Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Talking to my 2014

I am seeing Red all around me. Nothing to do with my cold and cough situation though. It is Christmas time and my Facebook timeline, my friend's pictures, the roads till my office, the parking guy's head gear and the celebs I stalk on Twitter have all turned Red to keep up with the season. Now, I too had Christmas Parties and invites till a few years ago but age catches up with you sooner than you estimate. It is so freezing cold outside that I have politely turned down invitations, over the years, by saying- We have some other plans- and gradually people have realised, our plans are actually warm quilts and Big Boss! (Okay, the latter is more of my plan and my husband complying)

Since I stopped being an Enthu Cutlet for 'rocking' and 'happening' parties, I have to vent out my excitement somehow about everything that I am feeling amidst festivities and cheer around me. I have no messages or requests for Santa Claus. I rather have short and sweet messages for persons and things that had an influence on me in the year gone by and I have no hopes of any of them sparing me in the coming too :)

1) Open Letter Writers- Consider this my open letter to all those open letter writers who write more and more open letters to the ones who wrote open letters before them. First, letters are Dodos now so don't prefix an OPEN to them to revive them. They have no chance of resurrecting. Call them just letters and they will still read the same. Second, you wrote that open letter knowing that the one you are writing to, will never read it but instead it will become viral, make you look mature/concerned and enable you to have intellectual conversations in the comment boxes underneath. Yeah, we all know this but we still open them and help your cause.
2) Killers of Children- I know none of them will ever read this. So really what is the point in even addressing them? But I can tell you all who are reading this- I hate them. Too.
3) Selfie Takers- Uff that selfie smile of yours- I just love it. And that exclusive side profile? Killer! Oh how I can forget that pout. Yum! One day, I hope, this fascination will retire and people will start living their lives with real smiles and believable twinkle in their eyes. One day.
4) Radio Cab Drivers- I took a lot of Radio Cab rides in 2014. Yes, in Uber too. And I was my usual chatty self. Some drivers reciprocated my chattiness, others increased the volume of FM channels. The way my life remains unchanged in terms of salaries which cannot afford a Driver and the parking space around our house where our two cars win real battles to find their own ground every day, I am going to continue taking these cabs. Just that I am considering investing in a Pepper Spray which I am pretty sure I will not be able to find inside my overfilled handbag when I need it. I also intend to continue praying that I don't get raped as that's the ONLY thing we can do it seems in our country.
5) Travellers- Love you guys. I think you are the only people who are truly living. I am not addressing the kinds for who travelling means a twice an year ritual of going to Goa. Travellers are those who crave exploration- of new places, of food and of adventures. Hats off to that breed and yes, you guys are people I love to be jealous of. By the way, I love Goa. I go there every year. That's not travelling. That's hygiene!
6) Big Boss- Another year will begin and with it my favourite TV show will complete yet another season. I hate this thought but I live with it. I live with the hope that September will come again and it will bring with it the show, I live for...
7) V and N- These two are growing up really fast. I know this because they have started arguing with me, they have instructed me to not kiss them in their park, they have football shoes and party shoes and casual party shoes and cricket shoes, they have their favourite actresses and both have that one girl in their class who they protect from the mean bullies around them. So well, V and N are everything I am and I am everything they want me to be- at different stages of their boyhood.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Sunidhi Chauhan and the Delhi Crowd

We were lucky that we got the opportunity to be with one of our favourite artist-Sunidhi Chauhan- last evening. It was only for her that we broke the norm of not venturing out on a weekday (I am hopeless in sending kids to schools every day as schools start early morning). We knew it will be worth all the effort. So what if we were seated in the Balcony of the humongous Siri Fort Auditorium whose Balcony is at quite a distance from the stage.
The show apparently was being done for a charity organisation (I don't want to name it as the charity is doing a good job and had nothing to do with what the organiser was turning this evening into!) So as people are still running here and there to take a seat from where they are closest to Sunidhi-which is impossible as we are hung in a balcony that Sunidhi wont even know exists, there is a video playing on stage. The video starts with the main organiser telling us how he had the brainwave of working for this great cause and identified this particular organisation to give money to by doing this concert. He is followed by his wife, mother, mother in law, elder brother and sister in law (that elder brother's wife) who appear one by one and praise the organiser for coming up with this idea. The elder brother even says how 'Chunnu ("we call him Chunnu pyaar se") is mature enough to do this social work. I am trying to look and feel absolutely serious as this cause is close to my heart too but the mention of 'Chunnu' ends it for me. I try to hide my giggle as there are people around and I could be mistaken for making fun of the feelings behind this event. My best friend and husband, though, is smiling back at me. The lamp is lit and the tight red dress host (who says Ladies and Gentleman like ledsnadgentlmun) hands over the Mic to Chunnu (he has a proper name but that's not important). Now Chunnu speaks for five minutes telling us why this cause is the cause for this evening. He then suddenly pauses for two seconds, turns away from audience, looks back like a hero and adds- "Sorry guys. Santi ho gaya". Anyway, to Chunnu his own, the evening begins.
Sunidhi as usual rocks! Singing one song after another with all her versatility and oomph. After a couple of numbers she announces that since this is a charity event she is going to do something terribly different this evening. The audience wants to know what's that!! Me too!!
"In front of the Delhi audience, that's known for dance and masti, I am going to do the unusual. I will only sing soft numbers. So are you guys ready for a serene evening? Are you guys ready to not dance?"
The rows right in front of her, clap loudly and roar with appreciation. These are the 'Reserved' and 'Gold Class' category who are real connoisseurs of soulful music (or so they tried to pretend). Up above in the balcony, where yours truly is sitting, there is deafening silence. The cattle class is shocked. Sunidhi wont make us dance? Its like Anup Jalota asking them if they are ready for a dance! And Delhi audience will even dance to Anup Jalota!! What was Sunidhi thinking?
Anyways, a couple of rows behind us get empty. She goes on to sing some wonderful 'soft' songs and trust me we are drenched in the serenity she promised. Just when she finishes two more such songs someone behind us shouts (knowing well that he can never be heard as Sunidhi surely doesn't know there is a Balcony too!) - "Madamji, Kamli" (in a humble, requesting type shriek). The entire enclosure laughs aloud. But no one, beyond the balcony, can hear us. We are the cattle class who stands up for each other but no one influential will ever hear our voices. Sunidhi goes on with her awesome renditions and one more bunch of friends behind us leave. Two men behind me are chatty and one asks the other-
"Kamli kaunsi picture ka hai bata mujhe?"
"Dhoom 3" his friend, who is playing Subway Surfer states, matter of factly.
As Sunidhi finishes "Yaram" she has the audacity to ask the Dilli crowd- "Maza aa raha haina Dilllliiiiii"
The guy behind me shouts: "Dhoom 3!!!!!!!!"
Sunidhi ignores him once again, unknowingly of course and moves on to "Chura liya hai tumne"
This time I guess the Delhite inside the elite crowd too feels the need to open up. At the end of this all-time- melodious-number, someone, who God has chosen to be audible to Sunidhi, shouts- "Beedi Jalai le"
Believe it or not, this is when Sunidhi becomes Robert Vadra and asks: "Are You Serious?"
Yes Madam they were serious!!! Ask me, the cattle class, who lost many of her counterparts in the Balcony because they ONLY wanted to dance! Crazy dilliwalas we are but may I add- At least we love you even more :)

