Life-The Amish Way

As I read more and more about Amish, the fascination and intrigue kept growing. Last week , finally I had a chance to travel to Lancaster, Pennsylvania the Amish county to see the real people.

I had lots of information about Amish before I started my journey, a journey I never thought would come my way but life often gives surprises! So on a beautiful summer day in June,2017, I took Interstate 95 from New Jersey. As soon as the city ended, the beautiful green forests crept up by the highway. We had entered Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and the landscape reminded me of my place, full of green foliage. The drive was about 2 and a half hours, needless to say, I didnt realize how the hours went by.

Amish are of Swiss-German ancestry who emigrated to Pennsylvania in early 18th century. They are known for simple living, plain dressing and do not use modern technology including electricity, automobiles and telephones. They value rural life, manual labor and humility, what they believe to be God’s word.They have their own one-room schools and discontinue formal education after 8th grade, at age 13 or 14. Until the children turn 16, they have vocational training from their parents, community, and the school teacher. Because they believe, education until 8th grade is enough to do what they do for a living i.e .farming, carpentry, household work and other related works within their community. The population (which doubles every 20 years) of Amish as of 2016 was 308,030.
I got to see some breathtaking views of the place , mostly Lancaster county. Taking a guided tour of a place called ,’The Amish Village’ where they have tried to show a glimpse of Amish life was amazing. Then we went into the country side entering into some of the real villages and watching Amish work in their daily routine like in the farms or just riding their bicycles to run errands. The people I saw wore their traditional dresses with women in white bonnets and men in black or straw hats. Then I visited some of the tourist shops to get some souvenirs, the place has been marketed for tourism from 20th century and I guess, it has also become a source of income for the Amish and other locals. The beauty and the integrity of the place and the people has been intact and we get to see how these people have managed to live life without the modern day technological advantages.

I enjoyed the whole day in nature’s lap and promised myself to return someday…

Here are some of the memorable pics from the Amish County.

 

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Happy New Birthday

Birthday Cake

Birthday Cake

Hubby sneaked in a cake to be lit at 12 am sharp. Son didn’t like it much, he just hated the color enough not to even taste it,discarding it at the first  sight! But he insisted on lighting the candles every time we got the cake out from the fridge , for next 2 days till it lasted!

Having a vacation courtesy husband’s off from work since Christmas. He is looking after the baby and I’m on a roll, doing my stuff!

Good beginning to the new year, hope it stays this way….all my life.

One of my friends husband wished me- Happy New Birthday…( happy new year+Happy Birthday) Lol

Wishing you all good luck and good health in 2017 and all your life.

The Roseman Bridge

 

                                                                      Caught N’ Shot- A&R

It was after lunch and Francesca sat on the porch sipping iced tea.With Richard gone for more than a decade, thoughts about Robert came to her mind more frequently.As a usual chore,she got dressed up for her walk to the middle river across the Roseman bridge. After the walk she would pick vegetables from her garden and cook while listening to radio. Then she would read all the letters she wrote to Robert.
She stopped her car about a mile away from the bridge and started to walk. As the gravel road turned, the bridge started to appear.The memories of that sultry August afternoon started to flash in front of her eyes. It seemed just like yesterday, when she had come here with Robert .It was a good 15 miles from her home nevertheless she was glad she took the decision.
Today she saw a truck parked by the side of the road. Her eyes danced like butterflies all around.It would be stupid to look for Robert after so long, she thought. But she had kept his memories alive in her heart.She almost ran towards the bridge, when she saw a figure leaning over the railings, looking down at the River.She felt like this person had been standing there since eternity.Francesca called out his name and he looked back. He was an older, frailer version of her tall and husky Robert.
He smiled and looked for her hand. As she moved a step closer to hold him, he murmured,”I knew you would come” .Closing her eyes she hugged him tight and said.”Let’s go home Robert…”

Alter Ego

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“I’m sorry , I will not do it again….I want to have kids with you…come back home please…” Hopelessly, she had said on the mail. She had finally realized, it was their last fight and she gave her last shot. He didn’t bother to reply to this mail either like all of her previous mails and texts. He had enough of it already.
Last year when they were at her place and had an argument she had slapped him hard on his face, in front of her parents. That was the last bit of humiliation he could take. He remembered how he loved her truly and had married her in spite of everyone in his family being against it. He stood by her in her difficult times. Was she worth it, at all ?
The boarding had been announced and he smiled as he took out his boarding pass. He was leaving for Turkey and this time never to come back.

