Thursday, December 31, 2009

Atithi

Guests are always welcome as per our culture.In these times -in metros,where we reside in matchbox type flats,guests lead to a lot of inconvenience but we Bhartiya endure all Mehmaan with smiles galore.Some guests are so accommodating that you end up feeling like a guest in your own house !

When I & my family visit my inlaws ,we eat brunch & drink glasses full of coffee till we have to politely refuse.In this case,though, we are guests,we adjust our breakfast & lunch & dinner to match the timings at the home there.But my inlaws make us adjust, when they come visiting us,  as they are our guests! So here also,we have early lunch almost bordering on breakfast time.Moreover,any new dish prepared is frowned upon-so tastes also have to suit the  guests. I make desperate attempts to like dishes prepared there  when we are visiting ! But, it is a one way traffic-I have to make things to suit them while they are here & the things they make, suit me as I am family,not guest to be pandered to -so obvious,isn't it ? That's why ,I am tense whenever I visit my in laws.My hunger pangs make me angry but, I have to keep smug, for the need to pretend normalcy in such awkward situations !

Then we had a guest the other day- he was a far flung relative.He came visiting & at midnight,he remembered, that he needed to recharge his mobile .My dad went with him of course, but, after trying to make him understand that he could always recharge in the morning.But anyway,it didn't work & our guest had his way.Then, when he was almost ready to depart,he said that he feared that eating at stations enroute may cause him indigestion ! So my bhabhi immediately set to work & prepared rotis & sabzi for the journey.My brother was of the opinion that if he disliked the stuff,he would throw them all & all the man hours nah, woman hours would have been wasted .To this, my dad replied, that nothing would be wasted as he would eat them up.I know that my dad hates wastage but, then ,I did not know that, he would accompany the guest on the journey to keep a check !

I have a cousin who came visiting us recently.She would eat nashta alone later,after all had eaten.When my saas chided her for not eating with others, she said that she is habituated to eating alone .Then we took her to a shop to buy her a dress as a parting gift.She chose the most expensive dress available, making us wonder as to why we  ever  got her to the shop ! Not only that,as she boarded the bus,she said that she had only a 500 rupee note & the conductor will demand change.My hubby took out two to three hundred rupee notes & handed them over to her .His idea was- that was small change compared to the expenses we would have incurred had she stayed longer !

Sometimes the atithi stays so long that he becomes as good as a member of the  household of the host.In such a case,we may be forced to ask,"Atithi,tum kub jaoge ?"

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Rangoliyan



I managed to post this blog today -last week,I had got delayed.Today,there was no delay.There are many errors & I have tried to cover them up.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Kundali matching !

When my marriage was fixed,my kundali was matched with that of my husband & when all was found in order ,did we proceed further.But come to think of it now,I feel I & my husband never agree on anything .We are constantly arguing about every topic under the sun.That's why,I wonder as to  how come our horoscopes matched ?  Only the stars know.

I avidly read the weekly horoscope columns in the dailies.Though,they seldom come true-there is no harm in feeling optimistic by reading them once a week.Moreover,I read such columns in many newspapers -with the result, that, I rarely remember them.I also read not just about my star sign but also my husband;s & daughters-so you see,there is utter confusion & chaos .I can hardly recall what was written about which star sign ! But it also has a positive side effect-I take all good & bad luck into my stride .This star gazing  reading is an addictive habit which I am unable to give up.I like a newspaper only when it devotes at least half a page to the horoscope once a week.That is the first thing,I read in the Sunday paper.I feel incomplete without reading the weekly star power.Nowadays,there is tarot power also -old wine in new bottles but the more ,the merrier is my motto.I enjoy reading them all .

But I have a suggestion.In,our Bharat,a marriage is always between two families.The groom & the bride do matter but only a little.The vadhu has to be acceptable to the saas,sasur,the bhabhi,the jeth,the devar,the nanad & so on.Similiarly,the var has to be approved by the vadhu's amma,appa,bhaiya,bhabhi,dadi,naani,bacche & so forth.So,wouldn't it be a wise idea to match the girl's horoscope with that of her would be saas & other inlaws ? Also,the horoscope of the pa in law should be matched with that of the would be son-'in-law . Well,I stumbled upon this brainwave, as my relatives  have discovered lots of faults in my hubby.My better half also feels my relatives  have  lots of deficiencies.So,I felt, that their horoscopes should have been matched but now,it is too  late.I wish, others learn from my errors .But then what will happen to saas bahu sitcoms if the horoscopes of bahu & saas matched ? We will be watching better soaps -that's for sure !

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Raangolya



Again ,there has been a delay-this time it is more -these were drawn on Friday.The rangoli drawn above is not symmetrical but as I had no patience to redo it,I let it be.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Shhh... Male at work !

This is in continuation of males & females-how men work & how women work.

I know it is debatable if men ever work but still let us suppose that they are at work-in office,at home etal but then their attitude is of  no disturbance.They opine that any disturbance while they are at work,irritates them.When my hubby is performing puja,he will not pick up the phone,will refuse to open the door & keep mum when spoken to.This is because, he is in deep thought about God.But while,I am praying ,I get up to open the door& then continue my prayers.Then,the phone rings & I pick up the phone.It is generally not for me but still I politely reply & then disconnect.Again, I am  interrupted  yet again by the doodhwala,the dhobi,the kachrawala,the maid & so on & so forth.By the end of the day,I have just managed to recite the prayers amongst  all these chores .I also somehow am able to cook a decent  nashta,lunch,& also attend to my kid if she is home -all this simultaneously with my praying.When I compared my praying to my Hubby's ,he replied,"My prayers will benefit you as well." Does this mean that my prayers will not work or maybe he is trying to tell me that the way I pray, amidst chaos -it does not count at all !But then ,I cannot ignore all the doorbells,the kid etal even when I pray.Men ignore all & are indifferent as they know that their wives are there to attend to mundane tasks like the trash,the kid etc.But likewise,women cannot trust men even with simple chores-the less said about the difficult ones,the better...

Just today,I had called up the beautician to come & attend me for henna,facial,etc.But I was tense also -as my kid was home & so was my dad.My dad needs nashta on time.I prepared nasta,warmed the milk,kept the trash outside,made toast for my kid etc etc.If my dad needs a haircut,he will just declare that he is going for a haircut .That's it.But if I have to go for a haircut -I have to make sure that lunch is ready,maid has finished her chores & so on.Many times,women just keep postponing their  medical check ups,even bank work as they feel too overwhelmed by the tasks they have to perform .But you tell men this & they will only flare up.They will rarely do any  such task which is quite silly by their standards .But men always keep reminding the women how important & ,intelligent their work is.Really ! Ours is so essential that it has to be  done then & there but try telling men that !

In the finality,it is that we adjust when we have some exclusive work with ourselves  & it is again ,we, who make adjustments when all others at home have specific tasks to attend to.So,the moral of the tale is -women are excellent at adjustments -as at all other things !

The debate continues ...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Rangolis


I got delayed by one day in posting this.I had already written a post yesterday.So this I have posted today though both were drawn yesterday ,a Tuesday.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Going green ...

Now that a deal has been somehow managed at Copenhagen,how about all of us,doing our bit for greening this planet ?


Well,I have been at it since ages-only, it has become the in thing now.I always used to switch off lights when not in use or when they were  not needed.Yes,you guessed correctly- I do wear glasses but then the two are not related.

My dad joins me in this- in fact,he is the one, who took the lead in this.He never switches on the fan unless it is .unbearably hot.He feels hot only when he switches on the fan &  he starts sweating as the  running fan reminds him of the spiralling  electricity bill ! I also ape my dad in this respect, but, not completely.Moreover,I feel a stationary fan gathers less dust & so I have to do less of cleaning up ! So,you see, that this is pro -green as also good for relaxation -when you work less,you relax more !

I try to carry a bag whenever I go shopping- cloth bag .It is advisable, so that I can tell the shopkeeper to put the items in my bag rather than he handing the items to me in a plastic bag which is manufactured of a micron value less than allowed under the law for the same.Hence, such bags are all anti green .

I have also started using water wisely-I use the water to wash rice & the same water I reuse to wash dal & again reuse to wash the veggies daily.I am doing this for purely selfish reasons ! The Municipal   bulletins  on the water scarcity in my city  have scared me to the hilt to take drastic corrective measures to conserve water !

I also walk to nearby places like when I go shopping for groceries ,medicines ,toiletries as they are all available locally.I walk as this saves money,is  healthy & does not leave a carbon footprint ! What more could I ask for ? For the same reason ,I do not own a vehicle.I prefer public transport over autos & taxis.
I separate wet trash & dry trash so as to ease  garbage disposal.I use both sides of paper & read many things on the net . I recycle old clothes by passing it on to my maids,milkman,etal.I also use less of soap & detergents so that less water is needed.Moreover,the chemicals in the detergents & soaps cause more harm than good.Obviously, they add to the pollutants in the atmosphere making it unhealthy.

