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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Memory of Memories 1 – Treasures from childhood


So, like a forgotten fire, a childhood can always flare up again within us.
Gaston Bachelard 

As a kid I never understood why my mother had a bagful of old letters, cards and another of little mementos, clothes from our childhood. It seemed like an extra baggage though once in a while I did do through them and listened to the stories attached. When I grew up, got married and had children mom gave my little clothes to me and said ,” theses are for your sons”.  I smiled. Suddenly there was a gush of emotions .. you know I think I got it from mom, this sentimental gush for people and things 😀

I carefully wrapped them and gave to the boys. Even made my younger one wear my parkar polka ( lehnga and choli) I am sure he hates me for this but he looked super cute 😛  . Maybe I wanted to fulfill my desire to have a daughter by dressing him like one .. Ya ya I know that’s kind of not good but then every boy is dressed in those pretty frocks as babies , aren’t they? 🙂 I will share the pic if he allows . This particular lenga I had word on my first birthday and is very precious to me.

The other thing that mom gave was a small coat and cap which I wore as 3-4 month old baby . It is still is perfect condition with no dry cleaning and all. Preserved  just with love and care.

There is some special fragrance and softness in these clothes. I had seen myself wearing this in photographs but to hold it in my hand and run the fingers on its fabric gave me a feeling which is beyond explanation.  I realized there were so many things which were part of my memory of memories. Things straight out of magical days of childhood, connecting me to those wonderful days. A little box that held my first curl of hair, my umbilical cord wrapped in cotton wool. little anklets, small silverware ( a glass, bowl and spoon).  It brought back memories of many things that were so precious to me but aren’t there now. A doll I always tagged along everywhere, picture books, scrap books, box of crayons and much more. Those were days when we had imagination and crayons instead of mobiles and play stations.   I now knew what ma must have felt to so carefully treasure them. There are letter written in colorful scribble  from me to ma, picture with alien like characters and scenery with exceptionally imaginative colors. 😀 .

Many times ma would take the bundle out and we would read and go through all of it and laugh and cry at the same time. She also managed to make the grandchildren gather around her and narrated stories about our childhood much to the amusement of the lot.

Letter writing is a lost art. I feel that nothing can replace the warmth and intimacy of a handwritten note or a hand-made card. Just as I was encouraged to write letters and draw , I encouraged my boys to scribble a few lines or draw something and send to grandparents. It always went with my letters and kids felt so proud of their feat every time , waited eagerly for mom or dad to reply. They were never directed what to write, just given a paper, pencil and colors and what emerged was a kaleidoscope of their imagination . I believed that this kind of interaction helps to develop a bond and creates a comfort zone. It sometimes even bridges the generation gap, at least it did in our family.

As they grew older and learned to write , these letters became one amazing peek into their inner world. Mom carefully kept each one in labelled envelopes with dates and time written in neat bold letters. From the time they began to hold the pencil/ color to when they could write properly. My elder one sent a lot of handmade cards and letters from hostle to both mom and me and each of us kept each one.

letters and cards from grandsons to their maternal grandmother

There is a bundle of my letters to mom and Adi’s letters to me. Pix will be added soon. 🙂

I have preserved some of the things from the childhood of my boys. Some of Adi’s stuff was buried in a transparent plastic bag as part of  Dorling Kinsley Publications  millennium year project.

I am a sucker for such stuff. 😀

Like mom I too kept the little clothes, letters, pictures, cards, toys, whatever I could squirrel away.

  Here is my elder one’s first birthday dress. (he is twenty year old handsome adult now) 🙂

Adi’s first formal wear

There are a treasure trove when it comes to these beautiful memories. I am sharing just a few. I may add a few more pictures in coming days.

I always loved book and the family encouraged reading from a very early age. Most of the books I gave to a library of a village school. The picture dictionaries, children’s literature by Tolstoy and other books from PPH( People’s publishing house), CBT, etc. Some books were handed over from my brother to me and some others are part of my maternal grandfather’s collection. Collectors issues, first prints and some now out of print editions. Here are three of my favorites from my  childhood.

The pages have yellowed with time. The books are a treasure from childhood.

The covers. These are out of print I think. In Poem Town is in 8 volumes.I have only one left.

