The Dripping Roof

iStock_000019418010XSmallimage courtesy http://www.talklocal.com

 

She was an NRI….one of those Non Resident Idiots..sorry.. Indians ,who get impressed  by  the sweet- talking smart and mostly cunning resident Indians who not only know how to weave a mean tale but also how to make you hang on to their every word like it was the ultimate Gospel!!!!

She was definitely one of the believers, suckered into coming to a new land which promised her quality education at a steal and lured her into packing her bags, saying goodbye to all those sensible friends who were boarding the gates to promised lands while she trudged scared and wary to that which led her to Indian soil.

By the end of three years in a Godforsaken college which definitely graduated and found her some good friends and experience, she was more ready for the world!!!! She had been ragged, bullied, been made fun of because of her American accent, danced, laughed, hung out freely, bunked classes for a movie and burger, bought Rs. 5 worth of tops from portable stalls in every market, lost 10kgs weight from skipping the cockroach-infested meals in hostel……..lived a fairly typical college life in other words.

The icing on the cake was when she gave up her dreams of a career and plunged into  marriage immediately after college….unknowing, unprepared, scared, hopeful,  taking solace in the fact that even if she didn’t know where she was going to, at least she knew whom she was going with!!!!!

And life began….er, sort of????

Her new home was a 200 yr old British house in the middle of a cantonement left behind by the British…a fact that saved her marriage…for she was not prepared mentally or cut out for a life in a small town that time and the modern world seemed to have forgotten!!! It was a bygone era , a trip back in time , a culture shock! It was the spacious grounds and the space it gave her for some solitude, away from prying eyes that were the saving grace!

I guess the romantic notions of newly weds who walk around wearing rose colored glasses blinding them to reality carries them across every obstacle or hurdle smiling and never losing hope!!!! And so it was!!!! Undeterred she dealt with all, primitive, cass, painful, fun, alien!!!!! Dealt well ,she thought and  patted herself every night, looking  back on the days events.

For the first time , soon it rained!!!! The huge garden that she had slowly cleaned up and landscaped into some semblance of order was green again, the smell of wet mud rose through the air… a fragrance more romantic than any perfume in the world….there was a word for this…ahhhh yes…Petrichor,  I believe the term is…she was definitely a petrichor fan!

As she stood in the doorway that first time it rained in her new home, she was reminded of the weather back home where it rained often and everything was green and colorful…nostalgia welled up and her perpetually lurking homesick tears fell again!!

Her self-indulgence didnt last long for she was shocked out of feeling pitiful by what was suspiciously a huge drop of water falling on her shoulder…couldn’t be…she was indoors and there was no way that rain was known to turn a corner…or so she thought!!

There it was again…plop…on her head this time! She looked up in disbelief, studying the 200 yr old wooden beam , mud and tiled roof… the bent beams had bravely held up the roof for many a day but now two of them seemed to be protesting against all that nature had dealt them out…I guess even architecture has a tolerance level and this one was at the end of its tether! A huge wet patch had built up just above where she stood , another drop of water pulling away from the surface and preparing to give in to gravity. The brick floor had already started forming puddles and as she sploshed through one she realized that she had to do something!!

She dragged herself out of her shock and realizing this wasn’t looking good,  she darted into the kitchen, pulling out a pan and rushed to the wet zone, meticulously placing it just under the spot on the roof from where the water seemed to dripping through…..success…it now went plop plop  into the pan instead of the floor. She was quite proud of herself!

Right across the room another daring drop of rain made its way through the mud, tiles and onto the floor. This time she didn’t waste time standing agape and quickly scurried in and out of kitchen again with another pan in hand. Mission accomplished…she had saved the day!!

All this activity had made her realize it was loo time and as she made her way through the house towards the washroom a sonata of music notes seemed to ring in her ears….ping, pong, plop, whish, toing, ting!!!…unfortunately Mozart hadn’t arisen from the grave but the leakage problem had certainly taken on grave proportions!!

