10 May, 2009
It’s strange that I always wanted to write about my mum here but in the monotonous sing-song of our lives and being gobbled up by our self chosen impetuous priorities, we sometimes need reminders to jolt us to return to the feelings that make our very essence. So this Mother’s Day and through this kind of declaration I pay a tribute to my mum, without whom I think I would lose the very will to carry on in life.
This is the most honest reflection of my inner most heart. For years rolling down from my childhood well into adulthood, I have lived in this belief that if god forbid, something ever happened to her...I think I would commit suicide or die naturally of grief...As years move on now and we get to see less of each other, due to my own overpowering work schedules, I sometimes feel perhaps it is God’s own way of lessening my attachments and thereby the subsequent pain that might follow in worst case scenarios...!
Oho...but let’s start with the good...!
The best...my mum!
The word that always brings a smile on my face!
She is not much older than I am...say just 19 years before I adorned the earth, she did!
Yup, she was married early and babied even earlier...!
She says I was in a hurry to come out to her and like in everything else she tells me, I believe her.
I often tease her that the hurry seems to be in ‘other’ things and how desperate could my parents get to forget about words like control and caution.
And of course I also needle her about her name...That naana ji and naani ji must have completely run out of names even on their first born among three more that subsequently followed, to name her Pinky... I mean Pinky!!!!!!!!!!!!
Whoever would torture his own child to call her that...?
And then she would smile her warm, pinkish smile that spreads from ear to ear and completely disarms the person in front and you would know she could not possibly have another name! Though she has that too- Amita Khosla... and there that brings us to another round of goblin laughter in which she almost always joins us.
Right now I am going through an influx of myriad emotions and experiences that I want to share about her, tumbling randomly and I am feeling the urgency to put them to words before they get lost in translations.
My mother has been a wonder woman. She manages to keep the house rational and running, cooked mouth melting dishes, raised undoubtedly good children, remained a weakness and temptation for her husband, stupendously well handled a toughly pleased mother-in-law and also managed to remain the social queen bee. Whew! Where does she get the boundless energies to be this one woman show? I snoop around for some magical portions that may induce so...but I have stumbled upon everything from sane to inane, except any of these...! That reminds me of how once when my parents went out and I busted their closet to satisfy my curious bones when I caught hold of video cassette of porn...
Almost aghast partly that my parents could do so and devilishly smug also that chalo at least they are not completely divine...naturally human too...and whoa, ‘wild’ humans!
My mother has lived for just one reason...our happiness.
She is intelligent, witty, and resourceful and all the rest of the things that spell success of a modern day career woman...But never for once has she regretted not having a vocation to boost her morale... ‘We’- my brother and I, are her rewards and her husband is her everyday occupational perk. How can one be so complacent in life I wonder when I look at her? There were endless nights when as tiny tots and even teenagers, we came into her room at 3 or 4 am in the stark darkness and said, “mummy neend nahi aa rahe” or “ma bhook lag rahe hain” or “mom pet mein dard ho raha hain” or simply “ momma bura sapna dekha, dar lag raha hain” and she would open her arms wide and give a nice bear hug and shift to the remotest corner of the bed to fit us in and do all of this smilingly as though we have done an obligation on her by doing so! She’s that amazing!
Arrey and the only word that truly describes her is “mast”.
In fact many a times I tell her ‘mom, you are an item really’.
When with people, her gregariousness knows no confines. Hers would be the loudest laughter, the naughtiest or rather dirtiest jokes (which she sends to me too as messages on the mobile) and no matter where she is, the crowd seem to be gathering around her and the party begins then. She shamelessly loves to hog the limelight and firmly believes the only place to be in, is in the centre of attraction and action...now I know for sure my genes come from her! As rarely happens, when she is not made to feel the queen in a gathering as she rightly deserves to be, we know to expect... ‘Oh, the party was alright...nothing much!’ (Ah, I am so bloody hell like her...that it is spooky!)
While I was growing up, she has been the perfect friend...though snooping around often and laying sometimes strict deadlines and limitations, I like most teenagers do, managed to break them keeping her in oblivion. When years later now I poke her by saying... “Ma, aapke aankhon mein bahut dhool jhooke, aur aapko pata bhi na chala” ...she gives me that bizarre frown, which I can never really comprehend if it means ‘how could u do this to me’ or ‘I knew it sweetie, but I let you live in your own world of beliefs’.
