Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Coming out

It wasn't the Ordeal of the Odyssey (the 1997 small screen adaption of Homer's epic) that had formed a thin layer of tears. The blur they caused hardly affected her and though watching Odyssey was her long awaited wish, it hardly mattered to her now. She was watching it and letting the clock tick by..

Unlike Odysseus, she rather wished to stay back at the island of Aeaea, away from this world, but immediately snapped out of the idea. Her beloved was with her and that was her only hope. A tear rolled down..

It wasn't that uncommon these days and there were several avenues that can be explored with the latest technological advancements. But they all were only possibilities, may be worthwhile or may be not. The thought of trying and wasting a few more years wasn't very wise, given that they had already lost so many years in finding each other. You see, 35 isn't really young, though one might argue it is neither late for trying..

Several tests they went through, revealed they were not meant to have a child of their own. Shocked, Pained, but as they saw the signs, and met with other couples going through the same ordeal, it started to slowly sink in.. They fought their inner battles alone, and together they remained strong for each other..

Adoption. It was an hard choice, but they finally decided to seek a child. They trusted each other to shower as much love and  affection on the adopted child as they would, if they had on their own. But it is still a taboo, and living in a loving joint family, where decisions have to be made with collective conscience scared them.  

But love, once found, there is no stopping it. They decided to face the heat....

It was then that they realized, they had not shared the news of their nature of being deprived of bearing a child.

They hated to have the other one being pointed at for this deprivation. It was agreed between them that if they went through with the tests, and if there was no treatment applicable for them to conceive, they would not seek to find which of them had the fault. The doctor complied...

They waited for an opportunity to talk to their parents. They spent hours talking about things, but there always seemed that time had not come to share. But then, time usually presents itself, in unexpected manner. She was at work when her mother called (like always) and was narrating the naming ceremony of the neighbors son and suddenly posed the question. "When are you planning to have the baby?". 

She had become an expert in avoiding such questions, but she took this as a sign..

"I am not having a baby of my own. We are planning to adopt."


"We are adopting?"


"I will explain when I come home."

Click. It was the first time her mom cut the call, without nagging about her daughter having less time to talk her. She messaged him that she would visit her parents and he has to pick her up after work. Later when they spoke over lunch, she told what happened. 

"Do you want me to be with you when you speak?". 

"Let us see how they react. They probably may not open up if you are there. You their favorite son-in-law."

She could hear him smile on the other end and also feel his concern. 

There were no welcome hugs nor greetings as she entered home that evening. Her mom opened the door and when went back into her room without speaking. She waited for her dad to arrive, and went in with him to their parents bed room. 

Mom had been crying. Clearly. It took a few minutes of awkward silence and close proximity to finally tell her. 

"I am not going to have a baby".

"Why did you not tell me this earlier? I could have taken you to best doctors. You never share anything with me."

"I have been to the best doctors. There is nothing they can do." 

"Who has the issue?"

She looked at her father for support. He was also waiting for the answer. 

"Does it matter?", she finally replied... and broke down into tears. 

Thats when her Father finally spoke. "I told you Mom to not raise this topic. You both are educated and you know what you are upto. I will explain to her. Please stop crying.."

It is hard to explain the bond between fathers and daughters, that make them stand for each other at all times. (May be not always and not in every case.) There was that bond at play here and thats what mattered.   They then went on to discuss about the kind of tests that they went through and how they had finally decided to adopt a child instead of surrogacy, etc., Her mom was a silent audience, and father and daughter knew it would take a while before their mom would understand what they were talking. It is not easy for an orthodox-Brahmin-housewife-mother-tobe-grandmother to see someone else's child as grandchild. 


Thursday, May 3, 2012

yes auntee, no auntee...

mobiles, they are everywhere..

the kid sitting next to me has been talking on one since i got into the bus.. he is loud and i can hardly avoid eaves-dropping... of course, i could plug my ears with music from the mobile, but....

the kid had my attention and probably everyone else in his sound-sphere..  or may be just me who found him amusing..

he was speaking in urdu.. i think.. 


The bus was just crossing over the tin-factory bridge, headed towards hebbal.. a segment of outer ring road.. "outer ring road", which has become an misnomer, it can as well be called "inner ring road". it is a long journey to my office and am thankful to this ring road and the frequent buses that makes it effortless to travel..

coming back to the kid.. 



