Monday, November 06, 2006

Totally uncool

Hi, I'm Sayesha and I live on the equator. And today, I have something to say. Something un-cool.

"No Zee/Sony/Star TV subscription for you till the exams are over!" Ian had ordered.

"Okay." I said meekly.

Luckily, Ian does not know that SCV has a cool feature called 'Mosaic' where you can see every possible channel in the form of tiny windows. So as I sit and work on my assignments/dissertation/exam prep, I just put one of the hindi channels on the mosaic - whichever is playing the top ten chartbusters - and pretend that it's hindi radio. Kaam ka kaam, music ka music! Thenga to Ian!

So it was one of those days when I was doing my homework to Kay Kay's 'Kya mujhe pyaar hai' when I stumbled upon a commercial break.

"Vardhman knitting yarn." said the smooth voice.

Vardhman knitting yarn? Vardhman knitting yarn?

OMG VARDHMAN KNITTING YARN!


Realisation hit me like a snowball in the face - it's freakin' winter in India!!!!!!!!!

They say ang mohs (that's "Caucasians" in Singapore lingo) get a 'hardship allowance' when they come to work in Singapore.

Bloody hell. I need a hardship allowance too. Cos I have been facing the hardship of living in the same climate all year round for the last 8 years! That's hardship for me right there!

Eight years ago, when I got notification of the scholarship, Dad asked me "Do you want to go live in Singapore for ten years?" So I decided to take a closer look at the island. I took out the plastic inflatable globe that he'd got me for one of my birthdays, blew it up and looked for Singapore.

Ah, there it was, so tiny that even the letter 'S' wouldn't fit inside the little dot that it was on the globe.

"It's on the equator, Dad." I said.

"Yeah."

"No, it's right ON the equator."

"Yeah."

"So the climate is equatorial."

"Yeah."

It's hot the whole year round."

"Yeah."

"There's no winter."

"Yeah."

Sheesh.

So in July 1998, on a hot humid day, I landed on the land of no winter. The next day was a hot humid day. The day after was a hot humid day. The day after... you get the draft... the hot, humid draft if I may add.

Dad's transfers all over India had given me the good fortune to experience all kinds of winter - the bone-chilling winters in Patna to 'cold' winters in Jamshedpur to the 'pleasant' winters in Hyderabad.

I remember the winters of Patna most vividly. When I was a little girl, Mom told me one morning, "Beta, you can't bathe before going to school today."


"Yipppeeee!" I muttered under my breath and then asked with a serious disappointed face, "Really? Why not?"

"The water's frozen in the pipes. There's no water if you turn on the taps."

I couldn't be happier. Bathing early in the morning in winter (in spite of the water heater) was torturous. But Moms are Moms. She soon found a way out. She'd store water in the buckets overnight and then heat it up the next morning over the gas for me to bathe.

Dammit.


Then there was the crazy knitting. As soon as the monsoons got over, Mom would start knitting. Knitting between cooking sessions, knitting while watching TV, knitting when on the phone, knitting when talking to the neighbour, basically knitting all the time. Sometimes I'd help her wrap the yarns of wool into balls. At other times, she'd even let me knit a little. I'd proudly wear the sweaters she made to school. And then they introduced blazers as winter uniform. I loved it, yes. It looked very smart, yes. But somehow, the blazers lacked something that the sweaters Mom knitted used to have. They were not warm. Literally and otherwise.

Winter was also the time the dosa-wala used to do his rounds in our neighbourhood. He'd hit a large metal spoon against his hot griddle and we'd shout "Aa gaya aa gaya, dosa wala aa gaya!" and flock around him.

And then of course, there was the fire.

There was a lady in our neighbourhood who I'm pretty certain had a name but whom everyone used to refer to as 'Lalli ki mummy' ("Lalli's mother"). In the evening, Lalli ki mummy would set up a huge bonfire and my friends and I would huddle around it and sing "We didn't start the fire." Ooops, wrong song. I meant we'd sing hindi songs in 'test-match antakshari competitions' that would last for days. Sometimes it would get very very very late in the night, like really late, like 8 'o clock (hey, I was six! 8 o' clock was very very very late!) and my Mom would march forth on a one-woman 'Lalli ki mummy, meri beti mujhe lauta do' morcha ("Lalli ki mummy, return my daughter to me"). She'd peel me from the bonfire and I'd shout back to my friends, "Teri baari, la se!" for us to continue the game the next day.

We used to eagerly wait for the winter ads. The ads in India are anyways pretty phenomenal (on sunday evenings, my sister used to watch TV in the ten-min slot just before the movies when they showed the ads, and she'd go to do her homework when the movie started.) but winter ads were always more special. They were soft-focus ads with pretty women in pastel-coloured winter clothes and perfect skin and hair whom I wanted to grow up to be like. The Monte Carlo was one such ad, and so were Nivea moisturising lotion and Ponds cold cream and what not. And of course, Vardhman knitting yarn, the ad that I was watching on that tiny mosaic window.

