Waiting for your favourable reply…

[Warning: Read at your own risk]

Hi dear, good morning,  go through my profile once again & decide or pass this message to those who really need my help. i have just started my journey in the titanic ship as dassan and looking eagerly for rose to share everything whatever i have with me till reach my destination. In the ship i like to do romance, like to help her and support her fully. waiting for a chance, whoever she may be, i  dont know, expecting the luck of getting good and nice girl or women as a normal human being. it is not a friendship in the ship and also not necessary to make friendship but it is beyond the friendship level because sharing love and affection with a girl has totally different meaning, it has more value forever. it is not neccessary to get marriage. Marriage is just a approval ceremony to link male and female only. friendship is different, making love & affection is different, marriage is different. i am in second catagory. come, we will enjoy. see my face and talk, leave me if u dont like. give me a chance to go with you.reply me. dont be silent, be frank, nothing to fear,it is not a very un-usual thing, the way just to be happy in safe manner, waiting for your favorable reply, thanks. no compulsion, it is upto your own wish and decision”.

The above letter is unedited, unadulterated  version from a certain ‘Mister Peri Vendhan’. Just copy-pasted here as is, else it would lose its very essence of existence; its very reason to be. And hell no, I haven’t made it up. I couldn’t even if I wanted to. This one is a gem of a proposal.

A while back, I had received this email proposal; I would have given it a pass had it not been bombarding my inbox every two days, like an incessant banging on my door. When I couldn’t take the banging [pun intended], I risked a read and am still recuperating. The after-effects of a catastrophe may take time to fade off, but not considering Mr. Vendhan‘s kind offer of help will leave one immortally wounded in the heart.

I have considered His Highness’s kind offer of help and am carefully evaluating his way ‘just to be happy in safe manner.’ Here is my reply to you, kind Sir, hope you do not mind the open letter format I’ve chosen to respond to your offer, I gathered there are other nice girls or women who could do with your generous offer of help and support.

Dear Mister Vendhan,

Kind Sir, May I please have the honour and privilege of addressing your Highness as Dassan of my Titanic, only for the purpose of this open letter? Dearest Dassan of my Titanic, I am deeply touched by your deep efforts to search for your Rose, with whom you wish to ‘share everything whatever you have with you till you reach your destination’. You know, the Titanic was doomed – it never reached its destination.

But, I understand your idea of destination is more inclined towards a romantic kind, you certainly do not plan to travel any place with your Rose.

You mentioned about what you intend to do in the ship: your idea of romance, help and full support for Rose is an exhilarating one. Any nice girl or woman would jump to that, but I sank, I’m unable to fathom the depths of your love for Rose. You say that ‘it is not a friendship in the ship, it is beyond’. You say that ‘sharing love and affection with a girl has totally different meaning.’ I think that was deep. And the Titanic sank real deep… oops!

I am a lowly nincompoop, what to do! I fail to comprehend the meaning of ‘totally different meaning.‘ All I know is that boy meets girl, falls in love, they get married and live happily ever after. But, in your story, I fail to see a ‘happily ever after.’ Will Dassan fall off the raft so his Rose could live? You know you seriously need to watch that movie.

So Dearest Dassan of my Titanic, I went through your profile a thousand times over, and like you so desired, I decided to pass this message to those who really need your help. I sincerely apologize from the depths of my heart for rejecting your kind proposal. Although there is no compulsion as you state, it is upto my own wish and decision ‘to see your face and talk, leave you if I don’t like’, I am deeply sorry for not giving you a chance. Believe me, I too wish ‘to be happy in safe manner.’

And, I do understand your point about there being ‘nothing to fear,it is not a very un-usual thing, the way just to be happy in safe manner’. Trust me, I am not scared at all to sail this ship with you, dearest Dassan of my Titanic. The issue is me: I just can’t see myself as your Rose. Who am I and what have I ever done to deserve you, your kind heart, your generous love and affection? 

