Sunday, March 29, 2009

One day @ Deccan Gymkhana

I had a lovely day yesterday. I had taken off from office due to some bank-related work (courtesy financial year end) and some work at home. Started off the day pretty much the same time, as on any weekday; except that I did not have to get ready for the office. Till 10 am, did some usual stuff at home, breakfast, etc; then went off to the bank. When I stepped into bank, it dawned on me that I’m not the only one who does everything at the last minute. I was welcomed by a huge crowd on every counter of the bank. I had even forgotten where to get the form for cash deposits (the last time I came to the bank, to deposit money in PPF was last February….again at the last minuteJ). Somehow I got hold of the form, filled it and joined the queue.



While standing in the queue, I had an interesting observation. SBI has written “Cash receipts” at the counter where we need to ‘deposit’ cash; and “Cash payments” where we need to ‘withdraw’ cash from. That shows how ‘Customer-oriented’ they are! Everything is written from their perspective. Anyways, I waited and waited, shifting from one foot to another and fiddling with my form, cash and purse…..suddenly when 3 people were in front of me in the queue, I realized, the form which I used last year for depositing cash, looked a little different. I checked with the guy behind me….2 guys left in front of me……he said there is a different form for PPF deposits. Great! I ran to the specified counter. Checked with people standing there, they pointed towards a form…just when I snatched it, an aunty was about to lay her hands on that last form kept there. I said a sheepish “Sorry”; and rushed back to the queue. The guy in front of me moved towards the counter, I told myself, stay calm and fill it carefully; so bang on time I completed my form and finally deposited cash.


Everything done, I came out of the bank and wondered what to do next! Although I had to get back home for some repair works, but I can’t do that, can I? Coming 11-12 kms and not checking out any bookshop!


Well, they have closed down Crossword at J.M. Road, otherwise hands down, I would have gone there. But anyways, I had a nariyal-pani and thought, if I’m here, why don’t I cross the street and go to F.C. Road (dear old Fergusson College Road in Pune). There’s a huge stall of magazines near Sagar Arcade circle. So I walked upto there, and saw every possible magazine staring at me. Somehow I limited myself to 2 magazines – ‘PEOPLE’ and ‘Society Interiors’; since I already get FEMINA and BBC Good Homes at home.


Then I thought if I’m already here, why don’t I walk across to the Hong-Kong Lane. I have not been there since ages. There’s a small Second-hand bookshop hidden inside Hong-Kong lane. I wanted to buy so many things in HK Lane but stopped myself. At the book-shop, checked with the guy if he had any book on ‘Mahabharata’, but he had only YUGANTAR, that too in Marathi. He had usual Mills and Boons, Sidney Sheldons and the likes. I took his card and checked if he would take second-hand books. He answered in affirmative and said he needs to check the books first. He said, you seem to be a serious reader (ahem..ahem..), why don’t you go to POPULAR Bookshop, just across the road. Hmmm, well, I thought if I’m already here, why don’t I check it out. So there I went inside POPULAR, and checked if they had any book on Mahabharata. Guess what? I got Kamala Subramaniam’s Mahabharata for 500 bucks. It was completely unplanned, and it just happened. I really liked that bookshop. It was so refreshingly different from Crossword, who are so in-your-face with their marketing. Crossword always has a predictable stock of books; but POPULAR, although not very big, has variety.


I came out of POPULAR with a sense of accomplishment, then I thought may be I should go to Venus Traders and get myself a sheet of hand-made paper as well for the collage I’m planning. So, I went carrying my huge purse (actually it is too big to be a purse), 2 magazines, a huge novel and my helmet. It was so hot but I was feeling extremely elated. I have not shopped like this since such a long time. Just walking into any shop without any planning and thought, and buying stuff!



When I came out of VENUS, I was totally dehydrated. Quickly, I had another nariyal-paani and a glass of orange juice; and came back home.


It was an amazing day. I did not mind the heat, not even the heavy stuff I was carrying around. Sometimes I think such moments are really more enjoyable when you do not plan things out but they happen in the most wonderful way because actually, how many times do we really live in the moment -- either we spend time regretting or reminiscing past or planning future! 

