For You, Daddy!

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Age Is Just A Number


This image is from




And for Mum, that word is ‘blessed’.



Mum believes that she is blessed from the time she wakes up each morning to the time she retires to bed at night.



I think, we, her brood, are blessed to still have Mum with us.



Mum celebrated her birthday last month.




Ain’t THAT sweet!

In keeping with tradition, we began Mum’s special day at Mass in our chapel.

Mum outside the chapel after Mass.
Ginger Snaps, the chapel kitty, is behind Mum’s right hand. Yup, I named G-Snaps. 🙂




Tradition continued with breakfast at this restaurant that my parents visited even before I was born.




L—>R: Sis-in-law, Mum, Big Sis, me.




On her birthday, Mum gets a lot phone calls and of drop in visitors during the day. That leaves her exhausted at the end of the day. When I returned to the nest five years ago, that first year, I noticed how washed out Mum was just when her celebrations were set to kick into high gear with dinner. The very next year, I began a new tradition.



A sit down dinner with the immediate family on Mum’s birthday itself.




The family that eats together ….




The formal dinner for relatives and friends is later in the year when everyone is back in town. (Mum’s birthday falls on a national holiday during the holiday period.)



At first, there were a few murmurs about the celebration being months after her birthday. Meh, used to ‘em murmurs. My concern is Mum.



I want Mum to be happy having people important to her to celebrate yet another year with us


I want Mum to have the energy to do so.



So having the dinner on a Saturday night during the non-holiday period and when she gets to rest earlier in the day, was the solution.



As with some of my other “madness”, this ‘tradition’, too, caught on with a few other people we know. 🙂



Oh no. You know. This post is lame. And you also know why.



So are you jealous? Of all the fun I began having three weeks ago? Preparing for the renovations in our foyer, living room and dining room that will begin in two weeks?



I’m pumped! For Mum’s sake.



Daddy got a stroke in 1990. Our home has not had any touches, none, unless they were absolutely necessary, from the time Daddy got the stroke to the time he passed away 16 ½ years later in 2006. Mum refused to let herself get distracted with trivial issues like maintaining the pretty home she was known for or even getting modern appliances. (Look again at the photograph of our dining room above.)



Since Mum lived alone (with the house help; no family) until I returned, she did not attempt anything on her own either after Daddy passed away. Completely understandable.



Two years ago, before I began this blog, I got the kitchen and Mum’s master bath ripped apart. Mum was delighted to have a gleaming new space with more practical and convenient amenities. Now that she has recovered nicely from that upheaval, it’s time for the three front rooms of our home.



Oh, our home is 182 years …. young, so there’s a little bit of emotional upheaval, too, for all of us.



Now for messages to you, my regular commenters, The Hook and Elvie Rose, since I’ve been silent on your blogs for the past month nearly. Really? Yikes! Time sure flies when I’m having fun! 😉



Hook blogs at


You’ve Been Hooked!




The Book of Terrible



Hook, I’ve not said peep for a while now, but I’m still stalking ya! I read your posts, look to make sure that all is quiet on the Western front, heave a sigh of relief for all of you and go about my scurrying way.



Elvie blogs at





Elvie, I’m very pleased with all the fun you’re having with your new toy oven. 🙂



When I read this line from one of your recent posts:

>This week the Philippines once again experienced the wrath of “Habagat” (Southwest monsoon). Manila and most parts of Luzon submerged in water due to heavy rains.

>Rescuers pulling a rubber boat in Las Pinas City. Filipino Bayanihan spirit in action.  Bayanihan refers to a spirit of communal unity and cooperation

– I knew exactly what you meant by ‘bayanihan’, Elvie!



During my time in Saudi Arabia, my Filipina friend, Fleur, and her group of friends warmly embraced me as one of theirs. One of the many nice things that struck me about the Filipino community was your ‘bayanihan’. I was blessed to be part of that community during my years in Aramco.



And now back to y’all.



Thank you all for bearing with my rather flat post, but look, it’s short, innit? Hooray perhaps?





Thank you, Tash Thomas and Equatours, for signing up to follow my posts.


Thank you, You’ve Been Hooked!  and FLOWERSBLOOMS by “Elvie”, for commenting on my last post.


Thank you, You’ve Been Hooked!, Equatours, FLOWERSBLOOMS by “Elvie” and LEAF AND TWIG, for liking my last post.




 P.S.: Cheerful Monk adds a footnote to every post acknowledging those who comment on her previous post. She also links the commenters’ names back to their own blogs.


I like both these practices of acknowledging the time and effort made to comment, and the free advertising! So I’m doing what I do well – being a copycat!  


Saturday, 1 September 2012

You Are Not Alone

Filed under: Birthday — by For you, Daddy! @ 4:30 am
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This image is taken from

Imagine’ how pleased John Lennon would be to see this close encounter of very different kinds!  



It is Stephen Hawking’s birthday on 8 January. Earlier this year, the day after his birthday, I sent the following e-mail to all my male friends and relatives.


E-mail Subject: You are not alone


No, no, not that MJ song!




In an interview to mark his 70thbirthday this weekend, Stephen Hawking, the former Lucasian professor of mathematics at Cambridge University, admitted he spent most of the day thinking about women. “They are,” he said “a complete mystery.”


Aww, now I like him even more than I ever did!


So you see, my bloke buds, you are not alone in being bewildered by the gentle(r) gender. You are in top notch company with Stephen Hawking no less, being completely clueless.


You must have read the entire article on your familiar sites or in your local rags, just like I did. Here’s the link to the online version that I read.


Talking about top notch company and clueless, here’s an excerpt of my correspondence with one of those sort, Bestie Boy. This exchange was when I was at Uncle Bill’s and Auntie Matilda’s for a couple of days last month. My text in brown and his in his favourite green.


