The time has come to be fearlessly myself


Adieu 2010.

Leaving the past behind and living in this moment probably does not simply  mean – not carrying baggage from your own life.Maybe it also means – not blindly accepting and following the “so called ” moral values, religious beliefs etc.

Year 2010 is gone and with it are gone the pain, hurt, negativity. It is time to shed those veils called ” responsibilities, compromises, duties etc” . So much of me got buried trying to go out of the way to play the different roles to please different people.

I avoided looking into the mirror, to face the stranger who stared at me with questioning eyes. The guilt of losing my ‘self ‘ was too much to bear.

Past few years have been a journey to hell and back. I have no one to blame but myself. we let people use us as doormats, let them walk all over  us and never utter a word even if we are exploding with pain and humiliation from within. We take it on because maybe the other option is to be alone and we are afraid to venture into that unknown territory . We like  the familiar grounds however thorny they might be.

At the threshold of my heart I found dreams waiting, I had left them alone in some dark corner and forgotten. They looked at me beseechingly. I had promises to keep. To myself. Promises I had deliberately forgotten .

Under those veils a body was restlessly turning from side to side. whose body was this ? How did it look? What color was  it ? I had forgotten. I had forgotten myself. I was  just a daughter, a  wife , a mother, a DIL  relentlessly doing her duties ,performing my part to keep those around me happy and contended .

In the last few years something changed . Over the period those veils became dirty, worn out and gossamer thin and I was filled with  a sudden urge to shred them and escape to freedom.

I found my voice – strong , fearless and free.

It wasn’t easy. Just as I was used to being veiled  the other were used to keep me that way. Lips sealed, eyes & ears shut and feet chained. The transformation of a caterpillar to a butterfly  was unacceptable but

“A Caterpillar cannot stay in a Cocoon Forever . . . A Butterfly Has to Emerge one Day” !!!

It shook their very foundation.

They say that if you poke a harmless worm it also turns and bites .

The time has come to fearlessly be myself . To assert my identity.

To leave the past behind and move on with no baggage takes courage especially when one is not used to it. It was a difficult decision but worth all the pain. I made myself what I am and only I can rectify it. No one else can do it  . Is this my new year resolution?

NO. It is my life resolution. To live and not to exist. I learnt my lessons the hard way by compromising myself to the point of submission knowing that it is doing no good to me.

A major part of my life went in deception, in feeding the Ego with social appreciation and attention. I was always  reflection of what others (society) wanted me to be. I was becoming an efficient part in the mechanism of the society. Fitting into the pattern but moving away from self-knowledge, that self-knowledge which is the true introspection. Self pity and feelings of being victimized is how I looked at my life. I clung to my Ego.

Questioning has made me realize my self-worth. It has helped me mature over a time. I have learned  the secret to unfold my brilliant, resilient petals and bloom.

I am building faith within, trusting my inner self more often to walk alone and walk with conviction.

Now my priorities are sorted out. The path I have chosen is not paved but I have made commitment to myself , a commitment I am going to fulfill. It is a rough pathway I have carved for myself and I don’t know where it will lead me but one thing is clear, it is a path I have chosen and I will walk on it with head held high.

Some of you must have read Louise Hay . She says,” “Cluttered closets mean a cluttered mind. As you clean the closet, say to yourself, ‘I am cleaning the closets of my mind.’ The universe loves symbolic gestures.”

I agree with her . I realized that dumping painful memories, expectations and hurt feelings is akin to cleansing your soul. I did just that.

I never believed in and supported the age-old dogmas , rituals etc but now when I look back I realize how much of myself I gave away in doing things which were worse than those orthodox senseless beliefs I detested so much. It is shameful to say the least.

There are some things which I was  taught as a child which I remembered but never implemented but in last few months I gathered the courage to kill my ego for a greater joy of rising above my current state of hollow living and finding new meanings in life.

I have learned that only fools cry ” I was used” or ” I am being used” . I am past that .

I need no sympathy . Life isn’t over till I decide.

Life has so much to give and the journey has just began . No turning back , no intrusion from past. The past is gone, dead, buried. The ghosts of yesteryear look elsewhere for there is no place for you in my new life.

