RANDOM JOTTINGS FROM THE TRIP

Day 1 – Feb 9

It is 4:38 PM GMT – 10:08 PM IST. I am dreary eyed and sleepy. Of course cant expect much more after a cocktail of 10-hr sleepless flight, sleepless last night in India and the jetlag. I am trying to postpone the sleep time by 2 hrs at least, lest I not wake up in the middle of the night. London Heathrow welcomed me at 1300 hrs local time and I should say the airport (T5) did impress me. I mean, hopping on to a transit train to collect baggage after you have disembarked, in how many airports do you get to do that. The weather is not bad at all. 9 C they say it is, but then I hardly needed to step out into the air. The taxi ride to the hotel was fairly quick 15-20 mins. Funny – on the road a UK Royal mail red colored van I saw had so much grime on its back, that someone has marked “even my wife is not this dirty” on the dirt. Nice touch of humor. In India, I have only seen telephone numbers and arrow pierced hearts drawn on dirt. This was a good change. Got to report in office at 8.00 AM tomorrow. Signing off now!

Day 6 – Feb 14

Valentine’s Day! (not that it matters) I am sitting in RP, typing away, trying to drive my sleep away. I am feeling groggy, but cant stop admiring the view outside. It’s like a white sheet spread over the whole place. People have been telling me that this is the warmest day in the season ūüôā well, cheers to that!

Day 14 – Feb 22

Almost in the last leg of the trip – waiting to board the flight to Bangalore at the London airport, after having just bought my last takeaways from the trip – chocolates! Lucky I remembered that I had to buy them.

So what can I say about the trip, wow!

¬†Ok, so for the sake of anonymity, here’s how I am calling the significant people I met ->> J, M, V and fly, D-N, A, G, T, A-M, C

What I think of them:

– J is experienced and wise, unflustered and a potential candidate for mentor

– M has extremely good sense of humor

– V and fly — nothing new to add, chilled out inspite of the recent disruptions and commotions

– D-N are extremely caring and thoughtful, as always

– A is endearing, nice and pleasant personality

– G is gregarious and friendly, unlike what I expected (was expecting an older, more serious person)

– T is a nice mix of older and younger people, some people much older than I thought. But we spent a nice week, including a fun evening together

– A-M is a lovely couple, dont see them lose patience with children and they are so chilled out about them – something I should learn. Got wonderful home ideas too. Wonder how M functions like clockwork without any sign of slowing down or tiredness, though. No wonder mom is a big fan of hers. The importance A attaches to fitness ought to be seen to be believed

– C is a good person – genuine at heart and a good friend. Got to learn relentless pursuit of values from him. His friendship is worth retaining.

¬†*—*

I am now about to board. As I wait for the gate to open and the boarding process to start, I look around at the other brown faces and cant help smiling to myself – finally, I am getting back into familiar territory.

What I will miss

¬†– the beautiful UK greenery – the singsong British accent – the total “me” time I got at airports and hotel rooms – facetime I got with colleagues – (American) buildings scraping the sky – sheet of white anywhere I saw in the US – buildings, roadsides, trees

But here’s what I am looking forward to

– not having to study menus and dissect food, looking for traces of vegetarian options – not lugging 30 kgs of weight around – not having to spend a few seconds trying to calculate time in IST everytime I have to talk to people back home – not having to bother about braided hair, bindi on forehead and salwar kameezes – weather that renders unnecessary the eight layers of warm clothing to wear before stepping out – finally, the comforting warmth of family ūüôā

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A new “me” discovered…

… this New Year!¬† I discovered a side of mine, that I did not¬†know existed. Or maybe, one that I knew about, but which I had tried burying under layers of civility. Alas,¬† the¬†sad truth is that¬†lousy¬†fiend couldnt lay low anymore and came out in full glory today.

Let me explain (but not too much)

This morning, I was greeted by a piece of news that should have actually made me very happy. I should have been truly happy for the people to whom *it* happened. Yes, I was happy, but not entirely. The loathsome green monster called jealousy, reared its giant¬†head, and guess what, I lost all sanity and cried… actually c.r.i.e.d… AND BITCHED AND RANTED AND VENTED! I mean, how low can one stoop? I did, to a good extent today.