Warning: I’ve bleeped one word because although I know with guys, cuss words serve as punctuation, I’m too much of a lady to forward it as is.  


Me: I have a bone to pick with some of our newspapers here. Uncle Bill gets four of the local ones. In the very first one I picked up this morning, I read an article about signs, but no conclusive proof of Higgs boson. In that one, there was a prof from your uni who worked and commented on it. In the other three newspapers, there was either no mention of any of the researchers or the dude from your uni. That’s why I’m incensed.

What’s my interest in the LHC? Dunno. But I seem to lap up any little bit of info about it ever since they started talking about it a few years ago.



Bestie Boy:  I read that Higgs Boson nonsense, but in all honesty, it doesn’t make a s*d of sense to me. Obviously, it’s been splashed all over the University news on our Intranet, because it means something to the shiny-headed, boffin types that bustle around with their white lab coats, but to blue-collar Stevedores such as myself, it means nothing.


Clueless  and proudly so. Attaboy!  


Back to the wonder of women.


Last week, when chatting with another dude pal amongst you (Hi You Know Who You Are!), I told him, “Women are magic! We make all the difference to your humdrum lives.” Or some such tripe. He laughed in my face.


I’ll go lick my recovering wounds now. But you, my wonderful men friends and relatives, you rest easy now; since you now know that you are not alone in being lost in the irresistible black hole of humanity – the magical woman!


Happy Birthday, Stephen Hawking!




I promptly heard back from my friend, Nate, one of the many ‘enginerds’ in my life, about the LHC.


Nate: In case you hadn’t seen it yet, you have to check out this website:



Geeks just wanna have fu-un!

K8 + N8 working on our next move (after the conclusion of the conference we attended) with a Lonely Planet guide.



::   ::  ::   ::   ::  ::  ::  ::  ::     DUTY CALLS  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::   ::   ::   ::   ::

Dear E-Friends,

I will be away on assignment from later this morning to Wednesday, 17 October 2012. I was busy prepping for this trip and could not satisfactorily tie up my (originally scheduled) post for today. Hence, the, um, cheating with an old e-mail of mine. My friends who received it in January thought it was funny. Hope you can crack a smile, too.

I have been too busy, too, to focus on commenting on your posts, Jean, Elvie, Hook and MJ. I read everything until yesterday though! 🙂

When I am away, I will have severely limited computer time, so I will not be able to post on 15 September, 1 and 15 October as well.

An extra sliver of that silver lining: I will pass through Big Sis’ city at one point and I have scheduled to spend a whole day (12 hours, really) with her and the family. (WOO BL**DY HOO!) That’s a wonderful bonus because we were to meet only when they came home for Christmas.

I love my vocation and I am keenly looking forward to this upcoming assignment. As I do with my family and friends, I will think of you, too, when I’m having a good time. I will also think of you when things are not hunky dory in the field, as they inevitably tend to be, because I know some of what I’ve learned from your blogs and comments on mine, and some of what I’ve laughed at will help me bounce back, too. Keep spreading your message and I will catch up with all of you via my RSS Feed when I get back to base next month.

It feels a little strange to say this, but it is how I truly feel at the moment – I think I’m going to miss you all, my regular Comment-ers and Liker-s, and those of you whose blogs I read regularly. 😦

</surprising, sappy sentiment>



Thank you, Cheerful Monk, mj monaghan and The Book of Terrible  for commenting on my last post.

Thank you, Misslisted, mj monaghan and The Book of Terrible  for liking my last post.


P.S.: Cheerful Monk adds a footnote to every post acknowledging those who comment on her previous post. She also links the commenters’ names back to their own blogs.

 I like both these practices of acknowledging the time and effort made to comment, and the free advertising! So I’m doing what I do well – being a copycat! 





Sunday, 15 July 2012

Gossip Girl



Meet BFF Two AKA Gossip Girl.



This is my favourite photo of BFF Two. It captures her personality perfectly. Mostly smiling, enjoying simple moments and not afraid of being silly.


It is BFF Two’s birthday on the 20th of July, so this is my (unbeknownst) tribute to her.


BFF is one of Bestie Boy’s friends. I did not like her when I met her the first two times at Nameless Bar, the expat watering hole in the (Chinese) city I lived in. I thought she was what I call a typical “Chinese” girl. One who is unduly friendly with foreigners for the sake of our foreignness more than for who we are as individuals. 


The second time we met at Nameless Bar, I softened my stance towards her a little because I noticed she had snubbed Tomcat*. And Bestie Boy had reiterated that she was smart. So I agreed to meet her when she invited me to dinner a few months later.

*Tomcat is what I called my Other Foreign National, short time …whew ex-flattie in China, to his face. He was a good looking, charming lad in his late 20s with an insatiable appetite for women. I lived with him for 6 weeks and when I was offered my own flat as part of my promotion, I bolted. But alas, I was only 3 buildings down from the long arm of the law(less). Well, he was Tomcat and I was Bobcat. When hiss and spit didn’t work, my claws came out. Freak!


It took me nearly 6 months to believe that BFF Two was really a friendly person. I think it was because my first impression of her wasn’t favourable. I quickly discovered that BFF Two was smart, quick and efficient with any help I needed. Even when I didn’t need it.


For a long time, I refused to let her help me with simple stuff like enquiring about routes and fares for my trips. (It’s hard to find English speaking Chinese people in the service industry.) Once I allowed her to help and found out how good she was, I turned lazy and began making the most elementary requests.


“BFF Two, could you please pick up some dried medlar berries for me from the supermarket near you?”


“BFF Two, could you please check if they have dried Sharon fruit (persimmons) in the open market?”  


“BFF Two, could you book our appointment at the spa, please?”


And then I’d grumble that she had robbed me of my independence.  Ha ha!


