Friday, October 9, 2009

Reliving childhood days

“All aboard” screeched my four year old son and “choo choo choo” they voyage into the world of imaginative play. They circled every room in our home making stops here and there. Little did they know that their expedition dragged me along into my childhood days two decades ago. As the choo choo sound starts to dissipate, I find myself running and screaming along with my cousins, passing by the coconut trees, sifting through paddy fields, into the wide open blue sky. I still vividly remember every little prank we participated; every little escapade we embarked on; every little brawl we had; every little path we roamed; and every little tears we shed while separating. Summer vacations at my grandma’s home will always be a shrine of my childhood memories….an abode where my imagination were nurtured and encouraged.

Grandma stocked up the cupboards with buckets (yes! I said buckets ) of goodies for all her grand kids. Three buckets of athrasa and three buckets of chakuli to be precise. And those filled buckets of snacks would be emptied by us in less than a month. Is'nt it amazing to eat buckets of sweets and deep-fried junks in less than a month and still be skinny? That’s the magic of childhood. Grandma had furniture made out of bamboo sticks. We converted those chairs into auto rickshaws / train/ bus and dragged it around everywhere on the concrete verandah. Within two years (two summer vacations) those chairs were completely destroyed. Thinking about it today, I cannot comprehend why grandma didn’t stop us? Why didn’t she admonish us? Did she not heed for that furniture?

As I immerse myself with these notions, a loud cry puts me back to the reality. My kids were belligerent as usual after an hour of cheerful play. And I am back again in the never ending loop of what happened, who did it, who is the culprit and the punishment. PUNISHMENT -which I never received as a rowdy child; now trying to discipline my kids to behave well – how incongruous is that? As my kids hit the bed that night, I am restless with many questions echoing in my mind. Why grandma didn’t punish us for breaking her furniture? What is her message behind this gesture? Would I do the same thing if I were her?

As a kid I was a tomboy. I have done many notorious pranks that will easy exceed encyclopedia if I even begin to pen down. I don’t remember ever being punished for that. Then why do I punish my kids if they go wild. “Don’t” and “No” are the words in my dictionary to respond to their every prank. “Don’t jump on the puddle, you will get dirt” I said to my kids … imagine coming from me …a kid who soaked herself in mud while playing in the paddy fields. Oh how I enjoyed playing in the field getting all wet and dirt, don’t my kids deserve getting their feet and hand wet in that puddle?

Reminiscing about my own childhood has brought so much positive change in me. I may never be like my grandma, allowing my kids to go wild ripping the furniture (or may be I will allow it for my grandkids, may be I will reap that much patience at that age), but I did learn to tone down and allow my kids to go crazy occasionally. I join their crazy fiesta sometimes too. I realize that imagination and discipline don’t go hand in hand. Imaginative kids are wild, exploring and experimenting life. I have no rights to discipline their creative play; I can only make sure they don’t get hurt while exploring, just like Grandma did. May be Grandma was reliving her childhood by allowing us play auto rickshaw with her furniture and now it’s my turn to nourish my kids imaginative play.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Peace to your soul Gift

Gift, a Nigerian native, sat next to me during the Christmas Lunch organized by our company last year. We introduced ourselves and our conversation sprouted to weather in general. He said Texas’s sultry weather is nothing he can’t handle. It was even bad in Nigeria for him growing up. Gift job requires him to travel a lot. I hardly get to see him in the office. I saw him couple of weeks ago and we exchanged a polite greet smile. I never knew I would be seeing him for the last time. Gift passed away a week ago leaving all of us at the office mentally deranged. Gift was returning home after work when he got involved in a fatal accident and died on spot. All of us in the office who knew him well shed tears. My prayers to Gift’s wife and family as they go through this difficult phase of period in their lives. May Gift’s soul rest in peace.

