Sunday, June 28, 2009

Some potter patter in the monsoons.

So after threatening to do it for two months, I finally went and enrolled myself (and bulldozed the hero) into a four day pottery workshop. And it was frickin’ awesome.

I am on a bit of a lets-gather-new-experiences trip these days – don’t know whether it’s the bucket list phenomena or the fact the weekend routine of movies-malls-eating-out is seriously losing its charm. Also, I might not have quite lost my preteen fascination with clay ( and this was like rediscovering an old flame and finding that the spark still burned)

It was split two days for clay modelling and two days on the wheel. Clay modelling is fun – especially when you have a running commentary in your head (with the stray thought escaping aloud) about the stuff that one and others actually manage to create.

But it’s the wheel that is utterly magical. When you put a lump of grey gooey stuff on a wheel and put your hands to it and suddenly it starts taking shape – whichever way you hold it – you can flare it out, you can thin it down, you can make it spherical, cylindrical, and circular, you can put little swirls on it, you can smoothen it . I cant think of anything which gets formed and destroyed so fast - and you have the power to make something beautiful in a few minutes - a huge rush.

On other side-notes, it’s interesting to see how group dynamics exist even in the smallest of groups – there will be the abrasive, aggressive lady-dog from hell, there will be the overgrown front bencher who goes “miss, miss”, there will be the nice-guy-Santa’s –helper and well, there will be back benchers.

Some snaps by popular demand ( mine. Hmpf) .

Check out the sheeposaurus. The floppy ears could double up as wings.Only the heavy bottomedness will probably keep it grounded firmly on Terra firma (Damn I need to stop thinking of that dratted heavy bottomed skillet). Ever noticed how sheep's always have a goshdarned silly expression on their faces?

This is Cyn Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I was actually trying to make a vase, but it ended up as a wine glass.
Ah well.

P.S. All these snaps are before they have been fired through the kiln.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Vegetably Numb

I am having a slight domestic er..situation today.

I came back from a trip from Bombay to see that the stock of vegetables had been depleted to the bare minimum - viz. two potatoes, a stinky onion and some stray okra and orphaned beans lying around morosely in the tray in the fridge. No problem I thought to myself, time to call the vegetable wala.

A small sidebar: When Ma had come down to Pune, I in one of the more misguided moments of filial candour informed her about my vegetable-challenged-ness. Much melodrama and dialogues like "kala mooh" and "sasuma kya sochegi" and "that's the reason I should have sent you to buy vegetables" ensued which resulted in me being marched to a vegetable vendor and given a live demonstration (in fairly clarion tones) of each and every vegetable under god's own universe.

I did that for a while. But it was a struggle.
Standing in front of the cart and peering at the item in question, going through a quick check of my mental excel list was pretty arduous.

And then I had a revelation. The said vegetable wala home delivered. And that took care of two problematic birds with the proverbial stone - viz. a) the effort of actually going there to purchase something and b) actually identifying the damn things.

And this system worked beautifully. I would order some stuff which I know ( hmpf I have been married and managing a home for two and a half years, I can recognize some of the veggies, what do you take me for?) and bung in the odd tendla wendla for comic relief. When the tendla would appear I would, by elimination arrive at a proper identification and feel smugly complacent and quite domestic goddessy.

This useful tactic was also followed in the cooking process for the said vegetable. I would hand it over to the cook-femme and tell her magnanimously that today we would try her style of cooking and hmmm and haw very knowledgably as she explained the process to me. (Much as I do in office meetings as well.)

But now I cant get through his phones for some reason. So mild panic is happening.

I had a trial run at the supermarket today – sidled up to an aunty and tried to replicate her model of choosing the right vegetables, until she started to eye me suspiciously.

And what is adding to the confusion is the fact that I have been working on organic food for the last month. Apparently the vegetables with bright shiny faces are chemicals in capsicum’s clothing. It’s the sad, drab looking fellows who are good for one.

I wish someone would start personal vegetable shoppers. Sigh.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Dharam Sankat

So I just read a post by Mom Gone Mad where she jitterbugs to some eighties muzzic. She has infected me with an earworm yes. And also a dharam sankat which needs to be resolved NOW.

Which of the following songs deserves to be crowned as the MOST played, brayed, used and abused song of the nineties?

The nominations are
1. Nothing's Gonna Change My Love for you - Glenn Madeiros
2. Careless Whispers - George Michael
3. Last Christmas - Wham
4. The Lady in Red - Chris de Burgh

Think back to those school and college parties. Think of all the, puppy eyed, tooth-brush moustached knights serenading blushing polka-dotted damsels. Think of those mardana zanana dances at someone’s house.

Cast your vote now! (Give reasons why)

All you post 2000 kids. Go away.

Edited to add: Please also give details about which songs you serenaded/were serenaded with. Thank you.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Empty Nest

I was not all that close to my Ma growing up. Temperamentally I am completely my father’s child. She is social, extroverted, garrulous, thoroughly down-to-earth, street smart – the bindaas bambaya typified. I am/was shy, quiet, reclusive even (it’s a bit of mystery where I got this reclusive gene from – my father was also quite social), imaginative, moody and quite a space cadet.

