Saturday, January 14, 2017

Flu Diaries

Day 1
Slight bad throat to start the day, but not too bad. Maybe, I would go for a walk outside and then spend rest of my weekend curling on the sofa with a book. Stay-in weekends are the best.
3 hours later. God takes my wishes to the word, literally. A stay-in weekend is precisely what I get, did I mention about that the head has started to throb yet :/ and the fever and the throat and the bodypain?

Day 2
Still surprised by what is driving me to so much sleep. The head continues to blast, did someone happen to sneak in a dancing hippo in there. Feeling feverish, need to pop in a couple more paracetamols I think. Take a lot of fluids they say. I think I am floating(and bloating) inside. The seattle dark weather doesnt help at all.

Day 3
Was able to get up in the morning and made it to the couch on my own! No force can stop me now.

Unless - its the hippo grooving in my head. As the day goes up, the fever is rising yet again and I feel gross :/ Evenings arent the most active times for that creature.

Day 4
My croaky voice sounds like a toad today but fever seems better.  The mediterranean plate I ordered for lunch today didnt turn out too well. Not a good idea to go to work and pass on the toad or the hippo. Gonna have to miss swimming in the evening too, duh Wednesdays :(

Day 5
Planning to work from home today, the throat has gone for a walk and hasnt returned yet. Feeling tad weak, but never better in last few days.

Day 6
Much better. The voice is back and so is the appetite. The first day when I did not feel feverish for a full daytime! Time to deflate the flu and gear up for the next weekend..

Hubby returns and says, "Seems my head is heavy, lets have a stay-in weekend".......

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Morning Poem

Lancing through the sliver mist
Dissolving the dark shadows in its embrace
Bringing back the colors and the glow
to what was steeped in a sombre haze

The chilly breeze flows as a chariot
with the earthy fragrance so sweet and moist
The dew gleams on the blossom
Swathed in a crisp air, the little birds rejoice

I snuggle up in my warm quilt
And its a glance I take
The crystal rays of the morning sun danced on the window
Lighting up the room and kissing me awake

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Dubai diaries: The very first meeting

Dubai, 2016.

"Mere Sapnon ki Rani kab ayegi tu" , the delightful voice of Kishore Kumar greeted me as we got into a taxi in Dubai. I was taken in by a pleasant surprise because it was after an extremely long time that I was hearing Kumar's melodies, more so in a place hundreds of miles away from home..
Soon the track changed, giving way to more songs from Sharabi and Padosan. "You have a great collection of songs sir, I could have never imagined getting to hear these outside India",  I said to the driver, naturally assuming him to be from India.

He inferred I was an Indian from this comment and said in Hindi, "Maam hum Pakistan se hain lekin Bollywood ki toh baat hi kuch aur hai" (I am a Pakistani and love Bollywood).

"Oh wow! From where in Pakistan?" , We asked him visibly surprised. "Multan", he replied.

This was the first time I met anyone from Pakistan and I had tonnes of questions for him.
We talked everything right from his hometown to cricket, food and even Shahrukh Khan. He suggested several dishes to try while we were in Dubai; but sigh it was our last day in the city.

The conversations seemed so natural that one could never feel talking to anyone different; he just felt like someone of our own, someone from a place whose description you can easily relate to, who shares the passions of cricket and food — just another simple guy from a humble background who was here in Dubai with lots of aspirations, who wished to earn for a few years in UAE before going back to his family.

We were now at the airport and disembarked the taxi, exchanged pleasantries and bade our new friend goodbye. Our short visit to Dubai had come to an end but the songs of Kishore Kumar and the memories of this conversation continued to chime in my head for a long time.

I don't know what was so special about this conversation that I am penning it down. Maybe it was just the simplicity of it that makes it apart. Maybe it was how naturally the conversations flew with a stranger, having a warm talk with someone across the border and not feeling the slightest of aberrations that the national relations are marred with. Maybe it was just the feeling that how effortlessly all of us humans fit and connect to each other.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Swimming through the tides

I took a deep breath as I stood in front of the little black door vexing at the thought of what awaited me on the other side. Deep down somewhere, I knew there was a giant kraken was about to be unleashed, but deferring was not an option — certainly not today; so I took another breath and flicked the keys and the door swung open.

