Red… For Hadia

SO we enter the abstract domain. Hadia, the inspiration behind this activity has herself asked me to write on “Red”.  This is what I feared. For me, anything that isn’t particular to the tee becomes nauseatingly close to psychoanalysis. And that scares me to pieces.

Yet, these are some disjointed thoughts that I associate the colour to.

*****

Mohabbatein was an all-round snooze fest. And as in every desert there blooms a cactus, yours truly took away a key message from the movie. Red Flower = Love, and Yellow Flower = Friendship. This of course was a part of the ever elusive Rose Day celebration in the cool college. And then the college I studied in had its own Rose Day celebrations. The only red roses I received that year were in a bouquet from a girl *cue confusion*. To her I remain eternally grateful for opening my eyes.

On a side note, I justified to myself that one offers red hibiscus to Ganesh idols because it’s “love”.

*****

I owned a red salwar kameez once which was just as gaudy as it was loud. It was bought for a school annual day event where the women were all “wives”. Of course the red was to be synonymous with married women. And that dress I wore whenever I felt like dressing up as Indian. I did the whole shebang with a bindi, and earrings etc. This phase went on till I realised the dress was suitable only in the context of “Ye Desh Hain Veer Jawaano Ka.” The only red I’ve worn since are a sporadic kurta here and there. Associations with choodha-wearing brides make me too conscious.

*****

I had an allergic reaction last year to who knows what. My face was swollen and was the shade of tomatoes. I ended up in the Emergency Room and then the ICU. But when I looked myself in the mirror, I realised this is what it must look like when an author says “he/she turned a brighter shade of red with embarrassment.” For me embarrassment is felt in the stomach, seldom shows up on my face.

*****

I remember my mother crying when I first started my period. I was 10, maybe 11. And she cried when she shared the “news” with her mother, then with her best friend and finally just cried every time she mentioned it to anyone. I didn’t get it then as to why she was crying if specks of blood showing up every month were normal, as she explained. A year later, the cramps began. Now, I cry every month yearning for the first decade of my life when I wasn’t bending double over my stomach.

*****

Marilyn Monroe looked like she had it all when she wore red lipstick. I think it was one of the late-night movies I sneaked a glance at oblivious to my parents. And then I noticed almost all of the “English film women” wore red lipsticks. At a discussion with peers (fellow preteens), I think one friend said it looked better on screen while another said it looked better on their skin tone than Indian actresses’. I bought my first red lipstick last year after a hijra woman I was interpreting for told me it would make my eyes stand out. Boy was she right.

*****

Priya Wal looked so damn cool in her red highlights in Remix, that Anwesha was my ultimate idol when I was in school. I wanted flaming red hair. Till I discovered naturally red hair. I realised I could never have those, or carry it off as confidently. The last time I was envious of the same was when I saw a senior colleague who carries off the red curls with better panache than Katrina Kaif in Fitoor. In my head, whenever I rebel, I have red highlights.

Advertisements

The Beach When It Rains… For Chaitri

There was a stage in my life when I loved to run around in the rains and get drenched.

Now I love to stay indoors and listen to some Petrichor appropriate songs (different from rain songs). And therefore I do not have a recent memory of the beach and rains together. I have one from a while back though. .. And it’s a moment I try to recreate here.

*****

The third year of college was an incredible year for me. If I were to plagiarise, I would say it were the best of times and the worst of times.

Therefore, once it ended and I was done with seeing docs, I decided to take a group trip. And this one was to Kihim and Korlaigadh. Also, whoever had heard of going to a beach in the rains?

Nevertheless, I went ahead with the plan. This post isn’t about the trip, though it was magical in itself. This post is about the beach where I got drenched to the bone.

*****

I’m a beach person. I’d been to Alibag before, and therefore to Kihim too. Yet, this time was different. Earlier I’d been with friends, and this time with strangers. And I guess that made all the difference in the world.

If you’ve been to Kihim, you’d know that it’s not the cleanest of beaches. It’s dirty, muddy and attracts the kind of crowd I don’t get along with- the drunken revellers who seem to be a constant presence on the beaches.

And ordinarily, I’d complain endlessly about these to everyone in the vicinity. However, as a stranger with a bunch of people who didn’t know me, I shut up. And if  you know me, you’d know that’s very difficult.

And then, as I tenderly entered the water, it started to drizzle. It’s frustrating at first, when you want to play in the waves but the rain hits your head… The first instinct is to run away and hide.

