Saturday, March 5, 2011

It's a Girl!

A baby girl!


Now that you have surpassed your initial glee of becoming a parent, you must send her to school. Not just any school.. An English Medium one! Preferably in a girls’ she does not get into any ‘unnecessary mess’. What follows? Well, if she scores reasonably well in her exams or is awarded exceptionally heavy and charmingly incomprehensible  books at the end of every academic year … You are definitely doing fantastically well as a parent.

Of course you haven’t ignored the envious looks from those parents whose wards barely manage to surpass the 50% mark.  And once she is out of her school, you hope, pray , plead and strike all sorts of deals with the All Mighty, so your one and only..beautiful little girl gets into a college worth writing home about. Of course if your child has been smoothly hovering about the coveted 90-95% mark, your prayers to the one above would be as decent as anyone would expect.


Well, if she doesn’t manage to get into an impressive college, you gradually begin to nurture the belief..that a good  college is really not a big deal..or it slowly enters your mind… Why the hell did I not have another kid?? And if you already have one, its high buy some extra samosas for him/ her on your way home or spend your bonus on the magical tuition teacher the neighbours have been talking about!

Either way…as she cruises through her college days..and gets really comfortable in her ‘purani jeans’ you begin to wonder, is she really dating that skinny guy in maternity pants? What do they do besides having coffee? Isn’t she hanging out at Sheila’s place just too often?

 Sigh… I wish I could get back my college days.. I wish her dad would go for a walk more often!

A few unexplainable days, some mails from college mysteriously performing a vanishing act and your daughter comes home proudly declaring that she is now a graduate! While neighbours and family members, no longer envious of her success begin to ‘notice’ her for all the ‘obvious’ reasons. Anyhow …you have suddenly established yourself as a lady with a modern outlook you annouce to the world that your daughter has more to do than merely tie the bloody knot!

So your daughter steps into more advanced study and then finds herself a job in a fancy, swanky office where you have never dreamt of walking into, unless to meet your husband, you know you have made the right decision! 

However the ‘unexplainable days’ and night outs with Sheila continues… but you chose to ignore it as you are still quite kicked with the almost sinful pleasure generated in you when you narrate your daughter’s success to your neighbours!

However as time goes by, you no longer get a kick out of her success and in fact you don’t even care about the new feverishly expensive purse she gave you on your birthday; you simply want to see her get married and have a family just  the way things happened in your times!

Well, there are three things you don’t want your daughter to say.

  1. I want to  of marry Sheila
  2. I want to completely focus on my career and I don’t want to get into any sort of marital contract till the next 5 years
  3. I want to become a CEO and then marry.

Lets us imagine, our daughter’s response was somewhere between 2 and 3.

Suddenly for you, it does not matter how much she scored in school, how she graduated smoothly in spite of the strange man whose hairdo pleaded for the want of a comb and how she has been making enough money to sustain the entire family.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

As Time Passes By..

The rapid evolution of Slim n’ Sleek technology has lead to the gradual death of certain objects that we all held so very dear in our formative years. Unnecessary excess is nowadays seen as something that should be briskly trimmed and done away with, as we progress though our lives. My friend P, recently bought an alarm clock for herself and while I am still in my frivolous shopping spree, lured by its antique look, I decided to buy one for myself as well. It is an old fashioned alarm clock, solely capable of showing the time and alarmingly screeching, whenever it is set to do so!

Purchased merely for its decorative value, it ended up to be more than it appears to be .One of the most remarkable thing about the clock is its ticking sound that constantly reminds me of the time passing by and the time that will never come back. In the quiet of the night, when every other object seems to have worn out, my little clock ticks away like a loving friend, who would never part my company!

This reminded me of the old grandfather clock that adorned our wall about a decade ago in our Calcutta house and required a great deal of effort to keep it going. It would require regular wounding and care  and in return it would bring in some order into our chaotic lives. In its own commanding grandfatherly ways it would announce the completion of an hour. Gong!!!

An hour gone by…an hour that will never come back!

Time is no longer what it used to be. Time is now endless. No authoritarian gong demarcates time, indicating and letting us know that it is now time to go home.. However in times as ours, I love my little old-fashioned alarm clock that reassuring ticks away with every passing second, reminding me of the significance of  time and the gracious values that it has inherited from its stern and at times grumpy old grandfather.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Skip to Happily Ever After..

An old man and a woman stayed over at our place for about a week. After my initial discomfort over having guests, I began to enjoy observing them making themselves feel at home. The husband, a doctor in his younger days has now been reduced to an almost emaciated bag of bones and his bald head popping out of his T-shirt makes him resemble a handsome version of a human turtle! He has a quiet demeanor, yet nothing prevents his old wrinkled face to break into a childish smile, at the slightest inclination.

His wife a younger lady, distinctly fatter and healthier than her husband, has the air of a woman who knows it all ..and NO spec of information seems to pass by her without her having scrutinized it completely! While she is loud, initiating conversations and instances from her life her husband quietly listens and occasionally embellishes the story narrated by his wife.

Looking at them I cannot help wondering how a couple as varied as themselves managed to live a whole lifetime together! The wife is endlessly meticulous, while the husband tends to be lost even with a map in his hands. Makes me wonder, can a politician marry a writer and live happily ever after.

