Drowning in your apathy

All these years I imagined, You and I in the rains; Drowning ourselves in its melody; Blowing away with the breeze; singing to ourselves, without a worry.

But now when the clouds open themselves and pour their heart out, I see you drifting apart from me..

You were closer in my imaginations; but today the rain, the breeze, the clouds, the night is as perfect as it could be. And you are missing the task, though physically you sit at your desk near me.

The splish splash sing a lullaby, the rain drops kiss me gently. As perfect as it could be.

I wish for you to hear me, but I know the complexity; your world, the mobile phone is my mortal enemy.!!

The Bossy Parents

Let me share a true horror story with you. My parents are the monsters in this true story and I am their poor victim. With their tongues unleashing Dragon balls of fury and their eyes tormenting me with its rage; they devour my flesh. I am a mother of two, running successful offices but I am not as scared to err in front of my CEOs, or the traffic cop or the income tax department as I am in front of my parents. To completely understand my trepidation and to let the entire terror unleash systematically upon you let me do a rewind of today’s morning activities.

7.00 am Waking up to loud commotion of two set of grandparents exchanging pleasantries. Or is it the opposite? Both of them are trying to win hearts of their grandchildren with bribes ranging from chocolates to sweets. I timidly try to remind them of pending cavities and pounding ants. But all my reminders are stealthily ignored.

It is the honorary change of guards today. The maternal grandparents are leaving and the paternal ones have entered the den to take charge and look after my two children; who one can easily mistake for monkeys without tail, going by their habits!.

We Indians, basically consider it a blessing in disguise that we have so many extra hands to take care of our little ones behind our backs. But we the wives know, deep in our hearts, that is a deeper bargain than this. While your mothers like a fairy, drop down to cajole your sons from one hand, their other hand like a witch points towards everything which is wrong with your house. While they cast a lovely spell on their grandsons, they keep a fair eye on their own son to protect him from your so called sorcery!!. Soon everything in your house is rearranged to this extent that it is difficult for you to find your own lingerie!

8.00 am My mother tries to force her beloved paranthas down my throat and my mother in law politely points out that I have put on more weight since she last saw me 10 days ago!!! As two ladies from vastly different communities of Bengalis verses Haryanvi argue about the pros of their rich cultural and food heritage, I am torn into slipping morsels of food into my mouth and agreeing with both from time to time.

8.30 am As soon as I step out of my bathroom, my own mother points that my dress is not uniformly pressed whereas the mother in law tells me that this lipstick is loud for office. Trying to wipe my lipstick out I see the two ladies agree in unison about how my style of clothes is not trendy at all.

9 am Getting late for my office and frantically looking for misplaced car keys. On any other routine day, there would have been nothing unusual about it. Most of us, who have a house full of children or mind full of other obnoxious thoughts misplace things in a very casual way; unless we have programmed obsessive compulsive minds. But here in my tense situation I have two set of parents, own and in-laws staring at my plight. They waste no time in reminding me of what a moronic careless creature I am. With the added melodrama of how this could result in serious losses of expenditure and energy, one fine day! Aaaahhhh😣😣😣

So finally I start my car engine, crying at the top of my voice my old favourite from Queens.

I want to break free.

I want to break free.

I want to be free from your eyes.

All you do is always scrutinize …I don’t need you

( but can’t help it, there seems to be no other way)

God knows, God knows I want to break free.

And finally I reach my office, already exhausted with all the imaginary battle of parents exhuming my mind.

My precious holiday realisation

Heaven above my head, a day well spent on my bed.

With my memories and me, creating a melody.

Some time to myself, just lazing around; temporarily free from the shackles that keep me bound.

But tomorrow I must rise again, make every bone work and dive again.

Dive in this sea of mediocrity, of physical vanity and unwanted complexity.

In this world of ambition and aim, Money is the only means, only end, the only one single game.

Oh! How wicked are the men?!

The splendour of Sun, the fragrance of blooming flower, the flight of spirited bird, the calmness of Moon; the fiery buzzing of bees, to the enigmatic ant on the trees – all give me strength to go on.

To trust the vision of all Superior One. He knows best, better than anyone.

He knows my mind, my heart , my fears. He will guide me throughout and wipe my tears.

And so I emerge, fresh from my holiday, as His pot, made freshly out of Clay.

The conundrum of existence

My mind is a jumbled mess of affairs. No one to talk to, nobody cares.

Rules and responsibilities, time and money: These things remind me, hurry please hurry.

When did I last catch my breath; or watch the melting Sun set. When did I last embrace myself; or Got away with a break and yet; I am called out, my every mistake pointed out.

I am given no excuses, responsibility and perfection are my only duties.

Is it my folly that the world around me cares not to enjoy the beauty of life? Money is important, but can we ignore the other greater luxuries of life?

The Sun, the moon, the butterfly; The ant, the grass and birds with wings to fly.

The wind on your back, the night sky up your face, I have forgotten those feelings in this mad race.

Dear God, when will it end? Maybe when I perish and my body joins your earth, will I assimilate all wonders of this birth.

My soul will be free as a bird, dancing in the mud, flying above all this dirt. And I will be relaxed and rejoiced once again.

My dilemma

My spirit is defeated;

The head is congested.

The body feels so weak,

I can hardly squeak.

What is this mystique?

The ears are burning

The mind is churning.

The nose has a thunderstorm inside

It rains with an ‘achee’ every now and then.

The legs and arms are immobile;

The only solace is my mobile.

Heart runs haywire

Hair is a mess.

It’s only a common cold, my dear!

What was your guess?

The conundrum of existence

My job is such that it sucks.

Not exactly in terms of what I do, but what it takes away from me.

All my days with the kids are lost in the hullaboo of the cacophony.

My maids and in-laws and parents, are continuously present like an overcast.

They have important meaningful roles to play; in the upkeep of my home and upbringing of my children as they say.