I call BFF Two the Gossip Girl because many a times, our conversation would start with me excitedly saying, “BFF Two, I want to gossip!”


When I first told my family and friends about this nickname for BFF Two, they were all baulked. “But you don’t gossip, Kate?” Well, no … But YES!


I love to gossip. I gossip a lot. Rip the poor person’s rep to shreds. B#tch about them like I live in a glass house. And you know what? It feels good!


There’s just one little clause when I embark on this mission impugnable. The person I blab to must NOT know the target of my vicious words. Since BFF Two and I didn’t work together and didn’t have the same circle of friends, she became my ideal gossip partner.


This is something I’m particular about with my friends and co-workers. At every place I’ve worked at, I have found at least two other allies who belonged to the boring lot in the office. We never discussed our colleagues’ personal lives with the others at work or even amongst ourselves.


So if I gossiped, why did I call her Gossip Girl? Let’s just say BFF Two was a quick learner.


BFF Two and I have a favourite hobby in common. We like boy watching. Let me tell you a little story about our ‘hobby’.


One summer, BFF Two and I visited Xinjiang, the northwestern most province in China.


Heaven is a place on earth!

 This is Tianchi Lake in Xinjiang. Tianchi = Heavenly Lake.


When planning our trip to Xinjiang, one of the many things I briefed BFF Two about myself was my penchant for ogling at guys.


“Not the pretty boys; nothing in the head”, I sneered. “You can have those, BFF Two”, I added generously. We even devised a code for delicious sightings.


The first episode was on the very first day of our trip. (I work fast, don’t I?)


We were puttering around in our dorm having just landed Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang. Our 2 American dorm mates came in for a bit.


As usual, I forced a perfunctory smile, said “Hi” and ignored them.


As usual, BFF Two smiled sweetly and began chatting with them. 


They left shortly to grab dinner or whatever. No sooner they left the room, I swerved to BFF Two and blurted, “I like the guy in the green tee.”


BFF Two, ignorant at that point of the meaninglessness of such words, got excited and said, “They’ve gone out for a short while. You can talk to him when he comes back soon.” 

(BFF Two’s favourite colour is lavender.)


That’s when BFF Two learned the most vital part of my manhunts.


“Are you mad? Why would I want to talk to him?”

“You said you like him!”

“I don’t even know him, BFF Two. And I don’t want to know him.”

“But, but, you, you..”

*rolled my eyes*


Thereafter, BFF Two never made that mistake again. So watch and drool only we did from that time on.


Guys, I really feel sorry for you lot. We, women, are a vexing species fo sho.


BFF Two visited my family a year and a half ago. She spent Christmas 2010 and New Year’s 2011 with us. 🙂


These are a few pictures of some of her happy times here.



Just arrived


BFF Two joined my family everywhere we went. This was her first visit to my country and I was very happy that she got to experience many new (and strange!) things.


At a relative’s silver wedding celebration.

                  Me                                    BFF Two                                        Big Sis



At a family friend’s wedding reception.


Like me, BFF Two loves dancing! After some initial shyness, she was relaxed enough to dance away. She loved the conga lines, The Birdie Dance and The Hokey Pokey.


BFF Two will be back next year to spend Christmas 2013 with us. Yaay!


Until then, the countdown has begun for Kate Spade Girl’s arrival for Christmas this year. 🙂


This image is from


Thank you,  The Book of TerribleCheerful Monk, and mj monaghan  for commenting on my last post.

Thank you, The Book of Terrible, for liking my last post.


P.S.: Cheerful Monk adds a footnote to every post acknowledging those who comment on her previous post. She also links the commenters’ names back to their own blogs.

 I like both these practices of acknowledging the time and effort made to comment, and the free advertising! So I’m doing what I do well – being a copycat! 


Sunday, 1 July 2012

Happy Birthday, Canada!




This image is from

I was not born in Canada. I was not raised in Canada. I grew up in Canada.

Now that you are sufficiently confused, let’s carry on.

I immigrated to Canada as an adult. I have lived there long enough to feel like I belong.

In Canada, I learned to follow my heart through the hardest detour in my life. I’ve almost always done what my heart told me, but until then, most had been fairly easy decisions.

Then I came to a particular juncture.

One path gleamed with the career and life I was happy with.

The other was not resplendent in comparison, but it led back to something that was/is the dearest to me in the big wide world.

But it was not an easy decision to make.

In my late teens, I had left the nest and spread my wings.

By my late 20s, I had flown much further and much wider than I had planned or even imagined.

In my mid 30s, with focus, hard work and perseverance, I achieved whatever little goals I had gunned for.

And then it hit me.

Despite all the external embellishments, I was not happy.

I thought things over. I prayed. I talked to a few people.

I had to make a choice.  

A career with the trappings that the world worships?


An incomparably less glamourous vocation that would allow me to wake up with a feeling of contentment every day?

Again, not an easy decision to make.

After all, how many just chuck their glowing careers and globetrotting ways to baby-sit ageing parents?

If I had to listen to Daddy and Mummy, and dance to their “You can’t live with your parents just because you want to be with them in their old age” tune, I would have still been in Canada.

But I listened to Canada instead.

I had read about people who had made similarly tough decisions to simplify their lives by tuning out the world and listening inwards to what their hearts told them.

Some made choices that involved reducing frivolous expenses, some chose smaller living spaces, some chose to give up their private vehicles and rough it out with public transport. And some gave up blazing careers.

I met very few of these people, but mostly, I read about them. With each one I met, and with each article I read, my resolve to return to my roots grew stronger.

And now I’m back in the country of my birth. With those who gave me birth. Not Daddy, of course. He’s off on a jaunt somewhere.  😉  Took off five months before I planned to return. Hmph.

I’ve been back with Mummy for a few years now. And I’m happy. Poorer, no longer hip, definitely not happening. But happy.

