Monday, January 30, 2006
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
I really don’t know why Ma and I fight so much. I cannot imagine my life without her.
My mother is my best friend. Although that does not mean I tell her everything that happens in my life. It just means that when things go wrong, she is the one person I turn to for strength and unconditional support.(There have been times when I have just hugged her and cried and she has just hugged me back without asking a single question). We are very similar and yet very different.
My mother is strong and temperamental and moody and an amazing cook and very eccentric (remember the python?). Little children (offspring of family friends etc) love my mother. Where their own mothers act as irritating voices of caution and forbid them from climbing trees, playing in the sun, splashing about in rivers( if there is a river available at some picnic spot or some such), telling them to be careful while bursting crackers; my mother is usually the first one to jump into a river, or attempt to climb a tree, scoff at the sun, and most definitely find the biggest scariest “chocolate boma” to burst. She takes all these little children under her wing, and then of course their mothers cant really find a good enough reason to stop them from enjoying themselves. She loves Nature and has gone trekking several times (and come back and told me excitedly about how she saw a panther sleeping on the branch of a tree)
I, on the other hand, am distinctly unadventurous. What a disappointment I was, am and will continue to be. You all know my attitude towards wildlife so I shall not go into all that again. I hate fireworks. During Kali Pujo (Diwali for Bongs) the only fireworks I can bring myself to associate with (after much coaxing, persuading and ridiculing) are “phurjhuris” (sparklers), coloured matchsticks and “shaapbaji” (cant translate, sorry). The unadventurous aspect of my personality (which, we are all convinced, I inherited from my father) manifested itself pretty early on in life. I was about 1 year old when we had gone to some seaside place for a holiday. My father predictably chose to sit on the beach with me while my mother (again, predictably) decided to go and jump about in the sea for a while. Apparently I watched my mother walking towards what Im sure I considered dangerous waves, with mounting apprehension. All hell broke loose when she actually got into the water. Apparently I howled and wailed (to this day my poor father cringes when he remembers the way I cried and the dirty looks people gave him) till she disgustedly got out and came back to the safe dry land.
Ma is also very very paranoid. She keeps us perpetually amused with her fear of thieves’ robbers’ intruders and ghosts. When she goes on vacation, she ties the balcony doorknob to the grille of the window next to it. After we moved to Salt Lake, every time my father went out of town, she would spend the day telling me and my sister that Salt Lake is a very developed place and there is nothing to be scared of. Till day turned into night that is. By 8.00 p.m. Ma would be a nervous wreck. By 8.30 p.m.we would be in the car headed for the safety and robber free security of my uncle’s house. She frequently does these impossibly ridiculous things, like losing her boarding pass minutes before the flight, and calling my father in Bombay for help (she was in the Bangalore). She went around stopping every airport sweeper and making them empty their garbage cans, convinced that she had dropped her pass and they had swept it away. The idea of going to the counter and getting a duplicate pass done by showing them her ticket did not occur to her till my father told her. She has a mobile phone, which she leaves at home when she goes out, thus making it impossible for us to get in touch with her.
How am I similar to Ma you ask? Well, from her I have inherited my temper, impatience, my love for traveling, my attitude of not caring about society and rules and what people think and my inability to quarrel with people I love (including Ma) without bursting into tears (most embarrassing I assure you, just when you want to prove a point and unleash your rage on some unfortunate soul, your eyes well up, you choke and you start sniffling like a baby. Has led to certain people calling me crybaby).
My mother was my rock when I was growing up. Baba was mostly away, traveling around the world for work. Ma was the one who was always at home when I came back from school, she was the one who made me do my homework, she was the one I snuggled up to after lunch. She was the one who would scold me for coughing and being sick (yes, Ma would get very hassled whenever I fell sick as a child and she would scold me incessantly) and then get me cough syrup and Crocin. Ma was the one who came running to school to find me sitting on the steps and sobbing because my father forgot to pick me up and I didn’t know how to go home. She is the one who took me shopping and firmly prevented me from filling my wardrobe with various shades of grey and white. To this day I want Ma with me when I go shopping for clothes (and not just because she will pay the bill). I hate her taste in clothes and she hates mine, so when we are together we manage to find stuff that’s somewhere in between and usually very nice. All my life she has been the more approachable one between my parents, and the one I go to with silly personal problems. Today when I’m on the brink of setting up my own home, she is the one I turn to for help, support and advice (not to mention cookery lessons).