But imagine not being able to see the waves because everything in front of you is just… Water. So you give in, you let go.

I don’t remember too much from this trip, except that when I took a bath later, I still felt like the waves were moving me around. It was a Holi with the rain shower and pichkari-like experience.

*****

I don’t think I’ll love the rains on the sand too much now. I don’t even think I’ll love getting drenched either. But that one time, just that once, I didn’t really mind it so much.

*****

Yes, it says sukhi aatma.

Non-Monogamy or somewhere in the ball park area…For Sneha

I’d really appreciate it if you, as a reader, would decide for yourself if this is a topic you’d like to read. Skip to the next post if you’re not comfortable. Anyway, these are musings. There’s no point to it.

One of the things about being in the unmarried minority of 26-year -olds is ruminating on relationship dynamics all the time.

Non-monogamy isn’t new to these ruminations.

*****

As a curious, 10-year-old voracious reader, I came across the very scandalous idea that all of mankind was sired (umm, what’s the female equivalent?)  by 7 women. 

While my understanding of sexuality and sex was minimal (nil), it seemed strange that each woman would have SO many children. I had barely understood this concept, when I came across another scandalous article. A woman who talked about how she lived with her husband and girlfriend in the same house.

It took me another decade to grasp the concept of non – monogamous, polyamourous, or even non – heterosexual relationships. Yes, that long.

*****

My most favourite movie as a child was Kuch Kuch Hota Hain. Big surprise. If you grew up in the 90s, the eternally college going SRK was as irresistible as the basket ball-playing, summer camp-going Kajol. Rani Mukherjee was a by the way person in their love story.

And that was my point of reference for relationships for the longest time- soul mates meant to be together even if there are many people who matter to you much walking in and out of your life.

So you wait and you wait, till a person you’re meant to be with walks into your life. Or dances in. Or plays rugby. Or your mom spots one in a wedding.

Here’s the thing though, do you realise how much pressure that is on one person?

Ek ladka aur ladki kabhi dost nahi reh sakte. By which logic I should’ve had no trouble in being married by now. Multiple times. I could have a husband for everyday of the month, and then some.

And yet, it’s the expectation of being everything. The be all for one person for the rest of your life, for all your needs, that’s cumbersome.

*****

A worldly-wise friend of mine once said to me that you’ve not really been in a relationship till the time there are constraints on your life. While that’s not globally true, it’s a big disappointment for most people when their significant other is not jealous. Jealous = Invested in the relationship.

But then, heterosexual monogamy is the norm. I see friends give in to the pressure of relationships and align themselves to expected/accepted behaviour all the time. And  that’s because one is supposed to be in a long-term successful relationship.

I’ve seen many a person ruined by the pressure to conform. To be normal. Yet I find this elusive concept of a normal, everyday relationship slipping from my grasps. And that’s a struggle.

*****

I live in two houses now, one with the family and one with a flatmate. The latter is closer to work. I own two backpacks. One for work and one for travel. I have a bunch of friends to watch movies with, and another to discuss life with. I even own two phones, one for regular use and one back up.

Do you get the drift?

Here Goes Nothing…

Ahem. I am going to blog like nothing happened. Let’s ignore the last year when I completely gave up on writing. Ok? OKAY.

********************************

“Oh God Why Me?”

I turned another year older last month. Honestly, I cannot pinpoint to anything that’s changed in the last year. The last few years though? A LOT.

Responsibility comes with age, said my school teacher. Ya, right.

I cannot for the life of me point to one phase of my life where I didn’t feel that I wasn’t surrounded by kids. Too many negatives in that sentence. Basically, I’ve always felt like I was surrounded by immature kids who could do with some growing up.

Which gets me to my current phase in life.

I don’t blog as frequently as I used to at one point. I take on more work than what I can humanely accomplish. Which leads to muddled up deadlines and a lot of apologies. Much like the kids in my class.

See, there? I am actually growing more rash, as I grow up.

One might argue, that growing up is actually about taking calculated risks. But really, I am too much of a scared kitten for it to apply to me.

SO what are the risks I have taken in the last few years? Let’s see…

  1. I decided to let go of a career I dreamt of having since I was a kid. Sigh. (The sting never leaves, does it?)
  2. I have decided to get totally disconnected to any mainstream news and pop shows. (Still getting there!)
  3. I decided to be a teacher. (This is not funny.)

