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  • Breakfast In Sindhi homes - Before the oats, cereals, muffins, pastries and sandwiches made their appearances at our breakfast table, Parathas, Puri, and rice ruled the kitchens. Earl...

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Visit to Buenavista Golf Club in Tenerife

Over the two consecutive years, I had made trip to Tenerife and had lived there for 2 months at a stretch. Brother says come to Tenerife this year again and I am reminded of the scenic beauty of the place, the brown hills kissing the sky, the wild flowers lining the roads and rock gardens everywhere.

Whenever I visit my family, long drives dominate most of my trip. My brother lives in the suburbs away from the main town, in the quiet village of Buen Paso. Most of the natives in his area are farmers nursing patch of gardens, growing fresh fruits and vegetables. It’s a hilly region and quite a difficult walk for me, but whenever I do walk, I pass by beautiful houses that have most creative balconies with artistic decorative ornaments, flowered potted plants and many of the walls have fresh grapes growing against the walls.

As I sit here, thousands of miles away, I am reminded of the long drive my niece took me to go to extreme northwest of Tenerife, to Buena Vista. We drove up to the Golf course that was designed by Severiano Ballesteros and was opened in October 2003.

I wanted to go inside to have look but only members were allowed.  I was able to see only from a distance although I would have loved one of those buggy rides down the course of 18hole, a 72-par-course down the total length of 6019 meters.

This golf course is the second best golf club in Europe with some holes so close to the coast that players seem to hit the ball right into the ocean or into the lake of holes 9 and 18 that are connected by waterfall.

We parked the car in the parking lot and could see the whole course from there.

Since we could only admire from a distance, we clomped on wafer and nuts imagining ourselves on the terrace overlooking the golf course and pretending to enjoy an invisible game of golf.

Well. Someday, I will sneak into the club with some member of the club, maybe…..on my next visit.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Uncle From Saudi Arabia

He wore a long white thawb and I wondered whether he was a priest or an Arab. On long conversations I found him quite interesting and he had many stories to share having lived in Saudi for most of his life. He said Sindhis were the most peace loving people who never interfered with state politics..they were only interested in making money..they were focussed that way. 

But I was more interested in knowing the food, life styles and culture of Sindhis who lived in Karachi before partition.. he was only ten when he had migrated during the partition.

The memory was distant..almost faint...

All he remembered clearly was eating papad during his childhood..the spicy roasted papad....the taste that he still relished during all meals of the day.....

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Redevelopment 5 ... My Balcony

“This house looks exactly the same, it has your personality.” Said my friend who visited me the first time, after I moved into my new rented place.

I was lucky that I was able to find a completely empty house. That meant that I could bring my furniture, my personal possessions and jigsaw them to fit them all in proper position. The only difference was that this house was smaller than the previous one; hence I got rid of all the extra furniture.

In my new abode, the living room has the same set up, with same artwork decorating the walls. The kitchen has the same cabinets, arranged in the similar pattern, same beds, same mattresses, same wardrobes and the same dressing table. There is not much difference between my old house and the new one. The colors and the tones are also similar. Yes, I agree, it suits my personality.

But still, I am yet to find a new comfort corner.

I miss the balcony of my old home.

Nine feet by four feet balcony was the area where I would spend most of my evenings. As the sun slumped across the horizon, its golden rays filtered though the tall trees spreading its warmth over me. I sat in my balcony with a cup of tea on the ledge and a mobile in my hand. Many evenings were spent sipping tea and surfing through my ‘WatsApp’ messages. Sometimes I would listen to the music and sometimes watch videos on its tiny screen. Then there would be chats on social media, forward messages to read or the missed phone call to be answered.

Balcony appeared to float above a large open space between wing A and wing B defying gravity. It was a structural masterpiece as well as architectural one. Fancy cars sparkled under daylight and occupied most of the building compound, but the area between the parked cars was large enough for children to play outdoor games. On weekends and on holidays, children and their friends from neighboring buildings played various outdoor games that included cricket and football. Younger children played running and hopping games. Babies sat in their pram chewing on fingers. Old men walked carelessly, lost in their own world, distant.

A group of senior women sat on wide, rectangular platform, built over the water tank. They met every evening for endless conversations dissecting the TV serials, or discussing the news that they had collected during the day from their maids who were the carrier of tales.  The distance from the tank to my balcony was not much, two floors upstairs their murmur was audible. The news that I collected while surfing the net seemed pale against their juicy gossip. At regular intervals, they would glance up to acknowledge my presence.

My relationship with balcony is deep seated. During my growing up days, I was a loner. I tagged along with my mom wherever she went, but I was a child of minute importance, everybody ignored me. I was different, somebody to be left alone. I found solace in balcony. Most of my childhood has been spend in balcony, counting car on a busy road, differentiating vibrant colors on the street, reading ads on the moving buses, it’s the little game I played on my own. I didn’t need friends to sit with me in the balcony. I was happy when left alone.

