Is it a coincidence that this happens to be my 51 th post....and I complete a year in Bangalore.I want to believe, its some divine, magical connection.Those who always try to find logic in coincidences, may dismiss it, as just another quirky stroke of chance ,numbers and dates coming together.But,what’s wrong in putting 1 and 50 together to make it special and be happy about it.Nothing,in fact it’s also called………. another excuse to post on the blog. I had been waiting to say this ,the entire year.Every time someone asked me, how long I had been in Bangalore, I would give a very precise (monthly) accurate figure(proudly).But, like a lot of things in life, which we wait to celebrate and forget to do so later, this too, passed away quietly.Well,better late than never. And this rule, hold true especially in blogger land. And since the blog has been a testament to so many high and low points through the year, why not one more. So,sit back and be patient,for this is a long post as 365.25 days aren’t easy to compress.
1. Flashback to last April. Three sweaty souls come to Bangalore from Baroda, with a bag full of dreams and a truck load of luggage. When we landed in Bangalore, one of the first things (actually second, because the divine weather was the first)to hit me,was the irresistible aroma of coffee in the air. Can you fall in love with the smell of coffee?I did. The cothas coffee factory was right across the service apartment, where we stayed, and every morning and evening for 10 days, I was smitten, by this dark handsome fluid. The aroma was irresistible and the restaurant next door,was our secret meeting place,for many days to come. Love is still in the air.
2. The big S . This year was my sabbatical, and I just loved the sound of this word. This year I decided to take a break from work and rest. And ‘rest’ is something I probably I never found the time for. Being a full time mother and wife and home maker, blogger, friend and myself…... nearly took my breath away. Achievements……why should there be any. I never set out any, for this year. That’s the best thing about breaks, you don’t have to do anything and yet you are so busy with everything.
3. The best way to make you value something, is in and with the fear that it will be taken away form you. And I’m not taking about material things. The very essence of life lies in the power of choice and blessed are those who have this control. I came very close to giving up, the carefree life (that I enjoy, so much), at a certain point and I’m glad I had this power and the support of my loved ones.Count yourself lucky if you have the support and backing of your family ,to say no to a job that pays very well,but could have landed your happiness in a ‘well’.WELL
4. Illusions don’t make reality any beautiful. And I’m glad, that this illusion remained unreal and inaccessible. Sometimes, it takes a nightmare to bring us back to reality, and I’m so glad that the night is over.(if this doesn’t make sense,don’t worry. It’s not supposed to. It’s part of my therapeutic conversation with myself, and believe me it works)
6.Bangalore will always remind me of yet another’ B’.I never thought blogging would become an obsessive, compulsive disorder. How? and Why? I started?…….The reasons for blogging become defunct at this juncture ,and the outcome more important and satisfying. A big thank you, to everyone who has been here, tolerating rants and thoughts and special and not so special moments. It’s amazing how you connect with people, whom you have never met, but they feel and sound so familiar.
7. I have learnt that in a new city it’s foolish to make resolutions, when you have just stepped in. After the initial maddening traffic encounters, I had vowed never to work far from home, to restrict shopping and friends close to home, to curse politicians and administration every time on the road. But then,Bangalore traffic is a great leveler, and made sure I broke every single pledge.
//God, give me the grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things that should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other. //
I’m suddenly a more patient and forgiving person on the road.
8. And then of course I enrolled my knees for a total knee replacement, in the near future. All a result of the hours of badminton,that I picked up this year.I proved a lot of people wrong about how age and weight aren’t detrimental to learning, well that is if you find instructors as patient as the group of ladies who taught me. For without them, I would never be able to say at age 50.Check out my legs….err new knees !!! (a special mention about the enthusiastic but short burst of love to learn guitar…..some love stories are best left incomplete. Here’s hoping that I ‘ll pick up the threads err strings some day soon)
9. I updated my juvenile knowledge that TECHIES were much more than computer programmers and mechanics. That south Indian is too restrictive a word to describe the vast South and between the saru and sambhar lie a hundred flavours,which are 'unique' than ‘different’, and that I can differentiate a Kannadiga from a Malayalli to a TAM BRAM, is an achievement(and that my friend list contains hardly any north Indians, is a testament,to this)
10. If you tell people in the bean city,especially in Brigade, that you are taking a holiday to the U.S,chances are you’ll never gain any attention(forget about impressing them).When you tell them,you are travelling to the West coast,they ask,”Why not East?”.When you tell them you’ll spend a mammoth 25 days there,they tell you, “You should do 2 months?”.Almost every 2nd…no..correction… everyone except us has been to the U.S,here in Brigade. That’s not the reason, for taking this trip. It’s a like those things you always wished and dreamt of,the unachievable. For it hasn’t been easy to move out of the army and struggle to find your feet, over the past three years.So,it’s time to reward yourself for all the hard work,and give the blog(and readers) a break.I’ll be back,with a load of memories, pictures that speak a zillion words and an accent to show off, in Brigade. CIAO !!!
