Friday, May 11, 2012

The Benjamin Button in me

It is amazing how different phases in life bring with them their own epiphanies and highs. I write this relaxed, a tad reflective, breathing easy, aware of all my inhales and exhales. This also comes after reading a report in the newspaper this morning that young women are more driven about their careers now than before. They are postponing marriage and motherhood for their goals. Not to judge. But to say that life need not be lived in any one sequence. Especially by women?

I am 'in between' things now - sometimes a better way of saying 'I am out of a job' or 'I was downsized' or help 'I'm a loser waiting to be rescued' or some such life crisis. I quit my job of 4 years at a local NGO (working with children and families) and have embarked on an ambitious journey to study (full time, 2 years) and emerge at the other end hopefully, wiser and more intimidating!

What, study at 'this' age, is the average (horrified) reaction I get to this (or is it in my head - I can never tell). I know I will have course mates as old as my son, most of my teachers, I'm sure will be younger than me and alright I do forget names easily these days. But I must say, I have never been more clearer in my head and with that kind of clarity, I bet I can whoop some young asses in my class.

I think I am done with the harder parts of playing mother, of 'sacrificing my life' (never liked those words, still don't) for the Greater Good and being a stay at home mom for my two scruffy boys. My parenting these days is largely restricted to gently requesting them to shave and/or have a bath, now and then, if possible, only if they want to.....

So now for some serious space reclaiming.

There is something to be said about living life in the reverse. Its fun, rewarding and feels incredibly light. Its time to go over a few cliches, that noone ever believes. Age is just a number. You are as old as you believe you are. There is life after motherhood. And so on. But really Benjamin Button is not just a flippant notion, sister. Its there to be lived. And enjoyed. 

Sunday, July 4, 2010

A few of my favourite toys...

While the world is busy losing bets on football favourites I am plain happy that Woody and Buzz Lightyear are back!! My favourite heroes from Toy Story.

Watching Toy Story I realise each time, how growing old is just matter over mind. I am the same little girl (with 3D glasses this time) who believed that toys have a life, feel pain,need bathing and come night (important to the plot) have their own social life. And the colourful 3D world of toys is where I would like to live happily ever after....clean ,colourful,baggage free...

My world would be a happy one with a steadfast friend like Woody and the sweet optimism of Buzz Light Year.And I would have tea in Noddy's cosy little house and hang out with Big Ears and Tessie Bear.

Can I not go back to the grown up human world now?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A rumble deep inside

Where I work ( an NGO in Bangalore that gives top class education to underpriveleged children) I see faces these days that years ago would fit somewhere else. We certainly would not see them mingling effortlessly with noisy children ,baking in the heat of the asbestos roof above in a classroom run by a Foundation, teaching them a thing or two about the Laws of Gravity and life.

Jasbir is a young IIT (an elite tech Institute in India) graduate who two years into his job got 'fed up', saw its futility and decided to give teaching a go. Who did that in my generation I ask him in awe and horror! Words like 'fed up', 'futile', self enrichment' only came about with midline fat at 40. And this young gun seems to have got it already at 24!

Is India seeing a gentle but significant shift? Is the younger generation thinking more out of the box ? Are they willing to tread unchartered space, taking 'risks' more easily? Hey - have they hit upon the meaning of 'happiness' earlier than we ever will! I hear a 'yes' somewhere - but am not sure its my optimism?

As a generation that was hungry and ambitious for material gains we saw no option to climbing up the career ladder, slowly surely, all planned and charted out. We didnt seek 'meaning' in our jobs - if it got us the goodies it was 'meaningful'. But on the wrong side of 40 we are finding ourselves spent and questioning. Is this what it was all about?

But the young Jasbirs today cant wait to uncover Life's meaning the long way. It has to be here and now. I more and more hear voices from young middle class Indians about nursing dreams of becoming scuba divers and dancers - all after chucking comfortable jobs endorsed by society. Doesnt the lack of material wealth bother? Pat come the answers. Whats the point if they leave me unsatisfied. These young 'uns are racing up the hierachy of needs super fast, I say!

I am not saying Indian middle class has suddenly got it all and our system has started producing more adventurers than soldiers. Oh we are a long long way off. I am even ignoring the dark side of Young India that has got 'too much too soon' and is therefore on a hedonistic crash course. I also know -well- that India can never be generalised. But this much I know - India (or a teeny part of it) is shifting/has shifted silently thousands of miles underground.

Hopefully this shift one day becomes a rumble and a quaking roar shaking up the Old Order, breeding questioning individuals that know well that 'they have to be the change they want to see' (Thank you Mahatma)

Friday, July 31, 2009

Fallen Giants

They lie by the roadside like fallen elephants. Hacked and brought down by crude tools - a flimsy rope, a hacksaw. Can I hear them moan? Those majestic trees. Once Bangalore's pride - now a mere nuisance in the path of 'development'. What beautiful living, breathing beings they were, giving us shade, peace and oxygen. How long does it take them to grow that big? Decades. Centuries. Three days to hack them. Go, do your math.

