Saturday, July 21, 2007

Damage Control

After having come clean with my judgmental side, here’s the other side of the coin: What I admire in others!

I admire people who don’t lose their wits in times of crises- they’re calm, collected and know exactly what steps to take without pressing the panic button.

I admire people who are good and not nervous on stage- like in public speaking, singing etc.

I admire people who are very organised, disciplined .

I admire people who keep their home spick and span and are house proud.

I admire people who are always neat and presentable.

I admire artistes, writers.

I admire people who are fair and balanced in their outlook.

I admire people who do not lose their temper.

I admire people who are spiritually ( not necessarily religious) inclined.

I admire people who are comfortable and contented with what they are.

I admire people who are confident without seeming arrogant.

I admire people who are optimistic and positive in their outlook.

I admire people who take good care of their health, appearance.

I admire people who can keep secrets and do not gossip.

I admire people who are thoughtful, considerate of others.

I admire people who can voice their opinions without offending others.

I admire people who can love without expectations.

Aahhh! The luxury of being openly judgmental!

CeeKay Thank you for two things:
One: for having given me this opportunity to be openly judgmental.
Two: for giving me fodder to blog.

To be openly judgmental is indeed a luxury because I take effort to be otherwise- simply because from experience I’ve realised that each individual feels as strongly as me on an issue and it is very rare that somebody is converted and expressing my stand has often proved exhausting and leaves a bad taste, so I tend to go my way without ruffling feathers. At the most I vent to DH and by the time I’m done with it, I’m fine with everything. So for once let me relax my self -vigil and have a go at it. I must add that some of the statements are relevant to the place I live.

1.. I’m judgmental about people who think, talk, breathe and live for cooking only. I was fine with it long ago, and used to enjoy experimenting with recipes once upon a time but prolonged exposure to people who talked only about cooking, about feeding people, finding mistakes in others cooking – nothing else- we used to spend almost the entire day cooking and receiving guests. The afore-mentioned people were very critical and did not hesitate to make insensitive comments in gatherings. Needless to say, I developed an unhealthy antipathy towards cooking, feasts and related topics. However, I’ve no problem appreciating people who enjoy cooking as yet another part of life along-with other interests.

2.. I’m judgmental about people who are too much into rituals blindly- and imposing them on others who may not be into it. I’ve been expected to do certain things which I’m not too comfortable with. I try to avoid such situations as far as possible. These people are so confident about it and it never even occurs to them that others may not subscribe to the same beliefs.

3.. I’m judgmental about people who keep asking me how much I paid for the things I buy- ranging from vegetables, groceries to other household items. They then explain to me how I was conned and could’ve landed better bargains had I consulted them.

4.. I’m judgmental about people who mispronounce words, especially when they use the softer sounds in place of accented sounds. E.g.: using ‘k’ in place of ‘kha’ and the like. Same goes for pronunciations like using ‘la’ or ‘ra’ sounds in place of ‘zha’ (like vaLa paLam instead of vazha pazham). I get unreasonably put off with such things.

5.. I’m judgmental about people who judge according to caste/ religion/ region/ financial status/food habits. To actually hear people (highly educated people too ) pass some petty comments based on caste differences kind of shocks me that people still think and behave this way.

6.. I’m judgmental about people who use foul cuss words in casual conversations. This is perhaps because in my family we don’t use several words. We don’t use those words pertaining to certain parts of our anatomy! Can you believe that!
Then we don’t even use the vernacular equivalent for ‘tu’ (in Hindi) even when talking to our youngers.The young girls- young enough to be my daughters- in my dance class are so exasperated with me because I use ‘neenga’, ‘vaanga’ ‘ponga’ with them. I’m practising to use ‘ni’, ‘va’, ‘po’ with them. My husband is no different; his most violent expletive is ‘kumblanga’ which is the Malayalam for ‘cucumber’!! When he uses this ‘cuss’ word, I know he’s real mad! Go figure! However he is comfortable with the usage of ‘ni’, ‘va’ ‘po’, so he is slightly better. Guess it is just a matter of conditioning. I experience cultural shock when I hear people around me calling their babies ‘naai’ (meaning dog) with overflowing affection! Actually I think I’ve stopped judging people who do this- because I realise I ‘m the strange one here. :- (

7.. I’m judgmental about people who are very suspicious about interaction between the genders.

8.. I’m judgmental about people who are pessimistic, negative, and envious.

