Saturday, November 22, 2008

My Family

7th June
My two girls are real darlings. Mithi made a drawing titled-My Family. There was Jai, me, Mithi, Ma, Shona and a small child crawling.
I asked her, “Who is that Mithi?”
“Oh! Mamma. That`s our little Babu. When are you getting him? Pa says we can dress him, play with him and take him for walks in his pram. Mamma, what fun it will be.”She looked ecstatic.
I sighed.
12th June.
It`s that time of the month. I dread it. I really don`t know what I am dreading? Will I get them this month. I hope so. I feel claustrophobic. Need to step out for a while.
13th June.
I am feeling bloated. Heavy. Irritable. A little sticky. Maybe I have got them I`l just check.
15th June.
Still no sign . Not even a stain. This waiting is killing me. Jai says I must check. I don`t want to. Jai thinks I am stupid. Last night he said, “Just do it. Else go to the path lab for a urine test. The sooner we confirm the better it is.”Yeah! But better for whom?
17th June.
Still no sign. I am worried sick. I vomited in the morning. Ma has been praying fervently. She gave the washerwoman Rs. 51 and asked her to pray for me. This has happened so many times. Her prayers don`t seem to work for me. I know faith can move mountains but unfortunately cannot get me what Ma wants. Even Jai. I may not want it for myself but I do want one for Jai. If it will bring him peace then so be it. But I am tired. I want to cry. Mithi just got me some lemonade. “Mamma drink up. Badi Ma says Babu will come soon. What fun Mamma.”
I smiled through the tears. How innocent and sweet she is. And when she hugs me with her fat dimpled arms I want to squeeze her tight.
19TH June.
I feel sticky. But still no sign. I don`t know whether I am relieved or worried ?Minku is coming over for dinner. Oh! How I love having her over. My fat adorable sister is so much fun. She goes into these peals of laughter and I just can`t help joining her. Amal and Sujal , her twin boys are just a year older to Shona. Last time they came they broke Shona`s favorite doll. Obviously she cannot bear to be with boys. But Mithi is different. She loves to mother them. And they too lap up all the attention!
Minku loves Pasta . I think I will cook today. I am feeling energetic today. Maybe its because Minku`s coming after a long time. Hmm 4 months now since the last …
20th June
I am so happy. Jai said that I was glowing last night. Minku said so too. Ma just smiled. She just paid the sweeper Rs. 21.
Jai called Dr. J. But he is out of town. Gone to Chicago for a conference. I am relieved.
25th June
Mithi won the first prize for her drawing’ My family’. Ma said that she will tell Jai to frame it and we will put it in the living room.
Ma says it is a good omen. Is it ? or is she just hoping ?
28th June
Minku has sent me this book called Secrets. It says’ Ask and you shall receive’.’ Visualise and it will happen’. I just read a few parts to Jai. He just grunted in response.
29th June
Jai got me a huge picture of a baby boy playing with a ball. He says he has a surprise for me too. Can`t wait for it! It’s been a long time since Jay got me a gift. And even longer since he smiled at me.
1st July
Today`s Doctor Day. We called Dr. J and wished him. He will be back on 4th.We see him that morning at 9.00 a.m.
2nd July
I could only stare at the beautiful pictures. Jai asked his friend to morph the pictures. There are at least a dozen pictures of the baby boy. In one I am holding him. In another ,we are playing snakes and ladders. He is lying on his stomach, the rays of the sun shimmering on his light brown hair and me looking with an indulgent smile. Yet another is a family portrait.
Me with the boy on my lap, Shona next to me, Ma with Mithi on her lap. Jai behind us with his arms protectively around us, smiling.
Jai said, “You said to visualize. I did. Now it’s your turn”.
I want to cry.
3rd July.
I don`t want to see Dr. J
4th July.
8.00 a.m.
We leave in an hour. I don`t want to see Dr. J.

12.00 p.m.
We saw Dr. J.
He was really grim. He told Jai, " I am your friend. But you got to stop this. You will kill her. This is the last time I will do it. Last time . You get it?”
On the way back Jai said that it wasn`t as if Dr. J was doing us any favour. We pay him for his services and pay him well.
Dr. J said we will get the report soon.
5th July.
I held Mithi and Shona tight when they came from school. I want to lie next to them and feel their baby breaths. Jai thinks I am juvenile. I must not let girls be in my bed. They are 7 and 4.
Thank God, he is gone to Delhi for a day. I can hug and kiss the girls and pillow fight with them till as long as I please.
6th July
Jai called. He says I have to go to Dr. J `s clinic.
He has already spoken to Ma. The girls are in school. Shivprasad, our driver will drive me to the clinic. Ma will stay at home for the girls.
He will get back tonight.
I want to cry.
10th July
I feel empty. Broken. Wounded.
Today Maria dropped the framed ' My Family' while cleaning. The glass shattered into tiny pieces. One of the shards cut through the tiny Babu. Mithi was inconsolable.
I want to cry. But there are no tears. Dr J told Jai that he just couldn`t do it anymore.
He looked stricken when he told Jai, “Do you even understand the implications? 4 abortions in 2 years ? I cannot go on. Spare her. She will die”.
Wish I would. Mithi and Shona?
I guess we will have to find another Doctor. I read about this new age technology where you get to choose the sex. May be we can try that. I will ask Jai tonight.

pic courtsey :

Monday, November 17, 2008

Mera Bharat Mahaan !

Had to share this with you all...

A roadside vendor at the Sonepur cattle fair (Bihar)charged two foreigners -hold your breath-- Rs.10,000 for 4 samosas! He claimed that they were full of healthy herbs. The gullible foreigners paid but they shared this piece of transaction with ---guess who?? A police officer! The good officer promptly walked upto the vendor and got the hapless consumers a refund of Rs.9,990.

