Tag Archives: guest post

Guest Post: by The Mad Momma

8 Feb

The Mad Momma needs no introduction. But way back when, my Daddy did the honors, and I can’t thank him enough for it. This is a first-rate second-generation friendship. And here’s the story, in MM’s inimitable voice.

~~~

Jab We Met

It was my parents’ college alumni meet and they’d insisted I fly out to meet their old friends. It’s not the sort of thing most kids would happily do, but then you’ve not met my parents or their friends. The event was perhaps one of the best times of my life, and I have to admit, not in small part because it was where I met OJ.

Her dad was senior to my parents in college, and he and his camera were omnipresent. A joke a minute, a big smile and the most endearing way about him, it’s easy to see where OJ gets it from. Thrilled to see that other ‘kids’ (erm, all well past our teens, thank you very much!) had turned up, he immediately introduced us. Shiny, enviously magazine-cover-worthy hair was my first impression and I decided I was going to hate her for it. Except that she smiled, and she had Uncle’s smile and it was over before it began. I could see we were going to be friends. Angels didn’t play harps in the background, but it was pretty close.

We’d barely got around to introductions when we ‘kids’ were asked to put up a dance show and the look on OJ’s face was worth a thousand words. She had an excuse though – she had two sprained ankles; I unfortunately, had none. To this day, I’m convinced she came along with those and a cane to avoid being coerced into something like this. I maturely decided to make the most of a bad thing and began to train a bunch of girls I’d never met before to dance to “Chunari Chunari”. OJ played the most important part in this – rewind, play, rewind, play. Yes, that’s how long ago this was.

The dance performance was put on that night. And in between tripping over skirts, sarees, lehenga hems, bumping into each other, and getting our moves wrong, we got it done with. Of course, our beaming parents thought it was a brilliant show. Apparently, that doting blindness never ceases. And all this while OJ smiled encouragingly from the sidelines and turned a blind eye (also!) to our dismal show.

Like all disasters, that event brought us together and there was no looking back. We compared notes on planned elopements, unwilling parents, great love and other things that girls our age did. Hers are the only emails I don’t delete when I empty my inbox for the mix of humour, compassion, warmth and sheer practicality they burst with. And I have about 15 years of those now.

I’d like to say I knew her pretty well before she started blogging, and I think I would be right. But there’s nothing like a well-written post stating your stand to show you for the person you are. A peep into your life, a slice of your beliefs, a taste of what you believe in. Throw in some the power to weave magic with your words and you have OJ’s blog right there. So yes, I knew her well. And then I read the blog and knew her better. And to know her is to love her. I didn’t think I could love her more than I do, but I do.

Here’s to many, many more years of taking a stand, making it worthwhile, and living by your own rules. Big hugs.

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Guest Post: by Thinking Cramps

6 Feb

So remember I mentioned cramming gouda toasties in this post? Yeah, those were with her. She let me show off about my city, AND there was a background score of bread and cheese involved. How can I not love her?

~~~

The OJ Redemption

It was an imprisonment of sorts in a desert country that led me to discover Orange Jammies, and to rediscover the blogger world.

I’d just begun to know Bombay – newly married, newly moved – when Anando and I moved to Dubai for a 3-month assignment. He worked in a glass-and-concrete office. I freelanced out of our monochrome serviced apartment. We had wonderful evenings and weekends – discovering new places and people. But during the day, it was 48 degrees outside, there was nothing to do and no one to meet, and only endless corridors in shining malls to walk around. So it was my room, my computer and me – heat outside, air-conditioning inside, and thick white walls cutting me off from the noise and colour that had always been my world. I was homesick, and I didn’t really know what I was missing. Was it Delhi – where my parents lived, where my life had been till 4 months ago? Was it Bombay – the city I’d chosen to move to, where I was a wide-eyed tourist and new resident? Or was it just the feeling of “home”? Where was home? I remember the smell of fresh curry leaves at the antiseptic supermarket making me nostalgic for the bustle of a kitchen filled with love and warmth.

Stuck indoors during the day, with the internet my only link to the outer world, I longed for human interaction. I befriended Albert, the young Goan who came to clean our room each day. And I started writing limericks on Yahoo 360. My page had all the colours Dubai lacked – a rainbow background and Vincent’s Starry Night for my profile photo. Back then, that’s where OJ blogged too, as did Aunty G and many others. And before I knew it, we were virtual friends – united by a love for words (and in OJ’s case, also a sweet tooth). OJ wrote tenderly, fiercely, truly and funnily about Bombay – a city I longed to return to and belong to. She wrote about Bombay the way I felt about Delhi but had never really put into words. She made me even more impatient to return.

