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Parijat Priyadarshini
19 April 2011 @ 05:56 pm
I always think of myself as a career woman. I believe it is the soul of my identity. When I talk to people around me, the one thing I tell them is that it makes me proud that I contribute to the economy in some small way and that I am recognized as a professional worth a paycheck at the end of the month. In some weird way, I have to admit that I love being needed for a specific piece of work to be done. And of course it sure as hell doesn't hurt that I have my own independent source of income!

As a child, I was always arguing with my dad on what I wanted to do...professionally. We never fought about late nights or parties or boys, but about my choice of career or specialization of subjects. When in school, I wanted to study administration, give the public services exam and become a Deputy Commissioner. I was romanticized by the fact that I could install transformers in my town with that kind of authority! (power issues majorly effected my study routines!). My dad wanted me to work on my writing and music skills, and go to Shantiniketan. He said I had a gift and I deserved to have the finer things in life without getting into the struggle of the proverbial rat-race. In college, I dreamed of being a very successful molecular biologist or a psychiatrist. Finally when I was doing my business grad, I wanted to be an entrepreneur and employ people. It gave me a rush to think of having my own set of principles and taking care of people financially. My family stood by me in every possible decision and told me I could do everything I wanted, but always reminded me that I did not have to let go of my natural instincts to write or sing, in order to be branded as a success...or to establish an identity on my own. I would always firmly reply "That's what you say but you named me without a surname...so I could be known as myself!" As time passed, I stopped singing on stage or writing my notes. Today I sing karaoke at home and write blog entries as pastime. Once in a while, on a lazy Sunday, me and my husband pick our guitars and reminisce. 

As I always envisioned, I got a beautiful job. I love what I do, I said to myself everyday. How many people can say that? Every time I shifted a job, I was luckier. My dreams of starting something on my own gradually picked up steam and looks very possible and real. Love, marriage, stability, prosperity...you name it! And then, something strange happened.

Moving country with my husband, I suddenly had a rare spell of 'being on a break'. As he would go to work, I would sit around trying to fill the spaces in time. My friends were all ecstatic that I had time off to myself in a beautiful country. I could shop and eat and visit places and sleep late into Mondays and then shop some more. I could do all the touristy things and dress up in the evenings - things I absolutely craved. They said it would be therapeutic for me. Something I always deserved. And I would laugh that I did not feel comfortable doing nothing. I did not know what to do without a job, how to enjoy without work. And right then I was alarmed! I realized that I always introduced myself with my job title. "I am a consultant", "I work at a financial services firm in their research and consulting arm."  And all of a sudden, I was - well - no one. My discomfort increased as I had to cope with a new set of rules in a new country, and it did not help that I constantly reminded myself that I was not supporting my husband financially.  My identity crisis reached new heights. 

I was almost about to hit the panic button when I met someone. This best friend of a best friend....someone I was assured I had to meet. As a stay-at-home mom of two, she would have time to meet me and show me around, and my best friend thought it would be a great idea. Also, we would hit it off at go, he said. And we did hit it off at go. But more importantly, this woman is the reason for this post and the reason for my reassessment of a lot of my thoughts. 

As a spirit, her life truly revolves completely around her family, and that includes her closest friends. She takes her kids through all of their school and extra curriculars, their homework and all of their hobbies. She has her husband's work schedules by heart for the next 6 months, her kitchen would be the hub of a party any day you want, and she would still get her 'me-time' with her girlfriends over high teas. She constantly pushes her family to achieve more in all possible ways and throws in ideals and principles that they need to stick to as a family unit. Her goal is to bring out the best in her children and she obsesses about how to achieve that better. But when she promises to meet me over lunch, we don't talk about her kids once. How gorgeous she looks or how well versed and well informed she is, or how she can talk about anything under the sun - makes you realize that the choices she has made in her life suit her brilliantly. Above all, she is truly a definition of a woman who has arrived at the best times of her life, and she is an identity in herself. I had to admit - no one can beat that kind of success. The one that comes with complete self-contentment and happiness, or being most comfortable in your own skin. 

Come to think of it now, I must have been judging all along. About how a woman's true success is based on how she matches the foot-steps of her partner in every walk of life, supporting him through all aspects - good or bad - by contributing with a paycheck or sharing the economic burden of the household. I must have been wrong. It is so much more than that! The identity and success thereafter of a woman, or for that matter, any individual lies with whatever that person wants to be and how far you have accomplished that.  And that includes being a stay-at-home mom whose aim is to be there for her family as best as can be. As clichéd as this sounds, the true home-maker does an amazing role of bringing up her kids to be human beings, ready to take on the world - constantly showing them the right path, making small and big decisions and sacrifices on their behalf. Being a brilliant mother and an amazing wife is indeed a challenge, and in today's individualistic society, we might be underplaying the importance of that a whole lot. All along, I thought that it was a sacrifice that a woman had to make to do this and now I can confidently say that I was grossly mistaken. It is a choice. Of who you want to be.  Or how you want to define your happiness.  

And after all these years, I understood what my dad meant by not "pigeonholing" my definition of myself and exploring my real identity. He constantly told me to take time off and think of what I really want in life. What he was saying was that I am so much more than that and there is so much more to me.....it scare me to think of what I let go in order to be the person I am today. 

