Monday, February 13, 2012

I'm not a newage mother

Which polygon is not a quadrilateral among the below? Answers had four choices - a) a triangle [I immediately recognised]; b) a square that was tilted to the left and so I stared at it a bit; c) a box that looked more like a honeycomb; d) another one that looked like two umbrella canopies facing one another.
I shifted the book to the other hand a third time pretending to better study the shapes, when I heard. "I told you, you cannot understand such things," said my daughter rather miffed.
That statement challenged my dignity.
In that fraction of a second I even cursed myself for having volunteered to explain one of her math exercises. Wanted to play a responsible mother. That innocent a thought it was!
"What makes you say so? Of course, I know," I said and adopted my escape strategy. "Let me see if you understood the concept."
"Very clever, mamu."
Children will not only see through you but can also feel your insides out! Wonder if this is newage 'bonding'. Because in our days we never bonded like this with our parents.
Luckily I received a call and she grabbed the book back. Or did I hand it over?
I realised how far away I've come from the world of academics. I remember mugging up math theorems. I considered it a bane in high school and kicked it out at the first given opportunity.
Grabbed science and couldn't hold a balance upright straight and struggled with the doppler effects of physics for two years before hanging it up, too.
Embraced chemistry-botany-zoology combo only to realise I couldn't make sense of why monoxides should not have their molecules accompanying them in numericals; neither could I differentiate between a nerve and blood vessel inside a frog; and trying to remember botanical names of simple flowers was nerve-wrecking to say the least.
The only practical class I enjoyed and remember to date is preparing methyl acetate - because it is nail polish remover and I used it effectively then.
That evening as I sat nursing my bruised ego, I realised there was a moral to take from my wasted academic years - Do not learn things that you cannot put to practical use.
I ran my new awareness past my family [it was more an attempt to light-hearten the embarrassment of the situation] and quick came the reply: "You should study all subjects in school. Only then you will know what you are interested in."
Father patted daughter. I sat staring at the ceiling (as is happening more frequently of late).
"You know why she is getting philosophical? Because she doesn’t know the answer to one math question."
If only I could call her observation a wisecrack!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Strictly official

Mr & Mrs
He almost runs in, a bag in hand, breathing heavy
As if rushing from one meeting to another

Walks straight to the boss’s cabin with a pack in hand
Breakfast - his favourite toast and juice
Rushes out as if he’s got to attend nature’s call
Back with coffee and sugar cubes
‘You take two, don’t you. I know your taste.’

Back to his seat, networking sites on
He dabbles in the world of shares, too
Rushes in to discuss the stock market
By then it’s lunch time
He calls up boss’s favourite outlet.

At the daily post-noon meeting,
His suggestions are the best
Boss orders the team to consult him, therefore.

Days just pass into weeks, when the boss announces
We have a new recruit – the team leader

Next morning, the couple walks in
As if taking a stroll on the beach
A little later
He walks out and returns with three cups on a tray
Mr and Mrs along with the boss take a break!

Role model

She walked in, glasses on nose
Spine straight that hair over shoulders bounced
Strutted on stilettos that jutted her rear out
Wore a perfume branded that announced her arrival.

Logged in the system and turned to her neighbour
Small talk became the norm to start her day
That gave way to requests permanent, later taken for granted
Dumped her work on others, while she greeted superiors
Soon she was out hailing cabs for her bosses
While her colleagues pitched in to meet deadlines.

Madame mozelle became the contact point of her team
She quickly became the representative of old timers at work
Strategies and proposals for innovation she framed
Powerpoint presentations she volunteered to make
She was the only one to be seen and heard
While others toiled to meet daily deadlines.

One, yes just one, year later…

She walks with files in hand, glasses over head
Spine straight that nose reflects attitude sharp
Struts on stilettos that juts her butt now bigger
Reminding her secretary, to call her driver.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A peep into the lives of my Facebook friends - Part 1

