Saturday, November 30, 2013

There and back again

My apologies for having disappeared for the past ten days or so. You can understand that being with family can completely envelope you in a way that you forget everything else. Anyway here I am back in Dubai. Delhi was fabulous. The weather was perfect and being at home after a long time was wonderful beyond words.

I was fed something as soon as I opened my mouth. My sister kept me laughing with her never ending supply of jokes. Being in Delhi always means going back to my roots. The old albums invariably come up and I see the pictures of the tomboy that I was as a teenager and I remember what a charmed life it was. How loved I was. How loved I still am.

That's my beautiful mother. Had I been a fraction as beautiful as her I would have been gorgeous!

My father decided to continue working even after his retirement. I'm so glad that he did. He is still just as active and full of energy as he ever was. His love for singing is thriving and he keeps recording old Mukesh songs in his voice which we all love to hear. In fact he has quite a following on youtube.

And that's my baby sister Mini. She's eight years younger and I spent most of my time with her. It was just so wonderful to be with her after such a long time. She has the most bizarre sense of humour and she kept me in splits most of the time. Here's a small example..

Sis: don't make tea for me. Ask mummy to make.

Me: why?

Sis: because you make it so well, I can't digest it.

Me: what's that supposed to mean?
Sis: it means when scared give confusing answer.

Monday, November 18, 2013

PARUL A Love Story

Another day of waking up at noon and languishing in a blanket all afternoon was just so so nice. My sister and I had a lovely day out at Khan Market. There used to be this restaurant called Chonas at the corner which is still there but now it's a restaurant and bar. I remember meeting friends there as a teenager. It looked much too low lit and depressing now for me to go in for old times' sake.

When I come to Delhi I go nuts browsing and buying all the lovely Indian brands. Anokhi has to be one of my absolute favourites. I love their skirts and this time I found a beautiful cotton dress too. Fabindia is alright I guess. The quality of their clothes has gone down. The choices are few and the prints rather uninteresting and yet I managed to find two nice kurtas. As my husband reads this account his head is in his hands I'm sure. And also I absolutely love Forest Essentials products. I must thank Supriya Varma for introducing me to them.

Of course no shopping trip is complete without going into book stores. I love the smell of books. The stacks and stacks of words just waiting to be read. My sister suddenly laughed and said at a book shop,"Didi your book is here!" And I looked and there it was a book called PARUL A Love Story by Harsha V. Dehejia. I was tickled pink and I had to buy it of course. I did read the first two pages. It's about a Gujarati girl who is very proud of her Gujju heritage. A married man with a son falls in love with her. That's as far as I got. I might actually read this book!

There was a skincare brand shop whose name I can't remember. There was a skeleton in a white coat standing outside it so I took a picture of it and put it up here. My sister had been hankering for Chinese so we went to this nice place called Chinese Wok. It's a lovely restaurant. It was getting rather late so we got the food packed and I introduced my sister to the yummy virgin Pinacolada. She loved it! The wonderful joys of being with family simply cannot be described.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A lovely day

When you wake up at noon and your mom hands you a cup of tea you know that you're home. You smile, you have a cup of tea and you know it's going to be a lovely day. My mother was appalled at the state of my hair and she slathered it with henna the first chance she had. I protested and then protested some more but of course that's really pointless when your mother wants you to do something. I mean parents will always make you feel like you've just never grown up. "You're treating me like I'm a fifteen year old girl!" I said. "Actually you're more like seven and a half." my father replied.

Papa and I went to the Great India Place mall in Noida. I wanted to pick up some books. On the way I saw the moon from the car window. It was a beautiful yellow moon and I just had to take a picture of it even though you can't quite see how big it was. You get the idea.

The mall was overflowing with people. It was fun shopping. Papa was so patient while I browsed around. There were lovely lanterns hanging from the ceiling. I talked for a little while to a little baby chewing her mom's bag. She had that joyous little smile that only babies have. They have no idea why they're smiling but they are truly happy in that moment and it never fails to warm my heart.

