Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Life's Like That!!!

DISCLAIMER:This is a long post as usual but I don’t have the heart to edit any of its contents so please bear with me!! :)

When my sister and I were born my mother took one look at us and hoped that she would have daughters with the looks of rani mukherji, the agility of PT usha and the voice of MS subbalakshmi.

I guess something went wrong in my mothers prayers coz we ended up with the looks of PT usha, the agility of MS and the voice of rani mukherji. :P But my mother, stubborn that she is decided that though god hadn’t given her gifted children she would make her children gifted and somehow make them great singers or athletes or orators. As a result of this my sister and I were sent to extra curricular activity “classes” right from the time I was in class 3 and she was in 6th. I shall try my best to recount my experiences in the various classes I attended.

The Singer:
Now I am not exaggerating when I say I have a voice which closely resembles rani mukherji’s. people who have spoken to me on phone have given the following adjectives for my voice. Bellow, raspy, howl, shrill, grating etc. Even in class 3 i knew that I could be anything I wanted to be but not a singer. Now in tam-brahm houses it is a tradition that if u have girls u have to necessarily send them to singing/dancing classes and if u have boys u have to necessarily send them to singing/ instrument classes. My family is no exception. I have cousins who are brilliant singers, excellent violin players and graceful dancers. I am none of them.

My mother not the one to accept defeat sent my sister and me to this 86 year old vidhwan (I still remember his name: dhinanath updhyay) to learn Hindustani music. In the year 1993 in surat there wasn’t anyone who taught carnatic music so my mother settled for Hindustani. Now Hindustani music is beautiful and soulful and some of the songs which our sir sang have moved me to tears even at the tender age of 8. (our sir sang mind u not us. If it had been us there would have been different kind of tears in our sir’s eyes)

So we were sent to music classes. Now this music class was from 2.30 – 3.30 in the afternoon. School used to get over at 1.30, then heavy lunch and then music classes. Please note the heavy lunch point. By the time we reached the class we would be half asleep. Now this guy who taught was an excellent singer but had poor eyesight (obviously he was 86. I still wonder how he stayed awake from 2.30 – 3.30). So as soon as we sat down to sing preethi would doze off saying “I am sleepy and anyway sir cant see me sleeping so I am going to sleep”, leaving me to face sir’s wrath.

Sir: Gao beta gao. Saaaaa
Preethi: zzzzzzzzzzz
Me: (Pssst. Preethi utth. Sir is asking us to sing)
Preethi (almost musically): zzzz.z.zzzzzzzz.zzzz
Me: (after futile attempts at trying to wake up my sleepy sibling I would start shouting at the top of my voice coz I had to produce the effect of 2 ppl singing): SAAAAAAAAAA…
Sir: (he cant see preethi sleeping away to glory): aur zor se sur mein gao, taal se mila ke gao beta. Sa re ga ma
Me: (thinking): sur aur taal ki to aisi ki taisi. I cant even sing and I have to care abt ur sur and taal also
Me: Sa re ga maaaaaa

And so on and so forth the great man tried to make the voice coming out of my chops a little bearable - in vain. Finally at the end of 3 months he couldn’t take it any longer and he called my mom.
Mom: ji. Kaise gaati hain meri betiyaan?
Sir: awaaz mein dum hai lekin sur aur taal ka milan nahi hai.
he said mustering all the panache he could instead of telling my mom, “Frankly, in my 55 years of teaching music I have never come across anyone so hopelessly disinclined towards music”
And so that was that and my mother dropped dreams of ever having sudha raghunathan’s and MS subbalakshmi’s as daughters

The Orator:
Next was oratory. My mom began having dreams of daughters who would be lok sabha, rajya sabha speakers or Indian envoys of the united nations. Honestly speaking public speaking was something which I was fairly decent at. Till class 10th I have never had a fear of crowds or people. I used to love taking part in debates, extempore and declamation contests in school. And then “THE” incident happened. I am not sure when it was, whether in 10th or 11th but I had to give a speech introducing a particular chief guest who had done a lot of work in uplifting the poor etc.
At one point in the speech I had to say “Sir, your enthusiasm is infectious and has encouraged all of us to follow in ur footsteps” and I dunno what came over me, I suddenly got really really scared fumbled and said “Sir. Your infection is enthusiastic and has encouraged all of us to follow in ur footsteps”. :oops:. I could have left it at that and no one would have noticed but I went ahead and said “I am sorry. Your infection is enthusiasm and …”

