Friday, January 14, 2005

Looking forward to...

I am looking forward to my holiday. From someone who travelled all 12 months in a year as a child to a few odd trips today (that too, if I am lucky), I have definitely NOT come a long way.

In spite of telling ourselves we need to take off every 3 months to retain our sanity, it has not really worked that way. So besides having a damn good reason to attribute the senile and quirky behaviour to, we have not gathered too many holiday stories! More work, yes. More money, no. The ratio is never proportionate.

I shouldn't complain. I had taken off for 3 weeks a couple of months back. But it was without the hubby. For the first time in our married lives, we were whispering 'good night' over the phone. It wasn't fun.

Now, what makes it special is having the hubby alongside. One of those rare long holidays. Together. Somehow, the same place visited with different people can evoke different feelings. Whenever I went anywhere, I always promised myself to come back. In time. With the man in my life. And today there is a whole lot piled up to do together, to see together, to experience together.

They come to me in flashes. A little surrealistic. Too quick but clear. And I know we have to be there. Some time.

Watching the full orange moon rise through the trees in the tea gardens and wishing time stood still.

On a moonlit night, sitting on the little stair in the house where I grew up. A million stars all around and fireflies dancing. It's a magical feeling.

Talking a walk by the pond and watching the silvery moonlight reflected in the watch as little silver fish play around.

Driving back in the night, from a full day of fun in the village. Moonlight on my face as I drift in and out of a blissful state of being.

Climbing the steep road in a little village near Shimla, singing aloud and keeping warm.

Being the only people (8 of us) watching a late night show in a little place near Meerut, and wondering what was the film about.

Waiting at midnight for the milk cake to be made in some place near the station in Allahabad and having the first lot.

Waking up to the first day of snow in Kulu. And hurrying back to Shimla as the snow increased steadily and made it difficult to drive back.

Sitting around a bonfire in Solan on some new year's eve and feeling melancholy amidst friends.

Waking before dawn to admire the sunrise at Mt. Abu and feeling a vital part of me missing.

Walking along the beach against a crimson sky, on a lonely evening in Chennai... the mood is difficult to express.

Watching movies at the theatres in every place I visit. Lying about my age when caught on the adult films.

Inpulsively, sitting on a cycle rickshaw and going off to see the town in Mathura, when the train made an unexpected halt of 4 hours. Needless to say, I never made it back on time and missed the train.

Watching in facination the spot where Rani Padmini committed Jauhar and slipping into a mystical bygone era.

Sandunes in the deserts in Rajasthan. Buying water and being thankful for it.

Little villages, full of romance, each telling a story.

Yeah, all these flash and clash in the mind. And I am hoping to get through a teenie weenie bit of this pile, this time.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

white face

I hopped into a bus this morning. Lovely ride. In the crisp winter air, the bus sped through the tree lined road, sans any traffic.

There was something continuously hitting me gently on the head. On the right side. I turned to see a bag attached to a hand holding on to my seat railing. It belonged to a woman with a white face. She was looking at me... no, she was looking through me. A dazed look on her face. I let her be. And let the bag continue to hit my head.

As my stop neared, I got off my seat and went to stand near the door. Suddenly, like a hurricane the white faced woman stomped past me and got off the bus. And waited at the door. I got off and stepped into a waiting rickshaw. The next moment I realised, white faced has slipped in beside me. I looked at her. She looked ahead.

As I hesitated to ask her where she was going, she spilled out of the rickshaw, as coolly as she had got in!

Hello? Did I miss something here?

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Of hostel times

A few days back, I met up with my old gang. A lazy Sunday afternoon as we sat eating and drinking in a brand new restaurant, with amazingly efficient waiters, serving the most delicious food.

We have been through a lot together. Since the time we were hungry hostelites. When we lived together, ate together, wore each other's clothes and partied together.

A lot of old stories were recounted. Most of them involved the hostel warden, a pious nun. I will name her Sr. Celina here.

Among the delightful stories were -

1) Sr. Celina, making rounds at night. It was criminal to be found in each other's rooms. Suspected lesbianism! AD, on being caught, tries to hide her huge bulk behind a bucket! Sr Celina not amused. "See me in the office tomorrow."

2) J, my roomie, parading in her new sexy lingerie and I, cheering. Sr Celina on her sneaky round, storms in, ignores J, and tells me "See me in the office tomorrow."

3) M, forever in her blue t-shirt, haunts the corridors at night. A sheaf of papers tucked under one arm, she goes around asking people "Can I have ONE potato chip?" or "Do you think there is a god?"

4) Almost caught in the afternoon watching TV, when we should have been at work, I sprinted away like Carl Lewis. R, slower, made it to N's room and banged desperately. N, just opened the door wide enough to let R in and slammed it shut on Sr. Celina's face (who was hot on her heels)! "Come and see me in the office IMMEDIATELY!"

5) D's 2nd day in hostel. Sneaks in gate past deadline with heavy mattress under one arm. Sr. Celina sermonising us, with back to D. Everybody gestures to D, to quietly dash to room before Sr Celina turns. D, totally ignorant, grins widely at all and steps forward and taps Sr Celina on shoulder! "Is this the time for respectable girls to come back? Leave the hostel immediately!!" (D was pardoned later and allowed to stay on.)

