Monday, December 29, 2008

Looking Back Looking Forward

Went out to watch Slum Dog Millionaire yesterday afternoon, embarrassed Gman like anything as I bawled through the movie (and would close my eyes through anything traumatic ...like the "Gangajal" inspired scene... all the while asking him in a loud voice to let me know when its over). Oh the movie is sweet...and yes detractors might point out that Danny Boy(le) used all the clichés (and some more)) about desis but frankly I think that is THE VERY REASON the movie works. I was crying because so much was familair and though there is nothing similar about our lives (so far!) I could identify with the young protagonist.Tell me how many of you wouldnt have taken the "leap of faith" when the Big B helicopter came abuzzing?!! I was laughing and crying and telling everyone "I SO UNDERSTAND".

And I see parallels in Jamal's journey with my year so far,the movie (and the year's) ability to "wrench" out every emotion from us, . Never has an year literally "taken it out of me", a rollercoaster of emotions, I look back at it exhausted. I know I cannot be ungrateful for the year has blessed me with happiness beyond my comprehension, there is a new nest and hearth (the GREAT middle-class dream eh)and an opportunity to expand our eccentric gene pool hee hee...but all this while I fall helter skelter into the lives of my grandparents as fate (and a fair bit of human evil) erases all the markers of my life.
Melbourne mornings, Pesho looks out in the night.



Pesho's brother visits and the three musketeers watch some tele.


Travel, travel, travel and meeting in airport lounges as 'ships/planes that pass in the night'.



Aspirations mine and the city's, Lower Parel's 'enterprising entrepreneur' who lapped up the fruits of the information revolution while a certain section of the population will not grow beyond passive 'milestones' on the Haji Ali causeway



Balcony with a view, Bare Miyan and a self portrait--giddy with glee and high on kebabs a 'memory bundle' for a moment that did come true.


Visits home...baby dust...and OBCD Aneela will document EVERYTHING.




They say that when Shakespeare referred to the Winter of Discontent he meant the silencing of dissent rather than its expression. Perhaps when there are no exit strategies, and a populace simmers in hate, the gardens of Wah no more grow flowers. Deserted shoes line its avenues. And where a spring of sweet water once enraptured a Mughal king, now lies drenched with the blood of poor laborers.
Like Lahiri's Ashima and Ashoke I feel I live the lives of the 'extremely aged'...'those for whom everyone they once knew and loved are lost'...Marriott lunches, Gakhar plaza DVDs, Taj evenings.

Closing the door on 2008 with a hope and prayer that I open it to a new, bright tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Stop Being So Rigid

Pesho's Gem of the Day: In our quest to be 'politically correct' today...in our do-gooder spirit of purging all that is 'alien' to our culture...are we doing more harm than good? Shouldn't we in today's troubled times welcome ANY opportunity to celebrate peace and goodwill on earth? If in a "gesture of inclusivity" mosques and minarets are included in the nativity scene, celebrate it rather than getting "puritan" about sullying the 'ancient traditions of Christmas' (Pesho is happy that Cardinal Angelo Scola, the Patriarch of Venice has been more gracious in his statement).


And as a wise soul once said "Beshaq mandir masjid todo
Bulleshah ve kehta Par pyaar bhara dil kabhi na todo
Is dil mein dilbar rehta"


Hey even Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has got into the spirit of things...so Live a Little...so Merry Christmas to Creatures Big and Small!! AND HEY IVE BEEN A BLOODY GOOD CAT ALL THIS YEAR AND NO RELIGIOUS GRINCH IS GOING TO STEAL MY CHRISTMAS

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Live a Little, Yara!

I never knew it would be such a daunting task to go out to watch the new Shahrukh (well not so new, it was released ten days ago...and usually Shahrukh has yet to wash off the greasepaint and Im elbowing my way through the crowd to catch the first day first show...khair not so lucky this time around)...

Let me tell you that though the Rab was willing ...not so other people around me..and there was many a road block before I could settle down in my seat.
First one had to avoid making eye contact with Pesho before leaving the house..She has been seriously miffed that we have been out all week--it has been a nightmare finishing work, finalizing the moving (before the baby arrives on us), the doctor's appointments and catching up with people as the festive season is upon us.

Pesho JUST doesnt get it that ALL THIS IS VERY stressful and this was the first time I was doing something I WANTED...maybe she is preparing us for all the 'emotional blackmailing' the site under development will be subjecting us to eventually.


"Bahaney sab Bahaney" (excuses just excuses)

Ok, so Im finally in the theatre and the walk to my seat...major WALK OF SHAME...this time I have to avoid eye contact with all the Punjoo aunties who are whispering to each other "Vekh, vekh shameless pregnant woman watching a movie in her condition". I stare ahead steely eyed and wish I did have the "essetial pregnant woman accessory" --the knitting needles--just so I could stick them into their fat thighs for a second.

But SRK/Suri ji made up for all that and more-sigh!! For detractors who continue to pooh pooh the film (the film is the Surinder Sahni of movies...unassuming, humble, heart of gold, and lambee race ka ghoda--think the well meaning turtle which will pip everyone at the post) why cant you think beyond the question "Couldnt the wife tell?"...Arey baba, didnt you pay attention...SRK declares na "Rab willed it so" (that there were all these divine coincidences and that Tani could not see through his disguise)...so if you believe in the Rab in the Heavens and Shahrukh on earth ANYTHING can happen. And well Tani doesnt ever make eye contact with her husband so I doubt it whether she registered the famous dimples. So EVERYONE relax (and this includes the YRF crew, who are shouting themselves hoarse regarding how they looked through SRK in his Sahni avtaar the first day on the set, we get it!!)

Ok confession time...and yes I do realise that this pregnancy has been very Oprah-ish, "let the TRUE aneela out" at the moment. Ok my question is, arent we a wee bit too superstitious...I admit that I have done a fair bit of googling regarding "auspicious dates", "birth stars", consulted with people for "suitable names" and have this morbid fear of subscribing to pregnancy/birth newsletters as that would tempt the evil eye...I would rather just visit the site directly thank you, no e-letters in my inbox...and my friends do tease me about my liberal use of the phrase "nazar na lagey" (my excuse, try to understand where Im coming from...knowing what we do through 'proximity politics', where one false step can return us to starting point saanp seedhi style, life is one never ending "Go to Jail, Go directly to Jail, do not pass go, do not collect 200" card). But I realized how our silly fears do run the risk of taking over our lives, of making murky the life paths of young souls who have yet to take their first breath, and the inanity of the mental maths involved. Case in point, I ventured to the desi version of the Babycentre website (rather than the local Aussie version) and was confronted with questions regarding timing Cesareans to suit a "suitable time" on the home page....other pages had questions on rashes caused by the 'black thread' that babies wear to ward off the evil eye, and well the list went on. And I guess it was one community board exchange about how a birth at 5 minutes past a particular hour meant losses to the father, 5 minutes to the hour sufferings for the mom, 10 minutes past to the child in question, siblings, and similar problematic configurations and their repercussions for grandparents et al. Well, that was my as she puts it O! minute ...and I felt so shallow.

What is it with us? Have we really let our obsessions become the very evil demons that we want to avoid? Or did it strike me because I had some other 'portals to the world' for comparison?
Why cant we just live a little? Why do we have to fret so much? And why cant we enjoy the life changes, good and bad, that are to come?

You Are All Stars!!

Santa came a little early this year. The lovely D has sent this my way.

This is given to a blog that invests and believes in PROXIMITY - nearness in space, time and relationships! These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.

Well if I have to be honest (and have I ever been anything but?)...that bit about 'not being interested in prizes' SO NOT TRUE!! Arey, Im no Aamir 'I dont believe in awards, juries' Khan...I love all my trophies, OK...so if there is ANYONE out there thinking "hey she is much too 'self-content' and unconcerned to be bothered about all this award shaward business" so NOT true.

Now for the friends I have made courtesy my entry into the blog world.

Leaving 1302 aka Jammie,Parul,Mad Momma and Kiran Manral the dynamic posse who have been responsible for sending MAJOR baby dust my way...and who have made me rethink my lack of interest in little boys.

