Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Nani is going

The last time I met her, she was on the hospital bed. Surrounded by less life and more life supporting devices, she looked frail and tired. In a condition when something had infected her brain, she could recognize me. I tried to speak to her, invain. I kissed her on the head and left.

Ever since that they, there has been a fear of losing her. God forbid, but the one that day felt like the last kiss. For the first time in the last three years, she looked exhausted. A fighter that she is, she has faced and fought the deadly cancer in its face. Three years was a long time.

Everything about her has changed, but her beauty. Ironically, she still had that glow in her face - aura i may say. Those hands which have served us food a zillion times looked so tiny. The color of her eyes too had changed, they weren't even looking at me.

Now that the doctors have closed the files too, we know there is not much time. The image of nani - loving, caring, scolding, pampering us keeps coming in flashback dreams. Today as she breathes, we pray for her next breathe, pray that she meets the almighthy in wellness and sees no pain. Pray that she bids adieu in comfort and peace.

Nani, wish this was not inevitable. God bless.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Mumbai hostage crisis nears end

Its been 26 hours and Mumbai is still under attack. While the situation in the city is improving, the hostage drama at Taj and Oberoi still seems to be on. The day saw an increase in the number of dead, including 7 foreign nationals. The wife and 3 children of the GM, Taj were also killed in the hotel.

As media battles time and terror, Advani tries to strike the right note with his (untimely) visit. There will be politics, there will be more drama, and their will be political statements in the days to come. That being reality shall remain, the victims and the martyrs shall soon be forgotten -unless we pledge to make some noise.

Mumbai is burning - Part 2, worst ever terror attack


As I type and watch, I see blood, I hear gun shots. The last two hours of Mayhem in the financial capital of our country has left 25 dead, panic, confusion, terror, chaos, confusion and a lot more. CNN-IBN's reporter, Toral Varia got caught into mid of gunshots. Studio asks her to get to a safe place first.

While ministers plan and decide, terrorists are moving on the roads of the city, firing indiscriminately. Two of them even fired in Cama hospital. As I watch the reporting, I see people in the background running helter skelter and I see one person dropping with a gun shot right there in broad view. The ATS chief Hemant Karkare too is hit by a bullet.

A terrorist firing with AK-47 at the CST station

People being rushed into vans being taken to the hospital, some of them lifted like cattle…all this and more happening right there on the streets of Mumbai as we all adjust our blankets to sleep – just as we always do. Afterall, tragedy is not mine until it knocks my door. They say Mumbai is the city that never sleeps. After what it has witnessed today, it never will.

It all started sometime after 9 pm. It is 2 am, and it is still on. I am tired, but the terrorists are not. They are prepared, we never are. We are tired, they never are. The country is in shame, the heart of the country is at the mercy of some lunatics. Taj is on fire, there is firing in Mariott, there are hostages in Oberoi, a blast in Oberoi, boat with explosives found at gateway – even the Chief Minister has shamelessly admitted that things are going out of control.

It’s everywhere, the most organized terror attack in the country. The police is baffled with the magnitude and continuous nature of this blast. So am I - death toll reaches 80 and the number of injured crosses 200 - mindless violence everywhere. Twitter tells me that a lot of people in South Mumbai are held up and cannot move home as there are gun shots all over and around the area.

Guys we have bombs under our as**s. Will we STAND UP? CONGRESS, BJP, JD - are you hearing. The terrorists are here, right in our face. They are desperate to do what they wanted to. We maybe tired typing, they are not. They are prepared, we never are. As I watch, I see it becoming gory…blood on the streets. I can type no more…this seems to be never ending. The city is under attack… and we have lost many heroes already - the ATS chief Hemant Karkare, ACP Ashok Kamte and Encounter specialist Vijay Saluskar dead. What is the city coming too?
The worst image that none of us could have ever seen in the worst of our dreams, the dome of Taj Mumbai on fire...terrorists having taken over the city. God bless.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mumbai Under Craziest Ever Terror Attack - Part 1

They are back, once again in Mumbai. The terrorists, as the police says, are carrying out a unique fidayeen attack at this time while I am wrting this blog. After indescrimainate firing in about 8-10 places in the city of Mumbai, they are now holed up in Taj and Oberoi, the most well known premium hotels of the city. There are various casualities reported from the hotel.