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

The ONLY 5 things I know in Punjabi language!

Having lived in Delhi all my life, there is no way I could ever stay disconnected with this language. From Auto Rickshaw guys to shopkeepers in Lajpat Nagar to schoolmates to colony friends- I have always had adequate brushes with it. Still it is a shame that I never could pick it. I can understand few words but definitely cannot speak well. After my marriage, when I saw my Mom In Law speak decent full sentences in Punjabi she told me that since she has lived and worked all her life in Delhi, how could she not pick? Well, truly it is shameful that I did not!
Lately however I have enhanced my vocabulary of Punjabi. I still do not freely incorporate it in my fluent talks (except that one time when I told my husband how cute the 'nikke-nikke' dogs were looking while crossing the road and he was absolutely SHOCKED). Two of my favourite people in my family are Punjabis. My two Sister in Laws who don't speak the language(with each other or their parents) but know it still. Interactions with them and following them on social media made me sit down and draw up this list which is my ONLY knowledge of this language. Read on. Maybe you will find traces of your experience in them...
1) The Babydoll song- This is the maximum amount of Punjabi I can speak in one go. I have by hearted the song. When I am driving alone and this song is on FM, I sing along in full volume and feel so proud of my feat. 
2) Honey Singh- Not just for me but for the entire nation this man is single handedly responsible for enabling humming of Punjabi songs so effortless. It is because of his songs like 'Lak 28 kudi ka' that I know many unknown words of this language.
3) Words- Some words are such integral part of my perceptions of people who know Punjabi. List:
Mausi = Maasi
Namaste = Pairi Pauna
Sagai =Sagan
Tilak = Tikka.
Paagal= Jhalli
Just love them!
4) Kirron Kher- No one works better than Kirron Kher as the typical Punjabi mum. I have illusions that all Punjabi mothers are like her. Her perfect use of language, stressing on the right words, expressions, laughter- Uff now that's a Punjabi Mum for me and her style of speaking!
5) Weddings- Seen Vicky Donor? Remember that scene when Ayushman's Mom asks someone to fetch Daaru from the Gaddi? THAT. The whole openness, largeness, fun, slim and fair girls, tall dulhas hugging their graceful Mums, laughter- That's my orientation to this language which may be loud but is so warm :)


Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Top 5 cliches at a family get together...

Fresh out of Rakhi celebrations we are, aren't we? I can see on Facebook that almost everyone spent it with their extended family. There is always that one kind soul in all our families who volunteers to host these get togethers, so all tying of Rakhi and exchanging of gifts can happen under one roof- all so conveniently.

This is my tenth (Yeah!10th!) year of celebrating festivals with Saurabh's extended family. It is now that I am qualified to write the typical 5 clichés that happen at every, almost every family gathering. I am sure everyone reading this will say 'Oh yes' to at least three :)

1) Comment on weight: The minute guests start arriving in, they almost look as if the following words were sitting on their lips for the longest time and must be heard:

"Why have you lost so much weight?" OR "Why has ABC (host's husband or wife) lost so much weight?"

We must all understand that they are not asking this because they are worried. They just see the 'fit' you and wonder why!

2) Tea: So everyone has arrived and sitting in a huge family circle. Initial warm up has lapsed and the host will ask, "Chai Banaye?". This question in itself is wrong. Why ask? Just make it! But you have to hear the guests' reactions (they never change):

First everyone will say: "Arre rehne do" ; "Nahi nahi" ; "Not for me. I am fine"
Just when everyone realises that to ease the host's burden everyone has refused tea and 'Oh my god I needed it' someone will say:

"Agar ban rahi hai then ill take."  5 more people will join in, as sympathetically as they can,

"Only if you are making it, I will take"

All those who said 'No' vehemently in the first lot will now be saying in their heads- 'Thank God'

The host then comes to everyone's rescue,

"Ok then. Will make for everyone."

