Thursday, 26 February 2015

Do whatever you want to do man .......


“ Change of work is the best rest.” Thus spake Mr. Arthur Conan Doyle. Oh really? seriously?? There must be something terribly wrong either with me or with Mr. Doyle. Or may be we both belong to two entirely different worlds. From purchasing vegetables - to cutting - to cooking - to serving - to packing lunch boxes - to cleaning - to going to work ...... No sir, sorry. The more I am changing the work, the more I am getting exhausted and neither fun nor rest are visible even from a distant mile. I want rest. Inertia. Being totally lazy. Don't look so flabbergasted! I have never experienced them in my life. And I want to. Now. Period.

Every time I yearn for those idle days and tell my friends, they advise me, “ Take leave and take rest. Never quit the job.” Since this is the common refrain from each and every friend of mine, I know this is the gospel truth. Once you become a working woman and work for a decade or two, it becomes extremely difficult to stay at home. Being idle. My well wishers scare me, “ You will be bored to death. What will you do sitting at home? It will be fun for the first few days and then you will regret.”

Really? Then what you and me are gonna do after we turn 60? Start a start up!? On a serious note, I, who am seriously planning to quit, get scared sometimes. What if? So I am being adventurous and go on taking frequent and longer leave to the irritation of my bosses and waiting for that elusive boredom to come and meet me. Either boredom is scared of me or so called scare is bored with my stubbornness, whatever it is, both are avoiding me.

Yesterday once again I was in an adventurous mood. My servant maid has quit and so I had a free evening. Sounds unbelievable! Gotcha! One girl who used to come in the evening had quit and the new girl could come and work only in the morning. So I had a free evening.

I took my purse, my mobile and informed my family not to come in search of me if I am not home early. Ah! here comes my free time and my little adventures. Only after we lose them, we start missing and  appreciating those little pleasures of life. Close your eyes, remember your childhood and try to recall your fondest memories. Those which gave you immense pleasure. When I close my eyes and recall, I get a marquee of the images. Pestering granny and getting that “ Hunasehannu bella “ -  finely grounded jaggery and tamarind with a little salt and firmly struck to an ice-cream stick! Or in Raichur's burning summer licking those orange ice candies. They used to cost one paisa per ice-cream. Because they were made from water. For milk ice cream the charge was five paisa for 2 ice-creams. If you want buy a single ice-cream, you will have to shell 3 paisa! Who wants to waste so much money! We would love to take water candies, run in the sun barefooted – no sir we didn't have the luxury of wearing slippers – even if it were Raichur sun – to home. What if the heat becomes unbearable for your feet? Easy. Bite a little candy, spit it on the ground and put your feet on it alternatively! We Indians are blessed to have indigenous solutions to every problem.  

So as I was telling, it is such little adventures and tiny pleasures that I cherish most. They bring a nostalgic memory, a smile to my lips and elevate my moods.

And to the present. I started on my evening walk. It has been more than 25 years, before my children were born, did I have this luxury. Walking alone, without any purpose. First I went in one direction and bought some “mili” - those little tamarind chocolates. Popping one in my mouth, I started off in a different direction.

I walked aimlessly, making small purchases here and there and putting them in a little bag I was carrying. A spatula, a tea sieve, some forks. My friend Meera had once showed me an aluminum plate which she used to make rotis. She would press the roti on them and put them directly on gas to prepare soft rotis. When I asked the shop keeper, he was surprised. He said he has never heard of such a thing. Same dialog repeated in five shops. I called Meera and she burst out laughing. Don't ask for roti maker, they are common aluminum lids which we vaishyas use to make rotis. Ah, here lies the secret and a solution to my problem. Aluminum lid its gonna be!

Then some more roaming and I landed in a stationery shop which was selling a lot of plastic items. I needed a big plastic tub for my maid to put the utensils after washing. I bought one beautiful green tub. The shop was in Thyagarajanagara, barely 2 kilometers from my house. It was a small street and the chances of an auto turning up here were extremely remote. Then I grinned to myself! After all I have ventured out to have fun, and I am going to have fun!

I paid the money and took the tub and started walking. The tub was about 2 meters in diameter and the only way I could carry it was holding it by my side! So whichever side of my body I put it, it was a no entry of two feet for the people walking near me. Unfortunately I don't have eyes on my back so I missed out a certain sniggers behind my back! But the look on the face of the people walking towards me was the one I started enjoying – a look of dismay! From far they would look at me and as they would approach nearer, they would give one look to me, one to my tub and again their eyes would come back to my face.

Oh really! If you think I would be embarrassed, better think again! Boy, I have decided to have fun and I am having loads of it! I would mischievously put the tub on my body on their side, and with a twinkle in my eye, would look into their eyes! Instead of me, they would be embarrassed and move to the other side of the road!

