‘Give me a magic wand and I will…..’


This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

Give me a magic wand and I will….. bring the Jurassic world back to life!’

So, when BlogAdda came up with this interesting WOW prompt, I was glad considering the myriad wishes I could come up with in writing. However, a few minutes of pondering left me with absolutely no words. And, I gathered….writing on seemingly simple topics is more difficult than writing a research article..

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“How to begin a post?”, “How to headline?”, “ How to bring out the best of one’s thoughts?” are the Q’s that plague my head space when an interesting topic comes my way. And just look at the cue – “Give me a magic wand and I will…..” It is such a happy question that brings along such wishful answers. Had I been asked this a few years back, I would have demanded a genie in the split second of the time my eyelashes meet each other.

Well, the happy thought quickly entailed a plethora of doubts –

“A genie that would do just house keeping, perhaps….”,

“Can I trust the genie with taking care of my family?”,

“What if it goes rogue?” (My worst fear!)

It took me a couple of years to understand that human greed clubbed with doubts is as high as the sky and, as wide as the milky way. And, like a typical Indian homemaker, I might end up demoralizing the genie that the work could have been better without its contribution. So, I did not get a genie I wished for years back. Rather, I transformed into one – the feisty home maker. I did everything a home maker does, but at a slow and steady pace. There would be days when the home resembled a museum and, there would be days when people would have mistaken it for a birdhouse. And yet, all those moments of taking care of home, family and additionally, work from home (freelancing) made me realize how lucky I am, to be the genie of my life. The reason that I had absolute control over my home and my life, regardless of the chaotic manner in which it happened, gave me the peace of mind I needed. Had by the faintest brush of magic, a genie entered my life, I would have probably transformed into a fossil given that there would be nothing I would be motivated to do in life beyond the basic needs. After all, there is the genie.

Now, that I mentioned about a fossil, I remember my son’s fascination with the Jurassic era. And, I feel the answer to this wishful question is best answered by a child whose imagination is burning bright with countless possibilities of magic.

So, this was a small conversation between my son Arjun and I, that happened today.

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Me: “Arjun, what would you do if you wished for a magic wand and, you got it?”

A: “Why do you ask?”

Me: “I have to blog about a topic and the cue for it is this – “Give me a magic wand and, I will…“. I thought I will take your help. You will help me, right?”

A: “Blog is what you do on that laptop? Tapping the keys and, the words appear on the screen?”

Me: “Exactly! The same” (In Tamil, “Adhe!”)

A:hmm….So, what is a magic wand?” (Clarity first! I like it, son!)

Me: “Magic wand is a tool of magic that fairies use. They swish them with your wish and, your wish comes true. Just like the one from the story of Cindrella.”

A: “aaah! That is interesting.”

Me: “So….what have you thought? What will you do if you get a magic wand?”

A:Give me a magic wand and I will.……bring the Jurassic world back to life!

Me: (I should have know this was coming. Having watched every part of Jurassic series with rapt attention, my son has deduced that the ‘painfully wronged’ dinosaurs should be brought back to life.) “But seriously, why dinosaurs?”

A: “I like them, mum! I want them back! And then, I will raise baby dinos just like Sid in Ice Age 3 does. They are so cute!”

The conversation was not a spurt that happened in a day. Ever since my son watched the first movie – The Jurassic Park, Richard Attenborough’s research clubbed with Jeff Goldblum’s hesitancy over the entire plan of recreating Jurassic world, it created a soft corner for these fossil-ed reptiles in my son’s mind. The ending of the movie was exactly what he wished for, especially the scene wherein the banner of Jurassic park falls across the good T-Rex towards the end. For him, the ending felt like magic – The reptile had survived the acid tests of human times!

A few weeks before, I had given my son some work in Maths. And, I had dozed off since the cough and cold got to both due to traveling. For me, sleep was a need. And for the son, no sleep was a need. After an hour, when I woke up, I saw something that made me first angry and then, happy. Angry, because he had conveniently ditched the work I gave him. Happy, because he created this….

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Moments later, I had posted about it on FaceBook. And, I don’t mind sharing what I wrote that day:

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Can there be a more potent magic wand than a child’s imagination?

