Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Am torn!

"Don't leave me here, there and everywhere, Amma...."
said Sonny boy, between sobs, to me and the Acha when we called him last night.

As some of you might be knowing, have again been left high and dry by my maid. As in the one who I'd got to stay with Sonny boy while I earned jam for the family.
This was in March. We got a new person for the housework bit, but we had no luck with the stay-at-home companion to Sonny boy bit. Luckily my Mom was with us,so we didn't face an immediate problem.

Then, towards the end of Mar, the Acha's grandmother passed away. We went to Cochin for the funeral and came back, leaving Sonny boy with the grandparents in Cochin for about 2 weeks, till the Acha went back for the 16th day rites. A joyful re-union took place with the Acha at Cochin and with me at B'lore the next day. ( I couldn't go- I barely managed to get my leave approved for the funeral!!!)

Since the summer vacation was on, we took recourse to the summer camps that mushroomed all over. But there were none that would keep the kiddies till about 7, all of them shut shop by 6. (Don't the people runing these places know that office timings are till 6 and it takes about an hour in B'lore traffic to reach ANYWHERE?)
Luckily there was one near my office that would keep 'em till 8. Darned expensive, but then beggars can't be choosers. And after all the jam WAS coming in, wasn't it? April passed.

In May, my cousin was getting married, and we went off to my place in Kannur. We came back, leaving Sonny boy with my Mom. Where we planned to leave him for another 2weeks, in which time we hoped to find a maid.

Sonny boy has stayed happily with his Ammamma before, so I didn't foresee a problem. But the maximum Sonny boy has ever stayed away from us in the past is 2 weeks. And he'd already had his quota of separation in Cochin.
Another 2 weeks so soon after the first was a little tough to digest for a wee little 5 year old.

In the past whenever we had left him away from us, he wouldn't come to the phone. He wouldn't talk to us at all. Ammamma would have to coax him to come and talk. But these days, he would talk. And he used to recriminate bitterly with us.
'You don't love me.'
'Why can't you come to pick me up?'
'You left me alone here.'
'I want you to come and pick me up! TODAY!'

In between somehow, he managed to hide his despair. But then, yesterday, when we told him that we were coming to pick him up this weekend, the flood gates broke. He started sobbing.
"Don't leave me here and there and everywhere...."
"I love you. You don't love me...."

And when I told him softly, that we'd left him with his Ammamma because there wouldn't be anyone to look after him in Bangalore, he cried

"Why can't YOU look after me?"

Why can't I look after him?
Because I have to go to office and earn money.
For what?
So that we can save towards a nice house we can buy, where we can stay in after Sonny boy has grown his life in summer camps and day cares.
Because we need to earn the money to pay the daycares and the summer camps which will spend time with him, and entertain him.
Because we need the money to pay a good maid to stay with him, in place of his parents.
Because we need the big car and the eating out and the umpteen toys and the books and the gadgets.

Why o why do we have to make such difficult choices in life?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Just for the record

I am PRO gay rights.

This morning was reading in the newspaper of how Celina Jaitley was inviting support for gays and their rights, and I was thinking that she was doing a great job.

I truly don't understand how a mature choice that a man or a woman makes regarding his/her sexual partner can be a source of contempt. So long as it is not with children, or your own offspring, or an animal, I think its ok.

Enforce a law that forbids child marriage.
Enforce laws that make employment of children a punishable offence.
Enforce laws that ensure that dowry is neither given nor asked.
Enforce laws that enable the girl child to thrive- inside the womb and outside.
Make it legal to chop off the balls of a rapist, I say.

But to condone child marriage, child employment, dowry, female infanticide, rape....and then to heap the kind of ridicule that exists currently for a love that thrives between two people albeit of the same sex, to me, smacks of stupidity and intolerance.

And it is the height of cruelty to force a person who is gay to get married to someone who is not, just to satify societal mores. Height of cruelty to the gay person as well as to the non-gay person. I have seen two such people at close quarters and it has only reinforced my firm opinion that it is high time we recognised gay rights.

At least then gay people can hold up their heads in society and not feel cornered.
I wonder when India will make a serial like Will and Grace. That pokes fun gently, merrily, without being hurtful.