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Lunch on an August Noon

Lunch

“Why don’t you come over for a cup of Coffee?” he asked.
“May be sometime later…” she had said. She had been avoiding this rendezvous for more than a month now.He was new and alone in the city and had been looking for a friend to talk and spend sometimes. She too, was lonely in her life.They hadbeen talking on phone  all this while and he seemed to be a kind person to her.They would generally talk about their work, hobbies and life in general.
It was a Friday morning and she had been in a rather traumatic state of mind,thanks to an early morning fight with her husband.As he called her on work, he had quietly listened to her sobs and imagined the nasty weekend she was going to have.
He asked again, ” Come over for a cup of coffee, you will feel better”. This time, she had said yes to him. Around noon, she took a bus to meet him at his place. He kept calling her to ensure she does not lose her way. She got out of the station and called him on his cell phone. They could not find each other for about 10 minutes. She wondered if it was too good to be true. But then she saw him waiting under a tree just outside the station with an umbrella. It was a hot August afternoon and as they walked down ,he kept the umbrella up over her through the entire way.

She looked up at him and wondered what took him so long. He looked at her smiling and asked,”What will you have for lunch?”

out-to-lunch

Serendipity

Everyone has their serendipity moments. For some its food, results of an exam they took, sports event, stumbling upon a  buy-1-get-3-deal, bestie turning into a lover…

My serendipity moment has to be the way Ani came into my life. It was the summer of 2011 and my on-the rocks marriage had exasperated me to no end. I used be irritated, angry and upset all the time. My work was suffering and I had difficulty maintaining my all other relationships. Perhaps , the time had come to quit. After several attempts of online dating , I took a break as it was not at all a good feeling meeting awkward, funny, stupid and sometimes outrageous people.

I kept delaying meeting Ani and he kept asking me out for a coffee. After a month of chatting and talking on and off, I had finally agreed to see him for lunch. I had no hopes from this meeting, like I said, I was put off by the kind of people who were on the dating sites.

One meeting led to another and before I could realize we were seeing each other on every weekend.

But it was still a regular date and not a serious relationship. It could not be because I was not going to get into a serious relationship so soon. The scars of my abusive marriage were deep and I was simply taking time-out to re-organize my life. On the other hand Ani had left his wife of two years and was seeking a temporary relationship to spend his lonely weekends. So either way, we were just hanging out, giving ourselves some time and did not really want a relationship.

But before we could realize, we were thick into love and could not live without seeing each other. The temporary relation seemed to have done its first job- healing the scars. I felt that we were spending crazy amount of times together, hence I thought we needed to talk and give the relationship a direction. So, there we were discussing the possibility of a serious bond together just 6 months after we had met. Ani said ,he wanted to be with me , rest of his life but did not know how would we go ahead with so many complications around our lives. I admitted my feelings for him and told him,”Let’s go with the flow of time”.

Surprisingly, things got sorted out by themselves and both of us were divorced by the end of next one year.

My man is nice and kind by nature and that’s the most basic quality of a good human being. I could not have asked for more and we became man and wife soon.So a casual date turned into a pleasant relationship and then took an even more pleasant turn when we realized that we could not get a better spouse than each other.

So here is to unpredictable things, risk taking abilities, intuitive instincts, having fun, faith and loving life. Most important of all , is to give your best shot at all times and enjoy each moment of your life.

I would say, never forget to dream and things will work out for sure!!

Cheers!

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Dreams coming true…

A Name

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I was born to  soldier and his working wife. My dad met my mom when she had just joined Airforce in a civilian capacity. He was a Parachute Jumping Instructor and was posted at my mom’s city unit. He fell in love with this independent girl, working with the soldiers and proposed to marry her. All of 18, my mom directed him to her dads’. Marriage fixed in about 6 months time and they live happily ever after.