Why do I keep fighting with my mother if she means so much to me? I don’t know. Maybe that’s the way mothers and daughters are meant to be. Maybe it’s a result of both of us being cursed with the same short temper. I’m feeling rather bad about some of the things I said this morning. Of course directly apologizing to her is absolutely out of the question. And my sister is being rather uncooperative these days. So Im hoping Ma will read this and know what she means to me…I love you, really do!
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Although it would be wrong on my part to say that of people in general, considering that most of my bad experiences with people from this particular city has been restricted to people in the PR field!! So without rambling on too much let me just say this: PR people from Delhi have got to be the world's most idiotic, dumb, ridiculous, unnecessarily aggressive, lazy, think they are very smart but are actually the biggest donkeys, annoyingly overfriendly and familiar creatures( in Bengali we call it gaye pora) thatI have ever had the misfortune of interacting with. I do not blame any Delhi based journalist for despising PR creatures such as these...no indeed!! In fact I totally sympathise with them...poor things! To have to put up with these things all the time!!!
To prove my case, here are snippets from some amazing conversations Ive had in the recent past:
Delhi Colleague( in typical Delhi accent): Hallo, Ronita. Aacha sun yaar (hello...what yaar and what sun...we have never met or spoken earlier, how did I suddenly become your yaar and who gave you the right to address me as tu????) I need some pictures of Pooja Bedi at that event yaar (again..YAAR!!!??) against some nice backdrop!! Please bhej de na.
Me: (in slightly cold formal tones): All right Ill send you the CD.
DC: Thanks yaar.
1 day later
DC: Aacha sun Ronnie(RONNIE!!!???? GRRRRRR). Can you send me hard copies of the pictures you sent me?? Please...very urgent, I need it immediately.
Me (very hasseled and stressed out and caught up in other work): How can I send you hard copies urgently? I will need to courier them and you will get them only tomorrow. And also why on earth can't you print the photographs from the CD in Delhi itself? Saves time no?
DC ( verrry condescending tones): Arre baba, to print pictures we need to have the negatives na. How can we print without negatives?
Me: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! In other words, stunned silence for two minutes.
Me: Do upgrade yourselves from the Stone Age. You can print the damn things from the CD. Directly!!No need for negatives. Really!
DC: Aacha? Has off line conversation with someone else verifying whatever I just said.Sarcasm is totally lost on her. Haan theek hai. Then please send us 2 copies of the CD. ASAP.
Me: ( thoroughly stressed thinking about how this brainless person manages to survive...doesnt one need brains to live!?) : My dear girl!! You can make an umpteen number of copies from the CD I sent you. There is no logic in making copies of CD's here and sending them by courier to you!!
DC: Oh aacha aacha.. Ill get back to you. But in the meantime just make the copies anyways na!
Delhi Colleague 2 at 8.30 in the evening on a horribly stressful workday: Ronita 2 months back we had an event in Bangalore, there were some 30 odd clips, you need to source all the original papers and send me the copies by tomorrow.
Me: (WHAT THE F***): Its not possible. Which vendor will have newspapers 2 months old and how do you expect us to source papers at this time of the night and put them in the courier so that they reach you tomorrow?
DC2: See all that is not my headache. I have to make a report to the worldwide head of XYZ client on how PR effort has pushed sales and made an impact (yeah right!!!!!). I dont have time to deal with your bureaucratic red tapism ( Huh!!?? I think he just learnt the term and is keen to use it anywhere anyhow..only explaination I can think of) right now, so please do what Im telling you or Ill have to escalate the matter (again, I think he just learnt the term)
Me:( dynamite in head on slow burn mode, but approaching danger mark rapidly) And you were waiting for two months after the event to tell me to source newspapers to add a touch of excitement to my life were you!? If the bloody presentation is tomorrow why the hell couldnt you have told me about this shit at least yesterday if not at the time of the event?
