Saturday, August 30, 2008

And Jab We Met

That weekend we were to meet Pinku and Parry. They were breaking their journey in Chandigarh on my request on their way to Delhi from KairiGhat. We were to pick them up from Tribune Chowk. How will we identify each other? I wore a sharp yellow kameez salwar and told Pinku on the phone that when you look around, the prettiest female will be Mampi. Hehehe.

Sure enough, she located me across the crossing with the prettiness factor being the biggest hint. There she was, in a white kurta and jeans, with a bag slung over her shoulder; and with her was Parry, in a cool kurta and jeans himself, sweating profusely and with more luggage. Brave couple! Welcome to Punjab. Pinku has a sweet voice like that of a bird. Parry has a million dollar smile. Mahesh was waiting near the car to say hi to them. A perfect Bong Couple meeting a Perfect (errrrr???) Punjabi Couple-thanks to the blogworld. Jai was upset at having to squeeze himself in because he wanted me to go back to my seat in the front which I had given to Parry. Me and Pinku sat on either side of the back seat. Jai thought he was being squeezed in too tightly in his usually comfortable seat. He also took a great exception to our constant chatter. Rasan giggled at his remarks and told Pinku not to mind what he said. They both talked about other things. P and P had been in the bus for a couple of hours . And I knew they would be hungry. So, first things first, we went to eat at Aroma’s and had great fun catching up with each other’s lives. Not even once did we have those awkward moments you have while meeting someone for the first time. Six people - four cuisines- Rasan talking nonstop. (I have never seen her so animated with someone she is meeting for the first time) Usually Mahesh also takes time but he too was soon friends with Parry. He later commented that Parry is a cool guy.

We planned to go to the Chattbir Zoo but ParryAnka were short on time, so we decided in favour of the lake. It was a hot, sunny day that we had to brave. But we were all excited. Basically the aim was not sightseeing; it was to talk our hearts out. Jai constantly acted the spoil sport. He is one hell of a possessive guy. I often joke to Mahesh that he is stealing you away from me. Usually it is the husband who complains that the children are stealing the wife (in mother) away from him. Hopeless, that’s what I am. Hehehe. The lake, the heat, the crowd and then we started to walk away from the crowd. Talking about our lives, our jobs– we walked on. And boy, I was in for a surprise. On the foot of a lampshade was written a sentence in Punjabi. Parry stopped on the way. Read that sentence aloud. I was left gaping at him. “What? You can actually READ Gurmukhi?” I mean it is understandable for someone in India to understand Punjabi, but for a Bengali to read Gurmukhi, it’s amazing, it’s stupendous, it’s actually impressive Yaar! Pinku had earlier told me that Parry had lived in Punjab as a child owing to his father’s transferable job, but it was splendid to see him remember the script. He told me that he had worked on it consciously. How many people do that?

More talk, more dekho around, and suddenly a young man about 23-24 yrs old came. Said, “Excuse me, Ma’am.” I thought it was some student from the past. He said, “You look wonderful.” I was stupefied. What is this? He read my mind and immediately let the cat out of the bag lest he should be slapped, or in extreme circumstances, the lady be flattered enough to jump into the lake. Pointing at his friends he said, “Well, I had been dared by that group of mine to go tell the lady in the yellow that she looks good.” I said, “Well, you actually made my day, thank you.” And we all laughed. The talk freak that I am, I told Parry-Pinku that it has happened once before with me.

