Tuesday, November 30, 2004

A good weekend, a bad end...

Last night, we lost our cell phones. Both of us. Both the phones. One thief. Right in front of my eyes.

Was driving back home at 10.30pm. Thought I should have some fresh air. So rolled the windows down, stretched out, relaxed. Stopped at a traffic signal. The next moment I saw a fat arm sweep in, snatch at the phones on the dashboard and run. I was too shocked.

"Hey, phone... chor.... o my god!!"

Hubby struggled with his seat belt and ran after the thief. But he was gone. I followed with the car. People stared, pointed, looked and stared again. Nobody moved. Not a finger. They just stopped and watched.

Realised it would be futile to go to the cops. Didn't even see the bugger's face. Felt like it was not happening to us. So filmi. It was helplessness, frustration, anger, sweeping both of us. All at once. With long faces, we told each other, it didn't matter. It was perhaps meant to be. Like a tragedy. Uninvited and unprecedented.

We realised we were close to the shop where we usually check out cell phones. Went there, found it open and bought 2 new phones. An expense we could have done without. But had to get on. Now comes the most tiring part. Getting hold of all the numbers. I wept silently over the loss of the 80 plus saved messages that I would never read again. I wept for numbers I perhaps will never find again.

All this after a lovely weekend in a long time. Celebrated bro's birthday with friends not met in ages. Socialized and danced till we were thrown out of the club with its deadline. Spent most of saturday together with bro till he flew out of bbay. Went shopping with hubby, in one of his moods where he wants to buy me everything. Dined out on delicious pizzas and chicken dosas. On lazy Sunday, read for some time, made irish coffee and popped some butter corn, and watched 3 brilliant movies...

... and ended with a nightmare in the night.

The saga continued in the morning with the music room door slamming itself shut. No amount of pushing, shoving or throwing ourselves on it, helped. Not even cruelly twisting the key. I was thankful I wasn't inside. So that calls for axing the door or getting the carpenter to work magic. Or maybe we can just do without the room and the stuff there...

What next? Makes me wonder if we are one of those that can't take too much of a good thing...

Friday, November 26, 2004

Flutivate heals

A long time back, I was told to be careful of fire. By a very wise man. I think he was an astrologer. Since then, at any given point in time, I am happily sporting one or the other burnt mark on assorted parts of my body.

I invite burns. Boiling water on the leg, dipping my 3 fingers into hot oil, little dark spots of oil marks on my arms, oil sprinkles on my face too... strike a match and forget to put it off before the fire reaches my thumb and forefinger... wow! A little shelf in my kitchen permanently houses 'Flutivate', the cure cream for burns.

The usual routine. Carelessly get burnt. Yelp loudly (if hubby is around), he comes running, looks seriously at burn, "where? where?" mouths the usual "I tell you to stay out of the kitchen!", races to get handkerchief, ties ice cubes in it and holds it over burnt area. After some time hands the dripping bundle over to me to hold. Reaches out for Flutivate.

If hubby is not around - no yelp, rush to basin, run water over burn, yank chunk of ice out of freezer and hold it over burn. Apply Flutivate. Then call hubby. "I am coming home. You stay out of the kitchen!"

But thankfully, Flutivate always cures. As good as new. I swear by it. Since that time.

It was Holi day. I hate the messy colours. Hate what it does to the skin. Hide when others invite or come home to get me to play. That day, we locked ourselves well inside the house hoping the neighbours would think we were already out. When the screams, laughter and music got too loud, I peered below, cautiously, from my 4th floor window. It was a riot. Couldn't recognize anyone. They all had black, purple or red faces. Colours everywhere. Four humans were carrying a fifth (I assumed it was a human), each holding one limb, towards the swimming pool. Splash!!! The poor thing was in. The clear water changed colour. Everybody was hysterically clapping, jumping or laughing. I took my chance. Got a bucket of water and emptied it below. It felt good.

