Thursday, November 5, 2009
Shabna and I shared the same room in the first year. She had asthma and that year because of the climate change and adjusting to college/hostel life pressure, she had more attacks than all the years in law college.
I remember, after studying with my friends and classmates (she was in the other batch), I would come to my room to find her gasping, notes in hand, absolutely sure, she'll fail her test the next day. There were other days, regular college days, when there was always so much time (sigh!), when I would sit up with her, chatting, trying to take her (and my) mind off the painful gasps of air she took.
In second year, I moved to room 10 with my gang of friends and that was to be my residence the next four years. Shabna moved to room 9, next door, with her friend and classmate, Shimla (I know :)). Her shelf space was now covered with large bottles of dark coloured, strong smelling ayurvedic (yes, very much a mallu) medicines and concoctions.
Yet, when sufferring at night or day, she would, sometimes, call me over... I don't know, maybe it was easy for her with me. I have cleaned her vomit, washed her clothes and though we were never together, there were nights that I was thankful she was sleeping across the wall.
She shared stuff with me that she told nobody. When she fell in love, truly, madly, deeply, three years later, I knew of it at least nine months before my roomies or her roomies even got whiff of it. Yes, I am very good at not telling people things!!
She has a daughter and son and is living blissfully in Kerala. But, she's been on my thoughts a lot this last week, especially the nights.
Two days ago, a renowned chest/allergy specialist told us that our daughter has bronchial hypercativity, mainly (his words), because the doctors don't like to use the words asthma with regard to children.
She has been prescribed those inhaler sprays in blue, green and pink - her words. She might grow out of it, but then again, she might not - the doctor's words.
This last week, my little daughter has been coughing (not yet wheezing, thankfully) the entire night and day. I carry her and pace around from bedroom to living room and back. Shabna used to tell me that her earliest memories are of her dad carrying her on his shoulders throughout the night.
By the way, the little wise daughter turned five yesterday. We had a teeny party (if you can call it that) where she jumped and played and laughed a lot and ... did not cough even once. A small but precious miracle!!
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
"I'm a novelist. My work is human nature. Real life is all I know. Don't ever confuse the two, your life and your work. You will walk out of here this afternoon with only one thing that no one else has. "There will be hundreds of people out there with your same degree; there will be thousands of people doing what you want to do for a living. But, you will be the only person alive who has sole custody of your life. Your particular life! Your entire life!
"Not just your life at a desk or your life in a bus or in a car or at the computer. Not just the life of your mind, but the life of your heart. Not just you bank accounts, but also your soul.
"People don't talk about the soul very much anymore. Its so much easier to write a resume than to craft a spirit. But, a resume is cold comfort on a winter's night, or when you're sad, or broke, or when you're lonely, or when you've received your test results and they're not so good.
"Here's my resume: I'm a good mother to three children. I have tried never to let my work stand in the way of being a good parent. I no longer consider myself the centre of the universe. I show up. I listen. I try to laugh.
"I'm a good friend to my husband. I have tried to make marriage vows mean what they say. I am a good friend to my friends and them to me. Without them, there would ne nothing to say to you today, because I would be a cardboard cut out. But, I call them on the phone and I meet them for lunch. I would be rotten, at best mediocre, at my job if those other things were not true.
"You cannot be really first rate at your work if your work is all you are. So, here's what I want to tell you all today: Get a life. A real life, not a manic pursuit of the next promotion, the bigger pay, the larger house. Do you think you'd care so very much about those things if you blew an aneurysm or found a lump in your breast?
"Get a life in which you notice the smell of salt water pushing itself on a breeze at the seaside, a life in which you stop and watch how a red-tailed hawk circles over the water, or how a baby scowls with concentration when she tries to pick up a sweet with her thumb and first finger.
"Get a life in which you are not alone. Find people you love, and who love you. And remember that love is not leisure, it is work. Pick up the phone. Send an e-mail. Write a letter. Get a life in which you are generous. And, realise that life is the best thing ever, and that you have no business taking it for granted.
"Care so deeply about its goodness that you want to spread it around. Take money you would have spent on beer and give it to charity. Work in a soup kitchen. Be a big brother or sister. All of you want to do well. but, if you do not do good, too, then doing well will never be enough.
