Monday, 28 July 2008

Of Birthdays and Beads

What do you gift a guy who has everything? And, on top of it, is picky as hell about his clothes and cuff-links? Clothes - office-wear readymade-s don't work too well. His shoulders are too big, his arms are too long. Unsuspecting guys in stores think they can make a killing and tell him, "Sir we have new suits, very nice, all the way from Italy" (yeah! right!). He says "Okay I will buy them RIGHT AWAY if they fit me." They run to the racks and pull them out. Slurping a bit. The cuffs of the coat stop a little below his elbows. They give up with a morose expression.

I could buy him clothes for the gym. He would like that. But then again, I cannot really tell his size too well, and, we still use the shorts we bought in the US several years ago. The ones he has bought in recent times have all proved small and I get to wear them at home (of course they are huge for me but the waist is snug around my belly so I don't care. They are damn comfy in any case!). He has needs of those gloves and what not for his weights but I have always paid little attention to them so don't know what they are, what brand he prefers, pros and cons, so that is out.

Books are equally difficult since we have such contrasting tastes. I rarely touch books that he picks up. Though per force I have read Freakonomics and a few others of that genre, it is not with any particular fondness. I can never predict which ones he will like and appreciate. It all feels a bit impersonal too since they have some species of book-club at work and he gets a few popular titles from there (and seems mighty happy with it!). CDs of movies are bound to be a hit but I remember the last time I bought him the James Bond one and he got thoroughly pissed off because I refused to see the movie with him when the monster was awake, and somehow she was ALWAYS awake when I was...

I have never spent more than $10 on a gift for him. The $10 was a travel coffee mug from Starbucks. It was not even on sale! Imagine buying a coffee mug in Starbucks when there is no sale! Okay its not a big deal now, but then I was a graduate student so it was pretty much unheard of to buy anything other than an occasional cup of coffee there, except if there was a sale and you picked up one or two small things. At any rate he did not use the mug for several years, I stole it back one time and used it for a bit and found it really useful and tried to tell him that. It sunk in years later and he then used it till things peeled all over. I think I overheard him mutter that it was a real nice mug. (Kachink!)

So this past Wednesday when the birthday rolled around, I was in a fix. I know I should not spend too much money on anything, you know, since he is so picky about things, and will just refuse to use it. Tuesday night after homework and dinner I asked the monster to make a card. She drew a long girl with long arms covered with spiky bangles. Not to mention dangly earrings. Presumably, herself. She wrote the Happy Birthday and Love Monster and all that. I tried to get her to put down the date but she started it as 2/3/7/ which got real confusing so I wrote it on the back. She made two flowers, one pink one red around the girl. Then I put it away in the middle of a bunch of toys that were strewn around, in case he came back early. You know, so it would be a surprise. This would have been a good thing to NOT tell the monster girl. The minute he walked in, she goes, Appa, we have a surprise for you. I tried to gloss over this thing, and say, Oh no its nothing, come on monster girl lets brush our teeth. But no, they barged in and took out the card and she showed it to him, told him its a surprise for his birthday the next day, and that he should put it back in its hiding place! So that, was that.

He left early in the morning for Delhi so I just wished him and went back to sleep. At lunch-time I had a brainwave and went to the photo-shop with a picture from my camera on the memory-stick. The guy printed it out with a background thingy and wrote Happy Birthday on it. I picked a frame from the same store. The photo is one of monster and me. He loves to keep such things on his office desk. Then to the Monginis run by the brother of the photo-shop owner. The smallest cake they could find. The one with fruits on it. Some chips, since he likes Monginis chips so much. We are, of course, on a diet and not eating junk generally, but then, its a birthday, and its a weekday and I am not in a position to cook, really. Then I ran back to my office & meetings.

