Old trunks – new homes!

As rightly said, time flies and weeks turn to months, months to years, and years to decades.   A few decades pass and as one catches up on age, memories have a way of flooding our psyche.

I grew up in a middle-class family, living in the suburbs of Mumbai City, which then used to be called Bombay.   A second born of three children, an elder sister, and a younger brother came with its share of disadvantages and many advantages.  That’s a different story and can make another good blog writeup sometime in the future!

Married at the age of twenty-five to a Naval officer was a 360-degree change, for someone like me who came from a  civilian background.  A Banker father and a homemaker mother and a house that set reasonable rules and boundaries viz a viz school, friends, clothes and overall behaviour.   Simple, straightforward, and being honest was the thumb rule.

A young bride who walks into the services has a lot to learn and unlearn.   Keeping a good house, being quick in the kitchen when friends drop in unannounced, managing domestic helps, and chores both inside and outside of the house when the husband would be embarked / sailing were just a few, to begin with.

A mother almost immediately at the age of twenty-six was like getting into the fast lane on a freeway, whilst you still hold only a learner’s license.    Anyways, life teaches you the best lessons in its unique way, and yes, I learned along the way.   Being a wife and then almost immediately a mother.  

In the armed forces, transfers happen approximately every three to four years.   When the husband who dons that crisp white uniform comes home from duty and announces that “we have to move” – it’s a big announcement for the family, a professional  movement for him and in every way an eventful day.   It’s exciting, at the same time a lot of work for the lady of the house.  She has to think of tying up a whole lot of stuff, beyond the regular household goods.   In those days (early 90’s) we hardly used the packers to pack the stuff.  A truck from the mover would come to your door on a scheduled date and time when all your stuff is expected to be packed and ready to be loaded. 

At the other end, he would unload it and the unpacking is done by who else – the lady of the house because this officer has to attend the call of duty!

I too like many other wives learned the hard way.  Earmarking boxes for the kitchen, clothes, books, toys, linen, etc, etc.   Besides marking them we also had to pack essentials separately, in case a house is not allotted on arrival, and we end up staying in transit accommodation. Well, padded boxes with newspaper, cloth, and bubble paper for glassware and crockery was a huge task in itself.

I must admit, I did goof up many times and on one occasion left the keys of those big huge trunks of packed goods behind at Bombay when we moved to the southern part of the country – Cochin.   Lucky for us, a friend was traveling and she helped with bringing the keys back, that too at an airport belonging to the Navy. 

Our son used to find it super exciting to watch stuff being loaded onto a truck and then going to a new city and a new house.   Yes, a new school needed a bit of adjustment and children have their ways of finding those niches where they can squeeze themselves and adjust along the way ………until the next transfer. 

At this point, I have to fast forward to almost two decades.   Now that little kid is all grown up, married to a beautiful human, now settled in Canada. Both well qualified and professionally successful.  She naturally fills the space of the daughter we always wanted but never had.

The year 2020, an eventful one for the whole world. Covid has turned our world upside down and work schedules have gone for a toss.   Work from home, now normal and wouldn’t seem to change for a while into this year 2021.  

Shifting homes, this young couple were in every way excited but realized the hard work only when they got down to their knees – packing, sealing, transporting, unpacking, settling, and then plonking on the couch all exhausted.  While I am thousands of miles away from Canada, in Mumbai I can feel the agony and stress they would have to endure for this shift.   Yes, I would love to have been around and put my expertise to work, at this task because no one can beat a service officers’ wife at moving homes.   Effortless and seamless it may appear but only she is aware of the coordination that goes into arranging each one of those trunks.

Life is the best teacher and shows you the map which you have to follow – instinctive and intuitive because Siri, Google, and Alexa are not yet equipped to handhold you here.  Thank god for that!    I am glad our son, has made the shift in the literal sense ……. with his wife to a new abode.   So, while they are unpacking and settling down, all I can send them is a whole lot of love and blessings for now.  

Here is to happy movements that life offers.  Grab them, cherish all the memories, and treasure the old and new ones ……………. because that “trunk” in your heart and mind does not have a bottom. 

It’s deep and needs to be filled, every day, every moment.   Emotions are  what these treasures are wrapped in so that they never crack or break because they have to be with you forever!

Dedicated to Daughters

Every culture around the world has its good and not so good parts. The parts we term as not so good today were the normal back then. 

