Monday, March 14, 2011

Delhi!

I came to this city ...Delhi....as a new bride....new but not young....so none of the romantic or nervous anecdotes....it is the same old pensive me.

The city is definitely faster than my Kerala...very fast....but definitely not better as many "Delhi Malayalees" rave....not in my experience right now...but....someone told me that soon Delhi will grow on me...I am not sure about it....

 I never read news papers in Kerala for the last four five years...other than a quick scan for any real estate news....but am sure it never carried so many horrible news...but here every day the news paper carries a news of either rape or murder...today was double dose a 15 yr old murdered, for 2500 rupees and 77yr mother of four, raped...77...can you believe it? Guess it is believable for Delhi where not long back someone shot someone in cold blood just 'cause he toppled his plate of chicken fry!

Will this Delhi grow on me? Let us see...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I AM the "self-made" man

From many men; some very nice and close to heart and some the irritating snobbish kinds; I have heard the statement “I am a self made man”. It makes me a wonder…what is “self-made”. Ofcorse I know they mean either the career advancement they have achieved or the money they have made or the life style they maintain.

But then…come to think of it who is not a self made man or a woman for that matter? If the comparison is between how much help I have taken from my relatives compared to people who have equal or more “success”. Then isn’t that just utilization of available resources to the best. Someone used the relatives; someone used the friends.

Then the argument comes I educated myself….my parents spent money for all my siblings education…or I educated the rest of my siblings; all that is fine and is acknowledged too. So your living situation was unique for you. Moreover if your parents felt like spending more on your sibling than on you(unless change in living circumstances was the reason) then you should be wondering the differential treatment cant be just because of some attitude problem from one side. But that does not mean that the achievement of a sibling whose tuition fee someone else paid is any less. Is that achievement is any less or any more self-made? Oh he/she even went for extra tuitions……SO? Again his/her living situation was different from yours…that is all. Where is the self made or un-self made factor involved in that?

Say you are from a very poor family…you run off to a big city; make pocket money out of cleaning hotel tables and educate yourself(the usual self-made man movie story line)…there you go..I am self made. But then; If you become a thief or don after running to this big city (usual good guy doing bad thing because of the situation kind of movie)…then? Then do you call that also “self-made” …I guess not. Then it becomes outcome of the situation…..

Like said earlier...not that the achivements of the self mades are not acknowledged or respected....but it just makes me feel...that the statement is not logical if seen rationaly.....what I hear every time when someone tells me "I am a slef-made man" is that : I may have these achivements; but am not happy with what was there in my past; I have a whole lot of opinions about how my past should have been...happiness of today's achivement is a little less compared to the unhappiness from past; hence am just compensating by boosting up my ego a bit.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Its another day today

Can a corporate job be considered a creative block….?

I have been writing for my own self satisfaction from teenage, basically writing garbage and burn it along with some other garbage in the back yard. And pretending to be angel and flying around in the smoke was liberating in some way.

The traits were around for long unless I got into corporate job…..I have done futile attempts of reviving the creative edge…starting a blog being one such attempt…I just ended up entering some of my old creations and then left it.

When my sister bought me a beautiful journal to jot down my thoughts I made another attempt; but the pages are blank even after two years.

Now; when looking back, it has been an eventful five years with a Corporate and yet everything seems to be in a fog. Writing it down seems to bring some clarity as to what happened; like properly punching your memory card.

No why write down stuff that is not relevant to anyone else? If this is a huge canvas and I am but a thread on it, now who decides if it is the relevant or irrelevant thread? May be some day when I am gone someone can know me through my blogs.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Girl to Woman

Your face looks so familiar to me. Its as if I have known you for ever. Have you ever stayed in my city?

I have seldom stepped out of my house. The day of loss was my day of liberation. Coming to this study group is big thing for me, my first step in exploring the world.
Even the class excursions were out of bounds. Can you believe, we stayed some 20 km from the beach, but I had never seen it! The day I went to distribute their ash, I saw the sea for the first time. But I was not in a mood to enjoy the waves then. There were heavier tides in my mind. Did not know if I should be happy or not. Did not know which side of the scale is heavier, the bereavement making me an orphan or the freedom that I have never experienced before. Pyre or crematorium…. that was the first decision I ever took in my life.