One question I always pondered. If one is in balcony, is one inside or outside the house? The fresh wind stays outside, but the warm glow is inside the house.

 Many evenings I sat in my balcony, on a stone bench, cross-legged, with my back against the cool wall. Through the grill cage, I watched the sky change its hues from pink to red to blue to dark blue. I sat there immersed in my own thoughts, the sounds in the building fading away slowly, leaving the silence behind. On other days, I would cuddle up with few soft cushions flung careless against me, and be engrossed in an interesting book.

My balcony was also my rendezvous, a place to entertain my friends. We sat in the balcony, munching on snack and sipping coffee. The fresh air lifted our spirit. Laughter and happiness filled the crevices of the walls. Even on sleepless night, balcony was my refuge. Suspended mid-air between heaven and earth, I could solve the undeniable inner conflicts, I would sit under stars, watching the moon till the eyes drooped.

I miss my balcony. There is none in my new house. There are just windows that have been covered with long curtains. I feel claustrophobic sitting inside four walls.

After I moved from my old house, I revisited the lane to have a look at my balcony that I had loved so dearly. The grills and doors of my balcony had vanished. It was bare, with its mouth wide open; it looked like an old man without its dentures. I heard it complain that I had abandoned it. I could not bear to look at it.

Last week I went back again. The balcony had met its death. A big crane occupied most of the ground. Huge trucks transported the debris. There was no compound, no rectangular platform over the water tank. The golden rays still filtered through the trees but they reflected on the pile of stones and mud.

The beautiful memories of the time spend in my balcony are buried now deep under the sand.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

October Read Meet In Khar

Some read from their laptops,
some from their android phone 
Some recite from their memory 
while some from their written notes, 
but the stories that they share are 
their original work 
written with great care

When the read meets are on Saturday and the venue is closer to my house, there is no reason to give it a miss. This was #22 readmeet and the theme was interesting too. Writer friends brought their naughty work because that was the theme…’Inverse Bowdlerisation’…inserting naughty bits to the respectable ones without altering the real script. They said ‘it was not easy’ but they did it well. Their work was so good that it was difficult to differentiate the original from parody. 
I did not write on the theme, because I was not sure what I was expected to write. I took my story that I had written during #CelebrateBlogging organized by Blogadda. We had to create a story with our team members. There were 30 teams who had participated in this event and our team had reached 12th position. I read the part that I had written during the event.
Here is what I read:
Immaculately dressed, Cyrus made an impressive presence, as he moved with authority in the crowd, his smile plastered perpetually on his face, and a drink goblet held loosely in his hand. He had lots to celebrate, as ‘Play Deo’ his ad company, was the new talk of the town. It took over the turntables and was enjoying the success.

The celebrations kicked off in full swing when the bare chested Bollywood star Akhay Khan made his appearance on the stage gyrating his pelvic on the hottest electronic music tracks.  Rhythm of oohs and aahs blared from loud speakers. Akhay Khan was spinning, his wet skin shining under blinking colored lights. The Olive bar’s stunning cocktail beauties showed up next to Cyrus and presented him with two glorious gold plaques for his achievements.

Flashing his gold tooth smile, Cyrus held his plaque up high for his guests to see while everybody raised a toast and gold confetti shot up in the air.

Cyrus kept the party going all night, spinning all the way until the early morning.  Throughout the evening, heels clacked against hardtop dance floor as dancers gradually overcame their shyness.

Tara was exhausted. She had not wanted to participate in Cyrus’s achievement. But the world was watching and her absence would be felt in the Ad world. Although they worked together and created terrific ideas for their clients, she hated his insensitive personal comments.  Lately she had been deeply offended when Cyrus had asked her if she suffered from the disease called Munchausen syndrome by proxy or MSBP. She didn’t know what he meant but she had felt hurt that he had mentioned it. Somebody has been gossiping for sure, but who??

MSBP was the behavior pattern that she had grown up seeing her mother suffer from it. Her mother would systematically fabricate or exaggerate the symptoms, and even once induced her with wrong medications when she was unwell. Her dad had explained, telling her that people who suffered from MSBP were willing to fulfill their need for positive attention by hurting even their own child and then appearing to care and save their so-called sick child.

Münchausen syndrome by proxy

The words played in loops in her mind. A hundred times. Revolving round and round till her head began to spin. No, it cannot be true, she held the most responsible post in an ad company, she could handle the most difficult situations. How could she bring harm to anybody? Bring harm to her own child. Never.

“Maybe I should pick up Roohi from school today” she said under her breath as she removed the mobile from her purse and started to dial.

“Hello Shekhar” she whispered into the phone, her fingers pressing hard against her left temple, “I will pick up Roohi from school today.”

