Those people called ‘parents’

Age 3: Amma (mom) pets and pampers me enough, keeping away troublesome cousins, aunts and uncles. Achan (dad) brings home sweets, doesn’t force me to have food that I don’t like and even scolds Amma if she scolds me! Amma is working, and is never at home when we (my brother and I) come back from school. Must be the stress…but she scolds a lot.
Age 8: We have shifted to a new place. Amma is not working anymore…she’s always at home…and narrates stories and anecdotes in the evenings and at night. She’s never angry these days. Achan goes to work, but takes us to his friends’ houses occasionally…and at the supermarket, allows us to buy any number of :).
Age 10: We are back in our hometown. Amma’s started working again…and is again angry most days…must be the stress. Achan is still in the other town, and comes home only during weekend—that too, not all weekends. I keep asking or a lot of things, but he never buys. Forgets, maybe. Amma scolds a lot. I think she likes my brother more :(.
Age 14: My friends keep telling me about new dresses and bags and fancy pencil and geometry boxes. How come I never get them so often? I think I have very bad, insensitive parents. And they like my brother more. My best friend’s mom is a housewife. I think Amma should quit work.
Age 16: I have a lot of friends and hang out with them a lot. Amma doesn’t like it too much…she likes my friends, but not the amount of time I spend with them. She thinks I should be more at home. I don’t like it when she behaves like this. My brother goes around with his friends; yet Amma says nothing…in fact she tells me that he’s more loving and ‘homely’. Dad never interferes in anything that we do…is he too detached or is he just leaving us to be independent? And I think Amma should quit work.
Age 17: I hate being at home these days…even my brother is away at the college hostel. Dad is kind of angry these days…and too distant from us. I think Amma should quit work. She is also stressed out and irritable. I wish I could get away from home…and from my hometown ! I’m not brilliant at studies…and I think Amma despises me for that…she always says my brother studies very well. I think she likes him more :(. I failed miserably in the engineering admission test. Am sure Amma will hate me even more. Who cares…I have enough friends!
Age 18: Achan and Amma surprised me tremendously by making me feel good about not getting into engineering. They told me to join for Arts…English Literature…Amma even said she knows I’ll excel in that. Wow…she thinks I can be good in something?? WoW!
Age 19: Am doing well in college…my professors had called in Amma for a meeting…and she told me she’s proud of me…from what she heard from them. Dad is super cool. When I told him I had got into a relationship and ow wanted to back off, he stood by me and helped! Amma and Achan takes every chance to encourage me in whatever I do…whatever decisions I make…but they guide me if my decision is wrong—with delicate words…they are really lovely people. Only lucky people gets parents like them!
Age 20: Something tragic happened at home…my brother had a mishap…everyone is scared. But he’s ok. My college life is over. I went to Mumbai to seek admissions for my PG. Achan and Amma has agreed…they are really good. Was there for around 45 days, with my bestest friend…though I had a lot of fun, I keep missing Amma and Achan terribly (not to mention my brother). I can’t believe this…I thought I’ll be happy to be away from them! How wrong I was…they are the best human beings I ever saw. As parents, they are ideal! A dream come true!
Age 21: I did my PG in Kerala itself…but away from my home town. Oh how I kept missing Amma and Achan. I still remember how she cried when she left me at my hostel. She loves me too! And when I fell terribly ill, Dad drove all the way from our hometown and took me home! They are such loving parents. I was the one who’d been bad all the while…for never understanding them.
Age 22: I am in love…this is serious. And the guy is a Christian. I thought they’d never agree. But they told me they value my happiness more than anything. If I’m sure he’s the one, so are they! And they are ready to sacrifice anything for my sake…

Isn’t it amazing—and a bit weird—how we fail to understand some of the most important people in our lives? Comparison being one of the prime characteristics of humans, we always look at what others get and wonder why that never happens to us…it’s only when you start understanding what others don’t get, that you realise the blessings you are laden with. A series of life experiences and situations made me realise how extremely lucky I was to get parents like mine. If there’s something I’d never give away for all the goodness in the world, it’s them…my Dad and Mom…they are a dream come true!! Lov ya both!!

