Who am I to Myself ?

Friday, February 12, 2010

What do you think I am going to write here...looking at the title?

I bet you guessed that I am going to discuss something philosophic.

Maybe I AM at that age when one starts introspecting. Considering the current average life expectancy of man, I am really almost exactly at the mid point. From here I can look back and look forward. I can analyse my actions in the past and plan my actions for the future. I can look at how I have changed, grown...what I have experienced, learnt....I can decide what I should be....

Well...I can do all that but I am not going to... not right now anyway.. :D

This is different...

Have you used Geni?

Geni is this site that allows you to create your family tree...and allows you to stay in touch with the others in your family. For the last few months, many of my relatives have been creating family trees and including me in it.

First a cousin of my mother's created our family tree. Now my mother's side family tree is almost complete. Last week, my husband's uncle created a family tree for my husband's family. Now what happened is, these two uncles have given two different email ids of mine in the respective trees.

I had this bright idea on a weak, jobless moment last week of trying to link the two trees up and making a HUGE tree. (As Vaikom Mohd Basheer said 'Onnum onnum koodiya..immini balya oru onnu'*)

I spent some time trying to do this. One of the things I tried was to give my other email id as an alternate id for myself in one of the trees.

I don't know what got into Geni, but it seemed to think that I had invited myself to my tree... and it asked me... "Do you want to know how you are related to Wannabe?"

Now how can one resist such a question!!!! I surely did want to know what I was to myself... how I am related to myself!!!!

I was also impressed! Being from the software background myself and having learnt data structures and hence trees and tree traversal software in the process, I wanted to know how Geni would relate me to myself!!! I wanted to know if Geni would know the simple, basic answer that I am Me!!!

So I did it...I clicked the link.... And what do you think Geni said????

Any guesses?

*********Edited to add *******
You guys are not going to believe this! Geni said

"Wannabe is your husband's first cousin once removed's husband's nephew's wife's first cousin once removed's husband's aunt's husband's sister's husband's niece's husband's first cousin once removed. "


*Vaikom Muhammed Basheer - in his novel Baalyakaalasakhi

* Translation - 1 plus 1 = quite a big 1!

True Lies...

Monday, January 25, 2010

My eight year old is learning to tell lies and thankfully she is not getting it right... yet!

The unwritten rule is that she must finish the water in her waterbottle and that there should be no water left in the evening. A few weeks back, everyday she was bringing back the bottle just the way she took it in the morning - with all the water intact. I was scolding her about that and she says 'I am finishing all the water and filling it up again at school'! She is at school from 8 to 2:30 and then she is at the day care till I pick her up at around 6:30 or 7. She knows that I can verify with the babysitter so she does not say she fills it up there. So she says she finishes all the water in school and fills it up in school. Without any doubt, I know that this is a lie because there is no way she can finish all that water in school that she needs to fill it up. So I confront her and totally refuse to believe her until she breaks down and confesses.

She is yet to figure out that she can just throw the water out and bring the bottle back empty and I wouldn't know!

The other day she had a math test. We did major preparation and she solved lot of problems to learn division of 3 digit numbers. We tried all combinations - where 0 comes in the beginning of the quotient, where 0 comes in the middle of the quotient etc.

So after the test, in the evening, I ask her how it went. She says it was easy. And then she slowly starts explaining. 'Amma, there was this problem that we had to solve. It was like how you taught me where you cannot divide the first digit with the divisor'. She then gives me an example and solves it perfectly. I am proud. Then she says 'But during the test, I was confused. I was not sure how to do it'. So I ask,'Oh..then what did you do?'. She says 'Ma'am helped us.' I was surprised that Ma'am will help during a test and was quite impressed too. Test is not as important as ensuring that the children understand what they are doing. So she says, 'Not the same problem. But Ma'am solves a similar problem on the board and we have to do this one in the same way'. I am even more impressed.

And then she does it.

