What if you woke up one morning and found that your taps have run dry or if you had to run out of the space that you call home because the lashing …At the brink of Climatic Catastrophe!
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Change begins at home and it begins now
One balmy winter morning when Father had been in one of his relaxed moods willing to listen and tell his two little children stories while my brother and I seized the moment asking away everything we knew would otherwise be met with a stern look of disapproval, I had asked him whom he loved more – my brother or me?
“You both are like my two eyes. How can I favour one eye over the other,” he had answered lovingly as I beamed with joy, gleefully throwing my arms around him.
For me, even as a child, his words were an assurance that he did not see me any differently than he saw my brother.
When our son, Sid, was born, as first-time parents, our world unconsciously condensed into our little bundle of joy. During the months that had led to his birth, we built tall dreams, made unreasonable promises and vowed to soak up in every moment with our precious bundle.
Within a week into the soak-up-in-every-moment phase, I had wised up to those lines. Motherhood was beyond what I had envisaged – it was extremely rewarding and absolutely draining, immensely exciting but equally terrifying and often felt so easy yet totally confusing.
We pampered him with the finest toys but Sid was smitten with playing a noisy game of clanging pots and pans from the kitchen cabinet and the toys remained untouched.
A few years later, when we thought that we had seen it all, Little Princess made her arrival. That moment when we first laid our eyes on her was as extraordinary as it had been with my son. Our experience did not deter us from building tall dreams; making unreasonable promises and vowing to soak up every moment – only that we hoped to do it better.
Luckily the experience and the exercise in patience with our first born came in handy with our second. The miniature superheroes and cars that had remained untouched took to her fancy while the perfectly pretty dolls that she received as gifts failed to get her attention.
If one preferred to devour books, the other enjoyed shredding them.
They were born five days apart on different years yet are as different as chalk and cheese. It has been easy for me to accept them as two individuals as my brother and I have very little in common too.
Today, two children later, the weight of Father’s words resonates better and reinforces the fact that we can never see our children differently.
If I expect my daughter to undertake a responsibility in our home, I would expect my son to do the same as they both will need to be able to shoulder bigger responsibilities in the future.
If my son has a dream which he wishes to fulfil, my daughter is bound to have one too!
It is not about flexing muscles with the other gender or competing to be better than the other but about respecting the other and their choices as much as we would expect to be respected. Beauty lies in the fact that men and women are equally complex and made very different from one another, but it takes them both to complete the circle of life.
Here is a reminder to me as much as it is to you – if we wish to see the change in the generations to come, we must become the change by teaching our sons to respect women as much as we would teach our daughters to respect themselves as they would the men around them.
It all begins at home and it begins now!
Hello, WP World, it is so good to get back here. Will reach out to all of you soon!
This piece was first published in the Off the Cuff section of the Gulf News. Please click here for the link.
The silver lining in the dark clouds of misery
Indu auntie and her family left the bustling city life in Bengaluru to recede into a quiet life caring for her ageing parents in their grand ancestral home that had sheltered more than one generation below its sloping roofs that overlooked the Kalpathy river flowing gently under the canopy of the Kerala skies.
Her husband, a renowned professor, spent his time tending to the lush vegetable patch when he was not at college or the outhouse — that doubled as his office with rooms that treasured an abundance of literature handpicked by the professor himself — coaching students who aspired to earn a doctoral degree.
The ancestral home, an architectural marvel built in sync with the local weather and topography, had stood tall through many monsoons when rains pelted the slates on the sloping rooftop for days on end and kept the inmates cool during the long rigorous days of summer.
Aunt Indu’s words laced with pride whenever she spoke about the great flood of 1990s, when the Periyar river breached its banks in 1924, when her home and hearth had provided the homeless with food and shelter until the waters receded.
Decked in traditional artefacts, antiques and heavy furniture, every piece was steeped in history with a story that tickled pleasant childhood memories.
