Simple pleasures in life !

Today, I had been reading a very interesting article in the IE, about the simple pleasures in life. The author had went to describe how it was more pleasurable to read a novel in the train and in the side look out for the next snack that will be doing the rounds. He had also explained how he is unable to enjoy such things now, as our lifestyle has changed dramatically.

This clicked on my thought process.

Oh ! how many small, simple things made me happy when I was young !!!!!

I am very fond of train travel (even now). When I was young, me and my sister went along with our aunt to Ahmedabad (my uncle used to live there). The journey was 2 days up and 2 days down. And it never bothered us as to what we’ll do for 2 days in the train. We played a multitude of games, befriended a lot of kids in the train and had so much fun. The best part was we both sat and wrote down the name of every station we crossed / stopped. And we cross checked it while travelling back home. That’s one train journey which I’ll never forget.

My grandmother (my dad’s mom) holds a special place in my heart ( I think not only mine, but in all her grandchildren). She has such soft hands that I’ll be waiting for the weekends, when she’ll oil massage my hair and body. That afternoon nap after the bath, was my favourite. She also allowed me to sleep on her lap or shoulder ( in our households, the grandparents are into so much of rituals and customs, that they refrain others from touching them). My grandmother was an exception. She found ways to twist rules, to make us happy. The best part I remember about her, is the way she used to make small balls of curd rice and put it on our palms to make us eat, all the while fabricating such wonderful stories. In the center of the curd rice ball, she’ll press a little with her finger and in that, she’ll pour a little sambar or keep a piece of mango pickle. Oh ! It tasted so delicious, that all of us will be gobbling more than we could possibly eat. I’ve still not found anything that equated that simple pleasure of eating curd rice, from the hands of my grandmother.

Me and my sister have this rapport for talking on for hours together, without getting BORED. We can talk about anything, but over a hot cup of tea. When both of us were in our teens, we had spent so much time chatting that we were oblivious to the world around us. This is another of life’s simplest pleasures which I treasure.

Oh ! This blog will be incomplete if Md Rafi is not mentioned. This genius’ voice is such a soother / stress buster / call it anything – that I literally worship him. Such is the versatility of his voice, that he can sing any number – duet, solo, sad song, gazals, almost anything. Listening to him / his voice / his songs was the top most in my list of simple pleasures in life. I still listen to him but nowadays, it has become a rarity, with two teenagers behind me all the time.

There are so many to this list and I am deeply thinking about them all, which might continue in my next blog. But till such time, I am glad to have listed a few of those things which made me so happy. I am smiling as I write this and I will be very happy to write more about these simple things.

I am praying to God at this juncture, for everybody to relive their simple pleasures, as they give more meaning to life than materialistic things.

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Obsession

People have such strange obsessions in life.
Ask my S to know about mine, which I think have been kept quite a secret so far. Here I am trying to explain about only one of those. So, why this revelation now ?
Maybe, when people comment on my post, I’ll get to know about the weird things, which they are obsessed with and the whole process might turn out to be very funny, indeed.
Isn’t this a great job to do to spend all those lazy summer afternoons ?
OK, coming to the point of discussion, I’ve this strange quality of collecting carry bags. You name them and I’ll have them.
Yes, you’re absolutely right in guessing that carry bags are those plastic bags in which you’re handed over the stuff you buy in shops, malls etc.
Just imagine that I’ve shopped for 3 salwar suits and 2 sarees. Even before the bill is paid, I am near the delivery counter trying to make eye contact with the packing boy. That is actually to make him pack the 5 things in 5 different bags instead of one bag, as is usually done. I do all these silly things, if and only if, the carry bag is really good and has captured my heart with the design. I’ve a great eye for catchy design, mind you.
You should see my expression when somebody tries to borrow one carry bag from me. Those prized possessions, which were absolutely a delight to collect, is certainly not available for borrowing. But, I do give consideration to the people who ask me for it. If they are somebody whom I am really fond of or if I know that they’ll take very good care of the plastic bag just as I do, I might come down and give them one or two.
Of course, I do have a really good collection now. I love those wonderful smooth carry bags which I got in Dubai ( we had been there for a holiday ). The carry bags which you get at duty free shops are just awesome.
And when you give those bags collected with great difficulty to people, they sometimes use it as lunch bags, spill food inside and throw it away, I feel very sad about it.
I know, I know, this is absolutely weird and silly – this obsession with plastic carry bags. But what to do ? It is all this weird and silly things that make us as human beings.
So, are you obsessed with anything in life ?

