BENGALURU: Good morning, Bangalore.
I’m off to the United States on work combined with a holiday. Three days of work and two weeks of holidaying sounds fair to me! I love combining work and holiday trips. There has to be some type of reward for sitting cooped up in an infection-ridden iron bird for hours together. For all those who croon, ‘I’m leaving on a jet plane,’ trying to make it sound romantic, I have only one thing to say to them, ‘Oh, Shaddup!’ Planes have completely taken the romance out of travel. Endless delays, infectious co-passengers, wailing babies and rude staff plague air travel. Give me a cruise ship any day, even the Titanic will do!
Like most ‘worked off their feet women,’ I too know how to seamlessly mix business and pleasure. Women have always been told what good multi-taskers we are. Really? I don’t think we have much choice in the matter! Our work at home is neither compensated nor appreciated, and we are often told how lucky we are because we don’t have to work! When we work in a professional capacity outside home, the vacuum created by our absence is never filled.
We are expected to be Olympian athletes that successfully straddle both ends of the spectrum, compassionately at home and efficiently at our workplace! Bring it on, baby! Perhaps you would like us to apply for the space program as well, after making tasty sapad at home!
I truly admire women who are driven, determined, show grit and yet compassionately make things right. Bangalore has a fair share of them, and I am thrilled and honoured to know some of them. I fondly call them ‘The power puff girls’. Sometimes I am questioned about using the word ‘puff’ in my description. Maybe the connotation of the word brings up stereotypes that mean frivolous, flaky (these pastry adjectives are making me hungry!) or something not to be taken seriously.
To me, it means something else. In pastry parlance, puff pastries are one of the most difficult and laborious doughs to make. It takes patience and love, where each layer is lovingly moulded to give you the right feel, texture and taste, almost as difficult as separating gold from rock. Very much like women who face adversity, discrimination and censure at every step, yet emerge as perfectly-risen puff pastry. Why should all our strengths, like compassion, emotions and intuition, be looked upon as weaknesses? We are always told not to take things ‘personally’ whereas that is the one skill that is a flawless problem-solver… taking things personally!
I have the pleasure of knowing and calling some of these ‘power puff girls’ friends. Madhu Natraj, the ethereal dancer, Rekha Menon and Kiran Mazumdar, corporate head honchos, artistes, authors, painters, and stay-at-home moms. They are all wonderful, whole and complete!
I met two of my favourite ladies -- Madhulika Bhattacharya and Ruma Singh -- at our exclusive Bangalore Wine Club soiree at the JW Marriott. Madhulika is maverick, a singer, RJ and a PR professional; she now owns one of the most premiere wine stores in the country. A chief ‘imbiber,’ as she likes to call herself, she is knowledgeable about her craft, a brilliant businessperson with a passion for a multitude of things.
An extensive traveller, she can have a conversation with her daughter and husband, give instructions to her staff and step in front of discerning wine connoisseurs to regale them with information and stories without missing a beat! The soft-spoken Ruma Singh is a respected journalist and a leading oenophile (connoisseur of wines), who is well respected in Europe as a leading expert on wines. A devoted mother and wife, she can attend to her boys’ needs, travel the world and write her wine blog with panache! The power is always in the ‘puff’.Till next month, ciao.