Thursday, 30 June 2011
Friday, 24 June 2011
Every morning when i enter the office, that full length mirror starts mocking me and by mid day, every customer who turns out at the counter looks at me bemused. Some look bewildered at the state of my hair- sticking out in all directions, 360 degrees...The oil from my hair has a mind of its own, it flows from my forehead, runs along my nose and bathes my chin. The T of my face looks so oily, may be Idhayam will book me for their next gingelly oil ad! Good-riddance Jyo! And the ultimate one comes those days when i keep jasmine flowers in my 3 inches hair. As the clock ticks on, the thread gets lengthier. By the day end, when i vacate my seat, there will be flowers strewn all over and a very irritated ( obviously!) male occupying the same chair for his next shift;)
The obvious fashion and decency faux pas that usually occur in office are WMF ( Wardrobe Mal Function), SLTM ( Sunday Longer Than Monday), PKOC (Pull the Kitten Outta the Cupboard) and the perennial peekaboos! I start with WMF- You plan the green saree could go well with your black blouse and enter your office with a great do i look beautiful smile. Alas! the smirks on your female colleagues' faces and the lopsided smile of your male counterparts tell the whole story. You are an avid inventor, only next to Da Vinci. You are artistic and Da Vinci would be wincing, glancing at your sea blue ( or is it sea green?) and pink ensemble from Up Above! You wish you knew who invented the matching blouse ideology. May be a bowl of your hand made halwa will ensure he never invents anything else...
Who might be better to illustrate international WMF than our Britney? What a dress to sport when you carry a nursing baby! I hate men who sport blue pants and green shirts...Worse still, the Father of all Wardrobe Mal-Functions- our Kollywood and Tollywood Super Duper stars! "Champestanu...." roars Tollywood SuperHero in a parrot green pants, cotton candy pink shirt, white belt and a huge silver buckle, oh- all this teamed up with canary yellow shoes....Oh my, i would swoon if i get to see one such person!
And the SLTM factor is ever present in office, especially the unassuming women folk. You never know something is amiss, until someone in the crowd outside or your friend inside the office points out. Probably Naidu Hall must be paying Royalty to all these SLTM women who advertise their bra...nd! I usually use the SLTM quote in office when unsuspecting staff suffer from this syndrome. They make a quick check...It doesn't look nice if Sunday is Longer Than Monday, you see!
|SLTM ( Sunday Longer Than Monday)|
Then there is the PKOC- Pull the Kitten Outta Cupboard which occurs often in churidhar clad women. As per definition, i always do a personal check while getting up;) And oh...the peekaboos! Sarees always play spoilsport when worn to office, which restricts your freedom of movement. I, in particular feel having been paralysed on my left, every time i don a saree...The Idi Amins of city buses and professional goldsmiths ( hehehe...they find every opportunity to rub on you!) in offices, always have a knack of checking out the peekaboos at the right time! It is usually the mid section that mortifies us to eternal shame. To look decent, I always use half a dozen pins at all strategic locations to avoid unwarranted peekaboos. And the dupattas- the less said, the better! I prefer to pin it up on both the shoulders when in office, to save some grace. I cringe when someone sports a dupatta that lies carelessly draped around the neck, exhibiting everything else...
In office, dear friend? Check out WMF, SLTM, PKOC and peekaboos...Save your personal dignity and the men, from committing A Deadly Sin- staring at you! God save the women...
Wednesday, 22 June 2011
As years passed by, i loved the visit to my beautician, i got some quality time to myself, snoring away with the face pack on, with curious onlookers peering! Pampering oneself at the cost of a poor man's wallet ( the menfolk of the house, who else?) was doing great to boost my battered female ego. See, i was avenging the men of the house who never give me my personal space and time... My monthly visit to the parlor was the most heatedly debated issue at home, by hook or crook, i won all arguments FOR a parlor visit. I experimented a lot with my poor hair- perming, then straightening, again ironing, rebonding and finally when so little hair was left in the scalp, i gave up! Now i really don't know what hairstyle i sport and sincerely oil my hair everyday. I end up with so much oil on my face everyday, guys who manage to look at me must think- Does she pour all her monthly ration of oil in her hair, a single day?
