Saturday, December 31, 2005

And the year finishes

Yes, this one is over too..with all its ups and downs and lows and highs. Its over...well according to my time less than 10 hours are left.
One last chance to look back fondly at a year which presented challenges and hopes. And which went by like a flash. It was a good year. I smiled, laughed, and thought good thoughts.
Next year, will bring its own bundle of news - ups and downs, lets see. I dont know what it will be like next year on the 31 -12 -2006....but on 31-12-2005 I am pretty happy with all my fingers crossed. And I wish anyone who has been reading this...all the very best. May the year bring smiles and peace your way!!!

Friday, December 30, 2005

Smells like India.

I am in Delhi...having spent a long night on an eternal flight with a very irritating baby that cried for the 4350 miles between London and Delhi. I have reached- in one piece!!
Am spending the days sitting in the mild sunshine...on the roof, shelling peas and waiting for the cauliflower and turnip, the big red chillies filled with spices pickle and the black carrot in water (kanji) pickle to cook in the sun so I can have some before its time to leave.
Once again I am surrounded by the smells of India. The smells of dust and pollution, of big fat stumps of agarbatti in the shops first thing in the morning. Of fresh flowers being sold on the streets for goddesses and Goddesses. The sound of the kabadiwala as he asks for your newspapers, the far away honking of a truck on the highway. The smell of food on the street, and freshly ironed clothes. The crowing of the birds in the morning. People talking loudly, selling vegetables on push carts, selling hot aloo tikkis in the evening, attracting people by knocking on the pan with the spoon.
Its familiar in an odd way.
Its almost like reacquanting myself with memories which are getting buried deeper and deeper in my mind as I stay away from India for longer periods of time...

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Meet Mr Fox

Last night after a whole day of wandering around Covent Garden and Drury Lane in London, I had dinner and then went to bed. Knowing it shall be a long day today with the flying back to India.
So, lights off and just when I was getting warmed up lying in bed..I thought I heard something. The house I am in has been broken into before and I admit I am a bit paranoid about any sounds now. So...I sat up in bed and waited for more noise. Some scraping and tapping but none of the alarms or lights came on. The movement sensors did not pick anything yet either.
Went back to sleep..woke up again with more noise. This time I was sure there is something other than the central heating kicking in. So I went to look out of the window into the garden...and the movement sensor lights came on suddenly. Caught in the glare was a magnificent fox, its fur standing up straight as it was scared. Bright red and gold he was with a bushy tail. It was closer to a wolf..except for his triangular ears and he looked straght at me with golden eyes. We were both paralysed for a moment. And then quick as a flash he was gone between the apple trees and the fence. He had been looking for food in the bins. Te natural habitat being monopolised by human development.
It was strange to see wildlife outisde the mandatory railings or glass walls, and that too in London. Face to face with just a door in between, knowing he is standing where I stand every morning to get the rubbish out.
Strange!! Very strange.
Nice! Very nice.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

New Year Plans

48 hours left before I land..I am here at home in has come and gone and now it is time to focus on new year and the plans for the 31dec....I think my dog and I shall sit and watch TV in India...dont know if they still show Bappi Lehari all this gold chained glory....mein premi AHA, tu Premi AHA, Phir kya daddy kya ammma...and then some pre recorded dances by Shahrukh khan followed by some supposedly funny jokes from people who you cant for the life of you recognise...or has all that changed...the last time I sat at home and watched TV new year's eve...was a LONG LONG LONG time ago...does any one know what I am talking about??

London For Sale

London IS officially on sale...everywhere you look everything is on sale..and from the looks of it yesterday Oxford street is now partly owned by Manic shoppers. The only signs you can read is SALE SALE SALE in steadily increasing font sizes!
There was no place to stand let alone walk last afternoon. The great British tradition of putting everything on sale on Boxing day continues...the news even makes it to the front page of the BBC this morning with stores opening at 5am!!! People actually queue up outside much before the opening. I dont want to get all philosophical about material culture of the British society in the 2000s, but cant help pondering about it.
A friend and I went shopping too...curiousity can NOT be curbed you see, we could not be bothered to enter stores where you have to claw your way in, kick your way out. Also the fact that there is no space in the afore mentioned suitcase or for that matter my cupboards at home..SO!
So, we went to the food section in Selfridges..found Aloo Vada (potato cutlets) and green chutney...came outside..sat on a bench near a traffic light on Oxford street..ate...and watched the world shop by!!fun!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Our man Branson.

Well I just called Virgin to book my seats and to check the rates of excess baggage. Wooo hooooo!! its expensive...about 27£ for every extra kilo!!!
Now I know how our man Branson is this rich!!
So no more gift shopping. I shall sit on my suitcase and shut it, be an atypical Indian and travel light for a change!!! No plans to make Branson richer than he already is!!

