Monthly Archives: June 2011

Face-off or… just ignore the itch ?!

Of late, my mood has been sour. To be precise, I have been having a constant itch under my skin for the past one day. Interestingly, with the monsoons in full swing here, it’s not the regular kind of bug bites that can be dealt with anti-inflammatory medications or repellants. It’s more of a people kind.

If there is one thing I dislike like more than “nosy Parker” is someone who doesn’t ask a question outright but rather asks ten different people who know the person concerned. And oh yes, eventually the news reaches the concerned and “the itching” starts.

As far as work or even neighborhood is concerned, I ‘m not much of a talker and definitely, I’m not one to flash details of my private or professional life. I don’t like being a walking radio station!! But, if you ask me something outright, I‘ll definitely answer.

To cure “the itch”, means confronting the person but sometimes, I feel what the point of it is. The chance of such a similar situation not happening again is slim. So, how do I stop the itching?

Three options my best pals suggested.

“The art of ignoring the person who had initiated the rumor. Especially if the person is just an associate more or less, not a real friend. After all, no point getting your nerves riled over someone unimportant.”

“Or to ignore the irritation of the itch by diverting my mind. Maybe mentally indulging in the hanging of the concerned would help.”

“Or confrontation, which may or may not put an end to the problems.”

As of now, I am totally undecided. One thing for sure, I can’t waste my time on this. Need to bring my mood back to normal.

I wonder what anyone else would do in a situation like this. What would you do?


Getting a to be thirteen-year-old a b’day present….

Birthdays are special days. It rings in the celebrations, the parties, and the b’day presents and even if I am miles away from home, I still get the invites. And there is one happening in three days time. Meet my twelve-year-old niece who is going to turn thirteen, crazy about rock, presently into the hip-hop style of dressing, secretly trying to learn driving from her brother, getting shades of red and blue post basketball matches (all the while giving her mother i.e. my cousin palpitations) and is secretly an avid book reader. Well, that’s my niece.

Deciding on a gift for a to-be-thirteen year old is mighty difficult. Getting a DVD or cd’s of her favourite bands is kind of weird, ‘coz she has them all, thanks to the on the spot downloading options and the Amazon options. And unless I have an autographed DVD or tickets to a concert, it’s pointless getting into the rock music side.

A trip to my hometown or maybe weekend outdoor trip, say camping would be fine; if I weren’t miles away. So that option’s out.

Shopping. Now that is one thing that we girls, at least most of us, love to indulge in. Miles away, I frankly, have no idea what’s in her wardrobe and what’s not. It’s pointless getting her the same thing. Maybe asking her to order and choose from the catalogues would be an option, but that kind of spoils the surprise.

Well here I am running out of options. So the next best thing to do is to go online and start hunting. I never know what I may find. It’s not easy finding something that wouldn’t result in my cousin going into frenzy or my grandma calling me up saying, “She’s just a kid!!” Hah. The last time, I got her a guitar and since then, I have been getting shriek calls from my cousin.

Now, there’s this option of getting her a leather-bound collection of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Either that or the Harry Potter series. Ah well, she’s a kid but she is an avid reader. Now which reader wouldn’t love to own a book series? Too old for her age. May be not. Hey, the movies are out; so if you have seen the movie, why not read the book. But, not trendy. Yes, books are definitely not trendy for non book lovers. Besides with Kindle around, hard solid books are getting out of fad. But, I prefer books to be held in hand once in a while.

Let me remember, the best b’day gift that I got as a twelve-year-old was my own cd player. That was like almost a decade ago. It’s definitely not an option now. Besides, she already has an iPod. A birthday gift when she turned eleven.

Great, I am in awesome fix. Three days more. Need a surprise. So, what do you get a twelve-year-old that is cool, trendy and something that she doesn’t have and something that won’t send my cousin sister into frenzy?!!

What was the best birthday gift that you got as a twelve-year-old?

To you Dad, Happy Father’s Day !!!