Then came the Mother of all Beauty Tricks- Slimming Clinics. I watched with my mouth wide open when the beautician explained how she could reduce 10 kgs of fat in 10 days by slimming. Diet and regular sittings- a kg loss cost a thousand bucks! Oh well, why not give a try, i thought. But worldly wise this time over, i decided to lie low and watch what happened to sister-in-law who enrolled in a slimming session. She lost 10 kgs in 10 sittings and i was awe-struck! I was thunder struck when sis in law gained 20 kgs immediately after the sessions were over. Thank you dear God, you saved my husband's hard earned 10000 bucks! Tired of all experimenting, all i do these days is to visit parlors for an eyebrow threading, bleach, facial and a good afternoon siesta once a month. It is the same herbal bleach and pack every time, how much ever that woman in the parlor tries to convince me...I am sick of all New looks! Does this mean I am getting old? Old or young, all i feel is I AM BEAUTIFUL!!!
Sunday, 19 June 2011
|Collector Dr Ananthakumar fills out admission form and his daughter|
attends her classes in Government Primary School.
A welcome move by the District Collector, who has taken the right initiative in enrolling his daughter in a Government School which even the lower middle class would not contemplate! Ask the DC's peon- his son or daughter might be studying in a Residential School with all amenities. Officers like Dr Ananthakumar bring us a whiff of fresh air. While we must congratulate the Collector for his brave and steadfast decision which none of us, including me would take, i am deeply disturbed by Amma and her antics. She vehemently refuses to implement the "Samacheer Kalvi" ( New syllabus). This syllabus is a genuine step in bringing about a uniform education system in the state. Why should the Education Mafia, who were once thugs selling arrack, rule our education system? If the syllabus is the same for Government and Matriculation Schools as well, why would people shell out tens of thousands for admissions in private schools? Amma's refusal makes one wonder how much the Education Mafia paid as ransom for upholding their monopoly in education business.
Ironically, the Government has gingerly accepted to follow the Samacheer Syllabus for 1st and 6 th standard students, tearing away objectionable portions of the books and pasting stickers on objectionable portions. Now this duty is undertaken by teachers of both classes throughout the State who paste green stickers ( note Amma's favourite color!) and tear off objectionable papers. The Education Department Officials have issued oral orders to ensure that students don't remove the stickers. If books are found with stickers removed, action will be taken against the concerned teacher! Poor teachers... never in their life would they have torn so many pages!
|Teachers tearing away pages like mad in a center!|
Friday, 17 June 2011
I am almost plucking all my hair in despair...Dealing with a beloved brother or sister is a real nightmare especially if you are the eldest. My dear brothers made sure i ended up half mad, fixing alliances for them. The elder one did crazy things so much that i felt dealing with a lunatic in full form! When young, as siblings, we were a very happy lot, playing blame games and had fun complaining each other to Mother. Let us call the elder one S and younger one R. S by nature was a trouble monger, but was so diplomatic, always landing blame either on me or R. R had always been in the receiving end of Mother's Love *wink*wink...S hoodwinked Mother so much, she believed R and me were always troublesome. We together broke a wall clock- ahem, it was rather I, when playing cricket in the living room. Together we dumped idlis- our daily breakfast, on the lofts at home. After five years when the painters ended up with a box full of dry idli balls, all Hell broke loose. I still vividly remember the thrashing received that day! Ouch, that hurts! We broke a sofa(!) and ended up as an unceremonious pile on the floor. Enter Mother with a broom...I could see she was fuming but one look at us piled up on the floor- she burst out laughing. And we too, went by the game.
S was fiercely overprotective and possessive. Every time i wore my skirt and left from home, S's scrutinising eyes peered and scanned entire area for trouble. All this, when he was younger by a good four years! Argh! Sigh* Mother tried to discipline us by promoting healthy competition...ahem...But what got promoted was full fledged wrestling for the Mamma's child post! How much ever we did fight, S ended up Mamma's darling and me and R the unfortunate tyrants. As years passed, fledglings grew wings and flew away from home and Mother, but still, there was the same undercurrent of rivalry and I must be better than my brother or sister syndrome!
