even kept a huge brown plastic bag to keep our favourite cards. some were birthday greetings, some were given by sentimental friends, some we made at home to wish ma-pa anniversary, some we traded with cousins. the bag would come in handy when we needed pretty pictures to decorate notebooks or diaries and at times make a collage for our room.

now the e-mail does it for us. there is no need to add a personal touch of your own hand. just a click and you are sorted, you could have wished the entire universe. will we ever get personal again?

Monday, December 21, 2009

medicine time

saw this 8-9 month old kid at the hospital where we had been taking chunna for nebulizing her with anti-allergic stuff. the kids' hospital, probably the only one of its kind in Chd, is horribly expensive, but thats another story.

this one is about the funny faces the baby was pulling. the poor kid must have been suffering from the regular cough and cold- the bane of the season and his parents had brought her for her medicine. the poor kid lurched at the hose that brought in the medicine frm the atomiser in an attempt to take a bite off it. she seemed quite hungry. may be her food had been rationed. when her mother took the pipe away from her, she began to first make small whimpering noises and then suddenly shifted a gear or two up and started howling. she contorted her face to depict her anguish and let out a long long wail again.

chunna felt it her responsibility to teach the kid to suck in the medicated air and tell her time and again 'no cry baby no cry'.the benefit of it all was that she also took her medicine without all that fuss that she would have otherwise created.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Statement: why do you argue so much?
A: I don’t
Honest Answer: Because all you say doesn’t make sense to me and I don’t give you all that credit to just take your word.

Statement: You are always so stubborn. You just don’t listen
A: No I am not.
HA: I also wonder about it sometimes but it seems to be a manufacturing defect about which it seems I can’t do anything

Statement: You don’t pay enough attention when you are being told something
A: Because if I pay attention, then my brain will start suggesting counter points and then I will start to argue and then you will say that I don’t listen but just argue, so it is better that I don’t listen at all
HA: That is an honest answer

Statement: Things you say or do are beyond my comprehension
A: that is because half of the time you haven’t listened to what I was saying and so you don’t have ample facts to ruminate upon and then comprehend. The rest of the time you are concerned about the right way ie your way to accomplish a task
HA: Again an honest answer

infusing life

i am beginning to forget how to write. or to be precise how to blog. when i remember my sulekha blogs i woner what was it that i used to write about. where did i think of all the topics. i am reminded of a blog entry that i wrote after seeing an old old man licking an orange lolly in the delhi heat and thoroughly enjoying it.

today when i have time and when i want to write about something topics elude me.i look at the blogs around me. some are flourishing, gathering comments, becoming discussion leaders, trend setters of sorts. i dont want ot be all that but i want to infuse some life into my blog.

is this an indication of the fact that i dont think. i no longer think? no i would nt say that. i think that i think but i think very deep down inside. so much so that now even i dnt hear myself thinking. my voice is drowned in the drone of my complaints. complaints about not having this and that. not getting this and that. not having enough time. not having the life that i wanted.

Monday, December 07, 2009

hubby woes

someone had posted a status message on facebook which read 'in the novel called marriage the hero dies in the first chapter' or something like this. this bugged me no end. why are men so convinced that they are the martyrs in the holy matrimony. they do not have to do dihes, cook, wash clothes, take responsibility for putting things in order and their designated places, do the beds, clean and dust the house, have a word with the maids an other help and raise the kids. All they ever do is tell you the doer how to do the stuff. even if they do something around the house, it is not for the family but a favour to you.

they spend most of their time out of doors and yet when they walk in you are supposed to drop everything that you are doing and rush to their side an dfan them. ask them how their day was, dnt bother with yours- you must have been busy with the routine.

cuddle the baby for exactly 5 minutes after which the poor thing will get irritated with all the coochie-cooing and start cry and then hand her over to the doer to pacify and (again) drop everything that you might be doing to take the nosiy kid away from them so that they can relax after a hard day of work, pressure and tensions.