Jammie has been the cyber Dial-a-Mom over the past couple of months and has never been fazed by my inane queries,

Parul for friendship beyond the call of duty and making sense of my email/chat ramblings,

Mad Momma who like Lata Mangeshkar will "declare" her innings and refuse to accept awards/nominations pretty soon THOUGH SHE WILL ALWAYS BE NUMERO UNO IN OUR LIST

and Kiran M --our paths have been so similar, she is hands down my soul sister.

MayG and Mimi--my princesses, I guess the lines "sugar and spice and everything nice" were written JUST for them.

IHM --things are never dull in this household, she has rectified years of damage caused to the fair name of home makers everywhere by Desperate Housewives and the Saas Bahu serials.

and Unmana who has provided great insights into the Assamese mindset.

So go ahead...spread some good cheer...and for all the Doubting Thomas es out there, ne'er a mention of your bank account details.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Great Lucknow " Scam"!!

Disclaimer: The title of the post is not meant to cast any aspersions on, or degrade persons (living or dead), business groups or social organizations in UP or the greater Lucknow area. It is only used in good humour and in the spirit of the text of the post.

The lovely "D" from Lucknow has in the spirit of the season of giving and good cheer bestowed on this blog the award of PROXIMITY (more on this, my acceptance speech, my never ending gratitude to D and the "charming blogs" of my life tomorrow). It has to wait for the news of this award generated a maha interesting exchange at Casa Flinders Street which JUST could not be overshadowed by any acceptance speech.

So I log into my email account and receive news of my " blog award"...excitedly I call out to Gman and share my good news with him.

" Yeaahhh, my blog has just received an award, isn't that great news?"

" You didn't give them our bank account details did you?" he replies, visibly worried.

" Huh? Come again."

" You didn't give them your bank information yara, you dont know these scam artists" he repeats.

" Arey, its a blog award...like a 'badge of honour' given by your collegial networks in the blog world" I tick him off.

" Nahee baba, you don't know...this is all a Nigerian conspiracy"...ever the voice of caution. " Acha, tell me the website address"...some five minutes later he emerges a trifle embarrassed, but even then I could hear mutterings of " one can never be too careful in today's times" and even a " Yeh Chandni tau number 1 hai in the list, you try harder next time OK".Sorrrryyy Chandni!!

Sigh!!

Thanks a million "D" ...you might never have thought of all the intrigues et conspiracies generated in the minds of mere mortals when you first thought of sending this award my way!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Pesho Ko Ghussa Kiyoo Aata Hai

1) She is mad for she has been hearing talk about this new movie out "Marley & Me" that celebrates the love of a family for a dog..this young couple brings in a puppy and it basically chronicles their growth, life, love and tears over the years as the young couple grows into a family and how Marley 'ties' them all together.
Pesho thinks her kind has been doing ALL that and more over the years but they have not seen Hollywood acknowledging their contribution (and if any film studio is in production about her story Pesho wants Scarlett Johanssen to play her).

2) Pesho is bugged as her human (aneela) has had her wisdom tooth removed and has been mumbling instructions which is very disorienting...aneela has also been curled up on the sofa nursing her "war wounds" and the service has been verrryyy slow since then.

3)And that the humans have taken away the cordless phone since it was discovered that Pesho was jumping on it every time the phone rang while they were away, thus leading to major squabbles with their family "someone did answer the phone and kept quiet when they heard my voice..we know you are hiding there, OK"...and Aneela was left scratching her head as why everytime she and Gman were away the call history read as calls being made lasting EIGHT HOURS!!


Pesho also tried "befriending" our terracotta cat as it has been raining for the past week and she was at a loss for company...but soon realised that her new friend tasted eek when she tried grooming it.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Shoe-bomber Lives On

The past two days I have been walking around the house humming "Joota Laga" (to the tune of Kaanta Laga) and frankly marvelling at Georgie Boy's reflexes...when he smirked a couple of minutes later in the press conference was he thinking, Oye yeh tau roz hota hai ghar may (this is an every day story at home)...a lifetime of dodging Laura Bush's sandals?

This morning I received the following in the email...and it was too good not to share pronto.

Read onnnnnn...

Preliminary investigations: shoe tossed by Iraqi journalist at George Bush has been linked to Pakistan. It is said to have been made in a factory in Lahore.


Preliminary denial ; Zinda Dilan-e-Lahore ( Lahore's Large-Hearted) have no hand in manufacturing the shoe,or it would not have missed the TARGET.

President Zardari legislates that all future Press Conferences will be held inside the mosque at the Presidency, since shoes cannot be worn or carried inside mosques

Monday, December 15, 2008

Aneela Ko Ghussa Kiyoo Aata Hai

Aneela is mad because she was stuck for three hours with the Desi Aunty From Hell...being lectured on how "sons are best"...maybe its something in the air, I am just back visiting Chandni's blog where there have been a couple of exchanges in the comments section about whether its moms and grandmoms that are responsible for female infanticide. I can understand the dynamics in place that drive them to articulating their “preference” for the "little prince"...their insurance for old age for they know how their world is structured(how many of you were betting Ms Rajo Devi trying for a boy next year...Bala Ram didnt look THAT happy in the pics) ? Plus as I commented on Chandni's blog I have come across moms who declared they were glad they had sons, for they wouldnt wish their sad lives on any daughter. Even then, every time a woman expresses her desire for a son or when you are confronted by the Desi Aunty From Hell who will pooh-pooh anything you have to say about little girls---for a minute you do contemplate doing some time for cold murder.

I think it is the inanity of the situation that gets to me...here is a woman, with the benefit of age, experience and (I was hoping) wisdom in conversation with another woman who is all dewy eyed about the future and her's (and her child-to-be) place in the world and all that the horrible crone has to offer is pure venom about her own gender? And to be so self-righteous about not staying at a daughter's place even when there was a family emergency. That doesnt merit for brownie points in anyone's book any more...does it?

I have never thought of my mom's summer breaks or when my aunts visit their daughters as something EXCEPTIONAL...I take it as FINALLY some mom-daughter bonding time now that the trials and tribulations of mopping up after childhood spills , long years of putting up with teenage drama queens and twenty-something "what am I doing with my life, mother" queries are over. I dont want to be robbed of the best years of the mother-daughter relationship just because my mother will miss out on some medal for being a 'virtous mom'.

So the Desi Aunty dribbled and dribbled some more patented desi vitriol...the kind of bak-bak we do best...and all this within hearing range of a dad who was fussing over his two daughters perched on his lap...my baby-to-be was kicking like anything, DUNK MEAN AUNTY IN THE CURRY POT NOW, MOTHER!! Sadly, mother didnt and was hoping her words could do what her fists couldnt.

And Desi Aunty didnt have an opinion about XY better than XX alone...her other fav topic was asking me why I thought people left India (in her case) for Melbourne (or elsewhere)...I was tempted to say "to get away from you, woman" ...see I cant answer for others--when it comes to Gman and me, it has been more "wherever our jobs have taken us" rather than a conscious decision to pack up and leave...and do you actually LEAVE? khair, that is another post in the making...coming back to the Aunty, she was pretty passionate about her idea of the quality of life and the value of the dollar, and I wish she could just HEAR herself for a minute.
"Dekho Aneela, what can I get for a dollar here when I can get so much for a rupee in Delhi"

(and at this stage let me clarify this is not a comment on Aunties from Delhi...Ive heard equally ridiculous comments out of the mouths of women from Lahore, LalaMusa, Peshawar, Calcutta and Chennai)...and I replied "Im pretty sure that inflation has hit the markets of Delhi and it is difficult for the poor and not-so-poor to meet the proverbial two ends meet"...

and she is pretty vehement "No for one rupee I can buy so much, I can buy a comb, I can buy a reel of thread, can you for a dollar" ...

"Umm, cliched though it is...man or an aunty cannot live on a comb alone..at some stage you need some decent carbs et proteins and that you are not getting on your one rupee"

Listen, this is not a simple-lets decide over a dinner- argument, and the Aunty in question has grown up children, so I cannot get into the aspirations-for-children and how its getting more and more expensive in South Asia..as the state has more or less stepped back and we see "privatization" of security, education...my family for one can "buy" their electricity courtesy generators otherwise a growing powerless Islamabad is in a state of darkness in more ways than one. Anyways, for the next couple of months Im having dinner at home and not stepping out of the house if I can avoid it...frankly, I dont need the drama...my hormones are driving me crazy as it is. And I would like my baby to be delivered in a nice hospital room and not a maximum security prison block, where I will end up if I have to share a table with one more crazy uncle/aunty.

