Of Bullets and Time.


I lucidly remember those Sundays from my schooling years when, Mum would make my favourite vegetable upma and, I would impatiently yell – “Ma! Chandrakanta will start in 5 minutes! Please make the upma fast!” As a family, we never missed even one episode of that serial that was aired on DD then. Right when the song ended, the steaming vegetable upma would be simmering hot in our plates, ready to be devoured as our eyes and soul were transported to a different era where fighters like Sabhya were fighting monsters like Krur Singh! (the two characters I remember vividly)

Even our gardener then who also took care of some house errands, Mukhesh Bhaiyya would have this breakfast along with us, while we all sat glued to the television. I think we had a TV with a peculiar name – Grundig. Listening to the name now brings a suppressed giggle in me even now. (Right now, it sounds as if Gru from Despicable Me was asked to dig….given that long nose of his! )

It was mum who always decided which brand in appliance would get the privilege of becoming a member of the 98th house on the block! And so, Grundig came home! And it is here, I would like to mention that my parents are reckless choosers when it comes to vehicles and appliances. Let me tell you why. A decade before my biological admission into the Subramanian – Venkataraman gene pool, my father owned a bullet – Enfield (I do not know the model). He and his colleagues purchased that bike while they were stationed in Orissa. And my mum recounts till this date as to how the other bikes of this brand died on their owners within a year. The bikes landed themselves in shops where they were dismantled or perhaps remodelled for good. Apparently, that model went out of business faster than it entered. But, my dad’s bike was like Marley. It survived the tart tests my dad subjected it to. One of my closest friends who is 12 years my senior, was very much a witness to my parents’ lives before I was born. And, he would regale me with ‘Enfield tales’ about how my father would actually dismantle the whole bullet, study the parts, do some mechanical stuff and then put it back! In fact, the bike had bonded with my father just like a soul mate does. 
The bullet stayed with us for more than fifteen years, long after its siblings had left the world. I still remember the horrible noise it used to make. Given that, I grew up in times when silent bikes were in vogue, I would feel embarrassed when my father chose to ride his bike to my school for PTMs, despite us owning a car! He would then tell me – “You would never understand a man’s love for bikes!” Somehow, I was hit by Déjà vu when my husband uttered the same lines after marriage. Rather, my husband has named his bike – Laila. And, when I named my active the same, he got annoyed. Well, I did not see any patent on that name. Even Alif did not. Right? 

So, talking about this bullet that my father owned, it soon caught the attention of our milkman who used to come on a bullet from a recent generation, to deliver milk at the door step. And, then began the wooing. It took the milkman about two years to convince my father that he was a genuine buyer who would not only take care of the bullet with all love and affection but would also bring it to meet him everyday. The deal happened. The milkman kept his promise. However, my father soon found that his age that brought other ailments was a deterrent in the love between his now gone bullet and him. TVS Scooty happily took the bullet’s place. 

And, time has surely flown by since then. But, there are those precious moments from the past that often visit one time and again reminding how simple, uncomplicated and serene life was then, of course leaving aside struggles of a different kind. As a family, our fights over who gets to read Outlook and India Today first or, my own nasty fights with my mum who has spanked me like there was no tomorrow when I hid Readers Digests between my academic books….those memories visit me every now and then..!! 

And we have all come a long way indeed. Off late, my father is not keeping well and, my mother who is a pillar of resilience and strong will, has begun to feel the unrest, given that she has seen more storms than sunshine in her life. Rather, both have sailed through reprehensible waves of dark times and, have stood well to the tests time subjected them to. Today, as I sit more than 2000 kms away from them, I feel how distance can make you taste the bitter wait of time. The past one week was a blur for me given my own sprained muscle below hip and worse, the son being afflicted by measles and then, the news of my father not well. 

Happy moments are like soap bubbles that are meant to melt into the air…..they are like those balloons that would go high above once the thread is let off….
And talk about moments we fear……those pregnant fears as I address them, are the ones that keep us grounded. They make sure that happiness does not overwhelm us. They make sure that we watch our boundaries with a hawk’s eye. They are our gate keepers, despite being nasty ones! 

And, time! Time is a strange mentor. He is like Pa Mei. He makes you feel the raw stab of hurt and helplessness every now and then. He gives you the experience of what it feels like to be pushed under the water for time that seems like eternity. He gives you that feeling of being trapped in a box with no where to escape. This period reminds me of my own brush with myasthenia gravis. I remember the nightmare of my life vividly. Lying helpless in the ICU with no speech, impaired vision and a heart condition, I had come face to face with my worst fears. And, somehow that moment which seemed like it would never end passed but not without making me feel the pain that uncertainty put me through. It was a phase where the mind was racing at a million miles per second while the body could not even muster enough energy for the fingers to clutch the comforter that was on me. And, it is not my own pain but the pain my near and dear ones were going through, that threw me down in a dark abyss of nightmares that had no bottom. It was only when I hit the bottom after a surreal experience of floating between incoherent worlds, I realized I had only myself to bank on. Because mind is infinitely powerful if understood. Train the mind and, one can instantly feel the paradigm shift in the energies influencing the body. It was only when I felt like Buckminster weasel on the verge of getting sucked into Rudy’s gut, I gathered that acceptance. Acceptance of what cannot be changed overnight has a great impact on how one thinks and acts. 

For instance, a throat sore is painful enough to induce fever and body ache. Even if it stays for half a day, the pain is intense enough to make one paranoid about it. Sometimes, the pain can be so intense that even a few hours feel like days. Like that tiny sore on the tongue can totally kill a gourmet experience. Or, say a small sprain in the muscle below the hip that prevents you from doing normal things like sitting, standing, walking and sleeping, can make the experience equivalent to climbing up a mountain. Worrying impetuously about situations that we cannot control any more than the weather is something that comes naturally to each one of us. No matter how well we know about the mind’s ability to influence the body, we all succumb to the fears of unknown. Sometimes it is like standing at the point where you can see the waves of the ocean snarling at you, intimidating you with its abrupt movements towards you and, you either stand there with the fear of being sucked into the chasms of death or, with the hope that something will definitely take you away from that pain of wait. Oh yes….that pain of waiting for a catch 22 situation to diffuse is like waiting for a dead one to come back. The pain feels like eternity. But in reality, the pain does not heal as such. It is just that acceptance of life gets the scars tattooed and, propels the soul to move on from the ennui. 

They say, we need to look forward into future all the time. I agree. But, I say – Look intermittently into your past too. 

Because, past is a stark reminder of how far you have come. And, every time future looks bleak and blurry, it is the past that itches those scars of pain to let one know that if heavens are important, so is hell. 

Because, the past is that mirror that reiterates your verve every now and then. 

Because if you never experienced hell, you would never truly understand heaven. 

