Being Judged

On a hot summer evening, as she gets ready to take her mom shopping, she is asked a question, “Don’t you have anything else to wear? You keep wearing the same thing.” Shattered and irritated at this small comment, she goes ahead with the plan.

Only to wonder all this while, why is she asked such questions especially after being specific about not to discuss such feeble things. But are such simple things feeble? Why do simple things bother one the most? Is this what the world has come to? Or has she become a doll that needs to be displayed well all the time? The dress wasn’t tattered or something, it was a pretty piece. At least she was dressed better than half the population who are not even fortunate enough to afford clothes…

It took her back to all those times when she felt judged. Judged for starting on a small scale salary, judged for not being able to earn as much as others were, judged for dressing up the way she felt comfortable in, judged because her corporate world wasn’t as formal as the usual ones. Judged that she was never financially good.

She wondered if anybody anywhere was even proud of her. Shouldn’t people be happy that she is not demanding and yet, happy? Was it so much to do with appearance than the heart itself? Fears don’t take much time to creep in. Will she be judged for spending on a vacation? Will she be tagged as someone who has a luxurious lifestyle and is a spendthrift?

I am pretty sure if she wore her heart on her sleeve, the shirt would be the topic of discussion, not the heart.

Vacation Mode – On!

You know that little kid who is more enthused about the beginning of summer vacation? Well, picturise a 27 year young girl like that. That’s me.

Finally, V and I get time to go on a vacation away from this sane [;-)] chaotic world. We are going to have insane good time at this vacation! After a long long time, V gets some time off from work and we had to go away to relax. I am more happy for him, as it will give him time away from the dragging routine office work. Thankfully, he is as excited as I am and we are all up for some vacation shopping as well 😉

Travelling has always been an exciting part of my life, and am pretty sure for others too. Every time I think about a weekend getaway, a holiday, a day trip – it just puts me into another mode. It has been inculcated in me since I was a child, simply because it served the purpose of a break! Thankfully, nothing has changed even today. I completely day-dream about the place, and thanks to the internet now, do a lot of research as to what all can be done without spoiling the main goal of the holiday – relaxing! And what better way than celebrating his birthday week that way!

So as excitement gets the better of me, pliss to co-operate with the post vacation posts! 😀

What Makes It Worthwhile

Like a lot of other people, I come from a small town in India. I have spent 22 years of my life in this city called Nagpur where growing up meant being careful of a lot of things. The one thing I am supremely proud of in my life are my parents. I know I can’t have enough of that pride and have probably mentioned that in almost all the posts, but it is true. Why I come back to it again today you ask? Well, it’s a part of being grateful for certain things in life.

I have been brought up in a typical middle class family. My parents are the most humble people I have come across and the first ones I met in my life. I don’t know what changed when or rather I wonder whether the upbringing we have had was normal for that time. My parents were so normal about certain things which I did not see in a lot of my peers. Especially the way some parents would treat their daughters. If I look back now, I realise my parents never spoke of discriminating against daughters and sons. I didn’t come across this discrimination till quite later in life, and that too not from my parents’ side. I and my sister were their daughters, and it ended there. They never once mentioned a wish to have a son, or the fact that we were any less than having one. Our duties, our responsibilities were never thought over by the fact that we were girls; those were just that – duties. My mom never invited us into the kitchen to ‘learn’ the art of cooking. Both of us got interested when we felt like it and we just observed our mother in doing so. If you ask me, I don’t remember when exactly I learnt how to cook. It just came from observing my mother.

When my sister wanted to move out of the city to pursue a career, like any other mother, she was anxious. But she never stopped her; yes she expressed her anxiety but never stood up against my sister’s biggest wish. And then, which mother isn’t anxious for her child? What I find intimidating today is the behaviour of certain parents who don’t want to let go of their daughters to fulfil their dreams. I have seen so many! And trust me, such examples make me thank my parents for making us so independent. In today’s time as well, I look at girls who are scared to take a step towards their life because of their parents and sacrifice on life itself! You know, I remember an incident when we were in college and some relative visited us with his family. The way he forced certain rules on his daughter (well into teens by the way) just in terms of having meals, completely left us flustered! When we brought it up to our mother, after they left, our mother was so confident that we would run away if she had done anything like that to us! We laughed then, and now I realise how confident she was in our independence, our freedom – in us.