Earlier comments.

I am a girl…and i just love being one!

Speaking for a moment for all girls, it is understandable when one of us say “i hate a girl!”…understandable that one (or many) situation or the other at that moment made her say that. What i just dont understand is why guys perk up immediately and say “yea, being a guy is much better!” If you ask me, being a guy is always better…but only for guys; and being a girl is best…but only for girls! If one of us were to ever get a chance to be the other one, i’m sure it’d be hell.

I grew up to very supportive and broad-minded parents and an adoring, adorable elder brother. Like a girl (am not using ‘typical’ as a prefix, since I feel there’s nothing ‘typical’ about girls!), I used to be weepy and shy. Then I slowly grew up to be a tom boy—all my friends were actually my brother’s friends; the games I played with them were all cricket, wrestling-in-the-mud, war-games and all typical Indian games that boys usually play. Then I grew up again to be a girls-only type! For
st 4-5 years, I never had a single friend of the male type! And again, back to a mixed crowd I jumped…and became hugely popular with guys again…this time, mine own friends, along with my brother’s.

In spite of all this, I still remained a girl…and even when I’m in the midst of guys, I’m a girl by myself…I am not sad I cant talk about cars or cricket—I have a goldfish’s brain for these things, apart from many other 😉 …I’ve never learnt to drive (feel ashamed when my mom makes fun, but am thankful I don’t get sent to shop after shop to buy stuff for the house :D) and to answer one of the popular mails floating around, I’m not sad I cant jump into a pool wearing a white shirt…that I cant jump into a pool wearing no shirt…that I cant pee anywhere on the road…that I cant pee while I’m standing…buf!! but still, I love being a girl…and I love everything about being a girl…being who I am…

Am not a feminist…I hate that genre and drear to think of being one. I don’t think guys are chauvinists…its just that they are proud of being guys—and just don’t realise that we re proud to be girls ourselves!! Am I making any sense at all? Ok, here’s why I’m writing this…

A friend spoke to me a few days back…and when I told him I had decided to take a break from work for a while and go home, he told me “look, don’t be a fool and act like a girl. You are not just a girl, you are more than that”!! Hello, now do you want me to do specifics and prove that I happen to be a girl? The “more than that” part is appreciated, thank you; but what about the “not just a girl”? I really don’t understand why guys think it’s a compliment to tell a girl “you are not just a girl/don’t act like a girl” Act??? Did you actually use that word??
I had barely come over it when, while out shopping (I had bought one dress from an outlet and was heading towards the next) another friend asks “why are you behaving like other girls? (implying that I’m ‘different’!) Do you have to go to more than one shop to buy a couple of shirts??”. Dude, if you got a problem, head home…I can shop without you!!

Now what is all this? What do “other girls” do?
• Weep when they are sad? Despair over a snub? • Cry when in pain? • Enjoy the rain? And the wind and the smell after that? • Take more than 30 minutes to buy 4 shirts? And go to more than one shop for that? • Prefer books over sports? Generally? • Giggle over silly jokes? • Giggle over no joke? • Like stuffed toys? • Keep a diary and write in it?

Well I also do all these things…and crazier stuff than this…call me unpredictable; call me eccentric; call me a girl…but please don’t call me “different” and don’t ask my why I behave like a girl! The answer is right in your face, dodo!!
And yea: if you find the way girls behave to be funny, get yourself tested…maybe you really dont know the difference between the genders. By the way, we don’t think guys behave funny! Period.

Earlier comments.

So, where did I go?

I was born in a family of four, to parents who allowed independence of thoughts and decisions and always gave a chance to become a self-reliant, self-respecting but disciplined individual. I was never forced to do anything against the ethics and ideals I had grown up with. The greatest motivator I had in life was a brother whom I adored. He never created situations in which I would have to put away the individuality with which I’d grown up. I was happy with life and its offerings, free to trace the road towards the future, free to make and take decisions.