I have lessened my visits to hotels & restaurants as the food there makes me sick with  indigestion.Moreover,the method & ingredients used are all suspect.Compared to that, home cooking is clean,fresh , delicious & obviously healthy ! Moreover,I have discovered that I am a good cook so much so, that I have uploaded  my recipes on to  my blog !

I chide my kid also to use paper economically .I tell her that it is wise to be economical in habits as many more can use our scarce resources  & that too for a longer period .
I have learnt that being economical with habits is being green -which is the need of the day now.Thankfully,I have always  economized which appeared like miserliness to others but then ....in this age of spiraling prices,it pays to be thrifty .Thriftiness translates into going green - what a wonderful double whammy !

Friday, December 18, 2009

Rangoliyaan



I have used Hindi word as title.I have no comments to make except that God has inspired me yet again .That is why ,I have been able to draw  unique designs today.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Men & Women.

This is a topic on which all of us can go on & on...We all agree that men are different from women in many respects -physically as also mentally.

Women will always think about the family first unlike, men, who will think about all, except family.They feel it is the woman's job to even think about the family !It is not that men are terribly busy at work in office .It is just the way they think -an innate ,inborn, inherent  tendency to think only about themselves.Men gossip at work & outside & I feel they are more at it than the women, but women are always blamed for being rumor mongers.How unfair !

I have a brother who is so much in love with the computers that if my computer breaks down ,he will come rushing in to have a look at it.But if anything were to happen to me,he is least bothered.My hubby is a step ahead.He is in love with nobody.He will always excuse himself in any emergency as he cannot get leave or that leave won't be sanctioned.

My friend 's  hubby  opines  that hard work never killed anyone ( he actually means women-his wife) but then he does not want to try it himself !I have a cousin brother who will always side with the maids whenever his wife complains about them.He believes this is his way of being pro-labour.But he has no sympathy for the hard labour his wife puts in to keep the house spic & span.My brother in law works for a finance company & he is forever working there on festivals,holidays et al.His wife says that he is wedded to the company & not to her.Obviously all at the home front is her botheration.

Recently,I accompanied my kid  as she had to be dropped at a school for a mathematics competitive examination.It was a Sunday & the test was scheduled to start at 12 in the noon.Many moms had come to leave the wards but fathers were few & far between.So,on Sundays also, dads are busy - in fact, they are more busy on holidays -reading newspapers ,drinking endless cups of tea,coffee,relaxing amongst other things ! Mothers are always relaxed -so they never need a break !

Many men will not do any household chores as they feel it is not their job but slowly attitudes are changing.As women go on jobs out of their homes,men have to share housework.But still,in India,men are not brought up that way .As Gloria Steinem opines,"We've begun to raise daughters more like sons... but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters. "


Women are the care takers in the family -men aren't bothered -they state that women are the best nurses.This is very convenient thinking so that men don't get involved in the caring .They all are cared by the woman only- no matter, how busy she is .Caring is her duty.In our nation,men decide about when he can have sex with his wife,which college the kids will go,when will the children be married ,etc.But the woman has to nurture the kids ,do seva of the senior citizens at home & so on & so forth.Her opinion is never sought about higher education for her children nor about the marriage.She is like an unpaid servant whose presence is acknowledged only when things go wrong .Gloria Steinem said ,"Most American children suffer too much mother and too little father. "This is true for all nations & across all communities -the world over.



Though,we all are slowly & steadily changing -men coming to terms that a woman can also get tired even if she is only a home maker ( a homemaker works as hard as women on jobs- maybe, harder).Women are also scaling new heights & leaving sacrificing themselves at the altar for family,etal -they know being a devi is not worth the effort.It does not promise divinity.


All said & done,females still think about others before themselves. To quote Gloria Steinem again,"I've yet to be on a campus where most women weren't worrying about some aspect of combining marriage, children, and a career. I've yet to find one where many men were worrying about the same thing."Such a long journey has been traversed but ,still,we have along way to go...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Raangolya




I have used the term "Raangolya "-it is the Marathi word for rangolis.

Pl suggest words used to decscribe rangolis in other languages-I will use them as titles.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Books

Books are very dear to me & I am sure, to many of you.Maybe, more dearer than books are to me.I have a reasonable collection of books.There are a lot more books which I would like to possess but I wonder if I will be able to read them.Moreover space is a big problem -where do I keep the books ?

I have books like Yes Minister,Yes,Prime Minister ,Sudha Murthy's collection of stories,Politically Correct bedtime stories ,one book on Vedic Mathematics,Development as Freedom by Amratya Sen,Laurie Baker by Gautam Bhatia,On Balance by Leila Seth,books by P.G.Wodehouse ,etc.I have read some of the books & some are still to be read.

I have read many comics whilst in school-Phantom,Mandrake,Amar Chitra Kathas & the likes.Later,  I  was in awe of film stars & would lap up all gossip in film magazines but as I grew up,I lost interest in them.In my higher secondary,I would borrow Nancy Drew ,Hardy boys,etc   from the well equipped school library & ; read them in one stretch.Later,I discovered , Agatha Christie,Sherlock Holmes,etal which survives to this day.But I have also developed an interest for humour as well.That is why, I consider, the Yes Minister & Yes Prime Minister as classic books-the satire & sarcasm is really applaudable.In fact,I have enjoyed the reading of the books more than watching the televised series.At one roadside stall,I even glanced, at the Indian version titled,"Ji Mantriji" .I wish I had brought it then.I will try to buy that one as soon as I can.I still remember, the Desi  televised version "Ji Mantriji " starring Farooq Shaikh as the  helpless Mantriji .It was very well made .

I have tried to inculcate in my daughter, a love for reading books but have drawn a blank, so far.I got many books for her but, she insists, that I read & tell her stories, even now, that ,she is more than nine years old.So,I have stopped buying books for her- at least, for the time being.I have given away books as return gifts on a few  of her birthdays as I feel, that reading is a worthy habit .But my daughter pleads with me all the time,"Mama,no books please."She tells anyone & everyone  who asks her about her choice of a gift that except books,she will like everything ! I wonder, when she will start her love affair with books ? !

But a local library has manged to attract her.As ,the charges are quite unreasonable,I have forbidden my daughter from joining it.I have told her that she can join the library after she finishes reading all the books got for her at home.She has not asked about joining the library again.So,I failed ,yet again, in getting her to read.

My blogging & household  chores leave me little spare time in which I can read books now.I know,I am the loser, as I have to read more to enrich myself.Books have helped me so far, in making my life interesting by informing me about a variety of subjects.Even, my  blogging, is a result of my ideas formed by reading books.So,if ,I want to attract more readers to my blog,I better start reading books with renewed vigor .

Friday, December 11, 2009

2day's rangolis.



I was inspired by the rangoli drawn by a friend outside her door .She stays in the same building wherein I reside.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Redevlopment

The Mumbai High Court has ruled that even one member can stall redevlopment by refusing  the same.This gives a lot of power to members individually.Actually,it is a triumph for the  individual.It is against the builders lobby ( sorry renamed as redevelopers ).

Many re developers have become builders now, after redeveloping old buildings wherever possible or rather made possible by their own intrigue.Re developers are experts at developing themselves not the buildings ! If you need any proof,please have a look at the SRA  ( SLUM REHABILITATION AUTHORITY )scheme wherein  all involved, are millionaires now ! But have the slums decreased ? No, so you have it there. Slums have increased & at a faster pace after the SRA came into existence.So much for have nots- more of them now. Actually,after some time,even we, may be, staying in slums thanks to the builder-redevloper-politician nexus .Moreover,we do stay in buildings but the other conditions-the facilities ( if any ) are worse than available in slums .

One answer for the builders against this judgement would be to approach the Supreme Court in appeal but then they know that they may lose there as well hence,this request  ( read order )to the powers that be to pass ordinance.We always suspected that criminals ,antisocial elements,builders,redevelopers etal were unofficial consultants to the Government & this just confirms our suspicions.This also makes them official consultants ,isn't it Mr Sunil Mantri ?Ordinances are superb tools with the Sarkaar as the Ordinance is passed by the Governor when the legislature is not in session.Not that our legislatures, whenever they are on, have given us any reasons to be proud of them.How can we trust these netas-opposition as also the rulers as many of them remain absent even when their questions are up for answers in the Assembly or the Parliament ?

But obviously,they are so busy redeveloping the city,the slums,the market,the trade,so & soon & so  forth-that they cannot  attend mundane matters like the question hour -so what, even if, they had asked the questions ?All are land sharks & will go to any extent to redevelop themselves.

