Tag Archives: woman

Goodbye patty, child, woman…

Born in October 1913 was this lady with an incredibly sharp brain and an uncanny ability to get things done her way. She lived to be almost 100 and lived life to her fullest – entirely on her terms. Blessed with 5 loving sons and with equally caring daughters-in-law she was much loved and looked after right until the moment she chose to let go of life at close to 99.

Her greatest feature was her amazingly sharp memory. At 99 she could fluently recall names, where she had last met people, their entire family history and so on! Though she would mostly stay confined to her room, she was well aware of what was going on in the house. If someone was late for lunch she would fret over it. Or if someone in the family did not come back home until late night (well past her bedtime) she would somehow be aware of it and chide them the next morning. She had the guileless heart of a baby, the enthusiasm of a 10-year old and an incredible zest for everything in life! She insisted on being given chocolates on birthdays. She loved, demanded and enjoyed good food. Her priority in life was to have all meals on time. In retrospect, that perhaps was the secret of her good, healthy, long life. She did not suffer from any complicated emotions like anger or jealousy or envy. Amazingly content with life, all she expected was her meals on time, regular visits from all the people in her family…and that’s it. And I guess it is because she expected so incredibly little out of life, that she lived to the glorious age of 99.

True to her childlike self, she expected things to happen as fast as her sharp mind could think of them. If she was going somewhere in the evening, she’d be ready in the morning itself and wait impatiently for the evening to arrive! God forbid, if she was ready and for some reason we were unable to leave at the appointed time, she would pace up and down like an edgy child. She would never scold or make any rude remarks, but she would keep gazing at us like a tolerant puppy waiting to be let out, until we ran out of patience and shoved aside all other things and attended to her needs.

She always greeted any visitors with childlike enthusiasm and loved it if they got her gifts. What’s more, she was blessed with sons who pampered her with little gifts of sweets or fruits every other day.

This amazing child-woman, passed away peacefully on March 25th 2012. And just as she might have wanted, her death was cremation was quick and smooth. She was ready to leave her body and she had to do it NOW. As it was in life, in death too, she got her wish.

She is now our guiding star. We hope that she will give us the courage to live life her way – without any negative thoughts or emotions. We hope that she will inspire us to lead simple, guileless, contented lives with minimal, simple wants. We hope that she will continue to shower us with her blessings in her happy, hand-clapping, childlike way.

Dearest patty a thousand namaskarams to you. May your soul rest in peace.

 

Seeking – girlfriends!

Woman in mid-30’s seeks girlfriends. Preferably with young kids. Fair, dark, dusky…any complexion. Any caste or religion.

If you thought finding the right man was tough, well, try finding a girlfriend that you get along with. Or is it just me? Am I too weird to find friends?

It’s not like I don’t get along with people. I do. Or at least I try hard to.

At one time I decided I would join the group of mothers whose kids go for dance class with my daughter. So I went up to them and introduced myself. After pleasantries were exchanged they delved into the subject of school. Studies. Marks. Homework. Assignment. Test. Exams. Writing skills. Teachers. School politics. Extra curricular activities. And on and on. Until my mind boggled. By the end of it I felt mighty stressed! I felt inadequate – like I was not doing enough for the daughters’ academics. The fear of what-if-I-fail gripped me. It honestly took me a while to get that feeling out of my system. I do not believe in stressing myself or the child over her studies. And I do not believe that her marks define who she is. Apparently this group thought it did.  Now I stay away from the bunch. After a polite hello I slink away for a lonesome walk.

