Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Musings on a Rainy Afternoon!

It's so much more than what I thought; all encompassing,
Every second, every action, every thought,
Defines my dreams, aspirations, my fears, concerns,

At times I want to break free, be by myself, revert to my old self
But then again, do I really?

It's overwhelming yes, the love, the attachment, the joy

It's changed me so much; wearied me down, am mostly disheveled,
But taught me to be more patient, forgiving and accepting

I don't feel like am in a rush anymore,
The to-do lists, the organizing, the cleaning, the projects - these thoughts don't swirl my head,

Right now am just trying to control my giggles, as my little one looks up at me with his big eyes and wanting me to read him a book for the 3rd time in a row, very earnestly says 'plish'

And I think I have finally found my happy space:)

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Throwback to the finding Mr. Right days!

My fifth wedding anniversary is round the corner, so of late I have been reminiscing of -- life post marriage, the wedding and preceding preparations, those last few months at my home back in Hyderabad, and how can I forget -- the search for Mr. Right!

Mine is an arranged marriage, and the couple of years that went into finding the right guy, are certainly among the most eventful ones of my life; snippets below:

The embarrassing – in our community, typically the two families wouldn’t be acquainted prior to the proposal, so one ritual as part of the engagement ceremony/function is “odkhan vidhi” (odkhan means introduction) wherein the emcee introduces every member of the bride and the groom’s families on the stage. The idea is that the two families get to know one another. Since we are big joint families, it warrants this process rather than people just mingling and acquainting themselves.

So if you happen to be in college, the emcee gives a special shout out when introducing you, calling you as “umeedvaar” (literal translation meaning ‘candidate’ – for? – marriage, obviously!). While the emcee makes the announcement with overenthusiasm befitting that of declaring candidature for a leading political party’s upcoming election, you would be left wishing you had Harry’s invisibility cloak!

After all of this, you can’t even console yourself saying the most embarrassing moment of life is done with, since -- remember I just mentioned big, joint families -- meaning lots of cousins and therefore J

The irritating – at one of my cousin’s reception, the elders sabotaged my pani-puri gorging spree to arrange a ‘friendly, casual chat’ with some ‘prospect’. I was pretty miffed but since it was suggested by my cousin’s in-laws and I didn’t want to get her into trouble by creating a scene, I gave in.

I somehow smiled through the chat and my mind was occupied with the pani-puris all through, except at the start when I did a double take on seeing him wearing an ochre colored suit and a diamond pendant the size of a walnut!

The disgusting – After seeing my profile on the matrimonial site, one guy’s mom called my Dad and asked for more pics, specifically -- 2 in western wear, 1 in saree, and 1 in salwar kameez.

The presumptuous uncle who referred to his son as “CA” Jignesh Shah every time he took his name, asked my Dad if I had done my MBA in English medium.

The amusing – Some profiles and pics on the matrimonial site are such gems they make you take a pause from cursing the whole arranged marriage process to indulge in some LOL moments. The ones I still remember:
One guy’s pic was taken in a studio complete with a pose of leaning on a side stand; what stood out for me was that he had paired his ethnic outfit with sunglasses, indoors. I call out to my siblings/cousins and huddled up in front of the laptop, everyone shares their reactions:
My youngest cousin instantly starts singing – gore gore mukhde pe kaala chashma, while my brother wisely comments that the studio lighting must be too glaring so he’s just being practical.
My sister adds drily, “Or maybe he’s trying to convey how he is the perfect blend of traditional and modern, just as everyone expects of the bride-to-be.”

Another guy had written in his introduction something like – “I am a person with multiple talents and it’s hard to describe me in few lines. So meet me to know me” – followed by some 7-8 exclamation marks.

The adventurous – While relatives were the only source to make enquiries in arranged marriage proposals in the pre-Internet era, nowadays one does a full-fledged online research using Google, FB, and LinkedIn etc. My friend and I took it up a notch further:

The guy (let’s call him X) whose rishta had come for me, had done his MBA in the same B-school and batch as one of the new joinees on our floor. So my friend cooked up some random story and tried to extract info from him if he knew X etc. Imagine our luck, of some 350+ batch size, X turned out to be our colleague’s roommate! While my friend never mentioned my name, obviously the two would have later spoken and our colleague would have figured out what we were up to. #facepalm

With such an eventful run-up, when my marriage was finally fixed, everything fell in place so fast and without any hassle, that it feels as if it was just meant to be! We met/spoke for the first time on Friday evening and Sunday morning we were engagedJ

This blogathon is supported by Woo, The most popular match making app in India with a base of over 3.5 million users.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Shopping Diaries -- Part 1

“Shopping”...the word brings an instant smile to my face. No, I am not a shopaholic or a fashionista. Shopping, for me, has been about bonding and knowing – bonding with a person who at one point, was a stranger but today is among my closest friends; and knowing the city that at one point, was uncharted territory but today is like a second home.

Circa 2006...the first time in my life that I was moving out from my hometown. Filled with excitement (of doing my MBA) and anxiety (of being on my own in a new place), I landed in Ahmedabad.

