Monday, 29 July 2013

Counting my blessings


That is the number of people who recommended my entry to the IndiBlogger awards. But I have actually already won. Sounds Oh-So-Filmy? But true that is. For someone who writes about absolute no issues, such unprecedented love is an award in itself. 

You know why I asked you to vote or comment? As over the last one year whenever I have met some of you, you have always first spoken about my last blog post. Its almost a ritual that these people will meet me, say Hello and then say- "Oh what you wrote on that post actually........". 

So I thought why not see how many feel what all. Its not easy after all to call each and every one and ask- "Exactly why do read my blog?"

Lets come to the point now. The purpose of this post is to fulfill my promise of mentioning each one of those who left a comment about the blog in a post. But I still thank the 76 who took the pains of clicking the 'like' button. Unfortunately I don't know who are those 76 so I cannot acknowledge you by name. 

Did I just write Unfortunately? Well, it may be fortunate as I am going to write 'absolutely true from the heart lines' about the commenters (this isn't even a word) and I warn you this can get hopelessly emotional. But this is my ONLY chance :)

This is not in any particular order. I am enlisting people as and how I know what to write about them. In brackets is what they wrote :):

Anindita Rathore: She is my Ambi. A super fantastic artist herself. A super strong girl. And one of those parts of my growing up years who I treasure very close to my heart. Girl, I am always around and you know that :)

(There's no one like her to tell a story - I look forward to reading her blogs... making us smile and laugh and pensive and thoughtful and vibrant and alive!) 

Brijendra Mathur: Babloo Mama :). I have three real Mamas (maternal uncles) of my own. But I can never forget that when I got married and there was a ritual where the Mamaji of the bride has to make her sit in her husband's car when she leaves her home, it was Babloo Mama who did that for me. Your encouragement, support and love for me is something I remember since I was about seven years old? Please stay the way you are!

(sincerity in writing....efficiently nostalgic....definitely straight from the heart.)

Sairam Ranganathan: He has been the room partner of my husband in college and we call each other Half Roomies :). Sai, you must always know that you are one of the very few people who Saurabh and I will inform about anything good or bad that happens with us. And this says a lot as we actually have very FEW like you!

(Look forward to reading it.. Great Stress buster and makes me feel ohh this happens with me/I have seen this..)

Saurabh Tyagi: One cousin who I have such a huge bank of memories from childhood with that only we know how much fun we have just revisiting them! He is one person who if I talk to even after 2 months, it feels like we have been in touch forever. And I love the fact that he loves his name sake (my husband) as much as he loves me. Bhai, you know that we rock! Just keep the love intact. Oh and thanks for giving me such a sweetheart in Surbhi :)

what are you made of? where do you get these ideas from? Brilliant!

Abhiney Singh: Abhiney somehow is that one person for me who I feel- agar yeh hai to sab theek hoga :). I can both laugh and cry with equal ease with him. Thakur, you aren't just my husband's best friend. You are the only one person who anchors our stupidities and insecurities while being tremendously calm. :)

(just the way we Indians love it - Action, Emotion and Drama. Loved Parul's writing, I wish her all the best with her writing)

Madhur Chhabra: I am so proud of him! He has set up such an amazing place in the name of Misty Mountains! Its sad that my kids' motion sickness is keeping us away from him but hey we are planning something soon!! Madhur, every time I cried on campus, you would just pass by and say- "You look awful when you are sad". I still keep your words in mind whenever I am sad:)

(always finding a way to smile and giving of us many reasons to be blessed with her exuberance. Her blogs always bring a smile to me. for being who you are....cheers! :) )

Priya Mathur: One of the early encouragers who almost pushed me physically into starting a blog. I love the way she keeps me grounded by just texting that I should "Keep going on" every time I achieve a milestone in my writing journey. Priya, keep reading and texting :)

(Ur blogs... for me, they are often like a mirror to a lot of women, specially those who are also moms ;)  )

Dhruv Sahai: My faithful reader who likes each and every word I post on Facebook. Solid encouragement as we have met only a couple of times. We are soon competing against some mad people in a Hamburger eating contest!!! Thanks for bringing out this madness in me :).  Oh and do I need to book tickets to Bhopal in December? Am I even invited??

