Monday, September 23, 2013

Good ol' days!!

I happened to catch an old song from the movie Aashique (yep, it's the old one I'm talking about, the Annu Agrawal-Rahul Roy one..) and it opened a floodgate of memories. I remember watching this movie with the people in our apartment. We were quite a large group, must've been around 35 people, young and old. It was a long weekend and my neighbour's turn to sponsor. That was how it was, one of us sponsoring the movies every other month... So we all assembled at their house post lunch, waiting to know which movie we would be viewing today. The neighbour announced the name of the movie and we gave a collective whistle of approval.

We all settled into our "seats", the kids on the carpet on the ground and the elders occupying the chairs and sofas, waiting for the movie to begin. Oh, did I not tell you that we were watching it on VCP? The 'VCP' or the 'video cassette player' was the most 'in' thing those days and we didn't even have to own was available on rent for a mere Rs.70/- for 24 hrs!! So we would select a weekend when we could 'fully utilise' the VCP for all it was worth! Meaning, we would rent out at least 3 video cassettes to watch in the 24 hour span even if meant putting all other work on the back burner! If the VCP was brought at 2pm, we would catch one movie in the 2-5pm slot and return for the next one in the night for a 8-11pm show. The last one would be post breakfast the next day, finishing just in time for the return!

In case you haven't seen one before- that's the VCP for you!

In between a potluck of snacks from all the members and cups of hot ginger tea, it would be so much fun watching movies together like that! No amount of PVR movie watching with bags of butter popcorn and cola, can give me that high ever! In between repeating songs that we wanted to view again, fast forwarding scenes that could be even slightly considered adult in nature, amidst shared knowing glances and suppressed smiles, to pausing when someone had to visit the washroom, it was the most exhilarating experience ever!!

This brings to mind something else too....watching a movie in open air with an entire colony!! During Ganesh-Utsav, the colony would rent a screen-projector and we would all be out in the open ground, hurrying to catch a coveted seat and watch the movie together...and erupt in collective applause when Rajesh Khanna would coax his elephant with a melodious "Chal chal chal mere haathi...."

My kids would never know what it would be to gather like that. This kind of community living is totally lost on them! Maybe they'd even think it was annoying! Makes me wonder if I really belong to the stone age!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

An unexpected visitor and a lot of crap!!

 Yeah, that was what yesterday morning brought for me.

I was at the gym, sweating it out, when a phone call interrupted my session. A relative, I had not met in a long time was waiting at my door. Finding no response after ringing the door bell several times( ringing the bell a couple of times should have told her I'm not at if I would be at home and not answer the door...!) she called on my mobile. Asking her to wait, I cut short my workout and headed back home, wondering who visits people so early in the morning (well, it was not that early, but 10 am is still early , no?!)

A warm hug greeted me before I could even open the door, making me feel all sticky and arrggg...dripping as I was, in my own sweat.

"Jogging?" she asked.

"I was at the gym," I told her.

"What's wrong with you, fancy going to the gym at your age!" she exclaimed, eyes wide with surprise.

Wow! I felt like a 100 year old already! At my age? What's exercising got to do with my age? And by the way, I'm not a day older than 18!  (that's what I like to think anyways....) It was the first time when someone had actually made a mention of my age and I was definitely not liking it!

"Sorry?" I asked, as if I had not actually understood what she said.

"You are a mother of two, married for 11 years now, right? Whom are you trying to impress now?" she mocked. "Don't tell me you are aspiring to be a model." She let out a small laugh. Enough to make my blood boil.

What sort of crap was this? I thought. "I'm only trying to stay fit, aunty." I said, trying to remain calm.

She was still laughing. I wondered what she was finding so funny about me going to the gym.Before she could say something else, I excused myself to freshen up.

A cold bath had calmed me up and I sat across her inquiring about other things besides the purpose of her visit. I saw her repeatedly shooting glances at my arm and then came the next all important question.

"What's that on your arm?" she said, turning it towards her to have a closer look.

"A tattoo" I replied with a straight face, now knowing what would come next.

"A tattoo?" her eyes so wide with disbelief, that for a moment I thought, that they would just roll out of their socket. "Which sensible woman with two kids and married for 11 years gets a tattoo on her arm?"

"Me." I replied smiling.

She shook her head in disapproval. "You must learn to act your age... (Oh no not again!) A proper 'gruhini' (read housewife) doesn't do all this.(Really?) You must also wear a saree, you are not a college going student any more." she said, looking at my lovely flower printed long skirt (wait a minute, was she secretly admiring it?)

Ah! some people, I tell you!

