Neha

"What's the use of me staying in a flat, when you always stay with relatives when visiting Delhi???"
''Staying with you means loss of time.... everything is so far from our place... and am coming for business... not pleasure!''
"Fine... go wherever you want... why will you listen to me? Anyways, let me know when you reach Delhi.... take care... bye."

And so ends the conversation. And this is so usual whenever Dad is visiting Delhi. He prefers to put up with relatives in Old Delhi... something that I naturally don't like! And that's something I hate about having a business family background.... Dad never has time for me! But I guess, even those with their parents in service would have similar views :(.

And then, as usual, he would ask my brother, Ankit, to inform me when they'll reach home. And as usual, he does decide to stay with me and of course, his ego never allows him to call me and tell me that! My dad, I tell you!

But it's always been like that between me and him. It's a special bond that only we two understand. Like any father, he always expected the most from his first child and in this case, it was me :(. I remember hiding my test copies from him as even 19/20 was never good enough; so when he asked me if I wanted to study in a boarding, I readily agreed! Why not... Dad wouldn't be there to see my marks! And then, he ensured that I never got anything that easy! In fact, I was made to earn it. So if I wanted that doll with the pink bag, I had to achieve a certain position in class! My first skates were the prize for getting through my boarding school's entrance exam and my first basketball was the reward for winning a competition! He always wanted me to be there... on the very top... ahead of everyone.... while I always feared that I might fail him!

After Mumma, Dad changed but little did his zeal diminish..... his zeal to see me excel in everything. He was never so strict with Shivani and Ankit and I felt trapped... amidst his expectations, hopes and dreams. But yes, never did he push his decisions on me. I was free to decide which subjects I wanted to study, how I wanted to shape my career, where I wanted to pursue my studies and I know he'll not question me even once when I tell him about the guy I'd want to marry! Though he was taken aback with my decision to work in Delhi.... who-so-ever has heard of a girl working in our entire family! But Dad has always been the one to define the norms and not simply follow them. After all, he sent his daughters to a boarding school and not his son, and now when his daughter wanted to work away from home, he was all there for her. He told my uncles, 'I've brought her up that way... After all, I want to see her independent and take her decisions for herself. ' I still admire the kind of confidence these words of his ... not in me, but his upbringing.

Staying in a city not your own, working, and then making decisions that seemed so trivial with Dad around, was not an easy task. There were occasions when I broke down on a call with him and told him that I wanted to return home. All he says then is - 'No worries... ghar aa jaao... business dekho... par khush raho; aur yeh sab toh chalta hi rahega... bhaago nahi, saamna karo.'

True that he's not my idol, but he is a source of my strength. In those times when I want to give up, it's his words that make me go on. I don't share everything with him, but even then, I know that he trusts me completely. A typical businessman, he will only talk business, as for him, a general conversation is loss of time (n I hate that!). At times I wonder, who does he love more - his business or us! Shivani says it's his business, Ankit says it's his work... but Dad had once said - he loves me the most :))), and I boast of this even after 11 years of him having said that

Completely at a loss of words when it comes to expressing himself, Dad is a vulnerable sweetheart! We dread his anger, but as all children, know how to work around it! And he would never let me hug him! And he'd never look into the camera when clicking a picture! (You'll know what I mean when you see this picture :) )

And once when, he said, "It's not a small thing to stay alone, work away from home and establish yourself, especially for a girl and I feel proud of all that you've done," I knew I've not let him down. The spark in my father's eyes told me that he does loves me the most and even though he'd never say it, I know that we mean the world to him!

I love you Dad, for all that you are and for making me what I am today and most importantly, for being my father!

This is in response to the contest 'Tribute to Dad' organised by blogadda in association with Pringoo!

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Neha

The world looked blurred from a distance. And it had been that way for quite a few days now. Everything I saw, everything I did, all lacked clarity. It seemed like a cloud enveloped my vision.

For those who guessed it - yes, it was my eyesight! I was first advised to wear spectacles when I was in class 7. The very idea of looking a little studious and, of course, serious with a bespectacled look appealed to me! My father lost it when he saw me in my new avatar and my mother kept a new name for me - buddhhi! (old woman!)

This new look soon lost its sheen and while I kept updating the frames every year, I never really wore them. Except for those rare occasions when I'd suddenly remember that I own a pair of those nerdy glasses! Though I'll admit they worked wonders in a debate competition, for if nothing else they gave me that look of maturity judges expect from the speakers. Of course, they also came in handy when I had to cramp up notes for the annual exams in not more than twenty four hours.

That was it...until now! Now, the moment I switch on the system I put on my glasses. For without them, I feel handicapped. And little by little, the realization has dawned! My eyesight is getting weaker!

I can go on to blame.....
..... my job which makes me sit at the computer for 10-12 hours every day!
.....my laptop to which I am glued for the next 2-3 hours after work!
....my addiction to reading. I always carry a book and read whenever I can!
....and MOST IMPORTANTLY - ME for not wearing glasses regularly!

So while I can blame any or all of the above, there is no escape from not wearing specs anymore. The latest check-up indicated a decrease in the eyesight and consequently an increase in the lens power! And with that little change in the lens, the world became clearer. So here I am, glued to the monitor, writing away and reading too...but none without my bespectacled look!

(The bespectacled me giving a presentation last week)
To say that I am enjoying wearing these would be a lie. Wonder if it's just my carelessness or age showing up (sigh!).

Neha

I was going through the archive when I came across this I posted over a year back. Somehow, I really like it (the big-mouthed self praiser that I am!).

This one is dedicated to all the women who read this post....It's something I go back to when I need the motivation and confidence to move on.....Hope it works for you too :)

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ... enough money within her control to move out and rent a place of her own, even if she never wants to or needs to...

