A Bit Of Silver And Grey

In the last couple of years my reading material has been fairly unchanging. It’s been the likes of John Sandford (love his work), Carl Hiaasen (cannot get enough of it) and some new authors I came across courtesy the Kindle store. Amongst them Jana DeLeon stood out because while her work wasn’t “hardcore literature” it wasn’t silly fluff either. It was a humorous and quite likely an accurate look into the lives of people in a small town on the bayou in Louisiana.

Each character is well-fleshed out without cutting corners and being lumped into a group of hicks and rednecks who keep chewing tobacco and spitting on the ground. I mean stereotypes only take you so far after all.

The chief amongst them are two old ladies who were counterintelligence back in ‘Nam and came back home without anyone having cottoned onto their true colors. Over the years they’ve become older, more idiosyncratic but are still sharp as tacks and quick on their feet…most of the times.

I’m mentioning the old people here because in the books I’ve grown up reading, old people are relegated to a secondary status. It’s the cheerful grandma who bakes cookies or the grumpy grandpa who eventually gets the sulky teen to realize some truths about life. But these characters are not always flesh and blood. They are bit players. They add flavor but in a restrained manner.

The other series of books which recently caught my attention are by Amanda M. Lee about a family of witches who live in a small town in Michigan. Notice the small town motif? They have a great aunt at the helm of the family and while she’s not an evil witch, she isn’t above bewitching things to punish others or to get her own way. Whether it’s selling her home made hooch (again something in common with the old ladies of the bayou) or growing “glaucoma medicine” aka pot, under the eyes of the law, or wanting a pet pig she’s a character all by herself and rightly so.

The eccentricities that the old people can lay claim to because they’ve seen their share of things in life are nothing short of mindboggling to banging your head against the wall in frustration-types. And you just can’t make them back down and play ball with the rest of the lot. Not in real life and not in stories either.

Am glad that this segment of people have found their representation in books because we’ve had enough of rosy cheeked grandmas and fairy godmothers. We haven’t had enough of crocodile-walking, bike-riding, dentured women who can’t read without their bifocals and can down moonshine with the best of them!

Go silver!

Ta 2018!

I’ve been lazing in bed all day. A semi-cold grounded me. But as always, laziness plays a far more potent role than I ever give credit to.

2018 was a year of massive highs and lows. Saying goodbye for good isn’t ever easy. It’s harder still when it’s out of the blue and leaves you reeling. But thankfully there were the same old comforting things like reptiles and dinos and superhero movies to look forward to, while bingeing on nachos and setting up reading challenges.

I traveled a fair bit and I hope to continue that into 2019 as well. Caught up with the dearly beloved and some others out of a sense of familial responsibility but came away with realizations each time around which have been and will be enlightening in the long run.

We took some tough decisions as a family and girded ourselves up for potential big hitting changes but things haven’t rocked the boat yet. That we are prepared, helps me sleep better at night.

I started on my book. It took me forever to see what was staring at me all along; I needed to talk a bit less and write stuff out a whole lot more. It may never end up on a bookshelf barring my own, but it will get done and soon.

As a family we achieved big milestones of forbearance, discovery and made new memories. We had major laughs, hit our heads against some walls (me more than Red) and in the end decided to suck it up and be grown ups!

More than anything else, this year has been one for generating massive amounts of food for thought. What kind of child to I want to be? What kind of a parent, friend or spouse? And most importantly…how do I want my day-to-day to play out. Am getting to the answers despite the lure of Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Here’s to a fabulous 2019 from me and mine along with a retrospective of the year that was.

Salut! 

 

Our Inner Diva

We come across articles online or in the papers about the divaesque behavior of the celebs. But what about the diva that lives within us all? The one who is temperamental? Volatile even and turns away in a huff? The one who turns up their nose at some transgression-imagined or otherwise.

I am very closely associated with one such person. And another one makes a cameo appearance from time to time and then goes back to playing their usual full-time role.

Greta Garbo always had an anecdote attributed to her, “I vant to be alone”

One of my peeps sometimes becomes Garboesque and goes into ‘I want to be alone’ mode and there will be the sound of a door closing somewhere for about half and hour. After that time has lapsed,  slightly subdued but ostensibly normal person emerges. But the diva lurks within.

The other diva is full-blown and totally OTT! There are lamentations of happiness being denied, lives being ruined and expressions of angst and agony to rival the actors of the Silent Era of movies. 

