Fleeting moments

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Our lives are made up of big events and tiny moments. Ultimately, life is fleeting and oftentimes it’s these small moments we want to remember or relive.

More often than not we create, enjoy and preserve the big events of our life. Well, may be we learn to enjoy the not-so-big events too, as we grow older. But usually nobody cares about the tiny moments and sometimes they do visit our minds when we are long past them. We think about them again and smile to ourselves for the beautiful memories these tiny events had created for us..

Life is made up of thousands of such mini moments which add joy and makes our life what it is. Because the brain cannot contain the millions of memories of each incident, it releases itself of the smaller events – erases them, keeping intact the memories of the bigger moments. It has two-pronged effect as it keeps the brain space available to contain current memories and so that the small incidents which have little and no relevance do not come to our mind repeatedly.

We need to document these small, fleeting moments so that we can relive them again.

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Pour some sugar on me

Sweet delight…..

Once upon a time I twas so fond of Boondi ladoo made out of Desi ghee. The ones that I got to taste in Allahabad, the habit became rather an addiction and I used to eat one each morning with my cup of tea. So much so that when I relocated to Delhi, I had some friends who would carry them for me.

Lddoo

In Delhi, I could never find anything which matched the delicacy of those laddoos. Then it was the chocolate cake from one particular bakery called, Angels in My Kitchen. For seven long years I would eat cakes from only this bakery and no other sweet would fancy me.

Cake

Then was the time when I conceived my son, the sweet tooth casted an even bugger spell on me, I was in Hyderabad and I went crazy for Gujias from a particular shop. These were sweet stuffed with Mava , coconut and sweet fillings and then was wrapped with a sugar coating. The hormones played further havoc and sweet consumption increased. In the 4th month of conception, after being diagnosed with Gestational diabetes , had to completely stop eating sweets. Even my carbohydrates portions became small  and that was the time when I realized sweets never did any good to anyone.

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Its been 3 years now and I occasionally indulge myself. I like to eat a piece of cheesecake every after 2-3 month and yes I have gotten rid of the craving for good.

Best food are fruits and veggies and a small portion of carbs and meats.

Ask me about it!

Veggies

Going Crazy

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One crazy morning in the year 2013, I just decided to dump my 7 year old job and an outrageously troublesome marriage of 17 years , purchased a one way ticket to San Francisco and took off in 747 jet in the middle of the night. I had the emotional and mental support of a couple of friends. They pushed me as I was not able to take that final step. They could not see me suffer any longer in that brutally cold and loveless marriage rest of my life.

That was probably the most crazy, outrageously impulsive thing I ever did in my life. From being a simple girl who would not even take a small risk like ordering a new dish from the menu, I had become a risk taker.

This bold step had multidimensional effect in a few years. I met my future soulmate, went through marriage again, pushed my limits further and had a son, traveled the world and gained more wisdom and confidence and attained peace within myself.

Without realizing, I had also set an example of a dynamic modern woman among st my friends and colleagues.

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Remembering Kyle Plush

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This one incident had such deep impact in my mind that I was constantly thinking about it for several months.

Kyle Plush was a 16 year old sophomore who lived in Cincinnati ,Ohio with his loving parents. One fateful evening as he was leaving his van to go for his tennis practice in his school, a very tragic incident happened which proved fatal for him. Before getting out of the van, he tried to take out his tennis gear from the back of the van. The back seat buckled from his weight and pinned him down deep into the boot of the van where he had keep his stuff. As he hung in that position, pinned and forced down under, he told Siri, the automatic assistant of his phone, to place two 911 calls.

The 911 dispatcher could not or would not get the location of the vehicle and the officers would search random cars before closing the incident.Kyle struggled  for his life for 7 hours.

Officers who looked for him could never find the location of the Van. When found several hours later, Kyle was found unresponsive.

Kyle was a young boy of exceptional intelligence. Instead of calling his parents he chose to call 911 through his phone assistant. He knew that would get faster help, knowing all the while that chances of him surviving were minimum.

Here is the excerpts of the two 911 calls he made before he succumbed to the accident.

“Help, Help. I’m stuck in my van outside the seven hills (unintelligible) parking lot,” Plush tells the dispatcher. “Send help. I’m going to die here.”

In a second 911 call, he tried again. “I probably don’t have much time left so tell my mom that I love her if I die,” the boy says in the 911 call. “This is not a joke, this is not a joke. I‘m trapped inside my gold Honda Odyssey van in the sophomore parking lot of Seven Hills (unintelligible). Send officers immediately. I’m almost dead.”

Parents of Kyle Plush, Ohio teen who suffocated in minivan, push for 911 system changes. In a televised interview to NBC, they said 911 emergency dispatchers and first res-ponders across the country should have the ability to pinpoint callers via GPS/mapping technology, just like Uber drivers.

Short ‘n Crisp – New Jersey

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Im running one year  late but atleast I caught up!

It was 7 months that we were staying in Dallas while Ani was travelling every week to  New Jersey before he decided we should for, no reason stay apart.We flew to the lovely  eastern coast of  America and got to live in New Jersey for almost two months .

The first sight which caught my eye was the grand shipyard along the bay of Jersey and the huge crossover bridges over the bays and rivers. The city had a rustic , industrial feeling and the sky scrapers of New York added another dimension to it. I had seen many movies made in New Jersey and also heard about the huge Indian diaspora living here from hundred of years.

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We were staying just 12 mile away from Manhattan, New York.The first stop was Times Square of course, followed by the museums, twin towers, Empire State building  and the Statue of Liberty. The streets of Manhattan were crossed every weekend just so that the memories would remain etched in the minds forever.

05Memories of New Jersey are special because it was the fist East Coast city I ever visited. The difference  in architecture, topography  and weather between California, Dallas, Omaha and New Jersey were stark. And the time spent in Jersey will remain in my heart and mind forever.

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Hauntingly Beautiful- Priya Rajvansh

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Priya Rajvansh was born in 1936 as Vera Sunder Singh, in Shimla. She had 2 brothers  and she grew up in Shimla until her graduation. As he father got posted in London in the UN mission she got to do a course in Royal Academy of Dramatic Art  in London. In 1962, while she as in London, Chetan Anand ( Bollywood director) spotted her in one of the pictures clicked by a London photographer and managed to sign her for his film- Haqeeqat. The movie went on to become a box office hit.

Priya was soon in a relationship with her mentor who had recently separated fom his wife. Priya would refuse all the outside movies and decided to work only for Chetan Anand. Her next movie came 6 yrs later in 1970 which was also a super hit. Chetan Anand casted her in all his movies, giving her the lead actress roles’ against Raaj Kummar, Rajesh Khanna, Dev Anand and Naveen Nishchal. Despite being a highly talented actress, her anglicized accent and western demeanor did not click well with the Indian audience.

Priya Rajvansh acted in only 6 movies in a span of 22 years from 1964 to 1986. Chetan and Priya never got married but lived together all these years. She never had children with Chetan. Priya moved into her own bungalow after Chetan died in 1997. She inherited a part of Chetan’s property along with the Chetan’s children from his first marriage.

Priya inherited Chetan’s Ruia park Bungalow in Juhu.Mumbai and stayed there once in a while, perhaps to relive and recount the sweet moments she had shared with Chetan. In March 2000, she was found dead in the bathroom of this bungalow. The step-sons were taken into custody along with the maid. The speculations were that, Priya wanted to sell off her share of the property as she was caught up in financial troubles and the step sons perhaps wanted her share of the property.

Whatever may be the case, it was a ghastly end of a highly refined woman who lived to love. She made a mark more as a devastatingly beautiful women than as an actress. This was the end of yet another actress who loved harder than anything else in her life.

Vera Sunder Singh certainly deserved to have the curtains fall gently over her last show.

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Lost-Rajni Sharma

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Rajni sharma was a pretty actress of the 70’s. She did have a long career span but it conissted of only 26 movies. Out of which only a handful were successful. Balika Badhu being the best among st them. I liked her pairing with Sachin and the sweet exotic and fresh feel she exuded.

Although she may not be known for her movies but the fact that she just disappeared after her last movie in 1991 , is a fairly intriguing feel. No body knows, where did she retire, whom did she marry and how does she look like now. Its sad when the stars holds so much limelight in their younger years but when they grow old, they have to live a secluded life away fro media.  Some of them deliberately become reclusive as they want their fans to remember only their younger years through movies  and some do not get importance from media and hence are left out.They are neither missed , nor fondly remembered much.

In fact they get lost in this vast universe , never to shine again. That is quite a sad end to a once glittering image they have enjoyed in the prime of their lives.

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Forlorn- Sulakshana Pandit

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Sulakshana Pandit

More tragic has been Sulakshana’s life. Like her sister, she too fell for the leading actor (Sanjeev Kumar ) of her debut movie, Uljhan in 1975. She was doing better as compared to her sister as she had a singing career from age 9. She worked from 1975 till 1988 with all the leading heroes of Bollywood as a lead actress ,with most of her movies doing better than average.