At this thought, I promise myself to give me a chance. Let's see what else I got!
Parijat Priyadarshini
As a grown-up, you have seen a lot of stuff. How it hits you that working 5 days a week, not ever coming back with homework AND getting paid is still not desirable to 6-day college with so many sessionals and presentations, and you almost broke most of the times. You see parents getting grey in their hair, your kid sisters/ brothers getting all tall and mature and ready to marry the people they chose...best friends getting dumped by childhood sweethearts, moving on, eventually getting happily married and having kids...your bestest childhood friend, your pup Labrador going off to sleep...planes hitting twin towers...

I have seen my share too. And considering, I am a lucky girl! Despite all the above realizations, I think I am in a good place, happier than yesterday, and looking keenly forward to what future has in store. I mean, I saw myself through hopelessly falling in love and marrying the man of my dreams - just like in the movies. I did see myself through all of college and graduation, landing myself here today at a job I would love to work on every single day. Funny thing is, 15 years ago, I would never have pictured myself like this at all! Definitely not this place, this job, this life. And I am really happy that I am where I am today.

And it's not like things haven't gone wrong. We did make a few sacrifices; life did deal a few blows on our face once in a while. But I earnestly hope, I really do, that I do not grow all worldly wise and cynical and bitter. Because as unpredictable as life is, it is so much fun to see yourself doing all grown-up stuff! Just think about it - getting all dressed up and going out, watching a movie and sharing a coke & popcorn with your husband, splurging your money and flashing your card to get every possible brand that advertises. Or just think simpler things - waking up to a hot cup of tea, getting drenched in the first monsoons, chatting away till 4am on a girls night, or just wearing an over-sized tee and getting a pizza delivery over a re-run of FRIENDS. 

Why I bring this up today is on a completely different tangent though. Getting older is always accompanied with getting wiser (for most of us atleast!) and wisdom is not always a good thing to have. Believe me, I know surely now that the fruit vendor will always lie merrily to me while selling his sour grapes, the autowalla will always charge me 100% extra, the HR of my firm will never give me my worth (well to her  defense that's what she's paid for!) and there are hundreds of others (selling everything from insurance to aroma therapy candles) who are just about waiting to con you in any possible way. And that knowledge, that wisdom is a concern. I am being caught in a system that teaches me to distrust and question the motive of everyone and everything. I shouldn't keep asking myself - "What's he or she getting out of this?" Now that's just plain wrong!

As the dude always says, start by not trusting someone and let the other person prove that he/ she is worthy of your trust and love. And I always argue saying, maybe we should trust everyone and wait till he or she proves me otherwise. Of course I do bear the occasional case of  "Ha! I told you. Now don't sob and wail just because someone else did wrong to you!" And I just bounce back and start all over again. But that's what I was taught as a kid! And that's what I will teach mine too!! When you are a child looking up to your parents and teachers for all the right things to imbibe, you sure don't want to hear how cruel the world can be. And that's why innocence is such a coveted thing. Because it makes everything around you beautiful and fresh and pristine. 

When we were kids, wasn't everything simpler? You were taught to do good and be good. To love everything and trust everyone. To smile and make more friends...to share your lollipop or your toy car with your playmates...to make up quickly after any stupid fight...to make wishes and pray...to sleep early and wake up early to go to school at 7 in the morning. And over the next 20 years you just unlearn each of these one at a time...

 And here's the scoop - nothing has really changed except you. 

So here's what Lady PP prescribes. Once in a while, don't question or try to be all logic. Go with your heart. Tip generously, smile a bit more at the cashier in the mall, email family and friends often, go easy on the kirana-wallah (just imagine that he too has a business to run and a family to support!), or just watch more TV serials with comic, happy, not really real-world (read: more optimistic than realistic) TV serials. Whatever makes you happier and eases that constant nagging pressure off your mind and soul.

For me - I found my miracle getaway. I just buy a lot of mush. Pure, unadulterated mush - romantic novels, romantic movies, romantic whatever! - anything that makes me feel for a few hours that this is how the world should be (and most probably IS). People all love each other, want to be together, everyone is healthy and get by well on their small or not so small incomes. The hero proposes to the heroine, gets married, and they have chubby babies. And all things some to a beautiful, purposive, happy ending.   
Current Mood: hopefulhopeful
Current Music: U2 - With or without you
Parijat Priyadarshini
14 March 2010 @ 12:09 pm
Three months into this new city and I already belong here. Bangalore is like a giant bear hug at 28 degrees and 0 atmospheric pressure. And of course a very tropical sun during the day that scorches you through your 30 SPF cream and a very windy evening that blows dry leaves and automobile dust into your hair and eyes. But whatever you say about it, there is no denying - you can sing a song about this city every morning you wake up to a cup of tea on a breezy balcony that overlooks more greenery than any metropolis in India I have been to.