Thought we too should celebrate. "Puris for lunch?" asked hubby. "Why not?" Rolled them out. Was about to drop the first puri in to fry, instead accidently dropped a small glass I was holding into the oil. It broke. Created a splash. Most of the boiling oil was on my face and neck. Screamed (much much louder than the usual yelp!), hubby sprints and freeze, recovering rush for ice, not enough in the freezer, run to neighbours, they are out, run to the floor below and the one below that, pound on every door on the way, finally come back with 2 big boxes of ice.

It's hurting and burning like hell. Still screaming, "I am scarred for life!" Hubby goes to buy medicines. Drives around like crazy. Every store is shut. Comes back with neighbours in tow. They realize we were home all this time. And so the suspicious bucket of water was indeed hurled from our window. I try to look calm and maintain my dignity. Everybody peers closely. "Should be fine." I look hurt. "Okay, let's take you to the hospital." I crawl into the neighbour's car with snow-white seats (hubby is too shaken to drive) one hand holding the ice pack to my face. A round nurse smiles and nods. A mean shot in the bum and some cream was prescribed. I felt better. By evening, I had a red burning face. Go out for dinner.

Next day, the swollen part becomes darker. I go to office. Couldn't miss out on the sympathy. Covered half my face with a dupatta to dramatically unveil to curious colleagues. Hubby spends the day enquiring about doctors. Takes appointments with 2 of them. The first one takes some time to see us. So we rush to another part of town to meet the second. That was a good decision. She's the best. Took one look. Wrote down some medicines, Flutivate among them.

In 2-3 days the skin started to dry, got darker. I was soon roaming around ala Zeenat Aman in Satyam Shivam Sundaram. Hubby started enquiring about plastic surgeons, just in case. Then the skin was peeling off. Bit by bit. Scary. Finally every bit of burnt skin was off and I had a new face. As good as my old. Not a shred of the ugly evidence left. All in less than a month.

I have been refering my doctor to everyone. Most of my friends have been to her and are happy. She doesn't want to keep meeting her patients over and over again and does a lot of consulting on the phone (when most others insist you stop by, even when not really required, just so the fees be paid). I have been prescribing Flutivate to one and sundry, as far as Dubai and New York too. And they have all thanked me. Recently, it helped my mum's stomach heal fast when she spilled hot water over it.

Must tell the wise man, when and if I meet him next, that Flutivate could fit into his astrology as a strong must-have, when he next makes a prediction, similar to mine.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

plenty of conversation
to and fro
memories revisited
the old seaside
the old sunset
the carefree laughter
the comfortable snuggle
a shared dinner
a shared drink
nothing seems to matter
a link tightens
a hug affirms
a kiss seals
for evermore

Winter chills!

I experienced winter today. A long winding road, lined with trees. Hills and the wilderness beyond. A nip in the air as I cruised through. I could see the sunrays filtering through the trees and the foggy (read hazy) crisp winter air. Green fields, lofty trees, a bunch of plucked bougainvillea lying on the roadside. All this on my way to work. Who would believe I live in Bombay! Luckily, the place I live in, the route I take to get to work and the place I work in, all give me the best of Bombay. A beautiful city.

Friday, November 19, 2004

A birthday again!

Another day. Another birthday. It's indeed a beautiful feeling. Everybody has been nice. Some unexpected people have wished. Some expected have not. Not to sulk. There will always be another one next year. And it gives me something to remind them of and make them feel guilty the whole year through.

With so much of excitement and exhaustive socialising during the diwali weekend, I had my fill and was content to let the birthday slip by, unannounced. It is not to be...

Hubby as usual sprung his surprise. I tried telling him patiently that when you throw the same surprise every year, it's no longer a surprise. I was dragged out of bed at midnight. Wished with full gusto, could hear loud western classical music (his favourite), made to blow the little candle on the cake (I had already had a peek at the cake in the fridge before dinner and was just running my forefinger over the cream to lick it, when I heard hubby's footsteps and quickly slammed the fridge door shut), then I cut the cake as hubs sang. Post that, he ran to get the carefully wrapped and hidden gift and card. The gift which is always some piece or pieces of clothing which as usual will be exchanged by me the next day.

