.. finally.. after almost a year..
A few pictures from different corners of our home
The Living room
fresh basil for pesto 🙂
A garden to call my own
The last few weekends have been so crazy packed that I have been losing it. R is one social butterfly flitting from one friend to another. I am happy meeting people, doing something but socializing with ten families all squeezed into one weekend is stretching a bit too much for me. So I rebelled, and decided that this weekend we are not doing anything.
Me : R, I m so tired of meeting all your stupid(I call his friends stupid, mean and what not when I am mad) friends. So, no socialising this weekend.
R : Ummm, okay. Can we go for a walk, I ll check some small 6-8mile walk that we can do.
Me: 8 miles is not small, and No, I don’t want to do anything.
R: You mean, nothing? No cleaning, cooking or laundry???
Me: Of course we have to do all of that. I just mean we won’t go out and do anything.
R: You mean I’ll have you, our home and all the cleaning to myself???
Me: Yeah, totally. You can cook also if you like.
R: Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaay! Thank you thank you !!
Does his stupid dance as well..always makes me laugh
Me: Ok ok, stop overacting…(trying very hard not to smile)
R: Yaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy !!
I love my life 😀
It is strange how the smallest of things can evoke memories of certain sights, sounds, smells that I miss. I miss and worry about the state of my country a lot these days.. and yet what can I do about it?
I have always been proud and loved to be an Indian, it is who I am. Almost 3 years of living in another country has done little to change that, I still nurture the dream of going back one day, buying that home I want to grow old in and die in a country that has given me everything I ever wanted, needed. But when these memories come back, I am not so sure.
Every day I read about corruption in every stream of life. And this is not about paltry sums, these are amounts I cannot even imagine. I cannot begin to count the number of zeroes involved.. there is actually so much money to squander away and yet half the country still languishes under the poverty line. India apparently became food self-sufficient in 1984, and yet we have scores of people who do not have access to one square meal a day.
I read about the PDS scam and it disturbed me in a way that something hasn’t in a long time.. Surely, my country cannot be in such a bad state, my countrymen are not that evil, such things don’t happen where I come from.. But well, of course it does. Don’t I remember the woman who used to earn her living supplying water on a plastic pot to all the floors in the building. She pumped out the water herself, ensured that the pot perched strategically on her hip and climbed up to the 3rd floor where we lived. She did this 30 times a day to provide water to the 10 households she worked for. And her single biggest achievement in life – getting her daughter married. The drunk guy who abused and beat his wife day and night, the country where we still burn brides for dowry, where a woman is still blamed for rape, where one flippant word can trigger riots between communities, where most of the population does not have access to basic health care, where people cannot buy grain that they are officially entitled to… the list goes on I suppose..
I read about the fire in the Sivakasi factory a few days ago, then yesterday it was the fire in Pakistan. They also threw a cartoonist in jail, for doing what -sketching cartoons! A foreign journal writes about the corruption in our country, and about our useless Prime Minister. What do they do? They demand an apology – they don’t get one, of course. So what do they do? Block the websites in India. What are we – China? Are we going to adopt only the negative practices from other countries?
Living in a foreign country has changed me in some ways, I have to admit. I can walk on the street without being stared at, jeered at. It does not matter what I am wearing or not wearing. People respect you enough to not stare and make you feel awkward. I stand in a queue to get into a train, to buy food, groceries, tickets everything. It was weird standing in a queue the first time. But now, I like it.
I have always preferred disciple and order over chaos. For the first time, I didn’t have to push and shove myself to get a ticket or get into a train. I now know what it is to drive on beautiful and perfect roads. I am slowly trying to follow road signs and not just drive to save my life. It has been hard, but now I have come to expect this as normal. That is the problem.
Why are these things that I take for granted here such a big deal back home? I fear I may come back and struggle to live there. You see, I am not someone who will shut up and adjust. I will make a noise, I will do everything I can to do things my way or the right way. Surely the things I have now come to expect as the norm cannot be that difficult. We have the people, the money( yes, the money!), the resources. What we have in front of us is not a big ambition. It is only to satisfy the 3 basic needs we set out to meet after independence – food, clothing and shelter for everyone, and an organized life.
All said and done, I realize it is easy for me to look back and point out the issues. For whatever it is worth, I am glad about one thing. Finally people are speaking out, even if it be a random group rallying around the country, keeping frivolous fasts etc. But atleast we are getting the attention we need, the world now looks at India and thinks ‘corruption’. If we are a country with a conscience, we’ll act sooner rather than later.. One can only hope..
And yes, one day I will be back..
…since I came here, and in all this time,
we bought a home, did it up,
travelled to around 6 countries, had so much fun
realised that I love gardening
fell in love with my husband all over again
started sewing lessons
but I am still bored.. so hopefully will be on to something new .. stay tuned to this space..
