I am sure many of you must have had pen pals sometime in your life. Now with technology powering the relationships / friendships, the art of letter writing is gone and so has the joy of having pen pals. There is a certain kind of joy in writing letters. The assortment of inks, crayons and colored pencils, papers of different colors and designs, the envelopes, the postage stamps and the run to the post box to drop off a letter sealed with love to a friend one has never met in flesh but who still is a precious part of one’s life. Then the exciting anxious wait for the postman. The heartbreak of his cycling past the house and the joy of holding an envelope, an inland letter or an aerogram, sometimes a parcel or a picture postcard too from a distant place. I miss all of it terribly. These days no one has time and patience to sit down and write a “real letter” with a pen or pencil and send it through the postal service or “snail mail” as it referred to these days. But this post isn’t about lost art of letter writing, it is about a very special pen pal I had as a teenager. I was in first year of college and used to visit the SFI office at Rafi Marg, Delhi. One day flipping through the pages of a magazine I saw a list for pen pals on the last page. I randomly selected four people by countries I wished to know about. Two girls and two boys. I carefully jotted down their address and mailed them a letter with a simple ” I would be delighted to be your pen pal” message. Three did not reply and I had almost given up on the fourth one when one day I saw a blue envelope peeping out of the letter box. A closer look revealed the foreign postage and I rushed down the stairs with a thumping heart totally delirious with joy to finally get a reply from my Algerian friend. The first thing I noticed were the beautiful postage and a die for handwriting. With trembling fingers I slit opened the letter and found the sweetest ever letter written in broken English. It fascinated him to friend an Indian girl. I was seventeen at that time 🙂 . The letter had a brief introduction about him and all that he linked. He was two or three years elder to me. Thrilled by the new-found friendship I took out the various letter pads , unable to decide which one to use and after discarding a range of letter pads, pens and aerograms I settled for a handmade paper with a pressed flower in the top right corner and wrote him a letter with a pencil. What followed was series of long letters and cards, mostly handmade or picture postcards which told some story of the city we lived in. We exchanged photographs and I guess fell in love too. :p He was one hell of a good-looking guy and I pinned each photograph that arrived on the board in my room at an angle where I could see them all the time. He wasn’t my first crush but maybe first love.. or rather distant love. 😉 He wrote to me about him family , his sisters and sent family pictures and revealed shyly that he kept my photographs with him all the time and found me very attractive. Because of his lack of knowledge of written English he mixed French and Arabic sometimes and it made reading the letters even more beautiful. We began to teach each other the “language of love” as he referred to it. I taught him English and a few phrases of Hindi and he in return taught me to write in Arabic. Just the basics that were needed between two friends. It is strange how hearts connect over large distances. We grew closer by the day and one day I received a parcel with a handmade flowerpot hanger made of white rope in intricate knot design, a box of Almond Halwa whose oil had seeped out of the box and gathered in the plastic bag that carefully wrapped it (Not a thing got stained) , a gorgeous scarf and a small rug with a scene from One Thousand and One Nights or Arabian Nights depicted on it and a note that said, ” from the price to his princess. One day I will take you away on the horse like him.” I don’t remember but am sure I must have blushed beetroot. I don’t really remember the story now but he wrote it to me in the most beautiful way a story-teller can. He asked me about the Chikankari work from Lucknow and asked for some taqiyah (prayer caps) and I searched for the ones with most intricate work and sent them along with a white kurta payjama in traditional Lucknowi chikan work plus some other things I made especially for him. With a few days of sending the parcel I got another letter full of love and pictures of him in the “Indian” attire. It fitted him perfectly and the absolute joy could be seen from the letter which drifted from French to Arabic to Hindi to English all at the same time. For more than two years we exchanged gifts, cards, letters, pressed flowers, fragrances and sounds .. yes, we exchanged cassettes of music, little bottles of itr and some other handicrafts from our country. I sent silver filigree jewelry for his sister and he in return sent some gorgeous things from Algiers and Morocco where his beautiful sister lived. We traveled through the lanes and by-lanes of his country and mine, became aware of customs and rituals, music and traditions, history and people, cuisine and literature and all things possible by writing to each other. He even sent me ‘First Day Covers’ of postage stamps and te story behind them. He wanted to marry me and the only issue was religion. If only I could convert and become either a Jewish or a Muslim we could marry. It was something I wasn’t ready for. I have been an atheist all my life and never truly believed in “following” any sect or religion so the time had come to say the toughest thing in the world ” Sorry, I can’t .” It broke his heart and mine too. I never met him but the energy that flowed through all his letters made him very special. He seemed the kindest and most loving person I had ever known. The thing I loved about him was the respect he had towards women. It was clearly evident in the way he wrote about them. Women of his house and of his country. We lost touch slowly and all that remained were memories. I got married and the letter, pictures and everything else all tied in neat bundle were left behind at my parental home only to be lost in numerous house shifting. I still have the rug and will post a picture the moment kids click and send it to me. I have been desperately trying to find him through internet but have not been able to find him yet. I have not mentioned his name to protect his identity ( some things are private to certain people) but I hope this post will somehow get us connected again. I would love to know where he is and if he still remembers is Indian “princess” 🙂 Some bonds are precious and unforgettable. Some friendships have no name. This one was and will remain the most cherished one. Though I outgrew the feeling of “love” but I still carry in my heart a special kind of warmth for him. I never made pen friends again.