This continued for a while and then I came to vegetables' market. I needed my greens. The regular lady was having a hoard of customers in front of her cart. So what? I made a little room for myself and entered with my newly acquired shield, my tub. The lady standing next to me looked at me and moved a little and my tub settled comfortably between us. Lo! Two feet boundary ready! While other customers were straining their necks to meet the eyes of the vendor, me and my tub stood comfortably and finished our shopping.

Our next stop was at a fruit stall. I could see two young girls buying grapes trying hard to control their laughter and I gave them one sweet smile. Relieved, they grinned back. By the time I bought my fruits, the weight of my bag had increased considerably and a wicked idea crossed my mind. Pour everything in the tub, and put the tub on my head!

Then better sense prevailed. If any of my friends or acquaintances see me, I can explain to them and share a hearty laugh. But what if my husband Prakash's friends see me? I had to protect his reputation! On one shoulder I put my vanity bag, below the other shoulder came my tub and hugging my bag to my chest I started. Now the “No entry” zone had widened. 

When my children saw me entering the house with the tub, at first they thought I had come by auto but when I narrated the sequence of incidents, a wide grin appeared on their faces.

Why do we hesitate to have fun and live our lives the way we want to? After all it is our life and we have every right to lead it the way we want to, so long as it doesn't harm or hurt anyone. And where is the need of that constant refrain " What others may think? "

And our perceptions keep changing. When I was a kid, and the candy seller demanded 5 paisa for two candies and 3 paisa for one, I would think he is being unfair. My brother used to feel embarrassed if my sister accompanied him to school. He would avoid her by running fast to school and my sister, who used to cry, repeated it when I started accompanying her. So from childhood such false notions enter our mind. My father getting similar dresses for we sisters was a source of embarrassment, but today if I see two little girls wearing identical dresses, my eyes turn soft and I try to behold that sight.

Let us stop worrying and start living. Worrying is like rocking a chair. It gives us something to do but gets us nowhere. People who obsess about what others think tend to put ‘issues’ under the microscope and can't see the forest for the trees. If we don't get obsessed about what other people think,then we tend to look at the big picture. We only get one chance at life; are we going to allow other people’s thoughts to make it less enjoyable? Sounds silly now, doesn't it?As time goes by and as we realize how unimportant some of the things we worry about actually are, life gets easier and our constant concern starts to plummet as our confidence rises.

These seven rules of life have been making rounds on the social networking sites and many of us have received as forwards. With due acknowledgement to the unknown author, I am sharing them with you : 

Seven Cardinal Rules In Life: 

1. Make Peace With Your Past – so it does not spoil your present. Your past does not define your future, your actions and beliefs do.
2. What Others Think Of You – is NONE of your business. It’s how much you value yourself and how important you think you are.
3. Time Heals Almost Everything – give time, time. Pain will be less hurting. Scars make us who we are; they explain our life and why we are the way we are. They challenge us and force us to be stronger.
4. No One Is The Reason For Your Own Happiness – except YOU, yourself. Waste no time and effort searching for peace and contentment and joy in the world outside.
5. Do NOT Compare Your Life With Others’ – you have NO idea what their journey is all about. If we all threw our problems into a pile and saw everyone else’s, we would grab ours back as fast as we could.
6. STOP Thinking Too Much – it’s alright to NOT know ALL the answers. Sometimes there is no answer, there is not going to be an answer, or there never was an answer. THAT is the answer! Just accept it, move on, NEXT!
7. Smile – you do NOT own all of the problems of the world. A smile can brighten the darkest day and make life more beautiful. It is a potential curve to turn life around and set everything straight.
As Salman Khan would always urge people during Bigg Boss, " Do whatever you want to do man, woman,children.....

Saturday, 14 February 2015


Cricket world cup!
India Pakistan match on a Sunday morning!!

I had a very clear plan. Get up late, take a head bath, get a glass of fresh fruit juice, pick some fresh cut fruits in a bowl, toss in some dry fruits, curl up my legs and enjoy the day.

Whom I am kidding? I am a working woman, a wife, a mother of two, with a house full of expectations of a Sunday morning. Add to it an indefinite holiday of servant maid -  if I am fooling anybody, its only me.

OK I got up late. First dream accomplished! This is heavenly, getting up late on a Sunday morning. Real idea of a holiday. My hubby Prakash had gone to Mantralaya and on the way back had picked up some deliciously fresh white brinjals. Although I prepare Ennegai palya with the brinjals available here, they have skins like plastic. Don't believe me? Try doing ennegai with both of them separately and compare. Recipe? Of course it is HERE.

My mom used to say, whenever we got extremely tender brinjals in the market, that they are like young groom! Whatever that meant!!!

