Friday, March 11, 2011

Tsunami in Japan

I was sound asleep, when the earthquake and then the Tsunami hit Japan. It had been raining the whole day, and most of the night, here in the New York area for sure, but that was that. I remember hearing on a quick weather update in the car last evening that a 'coastal flood advisory was in effect for New York City', and thinking what that actually meant---since the city is anyways an island--all of '13.4 miles length, and 2.1 miles wide at its widest part'! I myself live on the Jersey bank of the river Hudson, and actually peeped from between the blinds last night before going to bed, to see what the river was upto. In the diffused light of the lamps lining the boardwalk, I could see that the water was surely very active, and that the waves were lashing on the already wet side-rails. The darkness of the rainy night ominously beckoned over the river's width till the eyes met the patchily lit-up skyscrapers dotting the other bank. Even then I made nothing much of what I saw, hopped onto the bed, and snugly slept the night away.


I wake up to see the first thing in the headlines---that a major-major earthquake and then the Tsunami hits Japan, and affects not one, or two, but 50 countries! I immediately browse the weather map of the world, locating countries that mean more to me than other countries do--U.S. mainland, India, Australia, Hawaii--places that I know personally, or know that loved ones live there. It all seems fine there, but my heart just cannot give up pondering on the sheer biblical overtones of this natural catastrophe. Richter scale 8.9 just sounds so huge--and to imagine that some people actually felt it? And then I see that an unprecedented whirlpool was set off, off the coast of Japan. And then, as though the day was not getting depressing enough, comes the 'breaking news' of the U.S. West Coast bracing for a 'water-wall'. West Coast is dear to me for so many reasons----not only have I spent every spring-break there for the last eleven years of my stay in the U.S., but that it is also where so much of immediate family and so many loving friends live. I know, that I am probably over-reading the flash news, but the gravity of the whole event is literally sinking in news by news. How, in a moment, or a matter of moments, so much can happen---so much can fall and so much can be washed away. Even when I know many thousands of people are going to, so permanently, be annihilated or affected by this, I still need to salvage my day from this quagmire of soppy facts about the health of the planet--a petty concern I know, but a valid one nonetheless for those for whom the biggest Tsunami is still a news, and who have deadlines to meet an hour or day away.


When all else fails, we pray-I pray. We pray to find peace of mind for things beyond our control.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Brevity thy name is Twitter

With lack of time, but something interesting gnawing the mind, Twitter comes very handy indeed. However, once in that world--- the desire to dump all sorts of punctuations, and all other spaces is so intense, when the cup of words runneth over repeatedly while drafting a tweet, that it's not healthy for writing (FYI for the uninitiated:Twitter has a word limit of 140 words/tweet) .

Yet, I find that most people's tweets are actually correctly punctuated, and convey messages too. So, I guess, everyone has the ability to think concisely, when needed. I of course, am constantly squirming to write just one more word or so.....'convolutions of logic' need to be expressed I guess, and have thus to resort to that old-style, free- flowing, white-paper-beckoning times of 'no word limit'. As is apparent from my writing style, I use a lot of non-words while writing--the quotation marks, the exclamations, the ellipsis, the hyphens and so on. Taking these away from me, will surely rob me off a big part of my weaponry. Thus I chirp and sing here, and there in my paper journals, and only tweet on Twitter.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Give Me My Mornings

[Pre-Script: All mention of names that sound unfamiliar are references to one person--who is not anonymous--just 'multi-nonymous.']

The Twitterbug was awake unusually early today ---(this is not at all related to Twitter.com---this is just one of my several names for my little walking heart--my toddler). Anyhow, so here I was just about getting ready to wake up and channelize some 'creative juices' into an ink for some writing. I would have stealthily got up from the bed, not even breathing while exiting the room, lest the toddler in her bed attached to ours should hear the mommy leaving. And then I would get rolling the plain but oh so invigorating ritual of heating water on the stove, taking part of it for drinking myself, keeping part of it for Buttercup when she wakes up, and then letting the third of it go back to a bubbling boil for my cuppa tea. Then while munching on an apple, I would browse through the mails, and headline news, and then with the large cup of goodness brimming with hot chai, I would settle into some 'writing' mode----does not matter if I actually write something or not, but I sure do enjoy the process of sitting down to write, and then perhaps reading about writing, or reading other people's writings. And then after having been in such blissful state of solitude for some time, the 'sweetest' voice ever would tweet 'mommy', sometimes yelling, sometimes querying, sometimes just a mumble or two. I would hear it, and abandoning everything, I would be so ready to greet the 'Gubbu' and as I tell her to 'conquer the day!' [In all this description, you ask that the Hubby is absent?--Well, he has had a somewhat similar start to his day---yoga, cuppa joe, WSJ.com and of course pageloads after pageloads of cricket info, before any of us two ladies in the house woke up--and has left for work just on time for me to be up for a 'have a good day' peck on the cheek.]

