Monday, 30 November 2009

Mid-life Crisis and Other Related Stuff

How does one know when one hits the dreaded m-l c? I mean, the movies tell me that I should be out, right now, buying a Red Porsche, and finding the bimbo-est bimbo to cross the oceans to hang off my arm. But the problem with that is that, lets say, theoretically, for the sake of argument, that a R.P. hit me on the head. Or even, gently tickled my toes. I would NOT recognise it. I wouldn't. It might register in my head as a 'Red Car' with 'Four Wheels' and that would be it. So thats out. I am not into bimbos any more so thats out. But I think I have said crisis, its only a matter of proving it. Getting to the QED.

So I was riding the bus this morning (note: I can tell a bus apart from a car, my knowledge of automobiles extends to that). We were a few minutes late stepping out the door and so I did not get my ritual window seat on the bus. So I sat next to an aunty. See on these buses (they are not city buses, they only operate within our campus), the left hand side is reserved for the Ladies, while the right is for Men. This is important I suppose. In other words, I think its ridiculous and absurd. But its a rule.

This rule is followed fairly well. The men don't muscle into the ladies seats. They dont get close and pinch tummies or whatever. They don't poke. They calmly go and sit in their right hand seats. Else they stand, if the seats are all taken. They face their eyes and faces away from the left hand side, which is redolent with the morning scents of jasmine, Vatika hair oil, school ribbons, and aunties. I inhale the bouquet deeply and squish in, my laptop bag and handbag and sundry books arranged about myself, and glasses perched on my head, and add my own scents to the atmosphere.

Today, when I entered the bus, many of the left hand side seats were taken. A few remained, but it could have been a situation wherein I would have entered the bus and no seats meant for ladies would have been empty. The question is, in that case, would I sit on the guys side? Would I? Should I? Could I? (I could; and probably should, being all weak and a lady and all that, but I would not). There, I just would not.

We had a real nice run this Saturday. Ludwig tried his best to act all wilt-y and so on but persevered nevertheless. So we are passing what, in the normal time of day serves as my office building, and on the other side was a platoon of pot-bellied, loud men, presumably earning their chutney calories via gentle sauntering (If you ask me, their vocal chord usage could burn more than the amble, but hey, what do I know, I am a left hand side of the bus, I ought to look ahead and gently tug at my pallu to hide my tummy). We are running, nothing crazy, just a gentle pace, three of us, two guys and yours truly. The men go (at ear-splitting decibels) - "Nowadays LADIES are also doing this, saar, see there."

Okay now.

Doing what? I did not understand. If they meant jungle love (ha!), there is nothing new in that. Ladies have been participating in jungle love for ever. And, more often than not, with men, ever since a Darwinian mutation led to the first male (initially considered a freak, but later ID-ed as the next best thing to sliced bread) being born on this bountiful planet, earlier filled almost entirely with ladies (don't sue me, Doris, in The Cleft, I am aware of it). So, no, not that.

Do they mean jobs? Do they mean wearing pants? Do they mean driving cars? Scooters? Jumping? Looking people in the eye? Carrying mobile phones? Getting college degrees? What?


Running. Oh yeah, the dorks meant me, for my running (dressed most demurely in my black and black nike shorts and dryfit tee and well supported as always). Imagine! Running! Wearing Shorts! And Shoes! And with two guys at that! Shiva Shiva! On the other land, as the most supportive people I was running with said, I might now have single handedly inspired a bunch of middle-aged (!) men to run, holding on to their bellies to prevent jiggling. Yeah, full marks to Kenny. Good job girl.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Its nearly done now

The year, I mean. 2009. We are upon December, very nearly, almost there. Hang on now Kenny.

