Day 30: You’ve not lived today until…

You’ve not lived today until you have done something
for someone who can never repay you!
John Bunyanjohn-bunyan

I found the words tremendously meaningful…
…because, we can never say for sure someone can never repay us (not even after either of our times is up, because the impact of some good things are felt long after it is done) and that means we continue trying to do something to that effect for as long as we live. How better can then your life be, if you persist to do something amazing everyday? 🙂

…and the image immensely touching
because, it speaks not just a thousand words, but a million emotions as well!

I am glad I came across this today,
to be able to make this my closing post for NaBloPoMo 2016!
.

THANK YOU
Swaram.
And all the lovely ladies, for a month of amazing reads.
This was fabulous!

Day 25: Why “Kinder” is the funniest word!

As I read the word “Yemble” on this post from Shail, I laughed out loud, both at the hilarity of the word and at a similar one from my ‘family’ vocabulary.

Both sides of my family — Amma’s and Achan’s — are huge. My dad is the eldest of seven kids and my mom the fifth of seven kids. So, counting the two sevens plus their spouses and kids would come up to — ermmm…just doing some calculations here, give me a moment — 27 on the dad’s side and 29 on mom’s. That’s a whopping 56 of us. We can be declared as qualifying to be a tiny village! 😀 And there have been times when a majority of this big number got together. Weddings, some Onams, some  New Year eves…

One such time was, when I was about three, on a trip we made to Ahmedabad, where my dad’s second sister lived. Some folks from mom’s side came along too. Frankly, I don’t recall the trip at all: the only visuals are from fading photographs in old albums I’ve seen many hundred times, and this particular incident is from the tale having been told and retold by many in the family, much to the chagrin of my aunt (though she’s gotten over it well enough to remind me every time we speak, that it happened) 😛

Oh, and I forgot to say: we’re a very boisterous group. The 56 together, as well as the 27 and 29 separately as well. Yes, this point is critical to the story 😛

So, I was the youngest of the crowd, with just one kiddo below me, who was too much of a toddler (or so I like to think, though he was only 5 months younger). The elders were all in the big living room, making merry. The kids (if I recall right, about six of them) were probably making more merry in the other room or the dining area. I was sitting in my aunt’s room, in one corner, playing with something-I-obviously-don’t-recall. So, when everyone decided to go out and my aunt came into the room to change, she didn’t notice me sitting in that corner…at least, not until she was midway changing into a salwar-kameez from a housecoat. And then she thought, “She’s a tiny tot, what harm can there be?” Little did she know, when she opened the door a minute later, what was in store (for near eternity).

I shot out of the room, thrilled with my discovery, yelling at the top of my voice, loud enough to be heard in a boisterous crowd of over 20 people: “Njaan Amba Ammai-de bown kinder kandeeee!

There was absolute silence for a couple seconds, before the entire household dissolved into laughter, making my aunt nearly float out of her room in utter embarrassment. For I’d just screamed out to everyone that I’d seen her brown panties! This was way back in 1987-88, when mentioning anything about innerwear in front of people of the opposite sex was a big no-no. And here I was, declaring it out loud for all the men (and women alike) in the room to hear,  complete with colour! 😛 I’d run out of the room yelling “I saw Amba Aunty’s brown underwear!”

As I mentioned at the start, I don’t know how, when or by whom this was coined, but in my mom’s side of the family, the word ‘kinder‘ meant underwear! And once she became part of my dad’s family, it got accepted that side too.

Which is probably why, for a long time, every time I heard the word Kindergarten, I would go Aiyyyeeee and Hihihihi for a while! The first time of that being when I asked my parents what the expansion of LKG/UKG was 😛 And well, when Kinder Joy came out with their advertisement on TV first — boy, it was kinder joy for us indeed! We laughed for hours! And the most curious cat of the family even bought one immediately, just to see what it looks like, though not wanting to ever eat it 😛 OK, that was me! 😀

The good part being, among family members, we can discuss ‘kinder’ matters in public without having to ever be embarrassed because no one knows what it is. Ooops…unless one of you readers happen to be in close vicinity 😀

