When does it change?

Suddenly, one fine evening, I realised how far I had drifted apart from my family. I had missed a couple of festivals the previous year and had instructed my office folks to not bother me with calls from my parents. And then, it hit me. Like a meteor strike. My world, crashing down, leaving me with an unexplainable urge to burst out crying. I was an independent woman and was not supposed to cry. I left everything as such and went to my parents’ place. The moment I saw mom, I hugged her with all I had. The ache was subsiding slowly. So were the wounds healing. 

This is not a slice of my life. Not yet, at least.

Watching one of my favourite romcoms made me ponder over the idea of healing. We go through different stages in life, where people come and go. It is as if our life is an open university and people can barge in and out anytime they want to. But there remains only one constant in that entire equation- family.

Thanks to Oedipus, girls are always daddy’s lil princesses. Since when does the bond between a mother and a daughter come to the forefront? Is it when the daughter hits puberty? Or is it when she starts working that the mother sees a younger version of herself in her offspring? Does marriage bring the two closer? Or is it just the physical absence that makes hearts grow fonder?

I remember trusting both my parents to the T growing up. So much that I never knew when I was full. I said I was full when my mother told me I was full and can’t stuff my face with any more food. I am told that I trusted appa so much that I went with him to Hosur without amma when I was around a year and half old.

But the earliest memories of amma and I chatting up would be from nine years back. I think the saga began then and has not shortened. Our conversations have only gotten longer and weirder. Would this change once I get married and go off somewhere to make my own family? Only time will tell. The freedom to visit home whenever I want to or to stay for months there would be curtailed then. But would the substance of our conversations change? I wonder.

Would I feel stifled when I am deprived of my own mom-time? I think so. How does one cope up with such drastic changes? I guess that is a part of the whole ‘being ready’ thing. You grow up, see how things are with mom and dad and wistfully wish the same for yourself.

The news of Sridevi’s death came as a rude shocker to me. Honestly, I haven’t grown up watching her movies since I rarely watched movies growing up. But, whatever I had watched recently and struck a chord with me, she reminded me of my own mother (English Vinglish, for further references). Heck, in that movie, even her name was that of my mother 😀

What ached me was the thoughts about Khushi and Jhanvi, Sridevi’s daughters. I am sure some part of those two girls died on February 24, 2018.

Advertisements

Perspectives- #3 Chris Huntington

All of us go through rough times in our lives. We battle it out, every time as if that is the last ever battle we fight. Sometimes, we feel tired and let it pass. I am reminded of this quote by Robert Frost that I used to tell to myself during tough times.

The best way out is always through

It is also true that every person who crosses our lives teach us something. It could be something simple or major, but they do it, knowingly or otherwise. It is on these lines that this post talks. The post is about a person who goes to a prison to teach the inmates and ends up learning a lot from one of the inmates.

The author shares his angst as a parent, who has adopted a son. He expresses his sadness on the fact that the boy would grow up oblivious to his own culture and roots. There is this truth that though the boy is better off with the author in terms of material wealth, he would still lose the old charm of his native. The author seems to realise this truth, which is surprising. In a time when people migrate in search of better material lives, not shying away from forgetting their roots, this author ponders on the value lost. It was fresh and strange to me, both at the same time.

We all have seen or experienced brain-drain at some point or the other. We also have this raging debate of our native languages dying out without anybody bothering to save them from extinction. It makes me think how much is all of it worth? Are we turning more selfish as days go by? Are we just bothered about ourselves and our families? Somewhere in the equation, aren’t we losing out on the bigger picture? I am not sure. These remind me of a poem by Bharathidasan, that I learnt during my high school.

“தன்பெண்டு தன்பிள்ளை சோறு வீடு 
சம்பாத்தியம் இவையுண்டு தானுண் டென்போன் 
சின்னதொரு கடுகுபோல் உள்ளம் கொண்டோன் 
தெருவார்க்கும் பயனற்ற சிறிய வீணன்“

The one who stays content with the welfare of his wife,

kids, food and wealth,

is the one who is of a heart that is as big as a mustard seed,

useless to anybody else.

