Saturday, July 31, 2010

Figuring it out!!

I have been full figured almost all my life-too full!! For a long time I had no idea why I couldn't look slim like all my other friends. I started relying on fad diets very early on - because I felt a quick fix was what I needed. My parents enrolled me for badminton and karate classes when I was in school, but somehow the weight just wouldn't come off. I actually felt invisible on many occasions, when people would just look past me as though being fat also made me invisible. On one occasion I heard one of the boys in my school call me a Road Roller...that's when I learnt to laugh at these jokes. Self-depreciating humour has always been one of my specialities since then. I also become an extrovert - became loud and a bit flamboyant, just to make sure no one would take advantage of the introvert I really was. The more troubled I felt, the louder and aggressive I became. All the while the shy person inside me was slowly retreating into a shell.

One of the basic flaws of self-depreciating humour is that somewhere along the way, you even begin to kid yourself into believing that barbs don't hurt anymore. You listen to random people coming up to you and giving you tips on how to lose weight and how much it will benefit you, people talking about how your weight affects you looks, makes you look older and crack fat jokes around you, you kind of tune off and a kind of numbness sets in. My cure for numbness - Ice cream! So it was more like a vicious cycle. Sadly, in all these taunts, barbed, veiled comments I never saw the motivation to lose weight and show these "well-wishers" that I can do it too. Had my moments where I would work out like crazy and eat well and lost tons of weight, but soon enough they would come back on again.

Then I think God took pity on me and decided to give my condition a proper medical name - PCOD!! Hurray!! Now I could tell these people exactly why I was how I was and if I said it the right way, could even make it sound like a grave debilitating illness. Now I would  have the last laugh...until I used this on my aunt. She looked at me sternly and said - L, this isn't a disease. It is a condition - a condition you have the power to control. So stop acting like you have 3 days to live and go do something about it...and while we are on the topic, if you feel bad when people talk about your weight, TELL THEM. They will stop. It is only when you laugh along that people think we can handle it. If you put yourself down, so will others. Do you understand? Properly chastised I decided to do something about my attitude before I did something about my weight. See how my lazy body comes up with ways to avoid working out.

Am still working on my attitude, but have also started working on my body. Years of pseudo-extrovertism is difficult to shed off and letting that shy, quiet person inside me to get the courage to see the light of day is still a work in progress.

Friday, July 16, 2010

On your mark...get set....GOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

Picture this scenario - A room with 2 doors... 2 very small doors and a sea of humanity pushing and shoving to get through get at the food that is being served in this room. Old, young, men, women, children alike trying desperately to get in and willing to physically hurt anyone who tries to get between them and the food.

If you pictured this scenario in your head...think of what clothes these people are wearing, where this place could be...for anyone who guessed it is probably some relief camp of sorts and these people are in basic worn out clothes, try again....All those who guessed it to be a gathering of people dressed in their finest, the venue to be a wedding hall in Kerala and these were guests rushing to have the wedding lunch then give yourself a pat on the back. Welcome to the wedding lunch stampede.

The scenario I mentioned is what I have seen at every wedding I have attended - venue, class, caste no bar (Disclaimer - Have only been to a couple of Hindu weddings and 1 Christian wedding, so can only talk about them). Now these people aren't gate-crashers, free-loaders or college students out for a free meal. They are invited guests at the wedding, who know that even if this mad race to the plate isn't won, they will still get served.  These are people who probably make the same meal that is being served at the wedding in their house on a  daily basis - yet the sight of the laid out banana leaf spread or the laden plate causes a hysteria among them.

It's amusing to watch how when people assemble to in the wedding hall, many of them pick seats near the door - easy to rush to the exit (I bet no one thought going to the wedding required such strategic planning). The preparation for the race starts from the moment the bride and groom settle on the stage - ready to tie the knot. The minute the knot is tied...there is rustle of anticipation among the crowd - On your mark....the women look around for their children and grab their handbags, the men put on their shoes or chappals and ready themselves, the elderly look around for someone who will escort them out; Get set...The knot has been tied and the bride and groom start their 1st of the obligatory 3 rounds; Go Go Go...The minute (OK I exxagerate - some have it perfected to a nano-second) the bride and groom settle back down, there is a rumbling sound and when the dust settles only the couple's immediate family and the slow starters are left in the hall. All this to have a free lunch and criticise it later