Day 20: The voice of my subconscious

When I wrote this post yesterday, I had a lot of questions kicking up a mini-storm in my head, derailing my otherwise logical thought process. When Varsh commented that if only we knew all the answers, life would be much less complicated, I told her travel was the answer to everything, especially if to somewhere in the Himalayan region 😉

Which is true, of course. But, when you are not all set for travel, there is another source for answers to these kinds of questions! And, that’s in Hobbes. If you follow Calvin and Hobbes, you’re probably nodding your head right now. Haven’t you wondered how Calvin always asks these philosophical, highly intriguing and seemingly rhetorical questions, only to have Hobbes respond with the simplest answers? Little surprise then, that the answer is in yourself 🙂 In the rare chance that you actually get it from another person altogether, then be assured that person is, in essence, your subconscious!

Anyway, after I posted this yesterday, I got well told off by my subconscious, who then sat me down and took those questions one by one.

Here are enlightenments from my subconscious (up for debate, though not for agreement, because my subconscious is mine own and might think and perform differently from yours for good measure)

Q: Reflections, when ugly, are never the mirror’s fault. It is the fault of the “object” and the “light” that reflects off it at a bad angle. But you do need the mirror to show that to you. Unless you choose to never look in the mirror. Is that wise, though?
A: Not at all. Though, if in your search for ugly reflections, you’re missing out on the beautiful ones, then you’re defeating the whole purpose of reflections and probably should stop it right away! Or, look for the beautiful ones instead and see how they weigh against the ugly ones. Whatever you do, make sure the outcome is a good one. Else, don’t attempt it. It gives you no returns in the long run.

Q: Looking back at the past and drawing lines to the present…is that a good thing to do? Does reflecting on the past and regretting not acting on a certain intuition then…make it sensible to consider that decision now?
A: Yes, it is a great thing to do to help you spot potholes from afar and steer away from them. But unless the people, situations and feeling are the exact same now as they were then, that decision from then is irrelevant in the now. It’s got to be a fresh, well thought out one that will consider and help you brace against impact from all angles.

Q: Are intuitions any good, or is it just a fancy term for a comparison at different levels? Are they just bad feelings to brush off with Hope and Faith, or are they things needing serious thought?
A: Intuitions are good, to be listened to. They’re not fancy or to be brushed off at any time. Please, always listen. Never walk into something you have doubts about. If you’re not convinced, don’t do it.

Q: How much, what kind and when is it OK to forgive? If you cannot forget, what’s the point in forgiving, when memory serves to rekindle the same feelings many times over? How genuine, then, is that forgiveness…and how fruitful?
A: If it didn’t include physical abuse/violence and deliberate false accusations/character assassination, the rest could be considered forgivable. This is a matter of personal choice, of course. But broadly, if it is in someone’s character to accept fault and be corrected, then they deserve that chance at forgiveness. But, just one chance. It’s good to not forget, because if life slaps you in the face again, you know what and how you survived previously. It makes you stronger, wiser. Forgetting something is not in anyone’s immediate control, but the forgiveness can be truly genuine if it is from the heart, with no unhealthy intentions…and highly fruitful in salvaging a lot that matters in life.

Q: How can you weigh the unknown repercussions of your decisions against your future happiness? What if your intuition fails you and you don’t take what could have been the best decision of your life?
A: Everyone knows the answer to this 🙄 It’s the future we’re talking about! Don’t, and you can’t, plan it.

Q: How trustworthy can today’s promises be, when tomorrow is a whole new day?
A: Go ahead and trust – it will do you good. It does make you vulnerable, yes, but not if you’re in the right hands. So, before you call on your heart and trust someone (again), call on your mind and make that smart assessment of whose promises will be kept and whose will not. But please, do trust. For people cannot rip open their hearts and show you that they mean it – they can only tell you and hope for your trust.

Q: Does anyone know how the scalded cat, that feared even cold water, finally got over its fear? Is fear a good reason to not believe?
A: Well, this is a secret of my species; I’m not really allowed to divulge it to your kind. But for you, and only for you, I shall. We just got thirsty. Think about it…if we relied on fear as a good reason to believe that water (in all forms) was going to burn us, we’d have all died of thirst and become extinct. So, no – fear is never a good reason to not believe; fact is.