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
“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.
We all have a spark within but to turn it into a flame one needs a breath of life – ♥ ﾚo√乇
There is nothing more gratifying than being oneself.
“Oh, come on guys, give me a break please. I don’t smoke weed damn it. This is just a plain cigarette.”
Rajam was a chain smoker who took life lightly. It was impossible to picture him without a cigarette between his fingers. We tried to make him break this habit but Rajan was one of those teenagers who believed that all bad things happened to other people.
“I am born lucky ” He used to laugh . ” My heart is young , my body is adapted to cigarettes, I won’t die of any damn lung cancer and I know my heart will never fail me. So what doesn’t kill me makes me strong ”
We gave up.
He continued to make smoke rings.
Staying alone gave him more freedom to experiment with life.
Everything came easy to him.
We were together last night. Sitting at the pub as usual. We were allowed night outs only on weekends.
I decided to drop him that day. There was a garlic like odor in his flat.
” Just a gas leak I guess. I can fix it”, He said and vanished into kitchen before I could open my mouth.
Rajan was right.
He did not die of cancer and his heart never failed him.
The theme for this time is Fun. (Festival, Fair, Carnival, Party, Playground, Dancing, Laughing,…)
The picture I am posting is all about friends having a time of their life over drinks, food, laughter and music.
When I joined FPR the Forty Plus and Rocking Community on Orkut I had not realized the number of friends I will make and actually meet. Internet friends are normally virtual friends but here we had regular meets of the Delhi Chapter of the community and the friendships have crossed the boundaries of Orkut and virtual life to become deep everlasting bonds with many of the people I met. Some are blogger friends too and others from various walks of life. Everyone with same magical charm .
All the Meets we had were fun and unforgettable. They had all the elements of what makes being forty so rocking 😀
The three Indibloggers in the front 😀
The tag bug visits again.What exactly is tagging ?
( stolen definitions are always the sweetest 😉 just like stolen kisses)
Zephyr Tagged me to do this Tag long time back and somehow it kept getting postponed. What are the seven random things I want to share with you all ? Well most of my friends know most of the things about me but still I will try to add some flavor to it.
Read and discover.
1. I am a magnet for troubled souls or as my elder one says for ” dukhi aatmas “.
It is a privilege , a curse, a boon I do not know how you will feel but I know that many a times I feel that I am the chosen one for listening to the people with broken hearts, troubled marital life, domestic problems ranging from the homes of my domestic help to those of my friends, frustrated people disappointed with life and many more who need a shoulder to cry on. They come and pour out their hearts ( to the annoyance of the entire family) and I feel like sitting behind the curtain in a confession box saying .” lay bare your soul and become light-hearted). The new addition to the dukhi atma group are young love birds for whom I turn into a love guru. Sigh !!
Oh yes , the virtual ones. Poor souls. I feel very strongly for my virtual troubled souls and jokes apart I do feel blessed that I can bring some solace into their lives even if it is for some short period. It is a responsible job and trust me very difficult too. The worse thing is I get so emotionally involved with each one of those troubled souls that in the end myself become One big dukhi aatma .
Well ! Each one of us has some purpose to serve on this planet earth. Maybe this is one of the things I have to do before I conk off.