She says, 'But you know what I did? When I did the problem after Ma'am showed us how to do, I also wrote it down in my paper in Ma'am's handwriting. I copied the handwriting also. So you might think Ma'am wrote it but actually it was me!'

I literally burst into laughter at that. I still haven't fully figured out the reason for that lie. I'll probably know when I get the worksheet. But I promptly let her know that I know that it is a lie. I told her that it is okay if she made a mistake in her worksheet and that I will not scold her for that. She can tell me the truth. Then with an embarassed grin, she admitted that what she said was not true. I did not pursue the topic and decided to wait till I get the worksheet to figure it out!

I am enjoying the whole phase... I hope the innocence is never lost completely!

My 'Colour'ful Weekend!!!!!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I knew it!

I knew that a visit from her could never be uneventful! Not possible!

Colours and Patterns (let us just call her hubby Patterns for this post as I don't know if I am allowed to use his blog identity!!! hee hee!!!) landed in Dubai last Thursday afternoon. They had left their marriage certificate in Germany and Emirates refused to give them a transit visa without that. (Why is nobody surprised any more at UAE's strange ways!). So we took a visa for them separately through a travel agent.

They were quite thrilled to be able to call themselves 'single' after 10 years of marriage and a few years of 'going steady' before that! :D So they kept repeating every two hours that they are not related! I was scared to put them in the same room knowing UAE's morality code! ;)

Well...the story I wanted to narrate was a different one.

I am not sure if you all know...but as an Indian in Dubai you can live many different kind of lives. You can live the 'labour camp' way, the 'bachelor' way, the 'Indian' way, the 'multicultural' way and also the 'European' way! Not sure if there are more ways....maybe some of you can tell me...

I am sure you all have read the several degrading articles and hence do not need me to explain the labour camp life.

The bachelor life means paying a rent of 1000 dhs or less and spending another 750 or 1000 on food and living in a shared apartment - sometimes with bunk beds and 6 people in a room...sometimes with only 2-3 in a room.

The highest population of Indian families live the 'Indian' way - which translates roughly to 'when in the UAE live like the Indians'. This means that you speak your native language, celebrate all your festivals, cook your type of food, have only
Indian friends, wear Indian clothes or western clothes with Indian jewellery (!!!!), watch Indian channels, read Indian magazines, teach your children in Indian schools, hang your clothes in your balcony to dry, decorate your door with stuff,draw kolams or rangolis, teach kids Indian dance and music, go for satsang,bhajans and yoga classes etc....

The 'multi cultural' or 'European' way is when you live in areas/buildings with mostly Europeans or other nationalities around. You have a mixed lifestyle and are a little confused. You are scared to wear Salwar Kameez. Teach your children in British schools and send them for ballet classes. Parents and children speak English with different accents at home.

Well...since we arrived in Dubai, we have lived the 'Indian' way. It was not a conscious decision...because we are quite open and adaptable. It was just that our job and the area we live in did not force us to make any changes. While I do meet people of all nationalities on my official demos and meetings, the company is Indian and hence the culture is Indian as well. Our social life (what there is of it) is totally Indian. It was only last month that we moved into a nice, expensive two bedroom apartment from a much smaller single bedroom apartment....the blessing of the recession!

So this weekend we had a full house - a cousin and wife from India on visit, Colours and Patterns, three of us, the BIL and another cousin brother.

On Saturday morning, colours had fixed up an appointment with her MBA classmate at Starbucks. She left to meet him.

The rest of us were home. I, like a good hostess, made a nice (I hope!) breakfast of Poori and Potato curry. So we had a late and relaxed breakfast. And all of us were in pyjamas and nighties, sitting at the dining table. We had finished breakfast and
were having some discussion with our plates in front of us, occassionally licking our fingers when the doorbell rang.

We open the door and we find Colours there with...................this French guy!!!!!!!