Then I fell in love…….. I was elated!! The partner I found for life was accepted by the family with open arms. I was amazed and exhilarated since I began getting added joy in life. As the days passed, I was totally caught up in the love that was so warm and lively. But I had a minor problem. The partner lived far away and I desperately wanted to be with the partner. But at the same time, I was reluctant to leave the parents alone and go away from them; I felt that would be selfish. I was in a dilemma. Then I began trying to reason with the partner as to why I could not join the partner soon. It seemed to work, but I knew that the partner was sad. Caught between the love of the parents and that of the partner, I started realising the every decision I took would somehow affect either party. I also realised that the individuality and freedom with which I had lived for so long was becoming limited as I had to be in accordance with the personality of the partner. I awakened to the fact that the ‘individual’ which I had been all these years was now getting torn apart. I could no longer decide things alone…but still, I moved on…sometimes content, sometimes in despair…So where did I go?? What did I do?? Can I be brought back to be who I was?? Or is ‘I’ lost amidst that multitude of other ‘I’s?

No, that was not my story. It was not a First Person Narrative. ‘I’ was just used as a name, like your name and mine…to tell the story of how you and I get entangled in that web called ‘love’. As for me, I’m not a cynic, neither a sadist nor a pessimist to say that being in love is a disaster. It definitely is not. But that’s not all that love is not…love is not bliss and love is definitely not blind! Unless the love is unconditional—then it certainly is blind and shall be bliss. Otherwise, NO! And more often than not, only one among thousands would be unconditional. Even a mother’s love is seldom unconditional. And that is why these ‘I’s get lost in that web.

Love makes one feel that their partner is ‘all mine’ and easily forgets that the partner has a mind, heart and individuality of her/his own—and this, in turn, invites that dreadful character called ‘possessiveness’ into the mind. The rest is a battle—to let or not to let possessiveness take over. That is a phase of ‘love’ when you regret having succumbed to its cuddly clutches! But hey, love isn’t all that disturbing. It is just a new route you start to travel on, being responsible for another’s emotions, which would be to you as valuable as your own. All you have to do is “think”—

think that your partner is not you.
think that your partner can never be you.
think that even if your partner tries to be you, it wont work (don’t do it; don’t expect it done either!)
think that it’s ok for your partner to indulge in him/herself occasionally
(yu do it too, but never realise!)
think that if your partner can apologise, well…so can you!
think that letting-go of your ego is the best decision you can ever make.
think that their emotions are as opaque as yours.
(mind-reading is impossible; so open up!)

—and finally accept that there is no book or article on earth that offers ‘101 Solutions for a Problem-free Love Life’. The ‘think’ points I mentioned above would be only the tip of the iceberg of solutions. Disappointingly, no scientist or underwater camera is ever going to help you find the hidden iceberg for you! It just leaves tips like this here and there, which people like me grab and put into books and articles. So, instead of hunting for the iceberg, it would be for your best intent that you just make sure there’s never any space for ice between you and your partner. Stay frost-free!

Courtesy: My Partner!

Earlier comments.

Which kinda friend?

There are different kinds of them…there are best friends…there are good friends…there are school friends…college friends…there are chat friends (and nowadays ‘orkut’ friends)…there are colleague-friends…then there are ‘sunny-day’ friends…well, there are many kinds….but the best of the lot are those friends who were once people you either never noticed, detested, assumed they werent your kind, thought were losers…or just considered ‘not my type…’—until, on a sudden sunny day, they become so attached to you…and actually surprise you by sticking close even when it rains!

