Saturday, September 29, 2012

The yellow line

I stood behind a lot of yellow lines between 11pm on 27th sep and 11am on 27th sep !!
Ya you read that right. 11pm to 11am on 27th sep.

It (standing behind the yellow line) begins at the Delhi airport at the AI counter. I lug my heavy suitcase from the trolley on to the weighing belt and cross my fingers. Please make that a direct check-in to Lexington I say a little nervously. The AI personnel reminds me to collect the baggage at Chicago and do a re-check in as he prints out the two boarding passes I think...sadhya my bag has passed the 20kg test and I see it as it happily jaunts along the moving conveyor belt.
Then I stand behind the yellow line waiting to meet the personnel from the American consulate to OK my intended visit. After that its the security check yellow line. And then the yellow line at the immigration counters at Chicago.
We meet a lot of yellow lines at other moments in life...
When the teacher begins to distribute the question papers
When the receptionist smiles and says 'Sir, he will meet you now'
When the blushing 22 year old is about to tell her parents about him
When the sambar for 10 guests is ready and it is time to add the salt and stir.
There is a heady rush of anticipation.
It is Make or Break time.
Will it turn out OK?
We square our shoulders, tuck in the tummy, take a deep breath and surge ahead.
Life is all about these Yellow lines and the Determined Steps we take to cross them.
So which yellow line waits for you today?


Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Chicken or the egg?

A thought pops into your head ... a seemingly harmless guy ... you look at him while you are enjoying the cool breeze and sipping some tea ...and bang ... before you know it ... an emotion engulfs and overpowers you.

Meenakshi is on the single sofa making shoulder shaking sobs into a wide hand towel. She ignores her favourite soap. Did A propose to K at the swimming pool? She does not know. Today her mind is consumed by her husband's lack-of-love for her. Two days back she knew for sure. Today she is convinced ... he does not care for her. When Sumit shared that stupid joke about two drunks all her friends exchanged looks with their husbands. And where was Cheenu looking? at his camera! See today .. during breakfast ... He a-a-a-always looks up with a smile and says that I feed him too much...and today ...sob-sob... he just ate up the 3 dosas without a murmur and shot off to office...I told you ...sob sob

What do you think came first? the emotion or the thought? the horrifying behaviour of the hubby or the lingering sad thoughts?  the tears or the interpretation?  the chicken or the egg?

Here is what I think
Thought - leads to emotion - which leads to action - which leads to thought - to emotion - to action.
So it all begins with THINKING??

For there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.
says Hamlet.

All emotions anger, fear, helplessness, joy, jealousy, pride ... just all emotions rise from thoughts.
And all actions smile, sweat, walk, talk, gift wrapping, knee slapping...just all actions rise from emotions.

We just need to turn on positive thoughts, good thoughts and we turn on happiness.

and tell me ... who doesn't want to be happy?

Now who will tell Meenakshi?


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Big Belly

A big belly full of laughter and kindness.
Vinayaka Chaturthi
We the kannada smarthas believe that Gowri - Ishwara's spouse and Ganesha's mom - has come away to visit her parents. Ishwara unable to bear the separation sends Ganesha to fetch her back.
A wonderful tale of romance.
Every Kannada smartha home celebrates the arrival of Gowri at home.
This festival is specially dear to women. They pray for the happiness of their husband.
So yesterday was Gowri Habba. And today, on the fourth day of the bhadrapada masa, Ganesha arrives to take his mom home.
Of course Ganesh the energetic, witty, smart young boy, is a family favourite. So today is Ganesha habba. Yummy fried food, sweets and a large spread is cooked, served to him with love and then eaten with relish.

Ganesha blesses all. He has only love for all. Not a strain of anger in him. Though yes, he did once frown at the moon. But then the moon was too full of his beauty and laughed at our cute elephant headed - pot bellied - mouse rider!

So on this happy occasion of Ganesha Habba, wish you all a wonderful year. A big belly with lots of laughter.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Maximus - The sprinter

Our boxer has a sprint-route. He begins from under the sofa, races between the two layers of the centre table, skids to a halt, turns and races around the table, sprints between the legs of a three seater, and curves into the starting position ... under the single sofa.
He does this is a tearing hurry ... like something's on fire!
He does this route again and again...'and everyone please move out of the sprint route for he is going to knock you down!'
And no amount of Stop it Maxi is effective. For when he is so excited .... He cannot hear me at all!!
Perhaps you young moms out there can sympathize with me?

He looks like a deer when he runs.
His back arches up and the two front and hind legs meet. Then the front legs reach out to a great distance with the hind legs quickly catching up. So he arches and straightens and arches and straightens
He looks so beautiful.

We took him to Lodhi Garden. The large green, the strange smells, the birds, and the large plastic ball
Oh he had a happy sprinting time there!
er ... WE had a happy Maximus sprinting time!


Friday, September 14, 2012


Two types of brackets that we frequently see is
parentheses - He is a student (or so he says) of History.
square brackets - He is a student of history [American].

