Monday, August 26, 2013


That you will realise your mother all over again… that you will notice for the first time in 31 years , how unbelievably gorgeous she looks when she carelessly ties her hair, still slightly wet and crumpled from a wash, into a loose bun… that when she cooks something, she wants you to taste it every time and reassure her that she is still the best cook in the world… that the clothes you bought for her from your first salary and then the ones you got from your second and then those from the third, are still the same nine pieces of clothes she carries with her in the suitcase you bought  for her from your fourth salary… that the gold earrings you purchased for her from your first big paycheck are still hanging to her ears as a swinging reminder of those golden days of your life… that her earlobes have extended far and wide and can barely hold the skin together… that her radiating yet light brown deep eyes are throwing so much light on her wrinkles…

that it’s only now like never before… that you are beginning to truly appreciate… that time is ceaselessly… speedily racing in one direction – Ahead!

that she is aging… and that you have become a mother yourself… and that this time shall pass too.

Mummy playing with Aayat

that nothing is constant… not today, neither was yesterday… that one day an email from a stranger popped into your mailbox. He had written to introduce himself to you and to discuss marriage. You started to write back and forth regularly thereon. In the evenings, back in Bombay from your work trip, you eagerly awaited his next email as it would be his morning in London and he would as a recently developed ritual practice, be responding to your long email sent yesterday. A few months later you would speak with him for the first time over the phone and say to yourself aloud “God! He talks so much… I prefer him more in his long emails”. That winter, he came down to visit you in Delhi at the Surya Hotel – New Friend’s Colony. He wore jeans and a crisp white batman t-shirt and you wore the same colours, only your eyes were lined with kajal. Off his laser sharp memory (one of his many qualities you had fallen for) he remembered your love for Ferrero Rocher and brought you a box to impress. He ate chicken tikka and you ordered Dal makhani over blushing cheeks and feminine lure. On New Year’s Eve he dared to hold your hand, as blood rushed down your spine telling you that this is meant to be… forever.  

that when she is sucking milk while making those rhythmic gulping sounds, covering you with her tiny frail hands like she is punching her pin in an ATM machine, looking at you for reassurance… that when you are looking back at her that very moment, you will see in her eyes that she is you and him… that she is everything you built together… that, that which seems like just yesterday is long gone and now is not about him and you anymore but her, him and you.

that she will not be all bliss and beautiful… that many a times she will quite literally be full of shit… that she will strip you off all your space but guard her own like a true warrior… that she will cry hoarse each night and you will know not what to do… that she will make your life hell and you will tear your hair apart and you will wish this never happened and that this was the biggest mistake of your life and that you are so helpless… that you will weep in front of the doctor and tell him you can sense she is not well even though he is the 20th doctor in the past week who has had a look at her and confirmed she is absolutely fine… that indeed she was fine but you were just worrying because all those childcare books you had gulped down like exam preparation had assured you that you must trust your motherly instinct… that one thing those articles and those over imposing, friends and family members who give unsolicited, uninvited advice, will never ever tell you is that you are a first time mother and to worry will become your first skin but that this time shall pass too like all others…

that at 31 you are still exploring yourself, then how must you be expected by the forces of nature and the expectations of everyone around you, to certainly understand what she wants when she cries… that the decisions for your own life have been so daunting, how then can you decide for her without worrying… that when you become a mother, all other identities become your past… not wife, not sister, no more a daughter… just a mother you are and will be.

that you will experience her like no father can… that somewhere inside you there will be an alarm clock ticking, prompting you to wake up seconds before she begins to cry… that as a jest to life you will come off age and BF will no more mean boyfriend, instead breast feeding it will be. That your body will take a life-long leap and that you will not regret it because as they say, despite all its banality “it is all worth it.”

that silently you will hope she will become what you never could… that she will be in your wakefulness, that which you have dreamt to be, all this while when you were asleep… that she will hopefully be your tomorrow, that which you are not today.

“Oh! You mother,” I heard telling myself... “you had heard stories as you were growing up. That ONE story you had heard multiple times. But as you were reading it out to her last night, it all suddenly made sense to you after 31 years. You were wandering… directionless… in this life that was…”

“Cheshire Puss” Alice began “would you tell me, please, which way I ought to walk from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where --” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you walk,” said the Cat.
“—so long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you sure do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough”

But now that you are a mother… you beckon the cat to say to you yet again:
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

For you know where you belong.


Monday, April 1, 2013

In death is the other world!

