Sunday, January 31, 2016

Newly Married #LoveAndLaughter

I sat there on his comfortable sofa, a bit nervous, unknowingly fidgeting with my nails while he sat on the other side- tired and sleepy. He pulled out his tie and put it on the table, took off the overcoat and hung it on the armchair. The suits must be stifling him, I thought. My sarees have been stifling me as well. I switched on the air conditioner, and he muttered thanks as he chose to recline a bit and close his eyes.

I wondered if I should make him tea. Or did he like coffee? I had the least idea. ‘Should I make you a cup of tea, or would you prefer coffee?’ I ventured unsurely. He smiled and replied with eyes still closed, ‘Anything will do fine.’ He had given me the choice, once again. I have a dilemma in choosing. I spend hours in making the choice and regret it the moment the task is completed. I miserably fail at choosing- anything may it be, even as simple as a hot beverage. My friends chose the lunch and the dinner from the menus of multi-cuisine restaurant whenever we had an outing. My parents chose my school, my career and him, my life partner, for me.

I zeroed in on masala tea. ‘Ok I’ll make masala chai for you,’ I announced for him to change the choice if he wanted. ‘Alright, make yourself a cup too,’ he agreed. As I got up and went to the kitchen, he asked with a twinkle in his eye,’ You can manage it well, I guess. Feel free to ask my help if you need.’ He was teasing me. I laughed a bit nervously at the comment. It’s the complicated dishes that I can’t do well, cooking doesn’t go that well with me, but I do marvel at the simple ones. Should I be offended? No, he’s just having a bit of fun.

I simmered the tea and readied the cups as he joined in. He poured it equally while I brought some biscuits from the jar. He liked dunking his round biscuits in tea before sipping it from the teapot, a careful observation. ‘You can wear salwar suits at home; you’re more comfortable with it I think. There’s no one here to judge,’ he remarked out of the blue. It was unexpected or had I presumed a lot about him. I was yet to know him, understand him. Three and half weeks is no time at all.

I was so bemused by my thoughts that I didn’t see the hot teacup beside my hand. It tumbled over to the floor all of a sudden, the tea spilling over, the cup breaking, and burning the back of my palm in the process. He opened the refrigerator, got nothing but the cold milk jar and poured it on my palm without a second thought. And then he burst out laughing. Yes, the laugh was loud and hearty. I was laughing with him too, eased out of the new nervousness of breaking things at my husbands’ place. And here we were, laughing over spilt tea, spilt milk and a broken teacup. He caressed my hand examining the burn, still trying to control his laughter. His touch always made me shy.

‘You don’t have to be on alert the whole day. Relax. This is our home, ok, there are no strict masters here.  And don’t worry, we still have a cup of tea,’ he said slowly. I just smiled and marveled at his choice of words. We shared the cup of tea that evening, making way to share so many more loving moments in our upcoming days. And yes, we did clean the kitchen an hour later, laughing the incident all over again.

This post is a part of #LoveAndLaughter activity at BlogAdda in association with Caratlane.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Impact of Parent's Conflict

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He skipped school again. It made him feel nervous and lost. He couldn’t face his classmates’ sneers and filthy remarks at his parent’s divorce. He didn’t like the untoward comments, nor did he like to answer them back. He preferred the silence of his room, the closed doors that muffled the noise in the other room. His parents were quarreling, yet again. In his 14 years of life, he has never felt this insecure. He knows life will be greatly impacted by it. Nothing will be the same. His days won’t be as they were. His homely routine won’t be as it used to be.

He prefers calm and quiet surroundings. Uncertain circumstances scare him. He is mature enough to understand the problems in his parent’s relationship. He is grown up beyond his age to empathize with the either of them without judging. He loves them both, dearly, but would soon have to choose sides. He doesn’t want to choose one of them. It is sad that he is not of age yet, and custody is an issue. That makes him more nervous. No, he feels terrified. Never has he felt so lonely, so melancholic and so psychologically down. Growing up, he decides, he would never marry.

One day his father gave him a bear hug, a fatherly embrace. He could feel the turmoil again. Perhaps his father was afraid he won’t be able to hug him every day anymore. It was a day prior to the court proceedings. His mother passed him sympathetic glances every now and then. She also prepared him his favorite dishes more often than not. Perhaps she was afraid she won’t be able to cook for him as often anymore. Or was it their way of emotionally tempting him to choose them? He didn’t want to make such a choice.