All I can say.It happens only in India :-)

pic courtsey

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Cow

May 1

It’s bloody hot. Dying for a swim. But just saw myself in a swimsuit. I want to break that full length mirror.
Sherry called me a beached whale! Bloody shark. That`s what she is.
If only she would put on some weight. All I do is look at food and I am already 500 gms up.
I am starting the Diet tomorrow. For sure.
May 5

Its Elena`s birthday. We got her the yummiest gooey chocolate cake. Loaded with walnuts, chocolate chips, it was divine. Of course at the end of it we were sick of the sweetness. So had to buy a bag of chips.
Saw Sherry on the way. She is just getting thinner everyday. So Diet on from tomorrow.
May 12

I broke the heels of my favorite pair of stilettos. Brian says the weight snapped it.
Weight my foot. How I would love to crush him under that same weight!
May 23

Mamma is coming this weekend. Better stock the refrigerator with some salad, fruit and all that healthy stuff.
The chocolates will freak her out.
Why do I have to be thin?
I love my full cheeks, butts and bosom too. Well rounded. And that`s a shape isn`t it?
May 28.
Mamma`s stay was disastrous! She only complained about my weight, eating habits. She called me a cow or was it a goat? Always munching she grumbled.

June 1

I vomited my lunch. I feel relieved. How much I ate. I am trying not to munch. But it`s tough.
The Gymming routine isn`t helping either. I am just so so hungry after the workout.
And I don`t want to diet.
I have found an easier way. I just eat and then vomit it out.
There. I enjoy my food without the fear of putting on.
I will try vomiting my dinner too.
June 15

Today I vomited all my meals. Gives me a great high!
Cow. How I hate that word!
June 28

Saw Sherry today. She says I look sick. She is mean.
Brian says so too.
Hey ,but the mirror doesn`t lie. I still look like a beached whale.
July 2

Brian came over for dinner.
He frowned constantly. He thinks I am not eating much.
Funny. And he always teased me that I could swallow a horse when hungry.
I had to lock myself in the bathroom to vomit.
I played the stereo to divert him. But he knocked twice or thrice.
He gave me a strange look when I insisted I was fine.
July 6

Brian thinks I am sick.
He called my Mom from my cell –phone. I had to snatch it from him.
Mamma called me later. She sounds worried.
I wonder why?
July 12

I just don`t want to get up. Haven`t been out since 3 days. Don`t want to talk either.
Mamma has left so many messages on the phone.
Surprisingly not once she called me a cow!

Anorexia is a serious eating disorder.
To know more about this see this site

Pic courtsey

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Tit for Tat

A couple of days back my 10 year old daughter T came running to me.
“Mamma”, she screamed.
“What happened T?”
“Mamma you know what? That A has hacked into my account. She is really mean.”
T has an account with some site for little girls. They get to choose a buddy and play various games to earn points. With those points they can buy accessories for their buddy-clothes, shoes, makeup, household stuff etc etc. She is hooked to the site and so are many of her friends.

T please! I am not interested in your stupid buddies.”
“Mammma but you know what A did? She hacked my account! She has spent all my hard earned points and bought very expensive dresses for my buddy. Imagine 2000 for one small dress! (I was thrilled! Good ,my daughter values money-even if it is virtual!). And she sold Tia`s (her buddy) clothes and accessories in a yard sale. And now Tia wears a horrible purple dress with dirty, soggy, hairy boots. She looks Yuck!”
I grinned. “It`s ok T.”
“No its not. How would you feel if someone did that to your child? “She demanded tearfully.
I realized that this was really important to her. I sat and asked her why was she so upset.
“You can earn the points back”, I told her gently.
“Do you know how much I have to work for it? It`s not easy. Come and see my Tia”,said T .
We went to the site and sure her Tia and her surroundings were in shambles. I got enraged too. How dare anyone do that to my dear T. I fumed and seethed.
“How did she hack? Did you tell her your password?”,I screamed.
“Yes. All my friends share their passwords”, said T in all innocence.
“Well Rule no.1 -you should never ever tell your password to anyone”, I said firmly.
“Not even your best friend?
“No. No one.”
“Not even Mamma?”
“Well Mammas should be told everything.”I stressed.
“Ok”. (How long will this implicit trust long, I sometimes wonder)
“Well, let`s try to change your password.”
But to our dismay there was no such option! You could however change your account and get a new buddy.
“No I want Tia only”, grumbled T.
I tried to convince her but she stood her ground.
“Ok, Tit for tat then. You know A`s password right. Now you, spoil her buddy. Let her get a taste of her own medicine.”
T was excited and went about her destructing spree gleefully.
Later at night she came and rattled off a list of things she had done. “I organized a yard sale and sold her buddy`s sofa, bed, jacket, fur boots etc. I made her buddy wear the old, soggy ,hairy boot!”.We both laughed heartily.
Just as she got up she said,” You know Mammma after all this I feel sad for A.”
I was taken aback for a second but soon forgot about it as got busy with my own things.
Yesterday T called out ,” Mamma come see my new buddy –Susan.”
“New buddy! How come?”
“Mamma I felt bad for A. I didn’t like it when she acted mean to me. Even she would have felt bad no? And if I also behave like her, then what is the difference between her and me?And you know what? She called this morning and said sorry. So I told her let us stop doing all this. We both are losing our pretty things and points. She agreed. So no more fighting! And now I have 2 buddies!”.
I looked at her beaming face and hung my head in shame.

ps.. If only we and our leaders would learn from this simple incident and stop our hate tirades ,the world would be so beautiful!


