Friday, May 16, 2008

Birds and bees

Once upon a time, very, very long ago, I wondered whether puke caused pregnancy. After all, every time in a movie, anytime the heroine (or of course, the hero's sister) ran to the bathroom basin, inevitably she ended up pregnant. Kids came to life always without any sex scenes, sometimes even without a marriage, but always, always with a throw-up scene to back their existence.

Real life, of course, is not Bollywood. Puking may cause people with deprived childhoods to envy your party life, but they are unlikely to consider your belly anything other than a memorial to beer.

No, what does raise knowing eyebrows is teetotaling.

If you had the good taste to once be a drinker, and then the good sense to detoxify, you know what I mean.

"I am off drinks," say I, and immediately there is hmmm in the background. Eyebrows rise, people go on the verge of uttering congratulations, and there is a general shift in gaze away from my face to two feet below. "Really? Why?"glib questioners ask while staring at the bump in my belly (which, to be fair, is the reason I am off alcohol, though not exactly in the way they imagine).

I suppose this inquisition is my cue to blush and stutter and admit that I'm entering the hallowed realms of motherhood. That would be so satisfactory to the thousands who have lectured me - many within 5 minutes of meeting me for the first time - on my biological clock and its ticking and well, the hallowed realms of motherhood.

Whatever happened to short talk about the weather? Can't we just stick to discussing the pollution and American Idol?

Certain people (interestingly, only men), have been taking this post to mean that I am on the verge of delivering a Mini-Me. So to clarify - NO. This post is actually my [possibly incoherent] raving against people who assume that my non-drinking is a sign of inevitable fertility.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Drive me crazy

Apparently, it is time for me to learn driving. My husband has decided I must be empowered, which sweet though it may be, it is certainly not welcome.

I still remember my last brush with driving alongside my father whose idea of education was to shake me awake at six, jam me into the driver's seat, lurch around as I experimented with clutches, and hide his tears as I scratched against trees lining an empty road to save myself from a truck a kilometer away on the horizon. It was exhilarating bravado in the face of peril, it was amazing father-daughter bonding, it was even proof that I was my mother's daughter, but driving it was not.

After an entire summer vacation of trials and errors, we all heaved a sigh of relief when I professed to be a hippy in favour of resource saving and public transport, and gave up the wheel on moral grounds. It is one of those few decisions I do not regret.

[Eventually, my sister broke away from our maternal genetic spell and volunteered to learn driving, following it up with a license and agile dodging across Delhi's roads and potholes. Today, she cruises across the USA and will be happy to break your mythical beliefs about women drivers, or failing that, your nose.]

I have never understood why people love driving. Sure, there's the spiel about independence. And then there's the whole breed of car lovers who feel a stirring when they see a Maserati, smile at the roar of the engine, get a power surge when they touch the wheel and probably engage in unspeakable acts with the shift stick.

But honestly, how can staring down unending black roads and searching for road signs have more to offer than staring at lush greens beyond the window shield? How can it even begin to compare with the freedom of turning your head for outstanding samples of the human species?

Central Delhi's broad roads and drooping trees and jamun sellers dotting the passage of every two minutes... Hong Kong's heaving hills playing peek-a-boo with the sea... New Zealand's sheep that embark on a stampede the moment you enter their radius of sound... I would have seen none of these had I been trying to block the B%^&*&& trying to overtake me.

Driving isn't empowering; it's blinding.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

You know you are past your prime when...

... you remember arguing heatedly when Sushmita beat Aishwarya
... you once had a crush on Salman Khan / Madhuri Dixit
... you know the full form of DHKMN but not IMHO
... you get nostalgic about Usha Uthup
... you recall Jugal Hansraj as a child actor
... you recognize Karishma Kapoor in her original eyebrows, not to mention other facial hair
... you wonder whatever happened to Anuradha Paudwal

and worst of all,
... you know what I mean when I say ILU ILU