Monday, December 3, 2007

She dreams in a glass of water

I am editing a video based on misconceptions of children.

'Evaporation happens only in large water bodies like lakes, oceans, rivers. Can water in a glass evaporate? No, water in a glass cannot evaporate. How can it? It is not enough for rain,' says a fourth class student.

Tring tring. My sister calls from Goa.

'I had a strange dream last night. I dreamt that.....' She carries on for six minutes as I look at the paused frame.

'But of course, its just a coincidence,' she ends.

'There is no such thing as a coincidence. Everything is connected.' I say.

'I don't believe in all that stuff. A dream is a dream.'

'Yes, you are right, ' I tell her, ' How can water kept in a small glass evaporate? How can a mere dream have any connection to reality? The sun is too busy with evaporating large water bodies.
Why should he bother with a pretty girl dreaming in a glass of water?'

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Homeopathic Experiance

I went to see this doctor because he was good looking. And because he asked me to keep at least two hours free.

That I have a chronic health problem is a secondary matter. Chronic means you are by now used to it.

A doctor who has two hours to spare, who is young, and a Homeopath at that!

Any left brainer would say no way, don't waste your time.

But what is time for, if not for wasting?

If anyone has taken Frost seriously, it is me. I took the road less travelled. And this is what I found :

He actually takes me in without an appointment. The first ten minutes I detail my problem. Then I confess how I play doctor, how I mix and match Ayurveda with Naturopathy, Allopathy with common sense. But I have not yet struck the right combination, probably because I don't do Homeopathy.

He does not react. Instead, he asks me, 'What is the exact nature of your problem? Can you describe it?'

I do. As best as I can.

'Can you describe it more in detail?'

I describe again.

'Please don't mind, but I need to know. Can you describe your pain a little more?'

I take a deep breath. I am aware, now of the pain. I describe it in detail. I tell him how I distract myself. How I have learnt tricks to run away from my body. And how I miss it, the positive connection, the feel good factor, the being factor.

'When you feel good, how do you feel?' He changes the topic.

'I feel connected, to the world, to my body, to my breath,' I say.

'Can you describe it, this happy, connected feeling?'

'I can breathe deep, I feel a flow of energy, my thoughts slow down. When I am happy, I don't feel that I should do Yoga, or walk or exercise to feel alive. '

'Yes, how do you feel when you feel happy?'

'I feel like singing, I sing, I dance without music, I look at fresh vegetables in the market and I say thank you, earth... '

'Can you describe this feeling more ?' he asked.

'I cry, I weep tears of joy,' I tell him, I don't actually weep, though I am tempted to shed at least one tear.

'And how do you feel in your body when you are happy?' he asks yet again.

I am wordless, and I tell him so.

'That is very good. Now describe this feeling a little more, of being wordless.'

'Well, actually right now I am wordless because I am miserable that I am not happy. '

'Tell me more about this, this connected feeling.'

'Well, I can feel connected even when I am without words. ' I say.

'Yes, tell me about this.'

'Well, plants don't talk, but they are silent enjoyers and silent sufferers.'

'Oh, How?'

'Well, they suffer if you don't water them or if you pluck them.' I explain.

'And how do they enjoy?' For a change he is interested in my rambling.

'They look at the moon all night but they don't tell you about it.'

'So how do you feel when you feel this, this connection to plants?' I am beginning to wonder which one of is a moron.

'I feel good.' I say.


'I feel that because I understand, I am also understood.' I continue.

'No, this is your mental reaction. Tell me how you feel in your body.'

'There is no tension, no effort to find the right words, their is a deep satisfaction. I feel rested and alert. '

'That is very good. Now we will discuss the opposite. Tell me when do you feel tense.'

'Well, I feel tense when I am criticised, when their is work pressure, or when I am in a hurry.'

'Take one instance. ' he says.

'Well, I can't handle criticism, even constructive criticism.'

'How do you feel when you are criticised?'