While I write of bullets and time, I am as aware of the acid tests life is putting my near and dear ones to, much as mine. Like a couple who live in the constant fear of what will become of their mentally afflicted middle aged son after they are gone….or, that childless couple that feels a searing stab of pain every time they see their subordinates looking forward to visits from their grand children….or that sweet aunt whose husband walked out on her after three decades of marriage for another woman at a time when companionship matters most….or that dear friend who hasn’t married because her family needs her money…..
The lines that come to my mind….from the movie Amrit

Duniya me kitna gham hai….mera gham kitna kam hai…..

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2008 to 2018 – A journey of words


It is year 2018 and, it suddenly dawned on me that my blog is a decade old now. Officially. Well, I may have started a couple of years earlier. However, it was sometime in January, as I am not much into dates except for the day I was born, the day I got married and, the day I came back again from the chasms of the Bogey man

And since then, this space has been my friend, my space, my boundary, my companion in solitude and, a lot more. I named this blog – Swimming in an ocean of thoughts. 
Some wise old man had told me once during school that only when the mind becomes devoid of racing thoughts, it truly has attained a state of Nirvana, where nothing bothers anymore. Yes, I still believe those words but, I haven’t met anyone with that kind of a mind. Even the self proclaimed reiki teachers and healers often give in to those emotions of anger and disgruntlement. Well, holistic healing is like that North Face Brand. You might find it everywhere. But, you will never know which one actually is the genuine one.  Also, I for one believe that true healers are the ones that are sought. They don’t step out to seek people because they do not seek fame. That said, let me not take away the credits of aspiring healers. Whoever they are, they are probably doing a great work by keeping hope and faith in people alive, even though everyone’s journey is a pre destined path. The thorns shall prick. The tears shall roll. The wounds shall bleed. No science can change that. Like the Chinese do not believe in predicting future. They believe in fate calculators that do no predictions. These calculators only give an outline of your journey with potholes, straight roads and rumble strips
And now coming back to the journey of blogging for me until now, I look back and feel a wave of blessings. I can only thank the Universe for helping me vent my thoughts and emotions here. Writing has helped me in ways I cannot express. Earlier this blog was just reflecting the way I felt impulsively. For instance, there were those times when I would just write an angry post and publish it. The agenda was perhaps not to garner attention but to release the anger that wouldn’t leave me in peace. There was this one instance when a particular friend called up at a wrong time and, given my delicate state of pregnancy, the conversation was not something I would have entertained then. Well, the hormones took over in no time and, when we hung up, I began typing furiously on the page of my blog. And, I copied and pasted it in the mail to be sent to this friend. But before hitting the ‘send’ button, my mum called me for something. Well, one of mum’s friends was visiting and, the energy levels underwent a paradigm shift. I happily talked for hours then, totally forgetting the mail that was waiting to be sent. 
Well, after that day I did not remember much about the conversation. It was only a year later when I was clearing my mailbox and saved drafts on my blog, I chanced upon this post. And, I read it and re-read it many times over. I couldn’t believe I could spew so much of venom in that anger. In fact, at that moment I did not even remember what that conversation was all about. I recalled all those moments when my father would say – If ignorance is bliss, forgetfulness is too. I am not sure about either. But, at that moment, forgetfulness did me good.
And, I deleted it. As for us, we are still friends. 
So, while I scour through the pages I have written on this blog, I gather that with every passing year, I have begun to treat the space like a temple. Well, I am not comfortable writing impulsive posts any more. Maybe, the experience I have had as a content writer and developer, I feel some kind of an obligation towards what I write and more importantly, how it will affect the people who read what I write. Isn’t that important? 
When I sit and blog about something, it is perhaps my own way of unwinding. But, at the same, if people do read it, I wish there is something good to take away from my space. Well, I hope it is that way.
And, as I look back on this decade of blogging, it dawns on me that this space is more than just an ocean of thoughts. Because, it also contains those mountains of woes I held within myself, a valley of wonderful blooms of memories that my boys have given me, long rivers of patience that continued flowing through those jagged edges of uncertainties, pastures of happy reunions with friends and families, tsunami of depressing health issues, dark clouds crafted by situations that I could barely control and those untimely demises of very dear ones that felt more like the rumbling of an angry Mother Earth. 
Looking back, I gather that this space has given me all the place I ever needed. It is like shifting that weight of the boulder off your shoulders. Sit in a crowd and, it is hard to think clearly especially when the crowd wishes you to be one of them. And, for someone like me who builds walls before bridges, crowds and boundaries cannot coexist. So, I shall continue to be unapologetically myself here while my face shall continue to be stoic as ever. 
And, happy reading for all those who shall cross this junction while passing through this wonderful journey called life!
Happy 2018!!!!!

Disconnect to connect ~ Part 10


When you know your limitations and have embraced them, there descends upon you a great power called acceptance. And then, the world looks not much greener, but clearer.

So, here I am in the new place. Surrounded by mountains, greenery and cold winds, I now know why Mother Nature is a slow but consistent healer. She doesn’t give you instant ointments. She does not cuddle you like human mothers do. She does not speak words made of cotton candies and cheese cakes. Rather, she watches you. Just watches you from beyond those mountains, from the corners of those hair pin bends and from above the thick canopy which is a clutter of lush green leaves on a seamlessly blue sky background. 

And, I seem to have unlimited conversations with Nature on a daily basis. Nothing compares to the calm while one sits and looks in wonder at a lush red mulberry worm with golden whiskers moving at its own pace on the green cloth that has been tied to mark the boundaries. That little head has its own agenda. And to move from position A to position C, it has taken about three days. My son has been marking the distance on a daily basis. On encountering each insect, he forces me to take a snap and instantly send it to his grandma (more a girlfriend). His conversations with her are mostly about how he saved a few moth flies heroically by letting them away from the fluorescent lights. A few aspects of his conversation also meander towards how the school here is stricter and, how the teachers and the principal forbid ‘talking in the class’, a luxury that was freely availed in the previous place. While the two generations talk about the many things under the Sun, I ponder deeply over how open we are to changing environments and scenarios……