I see parents today, and I look at mine. I wonder what made them bring us up this way…. In the end, what makes all of this worthwhile, is the life we have and the way we lead it – with love and freedom – lessons learnt from two most amazing people in my life.

A Treasure Box

Childhood is what one goes back to more often than not. That’s how stories are formed right? Memories. Memories are all you have to stick on to, to get back to ‘those days’, live them all over again. And we, at least I, never get tired of them. Now that I am married, I realise how my childhood was shaped is so important in living life the way I want to. It also makes me realise the importance of my relationship with my elder sister. And how we have come from almost hating each other to being the best friends that we are now… This feeling was reassured when while reading Shobha De’s Speedpost, she happened to mention in one of the letters to her children about her relationship with her sisters.

For me, my relationship with my 3 years elder to me sister was a taken-for-granted one. When she was in her teens, I hated being around her for all the teen-drama that she would put up (only to be faced with them later :P). I am pretty sure I left no stone unturned in being a pesky little typical younger sibling. Our fights were ugly and nasty, thankfully only resorting to verbal ones! I guess our mother was pretty happy about that. For most younger siblings, elder siblings (without their immediate knowledge) are their personal guide to ‘what not to do’ and ‘what to do’; in general and in life. I have learnt quite a lot of things from my sister about handling my parents. Most importantly, I have learnt how life can be so unruly and so big. Big in the sense of making decisions. My sister is a perfect example of a Libran – she balances out everything very tactfully. But now that I come to think of it, I never wanted to be like her in academics. Yes, again, as any other younger sister, I would be enthralled by her wardrobe, her stationery – you know, her stuff in general. I would want to borrow things from her and be denied of it, simply because those are the perks of being an elder sibling.

The biggest academic decision I made in life was because of my sister! I knew becoming a doctor involved 9-10 years of education and that was completely out of the options! I did not want to get into engineering because I had seen my sister study so much, that too in every six months! I simply opted for a lesser chosen path, while my peers rushed towards others. And thank God I did! I love the way it all turned out to be!

So when my sister finished her degree and was all set to lead an independent life in her favourite city, I didn’t quite realise what I would be missing. We hardly had time for each other during those years as we were busy in our own lives, while also disapproving of each other’s ways. I definitely missed her, but I can’t recall why. Yes, we had our own share of gossip, secrets when we were together; but it faded when she moved to a much busier phase of life in her college. She left to build a career when I just started out on my degree college… But the phone calls brought us closer somehow, and we also started writing to each other. A year after I finished my graduation, I moved to Bangalore in search of a career.

That changed the world for me. May be because we weren’t the same anymore. My sister gave me independence, she gave me a new world. She brought me up like an elder sister. She fought for me against my family, my mother. She let me take my decisions – even if it meant learning a lesson or two from it. That said, she also acted like a possessive elder one. She bought me expensive gifts on my birthday and I would be excited as a child! We fought, we argued, but at the end of the day – we had to come to each other. Away from our family, we enjoyed each other’s company so much! She made me travel, she took me along with her everywhere – unlike avoiding me when I was much younger. We shared secrets of an adult life, whiled away weekend nights like that! She became my version of the cool mother, the supercool sister and the elder possessive brother. My first job was also because my sister had a great network and was passed on an email about the requirement 🙂

But what did not change was the fact that I took her for granted. I would see my mother and her younger sister catch up when they would visit each other, and I would wonder how my relationship with my sister would be. Only when both of us got married, I realised what I had taken for granted. Not being in the same country was something I never thought of! Hell, I thought we would end up settling in the same city! But may be the world has its ways of making you value people more, and a slightly cruel one was this.

