Navarathri

This is my third post of the same title!! πŸ™‚ Trivia…

This made me look at what I had written earlier & when… 2007 & 2008. 2007 I have written about going back & following the tradition (don’t know if I have to laugh or cry at reading this!). 2008 just a wikipedia like note with pics taken from kolu at home. Then 2 years missing & this now!! πŸ™‚

Got no new dolls this year…yet. Think I got a proper Bengali Durga doll the last 2 years when I had not posted. Mum tells me that I had asked for a similar doll better looking one ages ago – but was expensive & we could not afford it then. I like this doll too.

Every year, as we keep the dolls on the steps, we reminisce about how we got the doll. Other conversation invariably revolves around how the quality of the dolls are not up to the mark. I can actually see that here… the dolls we have inherited from my great grandparents look so good even after all these years, but those we got recently are broken, faded. It feels like the artisans of yore actually took pleasure doing the dolls while the newer ones are more of a commercial venture?! Or is it just my random thought?

This year, one small doll is missing (we are in the process of finding out where she is gone…) It is Ganga in the Bhaghirath story of bringing her on to earth! Aside we are laughing at how even he cannot do that now if he tried & may be it is symbolical that Ganga is missing πŸ™‚ The weird conversations we have at home!!!! It is coincidental that in the 2008 post, one of the pictures is of the same set!!! So, we have her at least on that πŸ™‚

I noticed some broken dolls. Was wondering if we discard them… and lo behold Mum & I had a debate ( been a while since we even spoke to each other – we used to have so many of these nice debates – not fights/arguments…but debates πŸ™‚ ) She quoted “maha periyaval” saying He said that something to the tune of do we throw away old people if their limbs are broken or don’t function. My view was…hey these are dolls, we need to recycle. If they are broken, replace them…gives a boost to the artists when you buy, keeps commerce going. This got the response – well look at the dolls these days! πŸ™‚ Guess what in the end, I did succumb and decided to mend the mendable old dolls with quickfix cos they still look good. Even the paint of the old dolls look good!! What did they do – use vegetable paint I suppose?!

Anyways it was one “ok” day. With some work done, debates (& some arguments) – the kolu is up…hope to improve on it the next few days , may be go against my parents get a new doll or 2 or 3 …(and of course find Ganga πŸ˜‰ ). Must start calling friends and asking them to come over for the “vethalapaaku” . I keep saying I don’t believe in God & I do all this just cos this has been done all these years. I don’t want to influence my son with my views! He has to form his own ones… lets see!!

Happy Navarathri to one and all!

technology & me…

I just read a post on iPads & pre-schoolers. I have not yielded to get an iPad or Kindle – 1. I love good old fashioned books rather than e-books & 2. economic reasons too πŸ™‚ though am sure A would love to lay his hands on an iPad!!

I opened WordPress to write a post on technology & well stumbled on the iPads post which made me jump on to that. So before I digress…here goes what originally brought me to post. I went shopping at a shop abroad recently. I told my friend I didn’t need to take cash from him as I had my credit cards. Thank God for plastic!! I chose what I wanted, go to the counter and guess what? The cards I had could not be used! The shop required me to have cards with chips on them. I had none of those! I had plastic that could be used internationally but none with chips! I was stuck asking my friend to swipe for my purchases. I was struck by technology…was told that most shops there used only the chip & pin. Totally understand that- forgery & hence credit-card misuse can be reduced.

Made me wonder why so much of the technology takes time entering India?! Passports that can be swiped to retrieve info at check-in or like my recent shopping experience…cards with chips?! Even cash back on debit cards at shops are not viable ( a minimum limit needs to be spent to use a charge card). We need to take cash out only at ATMs. New model mobiles or computers come later to the country. No wonder people still are enamoured by the thought of being abroad, stuff that is imported. We often do hear how locally available products even international brands are not the same as the ones we get abroad – starting from cleaning products to hi-tech stuff. Why is it so? A country where electronic voting machines are taken to even the remotest villages…supposedly a country that embraces technology despite illiteracy, poverty etc.. why must we wait for quality technology? Perhaps this is a way to reduce scams? πŸ˜‰

Whatever it is…it prompted me to pen this down. Frustrated that we are behind, frustrated that I had to ask my friend to help out (hate asking monetary help from friends). Well…for a person who does not like to shop much…it didn’t help at all is what I can say πŸ™‚

What we input into children!?

