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Showing posts from November, 2009

A Journey!

Last weekend, Yash and I, accompanied by our children, visited Jhansi in southern Uttar Pradesh for the wedding of a close relative.  The bridegroom, Ansh, is the son of Krishna, Yash's first cousin.  As Yash and Krishna's respective fathers were brothers, they would be considered to be brothers rather than cousins as per the culture and customs of northern India.  So Ansh is Yash's nephew rather than a first cousin once removed.  He always addresses Yash and me as Chacha and Chachi (uncle and aunt).  In any case, Ansh is a regular visitor to our home.  He often has to attend business meetings in our city, Lucknow.    The children and I were very excited about attending the wedding, as it is a long time since we travelled away from home. We travelled by train.  Now it would be true to say, I suppose, that you haven't really 'lived' in India unless you have travelled by train.  Of course, it is just a personal opinion.  But you experience so much in the Indian

In Arrears!

Things have been hectic on the homefront lately.  I haven't posted on "Out of Ireland, Into India" for about three weeks.  As for the daily post here - no!  About three times a week if that.  Not daily!   My Google Reader is overflowing with posts to read.  I haven't visited blogs for a week.  At least.  I've a clutch of awards to pass on!  I'm doing a weekly post on my short story blog , but that's about the only thing that's regular.  You know, writing is like a drug for me!  It makes me feel relaxed and satisfied.  For a while.  And as for answering comments......I love answering comments, I really do!  But I'm so behind! We've been out of town for a wedding.  It was wonderful, we had a great time, got a warm welcome, but it was exhausting too.  To tell the truth, it took longer to recover from the wedding than it did to be there.  We went Saturday, came back Sunday, and see, it's Wednesday midday already!  Just getting back into thing

One Memorable Day

Every person or community has it's memorable days, not to mention forgettable days. I've had several of both types. But for me, a particularly memorable day is the one when Yash and I got married after waiting to do so for some seven years. We met sometime in 1986 and by 1987 we were seriously in love and knew (or thought, maybe?) each other was 'the one'. But we didn't get down to 'tying the knot' (which they do, quite literally, in Hindu weddings) until 1994. There were several reasons for this. Firstly, we needed time to think. Marrying out of religion and community...was it really for us? Yash had no interest as such in moving west, but he wasn't against it either. It is just that he would have definitely preferred a job in his own line rather than in a restaurant where he wasn't qualified at all. There were enough qualified people in his field in my country, and foreigners were not required to fill any vacancies which arose. His job

Instructions For A New Mother-in-Law

I haven't posted lately as I've been preoccupied with a task in hand. Yash, the kids and me are supposed to be heading off to a wedding in another city at the weekend and there are some preparations to be done. Yash's cousin Krishna is younger than Yash by about five years, but he and his wife Manju are getting their son Ansh married and thereby becoming parents-in-law. From what I have come to learn about north Indian culture, becoming a mother-in-law is a bit of a 'coming of age' experience for a married woman. After a lifetime of service, you get to be someone's boss now. It seems to go to some women's heads. If the son and his bride are living with the parents-in-law, some mothers-in-law literally lose the run of themselves altogether. Well I've never really had much of a conversation with Manju, the wife of Yash's cousin Krishna. She doesn't speak English, and my Hindi is not that good. But if she did know English and could read m


Long ago, I once worked as a receptionist in a company where a very competent young lady - I'll call her Audrey - was an accounts clerk Audrey was a quiet, serious young woman who was respected and liked by everyone. According to popular legend going around the company at the time, Audrey was a complete 'rock of sense'. She never said anything unless it was true - she never made a mistake, not even in calculations. It wasn't that everyone went around saying that - it was just an accepted, even unspoken fact of life. One time, Audrey's wonderful qualities got her into trouble. She accidentally witnessed one of the company's most trusted employees committing a crime - and unintentionally blurted this fact out in front of two of the senior managers! Talk about timing! How did it happen? She was coming back on duty after a late lunch break. She was brushing her hair in the ladies' staffroom when her eye caught an open purse under a chair near the op


Neil came home from school yesterday in a state of - well, hunger, but it was much more than that. He always comes home hungry, but he was STARVING. And furious, too. Now ever since Neil hit the teens last year, I am accustomed to his coming home hungry from school and wanting his food NOW! Naturally, when things had quietened down a little I probed him for the reason. It seems that his school (one of the top ten English medium public schools of India) had invited some noted Sanskrit(the language of ancient India, the one in which the Hindu scriptures are written) scholar to come and talk to the children. All the students in Eighth Class sat in the auditorium and listened to the noted scholar speak for seven class periods. That's not less than five hours by my estimation. The noted scholar lectured for the duration of that time, sharing his pearls of wisdom. Although the children had carried their lunch boxes from home, they were unable to leave the auditorium for the dur

Buying New Things.

The zip on Nitin's schoolbag was gone. And the zip on my daily use handbag was gone too. I figured it was time for a trip the handbag shop! Well, that's a pleasure for me. There's nothing I like better than browsing in a handbag shop than maybe in a bookshop. So I decided to get some money together. The man who drives Nitin to school in the van (vanwala!) commented on the broken zip when taking the schoolbag from me. He advised me to go to the zipwala (person who fixes zips). But as a foreigner, whose husband is, let's face it, out of town for most of the time, I find this business of looking for repairmen rather tedious. A man was cycling by calling out something in Hindi which I did not understand. The vanwala stopped him. Lo and behold! A zipwala had materialised. And he fixed Nitin's schoolbag in three - no two - minutes! For just ten rupees. I brought out my handbag and asked him to fix the zip. The vanwala drove off as he had other kids to p

'Scuse Me While I.........