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Oh wait…I was born the following year after the marriage. Since mom returned to work after 3 months of maternity leave, I was taken care by many people while she worked. My granny, my aunt (mom’s sister), her cousin and one lady who was a neighbor. This lady had 3 teenaged sons and she happily proposed to look after me while my mom worked from 7 in the morning until 2 pm. She would feed me,change and tuck me in as and when needed. Her sons were grown up and she missed having a baby around, she said. Also she loved having a girl for herself ! My mom sometimes would leave me at my granny’s and my aunt would take care of me before she picked me up on Saturdays. In between some of these days mom decided to have me named but she wanted the lady who looked after me, to name me. She wanted to thank her in her own way. The lady called me “Rinku” and that was put in the records. Rinku is a common name from the state she belonged to- Bengal.

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I’m one of those people who didn’t like their name initially. But as I grew up and Mom told me this story of naming my name, I was filled with gratitude towards that lady and for my mom too. That lady for her unconditional love and Mom for being grateful to her and showing it in a unique way. As I grew up, started to like my name, short, sweet and crisp. It means ‘Sweet’ or ‘Sweet Thing”.

They say, a rose is a rose is a rose. Does not matter if it was not named as rose. But I’m glad that my name is a tribute to a good lady for her kindness and love. I have never met her or tried to find her ever but now it looks like I must.

Yes after writing this post , I’m going to call Mom.

most_popular_female_names

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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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…

the-simple-things-jai-johnson

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

 

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.

Ringing in 2015

Sunset by the lake Shot- A & R

Sunset by the lake
Shot- A & R

Its already late to write on this topic nonetheless…better late than never!

The new year eve which coincides with my birthday is usually spent dancing,shopping and ends with a dinner of my choice. Of course then a cake cutting session in the middle of the night! This was happening since last 3 years, thanks  to my sweetheart and this year I wanted it to be a quiet evening. Because I was expecting , I wanted less noise, less people around and a quiet dinner. So we decided , we shall go camp in our favorite hotel a previous day, spend the evening there and ring in my birthday and the new year from the quiet room overlooking the lake of the city.

With 2 bags , we drove into the hotel and took a room at 10th floor. Down from the window, the preparations for the New Year Eve’s party on the dance floor was on full swing. I just wanted to relax on the sofa and listen to some soothing music and watch the sun go down the lake. The year had been pretty hectic with lots of good things coming in. There were a few incidents which caused a bit of heartaches too. Nonetheless, I wanted to decompress and unwind and create a still better beginning for the coming year. Dinner was sumptuous -Palak Paneer, tandoori chicken and Rotis with a green salad and Ani disappeared from the room to hunt for a birthday cake! We went down and had a look at the hotel bakery. It was sensible to buy the cake from the hotel then driving down to another bakery through maddening traffic of people getting out to celebrate new year’s eve. The traffic was bumper-to-bumper , the parks were crowded, the hotels were brimming with people….my goodness, India is exploding with people!

I convinced Ani to get just a chocolate pastry as cake would have become too much for two of us.

The ceremonial cake was cut at the stroke of 12 midnight, as the people down the dance floor started hugging each other and the hotel sky was lit up with a string of firecrackers!  Three years of togetherness and much of bliss and peace. Next day was spent quietly lazying and taking stroll along the pool.2nd of January saw me doing some shopping for husband, baby and some essential items for the trip to US. And by evening we were at our home sweet home.

Im glad this new year was quiet with lot of time for introspection and retrospection. There should be days in our life when one can sit back , relax , do nothing, feel the life go by, moment by moment and just live in the moment. Life is short and we have lot of aspirations.If we do not sit back once in a while,we will not realize and life will zoom past us.

This one is for everyone to take a break from routine, if its on the birthday, its all the more great!

Chocolicious... Shot-  A & R

Chocolicious…
Shot- A & R

One Journey of Faith

From Two 2 Three ! Shot by A& R

From Two 2 Three !
Shot by A & R

We had been waiting for this trip since one year. We had even planned the conception of our baby so that I would be able to fly during the safest period of my pregnancy. But somehow the trip didn’t come through the whole time. We, anyway enjoyed the first 2 quarters of the pregnancy in India while I let my husband know that I would need him by my side during the labor and delivery, in case he has to fly out now. He promised me he will be, at any cost.

You never know what destiny has in store for you.  We were prepared for this trip and also quite anxious about the long flying hours that I will have to spend sitting on a chair , given the fact that airline seats were not comfy by any means. By the end of 7th month, Ani’s trip came along, I got worked up now that I would have to bear it out alone, that is the rest of my pregnancy. But it was a huge surprise to know that most of the airlines allow pregnant women to fly till 36 weeks.I was only 30 weeks along.