I’m deeply sorry once again for dashing your hopes ‘of getting good and nice girl or women as a normal human being.‘ I am a nice girl. I am normal too but just not privileged enough to set sail with you, dearest Dassan of my Titanic. Perhaps your Rose is blooming somewhere, some place as she reads this offer coming from the depths of your heart. I wonder how she will express her wish to sail with you.

Anyways, good luck to you Mister Peri Vendhan, I hope and pray that you two are united soon. Hoping this is a favorable reply.

Happy Sailing!

oldfox 004

Your age is your discount!

Happy 38This April the 4th I turned 38. It may not be a big deal, in fact it is just a number, but it is a significant one nevertheless. From a size ‘M’, I’ve grown to a size ‘L’ if comfort is what I’m looking for. I need to stub out a few beard hairs every week, else risk looking like ‘she-man’. I carry around a tyre like a stationary hula-hoop around my waist. I’ve begun to eat more than I need, exercise less than I must, talk more than I should, listen less than what is good for me.

My thought processes have chosen their absolute paths around my cranium and the connected nervous system. Everything there is to learn in life to sustain a decent livelihood has been done with, and my grey cells have gone into hibernation. I feel a terrifying vaccum inside me is sucking in everything from my insides, forming a lump of non-renewable mass to be never transformed into energy or set anything into motion again in life.

Apparently, this is what is termed as mid-life crisis, or the perceived notion of reaching a ‘dead end’ in one’s journey, because everybody (read society) says so!

The so-called ‘People of the Society’ now have a fair understanding about me, and by that qualification, they can now advise me on what exactly I should be doing in the 38th year of my life.

A coincidence off-late made me mull over my age. It so happened that I was seated at a popular Chinese takeaway, waiting for my parcel, when right adjacent to me was a standee, displaying loudly: “Your Age is your Discount”. A beauty salon was looking to boost its haircut sales.

I wondered, “Can my age be discounted in real life?

38 tells me how much grey has begun to set in; how fatigued is my body; it nudges me to go for a health check up so I could wring any hereditary or lifestyle diseases right away while the nasty things are still in stealth mode. 38 tells me I’m closer to 40!

38 defines where I am in life with respect to where I should’ve been in life as per my life goals. It tells my government to put me in the next demographic. It tells the people around me that I have now arrived at a ‘big’ juncture in my life, that I should now take life seriously, that I need to now worry about my aging body and not flush my eggs down the toilet bowl – and here is where it all ends, sadly!

38 also throws up some very vital questions: Am I sporting an age-appropriate waistline? Should I colour my greys? Have I under-achieved compared to my peers? Do my friends and family miss me? Does my age bother my other half? Can I still reach the finishing line? Am I a failure?

Wait…these don’t look like vital questions, in fact, these aren’t even questions!

These are fears implanted over the generations, in you and me; like a wheel it goes on and on in a never ending cyclic path, consuming every fresh idea that comes its way.

These are fears implanted over the generations, in you and me; like a wheel it goes on and on in a never ending cyclic path, consuming every fresh idea that comes its way. Satan’s other name is Fear!

Age can be discounted had we been told how many years we would exist. Let’s suppose a human life was designed to live fully till 100 years, and then the aging process would set in. In this imaginary world, I could avail a 38% discount the whole of this year, and really look forward to turning 39.

But, we are mortal beings with no number attached to the lives that die every second. They could be 3 or 8 or 38, and still mean so much to the people in their lives.

The only way to keep going on is to ‘unlearn’ everything they tell you to. Stay in the ‘now’ and not worry about the future and certainly not about age, because as someone wise once sang, “Que sera, sera.”

Cheers to all of us who are 38 years ‘young’ this year!

Maid 2.0

Uborka-2

My bai woes are unending. This year we shifted our home-office to a new place in the same locality, an extra room with an additional balcony meant more space between the Mister and me. Life had become so peaceful that I almost began to worry, remember the Universe’s first law of Happiness – “This too shall pass”. Now picturise a happy sun saying this to you.

