I know I am old when…
1) While filling in any application (even a darn credit card), I have to scroll, and scroll, and scroll a couple of pages down, to reach my ‘Year’ of birth!!! I mean, seriously, it wasn’t that long since I was born, was it?
2) I watch the Idols of our teenage years (SRK or Juhi Chawla) on screen, and realise they have considerably aged!!! So if a young and vivacious’Ghoonghat Ki Aad Se’ Juhi is a comical-looking old woman now, that makes me.. er.. Ok, let’s skip!
3) My kid asks me, ‘Mummy, which is bigger? 4 or 33?’ I reply, with a smile, ’33’. He laughs happily. When I suddenly realise, the ’33’ he is referring to, is … me!!
4) An Alumni meet is planned, and we realise it has been TEN YEARS since we left college! How could T-E-N years have whooshed by??! 🙄 I mean, I don’t know what happened in this decade!
5) For the first 5 years of my career (or say, all 5 years of my career), people who used to report to me were double my age! I used to feel sorry for them. I suddenly realise, in a few years, I will be one of them!!!
6) All the ‘kids’ in the apartment block that my parents live in, greet me with a cheery ‘Hi AUNTY!’. I have gotten quite used to that one. But the next lines are what shock me out of my wits. I ask them ‘How is college?’ and they guffaw and reply ‘Whaaat Aunty! I have been working for 4 years now!’
7) I meet my parents every 6 months or sometimes, more frequently than that. And every time I see them, they seem more ‘sober’ and ‘quieter’ (considering that we are a strange family, in the sense that none of us acts appropriate to our age!!!)
8) I log into Skype to chat with an old friend, and we realise, that it has been 9 years since we saw each other!!! I mean, NINE years is a long, long time.
9) I read this lovely post on ‘decision making’ and the start of a promising career!! I realise I have come a long, long way. I mean, not that I have a career, but it has been a couple of centuries since I was at that juncture of ‘opening my first bank account’ 🙂
10) When you lovely readers read this post, and send me loving ‘Awwws..’ and kind ‘Hugs’, then I’ll feel like a total piece of crap. Aged crap!!
And on that cheerful note :lol:, I wish you all a very happy week ahead!! Live life to the fullest folks. You just don’t realise how Time flies. And very soon, you might be writing a post like this yourselves!!!!
The Principal of a boys only school. He was jovial, old and respectable. The boys loved him. The parents respected him immensely. He was after all, ‘Reverend Father’.
He was kind to the boys, and insisted on meeting the friends and relatives of the boys. So every fun-fair day, or ‘fancy fete’ day, as it was called in those times, the boys would take their sisters and their friends to show them around the school. Rev. Father would call them into his room. Brightly-lit, spacious room, the shelves respectably lined with thick volumes. The children loved the room. It was, after all, the safe haven that belonged to ‘Reverend Father’.
Rev. Father would always offer the children lollipops. While the boys sat on the chair opposite the huge teak wood table, Rev.Father would call the girl over to his side. One hand would go protectively around the back of the little 6 or 7 year old child, drawing her close to him. The huge table almost hiding her, so her brother/friend could only see her neck and above. Rev.Father would stoop to the child’s level, and ask normal questions very kindly, ‘What is your name, my child?’ ‘What does your daddy do?’. You know, the sort of questions any caring, elderly person would ask!
While in the meanwhile, his right hand would creep up the little child’s thighs, get into her panty, and fiddle away, until the barrage of questions stopped. Usually, the child would remain silent. WHAT DOES A 6 YEAR OLD KNOW OR UNDERSTAND?
* First, the child is taken aback.
* Second, the child is confused.
* Third, the child has no escape!!
Once her turn was over, he would give her more lollipops, and wait serenely for the next child.
So this went on, until one of the kids realised SOMETHING WAS WRONG, and complained to her mother. The mother was SHOCKED. She questioned the other children’s parents. Then, she was FURIOUS.
Reverend Father had molested several little girls who had entered his room. Sadly, some of the boys even KNEW ABOUT IT, and despite that, they went ahead and brought their unsuspecting friends to him.
