Monday, June 29, 2009

Almost Family

Remember this? Its still there. And very painful. Although after considerable pain and uncomfortable toe stubbing and foot stepping instances, I have been regularly visiting my doctor every saturday morning at 7.30, bright and early. I drive down to town (a.k.a. Colaba!!) get a bloody (and I mean that literally) scraping done, the resultant wound cleaned and dressed and proceed to begin getting all my other errands done. Being a dutiful homely (!) girl I buy the weeks vegetables, get the passbook updated (yes some banks still use them), buy groceries (or, in Defence kids terms, go to the canteen), and other adhoc things that crop up during the week.

Its odd, we've moved, but we still visit the same tailor, the same doctor, buy our vegetables from the same vendors in Navy Nagar (the Fruitwala bhaiyya always cuts me a fruit when he sees me, and insists he's going to supply the fruits at my wedding, whether or not we invite him. Needless to say, he's invited), get our sheets laundered from Moti Bhaiyya (whose Dad was our Dhobi, so to say from the time we've moved to Mumbai) who operates from inside Navy Nagar, but insists on still picking up our laundry by kinetic and dropping it off.

The More I grumbled about having a million errands to run each time I head this side of town, the more I realize that these aren't errands, they're contact points that we've maintained since over 20 years. They're people and faces we've been living around. We've seen Moti Bhaiyya come to our house as a pimply faced teenager on his cycle, been invited to his wedding and met his babies. The fruit and Vegetable bhaiyyas dont let me carry my bag to the car, they call me Bitiya - having seen me scamper around my folks impatiently as a small girl. Prem Bhaiyya (Moti Bhaiyyas younger brother) grew from taking laundry on a bicycle to a top executive working in an IT firm, and yet last year, to invite us for his wedding, he came in shorts armed with our clean and ironed clothes - a lesson to us in Humility and being down to earth.

These aren't errands. They're all people my Dad's help find jobs, place kids, give advice on schools and colleges and what not, who repay him with ardent respect and relentless dedication.
They're people who called us every few hours on the 26th 27th and 28th of Nov when Daddy was inside the Trident, knowing he wouldve driven in, to find out if he's alive, and stopped only when I assured them on friday (29th) that he is ok, and wont be coming home anytime soon, but is fine neverthless. RamNiwas, Daddys masseur whose duty is fixed at my house on saturday evenings since nearly the last 15 years, spoke to me in broken tones saying he couldnt work until I call and tell him Dad's ok. They prayed with us and cried with us. And they're not family and technically not friends. But so much more.

Sometimes in life there are people who impact your lives in ways you never knew, because you never had to think about it. Relations beyond the skeletal definitions of relatives, family and friends.

26/11 gave me a reason to think of all the people who called and messaged and prayed with us. A reason to think of all the people who affect my family's lives and whose lives we affect. The first few days were spent in shocked stupor, the next few in exhausted haze. Its only a week or two after the event that happenings of those few days would come back suddenly and I would remember someone unexpected who would have called or messaged, and Id sit back and feel overwhelmed. People who we hadnt heard from in years, some even decades, but they came through for us.
Something we don't care to give a thought to, in our frenzied haste to get through our lives. In most cases we're left to realize how much a person impacted our lives after they're gone, and remembering tiny symbolic instances of their love or our connection with them.

I wish I could convince you how important it is to love wholly and deeply, to give completely and unrepentantly, do away with ego and high handedness, apologise appropriately and act responsibly, hold together tight and close people who're worth it, and have them know it. Because it is so, very important. If you can manage, tell me how.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I cant believe it still. More than a day later I cannot yet believe
that my friend... Sam, all of 25 years of age is no more... He met
with an accident on his bike and had a headlong collision with an
oncoming truck which sped out of control. I wish he hadnt passed away
on the spot... I wish he had a chance... I wish someone, anyone called
me and told me that this is a miserable joke being played on us.

People are not meant to die at this age.. 25. Its as though god showed
you a glimpse of what life is, and before you could enjoy it, your
times up. I cannot start to imagine what his parents and younger
sister must be feeling... Given that I, who used to meet him once a
year and speak to him on and off have been shocked out of my mind and
spent the last two days in complete denial and shock. I wish i dint
have to learn the hard way that life is too short to take anyone for
granted. promise me youll learn from my mistake.

Its such an irony that he spent the last two years working in a
foreign country, came back for good only this saturday and passed away
yesterday. Its almost as though he came to say goodbye. I can hear his
voice telling me hes coming to Mumbai this weekend and well go to theo
and eat the brownie and gaylord and eat the muffin like old times and
me making fun that hes competing with a football.

I can hear his voice which i spoke with just a few days ago and it
seems impossible that it wont be around.

He was one of those friends who just made his way into your life, just by being there so unquestioningly. Whenever he was in Mumbai, he'd come from one end of town to the other just to make it a point to meet me. I on my behalf was horrible and caught up in my routine. What do I even say... Im remembering that time I just wanted to take a break and quit for no reason, and he offered to sponsor me for two months!! Knowing him, he wouldve done it.

I took him for granted on
more than one occasion and shamefully have to admit that I dint
deserve someone who stood by me unconditionally, no matter how i
behaved... I dint deserve to know hell always be around.
None of us do. If you love and care for someone, let him or her know.
Dont leave home or go to bed unresolved.
Lifes way too short...
Sam, you will be missed. Forever.