Little did I know that my inner peace would be ruffled soon by the new maid. Her name means ‘Poetry’ and just like they say, “There is magic in poetry”, there was magic in her, or rather her work. Dust vanished into thin air, as she walked into every room. Things sorted themselves as if by divine reconfiguration. The Mister and me lived like the King and the Queen in their squeaky clean apartment…until.

She came. She saw. She conquered.

The day we set foot in our house after all the packing and the moving and then the unpacking, we saw a quaint figure watching us from a distance. The next day, a lady deliberately crossed paths with the Mister and ordered him to employ her as our maid. He placed the ball in my court. She came to me the next day and pleaded for the job.

Maids and me have always been in an abusive relationship. They set the rules and I quietly abide by them. Do read “Maid in India” and “My maid and her newfound efficiency” for an accurate context.

The new home ushered new hopes, so I decided to let go of past trauma. I told her to come from the next week, but she started that very day. She sweeped and she mopped, then she mopped some more and left me a happy soul.

Days went by and just as the Mister and me were getting newly accustomed to our clean home, and hassle-free maid, things took an ugly turn.

It started with her reporting time that swayed anywhere from pre-breakfast to lunch-making time. Some days she came even before I could open my eyes fully. When I complained, “It’s too early”, she’d say, “I have to go out.”

Some days she comes in when I’m preparing lunch and offers no explanation whatsoever. When it turned into a daily habit, I asked her, of course in a feeble voice, as to what is the matter in her life. Is she going through some mid-life crisis? Does she need a break?

She said, “I got more houses to clean now.” I kept mum.

Then came the holidays. One time she went on a vacation for ten days, of which only four were informed ones. I didn’t dare to ask her this time!

Dust can be neither cleaned nor be destroyed, but it transfers from one place to another.

Dust is transferred from one place to another, just like the law of conservation of energy that states – Energy can be neither created nor be destroyed, but it transforms from one form to another. The dust law applies to all maids.

My house is as much clean as it is dusty!

This month, she has set a new rule, well two actually – one we cannot ‘not be present’ at home whenever she comes, and second, we need to inform her in advance if we will ‘not be present’ at home whenever she comes.

The Mister booked Sunday tickets for ‘Mad Max Fury Road’ on a Saturday evening. I had to have them cancelled, as we hadn’t taken requisite permission from The Maid.

Life has come a full circle when it comes to maids. It’s almost poetic. She says she has a very tiny child (this is a new story) who acts as per his whims and fancies (look who’s talking).

I have almost given up in my hunt for the perfect maid. They say, “Life is finding love in the imperfections” and it is true. We don’t look eye to eye anymore, and I don’t dare occupy the bathroom…whenever she comes.

Image credit: Vectors 4 all

My maid helped me rediscover my passion for life

Time and again I get questioned on why I don’t blog here more frequently. That’s like asking my maid why she turns up at my place so few times of the year. It’s just that she has a ton of household chores to deal with in her home already. Like I have a ton of posts to write about at the Lighthouse blog – the blog we run from our home-office. So no big deal really. But, all this was in the past. It’s a new story altogether. Read on…

Yesterday I had this uncanny feeling that she is watching over me, smiling away to herself. Why am I day dreaming about her, you ask? That is because she has gifted me with her “indefinite absenteeism”, ever since the morning of my birthday last month. It was a crazy working Friday and I was looking forward to her making it to my house, so we (the Mister & me) could enjoy a clean home at least for the one special day that comes once a year.

goodbyeAlas she dashed our hopes! This despite saving more than a quarter piece from the Monginis Swiss chocolate cake for her. This despite wishing for her to visit us when I blew upon my birthday candles. This despite praying from the bottom of my heart.

In fact, she dashed our hopes the day after that and the day after that day too. She seems to have taken an oath to never visit us forever. I still await the day I catch a glimpse of her somewhere – you know I owe her 3 days of last month’s pay, if we were to ignore the 100 days she hasn’t turned up in the last year.

Somehow, she must have stumbled upon these blog posts I write about her. The first signs started showing right after I described my encounter with an assortment of maids and finally ending up with the best of the lot in ‘Maid in India’. Soon after I had complained about her frequent absenteeism, of course in my blog, she started showing up more frequently until she reported every single day. This I described in my blog post ‘My maid and her newfound efficiency’. But, alas she has chosen to desert me.

