Thursday, June 28, 2007

Old Woman Rants

Ever so often I catch a bus to work. My trip takes about 20 mins and though I do have a newspaper to read each morning, I find myself staring at the world that is changing at a miraculous speed around me. Most people look half asleep and dead tired and that is no surprise..its 7.00am!! The entertainment is the children on the bus...about 30 of them get on at different points! And you can make out the smart children from the stupid ones, the up-to-no-possible-good ones from the good-child-of-an-anxious-family, and of course, the-only-child-in-the-family. I have been on this route for nearly 3 years which means I have actually observed some of these kids grow up!! (Yes I should get a life or a car! I know!!)

But seriously..I see those who have the newest phone (and what may one do with a mobile when one is in class and straight back home after school?), I also see those who have a BIG iPod to listen to the oh-so-short journey to school.

Then I see all the girls, from being pigtailed sweeties turn into mini adults in adult make-up, slicked and styled to breaking point hair casually thrown on uniforms with as few buttons done up as possible, short skirts and rolled down socks!! Okay I admit this sounds like a weird description - but it is true. These kids are not more than 14yrs old!! I recently heard my mum moaning about the same problem in India- she has been working in schools for 25 yrs now, and spends a considerable amount of time pulling down skirt hems and asking people to pull their socks up, literally!!

The boys are not better, the air of nonchalance is closely followed by a quick look at the coolest girl in the group. She of the straight blond hair and heavily mascaraed blue eyes. Reed thin and sporting lots of makeup, cool designer shoes and a heavily graffiti-ed bag. She has equally ugly spotty female friends around her, the word 'foil' comes to mind! All the boys want to look at her but prefer to stand and travel than to sit next to her, even when a seat is available, you see they are too cool to bother! With hair stiffer than your average broom bristles, ties hanging low, they are amusing, preening category of people. I had one sit next to me, who reeked of after shave (at the age of 11-12) so much so I could smell him through my very bad cold!!

It seems that the average young person has more material goods, which they cant afford to buy themselves, more make-up and more designer gear than their other hard working adult travel mates! Why? Is it me being an old cribbing woman or just someone who is constantly surprised at the ability that parents have to spoil their children beyond repair!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Living with a Man!

A long time ago, Monica of Friends, complained about having to live with a 'boy'. She looked pretty darned unhappy about it. I am not unhappy but I know exactly what it is are a few guarantees to life with a man in the house:
~ Dirt and dust are invisible to men
~ Dishes need to be used till you need to drink out of a flat dinner plate and there is nothing clean left
~ The bathroom shall always be wet
~ Toilet roll is never replaced by a man, and the seat is always up!
~ The pretty candles you used to light are now permanently dead because he saw no point of candles in the bathroom
~ The toothpaste always has its cap missing
~ Wet towels are dried on the bed and often on the floor
~ Bedsheets are not things that need washing
~ They often do not see the difference between body wash, body soap, body gel and bath & body gel
~ Wet teaspoons in the pot of sugar are often found
~ The fridge is somewhere you must poke your head often, but its not something that needs cleaning.
~ Rinsing a cup is often thought to be the same as washing with soap
~ Good music can often mean loud rock!!
~ After each chat with a pal on the phone - he has to smile and say - you can really talk!
~ Tidying up is not something they get, the house is vacuumed then its clean. No notice is taken of cushions in the floor, bunched up rugs, CDs which are outside their cases
~ All the 'pretty' things you have are not appreciated - they are just there. 'Pointless' is what he might think of them as.
~ A small sniffle or cough, low fever, tummy aches become 'life threatening' if the man gets them. You so have to baby them!! You can not possibly say - 'its a cold, get on with it'
~ The TV is always ON!! and at a LOUD setting.

Sounds pretty grim, but if you ever lived with a man you shall know some of these to be true! They are fun to be with, but I do think they are from a different planet sometimes :)

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Amitabh Bachchan made me cry!