Every corner of the house seemed to have turned into a tiny waterfall….water had collected on the floor of practically every room , smattered onto the sofas and even one bed .In dismay and panic she ran around placing pots, pans,buckets, bowls and every conceivable utensil in the house under every dripping spot……she soon ran out of utensils but the rain refused to abate!! Nothing seemed to be helping!! Despairing she gave up and plonked herself on a chair overtaken by disbelief! Was this really happening???

Five minutes later, her husband partially wet , came running in calling out her name.” Isnt this weather wonderful?” he was exclaiming, but cut his speech short when he saw her all distraught, surrounded by utensils,  an expression more contorted with dismay than the first time she saw a snake in the garden…a survivor of a war zone!!!

He was suspended in the doorway as she raised her beseeching eyes towards him as if saying  “But I tried…is this for real??”  for a second,  before he allowed a tiny smile to escape his lips. He had obviously been through this scenario many a time and was most amused to see her state. His smile turned into a grin and she watched in anger as it turned into a guffaw!!! How could he be laughing right now? She looked around to see if a pan could be spared from any spot so she could throw it at his head but  she quickly realized that the scene around her really was quite comical!! Her anger slowly melted and humor surfaced! Soon they were both bending over clutching their stomachs at the ridiculous nature of their predicament!! So this was what life was going to deal out to her in addition to everything else! Thank God, being young and newly married somehow gives you more tolerance and the ability to find the silver lining in most things!

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday Son!!!

 

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In this world of ours we experience many shades of life, seasons, moods and temperaments and it is human tendency to bifurcate everything we touch into shades of black and white in a desperate attempt to understand, categories and justify all that we go through…make it simpler for our puny brains to deal with astronomical and cataclysmic everyday occurrences…

But when it comes to motherhood there are no blacks and whites….there are no rights and wrongs…..there are only a riot of colors ….each color depicting the hues of her heart as a child driven instance occurs, …..the only experiences that matter to her… those that revolve around her kids!

Black or white ? Baby or grown up?? Young or old??What is that ? For a mom , from the moment she holds that red crumpled (ugly in the eyes of others) little bundle of joy in her arms (who tore his way out and kept everyone busy with needles and threads until the mother ends up looking like a tired but meticulously sewed and patched up quilt…albeit with stitches definitely not crafted delicately by a Kashmiri darner but more like the hurried cobbler looking wearily at his growing piles of shoes with the mouths agape!!)…she is sold!!!!

In love as never before, smitten, reduced to a weeping , crazy , relentlessly moody but undeniably committed and awestruck piece of …!!!!!

He is the only person in this world that didn’t  garner a reaction as extreme as a slap on the face when he crumpled up in a yawn, kicking the day lights out of your tummy as you double up in pain.. Instead the crazed mother in you clutches the belly with one hand and brings the other up to bring the violent bundle close enough to plant a kiss on the forehead…
The only person who could get you singing and clapping along like lunatic as he recited endearing stories of Humpty Dumpty…I wonder who told him that the egg in question fell of a wall just to amuse the world???
The only person who managed  to run around all over the house with you doing a steeplechase behind him , brandishing a spoon while balancing a bowl of porridge in the hand without throwing the instruments at his head in exhaustion!!!
The only person in the world who can fall off a bike and have you applying more savlon on your heart than on his knee!!!
The only person who can have you offering to make him his favourite spaghetti bollognaise minutes after being told off rudely to stop annoying him with constant questions so that he can play his Oh-so-important game on his oh -so-important phone surrounded with his oh-so-important laptop, tv remote and miles of wires!!!

