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Monday, 5 November 2012

Nosy Neighbours

Sleep seems to have evaded me. So thought of tapping away on the keyboard and the outcome is this post.

It was only last year that we moved down to India. Having lived abroad most of our life, it has been very difficult adjusting to the way things work out here. Back in UAE we could set the schedule for a year and not have to worry about making many changes. Life was that predictable!! Save for the occasional bouts of cold or fever that came with the seasonal changes, nothing much happened that disrupted the smooth functioning of our household. 

Woaw! Things happen pretty fast here. Sometimes you can't even plan ahead for a week. An unexpected Hartal or Bandh, someones's Shaadi or a House warming, the list just goes on. But what I found most interesting living here is the scenario I have with my neighbours. Initially I was shocked by the kind of nosiness that these people showed. For me relationship with neighbours had been limited to the polite smile you shared when you crossed them, rushing out to work in the morning or while returning after a shopping expedition on the weekends. And may be the visits you made during festivals. And I could count these people on the fingers of my left hand. Here, the entire village is entitled to the "Neighbour" status. They have a right to walk in whenever they wish, and are authorized to ask you questions that range from the mundane "Cooking done?" to more nosy stuff like "Why have you decided to live here? When will you be going back? How do you carry out your work from home? How much do you pay your maid? Blah blah blah blah.........

Until very recently a typical conversation at the bus stop would ensue like this:

Neighbour: "Where are you going?"
Me: "To the town/ school (or whatever)"
If I'm accompanied by my eldest daughter (who is 13), the next obvious question is,
Neighbour: "Is this your sister?"
Me: "No my daughter" 
I'm feeling all nice and at least 5 years younger, when the bomb is dropped,

Neighbour: "Which college is she studying?" 
Me: "She's in school, 9th Std" (Feeling like a deflated balloon now)

Neighbour: "Your husband is here?" 
If my answer is yes, the question is followed by, "When did he come?"  and "When will he leave?"  
If answered with a no, the next inevitable question is, "When will he come?"
From there it moves on to grander topics. 

A female recently asked me whether we were actually from around that place, after having gleaned the fact that we were both engineers. I said yes, since my husband is from Wayanad. She immediately wanted to know the exact place where we are from. So then I go on and explain that my husband is from here, where as I'm not. Hearing that she wisely announces, "Oh, so your's is a love marriage?" I'm flabbergasted, now where did THAT come from? Even after all my explanations she doesn't seem convinced and neither does my youngest daughter who overheard the conversation. I have a feeling that no amount of clarification is going to set the story straight for either of them. My mother is going to have fits of laughter, imagining her meek and almost boring daughter, having gone out and had a love affair :D

Funny thing is you can't give these people vague answers or in any manner evade their questions, they need precise to the point answers, making you feel like you are in the witness stand being drilled by the lawyer of the rival party. I'm not a very talkative person by nature, I used to feel so threatened by the flurry of questions. A feeling akin to someone pointing a gun at my head.

I don't feel the inclination to shoot them with personal and invasive questions at my turn. But, I'm beginning to understand the way things work around here. Now I play the inexperienced outsider, keep them occupied talking about stuff like farming and means of procuring dairy and eggs easily, and rush off with excuses before they can bring up questions about my place of origin or family history or why I was out till 8 in the evening last weekend. I don't feel like a deer caught in headlights any more :D Ain't I SMART? 

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Random Musings

Several friends who've come across my blog have been wondering why I haven't posted anything in such a long time. And since I'm not really inspired to write right now :( I'm going to post the few lines I've put together on various occasions and get away with it :P

Music is an expression of life. 
The changing seasons from birth to death.
Some people form the notes of our life, 
Others join along to give rhythm.
    The music moves on
    Scaling ups and downs.
    Eventually the music comes to a stop 
    Yet to start again as another life......
    You bring a smile to my face
    And add sunshine to my days
    You are my happiness and cheer, always.

    You bring a twinkle to my eyes
    Making me feel young and nice
    You are my joy and spirit, always.

    You make me want to do more
    Pushing me on to the fore
    You give me courage and my strength, always.

    If, I were to lose my loves
    A bitter sadness it would arouse,
    And Life would never be the same, anyways.

    I often get pushed unawares,
    Into a dark abyss.
    People call it depression.

