I don’t know if he got it from me or if I got it from him,
but the clownishness was apparent from a very early age!
I don’t know if he got it from me or if I got it from him,
the spirit of playing the fool, being utterly goofy, and still be joy of many lives!
I don’t know if it was his decision or mine…
to be the keeper of all secrets, giver of much warmth,
be companion for days good and bad,
shouldering worries and wiping tears
and being the ultimate promise of love and togetherness.
Of all the coughing.
Of reaching home, throwing laptop on bed, changing, and immediately leaving for choir practice.
Of hunger pangs all through practice.
Of cough-induced backpain.
Of reaching back rather late for dinner.
Of waiting for a dinner that I ordered and didn’t come for the next 1.5 hours!
Of a lot of other things as well, while we’re at it (but I’ll spare you all).
Of not having had the mindspace to think of a good enough topic to blog on, resorting to rant and ending up in what can be called a cheat post.
Int he past seven months I’ve been here, I’ve been ill so many times, it’s just not funny anymore 😦 Yes, new place, new climatic conditions, all that I get. but this is just a bit too much!
A few weeks into reaching here, I developed this really bizarre pain in my feet. It was on my left foot first, then it moved to the right. And it was so bad, I could not walk! So, I took 2 days off work in my first month itself.
Then once I thought that was over, it came back! I took a day off again.
Then once that was truly over, I sprained my back and neck and could not really move much. So, I took 2 days off again!
Then I went to India for 2 days 🙂 It was a happy time…though coming back was not! On the way to the airport, I knew I was falling sick. I landed back here, came home and fell sick for a full week. It was HORRIBLE! I took 5 days off. Not to mention that it was Ramadan time — worst time to fall sick. And my support system was on annual leave in India. I really saw stars. Bah.
Then, last month, I fell sick — bad case of viral attack — and was in bed for a week again! 5 days off!
Three weeks ago, I developed this rather annoying cough, and all kinds of associated feverishness. I have been battling it ever since. Though I’m far better, the cough still persists. It is so annoying. And rather tiring.
What is it with this place and me? 😦 I think Kuwait dislikes me as much as I dislike it. Well, I don;t dislike the place, I just dislike the whole thing of being alone. Not what I prefer. At all.
I am still in close contact with a few of my ex-colleagues from Accenture, and they are stunned. At the sheer number of times I’ve been unwell and off work ever since i left Accenture. In my 2.5 years there, I have taken a sick leave only one or twice, and both times for just a day each. Even on those days, it was more an “I don’t feel well enough to dress up and go to work” rather than an “I’m not well enough to work”. I worked from home even on those rare cases of sick leaves! I’ve been called a workaholic, I’ve been accused of having no life, I’ve been branded an Accenture slave 😛 But whatever it be, I was never sick and unwell.
It was on 3 November 2012 that I passed my driving test and was branded a legal driver! A month later, I got the DL as well. And then, just twice I got behind the wheel, the husband in tow — once with the dear friend, Queen of Subtlety; once just good self. The first time, husband said he is at peace when she is driving, but I give him the jitters. After the second time, he refused to sit with me anymore. Apparently, he just could not muster the courage to sit with me 😦 He said I was free to take the car out by myself and go (like I needed his permission for that, pffft!). I joked that I would do just that and if I hit someone, I would give him a call. He said “Don’t call me!” Bah!
And that was when my confidence and hopes of driving the car my myself found their way slowly into the drains of Koramangala! Many months passed. I continued taking the bus and the auto, when not riding pillion or sitting on the left front seat. Every time I opened the wallet, I would see my DL. I’d think of how my mom also has an over 30-year old DL sweetly sitting in her wallet. began considering getting mine framed and hanging it on the wall!
