The many posts that could’ve been…

On dull work-days when I’m done browsing through all my favourite blog links and am in no mood to get back to work is when I click on my own blog-link to read snippets of posts from the past. Today being one such day, I noticed that my last post was way back in June 2016! That was six months ago! I don’t remember if there have been such long-drawn periods of non-blogging before… I’m not checking either.

I also noticed a tiny orange dot in the notifications of WordPress when I logged in to finally write a post – when I clicked on it, it said

Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com!

You registered on WordPress.com 10 years ago.

Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging.

 

Wow! 10 years?! that’s a long time I thought but then realised that I’ve actually been writing a blog for longer than that. Of course, I was on blogspot when I began blogging, before I moved to WordPress! I had difficulty remembering my blogspot address – a couple of tries later I did get it right – anu-bhava.blogspot.com. Of course it doesn’t exist now and redirects readers to this space.

I found the above in the drafts of my blog posts – written in Jan 2017 which was four months ago! I found another post about the Kannada movies from last year…which too was half-written. 

Today when I opened my page, for lack of reading material on the other blogs that I follow, I was shocked by the date on the last post – it was in June last year, which effectively means I’ve not written any post for almost the whole of last year! 

It’s not that I haven’t felt like writing – I’ve been inspired many times by looking at other posts – especially when I see that people take up the blog-a-month challenge and the A-Z challenge etc. But the inspiration hasn’t transformed into words in this space 😦

I feel like I’ve let myself down – I haven’t been able to note down the memories that I’d like to preserve and get back here to re-live them later… my son’s growing up and fast, I’m not jotting down what he says and does – how can I remember them later? The posts from his baby and toddler days thrill me when I go back and read them.

I tried my hand at making terracotta jewellery by attending a workshop and made a few sets too with gusto – I don’t have any record of the experience and the sense-of-fulfilment I felt to be making something with my hands after a long time!

I tried to revive my reading habit – read quite a few books at a stretch – the famous Shiva trilogy (I know I came late to the party!) and first book of his Ram-Chandra series, revisited the Harry Potter books and movies enthused by fellow fans at office, read some of the many books I’d picked up at the book fair two years ago… I didn’t get around to talking about any of those here.

I’ve tried to pick up knitting and crochet projects – starting with some baby items for friends who’ve had their second ‘uns…

We went on many interesting short and long trips last year – the key ones being the Singapore/ Malaysia trip last summer with the hubby’s friends’ families and the Sharavathi and surroundings trip with my friends’ families in the Christmas hols. The latter one was truly an experience in itself – we did so many unconventional activities – very unlike the typical trips we take – and it was the first one when I practised by photography skills armed with the new DSLR. I’m foolishly proud of some of those moments that I managed to capture with the lens.

The camera is another new experience that I’m loving – found some good use for it at two family weddings last year – of cousins on either sides of the family. I loved capturing the candidness of it all – the gaiety, the incredibly rich colours of the wedding scenes – the sarees, the flowers, the accessories and the paraphernalia. The sister and I also planned  an inspired photo-shoot at Cubbon park – the beautiful green lung-space that is the heart of Bangalore…

There was so much that I could’ve written about but didn’t…

Dream come true!

There are few instances in life that one can actually call a ‘dream come true’ moment. The kind, may be when you land a job at your dream workplace? or get a seat at a top-notch university that you coveted and worked hard for? or hold a much loved and wished-for new-born baby girl/ boy in hand after 9 months of nourishment in the womb.

Home sweet home

Home sweet home

We had one such ‘dream-come-true moment’ last week when we stepped into our very own newly built home on the auspicious occasion of the gruhapravesha, in the valley alongside a small hillock in our beloved city of Bangalore! 🙂

I don’t clearly remember when exactly it was that this became our dream… may be after 2-3 years of being a happily married and carefree couple with no real responsibilities on our shoulders. That must’ve been around the time when we saw friends and family making investments and buying/ building their homes to settle down and a seed was sown in a corner of our minds that we’d like to have a nest of our own too.