Perhaps at that moment, somewhere in a house in Calcutta, Mom was knitting a sweater for Dad. Perhaps Dad was retrieving the big suitcase with all the winter clothes from the high shelves in the storeroom. Perhaps they were shopping for winter toiletries. And I'm sure they were thinking of me.

It's strange that I can't remember things from last week, and yet events from twenty years ago are crystal clear in my mind. I guess that's the power of human memory - the best years of our lives are beautifully preserved in the album of time and we can look at them again and again whenever we want.

As I sat there listening to the Vardhman knitting yarn ad on the mosaic, I felt something. On that hot summer day, with my air-conditioner trying hard to make me believe it was winter, I felt the monsoon. In my eyes.

Hi, I'm Sayesha and I live on the equator.

And today, I feel rather cold.




47 comments:

Strider said...

GOLD!!
MY FIRST GOLD!!!!

Strider said...

Are Bhai udas nahi hone ka!

"the best years of our live are beautifully preserved in the album of time"
so true!

aur Ian ko zyada choona mat lagana ... aakhir apka hitaishi hai ... (lekin zyada bhav bhi nahi khane dena!!)

keep smiling Bhai!

chanakya said...

hey u were in Jamshedpur for some time?
When?
Damn i miss my lovely town.

When ppl talk about how clean and green Singapore is I can't help but compare to Jamshedpur. It was just as clean and green. At lest Telco was :D .
All that without fines to boot.

11 days for departure cannot wait lah

chanakya said...

oye me silver lah

Ritu Raj said...

Yea it happens with all of us.We dont give a damn to things around us but when they are not around we miss them. Remenber the days in school when students call their teachers by nick names and aftre you have passed from the school you still remember the nick names but donot want to call them the same. Nostalgia they say is best srved cold. For when it is hot you donot relish it.I was moved to write a comment, I have been to your blog since months but its the first time i have left a comment. Great post. Keep rocking

qsg said...

I get a lot of winter! A lot more than I would like, actually! :) Someone doesn't do a very good job of balancing stuff! :D
Don't let the monsoons flood your eyes - let them just be a mist that reminds you, that you can still feel!
Very touching post! :)

வல்லிசிம்ஹன் said...

may be I can call you a 'gal who came in from the heat.

jokes apart, I am sorry
that you have to go thru these reminescences.

homesick strikes you at oddtimes. and there is no antidote for that.
when i read sayesha's blog
I feel happy.
so this will also pass.

Rohit Talwar said...

HOW I WISH Winters were here... It's first week of November already.. And, NO, it's just 'pleasant' in Delhi. SUCKS. I wait for winters all year round and the period seems to be contracting! SUCKS. I WANT WINTERS! I WANT WINTERS!! I WANT WINTERS!!!

I want winters, right away. :|

Sayesha said...

#Strider,
Hahahaha! Sona mubaraq ho! :P

Arre yaar exam time hai... Ian hi mai-baap hai... tu usko bhadka mat... naaraaz ho gaya toh Sash Bhai ki waat lag jayegi! :O

#Chanakya,
Hey, you from JSR too?? I was there for 2 years... did my 7th and 8th from JPS. Loved it man... we used to live in Agrico... :)
ps: You're going home???? Have pani puris on my behalf ok? :P
pps: What's with the lah? Hahahah you're not using it naturally.. you need to live here for a few more years... hehehe :P

#Ritu Raj,
Welcome to Sayeshaz (though you've been in the bar for a while, but gotta welcome formally, yeah? :) and thanks for commenting :)

#QSG,
Hahahaa! Barf wala? London ki barf mein kya jaan nikli thi meri! :O

#Kurungudi-valli,
Hey, I couldn't read your name in tamil so I'm jus gonna call you 'Kurungudi-valli'... hope that's ok :P

Welcome to Sayeshaz and thanks for dropping by! :)

Sayesha said...

Rohit,
Arre I toh thought Delhi mein mast sardi hoti hai?? :O

Di said...

arre..cheer up dearie...aapko rona suit nahi karta..heres a warm(ironical?!) hug

gotta admit i never noticed that singapore was on the equator!! :O

Sakshi said...

I am so lucky that I live in a place that goes through for seasons..:P
But I remembered the ads.. the cold cream ads that ran over and over again.
Hope you have another bright and sunny warm day.. I am just going to huddle here on my desk in my three layers of clothes.. Sigh ..

Anonymous said...