DC2: Look I dont have time for this shit!! Just do what Im asking you to do, or I will really have to escalate matters. And I also need full translations of all Kannada clips on XYZ in the last 2 months, 1st thing tomorrow morning.
Me: (Thats it!!! Dynamite explosion in head): Full translations of every damn clip is sent to you as soon as it appears!! Kindly read your mails( you bloody moron!! Also, learn some manners, lose the attitude and learn to speak proper unaccented English while you are at it!!!). As for escalating issues, I am dying to escalate this issue believe me. So you escalate it at your end and Ill escalate it at mine. And dont call me with such ridiculous requests at such short notice. ( I bang down the phone).
After everything and after much fighting and escalating of issues DC2 sent 3 mails demanding translations, something which has been sent to him thrice in the past and twice after that. Maybe he is blind...or incapable of reading...poor man!!
While I write this post, this senior man from Delhi has just arrived. I can hear every syllable he is uttering on his cell while walking up and down in the corridor outside. There is this boy I know, from my old PR agency's Delhi office who insists on calling me every second night at around 12.30 and saying "Aachaaaaa... phir...aur batao.." ( complete with irritaing accent). I have told him he is keeping me from much needed rest. I have told him not to call me unless he has something definite to say and definitely not to call me so late. I have hung up on him. I have not answered his calls. Nothing works. He calls every second day and says the exact same thing!!! LOUDLY.
There is also my colleague in Bangalore who recently moved here from Delhi. She has the audacity to sit in South India and say " yaar yeh South Indians bhi na!! Horrible food.Do you get North Indian food here? Or just idli dosa!?" And we blame foreigners for being ill informed and having stereotyped notions about India!! She talks money at the drop of a hat. Another very annoying Delhi trait..."oh this is the most expensive variety of chooda you can find", "this suit cost so and so...", "my husband is earning so and so"!!! Donno how we all manage to grit our teeth and smile and not slap her silly face.
My client, another Delhi-ite...although originally from the field of advertsing and not PR, is probably the dumbest human being I have ever met. She wants us to provide benchmarks for every activity, by which she means not only give her a list of target publications but also indicate the number of column centimetres we will get in each of them. Something that not just us, but no PR agency will be able to do as editorial content depends on so many factors. My boss, with 15 years experience in the industry has explained all of it to her. Also told her that the lack of benchmarks and related problems of measuring PR effectivemess is the biggest problem that the PR industry is faced with. She spent 2 hours pateintly explaining all this to this dumb creature, who nodded and said I see. Then called up the next day and asked us to provide her with minimum cc's we would get in every target publication. How? How people? How doI tell her to go away and try to grow a brain!!!!????
I have never been to Delhi. I have several friends in Delhi who work for news channels/ tech firms/ newspapers etc. Rahuls cousin from Delhi is a very sweet boy, I like him very much indeed.None of these people are this dumb. Or this loud or this aggravating or this pushy!!! They are nice and decent and likeable. I must therefore conclude that all the assinine creatures of Delhi join PR agencies and annoy people in other offices!! My blood pressure is soaring from having to deal with these people. Dono't know how much more I can take. GRR.
Friday, January 06, 2006
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
- I love plans...everything should be planned to the last detail. I do not like "we will get there and then figure out" kind of things. And I get totally upset when things don't go according to plan.
- I'm quite a punctual person and absolutely HATE to be kept waiting, specially if Im ready to go somewhere.
- I am slightly hyper about travel and bus/train/flight timing. I like to reach the station at least 30 mins before the bus/train is scheduled to leave and at least 1 hour before the flight is scheduled to take off. (My grandfather used to reach the station 2 hours before time and my dad would like it if we reached at least one hour before..so its an inherited family legacy type thing.)
- I am not too comfortable about my travelling companions getting off the bus/train at stops. I get worried and tense and expect the vehicle to take off without aforementioned companions. Some people who have travelled with me in the past, specially in buses have complained that I do not let them even get off to pee. (Rohini's exact words were " It doesnt matter if you are dying of kidney stones or having labour pains, if you are with Ron you just cannot get off the bus"..which I think is a little unfair)
- I am basically suspicious of auto drivers(long experience in Bangalore) and human kind in general and am always ready to believe the worst of them.
