Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Fighting our worst enemy

They rule our lives, don't they?

My boss does not like me.
My spouse finds me boring .
I think that dress is too expensive.
How can we afford a holiday?
Who will read my writings?

What if they take action against me?
I can never convince them. They are way too intelligent.
My work sucks.
Their work sucks.
What's the point of asking? The answer is NO.
Does she love me enough?
He must be seeing someone.

Truly, the list is never ending.
And then one day we realise that all that we had assumed was only in our minds.

Made us miss out on opportunities.
On love.
Peace of mind.
And more.

Let us make Assumptions our worst Enemy.
It's worth the Fight.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Divan

Most of us would have memories, even if misty or cobwebby, of the "divan"  occupying one side of the living room in our homes.
The divan was usually  like a single bed, minus the head board and footboard.
Two things set it apart from the regular beds.
One, it had cushions instead of pillows, arranged horizontally along the wall which also served as a back rest. The cushions were hand embroidered at times, often multi coloured, and placed diagonally, resting on one of the four square tips.
Two, it was part of the living room.

The divans served as home for many a cousin, brother in law, brother, elder son.
Unexpected visitors would see the occupant scurry inside with a pile of books , after a quick straightening of the divan cover.
Visitors hardly sat on the divan. It was reserved for the hosts. Maybe guests in those days found it awkward to sit on a "bed", maybe it was also a part of our hospitality.

At night, most divans morphed into make shifts beds for the additional family member who had a prolonged stay in the house.
Like I said, a cousin in his final year at college.
A brother in law in his first job- looking for suitable accomodation.
The elder son, who definitely had more privacy on this than the big four poster.
Women hardly ever slept on divans- it was too public.

The morning maid who swept and swabbed would show her irritation at this humble wooden piece.
The occupant would usually be still lying down, fast asleep while the rest of the family was awake.
She would have to manoveure her broom skillfully around Bata Hawaiins, a cushion that got shoved off at night and was lying on the floor, pick up the odd ballpoint that had rolled out of the trouser pockets thrown casually on the stool next to it, wash the dregs of the tea in the cup that was the last drink the night before.

Divans had their use in social occasions as well.
In Assam, it was bedecked with marigold and rajnigandha, glittering velvet spread and served as a couch for the bride and groom on their "reception" evening.
The wedding gifts would be stacked on one corner of the divan, carefully guarded by a young niece given the sole responsibility of shipping them to safer confines  inside with her siblings.

Some of our lives are so like the divans.
Always useful. Always used.
Given a place of pride during the day. Abused when no one was looking.
Be the first to be forsaken  when good times mean better opportunities.
Non complaining.
Yet basking in the morning sun rays everyday, making our living rooms and lives brighter and warmer....

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Yes we lie

Yes we lie

When we say we are not hungry when people offer us food we cannot have
When someone is wearing something outlandish, and compliments make a day
When we tell our little kids we are not tired and can play that last game with her
When we say  "I have done this"- to save a young nervous trainee in front of a client

Saying no to that last piece of  bread  when we know there's not enough to go around
Smiling bravely when our heart breaks
Being brave when our souls are crippled

Hiding that tear
Ignoring that insult
Pretending not to know that there are things being carefully left unsaid

We lie
That's what makes  us bond
Shows our love
Our strength

Yes, it's ok to lie
At times.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Truck full of Returns

Saw a truck parked near the kerb.
Outside the Family Court the other day.

Two sets of stern looking lawyers in their blacks and whites.
Serious legal juniors taking notes.

Taking notes?
I looked closer.
Two sets of families taking notes as well.

The men unloading the contents of the truck had half amused, half irritated looks.
They carelessly dumped things onto the pavement.

I saw a two seater sofa set, bereft of upholstery.
A rolled up mosquito net.
Kitchen utensils, work with use.
A cane stool.
Wooden chairs with faded varnish.

Apparently  these were belongings being returned to parties post a legal case.
A broken marriage.

The two sides ticked the lists furiously.
Engaged in debates.
Consulted the lawyers again.

