Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Not quite myself

In a perfect demonstration of how I sometimes forget the meaning of the words 'limit', 'bounds' and 'control', I spent the last weekend in a hectic flurry of activities, hitherto unknown to me.
No no no.....they aren't exactly the stuff to take my readers by surprise , titillate the senses or scare the daylights away. Nor do I guarantee that you will be pleased with my progress, because I have miles to go before I sleep. But fact remains, that I have been upto work and that alone should draw a few gasps from those who have known me since childhood to live the archetypal life of a Bohemian. No, I have not been this weekend, the lazy, sleeping, yawning, chatting, grumbling, frowning, again yawning, over 60, bored with life, toothless grand ma that I pretend to be.


Well, I cooked chicken for the first time and I swear that I am not going to do it again. I hated its impertinence- it refused to boil for a good 20 minutes. Just when I thought I was going to give it up, inspiration stuck and with some generous help from Som over the phone (some running commentary that was) we won the day. Ummm..the taste was quite good for a beginner, but I can do better if I break my pledge.

Then I made pasta for dinner on Sunday. Now I had been planning this for quite sometime, but there was a tougher thing ahead. That was convincing Baba, who hates pasta because that's all he gets to eat when he goes to Italy. Of course, mention Pizza to him and he goes ballistic- just can't digest that stuff too. That was easier and it was more edible I can say with confidence. You ought to ask me where this confidence springs from. Hmmmm...you see, if the pasta and chicken were both leftover, I would prefer the pasta to the chicken. There you go.

Then I did the unthinkable. I studied. Yeah, I spent sometime with SQL, trying to conquer cursors and procedures and materialized views. Pretty decent stuff, if it goes into your head. Unfortunately it didn't. The harder I tried, the worse it seemed. With due consideration to the stress I was putting on my tender brain, I postponed indefinitely the 'Study SQL' session.

Well, there is so much more that I did and its so difficult to put all that in words. So, I would leave it at that. Till I catch up with another momentary burst of inspirational energy, I better get back to being the ol' self.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Never knew that Baba could be so efficient at home. All my life I’ve seen my Dad plunging himself neck deep in his office, without a thought as to what was going about at home. When he came home for lunch on weekdays, Ma and I could clearly see that his mind was still in office and when he gobbled insipid food without complaining, we knew that he was dying to get back to work. When he forgot to do the groceries, or take us out for dinner, we didn't know whether to laugh or get angry. That's Baba for you; love him or leave him.

But things changed since Ma left for Delhi three weeks back. Baba has been the model of conscientiousness. He makes sure I get my breakfast and that my lunch is packed and that when I eat dinner, the food is actually warmer than room temperature. He has been doing the groceries and keeping stock of what's running out. He's been managing the helping hands at home and his department in the factory; amidst 60 phone calls a day that start at 6 in the morning and end at midnight.

When I reach home at 9pm at night, I am exhausted and so is Baba, but he never lets me know that. Always ready to clean up after dinner, so that I do not have to do it. The metamorphosis is complete.

This morning was Neel Shosthi. Mothers are supposed to fast for their children and put a doi-er tip on their foreheads. When Baba did that for me, I realized that he had finally discovered the mother hidden in him.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

I never thought that trains could get so crowded

I never thought that trains could get so crowded. Certainly not at this time of the night. Someday, when this ordeal is over (or so I hope) I fear that I would have got so used to it that I would actually miss it. Till then I try to make the most of it.
But yesterday was different. I got a seat in the train in the morning. What it means is that everybody else got a seat. Quite unwittingly, I have come to acquire a burden of a conscience that does not permit me to sit in the train if anybody else is standing. Of course, anybody covers a gamut of women starting from school kids in white shoes (poor kid, - if she stands somebody will surely step over her shoes) schoolgirls studying in the train (if she does not sit, how would she study?) girl going to college (she’ll get exhausted if she continues to stand), woman going on a holiday (such a huge traveling bag- she must sit) woman going to office (you ought to start the day with a seat in the morning train) old women- no excuses- they must sit- if necessary at the cost of unseating somebody else.
But yesterday, I say it again, was different. While was I coming back, I got a seat once but gave it away to an old lady hoping that I would get a seat soon. Strangely enough, I did not get another seat and a tragedy of this scale occurring at 8PM at night when trains are not very crowded, surely ranks as a catastrophe. Add to it, the fact that I was carrying home a bulky book and the thought of studying through the weekend was weighing down my shoulders as well as my morale. In a compartment where there was not enough place to stand, hawkers were moving about seamlessly, gliding through the multitude and savagely competing with one another to sell bananas and ear rings. At regular intervals, I took to shifting my weight from my left leg to my right. A few women were examining cushion covers and the girl standing next to me was reading a newspaper. I thought I spotted a friend, but before I could wave to her, the climax of our most extra-ordinary journey took place. A man got up in the ladies compartment, and amidst the entire din, started singing an awful song, and begged for alms in the meantime. If Satyajit Ray had been present, he would have surely used this shot as the opening scene of his next art film. I would be the protagonist looking calmly at the pandemonium, while thinking wistfully about the SQL query that I left behind in office and ways to improve it. I would be taking a stoic view of the situation and when my train reached my destination, aah! Cut the crap. Baba is here…………..