Women Bond

I kept the title of the post Women Bond to get search engines, yes I did.

To celebrate the bond us women have with each other was secondary. Search engines, yes, they are all important 😛

Sorry but I am not going to add a photo of a Bond bombshell here .. this pic is a delightful one and more apt

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Traditionally men were hunters, women gatherers. Male bonding was absolutely essential for hunting , it threw the hunters into life and death kind of situations, and they had to form bonds, so that someone watched their backs as they went for the kill. Total drama, which required partnership, it also required men to kill or die for each other. The movie industry has made millions tapping into this basic need of men. Male bonding is celebrated, it is immortalized.

Females, as gatherers and the sex that gives birth to and raises children, also had a critical need to build cooperation and trust with other females. In the olden days, a pregnant woman or one with small kids was highly vulnerable, and weakness often resulted in death. Women bond did take place, but it was informal, bonding at the bathing ghat, washing clothes together at the river, while harvesting, while cooking.

Women sang songs, helped each other. Trust was needed, but it wasn’t as desperately dramatic like the men had it. The Women Bond was based on cooperation, reciprocal helping and sharing of day-to-day tasks – and child-minding, providing care and support around childbirth, during illness and at other ‘weak’ or defenceless times. Women bond is not the ‘I will risk my life for you’ rather it is the ‘I will care for you’.

And that is what we need. We are the nurturers, we are the care -givers. If we form a Woman Bond that gives us the assurance that we will be cared for, we are blessed. Somehow movies and television shows love showing the bitchy side of the female nature and not the way we care for each other.

Male bonding is formal, every corner of the world has Men Only games, Men Only clubs, associations. LOL, and they have such pompous fusses, coat tails essential, ties only etc etc. Women have no such fusses, we simply bond. We don’t need cricket, we don’t need fencing or martial arts clubs, we don’t need card games. We are there to share what comes to us naturally, care and love.

For the past one year, I have been a member of Indiblogeshwaris, a group of bloggers. I just have one regret, why did I not have a support system like this when I was young, going through grim times? I don’t remember who added me to this group, but it has truly enriched my life. I had to celebrate with my fellow members today, but could not go. This post is my tribute to all the intelligent, strong, wonderful women in the group ..

Ladies,

Years ago I was absolutely alone. The one who was supposedly my partner was out of my life. The people I trusted shared with me a bond of blood, but did not support me. Those people who I shared a blood bond with also sabotaged all the friendships I tried to make. I leaned heavily on my sons for companionship. Then they grew up. In an effort to set them free from the crippling burden of being a companion to a parent, I turned to blogging. And then I found you, my community of women.

We are so different. We come from different walks of life, we live in cities and towns all over the world. We have one main thing in common, we blog.

But scratch the surface, and you find so much in common …

We are opinionated, we have no hesitation speaking out our mind. We are quick to anger, we are equally quick to sarcasm. But we are quicker at letting what angered us go, to forgive and laugh it off. We are quick to lend encouragement, support someone in need. We are quick to give and take love from each other. The frankness, the honesty, the love and companionship is something I truly value.

Thank you my sisters, for being there for me.

I will never know loneliness again.

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Death’s Bitter Harvest

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DEATH’S BITTER HARVEST

What do you say to a man who lost his wife
His partner in trials tribulations and strife?
What do you say to his sons?
Their life hasn’t yet begun

I recall people I loved and lost
To death’s bitter harvest
His sons simply fidget and stare
At the man’s face lined with despair

They don’t know the ones I mourn
They don’t miss my brother
The gaping wound in my heart
So I get up and whisper

Time will heal
She is with God
Cancer has won
Her life is done

I turn away, anger hits me
I can’t voice my bitterness
But I know you hate these
Inane meaningless words

I know intimately the pain
I know and fathom the loss
I have lived and slept with them
You will learn to do so too

It’s mortality
Death’s bitter harvest

When Parents Grow Old

Nothing prepares kids for the time their parents grow old; nothing is as devastating as that. They react to it as though the parent has betrayed them. My personal take on the subject is rather like Anthony Powell’s who said “Growing old’s like being increasingly penalized for a crime you haven’t committed.”