I value those who showed me the mirror , shook me out of the dirt I was living in. Friends who are brutally honest yet very caring and supportive. My mom and brother who believe I can touch the sky , they believe in my strength as a woman, as a person . Friends who are part of my evolution, who taught me right from wrong and pushed me off the cliff so I could fly.

It is because of them I left my cobwebbed corners where I sat wallowing in self-pity, crying over events gone by which held no meaning for me, people who did not matter .

I learned to separate dreams from reality and not mix them.

I learned to take no shit from no one EVER however close they may seem to be.

I learned that no one is more important and worth shedding tears apart from my self.

No covering up lies of other people . When I speak the truth  why should I side by lies ?

No adjustments that are one-sided and lead to compromises and submission. Never ever.

Tonight a lot will change. Slowly but it will change and for good.

The new year is To Be Fearlessly Myself

The reason I wrote this post is to look at as a constant reminder that I have promised myself something and I will not sway . Come what may.

Wishing all my readers courage , love , light and peace  in the coming new year.

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Thursday Challenge : Lights


The theme this week is

LIGHTS (Holiday Lights, Candles, Street Lights, Fireplace, Fireworks,…)

 

 

 

Now,  can anyone guess what these photographs are ?

This is  a creative challenge and I always try to do my best to upload something different. these pictures are precious to me.

I had never imagined that one could achieve such beautiful images by doing what we did :p  😀

I would love to know how many of you can guess it correctly before scrolling to the end of the post for the answer.

I don’t know if this qualifies as lights but it does give a light of its own , doesn’t it ?

Alright folks !

For those who could not guess.

These are pictures of deodorant sprayed and set on fire in a dark room. We sprayed some and then lighted it immediately because the alcohol evaporates  as quickly as we expose it .

The flames that danced in the dark room were gorgeous .

😀

Winter Night:Poem


sedated the dawn sleeps

and for a few  moments more  we

lie roused by night’s limpid  kiss

wrapped in  her entrancing

spells of love

the soft moonlight

filters through the trees

and from the branches

drip droplets of water

kissed by winter

the scent of pines fills

the old star flower quilt

and dreams nocturnal

A little Adjustment or a Compromise for Lifetime ? – Two Stories


The moment a girl is born adjustment is the first thing she has to  learn.

” You must learn to adjust. you are a girl , what will happen when you go to your in-laws home?”

Well , this is the story of women everywhere especially in the society we live in and even after so much of awareness about women’s rights etc the tragedy is that most women from all walks of life still   keep adjusting their lives to make the others comfortable which leads to compromises and then to suppression of all sorts.

How much adjustment is good for a healthy relationship? No one can answer that correctly but I feel till the time your dignity is not compromised and the adjustment is from all sides it is alright but if that’s not the case then one needs to think.

It is a fact with Indian married women that most of them are fatalists . They take it as their destined role to adjust to any length to keep the marriage going even if it means complete submission.

I came to know about women’s web contest The great adjustment stories and after reading Two adjustment stories I decided to share two true accounts .

The first is about an educated young woman married for 20 years now and leading a life which she calls ” life of adjustments”.

An educated woman whose married life began with silent treatment and ” make her life difficult ” attitude by her in-laws leading to a point when she was practically thrown out of her home along with husband and little daughter.

They settled in Delhi and she began to adjust to her new-found life .Shuttling between her child and husband, her low paying job and siblings who depended on her.

She made adjustments to accommodate everyone and worked hard to provide for them , in a way compromising her own dreams of opening a physiotherapy clinic , buying a home etc .

As life progressed amidst all the struggle she managed to find ways to keep things going with no help from anywhere. Her husband ,a strong able-bodied educated man , decided to leave work and stay at home. It became a habit with him to find a job, earn a bit, spend it all on alcohol and do nothing.

All along she made adjustments to bring up her daughter in the best possible way. He began to abuse , first verbally then physically and got himself sterilized so that they don’t have more kids. ( without her knowledge)  .

The daughter turned out to be a rebel and hardly cared about her mother who was working from 8 in the morning till late night visiting patients in heat,cold and rain.