We were flying out in next 2 weeks and all the arrangements had to be made. The “baby stuff” that was being done in a normal pace was rushed up and all the medicines etc were stocked up for next one month. Packing was being done for spices and Indian stuff that was not available in US. One constant worry was, if I would be comfortable sitting in the airline seat for 22 hours!

So it was , Hyderabad to Abu Dhabi , a 4 hour flight and then a 3 hour break before catching that dreadful 16 hour flight out from middle east to Americas! The entire journey was a mix of fear, excitement, happiness and most importantly this was our first international flight together. Ani was super worried about me and the baby and was on a roll all the time!

” Walk, move hands, move legs, eat, sleep, now wake up, drink water, have you had your medicines, okay now check out from the window, read this, watch a movie, wash your face and freshen up….goodness gracious ” , he was pretty worked up! Had a few bouts of uncomfortable hours in the long flight but overall, I enjoyed it. Ate everything that came along , also hogged the Methi Parathas and pickle which I made at home. Didn’t over sleep, watched some good videos and chatted up with my guy for hours! The stewardesses were taking extra care of me and I felt relaxed.

Honestly, the long flight didn’t feel like one and we bonded all over again , talking about the years that we had spent together and anticipating the years ahead. Talking about the lil’ one that was coming along to make our lives all the more happy.

So the entire journey turned out to be a pleasant one. Patience , love and faith kept us intact and made us enjoy the journey despite the apprehensions. I’m sure , life too is going to be one such long and pleasant flight!

Cheers!

The Trio !

The Faith ! Shot by A & R

Something Someone Gave You- Week 5

Time is a Gift - by Ani

Gift of Time – by Ani

Giving is always a bliss. Receiving is a pleasure too. Long time back my brother told me to never go by the price of your gift. Gifts are bought for you with some thought, money and energy and that is what should be appreciated. I have always valued the gifts I have received and have treasured them all.

Friends , parents, colleagues always give you gifts with or without occasions. My sweet hubby has been showering me with gifts since we met and some of them are totally invaluable. The most precious would have to be the gift of my life that my parents gave to me. I would certainly thank them for having decided to get married and have me as their first born ! For its’ because of them that I’m able to see this beautiful world , live and love it in all senses.

One that I would never forget is a hand made birthday card my kids gave me when they were very young. It was for “The World’s Best Mom” with lots of scribbles and colors inside! I treasure that and keep it close to my heart always!

Gift of Love

Gift of Love

***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.

Gratitude – A Blessing

Gratitude

Gratitude

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.

While Im a novice in blogging, Bikram is an old timer, I thank him and all such people who encourage me to do something worthwhile in my day to day life which is zooming away pretty fast!

Why start this Challenge-

  1. Life is Short and we tend to miss small moments. This will help in freezing the beautiful moments of life.
  2. To be Grateful is a good habit, it keeps you grounded and does not let ego enter your head.
  3. Ready made prompts always are blessings as you can start writing without having to break your head on what topic to write each day!

Something So strong

Lost...

Lost… Shot- A & R

Circa 2002 :I was teaching in a school and life had not been treating me good at personal front. The only thing good was that I had a job and my work place was 5 minutes drive away.I was managing 2 kids at home, a job and a broken sou,l after 10 years of marriage.

Amid st all the chaos that was happening in my life, one fine day a girl joined the school as my colleague. A beautiful, pretty young thing in her mid 20’s had a dimpled smile and a cheerful attitude. I liked the style she carried herself with. During initial conversations she told that she is a Hotel Management Grad and had married a doctor. And because he didn’t want her to be in hotel business anymore , she had joined this school. Ouch…that was pretty harsh. Leaving a prosperous career in Taj midway and doing something else just because your man does not fancy it. Well , it was a love marriage and I assumed that’s how they do it when in love. They respect each other’s wishes and life becomes easy.

It took several months before Payal and I would become friends.Once the ice was broken,we would go for evening walks in the nearby DDA park. I would ride my scooter to her place,pick her up and then enjoy the walk in the evenings. Sometimes we would go t the nearby cafe and treat ourselves with some lovely pastries! The friendship grew and there would be days when she would spend a night or two with me when her husband was working night shifts. Then there would be times when I would drop in at her place with my kids and she would make some lovely tea and snacks for us. Payal became a solace in my otherwise wrecked up life. No, I didn’t share any of my agonies with her during that time. She would not be able to comprehend and I would be too embarrassed to tell her my woes more so because her life was perfect and I didn’t want to cast any shadow on it.

