Celebrations With A Difference – A Wedding, An Award And Other News


I have been away from serious blogging since many months and I apologize for that. The thing is I have been preoccupied with health issues, my book release and two big events that brought absolute joy to me.

First was the wedding of my elder son Aditya   to his girl friend Snigdha. Beautiful, talented and compassionate this daughter of mine is like sunshine on a rainy day. I had loved her from the day we first met some years back. Something had told me that this was going to be a bond for life for these two. It is a beautiful feeling to see the strong threads of friendship in a marriage. Rest everything is superfluous.

I never liked the statement, “they complete each other”. I think both of them are complete and fractured in their own way and respect that. For me this is the basis of any good relationship.

It is a perfect match and I am very happy for these two young adults starting a new chapter in their life. I am sure with Snigdha on his side my son will continue to grow into a better version of himself each day. He is a sensitive, caring boy fiercely independent yet very giving and exceptionally talented. Just needed someone to rein his wild temperament a little and all is well 😉 . These kids deserve all the awesomeness in the world.

Did I tell you she’s an awesome poet apart from being a very fine journalist? Well, now you know. I have been nagging her to publish her poems. She is way better than me and needs to be read.

The wedding was nothing too ostentatious. I do not believe in pomp and show with people dressed up like Christmas trees exchanging pleasantries for the sake of it. The simple sobriety and intimacy of the occasion was what made it memorable. With the melodious sounds  of shabad floating in the air the whole atmosphere was beautiful beyond words. The reason I love Sikh weddings are many. It is a short ceremony, happens in daytime and there are no long dragging rituals.  The Anand Karaj ceremony is one of the most beautiful wedding ceremonies I have ever witnessed and I am glad we opted for that.

The interesting fact is that this union was in line with the tradition of ‘love marriages’ my side of family has, beginning with my maternal grandparents. You choose your partner for life and are responsible for the consequences. 😀

We are also slowly becoming a very fine example of  cross culture family in the true sense, leaving behind the shackles of caste, creed, religion etc.  You get to know different cultures, eat different food, learn different languages and it is such a good cocktail of happiness even with the problems it brings at times.

In this case the ‘meeting the parents’ happened much later than ‘meeting the girl’. Like always the moment my son began dating her I was one of the first to meet. Not for so called’ approval’ but to break the ice and for us to know each other better. A fellow Mirandian, a poetess, a girl who loves to travel, read, is fun to be with and is highly balanced and focused in life, she can talk with just rolling her large eyes.. finally I have someone with whom I can gang up against the brats..oh the joy of having her as part of the family are many.

Meeting her parents extended my faith in ‘friends are the family you choose’ . By the time the couple were engaged to be married we were already partying hard. I was happy because my son was.  He had been through some of the hardest times a child has to go through for no fault of his and to see him beaming with happiness was the only thing that mattered. This coming together of two families gave me strength too but that is another story for another time.

Overall, it was a fun wedding where the close family and best friends spent the time of their life along with the gorgeous couple.

The newly wed had a great time and so did we. It was a celebration with a difference though like a true blue Punjabi wedding we had the dhol, bhangra and over loading of food and booze. 😀 And of course the DJ (a friend of my son in this case, the fact that he is a celebrity is a different matter all together) churning out the apt songs for the occasion.  We made the best memories together with so much love and craziness. The task force behind the entire celebration were the fantastic friends of the Snigdha, Adi and Shubhang, the kid brother. Without them rang pheeka reh jata. They made the fuctions come alive. Such energy and joy… irreplaceable.

Indian weddings are huge projects with a deadline one can not surpass and if there is no masala in an Indian wedding it didn’t happen. So, we debated, argued, threw tantrums and had bouts of emotionally charged episodes with tempers flaring and tears flowing.

I do not have much of an experience of wedding planning as my own marriage was a quick simple affair but this one was an overwhelming experience. Stepping away from the traditional, ritualistic customs and doing away with a lot of stuff that made no sense whatsoever except for an overload of expense and waste of time wasn’t easy.

At many points in this adventure I was convinced we’re going to screw up in a big way. Even the groom was certain there would be a disaster. We ranted, glowered, decided to part ways and all that. We were worried, tired, clueless about many things and behaved like jerks, myself included. There were long telephonic discussions, arguments over guest lists, outfits and unlimited shopping expeditions. The fact that we were based in three different places in the city wasn’t helping much and to top it I fell sick. But,  I am a sucker for emotions and to see my first born getting married was too much to joy to handle. On one hand I was jubilant and on the other his entire life flashed before my eyes like a movie, turning me into a sentimental wreak.

It was insane. The bride’s side had meticulously planned even the minutest detail and we were in disarray to the point of being hilarious but we survived.

