Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My Life-My Addictions-Pinku's Tag

The dictionary meaning of Addiction is “condition of being dependent on some substance, interest or activity.”

Pinku tagged me on telling the whole world about 5 things to what I am addicted. Hai sharmaoo, aise kaise main bataoon… Ok, ok, I will cut it out... here I am. But only five? Hell, my life depends on addictions. I survive on addictions-addictions like coffee, all sweet things, chaat papdi, gol gappa-nothing healthy. I am a bad example, told ya.

1. Talking – I am a talker by profession, by addiction and by compulsion. Cannot help talking-in the class, in the gym, in the pool, in the car, in the day, at night, to the kids, to strangers. I can talk people down, I can talk people up. I can talk on the stage, I can talk on the radio, I can even talk on the TV. I don’t remember my mom telling me when I started talking but since I did, I didn’t stop. Sometimes, Mahesh has to tell me, “Oye Chotu bass kar” and I am forced to say, “kee karan, Petrol Khatam ee nahi hunda.”

2. Internet-“What would you have done without Google, Mama?” says my daughter whenever she asks me a question and I take Googlebaba’s sharan when I don’t know the answer or when I want to be more specific. Internet to me is now my lifeline. I can do without a cellphone (my internet doesn’t depend on cellphone yet) for a lifetime, but not without internet. What did I do before internet? I don’t remember. Much to Mahesh's chagrin, I am admittedly addicted to checking my emails at least twice a day, and now addicted to checking all your blogs for new (and old) posts.

3. Reading-My mom in law often wonders why I need so many books around me. She has very benignly (rather forcefully) suggested me to donate these books to some library. I, on my part, go on buying and borrowing newer books for me and my children. Because I have grown up among books, hundreds and hundreds of books-old and new, so I cannot help but stand and sit among them for hours altogether. Somehow, I cannot digest a life without reading. I am also addicted to reading all the Sunday features of prominent English and Punjabi dailies.

4. Checking out newest gizmos-I went to the iStore the day before, and had a long dekho at the Apple lappies. The dekho was long enough to prompt Mahesh to inspire me to check out only the top-of-the-line stuff if I wanted one. How I wish for one. Narcissist that I am, I went to their biggest desktop and opened this blog there. Boy, it looked huge, wonderful and very ego-satisfying to have seen this on the big 24 inch screen. I am also eyeing Nokia N96 but I wont, I wont, I wont buy it, not for another couple of years. For now my N95 is doing really well. I have practically forgotten to carry my camera due to its 5 MP camera always in my hand ready to click.

5. Self Clicking – Whenever I have time, and a true or false impression that I am looking good, I’m almost addicted to smiling into the phone-camera and clicking myself. You check my phone image gallery and about 40 percent photos belong to me-most are self clicked. Mahesh often asks after having a look at these pics, “Did you click them yourself?” “Did you smile for yourself?” Now what to tell him?

Before finally posting it, I asked my daughter what she thought I was addicted to. She said and in the same order I repeat, “Reading, internet, papa and sanu pyar, obsession about not wasting your time.”

As a second opinion, I asked Mahesh what he thought my addictions were. Now I wish I had not asked him. He said, “You are addicted to internet, downloading and listening to music, reading books, doing stuff for kids, enjoying junk food, eating chatpata, living in AC, talking, at times being silly, and at times talking like an intellectual, brushing your teeth at night and so on and so forth (okay I know they are more of quirks but he is allowed that).

Now I spread the malady. I invite Ramanujam, Mandira, ( I know, I know I am yet to do your time wala tag, but you will do it, won't you?), DeeplyDip, Balvinder, Nova, Manish, and Nidhi/Kiran to tell us their addictions in life.

And also all the visitors to my blog are welcome to do the tag. Let me know if you wanna, it will be a pleasure to link you from here.

Edited to add:

Gandhigiri never fails. Gazal and Vinay have volunteered to do the tag.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