'I feel diminished.'

'Diminished? What do you mean, by diminished?' (You no understand English, doc? )

I make a gesture, in which I am squashing a balloon. 'Like this, diminished. Like all my energy, my enthusiasm goes phut.'

'Good. Now make that gesture again , and tell me how you feel, when you feel diminished.'

I smile. But I make that gesture again.

'Yes, tell me how you feel.' he says. I am beginning to respect this young doc.

'I feel, like I am pushed into a dark corner and I can't breathe. I don't have access to my mind, my logical faculties, and so I lash out in anger. Because anger is the only way I can tolerate what I feel. The only way I can survive the dark corner.'

'Anger is again a reaction. Tell me what happens in that dark corner, when you cant breathe.' He prods me further, to go into hell.

'In the dark corner, when I cant breathe, no actually I can breathe but I suppose I am not aware of my breathing. '

'This is your mental understanding. Tell me what happens in that dark corner.' he says.

'I don't feel connected to life. I feel like a stone. Separated from everything and everybody.'

'Yes.' he waits.

'Time stands still. I could be a ghost hanging on a tree for ages, who can see everything, but who cant communicate with anyone.
Can I share something, doctor?'


'When I was talking of the happy moments, my pain had gone. And now it is back.'

'That is very good. We are getting near the answer.'

He pulls out a fat book, reads for a couple of minutes and finds the remedy.
'Take three pills, three times a day. Come back after three days. If this is the right medicine, it will cure the pain.'

As I go down the steps from his clinic, I make the gesture of squashing a balloon and laugh.

I don't know if this doctor will actually cure me. But is was such a delight to meet an artist in the disguise of a doctor.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Why God does not smile

A filmmaker friend sent me this image today. I looked at it and went Ahhh! I then forwarded it to all my friends. Within five minutes, I got two responses.
Both are filmmakers. One is a gurubandhu. Other is a film school classmate.
Gurubandhu said, 'Wow'!
Other said, 'Computer graphics and effects'.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Questions that muddle.

'Aai, open your mouth,' says my brat, instead of drinking his milk.


'I want to see your tongue.'

I oblige.

'No, open wider. I want to see that tongue, the small one that hangs upside down.'


'I still can't see it. It's dark in there.'

'You need a torch. Go get my mobile.'

Runs from room to room. 'Cant find it.'

Runs to the kitchen, asks the cook to call my cell.

Ears open, the kid runs from room to room again.

Ears open, I sip my tea. The cook cocks his head, holding his cell.

No bells jingle. Now I am alarmed. 'Look under my pillow, ' I say.

Its not under the pillow, nor under the rajai, nor have the sheets hidden my mobile.

'Aai's mobile phone is lost.' he announces, rather happily.

'Shut up. Let me think.'

'Ok, think.'

'It must be on the silent mode. Where did I see it last? Last night, it was in my trouser pocket. Where are my trouser's? In the washing bucket?'

Both of us run into the bathroom, the cook follows. There is a double bed sheet under my pant, which has soaked all the water, and, thank God, my mobile is dry and alive.

Back at the dining table. My tea has gone cold, my heartbeat is still fast.

'Open your mouth,' the brat orders, flashing light up my nose.

I oblige.

'I can see it! It is moving! Yuk!'

'Right. Now will you drink your milk? You are getting late for school.'

He points the light to himself. 'Aai, see mine, no.'

'Ok. Say aaaa.'


'Yup. Its cute, your little tongue. Now drink your milk.'

'Aai, why is it upside down?'

'I don't have the foggiest idea. Now drink your milk.'

'What's it for?'

'To yell at you with! NOW DRINK YOUR MILK!'

And thus ends the early morning anatomy class.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

If I were in Mumbai,

If I were in Mumbai today, a second Saturday, I would go meet my longstanding sweetheart, Ramesh Balsekar.

