Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Adieu, The Victorious "Lalitha"

Having chosen to revisit an old interview rather than watching her being laid to rest, I was once again mesmerized by the confidence she exuded, and the command over language that Madame J had.  A symbol of women empowerment, straightforward, strong, and bold, this gutsy lady will definitely have her name etched in the book of the history of Indian politics. 

Always surrounded by controversies, hated and targeted, this woman managed to rule, and how!!  Wouldn't it be just right to focus on the positive aspects of a personality rather than pinpoint the negatives, especially when the positives have actually succeeded in bringing some sunshine into the dark dungeons of the society?

The late Chief Minister worked her way into the hearts of her subjects with projects ranging from the Cradle Baby scheme for protection of female infants to master health checks.  From making food affordable to the economically weaker sections at the government funded canteens to providing seeds to farmers and encouraging farming in urban environment, she became a Brand.  From rain water harvesting to sea water desalination, offering many freebies or subsidies to the poor and needy, tackling the fallout of LTTE, introducing India's first women police battalion, she proved she was one of India's most powerful administrators, and in the process, became the messiah of the masses.

Just watching her speak showed how strong the lady was in her mind, how clear she was in her thoughts, how dignified and composed she was in her person, and how high she held herself despite being in the mud-slinging profession of politics.

Why I opted not to watch the live funeral ceremony was because of all the hypocrisy that comes along with it.  People who would have wished for her life to end (or at least her political career for that matter) could now be seen shedding false tears and speaking volumes of rehearsed lines as the all-decked-up hearse carrying the remains of the woman leader made its way to its final destination.

There probably are millions out there watching her interviews, reading, and learning so much more about the lady than they ever knew while she was still alive; thus joyfully appreciating such a dynamic politico and at the same moment being engulfed in an unknown cloud of sorrow on realizing that the soul has departed.  And suddenly all the wailing and crying happening back there in the Southern state of India makes so much sense.

All of this just brings me to one point.  Why is it that at any given time, any "opposition" (just not political but at individualistic personal levels too) always has to oppose the "ruling?"  Irrespective of the correctness of the decisions taken, there is always an opposition to it just because it is someone else's decision; whereas, all that should matter is how the decision will do good, benefit largely, and bring about a bigger better change in scenario.

As long as there is a thirst to just rule, to just have the power, and not to serve, many humble souls trying to build brighter prospects for their fellowmen whilst building their own empire shall continue to be maligned.

But then, those souls shall strive towards achieving their goals till the end and then be missed, mourned, and always remembered by the humongous wave of humanity, primarily composing of the common man - who benefited out of the leader's life. 

Just like today.  Just the way the Makkal of Tamil Nadu are mourning the loss of their beloved Amma.

I Salute Thee.  RIP, Ms. J. Jayalalitha.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Guardians of the Night


Do you find yourself lost in a web of thoughts, spinning words at the least expected hour??  Happens, ain't it?  

Always the case with me...and more so when I am on the potty seat...Ohhh, why that frown now?  As if you never use one!!!  And come's a universal fact yaaaa...only you don't wanna accept that you get most of your brilliant ideas in the toilet too ..Duh!! :P  

This random thought though knocked at a random but decent hour as I lay wide awake in the middle of a moonless night, staring out of my window and listening to nothing but sweet silence. 

Read on and let me know if you find my random thoughts good, very good, or superlatively awesome ;) :P :P 

         Sky so dark, streets so misty...
         There ain't any stars scattered itsy bitsy..

         Silence and darkness together compete...
        As they wait for the Sun to greet..

      He shall rise and bring some shine..
     While they rest until it's time to dine...

        Back they come, hand in hand...
         Guarding the night, together they stand.

P.S.   Well, this is called Leisure Writing ;)  :D  

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Rangon Ki Holi

With festivals a galore in India, each unique and holding it's own significance, Holi is definitely one of the most loved ones.  And why not??  It is a festival celebrating love.  They say Lord Krishna's pranks of coloring his beloved Radha's face gradually turned into a celebration with people smearing their loved ones with colors and expressing their love.  It also marks the onset of Spring.  Even today, the temple towns of Vrindavan and Mathura host the grandest celebrations with people coming in from all over the world to experience unfettered joy.  Having heard and read so much about it, I wish I could be a part of all that energy, love, and joy someday.

Memories of my childhood engulf me as the festival approaches.  Pestering Maa to buy me some colors in the market and then again wanting to buy all of them while she would ask me to choose any two or three.  Such a difficult choice to make, that would be.  Come on, who can leave out any color for that matter??  I wanted all of them.  Year after year, we would battle it out...I won some, and She won many.

Image Courtesy:  Google - India Mart

I still remember my rendezvous with the festival of colors.