And maybe it is for good.

Now my weekends are more clogged with the laundry, the basin and sink, the floors, the bathroom, the cooking range, my weekly head champi, along with my lost-and-found love for art and crafts. Yes, the entire time I had all these weekends, I never did a thing except stare at beautiful and incredible pieces of artwork I explored on the internet. But, now after my maid has abandoned me, I have finally re-discovered my sole purpose for living – my passion for the arts. I have been busy in the weekends doing some kind of art, and of course the house chores.

There’s a silver lining at the end of dark clouds, they say. For me, it has been my maid’s uninformed disappearance for close to two months now. And I hope it remains that way.

Image credit: Photobucket/Vicki Berson

Just another day in my life…

It was a beautiful morning two weeks back. Despite being awakened by the rooster on my mobile phone alarm, I lay on my bed wondering about the mystery of life. Why are we born? This led to more meanderings of an idle mind – Who are we? Where do we come from? Where do we go to? Is there any meaning to our collective existence? Would the world be any different if any of us just vanished into thin air? This was followed by deeper mulling on whether mankind can ever find its collective soul and live in harmony with nature and so on.

Just then a stray thought entered and I realised it was my birthday; the shock of mid-life crisis had set in. Suddenly I did not want to wake up and face the day or do anything at all. What if I could just vanish into neverland and come back another day as if the birthday had never really come. What if I could turn back the clock and return to middle age when I was more equipped to handle it?

Talking about handles, I had tyres now, also laugh lines, a greying mane, a stretch of beard and a double chin to boot!

Goodbye teddy

Whoa! I am something to reckon with. But then, I remembered the mister and me having celebrated my brave entry into the terrible mid-ages, with a chocolate cake at midnight. It hadn’t seemed that terrifying then.

Why was it so scary now? I began to think – what if I live another three decades at the most and still feel the same? I couldn’t risk feeling this way forever. One has to somehow face the moment of truth and take it as it comes. And so, I make it out of bed and into the balcony to look at my plants. They are so freshly green and as happy as the morning. They only asked me for water, knowing fully well they had to prepare their own food using the water and sunlight.

I watered the plants realising that I have to prepare my own food for my own soul. Life will provide the ingredients but I was responsible for making something nutritious for my soul.

I listened to the many birds atop the trees. They were excited about the day, and chirping about as if there was no tomorrow. They seemed to be living for the moment – no mid-life crisis for them.

I looked at some birthday wishes on WhatsApp. These were the mandatory ones aided by smartphones; birthday reminders set up by friends from over the globe. It’s just that it happened to be my birthday too with many others. The day will move along and it will be like just any other spring day. The cake pictures on Instagram brought a few more wishes by virtual friends. A blogger uncle’s egreeting cheered me up – a dancing elephant clutching flowers in his trunk. That was it.

It was a working Friday and I had a dozen chores to do and age had nothing to do with it. I knew the day was going to be a good one, because age did not matter any more. It was my soul I needed to nourish.

My maid and her newfound efficiency

indian-maidMy bai has stopped giving me the cold shoulder. Ever since I wrote this post called “Maid in India” describing how we (the Mister & me) are the hostages in this employment contract, she has been acting strangely. The first quarter of this year is round the corner and I still haven’t been able to figure out why.

I am scared, very scared to write this post; I have an uncanny feeling she knows about this blog therapy I follow. Perhaps through some extra sensory perception, she knows what I think about her.

In fact, she demanded a raise right after the post, leaving me feeling quite stupid for having written that. Anyways, we had to concede to her demands if we wanted peace at home and some cleanliness if you may!

But lately I’ve been noticing a peculiar work ethos in my maid. She has transformed into an efficient worker since the two weeks of March. I fear a massive uprising is on the cards soon…but no!

For starters, the utensils are squeaky clean and you can see your face in it. Seen the vessels in the VIM washing bar ad, which the brand new daughter-in-law is brandishing away at her sceptical mother-in-law? My maid is washing the vessels like that, can you beat that?