Enthused by daily comments and appreciation, I eventually revived my Blogger page as well. I’m sad to say the Yahoo 360 account died soon after – due to my neglect and Yahoo’s decision to shut it down. So I’ve lost those prize-winning limericks. Sorry, those prize limericks.

Nearly 6 years ago, then, I discovered an ever-expanding circle of bloggers – limerick-writers, foodies, kindred spirits, angels and wise-asses. I love them all. I don’t blog as often now, but the www was there for me when I needed to shout out to the wider world to drown out the silence all around me. The world shouted back, and still does – pushing me to think, to feel, to fight, to debate, to joke and to write. And OJ, you’ve been an absolutely vital part of this force-field. Cheers to your blog-life, may the 7-year-itch be one that makes you write more, more, more.

Guest Post: by Anindita

4 Feb

When an award-winning poetess writes lines for you, it’s a really good idea to zip it and let her do the talking. Like I’m going to do now. Watch. Almost…..see? Getting there….7….6….5.5….. Fine! I’m gone!

~~~

I first met OJ almost two decades ago, when we were giddy with the thrill of junior college. She was exceptionally warm, funny and generous. Yes, even back then. Seven years and two cities later, we reconnected through our blogs and discovered so much in common—the love of a city, the love of cities in general, the love of grammar, gender, books.

I also discovered that her writing is like her–vivid, often startling, bright, strong and humorous.  I asked OJ to get involved with Ultra Violet, a feminist website I started in 2007.  She has been its most prolific writer, most committed support and now, a brilliant and dedicated editor.

There is the sort of friendship based on slumber parties. There is also the sort based on building something together, slowly, with infinite patience and generosity. I am happy to have known both with this wonderful girl. (And yes, she will always be a girl.)  Here’s to you, OJ, and to many more years of writing, blogging and being your wonderful self!
(and here’s a bit of wordplay because i couldn’t resist)

What I think of when I think of you
We inhabit this parade of words, intimate
as the press of a stranger’s hands at a wedding.

We are more than the faces we hold up,
these books of glitter and jade. Even the coincidences

of nation, culture, cities may fade.
(Though we have known the love of that lost one

like a common lover.) But beyond that, and above,
there is something else–a sense, perhaps,

of what is possible in another human being.
If this sounds sentimental, consider:

when I type no, the computer spells hope.
In its language, the two must be similar.

Like solar and plexus, like distance
and resistance, like write and entire.

Guest Post: by Mom Gone Mad

31 Jan

From the land of fjords comes our very own desi girl Mom Gone Mad, gorgeous and talented in equal parts. I could read her ’til the cows come home. And then I’d have a giant burger and continue into the night. Vegetarians pliss excuse all animal-eating references.

~~~

After a fanfare-filled (yes, I blew trumpets in my own office. What do you think?) blogging premiere in 2005 and an equally meteoric burnout, I settled for writing for myself. Occasionally, I would also torture great and tolerant friends with philosophical treatises in the garb of e-mails.

I didn’t really begin to read personal blogs till 2007. Maternity leave coincided with my wonderful best friend blogging about her life with children. Through her blog, I stepped carefully into the strange and fascinating world of Indian mommy bloggers. A world of friendships, cliques, empathy, envy, support and spite. It spanned a complex spectrum of emotions, yet it seemed to inspire such belonging.

I quickly tired of the blogs that recounted the minutæ of daily life, but was drawn back to those blogs where feminism, current affairs, new parenting paradigms/challenges, food and humour were staple fare. I delighted in this newfound sense of community; the freshness of the voices, the compassion and the obvious intelligence in well-expressed posts. It was liberating to see a space so public for a kind of gendered discourse that had previously been confined to quietly exchanged confidences. I began blogging in late 2008 and slowly gathered the nerve to start commenting on my favourite blogs.

As is the case with blogs, you would read an interesting, insightful comment on a blog, entirely by happenstance, and proceed to click on the handle. There is no way to NOT click on a handle that says Orange Jammies. There is no way because these two words, well, they hold an entire world of favourite things. Of a fire that creates a mellow roast. Of cups of warming tea. Of warm flannel, delicious satin, worn cotton. Of long, cinnamony kisses.