'jinhe ho unn kee itni pehchan, unhe dijiye vardhman knitting yarn'.

this really was one of my fav ads. the other ones included nerolac paints, aur parle jee.i am tempted to write more on them and i guess i will. first one went like this, 'jab ghar kee raunak badaani ho, diwaron ko jub sajana ho, nerolac; nerolec.'.

the parle jee wala included a little kid who is afraid of going to a doctor, she goes to one anyyway with her mother, and seeing her afraid doctor remembers her childhood days and ..'. i know you remeber all this. it was just that i wanted to share this.


chaliye bye.

satish

Iday said...

Dont get me started abt winter.
The bloody climate has made me SICK :(

Bivas said...

whaaat!!!! 13 already!
next time for sure :D
Winter's my fav season...loved the sweaters mom and naani knitted...thoda knit karna aur phir measure karna...used to njoi the various colored wool when mom used to select the same from the dukandaar...
sgp is on the equator...didn't really know dat...wow...u really can be on two diff hemispheres in dat case, within minutes rite ;-)

Bivas said...

awww...14...dammit

dharmu said...

AWW....beautifully written.

(as usual, i could have added, but this one kinda reminds me of my home.)

Aashun said...

Where I live in, there is only monsoon, there are hot-monsoon, cold-monsoon and monsoon-monsoon but anytime it will be monsoon time, monsoon and only frekin' monsoon, nothing else.
[ This should be some kinda record, most monsoon's in a single sentence... ]
I miss India. I miss summer, I miss winter. Hey mom, If you are readin this,
I miss you, too.

Rohit Talwar said...

Hoti hai re...Bus is baar hi nahi hua ab tak.. :|

:'(

Sneha said...

i feel so sad. only listening to u missing home. i already feel how i would feel when iam away from home :(

asha said...

hi sayesha,

# Kay Kay's 'Kya mujhe pyaar hai'

- just listened to the remix version today and me and my son enjoyed this more than the original track.

# it's freakin' winter in India!!!!!!!!!

- for us in mumbai, we get may be one day in a year to don our sweaters. so though sometimes i feel like buying a pretty pastel seater, (especially since soon Benetton and pantaloons and other big brands will advertise their winter collections) i just do not, kyon ke - it occupies precious storage space and on that one chilly winter night - koi bhi sweater se kaam chalaa sakte hain.

# But somehow, the blazers lacked something that the sweaters Mom knitted used to have. They were not warm. Literally and otherwise.

- badhiya sentence in this post, but i rank it at no. 2.



#. On that hot summer day, with my air-conditioner trying hard to make me believe it was winter, I felt the monsoon. In my eyes
Hi, I'm Sayesha and I live on the equator.

And today, I feel rather cold

- yeh iss post ka BEST SENTENCE.. very very GULZAR-ESQUE.

AND TO DRIVE AWAY THE COLD, LOTS OF HUGS SENT YOUR WAY! FEEL THE WARMTH……..

- asha

tgfi said...

hugs babe. i have no such vivid memories of changing seasons..but then..I grew up in mumbai, with it's pleasant winters. :-)

Duhita said...

Oh come on Sash, the hot and humid is good too:) My fond memories of course would be of the scorching sun or then again heavy rains! I've been here all my life! hahahah Winter experiences in Delhi...bbrrrr...I think central heating should be compulsory in every home!:D

Shreemoyee said...

cool.

chanakya said...

Even if i stay for a decade i will not be able to grasp the 'ready done' and the 'lah' concept.
Going to India but unfortunately no time for Jamshedpur. But Calcutta should do enough for tha pani puris and the cold anyway.

U were in JPS baridih? Urs scholl dress was green tunic with checkered shirt or grey checkered shirt with grey skirt? Can't seem to remember for the life of me. I was in Hill Top, Telco. Sackhi was so far off those days :D . The only ppl i was vaguely familiar with would have been the quizzers from JPS. you werent one of thouse were u? :D

PizzaDude said...

It is soooooo boring to have the same weather all year round!!! And Singapore's climate was the only one thing I was not very comfortable with on my trip there sometime back.
I am so glad to be living in a city which has lovely weather!!
Hey, maybe you can come to India on a vacation after your exams, to experience the cold :D And dont forget to make a trip to Bangalore.

Viky said...

Oh oh oh...bhai ko mausam se nahi, yaadon se ThanD lagreli hai...

ThanDa nahi paDne ka bhai, IAN ko bolo thoDa chai bana de...exams aarele hain...

Ardra said...

Sayesha,
that was a warm blog- made me feel all warm – my heart and soul…
and u take care

warm rgds
ardra

Lalit Singh said...

you want winters
idhar aa jaa
abhi 1 nov ko hi snow hua hain... jam ke sardi ka aanand le le

arpana said...

awww , nice nostalgic post ...

Anonymous said...

Nice Post Bhai

- Tapori Adi

chanakya said...

come to think of it nothing beats drinking hot chocolate while wrapped in yards of wool after midnight when the temperature outside is near zero.