All of us almost collapsed in shock and shame. My first impulse was to run and get an Aarti platter and do an Aarti for him with tears in my eyes...(first time a saayip* is coming home!!!)

Our lady had brought her friend to meet us with absolutely NO WARNING and here we were all dressed like beggars and with dirty hands and plates. None of us could even shake hands with him!

We somehow manage our hellos and how are yous, hoping that our brilliant and charming smile will somehow make him forget the rest of our appearance!

Then we huddle in the kitchen discussing what we should do next. With my experience with books and movies, I say...'we should offer him something to drink! I will go and ask him, "would you like a drink?" ' This was vetoed down because if he asks for Whisky and soda, a Martini or a Vodka as they do in movies, we wouldn't have any!!! So I go and ask him 'Can I offer you some fruit juice?' Poor guy takes pity on me and accepts.

We then left Colours and Patterns to take care of their guest and stayed away.

I still shudder when I imagine what he would have thought when the door opened and he saw a whole lot of people in a 2 bedroom apartment, all in rags, licking their plates and fingers!!!!

*Mallu version of 'sahib'..legacy of the British colonial rule

Can't think of a title for this one!!!

Monday, January 4, 2010

'Hi Darling'....
'How are you, sweetheart?'

This is how Colours and I start our conversation on Google Talk every day!

We belong to another era... where it was quite alright for girls to call other girls 'darling', hold hands with them, greet each other with a hug and a kiss, even sleep together.

When we started hostel, we stayed for a few months in a 'common room'...which was a kind of dormitory and we were ten of us there. We were living out of our suitcases as there were no wardrobes or shelves.

Well, colours and I, would always have all our clothes on our cots as we were lazy to fold the clothes we washed. So we found a solution, we used one cot for dumping both our clothes on and slept together on the other! It was not considered scandalous! And anyway, all of us were too much interested in the boys that we did not have time to bother with girls!

Everything is so different today. When we talk about our hostel days or generally talk the way we have always talked for the last 14+ years, we get a naughty grin or a snigger from people.

So is the modern society getting to be more broad minded or quite the reverse...you tell me!

Well..all that reminiscence was because she is visiting me in Dubai in another 10 days! Yahooooooo!!!

I hope you all had a great New Year's Day! Wish you all a great year ahead!

Thanks Nance and Agnes for checking up on me... I do hope to be more regular this year!

I have been literally on my toes the last month with the rehearsals, the dance program, shifting to a new apartment, going to India for a 5 day trip to attend a cousin's wedding, coming back and still trying to get the new house into some shape!

The dance program went off very well..even the severest critics (read my family) had only lot of good things to say. The dance drama itself had great composition, lovely music, wonderful choreography and beautiful stage settings, props and costumes. The audience gave great support. For the final Pattabhishekam (Coronation) scene, when they return from the forest to Ayodhya, Rama, Lakshmana and Sita make their entry from behind the audience and walk through the audience onto the stage. The crowd got rather excited then! It was fun!

And it was great to be back into all that backstage excitement - make up, between scenes dress changes, running around to make sure you are ready in time for the next scene...

I did manage to bring out the man in me I guess...but I do need to see the video to really make sure.I got a lot of positive feedback from people who watched the show. Well...the costume also helped to be more free and aggressive on stage!

If you promise, not to laugh, I'll show you a picture!

Dance Like a Man

Monday, November 30, 2009

Accoding to Linda Goodman, every Libran woman has a man in her and every Libran man has a woman in him. Normally I prefer not to take her too seriously because she makes some unflattering remarks about us. I have always had this theory that a Libran probably stole some boyfriend of hers! I also have a theory that the boyfriend was probably Aquarian! Well...in any case...I hope she is right in this case. I am currently in the process of bringing out the male side of me.

No... it is NOT what you think (I have no idea what you are thinking....but considering the current times, it is definitely something scandalous!)

I have a dance performance on December 19th wherein I am performing in a dance drama as a male character.