3) Food is always awesome: Typical lines: "Ye kisne banaya?" followed by "Jisne bhi banaya, kamaal hai." Now whoever is saying this, has a wife somewhere in the same room sulking and taking mental notes.
But don't we all do this out of sheer compulsion. The host will invariably shove one more poori in our plate and ask: "Acha nahi bana kya?". Now what is the correct answer to this question? Obviously the guest will say: "Awesome hai!"

4) One person/family will always be stuck in a jam: Why is there always that one person who is late? Everyone who has arrived on time will mass-blame that one person (or family) by digging into their past perfiormance.

"Hamesha late aate hain!"

"Time se kyun nahi chalte?"

"Jam to nahi hai raaste main?"

And then after all the speculation that teenager of the family who has acquired the smart phone very recently and is seen playing candy crush is asked:

"Arre XYZ, phone laga ABC ko and check."

5) Testing children in academics-  Children enjoy these gatherings the most. Especially the children of the host as they are not being watched. Also they are somehow the centre of attention. How? They have to recite poems, show some dance moves, get their General Knowledge checked, let everyone who they love more- Papa or Mummy and also let everyone know if their Mum gives them enough food or not (duh!)! If there are more than one kid then guests like to play 'Comparison Games' with them. 'Who can say the alphabets the fastest' types. I don't know if kids enjoy this but their parents definitely get a complex! 

Friday, 18 July 2014

I am a Mum of two boys. But I am not carefree.

Today as I reached work, my timeline was flooded with anguish of mothers over the rape of a 6 year old in her school. I read a few but couldn't go beyond three. They were all full of so much helplessness that it irked the mother in me. But what was interesting in all of them was that they were all from mothers of girls.
I have sons. Two. Though both are aged around the little girl who was assaulted in Bangalore, they are boys. Does that mean I am less sensitive to these news items on rapes being carried out to little girls? I am not even saying that ideally I should feel the pain of those parents as a woman because I am as prone to rape as this little one, in this country. My point is that I am equally worried about my sons today. Hear me out all you parents of girls, who feel so insecure while bringing up daughters in our callous country. So what if I have boys? I am equally scared for them as you are for your daughters.
I am scared because being boys, I cannot technically tell them what is rape, at least not now. I am scared because someone who is sick in the head can assume that touching my sons is lesser a crime than touching someone's daughter. I am scared because they are naïve, just like a girl of their age, and can get scared of someone overpowering them. I am scared because everyone assumes they are safe, or safer.
I have taught them good touch and bad touch. I have told them they cant be alone with a stranger anywhere in the school or in the  bus. I have told them that if anyone says that they will cause any harm to their parents if they tell  the truth, Papa will teach that person a tougher lesson than he can imagine. I watch over them every minute when they are in the park. I call them every 3 hours when I am at work even though they are safe with their Grand mom because there could be something that they would like to share with just me. I have a secret password with them which they can use in case someone tries to give them a message through me at an unfamiliar place. Mind you guys, I am not a helicopter parent. I am just a parent in the times where my child needs me for a plethora of exposures he gets and needs answers for. I am doing everything in my might and senses which can keep V and N away from crime. But I know I can never do enough. I have to send them to school, to their dance classes, to friends' places, to the park, to swimming. Can I be around them all the time? I cannot. And what irritates me is that ideally I shouldn't. I am responsible for their safety but I cannot suffocate them over it. 
So what is it that I can do? I can only pray it seems. I can pray not just for them but also for every little baby who doesn't deserve these crimes. I don't intend to join a candle march at India Gate to register my protest. This, because I am not stupid enough to not realise that this mentality is so deeply ingrained in our society that my candle will never last enough to burn down this disease of some brains. I don't want to pray for strength for those parents whose daughter was raped. That's so futile. I pray in fact for a miracle where this girl's example can let God put an end to our miseries. Yeah but I am game to join a pressure tactic which insists that schools do everything they can to ensure that our children are bloody safe with them as I am not assuming that they truly are. 
 Every morning when I send them to school, I kiss them and say- "Have a nice day." When they smile back, I look at them in the eyes and assure them that they will.
V and N- you are the reasons why Saurabh and I exist and we promise you that we are doing our best to keep you happy and healthy including saying our daily prayers :)

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

As you retire from work Papa......

They say your heart doesn't beat inside you, it beats inside me. But do they know that your love never managed to spoil me?
They say, I can make you do anything under the sun. But do they know that you've never let me do anything that was wrong.
They say you are partial, just too soft on me. But have they seen how much you scolded, when I acted weird.
They might see you detached, glued to your TV. But they haven't heard our everyday phone calls that last eternity.
They say you are short tempered, hot tempered too. But they don't know your patience when I rant endlessly about my life with you.
They may say you got it easy and you took it easy too. But they didn't see you down and out for most of it too.
They have seen you having a good time with your friends, till date. Wish they had seen those friends stand besides us, through thick and thin too.
They have seen your laughter, your guts and your will. I have also seen your advise, wisdom and hope behind it all.
They have seen me and Rahul grow up to be what we are. I have known Saurabh and Nish, look up to you too.

She comes across like your shadow, quiet behind you. I know but,  Ma is your anchor who has sailed us all through.

 They say you will retire from work Papa, in a week,
They don't know, it is so you will be around me, for me, with me :)


Monday, 12 May 2014

On a Break or Break Free on Mothers Day?