Many rituals and thoughts today seem regressive but when it was in force, probably many decades ago, it just would glide through effortlessly and taken to be the norm with no other options or questions asked.   

The country where I am born, brought up, and live today , INDIA is a pot of varied cultures, religions, languages, colours, clothes, festivals, food, etc. Every part of the country boasts of its unique textures on every front. India is also known for a plethora of religious rituals from birth to death. Even the wedding ceremonies in some parts of the country go on for days together and the festivities just don’t end. 

Similarly, the gender bias was and is huge and even today, this progressive country does have its dark sides as far as giving equal opportunity to the girl child goes.  Changes are emerging and hope the pace does catch up because we have some amazing women who have made a mark in every sphere and broken redundant rules, questioned the wrong, and have not feared standing up for the right and supporting worthy women cantered causes.  

I am blessed to have one such woman of substance in my family. Yes, she is my sister in law, Preeti. She has been the first on multiple levels in our family that’s liberal to a great extent. The first to give her own start-up Synergy a shot, an all-women cab service Veera Cabs driven by only women and running a homestay that has the blend of a rustic countryside and comforts of a good home on the outskirts of Mumbai far away from the hustle and bustle of the city.  

She then plunged into a totally different space, for her and yes, the first in our family. Politics it was. Change for a better system to govern the country. A party run by regular ordinary citizens and who today is an impressive bunch who are marching ahead despite roadblocks to bring about a positive change to a manipulated corrupt system.

The year 2020 has been a year that most of the world would like to knock off their life for reasons vivid, the pandemic that’s created havoc. Recently, we experienced the sad demise of Preeti’s father, a sad day for his spouse, three daughters, the extended family and his wide network of friends.

Uncle, a thorough gentleman, who was happy with himself and his work, ensured he helped anyone and everyone. Whatever the need, he would find a solution, from a vast network of people he was associated with. He, father of three daughters ensured they stood up for their rights and the typical gender bias equation did not have a place in his household. Well educated professionals today and well placed the girls have made a name for themselves. He was always proud of them and would make it a point to put across his thoughts……Who needs sons when you have such amazing daughters? 

Wish my country had more men like him with a mindset that was liberal and accommodative of the daughter’s choices of career or spouses. A family with son’s in law from three different parts of the country, blending to make the most amazing cocktail of love, respect, and affection in more ways than one. 

Hindu ceremonies that are performed on death involve rituals at home, at the crematorium as the funeral pyre is lit, and again at the residence for a peaceful transition of the soul. The parent’s last rites are usually done by the son in the family, usually the eldest but nevertheless the male child of the departed. A moment where this proud father would have been very glad and witness….as a soul would.  

The eldest daughter being overseas was joining the rituals virtually, the second Preeti, and the youngest Shweta were beside their dad, who lay there lifeless, yet had a look of contentment on his pale face. Rituals conducted to the tee at home and the crematorium was a moment every girl in this country ought to witness and learn. Do what you have to because what matters at this point in time is your duty and your connection with your parent that lasts the entire lifetime irrespective of them being around physically or not. A sight that made each one of us in this family proud, of having one amongst us who will do what is right and will stand up to those who oppose her action, citing redundant rules that in today’s world does not hold water. 

So, the sisters while performing their duty, sets an example for other daughters in not just our family, but every family in this country. Children are equal and ought to be treated equally in every way and legacy need not be gender-based to be taken forward.  

Sons or daughters it does not matter as long as the bias is buried and equality is not just in words but in actions.  

Lockdown and Flatbread ( Roti)

A title that will intrigue you. What has lock down and roti have to do with each other? For those who are not familiar, roti is a round flatbread native to the Indian subcontinent made from stone-ground wholemeal flour. Most households have this as part of their meals with vegetables, meat, or yogurt.

I, am a working woman living in the bustling city of Mumbai, India. The days here are hectic and managing house, work, and family at home is a challenge for most working women with kids. Days, weeks, months, and years go by at lightning speed until one realizes that decades have gone by with a routine that remains unchanged. Having gone through this routine in the past, today happy to call it a day with more time in hand. A son, married and settled abroad gives me enough time to indulge in hobbies and other interests that were on the back burner for a long time.

