Trial Room Errors

Originally shared on fb on May 17, 2011 at 11:57pm – When the offspring was younger and more honest and helpful(?)

The trials and tribulations of a trial room

Especially if you are a mother of two

Who are no higher than your waist

Are many if not few

 

The trial rooms for one

Are mirrored almost on all four sides

Giving you an ample view of stuff

That you never knew on you did reside

 

They also serve as elbow jarrers

Especially if you have a funny one

And you hop and stuff your mouth

From screaming a full blooded curse

 

Lest the children wander too far

You herd them with you in that tiny room

And pray they talk softly if they must

Or else God help them soon

 

For they speak the truth

As they know not of tact and the niceties

That make you believe you

Still are a few sizes smaller

 

So while you are busy peeling

The offending garment off your skin

The world is made aware of your girth and width

And the fact you must become thin.

 

So eyes rolling and lips thinned

You step out and challenge anyone who dared think

That they could opine and be heard

and march off head held high – towards the next store
Trial Room Errors

Dog’s day out!

Once upon a time when I was a kid – and the sun shone brightly every single day – it was Indian summer you see – we decided our dog was getting fat.

Now to give you a background, the dog was a she – a fact we discovered after we had picked it up off the streets and adopted it. We settled on calling her Wags, because she was always wagging her tail, and besides it was a legitimate name – its what Billy Bob in an Enid Blyton series had called his too.

She was delightful. Her feats included flying and being fearless. She would spot a cat or a goat from the roof of the house and jump off – probably thinking she’s superman or something, but she had no fear of falling. Hence my declaration that she flew and she was fearless.

She grew up with us indoors as we didn’t want her to have any illicit flings with the romeos outside and therefore learnt how to smile like us. Rather grotesque – a yellow fangy black gum grin doesn’t make for pleasantries if you ask me – but nevertheless – it was her attempt at conveying happiness to us.

In time my sister and I decided that she was fat. So we decided to take her jogging. Though the idea was bright – it came with its own set of challenges. Such as – she out-jogged us in a trifle. So we mounted ourselves on our 60cc moped and drove along at a comfortable 25-30 kmph while our lady ‘jogged’ besides us.

She soon had her set of suitors following her eagerly, but we were comfortable in the knowledge that they won’t follow us all the way as they have their territories clearly marked.

Congratulating ourselves and feeling rather invincible, we decided to do a few errands while we were out. Now this is Jhansi – of the 80s. A small peaceful sleepy town peppered with houses amidst fields of hills and dips. Our moped undulated on the hilly roads and alongside trotted Wags.

We came to our destination, my sister’s friend’s house. As soon as she had run inside to collect her stuff, I heard growling. Picking up a stone to do a pretend throw with one hand, while I tightened my grip on Wags’ leash with the other, I see not one, but many dogs that I must pretend throw at. Not a feat that was achievable in my book. As my mind raced with possible actions, Wags declared war. She growled back. I looked at her and hissed for her to shut up. Ofcourse, she was in the seventh heaven. You can take the dog off the street, but you can’t take the street out of the dog. She wasn’t backing down. For some reason she felt that she could take on all these 5 or 6 stray menacing frothing frightening beasts all by herself. I pushed down a sense of pride at how we had raised her. My, she was fearless. Hell  – I wasn’t.With Wags saying bring it on, my pretend throws turned to actual throws – and I started shouting for my sister.My shouts elicited a few heads from various windows. Hoping that someone might call off these wretched aggressive canines, I looked up, but the heads just looked back interestedly. My sister ran out screaming for me to start the moped.

Wags however refused to come and the dogs were inching closer to us. She wanted to fight! Really? I wish I could have slapped her then, but I was too busy cursing the moped. It wasn’t starting- it started with furious pedaling and here I was pedaling away for my life on a stationary moped with about five malicious frothing canines a few scant inches away from me and a mad barking stupid dog, and my sister who was shouting at them to back off and trying to get Wags to shut up at the same time.