Wednesday, October 22, 2008


I lost my Mother-in-law a few days back..October 5th to be precise.She went very peacefully and suddenly. Good karmas everyone tells me. "What ever happens happens for the best".. I have been spouting such gems for years but honestly cannot relate to it right now. What`s good about her death?
I miss her terribly. Much as I would love to paint her as Lalita Pawar ka avtaar( I some times did too) , she was always there for us. Our morning tea time ,where we would discuss(read-bitch) about our nalayak servants,good for nothing relatives,the dumb tailor who always ends up messing our clothes,sometimes even our spouses and their so many shortcomings, was our real time together. I wonder who would even care to listen to my Bai-woes ,now that Mummy is gone?
Every afternoon she would come and peer at my computer while I checked mails or surfed. She would look at all the pictures on facebook and continued to be amazed with the fact that I could actually talk to my sister or sister in law far away.I turn and look back even as I write.She is not there.
There was a ritual where being the only bahu I had to give her a bath and drape a red saree around her. I had given her a bath umpteen number of times in the past, when she was sick. Nothing new, still I was shattered. She was ice cold, wouldn`t move, respond or even tell me that the water is cold. My friend says it is an important part as it is a kind of closure. You are made to accept that they are gone.
What closure? I don`t understand it. I know she is dead, I have touched her hard ,ice cold body and I know she is gone. But I still wait for her to return back from her card party. I still peep in her room, I almost hear her calling me out. Hell , I even made a cup of tea for her this morning at ten.
Closure my foot.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Monster in a teacher`s disguise Part II

Today morning I met TT after my Yoga class.Early in the morning, I like to keep to myself.
TT walked up and said,"Hi!Your friend had come. Her daughter has stopped coming for classes(G)."
I glared.
TT," She is a lazy girl".
" But what you did was wrong. How can you..."
TT," Arrey, you don`t know these parents. They only want marks and if the child doesn`t perform, toh meri gardan pakadte hain(They hold me responsible).We can`t raise our hand so how do you discipline them? You have to scare them, nahi toh sar par chad jaayenge."
"Yes , but this is no way. You can`t demean a child.."
TT cuts in," What demean? They are so chalu.. You know if they don`t listen then finally my sister handles them".
"What do you mean..handles them?"
TT ,"She walks them to the police station and tells them that if they don`t study then they will broom the police station. That gets them cracking. And anyways ,I have 30 children coming for tuitions. In the past 2 years G is the second child who has opted out. What to do ,some parents have ego issues. Let them find their way out."
I am speechless.
TT, ' See you. Have to rush. Got a class."
I stand on the road with mixed feelings. I am digusted with myself for not firing her. And soon a feeling of utter helplessness spreads over. The attitude of parents, the education system, our obsession with marks..I am bugged because I realise that there is a grain of truth in what TT said.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Monster in a teacher`s disguise

A 30 something Lady who takes tuitions in a suburb in Mumbai (TT for convenience)

A 10 year old girl from a reputed English medium ,ICSE school in a suburb in Mumbai (G for convenience).

The concerned, harassed mother of the girl (M for convenience).

Tuesday evening 4.30 at TT`s residence.

M drops G for her tuitions. G is tired after a long day (school from 8.30 to 3.30) and has been dropped here straight from school. On the way , in a rickshaw, M fed her a sandwich and she sipped cold flavoured milk. G is sweaty, tired and just wants to lie down.

G enters the class. There are at least a dozen more such students sitting around with their books. She walks up to the TT , “Good evening Miss.”
TT ,” Oh! Good you are here. Sit down and quickly show me your handbook. Prisha ,have you finished learning? Hmm G show me your work.”
G listlessly opens her handbook and shows it to TT.
TT, “ok let`s start. Have you finished the home work I gave you yesterday?”
G fearfully shakes her head and mumbles, “No, Miss.”
TT thunders ,”Why?”
G, “ It was my friend`s birthday. After tuitions I went home and changed and went to her house. I came at 8pm and was very tired ,so I went off to sleep. There was no time.”
TT,” No time? You lazy girl. You just don`t want to work. Get up right now. Pick up that broom and sweep this room. That`s your punishment. You don`t study ,then this is what you will do when you grow up. Become a maid and sweep houses. Get up”. She pinched G.
G is sobbing, “Please Miss, sorry Miss.”
TT, ‘You get up right now. I am going to click a picture and show it to your friends in school.”
G is traumatized and hangs her head in shame. When M comes to pick her up G is sullen.
They reach home and G bursts out. “You don`t love me. You know what the TT made me do today?”
She narrates the incident and the M turns around, “But Beta , it is your fault. You must finish your work on time na. Now , now. It`s ok. She wishes well for you.”
M is taken aback by the incident but thinks it is wise to keep her thoughts to herself. The TT may throw her G out of the class. Better to be quiet.
This is a true incident. It happened to my friend. She shared it with me and asked ,“What can I do?”.
I just couldn`t take it. Where are we going? All of us are to be blamed. So caught up we are in the rat race, that we do not realize the harm we cause to our own children. We cry ourselves hoarse over capital punishment but what about Mental abuse?
It is so demeaning and demoralizing for any individual to be treated in this manner.Mental abuse erodes a child`s self esteem and self worth. It kills the will to excel and cripples him emotionally.
As for the TT shame on her. Anyone who treats children like that cannot be a teacher. She is a monster who will devour any child`s self esteem and confidence. Beware of such monsters in a teacher`s disguise.

p.s. I wish we would actually listen to our children. We tend to brush off their fears and complains and constantly push them to be strong,smart,brave etc etc.

p.p.s. Would any of us brush the incident if it happpened to us as an individual? Why can`t we stand up for our own children. Why do we find faults with them and justify the teacher`s actions ,no matter how shameful they are??

pic courtsey

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Maa Tujhe Salaam !

The central government has declared that women can now avail maternity leave up to six months. (It was initially 3 months). In addition to this, they can also take 2 years of paid leave as maternal leave. They may club this with the 180 days of maternity leave or spread it out and utilize it over a period of 18 years. What that actually means is, that a lady may choose to stay home for 2 ½ years or stay home for first 6 months or so and then use the rest of it later. When the child is sick, has exams, or needs nurturing at any point, till the child is 18. The scheme is applicable for 2 children. This, is a big relief to a lot of mothers.

