Saturday, October 7, 2017

Nange Paon in Navratri

When I was working and staying in the hostel, I kind of stopped believing in most festivals and rituals. I thought all this was some weird things which people did, it had no scientific base and why should I follow anyone. In the college hostel, vacations were time to go home and not connected with any festival except Diwali. Sophia College hostel was a cocoon in the heart of South Mumbai. The campus with an old palace building was a quiet oasis with trees and birds, in the mayhem of Mumbai. No festival touched it unless the college celebrated it. The Polytechnic had rock shows and one Dandiya night every year, which it soon stopped having by 1988. Only celebration was the Vegetable Biryani in lunch on Sundays. The Polytechnic hostel did not even believe in pampering the children with food. Memories of bread being there round the clock for breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner. For them, while the non vegetarians ate eggs for breakfast, the vegetarian had bread. And then when non vegetarians had a non veg dish, the vegetarian had bread and Dal. I could not believe that I was in India and they could not get a few cooks to make Rotis. Yet we were grateful for the accomodation in Mumbai within the campus. It just meant no additional hours of commute, no taking the local trains or waiting for the buses. It also meant that I took longer to learn how Mumbai lived and get connected to the city.  I never got used to liking the Vada Pav which is the Mumbai favourite food. I thought festivals were not required. I never knew the frenzy with which Mumbai celebrated Ganpati. Nothing ever touched Peddar road and Breach Candy, not even the Ganpati fervour. 

I used to fast a lot in my school days. Fast on Mondays and Thursdays, fast on auspicious days like MahaShivratri, Kevwra treej, Moraakaat, Posi Punam, Janmashtami, Ekadashi etc. Fasting was easy with all the home cooked fasting food. Coming to Mumbai and seeing fasting food available in the restaurants was a huge surprise....that too I  after I moved to the Working Girls hostel. Post marriage, the in-laws barely celebrated the festivals and I was convinced there is no need for any festivities in life. If I am happy, I can be any time and I don't have to create a festival around me to be happy. With my liberal views around not following any rituals, not fasting, not following customs, shopping for gold during Shraddh, an inauspicious period....life went on. Then when I quit my job and was with my baby, I started interacting with people in my building. I actually came down from my 'high horse' of working women being the most efficient ones. I saw that people lived a life and a very efficient busy one without working in an office. I got connected to Matunga market, the small little shops near Kashi Vishweshvar temple. I started asking the flower lady "why have you got these flowers today?Why are people buying these things today?" She would explain to me in cryptic sentences amidst selling to other customers. Sometimes when she could not explain, she would tell me " Tum andar  jaa ke dekho, sab kya karta hai. Fir chahiye toh aana". Go inside the temple and see what they are doing and then if you feel like buying the flowers, come back to me.  Then you know in our country, the festival is never about only Bhagwan in the temple, it is also about eating something specific to that festival, cooking something relevant to that or doing something at home for the festival. I started learning and exploring my festivals again. I started experimenting with initial hesitation and getting bolder as my grasp in it grew. I started looking at the festival as God and expanding further to my contribution to the economy, small vendors making pots or diyas or selling flowers and leaves or some wooden things. I started getting connected to the root of the festival, why Purnima is auspicious and why Ekadashi is good to fast. I mean my Grandmother Bai did all of this but I never asked her why. Not that she ever insisted I do any of the Puja Paath or fasting. But fasting and feasting were equally natural in my growing up years. Am sure my Gauri Bai knew much more about why we did certain things but that time I was not exploring and questioning. The staying in Mumbai and hostel life convinced me that the only thing that mattered was food. The working in hotels put me off stale food for ever as Five star hotels  would keep serving their staff weird food which was leftovers or pre cooked. 
