Bolo Durga Mai ki……. JOY

“Sing like no one is listening, dance like no one is watching, and love like you’ve never been hurt.”

That is what my facebook fortune cookie said today morning. Amazing start to the day.

Back from my trip to Kolkata, I had precisely two hours to SETTLE and immediately had to get on with the backlog of work that had accumulated since my holiday and since there has been no stop…… But I am glad I had the opportunity to pause for a few days before resuming

The highlights have been my detoxification from internet…….. which was looooong overdue and I am glad to say that I am finally successful. I am no longer obsessed with the net and have other things in life besides virtual friends…. like real people for a change. I finally made real friends and am catching up with lots of others over cups of tea and coffee. Personal interaction is making me happy……. the pain also seems very less…….. guess I finally found a way to cope with the arthritis. It does come back, but I think acceptance relieves the pressure and after one full year I feel as though I am finally back for good……. Hubby thinks I have my eyes back which should be something because Ma commented that they are cloudy all the time these days.

My Degree college students are good….. really good and it is intellectually stimulating to think beyond the box and do things…….. boring things in a new way….. that makes it challenging. My Diploma class is lacking and I am having to go to the basics. Considering that I don’t have much time with them and they the fact that are expecting miracles, I am not so sure about achieving this. I am putting in my best and keeping my fingers crossed for the rest.

The rest is just ordinary and…… THE USUAL.

I met my previous batch and it was so good to see them again….. MY KIDS!!!

Today in the degree college I lost my temper. I don’t like losing my temper. It takes out any kind of energy that I possess and in the end I am totally drained out and tired. It so happened that the degree college class has 50 students and 99% of them are Malayalees. These women are constantly chattering and when it is in Malayalam……. it is like somebody is doing a remake of BREATHLESS….. no full stop, no comma. It is like sparrows lots and lots of them chattering into your ear non-stop. I can almost feel the sound of it vibrating inside my ears and my brain….. going from the cerebrum to the cerebellum to the medulla oblongata…… to the auditory area then coming back to the temporal lobe and then back again. I could feel every single piece of my brain. Then I lost it and threw the chalk in hand on one girl…… no damage…… SHE SMILES and puts out her tongue but the others continue!!! (secret: nobody noticed but after that I reached for the duster…… now that would have been something…… you would have all seen me in the newspapers and the news channels).

Nobody listened and I was back to square one. I soon realised that it was a question of Patience and that I should be more tolerant so I instead I decided to do something constructive.…... one word…… one single word….. it got me total silence…. EXTEMPORE!!!! hehehehehehehe

As they say “Don’t get mad……. GET EVEN

Tomorrow is the first day of Durga Puja. It is that time of the year when we await the coming of Durga Ma and everybody seems to be preparing for it. Because of Dida’s demise we wont be celebrating the festival this year. But I am really hoping to be able to go home even if only for a weekend.

When I was young, when Puja was just round the corner, we would suddenly have a lot of bengali songs being played at home and Ma humming to popular bengali numbers….. I guess she was homesick and remembered her days of Puja back in Kolkata with her family. Everybody tells me that they miss the Puja back at Kolkata and that it is very beautiful etc etc….. and usually they all end up getting nostalgic and reminiscing the sounds of Dhak and chanting of the Chandi. I have never been there or seen that so must be good!!!

Though I am not officially celebrating the festival, Ma and sisters have already bought me clothes……. so I have three new dresses for puja plus the ones I have bought for myself. I hope I am able to wear them for Puja. I havent been to Ma’s in months!!! Puja without Ma and Pa and sisters and their family is like totally SAD!!! Leaving you with the sounds of Dhak  and dhunuchi dance from youtube.

Happy Durga Puja and Navratri to all of you and your families!!!
May Ma Durga bring joy and happiness to one and all!!!

Appearance does matter!!!

Exam time and I feel like the jallad again setting paper to ruin the happiness of lots of people but honestly it is one of the perks of teaching. At least it is to me!!! Today I finished setting the last paper and I really feel so relieved. I went to college to submit the paper and I met my kids. Honestly I don’t think I can ever forget them. It was so nice to see them again!!! I was all dewy eyed and emotional when I left from there!!! I think I truly love them!!!

I was totally confounded by the sudden outburst of comments today when I opened my mail. I received comments from dhir, sucharita and varunavi and it made my day. The fear of every writer is “not being read”…… believe me the feeling is suicidal. With my feeds all worked up I was feeling just that until I reminded myself that I am no writer!!! Thank god for small mercies of the lord!!! Else like hoards of others I would have to dwell on the opinion of other people!!! definitely not my cuppa!!!

