Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Kahan Se Aaye Badara...

Ghulta Jayein Kajara...

Kiti sundar gana ahe. Mala khup awadta.

Interestingly, at the time I was listening to this song, I heard a great thunder in the heavens above. It was such a nice co-incidence.

That happens so many times. Not with just this song, but also with some other songs. Another song..."Shravanaat Ghananeela Barasala..." Again about rains. Beautiful. Feels so good to feel the same thing around you that you are listening to.

That's the magic of music! Or perhaps of co-incidences!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Kuch Khaas Hain Jindagi Mein

Do you write letters? Not e-mails, letters. I love writing letters. It is a whole new world of writing. It's wonderful to receive a hand-written letter than an e-mail.

A recent new Cadbury's advertisement shows two postmen on a Diwali day looking out at a deserted locality and lamenting the loss of warmth and togetherness even when it's Diwali. I found that advertisement very beautiful. So many things have been shown in such a pleasing, simple way, that it makes you all cheerful.

One hardly ever receives letters these days. I am not talking about the usual bills, magazine subscriptions, or official letters that we receive. I am talking about letters sent by our friends and family members that talk about nothing in general, but when read, leave you full of warmth and satisfaction. We tend to think that our relatives are just a phone call away and so are they. But the charm of a hand-written letter is altogether different.

In the advertisement, it is heartening to see the postmen delivering letters to the various residents. And very cleverly, they post the wrong letters to the wrong people. The residents get letters addressed to their neighbours delivered to them. Of course, it definitely is bad manners to read someone else's letters. But if you ignore that, the effect of those letters is instantaneous.

All residents rush out to deliver the letters to the rightful owners. And a sweet grandma chides the grandpa to not go without some sweets to return the letter. How nice! Even when we visit folks, do we remember to take some gift with us?

So, she brings out a big plate of Cadbury's chocolates. All neighbours have come out to return each other's letters and all enjoy the chocolates! They include the postmen too in their celebrations. It was their simple trick that made people reach out to each other to enjoy the essence of life!

Just goes to show how even such small things can make a huge difference! No one is angry that their letters have been opened but enjoy the moment of togetherness! Love and camaraderie!

One does need to toil harder to be connected in this modern, technology-at-our-fingertips world. Be it writing letters, socialising with our neighbours, or celebrating life together! I figure, we do need to take those efforts to stay in touch! Because, if we connect, we create a new world.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Is It Early Enough?

Some festivals or occassions make their presence felt way before they are actually celebrated. Birthdays is one of them. If it is your friend's, sister's, or mother's birthday, and if you want to give a mighty surprise, you start preparing for it at least two weeks before. The plans to celebrate the birthday, gifts, people to be all is very exciting.

If it is your birthday, you can't think about anything else since at least a month before. I have that problem always. As soon as my sister's birthday is over in August, I dreamily start thinking about my own birthday. It never seems to come too soon! It's one of those wonderful occassions for me and it always gets over too soon.

Ganpati festival is one of such long expected festivals. At least a month before, you will see the dhol-tasha groups practising, the painters giving finishing touches to the Ganapati idols, and then pandals burgeoning on the city landscape. The ten days are over soon, though and it is rather dull when it is over.

This year, we are still to have the Navratri festival and guess what? People have already started advertising for Diwali. Perhaps for the tourism industry, it is a good time. They need to advertise so that they attract customers for the tours planned in the Diwali holidays. But I am seriously surprised about the number of advertisements about soaps, sweets, chocolates, electronic goods that I can see around that are advertised for Diwali. And we are not even done with Dussehra yet! Perpahs it isn't all new. But I find it extremely surprising.

We used to have Dussehra discounts before we moved on to Diwali bonanzas. Now we are already thinking beyond Dussehra! How strange!

Perhaps after the swine flu scare, everyone is eager for a nice, healthy celebration. I can't blame anyone. What I heard from one of the shopkeepers in Tulshibaug was that business had gone down by 70%. And that was right in the middle of the Ganesh festival, when you can't even think of entering Tulshibaug. Even when I went there for some shopping, I could actually drive into Tulshibaug and park my gadi there and walk in whatever shop I wanted without a thought to how crowded it would be. All shops were deserted.

Diwali is a much awaited festival and I am sure everyone is looking forward to it. I am no exception. I too am looking forward to the dazzling festival. I also hope that the early advertisements increase the much-needed cheer in the air!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Gugus And Dildas

This is my favourite subject: my Ananas! My dearest nephew, Anay! A beautiful child of two years, who has changed our lives forever.

