Wednesday, November 23, 2011

To do or not to do..

“No way, never again”…

This was my agonized reaction when friends and relatives came to see our newborn daughter and joked about having a brother for her next.

The sleepless nights, the overwhelming feeling of parenthood and the constant fatigue, it seemed like new babies came with a lot more than just the cute smiles and sleepy faces. They came with hungry tummies and poopy diapers. Also they took their own sweet time to decide which time zone they would rather follow than to fall in place with the rest of the world.

My husband was faring a little better than me since he wasn’t the one whose stomach was cut open to bring the baby out. Oh yes, I was so mad at him for being a man and getting it easy.

Me, I thought my life was over. With the deepest sense of love and protectiveness for the baby came a sense of despair for my own self. (I did come to know later that this was a very natural reaction to the process of having a baby and I was not as exceptional a woman, I thought I was). “How will I raise my little girl? Will I ever do anything in life now except worry about her?”I would mumble incoherent questions between sobs, most of which even didn’t make sense to me. I guess not, he would smile and say, not what I wanted to hear.

Whoever came to see the baby had the warmest expression on their faces. “She’s adorable, she looks like her dad, Oh, such a small baby and she will grow up so fast you won’t even know so hold on to her every minute she’s in your arms”. The last statement seemed a little farfetched to me at that time.  I even confided in my sister who wasn’t even married yet, that people who said all those lovely things had short lived memories and since their kids were all grown up they had forgotten the hellish first few months. My sister gave me a look like how can you say such mean things about this cute little baby, all she does is eat, sleep, make dirty diapers and cry and then eat again and sleep…? “hmmm, she does have that shrill irritating cry which goes on in the middle of the night, but she’s very cute”, quickly the aunt in her covered up on the factual but not so pleasant observation.

But time did fly and before we knew it was her 3rd Birthday (sob..sob..sob..very emotional while I write this). And once she started going to preschool every day she came back home and asked for a baby sister to play with. Seeing her friends with their siblings made her feel lonely and jealous. For us it was a huge dilemma. I had just earned a small portion of my freedom back and wasn’t sure I wanted to go through the whole grind again, forget so soon. My husband being an only child himself really didn’t see any disadvantage to that position. But in the end I thought of my younger sister, our relationship as children and how it evolved from siblings who couldn’t stand each other to sisters who watch out for each other.

We were as different as chalk and cheese, me and my sister and all we did was fight constantly. I have been told that I had requested my mom to send the baby back to the hospital where she came from, the day they brought her home (they might be just making this up to try and make me feel guilty after all these years). And yet today, we count on each other like never before. I guess the fights were all about growing up together and once we did grow up, the equation changed completely. We still have our differences but the care and concern comes out even in the disagreements.  

She will have lots of friends if not a sibling and they will stand by her, said hubby dear playing the devil’s advocate. True, I thought, but acquaintances, friends, neighbors are more transient than a brother or a sister. Even with the best of intentions, it is hard to go back to old friends as often as you would want to. You keep on making new friends in life, not necessarily forgetting the old ones, but with family there are only additions. I do not in any way undermine the importance of dependable friends; just that I believe they don’t substitute for a sibling and the other way round. Why not give her a chance to have both, I told him.

It has been nearly 2 years since that fateful conversation and subsequent decision. Things have changed at home, like our schedules, the monthly budget and my pitch of voice. There is more mess and more arguments too. What keeps the balance is more hugs and more fun. We are busier but happier.

Between the two of them, things are complicated. History they say repeats itself. They fight a lot and my day often goes by playing referee. But they CAN NOT do without each other. The younger one adores her big sister and the big sister takes her title pretty seriously.

The day I posted pictures of both my girls together for the first time on Facebook, my friend Urvashi commented; your girls are going to be best friends for life. I almost laugh it off when I see them grab each other’s hair for a favorite book but the very next moment they walk together hand in hand, adjusting their pace and direction to match each other and I believe it with all my heart.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Rockstar - Movie Review

“Behind every successful man there is a woman” or her absence. This can very well be the tag line for Rockstar.