Of course the mood changes drastically to a somber grimness when you have to travel into the rush of humanity that is the city's bread-and-butter populace...it's like trying to find your way through a huge smoothie made up entirely of people on all sorts of mechanized travel gear - the ones in phallic cars (why? why take a BMW to office and add 200 inches to the traffic jam, why??), those in A-stars and Santro's trying to squeeze into the mazes without breaking rear-view mirrors of BMWs, and the ones like us in ricks and bikes and cycles getting our morning dose of heat, dust and exhaust fumes that is gradually working its way into making our immune systems stronger and skins thicker. In fact I am sure we - Bengaluru's non-AC population on roads - are Darwin's survivors for the 2012 debacle. The one thing I have learnt through the last 3 months here is this - if you want your Baba Ramdev induced yoga to really help control that BP you have been trying to tame for some time now, take deep breaths (despite all you might end up sucking could be petrol exhaust), close your eyes, go to your happy place and show a big middle finger to the grime and crawling traffic of this city.

One thing strikes me though every time I go out into the dog-eat-dog traffic that wants to reach work before every one else and then goes home in the evening frantically trying not to miss the evening TV-dinner luxury with the family. You see not all of us down here have Tata Sky or Tivo, and at the end of a tiring day, you really aren't as humorous as Amir's wife in a TV commercial on missing your favorite weekly soap (or your favorite live game for that matter) - I mean its a personal victory if you can reach home on time to catch the beginning credits. Well, I am deviating! The point is, just imagine the grit and determination of this entire generation of men and women, making their way through each day of waking up, getting enough caffeine with your morning breakfast to make sure you don't head straight back to bed, traveling through this chaos of a traffic, getting to work in one of the thousands of glass-walled offices that add to the glamour and GDP of this city, eating lunch out of a plastic plate in an excessively brightly lit cafeteria, drinking vending coffee to go through dozens of mindless - pointless meetings looking intelligent - day in and day out - and coming out of this unscathed and sane. I mean that’s something, right?

When you look around the city landscape here, you would distinctly notice the big offices with dollar incomes and even bigger malls and eateries with Indian price lists. For a city whose average age is not more than 25-35 years, isn't it just amazing that everyone looks intelligent, wears the hippest fashion, has a house with nothing less than 1500 sq feet and a swimming pool in campus, and takes a weekend trip every Friday to Pondy or Goa or Coorg or Mumbai with friends who are successful enough to split the bill in half? Well, judge me all you want, but I just came from living two years in the communist capital of this country! Or maybe, I am still the small town chick who used to gape at anything higher than 4 stories the first time she set her foot in Delhi. Bottom line is - this city works really hard five days of the week and you can't blame them for voraciously consuming everything from Kingfisher to Cox and Kings. Living testimony being that the biggest mall in India is right in this city and is a ginormous 1.3 million sq feet!!

Point is - I believe in the spirit of this city. The one that says "Suck it" every day to God knows how many kinds of problems and issues cropping in and out of work, and then says "Chill Maadi!" the moment they log off their systems. I also love the multi-cultural crowd of people that hang out at the stake houses and theatre joints and pubs and college hangouts...the live bands playing in the cool evening breeze… Of course by the time you are just staring to enjoy the second glass of Sula and looking at having a great night ahead, its 11:30 and the maitre d’ is ready to throw you and your just about tipsy bearings out of the restaurant. Bengaluru works in mysterious ways….. I am sure the higher ups of this place thought “What the heck! These people would have to wake up tomorrow at 7:30 am anyways, so why spoil their habit?” But then, they don’t know that when I do pick up my just about tipsy bearings from the restaurant, I already have a private party waiting for me somewhere with my third glass of Sula written on it. Now that’s what you call an indomitable spirit!

I have made really good friends here in a very short time. And they are all fun to be with. Unlike up north, where your neighbor would talk to you everyday near the gate but never end up calling you over for dinner or drinks (and God forbid if they do, all you might end up having is bhindi ki sabji!) , here I just recently got invited to a new friend’s place in my block and conversation and wine flowed freely! All of a sudden I belonged here. The big baggage of loneliness that I carried when I came here, all scared of how the hell I would fill my time in this new city without my best friend of a husband, suddenly seemed lighter. That’s what matters the most. The fact that at the end of a long, tiring work day, you have enough friends around you to make you realize that all is well with your world, and that tomorrow can be another long day, but would end just as well as today. You know that you have a home right here in the middle of chaos. And you belong. That’s why I love this city and would swear by it any day.

So long for now and yes, chill maadi!
Current Location: Domlur home
Current Mood: geeky
Current Music: Ryan Starr - Last Train
Parijat Priyadarshini
01 December 2009 @ 04:06 pm
Today, I finally started sorting out my wardrobe stuff between, you know, the usual - "Use them everyday and they have become second skin and smell like me's", "hardly ever wear them but hurts to throw away just as yet's" and "never will I ever use them but oh so nostalgic's". I also found a section I will term "this was so expensive when I bought it, but why didn't I ever use it..what the hell was I thinking?" And another that the dude has been categorizing for the last few years as "these are tatters dear, not garments, and I know you feel comfortable sleeping in them, but I am scared to hold you in case these tear up".

In case you are wondering at what brought around my sudden spurt of activity, let me update. I am supposed to be moving to a new city within 2 weeks. And as with me, I can't do anything constructive and physically challenging (yes, packing IS challenging to me, I have space-won't-fit-all phobia), without pondering...and being philosophical. And what brought about my sudden burst of nostalgia was a box of our old stuff from Munirka - all wrinkled and smelly (we did not have a functional iron then and we washed our own clothes, which means you know what).

