Thursday, October 11, 2007

I am thankful for...

Hubby makes a moot point that I am forever complainative. That I can complain about everything. Even about the choices that I have made myself.

So let me put the record straight and put down in writing the things I am thankful for.

Healthy Happy Son:
Thank You God for a child that is healthy and happy. So he's a little late on the talking milestone. But he blabbers and says a number of words. And its a start. I keep hoping and praying that he will gush out soon.

Transparent Husband:
Who cant keep any secrets from me. Though I love to be surprised with lil stuff - and he just cant make that happen. But at least there are no shocks that he has in store for me.

Comfortable Life:
O it is more than comfortable. Yes, in the last year and half we've traveled like crazy but its tapering off now. And wherever we've traveled we've always stayed more than comfortably. And i got to see the world and stay in so many different places.

Easy Life:
No matter how much I complain about Riyadh and its twisted rules, life sure is simple there. I have a maid to do housekeeping. I have another lady ready to do cooking for me (though I havent fallen for that yet). Every other day, I get asked if I need someone to care for the lil patch of garden I have or to wash hubby's car or to babysit sonny. And all these services are so damn cheap - it takes guts of iron to say 'no thank you, I can manage'.

Cool In-laws:
I am such a 'jhalli' - and I really dont know of an apt English translation of that word. I think simplistic would be the positive spin on it. And they've just taken me as I am. My un-co-ordinated stuff, my lack of cooking skills, my laid-back approach to stuff. And yet they've just showered so much love and affection on me. My father-in-law makes sure I have my chaat-sessions (bhel puri, paani puri, dahi puri - the works) every time I am here. Mom-in-law bares her wardrobe for me to pinch clothes from. This one I am truly truly eternally grateful to God for.

Most loving friends:
I am so laid-back that if it werent for C and M - my closest buddies, knocking me on my head every few days with a mail or phone call or patiently waiting for me to get back - I would have lost them forever. And really they my most treasured finds. Thank you God for them and keep them safe.

My blog pals:
I was lonely and friendless in the cold of Boston. I created a blog and so many delightful moms (and non moms) showed up. Some giving me guidance. Some re-assurance. Some stating facts that I really ought to have seen. Some laughing at my bumbling efforts at being a mom. And some dropping a line or two asking me where I have been, if I havent posted for a while. Thank you God for these wonderful women (and the odd man or two).

My parents:
They've always given me the ample space I've needed - and the advice. Never interfered in my married life or in my motherhood efforts. Always asking if I'm happy. Always praying for me. Thank You God for them.

Being a Mother:
It was never planned and I have complained non-stop through it. The breast-feeding problems, the unslept nights, the unwashed hair and the stretch marks, the aches and pains....they've all been complained for and yet the end result has been loved and cherished. Thank you God for giving me this wonderful opportunity.

My Extended Family:
Sisters in law who are more sisters than in laws, cousins who I've spent so many unproductive evenings with, cousins who I went shopping with, uncles who know of my every like and dislike, aunts who still remember that I love their achars, a grandmom who still calls me 'baby', for all of them - I thank you God. So there were a few nasty aunts, a few khadoos uncles, well - they made the others seem good by contrast :)

And now that I think about it - I want to thank God for every little obstacle, every little twist he put in my life. Because with all of them, inspite of all of them, my life really is not worth complaining about.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Being an Indian brings out a lot of emotions in me - pride, sense of responsibility, hope, even frustration at times. I never thought shame would one day get included in that list.

A few days ago - we were on a flight from Abu Dhabi to Delhi (yes people we're back in India - for the 2 week long Eid holidays). The flight was full of desi-bhais (fellow Indians). Even before the flight took off - the air-hostesses were seen looking hassled as passenger upon passenger demanded blankets. O sure nothing wrong with asking for blankets - you're cold, you wanna snooze off - you need a blanket. But do you need 2??? One that you sneak into your hand luggage to take home as a souvenir. And I'm told the airline allows to take one blanket off the flight - as part of their customer service stuff. And still you want 2. Come to think of it - I'm sure the airline staff has no option but to smile beatifically as passenger after passenger walks off with the said blankets. Might as well - call it a gift.

Since its the month of Ramazan - the staff asks you if you want to eat on flight or want a take-away. If you're fasting they give you a pack of dry lunch. And yet the man in the seat next to hubby - pulled out a plastic bag and emptied the contents of the food tray into the bag - to take home. And food included some dal, Chicken and rice with kheer as a sweet dish. Why? I seriously dont know.
The man behind me asked for a take-away. When the steward returned with his take-away box, he asked for another. He explained to the steward in really broken English, that the take-away box contained inadequate amounts of food and he needed more. He continued to pester the steward till the man told him that they had a veg box left. Was he still interested? Sure he was. Then he gloated to all the men seated next to him that 'maangne se milta hai' (if you ask - you'll get it).