What about friends?

Oh it was a strict no to friends. No one is reliable, you see. The only friends you can depend on are books. Not all books though. There was strict filtering, before books came to my hands.



The familiarity you always talk about, am feeling it too. You are my friend now. I have never talked so much earlier.
Everything is so new. It is true what many books say, there is new beginning after the fire.

So how did you meet your wife?
Oh a typical arranged marriage. It was my family’s choices all along. But she has been there by my side in all the bad times. See I have seen worst times. At times I have been penniless. Still I was brave to face everything and see what I have achieved now. You have a far more secured atmosphere. They have left you a good inheritance. And you received the best of education. Take up some challenging job. You are talented. It’s a whole world of opportunities out there. Shall I search something for you?


Oh, did I tell you? I had an interview of this company. They do not offer much salary. But the job is interesting. I would be occupied. Am to coordinate their press releases and the events they do. That would mean long hours no? I would love such a job. Independence taste good when you are outside. When you are surrounded by the four walls, independence also doubles up to be loneliness.


You don’t seem like a person who has never been out. Such deep thoughts! You are so much like a partner I dreamed for in my younger days. Can I call you tonight?
Sure. Nights is the time when I need someone to talk to. When they were around, though there was no talking at all, it still was company of some sort.


My wife has gone to her place for a week. Why don’t you come over?
To your house! No way!
Common! You are seeing me in the wrong way. We have been talking for so long now. If you are not ok with that, then we will go to a movie. You must be ok with that no?


You did not pick up the call? What were you doing?
I was in the office no. How can I speak freely there?
But you have to pick up my call no. You know I have to call you before going home. My health becomes so bad if I don’t talk to you.
Sorry, I will make sure I never ignore your calls now on.


I was feeling so lonely, that is why I called. Why didn’t you pick up?
I was at home. You know I have a family there. I cannot pick your phone there.
But what is there if a friend calls?
Just a friend! You just see me as a friend? After all the affection am giving you?
No you are everything to me.
Sure no? So trust me. Whenever you feel lonely, just close your eyes and know that I will be there for you.
I know dear. I know you are there for me.


See I told you no am deeply connected to you. That is why I knew just when you wanted company. Shall I come over to pick you up? We will go to the farm house. You make me a cup of coffee. I don’t expect anything else from you. You know that no.
A hug or kiss is not bad at all.


I could not even pick up a bouquet of flowers for you. I came to meet such a sweetie and I did not buy anything so bad of me. Take this money, and buy something you like. Common it’s me who is giving no. You said am everything to you. You should respect my wishes.


This is becoming a habit with you. You just ignore my calls!
I was in a meeting dear. Or will I ever ignore your calls.
You can say excuse me, go out and pick the call.
You can also say excuse me, go out and pick my call, when I call you at home no.
Do you intend to start an argument? You very well know that it makes my health bad.
Sorry, I just said what I felt!
You have to learn a lot of things dear. A family man has his responsibilities.
What about me? Who takes my responsibility?


You like freedom no. The day I met you itself I understood this. You cannot hold a relation. Or else will I take such a risk?
I knew then, it was all acting. The act you put up of an innocent girl was just your way to attract me and I played along. I liked the drama in it. Now I have to face life. My family was always the important thing for me. And now I have this new member coming. I don’t need to take the strain of handling your emotional turmoil. If you kept acting like the innocent girl, then may be….

.............................

You look extremely beautiful, may be because I painted you with my own hands. Now I have these bookshelves to paint. After that I will arrange all my friends A-Z on them. We all have the greatest bond possible. They do not make me into a woman, then tell me that they want me only if I would keep acting to be the innocent girl I once was.

No one is reliable, you see. The only friends you can depend on are books. Not all books though………..
******

Friday, October 10, 2008

In Pursuit of a Dream ..Contd...