"It is so easy to waste our lives, our days, our hours and our minutes. It is so easy to take for granted the colour of our kid's eyes, the way the melody in a symphony rises and falls and disappears and rises again. It is so easy to exist in stead of to live.
"I learnt to live many years ago. I learned to love the journey, not the destination. I learnt that it is not a dress rehearsal, and today is the only guarantee you get. I learnt to look at all the good in the world and try to give some of it back because I belived in it, completely and utterly.
"And, I tried to do that, in part, by telling others what I had learned. By telling them this: consider the lillies on the field. Look at the fuzz on a baby's ear. Read in the back yard with the sun on your face.Learn to be happy. And, think of life as a terminal illness, because if you do, you will live it with joy and passion as it ought to be lived."
This was a speech made by Pulitzer award winning author Anna Quindlen at the graduation ceremony of an American university, where she was awarded an honorary PhD.
... No, I don't think there are any comparisons or connections with the speech and pictures. Just that these words give me hope, inspire me and make me thankful!!
Friday, October 16, 2009
Sunrise School, which was seen if we leaned out of the balcony in our room, had selective shades of green.
The pine tree and the little bit of green on the church.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Momma, what did Abi dream on (sic) today? asked she, now staring doubtfully at her feet. He dreamt that he fell from the bed, said I removing her socks and shoving her feet into them the right way.
Not again, said she, wry tone and shake of her head. But, he did, really, fall a lot - at the bus stop this morning, grazing his sweet, soft hands and making shopkeepers look out in concern with his crying!
While coming back from the bus stop with his sister in the afternoon, he tripped on nothing (!) and fell. And then, after the siblings had some water, washed their hands, changed their dress, they decided to jump on the bed, while momma got ready their lunch all the time screaming at them not to.
Momma had to drop everything and rush to the bedroom as Abi had fallen off the bed, banged his head and had two little cuts on his tongue. Lots of sugar and cooing later, he fell asleep, no doubt, dreaming of falling, yet again!
And, what did you dream today, asked I, while walking her to the bus stop. I dream that you watching 'pappu can't dance saala' song, said she.
Oh well. Sweet dreams then!
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
By the time the kids, me, husband, last additions to grocery list after frantically opening and shutting drawers and kitchen cabinets, water bottle, umbrellas, were heading to the lift, it was quite near pitch black. The three minutes in the lift later, it was pouring and husband volunteered to bring the car to us.
Out on the highway, lightning flashed, thunder cracked and traffic was slow. There was an eerie yellow haze beyond the hills lining one side and palm trees bending to half their height in the strong gusts of wind on the other. Again, I had forgotten to carry my camera!
I cringed, not because I missed a splendid photo opportunity - the little box of assorted biscuits was back at home, right next to my wallet on the dining table, where I'd put them both down before I took a large gulp of water straight out of a bottle.
I must, at this point, make it clear to dear readers creasing their brows and wondering why, I didn't just carry a bag. Well, D-marts in Mumbai and suburbs have this policy of making you put your handbag in another green duffel tote and sealing it. The said green tote is officially unsealed at the billing counter - best bet against shop lifters, I have been told.
Also, adding that this little ritual took some getting used to, for readers now staring in disbelief. So, I just carried my wallet, which is not put in another green (official D-mart colour) wallet, rather than have a bag (for however little a time) used by many hanging by my shoulder.
So, now, we were almost there and had to park already! Looked like everyone else had our brilliant plan of shopping for long list of grocery in the middle of the month to beat the crowds, sigh! It was still raining, water running down the car windows in rivulets.
Darling husband peered out and decided it was best for four-year-old-just- recovering-from-a- ferocious-viral-fever (not H1N1) and two-year-old-just-about-to-catch-the-same-virus-from-sister to stay in the car rather than brave the two blocks to store in the pouring rivers of rain.
I told him, in the sweetest voice I have, about the wallet resting at home and he gave me a look, that will not restore him to darling husband status for a long time. There wasn't an ATM nearby, actually never when you need cash and fast. Tired of looking at vipers swishing viciously at the water under the street light made the little one cry.
