Monthly Archives: July 2010

>Mera joota hai Japani

>Not exactly. Not at all, actually. It’s probably Chinese, like most things that we get around the world these days. But that’s not what this is about. This is about showing off some of my latest shoe acquistions.

The high-heeled ones
And the flat ones
And the multi-coloured ones
And the comfy ones

And the branded ones

And the ones in neutral colours

I do have quite a shoe fetish. I can shop nothing else but shoes. I buy the Rs 250 ones from the road-side, the local brands and the international brands, as long as they catch my eye. As a result, I have more shoes now than I have space for. Take a look at what my shoe closet looks like:
And I’m not even talking about the boxes that have begun piling up beside the closet! Yes, shoe addict is me. What’s your addiction?

>My driver’s love life

>My driver is in love. He’s having an affair. With a girl he was to have an arranged marriage with, but the engagement was called off. And why should I be blogging about this? Because if he doesn’t get the family approval to marry that girl, he plans to run away. From home, from the city, from WORK. And that’s when we hit the panic buttons and begin to take active interest in his love life.

So here we are trying to convince his father, an orthodox Muslim, to let the young fella marry the girl of his choice. Of course, we’d do it for him even if he were not threatening to quit the job, because he’s been working with us for over four years now. But what makes us pray fervently that he be united with his Lady Love is that threat. Seriously. And it just made me laugh out loud when The Guy and I, lying in bed last night, realised we were discussing our driver’s love life!

Don’t get me wrong. We are not one of those heartless, slave-drivers who wouldn’t care what happened to all the domestic staff if we were assured they were bound to us for life. And are only interested in getting our work done. Far from it. But when you start discussing your driver’s love life, it’s just an awkward, self-conscious situation. It’s not like helping someone get their daughter married. Or get medical aid for someone’s father. This is their love lives we’re talking about!

Which reminds me of another torrid love affair that bloomed between a maid and a man servant at our place a few years ago. Now both of them were just the kind of domestic help no one ever wants to part with. The girl was smart, quick and hardworking; the boy doubled up as the errand boy at office, because he could read English as well, and did just about all chores you can think of doing at home. When the two of them hit it off, and got romantically involved with each other, we don’t know. But at some point my mother-in-law started keeping an eye on them. Not enough though to prevent them from having some unsafe sex. Oh yes! Right under our roof, God knows where (it’s a big enough house, there’s actually no dearth of unused places about here)! And pronto, the girl got pregnant and the secret was out. We were in a state of shock for days after the boy confided in M-I-L, wept in repentance, but too late. They were chided and reprimanded and all that, but M-I-L, being the messenger of love that she is, asked the girl’s mother to get the two married off. But the mother would have none of it – no shaadi for my daughter outside the biraadari, she said. The pregnancy was aborted, the girl married off to someone else in a month’s time, and the boy, well, he was so embarrassed and ashamed of what he’d done (it was consensual sex, so the girl was to be blamed just as much as him) that he returned home. End of the story. And so, not only did do pyar karne wale get separated, but two hardworking helpers were also lost forever to the household.

What’s the moral of the story? In order to retain good domestic helpers, ensure they have a happy love life!

>And what should I call this one that’s for the parents?

>It’s a full cycle. The parents who hold your hand when you’re learning to walk, hold your hand again 60 years later, but this time you’re teaching them how to walk. The last week and a half I’ve spent in hospitals in Lucknow and Gurgaon, tending to my dad. And in that short a span of time, I’ve seen him act like a petulant child, a wilful, rebellious adolescent and an ailing old man. And like you forgive your child all his follies, you learn to ignore your parents’ unreasonableness and love them still.

But it’s heart-wrenching – to see the man who always climbed two stairs at a time, who ran after you when he was teaching you how to cycle, who held you in his arms when you scraped your knee from a fall, lean on you for support. It’s heart-wrenching to see him fight invisible monsters that come in the garb of disease and age.

Dad’s bypass surgery has gone off well and he’s taking baby steps to recovery. But between his major angina attack last Sunday, the angiography in Lucknow thereafter and the urgent transfer to a super-speciality hospital in Gurgaon, my head and heart has had no time to rest. There’s been fear and hope and so much more of an undefined emotion that I cannot begin to explain it. I’ve seen my Dad’s bro breakdown at the news of the successful surgery, giving vent to years of sibling affection that men must not display by some warped convention of society. I’ve seen a friend, discharged two days ago from the same hospital after an angioplasty, wait for hours in the visitors’ lounge just for a glimpse of his friend. I’ve seen once again the strong support system that a family can offer…

And me? I’ve been angry and strong, brave and emotionally weak – all at the same time. But most importantly, as a daughter who’s stood by her parents through it all, I’ve proved there never was any need of sons to look after aging parents. And anyone who offers that as an excuse to want a son and wish away a daughter has no idea what a girl, a woman – daughter or wife, and even mother – is capable of. It makes me very proud that my mom and dad can look at their daughters and know that they are capable of taking on the world. And it gives me great satisfaction that to every person who scoffed at my parents for having “only” two girls, I have given a befitting reply.

And I’ve not been alone. At the hospital, there were so many mother-daughter duos like us. And they seemed in no way less equipped to handle an emergency than all the men who thronged the visitor’s lounge.

But my mother has been the bravest. If I learnt from my dad to be the person I am, I’ve learnt from my mother to be a woman. She’s been a perfect daughter – extending so much love and support to her own mother, giving so much of herself to her parents that I sometimes feel only daughters can.

But growing old is a strange thing. And when you’re over the 60-mark you do begin to think of the worst as not impossible. And that must be scary. Mummy asked me a couple of days ago if I would take care of when she grew old enough to not be able to do so for herself. She asked me if I would be “nice” to her… And I told her I’ll do exactly what she has done for her mother – never left her alone. I realised then that if children can ever repay their parents for what they have done for them, it’s by giving them love and security – and so much of it that it never falls short – when they grow old.

>Too Strong a Woman for a Man to Want

>If breaking stereotypes is a sin, I must be Devil’s child. So when Goofy tagged me to enumerate all My Sins against Gender Stereotypes, I thought I’d fill reams and reams of pages. However, when I did get down to writing them out, I realised there was something I had already written that made perfect sense to re-post now, with a little tweaking. Here goes:

Too strong a woman for a man to want,
The woman, they say, who wears the pants at home.
I ain’t coy and I ain’t shy,
And I won’t wait for life to pass me by.
I love my work and would rather be
In my office, than at home counting the laundry.
I can think faster than the man next to me,
Won’t ask him for some silly little pocket money.
And because I’m married and don’t have children yet
Must mean my that husband is henpecked?
And because I have an opinion on things
I’m not the kind of wife a man must bring.
Since I am only pretty and not naive,
I’m far from the “perfect” wife!
I can stand up for myself, speak my mind
Won’t take his surname and give up mine.
I’m sorry if I don’t fit your stereotype:
I flirt a little and get drunk on wine.
I don’t have a mangalsutra,
And don’t wear the vermilion.
If I live away from home,
Because I have an ambition,
I must be too strong for a man to want.