(your blogs have been amazing to read and show us a better way of dealing with our lives in a lighter and more positive way. Reading your blogs off late have been my favorite way of procrastinating at work. Cheers!)

Hitesha: An author herself. A fighter and a lovely, warm person. You are married to one of the most craziest friends I had during my hostel days and I love the way you guys are together. Keep writing girl. You deserve a lot of happiness!

(For moments you connected with, laugh about and tear up over...)

Vandana Singh: She is the epitome of resilience, patience, maturity and kindheartedness for me. Whenever in doubt, just pick up the phone and call her and she will advise you most objectively. Aunty, just stay around always. There is nothing I can do for you but there is so much I cant do without you :)

(Such a delight to read always! Take us away to a world so known yet unknown!)

Kriti Thapar: A small bundle of joy. The little girl in the gang :). Such an infectious smile. Such warmth when you are around. Just keep rocking.....

(Touches all the right nerves. Always. :)  )

Bhavani Ramesh: A fellow blogger and a batch mate from MBA. We are similar as we have both opted out of a mundane 9-5 rut. But we are different as she is actually fulfilling my dream of travelling to unexplored places! Thanks Bhavani for that message in my inbox. Even if I do not pursue it, it cemented our association. 

(an honest blog, all you get is the real story and that's what brilliant... 

keep going parul, and hope all your inspirations keep you writing for many many many years...)

Rahul Tyagi: Whatever will be said will be less so why say what just cannot be put in enough words :). Rash, you are someone I will blow a flying kiss to when the world is watching me one day. Even if that day never comes, you know that God put us together for a reason- we are incomplete without the other!

(Brilliant. Inspiring. Amazing. Beautiful. Stress buster. Motivating. Astound. Dumbfound. Flabbergast. Resplendent. Scintillating. Satisfactory. Splendid. Out of adjectives to describe. Not everyone is blessed with the art of expression as you are. I rest my case. All the best.)

Saurabh Bhatnagar: I am obsessed with you! Need I say more? I do? Come home :)


Wednesday, 10 July 2013

The Grandfather V and N do not have

10th July.
This day is the birthday of my father in law. 
I have never met him.
He expired three years before I got married and came to live in his house.

Whatever connection I have with my husband's father is through everything that I have asked him or his mother. Please note, that its only what I have asked. As Saurabh and Ma, usually never bring him up. I understand it. But I am curious to know how he was. How he spoke, how he reacted, how he ate, how he prayed.......So I have a connection. I miss the presence of a father in my house. I will never know how it is to have a father in law! Yes, I do miss him.

When V and N happened to me, I knew what they were going to miss in the absence of a Dadaji especially when they see friends or cousins or neighbors with one. I knew it will be just them who will not enjoy this relationship. I did not grow up with either of my grandfathers, but Saurabh did. So I have heard fond stories of  them pampering the kids bad and how my parents in law were kept away from all the mischief. When I brought Viraj into his house for the first time, I took him in front of Papa's picture and cried for 5 minutes. I cried because I know he was very fond of kids. All of Saurabh's cousins tell me tales of Papa spoiling them or going out of the way for their well being. Just the thought that his real grandsons will miss all this, pained. 

Hence Saurabh and I consciously took the onus upon us to keep some sort of a connection alive between our sons and the Grandfather they do not have. 