As I recall my two-year stay at Ahmedabad, filled with immense learning and wonderful experiences, “shopping” conjures up several fond memories.

It was mainly over our shopping expeditions that Khushi and I became, and remain, close buddies. Whenever we were out shopping, we used to talk endlessly about our studies, classes, and hostel; about our families and hometowns; about movies, food, fashion, and sports; and generally about this and that
The connect that we formed then has only grown stronger over the years and though we live in different cities today and are consumed in our respective busy lives, when either of us has anything to share – an achievement, a grudge, a worry or a query – all it takes is one ping and there we go talking again!

Also, as we went shopping and exploring various places all over Ahmedabad, including C. G. Road, Law Garden, Satellite, and S. G. Highway, I began to absorb the city’s charming as well as mundane aspects. I went about the city admiring its rich culture and art, relishing the yummy and sweet-tasting Gujarati food, haggling with the auto-wallas, forever complaining about the hot short, I began developing a sense of belonging toward the city.

Zooming ahead to 2012...I got married and moved to Chennai – with mixed emotions, just like 2006. New place, new companion. Watch out for another post in future where I will talk about my shopping and outing experiences at the time with my hubby dearest!:)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The melody of life!

I grew up in a big, boisterous joint family where there was so much activity happening all the time! Ours was a sprawling bungalow with a garden running all around it, the office (of our family business) also housed with the bungalow and a small factory in the backyard.

Daytime was a constant buzz, filled with all kinds of sounds -- the men of the house trying to get the Priya and Chetak (the scooters of those time) running by kick-starting them, with our dog Pintu jumping and barking away in the background; the cooker whistling in the kitchen, we kids swapping turns cycling and swinging in the verandah, and the machines whirring away in the factory.

Powercuts were quite often, especially during the summer. Cooking and eating dinner by the candle light was quite common. The elders and older kids provided amusement with the game ‘shadows on the wall’ while the younger tots like me gave the sound effects for their actions:D

Post dinner, with no TV to watch, we all used to put out the metal kots (called khaatla in gujarati) in the angan and sit/lie down there under the starlight (which is very hard to find these days except at hill stations!), while baa (grandma) and bapuji (grandpa) used to sit in bamboo chairs in the verandah.

Once all of us had settled in and were passing around the plastic hand fans and newspapers, we would start with our favorite game – Antakshari!

We would split up in 4 groups and then my eldest uncle (whom we fondly call Pappaji) would do the honours with “baithe baithe kya karein, karna hai kuch kaam, shuru karo antakshari leke prabhu ka naam!” The first group would then start singing a song with the akshar ‘ma’.  And so it would go on…what fun it would be, there would be those classics which had to be sung without fail, such as ‘ramaiya vasta vaiya’ and of course those peppy numbers to which we all kids would jump out of the khaatlas and do the trademark dance steps, like ‘my name is lakhan’ and then the romantic ones where the couples would do a duet on / dance to while the rest of the family cheered on. 

Me being one of the youngest would have a limited library of songs and so will be anxiously waiting for that letter to come where I can finally sing the song I know! I recall my performances as very enthusiastic, albeit with a goof up of lyrics or pronunciation here and there, and followed by a resounding round of applause from the entire family leaving me all glowing and happy!:)

The other most awaited performance would be from baa who would only sing a song on much coaxing and would be blushing all through her rendition:D

There would obviously be the pro players of the game like my sisters who would inject various rounds such as rapid-fire, jodi round (you have to sing the song pairing one hero/heroine from the song sung by the previous group with a new one), situation round and the likes!

All in all it would be a most memorable time spent which made me in fact look forward to those power cutsJ

And today, while powercuts do persist, I see inverters in most homes which means life goes on as usual. Even where there are no inverters, family members are simply absorbed in their respective ‘smart’ phones – from kids of this generation, the response to a game like antakshari varies from silly to boring; they would rather tune in to their iTunes playlist than participate in a game like this! And do I even need to say about big, joint families…what I grew up in seems like another world altogether, there are more cars and gadgets than the number of family members in a home these days!


This post is being written for the #BachpanWithFlinto blogger contest. Flintobox creates award-winning discovery boxes filled with fun exploratory activities and games for children in the age group of 3-7. If you wish to gift Flintobox to your child, niece/nephew, or friend’s child, use the exclusive coupon code WELCOME to avail Rs. 250/- off.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Bounce back!:)

Today I thought to write about those moments when we women feel low. I am not talking about major life tragedies but the more usual low moments we experience every once in a while in routine life. The former calls for a lot of fortitude while the latter is more of overcoming that moment, casting aside the negative thoughts and carrying on with life. So here goes:

Hubbies are naturally equipped to be compassionate and eloquent in grave matters such as the impact of the Iran nuclear deal, the proposed GST rollout, standing by Dhoni during his losing streak as captain…you get the driftJ
But come wifey’s moments of emotional distress -- side-lined for a well-deserved promotion, MIL’s badgering for a grandchild, the weight gain/grey hair appearance, overwhelmed with the work/life balance act, a botched attempt at single-handed 3 course cooking for the guests -- and the poor things are rendered clueless and helpless!