    The fall is always rapid.
    But the comeback,
    Slow and tedious.

    Oh Lord! I pray to thee,
    That I never get thrown,
    To the bottomless depth,
    Where there might be no return.

    Heavy downpour yesterday,
    The outcome?
    A swarm of dead may flies
    Scattered at my door step.

    I'm told, everything serves a purpose.
    I don't know what it is,
    But the mayflies seem to have fulfilled theirs.

    Yesterday, is like the first born, 
    Sweet memories cherished fondly.
    Tomorrow, the youngest, 
    Always vying for attention.
    And in the wild race between the two,
    Today, the oft neglected middle child,
    Is lost and forgotten.

    Guess something is better then nothing. Thing is my creativity is directed elsewhere right now ;). It had been cooking  a while ago as proved by my previous post. Then I was busy doing pencil sketches. It then moved on to sewing (:D I got a new sewing machine) and from there to gardening (it ended after my attempts at reviving the rose bushes by pruning them like a pro ended in disaster, sigh!) and right now the craze is crochet. I guess like the hands on the clock it will come back to blogging some time soon and then I'll start blabbering here again. But overall I'm happy and grateful, that I don't sit around and mope over silly things. I'm busy doing something productive and relaxing and most important of all what I love doing. 

    The outcome is that my family is happy. When I'm down, the kids feel down too and it effects the family as a whole. My mother once told me, the family is like a mural painting on a wall. Its beautiful, everybody loves and admires it, but it exists only as long as the wall does. And the lady of the house is that wall. When she crumbles, the family shatters down to bits and pieces. I have the choice to make or break the painting, and I've chosen to be that strong wall that stands and keeps the whole act together. 

    Well, I really need to thank My Dear Friend, whose writing inspires me and whose query (among several others) was what finally led to this post. And I would also like to give a special thanks to this Kind Soul, whose blog inspired me to quit the dark ages (as I call it), make the most of my time and cherish all my blessings.

    Monday, 26 March 2012

    The Weighing Scale

    I don't know how it works for the others out there, but for me a slight dip in the reading of the weighing scale gives me immense pleasure. Not that I am a Size 0 fanatic or something, but I feel so elated whenever the scale dips, even if its only by a mere 0.5 Kg. I feel so full of glee and guilt free at having lost some weight, that I don't think twice when I sink my teeth into the next calorie loaded yummy thing out there.

    My current station usually doesn't permit for the kind of fast food trend I have been previously accustomed to. Since the kids are having their vacations, I've ventured into the world of experimental cooking. Hubby darling not being around helps a lot, coz a hungry testosterone laden male is hardly conducive to experiments in the kitchen. They'd very much prefer the tried and tested fares we lay out, especially during meal times.

    My first attempt was at banana cookies because I was craving something really sweet and buttery. Since I had a bunch of fresh ones from the garden lying around, I thought I'd give it a try. (Well, nothing wow about having fresh kelas for Keralites)

    Banana Cookies
    I made a batch of some 30 cookies, with pure sinful ghee. My trio polished it off in a matter of minutes. Giving me the much needed confidence to present it to my better half, when he comes down next month. :D

    The scales didn't seem to be tipping in the right direction, so I decided to eat healthy and grilled fish on my traditional firewood stove, in my next attempt at playing The Chef. I made individual fish wraps with some veggies tossed in to make the thing more HEALTHY. The outcome was simply yummilicious, we had it with white rice.

    This weekend I had a thing for Pasta, so went out and made my own Tagliatelle Pasta. The four of us enjoyed the cutting and drying part, but the rolling out bit was a bit tough. The end result, however made up for all the time and energy that went into making the stuff.

    So, what I'm actually trying to express here is that anybody can cook (only thing you need is a fairly good recipe, which is available in plenty on the net), provided your heart is involved in the process. 

    Churning out meals at breakfast, lunch and dinner, is something I do out of lack of a better choice. Coupling it with my work only makes it an even more tiring job. But on my free days, its a different ball game altogether. I really enjoy the cooking. 

    And according to my eldest one, its all a question of presentation, which she proved beyond doubt when she served up my Dosas (from whole wheat flour) and Black eyed beans curry in this fashion. 

    It looked so exotic, that everyone ate quietly without my nagging or their complaining. (These Dosas are actually high up there on their Hate list.)