After 2 years, Payal moved to London, it seems her husband had passed the examination to do his MD at London. She went away and gave me lots of her stuff which she could not take to London.She did visit me once in the school about 2 years later and told she had a 2 year old daughter and had conceived again. She got me some gifts  and went back to London…that’s about it. There was no contact with her thereafter.

Payal was gone and I was all by myself again. The pain and agony taking over my life again. Even though I didn’t share any of it with her, her mere presence in my life was soothing and I would forget about my problems. A couple of years later we were transferred to farthest corner of India. Life was pretty laid back there and I again managed to fulfill one of my dreams here- working for an MNC. As I immersed myself in my new found identity, I lost contact with Payal. There were no chances that I could have her number or she could have mine. Much later when we met again, she would tell me, her initial years in London were struggling.

Two years later we had shifted places again and this time it was in central India. I do not remember how much I missed her as I touched another crucial milestone of my life- working for a Telecom Giant where I would eventually work for next 7 years. Her thoughts kept coming to my mind every once in a while and I would talk about her to my current colleagues.I had kept her memories alive in my mind and heart as I knew it would be almost impossible to get in touch with her again.

Life was a struggle. I had been making up my mind these years. To be strong, without real friends and with 2 kids to take care of at home. Again, work brought in some respite.

One fine evening , on the way back from work, as I got down from my scooter and walk towards a shop to buy something, a man came in front of me and looked at me, I stopped and he said ,”Rinku ??” Oh my god, it was Payal’s husband and what on earth he was doing in this city? He was supposed to be in London! I asked him,”where is Payal….?” He pointed to the car and there she was! We hugged and were surprised at the way we had met in a new city. She told me her Parent-in-laws stayed there and she came there to visit them. That week went off like crazy. She visited me with her kids and husband and then I visited her in-laws place. It was so wonderful to have got in touch with her all over again.  We had missed so many years in between since she left for London but this chance meeting made up for it. We exchanged numbers and emails and promised not to lose contact again. We also had each other’s dad’s contact number in case we lose contact again.

Two years later, I was back in Delhi, the place where we first met 7 years before. We kept in touch via mails and if we could not then we would call each other’s dads and get back in touch.

Year 2012, I had made up my mind and had recently filed for divorce and had moved out.One evening , I got a call from Payal saying that her husband had divorced her a couple of months back and she needed my help. I pulled myself out of my struggles and told her to stay strong and that I too was going through the same. From that day , we kept in regular touch and supported each other emotionally. A year later, I had sorted out my divorce and was in US vacationing. During these 6 months in US, I could call her everyday and the bond between us got even more stronger. We both were recuperating from  divorces. We had different issues in our marriages but something seemed to be similar- the pain. Sharing each other’s pain and then trying to lift each other’s spirit in this hardest times of our lives brought us even more closer.

If I think of how we met a decade before and how we tried to stay connected to each other in different continents and how we have maintained and loved each other …..it seems amazing. When we met the first time in school staff-room , none of us thought we would become best friends forever-BFF’s….that’s what they call it right!

Ironically Payal and I share a similar life but to be each other’s rock has been a beautiful thing to happen to us!

So here’s looking forward to some more amazing times including growing old together.

Cheers to friendship!

Way back Home

Way back Home

Small Pleasures

Perfect Wildflowers  (Caught by - A & R)

Perfect Wildflowers
(Caught by – A & R)

When we carry on doing the day to day chores , some tasks become mundane while some retain our interests even on a daily basis. These tasks fill us up with energy and positive attitude for the days to come.

Somehow Ani  has a way to make everything turn into a task which is to be enjoyed. Smallest of the chores like moisturizing the body, washing hands, swiping the dinning table after a meal, going for a walk, washing the car on a Sunday etc are turned into an interesting task everyday. Realizing this is an amazing virtue as it has the capability of changing the general attitude towards one’s own life, I have slowly adapted to it. After all, what is life all about -its doing meaningful things every passing moment and enjoying it!

