Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Different strokes indeed

So I have a new maid. Two new ones actually. Because my full time maid Ratnamma's daughter is pregnant and she has gone to look after her. More than anyone else, I pray that she has a smooth delivery and a  healthy beautiful baby at the end of it. Only then can good ol' Ratnamma return to me.. But I digress.

So in the interim period, I have 2 maids. A girl who comes in the morning and cleans the house. And a middle aged lady who comes in the evening to be with Sonny boy when he returns from school, and who will do all the prep work in the kitchen. The agreement was that I would leave all the things necessary for dinner, arranged in the kitchen before leaving for office. All would have been well, except for the fact that the kannada spoken by the dear lady was TOTALLY incomprehensible. If I were at home, I could have managed with my hands and eyes and whatever other appendages came in handy. But since I would be in office while she was at home, the phone was our only means of communication. And boy! what an effort at communicating there was!

Ingredients I'd not given a second thought to while Ratnamma used to be at home now assumed supreme importance. Basic things like turmeric. The other day, I was in an auto going to a client's place while giving instructions to her- and I needed to tell her to add turmeric in the dal when cooking it. I did not know the kannada word for it, but valiantly tried Hindi, Malayalam  and Tamil.  I tried telling her about the yellow sunflowers, and and temples where they gave out  haldi kumkum- (turmeric and vermilion powder given as offerings to the Goddess). Finally I gave up and requested her to give the phone to Sonny boy. I asked him to take out the yellow powder in the masala dabba and give it to her. And then I asked her WHAT it was called. Ah! Arshana podi.   .. At the end of the phone call, I sat back and heaved a sigh of relief, only to see the auto driver turn back to me in enjoyment and tell me with a grin, that it was a pleasure to hear me talk in kannada. The rest of the drive passed by  pleasantly, with the driver commiserating with me and lauding my efforts at  trying to learn kannada. Little did he realise that it was a question of survival.

So during the weekend, I was showing Gowramma the different ways I wanted the different vegetables diced... When it came to cabbage, I showed her that I wanted it cut in very thin strips... She cut it quite well as per instructions.. and later, as she was washing up the vessels, she told me that in her village, cabbage was cut in big pieces. I nodded smilingly. And then she added- we don't have all the time in the world, we have other work to attend to after cooking. Which made me laugh inside.  And wonder- were the Mallu women really so jobless that they would stretch cutting of cabbage leaves?? Somehow I doubted that. Especially when I remembered my Mom and Dad's elder sisters. They packed SO MUCH into a day's work. Tirelessly, efficiently.

It was just a case of different folks, different strokes.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I'm not twenty four.. Sachin Garg

Yet one more novel from yet one more Engineer-MBA - "one who quit his boring day job to start his own venture- Grapevine Publishing".

The story revolves around the trials and tribulations of a young MBA graduate, in her first job. A Delhi bred girl, Saumya Kapoor is thrilled to land a job through campus placements, in Lala Steels who is a much favoured employer. A couple of weeks later, she is equally stunned and dismayed to learn that because of her unisexual name, she has been posted to their steel plant in a remote village in North Karnataka. Gone are her dreams of sexy skirts and stillettoes, of office romances with handsome colleagues, and of splurging her salary. Instead, she has boring, shapeless uniforms, and unattractive co-workers who seem to have never seen a girl at close quarters.

Amit, her classmate from business school and Malappa are 2 other new joinees who are assigned to Training and Development, and the Blast Furnace, respectively. Saumya is posted to the HR Department where she is part of the Safety team and her job entails informing the family members of the employees who had been involved in an accident at the plant. Hers is the unpleasant and painful task of informing wives that they were widows, daughters that they were orphans and mothers that they’d lost their offspring.

Having witnessed tragic accidents in her first week itself, Saumya is totally disillusioned with her job. Her first instinct is to quit, but later, she decides to stay on and prove herself. But then in a horrific incident, after an altercation with his boss, Malappa gets thrown into the Blast Furnace and Saumya can’t take any more. She puts in her papers. While serving her 3 month notice period, Shubro comes back into her life.

Saumya had first met Shubrodeep Shyamchaudhary during her induction period, at a restaurant on a trip to Hampi. An MBA in Finance, he had turned down a hot-shot job in Standard Chartered Bank, and perfected the art of Moving On… By his own admission, he’d turned into a hippie, who’d stay for just 90 days in a place before moving on in search of new environments and people and experiences. He’d traversed the length and breadth of the world in the course of his travels. The day after Saumya resigned from Lala Steel, Shubro was found within the premises iof a residential complex, in a senseless condition, with a piece of paper bearing Saumya’s name in his hands.

