Once a trekker…

Hello peeps! Long time no see, no me, no posts! Have some time in hand today so thought I’ll quickly write up a post. Also, its Sunday today – what are you guys up to today? Busy with something you love, or simply lazing around? As far as I’m concerned, all I’m doing is reminiscing last Sunday – because at this time last Sunday, I was in my favorite place – up in the mountains! So here’s a bit about last Sunday’s trek to Kothaligad, like not the intricate details ( chuck, you’ll know when you read) – so  read up!

To be honest, I was sleep deprived and super exhausted (courtesy a hectic work week) before the trek even began . I had to wake up at 4.30 in the morning to get ready and leave home to reach the pickup point on time, at 6 am. And I’d set the alarm to 4.30 am, but I was so delirious, that when the alarm rang, I woke up , sat up scratching my head wondering why on earth have I set the alarm to 4.30 in the Morning on a Sunday! It took me a couple of minutes to finally realize I had a trek to go to!

Also, I was missing from the action scene since the beginning of 2019 – this trek was my first trek this year. I wasn’t able to keep the ‘one trek every month’ pact I’d made with myself. After Fort Mahuli in December 2018, I sadly wasn’t able to go on even a single trek ( life and the 150 reasons it throws up to make sure the odds aren’t in your favor!). I wasn’t missing it for anything in the world So I picked up my tired limbs, gathered myself up for the trek and set out.

Sleepy as I was, I thought I’d catch up with some sleep on the three hour journey to the fort – but no, that wasn’t to happen either! We had a trek buddies reunion – we had all met last year, on Fort Mahuli for the first time, and the ball we had on that treacherous trek! And the thing with trek buddies is that no matter after how long you meet, nothing can beat the enthusiasm to see similar faces on a trek! So yeah, we had almost 7 months of catching up to do – during which we talked about two things that mattered the most – what are you doing currently? And do you set aside time for maintaining your fitness levels?

And for me, while the first was easy to answer, I felt really guilty while answering the second one because I’d given up swimming and running too – I’d decided to pursue either of the two to keep up with my fitness, but I just couldn’t. It’s really important to maintain your fitness levels if you’re a trekker (unless of course, you’re perfectly cool with holding up the entire group with your snail-speed, wait for unnecessary breaks to catch your breath and make someone else carry your bag). So here I was, with no physical activity (stopped running since the past two months), with a lethargic body, arriving shamelessly for this trek ( which by the way, was no joke)

And the consequences of it.. well, I bore them. I struggled through the initial phase of the trek. As the altitude rose slowly, I could feel that my lung capacity had dwindled down. We weren’t even through one-fourth of the trek and here I was, already huffing and puffing, all red in the face! Added to this was my week long exhaustion, already aching body and extremely high humidity levels (84%) that day!

Thankfully, I had the best companions with me for this trek. We kept talking and walking, motivating each other. And all through this time, though I was struggling to keep up with the pace, I kept reminding myself that I’ve done tougher treks than this and though I was in my prime physical form during those, it didn’t mean that I have lost it all in me. I reminded myself, “once a trekker, always a trekker”. And rather than cribbing about how exhausted I was, I should focus my energies on trudging ahead. Did that work? Well yes, it did.

With the best trek buddies!

I soon caught the rhythm and was moving ahead like I had nothing to lose. Nature has her own ways of showing you, bringing to your notice of how you have been neglecting yourself, your body. But once you’re in nature’s arms, she will comfort you like no other. And there I was – one with Mother Nature – reveling in all her beauty, absorbing every stunning sight she was unfolding as we kept going higher.

There was a rest stop when we were done with 3/4th of the trek. We were given the option of settling there or going ahead. Because of the extreme conditions (scorching heat and humidity) half the group settled right there, while the other half ( my companions and me included) were visibly excited to go ahead! After all what’s a challenge if you don’t accept it? Especially when we were informed that the last part was the toughest, with rock climbing and a huge, winding staircase to the top (which would make any head spin!), we were like, “Yaha tak aye hai, poora kar ke hi chodenge” (If we’ve come up till here, we’re not returning without reaching the top)

The ones who decided to make it to the top!

And we did – the steps through the winding staircase were huge – at the beginning we did hop onto the steps as though they were a child’s play, soon we realized that there were many flights of stairs leading to the top – each stair two feet tall,  covered with  moss and super slippery too. After two flights which we managed to walk upright, we were on all fours for the rest of the stairs! There was no other way out!

The unforgettable stairs….