There were so many people shopping intently that sometimes I went into a shop and then just walked out because I couldn't make my way to the displayed items. As I stood in the aisle of fiction books someone or the other pushed me or my bag but somehow that didn't really bother me. When one comes to India one gets into this zone where pretty much nothing really fazes you which otherwise would. I looked for my tarot deck in the book shop but I couldn't find it. I'll try again tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Reporting from Delhi

So I flew down yesterday from Dubai to Delhi. I had to shop for a few things at Duty free but I couldn't be at an airport and not have a coffee so I sat in an easy chair and had myself a cup of mocha, some kind of cheese croissant and a banana bread. When I travel alone I tend to wonder who I will end up next to on the plane and I always hope that it's going to be someone who will leave me alone with my book. Normally I would always request a window seat. I like the city getting smaller as the plane takes off. The cars and the people becoming miniatures. This time I forgot to ask for a window seat so off I went in to the plane and reached seat 7 C to find a young man sitting at the window. I had an aisle seat and no one in between. I took out my hand cream and used it liberally. I always use hand cream when I don't know how else to keep myself busy. I took out my book and began reading. As the pilot announced take off the boy crossed himself so I figured he must be Christian but I noticed a kada on his wrist which I thought must be some kind of fashion statement. He looked really young and somewhat sad. As the plane took off he seemed to get further upset and covered his eyes. He seemed to be crying. I thought to myself," Oh well I'm gonna have to talk to this one." I put away my book, took out my trusty Philips camera and tapped him on the shoulder. He looked around at me with his eyes all red. I asked him to take a picture of the Dubai skyline. He asked me how to zoom in and I explained. He took the picture above, handed me the camera and sat wiping his eyes again. Suddenly he asked me if I lived in Dubai. I told him I did and then the whole story came out in a rush.

He was an eighteen year old living in Delhi and visiting his sister in Dubai. He was born and brought up in Dubai but his parents had moved back to Delhi two years ago. He said Dubai was his home. It was where he was most comfortable and even though he had not cried when he left it two years ago somehow this trip had stirred his longing to be 'home' again. We talked for a long time and he told me all about his family. His father was Sikh and his mother was Catholic. When he turned fourteen he was given the freedom to choose if he wanted to follow Sikhism of Christianity. He had chosen to be a Catholic. He told me all about school, his subjects, that he sang on stage but only because he was expected to do something creative in the curriculum. He loved boxing and wanted to be a commercial pilot right after school. I was given a detailed account of a flight simulator and how his girlfriend had moved to Jalandhar and he missed her.

The conversation always came back to Dubai and how one cannot get the citizenship so unless one has a business in the country retirement in Dubai is not an option and even then you'll never be a UAE citizen. Every time he spoke of Dubai his eyes would well up again and I would try to tell him that he had his whole life ahead of him and once he became a pilot he could get a job with any airline and be in  Dubai or anywhere else in the world he chose. He was worried about his upcoming mid terms as most children are. During the entire conversation I spoke very little while he told me everything that was going on in his life. He was so overwhelmed with what was happening to him that he completely seemed to forget that I had my own story but I didn't mind at all. I prefer asking questions much better than answering them.

After filling out the immigration form I went back to my Miss Marple mystery and he stuck his nose to the window. At the end of the journey I asked him if he was looking forward to seeing his parents, he replied in a really low and sad voice,"Yes..." I burst out laughing and couldn't help but saying," You haven't left Dubai, you've just temporarily moved. Think of it like that!" He smiled and looked a bit better.

I got out of the plane bearing a big shopping bag and got through immigration really quick (separate counter for Indian passport holders- very nice), even my bag came through nice and quick. That's a picture of the Delhi International Airport interior, quite interesting. I wondered what the various mudras meant. I was out of the airport and in the arms of my mom and sister in about fifteen minutes and my father drove us home. I was warm and happy. I forgot to get woollen clothes from Dubai to which my sister said that I always ended up wearing my mother's cardigans anyway. Which is very true, I always end up wearing my mother's cardigans and shoes. I used my mother's make up till I got married and bought make up for the first time at the age of twenty seven I think. My favourite coat is my mother's too and I've had it for fifteen years and it's still going strong. I feel her love and warmth whenever I wear it.

I got home and had two dinners. I'm going to gain weight in a big way. I can already see it. The maid looked at me and told my mother,"Dimple is looking weak." C'mon I weigh 68 kgs only!! Now every half an hour or so my mother asks me what I want to eat? And you know what I'm in a perpetual state of feeling like eating something. Don't you just love being home?

I had to explain a lot of things to Anshuman before I left him to fend for himself for the next two weeks. The best way to get his complete attention was to take him out on a nice dinner and then lay out the instructions. So I asked him to take me out on a date before I left. He said he'd made a booking at a nice place. When he came home I asked him where we were going? I was all dressed up in my nice black dress and he refused to tell me. I asked him again and again and he finally said," I booked a table at Sarvanna Bhawan but then you said you wanted to dress fancy so I changed it to Aappa Kadhai." I gave up.