agreed that men have pressures as varied as the colours of the rainbow and from different quarters (read demanding wife plus the noisy kid, pestring parents, complaining subordinates, defiant pig for a boss and so on) but when will they wake up to the simple fact that life has things beyond the pressures. you just need to open your heart a little bit more. i think having an interest in life helps in tehis regard.

you need to direct your energies somewhere else from the point of tiredness and irritability to rest your spirits.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

WANTED- a film review

Watched Wanted on DVD this weekend. Produced by Boney Kapoor, directed by PrabhuDeva and starring Salman Khan and just that. anyone else on the screen did not matter. they were just there to get beaten to pulp, get their head banged on railing/poles/walls/tables/anything in sight. it is an out and out an action flick. The movie is a remake of a Telugu film Pokir, which was also made in Tamil and was directed by Prabhu Deva.

The movie is a treat for salman khan fans for the obvious reasons that this gets him doing what he is best at i.e. action and dance but this review is about the fact that wanted is such a treat for those who can tolerate some blood and nasty action (goons being thrown off the train)because of the screenplay, quick dialogues and the exact amount of attitude that Salman Khan as Radhe- an undercover cop- needs to show off. he also plays deadpan lover delivering clever lines penned by Shiraz Ahmed.

it has the feel of those 90's movies that made you want to stand up and whistle. the crisp fight sequences by Vijayan, the suspense, the love story, crooked cop, double crossing villians, bam bam- the movie has it all and in style. mahesh manjrekar and prakash raj- the two villians with mean mean streak are fab. ayesha takia is kinda sweet.

it would have been a perfect flick had there not been any songs. i could have been okay with some of the dance and music thing had it been any good. in the end i just have two regrets about Wanted. one that it had too many and too lengthy songs and two that i did not watch it on 70 mm.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


spent a night at a resort in Nahan. the journey was so awesome, the spiral hill ride with a dense forest on both sides of the road. as we had started from chandigarh quite late in the day, when we entered HP from Kala Amb in Haryana's Ambala district, fog had started to descend. mist enveloped everything lending an aura of mystery.

by the time we reached our hotel a slight chill had crept in the air. we changed and then got to the business of filling up our empty tummies. as navratras had set in and i had monika (a big relegious fanatic) for company i could not even dare suggest experimentation so we ordered the tomato soup- the only variant available on the menu.

it turned out to be a good choice because the somewhat-sweet-and-somewhat-spicy thick broth tasted heavenly. made of the local produce it had a certain authenticity that is not very common on restaurant menus. i went for another bowl of the soup and skipped the dinner which in any case was not worthy fare.

the night sky was a deep shade that i had not seen in a very long time. actually i realised i had not seen the sky at night since a very long time. in fact i had not looked skyward in ages. so after putting chunnu to sleep i came out to sit on the porch and listen to the night's melody. i remember thinking that the crickets were singing especially for me and the enthusiastic dogs barked in the down town area to welcome me. I dnt remember when i went to bed but i woke up quite early the next day. sunlight had not really flooded in to the room to wake me up but the unusual quite had.

it was eerie to sit in silence, a fallout of living in a city i think, but pleasant all the way.

the morning began to gather pace as chunnu and then S woke up. the day was consumed in getting ready, consuming a couple of katoris of aallu sabzi in rich and spicy tomato gravy, visiting the renuka jheel, an encounter with a monkey that entered our vehicle while we were passing through the reserved forest area of the jheel and ran away with our disposable glasses.

by the time we slowed down chnadigarh was approaching. the rushed days were to begin once gain but i had managed to carry some little calm of the thick foliage and the music of the night in my head.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Chandigarh: city of potentials

For the first time since i have been living here in chandigarh and that has been for about a decade, i have actually begun to see the potential that this city holds. there is so much to do about the city and for the city. this city looks beautiful but how beautiful i am on the mission to discover this. i think the department will have a wealth of pictures old and new and would make for a fantatic coffee table book. i also think that this department should do much more than just handing out press notes and releases.