Gift’s dead has ignited a changed prospect to life among many at my office. V called her husband, who is traveling on business, to come back home safe. She said I love you very much to her husband. S is traveling India all of a sudden for two weeks. S wants to see his parents and all his relatives in India. He confessed to me that Gift’s dead has attributed to his sudden travel plans. Everyone in the office is getting their procrastinate tasks’ done. As much as we hurts to see someone depart so sudden, it was always a harsh reminder that our granted Life is short and unpredictable.

Kiss and hug your family every day, forgive and forget old hurtful memories, call a friend whom you've been wanting to talk, reschedule your hectic busy life to spend it on little things that makes you happy. LIVE LIFE LIKE THERE IS NO TOMORROW. We never know when our time on this earth is up.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Simple moments

Simple moments of life are such a joyous occurrence isn’t it? Mike my colleague at work, swing by my cube yesterday, to show a photo on his cell phone. His 2 year grandson dozed off on his chest with Mike wrapped his arm around him securely. Mike was the happiest man in our office that day. Thanks Mike for sharing that precious picture with me. I am honored. Simple moments of that sort make our life priceless isn’t it? I couldn't help but wonder how fortunate Mike was to have his Cell phone camera handy to capture that priceless moment. We all have such moments in our life ... sometimes we are lucky enough to capture it on film and sometimes we don’t have access to such technology to freeze those moments. I am displaying one of my son's such simple moment in this blog. My son, who was two years old that time, wore his dad's shoe and glove and was busy pretending to work as a gardener. I was fortunate to have my camera handy to snap it. I have several of such moments captured on films and several of such moments missed...Alas!

Talking more on missed moments, ever since I started working I have been missing such moments of my kids.... a definite down side of working mother. Hectic work and tensions in general sometimes blind me to realize and savor such simple things. It happened to me recently. I came home after combating a tiring long day and a frustrating traffic only to find a surprise waiting for me. My daughter took me to her room to show her drawings. She loves to draw and color. There were some drawing on the board and to my strenuous eyes I didn’t find anything special about those drawing. Click on the video below and see if you can find anything special about it. (Please write your answer in the comment section )

My daughter explained me what those marking were. She is a little girl with big imagination. It was a moment of " WOW... she is growing up". A simple moment ... I will never forget and a gentle concern that those joyous moments are happening right in front of us and we are too busy to notice them.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Kidnappers’ Policy - by AV Krishnamurthy

I am very thankful to my Uncle for giving his permission to publish this hilarious and wonderfully written skit by him. Enjoy!

Insurance companies such as Bajaj Allianz, Tata AIG, ICICI Lombard and HDFC Chubb have introduced the kidnappers’ policy with some even providing psychological counseling in the event of abduction. Hundreds of industrialists and high net-worth individuals are said to be coming forward to take such policies in UP, Bihar and northeastern states.

The policies have been introduced by the insurance companies to protect the businessmen against loss in case of kidnap of their kith and kin. But businessmen are after all businessmen! They always mean business and nothing else! They are reported to be denying the kidnappers their genuine claims! So much so that a smart BPO chief, in his attempt to save money for his father-in-law’s insurance company, even duped a genuine high-tech professional kidnapper by handing him over to the police! The following are the scenarios that took place after introduction of the policy by the Insurance companies:

Scene 1. One top businessman in UP receives a call from a kidnapper.

Kidnapper: Hello! Is it Mr. Somany?

Businessman: Yes, What can I do for you?

Kidnapper: Sir, I have kidnapped your son. You may bring Rs.25 lacs and take back your son.

Somany: Nothing doing. I have taken coverage for Rs.1 lakh only.

Kidnapper: What do you mean by coverage? Are you not interested in your son?

Businessman: I am talking about kidnap insurance policy Baba! Don’t you know that? I think you are new to kidnapping business.

Kidnapper: Sir, thank you for the information. Genuinely speaking, it will not work out for me if I accept only Re1 lakh. Can you make it at least Rs2 lakhs Sir?

Businessman: Nothing doing. I will not give a penny more than the cover available.

Kidnapper: OK Sir. Send the cash and take back your son.

