Sunday, June 30, 2013

Why mothers are awesome

Mornings in the Mehta household are never a quiet affair.  Everyone, including me (though I realised it late) are morning people and we are incredibly chirpy every morning.  Even if dad and I have had argument the previous night, all is forgotten when he tells me I look like Lalita Pawar with one one sleepy droopy eye.

Our neighbours don't need alarms.  When my mother talks, she could be heard in even pachaas kos door gaanws.  Every morning she will wake up our domestic help's 3 kids and ask them which birds and animals came home the previous day to eat the grains and drink water.  After a satisfied answer, she will send one of the kids on the roof to refill the grains we put out for birds.  All this happens by 7:30 am.  At this time, our gardener will arrive and she will try talking to him in broken Hindi (she has not learnt a thing from the Hindi serials) and tell him not to trim a particular tree's branches because a bird has created a nest there.

Randomly, she will make a 'koooo' sound.  This sound is similar to the cuckoo's singing.  That's my signal that the kitchen is available to me for making my breakfast.  We give cuckoo signals to each other.  Sometimes, I go 'koooo' to tell her that I've taken and shower and she can stop giving me dirty looks.

She is the only person who watches Sasural Simar Ka on Colors Tv religiously.  She even knows the repeat timings so she can catch up on it if she misses the original episode.  Oh, and when she watches Ekta Kapoor serials, and if you're sitting with her, she will spot a glitch in the storyline and say aloud, "Ekta gundi, she thinks I don't know anything? I am one smart ladies." (ladies is pronounced as ladijh - I think she heard someone say that and picked up)  This is usually followed "Ektadi nonsense."

Even when I would tell her not to keep waiting for me for lunch or dinner, she will invariably stay up and wait for me.  This makes me feel incredibly guilty and now I am going to use the brahmastra - I'm going to give her my kasam.  Mothers can never overrule a kasam. 

She has been in Bangalore since Wednesday last week, and she comes back today.  I was all on my own and I missed having her around.  I see piles of unwashed clothes (yes, I'm going to wash them now before she comes home and decides to wash them in the night) and having to make my own meals, I just realise how she just makes things seem easy. 

She just magically makes life better.

And so, you just forgive her for embarrassing you by calling you 'baby' and 'cookie' in public.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Fathers' Day

When I was awaiting my 12th board results (don't ask how long back, makes me feel older :( ), I wanted to be either a criminal lawyer or a journalist.  But then, my dad never wanted that.  "What do you want to be criminal lawyer for? To help the criminals? And who pays a journalist anyway? Such bad lifestyle they have.." were his arguments.  And I had an elder sister who had just returned after finishing her masters in the US and I had a lot of expectations to meet.

Having always been the younger, stupider daughter, I usually gave in.  Obviously, daddy knows what's right for me.  (NO, he does not)

So, it was that one moment of insanity when I took up the chartered accountancy course.  But then, since I liked writing, I started writing reviews on this website called (if anyone has been on that website, I was crimemastergogo) and showing solidarity with a friend who got into some sort of fight with the management there, a bunch of us quit writing there and that's where I started my first blog.  When my dad got to know of my blog, his first question was "why would anyone want to read what you write? Well, I still don't know an answer to that.

Oh, in between, I even took CAT.  But didn't prepare for it because my dad wouldn't let me apply to MICA. (communication is not for you - stick with finance)  I scored 68 percentile, where I scored 98 percentile in Verbal Ability.  Of course, I didn't get through the IIMs.

Anyway, to cut the long story short, I gave all my heart and mind to CA.  I interned at one of the best audit firms in the state (Deloitte, one of the Big Four) and learnt a lot from the mentors I had.  I worked on some of the best assignments and a lot of times under tremendous pressure because of reviews from institute (I was interning in a big four during the Satyam era - what else can you expect?) and there were months when I would reach home post midnight. 

I lost touch with most of my friends.  I still used to update the blog regularly.  Never too busy for internet, right?

And then the failures set in.  One final attempt after other.  I would miss clearing exams by a whisker.  I cleared one group and the second group kept bugging me. 

I had been sitting at home, preparing for the exams, appearing, getting hopes high, and seeing "fail" written on the marksheet.  The cycle was unbreakable.  It was over a year of the drama.  And I'm leaving out a lot of personal drama that happened in all these years.  Dark, dark times.  (I would tell you about it if you promise not to run away from me because you think I am damaged beyond repair.)

In January, I tweeted (oh, Twitter has always been around - you should check out my tweets sometime, I think I'm kind of funny) at 4 am. "It is Brahma Muhurat. Time to wake up. LOLJK, time to sleep before the stupid birds wake up". (okay, it wasn't exactly that, but something on those lines) and I laughed. At myself.  And then I cried to sleep.

I decided I don't want to get on anti-depressants.  I have to take control of my life. (I'm also skipping a lot of personal drama shit here, mostly because it is hurtful to talk about it)  I decided to apply to publication houses, media, newspapers - because I wanted to write. 

After lot of tears shed, I got a call in March from the editor of the Gujarat/Ahmedabad edition of a finance newspaper, if I would still be interested in joining. I agreed.  I was told to wait for a call confirming that which might come from Delhi.  No one in the family knew about it till then.  Except my mum.  She was told about it because I had to tell someone or I would have gone insane, I was seriously losing my mind.  I had already lost all my confidence.  The only thing I had with me was self deprecating humour.

In May when I finally got the call that I'm hired, I cried like a little baby.  Someone was finally willing to bet on me.  Maybe I'm not such a failure I thought I was.

Then I told my dad that I'm going to be a financial journalist.

He was suddenly happy about it.  Going about telling everyone how I am with so-and-so paper.  He has no idea how many nights I cried myself to sleep because I had no idea why I missed clearing my finals by 3 marks.  For him, it was always a joke that if I ever wanted to commit suicide after not clearing my exams, I should just go to Vastrapur lake because it is nearer to house.  He thought it is lightening up the mood and easing the tension of result.  Well, I never had (and still don't) the courage to tell him that the thought of running away from the house crossed my mind many, many times.  And no, it was not the access to internet that kept me home.  Or maybe it was.  Every time the results were out, I was letting him down.  Because you know, the elder daughter is the stronger one and has done brilliantly in her life, fought all obstacles, and I'm the weaker one, who couldn't even clear an exam.

Today, 3 weeks into financial journalism, I am slowly getting my confidence back.   I am afraid if I meet some big corporate honcho, I would probably ask a wrong question and would embarrass the newspaper I represent, but as my editor told me, even if I try, I couldn't come up with a wrong question. 

No, the years I spent as a chartered accountancy student are not wasted.  I probably understand companies better than someone who doesn't come from a background like mine.  I may not have a formal degree in journalism, but I am finance literate and can probably read an annual report better. 

Maybe this was meant to happen.  And even though dad couldn't get me to take up a hardcore finance job, he will have to deal with it that some people actually pay to read what I write.

And what about CA? Well, I don't know.  For the time being, I am enjoying what I am doing.

For the first time in years.  Let me enjoy it while it lasts.

Oh, and dad, happy fathers' day.  No hard feelings.