June 18, 2014

Foreign Flashback

The nineties were a time when products from a ‘phoren’ country were seen as your ticket to fame. You would eagerly wait for a distant relative to arrive from an even more distant land and gift you something – chocolates with fancy wrappers, pencils with cartoons that weren’t familiar to you, an unusual toothbrush with a transparent handle. Soaps, keychains, talcum powder, socks, handkerchief, hairband - anything would work as long as it came from a foreign land.
As a kid, I couldn’t wait to show-off my prized possessions to cousins and class-mates.  The latter was trickier. Ma would insist I keep these things for special occasions only, not take them to school; there was always a fear of misplacing them. So they sat, beautifully arranged in a little drawer, one that I kept locked all the time. Every once in a while, I would open the drawer to absorb the sights and smells of a country I had never visited, but wished to someday. It would brighten up any dreary day, romancing the mind with the promise of an unknown adventure.
Two decades later, I see every international label in my city. Every fancy store round the corner has something ‘imported’ to offer. Still, it’s that little drawer that holds a very special place for me. It is the number of ‘likes’ I collected over years. It is the innocence of a time I ache to go back to. It is the romance of firsts, the alchemy of which can never be recreated.  

May 20, 2014

It's time

As a kid, she loved to play house. Wearing a dupatta, she would take on the role of the housewife. Never the husband, never the kid; she would always want to be the wife. The term ‘home maker’ was still alien. The wife could say goodbye to the husband and kids, finish the household chores and cook for the family all day. It was, indeed, the most important role.

After the fake dusting with a handkerchief, and the cleaning of the same handkerchief to suggest washing of clothes, she would begin cooking. The gleaming kitchen set was all hers to create magic with. She would take the little kadhai, put is on the wobbly stove and begin to make paneer. It was always paneer – it sounded fancy enough, she thought. Like in a cookery show, she would say it loud, “…in goes the paneer, the tomato and salt”. After a minute of stirring with the barely-able-to-hold spatula, she would taste and say how delicious the sabji was.

Then it would be time for the husband to come home. Ting-tong. She would open the door and welcome him with a glass of water. He would be tired, too many meetings at work. She would listen to his office talk, and talk about her day too. Dinner would be served lovingly. She would wait for him to take the first bite and appreciate the food. He would, and also be impressed by how clean she has kept the house. A few laughs and it would be all nice and happy always.


Baby, let’s play house.   

January 15, 2014

On Winters

Might be a li'l late for this post, but nonetheless...

Winter is beginning to catch up. You can feel the slight sting of chill. The skies are throwing new patterns and the sunlight is getting more balmy than prickly. There’s a certain ‘thehraav’ about winter mornings that makes me fall in love with it. Everything is the same, yet not. The pace of things begins to slow down as we carry the weight of more layers.  
It’s the season of slowing down. Of taking more time in sipping the morning tea. Of putting the paper aside and watching the silence of the city from the balcony instead. Of tracking the sunlight as it moves slowly from one building to another, until it kisses you.

I like this calmness of the season. There’s no restlessness to turn up the fan speed, no rush to reach the bus stop before the downpour. Winters let you take it easy. They make you feel like the first day of vacation, after the final exams are over. So you can hit the snooze button and cuddle under the blanket for five more minutes.

Make that ten.