Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Dream Lost

You were always lost. Even
When you found me
Or were you not?
Had you not?

Even when we found each
You were always lost
In a quest to
Find what you lost.

And then I believed you.
Your dream.
Not realizing that
Dreams are personal.
There is no Joint about them.
You dream and share the dream.
But only one can dream.

And so you were lost
And then you made me lose
And become part of that
Loss, and lost.

And now we are in the loss
In the search together-

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Messy Messing Moon

“Georgy porgy pudding and pie
Kissed the girls and made them cry…”

Farfetched simile, but nonetheless, to me the Georgy guy sounds like the Moon. I wonder, what’s up with the moon that it picks on us girls and plays havoc with us every month, and if possible twice too – when it is full and when it is new. The full moon is here, beware! And it will be followed by the new moon, pretty soon.

We all love role-playing, and as adults, we more than often love playing the role of the Agony Aunt. By the way, this post is woman centric, so if there are any uninterested men, you could as well excuse yourself out.But I'd recommend a read till the end.

Getting back to our Agony Aunt part…we might not be minting money in this part time avocation, but we definitely do increase our telephone bills in living up to the part of the mentor to our friends. Yours truly has also been in and out of this role. And no need to guess further. It has involved, in major amounts, counseling girls that were shocked by their own behaviour at the full moon.

Aha! That unstable and unreliable 15 faced guy up there is a great tormentor. Aren’t we girls all such law abiding denizens of the lunar world. Following its calendar, we rip ourselves; subject ourselves to torture every 28 days. Or were we at some point of evolution forced into obeying the tyrant? Why does this phenomenon have to be a monthly affair? Why did we have to choose the lunar calendar for ourselves? Couldn’t evolution have picked the solar calendar instead? Once in a year, just like a birthday.

Anyway, that was a lunatic digression. My main point is that for some strange inexplicable and unscientific reason, the moon, especially when it is at the height of its pride on the full moon day/night, seems to have a control even on our minds, our psyche and our behaviour.  

As a kid, I used to find it funny when my grandmom would say “It must be a Pournami, or an Amavaasya night. That explains the madness.” Madness? All that my brother and I would be guilty of was giggling and laughing uncontrollably and the only strangeness involved there would be the absolute nonexistence of any trigger to this gale of laughter!! A common behaviour in children, isn’t it?

I know now that though I had realised even then that she was only joking; but I had suspected even then some mystic truth in this Lunar legend – lunatic legend. Well, there is more to the moon than what meets the eye, and I got to know of this eventually, while growing up.

We girls seem to have an unwilling affair with this messy messing moon. And in return, we happen to figure in the punch line in all moon related jokes. Recently, a Big guy on twitter had also thrown light on the interference of the moon in his domestic life. And all the men in the party turned rogue, laughing and smirking at the crescent jokes on us woman kind.

Now that is lunatic behaviour, ours is simply lunaric behaviour.

And I found it funnily ironic that this ‘Women’s Day’ happens to have the full moon invited to the party. Let’s ban the moon or get it so drunk that it will forget its basic cruel sadistic mentality.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Mummy Papa Kaha Hei?

Where are they?

My family of bibliophiles set out to the crowded World Book Fair at Delhi to satiate our obsession with books. Admittedly, I might be a case of the ‘bordering on paranoia mom,’ so I ran my kids over a dozen times on the “What to do if you are separated from us” drill. Our phone numbers, and residential and e-mail addresses were memorized, the various organizers (the people with the tags) were pointed out, and my children were under strict orders to go to these people with the tags and report themselves lost if they were separated from us.

Instructions given, everything in place, I could now concentrate on taking in the smell of books, the titillating sight of thousands of publications and the mere thrill of being engulfed by them. Not entirely though. The marvels of motherhood!! My inbuilt antenna was up - I could sense the co-ordinates of my kids’ presence; my preternatural eyes were on - I could see the children in spite of my two physical eyes glued to the books.