Of course the drawback was getting to the canteen without loosing feeling various parts of ones body and the horrible walk back :D

Avs said...

This is beautiful. Away from home, you made me too to feel the monsoon in my eyes.

Avs

Sayesha said...

#Di,
Thanks dear... especially for the ironical hug :)

#Sakshi,
Hahaha! You live in TOO cold a climate yaar! :D

#Satish,
Oh man! I still remember the tune of the Nerolac song... was a beautiful tune... :)

#Iday,
Baap re... kya ho gaya yaar? Abhi toh sirf November hai :)

#Bivas,
Hahaha... yeah I can see you totally know what I talking about :)

#Dharmu,
Thanks dada :)

#Aashun,
//there are hot-monsoon, cold-monsoon and monsoon-monsoon

Hahahahahah! :D

//Hey mom, If you are readin this, I miss you, too.

*gulp*
Teri mummy mera blog padhti hai?
*double gulp*
Okay everyone in the bar, BEHAVE! We've got company from another generation. Doesn't happen often, but when it does, we err... behave :)

#Rohit,
Hogi baba... intzaar kar na :)

#Sneha,
It's a mixed emotion thing yaar... sometimes I feel that I only understood the value of home and parents after being away for so long. :)

#Asha,
Iska bhi remix nikal gaya?? :'(
Yeh remix banane wale @#$%&&@!!! :/

Thanks for the hugs. I really felt them :)

#TGFI,
Hugs from you too? Yeay! Equator mein itne saare warm hugs... tum sab meri jaan lekar rahoge nahin? :)

#Duhita,
//Oh come on Sash, the hot and humid is good too:)

WHAT? :O :O :O :O

No no no no no no no no noooooooooo! :P

#Shreemoyee,
Pun intended? ;)

#Chanakya,
You're going to Cal? Hey I'll be going to Cal soon too, my Dad's moved there now!

Yes yes I was in JPS Baridih, the green tunic! :P And yes, I used to be a quizzer though I can't remember any at this point in time :)

#Pizzadude,
I'm going home. Soon! :)

#Viky,
Ian mere liye chai banayega? His foot! I have to give him chai-pani ka paisa! :/

#Ardra,
Thanks dear :)

#Lalit,
Flight ke paise bhej deejyo, hum fatafat pahunchte hain! :)

#Arpana,
:)

#Tapori Adi,
Arre! Tu? Itne dinon baad? Galti se padhai kar raha tha kya?? :D Welcome back!

#Chanakya,
I miss the hot pakodas on sunday evenings, along with the hindi movies from the 80s :)

#Avs,
Thanks :)

tgfi said...

:(

Iday said...

//Baap re... kya ho gaya yaar?

Dunno yaar.

Been through the worst few days of my life. Never been so sick :( And i'm still not completely out of it.

Been tossing in 5 pills of different shapes, sizes and colors - 3 times a day. I want a way out of this. Sooooooon :(

Bivas said...

kya mujhe pyaar hai remix version was der in the original CD...the video is cool too...just made for promotion of the movie though...won't find it in the movie

Aashun said...

Are nako yaar, she does not read your blog or any blog for that matter, I just got carried away in my emotion ... you know ...
Anyway, Junta! you can relax now...

black tulip said...

this is so beautiful, i read it twice and im still as smily :)

Shreemoyee said...

of course.

kaunquest said...

Liked the way you ended this post, especially liked this bit very much - 'I had the monsoon. In my eyes'

chanakya said...

say why dont you go and spend some time in the Snow City its dupposed to be cold i would guess :D

Basanti said...

It's not nostalgia that's struck you, it's one of your ways of escaping studies! :P :P

Get back to books, and stop listening to commercials..

:-)

*dances because her exams are over*

Sayesha said...

#TGFI,
Roti kaiku?? :'(

#Iday,
Glad you're okay now :)

#Bivas,
Hmmm... I still dun like remixes :(

#Aashun,
Cool! Okay everyone, back to your rowdy selves! :D

#Black tulip,
Thanks :)

#Shreemoyee,
:)

#Kaunquest,
Thanks :)

#Chanakya,
Snow City sucks!! I went there once, on work... for some collaboration between them and my magazine... it sucks man! Even the Snow City at Hyderabad's better! :)

#Basanti,
Basanti ki bachi... ek baar raste par mil ja.. phir dekh! :D

Garrett said...

that was very beautifully written and this line is so true:
"the best years of our live are beautifully preserved in the album of time"

Anonymous said...

college hot man young

Sanchit said...

Hi Sayesha..
m home today around my parents after more den a month, took a break as the work was getting freakin to much :D
thought to dig deeper here incase i missed something... and lo..
this is something am able to relate word to word.. its lovely... as i said.. word to word...