They cheer me as I go, and sneer at me the minute I leave. We will do our best, you bring the cash.

And like an outcast in my own home, I enter late evening and exit early morning, every day.

Screams of my children make me fear, that is how they will remember me in their memories in later years;

A mother walking out on them always and forever.

My irrational heart

The thoughts in my mind, like rain clouds in the sky; Go here and there, never focussed or resolved.

But the heart always beats for you; yesterday and forever, no questions asked.

Sometimes my mind erupts in fights, like when the thunder strikes.

But it becomes calm again, like a dog tied to its chain.

Sometimes it complains, other times tries hard to entertain.

But each time, you disdain.

Your conceitedness defeats me sometimes, but every time I hide my pain.

I rise again with love and pride, and Let you take me for a ride.

Because this is the circle of life, it is survival, every now and then.

My mind knows your tricks by now, but my heart will always bow.

And my unconditional love will grow, till the time existence allows.

Dear daddy

I don’t think I can truely attempt to write a memoir of my dad. His simple holy life, his dedication to his ideals, his relentless pursuance of ultimate truth, his infinite calmness in the face of numerous materialistic challenges is so magnificently divine that the true essence cannot be captured in words. Hence, it is not a memoir, but just a thanks to the greatest dad ever.

For every little girl growing up her dad is the ultimate Prince. So was my dad, for me. He stationed my mom, me and my younger sister in a capital city for want of best facilities in areas of study and play, and himself toured throughout the length and breadth of Punjab. Sometimes, he would stay away for 5 days a week and visit us on weekends to again start for his duty on early Monday morning some times as early as 2.00 am in the morning. In cold eerie winters or hot humid summers his routine would be the same. While leaving, he would never even make an iota of noise. Even now, he does not need any light or sound to get ready. He polishes his shoes on his own and maintains all his clothes so well that his numbered shirts and pants last for decades.

He was my go to agony aunt as my lovely mother would usually side with my annoying little younger sister on trivial issues of childhood sibling quarrels. In days of no telephone or mobile, I maintained a journal of all my silly grievances which he would so kindly and passionately address during weekends.

When he stayed with us, he would sing to us ‘soja rajkumari’ and couple of other Bengali songs in his own version. He would make interesting stories and characters come alive with his animation skills. Although he had poor kitchen skills, but he had mastered the art of Dal handi (a yellow dal in North India) which he had learnt from a Dhaba cook in one village of Morinda, Punjab. His secret was to add raw egg yolk and we all thoroughly enjoyed his dish.

Even after I grew up and till now, he is my go to guy for matters of heartbreak, friendship, failures, relationships and what not. He has the best non judgemental advise and would usually listen and talk to you for hours.

A father holds his daughter’s hand for a short while, but he holds her heart forever.

His wide experience is a result of having spent his crazy childhood in narrow windy lanes of Agartala, Tripura, our Motherland (East India) and youth in the lanes and ghats of rusty Benaras, Uttar Pradesh (North India). He was a naughty child growing up, ninth in line of 10 siblings and was a favourite of my Grandmother. Even though he was brilliant academically, he squandered his time in enjoying other pursuits like literature, art, theatre and mischief. His performance as one dacoit in Ali Baba and forty thievies was so terrific as to put children to fear. Many of his pranks up to this date put us into hysterical bouts of laughter.

He came from East and settled in West. Learnt Punjabi and did all his official work in this foreign language. He worked earnestly, honestly and dedicatedly in one of the most corrupt government departments but his sincerity and truthfulness was famous as to even rebuke his seniors. Never once was he afraid, even in the face of physical threats. He was never tempted to buy the least bit of corporeal comforts for himself. Although all his junior staff would come by scooters or car, he would proudly descent from any mode of public transport, auto, bus on his own two feet.

Growing up, we believed ourselves to be upper middle class, but raising 2 girls with one single honest income was tough. Both our parents were extremely meticulous as to not waste money. But they emphasized on good quality of life. We would have great food, take nice decent holidays and travelled together. Enjoyment in life was must; but not the mundane luxuries like automobiles or fancy dresses. And even if we travelled by cycle, or on foot to our prestigious school or college awards in plain simple clothes, we had our head held high. That is how he taught us.

His greatest strength has been his commitment to his ideals, Thakur Ramakrishna, Sarada Ma and Swami Ji throughout his life. Even now, his favourite past time is to read spiritual books or bhajans. He hates watching news on television, with all its negativity and is a lover of sweet romcoms or comedy movies.

He is not very social and has a tiny group of close friends. But he encourages my mom to go and indulge in social activities as she is a more interactive person. Normally he is shy, but in front of his own intimate group he becomes a wizard.

His retirement coincided with the birth of my first born. And he nursed him, burped him, bathed him, fed him and cleaned his potty. He would never categorise any work into specific genders and raised both of us girls like that. He still values every tiny work, and treats sweepers and CEOs with the same respect. Any person, sabzi wala, presswala, whosoever visits the house is treated to a warm cup of Chai or paranthas.

He still has a naughty, ever ready wit and is ready to laugh hard at face of any illnesses. Even though both his daughters are doctors but like a difficult child, he has to be cajoled to take his pills on time. And any visit to hospital is vehemently opposed.

Dear daddy, you always let conscience be your guide. You lived and you let us watch you do it. If we can be 1/16th of what you are as a parent, as a professional, as everything; I will pat myself on the back for a job well done.

Dear daddy, no matter where I go in life, you will always be my number one man. Love you Papa.

The ungodly Superstitions

This past one week was not a great one for Indians. Firstly, our great team got knocked out of the ICC Cricket World Cup Semi-final, when all of us had declared Virat and his men World Champions long before even a single match was played. Secondly, the much awaited and hyped Chandrayan 2 mission was called off just an hour before the launch due to some technical snag with GSLV- MkIII popularly known as ‘Bahubali’.