Then there was this group of mothers I met at a birthday party. It went well enough until the topic steered towards the child’s lunch box. We exchanged ‘what do you give them for lunch’ questions. I innocently mentioned my list – pasta, sandwiches, rotis, pulav…I noticed a silence in conversation while I rattled off and paused. They were all gawking at me like I was from outer space. ‘Why don’t you give sambar rice etc?’ asked one mom. I told her my daughter would never eat it because she did not like rice very much. ‘But what nutrition is there in all this.’ Asked another. I assured her that I buy only wheat pasta and organic at that. Then suddenly one of them was most interested. Presto! She pulled out a notepad and pen from her bag. ‘Give me the recipe ya.’ She urged, her pen ready to fly. The others soon followed suit – as the collective opinion was that my weird lunch items can be given on special days. Soon they were all in position to write and looking at me expectantly. It was my turn to gawk. Really! Imagine being ready with notepad and all that. I never do that – this writing down recipes from other mothers I mean. I believe that every child has his or her own taste. You cannot impose one’s likes and dislikes on the other. So why try? But apparently they did not think so. Was I wrong? Yet again I felt inadequate.

Then there are those incredibly charming kinds. They are so wonderfully sweet and innocent that I find it too stressful to make conversation. I mean I think I’m a normal woman. I swear. I joke. I bitch. I giggle. I guffaw. But the oh-so-sweet kinds would never do that. They will ask you over for tea and say such nice things about you. Compliment you on your drab outfit, your frizzed hair and what not. And you find it hard not just to accept those compliments but to graciously pass on some in return. But then you feel obliged to. So then you mutter some nice things. And then you start to feel suffocated. Just the strain of having to make that conversation is tiring. Oh yeah I have such friends. I hate myself for saying this, because they really are sweet– but I avoid them like the plague!

Then there are the whiners, the husband and mother-in-law bashers. They look like they carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. Oh what would the world be without them? They cook, clean, wash, get their kids ready for school, make them study and do their homework. (Excuse me but don’t we all do that – some more, some less – but we all do it!) And the mother-in-law is most unappreciative. The husband is always supporting his mother. And on and on and on. Until I get most depressed. My point is no one’s life is perfect. We all have our issues. It’s the attitude with which we face them that matter. If I’m out with friends, I’d like to forget my troubles – not keep brooding and whining over it. I’m not saying these women are wrong…but I guess our chemistry just does not work.

Are there no women out there who don’t take their role as mothers, or wives, or home makers or daughters in law or themselves soooo seriously that they forget to enjoy it? Who can accept their flaws and laugh at them. Who can discuss their problems without whining? Who can move on in life and not dwell in the past? Who can have a good laugh and giggle over silly things. Who can drool over handsome men just for the heck of it! Who love window shopping more than shopping itself. Who love to laze around over a cup of tea…

Sigh. Woman where are you? If you are SHE, please get in touch with me please. I seek you. Desperately.

One Saturday morning

It dawned as Saturdays usually do. Lazy and purposeless. The alarm rang and I woke up with the regular thoughts about what-to-pack-for-lunch-and-snack.  Then I remembered “ah…no school, no office…no hurry” – time to cuddle the child sleeping blissfully next to me and drift back to sleep.  I  drifted in and out of sleep until, I finally woke up at 6:30 am. The silence around the house greeted me like an old friend. I held its hand and set about the happy task of making my morning cuppa. My tryst with solitude was rudely broken by the sound of the doorbell. I was startled! No one generally rings our bell this early in the morning. Even the milk lady has been instructed to just leave the milk packets and go. Who then could this be? I hesitantly walk to the door. The peep hole of our front door is made to the height of the rest of the family (who are a good one foot taller than me…humph!) – so of course I could not see who it was. I opened the door slightly to see my neighbour from downstairs standing. Tears were streaming down her face. She was wearing a torn sari, the tip of which she was using to wipe her tears. Her whole body was shaking. Totally perplexed at the sight I opened the door, let her in and settled her into a chair. She wept uncontrollably and did not answer any of my questions regarding her state. Hearing the mayhem, my MIL (mother-in-law) sauntered in looking as perplexed as me. We exchanged ‘eye language’ over the woman’s weeping head as I shrugged to tell her I did not know the cause for this outburst. We of course knew that the woman had an ailing, bed ridden mother – we thought that perhaps the mother had passed away.