At around one thirty I go searching for the Board that says all candidates assemble here. As I approach the bench there is a vision of India Integrated. We are there in all our shades and languages and big back packs and the common dream of serving the Nation. A guard comes to guide us to the bus that will take us to the selection facility. The mighty green bus was full of men with long faces, the guys who were rejected in their first day filtering of the five day selection process. Seeing them there was this tiny pinch, will I come back in one day. The dream was there always, but wasn't it long since I had given up. Wasn't it almost three years now since I am holding a desk job and a comfortable income that was showing in my well endowed body. When the guys unloaded their luggage from up the bus, they obviously wanted to help the women load their luggage, and then there was this huge thunder. "You are going to be Officers, you load your own luggage. Men clear out now itself." with this command the North Indian tree climbers immediately jumped on to the top of the Bus and loaded all the luggage.

The moment we enter the facility, we are already treated like officers. The guards are all courteous, the officers are all strict and disciplinarians. That is some amount of positive thinking,even before the testing procedure started they are treating all the fifty odd candidates as officers. After the filling of some forms, we move to our respective room assignments. These spaces already have ladies assigned to help you with your laundry and ironing! At ring of bell we walk towards this dining hall were meals would be served precisely for some 30 minutes. We move in our own relaxed manner, and again there is the disciplining shout to walk faster and straighter and the sort. By the time the testing procedure start next morning our variety of walks has become a uniform kind of march, be it between halls or even to the loo.

Friday, September 26, 2008

In Pursuit of a Dream

As always time before a long journey is a big confusion. But we left home on time, me saying my goodbyes to ammuma who was sure her grand daughter is going to make it and appupan who, to my surprise, was very worried about my journey alone. Keep your bag under your head, don’t sleep head towards the door, don’t count money inside the train, even if you do not feel cold keep your head covered, whatever you want don’t get down at stations in between………words of wisdom from a worried grandfather to his inexperienced granddaughter. Uncle and mom accompanied me to the station. Unni uncle, my mother’s cousin, as his pet name means, he is small, too small to be called an uncle. Barely two years elder to me and I call him uncle and he cares enough to take me to the station like a dutiful uncle. Mom has deep thought written all over her face. Her youngest one is traveling alone today, traveling to an unknown territory, and traveling all set to pursue her dreams.

At the station the coolie carrying my bags directs us to the platform were my train, Kerala Express, would come. As we see the approaching train my mom says her heart is beating fast. Mine is not, I am composed as if I have been taking lone trips forever. When I excitedly load myself into my coach my mom has her nose deep in the passengers list stuck on to the door. One Mr. and Mrs. Mathew are traveling with me, matured couple, very good, but, there is a twenty seven year old Joyce too, but its OK the Mathews will be there any way, my moms review on the passenger list she just read. Then she climbs on the coach sits on my seat check the view and reassures herself. I look at my mom’s far off look through the window, she must be seeing herself as her daughter sitting alone and looking at the scenes going by the window. I see my mom’s sister; her husband and daughter come to the platform. They have come to see me off. He is a man of old ideologies who does not believe in any capabilities of women, yet, he has come with family to see me off and with the best wish too, his prayer that what is rightfully mine should come to me even if it is this career which he does not think is for women. When the honking for the start of the journey is heard I am at the coach door, being seen off by four pairs of caring eyes of elders and all the prayers I need to make my journey safe.

As I go and settle in my berth my thoughts are only my destination. The blanket man handing me over, the set of a pillow, two sheets, a blanket and a hand towel, interrupts my thoughts. He inquires were the Joyce supposed to be sitting opposite me is and I shrug my shoulder for that. I soon start my two days fruitless effort of concentrating on some books that definitely would be a good help for me. At the next station a foreigner couple enters with a ‘hi’ and the formal smile all of them have. So much for my mom’s mature couple, these must be the Mathews, they are young. Any way I am back with my books as they chat with each other. As the train starts to move the guy hurriedly gets down from the train and the girl comes and sits opposite me. Its Joyce, she is hesitant and formal at start, and when I put in the first effort, she is as if switched on to friendly mode. She briefs me her life so far and me mine. As a Holland girl into social work she came to India to participate in the activities of an orphanage in Delhi. After her assigned days of work were over she was using the rest of her time to travel around India. She tells me all the different things she has to face as a foreigner in India, unrealistic hike of prices for services, strangers asking to take her photo and yes I know Joyce all the locals think that fair skinned race is ready to bed with anyone, but is it entirely their fault. It is the kind of picture projected by your movies. Yes I don’t stare at you like a out of world thing and yes am talking to you like any other new person I meet that is because I was lucky enough to meet the people of other races outside the idiot box and hence know you too are like us, people with emotions and thoughts.

