Mother’s Day Post

A few days ago I read a web article about a Teacher from a school in the Mumbai Suburbs about the dress code she follows to her work place. The writer referred to “ Many students and ex-students over the generation have written in saying that they have dreamt of my saris.” While reading this I realized this could have easily been my Mother talking. It took me back to memories of her getting ready for her college. I must have been 6 or 7 still going to primary school, and returning early to be able to see her get dressed for work. She also worked in a Girl’s College in the suburbs and took the college bus to work every day. She wore mostly Handloom cottons or printed cottons during summer, on rainy days she wore synthetics ( that’s what they were called then) and during the mild winter she wore handloom silks, printed silks. She accessorised her outfits with subtle jewelry. I know she had a collection of semi precious stone jewelry which I later inherited. She had her glass bangles. But they were rarely worn by the time I could remember. She wore light gold earrings and bangles and a watch with black leather band. She had progressed from the semi precious colorful jewelry to Gold, but the color wasn’t lost, she had rings made with different color stones, and matching earrings and bangles. We would go shopping for these in the city when we visited during vacations. And everyday when she got ready she would match her accessories with her saree. She seemed to do it without a hitch. I was awestruck by it. I thought someday I would be able to do the same. I remember she used to have her leather bags in the Black, Brown and Neutral color which she would pair accordingly. And her heeled Sandals, colorful and dainty but subtle at the same time. She stopped wearing heels after a freak accident at a railway station. But I still remember trying out her sandals all the time as a child.

She told me many stories of how her students would be in awe of her clothes and accessories. They would discuss amongst themselves what color outfit she would wear on a particular day. In the 80’s and 90’s the students were still respectfully afraid of the teacher so they didn’t talk about it to her in class. She found out from them during their  field trips or excursions or sometimes once they had passed out of the college and come back to join the department as juniors. The millennial student were more forthcoming. They would tell her in the classroom that they liked what she was wearing.

The day I read the article I posted it on FB and wrote a bit and while doing that I found I had more to say. So, I decided to write this post for her on Mother’s Day. For my mother, who inspired me to dress well, accessorize and show up looking ready for the job every day. I came to embrace this tenet of dressing well pretty in life. Mostly I didn’t care how I looked because I thought my sparkling personality would do the rest. In the past 2-3 years I have moved away from only dressing up for occasions to dressing right Every day. And although my choices and taste are a poles apart from my mother, I know that some part of the love for sarees come from her. I remember I was given I saree every year and slowly by the time I was working I made sure I bought one saree every year. For a young person of my generation who did not have too many occasion to wear saree I had a sizable collection and would enjoy wearing them to Family events much to the surprise of people who thought I was too young to wear a saree. The concept of saree being meant for only rare festivities is ingrained in some and hence they are surprised to see me wear a saree. However, my Mother has definitely inspired me to wear a saree at most occasions.

Thank you Mom, for the inspiration. As years go by I realize how much influence you have on how I shaped up as a person. Happy Mother’s Day!!

 

THE END.

FIFTY THREE

… tell me, honestly, do you think love is ever a happy thing?”
… To care passionately for another human creature brings always more sorrow than joy; but all the same, one would not be without that experience. Anyone who has never really loved has never really lived.

From SAD CYPRESS by Agatha Christie

Truer words have not been spoken about LOVE.

What’s the good of life, anyway? That’s the real question. Ever read about that nice medieval invention, the Little Ease? You couldn’t stand, sit, or lie in it. You’d think anyone condemned to that would die in a few weeks. Not at all. One man lived for sixteen years in an iron cage, was released, and lived to a hearty old age.”
… “What’s the point of this story?”
… “The point is that one’s got an instinct to live. One doesn’t live because one’s reason assents to living. People who, as we say, ‘would be better dead’ don’t want to die! People who apparently have got everything to live for just let themselves fade out of life because they haven’t got the energy to fight.

From SAD CYPRESS by Agatha Christie

Life is precious and a human will cling onto his life even if he is in the worst of circumstances. The quote needs no explanation. It describes in the most common language the irony of human life. Sometimes driven to desperation a man may wish to end his torture but it is he who will fight the hardest (sometimes) to keep drawing his next breath. Life is not so easy to give up without a fight. The story of the Little Ease is what makes this quote fill with the sense of irony. It is the instinct of survival that pushes us to go on, to take another step, to open our eyes one more time, to see one more morning.

This quote always reminds me of the will and perseverance of human life and the basic instinct to survive against all odds. Somehow it makes me feel stronger whenever I read it. I hope the readers will draw their own conclusion from this and it would thrill me to know what you think. So, don’t hesitate to leave a comment.

THE END.

Six

Mumbai, a city that never sleeps. 

When I came to this city I had heard so much about it. I had heard from my friends, family members, the media, and “A city that does not sleep”. But you see the problem with any city and the expectation it creates is that it usually leads to disappointments. Cities like Mumbai and perhaps any other city hides one simple fact behind the razzle dazzle is the hardness of the life led here.

 

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Bombay – Old map of 9 islands with their anglicized names

I visited a museum in the city a few months ago and I was surprised at the great many changes in the map of the city. If a city had a biographer they would write about how Mumbai started out as just a few islands and mainland divided by inlets formed by Arabian Sea into the pulsating life form that it is today. The relief of the city has changed over the last few hundred years.

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Mumbai -Now

The city became the commercial capital of the country and drew all and sundry. All the leading companies both Indian and MNC’s have their offices here and hence the jobs are more in numbers and so the market grew drawing more and more till the city was bursting at seams, and so it grew again, connecting to the suburbs. People here travel across 35 to 60 kms everyday to get to their place of work and back, some start as early as 6 am. They are people with white collar jobs with top ranking brands, yet they slog day in day out.

The roads everywhere are not the best everywhere, there are many flyovers, the local trains across 3 lines connect across the length and breadth of the city, the BEST buses ply across the city, there are equal numbers of cars, cabs and autos honking their horns to get through the traffic. Mumbai is a tough city to survive in. Unless you earn big bucks, then you have some of the luxuries that you take for granted elsewhere.

The differences are glaring; it is a city throbbing with life because the throb is a million people trying to jostle onto moving trains, on the road, trying to grab a train. But then I sit down and try to think, is it so different from any other city, especially a city I love, Kolkata? Kolkata has its share of criticisms, but truth be told, aren’t their thousands of people travelling by the local train in North, South and Main line, traveling to reach their places of work. I know some people who worked with me who started at 7 am every day to make it to office by 9 am. There were many others who traveled more than 300 kms a day from the suburbs or the nearby district towns to work in their offices. So, it seems to me the tough struggle for life continues everywhere, a home city gives us some cushioning, an alien city makes everything look much more difficult.

But despite all the rational I try to pour into my thoughts, I find to be a randomly fast paced city, too rough in the inside, just a bit polished on the outside. I simply can’t admit to myself that it is just another city. I do not like Mumbai, I will never fall in love with it. I only tolerate it and may someday grow to not turn my nose up to it. It remains a harsh city full of harsh people. I feel like an outsider here. But that’s just me. I would probably feel like an outsider everywhere except Kolkata. I will be lying if I said I cannot find the romance in Mumbai, because some days and some nights the city does surprise me, I think I will talk about that in a different post.

But let me end with a thought about the same notion I started with, a city that never sleeps.

The life in Mumbai is a struggle because of which the inhabitants who come from across the country stay awake. The city never sleeps because someone somewhere in this vast city is trying to stay alive and is awake.

THE END.

 

Sources: Wikipedia, mapsofindia