But when MIL asked her that she shook her head. And then she said in true filmy style (much like the well endowned Tamil heroines of 60’s era) “Don’t ask me what happened. My life itself is a mess. I’m a wasted and unwanted creature.” She said and wept even more. (The original dialogue was of course much more dramatic since it was in Tamil!)

MIL and I exchanged more bewildered what-the-hell-do-we-do-now looks over her weeping head. Finally MIL took charge and told the woman in her sternest tone to stop weeping. I then scurried to the kitchen to make her a cup of tea. My husband chose the moment to drift out of bed. Totally unaware of the drama he lazily walked into the living room, gawked at the still weeping woman and dashed back to the security of the bedroom, back into the sheets and back to sleep. Perhaps he thought he was having a bad dream. Laughter bubbled up to my lips – but how can one guffaw with this woman weeping for God-knows what.

The tea calmed her down. We watched as she drank with shaking fingers. And eventually she spoke. Apparently she had had a big quarrel with her brother. Just for a little background – the woman is a divorcee and her two daughters are studying, staying in a hostel somewhere. She stays in Chennai with her unmarried younger brother and her sick mother. A depressing household that smells of the sick. I remember writing about it once before over here. The lady looks depressed all the time and her sad eyes follow everyone everywhere. Her sickly mother is an uncooperative patient and does not make life any happier for her! This being the background – the woman sniffed and told us that her brother had forbidden her from going out anywhere and in the quarrel that ensued he had actually hit her with a stick. We were full of sympathy for her and my MIL went on to cheer her up by telling her what a great service she is doing by taking care of her mother.

Eventually the rest of the household woke up. My husband too woke up to realize that this was not a nightmare. She was there for real!

The woman had tea and then settled into our home. Refusing to go. If my MIL walked into another room the woman followed her. So my poor MIL relegated herself to the living room and kept making small talk – all the while throwing big hints that it was time for her to leave as we had our own chores to do. The woman refused to take any hints and our sympathy quickly turned to irritation as we felt caged in our own home.

We surreptitiously had breakfast and debated whether to feed the woman or not. Mercifully our watchman came in just then and announced that the woman’s mother was looking for her. She left then – reluctantly. And we all heaved a collective sigh of relief.

Our peaceful Saturday morning lay in tatters – filled with the tears of the woman. With the sadness of her life. The helplessness of her situation. We were guilty that we wanted her to leave. But relieved that she had left!

The watchman came back to tell us the other side of the story. The woman is prone to depression and her brother was having a tough time trying to balance a sick mother and a depressed sister. Sigh. Life is so unfair sometimes. I tired to see how they could make their life better. They could maybe – if they tried. After all happiness is in little things. A walk in the park. A happy book. A relaxing hobby. Anything to keep the sadness at bay. Finding that happiness within ourselves is easier said than done  suppose.

For now all we do is avoid the woman when we see her standing downstairs. We certainly do not want another day like that Saturday. No way.

Rat-tle Rat-tle Rat-tle

I’m a survivor. And I’m proud of it. Once I make a place my home, no broom can chase me away from it! I now reside at this office with my family. First there was just me – so the people in this office did not even know my existence. Then I met my lady love and I brought her to live with me. Our honeymoon was inside a cosy cardboard box in the kitchen of this office. But the honeymoon period ended too fast – if you ask me. Suddenly we were parents with five little, demanding mouths to feed. My wife and I were always hunting for more and more food. I must say the people in this office do bring yummy food – they leave bits of it in the kitchen. I also found some biscuits in another room. The kids ate it all!

