Monday, 30 March 2015

From this life to next..............

Certain situations make you question your existence on this planet, the reason for it. It was a pleasant evening today, the Doon chill was in the air, very encouraging to go out on a walk. I was encouraged! After a good half an hour walk I felt it was time to head back home.
Lost in my own worries and whims, oblivious to the world around, I walked. Going further ahead, my attention was drawn to something that was being probed and inspected for life. My curiosity furthered up my speed, and as I approached the spot, I saw a street mongrel moaning and crying in pain. An elderly gentleman and his wife were trying to find out what was bothering the poor little thing. I joined them. With every touch, there was a dull cry that sent shivers down my spine. It had a bleeding jaw, but what caused it to be immobile was still unknown. We lifted it, checked it for a broken spine, but nothing made sense.  The concept of ‘People for animals’, was out of question. Everyone wondered if it even existed in station. Random people passing by would stop, look and go (if only they’d followed the same at the traffic lights). But no one helped.
We managed to call a vet. He was too far off. We were ready to drive the distance. Life is worth preserving. The dog made the dull aching sound again. My heart hurts, just thinking about it. Someone managed water. We poured it around its mouth since pouring it in would send it in shock.
I noticed its eyes roll over, but they would still fall back. It was juggling between hanging on and letting go. The tongue was turning blue. The jaw still bled. It seemed like we could do little to undo the damage that had been done. It seemed to be a victim of reckless driving, a very disturbing site indeed.
I wished that its pain would go away, that it could rest in peace forever. I reassured myself that maybe, it was done with its business in this life and it was time to move on. And then, as I was still thinking it to myself, it took a deep long breath before letting it out, one final time. It was time to go.  
We requested one of the shopkeepers there, if it could be covered till it was taken away from the site. And then we got on with our chores.

On my way back, I wondered if I could talk to animals; tell them to stay off the road. I wanted to tell them that nature had given them as much right on the ground they walked on, as us. We were the intruders. I wanted to assure them that staying away would be their best bet to a better life. A speeding car spoke more value for time than for life. Animals would listen. They are way more close to nature than us. If only they could speak!

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

The good and bad, that turns ugly!

I’ve always wondered why we fight, why there are arguments that turn into fights, and end up damaging relationships, instigating hatred and aversion. We are after all, members of the same species, made of the same fabric and share the same emotions. Why then, do we not understand each other, or attempt at the same?
I’m not talking about the international disturbances, the war against terrorism or any such high profile fundas. This is a very gharelu affair. I’m sure most of us have, at some point or the other wondered, ‘Why did we fight?’ and later regretted, ‘I should never have said that!’
Everytime I fight, I introspect. And all that thinking has lead to one solid conclusion, we fight to be right, to be the good over evil, right over wrong. And in this race, we forget that ultimately we’re all on the same side. Somewhere, between that ego and righteousness, we all long to co-exist, peacefully. Here's how we can make that happen.

Difference of opinion. Reminding yourself that you need not have the same opinion about everything, all the time. I’ve started practicing it every time I feel the conversation is heading towards an unwanted argument. Surprisingly, it works!

Keep calm until the storm passes away. So there’s this quote I read a couple of years back by Timber Hawkeye, that totally makes sense now, ‘You can’t calm the storm… so stop trying. What you can do is calm yourself. The storm will pass’. It always needs ‘two to tango’ (here tussle) so if one of the parties’ quits on being headstrong about their view point and let the agitated one vent out till they’re cool, the damages after the storm can be averted. Being patient is the key!

Words are like an arrow. Sometimes, verbal confrontation can be a lot more damaging than the physical one. It scars the emotions and creates a negative chain reaction. So the next time those words pile up in your head, you know what to do; never let them out! 

So if you ever see yourself succumbing to an argument, just question yourself, 'Who's more important, the person or the point?'. Let me not sound like a shrink here, I’m one of you, a mango person. And this is just a realization!

Monday, 23 March 2015

Tickling the taste buds.

I relate happiness with food! Not only do I (and many others like me) like to treat my taste buds with new dishes, but I like to experiment new cuisines as well. Kitchen has been a second lab to me (The first one being my professional home for the last few years). 

