Saturday, February 24, 2007

"Family Matters" by Rohinton Mistry

For the past few days I have been reading Rohinton Mistry’s book “Family Matters,” which was published in 2002. The book is based in Mumbai in the nineties and is a story of a seventy-nine year old Parsee widower who is suffering from Parkinson’s disease. One evening he suffers a fall and is incapacitated due to it. He is living with his two step children who cannot bear the burden of taking care of him. They therefore callously dump him in their half-sister’s matchbox apartment in the city. Although sad the author has written with wry humor and the language is exquisite.

Those who don’t know, Parsees are Iranians who fled religious persecution and sought refuge in India in the 7th Century AD. They escaped to preserve their Zorastrian religious traditions and entered the subcontinent through the western coast of Gujarat. They enjoyed religious tolerance in India for many centuries and prospered under the British rule. They are called Parsees because they spoke “Farsi,” which is the spoken language in Iran. My alma mater, Sir J.J. School of Art was started in 1857 with the benevolence of a Parsee philanthropist Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy. The author belongs to the Parsee community as well.

Zorastrians worship fire as they believe that the energy of the creator is represented by fire or sun. The Parsees are very orthodox and a non-Parsee cannot enter their fire-temples. As a child I was so fascinated by the fire temples and used to ask my Parsee friends to describe the interior of the temple. Having grown up in the city and exposed to Parsee culture, especially their food, this novel appealed to me on more levels than one. While reading the book I imagined the scent of sandalwood, the frankincense burnt in the evening, the aroma of dhansak and patiyo, the rustling of beautiful silk gara sarees worn during their weddings and navjote.

The main protagonist, the aging Parsee widower, had fallen for a non-Parsee woman in his youth. She was of a different faith therefore their romance was met with strict opposition. What follows is a tragic sequence of events, which are started by the religious bigotry and unrequited love! This begs the question as to whether it is worth preserving traditions at the cost of ruining so many lives.

The romance in the novel reminded me of the story of one of my classmates from India. She belongs to the Parsee community and fell in love with a guy who belonged to an equally orthodox Hindu Brahmin community. Of course all through their college years in India they totally hid their romance from their parents. The guy came to the United States to study in one of the Ivy Leagues and soon after made plans for my friend to join him. She came to the United States on a student visa and they both started living together. The news reached her orthodox family who threw a fit. Her grandmother called her up and said “Stop this nonsense and come home right this very instant.” Armed with defiance and courage, a product of the geographical distance and being in love she told her grandmother, “You must be out of your mind.” So the grandmother started emotionally blackmailing her telling her that her actions have caused her heart trouble and many other ailments. My friend was completely defiant!

Her boyfriend (now husband) proposed marriage to her a couple of times but she preferred living with him only to spite her family. Finally they got married, more from an immigration perspective than societal norms, which wasn’t attended by any member of their respective families. Eventually both the families were embarrassed by their bigotry and had a wedding reception in India for my friend and her husband. Of course today everything is hunky dory with both the families but my friend and her husband don’t miss a chance to poke fun at their families!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Movie Night

I saw the movie “Queen” this evening. It is an entertaining film. The movie begins with the election of Tony Blair and is based around Diana’s demise almost ten years ago. It is a rather satirical take on a tragic event. I must say Helen Mirren was outstanding in her portrayal of the Queen. She humanizes the monarch as a person with feelings, trapped in the antiquated traditions of British monarchy with a sense of duty over personal feelings. Prince Philip is portrayed as a complete moron, which might be true. The premise is that the hysteria that surrounded Diana’s death shook the monarchy from its royal stupor and made them loosen the stiff upper lip so to speak.

K and I decided on an impulse to go and see the movie. We caught the 9:30 PM show at the mall. I was craving for an ice cream but since the mall closes at 9PM, I couldn’t satisfy my craving. K suggested that we go to Barnes and Noble bookstore in the mall and have an iced green tea instead. My experience has been that whenever I order it, they invariably screw it up! I always meet a daft person who doesn’t know how to make it. Predictably this is just what happened. When I explained to her how it is made (I have observed others make it and have asked questions), the woman gives me a sheepish grin and says that her customers know how to make stuff than her! I resisted saying to her, “It’s just tea honey, not rocket science.” Better sense prevailed and I gave her a beatific smile instead of sarcasm. By the way I am seriously thinking of quitting my current job and taking up a job as chai latte trainer in Starbucks.

