Friday, 25 January 2013

Me and Y- a unique equation....

We are not a family that has a habit of keeping house helps. As in, neither at my parent's house nor at Saurabh's has there ever been a help which is full time and lasted generations! You know those typical Ramu Kakas that we see in Hindi movies or that guy in Hum Aapke Hain Kaun who even played passing the parcel with the entire family. After my 2 kids, I insisted on having a full time help and we got into an arrangement of 11 months term with a placement agency that provides full time house helps. For the 1st 2 terms, girls came, completed their designated 11 months and left. But the one girl that I have with me currently, stayed on for the 2nd term. Trust me IT IS a big deal! These girls, you can say, are trained to never continue in the same house. But as luck could have it, she had a fight with her Father(over my STD call) the very day she was to leave, and hence requested us to extend her stay.

"Requested??" I mean really??? Her words: "Mujhe yahan se nahi jaana"- still echo in my ears! I cried with happiness when I heard it. Saurabh and I even went out for a dinner to celebrate it.  After all I would not have to train a fresh one. Moreover, the "waiting period" for another girl is anywhere between 2 weeks to 3 months! This one has been here and done everything I desired and was almost in an Auto pilot mode. Amidst all this excitement, I chose to ignore the faint but firm warning of my experienced Mom In Law that - "Longer these girls stay at your place, tougher they become to handle!". I answered her apprehensions saying: "A known devil is better than an unknown one Ma."

But is it? Lets see!

Last night when Mamma joined me for dinner, she asked after 5 minutes, why I was so quiet (Saurabh was away for dinner with friends). I tried to dodge her observations but how much can I hide from a Mother! Before I could come out with details, she figured- "You fought with Y?". Now Y is that girl who stays at our place full time and helps me with mundane chores. I was so embarrassed to answer this question in affirmative! I mean who the hell fights with a maid and gets upset. Have a better life Parul! Fight with your Mom in Law or your husband if you want to justify a sulk. But with Y!! Why???

Clearly because my lack of experience in managing house helps makes her intimidate me. What else explains the fact that if she does anything wrong like break crockery or do exactly opposite of what I am asking her to do, and I slightly raise my voice- She stops talking with me!! Even worse- if I lose my cool like real bad and scold her for more than 23 seconds, she will not eat food! Where does that leave me? It leaves me in a state where I end up saying sorry to her 50 times.

What life is this that when I have absolute cordial relations with my Mom in Law, my kids are better disciplined than most I see around me, my husband acts even before I speak- I still remain subservient to the nakhras of Y because I need her more than she needs me!! Hats off to Bollywood and Hindi Soaps families who have one such person in their house who is more like a family member rather than a one in my case where if you observe us closely, you may think she pays me to keep her in MY house!!

{{Okay while I was typing this, she made a "small" hole in a cushion cover while ironing it. Oh c'mom Y, thats perfectly fine. Ill buy another cover- You dont go!}}

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Love: Perfect. World: Imperfect- My entry for the Get Published Contest

The Idea Description:

Is there a yardstick which can measure the extent of one’s love? Is there a frame in which one needs to fit perfectly in order to justify one’s love? However philosophical you might want to be in answering these questions, one thing is clear-There is none. While no love is perfect, the fact is, that it is the imperfection that brings out the real impact of love.  What the world might consider a mismatch can be the very foundation of why two people got attracted to each other. What the world thought was mindless might be the whole premise of why they will never let each other go. What the world thinks “they didn't see” may actually be something that “never existed between them”. This story will take you through the lives of 2 people who rose above the rigidity of how ideal couples should be and at the same time make you rethink your own eccentrics of how you viewed love. And if you are thinking that religion is the barrier in this one, you have just made your first mistake.

Sherry is a pampered sikhni. There have been no rules that have not been bent while raising her. But she is not a victim of this pampering. She infact stands out as an example of how daughters who are immensely loved can also turn out to be real charmers who have their heads firmly on their shoulders and mind absolutely in place with sanity. What else explains a tough, tall, beautiful and chatty Sikhni, to be so brainy that she could sit for the toughest examination of her country? In her proud father, Colonel Sukhdev Singh’s, words: “Sherry probably possessed the combined brains of our 5 generations”. This Colonel’s daughter may have defied the clich├ęs of being brought up in a secured, lavish background yet having a mind and career of her own, but will she be able to break the walls that are built in the heads of those she must seek permission for her happiness?

