2011- Courageous risks are life giving ( A New Ending Post )


You have given me wings with which to fly
Now I breathe in deep and spread them wide
as we lift off from the silken petals
into the wind where the butterflies glide

This is not a year-end post or may be it is.  A requiem for the past  and a song of  courage for the future.

I wanted to wrap up this year and all those before them and bury them for good. 2011 has been a year of extreme highs and lows in more than one ways. We lost some of the most loved, immensely talented artists/musicians and many other luminaries from diverse fields. Let us say adieu to those who left us in 2011. Bhimsen Joshi , Jagjit Singh, Dev Anand, Shammi Kapoor, Satyadev Dubey , Bhupen Hazarika, Anant Pai, M.F.Hussain, M.K.Pataudi,  Hargobind Khurana, Jehangir Sabavala, Mario Miranda, Steve Jobs, Elizabeth Tylor, Amy Winehouse, Ustad Sultan Khan, Navin Nishcol, Gautam Rajadhyaksh, Indira Goswami and football player Socrates and Gary Speed.. the list seems endless.

Year 2011 also took away the fierce tigress Shehla Masood, Nighamanand and RTI activist Nadeem Sayeed. Any voice that rises against the rotten corrupt system, the age-old orthodox so-called values and norms  is silenced. Sometimes one pays with one’s life and at others one has to take courageous risks to stand for one’s dignity, pride and right to live as a human being , as a woman.

When a woman decides to break the shackles that chain her to submit to the will of others, when she walks out on a relationship that smothered her for years , when she decides to be fearlessly herself , to not be a “trophy wife” , when she shows the inner strength and moral courage to defy submitting to what society defines as ” excepted rules and code of conduct for women” then she is born again and trust me this is a difficult birth. This metamorphosis from a caterpillar to a butterfly is a slow painful process. A process which for some means shedding layers and layers of borrowed hurts and burdens. This journey from darkness to dawn requires an inner courage  which is unmatched and unbreakable especially when one is economically dependent. It is difficult to take that first step and say ENOUGH. Difficult to leave behind young children and  a large part of one’s life but when relationships stagnate  they rot and it is better to cut the rotting part before it infects and kills. It is difficult to stand for your dignity and face the filth flung at you by the society for whom a woman is merely a “puppet that can be fit into various roles with strings pulling her from all sides deciding when she should do what “.

A forgotten species not allowed to dream and live the life she imagines. Always subjected to ridicule, contempt and told to shut up, she is supposed to adjust , compromise, suffer, make peace, forgive the offenses and injustices inflicted at them and go through difficult marriages with ” patience and tolerance. She is “not allowed” to follow her dreams, aspirations and put them all on a back burner to make sure ”  a peaceful happy married life” and if she rebels against the established conventions and charts a path for herself then the situation is even worse.

But,

Courageous risks are life-giving. 

2011 changed  direction of my life. Sometimes it just takes a tiny spark to light a flame within.  I have already written about what made me step out and start afresh.  It took me many years to find my lost confidence, my voice that was stilled. Change is uncomfortable, new beginnings scary for someone like me whose world was confined.

I have so many friends to thank for this transformation, for instilling this strength in me , for believing in my potential and for making me love and believe in myself as a woman, as a human being irrespective of the roles assigned by the society. Each word, each gesture made me stronger than ever. Friends who showed me the mirror, who spoke their minds to make me see the reality as it is, who helped me get out of the closet and express through my writings, each one of them played a significant role in making me who I am today and my heart is filled with gratitude for them. The reason I write about me is again to be a spark in someone’s life , to light a flame of change in some woman’s life.

I realized that after that initial fear is conquered there is no turning back. At  the end of  2010  the embryonic plant encased in the seed coat was beginning  to prepare itself to break the sidewalk and  blossom into a flowering plant.  I have come a long way from the time I wrote ‘  The time has come to be fearlessly myself  ‘.

I took some bold steps just as Tara did.  For, If it hurts it is not love  .

It wasn’t easy for me to leave but I knew that nothing could be worse than what I was going through. Separation from my boys cut me deep. They put up a very brave front in standing by my decision. It was I am sure their energy that made me spread my wings and take a flight into the vast open sky through the tiniest crack in the walls that were closing in every moment. I know I could not have done without their never-failing love and support. They taught me some very fine lessons in life. The period of nine months since I stepped out were filled with extreme emotional upheavals but the fact that I did what was right for me  as a human being , as a woman , kept me going. It is not that the guilt of  leaving behind the children did not gnaw at my heart  but sometimes to survive and live one must take the most painful of  steps.

