Category: random

If we were having coffee together – 7 #wordsmatter

If we were having coffee together – 7 #wordsmatter

The maid has just left. The house smells of Colin and Lizol – fresh, inviting. As I step out into the balcony, the sky is thick with clouds, the air redolent with the promise of rain. It’s a beautiful day and I feel ‘settled’ like I haven’t felt in a long time.

If you were here and we were having coffee together, I’d tell you I’d finally found peace in this new home of mine. Together we’d raise a cheer to that – you with your extra strong coffee and I with my ginger tea – each with our preferred ‘hot beverage’, as Sheldon would put it :-).

You’d smile at the Big Bang reference, relieved to see me well and truly out of the dumps just as I was happy to be out of them. I’d apologise for having been fretful and whiny over the last month but you’d brush that off with a wave of your hand. That’s what friends are for, aren’t they? you’d say and I’d agree wholeheartedly.

If we were having coffee together I’d tell you that life had definitely been looking up for me since we last got together. I’d tell you about this house which was slowly, surely turning into a home. It was only now that I was beginning to truly appreciate it.

I’d tell you about other friends who had dropped by in happy batches exclaiming over each new fixture, opening cupboards and peering inside with the ease of long friendship, suggesting reading nooks and writing corners. I’d tell you how they’d complimented my freshly arranged bookshelves, picking out books to borrow.

I’d wonder if perhaps it was their excitement that had endeared the home to me. Does this happen with you sometimes – that looking at something through someone else’s eyes changes your view of it? That a glum lonely space suddenly becomes warm and cosy? It echoes with the memory of love and laughter long after everyone has gone.

It is this memory that wraps itself around me like a comforting hug as I go about my day prompting me to open my heart and home to more friends. I stock up happy memories, collecting them like Shylock hoarded gold coins, chasing away the gloom of the past few months.

If we were having coffee together I’d tell you how I had been inhabiting the kitchen more often, finding pleasure in going back to some of my favourite recipes. I’d tell you of the time I’d delighted in laying out a full homemade ‘party’ meal despite my rather limited cooking skills.

Together we’d look outside my window and watch the rain that was now coming down in a gentle pitter-patter. We’d watch the sparrows sheltering in the trees and I’d point out my plants that were slowly coming back to life, sprouting new leaves, making a new beginning.

Just like me.

Things weren’t perfect, but then perfection is a mere dream, I’d muse. It isn’t, you’d correct me, it exists scattered in small moments like this one, you’d tell me and together we’d laugh at our philosophical ramblings as we drain our cups and head out to meet the rest of the day.

So tell me dear friend, how is life treating you? What would you share if we were having coffee together?

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I am participating in the #wordsmatter bloghop. I received this tag from Pooja Priyamvada who blogs at Second Thoughts First and I’m happy to pass on the tag to Rachna at Rachna SaysDo follow the #WordsMatter Blog Hop and prepare to be surprised!

The elevator hates me

The elevator hates me

*I solemnly swear that all instances quoted in the piece below are absolutely true. No really, it’s all true.*

N was down with loose motions and I was just back from the medical store. I stood in the lower basement waiting with my thoughts on my girl hoping she’d have been fine in my absence and wishing the elevator would hurry along.

When the elevator didn’t arrive for a while, I realised one was stuck on floor 6 while the other was on floor 11. I pushed the button again, not that it was required or made any difference, but finally, the one on 6 moved, I relaxed. It reached the ground floor and stopped. ‘Really?’ thought I, ‘today of all days?’ I willed it to come down.

It didn’t.

After a long lazy pause the one on the 11th floor began to creak its way down. It reached the ground floor and then .. yeah, it stopped too. I was almost stamping my feet in frustration and heading towards the stairs when it moved again and finally reached me.

That’s just one instant when the elevator has acted weirdly with me.
It hates me!

There I said.

This sounds like the rambling of a batty old woman but it’s true. I know it because this isn’t the first time something crazy like this has happened.

The first germ of suspicion was planted in my mind way back during my working days in Mumbai when on an official trip to the Stock Exchange one day the elevator went part way and came to a stand still. That, on a 20-something floor.

It stood there, a smirk on its face, (or so it seemed to me), enjoying my mounting panic. Mercifully a colleague was with me and we sounded the alarm. After much hoohaa the doors were prised open and we found ourselves stuck between two floors – too high to climb up, too low to jump down. It really seems easy in films. In real life, however, you either need to be the really sporty kind or have a spiderman boyfriend to bail you out. Since I am/had neither, a tall stool was positioned so we could step down to freedom.

