Thursday, July 27, 2017

The day after 26/7: Part IV: Home, while I was away

The final and concluding part of the most eventful three days of my life is here. It was almost as if I did not want to recollect the traumatic incident to repeoduce it here. But some very dear friends managed to coax me to complete it. For the first three parts, you can click here - Part I, Part II and Part III

28th July, 2005. 1pm.

My mom opened the door and loudly announced without a smile, "She's here." My brother came rushing to the door and gave me an angry stare and told mom, "Give a call to Kurla Police station."

I walked in wondering where all the welcome hugs and smiles went.

"Where is your phone?" Brother charged at me.
"It's here with me but it isn't working." I started clarifying.
"Get it out, give it to me, let me throw it away. If it's of no use during emergencies, then it's of no use at all!"
"Whose clothes are you wearing?" He finally asked the question I was expecting to come first.

Mom was busy at the phone, "Let me call your dad first", she told us.
"Where's dad?" I inquired cluelessly.
"He's out looking for you. Do you have any idea how the last 30 hours were for us? Do you have any idea what your dad went through?"
Huh? Dad!? And I told Lini's family my dad would be cool while my mom panicked.

Mom managed to talk to dad over the phone and informed him that I was back.
"You go and pick him up. He must be weak from all the things he saw there," she told my brother. He left from home almost instantly.

What did he see there? My mind was getting overly imaginative. I had so many questions but no one seemed to be in a mood to be calm with me. 

But mothers cannot stay angry for long. "What happened after yesterday's early morning call?" she sat me next to herself.
"After that call got cut, I got your call again. The phone rang but the answering button wasn't working."
I then narrated my wet adventure in great detail to her.

Ours was one of the very few lucky landline phones that were working in the locality during those flooded days. The news of me missing had spread like wildfire and my mom had been answering calls of friends and relatives from all around the world. Each call must've just added to their worry.

Mum told me how worried everyone had been ever since I got out of touch on 27th morning because the last thing I told them was that I had started walking in knee deep water holding hands of strangers. She told me how restless and sleepless dad was the previous night and kept asking mom the time so that he could set out looking for me and she kept trying to keep him calm. When it was crack of dawn, he had set out to look for me.
She added, "About 20 minutes before you rang the bell, I made a pact with God." That is probably when the taxi driver decided to bring me home instead of the man who was already in it.

While we waited for my brother and dad to return, I tried to call Lini, but in vain. The phones in her area weren't functional. I went and took a much needed bath. It felt good to be home after an unexpected, long outing.

The doorbell rang. Dad was back. It was time to show him how very alive and fine I was AND time to find out what he saw there.

"First, you give a call to Kurla Police Station," he told me.
"Police Station? Why?" I was puzzled.
"Just call them, tell them your name and say that you reached just now."
I took the number from him and did as he said. It was a very short call and the person on the other side sounded glad. I went back to dad, eager to know the details. But he wanted details from me first. So, I narrated my tale first. Then he spoke.

Since he knew I was in Kurla, he went there in the morning and looked for open manholes. He did not see any. Then he spoke to the locals. They told him that everyone in the locality was helping in giving shelter to stranded people. After asking around in a few places, he went to the police station. The policemen were very kind and polite to him and he wondered why. They added my name to the list of missing persons. Then one of them asked dad to go with him.

Try visualizing this part ...

The policeman took him to a heap of dead bodies. I try not to imagine the stream of emotions that he went through while he looked at all those bodies, hoping not to spot me. New carts (those vegetable vendors' carts) were coming into the police station, each with a dead body on it. My father had to look at each of those lifeless faces. Most awful moments of his life, I know. But he had to look, just to make sure and because he was determined to find me...

And then his phone rang. The voice on the other end said, "She's back home. She's perfectly fine."

What a moment that must've been for him. He waited at the police station till my brother reached and saw everything that dad saw, but with completely different emotions because he knew I wasn't in there.

I sat beside my father, listening to the tale of death, hiding my shivers when I realized how lucky I had been to find an angel called Lini among those hundreds of stranded people to keep me safe till nature's fury died down!

We decided to pay her family a visit and we did, when things in the city had come back to normal.
We also informed our relatives and my dear friends who looked for me in buses that were shown on news channels.

God had blessed my family when so many had lost their loved ones.
Today is the death anniversary of hundreds of fellow Mumbaiites. May their souls rest in peace.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

My daughter's ears

Everyone seems to be wanting to take ownership of my daughter's ears.

I've been staying at my hometown with my parents for a few months along with my daughter. I go out with her twice a day on an average - once to school and once to the children's park where she meets many kids of all ages during her circus like activities and I meet many parents. We both have a good time. When we meet parents for the first time, we hear,

"Hi baby! What's your name?"
"How old is she? Is she going to playschool?"

