Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Finally..."I am what I am"

I have begun to love myself. Me with all my faults. Me, with all my idiosyncrasies and dumb thoughts which others have been pointing out over the years and blasting me for it. I have always thought and believed there are so many people all of whom are so good, and so much better than me. Yes, of course there are, Where was I  when they were all learning to be so good and so smart? Why did I not become the good human being they all are? Why was I left out in the cold when they were all getting to be so evolved and so cool?

"I am what I am".   Isn't that what someone really famous said once? He saId a lot more things each of which later became the doctrine of life. With your leave, I beg to apply this to my life, my way.

 Take me or leave me, I am what I am.... I chose this as the doctrine of my life now. I dont think I can change my genes and I dont think I want to. Having gotten born with all these goods and bads, I now have to make the most of it, while i am here- what? 40-50-60 years? Life expectancy in India is increasing much to my chagrin. I dont really want to live long; I want to live good. I want to die good. Just like my dad- he sat and chatted up to his hearts content one night, felt cold in the desert cooler draft, pulled the blanket around him and slept, never to get up again. He passed away into the next sojourn so comfortably, I am jealous. He was 77... he had seen the heartrending sorrow of losing two children when he was not even 30. But had learnt to rejoice when three of us came along one after another and filled his life with things to do and stuff to buy, and schools to choose and kids to throw parties for. He wasnt perfect, but loved perfectly. When life gave him lemons, he sweetened the lemon juice with his smile and attitude. This too shall pass, he would say. He was loved. And we were blessed to have him.

I want to be loved too. I try, but its so difficult to please everyone. I now want to understand my three best friends and thats it. I want them tomorrow and day after, and even after I die I want them to remember me. Am I an attention grabbing stupid woman? Perhaps. But thats just what i want. I really dont want to be with people who dont understand me- life is too short to waste time on people who dont matter to you. And I have already spent a large part of my life doing things which I could have easily passed by. Not any more. Life is too short.

There is a lot to be done. I want to use all my available time making a difference. Enriching something, I dont know what. Achieving something, I really dont know what. Maybe I will crack a new recipe and somebody will give me an award for it. Maybe I will write another book. Maybe I will just sit and hum a song from my childhood? Or do some more audio books on the Daisy Talking Library software...... hmmmm. If there is any good karma in whatever I have been doing, then I hope to make a difference in the life of my maid, at least, if no one else.

She walked in this morning, looking hassled, tousled, hungry. It was 6.10 am and I was not happy with her for walking in so early- I need some sleep, I said and cant have you ringing my bell so early and then noisily cleaning up. I hate noisy mornings I told her. She listened and her eyes brimmed with tears. There had been no electricity in her home all night, and she had not been able to sleep- Delhi, by the way is reeling with temperatures going up to 45 degrees etc. She went to her counter and began working, without a word. I think she was feeling like a loser- with life, with me her mistress, and with everything in general. She did not sing in her screechy voice today. We often joke at home that her singing can be used to scare the pigeons away at the airport. Today I was missing it. She did not even turn on the singer in her handphone so full of  screechy regional songs- perhaps screechy voice is considered good in her part of the world.

Her head was low, and her eyes hooded; she looked pensive and resigned all at the same time. After a five minute lecture on how she spoils my mornings I went away back to bed in our air conditioned bedroom, and she continued to do her work.

Then it was time for our morning cuppa. Actually the morning mugga! our mugs look like jugs! Hey guys thats poetry!!!! Maybe I can become a poet!!!!

Ok, so I usually share a cup with her too, along with some Indian breads and vegetables. If she has left her home at 5.45 am she would definitely not have eaten. When I am not able to find time to eat at 9 am(thats when I leave home for work) then how could she- she who has no maid, no cook  and no driver and to top it all, no electricity in her home? And no money?

So when I put out her breakfast today, she just looked at it and looked away. I poured her a cup of tea. I was waiting for a retaliation which never came. I sat at my lappy and did some morning mails etc but my mind and heart were preoccupied. We talk very little in the mornings- maybe some music plays softly, but thats it. No urban discussions and no arguments. I had already delivered a lecture early in the morning. For the sake of peace, enough.

So I sat and waited for the familiar sound of the spoon tinkling inside her mug when she puts in an extra helping of sugar in her tea and stirs vigorously. She usually asks for a bottle of cold water but today she had'nt so I guessed that either she is angry or else she is scared because I was angry in the morning. But she must be thirsty and wanting that cold water.So I put a full bottle out next to her plate and hoped she would drink some. Actually I wanted her to drink because if she didnt, I would feel so guilty. Water is a basic necessity and cold water a luxury for some.

Finally, the spoon tinkled and I knew she had accepted her breakfast from me- her hunger overrode her ego. I dared not go into the kitchen for fear of embarrassing her. I just wanted her to eat in peace, because she had another cleaning job in another house after mine. She had her rotis, and she had her tea. Did she have the cold water from the fridge? I dared not ask. She finished, cleaned up the counter, put her stool back in place, and then called out to me to say she was leaving. I wanted to hug her and tell everything is alright, but when I went to her, her eyes were searching mine- she was prolly wondering whether I would sack her? I just smiled and told her she could go now and come back at 3 in the afternoon. She took a deep breath, her shoulders slumped and grabbing her dupatta from the clothesline, she went.

I then dared to look at the bottle of cold water. It was half empty.