I read an article by a mother of a 6 month old girl. This lady has recently shifted to Mumbai and has a nuclear family. She had to join her office, when her daughter was just 3 months old. They had no friends or family to take care of the baby. She had to leave the baby at a crèche with people she didn`t know from Adams. Her story was heartbreaking. So ,when I read the article about maternity leave ,I was very happy for her. But the bubble burst soon. I realized that the scheme was open only to central Government employees and not State government or the private sector.
And though,I welcome whatever little steps the government is taking , I still wish they would go faster and bigger. It is high time that a woman`s perspective is acknowledged and recognized. I met a friend recently ,who lives in the UK. She is very clear about not shifting base to India as UK is very child and woman friendly. She works as a supervisor in a primary school and puts in only 2 ½ days a week. She still earns enough to support her 2 school going children and manages to squeeze in a trip or two to India every year or so. Also ,she says that the terms are not so rigid. She has flexi options and can change her timings or days when her children need her. She also ,is never asked to stay beyond a certain hour as she is a single parent.
All this sounded like a fairytale to me. Just too good to be true. Now only ,if our Government and private sector would wake up and smell the coffee, we too could soar high. With so much of talent and potential around all we need is more women friendly policies.
But for now ,let us cheer for whatever little measures come our way. Just a passing thought- Why not grant a 3 or 6 month Paternity leave too? Dad`s are very much hands –on now and I am sure a lot of them would happily pitch in for child rearing. Hmmm , I am getting too greedy perhaps!

Monday, September 15, 2008


I have been tagged by D So here I go. All are spontaneous responses. Maybe if I had mulled over, I would have given different answers. But then, they would be thoughtfully crafted ones!

The rules for the tag are:
RULE #1 People who have been tagged must write their answers on their blogs and replace any question that they dislike with a new question formulated by themselves.
RULE #2 Tag 6 people to do this quiz and those who are tagged cannot refuse. These people must state who they were tagged by and cannot tag the person whom they were tagged by continue this game by sending it to other people.

1. If your lover betrayed you, what will your reaction be?
I’d be hurt, angry,weepy,shocked...a whole lot of emotions!

2. If you can have a dream come true, what would it be.
Can`t single any one. One is that my kids get the best in life.

3. Whose butt would you like to kick?
The list is v start with-Terrorists, Govt...

4. What would do with a billion dollars?
Travel, Invest,Charity and then indulge hugely by Buying loads of Jwellery,clothes,bags,shoes,watches-hmmm materialistic me!Would also buy some jwellery for my MIL, daughter,sister,and nieces. In that order only!

5. Will you fall in love with your best friend?
We all love our best friends, don`t we?

6. Which is more blessed: loving someone or being loved by someone?
In the long run ,definitely being loved by some one.

7. How long do you intend to wait for someone you love?
Wait for what?Love doesn`t necessarily have to be reciprocated with the same intensity and manner..

8. If the person you secretly like is attached, what will you do?
Nothing.Wish the best for them and move on.

9. If you could root for one social cause, what would it be?
Education for the girl child.

10. What takes you down the fastest?

11. Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
Ten years!I am short sighted!

12. What’s your fear?

13. What kind of person do you think the person who tagged you is?
Strong willed, creative,lively.

14. Would you rather be single and rich or married and poor?
Married and poor to start with and then ensure that we both get to the rich part.So at the end rich and married!

15. If you fall in love with two people simultaneously who will you pick?
The person who loves me back more.

16. Would you give all in a relationship?

17. Would you forgive and forget someone no matter how horrible a thing he has done?
Forgive I will ,but Forget? I doubt.

18. Do you prefer being single or in a relationship?
Relationships are great if they work out ,else single is the best.

19. List of 6 people to tag:

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A hug a day keeps blues away!

I read yesterday that hugs can relieve one from pain.
Well ,I tried this today, and here are the results.
I hugged my teenage son ,early in the morning ,when he was leaving for school. He was stiff, surprised,embarassed and mumbled "Mammma...I am not a baby." But I did catch a small smile.
I did the same to my 10 year old daughter who hugged me right back.Real tight.She snuggled and whispered"Chweety Mamma." That certainly pleased me.
I hugged DH on his way to office. He gave me a huge silly smile and winked in response.
Moral of the story? A hug does bring happiness-both to the giver and reciever.
Give it a shot.

Pic courtsey

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Lend a helping hand

Today morning at my Yoga class, the teacher announced that they are collecting Clothes, utensils and grains for the Bihar flood victims. ''Please donate whatever you can.Please ensure that the clothes are clean, folded, not torn(at least not beyond repair). Please see this as an opportunity to declutter your house and life."
I looked around.Everyone was busy with their Aasans. Did even one of them HEAR?I doubt.
We have become immune to the poverty and sufferings around us. It is better to live in our own cocoon and not look around. It will only add on more misery to our lives. Most of us feel that way.And why help?How do I know the donations I make will reach the needy?The middlemen, polticians will all gobble the lion`s share. What ultimately will reach the needy is inconsequential.
Then there is another breed who will happily donate . Last time when my class collected stuff for Tsunami victims, we were pained to see that most of the things from these well-off people were trash. Old,torn clothes,tattered blankets, chipped crockery,pots with holes,broken toys.I wish my teacher did not emphasise on decluttering. Because what these people ,who are on a Saintly,' oh! we are so noble 'trip ,just dump the trash for which I am sure a Kabadiwala will charge for clearing.
I looked at my teacher and said, "But will it reach the needy?"
She said,"I certainly hope so. This Doctor couple is going to a village and are going to carry all the stuff. And you do your karma..Leave the rest to God."
And even though ,I am very sceptical, I will still do it. It is a win- win situation for me. It makes me feel good, I add good Karma and even if ,One biscuit reaches a hungry child and brings a smile on his face-I am happy.
So what are you doing for the Bihar flood victims?


