Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Monday, August 29, 2011

The effects of Hurricane Irene


That is my Shejomama looking at airline schedules. We are all in splits this morning. The picture has been syndicated all over the place. What a cute start to the week, I say.

Friday, August 26, 2011

You say goodbye, I say hello

Last week I severed an old and very cherished friendship. I've done it before and lived to miss the bonds but given the circumstances I've never thought I could have behaved differently then or now.

But this post is not about me. This post is about a friend of mine long estranged from an only sibling, another two friends at odds over they are no longer sure what, a friend looking to make sense of her relationship with her older cousin, about lots of people all around me.

Here is my take:
1. Is the issue really unforgivable? Each time I have walked away is because I found their behaviour or comments about my parents &/or Vicky unacceptable. Strangely enough, when my friends mistreat me that bothers me a lot less, possibly because I too can be a clumsy oaf in my friendships.

2. If you have the chance to patch up with a sibling, do. When it comes to parents and siblings (or indeed, adopted family members) I believe in meeting folks halfway. Life's too short to not talk to your own people. Ideally, your relationship with your parents or siblings should be independent of theirs with your spouse's, although we all know that doesn't always happen!

3. Evaluate your motives. Is it only pride that holds you back? Do you hold back because giving in would be taken as a sign of weakness, or acknowledgment that you were wrong, or because you know that you can never forget what happened and therefore there is no future to this relationship? It is important to know why you are angry or upset.

4. Apologise. I have learnt to humble my pride, one does, if one is married to a Scorpio. While there are occasions where I would rather be proud and retain my self-respect, these are occasions when the issue has been unforgiveable (see #1). An apology may not mend the crack but if you were wrong in your behaviour, act or speech, an apology can go a long way to putting you at peace with yourself.

Of course, all of this depends on the other person wanting to repair the relationship. One cannot say hello when the other person is walking away saying goodbye.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Note to the previous post and all others like it

I realise that what I write here is used as ammunition against me by people who really should know better.

I have deleted posts this last one week, writing and deleting, because what I say here is used to attack me. Even the things I don't say and never thought are used to attack me. I say attack because when you hurl accusations at me I take it as an attack.

Therefore I would like to reiterate something I've said often enough earlier: what is written here is meant to stay here. Please don't bring up my blog in offline conversations unless you are prepared to explain your reasons for doing so. #kthxbai

Ministering Angel

Vicky is ill again. He has been ill much of this summer, with persistent colds and racking coughs and high fevers. I believe he is overworking himself, more through mismanagement of his time than anything else, but it's quite true that he has made an effort to spend more time with Rahul and me of late, adding yet another major demand on his time.

When we were newlyweds on our own and he fell ill I remember rushing around trying to be the perfect nurse while also working full-time and taking care of things -- while also being pregnant. I soon lost that drive as I realised that he certainly would never tend to my sickbed the way I thought it ought to be done, the way I was doing it for him (which I believe was driving him a bit up the wall, actually).

I've never really regained that feeling. Mostly I justify it by telling myself that I don't tend to him hand and foot because he doesn't do that for me either. That is to say, he does take care of me, nursing stuff like meals on trays and medicines laid out and help with baths etc, when I'm ill, but I have at best 48 hours of this, usually only 24, before I find myself doing laundry or making beds or figuring out meals or tidying the house. There is always something needing to be done and I find myself doing it. I have resented him for this, because when he takes to his bed he does so for days, refusing to do anything at all, so usually by the time he recovers I am ready to hit the sickbed myself!

Today though I thought, perhaps I don't do the Florence Nightingale bit because it's not my thing. (Except for the gruffness and sternness, I believe she was both and so am I, in a sickroom.) Maybe these are all reasons to justify why I don't have much patience with ill people. It hurts me to see Vicky ill and feverish and unable to walk. I hate seeing him unable to eat or even talk. But deep down, I'm getting impatient if he's not better already. It's like how he is happy to have me do the housework with a raging fever.

And it's not just with him either. When Rahul falls ill, I'm the one who sternly bullies him into having the medicines he hates, who gives him the remedies nobody else can bring themselves to force on him. I have no patience even with an ill child. At least, I do, but my patience is limited. It is a strange thing to acknowledge because my parents were both very good to me when I fell ill. I was pampered and petted and made much of. You'd think I would do the same, wouldn't you?

It's just who we are, Vicky and I. Essentially loving people, but also essentially self-centred. I like how the realisation adds to our relationship, that this is who we are, that we both acknowledge this and that neither of us like this aspect of the other but put up with it like we adjust to so much else.

I do hope that the man is better soon. Not only because this continuing illness is playing havoc with my work and stamina but also because I hate to see him suffer so much. Nobody tell him I said so, but at times like these I wish I could lock him in the bedroom and let him sleep every bit as much as he wants to.

Friday, August 19, 2011

My World This Week

On Saturday, 13 August, my brother-in-law got married to his long-time girlfriend and her cat. He looked delighted and she looked beautiful and hopefully somebody remembered to congratulate the cat.