But yes ,the struggle was worth it – the rewarding view and the breakfast with the dragonflies, honeybees and butterflies whizzing past was all worth it. Especially after having breakfast, lunch in the office cafeteria – cutlery, shiny plates and table etiquette – this reckless breakfast was a welcome change. In fact I was longing for this since the past 7 months. Just sat still at the top, watching the wind mills in motion at a distance, biting into the crunchy apple and peanut butter chikki – throwing caution to the winds – not bothered about unwashed hands, lack of tissues and even plates – just peace and sheer bliss.

Trekking teaches you that you can survive with the bare minimum – you don’t require luxuries to make your life happy. It makes you realize how you waste a lot of your resources( time, money) to indulge in luxurious stuff when the real happiness lies in the simple stuff. Real happiness won’t require you to spend a fortune, the simple act of wandering away into nature is enough. An aunty, who was with us for this trek rightly said – a trekker will never be ashamed to sit cross legged anywhere and have their food. A true trekker would never seek happiness in anything material – but will cherish little moments that enrich their lives.

And oh, I forgot to tell you – I have a fear of heights. I feel dizzy when I look down from a height, with my heart beat beginning to race. And this is also one reason why I’m super comfortable with the ascent part, but very scared of the descent. But this trek changed something – while my fear of heights still hasn’t gone away completely, what I noticed was that descent no longer scares me! So a quick yayyy for me, please? I was as swift as a deer on the way down!

And then when we reached down, a piping hot lunch was awaiting us – and of course, we ate like there was no tomorrow! And then slept like babies on the way back to Pune!

I was tanned, bruised, with blisters on my feet, and tired (a different kind of tired this time 😉 ), but nothing of it mattered, because over it all I was HAPPY. SATISFIED. LIBERATED. Once, you’ve tasted adventure, you’ll never revert back to anything else to seek happiness. After all, once a trekker, always a trekker!!! 😀

Khush! 😀
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What doesn’t drown you……..

** I was supposed to post this in the month of May, but I couldn’t. I haven’t made any changes, it’s the same post with the same references to time**

So this happened a couple of months ago, when I would go swimming almost everyday (don’t ask me why I don’t go now – summer, water shortage, pool shut down) – right in the middle of December 2018. I used to go swimming no matter what the temperature was (my friends would mock me for that too, saying I was crazy enough to swim in such cold water). But I didn’t really care – except for the fact that in the 45 minutes I used to swim, the first 10 minutes were spent only standing and watching the pool, contemplating how cold the water would be when I would actually get inside!

After haais and huis (and threats from the life guard that he would push me in if I didn’t get in right away) I used finally would get into the water. (COLD – FREAKING ICE COLD). And then once I would start off with my laps, the water would get warm and pleasant. And then? Well, yes, getting out would be a huge task!

So it was just another typical Pune winter day, where mornings are super cold, afternoons get warmer and the chill returns out of nowhere in the evening. Let’s focus on the morning part.

My current pool – half the size of the pool I learnt to swim in!

I rode to the pool in the morning. Was in there by 9. And like I described, I managed to enter the water after sitting by the pool for 10 minutes. And then I started off with my laps – I swim in the deeper side of the pool, the part where annoying kids and aunties who are learning don’t venture. So basically I have that part all for myself. After a couple of laps, I stopped for some breathing practice (which the lifeguard says is perfect to improve your stamina while swimming). And while I was doing this, I suddenly heard a lady shrieking. She was right in the middle of the pool, drowning. While the lifeguard-cum-coach had an eye on her, he quickly picked the long stick by the pool and held it near her.

But the lady was in a panic mode and just gave up. And as I watched in horror, I could almost see her going down – the water had begun to enter her mouth and in no time she would be drowning. Thankfully the lifeguard had already jumped in, reached her by then and somehow struggled to pull the panicking lady outside the water.

All this happened in just 5 minutes – there was no time for anyone to even grasp what was happening.  Especially me, I didn’t even realize the lifeguard had jumped in to rescue the lady because my gaze was fixated in the lady, and flashback scenes rushed back into my mind.


Flashback to May 2005
I was a little kid who learnt swimming in the summer of second grade. Ma and Mamma would accompany us sisters to the pool everyday. We both learnt swimming quickly. After this we returned to the pool in the summer of third grade. And we both were glad that we hadn’t forgotten swimming lessons – we would gleefully swim across the pool, diagonally, horizontally – the distance just didn’t matter. And almost everyday we would try new stunts – like running into the pool and jumping in with closed eyes, diving backwards, going deep down inside the water holding our breath and looking for someone who dropped a hair clip there – we’ve done all the masti.

But on this one particular day, it was somewhere in the beginning of May (I don’t remember the date, but the rest is vivid in my mind), something went wrong. I was swimming as usual – this time right in the middle this huge Olympic Size pool, where all four sides of the pool are far away from immediate access. And as I reached the center of the pool, I don’t know why, but my hands and legs just gave in. I was just not able to beat my hands and legs the way I should have to keep myself afloat. And then I experienced something that makes most people hydrophobic – drowning.