So, I am not trying to write about the technical or scientific causes of these failures. That is for eminent scholars of both fields to do and find a way to reach sure success; which they will in due time. But here, I am to talk about the even bigger and graver issue associated with these failed attempts.

‘Madam ji, Buri Nazar lag gayi’ was the first thing my dejected staff told me the next day, after the nerve wrecking loss to New Zealand. Over confidence, over zealous Shastri and run out Dhoni came much later. And after hearing much such nonsense I had to strictly ban all cricket related talk so that they could focus on work and spare my brain.

I am sure, someone somewhere in Sriharikota is also trying to find a way to keep the evil eye out. This space mission had generated a lot of media frenzy, especially with the foreign press as this incredible mission is costing less than half of the budget of a latest Hollywood superhero movie and will put India in league with lunar pioneers – the US, Russia and China.

This concept of evil eye is deeply ingrained in Indian psychology. Every other truck, auto rickshaw has this famous slogan ‘bure nazar wale, tera muh kaala’. Every second car, home, business has presence of the nimbu-harimirch todka to ward off sinister spirits. Every child has a black kohl mark somewhere on his head to protect him from unseen nefarious evils.

A fool’s brain digests philosophy into folly, science into superstition, and art into pedantry. – George Bernard Shaw.

We all fall on superstitions for all matters, small and large. Let me categorize them into auspicious superstitions and inauspicious ones. Auspicious like, having sweetened curd before a big exam or event, looking at two birds bringing good luck, twitch on palms bringing money, adding one rupee to the shagun for prosperity. Inauspicious ones like, a sneeze before leaving or black cat crossing your roads, broken mirror bringing bad omen, twitching of eye, and the list is endless.

Twitching of eye could mean that you are either tired, have eye strain, allergy or simple dry eyes but our ignorance and fear points towards fiendish things coming our way. The poor black cat is the culprit for the flat tyre on the road. Absolutely no mistakes on our part. No carelessness, no injuring roads or poor maintainence. If my child catches cold, I blame these mysterious miscreants rather than change of weather or poor immunity, lack of slippers or warm clothes.

Superstition is the religion of feeble mind. – Edmund Burke.

I have myself been at the receiving end of my mother’s wrath innumerable times for cutting nails on a Saturday or washing hair on Thursday. As I have a perennially allergic nose, so sneezes never leave me and more so when the guest is leaving the house. As a result, my apologetic smiles are accustomed to numerous angry stares.

It is difficult to pinpoint the origin of these irrational thoughts, and to look for any scientific evidence to their origins; but such credulous old wive’s tales exist across all cultures, all religions, all countries.

Superstition is to religion what astrology is to astronomy; mad daughters of a wise mother. These daughters have too long dominated the earth.

My solution is Que Sara Sara Whatever will be, will be..The architect of modern world is Science and Spirituality. And the modern thought is the scientific rational thought. So, let us all pray and strengthen our spiritual heritage and scientific temperament to fight hard times and overcome obstacles rather than contaminating our mind with corrupt impurities.

Wishing good luck to our Superheroes- Cricket Team India and Team Chandrayan for success in all their endeavours. Aacheeee…

Monsoon melodies!!

The adage ‘old is gold’ aptly describes the golden songs from era gone by. They sing the magical glory and genius merits of the songwriter, composer and the musician of those times. They instantaneously put you in a good mood. Without music, life would be a mistake. As Taylor Swift has said” When everyone leaves you, music stays”.

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to imagination and life to everything.” – Plato.

We, have songs for every festival, occasion, celebration, marriage, desperation, heartbreak and friendship. I have a specially created Navratan (Nine jewels) playlist for Monsoon magic. And after soaking in its eternal bliss time and again, I wish to share it with all of you. With the hope, that happiness when shared increases exponentially!

In words of E.Y.Haburg, popular American song writer

” Words make you think a thought. Music makes you feel a feeling. A song makes you feel a thought.”

So, sit back relax, with a coffee mug in your hand or a plate of pakoras (your wish!) and ear plugs in your ear and enjoy these mesmerizing renditions. Music is fuel for life and believe me; it is so refreshing akin to a spa for your brain.

  1. Rim Jhim Rum Jhum from 1942- A love story. Passionately sung by Kumar Sanu and Kavita Krishnamurthy, awesome lyrics by Javed Akhtar and brilliant composition by R.D.Burman. It makes you go weak in your knees and fall in love all over again. The lyrics spin magic. Badal ki chadarein oodhe hai wadiyan, saari dishayein sooyi hain. Sapnon ke gaon mein, bheegi si chayon mein; do aatmayen khoyi hai. The English translation roughly would be ‘The valleys are blanketed by the dark clouds and all the nature is sleeping. In a faraway village of dreams and in the shadow of falling rain drops, two souls are passionately engaged in love.’ Listening to it, I get transported to a dreamy faraway land with jaltarang playing in the background, and pearl like droplets of rain falling from the sky.
  2. Taal se Taal mila from Taal. Tak dhina dhina tana na tan tan. The elegantly dancing 3 girls, in white splendid dresses dancing away in rain with their claps synchronous with the merry tabla. A. R.Rahman casts a spell and leaves us all spellbound.
  3. Koi ladki hai jab wo hansti hai, baarish hoti h from Dil to Pagal h. The stirring rendition by Udit Narayan and Lata Mangeshkar immediately wants you to splish splash in pools of water with chak dhoom dhoom chak dhoom dhoom. It is as if the trio of Shahrukh, Madhuri and Karishma come alive rejoicing in ecstasy in your own tiny backyard.
  4. Diwana hua badal from Kashmir ki Kali. This melodious number sung by Asha Bhosle and Mohammad Rafi delights your heart with its simplicity and innocence. Oh ho ho, oh ho ho, aa ha ha, mmm
  5. Yeh raat bheegi bheegi from Chori Chori is my night time favourite. The astounding voices of Lata Mangeshkar and Manna Dey pierce through the darkness and leave you enchanted.
  6. Yeh raatein yeh mausam from Dilli ka Thug. Another majestic number sung effortlessly by Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhosle. You can imagine yourself in a boat ride with the cool breeze blowing and mist falling.
  7. Boondon se baatein from Thakshak. A sublime number by the magician A.R.Rahman, sung by Sujata Trivedi. It has such a miraculous effect that I have myself started talking to the rain drops!!
  8. Ab ke saawan from same album by Shobha Mudgal. This indi pop number sung by her in her deep rich classical voice is a must listen to when the rain is jamming hard against your windowpanes.
  9. Saawan barse, tarse dil from Dahek sung by Hariharan and Sadhna Sargam is a sweet, simple rhapsodic number that takes you back to times of your first crush and rekindles the passion again.