Unexpected showers in the otherwise dry Palakkad district this summer were a welcome relief. On the day the shutters of the Malampuzha dam were opened amid heavy downpour, the Kalpathy river swelled. Indu auntie’s day transformed into one that will be etched in her memory forever as furious undercurrents dragged with them her daughter while it ravaged her home stripping it off every piece of memory that the years had treasured.
A rescue team that comprised a group of young men from the locality fought the raging waters to drag her daughter back to terra firma while an authorised rescue force carried her bedridden father and ailing mother to safe quarters.
Her words laced with the horror of that day spilled over a crackling phone line while she and her family spent their days in a relative’s home, waiting for the waters to recede while we ourselves spent despondent nights peeking out of the window to keep a check on the water levels as the downpour showed no sign of abating.
When the waters receded, they went back to a skeleton of a house whose walls are now etched with stories of raging currents that had snatched away or left behind a soggy mess in its wake.
Her husband spends his days restoring the vegetable patch and empty shelves that once housed a treasure trove of literature.
Yet, she explains cheerfully: “It took a natural disaster to bring out the best in humanity for help was always at hand. I can replace all that I have lost, but will be forever grateful that I still have my daughter beside me.”
Nature is the best teacher for even in her fury she leaves behind a message for humanity, who has tested her patience in the name of progress, that if we do not reform our ways then we will have to submit ourselves to her wrath and teach the generations to come that all that they proudly call their own is but a mirage that is fleeting and impermanent.
There is still time, perhaps, for us to amend and watch nature sing her melodious tunes of healing.
The above is an excerpt from a publication in the Gulf News. Click here for the full article.
Good morning! Hope you all are having a wonderful Sunday. Will be at all your spaces soon to catch up on all that I have missed.
Love yourself enough to get up and take the fitness challenge
I enjoy sport — cricket, badminton, tennis or auto racing, if sitting in the comforts of my sofa while cheering on my favourite sport stars’ moments count.
It is difficult not to love sport when the television is perpetually tuned on to one or the other sports channels where experts are delineating the technical details of a match with a discussion of the same by the in-house experts — the husband and Sid leaving me tongue-tied.
It is not entirely my fault for you see I can rattle off about ten names of engineers under one minute that only the maternal side of my family has contributed to the world, but I would be left jogging my memory for hours to pick up at least one blood relative who has attempted any sort of sport, let alone excel in one.
Let’s just say that we chose a book over a cricket bat or a racket!
I am not much of a talker, but not one to be left tongue-tied either, so I have sat through Sid’s tennis classes and the husband’s badminton tournaments with my most trusted mate — Google, who has been throwing light on facts like the tennis court measures 36 by 78 feet while the badminton court is smaller measuring 20 by 44 feet.
I am yet to put a racket to a ball or a shuttlecock but at least I know the technical difference.
I have understood that sport is not all about the scores and strategies for it teaches you character. Sport teaches you to play by the rules, to accept your defeat and move on after you have learnt from your mistakes and stay grounded as you enjoy basking in the glory of victory.
Sport is a life teacher!
I must admit that it took me a couple of days to appreciate the goodness of exercise for during the first few days even the endorphins didn’t help.
The children were both delighted and mildly traumatised watching me limping about and attempting to lift a painfully sore arm to toss food in the general direction of my mouth.
It took all of a week’s persistence in keeping it up to enjoy the benefits of an exercise routine and be treated to a good dose of endorphins that cleared away cobwebs that had strayed in through the day.
Love yourself enough to pull up your socks and take up the challenge. Together we can turn fitness into a way of life, one step at a time!
This is an extract from the publication in the ‘Off the Cuff’ section of the Gulf News For the full write-up please click here. This was written for the Dubai Fitness Challenge that runs from October 19, 2018 to November 17, 2018, that challenges every Dubai resident to engage in physical activity of their choice for 30 minutes of in a day for 30 days.
Have a wonderful Sunday!