Q: In an attempt to stay positive, is it wise to brush the unknown, unexpected and unhappy under the carpet?
A: No. Well, the unknown and unexpected are not in your control. The unhappy, however, is. Goes a little back to the first question, really. But if the attempt to stay positive is supported by fact, faith, trust and hope, then maybe (just maybe) brush it under for now. Because, there will always be an opportunity to lift that carpet and clean it up for good.

Q: How late is too late?
A: It’s never too late, for anything. No decision you take is the final decision of your life, unless it is to take your life itself. Which I, as your subconscious, will never let you do: because your life is mine too…and I am, because you are.

If there is one thing I’m grateful for in life, it is my subconscious 🙂 What would I do without you!?

Day 19: Reflections…

…when ugly, are never the mirror’s fault. It is the fault of the “object” and the “light” that reflects off it at a bad angle. But you do need the mirror to show that to you. Unless you choose to never look in the mirror. Is that wise, though?

Looking back at the past and drawing lines to the present…is that a good thing to do? Does reflecting on the past and regretting not acting on a certain intuition then…make it sensible to consider that decision now?

Are intuitions any good, or is it just a fancy term for a comparison at different levels? Are they just bad feelings to brush off with Hope and Faith, or are they things needing serious thought?

How much, what kind and when is it OK to forgive? If you cannot forget, what’s the point in forgiving, when memory serves to rekindle the same feelings many times over? How genuine, then, is that forgiveness…and how fruitful?

How can you weigh the unknown repercussions of your decisions against your future happiness? What if your intuition fails you and you don’t take what could have been the best decision of your life?

How trustworthy can promises be, when tomorrow is a whole new day?

Does anyone know how the scalded cat, that feared even cold water, finally got over its fear? Is fear a good reason to not believe?

In an attempt to stay positive, is it wise to brush the unknown, unexpected and unhappy under the carpet?

How late is too late?

Day 18: The one that stuck to the plan

Once up on a time, there were two little girls who met in school. They sat next to each other on the front bench in class. Both of them did not know what prompted it, but neither thought twice about starting a friendship.

One was studious, the other didn’t care. One was sober and soft-spoken, the other was a rebel. One was a total girl, the other wasn’t. Yet, none of these ever came in the way of their friendship. Because there was a common love that ruled over everything else. The love for books, and the shared joy from reading the same ones. Together, they devoured the books in the school’s tiny library. Most weeks, once the library hour was over, the librarian had to shoo them out to make way for the next batch! So, they went to public libraries and devoured more books. They discussed their reading list and constantly exchanged books and experiences.

As the months went by, in one of the conversations, they both decided they would grow up to be a writer and and a published author! This, then, remained a constant through the rest of their days together. “When I become an author…” was a frequent way to start one of their never-ending discussions.

A whole year went by. And then one moved away to a new city, when her father was transferred there. The friendship continued, strong as ever…for both were aspiring writers, and write they did! Long letters, written neatly and laboriously over many pages, kept them both updated on what the other was up to. In time, however, other friends walked into their lives. Priorities and situations changed, and the letters became far and few between.

Till one day, three years later, a letter arrived from the one who moved away: she was moving back into town, and joining back at the same school! Much joy and anticipation, till school began after the long summer break! Only, there were now other friends in the picture, and they were no longer even in the same class, forget sitting next to each other. The bond had evolved over time, into one that would remain, but not as close as it once was. The only thing that did not change: love for books, and the promise to be an author one day.

Both completed school and went their separate ways again, entering the job market. One was thrilled with the designation at her first job, and jumped it joy when she got her first visiting card that said she was a “Writer.” She remembered her friend and wondered what she’d say to this. The other went on to become an Engineer.

Many year passed.

The one that began her career as a writer, did not stay writer for too long, except dabble on her blog, even today. The one that became an engineer, although also dabbled with blogging, stuck to the plan. And is a published author today! 🙂

ramya

So proud of you, girl! 🙂

In her own words…

There is no feeling quite like seeing your name in print for the first time- It is a queer mixture of pride, disbelief and elation! Writing has been a long journey of learning and self-discovery, and as I finally take the leap from being a writer to being a published author, I have only my lovely family, friends and awesome readers to thank!