The moped finally sputtered to life, my sister hoisted a hugely excited Wags in her lap and we were off. Or so we thought. For all our panic and intent, the moped moved at about 5Kmph – because we had to go uphill. For the amount of racket it made, it deafened the barking dogs for sure.

The dogs finally figured we were making a run for it and decided to give chase. Go Ekta – Go. My sister shouted. I am. I am. I shouted back. But we only covered painful inches. I think we willed the moped to go over the hill.

A very agitated Wags also realized she was being treated unfairly and not allowed to show her mettle to her much loved and adored masters, thrashed around between my sister and me. Between screaming, stop it Wags, idiot dog – bloody fools- damn this government – and keeping balance, we covered the hill and hit the main road, which we speedily crossed.

We turned back to see if the dogs were still following us. They weren’t. Their territory was marked – but they were pretty vociferous about what they thought of our visit. Our last sight before we turned the corner was the peeping heads grinning and my sister’s friend doubling up in laughter. Crossing yet another hill which had a speed breaker on its crest – (go figure)-Wags wriggled – eager to resume her jogging. As my sister tightened her hold on the fat dog, I tightened my hold on the accelerator – and revved it as much as I could.  the moped roared – and sped up a little – rather petulantly if you ask me. Wags rode home with us on our moped – never ofcourse to be taken out jogging ever again!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dog’s day out!

The metro and me

Though I will never admit it openly, I usually succumb to the herd mentality- or I should say I used to – maybe! Once upon a time, when the feet were light and I could run a mile a minute, I had to commute in a metro in the States. India was still a baby then – the metro being a far-away nebula for those who knew of it.

For me it was all the first time. I was totally intimidated. However when one is young, one doesn’t allocate too much time to think beyond – oh this is big and let me manage without embarrassing myself please- and I will be polite to that idiot at work today. Sure enough the boarding, alighting et al was peaceful and without incident, and that instilled a good amount of confidence in me.

One fine day an American colleague of mine and I had to go to mid-town for a meeting and thinking I know it all- and egged by some deep seated need to prove to him I know it all (it gets worse) I look around – ready to take the lead to enter the crowded metro.

I see one coming, the herd mentality kicks in big time, and I run into it, not heeding the sensible American colleague’s polite attempt to dissuade my aggressive attempt to be in first. I was from Delhi, India- what could I do but be true to my heritage. As I run and enter the metro, with my colleague in panic, I hear the stations being called out and realize am on the wrong metro. Getting out of a train that has people boarding en masse, is not as simple as my mind had conjured up. Coupled with that the Gods had had enough of me. The doors closed as I was halfway out. I was in a full state of panic – I couldn’t get out and I couldn’t get in. My colleague kept trying to pull me out. I had instant visions of going down the dark tunnels with me hanging half outside. With a big pull I was out. But my bag was still in. The metro didn’t move- mercifully and the doors opened a bit – to let me yank my bag out. I could only hope and pray I didn’t have the impressions of the doors on my face.

A decade later when Delhi finally boasted of a metro – I was on the been-there-done-that trail once again. As I came down the escalator I saw the metro rolling in. I saw people rushing to queue up to get in. I did what I do. I ran. I ran fast, cursed the slow coaches who tried to stop me – and finally got on. As I heaved a sigh of relief and celebrated that I had caught the metro and did not have to wait for another 15 minutes, the announcement of the next station began. I was on the wrong train once again.

As I kicked and cursed myself  I also thanked my stars I was alone – till the urge to regurgitate it here came up!

