Tuesday, April 29, 2008

When I was just a little girl....

Long, long ago there was a little girl. Yes, one more trip down memory lane. It is amazing how the blog invokes memory - of images that were lying dormant in my mind. Or was it the passport application form that I was filling up where I had to write my parents names several times.

My father on his postings outside Hyderabad, would move there and my mother and three kids remained in Hyderabd, so that our studies were not affected.

I remember traveling with my mother ( I wonder why my brothers were made to stay back home) to visit my father who was posted at Rajahmundry. It seemed a long drive. And the sight of the river Godavari was breathtaking. There was no road bridge then and we had to get the car on the ferry and it took almost an hour to cross the vast stretch of water. The guest house of the Paper Mills was on the banks of the river. And there were steps where we could sit down and let our feet into the water!!. I was told that there were crocodiles in the river and was always on the lookout for one that might stealthily creep up.

During one of our visits, we were taken and shown around the mill. I remember the huge boiler ( these were days of not so modern machinery). At the end of the visit we were given a scrap book ( of purple paper). I had paper cuttings of important news items stuck on the pages of this scrap book ( with cooked rice used as glue) for a very long time.

A few years later my father was posted at Bodhan in Nizamabad, this time he was in charge of the sugar mills. Here we made several trips with family and friends. The ride here was also very comfortable since my father's official car was a huge Dodge car. (It was quite fancy those days and on one instance our car was actually mistaken for the prime minister's car and we caused quite a few scary moments for the pilot motorcycle rider since we overtook him!!).

The house at Bodhan was large and had huge lawns . The tracks on which the train with wagons full of sugarcane passed close by and we were allowed the privilege of pulling out fresh sugarcane stems and biting into them ( my teeth were sharp then!!) and juice dripping all over. Evenings were spent sitting sitting on the lawns gorging on delicious snacks. Of course an educational trip to the sugar mills was part of every guests itinerary. The sight and smell of molasses was quite overwhelming. I don't know about my dad, but this was a job I quite enjoyed. I had a lot of fun sitting with the receptionist (while waiting for my father to finish his work) and transfer calls with the old kind of telephone exchange. For some time I was also a lift ( elevator) operator. All this while my brothers played table tennis in the recreation room.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

idée fixe

a fixed idea that becomes an obsession
Some of the things I do are clubbed under the term obsession. I don't know if this is true. But now I have a word for it - idée fixe - pronounced ee-day-FEEKS. It seems like a more fashionable word whether it is an obsessive behaviour or not. Just like suffering from migraine or having a bout of food poisoning rather than a dumb term like headache or an upset tummy. They mean one and the same.
Coming back to the idée fixe that I am supposed to be indulging in - like mundane activities - cleaning the house, washing the clothes etc etc. All I know is that these need to be done - the sooner the better before it becomes more of a problem resulting in severe migraine :-).

Friday, April 25, 2008

The enterprising reporter

In an interview to the Times of India earlier this week, Nobel laureate Dr Norman Borlaug, father of India's Green revolution, said there was still plenty of upside to food production in India and there was no need for panic

This report in the morning paper today took me back to an incident that flummoxed my dad. This must have been sometime in 1973-74. The Nobel laureate Dr Norman Borlaug was in our city and he was attending a conference at the University. My father was to have received him there. My brother was doing his course in journalism and was working as a reporter for a small newspaper . He desperately wanted to interview Dr Borlaug and tried hard to convince my dad to set it up. My father was known to be a stickler for rules and ensured no favours especially to anyone in the family. He refused and did not give it a second thought. Was he not in for a surprise when Dr Borlaug reached the venue (where my father was waiting to receive him) and the car stopped , the door opened and Dr Borlaug stepped out followed by my brother!! Our man had managed to meet him before his journey and my father's colleagues who recognised him had allowed him to travel with the Nobel Laurette in the car so that he could have his interview!! That was my brother those days. I wonder whether he is as enterprising and aggressive now!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Watermelon juice so refreshing especially when temperatures in our part of the world has touched 40C. My friend and I traveled by the same bus. I got off two stops ahead. But I needed to cross the road, the big front yard and many stairs before I could enter the old house of ours. My friend practically got off at her doorstep. I would always joke that even before she reached home I would have my bowl of watermelon. At times when the bus really got to her place early enough she would in fact have got to her bowl of fruit even before I had moved towards the refrigerator!! We talk about it even to this day whenever we meet ( once in 4-5 years!!)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Old habits die hard

Ever realised how often I change the template and the general appearance of the blog? Just like I love rearranging furniture at home. My mother did it all the time. It must be in my genes. I wonder if I have passed it on to my kids. Only time will tell.

A nice way to spend an afternoon...

I went visiting the mother of my classmate. She was warm as I have always known her to be despite all her worries or health problems. I remember how a whole lot of us would descend at their home. There was food and more food. The father was a man of few words, hardly spoke but the moment he saw all of us he would disappear either to the garden only to come back armed with fresh fruits or to the nearby bakery and once again make an appearance with baked goodies. Both of them would constantly be ensuring that we were well fed at at regular half hour intervals. My friend moved abroad to study and settle down there ultimately. But the good times we had at their house draws me to visit the mother once in a while, though not as frequently as I wish to.

