Saturday, November 29, 2008


I am devastated. I am not a Mumbaikar, not in the true sense of the word. I have lived and worked there only after my marriage, so it would be apt to call it my sasural! But I love the city, I love the efficiency of the people, the systems, the public transport. I love the way the city embraces all yet leaves you to be yourself, giving you the freedom yet drawing you into all its activities. It is a city you can’t help but love.
And I am shocked into inaction...
Wwhy target the wonderful spirit of this beautiful city (or any city for that matter) and the innocent people? Why?
I salute all the officers, from all over the country,( and not just the Marathi’s) who have laid down their lives fighting the terrorists, heroically. My deepest sympathies to all those who suffered, Hindus, Muslims, Jews, rich and poor, and I hope this will not have any major repercussions resulting in more lives being lost over causes long forgotten. I hope Mumbai rises above all this…stronger, resilient, secular and of course secure.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Of Great Projects and Greater Minds

The last few days have been hectic but they have been immensely satisfying too. First I get to see a building, I have admired and to top it all, I get to see the Architect behind this great master piece, the great IM Pei. Seeing this great man and understanding this simple philosophy in design, I was transformed to the world of architecture, my first love and that made me reflect...and finally decide, that I have taken the right step.
Time and again, I have had guilty pangs, for having made a choice -- for moving away from Architecture, my profession, to Journalism.
But at that moment when I was standing close to Mr Pei at the atrium in the Museum, I felt truly gratified.
Yes, this was what I understand people, their talents and when it is an architectural maestro, whom you try to understand, you feel even more blessed by the profession you have chosen as your own.
Yes, it has its bad moments, but in which other profession do you get to meet such talents?
And I am humbled for all I get to see and experience here.
The angles, the geometry that is not strictly symmetrical, the play of the sun through the roof, the long stretch of space, both vertical and horizontal, the huge window and the calm waters behind...All this and Pei posing for our cameras on the winding staircase, one straight stance before he leans on to his cane (he is all of 92 years) and his simple comment, "This (the Museum) was a learning experience for me."
I had another 'high' that day. I also met my professor (whom I met after 20 years) and we talked about the building, with the same enthusiasm, we had years before, when she was the teacher and I was the student. Only this time around, I explained details and she was listening. It was another humbling moment...

Monday, November 17, 2008


It sure is not great just a 'watchable' one . A movie comprising of 2 beautiful bodies and one great talent, Abhishek...
Entertaining it is but well that is all. A hollow movie with loads of money spent on creating beautiful shots of near perfect bodies. I was confused through out the movie, I couldn't decide where to keep my eyes, on Priyanka or the 'dumb'looking hot body of John. In the end, I decided on Abhishek, he was the only one who really acted! And a much safer decision too!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Lets Count our blessings

All of us worry over details, minor ones, money lost or spent, the missing file, the class missed by our daughters, the marks they have lost and the how they react to us or others. I do too, I worry endlessly over minute issues and miss the whole macro picture -- The wonderful day we have had today, the smile from our loved ones, and the sun shining down upon us...
Till this Thursday...when I was jolted out of my obsession over minor challenges in life. We were at a friend's place,enjoying ourselves, just talking, when a lady and her 3 daughters made an entry. The youngest of the three was the most striking with a huge endearing smile on her face, that made you want to hug her. She was in my younger ones class and that made me want to know more about the kid and the mother and hence I started a conversation with her. It seemed difficult, because the lady was obviously very troubled about something. She semed tired, stressed out and even jerky when reacting to any queries.
I asked her how she felt about the class in general, (the perfect way to break the ice) but she replied that her child was not too regular going to the school as she was sick most of the time. I nodded in agreement and told her aout N's constant bouts of cold. She had a pained expression in her face and told us that her 4 year old was suffering from Leukaemia. I felt myself go cold, well, it wasn't just me, I could feel the silence and the shock, moving like a thick blanket, around the room...
And she said that, that particular day was quite bad with her blood count slightly low. Well, yes, I know, this is what happens around us, but ón a 'normal' Thursday night, when you meet a 'normal' four year who is suffering from this deadly disease, you are, struck dumb!
This made me reflect on my list of worries...which looks small, even tiny and worthless...
Life is so precious, lets celebrate each moment of it, enjoy the nuances of life, talk to our husbands, look into their eyes and talk, kiss our kids once more, hug them a lot more and be happy with we have.
Lets also pray for this tiny child, who has no clue of what ails her, just wants to go to school regularly, play with kids her age...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Quirks and so many!

I could fill pages with quirks, mine and of others, but I feel it depends from person to person. A quirky behaviour in one could seem perfectly normal to another. But still here are some weird ones…and they are all mine…
1. Give me a good book and a comfortable sofa, you will see me relaxing on the sofa with my feet tucked underneath, a tilt to my head and my hand twirling a few handful of my hair, while reading. I even twirl my hair when I am thinking hard.
2. I have this habit of collecting titbits with a tissue, wiping any surface clean, even while I go to friend’s house, if I am doing nothing. I just can’t rest my hands.
3. My husband puts the water heater on and I can’t help myself being pulled by that red light and in few minutes I am heading towards it to put it off.
4. Reading in the loo…And that is my favourite, don’t think it is a quirk, it is absolutely normal to many, I am sure.
5. The minute my husband heads out of the house, my hands reach for the cell and I end up calling my mother! Another quirk which I love to indulge in and on the sly…

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Book Tag from Quite Qatar

How old were you when you learned to read and who taught you?My father taught me to read and that is what I want to believe, since he is not around to verify. I must have been six years old and I remember reading a book called Chutput the Train, and it was a beautiful book with loads of illustrations. I still have the book with me but sadly, both my daughters have no great love for books.

