Amazing people who make me go on n on n on:)

24 April, 2019

Some Day...

Dear Beloved,

Some day, I hope to understand you. What makes you and makes you unmake me. Why you do what you do and why you don’t do what I wish you would. Where do you keep all that love hidden inside, that I feel but you wouldn’t let me touch. What words come to your lips and then retreat?

Some day, you would open up the inner linings of your heart and show me where I reside or resided or maybe just rented space for a while.

You would tell me of those brief moments in many, when you felt closest to being in love. Also of the time when our drifting away began.

Some day, you will pour out what you really feel rather than hiding behind the garbs of polite lies and vehement affirmations or denials.

You would leave me with surety than doubt, with peace than war, with a beaming smile than brimming eyes. Not always you do so, but yes, sometimes.

Some day, you’ll tell me you miss me before keeping down the phone instead of “take care”. Or when I pick up the call, you’ll scream to me you miss me instead of “how are you?”

You would be the first one to text or would beg to see me or refuse to keep the phone down.

Some day, you would walk back to me and tell me you want to die in my arms. And I’ll let you, only to resurrect you with soft kisses. We’ll watch the stars and talk the night away. You would sleep with my thoughts and wake up to my smile. When you’d not just want me. But need me.

Some day, you would realize that love is not a scary word. It’s a commitment alright but not enslavement. It’s liberating. It’s okay to give and take love, despite the odds. That we need to think of the present and not the past or the future. We. Here. Now. Is all that matters.

Yours only.

24 September, 2018

The ‘Into The Wild’ Epiphany.

I am on a movie watching spree. With G away on long trips, students fewer now due to exams and me recently Netflixed, the future seems grim from where I see. I can almost visualize a couch potato (literally and metaphorically) shaping up right here in my bedroom.

So I saw ‘Into The Wild’ (2008) recently. It was an extremely thought provoking experience, almost an epiphany. Not everyone’s cup of tea though. I believe there is no person on the planet who hasn’t dreamt of kicking it all and going away to be on his own and free. Except here, this 23 year old boy in the movie, wants to be free in the Wild, giving up on human association altogether. He believed that - Wants, desire, family, wealth, love and the likes are the root evils that stop us from knowing who we are and what we want. 

As was revealed gradually, the thing that sowed this crazy urge in him was the continuous marital stress between his parents who were on the verge of a divorce since forever. He throws away his degree, burns his money and leaves no trace as he travels across with a backpack. The boy doesn’t allow anyone to get too close and eventually comes upon a lonely end. But then, as he wisely sums up, “Happiness is only real when shared.” 

Now I have a friend who’s faced something similar at his home front and has always vehemently shunned the idea of love or marriage. He holds a bitterness about commitment and relationships in him that I often and silently concluded was more of an exaggerated sense of restlessness and even attention seeking. In my ignorance, I would urge him to shake that cynicism off, as if insecurities of ages could be shrugged off from the shoulder like a baby monkey that just perched on it. 

More movies in recent times show children of broken homes being imbalanced and even psychologically twisted. Those who say movies are mirrors to our society, seem to be winning. Troubled childhood breeds troubled adults, 9 out of 10 times. I’m not blaming the children, I somehow wish to caution the adults. 

I would wonder how could this happen if even one of the two parents is affectionate and sane. My friend had jolted me back to reason by saying “You would not understand with your cushioned early life, of how a stressful house effects the impressionable mind of a child”. Even if one parent is loving enough, he or she isn’t whole enough anymore to give it completely. You can hold on to a broken twig in a storm, but it can only last for so long. 

And now I did what I often do, step into someone’s shoes to fathom how deep or shallow are my own convictions. As I was blessed to have been brought up by loving parents (one making up for the inadequacies of the other) my mind feels strong enough to fight the ups and downs thrown my way. I conveniently assume everyone else’s should also be. Often there had been a lack of empathy, for I didn’t realize how my being was fortunate enough to be conditioned in the conditions that were there. Not everyone is as strong. And as the movie says - In life sometimes it is not so important to be strong as is to feel strong. 

So then, a child of six or ten or even thirteen for that matter, has yet to understand the ways of the world. For him, the world would be good or bad depending upon the reflection of what he sees at home. Where he spends all his time. 

When he watches his parents screaming at one another day in and day out, he takes it to mean that there is always going to be chaos in the outside world. When he hears his parents calling each other names, he realizes that the two people he kept next to God, are full of flaws and begins to mistrust any goodness that comes his way. When his happy moments always get clouded with arguments and blame games, he is convinced that even if something good would happen to him, it won’t last forever. For if childhood, that is supposed to be secure and safe and carefree, is not, what will ever be? 

Divorces are commonplace these days. Keeping an open mind, I believe there is nothing wrong with two incompatible people going separate ways. But when children are involved, you need to take more responsibility. Would you be strong enough on your own to nurture the child with the love of the mother and the father? Do you think the child would retain a sense of belonging and positivity in life, after you take the plunge? Or are you just putting your own invisible baggage on his fragile shoulders? 

It is not wrong to seek happiness for yourself. It is not fair to always be selfless. But maybe when children are involved, we need to be cautious for we take up the role of the Creator. We can’t shrug off and say “not my problem, go fend for yourself” like perhaps animals do. 

Hug your children as much as you can. Do not stop saying “I love you” as a ritual, repeated several times a day. You must not let your negativity rub off on them as they should grow up believing all is hunky dory with the world at least till they’re old enough to comprehend that it isn’t always. 

Too much to ask, your say? But perhaps it’s just too little. 

26 June, 2018

The Living In The Instant Generation

(Caution: Not a funny Read)

So I was watching this beautiful movie on tv - Things We Lost In The Fire (2007) and it would have made me a lot sad had it not been for gushing over this beautiful beautiful man Benicio Del Toro. Such unbelievable intensity and sexiness even in the out of shape character that he acts as. (Reminded me of the Doctor from Pakistani series ‘Dhoop Kinare’ that came when I was a teen and how I crushed over him) Phew! 

Anyway, Toro plays a drug addict whose life is wasted due to heroine consumption but he can’t stop. Halle Berry has lost her husband and wants to take to some drug so she could sleep or escape the world. When she asked him how it feels like to take heroine, he says something extremely intriguing on these lines - 
It’s a heavenly escape. Nothing can compare to it. How it makes you feel. But that magic happens only the first couple of times. After that you just keep pursuing it in the memory of that first time but never ever feel it again. Even though you realize you’re losing it all in the process of it. 

Can you imagine the depth in this statement! What a capsule of explanation for human behavior at so many levels and how it forms an allegory to everything in life (or so I found in it). Say Love, for example. It’s magic the first time and then that forever pursuit of getting that adrenaline rush thereafter. Or why people obsess over having sex randomly. Does sleeping with new people satiate something besides the crude momentary lust? For I feel it should kill some of the soul. I think part of the answers lie in this feeling of pursuit of elusive happiness. For it’s seldom as pathbreaking as the memory of that first time (or the first time that it really happens like that). 

Even for say simpler things like meeting someone after a long anticipation is just wondrous for the first time. And then that ecstatic sensation may or may not return when you meet again. Money, power, weight loss, fame - we strive for it all, for that first and ultimate high. After that it becomes just a number and maybe three times over but the pinnacle of emotional euphoria was reached and post it, nothing really moves you. But do you stop? No. Because you remember the taste of that first conquest. You remain agitated because you can’t feel it anymore on your tongue, though they’d be claiming it is better or more now than what you had then. Addictions and how they pump and suck the life breath out of us, just like that! 

It may perhaps be the reason why people continue to look for love even after being heartbroken several times over. That feeling of freshly into new love is worth the pain of falling out of it yet again.  Or why people look for love outside their marriage. Because the high and the rush is missing. While we as a generation probably learnt to curb these urges better, I wonder about the recklessness of those in the current times. 

The ‘high’ obtained from wearing the most overpriced dress, is lost after it’s worn the first time. The iphone7 is no longer cherished because just a few months later the iphoneX floods the market temptingly. The producers are tapping into our weakness and we are being the eager victims. ‘Upgrade to change to have the best ever - in technology, lifestyle or humans’ , is being subconsciously drilled in our psyche. No patience in wanting to wait to get to know someone, but wham-bam through tinder for that instant gratification. The Living-For-The-Instant Generation. 

