Saturday, 10 March 2012

The Saga of a Bengali Bride

Our new home  on the fourth floor has three spacious bed rooms.The  lovely lounge and the three  balconies  make you comfortable. You can  get a look at the sky as well as the road in front of your apartment. You can  stand and stare at the rushing crowd and feel relaxed as you are no more a  part of the game. It  gives you  a sense of satisfaction and you try to enjoy the leisure.

Yet sometimes I feel bad. I recall the old familiar faces ,the adoring eyes , the halo around my  head , imposed by my  pupils for decades. I become nostalgic as I miss the glory. The sense of isolation prevails as I keep myself segregated from the trend. I  fail to keep pace with the trotters .I  blame my parents. They brought me up like this. They did not have foresight. They never knew about the metro- culture. So I am surrounded by all NO-s and not a single YES. However I forget everything when I look at the wide smile on the face of the cute three-year old ,my neighbor’s child, a delicate darling.
 Like the bright morning sun, she peeps through my kitchen -window and shouts “Aunty—Aunty ---Aunty---“. The graveyard silence is broken. I laugh heartily and reciprocate---“Yes  ,yes my child—come, come---“ and she bids adieu and tucks her face away into her mom’s skirt .Her Mom is a radiologist.

Here at Varanasi, I met a beautiful family. They are a couple with two children—one boy-one girl-the ideal nuclear family. The children are grown-up. The boy is working with some multi- national and the girl is pursuing her medical career in Chennai. The father is a Professor of Microbiology . The mother is a beautiful woman and a perfect homemaker. But she felt ashamed when we were introducing each other..
 “I’ m not working, not earning a farthing for the family. I just pass time gossiping in the Ladies club nearby .Sometimes I assist the children when they prepare for the cultural shows, teach them some mudras of Bharatnatyam or Rabindra Sangeet. Nothing special----.She blushed. “That doesn’t matter”, I said .
“The glow on your face tells ---. Yours is the one of a concerned and contented mother. Isn’t it?”I tried to hide my tripping zeal as I cannot be tagged in the list of successful mothers.
My son is a Revenue Director in a seven star hotel at Dubai and my daughter is a simple arts- graduate and has  a bachelor’s degree in Tourism as well.  She is not a  working-mother like me. But she has achieved her goal as a perfect mother because the tiny lady at her disposal is a jewel in the crown of her married life. The little fairy is the embodiment of perfect calm, composure, courage ,intelligence and beauty. And the credit goes to my daughter who has gathered  a lot of appreciation  for her careful steps taken to rear up  her child which I could not.
 People cast sacrilegious stares at  me when I boast of my two children .I feel I’ve been irresponsible to bring them up in such measures. But my children  never feel like that as they belong to gen X. They are proud of their parents and themselves too which I’m not, I don’t know   , why. Is this the limitation of the generation I belong to? Is this the same gap which I have with my parents? So I try my best to change –and change   even if sometimes I feel suffocated with the irregularities my own children are up to.