Then recently, as I stepped into the elevator I saw a lady rushing towards it. Even before she motioned to me to keep it waiting for her I was reaching out for the ‘keep door open’ button. I threw her a reassuring smile to say that I was holding it for her. However, the elevator had other plans. Slowly, inexorably it started to shut. No matter how hard I jabbed at the button the doors continued on. I tried to wedge my foot but the otherwise all too sensitive sensors pretended not to sense it at all. Knowing my history with elevators, I had a feeling it would squash my foot with a wicked happy happiness and so I pulled back, and just in time too. Then, right before my horrified eyes (and the lady’s very very annoyed eyes) the lift shut with a gentle malicious click.

I imagined what it would have seemed to the lady – That I smiled at her and then shut the elevator in her face. What kind of a mean person would do that?

She now refuses to acknowledge me when she bumps into me and my hopes of making friends in this new place have died a silent death.

That’s not all. Each time I’m in a hurry I’ll be sure to find both elevators stuck on the floor furthest from me. And when I try to summon them, I can almost hear them arguing.

‘You go’

‘No you go’

‘I went last time’

‘So what you were just a floor away’

‘I don’t care. It’s your turn.’

… and so on. Quite like H and N when I call them for a chore.

If I hesitate for a moment, or stop to pick up my bag or pause to smile at someone, it tries to squish me. Once it carried away my stole, carried it right away in its evil jaws, even as I barely managed to save myself.

I’ve now taken to dashing in and diving out without giving it a chance to mess with me. Of course that means I sometimes knock over unsuspecting people. And then no matter how much I apologise and try to explain this strange vengeance, I come out looking stupid. All the while I can see the elevator laughing its mean laugh and if I as much as turn to give it a nasty look in return, I further damage my credibility.

What? Did I hear you say the elevator is an inanimate object and cannot have feelings? Hah! You, dear sir, have no idea!

I’m not crazy, okay?

Random ramblings about leftover rotis

Random ramblings about leftover rotis

The other day about half an hour after dinner H said, ‘I am hungry. Can I have a roti?’ The only emotion I felt at that question was annoyance.

It had been barely five minutes since I’d wiped down and cleared up the kitchen and the last thing I wanted to do was to pull out the entire roti-making paraphernalia and roll out one for him.

It’s another matter that I also dislike the idea of him eating anything half an hour after a meal only because he was in too much of a hurry to get back to whatever he was doing while having lunch.

Of course I can make a few spare ones but the thing is I hate/dread left over chapatis. I have no idea what to do with them. Oh I do have an idea, many ideas, actually, but most of them require either too much effort or some form of deep frying – both of which I am averse to.

Re-heating doesn’t make them palatable and the maid doesn’t want any. Cows and stray dogs are not so common around here, even if I could gather the courage to seek them out to feed them. And I do hate throwing food in the bin. So I’m pretty stuck, unless I resign myself to eating stale chapatis.

How did the past generations manage.. 

…I sometimes wonder – my grandmom and my mom. The number of people who would be around for lunch or dinner was often fluid. People would flow in and out all the time. Very often whoever visited at lunch/dinner time was asked to join in. And Boy! did they have appetites!

What’s worse, one could never ever, repeat, never ever, ask people how many chapatis they would eat. It would have set tongues wagging and become the worse kind of family folklore in the entire extended community as the epitome of bad manners. I can clearly imagine the whispers, ‘So and so asked so and so how many rotis will you eat.’ Yup, it would been quite the scandal. The person who had been thus humiliated would probably severe all relations with the family of that insolent woman.

In any case counting wouldn’t have really been required back then because rotis were supposed to be made and served hot and fluffy, as and when various members sat down to eat.

A story goes..

..that when my maternal grandfather (my mom’s uncle) would sit to eat and my mom, not really famous for her patience, would ask him how many more chapatis she should make for him, he would shake his head and reply with a rather vague and completely non-committal, ‘I’m eating.’

She had little patience with this tiresome tradition but was fortunate in that the trickle of random guests had all but died down by the time her generation took over. It was only occasionally that she had to chip in. I have to add here that this is her own uncle we’re talking about or else she wouldn’t have dared to voice that question. Also, my mom has been quite the revolutionary. She broke many traditions, which worked really well for us, easing the way ahead.

That brings me back to my quandary

As the children are growing, specially H, their appetites vary from day to day. Sudden growth spurts make them sometimes more sometimes less hungry from one day to the next. And so either I’m stuck with stale rotis or I don’t have enough.

After thought: I’m seriously considering adopting a stray.

Memories and random ramblings

Memories and random ramblings

The other day I was reading this post at Pins and Ashes about memories and how she stored them in her head. She said she deleted the bad ones and stored away the good ones into neat little boxes like we store earrings.

