Joy in the little things of Life!!

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Potter, Writer, Blogger, Quiller, Avid Reader, Chatter Box, Traveller, Foodie, photo crazy, Orchid lover, FB addict, and an enthusiast.... I work on extremes... You'll either find me laughing insanely or discussing something seriously serious.... I suffer from a laughter disorder...I am a lover of arts and crafts and anything that's colorful, bright and beautiful which includes my plants and my little lovely birdies... I am a mad friend, an insane daughter, a crazy wife and an unconventional sister... I choose to love, laugh and live!! My smile is contagious....So be careful :)

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Weekend Stories

Love and Forgiveness - Part II

The link to Part I of this story is here

I sat besides Amma the entire night reading her a book called "The Map of Heaven". I thought it will make Amma's final journey an easier one.  Amma had a fetish for books and she had rubbed it on Sam who in turn rubbed it on me. I held her little finger throughout and my mind raced back to the good old days when Sam and Amma formed the centre of my existence.

Few months after Amma had taken over my upbringing she politely informed my parents that I could speak well. Obviously they didn’t believe her. So she had to prove it by talking to me in front of them. Assuming that my parents will be pleased our conversation went for about 5 minutes at a stretch. But my parents yelled at her because I spoke Malayalam instead of Hindi or English. She could never muster the courage to answer them back. I could speak Malayalam well because Amma was the only one who bothered to speak to me. The others only pretended. They never really had the patience to deal with a child who according to the norms of the world was "delayed and stupid". It was Amma who first noticed that I liked books and that I wasn’t half as bad as my teachers projected me to be. She encouraged my parents to send me to a normal school with normal children. Sometimes your own parents don’t understand you but an outsider does. My schooling began in a convent school and that is where I encountered my love for Physics and its laws.

Sam was Amma’s only child but after I had walked in to her life she often mentioned that she was blessed to have two lovely sons. I now understand her tragedy. Sam was a paraplegic and chair bound whereas I was autistic and mostly home bound. When Sam died Amma didn't cry much. She had become numb, somewhat like me. I was just 14 and couldn’t really understand the depth of death. I couldn’t even understand pain or love or longing. But Sam’s death was particularly tragic and for few days I felt a part of my chair bound.

It was my 14th birthday and as always there was no celebration. I was not very social and kids hated me including my younger sibling, Mahesh. To top it all, that year was special. I had ashamed my parents in front of the other relatives during a family gathering. A cousin of mine had placed a dead lizard in my pants. I was so angry that I had beaten him up. Immediately I was locked in my room and discussions of sending me to “special place” began under the carpet. Hence, it was only normal for my parents to forget my birthday. But Amma had taken the trouble to request my parents to get a cake for me. I hated cakes but Sam loved them. Hence, every year on my birthday a cake was ordered for me to cut it and for Sam to relish them to his heart's content. As soon as the cake arrived Amma finished her customary prayer, kissed my forehead and Sam's too. She then held my hand as I cut the cake neatly in small pieces. She then took a piece and turned towards Sam however I had already shoved a piece in Sam's mouth. Sam licked the chocolate and gulped it down. He looked delighted. Then suddenly something happened. Before he could take a second bite he turned blue. He fell from his chair and started gasping for breath. Within seconds he was motionless. Amma screamed for help and Sam was rushed to the hospital.

“Sorry, he is dead. The poison spread too fast”, the doctor with fat glasses and a big belly whispered to Amma and my parents. It happened so fast that I could barely comprehend the series of events.

Mahesh later told me that I killed my best friend. I could never explain to him that I didn’t. I just shared my cake. I felt pain for the first time at Sam’s funeral. When I placed the books next to him in the coffin, I felt he was talking to me, as if revealing a secret. I wanted to say sorry but I was pulled away. The coffin was then taken away. Amma held my hand throughout Sam’s last journey. I thought she was angry with me but she didn’t say a word.

"Amma why did Sam die?" I asked Amma.
"Because God wanted him to be free from his pain." Amma answered, her eyes wet.

A week later Amma was fired from her job which she anticipated anyway. I still don’t know why? A new nanny was hired. She was huge and looked like a snob. It didn’t matter to me because I had grown up by then and didn’t need anyone.

"Write letters to me and I will write you back", Amma told me as she packed her bag. 
"Okay. But will you respond?" I asked
"Yes, I will. Always." She assured
"What if you don’t?" I asked sensing that soon I will be alone, again.
"Then you must understand that I am dying." She smiled.
"Okay, then I will come and meet you. Wait till I come. Don’t die before that. I will place you in your coffin." I expressed my desire.
"Sure. After all a son has to do it for his mother", she said and I felt tears fall on my hands as she kissed them, the last time.


"Her heart beats have stopped", the nurse exclaimed.

"Oh! That means she is dead. Don’t worry she was waiting for me." I explained.

She ran and called the doctor who made me sign some papers mechanically. They see death and dead bodies so often that it becomes a routine for them. I brought Amma back to her humble home in Kerala. The funeral was a simple one. Not many people had gathered. A shrunken Amma had been placed in the coffin and buried. Father Agnes completed the prayer and after few minutes people left. I stayed there longing for her. Perhaps longing and pain felt the same. Except that pain was felt on the right side of the chest and longing on the left side.

I stayed there till night. I was wondering if Amma had forgiven me for what I did to Sam. I didn’t get a chance to beg for her forgiveness. Whenever I wrote about it in the letter she responded with a verse from bible. I tried recalling all the verses and if any of them hinted towards my question but I couldn’t. I stood up and walked to the nearby church. My eyes turned wet. I had never cried before. That could be because I never felt what a loss felt like. It pained and hurt. So I cried that night in the church and requested Amma’s God to take care of her.

The next day when Father Agnes came home where I was expected to finish some rituals and leave, he handed me a paper. It is a letter for you. God bless you. You must learn to forgive and let go. His pearls of wisdom were too much for my little brain to comprehend. I kept the letter safe in the pocket of my shirt. As the rituals concluded and people spoke kind words for Amma I felt the pain getting stronger. I was missing Sam as well. The fact that I had been a part of his death sometimes drove me nuts. I packed my bag and decided to leave immediately. The house was handed over to Father Agnes who planned to start an old age home there. It was Amma’s wish after all. I was happy for her and Sam.

The train for Bombay was on time. I preferred trains. Flights were just too fast and I didn’t want to reach Mumbai so soon, anyway. I boarded the train and found my seat amidst smell of coconut oil and a sea of human sweat. I looked outside as the train took speed. The trees, green hill tops, all washed off from my eyes by a strong breeze within seconds. That is when I remembered the letter and decided to read it.

Dear Rajat,

By the time you read this I must have begun my journey to meet God. As I write this my hands tremble and my heart pounds. This is perhaps my last letter to you. Cancer has claimed all of my energy. It has spread too fast though I feel it’s good in a way. I will die and meet Sam. At least I will be closer to one of my sons.

