January 2010

… gives you sleepless nights!

Hindi films have set a context for us in the established behaviors one is supposed to exhibit when cupid strikes. Reams and reams have been written about “Raaton ki neend… dil ka chain… bekaraar dil” and all that. And as is the expectation from any avid Hindi movie viewer… such exclamations are to be taken with a pinch of salt…. Or so I thought…

Lately…in true film style, my raaton ki neend.. and man ka chain… and dil ka karaar have gone.  I wake up in the middle of the nights.. and frantically check my phone… I pace about our home in a manner that could put a seasoned actor to shame… and it is all got to do with love ofcourse BUT… more importantly… it has to to do with H working late in office.

Initially the prospect of  so much “me” time was was very welcome.  I secretly imagined all the wonderful things I would be able to do with the extra time on my hands….watch favorite serials without a potential threat of the remote being snatched every time… chat with friends, without him interrupting with his wisecracks,  sit on both the bean bags all at once… head on one and feet propped up on the other…. re watch and rewatch DDLJ or Lamhe without him circling the periphery of the room in exasperation and admiration at my diligence! ( 😛 )

After a few days.. I got suspicious… was it really work??? or was he out with his friends??? Hmmm… Such is human nature… it is perfectly fine if you are the one having fun while he works…. but no.. he cannot be doing tht… C’mon isn’t a man supposed to stand by his woman while she “battles” the world… sigh… but then.. they don’t make men like that anymore 😀 😀 😛 But  it turned out that it was Work. How I found out ?? He he he.. not telling… 😛 

…anyways.. the bottom line was.. .that he did have work.. and the poor dear was working for us.. so that we can have all the things we want.. ( sure I have my own income.. but come on.. I want to show off my hard working guy! Can’t a girl even do that on her own blog! 🙂 )

And so.. this is the scene at home nowadays…

9 pm:
SS – “When’s you getting home”
H – “Looks like 11”
SS – “Ok, waiting for you..”
SS… bides time watching TV till 11.

11 pm
SS – “Where are you?”
He – “Still in office.. might take till 12”
SS… “ok” , paces about…which the clock strikes 11:15, 11:30, 12:00…. (camera focuses on the wall clock like in the old black and white Hindi movies).. Falls asleep

2:15 am
SS – Wakes up suddenly and frantically searchs for her phone… “What happened, why aren’t you home yet??”
H – “Hey… sorry, the work’s got extended, will be in only by 4- ish”
SS – “4?!!”  F-O-U-R!!??!?! 

So as u can see… the films have been right after all!


Update: Mood is cheerful now. In fact, mood returned to cheerful soon after writing the last post 🙂 Blogging about it did help.

Btw.. a B’lated “Very Happy Republic Day” to you all! Hope you guys had a fun filled holiday.  We did !

I present to you our Republic day story…. but first.. the context…

The problem of being a working couple is that you are so used to 5 days of work and a 2 day weekend.. that when you are confronted with the prospect of getting one more day in the week off.. you are so confused! You don’t know whether you should plan a “getaway”.. and when you try to.. you realise that it is too late to plan, as all the hotels are booked .. and there is no company as all your friends have flown away to exotic destinations (read mumbai). Then you decide that you’ll “chill” at home.. only to realise that chilling at home gets boring after chilling for 40 hrs of a long weekend 😀 and then finally… you seek recourse in long drive plans down familiar highway roads to familiar eating joints to break the monotony (how ironic!)

And so.. in keeping with our favorite thing to do…we drove down to A2B on the B’lore-Chennai highway for dosa. Now A2B on that road is not exactly the best place for food… its a highway restaurant. And the one thing you learn when you start living in the south of the country is that dosa is not an “all time” menu item. At breakfast, you get breakfast time items.. at lunch you get “Meals”… in the evening, you get ‘Tiffin” items and then for dinner… guess what.. you get “Meals” again.  I have a theory around this… somehow Northies are satisfied and satiated with a Dosa or a Chole Bhature as a meal any time of the day, but apparently Southies like their food structured 😀  No rice… no lunch…. no rice… no dinner…. and all the assorted delicious things that most North Indians are used to.. like idlis and dosa, and utthapam and pongal.. are either breakfast or tiffin 🙂

When we reached it was lunch time… and so.. no dosa…and so then we had to order 2 south indian meals. Food and a Nimboos each later.. we were sauntering down to our car.. when I saw a very familiar face.. in googles… ( I’d call them googles.. coz.. they weren’t the ubercool shades that celebs wear.. or the nouveau riche in south Delhi… they were googles… like in the eye popping out goofy smiley  in MSN chats.. something like  )  And it turned out that this was a friend of mine, whom I had met through a common friend some 4 years back in the UK… and who I was now meeting in an A2B, near a place called SAPPADI.. LOL!