Sulakshana and Sanjeev Kumar shared an easy chemistry and worked in seven films.  Sulakshana fell in love with Sanjeev during the filming of Uljhan (1975). However, at this point of time he was already madly in love with Hema Malini. Sanjeev,  who could never overcome the heartbreak after Hema Malini allegedly turned him down, was not receptive to the idea of marriage anymore.  Sulakshana and Sanjeev were best friends and they spent lot of time together. Once Hema Malini was married, Sulakshana suggested marriage to Sanjeev Kumar but he refused citing his heart problems. Sulakshana vowed to never marry anyone. Sadly their friendship could never bring them closer than that.

047 Years after Hema Malini had married Dharmendra, Sanjeev kumar died of a cardiac arrest and along with him, he took the soul of Sulakshana Pandit. She had been in love with Sanjeev Kumar for a decade and was devastated with his death.  Although she says in her interviews that she knew Sanjeev Kumar would never marry her or anyone else, but in her heart, she may have been waiting for a magical intervention. Around the same time film offers plummeted and her playback career had already halted. Her mother’s death further catapulted the sensitive Sulakshana’s breakdown. “These deaths had a lasting impact on me. They took a toll on my health. I was mentally disturbed and shaken for the longest time,” she was quoted saying.

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Sulakshana in her heydays

She lost her mental balance and stopped meeting people and coming out of her house. Meanwhile, she was in severe financial problems.  In 2002, she was living in an apartment with no furniture. Her former leading man Jeetendra came to her rescue by convincing his brother-in-law to purchase the flat. From the proceeds of the sale, she was able to pay off her debts and purchase two apartments. Her sister Vijayta Pandit and brother-in-law, music composer Aadesh Srivastava brought her home. With a delicate physical and mental health Sulakshana was confined to her room again. Although, now she had her sister Vijeta by her side.

Sulakshana Pandit may have given up her health and life for Sanjeev Kumar, but she did not get anything in return. Her talent- abilities as a singer, performer and artist could not get justified. Her career was cut short in her early thirties and she mised out on having a family of her own. Life would have been different , if she would have let Sanjeev Kumar go. Life would have been different if she would have foreseen that unrequited love does no good, ever.

Life would have been different if she had courage of thinking about a life without that one person who probably didnt care as much.

Here is wishing her lots of peace and good health rest of her life.

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Memories

 

The Curse- Vijeta Pandit

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June 2018- I read a lot of material on Bollywood actresses, especially who had faded away into oblivion, whether achieving success or after being a one-film wonder. This will be first in a series of posts that I intend to write on several actresses whose lives have intrigued me  totally.

One such actress is Vijeta Pandit. As I dug hard into the times gone by, I came to know that she ( and her sister Sulakshana)  came from a reputed family of musicians from Haryana. Her father Pratap Narain Pandit was an accomplished classical vocalist. The famous classical vocalist, Pandit Jasraj is her uncle and her brothers are the famous musician duo – Jatin and Lalit and her sister Sulakshana  being a popular bollywood   singer of her times .

Vijeta was launched by Rajendra Kumar with his son and their debut movie (Love Story) was a runaway hit. However, Vijeta after the movie decided to quit films as she had fallen in love with Kumar Gaurav, the Hero of her first movie. Of course the relationship  didnt culminate into marriage. After a hiatus of 4 years, Vijeta made a comeback and did a few more movies but, by then the audienceshad forgotten her conveniently.

She  then married a director, Sameer Malkan for a brief while and then finally married Aadesh Srivastava, a music director of films like Baghban and Raajneeti. Vijeta and Aadesh ,for  a decent time, were well-settled with two sons while they looked after her ailing older sister Sulakhana Pandit.  Vijeta’s other sister, Sandhya Singh, was murdered in 2012 by her own son. Barely a few years ago Aadesh ‘s brother had also tragically died in a road accident.

While Vijeta  took care of her ailing  sister Sulakshana who mentally had not been keeping well ,she also took care of her family and sang few songs for her debut album made by her husband. Unfortunately the album was not well received.

While Vijeta was braving her life, she suffered yet another blow, Aadesh was diagnosed with Multiple Myoma in 2010 and he finally succumbed to it a couple of years later. Vijeta’s life came crashing down as she lost her only pillar of strength, with whom she had so bravely fought the injustices of her life.

A visibly broken Vijeta was seen in her husbands prayer meet and everybody in Bollywood seem to have hugged and consoled her for what she deserved but had not got in her life.

It seemed, her family is cursed said those who believed in such things . With so much talent and such good family history of renowned people, this girl had been through many tragedies, one after the other. Success always eluded her except for the first time.

She has two teenaged sons with Aadesh and I wish and pray that they bring her all the joys that she had always dreamt of but had never received.

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Wing Haven

 

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Most of my adventures are not initiated by me but by Ani. I grow up on them and get surprised that I actually follow them with more passion!

One Sunday afternoon, Ani decided that we would be going for a bird watch trip in a private garden in upscale Charlotte, namely Myers Park. This trip was basically meant for our 3 year old , so that he can have some outdoor time with trees, birds, squirrels and butterflies. Once back home, I dug out the history of this house and its garden and found that it had a fascinating story to tell.Perhaps, I became more interested in the gardener than the garden!

This is about a passionate story of a young couple who got to know each other while in college and the decided to get married in the year 1927.

Elizabeth Barnhill told Eddie Clarkson on their first date in Boston, where he was working and where she was attending the New England Conservatory of Music, how she and her mother had raised white-winged doves.  After five years of courtship in seven states and one foreign country, Eddie and Elizabeth became engaged. Eddie’s father urged, “Don’t let that pretty, little auburn-haired girl get away.” Eddie proposed and drove his Essex auto to Uvalde, Texas in 1925 to give her an engagement ring. 

Excerpts from;  A Bird in the House; The Story Of Wing Haven Gardens

By Mary Norton Kratt

 

 

Edwin purchased a house on a small lot on the Myers Park, Charlotte, before he driving down to Texas to propose Elizabeth. Edwin would add 8 more of adjoining lots in the next 10 years. The 10th lot was purchased in 1956 by Eddie and 11th lot was purchased by Wing Haven foundation in 1990.

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The garden was conceived by the two lovebirds, who met in Boston in the early 1920s. Edwin Clarkson was a real estate developer from a prominent Charlotte family. Elizabeth Barnhill was a passionate gardener from Uvalde, Texas, who was in Boston to attend the New England Conservatory of Music to become a concert pianist.

Elizabeth’s childhood years in Texas were spent in watching her mother prune roses and scatter larkspur and poppy seeds on the roadsides. She had raised white doves, squirrels, a raccoon and a pig. No matter where her musical career would take her, Elizabeth knew she would always have a garden at home.

In the months before exchanging vows, Elizabeth mailed letter after letter to Edwin, each containing detailed sketches and building instructions for their house. It would be a two-story house with a raised brick terrace off the living room so she could move the piano outside for garden parties. The rooms would have large windows, to draw the outdoors in.

The wedding took place in 1927, and when the Clarksons arrived in Charlotte after honeymooning, Elizabeth insisted on going straight to the home she’d only seen in her mind’s eye. As they pulled up, she was amazed to find the house surrounded by a red clay lot with no greenery except for a few pine saplings and a scrawny willow oak. The house had met her expectations, but she was sad to not to see the garden of her imagination around it.

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The very next day, she began digging, tilling, and planting. Hence the garden-work started in 1927. Like the house, Elizabeth designed the garden herself. She laid it out around a cross of intersecting paths that run the entire property, each one ending at a fountain or statue.

But in 1930, when she was bedridden with for a long time as she gazed out of her bedroom window, she became fascinated with the various birds flitting about in the garden. She ,then made the decision to dedicate the garden to them, prompting the addition of birdbaths, feeders and fruit plants, for birds to feed on.

 

Break

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Its just a break….

Catching up with life, crochet, cooking, baby, hubs, friends, shopping….

Soaking up life….

Will be back shortly…..wait for me…

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Baby no- 2

Dear Daddy...

Dear Daddy…

Just when I thought, I was done with making babies in this lifetime, I had to rethink ! As next 2 years of my life fast forwarded in front of my eyes, I could not help smiling, watching this beautiful Coke ad. Life will be chaos just once again. Messier, crazier and sillier….nonetheless I’m enjoying the smile I see on hubby’s face every now and then. Riaan does not know yet about his threatened position in the house…but I’m sure he will learn to be a good big brother soon!

Meanwhile, enjoy this lovely ad from Coke. They always make them awesome !

Urgent

Omaha Shot by- AR

Omaha
Shot by- AR

The only time when things were urgent was when I was leaving the house, for the second time. This time , I had an air ticket to San Francisco. Unlike last time ,I was not scared of anyone to find me out in the city. I knew , as soon as I would check in the flight, I will become ever more elusive for rest of his life.

The scheduled flight time was 0245 hours and I had stayed at one of my friend’s house the previous evening. I had left him a letter saying that I was leaving the house. It was with a copy to police station and my lawyer. I had informed my kids many weeks prior to that. I didn’t get any call from him while I was at my friend’s house the whole evening. He always took time to take a decision and probably he gave it a night before he could decide to take any action against me. Little did he know that one night was enough for me to move onto the other side of the world.