The deep bottomed kadai might not come out squeaky clean, but there is no trace of any oil on it, not even on the handles, like it used to be before. Spoons, ladles, the butter knife, every little thing is washed both sides. There was a time when the holding side had traces of what I had cooked earlier. Now, I don’t feel like cooking in these vessels anymore, why dirty them again?!

Earlier, there used to be a puddle of water on the platform where she dumped all the vessels. Now it is dry and vessels are placed intelligently so that all sides of the vessel dry up faster. She should be awarded a ‘Kaizen’ for finally bringing up a continuous improvement approach to her work!

She isn’t stopping at that. The kitchen sink is brushed hard at all the edges too. Washing the sink was never in her to-do list. All she did was merely pour tons of water on all sides and let drain it on its own. She even gave me a big surprise two days back. She washed up the cooking range squeaky clean, without me telling her to do it, which is the case usually. As a matter of fact, I remember a time until a month ago where I was begging her to do it.

To add to this, my home is immaculately clean. The floors are swept with a vengeance like never before. She mops away in a beautiful rhythmic pattern; replace the mop and water with a paintbrush and colours, this would create a masterpiece for keeps.

She was a good worker, she came with neighbour recommendation a year ago. That was the time, when a few maids had taken us on a royal ride. My next door neighbour suggested this lady, and added that she works in and around a few homes in the same wing. This lady, however, took too many leaves without informing us. One time her daughter was sick, the other time her brother was on a visit to her place, and at other times she would even get rashes!

Now she hasn’t skipped a single day except for one day, the next day she looked frail but happy to report to work.

Her soaring performance deserves a ‘best performance’ award, her efficiency is a welcome change, her full attendance is inspirational, but I’m breaking my head to know why. A few days ago, I’ve been seeing new maids at the homes she used to work at. Maybe there is a clue there. I would be more than happy to write a new post with all the masala!

Image courtesy: Times Crest

Bangalore New Year and some fishy tales

The mister and me were bored. Out performing each other with the help of Fruit Ninja and other highly competitive mobile games, was getting too mainstream. We wanted to ‘do something.’ Having arrived in Bangalore one morning for a surprise visit to my in-laws boomeranged. The surprise was on us; there was no one to welcome or hug or make us feel wanted, as both ma and pa in law were away completing chores on the last day of2013.

After the epic train journey that we had had in Udayan Express, this was just what we needed. We had the keys to the apartment, so we snuggled in and made ourselves at home. Soon we were planning on doing something, but what exactly could one do after having endured 20 hours in a train? We ended up watching ‘Captain Phillips’ starring our common favourite ‘Tom Hanks’.

Our folks arrived home in the evening and received a grand surprise. The day ended with talks, debates and ‘why did you not inform us’ with the company of some good food and loads of hugs.

The next day was 1st of January 2014. We again decided to ‘do something’.

Bangalore is the city of gardens; you’re always stepping into one garden or the other. But, Bangalore is also the city of museums, rich cultural history, temples, mosques, churches, gurudwaras each with their architectural wonder and more.

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Cubbon Park, Source: Wikipedia

We decided to enhance our knowledge of flora, while in the city. So Cubbon Park it would be with a visit to the aquarium adjacent to it. Located in the heart of the city, one cannot have missed the Cubbon Park while travelling anywhere in Bangalore. Starting off with 100 acres, the park was extended to around 300 acres because everybody likes a little more greenery. 300 acres is equal to 1.2 square kilometres by the way, so that’s a lot of flora watching. Named after Sir Mark Cubbon, the longest serving commissioner of Mysore, the park has a variety of bamboos, imported ornamental trees, a toy train and many historical monuments.

It is New Year day and the whole of Bangalore had made similar plans. After having braved the traffic jams and changing two buses, we arrived at Cubbon Park to realise that sightseeing 300 acres of flora with nearly 300 thousand people is not a fun way to start off 2014.