Reminded me of the day when Monica and me bunked B-school to go back home to my double-omelettes and latest Hindi flick, and we stopped by this new North-Eastern stall inside the dingy lane of Munirka to buy smalls, a pair of jeans and a party outfit, all costing us less than a 1000 bucks! A shirt never worn, that still smells of Nehru Place, where we got it off a roadside vendor. It was so cheap, it had to be stolen from a man's body, but back then, it was still Allen Solly! A toy gun held together with an elastic - well let's just say, my friend Lovely Kishore, thought that the only way to save his masochism was to buy toy guns and knives from the guy who smuggled them from Bangkok, and sold them off right next to our house. And yes, the house. Bhartu (our landlord) thought it would be a great idea to keep just one entry for the tenants, and hence we used to explain our address to our friends as follows "...and then right after turning left, you will see a shoe shop. Go right in, and be ready to take a flight of steps to the 5th floor. Don't forget to carry a torchlight - we don't have lights on the stairs..."

This is our third move - after Delhi and Kolkata. And as usual, there is this deep pit in my stomach that makes me wriggle when I think about re-creating a new life...again. Just the usual, you know....decorating a new house and managing its new set of disorder and chaos.... a new office, and hence new buddies....new habits and pastimes. But the thought that struck me most was how did we emass so much in the last 7 years? I remember traveling from Munirka to Noida in a tempo - literally sitting next to the driver in the front seat, with my clothes, and some pots and pans, and a PC, and a few photographs which were more valuable to me than everything else in the tempo. As my consecutive salaries got sucked into the luxuries that I considered I deserved due to the endless hours I put into my so-called "amazing" job, I ended up taking a packing service a year later, to shift to Kolkata after my wedding.

And now I look around at our home in Kolkata...its rooms filled with every piece of furniture and gadget, every luxury that a DINK (for you nerds, this means Dual Income No Kids) can afford....I am thinking back at how we ended up being so expensive? I mean, the products on my dressing table would be worth more than my first month's salary at Grail Research. And if you really think I am bragging, well, value yours. And that's just the way things are. Life is easier with the AC homes and cars, a Spencer's visit every week, a movie very often, God-knows how many inches of screen at home to watch your latest downloads, home theaters and I-pods.... The last bill for a dinner and a drink was what I used to run my entire month with in my college days. A daily outing is equivalent to that one buy we used to save for over months and pine for every time we crossed a showroom. And I would still trade all of this for the breakfast of paranthas in a 2 room flat over a shoe shop on the 5th floor at 45 degrees of Delhi's notorious summer. You must think I am crazy!

But yes, I do feel those were simpler times...when the stock market crash was just a news item to be quoted in finance class....when I did not know the existence of calories and sugar content....or my hair still looked great to me despite not having a blow dryer....music was not just something I listened to while driving... and I did not need "quality time" with my loved ones. I guess I was more sure of myself then (with no job and no regular income) compared to now with years of skilled labor. Or maybe I was, but I was too cocky to admit! Whatever it is, I know I can't stop this process...of going ahead and prospering, but always looking back with regret for the lost days of younger me's at every stage. I am sure I will look back at this 'me' too at some point of time in future and wish for something I don't realize I have right now, but will certainly miss some coming day. Evolution is a give-and-take I guess.

Right now, as I sit near my window, I remember a young guy and girl on a state transport college bus, dreaming of a car as they see a family on a scooter. Awaiting their bachelor's degree then, they excitedly plan an integrated Bose system to replace their transistors and walkmans with their non-existent high-paying jobs. I turn around to see the same guy, sitting near me sorting out the plugs on his latest gadget.... can't help smiling and giving him a big hug. I guess the point does not lie in what I have and do not have anymore. Maybe it is about who was there to see me through each crises, or join me in each personal victory. I am just thankful right now, I have a whole bunch of new memories to make in a new city!!

Current Mood: dorky
Current Music: Kurbaan huwa.....
Parijat Priyadarshini
25 May 2009 @ 12:50 pm
This post is dedicated to the appendix that I lost a few days back to a surgeon in Apollo, Kolkata.

I am scared of just two things in life - pain and blood. In fact, such is the level of fright, that there is one story my dad will tell you just 5 minutes into a conversation about me (of course, after he has expressed his disdain with the kind of hours that I involve myself in the "rat race" and how "this generation has no time to enjoy the color of the sky...")

When I was 8 and my sister was 2, my parents called a doctor home to pierce our ears. For me, it would actually be re-pierce as I had already had mine pierced, but due to my tom-boyish attitude towards all things girly I had conveniently lost my gold studs one day on the suggestion of my closest he-cousin, and hence the "re". Anyways, the story lies in the fact that as courageous as I was back then, I pushed my kid sister ahead the moment I saw that injection. And if that was not enough, when I saw the blood in her ear after the injection, I just went out cold for 15 minutes! 15 minutes of my life I lost and don't remember for a stupid ear stud! Talk about sacrifices in the name of fashion. When I came back, I remember looking at the grinning faces of my family members and wailing "Why did he not put that injection in my ear after I had fainted? I wouldn't have felt a thing!"

