Some ‘Domestic’ Affairs with Monochrome.

hey-silly-cat-dont-tease-the-dog We are dog people. We have been dog people for nearly a decade now, ever since I saw 2 little brown eyes and a drooling tongue look at me through an iron mesh and had impulsively bought ‘Mr.Dundu’ from a kennel nearby. Dundu is a Pomeranian, a very serious, broody guy  with short legs and a wholfy tail. He was never a people’s dog, if you know what I mean. We later figured that he just liked to be fed, watered and left alone. He used to look like he was deep in thoughts, and i could almost see his brows creasing as if he was brooding. He barked at everyone in the house and outside alike but he loved me. He was my companion and aide till I got a Lasapso –  ‘Mr.Appu’ as a birthday gift from a friend the next year!

Dundu
Dundu

Appu was just a few days old when he came home in a basket tied with a pink ribbon. He was sweet, cuddly and lovable and won the hearts of everyone, neighbors and friends alike. He was a true toy dog, like he was happiest when someone came home and he felt they all came to play with him, he never barked at anyone and his tail was always in the wagging format and he walked like he was dancing. He believed it was his moral right to jumb to the sofa and sit with people and put his head on their lap for a good pat.He was snow white and had long straight hair and used to let me tie his hair on his head in little pony tails and used to look adorable.I used to love shopping for little colorful clips from goodwill for his hair back then.

Appu
Appu

And that’s when we got Ammu! She was a stray black puppy with the shiniest coat and chocolate brown eyes. She was almost run over by a bus on a rainy evening when  Amma found her, frightened and hungry. She let herself be picked up and be bought home and ever since she lived with us. But as days went by the small puppy grew in size and soon was as tall as a Ananya and strong as a horse. And anu loved her. Soon they were like Mary and the little lamp and sometimes Ammu took anu on her back and they played horse! But due to her massive size, soon it was a regular affair for things to fall and break in the house when she was excited. And I started feeling like  Fred Flintstone from ‘the flintstones’ when he came back from work and dino was excited to see him that he always pushed him to the ground.:)

Ammu and Anu
Ammu and Anu

But she was the most chicken hear ted dog I ever knew and felt she would make the perfect wife for scooby-doo. ;). She had a powerful voice and used to bark the place down even if she saw a rat but if the rat came any nearer that a radius of 20 cm then she would give a yelp and run for her life and go hide under the cot ! 😉

The story of animals in my house goes way back into history. Before we were dog people  we were actually cat people, ever since one fine morning Amma discovered a pretty little kitten on our sunshade and she lived with us and loved us till she died years later but not before expanding her family to at least 9 or 10 generations! And when the dogs came, all of them left us, some occasionally bringing new kittens for a few days before changing houses again.And before the cat era,  we had birds – ranging from 4 talking parrots out of which 2 who always tried to elope,   we also had 10 sparrows, some tame squirrels who used to come down from the mango tree in the compound when Amma called them. Amma also had some stray animals turned part time visiting pets. Like once, there was this eagle she named Shambu, and who I renamed Shikari Shambu :). He lived somewhere across the rice fields that were there once upon a time behind our house. I don’t know if you have seen a white eagle closely, but let me tell you they are majestic beauties, with their sharp eyes and curved beak and white collar they do elude respect.

Everyday morning he dutifully flew to our house and sat on the work area slab behind the kitchen and amma gave him tomatoes to eat, sliced and diced! I dont know how she figured out he liked tomatoes or that he never got bored with the same thing everyday but this was a regular affair for years. I still remember the mornings my mom standing near the kitchen door and looking at shikari shambu wholfing down ripe red tomato pieces and she sometimes spoke to him and it looked like he understood!well!

She also had a stray tortoise once. An old fellow who must have been  over 80 years or so. He showed up one day and the cats found him and there was soon a pandemonium going on. He was ugly and full of dirt. She washed him and scrubbed his shell and finally he looked a little handsome. She named him ‘Kitto’. He was a real lazy fellow but he too dragged himself to the work area to have his favorite rice and yes, sambhar whenever he was around. In between for short intervals he used to disappear and Amma would be worried sick that someone could have harmed him. And once when he reappeared there was another tortoise who came behind him after a while and my mom was overjoyed. We joked saying Kitto bought his wife along to seek Ammas blessings. 😉

Well, this is not about any of them. This blog is actually about our new kitten who I , perceptually bored with all the traditional names amma puts for her cats ( some were even named Gauri and Mahalakshmi much to  my aunts utter disbelief), I decided to name him Monochrome. 🙂 . Now monochrome is not just black and white like you would think he is. He is black, white, yellow and brown!  He has green eyes and the pinkest little nose with a black outline which was so cute and the cutest little tongue and also long whiskers.:)

Monochrome or MC, like we call him now was the shiest of the 2 kittens who were born recently. The other one was also very cute and more playful but before I could name him he got infected with some really  bad cat bacteria and died 10 days after he was born :(. So it was just MC and the 3 dogs and his occasionally visiting mommy! We were rather skeptical as the dogs never got along with his mommy because they found her arrogant and vain.

The dogs live in the downstairs  of our house and they hardly come up. So we decided to keep MC in the first floor for his own safety. But I knew this was temporary and hell would break loose sooner or later.

It was Ammu who spotted MC first. One day MC who was bored with exploring only the first floor rooms spotted the door to the stair room open and decided to explore the floor downstairs. He gingerly sprang from one step to the other down the wooden steps making a small thud thud noise and immediately, Ammu who was basking in the sunlight that hit the floor from the open window after a rain under the stairs stood up. Her ears were pointed up and face was cocked to a side. She gave one loud bark probably smelling MC and MC literally flew up, the hairs on his neck and his tail all straight up!