December is a good month. I look forward to it with anticipation. Its blog birthday month for one (that never gets celebrated around here, do not worry, gentle readers). Its vacation month, for another. I am still reliving our fantastic Goa vacation of 2008, in my mind. The time when Guns ran out of beach, Calangute to Baga; and back. Battling dogs. And food and water and sand and naps. Yumm. Its done with this semester, baby, month. Of course, this year I am celebrating early because I already got done, through a quirk of fate, with my course and exams and so on. I graded the exams on Saturday, spent all of Sunday questioning the meaning of life, figured it out on Monday, and today, on Wednesday, its all done and gone and life is back to normal. And I look to December with eager anticipation. Its also Mumbai (for a week) month, this time around. I am, of course, super excited about it, although I will be spending three full days at a very geeky work thing during that week, I am bound to enjoy it all. I am already slurping thinking of meeting new babies, and old friends.

A couple of years ago, we visited Chennai in December. I must have written about it, but of course, cannot be assed to find it for you, gentle reader, in my own archives. You know that you should not expect links in Kenny's page. So stop complaining. So, bottom line, weather was bearable, which is a HUGE surprise for Chennai. We did some concert-shoncert type thing, which was fun. We saw Sanjay Subramaniam and Jesudas. I liked them both. My husband swore that we would see a lot of them in the years to come. Meanwhile, this year, we are already in place, so should be able to check the scene out pretty easily, except that we are traveling a fair bit, and for some reason, I don't feel like going to Carnatic music concerts.. Nevertheless, for purposes of education of child and so on, we ought to check some of it out, I suppose.

But wait, still, we are in November, another week of it to ride out. This week has already looked very interesting. We had a three - four day absolute loss of power at work. I sweated a million buckets on Monday, and decided to protest it all by staying home on Tuesday. Incidentally, monster chose to develop a mild fever and so it was just as well as I could not send her to school. And may I say, it was much more productive at home than over there. Monster read and napped, while I worked. My office has, meanwhile moved from down to up for various reasons. Its bound to be hot as hell upstairs. I have two options:
(a) Invest in anti-perspirant strong enough for a bear
(b) Lock up the office and work in Cafe Coffee Day
For now, I am choosing (b), while you go away and burn the midnight oil and sell me some snakeskinoil and (a).

I leave you finally, with some interesting insights I gained by reading something called 'Sportstar' this morning.
1. Thierry Henri, during the hand of gaul episode, behaved badly, he should have behaved, apparently, like a man, and he did not. Which is kind of cool, because, you know, I do tell myself often when I am in the mood to wrongly claim that the ball went out when it did not, that I should be a man and not lie and behave in an unsportsmanlike manner. So yeah.
2. Meanwhile, Vivian Richards thinks, for some reason, that though Cricket is supposed to be a gentlemen's game, its first of all a man's game. I am sure this warms the cockles of the hearts of all the women cricketers out there, and inspires them like hell. After all, he is a legend, and a damn attractive-to-ladies type one at that.
So, as my friend Ms.Rum Sant (name changed to protect identity) used to say, "I leave you, ladies and gentlemen, to ponder these matters" while I conduct my own research on anti-perspirants, bears, hairy men, and such-like.

Monday, 16 November 2009


I think I am pretty well-versed in dealing with death. For one, I have often claimed that my own ultimate demise is not a matter of fear for me. I mean, we are mortal, all of us, every single one of us, so what is the big deal. I am confident of having taken some from and given some to bountiful Mother Earth. Disbelieving in the after-life and so on, to me, death is the ultimate closure on everything - the good and the bad. While I cannot claim to expecting nothing, I feel like I am getting to that place, where I expect less and less from others, from myself, and from this life in general.

On the other hand, I flip that coin, and I find myself preaching (mostly internally, of course) about potential, and not disappearing in middling mediocrity, and performance, and passion and so forth. Which is of course, somewhat inconsistent a philosophy, as philosophies go, when coupled with the lack of expectations aspect.

I find in the recesses of my brain, these two statements, on refrain-
* Life is short, hold it by the horns and live it to the fullest
& Life is long, let it go, don't stress about it.
On the surface, this is inconsistent as well. Most times, I know what I am thinking when I am thinking either of these thoughts. At the same time, I know that each of these thoughts separately is meaningless and merely a rationalisation for something that has occurred and needs to be sorted out, mentally.