My kids groan and talk down to me, they have more information and they do not hesitate or mince words when they tell me that.
It is very strange, growing old is inevitable, but the reactions are so strong against it. One has to accept it, and I do, for most part. My hinges and joints need oiling, I need my pills, my brain is chock full of old incidents and concepts, which growing information and technology has made redundant, and I can get repetitive. My kids groan and talk down to me, they have more information and they do not hesitate or mince words when they tell me that.

Read the rest here

If music be the food of love

“If music be the food of love, play on,
Give me excess of it; that surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.”
 William ShakespeareTwelfth Night

 

The old bard nailed it.  There was a time in life when I could hold a tune, passably well.  Well there was a time in life when I could stand on my head and my waist was 20 inches, but those times are long since gone.  So has love … when I do encounter that creature, I am tempted to get out my ancient dissection set and cut it open – just for the heck of it.

 

No wonder I can’t sing any more.

 

This coming from a woman whose name featured largely on the DU campus radio.  I had songs dedicated to me, yes sirreee!  I had SONGS dedicated to me.  John Denver’s Annie’s Song was dedicated to me by ex.

 

Kind of prophetic, considering his marriage to Annie Martel Denver was rocky and did not last.  The guy saw the future I tell ya.  And John Denver… well, wasn’t he who predicted that he’d be leaving on a jet plane?

 

So music to me meant, until now, listening to old country and classic rock on the drive to work and back home.  That hasn’t lasted.  Junior has a job in the same area as my work place.  That means that he travels with me  …. rather he drives, dumps me at my office, takes the car away and picks me up on the way back.  Yayy for mother and son bonding!  But the generation gap shows.  My choice of music is not his cup of tea, and his choice of music is my cup of poison.

 

Compromise has been achieved.  We listen to this new-fangled stuff called Podcasts.  Bill Mahr and other wonderful guys entertain us and educate us.  Over the month of so we’ve listened to why religion is totally redundant,  and how stupid the Boston bombers were and now the son has graduated to history lessons.   I know more of the history of Anabaptists and Ghenghis Khan than I ever did.  And guess what?  I don’t even have to write an exam on them!

 

But then music, I miss the music …

 

I listen to 9XM and stuff like that when I work out.  It never disappoints.  The beats are so much exercise and pump up the adrenaline kind of stuff.

 

Until now …

 

Now we have Babaji Ki Booti and another one called

 

Raat hai ik whore

Ye maange more

To lut ja slowly slowly

 

I am willing to experiment … ya think stretches can be done to these tunes?

Poetry in book titles

A Delhi Mumbai Love Story

A feeling beyond words

It wasn’t love at first sight

Just like in the movies

 

She was dancing with Maharaja

And then it rained

He desperately wanted to belong

Swore I will love once again

 

A half baked story it was

It had Everything you desire

Saga of Corporate Attyachar

From cubicles 2 Cabins

 

He thought if God had a desk job

If God went to B School

He would know of heartbreaks and dreams

Of a Crazy Bloody thing LOV

 

It happened that night

He had a dream

Love happens like that

When you love life and beer can

 

God said Careful what you wish for

He woke up happy

you’ll have Everything you Desire

Was what he recalled it as

 

So he went to her and said

I am Broke! … Love Me

She replied

Beep you!  You Beep Hole

 

There was more

A Few things Left Unsaid

A Roller Coaster Ride

With a lot of Beeps

 

Cant cook up a love story

Boundless saga of love

Of Heartbreaks and Dreams

And hence can’t write a best seller

 

Shrishti

The book launch

The book launch was a grand affair.  Three books were being launched

1. In Pursuit of the Woman by Rajbir Gill

2. Kaashi by an American author, Terin Miller

and of course

3. Chakra, Chonicles of the Witch Way by moi, Ritu Lalit.

And Maharani Preneet Kaur, Minister of state for External Affairs, Government of India was to do the honours.  Oh it was grand.  And for once luck was on our side … the boys and I reached the venue for the book launch, Patiala Aviation Club before the royal highness did.  Phew!

We made it with fifteen minutes to spare!  Wow

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Among the planes

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Kunal and I, waiting for the Queen.

Preeti Singh, fellow author who made it to the function despite a fractured foot

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And then our chief guest, Maharani Preneet Kaur arrived, without any fanfare.  And I had an awkward moment.  Here I was all dressed up and stuff and the lady was simplicity and elegance personified.

