Tuesday, Aug 22nd

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Things going extinct in India

Things going/gone extinct in India:

Rasna: Papa aa gaye...coffee..papa ko nahin chahiye...chai..papa ko nahin chahiye..well papa only wanted Rasna after he comes back home in the evening :) rings a bell anyone?
The only cold drink available in the market specially if you lived in a town was Rasna. Making Rasna concentrate and bottle them up was a job assigned to my sister every summer. Later Kissan brought in a few drinks but what really took over Rasna was Coke and Pepsi. Rasna is still around but the monopoly it had then is gone.  But I still think Rasna was awesome. Rasna at home meant it was summers and summer meant vacation and fun, thats how I always have associated Rasna in my memories.

Watching movies on rented TVs and VHS players :  Summer vacation meant that we could finally watch a few movies..I remember that when i was very little, we did not have a TV and we rented TV and VHS player for a few days and watched the entire quota of movies pending. If cousins are in town for summer, we would have movie nights...and all that used to be soo much fun. These days there are so many movie channels playing random movies..but who cares!!! The local video store uncle would recommend the new movies that are out and are a must watch since there hardly were any promos aired on TV as they do today. On the same note, the movie posters played a key role and indicating the Movie's theme and the actor and actresses in the movie. All that has now changed completely.

Chitrahaar & Rangoli on Doordarshan: Something that was not to be missed...no matter what. But we always complained why does it have to be once a week...I still remember how big of a deal it was when they announced that Chitrahaar will now come on Wednesdays and Fridays. It was like winning a lottery. When otherwise in summer vacation, I would sleep till 10 am, I would make sure to get up early so I don't miss out on Rangoli...Sunday mornings.

Doordarshan in general is not the same..the original doordarshan is gone. Doordarshan was about India...it represented something for everyone..krishi Darshan, Nritya ka akhil bhartiya karyakram, Rangoli, Hindi and regional movies, News (that was strictly about news), and social awareness messages (like Ek anek aur ekta). Current channels don't care about anything but TRPs.

Rikshaws: At small places, cycle rickshaws were the only public means of transport. Cheap, non polluting, slow and always available means of transport...but still as if there was an unwritten rule to bargain on the kiraya...rickshaw puller says four rupees and the passenger will always say 2 rupees and ultimately settle down for 3. I have some fond memories of going to school in Rickshaws and getting down with kids to push it (dhakka maro) if we are going uphill on the way.
Although the first time I visited India after staying in USA for a few years, I felt bad for the rickshaw wallas pulling the Rickshaw in heat, rains or winters. (US does make you sensitive to such things). However, auto rickshaws have taken over almost every city and town and slowly Rickshaws are fading away.

Limited Options: We used to get new clothes about 2-3 times a year, had only strictly required number of footwears, limited number of entertainment options, ate only Indian cuisine (that too regional only mostly) at home every day , yes EVERYDAY, took vacations once a year and had even a set routine for summers. And still my parents never failed to tell us that we are so pampered and over indulged.
Today this has all changed...anytime new styles flood the market, kids gotta have it, shoes match the outfits along with accessories (I didn't know what accessories meant until I went to college), everyone has exposure to Indian, Chinese, Mexican and other different cuisines...teenagers fly to Goa to have fun (Thanks to Dil Chahta hai) and have multiple options to entertain themselves with laptops, unlimited channels and games available.
But somehow I loved the childhood I had. Everything was precious, fun and important... and I hope the new generation values what they are getting and cherishes it!

And here are few links to take you down the memory lane:

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Things going extinct in India

Unique India

busy-mumbai Contrary to most of the countries of the world - where noise pollution in public places is very low - perhaps India is one of the few noisiest country in the world. As soon as you land on the soil of other country you can feel a marked difference in level of peace & orderliness on the roads as compared to Indian roads. People simply love making all sorts of noise in India.

Come festival, election, religious ceremony, political processions or marriages the environment is full of deafening noises. The blare of loudspeakers that religious groups or marriage parties use is distressing. In cinema halls too the sound is deafening so much so that charm of DOLBY or DTS music is lost. Elsewhere on streets you hear innumerable noises coming from vehicle horns, animals or hawkers. The din remains high on roads due to drivers honking purposelessly. No one bothers about a good muffler in the vehicles. Many vehicle owners take pride in use of highly disturbing pneumatic horns. Thus driving or walking on roads is irritating and tiring experience.

During marriage seasons and Diwali people recklessly use crackers in the late night  without any consideration for  studying children, patients in the hospitals and or sick people in the homes.   Everyone uses horns freely in 'No Horn' zones like schools or hospitals. Marriage processions on street block traffic and a lot of noise is made by blaring loudspeakers and crackers. The streets otherwise are full of stray animals and dogs making noise of all sorts.