Sunday, December 25, 2005


Lying curled up in bed and waiting for the day to pass.
Feeling my strings of attachment being stretched across the seven seas as physical distance increases.
Waiting for the days to pass till the wait is over.
Thinking about all the smiles and laughter shared.
Feeling the emptiness and hole in life left behind.
Keeping busy and occupied all the time to fill in the gaps.
Constant thinking and then, more thinking.
This is me this christmas, missing the love.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

I moan too much

I think I do...just re-read my last blog entry...oooh...sadness!!
Not really..I am generally a happy, sunshiny person but things get to me and then I can groan like no tomorrow. Well the deal is I had tonnes to usual. My to-do lists run into meters :) And i like it that way. Being unoccupied and boring is worse than being dead :)
I am all done now..things sorted. things packed. All sorted. Yes I am an efficient person. But the process to getting anything done is...
Much shaking of head and cribbing at the thought of work
Frowning and muttering...
Much thinking about how to get out of it.
Realisation (and buddha moment) that I should and could do it.
Done...and dusted,
BIG smile on face

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Thinking business...

Proudly I presented my thoughts on the piece of paper and sent it off to Italy. And promptly forgot about it. Came back with a seal of approval and a request to present my work in Florence in the summer of 2006. Big ego kick happened. And then I calmed down (as usual talking to mum 'Earth to daughter, earth to daughter, come back to mother earth' happened)
Now I am thinking why do I do such things to myself. As if battling with a thesis which seems to crop more problems than Medusa's chopped heads, a life which has a life of its own, a fridge which seems to be eat its own food, clothes that seem pathetic the minute I have paid for them, a room which demands cleaning almost as often as a baby's bum, bills that seem to be generated by a psychotic if...these were not enough. Now I have to go home and I shall not be on vacation..I shall have a working vacation. Hmmmm!!! Atleast the clothes shall be washed, the food cooked and the dishes cleaned by someone other than me...all I have to do is work and walk to dog, and ofcourse talk (which is my favourite indulgence, even before chocolate)

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Stress, Worries & Travel

Sometimes you think, you are not worried, you are fine. But you are worried, deep down inside.
Sometimes you think, yes i am stressed and worried, but you are not really.
Sometimes you are ok and you think this is about as fine as i get, but you know you can be much better.
Its strange when you base your decision making on people who you dont know. Its strange to hang on tenter hooks for the future of your own happiness.
Is it not strange that we find what makes us happy and then wait for other people to decide if its ok or not?
Does happiness come with a 'be selfish' tag, or a 'must get approval' tag.
I dont know.
I am heading home in a weeks time. Back to India. Meanwhile the mundane elements of travelling have to be sorted..the packing, the throwing the food you wont eat, cleaning the house, taking tickets and passport, buying last minute gifts and then the eternal wait at Heathrow. Its easy to say bye when I am leaving, however I dont like to be the left. Surpirsingly both shall happen to me over a period of 3 days.
So I dont think I am ok. I dont like being away from the people I love and so, much as I like the knowing that I shall meet again, the knowledge of the impeding Bye bye is bugging me.

This entry shows, I am ok, but not really. I am fine you know. Just that thinking too much as seems to be my latest hobby. Well atleast I have three novels to get through in the journey and as above, plenty of thinking. I will be just fine. Now I am straving and so going home to eat!! Hunger rules!!

Monday, December 19, 2005

I see...

Christmas all around me. Maniac shoppers and the paranoid, running alongside the badly planned and the oh-i-completely-forgot types. Its STRANGE when you see this part of the world going through too much alcohol & food, stress about eating, about cooking, about pretending to be a big loving family, about critical in-laws, about out doing last years party, about getting the right gifts and not forgetting anyone, about making the house look warm and welcoming, putting up lights, cleaning the rooms...
..and then about opening presents, sending thank you cards, tidying up the mess, getting rid of the weight gain from over indulgence, paying higher bills and credit cards, taking out loans toi manage payments for gifts.
This IS the season to be jolly..does that mean suling for the rest of the year.
This IS the season to give and share...and the season does finish, apparently.

For anyone who is stressed out about this...season...its happy. And relax, let it snow and let the love you have for your nears and dears grow.

For all those who are not participants in the Christmas show...have a decent winter, wrap up and warm and enjoy what seems to be the coldest winter yet!! And if you a friend de-stress about it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Kashmiri Identity..

I am currently writing a chapter on Kashmiri identity and what makes one Kashmiri..