The next time MC reached till the bottom stair when Ammu sprang on him and again he flew up the stairs. This went on for a week until one day MC who looked like he was having fun making a joke out of Ammu slipped on the stair and fell right in between Ammus legs, just like that! I almost ran down the stair to rescue MC but to my utter disbelief I saw him on his back and tail beating left and right and Ammu running to hide under the cot! So with that MC started going down, he soon made firm friends with Appu. I think it was mainly because Appu was too busy trying to be coy and making everyone like him, he dint really know a cat was different from a dog. He was very pleased to see MC and was soon licking him lavishly. MC sat like a ball next to him, his tail wrapped around his legs and was soon purring happily.

I love it when cats purr. Especially on rainy days, Its like a warm little motor going. So that just left Dundu. He has never been interested in cats and cohabiting with anyone – dogs and humans included were not really his thing. He was like the angry young man you see in indian movies. So yes, he had growled when MC came down and had also tried to chase him a couple of times, but MC being MC had never given up, until finally Dundu was bored with it and he decided to act as if MC was not there.The cat would walk around under his nose and he would just pretend not to see! So we heaved a sigh of relief now that the dogs and the cat were finally living together.

But MC had only started. Soon he made the house his own, claiming his place on top of the stabilizer or in Ammas lap when she sat down to read and had his own sweet way around. He cleverly figured out how to tap at the window hinge and open the windows and go out, wander and come back as he pleased much to the dogs irritation. He meowed the place down when he was hungry and it almost felt like he was saying’ what the hell are you doing, get me some food’. He chased rats and cockroaches, some he killed, some he made to flew the country, he was the perfect delight playmate when you were free. Anything moving excited him and he was ever ready for a game.

The 2 dogs played with him endlessly yet Dundu still ignored him. And knowing dundu he would never change. Yet still MC worshiped him and looked at him and meowed a little meow in a hurt tone whenever they passed each other. Other than that they were all happy. Days went on like this. Until one morning when I woke up to the loud chirping of a bird and opened my window to see a small sparrow sitting on a cable line hanging near the window. It flew away as soon as it saw me. But it came back and started chirping again as soon as I left the window and was heard chirping loudly throughout the day. At first I thought it was hurt but later realized that it was planning to build a nest in the henna tree close to the window. MC had heard the chirps and had come silently behind me and jumped up to sit on the window still and had looked at the sparrow with interest. I saw his eyes glint. ‘No, don’t even think about it’ I told him sternly wagging my finger at him. He looked at me and silently jumped down and rubbed against my leg.

But later that day as I was having my breakfast, I spotted him walking on the wall, his eyes glued to something on top. ‘The rascal’ I said and got up. I went just in time to see him making his first leap from the wall to reach the sparrows half build nest. But it was high for him and he gave up as he saw me. Soon days passed and the nest was ready and sparrow laid eggs in it. MC seemed to be or pretended to be bored with it and dint even bother to go near the nest anymore.

Soon the eggs hatched and the little baby birds started crying. Everyone went to see the birds. Ammu tried to bark but amma put her away and locked the side gate so she would nt go disturb the birds. And then it happened, I was again at the dining table the next day when I saw MC on the wall again. He was again on his way to the nest looking up. I went to shoo him down but he was already climbing the tree close to the wall. His eyes were glued on the nest. I tried to get hold of him but he shook off my hand and kept moving. I was in despair. I was sure he was going to get the chicks this time. I wanted to give him a smack but he was already out of my reach.

And then I heard a growl and saw Dundu standing next to me and he was growling at MC and  started barking the place down. MC looked down and saw the scene and as if he understood what dundu was saying as quietly as he had climbed up, he climbed down and as if nothing happened he meowed and first rubbed against my leg and then went and rubbed against Dundus face. The barking stopped and dundu whined a little and soon I saw dundu licking MC ! I was open mouthed. I looked at the two of them one hand on my cheek  unable to believe it! With that the ice broke between Dundu and MC and now our ‘domestic’ life with 3 dogs and a playful kitten is going rather well. And they all lived happily ever after. 🙂

Monochrome aka MC
Monochrome aka MC

The End! ;P Posted from WordPress for iPhone

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The Big Fat Indian Comic Confinement!

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Have you ever sat on your bed in your parents house in your old pink painted bedroom and stared endlessly onto nothing on a weekday night and screwed up your nose and felt blank and emotionless? Probably not! But I have, like I do now. I have been sitting like this for sometime now, precisely after I had an elaborate  fight with the husband who finaly shut me up completely when he said its better to get seperated  because I had told him (well insisted pretty much) that I wanted to go to Delhi for a week to meet my best friend and have some girl time out! He had said he would ‘understand’ if it was for work, but for having fun, No! I had sulked and am still sulking and have driven to my parents house. I know he would come and would probably take me out for an icecream later at night and I will have to exchange my one week of Delhi dreams for mostly a fully paid shopping spree ( by him). I feel the concept of paid shopping was invented by husbands to lure angry  wives back to the house. 😉

Is all marriages like this or is it just mine I wonder. Sometimes at the height of anger I feel it is genuine t pseudo male chauvenism at its best to marry a girl and make her live like a bird in a cage! And why was I so keen to get married in the first place? I think its high time that marriages should be renamed as the ‘big fat Indian comic confinement’ !