Read the card. Must admit, it's cute. I especially love the stuff he writes himself. Then asked him for the shop where he got the pants or capris or whatever the gift is called. He said I looked cute in it. Hmm... don't particularly like his idea of 'cute'. Then he said, French models wear it. That sealed my decision. I carefully peeled it off my body and put it back in the bag. "So what else does this stupid shop have? Something that I can get in exchange for this?"

He opened a bottle of red wine and linked his arm with mine to have the first sip. I did the same. Finally I could go back to bed. In the morning, I was woken by the the bouquet delivery boy. No surprise again but I just love flowers. Then he made me my favourite breakfast - eggs done just right, hot garlic bread and orange juice. Not used to eating so much on other days when I rush to catch my office bus, I haven't been able to eat anything else the whole day.

At work too, people called me everything from sun to sunflower to just cute. Curtsy, my bright bright yellow dress. I think people are dying to put on their goggles when they face me except for the fact that it's my birthday and they had made up their minds not to be rude, at least today. I was also surprised at the numerous gifts that have come to me from the colleagues. Namely scented candles, scented candles, a candle stand, a lamp shade, a few other things and more candles. This is leading me to ask around, if my life looks like a big black hole that I need so much light around!

Now hubby wants the whole lot of people who wished me to come home for a party. That's his idea. "Call the ones who remembered and wished you. I am organizing something." His organizing skills scare me. He goes to extremes to make it a nice evening. And for him, that's quite an effort. I don't want him doing all that. Bro too has flown into the country, though not in my city yet. I wouldn't mind an encore of those old birthdays in the hostel, when the family dinners happened. It was a tradition to spend birthdays together, at least us siblings.

Sigh! So many birthdays till now... so many years gone by. With people wishing me many more, I hope I can go through each one of them with all my favourite people around and all the surprises I have so come to love.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Happy Diwali & Eid Mubarak

I wanted to put up a few pics of the festive mood in office. Tried this and that but am lost on how to go about it. Everything is so beautiful and everybody is looking so nice, it's a wonderful feeling.

A Laxmi Puja is due in some time and then everybody breaks for the 4 day weekend. With a smile of their lips and joy in their hearts!!

A very Happy Dipavali to everyone. And of course, Eid Mubarak ho!

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Public views

This little space which I never thought I would have the nerve to share with anyone is open now. I started out thinking some things are better left alone, left to be... free... unheard and unknown - like my blog.

Today, I don't know why but the wish to share, to feel, to reach out, to be a part of, has taken over me. And impulsively, I am tearing away all the privacy settings that bound this page all this while. Not that there ever was anything earthshattering to read or even gifted writing skills to admire. Like always, it was my comfort level that came in the way of sharing a page that I thought was so personal.

So here I am. Out of my hole and squinting at so much light around! HAPPY DIWALI!!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Here comes the season of lights and pretty sights

Once again, it's that time of the year when the air is filled with festive happiness. When homes are spruced, the lights are out, the colourful lanterns hang gayly and domestic helps get their acts together. It's the time when the smell of mouthwatering besan laddoos made in desi ghee, wafting from every house in the neighbourhood, drives you crazy!

I love this season. Actually, it starts much before with Ganesh Chaturthi, then comes Durga Puja and Navratri. Just when you are rested from long days of revelry, arrives Diwali with a bang coupled with sis's wedding anniv, which happens to be today. Then to fill the few days in between till Christmas and new year excitement, my birthday conveniently chips in, followed by bro's! And now all this is about to begin. It's here! It's now!

This time, I want to avoid shopping for myself. I had an overdose with too many people buying me too many clothes and stuff. And finally I feel I have enough! As long as the feeling lasts, I am going to use my money for other productive things! Buy gifts for my maid and her kids, buy little things for the house - diyas, scented candles, little sparkling lights to put on the balconies, lots of sweets to pass around, a few boxes for the orphanage near my house, take-home gifts for friends who drop in... Ahhh! It feels good thinking of all I can do.