At the next station the Mathews get on, yes they are mature couple as my mom said. A caring lovely couple, Mr. Mathew loves to ask and enquire, I am sure without asking that he must have been into teaching and it turns out to be true, Mrs. Mathew is silent and observant. But they found some Christian friends of theirs and moved their seats nearer to them. So its back again to you and me Joyce, but this is convenient, we can read with our legs up on the seat we can talk when we feel like it or stare out the window, in few hours we met we have synchronized a lot. At night I ask you why you are padlocking your bags, you tell me that no matter how I treat you, you are still a foreigner to others, an easy target. Really Joyce, do people discriminate that much? You are just like any other friend of mine, yes you have become a friend in few hours, I tend to makes friends easily and you tell me so do you, that is why we met today and that is why you are going to be permanent part of my memory. I love watching the people who pass by, vendors, train staff and fellow passengers, and I soon understand what you are trying to tell me Joyce. Yes there is difference between the way they look at you and the way I am looked at. I can see the expressions for me, they range from - there’s a girl traveling alone for some purpose and why are you traveling alone dear, to a good looking female. But when they look at you their eyes are screaming ALIEN…yes I can see that Joyce dear and really do want to tell them not to stare at my friend please she is no different from me…but…all I can do is stare back at them and give them a taste at how it feels to be stared at. You smile at me as if to say it’s no use you can’t change a thing.

Half a day and a night is such along time, I know almost everything about my traveling partner, your family, your sister’s family, your life style, your best friend, your old boy friend, what you have been doing with your life and what you intend to do in the future. You really are great, your profession is social work and you tell me it is nothing just a well paying job easy to get into. You are helping children in a foreign country, learned an Hindi song for them and singing it in that ridiculous accent of yours, having tears at the thought of leaving them, stayed in lepers’ colony, admiring the abilities of a crippled leper, I don’t think you are just another person in just another well paying job. You in turn are telling me you admire my zest for life, my ability to see happiness in everything. Oh it’s nothing its just the way I am, just how I turned out to be, I just don’t know were my temper and my obsessive care on disappointments have disappeared. Now anger and depressions are momentary, it disappears as soon as it comes, so now it is very easy for me to smile and I am almost always happy.

Hey, the new couple, our passage smile partners, have now almost permanently shifted to the seat here. They must be feeling comfortable here because we are the kinds who do not stare. This couple from north India who is on their honeymoon in south, they have their north Indian traveling partners but prefer our non bothering kind of company. Why do you have a sparkle in your eyes Joyce? I ask you without words and you understand. Love is in the air you wink.
That is leading us to our conversation on love. I thought you would never understand why I never fell in love, but you perfectly understand that when I say that yes I do find guys attractive and all but I have not found anyone yet I would fall in love with. You tell me about your relationships too. You say that you could never understand how anyone could agree to arrange marriages, but after your stay in India you perfectly understand. Look at this couple here.

It is almost evening now and the new bride, who was so far sitting in a figure hugging salwar suit, turns up in gorgeous sari and her husband has a sympathetic glance at her. We are surprised why the guy is so disappointed when his wife is looking so gorgeous. He is telling us that his family is too traditional and insists on putting the pullah of the sari over the head and all. So the freedom of his new bride ends here in this train coach. Now she is going to be always wound up in a five-meter cloth with her head covered, the strings attached to the gift of life he has given her. When the groom steps out to see how near they are to the station the girls gives us a quick explanation that his love will make up for her sacrifices. Hope so is the prayer for her from both of our hearts, when they get down at their destination.