That’s what motherhood is I guess and that’s what we can’t explain to the subjects of our affection…we can never put into words or quantify our love for them…we can never attempt to prove our genuinity cos every stroke we make , every step we take has sprung only from this feeling we hold deep within … This heart wrenching yet joy giving feeling of pride at what our baby has grown into, love that we experience everytime we realise that what used to occupy one foot of the bed between us , now has his feet dangling out of the edge of the bed and yet manages to invoke the same melting emotions in our hearts as 22 yrs ago!!!
Our only mission in life is to be able to teach them that Inspite of any obstacles, restrictions or short comings that life dealt us with , our victory has been in the ability to give our children as much as we possibly could and see them emerge into the visions that stand before is now…
God may not have been able to deal everyone the same cards but I think our pack has been ample enough….lets play the joker and fill in the gaps ourselves!!!! We love you to the ends of the earth and back!!
Happy birthday to an irritating, sensitive, annoying, funny, mature, intelligent idiot who was an adorable golden baby and is a handsome awesome young man!!

Happy birthday P……. !!!

Would I Like Me If I Met Me??

I watched from a distance as the girl,  nee woman, not tall at all or slim and svelte but sexy in a voluptuous sort of way swayed with abandon with the music…she seemed to know the lyrics of almost each and every song!!!! Wierd!! After all I had never heard such a confused mix of songs being played at any party…Meghan Trainor turned into Boney M turned into Bruno Mars turned into fifth Harmony turned into Benny Dayal turned into Abba and so on and so forth..with a sudden burst of Badshah and Honey Singh in between ..in tandem ..at random….

She lip synced each song and moved with gay abandon.. Zumba like steps and delightfully light on her feet considering she wasn’t the skinniest of 50yr olds!!!

Everyone on the floor jostled to dance with her and she laughed her amazing laugh as she matched everyone’s steps and left them feet tied and therefore tongue tied!!!

I watched as another taller but similar aged decidedly slimmer lady danced upto her and obviously passed a comment about how her ample behind looked sexy in the Latino steps she was trying out..rather than being embarassed or moving off the floor she simply amped up the energy and combined pout with a hip shake as if saying ..”if I have it why not flaunt it”!!
I was slowly beginning to become a fan of this lively person who danced, sipped and sang wholeheartedly yet maintaining a kind of dignity, commanding admiration from others around…her husband sat out , watching from a distance and joined in off and on with his signature Bhangra step on every hip hop song!!!…
I moved in a little closer, wanting to understand this lady a bit more…she seemed too full of life to be from a conservative background, too conservative to be frivolous, too Indian to be from foreign lands , too foreign to be from India…she raised my curiosity when she put her arms around the waste of a young girl and did an effortless jig in tandem with her, spoke with respect and laughter to an older friend who she called Bhaiya and in the same breath did a mini curtsy as she addressed as Sir, an officer like gentleman who came into the floor to shake hands with her in greeting…every relationship was in its place, every action deliberated yet carefree her eyes sparkling with genuine like ability and a smile that lit up her face like a lantern..nothing seemed forced or conspired and that was quite charming.

I did in my shameless decimation of her every action, see her falter a bit… Saw her visibly tongue tied and confused, unsure of herself for the first time when confronted with an overbearing loud woman who bumped her and then addressed her in high decibels over the loud music…she sounded derogatory, vain, demeaning and rude and for a minute my admiration was clouded with disgust for the other woman .. Why the hell was she trying to throw her weight around ..that too in front of a person who simply seemed to enjoy herself and keep away from any type of confrontation … I felt like stepping in and pushing her away but I only watched from a distance knowing this was no business of mine…

My muse stood still a moment…eyes shining with an unshed tear and mouth opening and closing like a fish ..obviously trying to come up with a fitting retort but no sound came out of her vocal cords…the bully swung clumsily away on her two left feet, smiling at her audacity and smug in her rudeness….leaving her target a little less happy, maybe unsure and insulted even…!!!
As timed seemed to stand still momentarily,turned away with a shrug of her shoulder as someone tapped her on the shoulder as if to ask where she was lost….Jennifer Lopez saved the day and soon she was throwing herself into the rhythm mouthing along ..”I ain’t your mama…”!!! Appropriate!!!