That is followed by a body being flung onto a bed in a fit of pique. 

Doors occasionally slam as well. But there is a zero-tolerance on door slamming so the anger is demonstrated in other ways. Things get flung around at times but there being an embargo on breakages; that line isn’t crossed.

I like to follow a ‘you break it, you bought it’ policy except mine is ‘you break it, you clean it up PRONTO’!

These divas are cute for the most part and not always very high maintenance. I have to write that because if they start writing their memoirs some day, I shudder to think how I’ll be portrayed. Yikes!

A Post From The Past

I wrote this post on a Word doc years ago and didn’t get around to publishing it. Discovered it today and publishing it because it’s still relevant and I’m still fighting for my space on the bed!”

Travails of Sleepytime

Many of us sleep alone at nights. And they are the lucky ones. The ones who don’t aren’t unlucky per se but they’ve lost that God-given privilege of rolling about on their bed all by their lonesome, unless something bad happens and well…that’s where couches (in conjunction with angry spouses) come in.

Why am I suddenly tripping on sleeping alone? Well let’s see now- the only child that I am, I graduated to a bed of my own at a fairly early age I’d say. And after that I’ve found that a bed mate (even a chaste one) just didn’t do it for me all in all. Something would happen that’d make me long to sleep. A-L-O-N-E!!

The current trigger is the hubby’s death grip on my coverlet. Boy! You think it’d be easy to shove a slender guy out of the way and dig out my wrap from under him. You’d think wrong. I’d have better luck excavating dinosaur bones somewhere. The sheet’ll be free once he moves. And he doesn’t move. Much.

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Which leads me to another bone of contention. I’m a wriggler. When I get into bed for the first time I HAVE to wriggle till I mush out a nice cozy space for myself and get the place a bit warm in the process. Not everyone’s a natural bed warmer like my father. I remember some pretty cold winters as a kid when I’ve tried to sneak under his comforter because he radiates furnace-like heat when all covered up.

I sadly, warm up only the place I lie in and since I’m a twitchy sleeper by nature I seldom lie in one place long enough for it to get properly toasty. I inevitably used to wake up from a cold spot on the bed during the winters in various places I’ve spent my childhood in. Hyderabad not really having much semblance of a winter is definitely easier on my malfunctioning heating coils. Anyhow, I realized that sleeping alone is a gift that is never given again post marriage and during the times when you have clingy roommates in the hostel. But that’s a different cuppa tea altogether.

Take me for example- I frequently smacked the new groom across his face while we got used to sharing a bed. Now I can sleep pretty much anywhere. But he NEEDS to be on his left else he feels as if he’s deprived himself of a good night’s sleep. Don’t ask me why. It’s not as if the mattress people stuffed his side of the mattress with more foam and left spikes in mine right? But adamant he is and on the nights when I’ve occupied the left side, the following mornings have brought me face to face with Monsieur Le Grumpy.

Bonuses of sleeping alone #1 your posture can be anything at all and you don’t ever have to have people grumbling over you at odd times of the night about why you are mimicking the Karate Kid’s Crane kick in your sleep. So whether it’s a pose of a bird hatching an egg or a midget hatching a plan, your posture is your thing and you get to indulge in all sorts of jungle gym activities all while sleeping beatifically.

Advantage # 2- you can emit any kinds of noise from anywhere you wish and not be thought as disgusting or get an elbow in the ribs right in the middle of the gorgeous dream of you and….never mind who else. It’s a great and understandable provocation for bodily harm leading to murder if you’re startled away by a monstrous snort of your partner. That pillow never looked handier for smothering, am I right?

Drool is also another dread to have to encounter. Imagine while fast asleep, you roll over/ reach out and your hands, feet touch something cold, sticky and thoroughly unpleasant. It’s enough to recreate the bedroom scene in the Godfather!

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Another reason to not let others in your bed, especially kids, is that they’ll never want to leave!! Mine starts out in his cot and somehow always ends up draped over my head, feet in my face, fingers tangled in my hair or moving around between the sheets like a wraith from the horror movies. Am convinced the hubby sleepwalks and then picks up El Munchkin and places him between us. And after a few attempts of his kicking his father (whose bones hurt your hands and feet when you make contact) my son’s permanently turned his limbs towards me. Courtesy my cellulite.