I realised I did it the earring way too but not quite like her. I did it the way I store earrings which, by the way, I am very fond of. I have loads of them and have a box with squares to store them too. However barely any two of a pair are in the same box. They are all together in one big jumble along with bracelets, bangles and what not. If there is some vague organisation it would be in order of how much I love them and how often I wear them. So the gold-diamond-garnets  might be in the same box as one I picked up at the roadside in Goa.

That’s quite how my memories are stored – here there and all over the place – the good ones and the bad ones all mixed together so it is almost impossible to separate the two. When I pick one up another one comes dangling along and I have no idea which one it might be. A small inconsequential one, might be jumbled up with a large important one like an inane remark someone made years ago at an office party, or the clothes a friend wore a decade ago at a school social or some random interaction at the bus-stop between two people I don’t even know.

Then along comes someone and I begin to dig into this chaos to find something to say. If that someone is a mere acquaintance I’d be tiptoeing around in my head thinking ‘which is a safe memory I can share?’. The conversation will be stilted at best.

However if it’s a friend, I pull them all out pell-mell without worrying. The conversation then comes spilling forth, without a pause, one thing leading to another, stories, thoughts, feelings, emotions all together. And if you’re my kind of friend you’ll probably be doing the same till we’re struggling to get in a word, completing each others sentences, agreeing and disagreeing vehemently, laughing hard, probably annoying people around us and then wondering where the time went.

So how do you do it? All organised? Or is it a crazy place up there?
Of rude strangers at coffee shops

Of rude strangers at coffee shops

The other day as I was at a coffee shop with an ex colleague in walked this man. ‘Black coffee with milk on the side,” he tossed out loudly over his shoulder and settled down on one of the sofas with a friend.

A few minutes later we heard raised voices. The man was yelling at the staff – You have NO idea what a black coffee is and you work in a coffee shop!! You bloody f****** Indians . . . . . No don’t call them becharas (poor things). That’s exactly why they do nothing to improve themselves. We’re too soft with them . . . . . . . . DON’T, DON’T say sorry. Save it up for your bosses when they fire you.”

I had my back to the man and I turned to look just as every other customer in the coffee shop. The verbal barrage was vicious and brutal and very loud. It left us stunned and silent. Oh and in case you are wondering he was very much an Indian. I wanted to say something, anything. Something in support of the boy at the counter, anything to stop the man. But I couldn’t. All I could do was throw the rude man a furious look and turn back to my colleague. The man quietened down after a while.

My friend and I continued our conversation that ranged from books and my blog to his job with a newspaper. When my friend got up to go to the counter I heard a 
“What’s your name?” addressed to my back.

It was the rude man. He was alone; his friend had apparently left.
“Why would I tell you?” I asked half turning to him, still infuriated.
“Because I’m a writer too. I write scripts for soaps at Balaji Telefilms.”
I put a mental black strike against television soaps and their writers even as he seemed completely unaware of my reaction. He simply went on to enumerate the soaps he had written and how “people like me” would probably find them boring. For a moment I wondered if it was the same man at all. It really was like he was a different man, like the nasty scene hadn’t happened, or at least as if he wasn’t responsible for that vitriolic attack.
I was too outraged to get into a conversation with him. I nodded/shook my head dismissively as my friend returned to the table. Then finally when we were leaving he called out a ‘God Bless You’ from his corner!!
I am still stunned at this volte-face. Did he not realise how rude he had been? Did the boy at the counter not matter to him at all? Or did he think as a ‘creative person’ or a minor celebrity he had the right to ‘mood swings’? And worse, did he think I condoned his outburst?
Most definitely, yes!

What irked me even more was my reaction. I wish I had made my displeasure obvious. I could have asked him to keep his voice down while he was shouting. I could have completely ignored his attempts at a conversation I truly didn’t want to be a part of. Better still, I could have mentioned his earlier outburst.

However, none of this happened.
It was only later that I thought of scores of ways in which I could have expressed my distaste for his behaviour. For many many hours I couldn’t stop thinking of the boy at the coffee shop whose day had probably been ruined. 
Does this ever happen to you – this inability to verbalise your feelings – specially negative ones even though you know you should? How do you react to rude strangers? Would you consider reacting even if the rudeness isn’t directed at you? 

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

On my other blog: Beat About The Book

What’s your God like? #BookBytes 20

What’s your God like? #BookBytes 20

Welcome dear friends to another edition of BookBytes. Recently, the son received an abridged version of Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster as a return gift at one of his friend’s birthdays. One glance at the book and he rejected it outright. Children can be surprisingly, annoyingly choosy about their reads. Besides, no self-respecting 13-year-old […]