6) D, health conscious, makes her own cucumber salad, every day. One day, on account of pantry tap running dry, walks into bathroom to wash the cucumber. J and S, hostel bullies stand outside and sneer as she comes out, with cucumber in hand. "So what have you been upto?"
D retorts, "Hey, you girls better be careful! I am going to complain to Sr Celina!"
D, now happily married, still eats cucumber salads.

7) J, in a see-through little t-shirt, swigs peach snapps from her milk mug, as she watching 'Bold and the Beautiful', every night. A dying-to-get-her-cherry-picked virgin, she regales us with escapades and hot moments of her non existent love life. We listen. We never believe.

8) V, in the fashion business, earning handsomely and making frequent foreign trips, is regularly told to lead a more 'respectable' life by Sr. Celina. V, in between supplying us with packed 5 star food in the nights, threatens to leave the hostel, "next week". "I can't take it anymore. I am buying a flat this week and moving out of here next week. You girls can come whenever you want." Needless to say, V, outstayed her full term of 3 years!

9) CP (CrackPot) roamed everywhere with a pack of writing pad, letters and greeting cards. On an average she wrote 20 letters a day. CP comes down for breakfast, sits comfortably, eats well and leaves for work, barefoot. True to name, she forgets her sandals in the dining room and comes back after an hour wondering how she found herself on the street without her sandals.

10) A crank caller regularly making lewd calls on the public hostel phone. Hostel girl chats him up and finally gives her name as "Celina"! The next day he calls and asks for Celina. Sr. Celina takes the call and turns white as we watch her. "I EM NOT Celina! I EM Sr. Celina. I EM NOT 32 years old! I EM 60. This is a respectable place with high class girls! Fear God and do not call again!"

11) Sr Celina's favourites quotes (in singsong tone)-
"What education you girls got, I don't know!"
"What families you girls come from, I don't know!"
"What you girls want to do in life, I don't know!"
"Where you girls want to go at night, I don't know!"
"Who will marry you girls, I don't know!"
(Quite a few of us are now married to boys from 'respectable' families.)

Oh, and there's so much more. As we laughed till our sides were weak and painful, it was a beautiful afternoon, well spent. Among old friends and old memories.

Friday, January 07, 2005

my first

My first post of the year.

I am a sucker for any "first". Also any time or event that has any significance in my insignificant life or anyone else's.

I make a big deal of birthdays, anniversaries of any kinds, festivals or any occasion that takes my fancy. Anything that can cause a little excitement and happiness.

These days, there's been too much to read in the newpapers, too much to watch on TV, too much to discuss... at home... in office. Too much to grieve for.

Well, that's what most of us are doing. Of course, we are all ready to do more. And slowly, after muted celebrations and broken spirits, the world is looking ahead. To new beginnings. To a new year.

If there were resolutions that never got made, there was also a media that didn't need to cover glorified lives in the city, dancing away. There was more than enough to write about and report. Though must admit, it's good to see reports less severe. A sign of normalcy. A sign of human spirit learning to live. Time, they say, is a pretty good healer.

What now? Make more money... balance work and home... take more holidays... make more time for friends...

Within all this there is also a live-for-today attitude "all it takes is a wave" before digging into the extra pastry.

And I? A new year is always special. It's a future. To shape, to live, as we wish. These past few days, I have been letting the days live me rather than the other way round. Sometimes, the mind reaches an understanding to remain calm. And it does.

The holiday has been postponed by a week. Not to worry. More time to carry on this mood, in this mode! There is no sense of urgency, no hurry for anything. Do I really want anything else? Naah!

Saturday, January 01, 2005

a year goes by...

There are no parties scheduled for tonight. New Year's eve. For the first time in both hubby's and my life together. I cannot remember a night we didn't dress up all co-ordinated and hit party after party on new year's eve. No time when we didn't have friends around and eat, drink, dance and make merry.

It starts much before. The phone calls, the planning, the excitement. We take our time for the best option. It started this year too. And I am glad we waited. We didn't commit to anyone or anywhere. Celebrations just do not seem to fit in, at this hour.

It's not trying to be 'politically correct' as one friend asked. At this tragic time, somehow the will to party, the need to, is not there. It's of course a conscious effort to not burn an obnoxious hole in the pocket. The money can be better used in this hour of crisis, if we feel like spending. And we are not going to be any poorer or deprived for it.

Again I have nothing against all those who are going out and rightfully bringing in the new year enthusiastically. They deserve to, after a hard year of hard work.

I have no idea what we are going to do tonight. Oh my god! Now the thought of staring at each other's face at midnight is a little depressing! I think we better join a few friends who live close by and chill with them.

But the rest of the weekend is packed. Customary dinner on the 1st day of the year with hubby. Lunch on Sunday with the old gang. The bitches. How I am looking forward to that!

And the next week, I am off for a 3 week holiday. Hurray!! In freezing freezing land! Brrrr!!!

On that note, I write in my last post of the year. A year that came and went...
a year when I started a blog
a year when I made a few good friends... 2 Ps, to be precise
a year when I met the family more often
a year when I stuck to the same job throughout (consistency shining here!)
a year when I bought a house (okay, both of us together did)
a year when I put on weight unconditionally and unapologetically
a year when I lost a childhood friend to a whirlpool
a year that saw the tsunami disaster (I wish it didn't happen, but it did)
a year that has given some precious memories...

sigh...! a year that was like no other...

Here's wishing, the new year holds an abundance of dreams and their fulfillment for all. A year of love and peace.

A very happy new year, folks!