Why can;t we have buildings wherein we pay a reasonable rent to the Government, like say, in Singapore ? This is because our netas want private lobby to develop our metros,cities,slums etc.or whatever is left of them after they have had their shares.Our cities are hells & our villages have fared even worse.So,there is constant migration from the villages to the cities .For all this -our leaders are to be blamed.We should start a public campaign against all this redevelopment which is just an eyewash to bleed us all !

The High Court has taken the first step -let us take it further & prevent further degradation of our surroundings & ourselves.This will also be our contribution for greening Bharat & thereby the Brahmand !

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Aaj ki rangoliyan



I tried a different idea of two birds facing away from each other as the base.Then ,I drew as my hands led me on wards.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Quandrary

My friend referred a young girl to me .The girl is a beautician but she does it at the home of the client .There are many beauticians like her in a place like Mumbai.This works for her as the rents are quite exorbitant & so she comes to the customer's place & offers her services.It is cheaper & also the person feels comfortable as it is her own home.

I have lots of grey hair & so for the first time,I asked Ragini( I have changed her name) to only apply mehendi to my hair.She did that in a jiffy & that too for a very reasonable sum ( cheap that is reasonable for me-typical middle class kanjusi or miserliness).The next month,I again longed for mehndi on my hair as people started referring to me as granny instead of aunty.This was the sign, that I needed, another coat.I called her up umpteen times but she did not pick up her cell.My friend had cautioned me that she will pick up the phone when she is free.Later in the evening,I called her up again & she responded.She was too busy that week,she told me .So,we fixed  up an appointment in the next week at eight in the morning.She was willing  to come at eight.She told me that she attends at even earlier timings.This time ,I told her, that, I wanted to do facial  as well .So it was all set.

She came at the appointed time & first started applying mehndi.We got talking as she applied the mehndi .She lives with her mother & brother in the city .She has been earning since the last five years as a beautician.Her brother is married with two daughters.Her bhabhi has left the matrimonial home & is staying with her parents as she is insisting that her hubby should separate from his mother.Since this is not being agreed upon,she has left.Ragini said that her bhabhi wants a servant in the house  which is unaffordabele.Ragini's brother had lost his job a year back but now thankfully has been reemployed.Even when, Ragini, was the sole earning member ,Ragini was doing a large part of the household chores before she left for her duties.Still,she stated ,her bhabhi was dissatisfied.Ragini's mom also does a part of the housework.Now,there is a stalemate with the bhabhi stuck up at her parents place & hubby disagreeing for a break up from  the mother.Ragini told that her bhabhi's parents support her only & want that they should stay as a nuclear family.

The mehndi was over & Ragini proceeded to do my facial.She did it with sincerity & left me impressed.She is quite young -maybe just twenty two or a year more.After she finished,I enquired if she would like a cup of tea.She agreed provided I was also drinking.I needed it & that's the reason ,I had asked her.I made tea & we sat sipping tea.I just mentioned to her that she should go & buy dress materials at a sale which was going on then in the city.She replied that she was so busy that she never had time.But I insisted & said that the sale was really good for dress materials & sarees.She promised that she would try.Then she told me that she recently got an expensive dress near her home ,After one wash,the color faded & all the embroidery started coming out.She went to the shopkeeper to exchange it or get her money back as the dress had cost her more than fifteen hundred.But the shopkeeper simply refused.It was then, that she approached the local unit of a political party .The workers of the unit coerced the  shopkeeper into exchanging  the dress.As ,I heard this,I was shocked ! I tried to make sense of this - political pressure  for exchanging a dress ? ! But I tried to keep my composure.She said that she got another dress & has henceforth, decided not to buy any costly dress after this experience.

 I can understand, that, for Ragini that dress was too expensive & then it getting spoilt after one wash was just too much for her to digest.She is struggling to have a decent life- working so hard & this frustrated her .When the shopkeeper refused her,she resorted to this idea of asking the local thug to bail her out.She did succeed .But can she do the same thing with her bhabhi to bring her back home ? Very doubtful & most unlikely as that would be too personal ,isn't it ?

Ragini is coming again to attend  on me this month.Hopefully,her bhabhi would have  come back.I am sure,even Ragini realises that asking goons to interfere is  not advisable as it could  backfire anytime.Or maybe it already has but her lips are sealed .

Friday, December 4, 2009

Price rise.

The government finally admitted what we all had been suspecting.That prices have risen alarmingly in an year ! Obviously against mounting evidence ,the government had to agree that inflation is on an all time high.

But that doesn't seem to spur the governmebt into any action.The other day our honorable Finance minister got wild when Brinda Karat interrupted him about the issue.He argued that the shortfall of tur dal cannot be made up & hence he is helpless.Now if our ministers say so,then why are they in the government ? Moreover,suppose that we take his opinion as the fact about tur dal,what has he to say about rising prices of other food items like rice,vegetables,fruits,etal ?There are no answers.Actually,there are but then our netas choose not to answer them.

Really,if even a problem like rising prices cannot be brought under control,the less said about other problems,the better.This government has betrayed the voters who gave them such a thumping majority by inaction & indifference.There is not even a  pretentiuon of trying to sort out any problems including rising
prices.

As a member of middle class,I will just curse & move on .But the poor are the worst hit.Moreover,those who are just better off than the poor have already slid down to below poverty levels by now. Many lower middle class people also will come to be counted amongst the poor now.The government was voted to power by these very poor people.Really,how are the voters feeling now ?I think tired by the explanatiuons given of trying to control price rise.Because,there is no evidence -not even an iota of it to prove that somebody is on the job.

Retailers are having a whale of time stocking up on food & selling them at a premium.As my vegetable vendor told me,"Abhi election main jo paisa kharcah hua,vo kahan se nikalenge ? Aise he nekalenge hamarey neta-daam badhakar."

Today's rangolis.



I tried a new geometrical figure -the pentagon & it seems to have worked.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Woes of women

Today ,I read three informative articles concerning issues afflicting females.All three are equally important.So,I thought,I need to put in my views here.

The first one is about how lack of bathrooms is affecting female drop out rate.Since toilets do not exist or even when they do are in a woeful condition,girls drop out.I agree with this as my own kid ( a girl) is desperate to go to the toilet once she returns home.She rarely visits the school washroom as she opines that it is untidy.She is going to a reputed public school.The article was stating the about the drop rate in Muncipal schools.Not only schools,even at other places,women find it impossible to find toilets -at ST stands,railways stations,playgrounds,etal.Sulabh shauchalays are also dirty .I witnessed this on my recent trip to Goa,which is a tourist destination attracting Westerners.Really,the scene is grim.How can we empower women at any level ? Urban women also feel helpless in cases such as these .We are unable to fund even basic facilities like toilets for women.In rural India,where toilets are even less or non existent ,many females are forced to go out in the open.All this leads to men ogling on them leading  to molestation,rape,assaults & what not.I wish ,we all could just start a campaign to fund toilets at public places so that women can heave a sigh of relief.

Another issue is the climate change.Climate change is forcing  more women into poverty & at a faster pace.Some economists speak about "feminisation of poverty" meaning that poverty among women is going up at a faster pace than among men.Women are getting malnourished more now as there is less food.So a woman sacrifices her food for her family.They are also more anemic than before.Though they till the land,they are not yet recognised as farmers.This is a double jeopardy.As vast tracts of land are deforested,they trek longer to collect water & firewood.So there is no reprieve.This is specially so for the lowest rung -the adivasis &  the dalits.The solutions suggested are to give recognition to women as farmers so that they can get loans & other benefits under the numerous schemes.Another step would be to fight climate change at our level as well.We could do with lesser chemicals( detergents,soaps,etal) ,use less power & energy ( perhaps emulate California & ban LCDs which are energy guzzlers),use solar energy ,etal.Let us take a pledge today to go green.It will not only help women but all of us-about this, I am certain.

The third issue was about dating in India.Girls are lured by their boyfriends & end up getting molested,raped,assaulted etal.Those who are unable to move on in the aftermath commit suicide.Now,girls ought to be cautious.In our homes,we need to talk things out with our moms,grandmoms,aunts,sisters,if not dads,uncles,brothers,etal.Isn';t it better that the girl talks about meeting her boyfriend without embarrassment with her family.If the family feels this is too ridiculous an idea,it better be ready for any lethal result.Because all said & done,the girl can be prevented at some times but not all the times.Moreover,sometimes preventive measures like marriage ,captivity,etc may backfire leading to more problems.I personally feel that girls need not try to seduce boys.The increasingly falling sex ratio will ensure  that males will try to seduce girls .Not that I support the lopsided sex ratio .Moreover,once any girl gets married,she will realise, that no man is worth any seduction anyway.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Mangalivaar ki rangoliyan




Looks like my mind has reached  saturation point.I am finding it difficult to get ideas for rangolis.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Shukarvaar Ki Rangoli



I have not made a perfect square in the rangoli below.I feel that I am running out of designs.I have to seek inspiration now.Any suggestions ?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

2day's rangolis



These rangolis are drawn today.Tuesdays also,I draw fresh rangolis for Ganpati.I felt, that I have crowded today's rangolis with too much of patterns.