PS – There are so many other things about which I am obsessed with, which I’ll share with you in the coming posts.

Golden moments !!!!

How many of us really enjoy watching the 24*7 TV music channels that telecast only the latest bollywood hits?

The songs shown are from the latest movies or the movies that are about to release shortly. Music from films released just 6 months back is considered OLD !!!!

I am not against these kind of music, actually I do like all kinds of music. But being exposed to these 24 *7 music channels day in and day out – courtesy my younger daughter – I rather felt out of touch with the film music, with which I grew up.

Then, finally, last week, I was rewarded for my patience.

One fine evening, I find myself in front of the TV, with the REMOTE in my hand, during the prime time slot 8pm – 9pm !!!!! My girls are still playing and my S has not yet got back home from work.

Wow, God has been really kind to bestow this gift on me. The REMOTE CONTROL was in my hand !!!!!

And, I was thrilled to the hilt, as I sat glued to Doordarshan’s Chitrahaar. For nearly an hour, I was in a different world, which I thought never existed for me anymore. Oh! My fav songs still come on Chitrahaar. The black and white melodies, the 70s duets – OMG ! I was so happy !

And, God being the ever so kind soul, was stretching the happiness bubble for me.

As I got up early on Sunday morning to send my daughters and my S for swimming, I found myself alone with the REMOTE again. And what a timing ! I was in for a visual treat, as it was time for Doordarshan’s Rangoli on Sunday mornings.

What a collection of songs !!!! WOW !!!!!
– Main naa booloonga mein naa booloongi, chandan sa bhadhan, tarif karoon kya usiki jisne tumhe banaya ………….

What a treat for me ! Thank you God for creating such wonderful opportunities for me, so that I was able to watch a collection of my favourite songs, after a very very very long time.

I sincerely hope that these Golden moments will continue for me !!!

My plans for the Summer !

At last, the Summer vacations have begun, of course, for my girls. And everybody keeps asking me – What are your plans for this vacation ? Where are you going ?

When I asked myself this question, I was absolutely sure of the answer, which is – I would love to chill at my home, sweet home.

But Why ? Why ? Why ?????

Now, let me justify my point. In a country like India, it’s hot or scorching hot during May, when summer is at its peak. So, even if I plan a trip, I am sure, I cannot escape from the hot rays of the burning sun. And how can I go on a sight seeing trip, when I am being barbecued alive?

OK. OK. I can go to a hill resort, where I can hide under the chill. But, how long can I do that ? May be a week ??? Then, I am again back to the hot, hot city, where I live.

Now that I’ve decided to stay put in my home during summer, what’s my agenda for the holidays ?

One thing is for definite – more cooking time – as the need for snacks increases when children are there at home. I’ve been gifted a wonderful baking recipes book by my best friend and I intend to try out a lot of things from the book. Cheers to the baker in me !

Also, I am planning to enroll my girls for some summer classes, which will keep them busy for a few hours everyday. This vacation is the right time for them to catch up with their hobbies, as the academic year is almost spent on studies. My God ! What a huge syllabus they cover in one year ? Worse still, is the need to keep up with the competition.

Fortunately, there is a swimming pool in our apartment, where I can fight against the terrible heat. At the same time, I’ll be battling against my belly bulge, through vigorous swimming exercises. Now, this is what I call as 3B – Battle with Belly Bulge.

Hey ! Now, some constructive thinking and planning are happening, I am sure that this vacation will keep us all busy. I am also desperately trying to win the 3B. Wish me luck for this battle.

Jantha hai mera COUSIN kaun hai ????

Morning News from Facebook : Uma, Barack Obama confirmed you as a cousin on We’re Related.

I don’t know whether I should be thrilled or happy about this new relation, which Facebook has found for me.

But one thing is for sure, I was rolling on the floor laughing my heart out.

Me and Barack Obama – COUSINS, eh ?????