As news of the blasts come from three places, the police and ATS is in quick action. While the VT station and Oberoi have been cordoned off, there are reports of more than 7 people dead. Panic grips the city and a lot of panic tweets are being exchanged at twitter.

There is pain and there is confusion all over. There are gun shots, there are blasts and there is blood all over. As the IBN reporter talks about earlier blasts, we hear some more gun shots in her background infron of tsome JJ college. This sporadic firing acoss various parts of south Mumbai has shaken us all from our sleep .

As I type, I hear that more than 20 people have died, including one foreign nationale. The lobby at Oberoi is at fire and so is a Bharat Petroleum depot. The petroleum depot has been blown up by a granade attack. The worst evening that Mumbai has ever seen. While police is requesting Mumbaikars to stay indoors, ministers are meeting to plan the next course of action.

Looks like there are more than 15 teams of terrorists - a modus operandi which shows the desperation of these criminals to do what they want to. Dadar station, Oberoi hotel, Taj Hotel, VT station, BP petrol pump, Metro station, Leopala Hotel..they are everywhere, well planned, determined...

While i get tired typing, this does not seem to stop, donno whats happening...all i see is blood, all i hear is gun shots....its a bloody night for Mumbai. God bless us, end this mayhem.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Obama is No. 1



While the media giants proudly announced their No. 1 positions today, Obama is the one who clearly emerged No.1 everwhere. Obama brought cheers and tears to an overwhelmed country when he said - "It's been a long time coming. But tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America," . The ecstasy was all over - in the newspapers, on TV, and in the online world. Blogs from around the world are reading excitement. A delighted blogger pens,"We turned the corner here in the United States! We did the right thing and we’ll all be better for it!"

While bloggers around the world are already debating what Obama can, and will do, I shall say my thoughts in AP's Walter Mears' words: "Audacity won. Now Barack Obama must validate the hope and deliver the change he promised. He's already changed America by becoming the first black man to win the White House. His challenge is to change the course of its government and guide it through hard times and past the financial crisis he inherits as he takes office."

All we can say is - MU-BARACK OBAMA and ALL the BEST.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Navrataras and Eid

Cannot resist sharing this quote from Vivek, "M_sl_m & H_nd_ are not complete without 'u' & 'i' Happy Eid-ul-Fitr & Navratas".

Celebration is in the air. Nothing has been able to kill the spirit of festivity. Ramzaan, Durga Pooja, Navrataras, Eid....happiness shall remain, no matter what.

Lets stay and pray united. And as i said the last time, its Navrataras time, so no chicks, no chicken!!

The muslim Identity

From Ashutosh of IBN7, one of the best pieces on Muslim identity - an opinions which takes names, and talks in as many words.

The bigger question is does the community care why one of the most gifted minds of the 20th century Salman Rushdie can't breathe in fresh air and Tasleema Nasreen can't live in peace even under one of the most secular regimes this country has seen? Why do Lalu Prasad Yadav and Mulayam Singh Yadav have to rationalise the lifting of ban on SIMI? Why does it happen that when Maulana Madni of Deoband organises an anti-terrorism rally at Ramleela Maidan and openly condemns terrorism, Urdu press is out to tear him apart?

It is this so-called radical Islam or political Islam which is creating problems for their own community and society at large. But irony is there is no VOCAL forceful anti-radical Islam or anti political-Islam voice, neither in India nor outside. Majority of sane and liberal voice is keeping quiet, or if not so, then not making enough noise to be heard by its own community.
Do read the entire post - Jamia encounter and Muslim identity


Very truly said, Muslims should understand that some of the fanatic individuals in their community are the ones who are marring the beauty of Islam. Just as we, the educated Hindus of the country, do not shy in criticizing the Bajrang Dal extremists and feeling ashamed of the Gujrat riots, the educated Muslims should also come out together and detach the fanatic section which is taking to terrorism. Lets be more radical in our approach and vehemently and sternly stand against any act of violence against the human life - terrorism, rioting, mob violence etc. The call of the hour is that Muslims need to react strongly against Muslim youth who are killing in the name of Allah and the Hindus, should voice against incidents of violence against the Christains. I just wish the country (the hindus, muslims, christains unanimously) appreciates and adapts a strong common approach. We cannot live with this fear forever.

I would like to add a very apt comment by Abhishek here -

The literati and the urban muslims condemn the fanaticism vehemently. No denying that. THAT is the reason we co-exist.