Seasons are a beautiful means of letting us know that we cannot control everything. Never ever has been a weather prediction a hundred percent true. It is as if Mother Nature watches the movements of man up close. She allows him to make mistakes. She even deludes him into believing that he can reach a pinnacle and, can hold the power to sustain it or destroy it. She essentially leads him to believe that he could play God when the time is ripe. And that is her way of pushing the man towards everything hunky dory. One fine day, she just slides those layers of Earth under his shoes and, the fall from the height is more often a lingering echo of a defeat that gives a spicier after taste than what victories do. 
Talking of which, a sprained muscle in the back, which I assume must be a result of some twist is teaching me a lot about pain. Just like the son who is down with measles. A couple of days back, I was under severe stress with no clue about why the son had such a high fever and a sore throat that almost prevented him from swallowing anything. His tolerance to pain was what hit me in the gut. For a mother to keep a poker face in front of her child so that her fears do not pass on to the child, is anything but easy. Somehow, I managed. Took him to the doc at night and, the morning next day and, measles was confirmed. Adding to that, I suffered some kind of muscle spasm below my hip and now, sitting, standing, walking and sleeping reminds constantly why pain is a hard taskmaster! But then, life isn’t hard all the time too. In fact, even in such incredible pain, I derive the energy to keep my son engaged with useful stuff like reading stories, drawing and coloring and, making dinosaurs of different eras and, a lot more. And then, there are worries, though resting in the back of the head, resurface every time there is a phone call from home. It is not easy being so far away from parents who are aging. But then, I believe in the benevolence of supreme power. And I am sure, Mother Nature will help me out whenever I will ask for.
Coming back to limitations, I am still the same ‘socially awkward’ creature who is busy intimidating people with her stone silence on topics that do not interest her. The other day, a senior lady sitting next to me asked the one sitting next to her if I belonged to a serious kind. Her query was loud enough and, I was amused. The other lady to whom the question was posed looked at me and asked – “Are you the serious kind?” Smile is the best answer for many questions with no agenda. However, I wondered what made her think I wouldn’t answer that question myself. I do have a small nose but it is definitely not upturned. But somehow, I have grown to accept my own limitations in socialising with people. Given the etiquettes, I still religiously follow wishing those timely courtesies but beyond that, no – people do not have a free pass to get into my head. Or rather let me put it this way, the wall flower in me chooses who I wish to connect with. Sometimes, being guarded about oneself comes with its pros and cons, with the latter being more than the former. And, I have got used to the drill now. 
With every passing day, there are countless worries that erupt every now and then. But, I have been telling my heart lately that, I cannot worry over things that are beyond my control. And though the heart is an emotional and teary eyed angel, it has also learned to sync with the practicality of the mind. I wish the balance stays. 
I guess this is the end to the series – Disconnect to Connect. I totally enjoyed writing this as, this felt like unloading a huge amount of worries onto pages that shall have every emotion I have felt in the past few months. I am not sure if I am a calmer person. But, I have definitely trained myself a little bit to listening and understanding the energies around. As many a time, I have stressed about the pause factor, I have finally realized how crucial it is for life to be steered on a road of thorns and stones. Because, the noise shall never cease to exist. Opinions and advice shall flow for free. And despite all that cacophony, one needs to keep going on. No matter what. 
Because, everyone has his cross to bear. And, everyone shall walk his path alone till the end. 

Amen.

Some meandering bubbles….


When we took the much awaited road trip from West to East in Bumble Bee (post coming soon), I had a million thoughts race through my head the night before we started – “How shall the new place be?”, “Will I get the company of the tribe I seek?”, “Will life be any easy?”….. Most of the questions were clichéd. And then, when we hit the road in our Bumble Bee (a shining Moon Dust silver Ford Figo), all those thoughts diffused into sparseness and, the interspersing contours of every land we crossed called out loud to the explorer in me. And, my thoughts drifted to those pages I read a month before we left – Mother Nature has a way of cutting down rogue worries and thoughts.

Suddenly, the lush green patches, the quaint dhabas on the highway, clusters of mango trees spread across the farm lands, the broken bridges, unknown villages where we also got lost and, the many misty mornings and foggy evenings that greeted us during our four day travel intrigued me like never before.  Road trips are a revelation in themselves.

Driving down 2200 kms from Rajasthan to West Bengal was not a buttery affair. Twice we bungled up the maps and, got lost in state highways that took us on a tour through the tiniest and “off the map” villages with people from a different era. And after four days of heightened perspective, we reached our destination with the backdrop of Kanchenjaunga. Stand anywhere in this place and, the snow capped mountains peek from the ranges behind. Suddenly, all those primal worries of people and place dissipated and, I was enamoured with the new wave of euphoria called – Solitude. Not that, I did not experience it in the previous place. But this place was definitely closer to Mother Nature. After two weeks of limited exploring, I understood that pleasures of inhaling Nature’s aroma requires painful walking sessions given the spiralling roads. After two weeks, I feel I may have shrunk a bit but, definitely the hefty muscles down there are taking their own sweet time to embrace the pains of walking up and down the steep ramps! I am sure, they shall also get tamed to my ‘walk to explore’ agenda.

That said, we had an event here and, I was roped in as soon as I stepped in. The event was smooth. Thankfully, we have an excellent team here wherein, every member was as dedicated towards making the event a success. And, the way we have functioned in the past two weeks brings me to a crucial aspect of life – Team work. The reason I am penning a few cents on this word is, I have been lucky enough at least till now in getting a good team to work with. But then, that doesn’t rule out how a team with no directions and inflamed egos must feel. Because, I have had a taste of that too in the initial years. Team work – is a pet preach that escapes the lips like that water that flows seamlessly through the rocks. You cannot stop that preach either from your lips or, prevent your ears from hearing it. Either which way, it is a reminder, a stark reminder of how we become different from the normal and, how we embrace normalcy past the deviance. Human psychology is complex. Yet, the end goal stays the same, which is, either it is a success or, a failure!.

Long back, when I was assessing my own successes and failures in life, it dawned on me that –

Success is that covetable that we all run after as if there were no tomorrow. The drive towards locking it away in our closet is phenomenally insane. However, success is a flirtatious butterfly. And, it perhaps visits one not because that ‘one’ lured it but because there were a million ones behind that one who prepared the ambiance to invite it. In simple words, success can never belong to one person as a whole because, for a success to happen, the team of those few silent and many loud ones +s who were responsible in paving the road for us. And it is primarily why one cannot own success. No, success can never belong to one person. It always belongs to a team even if the team had some antagonising elements that provided the unavoidable friction in an otherwise cake walk uphill!

But failures! Failures, I tell you, are the wealth we earn individually for ourselves. No, we can never blame our failures on someone. We fail because somewhere we failed to look through what we presumed to be a flawless execution.

With time, there are many lessons that have to be unlearned. And of the many, there are always those that are simply clingy and won’t let go off. As in, getting reprimanded for something that was not one’s individual doing but, an outcome of a teamwork and, a team getting applauded for a victory that was genuinely one individual’s persistence are just two of the scenarios wherein, both name calling and fame spread across uneven terrains of struggles leading to harmony in some and, disgruntlement in others. It is these scenarios that are more or less that bubblegum that sticks to your foot no matter how hard you try to let go of it, which you must!

But that is difficult, right? Everyone wants sunshine for their cloth lines. And, everyone wants the elusive yet succulent leg piece too. Such is life. And, it is perhaps that want for the slice of recognition that goes overboard many a time, leaving a big hole for the mistrust to creep in. Mistrust – a dark sinister ‘shakuni’ that lingers in the background waits for the most vulnerable subject to latch on. And, when it does latch, its transformation from a guest to a parasite is ridiculously fast! And then, ensues the battle of “Who shines better” against “All must shine!”

