Monday, December 22, 2008

Some things that make life fun…

I had a stressful day and I was down in the dumps so I decided to write about it. Then I thought it might be better to write about things that make me happy and make life worthwhile so I started to put down a list. By the time I finished writing, all my crankiness was gone and I was smiling. When I started out, I couldn't think of more than a few things but as I kept writing the list kept getting bigger and I realized that this list could go on and on ( Thank GOD for that).

So here is a list of few of the things that make me smile. I hope it brings a smile to your face and if you are motivated to create your own list, share it with me.

· Sharing a joke with friends
· Seeing my son do silly little ‘tricks’ to attract our attention
· Hearing my son sing to himself when he is immersed in a toy or an activity
· Learning Kuchipudi
· Dancing on stage
· Eating Ice-cream in winter
· Winters in Delhi
· Meeting old friends and reliving some of the best moments together
· Loving someone J
· Spending time with good friends
· Enjoying a comedy movie with friends
· Laughing just because you are around people you love
· Looking forward to tomorrow…
· Getting some unexpected money
· Travelling to interesting places
· Listening to favorite songs while driving
· Being a part of an interesting conversation
· Giving up small luxuries to add money to my charity bucket
· Laughing without a reason
· Hearing something good about yourself through the grapevine
· Doing something nice for the people you love
· Bickering with my sisters (even on the phone)
· Deciding what to wear to an ‘important’ occasion
· Finding a good ‘deal’ while shopping
· Being able to be bratty around my parents (even at 30)
· Seeing the one you love happy
Keep Smiling...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Kahani Mein Twist

Kahani mein twist

I am jealous of people who have the ability to plan their lives and then follow through with the plan. As far as I am concerned, the plans I make for my life NEVER work out the way I want to. Don’t get me wrong, I am not dissatisfied with my life, just wondering how people manage to carry out the ‘plans’ they create for their life.

The first plan I remember making for myself was that I would definitely study English literature and the arts and make a career as a journalist or a writer. Well, a year after I made that ‘plan’, there I was taking up sciences as my major after class 10th and studying to be an engineer. I blame that one on outside influences (read Parents). It turned out that the change in plan was actually good for me (or so I like to think).

The second plan I had was not to go outside Delhi for my education. I think the failure of this plan was probably one of the best things that happened to me. I discovered something else I enjoyed other than writing and reading. I actually enjoyed computer programming and 8 years after graduating from college and masters in comp science; I am a fairly successful software professional. (Even though I say so myself)

The third plan I made was not to get married early. Well, if you have read my earlier blog, you would have found out that this one totally blew up in my face (I meant that sentence to be positive). 6 months after I graduated, even before my older sister got married and before I knew what hit me, I was married and on a flight to Dallas!

It seems to me that I don’t really learn from my mistakes. So many twists in my life weren’t enough for me so I made another plan. I wanted to have a baby and I planned for it to be a girl! Well everybody and their grandmother knows that there isn’t much you can do to guarantee the gender of your future child. But true to myself, I made a plan. Guess what, I did have a beautiful baby in December of 2005 (As planned mind you) but it was a boy!!!

As if this wasn’t enough, I make plans everyday. Of starting an exercise routine, of waking up earlier, of eating healthier, of going off rice, getting to work early, taking time to read to Vivek, the list goes on. Well, some of these plans fizzle out even before starting and some stay on for a bit before I make other plans that overtake these. Is anybody else seeing a pattern here? I like to think of it as being ‘flexible’ and I am sticking to that story no matter what comments get left behind for this blog. Either that or I like to see plans fail. I prefer the latter reason.

Whichever one it is, my plans for myself don’t really work out. Is it the irony of life or maybe a higher power’s sense of humor? Whatever it is, I am glad that the ‘planning’ worked out the way it did because right now I like with where I am. And there is another plan forming in my head right now…

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bachpan Ke din bhi kya din the

I have very good memories of my childhood. My parents always gave us the best of everything they could. We were actually pretty spoilt as kids but don’t tell my son I said this. We all like to think of our childhood as the good old days but seriously, is being an adult really all that bad?

When my parents first broached the subject of getting married, I freaked out! I wasn’t ready to be an adult yet. I wanted to enjoy my carefree days for some more time. I didn’t want to lose my independence and I dreaded the idea of having to deal with grumpy in laws. I had been fed on a diet of Hindi movies and television serials where a girl’s life after marriage was anything but fun and I didn’t want that for myself. I was always fiercely independent and valued my ideas and independence very much.

So of course when my parents ‘coaxed’ (read forced) me to speak to my husband-to-be on the phone, I didn’t want anything to do with it. I was very unresponsive and didn’t want to answer any of his questions or ask any of mineJ. In spite of my indifference, he came all the way from Visakhapatnam to Delhi to meet me. One thing led to another and a month later, I was married and on a flight to Dallas. In a matter of 4 weeks I went from being a spoilt brat to a (responsible?) adult. I was excited about being married mostly because he met most of my criteria for a husband (the only one he didn’t fit was being 6 feet tallJ) and I loved my in laws (they weren’t very grumpy you see). Even though I was excited, I was unsure of what it meant to be married and what it meant to be an adult. I remember thinking that it was the end of my life as I knew it. It really was the end of my life as I knew it but it was also the beginning of some of the most memorable years of my life.

The first five years of married life in USA were an ongoing celebration of life. We had a great circle of friends in Dallas. I did things that as a child I didn’t even dream of ever being able to do. We played games almost everyday. After I went to college, I didn’t think I was ever going to ‘play’ anything more strenuous than LUDO. That changed when I moved to Dallas. I learnt to play tag football, Baseball, basketball and volleyball. I had played a little bit of volleyball in school but never to this extent and never with guys who took the competitive spirit to the next level. I hated it when some of the guys would rush past me to ‘save’ the game and return the ball to the other court. I was calm and nice about it at first but eventually I ‘fought’ back :).