Round and round the mulberry bush we go...hush-a bush-a we all... (need an apt conclusion here)
Tired of reading positive quotes doing its rounds on social networking sites. The same lines and pixs are shared, re-shared, liked and rehashed over and over again. Even a dime a dozen falls way too short for the inundation of feel-good vibes circulating on the net.
I wonder how many positive promoters have experienced the shift within them. A click of a button will not undo 'unwanted' behaviour sedimented over the years. This line, I vouch, is mine.
The posi-phony has been on the rise ever since we heard of recession. On the one hand netizens post uplifting thoughts and on the other hand crib about pay cuts, job losses, red tapism, nepotism and politics at workplaces. I'm yet to come across a person who has given up on at least any one of these pet peeves.
In the rush to post and click 'likes' ever wondered there are people thriving, people enjoying excellent health; people earning profits, people going on pleasure trips and enjoying life in the very same places affected by recession.
Happened to bring this to the notice of an acquaintance a few months back, and she said, rather snapped: "They are people who made the right moves at the right time. And when I replied: "Indeed, they made the move within themselves", I got a rather cold stare and a vehement reply: "Oh! You too into spiritualism. Get practical." So I left it at that. (After all, I was meeting her for the first time - one of my friend's cousin).
The very next day, however, we became 'Facebook friends'.
A few weeks later I read a positive quote she shared on FB -'What we think we become - Buddha.'
I would not have remembered her post but for her jab at me when we met first.
Recently I happened to run into her again. I learnt her husband had lost his job in Dubai because his company is curtailing cost. She didn't let him take the transfer option to the firm's headquarters in Manchester because "Europe is reeling under financial crisis. What future we will have there. India is booming; after this school year, we'll return."
I couldn't get her off my thought so I forwarded her a Geoff Thompson's link about beliefs - an offshoot of the Buddha thought she had shared.  
I got a reply: "It's easy to preach. If only good thoughts can make good things happen to us, wouldn't the world be a better place? All these life-coaches are a hoax."
This weekend, she shared yet another positive quote posted by someone - 'He who knows others is wise. He who knows himself is enlightened.'
I ignored it and left her to sort out her problem. Some people only learn by experience - like me.
Meanwhile, an ex-colleague (an ardent Art of Living practitioner and volunteer) caught up with me. "Am having a tough time in office; they transferred me to another section..."
"Why don't you quit, if you are unhappy?" I asked. "I can't. Things aren't going as we expected," she replied.
"Well, then accept that fact. Once you accept a situation and realise you cannot change it, you will stop fretting about it. Isn't that one of the principles taught by Shri Shri Ravi Shankar," I recollected aloud.
"It's easy for you to say. Only if you go through what I'm enduring will you know," she said.
PS: Watch this space...Know several 'positive-posting' friends who make interesting case studies.
Disclaimer: I take this post as an affirmation to reinstate my beliefs.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Vidya Balan's curves leave no meat in size zeros

The Bollywood awards season has begun and it's heart-warming to note they could help create a size shift in the consciousness of the glamour-puss.
As the ola, la star swept the hitherto-announced awards and is expected to grab the remaining; voluptuousness has left no meat in size zero.
So much for 'The Dirty Picture' and the boldness of an actress to defy norms. Remember, only those who dare to tread the less-travelled path will achieve greatness. Vidya Balan has set out alright, if she will reach 'Destination Greatness', well, let's wait and watch.
Simply because greatness is relative. Naseerudin Shah who supported her in the film wasn't present for any award function. The great actor, with no 'Bollywood type' talent, is but very happy in his space catering to niche audiences. And so are others from his arty camp.
Wonder when Bollywood will begin nurturing talent. Indie and the so-called offbeat actors and filmmakers take heart with meagre returns on the sidelines, when we have reels of newsprint and visual time, and on most occasions, 'Breaking News' of box-office stars' life and style. While snippets on Kareena's wedding to Saif Ali Khan is replayed by the hour as the news of the day, Juhi Chawla's 'I Am' doesn't get a mention even. Or if Salman Khan's yet-to-be scripted Dabbang II is analysed and reviewed each day, Abhay Deol’s forthcoming romantic flick hardly gets a mention and Anurag Kashyap has to yell to the world about his 'Ghanta'. Worse still are detailed reports of how a suspicious Gauri Khan snubbed Priyanka Chopra and (someone pls give me a break!!) Ash and her Beti B. Aamir Khan had a child at about the same time without brouhaha. Konkana Sen began her family life silently...
Glamourous actors are assets to Bollywood, talented ones seem to be liabilities! The best the latter class does is to sit on the wall and hop into the greasy world at intervals to help sell their own work later.
In such a scenario, Vidya Balan's body of work since 2009 is a refreshing change. If with 'Pa' she challenged all those 'mummy' dreading singletons, then with 'Ishqiya' she dared all sacred oomph-oozers. As a deglamourised Sabrina Lal in 'No One Killed Jessica' if she let her skills rather than her stills speak, then in 'The Dirty Picture' her shots did scream out loud and... rested 'heavily' on some shoulders?
The fact that mainstream cinema audiences have appreciated these and the box-office supported the same, indeed, signals a shift among the thinking class.
Now let’s hope it triggers a shift in the consciousness of Bollywood stars, who pass off under style quotients, waist sizes, family brands, business connections, et al, and they begin to look within.