Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Bajji, Bonda and Bournvita

There are three things that I associate with Bangalore, rain and brilliant weather- Bajji, Bonda and Bournvita. Yes. ALL three of them.

Daddy and I used to have them all the time during monsoon. I can close my eyes and remember the brown sofas. I would cozy myself in the corner, by the window, often looking out through the swing and the trees to see if Raju had gotten us our treats by then. To keep me from my usual restlessness, Daddy would prepare (okay, he wouldn't really, but he would get someone to do it) a nice BIG cup of hot Bournvita with more Bournvita than milk in it. It would make me extremely happy because I  loved cloudy Bangalore weather. Sure, the Sun made it beautiful and what not, but there's a certain coziness to cloudy weather you cannot feel anytime else. Sometimes we would read silently, or play monopoly or scrabble. (Scrabble usually, Daddy often got impatient while playing monopoly.) Occasionally, we would play carom if Raju was around. All this while chomping on hot, delicious mensinkayi bajji and aloo bonda. If I dared enough, I would ask for another cup of Bournvita, and if it wasn't too close to Mum's arrival from office, I would get it.

Today, when I woke up, it took me half a minute to register that I wasn't in Bangalore anymore. Rather, I was half across the country in my dull room in Calcutta. Yet, I cannot help but remember the rain that reminds me of home. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

We Remember, Rover.

20th October, 1988 

It was one of those perfect evenings when dusk was sprayed with a chill Bangalore mist. October in Bangalore is such a beautiful month, Leila thought. She laughed thinking about how it would be in Chennai- hot, humid, probably raining. Her Cocker Spaniel, Brownie, whined in the background of her thoughts.
"Brownie," she said, "Can you believe I'm 30 years old and I feel like I'm already going through a mid-life crisis?"

He barked. As if acknowledging her thoughts.

As she looked up, she couldn't believe her eyes. Her husband, Ram was smiling from ear to ear, and in one hand he carried the cutest black puppy- with a yellow (her favourite colour) around it's neck.

"Ram?" she asked

"Happy Birthday, Leila" he said, placing the puppy in her arms. He smiled as she fondled the dog.

May, 1995 

3 year old Maya sat on her grandmother's kitchen counter as her father attempted to make her breakfast.

"It's not fair" she said, "Rover ALWAYS gets more food than I do."

"Well," he father said, "He is bigger than you."

Maya stuck out her tongue.

"Don't stick out your tongue" Ram said, "It's rude."

"Rover does it ALL the time."

"Well, Rover is a dog."

"Huff." she exclaimed. " I WANT FOOD!"

November 1999 

"Okay, Rover" an older Maya said to her dog, "Slow down!"

This dog is exasperating, she thought. Walks too much!

She was panting when she got back home. Leila looked up at her daughter.

"Give you a hard time?" she joked

"No." Maya said, "He's just..well, too energetic. Avva nearly disowned him because he kept jumping in and out of her Lily pond thinking it was a pool of some sort."

Leila snorted.

"What" Maya said, "It's true!"

April 2002 

"No." Maya said, "NO."

It was clear that she had been crying.

"You can't" she wailed. Leila tried to comfort her, she pushed her away.

"Maya," she said, fighting tears back herself, "Rover's really really sick. If we make him live, he's going to be in more pain."

"No." she said, weeping.

She ran to her dog and hugged him so tight, that neither of them could breathe. "I love you Rover, I'm never ever letting you go."

Nearly ten years later, she still hasn't. Let him go.

We Remember you, Rover.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Being Ten Again

Last week, when my roommate went home to Bombay for a week, I didn't quite like the idea of staying all alone on the 3rd floor of the girls hostel. I had gone home the previous weekend, so there wasn't much for me to do in a hostel half empty and extremely depressing. I decided to bunk in with two of my friends, Kaavya and Sandra on the 5th floor. It was like being at one of those girly pre-teen sleepovers, where Kaavya and I discussed a lot of our artistic interests. I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered that we shared the same taste in English literature, and more so, Japanese anime.

I absolutely LOVE Japanese anime. Especially Cardcaptor Sakura. Big fan of that show. Last semester, whenever I felt depressed, or just sick of being an adult, I started seeing old episodes of the show and it made me feel (atleast for a little while) happy and free because I felt as if I was a ten year old again. Anyway, Kaavya tells me about some pretty awesome anime fan fiction online, and in two days I was completely hooked on to the numerous chapters on fan fiction. I had nothing else to do, except freak out at the sight disgustingly obese lizards in my room and attempt at chasing them OUT of my room, in vain.

Doesn't it feel good to be a kid again, even if is for a little while? I mean, we have our whole lives to be adults right? Sometimes, I feel my childhood was cut short in a lot of ways, maybe that was for the best. But, what makes me feel better is that can always revisit it during times like these.

P.S.- I really go all "Awwwww" at the Sakura and Li moments.

P.S 2- The author of the fan fiction, Wish-chan, deserves a big thumps up for her fan fiction. :)

If you're ALSO a fan of Cardcaptors and want to read some pretty awesome fanfiction- http://www.wishluv.revolutionhosting.net/newtrials.htm

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Change in the Game Part III / My Leila

"One is not born a woman, but becomes one."
- Simone de Beauvoir

I cannot help but agree with one of the most well known feminists of the 20th century. In this post, I shall tell you the story of a woman I know. A woman who inspires me every day, and pushes me to do better every minute of my time. Her name is Leila.