Right so to get on with the story... some details of our Coorg trip...what was planned at least:
- Bus was at 10.30 p.m. We both needed to pack. So I instructed Rahul to leave office by 6.30 go home, pack and be at my place by 8.30 pm. We would grab some dinner( I knew exactly what we could eat for dinner) and then be at the bus stop by 10.00 p.m. I think I was extremely reasonable and my time planning was perfect, some people's opinions on this should just be ignored.
- We were supposed to reach Virajpet by 6.30 am.(at least that was what the female at the KSRTC counter had told me) Then take local bus from there to Kabbinikadu junction from where the resort people would pick us up ( its on top on a mountain and only vehicles with 4 wheel drive can get up that road).
- Once we reached Virajpet, we would immediately go about trying to find return tickets and book the same to avoid last minute tension and worry (mostly on my part).
What actually happened was:
- Rahul reached my house only at 9 p.m. I was hopping mad by then. There was no time to pick up dinner according to my plans. So I did what any reasonable person would have done: refuse to eat!! It took a lot of coaxing and apologising and blaming the traffic on Rahul's part for me to finally relent and eat dinner at bad Andhra joint near the bus stop. As a result, we reached the stop only at 10.20 p.m.
- Bus journey was awful. The roads after Mysore are REALLY bad. Suggestion to anybody else who might be planning to visit Coorg, dont do a night journey, its really not safe, accidents are just waiting to happen on that road. Anyways, to get back to the point, we were in this constant state of semi dozing wakefulness which was more exhausting than not sleeping at all.
- We reached Virajpet at 5 a.m. We stepped off the bus into a dark cold road, completely deserted execpt for a couple of cows and us. There is not bus station to speak of..just a tiny little shelter type thing.
- We shivered there for a while, and then found helpful auto man who told us that local buses would start plying only at 7 a.m.
- There was no question of standing on the road for two hours in the freezing cold, so when the auto guy offered to drop us to Kabbinikadu junction we readily agreed.
- However, the moment that rickety old auto left the town limits, I started panicking. (Please Note: I panic very quietly when Im very scared and am not very vocal about it). We were on this completely deserted, pitch dark hill road. Anything could have happened, the guy could have robbed/killed us, we could have had an accident, the auto could have broken down...anything. taking that auto was the single most stupid decision of my life. I clenched my fists and my teeth and said "Please let us reach safely God" again again in my head. The only good thing of all the panicking was that I didnt realize exactly how cold it was. Even the sight of Rahul in a pullover and two jackets with hood over his head didnt drive home the point.
- At one point, the auto man just stopped. The moment he cut the engine two things happened a) the headlight went off and we were plunged into the most inky darkness ever and b) I stopped breathing, convinced that he was going to turn around with a knife and demand money. Which didnt happen of course. He merely wanted to fill oil or some such thing.
- Rahul stepped out of the auto, looked up at the sky and said "Ron come out and see the sky..its beautiful". I replied in a small voice "Ummm..Im very scared you know." To which my hero said " Dont be, its Coorg"...and continued to star gaze. I have no idea what he meant or why he thought it was comforting.
- About an hour later, we were dropped off under a solitary tree. Auto man took money asked our names and sped off into the darkness, leaving us to realize that we did not have any signal on our cells. Therefore we couldnt call the resort.
- Rahul, (bright child he is) saw a board for some kind of a home stay thingy some 400 metres off. So we walked up to it. By then I had stopped panicking and was just beginning to feel the cold. The door to the house was wide open("Its Coorg" said rahul by way of explaination). We tried coughing, stamping our feet, knocking politely etc but when nothing worked we banged on the door till the owner woke up. (I was beginning to turn blue with the cold so thank god). We turned on the charm etc and he very kindly called the resort and asked them to pick us up....from the actual Kabinikadu junction which was some 2 kms down the road we had come. the auto had overshot.
