Diary of Hobbitt

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Motherhood- A lifetime experience!

Motherhood starts with a missed period and what used to be a slim body literally acquires gigantic proportions as weeks pass into months,each month adding to the weight and discomfort ! Ooh, the nausea that sweeps over the mother to be,is nothing compared to the nausea that every human being goes through one time or the other due to some illness.It comes in waves, each wave bringing forth a spurt of vomit (yuck!). Foods that were once one's favourite make one want to throw up at their very sight or their aroma. I remember developing an aversion to khichadi(my all time favourite) during my pregnancy which after several years down the line still continues to revolt me.The lucky ones recover from their morning sickness after three months and start hogging as if there was no tomorrow ! The not so lucky ones trudge along carrying their sickness full term like they carry the baby within.More discomfor follows as the body starts bloating with baby developing into a full human being-the nights pass with frequent visits to the loo and attempts to catch up on sleep which is a formidable task as the bloated body is not able to sleep in one position .Everytime one wants to turn sides one has to sit up(it is drilled into one's head by the gynaec every time during checkup)and then change side . Next start those movements within the stomach-baby darling is bored of floating quietly in the amniotic fluid , and wants to make its presence felt, so it starts to kick (never mind that poor mama is trying to sleep ! ) During one of my checkups, I was told that my baby was playing football inside my stomach !Simutaneously come the hunger pangs (even for those who are carrying their morning sickness full term) and do they come at all kinds of odd hours !Suddenly one develops a craving for eating ice cream, or cucumbers,apples,why even ash (surprised?but then the expectant mother is not normal human being during pregnancy)in the middle of the night.Trying telling her that ash is not something that is edible and she'll either burst into tears or throw a pan at you(or whatever is within her reach!).Mood also swings frequently ,what with hormones going crazy with all the changes taking place within the body. Having to cope with all that is happening within her, no wonder the expectant mother looks perpetually tired and is irritable ,One fine day( or it could very well be night) a sweeping pain envelops the body and the entire family rushes to the hospital only to be told by the doctor that it is a false alarm and that there is still time to go before the big day ! By now every member of the family is in a state of nerves every time the expectant mother experiences a bout of pain-they don't know whether it is a false alarm or the actual alarm bell ringing . Finally one day the young mother- to -be experiences other symptoms along with pain and this time the family bundles her into the waiting car (along with a suitcase full of things for both mum and baby) and rush her to the hospital and the look on the doc's face confirms their doubts-yes the Big Day has finally arrived. The expectant mother is rushed into the labour room and subsequently the delivery room and after what seems like eternity there is a loud wail of an infant and the nurse appears with the bundle of joy in her arms and worry and tension fade and smiles appear on the faces of all ,especially the proud father as he is congratulated ! In the delivery room the new mother comes back to consciousness after a couple of hours and all the discomfort of the past nine months is forgotten in a minute and relief and happiness envelope her as her new daughter is handed over to her . For the mother it is a moment of happiness, and love as she realizes that this bundle of joy has been worth all the discomfort that she underwent during the past few months.Indeed motherhood is a strange thing but a wonderful experience!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Mall Culture

The "Mall Culture" has arrived ( one more feather in the cap for the west which we desis are constanting aping) and is here to stay.Walk into any mall on a weekend one gets the impression the entire city is there ! They come in all types-the DINKs(double income no kids couples), the large Indian family(whole with granpa,granma,aunts uncles ,cousins,nephews, nieces!), the nuclear family comprising of young parents with a toddler in tow or in a pram, the groups of teenagers, the yuppies with their boy friends or girl friends, the newly married couple in the first flush of marriage, the not so young parents on the own(their grownup offsprings probably on a similar outing with their peer group )-all out to have an evening of fun.It could either be a mundane job ,like getting the month's groceries or it could be visit to one of the movie theatres to catch the latest movie(who cares if tickets are priced too high ,after all money is not a problem for the urban lot who come to the malls),or it could be a trip to one of the innumerable restaurants that offer multicuisine, or it could simply be an outing with no purpose other than to just browse at all designer brands.-whether its clothes, accessories , shoes or watches etc. A select lot will head straight for the book-cum-music shop where if one is interested in reading or has a ear for music ,the hours will simply fly. There is something for everyone who comes to these malls - of course it also helps if one's wallet is full of crisp notes and a couple of credit cards !Wecome to the Mall Culture !