I am not at all surprised at the intense reactions Rockstar is gathering from all over the place. Some love it, some hate it and there is rarely an in between response. Why am I not surprised? Because it is a piece of art which was bound to stir up your senses, positive or negative.

I loved the movie; let me get it cleared at the start so those looking for an unbiased review can stop reading right away.

Rockstar, as the title goes is what the hero of the movie wants to be and I use the words “wants to be” and not “aims to be” because when he actually reaches THERE, he doesn’t want it anymore.

With Jim Morrison as his idol, Janardhan Jakhar or JJ wonders why he isn’t so successful even though he has it in him. Enlightenment comes in the form of a canteen owner (subsequently his manager) who points out that all famous artists have a real tragedy in life which makes them so.  Taking the advice to heart, off goes our hero after the most gorgeous girl “Heer” on the campus. They turn into friends and only when she gets married in some time and goes away to Prague does Jordan (as named by Heer) feel a sense of “missing” in life and music just flows out of him.

He grabs the chance to visit Prague and meets Heer again, miserable and unhappy in her marriage and in the foreign land. This time when they meet, both realize what they mean to each other, an affair is just the natural way of progression for them thereon.

They share a chemistry that is unstoppable. They love each other, yearn for each other and only when they are together does their world feel complete. And this love story tells you just that.

When Heer’s conscience turns up too much against her, Jordan’s heart is broken. The separation once again brings out the rebel and the artist in him like never before. But success, when it comes doesn’t taste as sweet to him because his love is not by his side.

Heer’s sister calls for him at one of his concerts and he meets his lady again, this time without the baggage of her marriage. All his dreams with her come true before the movie ends on the prophecy that comes true.

Rockstar is not a brilliant love story never written or seen before; it is a heartfelt depiction of what happens when soul mates come together and stay apart. The sad face of Heer, speaking volumes about her married life and the angered reaction of Jordan to the much longed for success tells us that nothing feels right when you are not with your loved one.

Rockstar takes you through the musical journey of a love so powerful, it makes you forget the rights and the wrongs, the flawed circumstances in which Jordan and Heer come together.  All you remember is the magic they create together.

The music of Rockstar is the soul of the movie, one cannot imagine the movie without its songs and they seamlessly fall into all the beautiful places the movie takes us.  

The last scene shows a million fans waving, cheering for our Rockstar as he sings his heart out. Pain and music so blended in the outcome, almost inseparable.  Janardhan becomes the rock sensation he always wanted to, having learnt two life altering lessons in one powerful stroke – love can heal and love can kill.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Running Away

Read a book titled “Escape” by Barbara Delinsky. I wouldn’t call myself a fan of these kind of books (the kind you can re-read after a year only vaguely remembering a few things as the book progresses) but off late I have formed a habit of reading something light after a couple of intense reads. Danielle Steel stories seem too predictable to me (no offense to the author as they obviously sell like hot bricks). So I settle for a Barbara Delinsky or a Nicholas Sparks or an Anita Shreve book. The last name on the list however has a thing for tragedies, not my cup of tea when in mood for light reading. Which makes me come back to the basic question, what do I consider as a “light” read?

It has to be fast paced, have a little bit of soul and be interesting enough.  It should of course refresh me to serve its basic purpose. It’s like you haven’t lost out on anything great if you didn’t read it but if you did; it wasn’t a waste of time.

Anyway, so I finished this book in more or less one day, skipping a few lines here and there and mostly enjoyed it. It tells the story of a woman who wants to escape her everyday life for the time being. Just when I finished reading the last page, it was time to go so I grabbed the car keys and headed out for my daughter’s swim lessons, the book still fresh in my mind.

And I thought to myself, where would I go if I felt like running away? I thought and I thought for a couple of minutes and yet no answers came. That kind of scared me. Not having anywhere to go other than where I was. I mean, shouldn’t I have a contingency plan in place if things didn’t work out?

