Friday, May 06, 2016

Grandmothers

Grandmothers are those fairy God mothers, who have been planted on earth just to keep us out of harm's way. Remember the last major bike accident, that scary auto ride in the middle of the night and all those testing situations when you thought, "Oh shit, I'm screwed"? How do you think you've gotten out of all those tricky numbers without so much as batting an eyelid? Grandmothers!

Mine is tucked away in Trivandrum, praying endlessly for all my whims and fancies to come true. New jobs, promotions, appraisals - all sorted with one whiney phone call to the grandmother.

Grandmothers are those cute fluffy beings who worry endlessly about you and wait tirelessly for that one phone-call every week. Some of their concerns are borderline hilarious, "You work 12 hours a day?! Quit immediately.", "Your plate only has 5 pieces of chicken, 3 pieces of fish and 4 mutton cutlets. You've become such a poor eater!" But that's the thing about grandmothers, they make you question your decisions and give you a whole different perspective, a perspective from a different time and age. Her innocence and purity of heart is a refreshing change from the corrupt, mind-gaming playing, money-driven generation I'm more used to tackling everyday.   

From being petrified of lizards to developing a fine taste for food, from teaching me kick-ass hair styles (fountain ponies were totally in, in the 90s) to making me understand the importance of finishing my home-work before all the fun and games, you've been a wonderful grandmother Ammu. 

I think it's safe to say that the siblings and I would not have been half the people we are, if it weren't for the solid foundation you laid for us. You've pampered us yet been firm, you've held us back from tricky situations and have given us the courage to spread our wings. You've said no and you've said yes. Most importantly, you've taught us to be kind human beings, to help those in need and to give selflessly without thinking about how it will benefit us. 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Musicians

Musicians, that fascinating breed which managed to hold my attention for the longest time. I aspired to be one. I even learnt how to play the guitar just so that I could form a band and get my funk on! Unfortunately, my guitar sir abandoned me after a mere month, made excuses for not showing up and eventually cut my calls.

Being the 'never say never' person I am, I kept at it and began attending numerous underground metal gigs in Chennai at "Unwind Center". "Unwind Center" was a dark, dingy hole in the wall performance venue for the most obnoxious teenage boys from a myriad of random metal bands, along with their 10,000 million anorexic groupies. I tried hard to fit in by wearing black clothes, dark make-up and scary looking junk jewellery. Unfortunately, my roundness (I was 65 kilos back then) gave me away. 

A few years later I met a bunch of "humour metal band" boys who were super talented, humble, down to the earth and the exact opposite of being obnoxious. I found their behaviour rather puzzling. Were'nt they in a band? Where were their groupies? They introduced me to a world of underground metal in Mumbai. These folks looked scary with their gloom and doom metal acts on stage, but were extremely sweet and so approachable offstage!

These "humor metal band" boys opened my eyes to the world of music. They underwent hours of practice (jams, in their language) to perfect every act they pulled off on stage. They spent precious man-hours writing songs, recording them, making them into a full length album and finally selling them to a handful of "fans". 

For the longest time I was proud to be known as their friend. I tagged along with them everywhere. And now that I'm married to the guitarist of the above mentioned band, I see the turmoil in his soul for not being able to really pursue his musical dreams. 

It's time that this country recognized talent and actually paid that talent, HARD CASH. And I don't just speak for the music fraternity, I speak for all artists - painters, writers, poets. We demand recognition! Give it to us today or your future generation are going to be a bunch of unappreciative, artistically illiterate idiots. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Stress Eating

Nothing beats stress better than a freshly fried bread pakoda and a piping hot samosa with spicy green chutney, from the local tapri and from railway platforms.

Rough day at work? Eat
Frustrated with life? Eat
Bored? Eat
Happy? Eat

Stress eating is your brain's way of telling you, "Screw you guys I'm going home". The more the work pressure, the more the quantity of junk food consumed. 

In school, I found solace in piping hot Chilli Chicken Pizzas from Chef Express (a hole in the wall pizza joint in my neighbourhood, back home in Chennai which created the most delish pizzas!). 

In college, I made friends with samosas and kachoris. 

At work, I find comfort in sugary cups of tea and coffee along with large quantities of chocolates.

Stress eating and the waistline ain't friends,
The brain however undergoes a cleanse,
One's soul cobwebs become a little less dense,
And there is the return of common sense
 THE END

If you've read this, thank you for your patience. If you've read it a little and ditched it mid-way, goodnight already! It's way past your bedtime.  

(Image Source : http://healthdrivenlife.com/how-to-overcome-emotional-eating/)

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Siblings

Siblings, those scary older people whose bedrooms you're not allowed to enter. Siblings, those cool mysterious older creatures, whose every move you wanted to copy to the T. Siblings, those extra parents our parents gave us, specifically to baby-sit & scold us younger kids. 

I've had three! My immediate big brother & my first cousins who I always presumed were my own siblings. I could not distinguish between my mother & my aunt. In my head, I always had two mommies & our family was quite large. We all met during summer vacations & family holidays (which were very frequent back in the day.)