On Sunday, 14 August, we had the last show of our play. Now to organise the cast party. After the show Rahul went to greet his jethi with a cake and a book on crocodiles. The former was for her entertainment, the latter for his.

On Monday, 15 August, I baked a four-layer jam sponge cake for Esha and took over a choco-brandy cake for Buro. I received this and later that night, Vicky and I watched From Russia with Love.

On Tuesday, 16 August, Rahul ran a fever. Barry and Sulagna celebrated their eighth wedding anniversary, a date which is also signifiant for Vicky and me, as things turned out.

On Wednesday, 17 August, I recorded the last of the audio textbooks and did two songs too. My inexperience in the recording studio shows although I must say my voice sounds pleasant.

On Thursday, 18 August, my parents reached Calcutta. I took Rahul to meet my Didima (maternal grandmother) and Mejomamidida. Vicky burnt his thigh with some boiling hot milk in what I can only call a wanton act of destruction. I happen to be fond of his legs, such as they are.

On Friday, 19 August, Vicky and I went driving around Gangulypukur, E M Bypass, Santoshpur and Garfa. His leg hurts him no end but we have been rendered child-free for the afternoon so he is catching up on his sleep.

I decided to cancel all classes this week and give myself a little holiday. No doubt I shall pay for it next week but playing truant is great fun!

Childhood habits


My father still buys me guNjiya to put me in a better mood. I suppose some things never change.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

On the recent 'writing'

Have you read this poem by Amit Chaudhuri recently blogged by Space Bar? If you haven't, you really should.

Since I want it for my own archives, I'm posting the poem under the jump.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

In the interests of science

I got kissed all morning. And his kissing has a method that must be followed. He kisses first, this cheek, then the other, and presents his own cheeks in the same order and this order must be followed or the kissing starts anew.

This morning, I got kissed at the drop of a hat. I got kissed in the middle of a scolding and I got one with distinctly rebuking undertones.

Whenever things get this way there can be only two outcomes. Either my loving son is sleepy. Or he is ill.

Turned out to be the latter. He was running a fever.

It's amazing how good I am at tracing effect to cause. To keep the chain flowing, moreover, I just went to him as he lay sleeping and ruthlessly kissed the cheek available to me. I may even have nibbled on it a little, it was so soft and downy. He only opened his eyes, refused to register me and went right back to sleep.

And that, my friends, is why I say the boy is a Niyogy through and through. His father does the same thing.

N.B.
In the interests of truth and justice, I must point out that this is not his father's only reaction. Just the most common one.

Independence Day

It's Tuesday. Go read.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Warpaint

I just read this post.

Over the past weeks I have had several conversations about body hair and facial hair and eyebrow plucking and doing ones eyes only vs putting on foundation before stepping out of the house.

Without in any way taking a feminist standpoint (this once) I would like to state that
1. I don't wax. I cream or shave a couple of times a year, if that, and only attend to my underarms if the attire calls for it.
2. I've never plucked my eyebrows or tweezed or bleached any portion of my face.
3. I've never had a facial in my life, not even for my wedding.

Thanks to my theatre stints I am fairly adept at light makeup; what I consider heavy makeup for weddings would be light to some but I am young and do not need more yet.

Many of my friends are convinced that they cannot be seen unless waxed, tweezed, dyed and bleached, hair set and eyes outlined. They have beautiful hair, soft hands and feet and clear complexions that they go to great lengths to maintain. At the very least they have somebody do nice things to their hair, faces and nails once a month or so.

Which begs the question, why am I such a slob and how do they put up with it?

As loving readers I consider it your duty to motivate me. Go on. Tell me I should wear more makeup and cleanse-tone-moisturise nightly. That I should actually use the sunscreen instead of throwing the full bottles away every other year. Go on, convince me.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I don't agree with your decision

But I think you are sensible enough to choose what works best for you.

OR

But I will support you in whatever you decide.

That's what I would like to hear from my parents now and then. Do I ever get it? Hah.



Tuesday, August 09, 2011

It's Tuesday

The second episode is up.

Shall I shift the posting time to 8 am? It might feel more like a morning cuppa read that way.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Safwat Ghayur

It's been a year since Aneela had to write this post.

.............................

This is where I say something that none of you will admire: the only (legal) profession I have actually hoped my child will never enter is the armed forces.

I grew up in a naval town (Vizag is the headquarters of the Eastern Command) and Vicky and I have close friends who are in the army and airforce respectively. I read every account of a crashing aircraft with fear. A MIG went down the other day, the pilot killed, at Naal. I've been to Naal, you know. My memories of the place are happy ones, of playing cards for love with cheerful officers, admiring the aircraft, watching Akhilesh fly one.