At home in the evening we got through homework quickly (the OO in Hindi), and as I ran around eating rotis and getting ready, I gave up and let the monster watch some TV that she was on my case about (which it turned out was a bad idea cause now she is constantly after me about TV so much that I have decided to unplug the cable). We were invited to someone's house for dinner, a someone that we could not refuse. I was quite cool about it. It is rare that we get to eat dinner together. So what if its at someone else's house? I half thought that as befits my status as wife, I should throw a fit about this. "What? Eat Dinner At Their House Instead Of A Romantic Dinner At Home?" But then, I was supposed to go to Ahmedabad for work that day (which I canceled finally citing various reasons such as (a) Monster has a cold (b) Its my husband's birthday (c) He is out of town till 7 pm which is past the creche closing time and (d) My brain aches thinking of the flight at 11 pm. So after this and that, and the other, I managed to behave and not throw tantrums. Got us ready by the time he returned from the airport. We cut the cake (minus candles) and ate a teeny-weeny little bit of it. I packed the monster's dinner in a box and off we went on a LONG ride in the car. At least we were together in the car! And we had a drink and dinner together! So what if there were other work-people around? It was our little secret! How cool!

The dinner was great. The single malt was superlative. The monster had some company though they all managed to use the shrewd techniques kids use these days to watch TV. "Mamma, she wants to watch TV" said the boy to his mum. "Oh no! She just watched at home" I said, desperately. "Amma, Bhaiyya NEEDS to watch TV" said mine. "Oh no! They have been watching TV this entire summer vacation. I have banned them" said his mum. I suspect the oldest of them, an innocent looking girl sitting quietly in the bedroom, engineered the whole thing. I did not want to act up too much. The other mum, likewise. The host, who is secure in the knowledge that his girls are all grown up (and married) and he never has to feel guilty about them watching the idiot box, was goading them on, and asking us to relax and drink some more of his single malt. So, that was that, but at least, they were completely out of our hair, the view was great, the dinner fantastic (my tires have grown of course, I had already eaten my dinner at 6:30 at home, but how to tell them that? plus it all looked lovely so I dug in. It was 11 pm at any rate).

We returned home, catching a nap in the car. And the birthday ended. Miraculously, we were on time for school the next day, and I retained my sanity somewhat despite the less sleep.

And in other events, the school conducted a bead-threading competition. My words of advice were concentrate, enjoy yourself, if you get a prize, great, if not, no big deal as long as you enjoyed your time there. She came back and insisted that she neither won nor enjoyed herself. Then I gave her several anecdotes from my school years and somehow at the end she declared that it was fun. Which I am sure it was. Especially since we bought ourselves a beading kit and made two bracelets and a necklace, thanks to the competition. She threads beautifully and skillfully (if not faster than Eena Meena and Deeka!) and loves the dolphin necklace. Her perception of prizes, competitions, and so on are not entirely clear, for example, she thinks she won a running race with a friend of hers although she was slower, because, Slow And Steady Wins The Race! The school was good last year in that they gave prizes to EVERYBODY in the school. Whether they won anything or not. Which is kind of nice because the children genuinely feel sad otherwise, and it is not easy to explain to them that such material things are not important. At least not at that point, during the function.

And now its pouring cats and dogs, and I am concerned for the 12 km race next Sunday. But at least, I am through with the first 'competition' in school, emerged unscathed and still enthu about it, and he really liked his gifts, especially since I made the monster wear a T-shirt that said 'My Daddy Rocks' when we cut the cake!!

Monday, 21 July 2008

Being Invincible

Those days are gone. Just vanished. Poof. Behind now, not coming back.

You know, the days when I could wake up at 5:30, go for a most grueling session of basketball, come back, shower, breakfast, pack bags, cycle to school, sing loudly in the assembly, attend classes, eat lunch, play kho-kho in the free class, dissect a rat in the practical session in the afternoon, cycle home, make a chart for the science exhibition, do my homework, eat dinner, polish NCC shoes and go to sleep with dreams of the morrow.

Also gone, the days when I could sleep at 1 am, wake up fresh at 7 am, brush, bathe, breakfast, go to the 8 am class, come back starving for the 11:40 lunch, eat, brush, chit-chat, wear the khaki and go to workshop, come back, eat bread pakoras (and digest them), go play basketball (not so grueling though), come back, shower, eat, go to audition for a play, chit-chat, drink miles of tea, park the bum in the corridor, cut out a crossword to take to the class tomorrow (hey!), put the clothes pile on the mat on to the bed, and lie down and go to sleep at 1am, dreaming about the dumb charades competition on the morrow.

