Thursday 29 May 2014

Letter to my smartphone

My Dear Smartphone,

It’s been 3 days since you went on that sick leave, and my life has come to a standstill. I wish I could rewind and edit the scene when you fell on the floor and broke your lovely shining screen – the beautiful 5” screen that meant so much to me. It was like a paralysis attack, you immediately stopped sensing any touch, although I know all my memories, emotions and must haves are still safe in your heart. After all, my relation with you is that of expression and perhaps that’s why the gap hurts so much.

But accidents in life come unannounced and change the dynamics of our existence. For sometime, I was in a state of shock and carried you everywhere normally since you are my constant companion. Do you know, immediately after you fell, everyone was so concerned. Friends, family and even office connections were clueless why I went passive and didn’t answer their calls. They were unaware that even though I could see their calls, I could do nothing, for the screen had broken! It took me sometime to pass on the information that I would be unavailable for some time and after hearing about the accident, my well wishers were full of sympathy and prayers for you and my wallet!

We had just celebrated your first Birthday, I had even got you a new screenguard as those scratches on the previous one had to be done away with. Black, shiny, intelligent, efficient, you were my best buddy throughout the day. Whoever said Diamonds are a girl’s best friend didn’t have a smartphone!

The usual happy go lucky me, now wears a sad look while commuting to office. No longer can I listen to music, read news, or read articles on my way to work. You even doubled up as a mirror when I wanted to check the look when out. Encouraging the budding photographer in me, you also catered sportingly to my Selfie obsession! The other day I saw these beautiful birds in the evening and I lost the opportunity to click and blog about them and I cant tell you how much you were missed. I am somehow managing with a step phone borrowed from mom in law till you get treated, but honestly, nothing compares to you.

You ensured discipline in my life by instantly notifying me of any mail or update on twitter or Watsapp and showed me the value of timely reverts. It’s a torture now as I can only check these once a day, after I come back home. Unable to find me on Watsapp, my friends began to think I suddenly went on a holiday without informing them, only later they came to know, that the break from Watsapp jokes and juicy gossips is a forced one. With the screen gone, the temple run guy is also enjoying a forced break as I no longer ask him to run every morning!

Most importantly, my favourite activity is the worst affected - . I can no longer read and update blogs on the go. Imagine an idea coming to you in the morning and having to wait for the evening to blog whatever little is left in the memory.

Mr. Hubby asks me to chill and says you are just a phone. Gosh, when will these guys understand the difference between utility and affection! All I can do is helplessly stare at your lifeless, broken face every evening and wonder if I could have been more careful that day.

Although Mr. Hubby has promised he will take you for a surgery this weekend, let me tell you that until then, every minute is like a year to me. 

I feel cut off from the world and my favourite pastimes have become a thing of the past. Wish you have a speedy recovery and we can again enjoy our days like before.


Wednesday 28 May 2014

My yellow carpet welcome!

It’s raining Amaltas in my city! Look across any street and you will find beautiful yellow flowers enveloping almost every tree. On a sultry summer day, when most of us prefer to hide indoors with our juices and showers, the Amaltas flowers beautify the surroundings, inviting us to have a tête-à-tête with them.

My affair with the Amaltas started when I was in school. Next to the school bus pick up point, there was a lush tree covering a wall. I would pluck yellow bunches and carry them to school to gift my class teacher. Amaltas flowers were also the easiest target when we had to pluck flowers to play Ghar Ghar during summer vacations. Unlike other flowers, Amaltas seemed more attractive due to their bright yellow colour and the fact that they came in bunches.

If you are still wondering why am I getting so obsessed about some yellow flowers, I suggest you rush to Lutyens Delhi, Delhi ridge area, Chanakyapuri, or any park near your house. The flowers have a strong bond with Dilli and you will find many roads carpeted with yellow flowers in your welcome! Once you experience the yellow carpet welcome, you too will fall in love with them. 
And if you are lucky enough to spot a Gulmohar tree next to an Amaltas tree, the red and yellow combo will truly brighten your day.  

Fortunately, I don’t have to work hard to enjoy the company of these yellow delights. The park near my house has abundant supply of Laburnum trees. It’s bloom time and the entire park looks heavenly; the jogging track donning the yellow carpet look! No wonder it’s also called the Golden Shower tree! Gives the lazy me an excuse enough to go for a walk and bask in the beauty! While as a kid, I enjoyed plucking the flowers as I walked in the park, now I prefer to enjoy the scenic beauty of the yellow flowers blanketing the trees and prefer not to spoil the look by plucking the flowers. However, the guard has a hard time driving away kids who like the earlier me, can’t resist plucking the flowers.

Officially called Cassia fistula or the Indian Laburnum, Amaltas is found in abundance in India, Thailand, Myanmar and many other countries of South East Asia. Did you know it’s the national flower of Thailand (the yellow leaves symbolize Thai royalty) and the state flower of Kerala? In Kerala, the flower holds immense importance during the Vishu festival and women especially decorate their hair with the yellow flowers. Although I haven’t been there, I can imagine what a beautiful sight it would be when yellow blooms complement the joy of a new beginning!