And Im frustrated as we still fail to understand that ITS CLASS STUPID (and not religion) that drives all that you find problematic in my part of the world...for the last couple of years my work has allowed me to interact with young Pakistan that is embroiled in the "well not so silent" revolution and I am constantly exposed to them espousing their version of Marx (and not so much of religious dogma that the world accuses them of)...yes in the end they think that a hodge-podge of Shariah and culture/religion/civilization will get them through but what REALLY gets them going is inequality...in a macabre version of Six Degrees of Separation what links a sullen teenager screaming at a father who cannot buy him new clothes on Eid with Tehelka's strategic advisor dying in a pool of blood in a hotel in South Mumbai? And as we continue to think that our civic duty is done with disposing of our qurbani ki khaal to a "good cause" and our political and military elite worries over the numbers (money and head count) rather than REAL structural reforms Im sure we havent seen the end of this nightmare...

And Aneela was VERY MAD that she had to stare at the "How Deepika got her Chinky Eyes" headline on the Times Of India website (yes I should not venture beyond good ol' The Hindu, however Im a media-entertainment whore and will trawl anywhere for a my daily fix of Bollywood goss) for a good week till some sense (and a sustained hate mail campaign) made them change it to Chinese eyes...not good enough as they still speak of using sticky tape to get the necessary slant.

Aneela will now go to bed..and hopes she is in a better mood this evening.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Wish this guy had learnt how to " ratta" his lines better in school



Ummm karachi sey kahan jaa rahey hai, sir?

Closure!!


Weapon of (Bush) Mass Destruction

Finally Bush can go back to his ranch in peace...too bad that all this while, all that the Iraqis were hiding were Size 10 shoes.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Getting on the Program

To this day I surprise myself...I swear. Sounds tragic, considering my "other job" is to be a know it all and here I am..finding out how clueless Ive been about the 'real me'. I always thought I would be the kind of mom-to-be who would (and my sister joins me in this) indulge herself in activities to 'mentally stimulate' the baby and frankly "exploit" all that living in the 'free world' can bring to new moms.

To date, I have to confess Ive been busy struggling with deadlines, bawling my eyes out as I watch the news on TV, reading really mindless chick-lit and channeling Naomi Wolfe when it came to pregnancy literature. And other than you-tubing a smorgasbord of religious/spiritual stuff and playing it during 'meditation minute' sessions for the site-under-construction Ive been really bad. And well Gman and me had been busy playing real life Monopoly and handling work stuff to actually sit down and 'baby bond'. And yes there was a time when I wanted to influence the kid into loving Shahrukh Khan but there was no response and it was irritating me like hell that s/he would start kicking every time Akshay Kumar was on. Singh is Your King? SERIOUSLY, kiddo?

So this week I decided to get serious and get down to some of the things on my to-do-list ...shortlisting names (check)...attending antenatal workshop (done..criticizing the content--check)...basically now it was a matter of guilt-tripping Gman to have a 'conversation' with the baby and do his bit in his/her intellectual growth (I think Ive done my bit. The baby was around during my classes right, so what if it like most of my students slept through them as I droned on about doing development work in the South, and I do expose it to BBC News and s/he should be listening to me as I talk about my politics).

Khair, Gman was conducive to a baby-bonding and "lets get you intelligent session" yesterday evening...so he clears his throat and goes Baby...Pesho troops in at that moment with a "yes you called for me, and it better be good" expression. Which reminds me that we have to come up with some new terms of endearment for the bub, at the moment Pesho is called Baby, Dollface, Princess, Cupcake, Aneela's Jaan, Munni, Sweetheart....and a terse Pesho Singh (courtesy Gman) when she is naughty.


Pesho tries her "Im Your Baby?" look.

Ok, confusion cleared, cat leaves in a huff...and we are back to business. Gman mumbles some more...I jump in "You are going to talk to the kid in English? No judgements, just curious"..he tries again, but then gets flustered and says "Well I will try Assamese but just cant..Im forgetting the words". He is still lost and asks me for ideas...I reply airily "Oh I chat with the baby ALL the time, about politics, my research, my op/ed from the other day and just mommy-baby stuff" ...I suggest telling the baby about his work "Naah too boring"

"Well say ANYTHING, it should get used to your voice".

So he decides to read it suburb profiles for the area we are moving to "Its important for you to know about your new home".

I think the baby has given up on the parents already. I seriously thought disillusionment would set in when the teens hit him or when she got introduced to Marx..."how bourgeoisie ARE you Mama"...but well we kind of brought up that date.

But in true aneela fashion i am not giving up on us YET..we will be cool parents, though have NO idea how...any ideas?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

I Heart Rajo Devi



Well as the rest of the world questions Ms Devi (and her doctor)regarding the ethics of her exercise, and though I do have some questions of the couple's family who at the moment are pretty vocal about being close knit enough to raise the little girl ("They should not worry about bringing up their daughter; we have a joint family and there are countless people to take care of her.") but well perhaps were not as charitable earlier in the story (hence the parents thinking they were 'cursed' not to have anyone taking care of them in their old age) and Im still wondering why Messrs Bala Ram didnt question his own plumbing when he remained without child even after remarrying....but but but I have to say a BIG THANKYOU to Ms Devi at this stage of my life. Thanks to the good lady Ive been saved a couple of 'uncharitable' remarks about procreating in my old age...yup thank the Good Lord I will not be the oldest mom in the playground after all, yeaaaahh.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

And Life Goes On

So this weekend, Gman decided (for me) that it was time I stopped being (what some assume) selfish and cheer up...I realise that most of the advice that I should cheer up for the sake of the bub to arrive does come from a 'good place' and not because my collegial and family/friend's network are tired of my moaning. But it has been a difficult time of my life...its ironic that when people ask me if Ive been having a good pregnancy I am in two minds of how to respond (OK this usually comes later in the conversation...their first observation is "Are You Sure"? and Im like well if Im not then that is some massive 'fraud operation' the Melbourne medical establishment is stringing me through. Of course they quickly compose themselves and remark "Oh its just that you dont look XYZ months" and Ive taken to responding to this by "The baby is South Asian and the first thing we do is "thoda adjust kartey hain in cramped quarters", as it is Im not a very large person so perhaps the baby is reducing the growth spurt and contorting itself into a human pretzel to fit in ...khair)...Ok so coming to how "good" things have or have not been for me...not that my part of the world was any time on the shortlist for a place to search for Nirvana and/or your inner Zen, but somehow in the last year I feel that my life and my compatriots has been spiraling out of control.

I realized that it was some time this year when I returned to Melbourne in tears as BB and the cities I have known lay dying....and as the months passed the evil amongst us drew on a never ending reservoir of hate to wreck havoc upon all that we have have loved and held dear. The other day a friend gently reminded me of how I shouldn't find it unfair (the general disappearing of all the markers of my life)as our grandparents and their generation feel a similar nostalgia of all things past..and I tried to explain that perhaps at that age you have the 'emotional vocabulary' to express that, process that. I don't. And it is becoming increasingly difficult for me to summon up the energy to spin fairy tales and happily ever-afters and fantasies for the new audience that will be here soon.

But I am trying...and I will as Jammie advises me try to 'bubble' my existence..the other day someone said that the temperament I have right now, right here, is what the bub will inherit and couldn't I be less morose and I was left questioning whether any future progeny should be the Ha Ha Hee Hee type or someone who has some empathy...I know I have to find a balance, and pretty soon.

Anyways Gman said that at this stage, other than my usual rants and raves and the op/eds I try to churn Is There Anything My Funk Can Achieve. And though he realises that its tough for me to process the "accusatory" tones in the email fwds I get, and the content of the media, it is equally tough for him to wrestle with mortgage decisions and job deadlines and housework while I go through my private demons. So well this Saturday we both vowed to 'get on'...and well through a private ritual of consuming "cutting chai" and my attempt at a Bombay sandwich, we attempted to do just that.