Recently I read somewhere, siblings are soul-mates for life. They indeed are. I miss my sister on so many occasions, and I only wish that we should’ve been in the same country so that we could rush to each other, knowing that she is in reach. I could visit her, just like my mother did to meet her siblings. Forming memories… Now that both of us are married, there is so much new happening in life every day. As we take on a new phase of life there’s so much more to share – a wonderful feeling. And technology has found a way to make it all seem okay by allowing us to video chat once in a while. On those dreaded video chats we joke about being in the same country and threatening our husbands about abandoning them when in a bad mood, because we would have the sibling to run to. Where I could just pick up the phone and call my sister without thinking twice, I now have to wait a whole twelve hours to check if we can talk.

The only feeling that remains is missing my sister, along with the bright bright hope of being in the same country, sooner. All I could give her as a material gift when she got married was a hand-stitched table cloth. But emotionally, we both know what a treasure box of memories we have taken to our new lives in the form of memories, the key to which lies deep in our hearts.

Those chai sessions, those crazy weekends when an hour without chai would be sacrilege, have vanished. That cup of chai was much tastier and delectable, because there was life to share on those lovely cloudy days of Bangalore, in that small doll house of ours…

Our childhood picture!
Sister to sister!

 

A Change Of Heart

A few months back, my father-in-law underwent a heart surgery. That probably explains the title of this post…

In a year of my marriage, a lot of things have happened and this was one of them. As it always is, it was so unexpected! An adorable father who has always followed a strict routine in exercise, food and work – this came as a big surprise to us. But what the heart surgery lead to was lots of family time and sharing of lives.

From day one, as clichéd as it sounds, me and my father-in-law got along really well. Talking, laughing and sharing experiences is how we both spend time with each other. His childhood experiences, his work experience, my husband’s childhood – we have so much to talk about. We also have same complaints about certain ways of members in the house! 😀

Being the man of the house and quite a strict father, everyone is very careful with their words. But as they say, things change when a daughter comes in, which so happened. He would listen to all my requests and scolding, without any hesitation. If he needed a strict voice around, it would be mine! That period of recovery brought a new father-daughter relationship much closer. Amongst all of 5 members of the house, I and my father-in-law are winners in being talkative. It brought such a relief to my mother-in-law as she does not talk much. My only duty during his recovery period was to keep him busy all day with talks. Voila! Mission completely possible!

When I got married, I have to admit, the one thing I was looking for was my equation with my father-in-law. I have missed having my father around for ten years now, and I came with an expectation that my father-in-law will provide me with all the love that I have missed, and will require for the years ahead. It’s just pure happiness that I got to have such an adorable father-in-law who makes my faith in a father stronger.

From pampering me without making it too obvious, to making it obvious; from relaxing certain rules of the house for me to forming new ones along with me; from discussing everything he wants to talk about to listening to my views – he’s been one of the best add ons with this marriage…

His surgery gave him time off from work and stress. Looking on the brighter side, it brought him a new heart and lots of family time that he had missed while working hard for his family. It gave me so much time to bond with him, a great feeling.

As I have a habit of finding something good in everything, and now that I think of it, a change of heart brought a lot of good changes to our lives – as a family.

I am

Ever since a girl becomes a woman, she turns into something else, apparently. It’s like she is reborn with stereotypes for the world. What they don’t realize (apart from a lot of things), is that she changes – inside and out. And then, change is inevitable, right?

Most women are proud of themselves, at least I am, for being one. It’s a pride that is selfless, a pride that she doesn’t realize she has. How much ever you put her in a spot with the modern beliefs that she is fighting for, she still has to come home and make it a home. How much ever you think certain things are just unfair because she is a woman, she has to prove her existence.

But I am proud. Proud that I have so many emotions, that I go through changes in life, that I go through phases from being a girl to being a woman, that I am capable of being Mother Teresa and Goddess Kali. It is the roles I dawn that make me what I am, whether you see it or not. You want to ignore it, criticize it – I’ll still be a woman.

With the added ‘category’ of working women, it comes across as sheer beauty when she goes about her routine. Isn’t it amazing? She manages her schedule to take the best out of time and life. Add to that a marriage, it is a sight when she balances everything and still has time for her spouse. Coming to the housewife – I feel she would be the highest paid if she would be given a salary! So, to me when men say they don’t have time for family because they are busy with work – it becomes void, null.