We are becoming obsessed with our own happiness and fulfillment that we tend to undermine one major truth of life. Everybody is fighting their own battles. For each, their sufferings and issues form the crux of their existence. They go about those issues in a Do-or-Die mode. One just cannot blame them. It is the same fear of losing out that keeps them going. In a way, it has become a matter of survival of the fittest.

The author shares with us, one of the major lessons he learnt from one of the prisoners, Mike.

Be the best prisoner you can be.

This statement is a compassionate one if you think about it. It does not underestimate the struggle of other people. In a way, it acknowledges that one need not be similar to another in terms of problems and that all of us have certain limits and boundaries within which we may have to restrict ourselves in dealing with our issues. The statement gives credit to that component and implores us to put up our best show wherever we are and whenever it is. The author is right when he says that not everybody can do everything in life. In fact, even on an individual level, it might not be possible to do everything that one might have wished for. In such cases, the author tells us to live our best life, in any circumstance we may find ourselves in.

It is rare to find words of compassion around us. We all are in such a hurry that we fail to see the presence of another person near us. We do not really know who our own neighbor is and what they do for a living. For all we know, we might be sharing a wall with a serial killer, who is perennially high on LSD! (Just saying). We do not care anymore for such things, do we? There is one angle of people becoming sexually frustrated and do horrible stuff to kids, I agree. But we must realise that we would probably be the last generation who practically grew up, eating the same food as our friends in the neighborhood since all the families adopted us as their own, without any bias. We would also be the last generation who celebrated festivals together with the entire apartment sharing crackers and good wishes.

YOLO- Chennai Saga

I am back with the “slango” language and I am taking the liberty of using YOLO, which means You Only Live Once. 

This is a pensive post, which in a way describes my life in Chennai since 2010. It is going to be a short narrative, which apparently has to be done. Also, I racked my brains for a while to get some topic for the letter ‘Y’ and fell flat on my face. Moving on…

Life in Chennai can be endearing and be intimidating at the same time. Newbies tend to get overwhelmed the moment they step onto the platform in Chennai Central. I do not blame them for one. It is nothing but fair to feel so. It so happens that most major metro cities have their railway and bus terminus crowded and noisy. Chennai is not an exception.

My life in Chennai has seen a lot of flavours. From being a rigid nerd to being a not-so-rigid nerd, I have seen a lot. A gentle word of warning though. What I have seen is only a teeny tiny portion of what Chennai has to offer.

It is said that staying in a big city, away from parents and relatives teaches a lot. Yes, it does. It transforms a person in many ways. But when that ‘Fish out of water’ feeling is accompanied by warm people around, the entire journey becomes easy.

Who knows where I shall live the rest of my life. Who knows what life has in store for me. Chennai shall be the best phase of my life, forever. It shall always occupy a special place in me.

madras

We, The People of Chennai

This post is a memory. A very precious one, which would find place as a seperate chapter in my autobiography, if I ever write one that is.

I realised “We” for the first time, when my beloved city was being pounded by rains, in November- December 2015. It was a daunting time for all of us and what are the odds for a person to come and stay in Chennai from a safer place exactly two days before the fateful December 1, 2015. That was the day when Chennai had the final nail on its coffin. Or it did seem so.

Tales of despair came in from everywhere. Many parts of the city were submerged in the water that had overflown from the lakes and reservoirs. The city itself was cut off from the rest of the country, with relief materials pouring in from everywhere.

We really saw what nature could do, when pushed to its nasty extremes.

You know how it feels when the place you have lived and loved all through your life gets submerged in water? It is inexplicable.

I have never heard or been in such a situation in Chennai before this. It has been raining for the past 24+ hours non-stop and Chennai is completely isolated from other parts of the State. All the entry and exit points have been cut-off and the rail and air terminus have been shut down. Trains and flights have been cancelled and the only mode of transportation that is still plying is the bus. That is unreliable and dangerous too,given the circumstances.

We have the Indian Army deployed here for the relief work and the forecast for two more days from today looks grim. Houses in the ground and first floors are flooded and people have taken shelter in high rises.

The magical part of all these is that We are still alive and thriving.