Did you own any books as a child? If so, what's the first one that you remember owning? If not, do you recall any of the first titles that you borrowed from the library?My father used to buy me loads from the second-hand books store. I remember them being Enid Blyton books mostly. The Mallory Towers Series were my favourites.

What's the first book that you bought with your own money?A double digest of St Claire’s, if I remember right and I bought it during the book fair which happens once a year in my place. I waited till my holidays to read the book and I loved the waiting period, it augmented the pleasure I had when I finally read it!

Were you a re-reader as a child? If so, which book did you re-read most often?
Of course, I love re-reading, especially ones I like. Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice was my favourite.

What's the first adult book that captured your interest and how old were you when you read it?I was fascinated by Sidney Sheldon and would guiltily gobble all the details when I was in my eight standard or so.

Are there children's books that you passed by as a child that you have learned to love as an adult? Which ones?
I have not passed by any book, I would read anything that came my way and I still love the variety. Well, Asterix was one comic I didn’t like much when I was young, but I love them now.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Will you tell this to your kids?

My mother is pleasantly surprised by my mothering instincts, she tells me. I was the independent, selfish one of the family. Independent because I was staying away from home for my Engineering and selfish because I used to miss all those family functions for my studies and even insisted on going on study tours instead of rushing back home.. Nobody in the family understood the importance of sessionals then! (Now we all know how important that can be!)
I was the one who used to shirk filling in Amma’s place at her creshe, taking care of the babies there, when she wanted to go out for some important work. I hated the smells and was bored to wits, feeding the kids there and made my displeasure evident!
And look at her, now, Amma would say, gesturing to me when I followed my younger one patiently to feed her.
Our mothers know we have changed for our kids, but do our own kids ever know? Are they aware of the metamorphosis we go through being a mother?
Well, if they would listen, I could go on listing the changes, the sacrifices, the pains I have gone through all for the joy of motherhood, to see that special smile on their face, to bring that extra twinkle in their eye. Let me list them and hope they might see it sometime or just jot it down for all the mothers who have done all this and more…

I love kids now, just to watch them and surprisingly not just mine and that is a change only my young ones could have brought over me.
Patience, is one virtue, I have gained through all the experience of rearing my two.
The sleepless nights, when I have carried them, trying to put them to sleep.
The younger one was very particular, she wanted me to carry her and walk around the house to put her to sleep and she would kick me, when I stopped walking.
And when I hummed, sleepily, she would say, Amma, please don’t sing, embarrassing the singer in me!
The numerous times when she threw up on my head and shoulders, I wanted to cringe and scream aloud, my frustration, but kept my mouth shut, so as not to provoke K who hates to see me disturbed.
The meals I have missed in my effort to feed them first.
The accidents I have barely avoided, in my hurry to reach home before she does to see her smile when she gets down from the school bus.
Missing the career ladder, the ladder, which I forgot even, existed.

None of this was forced down, well, some were, but all of these changes were my own choice and I still don’t regret doing any of them.
Well, there are many more experiences and some so much personal; I can’t even jot them down. But will they realise this …our kids…ever. But, I suppose, they shouldn’t…for how will they face the world, marriage and their own kids with an open mind.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Engineering Side of it

My hands are itching to compose a letter and give a piece of my mind to this self-absorbed Engineer who has gone to great lengths to bring another guy down. I am part of the engineers yahoo group id, as I too (unfortunately) am part of the Engineering community and have seen various funny mails, from describing events they have boringly conducted with numerous following mails, all echoing, ‘kudos to the team, kudos to Engineers Forum EF’, some forwards of articles by ‘fellow Engineers’. I have been refereed to as Ms S while all the male counterparts are only addressed as Eng K or Eng Z. I have protested (only because I have taken the degree not that I like the ring of Eng before my name) and they have feigned ignorance. But all that is perfectly forgivable but this -- definitely not!
A much elderly person at EF sent a group mail with the CV of his son-in-law and requested others to look out for job prospects for his son-in-law. He also mentioned that his s-in-law had published some paper in IEEE. The next day, our intelligent, concerned Electrical Engineer replied, on the same group mail, that he checked the IEEE paper and the guy’s name was not mentioned. He also went on to say that it is not easy to get your paper published in IEEE as it involves a lot of ‘work’. The senior person instantly apologised and said it was wrong information and gave some clarifications. The point here is, yes, it is wrong to give a false data, but is humanitarian to point it out to that person in confidence, not to humiliate him in a public group mail and cause more embarrassment to him.
But I was heartened to read a ‘very sensible’ Engineer’s comment,
“Obviously you were more concerned for the greater good of Electrical Engineers worldwide. You missed the paper on common sense....Might as well do some research on that.”
I am happy to find that there few Engineers who are sensible, bold and sarcastic too!
Kudos, kudos!