I would get up early and catch a local train to Bombay Central. Hopefully the train wouldn't be crowded, but even if it was, it wouldn't really matter.

I would scan the big clocks on the passing railway platforms, to make sure I am not too late. Ramesh usually starts his talk by nine, and I am usually late by an hour. But thats ok because I have heard him talk since 1996. What appeals to me, and what I still need, is his presence, which is imbibed in the remaining one hour of the talk.

Besides, Ramesh has a clock in his house, with all the numbers having fallen down and the words, 'Who cares ?' inscribed on it. Look for it, you will notice it in the video below.

So my train would reach Mumbai Central by nine forty, max. I would get out of the station, at the west side, and take a cab. At this hour I would probably be his first customer and if I am lucky, there will be flowers and smell of inscence burning...

In twelve minutes, we would climb up Navroji gamadia lane and stop outside the Mountain. Sorry, I mean the Sindhula apartments. As the lift would ascend, so would my anticipation, my heartbeat.

Since Ramesh is ninety plus, it would be a relief to see the shoe rack overflowing. I would quickly remove my sandals and gently push open the door to his voice.

Weekends are for the Indians, so it would be crowded. But I have a special place, on the floor just in front of the chair near the door. If I sit with a straight back, I can see his face. If I feel like chilling out, I slouch and listen. Sometimes, I can see his face in the window of a video camera and thats good enough.

I love the feel of the bare floor in this house. It gently cools down my fatigue, my pain, my thoughts. My Guru's house is inside the ganga.

After half an hour of advaita, Ramesh would signal the end of the talk by asking Murthi to come and sing bhajans. A small re-shuffle would happen, with people in front going back and making space for us to sit in front of Ramesh.

Ramesh would give me a hello smile, and I would smile back, but not completely because the tears may start. I would sit very near to his feet, so that I can touch the wooden patla on which his feet rest.

He has the most beautiful pair of feet in the world.

I would make sure I don't sing too loud, wouldn't wanna make the old man deaf. We sing the same bunch of bhajans since a decade, so its more like humming along in a school prayer. However, like the talk, one word, half a sentence would unknowingly enter the heart and fertilize, and become bigger and bigger.

After the Panduranga's are done, the best bit would follow. Touching those feet in silence.

If I were to translate into words what my tears say again and again,

It's not thank you guru for giving me god,
but, thank you god for giving me the guru.*

If only, I were in Mumbai....

* Quoted without permission from 'A Homage to the Unique teaching of Ramesh S. Balsekar'.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Sculpting in no Time

Forgive me, filmwallas, this is not about Tarkovsky. This is a sunday morning visit to a sculptor's studio. It is Nirali's birthday and she wants to meet him. I want to meet someone wise. And Pavan, well, he is just a tag along.

Kanti kaka (Kantibhai Patel), an award winning sculptor, is the man who has sculpted Gandhiji's statues, among many others.

"I have spent eleven days with Gandhiji." he tells us. If I ask him to recount those days, he will. Hour by hour.

A memory so old, but kept fresh in the fridge of the artist's mind.

I look at his eyes. They are black, luminous, and they hold your gaze. Maybe because he is a sculptor, and has to pay attention to form?

Nirali and his cousin sister are talking about food.

"Garlic is rajasik, isn't it? Onion and garlic are not good for health." Nirali says.

"Nothing like that. You know, we have a habit of always blaming the outer. When, as a small child you hit a wall and get hurt, your mother hits the wall and scolds it. So it is the mother who teaches the child to blame the outer. It is nothing like that. "

Ah, wisdom is so sweet.

I look at Pavan. He is playing about in the studio. I worry that he will break something.

"Let him play. Children should be left alone to play." Right.

"Do you meditate?" Nirali asks him.

"I don't need to. Life is meditation. First, there is rest, then there is awareness of deep centered peace and outwardly, there is tremendous enthusiasm. A happy person is like an ocean. "

I feel a ping of jealousy. An artist without angst. How does he swing it?