I have sat on this post for the past two days, contemplating a lot over the memories, the days of ‘yore and the present. So putting down my lessons, emotions and memories into words, this post is about my Dad. And it’s in a way; for all the dads in the world, including my cousins and my uncles.

Dear Dad. It’s not easy putting it in words. The silent lessons taught by you, the memories and your presence. Growing up, there were a lot of things you taught me. And most of the time, though you never say much; you’re still always around, lending a hand and your support.

During the early years, when I was still in my cradle, Mom used to say that Dad used to be scared to hold me. After I turned one year of age, then there was no putting me down. Born into silent mischief, is what I would say my childhood was all about. And I did give my Dad a couple of gray hairs along the way.

Through the years, there were a number of things that Dad had taught me. About life. About dreams. About family. About love. About work. And about many other aspects of the path and the journey on the road.

Dream strong, dream big. Dad had a lot of dreams in life. But one thing he never failed to do was to plan. To plan for the future, to see ahead. He never panicked during the crisis. All the ups and downs he faced them. Even when the downs came, he would put his dreams on hold, only for a while and then catch up with them.

No pain, no gain. Dad is a chronic workaholic but he would not rest till he got what he wanted. That was one of the first lessons of life that he taught me. It was always his policy to say that hard work never hurt anybody and twiddling your thumbs will just increase your stress levels. It’s not only about staying focused, but shifting through till you finding the right focus.

Family first. No matter how busy he was, Dad still kept a tab on all of us. True, he was not much of a talker but he used to be around.
Stage programs, award functions, races , matches, whatever was the event, Mom used to be the frontrunner but somewhere in the crowd Dad would be there and if he couldn’t make it, he used to make certain that we had re-told the entire event in words or he caught the video or pictures of it. And weekends, was one time when we would all hang out, either the malls, theatres or the beach. I guess, it’s there in most of the families, but knowing the amount of paperwork and travel trips that my Dad makes in a day, a day with him minus work, is priceless.

Never judge. If you disagree, say it quiet and firmly. Dad was a master of tact and diplomacy. Not much of a talker, he was and is always a silent observer. And I must say, very watchful, which was ability specially needed during our teen years. He was never the one to jump to conclusions, whatever may be the matter. Always weighing the pros and the cons, he would reserve his opinions till the end, waiting for the right time. And that was the trick to bringing our childhood temper tantrums under control.

Jump into the moment. Have fun. Take risks, but plan them, whenever possible. Contrary to the usual risk-taker view, my Dad used to take risks and chances but he used to always do a fast-forward view before discussing with Mom. But once on a track, he would never look back. I remember the time, when he had to expand the company in Sudan and stay there for a while. It was a while before he got used to the language, but there were tales of fun in his emails to home. The cooking adventures were the first. Followed by the laundry and the rest of the household chores. It was just a matter of finding joy and surprises in the daily chores as well.

This is just a gist of what my Dad has taught me. But the best part is that, no matter how busy he is and no matter where he is, he still keeps tabs on all of us. Right now, I am nostalgic for the days of ‘yore, but I guess I can never get them back. Longing for a long leave, I can’t wait to go back and be with the family. Though, I have kind of left the nest, the lessons, the memories and the times shall stay.

And Dad, after these many years, all I want to say for now, is Happy Father’s Day.

“Ichigo Ichie” and the truth of routines….

It’s nearly midnight and looking back, today was just another ordinary day, filled with the usual routines at home. My sister just called and classified my day as “boring”. Well, I wouldn’t say that, ‘cause after days of madness there is a comfort in doing the usual daily chores. Maybe that’s the beauty of routines.

Routines. It becomes a part and parcel of your life. And in a way, there is some comfort in routines. Getting up and heading to the porch, with my morning cup of tea in hand, armed with the newspaper in the other, to connect to the world outside and to watch life go by; that is my day starts. Routines are an essential part of life. It brings some kind of order and balance in the daily buzz.