I`m Loving it!!

Brilliante Weblog award

has decided to give me the "Brilliant Weblog Award". This is given to sites and blogs that are smart and brilliant both in their content and their design.
The rules are:
When you receive the prize you must write a post showing it,together with the name of who has given it to you, and link them back
Choose a minimum of 7 blogs (or even more) that you find brilliant in their content or design
Show their names and links and leave them a comment informing they were prized with ‘Brilliant Weblog'
Show a picture of those who awarded you and those you give the prize(optional).
And pass it on!

First of all Let me take a bow..Renu thanks a lot. It`s a great ego-booster. To recieve an award from your fellow blogger, is indeed great. I love this wonderful spirit of acknowledging and encouraging others. I am sure ,together we all will grow.A huge wave ,paving way for a brighter tommorow.
I must ,specially ,thank you for very conviniently overlooking my non existent technical skills!! Design is zilch.
And now for the tough part. Passing it on. Since ,I am very new to blogging have`nt really read many. The ones I like have already got the award.
Hence I shall reserve a few for the future.
For now I will pass it on to-

DeeplyDip- Her Stylaouge is brilliant. I love fashion and D`s whacky sense of humour.

Reflection- I love her emotional posts
Piper -For her simplicity
Nisha- Her`s is the first blog I read-My journey started from here...
Devaki's - I love her aesthetic sense
AneriI like both the design and content here!!!
Over to you Girls..Bask in the glory and shine always...

Monday, September 8, 2008

Atithi Devo Bhava

Who ever said that we are losing our cultural identity needs to visit Mumbai during Ganeshotsav.I have been visiting friends and family for Ganpati Darshan. And I am now convinced, that every and any one in India believes in this dictum.
The minute we step in someone`s house ,barely have we bowed our heads to Ganesh, the drinks appear. No amount of earnest pleadings for a glass of plain water are acknowledged. “How can you have only water? No, No ,have this fresh juice”.Or ,”Try this Khas Sherbet. Maasi send it last week”. Or, “You have to have this Blue Lagoon. My friend from Hong Kong send me the recipe.”So there we go sipping exotically named Mocktails, Fizzycolas, Sherbets etc. But plain water? No Sir, not at all. We are guests- how can we have that?
And this special treatment is not reserved for drinks only. Snacks follow.”Aise Kaise. Prasad hain. You have to eat a little”. So every where we go we eat at least 2 pieces of any snack, one drink, 1 piece of sweet. This followed by Prasad. But we just had Prasad! “OH HO!That was for you. Take this for rest at home.” So we get fresh fruit, small packets of dry fruits, Modak,/peda/mithai, panjeeri, slices of fresh coconut. And some places small Ganpatis as return gifts. One gave us a set of face napkins with Ganpati embroidered in one corner. Another gave us scented candles.
This year specially, I have tasted various cuisines in the name of Prasad. From paneer pita pockets to hummus and pita bread, to Canneloni to mexican tortillas…you name it and we have had it. Not to be overlooked are the Sweets. Modaks-I tasted at least 20 of the 51 varietes of modaks at a friend`s place. From the traditional one to mawa, blue- berry, strawberry, chocolate, pista, kaju, mango, dry fruit, the list is endless.
So though we are still on the 6th day of Ganpati, (he goes on 14th September) we are already a picture of this cute God. With so much of Prasad we look like mini Ganpatis! DH finally hit the gym this morning in desperation. We still have this whole week to reconfirm our beliefs in traditional values.
p.s. I do wish people would offer their guests a glass of water. I now carry a bottle in my car, lest my host insist on Sherbet et al.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Ganpati Bappa Morya!

Mumbai is celebrating Ganeshotsav.I spent the whole of yesterday and almost half day today,going for Ganpati Darshans.It is great fun but after 2 days of this hectic schedule,I want to lie low.
Popular folklore says that you must see at least 11 Ganpatis in a day.Actually 11,21 or 51.11 is a reasonable, practical number for lazy me.21 is for ambitious and 51 for super duper ambitious souls.
I clicked pictures of all the Ganpati`s I visited(God bless camera phones).Kindly overlook my technical and photography skills-they are non-existent.So go ahead do Darshan and May the good Lord bring you peace and happiness.

psst...these are more than customary 11!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Once worn Twice shy