The housing crisis is still there but we are trying to get a handle on it...next 'real life challenge' is thinking of a name for the site under construction...I dont know what we are having (but everyone else does...long story)...at this stage Ive more or less reconciled to it being a boy (this as my mother and everyone else knowing how gung ho I was on daughters and my emphatically declaring one day that my body can only MAKE a little girl and it will chomp on the Y chromosomes...have been telling me that I should ask for good health and wholeness and well being and not be so preoccupied with little girls, so perhaps this is a big get prepared call on their behalf..oh well perhaps some days my insides werent that hungry for the Y after all)..but yes as parents around me worry over sick babies, I am praying to the Good Lord for forgiveness and good health and temperament for the baby to come...and that it never decides to take a rubber dinghy to arrive on any shore.

Ok coming to the 'naming' bit, funny thing Ive discovered about myself...all my growing up years I wrestled with the 'behenji' name I had been given and always thought that any kids would have some 'hatke' name..you know unusual..perhaps not as unusual as Apple , but well I was DEFINITELY planning to give those Hollywood and Bollywood moms some serious competition. But now that I am in that situation, I am trying to channel names that translate into 'will listen to parents...especially Mommy Dearest...diligent student, go to school, go straight to school, do not pass shopping mall, do not develop attitude'...you know the kind who sits quietly in class, will win Sword of Honour, or do a 'steady' job, Gman hopes paediatrician...anyways though Gman shares similar hopes as me, the name that he has suggested conjures a hell raiser in school, career in rock and roll, women and masti magic. NO NO NO...to win some votes he shared it with Ms Niece and my sister over the phone , and when I grabbed the phone I could hear them giggling and oohing and aahing (and the Younger Musketeer saying something along the lines of I Like the Names this Man Suggests, definitely not Khalajee's...my recent contribution has been Jawaad and Gul Sher...definitely not the kind of kids a teacher should suspect of being up to any mischief, right?) and then my sister shushed up Ms Niece as she whispered, Oh I can just imagine him being a teenager and we will put spikes in his hair, to which I said all suspicious "What did your daughter say?" and my sister covers up "No no she is just saying how he will grow up and say all his namaz".Hmmmphhh.

More on this and other things that are bothering me coming up soon.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The George Bush Presidential Library Coming Soon

GWB Library to Open in 2009

The George W. Bush Presidential Library is now in the planning stages.
The Library will include:

- The Hurricane Katrina Room, which is still under construction.

- The Alberto Gonzales Room, where you won't be able to remember anything.

- The Texas Air National Guard Room, where you don't even have to show up.

- The Walter Reed Hospital Room, where they don't let you in.

- The Guantanamo Bay Room, where they don't let you out.

- The Weapons of Mass Destruction Room, which no one has been able to find.

- The National Debt room which is huge and has no ceiling.

- The 'Tax Cut' Room with entry only to the wealthy.

- The 'Economy Room' which is in the toilet.

- The Iraq War Room. After you complete your first tour, they make you to
go back for a second, third, fourth, and sometimes fifth tour.

- The Dick Cheney Room, in the famous undisclosed location, complete with
shotgun gallery.

- The Environmental Conservation Room, still empty.

- The Supreme Court's Gift Shop, where you can buy an election.

- The Airport Men's Room, where you can meet some of your favorite
Republican Senators.

- The 'Decider Room' complete with dart board, magic 8-ball, Ouija board,
dice, coins, and straws.

The museum will also have an electron microscope to help you locate the
President's accomplishments

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Relations of the Heart


My two worlds collide this morning and leave me reeling....my preoccupations of the past week seem silly in the face of the horrors the night unleashed...I dont know whether my tears flow at the loss of a dream, of introducing a new soul that is to arrive to the haunts that brought its mother so much happiness, gave her a feeling of independence, confidence that she could conquer all...memories of lazy afternoons...of the freedom of walking on my own on balmy, spring evenings...of a little oasis of calm in the craziness of the city (and my arrogance of wishing that all of Mumbai could be restricted to a saner South and to never visit the craziness of the suburbs)...of the Amar Akbar Anthony sites of my life where I prayed for it...this is where your story started little one.

Or for the kindness of strangers...of acceptance from spaces where one had never imagined such compassion...of dreams woven from a balcony looking out at the Taj, promises made to myself...its early hours yet for a cold anger to set in...not when you are still praying that all who have touched your life, fed you, housed you are safe tonight. And for a day when we can dream again.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Just Grin and Bear It

Well when it rains it pours eh...the recent update from Casa Flinders is that I have no idea know for how long I will be blogging from here...I return from the bank Friday morning( you do remember that the previous evening I had the whole handbag left on the train-reunited a while later episode)and am confronted by a bumbling landlord 'so how do I put it, Ive been trying to say this for a while...but to put it short, you guys have to vacate this place by Jan end.'

What the @#$%%?

This guy knew that the site under development will be "launched" to the world end of Feb (Ok let me just say it Gman and me are pregnant and due end of Feb), that we had asked him for and were getting some renovations done in the place for the baby,that Melbourne is heading towards Christmas and summer when the whole world and their cousin goes into hibernation or is barbecuing on the beach so when/how do you buy/rent a new place, and that we had just leased the place we had bought and had been doing up for six months so its going to be IMPOSSIBLE to ask those people to move now

and he waits for this moment to break the news to me..of course Gman had to be away in bloody Geneva...that guy has an inbuilt radar to avoid all of life's calamities, and to return when I have had time to fume, digest, and plan an exit strategy. Khair, so I was very calm and cool and returned home to bawl my eyes out in the privacy of my space (and to call up Gman, mom and sis and to see if some way it could be THEIR fault!!)

I guess its the timing of the announcement that got my goat, the semester finally over, we were done with renting out our house, I was planning on spending the next three months FINALLY concentrating on the baby to come, on Gman and me preparing ourselves...it had been a crazy year for us, and we were finally getting on the program.

My sister and some friends thought it was very unchristian of the landlord (our landlord is the local Diocese) but I think it was very Biblical in a way to turn a pregnant woman plus cat out on the eve of Christmas...I guess this is what happens if you keep on reciting Surah Maryam (please dont slap a blasphemy case on me now)at some stage you go through some of her ordeal.

Anyways Ive recovered my sense of humour, Gman should be back soon and we are now looking for property that can turn into an 'investment nest egg' or worst case scenario rent. My mother thinks the baby wanted something 'new' (she was never a fan of the place we were renting) hence it conspiring for a new place...i think the baby should have had better sense and wished for smarter baby gear rather than a mommy who is debating clothing and diapering it in hemp.

I dont know whether it is a dose of sentimental poetry courtesy Grade 10 Urdu "muskhiley itnee parhee mujh par kay asaan hogayee' (so many kicks in the butt that it all seems OK now)...or the Bollywood philosophy of 'kahani may twist tau hoga'..or as Gman keeps on reminding me of my personal mantra "phir hum khush hojaynegey (then we will be happy) and how can we be happy..we will only be happy in heaven" but Im in a calmer place this afternoon and well what will be will be. See you on the other side of this crisis!! And umm if you know of a manger when I have to deliver come Feb just let me know OK...now where was that star again..Three Magi? Anyone?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Why One Should Give Charity

and not just for a tax break.
Trust me...yesterday for three hours my life literally flashed in front of me..due to something very silly I did. Getting off the train, juggling my bags and my ungainly body...the doors close on me and I realise that my handbag is still on the seat. Which has ALL my life, and more. The ubiquitous credit and bank cards, house keys, health insurance card, anything that could serve as photo id, office keys, flash drive, granny's ear rings, mobile and well I slowly remember a document that has my Tax File Number...and a bank transfer with my signature and details. Yup, when we @$$ up we ROYALLY @%^ up. Rush to report to lost property as I know which train its on....then to the bank across the road to put a stop on the cards and the police station...and then the long walk home as I curse myself and feel very very low. I head to the land lord office next door (the office has my spare set of keys) and the office staff tells me that I just missed a call for me...someone had found the bag and wanted me to pick it up...and guess how they found me. Yup, I had transferred some money for the earthquake relief the other day, which had the home address, and the good gentleman had made an inquiry for the telephone number and got the Mission next door (mine is unlisted). So a happy happy aneela at the end of the day, and a prayer to the Gods that it didnt get to anyone less scrupulous.
Tip of the day: The constable at the Police Station this time around was one sweet lady...like I knew they couldn't do much rather than file a missing property report for all my identification, insurance and photo ID...but the first question she had was "do you have a facebook account?" "Um I do but never frequent it" "I would advice all of you that you do as many a time people return it to you through a message on facebook"... "Um OK".
so stay safe, keep your bag close and your facebook account closer...AND GIVE CHARITY and save the receipts!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Coming Soon: Pirates of the Aden



