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Preview: Out of Ireland, into India

Out of Ireland, into India



Reflections on an East/West life



Updated: 2011-06-09T01:26:58.580+05:30

 



Moving

2011-05-06T19:58:13.845+05:30

I've decided to simplify my life a bit.  For the time being, I'll be posting everything at my other blog 'gaelikaa's diary' .  I have a lot to do these days and running several blogs is beginning to turn my blogging into work, perish the thought, instead of the enjoyable diversion I like it to be.

I tried merging this blog with the other one, but sadly, owing to some kind of Blogger glitch, I just couldn't do it, despite following the given instructions to the letter.  So I'll keep this one 'as is' for the time being, while linking it to the other.  If anyone out there has any idea how to merge the two blogs, I'd love to know.  Maybe I should have tried merging 'gaelikaa's diary' with this one instead, this being the older one, but after several fruitless hours of trying to do the opposite on Saturday, I've given up (says she, throwing up her hands in mock despair).

I'll be posting regularly on 'gaelikaa's diary' for the foreseeable future, you can get there by clicking on the link which is right in the blog name.    Please come over there and visit me!

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Silence

2011-03-05T09:39:13.471+05:30

Silence is one of the most effective communications tools ever. Strange, isn't it?  Seems almost a paradox.  It isn't though. I am one of these people who can't shut up.  I talk morning, noon and night.  That's probably why being a writer would be my preferred career.  I always have something to say.  As they used to say about me back in my native Dublin, "Marie? Oh, God!  She never shuts up!"  I once started a new job working beside a girl called Caroline.  After the first week of working together, she confessed that she found sharing an office with me 'hard going." "I come home from work every night exhausted," she complained. Then once I signed up for a counselling course.  Actually, I was signed up for it.  The organization for which I was working wanted to make the office more people centred.  Even the cleaning lady had to go for a counselling course. For the first time, I learnt the joy of listening.  Listening is a form of respect.  It is also beneficial because it helps us to learn things.  Things we might not have known if we hadn't shut up.  I noticed that my relationship with Yash, which had been good to begin with, improved dramatically when I became quieter and started to listen more.  I made it a point of listening to the things he said to me instead of always trying to chip in and have my say.  I came to know in time that while he had always found me very nice, one of the negative qualities he found in me was the fact that I hardly ever stopped talking.  I should add here that Yash is an astrological Leo and seems to like an audience.  That's probably the reason why he loves his job as a professor so much, and because it gives him an opportunity to  lecture on the joys of biochemistry. It's very important to listen to your children and hear - really hear - what they are saying.  Otherwise you could live with them for years and be totally ignorant of what goes on in their minds. It takes a bit of concentration and work but it is worth it.  The piece of ancient advice which admonishes us to listen more and talk less, especially in respect of the fact that we have two ears an only one mouth is quite true.  But you can only listen if you practise silence, because without that it is impossible to listen. I don't like uncomfortable silences which are full of tension.  That usually means a quarrel is brewing.  But the pressure to talk and communicate all the time shouldn't be there all the time. If you can be comfortable with silence as you can be chatting, it's a good and positive thing. This topic ('Silence') was chosen by Grannymar.  This is my weekly post for the Loose Blogger Consortium. We are a group of bloggers from different parts of the world with diverse views and styles of writing, and we post simultaneously (well, we try to) on a weekly basis on a given topic.  Currently active members are, in alphabetical order Ashok, Conrad, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Maria and Rummuser.  Intense Debate comment system is installed. If you would like to leave a comment, please click on the title of this post and allow a little time for the comment system to load - thanks [...]



Skepticism Versus Disbelief

2011-02-25T20:05:40.216+05:30

The given topic is a little puzzling.  Skepticism (shouldn't it be scepticism?  Okay, so Conrad, the one who suggested this is American!) and disbelief are one and the same thing. You won't find me opposing either scepticism or disbelief.  A keen, enquiring mind is an asset and something that will always take you out of a rut.  There are some things in life, however, that we have to believe with our spirit rather than our minds.  This is the area where faith in God comes into, for example. We have all inherited  a set of  beliefs and we are always exhorted to 'have faith' in whatever religion we follow.  I was brought up a Roman Catholic and my husband was brought up a Hindu, so our lives have plenty of scope for faith and religion. Twelve years ago, my mother, back home in Dublin,  was dying of breast cancer.  She had merely six months to live.  Now according to traditional Roman Catholic thinking, she was supposed to surrender to this illness as 'God's Will' and just accept this horrible illness as a 'gift' from God.  I was so brainwashed by the various small-minded people who had been involved in my religious formation that I'd have willingly believed it too. The trouble is, who knows what is the Will of God?  Who has seen his mind? One day my mother was reading an evangelical Christian book on healing and she learned something that turned her whole belief system on it's head.  Instead of the usual 'surrender to God's Will' teaching, she read that the Bible tells us that it is God's will for healing and restoration for his people.  Each and every one of them.  No exceptions.  She also read that God doesn't have favourites.  Everyone who loves him is his favourite.  She started to accept the fact that God wanted her healed.  She accepted it with full faith because she saw a verse in the book of Jeremiah "My plans for you are for good and not for disaster, to give you a future full of hope.'  When you're dying of breast cancer, this is indeed good news. To cut to the chase, my mother got better over a period of months.  She went from being a hospice patient to being fully healed.and medication free.  She is still a Catholic and still attends Mass, but she doesn't prescribe to those negative, traditional beliefs any more.  Neither do I.  To be a Christian, you only have to believe that Jesus Christ IS the Son of God and that God raised Him from the dead.  That's all.   The capitals are important.  Jesus IS alive and is not dead.  What's more, He is coming back one day.  It's so strange.  People go around with these negative ideas about God which are based on stupid misleading lies.  Something like 'why did God let my relative die?'  God doesn't make anyone die, nor does he send disasters.  These things happen because we live in a fallen world. I was in Mass a year ago and I heard the priest talking about some dreadful disasters which had happened recently.  He was sad because this was 'God's Will.'  The poor misguided man was talking such utter rubbish (well, he was upset over a road accident that had happened that day) that I wanted to go up and grab the mike and tell the people that we should call God's protection down on ourselves when we get up first thing in the morning.  We humans are such fools.  We don't specifically ask the Almighty God's protection and then we wonder why he 'let' something happen to us. Do so called 'Christians' ever read their Bibles and understand what it is saying?  Through misguided 'traditional' thinking, more people have been led astray than anyone will ever know. There is a village, Medjugorge,  in eastern Europe, Croatia, I think, where the Virgin Mary is said to have made daily apparitions in recent times.  Apparently she still appears to certain selected visionaries on a regular basis.  These visionaries claim t[...]