    But no matter what the incentive, the number of bartans (dishes) that end up in the sink always gives me nightmares. There are days when I prefer eating out to avoid the pain of having to do the dishes. But, we females (myself and my power puff girls) in the heart of a sleepy village can hardly opt for that. 

    Well, my close analysis has thus revealed that it is not the cooking itself that I dread, but having to do the dishes that come in the wake of delivering a nice meal.  High time I invested in a dish washer I guess.

    Happy Cooking and Hearty Eating!!!!

    Tuesday, 13 March 2012

    Hearty Welcome to the Newbies

    Inspired by my writing that goes in fits and starts, my daughter has started a blog :D

    It was fun watching her check out names for her blog. After 5 attempts she was losing hope of coming up with a name. Most of the names she came up with were already taken. She would immediately go and check out that blog. The last post on most of them were dated anywhere between 2001 and 2005. She gets frustrated and angry at all those people who have started out with the blog name she wants and then not bothered to maintain the blog.

    She put up her first post a few days back.
    A Day Yet to Come

    And I'm wondering what the fate of the blog will be, few years down the road. Will the enthusiasm fade and the blog wilt away like the ones she had checked out. I'll have to wait and see.

    Their school has a blog, but she has always been hesitant to express her views out there. When she went ahead with this blog, I was curious about the sudden change in attitude. Her smart ass reply was, "Out in the blogging world, no one knows me personally, so I have a sense of security. What I write will hold a level of anonymity"

    Very true! Coz it gave a shy person like me the courage to venture out expressing my thoughts. Whether people read it or not, you have expressed yourself and that makes a big difference.

    And while I'm on the subject of newbies in the blogging world....
    here's one I liked reading
    Mental Distortion

    Thursday, 1 March 2012


    For every post that I publish I always seem to have two in the pipeline. And this is one of those, which I actually started writing sometime last year. Procrastination and me and conjoined twins so its pretty tough to escape that bad guy.

    I had made an escape from the harsh world of reality to my blissful (though virtual) blogging world. But once again, I was sucked back into the deep cauldron of life, where several things were brewing and boiling and brimming over. Its taken me almost 3 months, but whew! I've just made a short escape back, as we do in our dreams............

    That blissful state in sleep where we live out the unknown. Some days you live out the serene and beautiful life of a princess. Other nights you might have aliens chasing you down mysterious passage ways.

    Once, when my sister was just a kid she'd stopped midway through explaining her dream telling me to continue since she couldn't remember what happened after that point. Everybody had turned to her in surprise, but she was even more shell shocked when she learnt that people you see in your dreams aren't actually there. So there's no way I could help her out in recounting the escapade. And it took a lot of convincing to make her accept the fact.

    Its been so long since I started out on this post that I've really lost my actual train of thought.

    The other day my daughter was preparing for her declamation. They had to take excerpts from famous speeches and present it in class. She'd chosen a passage from the legendary speech by Martin Luther King Jr. "I have a dream"

    That speech though given in 1963, seems to be relevant in some context even today. He declares at the end of the speech 

    "Free at last! Free at last!
    Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

    May be we have managed to evade the grasp of racism to an extend. But, even toady are we really free? As liberated as that merry beggar, whom the king had come across in his search for happiness? I seriously doubt that. We are either in the clutches of society's countless encumbering ways of life, traditions and prejudices. Or are ill-fated and addicted to various soporific substances or even worse consumed by the greed for power, money, social status. Doomed by jealousy. The bad and mean things in life are simply endless. The Pandora's box of evils.

    We have countries who are busy developing nuclear warfare while millions suffer without the very basic amenities like food and water. We have people who are concerned about their looks and are busy getting a nose job or botox injection and setting fashion trends, when there are thousands out there who lack education, shelter, healthcare and are struggling to make ends meet.

    Charity! Some of us give away money, in the name of charity. But is that enough? Is that the solution? Does that money actually reach the one's who deserve it? Have you ever stopped and thought about it? What's the use of all that money if there is no compassionate soul to make a gesture where it counts. To love, to share, to care..... 

    I know, we are all pretending to be in that dream like state where we simply close our eyes and escape away to a world away from these harsh realities. While the rest go through the nightmare of having to lead the life of the less fortunate.