Sunday, April 18, 2010

A farmer who breaks eggs?

I enjoy breaking eggs and farming. What kind of farmer breaks eggs, you may ask. Wouldn't they be more concerned with selling the eggs instead? Even though this may seem contradictory in the real world, it's quite possible to do both in the virtual world. You see, like many people on social networking sites, I play some games online. So I have a virtual farm courtesy Farmville and break eggs on Eggbreaker--both hosted on Facebook. Some scoff at how "mindless" and how futile these pursuits are, but I don't really care as long as I get my entertainment in this harmless way. To each his own, I say.

You see, some people like watching movies, some like to read, some like to vegetate in front of their TV sets, some download music/movies from the net, some people just go on long drives, some watch traffic, and some like to hang out in the mall, some like to drink--alone or with buddies, some like to run, some like yoga. It's their way of having fun. And as long as it does not harm anyone and gives the person a decent amount of enjoyment and a means to de-stress, what's the big deal? As for the so-called mindlessness behind this, how mind-bending is watching a movie or television soaps? And who says entertainment has to be mind boggling to be "decent"?

And for a person like me who doesn't have a real farm, the satisfaction of seeing my virtual plants grow to fruition is really worth it. After all, it brings a smile even after a tough day. And as for breaking eggs on Eggbreaker, it brings out the inner child in me. I break virtual eggs and wonder what will be inside. It's almost like unwrapping gifts and being surprised every time. And the prizes I get from the eggs don't take up extra space or clutter my home...after all, they are neatly arranged on my virtual shelf in my virtual trophy room.

If you have pursuits that you enjoy but people think are mindless, drop in a line. Would love to hear about it. As for me, I think I am gonna break some eggs now and check on my farm. After that, I will have some tea and join my husband and vegetate in front of the TV. :)

Friday, April 9, 2010

Homesick Again

My Dad was in town this week for his checkup. After much cajoling and pleading, he finally agreed to stay with me and my husband. If he had his way, he would have stayed with my siblings as he, like all Meitei elders, thinks that a married daughter's home is good only for a visit for tea. Needless to say, I am overjoyed and thankful hat he did stay with us and that joy was compounded by my brother and sister's staying with us during Dad's visit.

Like all good things though, his trip here too ended-- this morning. We dropped him off at the airport to catch an early morning flight home. And I am homesick again.

As I sit on the balcony where Dad used to read the morning paper during his stay, I think of the days as a young girl when making breakfast for the family seemed like a chore. His visit gave me the opportunity to make up a little for that. Now that I am married and hardly ever get to see him and Mama, I long for days when a simple task like making breakfast for them seems like the opportunity of a lifetime, when a simple walk in the neighboring park is a time to be cherished.

I miss you Dad, and I miss home...I miss the times as a kid when you used to take me with you to fetch the Sunday paper and ended up buying comic books for me, the rare days when I could go back home with you after school, and the times you had meetings in Shillong around the time my vacation would start and I could travel home with you. I remember the time I ran home to go out with you and Mama. It was Cheiraoba and you were going to visit my maternal grandparents and I was too late...I was inconsolable and refused to accompany Mafa who offered to take me with her. I must have been two or three then. Sigh. More memories come flooding and I feel like crying.

Yeah, I am homesick, yet again.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Adventure @ Age 3+

I was three already and in kindergarten-- my first year at school. I felt pretty serious about going to school and meeting different folks unlike my younger brother who hadn't yet gotten the chance yet. I had it going well with my uncles and aunts taking turns to drop me off to school on their bicycles or scooters, or better still, getting a chance to go with my Dad on his parrot green Lambretta. You see, Dad's office at the local State Bank of India branch was just next door to school. At noon, school would get over and I would tramp out like the other kids and look for a familiar face in the crowd of parents and guardians come to fetch their wards.

As it went, my grandparents or my aunts usually came by to take me home. With my aunts, the trip always always led us through the busy Thangal Bazaar. As expected, they loved the opportunity to window-shop on the pretext of fetching the niece from school. My grandparents preferred the quieter route which took us past the MG Avenue and over the small bridge to Soram Leirak. We'd then reach the community pond 'Pukhri Achouba' and then after that, it was just a matter of crossing the erstwhile RMC Road (now RIIMS Road) to reach home. I loved it more when my grandparents fetched me as I loved the leisurely walk and the fact that they'd buy me snacks on the way home. With my aunts, it was a short trip home by cycle rickshaw--no fun, no snacks--all cut and dry.

Now, I had a friend named AS who was the most independent kid I had ever known. She couldn't have been  much older than me, but she used to come to school on her own and go back home, again on her own. I  retrospect, I guess it could be because both her parents were working and there was no one else to drop her to school. But the idea of going to school on your own kinda appealed to my 3 year old mind to the point of obsession. What added fuel to the fire was AS's jibe at my being such a kid and being so dependent on grown ups. That was the melting point. I decided that I too could go home alone and to prove that, I was on the lookout for the day when no-one would come to pick me up.

The awaited day arrived soon enough. A few days later, I was overjoyed to see that no one from my family had showed up to take me home. I quickly ran to where AS was standing and told her that I'd go with her unescorted by grownups. I remember saying, "AS, quick, let's go home. No one has showed up today to take me home." We then wasted no further time and quickly made our way home. We took the route that my grandparents favoured and soon enough, it was time for me to cross RMC Road. AS looked one way while I looked the other and between the two of us, we estimated the time that was safe for me to cross the road. "Run!" she shouted. And I ran, half scared, half excited-- scared as I was crossing the road alone for the first time, and excited that I was now on my turf, safe and sound. I waved her goodbye and went home straight. Happily I rushed to the kitchen, where my grandmother sat having her lunch. She was surprised to see me home without any sign of my aunts. Before she could ask me how I reached home alone, I announced to her that I was now quite capable of going to school and coming back alone. As she listened horrified, I narrated to her my adventure of coming home alone. She scolded me, as expected.

Back at school, my aunts were panicking as I was nowhere to be found. They waited till the last of the children were picked up and then went to Dad's office. They were terrified of getting a scolding as they had arrived five minutes late to pick me up (you see, their window-shopping had extended much beyond the usual time). They frantically searched for me and my Dad notified the police. Those days, the only telephone in the neighborhood was with a neighbor who stayed three houses away from us. My grandmother managed to go there and somehow managed to give my Dad the information that I was back home. Safe. After an adventure of coming back from school alone. I can only imagine the mixture of emotions that they must have experienced. The adventure ended for me with a scoldings from all my uncles and  aunts, grandparents, and my Dad. Still, it was worth the adrenaline rush and the sense of independence.