I remember when our school bus would be late, in whatever weather, she would come out at the house gate and keep peeping down at the street’s end where the bus would drop us...sometimes for a good bloody hour, just standing and churning there in her insides. No matter at what ungodly time and notice we would call our friends, she would cook and smile and gossip with all of them. Even now, if I call her up and tell mom I am coming abhi...she would drop everything she is doing no matter how crucial or promised to anyone, to be with me. She just masters the art of being there, whenever, however, whatever! I tell her if I can be half as good a mother to my children as she has been then alone would there be a point in motherhood!
Waise this narration does not imply that my father, brother and beloved do not do wonders...but then today is Mother’s Day and even without it, she deserves exclusivity. Besides if I add about them here too as my blessings...I tend to get superstitious yaar...nazar lag jaate hain na...!
So I’d keep the illustration of their perfection for some other time.
Once after some years of being married to my beloved, in a moment of great romance, when you ask questions out of the other to gauge your significance in his eyes, he had asked me... ‘Rate the top five people in your life’. And in a Raja Harish Chandra-mode, with all my brutal honesty I had put my mother on the number one slot followed by his name. And as soon as I had said that in a jiffy, without diplomacy or pretence, I knew it had been the biggest of truths. Mums are irreplaceable!
My mum has been my anchor...my guiding light as well as my daily dose of sunshine!
I would laugh with the world deceiving them of my moods but I just have to say “hello” on the phone and she has to ask ‘what is wrong, your voice is screaming of tension’.
She has to find something good in whatever I do and however I may be looking...and even if she begins to get into that checking or gyan mode...I just have to tell her ‘ma, chill, I know what I am doing’ and she trusts me on that...just like that!
She has the smoothest of cheeks that I can’t get enough of to kiss...and the strongest of hugs despite her not so big frame for which I have to tell her... ‘Mamma, saans nahi le pa rahe...lemme go’!
Within a blinking second of a tear even beginning to surface in my eyes, even now, her eyes would have already turned watery...and our family would call us drama queens! In fact sometimes I tell her so only ‘mom, thode zyaada over acting ho gaye...relax!’
You have to see her dance on the floor with a Helen like pout and nice moves when she shakes it and I jestingly remind her to mind that ‘bhudhappa’ and she has to retort back, “buddhi hoge tere ma!”
Oh I can go on and on, but then I am quite ready to burst here with emotions. I have never really thanked her enough or God for her...but then for me she is my living God. I believe in Goddess Durga Ma only because She is a form of the word that means “ma”.
With both these moms by my side my soul rests in peace and may this blessing be by my side always. Amen!
03 May, 2009
Mmmm...What a great predicament for a girl to be in!
However if a girl were given admittance to such an arrangement, wouldn’t it defy the very purpose and definition of such a night out?
So the best that we females can do to satisfy our curious antennas on such a time, is by jumping upon inferences made after an ‘I-am-sure-it’s-edited’ recital of the happening event by our beloveds or attune our own sensory perceptions of the “man”kind to come up with a James Bond-ish take on what may have transpired there!
However before indulging upon the humour of it, let us first classify the men into categories prior to the assassination and post mortem...for God in all his magnanimity as well as in his mischievous designs did not make all men similar.
Thank you God for the small mercies...we would have been happier had ‘they’ been bigger...but then you being a man when we asked for ‘big’ you conspired to give these men ‘big egos’...so now we rest in peace with our list of wishes!
A group of teenage boys together:
Flashing their mobiles, muscles and machines...showing text messages of the girls they got hooked to their charms...talking about who is the latest exchange students programme entrant in the school...How short was Sakshi’s skirt or how Ayaana was caught smoking in the girl’s locker room...Discussing their first experiences with porn or first inhibitions and hiccups about going all the way...Talking about the new booze or the occasional tasting of drugs...or then just simply making one of the boys a victim to pull his leg and eventually flaunting how many gals they have slept with....Little men are simple and structural.
Teenage boys are not so complicated in design...it is when they move up the hierarchy that they learn the games!
Of course there would also be a geeky group that would simply study and discuss the gravitational forces and law of opposites attracting, without any even coincidental reference or relation to the physicality of it all.
A band of twenty-something’s:
These are the fresh escapists out of schools and colleges...struggling to make a bang in the career world and a conquest in the love lane...What would they discuss on a typical night out?
How many gals they got hooked to their charms (...some things don’t really change with time, evolution or understanding)...how hot is the boss’s wife...Who is the b@#$%& who snatched away your girl from right under your nose and how you have to now teach him a lesson...How parents and their expectations from you completely suck...How manly-man you really are and yet the parlour that handles manicure to facials to waxing for men! A step by step manual of how to ‘patao’ girls, as intricately as how to ditch a gal you are done with....How to date a married woman...and how to make sure you don’t run into unwanted risks after you’ve been there and done that!