  • I have made him a star. However cliched it may read, but it has worked in our case. Often when I am waiting on our terrace for Saurabh to come back home, me and the kids have spoken to the star that looks the brightest. Kids love the fact that Dadaji is also waiting for Papa to be home.
  • Every festival, birthday or a happy occasion isn't complete without V and N acknowledging their Dadaji's picture. They are encouraged to share every news (good or bad) with him and they are assured that he has heard them.
  • We visit a blind school where Papa contributed every month on his Birth and Death anniversary. V and N believe that whatever food or goodies they distribute there goes into Dadaji's tummy.
  • We tell them how he would have loved to take them for rides on his scooter. Or how he would have scolded their Papa if he ever saw him scolding them. We tell them that he would have fetched them from their Bus stop or accompanied them for their cycle learning days. Its our effort to let them know that wherever he maybe, he must be missing all this too. But God needed him more than us as he was just so good that even God couldn't do without him :)
  • They do have paternal grandfathers, from both Ma and Papa's family.  Luckily since Saurabh is the oldest in his family, all these Dadajis have spent exclusive times with my sons without any distractions of having other children around them. This meant a lot for me in the initial years as at least this word held meaning when they touched their feet or went around the house holding their finger.

I am aware that I can never fill the gap that God created in our lives. But this morning when Viraj wished his Dadaji a Happy Birthday- he turned to me and said- "I am going to tell all my friends that even my Dadaji has a birthday"- I felt happy that we have been able to keep him relevant in his grandsons' hearts.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Did Lootera loot my ears?

This blog is NOT about movie reviews. Hence please do not expect to read what to look out for in this film or how the songs influence the progress of it. This account is actually the wholesome experience I had while watching it. Its worth a share as I do not think Ill ever experience something like this again. After all some crucial lessons have been learnt.

Dont really know where to begin so I will start by telling you that two hours into the movie (it being two and a half hours long), I had a 'laugh fit'. Heard or experienced this ever? Basically its a condition where some trigger induces uncontrollable laughter and within minutes you so lose control over yourself that even when the trigger is long gone, you cant help but keep laughing! So I experienced this condition yesterday and I must warn you that it got so worse that I was hoping the movie doesn't end suddenly as the lights in the theater would embarrass me further. You can imagine how bad it was when I tell you that  the dupatta I was wearing (Yes! I was wearing one) was drenched with tears that were rolling out due to my incessant laugh!! So what the hell was so funny? The movie was certainly not. You must have all heard how 'intense' and 'picturesque' the movie is. No one must have told you yet that its funny! So why the hell was I laughing?

Well...largely because I am a little silly when it comes to digesting stupid things thrown at me. I am stubborn about NOT accepting them so I am known to give tough reactions to stupidity. Be it in a person or any damn thing that confronts me. So let me take you back to how it all began in the hall.

Most of you reading this watch your movies in multiplexes these days. Even I do. How many single screen halls remain in Delhi anyway? I have fond memories of watching our films in Paras or Sapna or Chanakya or Priya. But these days its a simple click and pay and park and watch era. However, Saurabh and I do watch some movies in this one single screen theater near our house that is still surviving the multi screen tsunami. The movies we like to watch here are usually the ones which have high mass appeal or the ones we hear are going housefuls. We actually still love the Balcony watching experience and we love to watch those rare flicks where the hall is FULL house. For instance we insisted in watching Dabangg in it as we knew the real fun of that flick will be with some hooting coming from the front stalls.

So there we were on a Sunday afternoon with Saurabh's Mom (who is a compulsive movie buff like us) at Vishal Cinemas.

To our delight, the hall was almost full. The seats were rickety, the crowd was mixed. So while we had people like us, we also had people who bring huge families to watch movies along with half their household articles as if they will never go back home. We settle in to our seats and as the screen is showing some Bomb disposal warnings and hysterically funny documentaries on 'Mere pati sharaab kab chorenge", we realise that people on the right of Saurabh and people just behind our backs will be the nuisance factors throughout the 3 hours. These are the down sides of such a Hall but usually this subsides as a 'good' movie picks up pace.