Finally she gets us our chai and we set off towards the theatre, which is at the other end. Since it was a week night we didn’t expect a lot of people but were very nervous to realize that we were the only ones! Initially we nervously glanced over our shoulders towards the exit but were soon at ease. The fun part was we could put our feet over the next row and comfortably watch the movie and talk loudly without anyone shushing us! That made the experience even more enjoyable.

Monday, February 19, 2007

The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai

I had this book sitting on my desk for the past two months and had not got a chance to read it. I happened to finally read it over the weekend and thoroughly enjoyed it. This post is not a review. I have linked two excellent reviews for your reading pleasure; one by NY Times and the other by my blogging buddy Lotus. Kiran Desai's mother Anita Desai is a prolific Indian writer, whose work I had read years ago in India. I was curious about this book for two reasons; one because this book has won the Man Booker prize and the other because I had heard her interview with Terry Gross on NPR's Fresh Air and was quite impressed.

I absolutely love the author's writing. The book has melancholy and sadness in it, which is interspersed with humor and wit. She has wonderfully depicted the different classes of Indian society in post colonial India. Being of the same generation as the author I share a lot of observations with her. Having grown up in a cosmopolitan city like Mumbai (formerly Bombay), which has its share of "brown sahibs," who are Oxbridge educated anglophiles whose formative years were in pre-independance India. Therefore they have a chip on their shoulder and are more English than the British themselves. My generation, however is confident about our Indian identity and can step back and look objectively at such pretentious elitists!

She has also poignantly depicted how poverty and helplessness and a feudal mindset gnaws away the dignity of the lower classes of society. Although the book is set against the backdrop of the Gorkhaland movement, it is not at all political. It is more anecdotal as it describes the effect it had on the lives of the people living along the Indo-Nepal border. One of the characters, Gyan with slight education joins the movement without really identfying with it but more as an outlet to his anger and frustration. Though not directly, I can draw parallels to the religious fundamentalism in India in the nineties, where some impressionable youth fell for the hatred spewed under the name of faith!

She has also described the lives of illegal immigrants in New York, who are lured by the ambition of earning dollars. They live like cattle under inhuman conditions and since they don't have proper paperwork, they are taken advantage of by their employers. In her interview on Fresh Air, she mentioned that she had actually walked into the kitchens of restaurants in New York and interviewed these members of the shadow economy. The book is sad and has honestly painted the grim reality of life in the developing world (I HATE the word "Third World") yet she has beautifully managed to not let the reader feel depressed at the end!

All in all I enjoyed the book thoroughly as you could move those characters out of the colonial town at the foothills of Himalayas and place them in Mumbai (built by the British). It reminded me of quite a number of Bombayites (not Mumbaikars) with their affected accents and cute weekend homes with picket fences, their high teas with dainty cucumber sandwiches and pastries! Their sense of privilege over their servants, who always feel deferential to their employers. Also living in the city are the sons of the soil "Shiv Sainiks" who are against anything that is perceived as "western," without even understanding the philosophy of Hinduism!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Public Toilets

I have an absolute disdain for public toilets and try to avoid them as much as possible. I keep imagining that people who might have used the space before me might have all these various diseases, which I might contract. I know it’s the hypochondriac in me talking! Maybe it has got to do with my growing years in India. Everyone knows that public toilets in India are not the best. Of course that is applicable more in rural areas than in cities or urban centers. Anyway due to that I never leave my home for work until all my business is taken care of. There is no way I will be caught dead using my office toilet! My bathroom is a place of tranquility and meditation. I have candles, paintings that are effective on bowel movements (I am just making this up!) and magazines to read. I also have my radio set to NPR. So all in all, the atmosphere is conducive to….err …morning ablutions.