Do I hear the boys scream of this being not fair- “We don’t always and only talk about women!”
Oh yeah...you don’t? And I am the queen of England....yaar jab aap itne lambi lambi phenkoge then I have to retaliate too with an equally pompous assumption!
To keep up with the modern change of preferences, quite possible if some of these meets are testing waters to seek like-minded gay guys, who may be ready to mingle! Possible hain yaar....
And then of course is the geeky group...which has by now taken up the status of being the “intelligentsia”, the ‘driven’ gang...They would be discussing budgets, banking, recession, cut throat competition, ambition and where they see themselves five years from hence...never mind if their adrenalin is pumped in just one direction...their boring bakwaas continues to haunt each other.
The freshly married lot on a bachelor’s night out:
Oho...these are the excited lots...They’ve just been given the adult lollipop to suck and they are bursting with enthusiasm to spill the beans about it...Like how well did they suck and what tricks get you to enjoy it to the peaks of satisfaction...Some discuss the experience of the newly achieved husband-hood....others lament it and form a ‘patni-pedhet’ society...yup even this soon.
Suddenly many of these young men who were erstwhile knowledge seekers turn into experienced prophets and eager to distribute their ‘gyan’ to enlighten the world...And at the drop of the hat they would turn into disciples again to learn how to make your wife try out kinky stuff that she scowls at so far...
Some would pull legs about other macho men turning into hen pecked husbands, never mind if they themselves shudder when the mobile rings and they read “jaanu” is calling to find out what time they would reach home...
Some would empathise with those of their species who are still actual bachelors and others would lure them to have that ‘shaadi ka ladoo’ sadistically thinking that if I suffer why shouldn’t thou?
Whereas the so called intelligentsia clan continue with their business banter even now...Will someone please tell these nerds that it is important to leave the office where it belongs to...in the office! Yawn, yawn...still on, on!
The night out of those who have traversed the seven years’ itch and lived to tell:
Hmm...this lot still discusses women...but not as objects of desire...but as objects that gulp down greedily all your freedoms to subject you to eternal slavery...The emotional blackmail and how to counter it...when u should give in and when you should stand up for your rights? How the beauty at the time of marriage has strangely turned into a beast! Wives seem good, as long as they are not your own!
They have just one work...to go down the memory lane to remember the days that have gone... ‘Jab hum bhi kabhi sher the’ types!
They sit before LCD screens in boring clubs watching matches, drinking scotch, all curious when they hear of a place where they can find a ‘session’ of peace...
They talk of their children and ya sometimes even their children’s friends’ mothers!
They discuss how drastic the teenage gals have gone in their dressing sense and manage to ogle when they feel they are not being noticed...
Whichever husband would not be there...his wife would invariably enter the Chinese whispers game that they still play...as they used to when they were little kids...But of course the gossip doing the rounds now are how temptingly low was Mrs. Xyz’s blouse and do u think Mrs. Abc is happy with her husband? And when that’s done...let them have a round of cheap jokes on which they can laugh their bellies off...!
They turn into worse than gossipy women when they get away from their wives even for a short while!
Some expend their energies on useless and too-late-cultivated hobbies like playing poker, pool, billiards, some sport or simply getting together to exchange the new porn clips via the blue tooth on the mobile for those moments of solitude in the loo...
Anything to escape the banter at home....!
Grow up guys...at least bear in mind the indications of what those strands of white hair...on your own dim heads are pointing to- behave like grown-ups at least now! By the way, the intelligentsia now gets mingled into the common crowd...for all differences begin to fade.
The oldies gang of boys...oops men...oops...uncles:
Whenever I see a band of oldies together at a club, restaurant or bar...I think...never mind what I think...
Means even till now these guys are on the look out...on the hunt?
Don’t you people ever give up?
The paunches are bigger than water balloons filled to the hilt...
The bold and the beautiful have turned to the bald and the dutiful...
The spectacles on the eyes and the swagger in the unbalanced walk...nothing daunts their indomitable spirit to do the ‘guy’s thing’...
It is amazing...
What would they talk? Honestly...I have no clue!
I mean at that age...can they talk really...?
This group I have nothing much to comment on purely out of lack of interest and a simple perception...men would remain men...even after years of grooming and development...they’d be, talk, get excited about the very issues as they did before...!
So next time women, when you feel the need to stop your man from that all-craved night out just with the guys...yaar let them be!
Let them vent out their hopes, aspirations, dreams and disappointments to their buddies...people sailing in the same boat...
Let them perk up and return so that they think they have done something worthwhile and ready to oblige you for allowing them to do so...
