Friday, November 30, 2007

The South Window

The body stretches. The tippy-toes bear all ten kilograms of her. The promise of twilight, the voices from outside, the breeze that carries the scent of jasmines and the fume of school-buses remains that - a promise.

He's here again! Same time, every does he do it?! Smart dog that! Where's the biscuit I'd hidden from my tea-time snack for you? Here, buddy, catch that - oh no, it's stuck in the grille amidst the mud, crowshit and worries, I'll rescue it for you. Here you go, my pseudo-pet, o' orphaned-brown-eyed-lovable-flea-ridden-friend...

It's 6 o'clock. Young voices call out her name impatiently. A hasty gulp of water and off she goes. What will it be today? Pakda-pakdi or hide-and-seek? Or wait, the new kid who always wears jeans has a new game! It involves gathering stones and piling seven of them - go find flat stones NOW!

It's early. Too early for her to wake up. But it's Thursday, and on Thursdays he walks by sharply at 7:45 a.m. She catches her breath - he's washed his hair today...sigh...look at that white shirt and blue jeans...double sigh...will their paths ever cross? Does she want them to? Her fantasies always seemed more fulfilling than she allowed her life to be. Maybe she'll continue to wake up at 7:30 on Thursdays forever...

It's late. Too late for her to wake up. But it's Thursday, and on Thursdays she helps her mother blow out the dust from the grilled windows with her Mitey-Vac and clean them with a wet cloth afterwards. It's 7:45 a.m. already...if she doesn't finish this by 8:00 she'll miss the 8:36 again. And she doesn't quite want to listen to her bitch-of-a-coworker glance meaningfully at the watch with that irritatingly superior air again. Maybe she can wait to clean the window on the weekend...

Soon I'll be there again. At the same window that's seen me grow up. The window to my soul. To the only world I knew for twenty-two years. To the outside world. The window that has stood the test of time, but will soon be demolished, along with my childhood home, to make way for two high-rise buildings. This India trip will be my last chance to stand at the window. And relive my wonder years...

Friday, November 09, 2007

Happy Diwoley!

In the early days of the STAR TV foray into the Indian Middle Class Household, there were several interesting attempts to endear themselves to the Indian market. One such funny attempt I remember is Richard O' Brien, host of my then-favorite game show "Crystal Maze" wishing "A Happy Diwoley to all our Indeeyan viewers!"

I'm reminded of that as I celebrate Diwoley - the Western version of Diwali, seventh year in a row.

Here's my attempt at describing "What Diwali used to be" versus "What Diwoley is now"

Being woken up grumpy-turned-excited by my mother at 4:30 a.m - Being woken up grumpy-turned-grumpier by my cellphone alarm at 7:45 a.m.

Wearing a new salwar kameez or sari - Wearing a new-though-so-last-season shirt I got on sale

Being dragged to the temple by my mother - Being dragged to another fruitless meeting by my boss

Eating gooey delicious barfis and laddus and mysore pak and badam halwa - Eating semi-sweet-chocolate-chip-and-walnut cookies

Going to all the neighbor's houses to eat their gooey delicious barfis and laddus and... - Walking past the people I've lived next to for over 2 years without knowing their names or sharing more than a "hello" much less Diwali sweets or even cookies for that matter!

Watching the kids burst firecrackers and see the sky light up with colors - Watching the leaves fall from the trees and the sky turn dark earlier everyday

On the positive side - all is not lost! There are valiant attempts to turn this Diwoley into Diwali by traveling 200 miles north to Seattle to celebrate it with my cousins and their friends, complete with saris, gajar-ka-halwa, Bollywood blockbusters (both Om Shanti Om and Saawariya, if you MUST know!) and desi-khana-parties with co-NRIs.

All I have left to do then, a la Richard O'Brien, is wish my Indian readers a Happy Diwoley :)