This one is from the archives. As I sniff my way through an extremely annoying cold, I realize the one person I really miss today is Amma. She is away on work in Mumbai( yes, my heart is in my mouth as I pray anxiously for her to return and call me) and hasn’t called me for the last 3 days. I miss the careless, pointless banter, the everyday gossip sessions. And I found myself reading what I wrote 3 years ago, and I realized how much I can add to these memories of her.
My first memory of her is of her scolding me when I fell down and hurt myself. I remember that I always used to be scared of her after that ; if I hurt myself again, I would try to hide it from her, as I was dreadfully sure she would have a go at me again. I remember her telling me funny made-up stories to ensure that I never drank coffee till I was ‘big’ unless of course I wanted to grow horns, to promise that I always turned my shoes out, hit them against the floor and made sure nothing creepy was inside them before I wore them, or how she so vividly described the fictitious heroic guard in her office killing the monstrous rat that had crept into one of the shelves and so on. The stories, I shall leave for another day.
I recollect hating having my hair cut short, hiding under the big bed, only to be dragged out and sent strictly to the parlor, and how I came back crying ALL the way. I used to have my revenge by dressing up with towels draped all over my head simulating real hair in front of her friends, much to her embarrassment.
I remember thinking how nice and clear her handwriting was, as she drafted question papers, for me to answer and practise before school tests. I also remember how she couldn’t stand it, if I didn’t understand something immediately. I remember having doubts in Math( I was never too good in Math), pondering hard, trying to figure out the solution myself, and with great apprehension approaching her to ask her to help me, only to realize that the moment she turned and looked at me, I got the solution. Just like that, right there in that moment something in my brain would light up and show me the answer. I see pictures of her wedding, and think she was the most beautiful bride ever. A face devoid of any make-up, eyes smeared with kohl, mismatched blouse for her muhurtham saree(Yes, I still cannot believe it) and unmasked happiness in welcoming an uncertain future. I remember the times we shopped together, how she would bargain, how embarrassed I would feel, and how eventually she would get it at her price. Today, I do just the same.
I remember her whacking me hard for running away from school with a friend only to be caught by her mom. I recall her cheering for me in my sports meet, even though I only won in the relay because everyone else in my team was faster than me.
I am glad she always dressed me well, and I have very good photographs from my childhood. I remember how she put up with my tantrums as a teenager, how she eventually went on to become my best friend, how we grew apart, how that tore my heart apart and how I am so glad to have her as my confidante again. I remember how she painstakingly covered all my notebooks with brown laminated sheets, my textbooks with colorful calendars, and label them ever so neatly. I remember insisting that she write my name on all the book labels. I also now realize that there were times when it must have been very tough, and to think that she managed through it all alone and with such grace, is just awe-inspiring to say the least. We had no idea at all, throughout. We still got everything that we used to, we had no idea about the ordeal she was going through, we were too young to realize all that. Today I can honestly and proudly say that whatever I am, it is only because of her. It feels very nice and warm when someone tells me I look, speak and laugh a lot like her.
I find it hard not to smile, when she speaks Hindi just the way she would speak in Tamil, how she thinks the internet is something so complicated, how she has infinite questions about orkut, facebook, youtube, how she keeps asking me to teach her everything. And how in-spite of teaching; she would forget and get back to pestering again. How one moment she can be so broad-minded, and how her maami-ism seeps in the next. It is nothing short of amazing, to see life come around in a full circle. Its only because of her that I find beauty in even average things, happiness in simple things. It is very difficult to separately oneself from the memories of parents and look at the picture individually. Right from the cleanliness freak in me, to the over-protective person that I sometimes can be, from the way I choose my clothes, to the way I articulate certain things, she shows up in every aspect of my personality. And yet, sometimes I forget what she has done for me and what it is to be a parent. But I know, that some things, certain events will always remind me of her, whether she is with me or not. Like a beautiful sunrise, the smell of fresh laundry, vethal kozhambu and her Hitler-scowl. I love you, Ma.
to be able to do the usual light workout in the gym, check the scales to find that I am a kilo lighter and gorge on a chocolate and honeycomb cheesecake for dinner!! 😀
Yesterday Ram and I were discussing food on the phone.
Ram : I am having chilli tofu curry for dinner, its yum! I love it!
Me : Yes, we should probably replace paneer with tofu and try all the usual recipes. I am sure it will taste just fine.
Ram : Yes yes we should try that. Tofu has less fat for the same amount of protein.
Me : But, didn’t we read somewhere that soy milk causes impotence in men, isn’t that why we stopped having soy milk with cereal for breakfast?
Ram : Hmmm
Me :Imagine the implications, Oh no! 😉
Ram: Ok, let’s look at it this way. Which country produces and consumes most of the soy products in the world?
Me: China, I think.
Ram : So, do you see them having any problems even remotely close to impotency??
Me : !!! Wah wah! 🙂