Ultimately, when I ponder death is when I see the meaning and the meaningless of everything - the material things, the feelings, the emotions, the passion - just everything that constitutes me as a person and my life as a construct.

So in all I would expect that when confronted by death - of a dear friend, of a friend's child, of a relative, of a famous person - I would deal with it well, with equanimity, and dignity, and without self-references aloud but with genuine exploration of thoughts and feelings within myself. I think I get there ultimately, back to my positive persona that you and you see, but still death has me a bit, how to say it, crumpled.

Yes, a crumpled feeling. A quick warmth in the eyes, as I hold back the tears, that show up on cue. A few (or several) hours of dejection. An early morning awakening with a sense of un-reality, a 'Uff Thank Heavens It Was All Just A Dream' feeling, an immediate anger when I remember that it is no dream, a need to SHOUT out, a need to vent, a reluctance to vent to the wrong people, a fear of hurt if someone says the wrong thing (I bet it sounds right to them!), all this and more. In short, I think I am good with it in theory, but when confronted by the actual loss, when I hear of someone's death, when I walk in to a room of puffy faced relatives, when I dig deep and manage to say the usual platitudes, I am not good. My heart beats faster. I lose my words...

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Still Raining

Its hard to believe, but its still raining here! I mean, whats up with that now? I always assumed that other people had mood swings and not me. You know, like people take naps, and I don't. But that is all out the door. I took naps this weekend again. Plus I am having major mood swings of late, try as I might to avoid them...

Super disappointed that I had to miss the ECR run, it seemed like a bad idea to run on a road which was water logged plus had highway traffic running through.

Happy to see everything cleaned out and green from the water.

Irritated at how big a deal people are making of this rain, including my husband, who replied to every suggestion with 'What! In this rain!'

Elated to have found two small snails and several centiped(ish creatures) on various walls, and, possibly a leech in the backyard.

Disgusted with all the mud we have been trailing into the car.

Thankful to driver who shakes out the car mats so many times through the day.

Depressed about missed basketball games, and long runs, and today after nearly a fifteen-day long stretch, did not do any planks/crunches in the morning as really, whats the point, in this weather?

Happy that I could use the school holiday of yesterday to do the thing I have been meaning to for a while, go to the British Council Library.

A tad disappointed with the BC exhibit on Charles Darwin, which turned out to be just a bunch of poster boards in their main library foyer. Too much text to read, and the displays were just seahorse shapes you moved out and there was more text there. Not very creative, I am afraid.

Anyway hippocampus trip yielded the last Judy Moody, which was duly consumed, and, Roddy Doyle is most crazy and the monster enjoyed him so now we are dreaming of going to Ireland. (How big is Ireland? As big as your bum: She got this from the book and whatever, I have let it be, she finds it hilarious).

I think, on balance the rain is good, its fine. My garden likes it. So what if the house/car are a bit icky and I have a bit of a situation with the clothes? So what? Now if I can just get off this pendulum....

Thursday, 5 November 2009

It Happened One Day - Today!

Three days ago, I told my friendly household monster:
"Look, we going to be 5 and 35 only for a few more months; don't you think we should enjoy every moment of it rather than being like the Cats of Kilkenny?"
Meaning, she said nothing then. But you know how scarily things you say get imbibed by your child in manner of an osmotic process which, to you, might seem unreal, and frankly at some point of night seems so to me as well, but I cannot admit it because, you know, I am a Chemical Engineer and all, and my rep to hold up (at least till some point of night; such as, for e.g., this, and I mean Osmosis of course).
Well, anyway, that happened.

In other words, I am constantly reminded that we are only going to be 5 (AND HALF) and 35 (AND HALF) for few short months now.

