Sunday, February 15, 2015

Don't call me, sunshine...

Don't call me, sunshine,
I have chores to do;
We're near, though apart,
And my heart is with you.

Don't tempt me, bright day,
I can't come to you;
My days are hollow
But I've no time for you.

Don't prod me, rain clouds,
When I try to forget;
I can see you there,
And I'll catch you yet.

Don't seek me, cool wind,
I'm out of your reach;
I yearn your caress,
I long for your touch.

Don't lure me, blue sky,
I've no time for regret;
Your vastness, your freedom,
The colours you spread.

Don't smile at me, moon,
I know what you think;
You and I, we're destined
To live on the brink.

Don't miss me, my friends,
Our dreams seem futile;
Don't wait up for me,
It'll take me a while.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Washing machines have feelings too.

Did you know? I sure didn't. I wonder why I didn't notice it all these years. We completely miss the obvious things hanging right before our eyes, don't we?

From the machine point of view, the blog I posted on laundry was callous and insensitive and inhuman. For an appliance that has served faithfully for close to twelve years and was like a member of the family (despite being left out in the sun and rain all day and night), that must have been a little too much.

I must confess that I had not been kind to it all these years. Thankful for its services and even polite at times, but not exactly affectionate or kind.

The blog was the final straw. I was making an attempt at being a little funny and philosophical and introspective, but if we look at it through the machine's eyes, the laundry bag got all the credit; the machine got but a small mention. So thoughtless of me.

No wonder, one week later, it ground to a halt. Protest. Strike. Bandh. Inquilab-! No amount of cajoling could make it change its mind. I tried sweet talk, and I tried indifference, I tried anger, and I tried all tactics I normally reserve for my son. None worked.

The thing with these home appliances is that they have the customer care executives on their side. Yes, I don't know how many calls I had to make and beg and plead and threaten and frighten and everything to try to make the technician come to take a look at my problem. The technician, I understand, feels the machine's pain. In all its intensity. They are a team - like Krishna and Arjun, perhaps. One giving the other courage. For, today, ten days after I lodged a complaint, apart from two phone calls from two guys who expressed concern as though my laundry pile was keeping them awake at night, nothing has happened. (Their phone calls were not spontaneous, they were the result of my continuous nagging of the call centre people and their supervisor.)

My washing machine is headed towards its longest break ever. The tech guys, if I repent enough and apologize thoroughly enough, may come in sometime next week, and take the thingy to the hospital. (Who knows how many phone calls from my side it's going to take before they turn up at my door.) And then, they tell me, they may have to replace some part, and it is going to cost much.

Long, long days of pain ahead.

Between the words of the tech-guy-on-phone, I pretty much heard these: 'Lady, you asked for it! Now learn a lesson.'

Punishment enough for a blog, I hope. I repent! I repent!

Meanwhile, a couple of days ago, this person caught up with me on Twitter. What, has the entire country heard of my laundry troubles??

Don't say I didn't warn you. Make sure you take good care of your appliances and let them know you care. If washing machines have such feelings, who knows what pains your fridge might be harbouring? Or your iron box?
Or - God forbid! - your television?

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Her Life is Passing, too.

You walk out the door, knowing fully well
She'll be home when you're back.

You waste no time on Thank Yous, Sorrys,
But you spot the stains she missed.

You walk in, walk out, you don't see
No time she has for herself.

She's wound tight, is it her fault?
She worries of you, day n' night.

Mother is tired, she needs rest,
She's been toiling while you were gone.

Her life is passing, did you know,
She too won't get back lost time.

Locked in the endless circle of life
She battles each passing day.

She tries to ensure you get no blame;
But, do you try to do the same?

Does she fall behind in chores,
Do you see her race against time?

Do you say, It's okay to be tired? Or
Offer a shoulder to rest her head?

Do you see what she's become, confined to her life?
Do you at all see what she's giving up?

Your life goes on, you waste no while,
Do you heed her cries for help?

She crams 48 hours into her twenty-four
To be as close to perfect as she can.

Mother's had a long day; for once, see her needs:
Learn to say a kind word, offer her some peace.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Here's looking at you, bag.

People who know me would be aware that I am in a constant race against my laundry bag(s). The concept of the laundry bag, incorrigible and sophisticated as it is, was not familiar to me until a decade ago; those days, clothes did not know how to pile up so much. Or else, they were someone else's problem.

As a wife and mother and house-maintainer, I am conscious of the goings-on in the different laundry bags around the house. They have a way of attracting clothes to them when I am not looking. Just when I think I have half-emptied one, it shows me that it is half-full. And when I think I have finished washing, the washed pile sits there, waiting to be folded.

And if, on an exceptionally busy or sick or otherwise-engaged week, I fail to track their status, they fill, overflow and the family is left without good socks, good shirts or even bedsheets.

You would wonder what the big deal is, when the entire washing is done by a machine which works tirelessly without complaining, every single day. But I would gently point out to you that even those with a dish-washer in the house find it tiresome to pile up the dishes into it. Every effort, however minuscule, is an effort. When everything becomes machine, we find joy in whining about the tiniest exertion.

