Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Mobile but unplanned

I forgot my phone at home yesterday. I knew I had and it was too late to get home and then get to work without being really late for work. So I just went ahead and left home without my phone...for perhaps the first time!

It did make me think. Apart from keeping in touch with people constantly and being available all the time for a phones also make us less disciplined. How many times have you actually called someone to say..yes I am about to reach this place, or called to ask where they are? How many times have you called to confirm things and change things at the last minute. Ask questions which came to you after the meeting finished. Called to say I am standing here under this big tree with orange flowers.

What used to be planned..time, place, space and now a free flowing list of 24x7 questions. What used to be the occasional long call to be made to catch up is now more frequent text messages.

Would you be lost without your phone? Would you feel incomplete and insecure without it?

I did for about 10 mins..and then it was almost liberating to know..I dont need to answer any calls at any time. It wont be my phone that bleeps in a meeting. I dont know what time I shall get home but thats ok. Na-ice.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Its a She

Output of engine - 55,980 BHP @ 94 RPM
Length - 300 mts
Fuel capacity - 6645.7 Metric Tons
Speed - 24 knots

She needed to switch off her engines and wait quietly for the Tug boats to pull her in. She needed them to help her park at the port. Her engine being too powerful to be used inside a dock.

This was a huge cargo ship I was on at Felixstowe. She had all of 12 floors. She was quite old but she was beyond my expectations. I thought Titanic, boats, ships etc..same thing. I expected some amount of movement of the ship as it rested on water. But instead I went inside and it did not rock. At all. The captain's floor which was just below the bridge (cockpit equivalent) was like a rather large apartment, complete with a bar, pots of coriander growing on the windowsills, a laptop with music playing.

I was shown maps, radars, ship paths, sea depths, routes to avoid, maps in different languages, sat nav systems, auto pilot controls, the engine room..the list went on.

I was taken aback by the sheer size of the thing. Having grown up miles away from any water body I am not familiar with ships of any sort. What struck me though was the fact that the engineers, the captain and pretty much everyone on board called it a 'She' very affectionately, but definitely a she. When questioned I was given the amused but will-not-tell-look by one and all. The captain later said its on old debate..aircrafts, ships etc..they are all female for some reason. The tug boats however..were not female..they were coming to get her, and help her park, they were strong and she needed them. hmmm.

I sat there thinking, if the ship could tell stories of its travel, it would last forever..and if 'it' was a 'she' indeed..I would love to hear them. What would it be like to be on sea, for 3-4 months at a stretch, no land, no docking, just sea, wind, sky and the sound of the massive engines!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Stay at Home?

Recently had one of those discussions with the Man about young people not wanting to live with their parents after they finish their education, which started as a discussion and concluded with a 'end-of' statement.

A lot of people in UK and Europe expect their 18 year olds to move out and get on with their own lives as soon as they turn 18. Infact retirement plans are often made on the basis that there will be no children in the house by a certain date and then the parents can get back to leading their own lives. Which sounded strange to me the first time I heard it..but now I guess I am used to the concept.

A long time ago I did contemplate heading back to Delhi for good, however having stayed away from home for a longish period, I was not too keen to go back home and live with the house 'rules'. I do love my folks and everything..and I dont think it needs explaining, but I also at the same time think that asking my folks to change how they do things to suit me would not be fair. I would be working full time, and coming home to my family..nothing wrong with that he says. No there is nothing wrong, but I would rather have a place of my own..nearby maybe, but space of my come back to. This case was presented to Him, who says, whats different, you stay at home. Your folks are friendly people I am sure they wont mind your socialising..and coming home at odd hours.

But I dont think its quite the same thing. There are nights when we sit and chat and eat and drink till late with our friends, when someone eventually grabs the couch to pass the night, friends who drop by with wine and then stay for the night, friends who drop in at odd hours to check if you are free to watch a film etc, impromptu plans made for the evening and weekends, lunches and dinners. Now this all does happen, when you are single (probably), have just started working and earning a decent enough amount to afford a social life, and have other people like yourself as friends...chances are you lead a somewhat similar life.

The life before this was full of education and parents and rules and targets and interviews and exams, the life after this will be probably married or with a significant other, with a social life of a different kind, and perhaps later you shall socialise with your insomniac child and a bottle of milk! Things change. People need space to get to terms with their changing lives. Ofcourse if there is an option of getting space to begin with.

So, coming back to staying at home. My mother always thought that until the date I marry, I shall stay with her, find a job in Delhi, stay at home and post marriage live with the husband, I dont think this thinking would surprise too many Indian parents. Its the done thing. However in my case, this event did not occur. I moved out to study and work and have not gone back, have got married as chances are slim I would stay with her.