And then what?
Well, what do you expect? A Bolly-wood style Morcha? A protest or a people’s movement against the sick Rev.Father? A formal complaint against him, after which he was thrown out from his post, or probably even imprisoned and punished?
Ha! HA! HA!
It was best to keep quiet. Nobody would believe it. Nobody would talk about it. He was above all this. It was a respectable colony. A respectable school. A calm and wonderful neighbourhood. All that was not to be sullied. It was best to keep quiet, and avoid the sleazy old man.
He was, afterall, ‘REVEREND FATHER’.
This happened two decades ago.
I wonder, had this happened today, will our reaction be any different?
Will we fight child abuse? Will we take up the issue with other parents, will we protest against such molestors? Will we put any effort to get such perverts punished?
Or will we, as always, simply ‘hush’ it?!!!!
To read more about Child Abuse Awareness, please head over here.
I can proudly and quite unashamedly proclaim that I’m a sucker for chick-lit and romance (er, novels, that is).
A friend was leaving on vacation, and very sweetly offered me two of her novels, that I grabbed outright.
So first, I read ‘The Notebook’ by Nicholas Sparks. I was not expecting much more than a light and refreshing read, and I have to say it proved to be more than that. It was a typically quick read, replete with romance and emotions, suspense and drama. All in all, quite an enjoyable book. Leaves one wanting to either fall in love, or envelope someone special in a bear-hug, and never let go.
****Spoiler alert**** I wonder if this Bollywood movie was made AFTER or BEFORE the book was released?!!!
Then I grabbed ‘A Walk to Remember‘. I was expecting to see the same amount of mush in this book, but very interestingly, I found a lot of humour instead. (Now, if I’m a sucker for romance, then I’m an even bigger sucker for humour :-)) The author does warn you in the prologue. He says,the book will first make you laugh, then cry. I wholly agree. You will have more than a few laughs in the first half of the book, and even the second half, despite being sad, is extremely sweet. The book reminds one of the innocence and freshness of youth 🙂
Rating: 3.5/5 (enjoyed the humour)
And yesterday, I happened to get another book from the library. I had reserved ‘Atlas Shrugged‘ after reading a FB message by Rakesh (and loads of comments from our usual comment monsters :lol:) and I THOUGHT I was going to collect this book, but happened to bring home ‘Dear John’ instead.
Now, I confess felt very slightly bored, at the beginning of the book. However, it rapidly picked up pace, and I found myself, wanting to finish it before the day ended. And I did 🙂 (Kind courtesy: Little brat who very sweetly decided to keep himself occupied with winding his microphone around his hands and legs!!!!)
The synopsis of the book certainly does not do justice to the plot. This is not the usual ‘love story’.
For one, the characters in the book have been etched so beautifully, that you feel their love, their anxiety and their pain. They are very real.
Secondly, it gives one a glimpse into the ugly face of War, and how troops deputed in war zones actually spend their life. One actually ponders about the futility of it all.
And third, the book is not just about the love between a man and a woman, but also about the delicate relationship between a father and son. I loved the way this was brought out, in a very subtle and tender way.
To me, the character that stands out the MOST, is one that is mentioned neither on the back-cover nor the website. It is that of the Father of the protagonist. He is a simple, good man, who lives his life exactly the same way each day, but is a terrible social misfit. The father suffers from autism, and the way he reaches out to his son, in his own unique manner, twists and wrings your heart!!
Every character is true to life, and in those couple of hours spent on reading the book, one actually understands WHY each character takes the decisions he/she does, and how it seems both logical yet sad.
You must read the book, to FEEL what this is about.
I loved it, and I think it has made me more understanding of how a developmental problem can affect the lives of the person and his/her family and loved ones.
A note of caution : .This is a heart-wrenching book. It left me incredibly sad and dejected, wondering why life cannot be more simple. So, please save this for a long weekend, where you can recover and bounce back to your happy self 🙂 before the week begins again.