Irreversibly behind me, micro-waved cinnamon-oatmeal (1 packet), shower, wear layers of clothes and sneakers, run to the bus, in by 7:30 am and working away for a fair bit by the time the rest of the gang showed up and clamored for coffee at 9:30, very sweet American coffee, lunch at 11:30, simulation jobs on every computer accessible to mankind, graphs, emails, more coffee (even sometimes half a donut), take the bus back home to a mish-mash of rice, dhal and veggies cooked in the rice cooker as Seinfeld plays in the back, desultory reading of papers, phone calls to New York, going to bed a little disturbed but confident that the light would appear tomorrow, and at any rate, a soccer game at 3 pm, must not forget the cleats.

Age has surely caught up with me as waking up at 6:30, milk, coffee, sandwich, PUTTING the dabbas in her bag, telling her the road is smooth because of the road-roller and the road-roller is smooth because we made it so, and also very heavy, and, no, they did not run the road-roller in those parts with pot-holes, but they will do it soon one hopes, and yes, it is true all this was a forest before human beings built such big buildings there, and surely it is best that we are happy with what we have and not keep on worrying about what we don't have (such as several arms similar to the branches on trees), and no, I just know the white birds are here but am not sure why they like to be near my office, and okay bye its good you want to walk in to the class alone and I will just stand here a little far way and wave, see you sweetheart at noon. And here at the desk on firefox and two emails later I am just tired.

Yes, my invincible years are behind me. Its not her fault. Children should question things. They are born scientists. Mothers should have known not to exhaust themselves in earlier lives.

Friday, 18 July 2008

Feminine Wiles

In my kick boxing class, for the past several months the steady ones are two women and one (or two sometimes) guy(s). Over the years, there have been comings and goings. Several couples have hung out for a few months and left without notice. Some young girls have shown up creating much enthusiasm all around, but soon left. The young boys have amazed us with their strength and the ability to suddenly peak, as compared to the rest of us, who slowly plod on to our goal. I myself take breaks. Close to the marathon when I am purportedly training for it and cannot afford a three day a week kick boxing diversion. Close to the end of my semester when things get busier and busier. When I spend back to back weekends travelling and need to catch up on household chores and sleep through the week. But overall, a handful of us are reasonably regular in attendance. We all have a very good equation with our instructor, who is really cool, friendly, approachable, and extremely passionate and good at what he does.

The other girl (woman) in the class is a doctor. She is VERY committed. Her recent goal seems to be to lose weight (she is NOT fat though she does not come in the slim category) though over the years I have seen her just be focussed on getting her daily quota of exercise. She works hard. Is amenable to using weights although it makes every exercise so much more difficult. She occasionally hates things to do with jumping, but otherwise, even if she complains, she DOES what the instructor tells us to do. No compromises, no short-cuts, no time wasting tactics.

There is me. I am a bit crazy though very focussed as well. I LOVE aerobic activity and have good stamina for it. If he says run up and down the stairs one gazillion times, I do it. I don't complain. But I don't like stretching. Have some species of mental block towards it, but I try hard though I cannot do things as well as he expects. Repetitions on the bag, usually, even if it is real difficult, I put my everything into it. Generally I don't take short cuts though if I have slept less the previous night, I don't have my full energy. And yes, I am much stronger on my legs than my hands, so I do better with kicks than punches. Recently, he has aggressively pushed me to do push-ups, and the good news is that I can do a good number of them now which means my arms are improving.

Now, the boys. Usually these are a little younger than us. They look fit. No pregnancy flab hanging out. They are obviously much stronger than us. They can probably lift us (at least me) up with one arm and topple us over. They should technically be able to do twice the number of push-ups than I can. Not to mention being able to whack the heck out of the bag much harder than me. Occasionally they show off their abilities with a WHAM! on the bag or by saying 'SIXTY' at the end of their push-ups. But generally, they are so fucking lazy! The two of us women have started calling them our audience, which is a joke ha ha, but not really funny because there we are sweating like crazy and going blah blah and the guys are just chilling pretty much.