Yesterday is gone. I mean the dust over the marketing gimmick around Mothers Day has settled. We are all now going through a mundane Monday that even our mothers cannot save us from. I belong to the school where no specific day can make me remember my husband or children or father or mother or brother. The result: I didn't get any gift yesterday AND I didn't even complain :/
However, since I am part of the top 4.7% of this country's social media consumer base (imaginary figures used for impact), I did get a lot of messages reminding me that I am an amazing Mom and that because my Mom is also amazing, I should do A B C D for her. As I retired for the night I scanned all messages once again and the winner of the most common thought running in all of them was: Since it is 'Happy Mothers Day', we mothers should be given a day off to relax, head for massages, get pampered and that our husbands should step into our shoes for this one day.
This thought doesn't work for me at so many levels. First, as I have mentioned many a times before, Saurabh is a hands on Dad and there is nothing special that I do for V and N which he doesn't/cannot do. Secondly, how the hell does one step out of being a mother for one day? By stepping out I mean- Relax for a day when you are a Mom!
Let me tell you how my day looked yesterday and you will know how meaningless this wish was for me.
1) I insist on making V and N's meals by myself each day. I do it with a lot of passion everyday hence there was no way I wouldn't have done so yesterday. I did. It gave me so much happiness.
2) They fought over trivial things as usual. They wanted me to be the Judge of their disputes like every other day as I know best (at least they think so) which is the most fair way to settle them. I resolved their differences all day. I was so happy.
3) I was on top of their mischiefs all day long as that is my way to teach them how to behave. I scolded them with equal vigour and kissed them with equal warmth (Not lessening the former and increasing the latter is what I mean)
4) Like on every other weekend, Saurabh and I took off for an evening out with just each other. When we return, I see a huge cotton ball with lots of red Betadine taped to V's forehead. My heart stopped for a second. Thankfully the bruise was a very small one, result of a fall which he could have easily avoided, had he listened to Dadi. It was his fault but my baby was hurt. As I wiped his tears, scolded him for being careless, hugged him with all my might and assured him that he is absolutely fine- I knew-
Mothers can never be anything else. We don't need to relax. We don't need a break. Our kids are us. Can you forget yourself for a day and relax? If you can- Happy Mothers DAY!

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

You vote. I Vote. We all vote. ENOUGH on VOTE!!

Tired is the state of my mind right now. There is no other word that describes it more aptly. Just so goddam tired of opinions, views, convictions, graphs, blogs, videos, rallies that I have never been so, ever before. Facebook and Twitter have shown their true colors. So much so that I miss those people on my timeline now who posted Birthday pics, mundan pics, housewarming pics, bought-new-fridge pics, had-an-accident pics, babyshower pics and I used to crib. Wont crib again people. Come back! Because when your posts look silly to me I choose to ignore your 74 pictures album and move on to more logical updates. However for the past few days where do I move on to? Everyone- each one of these guys- are ONLY and ONLY talking about politics. It stresses me out. I hate it. I......am tired! I know most of you are too!!
But if you thought that all will be over soon. Hey hey NO. Tomorrow is the polling day. Tomorrow, my friends, is the Baap of all these bleeding-from-my-nose-updates days! As tomorrow is when the below stated updates will beautify my timeline. And mind you all- anyone who does even one of these, well...what can I do about you guys? Ill pray that sanity will prevail and I pray that soon you will be convinced that Yes, you have made your point!
So fellow Indians, brace yourself for the following- all of tomorrow:
1) Photos of fingers with the black ink. Those selfies. Along with the words- "Proud"
My Take: Get Manicures done girls. Some pictures really look ugly. Boys, ill be ogling at your fat fingers nonetheless!
1.1) Sticking to photo uploads there will be many with people with their families and friends (all wearing aviators) showing their inked fingers in a selfie- smiling and proud.
My Take: Hahahaha...
2) Status messages: "Just voted. Have you done so?" (Along with the picture of the finger with the black ink)
My Take: I will mind my own business with  my own head with my own time with my own convenience. How can you blackmail me to vote NOW just because you voted?
3) Check ins at fancy cafes with description- "Relaxing after casting my vote. Have you voted yet?"
My Take: Finish your coffee and get going. Pay the bill. Be a good citizen!
4) Status updates with complaints like "The booth was poorly managed" or "Saw XYZ party goons around the booth. I smell something fishy"
My Take: Do not disguise your ballooned pride by holding the same nose from behind. We know that you want to tell people that you just returned after voting. You know whats better? The picture of that finger.
5) Constant boosters. Oh reminders- "Get up people. Go out and Vote" or "Don't forget to cast it"
My Take: OKAY!!
6) Guilty posts where people could not cast votes and are feeling useless but still wish to be part of the big party on Facebook- "Away from Delhi on work. I wish I was there to make my country proud! Miss the fun. But hey, all of you vote!"
My Take: Somewhere in your comments you will be successful in letting the world know exactly where you are away. Wasn't that the whole point?
My last word on all this mania- We have all understood it. Let us breathe and bring back the exotic holidays and food pictures!

Friday, 7 March 2014

My AIIMS scare- Part 2 (Final!)