Oh yes, I am at peace. Finally.

This home I grew up in is where I belong. Unless Mummy decides to beat me to it and join Daddy wherever he is. Then, I will take off again. Most probably.

I do not have links to the exact articles that inspired me years ago. This article (with its accompanying URL below) is a very good example of some of those I had read.

Here are some pictures of my time in my adopted home nation.

On the GO!

GO Transit is the province wide, rail and bus transit system in Ontario. Another FYI snippet. Canada has provinces, not states.

This normally busy station is deserted because it was one of the last trains I took back to Streetsville in Mississauga, where I lived. I had wound up that particular Canada Day at the Exhibition Place, downtown Toronto.




                                                          HTH                                  Me

The lady in the red jacket is Hazel McCallion. I’ve given her the faux title royale HTH, which I’ve coined for ‘Hazel The Hurricane’.  Hurricane Hazel as she is fondly known, is the feisty and fiery mayor of the city of Mississauga in Ontario.

Hazel McCallion is 91 now (I know!) and has been our mayor in Missisauga for the past … wait for it … 33 years. Yes, Thirty. Three. Years. Whoa!

When I lived in Canada, I used to volunteer at (the) City Centre in Mississauga, among other places. After my stint at City Centre in the morning one Canada Day, I spent the evening (this photograph was taken) in my neighbourhood in Streetsville. Hazel McCallion lives in Streetsville as well.

 Kate Spade Girl                                                  Me                            BFF Two

Kate Spade Girl is my nickname for my Jamaican-Canadian friend who is fond of that designer.

Kate Spade Girl visited me when I lived in China. Kate Spade Girl will spend Christmas this year with my family at home. Yaay!

BFF Two joined us for dinner one night (in China).

The little shout out, rather scribble out, in my hand is to my other dear Canadian friend, who I call affectionately call ‘Tinamisu’. Tina is of Italian origin. I like Tina and tiramisu. 🙂

Kate Spade Girl and Tinamisu are my closest Canadian friends.

Being a lover of nature and the simple life, it was only natural for me to be drawn to our Native Indian heritage in Canada. I enjoyed spending time at Crawford Lake in the Halton Region of Ontario.


I’m dreaming of (my birth) home …. no more. 🙂

This image is from

A dream catcher is a Native Indian item made with a willow hoop and a sinew net or web. It is hung above the bed or at the window. It is believed to filter out bad dreams and only let good dreams pass through. I like that idea.  

This next shot is not very clear.


Reaching for my dreams



Thank you, O Canada, for giving me the strength

to go after my most important dream,

which I am now blessed to live.


Red, White and Proud!

This image is from



Happy Canada Day, Hook and family, and my other Canadian readers!


::   ::  ::   ::   ::  ::  ::  ::  ::     EXTRA!  EXTRA!  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::   ::   ::   ::   ::

My Canadian blog bud, Hook, released his book recently. If you’ve had enough reality TV and would like to switch gears to reality reading, Hook’s book is for you!

His book is called ‘The Bellman Chronicles’. (

You can find out more on his site, The Book of Terrible. (

Although I haven’t read it, I like his blog posts. Oh, and this daddy’s girl is mighty pleased that the cover of his book has been designed by his 14-year old daughter, Sarah. 🙂

::  ::  :: 

I’d also like to send some Canada Day love to another blog buddy who is south of the 49th parallel.

::  ::  ::   

Marcy King or Orples’ Brain Mama  as I call her (as opposed to ‘birth mother’) has some entertaining and endearing Orples tales to tell.

Orples what? Orples who?

Stop by at her site, Orples, ( to find out more.  

::  ::  :: 

Hook and Marcy, wish you both the luck of the Four Leaf Clover Eleven Point Maple Leaf in your literary ventures!


Thank you, mj monaghan and The Book of Terrible, for commenting on my last post.

Thank you, The Book of Terrible, for liking my last post.


P.S.: Cheerful Monk adds a footnote to every post acknowledging those who comment on her previous post. She also links the commenters’ names back to their own blogs.

 I like both these practices of acknowledging the time and effort made to comment, and the free advertising! So I’m doing what I do well – being a copycat! 


Friday, 15 June 2012

My Friend’s Friend

Do you know how most of you think I have a really great life and that I have fun all the time? Well, I do have a great life! I’m alive and what’s not great about that, huh?

So great – yes; fun all the time – far from it.

For those of you still not convinced, I’ll tell you a story. It’s actually a slice of my life from last year.

The title character is Bestie Boy’s friend. I will include excerpts of my correspondence with Bestie Boy. I must warn you that there is a bit of racist lingo tossed around. It is how Bestie Boy and I communicate because both of us cannot comprehend the notion of racism. We laugh at the absolute ridiculousness of racist language and that’s why Bestie Boy uses it fairly frequently only within his closest group of friends.

The main characters in this story are
Bestie Boy, Brit
Sajid, Kashmiri


Supporting roles:
Monique, Franco-Syrian
Steve, Brit

Sajid and Monique were Bestie Boy’s housemates at the university student house while they were pursuing their doctoral studies. Steve is Bestie Boy’s childhood friend who, like the rest of Bestie Boy’s family and close friends, was very fond of Sajid, too.

Sajid died in May 2011. A car crash victim on the notoriously dangerous roads of Kashmir.  Sajid’s birthday is four days from today i.e. 19 June. He was a mere 26 years when he passed away last year.

The following are bits and pieces of my mail to Bestie Boy as both of us dealt with the news. Bestie Boy’s text in his favourite green and mine, as always, in brown. Oh, later on, Sajid’s words are in orange. I chose that colour because I use similarly shaded saffron strands from Kashmir in my breakfast porridge. 

We still miss you, Saj.

(Editor’s Note: I do not have a Facebook account, but I have access to Bis Sis’ account because she is Friends with some of my friends.)  

