Thursday, December 17, 2015

Katyar Kaljaat Ghusli

Katyar Kaljaat Ghusli has been making news across Maharashtra and needs no introduction.

Let me begin by saying that I am the black sheep on both sides of the family when it comes to classical music, poetry and the like. I’ve grown up hearing stories, surrounded by people passionate about each of these. So I have deep respect and an extremely strong desire to be able to understand and appreciate it. Let’s just say I am not there yet. But I continue trying.

Katyar has been an exception. The original play and the songs have captured my heart and I love listening to these endlessly. I even sing these out of tune, much to my husband’s chagrin. This is what drove me to see the play staged by Rahul Deshpande and team. As I’ve already mentioned, classical music or traditional music is not my forte. So I will refrain from commenting on that aspect. But I was disappointed with the performance (acting-wise) of Khan Saheb. Subodh Bhave as Baanke Bihari did a fantastic job though. When the trailers for the new movie adaptation started surfacing, I was disappointed to see Sachin Pilgaonkar cast as Khan Saheb. I’ve liked Sachin in all the fun Marathi movies but was skeptical about his ability to carry Khan Saheb. We did finally succumb to the multiple recommendations from our close friends and decided to give it a shot.

What I expected – a grand visual experience. It’d be fun to see the play get all the grandeur that the cine-screen would offer. Larger than life portrayals of the court, bright colorful representation of the performances.

The opening song ‘Sur Niragas Ho’ confirmed the visual appeal that I was banking on. The movie starts well and the relation between Panditji and Khan Saheb – the mutual respect and the love of music that transcends all boundaries is all there. But as the plot develops, two of the pivotal characters are turned into extremely simplistic caricatures.

Khan Saheb was a tortured soul – His talent was God-given, the mastery was with endless years of sheer hard work and grit. His gayaki (singing) was extremely good. But the then popular music was Panditji’s. The populace was used to his gentle, spiritual and pure reverent style of singing. This did not mean Khan Saheb’s style had no acceptance or no admirers. Even the royal court members acknowledged him as a great talent. It was just Panditji’s era that time. This was the reason why Khan Saheb failed. Their respect and regard for each other continued through all the 14 years that they competed. While his uppermost desire was to get his Gharana recognized and he struggled valiantly for it, he was also deliriously awed and respectful when Panditji’s music wove its magic. When he did finally win and become the ‘Raj Gayak’, he was disappointed that Panditji hadn’t sung. His victory was empty and meaningless. Khan Saheb is not a character who would divorce himself off his guilt by just divorcing his wife. The pain of his wife’s treachery would continue to haunt him all his life. This talented, complex, tortured, victorious but guilt-ridden soul is the beauty of Khan Saheb.

The movie chooses to make this a completely one-dimensional, negative character driven by jealousy and envy. A Khan Saheb who burns with hatred, who finds it difficult to acknowledge or enjoy good music without bias irrespective of the singer, who proclaims his triumph brazenly in a court numbed with sadness and shock, stoops so low as to flaunt his ill-gotten victory in the face of Panditji – this is a mockery of the magnificent persona of Khan Saheb and the wonderfully nuanced script of Katyar.

Further, the sly references to religion and the British influence are completely uncalled for. When Usman and Chand decide to throw away the murti of Murlidhar, Khan Saheb chastises them severely. He respects the ‘Murali wala’ as another artist – a divine musician and wouldn’t allow such blasphemy. No British courtier would’ve goaded Khan Saheb into revenge and I am sure even if he did, Khan Saheb would’ve brushed him off with a biting remark.