These books are priceless treasures. Fruit Gathering ( Indian edition 1927), a gift from my grandfather’s collection. In Poem town is published by Blackie and Son Limited (London) somewhere between 1939=45). It says ‘Book production war economy standard’ and here we are talking of WW2. Now we are six doesn’t have the first page so the year is not confirmed but its yellow crumbling pages show it is as old as the other books.  I am searching for someone who can preserve these books. If someone can help , please leave a comment.

I will do yet another post as I get hold of some other precious things which are tucked away somewhere.

Do you have such precious objects? Things from childhood –  yours or your children’s? Do share links if you write about them.

Here is one more post I did long ago https://tikulicious.wordpress.com/2010/10/22/heirlooms-treasures-from-the-yesteryears/

Get Up Stand Up Stand Up For Your Right


Don’t give up the fight. Life is Your Right 

RECOGNIZE your inner strength, BELIEVE in yourself, Be Ready to SHED what is not YOU,  if you feel you are being caged ESCAPE  from the tiniest crack you find,  FIGHT for your Dignity and Worth.

Be True to self,  Be selfish Love Yourself  First, Break Away, Cut the cord that strangles you. Bend the Rules.  

Never let anyone write your story. Never hand over the pen to them.

Never feel guilty of  doing what your heart feel right. Never complain. Never explain.

There are no excuses to let yourself be treated like shit.

Never compromise yourself .

Never be bullied into silence. Don’t be a victim.

Never lose your true self  under the deluge of  masks society offers you to wear.

Society has never been kind to women who stand up and speak their mind, make your choice. Be free or be damned.

Freedom to be oneself  comes with a price , sometimes a huge one, Pay the Price or let others pay the price of  trying to cage your spirit.

Nothing is more important than your dignity.

HAVE COURAGE  to Chat Your Path. Never resign to your fate. 

Stand alone, it better  than being lost in a crowd. 

Never submit to the will of others.

Walk out of relationships that smother You. Dare to break away. Be at loggerhead with the society. It is not a cakewalk but it is worth every moment. Subjugated life is devoid of any soul.

Have the moral courage to Defy what in Unjust. Don’t be a performer.

Never let your bodies to be outraged. Never let yourself become an object.

Draw a line and stop the “little adjustment” from becoming a big compromise.  If it takes the monstrous shape it just engulfs before you know it.

Don’t wait for change to happen.  Make your move. It is never too late.

Stop living in your fears.

Think for yourself, never go in with conformity and herd mentality.

Recognize Abuse , for it is often camouflaged as love, betterment, moral duty, guilt, emotional blackmail.

Speak up. Silence only helps it breed and dig its claws deeper into your being.

It is better to raise your voice against unjust than suffer and reinforce the fact that women can be used as old newspapers.

Be financially independent.

Be fearlessly yourself

Sometimes  it takes more than just courage and will to do what is “right”. Look within and you will know your reason to do it.

 Someone said to me , ”  It is all there for you to get, the only thing is How badly you want it.”   You can’t imagine how true it is. It gave direction to my life.

Courageous Risks are life giving  – Take Risks

I DID 

“My priorities are sorted out. I have moved on” , I said.

“Moved on ?”  “True moving on is to bring the past to a closure. It is done and over “

“True that ”  I said.  “So be it.”

It was last year this date that I made the life changing decisions.

This year this day  I am  That I am  and nothing else matters.

I am grateful to my friends, fellow bloggers, readers, and each person who believed in me and stood by me, some visible some invisible.

My boys are my strength and it fills me with tremendous pride and love for these young adults for understanding  my decision despite of the physical distance it created.  Thank you for  being my children and for loving me for what I am.

My family who did not “wash their hands off me” like many parents who do the moment their daughter gets married. I am blessed to be part of you.

We all have a spark within but to turn it into a flame  one needs a breath of life –  ♥ レo√乇

Remember 

There is nothing more gratifying than being oneself. 

Thursday Photo Theme – Family(Unconditional Love)


The theme for this Thursday is  “FAMILY” (Grandparents, Parents, Children, Family Occasions, Moms with Babies, Animals,…)

These pictures will tell you what family means. The warmth and camaraderie between us and our animal companions. Nature is a powerful teacher. I was astonished how Elsa protected and cared for Pepper’s pups. You do not have to give birth to be a mother .

 

I witnessed the most humane of all bonds in these gorgeous creations of universe. I have read and seen from close counters how animal companions (never call them pets) enrich our lives with unconditional love. Here is an example of  love and care beyond color, caste, creed, something we humans never learned.

