Saturday, January 28, 2012

When life gives way too many lemons, make pickles!

Life gives us a million chances, and we don't take them. But when we need one, they're exhausted. They say, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. But what if it gives us way too many lemons? Then what... Make so much lemonade that is enough for you to drown in? I'm on a negative note here. Doesn't mean i'm outta my positivity. As i write, i know how pessimistic this sounds. But i guess its ok to feel so once in a while. I don't like the sad smiley. But everyone's proof that life compels us to do things that we don't like sometimes. Well.. :-(

No good... So let me take a positive turn to this negative beginning... If life gives way too many lemons... forget lemonade, make pickles! ;-) My grandmom has awesome lemon pickle recipes. Super yum. Reminds me of life again... Bitter-sweet-sour symphony?!

Enough of life musings. Gets people bored i know.. Have you ever made a promise to someone, without them knowing it? I did.. I've observed a ridiculously long list of promises i've failed to keep. Hurting someone's feelings hurts you, when they stop hurting... And then it's too late. So my remedy... I made a promise i intend to keep, but without telling it, so i wont jinx it! Cool haan? I donno where these ideas originate from... I'm too good! But not good enough yet... I will be, when i am successful in sticking up to it. What's meant to be will find a way. I repeat.. What's meant to be will find a way. And quoting from Robert Frost's poem 'The Road not taken',
                                                    "I took the one less traveled by,
                                                    And that has made all the difference." 

Courtesy: Google Images

That's what i exactly intend to do. Take the way less traveled by. When things go wrong as you constantly do the same mistake over and over, it's time you learn to let that go and find another way. I've got faith, and i've got belief, and i've got love. And i do realise how powerful these weapons are. I am gonna win this race with myself. With life pushing harder every second, you've got to build enough will power that, when it gives its last bad push, you survive it, and push it back once and for all... for good!

All is fair in love and war.. but when there is war in love, everything's dark! Then again, when there is love in war, everything's perfect. But when there's no love, and there's no war, there's a Battle...! Battle in your head between the right and the wrong thing to do. By experience, the easy way is wrong, and the difficult way is usually right... Whatever the scenario be.

So make that promise, make that change, and go get it...! Period.

Friday, January 27, 2012

I 'STOP'd while you 'SNOOZE'd.... and it made all the difference!

       Mornings are beautiful... I recently realised i've been missing on so much beauty and peace by hitting the snooze button a million times. There is nothing that can beat the view at my window as i see the sun rise. It's heavenly... it's beautiful. Picture perfect... Well, that puts me into a quandary! Cos i lovvv the late nights too. Gazing out of the window into the valley with its flickering lights, in competition with the star-studded sky, accompanied by the moon some times. That's a treat too... But a late night doesn't really gel well with an early morning if not accompanied by a lazy afternoon!


       Sigh! Have been nocturnal for quite a while now, so i decided to be an early bird for a change. The splendiferous moonlight has been compromised for a resplendent sunrise. Early rising has its own perks. The only hurdle to be conquered is having the alarm to STOP instead of SNOOZE! Sounds easy (does it? ) but it takes every little ounce of your will power to convince yourself to get out of the bed. It somewhat goes like this for almost every other person i know -
  1. You hit the sack early at night, all set to wake up early in the morning.
  2. You set the alarm and zzzzzz.............
  3. You sleep like a dead person with some sweet dreams if you're lucky.
  4. Just when you reach the best part, your alarm goes nuts!
  5. You are mad at it for spoiling your dream, and also cos you dont wanna get up.
  6. You hit the snooze button.
  7. Five minutes later, your alarm goes bonkers!
  8. You hit snooze again, but this time you're not really able to sleep, but you still close your eyes for that 'five' more minutes of your beauty sleep.
  9. Another five minutes, and Trrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr..........
  10. You finally hit the stop button, but you're still debating in your head whether to wake up or go back to sleep.
  11. More debating, and finally (hopefully) say, the good part of you wins, there's another five minutes where you put into action, every little volition you have in you to take that big move of coming out of the blanket.
  12. You're still not ready to open your eyes though, and you do the 'horsie' on the bed for a while.
  13. More will power, and finally you take that one big brave step out of the bed.
  14. You give one half-opened-eye look to your bed, which is, oh, so inviting you to get inside the covers again. The blankets lie with their arms wide open reminding you of the coziness it can provide you.
  15. You use the one last rush of will power and walk to the washroom.
  16. You brush your teeth, with your eyes still closed.
  17. Then comes the most effective sleep-breaker! SPLASH! Right on your face.
  18. And you are Wide-Awake! Finally....! 8)
        And then, it's a Good morning.....! There is no looking back. I pull the curtains aside and open my netted window and look as far as i can. The street lights from the far end mark a beautiful trail. But they do not stand a chance against the rising glorious sun, which is to soon take over. I hurry and change into comfy clothes and shoes, and out i go... into the dark frosty morning, jog, jog, jog.... till i hear my heart beating in my ear. Every beat i hear, and every trickle of sweat that i feel on my skin, is a happy thought of losing those extra kilos. ;-) The break of the day keeps me going.