A day well spent, a day passed too soon, we finally dragged four tiny tired feet and four more reluctant feet out of the fair. I was relieved. We had reported no losses and no separations. Into a recently done up underpass, through a rare landscaped road divider, and then through a more seemingly familiar and offensively unkempt underpass we walked to our car.

In the second underpass, there were four street kids – all happy and beaming – playing a game. It looked like great fun, at least, to them. They would hide themselves in four little depressions in the pillars and jump out all at once, shouting in unison, “Mummy Papa Kaha Hei? Mummy Papa Kaha Hei?”

They were highly spirited and overjoyed with their game; my kids were skeptical of these street kids and their unkempt appearance, but as all kids can, they too sensed the fun factor in the game and were smiling. But I was troubled. I was troubled the whole night; intermittently, the whole of the next day; every now and then, even now, when I recall the incident. And by the law of progression and nonchalance, I should perhaps fade this memory out of my system by swaddling myself with other brighter and happier incidents.

But I know that I will never be able to get this incident out of my mind. This is going to trouble me forever. The happy faces, the merry laughter and the thrilled game were all amazing. The jingle too was mirthful from their lips, but when it reached my ears it was taunting and scorching, barbing and pleading.

I wonder how the jingle would continue (if it were to).

Mummy Papa kaha hei?                                  Mummy Papa, where are they?
Mummy Papa ghar mei hei.                            Mummy Papa are in the house.
Hamara ghar kaha hei?                                    Where is our house?
Hame nahi pata hei.                                         We don’t know.

Street kids, stolen kids, orphaned kids and castaway kids, I am sorry we are letting this happen to you.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Red on Green

Memories…my memory of
The incident remains the
But the associated emotions
Every time
The memory
Is fished out.
And then it is served with kebabs.

The rogan gosht
Is yummy.
Should be!
But I am a vegetarian.
So kindly excuse me
My host,
You are making a savoury memory-
One that I am
Unable to enjoy;
Which is unacceptable
To my palate.

Had I not sent
Her a note
Well in advance
Informing her of my
Vegetarian preferences?
But of course, now I see
That green bit of paper
In a red bin of bone china.

So there goes,
My memories taste different
Every time I haunt them
Because you have been serving
The wrong food
On my green plate.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Death of a Housewife

Why not end this year with the death of a housewife?


MURDER by the BLOGGER!!!!!!! 

After having spent 2/3rds of my life in collecting various educational and vocational accolades including two post graduate degrees (from premier institutions, mind you!) and spending the other 1/3rd of my life in a self-indulgent and extremely gratifying way of being a stay at home mother, I find it disconcerting, depressing and eventually insulting to have to call myself a ‘housewife.’

I needn’t call myself one, and there are two ways to doing this. The simplest is that I don’t stay at home, but start work, so as to contribute to the economic growth of my country, and yes, my family as well. The second solution is the mightier and the tougher one, and this blog post is a miniscule attempt at achieving the titanic task.

Let me elaborate:

Whenever I used or heard the term ‘housewife’ my reaction was to clarify my status and disassociate myself with the term or the group; I would clarify by uttering, “Oh, I am a journalist by qualification, but I chose my kids over a career- for the time being.” But something was never right about such attempts. I was not salvaging myself. Definitely not!

And now I realise what was not right. The problem was not merely syntactical; it was the semantics that disturbed me. I am not so much in hatred with the term ‘housewife’ as I am with the idea of a ‘housewife’.

Doesn’t the word housewife have the mind conjure up an image of a sloppy woman, with near zero IQ levels; or a bitchy saas-bahu serial watching woman? That, ladies and gentlemen, is my problem with the term ‘housewife.

There have been tons of attempts to change the word and make it politically correct. Housewife to homemaker (home maker as opposed to home breaker???!!!!); home economist to home engineer (irrelevant but better sounding tags); stay at home mother? Still a better term but not general enough to cover all the members of the female species who do not “work” but have their priorities imported from a different world and are happy as they are.