 

 

This a sight I will remember forever. See how the little cherubs are trying to reach Elsa’s teats as she lovingly obliges. Beautiful motherly love.

Elsa moved away as the little ones gathered around their mother. It was an evening of  tremendous joy and its not just that the dogs played among themselves. we were showered with affectionate licks and cuddles as well.

There is such spontaneous surge of affection that these beautiful animals show. I have found that family extends far beyond what the society defines.

 

You don’t choose your family.  They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.  ~Desmond Tutu

DWI Part 1: Roses and Thorns


Read the introduction here

After considering a lot I have decided to include the first part of Sonya’s Diary as snippets from memory lane.

One

Slumbering sun , cloud cover, silence of early dawn and I .  Waking up in a warm cozy bed in a house full of loving caring people , great food , laughter and total relaxation is what my aches for and here I am in my granny’s home in this beautiful city. The touch of black leather cover and crisp white pages is sensuous.  It will be difficult to kill  virginity of this diary with blue-black letters so I will use the color of blood -Red at least for now.

Red is also color of love they say but life is not just bed of roses , there are sharp thorns that draw blood at the very touch.

Why did he gift me a diary ? Who will read it anyway ? Is it safe to bare your deepest darkest secrets , desires ? Was there a glint of mischief in his eyes or do I become delirious the moment he walks in.

Anyway today is the first day of freedom. I guess mom and I shed our polluted skins and breathe free here. I know some rainy day I will open the gutter and spill the muck on the sidewalk only to make space for more but then it is better than it overflowing and rotting.

Today nothing of that , only celebration of yesterday’s fragrant little adventure. I am still warmed by that touch. Stolen kisses are sweetest but missed kisses uff they throb like hell. Christ ! heart flutters are all good but that ice-cube sliding down your spine is erotic.

Why do people confuse love with sex, passion, hunger, lust and desires or it just that it is too confusing to decipher ?

I don’t know but these moments of pure bliss are right here and never to return . I know we will part ways .Society sucks. Might as well become a tree in autumn. Leafless, bare.

Twenty years of age and still longing for a man’s company . My life is more mundane than any other. Curled up inside I go through it splitting into many fragments at each moment. so many identities so many me. Mom understands but rest of the family , they say that this is no place for dreamers.

One such dreamer is shifting under her skin somewhere . I wonder where she went . Haven’t seen her in ages. No contact. Inseparable school friends separated for life. I miss you T.

Time to leave the bed. You go undercover my secret sharer while I follow the aroma of an early breakfast . Being pampered is a bliss but I know someone is going to screw it all. Hawk eyed monsters ready to tear your flesh at the blink of an eye.

I will meet you everyday before the sun rises from sleep and spills the wine across the sky. Clumsy fool.

********

two

Sorry babes I was away from you for so long. you see I am not used to scribbling my scatterbrain thoughts each day.  it has been a wonderful stay till now. Outing , traditional food, fun and laughter, music and theater and most of all his company. The two-day break to L was all I needed. Tomorrow I will go back to home but before than I want to dwell on something here. Heart is like a butterfly delicate, vibrant , pulsating with life but wayward.

Let me tell you about me. I am going to be 21 and still no sure of what course my life will take. Am a traveler by heart who is stuck at one destination for the lack of courage and resources . A part of me wanders all the time and then gets kicked in the back by reality to curl up inside the insecure, foolish me. Damn.

First love came to me with social bondage. How I hate this double-faced society but then what is can not be altered. Not at this stage. So I go with the flow and leave behind one precious part of me to follow a path which I am sure isn’t meant for me. Why am I taking it ? Because I see no other way now.

He questioned me at night under the moonlit kadamb trees.

“Do you love this guy , this so-called boy friend of yours  Sonya ? ”

I guess so” I had replied.

Not really committing. Yes would mean I love N less which I don’t , Only if there were no social norms. Sigh!

He wasn’t giving up. “Are you wanting to marry him for any other reason than love? You have life ahead . You can still pursue a career  in French or do something else. He doesn’t seem to be your kind of person. Are you rebelling against something, family, suffocation at home or society ?”

I wanted to scream Yes I am . I am getting into this relationship to escape myself, this restlessness, home environment , You, damn it  but  I denied and kept a brave front and talked and talked about this man in my life. I wasn’t convinced myself what could I say to him. Why didn’t he stop me ?