It doesn’t stop here. We still have Sadashiv. Sadashiv is innocent, guileless and completely immersed in his world of music. He is driven to frenzy seeking his guru and is always parched for divine music. All he wants is to learn music, experience music, imbibe music and be music. Normal, human concerns of rivalry, petty fights, and ego are for people who inhabit this world. Sadashiv lives in his own world of music. He is ready to give his soul to anyone who takes him into the world of pure music. For Sadashiv, the loyalty and worship is to music. So be it Panditji or Khan Saheb, he’d revere both. The relation between the 2 pivotal characters of Khan Saheb and Sadashiv is not purely hatred. It’s not an immature sentiment with a reason as blasé as ‘Panditji’s pupil’. Khan Saheb sees the spark, knows that he is in the presence of something divine. However, he knows that Panditji has already left his impression here. Whatever he tries to impart, it will be on someone else’s foundation and will never be his pure ‘gharana’ gayaki. He revolts at the thought of diluting his gharana and that is the reason he refuses to take him under his wing.

In the movie, Sadashiv’ s innocence, his love for music and passion to learn is all there. Subodh Bhave does a fantastic job of bringing it to life. But this is interspersed with totally contradictory moments of Sadashiv driven by a desire of revenge threatening to choke Usman and Chand or Sadashiv facing off the seasoned Khan Saheb with insolence. The character then doesn’t align. Sadashiv challenging Khan Saheb to a jugalbandi is the height of all absurdity. A pupil begging to be taken under the tutor’s wing and yearning for the ‘Jeete Raho, Gaate Raho’ blessing is in direct contrast with the arrogant, ego-riddled Sadashiv who challenges a ‘guru’ in all aspects. Also, with my limited knowledge of music too, it’s ridiculous to imagine the jugalbandi would be over a qawwali and would consist mainly of only speedy taans.

These two turn the entire story into a typical good vs evil and triumph of the good always story. Katyar is firstly a musical, but it also is an extremely mature and profound story of true human behavior and relations that are neither black nor white but are various shades of gray. The movie misses this angle completely.

Having said that, if you decide to ignore the original story, in which case it shouldn’t have the same name, then it’s a well-made movie to watch barring the few points where the characters itself contradict earlier behavior. However, there are few things that the movie does. Firstly, it brings the masterpiece ‘Katyar Kaljaat Ghusli’ into the world of the younger generations (including ours) from just our parent’s altar where it has been worshipped for so many years. Second, though the music is far from the original natya sangeet pure classical masterpiece that it was, it still is (especially for people like me) very pleasant on the ears and stays with you interspersed with bits of classical easily palatable to even the most naïve audience. Also, I’ve seen my 4 year-old daughter and her friends humming it and it’s great to have them sing this after the ‘Blue hain paani paani’ that they’ve been spouting (help me!). Shankar Mahadevan as Panditji is very believable and likeable. He has been able to walk the fine line and prevent what could easily have been the Marathi version of Aloknath aka Babuji if not portrayed well. Zareena and Uma fit their characters perfectly. Sadashiv despite the flaws of his character in the story, is totally sincere and he does a fantastic delivery of his monologue that ends with ‘Jeete Raho, Gaate Raho’. He completely steals the show. Also, as a director he does stay true to the period unlike the latest fiasco ‘Bajirao Mastani’ that is to hit us. Sachin disappoints in parts slipping into bouts of overacting that he is prone to. The movie makes a last, half-hearted try to bring forth the tussle in Khan Saheb’s mind in only the last few scenes. In his final dialogue where he urges Sadashiv to continue singing, his body language is oddly reminiscent of his scene with Hema Malini in Satte Pe Satta where he is requesting her to not leave his brother and them.

But, Katyar (The film) had a greater responsibility. The play ‘Katyar’ is true to the story but lacks the acting talent. The movie with so much at its disposal and with the responsibility of being the first ones of bringing this on the screen, have taken the easier way out. The audience is mature and could definitely have taken more. The movie should’ve taken the risk of the exploring the complex angles of story confidently instead of playing it safe with an outright simple, straightforward, fairy tale story. With this, we are only left with the current play to get the story and just audio recordings of the original Katyar to try and imagine the magic this would’ve created in its days of glory.