Routines and monotony. Not necessarily. Sometimes, monotony is needed to bring life to normal. Imagine every day, if it was filled with uncertainties about what would happen next. As it is, every day has the usual surprises and shocks. Minus routines or the regular daily stuff, it would feel that every day is like a roller coaster. You don’t know if you would be sitting tomorrow or hanging upside down. Thanks, but I would rather stick to the routines, whenever possible and not let my stress levels go skyrocketing up.

Besides, monotony gives a sort of regularity and “systematism” to the day. And it’s when you deviate from the regular monotony that creativity happens too. No art or task can be repeated exactly in the same manner. At least humans can’t. That’s what machines are made for. Every mundane chore, when you give it a slight twist once in a while, i.e. Make a small variation and viola, there is a difference. And that makes the day interesting.

“Repetition and routine leads to boredom!!” But who is doing the exactly same intricate precise actions daily. Consider the daily
morning chore of making tea or coffee. The procedure is a set of movements that have been mentally thought as the same, yet no action is the same. That’s why the Zen philosophy says, the day is based on the philosophy of ichigo ichie”, i.e. “one time, one encounter”. And that each moment is unique and cannot be repeated in the exactly same manner.

In fact, I feel that repetition is a concept; every action has subtle differences that make it different from the previous one. And deviating once a while from the routines, brings the creativity to light.

In a way, sticking to routines helps to bring your day into track and makes it productive. Besides, even daily routines have surprises. You just have to look for them to find them. Routines, monotony, balance, creativity…they all go hand in hand. What do you say ?

Unpredictable as always…

Almost nearing towards the end of June, it would have been the ideal start to the rains, the monsoons. But as usual, being unpredictable as ever, is its charm. It had to start right away, at the end of May. And since then it’s been a fight for the skies, of the rain and the sun. After all, regularly irregular is in vogue for Mr. Weather at the moment. Apparently, his turf is not only in England.

Monsoons. Ah, interesting topic of discussion, but after hiding the sun for two days at a stretch, it deserves a word of appreciation at the least, hence the post.

I’ve heard of rainy days and sunny days, but of a sunny rainy day!! Well now I have. The most irritating part is that one minute you are on the road, next minute you are wading through the muddy waters. No, I don’t live in a swamp nor did I enter the forest area. You see, it just rained.

Rains. Or rather, the monsoons. I love it. It brings me back to nature.  Especially, the fresh smell of earth, jumping in mud puddles, setting the paper boats on sail, and of course, getting drenched. And not to forget, the hot cup of tea or coffee, while watching the rain at work. The rainy days have some of the best moments.

But not, when I have to go for work. En route to work, after wading in muddy ponds and walking in slosh, my attire becomes a piece of modern art. Worse is the mud splashes greeting us, the pedestrians. Forget covering the distance from my quarters to the hospital on wheels, by the time I beat the traffic, it would be mid-day.

And to add to it, the tireless chore of getting rid of mud prints on the floor; it’s a mix of paw prints and foot-prints!!! And of course, with the sun in hiding, trying to get the clothes sun-dried is almost next to impossible.

Worst of the worse, is allergies. Well, I beat Rudolph this time.

Anyways, no matter how tedious rainy days may be, they have their own importance in a special way. I guess, it’s just a matter of getting used to the changing weather. So at present, here I am on my day off,  after battling today’s rain along with the hours of traffic and the roads, finally at home.

Hopefully, tomorrow the rains will ease up a bit for the sun to come out from hiding. Then, it’s a maybe again. No point in trying to predict the unpredictable. Just trying to enjoy the moments as they happen. Happy monsoons !!!

Each day, to it’s worth….

It has been a hectic day with a devastating end. The bad news from the home-front, that one of our neighbourhood families, Uncle Peter had met with a hit-and-run accident, and though the ambulance arrived promptly, he didn’t make it. He was a happy-go-lucky guy, with a ready smile and a helping hand. Who could ever predict that when he left work for the evening, it would be his last day? Did his wife know that he wouldn’t make it for supper? And David and Susan, no more evenings with dad? True, but it’s the memories, that’s all what they have now, all what they have that they can hold on to.