I could hardly sleep that night.  Raghav had told me umpteen stories about it, and I was just a few hours away from knowing what it would be like.  I had my imaginations running wild.  I was anxious and excited at the same time.  I was wide awake, or I thought so, as I heard my mum's voice, "Vidyuuu....Raghav is already here....Don't you want to go play Holi??!!"  Goodness Gracious!!!  When on earth did I fall asleep!!  I hurried out of the bed, scrambling, falling, managing to freshen up (or did I??  :P), ran to the bag filled with colors and pani ke gubbare, picked them all up, smiled gleefully at Raghav, and ran we both out of the house screaming, "Holi Haiiiii !!!!"

Scared of all the mess that I would get my hair into, Mum had made me sit down the previous evening and oiled my hair nicely using her all-time favorite brand of coconut oil - Parachute.  She loved the fragrance and vouched for it's efficiency.  "It will protect your hair from all the dirt, enhance it's growth, and give it a beautiful shine," she always has said.

Raghav was my landlady's grandson and my best friend who taught me how to cycle, how to burst crackers, how to fly a kite, and now he was going to take me to experience and play Holi !!!  Being born and raised in South India, I had no clue as to what Holi was even at the age of 8.  So this was going to be a big adventure for me and having heard so much about it from my buddy bro, I was all set to have fun.

The moment we landed on the street, I heard a splash and before I could realize what had happened, I was all drenched in reddish colored water.  My heart stopped for a moment...looked up at the kids around me in a state of semi-shock even as they smiled, giggled, and laughed...and then came the adrenaline rush...having tasted the flavor of  Holi!!!  Chasing each other with pichkaris (plastic hand-held water pumps), throwing water balloons, smearing colors, splashing water...Oh I had so forgotten myself and ran around the streets of Karol Bagh with Raghav and his friends.  My heart thumps faster, and I feel a strong rush of emotions as I recollect my first Holi.  How I have been in love with the festival of colors ever since then.

The love affair continued when we moved to Pune.  What beautiful memories!!!   CanPark was an apartment with 40 flats, and it was mandatory for everyone to participate in the holi celebrations (else they had to pay a price for it...*wicked grin*).  Holika Dahan (a ritual signifying the victory of good over evil) with offerings of Puran Poli (a sweet bread made of self-raising flour, split Pigeon Dal, and jaggery), singing and dancing around the bonfire was just the beginning of all the fun.

Next morning, all the didis and bhaiyyas and some super-enthusiastic uncles and aunties, including my parents, would happily go around the apartments, greeting and smearing everyone with loads of vibrant colors and pulling them all out for a gala celebration.  I do remember a particular someone getting seriously offended, but then, we did get away with bura na mano, Holi Hai !!!!  Haha... 

Scrumptious food would be arranged in the parking area.  Oh!!!  How we hogged on the Samosas (a deep-fried savory with a filling boiled and smashed potatoes, peas, and Indian spices) and Jalebis (a deep fried sweet made of self-raising flour and gram flour, dipped in drooling at the thought of it) in our tiny-mini breaks!!! 

Age, sex, and religion never mattered.   Everyone was out there, enjoying themselves to the core, running behind someone with a bucket full of water or trying to escape getting dunked into the mini water tank...haha (of course with all safety measures taken).  :P :D  

There you go....memorable moments of our mommies and daddies having a gala time during one of the Holi celebrations at CanPark, Pune.

And mind you, apart from those two kids who probably got into the frame by chance, none of us juniors were even aware that someone was taking pictures.  We all were in our own colorful world.  But then when the photo albums made rounds, we had made such a hullabaloo as to why we were not informed....even we wanted to get clicked!!!  Huh!!!

By noon, after having all the insecurities and inequalities wiped out, CanPark would be a bunch of super-happy faces soaked in rainbow colors; having forgiven and forgotten, laughing and hugging each other.

Such is the power of this festival that works it's charm playfully, renews bonds and strengthens the faith in relationships, families, and friends.

There are times when the joy experienced is so overwhelming that it cannot be put down in words, and that's exactly what I am feeling right now.  Pune gave me my happiest and most memorable Holi moments.

Time caught up.  High school, and then college, and then work gave no time for any more celebrations, and the most common reason was "Oh Come On, we are all grown up now!!"

But then my marriage took me to UK, and there I saw that just like the 8-year-old me, my 20-something-year-old friends had never celebrated Holi !!!   Yes, you got it right.  They all were South Indians.....Tamil-speaking South Indians.  I leaped at the chance, and thankfully, my girls grinned happily at the idea of playing with colors.  Oh How eagerly we had waited for the colors to be delivered after having ordered them online.  Those packets of colors turned out to be precious packets of love and joy that we experienced as we played like kids even as the Brit neighbors watched in amusement. :) :)  

Now with the festival just around the corner, and my mind having taken a trip down the memory lane, my heart flutters at the idea of splashing colors at people - known and unknown, irrespective of color, caste, creed, sex, or age just like this ad by Parachute Advance.

I’m pledging to #KhulKeKheloHoli this year by sharing my Holi memories atBlogAdda in association with Parachute Advansed. 

I hope to unleash the kid in me this Holi.  Will you???

