19 August 2010


Dedicated to my 7-month old daughter...

Dear daughter,

For the last few months, you have been my teacher. What my elders could never get me to do, you did without making me feel inconvenienced. I now get up at all hours of the night and even at the crack of dawn. I have given up the comforts of the sofa and the bed so that I can be with you on the floor. I'm used to working with one eye peeled so that you do not crawl to a forbidden area or lick our slippers. My ears are tuned to your slightest cry of hunger or discomfort. My nose alerts me whenever you wet your nappy. My hands tie the strings of your nappy automatically even in the middle of the night. I have re-discovered the joy of nursery rhymes, of breaking into a song in the midst of a chore and of playing with silly little toys.

When you kick the tumbler of water as I wash you;
When you upturn the can of powder and spill it all over the place,
When you drool your feed all over my new dress,
Or wet my freshly changed clothes ,
When you push the spoon away as I try to feed you,
Or squirm persistently as I try to dress you,
I no longer shout or scream in anger.
Instead I smile at you and revel in your smile in return.

When you giggle at the faces I make,
When your eyes search for me if I'm not there,
and when they gleam with happiness on noticing me,
When your hands reach out to caress my face
As I am putting you to sleep,
When you reach a new milestone in your short life,
Or rest in my arms trustingly when there's a storm blowing outside,
Oh doll! you have no idea,
Of the peace and completeness you give me
Even though my house is in a mess.

You've brought my family closer. You've given me a new identity in the neighborhood as your mother.
You've sharpened all my senses and enhanced my joy in small things.
You have taught me the importance of a routine. You've taught me to multi-task and use both my hands at the same time.
And what's more, you have taught me to be patient. For aren't you patient and forgiving to still love me even when I fail to interpret your cries sometimes?

17 August 2010


Disclaimer - This post is not original. It was a forward in marathi that I received over email. I've only translated it for sharing with a larger audience. I hope this never happens with me though :)

I suffered from a persistent toothache all last week and for the first time in my life I visited a dentist. While awaiting my turn in the waiting room, I glanced through all the certificates that adorned the wall. That's when I noticed the full name on the Certificate - Nandkishore Pradhan. He was the hero of my batch in school! Tall, fair, blue-eyed - he was the poster hero and all the girls in my class, including myself, were infatuated with Nandu. At the thought of meeting him again my 50-year-old heart started beating a wild tattoo.

As I entered the main room, I was taken aback to see the change in him. His hairline was receding. His chubby cheeks of adolescence were made even chubbier with age. He had a nice paunch and his mesmerizing blue eyes were hidden behind thick spectacles.

He did not recognize me though. After the check-up, I asked him "Did you study in the Apte school?"
"Yes" he replied with surprise.
"When did you complete Matriculation? In 1966?" I further inquired.
"That's right! But how did you know?" he exclaimed in surprise.
"You were in my class, you know." I informed him, eagerly waiting for his eyes to gleam with recognition at last.
But that balding, pot-bellied, bespectacled Nandu asked politely instead "What class did you teach, ma'am?"

Zodiac signs - 12 or 13?

Last Sunday, while I was enjoying a much-deserved afternoon siesta, my cell phone rang abruptly. It was my uncle calling. Without so much as a greeting, he straight away shot a question at me "Have you read today's newspaper?" I hadn't actually since my daughter had kept me busy since morning. He then said that he wanted my opinion on the news that had appeared in the paper. Apparently, the International Astronomical Union had announced that there is a 13th zodiac sign. There had been a lot of debate on this for years and it had finally been made official. He then proceeded to tease me, as is his wont - "Now your astrology has gone for a toss. Due to the introduction of this new sunsign, I and your father belong to the same zodiac whereas we are poles apart in nature. How do you explain that?" I told him that I would get back to him on this as I had yet to read the paper.

On googling the net, I discovered that there was indeed a 13th zodiac sign called Ophiucus that appears between the signs of Scorpio and Sagittarius. Infact, I found that I belonged to this new sign. Well, well, well! I was so used to identifying myself as a Sagittarian that this came as rather a shock. It was like having a new identity altogether! On reading the traits for people belonging to this new sign, I, of course, liked it (they're all good and enviable traits, you see!) But the hard-to-digest fact was that people whom I had known as Capricorns were now really Saggis; Aquarians were really Capricorns and so on. That meant that I (and a lot of other folks) would have to re-orient ourselves to our new signs.

You might wonder why all this is so upsetting to me. Well, I've always been interested in the study of astrology ever since my college days. But I've never found the opportunity to study the nitty-gritty of it in a formal manner. Hence, it'd take me some time to understand the astronomical implications of this change. And I plan to study it soon. However, the incident brought home the realization that all the established facts of life are really transient. We cannot base our interpretations of people on these facts alone. We have to understand people in the right context & environment and not slot/compartmentalize them into categories/sunsigns etc. It is true that Leos display certain traits, but not all Leos do. As a student of astrology I do understand that one must take into consideration the position of ALL planets in a person's horoscope and not just the sun's or moon's. And each horoscope is unique - even twins'. So, I still do believe in astrology and someday will complete my formal education in it. But, the lesson learned here is that what we believe to be astrology - which is 12 zodiac signs, is not that much alone...but much, much more. Also, people need to be understood as individuals and not as part of some community, sunsign or class.

02 August 2010

Books vs Movies

I saw the movie "Twilight - Eclipse" over the weekend. A friend had recently introduced me to the Twilight series early this year and I enjoyed reading all the books. I had jumped over the bandwagon slightly late as movies for the first two books were already out by the time I started on the series. Hence 'Eclipse' was the first Twilight movie I saw. It was fun to watch the characters on the screen. Most of the cast matched the characters exactly except for "Jacob". The movie was quite loyal to the book and it was good to see all the picturesque locales, the soul-stirring romance and the antics of the vampires and werewolves in action. The hero - Edward, is definitely something a teen girl would fall for hard inspite of him being a vampire. I must admit that while reading the book, I failed to imagine what a teen young girl would see in a pale-faced youth to fall so desperately in love with him that she was willing to give up her humanity for him. But the movie, and the actor(!), made me believe its possible :)

Very few movies made based on books make one feel good though. I remember when I'd seen Gurinder Chaddha's 'Bride and Prejudice' based on Jane Austen's 'Pride and Prejudice'. Now, the book is one of my favorites. Hence I had gone with a lot of expectations to see the movie especially since it starred Ms. Aishwarya Rai. However, I was so disgusted with the needless liberties taken with the plot and characters by Chaddha, that I re-read the entire novel again the very next day to take out the bad taste left in my mouth after watching the clumsy adaptation!

Some of the Harry Potter movies were remarkably faithful versions of the books, but others left out a lot of stuff in the interests of time.

The question remains then, should movies be made based on books at all? There are certain things that come out well only through the written word. And then there are others that can only be enjoyed by visual effects rather than reading about them. And of course, a vast majority of the public these days does not believe in reading anymore or they do not have the time for it. After all, who wants to read when the same can be seen as a movie while munching on a mountain of popcorn!

I am one for reading any day.

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