She took the beatings, paid for the alcohol when her husband demanded( he stole too) , devised some ways to keep the family together.

There were times when she had to call the police ,she even turned her husband out but then the same old thought about ” I have a girl  who will marry her? who will guard her now that she is grown up? How can I keep an eye on her and work too? ” made her adjust a little more to her useless husband. She allowed him to come back as a stay home hubby with certain conditions applied. The chap sits in front of the TV all day doing nothing. She doesn’t give him any money unless very urgent. Does all the outside work herself and has assigned some household work to daughter and husband. This adjustment works well for sometime and then the volcano erupts again compelling her to make fresh adjustments and find new solutions.

When told to leave him and move on she sighs and says.” it is an adjustment I have made with my life. To tolerate him as a guard ( chowkidar) to my daughter . At least he sits all day at home to see if my girl comes on time and keeps an eye on her activities. you know it is difficult when you have a girl child. People will talk. ” Scared of social stigma that may supposedly ruin her daughter’s marriage prospects and other things , scared of being alone in a big city with no backup, scared of being called names because her husband swears to create trouble if she takes any steps against him, she “Adjust”   in all possible ways .

This is not all, she made huge adjustments ( and I use this word because she does. Not realizing the thin line that separates adjustment and compromise) to educate, marry her younger siblings, to help them in getting jobs , to cope with their new-born babies and much more.  Adjusting her time, finances and in a way her life among them. They used her and went their own way  leaving her alone again.

Though her strength is admirable I still do not understand what makes an educated, self-sufficient , financially independent woman to adjust to the point of suppression.

” I  have a teenage daughter ” is her reply.

“If I had a son I would have left this man but where do I go with a young girl who will be of marriageable age in some years an who doesn’t understand my plight and stands for me”? A question worth pondering over. She has no strength to take on the social pressure. She continues to work all day to provide for a good for nothing  husband and daughter.

Recently to add to her responsibilities her mother has come to live with them. The old lady has no place to go and this daughter says,” I got to look after her .After all she is my mom. When I can feed these two I will adjust her also.”

I watch this troubled soul everyday and think about her ” life of adjustments” wondering how fair it is for a woman to bury her identity, shut her dreams in a box and adjust to this kind of life.

A question she doesn’t want to think about and sidelines with a weak smile. A question I ask to myself and wonder how I could have dealt this .  I guess if financially strong , I would have moved on but  then coming from her background it would have been a tough choice I bet. So adjustment it is for her ..for life.

A woman who has made  difference in many people’s lives can not for some reason best known to her continues to adjust , compromise and live the daily battle called Life. Do middle class women find it more difficult to shed the social pressures and adjust more than others?

 

The other story comes from the jhuggi jhopdi cluster. Soma , my domestic help is a young woman of 35 with three small children. Two girls and a boy. She is the only earning member so to say. Husband , “a decent man with no bad habits” works on daily wages now and then. This woman is a strong-willed one who has managed to make the right adjustments at her place and does everything to make them work. She is faced with all the problems that women of lower-income group face but she has learned to adjust. The finances are divided . one pays the rent and committee money ( a kind of saving scheme) the other gets the grocery and pays the school fee etc.

She wakes up early morning and manages her time  and work in such a way that she is able to do some house work and then come for work too. After long persuasions  she made her grumpy MIL adjust to the fact that she needs to babysit while Soma is away. Her husband , a devoted mamma’s boy , tries to adjust his delicate situation swaying between the two women in his life.

Soma says , women need to adjust more and even compromise because ones married they have no other life than that with  in-laws ” She feels adjustments should be made by all but to keep peace it is women who tend to make them often and that sucks but there is no solution so why crib.

In her kind of life every woman irrespective of age makes adjustments but the younger lot especially the daughters in law have to adjust more. She says adjustment is a better word than compromise and maybe the right one .

Soma says she learned that there is no escape from adjustment. She has been doing it since she was knee-high . Adjusting with aunt with whom she lived as an orphaned relative, adjusting with cousins who looked down upon her, adjusting to being cold and hungry , adjusting to her MIL’s constant bickering and her husband’s silence.  “How would I live if I don’t adjust “,she asks. “I will go mad.” , She laughs.