Road widening, metro lines, fly overs - buzz words in the din of progress. THe Bangalore of my summer vacations only in my mind now- cool , salubrious (a word I learnt early can only describe this city), unhurried. Now all hot, hurried and crass.

Someone said, the road to 'progress' has to be barren and tree less...and we all cheered in agreement. Our own Silicon Valley. Jewel in the IT crown.

I cry for Bangalore.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

40 and flitting

Everyday is a new day on Facebook. And a revisit to the past. Friends from long ago reconnect and behold memories come tumbling out. Strange how Facebook works just as well for greying 40 somethings like me as for my two teens! My friend list vies with my sons', crossing the landmark 100 recently. I am a social butterfly flitting in cyber space..

More 'adipose rich' than I remember, grey hair,wizened faces peer out of happy friendly picture frames. Father, mother, son, daughter in front of Niagra. Proud mother at sons graduation. Elizabeth George has become Liz Chabra. Time has clearly passed, roles lived and learnt ;peace made with life's limitations. No more rash dreams - reality it is. . Different journeys, same reality checks.

So Facebook is a good reminder of how time has flown by. Was anyone keeping track? But here we are again - scattered for a while, a few decades between us, sought each other out in cyber space and reconnected as if nothing happened in between.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Signed, Inked, Delivered...

Feels a bit like Rip Van Winkle waking up after 20 years as I blog my thoughts after a gap of almost a year - cant believe its been that long since we moved . Masala sushi has been lying low, what with the sushi in my life yanked out and replaced by a whole lot of bhel puri and life spinning a full 360 into reality.

Today I had my say in the world's largest democracy, such as it is. India's 5 yearly Election Machinery. A lumbering clanging sum of rattling parts with bits and parts falling off but miraculously getting there each time! As my choice registered as a resounding beep couldnt help think - again and again- that the million Gods of India are always smiling over us wishing us well..

That we managed to appear on the electrol rolls in itself was a piece of divine serendepity. When my Other Half (never short on optimism) wormed patiently through haphazard lines to reach a disinterested Govt official who couldnt care less about franchise and any of that gobbeldy gook, he (Other Half) had lost all hope of ever being recognised as a legit member of the Great Indian Electorate. Weeks later when we heard nothing from anyone, hurting from the rejection, I decided to confront the officials about the omission.

To cut the chase I finally spotted our names , mispelt, misquoted on a dusty screen in a dusty corner of a - whats that - gym! Apparently I was not supposed to ignore the gym on the ground floor of the BBMP (Muncipal Office) where business gets regularly done among dumbells and dumb-lads, as if its the most normal thing to happen.

So there I am signed, inked and delivered, smug as a bug, marvelling from all angles, the ameobic blue blotch on my finger nail, which tells me without a doubt, that I am indeed a part of this mad, mad madness.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Hello India

For now I am the only freak around that says 'thank you'. Sometimes people dont know what to do with this strange sounding salvo aimed at them but most often its not that bad and I might even get a sheepish 'welcome' in reply. I remember explaining to my non-Indian friends at various points, how saying 'thank you' is not is not much of a routine Indian practice and could even be considered offensive in a context.

Thus folks, the journey to my re-Indianification' is well and truly underway. Almost 2 months since I kissed the earth on landing in motherland, everyday has been a process of re discovering my inner Indian - snoozing happily with all guards down for 7 years.

Living in India again, is liberating.Liberating that it is home, liberating not having to say thank you for every bally thing (that I do, is another matter) and having to use more than 3 words in a sentence (Tokyo days), liberating not having to complete sentences and getting understood instantly, liberating just to be able to give complex instructions with 'what if '/'if not' deviations thrown in and being understood without a fuss (Japan - the Land of Sequential Steps) , liberating just knowing my way around, what to say, what to do...

Yet coming back has meant coming to terms with zillion other discomforts that India challenges you with. Boredom is not a frequently experienced emotion with me here. Anger , frustration, irritation - yes. Boredom - no.

Bangalore - the city of my birth , and home to us now was a sleepy town with a cool climate and smell of ground coffee and jasmine in my memory. Never a Bombay in pulse it did posses a quiet glamour of its own. It was where leafy lanes were home to classy moustached retired generals walking their pure breeds for a crisp morning walk. Or something like that atleast.Until it became Indias pot holed Silicon Valley. The Bangalore I set foot now is a grossly disfigured one thats completely lost its way. Its crowded, bustling and has truly caught up with Mumbai's grime, squalor and maybe industriousness but none of its hardy work ethic.

Anyway, everyday is a journey, everyday a new truth to unlearn and accept. When I 'compare' (India vs rest of world) I am doomed.When I accept and own, I go with the flow. But it surely has tested every bit of my optimism and I wait for the day I attain total nirvana and leap happily over mounds of garbage thinking that the rest of the world does it this way too!