The term has evolved but the idea has remained the same. How often I sense scorn when someone is branded a ‘housewife,’ especially when one has to fill up the column ‘employment status’ in any official form. It could be duly filled ‘employed’ or ‘not employed’ but instead the word provided is ‘housewife.’ Bah. 

There was a time when women needed to establish their independence by stepping out of home and working; there was a time when women driven by compulsion paved their way to work and had thus become a class apart from their counterparts at home. That was the birth of the housewife.

But just as women then had to step out of home for various reasons, some women today are forced to stay at home in spite of whims and dreams of the contrary. To journey from the past to the future, from the then to the there, we require a change. Of the changes I demand, one is the change in the demeaning and demonic practice of branding someone as a housewife and connoting a specific notion to that word.

Someone once pointed out to me that I was no longer compelled to establish my independence – my mother and mother-in-law had already done journeyed this path. I would not be the first one in my family to do so. 

My generation has been lucky to have had the snow shovelled off the road. The choice to drive on or sit by the road should be both personal and devoid of connotations. 

On another but not an irrelevant note, I wonder if a man who decides to quit work to take care of his children be not called unemployed, but something else. 

I would welcome not just the death of the term ‘housewife’ but also the death of the idea of a ‘housewife’. A woman should be given, just as a man, a chance to be labelled not by her state of contribution to the Nation’s commerce but maybe by totally marginal labels like gender and age.

Wishing all Men (employed and NOT employed) and all women (ditto ditto) a Happy Year Ahead.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Mumbai Trigger

I thought I was late in catching up with the news. But I soon realized that it was the News that was late in catching up with itself. I am talking about the murder 13 days ago, on the streets of Mumbai of two young men who tried to protect their friend as she was being ‘eve teased,’ and we get to hear of this ghastly event only yesterday.

I wonder is our emotion of empathy despicably shallow and slow even in the days of Twitter and Facebook? Or do we require a candle march or a hunger strike all the time to jolt us into realising the magnitude of barbarity we face and live with?

I always thought eve teasing was a cowardly phenomenon. And I have noticed that surprisingly and strangely it brings out, in most cases, the same cowardice in the victim and even in those passing by - the witness who insist on continuing their way. But this incident in Mumbai made me realise that I was wrong.

I had once written a response on Facebook that there are those of us who are brave enough to flex our muscles and bash up the teaser. I too was one of those merciless Charlie’s angels, some years ago.

Perched now in the cozy confines of my home I wonder if I would have the same instinct to take on any teaser if he would come my way today. I think not. And in the light of the recent incident, my intuition has to be unfortunately right, right? (The guy came back with around 20 of his thug friends and murdered 2 people while many others stood by.)

This appears straight out of the movies. That’s where I have a problem with distorting reality in movies and providing vivid ideas to the least imaginative and irresponsible mob that we are.

But coming back to my shrinking bravery, I can comprehend only two reasons for this. It could simply be that the cities that I grew up in were not as harsh as the one I am living in. But I feel, in all likeliness, that my bravery is giving way to sense guided by a survival instinct. With age, my sense of security instead of growing seems to be diminishing. I realise with regret that it is inversely proportionate to the growing number of my responsibilities, and hence lesser the risk taking instincts in me.

What a shame. 

I know that in a battle to safeguard my dignity, I might be alone and might as well be facing the most dangerous opponent known to me so far…a stalker, a kidnaper, a rapist or a murderer. When motive for violence is just an excess spurt of adrenaline rush with no other provocation, common sense advices us that we had best  hold back and provide no further provocation. Again, what a shameful and humiliating defence resorted to as there is no guarantee of any reinforcement for us. The passers-by will just be passing by.

I really wish that those classic scenes from the early age Indian movies would happen on our streets – where eve teasers and pickpockets are bashed up by the mob with those huge water containers.

And all along I had thought of only eve teasing as a problem. A friend brought to my notice that even Adam teasing, as I call it, is a problem, and the guys, unfortunately in an attempt to uphold their macho image don’t even talk about it.