First off- Thanks to everyone for calling/ leaving messages/ checking with Saurabh on how I was doing. I don't know how to let you all know that the purpose of the blog was not to freak everyone out. In fact if I had released both parts together you would have laughed off at my visit to AIIMS. But the antibiotics and the pain didn't let me sit on the laptop for a longer spell. Must apologise to my cousin who was frantically calling to speak but I didn't pick as I cannot talk. To a family friend who even scolded Saurabh for not letting her know of our problem :). To my Uncle in Bombay who spoke with Saurabh expressing so much concern. To all my friends who whatsapped me lifting my spirits. I owe you all a hug :)
Now to where we left. So we were out of our home at 9 am headed to AIIMS where we were to meet the guy who would ferry us to the right Doctor with ease. The perception of making it to the right Doctor in AIIMS is such that it helps to have an internal guy take care of you with mundane logistics. We were to meet him at 10:30 so why did we start so early? Well, parking we were told is about 1.25 kms away and if you have known me even for ten minutes you would know that I HATE walking. So we took this buffer as Saurabh might have to build moving walkways to transport me from parking to the hospital. Anyway his super driving skills brought us to the parking lot exactly at 10 and just as we moved heads to our right we see a never before seen building of Delhi. Its a huge seven storey, having its own sprawling gardens and big iron gates- AIIMS Dental Research Institute. We cannot believe our eyes! Here you park, cross the road and land in the wing of AIIMS you were meant to be in. Great, we thought. Luck seems to be favouring us. The day had started well- Parul did not have to walk more than 100 meters.
Now before I write further please understand the agenda I had in my mind. I was there to meet a specialised Doctor just the way I would have met someone in a private clinic. Obviously I had searched the Internet and knew well that there exists no medication or treatment of this problem of mine. Surgery is its last resort but certainly we weren't going to opt for it. So in my head just because Ma had insisted we were there to meet a Doctor who would have said- "Nothing can be done, live with it." This is the reason my parents, brother and Saurabh's sister had not even been informed about this visit. We were there for a casual sort of time pass.
So around 10:15 we are seated in the concerned department and the escort guy is on his way from the main AIIMS to this baby AIIMS. You cannot imagine how relieved I was as this place had empty corridors, no one seemed to be in an emergency situation, some seats still vacant. Few people of course were holding their cheeks as their teeth must be hurting but nothing was visible to me and hence I was a bit at peace. Within minutes, thanks to our efficient escort, the Doctor concerned called us in, asked my problem and issued a card worth 10 rupees (ONLY) certifying that I am his patient. We were asked to get two X rays done (30 rupees each-ONLY). The escort now left us on our own because he must have realised that these two have come here for a non life threatening situation and he had more genuine sufferers in the other building.
We head for X ray wing and there for the first time we get a 1% brush with life in AIIMS. People ranged from being poor to very poor. All suffering, all tired and hassled. Names being called out for turns and chaos prevailing as everyone wants to be the first to be X rayed! Thanks to Saurabh, I sailed past this stage by only sitting quietly in one corner while he negotiated my card inside the X ray room. On the giant TV screen they showed a film which warned people that beedi, gutkha and paan can cause cancer and many men were displaying their tongues, gums and teeth which turn ugly when cancer strikes them. Everyone watches it intently. We are all together here waiting for time to pass and our turns to come. X ray done and report will be out in 20 minutes. Now that is impressive. 20 minutes is less! And well they exceed our expectations by handing over our report in 15 minutes but sans the envelope.
"Khatam ho gaya Sir envelope. Haath main hi le jaiye"- Second brush with a Sarkari Hospital. Saurabh contains his emotions and we are now headed back to our Doctor.
"Hmmm.....ok......hmmm...." this is what the senior lady Doctor is doing while turning my Jaw X ray up and down, right and left. She asks me routine questions and keeps a smile on her lips. Saurabh is standing nearby and now I am ashamed that there seems to be nothing wrong with my reports and I made him go through so much in the last few months. I am sure this Doctor will say that I am alright. I feel bad. But I decide to break my own bubble because I know I have been in pain.
"Does the report say something?"
"Yes Yes. Your condition is severe!" She said (Yipee, I am relieved). "Not just right side, even on the left, the Jaw is dislocated. I am sure you have a lot of discomfort. This is serious."
By now her Junior joins us and she shows the X ray to the three of us explaining the wide gap between my upper and lower jaw. I am now nervous. Because the gap is huge! She asks the junior what he thinks should be done and he casually says- "Pabra ca dabra"
Pabra ca dabra because both Saurabh and me did not understand this medical terminology but it sounded serious. Saurabh asks what the hell was this treatment and we are assured its non intrusive and the only resort unless we wish a surgery which is a major operation, irreversible, risky and non recommended. We decide to hear them out. We are now taken to a huge room that has lots and lots of those typical dentist chairs. In my pvt. clinic there would be just two such pretty things. Here they were uncountable.