OK first of all a thing that I have been wanting to write since day before yesterday but I just did not have the time for it. It was something I saw……. rather someone I saw!!! Koena Mitra in Jhalak dikhlaja. Man she looks like a martian from some other planet!!! She is definitely a science miracle but I must say not much art involved. She looks like a quilt!!! she has been stitched and restitched. The entire geography of her face has been changed. All because she wanted to become more beautiful than she was and according to me she WAS very beautiful. I loved her in saki saki!!! Now she looks like a thanksgiving turkey all stuffed up with gel and silicone.

That brings us to the question…….. are looks important??? How much of importance do we give to appearance??? Is it so important that we undergo torture just to get into some kind of shoes or fit a role. We get stuffed up with god-knows-what and things are removed or put into our temple of a body. All of this to look good!!! Koena Mitra is just unlucky that her surgery went kaput else nobody would have realized that she had reconstruction work done on her face and she would be another bong beauty to look out for.

A friend of mine once told me it was only the packaging that people ever noticed. I never believed it simply because that wasn’t my funda for life. In fact the people I even had crushes on all my life were rather weird looking or normal looking. Nobody was drop dead gorgeous or even anywhere close to Hritik or Tom Cruise or George Clooney material…… Thank God for that!!! In the arranged marriage market too girls are treated like commodities up for sale and most often than not they are judged solely on looks and looks only.

Being fat is also part of it. People including me spend lots of time and money just to lose weight. But in most cases being fat causes a lot of health ailments and is not good. I never bothered about myself being fat until I started having serious problems with my health. When I was younger I was never obese (I wore a 26 jeans then) but family called me fat. Today I think that they should have had their heads examined and believe me I tell that to them. I gained weight because of some health problem and then the weight by itself started to cause health problems. I got into an infinite loop and the only way out was to lose weight. Once I lost weight the health factor was no longer a concern.

We always give a lot of importance to first impressions. What can we come to know about a person on first impressions apart from looks??? In my career as an HR person interviewing people, I can say one thing. First impressions are not always right. You make a set of ten questions on which you judge the candidate and believe me most of the times they aren’t really right. A person can use only one thing there….. intuition. The feel good ones are separated from the not so feel good ones and technically round pegs are matched with round holes…… that’s it. But would you give a guy who is dressed badly another chance. You might think that the person does not think that the job is important enough to dress properly and the people who dress up like a peacock for an interview are marked not very serious or professional.

My friend who heads a marketing division once told me that appearances in the professional front are very necessary. You have to dress up for the job-in-hand. Would you ever take a sales person who is dressed shabbily seriously??? Koena Mitra did the same. She was dressing for the job. You cant wear a lehenga to work or for that matter wearing cargoes to work are a catastrophe. What is necessary is to understand how far you are ready to go for your job.

Smita Patil and Deepti Naval and Vaijayantimala might not have done item numbers but they were good actresses and they looked beautiful. In the corporate work front you might not wear new clothes but you can dress neatly that is what actually counts……. I don’t think Armanis are necessary for that.

Its all about how far you want to go!!! All in all I think the most important thing is to be comfortable with your own looks and for people who have a problem with your looks……….. let them go to hell!!! They don’t deserve anything from you not even anger!!!

I love teaching as well !!!

Yesterday my blog did not have any of my favorite widgets (read music widget) working…… Man I was so depressed!!! I could not think so I just put up some very nice stuff that my friends had sent to me. But honestly I could not imagine not having music in my blog….. so much that these days I just cant do without Bryan Adams, Celion Dion, Kishore and Bethany crooning while I type!!! So I decided to install a standby just in case!!! specially with blogger going into mood swings worse than my PMS ones!!!

I removed a lot of widgets from my blogs thanks to my blog getting linked to sites which are not to my liking and my site got a lot faster. In fact yesterday without the music widget it was even faster!!! In my pursuit for knowledge as to what was happening to blogger I came upon some articles which said that some of the widgets were banned in some of the sites. I decided to take the intelligent route and decided to install an additional music widget by google!!! you just cant take chances these days!!!

Yesterday, I completed my stint of teaching English!!! I was completely touched and heartbroken…… touched by the love that my students showered on me yesterday and heartbroken because I would not see them again…… yeah for the exams but then it is not the same!!!