Being the youngest had it's advantages. One scream & all the parents would come running to whack the older sibling who refused to share his/her toy with me. One bite & I would have everyone's attention in a jiffy. And as we grew older I was showered with the most expensive gifts ranging from the latest mobile phones, iPods, watches, digicams, branded perfumes, I had it all, even before it hit the Indian market, all thanks to my siblings. 

Our family vacations have dried up. We don't meet so often anymore & we live in different parts of the globe. But knowing that they're all out there, leading comfortable lives, is a happy feeling. And hopefully we'll stick around for each other as the years roll by. 

"There's no other love like the love for a brother/sister. There's no other love like the love from a brother/sister." Terri Guillemets 

Friday, April 01, 2016

My Blue World

I've loved large bodies of water ever since I was two years old. Be it large puddles, a fish tank, a pond, the beautiful backwaters of Kerala, the sea, a swimming pool, you name it. I've wanted to dip myself in all of them. 

Swimming for me is therapeutic more than a form of exercise. I see it as my place of solitude, a place where I can wash away my sorrows & emerge stronger & wiser. Just for that one hour I forget who I am, where I'm from, what I do & just give in to that mass of water. I allow it to engulf me & drown me. 

I've been swimming in my apartment's pool for the past two years & I've made quite a few friends. The most recent of them have been a chirpy motor mouth middle-aged aunty, who is always happy to see me. Like most Indians her idea of friendship is to ask me the most intrusive of questions such as, "Do you have kids?"; "Why don't you have kids, are you not married?"; "Tell me your apartment block's exact alphabet & number" & so on. 

My heart goes out to this woman because I can see that she is making a genuine effort to learn how to swim. I see her splashing along with not one, but TWO floaters firmly attached to her bulging midriff. She waits eagerly for me at the shallow end as I finish a lap to throw a barrage of swimming related questions at me. "How do you breathe underwater?";"Oh! You don't breather underwater?!"; "Don't you get scared of the deep end?"; "Can you adjust my goggles for me?"; "What brand is your swimsuit?"; "Do you wear underwear inside your suit?" etc 

I don't have the heart to tell her that she is killing my water-buzz, my state of yogic trance & my 5 minutes of solitude. 

Any advice on how to get her to shut up, without being rude? 

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Bullies

Remember those nasty kids who pulled your hair, called you names & made you miserable in general way back in school? They grew up & continue to exist in the corporate world. 

Bullies, those jealous, rotten tomatoes who've probably been bullied themselves as children. Bullies comes in all shapes & forms at work. It can be your boss, your colleague or that new kid who joined your team.

I witnessed a colleague of mine being bullied by an ex-boss of hers in the cafeteria today, for her attire. I was shocked at first & could not believe my eyes & ears. But there she was, a middle aged, bitter looking woman, with 2-3 chronies of hers cackling away as loud as ever & commenting endlessly about my colleague.

She was rattled at first but I told her to stay strong & take the b*%#h head on. My mind flashed back to that one reckless career decision I had made last year to join a random company just because they offered me a few peanuts more to my existing pay package & bumped up my designation. 

My ex-boss was gay & snappy. He made personal remarks about my clothes, my shoes & even about the organizations I had worked for in the past. I tolerated his nonsense for over a month & then called his bluff. I barged into his cabin sometime mid-week after a whole night of crying & told him to f*%k off. I threw in my resignation the same morning & walked out those doors a whole lot lighter. 

We work to acquire new skills & to rise up the corporate ladder. But most importantly, we work for our self respect & dignity. Anyone who snatches that from us, deserves no time & effort of ours. 

(Image Source : http://antibullyingblog.blogspot.in/2012/02/17-anti-bullying-pictures-for-classroom.html) 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Kapoor & Sons

A gem from Bollywood after the longest time, Kapoor & sons hits the nail on the head, without beating around the bush, sans the over the top cheesy K3G "it's all about loving your family" bhaashan. 

There's death, sibling rivalry, a hilarious grandfather, an unnecessary love interest & a cheating father. Most of us can relate to these characters within our own families. Rishi Kapoor as the perverted fun loving grandfather reminded me of my own grandfather minus the perversion. 

Ratna Pathak as the protective mother who clearly loves her older child more than the younger & even goes up to the extent of stealing the draft novel of the younger to give it to the older, is also something I could relate to. It's okay mom, I know you love your older child a little more, I've made my peace with it (I'll probably get whacked for writing this but it has to be said!) 

With picturesque Coonoor in the background, this movie was a frame by frame dream to watch. Kapoor & Sons is a delicious shot of nostalgia in an old dusty wine bottle that everyone must indulge in. 

And yes, it indeed is "all about loving your family" as Karan Johar has droned on for years & years. The extent to which we can go for the sake of our parents, grandparents & siblings can surprise us.

No family is perfect. We say mean things to each other, we fight, we patch up, we fight again but the bottom line is, when the shit hits the ceiling, no one can clean up your mess better than your family & no one can slap you back into reality better than your family. Hold on to them tight because you need them more than they need you. 

(Image Source : https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/9b/Kapoor_and_Sons_look.jpg)