       I like to imagine the morning sky as God's palette. He has blue water splashed all over his canvas. He eases a drop of orange into it.. and waits till it gradually spreads... and then adds a drop of red followed by some yellow. The end product being one of the best paintings ever! And he makes one every single morning. All same, yet different, still beautiful...! In a way, it signifies the days of our lives. Same routine, different outcomes!?! It's like God teaches us that however the day passes, there is always that element which when added, has the potential to unearth beauty out of a mess! These are the times which replenish my belief that Miracles Happen.

       As i tread ahead, i see the darkness gradually make way for the light. I look up and welcome the warm rays of the sun onto my face. For i know it marks the beginning of yet another new day, with more hopes, more promises and more challenges. The whole experience is exhilarating at times. I trot on, lowering my pace slowly, finally ending it with a brisk walk. I ramble about for some more time, trying to take in as much as the sunup has to offer me before it turns harsh on my skin.

       A morning started early and fresh, always comes with a promise of an energetic, up-and-coming day! It brings out the cheerful side of you, which otherwise is lost under the cozy blankets. If anybody happens to ask me what i did differently from them, the secret behind my new found joy, beauty and confidence.., my reply would be - "I 'STOP'd while you 'SNOOZE'd.... and it made all the difference!"

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Given a chance, i would re-live being grandpa's sunshine again!

In today's super-speedy life, we find ourselves not having time enough to say Good Morning to a 'news-paper-reading' father, or give a mother her well-deserved hug as we leave home only to return late. There is no time to touch the feet of the 'wise-old' gramps, who just sit and watch each generation get smarter and weirder, or say a simple heartfelt I LOVE YOU to your partner, or for that matter, kiss your child Good Night!

When such a packed life poses a question like- "If you had two extra hours in a day, how would you spend it?", like most people; i find myself in a dilemma...! A grave one.

There's a part of me that wants to just laze around and have fun, but then there's another which sends me to a guilt-trip every time i sit idle. We have this strange disease of procrastinating chores just to enjoy more laziness, or to catch 'just-one-more' wink of sleep! And then we find ourselves complaining about lack of time. This amount of time we choose to laze around- being jobless, is compensated by cutting on quality time meant for the people we love. 

Ever wondered why the loved ones are the ones to face this harsh cut? I think i know why. It's cos we take them for granted. We know, that no matter what, these are the people who will always BE. Loved ones are those to whom a small act of a happy deed, however insignificant it be, their happiness is amplified... ten-folds. This reminds me my vacation at my grandparents' home as a kid!

 My Grandad, whom i fondly call 'Ajja' woke up early morning, everyday, same time, from the same side of the bed, traced the same set of steps before stepping outta the house to pluck flowers from the same plants, to be offered to the same temple soon after. No kid likes waking up early, especially when its a holiday! I was no exception either. But i had a strange fascination watching Ajja go around the home, pluck just one or two blooms from each plant in the compound, making sure there are no buds harmed, treading through them ever so delicately. I followed him holding the same basket in my hands as carefully as i could. It made me feel loved and special...! He taught me all the names of the flowers, and their behavior in the process. I wondered what it would be like if Ajja taught at school! Wishful thinking?!

The dirty, muddy me after the whole garden survey would be greeted in with a pretending-to-be mad mom who would quickly send me to a quick bath as all the super gross clothes piled up in the buckets. Wonder what she would have done if not for Surf Excel. Oh, i so loved the fragrance of the fresh clothes after bath!