Oh my...how did he behave? He wanted everything done His way! Starting from the wedding card, the mangal sutra, the garlands, bouquet, the wedding attire, stage decoration, everything had to be done His way. I remember certain gruelling episodes then-
1. He started from Trichy at 4 am and dumped me in Tirunelveli ( 350 kms) in exactly 4 hours- at 8 am. I was belted to the seat, fully reclined and was counting the bones when i alighted down the car!.
2. He wanted a wedding card in baby pink with a pink rose on it, with a golden tag and pearl. We went to Lovely cards Sivakasi at 10 pm, when the shutters were half down and spent well over two hours selecting his card! By the time we left the showroom, entire Sivakasi was in deep sleep!
3. S wanted bouquet only from Tuticorin, as he loved the bouquet my husband brought for me. Now a trip to Tuticorin and along winded by-lanes, a severe woman- hunt for the lady who did my bouquet. We finally located her after a day's search and ordered the veil and bouquet exactly as per S's preference, off white and gold combination! The icing in the cake was S's funny fight at ten o clock in the night, a day before the wedding. S argued that his bouquet was not so glittery as the bride's. Now, it was R's turn to take a lightening visit to the nearest shop to buy glitters. I remember pasting glitters on his bouquet at twelve midnight!
4. S wanted a rose petal garland unique to Coimbatore area. My darling wanted it from Tirunelveli. Again, a ride to Tirunelveli asking every florist if they knew how to tie the special rose petal garland...Finally one of our childhood friend's relative agreed to it, after seeing the pictures! Poor florist! He went to Madurai to learn how to tie garland- S style!
5. S wanted his bride to have unique flowers- orchids! Orchids? Oh well, he might have thought, let sister dear arrange it from Western ghats! We managed to locate a florist in Chennai(!) and the sprayed orchid travelled 16 hours before reaching our place!
6. S loved crackers- the louder the better, the colorful the best. So, another purchase from Sivakasi- direct from the wholesaler.
We had travelled more than 3000 kms for S's wedding and spent 3 months of meticulous planning. And how did i start for the wedding? My freshly permed hair still in coils! Applied nail polish in the car and on S's wedding day, i forgot to keep flowers in my hair- considered inauspicious by my grandmother....argh! Extra adrenaline and pumped up BP, i wonder why i did not have a heart attack when the garland did not arrive on time! The inlaws of S refused to welcome him without the Machchaan malai! R who went to collect them from a location 60 kms away would have given Schumacher a run for his money in Grand Prix! S refused to get down from the car without garland and i had to run from dining hall to his waiting car, armed with idlis and chutney, splashing sambar on my new designer saree...Awwwww man, how i hate S...*gritting teeth*...
And now history repeats itself. It is R's turn now and he is not at all helping me, by refusing every girl we show him! I am totally at loss as to what type of girl he likes. Whatever be the type, it is ultimately him who is going to live and him who is going to be my next Wedding nightmare. As i brace up for the next innings, all i can wonder is Dear God, why did you send me first?
|A picture from the 1983 Tamil massacre, the scene is no different now, after 28 years.|
|Same Sinhalese style massacre- 2010.|
Monday, 13 June 2011
Thank God, he is gone, i let out some air and wait patiently. The next one in queue is this gentleman who is restless. He moves his right hand to his mouth and ....oh no, not me and not again. He licks his tongue and reaches to lift one among us. My neighbor who was so far watching the drama silently is picked up by Mr Licker who spreads voluminous saliva and edges past the counter. I cross myself mentally, thanking God that i was not picked by Mr Licker. A beautiful teen in her jeans and worded tee stands next. I get the whiff of her mild perfume and inhale it happily. She starts her volley of questions to the clerk and i can see Mr Impatient standing next to her use the situation to his luck;) He snakes his hand from behind the unsuspecting teen and reaches for my next neighbor. Awwwwww...i send a silent Prayer above, Please God let him not lay his hands on me...dirty hands. He picks up my neighbor again and i am indeed relieved.