Each minute… every second… I was losing control. Every new relationship that I got myself into and it forced me to lose myself… more and more of it. Family, friends... marriage….

Strangely it wasn’t ever enough… it never is… never would be. The more my own life, my decisions and everything that is me deny me complete access, the more I am tempted to give a bit more away. So when it wasn’t enough lately, I decided to have a baby… Blame it also on me being abnormally rotund for my own sweet little height. After three quarters of my life going waste in trying to diet I knew I wasn't going to lose it anyway. Hence, I decided to legitimize it.

Sumeet did most of the work for the next few nights. One month bygone and three pregnancy strips going blue (just to make sure… Engineer wife sure!!), I pronounced Sumeet to be more a man than ever before.

Life’s already a bit less my own lately… Nausea came with mood swings and soon my house had turned into an abuse-ment park… but well it’s all for a reason now you see.

Besides, it’s worth it… this addiction to losing control… this free falling... I feel one with gravity now.

It is strange though, because whenever gravity pulled me towards it my default disposition was to fight… but now I simply laugh. I believe its pregnancy hormones and Sumeet merrily agrees. So when we decided to go holiday in Spain simply because travel was the cheapest amongst all our other options… I decided not to crib or fight… and Sumeet gladly accepted my acceptance acceptingly.

Spain to be honest was never my first choice. If anything, I wanted to go to Turkey or Morocco or even Egypt… but not Spain you see. I’m tired of castles and forts and fancy buildings and beaches but most importantly I am tired of white skin… honestly!  Besides, Schengen visa obligations for an unemployed home maker such as me, are bordering onto ridiculous. The lady behind the glass panel at the visa office sent me back home twice for lack of proper paper work. A third time around she complained that my insurance policy does not specifically mention that in case of my death in Spain my ‘body would be brought back to England and not buried/burnt in Spain’.  I swore on my dead ancestors to her that my mourning husband would make sure my last rites happen in my homeland but she wasn’t prepared to trust my Asian tongue.  No one’s ever been so concerned about my funeral… I’ll give it to her for that. Finally after much scrolling through the 93 page long policy I found the exact death clause she was after. It is believed that death is not to be feared as it takes you to another world. Well it sure did in my case.

Spain it was then in February 2013. Just a day before we had seen our baby on the ultrasound and now she was with us on her first international holiday. We were ecstatic, the Spaniards  however, weren’t very obliging. The tourist information centre was a continent and more away at the Madrid airport and the woman behind the counter gave us wrong information with an additional sneer for me being Asian (I would like to believe). So we took the tube and ended up at the wrong station… miles away from our hotel. We decided to walk it with our human sized suitcases each and my additional belly. Most people when questioned, feverishly started shaking their heads and saying ‘no, no!’ to us and running away in fear. Five such encounters down we realised we were being misunderstood for being beggars. That was reassuring. Sumeet wore his Okley sunglasses and gave it another go. This time around the man we approached to ask for directions pounced at Sumeet first and then ran for his life. I assured Sumeet that from being a beggar he had successfully graduated to being a blind beggar. Madrid, Ola Madrid!! They don’t understand anything but Spanish… English they can’t speak to save their life.

Somehow an entire lifetime later we managed to reach our hotel facing Plaza de España. 

Plaza de España
The room was studio style so I could cook breakfast every morning. Besides, you look down and the entire Madrid was kissing your feet. We stepped out that evening to buy dinner and to be stopped by some odd oldies who would point at my belly… not for the bump but for the giant Nikon D 800 that was sitting over it smugly and then go rattling in Spanish, expecting me to understand and respond. All I could say over and over again was ‘no Spanish… ENGLISH’, to which they would shrug like saying how sorry they felt for me and then go on rattling in Spanish again… until Sumeet would steal me from the scene. With the entire economy in dire straits its commendable how they still stick to their guns and believe Spanish is ‘The Way’ or there’s no way.

We wandered aimlessly in Madrid for the next two days and saw many fine pieces of architecture… 


Banco De España

Plaza Mayor

Mercado de San Miguel

Templo de Debod

La Puerta Del Sol be honest however, nothing moved the earth from under our feet until we reached a street named Calle del Doctor Esquerdo. Everything that Sumeet could have ever asked for was available in the narrow confines of that curious lane. 

There was a comic shop (Sumeet is a hardcore ‘pannapictagraphists’ or comic book collector) and there were prostitutes (I am assuming this would be of interest to him, if only second to comic books). Yet he was parched, as the former was all Spanish and the latter… transvestites. Such is life…!!