In India we have the privilege of the house helps and having them around is a blessing, which in most countries will cost a fortune. Cleaning the house to doing dishes and even cooking. Chopping vegetables making the rotis is a help someone like me considered more than a blessing. I am among those who hated the chore of chopping and roti making. For one the dough would never be the right consistency and even if it did ( rarely) the shapes would be like maps of different countries around the world. She , my house help was there every evening doing the needful and ensuring my casserole was well stocked with the perfectly round rotis that would last for at least two meals for the family – which now is only me and my hubby.

Around early 2020, the world was hit by a virus that jumped the wall from the land of the dragon. It found its way around the world without a visa or an air ticket. Its power to reach places is amazing and the fear of death it brings along has brought the entire world to a standstill, ensuring a lock-down that brought the entire economic machinery to a grinding halt. My country too is grappling with the pandemic and its ongoing effects. Stay at home to be safe applied to everyone and my house help has no choice but to stay at her home to keep her safe and others around safe. This meant me and many like me had to handle the home chores on our own, whether we liked it or not. So here I was doing the cleaning, washing, cooking and yes …….you guessed right – making the rotis.

Day one was disastrous and with every new day, things started to improve. The dough emerged with the right consistency and my fingers now understood the feel of a perfect dough mix. Tiny balls on my marble rolling board patted with dry dough and a wooden rolling pin to help flatten the ball to make the roti ……oh yes nothing less than an adventure. The process did not seem very tough, and the circular shape started happening after a couple of days. The oval now takes the shape of a near-perfect circle. So much so, I enjoy the process of making rotis and with every attempt, I learn from it a new facet of life – thanks to a simple roti.

The wheat is ground to a very fine powder in mechanized stone roller and the fine powder is then sieved to get rid of the tiniest unwanted residue. Life has to go thru a sieve every once in a while for a cleanse to extract the unwanted stuff both on the inside and outside. The dough by itself is useless unless mixed with salt, water, and oil in the right proportion. Proportions are important here, otherwise, it can get mushy and no good to serve any purpose. In life, the additions of emotions, virtues, honesty, relationships, and self-worth are important as without them life is as good as being dead. Once the dough has the perfect consistency it has to be flattened and brought to a shape that is a joy to the eye and feels good to eat. Similarly, life has to be battered and flattened with struggles, tears and challenges to be called “life” worth living, for without either of these what good is life? One the desired circular or triangular shape is reached the real test takes place. The raw flat-rolled roti has to be cooked in a pan on every side until it gets the golden brown texture because a raw roti will harm the tummy. Life term is a tenure between birth and death. Experiencing the heat of a tough life and getting roasted from all sides makes one strong and able to handle the rest of the journey. After handling this chore for a few weeks, I decided to add some spice and bring in a change. I started adding spices, vegetable, cheese, herbs etc to make the roti different and give it a healthier texture. When life gets boring and mundane its OK to bring in a bit of fun and spice it up to bring back the zing so that boredom does not find a way to seep into your heart and mind.

Today mealtimes are extra special for me because that round blue casserole has Rotis stacked up for good health and happiness of those on the table. Life has to be made special and each person that it touches has to remember you for your goodness and the virtues you bring to the table. Food may get digested but the goodness one spreads in life never leaves the universe. It has its way of going around in some form or the other long after you have said your final goodbye. We call it KARMA. Do good and you can be rest assured that this will come back ……may not be to you but certainly to someone you love and cherish.

So that’s my lesson from the lockdown and the kitchen counter. Tomorrow will be a new day and with a new sunrise comes the promise of a great day. Some day soon we too will be free from the scare of the virus and life will come back to being normal – or a new normal, which we will wait and see how it unfolds. However, as we turn chapters to the new normal let us not forget the simple lesson that humble roti taught us.

Cheers to freedom from stuff more than that deadly virus!

Write your hurt, and let the ink heal you!

Most times a trigger is all that is needed for thought to manifest into a write-up. This time my trigger was the above post, I happened to see on Instagram.

Each one of us has our own unique way to handle the tears and fears that come with just being alive. If you have life it comes with emotions in plenty. The good ones and the bad ones. It’s not something you can choose, it comes as internal baggage when you are born. Apparently, this baggage tilts to either side ( good or bad) as you move phases – infancy to adulthood.