With kids growing – the people in the office felt our presence. What a nuisance that is! Now that the kids are teething – things are worse. They go berserk at night and nibble at everything. And then…you know…they just happily crap and piss everywhere. Although my wife and I keep instructing them to use just one corner for their ablutions…they are kids afterall. They are not able to control themselves. They love to go and crap in one corner of one room. Now this corner belongs to one particularly annoying woman in the office. She comes to work each morning and then complains about the mess “these horrid rats make”. Humph…calling my kids horrid. The cheek of this woman! Then she cleans and cleans her table with all kinds of things. Dusts her chair and wipes her idiotic box with a screen with some solution. Her cleaning ritual each morning lasts 30 minutes. I wonder why she bothers to clean so much. I don’t thing we are such dirty creatures. I don’t like this woman at all – so all of us make it a point to go crap in her corner each night. Let her clean it all…hee… hee…hee.

When this woman screams and makes noise they keep rat traps for us in the office. Once they kept a black lump of something at various points in the office. The kids went to eat it. But I told them not to. We threw it all out. The next day the office people came and searched for those lumps. They thought we had eaten it all and were imagining that we were all dead by now. Aha! Trying to poison us. I did smell a rat there (pardon the pun)! The next morning they were appalled to find more files and papers bitten. The corner woman had more crap to clean! The office people were perplexed! They could not understand how we could eat the poison and not die! Ha…if only they knew.

Then one day, one of the kids was sighted inside his bedroom – the humans call it a drawer. I hiding in my chamber – they call that the AC. I saw the corner woman react – she screamed and jumped on top of the chair. Silly woman! I thought it was usually the other way round – rats were supposed to be scared of humans – right??? Anyway my baby was smart – he jumped out of the drawer and ran out of the room before anyone could catch him. One of the men chased him with a plastic bag in hand – claiming that he is an expert rat catcher. But I’m proud to say my little one escaped. Sigh…kids grow up so fast, don’t they. I guess my kids don’t need my support already.

Then they tried to keep traps for us. They brought these evil looking boxes and put yummy smelling vadas inside. At night the kids made a dash for it. But I’ve seen these things before. The humans call it a rat trap. I stopped my kids from entering the box and then removed the vada myself and gave it to them. As a thank you note to the humans we all crapped inside the box. I mean what else can we rats do to say thank you, right?

Oh and they tried the trap for many days. Sometimes with tasty vadas, sometimes coconuts, sometimes chapatti. Kids enjoyed the feast really. Each day we ate it all and crapped more and more. Kids got healthier. Now they are able to chew through thick files too. And they can hunt for their own food. Meanwhile my wife is expecting again. So we’re getting ready to expand our family.

I must stop rat-tling and get into my room now. I hear the corner woman come in. And I must tell you, she’s not going to be happy when she sees all that crap on her table. We really had too much to eat last night. Er…I’d better run…

PS. posted with the aid of the crap cleaning, paranoid corner woman at the office.

Sweet as laddoo

I hate going to parlors. Somehow it’s the most uncomfortable thing in the world for me. And just my luck the parlor closest to my home is located right opposite a mechanic shop. So just imagine… I walk out of the parlor after threading or waxing. My skin still smarting and me trying to look all cool and nonchalant – the guys in the mechanic shop stop their work and stare. Then they turn to each other pass comments and laugh raucously. Just the confidence deflator I need! My façade of confidence crumbles and I scurry past like a mouse. The whole experience is a torture for me!

However social etiquette demands that I do not wander around looking like a hairy bear. So I subject myself to this torture session at least once a month. I was there last evening. Dreading that first sting when the lady starts the threading process. At that point I want to stop and scream and slap her – like the whole thing was her fault! I wonder why I get these wicked urges?

So there was me last night sitting in the chair like a lamb waiting to be slaughtered. And while I waited for the lady to attend to me – I looked around to pass time. The first thing I noticed about the lady next to me was her big belly. It lay exposed – with all its stretch marks and other sundry marks – like a lard of ugly flesh. Like it did not belong to the body – but was just placed there. With difficulty I pried my eyes away from her belly to her face. She must have been 50 something. She was getting a hair massage done. And this is what horrified me the most – she was eating a laddoo. It was one of those giant Tirupathi laddoo types. She was munching it slowly, happily. I mean how one can eat inside a parlor – completely baffles me. What with all the hair and dust floating around! Eeeeeeeeeeek. And worse, how can one do it when one’s own hair is getting massaged? Amazing.