So we stand with the Doctor and he explains so casually like he is telling us how to make a fruit salad.
"See we will infuse patients own blood into the gap shown in the X ray. This blood will form fibroids and we HOPE that will restrict the free movement of the patient's jaw."
I am not Parul now. I am a patient. Secondly why use the word HOPE? It better cure me or why will I give my blood in the first place.
"Doctor you said its non intrusive. So how will the blood go inside?" asks Saurabh.
"Nono, we mean its not as bad as a surgery. We ll take her blood from the arm and use a 18 gauge syringe below her ear to put that blood back in" Doc says.
Now this begins to sound cumbersome.
"And it will hurt?" I ask.
"C'mon, we will give you anaesthesia!" he says.
So of course it will hurt!
"The needles will be put on my cheek?" I ask.
Doc smiles and looks at Saurabh as if telling him that he has a really stupid wife. "Don't think about it too much Parul. Let me handle this," he says realising that Saurabh looks equally worried.
"So I will give you a date in future?" he asks us.
"Yes Doctor. If that is the only treatment, give us a date," Saurabh says. Please know that after this point my brain has stopped functioning. I am shitting in my pants.
"Well this can happen any day in the evenings," the Doc tells him (not to me as I look dead now)
"Oh....so it can happen today?" Saurabh says.
WHAT. TODAY? WHY? My mind is saying but I have lost my speech.
"Yes yes why not. Come at 2. Ill do it," the Doc says and the deal is struck. Like between two businessmen. He writes on our card the time and asks us to buy our own syringes and bandage- third brush with a Sarkari Hospital. As we step out of the room I expect Saurabh to show some concern on how me the patient must be feeling. But he rather says,
"Why should we bring syringes? Don't they have them here? Its a bloody huge hospital!"
I look at him with sympathy. Poor thing has to worry about syringes and not for me who looks pale and gone. He quickly realises his folly and asks,
"You want to think about it? Take a minute. See, this ought to be done."
"I am not ready. I have to talk to Papa," I manage.
"Of course you should. Ill go buy this stuff, you call Papa," he says and rushes out.
So he knows that the decision has been taken and Papa will also not discourage us. Smart move!
I explain the procedure to Dad and he says just three things,
"Its AIIMS. Cant get better than this. You are my brave girl, go for it. Don't worry Saurabh must have thought through this."
So my destiny has been written.
Saurabh treats me to an exotic Chinese lunch in the South Ex market. Calls are made to my mom, his mom, my brother explaining them that at 2pm today, Parul will be on her way to recovery. Prayers have begun. My Mom in Law even calls me and says, "I am getting scared. Hope you are fine!" No Ma, I am NOT. By the time our order comes, Saurabh has cracked the medical procedure which will be applied and tells me its Prolotherapy!
Now please don't search 'Prolotherapy Jaw Video' on Google as it will surely freak you out. We didn't look at the video and decided to take it as it comes!
Its 2:10 and we are called inside. The Doctor calls in four more junior doctors and I am told these four have Prolotherapy as their thesis topic so they will be spectators! Wow. That's very good. Saurabh has been asked to stay out. I insist I need him to hold my hand but the Doctor shoos him away. He looks happy too! I am alone along with the main Doctor, four students, three attendants and one patient-doctor duo who were on the adjacent chair but now taking a break as their procedure is so painful that I might lose patience if she makes a noise. Well.....the environment is all set.
 Now let me not go into gruesome details but the therapy is inhuman and lasts 40 minutes- both sides. They inject me once very close to my ear, then draw my blood from my arms, then inject again below the ear, blood refuses to stop so they bandage it blah blah blah. I can see Saurabh peeping on me from a gap in the glass door and it hurts me to be shaking and crying silently with pain in front of him. I cannot shout as my mouth is stuffed with a plastic stopper. The juniors click my before and after pictures. They discuss how I will complete their number of research items- They needed five and I am the fifth. The procedure ends and while one doctor wraps a bandage around my face, Saurabh is called in for 'crucial instructions'
Give her rest.
She cannot talk
These are the medicines.
She cannot talk
Only liquids for a week.
She cannot talk
This bandage cannot come off for at least 5 days.
She cannot talk
Bring her back after a week..
She cannot talk
It seems now that ill get more ill not because of the pain in my jaw but because of the fact that I CANNOT TALK!
We are now headed back home. I am only crying. Cant sob as that will hurt my jaw. So my tears are flowing while Saurabh is answering calls from family on how I took the procedure. We reach home and I hate the way my kids look when they see me all bandaged. They look so sad and scared. I gesture them to come near me and sit holding their hands. I cannot kiss them as due to the anaesthesia I cannot feel my own face. They kiss me and I feel it :)
I am fine now and when I see the Doctor next Wednesday we ll know whether this treatment worked. Till then I CANNOT TALK !! :))