Creative minds are blessed to tackle both the good and bad emotions through the medium they are most comfortable with. It could be a brush, pen, sand, soil, stone, wax, metal, thread, paper, wire, etc, etc. The list is endless. Just as each one of us is wired differently, each one of us has also been blessed with an innate quality that evolves between birth and death. We call it by many names – a hobby, talent, passion, interests, gift, flair, etc. Whatever it is, it’s just a spark within us that explodes and helps spill out emotions or thoughts, leaving the mind and body in peace. With challenges at every nook and corner in today’s fast paced the world the AQ ( attitude quotient) is most prime.

I am so glad and feel blessed to have the ability to spill out my emotions through words and poems. Process of putting words together, creating verses, and the verses when placed one after another – birth happens. Birth of a poem that conveys my deepest thoughts and at times hidden thoughts that most times are invisible. They are between the lines and can be interpreted differently, person to person. Imaginations and seeing beyond a picture or thought, jotting them down effortlessly, ensuring the right words are used at the right place, and eventually conveying a message that touches the heart and soul is when my canvas is completed all ready to share. Writing poems for happy occasions, celebrations for family and friends is a gift that is cherished and treasured for life. A gift that’s priceless and never gets out of fashion and that stays for life.

Life is so much like a trampoline where the highs and lows go hand in hand. The day you land on the center of the trampoline is when you are born. After that its a game of bouncing up and landing on the ground only to go up again. In the process trying to adjust your flight downward and learning the strings with each one of those ups and downs. Along this route, you meet people, some stay with you and hold you when you slide down, some help you reach higher and are happy when you are able to achieve your goals. At the same time, there are few who are happy to laugh at you as you fall and at times hurt yourself. This bouncing game does not spare anyone, its also like a roulette table where some win, some lose, some stay, some leave and some just watch.

Having an outlet when down and low infuses you with energy to face the waves that are higher, mightier, rougher, and fiercer. So if you have an interest just plunge in and do what makes you happy with no care for the world. Paint with all the colors in your palette, write as words flow from a bottomless barrel, sing and imagine the world is listening, dance till your feet ache, chisel and bring a stone to life……the bottom line us “just do it” Wait not for a day which is perfect, because there is no such a day. It’s up to you to make it perfect and mould it like you wish it to be.

Hurt, both physical and emotional leave bruises. Tears help vent it out to an extent. It’s your internal spark that helps you vent out the rest. So while I write when I am hurt, I am rest assured the ink will most certainly heal me. Heal and hold my hand to write another chapter or another verse and help me turn a new page along the journey of life.

Knitted Knots

De-cluttering, an activity I always enjoyed, and in the recent past, I have been indulging in clearing stuff a fair bit more. Not sure if it’s the retirement, lockdown, or just the feeling of getting a sense of freedom from disconnecting from material possessions. Covid has indeed drilled a lesson into most of us – more is not great. Hoarding is worse, being minimalistic and basic is the call of the hour.

Well, my exercise of de-cluttering had a motive and a helping hand of sorts. An NGO’s representative would arrive every first Saturday of the month for the collection of items. These items are in turn distributed to the needy. This initiative by them helped me and gave me a push to keep stuff ready every month. Going through shelves, cupboards, under-bed storage and attics got me to realize the practice of hoarding stuff is so futile. Hoping to put it to use some time later, but that later never comes.

I am of the habit of putting stuff in categories into transparent storage bags and labeling them. I usually write about stuff that is inside the bag. One such bag that was neatly kept was a bag of knitted crop/short tops in a combination of basic colors. Before you wonder what these are doing, nicely packed and tucked away carefully, let me let you into its origin.

My mother suffered from Parkinson’s’ in the last few years of her life. She had other health issues too but she was monitored and medication was in place with help from family and a full-time nurse. She disliked the thought of being hospitalized and preferred her room any day. While she was sick, she developed an interest in crochet and knitting. She would ask us to pick up wools of different colors and thread for crochet and weave tank tops, table mats, tray mats, coasters, a jacket for the flower vase, and whatever she imagined would work around the house. Since she was unwell, this kept her mind occupied while she rocked on her rocking chair by the window. Since it made her happy, the family encouraged and admired the stuff she made. Those shaky hands knitted tops where the armholes, necklines, and hemlines were crooked and not aligned. That was the beauty of it, and the softness of the wool was enhanced with layers of her love and affection.