Well they cant all be Johnny Depp, eh

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Goldilocks revisited

So this weekend I could finally host a mini-blogger meet of my own (I have been reading enviously of all the meets fellow bloggers have been hosting in Karachi, Delhi, Mumbai and Dubai)...you know the kind... happy pics, little in-jokes while envious Aneela would read and fret...well not any more, the precocious Pipette and her lovely mom were here to spend the day, and much fun was had. Of course having no bub of my own my 'mini-me contribution' was Pesho and the site under construction, but no one was keeping count.
Pesho did her best 'Baby Bear' from Goldilocks impression...roused from her cat nap to see a little girl sleeping in her day time couch, she was visibly shocked...her horrors increased when Pipette insisted on sitting in her chair and playing with her toys...so it was one long litany of "Who has been playing with my toys...sitting in my chair...sleeping in my couch...watching my TV and NO ONE IS PAYING ME ANY ATTENTION...HELLOOOOO."

Pipette's mom was a delight and her dad who joined us later very patient as two women indulged in pregnancy notes, tips about babies, fellow bloggers, Melbourne life, baby poop,the state of the world...he had his own observations which was very helpful.

Which reminds me of this other exchange and Dads of Another Kind from a fortnight before. Someone we knew had had a baby and we had been over to meet, greet the new baby et al. The mom and me went through an hour's marathon session while she briefed me about her pregnancy, the labour, early days with the baby, her fears, the roller coaster ride of emotions, the good, the bad, the ugly. Gman was cloistered with the father all this while (and I was hoping was getting a similar prep course). So in the car ride home we were exchanging notes and I was bringing him up to speed about all that I had learnt and all that the new mom was going through and how it all seems so overwhelming to her but still so magical...and I ask him about his evening and what the New Dad had to say, so he tells me about what the father is working on, and I correct him and ask him 'No what did he have to say about the baby'...and he replies 'Oh key woh khush hai (that he is happy)'...Really...thats it? In one hour I know all that there is to know about the inner and outer plumbing of the new mom, her dreams, aspirations, guilt, and a million things for me to think about...and all the dads have to share is that yah the baby is good....but this is what is REALLY happening with me and my work life. I dont know what Gman learnt after my tirade but at least he is working on a nice one hour spiel to regale visitors when they come avisiting...people should be clapping their hands and to quote Mad Momma declare "is (ki) kahaani mein romance hai, action hai, drama hai, feel to it" .

What do you think? while you mull over this Im going to try my new 'scare tactic' on Pesho...every time she misbehaves I holler for Pipette to come and take Pesho's chew toy away.

What, that little tyke will be back?

Sunday, November 09, 2008

The Green and Black Of It

So what is black? I hear it is my tongue for as we say in South Asia (kalee zaban hoon)...so I am not the best person to have around if anyone is engrossed in a cricket match. Case in point, yesterday the commentator announces Ganguly entering the field and gives us the following trivia
"Has never scored less than 40 in a Test"..

a waspish Aneela declares "Hoga @## out duck par"..when he is (SORRRYYYY) out for a duck and quickly followed by Tendulkar, a visibly hurt Gman turns around and accuses me that I should be sooo happy"Khush tau bahut hogee". As if!! It is if Krejza turns to me each time before he is ready to bowl "Madam if you are finished cursing the gentleman padding up ?"

OK...quick question...my belief in non-violence notwithstanding, how many of you want a slight change in cricketing rules and rather than Ponting being banned for a test for not keeping to the 'overs quota of the day', they get Harbhajan ' slapper' Singh deliver a thraaakh on his gum chewing face? Aren't there days when Ponting just gets to you with his irritating demeanour?

Now to get to the 'green' in our life...we are proud to say that ever since the arrival of Pesho, the advent of the fly season in Melbourne has not seen us reaching out for the bug spray. Pesho chases after every housefly and bug that crosses our threshold and manages to swat, snap or squash each one of them. Of course the death (or devouring) of each one of them is followed by a pitiful meow, wake up wake up I can still chase you..until the next hapless soul flies in.


Splat...you're it.



Yes, Ms Maneka Gandhi. I'm not vegetarian, I kill members of the living world for sport and am god damned proud of it.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Conversations that just MIGHT have taken place

IHM was amused as I looked forward to a ' cricket free' day at Casa Flinders Street...considering it meant that I could get Gman's undivided attention when it came to chores around the house (rather than the glazed folding laundry in the air) or the standard "nahee may sun raha hoon" response to all life changing discussions (which can only be conducted during tea break while he is still fiddling with discovering all the 'special features' the sports channel offers him)...but seriously why do you think Mrs Kumble was grinning so much while Anil K announced his retirement (30 years of laundry to be brought in and folded to start with...attending the Parent Teacher meetings) and Anil Kumble holding out his injured fingers to the camera (Umm the doctor has said that I cant help around the house for AT LEAST an year)....and to Kumble declaring that he would be spending his first days (of life after captaincy) following the team to Nagpur a tight-lipped Mrs Kumble could have been muttering " We will see" .

Meanwhile in Wasilla, Alaska I am pretty sure Political Prisoner No:1 (Levi Johnston) might have broken into a jig as he comprehended what the success of the Obama campaign meant for him (and his personal liberties)....HOME FREE, little redneck boy HOME FREE!!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Guest Post




Helllooo...
I have been deputed to write about the events of the past couple of days for the resident blogger is stressed with the end of semester details and the prospect of marking exams et essays looming on the horizon.
So it has been a crazy couple of days at Casa Flinders Street..the hyper female has been running around like a headless chook trying to meet deadlines and giving seminars, the other adult is parked in front of the TV watching cricket and dodging verbal missiles from the hyper female.

The other day was the Festival of Lights, which meant that he had to field calls from her all afternoon as she instructed him about Project Beautify Home...she was nervous that he would get the guests to vacuum and put out the food. But it was a good evening for them with friends over, yummy food and yummier gossip. I had my four paws full trying to save the lights and candles from two kids who I thought were eyeing them a wee bit too keenly. So it was parking myself in front of the candelabra or running out to the courtyard and blocking their moves.
Whew, Im sure I ran out of one of my nine lives...here are some pics that catalogue all the effort I put in.
Well goodbye sweeties,Im going into hibernation to get over the craziness of the week, hope you have a fantastic new year!! And as they say in the catworld BEFORE STARDUST STOLE IT FROM US..From one cool cat to another, meowww till next time!!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Coming Soon to a Police Chowky Quite Near You

In the docket: Qaidi number 302
After hearing me grumble about Pesho literally 'tearing' into me after a fruitless day (for her) of fly hunting (it is cloudy outside so ne'er a fly or bug on the horizon), Gman very sympathetically said "Yeh scratches...yeh tau domestic abuse hai'. Yes we have to very clearly spell out to our cat that she cannot pounce on me every time she is bored and wants someone to 'rough-house' with.
"(To) Violence against women--Australia Says No".

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Notes to Self

* God will NOT (hopefully) hold you to any promises made that you will name your first-born Amit Mishra (irrespective of gender)if he manages to get that next wicket.
* After the never ending silly grin on face while watching the latest Obama video-phone in on the Ellen DeG show (and him challenging McCain re: his dancing prowess) I guess I could do a Zardari as well (You are GAARGEOUS, can I hug you?).
And that it will be border-line incestous to go along with the plan of naming said first-born Barack as well.
* News of Palin's wardrobe budget (or lack of any budget)-it is USD $150,000 and counting at a time when the US economy is frankly not doing so well-should shut up anyone passing rude comments on whether I should be spending money on catfood when there are people starving on the streets.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Signs of the Times

Number one sign that you need to take out the primer and start practicing speaking 'South Asian' again.
Gman who has missed the last dismissal as he has been busy fixing dinner " So what happened? How did the wicket go".
Me: Woh us kee bailey off kar dee
He is still waiting for me to explain that.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Inquisition

No one expects The Spanish Inquisition claimed Monty Python some years ago, but if you are South Asian every one expects and braces themselves mentally for The Great Auntie Inquisition. Mina had her list up and well quite like her when I started composing my comment I realised that it deserved a post of its own.

