Wednesday, October 31, 2007

My mother is crazy!

Papa was in town yesterday, and came over for a drink and dinner, and to drop off all that Mom had sent for me for दिवाली (Diwali) - and since then, I can't stop smiling every time I think of it. : )

My mother is crazy - and both, her Mom and my Dad, wish they too had a Mom like her!

She sends me nicely wrapped presents on every festival - Diwali, Christmas, Valentine's Day - and then asks for the wrapping paper to be kept carefully and handed back to her safely. And, she's strangely fond of sending मिठाई (mithaai/sweets) - even though she knows no one will finish it in my house.

She's always sent me pretty lights for Diwali, and last year, she got me a huge Christmas tree and all the decorations for it. Yesterday though, you outdid yourself, Ma! : )

So, I got a huge box full of मिटटी के दिए (lamps), along with the cotton बत्तियां (wicks), two packets of candles, very pretty electric lights, five packets of रंगोली (rangoli) colour, (AND) a book with रंगोली designs, very pretty गणेश and लक्ष्मी statuettes, one गणेश lamp, a packet full each of बादाम (almonds), काजू (cashewnuts) and अंजीर (dried figs), and a DVD player.

All this 'coz she knows I like mitti ka diyaas more than candles on Diwali.

She knows I love making rangoli, though I don't know how to.

And she knows these are the three dry fruits I like the most - almonds, cashewnuts and figs.

And, she knows that this'll be my first Diwali away from "home" in 25 years - in my own house this time.

And, she knows I'll miss everything - the pre-made marble rangoli design in our verandah at home (for which you don't need a rangoli design book), filling oil in all the lamps and then lighting them all over the house, the crazy Diwali pooja at home, wearing saris, walking all over town to see the lights and the mela.

Yes, I'll miss all this a whole lot, Ma. But, I'll miss you more. Love you.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

My first Karvachauth...

...and I wish I lived in easier and simpler times.

The question - or questions - in my head are many.

I don't believe in god.

Karvachauth is a religious tradition.

But then I do believe in traditions, even if I don't believe in god or religion.

I celebrate Diwali, Rakhi, Christmas and Id. Not for their religious meanings or reasons - but for the tradition we've had of celebrating them in my family.

Then why am I so confused about keeping a fast tomorrow?

Maybe because it's the first time.

Maybe because it's one of those traditions that I feel if I observe then people will expect me to also observe a lot of other things I that I don't at all believe in.

But, do I believe in this one either?

Frankly, I don't know. I do like the feeling of it. Sacrificing food for a day for the long life of the one you love. Leaving food for a day, I don't have a problem with that. Just like my Mom, I won't follow the fast to extreme limits either - like not even having a sip of water all day. Talked to her a little while back - and we decided we'd have everything - milk, fruits - everything except aanaaj (grain) or salt. That's quite do-able.

That's another reason, I think - that I've seen Mom keep the fast every year. And Papa too. I got a little bit of mehndi put on one hand today, 'coz I know that'll make my crazy mother extremely happy. :)

So, I will keep the fast tomorrow.

Tomorrow is also the first day of my new job. And no - I am not going to get all dressed up and go to work. For me, karvachauth is a very personal thing - and I don't need to show the world that I'm married. I don't think that is my identity at all. My identity is me. A lot of people asked me why I didn't wear the chooda after our marriage. That was for the same reason. Because my marriage is also a very personal thing. For me, our marriage is only a formalisation of the love that G and I share. And, partly, it was about getting our families involved too.

The reason for this post was more to make up my own mind - and writing it down just made it easier. But, like I said in the beginning, I wish I lived in easier and simpler times. Then maybe all this wouldn't have made me think oh-so-much(!!) - for the last two weeks, no less!

Update: So, yes - yesterday was Karvachauth. I kept the fast (the convenient kind), and so did G. :) Then, we both waited for the moon after we got back home from work. The GPS on my phone said the moon rise time was 8:21 p.m. - but on just that day when people are waiting for it, it finally is seen not before 9:15 p.m.! Anyway, so after the whole moon-water thing, G, his dad, my brother and I went out to dinner - since neither of our maids had turned up all day, even after me giving them the whole spiel about not missing work just because you have a fast, etc. After dinner, came back home and crashed out. There! That was what the first karvachauth was like. (30\10\07, 3:17 p.m.)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

There Was Once

- There was once a poor girl, as beautiful as she was good, who lived with her wicked stepmother in a house in the forest.