Leaders, I believe are not made. It is not everyone’s cup of tea to lead a team. Because leading requires, giving chances and letting that faith take leaps. Not everyone carries that courage to do that. After all, a good leader never sees his team as his own competition. Rather, he makes sure that his team works itself in a way that it offers stiff competition to others. With such a person to lead, even a team exuding mediocrity shall ascend all levels of excellence.

While I witness insecurities, intrusiveness and idiosyncrasies around, I sit and ponder over – “is this worth any of the perks one feels is entitled to?”

Some days exude sunshine in abundance and on some days, the dark nimbus plays its fiddle. What matters is how we choose our reactions to the tune of the notes that destiny plays. And either way, there is a take away.

  • An experience to learn from

  • Or, an experience to unlearn. 

Disconnect to Connect ~ Part 9


What if unfiltered thoughts paraded as fearlessly as guarded words? That would be the day when freedom will be understood as a responsibility besides being enjoyed as a privilege. But then, will that freedom be good?

*********************Freedom to Chains*************************

Has it ever occurred to you how chained you are to an environment that sustains you? For instance, would you look squarely at your insane boss and, tell him that he is a cross between an ass and an ass****?  Or maybe, take away your child from a premier institution and, put him in a normal school to see him or her evolve with the masses naturally at his own pace?  Or just, travel solo to a new place and, rent a room in a hostel, spend time reading and knowing people in the place regardless of gender and, see how it works out for you? I guess, none of the aforementioned are the ‘ready, steady and go’ options. After all, we are chained. To devices. To people. To places. Worse, to our own rabid thoughts. No question can be answered without fearing the intangibles. Sigh..

chsh

Lately, I feel not only chained but also restrained when it comes to expressing my views candidly on any media. I have observed over a period of time that people seldom listen to what is being expressed. It is like you see an apple and slowly yet powerfully build an image of an orange and, superimpose it on the apple and, you declare – “No! It is an orange!” A counter view is like a lamb waiting to get itself thrown amidst a pack of wolves! Getting trolled is becoming a serious crime that is not being taken seriously as it should be. Sad, but true.

Talking about trolls, I recently came across an article by a woman who had written about why she doesn’t want her daughter to be influenced by the definition of beauty that is set by contests like Miss World and Miss Universe. Even to someone like me who attempts to first hear out the ‘other contradictory’ side of any conversation, this article sounded outrageous for two reasons – One, the author kind of butchered the hard work and dedication put by our new Miss World Manushi Chillar in about 1000 words. And two, she mentioned about helping her daughter know more about women like Madam Curie and Emma Lockhart. Now, I do not follow beauty contests for two reasons: One, With all due respect to the contestants, the subject does not inspire me and, I choose not to watch only because I have no interest in knowing about how women win beauty contests and two, I do not have the time to watch even a ten minute news given my work schedule that involves – work from home + tasks of a home maker. However, just because a particular subject doesn’t interest me, I will not demean it ever. Why? Because, I am not adequately enlightened about it to judge it. Even if I were, who gave me the right to judge anybody, for that matter? That said, the woman who wrote this piece got almost eaten up by a pack of mad frenzied women who declared her an imbecile parent with an ignoramus head. Hurtful it was, to read what she wrote. But, I was as hurt when I read the comments that followed. Acerbic is an understatement. Why does one have to tear the other person to shreds just because the said person said something stupid? Why? Why can’t people just choose what they read? Why, after all?

So, talking about anything in this world is bound to be scrutinized just the way the old granny across the street watches for worms in the fresh green organic peas that were delivered right from the farm at her doorstep. It is as if only intelligence, rather a measured intelligence has a place on earth and, rest all must be culled. So, is that freedom? I am not sure of that. It is selective right to appreciating freedom only when it fits like hallow for a certain alignment of thoughts.

So, you cannot make a stupid statement without getting poked, cut and bled on social media. And then, stupidity is relative as much as intelligence is. What may appear stupid to you may appear as a seed of a revolution for someone else out there. The same goes for “I follow this” versus “I follow that”. Like dunking oneself into a well prepared meat dish would be a ‘heaven came down on earth’ moment for a carnivore and, a scene of barbaric violence to a vegetarian. The battle between vegetarians and non vegetarians is, needless to say, an ugly one. And, the amount of hate that it spews is better left untold. And just when you thought vegetarians are ‘humane’, vegans came and displaced the former’s sense of ‘righteousness’ and, carnivores went back happily to munching pork cracklings and grilled beacon. They say, the food we eat defines who we are. I DON’T agree a bit with that. I have seen more compassionate non vegetarians with a golden heart than vegetarians who are filled with absolute contempt and arrogance for everything and everyone! Well, the bickering never ends. And, this is just one of the many I feel slighted about. So, where is the freedom of expression in its truest sense?

Like a child trying to fix a square in a circle is already labelled slow and poor and, that is exactly how the world judges. Superficially. Because the world would have predictably failed to see the three dimensional imagery of a home resting on the protrusion of a cliff overlooking pristine blue waters and, facing the rising Sun, painted by the same child.

Anyways, let me come back to why I started to write this post. So, I mentioned something about being chained, rather shackled by ‘What will the world say?’, ‘Am I doing it right?’, ‘What should I do to be recognized?’ and what not! It is as if – good things can happen only in absence of people. Because, the moment you talk about good dreams, good things – the first instinct of people is to pass it on to unknown people and, ruin it. So, it takes an enormous amount of self control to not let the thoughts out unfiltered. Of late, a small freedom of expression attracts a zombie of trolls that shred every ounce of dignity with no remorse. And this is exactly why I don’t discuss issues on virtual media where no issue is understood but, shall be debated with uglier than ugly words and actions.

And, it brings me back again to the concept of chains. Chains of expectations, shackles of pressures and stressful dilemmas do not leave much space for anything creative to bloom. As much as modern day parenting is evolving under the influence of “how to raise the child without spanking and admonishing?”, “Ten ways to engage your hyperactive toddler” and “ways to understand why a child does what he does” et al, it is becoming extremely claustrophobic for children who are confused as to why their parents are chained to devices that tell them how to raise children. Even Bill Gates and Steve Jobs did not let their kids get too pally with their own creations. But, we people are masses that are enthralled with “get, set and go!” structure that is slowly making us forget what it is to go to a bank and open an FD or, go to a grocery store and ask about the prices of everything we want from a pin to a pan! Essentially, we are losing out on basic skills of survival by depending on devices with no semblance of the possibility – “What if Internet crashes one day?”