Well after she left us, I got a few of these home with me. Not sure when or how I would use them. They were neatly folded and placed in this transparent bag with relevant information tucked inside. Now almost after 8 years when I unzip this bag an invisible power embraces me. A warmth from fragile hands and a unique scent that belonged to her.

These tops are back on my rack in my view now to be worn when it gets colder or I go on a holiday visiting my kids in Canada. I wonder, why did it take me this long to decide to use them. Better late than never. She had left us physically but not in spirit. Every time I touch the wool it just feels different.

So go ahead, open the bags, and shelves and just feel the vibe of something that has been given to you by a loved one who is not around anymore. However long it has been, their presence will be felt instantaneously.

One never knows how life takes a turn and in which direction. It is great to leave behind tiny bits of ourselves for our loved ones who will find it when least expected. Such moments are pure exhilaration in every way.

Beginning of a new journey ……….

A journey that has been a major part of my life this day ( October 31, 2020) comes to an end.  My active work-life ceases as a new journey begins. A journey with memories and experiences that will carry me through the rest of my life. 

The year 1984, just out of college and raring to go out into the world and start earning.  Yes, earning was the basic goal then. Guess that comes from the middle-class upbringing and values. Helping support parents in whatever little way possible.    

Thanks to my Dad, a job in a multinational bank landed on my lap. It was not easy, as I was a fresher with no experience and had to learn everything from scratch. An office with a substantial number of female staff helped. A bunch who literally handheld me and taught me the jobs at the various desks I had to fill in and also cover up for me when I would make frequent blunders, I must confess. Bosses who were kind and understanding too helped and I soon became comfortable and happy with this work-life routine, especially when the paycheque was handed over. A feeling of independence and self-worth that comes from earning. Being married to a man in uniform has its advantages in plenty with a dash of disadvantage. As a Naval officer, duty demands moving to different parts of the country, which meant the family too would move and set up home in the new station.  Thanks to this, I ended up quitting my first job with the bank after seven years. 

Movements like these came with a lot of fun and being in new places gave us families the opportunity to explore new cities and my son who moved schools, a whole lot of new friends. Looking at it positively and making the most of it make life more colorful and embracing every shade fills one’s life with a rainbow of awesome colors. As I always aspired to be a working mom, I pursued jobs in every new station we were posted. The same Bank coincidentally for a short time, a five-star group of Hotels and an HR recruitment firm made it to my Professional Profile in eight years. At this point (the year 2000) my working phase was sixteen years old. Time does fly and at lighting speed for sure!

At the beginning of a new millennium (2000), we had our last movement as my husband in uniform decided to take a break from the services to pursue a new career in the private sector.  

The movement was to my hometown called Mumbai and a bustling city that I had grown up in. It was the most comfortable space and we as a family loved being back for good. No more transfers and movements. Life would eventually feel “settled” 

I joined work with a renowned business family who were entrepreneurs and big names in the construction industry. I was fortunate to have landed this job as in a city like Mumbai – I could walk to work. A huge advantage taking into consideration that travel time otherwise eats into your day leaving you dog tired at the end of it.   

We are today in the year 2020 – the pandemic year that has turned the world topsy turvy.  I have completed two decades will be bidding a happy goodbye to this organization and my “work-life” that began thirty-six years ago. I could never have thought I could have had such a long inning as a “working woman”. Time indeed just leaped at lighting speed. 

My takeaway from here is the fact that being financially independent for a woman, especially in a country like India is very important. It just gives more strength to our already strong wings allowing us to take flight and fulfill our dreams and responsibilities on our own which in itself is an amazing achievement. A woman always thinks about her family first and their needs are always first in her list of priorities. Being able to strike off at least a few on that list on her own is empowering in more ways than one. 

I am glad I joined the “working women” bandwagon and kept at it. Today I can truly be proud of myself and make my children proud of having won over challenges during the course of my journey.  In the case of women it’s very likely that the rough road she is walking on, covers her feet with blisters and this is hardly ever noticed by the rest of the family. She endures its pain silently, so as to not stress out anyone else on her account. So, while she is a working woman to the world, she as a woman has and will always go through those challenging trenches which only, she has to tackle and tide over to keep the calm in her life personally and professionally. 

I have a treasure chest today – no, not with money, jewelry, or precious stuff. A treasure chest filled with great friends, experiences, memories, and love. Friends who are with me and for me for the rest of my life. Every moment we spend at work and outside is etched in my memory and these are the little sparklers that will light up my days and nights as I move along the new road.  