 Starting Fasting did not come easy. I am just learning its benefits and how scientific my culture is. This Navratra I took the easy way out. I declared I will eat one cooked meal and stay without footwear for nine days. I had heard from a friend that he did it and another friend's son also stayed without footwear for nine days. I asked him why he took it on. He said footwear was leather and he did not want to wear animal skin as he was fasting. The friend when I asked him , just smiled. Nange paon is barefeet. In Jharia, we never wore footwear at home. The shoes were removed at the entrance of any household. We never got ready and walked around in shoes. Shoes were dirty and one did not walk in the house with footwear. I walked to the Yoga class without shoes. The feet could feel every bit of stone which had come out from the road. The pavements had more pebbles than the main road. The walk was accomplished without anyone staring at me. Every step I became more aware of my feet and my soles. I could feel the skin, the muscle, the bones, the nails, the ankles. I was not worried about stepping on someone s spit or hurting my feet by a nail or broken glass. Every step got me connetced to my grandmother Gauri Bai. She never wore footwear her whole life. She gave up three things when my Grandfather passed away. Bai was only 21 years old when she lost him. She gave up wearing footwear. She stopped eating his two favourite things White Dhokla and guavas. She gave up eating onions and garlic but I do not know if this was due to my Grandpa's demise or she never ate it. From her I learnt, why we eat certain things in a certain way. In our home, white dhokla was always made and we kids loved guavas. Bai never made a hue and cry about what she did not eat and there was nothing like those things won't be cooked at home. As I had always seen her without footwear in the non existent by lanes and roads of Jharia Dhanbad, I never paid much attention to it.  We six kids used to pull her when we walked with her on the streets. We never thought if her feet was getting hurt by the rubble, A couple of times I have seen her feet getting burnt by walking in the hot sun and a few stray incidents of a glass or nail going in her soles. But it never put her on bed for these reasons. She walked everywhere easily and I tagged along with her to all the four temples she went to in the mornings and the Satsang/ Bhajan or Dhoon in the afternoons. She travelled from Kedarnath to Kanyaumari without footwear. Later my Mom used to tell her to wear footwear when she went in train journeys while using the toilets. She did do that after she turned sixty or sixty five. But the footwear was promptly left aside when back to Jharia. She had Filaria on her legs and yet she could walk barefeet, sit on the floor and slept on the floor. I got present to all this as I went nange paon to the vegetable market, flower market, wholesale market, to see Durga Pujo, to school to pickup children and so on. Every step I took barefeet connected me to Prithvi Ma or Mother Earth. I could pray easily as I was constantly aware of my feet touching the ground. My thoughts did not take me anywhere. Got the real meaning of having your feet firmly planted on the ground. 
On my way back from Yog class, I saw an office going girl walking barefoot. I called out to her and asked her why. She looked at my feet and smiled. She said she has been doing it for seven years and I should fast too...'bhookh nahin lagegi'. And I thought to myself 'aur kankad bhi nahin lagega' , no pebble will hurt. My elder child was mentioning what she learnt from a scientist philosopher in Chinmaya Mission about the magnetic force of the earth and how wearing something with a rubber or plastic sole blocks the flow of the magnetic field. A friend mentioned that it is 'Earthing' and the West is now discovering the benefits of walking bare foot. Similarly, our culture of sitting on the floor for every Puja and meals  gets us connected to the earth's energy and our Kundlani. For me being 'nange paon', got me connected to Ma, my mother, my grandma Bai, my Durga Ma, my Prithvi Mata, my Devi and my children. 