I put myself up for scrutiny every day. Every single day. The fellow teachers, the snotty 17-year-olds who cannot even cook their own food, the neighbours, the friends. Everyone judges me, because I am a teacher.

And no, this isn’t the snide, oh-you-must-be-teaching-because-you-can’t-do-anything-else kind of judging. That I can deal with. It’s the career-advice and job-accomplishments type of judging. Big deal, you say?

“Everyone gets that!”

NOT really.

You see, the problem is this: Not all of us might ever have dealt with a civil engineer. Not all of us know exactly what a doctor does. Nobody wants to know what an architect does. Or even a designer for that matter. None of us have a clue what CAs do! But here’s the thing, every single one of us, has had a teacher. Probably for an extended period of time. This, apparently, qualifies all and sundry to tell me how to do my job.

Now here’s the thing, I am new to this job. I never professionally trained to be a teacher. But I am one. And if I need advice, I’d rather go to someone who is a teacher rather than ask you, Madame and Monsieur Randome. You, who were teachers for one glorious day in 10th standard when you lorded over a bunch of 10-year-olds.

Also, everyone who is a teacher has only one advice for everyone else. You learn on the job! You’ve no clue what a class will be like unless you’re there – experiencing that hate emanate from a multitude of sources. Hate, or awe. There is never an understanding or appreciation for what you do, in my very vast experience. Kidding.

There’s a silent understanding – ‘I will behave. Hence, it is my right to demand that you end the class 10 minutes earlier than scheduled.’

I get this, and I do this; because even if I may be this young-ish teacher who is still figuring out how to carry on talking when a 100 faces are furiously stabbing at their iphones; I was on the other side of the table just a few moments ago. And while I demanded of my teachers to be a little more considerate towards me, a person balancing her education and a job, I think I can extend the same courtesy to my kids.

Moral of the story? As I grow another year older, I’ve realised educating someone isn’t entirely my cup of tea. Not yet at least. I will probably need advice. Not yours, though. Maybe advice from the people I am trying to learn with. My students.

PS. This birthday bought some awesome gifts. That deserves its own post! 😀

Hospitality

For all those who didn’t know, I was operated on Friday. A small surgery to remove a small bothering part from my neck; the entire thing took just one day. But being my first “admission” in a hospital and first surgery, everything was new to me, and thus, new experiences. Below are a few funny incidences, situations, and some that made me feel like a nutcase!
1.       A week before the surgery I was given a dosage of a supposedly strong medicine Augmentin. Explaining the gravity to me, my dad said, “Augmentin pata hain kya karta hain?” And I very nonchalantly said, “Wand se paani laata hain!” (Ref: Harry Potter series, the spell for water is “Aguamenti!”)
2.       Obviously I told my friends in college that I would be away for a while. So one smart alec asked me, obviously referring to the hospital, (after I had mentioned a dozen times) “So, where will you be operated?” I pointed to my neck and said, “Here!”
3.       The hospital itself was not less-funny. When I was being “wheeled in” to the Operation Theatre (weird! Since I could obviously walk), everyone from the adjoining beds peeped from their curtains. Some even unabashedly stared as the nurse pushed my chair. But the best were obviously a pair of aunties – one waved at me with a huge smile as though I was on a ride in a fair, while the other said “All the best!” Umm…what was that?
4.       The operation theatre was a rather weird place. I was waiting outside the OT for a good 45 minutes till being actually taken into the room. In that period every doctor/nurse/anaesthetist, stared at me with a sympathetic expression. I smiled back till one nurse wiped her nose on the hem of her gown. Wait, weren’t those supposed to be sterilised?!
5.       Along came the doctor and his junior I gathered.
Doc (turning my head to the extreme right): See that? Over there? We need to make a cut there.
Assistant (turning my head to the left): Yes. Yes. I see it.
Doc (turning my head to the extreme right again): I think I see one more.
Assistant (turning my head to the left again): Yes I think I see one more too.
Doc (turning my head to the extreme right again): I can even feel it here.
Assistant (turning my head to the left again): Yes yes. I think even I can feel it.
Doc (turning my head to the extreme right again!): Do you have a marker? We’ll mark the incision spot.
Assistant moves out, doc continues to move head again and again. Assistant comes in, doc marks; both leave without speaking to me. Not even a word!
6.       Along came a middle aged nurse/doctor who asked me if I could walk, I said I could and gladly got of the bed. She then dragged me, no literally pulled me; two corridors into the OT. Post this she couldn’t lower the OT bed to my level, so she asked, “Can you jump?” Well, yes, I jumped onto the bed on which I was to be operated on; reminding me of the way I sit on the railings on bus stops.
7.       Nevertheless, I thought this is it! Now the surgery will start and I will be unconscious. When she asked me what my age was. I said “20!”. She looked at me like I had suddenly transformed into daisy duck and asked, “Sure?” What to say? She then proceeded to check my medical file for my age, and then said “Just checking, you see?” Yes. Right.
8.       The operation was done and I came into consciousness in the “post recovery room.” One room in the hospital where people scream at the top of the voices, since all the inhabitants are obviously under the effect of anaesthesia. I raised my hand to attract the attention of the nurse on duty. She came, lifted my oxygen mask, and proceeded to push me out of the room back to my ward. Obviously, my stay was done.
9.       Back to my ward, I suddenly thought of a discussion my mom and sister were having about someone’s dead pet dog the previous night when I was already half asleep. Don’t really know how it came to my head, so I asked my parents, “Kiska kutta mar gaya?” Thinking I was still under the anaesthetic effect they both said together, “Mary miss ka!”
That was my hospital stay, though a lot of other things happened, these were some things that irked me and yes are memorable.  J Happy Navratri!