Just saw an extremely cringe worthy Hindi film award presentation from Yorkshire in England. It was hyped beyond means and continued in the new found tradition of awarding Indian film awards outside India...I still do not get why they do this!! Apart from marketing reasons. Well UK went a bit mad, Yorkshire was flooded with queues and troops and people...and the IFA awards started. A bewildered looking Culture Minister - Tessa Jowell was presiding!

Mr Bachchan who is now considered a Pillar of Hindi cinema, a giant amongst mortal actors presented a short speech about the 'IFA movement', the first time he said it, I did a double take, the next time he said it, it sounded like the 'freedom' movement or something equally important. He went on calling it so...eventually leading me to shout aloud at the screen..asking him to...well...shut up really!! He then went on to calling UK - his 'second home'. Amazing!! Second home? Second home!!! hello?? I know they shoot here, but he was speaking on behalf of the whole film industry. A pillar, awarded a PhD for his contribution to Cinema, an international icon, and he says amazingly stupid things. I am not even going to start on his ability to turn up on Indian TV advertising just about any and everything going!

The ceremony got even better, with Dharmendra being awarded an award and his tearful younger son coming to the podium along with older bro Sunny, to howl into the microphone, 'he is the best'. Yup everyone thinks their dad is the best, and not too many of us cry about it on stage!

2006 was called a landmark in Indian cinema by someone who bumbled onto the stage, it had movies like Rang De Basanti...and....and...Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, Omkaara ofcourse..but then also movies like Vivaah and Krish! Landmark? Landmark...needless to say I was laughing by now!!Rakesh Roshan apparently discovered the whole concept of 'animation' in film in India..and it did not exist before! And he was awarded for it. Aishwarya and Abhishek were called the 'Golden couple' of Indian cinema..they have been married for more than two perhaps...
The cringing continued when Upen Patel dedicated his award to all the British Asians and said this was 'just the start' for a man who can not speak much of his native was funny! Just about everyone who came on stage screeched an 'I love you Yorkshire'...automatically alienating all the other people of UK who watch Indian cinema!!
Conspicuously missing were Rani Mukherjee, Aamir Khan, Shahrukh Khan...

Shilpa Big Brother Shetty cried about everything and everyone, she shook her booty on the screen and then sat and cried, amazing!! Bearing in mind no one knew who she was till Jade Goody did her some good. It was interesting.

What never ceases to amaze is the fact that they are INDIAN film awards...yet they don't include the South Indian film industry at all. Not even mention it. I wont even mention the other film industries in India...even Wikipedia mentions seven of them!! Atleast!! Quite a few hit films are known to be rip offs of their superior originals from south India. No mention was made of the industry. Nothing. Zilch!! And then we wonder why people down South do not speak in Hindi!!Ridiculous. India speaks a lot many languages..Hindi yes..and English...but lets not forget the regional languages that make us who we are!
Amazing. Sad. Ridiculous! Amitabh and co made me cry, and they were not even trying to!!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Thinking Vis-a-vis Weight Loss!