Me: I read your first line and was confused. I thought you were joking, but I know that death is one of the things you don’t horse around with. When I saw the details in the link*, it began to make sense. Still, I hoped that it wasn’t the same Sajid, your friend Sajid, but when the page with the article opened up with his photograph, there was no chance of mistaken identity. I turned cold, and felt dizzy, sick. I read through the article and choked up. Next, I went to his Wall and scrolled a couple of pages down to get to when the news broke. Reading through each of those tearful posts was good because it made me cry.

*Bestie Boy had sent me the URL to the article about Sajid’s accident and demise that appeared in the Kashmir newspaper.

Me: Like you attempted, I, too, found it wasn’t easy to get on with life after I found out about Sajid’s death; not immediately, that is. Took me a whole day. On Friday,I was quiet through my breakfast and told Mum the news only at the lunch table. A few lines only because I choked up. She tried to ask some questions, but when she found I couldn’t talk, she let me eat.

Friday night, as expected, was rough. I woke up a little after 1.30 a.m. on Saturday. Came here, sat at my PC and just surfed my usual sites. Felt drowsy enough to crash again by 4.30 a.m. and was up at my usual 6 a.m. I decided to skip my(/our) usual favourite oats and pig in Sajid’s name. I needed something to feel good again. So I treated myself to my fave Sunday brekkie of egg fried sunny side up with brown bread and a thick layer of butter and cheese, and coffee with a hefty shot of Amarula. Thanks, Sajid!
I worked extra hard on my whole positive thinking drill and felt much better yesterday. I showed Mum your mail, the article and then, let her go through Sajid’s Wall. I still welled up a few times, and choked a few times when I deliberately went through his Wall several times yesterday, I feel for Siena (his girlfriend), too. Sh*t! God only knows her state.

Bestie Boy: I have very fond memories of Sajid, as do my family and friends who all met him and were swayed by his courteousness and genuine charm. The old rogue!

Me: Now calm down, Bestie Boy old chap, as Sajid would say. Judging by what the others have to say on his Wall, he made a good impression on every single one of them, too.  


You know, you have talked about his politeness, etc. a couple of times before. After I read the article about his accident (where his parents’ professions were mentioned), it made sense. In my experience in India, children of defence personnel, bureaucrats and old money are more refined than their counterparts, even if the latter are urban and more wealthy. I don’t mean this in a negative way, but it does reflect a certain class. The young scions of the wealthy today are largely loud and obnoxious. Heck, our young population the world over, is a loud, crass lot. The more money we have, the louder we get in public places. Unfortunately, all I hear is their desperate need for attention and lack of self worth.  

Writing to Bestie Boy and talking about Sajid’s shocking demise helped, but I was still restless. On Sajid’s Wall, I found a link to one of his friend’s blog posts about the accident. So I wrote to his friend, Faysal. That’s next.


20 May 2011

Dear Faysal,

I have a special request for you. I am not Sajid’s Facebook friend, or even a known friend. We have a friend in common. I would like to post the following on Sajid’s Wall, but not being a Friend, I am unable to do so. Could you please post it for me with the appropriate explanation/disclaimer?

Thank you for understanding.



I had never met Sajid. He did not know me personally. A few years ago, Sajid became friends with my friend when Sajid went to England to study at the same university in England. This was what my friend wrote to me when he first mentioned Sajid:

Sajid is a law student from Kashmir. He, along with French-Syrian Monique, is my favourite housemate, purely because he is the sweetest guy that God ever created. He is so Indian in the way he speaks, thinks, expresses himself. He says things like <adopting mock Indian accent>, ‘Mmm, yes, one would expect the needs of the students to be immediately recognised by the Union.’ or some such thing. Oh Kate, he is fantastic. Plus he reminds me of you, not just because you’re both brown and skinny, but because you both have high personal moral standards. He, too, is always trying to learn the good habits of others to replace his bad ones.

A year later, when Sajid had to return to Kashmir, this is what Bestie Boy wrote to me:

It’s official. I love Sajid [Surname]. He is a saintly man. He is also one of the most useless boys I’ve met, and can barely tie his own shoelaces without help from his mother (or me, who has increasingly been filling his mother’s shoes of late), but he has a heart of gold and when he leaves the UK, I will miss him dearly. He is in Ireland now visiting Steve after his Schengen visa application didn’t come through on time (he’d originally planned to go see Monique in gay Paris); then, a short stint in Edinburgh and he flies back to Srinagar on the 12th. I don’t want him to go. 😥  

My friend continued to write about Sajid frequently, and with fondness.

I am very realistic about death. I accept that it is indeterminable and inevitable. Still, when it happens to someone I know and care about, it hurts. Like heck. Although I never knew Sajid, I was still stunned when I learned the terrible news very early this morning. It’s taken me a few hours to compose my thoughts.


I am grateful for the happiness Sajid brought into my friend’s life which was evident in their Wall banter. I am also grateful to have known of Sajid for a short time because I read his Wall regularly. Initially, because I found him funny. Not long after, because Sajid was one of the people who inspired me to remain steadfast in my beliefs, particularly towards injustices and unfairness. He was one of the people who made it a little easier for me to swim against the sometimes overwhelming tide of public callousness and unethical practices.


To Sajid’s family members, along with my prayers during this, your darkest hour, I have the following Jewish saying for you:


God is closest to those with broken hearts.


And to all of you who were lucky enough to know him more than I got to, I’ll leave you with:


When you are sorrowful
look again in your heart,
and you shall see
that in truth you are
weeping for that which has been your delight.
~ Kahlil Gibran


Sajid – Requiescat in pace et in amore.


Faysal, thank you very much (in advance) for posting my tribute on Sajid’s Wall.


21 May 2011

Thank you VERY much, Faysal, for complying with my request. I just read Sajid’s Wall and your post on my behalf.