It is a very scary thought, if you have done some reading on cloudburst in the virtual world. However, I would reserve this topic for another day. Cut back to how we are dependent on the Internet is indeed some kind of a disease that we seem to have started hosting by choice. Only, the extent of dependence is variable. Except for the tribes that live in forests and, continue to live regally in the realm of their own traditions and culture (no matter how misogynistic and patriarchal some of them are) and, people of yester generations who are more inclined towards leading a sedentary life with no complications, we are all chained to a dangerous world that leaves no doors to leave. If you have checked the recent settings of FaceBook, you would know there is no option to delete an account with NO condition. Ok, let me explain further. You can delete the account only after you have clarified that it shall be deleted after your death. In an alternative scenario, you may continue your legacy by choosing a close friend/relative who can memorialize your account after your demise (God forbid). Now, isn’t that disturbing? You can only deactivate your FB account with NO condition, which you can reactivate again when you get addicted again. However, you CANNOT delete it without clicking on “Delete After Death” button! How many of you even read that?

I love FB. You can say, I am addicted to it. I love the beautiful and inspirational quotes that it floods me with, every day connecting me to like minded people who feel exactly how I feel about many things in life. And, I shall be ever grateful to this media for that. Having said that, I also know that if I ever want to lead a life away from the world, away from people and away from sundry that intrusively dictates on how I must lead my life, I would have to let go of this drug, the very drug that let me play with words in ways I never imagined. But, today is not that day. Neither shall be tomorrow. Nor, the near future. But some day, yes.

Penultimate post alert: 

When I began writing the series – ‘Disconnect to Connect’, I have started to understand to an extent as to why we are the way we are. There was a time when my mind got louder with every passing day with my tongue turning into an angry recluse alongside. However, a loud mind with no vent is like a bubble of pain, about to burst. And, this bubble has to be diffused. And, that is how the series began. With this post – I am reaching the penultimate count in the row of ten, wherein all the zig zags in my headspace are now leading me physically to a place I hope to enjoy and love. And, the ultimate post of this series shall take birth in the new place.

Till then, my dear readers – “Stay in good health. Be nice to people. Be kind to people. Essentially, listen to what is being said instead of trying to visualize an orange as an apple. Because, an apple will remain an apple. An orange will remain an orange. Come what may!”

P.S:

Dear Manushi Chillar,

You have done India proud and, I totally loved the way you talked about the highest paid job – that of being a mother. I caught a glimpse of your answer on that two minute news and, I did not watch anything before that, rather I wasn’t even aware of your existence. But, your answer has invoked a deep respect within for you. And, I would be even more impressed as a fellow woman when you complete your medical school as you have said. 

 

Cocoons to Butterflies, A rumble strip!


I am, at present, snuggling under comfy sheets in a nice hotel in a smog filled city where the hubby has come for his office work. The son and I have accompanied him (as faujis do not have the luxury of spending every day with the family through the year). So yes, this one week (until Saturday) is surely a blissful getaway for me. No household chores, no homework sessions (although I have got work for the son to do, but I wasn’t really going to make him study here, was I?) and no social engagements in the station. This is bliss! Bliss because I am in a space where I can write whenever I want, wherever I want and whatever I want to. And also because, we are spending quality time as a family in the evenings (something which we don’t get to do often).

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So, today I came across a very interesting post by a soul sister as she pointed out how the current generation of kids are absolutely pampered and inept. She further mentioned about the air conditioned class rooms, kids not knowing how to cover their books and a lot more about the ‘ready to use’ culture. And boy, she is so right! I have to agree with every word she let.

Both of us, being the products of 80’s are modern day parents. But, we kind of realized how far we have left the age old parenting means behind. There was a time when vacations were supposed to be refueling stations for recharging our batteries, learning about  importance of families and relationships, learning kitchen tricks from grannies and aunts, playing board games with grandfathers and uncles, visiting new places etc… Today however, vacations are meant to be exotic and they are meant to be getaways, away from our own people so that we can post about it on Instagram! Worse, the very vacations that we took by train in sleeper class in our childhood, undergoing all that humid wafts of monsoon airs gleefully are now looked down upon. I have observed how kids feel when such discussions crop up. It is as if flights earn you more brownie points among peers who travel by trains. It is real, people. The struggle to find a ‘status’ is real among kids.

So, today we speak of air conditioned classrooms, air conditioned cars and exotic vacations. Things we assume our dreams are made of. Are they?

Meanwhile, I see a pattern in my extended family too. While the cousins of our age had a humble upbringing, they fail to follow the same for their own children. For instance, lavish birthday parties, exotic getaways and, too many outfits for one child seem to be the norm. It is here, I am suddenly reminded of the many beautiful moments my mum shared with me about her childhood.

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The lost era!

My mum speaks very fondly of her father – my maternal grandfather Mr. VenkataSubramanian Iyer. She has been a daddy’s girl through out and, despite having lost him immediately after her marriage, her eyes well up even today as a granny herself , every time she speaks about him. It is as if her best memories of her life have been only around her father. She recants how my tatha owned just a pair of shirts and pants for a decade and more so that he could save enough for the family. And, he used to wash his clothes everyday, dry them without a crease and then, iron them with a hot vessel filled with steaming water (the old time ironing means when an iron box was not exactly a luxury)

His teachings that have been carved in my mum’s memories include:

kandhaiyanalum kasakki kattu – Even if your clothes are old and faded, wash them before you wear them!

Koozhanalum kulithu kudi – Even if your meal is very simple, make sure you are clean before you sit down to eat.

Seivana tirunde sei – Whatever you do, do with absolute devotion!

My mum follows these life lessons to the teeth. When I see her connection with my tatha, I truly know why a father daughter bond is so so special. My mum grew up in a joint family. Besides her three siblings (my two uncles and one aunt), the family comprised of her grandparents, her uncle and aunt with their four children and, also one of mum’s aunts (my tatha’s sister) whose husband had disappeared for while. So, it was indeed a huge family with its spicy share of drama, emotions and a lot of love and care. My tatha who was the eldest and, perhaps the proverbial epitome of unquestionable obedience towards his parents, gave his entire salary for the family. Therefore, there were many things my mum and her siblings were deprived of in their growing years. My mum recalls the heartaches she felt when the cousins would have ice creams from outside and my grandmother would eyeball mum and her siblings – “Don’t look up like that when someone is eating!” And, my tatha would pat my mum on her head and explain – “Some day, I will get you all that you want. Someday, I will take you all out just like your cousins are getting to do. Some day, my darling. But that some day is not today. Have faith. Our times to enjoy all that will come too. But, for now, let’s enjoy what we have, right?”

When my tatha built an independent home, my paati moved in with the four children that comprised of my two uncles, my younger aunt and my mum. And, as promised my grandparents ensured that mum and her siblings got ice creams on every Friday. The children had hit the teens. However, they had transformed into beautifully adjusting adults understanding what their parents were doing for them.

