Sunday, July 31, 2011

I wonder.....

This Sunday morning I saw a middle-aged couple in their balcony. The man was sitting reading the paper while his wife coloured his hair. Their retriever was watching the whole process too. Would this man do the same for his wife? I wonder....

I observed the pigeons that live in the nooks of apartment blocks all around us. They sure are lovey-dovey couples! But it’s the doves that symbolise love and peace not the gawky pigeon. I wonder why....

I just don’t like Sundays....but I look forward to Mondays. I’m not in a regular job, so I wonder why week days or weekends should make any difference....

My maid loves Hindi soaps. She goes all googly eyes and flapping ears if one is playing on the TV. But I don’t like them one bit, yet I switch on a particular soap....Now why do I do that, I wonder.....

Tell me to fill a form, any form and I get an anxiety attack. I’ve filled N number of forms; just filled two recently, but the stress stays. I wonder why...

I’m terrified of lizards. I don’t recall any frightening incident concerning them, or any such thing, but I even get nightmares with lizards in them at times....makes me wonder why.....

I love to sing in the kitchen, while I’m engrossed with cooking....one hears of bathroom singers I wonder why no one mentions kitchen singers....

I rarely feel lonely when I’m alone, most of my loneliest moments have been those when I had people around me. Wonder why....

I was with a group of teachers (women) recently and they were all talking at the same time. All of a sudden one looked at 'quiet' me and said apologetically, “We’re teachers you know we can’t stay quiet for long and neither can we sit still for long. It’s the bane of the job.”
I replied I’ve taught for over twenty-two years, I’ve never suffered the “bane of the job,” I wonder why......”

I go out for meals alone, I shop alone, I travel alone, I live alone but I can’t watch a movie alone in a cinema hall....I keep wondering why...

When people ask me what I do the whole day at home....I start to wonder....!

I’ve been walking religiously for half an hour in the morning and half an hour in the evening, and I’m beginning to wonder if the lard’s gonna melt away.....(don’t even suggest that I walk longer. My condition limits me to this time at present !)

There are moments when words seem inadequate so I employ tears....I’m moved to tears with joy, I’m moved to tears by anger, I’m moved to tears by beautiful music or poetry, I cry when someone I know cries, my eyes get wet reading sad stories, tears flow when I laugh. Why do my tears have to speak when I’m pretty articulate? I wonder....

During the day I rarely miss company, but come evening, especially my evening tea...and I would love to have good company. I do wonder about these evening blues....

I needed some passport snaps, which meant I’d have to go to the photographer, which also meant I’d have to call for a cab, which meant I’d have to pay more for the cab than for ten copies of my PP pictures. On the advice of someone, I went to a small photo shop called Light Of Life (LOL) in the market near my place. I paid the advance and returned home quite thrilled that I had saved money. When I went to pick up the pictures, the shop wasn’t there. They had shut down overnight and vamoosed! Well, LOL...wonder why I'm laughing out loud....

I used to have an elephant’s memory before...now I just have the body...and there’s nothing to wonder about that... I’m actually smiling you know!! I’ve finally found something I don’t have to wonder about today and I can wrap up this piece and look forward to a great week.

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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Nanaji and the Dirty Fellas

We have very specific names for our relatives, which make it clear how one is related to another and from which side of the family they belong to. For instance, paternal grandparents are Daada (male) and Daadi (female). So the moment a child refers to someone as Daada or Daadi, everyone knows it’s a son’s child. And when the terms Nana or Nani are used, you know it’s a daughter’s child. There is no confusion about any relationship unlike the common terms uncle and aunt or grandma, grandpa, brother-in-law, sister-in-law etc. To come back to my father becoming a nana or nanaji, as the kids called him (the 'ji' is suffixed as a sign of respect) and a few memories of the kids’ interactions with a man, who had been a strict disciplinarian as a father, and had grown more reserved and serious with the years. Everyone was still in awe of this man, who although mellowed with age, yet held a commanding demeanour and a sarcastic sense of humour. My sons learnt to talk rather early so their interaction with nanaji began early too. By this time Daddy had already transitioned to the grandparent level, courtesy my elder sister’s son.