Ok, so this was not to be yesterday--for me. Little had I realised that this entire bliss was so precariously existent because of Jumbu-baby sleeping 'like a child'. She was awake yesterday, just like one of those kids whose parents have been disciplining their kids into an 'early-to bed, early-to-rise' schedule. I mean she was not just awake--she was wide awake---her eyes had no left over sleep, which I could pat her back into. Those lovely large eyes, were filled with fun and action, and the kids limbs were undoubtedly ready to 'conquer the world'---she was picking up the quilt, running into it--peek-a-boo---and pulling the pillow from under my head--somewhat surprised to still see me so listless. Yes, she was awake just around the time I would have gotten up. And how excited she was to catch her daddy fixing his tie. I new I would have to invent a whole new morning for us then---since it was still around four hours before her school!

So, the ensuing hours went like a typical 'good' household's morning hours do! I swept the whole house, dusted, tossed the trash outside the house, did some prep work for lunch and dinner, made an elaborate breakfast for the two of us (veggie loaded omelette with toasted bagels), and actually sat down to savor the food on the table with Twinky for a full twenty minutes. We both bathed, dressed appropriately for the weather and even wore some Mardi-gras beads (we have plenty of those always in 'her' wardrobe. You ask 'why'? Because, she is a 'princess' and she has to have 'jewels' to match all her dresses!)

Her constant tweeting in the background was, of course, melody and music and more. I enjoyed her company, as I always do. We even had a very pleasant day and had fun galore--just taking walks and talking and so on. BUT, and a big BUT, I am quite happy to be writing here today, occasionally sipping tea even as its rising steam fogs up my glasses. I hear the peck of my fingers at the keyboard, I hear the computer softly but constantly whirring, and I hear the clock ticking---but I don't hear Tweetybird! She is in the bedroom--fast asleep. I am happy, I know she is happily sleeping, hubby has happily left for work---so what's wrong --right? We are all creatures of habit after all! That I am looking forward to her getting up--goes without saying. That, I want my moments of silence, but not days of being alone---is sure right. That, she is safely tucked in bed, while I write, or drink tea, or he browses the net, or drinks his coffee, is the only reason that everything else happens in a peaceful state of mind. That, if she does not wake up by the time she is 'usually' expected to, leaves me jobless, and joyless---I know she does not know now, but will when she can.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Recall Button

[Prior warning: This is not about 'recall' as in remember, but about re-call as in calling back.]

We had congregated for a play-date for the kids, and as usual, the kids were in their own world, while we chatted away. The kids enjoyed our neglect, and we were happy to have them lost to some safe and happy (and loud and screaming and singing place), away from us. Thus as the spread of snacks kept filling up our tummies, and the decibels kept filling up the room, and the fat-bellied tea-pot kept getting emptied, we covered in our chatter all the absentees, some Egypt and Libya, and of course all the husbands of the world.

Then, as all conversations do, we somehow meandered onto an unlikely topic- of faux pas and blunders (and oh, is a full time mom's day punctuated with at least one blooper a day? You bet!). Anyhow, as us stay-at-home moms narrated our tales--sheepishly, apologetically, and guiltily, someone had to lift the morale of the company. So, this friend, who, co-incidentally was the only gainfully employed person (typically out early from her HR work on Fridays), started to give examples of gaffes and goof-ups people do at work so often---a place where one would expect a certain level of pre-meditated alertness. "And this is when, sometimes, there could be actually so much real loss to the company!", she added. Then she gave an example of her boss who had by mistake sent out information about an upcoming Merger deal that he was working on, to the competitor! Now, that was no slip--it was a slide--a landslide I would say. And yet, nothing major happened. The boss directed my friend to use the 'recall' feature in the outlook email--and recall as many errant emails as promptly as possible. The boss and my friend are both still on the company's pay-roll!

The Kodak moment arrived then---when a good majority of us moms, almost in a chorus, exclaimed, "What? There is a recall button?" Those few who were intelligent on the subject, not only pointed to the location of such a 'magic' button, but also gave a few more personal anecdotes to illustrate the handiness of the button---the poetic significance of which was not lost on us anyhow. The recall button became the 'tip' of the month for us. How many times, we have sent out empty mails, or switched mails or sent totally unintended material with the mail (like, I would so many times not like to have sent the long list of mushy, cutesy and some plain intelligent quotations that I use as my signature 'essay' to a potential employer, but that impulsive click on the send button, and all damage is done!)? Now, bingo---there is a RECALL button.

Pity, there is no re-calling the time going by. I cannot re-call the first moment when I let my toddler get off the high-chair while eating. Now, she almost always likes her meal running around the house----takes upwards of 45 mins, and gives me the not-so-needed work out. I cannot re-call the few hurtful words and sentences I said to some people I love, and care for. I think (and hope ) that they forgot, but alas I remember them from the very first time they were uttered in moments of rage or heated discussions. I cannot re-call a lot, but I know I can do better starting now. That's how I am going to take it.