Yeah so now the movie begins. Some exotic locales emerge, a visibly healthy Sonakshi appears and some heart warming Father-daughter moments are served. I am the most emotionally charged fool among Saurabh and his Mom so I up my expectations that some heart wrenching cinema will touch me today. Then enters Ranveer Singh. Now before I share further, I must tell you that I absolutely adore Ranveer. I loved his energy in his first release and I have been following all his reality show appearances as I find him charming. So he appears on screen and apparently starts delivering dialogues. Now when you are watching a Movie in theater, do you bend forward to try and hear whats going on? Of course not! The Dolby surround ensures everyone hears the same sound. But I seemed to be getting lost in what Ranveer was saying! After about half an hour of his appearance I turned to my Mom in law to ask her what Ranveer just said. She looked at me in that darkness and said- "I couldnt hear!". We sat for another 10 minutes thinking maybe only we are stupid. But we soon  realized that everyone else he was talking to, we were able to hear! we just couldn't hear what the hell he was saying. I usually NEVER disturb Saurabh in movies so I kept sitting quietly sharing empty glances with Mamma as she looked equally lost. The movie moved slower than the tortoise in that old story but we kept sitting as most of it was shot outdoors. Every time Ranveer would appear, I would start rubbing my ears to at least catch one word of what he spoke. But hard luck. And in at least two such scenes the mobile phone of the guy sitting behind us rang and probably he was as bored as us, why else would he talk in normal pitch about his inability to pay the rent of his apartment this month as some "achanak kharcha" came and he had to also do some "dawa daaru" of his mother. When Interval happened I gave up on my attempts to hear the dialogues. Anyways by that time I had lost out on many a useful conversations between the lead pair. Little did we knew that the worse was about to come. All the scenes there after were shot in the dark. My already hassled Mom in law turned to me and said:

"What are they trying to show? That there was no electricity in the 50s?".

I soothed her discomfort by telling her: " This is aesthetic cinema. This is shot like this to add to the whole dramatic appeal."

 Poor thing sat back quiet. Just then a scene came where Divya Dutta, Ranveer and Sonakshi are in a room. A front stall guy started shouting loudly:

"Arre light to jala lo. Baatein baad main kar lena Ranveer Bhai. Light to jala lo"

My Mom in law who felt vindicated turned to me and said: "See even others are complaining. I wasn't wrong!"

So henceforth the struggle was not just in hearing. The challenge now was to even see with concentration!  We kept sitting as its rare that we walk out of movies. Usually we choose our movies with a gut feel and were sitting in this one as some friends had strongly recommended it the previous night. These days I always watch KRK's movie reviews on YouTube and I had warned Saurabh that its a "Maha" bore film. Anyways the movie kept changing scenes. All the Ranveer scenes were like blank spots for me as I wasn't making any efforts to see or hear him. Just then the "laugh trigger" happened. Some confrontation seemed to be ensuing between him and Sonakshi and he shouts- shouts for his standards. Because I usually talk in that pitch-

"SUNO. Meri baat SUNO".

As I heard the word SUNO I forgot the difference between the education levels of the front rowers in that hall and we the Balcony goers. I spoke up loudly, finally :

"Abey Sune kaise? Sunaai hi to nahi de raha!!!" (How do I listen? I just cannot hear anything)

Rest is history. I dont remember a scene after this. I started laughing due to the sheer audacity of Ranveer Singh to insist "SUNO". It was so ironical. As if he was talking to me! I had struggled for over two hours to SUNO him and here he was saying once again- SUNO!!

The movie ended. The ordeal ended. My MOM in law removed her glasses and wiped dirt from them. They had been put to some serious use today. However she missed hearing aids more!

Lessons learnt:

1) Believe KRK's reviews.
2) Make this post reach Ranveer somehow so he can be told that he honestly has a problem in being audible.
3) Our gut feel is right. Trust it!
4) Do not give up on single screen halls. They are the places a movie is judged by its true audience.
5) Being intense isnt the excuse for making boring cinema.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Kiddie Birthday Parties Tamasha

If you have babies you know what I am talking about. If you are yet to have babies- this is what is in store. If you will never have babies- what do you miss anyway?

So what is a kiddie birthday party?

It is a place where there are many many replicas of your own children accompanied by parents (who are just like you), celebrating the birthday of their counterpart and imagining themselves in the shoes of the 'star of the evening'.