The next day we went to a small municipality town called Toledo. Where there would be nothing… there surely would be an Asian I assure you. Toledo… who would ever imagine a Pakistani running a Donor Kebab shop in damn Toledo? Have you ever even heard of Toledo before? If it wasn’t for facebook and the desperation to prove that I’ve been places, I wouldn’t ever step on damn Toledo and here was a Pakistani brethren running a shop there. Well what must I say in our honour… we from across seven seas and a million miles… we the Asians are the epidemic that will suck the world, this way or that… there’s no hiding from us. You hear us Toledo? You full of monuments, you obscure little, on the hilltop, inconspicuous, inglorious Toledo!! 



Next on our list was a guided tour to Avila and Segovia. Our tour guide spoke for two miles in Spanish and then 200 yards in English. Sumeet’s blood pressure was rising. When we ‘the Indians’ pay such hefty money for anything but spicy food then we like to get four miles of English for every two miles of Spanish. Somehow I stopped Sumeet from throwing our guide out of the bus that entire trip. Anyway we were in for another bucket full of monuments and the drill on how these cities were famous because Christians, Muslims and the Jewish coexisted in harmony there for ages.  Now don’t tell me about harmony… we have more than many religions coexisting and cohabiting and coquetting and copulating for ages and yet we are third world.

Well! All in all I really enjoyed my four days in Madrid… I was clearly high on Estrogen.

Castilla y Leon

On the fifth day we took a superfast train to Barcelona. Booking the tickets for that was nothing short of a bullfight. The website is in… you got it… SPANISH. So you go here for the English translation.

The view en-route

Barcelona unexpectedly was everything awesome. Despite its usual terrain and all those monuments, Barcelona has something to it that you can’t describe with a few borrowed words from any language. Barcelona has a heart and it breathes. It talks and it dances and it does all those lovely little things that you fall in love with. Like it wakes you up with the best orange juice in the whole wide world, each morning and then it serves you the finest fruits and nuts on the entire planet and then it smiles to you with a lot of sunshine and so many beautiful friendly faces and then it takes you to some of the finest dining places you’d have ever been to. Oh Barcelona can be only described in one juicy, seductive, luscious, exquisite, succulent, opulent word… Olá!! I love that word as much as I love Barcelona… or is it Estrogen talking once again?

Both Sumeet and I had a high tide of emotional orgies in Barcelona for the next five days. Whether it be the buildings made by this dead chap call Gaudi or the bizzare streets tucked deep into the pockets of big, fat and famous La Ramblas… Barcelona flirted with us and we flirted back. Our hotel (Eurostar) room’s balcony was sitting on top of the yummy-licious fruit market La Boqueria… what more could a pregnant woman desire.

Some of the best and worst food I’ve ever had, both made our experience equally outstanding. My top recommendations would be Udon, Rangoli, Mayura and Creps Barcelona. You go eat at these four joints and you wouldn’t want to leave that city ever… despite the fact that the moment you land there… two random (Asian) well-wishers strongly warn you against pick pocketing. Thankfully no  one picked our pockets in all those days or they would have found nothing… we Indian men and women hide our money elsewhere.

Hoardings across Barcelona informed us of the annual carnival in a nearby beach town called Sitges and it was meant to be massive.So, with our hearts full of forlorn excitement; with my poor pregnant self, looking forward to witnessing some serious junky skin show and sex at THE CARNIVAL (please beep this portion for my feminist friends dear blogspot) I took the train from Barcelona to Sitges…

What we saw there was half a street with one, half naked senorita and half a dozen bloodcurdling-ly clad Señors dancing to half a sorry song and a bunch of halflings jumping around in excitement… we cut short our trip to less than half the planned time. Yet I loved every second of the experience… Estrogen it is!

Our trip was nearing its end… By this time we had fallen so deeply for Barcelona and its curious charms and amazingly lovely people and the in-numerous Harley Davidsons and Gaudi and his crazy buildings that we had started to believe we lived there… besides, I had someone else clean my room and I didn’t have to bother about cooking either… I could last a lifetime there without batting an eyelid. But alas all good things come to an end and so did Spain… for us.

In good faith my friends tell me that I saw nothing and that the real Spain lies in the south. Well I believe that the real Spain lies in your heart. If you have one… you will fall in love with Spain…

Ola España!!