My second attempt at Thursday Challenge!! An extremely easy challenge this time, as my place is ALWAYS always and always messy!!! This picture was clicked the day we returned from our India trip. Little R was so excited to be back in ‘his’ space!
Now where do I begin? Its just been so long. There are a hundred thoughts running criss-cross in my mind. Every incident, every emotion – turns into fodder for a new blog post, that I have very sadly, neglected to follow up on! So here are some tidbits…
1- What the heck is Arundhati Roy thinking?! While most people simply do not think, some successfully think crooked and turn into politicians. Others choose not to think at all, and turn into PMs. Some others think radically different, and make inflammatory speeches. I wish everyone who supports ‘Azaadi’ for Kashmir, actually charts out a ‘What Next‘ map as well. Where does Kashmir go from there?!!! By the way, I liked God of Small Things, but it was too dark, a little confusing and altogether depressing.
3- I read this post at IHM’s blog and also the original post at TBG’s blog. Now I have never been a ‘feminist’. Atleast not the sort of feminism they show on TV. In my own way, though, I firmly believe in independence and space – as a matter of birth right – for any human being, man or woman! And if Indian society dictates that women MUST be in the kitchen, ‘enjoying’ doing ‘her’ activities, then that is ridiculous. Every woman is an individual first and only then a wife or mother or daughter-in-law. If she is denied this basic right, whether explicitly or in unspoken words and behaviour, then there certainly is something wrong!
4- For those of you who have not yet read this, please do click on Greatbong’s post and Khamba’s post on the latest Super Hero: ‘ArnabMan‘.
5- For those of you who did not watch Rakhi Ka Insaaf, shame on you. You missed something profound. The audience screamed ‘Rakhi Rakhi’ and the woman meted out justice, by asking the lover to marry the woman he has been having an affair with, with absolutely no consideration of the fact that this man was already married and had 4 children!! Rakhi had better join Muthalik. Together, they can get every couple in India married. Again, read Greatbong’s hilarious post on this.
6- And for those who have not been following our one and only Sultan Bhai, he’s been flooding Facebook with his Rajini wisecracks. This latest one steals the show:
Basketball player: I can spin a ball on my finger for 2 hrs… can u..?? Rajnikanth: How do u think the earth spins…??
Which reminds me that I am one of the very few people who has not yet seen Enthiran!!!
7- We have two new additions to our family – They are called Andy Juju and Radar Chichi. Who are they? Any guesses, anyone??
8- The weather has suddenly changed from ‘bright, sunny and hot’ to ‘grey, windy and cold’. Brrr….
Anyway, I leave you with a beautiful picture… a place that everyone must visit, atleast once in a lifetime!!!
Come Friday, and here’s another challenge for you!!
For the first time ever, my brat uttered those three precious words!!! The three words that made my heart flip. Why me? It would make any woman elated!!
Just as he was getting ready for school, he stood at the door, stared at me very intently, then said……. *** *** ***
So proud of you, sonny boy!!
So folks, guess what he said!!
Comment moderation is not on, so you can guess or copy, but atleast edit before you paste 😉
Happy Weekend, everyone!! 🙂
EDITED TO ADD….
Thanks girls and boys for your charming entries…
Let’s break the day’s suspense with The Correct Answer…..
And scroll further…
‘Let’s go Shopping!!!!’
You can imagine how exhilarated I was, when I heard my brat say those words… I thanked the good Lord for blessing my boy with such good sense!!
All those years of training have not gone in vain 😉
🙂 🙂 🙂
And now, the announcement of the WINNER .
Thank you, and Congrats to EVERY participant of this (mis)contest 😉 Loved each of your entries!!! Would like to make a special mention of our dear Ritu’s ‘want to pee‘ suggestion, that really took the cake 😉
CR – Here’s your award!! A fully sponsored coffee and cupcake at Starbucks. To redeem it, just give me a ring (er, A phone-call, is what I meant ;-)) You can redeem this any day between now and 31-Dec-2010 🙂
Thursday Challenge – Came across this at Uma’s blog this morning, and was fascinated about how we get to choose and feature a picture that conveys the essence of ‘peace’.
Here’s my picture… this is not particularly scenic, or even pretty. But there is something about this place, that makes me think I’m stepping into another world… and to think that this is just a couple of minutes from the busy main road!!
(Apologies for having to bombard you with this – but *** A gentle reminder : If you liked my earlier post titled ‘Past Promises, Forgotten Futures’, then please Vote to promote it on Indiblogger, here:http://www.indiblogger.in/indipost.php?post=34664 *** Thanks *** And again, do vote for a post, ONLY if you like it)
I picked up the book, and only a few pages into the story, I could not… absolutely could not.. put it down. I took a couple of ‘essential’ breaks 😉 but was otherwise hooked onto it completely.