Mostly, it has been good. I have immediately relaxed onto the low dimensional manifold which is my Zen state; from my usual state of "GABABABABABABBA STOP IT ALREADY I AM COUNTING TO THREE AND THEN THERE WILL BE TROUBLE MISSY"

Sometimes the mommies say stuff like Oh My God I cannot believe my kid is old enough to:
(a) Go to College
(b) Marry
(c) Give birth
(d) etc.
and I always think, What The Fuck Woman? Grow up and cut the damn cord already! Go on a vacation, get a perm, whatever. Stop giving us all a bad rap. Shoo now... Well, I think that in my mind of course, but I would be loathe to say it to your face. Yeah, you too (but I do love you, you know that, right, babe?) So, of course, it came as a shocker to me, my reaction to this
(a) The Monster's First Tooth Fell Out Two Days Ago
See, its in all caps in my brain. Not just in Abc format. I am still unable to deal with it. I am going around saying stupid ass stuff like "OH! But Her Teeth Just Came Out" (Hello? That was, like, in 2005, which is, like, 4+ years ago now). "Its too early, must be from that fall she had last year" (Mmm. Your turn, go on, give it to me).

Today was a rain holiday. I was really irritated by this. I checked the school web-site at 7:13:05 am (prior to proceeding on my morning obsession of PLANKS!! TO BUILD CORE STRENGTH!!). We left home at 8:12;01 am soon after a small yelling and retracting of said yelling session between mom and daughter (viz. Me and Monster). I was jubilant that we got a spot right outside the gate. Woohoo! She was to wear Pink canvas shoes as her school shoes (black, nasty, Bata) were still a bit wet and I am so NOT a mother who can allow her child to wear wet shoes. So what to do?

* The Creche is Out - I have not even bothered with the November month fees; she just refuses to go
* The Husband is Out - of town that is (which makes sense, I mean, why not?)
In other words, she came to my office. We stopped at home first. I fortified myself with a quick cup of tea. She changed into normal human being clothes (as opposed to the uniform, which is made of tent-cloth and would serve you well in arctic winters). We filled a bag with books. The books were:
a) All the Pippi's owned by her (= All the ones that Astrid has bothered to write).
b) One Enid Blyton
c) One Tinkle
Since the plan was to read (a); the little monkey (to simulate Mr.Nelson; close friend and associate of Pippi) was brought along. A satin thingie that came with the chocolate thingie that we got recently from someone was brought along (to serve as Mr.Nelson's bed; if the mood to lie down overtook him). All were piled into the green cloth bag from an (environmentally conscious) friend's wedding. Raincoats and umbrellas were taken.

We had a great time, really. I downloaded a ton of fantastic sounding papers. She read through the entire stock of Pippi. We had a leisurely lunch at home. She then read something else while I put together some notes. She also set up an entire household inside the tent (its just one of those toy tents we have; and I relented finally and set up over the weekend, its very China-made but a big hit with kids; everyone we know seems to have it, we had two and I passed one off quietly to my sis, my nephew sleeps curled up inside it on occasion) while I hmmed and hawed at all her suggestions and pretended to eat all the eggs she cooked for me from inside the tent (we also recently acquired a set of Russian Peasant Doll like eggs; you know, one inside the other inside the another inside the yet another).

We took off at some point to Hippocampus (thinking of Judy Moody; but ending up with Roddy Doyle and a bunch of Blyton's due to lack of time. Hippocampus = Library, fantastic, for kids, you can identify which books are theirs just by feeling them - per monster - they have slightly rough plastic covers on all, just, really fantastic). I went for a run in the campus. She read through the new collection from H.C. I finished my run and we sighted the world's smallest Chameleon (they like the hot Chennai weather; we see them a lot; should let Eric Carle know). The frogs have obviously not had a go at each other yet; could not find any tadpoles.

Back home and dinner and here.

The day has been perfect. Really. Muah.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Drive me crazy!

The weekend was great. In equal parts it had work, play, and a party. Oh yeah, I took a nap as well. Generally I don't do naps. If you know me in person you should be able to say that right off the bat, I don't exude that vibe, you know, a chilled out person capable of taking naps. No, not me. I am too excitable, and to top it all, am a worry wart.