The tree also has a special mention in the Ayurveda for its laxative properties though I was also surprised that excess consumption can be poisonous!

Whether Rain Gods oblige us with shower or not, the golden shower tree definitely makes summers a delight and I leave no opportunity to spend time exploring the blooms in my colony!

Me Wonderzzz...

The lovely Laburnum blooms
In several hearts making rooms

Showering their golden love
Amidst the cooing of koel and dove

The yellow carpet throughout the street
Makes my heart skip a beat!

The showers slowly reduce, exposing the leaves off hiding
Me watching the hide n seek, can’t stop smiling

Come monsoons and it’s time for the blooms to part
I wait for the next summer for a fresh yellow affair to start!

Tuesday 20 May 2014

Book review – The crossover

Author – Sunil Sandeep
Illustrations – Betty Bileterka
Genre - Poetry

Having grown up on a heavy doze of Hindi and English poetry, and being a poetess myself, I was filled with excitement when I was offered to review a collection of poems. To write stories spanning across hundreds of pages may be an art, but a poet does much more than that. Some things said and some unsaid, challenging the reader to bridge the gap…I always find poetry stimulating by building an instant connection with the reader. Seems the author felt the same way, for he mentions “I never thought I would write…and write in verse. But I have, and it has been most fulfilling.”

The cover
The cover is simple however; the words “open heart verses” grabbed my attention immediately. Poetry comes unplanned and straight from the heart.

The Book
The Crossover is the author’s maiden attempt at bringing out the voice of his heart out through poems. The book showcases the author’s take on life, beginning with dreams which drive us for the daily grind; as the mental metamorphosis occurs, we come face to face with reality and understand the actual stuff life is made of. It is time then to take stock of the situation and chalk our own path to understanding self and attaining inner peace.

The author has offered a delicious assortment of various moods that envelop our mind and every poem is a refreshing change from the previous one.

A welcome change from the over doze of fiction and self help that weeds our bookshelves, The crossover makes you pause and think before you move on to the next one…perhaps inspire to write one yourself!

Why I liked the book
The poems are simple to read and understand and you can almost hear the voice of the heart.

Beautiful illustrations next to every poem make you pause after every poem, for they explain the hidden meaning few might not have noticed.

What could have been better
Well, nothing really. With a promising debut like this, I am sure there are many more beautiful compilations to come!

So read the poems, look at the pic, reflect upon life and enjoy the book!

This review is done for

Sunday 4 May 2014

Shaadi ke side effects

I know the title would make all the married folks smile, for the one who takes the plunge knows it all. But, for all you married and single readers who are hoping to get some masala on the nuances of marriage, you are in for some disappointment. For this post is not about the side effects of marriage, it is about the side effects of attending a big fat Indian wedding!

Recently, we had to attend a relative’s wedding. But what seemed like an occasion to unwind and catch up with juicy family gossip turned out to be a comedy of errors. So, without wasting any more time, let me just take you through the countdown to the wedding.

2 days before
Just like the bride’s beauty regime begins days before the D day, the guests too take pains to look their photogenic best. Mom in law ordered me to arrange for her hair color to ensure not even one white hair escapes untouched! I requested my salon lady for a late evening appointment for her “special” glow facial. What usually is a relaxing activity for me became a substitute for lullaby since an exhausted me, after a day full of meetings virtually got the facial etc done in a sleep mode. Poor lady had to wake me up frequently to save the facial cream from smudging on the salon chair.

The Clothes
This is the focal point of the preparations, for any slip here invites horrible photographs and secret discussions among the ladies groups. While I prefer to plan the look in advance, mom in law always comes up with a lazy “I will pick up anything that day” answer. However, in this department, I am the boss, so I insist upon selecting the attire, jewelry, accessories etc and even give strict directions not to make any last minute changes on her own. Seemed my foresightedness worked for we realized we had added few more pounds since the last wedding we attended and an emergency visit to the tailor was called for.

The leave
No matter how much work life balance we working women maintain, we are always expected to take leaves whenever there is something to do with relatives. Be it a relative dropping in for stay over, or a function at a distant relative, my father in law always tells me “the organization won’t stop working if you take a day’s leave!” I somehow manage with a “I will come early” promise, and by now, everyone has realized my leaving early from work means leaving half an hour early! Still for them, something is better than nothing!

The D Day
It was the day of the wedding. While the relatives had summoned me to be a part of some rituals to be performed by married women of the family that day, my super supportive mom in law made up for my absence with a perfect excuse. Praying for not getting any last minute meeting invite, I rushed for home.

The moment I stepped in, I was welcomed by shining faces with smiles. Everyone but me, had spent the afternoon getting ready at their leisurely pace. Now only I was left. Mom in law asked me to get ready in 10 min. “Getting ready in 10min for attending a wedding?” My eyeballs almost popped out of the sockets!  “Ya, you can just get the basic thing and remaining can be done on the way. After all the venue is far and there will be traffic jam” she said. I realized arguing would have wasted even those 10 min so I smiled and took my time in getting ready (well not just for myself, coz in between I also helped MIL with her saree, makeup etc. which ensured my extra time went unnoticed).