So there I was, an 8 year old, tall for my age but pretty underweight – bundled up there in the middle of the pool with the chlorinated water entering my mouth, gasping for breath, struggling to bring myself back up, slowly shrinking deeper into the water – trying to scream for help but unable to do that either.

I knew I was under the watchful eyes of Ma and Mamma and also that my sister was somewhere around in the pool, but I also knew that apart from screaming that their jigar ka tukda was drowning they couldn’t even do anything more! I really don’t know what thoughts were scurrying in my mind at that moment, but I very well remember giving up and feeling dizzy.

Suddenly out of nowhere I felt someone hold my hand. (Help had arrived, I wasn’t dying, Not today). I could hear a voice in my ears, “Don’t get scared, it’s okay, try to beat your hands and legs”. But I just didn’t, or rather I was too exhausted from the drowning experience. I remember not putting up a struggle or even panicking or hugging my savior (something which people who drown do) as she pulled me towards the poolside  . I had given up, given in and had let myself loose – just like a boat without an anchor, drifting away wherever the winds took it.

As I was brought to the poolside – everyone rushed to my side. Ma,Mamma. I could see the bobbing head of my sister – swimming her way towards me. And then of course, the face of my savior – the Aunty with the black swimming cap, black goggles, who also happened to be a national level swimmer in her younger days. (I owe her my life, people)

Fortunately, much damage had not been done – physically I mean. I just coughed out the water and was made to sit by the pool for sometime to calm down. I think I had started to cry, but who could see my tears, I was already dripping with water! But mentally, the damage had been done. I refused to go to the pool the next day. No matter how much they tried explaining me, I just couldn’t stand the thought of going through that horrific experience again. They even tried to tell me that the monthly pass that we’d taken out would go waste – NO. I wasn’t going in again. They gave up. My coach gave up. He didn’t talk to me for a month. And I remember the last statement he uttered – “Don’t show me your face until you get back into the pool. But my jaan was pyaari to me, right? So I spent the next whole week going to pool everyday – not to swim, but to sit by the pool and watch my sister swim. I remember my coach shaking his head in disappointment looking at me.

So I decided to act – I went into the baby pool. Imagine, a kid who was almost three feet in height playing gleefully in a pool that was just one foot deep. Of course, I became the center of mockery there. Earlier, at least coach sir would look at me and shake his head in disappointment – now he refused to even look at me!

I spent almost a month in the baby pool. The entire month of May. I knew I was a laughing stock there – kids younger than me would swim in that huge pool, and here I was – not even fitting inside that pool, but still grinning like an idiot, splashing the water around there!

I don’t know what entered my mind after that month ended though, probably my small brain must have worked up something or got fed up of listening to the jeering, taunts and comments by everyone in the pool.

Aren’t you too big to be in this pool?

You’re still….in this pool?

Paani ka darr gaya nahi ab tak?

While initially I was hesitant, weighing out pros and cons – but I did get back into the pool. While Ma and Mamma may have not said anything, but somewhere at the back of their minds, I knew they were relieved. They knew how to handle this headstrong little kid – just let her have her way for a while until she realizes the goofball she’s being! And I saw that wala smile on their faces – the kind when you know you’ve done something good! And as far as my sister was concerned, more than the fact that she had her swimming partner back, she must have let out a sigh of relief because she would no longer have to listen to the comments “Wo dekh teri behen baby pool mei hai” (Look, your sister is in the baby pool”!.

And of course, my coach – I remember someone calling him outside the office to see that I’d finally got back – to where I was meant to be, to where he put all his efforts in to make sure I would survive. All those smiles – registered in my mind!

Fast forward to the present:
I’m not an exceptional swimmer, still got to work a lot on my stamina. But yes, when the little kids, aunties or even the lifeguards compliment me on how well I swim, I just smile back. I was actually beaming when a little kid in the pool told me, “Didi, you swim like a fish!” There are people who are struggling to learn swimming, and they ask me how is it that I’m not scared of water. I just shrug and tell them – just don’t let the fear of water get into you. Water is buoyant enough to hold you up, it’s the fear that weighs you down. Swim with a free mind, like a lithe fish!

What do I tell them? That I’m the same girl, who ALMOST drowned, ALMOST gave up swimming, is STILL scared to dive headfirst – but has YET not given up? Sometimes I feel I should tell them. But again, I want them to love water – not venture into it with the thought in their minds that even they could drown…

And as far as I’m concerned, this is one story Ma keeps making me hear over again – because this is what you need on days when you’re low, when you feel you’re sinking, when you have no energy and are on the verge of giving up – it’s these incidents which make you believe in yourself again. Make you realize that you’re not made up of anything random, you’re strong and meant to be a fighter.