In my defence, I did not have breakfast that day.

I would grudgingly have to add another time I fainted, just for the record. Now this one is a little embarrassing. Remember the scene in Goal (the Hindi flick, in which Bipasha Basu looks like an iron pole with the emotions of an iron pole) where John Abraham gets punched during the final match, in his already broken nose, and reels under that punch? Well, I reeled too. In front of 100 viewers in a PVR theater. This time when I woke up, I saw 3 guards and a ticket collector poking and prodding me.

Again, in my defence, I am a very sensitive person. I can feel others' pain and you can't, can you?

Now about the appendix. One morning, as I was having breakfast like a perfectly normal person has breakfast, I suddenly felt a jab in my tummy like never before. After trying all the known methods - of drinking water, going through the two things you go through inside a loo, and trying to distract myself with MTV, I called up the dude. He gave me his known method - pudin hara (Now, people at Dabur - here's your most loyal customer, and I am sure he trusts it to be the miracle cure for anything from a headache to constipation). So, with the combined intelligence of a consultant and an I-banker, I was still in a state of trying to find the one position where I could forget the pain for a while. 

By afternoon, I was sure I was dying and God was punishing me for something really bad I did in my past life. So, when the dude came to pick me up and called the doctor on our way, I was disappointed. Appendicitis? That was his verdict? And here I was fantasizing about how much people will miss me, and how I would bravely face the Unknown with a smile and wise words, that every generation after me will repeat. As I stared at the upside down posters and hoardings on the way (I was lying on the seat, with the dude's thighs for cushion) I also remember feeling that all this was not real.....as if it was a dream....happening to someone else.....

That was a Wednesday. By Sunday, I had atleast a 100 jabs into my body for injections, and IVs, and blood samples and skin tests. I had lost my trendy hairdo to something that resembled a cleaning broom at home I was meaning to throw away for sometime. My gym-worked abs had three ugly lines where the incisions had been made for the laparoscopy ("How will I show off a two-piece when I go to Goa?, How? How?") To add to it, I had lost 45 minutes of my life, AGAIN - 30 minutes under anesthesia, and 15 minutes under hunger-induced episode of fainting in the bathroom with the door locked from inside. And, if that was not enough, I had been seen in my "all-together" by 3 different nurses (AND had been seen "going" in the loo, while they carefully studied the color of their nails!)

However, I did go through the whole episode with a better grace then before. Because I had the best person by my side during every injection, saying, "Hold my arm as tightly as you want and look at me, not the injection". I had R, my favorite 55 year old doctor, who distracted me from my plight with discussions about his butts and how he wanted them tighter....And, I had a dream anesthetist - who made me feel at ease immediately, and told me "Do you know where Mani is? He is in the very next room, getting updates every minute. I promise you will wake up just about under a half hour, and you won't feel a thing! So do I put you to sleep now?" I had no choice but to believe every word he said.

The last thing I remember when I was going off to slumber, was how the dude had seen me in the highly oversized OT scrubs, with my hair covered with something that can only be described as a cotton shower cap, and had smiled at me saying, "Beautiful little girl". And I thanked God, the dude, my family and all the people who make this life worth living....and nodded off with a smile and grace.
Current Mood: chipperchipper
Current Music: The rain and the howling wind...
Parijat Priyadarshini
15 January 2009 @ 01:56 am

Memory.......is the ultimate oxymoron. It is the most beautiful gift, but comes with a huge disclaimer. So, two glasses of wine and half an hour of late-night Red FM later, I stand clear on this one thing - Memory was God's personal joke when he came up with the concept of the "Man".

OK, let me try to explain this to the people who are not in the same levels of drunken intellectuality as I am right now. I am the definition of a healthy, normal person - because I can walk and talk.... I know how to manoeuvre my body to sleep, dance, jump, eat, pronounce......I wake up every day with the same knowledge - that the tap water will be icy cold when I turn it on, and the tea on my table will be scalding hot if I don't allow it to cool for a minute or two. I am not scared that one day I might suddenly wake up blank and not be able to create a document that I sell to companies, that has earned me a living all these years....You can't deny the fact that it is nothing short of a miracle!!

However, Memory, is the only thing that can stop you from enjoying itself. Pretty high up there, huh! Well, lets just put it on the wine for now.  Your life....anyone's life!....is a memorable journey...distinctly unique. But give me the name of one single person who has not been bothered by the past, in any way, shape or form! No, just seriously try!! We cry when someone passes away because we remember how it felt when he was around....we don't want to surrender and fear the vulnerability that comes with commitment because we remember the last time the person we opened up to manipulated or hurt us......in fact, we live in fear each and every day because we distinctly remember that we are going to die someday. Imagine the possibilities if we could just forget these things for a while!! 

Maybe a drunk woman, at 2:30am, who misses the person she loves, so much that she is not being able to enjoy anything from movies to books to telephone gossips, might not be rational enough to sound convincing. So let me just quote what a great friend of mine (K - tell me if you are not OK with this!) once revealed to me in one of our many "deep" conversations......  

