31 May, 2013

The Perils of Taking a Fabulous Holiday

Perils? From a holiday? Can't be you say? But there are some..and they're the worst kind of perils.
You can't (read won't) get reintegrated in your pre-holiday life all too quick.

It's not quite so much as the feeling of getting back to a grind but it's the whole feeling of reluctance of having *that* time end.

This is why it's tough- 

  • Time seems to stop. Actually it goes much faster than it usually does during your everyday routine :( 
  • You end up doing things that you'll remember forever.
  • Leisure is all around you. Leisure is in the air. It's in your pores and everything you do. Even when you hurry you do it in a relaxed manner. How's that for figure of speech culminating out of 3 years of English Litt?
  • The calories from all the stuff you eat doesn't seem to count. It'll come back and settle happily on your hips and every other unwanted place but for now it's all good.
  • The liquid nourishment you guzzle doesn't have to be rationed since there is no work to rush to the next morning.
  • There are NO responsibilities.
  • It's a sybaritic trip.
  • You come back to normalcy and hit the ground with a thud!
  • Cooks don't turn up.
  • Maids come in late.
  • There're a LOT of unread mails awaiting you.
  • Your child clings to you and says don't go to work let's watch TV together and play on the seesaw. 
  • Your spouse, who you left holding the fort, stops holding the fort now that you're back.
  • You need to get into multitasking mode.
  • Everything at home is running on empty- cars to groceries to drinking water.
  • You are constantly daydreaming of the bygone days and sighing internally and smiling to yourself thinking of that oh-too-brief respite and hedonism.
  • You realize you're already planning for the next time in your head.
Then the phone rings, the email pings, your child calls you and the doorbell chimes and you get up and begin tackling them all one by one.

That's normalcy. The trips are the anomalies. Good ones albeit.
But normalcy is more regular and easier to adjust to.

Still, all said and done...here's to:

29 May, 2013

Why Free Speech Isn't Entirely Free

One always has to pay for things in life. In cash, plastic or kind.

The video of Mallika Sherawat going viral and there being a backlash about her calling India regressive has rankled a lot of people. But what registered while I was watching the video clip was that she had picked up American tonalities and was basically promoting herself and her films rather than India-bashing in general.

And doesn't she have a right to do so? She has an opinion about a country she grew up in, received some amount of adulation and also infamy in. Whether it was in good taste or even appropriate to speak about it in Cannes is the question, isn't it?

Well if you take away the fact that she's not really a very credible actor (I have seen her work and it's not inspiring) do her statements take anything away from India given how the prevailing situations in the country are? Not really.

Women *ARE* afraid to travel alone. Father, husbands, boyfriends are going all out to procure pepper  sprays and whatnots to keep them safer. Self-defense classes are on the rise. Women will wait longer after long hours at work so they can travel in a manner that seems physically safer and comfort is long forgotten,.

The spates of rapes, abuse and brutality has gone up exponentially across the country for anyone belonging to the female sex; age notwithstanding and the December 16th incident still is sub-judice so one can only hope it turns out with perpetrators getting punished for a change.

So why take of on Ms.Sherawat? Because she came across her what she usually does in my eyes- a little too eager to shoot off her mouth to promote herself. She could have said that "in my country the kind of roles I've done haven't been appreciated but living in LA I have options I never had before. It's not considered too risque and no one judges me for it". The word regressive wasn't required mainly because there was no context for it.

The topic was her role in a movie and she made a blanket statement about a country she is no longer living in. Was she justified? Probably not. Was she wrong? Not entirely, no. But there were other inconsistencies to her story too..she also labeled herself as a superstar. The last time I checked, barring the usual groupies and hanger-ons that celebs garner everywhere in the world, no on was elevating Ms.Sherawat to a superstar status.

Hopefully the time away from the "regressive" country will help her in polishing up her speech, teach her to pronounce 'biopic" properly and help her learn that even "superstars" need to understand how to pitch what they want to say at an appropriate target audience.

For the rest of us stuck in a country that has definitely seen better days where its women are concerned, we'll try to laud her superstardom and wade out the controversy her words have created. Because its only in India that we care...she's a speck in the Cannes' context and in the scope of cinema across the world. India is the only place that she matters in any manner whatsoever! Whether she gets featured in a movie or on the back of an auto.

And yet again, the adage is proved...there's no such thing as bad publicity. It got her on the news again when she was off the radar. 
Superstars can be pretty smart that way.

16 May, 2013

The Curse of the Bored Child

A bored child is a mother's worst nightmare. It's even worse than a child who is throwing a tantrum because at least a tantrum is directed at getting something or a result of something being denied.

A child who is bored is a dangerous element in nature and in his mother's life.

A child experiencing ennui will look at things differently and objects and ideas hitherto not in his scope of thinking will suddenly appear to him and make him do things that become the bane of his mother's existence and also put him in some amount of danger.

Take my very own bored child for example: He walks around half naked most of these because of the heat and suddenly took it upon himself to lash out at everything with his grandfather's belt. He liked the swoosh of the belt as it cut through the air and when I found him he was perilously close to whipping himself on his bare back with a belt that was being thrown about with a lot of energy and speed.