Chennai twitter is abuzz with help pouring in,not from anywhere else, from the Chennaiites itself. More than 3000 people have opened up their homes, hotels,offices etc to provide shelter to those who are stranded. Many people have come forward to recharge the phones with a small amount so that they can get in touch with their families and loved ones and assure them about their safety. Scores of people have offered to cook a meal for the needy and services of picking those meals are underway. Several Star hotels have prepared food packets for the people and are looking for help to distribute it to those in need. Malls and cinema theatres have been magnanimous enough to offer to accomodate people for free.
So yes, we are alive and surviving.

It is a very tough situation in Chennai right now. This is the second spell of rains lashing the city in less than a month’s time and trust me we are struggling. But, we are also helping and reaching out to people in whatever small ways that we can. I have heard and seen pictures of common people giving packets of biscuits and other eatables to the Traffic cops and the Bus drivers who are working their asses off to ensure that the people are safe.

Sadly, we had to put in lots of efforts to inform our counterparts in the other parts of the country through media like Facebook and Twitter since, well, the National Media has other important things to cover and publicise, like the Sheena Bora Murder case and How Rahul Gandhi had the nerves to speak in The Parliament.

We have observed the spirit of Brother-hood from the Mumbaikars in similar situations and I am so proud to say that we are implementing that darn well too.

We are gonna survive this and come back stronger than ever. We are waiting for the rains to subside a little so that we could be back on track at the earliest.

Thanks Karthika Krishnakumar for the mention in your answer. That brought me to this question.

Thanks a lot OP, for the concern. I would suggest you to help in any small way you can, which would include sharing any post in any social media that asks for help or gives information about helpline numbers and other facilities. Your one small act could be a life saving ray of hope for someone here.

Thanks a lot again.

This was me, on December 2nd, doing whatever I can to help people connect.

More such experiences can be read in this Quora thread.

We feel proud that the barriers were broken.

Actors, Singers, Employees, Home-makers, Entrepreneurs etc came together as a family to throw open their homes to strangers in need. Malls and multiplexes did their part in accomodating people who had lost their homes to water. Chennai woke up, from its seemingly deep slumber.

A city, which might have come across as indifferent and a tad too selfish, broke its image and took to the streets. Thousands of food packets were made and packed, rehab work went on full swing and life slowly returned back to normal.

Man-made barriers were destroyed by nature, which made us destroy the barriers that we had constructed among ourselves. 

Image Source- Tehelka

Growing up

A Facebook post made me think. One of my Facebook friends had updated about how she had attended a conference about mental wellness of teenagers and how we end up scaring them and in fact, scarring them about the future.

To be honest, not all of us think about that. All we do is crib. Crib about misfortunes of growing up and complain about how life is not treating us well. Suddenly all that we want to do is to go back to childhood. Pages and pages will be written about nostalgia and what it was, to be a 90’s kid.

She had written that the words that we speak to our juniors and younger siblings, about life, love and career have a serious effect on them. This was not something that was new to me. Having a younger sibling, has its own pluses. I grew up in a household, where each word of mine, which I spoke in front of my baby sibling was watched with microscopic eyes (or ears, should I say?) . My parents always told me that the child’s mind is a tape recorder. It will record each and every little thing it can and would take those to be the governing laws of human relationships and life. Consequentially, old habits would die hard and then things would be too late to recover from.

So when I read this post of my friend, my 24 years of existence fleeted past as a hazy memory. I am afraid, I have been guilty of doing the exact same thing to my juniors. We would say that growing up is such a pain in the neck and that life was better when we were at school or college etc. I swear I never thought of the repercussions of my words at that moment.

We all would be familiar with this scenario, growing up,”Finish your school, life would get better”, “Finish college and get a job, life would be set” from our parents. These were not empty words, now coming to think of it. They were, in fact, preparing us for life. They were kindling our curiosity about life and about growing up. And what are we doing? We are propagating negativities, in the garb of being brutally honest. We are scaring people, by being blunt about the ground realities.

I do agree, a hundred percent, about the ground reality bit, but what is the cost of being a little mellow? What is the problem in being diplomatic? Why can’t we be mysterious about the future to our younger generation, in such a way that they are eager to get there? What are we doing to them, by scaring them?

We are actually sowing seeds of fear and cowardliness in them. We are weakening them by disarming them. Is it worth it? Definitely not.

This is something to think about, or should I say it made me think about my actions and may be resolve to get better?? Time will only tell.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.”