The book is the narration of the Mahabharatha, seen through the eyes of Draupadi.
I’ve always loved reading mythology, Indian and otherwise. To me, reading this book was like a flashback of a movie seen in childhood, but this time, in technicolour 🙂
It isn’t boring, I assure you. And for once, I have read a book that has left me with absolutely no words of criticism or nit-picking!
I love the way the author has humanised (is there such a word?!) the characters. She turns a mythological Draupadi into a living, breathing woman! In this character called Draupadi, you will probably see a piece of yourself. Or others you know.
It makes one realise Draupadi was not an average person, specifically a woman, whose life revolved around cooking, keeping house and breeding!!
Draupadi is beautiful, confident woman, with higher aspirations, but is typically trapped in a man’s world. She is intelligent, fully aware of both her ‘desires’ and ‘limitations’. She realises ‘a woman’s place’ in this world, and abides by it.
I loved the way Draupadi beseeches to Arjun, to stop her from being ‘shared’ by his brothers, and where he subsequently redirects his fury and frustration on her, as if she were the culprit, not the victim!! Isn’t that exactly what happens even in the modern day world? In the case of rape, the first reaction is that the victim must have done something, to provoke it.
What shocked me though, was that since Draupadi was to be ‘shared by her five husbands’ – one husband a year, Vyasa ‘blessed‘ her with a ‘boon to become a virgin every time she went to her next husband‘. I almost felt the bile rising in my throat, as I read this. Draupadi or Divakaruni (the author) rightly says, this is a boon, made very conveniently, for the men, and not for Draupadi.
The delicate relationship of mutual mistrust between Draupadi and Kunti is described in such a simple, practical manner. It makes one realise why MILs and DILs co-exist the way they do 😉
Draupadi herself is a survivor. She does not simply make her mark in her household. She tries her best to not allow any adversary into ‘her’ palace, where SHE is the Chief Queen.
I enjoyed the way Draupadi tried to make amends to Karna, for her insult to him at the Swayamvar, but where he refuses to be mollified, and yet, he does his best to protect her from harm, when the court broke into pandemonium!
There is a brief moment where Draupadi (in this book) admits to not being very maternal. She says being a wife to five men, and stately duties sapped her, and she was more than happy, to have her nanny take the children off her hands. Why are ‘women’, specifically in Indian society expected to ‘want’ to take care of children? Why is it not a choice? If a woman does not enjoy feeding her child, does that make her a bad mother? Do we, as a society, have the maturity to realise that a Mother is also an INDIVIDUAL who might simply yearn for more in life, than mundane chores?!
I’ve encountered very severe reaction from a couple of friends whom I sometimes call to watch a movie or something over the weekend. Their reaction is one shock – ‘How can I leave my family, that too on the weekend?’ Its not like I’m asking them to elope!! They feel guilty to even ‘want’ to dedicate some time to themselves. Earlier, I used to feel sorry for such women, who ‘constrain’ themselves. Now, though, I feel sorry for the handful of ‘Draupadi’s that remain, for wanting ‘more’. Strange as it may sound, it is they who are constrained by their wants!
Nevertheless, what struck me most, was the fact that despite being foretold her future, she did not stop it ‘because of the circumstances’.
Draupadi could have chosen Karna over Arjun. She did not. (Which by the way, makes the reader feel really bad for Karna, who was always the subject of unfair treatment. In colloquial language, Karna got a bad deal!)
She could have given up her life, rather than be a Queen to five Kings. She did not.
Which made me wonder, is Life about Destiny or about Choices? All my life, I thought it was Destiny. Today, somehow, I think, it is probably not as simple as that.
The book isn’t without humour either. There is a reference to Yudhishtra being ‘blissfully unaware’ that people could mean them harm. And to Bheem’s plate being piled higher than the other brothers. It all made them very HUMAN. There is a Yudhistra in each of us. A Bheem too. Some brave ones even have a piece of Arjuna in them.
There were some extremely distressing moments as well. Like, the murder of Abhimanyu. Or that of Karna. Both these ‘hunks’ 😉 were killed unfairly. What really moved me, was the description of young Abhimanyu staring in ‘disbelief’ at the the unfair play by those whom he had always respected.
Caution: This book is not for the judgemental reader. You read, you nod either in agreement or disagreement, and you move on. If one were to start judging any of the characters as moral or immoral, cowardly or brave… then, IMHO, it defeats the purpose of the book. Any book, perhaps.