The metro and me

The thing about weddings…

As a kid, a cousin of mine came from England to get married according to his rites and rituals in his ancestral home. He felt the calling I suppose. I guess which is why he decided to suffer through the whole rigmarole. However the whole thing got stamped permanently in my memory during his baraat or procession towards the bride’s house. As he mounted the horse, half blind with all the kohl that had been applied in his eyes and from all the headgears he was sporting, he couldn’t quite cover the extent of the horse’s back. You see he was short and the horse wasn’t. However the two did agree on the width. They were both wide. The short and wide don’t have it very good in situations where they have to mount a horse. Of course assistants are always hovering and he was pushed and pulled till he was finally straddling the horse. We couldn’t get a look at his face as he was shrouded behind silver, golden paper and flowers – but we could tell he had had enough.

The band broke out into a cacophonous sound- popular Bollywood fare and the baraat moved forward. With the same burst of energy a few young boys moved into the center and started to jump- to the beat ofcourse. We moved forward. All of a sudden the music stopped and a hush descended. Not something you would expect in a wedding procession, especially one where the groom was egging everyone to keep moving. Surely this was against his interest. Curious we peeped and to our horror saw him lying on the floor – in the dirt.

Apparently it was the horse’s first wedding too. It didn’t take too kindly to the noise and reared itself up without warning the groom. The groom simply responded to gravity and met it convincingly.

About 20 years later, I attended another family wedding.

As we stood at the gate watching yet another wedding procession and a little body flung itself at me. I stepped back as I teetered on my heels. I stepped on my sari. It tore with authority – loud and clear. The border dangled. I went a little crazy with anger and incredulity. Not a sari nightmare again. As I contemplated if I should gather it up and run inside, the sound opera burst forth with another boom. This time a fancy decorated pillar had landed on my sister-in-law’s head. The wedding procession watching was abandoned. The decorators were roundly cursed, water was sought, fingers were thrust in her face to be counted and I finally did haul my sari up and dash off to a room which promised supplies. I found man’s most ingenious invention ever – the duct tape and duct taped my sari all the way- and miraculously you could have fooled even me.

Trouble comes in threes as we discovered a few hours later – the middle of the night – we sat in somnambulant silence, listening to the sonorous intonation of the priest’s chanting when suddenly we jerked upright by the sound of slap. The sound opera was on a roll.

Our necks moved in precision to follow the age old who-said-what and who-did-what. Apparently during the ritual of joota-chipai the groom’s sister refused to part with her brother’s shoes and had resorted to violence of thunderous proportions.

The wedding had once again proved to be bigger than the participants, and boy do I look forward to more now!

 

The thing about weddings…

Clothes make a man!

As a 20 year old girl, I had to wear a white sari for my college meeting. So I took out my aunt’s crisp white cotton sari. I loved the look it gave. After struggling and cursing for an hour I finally had it draped. Try wearing a starched cotton sari and you will instantly segue into the gravity of what am trying to convey here.

Once draped I realized I couldn’t walk. Apparently it’s a skill one has to work on. So I took a cycle rickshaw to college. The cycle rickshaw is an ingenious contraption. It’s a tricycle with a two seat facility. However the crunch is you have to climb it. Yes. Not step in it, or sit in it. Rather mount it or like I said, climb it. A feat made more difficult in a starched-cotton-sari-which-was-difficult-to-walk-in.

I was on a mission now. Given the colour I wore was white too;-)). I climbed the sari in the most gracious way I could. As I sat down everything settled around me and the starched sari continued to be up in the air – in the shape of my bent knee angled to climb the rickshaw. It took my entire ride to smoothen it down.

As I climbed down once I reached college, I felt cool air on my calves. Ofcourse it took little imagination to know how my backside looked. I had to beg for help from two girls in college to smoothen the damn thing down. All this while I stood on the main road outside the entrance of my college.

The saga left me with a permanent fear of the combination of starch and cotton saris.