For me that evening and that night until the aircraft started taxing on the runway, was the most urgent night of my entire life. I still remember, when I was walking towards the boarding gate , I met one of my trainees on the way and exchanged pleasantries with him. I urgently needed the TIME to just zoom past and the aircraft to be in air at 35000 ft.

That urgency, I felt that day still gives me goosebumps…and I have never needed it anymore after that uneventful night.

California Shot by- AR

California
Shot by- AR

 

 

Waiting

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Google Images

I realized the concept of waiting only when I read ,’ Waiting for Godot’ pretty late in life. I’m sure most of us don’t even know that such a philosophy exists.

So this means that all we do in our lives is, wait for something to happen. It does not necessarily mean that we don’t live in the present but that we always always wait for something to happen and focus all our energies towards it. For example in my case, first I was waiting for my soulmate to arrive in my life, when he did come, I was waiting for us to get married, when we got married I waited for the baby to arrive, then I wanted to move to US, now I want to get the green card, besides I’m waiting for my kid to join school so that a I can start working. Probably when we get the green card we will want to buy a house of our own and then move into a bigger house, simultaneously I would want the kid to take up a sport or a hobby as soon as he starts with his schooling. I would also be waiting for my older kids to finish their studies and and then wait for them to come to US to finish their doctorates or work for a good multinational company, then probably I would want them to get settled in life. Meanwhile, once I’m settled with a good job, I would like to get involved in a charity and sometime between all of these I would want my parents to travel to US  and live with us for a few months.

Phew….that was just a summary of the major things that I wait for in my life to happen, I cannot even talk about the smaller things! Samuel Beckett expresses this concept of life in his play called- Waiting for Godot. Though I had to read it several times over as it is difficult to get to the meanings that writer wants us to know, nevertheless, I did finally!

Why do we have to consistently wait for something in our lives? Is it because that is what is called ‘Life’ or is it because we cannot really focus on something which is happening in the current moment? Or is it because we believe that better things happen only in future and not in the present?

How would it be if present could become the best moment of our life and we do not have to wait for a future moment to be happy?

Highway 1 Shot by- AR

Highway 1
Shot by- AR

 

Daring

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The Rockies at Denver Shot by- AR

Daring is someone who is adventurous, brave, undaunted and carries heroism in his blood. Daring is braving icy cold weather when you have just a tee and shorts on. Daring is appearing for an exam without any studies, daring is taking on a project which you know nothing about, daring is bringing up kids as a single parent and daring is looking after your old parents rest of their lives. Daring is standing up for your own self and also others. Daring is kicking off your job when your self-respect is on stake. Daring is forgiving an old friend and initiating the lost friendship all over again.

We have been daring in our lives atleast a couple of times. The dare increases with age when confidence of losing decreases or rather does not matter any more. As we grow older, we realise that we need to be more brave and let our indomitable spirit lead us.

So many times we are pushed down by our own perceptions of things and other times it is the unwritten laws of society that we so idiotically follow. Only when we cross our lines of courage and determination, we realise that its actually boundless, our body and spirits. These limits that are mostly self- created or by our family. The key is to know that each one of us is capable of touching the sky regardless of our family background, class, gender, country or education for that matter.

Daring is letting go and beginning a new life, even when we don’t know whats in store for us.

Denver

Denver

 

 

Rekha And Amitabh

Google Images

Google Images

Of all that I have read and heard about this couple, it seems like they did have a chemistry between them, a great one, in fact. Rekha was infatuated, in love and wanted him all for herself, but Amitabh opted out. I don’t not think he would have confided to even Rekha about his feelings so declaring it to the world is out of question. Or may be he did and later on backed out. It seems for someone who wanted to have a good reputation and class and was so ambitious, having an affair would have been a crazy decision. May be Rekha was just his ego-trip….or something to spice up his life as with Jaya it was becoming kind of complex. It may also be possible that Amitabh didn’t even listen to his own self in this matter and that’s probably why he can be seen so discreetly quiet about the whole thing until today.

That way it was easier for him to save his marriage and the family. Rekha, on the other hand ,to some extent and more than one ways has acknowledged the love between them but has stopped short of saying anything in particular. That saves a lot of explanation for Amit and Jaya really!!

If you ask me, I would love to see Amitabh Bachchan kneeling down to Rekha and asking her to marry him when he is say 90. Telling her that he missed her and he should not have done it. That also means that I think Amitabh did have feelings for her but just didn’t have enough courage to get out of his marriage. Which was okay in those times. But I would love to see them together sometime in real life too.

One way they  gave  us the most enigmatic love story of Bollywood, and in others they lost some of the best moments of their lives that could have been…

After a long time, listening to this song.

Appreciate

Winterset- Madison Shot by AR

                                                          Winterset- Madison
                                                                 Shot by AR

It was not long before I realized , there were no more birthdays cakes for me. In fact, out of those 17 long years, I remember, only the initial few on which I got them.

When kids grew up, they started saving some money to buy me a chocolate and when I started working, my colleagues would get a cake for me.Future years would go on to make up for all my lost birthdays though. As later on my kids would even save some money to get me a cake and some gifts. I still remember, a card made by my son which said it was for the best mommy of the world.

But father of my kids who was also supposed to be my friend, lover and life partner, never cared. A few years down the line in the marriage, I also stopped baking cakes for him on his birthdays.  I could not care less too. Of course, I never wished him a happy birthday, I mean, are you crazy! Kids also never did anything special for him and his birthday would pass off just like any other normal day of our lives. So, after several years of cake-less birthdays , on one birthday evening , he got a cake for himself.

It makes me think now, how mean a person could become when he gets a birthday cake for himself but never for someone who he shares the house with. Can anything get worse than this in a marriage. It also makes me think, if my friends a,colleagues and kids were not there in my life, I would have died of depression and loneliness.

If given a chance again, I would follow Michelle Obama’s mantra,’ When they go low, we go high’. I would probably buy him a big black forest cake now. That’s a better way deal with someone who belittles you and has never appreciated you. What do you say!

Winterset- Madison

                                                                Winterset- Madison

Bold

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Sunset – Texas (Shot- AR)

And I thought I was a conventional girl. I grew up in a lower middle class family back in 80’s and my parents were both working. To be able to instill middle class values in my system , mom didn’t have to do much. It was a campus life and everyone else in it had the same set of values: middle- class. The school too didn’t have a dynamic population and we were cropped to think alike. In fact, I still remember there was just one girl in the entire school who wore skirts above her knees and dated boys. Until 12th grade my hair was cut in a bob lest I spend more time in front of the mirror than studies. But once I went to college, which was a residential university away from home,I grew my hair into a blunt. That is the only adventure I did in college. Mom still used to style my clothes and send me packets of them every 6 months. No, I never had any complaints about my dresses, In fact after 25 years of school, a classmate told me I was the most well-dressed girl of the neighborhood….phew…!

Okay , back to the topic. So, back in college,I thought myself to be a pretty conventional girl of 90’s. Skirt hemlines were never above knees. Mom had put strict restrictions about dating guys and back then it was never the ‘IT THING’. So , I never dated anyone, either in school or college. Of course , I had my share of crushes , but then they just remained crushes all throughout those years. Classes and hostel, hostel and back to classes was the routine and in holidays it used to be Granny’s house which was at about 10 kms distance.

I was the only one in the entire hostel who had a bicycle and I used to go to my classes in that while everyone else used to walk down. I didn’t think it was being bold and but thought I was just being pampered by my parents for living so far away from them. I think ,I always had some extra perks because of the extra income that Mom was earning for the family.

Now there were a couple of groups of girls in our hostel who were fashionably way ahead of me in terms of dressing sense but even they didn’t wear jeans or trousers or shorts skirts. These particular girls were more attractive in all terms and had no qualms about short term friendships or relationships with boys. Now-a-days it has a name -‘Friends- with- benefits’. I must say that I was not aware of such things then and that these girls were way ahead of my intelligence too.

My perception about myself was good. My grades were in between 7 and 8 and I think I was an average student and good character ed girl so to say. So, when parents decided that they had found a good match for me at 21, I was okay with it because I always obeyed them and I was told that I could continue my studies after marriage which of course didn’t happen. I would realize much later in my life that at that time of my life, I was neither a career-minded girl nor a strong- willed one to have refused to them lest I would hurt them.

Anyway, so much so for next 17 years. Then, I saw this conventional girl kicking her bad-ass marriage and a secure home with kids to free herself from all the shackles which were pulling her down all these years. Finally, I go out and find myself a guy and tell him, we are good to go. For marriage that is. So there I was, out in the world, once divorced and remarried and living according to my wishes finally.

All these years, I still thought I was a conventional girl, in terms of values that I held, the principles that I followed and of course the short term and long term decisions that I made every single day.

My dressing sense still remained simple, no hemlines above knees, no friends-with-benefits kinda relationships and a law abiding person at all times. So, when someone recently told me I was a bold person and not a conventional one, really gave me goosebumps. After a couple of sleepless nights, I finally realized that it is actually how something is perceived individually and boldness or any other characteristic for that matter does not have a contained meaning and can vary how it is perceived by an individual.