Then I look into his eyes again. He looks back. I realize I was wrong. He is not looking at my form. He is looking at himself.

There is no judgement there, no distance, nor time.

"How do you deal with pain?" I ask him.

"You must have heard of Rabindranath tagore?"

I smile.

"You are a writer, so you must have heard of him. Well, he was once unwell, so he went into a long spell of solitude, for six months. He arranged for a servant to keep the food and not to disturb him. During these six months, he wrote the Gitanjali.
So, Tagore says in Gitanjali, If you have pain, know that your Swami is alive, that he is present. Welcome the pain, do not push it away."

Know that your swami is alive....

Monday, October 1, 2007

Flowers at her feet

So rarely, does love meet worship. If I could draw a wen diagram of the two, then the dark area where the two mingle, would be the experience of Uma Trilok's, Amrita-Imroz, A Love Story.

This little book is printed with the ink of courage. Imroz is a heart made brave and clean by love for Amrita, Amrita herself is a tall woman, and to love them both together, and then to write about it, is the loyal tiger, Uma.

There are four ways to read this love story.

If you like paintings, you can see the brush Imroz has dipped in paint that never dried, as he paints and paints the woman with a mind.

If you like Punjabi, even if you don't understand a word of it, you will feel it earthing the three bulbs, Amrita, Imroz and Uma.

If you like poems, you will memorize the poems, so that you may sing them on a cloudy, rainy day. You might even translate them to your mother tongue.

If you like photographs, you will wonder if the photographer was a filmmaker, or did these two really lead such enchanting lives.

Then, of course, if you like reading and breathing deep after every page and sometimes, just closing your eyes and breathing. And letting the tears flow.

'What do you like most of Amrita?' Uma asks Imroz.
'Her presence.' He replies.

Amrita is not well. Uma gives her healing sessions. Amrita asks Uma to recite a poem.

Patte mere ghar aaye
Chandni mein dhule Geet bunte,

Patte mere ghar aaye

Patte yoon hi bane rahe perh par Phir bhi,
jhankte, langhate

Khirkee ki dehri paar kar
saamne ki deewar par
Dheeme sahme se dolte

Patte mere ghar aaye.

As Uma finishes her poem, Amrita holds her hand and says, 'Uma, how could you feel the pain, the parting, the friendship and love of the leaves?'

When Amrita is burning on the pyre, Imroz stands in a corner, away from the others, watching.
Uma goes to him and says, 'Don't be sad.'

'Why should I be sad? What I could not do, nature did.

I could not free her from her physical pain. But, nature has freed her.

A soul broke away from her body, to become free again.'

If one can learn to love the soul, death is transcended. A loved one is gracefully allowed to fly away.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

This one is for you, Aai

It took Namesake an entire fat book for the protagonist to get hooked to a novel. And it happened because the poor sod has nothing better to hold on to.

Various are the reasons why a book becomes a man's best friend. Dangerous, and fatal are the germs that carry this infection. In Namesake, the incubation period was far too long, too lonely.

I thank God, for giving me a mum who was such a bookworm that I got it too. The Sunday afternoon which had three of us, Aai, Raju ( my sis) and I, each sitting with her back against a tree, each with a novel from the local library. The place was a garden, and the triangle the trees made was aligned to a secret pot of nectar somewhere in the heavens. For a long time we sat thus, lost in our three different worlds, our feet in touching distance from each other's.

So, before I talk of the book that hasn't left my hands (mind, actually) since the last two days, like the dancer on stage, I thank the one who taught me how to love a book.

Beg, borrow, steal, fight for, give away, read in the toilet if no other place is safe. Buy, or occasionally, bid for. I confess, there are at least two books in my house, that I have stolen.

Beg? A few years ago, Aai was in a train when she saw her favorite author's book in a woman's hands. An unread edition.

"Excuse me, where did you get this book?" Aai asked her.

"Library" the lady answered.