Late

2011-02-18T19:30:15.064+05:30

I skipped the topic for our Loose Blogger Consortium post last week.  I didn't write the post 'Enforced Idleness'  - I lived it.  I couldn't get into Blogger to write the post so I sent another of my routine 'late again' emails to my LBC friends promising to catch up with them and post later.  Alas, it was not to be.  I was swept away on a wave of cooking, cleaning, washing and sweeping.  The spare time is spoken for, more or less.  I'm trying to keep up with my writing group and get back into writing again and then there's that degree I have to finish.  My round of deeds and days keeps me busy. My life is very full. Last week's bout of  enforced idleness was a rare moment indeed.  There's always something to do.  But sometimes my body just rebels and I find myself overcome with lethargy and I just lie down and stare into space.  Sometimes I sleep.  I go through phases of being late all the time.  Then it's time to take stock.  I'm reading three books at the minute.  An ebook and two paperbacks.  All are novels.  Then there are the coursebooks.  Notes and some plays.  Then there's the writing.  I have to write or I just go crazy with unexpressed and suppressed creativity. I don't beat myself up for being late.  I just apologise to whoever it's due and carry on.  It's usually a sign that I need more rest.  Last week, I was late for Mass.  The priest gave a word at the end of the ceremony ticking off the latecomers.  Although I know that it's right to be on time for Mass, I was a bit annoyed at the Reverend Father for taking that attitude.  With recent weather conditions being what they were, I figured that it was great if I could even turn up.  Besides, God knows what's in your heart, after all. Thus ends another brief blog post.  My kids are all sleeping as I write and I shall now go and do likewise.  This topic ('Late') was chosen by me, gaelikaa.  This is my weekly post for the Loose Blogger Consortium. We are a group of bloggers from different parts of the world with diverse views and styles of writing, and we post simultaneously (well, we try to) on a weekly basis on a given topic.  Currently active members are, in alphabetical order Ashok, Conrad, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Maria and Rummuser.  Intense Debate comment system is installed. If you would like to leave a comment, please click on the title of this post and allow a little time for the comment system to load - thanks [...]



I Comment Therefore I Am

2011-03-03T15:00:29.742+05:30

By mutual agreement between me and Unknown Mami, I'm taking over the feature I Comment Therefore I Am until further notice. Unknown Mami is occupied with family matters at the moment and has taken semi-leave from doing regular features on her blog. This is a weekly post where I (and hopefully a few more bloggers, linking up)blog specifically on comments.  Comments we've left on other blogs and comments we've received.  Some of the best things that happen in blogosphere happen in comment boxes. One blogger whom I visit regularly and who visits me regularly is Rummuser.  His comments boxes are more like forums.  The discussions which go on there are legendary.  Rummuser is my adopted elder brother, for those who are unaware of the fact.  He's very good to me.  He's always giving me stuff.  Only last week, he gave me the Stylish Blogger Award, which I confess, I have yet to collect.  I was feeling in a rather playful mood when I read his post.  He actually admitted to something amazing.  In spite of having travelled the world, he has yet to visit South America.  I commented: Sweetheart – just say the word and I’ll run away with you to Argentina! Rummuser commented back: I hereby give you the word. Bring all the cash that you can round up. You just cannot catch him out.  He is never stuck for an answer. Another day, he was discussing the recent blogging phenomenon of Mormon Mommy Blogs.  He linked to a post regarding this.  Apparently, all kinds of liberated feminists are addicted to blogs on traditional motherhood and life with babies.  I commented: Mormons (LDS Church) are a community of Christian believers who in addition to the Bible, believe in a work called the Book of Mormon as Scripture. Like many communities of believers of different stripes, they espouse some admirable qualities. Mormons are to be admired for, among other things, their devotion to family life. In LDS communities, motherhood is valued.A feminist is someone who believes in equality of the sexes. The feminist revolution in the sixties was really an explosion of anger. Women who had dropped out of college to support spouses and given their lives to their families were often dumped when they needed their husbands the most. Usually for younger, more highly qualified women. Suddenly it was realised that women needed to do more than just hope for marriage as a ‘meal ticket for life’.Being a mother is a wonderfully fulfilling experience but being a housewife can be dreary and monotonous. In order to be a good stay at home mother, a woman needs support and encouragement. Just as a man needs support and love at home to give his best performance at work, a woman needs it too. Sadly, in Ireland where I come from, and in India where I now live, the love and support which a woman gives to her family is entirely taken for granted. In fact, a woman can be given verbal abuse if the tea’s not hot enough, the dinner isn’t satisfactory, where I am now.That comment was a post in itself. That's it from I Comment Therefore I Am for this week. I Comment Therefore I Am is usually hosted by Unknown Mami. [...]



Feet

2011-02-07T17:51:14.320+05:30

Recently I was given a 'gift' of a pedicure.  I thought it was some kind of fancy foot treatment.  It was actually a sort of freebie from the place where I get my facials done, on the rare occasions when I get out of the house.  It was this attractive buy four get one free package plus the pedicure.  What on earth were they going to do, I wondered.  Cut my toenails? Actually, it was a bit of a footwashing and massage thing.  The sort of thing you could very easily do yourself at home if you had the time, not to mention the inclination.  So there I was, being, you know, pampered down at the beauty salon.  The lad who was assigned to me took one look at my feet and walked away in disgust. Hold on a minute, I thought, they couldn't be that bad.  Or could they?  Well now that I thought about it, I've really neglected my feet down through the years.  I don't make time for my feet.  Dammit, my relationship with my feet must be at an all time low.  Considering that they have to carry me around all the time, I really have treated them quite shabbily.  But then doesn't everyone?  I felt quite ashamed I must admit. Mr. Foot Treatment returned with the unctuous manager of the salon, a formidable lady indeed.  In painful tones, she told me that my feet were in terrible condition and in need of special treatment, especially the salon's own brand of foot cream. Ok, I said with resignation.  I'll take a pack  Hell, I'll even take two packs if that would help but STOP LOOKING AT ME LIKE THAT FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE! What a lot of fuss over a bit of hard skin on the heels.  It's no big deal really! This topic ('Feet') was chosen by Grannymar.  This is my weekly post for the Loose Blogger Consortium. We are a group of bloggers from different parts of the world with diverse views and styles of writing, and we post simultaneously (well, we try to) on a weekly basis on a given topic.  Currently active members are, in alphabetical order Ashok, Conrad, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Maria and Rummuser.  Intense Debate comment system is installed. If you would like to leave a comment, please click on the title of this post and allow a little time for the comment system to load - thanks [...]



Humorous Comments

2011-03-03T15:00:58.952+05:30

Welcome to the weekly post feature usually hosted by Unknown Mami in which she, I and hopefully a few more bloggers linking up, post on comments.  It could be comments received on our blogs or comments we've left on others' blogs, because some of the best things that happen in the blogosphere happen in comment boxes. I love getting humorous comments on my blog.  There's nothing like a good laugh.  One of my favourite humorous commentators is my adopted brother Rummuser.  I once wrote on a post 'Haldi Milk' on 'gaelikaa's diary'  that I thought dark complexions were lovely (I still do).  Rummuser replied: For me darker the better. I am a Tamilian remember?  Even though we have become brother and sister by adoption, I have yet to meet Rummuser.  He's given me to understand he's very dark.  Well, that's great.  Can't wait to meet him. Chris Stovell is a blogging friend whose humorous comments I always enjoy.  Her humour is so subtle that it often takes a while to sink in (I'm not very quick where humour is concerned) but it leaves a lasting impression.  In another 'gaelikaa's diary' post for the Sundays in my City meme, I showed a photo of a grave near my house. Chris wrote: It's lovely to have a nose round your neighbourhood... and at least one of your neighbours is very quiet!  I enjoyed reading the comment, but I wondered at first what she meant by quiet neighbours.  After a couple of hours, it hit me with a bang.  She was talking about the grave next door. Quiet neighbours indeed.  I couldn't stop laughing when the light dawned. Unknown Mami is a commenting specialist who leaves wonderful and sometimes very funny comments. On one post,   in fact an "I Comment Therefore I Am' post, I wrote about a humorous post where the blogger had gone into hysterics over a dead mouse.  Unknown Mami replied: My husband had to dispose of a dead mouse in the kitchen the other day. He came home and found it. I'm so glad it was him because I am ridiculous in those kinds of situations. I turn into an embarrassingly helpless female. I know it's absurd, but I can't stop screaming.  That's all from me on this subject for this week. I Comment Therefore I Am is hosted by Unknown Mami.  Saturday Sampling is hosted by Mrs. 4444 [...]