The Music will go on
The tunes took birth enrapturing listeners into a trance,
A melody so divine that elevated the spirit into a dance,
A hum so gentle in the gust of musical wind became,
A stupendous composition by an artist on his bow and four strings on a frame.
His soulful tunes made way into the musical world ashine,
To a growing audience enthralled by music so pure and divine,
A treat to the soul, the broken hearts and those locked in romance,
His tunes touched millions as this musical prodigy steadily gathered fans.
The music had reached its crescendo stirring the mortal world and heavens alike,
A journey that transcended in orchestral exuberance on a magical flight,
Suddenly the tunes faltered, the strings gone out of tune and the bow snapped,
Until all that was left was a deathly silence after this beautiful young soul was snatched.
The journey has come to a screeching halt,
The empty stage screaming silence echoing loud in the hearts of fans distraught,
The violin rests as magical fingers that caressed the strings up into heaven has gone,
But the blissful music that this musical legend left for us will always go on.
Good morning friends, this is a tribute to my favorite violinist, the late Balabaskar, who was snatched away from the mortal world in a freak accident. It was indeed a sad day for music. RIP Balabaskar.
You can listen to one of his best performance here
Smart phone, smart phone on a stick, who has the best profile pic?
My daughter barely missed getting trampled on,
By a shopper and his cart, enticed under the spell of his phone, the real world forgone.
Pulling her from harm’s way, clucking my disapproval, shaking my head in despair,
This man adrift in his virtual world barely noticed, moving on without a care.
My little girl is fine, hale, hearty and enjoyed her time,
For she spent the evening fiddling with a new gadget on display – the Galaxy Note 9!
IPads, mobiles and other gizmos so sleek and fine,
Throw open the doors to the splendor of the virtual world ashine.
Wrecking quiet havoc to family’s routine, harmony and time,
Leaving the outdated ones marooned in the real world, offline.
Stealing the pleasure of leisure without FB, Twitter, Instagram or another digital shrine,
Reading a real book or making an actual conversation almost feels like a crime!
“Dinner is ready”, reads a message on Hangouts from mother to her son,
He snaps out of his digital dream and stays grounded to reality until dinner is done.
A Whatsapp forward, a joke, a wish sent to your partner on the run,
A conversation that keeps the pretence of a relationship alive, going and fun.
Emojis, emoticons, internet slang and bizarre abbreviation,
An internet lingo for every kind of communication!
Shopping lists, weather update, cricket scores or playing a country capital game,
A virtual assistant to your rescue – ‘ALEXA’ is her name.
A tweet, a picture, a status update or a ridiculous claim,
May thrust you into controversy or a spot of overnight fame.
Slouching over the basking glow every day and all night,
We, as a generation, are a chiropractor’s delight!
There will not be another Emil Rustige from this home of mine,
Protesting for lack of attention against parents who are on the phone all the time.
For I am the lone protester and the digital dieting mother,
Playing the screen referee to two children and their father.
Microwave the phone, grill the iPad and plug off the Wi-Fi I wish at my will,
But to get all that done I now need a helpful date with Google!
Good Morning Friends,
I hope you enjoy this poem. Let me know what you think.
Have a wonderful Sunday!
Life is beautiful, soak it up
Their mothers were sisters and they were born days apart. Yet, the cousins were as different as chalk and cheese.
The one with the spotlessly fair complexion was a bundle of enthusiasm and every teacher’s dream, while the other who was beautifully dusky was aloof and indifferent, her attitude screaming quiet defiance.
On the first day of school, as excited fifth graders who have transitioned into middle schoolers from the protected confines of primary school, my friends and I had the pleasant surprise of finding the cousins in the same class — our class.
However, the sisters did not share our enthusiasm for they went out of their way to steer clear of each other’s path.
While the bundle of enthusiasm steadily picked up a spot as the teacher’s pet, the indifferent one’s silent defiance — that the teachers were familiar with — had ballooned into a sense of cold standoffishness and resentment.