She is someone who knows there is a limit to adjustment but takes it all with a pinch of salt. She has devised ways to lessen the impact and where is can’t one can see the exasperated look on her face and hear her ranting ..a soliloquy in my kitchen.

She is uneducated but well-informed.

On one occasion when she was distraught and faced with  a catch 22 situation,  I asked her if she knew about her rights and how she can benefit from them,  her reply left me speechless.

” You know about women’s rights don’t you , So? Her eyes fixed on me.

I looked at her blankly.

She has been with me for long enough and seen it all ( well most of it) to ask the question. (Domestic helps have a greater network than any news channel. Nothing escapes their praying eyes.)

I had no instant reply to offer.

For a woman whose entire live has been a sort of adjustment in various ways I just left her to scrub the floor.

I read somewhere

If someone wants to be with you , you adjust

when you want to be with someone compromise

Relations are like quicksand , the deeper your attachment and dependence , the further you are sucked in. It sometime becomes difficult to draw a line and stop a “little adjustment” from becoming a big compromise.

 

 

 

 

Silences :Poem


swaying in the breeze a swing

a bicycle leaning against the lamp-post

cigarette stubs  in the ash tray

worn out boots and an old man’s hat

Coat stuffed in the closet

with a poem folded in the pocket

Spectacles on the writing-table

dust under the bed

the kitten curled up in a corner

remains of a  favorite coffee mug

the pipe now not in use

chessmen waiting

the first streak of light

that slides from under the door

and crawls to my feet

the fixed stare that  follows me

from your  portrait

slumbering spiders in the book shelf

snowfall

A dull ache that seems to live

with emptiness

in my old bones

the swirling darwish dance of shadows

the cemetery at dusk

the neighbor’s tree that keeps watch

the bitter tears shed on your grave

for words left unsaid

and deeds left undone

and lastly

these long hours of waiting

First prize in contest  for the love of poetry.

Indiblogger Blanket of Relief Blogger Meet – Delhi


It is always a pleasure to meet blogger buddies. People we connect with on social networks and forums, people who take out time to appreciate your writings and have their own personal space ( their blogs) where you can go and know about their interests, ideology, passions etc.

I have been part of Indiblogger for a long time now and always saw photographs of the meets wondering  when will I get the opportunity. I remember there was a fosters sponsored  meet two years ago but I had missed it,  this time I made sure not to repeat the mistake.

The awesome indiblogger from Delhi and NCR met on 18 Dec 2010 at Religare Art Gallery, Kasturba Gandhi Rd, CP, New Delhi. A cozy Art Gallery with wonderful art work and an Art shop.

Although due to some reason I joined late but it still this meet will be very special for me. There were blogger friends I was dying to meet and this platform gave me the opportunity to interact with some wonderful seasoned , creative writers/bloggers.

There was a very important social cause associated with  the meet   The blanket of relief supported by Guitarmonk .  Shayon ,  you are doing a great job by bringing humanity together for a cause. Wishing you all the very best.

Let me tell you a little about the cause . It is a charitable fund-raiser for the underprivileged citizens of Delhi. Thousands of people who live on the roads or  in night shelters die due to severe cold wave every year in Delhi. Winters take with it the lives of young children and old people especially . This initiative by some compassionate human beings  provides the much-needed warmth to these street dwellers . you can see all the details from the web site link above.

Bloggers donated to the cause after the meet . An effort from Indibloggers to care for those who are in much more need than us.

Indiblogger has done it before and will continue to work for humanity always and we  , the members , stand for every cause they take up.

