Sunday, January 16, 2011


Im not fine with it

Im not as brave as I thought I was

Im not as strong as I thought I was

Im hurting

Im seething

And Im sad

All at once

Just want to let you know dear world

Im human, fallible, weak, egoistic

And Im a victim of ME

Monday, January 10, 2011

Congratulations brother!

This memory is very clear - I remember seeing glimpses of the tiny baby through the bars of the metal cradle, sleeping on his side, fists folded ... as my mother lay on the bed beside him still unconscious after the C section.

The year was 1982 and my littlest brother had just wriggled his way into our near-perfect world.

I remember mom going to the hospital, although the exact time frames are a blur.

I remember climbing on a table in the room as she sat eating dal-chawal for lunch one afternoon before he was born despite her gentle warnings not to do so. Eventually, the badly balanced table tottered to one side and fell, and I slipped off it, just in time. Meanwhile the water flask (a tall squeezy 'imported' one) slipped off as well and we heard the shattering of the glass inside it.

I remember my grandmother losing her cool but I also remember maa embracing me, shielding me from any more verbal onslaughts.

I remember being called home early from school one day, when she was hospitalised. I remember hearing my father talk to his elder brother in Bombay informing him that she had gone into labour and that he would be leaving for the hospital 10 kms away.

I remember maa being wheeled into surgery because the very senior doctor who had also delivered my other brother five years before told us that the umbilical cord was wound around the neck of the baby and a surgery was necessary. I remember her words "Mr Goyal I may have to choose between mother and child" and I remember dad saying "Choose my wife" or some such....

I remember climbing the window sills of the hospital, the narrow benches in long corridors with an office staff for company as tense moments passed, my brother was born and my mother safely wheeled back into the room.

I was eight when he was born. Old enough to remember a lot and young enough to forget a lot.

What I do clearly remember is how much fun it was to have a toy-like living being in our midst. We bathed him, taught him to speak, recorded his blabbers on tape...and I dropped him off to the nearby Nursery School with the pride only an elder sister could exhibit.

Sharing a room with two boys often left me mad and I remember asking mom why she wanted 'another' son :-) Why could I not have a sister like my other friends? Their boy games irritated me and the presence of cars, GI Joe's, guns and the like made me rave and rant.

Of course there were some incredibly funny moments that I remember to this day - Both brothers were playing daaku and police. Rahul who idolised Amitabh Bachan was ALWAYS Inspector Vijay in their role playing (armed with a gun in a khakhi police uniform my mother bought him). The younger one was the daaku, the menacing dacoit who shouted from one end of the corridor during their fast paced chase scene, "Inspector Vijay come out right now. I've captured your sister!!!" (Inspector Vijay bahaar aaja, teri behen mere kabze mein hai.)

We were close in many ways... Even after I left for college I would come back home and complete his science projects. He would discuss the in-talk about girl friends with me, sharing secrets he dared not discuss with mom. He was the first family member to meet my hubby when I was dating him.

Many years later I would watch him metamorphose into a thinking being...a man, capable of living alone, managing his finances and life, falling in love and having the fortitude to see it through.

Now he is getting married.

As we welcome his chosen life partner into our family I can't help but marvel at the time that has lapsed because every memory is so fresh...and I can't tell him what it means to me to watch as he moves into another phase of his life.

All I can say is Congratulations bro..You did well :-)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Road accidents

Ever witnessed a road accident? I can't sleep for nights on end when I hear about a road accident death.

It happened again, yesterday, when we received the news of the death of an officer my husband had served with on INS Rajput over four years ago...a young, able bodied, "mast", full-of-life, father of two little ones, husband to a graceful and petite young woman, in a road Mumbai over a week ago. A friend gave us the news...and this is all we know. How, where, what about the family....all a mystery.

And yet, I can imagine the horryifying way he must have met his end...coz my hubby and I have been witnesses to two road accidents, one in which our effort managed to save a human life, and the second, we were too late. The young man was dead by the time we noticed his body lying in the middle of the road as we were returning from a party late one night.

His mangled body, the way his limbs had ripped apart from his torso, twisted, the way his brain lay splattered all over the tar road and the pools of blood that started to flow from the immobile body.... We'd been unable to sleep for many many days after that...and each time I hear of a death in a road accident, my mind goes back to that horrifying scene from five years ago.... The young man who had lost his life was just about 24 years old. He rammed his bike into a tractor trailer parked by the side of a busy industrial route. He was not wearing his helmet...because we found his helmet hung around the handle. The tractor had no tail lamps to warn that it was parked there. There were no street lamps too. The young man must have been at a reasonably good speed because the impact of the crash was all around. All the factors, multiplied together, and kaboom....ageing parents from Chandigarh lost their son, the Indian Navy lost an officer, a sister lost her brother....