I had never ever taken teaching as an option in my career. I always thought that teachers are born but I was so wrong!!! My students made a teacher of me!!! I have to say that this was my second best job in my career after CASP!!! All my life I never considered teaching as a career option. I would sometimes dabble in corporate training and do some teaching in management college….. believe me it is not the same!!! They are poles apart!!! In management college, the environment is totally professional also at corporate training.

Here I almost felt like a mother !!! Just like in CASP, I always mentioned my wards as my kids!!! same here I always thought of them as my kids. I never ever felt like that in management college. It is more like imparting information to colleagues. This was exhilarating!!! I simply loved it!!! But then things that you love are like ice cream they have limited shelf life so they have to be savoured and it is to be remembered at all times that it is going to end soon.

Within a week’s time I knew all their names and also what each ones strong and weak points were. I always did like English!!! but I have to say in school I did not like the structured way it was taught to us. So did not take the conventional route of teaching English but a totally unconventional one wherein we just spoke – all of us and individually removed inhibitions that the kids had and we developed as a team!!! We also covered everything that the curriculum had!!! The kids really loved it and it was not straining for any of them. I have to say that D.Y. Patil college was really supportive of the whole thing. Had they interfered in my work I would have left!!!

I joined CASP (Community Aid and Sponsorship Programme) when I was in the middle of tremendous corporate politics and I was so fed up of it. I was heading the HR team at that time and management wanted me to get into the politics bigtime and play it the dirty way not only that….. within days I was also in midst of a strike and lots of other dirty stuff that I don’t think anybody would want to enter!!! I did it but I was so depressed that I did not want to continue working in HR. I put in my papers and was wallowing in self-pity when my best friend dragged me out of the house and took me to CASP. She was a social worker there and I was taken in for a three month stint. I loved it there so much that at the end of one year when they were going to renew my contract I had to leave on personal grounds!!! We were both apologetic, both CASP and me…… more me than them!!!

I looked forward to every morning!!! Going to the community talking to people about their problems….. being part of community activities etc. The best thing I liked was kids!!! I used to spend days just surrounded by kids….. playing with them, watching over their food, studies etc etc on a daily basis. 80% of my kids were HIV positive….. so I wanted to make whatever time they had left as happy as I could. It was a very nice experience….. CASP had given me to take my own kids so I had the liberty of doing just that….. and I was a success at that. I loved it there!!!

There was no politics there and if there was I was not part of it. My job was mostly in the field…. in the community and I saw to it that I did not get harassed by anyone and so I was happy!!! just like at D.Y. Patil!!!

Brainwaves usually come from unexpected quarters…… so did this one!!! This came surprisingly from Dhir who had once told me to go and teach kids!!! I thought he had gone nuts. But it stayed with me and when the offer came I agreed. I don’t think I would have agreed in other circumstances!!! but since the thought was already in my mind I simply said yes!!! So I think thanks are due to DHIR!!! thanks again buddy!!! I owe you big time!!! All in all it was another satisfying stint in my career….. so now I am going back to my beloved research and gymming full time.

Just another day 2 (poetry)

hey there !!!

Yesterday’s work-out session left me totally drained so much that I had to resort to analgesics to sleep. Oblivion came much much later at 1:00 in the night……. that’s when hubs finally returned. Since both of us seemed to be burning the candle in both ends……. and I have the option to take it slow…… I decided to do just that. I am taking a holiday today and going to do fullto chilling today. Hubs is working for more that 18 hours these days. He only comes home to sleep…… not to my liking I must say…….. so I am getting him to take a break as well…….. that will be on Mahashivratri. I will be fasting that day.

Yesterday, at the gym, there was this lady who works out with me…… she is older…… around fifties. She refused to do shoulder press because her biceps were getting hard. I mean that’s the reason why we are all there. The way she said it, had me in complete splits. I could not stop laughing whole of yesterday. Even yesterday when I was relating the incident to hubs I was laughing in spite of both my heads throbbing (that’s what it felt that I had two heads).

Poetry……. you can either hate it or love it. I have rarely seen people be indifferent to poetry. Poetry is the language of the soul…….. it comes from the heart to rest in your soul until you attain the feeling of bliss. I know a lot of people who absolutely hate poetry so much that when you mention the word itself it gives them the jitters. A very good friend of mine was just that. How much ever I tried to make poetry interesting to him…… it just would not make sense to him. I would recommend all the best of poetry ever written to him but naaaah I could not change his ideas about poetry.