Monday, August 28, 2006

The Magical World of Malgudi

Malgudi- The very mention of the name conjures up an image of the ficticious little city (or should we say an overgrown village)created by one of India's finest and much loved authors-RK Narayan. The charm of his stories lie in the simple manner in which they are written and also in the subjects of his stories ( people like you and me who find themselves in situations which are not unfamiliar to the lay person).In today's age of pretentious writers who put in effort to deliberately sound very intellectual(even if they are not, and most of the time they are not!) RK Narayan's writing comes across like a breath of fresh air.Malgudi's characters (be it the sweetmeat seller, or Swamy and his friends,or the dominating head of the family who drags his reluctant son to the family temple for the ritual of hair shaving,or the English teacher who loses his young wife and many others)are people whom one can identify oneself with or with the people around oneself.As one reads Malgudi Days or any of his other stories,one is unconciously transported to that location and for a moment the current world in which one lives, ceases to exist-one can actually feel oneself walking along the bank of the Sarayu river,or sitting at the popular hangout (most of the time near the statue of the British general)and discussing affairs of the world,or joining Swamy and his friends as they jump from one adventure to the other-a world where life is very laidback,a world free from modern days' complex lifestyle .Indeed one starts to yearn for such a world in which life moves at its own pace,a world ,which gives importance to human relationships rather than, to material comforts.Though such a magical world does not exist anymore , we can still escape to that make believe world every now and then -thanks to authors like RK Narayan

Saturday, August 26, 2006

All in the name of the Lord !

Ganapathy pooja in south Indian homes, is not complete without Kozhakkattai-the Lord's favourite prasad. Though on the outside the 'kozhakkattai' looks like an uninteresting sweet, a taste of this white rice ball will leave you wanting for more!Early in the morning ,On Ganesh Chathurthi ,the lady of the house will get down to preparing this much awaited delicacy! She will prepare the poornam (or the stuffing) by cooking jaggery and coconut(grated) over slow fire .When almost done, a dash of powdered cardomom is added to the poornam and Voila -the stuffing is ready!Now for the next step- boiled hot water (along with a pinch of salt and a tsp of oil) is mixed with rice powder and made into soft dough. Now next comes the creation of kozhakkattai . This is one stage ,where the entire family willingly pitches in (even the tiny tots join, after all the more number of hands , the more number of kozhakkattais !)and it becomes a team effort. The palm is literally greased (no pun intended !) and rice dough is made into a small ball and then pressed flat and patted into a small circular disc.A spoonful of stuffing is kept on the rice disc and then gently closed . A lot of camaraderie is evident as family members tease one another, as kozhakkattais turn out in all shapes and sizes what with so many hands involved in the activity! Finally the last of the kozhakkattai is ready to go into the vessel for steaming . The kozhakkattai are placed in a perforated plate on a stand and water poured beneath, on the base . The vessel ( most of the time the pressur cooker is used,without using the whistle) is closed and the kozhakkattais are steamed for five minutes,cooled and removed onto a plate and offerd to the Lord during puja ,while everyone patiently waits for the rituals to be over so that they can lay their hands on this mouth watering delicacy! All in all everything is consumed in the name of the Lord!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Weighty Issue !