Is it the surname? (In which case everyone whose mothers are not Kashmiri dont count)
Is it the appearance? (In which case fair skin, brown hair, light eyes and a Long nose is typified)
Is it the location? (Does one have to live in Srinagar, or the valley. So everyone in Jammu is out)
Is it the language? (Does that include people who speak, or understand only, or all those who dont get it at all as well, we all know Kashmiri is a dying language)
Is it the culture? (Of celebrating Navreh, Shivratri etc)
Or is it the traditions? (Of religous and daily significance)

I think it might be a mix of all the above and one way or the other people fit in. A lot more people meet a lot many criteria. Should we include the fact that people that contribute back to their own community are those who really are from the community?

How important is identity to us? Is it important to preserve it and keep the 'purity' within the community. Or is it important to pass on what we know and cherish on to the next generation?

What is our stand on who we are and where we belong? Are we a 'we' at all? With so much movement and migration, mingling and marriages - a lot has changed. Is it all good? What holds us together as a community, if at all?

Does is matter as long as we are happy?

Questions many!!

Types of men

Touchy one, this one...I know.
Everyone has an opinion on this one..I know...
There are 3 types of men...I know I am generalising and being judgemental (despite previous blogs)..but hey this IS my blog I can say What I want :) ALWAYS.

Category one: Mummy's boy..
Will listen to mummy and mummy shall think for him. He saves his brains (if any) and lets other people make a decision for him. He will never disagree with the powers that be and shall never have opinions, likes and dislikes of his own. Mummy daddy will decide what he should study, where from, what to wear and what type fo friend, later on who to marry and what and when to do with the wife. I have friends like this and I know some lovely people who fit into this category.

Category two: Man with Mind of his own.
This type thinks he knows it all. He knows his mind, he knows his tastes and he knows what he wants. What he wants is approval from his mummy about everything. What to wear he decides, how does it look, she decides. He then decides whether he wants to listen or not. This type want to do the independent thing..of going his own way, making his own decisions, finding his own girl. But then ditching it all to go along with what mummy finds for him. So he has his fun with his imaginary intelligence and independence and the goes and conforms and marries the girl mummy chose for him. Okay quite a few of the people I know fit into this category..they may not like to accept it..but they do.

Category three: The Perfect man.
This type has high regard for his parents and will not do anything to hurt or offend them. He listens to them and then thinks about what they have to say. He then either agrees with them or shows then his point of view. He does not think that life is easy and perfect but he does know he needs to stick up for his own happiness and decisions. He shall apologise for his mistakes but not be held guilty for them for the rest of his life. He would like acceptance but not neccesarily approval. Now this is virtual reality here...know very few people like this. Maybe I know the wrong men!!

Its time for you to see where you fit and also see if there are more categories that exist. I dont think they do...but people have opinions and they are welcome!!

Saying prayers...

Its been one of those mornings when you wake up with a silly tune or song in your head...
I am have been singing this one with a lot of 'whatever whatever'...and 'and i will love yous'

Dont know about you but i find it immensely irritating to wake up with a song in your head and have to sing it all day long. What makes it worse is when you dont recall all the lyrics. And to top it off you are nowhere near google to hunt it down. AARRGHHH.

So i came near a comp and here is the song...


The moment I wake up
Before I put on my makeup
I say a little prayer for you
While combing my hair, now,
And wondering what dress to wear, now,
I say a little prayer for you
Forever, forever,
you'll stay in my heart
and I will love you
Forever, forever,
we never will part
Oh, how I'll love you
Together, together,
that's how it must be
To live without you
Would only be heartbreak for me.
I run for the bus, dear,
While riding I think of us, dear,
I say a little prayer for you.
At work I just take time
And all through my coffee break-time,
I say a little prayer for you.
Forever, forever,
you'll stay in my heart
and I will love you
Forever, forever
we never will part
Oh, how I'll love you
Together, together,
that's how it must be
To live without you
Would only be heartbreak for me.
My darling believe me,
For me there is no one
But you.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Lets look ahead...

Sometimes it is difficult to not look back. Virtually impossible to prevent your brain from doing a rewind replay. Its subconscious and slightly spooky the way the brain opens old folders and files at the back of your memory. Memories and flash backs should come with a warning...but they dont.
Scrolling past my work I realise that I talk a lot about the 'past'...for a person who is rearing to get ahead and move into the sounds strange.
Maybe I hook back more often than I thought. So from today I shall try not to talk about a past that has been laid to rest.
Let me talk about the future..about the prospect of being home in 17 days time. Being at home, being fed and watered and talked to constantly and licked by the super friendly dog. Being in India in the winter..with the fog and the smog and the smell of roasted peanuts and popcorns in the air, faded headlights of oncoming vehicles, the black carrots season and the cauliflower and turnip pickle cooking in the sun, the push carts of Gajjak and Revari. Warming my feet by putting them on the obese spaniel who lies wrapped in my duvet at the bottom of my bed. Drinking cups of tea with a hint or ginger and cardamom..ahhhhh!!! Stepping out of bed to make a record dash to the loo and jump right back into the warm bed, changing from day clothes to night clothes which are cold to touch, having hot steaming plates of food and then going to sleep squashed and buried under a newly beaten and re-stuffed rasai, the weight of which sometimes makes breathing difficult. I forgot to mention lying in the sun with a shawl on my face...warming up :) Sounds a bit like paradise..which is what it is!! I am counting the days