ToDay in Bits

Today, I attended a seminar on Indian Writing in English. No comments on speakers. I left the seminar midway considering that much of the knowledge they were imparting was lifted straight from any book on the topic. The papers presented were not introducing any new insight. I came out. Standing near my car, I looked for car keys. I was a common sight. A woman-standing near car/scooter with a hand in the big handbag-misplaced keys-confusion writ large on face-thinking maybe I left the keys on the reception desk. But here is the twist. An old beggar who came near me, said some incoherent words about needing money to eat a meal. I glanced at him-was in two minds-whether to shoo him away, or to give a couple of coins. I still could not locate car keys, but my hands located my change pouch, thought its his kismet, took out change for 5 rupees. He refused, he actually refused. Said he wanted ten rupees. He wanted to eat daal-chawal from a hotel. I was angry, I told him, “Go to a gurdwara, they would feed you. Go find some work.” He said, “I’m running fever, blah blah blah.” I wanted to get rid of him. Took out ten rupees, handed over to him, he went murmuring some blessings. The moment he left, my hand touched my car keys hiding away in a corner of the handbag. Providence?? As I sat in the car, I eyed three rickshaw walahs, standing there watching the whole tamasha. My mind churned out a fear. Wouldn’t these rickshaw walahs think , “It is so easy to make ten rupees. Whats the use of our rickshaw pulling?”
I was a bad example.
Reversed the car. Ran the AC full blast. Suddenly saw the fuel indicator and it was on below zero. Oh my God! How did it happen? I’ m never this negligent. What if I run out of diesel and there is no filling station nearby? As it is, filling stations are acting pricey about selling a tank-full of diesel. What a nuisance I would be to my currently crusading qunbaa!
I reached that blind right turn near my house, screeched on the brakes, and barely managed to escape hitting a golden Scorpio coming from the opposite side without caring for any ‘keep to the left’ rule. Within seconds I gained my composure and rolled down my window. The other fellow too did. I was angry as it is, and then I saw a cigarette stuck in his fingers and a cell-phone sticking in his hand. Whew, he was talking while driving. I was about to come out of my car and stand on the road to abuse him, but then I changed my mind. Got hold of the bhenji act, thought of not getting down on the road (imagined someone imploring, "Paon zameen pey mat rakhiyega, mailey ho jayenge..." though I was in my sports shoes) and willed him to come out of the car. He seemed to be a spoiled brat with his costly glares and spiked up hair - there are such samples aplenty in my city. I pushed my hand out of my window and gestured him to come. I doubted he would. But wow, very obediently he came. I gave four big pieces of my mind, one after the other, to him in chaste, angry, loud Punjabi. He acted equally angry. I managed to be the louder of us two and dismissed him with a shake of my head. He kept grumbling expletives but nonetheless got the message and climbed back in his baap-wali-scorpio and reversed it. I went my way, he went his way. I went abusing him in my mind for being a reckless irresponsible youth; he drove talking to the same someone on his mobile, probably making fun of a ‘woman-driver.’
One thing is clear after today, I CANNOT carry open hair for an entire day.
It was my today in bits.

Monday, September 22, 2008


Yeh daagh daagh ujaala, yeh shabguzida sehar
Woh intezaar tha jiska, yeh woh sehar to nahi.

-Faiz Ahmad Faiz

(This black smeared light, this night ridden morning
This is not the morning that had been waited for)

Delhi weeps the tears of blood,
Islamabad cries and bleeds...
Whose God is happy?

We could not share our joys,
We have lived nursing our suspicions,
Isn't it time for us to unite in sorrow?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

For Sanity's Sake

Writing it in the middle of the page does not automatically make it a poem. It is just a jumble, a confusion of words.

The sound of blasts
the rumble of hearts breaking
joints cracking
cries of faiths bleeding…

The religions swell,
in the name of a God
who sits in his heaven
pretending all is well with his world.

Tyres-meant to
take us places,
burn in our necks
to char away
the foundation
of our existence.

Trains-meant to take us
to destinations
become burial grounds
and crematory fires
of life.

How long will be
till we realize
the answer lies in us
to value our own selves
to value the lives
around us.

Till we wake up-
bombs will blast
fires will blaze
children will cry
pyres will burn
Life will be desecrated everyday.

Monday, September 15, 2008


It was a couple of days ago that Parry Singh (incidently, I have two blogger friends sharing this name) left a comment on one of my poems and expressed his wish to 'make it into a song.' I had just smiled it away thinking that my poems or whatever they are, are not lyrical enough to be sung. I keep my Punjabi poems away from this blog because not all the friends visiting this blog understand the Gurmukhi script.

Nonetheless, he took the trouble to email me the musical version of my words two days ago. I was wonderstruck. My poem perhaps is not very great, but his gesture took my heart away. That you thought of giving music to a Punjabi writing means a lot, Parry. I request all my friends to go to his post and listen to this and to leave comments there. It is not very lengthy. Even if the words are in Punjabi, you would definitely enjoy his music. You can read the text of the poem here.

Monday, September 08, 2008

The Monster Slayer

It was the beginning of the swimming season. Five days into it, and Jai and Rasan resumed their early morning swimming lessons when their exams finished. Jai did not want to go into the pool without Papa –his idol, his friend, his philosopher, his guide, bah! Rasan was to get into the big pool because she had already graduated from the ‘Training pool’ last year. We had even thrown an elaborate party in celebration of her “cap-change”. In case you don’t know, the beginners are required to wear red cap and once they graduate into the big pool, they can wear any colored cap. So, she had been into the big pool with a bang the previous season. But this season, she insisted, presumably for Jai’s sake, and I know for her own sake too (she found big pool too overwhelming this season I guess) that she would stay in the small pool for a day or two. I gestured her to move into the big pool because I was sure she would not be able to overcome her hesitation once she got too comfortable in the small pool. She grudgingly moved into the big pool and Jai, among other trainees was in the small pool. I had been keeping a hawk-mom’s (I am sure there are hawk-pops too) eye on both of them in their respective pools. These were the days before the submarine started invading the pool. After a while, Rasan started to do what the kids call “bubbling” and Jai was just busy splashing water but he was kind of morose with no Didi to share the little things with.