Daddy used all his sarcastic humour on the kids, who just loved it. They were quick to retort and he would have his laugh. They often got into little kiddie fights with him, and when we’d hear “Dirty fella, I’m not talking to you,” we knew we would witness a wonderful, funny incident soon.



One day Daddy had a bit of a falling out with my sister’s son Chiku aged three and a half.

“Go away, I’m not talking to you, dirty fella,” says nanaji to the scowling boy. Both walk off to their rooms; the grey haired one hiding a broad grin and the younger one certainly miffed.


A few minutes later a chubby face peeks into nanaji’s room, he is ignored. The second and third attempt to reconcile is also ignored. The fourth time he comes with a bunch of grapes as a peace offering. Nanaji refuses to accept it, closes his eyes and appears to have fallen asleep.

Chiku stands and stares at him for a while. Then he decides it’s too much. He plucks two grapes off the bunch and before nanaji can say “dirty f...” the grapes are stuffed into his nostrils and Chiku scampers out like a grinning monkey.

Thankfully the grapes weren’t far in and were snorted out easily! And nanaji was in splits. We saw them sitting together and eating the rest of the grapes soon after.


Daddy would sit in the back verandah or in the back lawn and write when the weather was cooler. On one such day, nanaji had an encounter with another three and half year old named Tintin; Elder son of yours truly. Nanaji was immersed in his study and writing while Tintin played with his toys. Nanaji had an old, in fact very old, Bible which he loved and in which he had written many notes, on pages specially inserted into the binding. It had a thick, hard leather cover which had faded and cracked over the years. It was open and lying face down on a table beside him. Tintin sauntered over and looked at it. Apparently he didn't like the look of it. He screwed up his little arrogant nose and asked what book it was. Nanaji answered him without stopping his work. A few moments later he needed to refer to something in the Book and well, it wasn’t on the table. He looked around and what do you think he saw?

“You dirty fella, what are you doing?” he said and jumped out of the chair to rescue his precious Bible from a washing.

Tintin had decided that nanaji shouldn’t have a dirty Bible and had dunked it into a tub full of water, that was kept for the two small tortoises naniji had bought for him. He was just getting to the washing part when it was retrieved by nanaji.

“What are you doing, you dirty fella? Why did you put it in the water?”

“It was dirty so I was washing it,” replied the “dirty fella” blissfully unaware of the damage he could have caused. Nanaji found the explanation quite plausible, and though he was worried about the Bible, he couldn’t stop laughing. Once again thankfully, except for some pages getting smudged with ink and a loss of notes, the Bible was dried out. Well the cover looked more thumped than it did before!


Nanaji got a lesson in etiquette and right practice from yet another of his dirty fellas, when he came on a holiday to Rajasthan. This time it was Viny, not quite three yet. The days passed off fast and nanaji and the boys had a rollicking time. Then it was time to leave. Our littlest one was over eager to help; push and tug bags to the waiting taxi. Everyone was mightily impressed by the offer of help, as all the bags were too big and too heavy anyway for him to even budge a centimetre, yet he was lending the proverbial helping hand. He hung around nanaji, who once again saw through all the show, and was wanting to get his last laugh before leaving.

It was time to leave and nanaji got into the taxi. He didn’t close the door, but kept making small talk with his “dirty fellas.” We tried to hurry him but he kept stalling. Finally, what he was waiting for happened. Afraid that it would be too late, Viny took the initiative to inform his nanaji about Rajasthani customs.

“Nanaji,” he said seriously, “jab koi jaata hai na, woh kuch de kar jaata hai.” (Nanaji, when someone leaves he gives something and goes.”