Older..wiser..lets hope so

So..on the 9th...I turned all of 28...speeding away towards 30 and loving it. I think I am older and wiser and maturer...mum tends to think otherwise..(but then she always does)
It was uneventful till about half an hour before midnight..and then I was very pleasantly surprised by a person I love armed with a cake and candles, standing at my door!! Happiness!!! Perfection...I love surprises specially when they are done out of love!!
So I got a well deserved excuse for not going to work...called in sick (lied on my birthday)..and had a lovely day. Dinner and drinks later I lay tucked into bed...Happy. Thinking, if the way you spend your birthday is an indicator of how the following year shall be, then yes I am pretty sure I shall have a great year.
I dont know if at these advanced years of mine its a celebratory day..for me its more like reflecting on the year gone by and how it was and where I am now as compared to last year on 9-12-04 . A long way away from unhappiness and uncertainity..thats the answer. Touch wood-bly happy and smiling. So I guess its all good. Here is me on the day I turned older...

Thursday, December 08, 2005

One good turn...

Last evening when I came to my desk I saw a cell phone connected to the wall and the owner had apparently left. I tried to call 'MUM' which was saved on the phone list, no response. So I called the last dialled number and told a girl called 'Liz New Mobile' that the owner of the number that flashed on her screen has left their phone in the office and it could be collected from the Head of Deptt. The lost phone was collected this morning. I was not in all morning. Have just come back to my desk to see a bunch of roses and a letter saying

'Thank you for keeping my phone. I want to bless you (and take you out to dinner) because you have blessed me. I really appreciate it, my name is(...)and my number is(...)!!'

One good turn and all that. But come to think of is a bad bad bad thing when one loses a handbag / wallet or cell phone...I would not mention PDA and Filofaxes...shudder to think of that. Our lives our linked by tiny silvery slivers to the people who we know...the most important ones are those whose numbers can be dialled in the dark without even looking at the are memory related, though as important at times. These slivers lie intercoonected in our contacts folders/ PDAs/cellphones/filofaxes/laptops etc...and a life after the loss of these is difficult to imagine. The importance of the contacts is directly proportional to the 'bad-ness' of the loss I think.

How much would life change with these material loses?

Stop the philosophy...I am quite happy to receive so heartfelt and thankful a note from someone who obviously is in love with their Nokia!!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Biases and discrimination..

None of us are saints (and for those of you who are...dont read my blog..coz I am not and you might find it offensive)..and we do our bits of seeing things in black and white and shades of grey. We do sit on judgements though we think we are not doing that..a majority of us are constantly assessing and judging almost everything we see or do...this is good, bad, silly, strange, ridiculous..absurd, name it and we use every adjective we know of to classify things into a comprehensible pattern of likes and dislikes in our heads. You might even be doing it right now..reading my blog..

I think it is fair to judge and being a fair world (at some level hopefully) and given the fact that one is generally (assuming again) smart enough to know how to judge.

The problem comes when we judge unfairly or critically and harshly and becomes worse when we do so with a bias in our mind. In a fair world (i use the horrifying word again) everyone would be equal, no discrimination on the basis of colour, caste, race, religion, sex etc. In a fair world you would judge people according to who they are and not what they are.

Honestly speaking how many of us do that?
Can you honestly say you dont discriminate?
And if you you think you should do something about it?
Is it not time to stop disliking and judging..god knows there is enough hate in this planet for it to self destruct...
Am i being naive?
or am I being judgemental and judging you for your biases and discrimination? Are we not all unique snowflakes ? (like I mentioned before)

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The past runs faster than me..

There seems to be no getting away. From my mistakes. From my past. Everyone has one, many are capable of hiding it and diminishing it into insignificance. I am not running from it. I accepted it, lived in it. Lived without it and got away from it.
I made mistakes...and I paid heavily for them. I did my time with depression and hurt and pain and tears and why-am-I-alive thoughts...Been there done that. I have paid my dues and I shall not be penalised for it again.
I have found happiness again and I am not about to give up on it because of some overdue fines which might be levied on me. I have fought tooth and nail to get out of being...
wish-I-was-dead to
I-dont-care to
hmm-whatever to
I-remember-what-it-feels-like-to-smile to
I-love-being-me to

I am happy and I wont let anything come between me and my happiness ever again. God knows I deserve some now.

I might be sounding militant...but each one of us has a chance to be happy...we can grab that and be happy or let go and live with a life time of if and i-wish situations. Believe in something...GO for IT!!!