Monday, May 14, 2012

Idle Chit Chat

So, it was idle chat taking place between two young women of Indian origin at a beauty salon in North West London - both employees of the said salon, well dressed and with heavily Punjabi accented English with minor grammatical errors.

Both from Kurukshetra in India, and they spoke about their enhanced lifestyle in UK and how they could earn as much as they wanted at any time. They could work around the clock and earn a decent wage which matched their energy and effort input. They both had a child at home being looked after by the grandparents, whilst the couple worked hard here to 'change' their children's lives.
Enter smart arse english woman, who came to get her eyebrows tinted, and was asked to take off her eye makeup. Which she did with no questions at that moment. When it came to payment she threw the biggest fuss ever about how her eye makeup had nothing to do with eyebrow tint etc etc. She hurled her complaint at the poor shop assistant who spoke little English and it got worse as she got nervous. The client had managed to get her eyebrows tinted the right shade but demanded her treatment be made free as her instructions were not listened to. The beautician promptly apologised, passed on the complaint email and then rang her boss and got a 10% discount the disgruntled client. The client in the meantime was talking rapidly and loudly about how businesses should not be run by people who cant hear or those who cant understand or speak English or those who dont pay attention to the client - she did rant a fair bit. Apologies and discount later - she calmed down.

After the noisy customer leaves, the two women turn to me and tell me - we could sell that woman in a market in a matter of minutes and she would not know. She does not know how to deal with a hard life, heck, she does not know a hard life. She thinks cooking once in a while and cleaning every now and then makes life hard..well, they both agreed - those bits make life easy and predictable. Trouble and struggle - they discuss, has a whole new level and definition outside of UK.

I nod my agreement.
And wonder how fluency of English is often seen as a barometer of knowledge and confidence and many parts of the world.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Silence is weird

I find it weird to have disappeared from this space as silently as I have done. It is strange to reflect on the prolific writing I had done at some point of time in this space. It is also randomly odd that a message reminding me that I was MIA made me return here. I miss all that I used to read..and also at some level, all that I used to write. It now feels like I am back and the world is just the same, all of you still reading, commenting, trawling through the web, chatting, making connections in your mind and writing good stuff, that remains creative, entertaining and honest. Its like resurfacing from a deep dive, waking up from a long sleep - choose the metaphorical equivalent.

As of now I am limited, to very limited news related reading, the odd link shared on facebook and truck loads of marking. I am back at work with new found respect for all women who maintain careers post baby, and also yet higher respect for single parents of all sorts. Its strange that it all seemed so 'normal' and 'possible' to do that the finest level of exhaustion and despair, are met with a giant dose of self deprecation and critical thought. I just about manage to switch from being mommy - to being an academic and then switching back at 5pm to Mommy. I do meet friends, do talk on skype/phone etc. Do go out, do shop, eat, sleep...but its all done with an element of urgency, with a healthy dose of clock watching and guilt.

Am I managing? - not as well as I thought I would really. This whole palaver of being daughter, sister, friend, wife, mother blah blah is all good on paper - but damn hard to execute. And perhaps being one person at a time is all that one can do well enough to not feel bad about. 

So whilst I be the wiper of nose, the maker of food, the driver to birthday parties, the deliverer of lectures, the writer of (academic) books, I stay away from this space. Perhaps I should update technology and see if I can do this writing/reading/sharing of thoughts more seamlessly from another source.

Just thought this silence is weird.