The Indian housewife (like her counterparts all over the world) is obsessed with shaking off those extra kilos (which probably built up as she sat and watched all those saas-bahu serials in the quiet of the afternoon,day after day !) . Enrolling in aerobic classes is out of question-those very extra kilos she wants to shake off , literally come in her way of doing vigorous excersise !Thats what is called a Catch 22 situation !So she opts for the next best option-enrol in yoga class. If she had checked it out she would have been informed that yoga implies union of body ,mind and soul and not disunion of weight from one's body! Our typical example lands up one fine day for her first yoga class and her first question is "Will I lose weight in one month?"Never mind ,that she has diabetes, blood pressure etc ( which can somewhat be regulated )!What nags her is, that she cannot wear those trendy outfits which will make her look like a youngster (which even a slim housewife cannot look if she is over 40!).SO...When she is told that it is not possible,she loses interest and goes back to her routine of watching soap operas and adding more kilos and thereafter does not show her face in yoga class any more!

Ganpathi Bappa Morya

Once again it is that time of the year when the state is thrown into a frenzy of excitement and activity as it prepares to celebrate the festival of its most favourite god-Ganpathi !As one goes around the bustling metro there is a festive spirit in the air and all around.They come in all sizes and shapes-I am referring to ganpathi idols ,as they sit , on a makeshift table,viewing the world with benign eyes, waiting to be picked up and taken to different destinations. The crowds throng these shops,looking at the idols, totally excited and at the same time confused at the variety that is offered.Each idol is a masterpiece by itself ,adorned with with all kinds of decorations-some so beautiful that one feels sad one has to immerse it at the end of the festival. Nevertheless one still buys it and the shopping does'nt end there. There are other things along with the idols which tempt the buyer ! bejewelled gold & silver crowns, wooden platforms for keeping the idol, silk scarves in bright colours, small silken umbrellas to hang over the idol and of course, garlands (big and small) made of plastic flowers,beads and velvet flowers.The shops selling electrical goods also jump onto the bandwagon by selling festival lights that can be hung up like a garland to give these earthy idols a divine look!As for the music shops , (not to be outdone in this moneymaking business!)they sell new releases in the form of CDs and tapes-Move over all other Gods of the Hindus, the current favourite is the elephant headed God!So all one sees in these shops are bhajans and shlokas' CDs and tapes dedicated to Ganpathi !Not that anybody minds it-far from it !The janta is more than willing to pay for all this ,after all it is a ten day long festival and the deity in question happens to be the most important one-one that has to be invoked first, before the start of anything auspicious.Who can resist loving the plump little elephant-headed god as he surveys the world with his benign eyes.Mumbai has a vey soft corner for this lovable god.One can see miniatures of ganpathy in offices, in shops, in cars, in clinics, in restaurants,...the list is endless!Its Ganpathy everywhere for the next ten days as every mandal tries to outdo the other in size and creative skill as it competes for the best Ganpathy idol in town.One does feel a kind of vacuum as the idols make their way to the sea for immersion on the eleventh day, amidst loud chants of "Ganpathi Bappa Morya"

Trip down memory lane

Looking at children hurriedly rushing to catch the schoolbus,brings to my mind my own schooldays, as it takes a trip down memory lane to those carefree and happy days when all one had to worry about was ,finishing the day's homework and performing well in the exams!One of the advantages in studying in a convent was that discipline was inculcated into the system at a very early age ,which, till today has stood stead in all aspects of life.Inspite of the strict discipline enforced in school,we girls still managed to have fun,at times bringing down the wrath of the nuns!There was this time, when the entire class(seniormost in school)was marched down to the courtyard and made to stand in the sun for the entire period -a punishment meted out to us for being talkative !Not that it bothered the girls......all of us stood there giggling oblivious to the stares of the junior classes! This infuriated Sister Catherine, who gave us a dressingdown ,finally concluding that we were a shameless lot ,and a bad example to the juniors and that we would never amount to anythinhg good in life.No one dared to look up into those piercing blue Irish eyes, while trying to stifle our giggles!Today I wonder if I step into my old school what sights I will see. Todays school kids are a much smarter lot and will probably get into mischief which in those days would have scandalized the nuns!Today's school authorities will have to be even more smarter than their predecessors to handle today's bunch of smart kids![edit] [graphic editor] [Delete]

[15/08/2006 06:27:11] [jovialjaya@rediffmail.com ]