My perception of bold was different until today and I realized how one needs courage to be able to break free of a marriage.Especially in India, to be able to kick a marriage and fulfill your wishes is considered to be bold. Nobody dares it for society has unwritten rules and everyone meekly follows them however unhappy, discontent or sad it makes them. People may resort to extra-marital affairs but would not dare to get out of it. Now, that is what I don’t believe in.

I’m a conventional girl, I told you!

Elkhorn- Nebraska Shot by -AR

Elkhorn- Nebraska
                                                                                                                                                    Shot by -AR

Silence

Elkhorn- Nebraska Shot by -AR

Elkhorn- Nebraska
                                                                                 Shot by -AR

A million dollar word…Silence…!

Most of the times, it saves you a lot of energy, time and other expenses. But when you need to, you need to just get it out of your mouth and your system.

Haven’t we innumerable times vowed to ourselves that we would remain silent and would not utter one single word? But then, haven’t we found ourselves all fucked up from inside when we just hear all non sense and still do not fight back with words? Personally, I would not label myself a chatterbox or a talkative person. Having said that, I also am not a quiet and all-of-it-will-pass person. Till some years back, I was a no-nonsense person but now I have graduated to a-selective-fight-for-cause-only person. That saves me a lot of headache. Initial few minutes are difficult though, but then if we try a bit harder, its doable 😉 , being silent, that is.

Okay, so is it wiser to be silent or to be lets name….rise to the occasion? I believe, it really is better to keep quiet when the discussion gets going towards argument. I have started not to believe in defending myself unless its a dire situation. More often than not arguing has all the chances of taking it to another level ie., heated arguments.  Is it really worth it, spending so much energy and time on something when we can instead make use of our time in doing something more worthwhile. Even with a family member and a loved one…I have started believing that silence makes peace and does not let things go out of control.

Having said that, I must say that once in a while like in a couple of weeks though, you must speak up, logically though and for a reasonable cause. So that people wont take your silence for granted and think that things do not matter to you anymore.

So, be silent, listen more, see even more and observe in abundance!

PS- Silence should not lead to miscommunication though, stay careful.

Lake Tahoe Summer of 2013

Lake Tahoe
                                                                         Summer of 2013

Passionate

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pas·sion
noun
  1. strong and barely controllable emotion.
    “a man of impetuous passion”

Traveling

Colors

Crocheting

Hiking

Writing

Nature

Style

Historical Fiction

Realistic Movies

Kishore Kumar

Chicken Barbequed

Nectarines

Tea Assam

Shoes

passion

 

 

Cake

His first birthday  just after the month we had met. I didnt know what to do, so I asked one of my friends. She suggested a cake and a bouquet of flowers should do. I finalized the order , a chocolate cake and a bunch of 50 red roses. I made sure it was delivered right at the stroke of midnight. I got a call back a little later. He had to lie to his folks about the sender, nonetheless everyone lapped it up and were amazed at the huge bunch of flowers. Thankfully , no one had a sixth sense! He loved it, he told me next week in person.

Would I do it again? 5 years down the lane, I paid a surprise visit to him in his office at Omaha, Nebraska. Took a cab, collected a huge cake and a bunch of yellow lilies and took off to his office, with the baby in my other arm. He was surprised and could not stop blushing! His colleagues welcomed me in the office and we all went to have a birthday lunch together.

His birthday is round the corner again…Im planning a bigger surprise this time….shhh!

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Together

New Beginnings Shot- Selfie

New Beginnings
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To grow old together with the person you love, admire,look up to and most of all respect, is the ultimate dream.

We have been together since last 5 years, which actually seems just like a year or so. Courting years were marred by troubled marriages on either sides but we sustained it all by staying together as much as we could. Staying together ,like all the possible hours of the day except while being at work, really helped get us that feeling of togetherness. It also helped us build the trust factor for each other despite the havoc s we were personally going through for all the years.

That determination of staying together no matter what , brought us so close that when it was time to leave as work demanded, I almost broke down. But then, those 2  years of togetherness would supply a lot of comfort and would further provide me a solid state of integrity. The never ending six months that we stayed apart saw us get back together atleast three times in total. We, silently decided, this was not the way we were supposed to be. Traveling across the country to be with each other was taking a toll on both of us. Moving in, was the next intelligent step. So there I was, chucking my job of 7 years to be with someone I knew only for 2 years. But, it would be soon that we would realise the importance being together. The year, that we spent together, yet away from our individual homes, away from the comforts of known surroundings and people, in a different continent made us get more closer than ever. That one single decision made us realize the importance of how much we could sacrifice for each other, just to be together. That also told us, in its own unique way that we were incomplete without each other, cliche of sorts, but true for our story.

Togetherness, in its own beautiful way has made our story. So the message out there is, go for it, if your hearts screams for it.

Make your own destiny with your beloved. You will know it how it turns out to be, only if you try it.

Cheers!

 

 

 

Recharge

 

Sunrise- Dallas Shot- AR

                                                                           Sunrise- Dallas
                                                                                 Shot- AR

Need it every once in a while especially with a toddler at home. Last 3 months were super hectic as we were relocating to US. Hubby came first to arrange for house and stuff before we arrive lest we are troubled. But the pain of separation for both, the wife and tHE son was much more than expected. Nonetheless, we roughed it out and were worn out after the journey across the continents.

To add to it was the missed flight at Heathrow and then to top it up was delayed baggage once we reached back. Yes the entire baggage was left at London, talk about the efficiency of airlines. Shopping for everything, jet lag, the toddler creating chaos, body ache and the need to rewind for the entire loop from last 3 months was necessary.

It took a whole 10 days to unwind, recharge and rejuvenate. Few shopping trips for the new home, some extra long hours of sleep, and extra cups of good old Assam tea helped. Hubby took care of the little devil with some extra trips to playground so that I was not hassled with his tantrums.

And I’m all set…for the American Dream!

Sunset by home Shot- AR

Sunset by home
Shot- AR

Moon

 

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Love it, when its full, love it when its new and love it when its half…. The shine of it when glitters over the sea and over the silver sand is plain awesome. It lights up the whole ocean and forces us to rejoice in the wonders of it.

Of late , have not got enough time to recuperate in the lap of nature but I still remember when I would sit in the balcony on a full moon light and immerse myself in the silver glow of it. Taking a walk on a full moonlit night by the beaches of Goa is ethereal.

Its amazing how moon has become a part of our lives through folklore, legends, festivals and dreams. Its imperative that we give so much importance to moon as it is an integral part of cosmos and more importantly of our planet. We see it every day and night barring a few hours and brilliance of its glow is unique and cosmic.

So, when I see the moon gleaming its shine from my window ,down to my bed, I only get mesmerized and wish it could stay longer.Its beauty is in its constant-ness, though everything in this world is bound to leave or go away, we can bask in the glory of a lifelong relationship with the moon.

Obsessed

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Well, I consider myself to be obsessed with freedom, straightforward communication and honesty. I have never come across anybody like me but yes, everyone, I’m sure is obsessed with something or other and if you aint then you lack spirit of life. Excessive obsession when hinders normal life, is termed as OCD but who cares as long as one is enjoying his life! Being obsessive about a certain thing in life gives you reason to live, to persuade one-self and to relish the joys of achieving that perfection which one craves for.

Some people are obsessed about health, some about neatness, some fuss about their loved ones and some really worry too much about being organised. Some women I have met, have been meticulously obsessed with keeping the house in a very certain way like pillows and cushions upright, tumblers sparkling clean, beds made 24/7 with curtains drawn or pulled apart at specific times of the day, some of them have been crazily involved in the lives of their husbands and kids (even when they are in their late teens).Some are crazy fashion addicts as they have to dress in a certain way for every occasion formal or informal.

Obsessions are involuntary thoughts, images, or impulses that occur over and over again in our minds. These obsessive thoughts are often distracting and when you turn them into a routine behavior and ritual and are considered harmful, they become compulsion and they then classify themselves as Obsessive Compulsive Behavior.

There is a line between healthy behavioral routine and an obsessive behavioral routine and we need to identify it so that we do not get trapped into a vicious cycle of obsessiveness which is alarming for us and people around us. Although the behavioral pattern of each individual is different and may have massive margins of variations, say for example, cleanliness for one person could be just sweeping or vacuuming once in a week but for another it would be like every time he sees dust on something he feels a need to wipe it clean. Both are healthy habits but it becomes dangerous when the later would put aside important jobs and would spend major time in cleaning the dust because he just would not be able to concentrate on other chores until he gets rid of the dust. To me, that is obsession.

Also,one of the major things that qualifies as obsession and is totally unhealthy for our mind and body is the inability to get over an ex. When one stalks, thinks, imagines so much about the ex that he does not live his current life, its obsession….dangerous obsession!

Obsession is good when it is used positively to get a goal in life such as a career goal or a health goal or simply when a goal for a social cause is set in one’s life. For me, I’m obsessive about having greens every day, going for hikes once a week, going real out of the way to help friends and setting day-to-day goals to get a most productive day.

