Saturday, May 31, 2008

Maujaa'n Ee Maujaa'n

I put a brake to the car. Rasan wants to rush to the school gate saying a hurried bye. I wipe the extra baby cream off her face and kiss her nose. She kisses her brother a warm bye (thankfully he has no school that day; he doesn’t have any 'paper discussion') and runs off to meet her friends before the school prayer. I reverse the car, slowly wiggle my way out of the maddening rush and come back home.

She has a paper discussion at school. Till now, there only used to be a Parent Teacher Meet in which we examined their examined papers, calculated results, signed the report card, said good things to the teacher, and came back home. It was, and still is a gala day for the kids who dress up in their finest “home dresses” - a welcome change from the school uniform they get to wear everyday. However, in addition to that, now Rasan has a paper discussion day too (in school uniform of course) two days prior to the PTM and they are told their marks and other stuff about the question paper, for example how to attempt and more importantly, how not to attempt the paper. So, more or less it is a regular school day sans the school bag.

She comes back from school at 1:30 – all red with the sun and heat outside and excitement inside. As usual, she is hyper about telling about her day, “Yeieiei....Mama, I am first in English…”

“Wow, that’s great. How many marks?”

“Too bad, I don’t know how many, but I topped.” Yes, she forgets to ask her marks from the teacher, but she knows she topped. My Funny baby - I can expect this of her.

And I laugh…

As I help remove her tie and belt to ease her under the fan, I am all ears.

“Well Mama, I am not first in all the subjects though.”

“That’s ok beta. Doesn’t matter. I would have liked if you had gotten highest in all subjects. But no problems. So how was your day?”

I must admit I was a bit disappointed but I knew that she had problems with her Punjabi and Hindi papers, and that’s where she might have been hit the most. So I prefer to keep the discussion off those things.

She freshens up and takes up her tennis racket to play with. We stand outside in the lobby. She says as she hits the ball, “Mama, you know what? In the school today, we were all talking about how everybody’s parents are going to react to their marks.”
Here is what I get to understand.

AP : My father would hit me if he found that I had bungled in marks. AP is a girl.

AD: My father won’t allow me to enter the house if he found out I didn’t score well. AD is a boy.

ABJ: MY father would tell me to sleep out on the road if he found that I had gotten less marks than what he expected. ABJ is a boy who shares her birthday too.

And then one of them asked, “Okay R how would your parents react?”

R: Well, Papa would not ask about my position. If at all I tell him that I am second or third or fifth or tenth in the class, he would say, “Wow, that’s nice.”

ABJ: and your mom? Because all her friends know I am a Chota Mota Hitler in my own right.

R: Well, when she finds out that I didn’t score that well, she would say, “That’s bad but its okay. What is gone is gone. Now start working harder on the next unit/term.”
While reporting this, she is grinning from ear to ear.

AP+AD+ABJ say – Yar teriaa’n ta mauja hi mauja.

Then R+AP+AD+ABJ+together sing – MAUJAA’N EE MAUJAA’N……

Thursday, May 29, 2008

THE Award

Devaki thinks that my blog is worth this cute award. Thank you, thank you. I cannot tell you Devaki, how much of an ego-booster I needed these last few days, what with the kids' vacations going on and me getting tired acting as their chauffeur, dustbin, insulated shoutbox etc etc etc - apart from the regular roles that I perform.
And I pass it on to Roop for her matured and insightful thoughts on her blog and the Unchaahi posts. Apart from expressing wonderfully on the cause of women and unborn girl child, she has a great flair of writing travel memoirs which I simply adore.
And I also consider Amitabh Bachchan worthy enough for me to pass this award to. Ahem, Ahem. Let me clarify that it is not due to his star status that has me awed and therefore this award. Salute my spirit that even though he does not know of my existence and therefore he would never come to know of this award, yet I risk your sneers. It might not be a Lifetime Achievement Award etc etc (they don't matter to him cos I think he doesnt go to such ceremonies anyway) . This one comes from one of his readers and this reader is content in reading. He is a wonderful writer, and his blog has sense. He amazes and inspires me all the time with his ripe linguistic skills and his matured expression.
And I would further consider Sudipta for the honor. Reason, he makes me laugh with his simple humor in most of his posts. And of course because he is one hell of an intelligent Capri.
And to Raza for sharing this wonderful post in particular and all his posts in general. That is because he writes so sensibly and in such a thought provoking manner. And well, he is one hell of an intelligent and expressive Capri too. I know, I know this will raise many-an-eyebrow.
I, Me, Myself confer this award to Sidhu (though perhaps he would prefer that I address him as Sidhusaaheb) for the versatility in his posts and for being such a regular and prompt commentator on mine.
I love Amarjit Tiwana's Haiku site. His poems are like a little bird that flies over my computer everyday and says a few words that re-form themselves as a Haiku. I hope he accepts this nice matters award, though he seems, like Amitabh Bachchan, above these things.
Actually there are many blogs of note that I really want to link here through this award. However, sheer modesty stops me from being so extravagantly preposterous.
Thank you Devaki, once again.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Goddess Abides