9.. I’m judgmental about people who are too overconfident bordering on arrogance, and who seem condescending.

10.. I’m judgmental about people who come across as extremely over smart, over exuberant trying to seem soooo friendly and ‘extrovertish’. Most anchors- esp. those telephone in programmes on TV give me this impression. I experience a kind of sadistic delight in subjecting myself to their 'joie de vivre' and then seethe and squirm!

Having read most of the other tags, I’ve dared to come up with my eccentric tendencies in the hope that I’ll be forgiven and welcomed with open arms by my blogger friends. Now, let me self-tag myself to do the other one about what I admire in others – a fervent attempt to undo atleast some of the damage done by this one.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Most Happening tag

I was tagged by Usha M at Sulekha and by Punds here. And those who’ve had the patience to read my blogs all through since 2003, I guess there are no more facts left to be unearthed about me. Still let me try to come up with a few more random facts about me.

1. When I come across an interesting word, I’ve a habit of trying to translate it into the languages I know- and I’m thrilled when I succeed in finding an appropriate word.

2. When I’m in a foul mood, I can ‘see’ my expression like I were a spectator- and I ‘watch’ the proceedings with loathing and helplessness. Needless to say, it only serves to sour my mood further.

3. I have this dream of attending workshops in Dramatics, Creative Writing, and Performing Arts.

4. I can be the most withdrawn, sullen person at some times and the most exuberant, vivacious, guffawing person at other times!

5. I’m almost 40 now and still at some moments I can be extremely shy/coy and this embarrasses me no end.

6. When I’m by myself, I hate to abide by the clock or any kind of routine but I ‘m careful about sticking to time when it involves others.

7. I used to be a chatterbox once, but nowadays I don’t feel inclined to talk much. There are times when I almost start to utter something and stop even before I begin.

8. Phone calls (esp. when it’s unexpected) from dear friends make my day- the rest of the day I float in happiness and remembered joy. But I worry that perhaps I had not expressed my delight enough.

Since this tag has been doing the rounds rather freely, anybody who feels inclined to take up the tag and hasn’t been tagged, please feel free to do it.

Monday, July 16, 2007


My Guru gave me yet another opportunity to perform on two more stages in the span of a week ( Bharathanatyam recitals) as a part of our Dance school troupe. That makes it the eighth stage performance in the last one year! I find it hard to believe.

I enjoyed every moment.
I enjoyed the company of the young girls- young enough to be my daughters and yet they did not make me feel my age. I enjoyed the camaraderie, the light hearted banter- the leg pulling- though I was more of the amused, indulgent spectator. The friendly orchestra members, the family atmosphere.

I enjoyed the travel to the venues in a spacious van – with a movie playing which I watched intermittently with half open eyes and gave me a headache further on. I enjoyed the eating together in a small, clean abandoned wayside temple premises which we left even cleaner. I enjoyed the make up sessions, the mutual helping with the cumbersome costumes, the laughter, the giggles, the excitement coupled with nervousness as we waited backstage for our turn. The clasping of hands and praying together with closed eyes before the programme commenced, the amused stares of the people around and finally the Magic while on stage.

I enjoyed the trepidation in my heart, the glare of the lights, the feel of the stage below my feet, the sound of the ringing applause, the presenting of mementos, the clicking of photos.

I enjoyed the words of reassurance that my Guru spoke after each item, the thrill of achievement as a team …I enjoyed the scramble to unfasten the millions of pins and threads from the hair, the removal of layers of make up- the hurried dress change, and then finally the voracious attack at dinner packets. And finally the tired, yet relaxed homeward journey through the night as some of us slept and others talked. I savoured the mutual playful raillery of mistakes made, all of us fatigued and yet happy.

The two stages were as different as could be in every way- while one was so small that we were a crowd on it. It was a rickety one with criss cross beams covered by heavy mats- and we could feel gaping holes beneath our feet- my Guru was so worried that one of us would fall through the holes that we practically tiptoed gingerly through our steps. Here, there were a couple more stages close by with other performances going on simultaneously and as a result our musicians had a tough time playing by shruthi, making themselves heard- we mostly danced by a sense of feel and memory rather than actually hearing the music to which we were playing. Nothing could be done about it though because it was festival time! A new learning experience!

The next stage was so sprawling that we looked like ants on a football field! We danced (ran) across the length and the breadth of the yawning space called the stage. Here, however the sound system, the organising everything was perfect and we reigned over the arena. Another experience.

