Posted in Home, Memories, Prose, Uncategorized, writer, writing

Departing conversations

Dear old home,

The first time I saw you, I was not much impressed. You were slightly bigger than our previous abode and a tad not too welcoming because the sunlight only shone over my parents’ room, hall and kitchen. My room, the living room and the closed balcony were left at the mercy of the cold winds and a dense peepal tree. One of my brothers named you “Cold Storage” because of the sudden drop in temperatures experienced in the shadow regions.

I never believed in love at first sight, so here we are. Slowly yet steadily, I fell for you. Not just me, but my whole family.

You have seen me growing up from a nasty tantrum throwing over achieving arrogant teenager to a calmed down woman who prefers to lose temper once a year. Thirteen years is indeed a long time.

And today, as I sat on your terrace, I marveled at the sight of the dancing leaves of the Pipal tree. Their swaying motion reminded me of my yester years when I frequently came to the terrace for contemplation time.
And this peepal tree housed the naughty cuckoo bird whom we used to mimic now and then, only to irritate her. She got so frustrated that once her voice became shriller than the contestants’ of Big Boss.
Many Winters back, there used to be a cat and her three extremely adorable kittens and I played with them while studying for my 12th class boards.

And while I sat lonesome there, an angry bird (they have fiery eyes – they actually look like “angry birds”) came and rustled the fallen leaves. Their pitter-patter kept us entertained whenever the cats went hunting.

And the mango tree will be soarely missed. The way we used to collect the ripe and the raw ones was an unforgettable experience. And those mischievous parrots which ate the raw mangoes while chirping away with glee.

And of course the medieval era tomb which graced our eyes for such a long time. The view from the terrace and of course the dining hall transported us to those vintage railway/cantonement colonies.

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I let the December sun burn my skin as I sat there. I wanted to shed a tear or two because of the heaviness in my heart. I did but couldn’t anymore as you have already embraced my crying for a very long time. (I stopped shedding rivers a long time back.)

However hard I have tried to kept myself numb and cold, one day I had to break down and embrace my emmotions. I always thought it’ll be a man but you had to be the one to do it. (Now my husband will be very jealous of you.)

Soon you’ll have a new family to welcome and you’ll forget me. You’ll forget my tantrums, the colourful songs I used to sing and of course my booming voice. The answered prayers, the vibrant conversations I had with my friends and family, they’ll be a part of your ancient history.

After all I was just another girl for you.

Yours truly
A girl who is dearly missing you

P.S.: Have you swallowed my bottle of Brandy? My father seems to think that way. Wink wink.

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Posted in Prose, Uncategorized, writer, writing

Maids of honour

Statutory warning: This is not yet another post on my wishes about my wedding and mother in law. I would rather call it an emotional one and I usually prefer to stay away from such poignant rants.

After thirteen long years, my family will be shifting from a plush south Delhi home to another lavish south west Delhi home. And as the date draws nearer, all of us start recounting our last shifting memories more than a decade back.

I am seriously not going to write poems here about my over-privileged south Delhi lifestyle where everything is available at a stone’s throw, the greenery and the cleanliness.

When you reside at a place for a very long time, you make recollections with the people you interact with, the trees that grow around you, the roads you walk on and the birds that come twittering to your balcony/terrace for their daily dose of leftovers. The mongrels which chase on your morning runs and the local cats who swoop into your lap like an attention crazy kid.

But the most important people with whom you forge an unforgettable bond are the house maids. Apart from keeping our homes in a sparkling state, our days are incomplete without the neighbourhood gossip they bring to our mothers’ otherwise monotonous days when we are occupied.

My Mom like any other mother has always been very particular about the cleanliness affairs and hence her affinity with the maids. There are good moments apart from the usual bitter-batter about “this corner was left un-swept”. I sometimes get a very peculiar feeling that she miser the maids when they are on their quarterly/annual/sick/casual leaves.

