Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I may have mentioned Vicky

...once or twice over here.

Is this the way I see him?

(click to enlarge)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Not my horoscope

Are you getting stuck in the past? While it's important to understand how old relationships can affect your new relationships, you could run the risk of getting bogged down in nostalgia right now. Not much can get done when all you do is compare your current life to the life you used to have. Put away the photo albums and focus on moving on. Your future awaits!
But it could be!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

It could be better. It should be better. So much going for it this time. So many lessons learnt or so they ought to have been.

And I'm back where I was. Sitting on a chair alone in the middle of the night listening to Good Riddance pretending I don't care.

When I'm sixty I'll be listening to them fuckers and pretending I don't care.

There are days when it's hard to find reasons and there are days like today when you just cruise along looking for whatever finds you.

Friday, March 27, 2009

In Which I Become an Advertising Type

Another busy week just rushed past. I had a working weekend so I went to work late in the mornings. On Friday I met Dipali for lunch at Flury’s after work and we had a nice, leisurely meal before going shopping for books. Bank work followed and then I went to New Market. Vicky and Bheblu-babu met me there at the Kolkata Haat. It’s a pleasant concept and I hope it lasts. Since I reached before they did, some cut pieces from Geeta, a toy chaki-belloon (rolling pin and board) and other such stuff rushed into my bags before I could do anything about it. The puppets however were a considered buy. Dinner was fried rice and toothsome lemon chicken at Jimmy’s after which we took a taana-rickshaw (hand-pulled rickshaw) back to the car parked in front of my office. A very pleasant and satisfying day.

I don’t remember what we did on Saturday but I spent most of it at work. On Sunday morning we went to New Market to pick up Bootsie, my new white geranium – yes, yes, I’ll post a pic some time – and some footwear for Vicky and me. I got new slippers from Khadim and Vicky got some really cool sandals and a pair of suede shoes from Sreeleathers. We lunched at Dosas’n’More. My puliogare was just perfect, loaded with ghee, and Rahul ate his idlis on his own.

Then we went to my office, while Vicky went to bring Ally from where she was parked at Chowringhee. The boy ran around happily; he also got progressively sleepier so things reached a dicey point when he choked on a lozenge. Luckily, he eventually threw it up. He and Vicky then had some of the Chinese food that the boss had ordered for us hard-working on Sunday types, and went back home.

Monday night I flew to Bombay for the presentation that had necessitated all this work. Ate steadily all evening, from a sandwich and cake at the airport to an unbelievably bad meal on Indian Airlines, to yummy prawns at the hotel where we stayed to some soul-satisfying loitey fish fry at Soul Fry. Next morning, I indulged in a steaming hot tub bath after years. The presentation over, we had another awesome meal (I still cannot get over the paneer) at Soul Fry.

Looked in at the office in Bombay after lunch, then rushed off to Pune on a sudden urge. I’m so glad I went . I have only the one grandmother and her I met after a year and a half. Note to self: Chhotomama needs to be kept on a tighter leash as far as shaving goes. Dropped in on Jayamashi the next morning and missed my bus but there was another one half an hour later. The journey was comfortable but in Bandra I found myself an autowala who knew less about Pali than I did! Luckily, we managed to not get lost too badly.

Met Kiran-Krish, Ro-Ayaan and Parul for lunch. You can read about the fun we had here and here. Missed Sur, but hey, there’ll be other times. Got to see Adi after lunch when we dropped in at his place. I officially love my bloggy nevvies. They are all total darlings. Krish’s photos don’t do him justice. Ayaan is even more fun than Ro’s blog would have you think. And what can you say about Adi-boy except that to see him is to want to squish him? The girls themselves? I dunno. Hard to describe old friends. Oh and Parul’s pics don’t do her justice either.

Flew home that evening (thanks for the lift, K). Vicky, Cousin J and Bheblu-babu had come to receive me. I love my boys, I do, and Cousin J too.

Have been tidying home, trying to come to terms with trying relatives (with little or no success I may add), and hugging my baby whenever I can catch him. I can't believe I was conned into staying away from him for three whole days and two entire nights. Last night we had dinner at Pishithamma's -- M'pishi and Cousin J were there too. This afternoon I'll be having lunch with Vicky somewhere in a bit. We have a car key to duplicate (lost the other one) and a lingerie sale to check out. Sleepy baby will probably mean no sale but one may hope.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Career of Choice: Housewife

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks. The agency finally decided to make me earn my salary and that translated into working weekends and long days. That plus a more than usually absent-minded and stressed out Vicky meant going home was becoming a daily exercise in self-restraint.

It’s been easier this week. Not that Vicky’s got his act together so much, but work’s been more manageable.

Still, given the way things are likely to get every now and then, I told Vicky one morning, “I need a wife, you know.”

His reply? “So do I.”

So now you know who’s not getting any without some serious apologising.