I use rangoli powder which is coarse & grainy.I decorate the rangolis with haldi & kumkum.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The net.

I think the net has revolutionised the way we communicate with each other in the last ten years or maybe longer.I said last ten years because I understood this phenomena quite late & have got hooked ever since.

I email to all on my list without discrimination & also chat .I have signed up for twitter as also facebook.I have also started blogging.All this networking has helped me to fight loneliness & boredom.It has opened new doors for me ( not windows !).Like,I have started taking snaps of rangolis which I draw & created various albums with rangolis as a theme.Further,I have started inserting images of Rangolis on to my blog as well.This has also helped me in updating my soft skills.

I also keep searching for recipes needed on the net.This has led to discovering some very good blogs on cooking.This in turn has encouraged me also to try at being a blogger on cooking.I am really amazed that so many people  invest enormous amounts of time &  labor on their blogs.The cookery blogs are so vibrant with wonderful photos as an accompaniment.

I have formed a loop in which all my cousins & relatives get to see photos of extended family.I also update them about promotions,births,marriages in the extended family.In this age when ,we can no longer meet each other physically,this is the best way to keep in touch.

I was able to take part in an online novel writing contest last year as I read about it in the Times of India.Though,initially,I was unsure about the story,my  efforts, my perseverance lasting till the end,I was able to complete it . I even received a certificate from the organizers of the contest for successful participation & completion.All this has endeared the net to me.

I also read about an Indian site wherein,I had to upload my novel & I did that.The site is under repair now but till it worked,I pestered all my e-mates ( all on my email list ) to post their comments on the site.I  strongly suspect that my emates have a hand in the site undergoing repairs !I am sure that more than me,they want my book to be published so that I will get busy.Then,I will be tied up & there will be no bombardments from me.

But then I am   incorrigible ! Now,I have started posting my comments on  various sites.Then,I email all to inform them that my comment has gone live on the site.My e mates are fed up,I am sure of that.They are praying for  my computer to crash or maybe that  I go on a holiday etcetc.But then ,my addiction has reached such  a situation that I went to  cyber cafe  when my system was down.So there is no reprieve.

My brother insists, that we talk on the computer only as this is cheaper.With the web cam on,we can even look at each other as we talk.It is as good as meeting each other -of course, separated by screens.

Now,there is talk of email also disappearing as youngsters find it too be too slow.They are in favour of texting,messaging etal.That is why,even I have signed up on social networking sites.So,those of you,who thought that my mail will meet a slow end,beware! I am earnestly preparing for the next onslaught !

Saturday, November 21, 2009

India : Filth capital.

Our minister for environment has said that India would easily win the Nobel prize for filthiness.So truly said.We don't really care about any cleanliness except , perhaps, our own homes.We keep surroundings dirty & untidy.Similarly,we litter trains,buses,public places,etal.We feel that it is our right sorry that we have a  license to dirty around.In addition,we believe, that it is the responsibility of our Government to clean all the dirt.

How irresponsible can we get ? Moreover,how do we forget that no facility comes without a price ? If we want to keep littering around & want cleaners to clean up after us,we have to pay a heavy price-literally .Obviously higher taxes .As it is,all crib about high taxes but India being a welfare state,there is no escape from taxes . Our dirty attitude will keep the taxes high & in all  probability  even raise the taxes.

Actually,becoming clean has so many plusses- less diseases like malaria,diahorrea,dengue,plague,etal Another is that a clean ambiance will add to the tourist inflow.The money saved by being disease free can be invested elsewhere like education,environment ,etc.

The plague in Surat cleaned up the city.Do we need another epidemic to make us go clean ?

Moreover by being dirty,we are torturing the poor.The rich can afford to be sick but the poor can't even get medical aid for the simple reason that it is too pricey.So,we all haves have a duty to keep clean so that we don't spread filthiness around harming the have nots.

Many Indians,especially those, who have lived and or travelled abroad are always praising other nations about the clean roads,cities abroad.But these same persons will litter the roads in India with cigarette packs,chocolate wrappers,plastic bags,cartons,etal.This is because,if one of them does that,how does it affect anyway ? Moreover ,since everything is so dirty,how does one more bag ,carton make it more untidy ?

Policing in our nation is quite difficult because of the huge population & also because additional resources will be needed.So,it is high time,we learnt to be clean & tidy .We,Indians are very religious.It is said that cleanliness is next to Godliness.So what is that prevents us from being clean ? 

Let us, at least ,make a sincere attempt to prove Jairam Ramesh wrong .On second thoughts,if  only our netas could come clean ...After all,everything is in the mind.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Rangolis drawn today.



Today being Friday,I perform Shri Lakshmi Puja .I draw fresh rangolis on two platforms -one below the other.They are in my kitchen.Both platforms are of cudappah stones.

I try to keep basic pattern same for the two rangolis .Then ,I change the outer design.It all depends on what just comes to mind & my hands move accordingly.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Work at the office.

As I went on my daily walk in the evening,I remembered the kind of jobs I had performed in Office.

I was posted in a moffusil office in the beginning.We had been warned during our training that the offices would make us do jobs like filing papers et al & that is what precisely happened.On the second day,I was told by the head clerk to start filing claim papers in the numerous files.I did as asked as I myself had asked that I be given some job.

There was a water problem-shortage of water.So,we would go & request the landlord who lived at the back of our office to turn on the tap.Now,our suggestion was considered qyuite atrocious & the landlord would coolly inform us that the Muncipality was responsible for water & not him.But we used to persist with our efforts.My ex-employers executives had this fixation of having their various offices in places where they would pay a pittance of a rent.What followed later was an ordeal soory,ordeals for the staff posted at those offices.Water shortage was the common complaint. There were others like power going off sometimes for the whole of the day but our executives just looked through all this.

So,in these circumstances,I teamed up with another colleague to fill up water for drinking.The colleague was physically challenged but still others rarely assisted.They were angry that the management was so unkind about our water woes.Later,we started ordering mineral water for all but that would lead to fistcuffs with persons holding on to their bottled water as if there was a drought.People stopped bringing water from home!

I also once sat in the office on the floor to tear up old records which were no longer needed as nobody else was ready to do it.Moreover,the staff was doing their routine work.Since,I was the only one who was not assigned any specific work or rather, I was the officer & hence all office work was my responsibility,I ended up doing it !

When,I was posted to a suburban office,I had to accompany the peon to the bank as a shock absorber.The bank was perpetually angry that we were depositing cash very late in the day.So,they would admonish the peon.So,the peon opined that as I was in charge of accounts,it was my privilage to listen to the lectures at the bank.The bank manager was a lady.She had visited US & was all praise for the offices,the people there.I wanted to blurt out that if banks can't put up with cash deposits which are within the day ( though somewhat late),how does she expect others to be Americanised ?But then she was a true desi -she was so very patriotic !I also used to be in charge of the cash box keys.This resulted in getting into arguments with the boss more than once.My kid was sick & though a duplicate was available with him,I had to travel to office just to deposit the keys.

At moffusil office as also at the suburban one ,I was also in charge of marking the muster roll.This would lead to all sorts of tiffs with the staff.Some would come so late that their presence in office was as good as half a day.Citing that ,they would sit idle till lunch hour disturbing others as well.My bosses would invariably,condone all late marks including half day & send the muster register back to me.I could never understand the logic behind all this generosity.The reason given was that we needed people to finish pending work ! But nobody wanted to analyse why work remained pending -of course,due to the officer in charge-that is me !So all this sympathy was for me & I could not just observe it ! So ungrateful of me !

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Encounter.

This happened whilst I was in my first year of college.I was studying at Pune & had come home to Narora,as it was Deepavali vacation.Narora is a small village in Uttar Pradesh.My dad was posted there at the Atomic Energy power plant.

All my school friends were also in college but they were not yet home for Deepavali. I was getting bored with no friends around.One day ,my dad announced, that, a vehicle was leaving for Delhi on some official work on the next day.One of school friend's dad would also be going in the vehicle,he said.I was delighted.I thought,why not travel with my friend's dad & go & meet her at Delhi.She was studying in a women's college in Delhi.So all was set.

