Tag Archives: personal

THE ADOPTED CHILD.

I sat alone in my new room. I’d tried calling up my parents but they were unreachable. Keeping the phone aside, I lay my head on the wall backing the bed. Outside in the living room, I could hear the other girls, both my age, my new flatmates, talking and laughing. I wanted to go out too, but I didn’t know them. In fact, I didn’t know anyone in the office, or in the city. I had only one friend in the crowd of tens of thousands of people camping their lives in the city. The friend lived with her newly wedded husband and I couldn’t even think of intruding into their space at this point in time.

Someone knocked on the door. I hurried to get up and open the unlocked door. The girl at the door, Maera she was called, stood there with a smile. “Come for dinner,” Maera said. “You guys carry on,” I replied, my stomach rumbling with hunger but hesitation creeping up and taking over. I had lived in a joint family and barely ever ate alone. But I didn’t know them either. Wouldn’t it be as good as eating alone? But Maera still stood there, arms crossed, and declared, “You must be hungry with all the shifting today. Come on. I’m not letting you eat alone.”

I smiled a small smile, thanking her in my thoughts for forcing me to eat. I needed energy to carry on without my family here. That night I slept soundly on the sofa while talking to my parents, until Maera came along in the middle of the night, tip toeing so as to not wake me up and then woke me up. “Come we’ll take you to your room,” she said softly, pulling me up. On my bed, I slept better.

***

A few months had passed. I still spoke to my parents’ everyday. And I still passed out on the sofa at nights. But now Maera and I fought to sleep on the sofa! I cuddled up in her lap as Maera sat and read a book. I was busy on my phone while she ran her fingers through my hair every now and then. “You know you should adopt me,” I said. “What?” she asked, stunned, keeping her book aside. “You should adopt me!” I repeated. “Why should I adopt you?” she asked, laughing and reading again, not even paying attention to me any longer!

***

I was cranky and hungry. I had had a bad day at work. I fought with a friend. I was not even PMSing yet. Even my hormones couldn’t take the blame yet. Maera sat me down and asked me,”What happened?” “Nothing,” I replied, waiting for someone to stop me in my tirade of lashing out at the world! “Sit here,” Maera said, her face grave, sitting me down on the floor between her knees while she gave me a head massage.

Half an hour later, I had offloaded all my worldly troubles into her ears and she’d filled mine with what little of worldly trouble advice she  owned.

***

I found in her a friend, a reminder of the love of my family, a corner to my worldly troubles, a shoulder to rest on, an adopted parent! Maera found in me an adopted child. Yes, she may not admit to it, but she did.

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Dedicating this to my (almost admitted, but not yet owned) adopted child! To hours of introspective discussions, shared love for music, long unwinding walks, cuddles and head massages, getaways at 2 am and gazing starry nights! Stay happy! ❤

Graciously Yours!

Unravel the Travel!

As promised (to no one in general), here’s a continued set of anecdotes from my trip to Gujarat!

Let’s begin right from the beginning of the trip, like is the norm unless I choose to write in reverse chronology. That’s a good idea but for another day!

Anyone who’s spent even a day on Bangalore roads would know how terrible a nightmare they can be, especially if you have a flight to catch. So  for my own mental peace and for all practical purposes, I left from home, four hours before my flight was to take off! And lo behold, I reached in just about an hour and a half, much to my annoyance and my cabbie’s surprise at my annoyance. The good people at the flight customer support counter however sent me off on an early flight as reward for my unacceptable promptness.

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That’s a long way to go! At Ahmedabad Airport.
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That’s a lot of lights! And white. At Mumbai Airport.

We came across not one or two but three locations where there were rubber band sellers – and when I say rubber band sellers, they were only selling rubber bands! A handcart full of crimson, kale, azure, gold, grey, fuchsia, violet, saffron, striped, polka dotted rubber bands! Out of curiosity, I asked one of those vendors what the price of the bands were and he said 1 rupee! Yes, you read it right – freaking 100 paise! 1 rupee! My first thought was how are they even surviving! My second thought was to buy a dozen or so of the bands. My third thought was exactly how much is the production cost of these bands if people are managing to sell these at such a nominal price!

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You get transported to the era of mutinies and sepoys with your first step in. At Diu Fort.