Chalo Phir se Bachpan Laut Chalte Hai...Chalo Phir se  Khul Ke Khelte Hai...
Aakhir Tyohaar Bhi toh Holi Haiiiiiiiiiiiiiii !!!!

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Share.... & Show that You Care

It was a weekend, and my 8-year-old nephew, Nikhil, happened to join me on my grocery & veggie-shopping errand (yes, this particular shopping is definitely an errand for me).  While we were at it, the phone rang, and there came the chirpy-voice of my other little nephew, Karthik, aged 6, "Hello Kaaki!! Where are you, and how are you??"  Excited on knowing that it was his cousin, Nikhil grabbed the phone, and the two got into a conversation.

Nikhil:       Hey Karthik!!  Why didn't you come to granny's house today?  I was waiting for you.
Karthik:     What to do, I was very busy you know.
Nikhil (bantering):    Oh ho!!  What is it that kept you so busy?  You know I cycled and played all day today.
Karthik:      I swept the floor and helped mom mop it too.  
Nikhil (laughing hysterically):   What !!!  Are you a girl to sweep and mop the floor?  Hahahaaa
Karthik:      So what if I am a boy?  Should I not help mom?  You should also do it.  
(I was amazed at the little one's understanding and stern instruction to his older cousin).
Nikhil (again laughingly):    Why should I do it?  Yashu akka will do all of that.

Yashu is my 16-year-old niece and the oldest of the kids at home.  And yes, that makes her job all the more difficult, especially handling all the three younger brats when elders are busy with the chores or some serious discussions.

Admiring Karthik's thought process at such young age, and of course my co-sister's educative ways, we drove back home, and the first thing that Nikhil did was to go "Maaaaaa... Ajji....You know what...." & narrated the whole conversation between him and his little cousin.  As expected, a fight broke out between Yashu and Nikhil over the same even before he could finish laughing at his cousin's "foolishness."  The women of the house (my mother-in-law and sister-in-law) who were watching the on-goings in amusement were quick to reprimand Yashu and lectured her as to how girls or women should take care of all the household chores, and that men were made for other things.  Well, I had to console myself that they didn't say - BETTER things.

Such a common sight in almost every Indian household!!!  I say Indian because having lived abroad for a couple of years, I have seen how both men and women there take up equal responsibilities right from running the house to caring for the children to earning their bread and butter.  It's just wonderful to have that kinda scenario where both get ample time and space.

But here, it's been an age-old practice in our country wherein the women of the house slog round the clock.  It doesn't mean the men don't work.  It's just that most don't "work" while at home.  And this is not a feminist statement (It's a fact ;) :P ).

How many times hasn't a tired and irritated wife come out of the kitchen and yelled at her husband who is happily glued to the television while she has been going around doing her odd jobs, feeding the kids, putting them to bed, serving dinner to the rest of the family, and just wanting to go sleep??  Did you visualize your mum??  Honestly, this would be at least once-a-week thingy at our place, and am sure at many of your homes too.  Wasn't it the same years ago when the ladylove would go give a helping hand to her husband at farming, grazing the cattle, and then come back home to cook and do her duties as a daughter-in-law, wife, and mother??  A sister would do all the chores that she could, and her brother would be happily playing around?? 

No matter how much we speak of gender equality, of women standing on par with the men at work, the scenario at home hasn't changed much.  I mean, a woman might be handling the toughest of profiles at work, but at home, she still has to make her own cup of coffee and clean the toilets and do the laundry while the husband can just go hit the sack, because... Oh come on!!  Poor thing, he's tired after a day's work.  You gotta understand, Baba!!  And women!!! Women are supposed to be super heroes who need no rest.  This actually makes my dimag ki batti to light up :P.  Battery companies like Duracell don't actually need to invest much on making an ad with animations and stuff like that.  They can show a woman working round the clock instead. What say?  Any better bet for a trust-worthy and long-lasting (non-exhaustive, actually) energy bank?? 

As I say non-exhaustive, I recollect a friend's mom muttering, "Who cares about me?  Even if I am on my death bed, they shall say, 'finish that work, & then you may leave' ." 

How unfortunate is that just because someone goes around the errands dutifully, we take them for granted?  Wouldn't it be nice for a son to lend a helping hand and say, "Mom, Aaj khana main banaunga," or for a husband to help do the dishes or for a brother to arrange his wardrobe instead of expecting his sister to do it for him?  Women, like their male counterparts, would love to put their feet up and read a book, catch up with some entertainment on the television, party with friends, or just have some "me time." 

A friend who's been married for 15 years now dreams of a simple luxury of being herself and not having to race against time every single day.  She told me one day, "How much ever we struggle, we shall all, in a way, remain bonded laborers. We shall never get freedom from this terrible routine grind."