We left the next day - it was a Matador.I was seated in the row behind the driver with Uncle,my friend's dad.There were one more person seated in the front besides the driver.He was travelling to make some purchases for the Grocery stores.We were all from the colony, set up, to house the people, who were working at the Atomic Energy unit.So,we were all known to each other.

We reached Delhi.The vehicle dropped me & Uncle at the college campus.I was thrilled to meet my ex-classmate & we gossiped non-stop.Uncle meanwhile, attended to his errands.He returned in the evening by about five.The vehicle had also come back with the driver & the other occupant.We were told that we have to pick up an executive from the airport at around ten.My uncle suggested that we all should stay back in Delhi & proceed home early next morning.We requested the College authorities to let me stay for that night but they refused.So,it was decided, that we will depart after the executive joins us at the airport.

After the arrival of the executive,we started on our home journey.It was quite late in the night & not recommended as there had been reports of looting en route.We kept praying as we travelled.Most of us had dozed off.Suddenly,the vehicle came to a halt.I woke up & tried to make sense of what had caused the driver to hit such a strong brake.I saw that we were on a road & just parked ahead was a small goods carrier -a tempo.It was standing in such a way that our vehicle could not get a way.The road was too narrow.On one side,was a valley not too deep but quite wide & another side was a tree .So our vehicle was struck.The driver got down .At that moment ,four to five persons sprang up from the shadows.We were aghast ! They had pistols & choppers.They prevented the driver from getting into the vehicle.They surrounded the vehicle & demanded that we hand over all the valuables.

We hardly had any money with us.We told them so, but, they refused to listen.We pleaded with them to let us go .We informed them that this was a sarkari gaadi( government vehicle ).This was because it was Friday midnight then. On Fridays,it is customary in that area for businessmen & traders to travel on business. But our pleas fell on deaf ears.The executive was carrying a suitcase & the robbers had seen it.They demanded that he hand it over.He refused ,"I can't give-all documents are there,"he screamed.They got angry & started firing.I was just staring & my Uncle just shoved my head down on the seat before ducking himself.I could hear some more shots.Uncle saved me from the pellets which were being fired. We now pleaded with the executive to hand over the suitcase.This was when the robbers were reloading their country made pistols. The executive had got hurt & blood was oozing from his injury.He was unable to protest as we handed over the suitcase.The robbers broke open the suitcase & finding the contents useless threw it back at us exclaiming,"When nothing was there,why so much fuss !?"Next,one of them demanded, that, I hand over my earrings-Uncle replied,"She is studying in college away from home .So she wears fake gold earrings."They seemed satisfied.The executive was crying as he was in great pain.We requested the robbers to let us proceed.They agreed but said that we turn back & go.We had no choice .The driver got into the vehicle & drove it at breaking speed.

All were talking at once as we were too excited by shock.The Grocery store assistant was thanking his stars that the money he had carried for the purchases was safe.He had not been able to buy all things & hence a balance was still there.I informed Uncle that I was wearing real gold earrings- though they were a tiny pair.We were thanking God that we escaped without any major mishap.We concluded that the robbers were small time thieves out to earn a small amount of pocket money.

Actually,we had the encounter very near to our colony & so the robbers wanted us to turn & go back.They were sure that if we were to go ahead ,then very soon,they would be behind bars as they won't get time to escape. We reached the district headquarters after an hour.We landed at the Government hospital.The executive was taken in & attended.The police arrived.They said that we should not have travelled so late in the night.All formalities were over .It was early morning now.The news about the encounter had reached the colony.But my dad was kept in the dark.A vehicle had started from there to pick us up.The executive was to stay in the Government hospital for a day because of his injuries.He had escaped almost unhurt.

The vehicle came & we all started homewards.I asked for my parents & was told that they had not been informed .Maybe,nobody wanted my parents to be alarmed.Or it was not known that I had also travelled in the said vehicle. We all reached home.My parents were anxious as they had also heard about the incident by then. We had to keep repeating the saga umpteen times to avid listeners.All were of the opinion that the executive had asked for trouble by refusing to hand over his suitcase.Anyway,we were all glad that we were all safe & sound.The executive was discharged the next day & he went around the colony telling that he had saved the day for all of us !

Friday, November 13, 2009

Imandaari.

My dhobi has a sister. She was the one who would collect the clothes & deliver them after ironing.In fact,we hardly saw the brother that is the dhobi.She was of marriagable age but was not tying the knot.My maidservant was more worried than the girl about the wedding.She seemed to opine that the brother was utilising his sister for earning a livelihood.The sister would always disagree with my maidservant whenever they met at my home.Later,she started avoiding my inquisitive bai.

Months passed & one fine day,the girl announced that she is getting married.She was happy.Her brother had arranged for the match,she said.She invited us also but we were unable to go though, it, was quite nearby.Later,she paid us a visit.My mom gifted her a saree. It was out of guilt of having missed her wedding.

Now,the problem started- the dhobi did not turn up for days together.We were anxious.Our clothes were piling -especially my daughter's school uniform sets.I managed a temporary respite by giving it at the nearby power laundry.He charged me extra.I tried telling other dhobis to come up & pick the clothes.But they were hesitant in stepping into his shoes.They did not want to take away the livelihood of one amongst them.

At last,he landed.I asked him about his long absence.He said that he was not keeping well.I gave him the clothes for ironing.He delivered them as promised.But again,he was absent for a fortnight.When,he returned,he stated that he has again been keeping unwell.But ,he gave his phone number .He said that ,I could call him up & he will come.I realised that his sister was the one who did all the outside chores for him .With her gone now,he was finding it impossible to cater to all his customers.Moreover,he couldn't afford to keep an assistant. He had a family as I used to give my daughter's old clothes & shoes for his daughter.


I called him up after a week.He said that he will come the next day.He came but ,I was irritated that he came a day later.I felt, that his phone number was given so that he could decide, the day, the clothes would be taken up -not me.This continued.I still put up with him .

It was time for Deepavali .As,I was going out of town,I told him about it.He said that I call him up after I return.After my return,I called him up on phone.He came & immediately asked ,"Aapne ,Deepavali ka bonus nahi diya." ! I was angry .I had told him that I would be out of town so as to save him the inconvenience of coming to my house to look at the lock.And , he was accusing me of depriving him of his bonus.But,I kept mum.I thought, that maybe he needs a lesson or rather some lessons in manners.His sister was unlike him.I paid him his bonus.He thanked me.

He started coming regularly now -once in a week. I had to call him up but he would be there on the day,I would call him.Meanwhile,my daughter lost her wrist watch-it had been gifted by her mama.It was a purple & pink watch -a pretty one for a nine year girl.We searched everywhere but drew a blank.

The dhobi came to deliver the ironed clothes.I was on the phone talking to a friend.My dhobi handed me my kid's wrist watch & made a passing reference as he collected his payment that it was there in the bundle of our clothes.I was so busy on the phone that I could not even thank him.He could have just kept it as he has a daughter of the same age as mine but his honesty triumphed ! We would never have thought that it could be mixed up in a bundle of clothes.I felt, that it was I, who needed to join an etiquette class, as I had, yet to learn, to be thankful for all that I have got & more !

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Hindi oath

Our representatives have done us proud- that is they are fighting it out for the matrubasha.One for rashtrabhasha & another for rajyabhasha.When we have such support for our lingua franca ,we should actually rejoice.Where would be we all if not for these netas ? I mean our books, dramatics,scriptures,etal would be so much less enriched if these leaders don't fight like this ?

Abu Azmi ,is a staunch loyalist of our national language -this is what he would like us to believe.Really ! How much has he done for Hindi other than just taking an oath,I don't have any idea.Moreover,he thinks that the support for Hindi ends after he has taken his oath in Hindi.Also,he has not enlightened the aam janta like me about anything else he has done which even remotely suggests that he has advocated Hindi.

The MNS members fare no better - they keep advoacting Marathi for official usage but if they were to fill up any government form in Marathi,they will know where they stand in all this language farcas.The same goes for forms in Hindi too.The MNS opines that MNS is finished with its duty in the Assembly by wildly protesting against Hindi oath taking.They have been suspended- they would have not done much else in the Assembly anyway after this.Good riddance,less nuisance for the ramaining of the session.Not that others are any bad at disrupting debates,proceedings etal.But ,atleast the security will have to deal with four people less.

Abu Azmi has not been elected for the first time -as a people 's reprenstative.It is his duty to learn the local language .I am sure, there are Maharastrians also who have voted for him.Talking to people, whom he claims to represent in their language is so very advantageous.So why,is there such a hostility to learn Marathi ? He will just get kudos for doing that.He knows,this for sure, but wants to play divisive politics so that he can turn one against the other.MNS is also just playing Abu Azmi's game-they are in it together.