Businessman: I am contacting the Insurance Company to settle my/your claim! In the meanwhile you send back my son. He has to complete his homework!

Kidnapper: (Desperately!) Sir I cannot wait for the insurance formalities to be completed. Tell me. You want your son or not?
Businessman: In that case you can keep my son! To be frank, let me tell you. He is good for nothing. Even this cover I obtained is only to satisfy his mother! I know his worth! You will find it out yourself very soon! (Hangs up).

Scene 2: Within one hour the kidnapper drops the son in front of his house and drives away. His father coolly asks him to complete his homework!

Scene 3: The same kidnapper to a different businessman on the next day
Kidnapper: Hello! Am I talking to Manwani?
Businessman: Who is this?
Kid: Don't bother about my name! I have kidnapped your son.
Bu: Are you kidding? What do you want?
Kid: I am not kidding. I am kidnapping! Let me know the Kidnap insurance coverage available for your son.
Bu: Smart guy! Who told you about this?
Kid: I got the information from my other Client, Sir. In fact this is a latest value addition to me, Sir.
Bu: You seem to be knowledgeable! Good. I have taken cover for Rs. 5 lacs.
Kid: Ok for me. You can proceed with lodging your claim, Sir.
Bu: Ok. But I have my conditions! I will pay net amount only.
Kid: What? Are you deducting tax at source? But I don't have a PAN Card, Sir. This is not done.
Bu: Not exactly. I have paid a premium of Rs50,000/=.I will deduct it from the proceeds. The policy comes cost-free for me!
Kid: Ok you pay me cash and get back your son.
Bu: Not so fast man! You know the Insurance guys! They take their own time to settle the claim. I don't want to be out of pocket. You remit Rs.50,000/= to me upfront. I will ask them to settle your claim directly! In the meanwhile you send me your identity card, two photographs, address proof, form 60, form 15G, etc... (Hangs up).
Kid :( To himself) Oh shit! What kind of father is he? Whose face did I see in the morning? (Recollects that his wife woke him up in the morning!). Oh! I know the reason now. Hard luck for me!
Scene 4: Within one hour the kidnapper drops the son in front of his house and drives away.

Scene 5: Another Kidnapper to a BPO top Official on another day

Kidnapper: Hello. Am I talking to Suresh Asrani please?

Official: Yeahha...You are Mr.?

Kid: I have kidnapped your son sir.

Off: Don’t address me as Sir. Use my first name. You know the BPO culture!

Kid: I am sorry sir. No! No! I mean Suresh. What is the kidnap policy coverage you have for your son?

Off: Right now I am busy on my laptop. I have to prepare a presentation to my Board. For all my personal matters ownership rests with my wife. You can talk to her.

Kid: I have already spoken to her Suresh. She told me that as the matter pertains to insurance she has escalated it to you. Please check your mail.

Off: Ok. I understand. You tell me what ransom you want from me?

Kid: Let me be reasonable. Not more than the amount covered in the policy. Let me know it from you. After all you are not paying from your purse. Then why do you bargain?

Off: The Insurance Company also owns my company. My father-in-law is a major shareholder in it. I have to see his interest also. You understand? Anyways I am calling the company right now and will put you on a conference call. Please hold on.

Kid: You are Tech savvy. That is good. Let me tell you. This activity I have recently started as a diversification. My specialization is actually Highway Robbery! I took a package from Chicago Consultancy for this project. Let me tell you, the kidnapped children are well looked after by me. In fact your son right now is surfing the internet while simultaneously watching Hungama TV Channel! He is eating Pizza in the meanwhile!