Thursday, 6 March 2014

My AIIMS scare - Part 1

So most of you have been to the Taj. Not the hotel in your cities guys. But the Taj Mahal in Agra! Visiting the Taj Mahal and absorbing its beauty is deeply ingrained in us Indians. And why just us, its a worldwide phenomenon. I have been there too (I am normal that ways) but my take out of its beauty might not confirm to the majority. I didn't enjoy it so much due to all the filth, mismanagement and the fact that's its not White-its yellow. Anyways this is not the point of this post. The point is that all of us are aware of key symbols of pride of our country and at some point in our lives either we get to visit them or experience them- whether we want to or not.
All India Institute of Medical Sciences or AIIMS is one such symbol. I have lived in Delhi all my life and hence it has been a part of me like for any other Delhite. Either we have had relatives in it or we have been around it for some reason or the other. AIIMS in Delhi is located on the Ring Road which is its lifeline. Hence I cross it at least once a week and sometimes three or four times too. But I must confess, every time I cross it I say a silent prayer that I should never come to this place for any sort of a treatment. Simply because having to go to AIIMS would mean something really serious and that disturbs me. I have been inside it only once. Long back, along with Dad for his Cataract operation but that was literally in an out- thanks to the nature of that surgery. But those are faint memories and I never ever want them to be refreshed. I always wish that none of us should ever suffer enough that AIIMS is our resort. So what is again the point of this post?
I have mentioned some time back in this blog that I suffer from a joint disorder known as TMJ syndrome where my Jaw, in a layman's sense, is sort of dislocated. Actually there is a lock and key kind of mechanism in our knees, shoulders and jaw and well.....my Jaw lock is loosened. So while all of you can yawn, shout, chew vigorously and talk loudly, I cannot as my mouth clicks and hurts and I have to manually put the lower jaw back in its place- I know it sounds bad :(. For the past two months I am suffering even more as the condition got worse. So worse that we knew it needed medical intervention. Now for people like us such interventions are of two kinds-
1) Taking an appointment at a specialised and suave private clinic which has white walls and glass partitions. We dole out a thousand bucks to a pretty receptionist and the young Doctor then calls you five times before he gives the correct diagnosis. By then since you have spent 5000 rupees in his fees and half that price in petrol, you feel- He is a great doctor!
2) This option is actually never an option. But lately due to a relative who has some 'jugaad' in AIIMS, my Mother in Law has been visiting it for random health problems like an eye check up, usual diabetes check up etc. Every time she got back she would tell us gory tales of how crowded this hospital is and what kind of people throng it- poor, needy and in pain. These tales reaffirmed my views that AIIMS is a place God should never take me or any of my family member.
Hence when she and Saurabh were convinced that I needed help they went in their own networks to figure out a solution. Saurabh obviously took the first and most known route and zeroed down on a specialist in an upmarket residential area who is an Oral and Maxillofacial Expert. Mom in Law obviously took the second route! She went ahead and booked appointments too and was all prepared to accompany me to this giant of a hospital. Her steadfastness made us nervous. How much ever you dread AIIMS, we are all aware that it IS the most trustworthy and advanced place for all your heath needs. Saurabh got on to the Internet (saviour of our generation) and assured me that AIIMS in fact was the first institute to have the Oral and Maxillofacial department in the country. He was convinced his Mom had made the right choice. I got more nervous as even he left my side that we could choose a private clinic and a handsome Doctor over a place I dislike- for no known reasons.
I cancelled the first appointment (somehow I managed it) but mothers are mothers. Ma took the second appointment quickly and her efficiency (driven by her concern) at doing so left us with no choice. So Saurabh took a half day from work yesterday and we were out of our house at 9 am, headed to AIIMS!
(I am in pain right now-you will know soon why hence I am going to write this post in two parts. I hope I have created enough curiosity for you to wonder what could be so fascinating about a simple appointment at AIIMS? Second Part tomorrow- I am off to resting now)

Friday, 7 February 2014

Valentines Week Special: A pick up line that can never be used on me

Love is supposedly in the air this month. Never really understood this mush but whatever. The way I have accepted the FB Movies fad I will accept that February is a month when love hormone is floating in the air with utmost intensity and may everyone who does not get love in January or August or October- find their love in this blessed month.
Now if I make two and two four, February is also the month which should have the most cheesiest lines thrown at girls from boys or at women from men? Yeah of course! The pick up lines, the serenading dialogues, the coochie cooing words and everything else in these categories. Now how many surveys have you read about the "Worst Pick Up Lines ever used on Women?". I know, I know- Its impossible to keep a count but you agree that you have read about them. Now if you are a woman, tell me which is the most irritating of all these lines? I guess the award for the most irksome but popular cheesy line goes to: "Hey, have I seen you somewhere?"
Now being a woman I should be ideally hating it myself but you know what? There is a reason why I do not. I don't know if you ll believe this or not but apparently my face is such that I always-yes ALWAYS- give a feeling that people have met me before. Arre Sach!!! I am so bloody used to hearing this from Aunties, Uncles, Doctors, Friend's relatives, Teachers, Recruiters,  Bus Conductors, Rocket scientists and World Leaders that I do two things now:
1) Don't mind. Smile.
2) Say politely: Meri shakal hi aisi hai
I realised that people truly believe that they have seen me somewhere as I often heard people saying the same thing to my Dad. Since I resemble him I guess its a given that we have a face which is either a mixture of a lot of faces or our features are hopelessly common in nature that nothing really stands out for people to think- We are new!

Do we look familiar?
Having lived with these strange reactions from people it is only now that I have got my husband used to hearing this. Earlier he would get conscious if someone was trying to act smart with his wife but now he too nods his head agreeing with me that its no cheesy business. Its so creepy that now I even pre-empt that this person we are in conversation with will say what the next minute.
 I remember that while making arrangements for my brother's wedding last year, Saurabh and I were at a place to meet a chef who would prepare food for our guests. We had been waiting for him for a while before he enters the room, fixes his eyes on me, shakes hands with me, tilts his head on one side as if thinking hard. Just then I looked at Saurabh and said,
"He also thinks he has met me before."
"Whoa," said the Chef. "Where have we met but?"

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

When I was asked: "Where do you see yourself in ten years?"

If you ever attended those preparatory classes for MBA entrance exams you must have rehearsed your 'unique' answer for this question many a times. The question that goes like: "Where do you see yourself in ten years?". I remember those geeky teachers in my Career Launcher days who psyched us that every college will ask you this dreaded question. The only two instructions we were given for preparing the answer were:

1) Never say the truth
2) Never say- "Sir, in your seat"

My interview to get into MICA (My MBA college) didn't give me the chance to blurt out this answer. I don't remember the questions but clearly remember that I was not asked this! Two years at MICA came and went like tornado. Friends, hostel, mess food, credits, Ahmedabad- these things erased every instruction from my head and here I was at my first ever Campus Placement Interview with a Top most Media Planning Agency.
There were two people on the panel- A man and a woman. Both very senior and known people in the industry. I was shit nervous and damn sure I am not landing this job. An informal pre placement offer at the back of my mind relaxed me a bit and I thought- Lets just see what happens. After a random 'this and that' rant by my interviewers came the question that was/is/will always remain favourite of those who love interviewing. Only difference is- I had completely forgotten the 'right' answer for it now.
The woman interviewer- a successful, ambitious and brilliant professional sat back on her chair and asked: "Parul, where do you see yourself in ten years?"