Family

2011-01-29T10:08:38.599+05:30

This is a subject on which I could write reams.  But I'll stick to a few basic points.  For someone who considers herself to be a real bohemian type, I've never lived in a place of my own and have always lived in a family.  Until I was thirty one I lived in my parental home which was up until then inhabited by my widowed mother and several of my until then unmarried sisters.  Ever since, I've lived in an Indian joint family along with my husband, our children, his brother and sister in law and their children and his parents.  My father in law died last year. There are certain basic differences between family life in the east and family life in the west.  Most people would say, if they thought about it, that it is because people live in nuclear families in the west and combined families in the east.  But as I've discovered, it's not that simple.  My husband's elder brother has never lived in the combined family since long before he was married and his children, have grown up in a nuclear set up.  Oh, they've come and lived for a couple of months at a time, but never for longer than that.  It is the same story for many other Indian families.  You have to go and live where you get a job, after all. I would say that the main difference difference in family life in the east and the west is that in the west, it makes no difference whether you are a son or a daughter.  In the east, there is a major difference.  How can I explain this? In north India, where I live, the birth of a son has traditionally been a sign of great significance.  It signifies the continuation of the family line.  It also signifies an insurance policy for one's old age.  Sons are expected to remain close and committed to their parental families all the days of their lives.  A girl may be greatly loved in her family, but after her marriage, she is considered to have transferred her allegiance to her marital home and her husband's parents.  After the death of the parents, the family property, if any, is divided among the sons.  Daughters are traditionally given gifts of money and goods at the time of their marriage to compensate for their not getting a share in the family property.  Whenever a girl visits home after marriage, she is traditionally given expensive gifts.  Therefore, families with several daughters have to start saving for their daughters' weddings early.  It is  a different story for sons.  They traditionally don't leave, rather when they marry, they bring in a daughter in law to serve the family and traditionally, daughters in law bring gifts and sometimes cash.  The higher qualified the man is, the better the gifts the bride brings, so that she can be deemed 'worthy'.  So sons are an investment and daughters are a sacrifice. Of course, modernity has crept into India, and thinking is slowly changing.  But it is amazing how deep rooted traditional thinking is in some people.  Particularly some of the older people. The gifts and property issue wasn't a large one in my Indian marital home.  But I noticed some things which really disturbed me after I got married.  When I gave birth to my eldest son, I was alarmed at how possessive my parents in law were about someone who I considered to be 'my' baby.  Well meaning as usual, my parents in law were constantly watching how I took care of the baby and used to scold me whenever he got a cold, on the grounds that I hadn't taken proper care of him.  This nearly drove me to the brink of a nervous breakdown.  I got over it in time.  By the time the fourth kid had made his appearance, I'd learnt to take this in my stride.  In one ear and out the other.  I had enough confidence in my ability as a mother and my commitment to my child[...]



A Comment A Day.....

2011-03-03T15:03:24.662+05:30

Welcome to the weekly post feature hosted by Unknown Mami where she, I and hopefully a few more bloggers linking up post on comments.  Comments we've made on others' blogs or comments made on ours, because some of the most interesting things which happen in the blogosphere happen in the comment box.

My brother Rummuser is having a temporary fad for Chinese astrology.  According to his latest post he's an aquatic sheep.  How strange.  A sheep is not an animal I would associate with water.  I can't visit Rummuser's blog without joining in the conversation.  I commented:

Horoscope stuff is quite enjoyable if you apply it to personality analysis. According to western astrology, I am a cow and my husband is a lion. I couldn’t disagree with that. But stay away from predictions. No one knows the future only God. Anything else is just lies.

That just about sums up my approach to astrology.  Fun and nothing more.  Not to be taken seriously.  Oh, I've visited a fortune teller and been amazed by the accuracy of the readings, but I've come to the conclusion that most fortune tellers are just great psychologists.


If we want to discover our destiny and create a good one, we actually have the power to do that.  There is a terrific post, The Power of a Thought,  over at Zuzana's blog, Life Through Reflections, which discusses how powerful thoughts are in creating our lives.  I loved that post and couldn't resist commenting:

"As a man thinketh in his heart so is he."  That's written in the book of Proverbs in the Bible.  What a powerful post.  I love the spiritual depth of it.  If we change our thoughts we can change our lives.




So what shapes out lives?  The stars or our thoughts?  The latter of course.  God has actually given  us the power to shape our own destiny.  Whether we have a good future or a mediocre one is entirely up to us.

That's it for my take on I Comment Therefore I Am for this week.


I Comment Therefore I Am is hosted by Unknown Mami.





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Revenge

2011-01-22T22:01:47.699+05:30

Growing up, I was a person who took things to heart and was very sensitive.  When you've been hurt, thoughts of revenge are natural.  Not that I'm the dangerous, plotting type but there's something deeply satisfying about seeing someone who's wronged you getting their comeuppance.  Let's just say that it is far better to see your enemies getting their just desserts when you haven't actually done the revenge work yourself.  Let's you off the hook nicely.  I always had this scrupulous Roman Catholic conscience about revenge.  Then there's karma, the Hindu outlook on retribution.  So like I say...... Many years ago when I was nineteen I worked in an office along with two other girls, Ellen and Carol.  They were close friends and apart from what they couldn't avoid, they never spoke to me or included me in their conversations.  It made life very lonely.  Eventually, I realized that there were lots of offices in our building and I befriended other people, but I never forgot how bad I used to feel when these girls were full of chat to each other and completely ignoring me. I met Carol a few years later.  She was much friendlier than she used to be.  We talked about the days when we worked together and anyone watching us talking would have thought we had been the best of friends in those days.  When I asked Carol how her old friend Ellen was, she made a face.  She told me that she had no idea and didn't care if she never heard from her again.  Strange, isn't it?  They'd fallen out over some trivial issue and never spoke to each other after that.  I always feel that friendships like theirs which exclude other people are unhealthy and I'm not at all surprised that they didn't stay friends. Around that time, there was a man I liked working in the same building.  I was going through a sort of hippy phase at the time and had this wonderfully coordinated wardrobe of denim jackets and Indian kaftans.  Then there was the long hair.  Not to mention the kohl rimmed eyes.   Normally, on Friday nights, people from our building used to meet in a pub nearby and all sorts of conversations used to take place.  I used to meet him down there.  We started going out together too, but he dropped me suddenly after getting to know me a bit better.  I was horrified and tried to find out why. The long and the short of it was, that this guy was afraid of me.  Apparently, he was quite attracted to me initially because he thought, given my image, that I was a wild and free type of person.  When he came to understand that I'd been indoctrinated by the nuns in the convent school  and was a perfect Roman Catholic girl who always went to Mass on Sunday and wanted to get married and settled in the ultimate course of things and of course wasn't up for 'doing that' before getting married, things took on a different hue altogether.  In short, girls like me were a pain.  They made all sorts of emotional demands and horror of horrors, wanted to get married!  Well he wasn't up for that, no way.  He was only twenty five, dammit.  He wanted to live life to the full and get his hands on as many women as was decently (or indecently) possible.  The farewell scene was a classic.  We got a taxi home as we lived in the same direction.  He got out first and left me just as much money as would cover his journey.  He told me that he was being nice to me, that he wasn't the sort of person who would take advantage of an innocent girl.   I suppose it was quite sweet of him really.  Unfortunately, I didn't really appreciate his greatness in this matter. I hated his guts after that. It didn't help that he immediately started dating a girl who [...]



