Friday, 28 August 2009

Back in Class

I was to go to the monster's class today. It is parent observation week in school. Awesome idea eh? Well, I sure think so, 'cause you leave the monkey in the gates at like 8:10 and till 2:30 when you go back to bring it back home, so many things could have happened. Now was the chance to figure out what all those things were.

So there I was, in the back of the class, perched on a blue stool like chair.

& This week already I attended another class (as a student, or rather, as discerning audience). That was at 8 pm. Yes. pm. It was fun. We had to do major juggling to make it happen.
6:15 Monster & I reach home, and fight.
6:40 I feel faint and request cook to make me some dosas.
6:42 - 7:27 Monster spends in bathroom.
7:30 Husband returns home.
7:32 I start shoving food in monster's mouth.
7:46 I leave home
8:05 Rest of students start trickling into classroom
9:15 I leave the class & head home
9:34 I wake up husband who has fallen asleep with his glasses on
9:49 He leaves home to go back to work

I have lost my student-ness. I forget to take in a crossword puzzle to solve in class. When allowed, I tend to sit in the front rows, since I cannot hear too well in the back. I feel excited (and not alarmed) when exams (they are called worksheets. they were four pages long. they had a crossword in there though!). I don't watch the clock every two minutes hoping for miraculous occurrences. I don't find myself thinking 'What the heck is s/he going on about?' I don't dream of a bright future filled with joy. I (for the most part) listen to what they are saying and try to synthesize the information into logical wholes.

Its just not the same, no.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Trg Uyt ghuyto

Yeah well that is how the brain is functioning currently. Sleep is the missing factor, which I cannot remedy tonight as I (hold breath) have a class to attend tonight. And why not, I ask you. I can only attend if the husband reaches home in time for me to leave, so there is the possibility of reprieve. So it led me to think.

Suppose I had the parenting gig on during my graduate school days. How would I:

1. Wake up 7:00 am and catch the 7:15 am (first) bus to the university?
(like now I need two hours to get ready and get out of the house; and that is a stretch already)

2. Saunter over to the grad lounge for a coffee at 10:00 am; severe hunger pangs (despite eating 1 multivitamin tablet for breakfast)?
(i religiously eat breakfast now; but still feel hungry at 10 am)

3. Waste time after lunch watching the boys play warcraft?
(the boys are grown men with parenting duties of their own now. Gah.)

4. Suddenly realise that its 4 pm and time for the invited lecture (and DONUTS!)?
(thankfully, lectures do not imply donuts anymore. Cannot eat that stuff now)

5. Feel tired at 5 pm after the lecture (and DONUTS!) but force myself to slog it till 8 pm?
(ha! 5 pm means only 45 mins to go. Time to go online and browse!!)

6. Get home at 8:30 pm; throw all my stuff around everywhere, switch on re-run of Seinfeld, cook a horrendous meal of dal, rice, and veggies all together in the rice cooker?
(which is why we have a cook, and she made really fantastic stuff last night, with keerai from my own garden; and, TV is very rare now.)

7. Try very hard to read all the stuff I saved up to read over dinner, but finally,
give up?
(still doing this!)

8. Call husband (i.e. the other half of the gene pool) and talk in silences?
(still talking in silences, except without even bothering to call!)

9. Go to bed, mind all disturbed and asking myself the same question "Is there light at the end of the tunnel, really?"
(light was there; and it turned out to be just the entrance to the next tunnel. no problem, tomorrow, as my favourite fictional character is known to say, is another day).

Yeah, how would I do all those things. I dread to think. And I could not have quit, because, you know, I don't do that either. So, onward we move. Onward.

Its better this way. And, after all, I was recently asked if I graduated in 2009 (while in real fact, I graduated in 1995 from here), which means that all said and done the intervening years of: grad school; pregnancy & motherhood; meetings; interviews; breast feeding; conferences; are as if they never really happened, at least not to me.

Tghy THI agoo, to be sure.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Comment Crisis

So there is something absolutely strange going on at work network. Web-pages open. The network connections looks fine. Everything looks kosher. Then when I try to do something active (other than browse), like send emails, comment on blogs, it goes into a weird loop related to the proxy server. I can download content, but I cannot send an email. I have tried all nature of browsers now thinking it was outlook that was a problem or IE (I use a webmail thing on IE or FF for one of my email things); waited patiently for a bit and tried again, but more weird shit happened. Like I would try to open IE (WHY? you ask me. Well I was desperate and had enough of Safari and Opera and I have Firefox configured for another network and don't want to screw it up too much). It wanted to save a page when I tried IE. WTF? What page? I want a browser window dammit.