I was in M.A. II and we had been invited as guests to the welcome party of the MBA I semester by some friends in that department. The whole of the big University auditorium was full. The MBA deptt’s party used to be one to be enjoyed. The invitation was rare and much coveted. Obviously, we were really honored to be there. A set of giggling, unassuming type of girls, that’s what we were. Freshers of the new batch were being invited to the stage and asked to do weird things. There was this guy Abhishek, not Abhishek Bacchhan yaar. This one was a short, thin childlike boy who was told to give a flower to the prettiest girl in the hall. There was a stunned silence in the Audi. Now who would he go to? Jiske pas bhi jayega, maar khayega. And can you believe it? He came straight to me. Arrey, lambi lambi nahi chorh rahi hoon. Sach mein aya. I was flattered, scared, embarrassed. I was nowhere close to what the MBA people would call pretty. Well, nobody in their right senses would go give the flower to a plump girl in a 6-metre kameez salwar with full sleeves, spectacles on the nose, a thoroughly studious look and absolutely no experience in receiving flowers. The game required him to bring the girl back to stage and gift her a pen. Now that part was okay, I needed a pen anyways. I went with him to the stage, and courageously brought back the pen. I was not exactly on cloud nine, but flattered I definitely was. Because that was the first and the last flower I ever got from a guy. After the function, he came to me and said, “I hope you didn’t mind. Well you seemed safest to give that flower. You see, I knew who you were. My dad is Principal in ….. College, and he knows your mom (Mom was then Principal in another college in the same university). So I thought I would go give you the flower, and later apologize. I hope you dint mind ”

Mind? Were you kidding, Abhishek?

Coming back to Pinku, Chandigarh and Parry (poor dears, they got to hear this story then and there), our meeting was soon going to come to an end. Parry was expecting his dynamic friend P whom he had told that he was in the city. I tried to threaten him with dire consequences because I had planned something else. But then I had to abandon my Punjabi ways because “the friend” had a more towering personality than me and Mahesh put together. As soon as she came, I accepted my defeat and let them go. With a heavy heart of course. Because I had planned some more hours in their company, but then friends are friends, and friends need to be with friends even if the friends are with other friends. Sob!Sob!

The meeting with this blogger couple is definitely the beginning of a bond that is beyond regions, beyond languages, beyond limiting factors that divide people.


Pinku's post on this meeting is really wonderful. Parry has taken these pictures and they both together have proven how powerful people's backs can be !!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

My Joy Knows No Bounds

Some get one,

Some get two

I got three, nay four.


What do you do when three of your fellow bloggers, all better than you, and the ones with a wider perspective covered in their blogs, consider you worthy of the Brilliante Award 2008? You feel overwhelmed, teary eyed and touched. Yes, I am all three. To a cynic, awards like these might not seem as significant as they sound, but to a person like me who is being endorsed and being read by bloggers with greater styles of their own, it means a lot. It means that I was remembered when these fellow bloggers were making their list of the blogs that they thought could qualify for the award. And it is a lovely feeling. Inexplicably discreetly invited me to her blog to show me the award, Abha asked me if she could(yeh bhi koi poochne ki baat hai ji?), and Mandira simply added me to the list of her awardees. Reliable sources have reported that Roop was also considering me for the award but she decided she won't award me if I had already been awarded that. However, in my bout of lack of humility, I count the "award not given" but "considered-given" from her too. The height of humility, self awardation. (Is there a word like that?)

Thank you all four of you.

After accepting the award, I would read the rules of the award ceremony.

This award is for blogs whose content and design are brilliant as well as creative. (my design is horrible, I am sure, but I think my benign friends conveniently ignored that)
The purpose of the prize is to promote as many blogs as possible in the blogosphere.
1. When you receive the prize you must write a post showing it, together with the name of who has given it to you, and link them back.
2. Choose a minimum of 7 blogs (or even more) that you find brilliant in their content or design.
3. Show their names and links and leave them a comment informing they were prized with ‘Brilliante Weblog.’
4. Show a picture of those who awarded you and those you give the prize (optional).
5. And then we pass it on!

All Checked...

I share the list of the blogs that I feel are a quality read and worth spending my time on:
And the awards go to (in no particular order of hierarchy):

Pinku-For bringing out the innermost turmoils of human soul, for offering a myriad view of all that she witnesses around her.

SidhuSaheb-For being a sensible user of his blogspace.

Majaz-For her simplicity, for the fire inside her that is wrapped up in tradition and yet is so effective.