Nanaji was thrilled, he had got his laughs. He dug into his pockets and handed both the boys some money. It was customary in those days for elder relatives to give the kids some money before they left. Needless to describe the glee with which the cash was handed over to mother dear, as Viny rattled off all that he would buy with it, including a car. I didn’t spoil his joy by telling him that he would fall a bit short of cash for a car.


Just for the record, he was thinking of buying a real life size car...LOL



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Sunday, July 3, 2011

General Knowledge....forgotten!!

My previous post, The Messenger, would be unbelievable to some, so here are some more believable and interesting pieces of GK, which I know I knew but didn't know now....can you make any sense of that?!

Note:The blogger is not responsible for any discrepencies or falsehoods...the blogger didn't have anything to write so has posted a forward (forwarded several times over) which she received!



In the 1400's a law was set forth in England that a man was allowed to beat his wife with a stick no thicker than his thumb.
Hence we have 'the rule of thumb'

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Many years ago in Scotland , a new game was invented.
It was ruled 'Gentlemen Only...Ladies Forbidden'.. .
and thus, the word GOLF entered into the English language.

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The first couple to be shown in bed together on prime time TV was Fred and Wilma Flintstone. (Really? I find that hard to believe)

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Coca-Cola was originally green.(Yuck)

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It is impossible to lick your elbow.

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The cost of raising a medium-size dog
to the age of eleven:
£ 10,120.00 (Dunno about this, my Heidi died at seven...)

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The first novel ever
written on a typewriter, Tom Sawyer.

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Each king in a deck of playing cards represents
a great king from history:

Spades - King David

Hearts - Charlemagne

Clubs -Alexander, the Great

Diamonds - Julius Caesar

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111,111,111 x
111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987, 654,321

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If a commemorative statue, of a person on a horse, has the horse with both front legs in the air, the person died in battle.
If the horse has one front leg in the air, the person died because of wounds received in battle.
If the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died
of natural causes

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Q.. If you were to spell out numbers, how far would you have to go until you would find the letter 'A'?

A. One thousand

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Q. What do bulletproof vests, fire escapes, windshield wipers and laser printers have in common?

A. All were invented by women. (yay, yay, yay...)

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Q. What is the only food that doesn't spoil?

A. Honey

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In Shakespeare's time, mattresses were secured on bed frames by ropes.
When you pulled on the ropes, the mattress tightened,
making the bed firmer to sleep on.
Hence the phrase...'Goodnight , sleep tight'

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It was the accepted practice in Babylon 4,000 years ago, that for a month after the wedding, the bride's father would supply his son-in-law with all the mead he could drink. Mead is a honey beer and because their calendar was lunar based, this period was called the honey month, which we know today as the honeymoon. ( Betcha didn't know that)

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In English pubs, ale is ordered by pints and quarts....
So in old England , when customers got unruly, the bartender would yell at them 'Mind your pints and quarts, and settle down. It's where we get the phrase 'mind your P's and Q's'

------------

Many years ago in England , pub frequenters had a whistle baked into the rim, or handle, of their ceramic cups. When they needed a refill, they used the whistle to get some service. 'Wet your whistle'
is the phrase inspired by this practice.


------------

At least 75% of people who read this will try to
lick their elbow!



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YOU KNOW YOU ARE LIVING IN 2011 when...


1. You accidentally enter your PIN on the microwave.


2. You haven't played solitaire with real cards in years.


3. You have a list of 15 phone numbers, to reach your family
of three.

4. You e-mail the person who works at the desk next to you.

5. Your reason for not staying in touch with friends and family is that they don't have e-mail addresses.

6. You pull up in your own driveway and use your mobile phone to see if anyone is home to help you carry in the groceries...