Wow I liked this girl woman..she was decent, brave, fun, respectful, albeit a little naive and used to taking a lot of lip!!! I liked her cos she seemed to have been brought up well, she was obviously intelligent, educated , talented and humble… Looked a little out of her league when it came to brash and loud mouthed  individuals…the know it all types ..who loved stuffing their half baked knowledge down others throats!!!

I had to give her the benefit of the doubt though…I was sure that she could not be without plenty of flaws..after all she was only human …maybe she was not that worldly wise or savvy…maybe she didn’t enjoy cooking as much as others did…maybe she wasn’t the best or as quick a host as some women were…maybe she hadn’t handled her own business and earned chores…maybe she wasn’t her mother in law’s favourite……maybe maybe maybe!!

As the music toned down a level or two I snapped out of my musings soon enough to realise that the woman was me .. As I watched myself from the sidelines  I though to myself..”Not all that bad I reckon…I would certainly have liked me if I met me .”!!!

Phooey to the rest of the world who disagrees!!!

“If I was you I’d wanna be me too!!!

A Trip, A Moment

It had all started out with wanting to attend the IIFA AWARDS which is held in some exciting international venue every year…this year it was in Kuala Lampur…July 2015. Yippee…never been there…must go!!!And then my daughter came up with a brainwave. ”Since you are almost halfway there anyway why don’t you just have an extended holiday to Bali like you’ve always wanted to”, she suggested.
My sleepy brain began ringing!! Brilliant…why not!!
So we got our visa, we packed for a week and off we went.
Needless to say IIFA was brilliant as usual and after doing the imperative visit to Petrona Towers etc in KL, we were off to Bali…excited as hell and dying to see those clear blue seas and pristine white beaches.
I had done a lot of reading up before I booked the hotels and had finally narrowed down to Jimbaran side of Bali not wanting to actually stay in the busier and bustling Ubud , Kuta or Seminyak . We wanted a leisurely nature driven holiday and wernt really intending to frequent night clubs or shopping centres more than just a drive thru to get a local feel. The property that really caught my eye was the Ayana Resort and Spa in Jimbaran Bay with its sister properties, the Rimba Jimbaran and the Ayana Villas spread over 99 acres of mountain land….with its mix of Balinese and Modern design and 11 pools!!!!!! Being a water freak the last point sealed the deal!!!
We were not disappointed…the drive from the International airport in Denpasar was barely 20 mins and offered lovely views on the way before we drove uphill into the entrance of this breathtaking resort.
Anticipation was rife in our eyes and the welcoming sight of the sunken sitting area , right in the middle of the first of the promised pools in the lobby itself, made us sigh in glee!!! We were here!DSCF2020
DSCF2165We simply couldn’t wait to check in and throw on our swimwear without wasting a minute…the people were friendly and forever smiling, eager to help and the rooms were zen like.
Perfect!!!
Needless to say, we did what every self respecting tourist would do…scoured the property end to end in their litte cubby cars, swam every inch of every pool they had to offer, tested the course sand and warm waters of their private Kubu beach, ate a meal in a different restaurant each time within the resort, cheered and raised a glass for each other every night in any one of their many night clubs , took every city tour on offer …visited the handicrafts village in Ubud, shopping centres in Kuta, took the submarine ride from Amuk Bay, drove up to the volcanoes ,visited every temple we could etc etc .
Expected to do ..so did !!! But I am saving the best for last.
For me , one of the highlights of my trip were the evening we spent at the hugely popular Rock Bar which has endless lines of people waiting to be ushered to a table after the little cable car ride down to its precarious location atop a protruding rock, offering the most amazing views of not only the sea and surrounding mountains, but the most spectacular sunsets every evening. The breeze, the ambience, the infinity pool, the music, the smiling happy faces, the sun putting up the most amazing show for us, great company and a glass of some exotically prepared chilled cocktail in my hand….what more can a girl ask for?
IMG_4047And then the day arrived!!!! The day I had been waiting for…the time to dive off into the depths of the ocean and partake of the views the reef around Indonesia had to offer…one one of the best in the world I was assured. The boat ride out of Nusa Dua was pretty exhilerating since we hit choppy waters half the way out…45 mins into the sea and our speedboat was rising and falling, tipping over with every swell and as we held on for dear life , saying a silent prayer, we also couldn’t help but squeal in delight at the adventure we were having at this stage of our lives!! I could actually reach out and touch the water which rose up menacingly to greet and to drench me in mockery…made me realize how small and vulnerable we really are..helpless non-entities at the mercy of Mother Nature.IMG_4527