I moved off.
At first I wondered, what good are these exchanges when what one has lost is time.
Precious time, precious years... that can never be returned.
Why do we hold on to material things so much?

Then I realised.
Material things stand for what we have lost.
They symbolise the memories.
They stand for what we have earned. Owned. Grown.
Such exchanges and victories give us the confidence to move on.

Its like the idols in our prayer room.
Lifeless. Yet so full of power and Life so far as we are concerned.

Belongings give us hope.
And once in the hands of their rightful owner,  even a faded wooden chair stands for a victorious end.
And a new beginning.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Of Fifty Shades and Reveals

We all talk  about "black money" turning "white".
This piece goes a little beyond those currency notes.
And talks about Life. And about the Fifty Shades Trilogy that's outsold even Harry Potter.

When I was young, my mother had complete control of all vocabulary in the house.
Forbidden words were, well, forbidden.
Some were bad words. Like swear words, "vamps"( those were the days of cabarets in movies).
Some were superstitious. We could not say "cancer".
Some would get up a sharp slap. Like "masturbation".

So we grew up, like most kids, with solid mental walls that no modern day sledgehammer could bring down.
There was a world of bad words, bad visuals, bad activities- which as years unfolded, were actually quite pleasurable. But only behind closed doors, or in the company of friends. never out in the open.

But times changed.
With the female actors in hindi films doing the same "vampish" moves and wooing friend and foe.
With Google spinning up every kind of search our mind and heart desired.

Maybe that's why Fifty Shades- The Trilogy caught my attention. I devoured the books.
And thought- why?
Not very well written.
Not a great story.
Seen better characterization.
But the why niggled me.

Think it's because the author managed to remove the wall between "porn" and "regular reading".
We don't paste our social world walls with porn sites. But we are writing, talking, discussing Fifty Shades.
The movie being released in 2013 already has Facebook likes and followers. There are innumerable discussion forums. Media blogs. Stories. Merchandise.

Are we only discussing the book?
Or has the author unleashed all the constraints, broken down all the walls- about accepting such literature as just one of the many things we CAN talk about without wondering whether the world will label us negatively.
Maybe we are enjoying the fact that we can actually have the trilogy on our book shelf and not tucked away in cupboards.

Finally, in my mind, Fifty Shades has removed  some of our own demons.
That this world will not accept the "bad".

There is no "bad".
It's just the way we choose to live our life.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


It's a strange word.
On one hand, it means trust, belief, faith, love, bonds.
It means partnership. Dancing in tandem.
Breaking out for solos once in a while but always taking the final bow together.

Works at the workplace. At home. In life. As consumers.

But what happens if trust breaks
Beliefs shake
Faith wavers
The knots of bonds start unravelling

Maybe it means its time to refresh.
Understand the issues.
What are those demons gnawing away at the bonds that have kept this relationship going on for so long.
And yes, both have to work to set it right.

What happens if this is not set right

Well, clearly the loyalty does not pay dividends to either partner anymore
And it's time to  move on

Set the bond free
Loyalty is after all not a handcuff
Nor an imposition

It is an option

One that we choose to honor.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Phones are for Talking

Just spoke to  wonderful Raka.
Someone who I worked with, and who quickly moved from being a smart client to an amazing friend.
Always welcoming me to her home when I travel.
Always praising me to the skies, even when I know I don't deserve it.
There to reply to a WhatsApp when we need to talk.

But we spoke today.
As in, spoke on phone.
Heard each other.

Laughed. Giggled. Said wows and sweared.

How do you capture all that on a WhatsApp or an email or a status
How do you make the other person realise you are laughing till tears flow down your face
Or that you have become pensive as memories flood your mind

One smiley?
One frowny?
Two digital roses?
Three electronic hearts?

We have become so conditioned to assuming that what we have today is a great substitute for conversations that we have blindly adopted the new
Lack of time is not an excuse
The call today did not take more time than an email

Am thinking about how guilty I have been of this as well.
How the least functionality of my phone today is a call.
There are days when we do everything but talk.