Stimulus and Response

2011-01-14T20:00:14.238+05:30

Traditionally, if a creature responds when stimulated, it means that the creature is alive. I suppose we're all familiar with the story of the Pavlovian dogs.  Dr. Pavlov, a Russian scientist of some eminence, once discovered in the course of his research that if a group of dogs were fed just after a bell was rung within their hearing, the very sound of the bell would make them automatically salivate.  This was, obviously, because the sound of the bell reminded them that food was coming.  Even if the food didn't arrive every time the bell sounded, the very sound of the bell was enough to make  them salivate.  Well, humans are a bit like that.  If we are stimulated in a certain way, our reactions can be quite predictable depending on our personality. Remember the classic  BBC television comedy serial 'Fawlty Towers'.  There was this character, a crusty old gentleman and WW2 veteran.  Every time someone mentioned the war, he got upset.  So one of the famous lines from that comedy series was 'don't mention the war'. There's someone in my life right now who hates my guts.  That's about the nicest way I can put it.  Of course I could just be speaking metaphorically.  But I think I'm accurate enough.  The person concerned has a habit of saying mean things about me and my children just loud enough for me to hear.  Just loud enough and no louder.  It's enough to make one's blood boil.  This person has an amazing range of phrases to describe my negative qualities.  My supposed laziness, lack of efficiency in housework and the dreadfully uncouth way I've brought up my children.  Yet when I challenge this person to their face to say these things in front of me and my husband, he/she/it claims that he/she/it was having a private conversation in which I was not concerned.  The last time this happened, some ten days back, I reminded the person concerned that he/she/it had a right to freedom of speech and opinion.  But not the right to broadcast offensive material. However, I find that ignoring the Nuisance is the best and most satisfying way to handle the problem.  My friend Padmini once reminded me (via FaceBook) that if a gift isn't claimed, it still belongs to the giver.  Same thing with an insult.  So whenever the Nuisance starts spewing his/her/its venom, I simply refuse to have a Pavlovian dog response.  Some years ago, I was plagued with a nuisance telephone caller, an intrusive male who would enquire about the colour of certain articles of clothing which I was wearing.  One day, when that particular nuisance called up, I replied pleasantly that I was unable to hear him and asked him to speak up.  He obliged and I kept on telling him I couldn't hear him and asked him to speak up louder.  By the time the conversation was in full swing he was roaring out his question at the top of his voice.  If anyone was around where he was making his call, all I can say is that they must have thought that he was a complete idiot.  Well that was the point.  Eventually he gave up and slammed down the phone in disgust. I never heard from him again.  This topic ('Stimulus and Response') was chosen by Rummuser.  This is my weekly post for the Loose Blogger Consortium. We are a group of bloggers from different parts of the world with diverse views and styles of writing, and we post simultaneously (well, we try to) on a weekly basis on a given topic.  Currently active members are, in alphabetical order Ashok, Conrad, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Judy,  Maria and Rummuser.  Magpie 11 [...]



Commenting As I Read....

2011-03-03T15:02:42.808+05:30

Welcome to the weekly comment post feature hosted by Unknown Mami in which she, I (and hopefully a few more bloggers linking up) post specifically on comments.  Comments which we've left on other blogs and comments which we've received on our blogs.  The point is to get the good stuff out of the comment box and up onto the home page, because some of the best things that happen in the blogosphere happen in comment boxes.

I was over visiting my friend, the Irish blogger Grannymar.  There was a post on written by her daughter Elly, saying how Grannymar caught a bug over the weekend and her laptop caught one too.  I commented:

She caught a bug and her laptop caught a bug!  That's unfortunate!  I hope both of them get well soon!

Our computers have become so much a part of our lives that they even catch illnesses just like us!  Amazing, isn't it?

Sadly, I've not been able to visit blogs this week however, other than the blogs of close friends, owing to the fact that we have family visiting at this time - my husband's elder brother is making his annual visit home right now along with wife and kids.  We're so busy catching up on the last year in each others' lives that my access to the internet is severely limited owing to scarcity of time.  Like I said before, when we get busy, commenting on blogs is the first blogging activity to go.

I'll be back with more comments next week, though.




I Comment Therefore  I Am is hosted by Unknown Mami.

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Listening

2011-01-08T00:18:39.836+05:30

Chunni is an old friend.  We go back about fifteen years, when she started working in my house as a cleaning lady.  Well, cleaning lady would be the terminology I'd have used.  My in-laws called her the 'kaamwali'.  She was the woman who came every morning to help us with the housework.  She'd wash all the dishes and sweep and then wash the floor.  She's been in and out of our house for years.  She first arrived when my eldest, Neil, was just a baby. I met her the other day when I was going to the local shops.  We chatted for a few minutes.  We enquired about each other's children.  I understand that Chunni is few years younger than I am, but she married early in life and is already a grandmother several times over. She is a very intelligent woman in spite of the fact that she's illiterate.  'Chunni' means a long scarf or 'dupatta' worn by subcontinental women along with the shalwar suit.  When I asked Chunni how she acquired this as her name, she explained that as her elder sister was called 'Munni' (little girl), she got a rhyming name so that when her mother called them, she'd say: "Munni, Chunni."  I know that this can happen.  I once knew a little girl called Gomti (the name of the local river in Lucknow) whose baby sister was automatically named 'Somti' (which doesn't mean anything at all - as far as I know). Chunni is out of our house these days because of a big fight she had with my mother-in-law.  They are very fond of each other but my MIL gets mad when Chunni forgets her manners and the fact that she is a servant.  I'd really like her to come back.  I know she's facing hard times nowadays. I wasn't always too happy with Chunni, though.  I remember a few years ago, when my mother visited me here in India.  Chunni followed my mother around whenever she appeared and kept on pressing and massaging my mother's feet, much to her horror.  My mother finds any type of foot or leg massage very painful.    The day mother was due to depart, Chunni came in the evening and stayed much beyond her hours to bid farewell.  She also covered her head with her chunni, unusually for her. After my mother left in her taxi with Yash for the airport, my father-in-law advised me to give her a (fairly generous) tip of about fifty rupees.  This was obviously the reason why she'd come.  It was probably the reason why Chunni's other customers were probably tearing their hair out waiting for her to come and wash their dishes.  I offered Chunni fifty rupees and she flung the note down in disgust.  Then she demanded five thousand rupees. My father-in-law decided to get to the end of this.  Chunni really was behaving very oddly indeed.  We soon found out what the problem was. Chunni had heard from me sometime before that in western culture there is no difference in status between  paternal and maternal grandparents.  In India the paternal grandparents have superior status.   When people find out that they have become paternal grandparents, they usually celebrate by giving gifts of money (shagun) to their servants and employees and junior relatives.  So Chunni reckoned that as well as getting fifty rupees from my in-laws, the paternal grandparents of my recently born son Nitin, she was entitled to a similar reward from maternal grandparents too.  Moreover, she was no fool.   Having the belief that foreigners are very rich, she reckoned that for a foreigner the price of a shagun for a grandson should be no less that five thousand rupees (about one hundred euros).  It came as qu[...]