Before her widowhood she had been a daughter and sister, wife and mother, dividing herself perforce, though willingly, for she had enjoyed each relationship and treasured her memories. Now she was living with herself and by herself as though she were a stranger, discovering new likes and dislikes, new abilities. Books, for example – she had thought of books as diversion and amusement. Now she knew they were communication between minds, her own and others, living and dead. Such communication was the source of learning and she had a thirst for learning, reviving after the busy years of her married life. (29)

“The ability to love is the secret of life. So long as one can love, really love, another human being, death waits afar off. It is only when the capacity to love ceases to exist that death follows soon. I thank you, my darling, for letting me love you. It keeps death from my door.” (29)

“Do not limit happiness; one takes it where one finds it.”

“One happiness has passed, but hold yourself ready for the next, whatever it is. If you do not see it on the horizon, then you must create it where you are. So long as you live you may find happiness if you search for it, or create it for yourself. Perhaps the search itself is happiness.” (31)

…that love had ended, stopped by death, and suddenly, for a while, there was no one to love. In the long months when she knew he must die she had wondered about love. Would it go on living after the beloved was dead? Could so strong a force continue to feed only upon memory? She knew now that it could not. The habit of love became a necessity to love and remained alive in her being, like a river dammed. Now it was flowing again, not in fullness, not inevitably, but tentatively and gently toward this man who sat facing her, his back to the sunset. (46)

“The need to love and be loved lasts until we draw our final breath and from the need comes the power. It is in you, it is in me. How can this be, you may ask. Because, my child, my dear and only One, love sustains the spirit and the spirit sustains life. Yet even if it is one-sided, the one who loves is sustained. It is sweet to be loved, but to be able to love is to possess the life force. I love you. Therefore I am strong." (47)

“It comes to us, always to be welcomed, from whatever source, at whatever time. One love does not displace another. Each love is added richness.” (66)

“Each experience of love…is a life in itself. Each has nothing to do with what has taken place before or will take place again. Love is born, it pursues its separate way, world without end, transmuted into life energy.” (77)

She understood why he had left her today and she knew that he would always come back. She had made it possible for him to return to his work. She had given him his freedom even from love, and so he would love her forever. (210)

…the only way to be loved is to be stronger than the one you love. (224)

Somehow she had come into his life at a moment when he needed to worship and he had worshiped her. What does a woman do with a man’s worship? She can destroy it by her own selfish need – or she can use it for his development and growth.
I must never let him know, she thought.
But know what?
She must never let him know that she was merely woman. She must never descend to daily need, if she wanted to keep him. No, even that was selfish. There could be no question of “keeping.” She must rise to the heights of her own. She must be quite willing to release him while she loved him – even because she loved him, for love, if it be true, seeks only the fulfillment of the beloved and this on the highest level. (241)
These are some excerpts from The Goddess Abides by Pearl S. Buck
(Methuen , London, 1972)
The introduction to the novel reads:
Pearl Buck tells a story of human love in its infinite variety. At the centre is Edith Chardman, just widowed in the prime of life (42, as I found it) as the story opens, after a long and happy marriage to a man much her senior. Into the emptiness come Edwin (72, to be precise), even older than her late husband, and Jared(24, when he meets Edith), young enough to be her son. With each there is mutual attraction, strong and vital, yet with the vast differences imposed by disparate ages. In the intense months that follow, Edith confronts complexities of love to which she had never had occasion to give the least thought. She learns how subtle are the ways in which love is to be fulfilled.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Just a Thought