Maybe we should make that call.
Maybe a call a day  keeps those bonds alive.

Thank you Raka.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Guilt.. feel or made to feel

There are days when  we feel guilty.
Miserably guilty.
Over small things. Or big.

Maybe because we traded off family time for our own.
Given up that lunch date we had blocked off long back.
Chose a path off the beaten track.
Said NO when we could have smiled a YES.
Ignored that tear.
Looked for that non existent smile.

And then I think- maybe we feel guilty because we are made to.
Because we have been conditioned to believe we must, we should, we ought to.
That there's only one way to do things.
That choice is also a compromise.
That freedom is sometimes a bad word.

Making someone feel guilty is a strong weapon one can use.
It breaks a spirit.
Makes one question oneself.
Weakens us.
Prevents us from taking that step.

So World,  feel guilty if you have to.
But not because someone else wants you to.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Invisible CEOs

Behind every successful man, there is a woman.
Was quite a popular quote in yester years.
Till women themselves refuted it, saying why should women be "behind"?

History regales us with stories of empires being won and lost on the whims and advice of queens, empresses and beloved.

We have seen our partners, fathers and friends discuss work , the problems, the conflicts at home.
And the pearls of wisdom and advice from the other halves, over the kitchen fires , dining table .
Pillow talk is not always always about love and gossip.

It is about the day at work as well.
If a partner is truly the one to be trusted , it is only natural that one reaches out at times for advice.
Even if it is just  as a sounding board.

Wonder how many partners have been invisible CEOs.
Peppered in friendly words of advice.
Nudged their loved ones into taking that risk.
That step.

Or just given that extra hug to say- I believe in you .

Enough to make one confident.
Truly, we owe a lot to the Invisible CEOs.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Transfer of Emotions

Woke up  at day break to add final touches to a presentation - a session I am taking for the younger team members today.
I feel passionate, alive,  full of energy.
There is something about sharing.
Whether it is learning.
Or skills.
Or just an experience.

And when it comes with passion, we go that extra mile to make the session come alive.
Stories take shape.
Slides have a life of their own.
Fonts spread their message in their own soft subtle way.
While visuals make their impactful entry.

Making a presentation  sounds small.
We are doing more than that.
We are communicating.
And communication is nothing but a transfer of emotions.

About something we feel strongly about.
Something we justify, support with evidence.
Convince the other person to believe.
And leave them feeling better, even if just slightly... but better, than what they were.

It is the power of finding our own voice.

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Dance

The rehearsals , "practice" as Ma would sternly say, would begin more than a month before.
No nap after school. No running out to play before "practice".
Masterji would wheel his bicycle up the hillock where our house stood, sip the hot cup of tea and Britannia Marie Ma served him, and then sit down on the floor with the "khol" ( dholak).

I would be ready with my anklets. One two three and start... he would beat the rhythm on his palms first as his melodious voice rang out, seamlessly transitioning to the Khol, as I swayed and twirled and bent and tapped and finally came to a panting halt.
"Hold your smile"
"Look at the middle finger of your left hand, that way you are not staring at the audience"
"Graceful, graceful... softness of steps"

He would go on and on, till the curtains were drawn and the lights warmed the room with their golden hue.

The last week would be with full costume on.
The last two days with full make up and costume on.
The last day on the final stage.
The dry run.

On the day of the performance, Ma would make sure we had light food.
Arrived at the venue well in time.
Last minute instructions.
Daddy's calm " You always dance well, don't worry".
Ma's " Don't forget your smile".

Wait in the Green Room.
The final rush to the wash room.
Walk to the wings.
Hear the anchor describe my act and announce my name.
Take a deep breath. One last prayer.

And then, step out into the spotlight.
Before the expectant eyes of an audience who I couldn't let down.

And I would start my dance.
Forgetting everything and everyone else.

Years later, the only dance I manage now is a quick move at a party before I pant and slump into the nearest sofa. Have forgotten the acts, the moves, the steps.