Which would be fine with me if they were all flabby babby and I could gloat saying ooh checkout my triceps and they would be ashamed. Sadly, this is not true. They run less than us, they do less reps than us, they refuse to bring their weights, they cheat on the number of reps of things they do, but still, god damn it, they are fitter, stronger, and more muscular than us, and if one of their kicks (even if the form is less correct than mine) connects with me, I know I will be injured. Its damn frustrating.

Monday, 14 July 2008

And Yet Another Year Passes By

Well, the eleventh anniversary came and went (on Friday). I did not nag the husband person about arriving home late (maybe because it was early by his standards, 9 pm). We had wished each other a little after midnight at any rate (I was 95% asleep, 5% awake, I assume I said Happy Eleventh and not Hschumbel Eshumfle). The monster and I had picked up a pink carnation in our walk through the muck to the library the previous night. We proudly handed it to him in the morning. He handed it right back to me and that put behind us the exchange of romantic and pink things in view of the anniversary thing. He said Yeah I will definitely be home in time for dinner. I did not quip 'Whose dinner? Monster's? (8 pm) Mine? (9 pm) or Yours (??? pm/am)'

Tons of people called in the morning. I suspect it was the usual suspects - parents, aunts, uncles, such like. I (sorry folks!) ignored quite a few of them because I was in what can only be terms 'morning school frenzy' which is a complicated military-like manouvre (fuck, what is the spelling of this word?) whose primary aim is to let me get my exercise/blog-fix without acquiring the label of bad mommy (who allows her child to be late for school). Anyway they all SMS-ed me and I replied back (I hope I replied to all the messages!) on my ride into the campus.

The day flowed as days usually flow these days with phone calls and meetings and people arriving late for meetings and examinations and a general feeling of work piling up and never finishing. By the time I did the reverse manouvre (damn it! i really have to figure this spelling out the red lines underneath are driving me crazy. Or is that Krazzy? GAK! I am losing it. Or am I loosing it?) of getting her home and listening to her whine about how I (a) never take her to the exhibition (which is the really irritating set of Korean sounding rides and bumpy cars we pass on our way home everyday) (b) never let her visit her friends (with whom she spends nearly the entire day) and (c) I always say that (whatever it might be that I say. Apparently consistency is over-rated). Homework. My dinner (yeah I eat the roti part of my dinner at 6:30, its healthy, I eat it with vegetables). Fruit. Folding clothes. Some ironing. Some surfing. At 8 pm, I mustered remaining energy for the monster's dinner. By 9 pm I had a roaring headache. All I wanted to do was curl up and sleep. I wanted to hear nothing. No voices. No noises. No music. Definitely No TV.

We contemplated that eleven years is a real long time. So lucky etc. Sorry I could not bring flowers. Oh no you should not bother. I feel bad for the flowers. Plus they pack it in too much plastic. It causes me carbon footprint stress. You want to go out somewhere. Nope. Head hurts. Go sleep then. Yeah, have signed up to go for a run early tomorrow morning. Well, I have to work tomorrow. Thats OK, we will go to the grocery store together in the morning, and I will take a nap. Will need it with this headache and the run tomorrow. Yeah OK. Good night then.
& That, was That.

It was good. My headache was gone in the morning. The run was good. The rain held off till I got home. We hung out a lot through the weekend anyhow. I pulled a marathon ironing session through, completely avoided the idiot box, finished reading 'A married woman' & 'The cleft,' yada yada. The twelfth year starts and I can only hope for more growth, more appreciation of the moments we have, and, when things look bleak, recall the monster in her moments, saying 'this is downright beautiful'

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

gotto change me

a few months ago my mum got in touch with her old friends. growing up, these friends of my mum's were considered beyond reproach. they were reverentially referred to, in hushed tones almost. there were very very occasional phone calls or letters from them, and sometimes, she would hear of them or of their children from someone. there were a few photos. they all looked really chic in their small-pallu saris and large monalisa sunglasses. mum was a different person in those photos, a relaxed, happy young woman, in contrast to her normal state of wrinkled brows and super-fast walking speed. yes, there were a few men as well in the 'gang' - though rarely in contact.