"kya-ba-saaab-ezzeee- ............. -nintee--percenta-............"

there were certain words, that i just couldn't reproduce from memory, may be i should have carried a recorder.. or just used the mobile recorder.. but i wasn't planning on blogging about it until i ended up narrating the story to my partner who found it to be funny..

it was easy to gather, he had just given an exam, checking on his classmates about how they fared.. seemed he found it ok, but couldn't answer some of the questions.. he can get around 80 to 85.. 

thought it has been an decade and more since i gave exams, the memory is fresh from when i used to be in his place.. though i personally had resolved never to discuss papers once i was out of the exam hall.. and would avoid taking part is post-exam-mortem discussions.. that maths paper in second semester, the hardest of the lot which made me resolve to never talk about finished exams...

anyways.. it forced myself to the present... and to hearing to the kid..

"hellow auntee.. good evening auntee"

"good evening auntee"

"it is maaj's sister's wedding auntee"..

"maaj's sister auntee, it is not a party"

"yes auntee...... yes aunteee"

"no auntee.."

"be strict like this only aunteee.."

"yes auntee.. he will say study and go play with friends auntee..."

"today i will be there auntee. i will make sure aunteee"

"yes auntee"

"ok auntee"

if it were not for the bus-stranger-eaves-drop-etiquette, i would have burst out laughing hearing him. he had some smile of satisfaction when he hung up.. adjusted his bag, glanced around and started to dial another number..





he got up, with his phone on.. his stop... nagavara...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Couplibrium ...

the car was driving past an eating joint near ulsoor.

it is past nine and the traffic is mild. the driver was enjoying the pressure his feet could assert on the accelerator.

few yards ahead of us, i see a boy and a girl.

the boy held an helmet in his left hand, and his right hand clasped with her left hand. her right hand was holding an short fancy bag. a couple. in their twenties... may be married.. may be still dating..

the boy was two steps into the road, with every intention of crossing the road before the car could cross them, while the girl was reluctant and was looking towards us..

she pulled him back.

the car zoomed past them.. with a very loud and angry honk from my driver mixed with his own yelling.

i kept looking at them through the side view mirror..

the boy had already regained from the pull and was two steps into the road, the girl still hesitant, but willing was allowing him to drag her across the road..

the headlights of next vehicle seemed far enough...

those few moments of couplibrium (an subtle equilibrium attained by two different individuals) between that boy and girl saved them from having to go through an unfortunate event..

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

User Experience to Listener Experience..

In the recent times, I have been hearing a lot of emphasis being made towards User Experience in software development. It is mostly rants about how programmers design without paying any attention to the user experience..

On this second day (Apr 20) I happened to attend the talk by Venkat Subramaniam on building an Humane Interface - Aesthetics and Usablity. Of the several good examples he provided to drive home the importance of developing an humane interface, one literally made me jump out of my seat..

It was about how people don't think under pressure and expect certain things to work in a certain way. for example, when a room catches a file.. people run to the door and "push" the door out.. even though the builder might have written "PULL" in bold big letters in front of the door.. As the audience were immersed in the point which he so clearly and interestingly expresses.. he added..

"Only other time when people may run faster towards the door is when there is a bad speaker."

That seemed as if he was pointing at me and me being the person who had just run away from another session because of the speaker. No doubt the person has very good technical knowledge but is terrible at speaking about the technology..

As programmers we have to focus on user (humane) experience.. so does the speaker..

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Checking in at the Developer Summit

I checked in quite early today and am waiting in the Main Hall of the J. N. Tata Auditorium in the IISc Campus, Bangalore. The campus, I must say, has always attracted me with its greenery and it did influence me in registering for the event.

I was pleasantly surprised to have got the confirmation to the event, though I ended up registering quite late. The timing for the event couldn't have been any worse, when it comes to the schedule at work. I tried to finish as many tasks as I could that were due this week from me, to make myself available for this event...

Folks are settling, some with their laptops open, but many skimming through the schedule.

Looking at the GIDS 2011 schedule, there are parallel sessions.