Not wanting to risk another 'look' if I volunteered information of a little box of biscuits absolutely vital now, I sighed and said we would come another day. As I swung with inertia at the sharp u-turn, I didn't know what was worse - taking a 35 minute drive in the rain, thunder, lightning to the grocery store or turning back, after having braved the unexpected rain storm , for fear the kids would not last the shopping session without throwing hunger tantrums.
Pfft, I sat staring at the wet roads whizzing by, occassionally glaring at husband, who made a quick call to a friend and got directions to another D-mart with basement parking. I could say, he was trying his best to become the darling once again!
Well, the grocery shopping done, we each had a cup of steamed corn, from a vendor down the road, in the car to take care of hunger pangs and drove back leisurely home, in the peace after the storm...
Sunday, September 20, 2009
As usual, I had checked the school diary a bit late, so, I had no option but to fold an A4 paper in half, draw margins and shade it using the daughter's water colours.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Our family grew larger one Sunday. The husband went out to drop some cheques and came back with a fish tank and a complimentary packet of little fish - very intiriguing to the two year old, who kept saying "fih!"
It was the first time he was seeing "real" fish. The wise and worldly daughter exclaimed, "I thought you joking when you said you buy fish." Aaaha, so this is what was conspiring behind my back!
After the whole process of setting up the fish tank was finished, we lay down on the bed and admired our handiwork. There is a pump in there that makes a soft gurgling sound when all is quiet. Not a bad way to relax at all!
There really is something about gazing at fish - you realise you spent quite sometime (oh no!!!) standing and staring and oh well, since all that time is gone, you might as well stare at it for some more time.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Now, it is only a few of us left with children who decide not to walk with Ganesha to a lake nearby, where he will be immersed. A lady is weeping as she carries her ganesha in her arms and places it on the truck, alongwith the other statues of the Elephant God.
Next year, I hope to walk the whole stretch, shouting and singing, and get gulaal on my hair and everywhere. Next year, I also hope to have it in me to carry my camera out of the house and take proper pictures...
Monday, August 24, 2009
Its festival time in Mumbai... and I am thoroughly enjoying it despite the faces my husband is making. The sights come alive in the night but the sounds captivate you through the day' till the 10.00 pm deadline since the past two years, lol!
Even after Ganesh Chathurthi and Ganapati Visarjan, the festivities will extend untill Diwali and the Navratras and no one will remove the lights and decorations untill after ringing in the New Year, which leaves only the stars to be hung around Christmas time.
I am loving the mithai, the bhajans blaring through loudspeakers and sometimes, alternating with the latest Bollywood Hits and the divine sound of arathis twice a day in our residential society's Ganapati Mandal.
Due to my husband's preference for quiet celebrations (and exclamations!!!) of all kinds, we usually celebrate every festival with the needed colours and lights - more of the sights than the sounds in our home!
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Friday, August 7, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Friday, February 13, 2009
The first cup of tea kick starts my day. A little after 10, with most of my work done in the kitchen, I sit at the table with a HOT cup of tea.
The aroma of the tea infused with cinnamon or cardamom in summers, relaxes me when stressed and invigorates me when tired. In winters, ginger tea soothes my itchy throat and warms my fingers!
While the first cup activates my body , tea at 10 feeds my soul, my spirit. This is the time that I organize my days. To-do lists for the day and for the week and shopping lists are made. I feel energized to get all of it done - the most hopeful time of my day!
Thursday, February 12, 2009
The sight of these milk packets, more than the alarm clock, signals the start of my day. I pour the contents of two packets to boil and on another burner, water for my tea.
I like this time of the day, or night - as it is dark outside. As the aroma of the tea wafts around the kitchen, my still sleeping brain wakes up. I inhale deeply, stretch sometimes... and starts the day, and the grind!
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Add to that, I found an omen. As I cut into one-third of an onion, I found the layers make a perfect smiling face. Life, as I knew it, had come full circle for me.
Years speed by, changing feelings and perceptions. There had been days, when I wished I woke up in another place, for fear of goofing up in the kitchen, yet again!
It has been an interesting journey. It is the story of my life, chapters of which I will share with you...