It's high time we change these ancient, stereotyped gender roles of our society.  But then twisting the tag-line of a popular ad, "Why should boys have fun all the time??"  Why not share the workload with your partner or sibling and then have an amazing time together?  Oh come on, R. Balki has even made a movie on role reversal sharing responsibilities again, but in the non-stereotypical way) now, so if my blog fails to drive any sense, go watch Ki & Ka (I haven't watched it yet, but hopefully they shall work their magic on you!!! :P) :D.

As I write, I realize how truly blessed I have been to have had wonderful supportive men in my life; my dad, my brother, and my husband.  My husband, in fact, was the one who taught me cooking after marriage, haha, and it feels super awesome to wake up to a hot cup of coffee or a bread/omelette on a weekend.  Once in a while hi sahi, but it makes my day!!   

And the story at my place that day didn't end there.  I took Nikhil and Yashu to the kitchen and took out a bowl of firmly set fresh yogurt, and Nik exclaimed, "Maami !!!!  White Cake!!!"  It was my turn, and I asked him if he would like to learn how to make it, and he jumped with joy.  I winked at Yashu, and she smiled.

I am joining the Ariel #ShareTheLoad campaign at BlogAdda and blogging about the prejudice related to household chores being passed on to the next generation.  

The Whistle Blower's Song

                                                       Faces a galore, all masked...
"Who's a friend of you all," I asked.
"Me," "me," "me too", said they all.. Little realizing, the masks shall soon fall.
Lose didn't they any, but broken was I.. For they let me down from sky high.
Smile & praise for you is brought on... Bitch & abuse is what happens when you are gone.
I wonder how can you pretend... To someone you call a friend.
Lost trust and faith in this bond... I gotta feeling that I have been conned.
Whom do I trust, what shall I say... They had fun, while I had a price to pay.
Hurt I am, but none is bothered... As I stand alone, & they are all gathered.

Opine they do that I shall budge and fall...
But Truth I shall speak, and in Death, stand tall.

Hope you like this attempt of mine.

Monday, 7 March 2016

Burdened by Expectations & Reactions

On the third day at her new school, Mana was chided by her class teacher for not having done her home work.  "You join in a month after the academic year has begun, and now say you didn't understand what was taught in the class.  I am not responsible for this.  Get your calendar!!" the teacher had yelled and scribbled a remark in the school diary that Mana had just then received.

While playing with her newborn sister, the elder sibling - a toddler, Pari, just happened to hurt the little one unknowingly.  The father who witnessed the incident, reprimanded and caned the toddler, and went on to cuddle the younger one.

Every time Naina would come home with a marks card, the mother would go around the neighborhood, proudly flaunting her daughter's scores.  She once stood 3rd in the class, and her mother questioned as to why she had slipped down the race, and when she topped the class but scored a 99 on 100, she was questioned, "tumhara dimag kya bhais charane gaya tha yeh answer likhte waqt?"  (Read:  Was your brain busy grazing cows while answering this question?)  So typical.  So Rude!!   If Naina would come back after an exam and say that she didn't fare well, she would have to listen to her mother's taunts until she would fall asleep crying, only to wake up in the morning and listen to the same ranting yet again.

Scenarios like these are often heard and are heart wrenching.  Do you know what happened to these kids as they grew up?

Image Courtesy:  Google;
Mana had to deal with so many such instances during her childhood because she would land up at a new school every few years; with the syllabus changing every time she moved from one state to another, all thanks to her dad's job.  She time-traveled from Mughal dynasty to the Chalukyas and Hoysalas to the Marathas.  Geography would make her feel like she was jumping from one planet to other, whereas Maths was like zipping from one Milky Way to the other.  Once a bright child, Mana started fading away.  Parents attributed it to her being careless, and that only added to her plight.  A remark in a diary or a low score only meant that the child wasn't studying well.  No one bothered to know if the child understood what was being taught or not.  College got worse as Math was totally different from her last school syllabus again, and integration was something that made her feel worse (Integration makes me feel dyslexic!!!  so do sequences...and limits...and APs ... and GPs....arrrrrrrghhhh...I so relate to this feeling of hating Math!!)  With zero confidence and constant comparison with her counterparts, Mana, today, has failed to stand tall and get "recognized" in our pompous society.  

Pari's father never got to know the impact of that act of his on the little soul as he passed away within a few months after that incident.  To this day, Pari feels her father never loved her.  Somewhere that day, the relationship between the siblings bore a tiny little irreparable crack.  If only had the father hadn't been so impulsive...Sigh!!

Image Courtesy:  Google
Always chided and compared, never appreciated, Naina had turned into a blunt kid.  She had begun to hide things.  She had begun to lie.  She managed to stand first in her first year of college but shockingly flunked the next year which is considered to be the turning point of every child's academic life - Class XII or the second year of pre-university.  The ever so "prestige & society conscious" mother informed all the relatives that Naina scored 80% but was not interested in taking up any professional course, so was studying basic sciences.  The nosy neighbors who knew the fact would tauntingly enquire "Is your daughter doing something at all or not."  This only led to Naina becoming an introvert who hated communicating with people.  She felt the entire world bullied her, looked down upon her, and she was a misfit in the society.   Naina did complete her Class XII in the second attempt but wasn't allowed to study what interested her.  It had to be computers, because the entire world was studying computers, and Alas!!  Naina understood nothing about them.  You can probably guess what happened after that.  