K and I used to take a lot of road trips in India and several times I have made K check the men’s room so that I could use them in lieu of women’s restrooms. This idiosyncrasy of mine amuses K to no end. I think since men have an option of a stall or a urinal and basically most men are lazy and are exhibitionists (oops I have alienated all my male readers including my spouse), they seldom use the stalls; therefore those are pretty clean. I found this out years ago when my friends and I had to do a study of a rural hospital for one of our class projects in architecture school. It was located in a remote village, which had a substantial adivasi (tribal) population. My friends and I left early in the morning in one of my friend’s car. En route we found that the ladies toilets were really disgusting but the guys in our group informed us that the stalls in the men’s room were very clean. That for me was an important piece of information, which I never forgot!

Anyway I happened to read this post on Dan’s blog two weeks ago, where he has wrote about proper etiquette in men’s restrooms. Those rules don’t apply to women (women have their own set of rules as specified in the companion post, which is linked from Dan's post) as they have their own stalls and can do their business in total privacy. His post reminded me about a funny incident that took place at my work sometime back. I walked into my office’s restroom. As always it took me few minutes to put in sheets of toilet paper over the seat protection sheet (again it’s the hypochondriac in me) and just as I was about to go on with what I sought to do, I heard someone in the next stall groan, “Oh my God…Jesus….Oh my…Aah…Oh God.” At that very moment I also heard a distinct buzzing sound. I froze and thought to myself that although the stalls offer privacy it is still a public space.

I rushed out of the stall in total disgust and found to my great relief, one of my coworkers brushing her teeth with a spin brush (hence the buzzing sound). She looked at me and whispered, “Who the hell is groaning in the next stall?” At that very moment the door to the stall opened and we found a woman walk out with her eyes glued to the floor and groaning “Oh my God….Jesus….” and a few other incoherent words. She didn't make eye contact with us and walked past us without even glancing in our direction. We didn’t know who she was but later found out that she was a new employee who is a complete whack job! She is extremely strange and walks around the building with her eyes glued to the floor and talks to herself. She could be a character in one of SNL’s sketches or even have her own show on Comedy Central. I told my coworker what I had suspected and we both could not stop laughing!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Bloggers Anonymous!

Contrary to what the words might suggest, I do not know of any support group that deals with blogging addicts. Anyway my personality is not addictive (famous last words! ;-)). I have been posting on this blog for almost five months. Still except my husband, two sisters and two friends, no one knows about my blog. I just realized that it might change anytime. The other day I blogged about my name but then I would like to believe that I have still maintained anonymity because my name is not uncommon in my part of the world. The initial reason for anonymity was because of some reticence on my part. I wasn’t sure who would be reading and what response I would get. My experience so far has been that I have met very interesting bloggers and whose blogs I love to visit as well.

The other day I was reminded of the most important reason for my anonymity. One of my friends called up to chat after a very long time. We hadn’t spoken to each other close to six months. So while talking I happened to casually mention that I blog. It was one of those moments when you are not thinking and words slip out of your mouth. The first thing this person said, “Don’t you think it might work against your favor if your employer found out that you blog.” My response was that my blog is very harmless; I avoid talking about my work, work related politics or anything that might offend anyone. Mostly I try to write humorous posts and poke fun at myself and K. So then he said, “Why didn’t you let me know about your blog?” That is the time I realized that it was a matter of trust to me. The few people that I have told about my blog are the ones whom I love very dearly and whom I trust implicitly! Of course the above-mentioned friend is a very nice person but I didn’t want him to accidentally mention this to anyone else.

My discomfort is due to the fact that one of my other classmates used to stalk people online. Let us call him “OS.” OS had (still has) a very bad habit of “googling” people’s names and getting information about them. I couldn’t believe how easily one’s personal information is available online. My friend spoke to OS, who informed him that one of my other classmates will be having a baby soon. Now OS didn’t find out this information like how normal people would but instead by regularly stalking our classmate online. We have an online forum for people from my field, which enables people to network with professionals from North America as well as other parts of the world. There is a section where you can talk about personal stuff too. I asked my friend if OS still stalks people. My friend started laughing and said that old habits die hard. I thought it was very creepy because it is more than four years since getting our graduate degrees but OS is still interested in finding out what others are doing….people that he wasn’t even friends with! It is so voyeuristic. Giving the URL of my blog to OS would be comparable to undressing by the window....with the light switched on and the blinds not drawn!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentines Day