So we started with the aquarium located at the entrance gate to the park. The Bangalore Aquarium, as it is called, is the second largest in the country. Surprisingly, it wasn’t crowded so I could have all the fun with the fishes. I was all excited like a kid who visits an aquarium for the first time.

I don’t know how to describe this but the second largest aquarium in the country had me disappointed. Some of the tanks were empty, while some of them had their labels torn. Most of the fishes have lived in these artificial environments for so many years that they do not have a motive left to explore it anymore. They don’t bother to swim across the next manmade underwater cave to meet with their friends.

But, there was one enthusiastic guy that I fell in love with. He went up and down his little tank frantically looking for something – worms perhaps. Or maybe he has a story of a lost love. Maybe she was taken to another tank, we would never know.

Sadly, his label was pulled off so I might not be able to identify his species. To the discerning fish buff, the bulging eyes are a clear giveaway though. Here’s a little video shoot of the smarty:

We then decided to skip the Cubbon Park for another day when it is less crowded.

The second day of the year, we visited the Lal Baug botanical garden spread across 240 acres in the southern part of the city. Both of these were being managed by the horticulture department of the state who are fairly good at their jobs. The floral clock works but the aquarium is defunct. For a nature enthusiast especially of flora, the garden is a treasure house.

Most of the trees are more than a hundred years old and being near them makes you feel like a child under the care of loving elders. I can’t describe the contentment we returned with. It will always remain like a beautiful memory within us.

Butterfly garden Bangalore
Butterfly garden, Bangalore

So the Google search for ‘exciting places to visit in bangalore’ served us well indeed! Hope you too visit places in your city and discover the beauty hidden in its hustle and bustle.

The last epic train journey of 2013

indian-railway-electric-engine-at-khandala

India is a densely populated country. I bet you know that and have a very own personal experience to vouch for, for if you’re living in this country other than the remotest towns lying strewn across the bosom of the Himalayas, you sure have been magically transported from point A to point B through the Great Indian Railway Network at least once in your life.

I live in the Queen of the Deccan, Pune – the twin city of the country’s financial capital, Mumbai, and often travel by trains. I’m travelling on one right now – the Pune-Bangalore Udayan Express and do not have many better things to do, other than observe this cacophony called co-passengers. This is my last train journey of 2013 and it seems to be as epic as the ones before.

Trains form the lifeline of this country. With over a billion and another 270 million people travelling across the length and breadth of this country, the Indian Railways sure deserves a pat on its back, or rather it’s amazing maze of rails that work in clockwork precision. Thanks to the British rule, this is one system that works at sigma level 4 to 6, depending on the assorted group of passengers it is dealing with.

Right now my Udayan Express is dealing with an assortment of passengers from all corners of Pune. The noon sun isn’t kind either. The Express train has just overcome a massive panic attack. Passengers have invaded it from each of its doors and windows. And most of them haven’t even bothered to reserve their seats. But, that goes because in India just about anything goes.

The ticket checker is working hard to ensure this. After securing a cancelled seat for his daughter, he goes about allotting vacant seats to the hundreds of distressed souls moving helter skelter inside the express train. (It doesn’t move like one though!) And by the way, I also learnt that TCs have a special quota reserved for their sons and daughters. And, there are free meals for them too!

There’s more going on –

There are guys selling ‘thanda pani bottles’ (read empty mineral water bottles refilled at the railway drinking water tap). Remember – anything goes? This isn’t adulteration; it’s called ‘innovation’ and it is a thriving business in a tropical country like ours.

Some guys making the rounds are selling everything from safety pins to recycled tea/coffee/meals to metal chains for anchoring your luggage to your seat. They want to make the most sales in these 20 hours, by whatever means possible, even if it means scaring you enough to buy it.

Even more interesting to observe are my co-passengers. There’s a party of colourful people returning from a wedding. I know because the women’s palms are smothered with intricate mehendi designs, and the men are carrying in all the booty. For starters, there are endless boxes of fragile porcelain, just what the doctor prescribed to carry on a jam packed passenger train.

