Monday, July 28, 2008

Who are they? Why do they do it?

Usually I do not write posts about current affairs or world happenings. But sometimes it is hard to not get affected.
The Bangalore and Ahemdabad blasts have left me shaken.
My children talked to me about it.I had no answers to give them.
I painted a picture.They understood its meaning.I also wrote a poem.
I am sharing both with you.

Painting by preeti

Who are they? And why do they do it?

The day’s newspaper lies beside me
Screaming, shrieking, yelling
A vortex of turbulent emotions
Wash over me in Giant waves
Like watching my mother getting raped
Helplessness, anger, grief
I cope in the only way I know
I paint
No figures here or pretty pictures
It is only blood
And the mindless, senseless ,guiltless killing
How does one portray a million tears?
How do you capture piercing anguish?
My Children watch me
Mummy ,she asks Why do terrorists kill?
For them it is fun, he replies.
Who are they? They ask
Are they Muslims?”
No, I answer
They are monsters.
Fiendish, Frantic and frenzied
Heartless, soul less monsters.
They are choking my country
And I feel helpless, powerless, Impotent
As I watch
Writing poetry and painting pictures.
My heart and my country continue bleeding.

© Preeti Shenoy

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Textually yours

Really sorry--I have had to remove this post as it will soon appear in a book. Making it available online would have been very unfair to my publisher who has placed so much trust in me. I hope you enjoy the other posts as much as you enjoyed this one. A heartfelt thanks for your support and understanding.Thanks for continuing to read what I write.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Prickers incorporated


The more I think about it, the more I am convinced that there indeed are some people who derive great happiness or at least satisfaction from putting others down. It makes them feel slightly superior and gives them a strange, sadistic kind of satisfaction, perhaps because they feel inadequate in many ways. It does not make their actions excusable though, nor condonable. I call these people the ‘Prickers’.

Often, what they say is very cleverly disguised and you are left wondering whether they actually meant it as a put down or whether they said it casually. If you bring it up, they would probably brush it aside, saying that you are over-reacting, and of course it was not meant to hurt. But the fact is it leaves you feeling a little unhappy, a little less than what you were. The best way to judge whether or not it is a put down is to pay attention to how it made you feel—never mind what the person who said it intended. If you felt bad, or insulted or a little less than what you were, no matter what others say, it is a put-down.

I have had people telling me all kind of things—Of course, they mean well—or at least that is what they want to believe. One time I was feeling on top of the world, wearing a well fitted jeans and a tee, and thought I was looking great. The pricker said “You know what—you should wear low waist jeans. They hide your paunch better.” I was too stunned to say anything at all. Later that night, I stood for at least seven minutes in front of the mirror, examining myself, trying to find a ‘paunch’. Unless asked for an opinion, I never ever comment on dress sense, style or clothes that others wear—because it is something so personal. The clothes you choose indeed reflect ‘who you choose to be’. If someone is comfortable in jeans, t-shirt and high heels, why not let them be? It does not have to be a party to be able to wear your heels. You feel like wearing them for no reason, it is your choice! (Pssst—a good pair of shoes always makes you feel great.) I have had this pricker question me as to why I wear high heels when I am just going to the local supermarket.

In another context when we were discussing something else, someone remarked to me that supplements of the local editions of Times of India don’t really matter, as they don’t have a great circulation. Of course I felt put down as I write for these very supplements, apart from a few other publications. I have got several letters and phone calls from people saying that something I wrote helped them in some way, or saying that it was well –written. It makes me feel happy—and when the pricker mentioned the not-so-great-circulation, I did feel—well-- pricked.

A friend told me that she felt very hurt, when a friend of hers jokingly remarked that the curtains she bought for her new home looked like saree petticoats because they were not pleated. Of course, it was said as a joke. Another time my friend was really happy that her child had done well in school. This pricker, told her not to feel so happy, as it is easy to do well, when the children are in younger classes—the real test comes when they are older.

The point here is that all these remarks are ‘well meant’. No, thank you—I would rather not have these well meant remarks. I am fine. I mind my own business. And I really wish these prickers would mind theirs. But since they don’t, the trick here is to develop a really thick, anti-deflatable hide.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Love and Internet

Snippets of actual conversation during the last one week, reported verbatim.

This was between me and my 10 year old son, after watching jaane tu ya jaane na.We were driving home, after dropping my daughter at her dance class. I was concentrating on the road and nodding, only half listening



“Having a girl friend is no fun. I don’t want to have a girl friend.”


“So boring. If she cries you have to console her and keep pacifying her. Ugh. I would rather play my GTA.”

What could I say to that?! I just smiled. After two minutes—



“Which one would you prefer—a boy friend or Internet?”

“I would prefer a husband actually. Not a boy friend. Boy friends can ditch you easily. Husbands usually stay around.”

“More than the Internet?”

“Well—yeah. Internet cannot take you out, or cuddle you, or buy things for you or tell you things like you are pretty or you smell good.”

“Hmm—that is true.”

After five seconds---

“Was papa your boy-friend before you got married?”


