Saturday, December 31, 2011

Not-a-year-end Blog

I did contemplate doing a real year-end blog this year. After all, isn't every blogger expected to?

In the last three years of my blog-land existence, I have done my share of year-end retrospectives. But I don't think it is right to pass judgement on the year past or term it 'good', 'disastrous', etc. Nor is it a great idea to expect the coming year to be outstanding.

Some people need a New Year to make resolutions. It's a fashion to say later, 'I have broken all my resolutions for this year.' So be it.

I don't like the idea of pining hopes on a fresh, young year and putting so much pressure on it.

It's not fair to expect that something new is going to happen to us in the coming year.

After all, isn't the New Year just another set of days, weeks and months?

The year ain't going to make our days beautiful - we are.

The whole New Year thing is way over-rated, don't you think?

Yeah, I know. Knowledge that cometh of growing old and all that.

Or wisdom that cometh from hoping too much and seeing those hopes come to nothing.

Whatever, as they say.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Character portrait (1)

You can hear him before you see him. Very often, from miles away.

His talk is sprinkled with laughter.

He is fluent in more than four Indian languages, a fact he demonstrates at every opportunity.

When he speaks on phone, his hand rests on his belt-buckle that is invisible somewhere below the wide tummy spilling all over it.

He flirts easily, casually, oblivious of others, giving no more importance to his words than they deserve. He likes to believe his listeners are fascinated by him. He is not particular about the object of his interest, anyone would do.

He is darker than an average Indian, with a face that could be termed attractive from a certain angle. Perhaps during his younger, thinner days, he was the heart-throb of many.

From every cell of his being emanate the desire to hear people praise him. His jokes put stand-up comedians to shame and the audience tire of stretching their lips into smileys. Yet, his overall pleasantness does invoke frequent compliments.

He never gets bored of his own talk. Perhaps his job is to blame.

If there is bad news to be delivered, he wraps it in sugar and honey, and tries to say everything but the news to be conveyed. He believes he is the only one who can handle disturbing news, everyone else is a weakling.

He never keeps his word.

He is never on time.

Drink, smoke and paan are his weaknesses, and he is specific about the brand of each.

His down-to-earth attitude itself has a pomposity to it.

His job is only a distraction, a means to fill his bank account. He does not understand 'office time' or the concept of working 8-9 hours per day.

To him, day and night hold no meaning, and he disregards the fact that others have routines to follow.

He believes that any inconvenience caused to people who serve him can be covered with money.

He considers himself welcome everywhere. If he shows kindness to someone, he expects them to be obliged to him for life, and to show their obligation and gratitude every time they meet him.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The suicidal buzz

6-year-old: "There is a mosquito near my ear."
Me: "Do you hear it buzzing?"

"Yes. Why does it make that sound?"
"I don't know. Some insects are like that. Noisy at work." ('Like some people', I added to myself.)

"Doesn't it know this sound is going to make someone slam it between their palms and kill it??"

So very profound, that thought. Perhaps he doesn't realise it yet.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Every once in a while

Sometimes I miss going out to work.

I could do without office politics, of course, or a grumpy boss breathing down my neck, or the tension of a tight deadline.

When I work from home, I don't need to convince anyone why spending time with my son is more important or why I need to be home when it gets dark. I don't have the pain of daily commuting or spending hours in the heat and dust. I don't have to make hollow-sounding excuses or endure raised eyebrows when I plead for a day's leave.

Working from home means I can take afternoon naps and make tea when I want to. I like the convenience of doing laundry at my convenience. I can laze the whole day or watch a movie, and finish my work at night. I can juggle my job and chores and interests.

Apart from the fact that everyone automatically assumes you 'do nothing all day', working from home is the best thing for a person like me.

But... every once in a while, I remember the coffee machine, the gossips, the ambience, the laughter, the email chains, the bright lights, a good word from a colleague, and interesting people.

Every once in a while I feel lonely sitting alone punching my keyboard and having to step over to Twitter or Facebook to seek company.

Every once in a while, I miss going out to work.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


That sinking feeling, 
That familiar territory. 
You think you're climbing, 
Look again - aren't you sliding?
The same old turn in the road, 
The same old nasty curve-
Alas! It is time...
For history to repeat.

Friday, December 2, 2011

'I first'

It must have been my 32nd or 33rd week of pregnancy. I experienced a fleeting pain in lower abdomen, very like the pangs that people with gastric complaints are familiar with. On a normal day I would have dismissed it, but this was the time you took every little sign given by the body seriously. The next morning, the pain not having abated, I decided to consult my gynaecologist.

There were many patients waiting at the hospital. I was restless, uncomfortable and worried, but the difficulty was not severe enough to make me barge into the Emergency or to the Doctor's room. I must have waited for three quarters of an hour for the patients who came first to finish their consultation. The girl whose turn came right before mine was at ease, chatting (in Malayalam) and laughing with her parents and brother, that I ventured to ask her, "Can I go in before you? I am in pain...Vedana aayittu vannatha..."

The girl, without a moment's hesitation, snapped, "No. I am in pain, too."

Shocked and distressed, I said "OK" and sat down. When her turn came, she went in followed by her family, as my wait continued for another 15 or 20 torturous minutes. When they came out, the brother whispered to me as he passed, "Sorry." I went in, almost collapsed, and the Doc started me on IV, but that's a different story.

Why the girl responded as she did remains a mystery to me, but of course she was entitled to it. In fact, the hospital followed an ancient 'First Come' system without any intervention from anyone (no token or registration, relying only on people's good sense) that some people who came late just walked in, ignoring the others.

Maybe the girl was tired of waiting. Maybe she really had some difficulty. Maybe she thought I just made up the story about the pain.