Rating: 4/5 (Exquisite characterisation)
Something I found to be a common undercurrent in all three books, was the almost naive, but constant emphasis on ‘true and ever-lasting love‘ (assuming, there is such a thing!).
I also liked the fact that the author managed to keep the ‘hero’ and ‘heroine’ from not jumping into bed, at the drop of a hat (or anything else for that matter). I understand that can be quite a put-off for a Mills & Boon fan 😈 😆 but it made ‘love‘ seem more special. Old-fashioned, perhaps. But ‘sacred‘ nevertheless.
As for the language and quality of writing, I was not expecting much, being ‘romance’ and ‘chick-lit’ and all. And neither am I into reading ‘difficult’ books (aka, I can’t understand them 😛 I’d much rather read a simple easily understandable sentence, rather than a paragraph full of words that contain 4 or more syllables! 😆 So yes, the language was simple, engrossing, and made all the books an entertaining read.
Pick-up time. The children chattered excitedly, as rains lashed.
A little girl quietly waited for Nanny.
She looked up, surprised. Her eyes sparkled.
She ran and hugged the woman.
The woman pushed her away.
‘I only came because its raining. Can’t come everyday Ok?’ she snapped.
‘Yes Mummy’ Sofia nodded.
The sparkle had disappeared.
PS: I actually witnessed this incident when I went to collect my son from school this evening (names have been changed.. rather, assumed). One moment, the little girl was so excited. The next moment, it was all gone. Like a balloon had been deflated.
I wonder how many times we behave like that Mother. Not realising that the absence of a smile, or a hug, can dampen the spirit of our beautiful precious children? Don’t mean to be preachy, but I do hope, we will more consciously try, to reciprocate the wonderful and endless love that our children shower on us….
This post is published as an entry for the KING AND QUEEN OF 55F CONTEST – The first ever unique, challenge for the coveted title in micro fiction category. To catch the crowning moments and also be part of future editions and other contests, visit and register at Cafe GingerChai
Rules of the contest:
You have to write a set of three 55F.
The first two sets should be a story on its own.
The two stories should climax / conclude / inter-twine in the third set of 55F.
The story could be of any genre i.e, love, crime, mystery or thriller etc.
He lay sprawled in usual drunken stupor. She stared unseeingly at the tea boiling in the pan. Fifteen years of abuse flashed before her. Last night however, he had stooped too low.
‘Bloody pimp’, she swore, but smiled harshly.
She did not need him anymore! A cup of tea (and some poison, perhaps) would suffice.
Sunlight momentarily blinded her. She picked up her torn dupatta, wound it tightly around her bruised shoulders, and entered Amma’s kitchen.
Their eyes met. Cold, vacant, almost chilling.
The young girl lowered her gaze. Ashamed.
‘Go now. Wash yourself. Come fresh and clean, for tea’
‘Clean? I’ll never be clean again…’ hot tears rolled, unrestrained.
Laila scrubbed herself until her skin burned.
‘Beauty!’, father’s ‘friend’ had grunted as he ravaged her last night.
Amma had been livid. Until, she had seen the money.
Trembling, Laila brought the scalding tea to her lips.
It wasn’t until late December that I found the envelope. It was addressed to no one. It bore the seal of ‘Vrindavan Home for the Aged’. That is how I realised it (perhaps) belonged to my father.
Before you stand on high moral ground and fire me for having sent away my old (and ailing!) Dad to the Home, do try to understand, and if possible, even believe that I truly did not want to send him there. At sixty, he was fit as a fiddle. We used to fight over the TV every evening, and would both finally lose to my son, who decided that Ben Ten was the right programme for us. So we, the boys of the house, would sprawl on the sofas and watched the inane aliens fight gory wars.
I digress. Like I said, the envelope, slightly yellowed and crushed, was addressed to no one in particular. It just bore my address. I assume my Dad had written it for me! Which made me curious, as he was not the sort of person who would write letters! If my memory serves me right, he was particularly not fond of reading or writing. So this was special. I didn’t quite want to open it. The last two months had been rather painful. First, the agony of losing him. Second, the fact that I had left him to die alone. I can never get over it. Ever. And third (perhaps, the most important reason) – I was afraid… of what the letter might contain!!