Time is great healer, teacher and what not. I know I’ll get over it (there shouldn’t have been any need to “get over it” in the first place) and it wont matter anymore a few days later.

But what  happened today showed me an ugly side of myself, one that I hoped did never exist! But it does,  and I have to come to terms with it. Anyway, DH and Almightly remain the only witnesses to it and hope they forgive me! And hopefully, so will I!

ūüė¶

Why I dont like winters…

I stumbled upon this blog¬†post¬†¬†on why the author (well ok, blogger) likes winters. And it reminded me of my own¬†allergy to¬†the ‘cold’ season. Though of course, technically there is no such thing as winter, down south of Vindhyas (but then Bangalore, where I stay,¬†is different). So why not, I thought, pen my reasons. Here they go.

  • Time and again, winter conspires to aid breaking my resolution to wake up before 5.30 AM every morning. Unlike in summers, all I feel like doing is snuggling deeper under my blanket
  • Not possible to walk around the house without your chappals or sweater on
  • Can’t switch on the fan or open¬† the windows without a blast of cold air blowing into your face… brrr…
  • The sniffles and sneezes go up as the temperature moves downwards
  • Night life (not that I have a great one)¬†is crippled – any family outing is restricted to restaurant indoors, where the children can be safe and away from the chilliness
  • Wardrobe dilemmas – just how many full sleeved dresses or sweaters can you stock up for those 4 months

I’ll stop here, though I am sure I can come up with more if I rack my brains (and that shouldn’t take long, as Hermoine points out to Ron in the final book) ūüėČ

Happy New Year!

Book Review – The immortals of Meluha

I heard of the book from my colleague, as the first in a trilogy on Lord Shiva. Even as I heard him describe the book as Shiva’s story completely re-written, I thought I was traipsing into a dangerous, even if, interesting territory. For its tough to cope for most of us, if long nurtured beliefs, especially religious one, are challenged and up turned suddenly one fine day.

My sense of alarm eventually proved unjustified. The author does not claim his book to be factual or a slice of actual Indian history. The events in the book merely form a ‘story’. I suppose that is why the book didn’t court controversy, especially with the touchy right wing that takes offence to anything even remotely ‘tainting our culture’.

And I will not reveal much of the story in this review. Suffice to say that it talks of Shiva, not as a divine being, but actually a human being, a tribal Tibetan leader who happens to get entangled in the lives and battles of the people of the Indus valley.

The thing that appeals to me most about the book is the idea itself. The concept of Shiva as a human and not anybody divine. This is a thought I share with the author. Rama, Krishna and company, to me, are not mere mythological characters, but very much flesh and blood people of yore who have been glorified as Gods. Yes, I suppose they deserve to be worshipped for their ideals and what they left behind for the people of this country, but that does not make them any less human. Like Jesus, in all probabilities, they lived and walked on this planet thousands of years ago, crossing over to Sri Lanka to vanquish an evil king or witnessing an epic battle in Kurukshtera, as the case may be.

So the author’s prowess and imagination is laudable. What brings Shiva to Meluha, as the book begins and the course of destiny that finally takes him to Ayodhya (yes, according to this book, Rama pre-dates Shiva) towards the end, form a very interesting plot. The characters of Shiva, Sati, Nandi, Daksha, Parvateshwar¬† and all the other main¬† players are etched out well. The story is also peppered with interesting episodes and references. Like the periodic appearances of the pandits to guide Shiva. Or the philosophy that laces the book throughout – if a leaf abosrbs all colors and reflects only green, is its color green or anything but green?

Another interesting aspect of the book is how the conflict between the Suryavanshis and Chandravanshis plays out. At one point, the Suryavanshi king even  dispatches a letter to the Chandravanshi empire asking them to hand over the terrorits who attacked Mount Mandar Рthe proverbial final straw. And the reply they get is that there is no terrorist they are harboring and they themselves are victims of terror (sounds familiar? reminds you of any present day neighbors you know of?)
The author, Amish, is a first timer and belongs to the Chetan Bhagat/Sarita Mandanna school of writers, balancing a corporate day job with¬† night time literary pursuits. And unfortunately, the amateurishness is amply evident in the writing. So what, according to me, could have been a literary masterpeice in the league of The Lord of the Rings, for the sheer strength of its imagination, is reduced to the¬† level of a¬†paperback fiction. Shiva mouthing dialogues like ‘I’ll teach the son of a bitch a lesson’ etc. does not help either.