Even though I have perfomed several historical and mytholoical parts in my life, I have not had a chance to play a male character before this. Considering the fact that I need shoes with at least half inch heels to call myself a five footer, you cannot blame anyone for not giving me such roles. Unless you are playing 'Snow White and Seven Dwarfs', that is!

So now I am getting a chance and I am playing a king - the father of Kaikeyi. The dance drama we are doing tries to portray Kaikayi of Ramayana in a different light. It tries to bring out the reasons behind Kaikeyi's actions and portrays her as a good person in spite of her actions. So I play the part of her father who is quite unique considering the fact that during the times when girls were brought up with the sole intention of catching a good husband, he brought up his daughter in such a way that she does not need a man in her life and can take care of herself. He had incurred a curse that his daughter will lose her husband and that too due to her own actions. Fearful of her future, he teaches her weaponry and charioteering instead of music and dance to make her a bold woman.

It is interesting and challenging to do the role as there is a chance to portray different feelings - affection for the daughter, fear for her future, guilt that his actions will cause pain for his daughter, pride in her achievements, shrewdness to ensure he gets a good deal for his daughter when Dasharatha asks for her hand in marriage etc. The music and choreography is quite lovely too.

But the toughest part is to get the male body language...stop being graceful and become aggressive, proud and majestic. Stop being the mother and start becoming the father.

But I am having fun!

On bells and diyas....

Monday, October 26, 2009

'Amma...you know... M has a Gujarati family staying next door who are always disturbing everyone' said my daughter one day last week. I settled down to listen to her story. M is her classmate, busmate and close friend. She explained that the smoke from the diya they lit for Diwali caused the fire alarm to ring. I laughed and said such things happen. Then she says that according to M, even during Ramadan, they will do their morning prayers with bells ringing and disturb others.

I stopped laughing. I realised where this was coming from. Some stray comments M's parents have let fall about their neighbours and their religious practices have been picked up by the kid and is being passed around. It upset me.

Now, I am one of those people who lights the lamp in my makeshift puja corner only twice or thrice a year...for onam, vishu and navarathri. And the apple I kept for Puja for Navrathri is still there because I have not gone back there since. But I did not like this! I felt uncomfortable that there is so much intolerance in people and what upset me was that the children are repeating it and discussing it.

So whether it was warranted or not, I gave my daughter a long lecture about freedom of religion, secularism and tolerance. I told her that praying to God is good in whatever way it is done. Each person has a different way of praying to God. Some sing hymns, some do puja ringing bells, some go to temple/mosque/church and pray. I said that no one has the right to stop another person from having their own beliefs and their own way of prayer. I said if the ringing of bell can be called troublesome, so can the church bells and the prayer calls from the mosques. But in actual fact, they are just different ways of praying to the same God. If everyone just lets everyone else be, the world will be a much better place.

I hoped she would go and repeat what I said to her friend.

Probably I overreacted to a small incident but what bugged me was the fact that thoughts like this are being planted in the minds of small children. Parents do not realise that stray comments or opinions they pass can create a lasting impact in the mind of small children.

It just brought back to me all over again the tremendous responsibility of being a parent!

Much ado about nothing!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

This blog entry is being written at gun point. Nancy has
threatened to take me off her blogroll if I do not update.
She seems to have taken unkindly to cobwebs on her blogroll.
Now being terrified of being taken off one of the most popular blogs around,
I am forced to write this entry.

I am not stupid. I don't want to be deprived of a chance
of getting new readers every day without writing

Well...that said, I must really apologise to the
few nice people who read and seem to like what
I write.

I haven't written not because nothing interesting
has happened to me. It has been a combination of
work, travel and most of all lack of topics to
write about.

See...I still haven't got a clue what I want to write

Well, I made a beginning and got out of the inertia. Now will put up
that long pending post along with colours about my visit to her place.
Or maybe I'll write about my new blackberry! :D

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