I have such a friend…the studious guy that he had always been, all through my school days (for 5 long years, in fact), i thought he was just not my kind…was just too reserved…and would never gel into ‘my gang’…

But i was so very wrong ! When—after 3 years of graduation, another year of post graduation and yet another long year of sitting-at-home-with-nothing-to-do—i chanced upon this school-mate of mine on the net, i was surprised, pleasantly shocked and happily content that i’d found someone, whom anyone who knows me would have thought had been my best friend all through my life ! !

In 5 days, we discussed about things in our life which we wouldnt have spoken about 5 years back ! A lot of silly stuff, interspersed with some serious things…anyways, after many days of talking and many more surprises, i finally had to admit i was glad that we ‘met’ again after such a long time…i could be ‘just myself’ when i talked to him…(well, i can be that with a lot of other people…but i never thought it would happen with this guy)…i could discuss things that i would dare not with some of my “best friends”…but they are my “best friends”…in a different way…

I have realised that even to your “best friends”, you cant say everything…and if they make fun of you, you cant complain…its just that one needs to categorise friends into different roles…and categorise the topics of discussion too…because every person is a different individual, and just being your friend will not make him/her your twin soul and all that! (Cant say how many of you will agree to this…but ultimately, that’s how it works!)

Anyways, even on your happiest day, when you ‘discover’ a friend who had always been there, the day just lights up immensely ! Thanks for such a day, mannsurya ! 😉

Earlier comments.

My MOM : “Atleast on an auspicious day like this, why don’t you wake up early and have a bath??”

This is one statement that rebukes me on the morning of every Shivrathri, Sri Krishna Jayanthi, the nine Navrathri days, Deepavali and the like. But never on a Christmas or Ramzan or Easter… So what exactly is the criterion for a day to be auspicious and good??

A bud that blooms into a flower, the dew drops that twinkle brighter than diamonds when struck by the first rays of the sun before they melt to give the leaves a bath, the chirp of the birds that greet our ears before the vehicles start honking, the yawn that deserts our face when the sun shooes it away with his rays, the refreshing aroma of th tea leaves that boil to make the water a golden brown………..are these not the beauty of what we call a ‘day’ ??

Doesn’t every day dawn the same way? Or is it that on a so called ‘auspicious’ day, the sun rises from the West, birds sit tightlipped, flowers dont bloom and the rooster refuses to cock-a-doodle-do?? Ok, so maybe the same rooster doesn’t wake us up everyday, but other than that, isn’t every ‘day’ more or less the same, yet beautiful?
So coming back to my mom’s questioning rebuke…what exactly makes a day ‘auspicious’??

Actually, folks, (mom, you are included too) ……..

that day changed her life.

She was the youngest in the family, but not a pampered, spoilt brat. Probably, the only one who used to pamper her was her brother. But that day made alterations in them all. The ‘little sister’ figure that she adorned was suddenly snatched away. The ‘big brother’ figure of her brother crumpled into non-existence. She, used to always being pampered by her brother, suddenly found life demanding her to switch roles. He became the ‘kid’ and she became the ‘one he looked up to’.

She would turn just 20 the following month. But the days that followed the D-day turned her into lot more than just 20. For a carefree person who never took life seriously, she was faced with a reality called ‘death’. For someone who gave little space in her life for emotions, she was caught up in a whirlpool of her brother’s emotions, not to mention her own. For someone who thought friends were the best centres of fun & love, she was buried under an avalanche of guilt—that she never tried to find out her parents’ love, that she never bothered to give them much. For someone who never cared about the importance of relationships, she shuddered under its magnitude on each human being.

Taking care of a 23-year-old who behaves like a 5-year-old is no joke. It’s demanding, it’s tough and it’s a big responsibility. The earlier ‘she’ would have moved aside for her mother in such a situation. But she took it in her own hands to care for him like her baby. She had a tough time figuring out the waves, rather
the disturbing tides, which his memory loss had gifted him. She followed him everywhere to keep him out of trouble, she told him things that he could and couldn’t do, she coaxed him into having the foods that he pushed away and she made sure he wouldn’t know about the one who’d left them all, until the time was apt. She fought tears all day to avoid questions that might arise from his curious mind, but at night she sang lullabies for him and wept into her pillow.

