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 :)

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.


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