It’s only in my twenties that I have learnt to understand, and more importantly appreciate the strength and courage she has. Through these years, after my father’s very sudden death, the relationship has evolved into a partnership – of sharing decisions, worry and responsibilities – and a united team against the outside world. And in the process I have learnt to value her judgement, recognize her mettle and admire her indomitable spirit. And I know ( I hope rather) she is sure of me, my involvement and my love as any parent can be.

But somehow an infinitesimal change seems to have come in post marriage. Somehow I think in her mind, she doesn’t have the sole proprietorship of my life anymore.

I do exactly the same things I did earlier, say the same things, behave the same way (God knows, there are enough disapproving people telling me that “you haven’t changed at all after marriage”). But I sense that things which would have been taken in her stride earlier or shrugged off in the spirit they are meant, hurt her a little bit. For instance, if I cut off a conversation while at work in Mumbai because I was occupied, that would have been perceived as exactly that. Now I sense a hint of disappointment in her tone.

The reality is I probably talk to her more now than I did when I was in the same house – where chaotic advertising hours meant that I would totter in past midnight, too tired to speak and sleepwalk out again the next morning.

I am pretty sure it is not S either. She is certainly not intimidated or threatened by him (touch wood), they have a comfortable relationship where he goes and turns on the charm at full blast and gets her to cook all sorts of things for him. They also derive a lot of entertainment from ganging up against me.

But still that sense of wistfulness. The wistfulness which I hear on Sunday dusk phone-calls when she nothing to do.And however much I call or speak to her on the phone or get her to come and stay in Pune that sense of wistfulness doesn’t seem to go away.

And also I sense a little bit of purposelessness now. Her whole life she has had to battle and plan for projects – whether it’s starting to work at nineteen soon after she graduated – to become the first working woman in her household, putting her elder brother through college in the process. Or getting married into a family where working women were definitely not approved, but fighting against conventions to provide my father with financial support as he had to fund his younger brother’s education and his sisters’ marriages. (Changing an auto + 2 buses while nine month pregnant each way and coming back, buying vegetables and coming home to cook? I get exhausted just THINKING about that). Or to the most recent project of finding broom/my marriage.

Now for the first time, there is no big project on the agenda. Nothing which requires planning, involvement or working towards – and this leads to loneliness .I have tried my hardest to get her to shift to Pune – but she has her friends and her activities there and beyond three weeks she starts getting restless. Pune also doesn’t solve the bigger problem of adding purpose to her life – God knows I struggle to find purpose in mine at half her age. So I really don’t know how to get her engaged in something else.

And I worry, nay am paranoid, that this drifting and loneliness might start impacting her health. I know she had started doing shortcuts with her food until I found out and threw the mother of all tantrums (no pun intended)

I know a few of my friends have also sensed this in the parents. This loneliness.
This empty nest phenomenon – but what no one seems to know is how to deal with it. It doesn’t matter whether there is a spouse or as in my mother’s case there is not. The last thirty years invested in their children, who grow up to start lives of their own. And sensitive people, intelligent people know that they need to let go. Need to allow their kids to test their wings and form new nests without interfering or involving themselves beyond what is seemly. Leaving behind a big void.

I wish I knew what to do.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


I shared a post I had written with Mo, and was wondering whether I should put it up on the blog. She remarked that it might evoke a lot of reactions, comments and opinions. Something which I enjoy in the ordinary course of things, but not with a post as personal as this one – hence, the delay.

So I wistfully stated that perhaps it was time to get an anonymous blog. Mo laughed and pointed out that “yours IS an anonymous blog” and then went on to ask whether I was also a slave to my blog.

And I realized that I probably was. A slave to my blog.

Despite the fact that it is anonymous (not shared by name or my mug-shot, and only a handful of readers might know those details) I have probably given a lot of my identity away (who I am rather than what I am called).

Thus, seem to have inadvertently created a framework for the kind of posts which I can or cannot write which I subconsciously follow. And that is the tonality with which I engage with all the readers as well. So unconsciously I have moulded myself into a “type”, as I am sure a lot of bloggers do ( at least those who have written for a while), of a style, boundary, tone or image.

Comfortable and comforting, yes, but also strangely restrictive.

How many times has one met a blogger and felt a slight sense of surprise – “Oh I thought he/she would be quieter or louder or funnier or sadder”. The point is the blog in essence one-dimensional (or at best) few-dimensional. But a person is a composite of many moods and thoughts. I might be feeling like Cynic in Wonderland one day, but some other day I might be feeling as irreverent as Austro, or subtly layered like Mo, or even as pun-ny as young Manuscrypts.

There was a time I would write melancholic posts here, or whiny ones or just an arbitrary collection of disjointed lines capturing the white noise in my head. Where the blog was in fact, the substitute for a diary. But somewhere along the way in morphed into an entity (?) with a distinct personality of its own (I do not know what that personality is, but I sense it has one) which is a part of me, but not the whole.

Have I created my own Frankenstein? Have you?