Linking back to Suzy's prompt on write tribe.. here are the details...Free Tribe.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Write Tribe - day 4- Maangalyam Tantunamena.....

|| Mangalyam tantunanena mama jeevana hetuna: kanthe badhnami subhage twam jeeva sarada satam II

“This is a sacred thread. This is essential for my long life. I tie this around your neck O maiden having many auspicious attributes. May you live happily for a hundred years with me.


Today is a big day for me , I mean us, the hubby and I, because we are celebrating our 11th wedding anniversary today!! 

It is so overwhelming to even think about the past 11 years....we have had our moments of love and togetherness and an equal share of fights too.... we had these two amazingly lovely kids in between..Ah! I couldn't have asked for more!! 

As we started the day, we went back to that day when we got married. It will be imperative to tell you here, that ours is an inter-caste marriage and 11 years ago, an inter-caste wedding was really a very big thing! Unthinkable, and Blasphemous to say the least!! It took my parents 3 years to convince me to re-think my decision but in the end we managed to convince them to re-think their decision! And the rest , as they say, is History!

But that was not what I started out to tell you, it is about the day of our wedding. Since it was an inter-caste wedding, we wanted the panditji (priest)  to be neutral, and cut short all the customs that could cause controversies, and so it had to essentially be a hybrid wedding. The time of the wedding was 10am in the morning. We were dressed up and waiting for panditji to come and solemnize our wedding. But where in the world was panditji? He was nowhere to be seen! 

Dad had delegated bringing the pandit to an uncle and we came to know later that the venue had not been told to him correctly. Actually there were 2 venues, one for the actual wedding in the morning and another for the reception in the evening. Since only the first family was invited to the wedding, the wedding card had the address of the reception venue only and our dear panditji waited for a few hours at the venue of the reception and then returned home!! Mind you, all this was before the advent of the mobile phones (It makes me think, I got married in the stone age!!) and there was no way we could contact him! 

We waited endlessly, while dad paced up and down furiously and people were sent in all directions to search for panditji!! Poor uncle seemed totally red faced and pathetic! I think I even took a quick nap in all this melee!! 

Panditji was finally found and brought to the venue by 12 noon. But it was a Wednesday and it was "rahukaal" (inauspicious time) from 12 to 1.30 pm!! There was nothing we could do, but wait! People were hungry and everyone except the both of us had their lunch( we are supposed to get married on an empty stomach!!) while we waited and waited!! We wondered if we would actually get married that day! 

The wedding ceremonies began by 1.30 pm and our short cut wedding was over by 4pm. The pandit later told us that the time when my hubby tied the "mangalsutra" to me was actually the best time of that day. Who am I to question the veracity of his claims? I was just plain happy that the whole thing was finally over!! 

That's us on our wedding day with the panditji 
The most significant ritual in the wedding other than the tying of the mangalsutra or the scared thread is the "saath-pheres" or the seven rounds around the holy fire. With the earth, sky, water, fire and air as witness to the grand union, the husband and the wife make seven promises to each other. 

1.  The husband and wife pray to the almighty to provide them with nourishment and good food so that they can live together in mutual respect and honour. They promise to walk together to attain this need.

2.  They pray to God that he may give them physical, mental and the spiritual strength so that they may be able to enjoy life and share their happiness.

3.  They pray to the Almighty for a life full of prosperity and to help them preserve their wealth. They vow to earn their wealth through honest means and give comfort to their family. They promise to be with each other in happiness and grief. The wife promises to be by his side no matter what.

4.  They promise to take care of the elders and not disregard them. Together they pledge to uphold family, relationships and values.

5.  They pray for healthy, kind and courageous children. They promise to be responsible parents and enrich their kids with good morals and education.

6. They pray for a healthy life free of diseases and illness and for a harmonious life ahead.

7.  They pray to god to give them the maturity to live with understanding for a lifetime. They swear to be faithful companions and live a life of friendship, love and mutual trust.

      I am happy that The Almighty gave us everything we asked for during the "saath-pheres" in ample measures and gave us both the strength to uphold the promise we made to each other. It makes me think, what the Panditji had said about that time being the best for the wedding, must have been actually true. 

and with our little family

     So today, as we complete 11 years of togetherness, I thank HIM for his blessings and pray that the love that we share continues to remain the way it is.


     (P.S. Guys, if I don't visit your blogs today, you know the reason why, don't you....I'll be back haunting your blogs tomorrow! :))

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Write Tribe- day 3- Seven Questions!

"Mamma, what is this?" asked my little one holding a small prototype of the eagle with wings spread out. I had brought it as a dangler for the car.

"You know what it is, don't you? Why don't you tell me what it is?"

"An Eagle?"  he asked raising an eyebrow, only like he could. He looks so cute when he does that!

"Hmm..." I nodded.