this time around after much egging by us all, they had a small get together. then another. a few of them had recently lost their spouses, most recently one of the guys had nursed his wife who finally succumbed to cancer. i wish i had a telescope or something into their meeting, mum's account of it was sketchy and focussed on what food she served, mostly. nothing on feelings or sharing of joys and sorrows. what did you talk about, i asked her. but in her usual way she warded off that one and went into more mundanities. what was everyone wearing, i persisted. again ignored. anyway, they are her friends, and i can hardly claim any ownership! and, if i was present there, she would have found an excuse to avoid meeting them, i am pretty sure.

at this point of my life, i seem to really understand why she so rarely met up with her friends. dad's friends used to come home often, they used to hang out and smoke and guffaw. some of them had children and brought them, which was fun and strenuous at the same time (if they were younger than us). mum ran around like crazy making food and cleaning up. i am sure no one would have made such efforts for her friends, and, tired out from doing this stuff, it would be easy to totally avoid meetings. sure, outstation folks would drop in for chai, but not with any sense of regularity. gifts even would be exchanged (which never happened in case of dad's friends) but not with much planning, thought or anything. just a sari that was hanging around at home or something like that.

in a sense, i am happy that my husband and i have 'common friends.' which means they are guys, mostly. for an independent and rather eccentric person who pretty much leads a parallel and very complete life outside of her husband's presence, i find immense satisfaction and pleasure when a friend of mine is really liked by my husband and vice-versa. sometimes, that pleasure is akin to jealousy, i do feel that the male-bonding possibilities rob me of the chance to be friends with my friend. but then again, when the friends move away or get married or something like that, and we realise we are just the two of us again, the pain of missing the other person is shared and laughed away, so this common friends business is overall quite a good thing.

if you see me hiding my girl-friends from the husband though, you can attribute this crazy behaviour to one of several things going on in my head. i would be too jealous to see a girl-friend of mine get along too well with my husband, even if i am not that particularly close to her. though it would make me feel too stressed out if they did not get along and i had to play mediator. and, of course, there is some feeling of a loss of personal space, my space that is. and the final reason is that usually when a girl-friend and my husband get along they talk about realllly boring things such as banks and markets and stuff and i find it virtually impossible and unrewarding to be awake. :-)

i have been a zillion times to chennai, to bangalore, to hyderabad, to other cities where people i call friends, some of them really dear friends, live. but i do not always meet them, despite the fact that i feel super guilty about it, not guilty at denying them something, i know i am not that important to them, just guilty about my inability to manage time and do things in life that are really meaningful. guilty that when we are sixty and we finally get together for chai, the sorrows will outweigh the joys and our children will be too grown up to develop meaningful friendships between themselves. in this, unlike in the case of my parents, there is virtually no gender difference in our marriage. i feel the same about the various people that are my husband's friends that we are unable to meet when we go to their cities.

i think my problem is of course one of attitude. i love family functions. i love my family and look forward to the opportunity of meeting them at functions. and i consider it my duty to be there and participate somehow, even if it is to just sit and sit. i dont like to act important and take phone calls during lunch. not that i can, considering my hands are pretty full managing a monster wearing green paavadais and fifty bangles on each hand. but the day before the function, the day after it, etc. leave me totally drained of energy. meeting friends, driving to their homes or figuring out a location to meet them at, the effort seems immense. the joy that i am sure to derive from such a meeting, seems a luxury i can ill afford.

i can imagine my mum living in the same city she was born in, rationalising things. friends who had flown away call her when they come home to their parents, the first few times they meet. mum acts busy, father-in-law to look after she insists. children have fever, she says, her voice breaking a bit. the friends see her stressed out and dont call for a few years. and its not like they dont have preoccupations. their brother gets married. they invite mum. she cannot go for whatever reason, or she goes, and the friend is too busy for them to have a meaningful conversation. dad is generally co-operative in these things, always finds friends to have long chats with in such situations, and is quite relaxed, but mum is worried. children are at home. school tomorrow, lets go, she says. they leave. the next time the friends call is several years later. perhaps phone numbers are lost. mum moves away to another house. loses some friends that way, the ones that lack the enterprise to track her down (which used to be real easy, you could ask pretty much anyone and they would tell you, at least thats what it felt like).