Today I went on a cleaning spree- along with my young 20 something maid. She absolutely loves to help me clean my cupboards, drawers, shelves, shoe racks. I can see the colour green all around. But hey hang on .There`s a reason and you will find it soon.
The neat shelves give me a big high. I absolutely love it when the maid (M for convenience)brooms and removes mounds of dust, scraps of paper, my lost pen, safety pins, crayons, some more crayons, that very important circular that I had searched and searched in vain last month etc. Ah! The treasures that these sprees bring are worth every second. I don` really care much for Feng Shui and all that but must say that once the cleaning spree is over I feel content, smug and dare say a very pious ,dedicated Naari!!
Now the secret for M`s delight at this very unpleasant chore. .Everyt ime we clean my cupboard she gets one of my outfits or a bag or a nighty. And the shoe rack obviously gets her footwear. And all this is done with great secrecy. You see my Mother-in-law (MIL for convenience) believes every bit of clothing and footwear needs to be preserved. We must use it till it can be used. Never mind if that lasts forever. I could kill the manufacturers of these slippers. They just don`t tear and if they do (Thank God for small mercies!),she promptly sends them to the mochi. Hence you see I have to be very discreet when passing on clothes and stuff.
A girl -okay make it a lady ,needs clothes .Period. Now I know that DH (Darling Hubby) can be painful while packing but its humble me ,who takes the cake when it comes to the number of clothes and accessories that I absolutely need. Forget the number part because its infinite you see.
Now I have these regular jeans ,t-shirts, shirts, tunics, trousers, capris , skirts, pajamas . Ditto for formals. Not to forget party clothes. Also Indian wear-Sarees, Salwar- Kurtas, Shawls, Strolls. And accessories. Bags-casual, party and formal. In black, white, blue,pink,brown –one in yellow –it’s the colour of the season. And then matching footwear. And Jwellery, makeup. Gosh !I already am getting sick of the cumbersome list. That`s a lot of stuff to hoard. Besides, trends change at the drop of a hat.
Last year I was into flats and bling chapplas. This year ,I feel I carry heels with a lot of élan. The big Blue bag with gold trimmings is’ oh !so not happening ‘this season. And that pretty Rani pink kurta with Kundan work is just so passé. So what do I do. I don`t have a younger sister in town (and even if she was she wouldn`t be caught dead in my stuff!).I cannot pass them to the local ashram or to the good old bartanwala. Pssst. Do they still exist? Friends? Well we move in the same circles so that is like social hara kiri!
Also I need to keep updating my wardrobe. You see I can repeat a outfit ,specially the formal and party wear, only that many times. Then what do I do with it ?If I hoard them, like my MIL expects her dutiful DIL to do, I will have no space for anything new. Anyone living in Mumbai will empathize with me-we all face extreme space crunch you see. And I strongly believe that the only constant thing in life is change! I just have to buy a outfit and then shoes, bags ,jwellery to go with it. Else I could buy a bag first and then go on to the rest.
So I pass them on to M, who is really thrilled with them. She tells me that she wore the Rani shocker for her cousins wedding in the village. And everyone was so impressed with Mumbai that they want to shift here pronto. The tunic she says she will wear when she goes ghoomne bahar with her husband. Bambai mein nahi haan.Sab hasenge na phir. She blushes.
So there. The secret to a happy ,hard working M and a relieved me . What are you waiting for?Go ahead and just do it. It will bring a smile on at least 2 people`s faces. You and your M. As for MIL –well that`s just something you deal with. Alone!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Travel Light

Dalai Lama Checks into Lilavati Hospital for a medical check-up with ELEVEN suitcases.

As I read it out to my darling husband he grins like the cat who got the cream.
“See. And you are always cribbing about my stuff” grumbled darling husband.
Crib ,I do and rightly so. Read the scenario to understand the phenomena of Men and Vanity.
My darling husband (DH for convenience) is leaving for a trip overseas for 7 days.
DH: “ Where`s my suitcase- no the bigger one.”
Me the harried wife (HW for convenience) :“This one?”
DH: “Aha! Ok Let me see. 8 days and 7 nights. Hmm. Ok give me 7 formal shirts for daywear. No ,No make it 8 just in case.
HW: Just in case?
DH: “Ya , in case I spill something or one looks very crumpled. That reminds me put my portable iron too”
HW: “Arrey but the hotel has laundry services and am sure they will have a iron board in the room”
DH:“Put it na-just in case. ok 7 formal trousers. No make it 8 you know just-“
HW: “I know just in case.”
DH: “8 pairs of underclothes, socks and handkerchiefs`. Haan put a couple of basic neck ties”
HW :“Neckties. Why? You are not going for board meetings-just going to check out the fair”
DH: “What if I have to meet the company head or someone? You know just in case(JIC for convenience).
Hmm. Ok now night clothes. Three sets. See I will be repeating one of them for 3 nights! International flight have to travel light”
HW :“Huh! What else?”
DH :“Hmm. No casuals? I`l take a couple of shorts and T-shirts-its more comfortable to lounge around in my room and I`l take those Tracks also-you know JIC these guys come over to my room.”
HW: “The bag is already full-you still need to take your toiletries and medicines.”
DH: “Hey that’s hardly anything. I`l take my shaving kit, talc, aftershave, perfume. Haan pass my medicines. Put bandaid, crocin, D-cold, my BP medicines, that packet of gums-I am not going to buy the minute I land. I need them na after my cigarette. Oh! I will take a pack of that also”.
HW: “God!’
DH: “Stop grumbling. I need all this. Its full 8 day trip. Hey shoes! My black ones should go on all of them na? Chal I will take those Nike`s too. You know I can`t wear the formal shoes to the market .And I will need my bathroom slippers. Should I take my floaters? You know it rains there sometimes. I think last year it poured one evening .”
HW :“ Grunt! Take what you want.”
DH :“Ok .I`l take them too. You know JIC.”
HW meantime is truly harried.
DH : “Sweety get those biscuits na.I like to munch on them while watching TV. Give me few munchies na. Little more.JIC the guys decide to hang in my room during evenings”.
DH: “I think I have forgotten something. Ya ! arrey pass that book na…”
After all this HW still lives in hope Afterall His Holiness Dalai Lama too travels with ELEVEN suitcases.I If nothing at least DH shares something with the spiritual leader.
Aah men and vanity..can they ever be apart??

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Good deed of the day

This is a feel good post. We must do at least one good deed a day.

Today I rescued a damsel in distress- actually a damsel who was trying to reverse her car. Crrrrthukkkkk she went!!! Banged into a honda city that was demurely parked next to her old Santro. Fortunately no one came running/screaming but distressed she was.So I stepped in as her Knight no make that Dame in shining armour..reversed it out neatly for her and asked her to scoot before any one would spot THE DENT.
And I must say it was a great feeling. Try helping others for no reason- it really is a great feeling not to forget a great ego-booster too.
So what`s your good deed of the day??

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Couture for God

Pic Courtsey
Janamashtmi celebrations at Iskcon.
Manish Malhotra has designed Lord Krishna `s costume.It is velvet and silk with gold sequins hand embrioidery .Sri Radha`s Costume is designed by Neeta Lulla.
Move over Karisma`s Kareena`s and Aishwarya.It`s now Krishna and Radha- the latest style icons.
So how are you celebrating Janmashtmi? Don`t forget to wear your Rohit Bal or Ritu Kumar. Ok?