It's so painful to even talk about these kids.  Lives that could have been so beautiful ended up so differently just because of someone else's lack of sensibility and sensitivity.

Parents and teachers, I believe, are largely responsible for shaping up a child's life, constructively or destructively.

Imagine a grumpy photographer capturing your picture.  Would you be comfortable, happy, and able to smile?  And what if your doctor is a nasty one?  Will you go back to him/her again??   If you notice, the friendlier and merrier your photographer is, the more beautiful your pictures shall be, and the more humane and compassionate a doctor is, more the chances of a patient responding and recovering better.  Then how and why does one not understand how important one's behavior is around little children who are still learning the nuances of life.  Why thrust one's choices on them?  Why burden them with expectations??  Why treat them like trophies??   The joy upon a child's achievement might be unparalleled, but not at the cost of ruining his/her childhood...and definitely not at the cost of ruining a life.

I know this one might not be an "entertaining" post, but it's exam time, and at this given moment, zillions of parents will be running behind their children forcing them to study well, to score well, to get a seat in a college or subject of their (the parents') choice.  It scares me if I even begin to think of how many children will manage to take up this challenge and live up to the expectations of their parents and the society, and how many shall dwindle away into literal or metaphorical lifelessness.

Image Courtesy:  Google
Instead could we all parents, teachers, & members of the society get a little responsible and let our little ones know that no matter what, we shall always be by their side.  Be a little patient, and allow them to learn from their mistakes.  Let them know that there's so much more to life than exam results, scores, and ranks?  That being a good human being and doing what they would love to do is what matters the most in life?  Let's give them loads of love, unconditional support, and understand them.  Let's try and make them feel comfortable and then have the pleasure of watching them grow out of their comfort zone and shine....
Let's try and allow them to BREATHE.....

Every coin has two sides and so does parenting.  This side seems insensitive to me and thus feel the need to bring about a change in it.

An Un-warned Bumpy Curve...Life's Lessons...Our Learnings..


Hmm...been quite a while since my last post, isn't it...

What kept me away were hubby's two more hospitalizations.  Just when we thought all was fine, he was diagnosed of Urosepsis and is under treatment for it now.  

During all these months, every since the beginning in October 2013, there have been moments where I've felt miserably disturbed, wanting to give up, wanting to run away, wanting to get into a sleep-induced coma and waking up only when things returned to normalcy.  But then, none of these were practical possibilities.  Or were they?  And when I would see my man facing the ordeal, my pains would seem so very trivial !!! 

Had heard that Life teaches its lessons at different stages throughout this journey that we have embarked on.  But can you imagine how cruel it could be to suddenly throw such a situation at a man who was married for less than a year, who had flown overseas, away from family with a set of goals and dreams that would enable him to have a smooth and comfortable life, both for himself and his parents.

Just when he thought he was at his personal and professional best, enjoying being the Quality Lead, handling 5 countries, he found himself trying hard to accept what his blood reports were screaming out.  I remember him telling the doctor, "Am feeling absolutely fine, doctor.  There shouldn't be any problem.  I don't understand why you say I am unwell."  He just wasn't able to digest what was happening to him.  Unfortunately, the 15-20 year period that the doctors said his kidneys would continue to be functioning fine, i.e., without needing any intervention, was cut short to a year and a half, and we were left staring dreadfully at dialysis as the only option before we could go in for an organ transplant.

That was April of 2015.  Cut to March 2016, it's been 5 months of hemodialysis, 3-1/2 months status post renal transplant, and 3 months status post re-implantation of the ureter due to the urine leak complication, and we are still battling it out, with a hope to be able to lead a normal life some day.

Yes, A Normal Life seems like a LUXURY today.  Something that we had taken for granted.   Something that we never realized was special.  This phase of life has taught us many a thing.  

Family is not just your daily soap opera, high on emotional quotient.  They form a solid foundation that stays rock steady even in times of worst storms, cocooning you, ensuring you are safe and sound.  They become your backbone when you go spineless.

Friends are life-supporting systems that help you stay "light" and float on the surfaces of the otherwise deep dark sea.

Time is Money.  This statement is so much more true than I had ever imagined or understood it to be.

Money is Everything.  Just visit a private hospital for a routine health check without insurance coverage, and you will know what I mean.

A calm mind is the best companion.  Getting tensed and worked up will only make things messier and murkier. 

We are not the sole-sufferers in the Universe.  Often, we find ourselves in a self-pitying mode over the silliest of things, blaming anyone and everyone for situations we are in.  Co-patients and families at the hospital showed how much more horrifying life can be, and how bravely and silently is everyone fighting a battle of their own.