*Words in italics

Katyar Kaljaat Ghusli:
Marathi musical play originally released in 1967
Abbreviated reference to the above. Also means ‘Dagger’
The opening song of the film ‘Katyar Kaljaat Ghusli
Vocal tradition, style of singing
The word gharana comes from the Urdu/Hindi word 'ghar', which means 'family' or 'house'. It typically refers to the place where the musical ideology originated
Raj gayak:
The Royal Court Musician/Singer
Murali wala:
The one with the flute (murali). Denotes Lord Krishna
A musical duel
Form of Sufi devotional music
Blue hain paani paani:
You don’t want to know. Anyhoo –Yo Yo Honey Singh’s nonsensical song that stormed the nation
Jeete Raho, Gaate Raho:
A blessing literally means – live long and keep singing
Bajirao Mastani:
Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s magna opus. Another article for this shall come
Satte Pe Satta:
An extremely popular Hindi movie from the 1980’s featuring Sachin

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Chinese it is - Tsaai Shen Yeh

Tsaai Shen Yeh

Pouring rains and the accompanying chill on a Sunday evening meant we had to go out to avoid the evening blues but definitely not to a too loud, bright place that would completely wash out the comforting lazy spell that the weather had woven. So we headed to our comfort hangout – Pagdandi. We spent some time at this cheerful, cozy café browsing books and reading out to my little one. Since she invariably gets severe hunger pangs in this café, we ordered a hot chocolate for her and settled in for some time. I love the complete recharge that this café offers. Then some more time pottering about the Art studio and Enlit kids and we’d a usual, chilled eve out.
We decided to opt for an early dinner. Monsoon usually means severe cravings of hot hot hot soup and steaming momos. Since Tsaai Shen Yeh is bang opposite Regent Plaza and we’d read great reviews, it was a natural choice

It’s a small place with limited seating. About 6 cross legged tables and basic chairs. It’s a cozy fit and you’ve to adjust your chair into the niche created by the chair and table right behind you. In spite of being outdoors, there were no mosquitoes. So +1 there! It took quite some time to get the waiters attention. There is only 1 waiter who takes orders, the others redirect to him. We ordered chicken noodle soup, tom kha chicken soup, dragons of heaven (chicken lollipop) and steamed chicken wontons (they were out of momos L ).

The soups arrived in reasonable time and were just what the doctor ordered. Steaming hot and delicious! The little one slurped her portion of chicken, noodles and broth without a word. The Tom Kha soup was yummy too – great coconut flavors with the right touch of spice. We were looking forward to sampling the starters.

This is where the wait began - 15 minutes and 2 reminders but no sign of the starter. In the same time, we heard another table complain that they’d been waiting for a bowl of noodles for over 1 hour. The guest angrily charged up to the kitchen and then the billing counter only to find out that the order had never been conveyed to the kitchen. This gave us the heebie-jeebies and we rushed to the counter to check on our starters. We were not in such a bad soup (pun intended) and the starters were being made in their own sweet time.

After this outburst from the customers, our starters arrived quickly. The wontons were great – a tiny portion of chicken stuffed in the wontons but sautéed in babycorn, carrot and other veggies, the taste was great. The dragons of heaven were another story. A bit on the sweeter side and in the hurry to get the order (I think), not fully done. You could taste the dry corn flour on the lollipop and this completely put me off. Luckily, I’d a wonton left over for the last lingering taste to be just right.

The other niggling part to an otherwise great evening was not Tsaai Shen yeh’s fault. The restaurant itself is non-smoking. But there are 3 eateries stuck close together in that line and the eatery next door – Café F5 I think, had a bunch of smokers at most of the tables. Since the only thing separating the tables in these 2 places is a line of potted plants, this was definitely an inconvenience. Which brings me to this, isn’t there a smoking ban in public places in Pune and do restaurants with outdoor seating not come under this category?