But I use my learnings every day.
At work, when I speak.
At a presentation.
In meetings.

Everything, at the end of the day, is a performance.

Friday, April 13, 2012

On New Year's Day

One of the nicest things about the Assamese New Year  , when I was a little girl, was the new clothes.
My mother and I would  land up at the local tailor's shop run by three sisters and their brother, in Charali Market. Their shop proudly announced Sen Tailoring in hand painted cursive on the board  hanging on to the tiled roof by twisted wires. Mother would thumb her way through a pile of well  used and faded "design" books with  dress designs sported by blonde and brunette women we only saw in the "English movies." The Sen sisters would take the material my mother had bought and make their quiet suggestions.

Finally, after my mother took the call on the designs, the sisters would pull out the measuring tape and wrap and wound and bind it around my body, waist, hands, neck, penning down numbers and tailoring shorthand in a small notebook.

One day before Bihu, the New Year, father would bring home the parcel smelling of newly stitched fabric. My sister and I would rip it open, and try on our new  dresses with squeals. We usually got two- one for each day- and 3 if we were lucky or Mother picked up some extra fabric.

Day break on Bihu day saw us in our new outfits, nibbling on coconut sweets and  homebaked cakes, saying shy hellos to family and friends who visited us, and of course, going to the evening cultural shows with song and dances . My sister and I would refuse to come home until the curtains were down and were finally half carried, half dragged into our Ambassador well past midnight.

The second day of Bihu meant the second new dress, a big family lunch and again cultural shows, songs and the wonderful bihu dance , accompanied with drum beats and  flutes.

Our house would have new bedsheets, fresh flowers and orchids, and new "gamoshas"- a woven cloth   a symbol of welcome and respect. Mother was never into intense cooking, so the dining table would have more of cakes and custards with cherries, sweetened yoghurt  rather than the traditional sweets.

Father would be at home. So would everyone else. Assam is closed for  welcoming the new year.

I was at work today but my mind drifted back to those days.
When I had a family that made sure that Bihu was a special day for me.
That I always had my new clothes.
That coveted front seat in the cultural show even if it meant we all landed up at least two hours before the show began.
The bihu dance rehearsals I would go to.
The stage performances when I grew up.
The beats to which I let go of myself and swirled with the other dancers.
The laughter.
The warmith.
The community.

Today, however, was just another day for me.
Mirroring every other day.

Sometimes, it is memories of those wonderful days that brings alive the same  moments.
Wishing everyone who is reading this a very happy new year.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Screen

The Screen has really started ruling lives.
We wake up and check for emails on our phones or computers, key in a quick response.
Move on to social media.
Tap in a few Likes, Birthday wishes, comments on updates, even manage a quick status update.
All in bed. Or maybe just out.

Work for those who work is again predominantly with the Screen.
Creativity flows on them, powerpoints bring alive strategies.
Emails clog up pipelines.
Youtube entertains.

Back home.
Children watching TV.
We watch our own shows.
Go back to the phone and /or computer.

And do feel satisfied.

Till I realised yesterday that I, for one, am ignoring quite a few Screens that have always been there and are still there, waiting patiently.

The windows of the living room, overlooking the vast stretch of the township.
The balcony from where I can see the lush green with kids playing.
The car windows through which I see people, nature, landscape, life itself.
The sky overhead in all its magnificence.

Nature is a big  screen, showing us beautiful colours and wonders.
It is entertaining, a reality show and yes, always live.

In our obsession with phone, computer , tablet screens, we often forget to look at what can be a true respite. A great relaxation.
What can open our minds to fresh thoughts.
New potentials.

Can we afford to ignore these.........

Thursday, March 22, 2012

It's time to quit...

everything we do is a pain and not a passion
we spend more time posting seemingly happy pictures
workplace becomes an escape from home and relationships
conversations at home are about shopping lists and kids and never about ourselves
we  don't look forward to waking up

frowns are flashed more than smiles
and laughter is a reluctant guest paying a fleeting visit
life runs like clockwork
there are no surprises
or anger or outburst- happy or sad


the very word "love" seems to have lost all meaning
and we start questioning whether "hope" exists
we are afraid of silence, because it is only then we question ourselves

We know it is time to pack that bag
from work
or relationships
or anything we are involved in

And say
It's time to quit.