I wish I had Hermione's Time-Turner, but since I don't, I am forced to pick just a bunch from the many interesting and cutting edge topics. After a quick glance, I decided to stick to the ones on software development, windows cloud platform, java, web services, mobile app development.

Today, the first day, the focus is on .NET, which eases my choices..

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

dried branch..

i have no use for the tree and i don't have the ability to detach myself..
i wait...watching my color change gradually from green to gray..
i the tree stops feeding me the water, killing one cell at a time..
i the sun mercilessly exhausts the last few nutrients left in me..

but there are moments when i feel alive..
when... the chirpy birds relax on my rigid branches..
when...when i become the bridge to the jumping squirrels..
when...the insects begin to scavenge me..

i know eventually i will either burn or become manure...
when i am chopped by a woodcutter.. or an monkey..
but there is hope.. as the seasons change..
from the roots of my stalks that are long gone.. little sprouts emerge...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I say, just use Common Sense.

"I say, Use Common Sense", stressed the senior citizen, who was waiting like us (me and my partner/spouse) for the Bus. "We talk about development, education. But I say, Just use minimum Common Sense". He was pressing his thumb and index finger to indicate minimum and an dejected frown took shape on the face that has been aging gracefully.. His white military mustache, definitely attention grabbing.. He was wearing an jeans pant and a checks shirt, a black pouch tied to his waist. An NRI, may be, the thought quickly crossed my mind.

He initiated the conversation, as we let an Bus pass by. We were in no particular hurry to be where we were supposed to be. (Our dentist).

I was smiling at the mad rush of the people trying to squeeze in through the center doors of the bus, while the ones who had already boarded were comfortably standing guard, almost making sure no one else can pass through them. Like always, there was some space towards the back of the bus, waiting for takers.

Can't blame those not moving backwards, can we? Especially when we are in the age of moving forward, quickly!

Only the other day, I was in similar bus, filled to the brim. I was almost near the back. And it was Puspak Bus, which should really be taken off the road or made available only for non-crowded routes. Only one person can fit in the pathway. And if there is a person standing, it becomes immensely difficult to cross them, without publicly spooning them.

My stop was nearing and I cursed myself for getting in to this bus. I started walking to the front of the bus (the only door in the bus is in the front). I managed to get past four people, but then got stuck behind a little person( less than 4ft), a girl with a black laptop bag. Her innocent face expressed how terrified she was and it wouldn't be too much of an exageration if i say, she feared that she might be crushed with this giant passengers. A new person in town, unaccustomed to the crowded bus! (A crowded pushpak bus, a category of its own).

I wanted to pass as gently as possible and anyway, my stop was not until the next one. But then I realized, i was being pushed and yelled at. As long as I moved i didn't realize there was another person behind me making his way to the front exit, but the moment i paused, he made himself visible and audible.

There was no choice now but to request the little-new-person to give way. She did what she could, which was to move towards the exit and I followed her as the yelling grew louder. She had to get down to finally let me out and the person behind me. I never saw the male figure that was yelling at me, and had no inclination. I just hoped that little-innocent-looking-girl made it back into the bus.

I walked. I had no inclination to take the bus again just to get down at the next bus stop.

If she did make into the bus, I am sure she was just in the front. The back would remain unclaimed for in crowded buses. So, you see, it is practical to just stay in the front, dangling to the foot board!

Anyway, coming back to the white(grey)-haired-military-mustache-uncle. He also, let the bus pass, and caught me smiling. He smiled at me, immediately, expressing his frustration by touching his hand to the fore-head and making that "ayyo.. " face.

"Three buses. Three buses went one after the other that side". (The opposite side). I did see them as we came to wait at the bus stop. I didn't notice him until he caught me smiling. I nodded in agreement, that indeed three buses went the other side, one after the other.

"The third one was empty." He was mocking. "Can't they space those buses fifteen minutes apart.", He wasn't particularly asking me. He went on, "..and we talk about development.".

"See those traffic police.", he was pointing to the signal a few feet away. "Three of them standing there, and still there is a traffic jam." He was right. Neither I nor my spouse(partner) could add anything more to what he was saying.

"Just the other day, two of them", he was showing his index and middle fingers shaped as V, "left the signal and went for having coffee." He paused to smile or mock with his face. "What is this, I say?". He paused sufficiently long, which prompted me to say..