After her parents were summoned and after the teachers gave up trying to persuade her out of the shell of unrelenting silence that she had retreated into, she became the mute spectator who sat through every class unnoticed.
Then one day, we noticed her absence — the empty chair in the corner was cold devoid of its quiet occupant.
The sister with a zest for life had disappeared too. When she made a comeback a fortnight later, she appeared frail, jittery and shaken, living every moment through unending pain and perpetually at the brink of drowning into a flood of tears.
Even when our hearts went out to her and when our curiosity could hold no more, we kept the flood of questions that plagued our minds to ourselves because by then we knew that the empty chair in the corner would stay empty for the rest of the year and that the quietly defiant sister would never come back.
Our little minds could not fathom a reason enough to comprehend what could have led our unusually quiet classmate to take her life. Suicide was an unfamiliar territory and a strange word that suddenly stood dominating and looming dark in our mental dictionary.
We held hushed discussions in-between classes and during breaks after the lone sister was gently whisked away by the school counsellor.
Time heals wounds and the fog of loss and despair will evanesce to reveal the path of life ahead for us to move on.
The lone sister has moved on. Her enthusiasm is still infectious, but the gaping hole of loss remains for being the best and bringing out the best in her had been a curse big enough to shoulder the responsibility of the weight of another life — her dear sister’s life.
While we tread through the gravelled and otherwise unfair path of competition, comparison and disillusion between the tarred roads of happiness and joy, it is good to take a moment from our meticulously planned inert existence to immerse in a moment of solitude that will shake off the shroud of depression and angst and question your practical mind: Is a failure, an opportunity lost, a mistake, the unrelenting pressures that we forcefully succumb to and the many opinions and words that measure the value of our existence worthy of giving up on life itself?
You will be pleasantly surprised to realise that the answer will always be a NO!
This is an extract from a piece that was published in the Gulf News. For the full article please click here.
Good Morning! Wishing you all a very happy Sunday and a great week ahead.
Have you developed your partner’s scowl?
Some of us can pick up a book and magnetically escape into the mesmerising world created by the author while there are others who can pick up the same book and be lulled into sweet slumber in under five minutes.
And then these people end up marrying one another.
Luckily, the matrimonial rollercoaster on its railroad to an exhilarating ride with unexpected tight turns, inversions and stomach-churning slopes possesses the power to transform two individuals locked in love to tweak their personalities in order to sustain two worlds under the same roof.
Even Bollywood has never dared to cross over the threshold of life past the happy and dramatic union of the hero and the heroine’s love conquering all odds amid music, drama and dancing about trees in designer wear into the monotony of a real life where sustaining marriage and children amid boring routines becomes the norm.
Could that be the reason why research shows that the longer you are with your partner, the more you begin to resemble one another?
Or is it that thrown under the same roof, sharing similar experiences, food and thoughts day after day — you end up emulating your partner’s frown.
Coming to think of it, I now enjoy watching movies as much as the husband has learned to pick up a book. I am less sceptical about trying a new restaurant while I believe practice has forced him to pretend that he has not noticed the ‘charring’ of the dish that I have called ‘a little over-cooked’ or ‘caramelised’.
It is good that even though we share routines, children and a home, we hold on to a little mind of our own and speak it out too. For, we even disagree on the same topics!
But there are some traits that even matrimony or years of togetherness cannot change.
Like a question, “How was your trip?” that would have lasted a good fortnight, can elicit nothing more than a clipped “Good”. A little coaxing and fretting (read whining, moaning and grumbling) can manage just about a full sentence or two.
While a question in return about my days in his absence can bring about an animated and elaborate explanation about every morsel that my hands have painfully cooked, every individual that I have met, every speck of dust that has been wiped clean and every job that has been successfully accomplished with nothing more than just about a nod in return.