My mum explained how adjusting in an environment with the faith that things will turn around comes with raw courage. And it is here, she regales me with the role of my grandmother – Kalyani Paati (who I miss even today). Kalyani paati came from a rich and influential family. Her father was a banker with Lloyds at the time. So, when paati married my tatha in a traditionally arranged ‘stars meet stars’ marriage, she found herself in an environment radically opposite to her Maika. It was a life that began with tough adjustments. But those adjustments became trivial as my tatha was a very loving husband who loved his wife 12 years his junior with all his heart and soul.

I have heard from people how my paati emerged strong post my tatha’s untimely demise, determined to give a good life to the other three siblings of my mother (as mum had got married then). Perhaps, it was my mum who noticed how my paati would shut herself in the bedroom and cry silently for hours, wetting the pillows. Those were tears that never  left that room lest the children’s morale got affected. My tatha paati raised four children, took care of their parents and, lived a life of simple living – high thinking and, importantly left a fortune to their children so that the children and their children have a good life. They may not have led a luxurious lifestyle. But, they left the world with absolute satisfaction that they had raised good human beings. Now, isn’t that the best feeling for parents when they know that their children have done well for themselves and that, they are financially independent and, can take falls with grace no matter what? How confident are modern day parents on that aspect? The question is frighteningly difficult to answer.

Sometimes, when I sit with my mum, I ask her again and again about my tatha-paati (her parents), her tatha-paati (her grandparents) and, the many hilarious chronicles as were passed to her from the storyteller of her grandma and much more. I did not have the privilege of knowing her grandies or mine, except I was lucky to know my Kalyani Paati until she joined the stars above when I was in ninth grade. So, whatever I hear of them, brings me closer to their souls and, I wonder if my grandparents and their parents feel what I feel, like – “Do they miss knowing me as much as I miss knowing them?” or, “How would they have reacted when they would have seen me as a mother?” or perhaps, “What all have I missed learning from them?” et al. (I almost choke as I write this. It is as if they are hearing me. Only that I cannot see them.)

It is said that my tatha’s mum that is, my mum’s paternal grandma was a Math genius and, she never went to school. My mum recalls how she solved algebraic equations and riders but, since she never went to school, she could never explain how she did it. And, she aced aadu-puli attam like a pro and, was perhaps the greatest story teller of her time. My mum, who was one of the few grandchildren who adored her (my great granny was quite a firebrand who ran the household with an uncanny nerve and, handled finances very well), probably inherited her Math loving persona from her granny. All of the experiences my mum shares from her childhood with me, I gather that raising good children and making sure that they turn good does NOT stem from the fact on what parents provide children with. It stems from the fact on how parents let children be unapologetic-ally themselves with comfort of kind words and timely understanding even when the world around tries to seduce them in becoming one among the crowd.

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The thrill in spending trumps the question WHY

As parents, we are drawn towards fulfilling materialistic desires. When kids place a demand, we instantly gear up on how to fulfill the demand. Seriously, how many of us  analyze before fulfilling the demand. We comply.  Almost instantly. Why? Only because we can afford to. We have the money. Damn! Why can’t we spend it?

My husband who has had an extremely rough and tough childhood, with my mother in law passing away at an early age of 38, when he had just turned eleven years old, understood quite early in life that there was a crucial difference between needs and desires. For him, it was a game of survival in his formative years especially when my father in law slipped into depression post my MIL’s demise and, did not go for his job for two years almost leaving his elder son to fend for himself.  (My BIL grew up in a Ved Pathshala down south, getting ready to take up the profession of Brahmins) Those were the toughest times for the husband who was not only dealing with a harsh world outside his home but, at the same was also struggling to understand a father who could not could not tell a dream from reality at the time. Later, times improved when my FIL recovered from the depression and joined work again. But that phase can neither be forgotten by the husband, nor my FIL, nor the neighborhood that witnessed helplessly the four years of darkness that loomed large for the men.

So, my husband’s understanding of the difference between needs and desires was far deeper and clearer, unlike mine. Given that I was raised in a rather luxurious environment with a big home, a garden, a car, a bike and good schooling in a convent, I was oblivious to real struggles faced by people on a day to day basis. So, let’s say our marriage was an enlightenment for me at many levels. Ours is a love marriage. While many in the extended family raised concerns over my decision marrying into a home that was deprived of a female presence for almost fifteen years, my parents knew their parenting has not gone wrong at all because while people pray for good son-in-laws, my parents got more – the Universe gave them a son!

And, how I adjusted in a small home (500 sq feet home) post marriage and, how beautifully my husband adjusted to my idiosyncrasies then, one of which included my poor home keeping skills appended by my tendency to splurge every now and then, is a story that I shall be writing soon about, in near future. So, after seven plus years of marital life (the package now with an adorable son included), preceded by a humble upbringing in an upper class neighborhood during my growing years, I have finally understood why understanding the difference between needs and desires is crucial while we play the role of parents.

Fan is a need but, an air conditioner is a desire.

A ball pen is a need. A Parker is a desire.

Vaseline is a need. A Mac Lipstick be a desire.

Titan is a need and, Edifice be a desire.

Hashback cars be your needs and, Mercedes be your desires.

Comforts are desires. But, companionship is a need.

So, if our kids are unable to differentiate between needs and desires, then as parents, we ourselves are failing somewhere crucially. Without a doubt, we all are doing better financially than what our parents did way back. And yet, our grand parents and parents made fortune better than us. Why? Low cost of living is NOT the only reason. Their understanding of needs and desires was as clear as crystal. They would not spend a penny more on what they felt was not worth a long time. Rather, they spent good money on festivals, families and good food, each of which is needed to sustain good mental and physical health.

Apparently, as adults today, our priorities are reigned by desires. Worse, we fear the flirtatious nature of money. What if the comforts leave us one day, even without a goodbye? Money has always been a butterfly. It rarely stays with one for long. It is like a river. No wonder, we call it currency, right? And, time is another conniving partner of fortune. It only takes an erratic turn in time for someone to go from riches to rags or, from rags to riches! As adults, most of us live in that fear subconsciously. We do not talk about it loud. But, we do harness it and, so give in to many investments like SIPs, mutual funds, real estate et al here and there, while the splurge takes its own course of action from the other hand in terms of shop-aholism, binge drinking and, show off of fortunes! So, how can we blame our children when, we ourselves are chained by our fears of being unapologetic-ally ourselves – the simple beings that came from simple families eating simple food, wearing simple clothes and leading simple lives?

We do not live in peace. We live in constant fear of failures. And that is exactly what is stopping our children from breaking free from their cocoons.