I’m not any holier than thou, mind you. I’m moving, though inchingly still. I remember I did not own a mobile phone, till ten years ago because I was scared of being dependent on or addicted to a gadget. I still resist getting a Netflix because I know my love for good onscreen drama and how my four walls will probably suck me in. Or I keep switching off the AC every now and then even in the torturous heat because something stops me from excesses. If I over indulge, it will stop giving me the pleasure. 

But I’m beginning to give in. Noticing the small changes despite me. Like I’m constantly whining to G for a holiday because that ‘high’ received just once a year, makes you restless when you see others soaking in it more generously. Or that I don’t mind picking up a dress I do not need, just because it’s on sale and I might need it in future. What I do need, is to sit with myself one of these days. Or rather sit outside myself for a change. 

Like the infrequent Saturday night-outs I go to or the hair spa I’ve just taken, none of them really gratify me anymore. Why? Perhaps the merciless knife of comparison is sharpening its edges upon my reason. “I’ve had better, so this is not good enough or I must go on till it is good enough, which never is.” I need to live in the moment and tame my highs and lows. So that I don’t exaggerate the fuck out of a good experience transcending to the rest of my senses or shove myself in a pit of self pity over something that can threaten to ruffle my peace. 

Maybe self awareness is the key. Though the locks for now look intimidating. Maybe if I keep telling myself that all this is just in pursuit of happiness that’s already in me, it will finally come out and show it on my skin. So much for the unsolicited gyan today, folks. Until next time :)

16 May, 2018

Neighborly Fantasies!

So there’s this huge arsed apartment-building being raised in my immediate neighborhood from some time now. And like with everything else, my hormones that tend to romanticize it all, had caused to give birth to a subtle hope and expectation of good looking faces coming to reside next door and venturing over, every once in a while to ask for Cheeni or dahi. (Yes, we can be presumptuous like that sometimes) 

Wait. What! Why do you seem horrified? It is the age of single men who cook! And who are yet busy enough to forget refilling groceries. And feel no shame in asking (not their next door neighbor in the apartment itself but climb the first floor of a building next door) with a bowl in their hand, a trickle of sweat going down their chiseled face and a subtle fragrance of musk in the air around them, asking for nitty gritties, with such an infectious smile that you melt like butter on a heated pan at your very threshold. (Sigh! I know you pictured that too. Ah well!)

Don’t you remember “Meri saamne waale khidki mein, ek chaand ka tukda rehta hain” song from a Kishore Kumar-Saira Bano-Sunil Dutt flick? ‘Padosan’ it was I think. Most of you were probably not even born at that time.

Anyway, my father’s fondness for Kishore Kumar made us watch this movie on a recorded cassette over and over again in those years of my impressionable teens till the reel was damaged and refused to abide by our commands. But how fascinating it was, this idea of opening the window of your room and having some deliciously gorgeous face, waiting there for a sight of you, crooning a hopelessly mushy number in praise of your beauty and grace as you do that coy act, bat your eyelid and bite your lower lip into a smile. STOP PICTURING ME LIKE THAT. It’s an analogy for crying out loud. 

Needless to say, it never happened in all those blessed years of growing up and the hope died a slow and silent death. But a fantasy is a fantasy! You can curb it but never kill it. This Hindi movie was probably the advent of it (Minus the terribly classic musical form and that hair oil drenched look of Sunil Dutt from those times). So years later, we witnessed the rise of those long forgotten urges again. What’s life without a little eye tonic, right?

If you had looked closely you’d see my thought bubbles of picturing a Hrithik look alike dude with weights doing his biceps as seen through the open window or a Ranbir look alike playing his guitar on a moonlit night, on the balcony opposite mine. Please let me sigh, one more time again. This is such a heart wrenching story of love, unheard of and untold. 

Anyway, so the building took its own sweet time for completion making me further console myself with the proverb “Intezaar ka fal meetha hota hain”. And there came the first occupants, as we saw a truckload of stuff being dragged in. And guess whose was the first lights to be switched on in the otherwise darkness draped homes. Yes, the apartment right adjacent to mine. The balcony right outside my room lit up, as rays of light gleamed through the drawn curtain of the windows. 

Did I rush to the temple to chadhao 5 Rs ka prasad? Did I light a burning lamp on my hand, waiting for someone to come along and not let it extinguish till then? Did I wash my tresses and sat at the balcony with a beautiful comb, water droplets trickling down my softly radiant skin, slowly letting go of the knots while humming a tune most seductively? No yaar. Mad or what! Kuch bhi you people believe.  

Because life is hard and expectations, a bitch. Within two days I realized that the room opposite mine belonged to the Kaam waali bai of that household, who hangs the jhaadhu, poocha and the dusting ka kapdas in the balcony there each day and each blessed evening. If that’s not enough, in the morning I may have to make do with the sight of her not so sparkling white undergarments washed and hung on a wire she’s put across the grill of the balcony area. 

I think my eyes have been permanently damaged, having caught a glimpse of her darkened, overflowing paunch, unable to be covered by her blouse too short and pallu too tiny. Those poor blouse buttons may be ripped off some day due to the pressure and may I not live long enough to witness that mind altering, earth shattering sight. My room window has been shut off now for life, the doors bolted and the curtains drawn. High time we bid good bye to childhood fantasies and not allow them to trickle in, ever. Sigh! 

The moral of the story my dear friends? Do not open the windows of your rooms in the false misbelief that you’re letting fresh air in. It could also slyly allow in, the stink of shattered dreams to cling to your insides. 

05 January, 2018

Big B and Little Me!

So I saw Tiger Zinda Hain last night. And I was crammed again with the filmy keeda that lay dormant hitherto from years maybe. Not that I loved the movie. The movie was just about okayish. Or perhaps I’ve given up on the Khans. But then, I was in a theatre after ages and that was enough to make me lose my marbles. The ‘over the top’ drama sparked off the drama streaks in me and here’s what I dreamt of early this morning. 

I’m some ten years younger (yes, it’s a dream, what did you expect) and a famous blog writer and twitter person. So famous that a handful of us are handpicked by the Big B to visit his house for a day’s stay as his guests and get to know and write about his life, living and family. And somehow I bag this opportunity and somehow my parents allow me to go. (That’s a bigger miracle than meeting Big B because my father like Amrish Puri never said - Ja Suruchi Ja. Jee le apne zindagi. He never allowed me to go even on a ‘chotu sa bagal ke gaon mein’ school trip, and that too from the all girls convent school that I belonged to, not bothering about the scars this would leave on my ymind for a lifetime to come).  

Anyway, one of his agencies selects us and we land there all charged up, knowing not what to expect. After the initial introductions, soon everyone gets busy exploring some nook and corner or some celebrity inhabitant of that huge ass mansion while I’m sitting there randomly observing a painted wall. It’s then that I’m graced with the presence of His Highness himself who asks why am I not buzzing around like the others. And that voice. That close to me. To be heard in person. For all my witty cells, I may have just turned into a Dodo. Only from within though. We hold our turf proudly. 

The ice is broken and we get talking into larger and deeper things. (Now I suck at social gatherings and would rather choose a corner to disappear in, defamed for being conspicuous by my absence, but whenever I’ve managed to have someone ‘one to one’ for a while, they’ve held on to me for dear life. If only we could put that as special skills on the resume.)

So one thing leads to another and we have a heart to heart as Amit (I’ve already begun to “fondly” call him that) bares himself to me and talks about things he’s never revealed before. It’s almost like a circle of trust he finds himself in, with me and he must release himself now or it wouldn’t be ever. I listen like a three year old child, holding on to his hand and looking in his eyes. A tear trickles down mine perhaps. And the noise in the backdrop and constant activity, relegated to just that - the backdrop. We couldn’t have been more alone and surrounded by silence like we did then. In our heads. 

What began as a buoyant banter turns into a whisper of the spoken musings of a heavy heart and I give a long tight hug to cheer him up. He makes me sit down and rests his head on my shoulder with eyes shut even as he mutters - however peaceful this feels, I fear what comes next. 

And I scrunch my forehead thinking he’s wondering about his financial liabilities or performance pressures that he’d have to face in the day. Just then I hear Jaya’s loud exclaim from the backdrop coming alive.  (Now Jaya is not what I’ve begun to fondly call her too, it’s just that I can’t call the husband Amit and go all “Jaya ji” on the wife, can I?)

