Beyond words

Being left to live alone creates a big impact on one’s own thoughts and values. The alone time gives the ambiance to revisit all those wonderful times one would have spent with her family. It teaches the value of a person in one’s life and also brings our attention to all those small gestures that go a long way in making or breaking a relationship.

I grew up in a very loving and close knit nuclear family. I have been staying outside home for about 8 years now and I remember myself going through a plethora of emotions all these years. Happy, sad, restless, confused, annoyed, jubilant etc, you name it I swear I have had it. The new-found freedom from parents’ watch and the new people around made me go crazy. I am not ashamed to say that I have had my own pitfalls and may-be a lot more “close-shaves” . I have learnt to take care of myself quite well.

It was during one of my Coffee-influenced-evening-musings that I started reminiscing about all those beautiful days. I still remember many of my fights and disagreements with both my parents- individually and also together. I remember many small loving gestures that were generously sprinkled all along my days with them. Those lovely signs continue till day.

It has been our family tradition to have dinner together. All four of us, no compromises there unless Appa is travelling somewhere. Otherwise, be it my exams, my brother’s tantrums, my Amma’s fatigue, dinnertime was always family time. Some how that has become a habit for us. We wait till all of us arrive from wherever they are held up. We don’t really care about how hot the food is or if the food is leftovers from the afternoon’s lunch. All that we care about is that together we eat. Period.

Similarly, Appa and Amma make it a point to have their morning coffee together. It has been 25 years that they are married now and not once in my memory have I seen them have their coffees alone. Amma loves Jasmine flowers and Appa still buys a Mozham of Malli poo everyday for her. This also has been happening since I can remember. I mean, these are all small things, to be honest. But these go a long way in conveying messages than words will ever do.

From the time I was a baby, I always gave the first bite of any delicacy or eatable/beverage that I laid my hands on, to Appa. This came out from the fact that I had no sibling then to share anything and Amma and Appa were particular that I be inculcated with the habit of sharing things with others first. This habit continues till date. If I am home and I get something to eat/drink, I give the first bite to Appa ( not Amma, which I still don’t know why).I am 24, for God’s sake, but I adore that look in his face when I do this. Appas are the real babies in this world, you know. They are just too cute.

When I visit home, I used to take the Vaigai Express from Chennai which reaches Madurai at around 9 PM. We then have dinner together and Amma and I would sit for our chit-chat which goes on until 1 AM. She is a working woman and she has had a long day by then, but still she sits with to talk about the most boring stuff ever or some random jibber-jabber that I am well-known for.

Sitting alone in a huge flat, with nobody to care about you makes a person realize the importance of all these small things. It makes me realize how blessed I am and sets a higher benchmark for me to make up to when I get my own family and all.

Many a times we think materials bring happiness. Nope. We could not be more wrong or more shallow. A word of appreciation, a token of love and mere presence is what gives true happiness.

Where the heart is content, nothing seems impossible.

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The Joys of Fatherhood

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I know that the title is a little unconventional and out of the clichéd stuff that has been doing rounds, but fathers are way too underrated in our society.

A society where a mother is praised and raised to the pedestal of God, fathers are comparatively shunned. (I said comparatively, now don’t go all Spartaaaaaa on me). People spend lakhs and lakhs producing movies and songs and what-not’s employing the famed Mother sentiment and counting the coffers, but when it comes to fathers somehow we lack behind.

Fathers are the souls who toil day in and day out to ensure comfortable lives for his wife and kid(s). But all I can see around me is discrimination towards these selfless souls. Starting from the First-word sentiment of babies till the corporate giants, mothers rank first. I had never had any issue with the ways of nature ever before I realized this.

It is an undeniable fact that mothers carry us for nine months and tolerates the labor pain along with the numerous bouts of mood swings and stuff that she goes through the 36 week ordeal. But a father goes through a similar ordeal for 36 years after that.

The expectations thrust on him are enormous. He is expected to be a macho man, shouldering the entire burden of the family on his hardwork, fulfilling each and every desire that the family might express or not. He is expected to bear all this and more without shedding a drop of tear or uttering a word of disdain, because, well boys don’t cry, you see.

The world or rather the society has set some weird benchmarks against which we end up measuring people and the roles they play, invariably. It would be really stunning to see that it is the father who comes to the rescue when the child is confronted by the mother for any prank. It is the father who waits with bated breath when the girl takes baby steps to school. It is he who buys her the first bicycle, in a way giving her wings to fly out and explore the world out there. It is the dad who cries the hardest when his angel gets married. Fathers have a tough life.

The man marries the love of his life and strives to love her every single day the same way he did on the day of marriage. What more could mommy ask for? He smiles everyday even if it takes a lot to do it, just to see his lil family laugh their hearts out. He shuns the world and stands by them, like a rock, till the very end. He struggles to live up to the expectations of various facets of the society.

It is time that we give equal reverence to fathers in our lives and make them feel special every day.

Oh! I am the eternal Appavodu Chella ponnu, right? 😉

Image Source: Pinterest

The Lost Innocence

And she hid herself behind the first object she could lay her hands on. It was the mirror that was hanging on the wall. She fervently hoped that she would be safe from the raining blows that was coming her way. She knew that pain. She knew that torment. She knew all that too well.