We went camping and actually slept in tents under the sky. I had seen images of camping trips like that in movies but never thought I would do it some day. We actually put up our own tents and cooked our own food on a bonfire. We played loud ‘Antakshari’ late into the night and went on a hike the next day. I had been on a camping trip with my school when I was in the 10th grade and I thought that was the last time I had slept in a tent.

I have even learnt how to ski. We would go on ski trips almost every year and one year a group of friends made the trip twice. I learn to ski in TAOS, New Mexico. It is the most amazing feeling ever. I was scared to death while getting off the ski lift and the first time I came down the slope I was sure somebody was going to run into me from behind or I would run into something or somebody but once I got the hang of it, I didn’t want to stop. Never in my life had I ever thought or even wanted to try skiing but I tried it and I loved it.

I enjoyed my experiences during those years but the best part was being able to learn Kuchipudi. I don’t remember when I started dancing but ever since I can remember I had enjoyed dancing and being on the stage. I enjoyed all the attention you see. I had learnt Kathak as a child but had to discontinue it as I got older. Although I didn’t stop dancing (to filmi and folk numbers) I didn’t think I would ever have the inclination or the opportunity to take formal training again. I started learning Kuchipudi seven years back and even after having a kid, I haven’t stopped or even slowed down. In fact I started taking music lessons after I had my kid and I enjoy them immensely. Dance and music have become an integral part of my life; they are the stress relief I badly need sometimes J

We all have our fair share of stress as adults but we were not immune to it even as kids. Remember exams? I was scared to death during exams, mostly because I was too lazy to study. We all had the pressure to do better than everybody else (‘xyz ko tumse zyada marks kaise aaye?’) And it wasn’t restricted to studies either. You would also sometimes hear “How come you came second in the race. Why not first?” “Debate competition mein third kyon aaye? First kyon nahin” ( I guess nobody told our parents about positive reinforcement)

I didn’t consider myself and adult until I got married and so far I have had a good life as an adult. I thought I was too old to learn something new but the last 8 years have taught me that you are never too old, too fat, too big, too small or too anything to try something new. A lot of people talk about the good old days of childhood when we didn’t have a care in the world, didn’t have to worry about work, bills, kids etc. I had a lot of fun as a child but I have found that being an adult is not so bad either.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Chacha Chowdhry

‘Chacha Chowdhry ka Dimaag Computer se bhi tez Chalta hai’

Somebody recently reminded me of our very own homegrown comic book hero.

They were referring to their 'mind' and said their 'mind' was sharper than a computer. I remember making a quick association to ‘Chacha Chowdhury’ because his quick-thinking is compared to the speed of a computer’s CPU.

It was funny to hear somebody use the comparison I grew up reading about in a comic strip, in real life.

It brought back memories of ‘Chacha Chowdhury’ and his bravado in Pran’s comic books. I thoroughly enjoyed reading those comic books as did a lot of my peers.

Chacha Chowdhury : The smart, witty, man from Haryana who isn’t afraid of anything or anybody except his wife. He enjoys eating ‘Panjiri’ which of course his wife goes to great lengths to hide from him and it annoys her immensely to find out that despite her efforts he still gets to it. He is a brilliant man with a lot of common sense and is smarter and sharper than a computer. His helper and friend the giant ‘Sabu’ is not from this planet but from Jupiter. He goes around wearing only his underwear but nobody questions him because of his size J. It is said about Sabu that ‘Jab Sabu ko Gussa Aata hai to Kahin par Jwalamukhi Phat tha hai’. Chachaji’s wife is also part of the plot but she provides the comic relief in a comic strip! He has a dog called ‘Rocket’ because he is very quick in his movements akin to the internal functions of his owner’s brain.

The villains are Raaka, a dangerous criminal which Chachaji help put behind bars and Daaku Gobar Singh along with a few other accomplices whose names escape me.

Those were the days of the 386 and the personal computer was just making an advent into everyday life in India. They were creating quite a ripple and were being touted as the best thing that happened to humanity since the discovery of the wheel. So of course if a human’s brain was sharper than a computer, he/she was not human but super human.

Now in this day of Pentiums and 64 bit processors I don’t know if it still holds true but true Chachaji fans would still agree that ‘Chacha Chodhry ka Dimaag Computer Se bhi tez chalta hai’.

The comic books entertained me and a lot of my peers to no end. We enjoyed our Archies and Tinkles but Chacha Chowdhry had mass appeal like no other cartoon character in India. Comic strips have come a long way since then but I think Chacha Chowdhury is the king of all homegrown comic book heroes.

It feels so good when a window to your childhood suddenly opens up through a completely unrelated event. I was an avid reader of a variety of books and magazines and thinking about Chacha Chowdhry brought back memories of Billu, Pinki, Madhu Muskaan, Tinkle, Nandan, Champak, Chandamama, Enid Blyton, Fairy tales and a whole cornucopia of books and magazines a lot of which still exist in a small rack in my cupboard back home. I still enjoy reading them when I go back home. It brings back happy memories from my childhood.

Memories of carefree summer vacations spent reading magazines, watching movies, playing and traveling. Of evenings spent playing and bickering with siblings, cousins and friends. Of waiting for a power cut so we could go and chat with our friends at 1:00 am. Of spending countless hours talking to friends on the terrace. Of organizing new year ‘parties’ on the terrace and throwing tantrums if parents objected to staying out late.

We are all grown up not and don’t have to ‘convince’ anybody to let us stay out late but I don’t quite enjoy these late night events as much as I did back then. I guess the planning, bickering, tantrums and restrictions added a special touch to it all.