The problem is when the powerful and authoritative, like that Jama Masjid cleric who disagreed with Jamia Nagar encounter, raise voice and influence people.

The fatwa, which is a LOL subject for us now, is an important religious decree and used so stupidly by the clerics. Salman Khan ne Ganpati kyun manaya, Sania ne skirt kyun pehni, Tasleema ne book kyun likhi... That needs to be stopped. Just like those Hindus burning churches need to be stopped.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The game of terror

The images of the Delhi blasts very nerve –wrecking. The picture of a lady, all bruised and in blood, near Gopaldaas tower at CP has been haunting me since past so many days. My last beautiful memories of CP have been suddenly washed off. All I can think of is the blast that ripped the heart of Delhi, killing innocent people.

Thw word 'people' sounds so distant. Unless there is a name to it, a tragedy is never our tragedy. We call up our friends and family, realize all we know are well, and then life moves on. So unless it hits us in the heart, our withered hearts don’t bleed.

I remember my last discussion with Harsha, when she ripped me on my anti-Pakistan views. She was right. Terror has no face, no religion, and it speaks just one language – the language of death. Yes, I agree more than anything else that it is not about countries, boundaries, not about the distant things called people, but about precious human lives.

My tears last night were not only for those who lost their lives in the Merriot Hotel blast, but for my silly helplessness. The blast set the hotel on fire killed many having their iftaar party (the evening meal for breaking the daily fast during the month of Ramadan.) The sight of a little baby in his dad’s arm on the 3rd floor of the inferno not just scared me, but also moved the selfish little being in me.

The 9/11 attacks, London bombings, Sarojini Nagar blasts, the latest terror attacks across Delhi and now this one at Islamabad…the images of death and sympathy are far more than my memory can hold, far more for us to forgive and forget.

But are we all trying to build immunity against such a devastation. Are we, with every passing attack, becoming more agitated, but more tolerant and prepared. Devangana was right when she said that if we bring it on our national agenda, media focuses on the issue for a consistent period, we probably can win the battle that the terror groups have declared long ago. But the big question – who has the time and the mettle?

The soulful cremation of M C Sharma saw a large number of people, wet eyed, praying for the departed soul. People who were proud of his sacrifice for a cause. But can we adopt the same cause too? Can we as individuals try and bring the much needed attention to the issue of terrorism. Can we not talk about it, make people aware of the larger problem and drive efforts to convince the government that we need a solution – A solution to this dirty game of terror which is ruthlessly overpowering our existence.

I am thinking. People wake up.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Long time...

It is always good, interesting, little pleasing things in life that bring me here to blog. Always thought that i will have more time to spend here here when office moves to Gurgaon. But now, back in Gurgaon I still am gasping for some time. Work life is hectic and at home, every time Windows displays welcome, Maulik jumps on it to play his favourite Monkey-wali-game. So as the laptop is usually kept safe in the bag pack and with the desktop busy playing movies, I am left with no tools. My words, I comfortably chew and finish in my mind. I guess the typewriter days were better.

No I am not busy. Comfortable office hours and an hour of gyming brings me home very much in time to take little Maulik to the park…something that was missing for some time. The mornings too are not a rush - I have finally been able to use some of the bath accessories that were nearing expiry. With momma taking him through the morning chores, Mauli looks a happier kid.

The needs and wants never end, and never should. But yes, the certain amount of peace that nearness to office has given, is amazing.

I'm loving it.

He did it again!!!

His first prize came when he was two. Judged as the most friendly baby at Mother’s pride and the “Sunny Smile baby” 3 months later, Maulik was getting home certificates at an age when I would shudder at the thought of reciting a poem to my uncles and aunts.

For him, this time it was a bigger platform. Dressed as Hanuman, his very own Superhero, he won a third prize at the Inter-school fancy dress competition. His dialogues were not easy, but he did pracice a 1000 times. Finally with butterflies in the tummy, he was able to emit all those memorized lines “Lanka ko jala ke aaonga, Dushman ko mar gira doonga, Sita ko bacha kar laoonga, Ram bhakt kehlaoonga. Jai shree ram!!!

It was’nt easy and we really felt it was little too much for him to remember all that…but everything for limelight. He did it. Back home the next day, swelling with pride, he was telling us about how the Director mam came to his classroom and asked all the babies (that’s how he refers to his classmates) to clap for him. The chocolates that she presented at that time had little meaning. It was the appreciation and acknowledgement that elated him.