Anyhow, as a consequence, I am doing only essential stuff at work and I logged on from home to see if I could send out a few emails at least, which were semi-urgent. And yeah, I have not replied to your comments or commented on yours because I can't. Bear with me. I called a guy from the network admin place (I know, dorky, right). He said I am coming right over. That was like a thousand hours ago, you idiot. I did not even get a cup of coffee (anyway was not in the mood, but he does not need to know that) because I feared you would show up when I had gone.

I was just now going nuts as well since the WLAN at home was acting like it had PMS. I mean the signal was okay but no web-page could open. I tried to fix it using their repair thingammy (from Airtel) but it spewed garbage as usual and made me check my phone dial tone one billion times. And there were these green flashing circles all the time going on on the page. Most annoying.

Delhi airport is quite swank, eh? I went in and was thinking I was in LA. They have strollers to tie your kid down into; a kid's play zone; non-stinky, dry-floored bathrooms (which is not what I can say about Chennai. Don't know how we can make a brand new airport bathroom like that), lots and lots of shopping (if so inclined); a nice open structure; enough seating; temperature well maintained (which is not what I can say about, say Frankfurt. Always too damn cold); and at the end of the day what matters is the coffee costs the same as in Chennai (and of course, is almost as bad). Somehow it strongly reminded me of my crazy LA airport thing. You know, when I slept 24 hours straight and almost boarded the wrong flight because I was asleep and just followed some desi-looking critters. Here is what I used when in Delhis IG I Airport:
1. Chairs (nice)
2. Odyssey book store (bought copy of Tehelka; but touched many books)
3. Bathroom (of course)
4. Snooty Coffee place ("Do you have one rupee?" he asked; as he poured a lot of milk into a smidgen of coffee decoction)
5. Boarding gate 14. Which is right after 13. Where a hartal was going on. Which was due to delay of flight. Which in turn was due to late arrival of incoming aircraft. Which in turn was due to late arrival of aircraft incoming to previous location. Which was ultimately traced to the Pilot and Flight attendant indulging in some Mile High Action and forgetting to serve SRK in F-Class; Who in turn was sitting next to Dr.Kalam (unrecognisable as ex-president due to haircut).
5. I religiously stayed 1 m away from anyone who was wearing a green (or any other colour) mask. Even this one tall guy who *might* have been quite cute in a weird kind of perhaps-he-knows-the-password-for-airport-wireless-lan kind of way.

Yeah that is it. I spent two hours in there, wondering about the guy and the lan and cursing the coffee and generally working on this beautiful, dainty little machine, i.e. my Vaio (Hope it heard me and will succumb to the sucking up).

The homies were at a party when I returned to Chennai, and I hopped over too. Was nice to drink a beer and sort of calm down after the trip. Monster fell asleep at their place and we had to carry her which meant that the husb. carried her and I therefore carried his awful laptop bag, my TUMI on my back, the monster's school backpack, her after-school bag, and her sandals. Well, only up to the car, but still I hate having to have anything to do with his laptop bag. But a girl gotto do what she gotto do.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Mental Gymnastics

Considering my small frame, I was an ideal candidate for gymnastics. My school was generally into several sporty things. We always had a decent cricket (boys) and athletics (boys and girls) team. There was basketball coaching, invariably. A long drawn out sports tournament every year, with teams across three classes and sufficiently large number of games all around. Formats were changed often but finally we all got plenty of games and matches and races through the year.

I used to be a sniffly, weak little thing early on in my school years. Extremely tiny to boot. I am convinced that I had won the third price in Potato race in V std (or thereabouts). But the guy who was judging (a family friend's son), I still strongly feel, cheated me out of it. I went crying to my dad (who taught next door) and to date the family brings this up every time we have company in an attempt to embarrass me (BTW, dad laughed and narrated the story like a joke and did nothing). I suppose I owe it to that guy, my determination to do well in sports and there needed to be no doubt in later years as to who won the race. Except one year when I won the 100m by a lot and had the cheek to turn around and look at the rest of the crowd behind me (hey, I was twelve or thirteen years old). My dad gave me a piece of his mind then (he was invited there to hand over our medals that day; would not have bothered to come to just see me run!) and I felt severely apologetic about it, later.