Okay I missed it, some people are obsessed with food and others making money…!

PS- I’m obsessed about Mathew Mcconaughey and that’s because he gives 100 % to his work. He inspires me to work harder for everything that I undertake.

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Apology

Sorry....

Sorry….Its not so hard

Small word but the most powerful one to make or break relationships, personal or professional. One word ,which if you genuinely feel , would change you forever towards some event or person or you.

Sometimes we make mistakes and sometimes we don’t, in either case when things go wrong one of the persons need to step back so that the relationship is not damaged. Most of us are caught up in out sweet little ego trips and are unable to render an apology, whether or not it is due. Over  a period of time and experience I have also realized that people forgive and forget easily if you apologize even when it was their mistake. Most of the times , its our ego which stops us from bending down but then why not if the person is an integral part of our life.

Sometimes I do remember the people I have lost because I burnt the bridges after crossing them. At times I miss them and wished I had apologized , they would have still been there in my life….

Life is short and crisp….no time for any ego trips really, lets just try to hold all the good people rest of our lives.

sorry handwritten

 

Dramatic

drama

Dramatic is Rakhi Sawant and the show called Big Boss. Dramatic is when you think you are are normally overwhelmed at some development in your life but the other person says,’ Cut the crap’!

Dramatic is when you have to be formal at some event or to someone, forcefully. Dramatic is, all the Indian soaps along with their soul stirring music. Dramatic is when you have to cook up a story to get work done in government departments in India. Dramatic is when you have to explain something which has not happened in real life but you have to because your boss will not sanction your leave otherwise.

Drama is bollywood movies which makes our lives so colorful.Come to think of it, without drama , life is lifeless and almost impossible.On this note, lets watch this one peppy number…Parineeti is one of my favorite new gen actor.

Broken ties

Aai Google images

Aai
                                    Google images

The first time Aai came to stay with us was for 2 months in January 2016. Because her son had stayed out all these years after school she never could stay with him.It had been more than 15 years that she had ever stayed with her son for so long. her son would come over to his mother a couple of times in a year or on a special occasion like diwali but had never stayed for more than a week. Aai longed to live with her last borne and hence as soon as her son arrived in India after a year of staying abroad , he sent for her. this time it was special, he had been blessed with a baby boy and Aai was more than ecstatic.

Aai was not keeping too well this year. she kept sleeping at odd hours and was tired all the time. she would not get into the kitchen for any purpose even to make goodies for her son nonetheless she tried playing with her grandson. Later on she would know that she was misdiagnosed for thyroid and was taking wrong medicines for a long time. after a couple of weeks of staying at her son’s place, she confided that in spite of her health, she liked staying in Hyderabad. She also started to confide in me. The bond between two women had started to begin and we would sometimes talk late into the night. Most of the times I would be asking for her secret recipes and the ones that her son loved while he grew up, sometimes the conversation would lead to people. people who were no more there in Aai’s life, her husband, her previous daughter-in-laws. Aai had 2 sons and unfortunately both were divorced and fortunately had remarried. She said at times she got concurrent nightmares about the divorces of her sons . She confessed her fear of her sons being cursed for their marriages.I would quietly would listen to the never ending tales of her and would encourage her to get out for morning and evening walks more often. She mentioned that she had one major regret in her life, that her younger son would not share much with her unlike her older one. I attributed this trait of her husband to the fact he had mostly stayed away from the house after school. Aai said , her son had been seeing his first wife for more than 5 years but he never mentioned it to her or anyone until they were ready for marriage. Although there were disagreements in the house about his choice of girl but eventually all agreed. Aai said , she had told everybody that she does not want to lose her son and its better that everyone accepts the girl and it really does not matter even if she was from another religion, caste, creed or state. Their family belonged to the upper caste in Maharashtra, the Patils, the warriors from the clan of Shivaji and were staunch believers of caste system since time immemorial. It was actually a matter of great disgust to everyone in the family that her would-be daughter-in-law was from another religion and caste. Somehow the family gulped it down with a pinch of salt as they didnt want to lose their son who they already saw so very less.

Aai’s health and the bond between us started getting better, she started confiding more in me. It seems , she never liked her son’s first wife for she dressed like a man and had no mannerisms of a daughter -in-law. She was totally overweight and would do nothing about her health. Aai also mentioned how she would make beef and meat disrespecting their family values of being vegetarians and that she would argue with her son about how she cannot leave eating meat ever. Aai resented these arguments between her son and his wife and knew she could not help the bitterness everyone in her family was facing whenever her son and his wife were visiting them. Aai resented the fact that her daughter-in-law never put Bindi or Sindoor or wear a Saree even on festive occasions and that she was always in salwar or jeans even if people came visiting them. On their first diwali after the wedding,Aai said her daughter-in-law went to sleep at 6 in the evening when it was time for lighting the diyas. All the relatives who came to wish for diwali were surprised why the bride was sleeping on the eve of diwali.

One time, Aai had been visiting them along with her older son. Both the sons were sleeping in the hall on a makeshift bed as Aai was asleep on the double bed in the master bedroom. Her daughter-in-law was supposed to arrive by an early morning train from Mumbai. When Aai got up in the morning she was shocked to see the daughter-in-law sleeping with her husband even while he was asleep with his older brother. ‘She does not have any sense , she is not of good character’ , Aai had concluded to me.

It was very difficult to comprehend why would someone hurt everyone in the family at one go. Why someone would or could slap their spouse, or even why they would carry on their ego trip when it was supposed to be a love marriage. Sometimes, when there are no answers , time decides to deal with the unwanted things. And so whatever had happened, did happen for good, I told Aai.

Aai visited us again this month for we were traveling abroad to settle down once for all. She looked good healthwise and mindwise. She told me to take care of her son and grandson. As I held her in a tight embrace, she got all her answers and I was content to see her equally content face.

Peace Google images

Peace
     Google images

Pleasure

Hogback Covered Bridge

                                                                 Hogback Covered Bridge

To be able to do the things that you love to do…is pleasure to me. People may have different pleasure depending upon their habits or hobbies.Habits like getting up late or smoking etc are not good for health yet they give pleasure to one who is habituated.

Come to think of it, pleasure by itself may only last for a few moments but it creates a good and lasting mood and memory of that good time which motivates us to look ahead with zest. Now a days with mostly hectic weeks ahead, we look forward for a pleasurable weekend which would unwind us.Sometimes even a good coffee gives us that break!

For me painting, writing, going for a 6am walk , reading a historical fiction book or having a phone conversation with an old friend is pleasure. Pleasure is driving Mom and Dad around for their regular errands or just cooking them a good meal when at home. Taking Riaan to the park or simply for a mid afternoon walk when he can go crazy running around is pleasurable! Pleasure is spending a week in a shack, losing track of time in the beaches of Goa.

Of course , nothing can beat the pleasures of grooving in a night club leaving everything back at home. But that’s been a while and Im not very hopeful of those good ol’ days coming back anytime soon!

Nonetheless, I find out something pleasurable to do every single day because life is short and we ought to relish every moment of it.

Goa Shot: Ani

                                                                                         Goa
                                                                                    Shot: Ani

D for deja Vu

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Its that eerie feeling you get where you know, you’ve lived that moment before, but logic defies you…!

Déjà Vu is an expression derived from the French, meaning “already seen”. When it occurs, it reminds us of a place, person or an activity we have already experienced before. At times, it feels as if its a moment from our past life and at others as if we have already seen that sequence in our dreams before. None of these theories have any backing though.

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To first understand how déjà vu might have something to do with our memory, we need to understand how our memory works.

I have read that our brain is thought to have two memory systems- Short term memory and Long term Memory. The former has a limited capacity and processes incoming sensory information from surroundings. Information in Short term memory is erased fast unless transferred to Long term memory for storage.

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Our new experiences are processed by Short-term memory and transferred into Long-term memory depending upon its importance and impact on our heart and mind. So it seems that our Long term memory has an infinite capacity for information and is used to store knowledge of events that shape our lives and can be recalled in detail later.

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Though not fully proven, it is believed that déjà vu is down to a communication issue between Short term and Long term memory, like a circuit break. This theory indicates that the mismatch between knowing an event is new, but it feeling familiar, is because of sensory surrounding information is going straight into long term memory.This explains why a new experience can feel familiar, but not as substantial as a fully recalled memory.

To me this theory seems most logical and puts an end to the bizarre feeling I get, while being deja vu’ed!

So folks enjoy the glitch in the Matrix of our brains…

After all its just a short circuit and not anything paranormal 🙂

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C for California

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It was a dream…to step on American soil. Just that I didn’t know when and where would it be first. Since America had always fascinated me, be it ,with its vast mid-west , uber cool Manhattan or natural countryside of  Pennsylvania or its wild wild west….I was always in awe of its variety and its mixed culture.