India has reached the finals of Azlan Shah Hockey for the first time in last 12 years. It is no small feat for a country which had almost forgotten that there has to be a glory involved with the official national game. More than winning this game, it was about good playing - on and off the field. However, I wont be analysing the situations that have been laid threadbare before us anyways with the Gill vs Gill episode.

Indian Women's Cricket team has won Asia Cup for the 4th time in succession. A matter of pride indeed for all of us. And for the team that had to prove itself - against the norm that is the Indian men's cricket team. The so-called "Team India" - that is supposedly the sole honour bearer of a 100-Crore plus strong country, that is the symbol of the nation, that is the life and breath of a people who sleep and wake through their television sets flashing live their dreams through this game.

Both the news are found relegated to obscure corners of national newspapers. IPL and the teams named so spiritedly are spread all over the major and minor newspapers.

I have nothing against the IPL. For M's sake, I am even taking interest in the matches, and am trying to understand the score and the game.

Just an observation - from an Indian loyal to Hockey, from a woman proud of the Indian Women's Cricket Team's feat (however humble it might be considered), from a confused Indian about our priorities in the sports field.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Nimakh literally means “small,” “little.” When I first went to Amarjit (Sathi) Tiwana’s haiku blog, I was reasonably impressed. When I started to interact with him, he offered to send me a copy of his publication NIMAKH- his book of Punjabi haiku poems.

Haiku is (perhaps) the smallest poem in the world. Having its origin in Japan; it has been adopted by poets world-wide. To me it is no less than a wonder. It is a superhuman ability to express oneself in a matter of 10 odd words and still end up saying a poem.

The poet informs in the book that Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha has defined the word Nimakh as “the time taken to blink an eye.”

I was at work when someone called up to say that he had brought Tiwana’s book for me. It was a huge surprise. I was grateful, I was happy and I was amazed that I got the book within 48 hours of saying yes to Tiwana’s offer of sending me the book. I reached home by 1 and found the book- Nimakh was really nimakh : 84 pages and only two poems on each page – lest quantity should override quality. All of 17 x 11 cm ( 4.4’’ x 6.4’’) – it was fit to be carried in my current purse. As the kids went into the swimming pool at 4.30 p.m., I dived into the book. Consuming one poem by one poem, one page by one page– I was amazed at the expression, angry at one reality depicted in one poem, pleased with another, nodding at a truth condensed in a poem, agreeing with the nostalgia in another—my response was that of a child who has been made to sit in a room full of toys. She doesn’t know which toy to handle first, which one to keep, which one to let go. I normally do not dog-ear the books I read. But the devil inside me wanted to dog ear at least 20 pages for a future reading. The book was so cute that I couldn’t muster courage to do that. So I tried keeping a little scrap of paper as a book mark to go back to that particular poem.

The most striking thing in the book after its poetry is what Navtej Bharati has to say about the poet and his muse. I wouldn’t literally translate what he has to say but the crux of his foreword is something like this.

We tend to take things around us for granted. We see things only as far as we need them; we live only as much as we need to. We refuse to see the miracles around us – miracles that happen everyday, around us, with us, in us. It is due to a “stare” (geijh in punjabi – when we get used to looking at things in a particular way). It is such poetry as Tiwana’s that breaks this geijh. It is such poetry that tells us of the Nature that is beautiful with the presence of mankind, and is beautiful sans mankind. Man is diseased with a narcisst approach. Nimakh washes our eyes to show us the world around. They tend to include us in the Great Chain of Being. We see more and we live more.

I won’t quote any of Tiwana’s poems here. You need to go to his blog and read them all by yourself to have a first hand feel of the miracle.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Roop's Tag

Roop had tagged me on these. Its my first one. I have worked really hard on it. Ever seen someone work so seriously on a tag?