And when I was in VII standard, the school decided to introduce the wonderful world of gymnastics to us. I LOVED it. We would bring out these nasty mattresses and lay them all down in a long line and go 'flip flip flip' down it, the whole length. I learned a whole bunch of things, we had the horse too in the school (No rings). Then some of us were invited to go to the local physical education training institute to practice some more. I felt so damn honoured! My friends and I would cycle over to that place, right by the railway track, and spend hours learning back flips and hand stands and combinations and what have you. Every free hour in school we would be flipping. We would wear our sports shorts under our uniform skirt all through the year. My mum would be horrified when it was summer, but we did not care, it was plenty of fun. Then suddenly one day I just stopped. Gave it up. I still play around a bit and do a partial cartwheel to amuse a child or something, but just stopped the whole thing. Why? Because my BFF and I felt that the coach was being particularly partial to the older girls, you know, the ones with boobs. And we were definitely better than them (we were minuscule and perfectly flexible; had no interest in boys or anything so could dedicate much free time to practicing; of course we were better!). Anyway we gave it up entirely and went off to basketball instead. School days are great, you feel so invincible, and 'whole life is ahead of me' types.

Yesterday I came back from my run (at a really odd time - NOON. Yeah I know, its madness) and found a daughter dressed in:
Red Pants & Yellow Tshirt (a dull shade, both, not as Govinda as you would imagine it to be). I nearly fell down the stairs. Of course I assumed that the husband dressed her, he has this way of managing to bulldoze her into doing what he wants her to. I launch into all explanations (too hot for pants; cannot wear Polyester in Chennai; need sleeves as the place will be cold, etc. She counters all my arguments with some of her own, my brain flips out inside my skull, I swear). But apparently she said 'Today I feel like dressing like a boy' & picked those clothes herself.

Oh well. At least thats 1 day in nearly 2000 days of existence that she has felt like her mother. Who used to peel off her uniform skirt; tuck the shirt into the shorts; and go 'Flip Flip Flip' through the school corridors sometimes.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Rain Ruined Morning

Its a good thing when it rains here. Its a splendid thing, in fact. Yesterday was SO hot that some rain today is definitely not amiss at all. So, last night when I woke briefly at 3:30 (why? why does this happen to me?) and realised it was raining, I was partially happy. Partially. Because we had planned to run early this morning, and if it was raining at that time it was unlikely to be dry enough for it. Not that we have not gone in the rain before, we have. I don't run in the rain in Mumbai, because that is sort of too much volume, but Chennai rains are nowhere near as ferocious. They are mild younger sisters (like me). So yeah, have run in Chennai rains before.

Woke up bright in the morning. Took my stuff out of the bedroom (so as to not disturb my sleeping homies). Brushed. Boiled Milk. Made coffee. Opened out new coffee. Pondered on how to get in touch with ludwig, considering his phone situation. Guns and I exchanged several messages and calls. Some more messaging. Put in the insert in the soles that I bought in the US in May. Its supposed to provide support for my arches (I have flat feet, and pronate a bit). We were going to run long so I figured its time to use it. I changed into my running shorts and tee. Checked myself out in the bathroom mirror (by the process of standing on a little step stool) to see if my tummy was showing (We don't have a dresser or a long mirror, somehow never bothered about it). Examined my bra to see if it had lost any elasticity. It had not, so it saved me the bother of walking back up to the bedroom. I pottered. Read a page of Harry Potter too, while at it. Wore my garden chappal and tested the road and looked knowingly at the sky (looked super dark and cloudy and belched out a few thunders and lightnings while I was doing that).

Finally, cancelled the run. Guns has ominously declared 'I am going back to sleep now, we can run sometime during the day' Its unlikely to work for me. I have duties. Plus the child to hang with. Plus some work which I am unlikely to get to do. Veggie shopping. Cook has declared herself sick (I don't believe her) but that means, cooking. Did I say I love cooking? I do. But my repertoire is shrinking. Which is fine since the husband is just awesome that way. He likes simple foods with lots of coloured vegetables thrown in. I am good at making that. There is some satisfaction in seeing food that I cooked fully consumed and the dish relinquished to the sink. This was last night.

So what if I could not run as planned today? I relaxed, checked my emails. Read a few blog posts. Hung out downstairs, amazed at how dark the sky is (still). The maid showed up. I know I should get up and sort through the piles of puzzles and books the monster has left in her wake. I know I should do something about Independence Day. Should Go Now. As In Now.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

I am here


In bullet points:

* Swine flu alerts everywhere. Local store out of hand sanitizer. Interesting experience trying to buy a mask from a person wearing a mask (I could not hear a word of what she was muttering). No, am not wearing a mask or anything.