My Dance Workout Playlist

It has been quite long since I ditched the sad songs away from my play-list. I had had those for various reasons actually- Memories, Nice rendition, Lyrics, the visual effects and what-nots. But now, I have decided to get done with them and instead replace them with some chill fast peppy numbers. The advantages of it are manifold ( Do I sound a lil like Sheldon Cooper??).

  • It literally jolts me awake. Either from a slumber-y kind of state or from deep periods of absent-mindedness. Whatever, It kinda energises me.
  • It acts as a “wannabe” performance songlist ( Ha ha , I do that often. Imagining myself to be a performance artist and crooning on the stage in some Shakira-effect!! C’mon! Who doesn’t like a nice dream *wink* *wink*.
  • It doubles up as the standby official workout playlist that helps me burn off the anxiety and negativity and makes me feel soooooo goood and relaaaaaaxed.

So, Whatever! Here is my list. I do would like to add that it would be way better to adopt a 15-20 minutes of stretching and warming up before jumping into this dance. 🙂

  • On The Floor- JLo, Pitbull Ft. – Absolute delight to dance! The rhythm never slows down and such a happy song to dance for 🙂

on the floor

  • Angrezi Beat- Yo Yo- Dude wait!! Before you curse me for having chosen to listen to Honey Singh, lemme tell ya that this song is fast enough to get us reeling in sweat. Though the words drip of arrogance and a bit of Chauvinism, well, who cares about the words. Put in on Karaoke mode and croon!!

angrezi

  • Taxi- Taxi- This Gem from A R Rahman will make us a bit relaxed ( since it is of a lesser tempo than the above two) and the beats are thumping and fab!

taxi

  • Offo- 2 States- Delightful and a cheerful song. Apt for smiley smiley dancin!!

offo

  • Hawaa Hawaa- Rockstar– Gypsy tone and peppy. What more could I ask for. Added bonus will be the nice salsa/tango bit in between for some hip swaying ;P

hawwaa

  • And Waka Waka- Shakira- Who could even forget her?? Definitely a Must-have in the playlist!

waka

Oh!!! Let your hair down and dance!

A Life Without IMs

I lost my phone two months back. Since then I have been planning and doing my research on a new phone suited for my needs but those have all remained just plans and plain knowledge gaining activities. Meanwhile, I have been managing my so called Social life with a Nokia Xpress Radio Set that was gifted to my father way back in 1800’s.

This is the phone that I am talking about.

This is the phone that I am talking about.

My social life consisted of lots and lots of Quora reading, Wikipediaing, Tweeting, Googling , whatsapping etc.  But now that my phone is gone I was and am totally disconnected from those. I don’t mean that I am away from those , but that I am not hooked on to them. And quite literally my life looks like the one that I had in 2010 ( My first Phone year!) . I use my phone just for phone calls and occasional text messages. Initially I felt so lonely and disconnected and kind of strange without all those Apps and stuff. But, gradually i have come to realise how much we depend on such Apps and fail to notice our surroundings and people around us. High-end mobile phones have become such as obsession for us that nowadays I see pedestrians Text-walking on the road and people glued on to their phone screens even when they are out on a date with some-one or on an outing with friends. Phones have become our multi-purpose devices and digital assistants that are deemed mandatory. Little do people realise who the real Boss is and who ends up being dependent on whom. I ,however ,am not of the opinion to shun those devices forever, but just wish , once in a while that the people hooked up to their mobiles look up and see the world around them ( Quite literally! ). My two months without WhatsApp did make my life a little miserable initially. But it did throw a lot of reality back at me like:

  • There is a whole wide world outside the Damned Phone!
  • Suddenly a lot of time availability that could be put to productive use.
  • Searching and trying to attend interesting events in our vicinity.
  • Trying to come out of my Shell and talking to new people and getting to know them.
  • Less calls and less messaging- Lower strain to eyes- Ends up in more energy left in us at the end of the day.
  • More people are interested in talking to me and acknowledging my presence just because I looked at them for once instead of looking at the Phone screen.
  • It did make me realise who really want to be in touch with me and who didn’t care much about it 🙂

So all in all , that was a Destiny made sign to keep a check on me i guess, and now I dont regret the effects of it either 🙂