Inside, almost mockingly smiling at me was a colossal dump of paper mail that had accumulated over the course of past month while I was on vacation. It was so huge I could barely even keep half of it in my hands at one time. From catalogs of furniture stores that I have never visited to credit card offers from each and every bank, it was almost comical how everybody just seems to be relentlessly trying to onboard a menial me onto their services. And, boy, aren't they so much committed to this goal that they print out an army of glossy pages every week to send out my way only to spend a few seconds in my hands before being tossed into the bin.

I remember the days in India when my mail boxes would be empty and I used to yearn for someone to pen a letter down to me; how times change: now I yearn for the day when I find that junk box empty. I sometimes imagine how much money, time and millions of precious paper that go down to carry on this ritual; an unfortunate wasted effort which comes knocking everyday at your mailbox unabashedly.

There may be a flurry of sites where you can register and maybe get some respite from the daily churn in your mailboxes, but why have this unwanted clutter being posted in the first place. I am sure we can do something better with the paper that travels all the way to my mailbox only to be discarded the next moment. There several trees turned in their graves.

Of course, I can go on ranting and ranting without doing any good, but maybe I will just leave it for another day. For now, I need to go back to my mail sorting.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Funny Signboards

Its fun, especially if you come across gems like 'coat paint, blazzer' . Will keep adding more to this collection going ahead.


Saturday, October 31, 2015

The rain jacket

“I am not going to school today”, Ruhi whined stomping her feet as her face continued to turn red.

“Yes, you are. You just cannot miss school for random reasons”, I sternly retorted while bundling up her lunch case.

“Mom! Have a look outside, it’s raining heavily. My clothes and shoes will get all wet and dirty”, she tried to point me towards the heavy downpour outside, standing on her toes to reach the window

I sighed. Unlike most kids her age, Ruhi was extremely punctilious to ensure her clothes didn’t have even the tiniest bit of dirt.
“The monsoon season has started, Ruhi. The weather will be like this for months; and I am not letting you miss school anymore. Now, why don’t you make it easy for both of us and wear your rain jacket and get ready to go. Come on, I know how much love your new red polka dot raincoat, don’t you? And since you are so particular about getting dirty, I will also keep your old jacket in your bag as a spare. Now, Is it okay?” I said as I motioned her to come near me.

She at first shot a grumpy look at me, but nevertheless trudged ahead and took her bag. She slipped into her new jacket and said , “I wish we had a car so that you can drive me down to school like Tara’s mom. Then I won’t have to slog through the messy rainwater.”

I felt a little stirred at her remark; I knew I will never be able match the lifestyles of her affluent friends, but with time, her comparisons with others were getting more recurrent. I eschewed my gush of thoughts, wondering that she is still a kid and will take some time to understand that life isn’t fair and grasp those complicated nuances.

"Ok, lets go", I said and held her hand in mine, opening my umbrella as we walked out. By now, the sky was all covered in woolly grey clouds and the rain had started to make plinking sounds on the roof. As my eyes traced the streets for signs of an autorickshaw, Ruhi suddenly let go of my hand exclaiming, “Mom, I will be back in a jiffy”.

Startled, I turned around to find her running back towards the gate while making her way through the puddles of water. “What! What are you upto, Ruhi? We will get late.”.

“Just a moment mom!” She cried out as she hopped to avoid the puddles and reached the fruit vendor who sells grapes on his cart next to our home. She took out the spare jacket from her bag and handed it to the man’s little son who was sheltering under the cart. The shivering young lad was taken aback by the sudden gesture. He gingerly stepped out of the cart and took the jacket and mumbled something in return flashing a happy toothy smile.

My little girl turned and made her way back to me, muttering as she re-held my hand, “What would I do keeping so many jackets, when Golu can’t even have one. It was so unfair. I can very well manage even if my red raincoat has a spot or two. Right, mom?” I nodded my head in appreciation, too awestruck to utter any words. A smile appeared across my face and I bent down to kiss her, shirking off the thought that a moment back I was thinking a 6 year old cannot be mature enough to understand things.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Elements

I recently made a series of acrylic works around the basic elements that make up the world around us. My intent was to capture each in monochrome with a solid background while infusing in a little artistic touch and keeping the subject abstract and easy.