I've been told that one can die doing anything and so one can. But one should not die let down by the nation when one is a defender of that very nation. Our armed forces are so poorly equipped. When I went for a SCUBA course at the naval pool as a teenager, the naval officers teaching us pointed that every piece of equipment we used was imported and expensive and not easily replaced. The only local equipment were the fins -- which were uncomfortable and broke easily.

I don't make our armed forces out to be saints. I am just grateful they do the job I don't do.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

So tell me something...

In your opinion is it better to have done what you were told not to do and then got punished for doing it or never having done it?

This is a dilemma that I've never been able to satisfactorily resolve.

If I don't do it then I always feel bad that I didn't (it's cowardly, also I wanted to know what it would have been like.)

But if I do it -- or say somebody close to me does something very wrong for them -- then I get exasperated at the lack of sense in having done something so clearly wrong.

Gah. I will wrestle with this one all my life.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Catching Up

I don't think I've ever spent too many months busier than the last few. If it wasn't 'work' then it was family troubles.

 In August though I plan to relax and breathe a little. Maybe cook once more. The boys and I keep falling ill thanks to eating takeout all the time. (I can safely write this because Mejopishi does not read this blog. Cousin J, you rat to her and die for it.)

In May, as some of you know, we were in Delhi. I lazed around, ran M'pishi ragged, did the usual in other words. Cousin J was there for a week and Rahul met his little aunts in Gurgaon. Imagine being 9 or 10 and having a little nephew. They even overcame their shyness where I was concerned and tried to explain to me that I really shouldn't scold him about this or that because, you see, he is such a little boy. Unlike my dear grannies of 9 or 10. Charming didn't begin to describe it.

Vicky took Rahul to the National Rail Museum several times and spent a small fortune on souvenirs at the shop there. I baked a cake for A'kaku and his colleagues and another for Cousin J and her hostel mates. I cannot describe all that M'pishi fed us.

I was on my own for about two and a half weeks in May. I returned early for play rehearsals while the boys stayed back to be pampered. If I have to put a finger on a specific point I'd say this is when I finally got over my horror of driving during daytime rush hours. I still don't like it and would spend money to avoid it but I now know I can. And if I can drive and park around Gariahat on a weekday morning then I can (probably) drive anywhere. I've driven to the airport too, so that's another fear conquered.

June was unbelievably busy. Rahul joined big school unexpectedly, almost a year before we planned, and it was a difficult transition for us all as we coped with earlier risings and so on. The play also premiered in June so the month was marked with lots of rehearsals. In that time I wrote more than I have in all these months of freelancing, read more than ever and stopped cooking. Dipali, in desperation, sent me meals that kept us going for a while. I skipped a lot of my language classes and that added to the stress. I've never been very good at bunking despite my Uni rep.

June was also a month of immense personal angst. I try not to write about that stuff here any more so I won't go into the details but thankfully for all people concerned I was pushed so far beyond the bounds of what I found acceptable that I am mostly in a state of indifference now. I don't, for example, feel that I should have to prove anything to any of my relatives or in laws in any more. I don't expect them to prove themselves to me, after all.

July started with lovely birthday celebrations. I will post photographs at some point. The last time I had a birthday party was when I threw myself one in November 2002, I think. I ordered cartons of chicken curry and paratha and invited everybody I knew, including a certain Vicky who never showed up despite assuring me that he would. This year Vicky promised to handle it all so I agreed to celebrations.

My parents came to town for my birthday, they said, and to see the play (which they naturally did not like) but we all know their real reason was to reassure themselves that their little grandson was surviving the vissitudes of Big School. However, they came laden with gifts so all was forgiven by me.

I had my parents over for a kebab-paratha lunch (Khawab), Dipali and Evie for tea (samosas, dhokla and cake) and all our friends over for dinner (KFC and pizza). Vicky surpassed all his previous bartending achievements and ensured that nobody stayed sober. (I did, but I always do.) It was a great party and wound up just before dawn. Rahul was spending the weekend at Moraveenu so we could do all this. What you might call a win-win situation all around.

The next evening. Rahul and I went to see Alice in Wonderland put up by the staff and students of Akshar, directed by Dana and Katy Roy.

On the weekend of 23-24 July, Vicky and I took Rahul to Benaras. We felt we had an unspoken word to honour. Our last trip to the city had been in Feb 2006 on our honeymoon and we found that we could recognise snatches of places but so much seems to have changed superficially, too. The river was in spate so we couldn't take Rahul boating. We spent a morning at the Ramnagar Palace, as dilapidated and sad as ever. There is something about that place though that attracts me.

July was another stressful month as I attended more and more classes, did the three shows along with requisite rehearsals and finally, at the end of the month I had a mild breakdown one evening. I picked up a recurrent, painful and worrying infection and was petrified of what it meant. I got more bracing advice than gentle sympathy but I did end up sitting down and cutting away some inessentials. And you'll be delighted to hear that I'm cooking once more.

And now it is August and I present to you, the first episode of my new project. Out at 10 am every Tuesday.