Of course I am not a feminist, nor do I advocate female empowerment and I have been least bothered by the female vs men debates anytime in my life. It is also also not even a question on who is superior to who. But giving and taking space in a relation is as important as everything else in life and I feel thats one of the most important aspect in todays relations.

Why are married woman not allowed to do things that they like?I have travelled alone to places in india with friends or alone before i got married and my parents never had any problem with it. Is it by tying the knot,  you are knoted for life?

What do you do when you love travelling and you are not ‘allowed’ to do it. Is family holidays your only scope to see the far fledged vast beautiful world? Or you want to write something a certain way but you are forced to edit it and sugar coat it to appeal to the society? Why are we so biased towards having to demonstrate a perfect life to everyone around? If happiness is the only emotion we aspire why are there a million other emotions in us?And who invented the word adjustment? With all the goodness found in a family sometimes somewhere the identity of the woman looses its uniqueness.

Sometimes you realise on a weekday night that life is not exactly what you planned it to be and suddenly you feel like Budha under a bodhi tree. And the enlightment is yet to happen ! Lets hope the weekend is better. 🙂

#peace#

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And I stayed at the haunted cliff cottage!

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I am pacing in my room as I write this. Yes, that’s right, pacing – like walking up and down and again walking up and down! I stop at the window and look out through the netted frame and see the winding stone steps that are lit by lantern lamps on either side. It leads to the little lawn with tiny flowering plants which is laced by swaying palm trees. And beyond it, even in the darkness I  could still see the white fringed waves of the Arabian Sea lashing up on the rocks below the cliff. I see specks of lights from the sea, probably from a few fishing boats near the coast and listen to the non stop thrashing sound of the waves echoing around. It had stopped raining and the moon had come out, but it stood within a halo like it too was in a daze!

I took my phone and it still read no signal found! I was irritated to think that I was using the resort wi-fi like an hour back. There was still no sight of my husband and daughter. Or of anyone either in my view for that matter. We were on a short holiday in a beach resort in the far end of Kerala and the first 2 days had gone perfectly fine. The beautiful view, early morning walks, beach games, family time in the pool and a lot of fun things had happened. But from today evening  I had started feeling something strange in the cottage. I was not sure about it but I felt like there was someone else in the cottage besides the three of us. Like a presence. The creepiness you get when you know someone is looking at you and suddenly you turn around and there is no one there!

I dint think about it much then and so when my husband wanted to get a parcel from a friend who was traveling to Qatar the same day from Trivandrum, I told him that I would rather stay back at the resort than get dressed and accompany him. And to my surprise, my daughter also wanted to go with him. I was somewhat relieved and decided to have a nice relaxing foot massage in the mean time. They had promised to come back in an hours time and by the time I came back from my foot spa he had messaged me saying they were going to Kovalam beach and so could be late! ‘That’s perfect! So much for the family holiday’! I thought and strolled around a bit inside the resort premises and waited around for the sunset. But the sky was grey with rain clouds and there was no sun so  when I was bored with it came back to our cottage.

And that’s when things started happening!

Our cottage called the ‘Cliff Cottage’ was the last one in the resort, high up on the cliff, the one with the most spectacular view of the sea. We were connected to the other cottages and the main section by a little pavement and it took like 2 or 3 minutes walk amidst thickly grown shrubs with beautiful flowers and trees to reach there.  It was well secluded and well maintained and we almost felt like literally being in our own world the last couple of days. The view from it was magnificent during the day but now that the sun had set and it was dark outside except for a few little lamps on the pavement and being there alone I dint find it very beautiful anymore. There was no one in sight and then I remembered reading on the notice board that there was some kind of classical dance recital at the restaurant which was at the other end of the property tonight which started by 7pm. I wanted to go too but it was dark and being the brave person I am, the deserted road loomed before me endlessly and I immediately decided against it.

I waited for sometime, clearing around a bit, sorting the mess in the room and when i was done, I decided to call the room service and order some food so that at least someone comes and I don’t entirely look like a psycho to call for assistance to go to the restaurant alone. I took the phone and dialed the extension number provided in the card on the side table and realized there was no beep. The phone was dead too! ‘You gotta be kidding me,’ I thought.

There was nothing to do now except to wait. I switched on all the lights in the bedroom and also in the hall. It was an Ayurvedic resort and there was no television in the cottage. I  was sitting in the living room diwan reading Khushwant Singh’s ‘ company of woman’ when I heard a crash from the bedroom.

I jumped up alarmed, successfully spraining my already aching back and went inside almost stooping and saw my Fab India night cream and my Davidoff deodorant lying on the floor from the dressing table. The deo was still rolling. I took it and kept it back thinking how it would have fallen down. Was there mice in here? I looked around warily half expecting mice to come out of its hiding places. But nothing happened. I looked around and then went back to the hall and picked up my book which had fallen down still rubbing my back. I checked the time and it was already half past seven.

The pain dint go even after a while so I fished out my moov spray and generously sprayed it on my back. Ah, immediate relief. I heaved a sigh of relief and silently thanked whoever invented the moov spray. I picked up my book and again settled in the diwan which was near the window and I noticed that it had started drizzling outside. There was a distant lightning and a roar of thunder. Monsoons were not yet over in Kerala, and watching thunder and lightning suddenly light up the sea in a spark was a magnificent sight. I was quite lost in it when suddenly I thought I heard a sound outside. Like footsteps! I was relieved to think they were finally back and i went and opened the door but to my surprise there was no one there.

There were two doors in the living room. One opening to the front, leading to the winding steps which goes to the main section of the resort and the other one opening to the side lawn which was made into a little garden with grass lawn and plants. There was a white colored iron swing in a corner and there was a high fence in the end. Down below the side lawn was the sea,its waves continuously crashing onto the rocks there.