Coz it's only when we quit, that we see new opportunities.
Or that second chance lurking just round the corner.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A musician, chef and workplace

What is common between a music composer, a chef and a workplace?
Surprisingly, lots.

We often make the mistake of learning within the industry or the category.
Limiting experiences as well as codes that are relevant to team work and motivation and even ways of working, regardless of the industry or job profile.

Music for instance, can help  the workforce go through a mind and body enrichment experience.
Even enhance productivity at work.

Cooking is another way of stress relief, experimentation, playing with colours and flavours.

Both these professions are about uplifting spirits and creating joy and happiness.

About larger social good.

Sessions on music, cooking can tickle our imagination, improve team building and relationship skills.

Also inject innovation in the work place.

Cross Pollination Programmes  are a good way to leverage this.

Can start with workshops across categories. 
Invite musicians, chefs, artists who are known for their human resource management related workshops.
These are entertaining sessions as well and will draw in the team. 

Besides being a great learning, it is big mind opener to new possibilities.
So who knows- the next big idea could have been sparked off from the kitchen shelf.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Life is about living

How does one show proof of long painful days and longer sleepless nights...
Ugly fights
Uglier bouts of silence and vengeance
Break of trust

How does one explain that we tend to hide more than we show
That behind many a door may lie unhappy souls waiting to break free
Trying to protect young innocent minds
So that the world doesn't know
That a relationship that exists no more is still being protected

Noone wants to be vulnerable
Noone wants to be exposed

We all hope for change
Hope for a day when things will be better

But there is ample proof of such lives
I can see them everyday
The empty smiles
The hidden questions
The muted respect for those who had the courage

To all those out there,
Just take that step.
That holds you back .
Live Life.
We have only one.
We owe ourselves and our children that.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Signs


the dining table sees more arguments than conversations
anniversary days are remembered more by parents and siblings
work hours slip into weekends
individual passions and interests take precedence over togetherness
every purchase becomes a debate point
holidays are more a ritual for the kids
pillow talk is a distant memory
there is intolerance for behaviour which seemed cute before
you wish for a study of your own
and long for a vacation only with friends
chatting and facebook is the best pasttime
sex becomes a compliance rather than desire

... it is best to accept that

the relationship is at breaking point
it is time to talk
and take a call
to make those changes
or move on

for all those who chose the third way of compromise...
it is just that.... a compromise

What I learned at Surajkund today

As I looked out of the Innova window at the swanking new cavity less Faridabad Highway, I wondered how crowded the Surajkund mela would be. Since it was a Saturday and the last weekend for the Annual Fair.

For those who are not familiar, Surajkund, in Haryana, hosts an annual fair where more than 400 national and state awarded craftsmen display and sell their handicrafts. This year, India, SAARC and othere neighbouring countries had their stalls on display.

The grounds are undulating and nicely made into winding paths with artisians in their stalls lining both sides. The paths would circle around open air stages where folk dances and music would be on, captured on cameras by the audience.

The host state was Assam and I was proud to see displaysof an Assamese Namghar( house of worship),a village house with its granary, fishing baskets called jakois, weaving looms.

I admired the brass, the mirror work, the wooden hand made toys and decor pieces.

But also found myself wondering whether they were overpriced. Where would I use them at home?
And after admiring the work, I walked to the next stall, pretending not to see the slight disappointment on faces lined with hard work, breaking into a smile at the next person at the stall.

And then I was embarassed.
At myself.

Do I even think twice about walking into a mall and watch plastic smiles swiping my cards as I splash out on things I certainly can do without.

Do I look at a branded piece and ask... is it worth it?

Do I stop my daughteer from walking into fast food joints that can only add to empty calories?