Go to a vegetable market or so called Mandi (in local dialect) every one will be found yelling on the top of his voice for selling his product. There is total chaos.

Such din all round causes high blood pressure, irritability and hearing problems among population. Hearing impairment would not allow one to enjoy finer notes of music or softness of human whisper. Even babies in the womb of mother are affected due to sudden noises and explosions.

Noise pollution in India gets least attention as compared to water and air pollution. There are rules and laws to curb this menace but there is a total lack of public cooperation and will on the part of authorities to implement law. People and enforcement authorities remain insensitive to this problem due to lack of awareness and education. Law makers have always been considering themselves above law in matters of breaking the law. Even the implementing authorities consider themselves immune to rules & regulations. Rampant corruption is another reason why laws or rules can not be enforced effectively in this country.

The number of two and three wheeler traffic on the roads is enormously increasing every year. It is time strict measures are taken to control noise pollution. Educating public - children in particular - in civic sense is the need of the hour.

Unique India

Kabhi na beete chamkeele din

Hostel DaysWhen I was leaving for hostel the first time and crying inconsolably, my mom said to me, "you will love it there and would not want to come home even on vacations. My hostel life is the best time of my life and soon you will love it too".  She was right as always. Anybody who has stayed in hostel knows that it is one of the best phases on life and those who haven't experienced it have missed out on it in a big way. Here are my top memories of Hostel life:

Dance nights: Dancing in abandon on all kinds of songs until you drop...or the warden comes in banging the door...and u don't need a reason for parties, no one has to be coaxed into joining...everyone is right there and every Friday night is by default the dance night. I remember 'Chunar-chunar' from Biwi#1 as one of hot fav numbers those days.

Group gatherings: Going out for movies, dinners, strolls and shopping in large groups, passing down patties and cold drinks in theatre during intervals from first seat in the row to the last, making seniors pay for food and movies, looking out for each other and being there for each other...the hour long three wheeler ride was just another way of having fun.

Burning the mid night oil: Exam times meant erratic schedules, sleeping during the day and studying at nights, taking turns to make tea or Maggie, working as each other's alarm clocks and encouraging each other and keeping the morale high in general.

Ratings: The first year is all about knowing each other and making friends but it is also about the Philips top ten ratings on the guys in class or seniors. Guys who would rag badly will slowly keep going down the list...it was some fun chit chatting about who likes who, who should date who, giving them nick names and giggling about all the sillyness over cups of tea and coffee.

Doing silly things together: I had most regular facials, oil massages and threading when I was in hostel, some friend would offer to do it for you...complimenting each other's wardrobe, "mangti spreee" to borrow matching accessories when you need those ear rings, friends fussing over what to wear when you have a special day, never having to buy a novel, pep talk when you are upset, mid night surprise birthday party arrangements and friends going out of their way to make you happy every day and every moment...

Canteen: That place has a culture of its own...sharing samosas over hot cups of tea/coffee, criticizing teachers and cracking jokes at each other, banging tables to give back ground music to accompany the regular singers on 'Purani Jeans and Guitar"....rings any bells? Any ex-hosteler would know what I am talking about :)

And that my friends is life in hostel!!! People say that this world if full of evil people but I like to differ...at every juncture of my life, I met wonderful people who enriched it with their presence and a lot of those were ones I met and spent time in hostel with.

Enjoy this song that really brings back fun memories from those day and is my fav:

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Kabhi na beete chamkeele din

Happy Mothers Day

mothers dayMother's day is round the corner and I have been thinking of how to make it special for my Mother...in a way that would communicate what she means to me, how special she is to me. This definitely is a tall order because communicating such intense and deep feelings in action is not easy and as I plan the day for her...I can not help but think the many ways she has shaped me into the person I am...ways I have and still rely on her even though I myself am a Mom today...
A mother daughter relationship changes and grows with time. As a baby, she mothers you, takes care of your needs...as a toddler, she becomes a playmate,  playing silly  games , as a teenager...my mom became a friend with whom I could share my dreams, fears and questions without hesitation and  made me her friend too. I still think and smile about evenings, where she is dressing up for a party to go to and I and my sister are  telling her what to wear..what matches and what not.
There were times when roles reversed...I taught her how to put on compact or do a facial at home, how to make butter Paneer Masala or who is this new actress in the superhit "Kaho na Pyar Hai".
The biggest gift my mom gave us was that she taught us to be independent, confident and have a high self esteem and believe in ourselves. There was no room for self doubt.
But when you are growing up, you don't understand what it takes to be a mom, the love, care, thoughtfulness, selflessness, constant effort to do things right..you dont see all that. There are times we take her for granted...And in spite of all that, she still does what she thinks is best for us along with the comment "You will value this and understand why I did/said it when you grow up". And how true it is.
Today being a mom...I find myself saying to God almost everyday "If I could be half as good a mother my Mom was to me, my kid will turn out okay".  A perfect balance of love and discipline, a perfect example of self confidence and selflessness, a health freak yet a cook dishing out a tiffin to school that friends used to die for, someone who always leads by example, a simple and subtle person who still has managed to convey it all to us...
I just want to say to her today...that there have been times when I have sustained the harsh circumstances only because she was so confident that I will not break and I will come out as a winner...and how could I ever let her down??? There are very few people in life who believe in you in a way that makes you believe in yourself. But that is what Mothers do...I am sure that my feelings are not unique and everyone out there feels the same way for their mom. So devote this one day making sure she knows how much she is loved and appreciated every moment for what she is and make this one day atleast all about her.  Here are some ideas