Leila's mother never wanted a daughter. She was typical of the narrow minded 1950s Indian mindset where boys were the be all and end all of all forms of family wealth. So obviously, when Leila was born, she was disappointed. Leila was smarter than most kids at school, and even though the family had to move all over the country, she would quickly adapt herself to the new ways of her ever changing life. Leila knew she was smart, and put her best use to her brains. She knew her mother would never understand. That she, she could do as well as her brothers. Maybe better. Much better.

By the time she was 23, Leila had 3 degrees to her credit and her parents were finding it hard to find a suitable match for her. No. She wouldn't marry a man who was going to use her as a maidservant. Never. Would she ever find such a man? She did. And the minute she did, she married him. It was 1982, and men who were liberal and encouraged their wives and sisters to study were rare. She knew Ram was a liberal, and her next 6 degrees were credited to him. Together they lived their life, studying and looking after their wonderful dogs, doing what they do best.

Leila inspires me because she never gave up hope, or strength. She never said no when most people said she was gone and done. She always proved them wrong. The troubles she faced, she faced. There were no two ways about it. This is what makes a woman, her life. Not her birth.

Here's to our unique identity. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

For the love of filter kaapi

I'm kind of hopeless sometimes. Well, even more than hopeless. After an entire year at law school, I still feel homesick sometimes. (For the love of filter coffee.) I wonder if it's okay to feel homesick at times, even after the entire "oh, I've left home. I'm an adult now and I live off suitcases" life status.
Last week, I read Roshi Fernando's "Homesick". I have to admit, a delightful insight into the lives of Sri Lankan immigrants in the UK. Yet, hanging in the entire spirit of the book was the feeling of homesickness. To be back in Sri Lanka. And do Sri Lankan things. The way Sri Lankans do it.

Wherever you are, for however long, there's still that panging feeling in your heart which will only go away when you're-inevitably-home. Home is not a place where you've always been happy, necessarily. It's the place where your heart has witnesses both heaviness and light-heartedness. The place, where you will always find, assurance and support. And Hope. It's a safe place. For the risk of sounding cliched, home is where the heart is. I'm sitting in an ordinary room on an ordinary bed. The walls around me are pale blue, not very different from my room  in the lizard infested fungus ridden hostel room back in Calcutta. Yet, it's safer, somehow. (And, it's not because of the brilliant weather outside).

It's perfectly normal to feel homesick. To yearn for good food, good weather or just your bed. (which might be as ordinary as any other bed, but it's still YOUR bed). Or, to just get off Potato for a few days. That's what makes coming back home all the more awesome and worthwhile. Because that's how it will be from now on. Come back home to be that incorrigible child for a little while and then get back to "I'm an adult and I'm responsible." But for those days back home, just be the annoying little kid your mother always complained about. (Believe me, she secretly likes it, and misses it too)

And, don't punish yourself by making that a by 2 coffee. Drink it full. For the love of filter kaapi. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Sophomore Year Series

I'm still not used to being a "Second Year" at law school. Notice how I say second year in quotes. Sure, it's nice not to be at the bottom of the hierarchy for once, but I've got to admit, I had it pretty easy last year. (Save for a horrendous contracts course, and grades.)
GRADES! How can I forget about grades! I love grades, especially ones which begin with an "A". (Or here, an "E") 2nd semester into law school. No E's. And I thought I was smart. Am I really? Or not. Is it because I'm so used to doing well in school that now I'm just bogged down by this huge competition suffocating me from all sides? It's not that I'm failing, but I just don't like being mediocre. I hate to admit it, it might also be the fact that I don't like the idea of some of my friends doing better than me. Sort of a flawed superior complex, I must say. I know I'm not one of the best, yet I want to prove that I am  to them so badly.

I've become a CV building bitch. No, whore. CV building bitch-whore sounds more accurate. It's sort of depressing. Yet, I want to be depressed and go ahead and build that CV anyway.

Let's see where this year takes me. And you, if you're reading. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Living the law school "life"

Almost a week back, my friend Sadhvi and I were sharing a cab back from Park Street to college when we realised that it had been almost six months since we came from all over the country to NUJS. It struck me, as the cab strode across Calcutta and into Salt Lake City, that one semester or 10% of my law school life had already been lived.

I look at the six months that have gone by, and I’m surprised at how different I’ve become. When you come to a national law school with a father for a lawyer, well people do have some sort of expectations of you. When you come with a father for a Supreme Court lawyer with a bunch of masters in all sorts of law, people have EXPECTATIONS from you. When it was decided that I was coming to Calcutta to attend law school, I had my mind set- a straight 6 and above GPA, Moot, debate, theatre- I wanted it all. I promised myself I wouldn’t get involved in trouble, I wouldn’t date and I’d be friendly and talk to everyone.

Six months makes the past a mere dream.

Here I am- hoping to pass Contracts-I, which in other words would mean a 2 GPA, I never mooted nor debated. I got into the theatre team because I was one of the only two girls that auditioned. I’ve been in enough shit, I really like this guy and plan on letting him know soon and I’ve already made friends and enemies.My point here is that having all those grandiose plans maybe not be that good a thing after all. Don’t get into this never ending phase of planning it like this or that. More importantly, don’t let competition bog you down. As my wise mother says, and I echo her, “There will always be someone who is better than you; the only one you should be competing with is yourself.” And as for the expectations, it doesn’t matter to you if you don’t let it matter to you. For me, it matters only if it’s from the people I care about and who care about me back. As long as they’re still proud of me, and support me in whatever I do, I shouldn’t really bother about these “expectations”. Do what you think is right, and forget about the rest. What’s done is done, and it’s done most probably for the good. Life’s of bigger and greater things, and the true test lies with your heart, not your head.