For years I would be very scared and spent sleepless nights wondering if our broken home will bring the unfortunate stuff people said it would, would I fail in the end as a mother, as a friend, as a pillar of support I always tried to be but as it turned out there is a power in being true to oneself and doing what is right. In believing in oneself and one’s children, in listening to them and understanding them as individuals.

Even in the times of raging wars we are one and love each other unconditionally. The boys have outgrown my lap but not my love and that keeps us afloat even in the strongest of storms.

Kid 2 has started a new job and is living his life on his own terms. I wish him well for that he aspires for. Now, with his best friend, an elder brother who practically raised him up in the most crucial years of life when I was away, settled in his new phase of life, I know he will feel the void but that is what growing up is all about. Physically we may be away but there for each other always.

Unforgettable, irreplaceable magic of holding my first born and the crazy journey called Life that we share. Unmatched bond of friendship. 

 

#Adikishaadi #Snigdog

Don’t they look gorgeous? 🙂 #kalatikka These precious moments will stay with me forever.

The newly weds are back from their travels and already back to work. I wish them a life full of love and adventure.

Now,  let us get back to poetry, blogging and a very special award that I won.

2017 marked the tenth year of Indiblogger and my association with them entered its ninth year and what a fabulous journey it has been. Indiblogger is a credible platform for bloggers who wish to showcase their work and a recognition from them is highly cherished.

When they announced the nomination for Indian Blogger Awards #IBA2017 I was slightly hesitant to nominate my blog as I hadn’t been posting much of poetry lately but ten years of blogging nudged me to at least nominate, perhaps to get more readers if not anything else.

There were 3500 nominations across 117 categories. Not in my dreams I had thought that I will win the special #VOW award for poetry.

The awards were announced at a very interactive blogging conference #BNLF2017 at Dehradun in November and were judged and given in association with Valley Of Words Literature Festival.  

This award is very special to me not just because it validates my hard work but also because it came just two days before the release of my second book of poetry ‘Wayfaring‘.  I couldn’t be there at the ceremony so the team requested for a short acceptance video which I finally managed after hundreds of retakes, that’s how challenged I am technologically. 😀

Here’s the lovely poster indiblogger team made for the winners.  I would like to thank them for the commendable work they are doing by bringing the Indian bloggers at one platform from across the globe. Thank you to my readers, those who voted and the esteemed jury. We Blog. Therefore We Are. 

Winner of The Indian Blogger Awards 2017 - VOW Awards

I also received Google Chromecast as a gift from the Inditeam on winning the award. Now waiting for the certificate and trophy if that happens. 🙂

 

In another news, the praise for my poetry books is pouring in.

My debut book Collection Of Chaos reached a reader in France and she posted this beautiful message on FB. She is reading the second one too and I am eagerly waiting for her feedback. Thank you Anne for your kind words.

Common Wealth Prize-Winning Author, film maker Siddhartha Gigoo. chose his most interesting reads of 2017 for a HT feature  and I was pleasantly surprised to find my new collection Wayfaring in the list. What a joy to find a media mention within a few weeks of the release.

He also reviewed it on amazon bringing the much needed cheer in my life.

Praise for Wayfaring

Thanks for appreciating Siddhartha.

 

Keep me updated if you buy any of my books. Reader’s feedback is very essential for the growth of a writer.

Here’s to poetry and other adventures of life. I will try to keep the blog afloat with regular posts. Keep visiting and do leave your comments.

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Celebrations


This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 16; the sixteenth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

She had the same vicariousness as Kaya. Actually the more I observed Juhi the more I felt that I have known her since a life time.

Her very presence made my home come alive. It was not just me but everyone who spent some time with her felt a kind of positive energy transcendent into them.

I often wondered what brought her here. Compassion, a need to do a good deed or just a pure zest for life. She never talked about her life , about family or anything remotely related to herself. All we knew about her was that she loved spending her weekends and holidays with us.

“Oh! Come on Uncle John, there is more to life than the mundane. Life is a passing circus we got to enjoy it while it’s there.” And she would give me her warmest of smiles and a warm hug.

I would nod my bald head in agreement and hug her back muttering my heartfelt blessings for the child.

We all made guesses about her age. Some thought she was past thirty but Kanta amma was sure that Juhi was still in her twenties and treated her like that. Kanta amma was eighty-two herself and the second oldest among the mates of Utsav. The oldest being Lakshamna who was eighty-nine.

A rough man who did not interact with anyone but a bright smile appeared beneath his huge mustaches the moment he heard Juhi singing voice , “ Uncle Lakshmanna, care for a game of corrom” ?

He would become a child for that one hour and Juhi let him won all the games.

He would pat her back and say, “ One day you will win and I will happily die that day. You still have to learn a lot my girl”. Juhi would just smile and hold his soft wrinkled hands in hers.

At Utsav we knew how to celebrate old age and in a way Life. All 20 of us , six women and 14 men lived a much fuller life than those who had abandoned us.