Or is it merelythe pressure of Living Happily Ever After?

Almost all our Lady Bug fairy tales ended with these very lines. No matter what troubles are faced, what hurdles aught to be overcome, in the end everything tends to merge into a happy concoction  of  the Happily Ever After.

 No matter how diverse or similar a couple is to each other, the bond between them seems to emerge out of the mutual respect that they share. And it is this bond that should be treasured and preserved rather than our obsession to see our near and dear ones dress up as brides and grooms and gleam at the cameraman!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Smoky Evenings..

It’s that time of the year when gifts wrapped in colourful packages seem to be  the new fruit of the season. My office is a ten story building with about two offices on every floor.  Boxes wrapped in  glittering wrappers are strewn almost everywhere. They come in all shapes and sizes, leaving us guessing what treasures they may be concealing.

Though realistically speaking we all know that gifts are not like fruits. A gift given must be returned to the giver with an equal or better one within a given period of time, as suggested by Marcel Mauss. For those who are not familiar with him, he is held in high esteem, for having turned an innocent and often frivolous act of gift giving into an economic and calculated act, quite similar to what goes on in the money market. In other words,  no gift in this world is merely and loosely ..a gift! It comes with  a baggage of preconditions and responsibilities that would follow the act of gift giving. However since I’m not really a part of this intricate network of gift exchange, as I just started working and socially I do not have too many responsibilities towards my extended family, I love the fact that I can sit back and enjoy this beautiful spectacle called Diwali.

With lights and gifts illuminating the cold chilly winter evenings of Delhi, I like to absorb quietly the beauty of it all. To me the most amazing thing about gifts is that they are what they are only till they are wrapped! Once opened they become just another thing, stripped of its mystery and charm. 

Little lights strung over buildings like necklaces that one chooses to wear only on a very special day, makes me feel festive just by looking around. In midst of the Gift giving establishing equations of power, fire crackers playing truant with your ear drums and all the smoke in the background there is an all encompassing tone to this festivity that I cannot cease to admire.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


The incessant rains have come to an end and the unbearable summers have long gone by. It is that perfect time of the year when the natural world is in perfect harmony, reminding us of the various festivals to come..the long deserved break from work!

As is the case with most Bengalis, Durga Puja is my most favourite time of the year. However  it’s the festivities and the anticipation leading up to the days of the puja is what I enjoy more than the actual days of the puja.

I have had the priviledge of experiencing the festivities my grand parent’s place, where the Durga puja is being carried out for the past 100 years!. As a kid, the presence of a beautiful lady with ten arms  and three eyes, was intimidating yet wonderful. My first sight of her would be at the poto para..where the idols were made out of clay and hay. By the time we reached..ours would be  the only idol complete with eyes and clothes..and fresh blood dripping from Ashura’s chest. 

With a critical eye we would examine our idol, making sure no essential detail had been left untouched. And even though Durga and her family looked absolutely perfect, we would ask one of the craftsmen to add some brush strokes, merely for our satisfaction. After ensuring ourselves that she was ready to be taken home..we would go around looking at the other idols, who would remain unfinished during the course of the puja..

For Bengalis, for these five days life, work and other mundane activities comes to a complete standstill. Of course not all Bengalis feel this way. Some of my friends, take special care, to declare to the world that Durga Puja makes no difference to their lives. However this was never an option for me. Once Durga arrives, the drum is beaten and its tune is  unique.. reminding us of this special moment…and there is a certain craziness in the air, mixed with revelry, that makes you feel, if God were to exist he or she would certainly not mind being a part of these festivities.

However the actual days of the puja is hard work for me. We have guests coming in every ten minutes and I have to lay out sweets at a very rapid rate, making sure that they don’t get over. The interesting thing about prashad  is..the less you give..the more valuable it is considered.  Hence most of the morning goes in carefully managing the resources and looking after guests, who would waste no time to  come to the conclusion that I would make an excellent wife based on my sweets distribution skills!!

I believe that the relevance of god in our lives is steadily declining as too many things are happening around us, that compel us to believe that we are all alone in this world to counter the several evil forces. The forces within us and those outside of us. However I love the way Durga puja reminds me of those childhood days…when I loved Durga..for who she was and nothing else.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


After having contemplated about writing my blog for the longest time, here I go..finally setting pen to paper, or more literally fingers to key board. we need to change our language thanks to the predominance of IT in our lives.

Well, its difficult for me to write a blog these my steady journey into the business of life, has naggingly rubbed off on me .. what could I possibly have to say, that you have not heard about in the course of your life?

I mean everybody is in search of the love their lives, juggling between family and work, coping with health and financial issues of ones own, what could I possibly unfold, that would be of any use to anybody?

Anyhow, after having quit my first job and having found myself in quite a vulnerable position till I got another one, I have begun to believe that every person's life is a unique journey and full of choices that guides his or her way through life and shapes the person she is and will become.

As a kid, what was clearly black and white, has now adopted various shades of grey and I would like  my blog to help me understand these different shades  and lay out a better understanding of my path in this the crazy confusing times that we live in.