Apparently I often go *bleep-bleep* in the night after being kicked in the face or almost being pushed off the bed. I don’t remember them of course. I’m told about my runaway mouth across the dining table, over a cup of life-restoring coffee I’m; by a disapproving spouse in stern tones. But in my defense, I was in limbo you see. Formed of fatigue and memories of the days when I ruled my own bed and rolled around in circles, formed odd geometric shapes that were a puzzle to my mother.

For now I’ll just dream of sleeping by myself instead of tugging the sheet free (it aint gonna happen) and get a few winks in before the sheet usurper and the child repo agent (it SO feels like that) both work in tandem to have me lying awake through the night and working on another blogpost.

Nighty night!

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Movie Review: Veere Di Wedding

I almost didn’t watch this movie. Kareena Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor aren’t quite the draw for me personally. Add to it, the reviews had been less than stellar and I didn’t want to watch a badly made chick-flick when I could use those 2 hours to sleep or read instead…color me pleasantly surprised!

Now this movie isn’t a must-watch or even a repeat-watch but for a one-time watch with a buncha gals or even guys who get the Punju colloquialisms, it’s worth the money. The rest of the movie is about relationships. Between friends who become family. Between parent and child and definitely between a woman today and the world around her.- Bottom line? It’s entertaining and that’s what’s to be remembered about movies. Thought-provoking or not-they serve to entertain.

Is this movie hatke? Well…it is woman-centric for one. Guys are a part of their lives the same way they happen to be in real-life rather than a larger-than life reel-life man with bulging muscles who romances onscreen for a 3-minute song spanning from Switzerland to Botswana with 5 attire changes which often includes a sari pallu longer than Princess Diana’s wedding train. Phew! Head-spinning global lau (Gujju-ishtlye love).

This is a story about women who are believable; especially in this day and age. There are plenty of them out there who run from marriage, structure, socially sanctioned relationships and having to do Mata ki chowki at the drop of a pin! And Bollywood being Bollywood, would have them all be from the upper crest as well so impromptu trips abroad are also viable.

I was watching this movie with a Dally-based (aka New Delhi) friend (she’s a veere too I guess if one goes by the definition in this movie) and she, amidst gales of laughter, assured me the depiction of Wast (West) Dally (Delhi) was a very apt caricature.

And let’s not even get to the bling…if there’s no bling, there’s no big fat Indian wedding at all. All families have their skeletons and dirty secrets, every couple has stuff that rips at their seams, every girl is prevailed upon at some point in her life to “get-married already” by her mother. Same as the characters in VDW.

I’d read somewhere that the F-bombs in the movie seemed contrived or excessive. I guess it’s a matter of perspective. My gal pal reminded me how “unpolished” my own speech was before the advent of motherhood. It contained allusions to human anatomy and mothers and sisters quite a bit. Something I engage in now primarily while driving.

I think people should watch this movie. It’s fun. It has a lively pace. It’s not excessively dramatic or melodramatic and I made a fun memory watching it with someone with whom I have a 17-year-old history. That’s what makes this movie relevant. It won’t win Oscars. But it wasn’t meant to.

I left the theater dancing and laughing. Paisa vasool.

 

Movie Review: Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety

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First question? Why did I watch it and 2) Why am I bothering to review it either?

Answers: 1) My kid’s school still hasn’t opened so am just gasping for things that distract me and we’re both (mother and son) tripping on Bom Diggy Diggy  song from the movie so why not? 2) I just wanted to see the misogyny that’s been touted so much in this movie.

If someone wants mindless entertainment where you laugh, wince and tap your feet to peppy songs and the Punju dialogues that seems to be a staple of any Bollywood movie; this movie isn’t a bad choice. With the emphasis on the word ‘mindless’. However, the ‘bros before hoes’ notion is played to the hilt here which can and probably does annoy most women. But keep in mind women do behave in the manner shown…controlling…taking over her bf’s life out of the goodness of her heart and for his overall improvement.

Get it tight with a girl and she’ll have your family history out of you because she wants to interface. A guy? Not so much. He’ll want to make-out, have fun and keep it light. And this movie does the same but the conclusion could have been handled better with all parties coming to an agreeing-to disagree funda. Most movies of the Housefull and Golmaal ilk are mysogynistic in their portrayal of women-props, quasi or totally slutty and barely able to keep the clothes on their bodies and perpetually getting into sinuous movements to entice the musclebound moron of a guy or the deadbeat kinds aka Tusshar Kapoor and Riteish Deshmukh et al.