At one of the beaches, my sister was polite enough to do the human thing of clicking a picture for a couple of guys who requested her to. One of them started making small talk with her asking her if she was a resident of the town, did she know any good places to eat, et al. Having answered in monosyllables, we started walking away when one of them called out to her asking her, “I’m from the States. Would you want a picture with me?” Surprised, she refused. He insisted again asking, “Are you sure you don’t want  a picture with me?” While I was wondering if I could place his face to any of the Indian Americans I’d seen on the USA shows, my sister was muttering, “He’s freaking flirting with a 20 year old! He is almost double my age!”

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That’s vandalism, in modern times! At least something is changing with times. At Diu Fort.

We had visited a set of caves, to which there’s dispute about whether it was a geological formation or dug by the Portuguese for formation of the Diu Fort. Either ways, it was a beautiful maze of earth cut out in a variety of eerie and curiously un-human ways. There were stairs ending into nowhere, rocks hanging out precariously, cuts in the ceiling which didn’t seem to explain the purpose or history of its creation! And because it was so huge and devoid of many tourists, there were spaces where you couldn’t see another person as far as your sight and the maze allowed. The silence was harsh enough for you to hear your own breathing and each step you took creaked the twigs and dry grass below. I was thankful to have gone there during the day! In the midst of this little nowhere, was a bunch of DSLR equipped photographers capturing a to-be married couple’s shots. The pictures will turn out to be pretty, I tell you!

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Photoshoot, in progress. At Naida Caves.

When I recounted the saga of being stuck on the highway in a three hour traffic jam in the early hours of a new day, I did not mention a first I encountered! I managed to locate and confirm my first constellation sighting in the skies! It was the Big Dipper constellation, as confirmed by the StarTracker app I use, when I was very sure that it was Big Dipper! I wish I could have captured the night sky as pristine as I saw it, but technology has its limits and sometimes, what you see is too beautiful to be captured as is on camera. The camera just cannot do justice.

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Grainy, but memorable. At a resort in Gir.

Graciously Yours!

Life Notes #11.

Once in a while the Life Notes series of posts should be revived. They are so easy to title! 😉
***

I went on a tour to the Indian state of Gujarat with family recently. It was fun filled, exciting, adventurous, reminiscent of the two decades we have spent together. Sure we had our tough moments too but very well overshadowed by the good moments!

The driver we’d hired was peculiar though. He had a fascination with keeping the car clean! Within an hour of starting the drive, when food was mentioned he immediately requested us to not eat in the car. As the trip progressed, his fancies for taking care of the car started to become nightmarish for us. We couldn’t use the pouches at the back of the seats because they’d become shapeless then. We couldn’t put up our cramped feet on the seat. We had to check the soles of our footwear before getting into the car. We had to try and dust every grain of the beach sand from our clothing lest we carry it into the car – even if it meant waiting in the noon Sun for an extra half hour drying ourselves, our clothes and the stuck sand! There was a moment when a couple of us were sitting in the car waiting for the others to join and there at the side of the road, as our car stood, replete with dust (because well, Indian roads are dusty, especially when travelling between cities) our driver was dusting the car’s body with a cloth. Why on earth would someone do that in the middle of a 50 km drive? It would all just come back!

So needless to say, in our seven day trip I was dreading spending the 40 hours or so in the car travelling, with that guy at the wheel!

The last night of our trip was planned such that we’d be travelling overnight to our final destination. It was also our first night travel while he was at the wheel. Around 1:30 AM, we got stuck in a traffic mess on the highway. And we’d just crossed a scene of an accident ten minutes ago. In the pitch darkness of the roads, the night only lit by star shine and vehicle headlights, even overturned stones may seem like human skulls. If that wasn’t enough to spook me out, we found out that there was another mix up that had happened ahead and we would be stuck in the car for a while ~ too cold to step out, too stuffy to stay in. We switched off our car lights and music to save fuel. And good we did, because the jam finally cleared three hours later! About 25 kms from there, we again crossed an accident spot. By now, I had tremendous respect for the driver because not only did he have a steady hand but he was very careful while overtaking other vehicles or maintaining the speed limits! Though I had noticed this over the week, that thought never got a chance to come to the foreground, because of his affinity to keep the car clean.

His sole job was to ensure that we travelled safely and on time. And he did that brilliantly, not failing us even once. Yes, he wasn’t the most charming talker or accommodative enough when it came to his car but that is not what was earning him his bread and butter. His driving skills were, and they were top notch.