Well, in the morning as soon as I got up and switched on the TV, Prof. Prakash declared : I have a class and you have 45 minutes to make breakfast.

And Rohit Sharma started batting...

In a jiffy, I cut the brinjals, prepared the spices,and set to roll out chapatis.The calling bell rang. Prakash called out : " Look this boy has brought saplings you wanted." Yes, I wanted some saplings for my terrace garden and on a " working day "  I had requested him to come on a Sunday leisurely and here he was.

I did some purchases, with the fear that my brinjals may be burning nagging at the back of my mind, did some hurried bargaining - we hesitate to bargain for a few thousands in a jewelry shop but would be worried to part with a few rupees when we are shopping with these poor guys - and dumped the pots in the compound and ran inside.

Peeped in at the TV, Rohit Sharma was out and Virat Kohli had come to bat......

Thankfully Rashmi, my daughter came to help me in making chapatis. After all a daughter is a daughter is a daughter. That precious soul in every family. Thanks Modiji, for the call " Beti bachaao...". Bless them.

Once the chapatis were ready, a look at the mess in the kitchen and the sink reminded me that Saraswathi, my maid is not coming today. I remembered a lady who stays a few crosses away from me, who was willing to join in. Hoping to catch her on Sunday, I pulled on my tracks.

A peep at the TV. Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan batting. Score? 150 for 1. Not bad, soon I should be able to catch the match.

Sorry sir, the lady has locked the house and left. I came back. Shikhar Dhawan out, India 2 wickets down...

I put on some chapatis and ennegai in a plate and rushed to my room. At last! The moment is here!! Sitting in my bedroom, on a Sunday morning with something special in my plate and watch India Pakistan play in a world cup match.

Man proposes and God disposes... Nay, woman proposes and God disposes. After all I have never seen Brahma, the creator being partial to women or at least being impartial to both. Rashmi entered my room with her plate in her hand and picked up the remote.

Oh no, not again! She switched on the TV and changed the channel. Simpsons its gonna be. Please, If you want to see the match, you go upstairs and join Nikhil. For a few minutes I got hooked to Simpsons. Classroom scene, witty one liners and nostalgic memories. You step back into your childhood. The beautiful part of these cartoons are the  dialogues, written by grown up men and women. The lines are so child like, because, of course, these writers are so young at heart!

Match!!! I rushed upstairs to join Nikhil and cricket. Virat Kohli on 98 and Suresh Raina on 48. Ah! First time in the day I watched a 50 and a century being scored. Riiiiiingggg... Door bell! Who is that again?!? " It must be my friend Nithin Ma. Do you mind watching the match downstairs or shall I take him to my room?"

Enough sir. I am staying put. Dhoni and boys, you better play and play good now. It is 12.30 PM, 43 overs, India 245 for 2. I want to catch the match. India and Pakistan. In a world cup. Mr.Dhoni, even if you and your boys don't win the world cup, we don't want to watch that man in the greens burst crackers........

Friday, 6 February 2015

D Day ...............

D Day....                                           


I gave the name D Day to this write-up. Then as is my habit, I started wondering what exactly the D-Day referred to. Honestly I thought it to be an abbreviation for designated day. But curiosity took me to Google, and this is what I found. This is for those curious souls like me, willing to dig a little deeper till they find the treasure of truth  :-)

“ Historically, D-Day was a coded name for June 6 th 1944, the day Allies' troops landed on the Normandy beach, France, during World War II. Later on the term became a war  metaphor used for any day that is deemed important.”

Then I thought, whether the name I have given is appropriate? This article is all about love, engagement and marriage. But then as Shakespeare has put it, “ What is in a name? No other name given to rose will take away its sweetness.”

So D Day it is.....

Behind the scenes :

Before I take you through the engagement ceremony let me share with you some interesting anecdotes.

After Nikhil and Sumana along with both the families gave the consent for the alliance, we didn't immediately inform all the friends. We had certain devilish ideas to play some hide and seek and both Nikhil and Sumana were game for it. It was an ideal time. They both knew that they liked each other, had the families' blessings and it was agreed upon that they will have a marriage later in the year, may be in August.

Do you remember your childhood days? Back then we used to have mainly two types of chocolates/peppermints. It used to be either caramel or Nimbe Huli peppermint. We used to occasionally get one of these candies and wanted to relish it for a very very long time. So we would lick and suck it leisurely, saliva running down our hands. We would never bite it,lest it would be over! We wanted to prolong the pleasure and the delight as much as possible!

And I have a strong belief that in real life situations too,when God blesses us with good times, we have to consciously make efforts to prolong the happiness, living and cherishing every blessed moment.