Now, now, dear Facebook, you’ve made my hubby dear hesitate to come near me. He’s scared that one wrong move from his side and I’ll be on the next flight to G20 Summit to complain to Obama.

Oh my God ! Facebook made my day today !

Then and Now (Part II) – The Television

Since the Television is the centre piece in one’s living room and also because it has taken the prime times of enjoyment out of any body’s life, I’ve decided to allot one full blog about this wonderful TV.

Then – When I was young, we had only one TV Channel – THE DOORDARSHAN and that was the best for all of us. The whole family – starting from my grand parents till my youngest brother were so happy with the range of programs we all had. We had a regional channel of the Doordarshan(called Podhigai), which used to telecast Tamil programs during particular time slots. One movie per week, one collection of super hit songs in Tamil (1/2 hr program per week) – were the favourite programs in the whole Tamil Nadu.
Me and my sister used to watch the Hindi dominated Doordarshan and loved to watch Chitrahaar, Rangoli, Hindi movies. But with limited TV time, we had so much time to do other things – playing, cleaning the house, visiting relatives or friends, going to the temple, helping my mother in cooking and many more. This kind of helping around has moulded me to be a better person today.

Now – My Tata Sky has more than 130 channels, when not one of us even surf through them on a given day. I hardly watch TV and if I get to the remote, its my favorite Travel and Living. Very rarely, I get to watch a good English movie in HBO / Zee Studio / Star Movies.
My Mr.S is hooked onto the Sports and News Channel like the many other men in this whole wide world, but with his crazy work schedules, he manages only an hour a day. Of course, forgive him on those days when the Indian Cricket Team is out on any of the cricket grounds, for a ball by ball viewing and not to forget the highlights.
The NEWS channels are also too many and to make their programs to the top list, these channels make News out of nothing too. Too much of hype about sensitive issues have lead to serious consequences. It’s come to a stage, when we can’t watch even the NEWS channel along with our children – as you never know, what picture or image that’s making news will be aired next.
The kids have about 10 to 15 channels for themselves and mind it – ALL THE PROGRAMS ARE BORING !!!!!! Only one or two is good enough to watch for the time being. And I am sure that this is sure to change over the next six months. And these music channels – What will they do if they have to telecast music for 24 hrs a day ? Keep repeating a particular set of songs over and over, till my daughter learns them by-heart. Its too much for me to hear them on a daily basis.
As though all this is not enough, my daughter wants to switch to TATA SKY PLUS, where you can record programs which you are unable to watch at the time of telecast and view them at your own time of leisure. This one is sure to give me headaches. Because, I know I’ll be sweet talked to record programs for each member of the family, whenever they want it.
I just totally dislike the idea of planning your life based on the TV programs. There are some people who don’t like to entertain guests or visit others during the time of their favourite serials. Are the serials more important than your relatives / friends???? And these are the people, who’ll ignore a guest and continue watching their favourite soaps.
OK, with one TV per home, have the people learnt to share the view time with everybody in the family ? Then why a big war is fought for the mere possession of the REMOTE. Whoever has the Remote, has the Control !!!
As though all these are not enough, there are homes where there is a TV in the bedrooms too. I’ll be guilty, if I don’t accept that my home too is on this list. So, you sleep with a TV and wake up with one also. While kids watch the TV in the living area, my Mr. S watches in the bedroom. And imagine me shuttling between the lovable husband and my adorable daughters !!!
To conclude, let me put it like this – The Television is a necessary Devil in the any house. Let us allot specific time to watch one or two programs. Children can develop their creative abilities or pursue their passion (singing / dancing / crafts), instead of watching repeated telecasts in TV. Just, by talking so much about this TV, I am no way going to throw it out of my home. Let us learn to live with it but make sure that this IDIOT BOX doesn’t rule our HOMES !

Then and Now !

What is this – Then and Now ? Here I want to write about my childhood days in Then and my daughters related childhood happenings in Now. I always keep talking to my girls about this – when I was young, I used to do things like this and that. And so many talks have happened between us, that its time to blog them all.

