Monday, December 21, 2009

Ancestry

Today's QC strip brought a huge smile to my face. I can identify with the feeling from having been told by my father at an impressionable age that we were descended from rams.

If you want to know the story you'll have to ask Vicky. He loves telling it.

Oh well, at least I wasn't born a Niyogy, which is more than some people can say.

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Wee Girlie


Ro sent me post this pic of my little doula baby, Tarana. Her older brother Ayaan has kindly arranged the toys around her and T herself is looking awesomely cuddly but this photograph is extra special to me because the red kantha she's lying upon was stitched by me this summer.

It was made out of an old saree of mine, a much-worn favourite given to me by Mejopishi one Pujo when she decided I was old enough to get sarees for the festival. I didn't like to cut it up but for my doula baby only the best would do, na?

I sat up hurriedly stitching it at nights after Rahul went to bed, trying to finish it before I met Ro in Madras in July. I thought it looked too plain even when I did give it to her so I brought it back to Cal and did a little more embroidery on it and then had to scramble trying to post it to Bombay when Ro had an early Caesarean.

I know it's not right to bind so much to material things but I look at that bright patch of red and I think of Ro telling us girls that she was pregnant. I think of her wondering what kind of an older brother Ayaan would make. I think of when I first started reading Ro's blog (I was expecting a Fidgety Fudge) and I used to pay great attention to whatever Ayaan did. I think of how much Ro wanted a little girl this time and how hard she and I tried to pretend we'd be just as happy with a little boy too. And I look at Girlie and you know, life seems so right.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ditto

Tom sent me this photo, er, essay, diptyche a couple of weeks ago. He calls it "ditto".

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Perspective

It's bad enough when your partner decides to sing "Singing in the Rain" at random moments, stuck in a continuous loop of the first two lines only. (Although really, I maintain that the rest of the lines don't really count for much, it's mainly yada yada something sun.)

But it's infinitely more painful when your son decides to watch the whole song on a continuous loop for an hour.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Knotty Knitting

As you may have noticed from my FB status lines, I've been knitting for a while. I decided to try my hand at a baby vest, this time in a size that would fit an actual baby. I even found the original vest that had inspired me and counted the stitches and thought the size was going be a cinch this time.

I've been knitting and knitting and gone up to nearly 4" of rows. And now I find that I'm using really big needles (a couple of sizes too big) so I have about 4" inches, nearly 5" more knitting than I needed.

I'm going to make a rotten grandmother.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Why Not in the Why

It’s wedding season here in Cal and that means every now and then I come across newly married couples off to work together in the Metro. It’s cute. You can make them out. The girl’s clothes tend to be new, so new they have never been washed. Her mehendi’s fast fading but the loha (iron bangle bound in gold) glitters brightly. Her clothes are coordinated and she mostly wears her shankha pola (bangles of conchshell and coral, respectively). The husband tries to find standing room near her and when they talk, she looks up at his face and he bends down. They find themselves touching all the time.

The couple I had in front of me this morning, they made me laugh. They had to be older than me but me, I’ll have been married four years come January. The days of taking the bus down Dhakuria bridge and having Vicky pay for my ticket seem like a long time ago. Now he drops me off at the Metro on odd mornings, if I ask nicely and leave at a convenient time. Some days he even offers off his own bat. He doesn’t bend down to hear what I say but I daresay my voice is no longer quiet and unsure. I look up into his face when he talks but as likely as not, he’s frowning at the clock or thinking of something else and looking at the Mac.

Some days I question myself, what I bring to him. Most days, if you were to ask, I’d say I bring the laughter. I bring the unexpected outings, the bizarre situations, the spur of the moment decisions. I bring the madness, good and bad.

What does he bring me? Go on, you tell me.

Plus les choses changent...

plus elles restent les meme.

Three years out and the relationship remains the same.

From Sur

A photo-poem for us.

That's got to be one of the most beautiful gifts Rahul and I have ever received. Thank you.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Talking Green

As the Copenhagen conference starts, I’m reminded of Dot’s old post on green living. Actually, to trace more accurately, this post is triggered off by a line in a mail from a friend, talking about the carbon footprint of a DVD he sent me. He was joking, of course, but the issue of carbon footprints one where I need to re-think my stances every now and then to make sure I don’t end up crazy and pointlessly anal or, at the other extreme, careless and wasteful.

If I think over my choices, I’m fairly comfortable with the carbon footprint I’m leaving. Mostly I used mass public transport; I don’t waste paper, water or electricity if I can help it; I don’t use too many sprays or aerosols; I try to maintain a balance between using disposable and reusable stuff. For instance, I remember giving Cee grief last year for using reusable paper towels to clean fans (I think). But surely it’s not the same as using tissue paper for the job? One such reusable towel, if carefully used, can clean four fans easy (at least, it did the other day in my house) and then one does not waste water or detergent or energy (or indeed time and thought) on having to clean it. To me that sounds like a useful way of utilising paper.