Note to self : It is so easy to judge people, make fun of their personality if it differs from ours, without thinking or asking why they do what they do, without bothering to know what makes them them. Where’s the fun in being empathetic and sensible all the while? But would you rather live easy or live right? 

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Stop those attacks of judgment on people. #BeBetterThanTrump #HadToMentionHim.

In the background is a 15th century well cut out of hard rock to preserve water. It has 162 steps of descent and is located in the Uperkot Fort in Junagadh, Gujarat, India.

Graciously Yours!

2016 flew by!

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We are pleased to announce that another trip round the Sun is almost complete! Ushering in the new year! Hoping it be it brighter and better for all. Picture courtesy : Gopal Goel. Idea courtesy : Yours truly! 😉

What is time?

The ticking of the seconds hand. Dawn giving way to dusk. Mondays coming back! The turning of the pages on a calendar. The change of calendars itself!

Wikipedia has a more interesting explanation :

Time is a component quantity of various measurements used to sequence events, to compare the duration of events or the intervals between them, and to quantify rates of change of quantities in material reality or in the conscious experience.

We are at the edge of changing of calendars now. We throw out all things 2016 and bring in 2017. It’s a chance for people to start afresh, break away from the routine and monotony of dreams being chipped off, make new resolutions again and hoping this would be the year when they get completed!

2016 was a mixed year. Like any other year. And as we have less than 24 hours left to complete another trip around the Sun, I am going to grab this chance to end 2016 on a happy note!

  • Here’s to parents who are supportive, understanding, strict yet loving, caring and worrying, give me so much freedom that I want to go and put my life’s reins in their hands.
  • To the sister who relishes every chance to laugh at me, life would be incomplete without her constant support.
  • The mentor who toes the line of friend, philosopher and guide to the dot! Thank you for reminding me what my dreams are made of.
  • To that friend who stitched my open wounds and has been my pillar of emotional support. I wish people saw you in the light I see you in.
  • To the Sherlock fan who makes it a point to keep a smile on my face, whose care melts a little of the walls I built, each time.
  • To friends with whom I explored places, wandered down new lanes in old cities, sang to tunes, danced till our feet hurt and welcomed sunrises happier and livelier!
  • To the new city, new people I met – some drifted away, others came close – all taught me more about life, myself and that there are so many things to do in life that an existential crisis should start having an existential crisis about its’ own existence!
  • Special mention to the co-workers and seniors who encouraged me to follow my passions, enjoy work, be fearless, learn from mistakes and keep stress at bay.
  • To John Green and Hank Green for reminding me every day to be awesome, to Elon Musk for really being awesome, to Justin Trudeau for giving me hope, to Warsan Shire for making me fall in love with your words, to Praveen Sethia for keeping my laughs alive, to those life stories which fed me with courage, faith, honesty and dreams, and to those innumerable supportive bloggers and friends who make me look forward to writing and keeping the flame of my passion alive!

Here’s to a happier, healthier, crazier and love filled new year for all of you! ❤

Welcome 2017. Be better than 2016.

Graciously Yours!

Pssst : Do you even recall what your 2016 resolutions were? How much of it did you manage to achieve? Let me know! And then I’ll share mine! Till then, I am trying to recall exactly what they were! 😀

Travel Trivia!

What is one of the perks of living with friends and in a city which has innumerable weekend getaways around? Simple! Weekend getaways with friends. Okay, I promise the rest of the post is more sensible. 😉

After culminating the latest one, I thought I’d pen down some travel trivia for you to go bonkers over!

  • No matter what clothes you’re wearing – shorts, skirts, full pants, or even pullovers, people will stare! And this happened to me at 5 in the morning, at a little eatery by the highway where we went to enquire if there was a decent washroom we could step in! Thanks to the cold, I was so covered in layers I could barely see my skin, yet they were staring. Still wondering why.
  • Oh India and public hygiene! At which hour shall thee improveth? The bladders of women are tested to their limits and liquid diets are a strict no-no. Petrol pumps have never been more interesting and highway eateries more scanned. All for a place to answer nature’s call.
  • When buying food  for a trip, remember even if every one refuses that they’ll not eat fruits, they will! When hunger strikes, the count of apples and oranges will reduce. So be an angel in disguise and buy those for everyone!
  • Also, if you go to the beaches, like I did, pick up those shells! There’s no better memory of a beach you can collect. Assuming with naivety that you wouldn’t want to carry along sands or dead crabs or seaweed with you as memory!

Graciously Yours!