Thinking is thought to be tiring work. Physical and mental exercise burns calories. Chess players are known to have lose weight after an intensive match. Going by that - most of us, worry-pots, should be thinner than the size 0 models.
When faced with a problem, major or minor, our brain - either shuts down and says 'cant deal with THAT' or starts to work around it instantly. A few of us have the evolved ability to see a problem and put it aside and by saying, 'THAT, I will think about later', almost as if the the problem is like a book, you can read later!
The rest of us might sit down and analyze what the problem really is, and if there are multiple solutions possible, which one best to take. It is at this point that we mess up - we start discussing it with others, often hoping that they would reach the same solutional option as you! It could be anything, from the big decision of house buying to a small decision about who NOT to invite for a party at home. You might have thought it out, but when someone tells you otherwise (this some one being some one you know, respect and trust enough to seek advice/discussion) you start thinking again.
Often a problem is like an onion - you want to keep peeling it, and peeling it, to reach the core, even if it makes you cry, you keep going!! You want to solve it, resolve it, file it away to the back of your head with a Post It that says DONE! But you are smart enough to know that the simplest and quickest solution might not be the best solution! And there you go again!
Think of one problem you have right now. Any one, go sure you have one..because if you don't call the Guinness Book!! Right? Got it, problem in head, think about its root causes, possible solutions you have, why which one wont work, and so what will you do about it? You have 30 mins to solve it...go!
Reached a solution? No? Think again!
And if you do keep thinking, for the next 2 hours or so, see if your clothes are getting any looser, coz weight loss does happen!
More importantly...are you any closer to solving things? If not, then you probably are one of the millions who like to worry, and genuinely worry, but are completely far far behind in solving things. You might also be one of the people others call 'worrier'...and don't worry, most mothers fit into this category too - the ability to worry, without good reason, and without a good solution!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Cleanliness is Directly Proportional to Age

The whole physical effort involved in cleaning your surroundings is utterly pointless. You shall perhaps spend a few minutes or hours (depending on your standards) every day or every week cleaning the space you work in and live in. This could include tidying up, putting away things in the places they belong, filing papers, hoovering the house, washing dishes, ironing clothes, getting rid of mails and bills etc etc.
On being completed the effort feels huge and the results could be pretty rewarding, if you have not given up half way through and got pulled away by something (anything) more entertaining than cleaning up. The fact that age and cleanliness are directly proportional is something I am suggesting here. So you might feel you are turning into your own mum, a straight forward test of this state is by asking yourself one simple question - can you spot dust on your computer / tv screen? If you can - the bad news are your mum now. As teenagers walking into dirt, dust, puddles was not a problem. As a young adult walking out of your jeans, leaving them in a puddle, and the next day, just walking into them and lifting them up was not a problem. Now, it is. As a student at university dirty dishes, used cups, sinks full of food gone by was a common sight. A time when you would drink water out of anything that could hold it...has gone. If you now have a favourite cup or mug, and IF it does have your name on are your mum now. If the CDs in your house are all in their own cases, and heaven forbid are arranged into some sort of genre or alphabetical are your mum now!!
If by now you are kinda sorta annoyed because you do all of the above and find it not even in the same post code as funny that you are being called mum....YES...You are your own mother now.
The point being - young people dont see dirt, dust or messes. Not too old people see it but it does not bother them, OLD people, dare I say - see it, worry about it, clean it up and then worry about it when it collects again!! take your pick!! Where do you sit on that line?

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Flooded with poetry

I see no real reason but I seem to have gone into poetry recall..from those I learnt at primary school to those I read in Eric Segal many years later. I can recall Kukuburra sits on the old Gum Tree and the amazing memoirs of a traveller, who saw stone trunks - Ozymandias and then there was Edward Lear's - the Owl and the Pussycat. There is of course Abu Ben Adam, and the one that comes to mind every early spring in England, when the Daffodils come out and William Wordsworth's words are visible everywhere.
They just seem to come flooding in right now, poems, rhymes, thoughts that start from a piece of literature I read a long time ago. It got triggered by watching Mira Nair's 'Namesake' where Tabu quotes Wordsworth, and continued by thinking about the lines Oliver says to Jenny in the Love Story ~ Eric Segal at his best,
"When our two souls stand up erect and strong
"Face to face, silent, drawing nigh and nigher
"Until the lengthening wings break into fire at either curved point,
"What bitter wrong can the earth do to us
"That we should not long be here contented?
"Think! In mounting higher, the angels would press on us
"And aspire to drop some golden orb of perfect song
"lnto our deep, dear silence
"Let us stay rather on earth, Beloved,
"Where the unfit contrarious moods of men recoil away
"And isolate pure spirits
"And permit a place to stand and love in for a day
"With darkness and the death-hour rounding it."
"l give you my hand!
"l give you my love more precious than money
"l give you myself before preaching or law
"Will you give me yourself? Will you come travel with me?
"Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?"
Of course she says yes!!