While we believe in freedom in parenting, most of us fail to understand that we are giving a hard time to our wards by not letting them be impenitently themselves while we push them into being perfect, ideal and competitive, without realizing that the word genius springs from Mother Nature’s palette where the oceans are not only rogue and unpalatable but, are also unrestrained and fearless. No two trees grow with the same patterns even if they are from the same family. No two rivers flow in the same direction. But, our reptilian brains cull our intent to understand this truth, a universal truth.

Today, we feel obligated to provide our children with almost everything. However, we are overlooking the ‘if’s’ and ‘buts’ that are nefariously hidden inside the knuckles of destiny. Failures, storms, curve balls hurled by time change a lot of junctions in our journey of life. Are we preparing our children to understand that? After all, comforts are merely tentacles of desires that continue to grow like weeds and that, there is no end to satisfying them. Are we anywhere close to making our children understand the importance of sustenance in a limited pay?

It is difficult but not impossible to lead a frugal lifestyle despite having the fortune to splurge. Fortunately, I have been raised in a state that has more rich people, many of who I know live a parsimonious life. While I have seen and understood class in the richer than rich acquaintances in my hometown, I have also seen in other closer circles (among close relatives and friends) where money and status is flaunted as class. And, my hometown, not a big city but with a big heart taught me just this –

Class is how you treat people regardless of what they have or not. And, it goes notches higher when you add kindness to it.

If we want our children to understand self dependence, humility and simplicity, we have to take the first step and that is, Stop preaching and start acting. Like my dad reminds me every now and then – “Preaching is the biggest bane of human existence. You want your kid to do something, don’t tell the kid. You do. He will watch. He will do. That is it. That is all to it.”

That explains everything. Pretty much. Right?

aa

 

Contempt is more dangerous than silence.


Recently Harvey Weinstein got a taste of how power play comes with a payback clause.  Accused of sexual abuse, molestation, power mongering and all vices against women, the disgraced Hollywood mogul is on his way down, down from grace!

For people who do not know Harvey Weinstein, this is the link. And, you must be aware of #MeToo. Apparently, this guy is the reason why this hashtag has been busy rolling out the skeletons out of closets in such a magnitude. Many renowned Hollywood actresses like Angelina Jolie, Alyssa Milano and Gwyneth Paltrow have come up with strong allegations of sexual abuse against Harvey. While I was scouring through articles on this subject, I was shocked by the comment section. Rather, I was aghast. Why? Because a large section called these women cowards and that, they could have spoken about this way early, saving other prospective victims in the process.

Now, I would NOT call them cowards. And surely, they are no saints. But, blaming them is NOT a wise thing to do, at least at this point in time when things have happened and, there is no way they can be undone. Talking about silence of these women while the same was happening to many women around, it is not an easy open and shut subject of question. Even renowned Italian director Dario Argento’s daughter Asia Argento was not spared.

Countless men and women approach the field of art to pursue their dreams. Many have had to ‘compromise’ either out of choice or compulsion, to ascend the ladder that led to their goals. Many still do. Apparently, they continue to do a lot of damage to themselves in the process. Unfortunately, many keep their lips sealed as they don’t want to talk about it. Even the doe eyed Rekha had a horrible taste of testosterone filled chauvinism at the tender age of 15, when she was kissed forcibly by her co actor Biswajeet and, the director refused to say a cut. Worse, the entire crew cheered the act! Were these perpetrators even closely reprimanded? No! But, the actress was branded a sex kitten and later, a home wrecker! Is it surprising? Not then. And, not now. Sadly.

In the West, French actress Maria Schneider was 19 when she starred in the 1972 French Italian film – Last Tango in Paris and, was a part of a scene she wasn’t completely aware of, a scene of a sexual assault. Needless to say, the actress felt not only violated but also did not get an ounce of apology from neither her co star not the director. Frankly, I lost every bit of respect for Marlon Brando (although he is no more) and, I find it so difficult to believe that the same man played such an enigmatic role in the movie – The Godfather!

And, the question pops up for the women– “Does their silence make them bad women, accomplices worse?”

We will come to that part later.

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metoo

You are not alone!

Cut back to present, my FaceBook was flooded with posts from friends who shared #MeToo with the intent of showing solidarity in standing up against abuse. A major section of people joined in, applauded the act and also, joined in saying that such acts will never be tolerated henceforth. And, a small section came up annoyed at the publicity this hashtag was receiving. A few felt, nothing productive comes from such hashtags and that, women who suffer abuse and join the #MeToo brigade years after abuse are doing nothing but lamenting on their past or worse, garnering attention. Fighting back there and then would have been more productive.

I agree with this crowd but only on the last line. Only on the last line that – Fighting back at that instant is a productive thing to do. Rest, I don’t associate with branding women, especially those who underwent such abuse and were silent during the crimes that happened later. Now, I am NOT an advocate for silence, especially when you have a choice to do something about an issue but you choose not to. However, talking about women who endured abuse while ascending the ladder in Cinema, is contentious. For many successful actresses out there, who have made it big because of their sheer acting prowess, to have undergone these phases would have been the most agonizing moments of their lives, something which they endured unwillingly to reach their goals. It is mighty possible that quitting the industry, killing their dreams and going back to lives they do not understand was not what they believed, they deserved at the time.

Like, Jamie Curtis put it bluntly – “Did I ask for it? I asked for a job. What came along with the job was sexual harassment!”

How many people actually get this statement? Read it and it is simple to understand that no man or woman asks for it, unless he or she is damaged goods suffering from Stockholm’s syndrome!

So, should victims be blamed for suffering the ordeal?

Should they be targeted for silence when, they were battling a war against those who could squish them like houseflies?

Should victims be harassed for speaking up? Then or, now hardly matters for someone who has been through hell and back!

Why did these women endure what they did? 

Frankly, WE ARE NO ONE TO JUDGE THAT!

And, I have great respect each one of those men and women who have come out and spoken about their ordeal in the past few weeks. They at least did now. And people, you need to be more kind. Appreciate these people for sharing their experiences now. Had it not been for such a collective voice of such magnitude, predators like Harvey would have stayed around abusing more victims till he kicked the bucket!

#MeToo has helped if not in a major way, but in a small way. And, any small step towards progress is a large leap! Beginnings are difficult, after all.

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#MeToo

Now, let’s talk about reality. How many times do we really give it back when we encounter such situations? I remember an incident when I was in twelfth grade. I used to stand at the stop at 7 AM in the morning, waiting for the School Tata Sumo to come and pick me up. And, around that time, a guy who used to go to office would walk past me. No, he did not touch me or even say a word. But, he did something that left me deeply disturbed. He would simply stare at me, scanning every bit of me from head to foot. He would throw that lust filled dirty stare till he crossed the street. That was the first time in my life I felt violated without even being touched! Initially, I thought I was overreacting and that, I must learn to ignore it. A week later, I felt miserable and finally confided in my mum. She accompanied me for a couple of days thereafter.