Ten years meant 2014. Which is now. In the real world where am I after ten years? I am happily married. I have two adorable sons. I have ensured that I personally took care of them in their early years. I was fortunate to pursue my passion for writing and lucky to be a published author. I have tried my best to stay abreast with my professional expertise.
You know what? I gave my answer and I was not selected :). Not saying that they pointed out this reason but certainly this was the last thing they asked before I was instructed to send in the next person. They had put me in a waitlist and confirmed my name exactly ten minutes after the names of 7-8 selected candidates (My husband was one of them). So why is it that they didn't like my answer instantly? Maybe because I sounded too unambitious? Too informal? Too true?
In three days I leave for the same campus. To celebrate with my friends the completion of TEN years out of MICA. It is now that I reflect upon my naivety of saying what I said then and feel happy that I was indeed speaking from my heart and not mind.
My answer: In ten years, hopefully I will be well settled in a marriage, raising a family just the way I want. At the same time I will give in my best to have settled professionally in order to pursue something creative alongside. Anything that is beyond a regular job which keeps me sane and satisfied.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

10 things we do differently as Mother and Sons

Just about to celebrate the 5th birthday of my second son. Yeah that does make me sound very old but hey- I had babies early- OKAY?

V and N: Partners in crime. Partners for life
Yeah so just yesterday I was observing the two extensions of mine having a time of their own in each other's company. They did not need me like they did not need the sofa I was sitting on. Point is, as they are growing up, my existence is limited to being a provider- Of food, toys, books, birthday plans and drives. My silent observations of their total withdrawal from me led me to make some comparisons. I was comparing how the same rituals and things of the past are now totally different. Here are the Top Ten Things in that list:


Before: I cooked. They ate. They vomited. I cleaned. They digested. I was happy.
Now: I cook. They make faces. They demand. I argue. They persist. I cook. They are happy.


Before: All night up. All night crying.
Now: Both are early risers. Jump on my head as early as 7 am even on a Sunday!

3) Games

Before: Toys. Balls. Puzzles. Simplicity
Now: Does anyone have boys who DO NOT play cricket? My sons can play cricket all day, all night, all month, all year, all holidays, all school days, all summers, all monsoon!

Before: I didn't get time for much TV
Now: I don't get time for much TV! Nobita and Chota Bheem should be banned in our country.

5) School

Before: Cried initially. Settled well gradually.
Now: In the words of my older one: "Whoever invented Schools should be sent to a jail and beaten blue!"
6) Clothes

Before: Bath. Clothes. Done
Now: Bath. They don't like the clothes I have chosen for the day. They themselves dig into the almirah. Wear Jeans even at home. They have favourite colours. And lately they have started commenting on what we wear too!

7) Parties somewhere outside
Before: Tried leaving them with Dadi but all we heard was- "Come back early. They are crying a lot"
Now: We want them to come along and they cry as they would rather be home!

8) Parties at our home

Before: Party started. Kids put to sleep
Now: "When will your friends come?", "Will they get kids?", "They get gifts for us?", "When will they go?", "No! We wont sleep early", "What will you do that we cant see?"

9) Papa

Before: Saurabh is a hands on Dad. Updated about everything-big or small.
Now: Saurabh continues to be what he was. They love him more than me!

10) Me

Before: I was there. I will be there. I should be there.
Now: I am there. I may not be there. They are infact happier when I am not at home as then Dadi can spoil them rotten :)

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Calendars on 1/1/Every year

Calendars hanging on the walls invoke a lot of nostalgia in me. The ones with birds, mountain peaks or animal faces- I have vivid memories of them. I always used to have one in my room while growing up. And the first thing I did with a new Calendar? Turn to the month of July (I was born in it) and see what picture it has. Invariably I used to find that particular picture the worst in the whole calendar and sulk through the year. Not to mention, sibling rivalry ensured that my brother who is a January born always had the best picture of the lot and thus worsened my agony.
Now for the past 8 years of running my own household, I have never invested in a calendar. In initial years I did get them from Mom in Law as she worked in a bank and often got good looking calendars from her clients but gradually she stopped sharing them with us. Both Saurabh and I saw no need of relying on calendars for dates. For the general aesthetics of how we wanted our house to be, we never hung them. So questions like- "10th ko kya day padega?" or "Wednesday ko kya date hai?" were all answered by our phones or simple mathematics of going on adding 7 to today's date :)
But this calendar culture has some everlasting memories attached. To me every 1st of January was associated with changing calendars around the house. Choosing which calendar should be put in our room (the kids room) and which should go in Ma-Papa's room. They would come rolled so we used to open them, roll them the other side, figure out the small red string on the top, hang them all neatly on the designated nail and of course then turning the pages to see days of all our important events like our birthdays and parents' anniversary. This activity in my memory is synonym to how the first day of every year would be spent.
Just yesterday my sons got their homework notebooks and insisted that I take some sort of a dictation. I wondered the reasons behind kids being proactive about Dictations. But I realised soon that they were both excited to write a new year in the date that they mention on top right. They wrote with excitement- 1 slash 1 slash 14! Maybe this is the excitement I had with those colourful calendars on my walls.
Oh these silly memories and their associations. Years are turning still but no pages are carrying them now :)