That's the information they'd like to get.
Sweet, comforting and friendly conversation. In fact, it's during these conversations that I made the wonderful decision of enrolling her in a nursery for the few months that I was there. She loved it, had a lovely time and became more social and interactive because of school.

Then I went to my native place and stayed with my in laws for a while. We visited friends and relatives. During my entire stay, we (my daughter and I) only heard unwelcome complaints,

"Oh! She's so thin! She should be just a little more plump."      WHY? EYE CANDY?
"You haven't cut her hair?"      DO YOU WANT TO SELL IT?
Me : "Oh yes I did, many times"
"Oh (scrutiny continues) maybe you should cut a little more here and here"
My mind yelled : Why don't you just go and style your own kids' hair? 

AND the most common, "No earrings? You haven't got her ears pierced?"
Me : No.
They : WHHHYYYYY!!!????
The way they asked 'why', it sounded like I was being questioned for not keeping my child clothed!

I wanted to tell them, "My wish! I am the boss here and I will do it when I feel like it. Why are YOU in such a hurry?" but instead I just shrugged and said, "Later"

Some people keep telling me every time they see me that babies don't feel the pain of piercing.
What a dumb myth! Babies are crying anyway. Another bout of tears makes no difference to people around. Piercing at a time when a kid remembers nothing that happened to them an hour ago, is done just so that they don't tend to fidget with their ears.

I want my daughter to remember this ritual, the pain and the joy that follows in spite of the pain. This is my decision for my daughter and I wish people would stop interfering.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Kindergarten girlfriends

I was friendly with my cousins during my school days. We got together during vacations and played kiddie games. Then they grew up. So, we stopped mingling much because only they grew up. Soon they were talking about state politics and cracking jokes that I did not understand. I wanted to talk about cats and I wanted to play. It was as if my cousin sisters and brothers were suddenly my aunts and uncles! So, we kinda drifted apart.

Then facebook came. I had a good number of friends - mostly new friends that I had made after school. I did not want to get in touch with my school friends because I assumed they too must've grown up like my cousins.

Then whatsapp came and the chit chat began. An old friend told me there was a school group and that she'd get me added to it if I wanted to. Just because I'd sound rude if I said 'no', I consented. I got into the group and saw all those girls there whose friend requests on facebook, I had left pending. They were talking about old incidents, teachers, students... there was so much nostalgia, my fondest memories of my wonderful school life came flooding back.

NO ONE in that group had grown up. Maybe students of the same school grow in a similar way! We were birds of a feather and flocking together and that was giving me so much joy.

Memories from eleven years of school life, Sr. KG to 10th, came rushing back into my head and I'm going to get it all out into this blog.

But because of my OCD, I want to follow chronology and will first narrate a tiny incident that happened in my nursery school. I was four.

My nursery school, 'Babyland', was in my colony itself. The girls' uniform was a yellow frock with a brown collar and belt and brown pipings. Our teachers were Poppy and Sheela. We called them Poppy teacher and Sheela teacher.

One day, we were being taught how to write numbers and I apparently did something really funny in my book. Sheela teacher started laughing. I did not like her response and gave her an angry stare! That made her laugh more and that in turn made me angrier! I rolled my eyes at her and said very sternly, "I'll kill you!"


Her guffaws only got louder. She went in and called Poppy teacher, "Come here, see what Shruti has to say!" Poppy teacher came to me and said "What did you say?"

My innocent anger repeated in the same stern voice, "I'll kill you!!"
At age four, I couldn't understand what was so funny about getting killed! I don't remember what happened after that. Maybe they told my mother that I threatened them and maybe my mom threatened me never to threaten anyone, but all that just faded away :)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A marriage that totally pissed me off!

I heard about someone's wedding today and was shocked as hell. I almost puked. The guy was marrying his sister!!! Well, almost sister, someone he saw as his sister for 20 years, ever since he was 4 years old.  He was marrying his maternal uncle's daughter!
Bleddy sister-f*er! (read saala BC!!)

How the hell did this happen? No, they weren't in love. Their houses were close to each other, so the families were close; and while they were looking for a bride for the guy, the girl in our story was preparing to stand as his sister for his wedding since the guy had no 'real' sisters. The parents searched for a girl for years, but in vain. And THEN came the suggestions of the education deprived, illiterate old women in the family. Why not get this girl married to the guy? What's the big deal? Our grandfathers were sister f*ers, why not make our grandson one too? Haha effing BC son of ours!