The cartons say ‘Handle with care’ and the party has been fighting tooth and nail to handle them with care. There are tea cups, saucers and a teapot in one box. There are dinner plates, bowls, and casseroles in another. I read the branded labels on the other carton boxes  – XYZ air freshener, LMN microwave, PQR cooking range, UVW cooler and EFG something something . If all this was not enough, there is a carton of possibly fifty 200 gm packets of unopened potato wafers too. Some poor soul has been fleeced at the wedding.

Plus there has been a scene at the wedding; I can tell for sure. One of the young lad has a bandage across his wrists and is also making gigantic efforts at standing on his feet. Nobody is bothered a teeny bit though.

And then there is the ‘distinctive’ ubiquitous fragrance of the Indian Railways emanating from each and every nook and cranny of the express. Food mixed with poop or is that pee, I don’t know nor do I care. The family beside with the know-it-all mom, the errand-boy dad, their darling daughter and her super irritating little toddler, are also adding their distinctive smells to it. A floral perfumed hand spray goes foosh foosh on each of their palms every one hour. The combination is lethal. My olfactory senses have been deadened by now.

And, let’s not talk about my auditory senses. The darling daughter with her high-pitched voice has successfully managed to out-perform the many wheels chugging along the rails. Her know-it-all mom has been giving her a piece of advice on ‘how you should not disturb your co-passengers’ while being completely oblivious of the noise pollution she has been spreading around. The only adult male has visibly surrendered to these female forces. Life goes on as they discuss what’s wrong with the State Railway Minister.

Evening has arrived and we are now waiting at the Gulbarga train station, the letters of the language are rounded now; we’ve crossed Maharashtra and are now at Karnataka. The telecom service providers are always happy to welcome passengers in roaming, aren’t they? All of us receive welcome SMS’s from our delighted service providers.

Talking about my co-passengers, there’s also a trio of boys who are dead bored. I guess they could do with a real Temple Run 2 kinda adventure right now. They’ve been talking all the time and wondering what the hell am I typing away on my laptop!

I am thankful to this last moment tatkal quota ticket the agent could get us in the sleeper class, because nowhere else could I have had experienced such an epic journey at the end of the year. I consider myself the chosen one. In fact the mister and me are equal in status of being the chosen ones.

Here’s to more epic train journeys in 2014. Cheers!

Image courtesy: Amit Kulkarni

Maid in India

I can’t do without her. Nor can we live in harmony. She knows the place she holds in my life. And she uses it to her benefit. So when this noble lady tells me, “Pocha kal” I obey at once with a respectful nod.

Today she reports nearly three hours later than her scheduled time, but I say nothing because being present on the job is an even bigger quality than punctuality, isn’t it? She is reporting after 50 hours, which is fine because little breaks from work helps keep her mind fresh and active. Besides, it gives me and the mister a chance to do some house chores as a break from our very humdrum life of blogging.

indian-home-maid-servant-naukrani-funny-cartoon

Last December, right after my back injury, I knew I couldn’t avoid this anymore. To give up washing our utensils, to give up on sweeping and mopping our one-bedroom home office, to give up on my freedom to do whatever I want with my home was something very tough for me. We had shifted home just a couple of months back and hired the maid who claimed to be the most ‘in demand’ in our housing society. We had no choice but to believe her and depute her. Soon after the transfer of power, a familiar feeling began to overpower us.

Our endeavour to keep our home clean had failed again. This maid hardly turned up. And God forbid, if she ever did turn up, she also made sure to leave within ten minutes. So quick and efficient was she, that all the utensils self-washed themselves, all the dust vanished from the floors before they got magically moped with glassfuls of Lizol. It took me a week to decode her modus operandi.

She transferred dirt to nooks and crannies that are invisible to the human eye. Though, these were visible to the pests that lived with us and often laughed at our ignorance. How I got rid of the pests is an altogether different story that needs to be told as well. Living in rented homes teaches you a lot about human behaviour, I tell you!

I had questioned this lady holding in my palm a portion of evidence although it was ‘dirty’ – dust, hair, a few pulses, some shedded skin too I guess. She was deeply hurt that someone could question her integrity like this. She left at once and promised to never come again. She came the next day to collect her salary for the days she deceived us though.