For summing up Tsai Shen Yeh, great food – absolutely delicious but definitely slow. So Tip #1: don’t go when you’re very hungry and in a hurry. Tip #2: double check that your order has been placed. We’ll definitely go back to sample some more fare.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

DIY Diwali

DIY Diwali
Last month, the hubby and I took stock of our little wallets and came to a conclusion that we were dealing with not just holes but craters in them. With maintenances and property taxes and insurance premiums and furniture and our unstoppable love for food, we'd pretty much turned a sprinkle into a downpour from our piggy bank. So the usual budgeting and let's cut this and let's cut that followed. The next thing on the horizon was Diwali and of course, we were in the kind of mood where we said, that's it. No gifts this time. But then Diwali still had to be special and fun. So a brainwave (?!) hit and said “I know! Let's make gifts”. So started our Diwali DIY project.

With google and pinterest, the possibilities were endless. I spent many happy hours browsing and shortlisting various things I loved. Always having been extra strong (!) on feasibility studies and planning exercises, I drew up an impressive list of things to make. Hubby looked at me with the resigned look that he has learnt to wear when I am on one of my crazy streaks.

The first day I was off work, I rushed to the heart of the city and raided the stationary stores, paper stores and the like to stock up on all essentials. I wanted to make sure I had everything so I bought doubles as I usually do. This was definitely going to be a super-economical project.

So basics were of course, diyas

For this project, my daughter was super thrilled and jumped aboard. All aboard the chhoo choo train. Off we were. Rushed to the potter's and got 24 diyas for about 40 bucks and soaked them overnight in water to minimize oil leakage. I'd already raided the stationary store for colors, glitter tubes, varnish and the like. A large wooden board covered with tons of newspaper, color palettes, brushes, painting aprons and we were set. The lil one would call out a color. We'd pour it into the palette cups, dip brushes and begin the whish-whoosh; one side and then the other. Turn it over and carefully set to dry. One mistake we made was put them to dry on the paper. So a little bit of newsprint joined the diyas. Nevertheless being super-proud of my amateur DIY'er status and completely convinced of the leeway I took to be my right, I took this in the stride. No harm done. A quick second stroke of color over the borders and we declared the problem solved. I don't think the diyas would agree.  But hey, I declare the 'Done' here. It took us about 2-3 evenings to complete the base coloring and then off to decorating. Squiggles, (a) symmetrical flowers, (un)evenly spaced dots - I just let myself go. Master creative minds at work do not worry about details but just go with the flow. So, we finally had 24 diyas all decked up and ready. A coat of varnish and 2 days in the sun; these are now ready to be packed off

Meanwhile, on the side, what was planned was Utna. Our DIY diwali would not go with store-bought Utna. The search for this was not easy and google for once refused to be of much help. So I reached out to my sister who's an Ayurved doctor. She messaged me the list of ingredients, most of which I'd naturally not heard of. I went to an Ayurved store and confidently listed of all the ingredients that I wanted. The store-owner looked at me and started handing out everything powdered. Now my sister had asked me to get the original ingredients but then with powders, this would definitely be simpler. No such luck. One message to her and a definite answer - 'No, absolutely not. That would not be strong enough”. Luckily the store keeper sourced it for me by the next day. I spread them out on plates. The next morning was to put them out to dry. 1 day of sunshine, not too bright to ensure the fragrances stayed. As luck would've it, it rained the next day, and the next. I was in despair. But finally, the sun decided to make an appearance and I had these dried. Next, what I needed was a mill; a special kind of mill that drills shikakai and the like. Regular mills do not accept these due to the strong odor. I called my local JustDial (mother-in-law) and as always, she knew where one was. FIL kindly agreed to take it to the mill which decided on 2-days of leave for polls and then Thursday (the national power-cut day). But finally, he was able to take it around and we now have one container full of utna - about 0.5 kg.