And that’s here I am sitting tucked in the warmth of the blanket , eyes brimming with hot tears scribbling madly. Knowing I will read and read again and the thorns will draw more and more blood. That is why I hate diaries . I know now why he gave it to me . Sort yourself out Sonya  and if you can’t then God save you girl for I am weak hearted and can not give you anything more than those precious moments of ignited passion and unfulfilled desires.

You Fool . What have you done.

It’s  late and the sky is full of little asterisks shimmering softly.  My bags are packed , my home town holds keys to my dreams and nightmares. Let sleep heal. I am going through two opposite emotions of love and disappointment now. Hate ?  don’t think that’s a right word. I know the other heart is suffering more than me. To let go  for apparently no reason is tough. These memories will be food for life time of  hurt and pain .

********

…………..to be continued



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.

 

 

 

 

Heirlooms : Treasures From The Yesteryears


When I was a small girl I used to wait for that sun drenched day when mom would open her black trucks and lay out the treasures. The fragrance of cloves which were normally tucked away wrapped in small bundles of voil. The carved wooden boxes with tiny velvet compartments. The heirlooms , the tiny silver spoons and bowls from our childhood , locks of hair and the umbilical cords ( yes she still has them ) all had a special place in my heart.

Ma would sit on the dari or chatai and I would sneak in from behind the door and wait for the cue. ( she has eyes at the back of her head too ) 🙂
Then her sweet voice will drift through like the morning winter breeze filling me with joy and I would rush to sit by her side.

The scene is still so vivid that every time I think about it my eyes fill with tears of joy. There was something magical about all that.

I did a post about it long ago The Black Trunk Do read it.

When my first child was born ma gave me some thing very special.

A silver power box with a geese feather puff for the little darling. It was special because it was my granny’s. My grandfather ( nana) had bought it when mom was born. The eldest of all the siblings. Now 80 years later it lies with me  neatly wrapped in the same voil piece from my granny’s old sari as I had seen it as a baby.

I never got it cleaned though it has beautiful engravings all over just for the simple reason that I wanted to preserve the antique look. The soft powder puff still smells of a fragrant lavender body talc which was used for me. I did not use it for my sons for some reasons so it remained inside the cupboard all along.

I noticed that all children have this habit of exploring 🙂 . One day I found my sons going through the contents ad blissfully  enjoying the touch of soft feather against their skin. I think if I had a daughter the things may have been different. Girls love such things. I do.

Mom  also gave me something priceless. I never saw my paternal grandmother but knew her to a very strong-willed woman. In those times  women of upper caste ( zamindars) were not allowed to step out without escorts and especially in Allahabad where she stayed there were many restrictions. My granny made her own rules and went alone for her early morning bath at the Ganges . This created a buzz in the household and the men did not like it at all but no one had the courage to speak against her. She was a religious woman like many others of her time but a very learned one. She stood for her rights and that of women in her household and made sure the new rules were accepted.

Ma never met her unfortunately . Theirs was an inter-caste love marriage and granny died before dad actually got married.

In her last days she took sanyas and went alone to live in Ayodhya where she stayed on her own till her last breath. A  life of dignity and self-respect.

She was a very talented woman ma tells us. An excellent cook, a woman with a generous heart and an open mind.  She gave me one of the very few things that were handed down to her from dad’s close relatives. ( His parents died before his wedding)

A long hand embroidered strip of black velvet. These strips were made with hand , a very laborious task , to be used as borders for saris .

 

I love the vibrant use of colors and  the fact that it is one of the three-four things left of my grand mom. A priceless piece of hand work. Sometimes I sit with these things and build stories around them. Imagining what kind of life she must have had. This sure  must be made in early 40s if I am correct.

These heirlooms are precious treasurer for me.  I will be doing two  more posts on such priceless things. Priceless not because they are valuable money wise  but because they hold a very special place in our hearts.

When ma fell seriously ill sometime back she called my children and handed them two silver bowls and a sindoor dani ( a silver box meant to keep vermilion powder} . These bowls are from my childhood and she wanted my kids to keep them as remembrance .The sindoor dani is mom’s . Dad had got it for her when they got married. Some day I will tell you about this inter caste love story 🙂

I am still looking out for more such treasures.  Old books  now not in print, baby clothes from our childhood, old B&W pix from mom’s childhood , old music records now a thing of the past and much more.

Keep looking out for the new posts.