HowDoWeKnow-For the honesty, the contemporariness in her blogposts.

Sujata-For adding colour through her camera, for awakening my own wandering spirit through her travel accounts.

ThoughtSafari-For being so unique, for sharing the journey of thoughts with us.

Phatichar-For scaring me with his brilliant stories.

Roop-For jolting us from the complacency about many issues through her banalities blog and Unchaahi blog. For being so passionate about her cause. I add her here, because I really really admire the way she puts up the problems and their resolutions and her rage in between.

ManInPainting- For the mesmerising sculpting that he does with his words.

Devaki-Her style always leaves me wondering about the top quality content she presents-in a very organised and balanced fashion.


Imp's Mom-For being a strong mom and sharing herself through her blog.

Well, I know I am well past the 7 blogs limit, I wish I had added more. But they all remain linked in my blogroll and honor my blog with their presence.
For me, all the blogs I visit are really enchanting. I am always impressed with the subjects you all choose, and the way you all present them. I guess everybody who is expressing herself/himself here through words deserves this award. Thank you all for spreading cheer and hope.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Swimming is not tough. Remember I told you? Well, it is all about kicking your legs and moving your arms and breating rhythmically. That’s it. Only I occasionally forget to breathe inside the water and end up doing a lot of Jal Neti. As a result, my nasal and throat passage these days works smoothly like a toll managed highway.

And the moment I kick my legs and move into the middle of the pool (the small pool ji), I forget to move my arms. If I manage to remember to do both the things, I forget to breathe. The moment I realize that I have to breathe, I manage to shoot up to the surface to breathe. The neighboring swimmers (all learners, majority of them kids below 10) suddenly get alarmed and scared thinking I am in some emergent need of aid. Well, I usually search for air in such a frantic way that they seem to be ready to call the lifeguard. They stop only when I manage to communicate some consolation with a head bobbing up and down in the water. That ensures them that I am alive. So much for humanity in the pool.

If I do manage to breathe, and start to move forward with the speed of a submarine inside a tub; I end up recalling some funny event of my life and start giggling inside the water. Obviously I cannot giggle and swim in one go.

Well, swimming IS easy, only if you supplement your regime with good diet and consumption of a lot of water. Diet, I manage at home, but the water I consume these days is the water that I (accidentally) drink inside the pool; while breathing or trying to breathe. Only when I come out of the pool with a protruding tummy do I realize that I have had more than my quota of water for the day.


Saturday, August 16, 2008


These days
the complaints
do not automatically
shift to
the communication department.

does not by itself
get converted to

The rubbish accumulates;
The migraine pinches.

It hurts to know
the recycling unit
in the brain
is not working 'normally.'

Monday, August 11, 2008

Viral, Queues and Queen

On Friday, I took an off. Not because it was the release of Singh Is Kinng and I wanted to watch the first day first show. I told you, I m not those types. I took the off because I had viral fever. Waiting at an old doctors’ old styled clinic, I smsed all my friends and M a message, here it goes:

Puri Botal na sahi, Kam se kam ek jam toh ho jaye,
Milna na sahi, dua salaam toh ho jaye,
Jinki yaad mein hum bimaar padey hain,
Kam se kam unhe zukhaam toh ho jaye.
Oye haal ta puch lo….

And in the purest spirit of responding to the chappal chor shayar’s shers, my dear friends sent me sms’es and M called. The two hour wait, yes the whole two hours of wait at the doctor’s even in this 21st century, became a little tolerable amid a sweating session, rising body temperature and tiresome body ache. Finally two benign patients saw my yellowing eyes and deteriorating condition, and requested me to skip their turns in the queue purely on compassionate grounds. Taking cognisance of their insistent enthusiasm in letting me reach the doctor’s altar, I complied. The doc saw me, declared I was a gone case of viral fever, told me strictly to stay away from work, prescribed the meds , charged his fee and sent me home.