Monday, September 14, 2009

a new pro, a newer DC and a newest CC

the new DC of chandigarh brijendra Singh joins the Administartion today. He will be followed by a new Chief Commissioner who will finally take over the reins from the Governor of Punjab who has had the charge of the UT since '84 riots.it seems that whole new cycle will soon be in flux. finally there will be a person whole heartedly responsible for the state of affairs in chandigarh and not just someone with an additional charge . i wonder where will all this new rule lead me and what does it have for me?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

To be or not to be

i wonder why there is nothing to write about any longer? where have i got stuck? i could write and write, there was so much that needed pondering over. that needed to be put in words. where has all that gone?

i know i cant do much beyond writing. i am not skilled at anthing. i look at people around me- a talented bunch. some are good at imagining or visualising as it is called these days, some are good at selling things off, some are good at pontificatng and manking others feel guilty and do the work for them i wonder on seeing these people. i used to often think that i would be this silent person, i will rarely speak and when, once in a while i would open my mout only great words shall fall. but i found myself to be too gregarious to hold still and be silent.

then once i thought i will become a fashion designer. i kept a notebook and copied patterns to it but eventually grasped that anywhere that i had to mark copying would not work, i would need originality to sustain.

if this is what is so imperative for the self to sustain than why is it so difficult to figure out what to be or not to be?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

am i working too fast?

had the chai and samosa in the morning. held the meeting with subordinates late afternoon. entertained, smiled, gossiped, signed files, sent proposals, checkde teh websites, read all papers and cut out the clippings. committees launched, debates and some more discussions held. there are still a couple of hours that i need to spend in here. used to leaving the work place when there is no work, i am finding it difficult to stick to the dark blue executive chair which has surely been crafted for a burly officer. am i suffering from presentism?

have already gotten used to the peons and have even created ruckus when my bell went unanswered for 5 minutes. i have noticed how whjat-could-have-been-efficient youngsters have turned in to fussy sarkari naukars, their mentality and their work both taking after the lineage of the breed called office babu.

what will become of me?

kaminey- a review

koi good luk nikalein, gulak ko todein....dhan te nan, initially i could not decipher the song but when eventually i could it became the most endearing thing about the movie Kaminey. I went to watch Kaminey in a theatre- a luxury by my standards for people who can spare the time to step out of doors to watch a film on the 70 mm screen- because i had heard a lot about vishal bhardwaj and his cinema and i havent seen any of his films, the only exception being Makdee, which i liked a lot for its content, treatment and music. I had heard good things about omkara and maqbool from friends and excellent things about the blue umbrella on the tv.

Kaminey is the story of identical brothers Guddu and Charlie. Guddu stutters and Charlie lisps 'main f ko f bolta hun'. There is comedy and there is the dark side but the thing that i liked in the whole movie was the imagery and one liners like 'paifa kamane ke do raafte hain. ek fotkut aur doofra chota fotkut' 'kaali billi rasta kaat le to kuch nahi hoga par agar subah subah us manhoof ki shakal dikh jaaye to saare din ki vaat lag jayegi'

the movie is brilliant in terms of a story that touches so many issues like HIV, mumbai for mumbaikars, corrupt police officers, smugglers and all. the characters are not served on a platter but you have to pay attention their actions to know how they are and how they behave and react.

priyanka chopra is delightful, shahid kapur is awesome and powerful as Charlie and quite cute as Guddu. Amol Gupte as Bhope Bhau stands out and so does Chandan Roy Sanyal as Mikhail, Charlie's coke-addict best friend. we hear thatb Bhardwaj co-authored the screenplay to a script he bought for $4000 from a Nairobi writer that he mentored at a script writing workshop in Uganda and what a job he has done with the idea. fantastic is all you can say though i wish the script was a little more taut.