“Do you like papa or the Internet?”

“Papa. But when he is traveling, surely the Internet.”

He smiled. “Smart Mommy.”

I told him about how Internet was not as prevalent as it was today, ten years back. I told him that when he was born, we didn’t even have a computer. He was so surprised to know that. He wondered how people managed when they have school projects—or how people communicated to each other. Kids these days seem to have a facebook or orkut profile, even when they are in the womb!

Later I overheard him telling his sister that mom loves dad much more than she loves the Internet.

What can I say? Sign of the times? :-)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Weekend Witches and Glitches

After a lot of planning, effort and co-ordination (not in that order necessarily) I managed to get tickets for the Saturday morning show for the whole family. This was for the latest craze of a movie that is sweeping the box offices, or so we have been told by box-office pundits, the movie experts and every entertainment channel worth or not worth their stupidity in the mindless sagas and reality shows they air. The only two songs worth watching had been viewed by me a hundred times already. My close friends had also been mailed the link to the youtube video with the lyrics (and the meaning of the lyrics as well for some of my friends who didn’t speak Hindi.)

This was before I watched the movie. Anyway, I shall not say anything more, lest you intend to see it.

After coming back from the movie, husband promptly fell ill. He had severe vomiting and an upset stomach. I could not even attribute it to the pop-corn at the movie, as all of us had consumed it as well (and we were all perfectly fine) and so I think it was the wicked-witch-who-loves-to-ruin-weekends at work. Whole of Saturday and Sunday went by, in taking care of three babies (Including husband here). My son had a test as well on Monday morning—and naturally it is me who does all the studying. And let me tell you—it is exhausting.

Monday morning, he was perfectly fine and went off to work. This is not the first time it has happened either. I think he would qualify as a dream employee—has an impeccable track record, always chooses week-ends to fall ill and attends official phone calls even on a vacation .Last time it happened I threatened that I would call up his colleague who had called him (despite knowing he was on vacation) in the middle of the night, around 3:00 a.m—and then again at 3:45 a.m and then at 4:15 a.m. I had even practised the witch-who-loves-to-ruin-sleep laugh—a hoarse, deep throated evil chuckle. As soon as he answered I’d laugh, I had decided, and then I would hang up. I ,anyway,am a chronic insomniac. Might as well make good use of my nights up! I think husband apprised him of my intentions as the phone calls during vacation have mercifully stopped.

One of my closest friends called on Saturday evening when I was in the feeling-so-bad-my-weekend–is-ruined mode. I told her about husband not being well, son’s test and all other stuff.

“Poor guy” she says “I hope he feels better soon.”

What poor guy?! He was being pampered by the kids and me. He was getting lots of kisses and hugs from the kids, (okay, and me as well. I did feel sorry for him) and despite being ill, I could see him revelling in all the attention. I was doing all the work, which gets shifted to week-ends. If anyone has to be pitied here, it was me, I said.

I think I will fall ill now.

Or on second thoughts, may be I shall just wait till the week-end. *Heh heh heh.*

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Life is calling

The other day when my mom was getting into bed, retiring for the day, she sighed in a matter of fact voice, exhaled deeply and said casually “ Hmm, one more day gone from our lives. Stock is getting depleted from the quota of allotted days.” The enormity of what she had just said sunk in slowly like the drizzle on a wet monsoon day that starts with just a slight shower and suddenly pelts down like a boulder in a landslide. It caught me unawares.

She left two days back, to spend a week with my brother, but what she said in such a matter of fact way made a tremendous impact on me that I am still floating in those words, submerged — much like the water that surrounds everything in sight after floods due to incessant rain.

It is so true. It is so simple. Why is it that we never think of it when we go to bed at night? I truly believe that each one of us has a quota of days on this earth. When the quota is over, no matter what, death comes calling. An ex-colleague of ours lost his only son, days before his 15th birthday. I was upset, aghast and distraught. I could feel the parents pain and anguish. You can read the paper report and the details here. Another friend lost her dad unexpectedly, just like me. Yesterday, in the newspaper there was another report of a young man and his girl friend who died because the motorcycle he was riding skidded and sent them both flying. Both were engineering students, just 21. My mom’s words kept coming back to me. Their quota was over.

These days when I go to bed I am so thankful that I have had another day to live—a day full of health, full of love filled moments with my children (and some exasperating ones too!), time to have a conversation with my husband, some time to talk with friends on the phone, to read, to admire a flower in the garden, to watch my fishes, to see the rain, to watch the sun rising, to hug my loved ones, to listen to music and above all to laugh.(The pictures that I have posted show the view from my terrace early in the morning and a Canna plant that bloomed in my garden, both captured a day back)

I don’t know when my quota will get over,--that is something that is not in my hands but I sure as hell am determined to enjoy each precious second of my quota.

There is simply no time to hold grudges, remember the disappointments, the failures, the petty quarrels, the bad memories. Life is too darn precious to lament or to weep.

The admen got it right when they said “Life is calling. Where are you?”