So what is the big deal, you would ask. You were sick, you were told to rest.

No, here lies the twist.

Only I didn’t go home. I consumed the first dose of meds and headed to the WestEnd Mall in response to my little family’s enthusiasm to watch Singh is King this weekend. I thought, abhi nahi toh kabhi nahi. To the utter dismay of my driver, in about 15 minutes of taking the medicine, we were cruising through multiple traffic jams in blistering heat. Yes, we reached the Waves Cinemas to buy tickets. Never seen such an adarsh patni, adarsh maa even in the K serials, right? Such a sacrifice !!! So mushy?? Okay okay, leave out the crying part for later.

For the first time in my life, I saw Punjab’s essentially male - crowd civilized and queued-up even in the sun. I wanted to click a discreet picture for you to prove my point, but I didn’t have enough energy to argue in case someone chose to exercise their right to object. So I let my phone remain in my handbag. And exercised my privilege of going in a separate queue meant for women (which had only me) and went in. Oh boy, inside was a different story. At 12: 30 pm any given day in such a mall, you won’t see such a crowd. What I was looking at was a motley crowd of rustic, first time visitors to the Westend Mall. They were everywhere, in the corridors, in the elevators, on the escalators. And my brilliant brain immediately told me that Singh was again going to be King, this time in theatres. I was so proud of my Kurta-Payajama clad non-turbanated pendu’s.

I reached the Box office and there was a queue, and actually people standing in a queue. I stood in one too. No, I didn’t exercise my right of being a woman this time. There was this guy who first analysed my queue from his own from the left side, crawled towards ours and then sheepishly tried to fit into ours. I was secretly wary of anyone with any mal-intentions trying to sneak into our queue. The moment he tried to poke his pathetic existence into our queue, I knocked (in the spirit of knocking on a door) with my cell phone on his shoulder. I actually wanted to prick his conscience with a pin, but I did not have a pin and his conscience was not too visible. Surprised, he looked back and I said, "Excuse me, but there is a queue here.” He said, “Yeah, I just have to enquire.” I said, “Yeah, so come in a queue.” He didn’t know, of course, that the lady was running a fever. He again said, “Madam, ticket nahi lena hai; enquire karna hai.” I said, “Yeah, so come in a queue.” I was reminded of my dear friend and colleague N’s words, “Once a bhenji, always a bhenji.” I think he heard my brain tick with these words. Shrugging his shoulders in an I GIVE UP BHENJI tone, he went back. My turn came and I bought tickets to Singh is King. Oh, I forgot to add that by now, I was sweating even in the strong AC due to the medicines as well as exertion. I still had 101 fever if not more. Such Devotion. Akshey Kumar, Are you reading??

Saturday, August 09, 2008


Oye China ! Thou be a super-power? We Care not! We be on the way...the faster way... our budding Hockey players are cutting the grass yet. They will be done in a few years. Then they will play in these grounds. Off with your astroturfs, off with your technology, off with your hyperactive players. Tremble China tremble. Nothing will then save you. No stopping for us.

Hail India !!! (And Mampi stretches out her arm to do the 'Hail' action)


Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Fitting Into a Swim Suit

No, it is not a hard thing to do. I thought it was. M had been pestering me to learn swimming for physical fitness and as a survival skill. I had been trying to cajole him into letting me postpone it to next summer. He himself is a reasonably good swimmer and has an extremely fit body. That is to conclude that I was and still am the only bad apple in the family of shiny and fit apples.

So, one fine morning, he called up, gave me an ultimatum, ordered me to bunk work and go to the Speedo showroom to buy a swimming costume. Swimming costume and me? M, you cannot be serious after my successful attempts to skirt the issue. Swimming costume – to me, was a sexy, revealing outfit that you wear to swim and sometimes to flaunt a good body. I neither knew swimming nor did I have a good body to show off. Before buying a swim suit, I thought it was a good idea to buy a bathrobe to wear over it. Though I didn’t bunk work I did go to Planet Sports that day and asked them to show me the biggest swim suit they had in the form of something that would cover me from head to toe. The salesman saw me, smiled patronizingly and said, “Ma’am, the maximum covering types in swimsuits available with us are the ones that cover half your legs and half your arms.” Pooh, life is full of compromises. I thought, “Okay let it be.” I argued that I had seen those full bodyskins that make you look like a seal. “There was no way we would be getting it here in our store,” said the salesman.