So all hell breaks lose. Immediately the guards are all alert and I’m dragged away as though I had drugged and assassinated the country’s biggest superstar. Abhishek, Aishwarya and a host of other family members arrive at the scene of crime in their posh garbs and jaw dropped expressions. I felt like how Nathuram Godse would have felt and I almost awaited the shots to pierce my heart, that a few minutes ago was warmed with unexpected mush by a man who made me weak in the knees, like no man had ever before or ever will. 

The family takes him away even as he turns around to catch a last glimpse of me. Wait! He’s not the underage heroine of a film and you guys are not the zaalim zamindaars. Stop behaving like that. I was now doning the angry young man avtaar. He’d rubbed off on me too. I shouted and tried to explain that we were just talking and they should stop creating a scene when someone threw my bags and unpacked stuff at me and asked me to get out. 

The other girls’ things were thrown on the lush grass of the garden too as Jaya muttered “I told him it was a bad idea but mere sunta he kaun hain iss ghar mein” and stomped off, as irony turned around in her grave and died again. 

I rose like a brave injured tiger (yes, Tiger Zinda Hain) and rushed towards the entrance of the house. I knew I now had to be my own Knight in shining armor. Just then someone made a thud on my head with the butt of a rifle. Wait, that was also the thud on the door because Seeya had awoken and was knocking to let her in so she could slink in my blanket. 

I woke up with “kahan hoon mein?” expression and thankfully not screaming “Amit, Amit, mein aa rahe hoon or Amit, Amit, I’m coming” for my knight in sleeping armor next to me in bed would not believe my reasons, even if I explained. 

So yeah. There it is. Another one of my dreams crushed by reality and fate’s cruel hands. But we dream on. And some day, the shiddat would make the entire kaaynaat conspire to make my dreams come true. Amen! 

21 December, 2016

Much Ado About Socks!


So "winters are coming" has now been officially changed to "winters have come" hashtags everywhere. Gorgeous women in their splendid furs and show stopper boots have taken over. They would confuse the fuck out of you with being layered in the most stylish of thick jackets one night and still be shivering and then a backless choli, the next one whereby you can count the goosebumps on their steady skin but they'll flash their pearly teeth instead to count, as if to say "I'm hot enough to take this". And you're like "make up your mind women" and then remember you're a woman too and sigh!

But as for me, the half yearly annoying rituals of exchanging clothes had commenced in bits and parts around Diwali. By exchanging, I mean the winter stuff out of the lofts and high up shelves over the cupboards and the summer wear stuffed and tucked in old bedsheets, generously garnished with naphthalene balls and stored in. (Yes, first world problems). All this done by yours truly, standing on a rickety iron ladder that probably became rickety in the first place due to the pressure of all of my weight. 

So bhabhiji (that's me) takes the "gathrees" out on her head, one by one and passes them to my maid in waiting, whose aghast facial expressions are silently shrieking "bas bhabhiji girna mat" and sometimes loud and vocally too. Like it is my favourite hobby and I do this madness every half year hoping this year I'll win the certificate of "The Greatest Fall Ever". 

Anyway, the freak I am with the OCD of putting things in perfect piles - not one shirt coming even slightly out of the lot than the others, all hangers facing in a particular direction, things separated by their genre and packed in different bags and sometimes even tagged - life looks like Marco Polo's from my end. Scrutinising the unexplored world every time I look around - Travel a bit and there's still so bloody more to go. 

So by the time I clean one cupboard and move to the next one of G's and then the next of Seeya's and then on in a loop the others, there's time for the first one to return to. (Kill me please). And then they ask why don't I write a book! Like my OCDs will ever let me. 

Anyway, so I have this packet of socks that I maintain. Now, finally we reach to the backbone of this longish post. This packet is considered with sacred solemnity as my arsenal against winter. It has skin colour/black socks, stockings, panty hoses and the likes that help me bear the cold. Each year new additions are made and it's all resulted in this becoming a thick, precious bag. 

Now last year in winter 2015, for some obnoxious reason or maybe old age's short term memory loss trickling in, I could not trace this dear bag. The loft cupboards were somewhat ceremoniously searched for I had lost the patience to go through the entire jig again after being done with and it wasn't found.Blasphemy! 

But the elder sister attitude I have with regards to money, I wouldn't buy beyond the absolutely necessary three pairs because I knew about thirty of them were peacefully resting somewhere in my bloody cupboards. How on Earth can I go on wasting money on socks, ON SOCKS FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, when there are malnutritioned children dying of hunger everywhere on the planet!- I reasoned. 

So that winter ended and spring and summer tip toed in and the excruciatingly painful ritual began again of packing the woollens. And voila, in March, I rediscovered the socks packet, much to my joy. I wondered if Columbus felt the same upon his discoveries. I hugged the packet tight to my heaving chest - "Come here to mommy. I knew you were here only. You wouldn't desert me. This time I'll take good care of you and not let you out of sight". I shed a few happy tears and patted the packet gently and kept it safe. Really safe this time. 

Cut to now- winters 2016. THE RITUAL is done. And hold your breath ladies and gentlemen - the bloody packet has not been discovered again. AGAIN! Why lord why! What sins am I paying for? Don't you have any mercy left in your hard heart for my cold feet? The excuses I'll have to throw out again of "Oh I don't feel cold" when my poor soles are shedding invisible tears of sufferings. I've searched again with Holmes like ability and KRK like success. Looks like I'll have to wait till March to see those dearies with my naked eyes again. 

Moral of the story you ask- Beta, hell and heaven yahin dharti pe hain. Live in my head for a while and see. 

P.S. Off the record, I really don't feel cold. Like really. I DON'T NEED SOCKS. I'm a strong woman. 

02 December, 2016

Somebody Notice Me. Now!

Okay, I'm toying with business ideas these days. Here's something I've been pondering over with vivid cinema-like clarity in my head. I warn beforehand of the fictional essence here because then later I break many little hearts apart from my own that is.

I picture I am invited to a very high profile wedding. Somehow. I'm at the Uday Vilas Palace kinda place of Udaipur, with a scene setting like that of the Kabeera song of Ranbir's. Everyone is dressed in kilos of diamonds and yards of lavish embroidery reeking silks. Sunglasses and bags with phoren brands are making me scrunch my eyes. Ah, so much glitter and glam like Karan Johar was filming something here! The shutterbugs are working round the clock as young Greek gods of men and size-zero women, in teeny weeny cholis pout and pose with ethreal grace and then break into dumb "oh-darling" conversations with an accent that would put a London-er to shame.

Anyway, suddenly a wave of gloom spreads in the high profile pandaal as some khus-phus happens among the guests. Apparently the bride is miffed big time with the groom as the rumour spreads and the cute as button, spoilt little thing wants a written apology from her guy before she agrees to come for the cocktail celebrations tonight. For a second everyone expresses disdain at the childish behaviour but knowing their own offsprings and their tendencies, they soon began to discuss the groom's not-so-wondrous abilities to tackle this. Oh, would there be a wedding at all, they wonder.

Suddenly I spot one of my aunts, coming running towards me, almost breathless, though her body parts continue to jiggle even after she stops. "What, tu yahan selfies le rahe hain when I've looked all around the lake for you!" Exaggeration is the middle name of every aunt by the way. "What yaar aunty! Now a woman can't even tap the possibility of 101 potential future dps at a place like this!"

Anyway, she tells me to hurry up as I was needed more at a place where it was a matter of life and death. I feared an exaggeration again but I oblige. She really seemed hell bent.

The next moment I find myself standing in the grand executive suite, before the very handsome groom. I grow weak in the knees and there bloom dreams in my head of how he saw me and fell in love and decided he would either marry me or no one else (Yes, we only recently saw Inception and hence I know you'd let the dream in the dream sequence pass without raising the ridiculous toast. Thank you)

Turns out my aunt told him how I write amazing Facebook statuses (those are called BLOGS Aunt, please, I whisper) and I was just the right one to help him write that apology note. Sigh! The second dream bubble bursts. I agree without really knowing what I was agreeing to and we spend the next one hour brain storming over how he met his wife-to-be, happy moments that they've shared, their little secrets and a whole lot more. He relives it all as I make notes. Not a bad guy really, just a bit diplomatically challenged.

I then ask him to give me an hour with my notes and voila! We have a little speech ready. Also a brilliant idea by me. We get him to the announcement chamber and I ask him to read the speech out loud for everyone including her, to hear over the loud speakers put all over the hotel that are generally used only to play music. I train him for the pauses and tone, for the emotion in his voice and when exactly to choke as though he's too overwhelmed.