The Mysterious Disappearance and Possible Reappearance of Uma Shankar

The man's a perfectly unassuming sort of chappie at the grocery nearest to our building. He supplies us with water and some basics and occasionally I rent pirated DVDs/VCDs from him. (On the understanding that I don't pay if they don't play.) The nice thing about dealing with him is that one can call him and he home-delivers small things.

Some weeks ago, some time last month, I suddenly realised that it's not him on the phone. That the delivery boy is not bringing me the milk Uma Shankar knows I always buy. When I pointed this out to the boy and told him that Uma Shankar knows better than this, he grinned in a scary way and said that he's not around.

I needed to make a couple of complicated payments once or twice, so I went down to the shop. Uma Shankar was not there. Not there in the morning, nor in the evening. According to the boys at the shop, he'd always "gone home just now."

I began to suspect the worst. Tried to figure out if that really was a rotting corpse that I smelt in the shop or just some eggs gone bad. Asked some probing more questions and got equally pointless answers. Started to worry a little. I'd seen Uma Shankar with a darling little baby once and didn't like the prospect of said baby becoming an orphan just like that.

Then came a day when the boy came to deliver the water and I pounced on him and asked him a more direct question. "Where" I said, "is Uma Shankar?" When he tried to say something about Uma Shankar having gone home just now, I triumphantly said that I had been to the shop "just now" (I hadn't) and had not seen Uma Shankar there. So he sullenly admitted that Uma Shankar had gone away. Further enquiry elicited a destination: Nepal.

Kidnapping is as scary as murder, you know. And his business is not that huge, I mean, not big enough to attract serious criminals, I’d have thought.

Just as I was all set to make Vicky go to the police or something – maybe we could start a Facebook group “Where in the world is Uma Shankar” and recruit members across the globe to hunt Uma Shankar down – I needed some eggs and water, so I called up the shop.

Uma Shankar answered the phone.

And this, my friends, is why I’ll never make a good conspiracy theorist. It never struck me to kidnap the damn man just to ensure he stayed missing!

UPDATE:
It wasn't him. If anybody knows anybody who is going to Nepal and wants to conduct a search for a missing man... don't send them to me. If there's one thing we've established thus far, it is that I'm no good at conducting searches!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

How do you solve a problem like a Bhablet?

How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?

How do you react when you scold him (deservedly) and he closes his eyes and you can see a wee brain swing into action as he deliberates his possible reactions and then he opens them, smiles very wide, throws his arms around you in a tight hug and gently whispers to you, “Shona! Shona!” and refuses to let you go?

P.S.
Shona loosely translates to Darling, I suppose. Something I can’t remember having been called by anybody else in my life.

An Apology

is all it takes, says Kiran. I'll agree. Better late than never.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Conversation

Beq: Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! Just.

Sue: I'm sure you're quite right.

Beq: Of course I am.

Sue: Nevertheless it's always wiser to cross-check and note all references.

Beq: True, and make the text the context by writing brilliant footnotes.

Sue: On the other hand one should never underestimate the power of a cryptic dedication.

Beq: or votive candles

Sue: Nor should one venture out in the rain without Bata Hawaii sandals.

And so on and so forth.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Housewives Want Salaries on Holi-Day

If you haven't come across the article already, you can read it here.

My mother's always said that she ought to be paid for the work she's done, and I have always agreed. Never so fervently as when I found myself a full-time housewife, of course.

I genuinely wish some kind of stipend at least could be worked out, so that the women who go to work outside the home do so out of their own free will rather than financial compulsions. Also, to give house-husbands an incentive to be just that. It's not a bad life if that's what works for you.

On that semi-soapbox note, I wish you all a happy Holi. Remember, it's your festival. To be celebrated by you and not to be forced upon those who don't celebrate it. Me, I'm going to celebrate with sweet stuff this year. Cake-shaped.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Goo-nigh, shobai

I'll spare you the rest of the speech since Babble is not a language to be inflicted on the unwary, but consider yourself lovingly wished.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Whoa!

I've been down quite a bit of late. The marriage went through a rocky patch and with it my belief in us as a couple.

This morning, I was morosely contemplating this parting of ways when Vicky helpfully pointed out that we've been together five years.

FIVE YEARS!

My god. If I've stuck to the man for five years I may as well just stay on. All this time I was thinking of the three years we've been married and airily adding "some time" before it. And thinking, it's not too much to throw up and walk away.

But five years. I'm so proud of myself right now. I've never been with anybody that long. (Nor has he but really, there's only one me, you know. Don't you believe what they say about a Suecker being born every minute.)

It also strikes me that I've been around Dipali too long if I could write Suecker without waiting for her to say it first. Hmmm...

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Intolerance

If you were to ask me, I'd normally say I'm a far less judgmental person today than I was, say, five years ago. That I'm willing to listen to an opposing point of view, and be content to let the other person believe in something that I may consider downright wrong. Closer home, I'd have thought that Vicky and I were getting used to each other. Still bickering over differences, but reconciled to being different.