The other day my next-door neighbor, an industrialist with a beautiful wife, dropped in---a happy family with a daughter and a son—the daughter, a dentist and the boy, still  building his career ,holding the traditions tightly even if sharing the changing trends----  We had a beautiful evening exchanging our views about our native places and our occupations. The lady with a smiling gesture showed her respect for me as I unraveled my past glory as a teacher. I wished she had a child who could take lessons from me as my  instincts of a teacher tried to get hold of each and everything around me. Now I could empathize why the old man, earlier a teacher, even in his nineties, tried to grab every situation to sermonize whoever came in his contact. This old man is none other than my father who had to gulp down his ego and had to stay with me and my husband—his son-in-law.
Years ago, my mom  escaped to her heavenly abode ,leaving me and my father at others’ mercy. We lived in a small town without any exposure to western culture but we always tried to tag ourselves with our own national  art and culture. Dancing ,singing and acting were our daily extra-curricula and we used to enjoy the evenings ,joining the rehearsals for the cultural shows to be organized on the occasions of Durga puja , Diwali or Holi. Everybody was curious about the role that would be assigned to him or her from the Tagore dance –dramas.
Our dance teacher was a big fan of  Devanand ,the super –duper hero of
 Guide , the film which was a huge box-office success in the sixties or seventies. She also used to teach us Bengali in our school and would scold her whoever hid a picture of Devanand in her notebook and would show it to her friends. As a punishment ,Devanand’s picture would be seized and would be taken to the staff-room where everybody present would try to have a look at the precious possession and finally it would go inside Geeta masi’s handbag as I called her. In that govt. school, our teachers were our kith and kin, there were no Sirs and Mams, no smart classes, no computers ,only big classrooms with huge windows and a lovely garden with swings and slides. We loved our friends without any expectation that they would be useful in  near future.
I enjoyed the music classes because music was in the family. My mother was an A-grade artist in All India Radio. She used to sing   Thumri and Dadra. My father is a violinist who toiled a lot to give a platform to my mother as a singer. My uncle used to play sarod, an instrument Mr. Ali Akbar Khan played. So music was in my blood and I started learning sitar ,an instrument played by Pundit Ravishankar. I also enjoyed the Sanskrit language taught to us by the universal Chachiji who always tried to find fault with the children. I liked this subject because  at home my father used to teach me this language along with English and I used to understand each and every story from the Hitopadesha or Pachatantra.I was able to answer all the questions put to us. At that time I used to mug up the nitislokas even if I was unable to understand many of them. We had to recite them in the assembly, everyday, so we had to learn.
However after so many years , today ,I can realize the true meanings of those slokas as  I can apply them in my real life.
Ours life was simple ,like a straight road leading to its one and only goal, a happy married life after completing the maximum  education. This could be graduation or post graduation in any subject.
It was a special glory for a girl if she could excel herself as a doctor. One could never think of a girl working as an engineer , a lawyer , an architect, a fashion designer , a singer, a dancer , a model or an actress. One of my cousins had to fight a lot to become a doctor. However, teaching profession was assumed the best for a lady.
I lived in a  joint family. My grandmother used  to look after me as my mother went to  school. My mom used to teach English  in my school. Whenever  she came to teach us, I looked with awe at her face .I could not assimilate the fact that she was my mother. At home , my uncle, aunt and my cousins were my best friends. A distance had developed between me and my parents and I hardly used to share my secrets with them. I think that it was the same gap which lurked around my own children   as they did not wish to discuss anything with me even if I tried hard to wipe out the gap.
I grew up and completed my graduation. My father got anxious about my marriage  as my mother was no more. So I got married to an engineer who had recently come back from Canada. Everybody expected that he would
like to eat continental dishes and would talk in English all the while as he was highly qualified and had come back from abroad ,but it was just the other way round. He always loved to look at my veiled face and would never allow me to wear the trendy dresses or the gaudy make-up which was quite usual for the newly-wed bride. All my dreams shattered as I had thought of getting liberated from the taboos of my parental home.   He was highly possessive and would never encourage me to talk to the male-folk. My in-laws were supportive and never tried to impose anything on me .Nevertheless, they  preferred a truly submissive bride who would always dance to their tunes. This was nothing unusual in those days as who would like to be dominated by their juniors and that too especially by the new-comer who must adapt herself to the norms of her new home?
 I can recall many of the funny  incidents of my newly married life which took place on the next day of our reception. I went for a wash in the morning and the body-oil kept in a small container fell into the huge well-like tank in which water was stored for bathing. And somebody was knocking vigorously at the door  as it was getting late as they were very punctual about breakfast. I was really at a fix, didn’t know what to do or how to manage. I started praying . “ Goddess Durga, please help this stupid girl who is without a mother and does not know about the tricks and twists of a married life.” It seemed she heard my prayer and an idea clicked in my mind  and I opened the tap which was connected to the tank with the help of a pipe. Water poured in and started overflowing. The oil got separated and flowed down .At least the water in the tank was not so much oily as to create a fuss in the family about the idiosyncrasies of the newly -wed. At night,I ,all decked up in a gorgeous banarasi, was made to sit on the bed and had to perform some rites like feeding my life-partner some sweets and washing his feet with water  and drying them up with my hair in front of a huge gathering of kith and kin. Then everybody left and one of my sisters –in-law started undressing me .”Hurry up! Just put on this sari and don’t be scared. Hope your husband won’t mind.”I was stupefied and was trying to gather some courage to ask a few questions regarding this ritual. But to my surprise, she  locked me in the dark attic and went away. I was about to cry. A number  of  tiny creatures started welcoming me. The rats were surrounding me as if I was playing the pipe for them. I was trying hard to open the door but it was locked from outside. Ten minutes passed and I was really passing through a mental trauma when  loud peals of laughter broke the uncanny silence and someone opened the door. My Canada-returned hubby was peeping inside  the room and my cousin, who had come with me from my parental house , donned in my banarasi, was making fun of her jamaibabu. Later I was dressed again in banarasi and was made to sit on the bed as it was the custom .I felt a little bit low as the charm of the first night had vanished and everything was crystal clear for me and my husband .Gone were  the dreams of a fantasy-filled  first night ,as we used to find in the 1970 Hindi movies .Forgotten were the words I had practiced so long to utter on this special night. Nevertheless, it was something ecstatic and we were  in a trance .We had never seen each other. We had not spent a single evening together. Yet it seemed we belonged to each other  for decades. The night passed like a soothing melody ringing in  my ears for a long time and was preserved as a  cherished possession which was far more precious than the ornaments I had been gifted during my wedding .
Next day , most of the guests left and I tried to show  my concern  for the household work  but was not allowed to do anything except making tea for the elders whenever they wished. After a few days, we had to leave for Chennai as my husband had to join his new job there. I found that everybody was in a very serious mood. Nobody was talking to me or just tried to ignore me. It was a difficult situation for a new bride to make out the meaning of this all. I was apprehensive. “Have I done something  to bring disgrace to the family? Is it very serious?”So many questions were aroused in my mind that I was totally confused to find any answer to them. I tried to enquire of my husband but he would not talk to me privately in the daytime. He was only giving me instructions to pack up the things we would need there.
Chennai was totally a new place for us. Both of us were unable to understand Tamil and felt very awkward. However, we managed  with English and every day we had some new experiences which filled us with fun. Days passed by in the blink of an eye and I was now preparing for the most important period of my life ----motherhood when my husband left his job , joined another and came back to stay with his family.