So it is the same (give or take a question or two) for 'desis in diaspora' ...it starts with

Who do you live with (My cat I reply)..
Quite unfazed they continue
Family hai?

Are you a Perm Resident?

Why havent you taken up citizenship yet haw haiii? (Major shock hand on chest,in a manner Lahori aunties should patent)

Mummy milney aatee hai, when did your Mother In Law last visit(Actually no they are all in the detention centre)

Do you know Mr Chaudhry? WHY NOT? they are from the same city as you? (umm because my family didnt explore my being a daakiya postie as a potential job option)

No one told us that you were planning on starting a family? (Sorry, I so wanted to sms you when Project Conception started, but I was out of mobile credit)

Where will the cat sleep? (Yes, somehow everyone wants to know our sleeping arrangements for some reason)

Did you watch the latest episode of Aus Idol? WHY NOT?

Why do you want to go home now? How come you have a headache? Kafee healthy tau ho...emphasis on the healthy, as in arent we quite chubby. You dont like all this dieting shieting business like other women na.
Bitchiness is an auntie in heels.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Aneela's Wish List

The list does change (for obvious reasons) over time. For quite some time I wanted the ‘previously only seen in films/TV dramas’ disease. You know the kind where the kindly doctor steps out of your room and whispers to your family. May ney injection laga diya hai,abhi mareez so rahee hai. Inko bahut araam ke zaroorat hai. Inko khush rakhney kee koshish karey. Sighhh, this would be a useful bug to contract when you have a really bad report card that needs to be signed by your mother.

What I am hoping for in recent times is:

1) Some kind of repository that itemizes all objects like bills, important documents, conversations that I have had with Gman, so he never says things like ‘Nooo, you never gave your tax statement to me’(bling...Oct 9, 9am Ms Babar handed it over to you over breakfast) and ‘No, you always imagine giving me your mobile bill to file’(buzz...ghalat jawab) and ‘You absolutely didn’t tell me that I had to drop off Pesho at the vet’(paaaamp... the repository plays back that conversation)

2) Strobe lights, blaring alarms every time Pesho tries taking a dump in my precious pansies (rather than her litter tray) and has the audacity to ‘deny’ it when confronted with the evidence.


Who me, in the pansies? It was you sleep walking I swear.

3) An instant tattoo for Gman every time he does something on the list of ‘not to dos’...oh I so sympathize with the group of wastrels who tattooed a young Vijay in Deewar. ‘This man did not put the toilet seat down’ permanently branded on his forearm will ‘ink in’ the message very well, will it not?

Anything else you want to add to that?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Got sweets?

Sad sad day for thullas every where. I am horrified to hear that in Islamabad a police guard actually led a bomber to his target. He was told by the young man that he had some mithai (sweets) to deliver to the police centre. Of all the....
For the love of a laddoo a kingdom was lost, sigh.

In Bangalore, police men and women were caught napping with their mouths agape on camera...yup that was one power(less) nap on my TV screen during the cricket. Heads lolling, one with cotton wool stuffed in his ears (all the better to hear the prowler creeping up on you), some slumped on the seats in front of them. Feels good that our (in)security is in such good hands in recent times.

And in Melbourne, if you report a license plate being stolen (personal experience) you are assured by the guy behind the counter, that if this is the EXTENT of one's losses living in the city, to count myself lucky. Sighhh. Gman and his friend who reported a stolen trailer were told the English equivalent of "yeh tau roz ka mamool hai" as in take a chill pill these things happen.

But I think the laddoo lusting guard is a winner, hands down. What do you think?

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Quriks can tell a tale on you

The first mangoes of the season are here...it could be a sign of my FINALLY reconciling to Australia life that I bought them and quite enjoyed them (as compared to other years when I would wrinkle my nose and declare that THEY cannot be real mangoes as they do not have any desi sun on them). Khair mangoes have never been an obsession for me--peaches, nectarines, papayas yes.

However being away from home I have started craving for fruits, food stuff that were never high on my list and start screaming like a little girl when I find something which gets it right. Qeema samosas like the Aga Khani make them. So in recent weeks Ive been gorging on pomegranate, the other day I was excited to find dried figs and pine nuts (chalghozey) in a Turkish food store...memories of kindly old batmen bringing gifts from their hometowns in Gilgit come flooding back.

I broke into the packet in the car home and as I was shoving the figs down my throat like there was no tomorrow, Gman commented on how I like food stuff with a little grit in it (case in point figs, pomegranate, sprinkling shaved almonds on rice, pine nuts and walnuts in salads and on halva)

and Im nodding "Wow you notice so much about me" ** Hallmark moment, sigghhh, he knows me so well**

Ruined by his next observation "I guess that is the same reason you never wash the spinach and dal, you want me to savour the grit in THAT too right?" DRAT.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Tagged-Obsessions and Confessions

So IHM has tagged me regards my 'obsessions'..ummm do I need tell? For what has all the evidence been pointing towards over the years:
*Ive been said to declare when friends congratulated me on my new purchase "it aint a TV if Urmila isnt dancing on it" (this when I bought my first TV and realised that the satellite connection in my BKK apartment didnt allow Indian channels).
* The only reason I finished the Phd was to prove to mom and disapproving relatives that a lifetime of watching Bollywood and TV does AMOUNT to something (Ive sneaked that somewhere in the acknowledgments )....my proudest moment when an aunt finally sidled up and asked me "how I did it"...you know my "achievements" so far..to which I smugly said Oh EVERYTHING I have learnt in life was courtesy Bollywood, only topped by said aunt lining up the grand children in front of the tele "now go memorize John Abraham's filmography".
* I am the one who googles for every little bit of film trivia...when Goldie Behl inferred that Karisma and Kareena were his cousins at the Drona premiere...that was me googling for the precise connection. I also have a "standing" agreement with my sister that we can wake each other up at ANY time of the night for the niggling questions of (film related) life (Neeley Neeley Amber Par is the soundtrack to ?, who went "Pallo" in a movie and ruined three years of a good crush, which one was Anita Raj and which one Amrita Singh)...you know the drill...what is remarkable about the "pact" is that it has survived the "great sister wars" as well...yup three weeks of ignoring each other and you can call up at 2am and get an answer to the Baazigar catchphrase.
* When someone asks me whether I want a boy or a girl...or whether I want my 'prospective children' to think of themselves as South Asians first or Aussies, all I have to say is "I wish they are healthy and really LOVE Bollywood...and yes good-mannered". They can streak their hair blonde, tattoo themselves silly and support the Aus cricket team but I will be heart broken if they shrug their shoulders and say "we really dont know what the big deal about SRK is"..
Phew and the list goes on.

When Im not watching/dreaming/living Bollywood I obsess myself with political trivia...you know the magazine supplements that come out at the time of elections listing political constituencies and voting trends, they are for me. I can debate till the cows come home about small town India and shifting political alliances, why PPP is going to lose that seat in Vehari-1, and whether Sheikh Rashid and Laloo Yadav share a speech writer.

I also spend a fair amount of time deciphering my cat's facial expressions...a recent email tells me that most women actually do that...so Im not alone.

Read my lips...I am not vacating the sofa any time soon.

And I have this funny quirk about straightening carpet tassels and putting down carpets et rugs at an angle.

Now I am supposed to pass on this tag to 8 people...I think Kiran has already done this,
so its Unmana,
Parul (if she has not already posted on this),
MayG,
kAy,
Jammie,
Khizzy
Chandni
Radhika
and the other Kiran in my life.

IHM does assure us that:
Tags are not compulsory, feel free to ignore if you don't wish to do one. But tags are also a fun & easy way to know more about your blogging friends:)

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Jhoom Barabar Jhoom-Part Deux

So...tonight's the night eh..Palin takes on Biden...husan aur jazbat ka haseen kashmakash...a beautiful play on beauty versus grave emotions..(if they were ever to make a movie on them in our part of the world)..actually why this disclaimer. I have been very candid all these years that everything I have learnt in life was probably scripted in a movie studio out in Mumbai..long before I could go through Focault 'nature vs nurture' I had been lapping up Raj Kapoor et Awara 'Shareefon ki aulaad hamesha shareef aur chor daakuon ki aulaad hamesha chor daaku hote hain." (Good progeny for the genteel, thieves robbers only beget thieves robbers).