I decided to take my elder son Aditya along to introduce him to the fellow bloggers and to initiate him into the cause. He is a blogger too but still to be a part of this community. He blogs at Dark Star

We reached when the coffee season was about to start. The warm welcome by Vineet ( the core inditeam member, indi thumper and a great friend) and Anoop , the familiar faces of old pals Ritu and  Abha , the bloggers are  a very loving part of my blogging world IHM , Addy , Pankaj ( who was there but unfortunately we somehow never found time to connect )  ,  Anshul , Himanshu ( Blogeshwar ) , zephyr ( She is a very special friend)  , Purba and many others new ones . It is always a pleasure to befriend bloggers with different ideologies ,exchange views and engage in healthy discussions. In all the euphoria I simply missed talking to a few friends . Hey Kshitij we meet again soon buddy 😀

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After  session of coffee with bloggers 🙂 where everyone got a chance to mingle and talk to other bloggers sipping hot coffee and eating samosas etc I visited the Religare Art Shop and bought myself a cute coffee mug . 😀

Warmed by coffee  we sat down one more time for a great discussion about Delhi and what is really means to those who live in the city. It’s traffic, metro , citizens, safety and trust or rather distrust 😀 and much more. Addy stopped to think hard which Girl friend’s home he was visiting ( how  typical 😀 I call him Adi’s namesake for this very reason ) while talking about How safe is Delhi ?  He is adorable. :p

 

Prateek Shah was a great anchor and really did a fabulous job. Hats off to you Prateek.

The meet came to an end around 5:30PM and we all wanted to linger around for some extra time.  With promises to meet again soon and heart full of loving memories we parted with a hope to meet again for yet another awesome meet some time soon.

Photographs were taken, videos made and everyone took with him/her a precious memory of the meet.

Here I would like to go ahead and thank Renie ( Founder, Director indiblogger) and Vineet for keeping their promise of giving me my Soch Lo contest first prize after so much controversy and lack of support from the sponsors .They paid from their pocket but I got the prize. Thanks guys for all the support  and understanding.

This great spirit of commitment and caring for the indimembers as family is what makes the community rocking.

So three cheers to inditeam, the inblogger members and all those who made this fantastic meet a great success.

Hoping that all those who missed this one will make sure to attend the next one.

Renie, Anwin, Vipul ( marshal Blog – a – ton)   are you listening buddy 😀  ?

Happy holidays  to all and I request everyone who is reading this to contribute to the cause by going on the Blanket of  relief website  and share some warmth with those who really deserve it .


Thanks Aditya, IHM and Abha for the lovely pix . Hugs

Pasta Italiano By Kid #2


We are a family of foodies who love to experiment with aromas, tastes and the colorful ingredients. Kid #2 is a budding chef  and at the age of 15  he dishes out some amazing stuff now and then. Cooking together is always fun and therapeutic too. It is amazing to see kids churning out new stuff . I love it  when boys can manage such wonderful cooking. 😀  I know he won’t starve when alone. By the way he makes the usual regular  dishes also. 🙂

I think it is good to share what your children specialize in , just to give them a boost.

It is  passion with us when it comes to cooking, baking etc.

So here is a Sunday special for all of you .

Pasta Italiano

we can have a lot of variations here  and add our favorite herbs and other toppings. This is a basic recipe. My favorite.

Ingredients

Fusilli Pasta – 2 cup ( you can take any)

Tomatoes –  5

Onions 2

Garlic -2 pods (Big) ( I prefer more)

Tomato Ketchup – 5-6 table-spoon

Dash of Asafoetida

Red chilli – 1/2 tea-spoon

Salt – to taste

Coriander , Theme, parsley, basil or any other herb- 2 table spoon ( chopped)

Green chili- 1 ( de seeded and  slit into two)

Olive oil – 2 table spoon

Method

Heat water with a few drops of oil and a little salt . Add pasta and cook till soft. Remove from heat and drain in a colander. Keep in under cold water for a while so the pasta doesn’t stick .

Keep aside and keep a heavy bottom pan on heat.

Add olive oil and fry  the finely chopped onions, garlic and green chili till golden brown . Add finely chopped tomatoes . Sprinkle asafoetida.

Let it simmer till a nice red sauce is made. Add salt and ketchup .

Simmer for some more time to make a gorgeous sauce.

Add cooked pasta to the sauce and keep it covered on slow heat .

Stir in  fresh chopped herbs like thyme, coriander, basil, parsley  etc

Remove from heat.

Garnish with herb of your choice.

Serve hot.

We really freaked out on this one. He presented it well and the dish was a screamer all the way.

Cheers!!