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So when it came calling, the first thing I asked was which state is it. Well it was the golden state of California. By now I have lived 2 years in a row in California and a year in Nebraska. Both has its own beauty but none of the states of America can beat California for its rolling hills, Vineyards of Napa, beaches of its west coast and mixed culture of Asians and Mexicans. The food I ate here was of best variety, the clubs were cool and the trips to the cities of San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas are unforgettable.

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The lakes (actually the backwaters) in and around San Mateo, the parks, the spring blooms on the roads and the hundreds of hikes I took in the state parks were just so awesome.

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When I look back to my memories of California, I see the golden hills, the beaches of LA and the glitzy glamour of Vegas and also the most beautiful highway of the world- Highway-1.

Must be grateful to God for making my dreams come true! California is a must visit place on earth for one who likes to travel places.

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B for Bollywood

sholay

                                                      Sholay-The Ultimate Movie

I aint a movie buff but I do like to watch movies every once in a while. Some serious stuff, some realistic and sometimes comedy too. But all should be logical, make sense and have a clear message too. I believe movies are a medium for people to learn, teach, dream and of course enjoy a few hours with a loved one.

Back in time when we were young and in our teens, movies were the only means for entertainment, socialize and outings. There were no theme parks, or restaurants or fancy malls to spend weekend. Thanks to Bollywood, we had an enjoyable childhood. I remember watching movies with Mom and with friends on weekends and during summer vacations. Movies back then used to be good and full of soulful songs. Masoom, Sholay, Nadiya Ke Paar, Love-Story, Tarana, Mr. India, Satte Pe Satta, Ek Duje ke Liye, Namak Halal,,,,,to name a few made my childhood memorable with their masala and songs!

So much so that even after 2 decades or so , I still feel like listening to those songs. I think Bollywood as such has done a great job in keeping us busy, kids, youth, oldies all alike. Must thank Bollywood for giving us fantasies, dreams and faces to our dream guys. Without it, our childhood would have been a waste really! Mind it we didn’t have TV shows like friends or a Game of Thrones series.

Though now a days Bollywood churns out trash after trash, some movies are still worth watching. Like Rang De Basanti, Dil Chahta Hai, Ishqiya, Zindgi na Milegi Dobara, Talash, Vicky Donor,Taare Zameen Par, 3 Idiots,  Gangs of Wasseypur, Queen, PK, Tanu weds Manu, Piku to name a few.

So even if I aint a movie buff….Bollywood does play a part in my life!

Hasee To Phasee

                                                                        Hasee To Phasee

Someone I got to meet…!

This was the year 2005. The place was “Scotland of East” – Shillong. I was working for a Japanese company and one day I had to visit the only star quality hotel in Shillong to collect some papers my boss had left with the manager. As I was sitting in the lounge waiting for the hotel Manager , he called me for a cup of coffee in his cabin and left to fetch those papers. I was enjoying my coffee when from the glass door I saw a person sitting in the lounge with a couple of people surrounding him. The face looked familiar…I turned my back several times to check him out. Meanwhile the manager returned and I asked him who was that guy. He said,” Fardeen Khan…he is here for a shoot and is staying in our hotel.”

Next moment I was in the lounge with the manager as he introduced me to Fardeen. I asked him how’s he doing and if he would not mind giving me an autograph. I didn’t have a mobile back then else I would have had a picture with him! So it was just an autograph on an official diary! I went back home gushing…

Fardeen back then used to be a bit of a poster boy of Bollywood. He didn’t own even a single ounce of the acting thing in him nonetheless he was cute !!

It took me several years to outgrow that “Fardeen Moment” in my life. People would show no reaction when I would mention this event to them and then one day one eccentric friend of mine reacted “Fardeen , who?” Well that was end of it and thereafter I never mentioned this incident anymore to anyone. Fardeen, like many of the Bollywood stars went into oblivion in a couple of years ,almost. With no acting or dancing skills he quite didn’t get  a hold in Bollywood. Later on, I could see him doing some silly B grade comedies.

There are no excuses for being a moderate, regular or average joe. Not even being Feroz Khan’s son would help. This also applies in general, for life. Whatever you do, you gotta be the best in it.

Nonetheless, I would not forget those 5 minutes of my life. That was the closest I would ever get to a star. Stardust….yes of course I still have some shining on my shoulders!

PS-Lovely pair, enjoy the song 🙂

The Chocolate Pastry

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They were next door neighbors in their teens. She loved his cat and looked forward to talk to him.They grew up together before she left for the university. Quiet, shy, dimpled…he had become her crush in their growing years. She wrote to him from University confessing her love.By the time he replied she was bethroted. He had taken too long a time.

Fast forward 20 years, they met again on facebook. This time they decided to have a cup of coffee together. She took half day off from her work and went to meet him in his office. As they hugged, his face lit up in that dimpled smile. She gave him the roses. As they sat in his car, the skies opened up to pour. The gods were happy too.
She was in an abusive marriage, he could see it. He was getting married in a month’s time. She asked him what took him so long. He didn’t have an answer. Together they remembered their childhood days over a cup of coffee. That day, he taught her how to savor a chocolate pastry, forgetting everything for that moment. “First take a bite, then close your eyes, let the chocolate melt in your mouth, twirl it around with your tongue….and swallow slowly….don’t open your eyes until the end…!”

That day as he helped her eat a bite from his hands, a teardrop fell from her eyes, he wiped it with his handkerchief, “Don’t cry, everything will be alright”, he had said.

Fast forward 5 more years. She is sipping coffee and thinking about him. Did they missed it twice already?
She smiled as she thought about her dimpled crush from high-school. There are sweets things from your childhood worth a treasure.

She will always remember how he taught her to eat a chocolate pastry. She sipped her coffee and reached for her cell phone to call him.

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Grateful & Guilty

 

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Much before in time , when I was not fond of sweets, I would wonder how could people eat Jalebis and Gulabjamuns… and that too so many!In parties where there would be lunches or dinners, I had to save some pace in my stomach to eat the sweet dish.I was fairly a non-sweet person! I actually never really enjoyed my food too.

I remember one time one of my school buddy took me out for a coffee and he taught me how to eat chocolate pastry…dig a spoonful, close your mouth, close your eyes, chew ,let it swirl in your mouth….and then swallow!

Things started changing in the fall of 2011 when Ani came into my life. He made me eat my meals appropriately. At times,he also made me indulge in sweets. I still didn’t develop that sweet tooth.The only sweet I relished was Misti Doi in Kolkata.

It was when I was pregnant with our son, I started craving for sweets. Ani used to bring a packet of lovely sweets from the nearest sweet shop every week. I realized, it had become an addiction when I could not do without having a sweet after every meal. If there was no sweet, I would make my own, Gajar ka halwa, Kheer or simply Halwa…!!

One time when Ani was out of station, I freaked out eating a huge an ice cream brick all by myself! Fairly soon,  I was also diagnosed with gestational diabetes. This was something which required to control my insatiable crave for sweets. I had to eat controlled diet now. No more sweets until delivery!

I was upset for next several months. So anxiously I waited for D- day. Arranged for a Boondi ka laddoo box from India 2 weeks ahead of delivery. Finished it myself once I was back from hospital. Ate jam, jellies,chocolates, ice creams, Frappes and freaked out again for next one month!

But better sense prevailed and I controlled my diet again. Realized I was not pregnant anymore and there should not be any unexplained cravings! Whatever said and done, I had my bit of indulgence of sweets for a year! Of course I didn’t feel guilty once I was back to normal.

Rabri Jalebi

So here’s a big thank you to all things sweet, for keeping me sane when the hormones created havoc in my body and mind!!

I still go for that Salted Caramel scoop at the nearest Baskins every once in a while!

I read it somewhere , “You don’t need to eat sweets if you are a sweet person”….may be I was not…I sure am now !

Cheers for the sweet tooth !!

 

 

 

A Challenge I have overcome

 

I belong to the category of people who are straightforward , painfully honest and extra sensitive. That mak244654-1es me lose people , good and bad equally. I have realized and have been taught over and over again that one needs to be diplomatic,learn to give a silent treatment and insensitive to lots of things in life. While learning the tricks of the trade, I have hurt myself many a times and am left to question myself- Am I being fair to myself?

So what is the challenge that I have overcome in my life? Being outspoken. My core nature is being that but I have learnt to be quiet and give some time to things that I don’t understand and situations where I feel the urge to speak up and sometimes revolt. This independent streak to speak my mind has been genetic and comes straight over from dad’s. I have understood that, I don’t need to react and speak up my intentions in every situation. But at the same time, stand my ground and ultimately do the things the way I want and perhaps explain it later with logic.

I have been practicing this, for an year now. At times I don’t feel like being myself but I have to admit that it saves me from unnecessary discussions, most of which leaves me frustrated and without any viable solutions and to top it up I lose relationships because after that I give up on people. I don’t get worked up and hence save lot of energy. At the end of such episodes of restrain, I feel glad and say to myself, ” whoa…I would have racked my brains out on this….”

No, you don’t have to be painfully honest and speak your mind. You need to be quiet and explain logically why you think so and do that way…in a very few words. I’m glad that I don’t cause pain to my loved ones now and really don’t waste my time with general people anymore ! Just that sometimes I miss being myself…!!