When you read the words contained in the first one, your voice drops to a whisper. This is almost like as aside. A secret. An after-thought. A naughty explanation.
When you read the words contained in the square brackets your voice is strong. It is an important explanatory information added while quoting a statement.

Your dream for yourself....

  • is it in parentheses? a whisper? an aside? a secret?
  • or is it in square brackets? strong? explanatory? real?
Where we go all depends on how confident we are of our dreams.
I like this line... that I borrow from Beth
Be yourself everyone else is taken


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Using but in a sentence

But is a conjunction. It joins two sentences
To begin a sentence with but is grammatically wrong.
Here are some nice proverbs that use BUT

  • Do not look where you fell BUT where you slipped
  • Don't make love at the garden gate, love is blind BUT neighbours aren't!
  • Everybody wants heaven BUT nobody wants to die.
  • It's nice to be important BUT it's more important to be nice.
  • It's only rock 'n' roll BUT I like it
But that does not mean I cannot begin with a BUT! Many writers have cheerfully ignored such rules!

Going strictly by rules of grammar it is not correct to say
But I do not have the patience ...
But I am scared of technology ...
But it is boring to sit and prepare a speech ...
But I am always harsh and curt ...

On the other hand, the right thing is to say is this.
I do not have the patience, but ...
I am scared of technology, but ...
It is boring to sit and prepare a speech, but ...
I am always harsh and curt, but ...
Hey, come to think of it, the conjunction BUT joins two sentences
and minds
and hearts
Miracle in my kitchen

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Miracle in my kitchen

Are you a fan of Spicy Oil laden Brinjal curry?
Cut up brinjal into thin long pieces. Load it into the deep dish with oil, palya pudi (spices), salt, hint of jaggery and grated copra. Stir and cover with a glass lid. Turn flame to low. The brinjal cooks in its own juices. yummm
And I settle with a book. A non-shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella. It is called Remember Me? Story of a girl who forgets 3 years of life. During which time she has changed her looks, become rich and famous!!! Imagine...waking up and forgetting how you got to be rich and famous! So in the process of helping her regain her lost memory I forget about the brinjal curry on the gas stove in my kitchen.

There is a loud cracker burst. You remember? ... this means something..
Oops the BrinJAL ... I run into the kitchen. I gingerly take off the glass lid...I expect to see charred remains of should-have-been-yummy-brinjal-curry. but hey! The gas in the cylinder is over! and the brinjal is saved.

 Sometimes such miracles happen with the tongue too.
Something makes you hopping mad. You begin to say something harsh. Suddenly you stop. Your goodness takes charge. The gas is turned off. The tongue stops lashing. This is not a weak moment. This is a moment of super strength. For you have saved a heart. The heart is not charred.
A lashing tongue is for the weak.... For the strong, the silence says it all.

or so we hope...
Our Boxer - Ugly Pugli

Monday, September 10, 2012

Our Boxer - The Ugly Pugli

That is true.
Our Maximus is ugly and a little pugli...crazy too. When we brought him home he was a dark tiny thing. And looked like a huge rat! A very dark face, dark brown body with deep black lines and just a hint of white socks. He doesn't look like that anymore. More a cross between a reptile and a monkey.

When he was 6 weeks and stronger we took him down for a walk in the apartment. Yayy we have joined the elite crowd that holds a leash and a green bag to pick poop. And a kid and then a man who walked into the lift ask .. yeh kya hai? What is this... !!! oops a pup hey!

We have a long mirror as a decor in a passage. One brave day he ventured into this space. And he saw himself in the mirror. He froze. Whaaaat? he seemed to ponder. His reflection so petrified he ran!! Save me

He is almost house trained but he has emergencies! So when he pees in the hall he approaches cautiously and sniffs it. Then you should see him recoiling and backing away! yooaawah! it's hilarious.

We have a single sofa kept in a corner of the hall. He thinks this is a fort. And specifically the place under the sofa is inaccessible to all. So when he steals a newspaper sheet, or pushes the remote off the table or gets a strange sniff he runs into this safe haven. "I am under the sofa. You can't see me."

He has big flappy ears. And they go flap flop when he runs, moves, jumps... Very often one or the other ear has turned up exposing a pink inner ear. Our Flappy-Ear looks funny with a black nose, brown face and one pink ear!

I sing to him. He looks up at me, dips his head one one side, and then dips his head on the other side. His eyes are wide pools. He gives a sudden frightened yelp and runs to his safe have under the sofa.
Told you
Ugly pugli boxer.