This is the second time I have been tagged,with the same identical tag,by another person. It's a shameful reminder. So,Arun and Suma....here's to you
1. LAST MOVIE YOU SAW IN A THEATER It took me 5 min to get that…..it’s not the memory….but the words MOVIE ...... THEATRE took so much time to connect!!!! AHEM "SUNDAY"
2. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING? Ask me how much of which book am I reading Witch of Portobello…..on the last 10 pages since 1969.
3. FAVORITE BOARD GAME? So,they do play games inside board rooms…..no wonder they stay locked in for so long… O.K SCOTLAND YARD
4. FAVORITE MAGAZINE? Readers Digest.
5. FAVORITE SMELLS? Petrol….
6. FAVORITE SOUND? Water falling…not the kinds from running taps….just falling naturally
7. WORST FEELING IN THE WORLD? Dying a slow painful death
8. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU THINK OF WHEN YOU WAKE? "Is my maid going to come today?"LOL O.K ……seriously "Is my maid going to come today?"
9. FAVORITE FAST FOOD PLACE? GOODIES. Baroda Great food and fabulous prices
10. FUTURE CHILD'S NAME? Anisha…….next life,maybe
11. FINISH THIS STATEMENT. "IF I HAD A LOT OF MONEY I'D...? ........STILL BE THE SAME PERSON….. I tend to remain unaffected by the presence or absence of it,and esp immune to the commercial power it enjoys.
12. DO YOU DRIVE FAST? Yes,I did….and I came to Bangalore and since then ‘speed’ has become history.
13. DO YOU SLEEP WITH A STUFFED ANIMAL? I want to say YES…but my husband will object to being called one.
14. STORMS-COOL OR SCARY? Neither !!!! They look good only in the movies, when they blow away miniature sets and models, that aren’t anybody’s home.
15. WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST CAR? Maruti 800
16. FAVORITE DRINKS WATER....make that double and on the rocks
17. FINISH THIS STATEMENT, "IF I HAD THE TIME I WOULD ..... TRAVEL ALONE…..CATCH UP WITH FRIENDS….READ……WATCH MOVIES(which I want)
18. DO YOU EAT THE STEMS ON BROCCOLI? Yes. Is it illegal? 19. IF YOU COULD DYE YOUR HAIR ANY COLOR, WHAT WOULD BE YOUR CHOICE? Blonde highlights…..but will have to first spend a fortune in getting a skin tone that matches!!!!double sigh
20. NAME ALL THE DIFFERENT CITIES/TOWNS YOU HAVE LIVED IN. Delhi, Bokaro, Basara, Jabalpur,Ooty,Shillong,Udhampur,Hissar,Pune, Baroda,Bangalore.
21. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH? badminton 22. ONE NICE THING ABOUT THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU. sensitive 23. WHAT'S UNDER YOUR BED? Lots of dust……..
24. WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE BORN AS YOURSELF AGAIN? Yes.but 10 k.gs lighter.
25. MORNING PERSON, OR NIGHT OWL? Morning… 26. OVER EASY, OR SUNNY SIDE UP? NEITHER.an omelet please, with lots of mushrooms.
27. FAVORITE PLACE TO RELAX? WITH FRIENDS…..THE PLACE DOESN’T MATTER
30. OF ALL THE PEOPLE YOU TAGGED THIS TO, WHO'S MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND FIRST? The last time I tagged people,no one responded. HUMPH !!!! A big hug to all the brave hearts who will take it up,without being tagged…. (that doesn’t make it too attractive....does it??)
Did you worry,today that your two year old doesn't rattle off the names of all the cars in the parking lot,like the others???