"Why is this eagle black while this one", he said fishing out another from behind his back, " is colourful?"

"Because it isn't an eagle, it's a macaw." I said.

"But caw caw is also black no?" he said the "caw-caw" referring to the crow.

I sat him down, smiling at the innocence, "A macaw is a type of huge parrot which has big colourful wings."

He looked at the eagle for some time and then came the next question, "Why is the eagle's mouth open?"

"He must be hungry".

He seemed to be thinking again.

"Is it a girl or a boy?"


"The eagle."

Oh dear, I thought, I have no idea how to distinguish between a male and female eagle. I looked at it from all sides, with no inkling of what it could be, "Could be anything, I don't think I know."

"Where's the baby eagle?" came the next question.

If I said it was in the shop, and I didn't buy it, he would ask me why I didn't buy it. If I told him there was no baby eagle, he will tell me there would have been and I didn't search properly. While I wondered what I should say, the elder one chipped in, "See, if this is mamma eagle, then it needs pappa eagle to have a baby, and if it is pappa, then it needs mamma to have a baby. Since there is only one eagle, there is no baby."

Before I could say Bravo for a well thought out answer, I stopped mid track, taken aback at what he said. Did he really know THAT? I mean, he is just 9 yrs old, I don't remember ever discussing anything remotely related to the birds and bees with him. How could he know? Well, since the topic had been broached, I decided I might as well use this opportunity to talk to him.

As I still cleared my throat wondering how to begin, it was the younger one again, "Why?"

Dear god bless my soul.

"Because," said the elder one without blinking his eyelids, "Our pappa goes to work and gets us whatever we need, so the baby eagle will also need it's pappa to be around and bring it food while the mamma eagle looks after it."

The younger one was visibly satisfied with the answer.

And as for me, I felt rather silly!! Kids don't need a lot of explanation, and there is no need to get paranoid about answering their innocent questions. It's all about giving them as much information as their age merits with a straight face and with a smile!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Write Tribe- day 2 - 7 am in the morning....

It was 7am already. Nita was getting late for work. She hurried to the shower and switched on the light.


The bulb burst and broke into a thousand pieces. Suddenly there was complete darkness and Nita stood stunned. She cleaned the mess, lit a candle and turned the shower knob.


The shower nozzle fell down and landed on her feet.


She jumped in pain and fright.

‘What a way to start the morning!’, she thought.

When she finally got ready, she realized she had very little time for breakfast.

‘Let me make a quick omlette.’

She poured the beaten egg into the pan and lo! the omelette flew out of the pan like Mexican jumping beans!

‘Is this some kind of a joke?’, she asked the pan in a stern voice.

The pan just seemed to smile and say,

‘Don’t give me that look. It’s your bad day, darling!’

, she said with a resigned look.

She limped (‘grrr.. the shower nozzle be cursed!’) to the doorway with an empty growling stomach.

‘Let me pick up something to eat on the way to work.’


‘Now what? You have decide to conspire too, Mr. Car? Why won’t you start?’

She got down and kicked the tyre with her feet forgetting it was already hurt.


She limped to the taxi stand and tried to hail down a cab. There was none in sight. She limped further hoping to find one. She had almost walked to the main road. Vehicles were whizzing past and she tried to protect her precious hair and face from the smoke and pollution using her scarf.

‘Watch where you are going, lady!’

She turned around to see a man in a car that had swerved just in time to avoid hitting her.


Before she could turn back and continue walking, a huge truck came out of nowhere and crashed into her.


‘Hello good morning,
Let’s go, let’s rock,
Yeah, come on,
good morning.’

Nita got up with a start soaked in her own sweat.

‘Darn, the alarm! It’s 7am already. But thank god! It was just a dream!’

She hurried to the shower and switched on the light.


The bulb burst and broke into a thousand pieces. Suddenly there was complete darkness.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sweet and sour memories

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 41; the forty-first edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. The theme for the month is "SWEET AND SOUR"

A couple of weeks ago, we visited Dad's eldest brother who was bedridden. Bade papa was all of 85, yet full of life and energy. He saw us stream in to meet him and the most radiant smile lit up his face. 

"Come, come, come..." he beckoned us in and motioned for us to sit around him. 

Badi Ma, dutifully arranged for chairs to be placed around his bed so that he could see and talk to all of us. His memory seemed to be failing him and he pointed to my hubby, 

"This is....." he tried hard to remember.

"My husband, S" I added helpfully.

"Ah! yes, how can I forget!" 

He turned slowly to my sister and recognised her immediately. He seemed mighty pleased with himself and clicked his frail fingers in glee. Taking a cue, she brought her husband closer to him and told his name. 

"Oh, yes, I know, I know..." he said, not wanting us to know he had indeed forgotten the names.

