Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The old and the never tried

When I was back in my home state feeding on the homey and the rooted vibes, I happened to do something that I've never done before.

I danced to a band. Like, a proper shaadi band, In the middle of the road. In front of the entire village and my extended family. Without drinking. I was shocked myself that I could do it. Once I started, I couldn't stop.

Towards the end of all the dancing and celebrating , I witnessed something and the first thought that came to my mind was 'Please tell me this didn't happen'.

It was dark and bitterly cold, we were dancing on the side of the road. Occasionally, some vehicle would pass by. By this time, I am tired and frozen till my bones and I'm standing on the side. I see this Qualis that approaches our group, slows down but suddenly veers towards the dancing group and rams into them. I see four people flying in front of the car. I am 100% sure the car has mowed down these people. And I can only think: This didn't happen, please make it 'not happen'. Then, I see this car speeding away and some guys from our group chase the guy, climb on the speeding car, open his door and try to pull the guy out. But, he gets away.

The only saving grace was that the car didn't actually mow down anyone. It did hit those people and they were sent flying but he was careful not to run the car over them. He very carefully steered the car away and sped. My aunt had a fracture and she was the biggest casualty of this mishap. She was our official chai-maker and we lamented her future absence from the kitchen. Chai is very essential at 3 degrees celsius, isn't it?

A change of topic now and my favorite pics/moments/people from this trip:

1. The most beautiful girl EVER. She is related to me somehow. For the first half a day, she was so shy, she couldn't look up when she spoke.

2. Kaliya aka Satyajeet. My little cousin. (I say little but dude has grown.) Reminded me of someone and I couldn't stop smiling. He drove us and the groom to the wedding ceremony and back. The drive was so much fun and his one-liners had us in splits all the way. And he dances like a dream. He is good.

3. Shiela aka Arun. When my aunt got injured and fell on the road, he lifted her in his two arms and walked to the hospital. It was only three minutes away but my aunt is no zero size model. Just saying.

4. Kaliya trying to hand down some moves. To the music of the safari (mentioned below).

5. Me dancing to the band. I'm wearing two layers of leggings, two pairs of socks and sports shoes under the sari. It was around 3 degrees and the wedding would go on till wee hours.

6. The food. The makkhan. The lassi or like we call, the chhaay. The rotis. The bliss.

7. The visit to my nani's old house. It's in ruins now, abandoned. I don't know if I can call them fond but I have so many memories of this house. For me, village meant this house. I have very few memories of my dad's village or my dadi's house because basically I spent very little time there. One of those memories is when I went back and saw my mami's elder daughter carrying the cutest little baby who I thought was a girl. It turned out that the baby was a boy and that is my first memory of Kaliya. I can still picture what he was wearing.

8. My mom's school where she studied as a young girl. This statue is of the swamiji who started girls' education in the village. He was very strict and my mom was so scared of him. She would not paani-puri when she was 40 years old because when she was in school, swamiji used to forbid it saying that it is made with gutter water. The terror!

9. This plaque. It has my mum's name on it.

10. Our adventures on the safari. it has a kick ass music system that we made full use of. For dancing everywhere.

11. And the cherry on the cake, our adventures with this little friend. Enough said. It is licensed and totally legal. Just saying. I can use it for self defense. Again, just saying.

12. Little boys named 'filmy'. He wouldn't get pictures taken with us. He insisted on solos.

13. My pretty cousins.

14. The beautiful buffaloes near the pretty pond near the pretty temple. A post on my village is incomplete without a bow down to these gentle creatures who are the source of all that makkhan in the pic above.


Monday, February 27, 2012

I had a dream

I am a dream person. I like to dream - not the waking and day dreaming type, the real sleeping and dreaming type. I like to dream, to recall the dream and to analyze the dream. The confused and fickle person that I am, I look for pointers in my dreams to sometimes know what I'm truly feeling. Does that sound weird? I almost never get my answer. Almost. Sometimes I do.

There are two recurring themes in my dreams. In one I am always stranded on a very narrow wall or stairs or something which is very very high. On top of that I am trying to navigate on these very very high stairs or wall or whatever. Most of the times, I even have to climb from one wall to the next and distance between them is huge and mind you, I am far above the ground. Or I am on unimaginably an high staircase and some of the steps are missing and I have to take the jump. Similar lines, wall, rock, stairs, terraces, lifts, you get the drift. A few years ago, I used to get this dream every single night. Every. Situations changed. Now, it's less frequent. Once in a while. Only when I'm really worried about something.

