Posted in close to heart, m@dness, The Chronicles of A

The Other Side- Corona Diary 2020

Social Media | SENSITIVE NEW WORLD

 

Last week, when I published The Corona Diary, a couple of friends people hinted subtly that I was a bad person because I was raving about how lovely life was for me when the world was suffering. Isn’t life after the advent of Social Media exactly this? Humans putting up statuses and photos of their beautiful, fake lives and pretending that everything is great in our respective lives? Yep, I fell for it too. But, I also got up, dusted myself and decided there was no way I am going to let my girls read that Diary and think that their mom handled it all so well, that their mother was invincible etc. I need them to know good and bad so that they understand that there are always 2 sides to a coin. SO, let me take you to the other side of the Corona Debacle.

A few days into the lockdown, Ami’s teacher called me to say that they were begining online classes for her. My instant reaction was, “WTF”? I went on to argue about how Amu was just 5 years old and this was supposed to be Summer Holidays etc etc. Clearly, I was the first mother who argued about NOT letting their child attend the online class. I just said NO and went on to do my chores. I think before I hung up she said your girl is just like you. Shameless me took it as a compliment.  It is, isn’t it?

Before March, on any day that I’d be working from home, I’d be happy. I used to even argue that remote working for everyone must be unlimited and companies should just allow people to chose how and where to work from. I laugh when I think about it these days. How ignorant and naive I was! These days, I am crumbling and aching to go back to work from office. I’m one person trying to juggle the schedule for 2 kids, an elderly parent, a dog and everyday I oscilate between moments of having it together and losing it completely. Yep!

In May, Ami’s teacher called me again. I think my Hello reminded her about my temperamant and disposition and she insisted on listening to what I though about teaching going online. I told her that this was not an environment conducive for learning. It’s just not. Our girls have a loving and safe home, but no, it’s not a school and it shouldn’t be. I am an adult (Only my dad would disagree) and I can’t focus on getting some work done even if I hide inside a room. How can a 5 yr old pay attention and sit in one place without supervision? And really. how many of us have so many rooms or computer peripherals to spare? So no, she cannot concentrate, neither can  she  completely sink in what is being taught to her, nor can she hide from her sister or Tango even for 2 minutes!

You see, although some folks might act and sound like they are aliens. We are humans. All of us. We were not taught to handle an endemic or pandameic or alien invation or even an earthquake. We cannot menader through a global pandemic that reaks havoc and utter chaos and just snap our fingers and act gracefully.  It’s impossible. I am not saying that its all bad. There are good days and bad days. Most days are like a game of Jenga. It is an art of balancing. One wrong move and it can all come crashing down. I can’t think about tomorrow or the next day or how I’m going to get through next week. Like I mentioned earlier, I’m literally taking it one day at a time and focusing on surviving the next few hours.It really is no longer survival of the fittest. It is survival of those willing to adapt to the most freakingly crazy and anamolous time of our lives.

That’s IT. Nothing more, nothing less.

If you’re still wondering how to survive this year.. the good news is, you already are.

As I write this and watch the rain lash against the window;Why women score over men - The Hindu BusinessLine

  • There’s a sink in the kitchen with vessels that need washing
  • Cookie’s bottles need to be sanitised
  • Clothes need to be folded
  • I have writing assignments with tomorrow’s deadlines
  • Tango wants some treat because I was leaning on him the whole time I was writing
  • Ami wants to see if there is a ranbow visible
  • I am supposed to go cycling today
  • Cookie is on her way to pick up Tango’s food

 

You see, when I started writing the Corona Diary, I did not want to rant and whine. I chose to look at the positives and good things because somewhere in between the having it and losing it, I felt blessed and happy for what I have.

Ah, the husband just arrived from office and is craving for some ginger tea that must be made by his wife. Blush. No, it is certainly NOT because he is lazy and tired from all the work at office. He just loves the ginger tea prepared so lovingly by his wife.

Here we go.

Multi faceted, multi tasking super heroes. All of us. Cheers!

 

Posted in close to heart

Not(e) in the mood-26

So I am super tensed and apprehensive and all those negative adjectives you can think of when you say future. And its raining again. And so I am in of those questioning moods! Again!

Why is it that we always choose what is not good for us?

Why do forbidden things beckon us to them like SRK to Karan Johar movies?

Why can’t people follow instructions?

Why do people take so much time to select a candidate for a job?!

Why cant people stick to whats written on paper!?

Why do people get so finicky about religion and caste and sub caste?

Why do we prod the hornet’s nest if only to see how painful the sting can be?

