Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Super Women

I am witnessing a surprising phenomenon these days. I see that the average marriageable age for a woman is going up and for the man is coming down. I am not sure whether this is an occurrence only in India or the world over. I see that women from my generation want more out of life. They are not satisfied with finishing their studies and getting married and settling into a life revolving around husband and kids.

Women of today want high paying jobs, want jobs with responsibility and power. Gone are the days when women opted for a strict 10-5 job so that they could spend more time with the family. Nowadays, I see Indian women jet-setting around the globe, attending business meetings and being part of the top management.

I am talking about the average woman and not overachievers like Indra Nooyi or Lalitha Gupte. This change has percolated down to the average woman in any metropolitan city and is slowly going deeper down to the women in towns. I had a male friend jokingly ask me as to why women are taking up professional degrees. He said men have to study better than the girls, get more marks, get higher paying jobs and then marry somebody who considers them as good husband material. He said that it is too much pressure to be handled by an average male.

Earlier a woman who had not had atleast 2 kids by the age of 28 was considered different, whereas now I see that women are not even married by 28. You really can’t fault the woman, as there is a paucity of overachieving men in comparison to the number of overachieving women in existence these days. One girl friend told me that whereas girls have become smarter compared to the earlier generation, men have remained the same. So it has become really difficult for the girls of today’s generation to get married to a guy with the mindset of the prior generation.

None of today’s gals would get married to a guy who expects his wife to be home by 6 and has dinner ready by the time he comes home. I am not saying that all the Indian men today are archaic in mentality. I would say that they have become more tolerant and adjusting than men of the earlier generation. Somehow I don’t see the fire in the belly or that spark which I see in the average woman in the average man. There are few men who are extremely good, but alas they are all taken by the time our lady starts thinking about marriage and family.

One thing I appreciate in these women is that they are not getting married to any Tom, Dick or Harry just because everybody else is getting married. They prefer to wait for their Prince Charming and discuss their hopes and aspirations with him and then get married.
One amusing thing, which I notice, is that most of hubby’s male friends have tied the knot and settled down whereas his female friends are busy concentrating on their careers. Such a far cry from the generation just before us. I can say with surety that the tables have turned a full circle.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Lunch at IBL

IBL is a place where I have made wonderful friends. And I have utterly enjoyed the lunchtimes at IBL. For this I should thank Mallya sir, Suma, Deven and my hostel caterers.Before you scratch your head and start wondering which restaurant is IBL, let me clear all such doubts. IBL was the place where I had previously worked.

Working at IBL had its plus points and a lot of minuses. But the best thing about that place was our lunch times. Now we were this motley bunch of constantly hungry people (atleast me) who assembled at lunchtime to take a sneak peek at each other’s tiffins and demolish food as if there was no tomorrow. Everyday, by 12.45, I used to put on my most charming smile and ask Mallya sir what he had brought for lunch. Mallya sir’s wife is an exceptional cook. She really has magic in her fingers. And knowing the brats that Mallya sir had as company for lunch, she used to pack extra food so that her beloved hubby didn’t starve amidst plenty.

Her food is legendary. Various types of dosas, which I hadn’t heard of till then, appeared in his lunch box. Neer dosai, Dal dosai, various permutation and combination dal dosais were frequent inmates of his lunchbox. Now Neer dosai was this soft, white, melt in the mouth, thin dosais, which you could never stop with one. Likewise anything she cooked was wonderful. The problem with singing praises of Mrs. Mallya’s cooking is that you never know where to stop. Each dish of hers requires special mention and if I did that I will overshoot my one-pager limit.

Next comes Suma and she is famous for her dal rotis and her corn chaat. She used to cook other lovely dishes as well but I was totally bowled over by these 2 specialties of hers. She was equally famous for her salads. 15 minutes before lunch, she used to take out her salad and used to get us into the mood for food. Deven’s wife’s speciality was typical north Indian khana and soft rotis. The khana was spicy and tangy and extremely tasty.

Now comes the turn of yours truly. At this point of time, I was single and living in a hostel. A pair of Tulu brothers ran my hostel catering and they served some amazing food. They used to pack me salad, roti / rice and veg curries. Their fried rice, veg Manchurian and channa curry were amazing and everytime I had these items in my dabba, there were more takers for my lunch.

This doodle will be incomplete if I did not mention about the amazing Masala Khichdi, I used to order from the restaurant right below. This is the yummiest khichdi I have had. It used to be delivered piping hot accompanied by papad and raita. This used to be my staple lunch whenever I did not bring lunch from the hostel. And sometimes I consciously did not bring lunch so that I could eat the masala khichdi.

As of now, yours truly no longer works with IBL and so does 2 others mentioned here. But whenever we end up talking we talk about our lunchtimes at IBL, which were truly a gastronomical delight.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Poetry writing sessions

How green is the paddy,
O, look at it granddaddy…

I was sitting at the windowsill
Enjoying the beauty of the hill,
When I noticed there was a mill….

By now you get the drift. Yes, I confess I was the wordsmith (not to be confused with Wordsworth) behind all these beautiful creations. Now, when yours truly was in Class 6, she discovered the world of poetry thanks to William Wordsworth, Shelley, Shakespeare, Sylvia Plath and a lot of such luminaries whom she met regularly in her English textbooks. Now I being always with the literary bent of mind, had to try my hand at poetry when I saw the beauty of their poetry.

The only rule, which was drilled into my head, was that for a bunch of verse to be called poetry all the verses should rhyme. Things like meter, intonation and other inane things never entered my 11-year-old brain. So began my crazy poetry writing sessions wherein I was finishing notepads at alarming speed. I was like a man (in my case girl) possessed.

The approval-seeking girl that I was, I would run to show off my creations to dad & mom for their appreciation. I never did understand why Dad had sudden bouts of coughing or why mom’s lips twitched after reading one of my most beautiful stanzas (of course, all perfectly rhymed).

Then, all hell broke loose when my sister also got into the picture. Whereas dad merely coughed, sis guffawed outright at my face after my poetry recitals. Now I know for a fact that literary souls are very sensitive and they do not take any reviews other than glowing appreciation kindly. So yours truly used to go into bouts of depression at frequent intervals. She could never understand as to how her own flesh and blood could not understand the greatness of talent, which resided in their house. Her only solace in those moments of depression and self-doubt was the famous age old Malayalam saying “Muttathe mullayku manam illa” (Meaning you don’t appreciate the things in your own home.)

Now sis being a person of the long tongued variety started pulling my legs at all family functions about my poems. I, being the elder sister brushed her off and couldn’t bother less as I had discovered something new. Yes, my dear people, leaving my beautiful poetry aside, I had moved onto something bigger; story writing.

P.S.: Effects of my story writing on my family call for a separate article in itself.

A small step for mankind but a giant leap for Eljo

So here I am finally taking the plunge. For somebody who is so risk averse, I have finally managed to take this decision of blogging after considerable thought.