Positivity is what I will surely have in my bag pack and it will see me through the trenches if any that will crop up in the future. Besides, my years of experience and goodwill will walk beside me as the sun sets and dusk changes color to a beautiful night with stars twinkling and the moon watching over us until the sun rises to bless us with his warmth and affection. 

Kitchen timer lessons……

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An issue that off late has been bothering me. I at times wonder why this did not make its presence felt earlier. Is it the lock down and me spending more time at home?

However, to come to the point – forgetfulness specific to the stuff on the kitchen gas stove is the issue I need to deal with on priority. On a regular workday, time constraints ensure chores, especially kitchen-related are sorted and secured as fast as possible.

Having kept a dish to cook on the gas, I conveniently plonk myself in front of the laptop, TV, or mobile. Distractions too many – the social media tops it all. Getting so engrossed into the posts, pictures, videos, and show biz gossip that my mind erases the memory of something simmering on the gas stove. Somewhere in between the smell of burning food or my husband grumbling gets me to my senses only to find the dish burnt. Post it chits on my laptop or likewise did not result in things getting any better. Eventually, I decided to ask Amazon. Yes, the Kitchen Timer was the solution. While the food sits on the burning gas stove, the timer set and I am good to do as I please until the alarm starts beeping. Indeed a useful gadget which like all gadgets ensures we stop using our brains.

My mind that’s forever looking for analogies in life realized this about an ordinary Kitchen Timer. Once set to X minutes it begins a countdown second by second until it hits a 0000 figure and the beeper goes ON.

Life is so much like this timer. At birth, your timer is set for an X number of hours, days, weeks, or years. With the first breath, the countdown begins and you grow from being an infant – child -a teenager- almost adult – adulthood that goes on and on, then a senior citizen or elderly as we call them. Few have very long lifespans – octogenarian ( 80 – 89 yrs), nonagenarian ( 90 – 99 yrs), or centenarian ( 100 yrs or older).

Every second counts and as the digits move backward, your life span reduces taking you to a point where the end will happen because it is inevitable if you are born. It’s simple and logical as only when we make space on this planet for the new births will there be enough leg room or should I say body room for all the others living here. In today’s world deaths are most times tragic because of the socio-political challenges faced by our world. Accidents, plane crashes, and likewise. Medically too we can get hit severely. How much ever advanced we may seem, a tiny virus can create havoc that turns the world upside down and inside out. Covid has taught us that lesson indeed the hard way.

So while our real clock ticks backward and we live a life where the clock ticks forwards, hence we tend to forget the original clock we are here to live by. Every moment counts and every action here leaves a footprint. Relationships, friendships, and enemies we make during our time – the starting of the clock till the time the beeper beeps is what we are remembered for.

Death is when life exits this body on to another journey, something of which we till today have not understood or incorporated in our GPS network. Plenty of studies conducted on life after death which is speculative as none who has been declared dead has ever come back to say what the journey is like post-death.

While my humble kitchen timer ensures my food is not burnt in the future it also has taught me how not to wastefully burn my life when alive. Live it, bloom it, sing it, dance it, laugh it but do something positive and constructive with it.

Ohh so much for little gadgets who we thought taught us how not to use our brain but some of them do impart a lesson if you are intending and open to the idea to learn one!

Monkey business

I live in a bustling metro city called Mumbai, India. A suburb with greenery around but also clusters of highrise towers that are synonymous with this city. Green patches and planting trees are an underline condition that the state enforces when a housing complex is being constructed. Thank god for this, or else we would have just concrete jungles around that our kids and kids of the future generation would not know the literal meaning of the word jungle.

My apartment faces a cluster of tall trees that thrive during the monsoons. The branches and leaves grow greener and bushier. One fine evening just before the sun was to set, I saw the branches of the trees shaking vigorously. Not a windy day really and neither was my wind chime moving but yes, the branches were swaying. My favorite spot in the house is by the window and as I looked closely, I saw a long tail and as I moved my view upwards, I saw this creature that seemed to be blissfully sitting on a branch and chewing on the leaves. It’s not that I haven’t seen monkeys before but having them so close to my window did ignite the childlike excitement within me. I spotted one, then the next then the next. A whole clan as it were. There were the moms who had their babies clinging on to their belly while the mother jumped from branch to branch and tree to tree. The assurance a mother’s hold gives nothing else in the world can. She will never let go of her baby come what may.