* Laptop is dying. In reaction to the burning printer. Yes, I had a printer connected to my laptop. The printer burned. With smoke. I suppose it burned parts of the laptop with it. I have backup. I think.

* I don't have a desktop at work, which means that even if the school & creche were not closed, I would have to be home since I don't have a computer to work on at work (nice sentence eh?)

* Fucking Sony service store. I called. Idiot woman mutterred something and asked me to go to the service center. I said, the one in Adyar? Yes, she seemed to mutter. Except that that stupid store is closed today for Krishna Jayanthi, formerly known as Janmashtami (like blog, mind too has to make the Mumbai->Chennai transition). Ok, I am cussed out I suppose.

* Lab at 2; class at 4:45; child still eating spoon#2 of lunch.

To put it mildly, I cannot wait for the weekend. Which I hope brings something in the nature of relief.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Coffee Breaks

One goes to office for the coffee breaks, right? Well, I sure do (did). But in the past month, several things happened:

* Its a bit of a walk to coffee here
* I don't like to bother friend of mine who has access to closer coffee, she sounds busy
* I am trying to cut back on coffee, as my eyes are glowing red and my stomach does not feel great
* I should really be working more efficiently without taking long drawn out coffee breaks.

With all this in my mind, I am trying to avoid coffee breaks. As also, random blogging.

I am failing in both, pretty miserably.

In one case its a question of will power. In the other case, its a question of, well, will power. I have come up with some good excuses for my behavior lapses though, equally applicable to both

* My long lost friend! (well, plenty of those here. all of them fond of the drink. as in filter coffee. some even having famous blogs by that name, which is thankfully, not updated often enough for me to claim it as a legitimate expenditure of free time).
* What big deal work am I doing anyway! (No, really. I have to think and think and one has to be in the mood, Or I have to read, and one REALLY has to be in the mood to read what a bunch of stuck-up oldies have to say. Same ones who massacre whatever my kids and I write. Dammit. Starting to hate those guys. Coffee!!)
* I am falling asleep at my desk! (The day before, I went with a friend, ostensibly to discuss something with him, but we just gossiped and cribbed about everything and then I spilled coffee on myself. Had to hide inside my office the rest of the day, and of course, internet).
* I am hungry. Wah. (I bring dabbas to office. Don't want to eat them too early. I bring a snack too, like Tirupati Laddoos or Dried Figs. Imagine eating that instead of drinking coffee! But when I eat, gotto read something, eh?)
* My mobile died (?). (see, my mobile died. I was so stressed about that that I had to drink a bit of coffee and hang around a bit on the internet, to avoid spontaneously combusting. anyway the battery just ran out, thats all, but still)

Basically it comes down to a distinct lack of will power. The only recourse I have is to fight it with spirit. For which, I need, coffee.... Here I go...

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Notes to self

I love this grey sari that belongs to my mum. It has a black border and two thin lines of zari in the border. It is, I suppose, forty years old now. I used to adore it as a child and would beg mum to wear it. Now I am glad she did not wear it that much, cause it is still in perfect condition, and I get to wear it. I love it so much that I rarely wear it, of course. I am not as careful as my mum. I have already torn some of her old saris (the yellow with black border one for example. Then I forgot I had torn it and wore it again at some function, and then had to cover the tear up with my pallu and look dorkier than usual. gah).

This weekend, I was telling mum on the phone about a function I had to attend, and she promptly said 'Wear that sari' I replied, as usual, 'No, I might tear it' but she assured me it would be ok, it can stitched if torn, its perfect for the occasion etc. So I went for it. Along with my black Orissa blouse. The blouse is new, but thankfully, did not colour me black, unlike its maroon counterpart.

It felt very awesome to even unfold the sari. There is something in these old saris that just don't happen in the new ones. Of course, as I continue to wear my wedding saris, I find that they are aging well as well. But this one is just spectacular. At least to me. Its really simple, is in my favourite combination of colours, reminds me of a long ago, young, enthusiastic woman who I used to refuse to be separated from, is really easy to wear, and Oh I just cannot stop about it.

I felt so happy with it that I wore it the entire day nearly, up until five in the evening when I changed into basketball gear.

But the problem was that despite the sari, the jasmine flowers, big bindi, bangles (just one on each hand), some lady walked up to me and, get this, pinched my cheeks. I mean, please, a bit much don't you say. Of course, since I don't wear make-up (at all), it was no big deal but still... I don't know why I elicit such weird reactions from strangers. Gah.