But all lecture aside, let’s move onto the movie which is about Titu (Sunny Singh) who’s a nice guy but makes the same mistakes with the opposite sex all the time and gets his heart broken. Enter his BFF Sonu (Karthik Aaryan) who steps in to clean up the damage and often preemptively tries to brings things to a closure with the kind of girls he thinks are going to be problematic. Their bond is tight but then enters Sweety (Nushrat Bharucha) – who becomes Titu’s fiance and has the social sanction to make changes and integrate herself deeper and deeper into Titu’s life and loosening Sonu’s hold on his friend. Neither wants to back down and at the grand finale, ultimatums are given and one is followed. Alok Nath as a non-sanskari grandfather is refreshing-ish.

Sweety isn’t shown as a harpy but from Sonu’s point of view she’s making changes which aren’t needed and more importantly, his space is diminishing in his friend’s life and the cause falls squarely on the girl. It’s a major power struggle and shows people as selfish, grasping, needy, insecure and afraid of change. It’s misogynistic if one really wants to see it only as that and nothing else. But how many Bollywood mainstream movies showcase its female talent to its proper extent anyhow? Maybe 1 in 10 if that?

Watch this movie without judgement especially if you’re the kind of person who has also watched Race 3 and sat through the Welcome-2 without flinching! It’s entertainment pure and simple. No one said anything about it having to be classy as well.

If Thou Beest Sick…Beest Ye Properly

I have no idea why I lapse into the Ye Olde Dayes…I just do. Imagine an imp with a neck ruff a la dear ol’ Will sitting on my shoulder, nudging me to shake things up a bit.

Anyhoo, I’d had a fever for a bit. Nothing critical but it was on the higher side and I felt bloody awful. There were fevers I’ve danced my way through (literally) but barring that I felt quite weak and miserable. I had weird Frankensteinish dreams which are bits and pieces of everything around me and my consciousness, all knitted together into an unholy mess. For e.g: I had visions of cobras being milked (I know they were damn cobras because my kid loves them and because I was stupid enough to read this article on The Better India) and some friend of the family moving into the home of one Red’s tennis partners. *shrugs*

I dreamt of days of more leisure, less responsibility (because that’s what the mind and body was craving). I kept dreaming of dinos because I was camped out on my kid’s bed while I sent him off to sleep with Red in mine. I had weirdass sound tracks running through my dreams as well because my mind was still preoccupied with setting up my customized playlists on Amazon Music for our own dear Alexa!

All the dream dissection apart, I just want to take some time and appreciate my peeps. I married one of them and made the other but both are equally precious to me this weekend at least. The Lord&Master kept me quarantined and took over the running of the house, poured liquids into me at regular intervals and made sure I took meds and basically kept my germs to myself and kept my grumpy face to my part of the house.

The offspring, and this is uber cute, came up to me for multiple hugs and kisses only to be turned away each time with threats of germs migrating onto him and setting up camp. He finally came up with a solution; he would give me a massage and make me feel better and get heaps of praise for his efforts-making him feel oodles better too. As a result of which, there is a bottle of Jergens which will not see the light of day again. Apparently the surface area of my body merits almost an entire 400ml bottle. I almost slipped out of bed by the time the lotion application got done.

But I have to mention that tiny, soft little hands, gently and delicately massaged goops of aloe-scented lotion onto my face, forehead, hair, roots, up my nose, in my ear and it was *quite* relaxing for the most part. What was particularly endearing was,”Aww you poor baby, you look soooo bad. I’ll make you feel better.” Followed by waking me up from my half-stupor to make me relate to everyone how well he’d taken care of me and what a good boy he was.

And he was…they both were. They let me wallow, they let me heal and MOST importantly…they LET ME BE. Weekends are relaxed but I’m usually the one picking up the slack. Red and brat help out but obviously I wish they were more proactive (Nyah!). And here they were, cleaning up wherever they could and BEST of all…not adding (much) to the mess. It was blissy. Verry, verry blissy.

So, moral of the story? If you’re going to be sick, don’t be a half-assed kind of sick. BE SICK! They love you to bits when you are.

Here endeth the lesson.

Cough, sniffle, sneeze!