Grand-illiterate-ma managed to brainwash the minds of 4 foolish parents and out they set with 2 horoscopes in hand, to an astrologer!!
Horoscopes match!! Yayyee!
12 boxes pedhas please! Make that 13. Let the soon to be wed brother-sister feed each other one box. It might make them fall in lurrrve!

And then began the long and difficult process of making the children say yes. He's not your brother anymore he's the man you have to make babies with.

And the couple I'm talking about finally agreed and got married.

Eeeks! I shudder wondering what their first night was like..

Aji sunte ho, bhaiyya... oops!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Life as the home minister! :)

Happy birthday to me! ;)

I have successfully completed one month at a new home, a home away from homeland, and the place sure is cosy! ^_^

I'm having a fun time here, living the kind of life I've been dreaming of ever since I got engaged! It feels absolutely wonderful living as a small family - the husband, the kid and me - away from elders, away from supervision, interrogation and comments. I don't have to please people or smile when I don't feel like it or follow time tables. It feels great to be finally out of the microscope slide. Aah!

Every married couple must live like this, independently. I wasn't really scared before coming here, but since cooking was not a part of my daily activity, I was not very sure how well I'd manage. I had to come anyway because - one - the daddy was missing out on a lot of bringing-up-the-baby fun and two - I was missing out on bringing-up-the-baby-with-her-daddy-around fun! But now, after one month of feeding my husband, my baby and myself, my confidence has increased and now I know I can manage a home :-) Oh it does feel SO SO awesome!! :-)

When you're living like this, you can sing aloud whenever you want, you can have lunch at 3pm, you don't have to panic if you forget your pajamas when you go for a bath, never worry what someone might think if you do what you really want to do right NOW... like writing this post while the baby is next to me trying to murder the vacuum cleaner.

I think it's high time now that the elders accept the fact that two mature individuals are running a home with a baby and it's something that is not happening for the first time in the history of the earth.

I can feel the true joy of feeding my little family, the true joy of looking after my baby <3 p="">THIS is the kind of life everyone must live! It makes us independent, responsible and confident (AND very patient too)! Oh the joys of such life! Touchwood!

Burp! Overate chocolate cake for birthday, See ya'll!! Lots of baby posts coming soon!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year 2014 !!!

Yay! 2014 is here! :-)

2013 was by far the most eventful year of my life. After all, isn't going from being single to married, the biggest event in anyone's life? Hey! Don't say I did not tell you. Did I not tell you at the end of this post that I was caught up with life transforming procedures? And I also told you at the end of this post that I decided that a good looking, scarred statue was not enough to keep me company all through life.
Yeah! Slippery me! Heh! :D

Marriage is a concept that I ran away from, for uncountable years. I've had innumerable arguments with elders about how it is not necessary to get married and how they must stop forcing a mentally unprepared me to get bound in an irreversible situation. All this, in spite of knowing at the back of my mind that someday it was bound to happen. And it did happen almost a year ago. So that's what makes 2013 the most eventful year of my life so far. :D

I think I've been deprived of exciting events in my life for a long time, so I don't want to stop here. Maybe I'm greedy for adventure but I forgive myself for that harmless greed and I hope hard that more awesome events come my way.

And I wish all of you a very Happy New Year 2014 and pray that the year brings you lots of joy and fulfilment.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Teacher haters - the most unfortunate people

"All teachers are like that. They're all a wasted, pain in the neck."

Ever heard someone say that? I have. And it totally pissed me off. I have my reasons.

The above quoted words of dislike are clearly spoken by someone who has never had a good teacher during their school and college days. It is indeed a very sad story for them because half of our childhood is spent in schools and if we don't like the big, grown men and women who walk in and out of our classrooms trying to make us believe things we've never heard of, then half our chilhood is spent in boredom and spite.

 I, especially, pity such people genuinely because I come from a school that had young and energetic teachers who were smart, skillful, efficient, interactive, empathetic and understanding. During junior college, I had a panel of teachers who made us go through five-hour lectures without making us feel the pressure. Their lectures were that enjoyably enlightening. It is highly improbable that I am one of very few people who have been lucky to have a fun journey with teachers. I am sure there are a whole lot of them out there.

Ahem! Now for some trumpet blowing...
To add to my beautiful student-teacher happy journey story, I confidently add myself to the list of teachers who has made a lot of students happy. It is not what I think of myself but what my students conveyed to me anonymously during the faculty-feedback procedure that happens in college every year. Being rated 'outstanding' for three consecutive years, I believe, is not a coincidence.

These observations bring me to the conclusion that this person who badmouths all teachers of the world must be someone with an abnormally low attention span, hence not being able to catch up with the other kids of the class and getting severely reprimanded by the teachers, or was extremely unlucky to unfailingly, always get a bad teacher to teach him.

I thought writing this post would calm me down. Guess it'll take a while.