2. I am youngest of the three kids in the house.
🙂 This makes me very happy and my hubby very concerned. As if it was not enough to have two brats that he got blessed with an absolutely crazy child woman. It is fun to relive the childhood with my boys. they tease, play, scold ( oh yes) 😦 and bond so well with me. I feel loved and so warm from within to have such strong-willed , loving sons who are my best buddies too. The eldest of us three kids is actually the youngest. ( my second son) and the elder one actually is almost my age. lol
Kids think I am a chinky gansta when I dress up in low waist three quarters and carelessly thrown in Tee. They tower over me so I become choti matee or small ma or hamster when I curl in and make funny faces while reading or working on my laptop. It is fun. Fun because we have bridged that generation gap and think alike even though we all know where to draw the line.
Many of their friends are my buddies too and think I am a ” cool mom ‘ and that feels good. At least some one appreciates.
we play, go bonkers at night ( we are night creatures), have our own secret language, we are complete foodies, love to watch horror movies, Adi and I are totally into spirits, werewolves, ghosts, supernatural and he being the elder one provides all the major info on each subject. I am just a student. Sometime we just go crazy and laugh till our tummy aches. It is a circus out here and we all go paglot and suglot which of course is not at all appreciated by the man of the house but them life is all about living it to the fullest.
I have been able to realise and relive many of my childhood things just by letting my inner child walk along with me, absolutely free.
It also helps me forget the pain and hurt of a life I lead.
3. I hate it when people interrupt mid sentence and start telling their own story and then try to finish the sentence for you every time you open your mouth, and it happens with me all the time. It is the most irritating annoying thing I know of.For heaven’s sake can one have one uninterrupted statement. Stop reading people’s mind.
4. I speak and write for a change . Although I am not always able to bring that much-needed change in my life and maybe I am not that tough to stand up against all that I go through in my home I think my opinion counts and one more voice against the issues which are usually pushed under the carpet or need our support to bring a change in the mindset of people is important.
Be it Marital rape, child abuse, crime against women or men, guy rights, sex education or any such issue
you can read them all here Writing for a change
5. I love to draw on a fogged up mirror . It is one thing my son loves too so many a times we leave messages for each other to decode and its fun. I usually make a graffiti or leave a quote or an emoticon like a heart or devil depending on my mood. Talking of moods, it is also a place to vent your feelings 🙂 . try it
6. I am a chocoholic and never ever share my chocolates with anyone. I love dark bitter chocolates, After eight and orange flavor are my favorite apart from the liquor filled ones .uuuummmm
Give me some bars of chocolates and a few books and I can live forever on that. Of course a laptop can be an added delight just in case I feel like blogging. Netaddict that I am.
7. some more random stuff
I love snakes, raptors, spiders, insects and all that the nature offers. I feel that we should open our heart to all that is around us and connect with it. I feel that we are all free-floating souls and once in while our heartstrings get attached with some one some where whom we have never seen and yet we seem to feel the pull. I feel that the universe has immense power and if we trust the process of life it guides us and we are able to decode its signals. I rely on my gut instincts and believe that the inner instincts are alway right. Society for me is double-faced so I make my own choices and as far as possible do not give in to so-called ” social” norms , values, pressures. That is what I teach my kids. Worshipping God for me is loving and respecting oneself and the life in general.
All those reading this please consider yourself tagged .
The feeling is yet to sink in. 😀 .. After weeks of networking I finally made it to the top three and won the third place in the Mother’s Day blog Contest organized by IndusLadies.
Here is my entry which got me the prize
This entry got the maximum number of blog comments and was picked up by BlogAdda as
I thank BlogAdda for the recognition it gave me as a blogger.
It was an out n out networking competition and many prolific writers participated in it. Some entries did not reach the top ten or top three due to lack of proper networking but they do deserve a special mention here .
Ugich Konitari Guppa
are the two which really were awesome posts and deserved to win .
I would like to Thank IndusLadies, Ritu ( my friend, mentor and organizer of the contest), all those wonderful friends who voted for me, my kids and their friends who did major chunk of networking for me, Indiblogger and other communities,My firends ,communities on social networking sites like like Facebook, Orkut which supported me all through and most of all My Mother without whose love and unconditional support this would not have been possible.
A perfect mother’s Day gift for me 🙂
So here is a PKJ to everyone (pyar ki jhappi)
Thank you and Cheers!!!!!!!!!
Time now to celebrate 😀