She was scared. For the first time in her life, she was scared. She had always had a soft spot for that man in her heart. She had always known that she was his sweet little princess. She had believed that he would never hurt her, ever. Not even when he kept beating her mommy. She always had trusted him to be innocent and naive, for he was the one who held her first, when she was born. It was him who brought her candies every other day. He had fulfilled each of her wishes. She still remembered the tight grip by which he held her hand while crossing the road. All of it ran through her mind’s eye, like a movie clip.

Things were not fine these days. She knew her mommy and daddy were fighting everyday. But she had thought it was out of love, because everytime she had asked him why he yelled at mommy, he had told her,” Darling, it is because I love mommy very much”. She had trusted him. His words.

Today it was the same old story. She had grown used to this scene of late. She had confined herself to her own world amidst all the commotion. Her world was that happy one, with her beloved daddy. Candies and happiness, smiles and funny faces, hugs and kisses filled her world. Today was just like any other day, she aloof and away, until..

“Daddy burst into the room and caught mommy by her hair. I have not seen him so much angry. May be it is because of me. Have I been a bad girl to him? Did I do something naughty that caused him trouble”? her thoughts ran wild.

In a split second, from between the gap in the curtains, she saw him staring at her. She thought his anger would fade away the instant he saw her face. That was what he had always told her. She gaped at him back with her scared, big, brown eyes. What she saw back scarred her for life.

All she could remember was he coming on to her, seething with rage. All she could do was to hide herself behind the mirror with an innocent whimper. All she could hope was that this would guard her from his fury.

She was scarred. For life. That moment defined her future for her. That moment showed the path on which she must walk.

She is now a social activist, fighting and pledging her life for abandoned and abused children. She is determined to not let any child face a trauma like she had. She cares for their innocence and well-being. Children are our future, is what she says.

When asked about her childhood, all she can remember is this incident. Her terrified life and childhood, much like the dark and deep woods as seen in the reflection.

“This Post has been submitted as my entry to Opening Line Writing Challenge by Ranvijai Ravi on Midnight Writing.”

Jaya- An Illustrated Retelling of the Mahabharata

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Salutations to the author of this book, Shri.Devdutt Pattanaik.

I have been an admirer of Mr.Pattanaik for his take on the epics and the Gita. This book has intrigued me for a very long time now and I got to own this, thanks to my friend.

This book is a retelling of our age-old classic, the Mahabharata. The epic has always given me the creeps. I dread reading stories that has too many sub-plots and too many charcters waltzing in and out in a hapless fashion. Mahabharata and Ramayana are known for that. I remember reading Shri. Rajaji’s version of both epics way back in High school and emerging in a slightly demented state after that. Like I said, complicated reading tires me out. Then, what is life without risks,right? So I take a chance reading this version of the Great Epic of India.

The book is narrated in a Story-telling fashion by Vaishampayan to Janamejaya. It takes us through all important incidents and events. Even the side stories are short and crisp(which appeals to me big time). Like in any other book, the author gives his comments and facts and other teeny-tiny nitbits as a boxed content after every story.

I loved the part of the Bhagwat Gita immensely. The style of conveying the jist is brilliant and has left me wanting more of it. Any recommendations for a proper and clear version of the Gita, anyone?? 😉

Apart from the usual story, what made me adore the book is the quotes and the lines that are sprinkled generously through out. Some of it made me admire, some of it made me re-think and introspect and some stunned me totally.

After a thorough reading of the book, one does get a glimpse of what the purpose of life is. We tend to start contemplating on concepts like dharma, attachment, sins, truth, loyalty etc. Is it going to be like this forever, that I don’t know. But yes, it has been worth it. Totally and unapologetically worth it.

Some values that I derived reading this book has been remarkable.

“In life,there are situations that you cannot win, no matter what”

“Greatness need not be achieved by being better than others; it can also be achieved by pulling down others who are better”

“Without genuine love, laws and rules are worthless”

I also loved this part in particular, where the relationship between Radha and Krishna is depicted as a small comment.

Clandestine, erotic and spiritually sublime

It is always a joy to complete reading a book and evenmore so when it is something as significant as the Mahabharata. I think I rediscovered myself in the process, albeit a little. A good start, I would say!

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies” 

Quotable Quotes:

Chitrangadha’s words to Arjuna depicts the angst of the present day woman :

I am not beautifully perfect as the flowers with which I worship. I have many flaws and blemishes. I am a traveller in the great world-path, my garments are dirty and my feet are bleeding with thorns…. The gift that I proudly bring you is the heart of a woman. Here have all pains gathered,the hopes and fears and shames of a daughter of the dust; here love springs up struggling towards immortal life. Herein lies an imperfection which yet is noble and grand.

Vidura’s words to Yudhishtira, on the point of life :

Everybody dies-some suddenly, some slowly, some painfully, some peacefully. No one can escape death. The point is to make the most of life- enjoy it, celebrate it, learn from it, make sense of it, share it with fellow human beings- so that when death finally cmes, it will not be such a terrible thing.

Bhishma’s words on his bed of arrows, to Yudhishtira :

Life is like a river. You can struggle to change its course but ultimately it will go its own way. Bathe in it, drink it, be refreshed by it, share it with everyone, but never fight it, never be swept away by its flow, and never get attached to it. Observe it. Learn from it.

How very phenomenal and enlightening, isn’t it?