Abhay is the ideal son. He was raised to become an IAS officer and so he became. It is after all not unusual for a kayastha family to not expect their children to stay as far as possible from the ideas of doing a business or running a shop. The children of a typical kayastha household are made best friends with everything to do with nurturing the dreams of a service class. When Abhay, the son of two bank employees, cracks the civil service exam in the very 1st attempt, the whole world is at his parent’s feet but did they know that while they realised the dream of seeing their son in a high stature service, there will be an uncomfortable compromise they will make to keep him happy?


“Life sometimes is a know what!” said Sherry

“No ! Your life was not! Yes maybe because it was not you decided to make it...I know what!”, shouted Gayatri.

“I had no idea you would not understand Gattu” Sherry moved closer.

Gattu shrugged her shoulders and moved away. It was clear to Sherry that if Gattu reacted this way, the task of making her parents go through all this would only be uphill. Gattu sensed that Sherry was finally thinking. She was happy inside that maybe her resistance had rubbed off and Sherry would not pursue her senseless admission.

“I ll deal with you later. I have to strategise my next move”, finished Sherry while moving out of her best friend’s room. Gayatri stood defeated. 

This is my entry for the HarperCollins–IndiBlogger Get Published contest, which is run with inputs fromYashodhara Lal and HarperCollins India.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Shaadi karaana nahi hai aasan...ek aag ka dariya hai aur doob kar jaana hai!!

Family weddings are good opportunities to sit back and observe. Especially when you are not directly in command of the proceedings, you can be a quiet spectator who is part of the madness but still neither responsible nor accountable for it! Without doubt, hosting a wedding is one of the toughest jobs that we do in our lives. After all it involves interacting with your entire family at one place at the same time! Its easier to pick up the phone and wish them birthdays and Happy New year once a year but its a different ball game when you have cordially invited them and have to manage their kind presence. Having attended one very recently, I sat down to jot down the typicalities that I have noticed in every wedding! Have you noticed that.....

  1. There is always that one relative that you are warned about. You can forget anything (maybe even booking the Ghodiwaala or the halwai) but not forget how to best manage that member's mood swings.
  2. There is always one member who has a small baby with him or her. That baby on most occasions is the center point of the whole family's attention as it is "too small" to attend a wedding!!
  3. The host family members are supposed to have answers for EVERYTHING! Its nothing that they are allowed to - NOT know! So if a family member wants to know whether the Dum Aloo being served has garlic in it or not, they will directly approach the closest person to the groom or bride. If that person uses the line: "Uhhh...Hmmmm.... I dont know....", thats blasphemy!
  4. Each and every attendee, at one point or another, will definitely ask the groom or bride: "Aur bhai ABCD, kaisa lag raha hai?". I wonder what is the right answer to this? Actually no one even wants to know. Its just customary to ask!!
  5. At least one family member will surely fall ill. Some medical condition ought to arise which will have to be addressed and will be remembered and discussed at the next wedding.
  6. The "next in line" suitable boy or girl to get married will invariably be the butt of all jokes. From haldi to mehndi, everyone will corner the immediate family of that poor bachelor or bachelorette as to when they are inviting them next!
  7. Safety pins, hair pins, winter clothing and face washes are items that top the list when it comes to "sharing". Its best to never carry these of your own. There are some people in your family who will always carry them in abundance.
  8. There is always this one family who is very focussed on capturing each and every moment of themselves in the camera. You will always spot them religiously doing this job as soon as the function begins. Their cameras are hung around their neck and they only capture the closest circle of their family. You are never welcomed or expected to spoil those pictures. For you there is the hired photographer!
  9. There is an upcoming breed of your cousins who are updating each and every moment of the myriad functions constantly on Facebook. This is useful for the family members who didn't care or could not manage to attend the wedding and they comment on these updates saying: "Missing on all the action guys. Have fun!". So to rub it in, the Facebook updater will be encouraged to update more!
  10. At the last function of the entire week's fanfare, you can clearly see in the eyes and mannerism of the hosts that the next time you are in their position- they are ready to avenge all that you made them go through :)