And last but not the least, Life is powerful enough to be a fairy who can make your dreams come true with her wand in a jiffy, and at the same time be a wicked witch who can vanish things into thin air in a blink of an eye.  It's a mysterious voyage with loads of uncertainty and unpredictability, along with it's blind curves, invisible speed breakers, and camouflaged potholes.  All we need to remember is Come what may, we just have to chin-up, smile, and keep walking, no matter how many times we stumble or fall.  As they say, if Life gives you lemons, make a lemonade...or better, grab a tequila and some salt !!!! Haha...

There's something that I missed out on....Prayers...Prayer implies faith and positivity, both of which bring in the much required mental strength, and having had so much of it coming from family and friends has been of great help.  So here's a biiiiiig thanks to all you wonderful people.  Please do keep the positive energy coming, as we hope with a prayer....

                                     TriDalam Trigunaakaaram, TriNetram cha TriAyudham
                            TriJanma Paapa Samhaaram, Eka Bilvam ShivaArpanam.   


                                                        Happy Shivarathri, Everyone!!

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Bestie Beasts...

Goodbyes have been quite a frequent affair with me - courtesy Dad's job with a nationalized bank. We traveled across the country, relocating every 3 to 4 years, and thus, memories of friends and friendships were literally sweet & smiley pockets of love that I have carried in my heart, all my life.

Though I had done it many a times, bidding adieu that is, it was equally heart wrenching each time.  So much so that I had begun to dread making friends!!!  But then, Friends are not made, They Happen.  Just when I thought I was now brave enough to handle the Sayonaras, my husband wrapped his UK deputation assignment, and I remember weeping uncontrollably as the plane took off (yesssssss... I am a big-time emotional idiot!!!) as memories of numerous wonderful moments spent with buddies and extended families came gushing back; wondering if I shall ever get to meet them ever again or will Life get the better of us.

Thanks to technology today, we get to constantly stay in touch with all our loved ones, no matter which nook and corner of the globe they reside in.  Having said that, no Facebook or FaceTime or Skype or WhatsApp can substitute the warm hugs and smiles and all the emotions and energy that a lively, casual, face-to-face, backslapping chat brings along.

It was one such wonderful moment yesterday as my "Dearie," one of my "Bestest Bestie Beasts" (Babes, you know you are one of them too....yea, I miss you too!!!!  lest you kick me ;) :P) from Bristol, dropped by to "top-up" the warmth and love of our relationship.  Na, not that friendship needs a "top-up," but it definitely feels super awesome to meet a friend so close, especially when you are so unsure as to when your paths will cross again.  Ah...I just can't stop smiling.  It's as though those two hours added loads and loads of happiness to my being.  As she alighted from the auto rickshaw, the heart rates paced up, we hugged and cried silly!!!  It took a good few minutes before the feeling of actually having met could sink in :) .  Well, the feeling is indescribable.  It did make me update my WhatsApp status (oh come on now...stop rolling your eyes :P :P) as Souls Smile When Besties Meet.  It felt just that. 

As I write, I find myself traveling back in time, fondly recollecting moments with two of my Besties, who belonged to my country, who lived in the same city as me for a part of their lives, whom I met in a foreign land (Destiny and it's ways..), and smiling sheepishly to myself.

Nitya...The name sounds so alien to me as I never use it to address her.  Neither does she call me by mine.  We both are each other's "Dearies".  Period.  We literally have been the "Laurel & Hardy" of every way...Haha, I am serious!!!  So very together all the time that our friend's kids would play games pretending to be Nitya & Vidya!!  And just like the classic comedy legends, we have had our share of  "Well, here's another nice mess you've gotten me into!!" and in the process, provided ample entertainment to the rest of our friends :D 

                                                       Cheers To Life .... Cheers to the Three Musketeers!!!

The other partner in crime (ahh...silly me !!!  I typed "crime in partner" instead :P :D) was my "Babes."  Here too, we are just "Babes" for each other.   True to her name, Alag (Beauty in Tamil) is a gorgeous young lady, full of humor and zest for life, and applauded by each of her guests for being the best hostess in town.   Her energy & dressing sense was such that it inspired all the young mommies around and (shd I confess??!!), too of course!!!  We were together just for about 6 months, but the bond shaped up so beautifully & strongly, it's there for everyone to see. Sadly, she had to ditch Nitya and Me and leave for India as her spouse winded off his overseas assignment.  She currently resides in the Aussie Land (when she was in India, I was abroad, & she flew away by the time I landed here :-| but then that's life), and yes, she has begun her blogging journey too; you can read her @

We - The Three Musketeers, as we call ourselves (hehe), share innumerable hilarious episodes, RoFLing away on the streets of Bristol (ah, to hell with the lady-like does it matter when the heart still feels like a girl).  From tasting wine to making biryanis, from gossiping to grocery shopping, from laughing at each other over silly stuff to having each other's backs, we have been there, done things - together.

Having met one just yesterday, still feeling the warmth of the hug and a happy-sad smile pasted on my face, (mmm... she will be on her flight back in less than an hour from now!!), and yearning to meet the other, I know for a fact that I shall treasure this relationship with my sisters from other mothers until the end of time.  