A & I were driving down, passing by a church. Traffic was heavy. A read out the board of the church. I told him that is where a friend of ours goes. Something made me add that the friend was a Christian followed by the question, “what are you?”. Obviously I expected the answer, “Amma I am Hindu” but the answer that came threw me off. It made me start thinking of what we input into children. He answered “I am Indian.” Yes, logistically a wrong answer, him being American by citizenship…still growing up here, he is more Indian than many I know really! πŸ™‚

Back to what I was posting about. I, as a kid, did not know about the caste system until I actually had to put it on some form in school. I went asking my mother who had to explain about this. This was when I was in middle school.

Aspects that have now become a divisive factor, a point on which vote banks are on – religion, caste are something children are not aware of. Are we thrusting it on them? Is it necessary!? Would it make a world of difference if we did not have these in life? Yes, lets say that there is God – but why should that make us a Christian, a Hindu, a Muslim or Jain or whatever else there is?!?!

I did not tell A that he was Hindu. I am sure he will know when his “identity” …just wondering if such divisiveness is required. Won’t we all be more at peace without these categories?!?

It is just a stupid thought that came to my idle mind! πŸ˜€  As a parent though, it was a moment!! πŸ™‚

Irresponsibility!!!!

Rant alert!!!!

This morning as I was getting ready for work, the TV was tuned into a regional news telecast. The news item was about a road accident. A truck (lorry here) had struck a family on a two-wheeler. The father and infant (4 months old) were in serious condition. The mother and the other kid (2.5 years old) died.

I felt sorry for the family…yes. Though what went through my mind and what made me write about this is “who really was responsible for this accident?” I don’t generally swear, but trust me when one drives in the roads of Chennai; even the most gentle person would be swearing! Driving, the roads, utter lack of acknowledgement to rules is pathetic to say the least. This is not about all that though. What hits one in the face is the lack of value for human life. No one bothers!

Two-wheelers – they are easy to buy, easy to use and in the city traffic – weaving in & out gives a fast means to travel. No doubt! Wearing a helmet is (or is my usage of tense wrong here and should it be “was”) mandatory. Very few actually wear one! It is weird to actually see people amused when I used to make A wear his the last 2.5 years that I have been riding on a bike here and taking him along. It supposedly is quite a sight to see a kid wear a helmet!!! Doesn’t that alone show how pathetic the value of human life is?! Or are we all born with hard heads?!!

Why do I feel so strongly that the truck driver alone is not to blame?! He might be speeding and that is wrong. Deaths occured. Why did a family of 4 travel on a two-wheeler? I am very sure that the woman on the pillion, the toddler nor the infant sported helmets. The man might have (a very slim possibility) worn one. The woman would have sat with both legs to one side (supposedly lady- like) holding the infant. The 2.5 year old must have been in front of the father who was riding. Why am I so sure this would have been the case? This is quite a common site all across the city! So, say the truck is travelling at a permissible speed, the father with 3 others precariously perched on the bike comes in front… what happens? Of course an accident! The guy cannot manoeuver his bike with all. The truck driver, even if he had applied the brakes, cannot make his vehicle stop in an instant! Is it right that the truck driver takes the blame cos he drives a bigger vehicle? cos truck drivers are stereo-typed to be rash in their driving?

I doΒ not say that truck drivers here are saints. Their driving would take a whole new post or many!! I just want to say that people must take their safety into consideration. Wear helmets. I know all cannot afford a car or hire an auto (tuk-tuk). Why not use the public transport? The buses are subsidised, safer (to an extent, certainly more than loading on to a two-wheeler). It might be an inconvenience to start early to take into account the unreliability of the timings of buses but it definitely scores over losing one’s life!

Hope this incident is a wake up call to the police officials here to enforce stricter rules especially when it comes to the safety of children. Child seats in cars are not mandatory. They can sit in the front seat in a car. None of them wear helmets (those that are made to wear one are lookedΒ upon asΒ exhibit pieces!!)Β Child safety on the roads of Chennai again would be another long rant post….

Enough of blaming the truck driver alone for irresponsible driving , blame the family for being irresponsible. I sympathise for their losses; but I cannot for once say they are not at fault!!!