And now, I'm not so sure that I've changed much, after all. There is much that Vicky does that bothers me. How much I didn't realise until I left my household and child in his hands. I don't agree with many of his methods and I don't always agree with his judgment and I genuinely believe that by carelessness he has caused some serious damage between Rahul and me.

On the other hand -- and this is something I'm considering extremely reluctantly, almost under duress -- how important are these transgressions given the larger context of our lives? Rahul and I have our differences now and we've always had them. At worst Vicky merely catalysed a situation that was ripe for occurrence. Also, not all our fallouts have ever changed the understanding he and I have of each other, something that is beyond and set apart from the rest of the world. I am his mother and not all our fights will ever make me any different. Can I really blame Vicky for stepping on toes he didn't mean to tread?

Household chores are a relatively minor issue because I'm not really houseproud. We both would like to live in a home decorated with our cool stuff but since neither of us can be arsed to clean or maintain all this glory, we are comfortable living with dust and messiness. Yes, I would appreciate some proactiveness from his side, but I am also liable to abuse it, heaping more and more chores on him, so I do understand his wariness better than I confess.

What I have not been able to tolerate is the distance he puts between us without any explanation or contrition whenever he feels the need for a break. He does not physically walk away but for all the good he is to me, he may as well have. In fact, if he actually did walk away to return only when back to his normal self, there would be fewer bitter words said in this household. But I don't want a husband who walks away from me. Nor do I want one who is able to happily dispense with me and my part in his life at his convenience.

It leaves me at a crossroads. When he recovers his balance and comes looking for me, I'm no longer waiting for him. I stopped hoping he'd notice how lost I got myself. I stopped expecting him to hold me the nights I needed him the most. And worst of all, I stopped trusting in him to never let me go no matter what the provocation.

In a way, this lack of trust is in itself an intolerance, I'm coming to think. Intolerance of imperfection. Did I think I was marrying perfection, then? Surely not?

So if I can accept that he will need to walk away. That he won't be able to tell me when or why he needs to distance himself. That in those periods he will, to all intents and purposes, cease to be an active member of this household. If I can accept this hitherto unacceptable facet of our marriage, perhaps we shall both be happier for it. I cannot control my ungovernable temper, but surely I can learn to channel it better?

And with that, I let the grudge go.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Days Packed Tight

With work. Meeting family. We've been seeing a lot of Giga and Cousin J lately, trying not to think of their impending departure from the city. Also, Baba has been flying by now and then, doing a quick visit while on tour. Dada came to town for a few days. Chhotopishithamma and dadu celebrated their golden wedding anniversary. Shantuda and family were also in town and we spent a fun evening together.

Recently we visited the Horticultural Gardens where I got myself a potted begonia. Which I'm slowly killing as we speak but let's not think about that. We went to see the Annual Flower show and that was quite enjoyable. We had a BNP Picnic at Victoria Memorial which was enlivened by a Burmese hat and lots of unknown men. There were a couple of weddings -- Prithvi's, and Maitra's brother also got married -- and lots of highs and lows on the health front at home. Rahul was quite ill for a week but reacted really well to the homoeopathy. Vicky's parents have also had good and bad days healthwise.

Work has been rather steady in contrast, with a fairly even flow distributed across most days. Have been losing focus a bit. Am still not sure this is my thing, but at least I'm also sure I don't want to stay at home.

Went to the children's handicraft exhibition at Rahul's school yesterday. It's funny to realise how absurdly proud I can be of a cat made out of a sponge or a wall hanging made out of ice cream sticks. Or how many people want to see the photos.

Saw both Slumdog Millionaire and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button this week. Seeing the latter second, I do wish the Oscar hysteria hadn't given stuff like Best Movie to Slumdog. Because Benjamin Button is a superb movie. Slightly tighter editing would have made it a little shorter and better, but I loved the movie in its entirety. Pitt did a beautifully understated job of a man who spent his life reacting to circumstances rather than creating them. And Blanchett was marvellous as a dancer. I loved how dance and the lines of dancing entirely defined her character. Slumdog was not bad at all, and it was quite enjoyable, if anything, but it's simply not in the same class somehow.

Also saw Billu Barber and enjoyed that as well. Very southie in flavour, right down to the Just Because songs. Irrfan Khan was perfect, as always, and Shah Rukh Khan did a very good job of playing King Khan. Lara Dutta took some time catching up but by the end of the movie I was more or less reconciled to her.

Been buying books at the Oxford sale. Now we have Bubbles books from 1 to 12. We love Bubbles in this house.

Spent the morning at the zoo. Despite the heat we went around the whole place and had fun. Rahul was awed at the giraffe and elephant but quite captivated by the crocs, birds and big cats. Guess size does matter, esp when you're only three feet tall yourself.

I don't know if these days are golden but they pass by so fast.