He makes the speech. 30 minutes of pin drop silence in the entire hotel for nobody wanted to move an inch or they'd miss the speech. I stand beside him with bated breath as he finishes. If I had poured every iota of awww-inducing mush in there, he'd delivered a stellar performance.

Another ten minutes pass as we wait in silence, knowing not what to do next, when the door is flung open and we have the dear bride and her menagerie of family and friends standing there. And the poor woman is drenched in tears as she runs to hug the flabbergasted groom. Everyone is beaming as though they just saw Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Ghum live.

The groom's mommy walks upto me "Betaji, tusse to mere munde da vyah bacha lita aaj". And before she could finish, she takes out a big fat solitaire ring from her finger and puts it in mine. "Nahi aunty ji, iske kya zaroorat hain".

"Puttar ji, aaj aap ne yeh jo likha hain woh iss nalayak ke bass ka na tha, usse hamare izzat bach gaye. Isko na mat karna ji. Yeh ehsaan ke keemat nahi, hamara pyar hain". I look at my aunt and she nods and I keep it. The groom's mom gives me a tight hug as though she was drowning, I got her to the shore and gave her the mouth-to-mouth. And the marriage takes place and everyone lives happily ever after.

Oye, don't click off the page yet. Picture abhi baaki hain. Apparently, among the guests was one Arpita Khan, a close friend of the grooms. For all I know, I get a call next week that tells me, they're sending return tickets for me to Mumbai and a signing amount of Rs. 50,000 as advance for me to come over and write the wedding speeches of the bride and groom for an upcoming wedding. The call was from Salman Khan. My reputation had spread like wildfire. A video made of the groom's speech had got 1 million likes on youtube. Everyone wanted to know who is Suruchi Arora

And this is how kids, I start my freelance business of "Speeches By Heart" whereby I travel the world, meet the poshest of people, do what I know best - write eloquent speeches and return with oodles of money to splurge. Well, agar aap log mein se kisse ke pass aisa koi kaam ho to batana. I can start even without the solitaire. Haye, koi mere dreams pe miracles waale blessings sprinkle kyon nahi karta. Sigh!

P.S. I wrote this sometime last year. Sharing it now :) 

23 November, 2016

Bollywood Blabbering!

So Bollywood's got me blabbering again. 

Last week with my aching limbs I went to see Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and returned with an aching heart. Aching limbs, not because of early budhaapa but because chickenguniya has struck maliciously and is eating up the last traces of jawani in me. Chickenguniya, you bitch. And aching heart because Karan Johar, really how could you kill my expectations like that? For fifteen minutes of Ranbir-Aishwarya you made me bear two hours of Anoushka Sharma. And then you don't even get them to kiss. Shya. I want my money back. And not in old notes, please. 

And even though I had preempted Anoushka getting to my nerves with the poorly overacted "Mother to India hote hain, tere Milkha nikle" dialogue in the promos but bhai saab, she's pure annoyance in the totality of the frame. And that story which just went on and on and on and you doze off and still on and on and on and you get your children married and help deliver their babies and return to your seat with hair colour and still on and on and on. Oh my good Lord! I had defended Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna till my voice went hoarse. But this one, sorry Mr Johar. You probably need to get laid. And quick. People, stop wasting my beloved Ranbir. 

The elation I had felt on dear 'dhinka-chika' Asin getting married and that means no more having to watch her in promos and songs, has been fizzled with the likes of Shradha Kapoor, Yami Gautam and now Anoushka Sharma. Like really, women, can we not have that wide open gaping facial expression on seeing the hero, with hands trying to cover the mouth stunt? Few things in the world are as unnerving as that, except of course this snapchat flower tiara filter that's doing the rounds. Like hello boys, no. Please don't wear it in your pictures. Any dint of masculinity that maybe latently present in you, gets dug a thousand feet deep and remains buried there forever. 

Ah well! Dangal looks exciting. When I watch Aamir making these poor little girls gear up for pehelwani, the inner instructor/educator/world-changer in me comes alive as I am tempted to do the same with Seeya. Chal beta, je le apne zindagi. But there's one slight hitch. That gadda type wrestling tool which these girls round about their heads...I fear Seeya might take it round her head and then hit it on mine and run away. So yeah. No listening to bursts of inspiration there. I just might as well take her to watch it and hope her antar-aatma gets a jolt itself somehow. And then she mentions me with gratitude in her speech post winning a few Olympic medals. Sigh! 

Dear Zindagi ~ Finally a Shahrukh Khan movie that I plan to watch in the theatre after like a vrat of many, many years. The last I saw Shahrukh on big screen was when he was doing "haule haule se hawa rukte hain yaar" and mere saansein wahin ruk gaye the. I felt I needed either therapy or CPR immediately. Well, since it was a late night show, G had to do the honours with the latter. And that must have been one angry session at the unbelievable stupidity we had witnessed in the garbs of a film. I had sworn off, in, up, down, on Shahrukh since then. Not that he made efforts to redeem my faith. We just silently ignored each other. 

Anyway, the promo on television now is of Force 2. Don't worry people, I'm not even thinking of going to watch it. We need to gather all our acting skills to tell people like John Abraham and Arjun Rampal, how super sexy models they are, so they somehow retire from making the efforts to act. Force I mention here because finally Sonakshi seems to have lost weight. And I am in private dialogue with the Almighty- "Ab toh Sonakshi bhi patle ho Gaye bereham, khush toh Tum bahut hoge aaj? Tumhare ghar mein der he nahi, andher bhi hain. Hmphf." And I devour another bowl of Knor soupy noodles in my anguish and despair. 

Oh and I absolutely love the promos of Befikre though. Wish the heroine didn't do that red thing in her hair and invested that money on padded bras instead. I almost each time, end up comparing Ranvir and her chest outbursts while they're together in a frame on screen and damn, Ranvir wins hands down. Really like someone do give the poor 'gareeb ek-haddi bachche' some food before and after he puts his mouth in hers. He seems to be sucking it all in, along with her flickering energy. So I have a premonition already ~ it's going to be one silly too much shoo-sha and no show kinda flick. Sigh! 

Meanwhile some other filmmakers continue to make movies like some Wajah Tum Ho. Like really? Like why? You think we morons are standing in long queues to get our precious 2000 notes to squander on you? This presumptuous, eh? Wow.

And Modi ji, do you know when we go to these movies, we dish out a cool 400 bucks on just popcorn and a coke. Ji. We need a cleanliness drive there too.  "Popcorn Ki Black Market" - I can already read the next big headlines breaking the internet. No? Okay. 

Anyway, Happy Bollywood-ing! 

19 September, 2016

My Shoe Shopping Saga.

So I go to a Bata store and get the sales guy over there to show me Scholl's cushioned slippers (for apparently I've developed a space in my heel bones and the doctor's advised me for these. Talk about wanting space and God's funny sense of humour. You know those soft pudding like soled chappals your mums wear, in which you feel the feet sink in them to never return)

Anyhow, he's showing me patterns and I'm checking myself out in the mirror, bursting within, with some vain pride for I believe (and I'm often told) that I have the prettiest feet. Just about any footwear looks good on them. I know, still no excuse for the scores of pairs I have. So many that the poor shoe drawer is now already mercilessly stuffed and I have to hoard the new ones in big bags and keep them away from the husband's glare, so much that even I often forget I have them.

Anyway, (if only I digressed less I could make so much more sense) so this almost-young and lanky sales guy is polite and friendly and excited and shows me one pair after another. And then suddenly the unthinkable happens.

He begins to talk in Punjabi.

(Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not a racist. Trust me. I love Punjabi songs. Okay, that didn't come out right. Goddamn it, I'm a Punjabi myself ~ you know the love for chicken-shicken, dj-sheejay ka music, over dressing and always suggesting someone single spotted to get get the drift)

But then I've grown up tagging along with mommy to stores and noticed that shopkeepers only talk to you in punjabi when they think you belong to the older age bracket that would understand it and be more comfortable in it (read that as beguiled by some stupid false sense of religious sentiment)

Now I knew wearing a loose kurta with palazzos was not a good idea to move out of the house in, but then I was going for Chappal shopping, for crying out loud. Chappals. To Bata. Please don't make me wear my short skirts now for such errands by giving me the old age complex. I'm coming in jeans next time, hmphf.

