Catching up with an old friend

Chat with old friend who found me using Facebook Friend Finder ….

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Old Friend : OMG, so you are a hot shot author now.

Me : (Trying to be modest and underplayed) Yeah, I have a couple of books published

O F : Well, you always wanted to be a doctor

Me : Yeah, didn’t everyone else?  It was a done thing those days ….

O F : What?

Me : Adults would ask, “Beta badhe hokar kya banogey?” and we would chant, Doctor, IAS, IPS, Engineer. 

O F : You always said Doctor

Me : The idea of cutting people open must have sounded like fun to me

O F : So how come you’re not one?

Me : (Trying to wriggle out of admitting that I dropped out in the second month of med school) You wanted to be in IAS, and now you’re in marketing.

O F : Well, it pays better and does not get me posted out of Calcutta.  You can’t take a Bong out of Calcutta

Me : So how’s Didi?

Nice try … but he did not take the bait.

O F : (Still persisting) Never thought you’d be working in corporates and writing novels.

Me : (Uncomfortably)  Erm I work in one corporate only.

O F : And your marriage broke

Me : (Wishing I could strangle him through the computer screen) Yes

O F : You are Ritu Jain from Imphal and from Hindu College aren’t you?

Me : (Scowling) Was.  Now I am Ritu Lalit

O F : (I could sense the avid need to learn more gossip) You have changed so much!  How could you?  He was your big romance, how come?

Taking deep breaths, reminding myself that I once actually liked this bloke, and preaching myself tolerance…

Me : That was then, this is now.  You’re right.  I changed a lot.

O F : Like how?

Me : I got infected by Black Spider venom.  So I have this uncontrollable urge to kill or destroy old loves and old friends.  It is a problem but I am learning how to control it, and to live with it.  

O F : You’re not serious?

Me : Try me

Facebook, I owe you big time.  Haven’t had so much fun in ages 😛

Livin da vida loca

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A “Nest” Meeting

And I met Shail Mohan of Shail’s Nest. Hence the “Nest” meeting.

I was sitting in office hardly working when a chat window opened out.

“Hi Ritu” popped up. It was Shail Mohan. Now I know Shail Mohan. She is someone who writes fantastic humor and is a big fan of Wodehouse. I like Wodehouse and I like her stories. Of course her poems zonk me out, but then serious poems zonk me out any way so I don’t hold such things against someone so nice as to make me laugh. Hence I replied “Hey Shail, wassup” or some such thing. “Can we meet?” was the question, of course worded ever so politely. The question should have been “When and how do we meet?” I was not going to miss out on meeting a weaver of some of the most profound tales I have read!

It turned out that she was in Ghaziabad. Now Ghaziabad is closer to my home than Trivandrum is. Which meant that if I swung in a chutti, I could meet her. Of course I am lousy with Geography and directions. When I was a kid, I remember writing that Nile flowed through Greece and then pleading with Godji to make Nile change its course. I have also driven to Apno Ghar in U.P. when I meant to go to IG airport at Palam. So I was a wee bit intimidated. I could, like Starship Enterprise, boldly set forth, but where would I reach? Thankfully Kid#2 and Google Maps stepped into the breach. We left nothing to chance. Kid#2 opened Google Maps on my … well, his blackberry and downloaded the app on my phone too. Shipra Mall, a place close to where Shail was staying was the place we rendezvoused. Ruchira of Nirjharini was to meet us there and Abha Midha of Daffodils, who lives in Faridabad was keen to go too. So I picked her up and off we went.

Shipra Mall is amazingly gracious a place. It is a mall, alright, but it has a certain old world charm. It is spacious and leisurely. None of the frantic feel that malls in Delhi, Faridabad and even Gurgaon have. I liked it.

The funny thing is that we were the first to reach even though we lived the furthest from Ghaziabad!

Ruchira was the first to come, and I spotted her far away. She can’t be missed. And then came Shail. The impression I had of Shail was (1) A thinker (2) Shy (3) Easy on the smiles. I got two out of three right. Shail is quiet, soft and easy on the smiles. She definitely is not shy! And she is pint sized 😉

In the picture above we had her standing on a stair to come up next to us. Of course we put her with Ruchira, who is tall 😈

Then we settled down for a leisurely lunch (which we forgot to order) since we had so much to say to each other 😛

The waiter was requested to take the pics, and he willingly obliged. So lets forget/ignore the fact that we did not order and say that the waiter was too busy clicking us to serve us food.

Nothing like some (as Shail puts it) “refined sunflower oil” on a hot summer day 😉 😛

The food at Pind Baluchi was good, the company better. And Shail was sweet enough to get us all books. She gifted me one called “The Male Brain”. It is a fascinating insight into the working of a man’s mind, though I do feel that its unfair to explain away everything that a person does by listing hormones and neurons … but it does simplify male thinking a lot.

Here Abha and I are holding on to our gifts standing right next to that awesome door of Pind Baluchi. Sigh … now I want my front door to be like that, its so ornate … but I digress

And I wanted a photo with the Pind Baluchi Babaji, I always did. This time Kid#2 and I got one clicked 😆

To people who have put up the question on FB … this is the younger one and he has not written a novel. But he writes the most awesome poems, most of which are edgy and serious. They stump me.