It was cold outside, I shivered from the sudden gush of cold wind and spray of rain and got back inside and bolted the door. It was raining heavily now, fat drops of water splashed on the window pane and I was worried if my daughter was scared by it. She was not very fond of thunder and lightning though she loved the rain. I was wiping my face with a white terry towel and suddenly I was damn sure there was someone standing with me!  I could almost make out a figure shape there on my right side. With the towel still on my face I squinted my eyes to the right, my heart was beating like on a treadmill and my hands were feeling clumsy. I thought I would faint. I breathed hard and turned but there was nothing there! ‘Oh God am I going mad’. I thought and sat down on the bed and drank some water. It was too exhausting. Fear was always exhausting. I was positive that there was something in the cottage now. I never believed in ghosts ; it was just something I had laughed at in movies and thought the ghost hunter series were so funny. To feel presence and images of dead people was rubbish. But I dint feel so confident about it anymore.

After a few minutes when I was calm enough I went and checked the whole cottage – the bathrooms, the cupboards, the bedroom, even under the cot and came back to the hall and sat in the chair with my legs up. ‘Stop being silly’ I was telling myself. I wanted them to come fast but I knew they would be at the lobby waiting for the rain to stop as the way up the cliff could be slippery for a 4 year old! I checked the time again and it was quarter past eight. The rain was still falling heavily. I checked both phones again and it was still dead and no signal! Perfect!

And then, there was that noise again. Like someone rubbing their feet on the doormat outside. It was coming from the side door this time; the one leading to the side lawn. The door was a half door  with four parts. I got up gingerly and tried peeping outside through the windows but I couldn’t see anything properly. The sound still came so I opened the top portion of the door. My hands were trembling so much that it took more than the usual time to open the door. And as I half expected there was nothing there. This was getting very irritating. The rain had stopped now and it was just the water dripping from the thatched roof. I was about to close the door when I saw a movement in the dim light. I saw a man walking outside the fence! There were uneven rocks that lead to the sea there. And he was walking carefully among them. He was wearing a shirt and a pair of shorts and looked like a foreigner. But since it was dark I couldn’t make out clearly. He was looking in the other direction and walking carefully on the rocks. ‘Oh God hes gonna fall now’ I thought. I dint call out or say anything to warn him because I had seen earlier that morning how an Iranian lady fell down on the rocks when the stupid life guard shouted at her to get off the rocks as she was climbing down. The cliff there was steep and since it was raining it would be more slippery. There were scary looking rocks below and I hoped he would see that. If he fell he was sure to crash on the rocks and die ! I had to stop him somehow. I decided to go to the fence and tell him and went inside to put my sandals. And just then the door bell rang and I heard my daughters voice outside. I opened the door and they came inside. I told my husband that there was a man outside on the rocks and please tell him to come out or he would fall and took my daughter to wipe her head and change her wet clothes.

A few minutes later the husband comes back and tells me that there is no one out there! ‘No he would be there, he cant get inside that fast”. I tell him. I finish dressing my daughter and make her wear the fluffy orange coat she hates on top her dress despite her pleadings and we go out to see and just like he told me there was no one there. I looked around and there was no sign of him anywhere. ‘But he was standing right there’ I point to the spot where I saw him. The husband looks at me strangely and says ‘ How is that even possible? The fence is too high to climb over and the only way to come here is through the cottage. There is no other way to be here’. And that’s when I realized what he said was the truth. There was no other way to come to the side lawn than to come through the cottage. Did I imagine it all then? I was sure I saw him but now it seems so surreal.

My daughter who was bored with this and decidedly angry with her orange fluffy coat suddenly declared she was hungry so we decided to go to the restaurant and have dinner. Seeing other people and the dance recital and the warm ambiance cheered me up and I soon believed I had imagined it all. We all slept peacefully that night.

The next day after breakfast while I was having my treatment done at the ‘Kalari’, I casually told about the previous nights happenings to the girl who was doing the ayurvedic treatment. I was beginning to feel like Cleopatra with the aromatic healing oils massages and milk baths and had become quite friendly with her over the last couple of days . As soon as I told her she stopped the massage for a second and I saw her expression change but she was quiet. But afterwards when the treatment was over, she came out to where I was sitting under a chambaka tree and after looking around to make sure none was nearby she said ‘Madam, I am not sure if I am allowed to tell you this, but some people who stayed in that cliff cottage had complained of seeing things exactly like you saw last night’. I was open mouthed. I sat up ‘What is it Gauri? tell me more clearly’. She looked hesitant so I assured her I would never tell anyone about it.

She looked relieved and said ‘ I have only heard about it, but it seems some years back a Sahiv (foreigner) who was staying in the cliff cottage had slipped and fell on the rocks and died. And sometimes people see him walking in the rocks behind the cottage. It was after that incident they put the fence there.’

‘What?’I felt my throat going dry. ‘But none told us. Iv never heard of it also’.

‘Oh madam, all these happens in such resorts but they give money and hush it up. But don’t worry I don’t think he would harm anyone’ she added reassuringly. Really!

It was more than I could handle. I hurried to tell my hubby this and felt my legs were not fast enough. But he only laughed at it. ‘So you say you saw a ghost, what next? Maybe your favorite vampires from that  movie what is that? Ah ya twilight?” He laughed again very happy to get a chance to pounce on my ‘twilight love’ as he calls it. But I dint find it funny. I had seen a ghost or what I thought was a ghost and it was spooky and it was creeping me out.