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The Maharani is so “normal” … gracious and warm, I was floored. Hum dilli vaasi hain, here snobbery and political clout of far flung relatives also makes people obnoxious. This lady was gracious and approachable.

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Chakra was launched on Mother’s Day and who would be better to unwrap the book than my own son, a trained pilot, an author and blogger himself, and one of the two men I love to death, the other being his brother.

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And the chief guest departs …

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My thanks to Commander Rajbir Gill, his graceful daughter who emceed the programme and to each and every one who attended the function.

And of course, Kunal Marathe for the hectic backstage arrangements for the book launch.

And the beer and chicken party he hosted for us once we returned to the hotel, making us miss our train

But that is another story altogether 😛

For the entire story, follow these links

From Delhi to Chandigarh for the Book Launch of Chakra

Last moment preparations to get to the book launch of Chakra on time

Get me to the book launch in time

Our first stop en route to the book launch was Chandigarh.  We reached Chandigarh at 8 p.m. and were welcomed by rain.  Ah bliss!  One major observation I have to make here is that people in Punjab haven’t disrespected nature at all.  I mean India is majorly agricultural right?  You go to Haryana, U.P., Rajasthan and you see rampant greed which has turned these states into dust bowls.  Punjab is green, even in the month of May. The air is cleaner and pleasant.  I mean you get out of the station and breathe in a lungful of fresh and oxy-rich air, instead of dust.  So refreshing!  It brought smiles to our faces, and so did the old world courtesy of the cab driver who was taking us to Patiala.

And then Kunal Marathe did something that floored us.  He rang us up and asked courteously, “What’ll you have for dinner?  The kitchen will be closed by the time you reach the hotel.”

Wow!

He must have had zillions of things to do, what with the book launch the next day, with Maharani Preneet Kaur as chief guest and all that.
But he thought of us, and asked us what we’d want to eat!  Kunal, you are a very considerate and gracious host.   Thanks!

We reached Patiala, were welcomed by Kunal and the food.  I loved the hotel, it was so old world and charming, but more of that in a bit.  We simply hugged Kunal and tore into the food like starving wastrels.  Swear we did!  And Kunal sat with us.  He kept telling us, ever so politely,  that he had to get up at 6 a.m. and be at the venue by 7, but poor chap, when the Lalits turn on charm, one succumbs. 😛

We finally went to sleep at 3 a.m.

Kunal had his revenge in the morning when he rang me up at 7 and told me that I was responsible for getting the boys and me to the venue before ten.  And he kept ringing me up every ten minutes or so!  Good gosh!  Talk about pressure, that too when one has to drape a sari and put on make up!

In my normal day I wear jeans and tatty tees, or kurti and tights.  I put on sunscreen, and that is all.  I don’t do girly very well, not even a lipstick.  Naturally I got stressed.  And it did not help matters that after every phone call I rushed to the room the boys were sharing.  They were in a vacation mood, so hurrying them up was quite a job.

I am sure he was chuckling at the effect he was having on me.  Finally, dressed and breakfasted, we reached the venue …. which was awesome!

Ishaan at the venue

Yes those planes are real!  My plane mad son could not get enough of them.

Entrance

And this was the entrance to the club hall.

And we got there in time, before the chief guest arrived.  Yes, sir, we did get to the book launch in time.

And found that I had got my leg pulled oh so thoroughly, by no one but the one and only Kunal Marathe.

Me speaking at Delhi book fair

This was taken in winters at the Delhi Book Fair, at the authors corner, where I was reading from another book of mine.  Please take close look at my attire, dressed for comfort, warmth and ease of body movement.

But Kunal told us that there was a dress code.  We were supposed to wear sarees etc.  And I fell for it, hook line and Sinker.  I even went to the extent of getting a saree made for the occasion!  Heh 😆

Me at podium

Very few ladies were wearing saris, most of them were in salwar kameez.

Well played, Kunal, extremely well played.

But I have to admit, I looked nice.

Other posts in this series :

From Delhi to Chandigarh for the book launch

The book launch

 

From Delhi to Chandigarh, for the book launch

Nothing in our lives happens without drama, not even a simple trip to Patiala.  I think Peter wrote his principle “Anything that has to go wrong, shall and will go wrong” by observing families like us.