But inspite of all its flaws, as the book ends with a promise of an action sequence to follow and a lot of unaswered questions, I can’t help but wait for the sequel.

The perils of multiple parenting

(Pre Script. Before¬† I begin, my definition of multiple parenting: Multiple people – grandparents, nannies included –¬†involved in parenting, besides the mother-father¬†duo)

I dont know how women survive joint families!

Mine is a quasi-joint family. Or a quasi-nuclear family, the way you wish to see it.¬†We comprise a¬†working couple and 2 tiny tots,¬†with parents and in-laws¬†at a¬†stone’s throw away providing all support (or is it?).¬† And¬†free with support comes, guess what, ample advice and criticism too…

And this is where the complexity of multiple parenting starts.

Unlike a non-working mother (who, no denying, has enough troubles and frustrations of her own) a working mom leaves her kids with nannies and grandparents. And that is like to pry open a world of trouble.

Different people with different sensibilities and philosophies, each feeding their own beliefs to the kids is a sure shot recipe for trouble. So if mom has 1 thing to say on the kind of diet DD1 should follow, m-i-l has the reverse philosophy. Nanny pitches in with her 2 cents and no one cares what the hapless parents actually think about all this.

Yesterday, I lost my cool and shot back at m-i-l which obviously upset her! Well, I am usually restrained , respect all sentiments and all that, but just how much s**t can one take? Listening to daily lectures on how one should bring up kids can erode your patience and finally get on your nerve, as I learnt yesterday.

To let them handle technology or not, to buy them toys every month or not, to shout at them or not, to feed them x-y-z type pf food or not, to give them a-b-c medicines or not etc. etc. Рwhen seemingly mundane things in life get dissected, analysed and blown out of propotion every moment, it is bound to have its repercussion. Having to answer someone for every move in your life can really get tiresome.  These are the times I begin doubting if the roles elders play in lives of their children is really worth it.

For all the chest thumping we do and the pride we take in our ‘culture’ and ‘support system’ , the numerous complexities these lead to¬†in our everyday lives is always overlooked. In that aspect, I am a fan of the Western society. Good or bad, they¬†decide their way of life, are independent and¬†¬†have their own space –¬†which parents, in-laws or even spouses are not allowed to invade.

So this leads me to wonder, just what the heck do girls in joint families do? How do they remain sane?

I really dont know, do you?

A perfect world!

A morning no different from others – unplanned and chaotic!

DH and I were running late as usual, DD1 was going around doing her usual business of messing around and DD2 bawling. Additionally, this time I forgot to switch off the motor on time, there was a heavy water leak and had to go around collecting it in buckets.

Later, as I sat down exhausted, wondered what  a perfect day (and by extension,  a perfect life) would be like

Day

– Disciplined start – at 5.30 AM followed by a round yoga/exercise

– self, cooking up great tasting and healthy breakfast/lunch/dinner

– no drab office to go to ūüôā

– maids who come on time and work without¬†constant reminders and instructions ūüôā

– plenty of time to indulge in reading, blogging and to spend with DH/kids

All this while being dressed like  a dream :))

And Perfect Life, would be made of: 

– cozy, comfortable, large home – pristine & immaculately clean always

–¬†zero irksome colleagues/bothersome¬†people or maybe, a WW equipped to handle them

–¬†WW and family in perfect health (perenially slimy handkerchiefs¬†post usage¬†by WW and family banished forever)

Рtravels to exotic, dreamy destinations and plenty of fun-filled vacation

and of course, kids and their perfect, rosy future!

Sigh, so many! And I am not even getting onto lofty topics like terror-free world, pollution-free environment, prejudice-free society etc.

…At the moment, let me continue dreaming!