Monday, May 31, 2010

Mother’s Recipe

I am sure we remember the cute dialogue by Ma in old Hindi movies… ‘maine apne haathon se thumhare liye halwa banaya hai’…!!! Farah Khan did her bit to immortalize this dialogue in ‘Om Shanti Om’ with the super talented Kirron Kher mouth it to a hilarious effect…

A friend recently had the good luck of spending some time in her maayka. She told me about how her mother kept calling her in office to ask what she wanted to eat… n she kept saying… ‘ma, anything u make will do…!’.

This post is a tribute to the best cooks in the world… Ma. I remember how, as a kid, I used to be finicky about food… and my poor mom would walk a tightrope daily trying to please dad, me n my kid bro… mostly failing somewhere…

A day into hostel I realized what I was missing. Mom’s night porridge felt like the tastiest broth compared to the sordid dinners in the mess… (do they call the canteen ‘mess’ literally…?).While at home, I used to always wish for dinners out… at least once a week we ensured that we had dinner out, ostensibly to give mom a break but actually coz we believed that the REAL food was in hotels. But, at home during the odd weekend from hostel, I just wanted my mom’s food… any vegetable, any main course… nothing mattered anymore.

I do not get to cook much at home… but the days I do, I try to cook the way my mom does… she is miles away from me… giving out the recipe on the phone… I try to remember how her tadka smelt when I dunk mustard into hot oil… I try to remember the color of her tomato gravy and wonder whether mine matches that…

I do succeed at times… I guess I have lucky genes… n the days I do match up to her, I am happy… I have somehow thanked her for all she did in those days I was difficult… those days when I used to make faces at her vegetable and leave the rice untouched for want of a better curry…

I do not live with my mom anymore… if U still do, lucky u… and if u don’t, I am sure u also feel like I do… coz Mother’s Recipe is so unique… even the best cordon bleu chef pales in comparison…!!!


Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Exam called Life…

It is amazing how, at times, some routine thing like a forwarded message or an email gets you thinking about something profound… an SMS I received some time back caught my attention… it said:

‘Just when we get all the answers of Life, God changes the question paper… That’s Life!’

Ring a bell somewhere…? The biggest nightmare for any student is to realize he has prepared chapter 5 for the test and it turns out he needed to cram chapter 4… right?

Uncertainty in anything is probably something people hate. How wonderful if we are always certain… that there are no doubts and peace reigns…!!! Not really? Exactly!! The uncertainty is what wakes us up every morning… I wake up every weekday wondering what cases I will be handling in office today and I rise on every weekend imagining how the holiday would go.
As a kid in school, my only desire was to graduate and be a school teacher… ya… fab teacher I would’ve made… ;-) but then, as I grew older, I got enamored by the ‘intelligent kids do only science-maths’ thing… at one point of time I sucked so bad at math that I prayed to god to make me 15 soon, so that I could go to college and kick the math out…!! But I turned 15 and god changed the QP… with a 99% in math as well as science I was in the 11th std with both… n a major uncertainty in life whether to be a doc or an engineer…!!!

A few years later, as an engineering student, I loved looking at the green n red triangles during the market updates in the 9 o’clock NDTV news… so NIFTY n SENSEX are up… yeah… but what it meant to anyone, I was clueless…!!!

4 years and an engineering degree later, yes, the QP changed again… as an MBA student, the SENSEX n NIFTY were much more than green n red triangles to me… so much so, against my parents’ fond hope that I would go into HR, I jumped headlong into finance. I believed then that I had all the answers… after MBA, cool life in an apartment in a big city… 12 hr wrk days, Friday night parties and a cool pay packet… majjani life…. Right…? WRONG…!!!

So I got married… n there my life somersaulted to an extent I could have ever imagined… since the last 3 years, the QP changes daily… n I m the circus juggler with too many rings to handle n just 2 hands…

As Geet said in ‘Jab We Met’ … ‘Babajee boring bana do jee ab is raat ko’ I also cry… God…Give me the answers fast n don’t u dare change the QP again…!!! But anyway… God shall be God… n I, measly mortal, will be left grappling all my life…

“Do ur best and leave the rest”, said Swami Chinmayananda… a dear friend reminded me the same thing recently… QP will keep changing… just make sure u r prepared… and as I continue to make sense of it, the Exam called Life is ticking away…!!!


Tuesday, May 25, 2010


I love it when I get compliments… “u r lukin gud”… “hey… pink is ur color… lukin lovely”… I remember the days I spent in the shadow of hideously large glasses, a bob hair cut totally unsuitable and skin invisible under a layer of angry red pimples (ouch… ugh!!). Now that I m presentable and receive compliments instead of pity for my looks, I really look forward to compliments.

As the lithe n sophisticated Kurti-chudidar wearing working woman in Mumbai (ok, the specs are still der, just smaller and sleeker but the hair is longer… like dimple kapadia’s in Ram Lakhan!!!) I can surely send my snaps for those ‘before and after’ type pics which show what changes confidence can bring in you.