We love each other to bits, and would actually blow each other into bits and love each and every bit fiercely and with equal intensity.  That is us …

The trip to Patiala happened thanks to the extremely young and dynamic publisher, Mr. Kunal Marathe of Authors Empire.  He assured me when he took my manuscript that he would be a publisher with a difference.  He would go out of his way to treat his authors well.  My initial reaction was “Yeah right!”

I mean, this is India, and publishers are doing us, the underpaid imaginative breed called authors a huge favour by printing our books right?  All authors know that!

And then he did the unthinkable.  He announced that he was LAUNCHING my book with huge fanfare.  It was unexpected, this is my third book out in the market and never has such an offer of a book launch been made to me.  I mean, which publisher has offered to launch my book?  For free?  And made all the arrangements for a book launch?

And I refused.

Yeah that’s me, perverse, impulsive and without a grain of common sense in my brain.  The reason for refusing was that I was to go for a vacation to Kufri with other bloggers like Hitchy, Monika, Shail and so many others.  I am a blogger at heart, I love the immediacy of blogging.  I can say stuff and get reactions immediately.  I love interacting with other bloggers on Facebook.  I love being politically incorrect, and stating what I feel.  That is what blogging is to me – and the blog world has opened its heart out to me in all these years.  And one writes and gets comments immediately.  And of course I love bloggers meets.

So I said NO.  Hitchy you may please take a bow and feel flattered 😛

Ishaan my first born and often my worst critic pointed out that I was being insane.  He’s a fine one to talk, the header of his blog says he loves weird aliens.  But he dinned sense into my head.  So I ate humble pie and rang up Mr. Kunal Marathe and said  that I have cancelled my vacation to be part of the launch.  Mercifully Mr. Kunal Marathe thinks I am old and therefore wise and gives me respect.  So he kept his opinions about my initial reaction to himself.

And then second born Kartik decided to act up.  He declared that he could not get chutti.  I bravely resisted the urge to put him across my knees and spank him.  I wanted to but he is 5’10” and still growing and I am 5’1″ in my socks, so I regretfully shelved the idea.  The thought did cross my mind …

Vaise he can take chuttis for parties, for after party recuperation, for other things.  But not for my book launch.  Ahem.  I let it slide, reminding myself that they were grown sons and had lives of their own.  See – I am not alwayj thinking of myself only!

Then he condescended to tell me that he would take a half day so I had to book the journey in the evening.  So I booked us by Kalka Shatabdi.

On given day I get up bright eyed and bushy tailed to find junior has taken chutti.  Ahem!

And he has also taken my car and gone to get himself dented and painted.  Wow!  I needed denting and painting myself, but had to grit teeth and make do with a home self done manicure and pedicure.  And various other things to make myself presentable.  After all, the publisher had told me that I was to meet the royalty.  Age shows you know … and you have to make the extra effort – no, not to look young, but just presentable.

He came back at 12 and I perked up … to no avail.  He took older son and left and both of them resurfaced just in time for lunch and general exit to railway station.

Merey Do Anmol Ratan

the two boys

See – I am not alwayj thinking of myself only!

We, like total Delhi snobs, citified and spoilt to the core, first stopped at Starbucks, picked up coffee and snacks.  After all we were leaving Delhi for two days!  And then landed up at the station – in time.  And tackled the massive flight of stairs.  Why oh why dont they have escalators?  I just managed that huge flight of stairs thanks to the caffeine in the Starbucks coffee and then passed out – literally passed out in the train.

No, boys,  I am not alwayj thinking of myself only!  I am old and need to be taken as such!

Yeh drama nahin hai

Whateva …

And we travelled to Chandigarh.

The sons did me proud.  Someone came and requested them to give up their seats because his wife was just going back home after a chemo session.  They got up immedately and gave up their seats – just like that.  I protested

Yup, that one time I waj thinking of myself only

I was washed out, my heart was pumping fit to burst (I need more cardio in my work out) and felt insecure.  They scolded me and shut me up.  Proud of the two of you idjuts.I regret not being able to talk to our fellow travellers, there was a story there – a story of courage, of ordinary heroism, of human spirit.  But I felt too tired to talk to them and get to know it.

And then what did the boys do?  They hung around me, sitting on the armrest of my chair and talking to each other.  They slowly made me feel better and more comfortable.