Hubby was introduced.. and we proceeded to chat a bit.. during which H realises that the man has a pronounced Bengali accent and the lady has a pronounced Oriya accent…  trust H to notice these sort of things, but then he has been an Indiafarer for all his life. Anyway… after a little small talk… we bid farewell to them, promising to meet up in B’lore later.

And then the funnies struck 🙂 And H began to sing all sorts of Bengali songs ( songs unheard of even by bengali themselves.. obviously.. since he was making them on the fly) and proceeded to sing them in his “Kamal Hasan” voice all the way back to good ‘ol B’lore.. with me chipping in with a gutsy “Oye Hoye” now and then.

LOL! yes.. so this is how we celebrated Republic Day…singing Bengali songs in a Tam Actor’s voice, with Punjabi overtones ( or undertones ) by a Delhiite.. on a 2 hr drive back into the state of Karnataka.

If this is not national integration … then I don’t know what is! 🙂

Today I learnt some valuable lessons at work.  But I wish I had continued being stupid.. rather that learning these lessons.  Lessons about office politics.. and working smart…

2009 was a bad year on the work front. I was in a really tough assignment. There was a lot of stress… a lot of working on weekends, and late nights and there were days when I was on the brink of tears… or just on the verge of calling it quits.  It was a very long drawn assignment and it took every ounce of patience I had to stick with it and go through with it. So it was a relief when it finally ended in Nov… and it was a pleasant surprise when I got a great feedback for my work.  It was well deserved because I knew that my appraisal would go of great, because of all the heart, sweat and tears I had put into the assignment.

But life is never really that straightforward… is it? The guy I report to, did not seem to think of it as great. He has been known to favor some people in the team, and that is exactly what he is doing with the appraisal too. And so after hours and hours of discussion that reached a finale today, he handed out the verdict… a rating that was not as great as I had expected it to be…. I was hurt and heart broken… and for a while… I had to literally struggle with controlling my emotions and keeping the tears in check.

I had put in so much of me in the assignment in this past year.. I had sacrificed my social life, ignored my responsibilities to my family, stopped keeping in touch with friends.. all for this project. I was surviving on junk food, putting on weight, compromising on sleep and exercise… in fact, for all practical purposes.. treating my home just like some hotel where one comes in to sleep… and just because of one man’s biases.. and loyalities … and lack of objectivity and honesty… it has all been brushed aside… and some silly excuses had been handed to me, to make my peace with.

So I was walking back home in this state of mind… thinking for the nth time, how I needed to find a new direction in my career… a job I love and a place where my work is respected and appreciated, that I came across two sights. The first one was a long queue of assorted people, waiting in a single file, for their turn to fill up water from a single tap that has been provided at the entrance to our apartment complex. They are labourers and household helps, who stay in hutments close to our building.  They were standing patiently, waiting their turn… willing to share the single resource that had been provided to them.

The second sight I saw was a lady… a labourer, carrying her small child under her arm.. and the cement mix that is used for building, in a shallow dish on her head as she worked… and she was smiling and chatting as she went about it.

I compared my own situation to these two sets of people… like one is wont to, when one is going through a hard time. And I realised, that I was unhappy because I had a choice of leaving, of quitting. The anger and hurt I felt, where partly directed at the injustice of my rating… but the anger was also partly directed at me,  because I felt that I could’ve walked away from his behavior.. and that I did not have to suffer it.  The way I saw it.. I was better qualified and more intelligent than him..and so who was he to put down my effort, my work?

These guys did not have that choice. They have work.. they work. They don’t judge, or expect, or get emotionally attached to their work. They don’t romanticize their suffering, and they don’t take it to heart.  And they go about their work, diligently and yet.. with detachment.

There are a lot of thoughts swimming in my mind right now.  Was I wrong to be attached to work?  And to the expectation that good work will get its rewards? And was I wrong to be disillusioned when it didn’t?  I know that I will try and detach my self from work now and try and work smartly and objectively. But something tells me, that I will miss the naivete of the SS (Sunshinesafar) of the past, her enthusiasm, and working for the pure joy of working.

..with WordPress themes!