Then what does it take for me to encourage such skilled and talented craftsmen and artisans who were using this occasion to find new customers ?

What they have is as valuable as anything else out there.
Maybe much more because they do not have the economies of scale brought by massive production units and masked factory workers.

Their families and future depend on their trade.
Or else , their children will be disillusioned and join the rat race most of us have fallen prey to.

And cut the umbilical cord of the skillset of a nation we should all be proud of.

So yes, we all have choices.
And we have a right to live the way we want.
Sermonisations have no place.
This piece is just a reflection.

And a realisation.

I returned home, a wiser person.
Surajkund taught me much more than I expected.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Non Smoking Break

My dear friend and colleague called me .
I was in the middle of the usual manage fires at work mode.
I started off by mumbling , " So sorry but I am very caught up...." assuming that the call was about work.
It was not.
It was about the loss of her father.
And my friend wanted to share this sad news with me.

I was humbled.
Of course I rushed down.
Of course I replied back on email.

We sometimes get so occupied with ourselves that we forget that life is also about people, friends, relationships.
It is about caring, sharing, celebrating.
About holding that hand when in need.

It is important to punctuate our work hours with little breaks.
While I do not encourage smoking, smokers do this very well.
They step out, they bond, they talk. And get back to work.

Can be done anyways.
Maybe have that coffee on the terrace instead of the desk.
Maybe walk down to a collague and share the lunch box.
Or have that debate over a sandwich.

If not anything, it will make us more human.
And help us not to lose what makes us human.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Bonfires of "Magh Bihu"

Woke up this morning in a haze of nostalgia.
It is the eve of Magh Bihu.
The two day celebration of a good harvest in Assam.
My home.

I still remember  our house on the day of the feast.
We call it Uruka.

When father was there, he would have someone chop  off a big log he had bought, into thick, short stalks which would be left to dry in the sun, for at least a week before Bihu. We would play around the dew kissed pile every morning.

My grandmother would send us Assamese rice based snacks called pithas in old Lactogen tins.
The Bihu feast is usually enjoyed with friends and family, so we would go to our uncle's house in Digboi, where there was a community feast. It would be biting cold and Mother would dress us up in layers of woolens, including brightly coloured  woolen caps my grandmother had knitted.

There would be a tent put up and the men would be in a corner, drinking rum and whisky with water, and calling out to the cook's helper for a plate of fish fry or mutton. Fish fry would be accompanied by green chillies and onions rings. And of course , Kissan tomato sauce. The drink glasses would be carefully placed on the floor next to the tin folding chairs where the men would sit. Once in a while, one of the men there- we called them all uncles- would pretend  he did not have a glass, when he felt the eyes of his shawl covered wife boring into him. Drinking was not so good in those days.

The women would be helping the cook in  chopping, slicing, dicing. Children would be playing around. There would be a fire lit near the tent, but this one was more for warmth and not the "real" bihu fire.
Some of the women- we called them aunties- would hand around steel plates laden with pithas made of sesame seeds, jaggery, rice powder, coconut. The women would have these with steaming tea served in paper cups.

Around midnight, we would all sit together on the carpeted floor, with banana leaves in front of us, which had some salt, a chilli and a lemon slice on one corner. Then some of the uncles would ladle out steaming rice, brinjal battered in chick pea flour fries, dal with coconut, mutton curry brimming  with oil , a mixed vegetable,  fish curry with yoghurt- all from serving steel buckets.

There would be lot of leg pulling and camaraderie between the men and the women. The last batch would be the cook and his helpers, the drivers and they would also be served by one of the uncles or aunties. The used banana leaves would be piled into a huge wicker basket  outside the tent.

Next morning was Bihu. Mother would wake us up at 5 in the morning- still dark and very cold. She would have heated water in a huge kettle- those days, we did not have  geysers. All of us would bathe , wear our warm clothes and rush out.

I would stop  and stare at the crisscrossed pile of logs that father would have formed into what we call a "meji". Mother would cover her head with a shawl, light an earthern diya, agarbatti and offer paan, betelnut and a gamosa . Then father would ceremoniously light the meji.