yeah well, i love mum. she is wonderful. the most remarkable energy and discipline. but her priorities need not be mine. friends are precious, just as much as family, sometimes more so as i cannot connect with many of my family members as much as i can with my dear friends. i do like it when my daughter bonds with her cousins, especially important for a single child. and my closest family - my sisters, my sisters and brothers-in-law, are real cool and i do think i have good equations with all of them. but i do need to hang out with my friends and chat and be nostalgic and perhaps sing (even if off-key), compare notes on this and that, whatever. be with people to whom i am kenny and nothing else.

Monday, 7 July 2008

home truths

after a looong time, this weekend, we decided to bite the bullet and go out shopping. we are not adventurous. we are old. we have plenty of things in our home. we are not averse to wearing shirts with funnily frayed collars. we have high tolerance for shoes that bite. our weekly needs are - milk, veggies, fruits, rice, veggies, veggies. these things are available in plenty within a five minute walking radius of the home. so we don't go out in the weekends at all, hang out at home and buy our veggies from the corner gaadi (where gaadi aunty refers to me as 'bacchi' even while her sons stare jealously at the husband carrying beer bottles in a bag).

our previous household needs such as our furniture, the baby crib and baby this or that were all bought in a store nearby, about a half hours drive away. back in those days (some four years ago now), we used to have the enthu to wake up, eat breakfast, make lunch, go out and shop, come back and eat lunch, and so on, on weekends. recently, the thought of such an outing makes us tired and crabby and we yell at each other about why one should wake up so early on a weekend and why one should sleep so late every weekend, respectively (you figure who is yelling what!).

since that long ago shopping spree, malls have sprung up left, right, center and in other similar directions, as well. we hear of this or that one from others. we have been taken aback by some humongous malls that we encountered on our way to a cousin's house in new bombay. people tell us of steals of deals they got on this or that, here or there. we nod sagely and say 'yeah we never went to that one, should go check it out sometime' right.

i have been a few times with my mom, child in tow. once we got tired in fifteen minutes. the noise. the crowds. the security guards in uniform. american corn. we fled. i went one other time alone (with the child). determined like crazy to get two things that were desperately needed (or so i thought). i hung in there and bought those things and we came out with semblances of smiles and got in the car and talked about our big adventure for days...

so it was with apprehension that we head out on sunday (which is absolutely the worst day to shop in these parts). the crowds were out in droves. people were in full sunday finery. i carried just a small juice carton for the monster, having decided to eat there. the husband went to the boys suit place. there were racks and racks of blue cloth for shirts. he picked some of them. they all looked the same, and pretty much like the ones he already has, frayed collars notwithstanding. so i walked out to find some of these funky crocs for the monster. i found them in pink, yellow, and black. the pink was rejected because it said 'sport' in the front, and obviously, it was a fake croc (how does she identify such things, i am such a fruit-cake, i swear i had no idea, thought she would totally go for the pink). the yellow was accepted, and the black was forced upon her (ha, they are also fakes at 195 rupees a pop, so there, little girl). the husband came back after the tailor had exclaimed at the immense length of his arms, feeling rather proud since they had to cut extra cloth for the long hands (and the french cuff of the shirt). he managed to convince me that wearing bata waterproof black sandals with white weird looking circles on top (acupressure madam), was just too much. i got tempted and bought some sandals that he insisted look good. thankfully i avoided the ones that were just slightly big for me though he and the store guy were sure it was ok. last time i got convinced like that my mom complained to everyone who would hear and swore she would throw them in the trash (after they got real ratty and started shedding black flaky things). i avoided that cleverly this time, and still emerged with something decent that fit well and did not cost a bomb. at least not much of a bomb for a chick, at some six hundred.