The OJ space is one where you’ll carefully dry your feet before entering. It has its bright orange warmth and glow, a huge heart weighed with feeling and the rarest combination of tremendous dignity combined with a zesty wickedness. Oh, she’ll trip the light fantastic with her words, our OJ. She tweaks them, she teases them and she’ll make them do the most unusual, astonishing things. They will curl into some crazy shapes, those words. She can run literary rings around the best of them.

Yet, what I love the most is really quite simple.

I love how OJ loves. Her fierce and sure devotion to the things and the people she believes in. Her joy in the simplest, the best, the truly good things in life and her willingness to share of herself and her thoughts.

For better or worse, this is what blogging does to us. It gives us a strong sense of people, a sense of a connection. So much so, that if I really try, I can see OJ whipping up some world-class eeda in her kitchen, humming an ABBA showtune and sighing contentedly as the happiness of the moment surrounds her.

I hope you continue to bless this space for many more years, dear OJ. Maybe your fire burn bright and orange and may your jammies always wash soft.

Guest Post: by Dipali

29 Jan

“Can you love someone you’ve never met?” asked a poster of ‘You’ve Got Mail’ back in 1999. As an almost-21-year-old, I wondered. Here’s Dipali, frequent commenter on this blog, and someone I have shared joys and sorrows with, making not meeting in person irrelevant.

~~~

I must give credit, or blame, for my involvement with the blogiverse (as you choose, gentle reader) to my older son, who has been a wonderful teacher to a fairly ignorant pupil. He has been responsible for bringing to my life Sufi music, the Kabir Project, many books and many authors, as well as the countless experiences a child brings to his parents’ lives. He also first introduced me to Salam Pax’s blog, way back in 2002, which I would read sporadically. He subsequently started a blog of his own, (sadly, mostly defunct now) in 2004. Which is where it all began, for me……

 
I’d read what he wrote, and then ventured onto his blogroll, to friends of his whom I knew. When we moved to Kolkata in 2006, I found myself fascinated by the few blogs I read. I took the plunge into what was, for me, virtually uncharted territory. The names of various commenters and bloggers were fascinating- Chapati Mystery, Lalita Larking (who lived in Kolkata and became my first real friend from the virtual world. Her early death was devastating to me, and to many others of her legion of loyal readers), Within and Without, Known Turf, Jabberwock, Three Drinks Ahead, and The Mad Momma.

Not only were the antics of the Mad Momma,the Other Adult, and the Brat, great fun to read, she also had a fabulous blogroll. Once again, it was the names on that list- Banno, Dala, Orange Jammies, Sunny Days, Karmic Kids, Falstaff, kbpm, and many many more, that were truly fascinating. I remember myself commenting, with great daring, on The Mad Momma’s blog, and OJ’s blog, and others, and being responded to with warmth. The personal interaction, the tossing around of ideas, the painful honesty with which some bloggers shared details of their lives, the sheer poetry of some bloggers (OJ and space bar in particular, at that point), and, overall, the abiding sense of community, that we were a bunch of like-minded people who could interact, regardless of the barriers of time and space……..I was hooked!

For a couple of years I found myself commenting frequently on a few blogs, and, over time, being encouraged to start a blog of my own. I wrote, on invitation, a guest post on Karmic Kids. I wasn’t booed off the ‘net! I commented some more. I finally started my own blog in August 2007. Over the years I have met many of the bloggers whom I have read, have formed close personal friendships with some of them, shared personal experiences (both joyous and painful) with the blogosphere, and have received great support from my readers during difficult times. There was tremendous solidarity when the Indian Homemaker lost her teenage daughter to dengue in 2010, and her own remarkable strength and wisdom during this difficult time was a great solace to many of us who grieved with her.

Blogging has given me wonderful friends across the globe, as well as in India. It has truly been enriching beyond belief. For people like me who are transferred every few years, blogger friends provide constant sustenance, as long as technology doesn’t let you down! There are some bloggers, like OJ, Mom Gone Mad, and Maid in Malaysia, whom I haven’t met yet, but I hope I will, someday. Some of the bloggers I know are now published authors, (Parul, Kiran, Yashodhara, you may take a bow) and I take great pride in their work, simply because I know them! Some published authors became personal friends after we interacted on the ‘net.

Once again, I need to thank The Mad Momma for writing about Gouri Dange’s book, 3, Zakia Mansion on her blog, which I appreciated and reviewed. Gouri and I have met, and seem to share many life events and interests, including the songs of K L Saigal, Sant Kabir’s poetry, and Hindustani vocal classical music.  The commenter who calls herself Peccavi was instrumental in my getting to know the Akatha Kahani team, which lead to two magical evenings at my home last January. The real life friendship with so many wonderful people has been simply amazing. We’ve also had some great blog meets in various cities, all memorable occasions, hard to explain to those outside this magic circle!

The criss-crossings and the links are now not always easy to trace. It has been a fascinating and enriching journey, on an ever-expanding train which has many passengers, and no limit to the number of bogeys/space available. Some do get off, caught up in other aspects of life. New ones come aboard, interactions happen, and this fascinating, magical, enriching journey continues.

Guest Post: by Aunty G

27 Jan

Kick-starting the first of seven guest posts (for reference, read this one) is our one and only Aunty G: limerick queen, top commenter on this blog, and my blog-mamma! 🙂