My mom (right), my sis (middle, duh)

The other recurring theme involves my nani. Infact, all women from my mom's side and my nani's home. I find it difficult to believe that all these women are there in almost all dreams of mine (except the stuck at heights ones). I could be dreaming about anything, anything at all, and there they would be in the background. They are always there as some extraneous characters. And many of my dreams had my nani's home as the setting. All this is more surprising because I hadn't met my nani or even gone to her place in almost 10 years. Yet there they all would be in my dreams.

mommy again

I hadn't thought much of these nani dreams till recently. Till I went back to Haryana where she lives. Till I met all my cousins and aunts and uncles and my nani. Till I smelt the soil, felt the air on my face, the cold on my skin. Till I ate their food once again. Till I spoke their dialect, my dialect. It didn't take me long to realize that I may travel far from my roots but my roots are never far from me. They are within me and I carry them with me.

For past many years, I tried to fight this urge, this dream. I tried to fight every feeling that told me that I am attached, that I have to go back. Why was I trying to do this is another story in itself but let's assume that I had my own very valid and rational reasons. But then one of my close cousins was getting married and I had gone on for 10 years with bitterness, skepticism and fear in my heart. Something inside me let go. Almost instantly, as if being directed by someone else, I didn't think, I didn't fear anymore. I summoned my sisters and just like that I was on a flight to Delhi. To say that 'planets aligned' would not be an exaggeration.

And boy, did the planets align? The five days that I was in Haryana were the most awesome days I have had in a long long time. And I have had some very good days in the past two years and so I'm talking like really really awesome days.

There's this thing about family. I didn't meet these people for the last 10 years, didn't even speak to them. Some cousins who were half my height when I last saw them have grown into handsome young men taller than me. But when I met them, time dissolved, distances dissolved. It was like we were always in touch, never apart.

What was done with a lot of 'what ifs' turned out be an extremely good thing for me and my heart. I no longer feel the void. I feel connected, rooted again.

The black and white pics are from my nani's collection. How it warmed my heart to see these again.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


My last post was my 100th published post. I have a few that never made it to the blog land. Anyways, 100 is not a great number, not one I'm too proud of given that I have been doing this for long. But, it's still a milestone, right? And what do we do when we reach a milestone? We celebrate. Or we just mention it in one post and go on about our life.

One milestone that I'm actually celebrating is my recent switch to full manual mode on my DSLR - full as in full, including manual focus. I do not see myself using it very often, especially the manual focus, as I'm too slow with it. I'm just getting used to it but I never will be as fast as the auto focus. or could I? Having said that, it just gives me so many degrees of freedom. I love that!

Till this time, I thought ISO was useless. WHAT??

I had read in so many photography articles that manual mode is so liberating, it gives so much freedom, it gives so much better control, it makes you a better lover and all the time I used to think what a bunch of suckers! Ok maybe, I didn't read the last one. But then, who would do all those adjustments manually when the machine does it for you in one half-press?

I stand corrected. The manual mode does give you freedom - the frustrating movements of the lens when it's not able to focus on something or when it keeps focusing on something other than what you intend are now a thing of the past, the over bright or under-bright pictures are a thing of the past, the unending waits for the shutter to close are a thing of the past, the blur caused by the slow shutter speeds is a thing of the past. What I finally get is a satisfying picture and I can again tweak a setting, if I'm unhappy with the result. (With so many frustrations gone from your life, wouldn't you love better? Maybe I did read the better lover part then. Or maybe I'm saying it now. But it could happen!)

So summing it all up, I am happy.

I'm still taking baby steps with the manual mode. I hope to get better.

And while we are on milestones - It took me many many years but finally I found the guts (or should I say the cheek) to wear bright red nail paint. This makes me happy as well.

The book is the Bhagvad Gita and I have finished it in case you are wondering. Thankyou very much!

And in a few days, I'll cross another really BIG milestone. I'll cross Indian borders to go to Sri Lanka. It's not Europe and it can be mistaken for Chennai but what the hell, it's still 'foreign' land.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Take a step back

Life is what happens to us while we are busy making other plans.

Let me tell you a story.

Today morning was a beautiful morning. Perfect sun, perfect temperature. I left the main door open to enjoy the beautiful sky outside. Just then a wasp, a big bee, 5-6 times the size of a honeybee wandered inside my door. AAAARRRRRRGGGGHHHH!!

I was morbidly afraid of the 'beast'. I knew better than getting into her way and hid in my kitchen while the bee went into my bedroom. Obviously, she was looking for a way out of this prison of a place. I mean, she is a lady of the outdoors, clear skies and pretty flowers. The bedroom curtains were drawn but there is this small ventilator on the top of the windows which is covered with glass. She saw the light there and tried to escape from there.

She tried and tried and kept on trying, somehow thinking that the glass will give way somewhere. I empathized with her but more than that I wanted her to leave, so I opened the curtains so that she would see the light from the window and escape.

But, she didn't. She was right above the window but kept trying to get out of the ventilator. Struggling with the glass pane.And struggling. And struggling. She just could not see the open window.