Early sat morning I dissed the husband and child for delaying tactics (in waking up) and excitedly set off for my morning long run with Point Mass urf Guns. The last week's run was in an AMAZINGLY beautiful Kerala location. In fact, we made a weekend trip pretty much with the sole aim of running, and had a great run despite a nagging blister issue in my foot. This week, back in home environs, my aim was to really go for a long time and not pansy out. Next Sunday we run on the ECR (thats East Coast Road) - and mentally one wants to be prepared for that. Not to mention the fact that the Mumbai Half looms somewhat close and I cannot yet mentally cross the Peddar Road fly-over without palpitations. This Saturday, in our deer-filled campus, second wind and overall endorphin-induced euphoria happened. Sorry ludwig, I did, however miss you, if that is any comfort.

I missed the Sat evening basketball game though (18 KM followed by a good number of hours of work + a frustrating shopping session that I am trying to not think about was enough, and there was the party too later that night). The boys say they had a wonderful game. I suspiciously asked them if it was BECAUSE I did not join them or INSPITE of it. The response was annoyingly non-committal. So I went on Sunday night (wait, that was just last night) to the game, and I did think I rocked the game. I got majorly hazed by this older Navy dude we play with, but thankfully my husband did not choose to fight my fight or anything. Also, I wish I was bigger/stronger so I could block Navy Dude out better under the board, but hey, one cannot have everything. My new funda while playing ball is to get some good stretching done before hand. Amazingly, my lower body can stretch well whereas my torso is super stiff and I can barely bend it. I blame running for it. Though the fact that all my fingers are bent out of shape is solely due to basketball.

The party was fantastic, despite the guys going off on a major dumb charades trip (what are we - ten years old?). But really, it was cool. There were all these people yelling out the movie names like they lived-breathed-peed movies for a living, and then there were two of us geeks who had no clue about ANY of the movies and kept everyone on the wrong track by guessing some obscure (to them at least) book name based on the miming. Plus it was dark so it was hilarious when the clue-er would hold up two fingers and half the populace would say 'Three Words' !! The sea breeze was superb, the area completely devoid of traffic and spirits were particularly high and really, it was immense fun. It could be my middle age talking but restaurants are over-rated, we always have much more fun at each others homes.

Work! I know! I rarely work in the weekends. The last time I did was quite a while ago. I might on occasion check my email or something but that is about it. As I said to my husband, who demanded to know, I WANTED to work this weekend. I did manage to schedule it such that it was least disruptive to the family and friends and exercise regimen (I did have to miss one family function, but that apart...), at least as far as I could tell, so it was really nice. I got a bunch of things done, and was pretty excited about working today as well, despite it being a holiday in these parts. Sometimes days when I have a holiday and the monster does not are good..

And, oh, best of all! We have outputted one snake gourd (big one) and another big bunch of greens from the home garden. I cooked the snake gourd with a bunch of other things in one of my colourful subji things last night, and it tasted wonderful (even if I say so myself), and tonight my dear cook will address the greens in a yet-to-be-conceived dish. Last week we had a bunch of very small bitter gourds picked up, and of course, it was just my imagination that the stuff tasted sweet to my tongue. I sent a really tiny one to school for show and tell, it was shown but what was told about it is anyone's guess.

Last, but by no means the least, we come to the monster. Looked ridiculously cute in a green paavadai at the family function. Took a nap with me without undue fuss or behaving like a cockroach thrashing about in bed. Had a good party with little friends, ingesting small amount of food but being overall non-whiny and happy. Slept half-way through, hugging little friend. Enjoyed spending time with her grandparents. Practiced eating rice with her fingers, and, at some point yesterday declared that her mind had told her to be a good girl and therefore she was being such a one. When I immediately demanded to know, told me that she cannot assure anything about tomorrow. Well, at least she did not drive me crazy over the weekend, and we have all emerged stronger and ready to attack the week now.