"Oh. Which Library? When are you planning to return it? How much did you pay as deposit to the library? I mean, how much money will you lose if you don't return this book? "

...the end of the story is that the lady handed over the book to Aai, without even having finished it.

Goddess Saraswati, you are my birthright and I shall have you!

So the book I was talking about, is a book on a very interesting aspect of the life of a great writer: Amrita Pritam.

Actually, I started this post with the thought that I will write about Amrita-Imroz, A Love Story, by Uma Trilok. But I got so overwhelmed by my religious fervor that, well, if you have reached this far, you know what I am getting at.

Next blog: Amrita-Imroz, A Love Story, by Uma Trilok.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Ah, I found a sleeping pill.

At one thirty am, I give up the effort. It is so tiring to be 'trying' to sleep. I get out of the bed. I open the fridge and pick a packet of dates to munch. They say warm milk is good when you can't sleep, but who would warm it? Besides, I am not too fond of milk. It leaves a taste, and I would probably have to eat more dates to get rid of it.

The house feels empty, but I am in no mood to appreciate the silence. Prayas is in Bangalore and I have no one on this earth to bug. So I do what anyone who has been married to a nerd for six years would do. I switch on the comp. While I am waiting for the mail to open, I pick up a book to browse. It's The Power of Now, written by Eckhart Tolle.

I have read this book cover to cover and back and forth. But it's a god-forsaken hour and I am insomniatic and I lack the concentration to read a single line. I open the book and shut it.

Since he has had a long relationship with me, somewhere God feels an itch. And I get a thought. And I watch this video on U-tube. Ten minutes later, I am back in bed. I am already enamoured by Ekcharts words. But to see him smile, and half laugh like he cant stop himself, is gobbling a choclate ice cream. My mind out of the picture, the body realizes that its so tired! I sleep.

So, Eckhart, if you so badly wannna talk to me, we might as well meet at ten, ten thirty, just before I am off to bed. Date?

Monday, September 17, 2007

From across the street

As I sat eating an ice cream, my eyes
followed her from the first step.
The old lady bent down and touched
the floor then held the pole and started
to climb. One, two, three, she walked
like my grandmother, one step at a time.

On the seventeenth step she paused, or
maybe the step was rather wide. I will
have to check the next time I go up there.
After the final step, she crossed the altar
and started to shrink.

Above her disappearing head was a faint
light, slightly pink. Maybe the gods
were dressed in red tonight. As I stared from
across the street, the old lady sunk out of my sight.
Her head must have touched the temple floor,
But I was the one, in seventh heaven.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Oh God, give me Dog

"Aai, what did you ask from God when you were praying today?" Pavan asked me as I was getting him ready for bed.

During the entire Ganesh Arati that we attended in my neighbor's home, I was busy singing out the various texts. One for Guppa (read Ganesh), one for Shiva, another for Vithoba. Who had the time to pray?

But the parent ego bobbed up and it lied: "Umm..I prayed that my kid doesn't get hurt when he falls, no, I prayed that my Tukru doesn't fall at all. No, actually I prayed that Pavan gets the sense not to run fast when the bell rings and so doesn't fall."

The kid did not look impressed.

"So what did you pray for?" I asked him.

"I prayed for dhammi, that she comes to live with us." he said softly. Dhammi is our dog, she lives in Nagpur, with my mum.

"I see. So this is what it's all about. You want dhammi to come stay with us? "


"And who will feed her?"


"And who will clean her shit?"


"No deal, sweetukuttu. Now give me a kiss and go to sleep."

I wonder how long it will take for him to figure out that all he has to do is to promise is that he will look after the dog. And I wonder how long I will be able to lead a dogless life.

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Friday, September 14, 2007

I was never a bathroom singer.

How does anyone sing with water going in and out of the mouth? I always found it easier to sing in the kitchen, specially those days when I had to cook on the kerosene stove. The kerosene stove always provides a fantabulous background score. It can transform anyone's voice to Lata. Music director, sir, you should try it.