All throughout the past decade your your letters you have asked me if I forgave you for Sam’s death. No I didn’t and it is because it wasn’t needed. You didn’t kill Sam. He died because I wanted him to die. I had seen him suffer in pain and I wanted his suffering to end. I had to do it Kanna. I am glad Sam died next to his best friend. I don't know if  what I did was right or wrong. I just know that Sam deserved some peace. I hope you will forgive me and if you can’t I will understand.

When I first met you I was told that you don’t understand Love and other emotions. But if you are reading this then you have understood all of it, better than anyone else. After all who comes to see a dying Nanny?

I have loved you my child and when I meet God I will ask him to bless you abundantly.
Place your hand on my heart, do you feel my love? Thank you for being my son. I am dying peacefully.

God Bless!

I held the letter in my hand and felt a wave of emotions run through me. Anger, vengeance, pity, hatred, love. All of it at once. For the first time in my life I found myself standing on the crossroads. I had to choose between - Love and Forgiveness.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Weekend Stories

Love and Forgiveness - Part I

A usual Saturday morning for me would mean staying at home and doing my laundry, completing projects, loitering around the city with Sanjeevani. Universities in US have holidays on Saturdays and Sundays which gives students enough time to cater to their personal needs. My parents felt a sense of pride that I was doing my PhD or perhaps that I was finally doing something meaningful. They often boast about it to their relatives. In all the letters that my mother writes to me she mentions how she has been missing me. But I don't miss my family at all. I felt happy away from home – happiness? you feel when an electric current runs in your body and takes a pause at your lips. Then your lips stretch themselves and you end up smiling. 

Life in US is different and peaceful. You do everything on your own including cursing yourself. But it is different here in India. You outsource everything to domestic help including attending to the emotional needs of your child. Nonetheless, sometimes domestic helps can be a boon especially when your child is Autistic and it is too much of a hassle to deal with him. In my case it was. Amma had been kind to me in spite of the fact that I was nuts. So here I was in a small town of Kerala to meet Amma, to pay off her debts, to fulfill my promise, and above all to beg for her forgiveness. I had last seen her when I was 14. Today after a decade I was to meet her again.

Ironically I had first met her in a hospital. I was just 7 then. They said I had hit my head against a wall and that I was hurt. Hence, I was admitted to the hospital. But that was a blatant lie. My nanny who would often vent out her frustration on me had hit me with a stick so hard that my skull almosy broke open. I was stubborn I think or mad as my nanny called me. So first aid was administered and may parents were advised to be kind and nice to me till my wounds healed. I couldn’t speak clearly then hence nobody could know that my nanny was the culprit. And by the time my parents could understand what I was saying my nanny had managed to escape the cruel clutches of my parents. That is when my father’s uncle referred Shirley Amma to take care of me. She came to meet my parents in the hospital itself. I think the emergency was on both sides. Amma wanted a job desperately and my parents wanted some respite. It was then that my journey with Amma began.

"St.Philomena’s Hospital" the board read with a cross sign next to it. I instantly recognized the cross. Amma wore a similar cross around her neck. Her God was crucified on it, she often told me. Strange how the cross was always next to the names of all the hospitals we have ever seen. Amma thought it was because God's presence was required in hospitals to help patients and their families. But Sam had a different take on it. He whispered in my ears that it is because all doctors crucify little children on this cross with their injections. Of course he chuckled every time he cracked that joke. Sam was my best friend, rather my only friend. He was the only boy who never called me “Mad”, or “Crazy”, or “idiot”.  But he taught me a word called “Rascal”. According to him it meant, “Good boy”. So he was the only rascal I met in my life. The other boys were bad. They would pinch me, pull my pants down, and sometimes even locked me in the toilet. But Sam was different. He laughed loudly, always and read books. Sam wasn’t particularly healthy. He was lean, his eyes were buried in little sockets, he hardly walked, most of the times Amma carried him or he was on his wheel chair. But he had a particular liking for reading. When he was placed in his coffin which was on the whole small, I neatly placed two of his favorite books next to him. I had promised to buy these books for him but before I could even gift it to him that rascal died. He was in a hurry to go to Jesus I think. He didn’t even wait for me to say sorry.

I entered the hospital building which appeared to be very depressing. The building stood still with the same numb look. Perhaps the hospital buildings are also autistic. They never show any enthusiasm. The dull green and off white paint, jaded curtains and creamiest spartac tiles only added to its misery. Just like the doctors across have a protocol to scowl; hospitals have a protocol to look uninteresting. The odor of the antiseptic was so strong that my nose was filled with it. I think they do it deliberately to make the atmosphere gloomy. Have they not seen those deodorants ads? They can just spray it across the corridor and people will instantly cheer up. Perhaps they don’t want people to cheer up. The whole idea of hospitals will be diluted if people felt happy at hospitals.

The lift seemed full and the queue outside looked disappointing. I decided to take the stairs instead. I walked past the Childrens ward, NICU, then the general ward and I finally reached the private ward.

"Amma? Shirley Amma?" I asked the older nurse sitting at the counter on the 2nd floor.

She looked at me and spoke in heavy accented English. "Room No. 202. Take a left from the end of the corridor, the second room. Visiting hours end at 7. Just one hour, wokay?" She lacked expression on her face and that made her look more autistic than me.

"Okay", I took the pink slip and walked towards 202.

I peeped inside and found a nurse attending to Amma.

"May I?" I asked

"Yes please." She answered

I walked inside the room. Amma lay on the bed, motionless. Once upon a time a plump woman, now she had reduced to a narrow frame of with a single layer of flesh covering the bare bones. Her ears particularly looked large. Her eyes now looked just like Sam’s, buried in the socket yet full of life.

"Can she hear me?" I asked the nurse.

She responded in positive and stood cleaning the table. I think she was curious to see who has come to meet the almost orphaned Shirley Amma.

“Amma, I am here. Nurse told me that you are listening. I am fine. I didn’t get your letter so I realized that you must be dying. I am glad you didn’t die. I wanted to place you in the coffin. I had promised you, remember? Now if this life is painful then you may die, please. I will hold you through death just like I held Sam. It is only when you die that I will let go. I have also got a letter for Sam. Please give it to him. I wanted to ask for forgiveness but he left before I could even say sorry." I spoke almost breathless.

"I couldn't even say sorry to you. Have you forgiven me Amma? You know it wasn't my mistake, right?"

I saw a clear line of tears oozing from Amma’s shrunken eyes. She couldn’t speak. She just cried.

"Don’t cry Amma. I am better now. I have a girlfriend too. She is nice. Only that she is plump like you. And she speaks Malayalam too." I wiped Amma’s tears with cotton balls kept next to her bed.

