Saturday, October 27, 2007

My type of brain!

Your Brain is Blue

Of all the brain types, yours is the most mellow.
You tend to be in a meditative state most of the time. You don't try to think away your troubles.
Your thoughts are realistic, fresh, and honest. You truly see things as how they are.

You tend to spend a lot of time thinking about your friends, your surroundings, and your life.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Engagement Tag

I have been tagged by ITW and this time it is an engagement story tag and that too my own. Well, be prepared for a disappointing account-no thrills here just the routine ‘girl seeing’ story. It was however made a little interesting by my uncle who negotiated on my mother’s behalf.

The story begins with a rejection of our proposal by a gentleman in Kumbakonam. He was a diamond merchant from Sri Lanka whose son was employed in Jalpaiguri. He corresponded with my uncle to the extent of writing that his son would abide by his decision and there was no need to have a formal girl seeing session. He offered to drop in casually for a peep at the girl and if all went well the wedding could be held between the 1st and 15thof June of the same year because that was the only time that his son could avail leave. My uncle insisted on seeing the boy and refused to entertain his request to have a casual ‘peep’ at me. Finally the gentleman backed out for some silly reason but his rejection made my uncle adamant that he would see to it that I got engaged if not married by the 15th of June and he started negotiations on a war footing!

Likewise my husband’s family had negotiated with quite a few families in Calcutta and Jamshedpur and when nothing materialized my mother in law sent my father in law to Chennai to stay there and ‘look’ for a suitable girl. He thus landed in Chennai with the sole intention of hunting for a bride for his son. My uncle advertised and my father in law responded with suitable references of people, some of whom were known to our family. I later came to know that other aspects being satisfactory, neither of them matched horoscopes thinking that the other person would do it. Finally my uncle invited the family to come over to see me.

Since my uncle lived in another town in Tamilnadu, I was blissfully unaware of these developments and had applied for admission to a B. Ed. As well as B. Lib. Course and was awaiting an admission offer from either of the colleges or both. So when a telegram announced that a family from Jamshedpur was expected to arrive to 'see' me, I was totally unprepared. It so happened that I got an admission offer on the very day these people decided to come over and I was hoping that even if I was engaged the family would let me do my B. Ed. For me, more than the career prospects, the thought of being allowed to continue at my mother’s place was reassuring.

The actual ‘girl seeing’ formality was neither exciting nor an eventful occasion to recall or remember. I remember feeling hot and waited for permission to change into some casual attire hoping that the trio would go away soon. But that was not to be. My uncle had guessed that my father in law would have short-listed more than one girl to see before asking his wife and son to come over from Jamshedpur. He was certainly not going to let them off easily. It was already June 10th and he had a point to prove. He requested my husband’s parents to convey their opinion immediately. My father in law was also not prepared for this. They had plans to visit another family and decide on the better of the two. However, this could not be disclosed. He started giving some excuse and from an inner room I was trying to figure out what was going on. My mother looked equally confused and I was beginning to enjoy the situation. My younger brothers, brats that they were, came in to give me a minute by minute account of the developments.

“The boy and his parents have been shifted to grandfather’s office.” They’d announce. Peeping from behind a half closed window they tried to get a first hand view of my future husband’s expression.

“The boy’s mother is trying to convince the father to say that they needed time to decide but the father seems unimpressed.” Was the next report.

“What about the boy?” I whispered. In my excitement about my uncle having cornered the boy’s family, it did not even strike me that no one bothered to ask me anything.

“The boy hardly talks” said my brother. “It is his parents who seem to be arguing.”

Finally in about half an hour the trio emerged and my future mother in law expressed her approval and came in to give me a warm hug. There was one more formality to be fulfilled. A formal engagement! The family priest was called and a suitable date around 3 weeks after the ‘girl seeing’ was decided upon and a small engagement ceremony took place within 2 hours of their arrival.

I could believe what had happened. I ought to have felt thrilled but I was more into a shock mood. My brothers had marked my husband’s height on the wall and made me stand by the side to see how short I was in comparison. Every one was excited but me. I tried to recall the face of my future husband but try as much as I might I could not. All I could think of was that I would be leaving my carefree life and going off to an unknown place among unknown faces. I had hoped that I’d be allowed to stay back and finish my B. Ed. I desperately prayed that my marriage be put off till January. “But why?” my mother asked. In 6 months time you will still have to leave. We don’t have a reason to give them." Marriage is a big gamble and in my case as in most cases, it paid off.

Sorry about getting sentimental. It was not my intention. Today we are a happy couple with a good rapport and it hardly matters whether horoscope matched or not. My husband teases me saying that the height mentioned in the advertisement was wrong by 2 inches and that he ought to have taken my measurement before saying yes. I try asking him what transpired between his parents and him in my grandfather’s office. He says that he could have escaped in tact only by saying ‘yes’ so there was no question of saying NO. It was a type of house arrest!