~~~

A request from OJ has just come
About how our saga had begun
So, here we go
If you’d like to know
In the next six verses, our tale will be spun!

 

The way I met OJ
Was fairy-tale-fey
I addressed a namesake
A serendip mistake
On a divine Navroze day!

 

She politely replied
That I’d misapplied
I returned the courtesy
Then burst the ecstasy
When complete names were supplied!

 

Co-incidences galore
Then came to the fore
She guided me to blog
Her praise I greedily did hog
Her friends added to my Y!360 score!

 

Eventually, I met my first blog friend
But that was, happily, not the end
Our families met too
The Boy also, before the ‘I do’
From then on, the love and affection could only ascend!

 

We share our sorrows and joys
She’s a daughter — I’ve only boys
Her writing I greatly admire
Gladly sink into WWNP’s quagmire
Then, limerickly, add to the comments my noise!

 

So, on this splendid 7th Anniversary

I wish that she be forever free
To weave her words
Like soaring birds
Blessings, and love and hugs from your Aunty G!

 

A Beautiful Year

25 Jul

By popular demand, the Boy is back to write a birthday dedication, but before you proceed, HOLD IT!

1) Look closely:

2) I am NOT cloning him

3) Now read:

Imagine walking into the Louvre with your own framed doodle, wondering whether to place it next to the Da Vinci or the Monet – and then finding oneself terribly outclassed. That is probably close to what I feel right now as I pen this ode to OJ on her birthday. But then, this post is not about me. It is about the one I love.

Ardent readers might remember my birthday dedication an year ago, which basically confirmed the fact that everyone’s favorite blogger likes beautiful things. But instead of adding to the list of beautiful things that OJ likes (which is pretty easy) – this birthday, let me hazard to explain how she makes the world more beautiful.

Let’s say we’ve woken late and lazy on a Sunday and we decide to head out to iHop for a late and lazy brunch. Given how much I love pancakes, I move like the whirl of the wind and am ready at the door twirling the keys to the Honda, dreaming of Canadian maple syrup. But not OJ – who despite harboring an even greater love for the aforementioned pancakes – will carefully “prepare” for the outing. Nothing will be chosen to be worn at random, not a hair will be out of place and not a piece of jewelery will be unwarranted, redundant or excessive (like my adjectives). Finally the perfect handbag will fit in like the 999th piece of a gorgeous 1000 piece Ravensburger puzzle of the Castle Neuschwanstein. And when she appears from the bedroom, not decked up, but just perfect – I look at her, hang my head and promptly go inside to change whatever arbitrary piece of clothing I had selected, to something that, quite simply, is more appropriate. And the 1000th piece? She will reach with practiced ease towards the little box of Altoid Minis and pop two in the mouth, the corner of her lips curling upwards ever so slightly with the satisfaction, that yes, everything – including her breath and her husband – is now beautiful.

To prove this point further–let me describe to you, O reader of the jammies–how OJ makes children smile. All her preparedness as described above, will dissolve into a blob of silly putty in the hands of a sad child. She will hold the despondent child in her arms, enveloping the kid in folds of exquisite softness until any pain or sadness has gone away. She will then just play silly, making them jump and throwing them in the air and giving off her inimitable laughter – with a real rare kindness that would melt the hardest of hearts. Children don’t stand a chance against this – it is like a chocolate fountain, a Chuck-e-Cheese ball pit and Dora the Explorer all rolled into one. And really, what is more beautiful than a child’s rippling laughter?

There are many more examples of how she creates beauty, beautifully unaware of the fact that she is doing so. I am lucky to witness these every day and every moment I spend with her. And if anyone asks me what I miss about her when I am far away from her on work – it is just this: If she is not around me, it is as if everything that is beautiful disappears from my life.

Happy Birthday, my love – here’s wishing you another beautiful year ahead.