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Change begins at home and it begins now

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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

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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.

 

The Music will go on

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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 

 

 

The Bumpy Road to Happily Ever After

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A Wedding Day Promise.

Research has it that marriage may test one’s sanity, but living into old age with a partner also lowers the risk of dementia.

Since the institution of marriage does not come with a handy instruction booklet, after the hazy cloud of blind love faded into reality, we realised that ‘happily-ever-after’ included smoke alarms that cheered on my cooking expeditions, gifts that were meant to surprise became shocks due to misunderstandings of tastes and choices, weird habits that our rose-tinted vision had refused to take note of and normal conversations that snowballed into disagreements and very soon grew into full-blown arguments.

But the bumpy, sometimes steep and otherwise uphill road that we encountered helped strengthen our bond as did my culinary expeditions that strengthened the husband’s digestive system.

When I chanced upon a folded piece of paper that contained a hastily scribbled recipe of a dish that had once — by some strange stroke of luck — turned out as expected without any incidence of accidental burning or charring or meeting friendly neighbours after the smoke alarm raised pandemonium, I decided to surprise my family by pushing my luck yet again.

Luck was once again on my side as the dish turned out to be perfect in taste and appearance. I could almost hear the fanfare music as I placed the garnished masterpiece.

Unfortunately, the music was only audible to my ears as the husband failed to notice amid discussing worldly matters. Sid intently listened to his father’s words as he mindlessly chewed more than the recommended 32 times and forcefully swallowed them when he wished to throw in a question or two about the topic under discussion.

Little Princess was the only one who noticed and screamed her disapproval.

Half way through the meal and between the orations of worldly affairs, the husband took note of the screaming silence emanating from my side of the table and was quick to understand that something was amiss. He looked about for cues from the curtain to my hair. Since it was obvious that I was bound to show no interest in playing a game of 20 questions or throw in clues, he settled for something safer and went on to throw a few compliments about everything except the dish that had been painstakingly cooked and served with love.

Considering that this was an incident that took place more than a year back and that its details are vivid in my mind’s eye to be revived over the table every time I make the lucky dish that had once gone unnoticed, the husband is absolutely sure that living into old age with his partner is definitely going to keep dementia at bay.

He explains that the trick is in dividing the task between the two of us.

I could fill up every brain cell with important events (like the one mentioned above) that have taken place since the first time we met to be brought up as and when the occasion (read argument) demands, while he will keep track of the state of our finances and other less important factors of our life.

As of now, he only worries about keeping his sanity.

 

The above is an extract from an article published in the Gulf News. For the entire write-up you can check here.

Wishing all of you a very happy and relaxed Sunday.

 

A Competition Called Life

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Classroom

“Seize every minute of this day”

“Don’t watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going”

There is no dearth for motivation on social media. Reminder in 50s and 100s every morning is a good thing so that we put on our running shoes and throw ourselves into the breathless crowd that is racing against time to achieve set goals and targets.

On a weekend morning, we decided to seize the day treating ourselves to an early lunch followed by a visit to the shopping mall.

After clicking pictures with a robot that walked, talked, sang songs and did all that was expected of it, we took a cue from Sid and made our way to a bookstore to get our dose of food for the brain (while we seize the rest of the day).

Little Princess settles in the seating area with an improvised Peppa Pig storybook that appeared to be bigger than her and did a snort with every page turn.

Sid already had his nose in a fact finder.

It was then that we bumped into a friend who was leaving the store balancing a bag full of books. After the pleasantries, I enquired about his wife and son.

“They are at home preparing for his Olympiads” he said, “I am here to pick up some additional reference material for the KenDoku competition that is soon to follow.”

“Some books on logical thinking and the public speaking course that he takes,” he explained, “we let him play chess during his free time so a book to perfect the game too,” he finished.

I was reminded of the robot that we clicked pictures with as it had gone about perfecting all that was expected of it as the proud father gave us an account of the rigorous effort that went into preparing their son to keep pace with the pell-mell rush to stand out in the rising competition.

I looked at the husband hopelessly.

Sid spent his evening reading books, playing with friends, attempting hard to get a tennis ball across a net with a racquet – none of which qualified as academically enlightening.

Even his weekly swimming classes were not geared on getting him to swim the English Channel but to be able to save his life or another if a situation may arise.

Disappointed at being unable to exercise our bragging rights in this area of parenting, we bid him adieu after managing to lend our ear with a smiles and nods.

On our way back, I find myself questioning my ‘unambitious’ parenting ways.

Little Princess has learnt to snort.

Sid rants on about his new find – ‘Monday with the Mad Genius’ – a fact finder about Leonardo da Vinci. The ‘Salvator Mundi’ that was sold for $450.3 million has piqued his interest.

