Tuesday, April 28, 2009

No Matter What!

I said that when I left my sick mother home to run errands. It was a few weeks before my brother got married and we had so much to do. With both my brothers living abroad and with a sick amma at hand everything fell upon me and my BFF's to get the marriage thing on the way as planned.

I was heading out and asked amma if she needed anything from anywhere and amma asked me if I could pick some Gulab Jamun's for her as she felt like eating them. I told her "sure, of course."

I got around half the city picking things here and dropping things there and it was already 7.30pm. I remembered about the Gulab Jamuns and I told myself, "No matter what, I will pick up some jamuns for amma." And just then I saw a sweet shop at the intersection of Anna Nagar Main Road and Chintamani (I think that area is/was called Trinity). I parked quickly, got out of the car and picked up some G.Jamun's and also some other chakna for dad and I was walking out.

I saw a white Maruthi 800 getting hitched to a tow truck. I thought to myself, poor idiot, someone's car is going to the pound and my eyes slowly drifted to the license plate. It took me a second to realize that it was MY car! I ran down the steps fast and saw a cop sitting at the passenger side of the tow truck. I went up to him and told him, "Sir, that is my car."

"Good, now that you are here pay the challan and take your car. Will save me time too," was his response.

"But sir, I parked there only for two minutes."

"Yup. But you parked in a no parking area."

"But for two minutes."

"You are educated?"

"Of course."

"Then read that board."

"Oh damn. I could not see that from where I parked."

"Of course you drove past it and chose to ignore to read the board."

"Fine. I am sorry. What can I do?"

"Challan. Pay it. Rs. 300."

"What? that is way expensive. I went into buy sweets, not gold. I don't carry that kind of cash on me." 

"So tell me, what does your father do."



"Nope, he owns a small business. He is a consultant."

"Good. Nothing in the government. Do you know anyone?"

"Ya I do, but it is too late for me to disturb them to get my car. You know?"

"Ok how much do you have?"

"Rs. 100."

"Give that to me."

"Then what will I get petrol for my car with? How will I go home?"

"That is not my problem right?"

"No. But you are bargaining with a girl for money sir?"

"Well, then pay the challan. We know to do things the right way too you know?"

"Gosh. Can I give you Rs. 50?"

"Ok fine."

"Thanks and please let go of my car gently. It is the only thing I got."

"You girls know how to drive a bargain." He said as the car was gently placed back on the ground and I waited before saying...

"Well, if we do not then how can we escape from people like you." He stared with an open mouth and I smiled at him while walking away.

This cop was a young guy and so I could talk back like this and he took it in good spirits...but imagine if I had to deal with one of those big bellied bullies...

Of course darlings, if you know Tamil it will be better because this whole conversation took place in part Tamil and English and people from Chennai can completely relate to it because I am assuming things have not changed and if you own a car or a bike, you would have definitely had a similar experience. Write them down.

And yes, hence then I think twice before saying, "NO MATTER WHAT...!!!"

Monday, April 27, 2009

What am I?

So I was walking back into our office building. There was a Desi gentleman who might have been more than 50 walking near the entrance. He stopped me and asked me if I was from India. I said yes. And bang, the next question came to me in Telugu, "Which part of Andhra? Hyderabad?"

And I was responded back in Telugu saying, "Nope, but a Telugu from Chennai."

We spoke a few moments, now he knows my lineage and all that and then I said bye. That got me thinking. Do I look Telugu today that this gentleman switched over to Telugu without even knowing if I was one?

Because yesterday I was at Gurudwara in my salwar suit and head covered and all that and was sitting outside the shrine waiting for G to come back from praying when an Old lady sitting beside me started talking in Punjabi. I understood the key words and responded back to her in Hindi. Then she asked me which Jilla I was from. I told her from Bombay, just to avoid confusion. But the old lady did not get it that I was not Punjabi and she continued to chatter away in Punjabi commenting she knew I was not from Punjab because of my accent. And I was left to wonder, do I sound Punjabi? Do I look like one without bindi and my head covered?

So yesterday was my day to look Punjabi and today is my day to look Golt...what is in store for tomorrow...God only knows...

The Golti ART

Friday, April 24, 2009


Yesterday I took my daughter to watch her daddy play raquet ball at a friend's apartment. There were three friends who were playing doubles with G and as I walked in with Babs the four of them got out of the court to meet Babs. They were seeing her after a very long time and were very enthu but Babs promptly hid behind my thunder thighs which of course can protect two other babies if needed and shelter ppl from rain too...errr....

Anyways so one of my friends M got down on his knees and was trying to gets Babs away from my thigh when he said, "these must be old jeans."

I looked aghast and did not know what to say when he continued, "at least three or four."

I looked at G and he looked back at me and then asked him, "what are you saying."

M replied, "I mean look at her, the color of her hair, does not look like either of yours, she must have gotten her GENES from three or four generations ago." Babs hair color is dirty blonde. Ya don't ask me how and yes G is the father :) and I stick with that story :)

I breathed a sigh of relief. I really thought he was talking about the jeans I was wearing. Of course they are three years old and they are one of the few pairs I own and I was totally embarrassed for the few seconds not knowing what to . 

Then when I told G about it, he told me that even he was wondering why M was talking about my jeans until he finished the conversation...and then he added, "I would not be surprised if M had actually noticed that your jeans were old, he has a strong girly side." I could not stop laughing!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

What nots...