Dear son! You don’t need a magic wand. You already have it. And, it is called Imagination. Keep it alive even as the world of humans would try to kill it. And that, my son is your test, the test you actually need to pass and come out with flying colors! And, I am sure you will! God bless 🙂

 

Battling the demons. The fight is on.


I have been a strong believer in optimism. Certain incidents in life made me see the power in optimism. Although, the same incidents have also scarred me in an indelible way. Despite my countless shares on how optimism is a great food for soul, I too am bothered at times. Just because I share a lot of good anecdotes from my life, it does not mean I am free from pessimism. And, when I talk about negativity, it does not concern others but, myself. This storm of negativity comes in the form of panic attacks, anxiety, ennui, a feeling of going no where, and some times, feeling the emptiness when there is nothing more creative left to do. Yes, there are such cloudy days too amidst the dollops of sunshine moments. It is on those days especially, I crave for the Sun to come out of hiding and tell me –“Hey! Everything is going to be fine! After all, you are my baby sunshine!” There have been countless monologues between me and the celestial bodies while I was growing up. Yes, those were the monologues I could hear myself as much as the Sun, the Moon and the stars and all the existing planets could hear me. And I thought, I couldn’t hear them…..

But that is not what triggered me to write this post which is a cross between the rant and the vent. And, venting does a better job than ranting. Doesn’t it?

Off late, I have been going in and out of “I don’t know what is wrong with me” syndrome. Not that I am turning into a off-putting person, but I do get the strong urge to run away from reality rather than facing it. Especially when health issues crop up, panic attacks return reminding me of some terrible times I had in the past. And then, I look at the surroundings, the plants, the trees, the insects, the strays, the simians, the birds and all the normal happenings that make the everyday grind. All are perishables. But they are living the life they have been gifted with. And, so should I – says Mother Nature. And, when I look at my parents, I am awestruck! Both have countless health issues but, they are so driven by their duties and work routine that they barely get time to worry. So, am I as busy as them? Perhaps, no. But, am I as busy as I should be. Yes, I am. If yes, why am I not relaxed? That is perhaps because I have created a 100 horrible scenarios in my head and, am constantly worrying about them.

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Worry – it is a hurdle I stumble across quite often. It is quite difficult to explain my state of mind to someone who could probably advise me on how to lead a healthy life, how to be free of negative thoughts and how to keep oneself busy. The point is, I am busier than busy! I can’t catch enough time for myself. I do the household chores like mopping the floors, cleaning the kitchen, working from home (full time), taking care of son’s studies and, my own too (off late, my study part has gone for a toss).Dawn quickly becomes noon, noon quickly becomes dusk and, dusk becomes night in the blink of an eye. And, I am like a busy bee trying to find a chunk of my time to de clutter my thoughts. If someone were to ask my schedule, it is insane. It has been a while since I spoke to someone on phone. And, I turn to social networking not because I have time, but because I want to gather those tiny inconspicuous words of wisdom left like bread crumbs by people I know and, know not. Yes, I need to read. And importantly, I need to write, besides my professional writing gig.

On certain days, I dread if my work gets over quickly! Because, the moment it does, the stark reminder of how I have and had let my health fail me makes me feel miserable. It is also strange that I don’t like meeting people a lot these days. Maybe, I am seeking frequencies that are difficult to find. Should I tune my frequencies? No, I am not willing to. Something in my nature doesn’t allow it. I cannot pin point what it is. But whatever that is, I am sure, has more often than not, saved me from a plethora of Pandora boxes I have intentionally tried to open! But now, I need a bit of a change. Maybe, I just want to move away from the daily grind for a while. A vacation, perhaps? I am banking on the possibility now.

Another thing that has been bothering me off late is travel phobia. I am not even sure when I caught it. But it has been bothering me for a while now. I love to travel a lot. But, the beginning of a journey no matter what puts me in jitters, for reasons I know not. Yes, it is a fear without a reason, perhaps with a reason that stays in the oblivion.

Fear – It is the joker in the deck of cards played by destiny. How will it play for me? How do I will it to play for me? Maybe I have the choice to toy with it. Do I? I have been a strong believer in the power of fear too. Many may not have comprehended this. But, I have discovered that fear is a facade for courage. It is like the glass that gives you a choice to look through but does not necessarily propel you to break it. Sometimes, when the view gets clearer, the glass is broken. It is a gossamer sheath of terror that also becomes the trajectory of courage when that sheath pushes the self to the wall! It is a strange emotion. It is a negative emotion. But, it also gives you a choice to either dwell in it, or break the film and move past it!