Will not say keep it up Maulik. Stay happy kid.

Maulik' pics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/baxiabhishek/2799916106/

Monday, July 14, 2008

Sorry Dr. Talwar

It took the investigating agencies about 90 days to nail down the culprits of the Aarushi murder case. This indeed was the murder most foul – the little girl full of life smashed in head and slashed in throat. The gory details of the murder were just not the only thing that stunned us, the bigger surprise came with the claim that her very own parents were involved.

All that followed was character assassination of not just the family and friends, but also the little girl who must have literally sobbed in her grave. After CBI’s admission of the case findings last evening, some news channels openly came to surrender to the fact that they were reckless, they did tarnish the image of the Talwars and also came up with ‘breaking news’ that did not spare even spare the murdered girl.

The story on Headlines Today, ‘tears in heaven’, admitted that their irresponsible reporting would have made poor Aarushi cry in heaven. The story ended with saying “Sorry aarushi, we apologize to you. May your soul rest in peace” – the videos of the pretty innocent lad waving good bye did leave me wet in the eyes.

Was it just the media, wasn’t it not the aam aadmi too who enjoyed the murder theories day in and day out just like the last over in the india-pakistan series. Am I also not the culprit to have become judgemental and confidently expressed my opinion in public. Yes I am at fault and have been a part of this sin. There may be many holes in the final story and no one seems to be convinced, but Dr. Talwar is a free man today. If that means he is actually innocent, just like all of us, I hold an apology too – Sorry Dr. Talwar.

Aarushi, hope justice has been done.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The three words..from Rajdeep!!!

Hello! Hellooo! Hell-o!!

The three words sounded music, and they were from none other than Rajdeep Sardesai. There was silence on the other side of the connection- with a frozen me. I was speechless – a situation that I experienced the very first time in my life. No words erupted from either my mind nor did any could drop from my mouth. The line was soon disconnected. I was ecstatic. Yes it was Rajdeep’s number and yes it was him. I heard him….but gosh could not talk. Maybe the next day I will give it another shot, i thought.

I called up the next day, and I did not miss this opportunity.

Me: Hello, good evening sir. If you are not busy, can we talk for 2 minutes.

Rajdeep: What is about madam.

Me: Well nothing in particular. Wanted to talk for a moment.

Rajdeep: Then I am sorry mam, unless it is something specific, I do not talk.

Me: Not even if it is for appreciation.

Rajdeep: (sounding confused) Well thanks for calling for appreciating, but no.

Me: You have already wasted 30 seconds and I just have a minute and a half more.

Rajdeep: Well tell me please.

Spontaneous praises. I was surprised at the beauty of the words that were flowing. Wo.(It was an effort to stop myself.)

Rajdeep: I am touched mam. Thanks so much for calling and for all your appreciation. (sounding so gentle and polite). Thanks so much. And I’ll really appreciate if you could send in your feedback, constructive feedback. I’ll sure work on it.

(In the background, maulik yells…mamma, mamma)

Rajdeep: So you are a mom too.

Me: Yes

Rajdeep: Sweet. And working too?

Me: Ya. I work for HT Media.

Rajdeep: Good. Very Good. And madam, thanks again for calling. Am sincerely touched. All the best lady. All the very best.

Thanks Rajashree for the number. This indeed was bliss.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Pink city turns red, hell

The pink city of Jaipur is red today. With blood splattered all over the streets that witnessed tragedy and pain yesterday, the city has a sad story to tell. Just the time when devotees were waiting for parshaad at the hanuman temple, there was a loud blast. Many fell - some never got up. The death of 60 people in the city isn’t what this beautiful historical destination would have forseen for them.

As the series of bombs exploded in various parts of the city, once again the TV channels got their share of masala to report. The state machinery is being questioned, the intelligence agencies are being blamed, top journos are yelling about terrorism, all the f*****g terrorist outfits are suspected. At the end of it - all we will know is some survivor stories, how some people died, how some were saved miraculously, how many actually die, who could be blamed and how many arrests could the police manage. There is no other chapter in this book of ‘reporting terrorist attack’.

The country has witnessed some of the goriest terror attacks in the last few months, with that in Mumbai which I very candidly remember. But none other than the victims and their families remember them. We have no time, the government has the next elections to plan for, the opposition is strategizing for a win, most of the journalists are either travelling or talking about food and lifestyle. So who will talk about terrorism and not just talk, but discuss, debate and compel the government to try to look for solution. We really need to get harder on our stand: we will not tolerate this anymore.