Fresh and all cleaned up, I diligently followed Ajja to the temple too, every single day. He told me stories about the God in the temple. I wished his stories never ended. I watched the priests give him the special Prasad everyday, the privilege earned over years of persevered visits to the temple! Every vacation offered me the same routine, the same path, the same turns, the same temple and the same stories. But never-the-less, i lovvvvd it cos it was OUR THING! This is one of my best memories from the chapter of my childhood.

Years passed, i grew up... not a kid anymore, they grew older too and shifted homes to live in a flat. Things were never the same again. Vacations were never the same again. The bond was same, but it lacked the little things that made it more special. It lacked spending quality time together. The magical journey through the fairyland of the little princess with her wise old King-Ajja every morning was soon compromised for the time spent watching late night movies, 24x7 internet, chatting with friends.. transforming the lil morning sunshine to the Queen of the night!

This being just one incident from one chapter of my life, i am sure there are lots i can list as an example. What i am trying to tell here is, let's do little things that bring joy to us and our loved ones. Lets indulge in quality time with them, for.. one glowing smile from them brightens our day, so why not give them that little part of our life that they deserve. Given a chance, i would love to spend more time doing things with my grandparents... my parents... my loved ones. Strengthen the bond... become Miss.Sunshine again...!


Saturday, January 21, 2012

I have a feeling yesterday when she prayed, i was in it...

       Traveling is nice. I like it. On a move always better than getting stagnant most times. Traveling alone... an altogether different experience. It's like a small get away from the people you know by being amidst people you don't know! Something constant ? People... U cant escape people, can you!? Very difficult. You can escape from the knowing set of eyes for a while, only to have another set of unknown judging eyes all over you. Where there are people, there is judgement. Fun when played like a game, but totally pissing off otherwise.

       When you are out dawdling with friends, there's always this game you like to play, where you try and figure out the people around. Their profession, their age, their marital status, their financial status, their thoughts right now, mind-reading, soul-searching(not your own) etc etc. It's fun! But sometimes funny turns nosy. That's when it's pissing.

        Last evening as i traveled on a bus, i sat alone on a two seater at the window side, glad to have the wind hitting my face as the sun set, casting its beauty rays on my face. I always love watching the sun rays on people early in the morning, and late in the evening. It makes people look out of the world, and nice, for a change! ;-) As i was beaming looking at myself with my mind eye, under the impression that i must be glowing like an angel, an old lady, came to sit next to me.

       She was so thin, petite and weak, I was alarmed by the fact that I still felt i was the only one sitting on the seat. Her presence was hardly felt. She was that little. Her face didn't have a trace of kumkum, head almost bald, with just a few white hair scattered around, making it look like a spider-woven web! I asked her if she wanted to sit by the window. She just smiled and looked away. Either she couldn't hear me, or she did not understand the language, or she did not want to switch seats...! With nothing more i could do, i resumed with my looking-out-of-the-window, still thinking about the woman next to me.

       I wondered how she must have looked back then, when she was young. Whether she has had a happy life, if she has lived her dreams, whether she married the love of her life, if she had ever come over the death of her husband, whether she had kids, if they were good enough to make her wishes come true. And then i imagined my life, long years from now. When i am old.... and i couldn't resist a chuckle. Cos it reminded me of a comment i came across on FB some days back. It said the present Generation youth would make a strange set of Grandparents who would call each other 'Dude'! Lol...

       Snapping me outta my thought-train was the next stop, and the lady next to me was getting off her seat. Ok, i thought, this is where she's going. She was going to the Temple. I watched her get down helped by the conductor.. Good man... And just before the bus left, she looked up at my window and smiled. And then i just knew it in my heart, the reason of her smile earlier. It was the kindness that mattered to her. Not the seat, nor the language, nor her ear. Just the tone of my voice made her smile. I ll never know how her life has been, what she's going through, or how long she's gonna live. But i did have a feeling, that yesterday when she stood in front of God, she included me in her prayers. And i prayed God that her prayers come true. Tathastu.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A moment is all it took for him to be OUT of sight and IN my thoughts!

       (Chug) I could see dad's face (Chug chug) floating out of my sight as the train chugged, gaining pace (chug chug chug chug)..... A moment is all it took for him to be OUT of sight and IN my thoughts...Only moments before, he sat next to Me and Mom making sure all the luggage was safely chained. No sooner was he satisfied by the luggage safety, he eyed the male passengers around and i couldn't help but smile to myself. For i knew what would run in his mind, the next few minutes.