What next

Friday, September 7, 2012

What next

Varun is five. He is a sharp and happy kid. He came home with his parents. After a noisy oh so cute. Is this your son? How big he has grown. Come Come. Please sit down. Madan, I think we are meeting for the first time na? Please sit down. etc. etc.
Anita took out a large notepad and some crayons from her bag. Here Varun, colour this dear. She said.
Varun is busy with colours while we catch up on 3 years.
Varun is back. Mama, colouring over. What shall I do now?
Anita fishes out a jigzaw from her bag. Varun's eyes light up. Mickey! he says. and goes about solving the puzzle with single minded concentration.
A tray loaded with special eats settles on the centre table. Varun polishes off two homemade cookies and looks at Anita. Now what? He asks.
Anita fetches two small cars from her bag. (Wow for Anita!! )
Varun takes them and zooms around the hall.
But for how long? Soon he tires and comes back. ... What next?
I kind of lose my patience. Anita has been so thoughtful. Has brought so much entertainment. Time for Varun to reciprocate. Right?
So I tell him a tide firmly - Varun, toys all done. Just play by yourself OK?
Varun looks at Anita. Mama can I do that? Can I just play?
Anita is surprised. Yes Varun. Play.
Varun is happy to explore our stairway, he peers at our picture panel, he goes into our small garden space.
Anita is worried. Is he OK? Is he bored?

Sometimes it is good to be bored. It makes us more creative.
The subject line 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The subject line

When I am writing official emails it is so easy to fill in that space reserved for subject.
Project BG2/44 or Science Today bk 3
and i'm done
The problem begins when I am writing a friendly hi-how-are-you email.
i take 2 minutes to write the mail, half a second to fill in the email ID
and then i hover over the subject line
shall i just write hi or hello
naa that looks so like a spam mail
shall i say september
whaat ... like i write only one mail every month??
maybe i will say, onam wish
that gives it away... right? the entire mail is all about that anyway

It's like rearranging the wardrobe and agonizing over where to keep the hankies.
It's like doing the gift wrapping and agonizing over where to stick the card.
Little things take up bigger space?
Do you think this also fits into the eighty twenty rule? 80% of the writing is done in 20% of the time?
or have i got it all wrong?


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Just men talking!

I was reading Eric Berne's Transactional Analysis (TA) in his book Games People Play. And recalled something I had read long back. A book called I'm OK you're OK by Harris.
Berne talks in detail about the Parent, Child and Adult hidden within us. Understanding the hidden PAC helps us transact interactions with people around us. And when communications fail we may still tear our hair and wail. But we would know if it was the Child in us that is reacting or the Parent. And in Adult mode we could sit back, analyse, ... and if so desire...continue to tear hair.

But I also happened to watch a movie with a the terrific use of TA in the movie. Have you watched 12 Angry Men? We did. And we were glued to it the entire time. It all happens in a closed room. They are the jury for a murder trial. They have to give an all consensus verdict of guilty or not-guilty. The movie begins with 11 saying GUILTY and one man adamantly sticking to a NOT-GUILTY verdict and making them late for a baseball match! Watch the movie for an intriguing interplay of emotions, prejudices and even a nonchalant attitude to task on hand...
a guaranteed must watch! here is a link for 12 angry men if you wish to watch it online.
You could read just the script too. But when you read the script you realize how much more the director and the actors have added to make this a memorable experience.

Like Eric Berne says in his Transactional Analysis
words form a mere 7% of the communication
the remaining is composed of facial expression, pause, grimace, body language etc
Have you seen, sometimes a person says something
and you feel irritated, or hurt or depressed
and when you confront the person
he says, whaaat, i only said ---
well it's not just the words ... it's the way it was said .. the inflection, the tone, the raised eyebrow...
but how do you tell them now?
the moment and the expression are all gone.
only the hurt remains.
when men talk they say a lot more than mere words....

Our boxer is a thinker

Monday, September 3, 2012

Our boxer is a thinker

Our Brindle Boxer is a CEO.
We offer our boxer pup an old plank, a wooden stool and guaranteed-to-work "teething toys". Huh! He gives them all a royal ignore. And goes with marked determination to the carved legs of the ANTIQUE STUFFED CHAIR. Noooo Maxi... Not thaaat one.
Come here Maxi
Any important issue at hand and he SINKS HIS TEETH into it. Nothing can tear him away from today's newspaper till he has it all under his jaws. Hey take the newspaper off the sofa..
.he is coming...he is coming.
Our Maxi is good at MULTI-TASKING. He has just begun attacking the pink furry chicken when a green ball rolls into view. In  flash he races to the green ball. But the pink chicken beckons too. So he darts back again. oooh
how much can a man possibly do...
He reads the mind of the OPPONENT. I play catch the paper ball with him. I trick him by pretending to fling it without actually doing so. He falls for the trick twice. Soon he catches on. Now he waits till the paper ball is actually flying through the air!
But I think he is often late to an important DISCUSSION TABLE. For we see him racing down the hallway and the passage twice before settling into the glass centre table. The centre table is made of two glass sheets and he likes to curl up between them.
At 12 noon he sits up where he is and raises his eyes at me. IS MY LUNCH READY? Yes sir, I say and give him his lunch. Our Brindle Boxer is not the one to rush in and topple over the lunch bowl. He waits sedately till the bowl is in place and walks up to it regally. Looks around and has his meal in peace.
It's what's the rush...
Our Brindle Boxer pup is our Cute Energetic Obsession.