Friday, June 30, 2017

Bali Ha'i - 3

There is Taman Ayun temple which is surrounded by water on all sides and lot of greenery including lawns. We did not explore it completely as we did not want to miss the Tanah Lot sunset. Uluwatu is a temple on a cliff near the Indian ocean and of course a spectacular view. We have kept these two temples for our next visit to Bali. In the Monkey Forest, there are a lot of monkeys, the ones whom we call "Hanuman ji ka roop" ( form of Hanuman) in India. There is a deep gorge with a gushing stream. You can hear it and walk close to it. There are temples and holy springs within the forest. The force of the stream is immense. It is not a gentle meandering one. There is an art gallery inside. Some silly shop construction has happened on one entire boundary wall inside the forest. It is not pleasant to the eye. Central Ubud has a lot of construction going on. Beautiful houses being broken down to make multi storied houses with restaurants or a spa. The beauty of the town is being destroyed slowly, I pray not. The tourist traffic is high. The demand is causing the damage. 

Kept looking for vegetarian food and want to share all the places we explored. Vegan is available all over the place but Soyabean is not my idea of vegetarian food. Indonesian Fried rice Nasi Goreng and noodles were available in most places but the taste differed vastly. The furniture is awesome wooden and extremely comfortable. This is something we do not find in Indian restaurants at all. The toilets are really clean. 
Mamma Mia is authentic Italian pasta pizza place. The pizzas made in wood fired oven, prompt service and very good juices and desserts. The owner came to Bali 25 years back, fell in love and married a Balinese dancer and settled in Ubud. We loved being in his company and listening about Italy and Bali in the same breath. Right from breakfast time, it has guests eating a full pizza each. For us, pizza is a dish which is always shared. Did not see that in Mamma Mia. The staff has been there for years. The owner's son is opening a new restaurant at Denpasar near the university for the students crowd. 
Ibu Rai is a beautiful restaurant in the heart of Ubud. Ibu means a senior lady. She cooked food and sold it to tourists and now her grandchildren run the place. It is hip and very chic. We simply loved the food and its consistency as we went there multiple times for various meals.
Cafe Wayan had traditional floor seating and lots of fountains. It was dark and huge. Every time the staff entered your hut, they removed their footwear and sat down to serve the food. They did this thousands of time in the day and with a big smile. The food had a distinct flavour.
Bridges is a restaurant overlooking a bridge and a stream. It is at a height. Lunch time gives the best view. The waitress was seven months pregnant with her second child and she looked so happy. The service was impeccable. Vegetarian food was okay. The place has he right vibe.
Spice by Chris Salans was another place which is air conditioned, has a bar seating and an upper veranda seating. The open kitchen and the bar are in the centre of the restaurant. It is next to a super market. The mart sells wooden statues which line the entire wall of the restaurant. The staff says Om Swastu everytime a guest walks in or leaves the restaurant. It means let all good happen to all. 
Lotus Cafe is near a temple and a pond and has Balinese dance perfomance happening. Somehow it felt too uppity to eat there though we did go in twice. 
Siam Sally had great Thai food, though the portion size is too small. Service was good and the food was fresh. 
Petani restaurant was all chic with live band playing and very Balinese. We did not get a table there. Most restaurants close by 10 pm types. This place did not have much in veg food. 
Creperie was a place for crepes made by a  very good looking French Chef. It was quiet with a lush green  sit out and wooden furniture. The staff knew from the second visit how the children like their crepes and the husband like his baguette. It had good music too.
Taco Casa was amazing Mexican food all fresh ingredients and lots of vegetables. Just that it looked like a factory in terms of the service station. This was not a place to chill, it was more like eat and go. 
Yoga Barn was really really disappointing. The foreigners come to Ubud for Yoga. Yoga Barn has huge batches of Yoga classes. The Yoga in Ubud has all kinds of stuff including ecstasy dancing, which was very popular. Most of the students are good looking women and very few men. The women are all hot and aggressive. They think this is the best place to learn Yoga and not India. Yoga Barn is all about what good marketing can do to a place. Ubud has become a Yoga centre for a certain kind of Australians, Americans and Europeans... the 'Gora' crowd I mean. The women come to Ubud for months, stay in rented rooms, ride a scooter and talk about Past Life regression, achieving Nirvaana and getting in the real zone and more such jargons. The more such 'heavy duty' words you use, the more up in the Yoga barn ladder, you are perceived. I did spend some time here in the restaurant just observing them. The amount of aggression after a Yoga class is to be seen to be believed. Defeats the purpose of Yoga. Forgot to mention that I had gone there for the food which is totally tasteless. They have some Indian items which taste anything but Indian. I will go one step ahead and say that it has sad food and the worse amongst all the restaurants we visited. Lot of students pack food from the restaurant, which is given in fancy paper boxes and with brown paper bags. I was feeling bad for the amount of paper wasted even if it was recycled paper.  Chatted with a very sweet woman from Singapore who comes to Yoga Barn to destress from work. 

More in the next post as Bali lingers on my mind.









Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Bali Ha'i - 2

When we travel on a vacation, we are in a good mood. Almost everyone we interact with is warm, friendly and helpful. At Tegal Sari in Ubud, there was a subtle difference. Adding to all these qualities, people were completely genuine. No perfunctory hotel talks by the staff. The hotel is very interestingly located in between paddy fields. The owner kept acquiring little strip of land between two paddy fields and built the hotel as and when he got the land. The hotel has two entrances...one is manned, has a parking, ponds with water lilies and you walk into the Reception area which is a hut like structure which opens into a paddy field. They have the temple or Padma opposite the Reception area. It is enclosed and has a gate...very rustic and moss covered.  Subtle music from a nearby restaurant is heard because of the quietness of the place. The pool has trees and paddy fields on both sides. It was raining on and off. We got to see the paddy workers sowing the saplings and the green paddy growing. The pool is not the usual blue tiled hotel pool but tiled with natural rock...of course smoothened a bit. The Champa tree can be found all over Ubud and sure enough it was there at the head of the pool. How do you make out what is the head of the table? Similarly, for me, head of the pool is the deep end. The water was not chlorinated like other pools all over. There is one room which is kind of located on the old overhead tank. It is a circular room with a circular iron steps leading up to it. The other end of the hotel opens into another street which is a minute's walk from the Monkey Forest. This one has a lovely sit out for a reception with a large circular bamboo sofa and a library. There is a restaurant called Warung Semesta which serves Vegan food. Fresh coconut is available at this and the restaurant near the reception , so while going or coming from your walks, you can just have coconut water. The size of the coconut is huge. The entrance is manned by a security guard and a phone which you can use to call the main lobby. Both entrances of the hotel are very fascinating and freeing. This hotel does not try to showcase a bit of Ubud, it is naturally so.