Does History Repeat Itself?

When I got married, I had never pondered over what my father said to me. “Well, you would realize when you sail in the same boat where I am now.”, he said. I could not feel the pangs of separation a father had to bear when his only issue parted from him and his better half was also no more to share and care for him.
Time passed and I stepped into the same boat on which my father had sailed. My children took to their own passions and aspirations and catered to their own world which was a little bit different from what I had thought of. But never had I bothered because I knew I cannot break the rules which are imposed on the parents in every generation. So I tried my level best to adjust myself to the changing circumstances and accepted the norms like solitary confinement with all the A1 gadgets to entertain you. The same thing had happened with my father. I provided each and every kind of gadget, books or objects which he liked, yet the void which was there in his world could never be filled up. He missed his partner who used to listen to him for years or sing for him for hours or get his favorite dress or accompany him wherever he visited. He craved for the company who would respect his ideas and follow his footsteps. I wished he could be free and frank to me but the ideas he cherished were always like a cynic who never yields to find out a solution and grumbles. Like a modern woman, I used to think why he could not accept the changing values where work is worship and where there is no room for idle gossip. However, he kept him busy with his books and his violin which was his most coveted companion. But a day came when time took its toll. His frail mortal body was not strong enough to fight any more and death with its horrible jaws crushed him to mere oblivion .When he was alive, I always felt I was chained with his presence as age had withered him and he could not move around like a normal person. I thought I was trapped in the dull moribund schedules and wished to get rid of the shackles like a prisoner. But today when everything is over and he has left me forever, I never can forgive me for the indifference I showed to his ideas.
Now I am sitting all alone in my son’s apartment and am eagerly waiting for his and my daughter-in-law’s return from their work so that I can talk to them or can describe each and every action of mine in this foreign land. My son and my daughter-in-law are very much caring and are always at my service .But the buy and sell syndrome sticks out at every phase and I cannot rule out the challenges they have to meet with .Life is stagnant without any rush and they are happy with the “Eat, drink and be merry” therapy. And I , like the oak tree which stands for ages, watch and watch and never retaliate because I  had expected the same tolerance from  my father which he had shown with full potential.