and that was it. i had made a list two weeks ago of things i needed to buy. the husband took that piece of paper out of my bag and wrote some directions on it and subsequently threw it away. so i forgot half the things i was sure i desperately needed. the shirts and the footwear made it, the monster's because the previous pair bites like crazy (though it was favoured as it matches her jacket, and, the bestest friend of all wears the same thing in a larger size). we were a bit crabby by then. the husband showed this by saying something like 'why do you pick up things without bar-codes? it delays the check-out process, dont you know that?' i retorted with, 'the store person gave it to me, she should know, go tell her.'

we decided to give lunch a shot. every place said there was a forty five minute wait. people waited patiently. we had shopped, for goodness sake. so we hit a creepy looking dosa place. hoping it had south indian cooks. it was one of those funky chinese manchurian dosa type things where the waiters wear yellow hats. we were thoroughly annoyed at everything. the monster was beginning to grate, with her tendency to lick this or that, kick off her sandals, chew for too long, and ask something about everything, and the tendency to say 'i dont know' to anything we asked her back. somehow reined in the tempers, consumed an appallingly bad set of dosas and curd rice and thought, hey, we are in the mall. it must have a multiplex.

of course we are well aware of the multiplex in this mall, my husband having unsuccessfully tried to lure me into movies in the past. he expected to be given the same answer this time. but i was feeling a bit, teeny weeny bit, chilled out after the rice and mcdowell's bottled water (wtf?). so i said, ok, lets do it. we go there, check out what movies are playing and go to whatever is on in the near future, i said, brightly and bravely.

ok but no random bollywood things, such as movies having emraan hashmi, i said.
ok, nothing with priyanka chopra in it, he said.
nothing with new people as heros and heroines, i said.
something hollywood would be ok, he said.
no, that would be painful, unless its a chick flick, i said.
no chick flicks, he said.

anyway we paid up and went to stare at the ticket counter screens displaying to the minute details of the availabilities, net grossed amount in jharkhand, and the date of release of the telugu translation.

three movies were available (dont remember their titles very well):
1. a priyanka chopra starrer. yes, that one with the red hair and pink backpack. rejected.
2. a new hero-heroine flick where the girl wore white clips in her hair, similar to what the monster wears in matching colours. rejected.
3. a rani mukherjee saif ali khan movie based loosely on mary poppins, sound of music, and hum hain rahi pyaar ke (!). it had ameesha (formerly known as that irritating patel girl who gets to get close to hrithik roshan and wear his shirts). rejected.

oh well, we cannot possibly tolerate three hours of random bollywood crap. he said.
yeah, these are too bad. could have managed that akshaye khanna thing perhaps. i said.
how do people handle priyanka chopra. he said.
do you like vidya balan, i find her very annoying. i said.
oh, are jealous since she has these ads with madhavan. he said. (very true maddy rocks)

so yeah, truth is that despite my careful browsing of mumbai mirror and bombay times and so on, i cannot actually tolerate watching a movie in a theater. same with him. we are old. we are intolerant. we have unreasonable expectations of our fellow mumbai dwellers (i.e. movie stars and the like). we are not even convinced we can tolerate a kamal hassan extravaganza any more. we have no energy except to drink beers and watch desultory amounts of television and fold our clothes while at it. and, we need to outsource our shopping. willing to draw feet on a piece of paper and give it whoever will agree to buy footwear...

Friday, 4 July 2008

glad this one is almost done

the week i mean. oh yes, i have dispensed with capital letters for a bit now. just bored of them. the purist in me is getting a bit annoyed and i am thinking of the hundred times i have written 'subscripts' on people's reports and angrily returned it to them, but hey, its friday, its july (yes, truly, these are my excuses).

again this morning an advertisement in the magazine to 'loose weight the natural way' how annoying is that. will that make my pants lose?

yesterday was a good day. i felt a great sense of achievement, although it was partly vicarious, at a successful culmination of four years of efforts. a long time ago friend was here too, as part of the same work event, and i had a great time remembering old days and plotting to take over the world together.

the upper k.g. thing is so far so good. there are a lot of books. hindi. english conversation. rhymes. scrap book. colouring. pencils and erasers. a slate. four-lined book. total cost thus far is Rs. 1382 (school fees + books and other materials). i have had some misgivings, very occasionally, when i see other children wearing smart new uniforms and going off to schools orders of magnitude better (they must be no? they cost two orders of magnitude more money). am i denying my child something?