While I watched them and the grip with which they climbed, jumped and dangled, a tinge of envy within me emerged. Being humans this trait is predominately underlying in crimson shades of jealousy. Their movements synchronized to the tee and the show was so much like a trapeze artist at a circus. On reading up, Google educated me on the breed with long tails called Langurs. Langurs mostly walk quadrupedally and spend half their time on the ground and the other half in the trees. They will also make bipedal hops, climbing and descending supports with the body upright, and leaps. Langurs can leap 3.6–4.7 m horizontally and 10.7–12.2 m descending.

Its believed that hierarchy in monkeys is decided by the length of their tails. Longer the tail more senior is the monkey. Since Langurs have pretty long tails they are way above Mango Monkeys (Maybe that’s why Lord Hanuman is worshiped because he could extend his tail till infinity). I noticed a fruit vendor with his cart loaded with fruits in every shape and color parked just below these trees. However, these Langurs never attacked him or his goods ever. Said something about their principles and ethics that match the length of their tails.
Their visits now regular and something we at home look forward to. So much so, on days that they take a break we miss them and the small joys they bring into our lives more so during these lockdown days when time on hand is more than on a routine workday.

A nature lover like me can watch the same scene different times of the day and write a new story on it, these Langurs brought with them a certain amount of drama into my routine life. I realized how small things always make a big difference. Therefore it’s best to embrace these little moments that may seem inconspicuous but in the larger context make life what it is.
So until their next visit, they leave us wondering on where do they go once its dark, how do they fill their bellies, and do they live as a family with Mom and Dad doing their bit? I will never know and it’s better that I keep wondering as imaginations make wonderful stories.

Mother’s day & wishes

Its the day of the year when we celebrate “Mother’s Day”( May 10). I personally feel its special, not because I am a woman and a mother but simply because a mother is the origin of every other relationship in the universe. Without that womb, and the ( umbilical) cord there would not be any other connect that grows the ‘family tree”. I am personally very happy and proud to be a born woman and would never change that for anything.

Having said that, yes I do doubt my self every once in a while on whether I really am a good Mom. I guess its a feeling that every mother goes through. In hindsight, she feels she could have done better and handled or reacted to situations in the past in a more mature mother-like manner.

I sure am one, married at the age of 25 and mother at age 26. I understandably was nervous, scared, and confused about how I would ever manage a child from day zero onward. Little arms, limbs, a fragile neck, and a delicate human infant who needed to be handled with utmost care and mistakes here can be serious. It is amazing to say ” I am a mother” but another story to say ” I am a perfectly good mother”. Yes, there is always a guardian angel hanging around who understands your dilemma and feels your pain, she puts forth herself in totality to be with you – Your own mother. I was lucky to have her around and guide me, lift me when I went through the common postpartum “baby blues” phase, and be the mother to my child when I thought it was beyond me. Every day is a learning experience and every moment is a lesson. With every new day, I became confident and with every new faux pas, I did it right thing next time around. Time flies and that little fragile infant is now grown, big enough to be handled effortlessly. With every new year, the pleasure of watching the child do stuff truly amazes and stay cherished in a mother’s memory forever. Her memory has a capacity of unlimited GB and what is stored in there can put any supercomputer to shame.

Infancy to toddler-hood followed by early childhood, middle childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood are not stages of human growth. For a mother, it is chapters filled with information, memories, experiences, mistakes, challenges, laughter, tears, and much more.
My story is no different, one fine day the child, now an adult leaves the nest, leaving a vacuum within the four walls of the house and the hearts of parents. An anxious heartbeat that feels like its racing, pounding, fluttering, and at times skipping a beat is not signs of a heart attack but a feeling most mothers go through for their kids. Be it examination, health issues, interviews, or them taking a flight overseas to make a life for themselves. A new country, new people, running a house on their own and managing to balance life as a student and then as a member of an organisation who has to prove himself to survive and make a mark.

I am a mediocre mother who just got lucky to have been blessed with amazing parents and a son who I must say made it on his own. Today blessed to have a daughter who is rightly called his better half in every way has completed my family. Yes, the palpitations and anxiety are still there but with a difference. Its abundance blessings for children and today I stand on a space that was occupied by my mother. I only hope I will be able to support and be there for my children just like the way she did.