Phew!! that piece was stuck in my mind and I had to Google it and get it out of my system tonight, or I would have been wandering around repeating the two lines that had come to mind..there is something to be said about poetry...its like a smell, reminds you always of what you initially thought and felt when you read it. It has an ability to recall more than just words...thank heavens for an ICSE system which did at that time (long time ago) laid emphasis on poetry and drama and prose...

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Women, Haircuts and New Beginnings.

They say that a new hairstyle can instantly lift your mood. They also say that hair by virtue of its life / presence signify some sort of history and in getting them chopped off, we break away from memories of our past. Many women say that they change hairstyles when something radical and life changing happens, like a birth of a baby, wedding, divorce, death, turning 30, 40 or any other decade shift. I don't know if it is true. I do think there is some kind of attachment we women seem to have to our hair. We fuss over them, we look after them, we use them to hide, we use them to flirt, we use them to feel good, and a bad hair day can turn out to eventually be just a bad day on the whole!
Well it so happened that after looking like a girlie girl for over a year or so, I decided to get back to my sorter than you can catch hold of hair. My curly locks were about to get chopped off. I had done the deed of looking sweet and nice and now that that was out of my way I was okay to get back to my low or rather no maintenance hair style.
So it came rather as a surprise that my hairstylist looked like her heart would break when I told her what I wanted to do. She was shocked and then doubtful about my decision. When she saw that I was not about to be cajoled into a 'mid length' style, she asked me - 'so what happened that is making you do this?' I must say for once I was lost for words. Nothing had happened...well, yes I did get married, and he likes short hair, and it is hot, and of course it can grow back, and well, without being rude - it is my head!!!
Since nothing radical had happened, and there was no spicy news of a break up or anything, the hairstylist shut up and did what she was being paid to do.
Needless to say I wont be going to her again in a hurry. Talk about mountains and molehills!!!

Of loved ones gone

You meet someone today, you exchange thoughts and wishes and then you are both on your own ways, with bids of meeting again, sometime soon, and how good it was to see them. You dont know when you shall meet again, and its not a witches of Macbeth option. You really dont know and will not know if you shall meet again or not.
Some time ago I made a blog entry about advice from an 80 year old aunt about being a good wife. I had seen her after about 7 years, we spoke often on the phone and with every visit to India I did think I would go travel across to meet her. But did I, oh no! It was always a yes I will, but no not right now, and maybe later, sure next time. But I never did get the chance and I must admit I never did make enough of an effort to go. Well she decided to slip away quietly. And I never thought of that as a possibility.
We never do I guess, we never think that death, illness, accidents and such like would happen to us or those we love. I know it is a pessimistic way of thinking, but is there not a line between pessimism and realism? I do wonder!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Join the gang!

Early morning, posh conference room in a posh Rugby club. Shiny people, the smell of freshly brewed coffee and strong cologne on academic wrists, name badges slapped on and welcome packs given. We meet for breakfast of coffee and pastries, sausage rolls 4 sorts of cereal with 3 types of milk and after introductions we sit down to discuss what we will discuss later. Talk a lot about relevant things, make big plans about what to do after lunch. Break for lunch. Eat freshly cut sandwiches, pasta salad, chicken wings, parma ham with cold melon, fresh fruits, chocolate cheesecake, strawberry cheesecake, some more coffee. Sit for another round of presentations and talks about what to do after tea. More coffee, cream biscuits, chips, sugar coated wafers, chocolate fingers and then back to PowerPoint. Discussions about semantics, no conclusions, my eyes start to shut. My stomach is over loaded, my body has a sugar high, and my mind is numb with listening and talking about things which are important enough to warrant a day out on the office like this. However, nothing comes out of it. Nothing new, nothing important, nothing relevant, nothing that we could not have sorted via a quick email exchange.
Welcome to the gravy train my friend!!