Why do we touch the flame of a candle even though we have been taught that fire burns?

Why do we load up on Lays and Pringles even though we know it’s crappy?

Why do people(their stand basically) change according to situations?

Why do we justify our lack of drive with the excuse of taking the ‘less trodden path’?

Why are we so quick to judge?

Why don’t we ever let go when we shouldn’t hold on and hold on when we should let go?

Why do we get jealous when a loved one gets something good in life?

Why does the car have a speedometer(thats wat its called no?) upto 220 I think when normal people go only till 140?

Why do we bitch about things we have no control over?

Why do we try so hard to impress?

Why is it sometimes very difficult to write, to listen and to undersand?

Why don’t we care enough about more people?

Why do we experience un-abandoned glee in taking advantage of those below?

Why do we love so deeply and hate so fiercely?

Why do we refuse to listen and insist on talking?

Why do we derive all-encompassing smugness from proving people wrong?

Why do we argue about pointless shit?

Why do we hog like pigs and then complain about those love handles and beer bellies?

Why do people smoke n drink in excess, knowing that they’ll get killed eventually?

Why do we like seeing money burn? (metaphorically, of course)

Why do we follow the herd?

Why do we love take-outs and not cook-ins?

Why do the little drops of rain make us dreamy?

Why does that toothless baby with an apology of a smile make our insides become coarse potato mash?

Why do our fathers’ invoke an unfailing sense of security?

Why is that ‘ghar ka khana’ can never replace the most opulent chinese gourmets?

Why do we have an ever-persistent hopefulness of winning the lottery?

Why do we count the days down to our birthdays?

Why is childhood the most cherished part of our lives?

Why does out heart do a teeny somersault when we see our names on a privileged list?

Why do we not let go of hatred and jealousy?

Why do we blame other people for our unfulfilled desires?

Why do we exist and not live?

Because we are human. And imperfectly so.
Posted in m@dness

Just how would we know!?

Its raining here in DXB :). And you know my everlasting romance with it, so here I am in one of my introspective moods while watching it from the “place”.

 “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

This quote from Forrest Gump has always been the tagline of my life. People who take quick decisions always amaze me. Taking decisions have always been a huge task for me. From chosing a dress, deciding which restaurant to eat to all the major milestone decisions, theres’s always stress and time involved! I mean how will we know that the decisions that are taken (the ones that matter anyway) are the right ones?! What if your life changes with that one decision!

For example, deciding to move to a foreign land on a permanent visa after years of wondering whats it like to live outside the country one is born in (and quitting a perfectly stable, well-paying and permanent post) knowing that there is no job in waiting and knowing that years of experience will be thrown aside and career has to be started from scratch and nobody even remotely close to family or friends. How do we know if it is the right decision to actually live the dream?!

Or deciding to pursue something that’s nowhere in our scheme of life. Change our whole lives based on a hunch that plan A might just be better than plan B; how do we know that plan B is what we are supposed to be doing in the first place?!

Or get married. How do we know that this is the person we are supposed to spend the rest of our lives with? How do we know that we’ll have the same romance, beautiful and lasting beyond death, which our grandparents have? How do we know that it is not the biggest miscalculation that we ever made? Personally, I had a tough time at this one!

Or deciding whether to put down your paper at the office. With a job that isnt what they offered on paper and a salary that is way below what was told and with interview calls coming. How do you know if you should take a risk and just quit and attend interviews or hold on to this company and let go of opportunities!

Or how do we decide to leave behind family and friends when they need us the most, just because we think we can do more for them by leaving than staying and know that is what we are meant to do, rather than be with them?  How can we be sure that we are doing what God wants us to; what he has written for us??

I guess,the truth is, we CAN’T know. We just have to take a deep breath,  do it and get it over wit and more importantly, live with it afterward. If we are lucky and have been true to our conscience, the happiness comes. Otherwise, god help you!

Until then thank god for choices! Yes, I am sulking because of the options and decisions I have to take because of the choices but have you wondered what life would have been without those options or choices?!

P.S- The place happens to be my workstation! Don’t tell 🙂

Posted in m@dness

All is well when it rains

I love this time of the year every year. It rains. Morning..Afternoon…Night, it rains. And I love rain. I love traveliing when its raining. Listening to music and watching the rain while traveling gives me a high!

Kahaan se chale.. Kahaan ke liye.. Khabar nahi thi magar
Koi bhi sira.. Jahaan ja mila.. Wahiin tum miloge

Tum Aa Gaye Ho: Aandhi

For my Non Indian Friends…THis can be loosely transalted as “Didnt know when I was coming from and where I was going. But I knew, I’d find you where the corners meet.”