Sometimes in the solitude of his room he wished he had a sibling- someone to share this trauma with. A true friend would do too, but life hadn’t been that kind to him, yet. The impact his parent’s divorce had on his life was tragic. He lost something irreplaceable. He chose his mother to live with. He was allowed to visit his father twice in a month. Well, it was the other way round. The difference didn’t matter to him. His life had been irreversibly altered.

With time he became a bit spiteful. His calm, innocent self was lost, beyond repair. He wasn’t himself anymore. Relatives assured his mother that it was a part of growing up. They blamed the hormones. The teens his age sometimes resort to rebel, they said, nonchalantly, putting the topic aside altogether. His father tried to rein him and put some discipline in him through football practices, but he just wouldn’t yield. And finally, one day he opted for higher studies away from home, leaving his mother, father, all the traumatic memories, and helplessness behind.

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Feel The Music In Your Life

Sometimes just watching the horizon feels so peaceful. Putting all the cares in the world aside and just gazing at the setting sun, or just observing the sparrows and pigeons encircling in the sky, feels so relaxing. Listening to the rain, or feeling the evening cool breeze on your face while sipping a hot cup of coffee and having a close companion to chat with is all one needs. And life becomes easy for that moment.

Making soup for a dear one or baking your favorite chocolate cake to pamper yourself are some of the simple pleasures in life. Collecting trinkets and sovereigns for preserving memories, cherishing a trip, or remembering a person- life is contained in these bits and pieces. And Music- yes, music acts like a bookmark in every memorable moment. The rhythms, the chimes, the heartbeats, the jingles -all take us back to those bygone days.

We had traveled to Madurai about nine years back. The temple architectures and rituals had been so foreign to our eyes. The very atmosphere was so full of new vibes and fresh senses. Once we were having lunch at a local restaurant and a Tamil version of ‘Barso Re Megha’ was crooning in the background. I didn’t know that the AR Rehman’s composed song was popular in languages other than Hindi too. Since then whenever I listen to it I am reminded of our Madurai trip- of jasmine flowers and delicious South Indian dishes. The very note of the music is enough to bring back those memories.

Some may not feel the same way, but I love Korean Music- not the pop and raps but the slow and soulful ones. Though I don’t understand a word without lyrics translators, I play them in a loop. In every world music emotions can be understood by the listener even without understanding the language. Pain feels like pain, grief feels like grief and happiness feels like happiness. Emotions do have a voice of their own in music.

We associate music around us with every situation, every experience and every story worth remembering. Putting a conch to our ears, we feel the sound of the sea waves and miss our escapades to the beaches. The eerie calm of the night reminds us of our fears or that of watching a horror movie with friends in the hostel. Morning bells and choirs make us reminiscence our school days at the convent and some peppy music take us back to our carefree college days.

I love attending any music fest. The band performs, the crowd cheers, and I gaze and imbibe the energy around- it feels so soulful and out of the world. Music is everywhere around us. We just need to feel it. Music heals and somehow elevates us, mortals to the higher realms. It’s the magic that we can afford. It’s the instant escape that we look for. Music- it’s every escapist’s sojourn.

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

The Music, The Crescendo, The Enigma

‘What is it exactly? What is happening to her? It’s getting on my nerves,’ she said over the phone. ‘I am not sure either. It seems she gets a high occasionally. The music overwhelms her,’ the voice from the other end said.

‘High? Drugs?’

‘No, not drugs. She came clean during the test.’

‘Then what is it. She gets so excited one moment and the very next moment breaks down crying or just keeps looking at the sky lying on the dance floor with her earphones on. She doesn’t even respond to anyone- it’s as if she cannot hear us at all at that very moment. Then again later, she doesn’t remember anything of this behavior. I’m worried, doc.’

‘I understand. But she was healthy a month ago. How’s her dancing going on?’

‘Good. Rather great actually. I wonder where from she suddenly gets so much energy to dance till the crescendo. Earlier, just after one, she used to feel so drained that she couldn’t even continue. But now, she does whirl to the crescendo thrice without a break. Amazing development, I’d say. But it’s rather uncanny to see her cry the whole while after that. Do something, doc. I don’t wanna lose my best dancer and best friend.’

One month back….

She stood on the galaxy stage with her heart beating wild and palms beginning to sweat. Two more minutes, and then she would face the audience. The color red suited her fair complexion well. And the half veil gave her an aura of mystery. She just wished and hoped she could dance till the end, else all that practice would mean nothing.