At our college farewell party I succumbed to the charm of cotton again. However after I had ensured it was not starched. A lovely white handloom sari with a lovely green woven pallu. As we gathered for a group photo, I draped the gorgeous handwoven pallu over my arm, wondering why there were so many lose threads. The weaver has done a crappy job. My mom got duped. Ofcourse then the proverbial bulb over my head lit up. You’ve worn it inside out you dodo. Yeah am not a fan of my inner voice too. Politeness is something that’s always appreciated. Anyway I digress.  That moment ofcourse has been burned into my memory forever and to make matters worse I have printed proof of it, as do most of my friends who feature in it.

Time passed. Saris and starch never found their way to me again. Then I went to work one day. It was after a long stint at home that I was going to a “corporate” office. Usually it was from home. I was eager and excited to be able to dress up and go to work. So out came my best clothes. A lovely angarkha. For the uninitiated – it’s a kurta that ties from the front with straps. No buttons or zippers to hold it together. Just firm knots tied with deft fingers.

So at the end of the day I headed to where my car was parked. The walk was a downhill one, against the wind. Walking and looking straight ahead I felt like a hindi movie heroine. My hair flying in the wind and when I felt a few glances my way, my confidence was bolstered. How the mind plays tricks. That damned background music in my head was in no way a warning when I looked down. My fingers it seemed then had not done their deft handiwork and the knots had come undone. My bounty was for the world to see.. yeah a walk I shall never forget.

So yeah what was that again? Clothes make a man- hilarious!

Clothes make a man!

Pride does come before a fall.

I huffed and I puffed. I panted and I gasped. The jog sure knew how to find my lungs. They were on fire. Having moved to a new city my activity meter had sunk to zero. Eager for some physical activity, I tried to fall back on my favourite ones. Swimming and badminton. I swam till the weather permitted, and when it got cold I looked around to play badminton.

However the city of my new abode singularly lacked enthusiasts in this field. Ofcourse I wanted it all perfect, a court, a net, and most importantly someone to play with.That I couldn’t find any of the three was quite telling on my predicament to me. The activity cells were buzzing with irritation now.

Move it. They started to whine. Being a sucker for sunrises and sunsets I decided to walk at these opportune times and take in the kaleidoscope. Walking is one activity that makes me impatient. I prefer running – and running fast, but there was a little problem. I could run for exactly 10 seconds before I collapsed in a wheezy semi conscious state. Not a pretty sight and certainly not a preferred graphic in my head. There was a time that I prided myself on my athletic abilities, and now I must regain some of that lost glory. With this determination I started walking and was surprised to see the old hinges were not really rusted. Oh there was a bit of oiling needed now and then, but the machine moved smoothly and steadily. My confidence got a shot of power and I hazarded into the marathon territory. In my head I knew I could do it. Outside it turned out to be quite a different story.

With the marathon in mind, I spoke to veteran marathon runners, keeping my goal private. I will surprise them. Feeling quite superior smug I ventured a date with sunrise. The walk was now getting to me, I itched to run. So I ran. Now its important to comment on the track that I was running on. It’s a circuitous track better used for cars to be driven on, but we usually recycle stuff, so there I was using it to burn rubber – er my running shoes.

Precisely five minutes later I thought I was vaporizing. The sunrise hovered on the horizon, but I wasn’t sure if it was the red haze from my own eyes that looked like the sun rise. I decided to give up. Rubbery legs and knocking knees walked me back to my apartment where I started my recuperation. I fell asleep.

A couple of more aborted runs later the breathing and well oiled hinges came into play. Oh wow. Was I on a roll. I ran non stop. The app on my phone was congratulating me like it was my own personal trainer. If it were a person, I pictured it doing cartwheels. Euphoric I continued. Fed on the oxygen my lungs were producing I decided to not cool down – and keep running up the stairs past the sleeping guards. My steady strong rhythmic jogging steps must be easily identifiable by now. I wish I could spell the sound that ensued suddenly. You see I fell down. Quite suddenly, the oil in my ankles had not done its job. It twisted and I went down like old ladies do, on all fours. The ignominy of it all was the sleeping guard stood up and saluted – good morning madam.