‘Its not funny, I want to go home’. I said sulking. He looked at me with wide eyes. ‘But you love it here and you have treatment for 3 more days’. But there was no way I was living with a ghost! I wanted to get out of the place a.s.a.p. So finally after much argument and negotiations he  agreed to vacate. My daughter who had made friends with some Iranian kids threw a tantrum about leaving early too. But I was adamant.

Soon we packed and the room boy came to carry the luggage. And just before we left the cliff cottage I went to the side door and looked outside. It was bright and sunny and looked very pleasant with the turquoise sea beyond. Beautiful in fact. I checked if we had forgotten anything and satisfied, came out and closed the door and locked the cottage and walked down the winding steps. My husband and daughter was walking sulkily in front of me. I walked a couple of feet behind them but I din’t turn back for the last image of the cliff cottage.

I knew it was not empty!

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Read this only if you are in a relation with a married man.

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Today morning I came across an article in the newspaper regarding the pros and cons of having an affair with a married man. I wondered since when did it started getting so much importance as to be published in national dailies. Well I live in a prejudiced and critical world where once you are married you are like a fruit in a blender! Even if it is jackfruit or kiwi you are supposed to come out as fresh orange juice, sweet and colourful with the correct amount of chill! And if you dont then you are immediately termed as an outcast and cornered. Not the fairest of treatments, but it happens. So a relationship advice on an actual topic like infedility aroused my interest.

Once when I was working in a national daily, there was a divorced girl with a child working there who gave us a pathetic picture of an abusive ex husband who physically abused her even while she was 8 months pregnant. Well the story was kinda sad and I was happy that she said she divorced him and married another guy who was a muslim(or so she said). A few months later the muslim guy left her and she was devastated. It was also revealed they were not married but just living in together. This ignited the office gossip millers and she immediately lost the sympathy vote she had so long. All of a sudden she was labeled as a flirt, and guys started seeing her differently. None of us wanted to be friends with her at all. Even I kept a distance from her though i donno for what. She was a very sweet lady always pleasant and full of enthu! Now I think of it I dont understand what wrong has she done other than trying to be happy!

Coming back to the article, according to the newspaper an affair with a married man will not be worth anything other than ending as an utter adultery disaster. The married man would be married mostly out of his parents choice to some girl he would have seen once or twice before they got married, for maybe around 10 years or so. He would have a child or 2. And after that comes the time of boredom from routine and lack of excitement in life and in the bedroom. He loves his family, his children are his life. But there is the missing excitement of the youth.

That is where the single girl comes in. Mostly the girl in question would be an ex girlfriend who he would have ditched to marry the now wife or some new girl who would have been dumped by many guys and feel there is none to love them. Depressed chicks always fall easily into an extra marital flings. The married man is experinced and knows to play his cards and words well. The first entry would usualy be by saying’I wish I was not married..then we would have been together’, or ‘I know you are the only one I love, but im so tied up’. Then comes the texting and instant messaging. The girl feels he loves her above his wife because he is giving her more imporatnce than his wife. Yes, there is always the high a girl gets from being placed above another woman. He is connected to the new girl 24×7. The texts lead to even when he is home, late nights and most importantly while the wife is also in the same house and the girl begings to confirm the affection is real. Then comes the meetings. Some are casual tea or coffee meetings and sometimes intimate bedroom ones. And once that happens the married man slowly starts feeling guilty when he sees his wife. She He plans to take her and the kids on a holiday to make up for his guilt and the gf is angry, dint he tell her that he dint love his wife? Then why are they holidaying together. The fight starts. The man gives in initialy and pleads with the gf and once he weighs the pros and cons he decides he cannot take the pressure anymore. Very soon the gf starts getting the busy tones, the late replies and prolonged absense. And slowly it fades leaving the girl with the feeling of being used and a sigh of relief in the man that his wife never found out about it.

The article says 99 men out of 100 dont leave their wives and kids for new flings. But there are exceptions, like a very unhappy man might take the risk if he feels he has found his soul mate in the new woman and life is unbearable with his wife. I had an ex boss who left his wife and his new born baby for a new girl in office, who he termed as his true love and conviction. But 4 years later finaly when he got his divorce papers in hand his conviction had already married another man and within a month his ex wife also married an nri and moved abroad. Now he is a picture of misery and depression with violent mood swings, questioning his existance and writing volumes on betrayal! Now he frequently shuttles between his hometown and his ex wifes town fjling one case after the other in court desperately hoping to see his child even from a distance at least once in his lifetime!

But that is very rare. Most marriages are glued together by kids. After a few years the spouse is just a role you play that becomes who will pick little lilly from her dance class or who will take little john for his cricket practice. It will become like a teamwork and a spouse will always have a role in it. And also he must be scared as to being the bad guy in front of the society as to being the one who left his wife and kids for a new woman.

The article then put out a list of questions to ask the man if you are in a relation with a married man to check if he stands among the 99 who have promised you a life but has no real intention to fulfill it or if he is the elite one who will stand with you tall no matter what. The first one is to ask him directly about his plans. Ask for answers for your questions. Ask if he was  happy with his wife would you even be in his life now. Listen to his answers carefully. Analyse it for a whole day. If he has a clear plan how to go about it or reassures you that all is fine and he cannot live without you then you neednt worry. You are treading in safe zone. But if at the end of the day also he doesnt have any clear answers, and says he loves you but dont know how to go about it, then ladies that is the moment of truth! You are a side kick which he has no intention of making mainstream ever. Dont be fooled further by his sweet talks, he is a man and if he loves you truly like he vows every hour, then he should have answers. Its about your life we are talking here not about mangalyan to sit and wait to see if the engine works or fails when it enters mars orbit ! 😉

Once you realise that and it is going to be a very painful revelation. But be content that you realised it this way rather than realising it years later, depressed and lost after a prolonged unsuccessful affair which will only make you loose your dignity and nothing else. The best thing to do here is wish him a good life and leave him and never look back. All stories are not fairy tales though you wish it to be. Good luck on that!