Saturday, March 28, 2009

A Big Brother and some Childhood memories

It is wonderful growing up with a big brother; you always have somebody to look up to. I have millions of fun memories of childhood and growing up years with my brother, who is 4.5 years elder to me.


I have spent 18 years of my life in a small township in the interiors of Jharkhand. It really is not that primitive, how it is sounding. It had a wonderful mix of people from all communities, coming together to celebrate festivals together. It was a peaceful hamlet – school at a walking distance (to think of it, everything was at a walking distance), those were times when we actually used to play outside (unlike the simulator games on playstation and computers now), only Doordarshan to watch (other channels like Zee, Sony, came much later) and all in all, a happy life.


I had wide-eyed ideas about big cities. I was overawed by the life in a metro. Infact, I would even admit that I used to feel inferior to my metro-contemporaries for whatever reasons. But now after having stayed in Chennai, Bangalore, Pune, Mumbai and having seen Delhi, Kolkata and so many of other cities, I think we are more or less same, with similar expectations, hopes, dreams and worries.


Childhood is a time of innocence and freedom from all worries. But of course, you don’t realise it then, when home works are like monsters and exams, your nemesis. Still, whenever I and my brother get together, we would recollect our childhood – his bullying me, my getting fooled, cooking many a disasters together, and my brothers’ cooking of several unbelievable stories! Her are some stories of my childhood….the memories of which still linger on….

> My brother was the mischievous one, I was prim and propah! We used to come back from school, mostly together. We had to cross a play-ground to reach home. As soon as he would reach play-ground, he would conveniently hand over his school bag to carry back home. Of course, carrying 2 bags home wasn’t really my idea of fun, but what can you say to a big brother when you are that young. So I would be fuming all along the way, and make very ‘bechari’ face to my mum, so that my brother gets full thrashing.

> There was a sports club at our township, where all the ladies would go and play some indoor games like cards, Chinese checkers, etc. We were some of those privileged kids, whose mum was also a member there. So we would wait for our mum to go, showing that we are totally engrossed in studies; but once she was gone, it was party time. We would fry loads of home-made potato chips and place ourselves royally in front of the TV.  

> I remember, mum would make nice namkeens and other delicacies, and store it in the unlikeliest of places, to evade attack from us. Now, I know why mum used to do that. It is such hard work to make them and when they finish off within few hours, you feel so bad….I can’t tell you! But anyways, I would be in charge of guarding the door, and my brother would hunt down wherever it was kept hidden. Even after that my brother would gorge on it; I would just look on or take just a little bit because I used to be really scared.

>I am sure, many would have done this. I and my brother used to read comics inside our course books. I have even read novels, like that. My brother has also tried putting me into trouble, by shouting that I was sleeping, when I was not.

> Our parents nurtured this dream to see both of us wake up early in the morning and study! Well, they tried this lot many times. We would wake up, and sit for studying; all cosy and comfortable inside razaai. My smart brother would slip slowly deep inside, with just his book propped up prominently on his knees. He would caution me to keep a watch and wake him up if dad or mum comes over to check. So poor I, would try to keep myself awake to keep a vigil!


We have thrown slippers at each other (yeah, at my elder brother! But don’t judge me, children are absolved of such misbehaviors), we have got each other in trouble, we have called each other names; but then along the way, we grew very close, and he became a friend, a mentor and a role model for me!


Wherever he goes, my brother owns the room. He has that charisma to attract everyone to himself. I would be waiting for his trips, when he was doing his Engineering from Sindri and then worked in different places. He always seem to have so many stories to tell, and all three of us– mum, dad, and I would be all ears! We still are!

P.S. Yes, that's us in the picture

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What have I been up to....daily ramblings

I have been out of action for sometime now, but I visit my blog almost everyday. In the last few weeks, I had an interesting time. I acquainted new neighbours and now they are good friends. In matter of 2-3 weeks, we hung out together, watched a movie, dined at each others' places, played games together and just had a good time. 