We lived with dignity, freedom and happiness. Although some of us were fighting with various old age ailments , we never let that come in our way of celebrating life.

We went for picnics, played cards, carrom, read books from the ones donated by Juhi and her friends, held musical evenings and shared stories from our life. Mary Francis had again started to write short stories for children and Juhi often read them out to us making us laugh like little boys and girls. She promised to get her work published when the collection was ready. Everyone obeyed her like a good child and she made it a point to look after our needs.

She even instructed Chef Rajam ( we all lovingly called him Chef) about the dietary needs of each one of us. We had a beautiful loving family.

Many a times when someone felt the pang of separation from family( which seldom happened), we gathered in the Blue Room and sat near the picture of Budhdha tried to bring the calmness back.

Blue Room was Rahim Khan‘s initiative and Juhi furnished it with a soft lights, a carpet and a large picture of Lord Budhdha where a lamp burned all the time. There was no other puja room. Who ever wanted to connect with God or self went there.

In my sixty-five years of life I had not seen a bunch of elder people so much in love with life as this one .

Death lurked around the corner for many of the residents they were in no hurry to meet her.

Juhi had filled our lives with fragrance.True to her name. She taught us to combat pain and suffering , emotional as well as physical.

I noticed how in last three years all of us had become a little younger in our mindset even if our bodies showed the signs of aging.

I often said a little prayer for this loving soul who brought back life into the world of sad and lonely senior citizens of Utsav.

One day Juhi brought some young children with her and we all celebrated the festival of light together. “They are children from an orphanage “, she told us. The lady who ran the orphanage also came with them. A tall Parsi woman who then made it a point to drop in now and then and spend time with us.

The children would sometimes come during festivals and then there would be dance, drama, music and lots of fun. These times filled my heart and with moist eyes I would watch Life celebrating in all its glory. Their innocent smiles would linger on the wrinkled faces for a long time. Their days and nights filled with joy of togetherness.

A newly painted board in the living area made by the children reads:

“To be alive, is a miracle and a cause for celebration.”

Last week Juhi left for further studies but the ‘celebration of being alive’ continues at

Utsav.

Hey, did I tell you who was Kaya ? Well, she was my beloved wife. She passed away during the birth of our first child.

In fact both mother and child decided that the world was too much for them and continued their journey across the universe.

 

 

The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

 

 

Lazy Tuesday Ramblings on woman’s day and such stuff


Why are women such suckers for emotions ?

Just a random question that popped into my sleepy head just now.

Last few days have been a little freaky for me. All those health check ups, recurring dreams about strange things, a question session with self, changing patterns of a relationship, a writer’s block ( am I calling myself a writer by any chance ?) 🙂

I dragged myself to my blog on this lazy Tuesday afternoon when the merciless sun is shinning brightly in the sky outside my window, the crows are creating a racket on the fiery silk cotton tree and my younger son is snoring to glory on the bed next to me oblivious to all that’s happening around.

“Chill Maro mom” , he says when I try to involve him in sharing some of my mind storms. Sigh!!

Yesterday was International Women’s day and many of my friends were blogging about it frantically, congratulating each other and planning the day while I had a heated debate with mom about why I do not believe in women’s day or any other such day for that matter. Glad it was on phone and ended before my evening visit to her place.Glad that she too thought that celebrating “days” should be done with.

One day everyone is praising women, talking about their rights, the sorrowful state they are in, writing about equality and  then they move on and do the same about  some other “day”. Sigh!

Why I don’t like it ?

One , because I feel I do not wish to limit myself to celebrating “days” for me womanhood is to be celebrated each day. All those women who do not rejoice in it all the other days of the year are just not worth it.

Two, I do not like these gender specific celebrations and type casting which leads to comparisons.

I asked my maid if she knew anything about women’s day and she said, ‘ what’s that? Does it mean I get a holiday today?” she felt that all these things are for people  who have money to spend. Go to WD special events, sales etc.

It’s the day  for all the beauty products, household appliances, jewellery stores, fashion houses to offer discount sales for the ‘woman of today!’

I asked her how she knows about them and she said a madam told her to come early because she had a party for celebrating WD. she did not ask her much but came to know that just like V-Day it’s some sort of day for celebration and more work for her. She seemed pissed off with all these ” day” which means more utensils to clean and  no respite.

I ask , Women’s Day for whom?

For the ” women’s right activists ” to roll out speeches and take out processions and shout slogans? what difference is it making in any  woman’s life this celebration of WD? what are you celebrating anyways I question them? Have you been able to change the mindset of women as well as men?   if yes,  then we need to celebrate something.

Are we not creating discrimination and inequality by celebrating Women specific Day?

Tell me one thing , Are women downtrodden, supressed, subjugated, inferior class that they need a special day to remind the humanity of their existence?