Music can heal the wounds, that medicine cannot touch.

So with that thought I will leave you to enjoy these stupendous numbers in the harmony of nature. What are your favourite monsoon melodies?

Life is one grand, sweet song, so start the music!

Monsoon hurray!!

I must have been a peacock in my last birth. I definitely take pride in being my country’s national bird. My mind wants to float away and my feet start dancing when I see the beautiful rain clouds line up in the sky.

I have a particular dislike to the popular nursery rhyme ‘Rain rain go away.’ English poets perhaps created it to express their anguish over the unpredictability of British weather, where rain is never too far away; and almost dampened the on going ICC Cricket World Cup. However, here in India, children and adults both welcome monsoon whole heartedly. Be it people in flood stricken Mumbai or drought stricken Chennai. In both the situations, the fault is not of Mother Nature but of man made callousness and Municipal corporations.

My heart implores me to give up all that I am doing to get drenched in the awesomeness of rains. Although the modern architectural flaws are such that sometimes we remain so indoors in our centralized air conditioned cabinets with no windows to the outside world, that we don’t even know if it is raining!.

But still sipping my coffee outside and listening to the lullaby of God calms me every time. The smell of wet earth is also quite missing in our articulated concrete jungles but I make up for it by creating smell of pakodas, tea and Maggie.

I can spend hours looking at the various beautiful shapes of the voluminous black clouds and creating my own stories of dragons and fairies, but unfortunately I cannot complete one stream of thought without being disturbed by very own home made dragons who are always fighting, always hungry, always thirsty.

Rains in younger days was about fresh love, breezy romance and soaking in the freshness that coats all the trees and all the other living things. Rains now, are about finding ways to protect our younger ones and running after them with chawanprash.

Nevertheless, I always find time to tell my little ones to express gratitude at this beautiful wonder created by God. How in seconds the giant screen of sky is carpeted by dense, dark clouds. The shining Sun hides with his fury in an unseen corner. The white birds almost magically spring up, are seen flying off into the unknown territories. The trees sway to the tunes of nature’s song. The gigantous lightening sparks up and we are left staring with bewilderment at the myriad of colors and sounds at play.

I fondly remember how as children, me and my sister would ready our paperboats to watch them swim away to unknown offshores. I loved paperboats so much that I still load my house with all paperboat tetrapacks as a mark of respect!!.

Anyways, now that monsoons have arrived, I will also turn over a fresh leaf and plan a spontaneous surprise for all. I have decided to take the coming weekend off and plan a holiday to hills. Mountains, as common knowledge will tell you, should be avoided in rains as landslides become a common affair. But that is the time when I am most in love with them. When you can walk through the clouds, be one with them. Obviously at a safe distance from the road, so that no one mows you down. I think that will be a lovely surprise as a wedding anniversary present.

Yours forever! exasperatedly!!!!

This month, we complete 5 years of our blissful matrimony. 5 months from now, my younger sister will begin her matrimonial life. Nostalgia of my own day and watching her getting all prepared to commit this big mistake of her life, has made the inner saint in me come alive. We all spend more time in planning the wedding, than in actually planning our marriages. As Raymond Hull has very rightly pointed out

All marriages are happy. It’s the living together afterwards that causes all the trouble.

In these 5 years me and my better or worser half! have faced many challenges together, completed our tumultuous rigrous post graduation togerher, shifted through 3 cities and 5 rented accommodations and now looking forward to a sixth one. Also we have together received a lot of blessings in the form of my 2 devil angels.

Marriage is an attempt to solve problems together which you did not even have when you were on your own.

Marriage at first was fun and easy breezy, just the two of us clicking and rejoicing in our new found freedom. Then it got tough when we tried to fit ourselves in intricacies of each other’s families, and at times it got rough. But overtime with rising maturity and endurance levels, it became smooth once again.

I am too young to be preaching on how marriage works, but over the years I have developed a few of my own safety mechanisms to carry on with life. I dont think the usual ‘ love hard, surprise each other with little things’ works in real life as you realise that raising two kids and running a house drains you of all your energy and leaves no time for planning surprises.

I call it the marriage CPR. Not cardiopulmonary resuscitation, like we medical people do, even though sometimes in life all you want to do is lie flat on your back for want of some fresh oxygen, but your kids jump so hard on you that to save your ribs from any fracture, you need to be up on your feet again.

First and foremost and perhaps the most difficult is 1. To be Calm. Fighting with passion and voicing our opinion vociferously is something we all excel at. We marry in order to tell our soul mates of all the things which aggreive us in the most unapologetic manner. But in my experience it never really works. In an argumentative mode, our correct point drowns in the cantankerous melancholy. Almost like an icicle which will melts itself in a hot heated environment; will not strike a lethal blow. But once you have cooled down, regained your poise and wit; you can put your point across in the most formidable manner! And the icicle will strike a lethal blow. Round won!

Calmness as a war strategy or a strategy in general life is the most difficult to maintain as we all have in built volcanoes ready to explode, any time any minute. When a Tsunami of never ending relatives, enter your homes, do your deep breathing exercises, remember all the goodness of meditation and be calm.. They are not here to stay.