Almost wanted to scream "Ay, Tu jaanta nahi mein Kaun hoon. People call me gorgeous, lovely, stunner on Facebook". But then I kept quiet remembering they call every non-gorgeous, non-lovely and non-stunner the same. I have even stopped saying "Nice dp" to a couple of 'pretty in-twenties somethings' because they replied "thank you aunty". AUNTY!!! Aunty hoge tere ma!

When you're past your third decade on the planet, suddenly omg-my-skin and staying young becomes bloody important. It's like signs of ageing are viewing you as the next potential customer to make home in. Shoo. Since a couple of months, I've been splashing, drowning, flooding my face with creams that I have stayed away from all my life. Not even a moisturiser or sunscreen (Not that pimples allowed me).

And till last year, facials happened only twice annually, right before a supposed holiday (yes, not just our soul but even our skin gets hyper excited at the prospective of a holiday and now you know why. Skin: Finally she notices I exist). So now in the aftermath of good sense prevailing, I have taken to this dheet policy of every day making my skin eat dollops of cream (kha beta kha) like I make Seeya have milk daily.

The idea is - Peete raho, it's good for you. Dheere dheere (read that as kabhi Toh) aadat padh jaayege. And there goes a spoonful of lauki in Seeya's mouth and a palmful of a face cream that's straight out of a magazine, thoopoed on my bewildered face. VoilĂ , sweet sixteen, here we come.

Yes, stupidity can catch you even this late in life!

07 April, 2016

Age is not just a Number.

Last week I was traveling after a long while and by train. The railway station intrigues me. The bringing together of myriad basic life forms, minus the loud same-ish-ness of flaunting, commonly seen at the airports. The platform is an unassuming space that seems to be blending in with all the elements so well that if you tried perhaps to get inside the train and close your eyes to think of all that you'd been through till you boarded, it would be a blank. 

Generally it is a blank for me too. Except an image that transpired right before my eyes as I walked down the underground tunnel (common to U.P. stations) behind G, who was behind the porter, carrying our luggage to the parking lot. Unknown faces passed by, a part of the ever growing census. Individuals carrying not just their luggage but the excess baggage of aspirations and disappointments. 

And right before me trotted an elderly couple. The husband balancing himself on shaky legs, struggling perhaps under the burden of worn off bent limbs,  arthritis or vericose veins and the likes; and his wife following him, short of breath and with the support of a stick. Both would be in their seventies at least, if not more. And the man in addition to dragging his body onto the incline of the plateau, was also clearly troubled by the constant holler he had to make to the 'coolie' to go slower. 

I walked along side as the elderly lady in old Multani language, reminded her husband that the porter was carrying all their luggage and he must hurry up. The man said he was trying to but told her to go slow or her knees would buckle up. And after a minute or two of awwing and witnessing this, I finally decided to speed up my steps, asking Seeya to tug along faster and ran up to the porter - a young man in obvious hurry, so he could be grabbed on by the next prospective customer. 

Life usually gives us chances to do a good deed for the day, as we're passing by. But it gives us only a split second of time to decide whether we're up to it or not. I usually let such chances pass by. Because maybe I'm driving and I go ahead when I should stop that minute. Or when I'm walking down the stairs and cross by the room already and not bother to stop. I've lived to regret those stupid decision makings. When I would have given just five minutes perhaps of my life and made a difference, again to my life more than anyone else's. For I'd only leave them with a momentary smile. 

Anyway, I ran up to this young man who was probably singing "saare duniya ka bojh hum uthate hain" in his head. I asked him to stop and go slow thinking of the age of the couple who were so evidently hassled by the effort of keeping up with him. The young man smiled almost apologetically and I smiled back. I exhaled. Thank the Lord. Goodness is not yet dead. I had half expected a rude retort of "minding my own business" from him. He stopped. They caught up. G turned around and stopped for me too. And I waved to him to keep moving and I'll be there in a jiffy. I received smiles from the couple as they plodded on and the relief on their faces was such a reward. And in that one minute I had felt a bit of that rare delight in my heart, not realised even after materialistic possessions. 

Though also I shuddered within at that momentary thought of coping up with old age. The fears, the helplessness, the dependency, the burden of carrying happier, carefree and better memories, the need for feeling useful and wanted. It's a scary thought. Scarier than the first signs of wrinkles appearing on my face and my first lot of white hair. Despite all our efforts and hopes of ensuring a comfortable old age, are we really sure what's in store for us?

When I walk at an unmatched speed during my evening sojourns, I often wonder when in time I would join the ranks of those marked by slow sauntering. How the wheels of life move and the cycle takes over! My parents have recently started coming for evening walks to the HBTI too. Age has made their steps slower and gait unsure. A sight that leaves me with a pang in the heart if I witness it for too long. It's the world's most terrible feeling - watching your parents grow old. Mum asked me to walk with her and after dabbling with it for a few minutes, I told her she was way too slow and whisked past. 

Though in the same instance, on those rare occasions, when Seeya comes with me for a walk, I move like a tortoise, matching steps with her. We keep bending backwards for our children as our parents take a backseat. So very sadly. But then that's how it's meant to be. There will be a future when Seeya would rather match steps with her children than her much older parents. The cycle should prepare us for that, though it seldom does. 

Let's hope old age for all of us is peaceful despite all unpredictability, despite our dogged confidence at having prepared ourselves for it. Keep our parents strong and children wise and us, loved. That's all that really matters, doesn't it?

26 February, 2016

I Want Back My February.

Last year February was drastically different from what February looks like this year. I was almost without work, with fewer children coming to take classes due to the ongoing exams. I had a maid (God bless her, though not too much coz she left me in beech majdhar six months back) who would time and again play with Seeya, taking her away for an hour or so, a couple of times during the day. I had just then (after five years of rigorous running around Seeya like a puppy behind its owner) begun to indulge in movies, surf the net, tweet like a celebrity, read books and do whatever pleased my heart, though in intermittent portions. (Yes, we like to play the victim card, you'll shortly see) If you had listened closely, you would almost hear me sing "Freedom" though mostly in the shower and with an unsightly jig.

Damn, I was even beginning to think of joining some kitty parties, where posh women assemble in clothes they never repeat and gossip and barely eat (thank god that urge passed). For me an outing means overdosing on chicken and a kick in the butt to lauki and tindas and gobhis, but more of that some other day.

Being so optimistically charged, I even took a package of twelve facials at a parlour. Hell yeah! We were all set on the path of rocking it. But as is human nature, the keeda within never lets you rest in peace till actually they add RIP beside your name.

So being complacent that my life is finally on track despite a child and I have "so much" free time at hand (how we humour ourselves), I ventured out to take up work coming my way, that would enhance my productivity and take for a jog of whatever was left of my rusting cells. I could never be or see myself as the sit-at-home-shout-at-the-servants-watch-serials kinds. (Yes, we're stereotyping, Sue us?)

G of course would give me his outstanding doses of advice -
• Why don't you do more work in the kitchen?
• Why don't you drop the car for servicing?
•Why don't you go to BSNL and lodge your internet complaint yourself?
• Why don't you sit in the mandir or join a satsang?
• Why don't you take a broom and clean that makdi ka jaala in the bathroom?
Yes, I stopped seeking advice from him thereafter. (Sit in the mandir, like really! Does this guy even know me after fifteen years of tolerating me?) But then he would laugh at his own ridiculousness and I'd feel alright, he does know me thoda Bahut.

So I did a stint in an institute taking up batches for personality development for children. From there I moved on and took to the idea of being a visiting faculty for a popular school. All was fine. I had work again. The feel of teaching in a classroom and listening to your voice making sense to a handful of eager listeners. Well, we all have our own stupid ways of tasting heaven.

I now had no time to indulge in mindless internet banter or clicking stupid selfies. Just then the realisation dawned. I'm growing fat. Like terribly out of proportion. Like I would enter a room and my butt would still take a while to pass the threshold and thus joining the gym became of paramount importance. But oh no! My morning hours post dropping Seeya to school were now devoted to teaching. And the idea of leaving her and going anywhere is still light years away from my reality unless it's a life threatening emergency.

I lessened another hour from my six hours of sleep, dropped Seeya to a camp in the evenings and in the meantime gymed my guts out (not that my guts or any other inch of the body felt threatened in the teeniest of bit). The rest of the time I had my long nose buried in the books, Seeya's or my own.