I wrote that tribute for the following people:


1. Sajid’s parents and sister. Their pain is … I am unable to fathom that sort of grief, much less find words for it. I hope that when their pain is dulled with the passage of time and they read all the heartfelt messages about their child here, they derive some solace from knowing that their son not only made a positive impact on the lives of the people who knew him, but also on those like me, who did not have the privilege of even meeting him.


2. My friend who is bleeding. I did not seek his permission to quote excerpts of his private mail to me. I hope that reading back on his own words, he will remember the good times he shared with Sajid and their group of friends. Maybe, just maybe, those happy memories will help him tide over this extremely rough patch.


3. All of Sajid’s friends. His sudden demise has been nothing less than shattering. I would suggest that, like me, all of you take courage in the fact that besides being a beautiful person, Sajid also worked towards goals he believed in; not wait, like many of us, for the right time or mood or the planets to align a certain way.


4. Myself. Although I had never met Sajid personally, hearing about him so often from my friend and laughing at their playful potshots at each other on their respective Walls, I broke down when I heard the news. So young, so full of potential, snuffed out suddenly. In addition to my usual arsenal of prayers, tears and talking to my family and closest friends, I needed to partake with the larger grieving party. It’s working. I feel a lot better now.


Oh, you did notice I left out Sajid’s name. Well, he’s more than just knock, knock, knockin’ on heaven’s door, people, he’s rocking with ‘em winged ones within!


Thank you again for your time, Faysal. You have helped a lot of us deal with this crushing bit of reality. May God bless you.


Bestie Boy (x2)       Sajid       Monique              Monique’s friend       Steve


This was taken two years ago when they finished their respective exams. They treated themselves to high tea at the London Hilton. Bestie Boy is uncharacteristically tame in this shot and that naturally prompted Sajid to call him out with this comment when the picture went up on Facebook:


Sajid: Bestie Boy, stop it!!! Just because it’s the Hilton, doesn’t mean that you have to act all gentlemanly… 
Bestie Boy complied (well!) with that true-to-form pose that I have edited in at the bottom left corner. He was at an international event in a faraway foreign country representing England and look at how seriously he took that job. Or pretty much anything in life. Classic Bestie Boy.

Four days before Sajid met with that accident, this was the final exchange between Bestie Boy and Sajid on Sajid’s Wall:

Bestie Boy: Bloody chutney, you useless piece of fool, when is this damn wedding happening? I want in! Can you assure me there’ll be huge vats of warm ghee for me to drink? And a golden platter of chapatis to lie on? And a wall made of dhoklas? And a cauldron of your world-famous [Family Name]-Recipe kheema? If you can promise me these things, I will be there!

Sajid: Bestie Boy, you ‘MUTTON-go-YAY’! I promise you all this and more, you ‘pucking’ person with no personality, no ‘tcharisma’! That ‘damn’ wedding, as you so eloquently put it – and another one – is happening from the 27th to the 30th of May! You are …most cordially invited to both of them… Come along, old chum… Mother Kashmir is calling…

P.S.:  I will be visiting the ‘Mother Country’ between the 23rd and the 31st of July… Any chance of you gracing those lands, during those times, with your esteemed presence?

I read that several times and laughed heartily each time until Sajid died.

I’ve saved this exchange and still read it. Although devoid of the initial mirth, I still laugh because I am consoled by the fact that despite both, Bestie Boy and Sajid, jetsetting often to different parts of the globe, they kept in touch frequently and with the same warmth. They didn’t take their friendship for granted and that can be epitomised in this Nickelback song.


Thank you, orplesThe Book of Terriblemj monaghan and Elvierose  for commenting on my last post.

Thank you, orples and The Book of Terrible, for liking my last post.


P.S.: Cheerful Monk adds a footnote to every post acknowledging those who comment on her previous post. She also links the commenters’ names back to their own blogs.

 I like both these practices of acknowledging the time and effort made to comment, and the free advertising! So I’m doing what I do well – being a copycat! 


Sunday, 15 April 2012

Honour Thy Father And Thy Mothers


This love affair of mine is no secret.


❤ 🙂 ❤

This image is from


Although I’m Daddy’s Girl to the core, I do have space in my heart for two more.



My birth mother and my earth mother.



Bursting with earthy wholesomeness!

This image is from


I am terribly saddened by these events around the world.



Thank you, Elaine, for permitting me the use of this image on behalf of China Org.

This image is from  

So I try my darnedest to do what I know. 


Thank you, Heidi McDonald, for permitting me the use of this image from your website, Unique Teaching Resources.

Thank you, Heidi McDonald, for permitting me the use of this image from your website, Unique Teaching Resources.

The above two images are from 


Then, there are other things that I do to make my earth mother less sad.

You know how I began using newspaper to wrap gifts 4 years ago. That sent a few ripples of the ‘She’s NUTS!’ sort, and I got a significant number of the ‘She’s got guts.‘ sort!

You win some + You lose some = Life.

And for me, there’s only one direction in life – onward and upward.

So for the past four years, everyone I know has received their gifts wrapped, very thoughtfully, in newspaper. Last year, I kicked my mother(earth)loving mania up a notch for Mum’s birthday.

Mum turned 80 and since it is one of those big deal milestones, Big Bro, Big Sis and I decided the annual dinner for a few dozen at home would just not do. When Mum, the ace party animal, gave her nod of consent (before we could complete the question!), the little ones began a-plannin’.  

“I’ll do the invitations!” Baby (bug)Bear AKA me, offered excitedly.

From experience, my older siblings recognised that kind of enthusiasm as trouble. From experience, too, this baby in the family knows when she can push her luck. And Lady Luck smiled down on Batty Baby because this is the invitation all the guests, in country and overseas, received for Mum’s birthday bash.