A full circle that meets and ends at the same point. Life is a full circle and so are relationships. As long as one fills the space within this circle with love, affection, tolerance, patience, and support this bubble that reflects rainbow colors will bounce to the end of life and beyond!


I waited and waited, HOPE stood beside me ………

Waiting is an act none of us are spared from. Beginning of life – nine months for an expecting Mom and the fertilized egg to reach full term all ready to leave the womb into the real world. A gestation period for all and everything. Rich -poor, sick-healthy, white-brown, tall-short, thin-fat no one is spared. Waiting infuses hope, and hope is what life is all about.

An Indian summer morning with the humidity levels hitting the roof, I wondered staring into space watching the squirrels and birds outside my window. Thirst can be grueling especially on crazy summer days. How about attempting at making a small change and helping quench the thirst of at least one bird? All set, put some clean water in a flat wide container, and placed it on my kitchen window. Care taken that the container is not too deep, just right for a little bird to nibble or turn into a birdbath with no effort. Day one, day two, and day three no movement what so ever. I waited for a little feathery thirsty soul to come and take a sip or may drench itself in the water to ward off the heat, but no luck. Is it that they have preferences on which window to choose for a meal or a thirst quencher? Was my window not tempting enough or are they still figuring my intention of placing that bowl? I am still waiting with hope, every morning while ensuring the water is changed with a clean refill. I hope it is that eggs me to do it every day until a bird decides to take a sip and bring her family along. I shall wait for that tweet that hopefully will be at my widow soon someday.

Spending a lot of time on the table by the window overlooking huge trees on the periphery of the apartment, busy on my laptop has given me a new insight into the world outside my window. Lockdown days, thanks to a virus to say the least. The time spent on the laptop by the window is substantial during the day. Watching the noon sun slowly get a little less fierce and subsequently, the evening sun very gently fades away bringing in the sunset’s awesome color, texture, and feel. Watching the different kinds of birds dart across the sky or hop on to the branches of the trees, the squirrels climbing up and down with no care in the world or the dusty leaves eagerly awaiting the monsoon shower. The Moon and stars that light up the sky at night. Silent is the street and at times deafening is the silence.

I decide to hang a wind chime on this window hoping to hear its musical chime whilst I sit there during the day. I watch the gentle breeze tease the branches and the pink, orange, and golden blooms that have managed to climb to the top of the tree. I watch, I wait and I hope that the breeze finds its way to my window to touch the wind chime so that the musical tone resonates breaking the Covid silence. Every day I am on watch and the breeze too seems to have its preferences which do not include my window. I am hopeful that it will find its way and lovingly stroke the metal balls that will cling to created the most endearing sounds that mingle with the sounds of nature.

The birdbath bowl and the wind chimes may seem to be such a tiny issue in the scheme of world issues today, however its the hope that each one of us has within us that helps us wake up every morning, watch the sunrise, praise the Lord and thank him for that extra day he has given us to enjoy the gift of life. The world is huge and so are its problems. Somebody’s tiny problems may be a life and death situation for another. When life is infused by that unknown entity at conception, he loads us with vials of emotions and hope, ingredients that help us traverse the road he puts us on to. There are no milestones, signals, or hoarding – each one of us has to find our way through the maze. We fall and hurt ourselves both physically and emotionally along this journey, however, its the power within us that helps us get up and cope pushing us to reach the next crossing and the next and the next.

Lessons are taught to us by our parents and elders and yes the teachers at school. However, some lessons are taught by life, circumstances, nature, challenges, and downfalls. A lesson is hidden in every chapter, sentence, and verse. It’s vital that we absorb at least small portions from these lessons as these very notes will someday help us hold our forte in the journey of life.

So while I wait for the bird to locate my humble offering or the breeze to kiss my wind chime, I go along with the day, watch the sunset and the birds go home to be with their little ones. Hitting the bed to wake up with a promise of a better day and hope for the world to move over, turn a new page and get better with every new sunrise

Today, a virus has messed up our schedules and cornered us in such a way that we fear its attack may cost us our lives. Those nine months that we waited for our turn to come into the world, we were not given a timeline. We were given life and hope. Today, when we are at crossroads where life itself is threatened let’s hold on to hope to take us past this hurdle for HOPE will never let us down!