The Museum in Ubud is landscaped beautifully with ponds, statues and fountains. The ticket allows you to a free cup of tea at the Museum Cafetaria, which we missed having. The museum gives you a feel of the history. It was ruled by the Dutch and they caused a lot of havoc amongst the people. Some German person came and has written the history. The museum gives a very 'white' view of Bali. It puts all the trauma the local Balinese had to go through, under the carpet. That way, I found the History museum in Hong Kong, was bold in its approach and showed the British atrocities in their videos. They did not pussy foot around the business of East India Company, which was to sell Opium. None of our Indian museums show the truth of the Mughal and British atrocities, I wonder why. The Ubud Palace is in the heart of central Ubud, just like the museum. The Palace is like a small little courtyard which is open to public. Please don't imagine that you will take hours seeing it. The Kechak dance show happens at a lot of places in Ubud. It is dramatic and gives us an understanding of the Balinese religion and culture which is so similar to ours.

Ubud was created by Rishi Markandeshwar. Bali has entirely Hindu population and Ubud is the most religious and auspicious place for them. All Balinese Hindus believe in Ramayan and Mahabharat. The family is an important part of their life.  Joint family system is prevalent in Bali. Rishi Markandeshwar found the holy springs and medicinal herbs all over Ubud. The Balinese people we met want to come to the Ganga. They know that the Indian economy is doing very well. They want to travel within India as they cannot just imagine the vastness of our country in terms of places, population, temples, religions, languages, colour and more. They know that we have very good education and lot of universities.

The spring water at Pura Teertha Empul supplies water to the entire Ubud and its paddy fields. Coffee is cultivated too.  At Pura Teertha Empul, people come for a holy dip. They stand in a queue and make the offerings of flowers, bathe and pray in the pond. For tourists like us who did not carry a change of clothes, sarongs are provided at a minimal rent. We wore the emerald green sarong with a red sash and bathed. The emerald green satin sarong did make me feel beautiful. There are lockers and basic changing rooms free of cost.Good shopping at this place and cheaper than the Ubud main town. We did not buy anything but I realised it when I went to the Ubud market. That is the thing about holidays, there is always so much to do even when you are chilling. Shop wherever you spot something you like. Do not wait for a better deal as you will spend more time looking for the same stuff and bargaining.
 Mount Kintamani is an active volcano with Lake Batur at its base. The fantastic view from the hills into Lake Batur. Try to find a good place to sit and enjoy your meal. Most places have buffet and they overcharge in taxes. Be firm about the rate you will pay and check your bill. Avoid the restaurants your driver takes you to, as here it is driver getting the commission and bad food.

Pura Besakih Temple is the main temple of Bali. It is built on Mount Agung. There are 23 temples built on various ridges or levels. There is a temple of Blacksmiths. The blacksmith community was the closest to the king as they made swords with which the king could protect his kingdom. The main temple of blacksmiths is here. The multiple pillars are covered with red cloth and look stunning. The split gateway or the entrance is peculiar to all Balinese temples. The village is located there and we saw some lovely local village kids playing in the lawns of the temple. Best is to take a guide here who can explain the entire temple or else you would just walk around not knowing a thing about the significance of each area of the temple. There are chariot like structures where offerings are made on it.The temples are open 24 hours for the locals. For tourists, the temples close at six pm.

Goa Gajah is a Ganesh temple in a cave at the base of a mountain. The cave is carved and has a fresh water spring. Inside the cave there is Ganpati idol and a 3 Shivlings. The walk down the mountain to the cave is beautiful. Sarongs are a must in all temples and given free of cost to wear and return. Amazing leather shops near the temple. Must buy all your bags from here. Needless to say, we did not buy as I did not want to shop during  sightseeing. The temples are so unique that to miss them and shop would be a waste of time.