I think I might have sounded a bit miffed, because the conversation we were having reached the statement point, where in He says, ' My kids will damn well stay at home, no need to go anywhere, if you are on holiday you are at home!' end-of.

But it is hard to explain, when you step away from home, you grow the innate ability to watch your own back, to understand budgets and finance, to see friend from foe, to stumble and fall, get up without assistance and get going, you learn to keep things to yourself which might worry the people back home, you see the value of home and family, you form your own small quasi-family of friends, you learn and you then set up a style of life/living/thinking/behaving which is uniquely you, adapted and adopted from your family in parts perhaps, but tailor made by you to suit you perfectly. And this..(nameless) state of existence and living is what you grow into and start to like..which when you move back home..does not quite fit/sit perfectly with what your parents (state of existence) maybe.

After being away from home for long, it is nice or rather lovely to be back for a while on holiday or just for a bit, but after some time, I start to miss my own space, my own existence in what I tend to call 'My house' and I like coming back to it.

So needing space, away from home is nothing to do with what you think or feel for your parents, but more about how you have changed and grown into. To understand the change, accept it and live with it happily without making others change for you. The bottom line know..home with your parents is always there, its back up...they will always welcome you home, you can always head back..but its ok to need your own place and space.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Of distant thoughts, time and other such like

The mind has a mind of its own, time passes like a silent visitor late at night, not making a sound, but striking the realisation bell that something has brushed past and gone. It will not stay even is asked.

There is sound, rustling at the back..of someone smiling and then gradually laughing silently. There are voices that can be heard whispering and nodding in agreement.

And then there is the loud noise of heartbeats, thudding inside. The assurance that something is alive inside and perhaps trying to get out by being persistent. It perseveres despite being ignored.

Attempt at silencing all thoughts, all feelings and trying to stop time does not work. Time afterall measures all that has gone and forecasts all that will come. Like a log, of what happens, each moment, each day..for the rest of life and even after. Its the only constant.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Summer Breeze - Isley Brothers...

See the curtains hanging in the window
In the evening on a Friday night
A little light a-shining through the window
Lets me know everything's alright

Summer breeze makes me feel fine
Blowing through the jasmine in my mind
Summer breeze makes me feel fine
Blowing through the jasmine in my mind

See the paper lying on the sidewalk
A little music from the house next door
So I walk on up to the door step
Through the screen and across the floor

Sweet days of summer, the jasmine's in bloom
July is dressed up and playing her tune
When I come home from a hard days work
And you're waiting there, not a care in the world

See the smile a-waiting in the kitchen
Food cooking and the plates for two
Feel the arms that reach out to hold me
In the evening when the day is through

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Cancer - The Thief

Last year I lost a very dear member of my family to this awful disease. It took time to get over it yet I missed him. He was stolen by cancer. I missed him when I returned to India, and I missed him at my wedding, I wish...there was a lot I wished at that time, and I still do.

Today the thief is back, in another part of another body of yet another family member. She is battling it in surgery today and it does not look good right now. A lot of placating techonlogical jargon has been given, all the stuff about 'technology and new century and best surgeons' has been spoken. People donate to the Cancer Research Fund and Charities..and have been for a long time..has the technology changed and evolved..? Should I believe that? I did, last year, but did it work. Na. And right now, I just dont know. Dont know what to think or believe.

I do not know because I heard these words not so long ago. About the strength of the spirit, and the support that family gives, and the pray and it will work, the trust in God..loads of things were said. None worked.

So where do I stand? Between beleiving in God and the brilliance of Doctors.

The two people I am talking about..were/are the most highly spirited people in the family. The dynamic ones, the ones who made you laugh, made you think, made you crib and made you realise that they are tough nuts to crack. And guess who they met..Cancer.

I do not know if I should give praying another shot. I do not know if crossing my fingers and hoping for the best will work. Is there any point I wonder...this disease seems to win most battles it gets into eventually. Should I block it out of my head, is it possible? Should I try not to worry. Should I take one step at a time, should I wait and there any point?

Am not making much sense to myself right now. Its deeply upsetting, unsettling and depressing, frustrating have a problem and know it is not solvable, not in your control, and there is nothing I can do to change that.

Monday, June 02, 2008


This little girl saw her father dress in a suit and head to work everyday. She waved good bye to her Daddy at the door and welcomed him home when he came back. During the day her mother would take her to toddler groups, parks, play grounds and around shops.

One day the mother decided take the little one along and meet her husband for lunch near his office, which was incidentally in the financial hub of the city.
Little child gazes in wonder at the peak lunch hour rush of busy suit clad men, never has she seen so many men, and that too in suits, and says,
"Look ma, so many daddies!"

This little child is my now-not-so-little cousin who now works in the financial sector herself...