Dying…

Once upon a time, I had a friend, who was true to me and gave me much joy. Through the friend I met so many other people, all of who became close to me. My friend gave me the benefit of doubt and let me speak to people as I wished and even share my joys as well as all that intrigued me. Soon, I hung out only with this friend and discovered a completely new world hitherto unknown to me.
But then came along another friend, whom I hung out more often, because my old friend had run out all resources available on me and there was nothing new for me to hold on to. I kid myself saying that I could be the ideal friend and hangout with both. But soon the new friend found me even better candies and a cooler group of activities.
I let the old friend go, without as much as a good bye. I was evil. My friend was dying, everyone said so, but I was not around. I was engrossed with the new friend. I still think of my friend sometimes, the first one, and wonder what happened. But I stop right there, just wonder.
My new friend meanwhile grew on to control me. And I let myself be controlled. I was after all hanging out with better and even funnier people now. We were all cool. We poked fun at my old friend, never stopping to think of all that had happened in the quest to be with the times. Times change. And they did!
I realised what the new friend was doing to me, and decided to let go and not have a friend at all. But all the people who came to me because I was with the new friend went away too. I convinced myself and found a middle way. I would spend only as much time as I would need to meet people and enjoy/benefit from the interaction. I missed the old times and wondered what happened to my friend.
They tell me now my new friend is dying. And very soon will. The doctor says in a few days a miracle is expected to better my new friend’s health. Will I hang on? Will I give up my new friend for a newer friend with better perks? Once all the people I know because of the new friend are also taken by the newer friend, I will inevitably move on too.
My new friend is dying. My newer friend on the other hand is most sought after now. Will my new friend ever survive the higher standards of cool that my newer friend is reaching? Probably yes, probably no. Will I stand by my new friend on the death bed? I do not know. Even as I see my new friend dying, I am smiling at my newer friend. With my newer friend, I see my friend. My first friend. Both staring down my new friend.
My new friend is dying, and I am watching. RIP Facebook.

Spot the Difference

Conversation 1:
Mother: Why do you keep your phone next to you when you sleep?
Daughter: So that I can attend calls.
Mother: Don’t lie. You will message in the middle of the night.
Daughter: Who will be awake then? Also I think I may have to take some urgent calls.
Mother: Such silly reasons! No CM or PM will call you. Did you read the paper yesterday? You might get arthritis because of all that messaging!
Daughter: Okay. (Silence….)
Conversation 2:

Mother: Why do you need to keep your phone under your pillow when you sleep?
Daughter: What if it rings when I am sleeping and it is an urgent call?
Mother: Why can’t you keep it outside? You can always go out and pick it up!
Daughter: I won’t hear it ringing. And by the time I get up and get outside the call might get cut.
Mother: Nonsense! Which Birla Ambani will call you? You will only spoil your health. Do you know the amount of radiation that phone gives out? It will damage your brain permanently.
Daughter: Okay. (Silence…..)
I seriously won’t blame you if you can’t find a change in the type of conversation or its tone. But believe me or no, the first one is a standard conversation between my mom and me/my sister. And the second is a conversation that happened last month when we were at my maternal grandmother’s place. And she was yelling at my mom, her daughter! Gem of a piece I tell you! J
Did someone say generation gap? 😛