Monday, December 29, 2008

My Window

Beside this window I spent nine years of my waking hours. Or minutes - being a last-minute-you-really-can't-afford-to-sleep-anymore kind of late riser I've never really got the time to enjoy a beautiful morning.

Every weekday at 5:45 my dad would wake me up when he left for work. Amma is probably the most optimistic person on the planet - all through these nine years I've asked her everyday to wake me up at 6 am. And she's done it whenever I asked her to - and continued it every 15 minutes till I finally wake up at half past seven, twenty minutes before the school bus is scheduled to pick me up at my doorstep. Most mornings are a blur to me. Three minutes dashing in and out of the shower, five minutes searching desparately for ironed clothes, twenty seconds in front of the dressing table trying to look presentable, one minute gulping down breakfast with no respect for what was served. To this day I consider it among my top achievements that in nine years, I can still count with one finger the number of times I've missed the school bus.

But the window is special. On those lazy mornings on the weekend when I'd just woken up, I'd prop my pillow against the head of the bed and stare for hours at the backyard. Somewhere along that timeframe there was a mulberry tree that grew just next to the wall. I remember the excitement when one day, after having learnt metamorphosis in biology, I saw among the deep red and the green of the tree, a fat green caterpillar. This was my obsession for weeks, till it finally disappeared leaving the thin shell of its cocoon behind.

On the days India played cricket and I got to stay home and watch, I always watched it by the window. The window was my little lucky charm for the Indian cricket team. The match would start off with the windows closed, and the room in darkness. And then it all depended on how we played. If we kept losing wickets or were getting trashed on the field, the two panels of the window would open by varying amounts - casting those "lucky shadows" about the room. The challenge was to get the shadows just right - like the stars being in place or something.

There are other memories. On the road behind our backyard, the neighbour taking his two cows out to the field. Somedays, a battered white Ambassador car visiting our backies. Other days, the crows pecking at all the ripe mangoes that always made Ammachy so angry. In the evenings, Amma watering her precious cinammon plants.

I no longer live or sleep by my window of nine years. The house has undergone a massive refurnishing since then, making it lots more beautiful and almost unrecognizable to someone seeing it after a while. But when I go visiting, this is my favourite room of all. The room with my window - because when I look out through it I can almost see the mulberry tree with its green and deep red mulberries, leaves half gnawed through by the caterpillar infestation. I guess that sometimes, all of us wish we can go back to a simpler time.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

About Love

Never heard it said better.

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

From 1 Corinthians 13

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Rain and Shine

It's strange that when time moves so quickly, you look back at it and feel you've learnt a lot more than what those four months could have taught you. In fact most of them are not lessons, they're just realizations. And these realizations help you to deal with yourself more than any effort to set things right.

Somewhere along the way, we all see - that it's not the world that is unfair to you, it's not people, it's not yourself - that's just how it is. No one's life is perfect. That trying to feel happier is not the answer sometimes - it is to be happy with the way you feel. That friends you're hardly in touch with are as much a part of your life as those you always talk to. And that when you learn to let go of the past, the future looks a lot more peaceful.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

What a girl can't do

Tagged by Pareltank

DB, Tunisian - My kid's six months old now. No, my husband doesn't work - my job's enough for the both of us now. Someone has to stay home and take care of our baby.

AE, Saudi - You're not getting married for another two years? That's too long, man! I'm getting married in two months - can't wait! No more cleaning rooms, ironing clothes, cooking meals - you get someone to do it all for you!

AR, Indian - Oh well, it's one thing whether your husband says it up to you whether you still want to work after getting married. I wouldn't want to get married to someone who feels its OK to give up my job and relocate where he is if it's OK with me. Doesn't that mean he pretty much doesn't care?

MB, Sudanese - It's really tough to manage women, my friend! Before they get married they seem accomodating and understanding. And then once you're married, suddenly there's this big career complex - about who's working and why there should be any sacrifice on either side. And then a kid comes along - and complicates matters even more!

FF, Omani - Nah, it's really not fair to ask her to quit her job and come here to Saudi. What's she going to do here? If I don't get a transfer out of here I'll probably just quit this job and take up a peaceful government job somewhere in my little town.


1. I made this post the way it is to bring out one thing I realized - people's views on feminism are part of the life they've seen growing up, part of their culture and tradition. As cultures and traditions change, so do these views. However, I can never claim that one person's view is the entire country's view - they're not even a sample space. And while you have your own view, to some extent all of us are influenced by what people who are part of this sample space think.

2. All these lines are from real-life conversations - none of them are made up. :)

3. FF is now happily married and settled in Oman, running a private business with a few of his pals. His wife is a computer engineer.


I love the safety signs on a rigsite. It's also kind of impressive to visitors who think rigs don't really give a damn about safety. All that has changed.

This one at the safety induction tells you that time is important, but more important than time is safety:

There is no work so urgent or important that we can't take the time to do it safely.

I saw this one on a rig floor - encouraging you never to be shy when you have a question:

When in doubt - ASK. The only wrong question is the one you did not ask.

Of course some are great sources of entertainment - like this one which tells you to smoke only in designated areas.

Please do not smoke in here. Smoke is the waste left behind from your cigarette. You know what I leave behind after I drink water? How would you like it if I stood on top of you and pissed all over you? Respect my preference like I respect yours.

Of course no one really cares about swearing or cursing here. Why else would you see this in the main office?

How about a nice big cup of Shut the F*** Up? THINK before you say something stupid.

And then finally there is that sign which makes you think that inspite of all the safety they're promoting, there's always one sign too many. One that makes it seem like you're three years old and/or retarded. Like this one posted 35 feet above the ground on the rig floor:

Do not jump. Use stairs.