- Left with no alternative, we walked back two kms to the actual junction. It was awesome. For the first time in my life I saw dawn break and night turn into day. Surrounded by hills, on a completely deserted road, with our breath misting in front of us....amazing.
- The resort guys picked us up and everything. We realized the need for jeeps etc for transportation as soon as we hit the mountain trail. It was a mud track that went up vertically,,almost 90 degrees...no kidding! Really! The resort was GORGEOUS!!! Surrounded by hills, the only noise there was that of birds chirping!!!
- We slept for most part of the day. After lunch we went for walk in the mountains. Looooong walk through the beautiful quiet jungle, which convinced me that trekking cannot be all that bad (but only is we can come back to nice room and loo).
- It was perrrrfect till we were confronted by a herd of cows with the biggest horns I have ever seen in my life. I swear!! Those horns were ENORMOUS. We immediately gave them the right of way, to argue with cows with horns like those on a desertedjungle trail is a very bad idea.
- Which was all very well. But as my luck would have it, the last cow with the biggest horns of them all, stopped dead in its tracks and looked at me. I mean it cocked its head, pawed the ground and just looked at me. I looked back at it...although with an added touch of mild hysteria and muttered "Rahul its looking at me,its looking at me, it has horns it has horns" repeatedly. We stood there, the cow and I, (with Rahul looking helplessly between the two of us and saying "Relax its just a cow, dont move it will go away"with eyes locked etc till the small cowherd (aged about 10/11 years) skipped merrily down the road, slapped the creature on its butt and shooed it along the road. He also cackled very loudly and rudely at me. I could hear him laughing all the way down the mountain.
- The rest of the trek was quite uneventful, although very beautiful and a lot of fun.
- The result of this very eventful day was that we fell asleep by 10.30 p.m. and were fast asleep when the clock struck 12.
The journey back:
- We were dropped back at Kabbinikadu junction by the resort in time for the 12.30 p.m. bus to Virajpet. We waited till 1.15 only to be told that the bus had broken down somewhere and there was no saying when it would arrive. We arranged for overpriced rattletrap jeep to convey us to Virajpet.
- I of course was highly stressed by then because we had not booked return tickets. But Rahul handled it all beautifully and ignored my stressed out self till we were in the bus and I was destressed. We had strange tasting Mallu meals near the bus stop.
- We had to wait for about 20 mins at the stop for the bus. Inspite of that Rahul waited till the bus was about to leave to go to the loo. The driver started his engine and all and the stupid boy was still not in his seat, so once again I panicked, jumped to the front, poked the driver, flapped my arms about and said "No No Wait Please" till he showed up.
- I objected very vociferously to him getting off at stops after that...even to pee. And sat bolt upright in my seat and looked anxiously out of the window, at the driver and the conductor and again out of the window till I saw him returning.
- It took us 8 long hours to reach Bangalore, during which time we finished 1 500 ml bottle of Coke, 1 bottle of Frooti, and 8 packets of chips.
So that was that. I had a lovely New Years inspite of all the misadventures. That place was TOTALLY worth it. And much as I hate to admit it, I have come to the conclusion that Rahul is a less hyper, more sensible person than I am, not to mention wonderfully tolerant, and patient ...I mean he never once lost his temper or snapped at me even when I was at my psychotic worst. He also never once screamed at me for forgetting to get return tickets, whereas if it had been him who had forgotten then I would not have let him forget it in a hurry.
There!! I've said it. Are you happy now???
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
Mothers sisters snakes and porcupines
I had a most adventurous weekend getaway in Coorg and have come to the conclusion that trekking can actually be fun provided I can come back to decent room with clean loos. Sleeping in a tent and all is not happening.
More about my Coorg holiday in next post, right now as promised have posted pics of my mommy with snake. She looks absolutely delighted with her life!! Also given below isa pic of my sister. My poor father..how he steadied his hands to take pics of snake embracing Ma I really dont know.
Ma and snake. Please note, its not a python as I had said earlier, it is a boa constrictor (is that how you spell it?) My mother insisted that I correct that erroneous statement immediately.