Tanah Lot temple is what one sees in a lot of Bali pics. It is a temple on the rock in the middle of the Indian ocean. During low tide, one can go to the base of the rock. There is a fresh water spring under the temple. The temple is open for local Balinese Hindus only. One can see a ceremony happening above as you take a sip of the sweet spring water with the waves crashing around you. The sunsets are spectacular in Tanah Lot. Lot of the drivers take tourists here during the day time or when there is high tide and you cant access the sea or the spring water or experience the spectacular sunset.











Monday, June 12, 2017

Bali Ha'i

Bali has been a dream destination for a long long time. We wanted to go for our honeymoon but the airfare seemed too high at that time.. We chose Langkawi instead and did not regret it. In the past whenever we have planned a vacation, Bali features in our short list. I always strike it down because I feel, if we are travelling so far, then we should spend enough time. I do not have a bucket list. As a bucket list , reminds me of the phrase 'kicked the bucket', which means someone died. . Have a list, but not a list of things to do before you die. 

Ubud is calming, scenic and green. It is a religious place for the Balinese Hindus. All the big temples are surrounding the village. Ubud is on the hills and an hour and half drive from the Ngurah Rai Airport. Ngurah Rai is a National hero, a brave soldier who fought against the Dutch. A big statue of his is there in the airport area. Ubud is green coconut, paddy fields and healthy food. People of Ubud do not like to go to Kuta which is the big bad city on the beach.  People are extremely warm, friendly and polite in Ubud. They follow Hinduism. Each house has a Ganpati carved in stone just inside the main gate. It is a huge Ganesh idol and it kind of doesn't allow the passerbys to peep into the house. It really protects the house, in the true sense. 

The Balinese locals are healthy and fit. They are eating their local food whether they are rich or poor. There are men and ladies selling local lunch as they travel in a cycle. The food is served in a bamboo plate. The lady gives a packet of brown paper to them. It has rice, vegetable, a couple of pieces of non veg and some Papaddum version of Bali. The local non veg food is cooked with a lot of vegetables. They eat and return the bamboo plate back to the lady seller. Every restaurant however fancy does have a few Indonesian dishes on the Menu. 

In Bali, the eldest child is called Wayan. Second child is Madey. Third child is Nyoman. Fourth child is called Ketut. This is followed by all Balinese people. From fifth child, the same order is repeated. You saw restaurants and food stores called Wayan or Nyoman or Madey. Then you know which child has started it. There are thousands of Wayan, Madey, Nyoman and Ketut in Bali.The family unit is strong. All live in joint families.  A lady selling Sarongs on the beach in Kuta told me she belongs to the highest Brahmin caste and the eldest child is called a Putu. Wayan is for the lower caste. I am not trying to tell you that caste system is prevalent in Bali. Bali Hinduism is so fascinating. The priests wear all white clothes. They wear shoes in the temples. There are no idols in the temples, only thrones. The offerings are of flowers, incense, fruits and rice. Every shop, restaurant, cashier, hotel has its own little temple. The offerings of flower, food, money and incense stick is kept in a square shape made by green leaves. The offerings are found in all the temples, roadside ones also. The small throne like temples are called Padma. There is usually a Haldi yellow cloth wrapped around the Padma. One finds these offerings outside the entrance of homes and shops. People are not shy about their religion and not apologetic about any aspect of it. Every morning, I saw people carrying these flower offerings and putting it outside shops and temples with a little sprinkling of water and prayers. The person, could be a man or a woman, keeping these beautiful offerings did it without fail at all the places.  and Bali has huge idols on the roads made by a single piece of stone. Some are covered with a black and white chequered cloth or sarong. The Balinese Hindus believe that there is good and bad in all and it goes hand in hand. It is like the fat checks you get in Kolkata sarees or the Kanjeevaram Sarees. 

A shop which sells food or a restaurant is Warung. A Warung can be really upmarket or completely local and small.