Picture Courtesy : Nitesh Jain (my footwear hasn’t been captured so well before!). 😉

Trip Courtesy : Mukesh Agarwal! For the consistently stupendous and amazing planning of our getaways! Your ‘coolness’ knows no bounds! 🙂

It’s Your B’day!

Finally coming around to a proper b’day dedication for you!

Dear D,

If friendships were made in heaven, ours would almost make it to that list. Well, almost ‘cuz you gotta work on being perfect from almost perfect. I crossed the perfection threshold long ago! 😉
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I still have to figure out why I disliked you in the beginning, so much so that I wouldn’t want to pay attention to you. But the tables turned soon. You should thank me for that! 😉 You get too much attention these days, too much for your own good! And I don’t mean just from me.

You’re a good friend to have, trustworthy to the core, too practical for even me to comprehend at times and entertaining like none other.

Here’s a small wish for you:

May you get bored less often,

May you start with Sherlock Season One!

May you keep winning cricket matches,

And less of those Tinder matches!

I hope to keep brewing trouble,

And see you rise from the rubble!

May your whites take you to success,

They make you look good, I confess!

May the love never diminish,

Before you get bored, I’d rather finish!

Happy birthday! To the guy who’s guided me when I couldn’t make decisions, who’s supported me when I needed a shoulder, who’s never asked for an iota in return, knows which promises to fulfil and which he can get way with breaking!

You’re not perfect, and well neither am I.

But we can keep giving it a try. 🙂

Graciously Yours!

P.S.: In the age of smartphones and 13 MP cameras, how do we  not have enough pictures?

Thought Flash #7

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Warning : Quick Geography lesson ending in History!

Look out at the sky tonight. Every night. Till you can shift your gaze from the waning (or waxing, depends on when you’re reading this) moon, to the dimming stars barely giving us a glimpse from the clouds, haze and dust these days.

The Sun is the nearest star to our planet. Go a little further and you have the Proxima Centauri which is 4.2421 light years away. A quick Google search indicates that the top ten nearest stars to the Earth are all within ten light years away from us.

Do you know what this means? There are a billion stars around us we can lay our terribly limited human eyes on. And the light coming from them that helps us see them is from a lot of years ago! 4.2421 years in case of the Proxima Centauri. Or 10.322 years in case of Ross 248, the tenth nearest star. Or ULAS J0015+01, the farthest star from the Earth which is 900,000 light years away.

As you look into the sky, you, my dear friend, are literally staring into the past! Every single night! Those stars may have long moved away or collapsed or given birth to black holes today, but you get to be a part of their history by simply casting a look at them.

Graciously Yours!

P.S. : Maybe somewhere, from one of those celestial bodies, a past you could be staring back at the present you in the multiverse! I’ll stop right there. 🙂

Picture Courtesy : Martin Mark.

 

11 outta 10!

Scene 1.

A mother-daughter duo peacefully watching a Tom Cruise film. He’s just started to run.

Mother gets a call. Daughter gets to hear only one side of the conversation.

Mother : Hello ji. Salutations!

Mother : All well, yes!

Mother : Oh! No, not really.

Mother’s tone is now changing. On the screen, Tom Cruise is running faster!

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Mother : Of course!

Mother gives daughter a look. Daughter knows this look. A storm is approaching.

Mother : It’s not a problem at all!

Mother : See you! Buh-bye!

Tom Cruise is still running. The man needs to learn when to stop! Mother pauses his film. Cruise is cruising in the air.

Scene 2.

Half an hour has passed. Mother is in the kitchen. Daughter is cleaning up the place. Guests are coming over for lunch, having self-invited themselves! Time to refurbish the house!

Daughter looks around the hall. Pleased with herself at having cleaned up early.

Daughter : Mom, it’s done! I’ve cleaned up the place.

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Mother (peeks out of the kitchen) : What’s done? Fluff those cushions. Put your shoes back in the rack. I still see things on the dining table! Why is your mobile on charge? And will you shut off the music! It’s getting on my nerves!

Flabbergasted Daughter : Umm, Mom? I’ll go out in an hour, remember. Why put the shoes back then? And the things on the dining table? They’re called cutlery. In which you’ll serve them food. But if you want, I can get banana leaves! And my mobile is on charge because it is very normal to charge mobiles! Like we stay here, remember? And Kishore Kumar is getting on your nerves?

Mother (barely audible over a running grinder) : You’re not going anywhere. Not when  I have guests over! And do what I ask you to do!