We were on the look-out for houses/ plots/ flats from then-on but never really seriously got around to buying anything. Mainly because we were confused – we wanted an independent house but the ones we saw were way beyond budget and more so, needed repairs and renovation to suit our needs. Only a flat would fit into our budget, but we weren’t very keen and also couldn’t find good ones in the localities we were looking in. The plots in the city had sky-rocketing prices and the affordable ones were a good 10-15 kms in the outskirts…nothing seemed to fall in place.

It was around 5 years back that the hubby came across this layout while he was on one of his site-scouring trips on the bike. He mentioned it to me and it sounded promising. We went around soon enough and I was excited, this looked like the place for us! It was well within the city and what’s more, very near and well connected to all the localities that we’d normally traverse regularly; most importantly it would be close to his mom’s place for the hubby. It was just 10 mins ride away from our present much-loved locality of stay. One wouldn’t have to travel for hours daily along the A/ B/ C roads in Bangalore to reach the place. It was a locality inhabited and maintained by decent, well-cultured families. The layout was on a small hillock and just riding-up one could feel the dip in temperature with a cool breeze to caress, with a panoramic view of the entire city. And what’s more, the cost – although it would require us to stretch a bit, wouldn’t be beyond what we could afford!

The cons were – the approach roads weren’t all that wide as it was through a locality which was previously a village and had been converted into layouts without any planning. There was no Cauvery water supply piping yet, although it had reached the neighbouring locality down the hillock – we would have to depend on the layout’s water supply till that fell into place. The pros seemed to outweigh the cons and our minds were made-up and we initiated the discussions to buy a site in the layout. There were many months of tense waiting and the hubby did the rounds of several BBMP and government offices to make sure that the titles and papers were all in the clear. With the number of scams tumbling out of the govt. closets these days, we didn’t want our life savings to go down the drain!

After much running around, finally everything was sorted and we were ready to sign on the dotted line and after spending a tiring morning at the registrar’s office the house papers were in our hands. Or the bank’s hands rather, as we’d taken a combined plot+construction loan to be able to invest. Nevertheless we were thrilled with our very own piece of land, on which we dreamt looking fondly into the future, that our home would stand one fine day. For a couple of years after that we lay low, paying the EMIs and getting on with life… and soon we got busy with our bundle of joy who arrived to further add to our happiness. Soon enough as the months rolled by, we realized that we had to begin the construction – as the combined loan requires one to begin construction within a stipulated time period after the loan is taken.

Then began the exercise of trying to find the right contractor/ engineer/ architect who could translate our dreams into reality. We visited some architecture firms, spoke to many contractors, got the design done by some contractors, who’d also design homes, considered the option of going in for alternate construction methods, had various debates on what was good and what was not, visited several under-construction houses to check if we liked something… this went on for some months. One such day we walked into a house nearing completion of construction in one of the cross-roads of our locality and immediately fell in love with the way it was designed. It was spacious and well-thought-out with lot of importance given to good-lighting and ventilation. That was what we primarily wanted in our house – it had to be well-lit and well-ventilated giving us a sense of wide spaces throughout in all the rooms. We quickly got the contact details of the architect and got in touch – it was a lady, freelance architect who was just getting back into her working groove with a young daughter on hand.

We fixed up an appointment and went to speak to her; we told her our needs and looked at pictures of some of her previous assignments. She frankly told us that she took up few projects and only with people whom she felt comfortable with; one – because of her young daughter and secondly because she would be involved in every stage of the construction right till we moved into the house. Her job wouldn’t end with just handing over the design drawings and so her rates weren’t cheap either. We contemplated and said ok and she came up with the design of our home. It was exhilarating going through that design with her – seeing our needs being transformed into nooks and corners of the various rooms in the house. As with all her designs there was scope for ample light and air and the house would be crowned by a huge skylight! We loved the design and said yes; of course it had to go through many refinements with various sittings and rounds of discussions later.

