September 28, 2010

Without You

When You are not here,
It seems like the sun has not risen.
When You are not here,
It seems like the wind has lost direction.
When You are not here,
It seems like there will be no rains,
When You are not here,
It seems like the world is filled with pains.
When You are not here,
It seems like my eyes are not seeing.
When You are not here,
It seems like my skin is not feeling.
When You are not here,
It seems like my head is not thinking.
When You are not here,
It seems like I am not living.

September 27, 2010

New Look

I think I finally found a look I like for my blog. The picture is a painting that A made for me about a year ago for my office cubicle. Those vibrant colors stroked by her tiny fingers brightened many gloomy mornings. 'This will make you happy when you think of me mimi', she had said and it was so true. This painting really did have that effect on me. And a big thank you to my then colleague KeepingitSimple for recording this digitally just as it was in my cubicle.
Hoping this has the same effect on my blog too!

September 24, 2010

It is not easy to be me

Fate had me to be born in America to parents born and brought up in India. What does that mean to a little girl like me, well a lot!
Life is not as simple for me as it is for my American friends born to American parents. They have fun and follow traditions during the holidays here. We celebrate some of the American holidays too, but I find my parents lost thinking what to really do. And it is not only these that we are celebrating. We have the Indian festivals too that my parents are so excited about. And both put together there are so many that I sometimes find it hard to remember what comes when. And when I excitedly go tell my friends about Diwali or Navaratri they look so lost.
When I went to India it was a lot of fun, but it was a lot hard too. Initially everybody was shocked at how little I spoke in any other language than English, but towards the end of my three months vacation they wondered why I did not have an American accent like their relative's kids. My parents insisted I speak in our language there as much as possible, but the kids in the playground replied back in English. I was made to recite Slokas while my friends there were free to sing any English song they wanted. It was all very confusing to me.
And then there are these friendly comments from everybody. My diet gets filled with sweets and butter when family in India think I am not chubby enough. Then I am soon spooning a lot of fruits and vegetables after a friendly American asks my parents if they have checked my BMI lately. There is so much obesity in America you see!
And then there are expectations set by others like me, I have to have the right amount of geekiness in me from my Indian genes and the right amount of groomed skills and social etiquette from my American environment. What will our friends think if I dont read at four and add complex numbers being of Indian origin? What will my uncle's neighbor's cousin think if I am not going to ballet classes?
So with all these expectations set, its not a surprise when I get looks when I say something that is not expected. Like when I listen to the song My name is Madhavi from Karadi Tales, I sing my name is A, I am from America and I speak English, I look up to see my parents exchanging a look. Or when I hear a song of Raffi, All I really that I can grow up strong and take the place where I belong, I say I belong in India, that is where my family is and I am going to move there, and I again see my parents exchange a look. I get laughed at when I call Salami as Ras-malai as for some reason I think they sound similar.
It is true that everything to me comes in two folds, the pains and gains. At just the sheer beginning of my life I am experiencing lifestyles from two different corners of the world. From the folktales of India to the humor of Dr. Seuss, from the pumpkin pies of Halloween to Pongal, from the lehengas to the leggings, from M S Subbulakshmi to Raffi, from Ballet to Bhangra, there has been plenty of variety. And with all this variety I have had a terrific start to my quest of knowledge and information.
After thrusting all these complications into my life they even have a name for me, ABCD (American Born Confused Desi). Sometimes I think it stands for American Born Controlled Desi.
All I know is that I just want to grow up like me, without the controversies and the expectations. And other times I wonder if that is what will form me. But whatever it is I wish I grow up to be an American Born Confident Desi.

---Perceived thoughts of a little girl at the door of four.

Two sides to a Story - Part 4

Continued from here

Meenu looked at her watch for the third time as she waited for Gita at the restaurant where they had planned to meet for lunch. She had met Gita a week ago when they had gone to the movies and they had instantly taken a liking to each other. Atul and Gita made a lovely couple and Meenu had found herself glancing every now and then, at them together. She had thought that they made a perfect couple.