The nurse looked rather stunned at my words. She thought I was insane. Who in a sane mind would ask people to die? From the look on her face I could read that she could not appreciate the depth of my words. Normal people could never understand that Amma and I were different. That what we nurtured within our hearts was an emotion which is not understood by many. It is called Love – Love? you feel it when you place your hand on your heart.

The link to Part II of this story is here

Thursday, November 13, 2014

We failed each other

I don’t really like writing about depressing things. I try to keep away from it as much as possible to keep my sanity, intact. But then sometimes certain things create a stir of emotions inside you and you just can’t let these crazy set of emotions wreak havoc inside you. So, here I am to write about something that has hit me hard on my face and punched me on my chest. 

This is how it all started. Today, few hours ago I shared a post on FB about how we women have the right to be ourselves, how important it is for men to understand that we women are just human as men, and etc etc. Below the post that I had shared, I noticed men had written disrespectful comments, and opinions against women. This was nothing new to my eyes. But what surprised me or rather shocked me was that women had also written equally insolent remarks against women. That’s when I realized that what we notice today is just a tip of the ice-berg. The problem that we are fighting against finds its roots deeply stretched across the X chromosome. Of course we are dealing with a patriarchal society or a male dominated one as one likes to call it. And it will take some time for us to transform the society we currently survive in. But my problem right now is not the “Y” chromosome at all. I have a bigger worry.Well, let me explain.

When a girl in a short skirt, dark lipstick, or a loud makeup enters a room, who is first one to assassinate her character and label her "A Slut"? Think about it. Haven’t we heard Girl A calling Girl B a loose character, just because Girl B has a dressing sense which doesn't comply with the standards set by Girl A? Don’t we know of aunties who term a girl characterless in their apartment because she talks to boys? Have you never seen or heard of a mother in law setting her daughter in law ablaze because the daughter in law failed to fulfill the dowry requirements? When a girl gets raped, women are the first ones to say, “Oh! She should have refrained from stepping out of the house so late.” And how can I miss the classic one liners by Mothers themselves, “Roti nahin banayegi to shaadi kaun karega?”(if you don’t learn to roll roti’s, no one will marry you.”)There is no exhaustive list; I can go on and on.

Now you see where am I coming from? It’s like we didn’t have enough problems already that we women have waged a war against each other. And after being so discourteous to each other we say we are not being heard. In many parts of our country women themselves feel that it is only after they give birth to a boy that they will be complete as a mother. I agree that it is the societal pressure which leads to this deteriorated thought process. But doesn’t the society also comprise of women?

I recall when I was in Delhi few years ago to see a cousin of mine; she mentioned how worried she is about her old age. She is blessed with two lovely daughters but she told me that she feels inferior to other women who have been “lucky enough to give birth to a son”. I felt disgusted and tried my best to explain her that she must take care of her daughters well and that her daughters have the potential to make it big. But I don’t think I was able to convince her. However, my cousins’ mother in law (who is a very gentle woman) could convince her and my cousin realized that given an opportunity even girls can achieve greater heights. Finally, some sanity prevailed. To tell you, this cousin of mine is a post graduate and was always a very studious girl. On the contrary her mother in law is not a very educated lady. Now, do I even need to tell you which woman in the above case qualifies as “modern or advanced”?  That’s when I realized it is not education alone that can help our situation. We require a deeper understanding and empathy for each other. The roots lie in the upbringing that a mother provides to her growing daughter and the legacy that is passed on from one generation to the other.

Think about it, we fight with men in buses because they don’t offer seats to pregnant women. But there is another question that stands upright in front of us, how many women stand up to offer a seat when they see a pregnant lady standing helplessly? The answer lies within each one of us. We women are Shakti and if we decide to stand up for something, no man in this whole wide world can stop us. That is exactly why we have been blessed with the right to create a new life, we are the creators. Men are able to easily exploit us because we have arrogantly refused to stand up for our own gender. We have decided to be judgmental of each other. We have unanimously decided to let go of the divine power of empathy and affection that we are blessed with.

I am in no way defending the mean actions of men or the violence that many women are subjected too by the opposite sex. What they have done to us or have been doing to us is unpardonable. All I am trying to say is that somewhere it is our fault too. We as mothers have so many times made our own daughters feel inferior. We as sisters have been unreasonably kind to our brothers. Haven’t we seen how mothers come running to rescue their rapist son? I know we have truly modern women too. However, the number of such women is so small that in most cases they fall under the minority category and are labeled as “feminists”.  

The fact is, before we stage dharnas and shout slogans to change to the mindset of the male population in our society, there is a lot of homework that you and I have to do to change our mindset first. Accept it or not, we have also aggressively participated with men in creating this garbage in our civilization, the stench of which has now polluted our souls. Time has come to wage a war against our ailing attitude too. We need to go back to our basics, again. We need to extend a helping hand to each other. We need to accept each other as women. Because ladies, the bitter truth is that more than this male dominated society, we have failed each other.

I am not completely broken. I am hopeful that someday we will see through the opaque lenses of our eyes. We will shun denial and take responsibility. We will become better friends, mothers, mother –in-laws, etc. And that is when we will be able to transform the men in our society. That is exactly when we will win this war. Nonetheless, today I am sad and hurt. And as I write this, I feel sorry for you and me because as women, we have failed each other, miserably.


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Super SIX

“So, do you like reading, R?” I typed anticipating a YES
“YES, I do.” Came a prompt reply
“Oh! Wow! Me too… I love fiction, love stories. How about you?” I typed again
“Well, I like sci-fi and books that give us a glimpse of the universe, our galaxy, and the many stars.” He typed.
Stars, really? He is such a nerd, I thought to myself. I imagined him wearing big glasses with a square shaped frame. His hair oiled till the end of every follicle and neatly combed. I also imagined him with braces on his teeth.
“So you like all this aliens and spaceship stuff, huh?” I wrote again.
“Well, Yes K. I have loved reading about it since my childhood. Do you like such stuff?” He asked this time sensing my discomfort with this genre.
“Ah! Not really, but you never know, I may like it, if I ever read it!” I tried to be as polite as possible.

This was one of the initial chats I had with him. Soon after this the duration of our chats increased exponentially. But the image of him being a nerd stayed in my head for some time till our first meeting.
On a bright sunny day of July, I saw a tall, dusky man, with long locks, dimpled cheeks, a beautiful  smile, broad shoulders, a very sturdy frame, big bright eyes, and arms that could wrap a tiny being like me with utmost ease. His branded Tee, Jeans, and boots added to his charismatic personality. He was the exact opposite to the nerd who lived in my head. The stereotype in my head was shattered in to pieces. He walked towards me and swept me off my feet, well, literally.
That is the day I realized that the rest of my life will be spent shuttling between the Milky Way, the gym, and the branded showrooms. And that’s how it has been. Crazy indeed!