Off: That sounds nice. But your game is up. I had put the police Inspector on the conference call! Right now the police are at your door. Bye! Bye…… (The door bell rings.)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. I still remember my first Valentine Day celebration. It was my first year in the college. My friend told me that guys give roses to the most beautiful girl on Valentine’s Day. Girl who gets the most roses are the most beautiful. I couldn’t sleep the night before Valentine that year. My mind was occupied with so many details … what to wear? What to do if someone gives me rose? What will I tell mom coming home with lot many roses? The pressure was too much to handle. Finally the big day arrived. My heart was pumping hard with all the anxiety. My very close friend and I got into our bus to college and of course we were dressed to kill. I guess we both were expecting at least one rose. We ended up having zero roses on that day. It was the most disappointing day as a naïve teenager. Reminiscing about that day puts a huge smile on my face now. By the way, I never got a single rose from anyone during my five year college days. The only red rose I get every single year from the past nine years is from my only Valentine - my husband:)

Only young Indians celebrate Valentine’s Day in India or at least that's how it was when I was growing up as a teenager in India. Not sure if that sage is still continuing. Anyway, Valentine in USA is celebrated by diverse population not restraining it to just teenagers or young lovers. My daughter is celebrating it at her school this year. We volunteered to help the school on this occasion. I never thought it would cost us fifteen buck for volunteering. They asked us to send 30 Valentine napkins and plates. I went to a local store to get the supplies only to find $4 for 8 Valentine plates. I know those plates will be on sale for less than a buck on 15th February. What a rip off! Anyway, on the second note, it’s for my little girl and her school celebration and that’s priceless. I don’t what to put a tag on that happiness.

My son is just 3 year old and they are celebrating Valentine’s Day at his school. They asked me to send 10 Valentine greeting cards along with my son tomorrow. What will he do giving and receiving greeting cards on Valentine’s Day? He cannot even read what’s written on the card. I know its going to be a trash when he gets home. They should be giving and receiving valentine candies instead. I know it’s going to make them all very happy. I need to talk to his school about this …. It’s still not too late. My kid’s Valentine’s Day is already costing me. I can imagine the coming years now.

The first time I heard the word “Valentine” I was fifteen years old. Now my kids who are three and five know the word Valentine and are celebrating the day. My parents still are unaware of this day … well they chose it to be that way. It’s amazing to see the changing times. Happy Valentines Day everyone!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

New Year Resolution

“New Year’s Resolution” … a phrase I was completely unaware of when I was in India in 90’s. I won’t be surprised if majority of Indian now know what New Year’s resolution is. A lot changed in India since I left to States 9 years ago. We have pizza, burgers, macaroni and cheese, and even sweet corn in India now…. You name it we have it. Anyway, that’s a whole new theme for blog ;) Coming back to the subject, a distant friend of mine asked me “What is your New year’s resolution?” on New Year’s Eve party in 2000. Suddenly I find myself without words to talk. I looked around and see everyone in the party was talking about their plans for New Year. It was annoying at some point.

I came home that night with a dark cloud on my head. I made a quick search on the Internet to read more about New Year’s Resolution. I didn’t find much on the internet that time except all about losing weight and debt free. I turned on the Television only to find advertisements and TV programs on New Year’s resolution. Fueled by advertisements and society I took a blank paper and wrote down my resolution for the first time in my life. “Lose weight” I wrote followed by several other things to achieve that year.

It’s been 8 years since I wrote that list; it was my first and last New Year’s resolution list. Sheer apprehension of knowing something new made me to write that list but I never grasped the concept at all. I never understood the idea of procrastinating anything until New Year to achieve it. If someone wants to lose weight they have to start right away isn’t it? What is it with Year New that’s makes it so persuasive for our tardy tasks to be more feasible? Anyway, if you want to achieve something, take actions to achieve it without any delay. I leave those fancy New Year Resolution talk to others and all the marketing gimmicks to TV. For me today is the day to achieve.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Turning 30

I will be turning 30 years shortly. I clearly remember a call phone I made to my sister on her birthday few years ago. She turned 30 that time. I asked her if she had anything special planned that day. Birthdays’ were not festive for her anymore. Birthdays remind her that she is aging. I felt her pain because I freaked out when I saw a fine crumple under my eyes when I was 25. Saying good bye to young energetic 20s is hard and it gets harder as we age. Puffy eyes, wrinkles and achy joints are not something to be celebratory isn’t it? Well that was my perception before I met Mike.