But sadly, I have no flow of compliments from hot tall dark n handsome men… (;-))… instead… who do I have enamored… Unclejis…!!! Yeah… unclejis… those portly middle aged men, who, probably decent family men at home, are sadly footloose when they step out… Cases in point are chronicled below:

Uncle 1:
Bald, pot bellied and carrying a red school bag on 1 shoulder (???!!!), uncle 1 is typical of the Mumbai service class. A chance encounter while travelling together in a share rick to the rly stn one day got us talking about very important topics like the weather and lack of bus frequency. A few days and a few innocuous hi’s later here is what transpired on one bus trip to station:

He: (smile)
Me (in my BIBA kurti): (smile)
Bus reaches station.
Me: (smile)
He: ‘Tumi kiti chhaan diste madam… khoob cute diste!!!’ {means “u r lukin very cute” in Marathi}
Me: :-0!!!! escape…!!! :- )))

Uncle 2:
Cooling glass wearing uncle, Uncle has never complimented me. BUT… he decided to take my ticket in the bus (gave him a gud dressing down, stopped it!!!). Ever since I have noticed his ‘U Mangalore I also Mangalore’ buddy buddy looks coming my way … doesn’t help that how much ever I try to avoid him he HAS to catch my attention… even if it means jumping a few feet on the platform so that he can land himself in my path so I am forced to mumble a Hi… needless to say scaring me out of my wits when the only thought in my mind is to be in place to jump into the upcoming local (sigh!!)

Now mornings at the bus stop have me looking around surreptitiously from the corner of my eye to spot the presence of either of the uncles.

But some wise man has said ‘Something is better than nothing”. So maybe I should just count my blessings and be happy with the compliments I receive… even if they r from Uncleji(s)…!!!!

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The Train

Before u press the panic buttons, let me explain, this is not a review of the Emraan Hashmi starrer released a few years back… (o u didn’t remember it, sorry!!!). This post is about the lifeline of all Mumbaikars… n now, since I m a certified ‘Mubaikar’, it is my duty to introduce u to the most happening thing here… The Mumbai Local Train…!!!

Trains for me used to be blue with narrow entrances which would take me to my Naani in Mumbai. But now, the train is my daily workout session… The Mumbai local can teach u to dodge 3 women shouting abuses at each other even while u have ur ears plugged in with the FM playing ‘Mumbai Local’ with RJ Mantra AND the latest ‘People’ Mag in ur hand AND standing on one foot (PHEW…!!!). My arms r now much better toned than 3 years back due to holding the railing with dear life and my feet r much more nimble due to regularly jumping into running trains for want of the elusive seat.

The Mumbai local is a 9/12 coach train with general compartments (1st and 2nd class, for all), ladies compartments (1st and 2nd class for ladies), luggage compartments (for the famous dabbawallahs and also bhaji wallahs and phool wallahs) and the Handicapped compartment (within which u mostly find perfectly normal people who want some peaceful travel and also know to dodge the TC). It is on an average filled to five or six times its capacity with the rest of the hapless public on the footboards or doing a ‘Chaiyya Chaiyya’ on the roof. I have the privilege of travelling in the 2nd class ladies compartment. Travelling is similar to watching an Abbas Mustan movie… the twists n turns r unpredictable, the dialogues trashy, n there is not a single low moment…!!!

But the ladies coach also gives u ‘train friends’ i.e. people who travel with u daily… u may not know their names or what they do… but u know that if u faint in the heat or get hit while entering, they will swoop down on u n take care of u till u reach ur destination.
For a small towner, the Mumbai local might be overwhelming… but just for some time… once u get the hang of it, u r sold… and u don’t want to travel any other way for the rest of ur Mumbai life… the Mumbai local is a racy pacy thriller which does not shy from adding that little sub plot in between… a song, a tender scene… something which gives u a peek into the soul of the blockbuster…

And that why, the Mumbai Local Train is what it is…a SUPERHIT…!!!


The Phoenix

It s over 3 years since I actually got down to blogging, regularly that is… my last post might at best be treated as an aberration… the rambling of a mind which just wanted to check its nick after making a 180 degree turn in life. So the point was rusty n the words tired… but not anymore…

Like a Phoenix, which lives its life over and over again after getting extinguished in flames each time, I m back. Profound thanks to JK Rowling for introducing us to this wonderful creature…

3 years can change a person a lot. And, maybe not… there are things that never change, n hopefully, my thirst to write remains the same… and one thing I hope never changes is, the Enigma of being me… there is a thrill in the unknown which the known can never compete with.

And, I thank my dear friends (Nisha, Ray, Sherwin, Vinod) for pulling me out of my stupor… so if my ramblings get too heavy… u know whom to blame…!!!

So cheers to a new beginning… I hope I don’t get extinguished before I live an entire life again…!!!