This book, is the life of a woman. Of her aspirations, her boundaries and her will. One cannot help wondering how similar it is to the story of a woman in today’s world. Not much has changed over the centuries, has it??!!!
I leave you with some snippets from the book…
– This one: ‘Between Yudhistra and Krishna, a woman cannot even enjoy being in misery!’ LOL! I loved that line!
– Or this one: ‘There is a strange freedom in realising one is not that important!’
– Or this: Krishna says to Dhritharashtra: ‘If you had believed all (Kauravas and Pandavas) were YOURS TO LOVE, this war would have never taken place’. Isn’t this exactly what we need today? Look at the Ayodhya issue. If only we believed we were truly ‘one’ – would there ever be bloodshed?!!
The book is filled with glorious and inglorious incidents from the past, but in that, one can clearly draw references to today, and even to the future!!
I hope this inspires you enough to grab a copy of the book!!
(This is purely a work of fiction, but I believe this is what most women go through at some point in life! Some survive it, while many don’t get to ever live their dreams. I hope this post will act as a catalyst to those who fall in the latter category.)
‘Cngrts!’ – the phone beeped with this simple message. She stared at it, rather uncertainly. Who was this from? What were the ‘congratulations‘ for? Try as she might, she could not recall anything specific worth ‘celebrating’.
Anjali looked around her apartment… ragged grey sofa, cushions encased in faded Rajasthani mirrored covers – received six years ago as a wedding present, cream flowered curtains that had turned a unique mixture of brown and grey, over the years, toys scattered all over the floor, the kitchen sink overflowing with dirty utensils. She was not poor. Only chaotic.
It was all she could do, to not cry when she looked into the mirror. She looked a tired, balding mum struggling in her fourties. Interestingly, Anjali had turned just turned thirty. That very day, infact!
Voices from the past echoed within the walls of her mind.
‘Congrats, Anjie babe, well done!!’
‘Hey Anj, awesome.. you’ll come out with flying colours…’
‘Anjali, we are so proud of you, dear!’
Best friends, classmates, parents… they were all congratulating her on her graduation day. She had topped the MCA batch, and had the best job on campus, as Project manager in a reputed IT organization. She was to even wed the next month.
Her thoughts went fleeting past from that day of euphoria, to a year ago.
A stressed husband, two active children who drained her of every ounce of energy. Her career was now a thing of the past. Life revolved around baby-feeds, changing dirty nappies, making visits to the doctor, and arranging playdates. The only friends she had were other ‘mommies’.
‘This is it, Abhi. I cannot take any more!’ – Anjali cried reproachingly.
‘But you wanted all of this, didn’t you?’ Anjali crashed some crockery into the sink, in response.
She was tired. Completely dependent, financially. Diffident, and terribly overweight. She had even started to stutter while talking these days, and didn’t understand why. She had been so eloquent earlier. At times, she even hated herself.
‘I will change my life around. Wait and watch!’ she promised to herself. And to Abhi. He merely shrugged, ‘What’s for dinner, honey?!’
A look of steely determination flashed across Anjali’s eyes. She quickly ran to her bedroom before the moment could pass, took out her mobile phone, and feverishly typed out an SMS. Once done, she wiped away her tears, and went back to serve her family dinner.
The phone beeped again, jolting Anjali back to the present.
‘Cngrtson yr new job!! Cngrts on losing wt! – Anjali’
She peered at herself in the mirror. Shabby. Unkempt. She glanced around her apartment. Ditto!
She was supposed to have hired a nanny. She was to have searched for and found employment. She was to have hit the Gym. All this, over the last year. However, none of this had materialised. Mundane chores had got the better of her, and she had lost sight of her own goals.
As she looked closely at herself, reality hit her. And hit hard. She had lost sight of the beautiful future she could have had, if only she had kept that vital promise to her past.
Anjali slowly pulled out her phone, and dialled a number. And then, two more, in quick succession. The first was an employment agency. Then, her old nanny. And finally, the local Gym that had been hounding all the residents with glossy brochures featuring ‘super-(wo)men’ 😉 with six pack abs!!
She washed her face, combed her hair and got down to revamping her resume.
It was time again, to make a new promise. One she would keep. She took out her Docomo One Touch Net phone, and typed out a new message.
‘Congrats Babes, This time, you Really did it. Love ya! – Anj’
Folks, this is an entry (fiction) for the Indiblogger ‘Tata DOCOMO OneTouch Net Phone’ contest, which explains why I used the name so frequently in the post 😉 They boast of a feature called ‘timed sms’ which to me, sounded exciting. I assumed one could send an SMS scheduled for some date/time in the future, and wrote this story based on the assumption.
Voting begins tomorrow, so If you liked this post, please do vote!!