Now I seriously started thinking, contemplating places or people I would go to if I ever needed to escape. The first word that came to my mind was Mommy. Well, don’t be shocked, most of the people call out to their moms in times of distress. But I know I wouldn’t go to Mom and dad, it would be too obvious and whatever I was trying to escape from could easily follow me there. Another thing is I would probably be in need of space and not advise if I had chosen to escape and moms really didn’t fare well in that department.

Next on the list would be a friend. But my best friend lives far away in another country; do I know anybody who lives closer and will let me in for an indefinite period of time without asking questions? Nope.

I could go to my sister, two flights and a couple of hours away. Yea, she would be happy to see me and glad to help but would I be able to ask for help?

And the last thought steered the entire deliberation in a different direction. Now the question was do I trust anybody enough to reveal my inner fears or doubts other than the person I married (my children are still too young to share worries)? And suddenly it felt like it wasn’t just my question but more of an entire generation. We, who no longer live close to our families, who make and break friendships on facebook and who dare not ring the bell at a neighbor’s house without reason.

It is my personal experience and observation and I could be wrong here that we are becoming less and less vulnerable. You can think of it as a good survival tool in this world of cut throat competition or as an obstacle which prevents you from getting close to people around you. Do we trust anybody anymore?  Why are we so guarded all the time? Think about this, thanks to the internet and the i-phones we have more and more contacts, but when the time comes how many of them would you actually contact?

As the pondering continues I laugh out loud. So much for a light read!  I had to admit a work of fiction got me thinking (I am sure that wasn’t the intention of the author!)

In the end I have to confess that although my thoughts to escape were all imaginary, the sentiments they evoked were not.

Friday, November 4, 2011


“Thousand miles apart
You in my heart
Me in your heart
Will never depart”

“So, will I never see her again”? Asks my daughter. And I really don’t know what to say. There are a number of answers that come to my mind. “Of course you will. We will all go and meet them next year” OR “Maybe after a couple of years she will come visit us” OR “you never know what future holds in store, who knows both of you, might go to the same college”! none of which will sound convincing to my 5 year old as at that age they really can’t see beyond weekends , play dates and B’days. Also theirs is a world of definitive occurrences, probability is not a concept they are very familiar with.

Our friends are moving to another State and their daughter happens to be best friends with my daughter. I knew about the move some time back and pondered over how to break the news to Saachi. I could either tell her a month before and prepare her so that she had time to let it sink in or tell her a day before to spare her from the that sink – “ing” feeling of saying good bye to a friend. I decided on the latter.

Because the sentiment of moving away is still raw and fresh in our minds. We haven’t  yet completed a year at this new place. Though we are pretty much settled here now for the time being, there isn’ t a day which goes by when we don’t mention or think about our old home in that small mountain town. Personally, I feel we moved for the better but that still doesn’t take away the pain of going away from a place you made your home for many years.

For people like us who move where employment takes us, it’s a sequence which repeats itself. Move to a new place, hate it at first, feel lonely, fall sick because of change in weather, slowly start getting to know people around, explore the new place, make new friends, decorate the apartment, kids are happy and settled at school, finally feels like home, time to move AGAIN.

And you leave the place you hated on arrival and now are scared to leave, land at this new city, new surrounding, not knowing what to expect and who to trust. It is under that scenario that you meet and make friends like these, who are now leaving. People you knew for a short while but got along well. Families, which opened their homes and hearts; accepted you and made you a part of their lives without hesitation.  Strangers , who in no time turned into friends.

Moving is a pain, I have heard many people complain and most of them mean it in the physical sense. How hard it is to pack and unpack and find a new home and re-arrange your whole life. I find it harder to move away from the relationships I built. It is always more about people and less about the place.

So, to my friends I left behind in Colorado – I miss you all and will always remember every one of you. To my friends who are leaving – Good luck and don’t forget us!

And to my daughter, all I said was this – we moved from Colorado to this place and yet very soon one of your old friends is going to come see you isn’t  that true, what does it mean? My question gave her the hope my answers couldn’t have.