Monday, December 31, 2012

Isn't that how festivals should be?

“Please, Mamma, may be do Ganapathi at home?”, my kids asked me.
“No way. I am not killing myself any more”, I replied. “You want to celebrate, you celebrate. Leave me out of it.”

Last year, I had sworn not to celebrate any festivals at home. All the hard work wore me out, nobody appreciated the effort, and I ended up snapping at everyone in frustration. Life became much easier after I started ignoring festivals.
And then the kids wanted to celebrate. I let them take charge; helped when they asked. We have fun.
Isn’t that how festivals should be?

We haven't yet got to a stage where we celebrate obscure festivals like this one where images of the Mother Goddess seem to be worshipped at home, but we have celebrated at least three major and many minor festivals, and had fun. Taken at the local market, in December, this forms a part of my Pictorial Flashback of 2012.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Mother of a Reader

“Haven’t you already read this book?”, my husband often asks. “Why are you reading it again?”
“For the same reason you keep watching the same match on TV”, I tell him. “Because I want to.”
Non-readers just don’t get it. Reading is not like watching TV. Reading needs you to concentrate, to put in effort. Why would you do that, when you already know the ending?
But a Reader knows that it is precisely when you are not rushing towards the ending that you get the most out of a book.
I am glad I am the mother of one.

When I first read Vikram Seth's "A Suitable Boy", I nearly got a stress fracture on my wrist because of the weight of the book. One decade, two kids, and many life experiences later, when I returned to the book this year, the book gave me just as pleasure as it did the first time I round. I am glad I discovered it, gladder that I re-discovered it. Taken at a Cafe outside my sons' school in November, this photograph forms a part of my Pictorial Flashback of 2012.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

You don't have to be good....

They had strung a net across the road, and using streetlights as floodlights were engaged in a game of volleyball. None of them was particularly skilled; they had to keep interrupting the game to let pedestrians pass. But they were all having fun.
“Why have you blocked up the street”, and elderly gentleman reprimanded. “Don’t you have anything better to do?”
They smiled and asked him to join in too. He didn’t, but stayed to watch.
You don’t have to be very good at something in order to enjoy it. That you enjoy something is reason enough to do it.
Just off one of the busiest streets in Bombay, is this narrow lane where traffic is so sparse that people can actually block the road off to play a game of volleyball. Taken on a cool October evening, this forms a part of my Pictorial Flashback of 2012.

Friday, December 28, 2012

I discovered cooking

Mine is a family of fussy eaters. Of people who think nothing of leaving their food untouched and ordering greasy takeaway. Never a passionate cook, I stopped cooking a long time back. Till I realised I could cook for myself. Recipes my mother used to make, and which I had almost forgotten about. Recipes given by friends. Recipes sourced from the internet. Cooking became fun again. And with me spending more time in the kitchen, my cooking became more palatable to the family.
Though I have been cooking for over 25 years, this is the year when I discovered Cooking.

Despite the fact that the hubby doesn't have egg yolk, in all these years of married life, I clung to my principles of never baking an eggless cake. The first eggless cake I baked was for his 40th birthday, and it came out really well. This photograph of the chocolate-banana cake forms a part of my Pictorial Flashback of 2012.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Judgement to be Swift

While the entire nation is signing petitions demanding death penalty for the rapists in a particularly heinous crime, I hold a contrary view. People want the rapists to hang, so it will serve as a deterrent for others, but if that were the case, there would be no murder or terrorism. What strikes fear in the hearts of people is not the severity of punishment, but the certainty of punishment. And if death is the punishment, any judge will drag his feet.
The lynch mobs can continue to scream for blood, all I want is for judgement to be swift.
"The Doors of Perception", is what I call this composition. What you see, depends on how you look at it. Taken in August at one of our favourite restaurants, this forms a part of my Pictorial Flashback of 2012.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Will this ever end?

Crimes against women are on the rise. Rape, assault, murder. Instances of acid-throwing, of faces being slashed. Crimes by strangers; crimes by loved ones. Crimes reported; crimes unreported.
Crimes that make you seriously consider donning a veil- except that never stopped a sexually frustrated male, did it?

You can blame tradition that put women in a subordinate role. But actually, it is popular culture that is to blame. It is Bollywood that reinforces the view that stalking a woman is the way to win her. That when a woman struggles, she’s enjoying it.

Will this objectification of women ever end?