I am pretty when I am at home in my pajamas, I am beautiful when I dress up right for work, I am gorgeous when I get ready for special events. I am me, a woman, a proud one at that.

In The Light Of Darkness

Love...
Love…

In the era of vampires and angels, she bore two daughters. The elder one an angel, the younger one a vampire. They were treated very well by their parents, in fact, you wouldn’t be able to make out the difference between the two – both were angels! But as they grew up, the world started to see the difference and to the dismay of the family, talk about it too. The parents had never treated the two daughters any differently, but why was the world around them doing so? After all, serene white wings and halo was a much better sight than those vampire teeth…

They both grew up believing in things their parents had brought them up with. Their beliefs were about to change, and how! When they faced their own different worlds, the angel fared absolutely well, but not the vampire. She was tortured by her near and dear ones who told her whoever and however different she was, she was not an angel like her sister. She wanted to understand how it affected her living the life she wanted to. She didn’t want to stick to her community and their culture; she didn’t want to be an angel as well. She just wanted to be her, even if it meant being a vampire. The world around her was sucking her blood, deep down from her heart and soul. Ha! The irony.

When she got into her business of being a vampire, she met a fellow vampire. He was the friend she had been waiting for all her life. He was just like her, who understood her and the blood sucking world around her. He let her be her, without any discrimination. He saw the real her, because that’s all he could see. She felt elated in his company, she wanted to spend time with him and nobody else. She wanted to grow in the shade of this big tree who prevented her from the harsh rays of the sun. Well, the big tree wanted to protect her too. It was no surprise that they were soon in love, to be married sooner. All her life, she had dreamt of living on her own terms and now she had a partner in crime too! Their parents married them off and they were dwelling in their own charming world. But fate had other plans….

The blood sucking world suspected the vampire wife to be a cruel one, who was feeding off on their blood, now that she had a husband to execute the plan as well. But the couple was stunned to hear the news as they were considered the most harmless in their community. They were put under trial in the court where such grave cases of vampires and angels are heard. The angels misunderstood them and made sure every evidence is against the couple. The vampire community fought till they could and nothing more could be done. The court had passed an order and the punishment was to be borne by the couple. They broke down when they realised that the cruel world would take the lives of not two but three harmless vampires….

—x—

When she rose back from the dead, why wasn’t she surprised? Everything was how she had left it before! As if she was dead just for a moment!

The present life wasn’t much different from her previous one. She was treated differently because she wasn’t any similar to her sibling. Although she was the one who would be with everyone in their times of need, she was still not given her own identity. People would only talk about her sibling, how much ever she tried to be herself. They overlooked her genuineness, as if her existence didn’t matter. When she gave up hope, there came along a young man who found her extremely charming and lovely. She was surprised that someone could pay attention to her and of all things, love her for what she has been all through her life! He completely looked beyond her family, her friends, her sibling. He just looked at her and he saw only a partner. He saw nothing beyond her. She found him extremely gentlemanly, charming and she would realise later that he is the anchor in her life – who keeps her rooted to herself.

She was frequented with flashes from the past and she went about them pretty normally. Her worry was the end of her previous life – how would it end this time? She was determined to lead her life, her own way. She was sure the end this time would be much happier and better, with the same partner from her vampire life. Even if it meant hiding away into darkness to lead a joyful life, away from unnecessary people, into love and peace… Vampires who would find solace in darkness through sunshine from each other’s life…

Of Hatred And Happiness

I was reading this comic by Zen Pencils, ‘The Artist Troll War’, and as most of their comics do, this one stuck to my heart right away. And this reminds me of what I read in ‘The Magic’ by Rhonda Byrne, to watch your words and try not to spit out negative ones.

Oh I regret all my negative thoughts and words as I also realise what time I have lost thinking about them. I remember how I would actually pay attention to my thoughts and words after reading ‘The Magic’. It would make me realise how much, as a society, we talk about others quite a lot. It’s as if the need of humans to socialise has taken a new meaning. Whatever happened to conversations over coffee or tea, to catching up with friends, to family get-togethers? All we as a race have come to is gadgets and gossiping, don’t you think? Everyone is addicted to a virtual world in some way or the other, including me. What makes us talk about someone with that feeling inside, that negative feeling! Lately, I have noticed people finding a fault in everything and with everyone. It feels as if I am back in college, not fitting in with the crowd around me. And thank God for that wisdom (if I may say so!)!