       A young, handsome boy would set his minds racing to the AGE-effect... and an older, bulky, moustachy, rogue man would set him wishing he himself had come along with us, or wish that there was atleast a single lady passenger around, apart from the two lovely women of his life. He'll try and judge them, but No, how can they be nice! "Why is that man lookin down to the luggage, is he gonna steal..?! Why is the guy looking at my daughter.. Why can't he mind his own business...?! I think He needs to be given a piece of my mind...! You better keep your thoughts to yourself mister...!! You harm them, and you're dead meat...!" A LOL moment to me and an AAAARGH to him! Haha..

       As i saw him fighting his urge to unchain the luggage and get us out of the train and take us back home with him, the bogie was filling up with the last-minute people hurrying around, forcing dad to get out of the train. Within seconds, his face pops up at the window. He seems happy there is a charging point in the compartment and asks me to check to see if its working. It surprisingly did.. So then started the instructions... (Take a deep breath) "DO NOT switch off your mobile phones... Keep it charged... Keep giving me missed calls now and then... Call me when you stop at stations... Make sure you have all your luggage when you get down... Should i ask one of these men to help you with the luggage...? Do not forget to keep an alarm... You won't miss the station right? Keep your handbags under your head... Don't go to the washroom alone at night... Do you need anything...? U have water and some food for emergency...? Do u need a magazine... Do u need chocolates... Do u need ANYTHING AT ALL...!!!!!!! ...  blah blah blah.... and more blah...." (All in one breath... phew!)

       This went on till i yelled, all irritated (We don't like being told what to do, do we? ;-) ) - "Will you stop worrying Pappa... We are not kids! Come onnn!".. No sooner the words were outta my mouth i regretted it, for i knew 'The Feeling'... The feeling of seeing your loved ones go. Cos it was not just him, those feelings... mutual... exactly mine! I saw his face drop as he said the typical parenty super-touchy one-liner.. "You will always remain my little girl!" ...Why do they do that...!!! It's hard not to well up after that. One cliche statement which no matter how many times, how many parents utter... always gonna be true to the core.

       Well, that ended with a lotto emotional exchange and a long blast from the hooter. That bringing me to where i began... (Chug chug chug chug chug)... A moment is all it took for him to be OUT of sight and IN my thoughts... My mind eye sees him walking back the station, taking his steps ever so slowly. He's exhausted, i can see... Physically, mentally..! I know that face. That face is proof how much we mean to him, how much he loves us. "Jaan chidakna"- That's what i call it.

       As he totters out of the station, he knows he will wake up to a lonely 'Tomorrow', to see no wife on the other side of the bed, he knows he ll make one cup of tea - not two, he knows he ll think of her beautiful fresh morning face as he drinks it, he knows he ll not find his daughter smiling in her dreams as he looks into her room before leaving to work, he knows he wont feel the same energy in the office as always, he knows he will call them more than he always does for no particular reason, but to just listen to them. He knows this is not just tomorrow, but for many tomorrows to come before they come back. He knows his better half will worry about him, till she sees him again, and he reminds himself to not make it obvious to her that he wants her to come back home, soon! He knows his daughter will miss him very much, from the moment she caught his last glimpse, as she crained her neck to the maximum she could between the rails of the dirty window.

       He is a man and men don't cry, he reminds himself as he wipes the one tear that has somehow escaped his strong eyes. He frames his last eye-snap he took of the mother-daughter duo, for keeps till he sees them again. His cell phone beeps and a little smile creeps on his face because he knows what it is. It's his daughter, as always, sending an "I LOVE YOU PAPPA... I WILL MISS YOU MORE!" message. Thinking of his little girl, he joins the crowd which has god-knows how many widows, widowers, divorcees, orphans, childless, unfruitful and abandoned people. He feels lucky and thanks God for his wonderful family, as my mind eye shuts and drifts off to sleep... only to meet Him there, Again...! Amen.

Monday, January 9, 2012

I donno where i'm going, but i like the direction!

       Just saw Katrina on a fun trip with her tele-mom in the new Titan ad...! Loved the tagline that followed which is also the title to this post. Cool eh? Kinda love the feel to it cos there's more to the meaning. Cos that's kinda the story of my life. But is it everyone's ??? I somehow never know where i'm going.. where my path will lead me to.. whether it has a dead end or its like a never ending road. But i ve come in terms with the mysterious ways of life.