Sunday, May 21, 2017

Charity begins at home

Everyday in our house in Jharia, Rotis were made for the dog, crow and  the cow.  I did not live on a farm and we did not have dogs as pets. These rotis were made every single day for them who were stray, homeless or should I say 'free', which really would be more apt. In Fatehpur Galli, no one had pets. Somehow keeping an animal or bird, captive and providing them with the best food and bed, did not gel well with the lane. My grandmother would take a few Rotis every afternoon and go down to find a dog and a cow. The rotis for the crow were torn into pieces and thrown on the terrace. If my grandmother was out on a Teerth Yatra or a pilgrimage, the servants, when they went home for the afternoon nap would take the rotis and give it to the animals. This was not a big deal or some big charity we were doing, it was a routine. Similarly putting grains on the terrace for the birds, was a way of life. Gauri Bai had Bajri and Jowar grains in a Dalda tin with a small round Aluminium mug or measuring cup, we used to go to the terrace across and throw it for the birds.  It is only when I came to Mumbai, I realised, what I thought as a way of life, was not a norm here. Simple practices which enriched my life.

Then after some years, my Dad's cousin kept a Pomeranian dog. All hell broke loose in her house. This was her way to rebel against her family and do something of her own. They named the dog Jackie. Her family of senior citizens, did not like the dog coming in their way or around them as they sat to eat. The dog was not allowed to climb the bed or go in the kitchen. Later everyone just got used to the dog around. He died in some years and then they got another dog and then a pair called Jackie and Julie. The house was big and the dogs did not come in the way. My Aunt was immersed in showering her love on them. Over the years, four dogs came in her house and eventually died. Heartbroken, she did not keep a pet again. It involved not just commitment and patience but a lot of attachment and heart ache. 

Here in Mumbai, our help Lakshmi, makes a bite size roti first, before she puts our Roti on the tawa to cook. That small little piece is a symbolic of keeping aside for the cow, bird and the dog. We used to take Atta or flour and sugar and put it around an ant-hill or a Banyan tree. This was for the ants. Feeding the smallest animal was important, making an ant-mountain in your own house was not. Every time the rotis are made, when you lift the 'Paatlo' or the wooden round platform/ rolling block where you roll the roti, there is a round shape made of the atta / flour which spreads out. Lakshmi always prays to it. She says 'Chand banta hai usko aise hi nahin uthaatey'. She means that it makes a circle and we pray to it as Sun or Moon and then wipe it or clean it. These small things were just there to keep us in the present. Really, not let the mind meander and make the cooking mechanical. The fire was always worshipped and you never threw water on a hot 'Chulha' or even a hot 'tawa'. In Hindi, the  round shape is always referred to as 'Chand' or moon and not as 'Surya' or Sun. May be Sun is too hot to handle.

"Too hot to handle but ready to scandal"... I am even embarrassed to write this sentence. I think during college days, the guys used to say something like this. I don't know if  my over active imagination is telling me this. It was used for whom the boys termed as 'Fast' girls. The definition of a 'fast' girl keeps changing with time but it is always used in reference to a girl.





Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Mobile Menagerie continued

My new phone is a Google Pixel and there is nothing dramatic about it. The time spent in deleting all possible whatsapp images is huge. Everything including voice notes will get saved, no matter what you do. Your full time job is to sit and delete. You can only say that let it save on wifi and not on your cellular data. This is the big thing with the Pixel. Unlimited pictures. Now on my phone, I have a few hundred positive thoughts from Buddha to Paulo Coelho. Each one knows how I can lead my life the best. I have umpteen numbers of videos which other people find motivational and the funny ones too. I don't seem to have any humour left as I delete the clutter from my phone. When I wanted more pics on my phone, they were never about friends' friends dinners, holidays, someone 's nephews and pets, gardens and the new dishes they cooked everyday. I am feeling totally incapable now as a human being, cook, Mother and what not. Basically I do not like my phone cluttered with stuff a.k.a media, I do not want. When I have a huge house, will I keep other people's things, even if there is space? I will not and the same applies to my phone. The phone does not delete when you are watching the media, you have to select and delete or go to the gallery where the bunch of whatsapp images is stored. Go to some other place on your phone to delete the voice notes and a third place to delete the videos. Gosh, I have no generosity for excess. 

And the best is yet to come. Remember the days, when I thought the iPhone charger is so expensive, so short, tears fast and I cannot use other chargers on my iPhone. Viola, I cannot use other Android chargers on my Google Pixel too. The battery life is good but I am fed up of the constant monitoring the phone does on me. It tells me where I have parked, where my office is, how long will I take in this traffic and which mall is close by as I drive for my Ramcharitmanas satsang. Am trying to figure out how to shut all this but Google has no answers. Then like Siri of Apple, the Assistant is ever ready. Now I realise that I never wanted another phone, I just wanted a better Apple phone. Isn't this what people who walk out of their marriage want? A better spouse, which is truly better than the earlier spouse. They think they are looking for a new spouse, but actually the new one has to be better than the before. 