So 2013 began with this new maid who came with recommendations from the neighbours. This time I got smarter to not rely on self- proclamations. She takes her time at the kitchen sink. Then she carefully sweeps away dust (hair and all) from all nooks and crannies too. Then she mops the floor with a corkful of Lizol and leaves a fragrant home for the two of us.

But, she hardly reports to work.

Sometimes, her daughter is sick or at times she takes a week-long sojourn to her native land. That way she prefers to keep away from the dim of city life and rejuvenate through all the greenery in the countryside.

She works at nearly seven homes everyday, thus earning our empathy. So when she does report to work, she finds herself with more than a day’s dirt to wash, sweep or mop. She made sure it wasn’t too hard on her. So the invariable response was ‘Pocha kal’ which meant ‘mopping tomorrow as today there is too much work load’. Also, ‘you guys don’t seem to mind not having a squeaky clean floor anyways’!

Every thing including her absenteeism was going fine up until I saw her leaving a neighbour’s home after finishing their chores, and leaving on the sly. And, she has been doing this for the whole of this year, right under our nose!

Out of the 350 days she took salary for, she must have reported for only 280 as every month sees her sickness, her daughter’s sickness, or her wish to take a breath of fresh air from her countryside.

She is a good worker who knows her value and her employers very well. This November, I gifted her a saree along with Diwali bonus, although me and the mister did all the pre-festive deep cleaning. She was apprehensive in taking it then. Unlike other maids who rejoice over getting gifts over Diwali, or blackmail into getting them, she seemed a tad bit guilty. Her uninformed absence for the next 11 days gave me the answer.

Well, this is my maid. My very own ‘Maid in India!’ I am hoping you have your very own maid stories to share too 🙂

Turning three and feeling young again!

I can’t believe our blog – that is also our source of bread and butter – turns three today! Here’s our mascot with the birthday cake:

LI-mascot-cakeAfter a false start on April fool’s day, our blog ‘Lighthouse Insights’ was formally launched on December 1, 2010. A day before I had confided to my hubby and partner-in-crime (then fiancé) that I plan to look for content related jobs to help moonlight my daytime struggle with design assignments I was struggling to find.

Why go outside when you can join me?” he said. Surprised and amused, I asked him what was he talking about!

He sent me a blog link with around 10 posts on marketing, word of mouth marketing, customer service, social media magic and more. I liked the substance in this blog but would I be paid? It was named ‘Bee Societal’ and I couldn’t imagine working for a blog named like that. Also, I was living in Mumbai and we didn’t know when to get married!

When everything is a big question mark, you surrender to the divine forces. I did that and almost magically, we worked on this blog with me in Mumbai and him in Pune. First things first – ‘Bee Societal’ was renamed to ‘Lighthouse Insights’ after a brainstorming session on the phone, minus our brains!

The initial months were full of self-training and observation – social media practices, human behaviour, blog content, SEO basics and link building, digital marketing, Seth Godin, English & grammar (actually studied through Wren and Martin which was optional in school!) and much more. This process of learning kept me engaged and excited as well.

But, the location difference was still a problem and we couldn’t be engaged forever. So we got married. One month later, we moved to a personal domain and there has been no looking back ever since. Within seven months of marriage and the blog’s first anniversary, the hubby put down his papers at the IT company that used to pay our rent and bills. January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012 was a complete roller-coaster ride of a year, we didn’t know what we had gotten into and didn’t know where it was leading us. With God’s grace, we were able to pass through painful wrists, a broken back, and some ‘medical conditions’ caused from insomnia, nervous tension et al. The most exciting bit was, of course, paying our bills right on the due date!

2013 has been a ‘floating’ experience. Both of our systems have been reconfigured and we don’t remember much of when we fell in love with each other, or when we met and decided to get married. Survival has taught us focus, discipline and perseverance, something our parents tried in vain!

Three years and counting…three years young and getting to kindergarten…relearning the childish way to explore…Thank you God for everything!