Death. It’s sometimes expected, but more often it’s unexpected. Yet, no matter how it comes, it’s always devastating.

Life. It’s so unpredictable. So precious and fragile. You are here one minute, and the next minute you are not. It’s just over. You never know if the “goodbye” you say, is the last. And sometimes, you aren’t given a chance to say goodbye, what then?!

Sad but true, but that is the unpredictability of life. Which is why I guess you can’t keep your dreams and plans on hold. True, planning is a must, but procrastination isn’t. More importantly, time for family and friends as well as work, each sector has to receive its due. Workaholics regret the time lost with family and those, who squander away opportunities, regret their loss. Yet, sometimes it’s too late.

What’s worse is the moving on phase. The phase after you lose someone. You try to pick up the pieces, but somehow the view ahead is blurred. You try to get things in focus, but you are still holding on to the memories. You try to bring back the hours; to let things fall into but somehow time comes to a stand-still.

Eventually, life goes on, things back in track and so each day will go ahead till you are called. Yet, it’s not the same. It’ll never be the same. I guess, that’s why sometimes, we all say life sucks. Life, at times is unfair and mean. Yet, in spite of all the anger, unfairness and helplessness, life goes on. It doesn’t stop, not for anybody; for nobody.

I remember what granny said in her days, “Dear, each day is like a new dawn. It gives a chance to do something. To give a part of yourself, to your work, family and friends. But you don’t have much time. For in the blink of an eye, it’ll be all gone. What you will leave behind is memories. Memories, which are a part of your legacy.” I miss Granny’s words, at times. And most of all, her presence. What she always said was true.

Death sometimes, is an eye opener. Of how rare and precious life is. I guess it serves as a reminder how not to just squander away time and life. It makes us appreciate the importance of life, the worth of living. As what life always teaches, by human nature, we rarely appreciate anything unless and until it is taken away from us. I guess, the point what death is trying to bring across, is to live life. Each day according to it’s worth.

I guess we all get an allotted time in life, but we never know for how long it is. So while I can, I guess I’ll just do my bit. After, my legacy, or rather my story to the world, that’s what I can leave behind. And that is my say, for today.



I’m staying from “this little Bee” for a while….

Here are the snippets of a long distance video conversation with my cousin and my 7 year old neice…..

“So how was school Julie-Ann?”

“Oh it was great aunt. I qualified for the Spelling Bee. I’m representing my school for the finals at the state level.”

“That’s great dear.”

“You wanna know my final word aunt.”

“Oh yes, what was it?”

“Paraphernalia. And aunt Ky, there was a tie breaker with Chris, one of the guys from the third grade. We had to then spell misogynist. But I won,” bubbled a very gleeful Julie-Ann…..

All the while in my mind, I kept my fingers crossed hoping that I wouldn’t have to spell any word put across by my neice, on the spot.

Spelling Bee. It was one of the most awaited events at school. Eagerly awaited by some, but dreaded by the rest of us. For me, it was a so-so event. I could credibly keep my head above the water.

Though today, I would rather feel better if one didn’t ask me to spell certain words, outright on the spot. ‘Cause, you see there is particular icon in my Microsoft Office  Word software, which is there in the review bar. The icon, which is seen as a “tick mark” with ABC written in capitals over it. Oh yes, it’s the indispensible “spelling and grammar check” option. This is one icon that no document is complete without.

I know my basic spellings but while typing against time, I don’t even know what order the type keys are getting pressed. The speed of my thoughts, usually outrun my type speed. So that’s where this little icon becomes real handy. True, that time gets spent on editing, but at least there is no outrageous spelling mistakes sent via email.

Another thing is the language. I’m talking about English, but more specifically, the British English and the American English. When I have to type reports and publications for the journals, that’s when the problem starts. So now, it’s just a matter of setting the language to U.S. or U.K. Thank goodness for office software.

So these days, though I’m still fond of spellings (but I’m staying from this bee for a while), I’d rather not go unprepared as far paper presentations and work is concerned.

Guess I’m being spoilt by this “little icon”!!