It was my birthday. In no mood to celebrate, I decided I would open the letter after all…
You know how much I hate to write!
Bang on! This was definitely from Dad!! My lips curved into a smile.
I want to let you know something… its been on my mind ever since you left me.
I stiffened. It was not like I left him! It was HE who decided to leave us. Vidya and I pleaded. So did little Prithvi. But he had made up his mind.
I like this place they call ‘Home’. Its spacious, airy, the nurses take care of me. I have no complaints.
I visited him almost every Saturday. I would take his favourite food. Sometimes, Vidya and Prithvi came along, at other times, they didn’t. Dad would always recognize Prithvi, no matter what! The moment he saw his chubby little grandson, his wizened face would break into a smile. I felt relived that he liked the Home.
But you know… I want to write this before I can forget everything.. before my traitor of memory fails me. Sometimes I cannot even remember your face. At other times, I feel like you are standing right next to me. I know you are there. Its just, I don’t remember who exactly you are .. or at times, who I myself am!! I have to confess that part is a little scary.
So that was why he wrote the letter!! When he was first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it had come as a brutal shock to all of us.
On most days, he was very normal. The same old Dad who steadily picked his nose as he sat in his oversized armchair, watching children play cricket on the street! On other days, he would turn into a complete stranger. He would just stare at the ceiling. At times, he would simply grab the nearest object and smash it into the wall. He would walk down the street, to buy a packet of chicory, and wouldn’t return home until dark, when one of us would go in search of him, only to find him sitting on a broken bench, looking dazed and confused.
Finally it was he who suggested being moved to the Home. We wanted him around. He, however, was adamant. He left a day after Prithvi’s fifth birthday. We had a great party. He joined in the fun. I almost called the Home to cancel the move. But the next morning, he woke very early, bathed, and packed a little holdall with a couple of shirts and bare necessities. He did not give us any opportunity to try and persuade him against going. Before he left that morning, he blessed us with wishes for a ‘long and happy married life’, and said, very simply, and as a matter-of-fact, ‘Tell Prithvi I love him the most!’
When Prithvi returned from school that afternoon, he searched for Dad in every room of the house! And when he didn’t find him there, he cried himself to sleep.
There’s one little person I always seem to remember. A lovely cherubic little boy. Let me try to recall.. Preetham.. or was it Prithvi? Yes, I think it is Prithvi. My darling little angel. He visits me often. I can’t often remember his name, but I know that he is part of my soul.
I fought hard to blink back the tears. Dad wouldn’t be kind to anybody who cried at the drop of a hat!!
So, my dearest, I had better finish this letter quickly, as I might just not remember about it in some time.
Very often, nurses wipe tears rolling off my cheeks. Sometimes, they say ‘tut..tut..’ and walk away, cursing (in a rather filmy style!) my ‘supposedly wicked’ son who they think has left me here.
Little do they know, that these, in fact, are tears of joy.
Joy at a life well lived. This is the happiness of a husband, who found a good and loving wife. The pride of a father, who raised a strong and caring son. And also, the yearning of a grandfather. Whose only (albeit greedy) wish was that he had a few more years to spend with his grandson, frolicking in the park, or sneaking away from the watchful and loving eyes of his Mummy, to lick an ice-cream cone. But then, I’m just being ungrateful.
I could have lived with our children. But you know, much as I hate to boast, I think our son adores me! So does Prithvi. I want them to remember me as their Hero. Not as a senile patient who couldn’t recognize them! No. That wouldn’t work for me.
So, this is my big secret. I want you to know, my dearest, that every time I remember us, and cry, it is only to say that I have lived a very happy life.
I think I will see you soon.
Dad’s last letter. It had not been written for me. Or for Prithvi. But for Mum. I was stunned, at how Dad never let us see how much he missed her. I hoped they were together again.
To me, the letter had a cathartic effect. I don’t know if I can ever stop feeling guilty, but this day, I felt a little better. He knew what he was doing. And he did it not just for me, but also for himself.