       Learning to enjoy the journey rather than wait for the destination to be happy! Good enough? I find some people who seem to know exactly what they are doing and where they're going with it. So much clarity? That must be a great feeling. Would love to feel it sometime. But do they enjoy the ride as well... or are they anxiously waiting to reach their goal? I donno... perhaps, never will..! Meanwhile, i rather have my fun with the mystery My future has to offer me! :D

       Well... that said... I am totally bored right now. No cooking today since there's too much in the fridge to finish up!!! N there's never something worth WASTE-ing in my family... Mommy rules! N she's right.. A penny not wasted is a penny saved. So that leaves me with time for other things. But what 'thing' do i do in this biting cold? Have the paints and brushes bought the other day to make a name plate for dad to hang outside in the place of the plain paper print!!! Felt his name deserves a more majestic platform than that. So i guess I ll get started on that now.

       Mom's watching Modern Family on tv. I like the fact that she enjoys watching english flicks and series and not just the typical saas-bahu serials. We never have a remote fight.. ever! It's always 'Mom n Me' vs 'Daddy' :D And u can guess who wins... Mum's the word! Hehe.. As dad likes to call it... V are his Gang of girls...! Love it when he calls us that. Cos behind every fight we have, there's that unsaid happiness of being together.. be it fun or fight... Or should i call em fun-fights! As long as it brings in the satisfaction of togetherness, we dont really mind. We donno where we're going, as long as we are together, we love the direction! Modified and cooler? Fits us... Toodles...!

The freaking never ending TO-DO list keeps her awake!

       The familiarity of the things back home feels so warm this winter. As i sit indoors and look around my home, nothing much has changed for the past 21+ years except the people. We are growing older.. and wiser? Err! I donno about that.. haha.. :D How often do we get a chance to mend stuff in time? A stitch in time saves nine right? What if u start stitching after the ninth... Holds good??? I truly hope so.

       I think i have stitched pretty many holes in the blanket of my life. And m making sure it doesnt tear anymore. U dont have to stitch it up if you dont let it rip at the first place right! It's such a happy feeling having control on our lives. I look back and feel stupid. But luckily my looking back days are over. Looking forward is the new 'IN' thing for me... What's done is over and what is yet to be done is my new 'TO-DO' list. Checking off items on my list is pure joy. I work now so that i get to mark DONE on my TO-DO! Cute? :P

       One of the many things i always wanted to do and never did? Cooking...! On my own... and with style! DONE! Tastes great too... I am surprised! Pleasantly...! So are Amma and Pappa... Amma is just glad to be off kitchen for a while and enjoys being served. Something she's been doing since.... Um! Forever? She deserves her little break. And Pappa? He's just the most adorable person i ve ever met all my life.. and not just cos he's my father. I remember him fight with mom and eat the Amoeba-shaped Chapatis i made as a kid, half-burnt and totally un-edible. He literally relished it. Every bit of it. Cuter?

       I watch them sound asleep at times and my eyes moisten up. They look tired now. They look old. Years of hard work, slogging, worrying, saving. All this for? Themselves? No... I wish the answer was Yes... But its not and i know it never will be. It will always be for their little princess- Me..! The princess who's not little anymore. I look at myself and i realise i've grown. I've grown old enough to assume certain responsibilties...! But have i... No.. Not yet.. Not much... But i must and that is what i intend to do now.

       Someone rightly put it to me once never to consider anyone GOD-like in life. Indian customs and traditions portray our Parents as God. Right in a way. But sometimes it's too much unknown pressure on a parent isn't it? For one, i have always had this undying confidence in Pappa that NOTHING... u name it... there's NOTHING my dad cannot handle or deal with. This assumption has kept me protected and unknowingly i ve depended on Him so much that he is handling the extra pressure... again unknowingly!

       This sleeping Lioness is wide awake now. And there is no time for sleep until my hunt is over! Heavy words? Wont sound so when i tell you i am getting a good 10 hours sleep daily! Cutest? Haha... It's getting chillier every passing moment. I sit at my desktop all covered up and cosy in my blanket(with no holes) with only my hands exposed to the cold on the keyboard. And they seem toooo reluctant to be out there longer. So i better sign off now before they decide to freeze!

      Miracles happen folks... It's happening.. like.. right NOW!