But we Indians do not take time to adjust - adjust to situations, problems, difficulities etc. Now looks like we are getting used to terrorism too. Lets not turn our backs to the tragedy, atleast pray for those who suffered. This killer called terrorism can come to anyone, anytime. We are lucky only till the day we are not in the middle of it. Unless those who can really do something about it fasten their belts, looks like this menace is here to stay. The memories of our recent Jaipur trip got a jolt yesterday. What if terrorists had planned it all on the day we were there, in the temple, at the market place.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Tryst with pain

Pain always hurts, its just varying tolerance and proportions. After what I was exposed to yesterday, I shall try and never say I know what pain is. What I saw was grief, the feeblest form of misery, the gravest experience of near pain. I was at Dharamshila Cancer Hospital.

I cautiously walked into the ICU. My careful steps and observant eyes passed through all those who even the doctors would say, were waiting for their turn. All of them so lonely, so much in pain, with maybe so many questions and unachieved dreams in their lifeless, expressionless eyes.

Meeting naani is never depressing. She is always chirpy and becomes excited seeing visitors. When asked why she was feeling low, she told me that since the others in ICU were critical cancer patients, she too was kept in that silence and solitude and wasn't allowed TV. Her report says that the cancer which had been sucking her from inside for past two years had now infected her bones too. When her hemoglobin touched 3, about four days ago, none of us thought we would ever see her that cheerful…but there she was - smiling in all that pain while living a chemo and drug dependent life.

Naani hated the ICU. When finally moved into the hospital room, she sighed relief. She had hated the last three days as she could not do her morning chores well and was badly missing a hand and body lotion. The only complaint from my 74 year modish grandma: “I hate these wrinkles. I know its age for me, but the wrinkles are suddenly getting worse”. Thank God, I have learned to hold my tears.

Everyone at the hospital had the same story. The disease that pushes one towards his/her end slowly, painfully had infected many. The lonely patients in the room weren’t saying that there was no one for them. There story said that to assist their treatment at the hospital, their family was really slogging hard. Quality treatment in our country is a privilege. A day in the hospital can rob you of your monthly salary and even after spending all that money, what one can guarantee is a little less painful death. But death, for almost all the admitted patients there, was a soon approaching reality. The time, which money was buying for them, was only to ensure that everyone gets ready to face the loss.

Death, just like their pain, is inevitable.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Back again...

Not that life was devoid of any excitement, it wasn't. But it had also loaded me with countless responsibilities, both at the office and home front. Even the 18 + hours in the day seemed insufficient and everything has been taking toll on me and my time – almost literally.

A flashback and recording of all that I travelled through in the past few weeks-

Holi was good. Masi and family doubled the fun. Awesome masti, and the day ended with a dinner at Murthal. The price for all this - the next day came with shock – my maid refused to come back (never!!!) from her chutti. With Maulik in Sonipat and us at Gurgaon, the days that followed were not so good. A week later, came a nice lunch at Veda (CP) with Mom, Dad and Abby. This was a good bye treat for Abby and a welcome thing for my little angel. It rained, in emotion and otherwise. Maulik was back to Gurgaon. A new maid followed soon. Wish me luck.

Abby left for Seattle on the 10th night. Amidst all the confusion and madness at the airport, all of us managed to get emotional. This time it was Maulik crying and hugging Abby – Mein maamu ke saath US jaaonga. Finally we convinced him that once he has his papers to show to the guys there, he can follow Abby. Mauli agreed to show his Amiown (his school) papers the next day and take off. Bye Abby, hoping you have a rocking time.

The 24th of April was special. It was a hawan at Amiown. We were as thrilled as he was. Not to miss that he thoroughly enjoyed the ceremonies and seemed to like the vibrant and flashy school building. Everything, except Mr. Chauhan’s (the chairperson) long, ill-witted, naïve and advertisement-sounding speech, was good. Even the ladoos were delicious.

Yesterday was Mauli's first day at school. When we went to pick him up, the puppy look on his face when he sobbed and said, "mummy app mujhe chod kar kyoon chale gaye they", is a moment i will never forget. Bless him.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Is God on vacation?