Better believe it!

 I hand wrote the invitations. All 102 of them.



I took an A4, cut it in half, uh, jazzed up the edges on two sides with a pair of pinking scissors (please be impressed) and wrote down the details using my everyday pen.

Okay, I’ll give you all a few seconds to pick your horrified jaws off the ground.

I know what you’re thinking. “Such an important occasion and you gave out these … these scraps of paper? WHY?”  

Simple. Because it breaks my heart to see how invitations are trashed after the occasion. Yes, people ooh and aah upon receipt of glitzy invitations. The more ostentatious invitations go on to become a topic of conversation briefly among some. But they all meet the same fate. The grossly outsized ones, the ones with multiple puzzling parts, the ones with glitter falling out when first opened and the perfumed ones. All in the trash can. How much my poor earth mother bled to make us, ungrateful children, happy for a few fleeting moments.


I believe in this.

Each day matters.

This image is from


So 80th birthday or not, Mum’s birthday was just another day to me. As I tend to, I chose to put my foot into my mouth. It’s fairly easy for me now because I open my mouth so nice and wide to begin with. 😉

When I folded the invitation, I put each one into a regular white envelope. I skipped writing the guests’ names on the envelope, as is the norm. Then I explained to our mildly bewildered friends and relatives, that I did that so that they could reuse the envelope themselves.

And my final green touch to the invitations was travelling to the homes of the guests in my state by public transport. I chose to deliver the invitations personally so that I could spend time with each of them. Having lived away from home since I left for university, I am not terribly close to most because I meet them during my annual visits home and then again, at events – weddings, birthdays or funerals. I don’t know these outer circle relatives and friends as well as I’d like to. Spending time when delivering the invitations made a significant difference on that front.

The other reason I decided to deliver the invitations in person was because I wanted to emphasise that they not bring a gift as requested at the bottom of the invitation.

Instead, I requested they fill in the enclosed, large Post-It-like slip of coloured paper than Big Sis had added a little artwork to.

That slip of paper was for each guest or family to write what they wished for Mum or share their experience with her. Big Sis thought of this because she pointed out that Mum is a sentimental fool (like me).


A fool judges people by the presents they give him. ~ Chinese proverb


Mum has old handwritten cards and letters that are decades old. She goes through them at least twice a year when the family is together, usually around our dining table or in her bedroom. We read them aloud, talk about the ones who wrote them, run our fingers along the once familiar writing of those who live far away or who have passed away. And in some strange way, we feel like we are all together again.

Mother Hen with her chicklets.

Golden Girl – Mum

Little Girl Blue – Big Sis, Red Riding Cheongsam/Qipao – me, English Rose – Godbaby



Mum was delighted with all the notes that she got back. Most guests had filled up every little bit of blank space with anecdotes from the past, and we all learned so much more about Mum.

These are two of the least filled in slips we received.

From cousins Down Under.

This was the simplest one Mum got.





From close family friends.

This was my favourite one.



I loved this slip the most because Zinia added those little rose-y touches to it. 

Zinia thrilled me further by telling me that she did that as her little green contribution to the event. She and her family were delighted with the outcome, too, especially because they realised that something so simple could be turned into something so special. (Go, Kate, you green freak, go!)


Example is the school of mankind, and they will learn at no other.” ~ Edmund Burke (Irish statesman and philosopher. 1729-1797)


When I went around distributing the invitations, I was pleasantly surprised with everyone’s response when I explained the madness behind the reason for that very simple invitation. They understood my concern from the environmental point of view, agreed it was valid and commended me for taking that bold step. Most were honest enough to admit that they would not be able to do the same because they were too afraid of being ridiculed.

Ridicule? Doesn’t bother me. I get it so much, it’s like one of those magical little trace elements in my daily dose of multivitamins!

I’ll go further and twist the Adidas slogan and say – Ridicule is Nothing.


It’s a small price to pay if I want to live in this kind of a world.


A girl can dream, can’t she?

This image is from


Earth Day is 22 April.   

::  :: ::  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::     HEAR YE!   HEAR YE!      ::  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::

Bestie Boy arrives for a visit on 17 April. As you know, I am very particular about responding to comments that you all take the time and patience to write out. However, I will not be able to reply to comments you leave from 16 – 29 April.

I have been prepping for his visit and tying up things at work, which is why, my RSSed buds, I have not had the time to enjoy reading through and commenting on your blogs as well for a while now. Thank you for understanding.

I think of all of you. Our personalities filter through our words and that has helped me build up an image of each of you. Sorta like playing Sims (which I never did), but better! Because you are free to do your own thing, and I’m free to join you on your blogging journey.  

But I’m gonna break journey for a bit longer now.

And I’m going to walk on my head instead. 🙂   




Thank you, The Book of Terribleorples and  mj monaghan  for commenting on my last post.

Thank you, Don Cuney, Looking for Pemberley, The Ranting Chef,  The Book of Terrible, No Circ is WholeSon and orples for liking my last post.


P.S.: Cheerful Monk adds a footnote to every post acknowledging those who comment on her previous post. She also links the commenters’ names back to their own blogs.

 I like both these practices of acknowledging the time and effort made to comment, and the free advertising! So I’m doing what I do well – being a copycat! 






Wednesday, 15 February 2012

The Boy With The Dragon Tattoo(s)

So you met the dragon tattoo the last time. He has more. Dragon tattoos and other tattoos. But never mind those. Now, meet Bestie Boy.


Toasting his daddy at (his) Daddy's birthday do two months ago.


It is Bestie Boy’s birthday the day after tomorrow. Friday, the 17th of February.