I think it is beautiful how it conveys  that everything falls in place eventually. It does, doesn’t it? “Everything that does not work out is a step closer to what will really make you happy” is not just a cliche.. Tum aa gaye ho.. Noor aa gaya hai.( You have come…the moon has shone)

I can relate this song to everything in my life. I mean everything. All my failures. All my successes. All the ties I broke. All the things that didn’t work out and those that did. Every job I quit. Every subject I flunked and cracked. Every post i wrote n deleted. Every friend I lost. Brought. Every smile. Every tear.

Me. Here. And there is nowhere else I’d rather be.

Khwaabon ke diye.. Aankho mein liye.. Wahii Aa Rahe The..
Jahaanse tumhaari sadaa aa rahii thi. 
 
Again roughly transalated into ” The wicks of my eyes lit up by my dreams, I was coming to you, to where your sound was coming from.”

See what I mean? I love this song. I love rain. You get the point, don’t you?

Till next time, listen to some good music, watch the rain and maybe write 🙂

Posted in m@dness

Run through the rain!

Well, I was at the Avial Concert last evening and just as the crowd and the band were getting on to full swing, it began to rain. Not just rain, pour.  Since this was unexpected, the crowd went berserk and it turned into utter chaos. But,amidst all this chaos, I found the time and space to enjoy the rain in all its glory. You would know that I am fascinated with rain, if you are regular readers.So while I was  getting soaked n thinking about how much my life has changed since it last rained, I suddenly remembered an old mail a friend had sent and I knew I had to post that here.

“A little girl had been shopping with her Mom in a supermarket. She must have been 6 years old, this beautiful red haired, freckle faced image of innocence. It was pouring outside. The kind of rain that gushes over the top of rain gutters, so much in a hurry to hit the earth it has no time to flow down the spout. All stood there under the awning and just inside the door of the Wal-Mart. Everybody waited, some patiently, others irritated because nature messed up their hurried day. I am always mesmerized by rainfall. I got lost in the sound and sight of the heavens washing away the dirt and dust of the world. Memories of running, splashing so carefree as a child come pouring in as a welcome reprieve from the worries of my day.The little voice was so sweet as it broke the hypnotic trance we were all caught in:

“Mom, let’s run through the rain,” she said. “What?” Mom asked. “Let ‘s run through the rain!” She repeated. “No, honey. We’ll wait until it slows down a bit,” Mom replied. This young child waited about another minute and repeated: “Mom, let’s run through the rain,” “We’ll get soaked if we do,” Mom said. “No, we won’t, Mom. That’s not what you said this morning,” the young girl said as she tugged at her Mom’s arm. “This morning? When did I say we could run through the rain and not get wet?” said Mom. “Don’t you remember? When you were talking to Daddy about his cancer, you said, ‘If God can get us through this, he can get us through anything!”

The entire crowd stopped dead silent. I swear you couldn’t hear anything but the rain. We all stood silently. No one came or left in the next few minutes.Mom paused and thought for a moment about what she would say. Now some would laugh it off and scold her for being silly. Some might even ignore what was said. But this was a moment of affirmation in a young child’s’ life. A time when innocent trust can be nurtured so that it will bloom into faith.

“Honey, you are absolutely right. Let’s run through the rain. If GOD let’s us get wet, well maybe we just needed washing,” Mom said.

Then off they ran. We all stood watching, smiling and laughing as they darted past the cars and yes, through the puddles. They held their shopping bags over their heads just in case. They got soaked. But….. But they were followed by a few who screamed and laughed like children all the way to their cars. And yes, I did. I ran. I got wet. I needed washing.Circumstances or people can take away your material possessions, they can take away your money, and they can take away your health. But no one can ever take away your precious memories…So, don’t forget to make time and take the opportunities to make memories everyday. To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven.”

I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Last night when I got drenched in the rain inspite of having a vehicle and a shelter, I realised  a lot of things. My life is changing every day but somewhere I seem to have lost the ability to enjoy the things that I used to. I seem to have excuses for not doing things I was supposed to and seem to have less time for people I genuinely love. When the rain washed away all my thoughts yesterday, I smiled like a little girl who was just given a large ice cream to finish! I promised myself that I’d make time to do things and take time to spend with people who really need me in their life. I promised myself that I’d take the time to make more memories.  I HOPE YOU STILL TAKE THE TIME TO RUN THROUGH THE RAIN. They say it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them, but then an entire life to forget them. Take the time to live…and don’t forget to run in the rain!