"As a rule, always right after I have had one of the greatest physical experiences (and by that he very discreetly means "you know what") with a most beautiful woman, I find myself with around 60 seconds of very clear memories of the two women I ever loved in my life......I feel so guilty sleeping right next to this amazing person who could have been the best thing that ever happened to me. But no! I lie there imagining what it could have been if she were someone else...and there.....I ultimately end up ruining another awesome experience......! Why?"

I am toying with that "Why?" and the significance it holds.

Tonight, (as the Dude whiles away his time spending 18,000 ruppees of company money over a five star accomodation every night) I reminisce all the things that make up "just another day" for me .....like him fast asleep but grabbing hold of me instinctively if I cry in my dreams, or sitting across the dining table discussing his conviction that exercise makes a person weaker and why Russel Peters gets money for being funny, but he doesn't, ...or just humming a Nirvana in the bathroom (while convincing me that he is having a bath by splasing water on the walls!) as I try and fail to concentrate on my next slide.....or, the mess he creates the moment he reaches home - tie here, shoes there..... I can't help but blame the fact that memories do have a way in messing around with the mind! 

Otherwise why would I (a perfectly normal human being as we proved already!) end up wasting a perfectly great glass of Sula and a gorgeous winter night in January, feeling extremely forlorn and out of sorts....and think philosophy at MY age? 

Memory IS tricky!!
Current Location: Den, Kolkata home
Current Mood: drunkdrunk
Current Music: Red FM...bajaate raho
Parijat Priyadarshini
14 August 2008 @ 08:13 pm
Certain things remain with you no matter how much you grow. You can become fairer, have more hair, change the shape of your nose, or your sexuality (YES, I know these need a lot of money, but you can get rich in a lifetime too, given the "boom" in the economy!). But, you just can't get rid of those things that are more internal, more deep-rooted....like a love for Elvis Presley music, or the attachment to a particular shade of nailpolish (that's something I have noticed in women...once they get attached to one particular pink, they become staunch loyalists), or in case of the dude, his unchangeable habit of sleeping with folded arms, with one hand on his chin, as if he is thinking out a marketing strategy in his dreams. 

More seriously, the love for traveling, or the craze to be the center of any party, or that madness for ice-creams.......these stay with us forever, through our various roles and hair color as we drift through life. Sometimes we pass them on to the next generation in such a a way that these habits and crazes survive beyond our own lives.

Of the countless things that I have bound myself with, including my maniacal habit of tucking the bedsheet to the state of near-creaselessness before sleeping, drinking lemon tea in the morning relegiously for the past 10 years, and being the most over-excited person in any old-friends-get-together whatsoever, there is one particular Achilles heel that I am extremely protective and of course, passionate about - my love for steet food. 

None of the greatest and most acclaimed of restaurants/ hotels/ cafes/ pattiseries has been able to wipe away my palate's greed (yes, no other word for this thing but one of the seven cardinal sins!) for road-side yummies, particularly the stuff that you squeeze a lemon onto, or mix by throwing into the air, or one that has to involve dipping the ubiquitous nails into the potato mash. Yes, I know you are disgusted, but the topic of this post is the failure to change habits. So you can't (and I CAN'T) do anything about this. So continuing down this lane, there is one particular street food that has been my weakest point and my cardinal crave for all of my history.  The puchka. 

This particular breed of junk food, has scraped the skin of my palate, made my nose weep, given me shirt stains, and made me look like a fool in a "trying to open the mouth so wide that you can see her tonsils" way, so many times, that I have stopped caring. And what the heck! Its all worth it (as many of my peers in the street foodie community, and particularly the fairer sex, will nod vehemently on). This thing has seen me through my years.....let me tell you how:

School days: I remember having very huge amounts of money at that point of time in my life. So I would proudly take 1 ruppee out of my 5 ruppees and give the puchka walla the "let me be the first in the line" look, the moment I could get out of the maddening rush that consists of fanatic parents trying to find lookalike children in the same grey uniform, during chutti-time. Also, I needed to devour the sin before my mom (who also happened to be a teacher in the same school, fate's trick!) found me with an ungulpable big round puchka in my mouth, waiting for me to gulp it so she could give me one tight fiver.

11th and 12th: Me and my partners-in-crime, my three best she friends in 11th standard, would sneak out of the classrooms (with huge french-style windows, and very boring, mono-vision lecturers) to get on our scooties and reach the nearest puckha walla, who would smile at us every time he saw us running towards him, and knew exactly which one of us likes it hot, and which one likes it too tangy! Those used to be the days, when I would be tricked into collecting the bags from the lecture hall after class ended, and I would get the LOOK from the teacher which meant nothing but "hopeless!".

Engineering college: I distinctly remember this scene: Me with my purse between my legs, and golgappa in my mouth, looking like an escaped mental convict, and Mani standing right next to me, with the shopping bags in his hand, and a "I don't know who this crazy woman is...I am just standing here for my bus" look on his embarassed face....(till date, the look has not changed).

MBA and the job that followed (Delhi): Delhi's golguppa is different. Its sweeter and more refined, and I used to miss the "unrefined" part of the item in my native land. But, golguppa was one of the reasons I could survive through the getting used to and getting accepted part in a totally alien land.