And, as I write this post, I know I am trying hard to remove a chunk of my disoriented thoughts on the space assuming it would give me some space to rejoice. Every time, I look back at the struggles I had (a difficult pregnancy, a brush with a life threatening condition and, the nightmares that continue to follow of which I never spoke much to anyone), my faith is restored with the fact – “If I have come this far in life, I can still go way ahead“

And, in the cloud of darkness that I battle to disperse, I know how blessed I am to have the most understanding hubby, an adorable and loving son and, very inspiring parents. And importantly, I know now I have to be strong. That is what I keep telling myself every time. I have to be strong for my son, hubby and family. I was given a second lease of life in 2013. Now, I have to guard it against all the negativity, come what may. The path ahead could be tough. If run I cannot, but walk, I will. I am sure, I will.

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Amen.

 

A chronicle from the 1960s.


Kindness is God’s way of telling you – “Hang on there! Hold on to that flame of hope and, trust me with all your faith. You are just a wee bit away from crossing that burning bridge!”

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Circa 2002

That year although was the beginning of my dream to fly, it did have more important reasons to be remembered for. Because that year was not just about finding my wings, but it was also more about the empty nest syndrome that hit my mother for the first of all times.

empty nest syn

My parents have in a very amazing manner, balanced walking the tight rope of parenting. At any point of time, one of them would be as cool as a cucumber. However among the two, I remember my father having predominantly played the cool parent as compared to my anxious mum. But it all changed once my twelfth grade ended. Mum wanted me to go out of the state and study. Whereas, my dad who had helped me give countless entrance exams wanted me to stay within the known realms of the state. Finally, I joined a college in a place that was three hours from home and, it made all three of us happy, for different reasons though. Talking about Mum, she was prepared for the part, that I was leaving for college. However, she wasn’t prepared for the part that came later,“A home that was deafeningly silent”. In months that followed, I could sense her leaning towards depression. We couldn’t talk much during the first week as I was yet to have my first mobile. Standing in a queue to speak through the payphone was the only option and, given the fact that there were many like me, it was impossible to have a decent conversation. Yet, I managed to visit home once or twice a week. She was vocal about my absence and, I for one did not know what could ease her pain.

A few months passed. And one day, I got a call from her – “Hey! You know our neighbour’s daughter – Chutki. I am planning to teach her Maths.” Oh yes! I remembered my lovely neighbor Pinki Aunty’s beautiful daughter Aashka who is fondly called – Chutki,  who was in class 7 then. The enthusiasm in my mum’s voice was the answer to her own pain. In that moment, I felt it was God’s way of showing the way.  A couple of years later, she was teaching 5 – 6 children, a variety of subjects like Math, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and sometimes, History and Civics too. Having handled and mentored a difficult child like me, she was so much at ease handling and teaching the other kids in the neighborhood. She had found her happy place. But what made me more proud of her is the fact, she taught purely for fun and, not for money. When I asked her what made her take tuition for free, she narrated a beautiful incident from her childhood and, it has stayed with me forever.

This is as narrated to me by my mum:

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Circa 1969:

“There are times when you are lost, when you are blinded, when you are overwhelmed by the feeling of having been left in a jungle blindfolded. And then, all of a sudden a stranger takes your hand and leads you the way from darkness to light. That stranger at that time, is God to you.”

“I studied in Muncipal school till class Seven. And you know how those schools are. Not much was taught. All play and no work was the deal. And then, when I reached class VIII, my father put me in Avinash Lingam School of Coimbatore. I was enthralled and at the same time scared when I saw the sprawling campus of my school that also had colleges pertaining to various disciplines. While I was still mesmerized by the ambiance of the new school, my father led me to the principal – Hema Prabha Maam. She looked at me in the eye, wished me and then said to my father, “She has to pass an entrance test. Only then I can confirm her admission.” The entrance exam contained questions of all subjects in English and, I came from Tamil medium with very little knowledge of the language. It felt as though I had landed in a foreign country. No, I did not know English well. And, I did not attend any question in any of the subjects. However, I did write a poem that I was taught in the earlier school. Later when I was inducted, I asked my father – “How did they take me in such a school when I did not even know a single answer to a question?” And he said, “Seems you did not leave the entire paper blank. You wrote some poem in your paper. What has impressed them is the fact that there wasn’t one grammatical error in that whole poem and that, your hand writing was beautiful. Anyways, you are in a good school now. Time to shine and make us proud!”