Update(s)

I tweeted that I was taking steps for ending something I started 9.5 years ago. Will explain in detail when things are through -when they are over and done with. Fingers crossed that they go well.

Yes, I am still alive much to the chagrin of quite a few people I suppose πŸ™‚ I have learned how some people can never change, whatever the number of chances one is given! Some things never change… eg., I am unlucky as ever :), Customer Service in India sucks big time πŸ˜‰

This is a very random post! What would your reaction be if someone called you out of the blue… a complete stranger and says I have to get money from 5 people with your name & initial to get my daughter married – “Mangalya pitchai” or begging for a donation towards the wedding. Such a call came to my dad. The guy who is 78 years old asked my father saying I have to get 2000 INR from 5 people with RR as name. I got your number from the white pages! Gives his account number! My father actually went, found he has 507 INR in his account and transferred 2000! I mean call me a sceptic but this seems to be a nice way to con people. Feed on their superstitions/beliefs and milk them for some money too! For all you know, the case might be genuine, still as I said I cannot get over the fact that money was needed!

Anyways, I don’t know why I wrote this post up! Just wanted to get it out of my system I suppose. I don’t feel relieved. I am not really at peace. I told Aaarti that it feels like I am like Cam Diaz in The Holiday – I don’t feel like crying really but want to let it out too. Just wish everything was over and done with! I have nothing to move on to, but I am just hoping for some closure!

We won!!!

Rather the team A was routing for won πŸ˜€ It was an amazing evening. Last minute plans, A, Aaarti & I ended up having tickets to the Chennai Super Kings Vs Rajasthan Royals match in DLF IPL T20.

This is the first ever cricket match I watched in the stadium. I used to vacillate between wanting to watch it live there and on TV. Never got the opportunity to do the former; so ended up saying…hey! Β it would be way better to watch it on TV with all the angles etc.., Lets just say that it was the case of sour grapes!

The experience watching the match live in the stadium was amazing!! The adrenalin rush. It was so clear who the audience was supporting. We are from Chennai πŸ˜€ Though I must say, there was polite applause for achievements by the other team (ok…may be few RR supporters were there! πŸ˜‰ )

We won!!! though there was a point where it was possible for Rajasthan Royals to make it. We were wondering what is wrong with Chennai super kings who could not defend the highest total made in DLF IPL effectively. As in taking it to the last over!!

Having said all this, I must add, the “security” was not that effective. We were not to take cameras, water bottles, outside supporting merchandise….but saw all of it all over the place. I had upset A by not getting flags! Pacified him by begging for one from a neighbour!

Next the tickets! Must have been first…well… anyways… Paid double the cost. Then a bloke comes and says hey let me in, you can take A in without a ticket. Thinking he would pay up…he gets inside, pays less than half of the actual ticket price!!! I think he must have seen me coming right from when I started from home!!!!! The rest room facilities – stinker worth not mentioning (I guess public sanitation in India would be a separate post – rather…let’s just leave it there!)

A did enjoy himself. His star Dhoni (who by the way scored a duck) won according to him! Had to teach him that CSK won not Dhoni!! On mentioning my offspring, I must say that it was coincidence that whenever he asked us to get him something and either Aaarti or I stepped out, RR lost a wicket. It was noticed so much, that the lady in front of us actually turned around and asked him to demand for something from us to make us leave at the fag end of the game!!! LOL!!

This is one memory I will cherish. Have quite a list I have to check off on. As of now, one down – Watch cricket match live sitting in the stadium πŸ™‚

Hope to plan going to the stadium next time around, get good seats with no hassles and of course not getting ripped off and re-ripped off!!! πŸ˜€

PS: I texted Vishesh asking for scores for the Barclays EPL as Man U were playing Chelsea and Arsenal against the Wolves. He did not respond 😦 Just got home and checked the scores. Wanted ManU- Chelsea draw! Chelsea won!! 😦

Lesson Learnt!

Rant Alert!