So many faces! The gallery was vast!

 And the music began. The enigma!

She moved from one end of the stage to the other, then back to the center, swaying to the rhythm, sometimes elegant like the swan, mesmerizing like the peacock, and sometimes slithering fast like the snake. The rhythm gradually changed to the high notes and she increased her pace of swirls, facial expressions, and movements to match up to it. It was tiring. It would take more seven minutes to reach the crescendo.

She was afraid. She was too tired to dance the climax. She feared she would faint. The crescendo was about to start.

A ten-second sudden pause in the music. The audience, the orchestra, and the stage were silent. The lights went off. She tried to gain some semblance of balance. No, it was difficult. She felt drained. She couldn’t, she realized.

Just then a hand slid on her left palm, another slid around her waist, and someone’s warm breath touched her neck. She stiffened and tried to move away. ‘Shh…,’ she heard him say. ’Don’t,’ it was a gentle command.

And then it began.

Loud and overwhelming, the Crescendo!

 The music enraptured her senses.  She was losing herself. The mysterious man led her on the stage- fast like a pro. They whirled together for a whole three minutes- him guiding her, yet she didn’t get a single chance to see his face. Who was he? He was dressed in black and gold. The color complemented her so well. Her hands felt his hair- smooth, longer than normal and golden brown; face- a hint of a beard, no, rather an overgrown stubble. Then she realized- he didn’t let her see his face. He made her swirl around him, taking care not to reveal himself.

And the note ended. The applauses were louder than before, louder than any she had ever heard. She bowed. The man was nowhere on stage. Vanished in thin air!

Later in the changing room, she heard her dance mates praising her. ‘But who was he? I had never practiced with him. And the steps and the entire climax were improvised. How was I not aware of it?’ she asked.

‘Who are you talking about?’ was the reply she got.

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Ramayana- The Stolen Hope by Subha Vilas

Overview Of the Book:

In the evil labyrinths of Dandakaranya forest, human values are put to test. Rama’s righteousness, Lakshmana’s loyalty, and Sita’s endurance reflect our own sense of values and judgment in difficult times. The story unfolds the facets of human life – the conflict and trickery, the praise, the slander and above all, the hope and the despair in the eventful forest life of exiled royals.

Stolen Hope is about extreme deception and extreme love. It is about arrogant power and deep devotion. With every twist and turn, Rama, Sita, and Lakshmana find themselves robbed of whatever and whoever they valued the most.

Exploring the dynamics of human relations – between father and son, husband and wife, teacher and disciple – and the complex game of power and greed, Stolen Hope mirrors our own dilemmas in the modern world and teaches us how we must overcome them.

Seek courage when everything, including hope, is stolen. 

About the Author:

Shubha Vilas is a spiritual seeker, motivational speaker and author of ‘Ramayana – The Game Of Life’ a 6 book series and India’s first self-help book based on the story of Ramayana. He helps people in dealing with modern-day life situations through the teachings of the ‘Bhagavad Gita’, ‘Ramayana’ and other dharmic traditions. He conducts leadership seminars in premier institutes across the world and inspires deeper human values.

My Review

‘Ramayana’ is one of the most well-known epics in the world. The story of Rama is the tale of the annihilation of evil and prosperity of the good. I had read the second book in this series ‘The Shattered Dreams’ and this is the next book. Subha Vilas, our author portrays Rama, Lakshmana and Sita’s journey through the Dandakaranya forest as they visit so many hermits, rishis on penance, and fight demons of different forms, till Sita is abducted by Lanka King Ravana and all hope is stolen.

I didn’t know so many details present in Ramayana. The many characters and their stories were not known to me- King Danda, Sukracharya- the one who cursed him, cursed Gandharva Tumburu, the story of Agastya and Lopamudra, Mandodhari- Ravana’s most prized wife, Jatayu’s story, etc. I had the opportunity to read so many stories within one single story. What I liked more were the footnotes and comparisons made with our daily life, our beliefs, and our culture. The philosophic descriptions were new and interesting to read. The significance of Marich- the demon who disguised as the golden deer and the symbolic interpretation of the blade of grass that Sita threw at Ravana were the best.