"They should have gone one at a time."

"See." His expression changed to that of content, when a student finally takes the bait and spits out an expected answer.

"Simple Common Sense. I say, Use Common Sense", he stressed it again. "Thats all is needed."

He went on the mention about corruption, the Thomas debacle of Mr. Singh. The brain drain. And finally came back to : "We talk about development, education. But I say, Just use minimum Common Sense".

Like on the other side, another bus came to the stop within few minutes. This time the white(grey)-haired-military-mustache-uncle managed to get his foot through the door. As the bus moved on, I could see him and his black pouch still dangling through the door..

We only had to wait for couple of minutes, before two buses came to the stop. Both almost empty.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Where is Gujju Curry!

The past ten minutes were probably the most emotionally charged moments of today and has raised the curiosity and interest of everyone present at the luncheon. And the focus has dramatically shifted from their personal local topics to the missing "Gujju Curry!"

Ten minutes ago, everything was in place. The couple on the reception stage, wearing the costliest dress they every wore. Bearing the weight of the Rose Garland, with a smile and charm that only newly wedded couple can wear. The busiest part of the mid-day reception was over, as many guests had already congratulated them and went home. The last batch of guests were having their lunch..

There were a few guests, who after finishing the lunch were lounging around. The mothers of the bride and groom were entertaining their respective guests. the father of the bride was away with his buddies, while the father of the groom was administering the severs..

The father was paying extra attention to this batch, personally asking the guests if they need anything. The cause for extra attention being bestowed at the Lady who offered her court yard for arranging the reception for the 200 and people. She was loud person, like the typical Land Lady of the South and being the richest in the village and having a personal temple in her court yard have only helped her become more louder.

The family of the groom, who personally, made all the arrangements for the party were lazing around the kitchen, feeling a bit of pride at the job well done. They formed a little group of their own, oblivious to the sudden uproar from the guests at the lunch...

The father of the groom rushed in to the kitchen, his face turned red with anger and walking briskly past the family members, he started to open the lids of various vessels. And he shouted. "Gujju Curry".

By now the family members gather around him and were astonished to see that "Gujju Curry" has not been served.

"Why did you not see this?" He was accusing no one in particular, but it hit the Peddama hard. Since she had taken up the responsibility to oversee the cooking, without no one particularly asking or questioning her interest.

"You expect me to sit here in the kitchen all day". She yelled at him.

Quietly, but maintaining his brisk walk, he rushed on to the dining area and called the chief server back to the kitchen. "See. Here is the Curry.... Take and Serve".

He went back to join the guests, who were now all listening to the Lady. "I knew something was missing." She was saying.

"Yes amma. you are right. they missed to send it here.", he was telling her.

"I called and told you because earlier i saw they were making the curry." She told as a matter of fact. "Anyway, what is the use now, the first two batches never got to eat the curry." She went on. "What is the use of making such nice Gujju Curry with so many cashews, when you can't serve."

The others now started murmuring, but none as loud as her.

The bride and groom, were also finding it amusing to see the attention shift from them to the Lady. The family members.. lost their joy.. and were cursing themself for telling the servers take full responsibility. They were scolding the server who were entering the kitchen to take the items..

"They are not going to forget this. Small town. Small topics". The grooms sister was complaining now. "The focus is all on the Gujju Curry. And dad will act as if we did a blunder for another year."

Friday, December 10, 2010

half red pill....

the Doctor sat silently, as she continued with her complaints or what i come to now know as the opening remarks.

she was telling him that the food tastes bitter, bitter than bitter gaurd.. she is still having problems with the stools... sleep... knees.. can't walk.. and dizzyness.. can't stand for long time...

"And there are just too many medicines". She rested her case.

As she paused, he said he is going to change a few tablets, and said to her. "It is true, you should not be taking so many medicines, stop all these and take just this one".

"What is this for?" she asked.

"To keep your diabetes in control".

"What about BP?" She asked. "Tension. My life is full of tension. I can't stop it".

He looked at the reports and said, "BP seems to be under control."

"Thats because of that little white tablet I take after breakfast and dinner." She said. "Please give something for the tension, or my head might burst anytime."

OK. Continue the same tablet, but take only when you feel that your BP has increased or you feel dizzy. He was giving me the new prescription, when she said.