So if this was a Bollywood movie...how would I envision the scene...lemme think. A beautiful headstrong young woman (GARGEOUS, bellows Zardari behind me) takes on an 'established' senior gentleman who rose from an impoverished background to a distinguished station in life. Wellll, it could be played by a Hema Malini (McCain is quite a doting star mother as he coaches a petulant 'heroine' to mug her lines for the performance of her lifetime..'chal Rani parh ley liney' Cmon Princess you can memorize those dialogues) While the Punjab (sorry an Irish from Penn) da puttar Dharmendra strides on the stage "Sarah tera naam kiya hai Sarah".

All with the Jhoom Barabar theme song playing in the background

Happy watching!!!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

And this is How I Welcome the 'Festive' Season

Ok...October promises to be a 'jhakaas' month fingers crossed (yes one of the perils of being on an on-off bed rest means EXTENDED youtube time so lately it has been an overdose of Sajid Superstars..I tremble with trepidation re: the upcoming technicians strike and probably the loooong TV-less days).

Eid this week...we are all either fasting or feasting to death...and yeaahh the Durga Puja weekend coming up which is one day in the Melbourne calendar where you can bring out the inner Chandramukhi/Paro and no one judges you...and then there is Pesho's birthday (yup, Im THAT kind of cat mommie)...it is the same day as Nephew/Musketeer Numero 3's...so its a double festivity, both brothers celebrating their 'first-born' I say, hee hee.

And yes the month starts with the anni. which was not that bad either.

And then spring is settling in...so what if it means the Melbourne gales are back and there is a nip in the air.. one can smell the fresh flowers, hear the crackle of a million hay fever tab packs being unwrapped, the songs of birds and the hiss of inhalers being drawn in....happy happy days are here.

Ok, so October 1 (Eid day) dawned with a Pesho nudging and nibbling me gently 4am...tres difficult to explain to the cat that the sehri gravy train has stopped and no one is getting up to prepare the morning meal and slip her some treats..so she mewoed in indignation and I dived under the comforter to grab some shut eye.

The day was good..ever since the arrival of the pelvic support belt I thought it was bye bye salwar kamiz and helloooo saris to hide the bulge, but (and for this I will remove the hex from a tailor back home) the tent he had sewn me on my last trip and for which my mother had to drag me nails scratching along the floor does camouflage the granny belt nicely, double yeahhhh...so with the requisite bling it was off to the annual dinner where you meet all the aunties who greet you and say 'we have met earlier havent we' and you mumble 'yes right here an year ago'...and kisses in the air...'we MUST catch up'...'yeah sure, same place next year...miltey hain break kay baad' .

Gman didnt have any good reports from the other side of the divide as an elderly Bengali guy quizzed him about this new 'fatwa call centre' and what he thought of what good Muslims should do when it comes to the direction of prayers, timing of et al considering they have discovered ice on Mars (and probably THAT means mass migration for all Bangladeshis)....sigh I dont know how he does it, he was so diplomatic..I would have wrestled the guy to the ground and told him to GET REAL. But the food was EXCELLENT and my goodie bag topped even that...for this I turn up each year (and also that the hostess is a sweet heart)...problematic geriatrics be overlooked.

Gman did take the day off yesterday as he had on the anni and both days we pottered around our home and the place we are renovating ...I wonder what the 'dewy eyed aneela' from a decade ago would have made of me now..married (now that was never part of the plan) and 'romantic love' a couple of years after marriage ..but as I watched Gman struggling in the courtyard with pesky weeds and flower pots as he knew how much it meant to me to have a 'shiny new' house for the festive season...I realised that there is more than one way to celebrate the anniversaries of the heart ...so if spring cleaning is the new champagne and roses, well let me get high on that!!

Have a great week everyone and may it be all flowers and fizz for you too!!!!!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Rejoinder

Well further to my post yesterday..I realise now it wasnt clear... I can be pretty cryptic at times...my post was a comment on what 'being secular' or with it at best meant for Pakistanis over the years..so if for Jinnah it was demarcating the difference between a country for Muslims (amongst other backgrounds) that maintained a secular spirit as opposed to a Muslim/Islamic nation that was a theocracy per se...and how over the years a Pakistani leader exhibited it by pointing out that even a South Asian could be "with it" and indulge in an easy banter...eventually a Musharraf thought that 'secularism' meant to pose with his dogs which could emphasize that he was NOT TO BE CONFUSED with THOSE OTHER GENERALS who WANTED to bring in ISLAMIZATION SO PLEASE PLEASE DONT FEAR ME...though I will show you eventually how regressive I am ..for one I will declare in an interview that Pakistani women like getting raped so they can get to go to Canada...alas today our leaders are reading more from "Saath Din Larkee In" and "I too can hit on Condie"...the last nail in the coffin has been the Merry Widower Prez Zardari who thought that "fear not I come in peace...for I too can be MAADERN and not a Fundo" was using pickup lines that were passé even in the 70s when he conducted his charm inoffensive in the streets of Karachi.
Sigghhhhh.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

How They Will Go Down in History

Signs of the times eh.

From the people who brought you:

You are free; you are free to go to your temples. You are free to go to your mosques or to any other places of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion, caste or creed --that has nothing to do with the business of the State." (Jinnah's Presidential Address to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on 11th August, 1947)

to

the very witty "Rishtey may tau hum tumharey baap lagtey hai" exchange between Kennedy and Bhutto circa 1963

(Kennedy is alleged to have said): "If you were an American you would be in my cabinet." Bhutto is alleged to have answered, "Be careful Mr President, if I were an American, you would be in my cabinet."

we move to Shaukat Aziz (who is from the "7 din larkee in" school of thought)

Condoleezza Rice has complained fighting off the tharkee Shaukat "I can conquer any woman in two minutes" Aziz's charm inoffensive.

To the ultimate JIYALA ABROAD who is trying to emulate all that he learnt from 1980s baadd Bollywood pics:

Oh Sheeda when Im ABRAADD tau Meyma Sheyma





"Looking gorgeous, now we know why America loves you so much. I can give you another hug if the photographer wants." (September 2008)

Sighhhhh, all this as Manmohan Singh tries to wrestle out of his grasp "Georgie boy did ask me to meet you and make nice but no more puppyan jhappyan"

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Postcards from the couch

I thought the lying horizontal, feet propped up routine would go down well with me...lazy days, flicking through TV channels, grading exam papers...heads, this one passes, tails he flunks (JUST KIDDING STUDENTS!! dont go running to the University Grievances Committee just yet) and well perhaps Pesho will try to emulate a Roman slave and feed me grapes while Gman struggles with the outside world and brings home the kosher bacon.
Well that aint happening. I still have to wrestle with deadlines lying down, still try to move my ass print from couch to work to back and well the hours lying down on the couch have been hell...whether its realising how the howling wind drives me nuts, I have actually caught myself shaking my fist at the roof as the roof tiles rattle and the pipes groan "Cant you stop that"...yup Im the crazy old woman your parents warned you about, so I crawl on my knees and shout at every little leaf that rustles.


And for obvious reasons the TV has been no relief...friends tell me I have to "bubble my existence"...I do not know if that is possible...today my BP was touching the roof as I had to go through umpteen stories of the Prince of Darkness ogling Sarah "Mussart Shaheen" Palin...that stupid stupid man...and then all the insensitive comments in the press, I HATE THEM I HATE THEM...so I "troll" the net, searching for something that will make me smile on someone's blog, beg friends to email me "cheery stuff" and than scold myself for the ridiculousness of my predicament...as one can actually "band aid" real life..but this morning as I watched Ellen DeGenres and how she ran a list of things to cheer oneself up in today's tough scenario, it was like she was talking to me...yup I had my own Oprah moment..and she shows all these cute pics of animals kissing and babies being cute and sigghhhh how the number one pick-upper is a glass of vodka and three olives...sighhh another life, another set of rules.

So I have been "racking my brain" trying to think of something interesting I could share with everyone...and well this could be a post on the things students say...but anyways my students teach me something every day (Im not!!)