Two kids have ensured my frequent attendance to these parties and you cannot stop the observer in me from noticing things that are so strikingly common to all of them!

Disclaimer: If I smell of being bored by the sheer monotony- you have the correct smell!! 

1. There is always a Tattoo guy at such events. Even though the popular tattoos are Doreamon and Spiderman's face among the children, he will always first make the ugly dragon. Your kids will come running to you and complain- "Uncle made Dragon- AGAIN". And then you end up filling them up with confidence to go back to the 'Uncle' with their second hand and insist that he makes what they want! 

Trivia: Whenever you will look at this Tattoo Uncle, he will be eating!

2. Magician and his antics are almost embarassing. Every single party will have a unique magician who will tell your kids that the REAL magic mantra is the one he is telling. So my kids alternate these mantras at home by saying- Abra ca dabra or giilly gilly hocus pocus or Choo Choo Mantar jajantar.

Trivia: The magician is usually doing his show for the elders of the party. The kids are running around him, not chanting the mantras on time and there will always be at least 2 adults adhering to chanting them!

3. Next time you are at such a party, don't stand in the background when the cake is being cut. Try and remain closer to the action. You will always over hear one mother telling another- "Oh we had the same cake for ABC's party this year". So what is what I want to tell them!

Trivia: The candles which burn like Diwali crackers require immense patience. The birthday kid is scared of them while other guests stand patiently for it to douse before the real proceedings can begin.

4. The most common games played at EVERY party are Musical Chairs and Passing the parcel. Even the kids are bored of them! But its funny to see how some kids play them as if its a matter of life and death. The parents almost make the game seem like an Olympic race scolding the child if he fails to find a seat when the music stopped. 

Trivia: You can gauge how much these games have been practiced from the very fact that kids as old as four years have developed cheat codes to win them. Some are compulsive cheaters who join in the fun even after they have been declared out!

5. Balloon factories should be banned from existence. My childhood memories of going gaga over a balloon start and end at the India Gate visits. Wasn't it more fun to play with one in such an open area? At these parties where we are all struggling for spaces to even stand, almost each and every kid is falling and running and fighting and bursting and sliding with a balloon.

Trivia: If the balloon has made its way into your car too, it will burst loudly and at least for once scare the shit out of whoever is at the wheel!

6. Obviously when there are kids, and small ones at that, they HAVE to be accompanied by parents. Now if the parents are known to the host parents like they are close friends or family or colleagues, then they will sail through the two hour ordeal but when they are unknown like those of school friends or bus friends- hats off to them for enduring these get-togethers.

Trivia: Spot such fathers punching- God knows what- into their smart phones and mothers sitting cross legged on corner chairs with a practiced smile on their tired faces with a pile of prizes their children win in various games or the masks and whistles that they collect party after party.

7. Its impossible to not let your child know what you are gifting their friend. They obviously know and the first thing they say when they hand over the gift to its owner is the utility of it! So if its a game they will tell the Birthday boy or girl- " Ma got you a board game. We will play it together!" OR "Its a dress. Blue color!"

Trivia: Needless to say this but if you are recycling the gifts, you better NEVER let your child know about it. Or he will go and announce at the party- "This is a gift I got on my birthday. I wasn't using it so Ma got this for you!"

8. The kids of course go to these parties for the cake and the balloons but there is one more thing which they cannot ever miss out on. Its the Return Gift! When you announce that its time to leave, the kids will point out the table where they have eyed the wrapped gifts (its easy to identify them as they are usually wrapped in the same paper). there is no way that you can slip out of these parties without meeting your hosts (like sometimes you do at weddings) as you are aware that if you reach home without the return gift, your child will bring you back to the party venue to collect his/her right! 

Trivia: "Ma whats inside this? can we please open it Ma? Please Ma. Okay just a small glimpse? Ma I know what is inside, do you want to confirm it? You never let me open it Ma! You are the worst Mamma in the world!" - Your little one will keep saying this on your way back till you relent and say : "Open it and keep quiet!!"