So ironical-that they both shout from the rooftops that they are for the respective bhashas but do nothing other than rioting. They should know that language does not require support from anyone -least of all from our degraded netas .Language devlops only when it is spoken by many & starts becoming inclusive of words ,phrases etal from usage from other languages as well.These people are only bent on killing both Hindi & Marathi.Let us not let this happen.

After all,if Hindi has a mitr like Abu Azmi & Marathi has a sakha like MNS,there is no need for enemies !

Friday, November 6, 2009

Ayahs.

A recent report in the newspapers said, that, the lady taking care of a seven month baby had rented out the baby to beggars.The mother came across this bit of information as she arrived home early one day from work to find the baby missing from home.The maid was watching the idiot box.When she was quizzed about the baby,she replied, that the baby was also on work with beggars !The mom then realised that the baby was regularly drugged & thus was drowsy in the evenings.No police case has been filed by the parents so far, as they feel that they will be blamed for all this.

It is naive & utter foolishness to expect that ayahs will behave like Paanna dai of the Rajputs who sacrificed her own child so that the prince could live.Suppose,I have a bai to take care of my kid & there is an emergency at the home of the bai.At that moment ,it is a basic human trait that the woman will rush & tend to her emergency rather than take care of my kid.I would have acted similarly had I been in her place.

Now,in such a case, can one really blame the nanny ? Well,as the parents were so busy earning,the nanny opined, that money was scarce & the baby also needed to earn !The baby was drugged to keep away the pain of fatigue which is a result of begging sorry, working ! Probably,the parents are upset, that the earnings of their child were all being usurped by the ayah.Or maybe,the baby was earning more as compared to the the parents due to recession !

Begging is a crime & so a case will be filed against the ayah soon.But then ,how can only the ayah be at fault ? The ayah comes from a class which is just trying to somehow exist-so atleast,her act is understandable.Trying to book the ayah is like the State tackling the naxal problem- first ignore their cries for assistance & then annihilate them by force !


What about the agency which does the recruitment? Well,we all are too familiar with the scenario wherein,once we get the required certificate,we care a damn about keeping up that standard.So,this is what has happened, in all probability.We all are so materialistic now, that we will go to any extent to earn a few bucks !What is more important -our child or our job ? But for us,both are equal & so we end up putting the child in day care or under a maid & off, we go, to work.Sometimes,the grandparents take care of the child.But increasingly,grandparents are no longer young to attend to the brats & hence day care becomes a necessity.Indian youth are getting married very late & by the time,they opt for kids,their parents are so old that they themselves need care.

But ,is it necessary, for both the parents to earn-in all the cases ? Many times,it is to satisfy our inflated egos,to make use of our education,to kill time, to earn pocket money, etc that we slog, leaving our loved ones under care of others.This may include our kids,our parents,inlaws,etal.Some lucky few do have their parents- able & willing, to double up as caretakers of the grandchild.Sometimes, the caretaker may abuse the child or the senior citizen or someone with special needs.We also commonly take recourse to saying that we are earning today for a better future.But if the present is lost,is anything left for the future ?

What can be done to prevent this ? In the west,there was this trend of having hidden cameras to keep a chek on the caretaker. But, this may backfire, sometimes, as not all of us, can withstand the routine of our caretakers however atrocious it may turn out to be.This is not to say that all caretakers are bad but then,we have to be cautious.Recently, more & more cases are being reported wherein kids are being abused by mothers & fathers.So can grandparents be far behind ?Similarly,senior citizens are physically & mentally tortured by their own grown up children for money,property ,etal.If this is so,the less can be said about persons with special need.Their abuse goes unnoticed for years.


All said & done,parents are still the best bet for the kids & next ,the grandparents & then day care.
In conclusion,unless,required,one parents should stay at home to be the caretaker.Of course,it is a thankless job, as any homemaker will tell you, but regretting later is an exercise in futility.

So in the finality,it is our own greed which drives us to go & earn leaving our loved ones behind.This is the same greed which has coerced the ayah to earn more by renting out the baby to beg.So,if our greed is good,how can we classify that of the maid as cruel ? We should emulate the Mahatma by accepting aparigraha-limiting our wants.After all,as he opined,"There is enough in the world for everybody's need but not enough for even one person's greed."

Screen Capture Software

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Promotions et al.

I recently heard about quite a few promotions.One of my cousin brother was promoted to a top position in the company.Another friend was promoted to a middle management position.I congragulated them all on their success.They are lucky as their skills & hard work have been recognised.In quite a few instances,people keep slogging & are superceded by others.

One of the Heads of a City unit got promoted.After promotion,he is likely to be shifted to an unenviable position in a sister concern.This is per the rule that senior executives can be posted in any of the various sister concerns.Now,that means,the  chosen sister concern will also have to tolerate the said executive like the concern wherein he was previously head.

My ex-colleague was lamenting that mean persons get awards like promotions.I quipped to remind her ",The fact that we all have to continue to work under the mean boss ( who has got a even fancier designation than before ) is the punishment for our sins .I am very doubtful if the promotion is an award for him."This is akin to a joke.A man dies & goes up.The angel takes him on a tour.At one place,he notices,Madhubala ( beautiful )  sitting with Mukri ( ugly ).The man says to the angel," I want Mukri's punishment." The angel shoots back,"That is Madhubala's punishment,not Mukri's."



In my case,I hardly got any promotions & when I was promoted years later, ,it failed to elate me.By that time,I had become so conditioned that no loss or gain nah , sorrow or joy seemed to have any effect.That was, when,I understood, the meaning of the Bhagwat Geeta which tells us to remain stead fast -come rain or shine. In fact,I learnt that in Public sector,a promotion only brings added responsibilities with no benefits whatsoever.The salary increase is hardly worth it.But tax burden does increase manifold ! Moreover,the fancier the designation,the lower the stature, in the orgainzation !

I realised a lot many things on my promotion.I was truly enlightened ! One of my colleagues had been promoted years earlier to me -well,because she was on loss of pay for months together! So,she was promoted in order to encourage her to return to office.I used to guard my leave like a fixed deposit .The office management opined, that since,I was always available,I was self motivated & promotion hardly mattered.

I rarely got to attend any training as the management   felt, I was aptly trained & fitted their idea of an obedient & sincere worker.My bosses opined  that if, I left for training,they will have to search for another donkey to slog. Once ,I recall,my immediate boss arguing with his boss about sending me on training.Finally,my boss prevailed & I attended training.Of course,apart from this,my ex- employer is quite notorious for having training sessions for people who are retiring on the first day of the training session they are supposed to attend.

I thought at one time, that, I was being left out of promotions as I was not technically qualified- but, I was wrong.I qualified on the technical front & still ,I was left high & dry.I then, came to know that I was over qualified for the next level & so drew a blank !

Promotions are also given so that people who have nuisance value can be shifted.People who argue endlessly without reason,always obstruct work,disallow others to work,unionise etc etc are always promoted & that too before others-in fact superseding many ! This is because such people have grown up- so much in their notoriety that is , they need to be dislodged- so what, if, it demotivates others !

By the time, I discovered ,all these preconditions needed for promotions,I was on my way out.My kid needed me.I almost jumped at this opportunity . I know that my job in office can be done by many but only I, can be the mother to my daughter.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Roti,parathas,puris & all

I finally bade goodbye to my maid -the one who has been making rotis for us.She was in communicative for being absent & off late, had been flaunting her absence as her license.My daughter needs rotis for her school dabba & hence,I am at a loss early in the mornings, if ,I have to whip up anything for my fussy kid .This, after endlessly waiting for the servant is just too much.

This was a bold decision by my standard-bidding adieu to the bai that is.Now,I had to begin making chapatis & I did start but with what results ! The dough would be done in a jiffy but the rotis would take tremendous efforts.But the efforts never showed up -I mean,the rotis were hard & tough to bite into.Then,I remembered, that the grocer had given me Punjabi atta -something ,I am not used to.I keep forgetting that I am not used to any atta -actually, not used to any roti making.Anyway, the causes of the hard rotis had been identified.This was a necessity, as I was sure ,that I was not responsible for them turning out that way.

Next day,I made the atta & then waited for it to soak the water for more than an hour before I embarked on this task.But again,it was a disaster- I used an aluminium tawa & it had got worn out & the rotis got unevenly baked.If the vessels are so bad,how can anybody make good rotis ? I took this also in my stride -you should applaud my positive attitude but, then my family has slowly turned very negative about my chapatti making adventures.My daughter, who devours chapatis mornings,noons & nights avoids them like never before.My dad made encouraging remarks for some days but, eventually, gave up as he was unable to express his appreciation, sorry, apprehension of eating them ! My hubby tried to act very considerate & told me,"Why take the trouble -keep another bai."Actually,he meant,"Why are you troubling all of us-please spare us this ordeal -of eating your rotis."I refused to hear through his pleas & continued with my attempts.

