Sunday, May 15, 2011


The day the brother's Board results came out, we went to Kasauli for the weekend. I haven't been back since, and I didn't even get to pick up mushroom pickle from NAFED. Hmph.

Barely three months later, he left for Boston, completely unwillingly and unexpectedly. When he came back for his first summer vacation a year later, soon after I finished my post-graduation, we went to Mumbai and Mahabaleshwar for a family holiday. Well, the father went on work, and we sort of tagged along.

A month later, I started working. In the three years since then, I've been to Calcutta, alone for work and with the mother otherwise, to Nasik with the father, and Jaipur with the brother. The brother's been to Ajmer and Assam with the mother, and he's joined the father in Hyderabad and Calcutta. We've all had individual trips - alone, with friends, or with colleagues.

We've all travelled, - but the four of us, together, haven't gone on a holiday in three years.

24 hours from now, the parents and I leave for Boston, to see my kid brother graduate from college. And then the four of us head to the UK for a family holiday.

In a couple of months, the brother takes up his first job, and I join B-school. Who knows when this will happen again?

I should go pack. Dammit.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

If I tell you...

  1. ...that I'm an HR consultant, it doesn't mean I can find you a job. There's more to HR consulting than recruitments.
  2. ...that I studied psychology for five years, it doesn't mean I can tell you what you're thinking by reading your face. Idjit.
  3. ...that I'm in HR, it doesn't mean you get to gasp in surprise on seeing that I am reasonably intelligent and competent with respect to technology, math, etc.
  4. ...that I'm Bengali, it doesn't mean my diet consists of roshogolla and machher-jhol-bhaat. And no, my name doesn't automatically get pronounced with the "aw" syllable. And please, please don't say the words "aami tomake bhalo bashi" to me.
  5. ...that I'm a romantic and/or read chick lit, it does not disqualify me from being a feminist. Or vice versa, for that matter.
  6. ...that I'm a feminist, it doesn't mean I believe in bra burning. I simply think gender equality is important. Get over yourselves.
  7. ...that I'm 26 and going for my MBA, it doesn't mean my hopes of landing a nice boy for marriage are over. Hopefully. Even if it does, so what? Why does marriage and kids have to be my ultimate goal in life?
  8. ...that I like kids only at a distance, and I'm not sure if I ever want to have kids of my own (even though I've sorta decided what I'll be naming them), why does this make me less of a woman?

Sunday, May 08, 2011

To Mamma, with Love

The mother loves bacon. She doesn't have it too often because she thinks it's expensive. So when we went to Flurry's earlier this year, I bullied her into ordering it, and made her have it. And this morning, I woke up at 7.30 AM for the first time since quitting my job, and fried bacon for her. And now she won't let me take her out for a Mother's Day dinner because I spent SO MUCH MONEY on a packet of bacon.

For as long as I can remember, she's done that. Scrimped and given up on what she likes, what she wants, because it may be too expensive. But nothing we ever wanted was too much. Music cassettes would be lying on my breakfast plate if I got a fabulous score on my math test, the brother got his electrical guitar after he cracked his twelfth Boards, the father was gifted a Bose music player for his 50th birthday.

Mamma got married at 20, right after finishing college. She did her Master's and started working after marriage. She decided to stop studying the day her two-year-old son looked at her and whined, "why you always studying, Mamma?" Everything she's ever done in her life has been for her family - her kids, her husband, her mother, her brothers. She has a terrible temper, but is terribly disappointed at how unladylike her daughter is. The current easiest way to irritate her is to call her Ma instead of Mamma or Mommy because you know, Ma just sounds old.

In school, there was nothing that happened in my life that the mother didn't know. Of course, not much happened, because I have the most boring life ever, but whatever did, she knew about. She made sure the brother and I read as kids, she made sure he and I were best friends as kids, and I know that no matter where we go in life, how rarely or frequently the brother and I talk, he and I will always have a good relationship because our mother made sure of it.

She's gorgeous, you know? In my leaving school slam book, a friend wrote "Roses are red, violets are blue, your mother is beautiful, what happened to you?" When I met him and his wife last month, he went into rhapsodies of the first time he ever saw my mother. A couple of years back, the first guy I ever had a crush on added me on Facebook, a decade after I'd moved away. His first question when he caught me on FB chat? "Is your mother still as gorgeous?" We regularly meet shock and disbelief when we announce we're mother and daughter, not sisters. Very demoralizing it all is.

I was watching an episode of Friends once, in the parents' bedroom. The parents were having some discussion, the brother was pottering around. It was one of the flashback episodes; the father glanced at the screen and asked, puzzled, "how did she become so fat?" "Oh you know, her brother was a miracle baby, so he was loved a lot more, so she was depressed and would eat a lot, so she's kinda fat." And as I said those words, everyone started grinning sheepishly, because it's SUCH A PARALLEL TO MY LIFE. Only I'm elder.

It is a universally known fact that the brother is the mother's favourite. The only person who denies this is the mother herself, who thinks mothers don't differentiate between their children. Hogwash, I say. When she goes berserk and stubborn, he's the only one who can calm her down. He's the one she likes to whine and talk to about stuff. He's the calm, dependable, go-to person in the family. Of course, part of all this could be because I'm a little... shall we say, hyper and opinionated about the things she says and does. Which is actually exactly how she is with the grandmother, but saying this to her would classify as being opinionated.

I look at the mother sometimes and wonder how anyone who's been through so much, who's had the life she's had can still be as strong and cheerful and together as she is. And I wish that my similarity to her extends to making me half the person she is.

Happy Mother's Day to the best mommy I could ever ask for.