Like one taught me how one can save on xeroxing material and then lugging 10 kilos of paper across the world by just clicking pages with a digital camera, hmmm...dont know what it means for copyright rules and the ethics behind carrying it to a library but it merits a thought...some good can come out of watching Mission Impossible re-runs hmm...and I wish I had known this all these years...there is a man in Islamabad who was able to get that hip replacement for his mother, a heated swimming pool for his home and put three of his kids through school with the amount I spent on xeroxing for my research over the years.

Another taught me about why we need not worry too much about being objective when writing about the other...one student (not mine) was asked to comment on the autobiography of a 19th century Japanese woman, and he wrote down "earlier it was difficult for me to write about someone in the 19th century but I later thought to myself well Im not a woman or Japanese either so carry on with the paper"..

But the real "gem" was offered by my good friend Rads son...I was wondering why an aunt's two children refused to accompany her on a holiday to China..it being such a fantastic trip and all and why there were being so difficult..and the 8 year old pipes up "well Im sure they are scared that the Chinese will throw them in jail...it having a one child policy and all"...hmmm food for thought...it could be that China one day refuses to allow more than one kid to accompany a vactaioning family...what with every day Chinese going through some kind of "kid envy" ...oh well.

So such is life for me...Im still waiting for any feel good stories.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Lone Battler

As we reel from the events of the weekend...some where from the smouldering embers from the fire that has engulfed the city rises the image of one fighter..someone who did not give up in the face of immense odds...as I watch the lone security guard trying to douse the flames of the truck with a fire extinguisher, a smile breaks on my lips and I am overwhelmed by the strength of the human spirit....perhaps there is hope for us in times of such despair, and the unknown secuirty guard is the beacon of light that should guide us in the dark days ahead. Take a page out of his book and at least make an ATTEMPT to tackle the monsters unleashed....

I have been telling friends that there is some 'truth' to what Zardari is saying, that it is just not the US war but also Pakistan's war...but we can only build bridges ...make peace...with the restive population if we can "isolate" all other irritants...I dont know why Zardari was in such a rush to hold hands with Bush...but if he could just tell him key bhaiya thoree deyr keliye ...for a while at least..get off our butts and let us put our house in order...you can come hunt your 'golden deer' after a couple of years, he aint going any where...kambakht drat them if they have not caught OBL in 7 years tau abhee kiya teer mareyngey....they cant do anything in the next year can they...

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Own the Nightmare

I wake up from sleep with a jolt...having had a particularly bad dream that I am covered with blood with my insides pushing out from my skin...yes it does not make for very pleasant weekend reading...I realise some hours later when I have 'woken up' to the outside world that while I pacified myself with my phantom wounds being just a bad dream , to shut my eyes and let sleep overcome me, in another part of my world my compatriots fought pain, forced their eyes open and acknowledge that their terrible nightmare was here to stay.

What does one say...well wishers forward you links to websites...and I have to struggle not to send off terse email replies...You think I dont know, that words in cyber space will give me a message that my body my soul drums in every second. Khizzy reminds me of the Yeh Hum Nahee campaign that was launched an year ago...This Is Not Us they claimed but even then a silent voice inside claimed to be heard. It is Us..There were our governments that allowed a Frankenstein to be created and now flounders as the monster morphs into a many headed Hydra that devours our compatriots...these are our brothers and sisters who hate us for what we stand for and indulge in a macabre fratricide...they claim that we are impotent in the face of Washington and allow them to prey on our villagers, but we all know that the drones on the horizon do not indulge in the niceties of permission and sovereignty...This Is Us and this is our fate to die a million deaths every day...whether in a storm of brick mortar fire set by my brother...whether in a hail of gunfire...missiles...by the fire breathing iron birds on the horizon...or by your own personal nightmares a thousand miles away.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pet Peeves--frankly who is counting right now

Yup, I have turned into quite a ' whinger' havent I. But then Melbourne is throwing up so much to ' complain about'...if I have said it once, I have said it a 100 times...the WEATHER. It is the Goldilocks of weather, either too hot, too cold, too windy, too shizophrenic, NEVER just right and frankly the touristy spiel of ' experiencing four seasons in one day' just doesnt do it for me...real people have to decide what to wear in the morning, do laundry without a blizzard tearing the laundyr line, and put away winter clothes....hmmmphh.

And then Blogger decides to play ' shy' so I cant post or comment on anyone on blogger...which makes for a very crabby Aneela.

And well the 'thorn in my IMMENSE back side'....workmen in the city. I thought it was just me and my hangups. But as Parul so eloquently puts it in her post ...the fate of any brave soul who volunteers to open up her home or ' project' to a 'tradie' is to be universally insulted (in more than one language I would say).

Though I doubt my tile-layer/plumber is reading this post...but who knows actually...I should be marking essays right now...but Im not right...and I dont think the house we are renovating will be ready any time this decade, so perhaps he is updating his blog as I write...so if you are...REALITY CHECK...there is no jasmine bush growing out of your behind, so every time there is a rustle in your nether regions dont be mistaken that there is...now how does Ash say it in Hum dil Dey Chukey Sanam..yes Sameer...ek thandee hawa ka jhonka (a gush of cool air)...that is your dinner I smell, yukkk.

Moving on..a number of times we are asked in life ' do you know what you really want?' Well I do, but will you LET me, Mr Tradie. I know which tiles should go where and what feature I want on the wall...so why am I in tears every week as you shrug your shoulders and wink at Gman ' Brother, I will tell you later what we will do'...and in the car ride back home Im all over Gman as in 'what is he going to do? and you like my idea right..and thats what is happening right'.
But the tile-layer has a mind of his own...the first time he stepped in he had this fiendish plan to do away with the polished floor boards (the numero one reason I fell in love with the place and wanted to buy it there and then) he wants tiles, and Im pretty sure the industrial strength hospital white kind..." Oh such a BEAUTIFUL look sister, you just have to mop from one end to another" .and Im spluttering and fuming and at any moment going to throw myself tothe floor DONT TAKE MY FLOOR BOARDS away......all he does is just shrug his shoulder and In Every house Ive been in...Standard response now, to any suggestion from me.." Ive never seen that been done before, oh well..... (meaningful silence)...of course his new ruse is to try sidling up to his Brother (Gman)..Gman is stuck to his standard monotone routine ' Brother, Im a very poor man..lets see what can be done'

And my pet peeve numero one when it comes to this guy...something that the Aussies refer to very 'cutely' as ' the builders' crack'...translated the tradies go commando..yup nothing comes between their Calvin Kleins and them as Brooke Shields said so long ago..so everytime they bend down, and well that is quite the occupational hazard, we all have to cop an eyeful...man and well the bottom line is (pardon the pun) that is one pink hairy ' where the sun dont shine' @##. For the amount of money he is charging us cant he buy a pair of undies...yaaarrgghhh. So most of my conversations are now looking at the ceiling.

Now does anyone have an encounter that can top this....

Thursday, September 11, 2008

More Confessions

Ok...so I guess Im on a major 'catharsis' mission this week...so what other nasty self truths did I 'discover' (or was actually nudged to acknowledge...Ok Gman you can stop sermonizing) about myself...ummm for all my aspirations towards a bohemian lifestyle, save the world stop stockpiling junk passion, I REALLY REALLY like actually LOVE shopping or people shopping for me...I dont how it crept up on me and became like a full time life mission...Occupation: Academic in the morning, Shopzilla after hours.

Gman reminds me of the time he was going to (or supposed to be sent to) Myanmar after Cyclone Nargis (such a beautiful lady, and now such an unfortunate 'name connection' to a tragedy that will not go away)...and I jumped up and said WOW, Ruby bracelets, and can we get like a turquoise inlaid Buddha...perhaps for all this and more the Myanmar military junta decided to keep foreigners out, sigggghhhh, I guess they could hear my screams of joy in Yangon.

And before leaving for Papua New Guinea, I did make polite noises about the security situation, how Im sure RedCross staff have to abide by guidelines and stay within the compound and no venturing out to the markets...but come 'homecoming' I had to push away Pesho (who was also sniffing the suitcases) AAP HAMAREY LIYE KIYA LAYE (what did you get for me)....on a separate note, what exactly is the respectable interval between welcoming someone home and asking for your goodie bag?

Siggghhhh, there is nooo hope for me.