Now at the threshold of a new year , I find myself  heading towards a new ending, a much-needed closure that will be the new beginning for me. The road is rough and full of uncertainty but I know that the wind beneath my wings is strong and I won’t fall.  It is with this unsurpassed trust and confidence that I greet the new year. There is still a lot to be done and having taken this first step all I see is the summit. I know that to climb steep hills requires slow pace in the beginning and I am taking one step and a time.

There is no turning back.

I have the gift of life again and I want to cherish and nurture it with respect and love. There were times I cribbed about life being unfair and people being unjust to me but now when I look back I thank the universe for all those hardships and all those people who made sure I suffered for it is due to them I am stronger and sharper.

Life never gives you anything you can not handle , it is just that some flowers take time to blossom. Nothing goes waste. Those years gone by were my rooting years. Now with strong roots and stronger heart I am ready to take on anything that life offers.

I thank all my readers, my friends, everyone who helped me open my resilient petals. To all of you I owe my new self. Thank you for enriching my life.

Wish you all a very happy New Year. 

The two important things I did learn were that you are as powerful and strong as you allow yourself to be, and that the most difficult part of any endeavor is taking the first step, making the first decision.

 

This post is dedicated  with love and gratitude to a very special person. 

Butterfly picture courtesy Google Images

Homemade Apple Jam


After a very long time I decided to do the things I always loved to do. Cook, bake , flirt with those spices, fruits, veggies and much more. Winter is usually the time to make all these delicious things, peanut butter, jams , jellies, pies , carrot and pumpkin Halwas etc.

It is the time when the markets are full of colorful veggies especially the leafy greens and delicious apples, raspberries, guavas etc.

Homemade apple jam with a dash of cinnamon or clove is something I love. the golden bitter sweet marmalade and the fragrant apple jam are two things I love on my crisp toasts.

Here is my very own recipe :

Hope you will enjoy making it  and spread some sunshine on  the breakfast table.

Ingredients :

Red Delicious Apples –  1/2 Kg.

Sugar – 1Cup

Lemon Juice – 4 Tablespoon ( 1 big size lemon is good)

Warm Water – Enough to submerge the apple

Cloves 3

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Method

1. Wash , peel and cut apples in small cubes. Remove the seeds and core.

2. Take a heavy bottom pan and put chopped apple in it. Pour just enough water to submerge the apples.

3. Add cloves.

4.  Keep the pot on high flame to bring the water to boil and then lower the flame.

5. Keep stirring till apples soften.

6. Remove any foam that forms on top of mixture.

6.  Add sugar once the apples become soft. Mash them to make a smooth texture.

7.  Add lemon juice at this point

8. Keep the flame low and stir continuously so that the mixture does not stick to the bottom of the pan.

9.  Cook it till the mixture passes the “setting test” .

 The test to check if the jam is ready

Take a clean glass plate and put a spoonful of jam on it. If the mixture runs on tilting the plate , it is not done but if sticks to the plate and glides slowly then its ready to cool. After cooling it will thicken more. If it seems too thick then add a little water and continue to simmer till it passes the test, if it’s runny the simmer for some more time and then remove for cooling. 

10. Cool the mixture and slowly spoon it into sterilized jar.

So now that we have a delicious jam, let’s have a hot mug of coffee with crisp whole wheat bread and jam. 😀

Happy Eating !

#microlovestory


I  am not getting enough time to weave the tales and string the words into verses.Caught in crossfire of my thoughts I learn to live with tests , for they visit me often.  Sometimes the little light that slips through the curtains forces me to see the darkness within me, darkness that conceals all that is there- happy or sad – good or bad . There is a stirring within me . I don’t know if to call it  desire or love. I am learning too as I travel from the light black to dark white , from concealed to revealed. I look for answers, often looking in vain. Burn myself in the midst. 

I heard an echo of a love story in my dreams. It came from somewhere deep within dressed in rags and patches. I decided to put some wild flowers in its hair, take its hand and walk into the sunset.

Somewhere between his sunset and her sunrise they lost their way.

#lovestory

They  fell asleep among words ~ woke up among them and in between that falling asleep and waking up, love blossomed

#lovestory

Maybe he saw the fragility and neediness in her eyes. Her craving and hunger for love. Maybe he saw himself in her and before he could understand, their world merged.

#lovestory

Their world  became a  collage . Just like life. Mismatched patterns, random thoughts, so many textures, so many layers, a  million stories all held together by one single idea   – Love.

#lovestory

She was delirious with that delicious, delicate, intoxicating feeling that seeped through her. She was getting irresistibly drawn towards him.  He left her in traces  that are there yet not quite; like a half-revealed secret, tantalizing. Like crushed violets on white satin sheets, the tell-tale signs were difficult to hide. And then. the spell broke.