I adored my father and I missed him a lot. Mostly because he was in a job that demanded transfers once in two years. Hence, we (my mum and my three siblings) were stationed in Coimbatore whereas, he was moving around making tough adjustments in life to provide us with a good comfortable life. And so, I was determined that no matter what, I would not fail his expectations from me.

However, the first day at Avinash Lingam had already decided to challenge my verve. I reached my class and, I saw myself surrounded by girls who were taller and far stout than me. Yes, they were clearly intimidating as their body language said it aloud – “What is a girl from a Municipal school doing in our school?” And just as I thought about the way I was to get ragged, our class teacher Rajathi Maam appeared. She was the first kind soul I met in that school. She introduced me to the class and, vice Versa. There were occasional mumbles and jumbles that were laced with giggles. That day felt like being choked! I did not understand a thing! And, I felt like a misfit! Besides, the feeling of not being accepted in a place where you have just landed as a newbie is not a good feeling. A few days passed.

Since, I had joined a month late in the school, I was advised by Rajathi Maam to take down the missed notes from someone in the class. As I went about asking, I noticed that there were cliques in the class – the toppers, the sports players, the fashionistas and, the average ones. I did not fit in any of them as, I was as blank as a clean slate. As for the notes, I did not get much help as none that I asked was ready to lend. Many wouldn’t even speak. So, just as I felt that the new school is a big mistake and that, I was letting my father down, a long hand with some notebooks came forward. I looked up and saw a girl smiling at me. She said, “Hey! Take my notes. You can return them once you have copied them down.”

Her name was DP Usha Rani, the second kind soul in that class. I remember her vividly and, I remember the name. My happiness knew no bounds as I thanked her profusely and, promised her that I would return the notes ASAP. That whole night, I sat and copied the notes down. I returned the notes next day as I had promised. Later I learned, she was one of the few secluded toppers who was unaffected by cliques. And, she was my inspiration to learn. I wanted to become like her.

It took me three months of sheer hard work and determination to come within the top fifteen ranks in the first quarterly exam. And that determination sprung from the one and only fact that, someone in that class was kind enough to help me in the first week. I could not let that kindness down! When the results came, everyone including the teacher was surprised pleasantly. As for me, I was thankful to God for helping me in that hour of need through that kind soul – DP Usha Rani. Needless to say, not only did I earn respect, but a few good friends later.

Coming to Present……

Do you know why I am narrating this incident to you? When Chutki arrived for her tuition on the first day, I saw myself in her, a girl who needed help but was not getting it. She clearly felt lost just like I had, in the year 1969. And, it was like lending a ear and hand to a version of myself. And within a year, when she eased herself in tuitions, I discovered a very intelligent girl within, who preferred to reach the depth of a concept than, simply reading it for a test. With her, I felt more connected with myself when we went through the brainstorming sessions of understanding subjects like Math and Physics. And even though she is stark opposite to you, she reminded me of your school days too! It gives a great inner peace in helping someone especially when you realize you have been through a similar phase in life.”

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As I look back, I realize how times have changed. Yes, in the schooling years, mum and I have had countless differences and arguments, given the fact that, I was a rebellious child. Today, we chat as siblings, shop together giggling over our idiosyncrasies and, watch every cookery show together. And, when she narrates about her childhood, I feel ecstatic about chronicling them. It is like taking a peek into the 1960s and, wondering how life was both easy and difficult in different ways as compared to the present. And yet, we have a lot to learn from the yester generation. And the one thing that I learned and, importantly  what propelled me to write this post was – “Kindness is rewarding. Always.”

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Musings of a feisty home maker…


..begins with the ‘housekeeping woes’!