Thereafter came the choice of the contractor – we spoke to one of our liking and another recommended by her, but the rates quoted were too high for our budget we thought – which in hindsight was probably a mistake, we feel at times, but nevertheless we decided not to choose either. Around the same time, my sister’s family were planning the construction of their home, for which they had approached my engineer uncle to handle everything – right from the design to the planning and construction. We decided to talk to him also to check if he could supervise the construction for the design we’d already gotten from the architect. Our uncle said yes, mainly because both the houses would be fairly close-by on the same side of town, only a few kms apart, but with the condition that he would hire a maestri to oversee the daily work and we would have to do all coordination for the materials purchases and payments etc. This way he wouldn’t be involved in the financial aspect of the construction and would only serve as the facilitator for getting the construction done. We agreed to it, knowing that it wouldn’t be easy for us – full-time working individuals with a small child to manage all this, but atleast this way we’d be able to significantly control the cost we reasoned.

And thus began the saga of the house construction which went on for a good year and a half. There were many highs and many lows… lets suffice to say that we were involved with every single aspect as the house came up through the various stages right from the foundation to getting the loads of sand and cement, from the laying of the bricks & concrete to the roofing and plastering as the structure came up in a matter of months. But then began the various travails – as more parties got involved and when we had to do the various selections, the co-ordination and the involvement and decisions increased multifold. The architect gave us good options, but since we were literally doing lot of research to get the best suited products at as less cost as possible, the decisions were very difficult. The flooring selection took ages after lot of dilly-dallying and we rushed to place the order for the sanitary-ware as there were rumours that the prices would shoot up post the festival season. We ran around for the tiles and when it came to choosing the carpenters we had more worries evaluating the options. Whatever we chose had to go through 2 level of approvals – one with the architect and then by the various working-teams for feasibility.

There were tons of arguments and heated discussions and we got to the point of going crazy with the confusion and issues we faced sometimes, the hubby having to deal with most of it. Taking the painting, carpentry and flooring work to a point of logical conclusion before the pooja can be a story by itself! The hubby was on-site getting last-minute stuff and cleaning done till 11 PM on the eve of the pooja. Well, at the end of it, we do have a beautiful home to go to, as every single person gushed on the d-day. But the stress and heart-burn we went through was something we could have done without. In hindsight sometimes we do feel that having a contractor would’ve probably saved us most of this trouble, but then we wouldn’t have been so much richer in experience! 😀

All said and done, we’re nearly at the end of this journey of building a home from scratch – there still are minor things to be fixed and completed and it will be sometime before we can actually move in.

The courtyard leading to our hearts!

The courtyard leading to our hearts!

And then it will be a whole new journey altogether, with the excitement of setting up everything afresh; but more importantly of filling our home and hearts with enough love and joy, to envelop us and all our loved ones in it’s folds of warmth 🙂 And that feeling is aptly described by the name we have chosen for our nest! Wish us luck, won’t you?! 🙂

It’s June already!

I’ve become so lazy in terms of jotting down posts for this space… It’s not that I’ve been terribly busy but I guess, it’s just inertia… I’m feeling particularly bad that I haven’t been posting enough updates about the little one… I realize this acutely when I see other mommy bloggers posting monthly milestone posts 😦 Guess it’s better late than never! So here’s listing a few of the latest updates from the little one’s life…

– He’s standing up more easily now… in fact the tiniest bit of support he can latch onto – be it the corner of a stool, the leg of a chair or easier still, a corner of amma’s dress within his reach, he’s up on his legs!

– We’ve moved to a bigger place – all for the sake of his highness! The idea was that with a bigger hall space for him to move around, it’ll be easier for me to get my stuff done. But the brat that he is insists on following me around wherever I go and using the aforesaid salwar suit’s corner to pull himself up to a tottering position, which gives me the jitters every single time!

– The babbling continues and sometimes he even has a conversation with us, mostly his dad – saying ‘aye’ to each other in a domineering tone – guess they’re competing for the title of ‘the man of the house’ already! 😀

– The edge of his first little tooth has cut through his gums now in his tenth month(though the toothy-whiteness was visible for quite sometime now, it took its own sweet time to make a grand entrance!) and I am so stoked each time I look at it! I think it is sooo adorably cute! 😛

– When I leave him on the floor in the bedroom and am busy getting ready in the mornings, he plays for sometime and invariably finds his way to the long dressing mirror and pulls himself up to peer into it. My favourite part is where he looks at himself with various expressions flitting across his face, first frowns, then smiles, then takes his face near and touches the mirror, then tries to put it into his mouth as he does with everything else – or he’s trying to kiss, maybe? 😉 Clearly he’s fascinated! It’s such a joy to watch him and I leave all that I’m doing and rush to get his dad to watch this awww scene 😀