An arts student in her final year graduate program, she sat day and night to teach him engineering papers, so that he may clear them all (and for that, she had to get a grasp of it first!). She went with him to his college and stood outside his exam room to give him the confidence he lacked due to his memory failure. For a person who used to sleep when the clock strikes 10, the nights began to remain ‘young’ even at the strike of 12! As the day finally arrived and he began asking about his past, she struggled to find strength in her voice while explaining that fateful night’s happenings. When he took in every word she said without any sorts of dithering, she sat amazed at how much he believed in her.

In return for her 3-4 months of total turmoil, she got a brother who now loved her all the more; a brother who saw the world through her eyes; a brother who would do absolutely anything for her; a brother who believed his life was a blessing so that he may love her; a brother who lamented that he never loved her this way before! She rejoiced. She was thankful that she was younger to him, because she felt he loved her like one may love a baby! She realised the value of ‘life’ in the light of the reality called ‘death’. She weaved in her father, mother, brother and herself into an envelope called “love”. Everyday she finds herself on a big heap of love all the time. Thankful to The Almighty for giving her a lovely family, she is still in doubt…even to this very day…

She thought it had been the most horrid day of her 20 years of existence…but was it?
In a sense it was; in a sense it was not, and it never shall be. This could be the perfect example for the phrase ‘every coin has two sides’!
On that day, she lost a very dear person. Someone as close to her as her brother. Someone whom she loved a lot. Someone who was totally endearing. In that sense, the day was the most horrid.
On that day, she got back someone who had been susceptible to the same fate as the above mentioned. Someone whom she loved a lot. Someone who loved her a lot. Someone who was actually her brother…………………… in that sense, would that day ever be a horrid one?

Are You Indian Enough To Read This???

Yesterday, I had gone to visit my granddad who had returned from Australia (regret to mention that he didnt bring me anything! rude, isn’t it? hehe..) And he was relating the differences between here and there… true…Australia is a much developed nation…not fair to compare, right?? But then… what on earth were we all up to all these 60 years since the GREAT GRAND INDEPENDENCE??
Anyway… after all that discussion, generally people would become gloomy at the sorry state we are in !! But I rather felt we are a funny lot…all of us Indians… Taking for Granted is our motto… and that is one motto we ardently stick to…

Ever noticed how we must strain to read the ‘Do Not Spit Here’ boards because of all the spit that is covering it?? Hehe…having to advertise such a board at a public place is shame enough…and to have to struggle to read it??? Atrocious!
Ever noticed how we crib at the lack of ‘better’ facilities at public places but use the ones available as if its been provided individually for each of us and misuse it to a sorry state?? Atrocious!
Ever noticed how we frown at tho omnipresent spit on the road, wonder which ******* did it and then do the same because the sight makes us puke?? Atrocious!
Ever noticed how we all complain of the corrupt politicians and their horrid governance?? And then elect and re-elect them every time just so that the party we dislike don’t come to power?? Atrocious!
Ever noticed how we gape in awe at the beauty and cleanliness of the European countries and still strew our garbage everywhere around other than in the public garbage bins… and then swear at the Corporation about the stench?? Atrocious!
Ever noticed how we daily curse the pedestrians for walking ‘on the road’ and still jam park our cars and two-wheelers on the footpath, leaving them no other choice?? Atrocious!
Ever noticed how organized, disciplined and full of civic sense we are when we reside in a Singapore or a Middle East nation or elsewhere, do not litter their surroundings, do not abuse fellow citizens and never try to get corrupted…but then inevitably do all this when we return to India?? Atrocious!
Ever noticed how we curse all the people who use public toilets and the stench they leave…and then leave without flushing out our contributions just because the previous user wasn’t sport enough to do that?? Atrocious!
Ever noticed how we scorn the poor law and order system, shower the officers with sarcasm… yet slip a couple of Gandhi heads into their pockets to ease ourselves out when booked for public speeding, jumping the red light or smoking in public?? Atrocious!
Ever noticed how we pride ourselves on being a secular nation and yet find ourselves filling a column on our caste/religion in every single application available in th country?? Atrocious!
Ever noticed how people abhor being referred to by the name of their low caste, yet doesnt mind being given priority based on that status when jobs or any selections are concerned; or how people enjoy being a high caste… yet hates it when they lose preference to the lower caste ones?? Atrocious!
Ever noticed how we always blame our fellow citizens, the government and even the rest of the whole wide world for the under-developed state of our nation, but always finds the excuse “I alone cant change the system” and continue to do nothing about it?? Atrocious!