the ending is cho-chweet with another pair of twins being born and the two diamonds (that are otherwise referred to as the twins in the film) enabling Charlie to fulfill his dream of owning a bookie counter at the race course and the other one in the finger of the woman of his dreams 'Fofiya'

Monday, August 24, 2009

i am feeling blue

listening to music is the best thing that i can think of you can do with your free time. and i am going to crib how i missed tina sani's live in concert. so if you can;t give me a patient hearing you might as well log off. i have grown up listening to 'Anokha Ladla' and then she was to perfrom in Tagore Theatre last Friday. I could have gone to hear her and this time would have been given A class treatment by the manager et al. But i did not. and why? one i had no company, but thats a lame one. i know i could have and should have gone by myself. now for the truth. i did not want to be away from Chunnu after leaving her for the entire day in the creche and more than that S would have never have forgiven me for leaving her in the care of someone else.

so for once when i had everything in place i did not do what my heart so badly wanted and i am not able to justify it with what so ever excuses.

Monday, August 17, 2009

shall we work?

would you believe it, if i told you that i haver started to work again. i had thought that at least fro about four years i would not want to work. i don't really know what has brought me back. is it boredom? need of respite from the mundane routine of cooking and cleaning the house? the need to get out of doors and meet people? an attempt at value-addition?

but whatever, i am liking it as i have always. i like to work. i have deciphered that it really doesnt matter whether i sub stories or design a magazine.. well no it does matter, i dont ever want to sub again. with all due respect to the subs of the whole world, it is pathetic work. i know all work is thankless but subnbing is the most, the greatest of all the thankless jobs in the world.

so where was i? haan it doesnt really matter what i do like for example who would have thought that i would jump on to the sarkari bandwagon some day but here i am. it is not very different from what we do in other places. we work some, smile some, crib some. thats what we do here or people here have been doing. i have been hearing so many stories since the ay arrived that i am inspired (yet again!) to write a book. may be it is time that i should pick up the yes minister series.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

my empty 9 o' clock slot

the swayamvar has ended. rakhi has chosen to marry elesh (i know i am a genius. i always know, weeks in advance, as to what is going to happen in a particular tv serial. ) but what might have solved so many of rakhi's problem has created a new one for me. now i cant figure out how to splurge an hour of that time- from 9 pm to 10- that was so taken by rakhi's swaymvar. there are a zillion sad options on the tv but all of them require some partial use of brains.

nothing is on which i can just watch like a zombie and even if interrupted by my daughter's antics then get back to it without the feeling of having missed out on anything.

i am also asking myslef like any sensible person would that why am i splurging my time like this. why do i need to be entertained mindlessly when i can pick up a book, plan the next day's menu and chop vegetables, spend some quality time with s. i would have thought of an answer but it seems that the swayamvar has dulled me so much that i would rather sit in front of the idiot box than do some soul searching

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

devilish delights

there is this ad on tv for a mango drink where they show a guy obsessed with mangoes. so much so that he even is wearing a shirt with full blown mangoe print. man do i love the sound of that ad. i mean i so identify with tis mango freak.

summers begin and i begin to ask S 'aam kab aayenge?'knowing too well that nothing would come of it before the downpour.

this season was a little disappointment because the crop hasn't been well. though the dushehris did not disappoint yet my personal favourite langda was hard to be found. the ones that i could find were small in size and it would take a couple of them in one go to satiate my greed for the fruit.

why mangoes are such favourites? there are some oh-so-sweet memories associated with the fruit. one is a childhood memory of palampuriya rains and rushing from school to gran's home for a treat of chusne wale aam. there would be this huge bucket of mangoes that had been soaked for a long time, waiting to be devoured. i still can clearly see the delicate wooden jangla and myself bent over it going for one mango after the another as my granny churns out the harms of an overdose one after the another.

second is a picture of me and my sisters. all engrossed in mango mania, not bothered about the dripping juice, mum's sheets or even our school unoforms' plight.

i haven't ever been bothered by the fact that i might put on weight or upset my stomach if i ever have too many of them. can you really have too many of the yellow, juicy, pulpy, yummy, delightful mangoes??