Marriage and Kolkata: As already stated, Mani still stands around with disgust in his face, and embarassment at failing to convince me to have puchka from the food-court inside South City mall...and relish the ones OUTSIDE, on the polluted streets of Ghulam Mohd Shah road. He says I am addicted to the nail-dirt on the puchka walla. I still don't care.
Current Mood: lethargiclethargic
Current Music: Jaane tu ya jaane na...Kabhi Kabhi Aditi
Parijat Priyadarshini
30 July 2008 @ 11:59 pm

Something is gradually changing inside me. I am actually starting to love this city......and after all the Kolkata-bashing fights that I had with the dude ("we HAVE to come back to Delhi!", "I can't live without McDonalds, where will I have dinner?", "Where will I buy all my clothes from if I really don't like everything with batik print?", "The city is too loud, TOO LOUD", etc.)......I am actually deep-diving head on into the first mad rush of true love. Oh! Calcutta!!

I don't know at what point I stopped being bothered by those huge, loud, yellow contraptions they call Taxi's here, which by the way are ridiculously stuffy (given Kolkata humidity!) and have the ability to de-wax your ears with honks if you have not cared to visit the ENT doc. I now look at Trams as ornamental, antique, and cheap commute, and accept this forgotten mishap with a sweet sigh,...when earlier I used to shout communism (sorry for that C-word, but thats my idea of really loud arguments) about how much space these things take, how inefficient they are, and how I could jog faster than them. I look at rains optimistically ("Yeay! Mani can't go to office today!"), rather than  earlier when I used to brood at these bl***y rains just not seeming to stop and filling up my door front with the neighbors morning trash. The trash, by the way, still fills up my door step...but now me and the man friday play a game where we contest on whether the pizza boxes outnumber the Mouchak mishti boxes.  

I like the irritating hawkers who shout murder early morning (at least for people like us who wake up 9ish!), because I now know them by name....and let me tell you this: they are really good people who work really hard to feed their huge families, and I have made friends with the electrician - the one and only electrician in the area, beacuse he is, the one and only electrician in the area (and dilly-dallys at the idea of making money from electrical jobs!!). 

Infact I used to find the idea of a complete stranger asking me in a public lavatory, as to when me and my husband intend to have our first "issue" and, how much my husband earns (ofcourse, in the interest of making sure that we can feed the "issue" when we have it!) very unconventional and nosy. Now, it comforts me that I can smile at anyone, anywhere in Kolkata and I will get a warm grin back. I can leave luggage at the Kolkata airport and go take a shower for all I care, some good soul would volunteer to keep an eye on my stuff.

Thats the spirit of Kolkata. All women are like mother hen, and all men have to make anything thats bothering you their personal issue. I can never get lost in Kolkata (despite not having the clear road directions I loved in Delhi), because I have knights who are willing to escort me home. The city cares.

Not to mention, that I love the fact that I can pluck fruits just by leaning out of our window (sometimes that does verge on stealing, if the tree has roots on another person's compound). And I love taking a walk in the narrow alleys, where boys just have to play football and cricket, and uncles just have to discuss the "agenda" of the next Puja pandal plans. The terraces sport vibrant colors of sarees....and evenings are filled with some Visharada trying to become a Nipuna with the Yaman....and the air filled with incenses....and chants...and shankhas.....

Here, every child has an opinion. And no, I am not talking about what they plan to wear to Tantra on Friday....they are conscious about politics, and music, and art...teenagers flirt with each other over nonchalant references to the directorial strategies of a Satyajit Ray movie, and compare Obama and Clinton. And sometimes, I really like the absence of all that pretence and air thats so common in the young community up North. Here, I can actually feel the innocence amongst the uncertainities of puberty. 

This city is alive with colors and music, and its not a coincidence that there are 13 celebrations in 12 months in this city....people simply love to enjoy and dance and take a break! I am already in love with this place....and its not even 2 months!

Current Mood: awake
Current Music: the water motor
Parijat Priyadarshini
25 June 2008 @ 12:24 pm
After a lot of thought and deliberation...and a huge amount of time taken to accept the fact, I have come to the conclusion that "Yes, guys do have a language that women will never learn." Also, the fact that Male Bonding as they call it....does exist to an extent no girl can imagine having with another one of her sex. 

And after my marriage and subsequent move to Kolkata, I realized that I entered a household that had seen so much of bachelorhood in it, that it would be tough to make the female presence felt in any part of the house or the dude's life (apart from the "you know what"....)

I have also understood what makes a man the happiest he can be....and its something resembling this: 
Its Saturday. You wake up next to your wife/ girlfriend, and find a PS 2 console alive already, and take up the controller in your hands. Then the man friday gets you your first drink of the day on a tray (and that could be anything from a lemon tea to a beer (depending upon how "raunchy" you feel) and opens up a box of cold chicken salad from the refrigerator (again, you may or may not want to brush, depending on how lazy you feel that day).... you get engrossed in combining the next flying kick and flying spin to hit the opponent in a "K.O"... and in all this confusion and chaos of beer and salad and a bed thats crumpled up because you won't get up so that it can be made...sits the love of your life...looking at you with a big question mark on her half-dozed, bedraggled face, thinking "What the hell did I get into...Why did I not see this coming?"