7. Every commercial on television has a web site at the bottom
of the screen

8. Leaving the house without your mobile phone, which you didn't even have the first 20 or 30 (or 60) years of your life, is now a cause for panic and you turn around to go and get it

10. You get up in the morning and go on line before getting
your coffee

11. You start tilting your head sideways to smile. : )

12 You're reading this and nodding and laughing.

13. Even worse, you know exactly to whom you are going to forward this message.

14. You are too busy to notice there was no 9 on this list.

15. You actually scrolled back up to check that there wasn't
a 9 on this list

~~~~~~~~~~~AND FINALLY~~~~~ ~~~~~~~


NOW U R LAUGHING. The post wasn't that bad after all.....


And stop trying to lick your elbow!


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Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Messenger

This is an old article and I'm posting it after an interesting conversation with a friend about intuition, telepathy, sixth sense, spirits, superstitions etc reminded me of this experience.


It was the month of September 1991, and the clock chimed eleven times to tell me it was an hour to mid-night and I better hurry. The house was shrouded in the blessed silence that comes with slumber. I was the only one awake. I usually did my baking at night as I struggled to juggle my time between home chores and a career.


In order to understand what occurred next, I must explain how the kitchen was built. A long corridor led from the dining room, past the children's room, staircase and ended in a little cul-de-sac, which had ample storing facilities. I used it to keep all the crockery. From this little store a door opened into the beautiful, large kitchen where I was working, softly humming to myself. Then I experienced the strangest of sensations! I stopped humming, stopped what I was doing and stood stock still.


My back, down the entire backbone, was tingling and slight shivers ran down my spine. I sensed someone staring at me from the store area, which was behind me. My heart was pounding wildly while my ears strained for some sound. I couldn't stand the tension any longer and turned around. Nothing! No one! I was puzzled. I brushed it off without dwelling on it too long. I had a cake to bake and I had to be up early the next day. Picking up the tune I had left off, I happily popped the cake into the oven.


Then it happened again! Once again tingling, shivers, turn around – no one! I was beginning to get a bit uneasy now. I switched to singing hymns for good measure, and a bit loud too, as I mustered all the courage I had, to make my way through the store, down the corridor and into our bedroom, where I felt safer. I thought of waking my husband, but decided against it, knowing he wouldn't believe me and I'd be the new drawing-room joke. Instead, I sat it out till the cake was done. Now I had to go back. I switched on all the extra lights and finding myself in a better shape to face my 'demons,' ventured into the kitchen, making sure I zipped through the store. Nothing happened. I took out the cake, left it to cool and went to bed.


As expected, husband dear pooh-poohed the whole thing as the result of an over-imaginative mind, fuelled by the horror movies I watched.

"You had better not talk about it. And especially not in front of the kids, you'll only scare them," he laughed.

"You've got to believe me Nanan. I'm not a loony. This was real," I said emphatically. But who was listening.



My husband was often out on tours, so I was quite used to living alone with the kids and was never scared or nervous about it. However, after a month or so when the incident occurred again, I wasn't very comfortable any more. This time it was a bit different, I sensed the presence of a person or thing or whatever it may be called. I could see nothing, but I could tell where the person was and also that it was a male. I still can't explain this but I felt it as strongly and surely as if I could see him. I also sensed that he was on the advanced side of 'middle-age'. Once again, my husband laughed it off. As the 'being' didn't visit in the next few days, the topic was closed.



A month later, it happened again and it became a frequent occurrence. Almost every day….afternoons, evenings….and always it stood in the same place. The most unimaginable thing was that all fear had dissipated. I sensed that I was in no danger. Once my comfort level had been restored, I began to feel that ' It' was trying to tell me something. When it started or how I do not know, but I was communicating without words or any visible signs with my invisible visitor. I became aware of a deep sympathy flowing from it. As if it was feeling sorry I wondered why. "Why, why, why,"…my mind cried out. The answer I got knocked the air out of my lungs. "I'm going to die? When? How?"… I was in total shock.