So when the last time we left Vasant Vihar, we were leaving a very understanding and hard working maid who had been loyal to our household for more than eight years. More than my Mom, the maid, named “Basanti” (colourful name though!) was more emmotional about our departure. On our last day, she controlled her heart and flatly told my Mom that she won’t be coming to see her off and would sit at a corner far away from us and would watch us leaving (teary eyed). In fact she was so attached to my Mom that she even wanted to travel to our current place (a 3km drive) and keep working for us. My mom still misses her I guess.

Here, at R.K. Puram, we had a spate of Chamelis, Lolitas and Maya. Maya is a fiery Nepali with a glass shattering voice but a good heart. She is a smart business woman and very sharp in finances. She does have a liking for my sister considering her homely and introvert nature. It always seemed to me that she was not much fond of us. But the last time my sister came for Diwali holidays, she was actually delighted to have her around. She even hugged her with teary eyes.

So let us see what Maaya does when we finally leave the place.

 

P.S.: Maaya and Chameli always liked me more because of my talkative nature and my ability to donate my new clothes to them. I can not help being conceited even here. Wink wink.

 

Posted in Family, Prose, Sarcasm, Satire, Uncategorized, writer, writing

Perils of the elder daughter turned into a single child again

Yes, I am the elder one. The one who has to carry the burden of expectations of her parents on her frail (current state) shoulders for lifetime. The elder one who has to grow up early because she is supposed to be mature compared to her younger siblings and cousins.
But I used to be a single child too, till the age of six. Oh those days, such lovely days, when all the love, affection and attention of my dear parents were showered on this pumpkin of a daughter. (I was a healthy kid; healthy is an understatement).
Those days of fun and frolic when all my chores were done by my parents and I had the responsibility of eating, sleeping, playing, talking and studying; not necessarily in that order.
And then came my Cinderella of a sister and life took a 180 degree turn.
Like many temporary single kids, I was first amazed by my helpless blob of a sister who had her fists closed even though she was not holding anything. Being the empathetic girl I am, I always tried helping her out by opening her fists but she refused this kind service of mine by closing them again. Even in sleep. Damn!

And a good amount of my parents’ time was spent on looking after her. And I used to wonder what happened, what wrong did I do. Just kiddish immature thoughts, you know.

I was repeatedly told that I am the elder one and hence more mature and more understanding. I knew it was a trick by my parents as I was least bit of mature and understanding at that point of time. I still sometimes have doubts about my “maturity” and “understanding”.

Coming back to my story: one fine day, at a tender age of 7 (I was not tender at all though!), I was given my own room. A whole room with cabinets, study table and a cosy bed! I could do anything in it but I was supposed to maintain it on my own with least help from my parents.

Because I’m the elder one.

So within that room, I built a world of my own, surrounded by books of every shape and size, newspapers and God knows what. I wrote my first poem in that very room, rehearsed my first song (I am a trained Indian classical singer), did not prepare my first speech (can’t take much credit here, my Mom trained me before Cinderella came), decorated my first set of trophies and secretly relished mango pickle.
In that very room, I committed the sin of dancing like Bollywood heroins (Mom’s stoles were used as props) before turning into a full fledged tomboy.
And till date, I still take care of that room of mine even though we have changed places and even after Cinderella started sharing it with me. (Talk about adjustments before marriage)
No one, absolutely no living soul (ghosts are allowed) is allowed to tidy up my room. That power of attorney has been vested in me by my parents.
So when Cinderella decided to move out of station for her higher education, a hole was created in the life of my parents. As I was the elder one, I was always expected to take care of myself while the younger one was pampered like anything. (My late grandparents pampered me even more as I am the eldest in the family, so we are even).
So all the attention has been diverted and is returning back to it’s original recipient. But the original recipient is shocked and feeling weird.
I used to be sad initially when my sister was a baby, but eventually I learnt not to crave attention/affection/love from anyone and this lesson has helped me till date.
Getting back to the topic, my parents are paying extra attention to me, cooking specifically for me, happily listening to all my wishes and waiting to have dinner with me on those days when I get late from the office. My independent nature is getting smothered with parental love.