Moving on to the fragrances, I had no idea these were so difficult. I read umpteen blogs on this and each one had a slightly different way. I knew this one would probably be the Achilles heel for my Diwali project. In any case, we decided to give it a shot.  These are the two blogs that I referred to most since it dealt with mostly procurable (?) materials 

The first challenge, glass bottles to bottle the oil. These are not available in our area and available only in the city. Working weeks and other-priority weekends did not give me a chance to do this. Again, my local JustDial (mother-in-law) stepped in. She’d unused glass bottles that we’d bought about 3 years back for gifting. I gladly stole them from her and set off with my task. The glass bottles were first sterilized. The second challenge was the carrier oil. Most blogs recommended jojoba as carrier oil. Almond oil can also be used but apparently has a stronger smell and can overpower the flavors that you use. Now, in Pune, jojoba oil is still a specialty. It’s not available in local stores easily and that launched another fruitless search. Then on some blog, I saw olive oil mentioned as the carrier oil. It did have to be cold pressed. But thanks to the proliferation of Italian cooking in Indian homes, this was much easier. I went to a cosmetic store to buy olive oil for massage and to my surprise was handed over a regular bottle of Borges EVOO which the label said ‘Used for pastas, salads, dressings’. Hmm, this one for Diwali oil? I decided to give it a try. 

I filled the bottles with coarsely ground clove, cinnamon, chopped mint, rose and golden champa, one in each bottle. I covered these with oil and tightly closed the lids. These were then immersed in boiling water and left till the water turned cool. There was a failed experiment where one of the bottles filled with tuberose had an argument with the boiling water and just lost its cool. It cracked and water entered the bottle. Odor?  Yes. Fragrant? Decidedly, No.

The next was a sun bath. So put them out in the sun for 3-4 days and then let them rest a bit for another 3-4 days in a cool, dry place. Now, the third challenge was small perfume bottles to blend these. Thanks to a super cooperative WhatsApp group, I was able to reach Deepti Chemicals near Vijay talkies and got them. The blending is yet to begin. That is planned tonight. I did a sneak whiff on these and there is a mild fragrance in each bottle. The result remains doubtful since I believe it would need longer to rest.

Then, came the next part. I wanted to make handmade paper lanterns/lamps that could be used easily. I was spoilt for choice with the variegated designs available. But how do you illuminate these? I did not want wires and plugs. I was bent on using handmade paper so that ruled out actual tea lights. There was some information available on fireproofing paper but it mainly made the paper fire resistant, not fireproof. The other option, LED tea lights. However these are fairly expensive in India as yet. More research, led to LED throwies. This may be something I go with, if I do get time. Since now, I am officially behind schedule by about 1 week. 

The designs I loved,
LED Throwies:

I tried the pyramid lanterns and they were mostly simple to do. When I do manage to get them illuminated, will definitely let you know. I also have materials ready for Idea #4. Any takers?

And finally, the part I did not account for. Packing. What do we pack these in? Since I’d done my bit of research and truth be told, was exhausted, I handed this over to hubby. Read: begged him to take over and threatened with dire consequences. So, he got on YouTube and followed video instructions to make simple paper bags. We do need to make these special so Nandini’s handprints will adorn these simple bags. A small pack of utna packed in tissue envelopes, a pair of hand painted diyas, pyramid lamps minus the illumination and a small bottle of very lightly fragrant oil. Not too fancy and definitely amateur. But great fun and hoping for more next year. And here’s leaving you with our own homemade lantern

#Note to self
  • Plan better, plan smarter
  • Involve the whole family (extended as well)
  • How do you light the diyas? :S
  • Use WhatsApp for material sourcing information ALWAYS