The kids came around and climbed on his bed jumping around, seemingly oblivious to the old man on the bed. 

"Sshhhh....get down this minute," I chided.

"No, no..let them be," he brushed my comment aside, "I like it this way...if kids don't behave like this, who else will? you and me?" he laughed.

I was scared they'd fall on him and cause him pain.

We spoke for a long time about the good times and he would pause to reflect on those memories as if they had just passed by. He was struggling to speak with the slur in his voice, and badi ma dutifully translated what we could not understand.

Finally we got up to leave and he hugged each one us lying down. 

"I might not be around the next time you visit here" he remarked, as I took a last look before leaving his room. A thin smile trying to form on his lips but quickly fading away.

A lump formed in my throat at the thought of never being able to see him again. "No bade papa, you'll be fine," I assured, not so sure myself, "don't say such things."

He simply nodded and smiled, maybe at my immaturity, maybe at my childlike wish.

We spoke about him on our way back home. He had been an inspiration to all of us with his vast knowledge, his thirst for education for every single member of our large family, and his sense of humour and wit. 

The next day we had been travelling back home by train, when Dad called us to tell us that bade papa had passed away that afternoon. It was incredibly hard to believe that the man we had seen in flesh and blood less than 24 hours ago was no more. 

Badi Ma told us how happy he had been after we left. Till he went to bed, he could not stop raving about us and our kids and the wonderful time we had together, she said. 

Sweet and sour memories these, souring before we could enjoy the sweetness of it all. But these are the ones I will cherish all my life. I am happy we were able to make the visit that day, or I would have lost the opportunity of bringing him whatever little happiness we did, in his final moments.

RIP Bade Papa.

The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. Participation Count: 04

Write tribe- Day 1- Seven things about me!!

The Write Tribe Festival of Words kick starts today. It is a seven day blogging festival with SEVEN as its theme will be celebrated from the 1st to the 7th of September. 

Some 88 Bloggers have already registered for this first Write Tribe Festival of Words. Looks like it will be a rollercoaster of fun and creativity!!

You can join us in this celebration too. To sign up fill this form or visit the Write Tribe blog.
Looking forward to meet you in this Festival of Words!
To start off I decided to tell you seven things about me. 
1.       I am crazily fond of kajal.

Irrespective of whether I’m going out or staying at home, I make it a point to smear my eyes with kajal every single day. Yeah…that’s how crazy I am!! Little wonder then, that I find kohl lined eyes incredibly beautiful.

2.       I lust after Kishore da’s songs.

I guess everyone who knows me also knows how this man makes me sooooo crazy. Maybe we have a past life connection!  I listen to his songs day in and day out irrespective of whether I’m writing, or cooking or reading….I'm listening to him now... and I know all his songs by heart…yea…I can pick up the song with the very first note….!! My favorite Kishore da songs are "phoolon ke rang se, dil ki kalam se" and "pal pal dil ke pass"

3.       Small things make me extremely happy.

Hubby always tells me how easy it is to make me happy. A small praise here, a little pat there, a bar of chocolate, and that would be enough to make me really happy!! But I can always sniff out flattery and I loathe it…

4.       I am more sensitive than mimosa pudica…

I cry when I see emotional scenes. Yea…even if I have seen that several times before!!  Marriage and ‘bidai’ scenes make me very teary eyed as do death scenes!! I end up making quite a ‘scene’ of myself, crying myself silly!! I am very scared of horror movies, and when I watch them, I usually sit next to my hubby with a secure pillow in front of my face!
Hurtful words, insensitive words, even a higher decibel of the voice….have the ability to trigger my tear gland within no time!

5.       I am an outdoor person.
that's my gang..the 3 missing people are clicking this snap and hence not visible here! 
I love travelling, and lucky to have a hubby who shares my passion…luckier still to have a gang of friends who share this as well!! We were initially a group of 6 couples, who over the past decade have increased to 24, with two kids each!! Weekends, long holidays, and the silliest of reasons are enough to get us off on a nice getaway…we have travelled with heavily pregnant girls (well into the 8th month!!) and little infants ( as small as 3 months old!), in brief nothing has stopped us from taking our little trips!!!

6.       I still love to drink milk.
While everyone I know, goes ‘yuck’ at the mere mention of milk, I can drink tons of it! I like it flavoured with rose, or almonds or just plain with sugar…and I like it cold.  No tea or coffee for me. now, now...don't crinkle your noses!!!

7.       I make friends at the drop of a hat.

And I keep them too! I can be extremely comfortable in the alienist of surroundings and making friends acquaintances out of total strangers is no big deal for me. Of course not all acquaintances turn into friendships, but those that do become close, I make every effort to keep them that way.


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