Posted in m@dness

Let there be rain

“…These are the seasons of emotion and like the winds they rise and fall 
This is the wonder of devotion – I see the torch we all must hold. 
This is the mystery of the quotient – Upon us all a little rain must fall.”

-The Rain Song,  by Led Zeppelin.

I am back and am happier than last year. Why, you ask. I am happier because I know I’ll have a super year because when the clock struck 12 on 1st morning, it rained! And it rained just the way I liked it. To me it was like washing away all my past, all the hurt, the torture and everything I was sad for last year. To me, the rain told me that this year will be a year I’ll remember in a very happy way. Hmm Lets see……..

I have always loved rain! I have written about it a lot of times! Why do I love it? I don’t know. I just always have.

Rain is an enigma, a symphony, a powerful force, a lifegiver. I love how rain can almost always prove you wrong. You may be angry or frustrated and you angrily walk out into the rain, hoping for some sort of understanding,denial or absolution. As if  the gray clouds and the tiny puddles will give you answers. But before that earth-shattering moment occurs, you are drenched. Completely. Not just by the droplets, but by the smell of rain, and what it does to the environment around you. The rain commands your attention. It’s just you and the rain now. No, you don’t want to attain nirvana, like you first thought in your fit of chagrin. All you want is to roll around in the mud. You want to stomp around in puddles like noone’s watching. You want to love, laugh and live!

For the sulk in you, you can crib about the traffic jams and the floods all you want. Sometimes I do, too.  But you just cannot deny the beauty of this weather. Raindrops falling elegantly on the black asphalt of your potholed road. The exquisite smell of wet mud. The long walk with no umbrella over your head. The element of surprise as it suddenly stops. The glimpse of a rainbow.

Aah so as much as I love to believe that this year definitely has something good in store for me, I must wait for time to tell me if my intuitions are right or not. So Y’all have a super duper year and I hope that you had a great start just like I did.

 

You think I idealize the rains, eh? Call it a genetic defect, that I love. 🙂

“Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby.”

Posted in close to heart, fiction

Rain- A love hate relationship.

Hearing the sound of the drizzling rain and the smell of the wet sand made her leave her chair and walk outside to the balcony. The rains reflecting her mood. The rain always stood for different kind of memories and feelings for her. She didn’t really like rains from her childhood. It always gave some kind of wierd feeling. But she enjoyed the rain like everyone else. Loved to watch the sky open up, but still rains always made her wobbly and unsure and it made her lose her sense and that was why she never cherished rain even though she always wanted to.

And today, watching it pour she realized why she and the rain always had this love-hate relationship. It was this rain which had brought love to her and in such ways left her stranded with lots of memories which she hated to remember but they were and will forever be a part of the past which still makes her heart and stomach churn.

Watching the rains she remembered the last monsoon. Happy times.Rains had given her memories of the first touch, the first rain dance, the first romance and the first liveliness. The drizzle of the droplets had given a spark to her life which made her alive and lively…….but today remembering those moments she realized how much the rain and the memories made fun of her.
These memories still haunt her and jolts her with a sense of hate at her disillusioned belief but still the love-hate relationship with rain doesn’t end in a hate-hate relationship. It,s more of love than hate.

All pretty, small and together

They laugh, they dance then wither

Singing a song, they mingle along

Disappearing back to where they belong

Sometimes sorrow, sometimes tears, sometimes anger, sometimes frustration.

Sometimes love, sometimes joy, sometimes bliss, sometimes magical, sometimes dreams.

Sometimes courage, sometimes strength, sometimes fear and sometimes memories.

Rain….A million drops, a million emotions.

Posted in m@dness

Just Imagined

i wrote this in September and do not remember why I didnt publish it then…but as they say, better late than never.

Rains in kerala are unpredictable.  Sometimes a clear sky will pour out and stop as quickly as it started. Last evening,  it started to rain just when I was about to go out and I had no choice but to sit down on the porch and wait for the rain to stop. I sat down and looked outside, trying not to have anything on my mind. The rain in this strange city doesn’t give you much warning. It takes just a few seconds – from the first drop to hit the ground to turning into a full blown shower. The rain didn’t bother me.

I crossed my arms and in between fiddled with my locket and watched the rain. It had already wet the steet and everything on it and the water was flowing down from the chains like it would in a stream.  There was not a soul in sight as far as I could see and no sound but the sound of water flowing and tickling followed by an occasional thunder from high up.