Day 17: WIFE!

The Queen of Subtlety and I were talking today on Skype. We were catching up on good old days and having the usual banter, when she said…

do you know i read about all you other friends on your blog and get so jealous
ppffftt…
best friend, this friend, college friend…that friend…uuugh
i want to write a big board and say WIIIFFEEEE!!

I told her she is the only friend of the above mentioned categories to have an entire post on her and multiple mentions across several other posts. And then I thanked her for giving me a topic for today. I said I’d put up a pic of her and put a board saying WIFE! Since I don’t wish to die for the mere reason of having publicised a photo she then would kill me for, because she doesn’t look good in it, I stuck to just putting up a board title – WIFE!

Let me clarify the “Wife”, before any of you have wild imaginations. So, I’m this tomboy I’ve told you about several times. I’m constantly in jeans, T-shirts (or chequered shirts, mostly in blues!) and a pair of running shoes. She takes the word “Queen” and “Princess” quite literally at times and goes to the other extreme of being a completely pretty and mostly hot girl! She hates my boyish attire, and I don’t really care about her’s (pretty or otherwise) 😛 I’m constantly pulling her leg and responding with “No, I won’t/can’t /don’t” to just about everything she says. She tries to shower her love on me (sometimes quite literally in the form of tea, biscuits, curds, and whatnots 🙄 ), with hugs and I wriggle out of it with my classic “Ugh, get off me!” expressions 😀  She says “I love yaaaa” and I go “Yeah OK whatever 🙄 ” She tries to (in jest) be the damsel in distress and I tell her to cut the crap. She is absolutely bonkers about the colour pink and I make it a point to tell her every time just how much I hate pink (aaand that she should cut the crap). She calls me Jack (short for jackass, nothing fancy) and I return the love in titanic proportions by calling her Rose! Despite all these, I love her and will always be there for her, and I do think she loves me too 😉

After a few months of this behavioural exchanges, an ex-colleague (well, all three of us are ex-colleagues now!) said that while we’re supposedly best friends, we totally behave like Husband and Wife, where she is the nagging wife and I’m the no-nonsense husband 😛 😛 😛  And that stuck. To the point that my brother has her number saved in his contacts list as “Mrs Priya” 😛

Hence, the title. And the jealousy 😛 Long distance relationships are tough! I miss the wifey!

Day 16: Go Set A Watchman

This is not a book review. I’m terrible at writing book reviews, so I shall not.

This is about the feeling I was left with when I’d finished the book. And for once, I can’t find the right words to express them.

To Kill A Mocking Bird shall always remain in my Top 5 favourites. The reason I loved TKAMB was because I identified a lot with Scout and loved her. I was also a huge fan of Atticus. But mainly, Scout. The tomboy that she was. The way her brother was her best friend. The way her father was no nonsense, yet loving. The way she was always with boys.

So, when I picked this one up, I was prepared to not like it enough. I had believed the reviews fellow readers gave. I’d played down my expectations and was ready to turn the last page over and think “Just did not do justice to the first one”.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I loved Go Set A Watchman for a lot of different reasons, Scout and Atticus being the prime ones. I shall not list them all here because I honestly don’t know how to word those, and I won’t do any justice.

All I know is, I loved the experience of reading this book. I read and re-read some portions because the sheer awesomeness brought tears to my eyes. I sat with a pencil and marked out some really touching parts. I read a certain bit and hugged Pumbaa tight. I typed out a particular bit and texted that to my brother. I thought back to my childhood and smiled fondly. I missed Achan a lot – a LOT. I felt immense gratitude to my parents for bringing me up the way I was brought up. I wanted to curl up inside the book and be at peace ❤

I will always love it for the many pearls of wisdom I picked out and stowed away in a far corner of my mind. I’ll leave you with these…

The Lord never sends you more than you can bear.

This helps me have that bit of extra faith to stop me from giving up…

Sometimes we have to kill a little so we can live.

…and this convinces me that while to err is human, to forgive can also be human; it doesn’t always take divinity.

Because finally,

…every man’s watchman, is his conscience.