Shawls any one?

A couple of days back I attended a concert by Pandit Jasraj. He was welcomed by one of the sponsors on the stage with a big beautiful bouquet of flowers and a shawl. Another Dignitary did the same. Nothing unusual. Almost everyone who is welcomed or felicitated get a bouquet and shawl, in India at least.
It got me thinking. Flowers, maybe Panditji will put in a vase or pass on to a secretary who may do the same. They may end their journey in a vase or a dustbin. But what about the shawl?What does he do with them ?He gets minimum one shawl per show (he got 2 that day).He must be doing at least 5 shows a month(a very conservative estimate considering his stature).That would translate to a minimum of 5 shawls a month, that is 60 a year. Assuming he has been holding concerts for at least 30 years the number goes to 1800.Now even if he passes them on to his driver, cook, maid and their extended family, his own family, distant relatives, students etc stc,1800 is still a big number. This is a very conservative estimate as this does not include awards that he has received. Again at least 1 shawl per award.
So where do these shawls go? Are they displayed on shelves just the way his awards are? Or they occupy his old cupboards or trunks? Or do they get recycled the way coconuts do at various temples? Any clue anyone?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

One Monsoon Morning

9.30 a.m. A local bank in Mumbai.
The bank has just opened after a 2 day break and there is a long queue at the cashiers counter. I am waiting for my turn.

Enter: two human beings .To be precise two eunuchs /Hijras/hermaphrodites.
They walk upto the clerk and hand him a form.

Clerk: “Ye idhar angootha lagao.”

Hijra/eunuch no.1- “Main sign karti hain na.”

She signs. She is actually quite nice to look at. I notice her smooth hairless arms with green, red and gold bangles tinkling. She has a gold chain around her neck, a shining diamond nose ring, hair tied neatly in a bun. She is actually neat as in hygienic. The other one is tall, lanky squarish face. Red sindoor,her hair tied tightly in a bun. She notices me staring at them. She gives me a small smile. I smile back and she winks back.

Cashier: “Next.”

I pay the bill amount and just as I turn to leave H. No. 2 asks me-“Ye idhar light bill lete hai”

I : “Haan.”

H.No. 1 to H. No. 2: “Neksht time idhar hee aane ka na”

H.No.2 to me : “Thank you. Bye”

I : ‘Bye see you.”

This seemingly inane conversation draws quite a few glances my way. Some smirking, others disgusted.
I walk out of the bank and realize that this is actually the first time in my life that I have interacted with a Hijra in a bank. I have encountered them earlier only at 2 places. Either a traffic junction or a wedding/mundan or any such celebration. They are always loud and in your face. I have somehow never associated them as fellow beings. They are simply Hijras.
It set me thinking. These people are marginalized and ostracized by the society. If educated urban people like me have never even thought of them as a part of our social milieu how would they be treated in rural areas?
I remember as a kid we grew up thinking that hijras forcibly take away children they consider their own. There were quite a few myths associated with them. For E.G. Don’t mess with them. Inki baddua lag jaati hain.
When I met these two people in the bank I wondered where do they shop. I have never seen any of them at any shopping mall, multiplex, Bazaar, Vegetable market, Retail store etc etc . How and from where do they get their basic nessicities ?
We talk of a evolved society. Here we are blatantly discriminating between people on basis of gender. Forcing them to live in subhuman conditions, denying them dignity that each human being deserves.
Just yesterday I read a small snippet in the newspaper that said Ellen Degeneres marries her partner.
Ellen hosts her own talk show on Star world(2 p.m. everyday India time).I always found her a little boyish .Delicate , pixie like in a pant suit. She has now married her partner who looked really pretty in a white gown with a huge train. The picture stayed with me and I try to fit in Hijra 1 and 2 in the same scenario. Can`t but help wonder…Where would Ellen be If she were in India? Any guesses?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


How well-read are you ?? ......TAG
Reflections has very kindly rescued me with this TAG

The Rules are as follows:

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.

2) Italicize those you intend to read.

3) Underline the books you really love (and strikethrough the ones you hate!).

4) Reprint this list in your own blog.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman

10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy

13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller

14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier

16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien

17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger

19 The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell

22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald

23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens

24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh

27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck

29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy

32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen

36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis

37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres

39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne

41 Animal Farm - George Orwell

42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving

45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins

46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery

47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding

50 Atonement - Ian McEwan

51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert

53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons

54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth

56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon

60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt

64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold

65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas

66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac

67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy

68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding

69 Midnights Children – Salman Rushdie

70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville

71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens

72 Dracula - Bram Stoker

73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett

74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson

75 Ulysses - James Joyce76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath

77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome

78 Germinal - Emile Zola

79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray

80 Possession - AS Byatt

81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell

83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker

84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro

85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte's Web - EB White

88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom

89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad

92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery

93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks

94 Watership Down - Richard Adams

95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole

96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute

97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas

98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare

99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Monday, August 18, 2008

Baby Oh Baby-II

Niketa Mehta had a miscarriage.A small column in the newspapers said so.I have mixed feelings.I don`t know why but I feel deflated.Lost.Sad.Relieved.I have nothing to say to Niketa..