– I was over at my parents’ place for the weekend and within a day, the grandfather has taught his grandson to wave when anyone says ta-ta or bye! I was so amazed! Now all one needs to do is go towards the door and say bye and this little fella gives a gorgeous smile and puts out his tiny hand and waves in his ooh-so-cute-manner! 😀

– Also over the weekend he’s definitely learnt to say amma!! 🙂 Though he’s said it a few times earlier, it used be like thrown in once in a while along with the other sounds he’d make when wailing…but now he clearly beseechingly calls out amma and comes looking for me, asking me to pick him up! Oh! the joy…! 🙂

– We went on our first trip with the little one, to Kerala to attend a friend’s wedding and he really behaved well, without giving us undue trouble…he’d cry no doubt, but only when he was hungry or tired and sleepy – but overall, he helped us manage beautifully especially on the long drives in the car, without being cranky as we’d feared. Thanks for that, my munchkin! 🙂 He also got his first whiff of the sea-breeze and loved it, though we can’t say the same about his experience with the waves! He bawled when we made him stand as the waves came in… but he loved the sights and being carried around the beach.

Amongst other things, there’s a lot happening on the home front – as I mentioned earlier we moved onto a bigger rented place to stay – though we loved our first home and it was convenient for us as a couple, the equation changed when the little one entered our lives – the internal staircase and the limited hall-space wasn’t quite working and we decided to move. This house is very spacious and works for all of us better and we’re getting used to it now… hope we build some lovely memories here as well!

Also, I’m in a middle of changing jobs – after sticking on at my first workplace for a very long time, I finally thought it best to move on and luckily also got a good offer at the right time. Though the parting was difficult (aren’t first jobs always like that?) it had to be made. I made some great friends there and some associations which go much beyond being just colleagues – I can definitely say that they’ve made a lot of difference in my life. Thanks folks! I hope I can find equally good friends and an environment that I like working in, at the new place too! *Keeping fingers crossed*!

And finally, I got myself a new hair-cut, like for the first time ever! 😀 People who know me will be very surprised, I can tell! Well, it isn’t exactly what I went out looking for, but now that it’s done, there’s no looking back… The reactions haven’t been non-supportive so far and I hope it remains that way… it’s funny, how much we have to worry sometimes for something as simple as a hair-cut! Or maybe, it’s just me!

Now, here’s the cue for you to say – wah re wah Anu, naya ghar, nayi job, nayi hair-cut…kya baat hai! 😀

Au revoir!

Well, it’s time to say good bye to the “City of Lights” and what most people term – the most romantic city in the world!

It’s been a good four weeks spent doing some significant fulfilling work which also involved a lot of learning. But more importantly, it has been time spent working at a relaxed pace… well atleast till the last week (that’s when my work from back home caught up with me!) . Paris has been all that was promised and more – with romance in the air and history along it’s every lane, it’s a tourist’s delight. I would say my month’s work-stay and 3 weekends thrown in didn’t allow me to do enough justice to the place as a tourist, but that’s precisely reason enough for me to want to visit it again.

Work-wise as I already mentioned it has been relaxed, but efficient work with colleagues who made us feel right at home – especially the guy we worked with being an absolute dear! 😀 The stay, the commute and the experience of working away from home were as comfortable as could be desired. The sight-seeing trips were very insightful and enjoyable, although I found that my stamina for weekend sight-seeing walkathons isn’t what it used to be 😦 Overall I think it was a wonderful stint, and the joy of meeting-up with a close friend all the way here – away from my and her place of stay – was the icing on the cake! Neither of us had imagined, even in our wildest dreams that we would meet here, of all places! Well, that’s life I suppose! 🙂

Tomorrow I formally say goodbye to the city and take my flight back home. All said and done, the heart does yearn for home and the warmth of loved ones – well, this time the hubby has been missing me quite a bit too 😀 (now why does that make me grin with glee – my heart melts but the mind says – see, this is what I feel everytime you leave me alone and go off on your official trips! :)) But, the city has tempted and tantalised me enough to hope for a second visit and that time with the hubby in tow. So hopefully our paths will cross again and may be I should say – Au revoir à bientôt! 🙂

Networking and connecting – generation gap?