Saumya finds him a job with the Social Service Dept in Lala Steel.
Slowly but surely, she falls in love with Shubro, as the days pass and new facets of his character unveil themselves. But, when 90 days are over, will Shubro move on and away from Saumya? What is the reason behind his becoming a rolling stone? Answers to these questions are found in the rest of the story.

This review is posted as part of the Book Reviews program by BlogAdda. Am GLAD I didn't buy the book. I was totally put off by the errors. It strives to be chick lit, but fails.

The storyline is too superficial. Events happens too soon, the characters are not developed enough. You just have to take Sachin's word for it that his characters are whatever. His writing does not lead you to form your own judgement of them.
In his acknowledgements, Sachin Garg thanks a couple of people who "continue to prove that MBA doesn't devoid you of your last traces of creativity"…..
Creativity might be ok, but this MBA's handling of English language and grammar sadly leaves much to be desired. Spelling errors, punctuation errors, grammatical errors, sheer carelessness in handling the language…Grapevine Publishing needs a good editor, period.  Hopefully Sachin Garg will get that editor in place before starting his next novel. Then, the reader might, just MIGHT enjoy his literary outpourings..

Dear reader, in case you still feel like reading this, my copy says its Rs. 100/- but you can get it in 2-3 working days on Flipkart, for Rs. 65/-

Monday, November 7, 2011

Being a Mommy teaches you.....

Bangalore mom ended her post this way- I was tagged so long ago, its almost embarrassing. But JLT and Abha, would love to hear what you have to say.
Well, Bmom, now you've found someone more slothful than you, maybe it will help you get over your embarassment. And haha, I'm sure Abha still hasn't taken up this tag, so there's redemption for me as well!!

Blogging used to be with such ease... but nowadays, while there are lots and lots of little posts composed in my head, almost none of them make it to Blogger. Sigh. I don't know how time flies...and I suspect that something called FB might account for a lot of it... but blogging is so much more fulfilling. I have no idea why I don't blog more.

So what has motherhood taught me.. other than breastfeeding and changing diapers and rocking a baby to sleep? Well, lots!

One of them is an on-going lesson- its like specialisation. - the more you learn it, the more of it there seems to learn... sigh. Am talking of that BIG one- PATIENCE. As Sonny boy grows, am finding my reserves of patience dwindling to almost nothing. I'm so different from what I dreamt I'd be as a mother. He never taxed my patience all that much as a baby, cos he was a lovely peaceful baby. Easy to feed, easy to distract, easy to rock to sleep.... But school and associated pluses and minuses made demands of both of us that were more than either of us expected.

And that leads me to the next one- HUMILITY. It is simply amazing how much my son can forgive me and how easily. I yell at him nowadays for nearly everything. From morning till night- for not eating, for being so distracted, for not drinking, for not studying, for watching TV, for playing games on mobiles/laptops... For this reason, am pretty glad that I have an office to go to, and he has a school to go to, when we're out of each other's hair. But no matter how mcuh I shout at him, he always comes to me with a hug that is difficult to describe.. its a little wary, a little obstinate, always so full of LOVE. It makes my heart break that I can be so nasty to such a loving little creature and he humbles me every time with his generosity of heart and forgiving nature.

This is pretty strongly related to the other BIG one- GUILT. Right now, I'm at that stage where I hold myself guilty for all of his shortcomings.
He's extra shy because I'm not with him to help him make friends easily. Its so much more easier for kids to become friends if their mothers are friends.
He watches TV cos I don't make anything else more enjoyable for him ( Grrrr.... and his father watches it even more than him, but that's fodder for another post)
He's short tempered because all he hears is me shouting at him. Every morning, I wake up with the resolve that I'm NOT going to shout at him... only to have it fly out of the window...
I feel even more guilty because the father is so much more patient than me.And that people, is SUCH a double edged sword!

Getting to mother Sonny boy has taught me FAITH. Crossing a bridge when you come to it has been the cornerstone of my life as a mother. He was not a planned baby, he just happened, with God's grace. And all the other insurmountables that rose before us were crossed with the grace of God. For that, my God, many heartfelt thanks. Please do continue to look after us. More than ever, I put my faith in God to take us through the troughs.

Above all else, being a mother, has taught me that I am an important person. It has made me believe in myself and my abilities. I am my son's mother. With all my inadequacies, it is a role that can be filled by none better than me. And that brings me a sense of fulfilment that is unmatched. For him, I can scale mountains. Getting to the other side of the mountain is a wonderful reward, but even if it can't be scaled, having made an attempt is more than sufficient too. It is a role where not just results matter, efforts do too, the journey being just as important as the destination. And everytime someone tells me I have a wonderful boy, my heart expands that bit more....

I know you've not done it yet, Abha, so lets hear it from you :-)