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Malaka Spice

Yesterday we started reminiscing about what food we miss from Pune. The regular wada pav, chaat, pani puri started the list. But then, to my surprise, Malaka Spice came up; and just stayed!
Now, let me explain something. Malaka Spice is not a picture of "Pune food" or "home food". Its not "Prabha" or "Bipin" or "Vaishali". So why would it be my strongest memory? You see, we get all that food here; and it isn't like Yana's where Mayur and me would go every fortnight. In total, I would have been to Malaka Spice about 6 times. There is no specific dish that I remember or always order when I get there. Sometimes I have had outstanding food there. A couple of times, I didn't really like what I ordered. But there was never a time when I did not leave Malaka Spice satisfied and at peace, as if I had the bestest time in the world.
Is it the ambiance? I am not sure. ABC farms has a similar ambiance in a few cafes. Or is it the service? When I think of Malaka Spice, what do I think of?
Oh,the menu card! The interesting, interesting menu card. I never tire of reading it. The creative illustrations, the descriptions, the 'Chef Cheeru" special icons - I just love it! Its like reading a really catchy trivia magazine. I take ages to order and even after we're done, I still keep reading the menu. I hate the concept of taking away the menus once you finish ordering. It should be abolished.
Then there are the waiters, dressed in casual Hawaiian shirts, not in waistcoats and ties. And yes, almost all of them are knowledgeable about what they serve. Isn't it fantastic? They just fit right in. Plus there's Prashant Sinha doing the caricatures. In the candlelight of Malaka Spice, caricatures have their own special magic or at least I do remember it as magic.
When they moved, we thought Malaka Spice would lose its charm because it came out of being a small cosy place into this huge expanse. To my delight, it managed to retain its charm. It achieved just what was required. The utter cosy ambiance was now just available to more. The personality stayed.
The crowd at Malaka Spice is a cross-section of the Pune society. College students, typical camp crowd, KPites, Oshoites, young professionals and so on. But its still comfortable for any one to fit into.
Pretentious? No
Elitist? Nope
Charming ? Yes
Interesting? Always, yes
Special evening? Guaranteed

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Rahmania .. .. .. Soaked!

Mayur and me been following Rahman concert updates on various facebook profiles since early March. We thought we'd missed it for the year. Well, I thought..'tant pis'. It'll be back and we'll catch it elsewhere. And then when we heard his tour had been postponed..tant mieux..! Thank god, we hadn't booked.

But I guess, we were in luck. A few days later, we saw a post for AR Rahman in NJ. Quick ride home, login to the net, a few clicks and we were set! I've been to a couple of live performances in Pune and though they were fun, it wasn't "must-see". I didn't know what to expect.
The concert was beyond everything I imagined. After we got back from the concert, for the first time in years, words rushed out. I just needed to talk to someone, to explain what I felt. I knew it would not be enough. But I wrote the blog below and kept it for reformatting and reorganizing later.
Guess what, its almost 3 months and I am still" working" on it. Now, when I look at it, I think, is this really how I was feeling? Is this gushing blog me? This is stupid, I cannot feel this way. My usual skeptic attitude and sarcasm threaten to take over. But I am going to try and fight it. I don't know which of this is the real feeling or maybe both are. So, I am sticking with the original post. No edits, no re-formats.


I am so overwhelmed that for the first time in 2 years, I just wanted to write.
But what?

Where do I start without this turning out like a gushing teenager's blog describing a first crush?
What do I say to even convey a bit of the tumultous feelings that assaulted my senses in these 3 hours?
Was it that great? Have I never really been out?
Do I start with the songs or was it just Rahman?
Was it the foreign dancers in their wonderfully exotic ethnic costumes putting up a splendourous display
OR the sheer energy of the performers
OR the lasers and lights and their fantastic use
OR was it the small cute packaging of each song into appropriate stories?
Whatever it was, it sure was once in a lifetime experience
The Vande mataram, the Jay ho, the Bharat humko, Swades - the cliched patriotic songs; How do they make goosebumps appear?
The obviously planned and staged gimmick of Il Omkar followed by O Palanhare followed by Khwaja mere Khwaja; How does that leave you speechless and the message of "India is my country. All Indians are my brothers and sisters" suddenly start feeling so real, so important and not "oh come on" any more (especially when we contrast it with the newspaper reports) ?
Why does a presentation of Ganesh Chaturthi ((Fantastic) or holi or mehendi, the same cheesy filmy song make you all mushy? I guess its being Indian after all. Hum to aise hain bhaiyya and Phir bhi dil Hain Hindustani