#lovestory

She picked on his words. Honey suckle sweet. Sparkling star dust . She watched them break at sundowns. Dissolve in darkness. Melt in tears. White lies. As she watched it flow, life played ever new tunes. Shadows began to fade as his desires , the night drove them apart. Her night or his ? How does it matter .

#lovestory

He never saw the tempest rising in her heart. The disconnect could not have been deeper. She the dreamer . He the cynic. The moon that revealed his face to her each lonesome night and ignited her soul meant nothing more than a planet to him waning and waxing at will causing mood swings in silly romantics. What intrigued her was,  how could she see his soul beneath all those layers? He would call her. She would come. Then he wouldn’t know what to do with her.  She would then turn away, caught between a wanting , a longing, a  hoping, a need fulfilled and another awaiting, and dip her quill in her bleeding heart and write verses. there is a certain beauty in melancholy.

#lovestory

How can one ever be loved any other way but completely ? Why the pull? Why so hesitant ? She wondered. Maybe she missed the finer points of being the other woman.

#lovestory

She wanted to run barefoot into his arms

He gave her wings

#lovestory

He- Seems you aren’t sleeping well.

She- umm, midnight hunger pangs

He- lol, you should keep a cookie jar next to bed
He again missed the point.

#lovestory

“Why are you unhappy?” he asked.

“Because I’ve had vision of something beyond my reach, and I know I can’t live without it,” she said.

#lovestory

Sometimes one just knows one’s place. Outside the periphery.

#lovestory

Then she wrote to him of longing.

Of desire unmet.

Of yearning unfulfilled.

She wrote to him about Him

#lovestory

with a heart full of love she came to his door and through the window she saw his world, the deep laugh, the whiskey voice, the love and warmth. Familiar and yet so unfamiliar. She smiled, turned away and took a flight into the deep pathless night sky. Suddenly glad to have those wings.

#lovestory

and then she descended on a cliff’s edge facing the ocean and bared herself to the universe. The voice rose from deep inside her as she sang more sweetly than anyone on this earth and as the thornbird impales itself on the longest sharpest thorn and dies rising above its own agony to outlive the lark and the nightingale, she pierced her heart. The universe watched quiescent.

#lovestory

*******************************************

Poemas Cortos – Micro Poems


I held the sun between my fingers
reminiscent
– your face
crimson with love

*****

early morning drizzle
all the words
you never say

****

Sometimes

I wrap your silence around me

because

that’s the only way

to be close to you

****

thoughts get frozen
in time and space
memories come
like blizzard of snow
bleeding heart leaves
a trail of hurt

*******

some questions

burn like embers

should I seek the answers

or just let them be?

*****

your love
wondrous
teasingly obscure
delicate, ethereal dream
untouchable and
beyond reach

just that

********

A friend’s response on the above . Sharing because it is worth it. 

Your glance fleeting,
Your presence lingering.
Your thoughts addicting,
The desire for you

ever-increasing

*****

shadow of the moon
staring hungrily
ravenously longingly
rich night sky
its hues and
changing patterns
remind me
of our love

**********

when I strip away the darkness

all that remains is

You

************

come to me my beloved

brew me a cup

for the winter’s night

spice it with love

and stir it with passion

********

O, dark muse of the night
seduce me with sultry dreams

for I am still

at the edge of desire

O, longing heart

should I succumb

or

fold the night

and tuck it away?

**********

Coronation Park Delhi – Photo Feature


Relics of the Raj 


We are pleased to announce to Our People that on the advice of Our Ministers tendered after consultation with Our Governor-General in Council, We have decided upon the transfer of the seat of the Government of India from Calcutta to the ancient Capital Delhi. (Quoted in New Delhi Making of a Capital, Malvika Singh and Rudrangshu Mukherjee, Roli Books, 2009)

On12 December 9111 , two important declarations were made by King George V and his wife Mary here in the Coronation Park, Delhi. First,  that the Capital of British India would be shifted from Calcutta to Delhi, and the second was about  annulment of the Partition of Bengal. They also declared that India would now be ruled directly by the King and Queen of England, thereby ending the rule of the East India Company.

Here is the date with history :

1877: Coronation Park becomes venue of Delhi Durbar, when Queen Victoria was proclaimed the Empress of India.

1903: Celebrates the accession of Edward VII.

December 11, 1911: Hosts Delhi Durbar, commemorating the coronation of King George V as Emperor of India. Representatives of all the princely states attended the function.

After 100 years the park is a “graveyard of statues” as conservationist A.G. Krishna Menon describes the site of Dilli Darbar  .