Their version:
The first time I proposed a solution she said can’t you just stay shut and listen to my feelings!
But the next time I was quiet and let her be, she accused me of ignoring her and saying nothing to comfort her!

Personally speaking, it’s my parents who have been my most solid source of strength and made me bounce back whenever I was feeling down and low on any matter, big or small.
It’s definitely harsh to expect hubby dearest to possess the same repertoire of reactions as my seasoned Dad, who knows just the right thing to say or do:
  • Sometimes he would acknowledge the tumult I am going through, telling me how proud he is of me not giving up, that faith is just what I would need to keep pushing on
  • On other occasions he would inspire me by sharing similar experiences from his lifetime and how he pulled through then  
  • And at times he would simply admonish me for making a big deal for no reason, snapping me out from my silly monotones

Neither can hubby dearest pull off “no-nonsense, get your act together” punchlines like that of my Mum, sample this:
अनुकूल परिस्थिति में तो कोई भी अछे से रह सकता है, विपरीत परिस्थिति में अछे से रह सके तो कुछ मत्लब!
(Translation: Anyone can live nicely in convenient circumstances; it is only worthwhile if you can live nicely in adverse circumstances!)

So away from my parents, not wanting to disturb my girlfriends either (as they too are busy dealing with their share of life’s messes), and to the great relief of my hubby -- over time I have managed to figure out how best to deal with the low moments myself. 

It starts with taking a deep breath, drinking a glass of water and then doing one / more of the below:
  • Go take a bath – the mind might still be on the negative thought loop while we bathe but the physical relaxation will definitely have some impact, you will feel lighter!
  • Listen or dance to a peppy playlist – ‘Peppy’ is key here, so have one such list handy. Think ‘Let it go’ from Frozen and ‘London thumakda’ from QueenJJ You don’t want to be listening to ‘Kitni baatein yaad aati hain’ from Lakshya and escalate your sadness to weeping! Given my awesome bad luck, if i play at random on the spot, such songs somehow show up, hence the learning of having a playlist ready at your disposal!
  • Watch / read something funny or inspiring – Nothing beats stress for me like watching an episode of Friends, even though I may be seeing it for the zillionth time! I also find the jokes and quotes in Reader’s Digest very engaging. The Minions and Aunty Acid quotes on FB are also awesome!
  • Skip the chore – On a bad day and with a messy headspace, I end up doing some blunder even in the routine tasks and that’s it!...the whole thing becomes a melodrama: nothing is right in my life, I am useless, why always me and so forth. Therefore, when feeling low, never ever take up an uninviting routine task like cleaning/washing etc.
  • Browse about some random/new topic – If I don’t have any book or bored of listening to the same playlist, I pick up a random topic and start reading up about it on Wikipedia/net. So in usual routine, I keep a list of such topics for reading later, or save interesting articles as bookmarks. For example, once I read up everything about Operation Blue Star since I never knew the whole story. Doing such a thing just fills your head with new information and your focus shifts.
  • Revisit happy memories – Again need to choose a bit wisely what you want to see, looking at videos of your last birthday celebration at your parents’ place will definitely make you more homesick. Instead some crazy video from your college days or that of an office party can cheer you up!
Stay happy,

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Thoughts on how life pans out...

How life unravels:

As a kid, a worry is merely a fleeting moment --
Something as simple as when Mom is distributing the Gems packet that the guests just gave me, will enough be left for me?:):)

As a teenager, worries surface like events for some, while linger on as a phase for others --
Pocket money, dates, breakups, entrance exam preparations, life begins to look like a chase...

But it is as an adult, that worries consume life itself!
An ailing parent, a sibling's marriage, getting out of a dis-satisfactory job, the next EMI…

But life itself prepares us:

As a kid, dependent and clingy

As a teenager, trying to come into own; making mistakes and discovering oneself

As an adult, truly understanding oneself; self-assured and ready to take on whatever life throws my way!

Friday, January 2, 2015

The Luxury of Choice

I am the “new-age, educated, independent woman” of India.

And I have the “luxury of choice” -- things that I take for granted today, what my Mom and Grandma never had, and what majority women in India cannot even think of in today’s supposedly advanced/modern times:
  • Don’t feel like cooking today, let’s order a pizza!
  • Auto ride is such a pain, the haggling, the pollution…I’ve switched to Ola!
  • I’ve had a long day; I want to unwind by watching a movie
  • I have been so busy this week, have to come to office on Saturday too…shopping and spa therapy is what I need on Sunday!!
  • I don’t know, I am generally feeling somewhat bored in life, maybe a new hair-cut is what I need!
  • I am so stressed out, I need a vacation!!
  • House-keeping? Cleaning? Are you kidding me? I am much too qualified and talented to waste my time on such things!

I do not want to go into the pros and cons of this “luxury of choice” that I have, but I realize it would do me good to just remind myself and ponder over this every once in a while!