But what pride; what a sense of pride. Our Rahman holds an international audience spellbound and has international dancers draped in Indian clothes do bollywood steps. Oh! its such a pleasure. I cant explain why, but hell, we can do it.! And its great to witness that. Show me another one of this kind. Well firstly it will be a privilege. If not, well, .Rahman hamara hain and .......Rahmania continues

Monday, October 8, 2007

Mind Overloaded!

There are no lights in office and the UPS is now drained. Obviously, the work’s come to a standstill. So for the first time, I am listening to songs randomly, without selecting, without even reading the name of the song. Somehow when I listen to a song without explicitly selecting it or knowing the name, I enjoy it. Normally I would just look at the name and flip to the next. Why does this happen? Is it because the unknown fills you with anticipation and you listen to it more carefully or is it simple acceptance of the song that plays? When you have a choice, you keep flicking on ahead thinking that you will find a song that you enjoy more than the current one. Either way, I end up listening hardly to a song or two; neither of which I enjoy fully because while listening to the song, one part of my mind is furiously working to determine what to play next. Instead of enjoying what’s playing currently, it becomes a race to keep finding a better option to play next.

I guess this is what happens in life too.

Instead of fully, completely and unreservedly enjoying and absorbing the present moment, I keep planning the future; something as simple as what I should do after the song is over to what I should do in the evening, what I should cook at night, how long I should continue with this job, what do I do next, what is my goal in life…the list is endless. My mind is constantly restless - planning, thinking, worrying, erasing and restarting. Whew!

Its important to plan agreed, but the planning is not the all-consuming focus. A tentative plan to avoid a spread like an amoeba and then totally giving oneself to the moments that come – that’s what liberates you and lets you be one with every moment. Like now, when I am appreciating the lyrics, the music, every single word of the song that’s playing. I have discovered that some unnoticed songs have the most amazing lyrics. Who knows how many such more discoveries I hit upon?

Do you have the same experience?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

First Day after GLT

‘See you, Take care!’, I said aloud to everyone who had got up to bid me good-bye and walked out of GLT escorted by Satyen, Vikrant and Bharat. It did not sink in then that this would be the last time I would be in GLT premises as 35018491. There was this weird feeling in my heart that refused to go away and a lump in my throat. But there were no tears. Just a little mist. In the same dizzy state, I rode home and went to sleep.

In the morning after a sleep disturbed with dreams throughout, I woke up not having to go to office. Surprisingly, it did not feel scary or out of place. I just felt as if the weekend had come early. Plus there was loads to do since mom was unwell and I was officially in-charge of home. In a rush of activity, cooking, cleaing, sleeping (;-)), evening soon arrived. My brain was working itself into a fury with constant thoughts and list of things to do and so on. The thought cycle just wouldn’t stop. Fatigued, I finally sat down and then started thinking what had I exactly done in the entire day. It then hit me that for the first time in years, here was a day when I was not with my team. No one in the entire day had once called out ‘Baks, will you do this?’ or ‘Bakul, just a question?’. You feel as if you are not needed. I mean though I had been busy, its nothing like office work. Housework sure is lonely and I now have a different admiration for homemakers. Its different to work in a team, the feeling that you are in this together, the sense of solidarity, the teasing and troubling, the jargon unique to your team, the ups and downs, the celebrations, and laughing over terms and jokes that no one else can understand for – all this is what I will miss the most. This is what is going to be very difficult to get used to.