Commenting in Rhyme

2011-03-03T15:04:01.019+05:30

Welcome to the weekly post feature hosted by Unknown Mami in which she, I (and hopefully a few more bloggers linking up) post specifically on comments.  It could be comments we've made on other blogs or it could even be comments made on ours.  The point is to get the good stuff out of the comment box and up on to the home page, because some to the best things that happen in the blogosphere happen in the comment box! I'm posting late this week and am totally out of routine.  The weather is way too cold.  Cold in India?  Well, yes.  I am in the northern hemisphere and subject to the same weather conditions as everyone else up there.  It's a dry, inland cold, quite unlike the less harsh cold I was accustomed to back in Ireland, which is surrounded by the sea.  Also, my internet connections is giving me a bit of a problem.  The wifi signal in my house is located in a room which belongs to another family member and the laptop can only pick up the signal in the actual room.  I'm not one to disturb others or encroach on privacy, so my access to the internet at present depends on the convenience of others.  The result is that my commenting on other blogs has suffered a bit. Still, once a blogger always a blogger and commenting is a part of blogging.  I was over at my brother Ramana's blog as usual to check him out because if I don't, he tends to get up to all sorts of mischief.  He was after getting in on the post on comments act too.  Bunc, a regular visitor of his from Ayrshire in Scotland had written a long rhyme in the comment box on Ramana's current single status.  Ramana, after a some years of widowhood appears to be ready to mingle again.  He's got a great track record in relationships because he had a very happy marriage for forty years.  Bunc's rhyme is well worth a glance and can be found here.  As for me, well I don't know how to shut up so obviously I had to come up with a rhyme as well.  This was it: Ramana's a bit of a lad, But there's something that makes him quite sad, He can't find a match,  Though is he is a great catch, It's enough to drive anyone mad. Not quite up to Bunc's standard, but I was quite proud of it. Someone who is good at rhyming posts is David McMahon of Authorblog, who recently returned to blogging.  He often posts short posts which are simply short rhymes and all entitled "Verse and Worse".  The first time I stumbled upon "Verse and Worse" I commented: Talk in rhyme, All the time. David seemed to like that commented because he commented right back.  So I must have done something right. I Comment Therefore I Am is hosted by Unknown Mami. [...]



Saints & Other Holy People

2011-01-07T18:10:17.333+05:30

When I was a kid, say around ten years old, I wanted to be a saint.  I wanted to be a saint because saints evoked a huge amount of admiration in the people by whom I was surrounded.  As a Catholic child who went to a Catholic school - well, it was a government school, actually, but in Ireland, back in those days, need I say more?  All our teachers were Catholic.  The priest came in at least once a week and talked to us.  The emphasis in those days was always about being Catholic.  Not Christian, Catholic.  As I entered my teens, all my activities were church-based.  I was in the church choir.  I was in the Catholic Girl Guides.  Now the scout and guiding movement founded by Robert Baden Powell was basically Christian but non-denominational.  There was, however,  a Catholic version just for us.  The priest was present when we were sworn in as Guides, as if the ceremony was a church sacrament.  I joined a dance class as well, but the premises was rented from the local church.  The background was completely Catholic. The problem with an ambition like wanting to be a saint was, it was just too difficult.  I read up on some of the lives of the saints and the standard was so high that to even think of achieving such a thing  was like thinking of  scaling Everest.  If you wanted to be a saint you had to: Enter an enclosed convent when you were still in your early teens.  Have regular apparitions from Jesus and Mary. Everyone would hate you while you were alive, but once you were dead everyone would praise you and say you were great especially when prayers to you cured people of cancer and the like. When your body was dug up for inspection when your canonization process was going on, if as much as your little finger had crumbled into dust, your case was a goner.  Your body had to remain miraculously preserved after death. You had to keep a detailed spiritual diary detailing all the agonies you suffered.  This was great because all your future devotees would hate the people who had persecuted you and they would go down in history as wicked people.   You had to remain a virgin for all of your life. I didn't think I'd have any problem with the last two conditions.  All that had to be done was keep a daily diary and refrain from getting married.  The first four conditions gave me a great deal of worry.  No convent would admit you until you were at least eighteen years of age.  So how come all these saints were allowed to do it?  It wasn't fair.  Jesus and Mary never showed up either no matter how much I prayed to them.  I wasn't too comfortable  with the idea of everyone hating me during my lifetime, although some comfort could be derived from the fact that they would get their comeuppance when my spiritual diary was eventually published.  But even if all these factors could be sorted out, how could I prevent my body from crumbling into hideous dust after my demise?  I was disgusted.  It wasn't fair.  Religious ecstasy would never be mine.  All the seats in the saints corner in Heaven were obviously gone.  I plunged into some kind of spiritual depression and was unable to enjoy anything in my life.  Certain people in my life were plagued with my questions and concerns, not to mention my demand for answers, yes, answers.  The first was my dear mother.  Ma, I'm really sorry I drove you mad in those days.  The other person was my class teacher, Mrs. H.  Sorry about that Ma'am!  The other person, to whom I'm not in the least bit sorry, was[...]



In the Line of Comment

2011-03-03T15:06:21.495+05:30

Welcome to the weekly comment feature hosted by Unknown Mami in which she, I (and hopefully a few more bloggers, linking up) blog specifically on comments.  We want to get some of the good stuff in the comment boxes up onto the home page because some of the best things that happen in the blogosphere happen in comment boxes. I was over at lisleman's blog last week, in which he described meeting a man who was suffering from cancer.  This really touched me.  I lost my father to cancer when I was just thirteen (I'm 47 now) and my mother is a cancer survivor.  I commented: I always read cancer posts carefully. You know, I lost my dad to cancer when I was just 13. My mother, on the other hand, is a cancer survivor. She's still alive and you know I'm 47 and I still need to have my mother around somewhere. I think your friend is doing exactly the right thing, living his life to the full. That's what it's all about.  Unknown Mami, who hosts this feature, has a very big heart and shows compassion for the pain her fellow bloggers go through.  She mentioned in her recent I Comment Therefore I Am post about a blogging friend of hers, Mediocre Mama, who was going through a divorce and would therefore be celebrating Christmas for the first time without a partner.  Very sad.  She asked her readers to go over and read the post on the subject and leave some comment support.  Of course I did.  I commented: Hi, I’ve come from Unknown Mami. I can understand how difficult it must be for you. All the crass publicity Christmas gets tells us that you must be part of a happy family and always be in the best of spirits at Christmas. Well, it’s just a day like any other in many ways, and I think the key to enjoying Christmas is to have no expectations, just try to make it happy for others because you tend to get out of these occasions what you put into them. Wishing you all the best…..  Unknown Mami herself is going through interesting times.  She is going through a pregnancy and eagerly waiting the safe delivery of her second child.  After a health scare a few months back which happily turned out not to be as bad as originally thought, she  is now enjoying going through all the stages of pregnancy.  Her recent post 'I'm Nesting' showed how she was at that time experiencing the 'nesting instinct' - that's the urge, for uninformed individuals out there, to clean your house in readiness for the coming baby.   I commented: Oh yes, I surely remember when I got the nesting instinct. Your house gets a great cleanup. Once, on baby no. 3, I tidied up so good that when I got home from the hospital, I couldn't find the baby's clothes which I had carefully put away. Oh, I found them eventually, but still! Make sure that doesn't happen to you. I'm not a great participator in blog giveaways, because most of the blogs hosting giveaways are based in the United States and it's difficult to post items to far away India where I live.  I enter book giveaways with abandon however(sometimes too much abandon), because that's one item which can be posted anywhere.  This Christmas I entered several and was lucky enough to win two of them.  I won a novella (or 'pocket novel' as they're currently known) 'Helena's Bay'  by author Sally Quilford, on her blog. I also won a novel by top Mills and Boon writer Kate Walker on her blog. I hope my winning streak continues.  All I had to do to win the giveaways was to leave a 'pick me' comment in the comment box.  Well commenting comes as second nature to me.  Incidentally, Kate Walker asked a question in h[...]