2. No one is Perfect. No Prince out there is Perfect. And neither are we ourselves. So don’t remind him of every single mistake he does, or every major detail he forgets, just the same way you don’t want to be reminded of your weight issues every time you order your favourite dessert. Find beauty in imperfections. Hard as it is to fathom, the two perfect monsters that we have created, will never let your house be the perfect immaculate spanky place that it was minus your misters smelly shoes or wet towels. So let it go. Don’t drain yourself in maintaing the aesthetics of the house. Only worry about hopefully finding the right thing at right time through the clutter!!

Also, don’t strain yourself to be perfect. Don’t go over budget or over strenuous in performance of your daily duties. Appreciate yourself. If you spend an entire hour in rearranging and cleaning his almirah so that it looks like it does not belong to cavemen, and he barely notices, box him on his head and next time don’t do it. Let him go back to his jungle lifestyle. And when he asks you for help, make a big deal out of it.

3. Remember the good times you have had. Always keep a picture of your good times or vacation in your phones or nearby. They help you maintain a state of zen, when you are infinitely stuck changing diapers and doing potty training. When you want to box your husband for the infinite time for ignoring his share of daily chores, remember why you loved him in the first place and try to remember the good old days with him.

Remember to find time away from each other. Your marital vows did not tell you to mercilessly give up on your own hobbies or friends. Find time to escape the madness, hide in a corner of the house and read, if that is what you want to do. Remember your interests and likes and dislikes. Be assertive and enjoy as much as you can. Remember, there is no guilt in that.

Nobel prize winner Albert Einstein, was as absent minded as he was brilliant. I suppose his wife tried hard to change him for his own betterment. The quote he left us is:

Men marry women with the hope that they will never change. Women marry men with the hope that they will change. Invariably they are both disappointed.

Hopefully, this CPR technique of Calmness, Imperfections and Remembrances will not disappoint you. Best wishes to each and every one of you to strengthening your blissful matrimony. Till then, we all tumble through this beautiful journey called Life with hope, confidence, forgiveness and love.

Creativity

Just came across this ” creativity is intelligence put to good use” . I couldn’t agree more. For me being creative is the charisma which makes everyday life enjoyable. Creativity is in every little thing we do. It can be in the dishes we cook, to the table setting and right till the story telling at night. Creativity in clothes is perhaps labelled as fashion. I am not a big fan of the trendsetting fashion because that over rules your personal creative space.

Creativity in speech is perhaps most charming of all. Creativity in writing is what all of us bloggers aspire to!! So good luck to all my fellows and let us continue the journey with fun.

How I lost my purse and my mind!!

8 am Getting ready for a 9am interview appearance. All original documents check. Suddenly I think about changing my brown handbag to a new sophisticated blue one to give a fine impression to the interviewers rather than my usual street fashion. After I have made the transfer of my essential make up and skin and hair products!, I realise to my profound horror that my wallet is missing. My already nervous ensemble now breaks down. All the members of the family are instructed to halt all tasks and look for my precious Orange coloured wallet. I began screaming like Mamta Di and frantically pacing up and down trying to remember my last encounter with my money bag. A trip to the ATM almost 4 days back to arrange money for a short Oyo vacay. And then a day back my staff at work had almost wrestled a party out of the miserly me! So exactly that was my last encounter. And after paying for the chai and chole kulche for 7 people I had tossed it back in the embrace of my brown hand bag.

But now it was missing. I took the two monkeys of the house, my own flesh and blood to task. But they both denied going anywhere near my almirah.

I had still not given up hope.

12 pm Somehow sitting through the interview and mentally making a list of all the money and documents lost. I am hoping they offer me little of their chai-biscuits to partake as now I can acutely feel my blood sugar dropping and my forehead sweating profusely as all their questions go unanswered or awkwardly answered.

1 pm Rushing to my place of work with hope that ‘ upar wala sab dekh raha h’ will help me narrow my chase as I have a CP camera eyeing my work corridors. But aghast that it was only eye candy to keep all cautionary employees like me on tender hooks but has no visionary function at all. The management and security has only advised me to keep my room always locked. I mumble and fumble about the good days of Ram Rajya now that Modi is back in power again, but there is little that they can do.

4 pm The office people give me an early 1 hour off to register a police complaint. I somehow land at the correct station. But here I am surprised. Technology has taken a great leap forward. Just mention all the numbers and everything will be delivered back to you. My ignorant mind had no idea that even driving license had a number to remember. And even though I have a digital copy for all my other important documents, poor me, I never did scan my driving license. Suddenly I have a eureka moment. I call my Oyo guy up and request him to send me the copy of my ID proof. And although I had given poor reviews to my visit online, he assented.

Thank you Digital India. Now our thumbs have evolved in a faster way than our legs, who can no longer bear the weight of our upper bodies. So bye bye queues. Hello tech savvy police.

6 pm Swallowing my pride and listening to my father berating me on phone and reminding me of all my careless mistakes since the first grade. He has a great memory. Had I inherited even half as sharp a memory as his, my interview would have been so great. But alas!

8 pm Sitting at home sweet home and pestering my younger sister for my dire need to eat a lot of fat and sugar to drive my depression out after a dreadful day. She agrees and I tell her to make sure that she is carrying her debit card. Thank you God, for keeping close ones around. You realise how precious they are to you, on days like these.

11pm Finally in bed with my two monkeys and a gorrila sized husband. Strolling through news and pictures of Kareena with her family, I am reminded of her iconic dialogue from ‘Jab we Met’ “God Ji, I have had enough excitement for one night. Please make the rest of the night dull.”

Goodnight.

Gentleman Lost?

Chivalry is not just a fancy word with a neat meaning, it’s a way of life. More than a code of manners in war and Love, it was a moral system, governing the whole of noble life.

The word has again came under spot light due to the most unchivalrous tweet. It led to a massive storm in the twitter community and he apologised in less than 24 hours. But can he be pardoned for such ludicrous mistakes, time and again?