No, none of this caused shame. I oscillated between despair and frustration for my fellow desis.

The shame happens now.
The captain announced that we would land in 30 mins. Like bullet out of gun, the man across the aisle jumped out and got his suitcase down. When I stared, he told me - 'time bachta hai' (you save time if you have your stuff in your hands). Of course the air-hostess gave him an earful and demanded that he return the bag to the over-head bin. To which he says ' theek hai - khud rakh do' (fine keep it yourself). So I leaned across and explained to him that it was his bag - he had to do it. Suddenly all the men around me, (apart from the airhostesses, there were just 5 other women on the flight - I counted) started having a loud, free for all debate about keeping the bag back. 10 rows away a man got up and yelled 'abbe rakh de - kaahe paresaan kar raha hai' (come on - put it back dont be a nuisance). Man agreed - order was restored.

The plane touched down and was still taxing when all the seat-belts opened loudly and suddenly all the men were up on their feet, opening the over-head bins, taking out their bags. Whats the fucking hurry, I thought. You anyways have to wait - they will have the business class disembark first. The steward politely announced in English -asking people to remained seated. No body bothered. And the plane is still moving. Suddenly a loud, shrill announcement happens in Hindi - and really rudely the stewardess asks passengers to get back to their seats "fauran" she said. Immediately. 'Abhi plane ruka nahin hai - jab aap se kaha jaayega tab apni seats chodiye' (The plane hasnt stopped yet - leave your seats when we ask you to).It kind of sobers these mad idiots and they scramble back to their seats, laughing - as one laughs at a mad professor. Still a couple of men continue to get their stuff down. Stewards, physically get them down. Only then do they remain seated.

Finally plane halts - and like bullets these men are out of their seats. Fearing for our safety I remain seated. The air-bridge gets connected. 2 men stand at the window and loudly yell at everyone 'abhi bridge lag raha hai - bus bhi aa gayi hai. shayad bus se le jaayenge. abee hume kahe khada kar rakha hai - bhai jaldi utaro'. (the bridge is getting set. the bus is here too - maybe they'll take us by bus. why the hell are we still made to stand here - get us off quickly). I sink deeper and deeper into my seat. I could have well been an the Delhi- Patna Express - given the mentality of the crowd.
When the crowd thins off I manage to get up and move towards hubby's seat (last min reservations meant - we were in different rows) - he's slumped in his seat too. I see a man ahead of him - open the bin and take out our bag - and he moves towards the exit. 'Hey' hubby runs after him - 'thats my bag'. 'O is it' - he queries and turns towards a man at the rear - 'Sajju which one is yours?'. We move off.
There is no stewardess standing to wish us good-bye at the door. Thank God I thought - how would I ever meet her eye after all this.

Immigration queue - there is man actually putting people in queues, for there are enough people wanting to jump the line. And all those early birds who ran off the plane are waiting for others to fill the Immigration forms for them. O wow - I thought - they cant even fill the forms. We're waiting in the line - and the man who took off with our bag is behind us. The agent waves off one passenger and before we can move, this man has shot off. I yelled. the man manning the queues, yelled at him too, both of us gave him an earful. Smilingly he tells me - 'hume laga - aap bad nahin rahe ho - hum hi jaaye' (I thought you werent moving - so let me take your place). 'Hum yahan kya prabhu bhajan ke liye khade hain?' I screamed. Suddenly all around me people are saying 'Chodiye behenji' (let it be sister). Sister? Who me???

Anyways we finally left the airport.

Deeply ashamed of our fellow-citizens.

"Its no wonder", hubby summed it up well, "why air-hostesses look towards Indians like we're puke or worse. We probably deserve it."

Why us, God? Why us???

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Words of Wisdom

From TV serials no less...

"A super-mom is the first to crack" - Desperate Housewives
Agree completely. More than agree, I hope they do crack - so lesser moms like me feel better.

"Being a mom is like being an ER doctor. There are no days off." - Desperate Housewives
Agree, agree, agree.

"As parents grow older, the roles get reversed. You being the child have to take them in, and care for them no matter how weird, obnoxious and unbearable they may seem." - Desperate Housewives
Didnt know this was true in the US as well.

"The problem men have with commitment is thus. Its like you're driving on an interstate, you see a sign for the Rest Area. The woman thinks - good this is all we need, food, lodging, fun, everything. Lets take this exit. The man is looking at the sign that says 'Next Rest Area 27 miles' and he's thinking ' I can make it' and continues driving." - Seinfeld
This one really really cracked me up.

O dear...hubby is right. I do need a life.