This world has not made me greedy and dissatisfied, I have made myself like that. Always wanting to improvise, not on myself, but on things and people around me. A perfect house found or made with love, soon starts having innumerable faults. The perfect child born becomes an irritating toddler and an over smart teenager. A great party suddenly becomes about making fun of someone who is there or the game to prove I am always right. Attending a wedding becomes about what to wear, what to give, whose was the best performance at the Sangeet and most important how was the food and what were others wearing. The holiday becomes about how the last hotel did not serve well or the driver who drove badly in the last leg of the journey. A marriage for some becomes about hard hard they worked to please their in-laws who never appreciated. People do not take long to get bored and criticise perfectly beautiful settings and relationships. Mea culpa. 


Monday, May 15, 2017

Mobile menagerie

My mobile stories do not end. I am forever in search of a new mobile phone. The reason is not that I am excited about new technology but because I am forever unhappy with my phone. The past two times I have had an iPhone 5 and 6. Lost the first one in the desert sands of Dubai. With the iPhone 6, I have lived in the fear of  loosing it. I have been so alert that I was stressed. I got used to its newness but was always scared that I will drop it. I bought the golden iPhone but put a cover on it so as no harm comes to it. I think I took care of this one more than I took care of my children and it is perfectly okay to exaggerate things. I was just glad that I had an original iPhone cover and not the multi coloured covers everyone around me, has been using. After taking care of the phone so much, I had to keep deleting pics all the time even on a holiday. I hardly downloaded any apps except Whatsapp for friends and school Mom groups and Camscanner for clicking homework and sending to a Mom of a child who missed school. I never downloaded a game or a song as I could never figure iTunes. Later, I could barely hear on the phone. The picture quality was good but since I did not buy the 64GB, my pics would not fit. The battery kept getting drained and I was on 'low battery' so often.

Then I got another phone. It has limitless memory for pictures. It is all wow according to all the reviews. The camera is great. And I am still unhappy. This time because my phone is silver and not golden . It is heavier than my earlier phone. And it is not as simple as the iPhone. Now I remember the husband saying that you won't like another phone after an Apple. I was desperate to get out of Apple. Now I cannot FaceTime. There is no iMessage service to the child's iPad when I am out of the house. Cannot expect people to download Duo in their already bursting to the seams mobile phones. iPhone truly is a dumb man's phone, I am not saying it, a friend told me this. It is extremely simple to use and very less keys to be pressed for any action. I realise the difference only now when I have switched away from it. I have a 'state of art' phone and I am still cribbing and comparing. I was clear I wanted to move out of Apple but now I am not sure of the wiseness of my choice. In fact, friends were thinking I was weird as I was unhappy with the old and new phone. 

This episode has made one thing very clear, in life, things do not make us happy. They have a purpose in our life and we should restrict it to that. Happiness is really within and I have got it flat, now. When our basic relationship with a certain thing is not good, how much ever we keep changing it, it will continue bothering us. For me, things take a human form and I start having attachment or dislike towards it. That is such a waste of emotion and cause of stress. Why can't a phone be just that? Why does it have to overtake my life? Why does the landline keep getting spoilt? We were so happy with just one phone for a family of eleven members and there was so much love. What is there to check ongoinly on Facebook, whatsapp, Instagram and Twitter? What will happen to the world, if I do not get some news or information? Why have I become so dependant on the mobile phone? Why do I feel the need to react to people's pictures, jokes or forwards? Can I change the world with my phone? I do not know if I am capable of that. But I can surely use it as a gadget and nothing more. Like I use the Mixer Grinder only if I need to grind a paste or juice in the kitchen, why can't I have the same with my phone? Use it only when needed then put it away in its place. Use it only for a little while. I do not keep staring at my microwave oven or my mixer grinder then why is this urge to keep looking at the phone screen every few minutes? I am not someone who ever watches Television, then why do I need the mobile phone constantly? Is it because I am looking for some friends or some friendship? Why is it that people who do not take my calls, reply to my messages real fast? What kind of relationships I am having with the people in my life? Points to ponder upon before I sleep. Have we become a menagerie for the mobile phones?