Luckily, as we anchored at the first of the three islands we were to jump off from, Nusa Penida ,the waters were calmer and protected and all was forgotten as we slipped on our equipment and sank into the almost sickeningly crystal clear waters to have our ‘Zindagi na Milegi Dobara Moment’…translated into that inexplicable feeling of awe and thrill…when the deafening silence, the myriad of colors, sizes and shapes, the overwhelming beauty makes you shed tears of joy that mingle with the saltiness of the sea and leaves you utterly spellbound and speechless!!! I wished I could sprout gills and stay there forever!!! A numbing experience that we were unable to put into words but couldn’t wipe off the smile from our faces for days to come!
This was the culmination, the absolute ultimate experience and I must have thanked God a zillion times for it!! The rest of the trip was a mere passé after this but Bali nevertheless surpassed every expectation and more.

The “But I didnt say that” syndrome!!

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The best time to stand back and argue your point is obviously not in your mind, in the dead of the night that follows the most cataclysmic and soul destroying argument one has had with a random yet close member of this human race that we are subject to living amongst…!!

Most of us would relate to that ridiculous misunderstanding that stemmed from a clash of ideology ,tentatively attempted to be put into words in the court of the ‘ I know it all already types ,but crushed at the onset , half way through the explanation, cos of course, the mind of the other works faster than your words and conclusions can obviously be drawn mid sentence by putting the ‘two plus two makes five’ cliched scenario into play!

Have you ever had to gulp back the next “but what I was trying to say….” dialogue cos we had already emotionally departed our earth and were seemingly hurtling along the path of the planet Pluto…recently stripped of all credibility( in its right to be called a planet) as you similarly were in danger of facing yourself within the next few seconds!!!!

Has your jaw ever dropped in wonder at the accusations strewn at you about what you apparently said versus what you actually did, what you obviously meant to say versus what you actually did!!!!!

Have you gone back over the conversation word for word, letter by letter,meaning by meaning, tone by tone, note by note, decibel by decibel and wondered how a seemingly innocent attempt to put a thought into the others mind, rather an attempt to express how you see a certain point could swing out of control within a few seconds!!!!

Its amazing how a few words , cleverly twisted, along with a few dramatic gestures of the hand and a twist in the angle of the mouth can suddenly make the musical spurt of water from a strategically lit fountain seem the equivalent of the volcanic mountain Kilimanjaro suddenly rearing its head from dormancy !!!!

A friend, in all her depression came upto me one fine day, in a dilemma over a juvenile argument with her best buddy and poured her heart out hoping to get a very wise and prophetic insight and a solution that she thought I held within the very palms of my hand .

I sat instead , listening with apt interest cos hadnt I also faced this predicament many a times myself…have I not slapped myself later as in my mind, I produced the perfect justification, the perfect argument, the perfect explanation….as in my mind I saw a smile of understanding in the other person’s face when she saw my logical point….as in my mind we smiled and shook each others hand, misunderstanding behind us, a renewed pledge of friendship and understanding binding us together afresh!!!!….

Albeit long after it ended on a murderous note, all in the dead of the night , sleep evading me as I ran the events over and over in my mind..trying to undo the damage…insomnia alone keeping me company!!!

I had no solution..believe me….only relatability…..cos sometimes even the best of intentions go awry however much you wish it had been handled better!!