Friday, September 18, 2009

House shifting and related realisations

Last month, we decided to move to our apartment that we bought around five years back. My husband and in-laws have been living in this particular rented-house for the past thirty years. I must say that this area which is closer to commercial street is not only convenient but a lot safe too as I have never come across any situation of eve-teasing or a non-sense-street-guy comment (Thankful, if people don't find me worth that!).
When we saw the so-called modular kitchen which was great looking in this apartment, all our materialistic-show-off dreams came true. After five-years of usage by a couple of tenants, all the sliders are rusted. Water seeped from near the sink has rottened the wood which is emanating a funny smell and it is a house of cockroaches of all types, shapes, sizes and other insects. The top cabinets are also the least usable. So with the dreams shattered, Shiv and I decided to dump this existing one to a normal slab kitchen with better top-cabinets. The work is going on and hopefully we should be able to shift by this month-end. All this is keeping me on my toes all the time. With some research, running around and contacts, we have picked up the necessary things and have narrowed down on shops from where we will buy the rest of things at the best prices.

Meanwhile, I got a change of team and profile, which I wanted to be in :). Ganesh is walking full-time (like a drunkard though!) and doesn't want to crawl at all. He has realised a new found independence as both his hands are free and wants to "touch" everything at a higher level. Things are slowly moving upwards now! He likes to play in water and sand and resists by anger-crying if we take him off before he is done! He has graduated from a mono-syllable blabbering to multi-syllable one. He would really "talk" with a very serious expression and stresses on some word that he has to hold his breath. All-in-all he is more interactive and more fun. Total time-pass.

During all this chaos, I just realized that I have mellowed down to a level that I am not getting attracted to the hi-fi things that I used to and had dreamt of for my own house! Infact, I am preferring a single-color or very mild color combination in case of multi-colored walls and the cheapest decorative lamp-shades for the CFL lights, that too just because they are there. Otherwise, I would have avoided them. I remember when my father was constructing his house in Kerala a couple of years back, me and my sister had told so-many tings: "Appa, do this". "Appa, do that". When none of these were applied, we requested him, later begged and even emotionally-blackmailed him atleast not to have a show-case, as this is old fashioned. We suggested to leave that area empty and have a white paint as background and concealed LED lights on top which will highlight a BIG painting. That also was literally ignored and a show-case was setup and both of us were cribbing BIG-TIME as to how he can do that to us. When Ganesh was two-three month old baby, he would continously look at the colorful things set-up at the large show-case. My mother while talking to him would sarcastically comment on us pretending to be reading out Ganesh's mind, on how much he likes the show-case that his grandfather has made. She would also say that, this was made specially for this baby. Having said that, I am not responsible for any damages done by Ganesh, if he really wants to explore things in the glass shelves when we go there next!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Where do we belong?

Recently I lost my bag and to have a duplicate DL, I had to file a police complaint. Since I cannot speak Kannada but can very well understand, I heard things like “Most of the cases are of these north-Indians only” being said, instead of doing what they are really supposed to do. They are not only being paid for the job but they also shamelessly ask for chai-paani amount in the police-station. For what!? Just a sign on a complaint letter. Not even filing an FIR.. huh!
As depicted in Chak de! India, there is surely more preference to the state or community- citizenship one belongs, than to the country-citizenship as such. The main reason I believe is, our customs are way of living and we are so used to it that we are unable to accept the other’s rituals. Soft-Racism happens everywhere and the recipient cannot protest as it is considered to be a joke (even though it really gets too-much sometimes).
I am an Indian at heart and feel this Chinese writer too audacious to write suggestively to split India. Even though to some levels, what is said might change the face of the countries which are now states! To this note I remember an instance that I have personally found racist and lived through. It was in Chandigarh during my childhood where our family was the only one South-Indian in the entire lane and everybody in other lanes also knew us due to our Madrasi status. When I grew up a bit more (around ten years old), I got to know that irrespective of somebody from Andhra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu or Kerala; all of them are Madrasis for north-Indians in general (Kashmir to Maharashtra) and were literally teased. My parents believed in "live like Swiss in Switzerland" policy and did not impose our ritualistic rules on me in the day-to-day life, so I did not have much of teasing problems unlike others as I have seen. During our yearly trips to Kerala, we used to go to "our des" as per them. In another case, a (bank job transfer) "Madrasi" girl's father came to meet the principal requesting that she should be allowed to wear bindi, chain and bangles in school (where none of these were allowed) as it is part of "our" daily rituals. She wasn't allowed to do so due to obvious reasons but this invited lot of unwanted comments from the peers.
Well, all that said, I realized one thing extremely late in my life… :). DD(Delhi Doordarshan) showcased regional movies alphabetically every Sunday afternoon back then and I got to see a Tamil movie. This was when I could understand something in TV by listening and not by perceiving. I was shocked that I could not follow a single dialogue only to understand that the (Palakkad) Tamil we speak is not the actual Tamil. Our community is considered outsider in Kerala due to Tamil origins and now in Tamil Nadu due to Kerala settlement! During marriage alliances they particularly see for Palakkad Iyers. Similar is the case with same-communities in north-India.
I just wonder what would happen to people when they are given a choice of citizenship of a state turned country, in case India is split into 20-30 countries. I am sure there are so many people across generations who would have lived in a strikingly different place than what they would be culturally born with. Personally speaking, I want to settle down in a calm place where I can raise a couple of cows and dogs and work full-time towards environment conservation… but, if I have to make a choice of which country’s passport I should hold.. I will just go mad… :)