He stands near the counter and starts writing. His blue ink pen must have been a gift of his great grandfather from his great grandfather. It refuses to even scratch. He picks on the pen nib with his finger nails and tries writing. Again, no luck. Now Mr Impatient becomes clearly agitated, he flicks the pen and his right hand. Slop...the blue ink lands as an unceremonious patch on my unlucky neighbor in Mr Impatient's hands. I pity the poor fellow and await my turn. Now comes Mr Late who rushes with a gush of sweat and heat. He has probably missed his train and would want a cancellation, i think to myself. He picks up my neighbor in the front row and drains all his sweat on him. Poor neighbor...Dear God, let me not end up in the hands of Mr Sweaty and Wet- i think to myself. Who will be my Picker...i wait in silence.
This is the turn of Mr Earbud. He asks a few questions to the clerk, picks up a few of us and sits in the last chair. He must be very free, i muse to myself. Much to my chagrin, he starts to tear, roll and insert my neighbor in his left ear first. Mmmmmmmmm....i can see how glad he is, happily housekeeping his right and then left ear. Poor neighbor, she is discarded and the next neighbor is taken up for the ear- warming ceremony!
Mr Boozey arrives staggering. He is so drunk, he can't make out who is standing near him. I try to control my laughter, but sorry, Boozey doesn't help me. He picks me up and asks the clerk- " Zhoud i bill up a bom?" Poor lady, she can't stand the smell of Boozey, she covers her nostrils with her kerchief and says a meek yes sir. I sit silently watching what Boozey is going to do next. Apparently he is in no hurry, he is feeling jerky. I can see his eyes swim and before i could escape- Wham! Boozey does his job right. His timing and aim is perfect and i am done with. End of my life, AMEN. I am the most ill treated and damaged property in the Indian Railways. Yes, you guessed me right-
Saturday, 11 June 2011
Against all these odds, there are few people who keep the light shining, the fire burning. Distance means so little when someone means so much! I am glad there are some who live life long distance. There are families where fathers hear their babies' first cries over ISD calls. There are sons who narrate their day in school to Dads on yahoo chats. There are wives who spend hours together trying to decipher the nuances of making internet calls to their husbands. Strong commitment and trust peppered with little surprises make these relationships click and i hope Gen next learns to view relationships with renewed trust and commitment. Here is a toast to my long distance love L- Happy 9th Anniversary! I love you! May our love grow by leaps and bounds, courtesy- skype and yahoooooooooo!
Wednesday, 8 June 2011
|Karunanidhi fasting with wife and companion, both|
ladies seated on either side;)
Tuesday, 7 June 2011
|A hipster is perched 3 inches below|
Teens are ruled by dress code these days. Colleges and Universities have specific dress codes and students ought to abide by that. I am glad most girls wear sarees and salwars to colleges rather than the dangerously perched jeans and catastrophically hiked minis. I was mortified in shame when i saw a teen in a busy shopping mall flashing her builder's bum in a low rise. How responsible parents of Indian households, who profess strict virtues when it comes to dress, handle such youngsters is appalling. When i was hovering in the threshold of youth, i was strictly forbidden from wearing jeans. After much pestering and begging, i was granted a dull blue jean that started from the chest and extended till the ground. I loitered around the streets sweeping floors with my jean. And a word about the skirts too. They resembled 10 feet trains of wedding gowns! Whatever, i have swept my house with my jean and skirts till i was swept off my feet by husband dear! How decent is the skirt and jean depends on individual's perceptions. I totally agree.
Women these days dress to kill, not cover up. It is not uncommon to see middle aged women flaunting muscles(?) in jeans and youngsters revealing calves. We in India have the freedom to dress as we like, but should we be the cynosure of all eyes in a mall? We can dress for convenience, not to get Neighbor's Envy, Owner's Pride! Covering up doesn't seem to be the priority now, the trendy fashion statements is the In Thing. Kollywood actresses and their fashion fundas, Bollywood fashionistas and their wardrobes have become our latest craze. Lechchumi of Attaiyampatti who weighs a good 100 kgs wants to be a la Kareena Kapoor. 100 kgs can never become a size zero. So what can poor Lechchumi do? Simple, wear a hipster and frighten away the poor cattle of Attaiyampatti! So much is our copy craze we forget we are setting bad examples to our children. We forget to think about other women who suffer in silence, who simply do not have the freedom to dress as they wish!