Our Modernity

Most of us who are the wrong side of 30 would know of people, friends, family, colleagues who have been divorced or separated. Dont we? We would also know of kids who get weekend parenting from the one who lost the custody battle. We would know atleast one bitter person thanks to this phenomenon.
Is it an easy come, easy go attitude that we have that is to blame? The whole my way or the high way situation, where you are never wrong and you are who you are and could not, would not, and should not want to change. And you would want some one to love you for 'who' you are. Is that not a glib way of saying, I am like this, and I cant be asked to change, much as I love you, I love myself more?
There are also so many dimensions to us and our needs, that we do think that one person shall never be able to meet our varied mental and emotional needs that change with time. And that are currently met by varied friends and other social groups.
There are also issues of friends. Since we do marry late, we have had to time to make friends - fun friends, good friends, close friends, protective friends, friends who have messed about with us but we still like them, friends who matter a lot. But once you marry there are my friends, your friends and our friends, and when there are that many people involved, there are bound to be discussions about priorities for meeting/ calling in our oh so busy lives.
The list is long....too long..but the spark that triggered this thinking is my folks 35 wedding anniversary. Yup..married THAT long. Neither is perfect or easy to live with (and i know!!). I wonder how they shall get on once they retire, because to be together 24x7 is tougher than it looks. They say they have been married and its not always been easy, they have had their tough times, but knowing that there is no way out of it has meant they solve anything that comes up, because there is no other option. The fact that they were always there for each other no matter what helped. I have seen my parents happy, satisfied and have never seen an argument or a fight, perhaps they waited till I was asleep.
So I wonder if that is the problem with us lot - options, and too many of them!! We are the children of post modern thinking, feminist thinking, egalitarian thinking. Of divorces that according to last Sunday's newspapers- are free and take 36 hours to come through over the internet. Are we not going too far, or I am I trying to retreat into thinking like my parents? Is just unconditional love not enough to live a lifetime? Or am I being silly now!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Met Mr Bossy Boots yet?

He stands alone and assumes that it is entirely polite to stare. The man just slightly bulging out of his trouser waist. The paunch, the remnants of hair, swept back carefully with an air of nonchalance into a barnet. The tightly tucked in shirt. Chest and stomach out, back arching to hold the weight and the massive ego he carries around with him. The over powering cologne, and astounding bad breath. The clothes straight out of an old 70s film, where the 'bad boys' wore stripes with checks and bright tightly knit tops. The one person who will push into a queue and stare back when stared at and not apologetically or out of guilt. The man who thinks he rules the world and thinks its just about fair to be rude and bossy to all and sundry.
Often this kind of male struts and does not walk, his air of condescension at once comic yet highly annoying. He is also often accompanied by either his female strutting equivalent or in most cases by this sheepish wont-say-much type. The kind who pretends nothing is wrong with her man and it is okay to be bossed around by him. She will forgive him his innuendos and passes at all women he fancies. She will fetch and carry for him and do as she is told. He of course is the lazy one but on being asked shall moan about the whole world and about how over worked he is and how the pay is shit and how 'back in the days' it was much better, all in the amount of time it takes you to say 'how are you?'
This man will often pretend he had something to do with the Army at some point of time, which is a read between line kind of way of explaining why he is Mr Bossy Boots. He is the one person who has missing words in his dictionary, these being - sorry, excuse me, thank you, please etc.
These people are the bane of my life. They appear out of nowhere and see no reason to not stare lecherously, push old women and children around and of course jump into the queue in front of me. If only I was taller and stronger.....
If you have not met the kind yet...good for you, but I am sorry to say, you will meet one, and soon, there are plenty around. If you ARE one of these lovelies, please do something..anything. Personality transplant is a Good option!