Better than a kerosene stove, is to sing standing on the door of a local train in mumbai. The train should not be too crowded, you should be able to stand at the door holding the center pole, close your eyes to the sun, feel the breeze and pretend you are all alone with Krishna. Its nice if you have just visited your guru. The throat is open, like a windpipe. Or should I say bansuri?

Traditionally speaking, I learnt singing on a two-wheeler. Mum was worried that we kids sitting behind her might doze off and lose our balance. So singing was our childhood duty, yodeling together was bonding, with each other and with our most important culture: Indian Cinema.

No wonder, then, I find it painful to sing singularly in front of anyone. You don't do that. Not in real life. In real life you sing in satsangs, with other devotees.

Yes, it is fun to call up Prayas and burst into a song on him. More effective than actually tickling.

Gone far away are the days when I would sing to myself, sitting all alone in the safe white walls of a home, and sing one bhajan after another, till my tears would dry and my throat hurt. Gone are those heavenly singing spells after which, Krishna would get me a glass of water.

Monday, September 3, 2007

A Portrait of an Artist ( one )

Name : Kusum Sharma
Relationship with blogger : Grandmother

Yes, she was an artist. In fact, she was a true blue artist.

Which means that she suffered for her art, perhaps a little more than she made others suffer.

"I sometimes cry loudly, in the middle of the night," she once told me.

I didn't ask her why.

I thought I understood.

In fact, I did not. I was too young, too full of myself to understand why a sixty year old woman would cry loudly, in the middle of the night.

Countless tears after she passed away, I still don't understand the relationship between art and suffering.

Except that suffering is worth it if there is art.

My grandmother, whom I called Kushuaaji (Kusum + Aji ), was by no means a sad person. She was, what they call Passionate. She was stupid enough to be passionate. She was energetic enough to be passionate. And the passion spilled over, in her poetry, her letters, her pickles, her singing, her sketches, and the thousand little tidbits that she collected over the years that comprised her artwork.

Her first poem:
Her daughter was six months old. In those days, they had to cook on an open fire with three bricks around a log. Kushuaaji was making chapatis when the baby suddenly woke up and started crying. If it were a matter of turning the gas off, she would have taken the child for a feed. But a log of wood takes a lot of effort to burn again. So Kushuaaji continued to make chapatis as the baby cried herself back to sleep, unfed, untouched.

This is when she wrote her first full length poem, 'Kalpana, chimukalya bala, jivacha hoto kala' ( Kalpana, my little child, you wring my heart).

Anything can be beautiful.

"I didn't know for a long time that I was an artist." she said once, as she cut up the newspaper and hung it upside down to unfold into a lampshade. "Nobody in the family ever appreciated my work."

Another sign of a genuine artist. Everyone in the family considered her art work as trash. But she had a vision. She could see beauty in the strangest of corners.

Once, when I must have been under ten years old, I was watching her bake chapatis.

"What will happen if this roti burns?" I asked her.

"Lets see." she said.

And we burned to charcoal the poor roti, as it turned completely black. Before it could catch fire, she gingerly removed it from the fire and kept it aside.

'What shall we do with it?' I asked her.

'Let it cool down, then we will see.' she said. 

The next morning, what do I see but a black round roti, hung on the wall in Kushuaaji's bedroom!

"If you touch it, it may crumble," she warned me, "Just look at its texture. Isn't it beautiful? I couldn't bear to throw it away."

Sunday, August 26, 2007

PaintAthon, anyone?

Last friday, Prayas, Akshay and I decided to have a PaintAthon. A PaintAthon is a time pass activity, when two or more painters do nothing but paint in a time frame. Friday, because the brat will be at school all day. If they had any sense, they should have sent me to school with the kid. Find out why:

Prayas, is a regular painter. Akshay is new. In fact, this is Akshay's first brush with a canvas. Here his mind is desperately trying to 'see' the image.