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Evening musings in August

Mumbai looks lush and green in August as monsoon holds sway over the city. In the residential area that I live, the evening brings forth new sights and sounds. Today the rain God has taken respite and it is a lovely cool and cloudy evening.In the distance the chirping of the mynas can be heard as the y prepare to retire for the day. Somewhere a dance class is in progress with ghungroos shaking to the rhythmic beat. In the green park below the boys are playing football and excitement is in the air as they kick the ball around. The ayahs make the most of it as they wheel the infantds in prams and gossip among themselves. The aroma of onions assail the nostrils as dinner is being cooked.In the distance ,on the road cars are impatiently honking as they make their way home.All in all,God is in his heaven and all is right with the world( or so it seems!)

2 year old's mischief

On a fine summer evening as we were getting ready to go out,our 2 year old ran out to the balcony and returned in a few minutes.Busy getting ready we did not pay much heed to what she was doing, till her trips to the balcony every now and then aroused our suscipicion.Every now and then she would casually stroll out to the balcony and return in a couple of minutes with a smug expression on her face.We decided to find out the mystery and quietly followed her on her next trip without her knowledge and there the mystery unfolded- resting on top of the stool in the balcony was a shrunken,dirty potato (left there probably by a visiting crow)which our 2 year old was gleefully biting into ! Every visit to the balcony must have meant one bite at a time ,for the potato seemed bitten into at various points ![edit] [graphic editor] [Delete]

[15/08/2006 06:44:13] [jovialjaya@rediffmail.com ]

Looking through the window

Sitting in the cosy comfort of my room, I look out of the window as the rain pitter patters outside. The garden below looks lush and green with overgrown weeds amidst pools of rainwater. The rains don’t seem to disturb the birds, as mynas and sparrows chirp away merrily. Two pigeons outside the windowsill sit quietly,shielded well from the rain as they look at the other birds rather comtemptuously ,as if to say “:what kind of fools will willingly get wet in the rains and not be bothered about it ! As for the canine and feline population which keeps hanging out everyday near the garbage dump-,they are nowhere to be seen !The lucky few who are having a holiday (,thanks to Janamashtmi) are for once enjoying the rains as they sit sipping hot cups of chai and hogging freshly made kanda and batata bhajiyas. The unfortunate lot ( the majority) curse the rains, as they struggle to reach office in the midst of incessant rain, delayed train services and traffic snarls. Yet another rainy day in Mumbai where life never stops come what may ![edit] [graphic editor] [Delete]

Down & Out

Oh what a fever! well the viral fever has hit me and boy does it feel really really bad ! The virus seems to be thoroughly enjoying itself doing the rounds of my poor body!Cough, Cough I go the minute my head touches the pillow.As for the temperature it merrily goes high and low-while one minute I am covering myself with blankets and the very next minute I am longing to douse cool water over myself !As for the tastebuds-they seem to have disappeared and all I can feel is sawdust in mouth!The gen practitioners (with due respect) must be making money as it rains (quite inappropriate to say make hay while the sunshines,leave alone sun shining one has not even had a glimpse of the sun for a long trime!) writing out prescriptions and collecting their fees![edit] [graphic editor] [Delete]

[15/08/2006 23:18:01] [jovialjaya@rediffmail.com ]

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Music - what can one say about it. It is something so divine that it trancends all barriers and elevates one to a state of bliss. Music in its various forms be it vocal or instumental, classical or folk , has the power to move human hearts. If one were to quietly listen,one would discover music even in the creations of nature.There is music in the gurgling of the brook as it flows along its course, there is music in waves of the sea as they surge forward to the shore and recede, there is music in the chirping of the birds, the gurgling of an infant, the swaying of the leaves of the trees. In the worldly environment one can hear music in the chiming of the church or the temple bells and even the music of the anklets of a woman as she walks ,sounds melodious.Indeed what would life be if there were no music in this busy world.So lets take time off, to enjoy music even as we are bogged down by our day to day activities.