The next time the bulbs in our flat are changed, Vicky wants to install CFLs. Which is something we’ve been meaning to do for two years now, but really, it’s not that big a thing because we use tubelights mainly. A low power bulb switched on for a few minutes now and then probably aren’t as major as say, a leaking tap. We have a couple of taps that leak persistently so I position a mug/bucket underneath to catch whatever water we’d have lost. The thing to realise here is this: I do this as a matter of life and death, even though we don’t really have a water crisis here and I only have the training because I’ve lived in cities where water was at a premium. Vicky’s never really experienced that so he’s more relaxed about it.

Does this mean we need to experience hardship to really understand the value of what we have? Perhaps it does, a little. Just a sight of the ugly smog over Kolaghat is a useful reminder to me to be careful with the electricity because the price of what I’m using is calculated in more than rupees. I remember that smog – experienced just once – with a shudder.

The frequent power cuts we all live with get me good at mad, you all know that. But it’s not rocket science to know that we can all cut down a little. In the good ol’ days when I was a wee kid (I’m talking of the early ‘90s when many of you probably weren’t even born *sigh*) we used to have crazy power cuts every evening. We learnt to just not expect any electricity for hours at a time everyday. I guess that and paying my own electricity bills makes me think twice before I leave things switched on or plugged in all day.

I don’t think my carbon footprint is too extreme even though I do travel a lot and use paper towels at restaurants. Two things come to mind when I consider making further changes – thin plastic packets (the banned kind) and sanitary towels. The latter, well, I apologise to my great-grandchildren, but really, they’ll understand. I lived in the Dark Ages, I had no choice! The plastic packets on the other hand… well, they are used to pack groceries and fruits and small parcels of shopping everywhere. What I can do is carry one in my wallet so I don’t have to keep accepting fresh ones. That is something I have to remember to do, though!

What about you, how are you planning to reduce your carbon footprint?

Monday, December 07, 2009

Circle of Life

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who spoke quite clearly but just couldn't pronounce projapoti (butterfly): she called them 'plojaploti'.

Now she has a little boy who is finally losing his darling lisp but calls a projapati a 'blaaterfly'.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Breakfast

Buttermilk pancakes* (with honey)

Pork sausages from Kalman's

Half a fried tomato for me

Toast

Coffee


Yesterday's breakfast was interesting too:

One-eyed jack (an egg fried in the circle cut out in a piece of fried bread, most unhealthy)

Lean bacon from Kalman's

Toast

Coffee


*I had minor changes to Mona's recipe: three medium eggs since I didn't have two large; an extra spoon of baking powder since I didn't have baking soda. Used the milk+lemon combo since I didn't have buttermilk. And a dash of cinnamon on a couple of pancakes. Very tasty.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Your mom

For every child brought up by a mother out there -- a neat description of your maternal parent.

Rahul, this does not apply to you.

And if you have not discovered Dickipedia already, please, do take a look.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Dreaming

He would build me a large house with high, spacious rooms, quirky little verandahs, bow windows with window seats and cunning little cabinets, lots of greenery in between paved paths in the gardens, a fountain, a kitchen with all the latest mod cons and a breakfast counter, a long room for a library and an outhouse to call my own. I would actually live in one small, cosy room though. The rest of the space would be for me to venture out into, enjoy, invite friends over in, allow guests to fill up and for me to shut out when I retreat into my small room (with attached bathroom).

In response to Itchy's question: If Maya were to build you a palace, what would it be like?

Thursday, December 03, 2009

In which Sue cannot believe what Shuki just said!

My new profile pic on FB is getting a lot of responses. Mejopishi has loaned me a colourful set of woollens for our Delhi trip this month and I modelled them on receipt.


They led to the following exchange between Shuki and I:

Shuki: I want a scarf like that.

Me: We can make scarves like that. The one in the pic is crocheted but I think it could be knitted as well.

Shuki: Well, I can't knit to save my life but maybe you could knit one for me as a Christmas present?

Me: You know what we can do? We can form a knitting club. I have lots of wool I don't really need so I'd be happy to kit you out. I got it off Mejopishi so basically, it's free and can be experimented with. ;)

Shuki: You realize we are slowly becoming these comfortable elderly women? From pedicure parties to knitting clubs... It's no longer sleepovers and ganja parties.

Me: I'm blogging your mail.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

A Free Nation?

I've said this before and I say it again, I consider myself a Hindu and I think I'm secure enough in my religion to not really care what anybody else has to say or do to my religion. I would prefer not to have my religious symbols tattooed on Madonna's ass, if I had to choose, but if she were to get such a tattoo (as far as I know, she hasn't!) I still don't think that harms me or my religion.

Because my God and His Divinity do not depend on what we do or do not do.

Rabble-rousing pieces like this piss me off. Big time.

I personally don't like Hussein's paintings but that is because his style does not appeal to me. If I visualise a clothed god and he visualises a naked one I don't see how his vision in any cancels mine out or undermines or demeans it. At the most extreme I would think that he and I have seperate faiths, something Hinduism, thankfully, does allow.

And for those who worry about Hussein demeaning India/Hinduism to the world with his art, I think it's more to the point for you to paint your 'better' visions to provide the world with alternatives rather than pull somebody else down because you couldn't be arsed to get up.