But one Indian savory that has maintained its place in my heart and my taste buds tickle at the very thought of it, is the humble Golgappa! The round and crispy flour shell filled with water, that has a perfect blend of sweet, sour and tanginess (I am Drooling!!). 

It is nothing less than an explosion of taste and flavours, the perfectly proportioned Indian spices with an after taste that ensures you want to have it even after a meal (or you can make a meal out of it, I DO!).     

It is not only the tempting taste, but the way it is served and consumed that makes Golgappa an ever favourite with most people. The vendor carefully punches into the flour shell (ensuring he doesn’t break the whole thing), then fills it with some boiled black gram and mashed potatoes, before dunking it through a pot of a liquid that is sure to make anyone slobber (I am, as I write about it!). Eating the Golgappa is as much fun. You never bite through it, but stuff it into your mouth, relish it and ensure no one is taking your picture while this happens.

An uncle on his visit to India wondered why people had flocked a street vendor, on a later summer afternoon (Golgappa’s have no season, no time as well). After careful observation, he came home and told everyone about the dish being served with something that looked like ‘sewer water’ to him. He was also amazed at how people waited long for their turn to have it. Not only did that start a laughing riot, we took him back to the Golgappa wala and ensured there was another Golgappa fan added to the list.

Whether it’s a day out with your girlfriends, or a casual visit to the market for groceries, Golgappas need no reason. People like me can even plan a trip to the market only to savour the ever favourite, the superbly awesome, the ‘soul’ food, Golgappa!!        

Sunday, 22 March 2015

My early morning vacation....!

A fresh spring morning, it’s my favourite time of the year! The time of blooming flowers and buzzing bees, with nature splashing colour all around. Today is one such day. I’m back home at my parent’s, the place I grew up in. My occasional visits make my stay a lot more special, and the pleasant weather today is like a cherry on the cake.

The day started with my usual canine alarm, a nose sniffing through my blanket, pleading me to give up the sack and go outside, where a beautiful morning awaited. As I opened the door, still rubbing my sleepy eyes, I was left in awe and gazed in amazement at the nature’s palette. The reds and the yellows, the pinks and the purples, it was all around, everywhere!! 


The sun sparkled through the dew drops, the soft breeze brushed my cheeks and I closed my eyes to soak in the freshness that breathed through every being that existed there. My dog carried on with his business, chasing away birds and squirrels, hopping across the flower beds and digging cooling pits through the garden to save itself from the heat of the day. It was on a mission of a different kind.

As I strolled through the garden, I could not take my eyes off the nature’s priceless possessions. The roses blushing in pink and red, the pansies in vibrant multi colours, the marigold in hues of orange and gold, and those tiny yellow flowers that grow through the grass (people call it a weed, but they’re a favourite); it was nature’s bouquet, a very poetic one indeed.

Lost in thoughts, I was transcended into a different world all together. I wondered how the grind of every day routine, had robbed us of the little pleasures of life; that our world had turned grey and black, crowded by gadgets; that the concrete around us had clogged our minds, and we forgot that ‘vacations’  did not need a big budget. Happiness could even mean a visit to the nearest garden. We just needed to step out. I just did. 

I keep my camera handy, so sharing some glimpses of the beautiful morning!!! Enjoy!

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

"To be or not to be" will always be the question!

Duty calls. And for a man in olive green, it calls more often. There is unpredictability in every moment. Just as you were planning a dinner date for the weekend in your head, you might get a call from him asking you to pack up his stuff; he’d have to leave within the next two hours. Duty called.

You want to fight it, tell him you won’t let him go, but nothing works there. He’s got his priorities clear, and you know you vowed to respect them when you tied the knot. A couple of weeks of temporary duty or a few months long course, you know you’re going to count every second. Time is going to haunt you. The dinner table will get fewer visits. You’ll sulk. Barely move out of the house. Wait for a call or a message all day. Wish that you could tag along. Wish you had never received that call.

But wasn't it a part of the deal. You knew this would be a regular affair all your life. You wonder if you’ll ever get a hang of it. I've met women who do. I don’t want to be one of them, or maybe I do.