DH picks me up early next morning from my Guru’s place and I sleepily recount to him about how the programmes went, on the drive back home. Once home, I look for my sons-talk gibberish - they ask me questions which I answer hardly knowing what I’m saying. I then have a bath and then hit the bed and then it’s the proverbial log.

DH cooks breakfast and lunch, the boys help him. (Thankfully both the times it was Sunday after the programmes being on Saturday). I’m woken up at Breakfast and then lunch time and though I protest and plead that I want no food- only sleep- I’m literally dragged to the dining table and made to eat. I go back to slumber land again- and by early evening I’m more coherent and sensible.

One thing I realise though is that now at this age, while I’m dancing I’m too conscious about not forgetting my steps or missing my cue and so sometimes I miss out on enjoying letting go and to just emote - the technical nuances requires me to be so totally alert that I 'm not able to indulge in my passion for expression. I suppose it must be due to my age.

The Alta (red dye used to adorn the feet and hands ) on my palms and feet have almost faded but the memories of the experience will remain forever- and for that I’ve lots of people to thank for- My guru of course, the young girls with whom I learn, and who help me out…my most supportive and encouraging DH, my sons…and everybody else in my family …and The Almighty.

Mynah on the loose

I was on my daily blog hopping rounds that day, when I thought I heard some sounds coming from the hall. I was sure it must’ve been my imagination, still I went to have a look- and there was a mynah flying around in the hall! I had no idea how it could’ve entered our home- the only way was through the balcony in the bedroom- where I had been sitting all the while, and I hadn’t noticed! It kept flying in circles near the ceiling and I did not know what to do. As I tried shooing it- it flew into the kitchen- there was no way out through there- the windows were open but netted. It kept flying around, alighting on the water filter, the pots and pans, the shelves -clinging and clanging all the way. . I went back to the hall and kept the main doors open hoping that the bird would eventually find its way out.

I went back to my blogs keeping an eye out for the mynah. After some time I heard it in the hall again. I crouched on the floor afraid to breathe, lest it fly into the kitchen again. It was busy examining the underworld beneath the sofas, the shoe racks and kept pecking on the floor. It did not seem too inclined about flying into Freedom... Perhaps it had not realised that its freedom had been curbed. I cautiously tried out a weak, plaintive shoo- all the while worried it might go into the depths of the kitchen again. It hardly noticed. I ventured to tiptoe softly into the hall- nearer- and WHOOSH- thankfully it swooped out the open doors into the outside world in one reflex motion. I closed and bolted the doors behind me in relief. I had been worried that it would never find its way outside.

The Departed

On that Thursday morng ( Jul 5th), as I was busy running around to get things ready before the boys went to school and DH to the office, the door bell rang insistently a couple of times. I usually tend to get frazzled at such times, but I realised that this was an emergency. And it was- it was Saira- the DIL from the opposite flat. I immediately guessed what had happened, because it had been expected. The ‘Bhai’ – Saira’s FIL must’ve collapsed. Saira’s husband- Bhai’s son Afsal had informed us that the doctors had warned them that the end could come at any moment- and there was no need to come running to the hospital anymore. We had been expecting the inevitable and now it was unwinding right before our eyes. Incidentally, Afsal was in the shop through out the night trying to catch up with pending work and Saira and her MIL were all alone at home. DH rushed into their flat upon being informed…saw that “Bhai’ was lying on the floor – his eyes open but unseeing. His breaths came out in gasps and Saira’s MIL was screaming: “Kuchh karo- kuchh karo- unko theek karo”…but now the frail chest was no longer heaving…the warmth was already depleting…

What followed was heart rending- Saira’s MIL- a soft spoken woman who hardly spoke was now lamenting loudly- She was screaming “Allah” incessantly- asking to be taken away along – the neighbours started coming in from the near by flats…and as we tried to calm the woman- yet again, I had the feeling of stepping outside the scene rather than in it. Initially, I wasn’t able to hold back my tears when I first hugged the bereaved woman as she sobbed, my eyes later when completely dry as I performed the required actions in reflex like a zombie.

The departed had been a good old man and a wonderful father. His son Afsal who had by now arrived was devastated and was at a loss as to how to pacify his inconsolable mother. She kept mumbling that if Afsal had been home, his Abba would not have gone. The look in Afsal’s eyes at that moment shall remain etched in my minds eye for a long time.