A little while later, I saw him come out of the pool. He was running towards me, sans his bath robe, shivering in the morning cool and running real fast. Before I could even start worrying, he was by my side. With his teeth chattering, he said, “Mama I am not going into the pool.” “Why, Bachhu?” I asked him. He said, “There is something in the pool.” “Something like what?” I thought he was making excuses to stop swimming already. “ Possibly a leaf, Mama” said he, vigorously nodding his head to convince me. In his Punjabi, it came out to be, “Shayad koi patta shatta hai,” And opened his eyes wider to convince me. I said, “Yes, Beta, with so much of wind today, the surrounding trees must have shed some leaves and one of them might have gotten into the pool.” He insisted, “Noooooo, the pool is dirty. There is something moving in it.” Now I know it is not, the managers of the pool change the water every now and then and I know there is a treatment plant working for these pools; and the season had just started. I tried to send him back. He refused to go. I planned to threat him with dire consequences, but gave up the idea before a tussle could ensue - with me coaxing him back into the water and he refusing to budge an inch and thus making a family show of extreme mushy-crushy love. I finally told him to go get his bathrobe from the peg and get into the washroom to change. I was angry with him. We both remained sullen and swollen faced. Finally Rasan finished her swim and came along. I did not talk to him all through the way because I had woken up at 5 am for God’s sake to take them to the pool, and all I was getting in return was a sulky kid complaining of funny things. During the day, however, we kissed and made up.

Next day, upon waking up, he categorically refused to get ready to go to the pool. I said, "Okay, at least come with us to the pool." Reluctant and suspicious that I would again ask him to get into the pool, he obliged upon the promise that he would not be forced to go the pool. I thought, we will cross the bridge when we come to it and laced the comment with Tere ta waddey waddey wi jaangey between my teeth. Off we went to the pool. I tried one last time. He put his little foot down, “No I am not going to the pool.” Rasan said, “Ok, I will go to the pool with you and see what’s the matter.” I didn’t like the idea because it gave Rasan a chance to avoid the big pool. But Majboori ka naam chota pool. Reaching upto her ears upon tiptoe, and very secretively he whispered, “Ok didi, I will also show you those sea monsters too.” She said, “Ok, I will see what’s bothering you.” I eavesdropped upon their conversation. And chuckled to myself, “Wow, SEA monsters in the swimming POOL! Only mera munda can invent them.” She got into the pool with him and remained with him and kept talking to him while he splashed. The coach came and found her swimming among the trainees and told her to shift the pool. She rarely gets into argument outside home. She did not try to disobey or explain. She moved out. Jai was again left alone but now he seemed to have come to terms with his monster buddies in the water. (He has never forgiven the coach since; and keeps calling him Khadoos with a double K) He now splashed water around, enjoyed himself and came out laughing. What sister-therapy Rasan gave him, I have no idea. But I am grateful she did.

Thank God for her. What would I do without my wonder girl, my super-heroine?

Cartoon courtesy-


Wednesday, September 03, 2008

A Day That is Me

It is a beautiful tag created by Thought Safari. I salute the spirit of the originality of this tag and its creator. It requires me to tell what kind of a day would I want to be.

S.M.A.R.T., I am honored that you thought of me while tagging friends onto this beautiful and creative one. Here I am.

I would want to be a balmy winter day, when you wake up early, before the sun rises. You want to go back to bed but rather would tie up the jogging shoes to go run out on the abandoned road. On the way back, the sun starts to shine, promising a warm me. You come home and after a warm shower, take up a book to sit in the sun, listen to the FM radio, open a book long pending completion of its reading; and then surrender to the languor introduced by the warmth of the sun. A loved one then comes to wake you and finds the book lying inverted on your chest. You then give him/her that look which is reproachful but inviting. You sit and talk about things happening in your life and also of things to come.

As I progress, the sun goes down, bringing a little chill in the air, and you take the chair inside the room. And then I merge into the night.

I think Sujata, Pinku, Gazal, RiverSoul, Vinay, LifeBegins, Oreen, Majaz, and Manasa would enjoy doing this tag. Tell us what kind of a day would you like to be?

I request Sujata, Pinku and Manasa to add their wonderful clicks to the tag write up. Majaz needs to do this tag because she needs a change from the Zardari bashing that she has been reveling in lately. LifeBegins, I want you to do it asap, no grace time. Period. You need to be punished, he he he. Gazal, girl you have not done a tag in ages, so before someone else tags you, let me take the opportunity to do it. I know you did a self picked tag today, but an imposed tag is a different fun. You want to break the head of the tagger, you want to yell at her and you want to tear your hair off your head. How would you have all this fun doing a self picked tag? Vinay and RiverSoul, you are requested to write poems in response to this tag. Oreen, you will do it in your own inimitable style. Pigs, poems, pilgrimages - all allowed.

Do I sound like a Bhenji who has given the homework? But then, remember Once a Bhenji, always a bhenji. But it is okay, no time limits, take your time.

Thought Safari, did I do justice in passing it on??