Sic transit gloria mundi –  “Thus passes the glory of the world”.

Neglected, forsaken and in shambles Coronation Park is a nightmare to get to. Sixty feet tall figure of King George in all his regalia of crown, orb and specter surveys the 57 acre ground around him. Local teams play cricket (inheritance of the British) oblivious to the history.  Full of camel thorn shrubs, plants growing on plinths of statues, rubbish heaps and construction workers trying desperately to restore the long gone glory with age-old tools, it attracts very few tourists.

No one wants to reawaken unpleasant memories of more than two centuries of British colonial rule and I find it absurd to beat the drum of celebrating 100 years of Delhi when the name New Delhi was finalized only in 1927, and New Delhi was formally inaugurated only in 1931.

I took a trip to the north of Delhi , braved the dirt, thorns and traffic to get the idea of what lies in that midst of decaying overgrown patch of land and trust me it was just worth a few pictures to mark 11.12.11, nothing else .

Contests and Recognition


I should have acknowledged these long ago but last two years have been a roller-coaster ride in more than one way. It just slipped from my mind to  write a separate post about these achievements. We will talk about it some other time.

Indiblogger.in held a contest last year called Soch Lo blogger contest  in which my entry

Do all Relationships come with a past ?  – Soch Lo 

won the grand prize . Now all my readers know about it but I never formally posted it on my blog  for which I apologize.

I won a Blackberry Phone. 😀

Thank you all for reading , appreciating and voting for me. It was my first ever contest win at this level.

The second contest Take Flight With Colors  won me an Indi Surprise Prize .

The post titled  From darkness to dawn-let’s fill their lives with colors   won a Hip Street Rage headphones.

Thank you Indiblogger for always encouraging us to showcase our writings.

That reminds me of one more thing. Delhi’s date with blogging . 🙂

The Delhi Indiblogger biggest ever Meet is on 11th of  this month and is sponsored by HP IPG and I am looking forward to it. We really had great time in the last meet.

Delhi indibloggers were featured in the HT City edition of  7th December 2011

Sharing the top five most influential bloggers of Delhi space with Youth ki Awaaz and three others was an honor.

Congratulations for making it to the news.

Here is the link to the feature  Delhi’s Date with Blogging 

Two more recognition came  in the form of  online contests.

My poem Silences won first prize in a Love For Poetry  contest on FB . You can read the poem by clicking the link.

The results for Tejaswee Rao blogging awards were announced  byIHM some time back and my entry

Sensitivity is awareness Are we ready for change?   was one of the three which won in the parenting category.

The year is about to end and I thought of thanking all those who have enriched my writing in one way or the others. Keep posting your honest comments. Critique my writing and leave suggestions for improvement. Readers’ interaction is very precious to me.

Some words stringed together – micro poems and more


I decided to write Tawikus and micro poetry in lack of better ideas and  now you will ask what the heck is Twaiku and micro poetry?

Well, basically it is a poem in 140 characters. It is also called ‘Twitter poetry’.  So one can say that Micropoetry is a genre of poetic verse which is characterized by its extreme brevity.

Here is a collection of some of my #micropoems that I posted on this thread. I have included some short poems also along with micro poems.

These are spontaneous thoughts stringed together.

*

shooting star / a neon kite / dreams thrown into space / what will it bring?

*

Love / sometime a duet/ sometime not/ song remains beautiful 

*

drank the wine spill of sunset / knowing it has flowed from / lips of your sparkling morn

*

evening shadows play / last strains of day’s symphony / turns them into a new musical score 

*

branches bare ’emselves of rainbow leaves / imagination clothes ’em / colors of winter 

*

and night with all its longings has come / a shooting star / wishes tied to a neon kite / glides through the dark

*

we float on moonlit waters / our bodies wet shimmering / nude sculptures

*

Saturated with prayer /  the morning sky  / still in deep meditation

*

if i become you and you become me /  then i’ll bury my head in the sand /  and pretend not to see 

*

silence /like fog descends/dissolves/words /into a blur /and cuts short/a song of life

*

your silence /  the scarlet letter  / i wear on my being

*

Unanswered questions / your silence/ answers them all

*

your memory comes /  makes pre dawn love with me /  then goes /  as suddenly as it came  / leaving behind /  the warmth of its hug

*

my words / scrubbed and stripped / off your silence  / scars remain

*

your silence / my words / two parallel lines / inseparable / when i look back / one line

*

your words / hired assassins

*

laid to rest / words  / tied in neat bundles / Darkness a ribbon

*

I crossed the bridge of stars /  and  found my dawn /  your dusk

 

**