This picture was taken from a cab on a monsoon day in July. Words are not required, those eyes say it all. Taken on Tulsi Pipe Road, this forms a part of my Pictorial Flashback of 2012.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

He can READ

“Mamma, what is the meaning of RAPE?”, my six-year-old asked me. Any mother would have been horrified that he had stumbled upon that word. Instead, I was thrilled. Thrilled that he had learnt to string sounds together to form words. Thrilled that he liked reading enough to voluntarily pick up the newspaper. Thrilled that the universe of knowledge had opened up for him.
When he entered second grade, he struggled to recognize even three letter words. Guiding him was not easy, but his determination and my faith in him did it. He can READ.

But, that question still needs answering!


In June, I visited a summer camp where underpriveledged children were given supplementary coaching to bring them to normal school levels. Some of the methods they used helped me in making that critical breakthrough with my son. This picture taken in a slum community about a mile away from my house,  forms a part of my Pictorial Flashback of 2012.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Even dusting!!!

“You son tells such wonderful stories”, my mother told me. “You should write them down.”
“I just don’t have the time”, I told her. “I am barely surviving. I cannot make time for something else.”
“It is not as though everything you do is essential”, she insisted. “You can cut down on something else, and do it.”

But that is exactly what I do. Cut out what is not essential. There are the things I need to do to survive. There are the things I do to retain my sanity. Everything else is unessential. Everything else I ignore. Even dusting!

There are many paths to Peace of Mind. Meditation is one of them, but that is not for everyone. What works for me is attaining Balance in my life. So far, so good. Taken in May at a monastery in Ladakh, this forms a part of my Pictorial Flashback of 2012.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The first generation

Spotlessly clean uniforms- shirts tucked into their skirts. Hair neatly combed and plaited- every bow of the ribbon perfectly arranged. Sitting crosslegged in straight rows on the floor- backs straight, not ever fidgeting or whispering or passing notes.
I couldn’t help but compare the disciplined group of schoolgirls from a tiny tribal hamlet, with the unruly mob that inhabits the school my kids go to. The kids with movie-star hairdos and messy clothes, who unthinkingly flout every rule in the book!
It is obvious who values education more. Naturally too- they are the first generation to have access to it.

I took this photograph in a one-room one-teacher school in a tribal hamlet near Bombay. The photograph taken in April forms a part of my Pictorial Flashback of 2012.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

There are decent people everywhere

The cab-driver who drove a few miles out of his way to return the phone I left behind in his cab. The man who bought a bottle of water for my son when he was carsick, and disappeared before I could even thank him. The shopkeeper who called me back and gave me the change I forgot to take. The people who went out of their way to help me when I had a nasty fall.

Why do we presume people are out to get us? If only we look for them and acknowledge them, there are decent people everywhere.

This photograph of the rear window of a cab was taken during one of my numerous rides across the city. All cab-drivers are presumed to be cheats, but this was one of the several who didn't try to to fleece me. The photograph, taken on my phone-camera in March forms a part of my Pictorial Flashback of 2012.

Friday, December 21, 2012

I let him grow

“Please may I go to the shop and buy a packet of biscuits?”, my then eight year old asked me. The store is barely 300 meters from my place, no roads to cross, no difficult stretches to navigate. My son was fairly responsible- I knew he could be trusted to not do anything foolish. Why then did I hesitate? Was it because I thought he was too young? Or was it that irrational fear of letting go?
It took me three days, but I eventually agreed. His joy was unbounded. I am glad I trusted him, and let him grow. 


I nearly killed this plant by watering it too much. Luckily, I caught it in time, and eased off. Kids are like plants, aren't they? Overwatering stifles them almost as much as neglect. Taken at home in February, this forms a part of my Pictorial Flashback of 2012.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Facing your Fears

After my disastrous first marathon, I resolved never to attempt the distance again. And yet, even as I made that resolution, I knew I would have to return at least once. If only to prove to myself that I was not scared.
I trained hard for it. Almost let it become an all-consuming passion. And in January, I did it. I exceeded my wildest expectations; ran a marathon of which I could be proud. On my birthday, I ran the distance again. By the end of the year, I ran my first ultra.
When you face your fears, they disappear.

While I was running on the Bandra-Worli Sealink during the Mumbai Marathon, I saw the Sun rise over the waters of Mahim Creek, and paint the sky golden. I couldn't resist whipping out my phone, and snapping this picture. It is symbolic of so many things, and forms a part of my Pictorial Flashback of 2012.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Happy Birthday

“You look just like your mother”, people often tell me.
“Don’t let her hear that”, I am quick to retort. “She’ll not like being told she looks like me.”
Whether we look alike or not is debatable, but on the face of it, we are completely different. She’s gregarious; I’m reserved. She loves bright colours and dressing up; my wardrobe is made up of monochromes. We can’t stay together in the same room for an hour without fighting.
And yet, in the things that matter, we think alike. She’s the first person I think of when I need a hug.
Happy Birthday, Mumsie


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