Attended a session yesterday about Self leadership and how it needs to be defined differently for women. The module covered was about networking and its relevance to becoming a good leader – we spoke about how and why we women lack networking skills and don’t pay enough attention to building our networks (unlike the men) and are also poor at maintaining the contacts that we build, owing to several reasons – paucity of time being the most common. Also an interesting thought was thrown up – the networks that men build are broader and far reaching but the networks that we women build, though narrow, are much deeper. This because we women generally tend to connect to the people we network with – more at an emotional level, where as for the men, the term network holds a more business-like connotation. I found that to be a very stimulating inference and leave you to mull over it.

That apart, while at my parents’ place for the weekend, I noticed how totally connected my sis is with her friends. She literally uses the phone a lot – calling, texting messages, to friends whom she’s in touch with – some from school, others from college and then graduation to her work-mates. I’m sure, by the end of Saturday all of them were informed that I was home for the weekend! 😀 I couldn’t help but ask her – what is it that you have so much to talk about and share – almost every day, while it was never this way with me and friends. She retorted saying –that’s because in your college days, you didn’t have mobile phones and now when you do have them, all of you are married and busy with your own lives (so true, eh?) My dad, never the one to miss an opportunity to use his wise-cracks, said – that precisely should be the reason why they should be calling and connecting more often, while you, who still have the time to catch up and meet friends more regularly should use it a lot less. Well, you see, the fact that she’s on the phone most times is a major pain point with my dad! 😀

I have also noticed this with my younger colleagues at work – their phones ring so much more and most often it’s friends calling them and discussing plans or events. They share gossip and tid-bits about their other common friends or batch mates, make plans for weekend outings or meet-ups, discuss family events, bitch about their managers (I’m sure!) and generally talk a lot. This is not an infrequent occurrence, but happens every other day.

All this has me wondering – is this a generation thingy? Does my generation from the early 80s lack in networking skills? Have we already become like dinosaurs in this fast evolving networked world where everyone knows everyone else and is up to date with the latest happenings in each other’s lives? I have difficulty keeping in touch with a handful of my friends and many times the effort has to be from my side to call/ mail them. The times we call each other have dwindled down to once in 2-3 months and meeting-up is a non-option most of the times – we cannot seem to synchronize our calendars!

Well what do you think? Other people from my generation please tell me it’s not just me who feels this way!!

College chronicles

I am so over the moon today! 🙂 Apparently one of our favourite lecturers from college actually remembers me and asked after me, when my colleague and junior from college met him recently! Well, I happened to lunch with her today and when she told me about this – boy, was I thrilled??!! 😀

We spent a good half hour going down memory lane, back to the good old college days, chatting with two more colleagues who were our college-mates too. There were the usual – ‘Do you remember him? He used to teach us this …and he was so damn good at it’ and ‘Who is that? I can’t seem to remember the face too well…’ followed by some explanations and anecdotes which would most definitely bring back the faces. Discussion about the eccentric support staff – the attenders and the Xerox chappie, the librarian and the rude office guys… talks of the brilliant lecturers and the not so good ones and making fun of the really pathetic ones too!

Gossip about the college pairs and who teamed up with whom, and who actually went on to be together… laments about the labs and their sad state back then, to rejoicing at them being all spruced-up and hi-tech now. Talks of the scrapes we’d got into and the strike we’d unsuspectingly been a part of, the excitement of the companies coming for placement and the tension till we made it through! Whatever be the tribulations we faced back then, all that remains now is sweet nostalgia and longing for those lovely, carefree days and the wish to turn the clock back in time!