Prayas does not bother to see anything, he simply begins what looks like blobbing.

Neither Akshay nor me can contain our jeolosy. "What on earth is that?" I ask him. His hand doesnt stop.

I continue to pester him. "Why do you use such dark, dull colors?"

"Why dont you shut up and start your own painting?" he yells.

"Black blob and then dark green! Yuk! Even your kid paints better than you."

By now Akshay is really nervous. He is too unmarried to appreciate the vicarious pleasures of couplehood.

"Chill," he says. He hasnt even started yet, neither I.

"What are you going to paint, Akshay?" I ask him.

"I dont know yet." he says, looking at the pristine white canvas.

"Feels almost like a sin to stain it, doesn't it?" I ask him softly.

"Will you please get lost?" Prayas thunders! "Why dont you start painting? Where is your brush?"

"I don't have one." I pout.

"Ok, take this ."

"This brush is too big."

"Hold it by the side and it becomes small."

"Ok. Thankyou."

I take Pavan's water colors and leave for the bedroom. My canvas is the glass window. There is no choice. All I can see outside are leaves, more leaves and a little bark. And all I remember from my school notebooks are small brickred pots from which imerge green plants, red flowers, sometimes a mango.

"Hey, Mango, where are you?" yells the husband.

" I thought you guys didn't want me there!" I yell back.

"You can come now. We are both done!"
To view, buy, or scoff at the PaintAthon paintings, go here and here.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Aproach : A protagonist in every child.

Ahmedabad is finally and officially a child friendly city.

An event where all the children of the city are invited. A huge chunk of a street in downtown area of Ahmedabad, near the Law Garden, is closed to the public and open for children. Not even an entrance fee is charged, and the child is expected to freak out. I have never seen so many children more engrossed, more joyous. Hats off to Riverside school for initiating Aproch.

Here is a three minute video of the event, where my child has become the protagonist, since that was the best way to keep an eye on him during the shoot.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

A guru runs a road side tea shop.

How unfair life is, I moan, as I sit facing the dual monitors of the Final Cut Pro Editing computer. Why should I, a computer illiterate, have to sit here all alone, and try to figure out why the goddamn sound and picture don't get printed together?

I have tried everything my computer angel (that is how a computer illiterate sees a computer expert) asked me to do. But how many times can I call her?

So what if I have a deadline, theres no problem big enough that cannot be run away from. I switch the comp off, the camcorder off, leave the AC on, and get the hell out of there.

As I walk out of the building, the escapist-guilt is washed off by the sunshine. I sit on the dirty bench of the road side tea shop and order a cup. The young boy is singing as he stirs the boiling tea.

I ask for a Bun-butter, with less butter.

He continues singing, does not even acknowledge my request. Just as I am about to repeat myself, he reaches for the butter.

"Easy on the butter," I say, and he continues singing. And Buttering.

"Easy on the butter!" I shout.

"Yes, Maam!" he laughs gaily and brings me the tea and bun-butter, and makes an exaggerated effort to clean the bench.

The bun is loaded with butter, the tea is too sweet.

But it has the ingredient Sophia Loren recommended. Its made with love. Love can melt calories, I am sure Deepak Chopra will agree.

Ten minutes later, I switch on the FCP and attack. My mind is clear and the head is held high. I spot the bug and marry the sound and visual!

"I heard you had a problem with the system today?" A colleague peeps in and asks.

"Nothing major. The comp just wanted a cup of tea." I reply.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

I am a home-made cook

Tonight I got lucky. The soup I made as an experiment turned out so delicious, I cant wait till tomorrow so that I can have it again. Since I don't want to forget the recipie, ( I have a very short, short term memory ), I thought I will write it down.

Step 1: Tell your husband you are making soup for dinner. Then you cant back out and make the daily khichdi.
Soup and toast and boiled potatoes.
Yes, there is a full loaf of brown bread in the fridge.
There are enough potatoes that go straight in the pressure cooker.
And, oh shucks, there is only one small packet of maggie tomato soup powder. Not enough for a family of three.