I should really start writing more often. I gain tempo and then things change and I loose momentum again. I should get a grip on the way I post things...I should probably do a Friday post every week before I sign off. Anyway, let me plan at getting everything organized.

I should also start twittering more. I really have these thoughts that I want to put out there so that they are not rotting inside me. The minute I start feeling something I should say it out, else it boils in my head and it only gets worse...anyways, twitter here I come.

One thing about Twitter, I should have a say on who is following me. I think. There are some people about whom I would care less and definitely not want them to know what I am upto and what is really on my mind. I wish I could moderate it when they ask me to permit them rather than going back and deleting them off. Something like facebook or orkut.

Anyway, not a lot happening in life either to write about. Allergies are killing me, because it is that time of the year yet again. As much as I am eagerly waiting for spring to go and summer to come, I am also afraid of the 100+ temps we will be hitting soon. I think I should just move to a place where the weather will be consistent. Not too cold or not too hot, just perfect so that me and my kiddo can go out and play in the warm sun and relax in the shades of our house...

Right now, everytime she asks for me to take her out, all I reminded of is the dreaded pollen lurking outside. Already all three of us are congested that we cannot breathe normally and I just dont want it to get worse. But my little one brings her stroller to me, sits on it and then tells me, "amma Ba..." Ba for bahar as in outside. And I feel really bad to tell her, "No jaanu, it is very bad outside."

Anyway, daughter is speaking a lot, can call out people's name, including ours, can talk a lot, some of which we understand and most of which she is frustrated that we do not understand. But we are communicating at a better level than her crying and me wondering "Now what?!!"

She also runs errands for us. Like G asks her to go and get her the remote, then my little soldier gets on the mission very seriously, looking and hunting down the remote till she finds it and hands it to her father. By chance I am holding the remote then she comes up to me and demands, "gimme Remo papa." Which loosely translates to "Give me the remote papa needs it.

Her father's face brings the biggest smile on her face. I always feel bad that she loves him more than she does me, but then on the one odd day that I drop her off at the baby sitters, she cries and clings to me. As much as I feel bad about it, it restores my feeling that Babs really loves both of us and equally. The reason I say so is due to the fact that Babs never cries when G drops her off :) Score Amma...

Each and every day my love for her doubles. I can now see why parents are so proud of their offsprings. The first time she told me "I Wuuv U," I was overwhlemed with emotion. I ran to tell it to G and made the essential phone calls and also bugged all my friends about that story. And also the first time she put her jigsaw puzzle together I was so proud. I am so happy to see her grow and once again my only fear is that I should raise her right, for which of course we have to wait for the future to see...

Anyways, when I started writing this post I did not think of making it a Amma Anu Post. But now it has become one. So to write other non-Amma stuff I will pen down a new post soon.

'Till then

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Blood Is Thicker Than Water

I had gone to Hyderabad in 1990 with dad to meet his maternal uncle (grandpa in relation to me) who was already very old by then. Dad was there on business and I tagged along with him. I was meeting this side of his family for the first time. I was very shy and did not speak much to anyone but my grandpa. 

The second time I visited I was more eager to meet everyone including a few cousins with whom I am not in touch with now. The minute I saw grandpa, I ran into his arms and hugged him. Grandpa held me tight and told my dad, "Look here Thara, blood is thicker than water." I looked up and asked him, what he meant by it. And he explained it to me...

I never got to meet him after that but I will always remember him and carry that sentence in my heart forever. As I have mentioned earlier ours is a nuclear family. We have boatloads of relatives but we only keep in touch with a few of them.

I heard of my father's older brother, my uncle, only in stories that my father told about their little adventures when they grew up in Bangalore. Dad told me how my uncle raised him and helped my father out when my grandfather passed away at a young age. My father always told me that his older brother and sister had helped him a lot in his life. Although we met his older sister every summer when we went to Chennai, I had not met his brother and his family till late 90's.

His brother had lived mostly in the north and somehow we had never had the opportunity to meet each other until he came to Chennai to carry out the funeral rites for their mother. And then he came down again for my wedding in 2005. He had grown old. Somehow I could not see the brave man that my dad had spoken of, the dare devil who did so many amazing stuff from the stories of my dad's childhood. But of course by now he was in his late 70's already. My uncle or Pedanaana as I called him. 

How I wish I had sat down with him and spoken about their childhood stories. How I wish I could have known him better. How I regret that I did not spend time with him...And all these emotions doubled up yesterday when I received the news about his passing away. I was shocked but I assumed that my father will be able to be more practical and support me. I passed on the information and hung up the phone.

On the way back home in the evening, I called dad again and started talking and told him how I had cried like a baby when I had gone home during lunch. How talking to my cousins was so difficult for me. I told my dad that he has to sit down with me and tell me one day all the stories again so that I can write them down somewhere for Babs to hear them from me. To which my dad told me, "not today, I might cry."

That sentence shocked me. I had cried for an uncle I had barely known. My father cried for a brother with whom he had only spent the first 20 plus years of his life and spent the better half meeting him only as often as I had. And then again I remembered how "blood is thicker than water." It all made sense. After all the same blood runs in all our body...

I might not have known my uncle at all, but I know my father, I know that my father is what he is today because of my uncle's influence on him. I could sympathize with my cousins beacause I could empathize with them. I have two brothers and loosing either of them is out of question for me. No matter how out-of-touch I get with them. 

I feel for my father, I feel for my uncle's family, I feel for my father's other siblings. I hate life when we have to face death.