The guy would not even turn his face towards me thereafter. However, I asked my mum – “What if he does it again? You can’t possibly leave me at the stop every day.” And, she candidly replied – “What do you do when you see a stray dog lurking around you, creating a nuisance value? You pick up a stone and aim at it. And, even if you do not throw the stone, it is bound to sense your dilemma – to throw or not to! So, just hurl the stone! And, women have a high pitched voice not just to sing, but to scream at people too. Use it.” In subsequent weeks, I gathered courage and, pretended to be brave by doing an amateurish juggler’s act with stones, while I was trembling within. The pretension worked. The man never looked at me again. Later, my stop changed and, I got rid of the nuisance value. The Universe helped me too, I guess.

The second incident happened when I was in Pune, working with an IT firm. While my friend and I were travelling back to our home by the state bus, I could see a guy filming us on his phone. Given my non confronting nature, I was squirming in my seat until my roommate got up, walked up to the guy and whacked him hard. No one intervened. However, the perpetrator was a bit shocked seeing the dangly girl eyeball him and, hurl profanities! That day my friend enlightened me with these lines – “Narayani! Hume apna dhayan khud hi rakhna hai. Koi ni ayega apni ifazat karne! Samjhi!” 

I am no Beatrix Kiddo or Bholi Punjaban to invoke fear in people. Maybe it is my innate nature to NOT indulge in fights or, ‘giving it back’. Human nature is different for each. Besides, my upbringing has been actually full of sunshines and butterflies, another reason why I was quite rudely shocked by the devilry happening in cities. Not everyone gets the impulse to do the right thing at the right time. But with time, I have found what I can do with my instincts given that I do have powerful instincts about people I meet. I have gradually understood the power of being attentive to energies around. After all, broken adults cannot be repaired and, unlike how rabid dogs are culled, broken adults can’t. Therefore, paying attention to surroundings as much as we do to ourselves helps one keep the guard on, all the time.

While I blog about issues I never spoke of before, I am reminded of yet another incident that happened in the year 2007 when I overheard  a conversation (not deliberately) while I was in the loo. A girl in the next, was sobbing incessantly about the ‘ordeal’ her manager was putting her through. I never got to see her as she left before me. I never divulged about it to anyone, not even to my best friend. But, that conversation did make me realize two things:

One, that You cannot fight this tentacle system, a lone ranger without getting shredded! The least you can do is maybe, post about it on social media, gather likes from like minded people, sign petitions and maybe that is it. The storm that stirred up diffuses as quickly as it came. 

and Two, It is not easy for someone who has climbed the ladder on sheer hard work only to throw it all away because the system is exactly supporting the perpetrators

The point is, fighting evil is simple only on paper. On ground, it is war.

Read – IT. IS. WAR.

It is a war that consumes all of your energy leaving little for you to look forward to. Given the way, our judiciaries provide justice, no one wants to fall in the maze of this battlefield where, the evil seems to triumph all the time. No one wants to get old spending a major part of life and energy fighting legal battles. Whether or not, you agree on it, it is the truth this world lives. A very sad truth indeed.

It is easy for people to advise affected ones – “Fight back!” But, it is extremely difficult for the same people to understand the context of these situations. Each of the survivors are silently enduring scars within. Some of them endure because their lives are interwoven with intangibles that the world is barely aware of. At least, the educated class has the benefit of knowing the lesser suitable options to work out. But, what about those domestic helps that are harassed by the saabs and their memsaabs? The sad part is, they cannot even throw away their jobs, especially when they are the only earning members in the family. And, to engage in legal battles is absolutely out of question for them, especially when their goal for each day is getting the food on table, paying bills and fees and, getting a good night’s rest to work for the next day in good health.

The world is complicated, my friend. Solutions to problems are not written in black and white. And, arm chairing solutions for people whose lives are not being lived by us, from laptop and smart phones is hardly a progressive thing to do. Rather, we can begin with some empathy first!

While we talk about the successful women tribe, the rhetorical – “Why do people tolerate devilry for unaffordable luxuries?”, we shall come back to this question at a later point.

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The monster called BLAME!

Making relations is a very strong urge. Man is a social animal after all. Join a new workplace and you would know that more than the work, it is the people who make you want to work or not in that place. And, most of us give in to that urge only to realize that some of the relations turned out exactly how you did not anticipate. Sometimes, things go awry for a few when they undergo worse – sexual abuse/harassment/emotional blackmail et al. Who is to blame? – is the first question.

Why do we seek something/someone to blame? Why?

This is exactly where we humans make the biggest error in life. This question is bull shit! Instead of finding the point/reason of blame, why not do something constructive at that point as in how to tackle the situation in hand and, how to prevent such from happening in future? Dwelling in self pity and ‘damsel in distress’ mode makes things worse because we are chained by an archaic society that feels women lure men into doing wrong things to them. No, not just us, it is the whole world. Even America has its Wild Wild West, where you do find that women are not treated any different and, in some cases, far worse. So, that is not at all something that should surprise the world. What must indeed, is the contempt for voices that speak of a wrong done to them in the past or in the present. So, this is exactly where restraint in action does the damage. Perpetrators of crime get a free hand in vandalizing humanity because the bystanders do not want to get involved in clearing the cesspool which has an absolute chance of mucking up their worlds too!

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Now, let’s reiterate through those questions on women who have suffered abuse and remained silent.

“Does their silence make them bad women, accomplices worse?”

“Is success so important in life that you end up burning yourself to get there?”

No. Silence doesn’t make them bad women. Sometimes, a bad time or a bad circumstance forces a person to take bad decisions. And, bad decisions don’t make people bad!

Answer to the second, the definition of success is different for each one of us. So again, a goal post for each has a different path. After all, we are all nothing but the choices we make in life! Just that, no one asks for the dark side. It just tags along because, the world has more wolves in sheep’s clothing than sheep dogs.

We are nothing but the choices we make in life.

This is exactly what we are. At the fag end of our lives, what is it that we yearn for, the most? Comforts of life or, Companionship? Ideally, we crave for both. But there is one of the two that we want more in initial years because comforts in life are often reigned by greed. While companionship doesn’t see comfort as a threat, comfort unfortunately views companionship as one!

We all have our choices. Not all choices we make are going to make us happy. Not all choices we make are going to make us successful. But, if a choice stems from fear or lack of courage, then the choice shall surely come with burns and scars. There is no other way but to deal with it in a way that it helps the self and the others to steer away clear through rough patches in life. Because, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how many scars and burns one carries or how many mistakes one made in life. What matters is the intent to do the right thing sooner or later. What matters is the verve to walk the extra mile despite shortcuts trying to seduce you at every U turn. What matters is the courage of conviction to speak up if not for yourself but for someone who is going through a trauma you underwent. And, that is exactly what matters.

After all, people who have been to hell and back will never preach about high heavens. Never.

hh