When this star kid debuted in tinsel town in 2002, me and my sister immediately became big fans. Ram Gopal Verma’s new prodigial find. Company attained almost a cult status. We also saw the not so popular ‘Road’ at least 3 times. Even though, now I think it was more for the horrific monster that Manoj Bajpai played, rather than for him. He charmed us with Saathiya but lately his comic side in the Masti series was almost all related to objectionable women content and hence felt lame. But that is the script writers prerogative. And hence he was excused. He was embroiled in many infamous controversies. Love is blind and can make you do infinite stupid things. He was forgiven by most except by the Bhaijaan himself.

I was actually myself looking forward to his latest movie outing. But this loutish tweet of a jolted, jilted jealous lover has brought new shame to him. It was totally despicable, below the belt and out of the blue.

Now, I know that he not only has poor luck and ignorance to blame for his failures, but also poor judgement on his own part.

He is now a father himself and has documented proof of working for women empowerment, as he himself states. But putting up shameful memes for women is the crude opposite of women empowerment. Hiding behind the mask of humour is not an excuse. He has made a bigger fool of himself by not learning from his past mistakes.

My suggestion to him would be to read his father’s book “Happiness Unlimited” and learn repentance and acceptance. He must find his inner peace and take guidance from his own family.

Why are men not able to take NO as an answer gracefully and move on with their lives and let the lady move on as well. Is it because Grace as a faculty is not their virtue. If he, a man of such high repute can post such a classless tweet about a relationship years from now, what is expected of the local lads who threaten their ladies with acid assaults.

The stoic silence of the entire family in question is commendable as they did not indulge in mudslinging. But they had the support of the entire nation to fall back upon. All the other regular ladies who go through this tantrum of ex lovers/stalkers/ irrational men must not stay mute, but muster courage and strength to publicly put those creeps to shame.

Chivalry is a lost art. And unfortunately, bollywood and our current stock of politicians have done the most injustice to the cause. Some of our leaders and movies glorifying the local goon behaviour are also in poor taste. We need more Mr.Darcy from Pride and Prejudice today than ever before.

A gentleman is not defined by the content of his wallet or the cut of his suit. He is defined by his manners and content of his character.

To teach our men to become true gentleman is important. Ladies, let us not settle for anything less. Let us pledge to insist on proper decorum at our homes, workplaces and otherwise. We can not let any co-worker or bosses or our boyfriend for that matter, get away with boorishness or smack talk. Only on our insistence and perseverance, can the era of altruism, nobility and cavalry of manhood return.

Being a male is a matter of birth; being a man is a matter of age; being a gentleman is a matter of choice.

The finish to the finale

As I spend half of my Sunday afternoon ranscaking my home sweet home searching for the AC remote, I can’t help but envy my dear prime minister for spending his weekend away at the cooling caves of Kedarnath. He is away from the scorching heats of the city, whereas all the debates around his personal trip to our holy shrines have turned the heat up in our unholy newsrooms. The television remote has been conquered by my dear husband till 23rd of this Month. But in my efforts to save the AC remote from my two monkeys, I seem to have forgotten where I hid it in the first place.

As we all await the finish of the ‘ Game of Thrones’ battle in the reel world, this battle of the top throne in the largest democracy of the world was no less interesting. As we saw Mamta Didi and her cultured folk turn our glorious state of the East- West Bengal into a state of disaster and vandalism, we wonder how the state of Rabindra Nath Tagore has spiralled so downwards. The legacy of CPI and then TMC rule can only be explained intelligently by the political analyst, but my take as a fellow bhadro Bengali is that we became too complacent. We got lazy and are now at the receiving end.

Thanks to the 24 hour breaking news we see a Kurta clad Tejaswni Yadav bring an e-rickshaw to the polling booth and going back in a 1 crore Mercedes. And then the poor chap is alleging of life threats when his PSO thrash the journalist black and blue. My heart cried a little for Kejriwal when he squeaked that BJP is trying to get him killed by his own PSOs.

We had all, young and poor, participating in the festival of democracy with proud fingers all over the social media, but our very dear Mr. Digvijay Singh, ex-chief minister of Madhya Pradesh and the current big brains behind the Grand old party did not use his finger as he was busy pointing fingers at Bhopal, 140kms away from his polling constituency, Rajgarh. Also, dearest ChandraBabu Naidu is having all his fingers in every pie as he is running from pillar to post to meet his ends.

The social media was active, the internet was robust. We have all done our bit to bring this festival of democracy to its beloved finale.

And now we ‘ll have to wait with our fingers crossed. Either we ‘ll have the lotus blooming again or we ‘ll all get one tight slap from the hand!!

A night to remember

A true story experienced by my very dear friend. She was a sweet shy sardarni of 24 when her parents found her the perfect match. The guy belonged to her Land of Dreams – America and had other characterstics much like her Knight of Dreams. He was tall, fair and handsome, a wealthy rich lawyer, a green card holder, and had little real family. He ticked all boxes on her list. She was here, in India, a budding doctor buried deep in her books and stethoscope on her last step to becoming a prestigious Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery. Their initial ceremony (roka) was accomplished through the wonders of Skype. Then began a series of whatsapp and Skype chats. She was shy, he was shy. There were occasional references to first love.

Her other jolly good friends back here would often tease her. “How can you marry someone you have only virtually met. What if he is evil and monstrous. Where is the romance in arranged marriages? ”

But our good friend here, trusted her God, her parents and most of all the nice Aunt who had arranged all of that. She was happy and preparing for her marriage which was to happen away in America. Marriage in America, honeymoon at Europe. The young couple had all planned and gifted for them.

The D-day arrived and her entire Indian family and us landed in the foreign country with our heavy suitcases filled with lehngas and sarees. The preparations were on full swing. Her leg was almost sore from performing ‘ Mehndi laga ke rakhna’. But her spirits were always high.