As time passes, I realise painfully that this is not a task that is ever going to end; of all the projects I have undertaken in life (and career), this is one of those assignments that come under the title of “ongoing support” which translates to “NEVER-ending” work. However much you work on them, however well you meet your deadlines, however brilliantly you manage your time, however appreciable you consider your results, tomorrow the bag is going to be full again. That part of your life becomes a constant, whirring Pile-Wash-Fold-Reload cycle.

In that endless race, I find that my laundry bag and I are equals trying to inch forward towards the chequered flag that does not even exist. I might fall by the wayside, but the darn laundry bag would continue to go on.

And on a grey, dreary day, I wonder what I would do if it were not for this laundry bag and its annoying desire to keep me engaged.

Here’s to my laundry bag. And to our everlasting friendship, rivalry, race, love.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The ten-year-old

The ten year old was unusually quiet during dinner that Dad had to ask. Ten-year-olds, especially those like her, did not sit quiet during dinner until they were yelled at.
“Anything exciting happen today?” he asked.
“No,” she said, thoughtfully examining a piece of roti before allowing it to vanish in her mouth.
“Tell me about your day.”
She paused for a long time and said, “It was as usual.”
“All the actors and extras behave themselves?” he tried to prod her. She nodded.
This was curious – it was evident that something was occupying her mind, but she was not willing to share it with him. For as long as he could remember, there was nothing she did not share the moment it happened, in excruciating detail. His little girl was growing older, and learning to keep secrets. In a few years, she would be so good at it that he’d not even notice she was concealing something. He rambled on for a while about other matters, about his work and about the people he met, pretending not to notice her silence. It was at bed time that she finally decided to disclose her thoughts. He was sitting by her side with an unopened story-book.
“I saw a child while we were shooting,” she said. “This girl was peeking out from between the crowd while I was saying my lines. I almost forgot a couple of words when I saw her. She had the largest eyes I have seen, and she was staring at me as if I were some… some…”
“Well, you are a celebrity,” said the Dad, trying not to let his pride show. 
“We had to take that shot five times before I got it right, I was so shaken by the apparition,” she continued as if he had not said anything. She had a way of gesturing and raising her eyebrows while she spoke and using words too big for her that reminded him dreadfully of the characters she played in her movies. “Anyway, after it was done, I looked around and did not see her. I was just asking Geeta for a juice-”
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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Off you go, Decembah

Blogspot tells me that this is my 700th post. And also that today brings to end six years of my blogging life. What had begun as a secret pastime and became a survival kit when the going got real tough, is now as part of me, as the cliché goes, as is breathing. And as in the case of breathing, I do not do it for others, I do it for myself.

Blogging etiquette dictates that on the last day (or week) of the year, we post a retrospective report on the ups and downs of the year, with adequate emphasis on the lessons learned and with the right phrases about abundant hope and optimism for the future. We like to believe that any random reader might benefit from our mistakes. Yes, we do think too highly of ourselves. As a dedicated blogger, I did what was expected of me all these years.

2009: Year End... Recall. Or not?
2010: Shifting Priorities
2011: Not-a-year-end Blog 
2012: To 2013. And Beyond!
2013: Where's that Year again?

What December 31 can do, a string of birthdays cannot - it brings right before our eyes the appalling truth that our present is fast fading into our past, that one more year of our life is now history. That we are hurtling towards the end of the ride and we have no clue how much farther we have to go. I do not panic when I think of a birthday, but I do, when it comes to this very important day. I try to hold on to it as though it is a precious gift I am about to lose. Who knows if I will get to see it again? Paranoid. I know.

The summary of this year is: I learnt, painfully, that saying No is not always a great idea. It is a great theory to perpetuate (and I will continue to bore others to death about it), but not always good to practice, for the sake of one's own sanity and self-respect and other things I would rather not mention. The things that we say No to, might turn out to be that Opportunity in disguise we have always been warned about.

I look forward to the sunrise that should soon appear outside my window, and though my knees are knocking against each other, I demand, "What have you got to show for yourself, 2015?"

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Holidays

Thank God for dull, boring days-
the age-old shows, the meaningless films
the familiar sunset and sunrise
the white, blue and black skies
the glinting stars that rise and set
the dust, the wind, the cars, the books,
the trees that grow, the ones that fall
the weeds that don't learn to give up
the flowers, the seeds, the plants, the land;
the same old window, the same old sights,
The routine sounds, accustomed smells,
The things that pass for holidays...

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Honesty Conundrum


"It's past your bed time. Go to sleep."
"Why should I sleep now?"

"Because you're nine years old and you should sleep on time."
"Why aren't you sleeping now?"

"I have some job to do."
"Please do it tomorrow."

"You know I was watching that movie for two hours when I should have been working. So now I have to sit up late and finish those two hours worth of work. That's my punishment for being lazy."


"Please don't keep changing your shorts every hour. The laundry bag is overflowing. I can't keep up."
"That's because you're lazy and you watch movies and you don't do your job on time."

Yes, friends, I told you so. You can be honest with some people at some time or the other, but not with all the people all the time.