Sunday, July 06, 2008

250th post

Why are milestones so important? Like 100th (If you are the producer of a movie that is doing well), 21st ( (if you are a guy in India, who can’t wait to get married!) ,50th (Sounds important for anything!) ? Maybe it is because we all need to see that we are going somewhere, progressing somehow, moving—going in the right direction.(Or some direction, as long as one is moving) Maybe it is because we need to mark our achievements, our tiny successes, how far we have come. Anyway—this is my 250th post.

Blogging has really given a new direction to my life, opening up a career path, which I really had not envisaged. While at college, I had won many Inter-college and Inter University creative writing competitions. After that, I moved on with life, and writing took a back seat. But it continued to be my refuge, the safe place that I could wrap myself in, when the rest of the world didn’t understand. I wrote poetry, short stories, humorous anecdotes, musings, (But did not share it with anyone) and long long letters to close friends. Years went by—times changed and the Internet took over. Self publishing, using blogs,really appealed to me and I took baby step hesitatingly.(Is it okay to put stuff on the Internet, if so how much, what etc were questions that worried me) Gradually I proceeded and I am so glad I did.

An editor of a magazine liked one of my posts and felt I had real talent in writing. He wanted me to write a piece for his magazine, which I did. They liked it a lot, and wanted me to write more. Then I started writing for a newspaper and also for a few other magazines---and before I knew it, I had become a ‘writer’. Funny, how life takes its own turns, once you take a step, even a tiny one.

I also met Niall who has become one of my closest friends, only through my blog. Our meeting was not just restricted to virtual; we met in real world too, when I travelled to U.K. The paintings which Niall gifted me continue to be one of my most treasured possessions.

I also made some great friends through the blog—some of whom I have met and a few I yet have to meet.(But I have no doubt that surely I will be meeting them soon)

Reaching this 250th milestone has been a long journey for me, and I have gained so much. Your comments have been so encouraging and I feel honoured and privileged when so many of you write to me, sharing bits of your life. I always respond to each and every mail I get. (Just by the tiniest of chances if I have missed your mail, please let me know and I shall make amends)

So, this just a post to say a deep and a heartfelt thanks—for being kind enough to read, leave comments, come back each time I write and making me feel like I really matter.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

The trap-tag--25 things about YOU

If you have logged in to my blog for an entertaining, amusing read, which you obviously have, you are trapped! The door has automatically shut behind you. The windows too. There is no escape. So relax. I won’t eat you. Or bite. I promise. :-)Don’t panic and don’t try to leave. It is futile. You will be let out in a little while—so you might as well stay and enjoy, while you are here.

The air conditioning is on and the temperature is comfortable. And there is a very comfortable, cozy bean bag. Have you sat down? Good! You are served a drink of your choice. In front of you are these twenty questions which you have to answer, using only ONE word. You can get as creative as you like—but ONLY ONE WORD.

1.  Your cell phone? 
2.  Your significant other?
3.  Your hair? 
4.  Your mother? 
5.  Your father? 
6.  Your favorite thing?  
7.  Your dream last night? 
8.  The room you're in? 
9.  Your fear? 
10. What you're not?  
11. The last thing you did before logging on?
12. Where did you grow up?
13. Favourite drink? 
14. What are you wearing? 
15. Your TV? 
16. Your pet? 
17. Your computer ?  

18. Favourite place?

19. Your mood right now? 
20. Missing someone?  
21. Something you're not wearing? 
22. Love someone? 
23. Your favorite color? 

24. Kids?

25. Your life?

That’s it! Copy paste the above questions into my comment box, and type in your answers, and then you can leave :-) Come on, don’t say no! If you have time to read my blog, you surely can spare five more minutes to answer what I have asked? And it’s just 25 words that I ask of you.I would really love to read your answers.

Once you answer, the door clicks open automatically—and then it is up to you when to leave. You are welcome to stay though!

And I wouldn’t dream of asking you to do something that I haven’t tried myself (and it was great fun, I assure you) so here are my answers. (See—I have made it so easy for you, by even giving you the questions separately so you don’t even have to delete my answers when you copy paste.)

1.  Your cell phone? Awakener
2.  Your significant other? Satish
3.  Your hair? Growing
4.  Your mother? Lively
5.  Your father? Dead
6.  Your favorite thing?  Censored!
7.  Your dream last night? Lurid
8.  The room you're in? Children’s
9.  Your fear? Insanity
10. What you're not?  Insensitive
11. The last thing you did before logging on? yakked
12. Where did you grow up?   India
13. Favourite drink? Vodka
14. What are you wearing?  Perfume
15. Your TV?  Silent
16. Your pet? Many
17. Your computer?  Indispensable
18. Favourite place? Home
19. Your mood right now? Naughty
20. Missing someone?  Yes!
21. Something you're not wearing? Socks
22. Love someone? Yes!
23. Your favorite color? Yellow
24. Kids? Mine!
25.  Your life?   Terrific    

There—I have shown you mine.. Now show me yours! Please.(The answers silly) :-)