Did you remind your kid(again) that the neighbour's kid,always scores ten upon ten in maths in his exam??
Did you fuss about the fact that,you couldn't put your kids in all the summer classes,that have been advertised this summer??
Did you drive yourself insane worrying how what percentage,your child would score in the boards,knowing very well,it's more to do with destiny than hard work??
Did you just blow your top(again) that the kids are watching a rerun of Tom and Jerry for the n th time yet again??
For dropping food over your precious upholstery.....for bringing shoes full of slush into the house yet AGAIN.....for eating food like there's a famine waiting round the corner...for living in a room,that would bring in an epidemic! ! ! !
‘BIG’ school in Bangalore,announces expected time of the departure of flight ENTRANCE EXAM.
All parents are requested to proceed for security check. Fervent last min. checking of checklist before departure , for one ,last time .
"What’s 8 X 4??......what’s the format for the letter??……what’s Hindi for 'leave'?...I hope you remember all the formulae,we rehearsed this morning???” .The drone could match that of a big jet plane about to take off.Not very far away,a big family including grandparents, were trying to recite a last minute prayer,(more to calm their own frayed nerves).
"Don’t forget to check and recheck your paper,dear….and if time is still left…check it again O.K”.The busy corporate Mom ,instructed,checking her watch the tenth time, in the past 10 min.She more anxious about her office, than the exam. I looked at my Sonnie boy,and he looked at me."What’s the fuss about?”we thought silently in unison. In one of those rare moments,he must have thanked god for,the right choice of mom.Despite that, the parent in me panicked
"Do you want to revise,anything beta?”very well expecting an expected answer.
" After this I’m free,RIGHT???”he questioned and I appreciated his attitude, just before the big T.I nodded and told him,"Just do your very best…the best that you can do,and that’ll be enough”.
He gave me a hug,something ten yr olds aren’t seen doing often……in public.
The flight is announced.Gates are thrown open.Faces are given a Kleenex wipe and the hair done up,the very last time.
"Say your good morning,stand straight,don’t slouch,don’t lose your admit card….get your things back….don’t talk too much…..attempt all the questions…..don’t leave any question….all the best….we love you ".....
Alas !!!! by the time, they said those three magical words, the kids had already reached the examination hall. Whew!!! part I over ….now part II.Lucky one’s,who lived close by,went back home and those who had driven difficult distances, had no option but to choose the shades of trees,to wile away the time.Notes were exchanged and mothers boasted of triumphs in various entrance examinations, as if they were conquests of lands. The childrens’ present schools were denounced and criticized beyond repair.Apparently,"all the forces of education from the curriculum to the teachers,fellow students, and the management were out to conspire against their kids.” I contributed heartily,for the past several years of being a parent and a teacher in the same school,had made me zip my lips. You didn’t need a watch to tell you it was time for the school ‘to release the students’.The flurry of activity and the rising anxiety amongst parents,was an evident enough sign.We lined up,class wise,anxiously waiting to reclaim our baggage from the departure terminal.Anxious,to ask them,the contents of the paper,perhaps.Those moving out on the conveyor belt,were seen reciting the questions to eager parents ,mentally calculating answers and rechecking.
“I’m hungry!!!”blurted out my son, dashing my hopes and my questions and my chance to be a good parent. He finished his packet of Milano and his appy and gave me a dirty look and said,"No,use studying so much!!!!,they never asked anything so tough,ma!!!!” I was crestfallen. All those precious no nap afternoons, and T.V deprived evenings,and late night studying and soaked almonds had been a waste then??!!!
“Tomorrow,we shall know,who has wasted whose time,betaji!!!”.There,I had said it. Spoken like a true modern day, over involved, 'i'm doing my bestest best,super anxious parent. I patted my back and bit my tongue and wished I hadn’t said that,at all. Parenting isn’t easy and damn we just made it tougher !!!!!
"Your food is a big hit in the office," so,I'm told by hubby.