Then – I had the freedom to play without being dampened by my school routines. Since we lived in houses (apartments were not there), the play area is the street in which we lived. And all the kids in the street joined together in evening, to play the same game everyday. I can even remember, that we’ve played the same run and catch for so many days. Then it was the seven pillars – that craze went on for so many days. Then it was the turn of Hopscotch, Kho Kho, Hide and Seek. What I want to tell is that we were not BORED of playing, as long as we played everyday.

Now – My girls are growing up in the apartment culture, where people from different parts of India live together. Its such a great thing as we get to know about various cultures. Even though there are enough children here to have 10 cricket teams, the surprising part is that these kids have formed groups among themselves – based upon whether their frequencies matching up. Huh ! And, I am more shocked by this line, – Ma, its boring – almost everyday. These children can’t play the same game even for 2 times in a row. That’s considered boring. So, in a two-hour playtime, how many games can they play without getting bored ? Their interest span, for anything, is very low.

Then – During play time, its only play, play, play. Of course, we also did our chit chat sessions, during break times. But never did any one of us brought the tape recorder or a radio out to play. First, it was so expensive to possess one, in those days. Second, the parents banned the kid to take any of the stuff out to play. And we were all more interested in playing together that we didn’t even think about taking the gadgets to the road.

Now – Any kid that comes to play, is attached to an ipod, mp3 player or at least a mobile phone, through the earphone jack. How can these children run and play, with a music player singing with them ? What is the need for such display of gadgets, while playing ?

Then – I have learnt carnatic music – it is a must for all kids in the traditional South Indian families. Me and my sister used to go this class together. And, in my class, we were taught the basic lessons through hearsay. No notes, to begin with. So, whatever the teacher teaches us today, we’ve to recite it by-heart in the next class. We learnt every lesson with such focus and concentration, that after 30 years, I am still able to recite them from memory.

Now – I also sent my girls to the music class – as is the tradition. Unfortunately for me, my eldest daughter decided that singing is not for her, at a very early age. And nothing I did, could make her go to the music class. The younger one has a good voice and started singing very well. When we shifted to our new home, the classes stopped just like that. Now, she just can’t remember the basic music lessons which she learned just 4 years back. Where is the focus of these children gone ? The filmi songs stay in mind, as the girls listens to it everyday – thanks to MTV, V or the various music players.

Then – There was no concept of maids in my home. So, me and my sister were allotted house hold chores from the beginning and it became an inherent part of my life. Before leaving home for school, I’ll have to sweep or mop the house and my sister will do other one. And we’ve to wash our clothes by ourselves, dry them in the terrace, before leaving to school. My mother will help us only in washing our uniforms. Sorry, no electronic help too in our house, then.

Now – I have a maid to clean the house and a washing machine to wash clothes. But, simple tasks like drying the clothes, putting the clothes in the laundry basket, setting the table for lunch / dinner and then cleaning the table, have to be given as instructions everyday. Today’s children are lost in their own world, that all these things are taken for granted – ma will do it attitude.

Then – The world was a better place, then, for my parents to leave me unattended while playing on the streets. Me and my sister used to walk to school, everyday and later on took up the responsibilities of taking my brother and cousins. Even though we stayed quite near to the Marina beach, it’ll take us about 30 mins to reach the beach. And we used to enjoy the walk so much that those were the quality family times, I remember very well. I started travelling by the bus, at an age of 15. Going to places on my own, was very exciting for me and it was easy for my parents to take that decision – as the world was much better to live in.

Now – My children are so used to travelling in the bike / car / auto, that the thought of a short distance of walk would wear them down. And the idea of allowing my girls to go on their own is scary to me, first. The world is in such a state now, that the girls better be escorted.

Now, I feel, that I’ve complained quite a lot about the NOW kids. But, that’s not the intention and should not be taken like that. Its just facts told in the times of my childhood and that of my girls. Actually, today’s kids are more smarter, have more exposure to various things (both good and bad – which makes our job more difficult) and can decide better for themselves.

So, just like our children, we parents are in the process of learning as everyday goes by. I just remember this at the junction to end my blog – By the time a man understands that his father had been RIGHT all the time (that happens when he becomes a father), there is his son who thinks that his father knows NOTHING. I think this is the life cycle.

Edited to add :

The way my thoughts are spinning in my head after I published the post, I think there’ll be a Then and Now – Part II, very soon.