There is another 'mother' who showers affection on me. Here, on most occasions, it was only I who went visiting and got treated like their own. It was a different experience altogether. My friend was the eldest in the family and her opinion was sought for every issue. When I was present, my views would also be taken into consideration. Very different from home, where I was the youngest and most matters were not discussed in my presence! She had three younger brothers who also gave me a lot of respect. Even to this day, when I meet them they greet me with a namaste didi. The mother holds both my hands in her own and not let go for a very long time. It feels good.

I wonder how many friends of my children will come visiting us. I am sure I will look forward to their visits.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The new obsession

Till now it was my laptop. It still is retains the top spot ( sorry family). But a close second is the cell phone that became mine by default since the younger one graciously refused it for reasons best known to her. So what was the prized possession of the elder one became mine when she moved to London. I really went overboard trying to personalise it. The wall paper has the childrens' pictures. The phone number selected consists of birth dates of husband and kids. Pictures for the special ones were chosen . Now the ring tones to identify the callers is being carefully considered. The general ring tone that I have presently is a beautiful number from the soundtrack of Amelie that there are times I do not want to pick up the call since the music is so soothing. The phone even has a camera ( which is the only feature that is not worth mentioning), but nevertheless handy to capture few moments and especially useful for posting on blogs. If at my age I can develop such attachments to materialist possessions, why blame the younger crowd for their obsession with new age electronic goods? But then I console myself that I can at this stage ensure that the obsession remains within limits ( the family would disagree on this I am sure).

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Mirror Mirror on the wall...

Last night I was awake for a very long time. My thoughts turned to my mother. It has been 36 years since I last saw her. It is strange that I think of her more often in the past few years than I had done earlier. When I was young, people remarked that I was a splitting image of my mother. And I remember a time when I was approaching 40, I had looked into the mirror and I thought my face seemed familiar - it seemed as if my mother's face was staring back at me. Of course now I have outlived her and as I grow older the resemblance may not seem to be there as we did not see her grow old. It was a coincidence when my daughter told me that as she walked past a mirror the other day, she thought she saw an image of me in the reflection! Though, when I look into the mirror these days, I see a face that is slowly aging, much different from the glow and youth that are on my daughter's face and I can see no resemblance.

The family heirloom

This is an item that may cause problems between my daughters. The old kitchen clock. It has been there ever since I can remember. It was given to my mother by her grand aunt who was a great cook. A useful item in our kitchen. To ensure that we never cried over spilt milk, the alarm was always set and when the shrill ring sounded atleast one member of the family reached the kitchen in time to switch off the stove. It was originally grey in colour, and over the years the paint had chipped off. One fine day our woman friday - Bhagirati - painted it red. Since it was placed close to the area of cooking, it was inevitable that over a period of time it was covered with grease and therefore was subject to intense cleaning that resulted in the time markings being erased off. It has been a note of discord between my daughters. And I think it shall finally pass on to my younger one who for some strange reason has chosen to possess it over the diamond ring.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Identity Crisis

I came home early today. It was not planned. I dilly dallied a while, checked mail, dusted the house, folded clothes, read for a while. And then I got up and walked into the kitchen and made dinner. And it was ready by 6.30 in the evening. I am confused. Is this me? HELP!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Six mois...

That's six month en francaise. Monday, September 10 was my first blog entry. Realised it has been over 6 months. I started the activity to find out what the concept of blogging meant. It seemed to me rather strange that people would want to blog. After all for a senior like me, if you kept a record of your thoughts it was either very private like a diary or if it was for public viewing, then every attempt was necessary to get people to read it. A blog especially one like this does not fit into either category. But it has a very therapeutic effect that I cannot explain. To whosoever invented the blog ... I am grateful. And also to the person who encouraged me to experiment.

Since the subject is six, some excerpts from a blog I stumbled upon ( related to a six word story). I reproduce few:
Never again! Unless… well, maybe someday
Here kitty kitty… Here kitty- Ouch!
You took my hand; hello, future.
Found a heart. Wasn’t broken. Weird.
I wake, see and enjoy, sleep.
Harry met Sally. Sally met John.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

It's only the attitude..

I read this nice blog written by a 72 year old. She said she derived great pleasure each morning stepping into her well organised kitchen. And how she realises now that it does not mean drudgery when a woman spends time in the kitchen. Well, I have not attained such lofty thoughts as yet, but there is a remarkable change in my attitude. I have for the past 10 years hated stepping into the kitchen. However, the resistance is gradually receding. I am not sure why. It is not that I love to cook. There are times ( especially when my younger one is at home), where I would rather spend time with her doing some fun things than be in the kitchen. But of late, I spend time browsing some cookery sites ,this I owe to the elder one, who wanted me to pen down recipes for her. That was a pat on my back that I did not really deserve. It could change my attitude totally. And who knows, at the age of 72, I could be like the lady whose blog triggered off this post.
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