I seem to be establishing a pattern of outbursts here. I realise that I do a rants post on WordPress at least once a week!

Anyways.. my latest rant is about themes! There are just 79! I am so not happy with the one I’ve got.. and when I had selected it.. it did seem like the best of the lot :-/  Or maybe I have a dissatisfied designer dormant within me who likes to wake up once in a while and shake things up a bit. So the designer in me thinks that the problem with this current theme is that it is too “green”… and there is very little room for any sort of personalisation. Also… (ahem ahem…) I think it is taking away from my fundu -teh -fantabulous writing  and the precious words of wisdom I like to shower on unwitting lurkers 😀

Btw…Note:  Fundu-“teh” fantabulous has been said in the  typical Punju style of saying it… its like one says…”Gory teh Chitti”… (Translation…”Fair and Fair”..) or a “Teh pher ki hoya?”… “And then what happened?” To put it simply ( I hate putting things simply :-/ ) “teh” = “and”.

…There you go… the romance and suspense of the conversation  is over with that revelation… :-/ serves everybody right for cutting my long story short! 🙂 ….And if you were wandering why I’m taking up so much post space for arbit rambling when I just wanted to crib about the theme…. the answer is…. “Aivenyee” :p

Did I make a big deal out of this or what 😀

….as you can see… we are feeling quite frivolous and light in the head today… and thus… acting quite foolish. It has got partly to do with the fact that we have just met our wonderful.. brilliantly super sharp team lead… and partly due to the fact.. that meri procrastination rang laayi hai… and a document that I was supposed to submit for this appraisal.. can actually be turned over before the next appraisal…. because with or without it.. my ratings are not changing…. So I may not submit it… and so YIPPPPEEEE! Sometimes, I bow in utter gratitude, that life for us procratisnators is still is fair sometimes!

…BUT… I’ve gone all around in this post and not said a word about what I was going to write about in the first place… I really do want to change the theme of my blog… Any suggestions??

Edited to Add: – I’ve now changed the theme from “Spring time” to “Contempt” …I think it is in keeping with the tone of the day 😛

Hubby and me watched the movie “Julie & Julia” last night. Watching an entire movie  is a record of sorts for me.  I have a track record of dozing off 20 minutes into any movie we are watching together 😀 … maybe it is something to do with his movie selection… hmm… maybe…. coz  once when we were watching ” Ugli aur Pagli”… I dozed of at least 4 times 🙂

Anyways.. back to the point. The movie was suggested by N. She and I have been the best of friends since ever and ever… we generally go through the same phases in life together. We’ve had our… “let’s bake bread at home” phase… our “We love butter” phase…. our…”Let’s sit in the balcony, cup of coffee in hand and watch the moon” phase. And so when she suggested this particular movie…obviously.. it had to be watch worthy. Incidently this one is a pretty recent movie…it released in 2009.. but then there were so many things going on in life in 2009 that movies weren’t really on the top of my mind . Hubby dearest downloaded it for me… despite the obviously women oriented theme, was sweet enough to sit through it 😀

I luuuurrrrvved the movie!!! Its exactly the kind of movie that appeals to me… women oriented… about one’s journey into one’s one heart… about the past and the present… and about Cooking! J&J  chronicles the lives two women ( Julie and Julia.. obviously)…  both of who are somewhat directionless in life and then discover their love for cooking… and find a life around this love… Julia, ( of Julia Child the famous cookery book writer) picks up a course on French cooking, works her way through the recipes… and finally manages to write a book around it… and Julie.. picks up a blog, and takes up the challenge of working through all the recipes in Ms Julia Childs book, during the course of which… she thinks she will find something in her life that she is missing.  The movie travels back and forth in time, between then ( of Julia Child) and now.. ( of Julie (Powell) methinks) and compares the women during similar stages in their lives.

There are so many facets to it that I can relate to… Like I love shopping for food, in the same way as I love shopping for clothes, like both these women..leave me in the food section of a mall, and you have lost me. I wander around marvelling the sauces, the types of pasta.. the breads, the exotic fruits and vegetables.. 🙂 

Also we three of us share the love of butter and chocolate and baking!…  And recently… the joy in writing 🙂  You could go and watch the movie. It is pleasant.. frothy.. and sweet… nothing hallmark.. but good for a one time watch.