Thursday, July 23, 2009

its a start

i joined a yoga camp. i am still reeling under the enormity of the truth. i have joined a yoga camp and quite liked it. sri sri yoga. i who considered myself as the most doubting creature as far as this yoga and well being thing is considered. i who laughed at people who make flapping noises while breathe in and out and i who raised an eyebrow at anything 'Jai Ho', i joined a yoga camp.

for the next five days i shall be getting up at about 4.30 am......the one in the morning. walk a kilometer to Moti Ram Arya school in sec 27 and spend the next 2 hours learning to breathe.

why i joined this camp? i knw i have weighty issues but guess what this is not the reason why i am going to give up my beloved sleep. i coaxed myself in to joining this because i sensed the need for a guru. a person who can guide me to become aware of my body and my self.

i find myself in a confused state so often that it is becoming a habit. i need to resolve my doubts and burn a few calories on the way to becoming a better human being.

i also want to better my rotten body clock that doesnt go off till 8 or even 9 in the morning.

most importantly i want to get out of doors and feel the morning wind. i want to be with myself, on my own.

Monday, July 20, 2009

rakhi sawant II

I was thinking that all the reality shows on our indian tv are take offs from international shows but tis one is truly ours. rakhi ka swayamvar- there has nt been anything like this on any tv channel of any country ever before but i do think that paris hilton can copy it and do it for the pleasure of tv viewers all over. wonder how the promos will run? i am tired of having affair after affair. now your very own paris wants to marry and settle. let the child in her splurge and enjoy some more.

thank you list

there are many waays to kneel and kiss the ground.

i have been often told that there is so much in my life for which i should be greatful to god so i thought that today i will kneel.
1. for being born in palampur and enjoying peace, love and nature that are inherent to the surroundings of my city beautiful

2. for meeji. she is the most benevolent, caring, not-so-gentle, loving, accomplished and prettiest grandmother that ever lived on this planet

3. for my pest sister who is a shoulder i have leaned and cried on, my sounding board, and all the things that sisters are meant for

4. for all those who have taught me to read and write- teachers, parents and relatives. i would not have known the joy that comes to me while i do these things had it not for them

5.for my lovely hair- straight and black

6. for my sense of humour

7. for different people who came in my life when i needed guidance and love

8. for my well functioning body parts that have served me well for these 28 yeras

9. for keeping me out of trouble. i could have been in deep shit so many times and i think it has just been pure grace that my life isn't the monsterous reality had i stuck in the jam

10. for the time i spent in dilli and the people i met and befriended

11. for my smile- i like my smile too much.

12. for chunna

13. for hte choices that i have been free to make.

14. for the food. i love my plate

15. for others in the world who have set examples for some other others

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

the rakhi sawant show

i am loving it. it is totally mindless. can do with flickering attention. u can close your eyes and wouldnt have missed a thing. but the romance that is oozing out of the screen and the coy girl that rakhi plays...hats off. i mean i would nt have attributed grace to ms sawant but she has been graceful. i tink that all think that she doesn't have brains of her own but she can come up with some nice snubby comments for her 'hone wale pati' log. many ppl think it is stage managed but are at the same time wondering whom will she wed. i place my bet on elesh.

Monday, July 06, 2009


i am missing having a friend near by. the need to confide, to gossip, exchange woes, talk about infatuations and crushes, have someone to tell me things will get better. suggest ways and options. show me the path. share notes on books, the music. review the films.

i think all the friends that last out after times of seperation are the friends that we need imminently in our lives.

tenz is the fone a friend. we haven't seen each other since past 3 years or so and we rarely call but once we do and start talking about recently read books, new people in our lives- it is difficult to end the conversation.

loveleen is the soup friend. she is warm and heals.

harish is my all weather friend. he listens without interrupting to all my gharelu chik chik. he has never shied from pulling me up when i have been in doldrums. he is the friend whose presence is uplifting.