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Sometimes I am encompassed by a wave of lethargy so high that, I find it ridiculously difficult to come out of my comfort zone – the couch! Ouch! Yeah, I amaze hubby with my split personalities. One day, I would be the G-girl on a broom (you are more likely to find me with the broom) and on another day, I might just transform into a 5 foot version of Garfield! But all of that does not camouflage the fact about how I am totally de-motivated towards partaking any role in housekeeping business. I know, I cannot escape it. But, I do have every right to dislike it. For instance the two chores that scare the living daylights out of me are, folding clothes and stacking them in the cupboard and, the second is – washing utensils. I, for the world cannot figure out from where people find the verve to fold clothes. For some reason, it is a never ending job. That said, I love to dust now and then, mop the floors and even hang out the washed clothes to dry. But, folding dried clothes and washing utensils is something I have always been averse to! I remember the time when I was working and, living with flatmates. And, no sooner than I uttered the words – “Yours truly does not cook!”, the errand of washing utensils fell into my lap! And that, precisely became my motivation to learn cooking, which I did! People who have had the food that I make would vouch for the fact! (And, people….you are welcome to come and have food at my humble abode. I do cook a variety of cuisines now) So, before I digress into a deluge of self praise (I believe it is important every now and then), let me bring myself back to my current situation. No matter what, the clothes and the utensils just keep piling up. And, if the pain of seeing the undone work is not enough, the maids in our station are extortionists! So, currently I am the maid, the lady, the dhobi, the dish washer and the ‘multi faceted’ home maker of my kingdom. And, I missed ‘the woman who also irons and folds the clothes with a frown’. I AM THE JEANIE OF MY HOME!

There is nothing like window shopping. It don’t exist for me!

Hubby is away on work. Thankfully, my parents are staying with me for the period. And, I feel blessed. Yet, with the soul mate slogging away in some remote location, the mind wanders into the labyrinth of loneliness more often than not. For the past three weeks I have been promising to take my mum to BB (Big Bazaar). Yes, it is her favorite. She gets a good rebate on whatever she buys as she is a loyal customer! And, finally after dodging her persistent question on – “When are we going to BB?” the motivation to take the call happened today. Yes, we went to BB. Finally. I stay in a city that is far from the look of a metro and a little bit upgraded version of a small town. So, BB is definitely a big deal. Although I had not gone there with any motive to shop (Remember, I am a rehabilitated shopaholic?), the air inside the store started engulfing me and, all I could hear around was – Shrishti….Shrishti….Shrishti….. For the uninitiated, I am a die hard fan of Shrishti brand Kurtis….I love the softness of the tunic, the fresh pastel colors and the comfort that comes from wearing them. Fab India was my ‘Once upon a time….’ choice. I was a die hard Fab India fan then. However, when hubby got me a couple of kurtis from Rajasthan with the same texture and feel of Fab India at less than half the price, I decided to stop feeding Fab India people. And then, Shrishti happened! So, today all the vows the Rebecca Bloomwood in me took about NO SHOPPING, flew out of the window. I picked up three kurtis in various shades of blue and white. Usually, I am drawn towards the fiery red and the mystic black. But the soaring temperatures outside drew me more towards the serene white with tulip blue patterns. So, it was going to be shades of blue on the tranquil white! We shopped for a few more groceries. Visited the tailor – Masterji (He is known as) for stitching a few blouses for casual occasions and, some presentable suits. And after picking up milk, lassi and other confectionery items, headed back home. It was indeed a long day. 4 hours out in the Sun, shopping was a welcome change after having got bored with my simian friends outside. (If you were wondering who they are, you must drag your finger tip here and read about my spiritual connection with our ancestors!)

Happiness lies in shopping just as proof lies in the pudding!

Over all, a good day! Hope better days follow. Yes, by better I know that the Sun is going to shine brighter and, is going to go overboard in showering warmth that shall first toast us, pressure cook us, braise us and bake us and finally, make us appear as char grilled prawns to be served on a plate! Oh! I have been talking in the gourmet language. This is what happens when you are addicted to all food shows on TLC, Colors Infinity and Star World. That said, I have started watching Game of Thrones after it was trolled with countless memes on the Internet. It so happens that I am still in the process of collating the number of power hungry men for the throne that carries the thorns! Well, well, a civilian must have lived a life of bliss in those days. Isn’t it? The good news for a MasterChef Aus fan like me, it is coming soon……………………………………………………………………………………( can’t wait to see George, Matt and Gary again!)