Situation Saturday night: Lost my wallet with all my cards, cash & a few other things! (had withdrawn some money just earlier that day )

Having decided that I would not get my wallet, I sat down to call all the institution to block my cards reporting them lost. This was after 19:30 hrs IST. I call Bank#1 the “one that understands my world” Yeah right! I am put on hold forever and ever. So, while on hold I call Bank #2 – my “right partner”; managed to block both the debit & credit card I held with that bank & got the cards to be put in for re-issue. Still on hold with bank #1 on the other phone. Called Bank #3 with the tagline “hum hai na” ; after a short hold -blocked the card, requested for re-issue. I was told that I must go to the nearest branch with photo ID to get something called an insta-card. Still on hold with Bank #1!!!!! Lastly, called Bank#4, “Surprisingly” it was a breeze to block and request for re-issue of the credit card I held with them!

Finally Bank#1 phone banker comes on as I was finishing my call with Bank #4.Β  Got the card blocked (it was around 20:45 hrs! πŸ™‚ ) and requested re-issue. The guy said call phone banking again and get it cancelled! Flabbergasted…I was wondering what I was doing right then if not phone banking?!?! I concede and call back, and was informed by the automated voice that I must call between 8am and 8pm for phone banking πŸ˜€

Next day: Around noon, I call Bank#1 again. Phone banker 1 answers and says you must have requested it before midnight yesterday for re-issue if you wanted this done over phone banking! I said…yeah I did!!! I recounted everything and the guy says you must have chosen the wrong option!! I said well, if I don’t find the option I am looking for, I opt to talk to a phone banker who was available only between the said times – hence the call then! He says you must have hot listed!??! I was like huh?! what is that…he started giving me lessons on jargons! I lost it and told him to just enable the re-issue, he repeats saying can’t be done on phone banking! I hung up. Called again, had to explain everything again to phone banker 2, who put me on to phone banker 3 saying she would do it. The lady said, no can’t be done, you must have requested it yesterday!!!! Asked for the supervisor…who said the same!!! I (with my sore throat!) said this was the limit! He apologised for both phone banker #1 who said I was wrong for not “hot listing” and for the fact that they could not re-issue the card then by phone banking. He asked me to head to my branch or the nearest branch to get it done. I must say the guy was calm, polite and friendly (sounded knowledgeable too) unlike the rest of the morons I had dealt with!

Was caught up with other problems on Sunday & Monday. Though did get an interesting call on Monday from a division of Bank #2 that dealt with credit cards. She asked questions to confirm stuff. Then was asked what was my last payment for the card. I did not know and did not have the bill/ receipt on hand at the moment. So, she continues; asked me what was my last transaction on the card!!! This stumped me! As you see, I do have quite a number of cards (thanks to my various job stints & salary accounts had to open them, lazy to close them out!) I asked the lady how could she expect me to remember every transaction and the amount!?!? Her answer was these are security questions! I said I wonder how someone who has 10 cards or more can answer these…guess they would get VIP treatment ‘cos they probably will be stinking rich! She succumbed and said that I could call back if I did not receive the replacement card in 5 days time!

Tuesday: Visit to Bank#3. Take a token, wait for close to half an hour. Was asked to sit in front of an officer who goes, I am helping the other lady sitting in front of the other desk, so please wait! Told her politely that I was asked to come sit there, and yeah I would wait. Soon (about 10- 15 minutes later) her attention turned to me. Told her that I had blocked my card, reported it lost and needed the insta card. She looks into my account details and says that since I hold a different kind of account (supposedly privileged one!) I cannot get the insta card!!!! I just did not get it. I asked her if the phone banker had the same access to information and knew what type of account I held. She answered in the affirmative. Asked her why then was I misled into thinking that I could get an insta card?! All she did was apologised for the wrong information given & handed out the form to be filled out & told me I had to wait a week to get the card. Headed over to Bank#1, filled in the form; was told I must get the replacement card in a week’s time.

So situation now: Still no cash (fool that I am believing I would get the instacard did not take a cheque book to withdraw money!) and waiting for the replacement cards to come. So, borrowed money from dad to fill in petrol for my bike :)and no spending on anything at all for that last few days (way to cut down on that right?! πŸ˜‰ )

Lesson learnt: Do not lose your wallet (btw, yet to get a nice new one 😦 ) If you do, do not believe to get help from phone bankers! Customer service sucks!!

Republic Day 2010

Vande Mataram!

Woke up to watching the news featuring the new “Mile Sur Mera Tum hara” rather named “Phir Mile sur”

Check it out here

The older version or the original is here

I like both the versions. The previous one was simple, melodious while the newer one has more variety musically. Though both videos I think capture India.