I think Valentines day is the cheesiest and corniest day (Oops I just lost my readers who love V-day). It must be obvious now that I don't own a Hallmark card or Yankee candles store. I was always like that even in my teens and twenties. I always made fun of my friends who did something special on Feb 14th! Why can you not profess your love on Feb 10th or March 20th or what the hell every day. Why choose one special day to bring in heart shaped balloons, cards and chocolates. Now with my sweet tooth....the sure way to woo me would be with sweets everyday. By the way, this way you would be wooing two people; me as well as my dentist!

Anyway today we have the day off because of the inclement weather. My boss called me up at 5AM to tell this bit of news and I was annoyed with him for waking me at such an unearthly hour (of course I didn't say anything to him though)! I couldn't go back to sleep and heard some enthusiastic neighbors thoroughly scraping the ice to leave for work. I thought to myself....that is dedication....braving icy roads for a deadend job! Maybe they don't have a deadend job....maybe they are out there saving the world while I am complaining about being woken up at 5AM!

K has gone out of town for a few days and will be returning today. I called him up to ask him to check if the flights are delayed and the first thing he says on picking up the phone, "Happy Valentines day Sweetie." I scoff and grumble, "Give me a break!" He starts laughing. If you all think that I am a cynical biyatch....well that could be true... but the fact is that it is a joke between K and I. He knows this about me and will say the most corniest things just to tease or rile me. Hey...I don't dig mush but totally dig good humor and K has plenty of that!

HAPPY VALENTINES DAY and lots of love and hugs from me for the rest of the year as well!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

In memory of my friend

Warning: Long winded and sad post ahead. Please read at your own risk.

Tomorrow is Valentines Day and would also have been my best friend A’s birthday. She succumbed to ovarian cancer in November 2005. I met A when we started our architecture program. I remember looking at her with utter disdain on my first day…she was an inch taller than me at 5’9” and wore her hair in a long plait that was soaked with coconut oil. She was wearing an utterly dowdy outfit which was so ill fitting. She came towards me to say “Hi” but I gave her the snootiest looks, which made the poor girl turn around. Of course appearances are deceptive and I found out that she was in fact really cool and very smart. We became best of friends! Very soon she lost the oily hair and got some fashion sense but I used to always tease her about that and she teased me about being Ms. Snooty.

After graduation she got married and came to the United States to pursue her graduate school and we always kept in touch. She had graduated and started working for an architectural firm. I came to the United States a few years later but we never got a chance to hang out as we lived far from each other. Yet we would talk to each other once a week. Later she got pregnant with her second child and also got really busy at work. We seldom spoke to each other as both of us were leading our respective lives. In addition she always felt guilty that she was abandoning her children so whenever I called her up on weekends, she would make small talk and tell me that she had to go and spend time with her children. Of course her abruptness never annoyed me and I understood. Till one day I had called her to wish her on her anniversary and she told me how busy she is with her children, career and her social life that she didn’t have time for any of her old friends. I was thoroughly offended and decided that I won’t call her up anymore. She moved to India six months later and I had visited India around that time but didn’t call her up at all. I thought to myself that if she cared she will send me an email! She didn’t keep in touch and I thought to myself “Oh well, I won’t waste my time on people who don’t want to keep in touch with me.”

Almost a year later, one of our friends, who lives in California left a phone message quite early in the morning, asking me to call her up urgently. I called her up and she said that she had very bad news for me and asked me to not freak out. She told me that A had ovarian cancer, which was detected very recently and that she didn't have many days left. Our friend found this out by chance as she was visiting India and found A in her parent's home. Our friend like a true desi had to get to the bottom of it and being completely tactless asked A if she were getting a divorce.