I do not know what comments this post might attract, but no matter if I earn my first trolls, I wanted to make a stand.
We need to learn to be more tolerant, people.
And, for the record, am not gay, nor is my husband.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

All in a day's ride.

98% of them are crooks, 2% of them are ordinary people like you n me, eking out a living the way they know to. Am talking about auto drivers.

However, coming across the rare 2% is a pleasure. Once in a while I get into these conversations too- manage to have one would be a better way to say it- what with Kannada, Tamil, Hindi, English, hands, eyes all being called into service.

One of them made me feel ashamed of myself when he told me in Malayalam that he had only been 3 months in Kerala and he had picked up the language, while I had been here 7 yrs and was not yet fluent. And when I started off in Hindi to converse better, he told me "Illa, neevu kannadaleye mathaadu, athe channagide." (No, you speak in Kannada only, that's better)I don't know whether that was a reflection on my Hindi (sic) or whether he wanted me to use Kannada, but anyway, we spoke in Kannada the rest of the trip.

However the guy I met this afternoon takes the cake. We had just started off after I had given my destination, when he asked me a long sentence in Kannada, of which I only caught something that sounded like Obama.
Errr... what? I asked with a polite smile.

Only to sit back in wonder when he repeated
"Madam, will Obama stop all our software jobs? What does he plan to do?"
"Errr.... Errr....!!!!

The second question was a little too deep for the likes of me, but I attempted to answer the first.
"He won't stop it totally, but he sure means to bring it down"

And then followed a nightmare of explaining to him that Obama wanted to levy tax on all those companies that continued to outsource their job requirements from India.
Nightmare, because, it was difficult to explain in Kannada/Hindi what I had read in the newspaper yesterday. (Yes, Dad/husband, I actually knew what he was asking and moreover, enough to answer him as well!)

What compounded the matter was that he asked me questions on my answers! Answers made in Kanhinglish. So that I was confused as to what I had conveyed, what he had understood and what more he wanted to know. Phew!

He was actually a young boy- maybe some 20- 22 yrs old. What he told me with a disarming smile at the end of our conversation was, "You see, Madam, our livelihood depends on the software industry. If software suffers, we suffer. It has brought money into our city. I take so many software people all around the this Obama is going to make life difficult for us."

I smiled at him reassuringly, but then hastened to inform him that I was not from the software industry as I did not want to get fleeced.

We sat in a companionable silence, then he asked me " Nimmege kannada baralla?" Now it didn't take an Obama to realise that, but I smiled and said, "Not much, I'm basically from Kerala."

"Aaah! Kerala! You must be very educated??"

"All people in Kerala are very educated." He answered the quesion himself. "They put a great premium on education, right?"
"Right," I answered.

"They are very rich also in Kerala, right, Madam?"
"Errr.. "

"I have been there some time back- to the wedding of a muslim friend of mine. These muslims have lots of money." and he looked back at me for confirmation.
"Ummmmmm...yes, Gulf money exists, but there are quite a lot of ordinary folks as well in Kerala"

He pooh-poohed my remark. "100 kilos of gold is what that bride had on. I couldn't see any clothes at all, only gold"
I smiled. "Yeah, they do wear a lot of gold in Kerala."
He smiled back at me in camaraderie.

And we had reached. He was an honest driver, with an honest meter too, he only took the correct fare. But I tipped him 8/- (change) for the conversation.

From Obama to the Bangalore economy to the Kerala economy...phew!
However one MUST count one's blessings. Thank God he didn't ask me about the elections and the chances of leadership in our country. I'll take Obama any day to THAT.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Rehashing old grudges...

Day before, was feeling in a particularly lousy mood at home, as I had been having stomach cramps the whole day and by evening was throwing up, throwing down.. lala...
Attributed the cause to a sandwich/pineapple juice I had had from office as the cramps started immediately after that.