With a hope to catch up with them again, re-live old and make new memories, I sign off for now as I wait for the Sun to rise when I shall meet two more of my Besties....ah ha!!...Beasties ;) :D

Ciao & Have a Lovely Lovely Weekend!!!


Dearie:  Hope you have a safe flight ... and you better miss me !!!  *wicked grin*
Babes:  I know you are missing me too...You gotta treat me for marketing your blog (I know you'll only snap back: Babes, who's even reading your blog??") ... Lolz ... 
To all my other Besties:  Miss you all & love you all too!!!!   These two bribed me into writing about them.  What are you buying me??  ;) :D  (hope you don't realise...why will they have to bribe me into writing about them when no one reads my blog!!!  O_o  ... RoFL ).
Loadsa Love, Everyone!!!

Thursday, 14 January 2016

The English & The Me's ;)


You know what happens when you stop reading & conversing in a particular language?  Correct!!!  And what if that happens to be the most common language used worldwide?  Exactly!!!  And that's what happened to me.

I quit working post marriage and moved abroad with my husband.  Having worked for 8 plus years, I was only happy to be home.  It only meant I had surplus time to get to know my brand-new husband ;), have some "me" time, enjoy the new country, learn cooking (initial days were so horrendously disastrous that I would cook, taste, and dump it all right away into the bin a countless number of times :-| ...that my spouse was quite good at cooking saved us from dying of hunger in the cold wintry start-up days of our joint venture of marriage...ah...I can just sway off the topic whatever!!! and now I can't remember what I was actually telling you...Oh yes!!), enjoy the freedom of waking up and sleeping at your own will and wish, and loads of other good things that came with it.

While all the "new" things in this phase of life kept me engaged, little did I realize that I was losing out on one of my most favorite things to do - Reading.  Forget finishing a book in a go, I wasn't even looking at one.  I was so much into this homemaker role that I would spend hours at the Tescos and PoundLands, grocery shopping & picking up those tiny-miny things to do up my home and admire the artsy side of me.  Am sure all the women out there (at least those whose lives traveled along the same path as mine) can relate to what am saying. I mean it all is just so fascinating that you don't even realize that you have given up things that you love doing.

And while abroad, meeting a fellow Indian would only mean chattering away in our native languages. Even if it wasn't my native language, it was typical of me to try and speak the other's.  I loved learning them (I still burst out into peels of laughter watching the videos my friends shot of me giving the Tamil Tirukurals a try ;-) ) , and somehow that made me feel closer to the person & I must say it does feel like I traveled overseas just to meet some really wonderful people, who today are my extended family, whom I shall stay connected for the rest of my life (Man, what was that!!! sentence or great wall of China O_o).  So there I was, unknowingly losing my command over the language, both spoken and written, over just a period of about 2 years!!! 

I happened to actually learn about what was going on when I began to pause trying to recollect the spelling of very simple words (you'll laugh your ass off if I tell you what words).  Good Lord!!!  The spoken language was going hazy too.  I recollected how my mom had gradually lost her language skills & then got home a copy of the well-known Rapidex English Speaking Course.  And there I was, going her way (maybe I would land up in an English-Vinglish scenario some day)!!! 

Good Lord!!!  It wasn't that bad actually, but somehow it all felt like a nightmare, giving a sudden jolt to my confidence.

When I shared what I was going through with a few of my friends who were travelling in the same boat as mine, they all echoed my experience.  Alas!!!  What a heartbreaking fact.  No doubt each one of us were happy in our own lives, but then we had lost ourselves in the humdrum (becoming drums in the process, as well) of life.

Well, the solution to regaining language skills was quite simple (well, I didn't want to invest in another copy of the latest edition - if any- of the English tutorial :P :P ) and something that I had always loved to do.  Reading.  Work is still in progress through blogging too ;). 

So I shall keep blogging and keep eating your brains.  Who knows, I might win a Nobel laureate for Literature some day ;-) !!!  Haha...

Keep Smiling until I catch up with you again...

TaTa !!!! 

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Garden City....T(err)raffic City

Hola People!!!

Blogging definitely is on my to-do priorities of getting back to Being Myself, but after having had no time to look into how messy the house had gotten (honestly, amidst all the tension, the idea of tidying up didn't cross my mind even for a fraction of a second), it's a nice feeling to get back on to re-arranging and do all the feel-good things.

And while at it, Dad returned home and grumbled about how miserable the traffic had gotten.  As I sat down to scribble a few lines, images of "those" days began to flash across my mind.

Bengaluru ... My Bangalore...Just the name brings a wide grin on my face.