A had told our friend about her illness. She said that since it was recently detected, she was coping with the news and that she didn't want anyone to bother her. She said that if I ever enquired about her then to let me know. My friend of course called me up right away and told me to not delay calling her up. It took me a few days to compose myself and muster courage to call her up. She was very happy to hear my voice and knew that I know! It was obvious that I did because we had not spoken to each other for a year and a half. I spoke to her about everything under the sun except her illness. We reminisced about the good old days and giggled over the silliest things.

As soon as she hung up I started crying and couldn’t stop. I was sad not only about her illness but also that she had come home from chemotherapy and her two year old who had just started to speak, insisted in his baby voice that he wanted to talk to me on the phone as well. She told me very casually that this is the first time she is hearing him talk as she was away from her family for a month for her treatment. The three of us chatted over the phone. At that very moment tears started rolling down my cheeks but I didn’t want her to know that. I told her “A don’t worry you will outlive all of us.” She started laughing and said, “Sai you are an eternal optimist but thank you!” We spoke for about an hour and when I was about to hang up she said “Thanks for everything.” I asked, “What do you mean?” She said, “Thanks for always being a friend to me and for always understanding me.”

After that I called her up a few times. These conversations took an emotional toll over me and K told me to not do that to myself and to lead my life! Once A asked me if I was planning to visit India during Diwali and that she would like to see me. I told her that I had my professional licensing exams then and couldn't visit but had booked tickets for February. I promised that I would celebrate her birthday with her. She laughed and told me, “Sai, I don’t think I will last till February but I do want to spend Diwali with my children though. I want it to be very memorable for them.” I told her to not talk nonsense and have faith! Ironically she died a week after Diwali and I did go to India in February 2006. I spoke to her parents and sister after her passing and it was a very difficult moment for all of us. When I was in India, I thought about her on her birthday but didn’t go to see her parents. I had seen how my parents reacted to her passing and just didn’t have the strength to face her parents. Since I was so upset I couldn’t even how her family must be coping!

Life can be so cruel as those tiny kids are deprived of knowing what a wonderful person their mother was! My heart goes out to her little children but I am sure my friend is a guardian angel, watching over her little ones.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Why Sai?

A fellow blogger left a comment on my previous post saying that she was intrigued by my name “Sai," which reminded her of Sai Baba, who is her guru. I thought to myself that ever since I have started blogging I have never had an introductory post about me and my name, so here is the post albeit five months late!

Sai is not my real name. It is one of the many nicknames that my father had for me as a child. It is pronounced as “Saee,” as opposed to the Sai in Sai Baba which is pronounced as “Saaee.” My name is rather long. I am named after a historical figure whose tragic love story is famous in India. She was a princess in love with her father’s enemy, who was a king as well. Those who are not familiar with India; ancient India wasn’t cohesive and consisted of many kingdoms that were at war with each other. The princess, against her father’s wishes eloped with her lover. He was so besotted by her charm that he neglected his kingdom and in the bargain was attacked. He lost his kingdom to his enemy, who captured and blinded him! The story ends with the captured blind king killing his enemy with an arrow, which he accurately aimed at the direction of the sound of his conqueror’s voice. All my readers from the Indian subcontinent might have guessed my name by now. If not, shame on you for napping during history class!

I have been teased a lot about my name in school. The typical ones would be to not call me by my actual name but "P" the name of my namesake’s lover/husband. For e.g. girls in my school would say “Hi P” instead of “Hi S” or “Hey S, where is your P?” When I was in the ninth or tenth grade, I attended special coaching classes, which tutored in Math and Science. This was a staple of all geeky kids in Bombay, who harbored ambitions to get into engineering or medical schools. I wasn’t cool then but just another awkward teenager with big hair, buck teeth and glasses. My two sisters never went through an awkward phase like me; they were cute kids who blossomed into beautiful ladies totally bypassing the awkward stage! So I always looked very ugly in their comparison. Of course both of them were very kind and never teased me.