I think of the women from the previous generation, of our mothers and grandmothers.Communication was an effort, mobile communication, not even a part of their wildest imagination. Distance was that deal they had to live with. Or maybe telepathy worked for them!!Mine doesn't!

Even though the tougher part is not to go but to be left behind, you know those tears will make no difference. They will probably just weaken him; keep him distracted (that’s how I imagine it).
And as much you assure and reassure yourself to be his strength, to keep yourself as busy as possible, to wish that time flies and he’s back home before you know, when you’re finally retiring to bed at night and come back to an empty home, that vicious circle of hoping against hope resumes. After all, Dil to bacha hai ji !!


Sunday, 15 March 2015

The mystery behind ‘Sugar-free Chyawanprash’

I've made a checklist of the colleges in Dehradun offering my subject. Every morning, I punch in the location of the college on google maps and let the GPS guide me to my destination. 'No vacancy', ' just hired' and 'over qualified' are some of the more subtle ways I've been declined.
One morning, as I headed out of the drive way, I cleared my head of all the negative thoughts and reassured myself that there indeed is light at the end of the tunnel. I was heading to yet another college, to ‘try’ my luck. This particular college was located pretty close to our present location and I felt commuting would be no hassle.
As I headed to the reception area, I was greeted by a gentle lady who asked me to drop my resume for future references. Tired of being stalled in the same manner from other colleges, I was adamant to meet the academic director and introduce myself. The academic director was a man in his late fifties or early sixties, had a dignified posture and definitely seemed like a man of great accomplishment (looks are deceiving).
After a brief introduction from both the sides, I sensed as if the conversation was heading somewhere. The salary quoted seemed like I would be ‘working for peanuts’, but I was assured that would be worked out. I also mentioned that we were new in station, due to my husband’s posting. The interview was scheduled in another two weeks which gave me time to prepare myself appropriately.
That evening, as I sat sipping my tea, I was pleasantly surprised by a call from the man I met in the morning. He wanted me to get my testimonials and certificates to his office the next day so they could finalize things and prepare my appointment letter.
It felt like someone had shot me up a rocket and I could barely keep my feet on the ground. To the moon and stars, my next destination… But wait! He added, “get me a pack of axe deodorant, a bottle of coconut oil and a pack of Chyawanprash, the sugarfree one”.
You people know what happened next.  
The rocket hit the brakes and I felt as if I was gasping to stay on it. I was crashing back to the ground. I did not understand what just happened. I was out of words.
I said goodbye and hung up the phone. So much so, for the ‘sugar-free Chyawanprash’.  

Now that I think about that call, I wonder, was it a bribe or a ‘haq se maango’ moment? Did he conveniently think that he had a right to the facility offered to my husband (as a professional perk), just because he planned to offer me a job? Or was he testing how desperate I was for the job?

I guess, I’ll just leave it at that. It is a funny world indeed.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

"Busy-ness" is a blessing

God has been kind. I've been busy enough to keep my mind from wandering off to the forbidden niches. I have been pretty much successful to not let the devil dwell and take over my idle mind. My search for a job is still on, and it’ll be a long time before I give up. Well, I’m not really counting that as an option.
Every night, when my husband get backs home, completely exhausted and spent to the daily drills, I look at him in awe (and a little bit of envy as well). 
'Lucky is the man who is oblivious to how the time just went by, when I was counting every second'. 

Three years ago, I would have fought him over being neglected, would have howled and cried for attention, but knowing his commitments and responsibilities, I keep shut. May be I have grown over those things. I yearn to be as busy as him. It is an addiction and I have always enjoyed every bit of it! 

‘Busy-ness’ is a blessing indeed. Not only does it channelize the energy in the right direction, it also helps keep the mind and body fit. And any day, nothing makes me feel better than having financial independence. 
I've made friends with almost all the job-portal websites. The major players like Monster, Naukri and the Quikr keep mailing me quite faithfully, nothing of my interest though. Time has geometrically increased my desperation so I've even looked for jobs outside my domain. Someone might just consider hiring a Ph. D., a ‘gold medalist’, so to say.