Try it?

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Grandpa’s House

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The other day I dreamed of my grandpa’s house. As kids we used to visit them every summer. Vacations meant grandpa’s house in the village in Assam , an eastern state in India.

The train journey back then used to be long, 3 days to be precise! But it was worth it…the bridges over the rivers, the towns, the villages and the fields on the way were beautiful. Me and my little brother would sing songs sitting by the train window and look forward for our annual vacation at Grandpa’s.

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It was a house made of bamboo, straws and some other organic material nonetheless it was big. We had like about 10 rooms in the house and a nice porch to sit out if it rained. There was a nice courtyard in front of the house and on the left the straw room for the cattle. On the right side of the house , my uncle had planted lots of fruits trees and we had plums and peaches in between some grape vines! There were wooden bird houses made for pigeons who would not fly away once they found this place with water and food all around!

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My granny used to cook wonderful meals for everyone and in those times food was cooked over wood and it tasted heavenly. When I saw this dream, I called up my dad and told him that I remember each and every room in that house and what fun times we had back then. As my uncle and aunts got married and moved out of the house, the house started to become empty. After Grandpa , my granny moved to my dad’s in town. There are times when I go back home, dad and me drive to the village just to look at the place that had this beautiful house and held together so many people of our family. Of course , the house is not there anymore but the memories of it is distinct. So much so that ,even now, I sometimes get a whiff of the house with everyone in it. If I had the time machine, I would go back and enjoy those childhood days in that house more than ever.

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I loved to move from one room to another looking at stuff placed in each room. Each member of the family had a room for themselves and there was a room at the back which housed the ducks and the pigeons in the night! There were two ponds , one in the front yard and other in the back yard and invariably we had ducks and swans swimming in it all through the day! The walk by the side of the house would take us to the rice fields and it was fun to run around barefoot, splashing into mud and water!! Playing with ducks, calves and eating raw mangoes, gooseberry and olives was so much fun!

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While taking showers in the bathroom that was made up of bamboo , one could have a look at the blue Naga hills at the border. The cranes at the rice fields would come to eat worms and tiny fishes. The cattle would come back home on their own at the dusk and get settled in their shed on their own. Life used to be so easy and fun back then. If I had a choice , I would surely go back to my grandpa’s house never to come back again. I’m happy that I can visit that house still , even though it is in my dreams now. The lesson is to enjoy the present for it never can be same again!

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Trip to Yosemite

With this another item in the bucket list was ticked off!!

This was in the pipeline for more than a year. But with the baby arriving, it always seemed next to impossible. Six months  later hubby decided , enough is enough….it was time to start our hikes and treks with the baby in the bag!

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We started on a warm Friday evening at 3 pm and drove to Fresno where our hotel room was booked. Munchkin behaved like a good boy and enjoyed the drive. Fresno was warmer than where we stay but I looked forward to the hilly terrain of Sierra Nevada and hoped for a pleasant weather next day morning. We always like to start at day-break but somehow with munchkin along , it took us a couple of more hours before we could be on the road. A very pleasant morning breeze welcomed us into the foothills of Sierras and off we started for Yosemite.

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With dreams and pictures of scenic sierra hilltops, I was with all my photo catching gears looking out of the window. I love to take pictures of the highways, clouds, skies, and greens along the road, barns and farmhouses all make me go weak in knees. Sometime while taking pictures , I lose actual scene to my bare eyes. In those moments I wish if I could have a cam in my eyes…may be one day I would own a pair of Google glass!!

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Splendid rocky bottoms of Sierra were in front of my eyes to devour and I clicked pictures like crazy. Once we reached Wawona, we decided to take a tour bus for Glacier point because Munchkin was not looking very good with the car seat!! That was one good decision and we hopped into the bus. It took us to see the majestic half dome and several other mountain tops which were visual delights. Of course, I had never seen such beautiful mountains all my life. There were lots of people with kids in tow as it were vacation time for kids. Kids were enjoying the cooler weather in those extra beautiful hills and redwood trees all around the way.Munchkin too, enjoyed his first bus trip extensively!!

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We decided to drive through all other points in the car. All other points at the Yosemite Valley -Tunnel View, El Capitan,Yosemite falls,Nevada Falls loop,Tenaya Lake,Bridalveil Falls,Valley View,Pothole Dome seemed out of the world. There were people camping at the designated camp sites, youngsters hiking through the hills and jungles and people strolling by the river sides. Though we could not do all of it but we did manage a few short hikes and strolls. I wish to come back here for a weekend camping and barbecue trip when munchkin grows up and is able to go for fishing with his dad!

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With pristine memories etched in my mind forever , I promise myself to come back to these magnificent mountains very soon.

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Something You Use Everyday- My Laptop

My laptop , which my husband bought for me 2 years back, has become an extended part of me.

Honest to my heart, I cannot function if my lappy aint working. My world revolves around it, be it updating my FB profile, checking friends, checking on world news, checking online pricing of commodities, finding out about people or places on wikipedia, places to visit, addresses, babycentre news, listening to songs and showing some videos to my bubba, talking to friends on Gtalk or FB, posting pictures on picasa, checking mails , learning new recipes…

The laptop is my saviour from having no knowledge  about things to having incomplete knowledge. Sometimes its a saviour from real world as it takes me to virtual reality of whatever I like to read, see and believe.

This year , my husband brought me I-Pad on my birthday. He expected me to discard my laptop and get on with new technology and be mobile with the I-Pad. Ironically, I could not graduate and I still cling onto my laptop.

So much so for technology….perhaps at the end of the day it is still the comfort of things that you have fallen in love!

My Desktop

My Desktop

Things about Summer

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Morning walks, evening walks, no winter clothes, frappes, icecreams , summer dresses, cool breeze ….

Wow, summer is my favorite time of the year…okay spring is the best one actually! Summers back in India are like scorching hot. But I still like them better than the cold of nothern India where I grew up. In Assam where I originally belong to, the summers are wet because the monsoon starts in April already! So the memories of rainy, breezy, and cloudy summers during my collge years are something that I fondly remember!

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Since we have moved to this part of the world, its been different and nice too. The winters are like bad but luckily I have not yet spent any winters here so this year its going to be my first. I dont like them…my husband always asks me what will happen to me if we were to move to mid-west or east of this country sometime!! I’m sure I will learn to enjoy the snowfall sooner than he fears!

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The onset of summer in California is marked with beautiful cherry blossoms and scores of other pretty flowers in the parks and on the streetsides.You know its summer when sunset is after 8pm and you have plenty of time to do your stuff. The feel of the cool breeze energises me while I take my evening walks now with my son and Ani joinning us on weekends. I can hear the birds chirping away at all times except in the noon when they too take a break and hide under the thick branches of the trees.

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Summers also reminds me of the onset of rains back in home. Back then , it used to be hot in Agra but childhood never feels it and we would eagerly wait for our school vacations during summers.

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I hope my affair with summer will carry on even if we have to move to a colder part of the country! Till then let me enjoy the summers of California which lasts almost throughout 8 months!

Last but not the least, a drive in the summers could let you see a lot more colors than anytime in the year!

Last

Favorite Physical Trait

Red rock

Well this one is tough…I do not want to judge people based on any of their physical traits. That would not be fair….

But when it comes to talk about the most important feature in our body , it has to be the physique. I like to keep fit and in shape. I have been using my size 28 jeans since 2 decades now. Okay I was size 26 then!

I have been walking like 3-4 kms five times a week since last about 15 – 20 years. That has kept my body and health in check. You really cannot do anything about other features that we have as per our genetics. Some people may complain about small eyes or thick lips, some may cry over fuzzy hair or a big nose.What can you do about it really? But physique can be altered as per your wish. You can put on decent weight if you are too skinny or reduce if you are on the heavier side. And then feel good about yourself!

I really detest people who are consistently overweight and feel no qualms about binging and being overweight. They do not realise that apart from being looking unpleasant and unpresentable , they also are in the process of harming their health. In due years, they would have numerous health issues. Fat and overweight people may be merrier or happier than their thinner cousins but are in immense health risk. They also are not able to inspire people to eat healthy. They really do not promote working towards good health.

So here we go….eat healthy, go for a walk and have a body to kill for ! You will inspire people, make some jealous , age slow and most importantly be happy in long run.

Cheers.

***I write this gratitude challenge following an inspiration by a fellow blogger Day-9 / week 1 – 52 Weeks of Gratitude | Me and My Random Thoughts by Bikram.

Simple Things in Life

Simple-Things

Honestly, a few good friends and some good place to spend the lazy afternoons…thats what life’ s pleasures are all about.

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Life’s treasures lie in simples things indeed. Mom’s food, a simple cup of her tea,sitting in the porch sipping it watching rains, giving grains to sparrows and hens at home…

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Watching a random flick on TV in the afternoon when alone, making that special cup of tea on weekends for both of us when Riaan is taking a nap, going for an evening walk and looking at the clouds and talking about future.