A bored child will also drape themselves over their mother in a manner that prohibits that poor woman from doing anything. I mean anything. A loo break becomes manna from the gods. A quick shower becomes a forbidden luxury. One that is disrupted every 2 minutes by a whine or a pounding on the door to give miscellaneous objects since the little emperor wants to be entertained.
All the while the bemused mother's busy trying to make sure the soap doesn't get into her eyes and hurrying so much that she almost ends up moisturizing with the conditioner in her haste.

When I see my son in these phases I am alarmed since I have NO CLUE how to keep him entertained. I think of cool, open meadows where he can gallop around like an unbridled horse or leap out of the ocean like a dolphin (make that a Great White with jaws agape after a hapless seal).

And I often feel sorry for myself because I sure as hell did NOT know WHAT I was getting myself into the day this chap was born.

It must be tough being a child, wanting to do so many things and yet having so many restrictions that the adults impose on the immediate environment; especially those which are inexplicable in a child's reckoning.

On the other hand, his demeanor and intensity makes me think he can make it big as a cage fighter. 
Maybe once he's in the cage I can finally put my feet up and read a book or sip an unhurried cuppa tea.

A mother can always dream.

05 May, 2013

Dawn Of a New Family Activity

The family that prays together stays together or was it the other way around? But the family that watches movies together has a lot of fun in the bargain!

For a very long time Red and I have abstained from taking MLM for any movies since we thought it might be too loud, over-stimulating et al. And the last person in the world that needs stimulation is my son!

Anyhoo, I'd been thinking that maybe Red and I were being too cautious with him and kind of things we opted to expose him to and the safest thing to do to start off on a new path would be to go to a movie.

The movie itself was a no-brainer. The child is OBSESSED with Chhota Bheem. And his friends. And his foes. The whole damn Green Gold merchandise! And with this having released recently we decided that the foray into the new frontier should be done without much delay.

But I WAS apprehensive. The sound systems being what they are in the multiplexes and Chhota Bheem and the shenanigans he's normally upto; the resulting noises were sure to be LOUD! And given MLM's proclivity for never letting the grass grow under his feet I wasn't sure if Red and I'd be chasing him down the aisles during the entire length of the movie either.

But your children have a way of surprising you. MLM fell asleep on the way to the multiplex and when he was awakened he was a bit cranky till he saw the huge images of the movie plastered all over the entrance. Suddenly he couldn't wait to shake off his grogginess and rush up the escalators to the hall. He did like a pro as if he'd been watching movies all his life.

But there's a bit of a naivete there that was quite endearing. The screen was the largest one he'd ever seen and the moment the ads came on he clapped and yelled "YAY". Seeing people in larger-than-life dimensions was good enough a start for him.

With the start of the movie he clapped his hands over his ears since it *was* pretty damn loud but he remembered his snacks quickly enough to take one hand and use it to sneak chips into his mouth while the other hand remained firmly clapped over an ear.

Eventually he got with the program. Cheered at the appropriate places, said " Oh NO" whenever the bad guys got away with something and once in his utter joy at seeing his hero do something fun he socked me right in the eye while he was waving his fists around! I was ruing the fact that I didn't have a handycam to record his expressions instead of gulping down my popcorn and watching the movie. His emotions were quick to surface and he held nothing back...joy, disappointment, exultation...everything was OUT THERE!

What I am QUITE proud of is his not getting frightened of the visuals that were definitely more intense that those he's ever seen. He took it in his stride and watched the scenes unfold with rapt attention.

We were one of the last people to leave, having stood around till the last credits rolled and the screen went dark.

The movie by itself was the best of the lot that the Chhota Bheem franchise has come up with so far. The characters are well-fleshed out, the locales authentically reproduced and the pace of the story never flags.

I was telling Red that we have another family activity to do together now that goes beyond getting KFC stuff from the drive-thru and going for long drives till the monkey conks off from sheer joy.

The only challenge that I anticipate is now there might be clamors for movies rather than the telly and that'd be a whole different kettle of fish altogether and a new series of blog posts too :)

But as far as it goes...this day's going into his memory book and in my memory bank for all time.

01 May, 2013

Take Me By The Hand Down Memory Lane....

There's a reason why I'll crib, rant and rave about the lack of space at home for all the books that I'll want to buy throughout my lifetime, but still never switch over to e-books for good.

Each book has a history. It goes beyond savoring the smell of a new book or sneezing from the dust of an old one. I've always inscribed my books and made people who gifted me books do the same. They might not be the book inscribing kind but even a few words scribbled has been mandatory for me.

Along with the date and the location that I find when I open an old book, I also rediscover myself from those days of yore.

Recently I re-read a book after a long while and found an inscription by my BFF2. It was given on the occasion of my birthday and a nickname was mentioned that'd fallen into disuse but used to be the norm years ago.

That's the magic of a book...it not only takes you places with what the author's words have woven but each book carries a piece of your history in it as well.

Red dislikes too many trips into nostalgia but it suits me just fine.

Sometimes nostalgia is the only thing that helps you get a grip on the present.

Over and out.