All these years of life that we have lived, most of us rush through everyday. Getting up, rushing through the breakfast, getting to work braving the traffic,meeting deadlines, rushing through those cups of coffees and teas while we work (and never really enjoying them!) hurriedly gulping packed lunches or missing them at all and then rushing back home to be with family for whatever is left of the day. We are losing precious moments of our lives by rushing through them. The years, days, nights, hours, moments have a count. We cannot afford to lose them never to get them back again in our lifetime.

The best gift I have got from life is Ani, who teaches me to enjoy life every moment. Do every task wholeheartedly as  can see him doing each day. He is a perfectionist too.. But now I realize, perfection comes on its own when you put your heart and soul into each chore that you perform everyday. The nature is perfect and does its job relentlessly even if we, human beings try to destroy its balance everyday.

Life is not static and so are the pleasures of it. Lets make it wonderful and contribute towards making it better by enjoying smallest of pleasures.Like feeding the sparrows in the morning, watering the plants, cleaning the everyday dust, enjoying a few minutes in the sun ,talking to random kids in the locality, cooking a hearty meal, enjoying that cup of tea at 5 every evening…..there is so much to enjoy!

Let us begin to relish the smallest of pleasures of our lives. Start today and make the most of your life!

A sumptuous meal  Caught by - A & R

A sumptuous meal
Caught by – A & R

 

 

Perspectives

In search of Love... Caught & Shot- A & R

In search of Love…
Caught & Shot- A & R

Being a man is a tough job. You are supposed to show everyone that you won’t break, you won’t falter and you won’t ditch.

Andy had to hide his emotions lest he is ridiculed or humiliated. He chose to be quiet during his one year ordeal and never missed a chance to stay out of the house. It was the most difficult year of his life. This was their first year of marriage which he had always looked forward to since last 7 years or say 5 years to be precise. Initial 2 years of their knowing each other he never thought of her as his future girl. The marriage, he thought would make things easier for them as a couple and let settle them down at one place. Since last 7 years of knowing each other, initial 5 years they had been living apart in different cities.

Now after 3 years of that eventful and fateful day of his life, he has forgotten the entire hullabaloo around it. After a chance meeting on an internet chat room, they had been in touch. Initially they chatted once in a week later it would become more frequent. Internet cafe was the only resource for their communication and it was tough going to one after the college classes were over. His other friends would have their share of girls and he would feel isolated and left alone at times. Chatting with her quite made up for it. After 2 years being in touch online he thought may be this was the girl. He was 24 , just out of Engineering college and off to a job in a state further north. he proposed , she point blank rejected. He was left shell-shocked, as through her chats she seemed to be enjoying his attention. Girls never know their mind and are always confused, he realized. It was a waste of time and energy, he concluded. He conveniently forgot her for next almost 2 years while he got busy at his first job. New people, new place, new surroundings and new friends made up for his free evenings. He enjoyed trying new cuisines and sometimes chatting with random people on internet.

Andy had almost forgot her when one fine day suddenly out of the blue he received a mail from her. She wanted to start the friendship again. “I thought over it and realized I too am in love with you and you are the one for me.” she had said. His mind was clouded with thoughts now. How can someone get back after 2 years of thinking, what has she been thinking….he wondered. Anyways he said okay and that he will give it a try. It was not long before that they started chatting and bonded again. Next three years of courtship were mostly through emails and chats and an occasional call on the weekend. After 2 years on the job Andy decide to do his MBA. Mumbai was his favorite city , he had spent his college days here.  Andy was back here in a prestigious campus of the country to finish his Masters. She was still in another city and had started working as she finished her studies.

After 3 years of online courtship and finishing his Masters, Andy took up a job in her city. It was a conscious decision on his part as the relationship was going no where due to long distance courtship and Andy wanted to give it as serious try.  Andy always believed in giving 100% in whatever he took up for himself. This time it was a relationship and he wanted to know if there was a lag from his side for not feeling fulfilled. As Andy  reached her city and joined his new work, he felt a certain relief.

Andy was not comfortable staying in a rented place as he had to share his house with room mates. That made him shift his house 3 times in a year and finally it was a good locality with public transport system to his workplace. They kept meeting on weekends to have dinners or coffee. Andy was getting to know her. She seemed to be an independent-minded spoilt brat who would hardly listen to what he had to say. She grew up doing her own things without knowing what it takes to be with another person especially in a relationship. To Andy she seemed like a totally different person than what she was on their email conversation in last 5 years. But Andy could not gather if he was wholly correct or was just making a hasty opinion. He thought to give the relationship some more time to grow lest he breaks it up by his hasty fore-sightedness.