At office, the mood is upbeat. Almost secretive meetings happening on both floors. Separately. Each trying to do better. Money collected and raw materials bought. The artistic ones are putting their best ideas and best hands forward. Cutting, pasting, painting as colourful paper crackers and lanterns are taking shape. By tomorrow, they will be done putting them up. The flowers will also arrive and vibrant rangolis will adorn the entrances. Some unsuspecting colleagues asked me to help with the rangoli. Before I could rejoice, they realised my skills weren't worth it. So I am generally hanging about, doling out useless advice and gigling hard with everyone.

I am also looking forward to the 4 day weekend. There's going to be lunches and dinners at home. Friends coming over, poojas, sweets, card sessions till dawn. Oh, how I love these times! I am against bursting crackers but it's never a lesser Diwali. Family, friends, food and fun... what more could I ask for? God has been kind. Touch Wood.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Fasting and feasting

Yesterday was Karva Chauth and for the first time in my life I kept a day long fast, sans water too. And like all my friends who did not 'fast' reminded me, yes, it's not in our custom to observe the Karva Chauth fast. But I remember the first thing that ma-in-law whipped out of her suitcase, when she came visiting just after we got married. A strainer or 'chalni' as the round netted thing is called! I accepted it with all reverence. Finally the gifted 'chalni' came to use yesterday as I peered through it, first at the moon and then at hubby.

It started as a normal Sunday. I sat down with the morning paper. And then I saw the ads, trying their best to sell everything from cars to diamonds, in glory of skipped meals by wives all over the country. Gosh! Just in time!! I had always liked this custom and also wanted to do something special for the husband sometimes. Unfortunately, earlier I would only remember the day when I smacked my lips after a satisfying breakfast.

I immediately announced, "I am fasting today. Karva Chauth."Hubby almost fainted. Quickly recovering, he tried his best to convince me to do it next year."I don't like this! It's a great thought but please eat now!" His eyes were fixed on the grand Sunday breakfast spread before him. He had already had a mouthful. But he got up in a huff declaring he too wouldn't eat if I behaved like that!

"No! No! I am NOT eating if you aren't! Why don't you also eat breakfast? Then we can start the fast!"

I made him see reason. "You have already eaten a bit and had a bottle of water. You can't undo it. So eat well now and skip the other meals for the rest of the day. And anyway, it's not your fast. It's mine."

"Hmm... are you sure?"

"Absolutely. And we will have a great dinner in the night!"

"When? When? At what time??" He was more interested in knowing what time he would be getting his next meal. At one time, he even offered to show me the moon in the morning itself.

So there I was with a parched throat fending off calls from friends, who coaxed me to sip water, cause they did. Then off to meet parents at sis's place. As I entered I realised it wasn't a good idea. They were baking. Bigtime. And the aroma... was killing.

So while everybody went from one meal to another, I murdered my hunger and thirst and refused to eat. Hubby called after a meeting and said all he could think of, while sitting with his client, was food. Now there are days when he goes without lunch too, and doesn't even feel hungry . But yesterday, he was dying - his words!

As I got used to an empty stomach, I also realised the amount of food humans consume in an entire day. From little snacks to big ones, full and fuller meals. I was wondering do we really need all that or is it sheer gluttony that makes us go on and on...

Finally, the day came to an end. But the moon of course showed no signs of emerging. It got difficult to sit doing nothing. As I rolled out puris, dolled up like a lady my mother would have been proud of, hubby ran up to the terrace several times in case we missed the moon from our balcony. As it got late, we got desperate. Frantic SMSing and phone calls happened, to the far east too, in case the moon appeared there.

Then P, my friend from Pune, called. "Anumita, stopping SMSing and look at the moon! It's gorgeous!!" And sure enough, I had never seen such a magical sight. A huge orange ball was rising, in slow motion over the hills... I called out to hubs and we stood transfixed. It was a sight we'll remember for the rest of our lives. Maybe it was the ritual involved, maybe it was the much waited for moon on a special day, but the moment was bewitching and the feeling overwhelming. I wanted it all to last forever. Suddenly I was glad I was part of the fasting half of wives. I was glad to be part of this magic.