So we had great funny moments, interesting experiences of enjoying the friends' confusion when they would delicately raise the subject of seeing my son with a girl or in a subtle way hint that I should find an alliance for my son. Nikhil or Sumana's  friends would spot them in some malls and hotels and these two would play hide and seek walking alone for some time and then riding the bike together to the dismay of their intrigued friends and colleagues!

But the ultimate Sherlock Holmes was my niece Soumya!

One day she came home and confronted Nikhil in all our presence, asking him what is going on in his love life. While we all feigned ignorance, Nikhil, with dead pan seriousness asked what she was talking about. More than my son Nikhil and daughter Rashmi or my nephew Vinay and niece Soumya fighting with each other,its always Nikhil and Soumya who have grown up having cat fights. Even now he cannot stop pulling her legs, teasing and irritating her to no end and she can barely control her irritation and her itching paws!

Here she had come with all the “proof”. With hands on her hips, she asked him who his girl friend is and when is he going to come out in the open. She told me confidently “ Putti aunty, I seriously think Nikhil is seeing somebody..........................”

..........................Yes, Putti aunty! That's my name!! Being youngest of the five children, as a small girl I was nick named Putti, then became puttakka to youngsters, my father would call me puttamma or puttubai when I grew up and all the nephews and nieces ended up calling me Putty Aunty! I am waiting for the day when my grand children would call me Puttajji!

So people, better be beware before calling your kids with pet names. My eldest co-sister was called Doddamma by all the children at home, then brothers and sisters-in-law joined, we co-sisters call her Doddamma and the best part is my mother-in-law who has scored a century, calls her Doddamma !!! Recently, on my mother-in-law's hundredth year birthday celebrations, we all co-sisters and sisters-in-law had gone to Nanada silks to purchase sarees. Each one of us were selecting a saree, while Doddmma arrived a bit late. We all got busy suggesting different sarees to her, when the shop keeper brought one saree and said, “ Doddamma, see whether you like this.” We all covered our mouths with the sarees held in our hands to hide the giggles over that old man also calling her Doddamma!!! ..........................

.................. Soumya put forth her case quite unequivocally. Her argument was, Nikhil never used to change his WhatsApp and Facebook profile picture earlier, but nowadays it is changing daily, and the status are becoming more and more loaded and he would be online in WhatsApp all the time which is in contrast to his earlier habit. In fact she accosted him with the WhatsApp status of that day, him claiming to be on cloud nine or something of that sort!

Nikhil had a ready answer. With him working in the Network domain, on cloud computing, its a status he had put in jubilation for having solved a persistent cumbersome issue, and since most of his friends were now active on WhatsApp, he had also switched over to WhatsApp.

Not at all convinced with his answers, Soumya huffed and puffed – after all she has been eagerly waiting to buy new clothes and have a blast of a party on his engagement – vowing to keep the screen shots of all his statuses and get back to him once she finds out who his secret girlfriend is!  

Curtain raiser :

So one fine Sunday morning we invited all my family members for breakfast. When everybody's plate was full and they were taking a first bite, Nikhil came out from his room with Sumana in tow. It is not everyday, that too when you have guests at home, that your son emerges from his room with a girl. While everybody's jaw dropped, we all had our eyes on Soumya. The reaction on her face was priceless! She was shocked, then felt jubilant that she had been proven right and finally, the ecstasy that the celebrations are going to start!!!

And the rest, as they say is history......

We also played similar pranks on Nikhil's close friends Adith and Nithin. They are his friends from his BMS college days, and have seen Nikhil being teased by his "girl friends" why he never invites them home though he stays so nearby. So on different Sundays, when they came to visit Nikhil, I would send them to his room, while Sumana sat coolly in his room, watching TV! On entering they would be baffled, seeing the seedha saada ladka Nikhil with a girl in his room while his mom is at home downstairs! 

Myself and Rashmi would be waiting outside, controlling our laughter and dying to see the look on their faces! Once the truth was known they would come out of the room wiping their brows and joining in the guffaws!!! 

Welcome to the Engagement celebrations.......

Epilogue :

Now you all have witnessed the celebrations through personal participation or through the photos and videos. You have seen the climax dance of Nikhil and Sumana. That also had its fair share of suspense and thrills. That was supposed to be kept a closely guarded secret but out of excitement someone among us would blurt out about the dress or its color or the song and the dance in front of somebody. Then there would be hushed silence and immediately someone from us would start talking loudly about some inconsequential subject just to cover up!

When we visited the venue earlier to check out the arrangements, Sumana, in all innocence, asked how much time the “homa” would take. Common, Homa on an engagement day!?! While we could not control our smile at the faux pas, we all burst out laughing imagining her sitting for Homa in that elegant red dress. Even now we take turns and have great fun teasing Sumana and her face turns the color of her red dress!!!      

( Did I say epilogue? Well, there can be no epilogue, no full stop to this celebration of life, but only a comma, till we meet again ..... )