I recently crossed Jalpaiguri on my way to Darjeeling. I remembered the man whose refusal enabled me to marry the man in my life and realized that perhaps all things work together for good.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

My dreams??

Sue asked me to write about my dreams and pass it on the tag to others. I wonder if Sunayana knew me in a previous birth?? How did she come to know that I love dreams. There have been times when this irritating husband of mine wakes me up in the middle of a dream and I’ve tried to go to sleep hoping that my dream session would continue. Well those are dreams in a literal sense. I think Sue wants me to talk of my dreams in a figurative sense. So here I go-

As a teenager I’d dream about owning a bungalow in a small township with an open terrace adjoining a well furnished bedroom and soft music playing till well past midnight. I had read a novel by Indumathi and was totally impressed! I later settled down in a small township and was glad that at least that part of my dream came true. No I have no regrets and feel glad that I can still dream of owning a cute little bungalow. With domestic help becoming scarce, I’d prefer to let my dream remain that way. Its maintenance would exhaust me and I’d sleep off without listening to soft music. So let me DREAM about it for ever.

As a young mother I dreamed of seeing my children settle down to a decent, morally sound life. Life was a struggle back then but since my husband also shared my dream we were able to fulfill our dream to a reasonable extent. I am glad that my children are not only sensible but sensitive to the needs of the less fortunate and are always a step ahead of us in doing their bit for society. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. My sons in law also complement the role of their respective spouses and if and when a daughter in law arrives on the scene I do hope she is also the same. Till then I’d continue to dream of a daughter in law who’d be friends with me.

I have dreams for my country. I dream that in some 20 years from now India will attract talent and brains from the west and we will dictate terms and others would abide by them. But unless we improve our infrastructure and offer basic civic amenities my dream may never be realized. Let us then work together to transform my dream into a reality. I dream that the teaching profession may someday regain its lost position and when a child is asked what he/she would like to become, he/she would proudly announce that she’d want to become a teacher. This cannot happen unless teachers become role models for children to look up to. Already I see a dearth of good teachers in the primary section of prestigious schools and if this trend continues our children will lack motivation and a whole generation will suffer. Let thinking citizens of our country come up with means to rectify the situation before it is too late.

On a lighter note I dream of a day when I don’t have to light the gas and prepare food. I don’t mind drinking cold coffee and eating fruits and salads. I dream that our township has theatres with advance booking facilities and also dream of vehicles that run on rechargeable batteries become the rule rather than an exception, so that our atmosphere would be less polluted.

Finally, I dream of authoring an international best seller but unfortunately I can’t think of a suitable topic. So could any one give me a topic to write on, so that this ambitious dream of mine comes true?

It is long since I pestered Srijith Unni and Starry nights.So I pass on this tag to them and to any one else who may want to take it up.Would srijith and lalitha oblige please?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Lost opportunities...

'For opportunity might knock twice
But age knocks only once.'

I flicked these lines from Joy’s blog. Of course with her permission. I found them beautiful. They seemed to reflect my own experience when on numerous occasions I missed the boat once, got a second chance but it was never the same.

I came to Jamshedpur as a young 22 year old with no great ambition or aim except perhaps to lead a happy go lucky life sans responsibilities. Eight years later I took up my present job. I was a graduate and joined as a Lab in charge which was a non teaching post, created after the abolition of the post of a demonstrator. The nature of work was the same. But promotion benefits were withdrawn. I loved my job and my department. Ours was a college with a difference. I improved my qualification started taking classes but promotion was a NO! NO! I sometimes wonder what might have happened if I had joined as soon as I reached Jamshedpur. I’d have joined as a demonstrator and by now I might have become a Reader since I would have been eligible for promotions. There is a time and age for every thing a late starter is as good as a non starter.

I did not give up easily. I qualified an eligibility test for lectureship and applied as a fresh candidate. My Ph.D. advisor tried his best to arrange for my viva before my interview. My thesis had been submitted but I could be awarded the degree only after the thesis had been evaluated and the viva-voce conducted. Nothing works the way we want it to. Not having a Ph. D. at the time of the interview was quoted as one among other reasons for my not getting the post.

Today I seem to see light at the end of the tunnel. It is a long story but to cut it short, many others like me joined hands a prepared a file and have managed to get it passed by the cabinet making us eligible to apply for a lecturer’s post. I have only 3 years of service left. Past experience tells me that notifications take a long time to get implemented. So when it ever gets implemented I may have retired proving once again that -

'For opportunity might knock twice
But age knocks only once.'