Questions and doubts that build up into a full-fledged quiz about his newly acquired knowledge ensues, leaving me fumbling and scrabbling at Google’s doorstep.

My son may be far from the mad rush of competition where children are dragged from pillar to post perfecting every task among the endless ones on offer, but I am glad that I find myself in this blissful scrabbling mess as Sid embraces childhood at his own pace – one fact finder at a time.

 

 

Thank You!

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“Until you pick up a pen and begin writing, you will never know the mistakes you can make”, encouraged the husband.

But I had written. I wrote every single day. Writing gave me wings, a sense of fulfillment, a sense of self-worth and excited me to no end.

Someone said, “Anything that gets your blood racing is worth doing.”

That is when the idea of a blog took shape.

Six months down, this space has become the platform on which I have had the pleasure of giving form to my thoughts, talking about the matters of the world as I see it, sharing what I hear and read and expressing my sometimes bizarre and otherwise mundane musings into words with hopes of putting a smile on at least one of my reader’s faces!

Thank you, my dear friends, cousins, brothers, sisters, aunties, and uncles who have taken precious time from your day to read my posts and paused a while longer to let me know what you think. (If I have tagged you, please consider it to be my personal message of gratitude to you, your support and your encouragement – it means the world to me.)

Thank you, my virtual ‘Wordpress’ friends!   By stopping by, following, commenting, encouraging and reading every one of my posts – you are my best cheerleaders.  If there is anything better than writing, it is to never miss an opportunity to ‘meet’ you all and take a peek into your worlds, your thought, and opinions.  It is wonderfully comforting to know that there is a world of people who share my madness – a passion for writing!

For all those who laughed at the face of my passion, those who questioned me as to how much my blog paid me and those who challenged my writing abilities by sending me the strangest videos to write about, a big Thank you to you – you taught me to be ‘de-motional’ (https://thewritewomanblog.wordpress.com/2016/11/21/are-you-de-emotional)

Quoting Mr. Khan, “Madness is an absolute prerequisite to a happy and successful life. Don’t ever treat your little insanities as if they are aberrations that ought to be hidden from the rest of the world.”

formal-happy-new-year-2015Wishing You and Your Family a Happy and Prosperous 2017!

The Mystery of the Mysterious Disappearances and Other Stories

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Our household has been gripped by a strange disease that calls itself ‘toon fever’. The symptoms of this disease usually manifests in the form of victims being hooked to the same episodes of cartoons being played in a continuous loop, relating and reacting to any situation as one of the cartoon character would and in some rare cases address family members and acquaintances as one of the characters. Any disruption to this activity causes loud crying fits and tantrums that calls for timely distraction (e.g. painting that usually begins on a painting book that later extends to the already colored walls of the room after the book is left soaking wet). The victim’s world  becomes ‘toon world’ where the people around them take shape of one or more ‘toon character’ based on what the situation demands. Thankfully, ours is restricted to superheroes, who by the night, face fiendish villains (PJ Masks) and the adventures of the heroic reporter – Tin Tin .

Every mysterious disappearance (which began at about the same time that Little Princess began her exploration expedition) in our once-organized household result in Little Princess singing the PJ mask anthem – “PJ mask we are on our way, into the night to save the day”.

Recently, a tub of face cream mysteriously disappeared overnight. After the usual blame game, my first stop was the toy cabinet; a careful scrutiny got me two ladles and a butter knife that I had given up searching and assumed would have reached the landfill by now. Since it was obvious who the culprit was, I tried asking Little Princess (who I hoped against hope would reveal her most recent hiding place). I even repeated the PJ anthem after her only that together we upturned every piece of furniture – even the shoe cabinet, but to no avail. That afternoon, as watched a re-run of an episode of Tin Tin (of which I can swear that I know every word by heart), I (an unfortunate ‘toon’ victim too) willed my mind to think like the heroic reporter and replay the events of the night when I last laid eyes on the tub of face cream. I vaguely remember Little Princess walking around with a bag of Pampers in hand. I had missed checking the bag of Pampers (for obvious reasons) and there it was – not one but two tubs of face cream, Sid’s school stationary and a comb that I thought that I had misplaced.

Yesterday morning saw my Kindle do the disappearing act. I panicked – not my Kindle! As always I sweetly and patiently questioned the obvious culprit. Little Princess first told me that the Moths and Luna Girl (a PJ Night Villain) took it. A deep breathe and further patient questioning followed by singing the PJ anthem, agreeing to be called Owlette (PJ Superhero) and even trying to look like one after tying up a red scarf around my neck, Little Princess dragged me to the bookshelf where the Kindle was neatly stacked amongst the rest of my books.

Every time there is a mysterious disappearance, even as I panic and make a mental note to be more careful and keep things away from Little Princess’s prying eyes and inquisitive mind, I must confess that the mother in me is secretly thrilled at the thought of being my daughter’s superhero!