I shivered at the sight of a canula in this little boy’s wrist. It pains, I know. When the long and merciless needle was poked into it, all I heard was a dim sound of pain. I opened my eyes to see this barely 4 year old smiling and looking at his dad’s pale face: dekha mujhe dard nahi hota. I couldn’t control myself and gave him a pat. Brave boy, I thought. His dad was telling the attendant that the boy has been down with high fever since last 5 days.

The waiting room at the hospital was unusually busy. Looks like the world is down with viral. Even the horrific stories of Sajay ji’s (at office) niece that I hear, are painful. The 7 year old was recently operated for an intestinal infection. The infection, the doctors said, was a result of consistent high fever. Vicky’s son too is not recovering from congestion and fever - the angel has been suffering from the past 9 days.

The little ones for sure do not deserve this. God, it’s time for you to come back from your vacation. Are you listening?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Good News!!!

Mom would always say that khushi batane se nazar lagti hai, me thinks badti hai. Can't think mom could be wrong, but will still post the happy news from my life.

1. Me gets new car (wagon R, royal gold)
2. Mauli gets through the admission process at Amiown.
3. Abby going to Redmond for Microsoft MVP summit.

The only common point (read as downside) is that everything in the list is all about kharcha, all at the time when the tax men are sharpening their axe. Bachao

Friday, February 22, 2008

Cricket Bazaar

It is the first time that I am disagreeing with Mr. Rajdeep. When India lost it to Sri Lanka in the run for World Cup, Rajdeep had written about how relieved he was feeling from all that unnecessary razzmatazz around the game. (http://www.ibnlive.com/blogs/rajdeepsardesai/1/1387/death-of-a-game.html)

Today, the entire IPL thing looks the same to me. But in http://www.ibnlive.com/blogs/rajdeepsardesai/1/50320/crickets-big-bazaar.html, Rajdeep gives in to the cricketers. According to me, when cricketers are seen more on Page 3 and less on the front page for winning matches, I feel the game is losing its spirit. In a country where traffic problem ceases to be a problem on the match days, the commercial tangent to the game looks unfair. Can we forget the comotion the streets of mumbai when the 20-20 team was returning after their landmark victory.

Sir (Rajdeep) himself tells us about this guy who was dropped from the Indian team for a tour of England in 1952 because he tried to earn a living by playing professional cricket for a Lancashire club. Though I completely nod my head with his write up, in the last para, I stop. The finances attached to the game have really changed. I see more Dhoni and Yuvi with my evening Cuppa, than bollywood. Had the IPL kinda thing come in the times when cricketers were under paid, all this wud have made sense, but surely not today. I am sure no one wants to watch the sell purchase game of cricketers. It’s purely a money and fame game…donno how much of a game it shall remain though.

Sorry Sir, but I think the guys are getting much more than their share, in terms of money as well as limelight, and even as contenders for our Ms. Deepika.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Bye Bye Appu Ghar

Delhi cannot forget Appu Ghar. In the days when malls and multiplexes were only a plan on paper, Appu Ghar was our most dependable source of entertainment. The place wasn't just fun for the kids, Appu has given moments of fun to everyone who has ever been there. From kids having unlimited masti, people hogging on gol gappas and chat papadi, to love birds finding a reason to hold each other on the rides, Appu has seen it all. If your love blossomed with visits to the Appu ghar, you sure wouldn’t have missed getting the name of your sweetheart engraved on the rice grain. My very favorite Appu Ghar rides were ‘my fair lady’ and ‘columbus’, though even the car racing and 3D movie used to be exciting. How much I wish Maulik could have seen the place.

The 24 year old Appu Ghar has to go and no reason that the government is offering for the same, can justify. Even if i try hard, I actually cannot recall the number of times I have been to Appu Ghar. With mom-dad, with friends, with Anuj, the same happiness has resounded with all. With government trying hard to balance population with infrastructure development, Delhi already is losing its shine. With Appu Ghar gone, there will be an ugly patch forever.

Appu Ghar had kept the memories of our APPU alive. Appu, the mascot for the Asian Games, got its name from a baby elephant called Kutti. We will as much miss Appu, as the Appu Ghar. Thank You Appu Ghar for all that fun and galore. We will miss you.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Induction Program

Almost after spending an year at NIIT, I got a mail that my nomination for induction program was accepted and I could join the immediate next batch. In a company which believes in throwing people in deep waters to teach them swimming, spending an year meant learning the A-Z of everything. Well I seriously thought most of the induction programs were just an eye wash and were there only because they were there. But today I disagree.