As for me I used to dabble in poetry when I was in college. In fact, the inspiration for romantic poetry would come to me in the most unromantic of situations…… for e.g. I wrote some of the best bits in Nanwani’s (whom we had nicknamed Dragon) business Administration lecture. I am not so good though……. but like to write. These days I have lost it. I cant see anything poetic around me so I resort to the likes of Shakespeare, Wordsworth and Shelley. I find them more satisfying than anything I have ever written…… I even have a blog totally dedicated to everything that is pink and rosy in life.

The reason I am raving and ranting about poetry is that yesterday I was teaching my kids poetry appreciation and man it was the most disgusting experience at first, with all of them yawning and almost going off to sleep……. so I tried to hit on their nerve with romance…… Shakespeare…….. That worked for a few who looked wide eyed at me but the cynical ones did not move……… Ultimately I decided to use my bramhastra….. the ultimate weapon…….. story telling!!! Theodre Tilte and Anabelle woke one and all. Everybody woke up and it was again the same euphoric feeling. I love the eyes of innocence. I just cant have enough of it. The wide-eyed innocent look is so amazing I just cant get enough of it. Ultimately when I was doing Lochinvar they were all awake and were even contributing!!!! Even Rudyard Kipling got to them. Amazing na !!!!I ended yesterday with Owl and the pussy cat and they all left smiling.

My kids actually love poetry after all!!!!

It was so important for me to get them to share my love for poetry that I had to take this extra mile. On bleak days when nothing really works……. Poetry warms the soul. It gives you hope….. the strength for a new beginning. It is inspiring…… it is funny….. it makes you cry……. it makes you awe struck…. it is the language of the heart….. a place where every thing is pure. Poetry is a whole world by itself!!!!

For people who hate poetry………. You dont have any idea what you are missing in life!!!!

Just another day

Laid-back trainer is not so laid-back after all. Guess the first day was just the trailer of the whole movie. The trailer being the best scenes put together……. with Mr Trainer being politeness personified and giving me lots of room to breathe…… so much that I thought life was suddenly going to be rosy and pink…….. another shattered dream!!! Yesterday my trainer made me work-out like a dog…… or is it supposed to be pig….. he knew just all the places when I was cheating and caught me cheating and put me straight……. I also tried the blank look !!!! The ones my kids give to me when I catch them doing something totally untoward. Didn’t work with him!!!! But his reaction taught me how to deal with the blank look……. Another jump to my learning curve!!!!

The end result……… I was aching all over……. could not lift my hands or move my legs……. ordered take home BUT……… I really really slept nice after a very very long time. Guess I will lose the perpetual black bags under my eyes after all……. someday!!!! I just hope that it comes before long. I am missing my “dead sleep” in which I sleep through earthquakes and alarm clocks and people calling me and screaming at me and also water throwing!!!! These days the alarm wakes me so does hubs snoring and my neighbour’s reverse horn. Once lost you cant get back the same quality of sleep again….. I guess!!!!

I also had a session with the dietician and physiotherapist with my blood reports. Apparently it seems that I am not eating enough….. not new to me. But man I just don’t have the time to eat…… I hate eating. My Haemoglobin count is rock bottom and I have high blood pressure……. not new as well…… BUT good news is that I don’t have thyroid or blood sugar!!!! People just don’t appreciate the good things……. including hubs. Why don’t people be more positive and see the brighter and better aspects of life. Result I am to make a chart/report of all that I eat and all my physical activities daily for a month and then changes will be made in my diet. Till then I am to eat Palak……. good old spinach…… three times a week and beet root and carrots and lots of salads………… UGHHHH!!!! The whole disgusting package put together!!!! So much that by the end of the gymming session I am sure to grow bunny ears with all that spinach and carrot and beetroot. Maybe I should start measuring my ears as well to find out if they are actually growing……. do they still use the vernier calipers????

The dietician’s counselling sounded so familiar….. same language that Ma uses. I have to find out whether Ma has been conspiring with the dietician. They are talking the same language. I have to find out if he has her number or vice versa. Only plus point here is that the dietician wont come home to find out whether I am really eating it or no. So I can cheat a little here and a little there!!!!

Yesterday I talked non-stop for two hours!!!! Can you believe that!!!! After that for the rest of the day I took vocal rest!!!! My kids are supposed to give a speech and they are going to be evaluated by me for their exams. The mention of speeches and speaking before an audience gave them the jitters that I expected and the reaction was totally predictable. Resultant I spend the whole lecture talking non-stop about topics ranging from Indian independence to Indian economy to recession to politics to elections to arts and culture to hair color and soaps and cosmetics to capital market to working capital to globalisation to robotics to advances in medicine to latest in cancer to malaria to Gandhiji to Shahrukh……. etc etc…… whew!!!! I went on and on and on. Man, honest I have never ever flitted from so many topics non-stop.