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE .. something perfect to wear if the employer, or date of her dreams wants to see her in an hour...

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE a youth she's content to leave behind....

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE .. a past juicy enough that she's looking forward to retelling it in her old age....

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE . a set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a black lace bra...

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE .. one friend who always makes her laugh.. and one who lets her cry...

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ... a good piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in her family...

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE .. eight matching plates, wine glasses with stems, and a recipe for a meal, that will make her guests feel honored....

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE .. a feeling of control over her destiny..

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... how to fall in love without losing herself..

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... how to quit a job, break up with a lover, and confront a friend without ruining the friendship...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... when to try harder.... and WHEN TO WALK AWAY...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... that she can't change the length of her calves, the width of her hips, or the nature of her parents...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... that her childhood may not have been perfect...but it's over...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... what she would and wouldn't do for love or more...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW.... how to live alone... even if she doesn't like it...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW.. .. whom she can trust, whom she can't, and why she shouldn't take it personally...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... where to go... be it to her best friend's kitchen table.. or a charming Inn in the woods.... when her soul needs soothing...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW.. What she can and can't accomplish in a day... a month...and a year...

And blogdosts, don't forget... you are worth every happiness, every joy in the world. You are most beautiful, most intelligent and the best. Don't let anyone take away that feeling from you. For if that happens, it (or the person) is simply not worth it!

Neha

Date: June 1, 2010
Time: Late evening
Venue: Internet

Me: Hi, how are you?
Friend: Hi, I'm good. How have you been?
Me: The same old dull routine. You tell me how are things at your end?
Friend: Nothing new
Me: Hmmm
Friend: Hey, listen, I am looking for a job. Can you help?
Me: Sure, I can try. Which field are you looking into?
Friend: Well, right now, anything would do. You suggest.
Me: Well, you have done something in finance, right?
Friend: Yes, Been into bank auditing, but my work exp. is all out of India.
Me: Doesn't matter. Send your CV. My cousin works with ICICI. I'll ask him if he can help.
Friend: Great, thanks. I'll send you my CV soon.
Me: BTW, what is your salary expectation?
Friend: Well, you tell me. How much does one need to survive in Delhi?
Me: Now, that's a question!
Friend: Lolz
Me: Lolz

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Date: June 2, 2010
Time: 9.30 am
Venue: Outside the building where I stay

Landlord (Head sticking out of his door): Neha!!!
Me (looking back wearily): Yes, Uncle!
Landlord: I had asked you to come speak to me yesterday.
Me: Yes, Uncle. But I got back really late from office last night so couldn't come.
Landlord: No issue. Could you come now?
Me: I need to give my blood samples for some tests; is it OK if I come in after about half an hour?
Landlord: Yes, that's be fine. I'll wait.
(After 20 minutes)
Me: yes, uncle.
Landlord: How are you doing?
Me: Good, uncle (posing a fake smile)
Landlord: You've never introduced me to your father. I've met your sister, brother, cousins, but not your father.
Me: (Why the hell he wants to meet my father!!!???) Uncle, he rarely comes on leisure trips to Delhi. And he hasn't come for a business one also for quite some time now.
Landlord: (smiling his wicked smile!) Ohh! But I would love to meet him!
Me: Sure, uncle. (Reaching my wits' end) You wanted to discuss something.
Landlord: Yes, You see there's this verification drive going on; so I need to get the papers made again. You are just like a daughter to us, so I never really bothered before.
Me: Thank you, Uncle. I, too, would need the renewed deed.
Landlord: And I would need some information from you to get it done.
Me: Sure, uncle. Let me know what you would need.
Landlord (After taking down all the details): And as the deed will be renewed, I'll put the increased rent there.
Me (wide-eyed): But aren't there still 2-3 months to go for that? I mean, the year is yet to end according to the last deed.
Landlord: How does it matter? A month here and there is always workable. And then, you should have no problem with the money. You earn well!
Me: (How dare he say that!!! What does he mean by 'earn well'?? I don't have a five-floor building that I can rent out and sit at home and do nothing!!!) Not really, uncle. You know how expensive surviving in Delhi is!
Landlord: But I need to get the papers made soon.
Me (accepting defeat): Ok, Uncle, go ahead and get it done.
Landlord: So, it increases by 10%, okay?
Me: Of the initial amount, right?
Landlord: No, no; 10% of the increased amount.
Me (exasperated): But, uncle, shouldn't it be of the initial amount? That's how it works!
Landlord: No no. It's the amount that is currently applicable. You can ask anyone.
Me (accepting defeat, the second time!): It's ok, uncle.
Landlord: And yes, you know na how much loss we have incurred this month. There's still repair work going on in the bathroom.
Me: But, isn't that on your floor. And I stay on the third floor.
Landlord: Yes, yes. But we are spending a lot on it as two pipes burst!
Me (feeling my head would burst too): Yes, uncle, I can understand.
Landlord: So, you see, I am shelling out a huge amount there and needed a favor from you.
Me: (I'll kill you if you increase my rent for the stupid pipes that burst in YOUR bathroom!) Ahan, sure, tell me.
Landlord: If you could give the money earlier...
Me: Ok, uncle.
Landlord: You must be getting late for office....you carry on...
Me: (Now, that's an early realization!)Yes, uncle, I should leave now.
Landlord: Do come over for lunch some day; you never come...
Me: Yes, uncle, sure...
Landlord: And please, try and give the money earlier..
Me: Yes, uncle, I will
Landlord: And I'd be delighted to meet your father someday...
Me: Yeah, uncle... (And I hurry off, just too relieved to get out of there ASAP!)

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Talk about how much is required to survive....