Wrong Dates - 2009
R: Happy birthday K, dhan tan dhan… your favourite black forest cake.
K: whose birthday is it today? (sarcasm)
R: Hun, you forgot your own birthday? I thought you were good with dates. You even remember the date when we first met.
K: Hun, you see my birthday was yesterday. You missed it by a day….anger and tears making their way out.
R: stunned, confused, and almost froze where he stood.
We celebrated the birthday on 10th instead of 9th after a certain amount of emotional atyachaar. JAnd since then R has saved all the important dates in his phone including the one when we first met. He has never missed a date since then.

Gifts – 2010
K: Happy Anniversary, R. Thank God you told me you wanted a phone. Its so difficult to choose a gadget.
R: Thanks K. It’s a wonderful one and Happy Anniversary to you too. Here’s your surprise gift.
K: what is it?
R: well, open and see. You will love it.
K:Really? Unwrapping the gift and then shocked. It’s a PEN DRIVE, R.
R: Nice, na? 8 GB….!!!!  
K: what am I going to do with it?
R: well, I agree. No worries, I can use it. Thanks K.
K: grumpy face.
After that I have been gifted a 16 GB pen drive, a DSLR camera, and many such gadgets. Smart man that he is!

The Gentleman – 2011
Kaku: R, I am very impressed. You open the car door for your wife. What a gentleman you are.
K: blushing and cheeks turning pink. R loves me so much Kaku.
R: Well, Kaku, she is lovely. But you see she bangs the car door every time she gets in and gets out of the car. Hence, to save the doors from getting slammed and broken this is my small attempt.
K: cheeks turning red in anger.
R still opens the door and closes it when I get in to our car for that matter any one’s car. Sigh!

 A fair chance -2012
K: (on the phone) You know what happened today, R? blah blah blah..bleh bleh bleh.
R: Okay….
K: and then blah blah blah, bleh bleh bleh
R: Hmmm…
K: R I am talking nonstop and all you are saying is Okay and Hmmm….
R: K, before I can even complete, you start from the other end, already. You have to give me a fair chance, babes.
K: Oooops!!
Since then I have started taking a 30 second pause after my paragraph ends to give R a fair chance to speak. J

Ek Cup Chai - 2013
R: come home early na, K. I will make chai for you.
K: Okay let me see.
Me getting home early to enjoy the evening chai with R.
K: You enjoy having chai with me don’t you?
R: Well, certainly K. It is your company that keeps me going. But honestly I love the constant entertainment of your nonstop blabbering during our chai times. Laughing loudly.
K: a little grumpy, a little happy.
Our chai times are still very entertaining.

The Scary Revenge – 2014
K: You said it is going to be a romantic movie. It was an action movie.
R: Didn’t you see, there was a love angle to it?
K: keeping quiet. After a few days… the scene was reversed.
R: It was not a horror movie, K. 
K: Of course it was R. In fact the name itself was “Bhoothnath Returns” J
Since then we have arrived on a compromise. No surprise movie tickets, please!

So as we complete 6 years of insanity, madness, fun, and togetherness, I still feel it’s a dream. I pinch myself every time and realize, No, it’s not. It is the most beautiful reality of my life.

Today we saw Interstellar and the movie very subtly sent out a message that love knows no dimensions. It is beyond any physical dimensions. It is a bond that exists beyond the physical dimensions of our lives.

Happy Wedding Anniversary R… Life is worth living only because you are a part of it.

Love and lots of love (beyond physical dimensions),

Friday, October 31, 2014

The Business of Sorts

Just like the American Dream, we Indians have a desi version of it – The Great Indian Dream. It starts from our childhood when the pressure of studies is invariably thrus upon us. Study well (read score only 90 and above), get a job in an MNC only with a good package and if possible an onsite opportunity too. Then of course MARRIAGE and KIDS happen, and then etc etc. The point that one must note here is that the thought that a job provides safety and security is drilled deep into our heads. The prospect of doing a business drives our parents crazy. Thus, most of us regretfully fall in the “service class” except for the few adventurous ones who explore Bizness. Nonetheless, we are all business men/business women. In fact, I feel we Indians are attuned to business right from the time we are little racing sperms. Of course the source of our training begins at home just like Charity. Most of the times our elders don’t even realize that it is through them that we are aping and shaping our business skills. And thus we all get inducted in to this business of National Interest or The National Business. This business skill is not taught in any management school. No, No, I am not even talking about the dread MLM- Multi Level Marketing either. This business is like energy, constant and consistent in our genes.

This business is called “Poking One's Nose in Someone Else’s Life”. To ease its pronunciation, I have abbreviated it to PONSEL. I quite like the name. There are separate names to it too, like, “doosron ke phate mein taang adana, chuadhary ban na etc etc. I am unsure what is it called in different Indian languages. In case you know, please enlighten me. The phrases like, “none of your business” had been developed to counter this business and its propagators (whom I call PONSEL’s). Sometimes, the F word is also accommodated in the sentence. Certain harsh phrases in Hindi like “tere baap ka kya jaata hai” (loosely translated – what goes off your father) had also been developed to counter this concept. PONSEL's are often addressed as "Morons", "Idiots" and in recent times "A-holes" has been topping the charts. However, this business like a cult has grown by leaps and bounds and has been passed on as a legacy to future generations.

If history is to be believed, foundation of this business was laid millions of years ago. No scripture or text though reveals about the major contributors to this concept. I am also unsure if it was initiated by the X chromosome or its counterpart the Y one. However, the X chromosome has been pretty active in the expansion of this concept. Ironically, PONSEL binds India together and has often been synonymous to judging, stereotyping, and gossiping too. I mean go to any part of India you shall find propagators of PONSEL. People from all walks of life and from all faiths can be found in this business. 

Remember your neighborhood aunty who often told your mother that her daughter’s skimpy dressing will land her in a problem? Do you recall the well meaning Sharma uncle who has been the reason why you were pushed in to engineering though you craved for a Hotel Management degree? How about those many girls who shunned you because you spoke to “boyis” which meant that you have a loose character? Or how about your well meaning aunty who wanted you to get married at 25 so that by the time you are 55 your kids are “SETTLED”.The PONSEL's are experts in every subject - religion, career, maternity, relationships, health etc etc. You name it, they know it. Peep in to your own lives and you will find umpteen numbers of examples to understand my point. 

This business has been thriving for centuries and if experts are to be believed it will continue to thrive with the same vigor for the next few centuries too. If stats are to be believed, PONSEL’s have witnessed a tremendous growth of about 300 % in the last decade thanks to the technology. With the advent of technology and its fruits like, emails, whats app, viber, LINE, facebook etc etc, PONSEL’s have been able to reach far off relatives and ex-neighbors with ease. Facebook though has reported a certain decline off late due to the Blocking application. However, users of whatsapp and viber have reported a consistent growth.