As she thought of that night, Gita walked in. They had a nice lunch together complete with a hearty conversation in which they took each other through a journey of their life so far. Meenu was in awe of Gita, she was the girl she always wanted to be. Gita's confident and outspoken self was a contrast to her submissive and enduring nature. She knew they had just sown the seeds of friendship that would grow for a long time.

The next few weeks went in many lunches and phone conversations between them. Their friendship shone amidst the light of their stark differences. Meenu could not help but draw comparisons to her life with Gita's. She secretly wished she was as outspoken as Gita then she would have been able to have a perfect life like hers.

Ravi had been happy that Meenu had finally found a friend she liked. But he had been noticing that she now spoke all the time about Gita and her life. She had a dreamy look in her eyes all the time and she got lost in her thoughts every now and then. For the first time he got the feeling that Meenu was not really happy with what she had. He wanted to know so that he can help fill the void but he was not sure.

Meenu was curled up reading a book one rainy afternoon when she got that phone call. It seemed like the voice from the other side came from far away and it was more like a sob. She recognized the voice but her heart refused to believe that it was a voice she knew. She did not associate a meek helpless cry as the voice she looked upto. Amidst the cries she recognized the words Open the Door. When she did she saw her friend Gita drenched in the rain, her eyes looked like pale clouds pouring out saline rain, her face looked ashamed to reveal to her friend a side that she had hidden so well all along.

September 16, 2010

Life on my windowsill

It is a pleasure to see this every morning on my sunny kitchen windowsill. To think that I did not think of this before is a shame! Given how less of a time and effort it takes to plant these. I used fenugreek seeds and corriander seeds from my spice box. Just soaked them in water for a day and then drained and wrapped it in a kitchen towel and let it sprout for another day. I used small plastic drinking glasses to plant them in. (Now I am thinking I should have used something bigger considering how well they are doing) Just water them everyday with a lot of love. And the light green leaves that sprout out send back to you double the happiness! I have a mint shrub in my backyard, and am just attempting to grow it indoors for the winter months. It is taking time but is still doing well. I promise you just do it and you will love it. Not to mention that a yummy dish of aloo methi will just be a pluck away!

September 6, 2010

Two sides to a Story - Part 3

Continued from here

Ravi had been uprooted from his country 5 years ago and the mechanical pace of his new life had slowly turned him into a robot. He was instantly likeable by everybody but he was not very sensitive to emotions any more. He had spent too much time on himself for these years, grooming himself physically and emotionally to suit his new environment to become insensitive to others feelings. He had stepped onto the belt of life that rode at the highest speed and he did not have time for much. He was on a mission to prove it to all and he made sure he did not miss an opportunity. Now he had his wife by his side on the belt.

Meenu had been a romantic at heart. She never failed to notice the beauty in everything around her. She was a dreamer, taking life at her pace. She found it difficult to understand why Ravi led his life at such a pace. She did not understand why he had no time for anything other than the essentials or that attracted the attention of his friends. She tried to run her life at his pace, but her heart tripped, her mind stumbled and her life fell.

Their life together had varied hues of the day two weeks after she landed. It was painted with her imagination and dreams and his vision and plans. She tried to speak to him about how she really felt, but words denied her. All her lips could sport was a smile. He saw her smile and his day could not have been better. She was with him in everything he achieved.

As she seasoned the sambar she saw him enter the house. She had imagined their dinner that evening, about what she would tell him and how he would finally see what she wanted. He was a good man, he would understand at once she thought. Ravi strode inside the house excitedly sporting two tickets to a movie which would start in an hour. He rushed Meenu upstairs to dress her best as they were going with a group of friends from work. He loved to surprise Meenu like this every now and then. In thirty minutes they left together, leaving behind the sambar and the conversation at the table for another day.