i have to wake her up in the mornings, something i have never done, except when we have flights to catch. but she is ok. she springs up. the school year is still new enough for her to be super enthusiastic about. this morning i told her about how i used to totally lurrrve going to school (which is true) and she smiled, maybe thinking me real silly, or perhaps in agreement of the feeling.

its rainy off and on out here, nothing too unmanageable thus far. hope it stays like this. i want the reservoirs to get filled and the bloody bmc to be made to realise how wayward they are in their road repairs (which seem to have been done using cardboard, or toilet paper even), but i dont want it to flood and have to make a gazillion phone calls and worry and worry.

anyway i don't worry for too long about the school thing. i figure i am there to supplement school. last night we read all about light and sound and stuff. having bought a nice looking encyclopedia sometime ago. do you guys remember that the reflected image is ulta on one side and seedha on the other side in a curved spoon. because of the convex-concave thing. that was fun though i thought fleetingly that i need some new shiny spoons.

the hindi school book has this strange letter that i never met. for rishi. the husband thinks its hr. as in hrithik. comes up after the aha.

domestic goddess-ing has been very tough this week though. clothes, bags, kiddie books, its chaos. i was out of town the past weekend. that screws things up a fair bit. we leave early in the mornings so i literally have to oust the maid from the house so i can lock up. she, of course, insists she is too sleepy to come earlier. blast her. the milk fellow, lazy bum that he is, waltzes in usually by 9 am so we have not caught him a few days. had to rush out last night at nine to the supermarket and pick up a nestle milk thing. fuck. it costs nearly twice as much as the packet milk.

four to five meetings later will be the weekend. hope no one calls me to remind me of things i have not done, like read the billion things they have given me. have to have to have to go shopping, this is real bad, made out my list three weeks ago but kochi and blore and what not took priority. have to make a crisp plan for it though, accommodating all possibilities including rain.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Rainy Day

alcohol units (so far): 2 calories (so far): gazillion (pakoras in the rain) rain: n mm number of dear family members at home: 2 (yeah!)

6 am last nights downpour is still going strong. it is just not worth getting my feet wet just to go to the gym and work out my tummy.
6:30 am anyway its not as if my haphazard gym sessions are really that useful. will go to the kick boxing tomorrow for sure.
7:00 am oh ho the doorbell, can the cook have come so early. damn. thought i would do some work.
7:40 am ok now i really need to wake these two up. first day of school is so much fun.
she woke up with a jump. what happened amma she said. nothing sweetheart, school today. hmm.
8:00 am eat the oatmeal, eat it now, we are leaving, hey husband, i am leaving, i am going out the door, right now, stop it you monster, get in, get in the bath now, right now
(dont know who was more excited about school, me or her).
9:00 am aaaah successfully dropped her off in school despite wading. bliss to come to office at 9. all quiet and peaceful here.
11:00 am okay you guys i am running away now to get my child from school. we need to wrap this one up. they closed the creche. well, you know how they are... there is bound to be flooding near the creche. no, i am not worried, its old hat now. people freak too easily in mumbai of late. yeah yeah i know what happened that year. but still...
now so the day just got better and better because i willed it to be so. the husband stayed home and obsessively checked his blackberry. i attended my afternoon meeting & found that i actually agreed with what they said despite going in with such a bad feeling about it. discovered that one of the girls was from my school, back in the good old home town. she did not know me or about me, which was rather surprising, but that was fine, the ego was not too too bruised as she was really eight years younger and so obviously a nerd.
the wonderful thing about the husband being home is that, he took over the story session for dinner and, nursing my beer, i can blog and facebook and email and, if and when the mood strikes, work away to glory with no pestering little voice going amma amma (outside) or dude quality time time with the daughter (inside the head).

bridget jones, honey, if you would only give up on it all and accept it when you fall in love, get married and, as we say in India, 'settle down', the advantage is that even if it does rain like there is no tomorrow and you are forced to eat pakoras, you do it with a smidgen of less guilt. oh hell, who am i to hey bridget jones, honey, you? you, after all, are my demi-goddess even when you have a bad hair day...