As I was doing this, I read through some of the feedback on the new version. I see comments on how the new version has a “western” feel, about the clothes worn by an actress & how she must have worn more!!!!! The absence of people like Lata Mangeshkar who was there in the original. Is it just me?! Or do others also think these are harsh.Β  I suppose it is the same comfort zone factor. I don’t want to step out of what I am used to!! feeling?! Personally I felt that the new version depicted for want of a better phrase the “new” India – a blend of the old & new. I suppose the video link above does not the have the complete version of the song as I did see certain others featured in the news item on NDTV. On the same note, reading about the controversies surrounding the awards given out today also bugs me though I guess it is the same with any honour awards that are given out in any country! πŸ™‚ Guess any one can get awards if people get a Nobel award just for intention!!!

Just wanted to add a note that it was a pleasant surprise that one of the tamil channels was not all cinema & cinema based special programmes today!! It is now telecasting a recorded show byΒ  Taiwanese physically challenged artists. Amazing!!!

So typing this in as I switch between watching the Republic day parade & the dance/music show. πŸ™‚ Waiting for “Beating the retreat”. Something I loved watching every year growing up πŸ˜€

Jai Hind!

Edit to add the complete video of Phir Mile Sur

I read more comments about how the video is more Bollywood than to show integrity. I just see the video as I would any other remix πŸ™‚ I never ever thought that a remix(even a remake for that matter) ever matches the original. The point here is that intention is to sell India and Bollywood sells! I has more Bombay shots, less of all of India or cricket, not all the stars featured in the old video, many new ones here ! – so what?! Well, Β as I said before my take! Why not just take this as it is and not compare?! Or like I generally deal with remixes let it grow on you πŸ™‚

Caught!

For the past few days (more like few months! πŸ˜‰ ), I feel like I am caught between two worlds of thinking – the conservative world & the not so conservative (can’t quite say modern)! Β I guess I have been there all my life, and the realisation of this is dawning on me now.

My mum is an amazing woman – strong, pretty open-minded even though she was brought up in quite a conservative world and times. She did her masters despite lot of opposition from family & friends, thanks to my grandpa who supported her. She is grounded. She follows tradition, but is very practical. I must say that I am the way I am because of her -good Β & bad πŸ˜‰

So having her as a mother, I guess I have the same attitude – being grounded in values with a practical outlook. I must say that Β I am a little more “modern” in my thinking than her. This is not a comparison between the two of us. It is just penning down how I feel off late.

I chose the person I married. It was not something of norm at least in my family where arranged marriages are the way to go. My family supported me (some of them reluctantly) They are devastated now that it has failed with a kid in tow. We do not talk about any of these now, just waiting for the legalities to end I suppose. This is the family front.

To my personal battleground – my mind. I took the liberty of not following tradition, chose a guy. Now since it is a failure, going back to the whiteboard – I wonder if things would have been different had I accepted whomsoever my parents chose?!? At least I would have them to blame if it had failed πŸ˜‰ Is it weird that I expected the marriage to last forever?! I did hang on for quite a while thinking things would turn around.

Then, when I decided it was over, I started thinking that life is not over for me. I accept A is an important part of my life, but not the only part. There are days when I am made to feel guilty about that!!!! I also find myself defending my thoughts. There are days on end when I feel that this is it -this is all there is to my life now. I am amazed at how people are ever so ready to accept P moving on, finding someone else; but want me to be only a mother and nothing but. I find everything contradictory now. My mind is in absolute turmoil. Conflicting thoughts, feelings rule my life now. I am happy with A, scared/nervous/worried about future, depressed/angry about the past. How can one person feel all this at the same time is what even I wonder? How can I deal with all this? I know…live in the present – that is easier said than done.

Count your blessings my mum says. Hmm….?!?!? Anyways, this is what I was/am Β and probably will be (for a long time) ruminating on. Conclusion now: My life is an absolute mess with only me to blame and no solution to anything ahead. All I see is gloom for myself with periods of insane happiness with A till he decides to leave (Hope I don’t hang on to him too much!!! for his sake!!)

PS: I don’t know if this post is even remotely coherent…I just typed in whatever. I am not even going to try look at it to make it sensible. Guess this is how my life is now!!!