I’m reminded of a dear friend from college. An above average student, she appeared too ‘casual’ to our professors; till she took them by surprise and made her way into a publishing house in Noida. She started as a copy editor but soon barged into the corporate world as a scientific officer with a major Indian pharmaceutical company, in their oncology division. There is just one thing I've learnt from her; it is the attitude, the killer kinds. Mine has mellowed down with three years of marriage and a growing sense of dependence on my husband; or maybe I never had one. Whatever it takes to get that attitude, I need it for sure and I need it now. 

Monday, 9 March 2015

The Berozgar's Diary

I'm taking everyone fast forward through time. We've bid goodbye to block no- 205, the previous station and all our friends there. Over to a new place,a new group of people and nostalgia is making its way into my head. 

Waking up to an ‘unsnoozable’ canine alarm, a morning walk, a refreshing play of throw and fetch, quick breakfast and off to work.  This is how my morning started. It seemed as if time went by too quickly, that the days were too short and even before you knew; it would be time to sleep. Evening time brought some pleasant chit chats with neighbours, which would sometimes turn into very heavy discussions. I enjoyed it all, every bit of it. Weekends took us to a different world all together. Saturday night would graduate into an early Sunday morning and as we all moved back home, we’d count our accomplishments with some amazing trolls and howlers.
Mhow gave me much more than I could ever imagine. Our first ‘home’, first pet dog (will need a separate post to introduce him), innumerable silly fights and make-ups, a bunch of great neighbours and umpteen amounts of memories to take along. It was definitely a high peak on the sine curve for me.
But life calls for balance, and as it was time to leave, a part of me knew things would change, while the other part contested it. As our ‘treasure’ laden truck made its way out of the neighborhood, I took time off from the utter chaos around and was almost in tears as I saw my husband come inside the house. It was our first move together; the feeling of leaving the ‘first’ house and the ‘first’ set of friends that I made, ever since I became a part of the organization courtesy my wedding to an olive green.
A brief stay at home to take care of my ailing mother-in-law and I was all set to join my husband at the ‘brand’ new station. We were heading to Dehradun, where I knew I’d be able to utilize my academic skills a lot more than I did in Mhow. I wanted to make a difference and I was all set for it. Doon as they call it is a hub of educational institutions, so I guaranteed myself a job even before applying for one. Little did I know that my ‘sine’ curve was on a decline and it would test my patience for quite some time. 
Life had been very kind to me and I acknowledge every bit of it. I sailed smooth from 12th standard into honor school at department of biotechnology where I did my graduation, post graduation and ultimately doctorate. I could not imagine the struggle that people went through, exam after exam, till they passed over the age. I thanked God, anyways.

But nostalgia, as I understand now, is so much like English grammar; you find the past ‘perfect’ but the present ‘tense’. Yet to be allotted an accommodation here at dehradun, I miss our first home and our dog (who was being fostered by my parents) but most of all, I miss my friends, the lovely ladies who taught me more about life that any books ever would.

With my husband out for the entire day, my only company is the troop of monkeys who pay regular visits to the mess, creaking and squeaking their way out as they are shooed away. Every morning I wake up and check my email for any response to the institutes and companies that I have applied to. With every decline, I start my hunt for a job afresh. 



Greetings to one and all!
This post is dedicated to the two lovely ladies, who have encouraged and inspired me to start blogging, Here is my version of an 'ode' to them and the block where it all started. Happy reading! 

It is not always that you find like-minded people around you, but when you do, you must enjoy every bit of what the platter has to offer. I for one, am definitely savoring all the delicacies that my two lovely neighbors, Na.. (aka. Idli) and Sa.. (aka. Suji) send across. Not just literally, but metaphorically as well. I’m talking about the three stooges, who can crack into the silliest of selves, yet never shy away from the intense world changing, thought provoking discussions.
Our wedding to the respective olive greens introduced us one year and eleven months ago, when we first moved to MHOW to block number- 205. Never had I thought then, that this block would witness the endless ‘gup-shup’ and giggling, sessions over some awesome ‘chai’.
Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Punjab, forgot all distances and differences in the name of language and faith and came together for some good food and great company. Here at Block number-205, both are a treat!