And then, I moved house. Husband left the country to pursue studies. I was on my own. With two little kids 🙂 And THAT is when it began hitting me. I felt handicapped. Everything was becoming difficult. And it freaked me out that if something were to suddenly happen to Pumbaa or Khloe, there was no guarantee that I’d be able to get them help as quickly as they may need it. I’d have to depend on autos and in this country, no one cares for animals and their lives 🙂 Several people promised to come sit with me and help me practice. But no one ever found the time. And truth be told, I myself wasn’t confident.
Every morning, I’d get ready for work, leave the building, cross the road and wait for an auto — and I’d look straight and see my car in the parking lot. The frustration then, aaarrghh! Once every 2-3 days, I’d start the car, move it a bit, reverse it back into position and go back home. Just so the engine doesn’t forget it has the capability to come to life and move! As each day passed, I was itching more and more to just take the car and drive off.
On April 12, Saturday, the dearest friend finally took pity on me and accompanied me on a driving practice session. When I said I have not driven in a year and 4 months, I could see the 😮 in the eyes and a “GULP” go down the throat 😀 We went on to NICE Road, from where I took the car and drove to Electronic City. We were hitting Bommanahalli and I was warned it could be bad. I expected mad traffic and madder people crossing the roads like it’s their courtyard. What I did NOT expect was to get bang in the middle of a MAJOR traffic jam 😀 Well, one had to get out of it, and I did. And then I drove all the way back to J.P Nagar, took the car into the apartment complex and parked it. Exhilaration like HOW!
Of course, I wasn’t perfect. My sense of judgement of the width of the vehicle…especially on the left side was not too great, and I had trouble stopping the vehicle from rolling back on a slope and not realizing/reacting quickly enough to hit the brakes. But I had a strange sense of calm, of not getting worked up and scared and unsure on the road. That surprised me! I expected to get unnerved and go blink blink in the middle of the road. I was extremely worried that my friend would be hanging on to dear life and being immensely uncomfortable — but apparently, that was not the case either. Hmmm, not bad, I thought. For someone getting behind the wheel after nearly a year and half, I did a decent job. We planned to practice the next day too, so I could address me ‘areas of improvement’ and start driving to work from Monday.
Plans are also meant to be broken. Practice session wasn’t happening. But I was not willing to lose that tempo and all that confidence again.
On Sunday, I woke up, made up my mind, took the car and drove off! Just me and the car. I started off from J.P. Nagar 7th Phase and went all the way to Koramangala — through the crazy main roads and via Silk Board (if you know Bangalore, you’d know how crazy Silk Board can get) — and came back home. No casualties, no scratches, no traffic holdups, no getting yelled at, absolutely no glitches.
And all the while, I could NOT believe I was driving on real roads (read scary Bangalore roads) all by myself. With no one to depend on. No one to support me if I were to get into a mess. And every once a while, I’d have a smile on my face and loudly go “YAY, I’m driving!” I got a few odd looks from people on the road — but what the hell. I was too happy to not go YAY.
I was BEAMING as I walked back home. Reached home, thanked my friend profusely for sparing those few hours the previous day (darling, you have NO IDEA how grateful I am to you, eternally so!), and then called my parents to tell them. Hehe. They were shocked. My mom of course did not believe I did something like that. My dad was thrilled and super proud of me. My brother was thrilled too. I was, of course, on Cloud 29 😀 Late evening, i again took the car out, to experience “night driving.” Starting Monday, I began driving to work. Yay.
I also took Pumbaa and Khloe in the car, ALL BY MYSELF, to a pet stay before going on a team trip the past weekend. All you people who told me it is ‘difficult, dangerous and impossible to drive with two dogs by yourself’ — ha! You all told me “someday when you have to do it, you’ll know what we mean” — I did it, as a mere 6-day old driver, and I STILL do NOT see what you ever meant. Always know that if you throw a challenge at me, it’ll be taken (even if a little late)! 😛
I am at peace now. I can drive.