2 more years flew by. She had informed her folks by now about him. He too had informed at his place. The parents seemed not to agree due to caste and religious differences but they decided to go ahead. After a while , Andy visited her place, her parents agreed to their only daughter’s demand. “him or no one” , she had said. Before they realized it was year 2009 and they had got married in a hurry. Andy had changed his job from her city to the same place where he worked in his first job. This place was better than her city, he had realized. After the marriage they continued staying apart in different cities until a few months when Andy joined back another job at Mumbai again. He asked her to join her there. They began by taking up a good 2 bedroom apartment on rent. Life was cozy for her as she had left her job and had become a full time homemaker. This was year beginning the year 2010.

Slowly and steadily the cracks in the relationship started to appear. Andy had a demanding job and he would not be back home before 11 pm. It stressed him out and he more often than not, took it out on her. She too got frustrated of loneliness and his bickering at the end of the day when he was back from work. The incompatibility started to show its ugly face. Andy would not get dinner as she would be too busy studying for some entrance exam or because she would be busy watching movies for her blog or meeting her friends. Every other day they would order food from outside and this made Andy even more unhappy. He always liked home made food and this was time after working in different cities, that he would want to eat home made food. Coming from a different cultural background, she would prepare some strange dishes every now and then and Andy would again have to resort to outside catering.

One year had passed by and this was beginning of the year 2011, Andy was dissatisfied with her, the circumstances and overall the marriage. He knew he had made a wrong decision and that he should have listened to his heart years before when he had taken that new job at her place. She too was frustrated and made a couple of trips to her parents place to relieve herself of the agonies. In her absence Andy started making new friends on internet. He realized talking to strangers was a better option than talking to her. She was loud, quarrelsome and irritating most of times. She never took him seriously and did her own thing. Andy realised, this woman was not made to be in a relationship he concluded. It was a year and a half since they got married.

Andy looked out for a change his job one more time. This time he made sure he took up a travelling job which would make him travel all around the world. . Andy flew out of the country for good. Meanwhile, his wife took to complete her studies. This was a better option than to work, she thought. She could finish her doctorate in next three years while he keeps travelling. What she didn’t realize was that Andy had taken that final flight away from her and from his hopelessly passionless marriage. Andy started dating new people while he was on these trips abroad while she hopelessly tried to kept in touch. Initially Andy would call her from abroad and also before he landed but then he kept reducing all such communications with her. It became one odd call a week or just before touching down back again.

She seemed to be completely engrossed in planning her studies but she seemed to get an intuition that something was wrong somewhere. Several times she tried to ask him if he was okay . When she didn’t get any clues from his side, she chose to brush off her doubts and got back to her studies again. She faltered for the second time.

Andy changed his job again in year 2011 March. This time he got a lucrative offer in her city.  Back then when they were dating there ,he had even purchased a house there to make their life easier. This time the job was a high income one. This time Andy decided to live apart from her in his own house. She was not happy but she could not help it. It was one year into her fellowship program and she refused to leave it to join him. She faltered again.

Andy was sent to Singapore for a work assignment of 4 months. He came back and joined another assignment at another city. He consciously chose not to visit her and kept himself busy in work. They would meet only once or twice in that year 2011 at his parents place. Several times she would force herself into his hotel room without his consent. She also forced him to stay with her in their house once. he became even more averse to her once she tried to commit suicide by popping some odd pills.  She faltered one last time.

One month into this new project at this new city, Andy met a girl on a dating site. It was Aug 2011. The day they met,his life changed for better.

Cut back to present ….Its been 3 years and Andy is happily married to her. Andy does not remember his past. Nor does she lets him. But sometimes a stray thought comes onto his mind….he had wasted 7 years of his life for a good for nothing woman. How does one trust a relationship? There is no way except to live in together for sometime. That’s what they had done. They lived together day in and day out for last 3 years till they became inseparable!

Life is a gamble he thought, one time he lost and this time he has won the Power-ball!

His Girl Caught & Shot- Andy

His Girl
Caught & Shot- Andy

Its only fair, he knows.

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