One good thing was the woman took my mind off my own discomfort. While I closed my eyes and subject myself to torture, I could hear her talking to her attendant. She was positively rude! Talking to the girl in a gruff, man-like voice and telling her how to do her job properly. All this with pauses to munch that endless laddoo. Then suddenly her phone rang and it was incredible how she changed her tone of voice. Suddenly she was oh-so-saccharine-sweet. Even sweeter that the laddoo nestling in her palm. She literally drooled into the phone and profusely (sweeeeeeeeetly) thanked someone for thinking of her and calling etc. After a few minutes of exchanging pleasantries she clicked her phone shut and then went back to snapping at that girl. Like a chameleon she could change the colours of her personality with such ease! I was amazed.

Finally my torture ended. I opened my tear filled eyes and quickly dabbed them with a tissue. (Ok I don’t know if this happens to everyone – but the threading pain causes my eyes to well up! Damn embarrassing!) I turned to look at the woman. She was still munching her laddoo! Her head was inside a bulb-like structure with steam coming out of it. I paid and quickly scurried out hoping that this machine would smoke out devil from inside her head and transform her into someone sweet – just like her laddoo.

And they lived…

In the end life boils down to precisely that. This one is a reality check to all those who harbour romantic notions about life. There is no such thing as lived happily ever after. The sooner we learn this fact in life – the better we are. I’m not being a cynic here. Just realistic.

You think you love someone. In the moonlight you hold hands and get all romantic. As a girl you believe every little promise the man makes. But let me tell you while the man is holding your hand he is wishing that he were touching some other, more exciting parts of your anatomy. There is only one thing on his mind. He will do anything to make you as compliant as possible to achieve that end. This is not to blame men. It’s natural chemistry. That’s the way it is. While girls get all soppy, mushy and romantic. Men simply want sex.

So then you get married and then the initial year goes by in a blur while you get used to towels being crumpled and thrown around, toothbrushes in the living room, banana peels left on the dining table…sigh. But still you’re happy in the first year because it’s all very new, exciting and er…romantic!

Soon life settles into a pattern. Eventually you realize that the man is not living up to any of those things he promised you. He does not even care about anything else – like your headaches and your PMS – as long as you’re around to manage his home and his sexual needs whenever they arise. The reality hits you then. Women seek emotional satiation, while men simply seek physical satisfaction. A good meal. A well maintained home. Drinking buddies. A reasonably challenging job. Music. Sex. A little pampering and mollycoddling – all the time. That’s all the things the men care for. They just don’t seem to get what the women want! What’s life beyond all this – they wonder. It never strikes them that perhaps, the woman might want to be pampered too at times…??

Ah women, those incomprehensible and complex creatures that Nature has created – are looking for something deeper. They are looking for a Karmic connection. For a man who will understand their needs, wants, likes, dislikes, discomforts… without these being spelled out to him. For a man who is not uncomfortable with the silence while you watch the sunset together. For a man who can keep a hot meal ready when you get home. For a man who knows not to switch on the television when you have a headache. For a man who actually listens.

The most successful marriages I know today are those where the man is extra compassionate. The man who knows his wife did not sleep well the previous night and wakes up early to make her breakfast and tea. The man who will hold the door open for his wife because he realizes her hands are full holding their child and her things. The man who understands her little, yet important needs, like helping her find a clean toilet when they are traveling.

Sigh. Yeah I know such rare species of men do exist. And I envy the women who have found them. As for the rest of us – we simply amble along in life. We get used to our situation. We are at best compatible. We allow those many girly dreams to be trampled upon. We wait endlessly for a day when the man may perhaps understand what we really need. And yeah…we live…