 Finally we had dinner at this lovely place on the 52nd floor called The Observatory. I had the sea bass and a virgin Pinacolada which was so yummy that my eyes voluntarily closed when I took a sip, actually more like a gulp. I don't sip I gulp. I had my husband's complete attention and I was able to tell him all that I wanted to before I left plus I got to wear my brand new necklace from Arte. Win win! My husband sang a song from 'Purab aur pashchim' movie very sincerely- I mean he literally sang the whole song at dinner,"Hai preet jahan ki reet sada main geet wahan ke gaata hoon. Bharat ka rehne wala hoon Bharat ki baat sunata hoon." I laughed so loudly throughout the whole song that people stared but we didn't care. I wiped happy tears and I knew how much I was going to miss my husband.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Quiet days

Last couple of days have been so lovely and peaceful. I've deliberately stayed away from the television and it's really so refreshing. I've been reading Miss Marple's mysteries and they're so much fun that I can't get enough. I got two volumes of four books each and I think in a couple of days I will finish them both. I can't explain how happy I am to be reading so much after such a long time. This break is wonderful and the weather is so gorgeous that long walks are a daily pleasure.

I saw Thor 2 a couple of days ago and loved the movie. Even though I love Chris Hemsworth but Tom Hiddleston who plays Loki totally stole his thunder in the movie I think. I wish the leading lady was someone other than Natalie Portman. She looks like a misfit just as she did in the first movie. There's just no warmth about her. I don't like her. 

Thursday, November 07, 2013

The weeping waif

So I went to the mall after a long time to buy tickets for the new Thor movie. As I was driving back I needed to take a U-turn at a roundabout. The car next to me suddenly cut me off at the exit and I had to hit the brakes to avoid hitting the prize asshole. Suddenly there was a bang and I realised the car behind me had banged into mine. I immediately got off the roundabout, took the U turn and parked at a bus station further down the road and waited for the car behind me to catch up but after a few minutes when it didn't turn up I went back to the roundabout and found the other car- a Nissan Juke still parked at the roundabout. I parked, got out and looked into the other car and saw a woman crying. I asked,"Are you alright?" but she didn't reply. There were a few people around and they said she had been very upset and crying all this while. I figured may be she thought I had run away before the police arrived. Anyway we parked in the parking behind the mall. The two men who had been hanging around were trying to talk to her but she was on the phone and not answering any of their questions. I was a bit worried about her but I figured she was speaking to someone who would come to her aid so I stayed away. In the meantime there seemed to be some smoke coming out of her car which alarmed me a bit but it stopped after a while. One of the men gave me his card in case I needed something. Well my car had barely got a scratch while her car's face had got smashed in so if anyone needed help it was her. I got a look at her when she came out of her car. She was thin dressed in a snug tee and jeans. Her hair was blonde and closely cropped. She had really vulnerable features. I guessed from her accent that she was probably Russian. She looked completely lost and panic stricken and my heart went out to her but I thought it better to wait till she stopped speaking on the phone.

The ambulance came and the paramedics asked me if I was alright to which I said I was and pointed them to her. She ignored them and kept speaking on the phone. Finally they took her into the ambulance. The police came and asked me what happened. I explained the accident and then they spoke to her for a while. Finally the Arab policeman asked me my age and I replied,"I'm 39 years old." He smiled and said, " You're small." "Small?" I asked. He went away smiling to the other car. I admit I looked down at myself and thought," Am I short or am I still young?" Finally the police left after giving us the accident slip. I went up to the girl who was still crying. She looked like a waif up close and I asked her if someone was coming to pick her up to which she said no. She lived nearby and I offered to drop her home but she wanted to wait for the recovery vehicle to come and take her car to the workshop. I asked her if she wanted me to wait with her but by that time she again got on the phone. I waited ten minutes while she spoke to someone on the phone. I asked her again if she wanted me to stay but she again said no so I saw no choice but to leave her alone.

I felt really sorry for the poor girl. She was really shaken up but somehow her reaction seemed a bit out of place. I mean yes her car got smashed and the airbags being deployed must have shocked her but she just couldn't seem to get it together. Somehow I got the feeling that there was much more going on under the surface. May be life hadn't been treating her very well lately and the accident was the last straw and she broke down. I hope she is fine now and whatever has gone wrong with her will sort itself out soon.

I mean you'd think life would be pretty sedate when you're on a break but something always happens. Always happens.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Diwali Mubarak

I haven't been here for a while but here I am again. Diwali came and went and I finally did wear a sari. There was a lovely bash at Manisha and CK's place. Manisha draped the sari for me and I admit I felt quite lovely.

There was a quiz with two teams and everyone made so much noise that the neighbours complained and we had to contain ourselves and try not to kill each other for two and a half points.

It was Diwali night yesterday and the lights in the home gave it such a warm glow that I felt content and blessed. So here's wishing all of you a wonderful Diwali filled with love and light.