Yes, I admit — like I’ve admitted in this space many times in the past — I’m a true blue Malayali, and happily so. I love the yummy “Mallu food” as it is popularly called, I love Malayalam movies and songs, I love going to Kerala, and I love hearing someone talk in Malayalam around me when I’m out of Kerala. I love my Onams and my Vishus and my Thrissur Poorams and my Sree Padmanbha’s Arattu and my Pongalas (well, that one, not so much).
So, it should be no surprise to any of you that I had no idea about Karwa Chauth whatsoever. Well, that’s not entirely true. I’ve seen it in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Ishq Vishk and DDLJ (in that order), and never thought much of it. Those days, I was a happy, single girl and I dismissed it as something only married ‘aunties’ do (besides love-struck girls in Hindi movies). Plus, it was a North Indian ‘thing’ I had no clue about. Not to mention the fact that where Hindi is concerned, I’m like “bhaiyon aur behno…chor machaaye shor. chorine pidikal hamara kaam hey…hoom…hai”! All I knew was that Karwa Chauth had something to do with going hungry all day, cribbing about irresponsible husbands/husbands-to-be and staying up on the terrace all night, looking at the full moon like it is a blue-moon night 😀 Why, in fact, it was quite recently that I realised the word is actually Karwa Chauth and not Karwa Chatth — what with everyone doing something on the terrace and all that.
So well, when a friend said she was looking for a young married girl to share her views on Karwa Chauth and identified me as a prospect, I almost gagged. Had she not heard her sister’s favourite phrase “Know your audience, honey!” enough times already!? That’s when she rephrased the request and made it sound like it could also be a “fresher’s view” on Karwa Chauth. Had nothing to counter that one!
So here I am. Writing an authentic piece on ‘My first ever Karwa Chauth’. Discovering this tradition and the romance associated with it. Using technology to walk me through the rituals and some amazing mehendi designs. And likely to actually celebrate it on a 136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9 mm screen, where I will be able to stalk the moon to the hour, minute and second of its rising, look at it through a 13MP camera that magically transforms into a “chalni“, and snoop around on the Moon for a shiny gift that is ‘Pure Jewellery. Pure Joy’. However, one must hope the husband volunteers to be the next Neil Armstrong because he will need to first find a spot on the Moon to dig one tiny hole to bury the gift along with a love note — written or spoken!
Right. Before you think I’ve moved from fluent Malayalam to broken Hindi to absolute Greek and Latin, let me clarify what I’m talking about.
Imagine Karwa Chauth. Reminisce on the family get-togethers. Go daft about the glittery attires and the mehendi-laden hands. Smack your lips at the thought of some awesome food at the end of a long hungry day! Agonise over how today’s busy schedules leave you with no time to follow rituals. Pity the daughters who will perhaps never know the joy that Karwa Chauth was in your younger days. Lean on the pile of nostalgia, and let out a long, deep sigh. Then, pull out your mobile phone.
Relive tradition through an app. Celebrate it on an Android. Gaze at the Moon, and then at your husband, through a megapixel sieve! Imagine that the Moon holds a treasure in one of its many craters, and your husband has the secret key to the treasure chest. Enjoy treasure hunts where he sends you hints through SMS. Romance him till he can no longer hold it from you. Walk with him, hand in hand, excavating the Moon till you find your special gift.
Thank Tanishq. For giving you the joy of having Karwa Chauth in the palms of your hands through this app!
Thought I was just a ‘sample’ to review an app, I enjoyed the experience. I learnt that the sieve is called a chalni. I am enlightened to the fact that the Sasumaa is this amazing person who will send you an elaborate pre-dawn Karwa Chauth meal, and top it with gifts! I realise that fasting from the break of dawn, without eating anything till dusk falls, has some advantages — like not having to do any household work 😀 That ‘baya’ is a gift given to your mother-in-law or sister-in-law by you or your mother, and that it’s perhaps the ONLY day when the wives (at least by this country’s tradition) get to eat before their husbands, and that too, by being fed by them! 😀 However, the best part for most would be the Tanishq gallery the app gives access to, if you’re a jewellery lover!