I am passionate about:

1. Mahesh- though he would hate that I am saying this publicly…
2. Ghazals and Quwallies – Jagjit Singh and Nusrat Saab respectively
3. Reading – Fiction and non fiction, both
4. Punjabi poetry – all of Surjit Pattar, Shiv, and random pieces I encounter.
5. My Nokia N95 8GB – it allows me to take so many pangas with it
6. Internet –I pray for the endless existence of this amazing world
7. Work Out - More whenever I attack it with vehemence.
8. My work-place - with all its heat and dust.

Eight things I want to do before I die:

1. Own a Mitsubishi Montero- for Jai’s sake
2. To lose this weight forever and see a fit Manpreet in the mirror
3. Then Go for a World Tour – Just me and Mahesh
4. Publish all my poems ( I would do that sooner than waiting for the time just “before I die”) definitely before I leave for this world tour
5. Inculcate a lot more Jigra (at least as much as my mom and mom-in-law have). Jigra in Punjabi means a lot more than Patience
6. Appear and win in a gameshow that promises 5 Crores – it has nothing to do with the dream of the world tour, just recording for reference sake
7. Learn to do good makeup
8. Laugh and laugh and laugh.

Eight things I say often:

1. Oww come on
2. O Jaan de yaar
3. Theek theek laa lo
4. Got it? (in my classes)
5. Dafa karo ( I know its rude, but it is to tell myself to let go of things that annoy me)
6. hmm...well...
7. Exactly
8. Right…

Eight songs I could listen to over and over:

1. Entire Mulaqat-Ravi Mann
2. Aiwen hass ke na langhya kar ni sanu ishq ho geya
3. Mere dil dian too jaane tere dil dian main --- KOOLJEET (yes he is sach much cool)
4. Zindagi ki na toote lari, Pyar kar le ghari do ghari – Kranti (Film)
5. Saawal Sundar Ramaiiya – Bhagat Kabir’s Shabad - sung by Bhai Harjinder Singh Sri Nagar
6. Jinde jinde ni jinde – Rahat Fateh Ali Khan
7. Kids’ rendering of “Phone Chakko Ji
8. Apni marzi se Kahan apne safar pey hum hain –ghazal by Jagjit Singh (among many others from the same artist)

Eight things that attract me to my friends:

Roop, I wanted to follow your example and ask only my best buddy M just as you had asked your best buddy P, but I planned a little variety. So, I tagged a few of my friends on SMS today and here is what I found. Well, most of it turned out sugary, so please take it with a pinch of salt.

1. Damdar, Charming Personality, Loving nature (Kiran you are so cute) and the Aura I create around myself – (ahem ahem ahem, I know I am not at the modest best, but I m being honest at least) Six of them said this, though I would have liked to know 'What' in Personality
2. Vivacity and typical Punjabi style of dressing and talking – Harpreet Vohra said this. Raghbir said it is the typical Jatti touch
3. Positive attitude (Thank you Ravinder Bhai, otherwise I m such a sloppy Capri), Friendly and Helping nature-three of them found me good enough
4. I am a little Kamli-said Bikram Sekhon and Ajay Bhaji (they are right) though Bikram later sent another sms saying “U r cute and have a spirit to fight in society” and Ajay Bhaji added that he is a little kamla too, that is what endears me to him.
5. I talk straight forward without any mean interest- a colleague wrote
6. My clarity of Fundas and Intellect – Daljinder and Santosh Basran
7. Simplicity and sense of humor – Rohit said
8. My Smile – Aww Avneet is always sho cute
9. Way of talking and accent – I got this from four of my contacts

However, I have saved the best for the last:

10- M found that (among other things) what attracts him to me is my Innocence and a Kind and Big heart. - No comments !!!
Roop, now this calls for a big Awww. See the amazing results when you put your friends to work? You come to know so much about your own self. Otherwise I also keep ranting that I m worthless, useless, talent-less, artless, everything less blah blah blah. Thank you, thank you, thank you all – this will keep me on the cloud nine for at least a month. Thereafter I will find some way to hang on.
…and this takes care of my homework.

Open to feedback and Inputs (especially to all those who could not SMS me :))