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White tiger and dark ponds!

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Deeply disturbed by the front page news in TOI today of a man who accidently fell into the moat of a tiger in a Delhi zoo and getting killed by a majestic white tiger. The caption of the picture was ‘shadow of death’!.

The paper says the man has been warned by the guards not to lean against the stand of barrier twice before he fell in when the guard was busy managing other visitors. The image showed a petrified man almost crouching in front the massive and magestic beast who stands taller than him in all his glory. The tiger seems to be looking at the man with curiosity and interest, almost suprised. I guess it was minutes before it sunk his teeth on the mans neck, and dragged his body around to the other end of the enclousure.

It sends a chill down my spine looking at the picture. I guess it does to everyone who saw it. I am trying to think what the mans last thoughts were. It must have been surreal to him, falling in and facing a white tiger eye to eye. I wonder what was his last thought? who was the last person who crossed his mind?his mother or his love if he had any. But noone will ever know that. None knows what we think just before we die. They say our entire life spans in front of us like a movie reel just before we die. But what if there is no time for that?

Once when I was small I almost died(ok a lil exaggerated!) My mothers ancestral home in Vaikom is a traditional nalukettu with 3 ponds in the compound. And one of it was in the far end of the 2 acre property and is 36 ft deep  used to water the orchard. It was a dark pond with no lotuses like the other 2. During one Astami (festival in vaikom mahadeva temple), my cousin and I decided to bathe in it in the afternoon without telling anyone as all were sleeping after the sadya and we were forbidden to go to the pond without adult supervision. The other 2 ponds were nearer to the house and we would be heard but this dark one being in the far end had little chance of getting caught. My cousins Asha, and Sriram and me sneaked out through the backdoor and raced to the pond and we 2 girls were in the pond and he sat on the bank and agreed to watch out to signal if anyone came out of the house. Before long she gave me a friendly push and I suddenly felt the earth beneth my feet giving away. And I fell into an endless trench and I dint know to swim. I sank and came up gasping for air and gravity pulled me down and i sank again. I was gasping for a few breaths of air and I could feel water entering my nose and mouth as I tried to breath underwater. The second time I sank I remember thinking how comforatble my cousins bed in the house which I had slept the previous night was and I wanted to sleep there. I was tired. That was the last thing I remembered before I lost conciousness. When I woke up I was laid on the bank of the pond with a lot of people aroubd me. The water still looked calm and still.

So it cant be true what people say about remembering your entire life before you die. But maybe because it was not my time to die or whatever. But the mans crouching posture with folded hands still haunts me. Dark ponds and white tigers are not on my favourite list. I want to forget them fast!

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The smell of innocence!

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The day she was born, I finally understood how it was like having a Kohinoor diamond that radiated like the sun in the room. The people who dotted on me and waited on me hand and foot just an hour back had turned all their attention to the pint size baby in the cradle. All of a sudden I saw only backs of peoples head and their butts swaying in front of me as they tried to get some attention from the baby. I felt like some piece of rag cloth tossed into the corner of the room. I felt like sun suddenly set that afternoon in my life. Sigh! Yes I was a brand new mother then, feeling the heat of love and affection shifted from me to my brand new daughter.

Till then, I was the only daughter to my parents. My moms eldest sister and husband who dint have children considered me as their own. So I had 4 parents not 2. I was spoilt rotten.  My hubby being an only son made me the only daughter in law for my in-laws and the pampering of being the girl in the house continued. I was given the best of everything in the house, I was the one who decided things and mine was always the choice that was first asked and always followed.

Well…it was..till a few minutes back! Till the pink faced baby with the tiniest toes and full hear of hair (I thought all babies were born bald) showed up exactly one month before my gynecologist who always said ‘sorry sorry’ for everything had predicted!

I was not even ready. Not even minutely ready. The bag in which I planned to pack my ‘perfect post delivery stuff’ was not complete. I had forgotten to get the lip balm,front open dresses and feeding undergarments, I even forgot to pack hairbands or the magazines i had planned from the carefully made up list like it was said in the book ‘nine months and a day’ which had become my bible in the past 8 months.

The day before she was born had been a very usual day. I went to work in the morning, had lunch with my colleagues and had planned to go for a movie and some shopping that weekend. I had a regular check up with ‘chorry chorry’ and had gone to the hospital. I had a scan and the next thing I knew , I was in a wheel chair being pushed to the pre operation room! It seemed the baby had decided to turn upside down,  bored or something being in the same position and the umbilical cord was around her. Dangerous!

That whole night I was alone in that pre op ward  with an equipment around my protruding tummy to count the baby’s heart beat which i felt ticked like a time bomb. There were no other patients in there and I just had a grumpy looking nurse for company who dint even allow me to get up and sit. I understood the true meaning of isolation that night, with just one ‘allowed’ visit from the husband and family. I could have looked at my watch a million trillion times but time was moving slower than a snail. Either that or my watch was dead.