We would all sit around the fire, our faces lit by the orange flames, listening to the crackling and spitting of the mango logs. Kalpana, our help, would appear with a tray full of pithas and tea. All of us, including Kalpana and her family, would also  chuck in potatoes and yams into the fire. Father would poke into the flames and dig them out with a stick and we would peel and have them. The taste was  enhanced with the excitement we all felt.

Soon , the light from the fire would mingle with the first rays of the north eastern sun. The pile of spare logs would decrease, till finally there would be the last few. At my sister's insistence, Kalpana  and I would scramble around for dry leaves and twigs, to keep the fire on longer.

Lunch on this day is vegetarian ( unusual in Assam). It would be puris,  a mixed vegetable called labra, potato curry, brinjal battered fries followed by sweet curd and rasgullas. There would be visitors pouring in all day. Everyone who knocked at our gates would be offered some food.

I look at my daughter  snuggled under the covers as I write this now.
She leads a good life.
But will she ever get the chance to light a meji... to munch on pithas in the early dawn, to laugh with glee with mother was served four ladles of mutton by Sharma Uncle, to call in the newspaper boy for a cup of tea and pithas on Bihu day.....

We try to recreate this every year at home, but how can one recreate the warmth and the happiness of the simple lives we lead in those days......

Of Views and Villas

There is a fine art hidden in naming buildings in India.
with no street numbers or house numbers in most places, building names become critical as both landmarks as well as self identity. In fact, household help often refers to their employers as " Ashiana wale Mehta" or " Green View Madamji" !!!

So what is in a name? Lots apparently.

For instance, the rental leaps up if the building has a VIEW attached to it.
Views can be anything.
From truly great views like Lake View, Sea View, Bay View to more local views like Park View, Temple View to some really strange ones like Bird View.. so what if the only birds we can view are the crows on the phonelines, Sky View... excuse me, aren't we all supposed to get a view of the sky from some corner of our apartment anyways.....

Then there are the INTERNATIONAL sounding names.
Gurgaon has perfected this naming game.
Hamilton, Windsor, Regency, Belvedere, Garden Estate... you name it.
Lots of Villes and villas dot the roadscape as well.
Works for a millenium city where people come in with aspirations which are sky high, and cannot be watered down by living in say, Vipul Apartments.

Indian names are usually FEMININE
Seen a lot in the Mumbai burbs.

Lakshmi Palace, Sudha Apartments, Subhangi, Sridevi, Madhu, Rekha......
Some male names are breaking into this female bastion... Harshvardhan, Aditya Vardhan etc.

Not to forget the GOD names or mythology related ones.
Feel blessed in such buildings.

Sun Shristi, Sai Shristi, Sai Ram, Govinda, Govindam, Arjun, Shiv Shakti and more.

A lot does go into a name.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Touch N Feel

Lost my contact numbers twice  last year.
Once, when my old phone went missing. Thankfully, it was my Mumbai phone and I managed to retrieve the numbers that were still relevant.
The second time was just two weeks ago. Thanks to my pressing Yes instead of a No to a digital query that blipped on my screen.

As I am frantically trying to restore and recover, I  have realised how much I miss the old telephone books, with names carefully written from A-Z.

Actually, I miss quite a few things.
The family albums, yellowed with age and memories.Lovingly thumbed through by generations.
The "I love my Mum" drawings by the little ones.
The postcards my cousins and friends would send from their travels.
The Christmas cards and New Years cards my mum would string up and display proudly on the mantle piece.
The letters.
The telegrams.
The thank you notes.

The books lining the shelves and table tops.
Where recipes rubbed shoulders with mystery.
The Class reunions.

The music player and the albums.
The proud collections.

Yes, they are all available to us.
At the press of a button.

Sadly, they can also be erased.
At the press of a button.

( It's not about taking this literally- I can hear some of us shouting- Back ups)
It's about touch and feel in our lives being gradually replaced.........
Or can that ever happen.....