Daughter (sighing in exasperation) : Of course, I am not going anywhere now. Time to shut you down today, Cruise. Mom’s not going to be watching you save the world today. She’s too busy going bonkers.

Mother : Will you get me the vegetables from the refrigerator?

Daughter (laptop, speakers, mobile, chargers all under her arms) : Well, if you’d asked me to, then I would. But you never did.

Mother : Keep these devices away. And get me the vegetables now!

Daughter : Yes, Madam!

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Mother : And hurry up!

Scene 3.

The guests have arrived. Lunch has been had. Now is the wait. The wait for them to leave.

Guest 1 : The food was so good! How did you manage to make it so soon?

Mother : Oh nothing of the sort. I was as it is planning on making something special for lunch today.

Daughter (thinking to herself) : If only they knew that the lunch special was two minutes of maggi!

Guest 2 : Then we should come over more often!

Mother and daughter look at each other and then smile at the guests.

Mother : Why not!

Daughter : Why? Umm, not.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how worked up is your mother when guests are to arrive? Mine is 11! 😉

Graciously Yours!

P.S. : Any similarity to actual events or persons, living or dead, is NOT coincidental. Any character and event depicted here is NOT fictitious. Similarity to actual events or persons, living or dead, is NOT coincidental.

 

Grabbing eyeballs!

The security check queues at the airport can be long, more so if you’re travelling just at the outset of one of India’s most celebrated festivals, the festival of lights, Diwali; also if you’re travelling from Bengaluru, the second home of most Calcuttans, to Calcutta, obviously their first.

What better way to pass the time than to Sherlock around a bit? Presenting to you a list of the kinds of women we came across in our fifteen minute queuing up experience!

  1. Apparently effortless : These women are my favourite! Combining style with comfort, book in hand, hair tucked behind ears and travelling light! At 7 in the morning, when you see such women moving around like they were made to travel and early mornings at airports are a daily commute for them, you envy them a little. Just a little. Because that’s followed by the thoughts of my room being in a mess due to packing and unpacking every weekend for the past three weeks. Then I settle in my place of grass in peace!
  2. The young moms : Every time I travel, I come across young mothers with their first borns cuddled in their arms, trying to put the babies to sleep, or entertaining them with clucking noises, pointing out interesting looking people, or randomly distracting them from crying! A few lucky moms have such friendly, quiet and smiling babies that their travel turns to be a anecdote filled one, a blessing in disguise!
  3. Oh so prim and propah : These are few and far between but can be spotted from a mile away! We were lucky to land one such sighting. They look like they’ve landed out of a fashion magazine. They behave like they’ve been landed right out of the sky. Some times their expressions are so contorted they look uncomfortable in their own skin! They are prim and proper, mostly rich and extremely out of place in a bunch of commoners. So much so that the one we saw was actually maintaining a hand’s distance from the women in the queue.
  4. The shaded beauties : You’re inside the airport. The sun isn’t at its’ best. The light isn’t too bright for shades to be used. Yet, you do. I wonder why? Are you hungover from last night’s parties? Have you been crying your eyes red? Are you trying to avoid letting people know you’re seeing them? Or are you, oh my God, escaping the world? Take those shades off, for light’s sake!
  5. The casual chic : Me! And many like me! Simple three step process : Get out of bed. Put on clothes. Dab kajal. Brush your hair (and teeth). Done! Okay, I know that’s four steps not three. But whatever. My style. My rules.

Diwali Bonanza Offer!

The queue jumper : Need I say anything about them? Except that the one I met yesterday very cunningly crossed over the ropes to go join the next line when the guard wasn’t looking. She saved all of two minutes! And earned a lot of angry glances.

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What does the men’s queue look like? Any takers who’d care to elaborate? 😉

Graciously Yours!

 

Picture Courtesy : Colorbox

Ideas in collaboration with : Sakshi Malhotra!

Thought Flash #6

If marriages are indeed made in heaven, are you telling me God actually went about match making on the basis of caste? Or religion? Or even for that matter on the basis of gender?

Souls, as per last understanding, were gender-less. Caste-less. And religion-less. So how can my soulmate be from the same religion or caste as me?

Shouldn’t arranged marriages and ‘matches are made in heaven’ be mutually exclusive?

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Graciously Yours!

P.S. : This post is by no means an attack on your personal beliefs. I’m rather questioning mine.