Friday, 9 March 2012

A kitchen with a difference!

A  Kitchen with a Difference!
Everybody aspires for a fabulous kitchen where you can get the utmost care of your tummy .Here you can also share all your days’ happenings with your family and friends without any worry. But if the kitchen is the most outdated and a clumsy one, your entire thrill would end up in sheer disappointment and you would be totally buried in the smoke of dejection. The best way to get rid of this is to furnish your kitchen with the Custom kitchen cabinets and create an ambiance of the most coveted culinary retreat.
Custom kitchen cabinets with varieties of sizes
The modern lifestyle offers varieties of kitchen cabinets which can suit to your basic needs as well as to your taste and The Custom kitchen cabinets can do wonders to provide greater opportunities for best storage and cooking facilities. There are a number of designs which would serve your purpose .If your kitchen is small, the Custom kitchen cabinets have the size which can fit into your kitchen .If your kitchen is big; they can be selected without any fuss according to the size.
Numerous designs
Who does not like a beautiful and smart kitchen? Everybody does and Custom kitchen cabinets can offer a feast for the eyes for you and your guests too. With lovely designs made of wood, glass or steel, Custom kitchen cabinets can be of your choicest style and color. You would feel great with the glamorous   glee of the gorgeous cabinets or would simply enjoy the serenity with simple, light-colored ones.
Low –budget
The most important or the best part of Custom kitchen cabinet is that it can be within your reach and you never have to fret over your budget. You can get online information about the cost and accordingly arrange for the amount needed. Money is a sordid thing but the question is always there. So first fix your budget and try to get the right one which can go with your budget.
Finally you decide whether you wish to install the cabinets yourself or you wish to get it done professionally. If you wish to get information about all these, you can get online services which are free of cost and you can gather all the information about installation charges and estimates through net-surfing.
If you wish to modify your kitchen, these kitchen cabinets are the best .The dull old doors of your cabinets can be replaced with the shimmering glass and can offer a dazzling look to your kitchen .The contemporary style is also available and along with that the beautiful décor of the traditional workmanship can never to be ignored. Your kitchen with these cabinets would provide nutrients for your body and the soul, both as you spend a lot of time with your family and friends in the kitchen itself. To make you stress-free, you can select these cabinets to enjoy the thrilling sensation of having the best kitchen in the world.