The Acha to be honest, was concerned, and pattered about a bit after me, but soon, the spots in the leopard surfaced and the man was back to doing what he always does these days. Gah! And as I was in a particularly crabby mood, I found myself eyeing the husband nastily and remembering this little piece I wrote long back on another site..
**** **** **** ****

My Sout, was present in my husband’s life even before I entered it, so I don’t know if you can call her that. I am a fool, I should have seen it in the very beginning, certainly my hubby had never hidden her existence. To his credit,(?) he has been very open about it, tho from the beginning, Sout never came out into the open, but always hovered in the background, arms wide open to seduce, the minute my pathetic partner succumbed to her enticements over and above his wife’s.

For a brief time during the start of our courtship, I held centrestage in my hubby dear’s life, and she was relegated backstage. Knowing the hold she had over my hubby, Sout was quite happy to stay there, biding her time.
Post our marriage after a long courtship of 6 yrs, (9 yrs of knowing each other)though we were still delighted with each other’s company, it is rightly said that no man is an island, and gradually, our idyll was broken into by friends, family and assorted acquaintances.

This was when my Sout came back into her own.
She came on stage with a vengeance, while poor young wifey slogged in the kitchen to prove her culinary skills to friends, family et al.
Hubby would occasionally come in and hug me in the middle of my slicing and dicing, and swear that he loved me so much, but then, would go back to Sout, who would be preening in front of the guests.
Even when I came back all freshened up, to become the light of the party, I would still have to be nice to all our guests, but Sout needed to put a show on only for hubby dear’s eyes/interests. And while hubby dearest tried to remain loyal, his attention would inevitably stray...

To my irritation, even I could see she was so much more interesting than I was. Sout was a veritable library of topics- and could swiftly shift from one subject to another almost without a break, be it sports, movies, music or the perennial current affairs.

Initial days saw me being very gracious and sharing all the attention with my Sout. But gradually, I started realising that Sout certainly had no such compunctions. When Sout wanted to hog my hubby’s attentions, Sout didn’t give a d--- for me. Sout even started getting all our friends more interested in her than me. Some of our well-meaning female friends would occasionally give Sout the cold shoulder and one dear friend of mine actually ventured to say that Sout should shut her mouth and let the rest of us enjoy ourselves!

I couldn’t shut my eyes any longer. I had to come to terms with the unpalatable fact that hubby dear had fallen for another’s charms, and that too after just 2 years. (I could probably have -just probably-condoned a 7 year itch!) The weekends stopped being lazy, enjoyable days spent curled up cosily with our respective books or re-reading a much loved Wodehouse together. Sout thought nothing of interrupting our cosiness any time of the day, and once she started to hold sway, everything else was a blur to my hubby.

My nasty side started surfacing. I would be openly sarcastic and bring the conflict into the open. My hubby ’s reactions to my accusations went from- "Don’t be ridiculous!" to "Stop being so melodramatic!" to "You must be joking! Do you mean to tell me you are jealous of HER?!" and finally to a guilty, defensive "Everybody does it!!

Dear readers, do you know who my Sout is?
Our television set.

These days when we enter our home, hubby dearest reaches not for the light swith, but the tv switch!
He neither drinks nor smokes, but he suffers from withdrawal symptoms- when our cable operator (I LOVE that guy) switches off., which is quite often , BLESS him.
He gives pleading looks and winsome smiles to get me to search his misplaced/lost stuff , passing me dirty looks and nasty comments if I refuse pointblank. But he can be more diligent than a police dog when it comes to searching for the remote, and by now he knows better than to ask my help in that!

GRRRRRR! I would have done anything to get rid of the dratted idiot box, but I would have given my soul to get rid of the remote! For folks, I can put up with watching the news at 9, the news at 9.20, the news at 9.40 at 10 etc but I draw the line at having to catch a glimpse of CNN, NDTV, HBO, Star Movies/Sports Mallu news channels, mallu GE channels, and sometimes just a blur on the screen and a loud drone in our living room, which once upon a time used to be full of chat , laughter or melodious music.
But, God decided that He values my soul. For we have been blessed with a little son- our little bundle of joy. And that little gentleman being his father’s son, of course took to TV like a duck to water. And he has a mind of his own, and very strict ideas of what to watch and not to watch.
So now once again peace reigns at home, for all of us sit and watch Pogo or Disney or Cartoon Network in cosy togetherness. And the remote is a useless rectaangular piece in my husband’s hands.