Or the fact that he can sit for hours basking in the glow of the screen before him and manage to efficiently toggle between three jobs with relative ease, but conveniently overlook the painstaking effort that has gone into transforming the chaotic mess amid juggling between two children with varied interests — one intent on gobbling up books while the other determined on wrecking every room with her creative mess, into a beautiful home.
But coming to think of it, I would be worried if he were to bring out the entire cupboard on display every time he makes a trip matching every shirt and pant checking which goes with what for hours at end like I am often known to do.
Or if he decided to rant on about his trip covering every detail leaving me too exhausted to talk about mine.
Or if his meticulous eyes do not miss that inconspicuous blemish or crease in a freshly pressed dress when I seek his honest opinion just like how brutally honest I am known to become when he seeks mine.
Then the both of us would be locked in a marriage of boring similarities and develop the same worry lines until one day someone will take pity on us and exclaim, “Oh! How much you resemble each another.”
This is an article that was published in the Off the Cuff section of the Gulf News. Click here to view original post.
Happy Morning, my dear friends! All you happily 😉 married couples out there. Let me know what you think.
Have a wonderful Sunday!
Ushering in the holiday routine
The air-conditioner has been purring unobtrusively as it does all through the day, transforming our home into a winter wonderland, while the two potted plants in the balcony have sadly wilted either under the care of my not-so-green fingers or due to the sweltering heat.
The thermostat has been set to 24 degrees so as to ensure that the husband will not be in for a rude shock at the sight of the electricity bill by which time the children and I will be temporarily relocating (vacationing) to parents’ and in-laws’ homes, where we will carry on with the same tasks, routines and life in general to a different venue — until schools reopen.
Last year, after the monsoons wreaked havoc, I stacked our suitcases with winter clothes only to have warm sunny days ahead of us. Parents and relatives cheerily said that we had brought along sunshine into their cold and damp days, while my children perspired swathed as they were in their winter clothing, leaving the thirsty mosquito party singing their song of frustration.
So this year, I have packed for every conceivable weather condition, along with medication to combat every sort of illness or rash that usually return untouched save for the antacids that come in handy every time I lose sleep after Little Princess coughs or Sid gets a mosquito bite.
As much as I wish to travel light, the ‘weight’ of my packing hits me at the baggage carousel upon our arrival when I invariably need a few strong helping hands to successfully mount them on airport trolleys.
Upon our arrival to grandmother’s home, the grown-ups got busy catching up with their siblings, leaving us cousins to pick up from where we had left our exploration of the vast property the previous summer.
We enjoyed our days amid the thicket of mango grooves. The adults rarely fussed over us and our interactions were limited to meal times and disastrous afternoons when we were caught raiding grandmother’s store stacked with goodies.
We lived in perfect harmony alongside the mosquitoes and the rare bugs. Upon our return, we sported a healthy tan, our limbs strong and mouths bearing the stains of mango sap from days spent climbing trees and greedily devouring mangoes.
Today, my children need me to guide them through the routine even during the summer break while we get together with another nuclear family living their carefully charted routine in a small houses that boasts of a vegetable patch and a mango tree.
The children are jumpy at the sight of mosquitoes and terrified of croaking toads. Sun downs include closing every window and covering every crevice that might allow the villain mosquito into a home that houses two children with sweet blood.
Luckily, the children can continue to sleep soundly under the purr of air-conditioners that often leave us with frost bites by the early morning hours, but ensure that the stray mosquito that ventured into our repellent-barricaded fortress has failed to get its fill of sweet blood as it froze under its icy grip.
This is an extract from a piece that was published on August 11,2018, in the Gulf News. Click here to read the original piece.
Good morning friends! It is wonderful to be back to the wonderful virtual world after a long break. A big thank you to all of those who tried to reach me to find out if all was well. I have just returned after a long holiday and will be slowly and steadily be making up for all that I have missed during my absence.
Until then, wishing you all a very happy Sunday!