Next,I thought, that maybe, parathas, will be easier & ventured into that.They turned out to be fairly better but I have this problem of over sweaty hands & so ended up using a lot of atta to expand the paratha size .Obviously,the parathas were either too dry or when I had applied oil generously ,too greasy.But you should know that sweaty palms are a real problem for a housewife & if you don't,then better learn from my case study.I also tried making paneer parathas but had to give up as the smoke filled house alarmed the family.They were petrified, that, my paratha making had gone so haywire that the whole house was on fire ! Really, with your own people being so non-cooperative,how can anybody ever learn to cook parathas,rotis etc ?

My mother suggested, that I should try making puris but you see, I am too health conscious to try such greasy dishes.I am the ideal daughter,sister, wife & mother who will make only light dishes-cholesterol free for the family .But,I am not averse to consuming puris myself, so lovingly prepared by others as I am against showing attitude.Never mind, that puris are high in bad cholesterol but, then, the trick is in moderation in eating,isn't it ?

Moreover,I have these nightmares of toppling the frying pan brimming with oil on the boil et al. And ,I opined that, if, I tried frying puris,there could be a daylight disaster which my family may not survive.So,I went back to making rotis -of course, I am still learning.My family is still trying hard-harder than me -to cope up with eating them.Thankfully,oral health week is being celebrated now & my family made a beeline for the same.You see, for biting into such rotis,it is advisable, that their teeth as also their jaws are in strong shape.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Letter writing.

Recently,I read in a magazine about letters written by Siddarth Shanker Ray to late Indira Gandhi & as I read the article ,I got. nostalgic.I recall, that, as a child,I used to write regularly to my aunt & later, to her sons as they were both younger than me.But slowly & surely,this all just died a natural death.Partly,because my uncle would not have a girl teaching his boys anything, no matter, even if, she was a cousin sister & also because,I had got busy with college.

I also used to write letters to my friend who had gone away to another town & I continued penning letters while, I was in hostel.I used to pen emotional letters, when I got married ,pining for my parents as I realised , that a job & housework was a very tedious combination, especially, after marriage.


I have read quite a few books which are only a collection of letters-from the Mahatma to Rajkumari Amrut Kaur,Nehru's letters to Indira,etal.Reading those letters transfers one to a bygone era-they are so very simple & emotional.One does get spellbound when one goes through correspondence of that age.In the modern times,I have read a book by Shobha De titled " Speed Post " .It is a collection of letters addressed by her to her children -natural as also   adopted about various topics.I liked the empathy & the sensitivity of the book very much.

Letter writing is a forgotten art today.What with emails,cell phones,chatting,etal,nobody writes or receives letters.Except,perhaps, for business letters related to work.There was a play which had made quite an impact as it was about letters lovingly exchanged between two persons over a long period of time. It was enacted by two great actors & even the director was famous.

Now,even, I do not write letters as I am on the net most of the times & chatting is so easy & personal.Moreover,talking on the net is free in some instances & voices do sound sweet in this lonely world.Moreover,one can keep the video on & see the person.But still,something is missing.

Recently,my daughter had a homework in which she had to answer questions about the cost of a postcard,an inland letter & a postal envelope.I was in a fix-I have not used any postal stationery since ages.So,I asked my Dad & she got her answers.

I do write letters occasionally -whilst sending rakhis by courier but then the letter is an accompaniment to the rakhi.I do send personal emails through the net but these are becoming very rare as days pass by.

I remember, that I would be eagerly awaiting letters in those days gone by.Things have changed but maybe not so much.Now,I enthusiastically keep checking for forwards in my mailbox.

Friday, October 23, 2009

EVMs

The election results were known by many if not all.The saffron brigade was unable to project any viable alternative & another part of them ( read MNS) was just waiting to divide the saffron vote bank- never mind that this was what was needed for the Congress-NCP win in Maharashtra.Now,one, has to not delve too deep to find out as to whether MNS is a paid ally of the Congress,NCP or is just playing along.

So,we are in for another term of misgovernance -not that any other party is bad at it but then Congress is excellent at this job- after all practice makes one perfect ! Really,has the ruling party combine been up to any good ? Farmers continue to commit suicide,prices are spiraling upwards into the space now ,crimes are increasing,& so on.Our woes continue unabated- then,why did people vote for this ? Maybe, because of TINA ( there is no alternative).

Maybe, there is another reason- the EVMs.The electronic Voting machines have been dubbed by some as Electronic Victory Machines- for the Congress, that is.But for these EVMs,Congress would never have made a comeback.It appears that, at some polling booths-yes, this is as per eyewitness accounts- any button pressed on the EVMs means votes registered for the Congress ! Such a nice set up-this is.That's why,there is so much support for EVMs by the Congress.The Congress has publicized that EVMs are tamper proof. BJP & others have staunchly opposed this by saying that EVMs can be tampered with ( but as they are still learning to do the same ),they have cried foul !

Come to think of it,EVMs manipulated to make a particular party win at an election is the ultimate fraud or scam ! Isn't it ? This is even bigger, than bogus voting,booth capturing etal.For once,it is so subtle that one hardly notices it & proof is hard to come by.Voters are not needed at all.Anybody -even a candidadate can press a button & the party wins by absolute majority ! EVMs were preferred as in a large democracy like ours,the number of voters & obviously votes was too staggering for counting.But the manner in which EVMs are being tampered with to ensure gain for a party is the mockery of democracy !


The election commission should step in & check this for, in the finality,it is the responsibility of the Election Commission that elections are free & fair.EVMs are a challenge to the authority of the commission if they are being misused as alleged.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Office wife ? !



This blog post was published in Hindustan Times Cafe - in their column WEGOTMAIL on 1st April,2010.

I was on the job after the induction training of three months.I was naive to office gossip.Very soon,I started hearing a word -"office wife".I had no clue what it meant.Moreover,I was next to the Branch Manager,in hierarchy & hence,all staff kept me at a safe distance.

In the set up that existed,there were two persons who were in charge of upkeep of  office records.Both were  kaamchor.So,all had to help themselves when it came to looking for records.In fact,the two people mismanaging the records was taking a toll on all .

Sometimes,we had to take the help of one or the other of the two for a document.This would lead to more problems.The sought person would make us beg & the other one would sulk.So,all of us were on constant tenterhooks -appeasing them no end ! But all our efforts had had no effect in keeping the office records up to date or for that matter,the office ambiance.

One of the record keepers was very close to the office boss.He would go & report to the boss everything that was said outside the boss's cabin.He would also add his own tit bits to make it more spicy. He felt, that he was answerable to the boss only & nobody else.So ,every time, we needed any records,we had to get it from him but via the boss as the particular record keeper swore by the proper channel.As he was boss's chamcha , all in office had nicknamed him as the "office wife " of the boss.

The office wife was seen constantly rubbing a fairness cream onto his face to get that promised fair complexion.When he was free from this exercise at getting that advertised complexion, he would be on the phone to Head Office -urging & pleading with union leaders for a transfer to join his wife in another town.The telephone bills were stupendous but as nobody wanted to earn the wrath of the Boss vide his office wife,all kept mum.The boss kept the office wife in good humor, as in return,he was getting updated on all the office gossip.So, it was a mutually beneficial relationship.

Finally,the office wife got his desired transfer & we were all relieved.Coincidentally, very soon,the boss was also transferred to a branch in a neighboring suburb !

Now,if the boss was a lady, her yes man or woman, would be aptly called "Office hubby."Isn't it ?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Spartan living.

My father has been getting a pension which has suddenly been given a handsome raise -in fact,he remarks, that he is getting more pension than his salary.He could never have imagined in his wildest dreams that he would be drawing such a sum as this.

But his habits are as thrifty as ever.He travels by public transport though he is more open to travelling by autos & taxis on my mom's insistence now.He still goes to nearby places by walking or what he calls by bus number 11 that is by his own two legs ! He goes & buys his clothing at sales only - & that too only those pieces which are on maximum discounts.

Not only that,he makes it a point to quiz us on our mode of transport-public or private.If it is private,then,we are in for a long lecture on how he has failed to instil any spartan values in us despite the best of his efforts.Even if we have used public transport,he is ready with tips on alternate routes which will save time as also money.He has never accepted that we are grown up & have kids of our own !

He will give directions to the auto or taxi driver on the shortest route & if the driver ignores that then,we all are in for a big argument at the time of paying the fare.We have told my dad that this is embarrassing but he believes, that, such drivers are taking us for ride & with persons as gullible as ourselves,their tribe is on the rise.