Though having spent just about half my lifetime here, I have real fond memories of the city.  The earliest ones being that of travelling to my grandparents' place in Malleshwaram.  Back then, Malleshwaram meant Greenery with those huge trees providing a thick green cover right from KC General Hospital to Margosa and Sampige Road.  Na, actually, the whole of Bangalore screamed Greenery.  Cut to today, it's just so so very concrete everywhere.  I mean, of course we are proud of architecture going so "wowwy & world classy," but it just can't match up to the grand simplicity of 80s or probably even the 90s (Oh come on, I am not ancient o_O ...remember I was a kid with two pigtails back then..haha ;-P ....and with this, I am tempted to write a post about it...tch tch, not pigtails, about my childhood :P).

Concrete apart, there's something that we all dread about Bangalore today.  Yes, the same thing that dad was grumbling about!!!! Traffic!!!  Ah!!!  I can see you cringe at the mention of it :-|.  Going out on a weekend becomes a big No-No.  Oh come on, who would want to wander out after facing the monster every single day.  Convincing my family to drive on a weekend is as good as convincing a toddler to share her toy, or sometimes worse.  Getting to work on time is almost like aiming for Gold in a marathon.  And if we are driving ourselves (that most of us do), then Lord save us!!!   Not to forget the physical and mental stress that come along.  Well, now that Bengaluru traffic has become a butt of jokes, it does provide us with some stress-busting comic relief :P.  Am sure you have had a good laugh at some too like I did with these and many many more.


In a scenario like this, private taxi services have come as ... mmm... a savior...or a spoiler??  For me, it's both.  Savior - for reasons more than one (they have been of great help to me).  Sadly, Bangalore falls short on the public transport sector, in terms of connectivity, numbers, and time management.  I remember a 10-km bus ride to college would take an average time of 1-1/2 hours (Oh yes, most of our domestic flights are almost of the same duration o_O).  Our good old Metro is yet to reach all parts of the city.  Spoiler - they just spiked up the number of vehicles on the streets overnight.

And now with Bangalore thinking of going the Delhi way and introducing the odd and even number rule, wonder if it would be efficient in reducing the congestion.  Most of the households have two or more four wheelers and can positively use one of them on any given  Or, more conveniently opt for a Taxi (like I would...& yes, I must confess I did think of a fake number plate too...Oopsy!!).  Which then would mean an increase in the number of public transport vehicles, and that in turn would only nullify any result brought in by the odd-even rule (hu na, scholar??!! ;) :P).

Ufff...As for me, I do wish to go back to the hassle-free, honk-free, bumper-to-bumper-traffic-free Garden City of Bengaluru.  And for that to happen anytime soon, I need to hit the sack and dream ;) Haha.. But before that I need to lay the table for dinner, and I can hear mum call out for me as I pretend to ignore her (we all do this to our mommies, don't we!!) and try and wind up my post.

I shall hopefully see you all soon with my next post.  Do let me know what you think as to whether the daily chore of driving will get any better with the odd-even number rule?  Or will we be left humming

                                            Dukki pe Dukki ho...ya Satte pe Satta
                                            Gaur se dekha jaye toh bus hai patte pe patta!!!
                                            Koi farq nahi albatta...Koi farq nahi albatta  ;-)

Monday, 11 January 2016

An All New Beginning...

Woah !!!

Haha.  Does that sound a familiar start-off pattern from me?  

This time around, that's exactly what I felt as I finally found time to peep into my own blog.  Few incomplete write-ups and a few that I just didn't want to showcase on my blog any longer, ended up retaining just the very first post of mine.

It feels like time has taken a huge leap before I could feel any close to being "Normal."

The last time I remember chirpily sitting up, sharing my thoughts was as a happy-go-lucky, newly-wedded bride, sitting by my window side, enjoying the starry snowflake shower in some corner of the United Kingdom; and that was almost over 2 years ago.  Did you just go "What!!??!"  Well, Yes!!!  That's true, and that's exactly what I felt like it's been - Ages!!!

Having just completed 3 years of wedded life and with the husband recovering after a renal transplant, I must confess, what a ride it has been!!  Well whatever it was, it changed my way of looking at life, strengthened the bond with my partner, multiplied the love and respect for my family by leaps and bounds, and taught me that when there is no option but to be strong, then the meekest of the homo sapiens can turn out to be tougher than a rock.

Today as I sit by and rumble out my thoughts, it gives me a sense of being myself.  Someone who was lost all this while, someone whom am glad to have found again.

What got me back to my blog today was the realization of life being so uncertain.  Uncertainty of time.  Uncertainty of whereabouts.  Uncertainty of mind.  There probably is so little time to do so much of whatevers and wherevers and whenevers.   So here's to a new beginning with getting back to Living, getting back to doing what I love to, and most importantly, getting back to Being Myself :)

Life is a journey of ups and downs,
Filled with uncertainties, smiles, and frowns.

Had enjoyed many a Roller-Coaster rides,
But this one was difficult to take into stride.

Now that it does seem to have come to an end,
I do want some time with self to spend.

To relax, to unwind, to sing, and to breathe,
In a cosy, comfortable, enjoyable sheath.

With a hope to find loads of reasons to cheer,
The heart beckons to start afresh in an all new gear.