“Are you okay?” said Shekhar, shifting uncomfortably in his wheel chair. “Come home directly, she will come by school bus, like she always does.” There was a ring of concern over his voice.

“No, I am fine.” She said. Her mind drifted towards her 9 years old daughter. A flash of pleasure swept over her.

Spending time with Roohi always changed her moods. In worst of situations, a happy chatter and her bright smile lifted her spirit; she needed that at this moment the most. She could come later to work and maybe work late nights, but right now she needed to go someplace with her daughter.

She flung her handbag over her shoulders, plucked the keys from the key stand and emerged from her cabin.

“I will be back soon.” She said to no one in particular as she strode at an easy pace towards the parking lot.

She revved up the engine; it rumbled, gave a soft jerk and then began to move.

She had had the presence of mind to call the mechanic and get her car repaired. It was just a spark plug issue and it was resolved in no time. 

Roohi had just emerged from her school gates, when she recognized her mother’s car parked behind her school bus, hazard lights blinking, and car position a bit skewed. She looked closely. A wave of happiness enveloped her when she saw her mother standing next to the car. She blinked, turned swiftly, her gaze not leaving her mother, her shoes grinding against the sandy ground, with her both arms swinging in air, her school bag thumping against her back, she walked swiftly, reached Tara and circled her arms around her mother’s waist.

“Mamma! So nice to see you. Ooh! I cannot believe it. What a pleasant surprise!”

“Yes, my pretty Rooh. Today, I decided to spend some time with my baby” Tara bend down to kiss her daughters forehead.

“Really? Are we going someplace?” Roohi walked towards the other side, threw her school bag at the back seat of the car, opened the front door and plopped herself in the front seat.

“We are going home, baby!” said Tara, as she put the car in gear and pulled out of the parking lot. 

“No, no, Mamma please, I don’t want to go home, can we stop for an ice-cream, please?” said Roohi, her voice lingering on the word ‘please’ and her eyes rolling in excitement.

“Hmmn, only ice cream then, okay?” said Tara, her eyes focused on the busy road ahead.

Tara parked her car outside an ice-cream parlor, hand-in-hand, Roohi and Tara walked inside.

With an interior design that looks more like a clothes shop than an exclusive ice cream parlor, this place had more than fifty flavors of ice cream, some of them truly amazing. In winter they also served chocolate delicacies and pastries.

Roohi chose the combination of vanilla and strawberry ice cream, topped with small chunks of chopped strawberries, two tiny kiwi rings, black grapes and broken pieces of walnuts and pine nuts.

While wolfing down her ice cream Roohi looked up and asked:

“You and daddy don’t go out nowadays, do you feel sad?

“Yes, sometimes, but he will be fine.”

“Will he ever walk again?”

“Yes, baby, he will.”

“You know, mamma, daddy is always on skype.”

“He is working no?”

“But he spend so much time talking to uncle Sunil on Skype.”

“Oh, they talk business.” Said Tara, wondering if Sunil was a new friend that Shekhar had found on the net. She would ask him later she decided.

“But I don’t like him.”

“You don’t have to talk to him.”

“I don’t want to talk but daddy asked me to.”

“Just say ‘hello’ and go back to your room.”

“He said he might come to Mumbai and stay in our house.”

“Don’t worry, he must have just said so, daddy friends always stay in hotel. No?”

“Mamma, he said he might come home.”

“Okay finish your ice-cream, I will drop you home then go back to work.”

“You will go back to work?”

“Yes, baby, Mamma has work to do.”

“Please, stay at home today, please, please.”

“Okay, lets go home first then we will decide.”

They drove home with Roohi chatting all the way, telling her stories about her school, friends, teachers, food, games…

Tara was already in good spirit when they entered their building compound. She inserted her house key into her main door and walked in.

She could hear soft murmurs coming from her room.

“Go to your room and change your school uniform Rooh, I will just be back” she said, nudging Roohi's shoulders to steer her towards the other room.
She decided to surprise Shekhar

She walked into her room. Shekhar was in the front of the screen, his back towards the door, deep in conversation. A shock wave travelled from her foot to her heart, as she focused her eyes to look at the face in the screen. She shivered, her nerves pulsating against her temples.

“What-the-hell!” she screamed as she clutched the mouse to switch off the Skype call.

Shekhar turned and looked at Tara in surprise. 

“You know him?” Asked Shekhar

“Yes, he is Cyrus’s brother.”

“Wait a minute, how well do you know Sunil? Have you been gossiping about me??” 

Read meets are always interesting, and every meeting I attend, I always learn something new. An evening well spent

"I shall seize the fate by its throat....

"I shall seize the fate by its throat....
"I shall seize the fate by its throat....It shall certainly not bend nor crush me completely"

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