Now it’s you and me again. We intend to talk till we both can manage to stay awake, because I will get down at four in the morning and that will be the last we will be seeing of each other. As it is with good travel companions, you make the deepest possible friendship though there is no hope that we will meet again. We exchange addresses and hugs before your rituals before sleeping of padlocking. You drift off to sleep with a smile on your face, a smile for me. I am a bit restless, I get down at four in the morning in a strange place where I may or may not find my destiny, but I know the place is going to be a permanent part of my memory, after all it has been a life long dream of mine to attend the Service Selection Board testing procedure, whether I make it or not, I used to tell mom time and again.

When I get down at my station it is still dark. The assigned vehicle will pick me up only at two in the afternoon; I have full ten hours to spend in a strange station. I walk the length of the platform, I can sit in the upper-class waiting room, but I don’t intend to spend my first ten hours in Bhopal staring at some walls and bathroom doors. So I pick a cozy bench near the coffee stand and sit down with my bags all set around me. As soon as I settle in, the coffee stand man, as if he read my mind, comes with a cup of hot coffee, no not a cup of coffee but tiny cute earthen pot with hot coffee, innovation thanks to a new Railway Minister’s vision to help the traditional potters, the coffee is a treat to my body while the pot is a treat to my mind. But Minister sir can u see how my heart breaks when I have to throw these cute pots into the dumpster after use. I am watching all the co platform occupants over my pot of coffee. And to think that I was wondering earlier what I would do for the long time I have to wait in this station, now I can spend all day if the people and coffee keep flowing like this.

The Volunteer

“Madam”

Madam! Oh really! When did I become that? I don’t feel even a day older than when I was in high school, and, Madam!

“Madam”

“Yes?”

“Madam you see this machine is not going to give you any complain at all. Am not speaking like a sales person. This is from the experience of our customers; I can give you references to check it out if you want.”

“Yes, that would be fine”

Oh, common! It’s just a piece of machine and I already have the guidelines for the kind of machine to be purchased. Now I will go in for the cheapest one, of the required specifications. Warranty, service station and other blah blahs? Do you think that I would even call you to quote, if you don’t meet all these blah blah requirements? Did you take me for a fool? Oh! Now there is a reason for why am called Madam. Hm…

That was the first time I met him…and the many meetings until the official transaction was over.

One fine day he came and pulled up a chair to sit near me.

“Today’s visit is not official, it’s completely personal. Will you be having the time to talk?”

(“Madam” is missing today!!!!!!!!!!!)

Now what does he want from me?!

“You see am a volunteer in this organization. I did their course and it was beneficial for me. I wanted others also to get the same benefit, hence am volunteering now.”

Well alright, marketing gimmick. How many firms do you work for! Leave the brochure on my desk and I will throw it right into the waste basket as soon as you turn your back.

“Ok, I will read it and let you know if am interested. Thank you.”

...............................................

“So………?”

“Oh! I did not get time to look at it. You know this meeting, how important it is. I have to make sure all the movers and shakers in the City come. That’s a lot of work. Hope you understand.”

“No problem, there is time.”

...............................................

“Decided?”

“That brochure you gave that day, right? I think I misplaced it somewhere.”

“Its on next week. I can come down and give you another copy.”

“Its ok, may be next time”

.................................................

“You have ten minutes to spare now? Please read through this. I am waiting right here.”

“Oh, Ok. This is the fee for the whole program? Ok Take this. I will read it later.”

“Don’t forget, Day after tomorrow at 6pm”

At last I have got rid of him!

Marketing Executives - Pests.

Day after at 6pm, a “meeting” can easily “come up”!

I glanced at the brochure. A guy with long white beard on it, another God-man! As if am going to attend!

.............................

Came that day, and I get a call in the morning...... 6pm, I will see you there.


Not much work today. Why not just go there and check it out?


I walked into this serene atmosphere with a mix of incense.....


Madam............. to not madam................. to akka...............................

And now……..

“This is from my personal side, not official. I did their course and it was beneficial for me. I wanted others also to get the same benefit, hence am volunteering now.”

*****