In one of the weddings that I had been to, my faith in PONSEL’s of the Y generation (or whats app generation) was restored. The bride and groom beamed on the stage while they did their customary Namaste and feet touching act. R has never been an active participant during such gatherings and has failed miserably in our national business. I think that’s because of his Y chromosome. But my X chromosomes push me to be actively involved during these times. So I sat on the red colored sofa which was placed very close to the stage, adored the bride and the groom and simultaneously kept an eye on their gifts( the grooms mother thought people may steal it).As I was playing my part of that of a CBI inspector, I heard a very interesting conversation.
“The bride earns more than the groom, isn’t it?” A girl with the maroon lipstick whispered.
“Yeah yeah. She is with such a big company. But see the groom is better looking than her.” The girl with the brown lipstick responded.
“It is for the money that he has married her. Else there are girls dying to marry him.” – Red Lipstick girl
“Jaane de na, apne ko kya( leave it ya, how does it matter to us).” – Brown Lipstick

In fact weddings or social gatherings are the place where PONSEL’s find their prospects. Some prospects are victimized, some replicate the PONSEL business going further, or some escape it. In almost all the gatherings that I have attended I was either looked as a prospective bride or a prospective procreation machine. Thus, off late I started flaunting my mangalsutra and snake long sindoor to escape aunties and uncles who were eager to know if I am married. If not they could suggest the alliance of their daughters husbands aunt’s neighbors sisters son for me. If yes, then it was a different game altogether. I thought I had out mastered them. But I was so wrong. The focus shifted from my forehead (that is where the sindoor is visible) to my tummy.

"How long have you been married?" Staring at my tummy.
"6 years." Me uncomfortable.
"How many kids?" The stare still unbelievably stuck at my tummy.
"None." Me getting up to walk away.
"Huuuuuuuuh!!! Almost in a heart attack mode… jaldi karo."
"Sure aunty" and then Running mode.

Nonetheless, I had burnt my fingers so often that I learnt my lesson, well. So when I attended the recent wedding, I confidently faked a baby bump.




Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Home Sweet Home

Photo credit: As mentioned at the bottom of the picture

As the flight took off, I felt a part of me melting. My hands wanted to reach out for the ground, touch it, again. My heart was racing against the time that quickly flew by. The flight began reaching for the heights only moving away from the ground. Soon, all I could see were tiny houses and men which resembled my nieces’ toys. Nothing was visible clearly except for lights. Have you ever see Mumbai from the sky at night? It looks breathtakingly beautiful, like a newlywed bride, ornamented from head to toe, especially during deepawali where each house glitters with radiant lights of several colors. It looks like tiny pieces of jewels have been scattered all over the city and they shine with all their might. Soon, the flight turned and the lights flickered, slowly disappearing in the past. The fact that I had left it behind once again pinched me and the throbbing pain that had temporarily subsided, emerged out of nowhere. I was leaving it behind, a city I call home, a place where my heart still lives, with my family and friends. I have been through this several times. And each time the pain gets worse.

It has been 6 long years but I haven’t been able to accept the fact that I have moved away from home or as Mom often says I have moved ahead to build a Home of my own. She has never really accepted my sulking about the fact that I live away from her. She often tells me how technology has advanced and how we can now connect with anyone, anywhere, anytime. When she got married and relocated to Mumbai, all she could do was write a letter to her parents and wait for several days before she could even hear from them. Sometimes, the letter got lost in transit and Mom had to write another one and wait again. But now you click a button and see each other, she exclaims. She is right but then the daughter in me fails to accept it. This technology doesn’t wake me up with a kiss on my forehead by my mother. It doesn’t really cook the most amazing kheer when I crave for it. It doesn’t hug me when I feel lost and lonely. It never laughs with me hysterically for hours together over a silly joke. Honestly, it doesn’t really serve me much and I don’t have a rationale to explain this to you, or to anyone.

Please don’t get me wrong. I am happy woman. I am head over heels for my man. He is my best friend and the most amazing person I have ever come across. I live a life that several people dream of. My husband means my world to me. With him, I have found love over and over again. The city that I moved to has its own impeccable charm, the pleasant weather, the many flowers, the many chirping birds, the tress, the cleanliness, and the many lovely people. It is here that R and I discovered each other, created fond memories, and begun our new life, together. It has to be perfect, isn’t it? But it is not. I am happy but a part of me is sad, too. That throbbing pain surfaces often, leaving me in utter dismay. I cannot explain it in words, I cannot deny it, and I cannot accept it either. So what do I do? Let it torment me forever or accept it and make peace with it? Easier said than done, huh? What should I do when all I want is be in Mumbai?

So as the throbbing pain continued to hit my ribs trying to break through, I slipped in to my shell of denial and refusal. But then I also introspected for a long time throughout my journey to office, today morning. Enough is enough. This suffering cannot continue forever. It has to STOP. And it has to STOP NOW. Just then my chauffeur who drives me to office everyday interrupted my thoughts.

How was your vacation, Madam?
Ah! It was amazing, Anna.
Oh wow. Your home is in Mumbai?
Yes, Anna.
Super, you have two homes, one here and one there. Lucky Madam. He beamed at me.
I smiled.

This thought had always been crossing my mind.I am a part of two homes, two lovely homes. But then I always shooed it away. I always found it irrational. Honestly, there is no denying that a part of me will always remain in Mumbai, with my parents. It will breathe through them. Thus, Mumbai will always remain MY HOME, irrespective of the situations and circumstances. It is the ultimate truth. But then, there is another truth too, equally right. I have another HOME. It is here, with R, where I live with him, celebrating love and companionship. R now finds his family in me; he calls this city, his HOME. It is here that we celebrate moments together. My world now revolves around R. We laugh together, fight over silly things, kiss and makeup. I have found peace in his arms and joy in giggles. This matters to me just as much as the grin on my parents face.
But I am still not convinced. I am unhappy. It is a vicious circle I am stuck in. One moment I understand everything and the next moment I am still aching to be with my parents, in Mumbai. I know I will find happiness there. I know I need to find a way out. I need to take charge of this situation.

My mother always tells me that happiness is elusive. She often tells me to find joy in the NOW moment, in what I already have. She says one can find happiness if one intends to. Yes, for someone as ignorant as me, this is too much to digest. But somewhere I know she is right. Life has indeed moved on. Nothing remains forever. Situations change. I am no more just a spoilt daughter; I am a dear wife too. So I refuse to let this throbbing pain kill me any further. I accept this change. I know it is not going to be easy. This acceptance is a daunting task for me. But I also know that I have everything to be happy about- Loving parents, a doting husband, and caring family and friends. I shall no more get stuck in this obnoxious circle of perplexity anymore.