Sometimes we are so consumed by our daily routines that we tend to stop ourselves from treading out of our cocoons. Good that my hubby loves making new friends, and because of him I get to know new people; otherwise I really don't have any friend around, who is just mine! Of course, apart from him :-)


Well, anyways, at this moment, when I'm thinking about what all things I did in last few weeks, my hubby is watching Roadies or Splitsville (one of those)! I know because of the beeps......for all the expletives the channel "censors"! My personal opinion is both the programmes are sickening! I really don't know what all this fuss is about! here's what I have been doing all this while:


1. As expected, I bought 3 more books:                               


                - After Kurukshetra

                - And now let me sleep

                - Mrityunjaya

All the above are again books on Mahabharata. The first two are translations in English and the third one is a translation in Hindi.  I was really ashamed of myself for thinking so much before buying ‘Mrityunjaya’ because it was in Hindi! Can you believe this? But now that I have bought it, it has opened doors to Hindi literature as well, and I’m definitely ready for more. I have already got a list of books in Hindi on Mahabharata:


Duryodhan by Kaka Vidhate (still searching for this. It is in Marathi)

Yugandhar by Shivaji Sawant

Mahabharat ki ek saanjh

Radhey Karna Ki Atmakatha

Rashmirathi By Ramdhari Singh Dinkar

Bhatko Mat Dhananjay

Main Bheeshm Bol Raha Hoon

Yah Mera Antim Yuddh Nahi



And few more in English:


Ramesh Menon's Mahabharata (2 Volumes)

Kamala Subramaniam’s Mahabharata



2. When I’m on the subject, I am reading my fourth book on Mahabharata – Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. It pales in comparison with Pratibha Ray’s Yajnaseni. The latter had a classic touch to it; it had the aura anticipated from the story of kings and queens. ‘Palace of Illusions’ is very naïve; Draupadi’s infatuation with Karna is almost out of Mills and Boon. I’m reading it, just to finish it but it does nothing to my research on Mahabharata. It treads on a tricky terrain of Draupadi and Karna’s relationship but handles it very amateurishly.


3. I updated my Shelf on Shelfari; and created my Wish List. And I’m still adding several on daily basis.


4. A glimpse of a huge book shelf on some site has encouraged me to build a library of my own. In any case, I cannot stop myself from buying books. I already have more than hundred. Of course, now I will be more careful while buying books. I will invest on books which are worth reading again and again. One thing is for sure, I’m definitely going to buy, every book I know of on Mahabharata. May be someday I would write something on this complex epic of relationships, ethics and dharma! It would be interesting.


5. I have discovered that I absolutely love making collages; and I have been doing it since school. My walls used to be collage, my penstand, my piggy-bank, posters I made, cards I designed, just about everything. I just gifted a huge collage of our pictures, to my husband on our anniversary. So here I have got another idea for another collage. I’m going to make a collage of book covers for my guest room; and get it framed. It will give the room an aura of reading and books! I’m thrilled just by the thought of it!


6. I saw 13B, and loved it. It was nothing like your regular horror movies; it was entertaining, even funny in bits and pieces.  I read somewhere that some Hollywood production house has bought the story. India shining, really!


7. How can I not write about the euphoria about ‘Slumdog Millionaire’? Frankly, the movie was average, acting of all the lead actors, none which was Frieda Pinto, was below average.  I’m just not able to understand how Frieda Pinto is getting all the attention? She hardly had any role in the movie. Besides, she did not really do anything much in whatever paltry screen time she had. She was ordinary. It just reminds me of beauty pageants in 1990s, when suddenly the world woke up to India and when Priyanka Chopra still won the crown despite naming Mother Teresa posthumously, when she was asked to name a role model from amongst people who were alive!



8. I love music but surprisingly I never listen to music, not even when I’m driving. I feel driving or traveling is a time when all of us should just think, think about things in life, what we are doing, where we are going, whether this is what we wanted, or may be think about spirituality or god or anything. It is such a nice time to introspect. Most of the time otherwise, we are completely preoccupied with the humdrum of routine activities at work as well as at home; we never take time out for thinking. This is the time to do that. Atleast, I do that!


9. I have planned so many things for my home and just taking things slowly. This is really not the time to splurge!


10. I’m trying very hard to get up early, atleast by 6 am, but not able to go beyond 7 am as yet. Every night I sleep thinking that I would rise real early, but mornings are different stories altogether.  I really miss looking at sunrise. It is a lovely experience.


11. I’m writing my review of C. Rajagopalachari’s Mahabharata. It is difficult to remember points after you have read the book, so keep pen and paper handy while reading, to make points for reference.


Well, that’s about it!