When I entered the lift from the 10th floor today evening, there were two liftmen (I thought so from their uniform). Before I could start to think why there was an extra liftman, I heard one of them whispering to the other, “this mam always comes to the 10th floor, but not all the people go to the same floor everyday”. He went on, “a few more days and you will know who climbs to which floor and also the people for whom you should hold the lift if you see them getting down the car. You must also make sure that you hold the lift for all women, just as I did”. The new liftman was constantly nodding, looking a bit hassled with information overload. The instructor again began, “initially all this may look difficult, but majboori teaches you everything. You work hard and make no mistakes, they will soon make you permanent.”

As we were approaching the ground, the instructor concluded, “You have almost learned everything in your first day of training. Tomorrow maybe I will teach you how to respond when the lift gets stuck, you really need to know what to do in such a case.” The new liftman’s eyes brightened here, “I know in that case we can press the phone button on the board and talk to the controls guys”, he said. Little did the boy knew that HT lifts are of the most pracheen version and have no phone button and calling facility. Pat came the trainers reply, “What phone button? Do you see a phone button here. There can never be a phone in the lifts, don’t assume things. Come in time tomorrow and I'll teach you how to ring the alarm bell and what to do further”.

This induction session, I thought, was really purposeful.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

CNN IBN Awards

Sreedharan is CNN IBN Indian of the year. He also won an award in the public service category. The man has done great job by breaking through bureaucratic red tape and making the metro plan come alive on time and within budget. While I have my due respect and appreciation for his contribution in trying to make sadi Dilli better, I really feel the Kousalya who is fighting for the cause of HIV positive patients could have been a better choice for the public service category. Sreedharan has got his share of awards and is on a platform where people know and respect his contribution. But this less known lady from south would have felt motivated if the award was conferred on her.

Now something funny and more interesting about the awards - our very own Shilpa Shetty was one of the nominations for….hold your heart...CNN IBN Indian of the year. Ha ha ha!!! Well was it for her flop musical, the abuses that Miss Goody blessed her with (they indeed led her to the journey of fame), her link up with the UK industrialist, or her hour glass figure…please tell me WHY? But yes, her good looks (read as tummy) does deserve an award.

R K Laxman was give CNN IBN Lifetime Achievement award. The man was inconsolable. The face of common man that Laxman created, never spoke in is cartoons - and neither did Laxman on that day. He would break down every time he was asked to speak. Even Mr A P J Abdul Kalam’s hug did not help. Finally his wife took over and thanked everyone for the award. She also requested the audience to excuse him for being so sensitive(sho shweet). Well yes, the guy did remind me of my dad. I have seen him getting too emotional when being falicitated, so much so that he is hardly able to swallow his tears and speak.

Mr Laxman, congratulations. Sir, we love you.

Champu gets Padamshree...

I always thought Rajdeep is the best journalist we have in the country. Though he could never be the janta’s favorite like Barkha, he indeed is the best when it ccomes to analysis, presentation, and grilling politicians. The aggressiveness in him coupled with his intelligent sarcasm.…well I can go on and on. There are many people who dislike his aggressiveness, but i really feel all that aggressiveness comes naturally coz of the innate passion in him. I quite like it (read as him).

And now the big news, specially for all his critics at Keane - Rajdeep is the proud recepient of a Padamshree. The honor has also been conferred on Barkha Dutta. Ms. Dutt, though not my personal favorite, has all the courage it takes to be there and do that.

Congratulations Rajdeep. Congratulations Barkha. Thanks for taking journalism to new heights.

Friday, January 18, 2008

The CP that was

The CP that I see now looks unfamiliar. Bangla Sahib, the inner circle, the subways, the British Council Library are still the things that remind me of my yester years, so may other things are so very different.

At Wimpy’s today, I just could’nt relate to evrythhing. The classy train at the first floor was missing and so was anything and everything to do with style. The awful sundae complemented the shabby interiors. The Wimpy’s which was once a doting place for the Indian Airlines pilots and crew was no better than any sub standard road side dhaba. When the sales guy said that he doe’nt know of any train being ever there, I knew one think for sure – I’ve really turned ancient. Masi, I really missed you today.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Maid Mania

Ever since Lalita has left, we really have gone through a bad time….when I say bad, I mean getting up at 5 in the morning to manage the household chores and then reach home to continue doing the same. But the biggest issue (I hate to consider it an issue) was finding a safe haven for Maulik. From sending my bebu to Nani’s house, to finding a day care, to Anuj’s working in night shifts to ensure that he is around in the day… we tried everything. The Maid Agency, who already had extracted the yearly commission from us before Lalita had left, was now taking us for a ride. The maids that he provided thereafter were samples that I can never forget in my life.