So now I was slowly coming in the overworked category. And the feeling of "I have no time for myself" was taking roots. Man, I tell you. How we keep yo-yo-ing from one side of the fence to the other. Even the songs in the bathroom changed to "I will survive, I know I'll stay alive".

And just then the mother of all fuck ups happened. The dear maid left. Not like to the heavenly abode. Just packed her bags and left. Without a trace. So I couldn't even cling to her clothes and bodily stop her, with my tears wetting her clothes to submission.

Yes, imagine a drowning, non swimmer of a man coming to the surface gasping for breath. That was pretty much my situation after a few months of coping with the crisis. You tell me to do jhaado-poocha, I will. Saaf karo the bartan, I will, with a smile. Wash clothes even and I wouldn't budge from my resolve. But to babysit and play round the clock with her and it's like someone put a straw in me and sucked my energies in slow sips with gluttonous pleasures. Don't get me wrong. I love her. She's the light of my life. But every light must give some break with a night also, na? *sniff, sob* I've spoilt her so much with the idea of being entertained that it's difficult to pacify the keedas in her now suffering from even the slightest pangs of monotony.

'Mamma, let's do racing?' Whoa, does she even realise how much weight I'd have to carry of my own to go from this side to the other? 'Mamma, come on. You're getting fat'. 'What nonsense Seeya, I'm just tired' Abhi toh mein jawaan hoon.

And then the icing on the cake was the cook going away for five days but taking a month and a half to return. Bhai Saab, I became the ma of multitasking. Half the day would pass in me waiting to exhale and the other half in me sighing! (To think I would have breathed the fat out of me but no. My fat just sticks to me better than any human could ever. Aww!)

The last six months have seen me working round the clock. Managing some 100 plus students in back to back classes at school, an odd 20 others for classes at home, gyming, teaching Seeya with her Prep syllabus so she qualifies for Class 1 in a good school and in between managing to write for whatever portals that gave me some peace of mind. I don't need to mention my own chores like self bathing, attending to the calls of nature, etc, do I? Okay, okay. You get the drift.

But please let me mention the duties of Seeya from bathing and dressing her up to dropping to school and various classes and bearing her non stop chatter and growing intolerance for not getting my undivided attention at all hundred percent of times. Matlab mamma toh insaan he Nahi hote. (I want my mommy)

And then after all this when you feel you have some super powers in you perhaps that the world should stand, applaud and take notice, someone comes around and asks "Tum kaam karte he Kya ho saara din?" Or rubs in that "huh, all women do that". Sigh! Gee, aren't we glad we're engrained to be a non violent nation!

And why am I telling you all this crap? Because G does not listen to my whine anymore.
G*hesitatingly*- Baby, agar manage Nahi ho raha toh chodd do na school?
Me*aghast*- What! Nobody asks the man of the house to quit his work and stay at home with the child in crisis, why should the woman always have to leave work? Inquilab zindabaad *some feminist, male chauvinist bullshit blah blah. Auraton pe Zulm Abhi Nahi chalega, Nahi chalega!*
G- Baby, ab mein thode der akhbaar padh loon? Mujhe yehi Ek ghanta milta Hain shanti ka.
Me- What! Aur Mujhe toh Woh Bhi Nahi milta *some more blah blah blah blah, sob, sob, blah blah*
G- Okay baby, ab mein nahane jaata hoon, Kal chai ke time pe Phir discuss karte Hain.

Next day-
*copy pastes the above conversation*

Songs crooned now in the bathroom - Yeh duniya, yeh Mehfil, mere kaam ke Nahi!
Man, I need a holiday. Desperately. 

06 January, 2016

Feeling Resolution-ary!

So it's that resolution-ary time of the year. I never make resolutions. Damn it. It's difficult for me to decide and stick to things that threaten to alter my comfort zones - sticking to people is what I do best. Though years came and went by and I have been rather constant and unmoving in my pseudo-resolution love to the same aim each time that never reaches its summation.

Cut to 2013:
(watching awe struck, a friend on the treadmill alongside mine, having shed gallons of weight, okay slight exaggeration)
Me: Wow, you've lost so much? Just by gyming?
He: Naah, you have to shut your mouth too. It's stupid to pay so much money and still continue eating, no?
(awkward silence - I run...brisk walk....trot....whatever, 10 minutes extra on the treadmill and stop with Seeya on the way back to eat two plates of golguppas to drown my dipping spirits in them and wondering how people resist good food. Would it help my case to add that I skip dinner to make up for that and console my grief-less soul. Only that I eat half of a chocolate before going to bed to fight the hunger pang eventually. Someone please tell me ~ How do people orgasm over fruits and salads, unless by ways other than those known to me? I see fruits and they only remind me of how much progress technology has made and the soul stirring, cheese dipping, fried, sumptuous options available and how I should not waste my taste buds on the former. If only one could see me taking a whiff of food, he'd think I attained Nirvana)

(Another year of unsuccessful weight loss programmes and fondness for food reaching Shahrukh and Kajol kinda chemistry levels - we just can't let go of each other, whether we look good together or not. Like they say - some love stories never end. My mom and masi end up with more grey hair, for my masi checks out my holiday pictures on Facebook and asks all jaw droppingly, to my mataji how much weight Ruchi has lost. And my mom with her sharpened humour skills replies, "Woh gaye Bhi Moti the and wapas Bhi Moti aaye Hain, pata Nahi photos mein kaise patli lagte hain". You know, bedard zamaana and all that jazz.

Things I tell myself ~
•I'll skip dinner and have a small Maggi packet. It's just a quarter plate worth of food instead of a full plate portion. Hain na? Hain na?
•It's only one fat round innocent looking, glistening with shudh ghee waala piece of pinni vs the entire lunch of salads, veggies, curd, pulses, etc. How on Mother Earth can such a substitution go wrong?
•But but it's only half of a full burger! Besides burgers these days are anyway palm sized. What's bloody wrong with this McDonald's ka conscience?
•My bones are heavy.
•I'm PMSing. It's pre PMSing bloating/post PMSing bloating.
•My favourite comeback - I'm pleasantly plump. Look at my smile. Aww, that's enough.
•I have some rare disease that packs weight on me.
•It's in my genes. Oh yes. I've had a family of fat/obese people. The Kapoors are never thin. Look at Raj Kapoor's family in Bollywood. See. See.

Then brother goes on to lose all extra weight and mom becomes slim shady with yoga and things I tell myself change to ~
•Fuck my life.

(Friend sends an image of two donkeys eating non-stop, a plateful of cakes and texting alongside 'we must stop eating'. She also writes -"my past and your present").
Uff. I hold a heavy hand to my heavy chest of my heavy body (metaphorically and otherwise, obviously) pretending to struggle with the onset of a heart attack (when there isn't even a bloody heart ache), shed an invisible tear that falls on the roasted almond Silk chocolate and eat the whole of it in the unbearable sansaari dukh despite the tear mixed salty taste. And then I go around looking in every nook and corner for any traces of Mr Self Respect or his sterner sister Madam Ego but find none whatsoever. Whoosh! Gayab like gadhe ke sar se seengh. They were probably buried in the tyres of my lower abdomen ages ago and can never dare surface now.

Things I tell myself obviously undergo a drastic change to suit the changing environment around me ~
• It's okay, I have brains. Loads of it. A thinking woman is better than a shrinking woman. Waah, Kya socha Hain!
•Voluptuous is sexy.
•Dogs like bones.
•I want people to love me for who I am, not my body *hides a sob*
•People still love me more than all those thin pins *beginning to howl in misery by now*
•Some day someone with a magic wand would come and in a stroke I would be sexy. I would save him from being crushed under a truck or something and in return he would just blink his eyes and my body would be exchanged with Deepika Padukone's. Yes, I believe in miracles. Amen.

Two months down the line of gyming again and 1.2kgs weight lost only. I had thought I would start dieting from 1st January. But then I didn't go out for New Year's Eve so gave myself the margin of binging over the weekend and start from Monday. On Monday, mom in law invited sister in law and family for lunch and I thought  - wtf, it's grave offence/sin to say "no" to good food. Besides, it's eaten during the day as compared to the night and how wrong can that go. Next day, I'm 1.2kgs heavier on the scales than what I began with two months ago.

Tuesday, I'm mentally shaken. I've lost faith in humanity and weight loss methods (Not that I've really tried any). And I decide I need time to recover. It's too soon and I should just give it a day or two to start again so that my body does not revolt.