Finally, the cold feet got to her. On the day of the wedding she started feeling nauseated. She felt knots tie up in her tummy. It is all natural, we all counselled her. And she managed to smile for all of us. Then came time for her act. She got all sweaty and hot and red. But again after our constant encouragement, she composed herself and did it so gracefully for the Man of her Dreams. She managed to sit through the entire wedding ceremony with not one bit of ouch. Her cheeks kept turning crimson red, from shyness we thought. Her steps got a little wobbly, from immense exhaustion, we thought. Her body and mind might have been scared or despondent but through her own constant motivation she was a picture of elegance and poise.

Finally her night to be one with her beloved had come. As she waited for him with bated breath, her nausea returned, rather violently this time. And within few seconds her bed of roses smelled of puke. Her skin became pale, her heart started beating ferociously and her two feet could no longer hold their ground and she collapsed just in time for her Prince to catch her and lift her in his arms.

As he swooped her away to a hospital emergency, her Ultrasound abdomen revealed that her tiny appendix had ballooned at all this merriment and exploded like those wedding fireworks, playing havoc in her abdominal compartments. Any further delay in admission would have put her life in danger. And so away she was taken to the emergency operation theatre.

When she opened her eyes, the next day and her eyes met her saviour she knew that this was the night that they would remember forever. The night when no words were needed. And in pain and agony and smell of antiseptic, she found her true cherished mate.

Needless to say, they didn’t fly away to Europe for the honeymoon but there in the hospital standing by each other, they discovered the meaning of love.

The tales of the road

For my work, I have to commute between two hospitals situated at a distance of kms. So I enjoy a commute of about 2-3 hours on the National Highway every alternate day. Most of my time is evenly distributed between the various apps on my phone. But on some rare occasions when either my battery or my jio data have unceremoniously died, I am left with no option but to explore the options available to the first men. I talk to my driver, listen to his tales. But when the most important topic of the hour ” The game of Votes” weighs me down, I turn around to see the tales of the road.

I look at trucks, their beautiful ornamentation and their catchy slogans as I pass them on the road. These drivers who live almost a nomadic life have stories of strength, solidarity and hope to share as they travel through realms of our glorious country. Listening to their spirited talks at dhabas provides a more uplifting scenario of the current world we are living in, than reading all these horrific newspaper sell their gory stories.

I look at swanky cars zoom past me, the fancy Lords of automobile. A thing of beauty, it definitely is. But is it joy forever? I wonder. A pleasure to the eyes; but if you chance to hear a noble man sitting inside the luxury wagon cursing the poor man at the toll gate for a momentary delay, chances are your ears will turn sore.

I look at two middle aged haryanvi ladies talking incessantly as the meticously hold their seats in an open tempo. ‘They are definitely bickering about their daughter in laws’ points out my cheerful young driver. This is one topic which binds women of all faith and classes.

I sometimes find the carefree youths of my country driving past their jeeps with blaring Punjabi music to a holiday in the hills. I sometimes look at families, young and old travelling to a getaway or a family function far away. I imagine their chatter, their games, their disputes when all the elders and children are bound together atop this mobile home. Sometimes I see the special customised bike zoom past me and feel my own adrenaline shoot up.

I see labourers toiling on the road, farmers working hard in their fields and army men sitting atop open end trucks with the blazing Sun smiling on them. I am reminded of ‘Jai jawan Jai Kisan’. While I sit in my air conditioned car and drive swiftly pass them I wonder whether the glorious era of ‘Mere desh ki miti’ has been wiped out. We have created concrete jungles which face incessant dust storms at least once a fortnight. But these glorious humble warriors of my country, the labourers working on the road, the farmers working on their harvest and my army brothers working on their lives, smile at all the adversity.

Do we no longer care about our humble farmers and humble soldiers. The essence of India lies in our fields and our mountains which are being harvested and protected by these humble beings.

I believe, we the common folk, marching on the tunes of urbanisation, try to do our best to express our gratitude to them. The whole country rallied behind our protectors during the CRPF attacks and I personally know peons in my office who came forward to donate even 10 rupees to the cause. I know of some local apps who are delivering fruits and vegetables directly from the farms providing a fair price to my ‘anndata’, eliminating the system of middle man.

As a country rapidly developing, we are all trying hard to hold on to our roots. Without our roots, we are nothing. The strongest and the largest tree, The banyan tree, has strong old roots burying deep in the ground. Some of it’s root spring forth from its branches. That is the secret of it’s longevity. Similarly we need to truely embrace our ancient roots. Otherwise our success will be a short lived story.

The roads and their tales refresh me from my mundane city life. Like Netflix, it provides a showcase of various lives, some fancy; others not so fancy, but each is special, has its own destination; but they all travel alongside on the same road.

Sunday sorrow, Miss you Dear Sparrow

Another beautiful Sunday has come and I am thinking of fun things to do with my two maverick sons and hubby dearest, so that we create good memories to be cherished forever. Getting all to play a ludo set, carrom, an outing or cooking picture perfect brunch for my lovely family would have required my sweat and blood so I chose the easy way out. So I ‘zomatoed’ some pretty doughnuts and immediately captioned it “Sweet Sundays” and waited for Google and others to remind me of this day years from now. Memory created and posted for all to see and like!!

As I water my plants, and arrange some bird food and water, the pigeon stares at me in the eye. She has been sharing my balcony for months now and has become quite resilient to Arnab Goswami’s shouting, breaking news blaring and my children singing. Nothing startles her now. My numerous attempts to shoo her away or to plead her to attend to nature’s call at one side of my balcony or atleast my neighbour’s balcony have failed misearably. And now I like her ‘devil may care’ attitude. She is as thickskinned as our politicians are. No matter how much we loathe them, at the end of the day we come to enjoy their antics, their own style of guttargoo, and their beak fighting.

Coming to my featherhead, she has successfully mothered 3 children after patiently sitting on her eggs for long hours at stretch and never leaves them out of her sight. I am happy how this flock of birds have evolved and are surviving amongst us. We leave them no choice though. With their homes chopped for the love of our high rise buildings, the least we can do is open our balconies to them.