I liked reading about the picturesque Panchvati and the life the trio led there. Sita was thankful for the exile years while living there. The husband and wife’s love for each other blossomed during this period of time, away from the stately affairs in the lap of serene nature. The love and devotion of Lakshman and Sita towards Rama is expressed well by our author. Shrupanakha’s advances and Lakshman mutilating her nose gives way to many more demonic attacks and finally leads Ravana to abduct Sita. I came to know about the different versions of Lakshman Rekha in Valmiki Ramayana and Tulsidas Ramayana.

The language used in the book is simple, lucid and mingles informative facts with the narration. I would recommend this book to any avid reader. Anyone with an interest in mythology and moral tales would love this book.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Twice Upon A Time

I love Pakistani tales, the Urdu glossary in between. I just tend to fall for the words, repeatedly. And if it’s an Indireads book, double bonus. What can possibly be better than lounge with one of these books on a lazy Sunday? ‘Twice Upon A Time’ has two novellas- ‘Sunshine’ by Jazz Singh and ‘Yours Truly’ by Zeenat Mahal.

Zeenat Mahal deals really well with the subtleties of human emotions and sentiments. In just a few lines she creates the image of the deepest feelings of a character, bringing out the vulnerabilities in them. She lets the reader see the core of these characters and hook for them. She has a way with words which is rare to have. She creates simple and believable plots.

The plots are my favorite- set in Pakistan. She portrays the culture and custom of the society well. I loved Zoey and Sheru- such a deep, moving story of love and belonging. We see how miscommunication can spoil any relationship, however strong it might be. It is like a fairy tale with dreams, aspirations, love, trouble in the perfect world, but with a happily ever after.

I had loved ‘The Haveli’, ‘The Contract’, ‘The Accidental Fiancee’ and I love this novella too- ‘Yours truly’.

Jazz Singh’s ‘Sunshine’ was awesome too. This was the first work by the author that I read, and I’m already a fan. I loved the character Aanya who is such an optimist even though she’s an orphan and is so troubled for a job. She’s bubbly, full of life, full of gratitude for whatever meager life has to offer. I liked Gaurav Bhatia too- the knight in suits who was hooked to Aanya’s contagious laughter and lively spirit. I loved Ira too- the cupid in the tale.

Looking forward to read more of Jazz Singh’s works.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

What I learned Reading 'Tuesdays With Morrie'

mitch malcolm

“Don’t let your dreams turn sour. Don’t trade your dreams for a bigger paycheck.” - Morrie

I have been lucky. I have had teachers who had immense positive impacts in my life. Not just teachers, they were my guides for the life ahead of me. They instilled in me the confidence to pursue my hobby wholeheartedly. Their occasional praises encouraged me to no end. They were my mentors- some of them proud of me; I strived hard to be a favorite. I’m lucky, really lucky. My first job today as a Java Developer took roots as early as class nine, when I realized my love for programming and coding, thanks to my teacher. His role in my life has been crucial indeed. And my lifelong love for writing and literature and language of any kind; I owe it to my school teachers yet again who made me love poetry, find meaning in superfluous words, and come to like Shakespearean plays. I owe it to them.

Reading ‘Tuesdays With Morrie’ made me reminisce all those schooling days in the quaint little town of Keonjhar. I loved my days there- my friends, the school, the church, the cycle ride to Computer and English tuitions. I loved Literature classes- every new idea that I encountered, the very prospect of learning or even coming across a new thought excited me. I was quiet then, as I am now too, but my mind was a whirlpool of thoughts. Looking back life seemed perfect.

In the book, the author Mitch visits his dying professor after decades. He has lost contact with him busy with career and family and has forgotten to keep his promise of being in contact. Over several Tuesdays, through his visits and their conversations he learns some of the life’s greatest lessons. The chapters made you smile with joy, cry with emotion, and most importantly they make you wonder about the way you lead your life. This is a memoir that one should read, it’s worth it, trust me.

They say one should have at least one friend who is 15 years older and another who is 15 years younger. Both do him a lot of good. My favorite among Morrie’s teachings is the one that you read in the start of this piece. I still confuse over money and dreams; obedience and courage; the certainty of a secure job and the uncertainty of dreams. Another teaching close to my heart is ‘Create your own culture.’ Be it a ritual fundamental to you, a theory you believe in, the community of learners you have faith on, habits you inculcate, love you spread- create your own culture, don’t just adjust to someone else’s.

I would recommend this book to every life long learner.

Wanna watch the movie too!!