It's Wednesday and I'm thinking what's the point of starting now with the weekend coming and the possibility of eating good food at some good place again. Sigh! I guess you guys just have to bear my fat arsed posts and the fat arsed me. Pray for me, only one big fat one left.

13 December, 2015

Yeh Kya Tamasha Laga Rakha Hain!

You know it's absolutely the nicest feeling when people come up to you or message asking if you've seen a particular movie and whether you liked it enough to write about it on Facebook as an essay-ish status. That is what's been happening in the past ten days as friends on my Fb list have been expressing curiosity to me in person, about what I have to say  of 'Tamasha'. How shamelessly celebrity-ish of me to declare it, hain na? *gloats*

Unlike earlier days or the period B.S. (that's Before Seeya for those who have arrived late to the party), we do not watch just about any movie in the theatre  nowadays. And definitely not immediately. The 'once in few months' disease has taken over. The reviews obviously sway the decision of whether or not we should make the effort for it. Tamasha we went for because Seeya wanted to watch it, having loved the songs especially "Tum saath ho" (a proud moment for me as mommy having discovered she might finally have some "proper" taste in music *looks up at heaven in a silent gratitude prayer*)

Honestly I was quite curious to experience Tamasha myself. Not in the longest time do I remember people giving such extreme reviews about the same movie. They were either loving it to the core or completely disgusted by how boring it is. Whatever happened to good old "one time watch hain" type ke reviews bhaisaab? (Like anyone would watch any movie the second time anyway. Oh, you would? No issues. Please, by all means do).

And you know what's the funny part about having watched and been done with Tamasha? I still don't know if I really liked it. So, let's dissect it. Like I say, I always get more coherent in my thinking once I put it in words. Though sometimes more lost too. Sigh!

When it comes to love stories, I may write about unconditional and deep focussed love but somewhere I believe only in the pragmatic side to the matters of the heart. So while I put my money on love, the other approaches to it like one sided love or perishing in the memory of a love lost or loving irrevocably someone you've never spoken to or yearning in the thorns of irreplaceable love are all more fairytale-ish domains if you ask me (yes, despite my hopelessly romantic standards). The concept of ethereal love sounds beautiful but you doubt if it's possible or feasible. You may say otherwise, feel otherwise yet truth is ~ nobody is irreplaceable.

Due to this perhaps I had trouble digesting Rockstar although I had easily gulped it down and let it flow bewitchingly through my veins when the movie was released. But can you really let your whole life just pass by or go down the drain because one woman left you or one man did, whom you met and spent a week with? Aren't we a little too spoilt for choices in today's times? Or maybe it's just the case of 'only he can tell where the sole itches, who wears it'.

Tamasha went down well with many for the very reason that they could relate to the loneliness of being in a world that isn't theirs. Look around, all spaces teeming with the twenty somethings who look fitter, meaner, more confident and at the same time terribly broken. Look deeper and you find a haunting aloneness even in crowds, manifesting itself in aloofness in case of some and coldness in case of others. And often it takes just tender loving care of one person to lift the veil of hopelessness that grips these lives. Hundreds of people you maybe in talks with but not one whom you can talk to. Hence the plausible hypothesis that the absence of that one person can really crush the earlier dwindled self-faith of someone.

I wish the film had opened better though. That staged dramatic scene was a bad start. And then too much of childhood foundation, when you really have the sparkling brilliance of Ranbir to emote just about anything in the most stirring of ways. Is it just me or does Ranbir appear sad to you too, even in the happier of frames? Like also in the commercials for that matter. The kind of unhappiness that makes you want to hug and cuddle him (Even spooning if he agrees to it). He needs to do a very happy film asap. That loneliness is becoming his trademark. And boringly so.

And probably the viewers went to the theatres expecting Matargashti of 'Dilliwali Girlfriend' kinds (I forget the name of that movie, sorry). You know, when you hope to see Salman and they show you Irfan instead. Now Irfan is not really a bad bargain and I'd rather prefer him any day (as far as onscreen viewing choices are concerned) but then you get the drift. We become those overbearing adults half way through this movie, feeling the whole lack of acceptance of the hero, as being rather sissy. "Bah! Nonsense! You can't earn a living through drama and story telling. Saare duniya Phir yahi karte phire. Why grow up from childhood! Sabko adjust and compromise Karna padta Hain! And some more blah blah adult shit."

Actually yes. And movies like always, sell us dreams that show we don't HAVE TO adjust and compromise. What they don't tell you is that it happens with one in thousands. And not everyone can be that One. We feel a tug of restlessness somewhere because we didn't get that choice to break through those barricades and we hate it. We hate us. We hate anyone who is able to. We hate such movies that show life beyond convention for they confuse the fuck out of our beliefs that we don't want to accept.

I want to travel the world, live by the sea, write the days off, soak in cut-off-from-the-world-love and just be. But can I give up my responsibilities as a mother, as a wife, as a daughter-in-law of the house to just be? I have to be happy with the glimpses of what and how I get these. And so does everyone. "Please adjust" mentality. Tamasha revels in celebration of those who manage to break through without breaking down.

Whether you're a corporate slave, a thriving businessman, a doting mother, the bread earner, a house maker, a college goer, each one of us is suppressing some urges somehow. So we feel a tinge of ache somewhere as the Tamasha unfolds. We know how difficult it is to be ourselves in the surroundings that aren't us. Yet most of us are lucky to survive it without major meltdowns. Lucky to find love. Lucky to still be.

Tamasha manages to strike that cord but somehow some harmony is missing. Or perhaps I was too inclined to not have Seeya bored through it and ask us to take her home, to really find that substance which I felt was lacking in the over all impact that leaves something in our heart for a longish time.

The trouble is everyone in today's times realises he is different but can't do a thing about it except blend in. It needs way more strength and grit to break through conventional modes than normal human prowess provides individuals with. Let's be happy someone finds his happy place. Let's try to bring it in ours in whatever little suitable ways. For the Tamasha was there before us and would go on whether we're there or not. Like they say, the show must go on. And as for whether I liked the movie Tamasha or not...hmm, we didn't really get there, did we?

08 November, 2015

Diwali Ki Safai.

"Diwali ke safai" they say. Mandatory and expected each year. Cleaning away every nook and corner of our living space so that it sparkles to everyone's attention. But within? Nobody has the time or inclination to tear apart the skin and bones to see if we need some cleansing inside too. Holler ~ Oh hello, in there? Everything okay?

Maybe we need to blow away some dust of anger that's subtly settling in. Mop gently some disappointments which are eating us away from the insides. Wash and rinse away some mistakes we made or just scrub off some particles of jealousy, greed or plain monotony that have begun to cling to our fabric.

A good annual clean up, I'd say. But then aren't we too busy in trying to conceal the flaws of our exteriors with ornamentation instead of putting them to light? Thode dhoop dila do, unhe bhi, unn garam kapdo ke jaise, toh shayad phir se pehen ne layak ho jaaye. Make up, fake concerns, happy lives, plastic smiles, beguiling words and voila! We're done with making the surfaces seem unrippled at least. Who would have the time or desire anyway, to observe with a keen eye, the storms brewing within? We're so busy in keeping intact our own crumbling lives!

Last New Year's Eve, we had bought some expectations. As the year moved on, we felt we bought them dear. By half year gone, we realised we were cheated. And come Diwali, the glaring darkness within stands in stark contrast to everything bright outside. And the realisation that the expectations would go whoosh again like opening up with your tired fingers, the end of a balloon you inflated, to let go.

Happens. No sweat. The trouble however would be, when in another couple of months from now, you do not bet your all to buy those expectations again. No, don't let them fool you. Those wise heads who say ~ expectations are the root cause of all misery. For if you don't harbour expectations, how do you know you have to go where. This time however, let the cleaning process not pile up. Let it be Diwali each day. Or each week maybe. Keep brushing off whatever you feel tends to settle and pile up.

That pending sorry, that burden of heavy ego, that intolerance for what's not in accordance with your will, that broken heart, those silent cries of getting what someone else has, that urge to keep up appearances for those "char log" or just plain glaring voids of something missing that you can't put your finger on. Let go. So that the coming year breezes past, leaving you with a sense of not having robbed you off and leaving an indelible impact nevertheless.