I held on to my dignity – inside my head I was throwing an abashed tantrum. Outside I was wishing the stunned dodo good morning. He was unsure if he should help me- I used that precious time to nurse my traitorous joint. As I continued to nurse and groan, I saw him getting worried if I would be able to get up. I got up with startling agility. Refusing to meet his eyes I limped back up- leaving him with ample juice for gossip with his morning tea.

Pride does come before a fall.

The minefield

So my mothers curse slash prophecy came out true. I was finally a mother to a preteen and the hormone war had begun to rage. There was her own personal mine field which her siblings never learnt of. It was dynamic and constantly changed positions. I lived in a veritable blast land. There were times when in a rare silent zone I could hear someone sniggering. That only had to be God.

All of the grief given to my parents by me was being returned to me with interest.The endless whining, the constant constant defiance, the slamming of the doors and sullen countenances – the eye rolls added to the finer details, as did the endless hours in the bathroom. The rebellion without a cause had ensued and this time I was at the receiving end. Oh James Dean.

James Dean had particularly caught my fancy. Handsome and rakish, and dead in a car crash. To my 13 year old mind, he was the ultimate cool dude. Yeah reason logic came way later- when I reached the stage of reflection which read thus – if only I had the looks of then and the wisdom of now. However I digress.

James Dean was the rebel without a cause. I liked that. In a small one hick town, where the Jet-set and the sun magazines played a vital role in the cool meter – all in my head mind you – the rebel without a cause struck a chord.

I rebelled. Ofcourse I was aided and abetted by my hormones. I rebelled purely out of nothing. School I figured was a great place to test the waters. Sit down. No. Get out. Yes. A routine I had almost perfected by the end of the term.

Even the principal fondly issued commands to me to kneel down in front of her office. It was fun. There was excitement. There were giggles. Infact I egged on a few hapless friends. Ofcourse they were too scared to follow, the few who did faced untold misery. I somehow managed to escape this untold misery. I was blessed with a temper. My temper was my shield. Not many could penetrate. Ofcourse the ultimate weapon the school always has are the parents. They were summoned.

I knew they were summoned, but was confident I would brazen it out with them. What I didn’t bargain for was their tears. Hey my friend came running to me. Your mom’s crying by the tree and your dad’s looking sad.

The world as I knew it vanished. This was new ground. My mother crying? She has never cried. She has always made me cry. I didn’t like it. James Dean was dead. The institution of education and parents had won the first round.

However the hormones fought back. I refused to polish my shoes, I refused to wear my school badge and I absolutely refused to wear the ghastly black ribbon in my hair. I even refused to hem my skirt. You are a girl –Oh is it? That was a reason good enough for me. Anything that had me conforming was met with stiff resistance. I got away with it most often, however the needlework class and the poor nun who had to teach me would probably have added ingredients to my mothers cauldron of curse/prophecy. I would smirk and she would throw me out to go pluck weeds and grass. It was bliss. I looked forward to being punished. Thumbing authority in the nose gave my hormones a boost. I was powerful. I was fearless. I was invincible.

My parents continued their visits to school and soon the crying turned to eye rolls and then resigned faces. There was a bit of confusion. Am I winning or what. However what was I playing at.

Some thirty years down the line, I understood my question. I was playing the hormone game. Gosh I prayed fervently. Please forgive me God, please forgive me mom and dad. Please forgive me Sister Monica and sister Theresa, and – I sounded like Bryan Adams. A very bad version of Bryan Adams. As every memory haunted me brightly in Eastman colour, I cringed and died of mortification. Aha. There was a catch. I could pass it on – a slow peaceful grin creased the countenance as I slept peacefully. Wisdom does have its good points.

My parents – the only ones who had heard a vocal fervent apology from me – laughed indulgently and now I await my time of indulgent laughter – when I can play superior and say – haha it was nothing.

The minefield