And now, let me share with you some of the beautiful kurtis I picked for myself. Whether or not, they look lovely to you, I am going to wear them till I tear them 😀

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Do we always mean what we say? ~ Speech Discretion


A long time since I blogged. A really long time! Not that I had nothing to write about. But my busy and idle times have been tricky. When my head was brimming with thoughts, I would be preoccupied with something. And when I seem to have everything in place, laptop in hand, nothing to do and with my son sleeping, I fall into the trap of writers block. Nevertheless, I just decided to tap a few keys today. Guess, I needed the idyllic feel of my laptop keys and the warmth that exudes from the screen, every time I open a fresh word document to vent out.

But then, that is not entirely the reason for me visiting this space. Just that I am in a slightly remorseful mood. Wish I could just get certain things out of my head. OK! Not that things aren’t fine. They always are. But it is mostly the human tendency to goof up on good times, always! Isn’t it? And in my case, when I feel things are going just fine, that instant is always a jinx for me! And I just figured out that I am quite that awfully unique someone who always in the rarest of rare instants invites some elusive Pandora box to unlock itself and throw up on me! Well, let’s say I just got into a situation today where I said something I din realize I had said and later realized I shouldn’t have made my point the way I did!  And my expression was entirely this, “OMG! I think I should not have said what I just said”. I guess, such incidents happen with everyone at some time or the other. Some realize it. Some don’t. And in my case, I realized a little late. But then, any realization brings another unsavory character with it and that is regret. Regret takes on the form of a villain whose nature can only go from bad to worse. The longer it lingers, the worse it makes you feel. And needless to say, it eats into your grey matter as well. That said, I was still brooding over my inadvertent mistake, my father came and patted me. I was about to share my pent up story with him, when he stopped and said, “I don’t want to know the cause of your sore mood. But I know what can make it go away.” And he continued, “It is ok when you make mistakes. Sometimes, you don’t really mean to say certain things, but you just say it. And you may not have necessarily meant what has been interpreted. But it is fine. Just let it go. Don’t brood over it. The time, the instant it happened is now a thing of past, no matter how many seconds before it happened. And one should not live in the past. What matters, is lessons learnt.”

And, that got me peace finally. It just happens that at certain moments, we do behave in a different way, or make certain statements. Those moments may not be necessarily mood driven. Sometimes, they could be destiny driven too. OK! I am not getting into a self consolation mode. It is just that we often behave in a designed way, no matter how hard we try to live by self defined instructions. Because, one cannot be perfect all the time. Isn’t it? But then, I would not prod into my own fiasco much. But given a chance I would wish that my words need not be interpreted the way they have been. As I know, words cannot be taken back. But lessons sure can be!

Have you ever seen the rain? ~ When May Simmers…..



It has been scorching ever since I came for my short break in my home town. Considering that Bharuch is a port it has that unlikely combination of dry and humid weather. If there was a term that could define both conditions existing at the same time and acting totally independent of each other, enlighten me. And coming to think of Summers, I share a love-hate relationship with it. And somewhere, my love for mangoes surpasses my hate for its sweltering heat. Despite its warm mornings, hostile noon and humid nights, I continue to enjoy its presence solely for those golden ripe mangoes that paint the town yellow with its lingering sweetness and freshness.

However, the heat has been increasing ever since and with days getting invariably longer, must say, Lord Varuna is remembered more often. Yes, rains are wished for, at this time. Wish they came soon and washed away all the heat and the dust. I do not like monsoons any better than I like summers. But still, each of them is sorely missed in the other’s presence. At least, there is a change for every season. A change at times can be so revitalizing. I cant wait to imagine myself sitting on our porch with a book (preferably Somerset Maugham) in one hand, a mug of hot frothy filter coffee in the other and with the rains making those beautiful splashing sounds, and with the constant chattering of the window panes due to the cold winds. Aah! Nothing beats the joy in spending time alone in a way where you don’t feel a bit lonely and at the same time, feel the happiest and the most content living in the world.
Song pick for this post…..