There is a shield friend. the one who saves you from your own self via empathising and not sympathising. he doesn't let me berate and beat myself.

shagufta is the 'i know you are there for me friend'. we have shared silences, journeys, yum food and becoming mommies.

i miss some people with whom i have lost contact over the time. i miss manisha whose enthusiasm and optimism and her faith in me rejuvenated me like nothing else does. i miss kiran. i miss her all day long yak-yak and wisdom. i miss tikoo.

unfortunately all of these people and some more are busy bodies and geographically far far away. i miss all of them. i miss having the physical comfort of a lap to cry in or lie in after a hard day's work. i miss the playful fight over the bill. i miss the joking backslaps which would turn in to a full game of chase and hit. dear god i need a friend right now to unburden and to learn again laugh out loud.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

story so far

a friend says that i am degenerating because i have stopped to write.I have always known, somehow, that i have to write. it is an essential need but i did not know how it was essential until he said to me that i should not stop to write and articulate. when he said this then i realised what my writing did for me. it helped me articulate my being. it helped me understand my self. i wrote diaries and kept journals not because i needed to recird the events of my life but because it made me get in touch with myself. the thing wise people say to look inside yourself- writing did that for me.

then one day i lost myself trying to love another person. it was as if i wnated to blend in to this man so that there could not be two of us but just him. sounds very romantic and all but there was no such intent. it so happened because of the person i am. i tend to love whole heartedly. i get so influenced that i begin to speak the aame language as my love interest and forget myself, my family so very completely taht i become dependent on that love to nurture me.

unfortunately the honeymoon was shortlived....forget it. there wasn't even a honeymoon. i knew it even before it became apparent that i was in a mess of my own creating. as fantastic that person might have been i had somehow sapped him of all his love by demanding it constantly and in generous measures. i also felt sapped in a way that all i had to give and some more had been taken away from me and not even enough was left to sustain my being. and as if that wasn't really enough physical ailments added insult to injury. my illnesses have weighed heavily on the finances and make me feel guilty for not contributing fiscally.

in turn i became divested of all love, kindness, care and humility. i turned to sloth to shield me from seeing my own disintegration. i sleep and i sleep. i do want to wake up and start exercising in the mornings to fit in to some decent clothes for harish's wedding. but i do not.

i do not want to scream at anyone least of all my daughter and my maid. but that i keep constantly doing. i get easily annoyed, exasperated and teary eyed in that very order, all in a matter of five seconds.

i feel lost and i feel not loved. tenz told me that i should be like a coconut try to keep my core intact but i have forgotten who i am. i have lost myself. i need help. i don;t want to fight and argue with my family as if we were two warring sides. i just want to put down this weapon which seems so stuck to my hand that i can't stop it from hurting my loved ones. i want to gather my self back.

Monday, April 13, 2009

That thing about being at home

You know it when the air in the rooms has a warmth to it.
The light is just a shade mellower for you soul to feel comfortable in.
The music that drifts around is of the song that plays in your head and heart.
The comfort is not in the depth of the mattresses or the breadth of the sofa but an embrace.
The high ceiling does not bar your ambition
Instead that is where you hang your dreams to be picked and worked upon the next morn.
The ordinary is my routine yet I find a newness to it
Every time I walk back from the world in to my home

must dos

i need to bring so many changes about myself. i keep making mental notes of tings to do and keep forgetting them.

i must start my day with prayers and meditation.
i must drive else i wil forget.
i must wear those lenses.
i must sit down with myself.
i must seek help to heal and give myself a new coat of paint.
i mustlearn to control my temper and tongue and facial expressions.
i must plaster a smile on to my face for ever.
i must not raise my voice with chunnu.