And you look at her in the moment between the last game and the next one (when they play that irritating music, show you your next opponent in the fray...and wait for you to press START)...and say, "Honey, sit right next to me...you are my lady luck. See I am winning" and forget her existence for the next couple of hours......totally hypnotized by 3D characters on a game console. Sounds blur...lights diffuse......and all you can see and hear is that screen and the programmed sounds of front leg kicks and flying kicks and power punches.... 

When guys play, they are in a way, mating with each other. The language that's being silently spoken is......"Hmmmmm, lemme see how compatible you are.....Dude, I know your next move already, I have been watching you very close!!......You are gooood, you know me totally man, you just double tricked me!....I lost the game, I LOST THE GAME, you are a genius, I love you man.....you are my Hero!"

At the moment of the "K.O." (when the guy playing Christie Montero, a dumb looking half-naked Barbie beauty who is deceptively good at killing hulks, beats Jing Kazama, a handsome muscular guy with a hood that does not come off his head even when he is toppling and reeling under massive bashing from a frail looking woman) the two guys will look at each other, one with a smirk (Christie...she always wins) and the other with open admiration written all over his face......exactly then, right there...that's your climax.

And by the way...they can do it for hours. No wait, days....at a stretch. Till someone (mostly ofcourse the woman of the house) yells, "Enough is enough! You two are grounded. Go out and don't come home before an hour. Take a drive. See the real world and the real people in it. Get some fresh air...and NO I AM NOT TALKING ABOUT ANOTHER WILLS CLASSIC!"

But after this man-bashing out-pours, I must admit that, sometimes, I do feel a twinge of envy. Why, I never had that close a she-friend with whom I could spend hours without talking and still felt closest to her in that moment! Women always "express" and "discuss" and "feel for each other", as if they understand each other completely. They do, too! But when I see two guys, totally content with what they have, submerged in their "soccer - game console" world without anything else they might require from their life......That's when I know, that even though I could never speak their language, I can't grudge them their state of bliss. It must be awesome!!
Current Mood: chipperchipper
Current Music: some Bengali chant in the neighbor's house...
Parijat Priyadarshini
30 May 2008 @ 12:33 am

Today, I am actually living my role out as a woman who is married, relocated to a different city and has a new job to tackle with on a day-to-day basis. And I still can't imagine myself as all grown up and capable of running a household....the charming Lakshmi with a smile on her face for every crisis and a solution that comes to her just naturally. Instead, what I end up doing is looking dazed, scratching my head with a quizzical look on my face, and finally when God does not come to my rescue with instant wisdom, I end up thinking on the lines of "Did I waste too much time studying and not put efforts at inculcating enough common sense?"

At my most intelligent moment, I go, "Hmmmm....let me see....what would mom have done?" 

For instance, amongst the many things that were "hinted" upon me to work on during the course of my recent marriage ceremony (including, "Check the amount of fatty food that he consumes during the day", "See to it that he spends less", "Make him exercise...atleast take him out for a walk!", "Infuse a habit of making him call up his parents and yours, once in a while".....), I have observed that I have been successful in none. Infact, he still proudly throws his shoes and socks in the carpeted bedroom floor, right under my nose, and gives me a look that says, 'Ha! Beat that!"  

How do women do it? No, really! How do you get to make the man sleep on the bed, and not in front of the TV with a remote in his hands, laptop on full download mode...and the wringing tie on his neck still intact?

The dude's animosity at my trying to change things around him is obvious in every aspect.....wrinkled nose and that "You must be kidding!" look at the idea of veggies, vehement physical opposition at my idea of "cleaning up stuff" (because "I know where to find what I want in this mess...so don't you clean it!") , and roaring laughter at my idea of exercise. 

Maybe he is more intelligent, but I think I read somewhere that women had a way of working around IQ with EQ! 

Infact, he has created this "perspective" which goes: "You know, lets agree to disagree on this. We don't need to have similar opinions on everything." On an operational level, the interpretation of this is "Will you just keep out of my way of doing things? You know you can't change this!" At his most exasperated point --- at this point he thinks I am dumb, repetitive and absolutely unreasonable, he has this way of ending the entire conversation with this awesome line: "You know what, I am like this. Take me or leave me"

At this point, the usual succession of events is as folllows: I slam the door on his face and get busy ignoring him......he gets back to his movie collection and forgets the whole thing into 3 minutes of the latest blockbuster.....I wait for him to apologize....he goes to sleep in his rather twisted position (somehow managing his bulk between the D-mattress and the floor).......I try waking him up.....and he smiles in his sleep.....And, well, the entire point of the argument is just lost somewhere between getting him to bed and putting a rug around him.....

Well, maybe I am not one of those happy moms/wives on commercials who manage to get their hubbies to eat the healthiest breakfasts or get them to love the low-calorie diet stuff.....or get the husband to say  "Hamesha biwi ki suno, faayde me rahoge!" But I try!!!! And I think that counts, right?  

Current Location: golf green......Kol
Current Mood: optimisticoptimistic
Current Music: hushhhhhhhhh.........