Commenting - a Blogging Activity

2011-03-03T15:07:28.454+05:30

Welcome to the weekly comment feature hosted by Unknown Mami and usually participated in by me, in which she, I (and hopefully a few more bloggers linking up) blog specifically on the subject of comments.  Comments which we've left on blog posts and sometimes comments we've received. Because some of the best things which happen in the blogosphere happen in comment boxes. Commenting is very much a blogging activity.  If you are a blogger who seriously wants people to come to your blog to read and comment, you have to make the effort to get out there and read and comment on other blogs.  It is probably the most significant blogging activity after posting.  Strangely though, commenting is often the first activity to go when we get busy.  Last month (November 2010) I did the NaNoWriMo project, that is, I undertook to write a novel in the month of November.  I partially succeeded.  I reached the word count but didn't get to finish the novel.  It still lies unfinished because I cannot dedicate anything like the amount of time to novel writing this month that I did in November.  I had fun though.  The thing is, my commenting activity shrunk to about a quarter of it's usual level.  My schedule's all upset now and there are so many posts I have to catch up on on various friends' blogs. I went over to Hilary's blog The Smitten Image last Wednesday - no, make that Thursday - and checked her Wednesday Posts of the Week list (POTW).  I was happy to find my blogging friend Unknown Mami in the POTW list.  I was not too surprised to learn that - with my recent lag in commenting activity - I'd missed a gem of a post.  Thanks to POTW I didn't miss out.  Hilary's Posts of the Week and Mrs 4444 (pron.' fours') Saturday Sampling are invaluable for any blogger who's falling behind in their blogging.  On Wednesday on Hilary's blog and on Saturday on Mrs. 4444 you get a list of really good recent posts which help you to catch up on the blogosphere's best (I just want to take this opportunity to thank lisleman for nominating me for Saturday Sampling this week - thanks lisleman - although you don't have to wait to be nominated - you can go over there and leave your link to whatever post you'd like people to see and read and you can read and comment on a few yourself!). Unknown Mami's post dealt with the subject of the idealism of youth.  She was sitting in a restaurant one day recently and spotted a young, exuberant couple who were full of youth's idealism.  Now when you hit thirty, (or in my case, 45) and you spot something like that, it makes you feel a little world weary and cynical.  I commented: I always try to keep my sense of wonder, I don't want to grow old and cynical. It's hard, though. I remember once a relative of my husband arrived at our house full of joy with his wedding invitation and I found it hard to see his face, full of hope and joy now that his parents had found a girl for him (because that's the way it works in India, or rather has until now.) "Getting married? Oh, you poor thing!" I exclaimed, laughing. Looking at his puzzled expression, I was quick to pat his arm and say, "only joking!" But the truth is, I'd been in his place just ten years previously, deliriously full of hope and joy. Then, after marriage, disillusionment sets in with problem pregnancies, tension with the spouse (sometimes) and the mother-in-law matters (less said the better!) If I'd known all that was ahead, would I have gone ahead? Probably! But still.... Apart from POTW, Hilary's blog has lovely posts too. Most of them ph[...]



The Lesser of Two Evils.

2010-12-18T02:56:03.179+05:30

Oh, gosh, something unspeakably awful has happened.  My routine's all upset and Yash and the kids are home and under my feet all day and I forgot that this is (was) consortium night when I and my Loose Bloggers Consortium (LBC) all post simultaneously from our various places on the planet.  Shame on me!  Oh, I speak in jest, I'm not ashamed really, I speak for formality's sake only.  But I don't like missing the boat where my LBC friends are concerned.  I usually look forward to my LBC Friday nights.  But better late than never.  So here goes.  I have decided to illustrate the point with a bit of microfiction. Ramana's Choice "Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble," cackled Grizelda, adding a few grey newts to the mixture bubbling away in the cauldron.  "Only a little more time to go and I shall have my way.  Mwahahahaha!" "What on earth are you doing?" asked Belladonna in horror. "I'm casting a spell," replied Grizelda.  "Soon the handsome Ramana shall be mine forever!" "This is not right," replied Belladonna.  "Ramana is not a man who is easily moved by spells and tricks.  I think the two of us should appear before him and ask him to choose which one of us he likes.  What do you think?" "Well....what if he says no?" said Grizelda. "Says no to us?  Are you joking?" replied Belladonna with a sly grin.  "We can turn him into a toad if he refuses.  Of course, he'll have to say no to one of us.  Let's make a promise that whichever one of us he chooses, the other one will respect his choice."  Reluctantly Grizelda agreed. The two (extremely attractive) witches jumped on their broomsticks and headed off to the magical city of Pune in India, where there lived a very handsome and attractive prince....er, man! named Ramana. Ramana could hardly believe his eyes when he opened them to find himself facing two gorgeous witches, fairly aggressively demanding that he choose one of them to be his bride. "I'll choose the one who can make me rich," he replied.  However, both ladies were equally adept in that area, so some other criterion had to be decided. "Okay, the one who can cure my spondylosis," he replied.  Again, no problem. "Okay," said Ramana desperately, glancing at the slender and short Grizelda and the tall and rather plump Belladonna.  "I choose Grizelda!"  Belladonna bellowed in anger and vanished in a puff of smoke. Grizelda found out that life in India wasn't all it's cracked up to be.  She had to learn to cook Indian food and wear the sari.  Her broomstick came in very useful as this kind of broom is used for sweeping the floor in India.  She didn't get much time for her spells either as she was too busy picking stones out of the dal and rice.  She sometimes longed for a little appreciation from her husband. "Ramana," she asked him one day.  "What made you realize that you truly loved me and not Belladonna?" "I didn't," he replied.  "You were shorter and thinner than your companion.  You were simply the lesser of two evils.' That did it!   She turned him into a toad. This topic ('The Lesser of Two Evils') was chosen by Conrad.  This is my weekly post for the Loose Blogger Consortium. We are a group of bloggers from different parts of the world with diverse views and styles of writing, and we post simultaneously (well, we try to) on a weekly basis on a given topic.  Currently active members are, in alphabetical order Ashok,&[...]



No Comment!

2011-03-03T15:08:24.467+05:30

Welcome to the weekly post feature hosted by Unknown Mami in which she and I (and hopefully a few more bloggers linking up), blog specifically on comments.  Comments we've left and sometimes comments we've received.  The aim is to bring some of the good stuff out of the comment box and up on the homepage, because some of the best things that happen in the blogosphere happen in comment boxes. "Give me some comment love," I read next to a comment box one day.  This was a new phrase for me. Comment love?  I started hearing it everywhere after that.  But I've received something called comment hate as well.  It's truly horrible.  There are people known as 'trolls' who go around leaving nasty comments in comment boxes which distresses blog owners  badly.  I've never met a 'troll' yet, but I suppose there's time.   A troll is someone you can block or ignore but what if a regular reader/commenter turns hostile?  It's happened to me. A few days ago I wandered in to a blog I stopped visiting about a year ago.  I had a bad experience with the blog author and that was why I stopped going.  I don't really know what I was doing there -  I'd probably hit the wrong key - again!  Hitting the wrong key can get you into terrible trouble, but after I switched from using a manual to a keyboard mouse it invariably happens from time to time, especially when I get a little tired. While I was there, I glanced at the current post - and my blood froze.  It was an anti-Christmas rant and it reeked of hatred, bitterness and resentment.  The sentiments were disguised in humour which was more sarcastic than humorous.  According to the author, people who celebrate Christmas anywhere in her vicinity will "have their ass carted out of the village in a shame carriage (whatever that is!)" to be thrown in a water body. If they are in any way traumatized by the event, there are a number of 'therapies' she recommends to ease their pain, ranging from drinking themselves to death to performing duties in the local Hindu temple.  Friends, I didn't leave any comment.  I just left. This  blog author, like me, is a woman of western origin who lives and blogs in India. She's gone the whole hog and embraced Hinduism too, unlike me, who married a Hindu and didn't convert. She certainly has all the zeal of the new convert and exhibits an Orwelllian approach to all things Indian versus western.  That is, Indian good, western/Christian bad.  Some Indophile westerners do that all right.  A year ago, I had the misfortune to hit the wrong key where this blogger was concerned.  I'd received an animated 'seasonal silliness' email from a friend with instructions to pass it on to ten more friends.  This blog author's name was in my address book because we'd engaged in a few email conversations regarding comments on each other's blogs.  Her name begins with a letter near the beginning of the alphabet and by chance she happened to get one of those emails.  She took me to task with a couple of sharp emails questioning my supposed impudence.  I explained that I'd sent it by mistake and asked her to ignore it, making it very clear that I understood that this kind of silliness was not for her.  Sadly, my hard found peace with her was blown to hell a few weeks later.  I again hit the wrong key (thanks to the keyboard mouse) and she got a cheery email from Yahoo! informing that I 'wanted to be[...]