Do you know where I'm going with this? The bee was so occupied with her struggle to get out of that small ventilator that she could not see that a whole big window is open right next to her. Ever wondered how many times we do that? As I stood there watching her, I thought about that. (And than I ran back to my kitchen)

Wouldn't it be good that ever once in a while we step back and look at the bigger picture? Maybe we are struggling for the wrong things in the wrong place.Who knows, a bigger door has been opened for us. How sad is it to know that when we are engaged in our futile escape from the small ventilator, an entire large window is waiting for us.

The update on the bee is that she was wise enough. She must have seen the window and she did escape after I don't know how long. I didn't dare to stay and look at her struggle lest she gets frustrated and charges at me, maybe transform into a monster, wrap me with her huge wings, take me to her den and slowly torture me to death with her family of poisonous wasps. Weird things happen.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Letting go of hurt

There is this blog that I read regularly. The girl is awesome. She has three adopted kids, lives on a farm (till recently) and loves corn fields and lonely trees in the middle of farms.

I read this on her blog.

Years and years (and years) ago now, kids were mean to me…and I allowed it
to shape every little thing about myself.
I’ll show them, I seem to say…as if
they’re still paying attention. As if they’re still sitting beside me in the
sixth grade.How horrible to find out everyone else has moved on.
Crying out for justice in a world that isn’t listening while at the same
time, turning a blind eye to the world that’s right in front of me seems a bit
counterproductive, no?"

Go read the entire post.

I could not NOT share. I have been there done that - carried hurts with me as if doing so was serving a purpose or my cursing the other person would hurt them back. I have become a little wiser to realize that everytime we recall a hurt, we are hurting ourselves again while the other person, for all we know, maybe partying in Spain. Just saying!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Green thumb baby!!

I grew this and ate this.

I am quite a farmer that way! I love gardening and that's what I do on lazy saturdays and sundays. Here in bangalore, it's not really work to grow anything. And I mean ANYTHING. The weather is great, the soil is perfect, the sun's perfect and the plants are really really cheap. I used to have plants in mumbai as well but I shelled out a lot more and worked a lot harder to maintain them. So, here it's all easy peasy lemon squeazy for me :)

This is not a tomato plant. Am just saying, just in case!

But I'd never grown vegetables before. This was my first attempt. I think I did pretty well. Organic pesticide free tomatoes. I also grew chillies or atleast I thought I was growing chillies till the plant flowered and I realized that that was also a tomato plant! What? I've done some mix-up definitely but I'm not complaining. I have lot of baby tomatoes waiting to turn big and red :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Papa the great

He was here.

Gotta love those genes. I have so many of those. I realized as I grew up. And the older I get the more the realization that I am turning out to be like him.

A funny story. My grandmother that is my dad's mom was the daughter of the most feared man in all nearby villages. When she got married and was being brought to her husband's home in a 'palaki', some dacoits stopped her and her escorts. They threatened her to hand over her jewellery and money to them or they will kill her and stuff. Well, she being her father's daughter told them in no uncertain terms that she was the daughter of 'Yaadu' (short for Yaadram) and 'Bhakhtu' (short for Bakhtavari..God I love that name) and asked them to back off. The dacoits apologised and requested that she not mention this incident to her parents. True story.

Those genes came to my dad. How do I know? My dadi used to think that she was the prettiest woman in the village. Like she would make fun of other women who were not as good looking and call them names. She used to call my mom a hanger to hang clothes on and she used to call my mami, a broken cycle and so on. Wow. Some lady. That trait is there as it is in my dad. He is super proud of his looks. And he has a phd in giving names to people.

And talking of genes passing down generations, I may, just may, have those genes too. Some of them atleast. I'm not a name giver. Really. Promise.

Though I have a lot of the others. I, like my dad, would not like something but not say anything but keep getting irritated, then snap at the smallest totally unrelated thing. I, like my dad, will not ask you specifically to get me my medicines but totally expect you to do it and feel bad if you don't. I, like my dad, will sleep at night through most of the catastrophes of life (except a few, one or two maybe..the ones where we have to do something about the catastrophes). I, like my dad, am mostly unattached. I, like my dad, have very very rough palms. Like really rough. Sandpaper quality. Boys around me have softer hands and let me know that all the time. But what the hell! I, like my dad, am hardworking and hardwork shows on our palms. (Yes, that's how I defend rough palms.)

I could go on and on. The good thing is that I realize that I have some of his traits. Some traits that will not do me very good, like the non-expressive bit and I make very conscious efforts to change that. Atleast it's not like my sandpaper handshake that I can't do anything about!

Well, daddy dearest left yesterday (to go back home in mumbai) and that meant a trip to my favoritest place here. Now, I'm off to watch some star world and zee cafe which I had to give up for Barkha Dutt and Arnab Goswami.