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Daddy Dearest

Abhinav gets Gold!
Abhinav Bindra is the new poster boy for India. He has won the first gold medal ever in Olympics for India. A proud moment indeed. The newspapers are full of snippets about him. Rightly so. It`s not every day one wins a gold in Olympics.
But what caught my eye was this little feature written by another shooter Shimon Sharief from India. He has trained with Bindra and played against and along with him in the past. However at one point he says that Bindra went away abroad to train, while the rest of us would struggle with poor facilities and bad weather conditions. Bindra`s father has spent a close to one crore annually for his training. Abhinav also went for a week long training in confidence building in Germany to relieve mental stress .The newspaper says the trainer is the best and the most expensive in the world.
All this set me thinking. There is no doubt that Abhinav has the talent but talent coupled with a rich dad equals to gold medal! Now I wonder if Abhinav was just a Mamuli Indian with no Dad with deep pockets backing him ,where would he be? Slugging it out still with poor training facilities, pathetic shooting ranges where even basic amenities are a luxury.. What if Daddy dearest didn’t train Puttarji and put his foot firmly down. “What is all this betaji-shooting-phooting.Kirkit khelo ye sab kya faltu cheej hain?”.
The gold medal rightly belongs to Daddy Bindra for two reasons.1st for his unstinting support or should I say financial backing.2nd –for having the courage to go against the tide –i.e. cricket and betting his money and hopes on a not very popular sport -shooting. Now only if we had more such Daddies. India would be swarming with Abhinav`s..

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Baby Oh Baby

Everyone and anyone wants to pass a judgement/comment/opinion on Nikita Mehta.Nikita Mehta who?? Well Nikita is a 30 something lady from Mumbai who is 25 weeks pregnant.Her baby has a congenital heart problem and will not lead a normal life.Also the parents will have to incur heavy expenses for its survival and still will not be able to ensure a normal healthy life..So? So this Lady decides to abort the child legally.
Well, the court says," Sorry you cannot abort a foetus."Various reasons have been spouted.Some say this is a case of Euthanasia-mercy killing.The child has a right to birth.Who are we to take a call on his life?A senior doctor from Mumbai says that science has advanced a lot.Maybe in a few years the child will get better treatment and may lead a normal life.MAY..that`s the keyword.
Now I have been trying to make sense of this all.Honestly I too keep swaying.But a past incident has tilted the balance in favour of a abortion.This very close relative of mine who lives abroad came to India in her 30th week of pregnancy.She was told that the foetus had layman terms a abnormality in the spine due to which the child is severely physically and most probably mentally challenged too.She was heartbroken as she had conceived after 7 years.We consulted many Gynaecologists and prenatal specialists.The prognosis was grim.One very famous Gynaecologists bluntly told her to abort asap.He painted a very grim future and the lady went ahead with a abortion.I was upset and so were many of her close family people.
Till we met a cousin who has a child who is severely physically and mentally challenged.Her life has come to a standstill.She adores her child and will go to any length to see a smile on her child`s face.But she is constantly worried.She tells me ,"What if she survives me?Who will take care of her?I think I am the only mother who prays everyday for her child to die.I cannot bear to see her pain anymore.Why can`t God just take her away."And I feel in retrospect that what is the point of saving a life and prolonging its suffering?The Lady doctor talks of Foetus rights.Does she mean to say that only when it is 25 weeks old that it can be granted rights.Even a 10 week foetus has a heartbeat so why doesn't that qualify as a human?I strongly disagree with the court.I wish sometimes that Niketa had just gone to a doctor without getting into all the legal hassles.I can only pray for a miracle for her.Everyone has a right to a healthy normal child.The law definitely has to change with times.
Niketa all the best pal.You need it.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Its drizzling outside..very pleasant weather. A small bird sits on my window ledge( its the humble sparrow-Gorraiya in hindi I think )Believe me that`s a rare sight in Amchi Mumbai.She has a small piece of something edible-looks like a piece of bread.In my hometown I remember keeping Bajra and Jowar for the pigeons and crows but in these modren times guess even the birds have graduated to bread! She keeps chirping every now and then-didn`t her mother teach her not to talk when she has food in the mouth?? Mine still hollers if I do.I wonder why isn`t she eating the piece ? Holding it in her mouth just like my son would do as a baby when I fed him Cerelac. Is she hoping to share it with a friend/child or her mate?? Or is she like my 16 year old neighbour- counting calories. What a wonderful way to pass a lazy monsoon afternoon...

Friday, August 1, 2008

RIP Ishmeet

RIP Ishmeet.
Ishmeet is dead..I am sure most of us have heard him or at least heard of him. The popular singer from a reality show Ishmeet was the winnerof VOI. And a winner he is-even in death. Millions of fans all over are mourning his untimely death. I never could comprehend the meaning of untimely death. The time of death for everyone is pre-ordained say all scriptures. Then how can it be untimely??I am digressing..Back to Ishmeet. Politicians are not losing this great opportunity. Unfortunately that’s what this is. Mourning the great tragedy. Somewhere in all the brouhaha the innocent boy is lost. As I pen this there are loads of people thronging his house and mourning Ishmeet. Politicians, top notch officials are all there to pay last respects .He is being awarded a state funeral. Pray tell me for what? Winning a reality show? Putting his state on the world map-give me a break. I know his fans will rip me but I am sorry to say that this is totally uncalled for. People are milching the opportunity for their own personal vexed interests.We are really sad about his death and pray for his soul.But please lets keep this dhakosla of granting him state funeral aside..

Of Butterflies

Of Butterflies..

I went into hibernation. Started my blog and suffered from Major Blog Fatigue Syndrome (MBFS) immediately. I had to lie low ,conserve my energy and hope to bounce back later. While doing Grade V Science with my daughter (Haan main Panchvi pass se tez nahi hu) we read about the lifespan of a butterfly. And I realized how close it is to my life. The idea of blogging germinated, just like the egg. The egg cracked and out came a caterpillar inching its way out. So did I, slowly and cautiously wrote my first draft. And then weaves a shell to form the Pupa. I did that too. Went back to my shell as I needed to grow at my pace. Out comes a butterfly slowly and painfully breaking the pupa. I am in the process too. Hoping to fly and hover around in a sudden burst of colors. Catch me if you can..