Chanchali: On the second day of her arrival, she told me that she wanted a stop gap arrangement for a month as her husband would be taking her away after that. Since she only had to let the month pass, she never was interested in doing anything and ultimately chilled out for a month and left.

Kusha: She didn’t know Hindi. Neither did she knew English. I donno Nepalese. The only Nepalese I understand is taatu (hot) and the only Hindi she knew was haanji. I started experiencing hair fall and we asked her to leave.

Priya: At 16, she was a head turner…and she knew it. She thought we probably needed her to adorn our dull interiors. The household jhaadu-pocha jobs were beyond her. The day we were taking her back to the agency, she refused to sit in the front seat with the driver. Oops!!

Pooja: Smart kid she was…too smart for us to handle. Her sexy low waist jeans and high neck sweaters complemented her bindaas outlook. She was perfect in almost everything she would do, but she would hardly get time…thanks to Ekta Kapoor. Most of the time she was on her bed, popping combiflams, as she was hurt during a hide-n-seek game with Maulik. She would watch the K serials back to back. She threatened the dhobi, the kudewala, the sabjiwala of dire consequences if they do not turn up on time. Her 20 gutka packets a day were a pain, as much as her referring to maulik as jaan. But our patience levels were high by then. So much so that we even tolerated her cigarettes. But the last straw was a complaint by the dhobi that she had been demanding a bottle of desi daaru from him. That was her last day with us. Later, we recovered 7 combiflams from under her mattress.

Aunty Ji: Very scared of the young Nepalese janta, this time we managed to find a 38 year old. Day 1 of her services she told me that her age would not permit her for doing laundry. Day 2 she declared that she cannot clean bathrooms because she has never done the same. Dressed up with sophistication in a pinned up sari, she was a good change. While I was washing precisely 54 clothes, she was nicely sitting with Maulik and teaching mannerism…chalo at least Maulik has a decent company, I thought. But Mauli dear wasn’t ready for all that seriousness in life. Day 3, she complaint about Mauli’s naughtiness!!! It took me 2 seconds to say bye bye.

An FIR against the agent and then search and research for the new options. Now we finally have Rupa with us. A chatter box that she is, this bong is giving Maulik the perfect company. Is she here to stay….only time will tell.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Hits and Pits 2007

The last three months of 2007 saw me really busy, so damn busy that even my blog felt neglected. I promise to give it more time this year.

There was a lot of action in the year we just said goodbye to. Here is my list of hits and pits for the year that was...well great!! (the list of pits is far too small)

HITS
Happier me
Getting closer to my dream

Rediscovering Anuj
Maulik’s birthday party
Papa at Satyakiran, Abby at Microsoft, Anuj at Genpact, Me at HT
Trip to Bodhisatva with Keane friends and to Haridwar with papa-beta
Guddu and Sakshi’s shaadi
Makeover of the Sonipat house
Friends at Keane and my farewell lunch at Red Hot Café
First Diwali in Gurgaon

The Jaipur Trip
Attending Ramdevji’s camp + ayurvedic sessions during a 15 day break at Sonipat
Losing a few kilos
Welcoming 2008 at Odyssey with Maulik!!! (my first ever visit to a disc)

PITS
Lalit bhaiya's demise
Lalita’s leaving us (God bless you)
Trial run with 5 maids
Gaining a few kilos
Life getting busier

Monday, January 14, 2008

Me has reached HT Media

Mom dad always used to say that it is very important to dream big. Hard work and commitment, they would say, can really take you high. It indeed worked for me. I am on the 10th floor (thats high) of HT House. My dream has come true from the rear side (the front door enters Hindustan Times, the newspaper office, while the rear door takes me to HT Internet Initiative).

I am feeling good. In the hustle bustle of CP, nostalgia is taking over. The view from my window is …can I say wow. Colorful people, commotion, traffic, high risers – in the newness of Gurgaon I missed all this. In Gurgaon everyone looked rich and everything is so hep...i somehow missed real life and action. Here everything is so real - the struggle, the mad rush, the delhi…. Hey Delhi, i am here.