"Can you give something for stools? I don't know what happens to all the food I take, I just don't go to stool.. I feel my stomach will burst anytime". I couldn't stop but ponder on the maids complaints about the littered sarees.

"Ok. Let us get some tests done." He added a few more tests to the monthly checkups.

"Doctor, you didn't check my heart. It sometimes beats faster and louder. People in the other room can hear it." (Of course I have never heard it... )

"I think we should get an ECG done". He said looking at me. I nodded.

"And my eyes doctor. I think my number has changed. I can't see properly". She said blinking her eyes, and in her own unique way kept them closed at uneven places. It almost seemed like one eye was badly troubling her than the other.

"When was the last eye check up done?" he was asking. An year ago, i said.

"Sleep. Doctor sleep. That is most important. I don't get sleep. First do something about that, then may be everything else will fall in place". She was telling him. (What about all that snoring?) "I don't sleep till 2 am and then i get up before 4am. I know the time because, whenever i get up, i press the button on the phone to see the time.". (what about those days when I see you still sleeping till 9am).

"Till I was talking the red pill. I was getting the sleep properly. But it is stopped now because, it may affect the kidneys. But without those tablets, I can't sleep."

He looked at the old prescription and at me asked me "what red pill?".

I took a piece of paper and wrote down the name and gave it to him.

"This?" he asked.

"That seemed to help her. But I am not sure if I can continue giving that." I said..

"Let us continue that for some more days". I could already feel her eyes boring at me as if she knew that doctor would agree to her taking red pills.

After a while we walked out of the clinic, and i folded the paper in which i had written the name of the red pill and threw into the dustbin. The name on that was "Digene".

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

full circle - old age

i have heard that as we age, we become like a child. but rarely, have i seen some one aged whose behavior would resemble that of a child. that is, until now. my grand mother seems to age many times in her mind than her body.

and many a times, it is hard to see past that old wrinkled body and connect with the child that manifests itself. and the glimpses of being a grown up every now and then surely makes it hard.

i have heard a lot of stories from her younger days, when she might have been my age now, many a times in the past. and many many times. her stories telling was exactly like playing a record, and sometimes i used to ask her to tell that incident or this and she would gladly oblige. i no longer listen to those stories and they don't fascinate me any more..

but where can she now go to bring new stories, other than what she hears over the phone from her grand child in another city. she pretty much repeats her phone conversation with her, even if it is just about the lunch or the dinner the grand child had.

there are times, when she tells me things that i have told to my cousin, and which my cousin told her. after listening, i would just say .. i know. and she also seems to imply that "yes, i know you know. but you did not tell me. learn from your cousin, she confides in me.". i just keep looking at her..... as she walks back in her room, having made her point.

well, there are days, when the cousin doesn't call (hardly any, but still). she walks up to me as i am watching tv, after serving her dinner. she shows me the tablet that she is holding, the same tablet that she has to take every night for diabetes and asks me,

"should i take an half or a full?". i keep quiet..

"i am just taking your advice." she says..

after considering for a while, based on her recent sugar reports.. i would say "half".

"no. i think i will take full. what if sugar increases while i am asleep."

at that point, i have tried to logically reason out which has never worked. she would finally say as she walks away. "i will take full. btw, make sure to check on me every now and then. i may have passed away and sleeping."

the very first time, i had heard her say that, i got infuriated. "why are you talking like that?" i demanded.

for which she had an well prepared answer. "i am not afraid of death. but i only have one wish. i want to see your cousin married. once she is married i will be peaceful."

when the same conversation repeated, i realized it is futile to make her stop mentioning death. and i have become indifferent towards her affinity towards d - statements.

and then, there are these episodes of her stopping me from going out of the house because she can't be alone in the house anymore. she starts crying. literally. if i say that it will be fine. a new can of rantings opens up about how she is being ignored and no one cares whether she is alive or d.

of course. it is true. can't leave her alone any more, especially in an locked apartment, where she can't find help from neighbors. sometimes i wonder about if she doesn't feel like a bird caged inside all the time. she has spent most of her like staying out doors and socializing (more like gossiping) with the village folks....

she is the(one of) reason i exist. and she is at a stage where i am the(one of) the reason she exists.