They say,” Home is where the heart is.” Indeed, my Home is where my Heart is…. And my heart is with the people I love the most. I have two Homes. Thus, the two pieces of my heart shall henceforth blissfully live within the boundaries of love and affection in both these places that I now call “Home” – Home Sweet Home.

(I can almost see a Halo over my head)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Insider story the Outsider way

The other day I was watching Chak De, yeah yeah the Shahrukh Khan starrer which introduced us to “Women's Hockey”. It also proved that Shahrukh Khan can play a better role where he doesn’t have to open his arms in the air, or dance in sarso ke khet. It was a good watch. I quite enjoyed the scene when the players are introducing themselves with their names followed by the names of their respective states, pissing off their new coach, our Hero. He finally makes them realize how they are representing a country and not a state anymore. Quite bollywood I must say. Nonetheless, the movie was such a break from some non sense movies that bollywood has been shoving down our throats, off late. Par real life mein aisa hota hai kya? I doubt.

If you are an Indian and are living in a state/place/city away from your hometown (which may also be a place where you originally don’t belong to) you must have at least come across one of these statements in your lifetime.

1.       Our city was far far better before “outsiders” crowded it.
2.       The city was cleaner before, thanks to the “outsiders” who make it dirty.
3.       You “outsiders”, you live in our city, take away our jobs, and show us attitude.
4.       Oh! God the pollution has increased, thanks to “outsiders”.

And my most favourite, "these outsiders live in our city and abuse it too." J I have heard this one umpteen number of times. There is no exhaustive list; it can go on and on. We Indians, always try to find an easy way out.  And the easiest thing to have ever been done is “Blame”. We blame the govt, the neighbor, the auto driver, the man driving next to you, the school teacher, the paper wala, doodhwala, the domestic help, the spouse, the in laws and the kids too, sometimes that inanimate table and chair too. I have started refraining from Facebook these days because it has become a strong medium of people to blame each other. And I am guilty too. I am sure sometime in my career as Facebookian (that’s a new term), I must have also blamed someone. Sad!

Thankfully, I don’t carry the guilt of calling someone an outsider, directly or indirectly. I have been sane enough to refrain from that. My soul doesnt carry the heavy burden of being a racist. Thank goodness for Maa Baap ke sanskaar or gurujaon ka asshirwaad. ;) (That’s what one of my aunt says when I do something that she considers right.) J

So what is that I am trying to say? Simple, I want to understand who is an outsider in India and who is an insider? Going by the current trend and tides, I understand that anyone who is not a local is an outsider. Insider is the one who speaks the local language, who belongs to a community that for generations has known to be from that particular city, who has a particular last name, etc etc. If not then, you better accept that you are outsider. No debates. No no it doesn’t matter if you share a bond with the place, or if you love the city more than home, or if you are working your best to make it a better place, or if you are a law abiding citizen. Told you right, it just doesn’t matter. You are an outsider and that’s it. Sorry to break your bubble but I just can't help it.

The first time someone called me an outsider, I cried buckets, sobbed like someone had snatched my identity. It was like someone invited me to feast on yummy rasgullas and then all I was served was long, green, spicy chillies. Okay, bad example but that’s exactly how I felt. The spice was so strong that I can still feel a tinge on my tongue, sometimes okay most of the times.

How could they call me an outsider? I growled. I am an Indian, and I am living in India. This is my right. My constitution gives me the right to do so. But who was I fighting with? With my own people. They were mine. Their passports were made in “India”. Their identity to the exterior world was that of an Indian. They spoke a language that so many other Indians spoke. They were the same crazy people who thronged the streets when India grabbed the world cup. They were the same people I walked with silently holding a candle in my hand when a daughter of my country was violated. They were the same people who took matters in their hands when the city I live in needed help to preserve its lakes, its heritage. Yet! I was an outsider. I was slapped with it on my face or punched hard.

And mind you, I am not talking about the “uneducated-ganwaar-anpadh log”. Here I was with the “elite - literate - class - padhe - likhe - log" who thought so. In fact very recently someone told me that “they are the most down to earth and easy people to live with”. No denying that however saying that we are better than the rest sucks. However, what can you do to correct it? For ages we have been programmed to believe that we are the best. See, all our states are divided based on the languages of the masses; our politicians have enforced a culture which glorifies a particular language and demeans the other. People kill each other in the name of language, religion, caste, creed, community etc etc. Sadly, we are still following that. We are refusing to look at the world with open eyes and an open heart. We have toiled so hard to eradicate casteism from our country which specifically meant that the so called higher caste people are better than the ones in the so called lower caste. But then we are still stuck with our differences. When will we learn to celebrate our differences? So much for our Prime Minister’s “Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat” campaign.

I also know of people who live in developed cities and make fun of the no so developed people and the states. Then, how on earth can we progress as a nation? Then how the hell are we different from these so called politicians who make use of divisive politics for their ulterior motives? And then we sulk ki India aisa kyun hai? I don’t want to get preachy; please it is not my forte ;) All I know is that no individual is known or rather should not be known by his religion, caste, creed, or community. They don’t choose it. They are just born there. But this little thing is tough to be accepted by many.
So, finally I have gracefully accepted it and silently snubbed the logical Indian that lived inside me. So if now people call me an outsider I smile and say THANK YOU. Thank you to make me realize, we still have a long way to go. Thank you to make me understand that mere education cannot open the minds of certain individuals. Thank you for opening my eyes to the sad state of affairs in my own nation…Thank you, now I know that when I bring up my kids what I shouldn’t teach them. Thank you, so much. I also call some of these “we are the better community” or “we are better people” Morons in my head multiple times. This is racism, crystal clear. 

Hey, I was just thinking how does it work in inter caste or inter community marriages? Perhaps, this insane thinking that “we are the better breed” kills so much of love in the society. And how would couples in love from different communities address each other? Something like, “O my wife- from- the -better community, what’s up for dinner? Or, Oh! My “best- language-in-the-world-speaking –husband” let us go for a movie. Seriously? J

R and I speak different languages, belong to different communities. Thankfully we were sane enough to love our differences too. Did I tell you, my mother in law is a bong and she addresses me as “mei” in Bangla. I know of so so so many Indians who have developed love for a language foreign to them. I know of Indians who love feasting on dishes that are prepared in communities different from theirs. And I know of friendships which have stood the test of time, irrespective of their differences. Such people restore my faith in humanity, in Indians. In fact both my best friends speak languages that I don't know. One is a Bong and the other is a Kannadiga. They have showered so much love on me in spite of the differences in our culture and language. I believe, some love needs to be injected in the society. We have a lot more to learn from our movies than just the songs, sigh!

This topic is quite stressful; trust me. I suggest, let us breathe deeeeeeeeply and relax. Time for some good news.