My dad has taken up to fruits in a big way & insists that we should also partake of them.His persistence makes all this feel like nagging us but he continues.He opines that we should not neglect our health like he did.He also states that we are giving our kids all the wrong foods like bread,biscuits,burgers etal though this is all only once in a while.

He has got an expensive watch now at the age of seventy five & proudly shows it off.He is quite lean but is thankfully able to take the weight of the savvy wristwatch.

Like him,we also live frugally but cannot match up to him.I feel this may be due to the fact that we feel,we can spend as we are earning more than what my dad did & also because money is losing its value so rapidly.How much so ever,we may save today-it will have hardly any value tomorrow-so we would rather spend it today.My mom has another take - she feels, that parents should spend most of the money-if they leave fortunes for their offsprings-the offspring will just wste it away & never learn to earn!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fussing over brinjal !

I am unable to understand this fuss over the brinjal- BT. BRINJAL.

Brinjal is a vegetable that I loathe & hence, genetically modified or not,doesn't bother me one bit even.I find brinjal very tasteless.Yes,I had tasted it while ,I was a kid & can't recall any thing very pleasant .So, I eventually gave it up.

I find that the brinjal is a very mushy vegetable especially,when it is part &  pracel of sambhar or gravy .As such,I am forced to even refuse the sambhar or the gravy.It mixes up so very much with the whole of the dish that I cannot eat the remnants without separating the baingan.Therefore,I have to abstain from eating the whole dish. So,please heed my advice & do away with this tasteless veggie.

It is also called eggplant- the name itself is non- vegetarian.I somehow have a feel, that, the eggplant appears like fish when cooked - I am a vegetarian &  hence, this puts me off further.The consistency of the veggie along with the seeds when cooked just gives me the creeps !

When the brinjal is cooked alone as in the brinjal bharta or in the bharwan baingan ,I am dead sure,it must be awful ! Really,I fail to understand, how, somebody can relish any preparations made from the baingan !

My friends have tried to make me develop a taste for this vegetable but you know, I am a tough cookie when it comes to baingan &  everything associated with it.One of my chums told me that she had this aim to make me eat baingan.I was amused as I felt that one should have a better goal in life other than making one develop a passion for baingan !

I love undhiyon but that too without the brinjal.One of my friends got surti undhiyon for me sans brinjal.She especially requested the cook not to add baingan to the dish. She is my best friend now for obvious reasons !

I am at a loss to make head or tail of this hullabaloo over the genetically modified baingan.On the contrary,I am of the opinion, that all humans should be genetically modified so that they have better tastes !

Friday, October 16, 2009

Dressing down.

I am a lazy person.I want to go to all places in my home clothes if I am given a choice.No,I am not in a gown whilst I am at home.I wear old,faded or what  you might call discolored cotton or khadi salwar kameez at home.This is a modest description-the salwar kameez is so bereft of color that one  might wonder as to how anybody can still wear it but then ,you know, I am like that only.At places, where it is still having some color,you will notice, that they are actually stains of turmeric,coffee,tea,etal.On second thoughts,this goes to prove, that, I am the cook in the house-that is, if, you have any doubts, after observing my culinary skills or rather lack of them.


I used to wear gowns at home like others whilst in College but outgrew them after I had to manage the home front.I found that if I am wearing a salwar kameez,it is easy to just don a chunri & get out of the house on sudden errands.This is not possible, if ,I am wearing a gown as I will have to change into something more decent & then you know, precious time is lost.Moreover,it makes economic sense to wear old salwar kameez at home. I am often at a loss as to their use after they have become faded & worn out.Moreover,gowns cost a reasonable amount & if I can avoid buying gowns,I can save a little.Some wear gowns as they find them to be more comfortable whilst doing housework in a hot & humid climate.But for me,this is a consideration which hardly matters as the economic benefits far outweigh any other concerns.I am being green this way, as I am recycling my old clothes.I am also promoting thrift by this action. I am organic as well,as I prefer to wear cotton.So,you see,the benefits far outweigh any loss or losses whatsoever.

I keep wearing the old salwar kameez till they are in tatters & then ,I try to use them as wipes for housework.Recently,I also borrowed old faded cotton trousers from my dad & got them altered for wearing at home.Trouser are fine when worn in winters as Mumbai is pleasant only for three months.Trousers serve another purpose-they come with pockets which can hold a mobile ,home keys,a small wallet etc.I find the trousers especially useful, as I can keep my mobile FM radio in the pockets & plug the earphones & enjoy music as I stroll in the evenings.


My friends & relatives continue to chide me for my dressing sense or rather its absence but, I am too laid back to even react to it.The result, is that sometimes,people do mistake me for the servant in maid but then,I have learnt to take all this in my stride as I go by the saying,"Simple living & high thinking ."

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The spirit of enterprise.

The eminent jurist Nani Palkhiwala had an annual ritual of giving his comments on the Government budget & while I was in college,I regularly used to attend his speeches with my father.It was in one of these meetings that he dwelt on the "spirit of enterprise."He was of the opinion, that, in our country,the enterpreneurial spirit is hardly encouraged unlike in America wherein many Indians are able to rise fast because of their spirit of enterprise.

I feel that Mumbai is full of such people who are enterpreneurs.Maybe the city with its high spending levels forces all to become enterpreneurs.It becomes a battle for survival & hence, all have to rack their brains & make jugad to have a minimal living.The spirit of enterprise is so very evident all around in this metro.

During Deepavali now,the shops will remain open throughout -even on the weekly off days so that people can shop.This is missing in Pune where the shops remain closed daily in the afternoons as all enjoy power naps ! This is a ritual, which Pune cannot do without-come Deepavali or what have you.I remember, that, once, I had gone to a shop for buying some pattice for breakfast & I was forced to return empty handed as I had not carried change & the shopkeeper wanted the exact change.Maybe, the people living in other places are santust ( satisfied) with whatever they have.They do not crave for a better life for themselves.So obviously,they do not work towards a better life for others as well.

Pune is just another example-Chennai also is like that only.I know, that, many women there also go to work but many give up as there are no proper creches for taking care of kids.There is no professionalism.Some creches start but will close on any day -such attitude can only lead to chaos.Bangalore also is a similar case study- all autowallahs there are ready to make a fast buck.After sunset,they will charge a fortune to take you to the destination.They will take money extra for luggage & so on.

In Mumbai,autowallahs do charge you extra, but after midnight, & all go by metre.It is Pune, wherein, all the auto metres are manufactured but the autiowallahs here have numerous rate cards.One of my friend says ,"Each autowallah in Pune has his own auto rate card."Except in Mumbai,no autorikshaws go by the metre reading while charging fares -Surat,Baroda,Bangalore,Chennai etal.Maybe as one cliched saying in the Reader's Digest went,"It is not that people are not ready to do an honest day's work.It is only that they want a week's pay for it."

I wish, all other towns & cities could take a cue from Mumbai & salute the enterpreneurial attitude-that will work wonders & solve many of our problems.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Phatakas-a curse.

I hate phatakas - I only light up phuljhadis & the snake but this year ,I am going to abstain even from this.

There are many reasons- one, is that, I am petrified of hurting my self whilst I am lighting the phatakas.Another, is that, thousands of children work in dingy factories in Sivakasi to produce these firecrackers just to survive.These children have no insurance -no safety devices which will prevent any injuries while they are at work.Children are employed as they are paid meagre wages & have nimble fingers.So as it is with every industry, the main concern here is profit.The adults in Sivakasi are hardly in a condition to go & work as they have been maimed & rendered sick & useless by working in the same industry while they were kids.So they send their kids to work & so the vicious cycle continues unabated.

While ,I studied in law college,I remember watching a film -a documentary by Ananad Patwardhan on child labour.The Sivakasi furnace,the glass bangle furnace ,the carpet weaving industry all these & more employ children.

I know ,you may feel that if we stop buying firecrackers,how will it help these unfortunate kids ?I think,when the demand decreases,maybe production will come down & less kids will get employed. In a few years,maybe the kids would no longer be employed at Sivakasi in this hell of an industry.


The firecrackers cause pollution - noise as well as smoke.Many asthama patients will vouch for this.They find it difficult nah almost impossible to breathe.The decibel levels produced by the phatakas will slowly but surely, cause loss of hearing. Many -adults as also children are injured as they light up the firecrackers.So you see,there are umpteen reasons to give up phatakas.

By this blogpost,I request -plead that let us not buy phatakas ( firecrackers) for a few moments of pleasure .Remember, when you light up phatakas,it is your money going up in smoke ! If you want to spread joy & prosperity this Deepavali,please donate to charity ,your maidservants kids etal.If you don't feel like doing this even,-please at least abstain from lighting phatakas.

If you cannot commit,the minimum to do is omit to light up firecrackers.

Let us make a beginning-the rest will surely follow.
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