Anyway so I used to ride my bicycle to the coaching classes. We were three girls who rode bicycles as opposed to majority of the boys in our class. So we had to fight with the guys for a place on the bike rack and were constantly at the receiving end of their harmless boyish pranks. Also every time I walked past, a group of guys would scream in unison, “Hey S where is your P? Can I be your P?” At that age it can be very embarrassing and also very annoying. I was very tall for my age and was a total tomboy. I would walk past them completely ignoring them. One day, however I lost it….of course at that time I didn’t know but now I do…. the time when you get angrier than usual is called PMS! I was walking past them minding my own business when one of the guys in that group blocked my path and asked me “Hey S where is your P? Can I be your P” I completely lost it and grabbed the guy, who was three inches shorter to me and very thin, by his collar and venomously hissed “What did you just ask me?” The other guys looked completely shocked and this guy was shaking from head to toe. Then I left his collar and walked on, but he was so shocked by my reaction that he lost his balance and fell on his posterior! At that moment everyone (including me) in our group started laughing. From that day on none of the guys ever made eye contact with me or even called my name!

Years later K introduced me to his extended family on his mother’s birthday. On meeting me his aunt teased, “Hey S….so is K your P?” Of course at that time I didn’t grab the end of her saree but just smiled and said “Yes I think so.”

Friday, February 09, 2007

Media Circus over a tragic death and a Bentley!

I know this post is one day late but then I was really tired last night and didn't have the energy to write so here is my post. Thank God I am not a journalist or else I wouldn't have lasted in that profession!

Last afternoon our secretary announced that Anna Nicole Smith had died. For a moment I couldn’t place her, so I asked “Anna who?” But my two male coworkers had a shocked look on their faces and said, “Wow really…..didn’t her son die recently?” My heartfelt sympathies to her family and loved ones but yesterday there was this non-stop media coverage over her death on CNN, MSNBC etc…I don’t watch other channels like Fox but I am assuming it must be the same everywhere…which was a bit much. I don’t know what Anna Nicole Smith’s claim to fame was except the legal battle for her late octogenarian oil tycoon husband’s wealth, whom she married when she was 26. Of course love is blind and knows no age….so I don’t care what you skeptics might say….it definitely must have been love and not at all wealth as Marshall family has been accusing her of (*rolling eyes*). Anyway I am saddened by her passing as she is survived by her infant daughter, who perhaps might be used as a pawn by other greedy “well-wishers” for their own selfish interests. Again they might not be interested in the prospective wealth the child might inherit….they might be just interested in the wellbeing of the child! I am just being cynical to insinuate greed.

Anyway I thought last night that there was enough intrusion in her life and decided to find out what was happening in my own country. I discover there is more intrusion with the controversy over a legendary Indian superstar presenting his son a Bentley on his birthday. His friend who is a politician claimed that the car belonged to him and not the actor and that he had bought with his own money. As a politician shouldn’t he be accountable as to what is his source of income and how could be afford to buy such an expensive car for his “personal use whenever he is in Mumbai.” I was curious as to what his source of income was and read on his website that he is an industrialist by profession. No further comments!

I cannot understand this intrusion of media in lives of “celebrities.” Do other people really care what is happening in these people’s lives that much? There are far more pressing issues that need to be reported than non-stop coverage of a “celebrity’s” death (although tragic) when there are war casualties (far more tragic). Do I really care who the father of Anna Nicole Smith’s baby is or when Abhishek and Aishwarya will get married? Those who care that much and lap up entertainment news need to get a life….SERIOUSLY!!!!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Remembering Gran

My next door neighbor is a 91-year old woman. She still drives and likes to lead her life independently without any assistance from anyone. Her biggest fear, she had once confessed to me, was that she would lose her independence and would be forced by her daughter to spend her last days in an Assisted Facility. She is an extremely strong woman and in many ways reminds me of my late maternal grandmother, who died a couple of years ago at the ripe old age of 90.

My grandmother lived by herself and was totally independent. She never liked to ask any of her children for anything and would be offended if anyone even suggested. My grandparents did not live too far from my parent’s home. In fact all my mother’s siblings live within an hour’s drive from each other and so do my father’s siblings. My growing years we either had relatives visiting us or we were visiting relatives; so I do enjoy living far away from relatives here in the United States! My grandmother wasn’t the kind of person who would express her emotions freely. She was totally different than her daughter, my mother, who will unabashedly kiss her grown daughters and mother them even today! On the other hand I don’t remember my grandmother mollycoddling me, my sisters and her other grandchildren, even when we were children. I always loved visiting my grandparents’ home for my grandfather. He was so much fun to be with. He had a great sense of humor and absolutely loved children. You could get away with a lot of things with him but not with gran. She was strict and would not hesitate to discipline.