Despite the fact,that the office kitchen lays out a fairly edible spread,my hubby continues to take his 'ghar ka khana',everyday to work. And I'm not complaining. This speaks volumes about my cooking! !doesn't it.Well,frankly,fact is stranger than kitchen fiction. I admit, on a candid note, that I love to feed people, whether the food is worth being eaten is an inconsequential and small issue.I inherit this streak from my Nani,who was known for her guerrilla tactics,at the dining table, especially when it came to loading and goading people to eat more. So, everyday at lunch time,hubby dear opens up his dabba,of home made goodies,much to the envy of other colleagues.There are ready takers for paneer and egg curry and Dum Aloo and mix vegetables and the sweets, for all apparent reasons.But,why the dabba comes back with leftovers, on days when it housed orphans like lauki(ghia),tauri,cabbage kuttu,lobia or the oh- so -healthy soya nuggets, is no great mystery. But,there’s one man,who managed to capture my attention.Mr.A (we shall call him), never has lunch,but has requested to be invited,ever since he spotted ‘Baigan ka bharta’in hubby's tiffin (Steamed brinjal mashed and curried,till it fails to resemble a brinjal)….(err I like to believe that I have readers across seven seas,as well). “Now,that’s an unusual dish, to be saved under the ‘My favorites’ column”,I thought to myself,one morning packing an extra dose of BKB.Till,one lazy afternoon,the story unfolded itself and was narrated over ,the office lunch table.
The eighties were gloomy times. The economy wasn’t really ‘Rocking and rolling’,like it is.A good job and a decent salary, was what one should have looked forward too.No,flashy M.B.A’s,were required to keep pace with office politics and the job market, and those at the top of the corporate ladder were genuine stalwarts, who had ample amount of salt and pepper,both in their hair as well as their experience.Mr.A,was the average engineering graduate, who had a good job and manged to make more than a decent living, with his wife and little son, in a plush one BHK.
But,then his heart said, ‘Yeh Dil mange more’…much before the pepsi bottle ever did.He longed for an edge,for that elusive M.B.A,unheard of.His seniors laughed and dismissed it as the lunacy of a young mind.Add,to this ,his commitments as a husband and father loomed large,upon him.He,finally decided to take the risk asked his company, if he could somehow juggle both the job and the M.B.A.They declined,but offered to take him back, after he finished his studies. It was a tough decision. With no job in hand, it was a herculean task,to manage both the household and his tuition fees at the university. His parents, coaxed him to take help from them. It was the easiest option out, but somehow, he couldn’t convince his pride and conscience. Till, one day someone gave him the idea of approaching a bank.Loans, in those times, were actually a proof of your incapability to manage your income.Apart from being very difficult to obtain.But, finally the bank decided to give Mr. A an educational loan, along with a stipend of Rs.500 for managing his home needs. He allotted Rs.250 judiciously for home and the rest for his college and stay at the campus.He shifted, his family to a one room barsati,which acted as hall..Kitchen….bedroom. All in one. They shared a common bathroom,with the other tenants,where water till 6 am was a luxury. Back at the campus,things weren’t all that rosy.A’s classmates were from wealthy families,and were more than aware of A’s economic status. With books being a rare luxury, A often relied on libraries and lending’s from his friends. With his purse strings literally like a noose around his neck, Rs.3 per day was all he could afford to spend on his meals. Very often, the portions would barely suffice the hunger pangs of a students’ stomach. It was here that A discovered, that BKB was possibly the cheapest thing on the menu, and would invariably end up, with it, on his plate.
There were times when,the stipend gave way much before the end of the month and A had no money to buy himself a meal. At such times, his friends would invite him home on some pretext or the other,knowing very well,that he would never ask. He too always waited for such opportunities. After a grueling two such years,Mr.A went back his old company.Impressed with his ideas and diligence, they further, sent him for further studies, to the U.S.A.The rest becomes,predictable history.Mr.A today is the V.P of an huge Indian corporate giant and enjoys his life,between office,home and his grandchildren. I’m sure you have heard and read stories that have more awe value than this.But,what touched me was the fact that,when most of us would have chosen to willingly forget anything associated with difficult times in our life,for,it isn’t easy reliving memories that are bitter,Mr.A chose,to retain the humble BKB, as a reminder of the fact, that the life he enjoys today,is a gift from his past. We all move on in life, often embittered by either love,family politics,destiny.But,little do we realize that those times are the benchmark to measure the happiness we enjoy today.
Mr.A will never read this.But,it’s a tribute to his infectious good spirit and his love for the bharta. It’s a fact known by none that I think of Mr.A, every time I buy Baigan and pack in that extra helping.I know,I made someone happy that day. My granny must be grinning, in heaven, I’m sure ! !