I can still recall how I felt. I went about my chores in a trance. In the evening, as I passed the children's room, something snapped. I stood and watched them as they waged a pillow fight and I was swept with grief and pain. That day I communicated a lot with God. I begged Him not to take me away just yet, as my children needed me. I reminded Him that they were His gifts to me. I knew that my husband would never be capable of looking after them by himself. He would pack them off to his relatives. Where would they study and how would they adjust to life in a remote village in Rajasthan? I also knew that my husband would be married off before a year had even passed. The thought of my children's plight wrenched my heart and I cried. All that I prayed for at the end was, "If it is possible, for the sake of my children, spare me. Otherwise help me to accept your will, Lord." I was exhausted and I slept very deeply that night.



After carrying this burden within and no one to share it with, this prayer released me of all anguish and I felt, strangely, very relaxed. It was the first week of January 1992, and after this encounter I never felt the presence again. Life went on as usual. Sometimes I wondered what fate had been decided for me – but these were fleeting thoughts. Republic Day was approaching, and the preparation for the parade and cultural function took up a major part of both time and energy, leaving me with very little scope for reflections on my life.



On a beautiful, sunny winter morning, I sat in the lawn drinking my coffee, planning and listing all the jobs that my husband would have to see to, when he came back from his tour.



Suddenly I was cut off from reality – out of nowhere, a picture flashed across the screen of my mind – I saw Mr Singh, a friend, telling me that my husband had met with a fatal accident. Then the frame changed to a picture of me dressed in white, looking bewildered at a number of women wailing around me. It ended abruptly and I was back in my beautiful garden with an empty coffee mug in my hand.


I shook myself and got up immediately, immersing myself in work lest my mind painted any more horrifying pictures. My husband was right; I did have an over-imaginative mind. Still I was on tenterhooks the whole day. In the evening, the familiar honk of the car sent me dashing out, and I was more ecstatic than usual to see hubby dear. He kept trying to figure it out, but I passed it off as the end to an unusually hard week. The next day was Republic Day. Nanan had to leave on yet another tour in the evening. He found it odd that I should be a bit put out by his tour.



" It's only a two day tour. I'll be back on the twenty-ninth," he said consolingly. He had been out a lot lately.


On the twenty-seventh night, while the kids and I were watching TV, the doorbell rang. Mr Singh stood there with tears in his eyes, "He's not coming back Bhabi, he has succumbed to a major heart attack," he said and broke down.


Two days later, on the day of his funeral, I was dressed in white and I was bewildered as I looked at the women crying around me. "Why are they crying?" I thought to myself. "Why are they asking me to be strong for the kids? What do they mean he's gone…of course he's gone on tour. I hope they stop crying, they're making me cry too. Don't they know I can't see any one cry? What do they mean that he was so young…he is young. Thirty-nine is young." I was in shock and denial.


Prior to this, I would take such a narrative with a huge pinch of salt and scepticism. To me these things oozed of superstition, ignorance and misplaced faith. Even today, I often ponder over this event, wondering what to make of it. I have no definite opinion. Was it imagination running wild? Then how does one explain the events that followed? Or was it mere coincidence? I'm torn between unbelief and credulity.


Later I confided to Sudhaji, an elderly neighbour, about the presence I had felt and all that had happened. She listened quietly and patiently, and then asked who I thought the presence was.

"I'm not sure," I said, "but I did feel it was my Father-in-law, which is very strange because I have never seen him. He expired many years before our marriage."

She nodded her sage head and said, "It could be. Yes, it's possible. Lekin, there's something I must tell you. Some years back the landlady rented out this house, for the first time, to a Mathur family. The place you store the crockery didn’t exist at the time. Mr Mathur got it made himself at his own expense. He died a few months later of cardiac arrest."


You could hear a pin drop in the silence.

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Glossary:


Bhabi....a term of respect used for a brother's wife. It is also used by a man's friends to address his wife, in small towns or orthodox families.

Lekin....a Hindi word meaning 'but'

Nanan....David's pet name
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