Step 2: Dive into the fridge again. Yes, there is a beetroot and a few tomatoes. Without thinking, mince the above, put them in a pan with four cups of water. Add a little ginger-garlic paste, and bring to a boil.
Use the packet of maggie, salt and pepper, to spice it up.

Step 3: Fry some mungodi's ( no idea what they are called in English, they are made of besan - chana lentil ka powder, I guess) in oil and add them to the red soup. Keep boiling.

Step 4: Open the pressure cooker, cut out the potatoes in four slices each, salt and pepper it. Add some butter. This is a yummy childhood dish that I have rediscovered after becoming a mum.

Step 5: Toast and butter the bread.

And dinner is ready, within twenty minutes.

Extra tip: If your kid has not done his homework while you were cooking, butter the potatoes in front of him, telling him he can have them as soon as he is done, and see how fast and how willingly he winds up.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Effect of Cinema on child.

My child is skipping away, from one room to another.

Left arm in a sling, holding a green lump of clay, he asks me,
"Can i give this clay to my friend?"

"Why don't you ask papa?"

"Because i am asking you, no"

"Ok. why do you want to give the clay to your friend?"

"She likes it."

"I see. And you don't like it?"

"But I want to give it to her." he insists.

"Ok, then. Give it to her."
And he skips away, out of the flat, to the neighbors door, to give his friend the lump of clay.

Why is he skipping so much? Because he has been a patient all day. Ever since he fell in school and hurt his arm a couple of days back, the doc has had his arm wrapped up in a crepe bandage and banned him from adventure sports. Since the last two days, my little boy hasn't cycled, skated, or played football.

Maybe I shouldn't have shown him Harry Potter all weekend. Every time a friend of his knocked the door, asking him to come out and play, we would get that friend to come in and watch Potter. And, each time, they would start from the beginning, when Harry was a baby, flying down on a motorcycle!

So I shouldn't be surprised that Tukru, my kid, has discovered the one thing he hasn't been banned from: Skipping around the house!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Dying, is always for the first time.

When I was a teenager, I sometimes daydreamed that I am dying / dead. My friends and relatives would be so concerned, so caring....

'The First Time', written (quite some time back), by Joy Feilding, is a novel with similar musings. A married woman, in her late thirties, is struck by an incurable disease just as her marriage is breaking up. The doctors give her an year to live.

Death as a threat, transforms everything. An unfaithful husband comes back home, an uncaring mother is forced to understand and accept her daughter. The couple, during the last few months of their time together, fall in love, for the first time.

I think novels are written for people who once had enormous capacity to daydream. Now all they have left is a little imagination. Fiction writing, as such is nothing but professional daydreaming.

If you are a person who harbors the desire that people around you should love you more than they do, 'The First Time' is an ideal weekend read.

Joy Feilding has done it again. If this book gets you, you wont be able to put it down.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Problem with reading non-fiction

The problem with reading non-fiction is a complete lack of continuity. During the last few years, I have switched from reading gripping fiction to haphazard stuff and in the process, have forgotten how to read a book cover to cover.

I realized this when I recently read a novel, one that I had already read an year ago, 'The First Time', by Joy Feilding. My sister had come down for the weekend and I was shamelessly immersed in the book. Whenever she yelled at me for not paying attention to what she was saying, I would first note the page number, then close the book. And, just as I closed the book, I would realize that I have forgotten the goddamn page number. Then I would open the book again and try to get back my page.

My sister would yell louder and we would have another row during which I would be thinking of the story in the book. However, reading is our religion and my sister would understand how, sometimes, you really cant leave a novel.

Finally my sister gave me a bookmark. Not a receipt, nor a torn piece of paper, an exclusive, designer bookmark.

Next blog: Book reveiw of Joy Feildings novel.