Just like that …

Until we reached Chandigarh

To know what happened next, read these posts …

Get Me to the Book Launch in time

The book launch of Chakra, Chronicles of the Witch Way

It’s so hard to love my India these days

When I was a little girl, my school was big on India love, we were taught to love our country and were full of national honour.  Us “girls in green” (our uniform was a peppy green with white polka dots number) were supposed to be chock full of national pride.  You know the spiel every convent school feeds you; Jesus loves girls who love their country …

Independence Day and Republic Day eves were celebrated with pomp and ceremony and we even got candy.

We were told stories of little boys and girls who had done patriotic deeds, not for India but for their own countries – from all around the world.  Dutch, French, British, American, Eskimo, whatever.  And I think our convent had a few movies in their stores that were aired at every such occasion.  We were shown those movies time and again.  If we were lucky, we got to see “Sounds of Music” for the 100th time, or a movie called Boot Polish.  But mostly it was Jagriti.  Sister Lydia, our chief tormentor was a patriotic Indian and she loved it and we were forced to overdose on it.  I think we, her captive audience, saw it 10 times a year, for at least ten years.  Yes, I still remember the song “Hum Laye Hain Toofan Se …” and “Aaj hai do October ka din”

Yeah yeah, Jesus loves little girls who love their country …

We had leaders to look up to, Mr. Nehru and his cabinet genuinely wanted to do things for the country.  In hindsight we may think that his policy of socialism was flawed – but he tried.  He was patriotic and wanted to do things for India

The shadow of Mr. M. K. Gandhi still loomed heavy on the national consciousness.  And that frail old man cast a huge shadow.  Papa told us that he was killed not by a villain but by another deeply patriotic person from another school of thought.  Papa loved to play devil’s advocate.  It was his thing, you know, to confuse us totally.  So he told us to remember when we heard propaganda trying to demonize his killer, Nathuram Godse, that Godse himself was not a traitor, just another lover of India who was from a different school of thought.

Dharamsankat … he would tell us.

These days we do not have Dharam – and that is the sankat!

Scams happen – it is matter of course.  We even rationalize corruption by calling it dhanda or oopar ki kamai, when it is not earning, it is downright thieving.

Little girls get raped and politicians blame this party or that, instead of hauling up our police for not doing their job, and the judiciary for not letting justice be delayed.

There is a leadership vacuum.

 

No one is responsible for anything …

 

Citizens take to the streets to protest, Police beats them up

Police protects leaders, not the taxpayers who pay its salary

Our soldiers get beheaded or mutilated – we beat our breasts

China comes in – Foreign Affairs Minister calls it “acne”

Sajjan Kumar scott free – Shrug and say – Law takes its own course.

Sarabjeet killed – Put on a sad face and say “Unfortunate.”

Anything more ?

 

The Witch Way, Chakra

Chakra banner

I always wanted to be a witch. Not the crone, with a long nose and warts on the face kind of witch. More like Snow White’s step mother, I think Julia Roberts did a nice job in Mirror Mirror.

I never ever wanted to be a damsel in distress. That was so beneath me! I did not want Phantom to leave his cave in Denkali or Mandrake his Xanadu to help me out of the messes I got myself into – oh so frequently. I simply wanted to create those messes, engineer them. And then clamber out of them, wipe my face and say Phew, that was fun!

Kind of like Luna Lovegood.

She can smile and spout completely obscure things that actually make sense.

Consider this, this is not Luna Lovegood’s statement but mine, and I am quite proud of it …

As far as I can tell, worrying about anything at all is a pretty good indicator that one has begun thinking that their joy and prosperity will somehow hinge on pending physical events, other people, or angry green Martians.

Can you imagine?!

Now before you ring up the Lunatic Asylum in Agra or wag a finger at me and say E.T., Phone home, pause and consider …

Does it make sense to look for joy in the future on some vague event that may or may not happen? Or worse still, think your joy depends on someone else?

Now who should phone home?

My book Chakra is about not one or two but three girls who may or may not be grey eyed, but one thing they definitely are, they are witches and a barrel load of trouble.  They follow the Yogi Path (a term they consider unkewl and so have re-named it The Witch Way).

I am in love with the cover – those eyes are mesmerizing.

Chakra

What do you think?

Leaving you all with a small couplet I used to bug folk with when I was a kid

Which Way did the witch go?
And which witch was it?