Monday, July 12, 2010

My Haunted Laptop

Was sitting in front of my laptop one hot Sunday afternoon, looking at the blank word document trying to put into words the random thoughts in my head. My son was fast asleep and G was so engrossed in the making of his PPT that he wouldn't even realise it if someone kidnapped me (although on second thoughts, he might lock the door after them to make sure they can't change their mind!) - but I digress. All of a sudden, the screen saver vanishes and the words - Hi...What are you doing? pop up on my screen...ON MY MS WORD!!!! For a minute I am confused and wonder if this is a new chat screen or something, but realise that my messenger is not on. Before my imagination goes wild, I just close the screen and open a new document and suppress the odd feeling in the pit of my stomach. Then it happens again - Are you trying to ignore me L? the message asks. My palms start to feel sweaty and the hair on the back of my neck stands up. I quickly shut down the computer and walk into the kitchen. After many gulps of cold water, I wash my face and walk back to the laptop. I switch it back on and decide not to open MS word this time, but the minute the computer is on and loaded, Google homepage opens and in the search bar appear the words - Why did you do that? How can you shut me off when I'm talking to you? Don't make me angry. I jump out of the chair and in a soft voice called out to G- Can you come and look at my doesn't seem right. G cocks his head to one side, eyes still glued to his screen and asks in a slightly distracted voice - What is it? What's wrong? Some strange things are coming up on the screen - I say, my eyes glued to the screen. more cartoons. Haven't I told you those sites are risky. I am sure it's a virus. Another google screen opens and in the search box comes the message -No one can help you. Now I am mad at G and the errr...ghost?.  Don't sermonise me now...come and see what's happening. As I am shouting at G, the search bar types out a new message - Don't call him...Don't make me hurt him. Before I fully comprehend what that means, G makes a move to get up from his chair...then frowns at his screen and says How did that happen? What? - I ask not really paying attention. I somehow deleted the whole presentation that I've been making all weekend. How did I do that? - G sits back, looking very worried. WHAT - I shriek, and close the laptop and jump to unplug it. Tears are running down my face now and I am huddled on the couch really freaked out. Every ghost story I've read or heard pop up in my mind. Seeing my reaction G slowly walks over to me, sits down and asks - Why are you crying? As I blubber my way through my explanation, G stops me and says  - Look at this and walks over to his laptop and emerges cheekily with a wireless keyboard and mouse in hand...the source of my ghost!!!

And that's why I killed him, your honor...I say in my head.

Friday, July 9, 2010

My Hero...My Dad

I am jolted awake by the irritable buzzing of the cell phone. My hubby jumps up and tries to silence it before it wakes our son. I turn over, still groggy, when hubby pushes the phone in my face and says-It’s your mum!! I am instantly awake. The trained world-clock in me knows that it is an unholy hour in SA now and this call is the bearer of bad news. With the resonance of my blood rushing in my ears, I compose my voice and ask casually-What’s up Ma? Why aren’t you asleep? There is split second of silence at the other end, before my mum replies – Dad’s not well. Had chest pain last night and is in the hospital now. My mind is racing as I push back the covers and try to get a grip – Is he OK? Was it a … I can’t even bring myself to say it. Yes says she It was a heart attack…but he’s ok now. Don’t worry. I just felt lost in this empty apartment, that’s why I called you. Just wanted to hear your voice. Go back to…I didn’t hear the rest as I passed the phone to my hubby and burst into tears. There was just one thought running through my mind – I don’t know how to live without my dad and I don’t want to.

I always feel like a little girl around my dad and have always been glad that I have the sole privilege of calling him "Dad". When my son came along, my jealous heart did a quick flutter - What if he loves my son more than me? I have been his most precious possession for 27years...will N take that place? But my dad, being MY DAD, had it all figured out. When dad first came to India after N was born, he made sure he came to me first and gave me my usual chocolate and sat down to hear all about ME before he even looked at N. My sane mind knew that he was itching to hold his grandson, but he knew that I would have been heart-broken if he went to N first. Many a night I have woken to the sight of my dad rocking my son in his cradle with one hand and reading a book with the other, totally chilled out, even though it was 3 in the morning and he knew N would wake the minute the rocking stopped.

My dad's a simple man...and ordinary man, who always leads by example. Although I always fell short of his expectations, he never let me feel inferior. My utter and absolute devotion towards my dad has irked my mum on more than one occasion, but Ma let me tell you a little secret. You have no idea that every time we fight, he calls me up and asks me not to upset  you; reminds me discreetly about your upcoming b'day and well...I'll let him tell you the rest. What can I say...He's the first man in my life, my first Valentine, my Hero...I constantly feel that I can never truly express my love for him and this post doesn't even begin to describe the depth of my feeling for him or the influence he has in my life. How do you describe a love so strong and powerful, that words seem hollow and empty to comprehend its intensity. My only real grievance is that he never gave me the slightest indication that he was made of a special mold and I would never in my life encounter another man like him.

3years later my dad is as fit as a fiddle (God Bless) and our lives are all the more richer for it. My dad's a simple ordinary man who, in my opinion, no man can ever hold a candle to....My blessing from God...My dad...I would be so lost without you!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Anecdotes from Singapore-2

Anecdotes contd....(these are slightly R rated.)