When Anay came in our life, it was not immediately that we could hold him. He was born in Seattle, USA. My sister and brother-in-law were overjoyed. And so were we all. It was only after some time that we realised that we now had a foreigner in our midst.
We all saw him through the webcam and he was such a rolu-polu kid. Big cheeks, big eyes, and fantastic hair. He was blessed with a shock of hair that stuck out on all sides. My sister used to call him a porcupine! He was famous in the hospital in which he was born for his porcupine-ish hair! That's when I nicknamed him Ananas. Ananas in Marathi means pineapple. His hair stuck out just like the leaves of a pineapple. He is such a cutie pie!

So, as we say in Marathi, Anay disa-masa vadhat hota. He made his first plane trip to Atlanta with his mum when he was just two months old. He visited his Kaka-Kaku in Atlanta and celebrated his first Diwali there. We all were eager to see him, hold him, play with him. Our chance came when my sister, Jijaji, and Anay visited India in March 2008. By that time, he could sit. Of course, he could never sit still when we held him. He was up and jumping all the time. He loved doing that.

With a bizarre can't-understand-how-it-passed-so-quickly month, they were back in Seattle. And we were left to our routines.

But as fate would have it, I got a chance to visit my sister in Seattle for eight days. Those were beautiful days. Lovely weather and a lovely place to be in. Seattle is really beautiful. I liked it better than California.

There I played with Anay, had nice talks with my sister, went sight-seeing, and had an awesome time. All days in Seattle, the time I spent with my sister, as well as a beautiful evening with a friend are etched in my mind forever. But what comes to my mind foremost is the beautiful, angelic face of Anay that I saw everyday first in the morning. The moment my eyes opened, I would see him crawling towards me, with a face as fresh as a daisy, ready to take on the world, with the sweetest smile on his face. Even now as I close my eyes, I can see that cute face in my mind's eye. That's the best start-of-the-day energy booster I have ever had!

I was sad to leave Seattle after 8 blissful days. But with a heart full of my nephew, I came back.

And then, my sister and her family moved back to India this year in March. By the time we saw him again, he had already started talking and walking, ohh actually running! But now, we were to have him with us always. He wouldn't be going back in a month again. And that was a wonderful thing.

He got used to the life in India surprisingly quickly. It was a relief for us that he got adjusted so well. His two grandpas, grandmas, aatya, and mavshi (that's me) were all eager to be around him and play with him. We have been damn lucky to have him around.

And as he grows, everyday we get to hear something new about him. He now speaks almost all words that we ask him to. His pronounciation isn't correct all the time. But it sounds so cute and sweet to hear it from him. He has a nice sing-song way of saying things and we have all started using that. He has developed his own words that have no connection to any language. That's his own language, a trademark. In fact, if he had copyrighted it, we would have had to pay him a heavy cost. Because we all use those words now.

Some of his own words are "dilda," "gugu," and "bajaja." A "dilda" is any writing instrument, be it a crayon, pen, pencil, sketch pen. "Gugu" is anything that moves in a circular motion. It could be a fan, a wheel, or a spinning top. "Bajaja" is his word for "Ajoba," which means Gandpa in Marathi.

My sister told that one fine day he woke up and started saying "Dilda, Dilda." That's how he came up with Dilda. He now knows the words pen, pencil. But he still uses Dilda. And we too use Dilda. Anay's grandpa taught him "gar-gar-gar" - the sound that comes from a fan, and he changed it to "Gugu." We have inherited his words in our vocabulary too when we say, "Someone please switch on the Gugu." or "Pass me that Dilda."
Anay's greatest passions are Gugus and Dildas, in that order. He is always searching for Gugus around him. When he comes with us for shopping, he will look at a building and find a ceiling fan on in someone's house visible through the window. He will see the wheels in motion and keeps on repeating "Gugu, Gugu, Gugu." The other day, we were passing by a flour mill. Just the sound of the mill made him turn around and say "Tikde Gugu." Here's Anay's favourite thing: a car. And it has got Gugus.

Similarly, he has an eye for Dildas. He is overjoyed when he gets to use his grandpa's Dildas. We generally try and not hand him a pen. If he is lucky and finds one, his eyes shine and he grabs it saying, "Aaaaah, Dilda!" Then he needs his diary in which he will draw flowers, trees, balls, and what not. Ohh, and by the way, even a ball does Gugu according to him!

I guess, He whispered to Anay, "Son, let Gugus and Dildas be the mantra of your life!" And of course, you can't disobey His orders!
With his inquisitive nature, he is always up to something. His curiosity and independence have given him a personality of his own. He has his whims and fancies. Yet, he is not a naughty child. In fact, when told not to do a certain thing, he says it aloud, "He karu nahi!" and doesn't do it. He really is a sweet child.
Today is his second birthday and I dedicate this post to him! Happy Birthday Anay! May you get everything that you wish for in life! Bless You!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Not Bad!

