Thursday, June 25, 2009

Teekhi Mirchi or The Spicy Chili

I've been blessed with many good friends over the years.
One of the most recent is someone I knew in college - we were friends then. Not the 'let's dress like alike and giggle in a corner' type, we were your normal, everyday friends. Then college ended and we didn't really keep in touch.
About 3 years ago, we got to talking again. And this time, (thankfully) we didn't stop. We clicked somehow, more than we did in college and it was nice to be able to slip into that old 'comfort zone' again.
In these 3 years, she's become one of my closest friends. I'll call her Chili, shall I?

I could tell you volumes about Chili. Our lives connect on so many levels now or we choose and will them to connect. But I shall introduce you to her slowly. She's a gem.

Chili and I talk. We talk about everything. We talk like it's going out of fashion. We talk about clothes and films and life and people and photography and dreams and food and and and and. It's great to be able to have that with someone - the ability to talk about anything, anywhere and never get bored. We've sat through some seriously crappy movies, but we've had fun because we giggled through even the bad bits. Talking to Chili is one of my favorite things to do.

My Chili's getting married soon. She's super cute as the soon to be bride. Trying to keep it all together, but fretting so much at the same time. Dude and I recently attended a ceremony held by her family - one in which the community welcomes the soon to be married couple, with much joy, dancing and lots of flashy jewellery. It was nice to see her and her soon to be habibi (beloved in arabic). I watched her smile and hug and pose for pictures. And my heart smiled. Dude knew what I was thinking and he squeezed me hand saying, 'They look good, don't they?'

They did. They do. They will.
Congratulations Chili. Love you.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Just a swimming class

Recently dude and i did a little babysitting for Dora & Boots.
We spent all of 5 full days with them. We did a lot fun stuff together and it was great. Scrapbooking, watching cartoons, going to the park, bedtime stories.
We also did the 'real' stuff, like homework and meals and going to bed on time and a dozen classes that the girls attend, from swimming to ballet to tennis to kathak (it's an Indian dance form, you can read more about it here -
When we took Dora to her swimming class, we sat and waited by the pool till she was done. Boots stayed with us and kept herself amused with wooden benches, my handbag and the water cooler. She's got some imagination, that one!
Dora's swimming class takes place in a huge pool, divided into 3 parts. The first, for Dora's age group, is children learning to swim and getting the right training to be confident swimmers. The second, for slightly older children, is I suppose, a more intensive training class.
The third was for babies. Literally. They were in diapers and each baby had a parent with them in the water as well. it was all about getting the child comfortable with water and getting over the fear of suddenly being dunked. (SO been there!)
It was amazing to watch. The class progressed with the parents singing 'row, row, row your boat' and the kids being swished about in the water. The giggling and gurgling and occassional wailing, was fun to watch.
Dora's turning out to be a wonderful little swimmer. I was proud as I watched her, a cute lil bundle of blue, with bright pink goggles and a swimming cap (is that what you call it? It's super tight to be a cap, it's like it latched onto her brain!). She'd suddenly pop her head out of the water and look for us and wave excitedly, a huge grin on her face.
The experience at the pool, watching Dora, keeping an eye on Boots, watching all those parents and kids...made me think.

Parenthood is a big, no scratch that, HUGE deal. It's not just about taking care of them as babies and feeding them, burping them and all that other stuff. They grow! You still have to keep them entertained and then, shiny, jingly jangly baubles, won't help. There's education and friends and good influences and bad influences and a gamut of things I hadn't really thought of before.
No, it's not my biological clock ticking, for those heavy thinkers amongst you - thank you very much.
It's just that at that moment, at the pool...I was suddenly in awe of parents everywhere. For the efforts they make, the dreams they dream, the sleepless nights, the constant love, support and backing even when they might just want to whack you silly. I mean, it was a swimming class for heavens sake.
Parents sacrified their Saturday morning to come and swim with their kids, in the desert sun (only the seating was shaded) and they had brought healthy snacks, creams, hair ribbons, all to make the experience more enjoyable for their kids. It was just, a swimming class.

We had a blast with the girls.
I have to be honest, I don't envy parents. I was a bit unnerved at all the little add-ons that parenting seems to entail.
But I do think it's awesome to be able to see our Dora & Boots finding their element in this world.
The future holds a buttload of talent.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The wheels of the bus

I've always been a bit apprehensive about public transport.
Now don't jump the gun and think I'm being hoity toity, with my nose in the air or I think scandalous things happen on the subway or even that you get robbed on trains.
That's not what I'm saying.
For some reason, travelling alone on buses in particular, has always freaked me out. Especially the ones which have seats facing each other, you know, 2 on either side? Yeah, those. I remember as a kid, some weird lady in the train kept staring at my face as I sat as close to mum as possible. I ventured a smile, but no such luck. She kept glaring at me out of the roundest eyes I had ever seen. I think I even started to cry! Now when I think about it, perhaps she had really bad eyesight or something. NOW, I can make all the excuses for her, but back then when I needed it, I probably thought she'd jump out from under my bed in the dead of night!
Anyway, I think that may be some sort of deep rooted reason for my dislike of buses.