4. Electronic sale on in Singapore. That's when the secret shopaholic in my husband awakens. He is like a bull in a china shop kid in a candy store- he wants everything that he sees. Everything around him fades into oblivion when he approaches a sale. Although during the 1st year of marriage,this Shopaholic Mr Hyde in action shocked me, I got used to it as it was only a fleeting spilt-personality appearance. Last year on one such rampage after having bought way too much, he stopped for a fleeting second and probably thought he was being too selfish. So he looked at me and said - Why don't you pick up something. There are so many nice things around. I smiled and told him to carry on and get it out of his system so that we could go home. But he persisted and his eyes landed on an epilator. The sales man handed it to him and went to check on some other customers. It was a very fine looking Philips epilator and as I was looking at it, my hubby asked - What are those different shapes in the box? I explained that they were stencils and are used to give designs while shaving, hoping he understood what I was talking about. He immediately takes one out, puts it on my hand and asks- Who has such thick hair on their hands and legs to make designs and why do people want to make heart shapes on their hands and legs? I noticed the sales man slowing coming towards us, so I immediately took the stencil out of DH's hands and dragged him away. He looked a suitable shade of red when I told him what the stencils were for. Later on my gal friends and I had a good laugh over this incident.

5. Scene 1 - Shopping Mall
Out shopping with my son at a local supermarket. Was looking for some cough syrup while my son sat in the trolley reading a Playhouse Disney magazine. Hearing a noise behind us, both of us turned around and saw that it was a man who had dropped a few boxes of condoms on the floor. My son imm perks up and says - Oh uncle, you dropped some boxes. The poor man looked too embarrassed to even look up, so I grabbed the cough syrup and pushed the trolley away. As we were moving away Nikhil asks - Mummy, what is that box uncle dropped? For some odd reason I told him in a matter of fact voice - Those are condoms. Somehow that seemed to satisfy him and I thought that was the end of that.
Cut to Scene 2 -Cab ride on the way back home
While I was loading up the cab with the groceries, I could hear Nikhil engaging in his own kind of tête-à-tête with the cabbie. By the time I got into the cab, the driver and my son had become fast friends and the cabbie extended his friendship towards me as well. After having heard his opinion about everything from govt to traffic problems to cost of food and rent in a matter of a mins; I was trying to nod politely to everything when he asked - So how much do you pay for your condo?...and my sonny dear pipes up - What's a condom mummy? If I had been hoping for something to shut the driver up, then this was it.  Maybe in his mind he was trying to think whether he said the word and the rest of the journey was spent in absolute silence from his side. I quietly told Nikhil that a condom is that place that we live in and is short for Condominium...Ofcourse he knew that wasn't right and told me that uncle didn't drop our house...luckily we reached home by then and Nikhil got engrossed in paying for the ride and making sure I got all the things out of the trunk. Now waiting for the day when his doubt will re-surface and I know for sure it will be in a very public place.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Battle of the sexes

‘E’ walked into the room, hesitantly. She wasn’t sure of her new environment. It seemed intimidating and a bit scary. She looked around hoping someone would catch her eye, but none seemed to notice her there. Everyone sat in groups and she felt she wouldn’t fit in. She noticed a boy sitting by himself, reading a book. She approached him tentatively and sat down beside him. He seemed not to see her, but she felt better in his company. As days passed, she made new friends, but spent most of her time by the side of the boy she knew as ‘N’ – who still seemed to be unaware of her existence.

Every morning she would eagerly wait for his arrival. Her eyes would light up when he walked in and she would leave everything, just to wish him. On some days she would touch him lightly on his hand or break into a beautiful smile, but without even acknowledging her, he would walk away. Undeterred she continued to lavish all her attention on him. She made it a practice to be by the door when he left for the day and made sure he never left anything behind. His seemingly impolite and distant attitude didn’t faze her.
A few months later, on her birthday she waited impatiently for him to arrive. She was dressed in her finest and wanted him to notice her; wanted him to wish her. As soon as he walked in, she walked up to him and said quietly – It’s my B’day today. How do I look? He looked her up and down and walked right into the room, mumbling something. Those around her, who knew the occasion, wished her, but it just wasn’t the same. She was heart-broken. She had had enough. That day when he left for the day, she didn’t even look up from her work. She had other friends…she didn’t need him!!

The next day when N walked in, he knew something was different…he just didn’t know what it was. N felt lonely at lunch and realized that E used to give him company every day. As days passed he missed her constant chatter, missed her fond greetings and goodbyes. He realized he felt “sad” at the loss. The next morning when he walked into the room, he zoned in on E and walked right up to her and wished her “good morning”. She looked up…but continued to give N the cold shoulder. All day, he spent as much time as possible by her side, sometimes just sitting beside her, but trying to make his presence felt. As he got up to leave for the day, he made sure to wave “goodbye”. Suddenly E felt that all was right with the world again…just as he was about to leave, E ran up to him, gave N a big hug and kiss and N hugged right back. She stood, waving; till his stroller disappeared out the school gate…she couldn’t wait to see him again tomorrow.

In her own way, 3year old E had learnt a life lesson. The only way to get a man’s attention is to ignore him…

Being a mummy

Full time Mummy!!