India's shining star - the unbreakable, Mary Kom has won gold again for India. Ah! Such a proud moment for India, for her, for her family, and for all of us, isn’t it?

Oh! By the way does she belong to your state or community or does she speak your language? ;)
So from an Outsider (I am not from Manipur) to an Insider (she represented India and not just Manipur) a hearty congratulations to you, Mary! You go girl, go conquer the world! More power to you.


Photo credit:

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Agony of Vrindavan

Dear Ms. Actress

I always choose to be oblivious to the statements made by politicians. Moreover it is not uncommon to see politicians suffering from a serious case of foot in the mouth disease. And going by the current scenario, the disease looks to be on an epidemic endangering the sanity of the common Indians, like me. I wanted to write this letter not because something that you have said has hurt me but for the sheer apathy that you have publicly displayed towards a weaker part of my society which for ages has been silently victimized.

You recently questioned that, “Why widows from Bihar and West Bengal crowd Vrindavan?” Honestly, I do not have an answer for this and it is quite evident that these widows who have been trying to gather pieces of their shattered life at the feet of their God do not know it, either. However, one must look at this issue from a different perspective.  Long after Sati was proscribed as illegal in an attempt to save the lives of hundreds of innocent women, the society found a new means to get rid of the widows. Families decided to abandon them because after the death of their husbands, they looked more like a burden for them.  The society demanded from them that they live at the mercy of others, give up on all the material needs and desires. They were compelled to live a life reduced to pleading and borrowing and ultimately waiting for death to claim it’s right on them. Going by what is available on the internet today many of these women prefer death over life. It means an end to their misery and the only light in their otherwise dark lives. However, for centuries we have chosen to turn a blind eye to their turmoil and continued to believe that this is what has to happen.

Today we live in an India that is toiling hard at various levels to uplift women, to empower them and to make them strong. Our PM, Mr. Narendra Modi has time and again appealed that we stop atrocities against women and treat them as equals. Then why have you singled out these widows from Vrindavan or for that matter from any state of India?  Isn’t this an atrocity against them? You suggested that they must live in temples in Bihar and West Bengal and not make Vrindavan their home. That’s pretty convenient, isn’t it? However, I have a different viewpoint on this. I believe if they deserve to live only in temples then how does it matter if the temple is in Bihar or West Bengal, or for that matter in Vrindavan? None of these Gods or the temples have the power to make the ever rotting lives of these widows any better.  Or did you simply mean that widows from WB and Bihar must replicate the Vrindavan model in their respective states? I think that is not a bad idea either. It is simple logic, isn’t it? While we are striving with one Vrindavan, let us create several vrindavans and further more add to India’s agony.

These vrindavan widows belong to our country and should be treated like a part of us. They are a constant reminder that we have been indifferent to their plight and I am unsure for how long. I am certain you understand that these widows do not like to be singled out. No one wants to leave the comfort of their homes and crowd a city/place. May be we need to dig a little deeper and examine the roots of this problem. There could be a possibility that they are escaping. May be they are escaping the brutal clutches of the society. May be they are evading the atrocious intentions of their families. May Be Vrindavan is where they find refuge and safety. Or May be Vrindavan makes their end easier.

How I wish we as a society could work towards eradicating age old traditions. How I wish we could lend a hand to these hapless widows to help them lead a life of dignity and respect. How I wish we could make them independent so that no widow could ever crowd a city, a temple, or a country. How I wish political sector of the society could work towards rebuilding a life of meaning for these widows, making them an integral part of the society. How I wish we could be a little more thoughtful and considerate. How I wish we could ensure that no girl of today becomes one of the vulnerable widows of tomorrow. How I wish we could work on the deeper roots of this problem. Oh! How I wish.

 India has always been about its states, and languages, and caste, and creed, etc etc. It has always been about division, and separation. Of course, these widows who have been stripped off their right to live a life of respect should also be stripped off their right to live where their bleeding and broken heart wants to. So much for “Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat?" Though I wonder, how this so called “crowding effect”doesn't apply to actors?” Don't we all know how aspiring actors  come from different parts of India to Mumbai to try their luck in Bollywood. Does that mean they are crowding the city? There are film industries all across India and these aspiring actors should just stick around to the ones in their states, may be. Oh! But then we are talking about the suave, cultured, and upper class society here and these rules do not at all apply to them.

As I conclude my letter, let me be very clear to you. I am not complaining neither am I contesting your views. I would never dare to do so. I am just trying to bravely see through the ugliest aspect of the lives of my sisters living in Vrindavan. And as I glance through their lives, I feel a sense of shame and guilt creeping through me, vigorously shaking my very existence as a woman of India. I feel hollow from within. 

As much as we try to run away from it, the fact remains that you and I are equally responsible for the rotting lives of these widows who have been reduced to just a piece of carcass left on the streets to fend for themselves, trying to find refuge in their God who like us has abandoned them, long ago. It is not they who are crowding our city; it is we who have crowded their lives with a sham.

Nonetheless, the question still looms large, why are these widows crowding Vrindavan? Do you have an answer?



Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Of a New Phase and First Love!

Today is a special day for me. Of course, today marks the birth of my first love and I am still smitten by him. But that has for the first time in so many years become secondary. Today is the last day of my life….. In my twenties. After today I will never be a 20’s girl ever. Why? Well, tomorrow marks the beginning of a new era. I am turning 30 tomorrow or rather tonight when the needles of my wall clock will unite in joy marking the beginning of 9th July 2014. In their unison,20’s will fade away and 30’s will be standing by my bedside for me to open my eyes and welcome it with a piece of cake. I don’t know why people make such a fuss about turning 30. And I certainly DO NOT believe in the "30 is the new 20" fad. In fact turning 30 can have its own rewards. I am glad no one will walk up to me and give me un-necessary gyaan about procreating before 30. And you have no clue how relieved it feels to know that. Or maybe you do. 

Am I sad? No way. Am I sacred? Not at all. I am rather excited, thrilled, and eager to know what my life holds for me, now. I recall clearly how excited I was on my 20th birthday. I was no more a teenager, which by all means meant that my parents would take me seriously, I would have a say in many decisions, and so many other civil liberties. But nobody told me that life will get tougher, that I will falter on many occasions, that I will meet wrong people, that I will trust cheats, that I will make wrong choices, etc etc. But then all of this also meant that I will sail through all this, that I will dust myself and get up, that I will rise to the occasion, that I will learn the importance of family and true friends, that I will discover the real me, away from the qualm and quacks of the deceiving world, that ultimately I will meet the right people, and that ultimately I will learn to differentiate right from wrong. Last one decade has been eventful. Life changed quite a bit. I was done with my degrees, started working, welcomed my darling little niece, fell in love and married R, Dad retired from his professional life, and my little brother completed his masters with flying colors and is now settled in a job, he thoroughly enjoys. I also moved base from Mumbai to another beautiful city, made some deep friendships, and came closer to God.