Musical Instruments

2010-12-10T23:15:49.298+05:30

I can't play any musical instrument.  I studied music at school, can carry a tune, was in the choir and love European classical music.  I adore opera.  Bizet is my favourite composer and 'Carmen' is my favourite opera.  How cheesy can you get?  I deplore the fact that Don Jose kills Carmen in the end.  I just like the opera, that's all.  Carmen is not a very admirable type, she's the antithesis of me. I don't mean I'm admirable, I just mean that values wise she's very opposite to what I would admire.   But I do admire her individuality and free spirit especially in such a male dominated society.  I also like the fact that it's in French as it's a language I've learnt.  I love the lavish sound of an orchestra.    I can go into ecstasies over a nice piece from 'La Traviata' or whatever. Don't get me wrong.  I like rock music too.  I grew my hair long so I could hang out at rock concerts and do 'headbanging'.  Oh, yes, I looked quite a sight in those days, long hair, leather jacket, you know yourself.  Half of the girls in my class were into punk music and safety pins and pink hair, if not everywhere, were certainly in evidence when we met after school.  Here's the conundrum.  I liked disco music too.  I was a confirmed Bee Gees fan and had lots of their albums. Some of the girls in the class (Caroline, Jacqueline - nearly every girl born in Ireland in 1963 was called Caroline or Jacqueline because JFK visited Ireland that year - those are the names of his wife and daughter, as if you didn't know) used to go to pubs at the weekend (so daring!) and watch a little known group called U2, performing live,  who were trying to get a recording contract.  I remember when they brought out their first single.  It was a 3-track EP called U2-3.  The main song on it was called 'Out of Control'.  One of the girls brought it into school and played it on the school record player.  I thought they were a pathetic lookiing bunch but today they are international superstars.  This is thirty years later.   What does all this have to do with musical instruments?  I'm getting there.  I love music and I'd like to think that I have broad type of taste.  But I can't play anything.  Musical instruments I like depend on mood.  When there's a celtic twilight mood on, I like the harp.  When I want to freak out, it's the electric guitar for sure. I like the sound of the Indian sitar when it's added to rock songs.  It's so freakingly exotic.  I'm not much of a jazz aficionado but I do enjoy listening to it if that sort of mood is on.  When I feel like being dramatic I'll get stuck into opera and forget my way out again.  But sadly, apart from a few guitar chords learnt in my early teens, I can't play a musical instrument. Actually, for me, the very best musical instrument is the human voice.  Whether it's baritone or soprano.    Intense Debate comment system is installed.  If you would like to leave a comment, please click on the title of this post and allow a little time for the comment system to load - thanks!  This topic ('musical instruments') was chosen by Grannymar.  This is my weekly post for the Loose Blogger Consortium. We are a group of bloggers from different parts of the world with diverse views and styles of writing, and we post simultaneously ([...]



A Comment Can Change Your Life!

2011-03-03T15:09:23.079+05:30

Welcome to the weekly blog feature hosted by Unknown Mami and participated in by me (and hopefully a few more bloggers linking up) in which we blog specifically about comments.  Comments on our blogs.  Comments which we have made and comments which we have received too. I often say when I'm writing this post that some of the best thing that happens in the blogosphere happens in the comment box.  Believe me, I know.  I have several commenting stories and I'm about to tell one right now.  First, let me explain that I belong to the Loose Blogging Consortium(LBC), a group of bloggers who post simultaneously on Friday nights.  We've become very close friends over the last year or so - well as close as it's possible to be via the computer.  One of my fellow members is Rummuser of Ramana's Musings, Last year I was visited his comment box on one of the Friday evening posts.  There was already a lively conversation going on in there.  Maria of  Silver Fox Whispers, a fellow LBC member, commented to Rummuser: I have to laugh because I write to you as comfortably as I write to my own brother Rummuser responded: I am flattered. In India, we have a system of women adopting men as their brothers by a simple ceremony of tying a string around the wrist of the men. The men then are obliged to protect and pamper the adopted sister!  That sounds good to me!  I am familiar with that custom because I live in India too.  On that festival my daughters usually tie an amulet called a rakhi on the arms of their brothers which reaffirms their bond.  I never had a brother and I always wanted one so I commented: That is a great idea Ramana Bhai. I shall tie a rakhi on you when we meet (whenever that may be) 'Bhai' means brother.  Rummuser seems to have gone a bit confused at this point.  There he was conversing with Maria Silver Fox and next thing gaelikaa (also called Maria) chips in.  But the confusion was soon cleared up and he gallantly accepted my offer.  He actually posted about it too.  The post makes lovely reading.  The comment section which followed that post is one of the most memorable I have read.  No, it's the most memorable.  All our mutual friends were commenting.  Some of the Indian commenters were even congratulating us on our new relationship which I found intriguing to say the least.  It seems I'd entered into a sort of platonic non-marriage.  And me a happily married woman!  Well there you are.  Life is strange.  Some people who know me may find it odd when I refer to my 'brother' in posts.  Well it's none other than my dear rakhi brother.  I've never met him, I have to use a courier to send him rakhis.  But he's always there for me.  He listens to me moaning and groaning and ranting and raving about the vicissitudes of life.  He is also very supportive of me in all my endeavours. It's amazing what you find in comment boxes.  I still sometimes can't believe I found a brother in one! I Comment Therefore I Am is hosted by Unknown Mami.  I've just had a new comment system installed.  If you would like to leave a comment, please click on the title of this post and allow a little time for the comment system to load - thanks! [...]



Gossip

2010-12-03T15:03:36.942+05:30

Long ago, before I got married and came out to India, I happened to hear a friend of mine being gossiped about on the bus.  It was awful.  My friend was going through an unplanned pregnancy.  Her health was bad.  She wasn't married to the baby's father and it looked like they were never going to be as their relationship had been going though a difficult period.  I knew the agony she was going through.  And there was this woman in the seat opposite me picking through my friend's life with a fine tooth comb in public.   I coughed.  She looked up.  I gave her the filthiest look I could muster.  That shut her up.  She thought she'd never get off that bus quick enough.  The sad part was that I know that the woman gossiping was someone who has had her share of heartaches and breakups.  She raised four children alone.  In hindsight, I regretted giving her such a bad look, I really respected her otherwise. Gossip makes predators out of nice people.  It's so sad.  We all indulge in it.  It's quite delicious actually to discuss and speculate over people's private matters.  But we would all like to be treated with respect and discretion ourselves. It's okay to gossip about who's getting promoted or how much the payrise will be.  But when it comes to discussing other people's personal lives we should avoid it like a poisonous snake.  I'm not condemning others, I've gossiped with abandon myself when I had the chance.  But it's wrong. A former Miss India, Nafisa Joseph,  committed suicide a few years ago when her engagement was broken off.  It is quite possible she could have recovered from the break-up and gone on to live a meaningful life and maybe even married another man.  But she was in a weak emotional state and it was quite possibly fear of facing people and having them discussing her private life drove her to take this step. As a child preparing for my first Confession I was thought to examine my conscience every so often and see if I have done something wrong.  This is a good habit if we can do it without useless guilt.  I find I have to check up on what my mouth has been up to every so often.  No matter how much we all say gossip is wrong, we can all fall into the trap of doing it if we're not careful. I've just had a new comment system installed.  If you would like to leave a comment, please click on the title of this post and allow a little time for the comment system to load - thanks!    This topic ('gossip') was chosen by gaelikaa.  This is my weekly post for the Loose Blogger Consortium. We are a group of bloggers from different parts of the world with diverse views and styles of writing, and we post simultaneously (well, we try to) on a weekly basis on a given topic.  Currently active members are, in alphabetical order Ashok, Conrad, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Judy,  Maria and Rummuser.  Magpie 11  is currently unwell and  Ginger, Anu and  Helen are on hiatus.  Our emeritus member is  Marianna. If you have time, please visit the other group members and see their take on this subject. [...]



