Tuesday, May 15, 2018

My uncomfortable experience in Kuala Lumpur

That day in Kuala Lumpur (KL) had started with a quick trip to visit the Murugan temple enshrined in the age-old Batu caves situated on the outskirts of the city. Obviously,  I had applied the kumkum from the temple on my forehead, as most Hindus would naturally do.

The Batu caves trip ended in under 4 hours and we had the entire afternoon to us at our leisure. So,we decided to do what's best to do in KL - shopping! We proceeded to explore the Central Market which is a sort of an air-conditioned heritage arcade with shops selling everything artisanal under the sun. They have different sections where they sell goods from all over the world including from our very own India :)

There was one such open shop  (without any name or board anywhere. It was more of a display of wares rather than a shop) where the wooden handicrafts looked quite familiar and I was unable to place it. The shopkeeper was not around and so we patiently waited for him to be back so as to enquire about the prices. My father had gotten similar furniture from Kashmir years ago and I wanted to know if it indeed was a Kashmiri handicrafts store!

He comes back and I curiously pose my question. He very much looks like a Kashmiri with a fair complexion and a long, aquiline nose. The moment I ask him about his wares; he, with a look of hatred in his eyes and in his voice, says - " It is from Kashmir, PAKISTAN ". His hate and his stress on 'Pakistan' was unmistakable and I was literally taken aback.

Knowing that I am a Hindu, (from the kumkum on my forehead) did he really have to stress on the word 'Pakistan'. As an Indian, I was obviously offended. He might have been from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir  and might have grievances against India, but so do I! I too have grievances about Pakistan abetting terrorism in my country.  In any case, being a vendor, does he have to be so hostile to his customer? Does he have to dig at a problem and create more of it without any provocation?

I wanted to get back at him as I am not the one who would keep quiet and turn away. However, my husband pulled me away saying that it was not wise to pick up a quarrel in a foreign country.

This audacious and biased behaviour has definitely left behind unsavoury memories which marred the otherwise wonderful experience we had in KL! Had I not been sporting kumkum on my forehead that day, then would things have been different? May be yes...but the hate anyways would have still lingered...

Hoping for peace!

Source credit: https://www.hellotravel.com/malaysia/central-market-and-kasturi-walk

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The annual ritual of covering school books...

Disclaimer: This is not a travel-related or a food-related post. However, I wanted to pen down my thoughts on this fun chore, for moms like me.

It’s that time of the year when you find yourself amongst a lot of school books; text books, note books, work books, almanacs; all waiting to get covered. It is a big task in my house as it is time consuming and I am the only one in my house who can cover these books. I can gladly pass on the task to my dad whenever he is visiting, but this summer he is not and so the onus is on me.  I have never seen my husband coming forward to do this and I too am not keen on he doing it in a messy way ;)

During my school days, I still remember, my dad used to get this chore done and seriously, what a perfectionist he was! Rolls of brown paper used to adorn our living room. He used to sit on the floor with all the paraphernalia including a pair of scissors , labels and glue and go on tirelessly. I and my brother used to bring all our school books and dump it in front of him and he used to cover them all in one go with such amazing dexterity. To finish it up, he used to label our books with his artistic handwriting…alphabets and numbers curving up, their tails extending to give an artistic appeal to our names. Don’t these minute attention-to-details signify a labour of love? Doesn’t it reflect the love parents shower on their children! Of course, it does! Now that I am in dad’s shoes, I understand that.

So it’s my turn to do the same for my son…it’s a chore as I have to balance the transparent plastic sheets between my not-so-deft fingers and stick them on to the book with a cello tape. I have to strive to get a smooth finish, but I do want my son’s books to be perfect when he starts his new academic year.

 On a side note, I wonder why schools nowadays insist on a plastic, see-through cover, when we All – including these schools, talk about going green and eco-friendly. Not only are we adding to the plastic dump but we are also not inculcating green practices in our children. Stuff to ponder???

Well, all that said and done, I am off to attend to my sweet chore. Twenty books to be covered in a week’s time…3-4 books a day is good enough, isn’t it!  :) It gives me great joy to take care of my little one’s small needs and makes me feel proud when he looks up to me and says …Mamma, you are the best!
Books n Covers