I guess he was right afterall. When I think of Dad, I only recall a tall, strong man, who would throw Prithvi up into mid-air and catch him as he fell squealing with delight. I remember him as a level-headed counsellor, who simply declared that every workplace had its share of politics, and it was upto me to handle it or steer clear! Vidya remembers him as a loving father, who would make her a cup of ‘straang filter kaapi’ when she returned home from work every evening.
And Prithvi.. well, he does not remember much of him. When we happen to mention Dad, he perks up, curious to know more about his childhood friend. We cite him examples of how Dad used to pretend to be his Horse and ‘giddy up’ as Prithvi ordered him to! Prithvi chuckles shyly when we mention such incidents.
Often, he walks into Dad’s old room (that has now been converted into a Study) as if looking for something.
Sometimes, I follow him, and find him gazing at a picture of Dad’s. At other times, I find him dozing in the big arm-chair.
Well, whatever it is he is doing (or not doing!), I get the feeling this room is his favourite haunt. He seems happy here.
As for the letter, I placed it back in its envelope, labelled it as ‘First Letter Written’and tucked it far, far away inside my wardrobe. I could perhaps give it to Prithvi when he is grown up enough to be deceived by ‘Success’ manifesting itself in the form of money or fame?! Will it make any sense to him, I wonder…
Or perhaps, I will simply start writing a letter of my own…. hoping that I too, can be a Hero to my son, as Dad is to me.
I was wondering if my Friday Feast posts were turning boring, when Deeps said she was actually looking forward to it!!! So I plunged into writing this post, on a Tuesday, and scheduling it to be published on Friday (Whoa @ my commitment to blogging, no?).
This Friday, I have not one, but Two Feasts for you!
1- ONE-POT STIR-FRY MEAL
As always, a quick n easy one-pot meal idea : Stir-fry noodles/rice
Utterly simple – Roughly chop up loads of veggies – Spring onions, onions, baby corn, carrot, capsicum (all colours), cabbage, mange tout, beans – toss them into a pan with a tablespoon of oil. Stir-fry them on high heat, for about 2-3 minutes, until they get slightly brown, but not fully cooked. Do remember to keep the veggies crunchy.
Now add in some salt to taste. I don’t usually add Ajinomoto as I cannot serve that to my little brat. If you like, you could add in a tablespoon of soy sauce and vinegar. Or a ready-made packet of Knorr hakka noodles masala (which tastes quite good!).
Finally, throw in the cooked rice or noodles (as you like), toss briskly, without mashing either the rice or the veggies. Basically, you are doing a stir-fry and not cooking food.
For the more enthusiastic folks around, a side-dish (cauliflower manchurian or paneer manchurian and the likes!) could be made as well. I usually just stock up on the Knorr Manchurian or Knorr Schezwan packets, and use them sparingly on my feeling-lazy-days!
They are extremely simply and taste divine. Just follow the instructions on the pack and its really easy to make the side-dish. Otherwise, ofcourse, you can do it from scratch, and there are loads of recipies on the internet, that I don’t want to bore you with now!!
Personally, I am very happy with this one-pot meal. Its simple, easy to make, tasty and well, let’s face it -what could be healthier than vegetables?
2- THOMAS DOSAI!!!!
The second Feast for today, is specially meant for your Kiddies and Kiddos: A yummy dosai in the shape of a Thomas train (with wheels!), decorated with cooked potato and spinach 🙂
My mum used to make dosais in the shape of Ducks and Houses when we were young!
The important thing to remember while making dosai in different shapes, is the temperature of your tava. Heat your dosai tava slightly, not too hot (otherwise the batter will become clumpy), and not too cool either (as then, the batter will not cook!!).
When the tava is warm, ladle the batter onto it. First draw a circle, and then a little rectangle adjoining it. Lastly, spoon a tiny bit on the top to make a funnel! Don’t forget the wheels!!! Cook little circles of batter, and just arrange them under the train before you serve.
You can top this with any veggies to make a face. The possibilities are quite endless, really! I am quite sure your child will wolf this down in no time 🙂
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 🙂