This Week's Commenting Adventure

2011-03-03T15:10:13.953+05:30

Welcome to the weekly post feature hosted by Unknown Mami where she, I and hopefully a few others linking up write a post about comments.  They are usually about comments we’ve left on other people’s blogs and occasionally they are about comments which others have left on our blogs.  Actually, some of the best things that happen in the blogosphere happen in the comment box. As some of my regular visitors may know, I’m not visiting or commenting too much these days on account of the fact that I’m writing a novel with the NaNoWriMo programme.  But I’ve managed to visit a few. I was greatly amused by the post on Bossy Betty’s blog about sneezing.  In the English speaking world, people have a habit of saying ‘bless you’ when someone sneezes.  This is because of an old English superstition that the soul can escape in a sneeze!  Many people who bless sneezers don’t even know why they do it ‘though and Betty finds that quite irritating.  I commented:  Hey, Betty, don't take it personally when a person blesses you for sneezing. It's cultural. They can't help it. Have a heart, they are probably quite embarrassed. Ignore, ignore, ignore! I dropped in on my dear friend Zuzana at “Life Through Reflections,” a beautiful, thought provoking blog with lovely pictures and great writing.  She was talking about how dependent we are on various gadgets.  I commented: I love my laptop and phone too. My phone, as of now, contains my camera. Yes, it becomes very difficult to live without these tools, our lives are bound up in them. Actually, my laptop is like my lifeline.  Through it I do my writing work and connect with friends and family too.  How life has changed.  But while it’s nice to dream of the simple life, my life is so much richer and more enjoyable with my telephone and computer! That’s it from my take on “I Comment Therefore I Am” for this week. I Comment Therefore I Am is hosted by Unknown Mami. I've just had a new comment system installed.  If you would like to leave a comment, please click on the title of this post and allow a little time for the comment system to load - thanks! [...]



Wacky Ideas - Places

2010-11-26T20:44:10.926+05:30

When I saw the given topic, I was a bit worried.  I'm rarely stumped for inspiration especially when given a post title or a prompt, but 'wacky ideas' has been tried from different angles on Loose Blogger Consortium posts before.Then the inspiration struck. When I first got the idea of marrying an Indian and coming out to live in India, i.e. moving from one place to another, lots of people thought that that was a wacky idea.  I didn't care.  I still don't and I think it was one of the best things I ever did.  It changed my life forever and gave me a unique angle or viewpoint on modern civilization. I soon discovered that ideas which seem perfectly logical and feasible in one part of the world can seem downright ridiculous in another.  The idea is or rather becomes wacky depending on the place. I remember the Prasads.  They were a family who lived near us when I was newly married.  They used to visit our house a lot.  The entire combined family had four daughters, no sons.  What perfect little Indian girls they were.  I learnt a lot from them.  They were being traditionally brought up as I remember (it was sixteen years ago) and they all had names like Pinky and Chinky.  They found it incredible, even wacky you can say, that I did not speak the same language as my mother-in-law.  As far as they were concerned the situation was unthinkable.  I thought they were the ones with the wacky ideas.  As far as I was concerned, the husband was the main man in the equation, everything else was secondary. Ah!  But I was yet to learn that a woman's relationship with her mother-in-law can make or break a marriage in India.  I know it now. There is an idea in India that the paternal grandparents of a child are the 'real' grandparents.  I was horrified to find out that the mother's relatives are almost considered as secondary relatives.  To a person comiing from the west, that idea seemed not only wacky, but downright unfair too. I remember telling my father-in-law what I thought was an incredibly wonderful story.  A friend of mine came out of a bad marriage, got a job and a house for herself and her two children and ended up back on her feet and doing well.  Sans husband of course, but since he was a sod, no loss as such.  My father-in-law thought the ending of the story was miserable. "But she's alone!  How awful!  Why can't she go and live with her brothers?" he asked.  The idea of my friend living alone with her two daughters seemed unbearable to him. Why go and live with your brothers?  Taking up room in their house, living in cramped conditions and having sister-in-laws resenting your presence in their personal space?  No, no, no!  Independence is best.  It doesn't mean you can't be together in your heart. I later found out that years ago, his aunt was widowed with two children while still in her teens.  In joint families, it can be difficult to live without your man.  He's your connection with the family.  Otherwise, you and your children may be overlooked.  A woman always has some place of honour in her father's or brother's house.  So this aunt came and lived in her brother's house throughout her life.  She was, apparently, an indispensable help in bringing up her brother's large brood of kids.  Moreover, they apparen[...]



Commenting Stories!

2011-03-03T15:11:04.910+05:30

Welcome to the weekly blog feature hosted by Unknown Mami, where she, I and hopefully a few more bloggers, linking up, write about comments.  They could be comments on our blogs or comments we've left on other's blogs.  Some of the best things that happen in my blogs happen in the comment box. I'm not visiting too many blogs these days because of my novelling adventure, but I try to visit some every week and I'll be back to my normal visiting routine after November and my novel is finished.  I left a few comments around, however, and here are some. I visited Linda's blog To Behold the Beauty, and read her post 'A quirky co-worker.'  She wrote about an old co-worker who used to join in her jokes and play along when they worked together.  I couldn't resist telling her: I love it when someone picks up the thread of my (admittedly weird) sense of humour - and joins in.   I remember co-workers like that too. I used to work with a girl called Amanda and we used to do a lot of stuff like that when we worked together.  If anyone saw us at it, they'd probably have thought we were mad.   Did you ever read a line on a blog and think, like Oscar Wilde once said, "I wish I'd said that"?  That happened to me when I visited Cheryl K's blog "Lake Mary Musings", this week.  She had a photo of a shiny lizard in her post  "November Still Life" which she referred to as a bit of 'bling in the form of garden art!'  I loved it.  So I commented: I loved the photos and I also particularly enjoyed your remark about bling in the form of garden art! Perfect! Some post titles can be very misleading.  Take the one entitled "My Near Death Experience"  by Susie on her blog "A Slice Of My Life". I thought I was in for some drama and trauma etc.  Not a bit of it!  A slug had entered the writer's home and nearly terrorised her to death.  She had to call her husband to rescue her.  I commented That’s a nice man you have there; mine would have left me to die No, Yash is not the kind of husband who comes running to rescue me.  I've faced rats, mice, lizards and even snakes by myself although in fairness, if there was any real danger he'd come running all right.  No harm.  It's toughened me up nicely. Well, that's  my take on I Comment Therefore I Am for this week. I Comment Therefore I Am is hosted by Unknown Mami.  I've just had a new comment system installed.  If you would like to leave a comment, please click on the title of this post and allow a little time for the comment system to load - thanks! [...]