Tch, tch...and they say ‘it’s a man’s world’ and we surely agree;)
I often give my students the essay to write ‘Childhood is the best period of a person’s life’, transcending each time into reminisces of my own. As memories juggle and tumble, I realize I don’t bear in mind much of my infant years and the moments that do stand earmarked are those from my teen times. What a beautiful age to be in! And kind of unfair that God ji gave us just seven years of it ranging from 13 to 19...maybe so that one never really reaches the seven years’ itch with it...and teenage remains the utopia we all just fondly hark back to forever!
Though at that time, being gawky, unsure and trapped in that sort of midway path, I am sure I wanted to be an adult, just as quickly as when I watched the shooting star whiz past, leaving us kids hopeful of materialization of the wishes we made upon it. But looking back after it is gone, as happens in every other case of our lives, it becomes a different story!
Teenage most definitely is the best spell time of a person’s life, the time frame that he really misses and cherishes. With the gen next being upwardly modern, stylised and more comfortable in their skin, it is great fun to watch the youngsters. Whether you travel by the metro subway, visit a coffee bar, go to a pick up joint...they are there everywhere...indulging and living it up...a silent reminder that you are not a part of this ball game and no matter how young at heart you may feel, you are not really ‘that’ young anymore to join their brigade or behave like them.
However, please don’t take away my fun that I derive from watching them. There are these girls, getting prettier and cheekier with the passing generations, dressed in hipsters and tops that barely reach the midriff...uhem...And when they sit on backless benches or bend to pick up the fallen pen...whoa...it is party time for the boys behind them...literally and otherwise. You find them mostly in size zero or pleasantly plump...there’s no other way to be, with wooden bangles covering half their hand or evil eye bracelets...loads of studded pins in their hair or letting them loose in a nice wanton wildness. They might sport an occasional tattoo and some adorn the eyes with loads of mascara. The traditional ones would be dressed in a short Fab India kutra and Patiala salwaar, have mojaris, some light silver jewellery, a big dial watch and an ethnic folder generally in the hand, as their butterfly clip randomly buns up the hair just above the nape....!
Whereas the guys...hmm...very easy to spot a ‘with-it’ teenage boy...jeans so below the hip that you live in a perpetual fear of now it would definitely fall leading to a bear all...excessively gelled and spiked hair, the latest and the most handful of mobile phones being flaunted...of course constantly texting on it too...The devilish Casanova smile and smooth manners, some buttons undone of the shirt....and reeking of a cartload of attitude!
I watch as my students indulge in teasing each other and even the silent gestures made with the eyes. I notice how blatantly this contingent holds hands or rests the head on their beloved’s shoulders in movie halls and their proximity might just cause you to turn your head, but not them to avoid your glare. I smile when I perceive how they just roam around in their bikes and cars on the same road all evening going up and down the path...maybe in a sort of display of themselves or to be the only early bird to catch the first worm that comes along. I try to make sense of the games they play of posing as hard-to-get, when secretly wishing for the proposal to come along on the knees. I hear the giggles and mindless laughter and how they do not hesitate even for a second before declaring that they are in a committed relationship. I get carried away in their narration of their dreams and anticipation and anxieties of the mysterious future yet to come. I smell the freshness and allure. I taste the freedom and splurge on emotions! And all my senses get attuned to what completely fascinates me.
Aw...take me back to these years yaar...trade all my accumulated and self-professed wisdom and years of wealth and health of course too...but give me back those years when we just cared a damn...!
I remember how the most favourite line of a group of my friends used to be, whenever we were stuck up with a prick... “Sit on the middle finger and spin for all I care” which had almost become our anthem. Indulging in crank calls, attending bashes where the hotties of town collected (including dandias too...eeeeeeeeww...to think of it now), talking for hours on the phone, the greatest discoveries were not truths of life...but the snooping and stumbling upon who is sleeping with whom! How we loved to gossip... character assassination of those where we didn’t dare to reach while within simmering along also, was a silent adulation for them in the hearts! How lying to mom came so naturally (...some things have to be sacred for a teenager), how dreams of careers and the expectancy of the “tall, dark and handsome knight with the shining armour” ruled most of our nights! I miss those years so terribly that I am conscious of a stinging pain somewhere at the loss of it right now!
But then time has to move on and it has moved.
Somewhere in my heart I am still standing at that milestone I crossed almost a decade ago. Somewhere in my heart I know I love too much and equally what I have with me now to really think of giving it up and rotating backwards the hands of time.
But then wistfully let me sojourn back to those years every now and then, when I sit at my window, bogged down by the shovelful of responsibilities ushered upon me...and smile even in my solitude!
Those really were the days!