It’s saddening that while most of the people are trying to find their happiness, there are still some who lurk in the darkness of hatred. The expression of it is intense as well. It makes me wonder whether we are completely out of patience as a breed in general. Worst of all, the pull of this current is so hard, that you really have to keep your hold firm, in the sand. It’s not easy, but it takes will and good thoughts to keep your feet, your foundation, strong.

One good thing about internet, I have to confess, is the fact that it keeps you updated about all the good things happening in the world. There are so many kind and nice people, projects, activities I have come across through the internet! Whether it’s a small activity or big, it matters! And the best part? People care about it too. There still is a category of humans who care about appreciating simplicity and goodness, while being so too. The fact that someone can appreciate things in life, kind of proves to me that the person is a lovely soul. Where all of us are trying to run behind happiness, another comic by Zen Pencils, ‘On Happiness’, makes me feel wonderful and keeps me grounded. I hope you agree with this one, especially.

(Taken from - http://zenpencils.com/)
(Taken from – http://zenpencils.com/)

An Edible Affair!

When I got married, I was looking forward to the break lying ahead of me. Three years of working in mad schedule (and with equally crazy clients) had made this break a welcome venture. I was firm on taking a break for one year and indulge in all things housewife-ish! More than anything else, I was excited to cook meals as both the mister and I have a very good focus towards food. We are pretty clear about that area in our lives!

In the happiness of setting up a home partially (since we already had most of the stuff!), my husband and I decided to buy a new-age oven. Days of research went by and we finally got one. Both I and my husband are huge, mind you huge, fans of desserts! Cakes are my special weakness and I love cookies too. I fall under the technically-challenged category and we both were quite sure I would need some help. But, never underestimate the power of a housewife – should be a quote. I baked my first cake ever in 25 years of my life without a single glitch! And that was Valentine’s Day, our first after the wedding…

That same Valentine’s Day, I realized my love for baking – the whole process, the judgement of all the ingredients, the anxiety of whether I am doing everything right… And finally when I put the cake batter in the oven, trust me my heart beat as it does for a person who knows it is love at first sight! Thank God, for that first cake came out so well that my love for it blossomed.

Like most of us go through that fear of rejection, so did I. I had the constant fear that this stint will be a short-lived one, but that love came right back at me every time. My fear gradually vanished and our love affair turned into a reliable one. I had this guilt-trip in the middle of all this chaos when I eyed into what unhealthy ingredients are going into my cakes (I became health-conscious, you know). So, I found my way around overcoming the guilt of committing this sin and continued baking (read eating). It was exactly how a love-affair is – the compromises, the sacrifices.

As I continue to bake, yes only cakes for now, I still am excited when I start on a new one. I keep trying new things in cakes and am, thankfully, successful. I am the official baker of the family and everyone turns to me for advice. It feels nice to be in this place – an affair going absolutely gorgeous! Guess who gets happy every time the oven beeps and our tummies are all ears!

Migrating

Migration

To me, migrating has many meanings.

If you look at it, migrating is an everyday thing! You migrate from dreams to reality, from being sleepy to enthusiastic, from dreaming to making your dreams come true. You’re probably migrating from sadness to picking yourself up towards happiness. You’re also somewhere excited about that migration from one city to another, to welcome all those new possibilities and a new life ahead with that move.

It’s a migration from not knowing yourself to finding yourself one fine day. It’s a journey of migration when you stop caring about what ‘other people think’ and start living your life on your own terms. It’s definitely a migration when after years of waiting, you finally find the one who sees only you and pays attention to you. It’s migration when you know you are the centre of the world for someone, and all those years of growing up feeling ignored in the past, vanish in that one moment of realisation…

Today, I am migrating to another identity of my own with a URL to my name! All thanks to my husband! 🙂

I hope you connect with my world here and have a good time reading what I express. Bon voyage!