- Forest? Forest is passe', I mean I've had it with all this wilderness stuff. It's not a right image of our society, today. Let's have some urban for a change.

- There was once a poor girl, as beautiful as she was good, who lived with her wicked stepmother in a house in the suburbs.

- That's better. But I have to seriously query this word poor.

- But she was poor!

- Poor is relative. She lived in a house, didn't she?

- Yes.

- Then, socioeconomically speaking, she was not poor.

- But none of the money was hers! The whole point of the story is that the wicked stepmother makes her wear old clothes and sleep in the fireplace -

- Aha! They had fireplace! With poor, let me tell you, there's no fireplace. Come down to the park, come to the subway stations after dark, come down to where they sleep in cardboard boxes, and I'll show you poor!

- There was once a middle-class girl, as beautiful as she was good -

- Stop right there. I think we can cut the beautiful, don't you? Women these days have to deal with too many intimidating physical role models as it is, what with those bimbos in the ads. Can't you make her, well, more average?

- There was once a girl who was a little overweight and whose front teeth stuck out, who -

- I dont' think it's nice to make fun of people's appearances. Plus, you're encouraging anorexia.

- I wasn't making fun! I was just describing -

- Skip the description Description oppresses. But you can say what colour she was.

- What colour?

- You know. Black, white, red, brown, yellow. Those are the choices. And I'm telling you right now, I've had enough of white. Dominant culture this, dominant culture that -

- I dont' know what colour.

- Well, it would probably be your colour, wouldn't it?

- But this isn't about me! It's about this girl -

- Everything is about you.

- Sounds to me like you don't want to hear this story at all.

- Oh well, go on. You could make her ethnic. That might help.

- There was once a girl of indeterminate descent, as average-looking as she was good, who lived with her wicked -

- Another thing. Good and wicked. Don't you think you should transcend those puritanical judgemental moralistic epithets? I mean, so much of that is conditioning, isn't it?

- There was once a girl, as average-looking as she was well-adjusted, who lived with her stepmother, who was not a very open and loving person because she herself had been abused in childhood.

- Better. But I am so tired of negative female images! And stepmothers - they always get it in the neck! Change it to stepfather, why don't you? That would make more sense anyway, considering the bad behaviour you're about to describe. And throw in some whips and chains. We all know what those twisted, repressed, middle-aged men are like -

- Hey, just a minute! I'm a middle-aged -

- Stuff it, Mister Nosy Parker! Nobody asked you to stick in your oar, or whatever you want to call that thing. This is between the two of us. Go on.

- There was once a girl -

- How old was she?

- I don't know. She was young.

- This ends with a marriage, right?

- Well, not to blow the plot, but - yes.

- Then you can scratch the condescending paternalistic terminology. It's woman, pal. Woman.

- There was once -

- What's this was, once? Enough of the dead past. Tell me about now.

- There -

- So?

- So, what?

- So, why not here?

From Bones & Murder by Margaret Atwood

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Notes from the last one month...

  • Have had a B-A-D back...again! Was in bed for a week. Am so sick of this bad back. Have vowed to start working out, and strengthen the aforementioned back, to stop it from acting up every few months.
  • Two of my closest, best-est friends are now seeing each other. And that makes me very happy. Wish P would make A stop living in office. Also, wish P would make A start writing again ... 'coz A doesn't seem to be listening to me at all. Oh, and P should start writing too. :)
  • On the home front, our live-in help went off on a weekend off, never to come back. This was about three weeks back. Have been through one week with no help at all! With me cooking all the time, and G washing and cleaning up all the time! It is indeed surprisingly how much three people can eat in one day! We now have two part-timers - one to cook, the other to clean. And, the one who cooks is just so bad at cooking. Am desperately looking for someone who'd live with us, and manage everything. If anyone knows of anyone who'd move to our place (NCR), and do this, please please please, let me know!!
  •, yeah...this is mostly where I've been. Apart from work. Which has been hectic, to say the least.