So, the weekend was...good! Not bad, I can say. I couldn't complete all my chores on Saturday. But I did cook, and it turned out well. I made vegetable biryani. Apart from being a bit dry, it was quite edible. It could have done with some more salt. But otherwise, it was good.

I also went for a nice car drive to Lonavla. It was fun. We (my friend, her husband, and I) went to Lonavla by the old Mumbai-Pune highway (NH-4). The road is good. Despite a weekend, it was not much crowded. It was raining on the way and we had a really smooth drive. Rain pattering on the windows, and we in the car listening to some beautiful Marathi songs! Aah! That really was great fun!

As planned I couldn't stay at home Sunday evening. I had to go out and do some work. But that was necessary! And I got to meet Nanu. All the more fun!

So, in all, it was not a bad weekend! At least, we had no guests invading our house!

Friday, September 4, 2009

A Dream Of A Day!

A hot, sizzling cup of strong coffee giving an irrestible aroma, a favourite book, rain pattering on the window glass, and you lying in your cozy bed. That's a perfect day, isn't it? Or if you are not into reading, your definition of a perfect day would include an exciting, nerve-gritting football or cricket match in the morning, a lip-smacking lunch in your favourite restaurant, and a peaceful afternoon siesta after the heavy lunch.

Whatever your ideas of a perfect day, I am looking forward to a perfect weekend as well. Coming Saturday, I am going to do some household chores in the morning. I am actually looking forward to completing my tasks for the week ahead. Then I shall be free to enjoy my Saturday evening and Sunday.

Saturday evening, I am planning to cook for my family. And I am not going to spill the beans what I am going to cook right away, so that it is not jinxed. And Sunday I am planning for a nice outing!

Keeping my fingers crossed!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

In Vain I Have Written!

"What are your hobbies?" Has anyone asked you that question? How truthfully do you answer? Can you always point out your hobby?

I can't. My standard answer is "I read books, watch movies, listen to music." I am sure this is the answer that everyone has given at least once without exception. I mean, c'mon, you don't go on telling people that what you like best is doing twisted things like ringing someone's bell on a quiet Sunday afternoon and running off, throwing water balloons from behind walls, or even throwing stones at stray dogs.

I always wonder, should hobby be something that you like to do always, or when you find time out of your usual routine? Let's say your hobby is watching movies. Of course, you can't watch movies because you have got to work. But if tomorrow your boss tells you that you don't need to worry about your job and pay and you can continue watching movies, you will do it without a backward glance. Naturally, you will wonder if your boss has gone temporarily mad but will make haste to take advantage of his madness. Unless you hate movies, you will certainly grab this opportunity. So my question pops up again, would watching movies really be your hobby?

So what really is a hobby? defines 'hobby' as "an activity or interest pursued for pleasure or relaxation and not as a main occupation." Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary has a similar definition: a pursuit outside one's regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation.

How many of us do something in particular everyday when our work is over for the day? Do you go back home after a very tiring day and take up your hobby? Inspite of being dead tired, do you make it a point to read a few pages, write some lines, or paint, or draw? After having a troublesome day at work, do you look forward to taking out time to go cycling, or playing the piano, or anything that helps you not only relax but also gives you immense satisfaction?

I say this so many times that I love cycling. But do I take out some time for that? Not at all. And what are my reasons? That I come home late, sleep late, and eventually get up late. And why do I come home late? Because I have late night meetings. But do I take efforts to work out a schedule that will give me some time to pursue my "hobby"? Nope! Shame on me!

I guess your hobby is not just a means to provide you relaxation. It is a way to rediscover yourself. To be with yourself and to know yourself better.

And despite writing all this, I won't budge and do something about my hobby! "In vain I have struggled!" Or rather, "In vain I have written!"

Anything, Something, Nothing

Since a long time, I have thought of a lot of topics to write about when I start my blog. But now that I have actually started my blog, I can't gather my thoughts to write something that would make sense. So, how does one write something that is not stupid enough?

For everyone to read, it should at least be of some common interest. And I am not talking about stuff that is highly specialised in a particular subject, such as politics, films, human behaviour, animals, or anything. How do you write about nothing but still make it immensely interesting? Is there a set template that will help me do that?

When I say nothing, does it mean anything? What is nothing when I am already writing about something? There wouldn't be nothing if I was not writing about something. But then, I am hardly writing about anything.

It's like this: when we represent nothing with a zero, we are still representing something with a zero. A zero represents that thing that is not anything. So, it is nothing. But we have to represent even nothing with something. So, it cannot be nothing. Eventually, there cannot be nothing that is nothing. Can you imagine the universe being nothing at any point? So, there can never be nothing. So there's always been something and we always have something to talk about. What a great discovery!

Have I written anything that makes sense? Nothing, I suppose!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

My Very First

My first blog! Can't think what I really want to write. But no worries. I'll come back to it! Cheers!