Friday, 28 August 2015

a bit of here and there....

The other day my elder one got asked by her tennis coach, "Where are you from?". There was a 5-second pause from her end, and she answered, " I was born in Dubai, I live in Singapore now and for my summer breaks I go to my grandparents in India." There was no clear 'one' answer from her end.

In another incident, one of her dear friends from school was asked the same question. Though her passport is Australian, she prides on being Indian. It's common to see kids today with 'dual identities'. Born somewhere, spending their lives elsewhere...

When I was a kid, I spent most of my childhood moving places every 2-3 years (because of my dad's nature of work) within India. For a long time (and sometimes even now), I never had a clear cut answer when asked of my origin. Having spent half my life in Delhi (India's capital) and the other half in Bangalore (India's 'pub' capital- can never get myself to say Bengaluru), my answer was always a bit hazy. Though rightfully, I don't belong to either of these places! 

So that leaves me thinking- how do you decide where you belong to? Is it the place my family originates from or is it where I spent most of my life or is it where I have spent most of my married life? Strangely for me, my parents have never lived where I originate from, so it's even more confusing. 

For me home was where my parents lived! It changed every two years when I was growing up. It tossed between cities like Chennai, Hyderabad, Coimbatore and finally now Bangalore (where they settled after retirement)...

Because of my 'North Indian' (if I may say so) influences, I probably celebrate Diwali and Rakhi more than Onam and Vishu. I speak more fluent Hindi than Malayalam (though I am ever thankful to my days in Dubai for helping me brush up my Malayalam skills). 

So I often wonder, what's it going to be like for my kids? Will the Hindi get substituted by Chinese? Thankfully our affection towards Bollywood helps in keeping the 'Hindi' alive in the house. Malayalam- well we try and then we give up! But every time there is an argument in the house (between the dad and the girls), you can hear the girls screaming, "I am half Malayali". My younger one told my husband one day, "Its really sad you don't have a 'Menon' in your name. It just sounds cooler!"

Ironically today is Onam (a major festival for Keralites, the state I belong to in India). We wished each other 'Happy Onam' this morning and the husband treated me to an awesome Lebanese 'Onam' lunch.. Who says I am confused??

Thursday, 20 August 2015

new-age back home!!!

I came across two blog pieces this week, that got me thinking in different directions..both related to new-age India! Both captured India's current mood but in very different ways.. An India I am far away from but yet yearn every year to go back to get my fill!!!

Bangalore, July 2015- As a typical (ex)-PR person, I spend a lot of time reading the newspaper (even today!).. I can't recollect when I read my last book but I still manage to spend over an hour daily reading the newspaper! It's a die-hard habit that I just can't let go....

One of my biggest agenda's when I travel back home, is to read up on the dailies everyday. Of course the choice now is way more. Every household has an average of 2-3 newspapers daily and strangely they all have different news! That's India!! The buzz and the action is way too much..Yes I long for it at times and I run away from it after I get my fill..

The buzz has only been changing over the years. If it was about capital markets and brick and mortar businesses a few years ago, today it's all about start-ups! And the sheer number of them around you, make it all seem so easy..

An interesting read I came across recently on the NDTV Blog- I'm 40 in a start-up world. What to do! Brilliantly captures India's mood today. You don't need to be a 'rich father's son' to start your own venture. You just need to be young and smart. A friend rightly said, " Silicon Valley is full of this". But for me (who has never been to Silicon Valley), this mood is exciting. It's hot today in India to run your own venture! It's fine to show off a plush home, fancy car, LV bag, an art collection...And probably my visits to the Silicon Valley of India every year make me sit up and notice- an ever changing India! Will I fit in somewhere there? Or am I still living in an India I left more than a decade ago? Only time will tell.....

Singapore, August 2015- Like every crazy fan of India's glamour world, I also followed the launch (online) of Twinkle Khanna's first book- Mrs Funnybones: She's Just Like You and a Lot Like Me, in Mumbai.

To rewind a bit, I started reading her columns when she started writing them more than a year ago. Like a typical PR guy, I confidently dismissed it as someone else's work. A Bollywood actress with this kind of wit and flair- seemed highly unlikely!! I even told friends, "wait and watch she will launch a book soon". But strangely she only got better with her columns and yes she launched a book!

Listed No 3 on Amazon India!
After ages, one could see the Indian media praising someone and writing good things (it's a rarity in India now to hear good things)... Her book launch only proved that Bollywood was her wrong calling and she had no qualms accepting it! Her answers in the rapid fire round proved she truly writes her stuff! Her writing represents the new-age Indian woman, who is confused, doesn't hesitate to ask a lot of questions and speaks her mind out even if it targets her mum, mother-in-law, husband or son!

Another NDTV blog that rightly captured her day and moment: Why Twinkle Khanna is just so damn likeable....

.......And yes I am a Twinkle fan-girl too and can't wait to get my hands on this book!!

Thursday, 6 August 2015

family bonds...

I am back at my pavilion after what seemed like a long summer break. By my pavilion I mean places that belong to me- my home, my running route, my gym, my daily chores.... We are back after a month of bonding, pure fun, a bit of chaos and a lot of action.

The Residency, Lucknow
The month seemed longer for all. The kids had their 'little' break away from the 'ever nagging' mum and 'usually stressed' out dad. It was three weeks of pure pamper and fun with family in India. We used that time to take a short couple's break where we managed to re-live some of our old habits (drink every night, choose a not very kid- friendly destination, not worry about meal times or follow any routine) and strangely when we were all reunited as a family no one complained!! 

Going home to India has meant different things to me over the years. When I was single a visit home was for home food and to just chill. When we were a couple, it was about taking a break from our routine, some shopping and meeting old friends. When kids happened, it was to create those bonds (like it is for most of us). 

Over the years the bonds have only deepened. The kids can't wait to get there and lucky us, we've been able to do this more than once a year...Both set of grandparents can't wait to have them over. If one indulges in cooking their favorite dishes, the other has all her energy built up to be out and about with them. Of course the time spent with their brother and rest of the family is priceless.

Kabaddi in full swing..
It maybe the sheer joy of playing badminton every evening  on their grandparents house lawn or picking the rules of kabbadi that they so diligently watched and played every night, my elder one being gifted her 1st 'Titan' watch . Of course her cool cousin and his friends told her, "eeeks, you live in Singapore- why would you buy a watch in India!!" But strangely she and the watch have been inseparable. The sheer excitement of living in the midst of chaos for a few weeks. I can surely say that I go back for that chaos and I enjoy every  moment  of that unpredictability... 

Each of these memories makes our come back tougher. The eeeriness of getting back to our routine, of living an almost perfect life, with nothing going wrong in the day takes a while too.

But somewhere in my heart, I also breath a sigh of relief- that I can do this often. I don't need to plan much and can make an impromptu trip. Thinking back on my holiday, I struggle to finish my 1st run after the month- long break!