Custom Cabinets

Custom Cabinets-----The Best Deal for Modern Storage System
The modern lifestyle has offered abundance of physical and emotional support to human beings. It has delved deep into the search for the latest amenities for storage and utility purposes. One of them is the Custom cabinets which can pave the way for more and more space to store and make your house a better place to live in. You would never like to see all the things scattered here and there and to throw a tantrum if you cannot find the most important file or book when you need it. So it can be your study -room or it can be your living room, it can be your kitchen or it can be your bathroom, everywhere you can fit these cabinets which are very useful and elegant.
Custom cabinets prepared with materials of high- quality
Custom cabinets are made of   different kinds of materials .Mostly the doors of the cupboards are made of wood which lasts for a long time and does not have a risk of termites or other kinds of damages. Sometimes they have frames which have glittering and scintillating glass fixtures which present a dignified look and garnish the room with an air of sophistication.
Within your reach
 Custom cabinets have different price ranges. If you wish, you can get very gorgeous and expensive ones. If you do not wish to spend so much, you can also select the cabinets according to your budget. You can verify the price-range with other companies and can be sanguine about the right choice of yours.
The most important factor about the Custom cabinets is that they are eco-friendly. They are made of bamboo wood or are made of wood from grass .Thus the question of deforestation does not arise. The material which is used to make these cabinets is often recycled .So these Custom cabinets have an edge over others.
Cabinets made of different types of   wood
The doors of the Custom cabinets are made of different types of wood and the colors are also exciting .They are mahogany, brown, red and many others. You can choose the color and the type of wood and can be sure about their long- lasting quality.
Modern utility purpose
The Custom cabinets serve various utility purposes. There are units for the walls which can be fixed and used as décor .Your living room can glow with the beautiful piece of decoration which would also serve as the place for storage. From your kitchen to bathroom, these cabinets play the most significant role and can lead the most invigorating walk to the shops to buy them. However, you can gather a lot of information online and shop too .Just select the design and make up your mind to install them. Within a short time, they would be installed. But you must provide the exact width and length of the place where the cabinets would be fixed and your coveted kitchen would be ready.

FAQS-Car Hire-9 strategies to feel at ease during your trip to Australia

During your trip to Australia, most of you can have a brainstorm to answer the questions related to car hire in the city. Here we have prepared a list of the few questions which are mostly asked by the people. If you wish to find a solution to the questions, you can click on the desired one and can get an answer to your queries.
Common questions about car hire
Q. Where can I go for hiring the car?
Q. What are the pre- requisites for hiring a car?
Q. Can I get a car with the colour of my choice?
Q. What is the age specified for hiring a car?
Q. Can a debit card be used while hiring the car?
Q.Is there any choice about the credit cards?
Q. What are the daily and weekly charges? And what would it cost for the weekend?
Q .Can I get accessories like blankets used for packing, trolleys, boxes or hydraulic lifters?
Q.Is it compulsory to buy Excess Reduction?
Q. Where can I go for hiring the car?
A. Hiring a car is quite easy in Australia. You can find plenty of depots which supply cars on rent at the airport or in the primary locations of the city. The kiosks, here and there, also provide you with lots of information about hiring the car.
Q. What are the pre-requisites for hiring a car?
A. If you wish to drive the car yourself, you have to present your driving license along with your credit card. The license has to be international and your country-license and your passport are also required. If the driver is someone else, he should also possess the same documents.
Q. Can I get a car with the color of my choice?
A .If your choice-color is available, you can get it easily. If it is not, tell the receptionist in the counter about your choice and he or she can manage it for you.
Q. What is the age specified for hiring a car?
A. Normally they allow you to drive if you are more than twenty-five. Sometimes, it varies from twenty one to twenty five. But they charge some extra money for that.
Q .Can a debit card be used while hiring the car ? cards? the credit Is there any choice about
A. Mostly they don’t allow, but in some cases they would let you use your Master card or Visa Debit card. Direct contact to the car hire company can be a troubleshooter. It would be better to get a confirmation before you use your debit card.
Q. Is there any choice about the credit cards?
A. Most of the time, there is no choice of rejection regarding credit cards and they accept most of the major credit cards.
Q. What are the daily and weekly charges? And what would it cost for the week end ?
A .Daily rents differ and if you wish to travel for a week , you can get a fixed rate for seven days or the weekend. Mostly the rate of the weekend is fixed on Friday noon starting from 12 and ending on your return at the same time on Monday.
Q. Can I get accessories like blankets for packing or trolleys, boxes and hydraulic lifters?
A. Yes you can, but you have to pay extra charge for that.
Q.Is it compulsory to buy Excess Reduction?
A. If any untoward incident happens with you and your car, Excess reduction reduces your financial burden. So it is better to buy Excess Reduction because you can be safe from spending a lot of amount on the damage or loss of properties.