You see, while I was in my early twenties, I made desperate attempts to get myself accepted. Agree or not, we all do this. I looked around for approval from people. I felt sad when people did not accept me the way I was. So I made more attempts and camouflaged myself beneath the unruly opinions of other. And then came a point when I decided to say “FO” and as I slowly moved to my late twenties, I became clearer. Today, I know exactly what I want from life. I am no more deceived by the glitz and glamour of the world Now, I no longer require someone to approve of my dress, or my choices, or my opinions, or my looks, or anything for that matter. I wear what I like; I do what I want, what makes me happy. I certainly seek advice from my loved ones every now and then and I am so blessed that they are with me to guide and enlighten me, always.  I have started counting my blessings more often. May be I have become wiser. May be, just may be and this is exactly why I am not scared of aging. Age brings wisdom. It certainly does.

So as I close a chapter, I am excited about this new one that I am about to begin. Are you sailing in the same boat as mine? Wish you loads and loads of luck and love. Let us cheer loudly and say, “Bring it on 30. I am ready for this adventure.” And if anyone makes a fuss about it, just turn to them and say, I am now an improved and updated version of myself.” 

Meanwhile, I want to wish a very happy birthday to one of the best Captains, Indian Cricket Team has ever seen - Sourav Ganguly aka Dada. You were, are, and will always be my most favorite cricketer and my first love.



Saturday, May 10, 2014

My mother is an Actor, an Angel, a Doctor, Super-Woman, and a Wizard too ….!!

I was just about 4 years old and hit my forehead somewhere while playing. It bled like water from a running tap. I was immediately rushed to a hospital and administered about 3 stitches. The wound was just above my eyes hence immense care was taken to prevent me from turning blind. I vaguely remember bawling and howling. Yes, I was in pain but after few minutes most of the tear that was shed was to get my mother’s attention and sympathy. My mother stood next to me trying to pacify me and I am certain she  understood that most of sobbing was a drama. So just as I thought my melodrama should be taken to the next level, something strange happened. My mother started crying standing next to me. (Back then as a child I didn’t notice but now I recall that she did not shed even a single tear). I asked her why she was crying and she promptly replied “when baby cries, Mummy cries and when baby smiles, Mummy smiles”. I immediately wiped my tears and smiled. After few years I now understand that if I am a drama queen, the genes are certainly inherited from her. 

When I was about 14 and dad was very unwell, we saw another side of Mom. She was managing Dad’s illness, an 8 year old naughty son and 2 young girls, along with a very demanding job. One must also know that finances were screwed up because dad’s ill health did not permit him to work hence he was on a sabbatical. Those 6 months were a nightmare. But then we siblings couldn’t comprehend that mom was going through so much. Life was portrayed as normal as possible to us. All we knew was a little about dad’s illness which was often covered up with something easy. Our fee was paid on time; our recreation was just as it was before dad’s illness. Birthday was just like any other birthday. Our lunch box was always full and so was our stomach.  I don’t remember making any compromise at all. And mom’s signature smile was pasted across her face throughout that period. Since dad’s doctor was quite far off the onus of taking him to the doctor was also on Mom. She managed that too. After every visit she said, “Papa is doing so well and he will be fine in no time.” Her determination finally saw victory and Dad indeed recovered well and our family bounced back. It was only after about a decade that we siblings realized that quite a lot of mom’s gold jewelry was missing. As some one once told me , "Angels are packaged as mothers or vice versa."

I suffered from frequent cold and cough all through my childhood. And it drained me so much that a hyper active child like me turned in to a sulking chicken within minutes. So my mother would make a kadha with some handpicked ingredients, which tasted the ugliest in this whole wide world. Every time she insisted that she has changed the ingredients and the kadha was tastier now, however it turned out to be uglier. But 2 days of the mission ugly kadha and I could run 100 miles without gasping for breath. After my wedding when I wanted to make it for my husband, my mother shared the magic ingredients with me and said, “Add a tinge of love to it. The kadha works faster that way.” The little secret of my fast recovery was finally revealed. Who cares about Medical science, I believe in my mother’s kadha just as the world believes in a doctor’s prescription.

There was a time we siblings thought mom had clones or copies of her or whatever you call it. She never ever missed any of our important events. Be it my interschool competitions, my brother’s cricket match, PTA meetings at our school, annual functions, open houses, etc etc in spite of being a working woman. And I don’t remember she ever sulked about it. I still wonder how she managed all of it. Added to it was our regular falling ill, doctor’s visit, our homework, keeping an eye on us so that we grow up as fine individuals (my brother and I have nicknamed her as ACP Pradyuman because of her investigating abilities), managing our silly sibling squabbles, our annoying tantrums, untimely demands for sandwiches and samosas, and dealing with unreasonable neighbors because we siblings were the naughtiest of all. I have now come to understand that Super women are clad in simple sarees and they fight smaller yet incalculable battles every day.

Mom: Are you alright, K? Mom called me at 6 in the morning.
K: Yes Maa.
Mom: Stop lying. I am feeling restless since yesterday. Tell me the truth.
K: I had food poisoning last night Maa. But I am fine now. Don’t worry.
Mom: Pause for few seconds. Take care. Now sleep. I will call you again.

After I hung up I looked at my husband suspiciously. “I didn’t tell her anything. I have been with you all night”, he explained and he wasn’t lying. Later on several occasions I apprehended that my mother could feel my pain even when she wasn’t told anything. I don’t know how she does this? My brother and I haven’t been able to solve this mystery. My sister seems to have reached at some point at least considering that she is a mother too. “It’s a power switch that is turned on when you become a mother”, my sister jokingly said one day. Well, maybe she is right. But whatever it is my mother has this strange ability of reading my words even when I say nothing. She reads my voice on the phone even when I try to be as normal as I can. And she can see through my smile even when I haven’t cried a single tear. I have serious doubts that she has attended some of those classes at Hogwarts School.

I can write for hours together about Maa. The love that she has bestowed upon us is precious. I couldn’t have had a better mother than her. So every time I reincarnate (if I do), I pray that Maa is reincarnated as my Maa (I am sure she is already fretting at this thought). For whatever we siblings are today, a larger acclaim for the same goes to this beautiful lady who silently stood behind us and by us throughout while we were busy growing up.

Happy Mother’s Day Maa. Life is worth living and lively only because it is filled with your incorrigible optimism, joyous giggle and selfless love.

You are our Rock Star.

Like Mother, Like Daughter

S, K, and A.
(Badmaash Bacche)

P.S. I have a strong belief that every mother in the world is beautiful and wonderful. Happy Mother's Day to your Mother as well. 

Also, please ignore the editing issues in this post. There are many but I just didn't have the patience to edit it. I was super excited about posting it because I wanted Maa to read it before she called it a day.