When my grandfather passed on, I used to visit my grandmother, initially more out of guilt than because I enjoyed her company. So every Friday we would have our lunch together. She would make my favorite dishes and of course delectable desserts, since I have a sweet tooth. She would however, not let me binge and would control my portions. She wasn't needy and would in fact tell me that if I wanted to hang out with my friends or kids my age on Friday’s instead of her, she wouldn’t mind and that I should do that. She would say that every time I left her home. It really used to annoy me because I thought she didn’t want to see me.

So one afternoon, out of spite, I didn’t go as per my scheduled time and hung out with my friends. I reached home around 4PM in the evening and my mother asked me the reason why I didn’t go to gran’s. I told my mother that I thought that she doesn’t really care about the fact that I find time for her. My mother started laughing and told me that her mother cannot express her feelings and that she cares....a lot about all her loved ones. She also told me that gran had made all my favorite stuff for lunch and was waiting for me and that she had not eaten herself! Since I hadn’t shown up as expected, she was worried about me and had called my mother. I was surprised and also felt ashamed at my behavior. She lived around fifteen minutes away so I rushed to her home. I lied and told her that I was studying late and that I was famished. I had had lunch but didn’t have the heart to tell her that. Since I love binging, that evening I binged to my heart’s content! After that I kept on my routine till I got married. Later K and I used to see her once a month. Before leaving for the United States, I spent an entire day with her.

Six months after moving to the US, my mother informed me that gran had stomach cancer and at that age did not want to be bothered with any treatment. I was upset and called her up right away. She was too weak to talk but insisted on speaking to me. When I heard her voice, I burst into tears. She scolded me and said that I waste too much of my time on emotions and that I should be pragmatic. She told me that she wouldn’t be there when I came home but warned me about crying or mourning. She said that I would be stupid if I wasted my time crying on the passing of a 90 year old woman. This was such a typical gran statement! Through my tears, I started laughing and we ended that conversation with laughter. She died a few days later peacefully in her sleep. Looking back I have learnt a lot from her; I hope to have her integrity, courage, strength and wisdom as I lead my life.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Friday word: COLOR

I got the friday word from Mona's blog. I used to spell the word as C-O-L-O-U-R but since moving to the United States, spell it as above. “Manoeuvre” is now spelt as “maneuver,” “centre” as “center,” “kerb” as “curb” etc. Of course there are many more words but I am so brain-dead right now. Yes, people I do have a brain and you all thought that I was some vacuous blogger who wrote stories about her extremely boring and uneventful life. Well I do lead an extremely boring and uneventful life that it puts me to sleep as well. In fact the sure way for me to get sound sleep is to recollect the day’s events before going to bed and I am dead to the world! In fact I am yawning while typing this post.

Moving back to the friday word, I love colors but paradoxically my wardrobe is full of pieces in black and shades of grey. Therefore in conclusion, not only is my life boring but so is my wardrobe! The only thing colorful right now is my language. I had a post ready but the quirky and hungry blogger ate it up and it didn’t get published. I am too tired to write the post all over again. Normally I draft in Microsoft Word and cut and paste into blogger but I was lazy this evening; therefore serves me right!

I don't have any anecdotes or stories to share with the word "color." Since I will not cuss in a public forum hence there will be no colorful language in this post. I suck at poetry therefore will not have a lame-ass poem. The only other colorful things are my paintings, one of which I am sharing with you in this post. I painted this abstract representation of monsoon around ten years ago.

Those familiar with the Deccan area of India do know that summers are very hot and the overall landscape looks barren. With the advent of monsoon, however, it springs to life. There is nothing more pleasing to your senses than the fragrance of earth after the first shower. I absolutely love the monsoon season and this painting depicts my interpretation of the colors and moods of the season.