As for the afore-mentioned, he was a favourite all right- especially amongst us, the girls – known to be the suave, handsome, silent types, he was super-intelligent and made the most difficult lessons look so simple. Gosh, I remember, how we’d bought this book with really complex problems and spent endless hours trying to crack them, just because he’d recommended! We were so much in awe of him and a little scared as well and would greet him timidly in the corridors. And if he happened to just so much as acknowledge our lowly presence, we’d be elated and talk of it for days. 😛

And to think that he actually remembers me even today, from among thousands of students he’d have taught over the years… well, if you happen to look up and notice something flimsy floating amidst the clouds… don’t be surprised, that would be me! 😀

The IPL experience – part 1

Jan 19th 2008. It was a rainy day in London. The time must’ve been around 2.30 – 3 in the afternoon. As I stood in the balcony of the visiting team’s dressing room and hungrily took in the sights of the spectacular stadium at Lords, a series of thrills shot up and down my spine. This was it – this was where Kapil Dev held the World Cup aloft in 1983 as a nation looked up in awe and pride. This was where Saurav Ganguly pulled off his jersey and whipped it in the air screaming his head off, as India, chasing a record 326 against England, clinched what was one of the greatest one-day wins the world had ever seen. It truly was one of “the” moments of my life. Right then I decided – I had to watch India play in a cricket match – live – anywhere – anytime – at least once in my lifetime.

Exactly four months down the line, that wish has come true! The past Monday – 19th May 2008, we were out there – part of the crowd watching the IPL cricket match between Royal Challengers and Delhi Daredevils at the Chinnaswamy stadium, with a couple of friends. Though the local favorites RC lost the match (at-least there was some semblance of a fight-back unlike the total collapse we were used to till now!), thanks to the Sehwag and Gambhir blitzkrieg; the feeling of just being there amidst thousands of people, watching all the action live, from just a few feet away, was heady… to say the least! 😀

Though we started from home pretty early, the signs looked ominous – as we neared the areas surrounding the stadium, it was obvious that a heavy rain had just abated. The traffic had piled up and it took us 3 turns at the signal to be able to go past the Kasturba road junction! Nevertheless, this time was spent usefully – laughing uproariously at the histrionics of a fully-tight and topped-up uncle in an adjoining auto at the signal. He suddenly shot his hand out to compliment the friend about his excellent driving skills (which he had noted in that bumper-to-bumper kind of traffic situation) and just to be fair, he insisted on nearly diving into the car to also congratulate my hubby, seated in the front passenger seat! We were nearly rolling around with laughter as the auto-driver averted any such mishap by driving away from our car!! 🙂

We did manage to reach the stadium well in time and after parking the car in the adjoining Police Parade grounds, started the rigmarole of trying to find seats in the same stand. While two of the tickets booked online were in stand-B, the other three gotten from a colleague, were in the stand-I with a much better view. The hubby tried all possible tricks in his kitty to try and get us to sit together, but to no avail. Finally we had to settle into our normal-view seats and them into their special-view ones. Though this was a dampener, I had decided nothing was gonna stop me from enjoying the evening and also managed to infuse that into the hubby!

As we settled into our seats and took in the views inside the stadium, we were greeted by none other than Shaan, out there to entertain the spectators! This was indeed double joy – I got to listen to one of my favorite singers performing live. He sung on effortlessly, slipping from one chart-topper to another – the likes of “Jab se tere naina…”, “Koi kahe…”, “Deewangi from OSO”, “Bam bam bole… from TZP”…, he also rendered a Kannada song – “Eno on thara…” amidst loud cheers and finally wound up with his evergreen “Tanha Dil…” It was half an hour of mesmerism from the talented singer. What followed was the laser show – a display of some amazing patterns and formations brightening the inky darkness that the stadium was steeped in.

There was more star-power in store in the form of cine-actors Upendra and Ramya, who took a lap around the ground in support of the RCs. Soon it was time for the much-awaited cheer-leaders to step onto the ground and do their li’l jig amidst roars of approval from the crowds! All the while I was down at the boundary fence, angling my camera through the rails to click pictures of all these interesting scenes, including the players who were practicing in the nets ahead of the game. The captains then walked onto the pitch for the toss with none other than Sunil Gavaskar himself, from whom we were treated to a “Namaskaara BengaLooru!” 😀

Sehwag won the toss and chose to field first and at the stroke of 8 the Delhi team took their positions as Kallis and Chipli walked out to open for the RCs.

Since this is turning out to be a longish post, unlike what I expected, we will have more of the match details and our adventures coming up in part-2! 🙂