The Oh so pleasant drive!
We just sat inside the car when Mr. Hubby realized we had forgotten the most important thing…the invitation card! For it had the address of the venue! MIL and I grumbled as we had to repeat the process of unocking and locking the house just to get the invitation card! “Couldn’t the men have kept it in their pocket while they watched the IPL repeat telecast?” we grumbled.

The wedding was in at the fag end of an NCR location, and as I struggled with Google navigator to help Mr. Hubby with the route, father in law kept cribbing we would be late and miss the function (though I kept on convincing him that going by the time Baraats (wedding processions) arrive these days, we could watch all prime time shows, leave for the venue and still be early!)

Since FIL was concerned about missing the action, we landed up at the wedding venue directly instead of the Baraat assembly point (we were representing the groom’s side). However, the scheme of things there took me by total surprise. At 8:30pm, the venue wore a deserted look, with some strange faces roaming around. These were people from the Bride’s side and were warm enough to welcome the early bird Baraatis!

Since we were the only people at the venue from the groom’s side the stewards flocked to our table like honeybees on flowers and after 2 rounds I, embarrassed with the extra attention, asked them to focus on serving the bride’s relatives as well!

The 2 main questions
Now there were 2 big questions for the evening –
     1.   When would the Baraat arrive? (For then only we would be able to hand over the gift and leave)
     2.   How to pass time till the Baraat arrive?

One hour had passed since we came. There was no sign of Baraat. Father in law got excited everytime he heard the sound of Dhols and trumpets, only to find that the Baraat belonged to another venue! Everytime he called up the father of the groom, he got the same “we are reaching in 15 minutes” reply. “Their 15 minutes never seem to get over” mom in law revolted, for sitting idle in an open lawn on a sultry summer evening wearing heavy saree, makeup and jewelry  was testing our patience levels.

Thankfully, the venue was decently filled with people now, majority belonging to the bride’s family, for the 15 minutes were not yet over. There was no sign of Baraat. Many from the groom’s side like us had dropped in the venue too and I empathized with them as they inquired about the whereabouts of the Baraat. Most women took the delay as a chance to take rounds of the venue and flaunt their sarees, makeup and jewelry. The teenager girls sensing competition, took to the dance floor and their almost perfect imitation of popular Bollywood moves ensured a lot of attention from the male fraternity!

Mom in law and I killed time by discussing the sarees and jewelry of the women who passed by but that too didn’t help us for long. I was beginning to feel sleepy and tired by now and felt like hitting the sac, for I had to go to work the next day. So mom in law suggested we have dinner and hopefully by the time we finished, the Baraat would have arrived. Sounded like a good idea.

We had relished the dinner and the desserts but the Baraat was still nowhere to be seen. “Have they demanded dowry and decided to call it quits?” I winked and asked mom in law! “Shhh…don’t talk inauspicious things” came the reply. I was almost asleep with head down on the table when mom in law noticed the groom’s sister in law. As if she spotted an angel, mom in law rushed to her with the gift in hand. From a distance I could see her share a few pleasantries, hand over the gift and come back. “Lets go, we are done”, mom in law said.

“But, w..where the hell (actually I didn’t say hell, though meant it!) is the baraat we have been waiting for?” I asked.

“She says it’s on the way, the people are still dancing” mom in law explained.

Still dancing? I was wondering.  Didn’t they know they had invited guests over who had been waiting for more than 3 hours? In a country where guests are considered Gods, here were some people who preferred to keep the Gods waiting while they danced and made merry. Didn’t for once they think of the bride who would have been waiting in heavy clothes, makeup and jewelry since evening, practicing the prefect smile to pose for the shutterbugs? It has been a trend at many weddings for the groom’s side to keep the junta waiting and arrive late for this makes them feel like celebs. But let me tell you that just by wearing flashy clothes and sitting on a horse, one doesn’t become a celeb….one becomes a celeb by his deeds and traits. What is the use of printing false timings on invitation cards then? People should at least respect others’ time.

We left without any further wait for the Junglee Baraat (as I named them)..:)

I felt a sudden impulse to slip a note for the groom’s father

“Dear Uncle,

Had we known the 15 minutes would never end, we would have struck a deal like they do with Pizza delivery boys…15 minutes or free…well, since the food is anyway free, the deal would be that if the Baraat doesn’t arrive in 15 minutes, they would be welcomed by a deserted venue!”

Being the sanskaari bahu I am, I obviously didn’t leave any such note.

The Hangover
Yes, the half wedding we attended also gave me a return gift. I was down with food poisoning the next day and red rashes all over my face (wished we would have couriered the wedding gift instead!)

So, for all of you who though only being married has side effects, even attending weddings has its own share of side effects!