One of our shared interests is music. Coincidentally, our favourite genres are Rock and Classical. I have formally studied the piano for 8 years beginning at the age of seven.  Bestie Boy played the drums in his teens and went for drum lessons at the age of nineteen. Today, he still plays the drums well and I cannot play the scale of ‘C’. Thank goodness, my life does not depend on it. Despite the short duration of formal training, Bestie Boy is far more knowledgeable about both genres – Rock and Classical music. “Well, I don’t hafta be great at something to enjoy it”, mutters the jealous one. Um, yes, me.

Earlier, I used to listen to heavy metal only when I was in an angry mood.  Below, I will paste our correspondence regarding my foray (for pleasure) into this often misunderstood and maligned subgroup of rock. 

Bestie Boys words will be in his favourite green and mine in brown.

Bestie Boy: I’m attaching two Moonsorrow song files. They are from an album called ‘Kivenkantaja’ (meaning ‘Stonebearer’ in Suomi) by a Finnish heavy metal band called Moonsorrow. Actually, this album is one of my favourites. It would definitely warrant inclusion on a ‘desert island discs’ list. 

Moonsorrow is probably one of my all-time favourite bands. They write epic, sweeping, majestic, long, soaring, musical sagas; exactly the kind of thing I love.  

I’m eager to hear what you think about the songs. Feel free to branch out into other Moonsorrow stuff, but I’ve chosen instrumentals because the vocals are usually very harsh and it’s a bit of a barrier for most people. 


Song: Tuulen Tytar     Artist: Moonsorrow     Album:  Kivenkantaja


Tuulen Tytar (track 5) is the best example of that ‘epic’ sound I just love. 

MeI like the opening piano trill and love the piano bits throughout. I’m not a fan of bagpipes, not right away at least. The bass creeping in at close to 2’ caught me off guard. Two minutes is a long time for it to show up. I love how the stage explodes with fireworks at almost 3 minutes. I enjoy monastic choir chants, so that was a nice interlude. I wasn’t fooled by the lull in pace and volume after that. My anticipation was rewarded when the bass burst back in. I’m with you on the ‘epic’ sound of this song.  


Song: Matkan Lopussa     Artist: Moonsorrow     Album:  Kivenkantaja


Bestie Boy: And the final track, Matkan Lopussa in this album is just a beautiful song. I’ve no idea what she’s singing about,

Me: I like Matkan Lopussa simply because it opens with soft, but noticeable bass strumming, and has a consistent heavy thump all through. When the chorus joined the lead female, it took me back to my concerts in music school. I just feel like twirling around the room, Vienna waltz style.

Bestie Boy: but I’ve never been one to care much for lyrics.

Me: Me, too! I just don’t notice them unless they’re hammered repeatedly like the chorus. But instruments? I pick up on little strings or pipes or drums doing their thing in the background. I know of people who don’t hear the instruments at all and pick up the lyrics very easily.

Bestie Boy: There’s something about both tracks that encapsulates a cold, ‘wintry’ feel. With most Moonsorrow songs, they have an ability to evoke strong images, which is a quality I admire greatly in music.

MeI did not read your comments before I listened to the songs closely because I did not want to be influenced by your opinions. I’ve added them here so that we could see how we enjoy the same music, but interpret it quite differently. I find that interesting because I used to think that there was only one way to “see” music. For me, it wasn’t cold or wintry, but soothing at times (prolly because of my familiarity with classical music) and vibrant at other times (the rock influences parts).

I really like the name Moonsorrow. I will name something after it; my next stray pet probably. 


Song: Weight of Wind     Artist: Borknagar     Album:  Epic


Bestie Boy: Also attaching a natty little instrumental by a Norwegian band called Borknagar that came on Jango (an online free ‘radio’ station) the other day. For some reason, that piano riff has stuck with me since I first heard it. 

Me: Love the Weight of Wind, too. A winner from the opening bar. The single synthesised whine promised an extravaganza. And it delivered! Deliberate, powerful, furious. The short, staccato drum rolls in the beginning were another nice touch. Pure rock (metal?) with generous splashes of Western classical and some sprinklings of Middle Eastern rhythm.

I never knew metal would sound this good. When I’m mad (as in angry), I play metal off the online genre specific stations, but those songs are just noisy. I can enjoy them only when in that foul mood, but these songs that you’ve sent just blow apart the image of metal that I had.  

Off the audio and onto some visuals.

This photograph from a few years earlier is one of my favourite pictures of Bestie Boy. Despite looking right into the camera, it is a very natural shot.

Warning: Display of skin ahead.


Bestie Boy is the inked one on the right. With Best Bud (from primary school days) when on holiday in China.


I like how tired he looks. So tired, he’s not concerned about slouching or not smiling for the camera.

Back to our chat about music.

Me: So why were you so keen on my Moonsorrow feedback? Did I win a prize to join you for their performance in Berlin?

Bestie Boy:  Well, Moonsorrow are probably my favourite band du jour, and even perhaps longer than just un jour, maybe of the year, the decade…. who knows. I just wanted to bounce some of their more accessible stuff off you and hear the response. When I say accessible, I mean, stuff without nasty rasping lyrics, which I find is usually the first barrier to (uninitiated) people’s enjoyment and understanding of metal. I’m glad to see it’s widened your views on metal.

As Gandhi* (probably) would’ve said himself, “To change one person’s perception is testament enough that the journey is worth making”.

Touché, Bestie Boy!

*That’s a little dig, if you will, at me because my e-mail signature is, no, not my blog URL ( NO!), but this Gandhi quote:

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi



Thank you, The Book of Terrible  and mj monaghan  for commenting on my last post. Thank you, maze a dayPHOTOBOTOS.comThe Book of Terrible  and mj monaghan  for liking my last post.


P.S.: Cheerful Monk adds a footnote to every post acknowledging those who comment on her previous post. She also links the commenters’ names back to their own blogs.

 I like both these practices of acknowledging the time and effort made to comment, and the free advertising! So I’m doing what I do well – being a copycat! 

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