Mike, who sits next to my cabin at my office celebrated his 76 birthday few days ago with his family. I knew he is old but never thought he is 76. A sense of shame came over me for whining over aging. Life is more than aging physically and being beautiful and fit. Life is all about experiencing and appreciating every moment our existence. As a child I enjoyed the warmth of my mother, playing in rain and mud, those memorable school days; as a teenager I enjoyed college days, my first crush, chatting with friends over boys; As a wedded women I enjoyed all the martial bliss; those lazy days on beds and eating dinner at 12 am. As a mother I savored warmth of my kids, those first wobbling first step to those shattering laughs and those first words. Life at every stage has so much to offer isn’t it?

Coming back to Mike, he is tall skinny guy with head full of white hair. Retirement seems to be not in his book of life. He loves being occupied with work. He told us that the most fun part of turning 76 was to able to spend time with his great grand kids. They had a quiet evening that day in front of the fire place. I hope Mike gets to experience many more wonderful healthy years with his family and friends. Many belated birthday to you Mike!

God has given me two reasons to be celebratory on my birthday from the past 3 years now. I get to say “Happy birthday to you and to me” to my only adorable son. He is turning 3 on the same day I turn 30. He doesn’t know it yet. He is too young to understand it now but I am curious how he feels about it later on in his life. How do I feel sharing my birthday with my son? Ecstatic! A friend of mine told me that I have forever stolen the thunder of my son’s birthday. She believes that my son can never have his birthday all for himself without being reminded that he has to share it with me first. I never thought people would interpret it that way. I will leave the final call to my son to make.

Growing up I never blew candles and cut cake on birthdays. My parents never made a big deal of birthdays in general. Head bath, new cloths, favorite food ( Bisibelebath and Jamoon in my case) and Rs100 and a birthday song from my dad are things I associate my childhood birthdays with. In the evening I ran to all my friends and neighbors home and give chocolates and candy that mom asked me to give. “It’s my birthday” I would say and in return I could get blessing and sometimes treat like payasam. I always wanted to blow candles on my birthday cake…. Something I never did growing up. A friend of mine made sure I did when I turned 18. She surprised me with a cake with 18 candles on top of it glowing. I will never forget that day. After marriage my husband made sure I blow candles on all my birthdays. What crazy is it with cakes and candles on birthday I don’t know but for now it serves as a dessert for my kids.

So how does it feel turning 30? Absolutely wonderful! I had marvelous thirty years and hoping to have many more healthy peaceful years ahead. Happy birthday to me and to my son.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Time to welcome 2009

Is clock ticking too fast or is that my imagination? Is it not a few days ago I welcomed 2008 and today it’s already the first day of 2009. Twelve months went by so quick before I could savor it. They say good times always tend to shift fast and dreadful moments pass very sluggish. If that’s true then I want 2009 to go fast for all of us.

Yesterday I was going through all the memorabilia of 2000 - 2008. This is something I love to do not just on Dec 31st but whenever I have some time or become nostalgic. By memorabilia I meant lots and lots of photos I take of my kids and of all the special occasion. I couldn’t stop laughing with the hair style I use to have in the year 2000. Everything changed from my dressing style to physical appearance. My kids love going through photos with me. They keep asking me why they weren’t invited to mom and dad’s wedding. “Mommy why didn’t you take me to Singapore trip” asks my son. I told him he wasn’t born that time. I realized he was not happy with that answer. So I changed the explanation. I told him he was sick and therefore couldn’t take him. He instantly smiles and says we should go there again.

Some time I feel like freezing the time and relish every happy moment to my hearts’ content and fast forward every disheartening moments. I wish I had that kind of power. Life is a mixture of both laughter and tearful moments and that the truth of life. I wish you all lot more new years ahead with unlimited laughter and strength to encounter life’s’ turmoil. HAPPY NEW YEAR 2009.