Just this morning we sat at the breakfast table, me and G at 9am. That's how his days have been. Working all Sundays mostly throughout the year. He's a very hard worker, this husband of mine, with work being his focus like Arjuna just looking at the fish's eye. He took a bite and asked if I missed him on Sundays. I served him some more and said I do. He wondered aloud if I meant it with a "really?" I assured him again with an "I do". Though through this past year, perhaps somewhere getting used to of him being at work seven days a week morning 10 to evening 10. He added ~ and whichever Sunday we might be together we often had a tiff. I suggested we were still better off than many couples we know, who'd rather tear each other apart when together. He nodded. Apologised for keeping me at home through Diwali while the world indulged in merrymaking. I smiled and said it's okay. I'm proud of him. And just like that a bit of another tiff was avoided. When I would have expressed my disappointments with him not being there. And he his dismay at doing it all for us and yet we weren't happy.

So it takes kinda less and gives kinda more. This little effort. This little let go. It's 10 pm on a Sunday, a few days before Diwali. We haven't really gone out to party in some two months now. Except a couple of invitations in between that my husband can't do anything about but attend. Regrets, no. A sigh, maybe yes. But much easier at heart now than in years erstwhile. Maturity perhaps. Realisations probably.

I am tucking Seeya in bed after having taken her around by myself, yet another day. I await his return and feel sad already thinking of his tired frame and the streak of self annoyance troubling his harrowed face, for not being there. But it's a good life. Not today but some day soon. And the belief still strong, his niceness wouldn't go unrewarded no matter how much every one around him squeezes it to their own benefit.

Oh hell! I think too much missing is happening and I'm beginning to make less sense. What to do, when writing is the only way, you get to be at peace within you. You guys have a happy Diwali and go hug your loved ones. They do way too much for you that you don't always see and rarely do they try to show. May our lives truly light up. 

31 October, 2015

Open Letter to Twinkle Ji.

Dear Mrs Kumar or Ms Khanna or Ms Bhatia (er never mind, I'm sure you have a take ready on how women should not change their surnames post marriage, keeping in mind their individuality and stuff. How regressive!)

So just, 

Dear Twinky,
I was 'amused' to read your take on Karvachauth, for the lack of any better word to summarise my feelings after having read your lines and also whatever lay in between them. It is amazing how independent and rational thinking we can prove ourselves to be, with the mere power of our pen. And how pretty darned chuffed dear Akshay must be, with the knowledge of you having a good action plan chalked out in case the poor man gets tapko-fied by a freak accident, performing one of his dare devil stunts! Little does the hunk know, he has a dare Devi at home, much better attuned to facing the terrible atrocities that fate may have in store for her as a wife. No, don't get me wrong. It's wise to preempt tragedy that may befall, to the minutest detail. You must increase that life insurance claim too baby, just to be more foolproof. Don't trust these silly fast stories. We need more concrete proof than what history or Google can oblige us with. 

Quoting madam's subtle lambasting of the silly tradition for lengthening the poor man's life "the unfortunate circumstance of your spouse’s demise merely frees you up to place ads in the matrimonial column, go on online dating sites and feverishly attend bar nights, the zeal for such taxing endeavours seems a bit extreme . . ." Aww. Mommy must be so proud! How very wonderfully far sighted are we, Twinky! Almost tempting the gods up there to give the good woman her much sighed for freedom. 

Go on, exercise your choices, woman. Eat during the fast and let god's wrath fall upon that puny soul of your husband. Better than having to eat your words later. Tell you what, keep a box of chocolates (better still, diet chocolates) in your closet the previous day. And before adorning the paraphernalia in the evening for the Karvachauth thaali puja, gulp down a handful just to prove the bloody historians and religious goons wrong. Go on baby, why suffer when you can feast, though privately of course. Shh, not a soul should know and we'll zip our mouths and keep within your secrets like you gulp down your saliva in self pity or the wallow of not being able to shampoo that one day. I mean just imagine all those pretty, traditional dressing up photos without gorgeous, flowing tresses! Tch!  

I could understand a woman from the ordinary class cribbing about having to go hungry and thirsty all day after (like me perhaps) having to get up early morning, wake up the whining child that hates her for doing so, pack his tiffin, send him to school, rush off to work herself, return and pick the child back from school, spend hours on getting chores done for him and go about putting the house in order till it's time to slog with his homework then drop the child to activity camps and go to gym and blah blah (Yes, yes I have a tough life. Don't go all "Tch!" Not to mention, also click selfies in between and upload fat arsed Facebook statuses like this one)

But then madam it's cute to hear your dukh bhari daastaan about getting up at 'bat and owl hours' of 5 am; for isn't that the "unearthly hour" around which most "infamous Bollywood parties" end? Aww. (Stop turning me into an aww machine, will ya?) 

And your concern for the poor pet tortoise showing how you care for the animals, took my heart away. Now will somebody give you the philanthropic or humanity award already please? Pretty please! (P.S. Mrs Tortoise is very jealous of your overtly flowing affections. She's decided to keep a fast too from next year)

But then again, perhaps I am not the best person to judge here, not having gone through the rigmarole of a day spent in extreme hunger and thirst. We as wives in our family through generations, do not exercise Karvachauth in its rigid traditional avtaar. We begin fasting from 5 in the evening after the thaali puja till 8.30pm, when the moon whimsically though generously appears. So we get to dress up, observe the customs for about four hours, not wake up in the wee hours of dawn, eat our guts out in lunch and dinner, get money and all that jazz in gifts and yet be branded as wonderful wives that husbands adore through their long lives. Piece of cake, isn't it? (So stop this open letter already, you bitch - you might be saying)

The idea here is, each one to his own self. Either do things with respect or be self respecting enough to not do what you don't believe in, only to condemn and strip it apart eventually. Nobody is stopping you from sipping your "scotch on rocks" baby but then having a sip of water from the hand of your husband with glowing smiles on your faces, possesses a fairy tale-ish charm of it's own. Let us live the Karan-Johar-on-screen-lives no, for a few hours? Wish we all also had the luxury and money to do it generally, throughout the day, every day. Sigh!

Besides in most educated households, I find mothers-in-law insisting on the bahus to have cold coffee and fruits at least in the evening. Belonging to a small town and yet to come across a saas that would say "Observe the Karvachauth warna hamare naak kat jaayege" 

We do something because we chose to do it. Not because we want to please someone. For honestly, there are countless things we still do, without caring if it pleases the same others or not. I fail to understand how criticising old customs makes us more liberated. I haven't been to a temple in months. I don't believe in deities residing only in a particular compound. I can close my eyes and connect. Yet I see no need why I should dissuade someone who does it everyday with utmost faith and hope. Why take away a bit of pleasure that he derives from his make belief? And having said that, I'd be the first to jump with immeasurable delight if you were to take me to Vaishnodevi anytime. Double standards you'd say? Naah, just bending around the ideas to imbibe what I chose to as mine, move along the paths that give me comfort, pleasure and the satisfaction of doing something worth while. 

I absolutely love the idea of Karvachauth. That one day when we don't eat for a few hours and use it to emotionally blackmail the dear husbands. That one day we show we want to do something special to please the special man in our life, akin to buying new lingerie for some or preparing a sumptuous meal for another or maybe buying the latest iphone for him for someone like you. Just one of the many inexpensive yet effective ways in which we would like to show we care. Not because we "have to" but because we want to. 

This one day I get my husband to come early and we get to spend a few precious minutes on the terrace by ourselves in the moonlight. The idea that he gets a chocolate each year only today, to lovingly put in my mouth while I bend down to touch his feet(only today again), with the dangling mangalsutra in my neck that sees daylight just on this one day through the year! If we go around looking for a point in everything, then we'd soon be a nation without festivals, culture or heritage. What's the point of celebrating Diwali or Holi? Why burn the poor Ravana? Why save historical monuments? What's the point of getting married at all? 

While looking for points, maybe we're crossing too many lines? Anyway, all I know is that there's some magic in that embrace under the moonlight after you've looked at his face through the "channi". It kind of eases some of  the creases that may be appearing in your monotonous day to day lives as a couple. There's a glow on a woman's face that she derives from the strength of having done something tough. There's pride on a man's face when he watches the wife all dressed up for him whether or not she keeps that blessed fast. For it's his day. Like Mother's Day, Children's Day, Valentine's Day maybe. Let the poor man enjoy it, for the rest of the days, he anyways doesn't have a say. 

Wishing a long life to all husbands and wives and strength to the Population Control Board. 

Yours lovingly, 
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