… when there is no other “work”

1.  Sit with your blog open, staring blankly at the page called “New Post”… and wait for some great idea, some flash of light, some arbitrary bulb to light up, so that you write the most ground breaking post ever written.. (ahem.. obviously)

2.  Open the Dashboard, and then the ‘Stats’ page.. .and look at the numbers…  refresh every 2 mins. Wonder why there are no comments, and how is it that people visit and don’t comment.. and then realise that maybe you aren’t writing stuff that is comment worthy… and then remind yourself that you began your “New” blog because you wanted to write for the joy of writing… and then realise, what an idealistic moron you were. The older blog was getting some readers! And they are now Lost… F-O-R-E-V-E-R

3.  Ponder about going back to the older blog.. and realise how such moments of weakness are taking you away from your BIG goal.. a totally ANONYMOUS blog

4.  Try and analyze why you wanted your blog to be anonymous in the first place

5.  Remind yourself again that you wanted to write about a wider range of things

6.  Realise, that you aren’t writing anything on any wider a range of things than you were.  Ponder again whether you over estimated your capability as a blogger.  Realise that there is nothing called a “capable blogger” and that you need to open up your mind to include as many inputs from the environment as possible. Look around and try and find inspiration in the artificial “natural” light.

7.  Decide that the environment is uninspiring.. but you haven’t exactly climbed up the corporate ladder enough to have a glass cabin overlooking a lush green garden.

8.  Blame it all on Work of course! Actually.. the lack of it!

9.  Sigh! … Deeply….

10.  Go back to the “New Post” page… and re-start all this waiting.. watching and sighing business

Yes… my life is that interesting! 😀 

Today is Ethnic Day in office. Yup, the same… where you dress up according to the region you belong to :D… like Unity in Diversity and all that.  Honestly, I wish these HR guys would come up with something new. Something that is truly in the spirit of patriotism, something that brings out the “feel” of 26th Jan.  Every year it is the same workplace decorating and the tri-colors and the dressing up ethnically and every year we do it …de rigeur

It got me thinking though…What does a Republic Day or an Independence day mean to me? Frankly.. it has always just been another holiday. We don’t do anything to “celebrate” it as such, right…some of us turn up to be the part of a congregation that is hoisting the Indian Flag. Some lucky few go and catch the parade, and see the Rashtrapati Bhawan all lit up… or if you live close enough to the parade ground.. catch the white, green and saffron balloons flying up into the clouds.  Our folks would at least tune into Doordarshan and watch the parade, with Sonal Man Singh and the other commentators telling us about our Army, Navy and Air force.. or the state tableaux and the meanings… we don’t even do that.

And then there are times when I think… what is there worth celebrating anyways?  The netas, the politics, the red tape, our own lack of manners ( especially by those phoren returned types), our bad roads, our cows (!!), our backward technology, our laws and policies, our agricultural economy and lack of jobs for the urban youth? So many of us are desperate to relocate, to leave “this country” and the associate troubles and find a home in a foreign land. I wonder how many of us feel anything close to patriotism.

And then I listen to this song… and it moves me to tears.

What is it about the scenes in this clip? It is only people travelling in a 2nd class dabba in a train, fields and fields of crop, a small lake in a small village, family, shared “tripling” scooter rides, a boat ride on the Ganga, travelling by a rickety rackety bus, to places where there are no roads, no electricity… if you see the pattern.. there are a lot of things in this list which are  the same things that we crib about.

… but somehow, these images move us… because they are familiar, they are OUR OWN. 

How many of us have lived abroad and missed these scenes? Or felt alienated in the midst of a strange culture, of people and places that were “different”. I know that I have. Infact there was a time in the past, that I would dream of lovely.. (note the use of the word 🙂 ) crowds that would greet me when I landed at Mumbai Airport.  I would remember the saas-bahu serials, the smell of the wet earth in the monsoons, how we celebrate festivals,  our middle class values and superstitions. I was really homesick.. and at that point.. home was India 🙂 not xyz state, or xyz city or abc address.

Sometimes I feel that as a country  we don’t appreciate what we have, and like it is with all other things, we only realise what we had, when we miss its presence…our small villages, our farmlands, our traditions, our values, our warmth as a people, our politics ( yes, I’ll take it with a pinch of salt.. and strive to find the funnies in it too), our picture postcard perfect landscapes.. the mountains, the deserts, the backwaters, the lush greenery, the rivers). This year.. I’ll take a step back from my life, and try and look at the bigger picture… and I will be thankful!


 I will definitely not crib. 🙂 🙂

Happy Republic Day to you guys!

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