I could picture my knight pulling me by the arm and bringing me into the rain under the sky. I could see my hair wet and dripping. I could see his smile accentuated with many tiny water drops stuck to his curved lips and dripping from his eyebrows.  It wasn’t hard to picture him pulling me closer in the middle of the canopy surrounded by coconut trees and plantain trees and dance to a tune that only plays in his head.

I could picture strong winds and myself in my big old orange jacket. I could see myself hiding behind him.I could see him grinning and calling out my name. I could almost hear my laughter. I could easily visualize a game of hide and seek. I would hide and he would seek. And when he’d find me, he’d pull me  and I would laugh so hard then.

The rain seemed to fade a little then. I could take a risk to start walking again. A drizzle wouldn’t kill me, I told myself. As I got out of the porch and trodded down my street, I looked back. There was no rain, only wet ground. There was no wind, no woman in an orange jacket, no dancing and no knight.

A woman’s imagination runs wild…. And imaginary stories don’t have anywhere to go. If only the feelings they brought were also imaginary….

Posted in Uncategorized

Monsoon Memories

“The first sounds I ever heard were that of the falling rain.”
Thus  begins Alexander  Frater’s memorable paen to the rains in India, “Chasing the Monsoon.”  A  delightful book that traces the path of the monsoons in India as it first crash lands in the southern tip of Kerala, and then slowly makes its way up through the Indian sub-continent. Frater travels along with the rains, proceeding  through the verdant Konkan coast, making his way into the dry, arid  hinterland of Western and Northern India  before ending his journey in the wettest place on the planet, Chirrapunji, in Meghalaya.A great read any time of the year, And particularly worth a re-read  during the monsoon season !

Most of us  too, I guess, cherish our earliest memories  of  the pitter patter of the falling rain. For, the monsoons are such an integral part of our lives that  the rhythms of  the rain have become an element of our life and existence. Something that is almost embedded into our genetic code and  transmitted through the generations. The rains arouse deep primordial instincts and awaken our senses as the monsoon  plays  its  coy, dating game with us every June. After  the baking and oppressive heat of  summer, we eagerly await its arrival. Soon, the earth is drenched by  the cascading rains, and the parched  soil once again turns  dark  green with dense grass and freshly sprouting shoots.  Even as  the sky is streaked with dangerous flashes of lightning, and the majestic rumbling of thunder  fills our hearts with fear and apprehension,   we are comforted by the  familiar croaking of  bull frogs mating under dripping eaves.  The air is suffused  with the promise of new life. And the occasional year, when the monsoon is delayed, or God forbid,  even delinquent, there is utter panic and despair as  our lives are thrown hopelessly out of gear.

Truly, the  monsoon is inseparable from India and her moods, her arts and her culture. Indians believe the monsoon to be a powerful force that is a gift from the Gods. It is central to our life; it is central to our commerce; it is central to our very being. And most importantly, it has become an inalienable part of our cultural lives. This season of thunder and lightning, swollen rivers, emerald green fields and dark, ominous  clouds  is integral  to our social and cultural ethos. It is a time when  peacocks dance amorously, lovers meet in secret trysts and the senses are over powered by the intoxicating smells of wet, damp earth. It is a unique season; one that creates life, and resuscitates life.

And In Kerala, it  is also a  season for  the traditional rejuvenation of the body. It is a time when  the circadian rhythms of life are suspended and  the pace of life slows down, as the mind and the body are subjected to the centuries old traditions of ayurveda. It is  the  time to revitalize our bodies through oil massages and rest;  a time for  drinking karkidaka kanji and  having thaalu curry. A month  for re-reading the wisdom contained in the pages of the Ramayanam. A time of introspection and contemplation when we renew our bond with nature, as our forebears have done through the ages.

The rainy mornings, the sound of rain right outside the window,the colourful umbrellas and raincoats, the splashing sound that shoes make when children jump on puddles, vehicles that splash water on pedestrians and light vehicles, parents carrying children on their shoulders so that the uniform does not get spoilt, the hot teas and idli’s, the varieties of ‘kanji’, the greenery all around, water everywhere. All these are memories that every mallu man and woman will share wherever they are in the world.

Kerala’s beloved “poet of beauty” the late Vyloppili Sreedhara Menon, wrote in his pastoral idyll,   Varshagamam,

“Like a cooling unguent caressing  the eyes,
Like a melodious symphony soothing  the ears,
Like a fragrant balm nourishing  the body
Comes along a new season of rain………..”

Bellissimo……

It’s time to  celebrate yet another monsoon season.