To everyone else - We had a safety workshop organised by Castrol a few months ago. The one thing that reverbrates in my mind from that workshop was the line 'The ONE time you didnt wear your helmet/seatbelt was the ONLY time you needed it'. And how true it is. Sampath was not wearing a Helmet, and I beg everyone reading this, to NEVER EVER drive without precaution. Anything can happen even in those ten minutes that you dont wear it, please dont learn it the hard way.

Sent from my mobile device

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Its all in the Drafts

Its already midway through the year. I did a double take as I corrected an excel file date to '06' as the month yesterday. So whats the hurry? Why does time have to fly so fast? When do we catch up? DO we catch up at all? Each year I go through the same 'Holy hell, its (insert name of month) already, Im still in March-April mode.

This time it feels different. I feel different. Older. Like I need to substantiate my life with purpose. Except a few hiccups along the way I can safely say my life is in the same place it was 2 years ago. Plus and minus a few people, a little weight, longer hair, a new home, everything else maintains status quo. While this sounds comforting to few, to a fiery saggitarian like me this is a scary state of affairs, and the complacency of the past few years and my uncharacteristically non aggresive approach to life is catching up with me.

Somewhere in the midst of the things Im posting on my blog and the things Im not, my life's going on. And more often than not in recent times, the hard times are being swept under the rug, and kept in the drafts.

It was so much easier when we were in school. The biggest milestone to cross then was getting a good grade in the 10th standard and an admit into a good college. Then came clearing the 12th Boards and getting into a Graduate course of choice. Then came selecting a Masters degree, one which is mandatory these days, given that colleges are churning out engineers like cattle now a days, followed by getting a job. And then?

Friends are getting married left right and center. Facebook albums of friends are filled with pictures of the recent wedding/engagement/roka/baby. December is very nearly on the brink of being usurped by wedding festivities to be attended. Those who're not getting hooked are being cajoled into looking at suitable candidates from their own caste through our age old 'Arranged marriage' ritual.

Im not saying I want to jump onto the married bandwagon. Im not saying I dont either. Bring me a pretty ring and a pretty proposal and Ill say one of the two ;)

Upheaval is necessary. Unless I do something drastic, life's not going anywhere. I was never the one to be afraid of risks. When did I get so caught up in being cautious? A few years ago I could aptly be described as happy go lucky, who would take each day as it came. That was the time when I needed to get serious and take control of my life... I just did'nt realize when I walked past the line of equanimity and inched towards wanting obsessive control over every aspect of my life. There ought to have been a beeper. Life's a sadist. One can spend their entire lives running to and from one one end of the see saw to the other hoping to acheive that perfect balance little knowing that this is the game we're meant to play each day every day - but perfect harmony eludes us, because its not meant to be.

We're meant to struggle, to lose people we love, to not get what we want, or to get what we want and then realize that its not what we want, or to fight like the mouse that whipped milk into butter and made his way out of the bowl, to test our mental and physical endurance everyday whilst fielding life's many riddles, trying to outwit hurt, escape heartbreak, defy unhappiness, relentlessly. To put on smiles and be cheerful or bubbly or whatever else it is that our personality demands of us, to play our part in this preordained web and hope that we have a happy ending.

Pessimism from me sounds rather odd, even to myself. Im just ready to change the gears in my life and Im scared stiff. Should I go the safe, backed up way, or full throttle guns blazing all or nothing way. I hate crossroads.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Wasabi? No Mujh

In a continuation of how old I'm beginning to feel, I spent half the day yesterday fretting over having to go out last night for a friends birthday and another friends return from the US of A, on a weekday no less. Fully aware of what time I will be getting home, this is what I back calculated many times through the day.

[7.45 a.m. (wake up time)] - [Time of getting home (a.m.) + 30 mins (Bath+Brush+Prayer+make bed) ] = VERRRYY late in the a.m. = Wayy too little sleep.

...And dealing with the repercussions of a late night mid-work week such as the Multiple Yawn syndrome, The Non concentrationlexia, Torpidity of movements and an overall mellow in usual gregarious self.

Although the night out itself wasn't as bad. We went here. Hugely terrific place, but as hard on the wallet. I have distant memories of having a diet coke here once for a princely sum of 350 Rupees (taxes inclusive Thank god). I would say a better option is to just shell out some more moolah and actually have a drink which is totally worth the hype (in terms of taste, presentation, originality and the experience), but this is advice Ive followed very conservatively. The Mojito, which is generally my drink of choice comes in a tall glass. And boy is it tall :\
Also, they serve free Wasabi peas and Insane Macadamia nuts from Tong garden which I'm confident, given the chance, I can single handedly polish each pea and each nut from each table (bar included), given the rate at which I munch these. Needless to say, the one other night I went here and they had run out, I was Ms. Grump-a-lot.

An example of how small the world is was demonstrated last night, which I naturally spent over half an hour screeching and exclaiming to half a dozen people around me. I got introduced to a friends friends friend (Yep, you read that right) and it turns out that her best friend is a girl from my team at work. The highlight of my morning today was recounting the unfolding of events and conversation that led to this discovery.

The only Damper (or not) of the night was that it rained, and I missed it. BAH.
Now I'm going back to wishing for it again, and wondering when Ill hit the sack.