Interesting fact: Pigeons have actually bore with men from centuries, carrying messages through countless kilometers and assisted men in war like G.I.Joe whose timely message to the British avoided the massacre of thousands of innocents during world war II. Ironically, it’s better looking cousin, dove, is a symbol of love and peace.

It is incredible how we all play “survival of the fittest”. We all play our parts in the social drama. Perfect Sunday afternoons, perfect outings, perfect bodies and perfect homes. Perfect apple phones on our perfectly manicured hands. No body cares about the imperfections of the mind. As long as you fit in this amicable world with your pleasing pics, you can go and show your mind to a fancy shrink.

But one such poor creature who has not played this game of survival well are the sparrows. I press my memory hard to recount the last time that I saw sparrows. Maybe, on a relaxation trip to Ranikhet. I am not sure though.

Sparrows, my friends of childhood, they were. Their chirping was like sweet melody to me. My dear lovely friends, I dearly miss you. There was something so benevolent about your sweet benign behaviour.

Searching for reasons of their near extinction on my phone led me to this disturbing fact. The electromagnetic waves of my smart phone is rendering them impaired to live.

I felt sorry for my children to not see and enjoy the beauty of this God’s tiny creature. Sharing this disappointing fact with my better half left me more shocked when he told me that ” Twitter sparrow is the best thing to happen and shall stay for years. Why worry about extinction?”

My children were enjoying their Speedy sparrow video game. My attempt at drawing their attention towards my tales of the lovely sparrow failed miserably with them telling me about Jack Sparrow being their favourite character. I wish the pirates still lived in real world, rather than the reel world of pirates of Carribean and would take me away on real adventures- away from this evil world.

Mentally, I was sailing away in the dangerous seas away from all the pretentious activities when a gentle reminder on my phone brought me back to senses. I had friends coming over for supper, and so I got busy in taking out my finest cutlery and preparing my finest cuisines, and putting back my living room in fine shape!

And here come the results…

Before the most awaited results of the country are announced on May23, this headline of a leading daily caught my attention on May 3- ‘Arvind Kejriwal’s son scored 96.4% in class XII board exams’. I made a mental note of trying to follow Kejriwal more seriously. After all, his daughter had also cleared IIT-JEE in flying colors in 2014, as mentioned in the newspaper report. The man himself had shown a lot of promise, with myself being a supporter but he quite soon started grabbing attention for all the wrong reasons.

I could use a present day role model parent. My parents were great role models too but they had fewer distractions to shield us from!! Kejriwal has a brigade of admirers and not so admirers trolling him and is a very active social media celebrity!

We, as honest and sincere Indian parents, do all what it takes for a miracle performance on the academic front. Government employee mothers take their Child care leaves, the private job ones try to find the best tutor that is out there. And we all fast and pray so that they come out as number one ‘learned parrots’ in these dreaded board exams.

Do we all honestly believe that exam scores are full justification of all our talent? Even though, I was a high scoring academician throughout my student days and still proudly boast my exam percentages; but I don’t agree. The election commission doesn’t agree. A lot of great scientists and industrial tycoons do not agree. Albert Einstein, Thomas Elva Edison, Benjamin Franklin and the latest Bill Gates, dropped out of school and colleges to name quite a few. Our own Prime Minister, as by his own admission, has learnt more from his experiences rather than attending a fancy school.

Time and again, the learned have advocated a newer revolutionary approach towards school education system so that the natural curiosity and the practical skill based learning experience is encouraged and rewarded. But the newer schools are more proud to introduce revolutionary e-learning platforms for our wards.

Being old-school as I am, I think nature can never be replaced with technology. And power point teaching actually takes the charm of the real interactive learning away. When we give direct visuals to our children we take their power of creativity and imagination away. Quite the same way, that a movie adaptation can never beat the charms of the original story book; because in that the characters are playing in our mind.

The daily almond nuts are not helping my cause and my children and their nursery teacher are driving me nuts!! ‘Why don’t you make him rehearse the song at home?’ If one more time, I have to listen to ‘old Mac Donald had a farm’, I will go and find and burn that farm. ‘From the chick chick there to the oint oint there’, I imagine all the animals on the farm let loose in the shape of my two innocent sons, and bringing my humble apartment down. Coming back to the teacher, I meekly try suggesting her that perhaps taking children away to an actual farm for a school trip should be a good learning for this song. But she looked at me as if I was speaking bow wow there, and handed me the homework list for the coming week.

Anyways it is time of the day to put congratulatory messages on the face book pages of those relatives of mine whose wards had done well and to anyways send my digital blessings to all.

There was a time not so long ago when, we people would actually wait with baited breath for the newspaper to announce the day of the result. Would rush to schools or nearby cybercafes with friends to look up the results. An electricity failure, that could last hours, in those days is barely noticeable now because of invertor and power backups. I am sure that butterflies and the knots in the tummy, will exist today as well, but will last shorter because of the 4G speed that now we are accustomed to.

We, as parents, will have to apply the rules of moderation to set a good example every day. As our great Song of Gita dictates ‘ He who is temperate in his habits of eating, sleeping, working and recreation can mitigate all material pains by practicing the yoga system.’

So, practice we must, to try to emulate our great sages of the past. And we must break free from the shackles of social media distractions and rise to a glorious future ahead. We cannot take a pledge denouncing all that social media has to offer, but we can ourselves try to avoid unnecessary multimedia. For example, not looking up at Amazon midnight sale, if my shelfs are already full. To not give in to such an easy temptation, is a practice for self control for Yogis of this Kaliyug generation. It will be hard, as hard as it is, to not find spoilers before you have yourself seen the the latest episode of GoT, but we must give it a try. Otherwise we risk losing our current generation ( Generation Y? Z?) to the Tsunami of technology.