Well, for that matter…………. Ever noticed how people like me (and you) write up such huge articles, publish it, expect people to become enlightened but we ourselves never do anything about it?? Atrocious!

So then I guess I better stop…but hey people out there, the next time you offer a vote to our ‘Leaders’, ask them if they would consider replacing ‘India’ wid ‘Cucumber City’… hehe… I shall get some limelight then… what say??

By the way, dont drag me to court for offending the nation’s name, all right?? I believe there is a mention of something like “freedom of expression” in our Constitution…studied it in Civics in Std 8…hehe…anyway, I was just using that…no offense, folks!!!

Be a Proud Indian…Help India Progress !! And then, enjoy life !!

Earlier comments.

Cruelty…thy name is human!

Once, while at the bus stop with a friend, a small girl came up to me and begged…when I refused to give her a single penny, my friend called me stingy…but when I took her to the bakery nearby and bought her some food, my friend laughed at me in communion with the baker ! Isn’t this why we often refuse to do what our heart tells us to? Isn’t this why often we bury our ‘service’ instincts and act like filth? Just because we fear that our peer group shall laugh at us? Just because we fear that the people around will call us emotional? Just because we fear that the world will stamp us as ‘vulnerable’? Why, why, why? Why is it always easy for us to sympathise…pity…even scorn…but never to help? Never to listen to our heart…never to express our feelings? Is it so hard…or is it because these kids are no one for us? Would we do the same if they are part of our family…or our friend’s family…would we? Is it true…the age old excuse, “I alone cant change anything”? Cant each one of us make a start?

Cruelty…no…that is not the word…but I can’t find a word that can express that torture…that pain…so lets just put it as ‘cruelty’…

a small kid…a poor hungry soul…for having stolen a few crumbs of bread…being punished with a vehicle being run over his tiny little hand…they claim it is to teach the boy what is good and what is bad…

a small kid…a poor homeless mortal…though he gets pushed away, he begs on the railway platforms for a little something tht would help him fill his empty tummy…until a burly man pushes him out of his way with his burly hands and the kid falls onto the rails…thankfully, there is no train there and none came…they claim it serves him right…

a small kid…a poor lonely girl…with a burnt arm…burnt with acid thrown on her by god-knows-who…..people walk by… looks at her with a lot of pity…throw a few coins…they claim it is her fate….

a small kid…11 years old…looks just 4…thin like a pencil…because his guardians brought him up on plain water and meagre morsels so that he would remain thin and would easily slip through in between window bars to steal stuffs from households…they claim these are part of a hard life….

a small kid…burnt from head to toe…with kerosene poured on him and set afire…because he failed to collect the amount of money assigned to him by the beggar community he was entrapped in…they claim it is his destiny….

Well…every destiny reaches an end…either with a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow…or with just more dirt at the end of a dark cloud…but for most of those described above, the dark clouds bring massive rain…we can just hope that afterwards, when the sun shines, they may walk along the rainbow road and the pot of gold will greet them……….greet them with the kind of life we enjoy!

Why not help them get greeted……why not give them a share of what we have so far been blessed with? God creates everyone equal…it is the way we treat each other that matters…so, what say, folks?