I once read a story about the late Jimi Hendrix, rock guitarist and vocalist. It seems that he had a song with a line in it that said 'Scuse me while I kiss the sky.....' I don't recall the name of the song, nor can I provide a link to the performance of profuse apologies! Anyway, if I let you click on a link and get away from me, you may never come back.....lost in a Hendrix haze.... Where were we? Oh, yes! Jimi Hendrix. Right....well the story is that lots of his fans thought that the line was 'Scuse me while I kiss this guy....' Now, Hendrix, apparently, was highly amused by this mistake. Thereafter, whenever he performed this song live, he made a point of kissing the nearest 'guy'. In jest, of course! Probably his drummer or bassist or whoever.... I'm not surprised people made that mistake as the words of songs often blend into each other. Personally, and I do apologise to any hardcore Hendrix fans who may be reading, I'v

Akbar and Birbal

There was once a wise and successful emperor in India named Akbar. He was tolerant of all religions and is remembered with respect by Indians of all communities. He had a friend Birbal who was wise, intelligent....and very funny! When Akbar first met Birbal, he thought that he would very much like to have this wise man as a companion. He took off his ring and gave it to Birbal. He told Birbal that if he ever wished to meet him, he should come to the palace, send in the ring, and whatever request he had, Akbar the Emperor would be pleased to grant it. Sooner or later, Birbal decided to go and meet the Emperor. He met the Chief Guard at the palace, showed the ring and asked to meet the Emperor. Recognising the ring, the Chief Guard realised that this man was in a position to get great favours from the Emperor. So he advised him that he would allow him to meet the Emperor. "However," he said, "whatever the Emperor gives you, you must promise to give me half of i

Heaven - A Concept or a Place?

Is Heaven a place or a concept?  Both probably.  A commonly asked question is “what is your idea of Heaven?” and the answer will invariably be something to do with food, drink, leisure, or all three.  Heaven is most people’s idea of perfect peace and happiness.  For some people, their idea of Heaven would be finding the perfect marriage partner.  For others it would be the perfect holiday destination.  I once had a friend who stated that for her, Heaven was going to bed early on a Friday evening, the start of the weekend, with a cup of coffee, a piece of buttered toast and a good book.  That’s nearly the same as mine.  Except that in my case it would be a (large) glass of wine and a bar of chocolate.  And of course, a good book.  And maybe the laptop as well! The most common assumption of Heaven is that it is only available after you die.  What nonsense.  A song tells us ‘Heaven is a place on earth’.  Well, no doubt life is full of problems, but we don’t have to wait until we die

So That's The Reason!

My two nephews Praveen and Prabhat are adults now.  Praveen is a management graduate, seeking admission for further studies.  Prabhat is studying engineering.  They used to go to school in one of the top private schools in our city.  Run by a Roman Catholic organisation, it was very difficult to get into that school unless one came from a Christian family.  But they did it.  It is situated beside the Catholic Cathedral in the heart of the city.  I wanted to send my boys Neil and Nitin there, but Yash, their father sent them to a public school situated in our area.  It was a good choice.  The school Yash picked is one of the top ten public schools in India. Every day Praveen and Prabhat would come home from school and go straight to sleep for a couple of hours, totally refusing to eat the dal and rice their grandmother had ready for them.  The old lady used to have a fit.  She'd shout and scream at them to eat their food but they never did.  We never really knew why.  They didn

A Post a Day

Some of my readers may know that I was participating in TMAST recently.  That's Tell Me A Story Tuesdays , sponsored by Elizabeth Harper of Gifts of the Journey .  With the use of a selected photograph and topic sentence, I wrote seven short stories over a period of seven weeks and published them on my Wordpress site Adventures in Fiction .  I thoroughly enjoyed this project.  But now, Elizabeth has revealed that she is taking a break from TMAST for a while.  I think I'll continue with my short story writing, however.  It gives me a lot of enjoyment. I'm also privileged to be a member of the Loose Bloggers Consortium.  Every Friday, ten bloggers includingme, and (in alphabetical order) Ashok , Conrad , Grannymar , Helen , Judy , Magpie11   Maria , Marianna and Ramanaji ,  an informal group of bloggers from the USA, UK, India and Canada, publish posts simultaneously on a common topic, then visit each other and comment.  It's very enjoyable.  (Please refer to last Fr

Washing Machine Trouble!

 A few months ago it was the drier.  Now it is my washing machine which is bothering me!  No sooner would the water enter the machine last week, but it would exit from the bottom of the tub immediately, rendering my machine not only useless, but dangerous also!  I mean, water and electricity.  But well, when I realised that the machine was ten years old, I thought, high time we replaced it.  So I said to my husband, "let's get a new washing machine!"  He said, "let's see if we can repair the old one first." I must mention here that in my house, they hate replacing anything, including old electrical appliances.  It is, I feel, one of their more endearing qualities, this clinging on to the past, this reluctance to move on into a bright future.  The sandwich toasty machine died recently.  It was, however, over twenty years old.  Twenty one I think.  I remember Yash buying that in Dublin for the family when he used to live there.  They're still in mourning