The next morning I felt like how Kasab would have before he went to the noose. I was woken up, given an early morning hot water bath and given the scriptures for prayer. I was helped to change into a new robe that was thankfully not a back open negligee. My operation was scheduled at 9, and I was sweating like I was in sahara desert even in 17 degree of air conditioning! I was taken in a stretcher and I saw the images pass by like they show in movies. Well, it was all movie like, mom and relatives trying to see me full of worry and the husband holding my hand till I went right into the theater and then it was total  silence. I had dangerous images of an operation theater in my mind but surprisingly it was calm and yes a bit cold. It was white and bright from the intense overhead lighting but the bed was comfortable at least. In walked my ‘chorry chorry’ in her theater gown and said something cheerful to me. And then to my disbelief she started explaining the recipe of the paneer sandwich she made her son vijay who was going somewhere in the 11 clock flight the same day. The paneer sandwich  was the last thing I remember and then it was total blackout.

I don’t know where I went or how long i had gone but when I opened my eyes I thought someone was strangling me.  But it was only an oxygen mask in my face and I felt groggy. There was no pain and I felt numb. The nurse saw me wake up and said she would bring the baby. And that’s when I remembered about the baby too. I was so excited I felt like I was going to get a present for my birthday. With that thought I drifted back to sleep only to be woken up by the nurse again and I saw the most beautiful sight I ever saw after I was born. There cuddled in her arms , bundled in a white terry cloth was the cutest baby I ever saw. A girl baby! She was pink faced, with chubby cheeks, tiny nose and a rosebud mouth. One fat little hand was poised under her chin like she was deep in thought and her eyes were closed. I felt like sushmita sen when she won the miss universe crown. I was gasping and crying and smiling and I don’t know what all I was doing. She was just soo bloody cute. I looked again and she had opened her eyes and was calmly looking at me. The nurse placed her next to me and I started checking her. 10 fingers, 10 toes, 2 eyes, one nose, 2 ears, and full head of hair. Everything looked perfect. I felt her soft skin and held her tiny tiny palm and exclaimed at her micro tiny nails. She looked like a doll. So beautiful. The universe suddenly became small for me it was just me and her in this beautiful world. And I was in bliss.

And then to spoil the moment walked in ‘chorry chorry’ and the husband. Exclaimed how pretty the baby was and how much she looked like the father. The husband was overjoyed beyond belief and he beaming ear to ear. Then came relatives, more exclamations. More claps and more flowers. More happiness. I was soon shifted to my room and it was like a pandemonium going on. I dint even know I had so many relatives and friends. And I dint know why they thought it so important  to see me on the same day the baby was born! It is not like what is seen in movies when the new mother comes to room in perfect make up and unruffled hair and looks pleasantly calm and excited. I looked like a mess. Common I just had an operation and I needed some rest. The pain had started showing up and I couldn’t even move and the last thing I wanted was a room full of people with balloons and cake and gifts. But that was how it was.  An hour after I was bought to the room, a nurse came and announced that the baby will be bought to the room. Everyone stood up all smiles and excitement and in a few minutes she was carried to the room. I tried painfully moving a bit to make place for her but they put her in a cradle instead because I had too many tubes on me. And everyone was around her. She dint cry and she was awake, I saw her looking at everyone calmly.

And then I realized the stark truth. The people who came dint come to see me, they came to see the baby. None seemed to be asking me how I was feeling or if I wanted something. It was suddenly ‘oh close the door, mosquitoes will bite the baby, the baby is feeling cold , the baby is feeling hot, oh look she lifted her hand, oh look how clever she is, she tossed the duvet with her leg, Rohit stop smiling at her she doesn’t like you look how she started crying…..blah blah blah baby baby baby’. Everything was about the baby. Even the husband dint talk much to me or sit in my bed. I was there in a bed alone and the rest of the world was with her in the other end of the room. I tried to look through them to see if she was looking for me. No she had drifted to sleep!

I too drifted to a nap but woke up with all the noise in the room. I was still alone in my corner and everyone was still around the baby who was awake too. Suddenly I panicked thinking what if she dint know I was her mother. I remembered the little duck and baby birds in tom and jerry who always called jerry ‘mamma’ as soon as they hatched and saw jerry before they saw their real mother. Would that happen here too? I looked at everyone closely and zeroed it down to the maid who had just come in to take care of the child and me. She was over-smart and marked her zone around the baby. She was changing her clothes, wiping her and cleaning her and also carrying her. I was an adult and something inside my head gave me a smack for being dumb. I tried to be calm for sometime. Rest. Sleep. Yea right with all these people in the room.

I smiled politely to all of them and rolled my eyes and did the face palm when my mother in law wanted to switch on the TV for watching her daily soap. I had taken the suit with air conditioning but nobody had said anything about a TV and that’s when I noticed it in the room too. Soon it was on and the serial was running, the baby who was sleeping again woke up to the sound and started crying, a lot of mouths immediately  started hush hush and the maid started singing a lullaby in her irritating froggy voice. The baby wailed more. ‘shes hungry, feed her’ said my aunt.

I looked at everyone and realized oh that’s my duty. The baby was bought to my side, finally. All the men in the room immediately vanished. And the woman looked at me like I was about to do a product demonstration. That is the thing with Indian families, nothing is a secret with the woman folk after a baby is born, its like you grow up in one day. You are treated equal like your aunts and mothers even if you were served food in the first round only a year back! And suddenly kids stop calling you ‘chechi’, it turns into aunty. Recently at a family function a cousin of my husband even made her daughter who must be in her late teens call me aunty. I wanted to smack her- the mother I mean. I felt the woman did it on purpose. But then what do you have kids for, if not to get even I made mine call her daughter aunty too. 😉
I think that sufficed her.

