Friday, January 21, 2011

You are Invited

Yesterday, when a doctor I met casually in a nursing home heard me through the usual rigmarole of how I was going to come home one day soon to invite him and said casually ‘no formalities, just hand it over”, I could have hugged him. I did. Hand the card over.

Im beginning to realize (a little late) that the wedding invite is the most crucial part of the wedding, next to the food, maybe.

Its not the card – which no one really cares about except oneself in the light of the many hours put in, designing it .One in a 1000 people will tell you it looks good.

It’s the way you invite people that matters. And the biggest mistake is to take people close to you for granted. Of course Im so so guilty of this and that’s why I am impelled to write this to help other less prepared mortals in what lies ahead.

I used to think, rather mistakenly, that the connection with people is already there so you send across a card and they come or don’t come depending on how strong your bond is and the convenience of travel. But that is not how it works. What matters is how you relate to them right now when you present the card.

Top of the list is actually turning up in person with the card at their home, not office. Then everyone feels good about themselves and you and feels obliged to come. On this occasion, you have to mention all dates and times and functions and feasts, cutting across stories of their children and activities.
A new addition to be mentioned is accommodation. Traditionally people just landed up in the wedding house and made themselves comfortable in whatever way they could. Now rooms and hotels have to be mentioned and booked and since many people only make up their minds at the last minute to come; it becomes a little tough because Indian style, everyone expects to be feted anyway for having traveled this long way

If you live far away and can use that as an excuse, then you can send the cards by post. And follow it up with a phone call. Right now, I am the black sheep of the family for having broken ground by inviting people by this method. But I’m sure, people in the family hosting the next weddings are going to be glad.

It’s gladdening when someone says, do send me an invite I’d so like to be there.
But when people say, send one to my brother in law, father in law, sister or other people who are important to them but you’ve barely met ,because that person would love the attention, then it feels a little crazy. In some cases, people come along to enjoy the place or as an interesting experience.

Be sure that young married couples and even little twirps living away in college are invited separately. This can lead to much friction, I assure you.

Next is email to all those who live overseas. It is hard to write an email inviting people insincerely to a wedding you are sure they are not going to attend. Some may be cousins you hear from once in 5 years. Yet you do.

When one of them calls and says, ‘thank you for thinking of me’; then it really is worth it. Because each invite does carry a piece of you. Each person is on one of your lists and you do make an effort to discover addresses and phone numbers, email ids. If some one gives you a feedback, it does feel good.

Im as guilty as anyone else of ignoring the majority of wedding invitations. But now I do realize, somewhere someone is thinking of me/us and it is good to respond in whatever way I can.

In an ideal world, you wouldn’t hand out invites at all. Those who feel connected will turn up. But till then invitations reign supreme. And you ‘d better make them sound sincere.

It's been a While

Its' been a while since I posted here but now it seems time to take up this blog again. So many issues seem to need my insightful slants. Or I just need to let off steam and thoughts into the world. So, this is my place once again.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Making Lemonade!

Schools were closed for 10 days during the rains and after. The kids naturally, had a blast! cycling ...,

Cricket...

The stands....

and a form of country sledding with home made 'vandi's or sleds.These are made with three sticks, a few ball bearings , string and enthusiasm. They come apart after a couple of rides, but the kids fix it and trudge up the hill again for that wonderful, bone shaking ride downwards till they land up laughing, breathless thrown up on a grass bank and the contraption under them comes loose again.

the engineers

Weekend Hideout in Ooty

Here are a couple of reasons why you should think twice before you buy that little weekend bungalow in Ooty, especially from developers.





These buildings sunk a few feet below road level.And are hanging on

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Difficulty of Doing Good

A record breaking amount of rain in the Nilgiris.

Reports of people being buried under landfalls and houses that crumbled under the onslaught of continuous rain and wind and mud that came suddenly sliding down trickled in by word of mouth because power lines lay broken as trees crashed everywhere blocking off road access for many hours. We didn’t have access to radio and were spared the sights on TV news channels for a few days.

But even looking around the school in our area where as many as 200 people were housed in 3 rooms tugged at the heart.

I thought since it was on my doorstep I should go see what was happening. Harassed officials were slowly getting a semblance of order. Food was donated by several charitable organizations and delivered by the hoteliers associations. A couple of plastic tanks supplied water. A medical team came everyday to attend to any signs of spreading disease
.
Everyday was spent waiting for the minister to come and solve their problems. After three days, his PA turned up and gave them Rs.2000 each. Later a blanket was supplied.
Of course, it all became a matter of survival of the fittest. It is really tough in this kind of situation to impose any kind of discipline. Sifting the genuinely-in-distress from the hangers on who were there to see if they could get any freebies is a sensitive issue. In that short space of time, officials can hardly visit the affected areas and identify the people who have lost the most. They rely on the area ‘s leaders who are not too reliable. Given the politics of the situation, I think the government did a great job with immediate relief.

(pic courtesy: The Hindu)
Still people had many wants and demands. A few friends and I collected some used clothes and took them there in a hurry. But the officer in charge was loath to distribute them. Every time some kind of relief appeared, numbers seem to double magically. And fights escalated. He didn’t want any more trouble than he could help.

Now the school has been emptied. Some people have gone back home and hopefully to their jobs. The truly displaced and the jobless are housed in another location. They wait in hope for more hands and relief measures to help them.

We have become a nation where we wait for someone to help us out. But can we truly blame people who are so poverty stricken that they have to grab all they can?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Zapping the Gap

Once you stop writing; it’s difficult to start writing again. You wonder why you should.
But maybe it’s a habit that doesn’t let go off you so easily.

So here I am again.

Woken up by the torrential rain and wind that hit us in the Nilgiris, so hard. Leaving so much devastation. I took my camera to take some pictures but somehow it didn’t work. Probably it meant that we shouldn’t be getting voyeuristic pleasure out of other people’s distress.

But people were anxious to show how much they’d suffered. .Cracks in the walls, roofs, broken walls, damaged floors, mud hanging over on the pitch of the roof,.
Hoping that we’d help in some way .The pathos of a new house for a new young couple with just a window frame left standing over the rubble; the roof blown away.

After a while, you are not absorbing anymore of the sad scenes because life is going on around you .
Five small kids sitting around a carom board in the watery sunshine on a ledge above a road half covered with mud and stones.
That picture stayed with me and helped obliterate the others a bit.