Little things in life we tend to ignore thinking that it need not concern us as it does not concern us. The overflowing garbage bin in our neighbourhood, our neighbour’s leaking tap, the bribe that a policeman accepts, the little incidents of eve teasing on our road…the list is long, but when this stray incident blows itself out of humanly proportions, we sit up and talk in a show of solidarity.

I once was brave, am not certain now, but would definitely want to live with dignity, pride and security. Looking up to authorities to deal with it is a cliché and a passé; and the only cure to this  social evil I can think of is to try and direct ourselves and those around us towards a more meaningful, purpose filled and respect filled life.

Monday, October 31, 2011

RA.One: The Randomly Assembled One

Black, White or Grey?

Last week I had called a randomly assembled one, shared it on twitter and got called several rude words. I was even cursed to die. Lol. I was amused by the strong expletives and responses thrown at me, and started thinking. 

Movies are something that I could never really take seriously. For me they are just another form of entertainment. Won’t kill me if tomorrow the film woods suddenly vanish!! Puff!! Sometimes, I watch them when I want to kill my loneliness and at times watch them with other people, specifically to be in their company.

While describing a movie, I restrict my comments to the most basic of descriptive adjectives “Nice,” and “Not nice.” If people specifically ask me how I found a movie, I give them an answer that they would want to hear. Oh, I know you are a Khan fan so, “Awesome, u have to watch it.” I know you hate scifi, so, “Not much of a movie. Could skip this one.” And when I come across a more knowledgeable movie goer, I wake up my grey cells and give the person a more informed and thoughtful response.

So movies and I are not exactly bum chums nor are we totally incompatible. Naturally, reviewing is not what I would get into, but just this once I felt like blotting my blog with a miniscule write up on a piece of celluloid entertainment, more as a response to some of the coarseness I faced.  

Here goes: If you are looking for a visual treat, fares better than good. There is a technical finesse in this movie that compares with some of the finest movies ever made in the whole world.  The theme as well as the innovative title amalgamate both the modern and the traditional; science and mythology; and reiterate once more, through an atheistic medium of gaming, the dichotomy of good and bad; God and the devil. Applause. Loud round.

But to be truthful this is not a complete movie.  To me a movie is not about the actor; not about the script; not about the visuals. (They are mostly only a part of it.) It is more about the movie watching experience - what I feel and how engrossed I become with it when I see the movie.

Ra.One to me was like a computer with a faulty firewall. At times I found myself totally in the movie, somewhat opposite to what happens in the movie where the characters come out of the game, while I was going into the movie; but at most times I found myself repelled by what was going on.

So obviously (for me) did some things right and some things wrong. What it did right was the movie MAKING part, the team seemed to have spared no effort in putting up this visual treat; it would have been an awesome experience for those involved in the making of this movie. But where this movie went wrong was the movie WATCHING experience.

I felt jilted because I went to experience something - and generally we expect to experience something new - but I came out with a deja vu. 

Oh, the actors were fantastic. Kareena was the sheer visual treat and terrific actress that she always is, and Shahrukh was a good entertainer. I anyways adore Satish Shah. The script was loose, and as for the visuals, they were an eye candy and soft on my senses.


When a production house sets a standard, our expectations (the audience’s expectations ) naturally go beyond that standard. That’s called our CONFIDENCE  in them. And now I don’t think anyone wants to nullify this movie, they just are passing a judgement on this confidence.

Indian diaspora in its entirety was looking up to Shahrukh Khan to lead our Bollywood’s production style and capabilities on to another level. I have not yet come across a person who said this movie was utter crap. They have all marvelled the technical achievements but still miss, well, what is obviously missing in this movie.

Even after a dozen pondering moments, I find myself left with an elation that I would experience if the Indian Olympic contingent won a Gold, but not the satisfaction and pride I would have had they bagged the most number of Golds.

This is one of those many things that even with all intent I cannot classify  as black or white…it is in between…it is grey…which is incidentally the most prominent colour in most live action VFX (3D) movies!!! (Now, that is another thing that bothers me.)