Go for a pedicure or massage session together: Take her to a Spa and get her pampered for a few hours...who does not enjoy a facial or massage or pedicure? Do it as a surprise...even better. If you live in different cities, get her a gift card and have your dad take her there.

Plan an evening together: Just the mom and you...go for shopping, a hot cuppa there after and may be dinner to her favorite place and talk about things you enjoy.

Breakfast in Bed: Pamper mom with a breakfast tray of her favorite breakfast food in the morning along with cards and flowers..give a jump start to her day. If she is in a different city, you can always use a service like FTD

Buy her a new gadget : An i-pod/MP3 player if she loves music and load it with her favorite songs, computer lessons if she is struggling with her new laptop, a camera if she needs one. And include free lessons (teacher being you) without losing patience to help her learn how to operate that camera or i-pod. Remember how many times she taught you how to spell Umbrella without losing patience when you were 7?

Give her the day off: No cooking or cleaning, no taking care of chores, no buying groceries...give her the day off and let her enjoy this one day as she wants. If she in a different city, involve your dad in the plan and get his help to give her this day to herself.

The point is get her to do what she likes because mom's never give priority to what they want to eat or like to do. Show her that you know her, know what she loves and help her enjoy the day doing that...and here is a beautiful lullaby that would put me to sleep when my mom would sing it.

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Happy Mothers Day

Atithi tum kab aaoge

So I was watching 'Atithi tum kab jaoge' and it brought back so many memories of childhood with guests coming to our place or us going to relatives' (read Masis & Nani's place) in Summer. Some of my favorites:

Getting away with things: When you have guests around or you at away from home...you can get away with not studying on the pretext of busy entertaining other kids, playing with them all day...then being tired. And what kids doesn't like time away from studies and school?


Getting Pampered: Whether it is Masi who is visiting or Bua, they come loaded with gifts...I remember my Bua who was an amazing seamstress and her visits would always mean getting 2-3 prettily designed stitched frocks. They would tell me stories at night, take us out for chaat-papdi in the evenings, and ofcourse my ever hygiene concious mom who otherwise would raise a brow would bow down since its the guests who ask for permission. We would rent movies to watch with cousins, stay awake late at nights playing and chit chatting.  I loved being able to do the otherwise forbidden stuff :)


Good food: Everyday food can get boring but when guests are at home, everyday meal is prepared with extra care and caution...breakfast, lunch and dinner menu is crafted keeping everyone's taste in mind as well is a way to display your happiness about their visit. Me and my dad would make best use of this opportunity (Behti ganga mein hath dho lete they) and enjoy all the goodies :)
One of my uncles was really like Paresh rawal where no matter how heavy of a snack you make for him, it just cant replace the dal-chawal-roti-sabzi for them.


Bonding with extended family: Other than the fun part, all those visits also gave us cousins time to bond with each other. Otherwise fussy kids will fight over food to beat each other in pseudo competition created by the parents, share toys, stories & secrets, play all day and create relationships to last us a lifetime. It also taught us to adjust with each others personalities, life styles and share our rooms and stuff with them. I would do it willingly with the ones I loved but gave mom a hard time for the ones I didn't like so much.


Sair Sapaataa (Going places):  Being together with people who are new to my city or being at relative's at a new city meant going around for sight seeing, making plans for picnics, zoo and parks so that kids can be kept engaged and busy. And what can be better than going to your favorite places as a kid with your favorite people. I had a blast those days.


Tusi Na Jao (Please don't go yet) : I remember being upset when we had to part and specially with some of the cousins I was really close to. They would cry too and parents would just had to drag us into the car or train...also, who loves the end of a perfect vacation and going back to the same old routine of school and homework? I am sure it used to be funny and cute for our parents to see how much we loved being together with our cousins, aunts and uncles...


Those vacations together created relationships that are warm even after years of separation and distance...Now that I am a mom, I love and look for opportunities where my child can spend time with his extended family so he can create his own memories and bonds and probably let him take a little advantage of the situation as well :)

Enjoy this song of kids having fun together....

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Atithi tum kab aaoge

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