Rhonda Byrne says that be careful about what you wish for, chances are you might get it. I got this attention after 23 years and now I am complaining. My sister must be reading this with a red face and cursing her luck like anything.
And I’m asked to sleep between my parents like in the older days because I might be feeling “lonely.” Trust me, I love this loneliness.
This loneliness has been my friend since my new room days, has understood me like no human being and had been/has been/will be the most loyal aspect of my life. Loneliness is empowering and when accompanied with silence, provides the most enriching atmosphere for any soul to thrive.

So there is a stiff competition between this new found attention and my solitariness. Let’s see who wins!

P.S.: I hope my future mother-in-law does not think too highly of me after reading this. I am the eldest, but have my fair share of mistakes. So mother-in-law, please do not hand over your bunch of keys the minute I step into your household. And to her son, tidying up the room or house is a joint responsibility. Wink wink.

Posted in Letter, Prose, Satire, Uncategorized, writer, writing

Open letter to my future mother-in-law

Respected Mother-in-law

Funny, how people close to me keep teasing me that you are to be dreaded and revered at. And funny, how my previous manager said that you’ll be the one to straighten me up ( I have already improved myself a lot, so lesser tasks in your kitty now)

Let’s get somethings straight, you’ll never be my mother and I’ll never be your daughter. So that formality must go when I’m with you. I tease my mother a lot and I can not think of doing the same with you, out of respect. At 28, I still play pranks on my dear Mommy and having a good time after that. But I can’t do that with you. I have no intention of replacing your daughter ( if you have one) or becoming one (if you don’t have one).
You’ll always love your own progeny more than me and I accept that.

But yes, we can have our fun moments too. Since you and I are going to spend a lot of time together, we’ll make the most of it.

I’ll take some time in getting acquainted with you, I can not be pally with you in the first meeting itself. We have all had our trust broken and I learn from my mistakes. But once I’m comfortable with you, we are going to have a hell of a ride.

You might find me arrogant and an introvert the first time you meet me, this is my first impression to the majority of population. But I’m pretty sure you’ll have a good time knowing this volcano of a person.

I know how to ride a motorcycle and since my Mom doesn’t trust me with any vehicle, so I’ll take you on those adventurous bike rides. And I know how to cook a delicious meal (God bless my genes and creativity) and you’ll see a lot of experimentation in your kitchen.
I don’t have any grand plans of ruling your home with a bundle of keys on my waist (as depicted in Hindi soap operas) but your kitchen has to be mine. No compromises on that. One of my cousins gifted us a lovely set of knives (chef’s and butcher’s knife included) and I’m bringing that set as dowry. And yes, a wooden chopping board too because I have developed a habit of cutting edibles like a chef after watching those numerous cookery shows.
Please don’t worry, your kitchen will be fine, it is in safe hands.
I love to shower onstentatious gifts on the people close to me, so please do not be surprised if you receive a Kanjeevaram or a Banarasi silk on your birthday. My taste in Indian attire is pretty developed because of those innumerable shopping sprees with my Mom.
Coming to your pampered brat of a son, I have no intention of mollycoddling him the way you do. You can continue doing that, he can continue being a Momma’s boy, I really don’t mind. But when he is with me, he has to be a responsible man – independent and capable of taking his own decisions.
I know that I can never shower the sort of affection that you do on him. I somehow understand this because of my late grandmother’s fondness for her sons.

I have developed travelling as a hobby, and sometimes I go for solo travel. My mom is too scared to travel with me to unknown destinations (though we have gone together to Lucknow countless times) but I would love to take you on those travels. Please don’t worry, I won’t go for trekking with you. But wherever we go, I’ll take care of you and your dear son will feel pretty jealous of us.
My sheer adamancy will sometimes give you a hard time but trust me when I say that diplomacy wins more wars than ammunition.
My previous manager and many of my friends would also like to express their best wishes to you on my wedding day since you are taking me in your household. You are my mother-in-law, you’ll have own your swagger.
I wish to express more here, but I’ll keep those points for our conversations. Because after all, what is the fun if I reveal everything here?

Hoping to meet you soon,
Sincerely
Shreya Srivastava
(The surname won’t change, even if yours is different from mine. Yes but Shreya S. whatever your son’s surname is can be negotiated)