The entire school howled, the teachers giggled, the principal frowned and the chief guest wasn’t very impressed to say the least. I still wonder what would have happened if he had really had some serious infection or something. Whatever. Since then I have had this inexplicable fear for public speaking which has never gone completely and since that day I have never gone on stage to give a speech or anything. And so my mothers dreams of making me a lok sabha speaker also went down the drain
The Tennis Star:
Next my mom tried the sports arena. “Badi hoke monica seles banegi meri beti” said my mom when she enrolled me into tennis classes. When I joined tennis classes I was as high as a tennis racket (for people who have seen me stop saying “you still are!!” humph!!) and weighed 10 times as much. Meaning I was really short and really really fat. I could never lift the tennis racket to do a service or do a volley and even when I did miraculously manage to lift it my ball would never cross the net. Now my tennis sir had this weird punishment.
U come late to class – run around the court 2 times
U don’t wear proper sports attire – run around court 2 times
Ball hits the net – run around court once
Drop the racquet – run around the court, talk while practice – run around court, laugh while practice – run around court. U get the drift? Half the time I was running around court. So much so that many times I would come to class and start running around the court without even being told to coz I knew I would break some rule or the other during the course of the day.
Sir: Revathi today u…
Me: sorry sir. I will run around court
Sir: (puzzled). No wait. Today for a change u r on time and have worn the proper attire. U can start practicing ur serve.
Me: (running)
Sir: why are u running now?
Me: I know I will mess my serve, talk or giggle or something!! I’d rather run now than run after I am caught!!

Anyway at the end of 3 months of coaching I was 6 kgs lighter and a fairly decent athlete (all that running finally did pay) but tennis wise I was still the same. MISERABLE. I never did get the hang of the game and I was always made to play against people who were masters at the game. Before I could understand what was going on they would say ace, deuce, game point, match point and I would have lost.

So that ended my mother’s “meri beti monica seles” dreams.

Over the years I have realized that there is nothing I that I am really good at. I mean I was fairly decent at studies, fairly decent in sports, fairly decent in everything but never exceptionally brilliant in anything. I have never been a very ambitious go-getter kind of a person and am extremely comfortable with my shortcomings because I have realized life’s like that. U can never have everything and the beauty of life lies in the fact that it isn’t perfect. Its imperfections define its beauty. Ultimately i never did become any of the things which my mom hoped I would become and neither did my sister (at least she did justice to the looks of Rani and agility of P.T Usha condition. I was completely hopeless!! :P). But I have no regrets because though I know I never will be a monica seles or an MS subbalakshmi I am extremely happy because I am sure monica seles and MS Subbalakshmi (may her soul rest in peace) can never be me. :)
(Nope!! I have gone deaf so I cant hear u say “Huh!! Who u kidding?? They would never want to be you!! ;)”)


>>Jass said...

Lovely post , I wouldn't call it lengthy. You tend to realize that only if it gets boring and start skimming through but this was hilarious :)

/*beauty of life lies in the fact that it isn’t perfect*/

Very true that!

/*Over the years I have realized that there is nothing I that I am really good at.*/

I dont know you , but i wouldnt say that for you; Although i can say that for me (Jack of all , master of none; actually jack of none even *dorky-grin*)

Anonymous said...

awesome post Revs ! brilliant humor ! glad ya came out of the clutches of java and its minions to write this ! great finish to the post !

Anonymous said...

/The entire school howled, the teachers giggled, the principal frowned and the chief guest wasn’t very impressed to say the leastxcellent post./

Seems like you always had an excellent sense of humor I guess.Keep it up

I really enjoyed this post very much. Poor amma. Atleast your amma tried her best sending you and your akka to all type of classes.

You turn out to be an excellent human being. Your amma and appa did an excellent job.


Anonymous said...