Abha wanted to go once we were done with lunch (or that is the impression I got). But my son actually enjoyed the lunch. Makes me think that we are not old biddies after all! And that we are fun and witty. He suggested coffee … and hit off totally with Ruchira, both of them lamenting the fact that they have difficult and bossy older siblings. I kept shut, I was the older sibling 😛 Could imagine my brother joining in LOL

We exited Pind Baluchi and landed up at Barista. I did try to get myself a chocolate excess, failing which a slice of apple pie, failing which a cold coffee with lots of cream. Sadly Kid #2 was with me and vetoed all of that, All I got a standard issue cold coffee. 😦

It was a delightful afternoon. I love meeting blogger friends.

Women and Compliments

What’s with us women? Why do we constantly need morale boosting, I wonder. Whether its a little girl of 7 years, a confident career woman at 30, or a mature woman at 50, we can never hear enough “I am proud of you” “You look beautiful in that” “Thank you for supporting me” “Thank you for taking care of me” “You are doing a great job”.

I was at a cousin’s house the other day. She has two children, a girl aged 10 and a boy about 4 years old. The girl was busy drawing something. During the course of the visit, she brought her drawing book to be admired. We praised her efforts. The little boy looked at her work and like all brothers laughed and rubbished her efforts. The poor thing had tears in her eyes, her world totally shattered. Angrily she said, “My drawing is good” which was replied with “No it isnt” It all degenerated into the classic “Yes it is” and “No it isnt” slanging match. Her father came in, was called to arbitrate, and said sweetly “Of course my love, your drawing is beautiful”. The smile on her face was ecstatic. Her father, the main man in her tiny life, had praised her efforts. She was in heaven!!!

My daughter in law will put on a dress and then spin and dance in the living room. While she is spinning she says “Look at me, isn’t my dress beautiful!” She is the classic independent, confident, grown up woman but there is a little girl deep down spinning around saying “Look at me, tell me I am beautiful”.

The men in our lives should know that they need to affirm and reassure their wives and daughters. If they don’t build their women up and make them feel safe, someone or something else will fill that hole. We dont want TV or a magazine telling us what is beautiful or trying to fill that hole. The longer we wait for the man in our lives to start telling us that we are precious to them, the longer it takes for us to be fulfilled. It is really our souls that have been poisoned with insecurity – for all our lives. Doubt and worry are our constant companions, “Am I good looking enough?”, “Do I look fat?”, “Am I a good cook/home-maker?” “Am I failing at work?” “Am I good mother?” “Am I a good wife?”

Hey men, whatever might be the response you get to your compliments, please please keep on at it. We need your encouragement to boost our morale.

Friends, Chocolate, Good food and Wine

Sounds like a recipe for a Saturday night party. In my opinion, it is the recipe for a perfect life. The thing I like best is being a Mom. The blind adoration in a child’s face more than pays for all the labour pains, sleepless nights and diaper duty. Of course now that my sons are grown up, they find me slow, outdated and can see a million faults in me which they point out mercilessly. Still they are my best company, when they do take time out from slaying the million dragons they have to slay and spend some time with me. But in this day and age young men of 18 years and above have to go out, slay dragons and secure their own kingdoms. Moms don’t feature in their “must do” lists.

A close second is friendship. I was painfully shy and a bookish introvert when I came to the university from a small town where everyone knew everyone. Until then, I had never realized how much effort it took to make friends, and keep them. I made a few friends, but then life happened. One got married and we never heard from her again. Another went abroad for further studies. Yet another is a person I have unspoken miscommunication with. Don’t ask me what that means. We just don’t speak the same language (verbal or non verbal!!!) That left two of us. She moved to another town, but we kept in touch. Twenty years later, with so much water under the bridge, we still call each other. I would love it if she became net savvy – she does not know how to work a computer. Thank goodness for telephones, we call each other regularly. When I feel weak, I call her for courage. She helps me toward that place where I can laugh about my life and struggles. She, bless her soul, thinks I am very strong and very very practical. I’m not very strong in myself, but I become stronger through friends like her.

When my marriage was breaking up, she literally was with me every step of the way, on the other end of the line. When she had bad times, I was with her. It never mattered that she lives far away. The physical distance was unimportant, the phone was there. It is truly a friendship to cherish.

Over the years, I have made other girl friends. Life with them is like slowly eating a bar of chocolate. It is a rich smooth experience. Okay, I’ll admit, I am a full blown chocoholic. Very few things in life are as good as chocolate. Motherhood and Friendship both are as satisfying as chocolate. Did you know that researchers and scientists have suggested that chocolate contains compounds that can help maintain a healthy heart, good circulation, and reduce blood clotting? Another research has found that women with friends were less likely to develop physical impairments as they aged.

I enjoy being a Mom, a career woman, cooking for my family, and my various hobbies. But I need friend time too. It is important. We women get together and talk about botox, face packs, the latest diet or even serious earth shaking stuff like Abhishek–Aishwarya’s marriage. We talk up a storm, children, finances, relationships, best deals, sales, whatever. I come back from these sessions with a ‘feel good’ emotion, happily planning another session. Just like a piece of chocolate – it leads to another!!!!

One might wonder what good food and wine have to do with all that I have written. They are also very important in life 🙂