Each of these things has a fragrance of the person who is associated with it, love that drifts in air around you and envelopes you in warm embrace.  Each has a story behind it , a memory of that time period . The people are long gone or old like my mom. Some day these very things will stay for generations to see and connect with their past. I don’t know what will happen to them when I am gone but for now they remain with me encased in a cocoon of love.

A fragrant memory.

Thursday Photo Challenge : Music


The Theme for Thursday Photo challenge is Music this time .((Singing, Dancing, Playing, Instruments, iPods, Concerts,…)

My younger son Shubhang  with his second love :). First being his football.

He has a GB&A Acoustic Guitar  and loves to play. Though he in learning process he loves to pose for pix with this beauty and is aiming to buy a  Gibson Flying V

I wish him all the very best and hope some day he will actually play good music and not the noise he calls Music  LOL.

I love this pic and my bachcha ..muaaaaaaaah

How time flies 🙂

Recapturing the joy : A Mother’s Day Post


Mom and Me

I am not exactly a ” One day celebration” person, for me each living moment is filled with love and gratitude for those who are precious to me but then I realized that under the pressures of daily life, our own baggage of worries, emotions, work we tend to forget to appreciate those who love us unconditionally. Mother’s Day became special to me since then.

I have written a lot about my mother who is now 79, a graceful woman, full of life, courage and inner strength, surrounded by her teenage grandchildren. [ Links ]

Amma gave me my identity, roots and the wings to fly. I outgrew her lap but never her love.

I wondered How SHE felt being a mother and that triggered off this special post on Mother’s Day.

” Amma, How did you feel being a mother?” , I asked.

She was amused. She had never actually thought about it and could not bring herself to put a life time of emotions, challenges and rewards into just a few words. A first person account required looking within honestly and it sure was a difficult task as none of us wanted a mushy post.

In few lines she let me in into the depths of her heart. It is the best gift a mother can give to her daughter.
Mom said,

It is interesting and a little disturbing to look back to one’s youth and the first flush of motherhood. On hindsight, a number of feelings and actions, responses and reactions seem sentimental, immature, thoughtless – or at least not well thought out – and also, to one’s surprise and embarrassment, neurotic!

That first wonderful, lump-in-the-throat, knot-in-the-stomach sensation when looking at and touching the smooth glowing cheek or the thin long delicate fingers is incomparable. Those hesitant first steps, the lisping or jumbled use of words brought out immeasurable joy and pride in the baby’s achievements.

At each little mastery of an action or each small bruise or hurt, the child would run into one’s arms or cry out ‘Mamma’. One laughed and wept along with it and was totally engrossed and involved in the child’s mischief, pranks and all the pains of growing up.

As a mother one cared and shared, and thought that this baby, now a toddler, then a pert little girl, is also learning to share and care. But the girl had an agenda of her own. Suddenly one saw that the role of a mother as imagined or perhaps, vaguely understood could be questioned.

Please! Can I not live my own life? Do I have to answer for each little thing I do? I am disgusted with this refrain “it is for your own good”. I know what it means and I can take care of myself – thank you!

There is much heartbreaking pain and avoidable conflict. An uneasy kind of friendship develops as the teens are about to end, and one hopes that some understanding and maturity comes along to make life a little less rough – not for the daughter or son alone but also for the mother too!

It is when watching the grandchildren that at last one realizes many things. Seeing one’s grown up child as a mother react and deal with her own children fetches one short. Was this the way I behaved, one thinks, seeing an instant thoughtless reaction of the mother to one’s grandchild. Sometimes one approves, and at other times one feels sad for one’s past reaction and the present reaction of the daughter to her children.

Yet, I think with joy at what I helped create, and with understanding at what this individual has become today. Let us not go into what all shaped her and made her what she is. She is and one has been and will remain essentially a mother – friend and sharer of her joys, sorrows, her ideas and queries. One is learning once again to look anew at her life and motherhood.

Me and Adi, my first born

I realized the profound role of a mother only when I became one. Still, sometime I wonder why some mothers fail to untie the apron strings especially with the boys and set them free? Why they cling to them, smothering their growth? what chemical changes take place to turn a mother into a much disliked mother – in – law ? Is a mother’s love conditional at times ? I leave you with Some food for thought.

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This post is part of the Blogadda Mother’s Day Contest

Thank you PringOO website for this warm gesture , I would love to gift this beautiful chocolate and teddy customized mug to my beloved ma .