What kept me going was the look in their faces. It was actually addictive. I had no idea I could talk so much on such a varied range of subjects……. another step to self discovery. It was my teaching genes in action. I just cant take credit for it. It was just not me. After two hours of non-stop delivery of something which did not make sense to me alone, I realised I had an audience, of people who were not my students but had stopped to listen. It was amazing. The euphoria was really contagious. For once nobody yawned in class and nobody cribbed about grammar being boring or having come to college at 7:00 in the morning and that they were tired……. etc etc. The lecture was really satisfying to the soul!!!!

All in all a wonderful day yesterday……. more deadlines to meet today……… more iron to pull and push and lots more to do…….. most importantly….. I have to eat!!!!……. TOO MUCH WORK…….. that has been my mantra these days……. but I kinda like it that way…….. just hope I am not burning the candle in both ends…… don’t want to burn out too fast!!!!

CUTTING CHAI AND SUTTA

Its finally raining in Mumbai and the rain gods have finally relented to favour us with their presence and we have the “MUMBAI RAINS” at last.

“RAINS”……. brings mixed emotions today….. one is of being real scared on being reminded of the 2006 floods and cloud bursts….. and the other one of the rains in Pune…… of Sinhagad and of bhajji-tak and cutting chai and sutta…… I miss those so much. Occasionally when i am really into the nostalgia i cant hold myself any longer and leave the confines of my closed environment to that of nature’s bounty. I think a walk in the rain is one of the most beautiful things in the world.

I went to the Pavana dam recently….. Man was it beautiful !!! I was apprehensive!!! as of late anywhere u go in Lonavla, u r surrounded by masses and masses and masses of people. This was different!!! It reminded me so much of my favorite place – sinhagad, that it actually made me miss the place helluva lot. I remember the clouds touching my hair and face and getting wet even though it is not raining at all. I remember the different shades of greens. I remember mist and fog and the beauty of the hills and the ruins of sinhagad….. to me that is paradise !!! I have never felt happier in any other place as it did there…. It is a place that warms my heart on a bleak and depressing day. Just the thought of the place fills my heart with security i very often crave.

Pavana dam was one such place. The dam is situated on top of the hill and unlike my other drives when i was “RIDING” (thts wat u do on a bike… I was told recently…. I always thought i was “DRIVING”) here i was inside a tin ka dibba…. though my husband reminds me very often…. infact every time i say this….. that if it wasnt for the car, i wouldnt have been able to go there……. Even thru the tin ka dibba, man was it beautiful!!! I loved the drive!!! I had the wind breezing through my hair and my face and i really felt alive after a very long time. We crossed small villages, lots of them. We went by the small tubewells where women filled water and the small houses…. I love those !!! They so screech of the simple existence that i always craved for that i couldnt hold back the tears that welled up!!! Of women baking the bhakris and washing vessels……. Simplicity !!! Man…… i love it !!!

We reached the dam and i was stunned to see it!!! It is surrounded on all sides by hills and in the middle is the tranquil water of the Pavana river. It was real beautiful!!! It sort of sucked in all the strain unhappiness and all the worries that i was seething with. I had the best company in the world too!!! Sanjana !!! Can the world get any better ???

Sanjana is rajdeep’s friend’s daughter. She is so cute and so innocent that everytime i meet her i come back with a smile on my face and she so touches the realms of my heart that i cant say anymore. We actually have a conversation for hours and i love the way she so trustingly holds my hand !!! I love the kid and i was so glad to have her for company than anybody else in the world. I think the place became more special to me because of her.

The waterfall in the hills was amazing no i didnt venture into it, but it really looked very enticing and tranquil. I was told that there are boating and other facilities as well there and we could see that the place was getting developed. It was a paradise among the busy cities of pune and mumbai and when u reach there u really dont believe that something so beautiful exists so close to u and it is something that really puts back the peace into ur heart that the city takes away from you. I cant say that the place is the most beautiful place but it is one of the most peaceful place that i have been to of late. I cant rate it as the best place as Sinhagad still reins in my heart but it is BEAUTIFUL!!! Something nature has really spent time in creating. I was told that “there is a lot of peace and happiness in the world enough for everyone” If i believe in this statement, I think this is the place that puts back peace in your heart. The tranquil waters of Pavana, the protective hills which make u feel that nobody and nobody can hurt u, the greenery cools down the aching temples, the cham cham waterfall that sings its melancholy song made me so happy and the rain which destresses u. It is definitely nature at its best.

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