If you didnt guess already, the paintings represent air, water and land.


Masala Chai

Warm mornings,
Or breezy evenings,

Whether simmered slowly with a hint of ginger,
Or coupled with a dash of elaichi and pepper.

When there are showers outside,
Or when there is a chill inside.

Whether its at home or the nukkad shop at the far end,
But definitely never at a CCD or Starbucks, friend.

While in a train as it chugs ahead,
Or when the bus comes to a halt at end.

During conversations that stretch long,
Or even when someone is alone and forlorn.

When the first rays of the sun light up the floor,
Or when the clock strikes a nightly four.

Whether you'r paired with Samose fresh out of the skillet,
Or frugal on your own with a Parle G packet.

When in office and your eyes start drooping,
Or by the smirk on the colleague's face you know a chai-break is coming.

Whether you come steaming with a lot of milk
Or with loads of mom's love blended in.

Whether the mood is jubilant, furious, sullen or just fine.
A first sip of your hot cup is something that sets up the mood right everytime.

Your alluring aroma fills up the house,
Sometimes its sharp,sometimes sweet.
But what are you?Just a concoction of milk water and leaves
Or a bronzed elixir,Ah, that magic you weave!

As the first rays of the morning bask into my room through the blinds,
I turn into the warmth of my blanket looking forward to a new day,
A day that starts with you,
a cup packed with that warm sweet gingery goodness of you.


Saturday, August 15, 2015

Thoughts on the freedom eve


Its 68 years since India was freed of colonial rule. You would argue that 68 years is a small time frame for a growing nation of a billion people; but if you look at it from another perspective, its long.
Long enough for a generation to pass, long enough for a generation worth of oral history to be ebbed away, long enough for us to forget some of our unsung heroes who only remain in the memoirs of our previous generation.

I am someone who is fascinated by stories, not just the ones we read in textbooks or those which come fore into the spotlight; but the stories of the real people, stories of the ladies who came out and picketed silk and liquor stores, stories of the teacher who made sure he instilled the right beliefs in his students during times of turmoil, stories of the men and women who went to prison for the dream of freedom, stories of the people who barely made the cut of glory but made a significant contribution to what was a revolution of an unprecedented epic proportion.


I am looking for that undocumented treasure trove of accounts which only live in memories and passed down orally in family dinners and now very much endangered to be lost in time. I am sure many people would have heard about how their grand parents or someone else in their family contributed to the freedom struggle in his/her own way. Lets not let that generation worth of memories disappear; they may not have made into history books, but they are precious nonetheless.

P.S. I have tried doing some online searches but the only sites I get are the likes of http://parliamentmuseum.org/indextry.html which have a clear dearth of the kind of stories I am looking for.

Please ping me on the blog or on facebook, I would be grateful if anyone is willing to share an account of their family with pictures, if possible. I also plan to start a page of such stories if I get a good response. Also let me know if something like this already exists that I am unaware of.





Monday, May 11, 2015

Post Disaster Thoughts

It is a human virtue to help those in need. And when you see that some people are in dire need, many of us go about either directly volunteering to go the place where the disaster struck or collecting blankets, clothes and toys to donate. Their intentions are noble but what we need to understand is that the execution may not always be.

When amateur volunteers just get on the plane in a quest to help, they instead end up interfering with the plans of professionals who are already there. I read about how the Kathmandu airport got super congested due to incoming goods and people that the actual movement of victims and help for them got affected. Such untrained people swarming there would only add up on those who have to be housed and fed, and this could disorient the efforts of the actual humanitarian societies for those who are in an actual need.

I also read about how certain packages with clothes were rejected and I think it makes sense. Someone who is bleeding would not do much out of a blanket or a cloth, he needs medical attention. And he needs such attention to reach unobstructed to him without being diverted due to another airplane carrying unwanted stuff.

So donate money as much as you can and do it right. Refrain from sending blankets, clothes and other physical goods, or the urge to go there by yourself.

Some useful links and references:
- http://time.com/money/3836879/nepal-earthquake-donations/
- http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/foreigners/2015/04/how_to_help_nepal_s_survivors_stay_home_and_send_money_to_aid_organizations.html