Hi there,
You havent written about the exploits of your sister...does she look like Rani, sing like MS and athletic life PT.Usha....i dont think so... (atleast not that i have realised)

By the way, not everyone is gifted at being great at something....most of us are moderate in most things, and slightly better of than most in some things.....

Else, we woudnt be even taking the examples of MS, Rani or PT.Usha...
you are one great sally, and a great person to be around with...

BTW, kudos to the efforts that your mother to have taken all the efforst to have tried to get people like you and your sis be something.....her with her looks and "infections enthusiasm", could have become anything she wanted to be.....but she chose to be your mother, and has done a great job at that...


Jaya S said...

I'm glad you're you. The world would be such a boring place if everyone were perfect! And I think anybody should like to be you...for the sense of humour you have, and your infectious cheerfulness (except, probably, when you're doing your coding ;)). Great post!

ashwin said...

"Now in tam-brahm houses it is a tradition that if u have girls u have to necessarily send them to singing/dancing classes and if u have boys u have to necessarily send them to singing/ instrument classes"

In tam-brahm houses, u will have minimum of a person working for "THE HINDU". Had your mom send you to a journalism class, it would have been good :)

btw, its never too late :P

Priya Raju said...

Revs - Good post. Hilarious as usual :-)

I had a different kind of problem when I was a kid. I was an avid - "experimenter & sample collector", shall we say? Most of the time, my parents were moaning "Please, please - Not that!!", "Oh no no no!", "Why me????" & "God, have mercy" - and all because my "sample" bit them or my "experiment" on the walkman went horribly wrong.

Parents have no appreciation of science :-(

Dinesh said...

Reminds me of a saying :" Remember that you are unique...just like everyone else" :P

Nice Post :-).

kalpaka said...

he he.. cool post revs!!! each one of us must take inspiration frm this piece of writing in being ourselves!! keep writing!! :)

Girish Nalgirkar said...

A good flow of thoughts and ideas in all your posts I read today. And the special question you always post "You get the drift?".. Good one. I never got bored and did not stop. Just a wonderful flow.

In the world everyone know how to laugh at others, but very few know how to laugh at themselves and they are real humourous people, you are one of that kind.

So you got a new reader here. I do write a little bit sometimes, you are invited to visit my blog and haan dont forget to put a comment across.

Revathi said...

heyy!! thanks a lot man!! :). and yeah u dont know me so be careful before making such statements!! :P

hey.. thanks man. and no java did not induce em to right this. if anything java has killed my creative juices!! :P

ah!! a cuper comment as usual!! thank u thank u!! :)

thanks for that extra sweet comment. coming from u thast quite a surprise!! :). and amma is a darling no doubt!!

thanks jaya. that felt really nice!! :)

Ah!! journalism u say!?? well thast quite an idea!! :). thanks for visiting!!

Lol!!:D.its an honor to have u commenting priya!! :). thanks a lot. and sigh!! i can completely relate to u. but i do pity ur parents though, i am sure they wouldnt have liked to have a bandy-andy biting them!!

@dinesh and kalps
thanks a lot guys!!

hey thanks a lot man!! kind words there!! will drop by ur alley sometime!! :)

Ragesh said...

I didnt read it full but "I guess something went wrong in my mothers prayers coz we ended up with the looks of PT usha, the agility of MS and the voice of rani mukherji. :" I am just laughing my head off!!

Narayani Karthik said...

your posts are so engaging.....and I am able to relate to them so much, considering that my mother nurtured similar dreams for me, of which I got to none....but no regrets in is like that and that is how it turns out beautiful.....I keep reading your posts quite often and I relate to them becoz I come from a similar home, where mothers are sooper ambitious and would stop at nothing to bring out the best in their daughters (the daughters showing no interest is a different thing :P). Nevertheless, keep blogging.....I used to read your blogs even while I was in CTS and trust me, they were like refreshments in a drab IT world, which I quit long time back for good :) Besides, your contribution towards Teach For India is so totally appreciable....I mean how many of us dedicate a chunk of their life for a noble cause.....You truly are a rockstar!

Keep blogging, keep up with the good work and keep you had mentioned for Malala in your latest post, I would say the same for you.....

May your tribe increase :)

Cheers & God bless...!!