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Finding the phone number of an old friend and calling her and catching up with old times, wishing good day to a fellow jogger, smelling the rose on my morning walk, watching the clouds fly by in the evening sky, stopping by and talking to the old lady in the neighbourhood.

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Truly, life’s treasures lie in simple things. The very fact that life is short but sweet makes it even more important to love its each moment.

Cheers!

friends

 

Father’s Day

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father’s Day

It was the first father’s day for Ani. This time it was special for me too, for I was glad that Ani was the father of my lucky baby.

Honest, fiercely loving, caring for both of us like none ever, makes him a very special person.

It  was celebrated twice, one a Pre-Father’s day and then again on THE day. Who could be the best father in this world than Ani as he brought me a lovely pair of crystal earrings even though it was his day!

Happy Father’s day….to all you wonderful dads!

My Favorite Personality Trait

Being Humble

Being humble and kind is the  topmost quality I look in a person. The rare combination of being brilliant professionally and personally is hard to achieve. It is almost certain that with brilliance and success comes eccentricity and snobbish attitude. Almost all the people who are successful are rather harsh in their behavior and not so kind while treating others. That’s a baggage which comes along with success, I guess.

But today I want to talk about kindness. have you ever met someone who is super successful and yet super cool in his attitude? Kind and nice , all the more than others? I have!!

This person had been my General Manager at the corporate I worked for 7 long years. A fauji-kid, a bong , a dapper in looks, brilliant and a wonderful human being. It was such an awesome time to have worked with him. In the times that we are living, its rare to find such wonderful attibutes in the same person.

People say that you got to be strict and mindful in order to get the job done from your team. I struggled hard to follow it. Years later I knew, I need not be.

Cheers to the kind and humble people who make this world worth living!

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***I start this gratitude challenge following an inspiration by a fellow blogger Day-9 / week 1 – 52 Weeks of Gratitude | Me and My Random Thoughts by Bikram.

Things I like about Spring

Cherry Blossoms  Caught & Shot- A&R

Cherry Blossoms
Caught & Shot- A&R

The pleasant weather, the sunny skies, the flowers, the butterflies, lush green trees, the breeze…

There are so many more things about spring! Well I think, it all begins with the festival of colors Holi. Somehow, in my mind I associate Holi with the onset of spring because after winters, that is the day when you can play with water and color.

Spring, back home in Assam, is sunny and breezy at the same time.  As pre- monsoon showers bid goodbye to winters and welcome rainy summers, spring brings the biggest festival of Assam, Bihu. People make merry, dance and shop and visit friends and relatives. Get-togethers are organised and in villages, the sounds of Dhol and flute mark the onset of spring.

This is my second spring in California.  Now the spring blooms can be seen everywhere and the temperature rises to even pleasant degrees. An occasional cloudy and breezy day alternates every second week or so. Its time for Barbeques, picnics, hikes and long drives on the weekends and people could be seen enjoying the season after a not-so-cold winter.

Spring is seen as a time of growth, renewal, of new life for both plants and animals being born. The term “Spring” is also used more generally as a metaphor for the start of better times.

Indeed, it is the spring of my life as we welcomed our newborn into this amazing world. Hope everyone receives their peace and joy in the spring of this year.

Cheers!

Bihu dance from Assam

Bihu dance from Assam

***I start this gratitude challenge following an inspiration by a fellow blogger Day-9 / week 1 – 52 Weeks of Gratitude | Me and My Random Thoughts by Bikram.

A Smile that would not stop…

Daddy Time

Daddy Time

The most happiest moment of my life has to be the one after the birth of Riaan. No, not for me or Riaan but for Ani. The daddy would not stop smiling since he saw his first born ! The nurses, one in particular was gushing how the Dad was glowing with happiness!

After being with me for more than 12 hours in the hospital while labor was being planned and induced, Ani made a couple of trips back home to get my stuff. He was then back by my side holding my hands all these hours and supported me for every decision that I took while in labor. He would encourage me, pat my hands,  stroke my hair and kept telling me that its going to be over soon.

It was 2 am, when Riaan arrived, and Ani was beaming with happiness. At that very moment,I was so glad , I took this decision to have our baby. The baby has brought myriad colors of happiness in our lives. Riaan has brought us even more closer. Could there be any other magic than having borne a baby?

For me, life has become hectic. Its been a month now, the body aches and stitches have disappeared looking at the smiling face of Ani everytime he comes home from work. When I see the father and son playing, I realize there could not have been a better gift for us than Riaan.

A small hiatus from rest of the regular stuff of life and I’m back with a bang. Life is more happy, more fulfilled and with more hopes and dreams with two guys of my life!

5 things I like about Myself

Ahem...!

Ahem…!

  • Im an over sensitive person and that helps in being compassionate
  • Im perfect at things Im passionate about (painting/knitting/writing/cooking-sometimes)
  • Im a simple person and appreciate a straightforward attitude
  • Im health conscious and hence keep myself fit and healthy
  • I have limited friends and I can do just about anything for them

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Riaan- A Dream Come True

Riaan Anirudha

Riaan Anirudha

Someone Who Inspires Me

Be like Sunshine

Be like Sunshine

It has to be Tanmay. My General Manager from the company I worked for 7 years. He is a living proof that good people still exist in this world and that kindness, goodness, excellence and other super qualities can come in one package.

As a trainer whenever I used to train an experienced batch of executives or managers , I came across scores of  people who would swear by Tanmay’s name. Tanmay is a nice, warm person and does nothing which is loud or visible. His actions and his words were both in sync and the best part was that he also had pleasant looks! So while the girls would go ga-ga over his looks, I had the opportunity to work closely with him and realized he had a wonderful personality which was way beyond his good looks.

Tanmay was an inspiration to be good to all and be humble whatever stage or status of life or career you are in. He taught me to be honest at all cost, help people in trouble, inspire people to be good and treat all without any prejudices or pre-existing notions.One good quality in him was that he had all the time in the world for everyone who knocked his door. He never rushed through any conversations or tasks. I feel that’s a rare quality in today’s world.

Last time I spoke to him was on his birthday and he was busy making drinks for his guests. He sounded so happy to have received my call. He earnestly said he follows me with great interest on FB! It made me happy to just listen to what he had to say. I made sure, I told him that he was my ideal. He smiled and said , “Ab rulaoge kya…! ”

I strive to be like him, atleast bring in some qualities that makes Tanmay what he is.

Tanmay undoubtedly is one of the great persons of all times.

Be Good

Be Good

A Friend- Week 7

Aditya Clicking pics April 2013 , San Francisco

Aditya Clicking pics
April 2013 , San Francisco

My first memories of Aditya is of middle school back in Agra, in the 90’s. An irritating, lanky, weird, bi-spectacle d teen who had poker straight hair. He was in a different class but always was trying to meddle into my group of friends. I didn’t like him much because of his bitter straightforward attitude and his silly talks. He would not allow anyone else to talk when in a group and surprisingly even engaged teachers with his nonsensical philosophies! Nonetheless, he was well into my friends circle in a couple of months! He lived away from where we were staying but he would bicycle his way to play with us almost every evening.

Fast forward, 20 years, I come to live in Delhi and just when Facebook was invented. I got to be in touch with so many friends including Aditya. And because of the sheer coincidence of living just a few miles away in the same area of the city, soon we decided to meet over lunch followed by a movie. Aditya was not a crazy teen anymore and we both sat and chatted for several hours sharing each other’s live’s happenings over last 2 decades. He had become a Human Right’s Lawyer and was an active LGBT leader in India. He travels around the world to speak in seminars and meetings for the same.

Since then he has been there as a dear friend, helping , supporting and guiding me through the most difficult times of my life. It was he who made me finalize my decision when I walked out on my marriage. I remember very clearly when he said, ” Rinks if you never leave this rotten marriage of yours, you will never come to know what you could have gotten on the other side of this.” I’m so glad, I understood what he meant by his one sentence. I’m so glad that I have my soulmate by my side now and my life could not have been better. For me, life has taken a complete 180 degree turn and words like love, trust, faith, care, pamper, appreciation, affection , adulation, respect and fair has become meaningful.

From time to time I turn on to Aditya for advice, suggestions and to tell him how my new life is shaping up. He is happy for me and we catch up every once in a while whenever I’m in Delhi. He too is glad that I have found my peace and that his advice and efforts to reinstate my dignity has paid off. We may have grown up and lead our own individual lives making mature decisions and being good human beings but in our hearts we still remain the teens the way we were, in school !

I’m so glad that I met Aditya again after so many years and that life has completed a full circle since we were in middle school. Aditya helps me in soul-searching and like always has answers to all the things that I throw at him. Though sometimes the answers are silly , nonetheless it teaches me to take life less seriously at times.

He has been a thorough gentleman, a dear friend and wonderful human being.

Here’s to fun, friendship, school-times and gratitude!

 Aditya at Barbeque @ Parag's April 2013 ( Palo Alto)

Barbeque @ Parag’s
April 2013 ( Palo Alto)

***I start this gratitude challenge following an inspiration by a fellow blogger Day-9 / week 1 – 52 Weeks of Gratitude | Me and My Random Thoughts by Bikram.

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