Was the end of life meant to be so simple? A flash...and gone!!!!! How fragile our human body is...and look at how we treat it sometimes...little realising that when it matters, at that decisive moment, our muscles, bones, flesh...will fall apart like a pack of cards....

The man was not a very dear aquantaince really, but I keep thinking of the family he has left behind....of the little kids, the oldest a little over 6..... And these thoughts will dominate my mind every time I will get behind the wheel and try to nonsensically overtake that bus or car, or drive at break neck speed to make it to the appointment on time, or try stupid stunts like answering the mobile phone or fiddling with the airconditioning or changing the music channel.....or until the news of another death, of a friend, relative, acquaintance that brings back those horrible memories and make me swear that I will behave decently on the road. 

If I still forget it all, it will be ofcourse, just until I get knocked down someday and become a statistic.

Why don't we humans ever learn?????


Friday, January 7, 2011

Mama Bear

Received the following via e mail ages ago. I am sure most women and all mothers will identify with it!!!!!!

If you are a bear, you get to hibernate. You do nothing but sleep for six months. I could deal with that! 

Before you hibernate, you are supposed to eat like crazy. I could deal with that too!

If you are a bear, you birth your children (who are the size of walnuts) while you are sleeping (hibernating) and wake to partially grown, cute, cuddly cubs. I could definetely deal with that!

If you are a Mama bear, everyone knows you mean business. You swat anyone who bothers your cubs. If your cubs get out of line, you swat them too. I could deal with that!

If you are a bear, your mate EXPECTS you to wake up growling. He EXPECTS that you will have hairy legs and excess body fat.


Monday, January 3, 2011

Women thieves in Pune

Women in Red Salwar Kameez (long plait) and Green Salwar Kameez (bun) with the little girl in brown walk in to McDonald's, Mariplex, Kalyani Nagar, Pune at 14.19

The trio stand around the counter for many minutes, pretending to wait their turn. Eventually they do buy a burger

The Green woman and child come and stand where we are seated a minute or so after they enter. The person seated on the chair (inside the red frame) is me

In 5 minutes the trio is joined by another woman in a scarf. All three women are looking anxiously towards the area where I am seated

Woman in off white scarf talking to woman in Red Salwar Kameez seen clearly

14.28 - I am bent over serving the kids. My handbag hangs on the handle of the chair. Little girl walks in from the exit (where the woman in pink is standing)

In 5 seconds the little girl reaches for the bag looking towards the exit

In less than a second, she has the bag in her hands and is captured by the camera walking out of the exit

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Ladies' Handbag

I remember what I felt when the kind lady came up to me and told me that she saw a little girl take my bag and go out of McDonald's. I felt like I was going to have a heart attack. 

My purse was flicked inside a crowded fast food joint on 31st December literally from under my nose.... I've seen the CCTV footage of the theft and I won't call it negligence on my part. I call it an oversight .... 

My handbag. As a friend told me the next day, "You women carry the house in it." Yes I do. 

I am a mother. My purse has wet tissues to wipe off dirty Kurkured hands, dry tissues to wipe leaky noses, hand sanitizer to clean up hands after a visit to a public loo and even disposable toilet seat we can rest our butts and pee in public toilets - on trains, in aircrafts, cinemas etc.... They took most of it.

I am a woman. I carry a gloss to shine up dull lips just in case I 'feel' like it, a kajal to brighten dull eyes, a hair brush to manage unkempt hair, a few hair clips and even a small vanity mirror... They took most of it.

I am a journalist. I carry a handy digital camera that has shot some spectacular pictures, helped me take shots I am proud of... They took it.

I am a citizen. I carry all my documents - Driver's License, registration of the car, Pan card as a photo ID.... They had no need for the stuff.

I am a woman constantly on the move who has too much to do and too little time. I carry two debit cards, two credit cards and cash that makes me feel 'secure', makes life easy when I suddenly have to fill fuel or buy a birthday gift for a party my children remember at the nth hour....  I have numerous bills stacked inside my wallet for clothes to be picked up at the dry cleaners, the tailor etc..... They took all the cash, but left my bills intact.

My kids' pictures, my tampons, my glasses, my pill case..... It was all there in that one handbag.

After filing the mandatory FIR I knew that the police didn't intend to do anything about my 'lost' handbag.... Its just another ladies' handbag to them. 

But to me, it had seemed like the end of the world. Because I carry my little world with me everywhere I go. Everything is in my handbag.... 

Footnote: Miraculously, my handbag was found 14 kms from my home (and from where it was stolen) the very next day. In 24 hours, my belongings were in my hands...minus the things they had chosen to keep.