“Yeah, all of them have gone to China for Olympics, right?” I still thought he had that full body suit and was hiding it somewhere in the store.

He led me to the section where these wonderful swim suits hung. My inner voices started to yell all at once, “Wow, wish I could wear this, wish I could wear that. Umm, no this won’t fit. Umm no, this is too small. Hai, this is nice.” and I picked up a plain black zip-up kneeskin (mine is closest to this one. Wonder why Speedo has not put my kneeskin on their website) , and the biggest size in this style and also one smaller than the biggest- just for the sake of my ego satisfaction. I moved towards the trial room. On the way, I called up M and gave him a detail on the selected swim suit. Was it hot that day, and was I sweating that day! It was a struggle to wear cotton clothes, and to try on a swim suit was an ordeal. I wanted to curse M loudly for having made me go through that tiresome and lousy job in the middle of the afternoon when I should be sitting home reading blogs. The godforsaken AC of that store was working, but the trial room was, well trial room and they wanted to try the patience of everyone, so the AC settings in that part of the world seemed to be set to a minimal. I will save you the details of the struggle; I fit into both of them. I mean I fit into both, tried one after the other. Just clarifying lest you should think I had to put both of them to fit in.

Now, that was a small ego-boost. Elated, I called up M.

Conversation from inside of the stuffy trial room into the phone:

“Wow, I fit into both.”

“Try one size smaller than the smallest that fit you. I m sure you would fit into that too.”

In Punjabi I said, ““ਠੀਕ ਠੀਕ ਲਾ ਲੌ” it roughly translates as “Now come on, let’s stay within limits.”

“Okay, leave it. I will go with you to the showroom and then you try it.” Oww he is such a darling.

I smsed him the details, style number etc and he promised he would also have a look at a Speedo showroom closeby.

Next day we returned together to the same PS showroom and he suggested me to take two sizes smaller inside the trial room and try them on . I was aghast, “No way. I am not doing it. I m not even going to try swimming. I look like a black whale. Moreover it’s no fun spending so much on a swim suit for a person like me who has not even stepped into a pool.”

“Go on; let me see how it fits.”

Now it was a relatively cooler day. Partly because now my self esteem was two sizes larger, given that at least two decent swim suits had fit me. Encouraged, I tried this smaller one, wow it fit me. I chuckled audibly to myself. M was standing outside; he wondered aloud what was so funny. I opened the door slightly, let him in and told him to see for himself. He saw it from this angle and that. Not that it was very hard to do, because there were hardly any angles to look at , for everything was conveniently rounded off. But he was happy that it fit me. I secretly suspected that he was happy that I found myself not impossibly fat anymore. I was even happier than him, though what I was seeing in the mirror was nothing even remotely close to a flattering image. We finalized the swim suit and off we went. I am glad M didn’t allow me to buy those bazaar chaap swim suits that come in bold prints with long slacks that cover your legs, almost looking like kameez-pajami–sans-dupatta inside the water.

On the way back, M declared, “Half the battle is won. You will learn swimming in no time."
What a faith!!! An incurably contagious faith that he wears on sleeves the way people wear their hearts!!! I started to sneeze immediately upon being badly infected with it in the car. As a result, now am trying all sorts of antics in the swimming pool that is only 3 and a half feet deep. I need to tell you all about so many other pool happenings. That is for the next time. Reason? - A badly frighten(ing)ed reader, my friend Hardly Phatichar says, “aap toh kishton mein likhti hain”. (You write in instalments.)