We complain about society,men, laws, tradition, we never appreciate ourselves and change our mindset and so are losers,no one else is responsible. Unfortunately from female foeticide to dowry to many other things women are the abettors. They pass the age-old dogmas, rituals, orthodox traditions from one generation to the other and the chain never breaks.  Just a realization, self-worth  is needed.

I believe in Nari shakti, I believe in my worth as a woman as an individual, as a human being, I don’t need some day, some slogans to tell me that.

No one should. We are all unique, there is no comparison between men and women , both have their importance in the web of life and it should not be caged in some “day” which creates more divided. It does not help at all even to those who are seeking justice for “underprivileged women” across the globe.  Why is it said again and again that women are weaker sex.

Are we? NO

Beauty and brains 🙂

Does women’s Day bring any change in the mindset of millions of women who do not even know the meaning of womanhood and have little respect for being born as one?

I think I  have a big problem with the word Feminism .

Many of us women need to change the mindset. Men too are victims of abuses. They too are victims of sexist agenda. Does anyone talk about it ? Is there any place any law that gives them justice, any NGO, organisation that listens to them ?I know about one which I think is called Prevention of cruelty against Husbands. Never heard what they are actually doing. Men, they suffer in silence. Why ? Because  men are traditionally labels as tormentors. I do not deny crime against women are rising  and I too have many a times written about it but has anyone researched about crime against men . Yes it’s happening everywhere, just not in the focus.

READ THIS  .. I suffer in silence , male victims of DV

We need to focus  on what we are fighting against , Is it domestic Violence or DV against women? I am raising my voice against any type of domestic violence.

What would you say about 50000 false cases of dowry harassment every year. Around the same figure of men committing suicide every year. No support systems.

Social attitudes, that’s what it is all about. Both men and women are individually suffering on various fronts and fighting their lone battles. I don’t want this post to become ” who is more oppressed” debate post.

We talk about equality of sexes and then go one to celebrate Woman’s Day. Why is it so?

Hmmm.. well I think I got a bit  carried away. It has become a rant post instead of rambling

But I had to say it all.

I know some of my women friends may not like this and rightly so because  they are conditioned to think the other way.

Celebrate life, celebrate yourself each moment , each day. What you think you become.

This an Indivine post, vote for it Here

Sunday Day Out for Mom and Sons(NaBloPoMo)


It was a perfect mother’s day for me. Great weather, Outing with my Handsome sons and to top it all celebrations for the war won.. the IndusLadies contest victory.

I had decided to spend a lazy Sunday and that included no house work. The kids had done tremendous networking and I wanted to celebrate with my brave soldiers. The idea was to make best use of the Rainy day and just have fun.

We decided to visit the newly opened posh DLF Emporio Mall. A project that has brought our locality into page 3. This is India’s most Luxurious Shopping Destination. It has five floors and comprises an area of 320,000-square-foot (30,000 m2). The mall features 130 brands including 70 international brands.
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It houses the most glamorous International and Indian design houses, a swanky Cafe and food court, and some of the world’s most desirable jewelers and watchmakers. Apart from all this there is a spa, a salon, and a member’s club.
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We leisurely strolled in the gleaming corridors feasting our eyes on the stuff dreams are made of. checking out various trends of high fashion society and looking out for all the Mother’s Day events happening there.

It sure is a place for India’s rich and famous with it’s Italian marbled floors, gold-plated ceilings, exotic fountains,adorned with palms and scented with lavender this place is simply amazing.

I was amazed at the price tags and wondered about the wealthy Indians who frequented this place and how it showcases the wealth gap in India.

Next to it is the DLF Promenade which has DT cinemas with multiple screens and a seating capacity of over 2,250 seats, retail shops, fast food restaurants.

The twin malls spread over 8.5 lakh square feet. The parking space itself is a treat for car lovers and kids had fun time admiring the beauties there.

After window shopping in the air conditioned mall we headed to eat our lunch and TGIF seemed a great idea but the lack of service made us skip the meal and just cooling ourselves with iced tea and ice creams we headed for our all time favorite McDonnell, got our food packed and went out to enjoy the rain and the cool breeze.

With two happily beaming kids next to me I allowed them to indulge themselves with the accessories they wanted and they thought they had hit the jackpot.

It was a day well spent doing what the boys wanted to do and sometimes I do relax my rules and pamper them.

Now the evening meal is set with Bacardi Breezers and Indian cuisine and I am completely relaxed. Last few days had been taxing and it was sure a nice change from the daily routine.

With the summer vacations on, the days will be filled with a new adventure every day. The boys are restless and Delhi has a lot to offer. Maybe the museums are a good choice and the sprawling India Gate lawns in the evenings.

The idea is to chill and have fun.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers and to fathers who double up as mom in the absence of mothers.