So coming back to feb 8th of 2010, the day was ending, finally. I was still in iv tubes so I dint need solid food. I still had held baby boo just 3 times and all the times were to feed her. She would open her her eyes feed hungrily, burp and go to sleep. And the frog voiced maid or mom carried her to the cradle. Slowly guests were all leaving. And finally it was just my mom, the maid, me and baby boo. I wanted her to sleep on my side but it was not practical with the tubes and all and to my utter disbelief frogg voice carried her to her bed and started her croaking lullaby. I wanted to tell her to shut up and get out but I never say mean things to people and was in dilemma. I realized I was insanely jealous that my baby was by her side and I wanted to smack her face for doing it. I counted from 100 down to calm myself, to get my breathing normal and told myself that I was tired from the operation and I needed some sleep and closed my eyes as I felt tears coming to my eyes. And then, that very moment I heard a wail and realized the baby had started crying. Frog face hit the note in the lullaby to a higher pitch and the baby wailed higher too. She got up from her bed and started walking rocking the baby but the wailing never stopped. Nothing seemed to stop the baby’s cries. Finally I asked her to place the baby by my side.

And as soon as she was on my side the crying stopped like a switch was pressed. In 2 minutes she was gurgling and looking and somehow cuddling to me. It felt like a strong statement from her telling me that we will always belong together and I belong only to you. I held her close with my free hand and we just lay there absorbed in each other, in the dim hospital light. I admired her perfectly round head and soft hair, the softness of her chubby cheeks and I kissed her forehead and realized for the first time in my life that this was the smell of innocence and eternal love.

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The best Onam in my memory.

Onam always brought the best memories from my childhood. It ranges from an excited childhood where all of us friends (me and my monkey gang as we were refered by elders 😉 in Willington island used to wake up early and go flower hunting with little bamboo baskets in tow, compete with each other in making the best pookalam, the temple visits in groups mainly to show off  the new onakodi (new dress for onam), and back to a house or a row of houses that smelled too delicious of various curries and savouries in the making.

I always feel that the longest wait on Thiruvonam is from the time after breakfast to the time the ‘ela’ (banana leaf) is laid down for lunch and the nilavilakku (oil lamp) is lit. Having followed Brahmin traditions we always served the sweet payasam first followed by the rest of the curries. Sadya is alwsys an elaborate affair on Onam. It goes on 3 or 4 courses. First the rice is had with parippu(dal),ghee and sambhar. The next course is had with pulissery. After that comes the course with rasam and finaly curd. And ending it with 2 cups of different flavoured payasams and everyone in the house sleeps for the rest of the day. Wish everyday was onam. 🙂

When i was small, my father was a sailor in merchant navy who was usualy never home on Onam. One of my best memories with him is when I was in class 2 or 3. It was not onam. I dont even remember which month it was. But guess it was around november or December as mornings were foggy and cold. We were living in a rented house in Vypin island then which I used to call as ‘Violet house’ because of the dark violet painted walls it adorned. It was a small red tiled roof house with a small sit out and a cute little front yard. There were suppottas, guavas, and bougen villas in the front yard. I even had a small swing on the guava tree. Being an only child was not a great way to live in childhood but I had many friends in the neighbourhood and also had a parrot who talked and 2 yellow chickens that year. So life was pretty lively. 😉

But that  morning I woke up and not seeing any of my usual friends roaming around I decided to play alone. I dont remember if it was holidays or just a weekend. I was aimlessly plucking leaves and flowers for the usual game of cooking ‘kanji and curry’ little girls were so fond of playing back then when my father who had just come back from him morning walk asked what I was doing. Without thinking I told him I was planning to play Onam, going to make a pookalam and sadya too. He looked at me for sometime and asked if he could join.I was more than happy because my mother never played with me and it was a rare thing to have grown ups play with me then. I readily agreed.

Soon we both were collecting flowers , me in my little bamboo flower basket and he in a plastic cover. We plucked flowers first from our garden, next from our neighbours garden, then from the roadsides (it was a village and flowers grew everywer) and also from the riverside a little way down the lane. Our front yard was paved with white sand and he drew a design with a small stick and we started filling it with different coloured flowers.

When my amma came out and saw that we were making a Pookalam in December t she asked if we both had gone mad 😉 to which my dad said what was life without a little madness. If he couldnt be with us to celebrate Onam, then we should celebrate Onam when he was there. I think my amma also became a little emotional on that because she sent for our domestic helps to come and soon started preperations for a sadya. 🙂

Meanwhile our pookalam  was getting bigger and better. Some of my friends who were passing by had come to watch first with interest and soon they also joined in the fun. We decorated it with wild cherries,  young leaves of coconut, and there were all kinds of flowers and colours in it. It was the biggest pookalam I had ever put in our house.(not yet broken so far). I was so happy that I was jumping up and down with joy.

Soon word got around that we were celebrating onam in our house. My fathers brothers and familes who lived nearby also came to our house knowing this and soon it was like a festival !The womanfolks inside in the kitchen and dining room cooking and laghing, men having fun and laughing louder and we kids playing and running around everywhere in between! Someone made a fire in the backyard and soon there was smell of banana chips frying in the air. Soon banana leaves were cut from plantains in the backyard, the pulpaya was laid down and the nilavilaku was lit. As a tradition, men folk and children had sadya first and later the woman had. After the sadya we all just collapsed whereever we found places and slept till evening. After waking up we all went to the beach which was right behind my dads ancestrol home a few kilometers away and had so much fun in the beach and the water. It was the bestest onam ever in my life though it was not really Onam and also one of the most beautiful days of my childhood days with my family and relatives.

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