Today, after much thought and discussion (yes, sometimes public transport warrants that for me, thank you very much!), I mustered up the guts to take the bus home. It's about, say, a 45 minute drive. A colleague who stays in my area, stayed back so that she could travel with me, help me learn the ropes, so to speak.
The whole thing was a mini adventure fo me.
We walked to the bus stop, constantly turning back in search of and then craning our necks forward to the traffic ahead, to make sure we hadn't missed it or weren't going to miss it.
Once we saw it approaching, Lux (my colleague) hastened me to a particular spot on the pavement, which she informed me was the exact place in front of which the bus would stop so that the door would be right in front of us. (I made a mental note to carry chalk next time to mark out these all important spots.)

The bus stopped, exactly where Lux said it would and we were the first two in. There was this gadget on the side of the door which Lux slid her bus pass into and charged it. It beeped, rather loudly. I looked quizically at the driver, safe behind his glass door, asking for a buss pass. In the time that it took for me to ask, him to hear me take the money through a tiny hole in the glass and then to actually give me the bus pass (hidden away in some secret location behind aforementioned glass door) at least 9 people charged their cards at the beeping gadget and rushed past me.
I finally got my pass and found Lux who had saved me a seat, bless her. We were in the seats that were opposing the direction of movement and it kinda messed with my head for a few minutes, but as the knowledgeable one on my left said, I got used to it. I marvelled at the bus, my journey, the view, even my handrest for a good 10 minutes! Lux and I spent the rest of the journey getting to know each other. We got home in no time and got off at the same stop. Just before we could get off, Lux reminded me that I needed to get my change back from the driver.
Sheer genius, I tell you. *grin*

After we got off, we walked together for a while before going our seperate paths home.
I quite enjoyed my trip home today and look forward to more. I look forward to reading on the bus, listening to my ipod, collecting my thoughts, perhaps sketching even. (oh, you can't eat on the bus, who would have thought?! The other day, a mum was feeding her son a bag of crisps. The driver played a message on the sound system stating that eating while on the bus was a no-no! Imagine that. Lux told me. I'm convinced she's the all-knowing bus Goddess)
So I'm over my apprehesion. Thanks to situation, circumstance and an unexpected friend.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Wonder Years

Kids today have a lot don't they?
Parties don't mean pin the tail on the donkey anymore. It's pottery, glass painting, swimming pools. They're so fast and smart and 'switched on' at the tender age of 7.
It made me think of my childhood. And my heart smiled.
When I was a kid, we did the simple things.
Going on holiday to Bombay meant leaving all my toys back home, save one Barbie who roamed the world in my backpack. I missed them and Bombay in July (read as 'monsoons') wasn't that much fun.
Then Dad made me a dolls house from a cardboard box. He cut out windows on either side with a blade. He colored in doors with a black marker. Mum gave me lovely hankys to use as beds and sheets and curtains for my newest toy. It was a lovely holiday!
I'm an only child. Weekends were at home, with my folks and family. They were the best times ever. One uncle would get me a book every weekend, without fail. The adults played cards and I read, blissfully happy! As I grew older, I never really got the hang of cards, but there some games I loved - Yahtzee, Canasta, Scrabble.
I smile as I type, even now, so many years later :)
We used to do puzzles together. By 'we' I mean the whole family. We had one puzzle, about 1000 or 2000 pieces, of bread.
Different types of bread - loaves, slices, with nuts, in baskets on plates, you name it and it was on the puzzle! It took us about a month to complete it, during which time it totally occupied our dining table. Every Thursday night (our weekend), we'd sit up late, piecing together baguettes, ryes, multigrains and fruit breads.
When we completed it, we were all thrilled. We looked at it happily for another week. Then we messed it up and put it back in the box. *grin* We had our fill of bread memories.
In the evening when homework was done, our house was always a fun place to be. Mum taught me to scrapbook and we'd spend hours on it together. We'd hold up the bubble blowing thingy in front of the air conditioner and the bubbles would race out at top speed! Dad taught me how to dance. (At this point, even a smiley doesn't do enough justice)
I'd sit with mum in the kitchen and talk to her as she cooked. On occasion, I'd stand on a stool and wash the dishes as delicately as I though possible. Needless to say, mum watched as I broke a few over the years. She never shouted at me, God bless her!
Dad taught me to make banana milk shakes with ice-cream. And limbu (fresh lime) soda in an iced up glass, with the top lined in salt. sugar and a dash of pepper.
YUM! I'll make it sometime soon and post a picture.

In the middle of all these times, when I was all of 11 years old, my godchild was born.
But that's another post all together.
The simple things were the best things, weren't they? I'm sure you've got some 'simple' memories. Share them if you like. It makes the heart smile. :)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Simply coz..

Dude's team lost the finals. :(

Yeah, it was sad, but the boys fought the good fight and they had proud supporters by the end of it, lost by 11 points. There were a lot of things that didn't go in their favor, but there is no place for injustice to be mentioned on my blog, it's being discussed more than enough the world over.

I don't really have anything in particular to blog about today. But I'm happy about a lot of stuff.
It's been a real smiley day. Hope you had one too.

I call this one 'Perception'.