Somewhere I’m glad it happened,and I’m even more happier I got over it.

Keep in mind – What doesn’t ‘drown’ you is what makes you strong.

That’s me – in 2018 – a hardcore aquaholic!

Grandma’s Watching:

Yet again, it’s 31st May. A year gone by, again. And I can’t help but remember Mamma. Tears well up in my eyes – yet I dare not allow even one tear drop down. Mamma never liked us crying. Although, when times were really bad, I remember collapsing onto her lap and bawling my eyes out. She let me – and after I was done, she told me that crying was not okay always, and that there are times when you have to overlook the urge to cry and actually focus on what you have to do. And the advice has stuck with us through thick and thin – the Iron Lady after all, was more than a Grandma to us – she was like that friend, one, whose advice always made sense.

Today I’ll be writing about something which Mamma left back for me – Her Vintage Citizen Quartz Watch. It’s a little tale of how something so simple fell into my hands at a time when I did not even understand it’s value. But now I do – it is one prized possession that I will hold close to my heart forever.

We were allowed to wear wrist watches in school, Class 8 onwards. And though I was gifted a simple black leather belt watch with a gold dial at the beginning of the academic year, halfway through class 8, this shiny watch caught my eye. When Mamma was sorting her cupboard one day, she took out this watch – and as she told me about it, her face lit up. It was a gift from her nephew, who worked abroad those days. As he came back, he got something for his favorite uncle and aunt (my grandparents). Mamma loved the watch. She wore it everywhere – to work, to family functions, to parent teacher meetings – everywhere. And I don’t remember exactly why, but she stopped wearing it one fine day. And since then, the watch occupied a cold corner in the cupboard, safe inside a dabba. ‘Made in Japan’ it says – it has to be tucked away safely – after all, Imported jo hai!

And when I chanced upon it – it wasn’t how it looked in its prime years. A golden strap, that had faded down the years. A rectangular dial – with a crack right through it. It had stopped working long back too. Yet the strap was sturdy as ever and I couldn’t help but try it on. I don’t know why it caught my fascination so much – my eyes were gleaming as I was admiring my wrist bearing the albeit heavy watch on it. And I guess Mamma understood pretty quick how the watch had caught my liking (I’m pretty expressive that way) And she immediately smiled and quipped – “Do you want to use it?”

It still says 5.49 PM.

“Yes, yes, YES!” . There I was, squealing with delight, hugging her, and then running around in the home spreading this happy news. I went dancing in front of my sister showing her how Mamma had given her favorite, imported-wala watch to me!! And seeing my excitement about the watch, everyone else were like – fine fine, use it carefully though!

I remember that very evening Mamma and I walked to the local watch repairing shop. And the watch repair guy first admired the watch for its beauty, his eyes all gleamy. He’d probably come across a vintage watch after a long time! Then he told us he could get the watch started, but he couldn’t do anything about the cracked dial – they no longer manufacture the spare parts of these watches – he said. Mamma looked at me, questioningly – still love it as much? I recognized the look and replied – hell, yeah! I’m wearing that watch – cracked dial or not!

We finally got it repaired and I didn’t stop wearing the watch since then. It was with me during my 10th Boards, the day I went to collect my 10th marksheet and even the felicitation day. Everywhere. Occasions important or not – the watch was there. Then one day, halfway through 11th, it stopped working. And then I stopped wearing it too. I stopped wearing watches altogether back then.

A year after that, Mamma passed away. And somehow I couldn’t gather myself to even bring that watch out from it’s dabba – forget wearing it.

But finally I did it – I mustered the courage – on the day of my convocation. I so knew how my good old lady would be so proud of me, that she would have traveled all the way to the city, 20 km to my college in the heart of the city – only to watch my convocation. And I knew she’d be clapping her heart out, watching me walk on stage with the Topper’s sash to receive my degree. All this she would do – but couldn’t.

And deep down I knew, that the honors I was receiving were not mine completely– these honors were only because of innumerable sacrifices of Mamma and Ma – and I was indebted to them for the rest of my standing life. And so as I getting ready for my convocation day, I snuck into the cupboard and took out the dabba, opened it – there it was looking back at me, dull, yet classy. And though it was still dead, wasn’t working – I put it on. My outfit that day would be incomplete without this watch. I made sure a part of me honored the memory and contribution of my Iron Lady, my grandmother, my friend, my inspiration, my everything on my big day.

See – it’s right there – adorning my left wrist!

Couple of my friends even noticed I was wearing a watch that wasn’t working, they even asked me. I beamed back proudly and told them – “It’s my Granny’s.”

I consider this watch to be my lucky charm – and every time in life whenever I achieve something where I know Mamma would be sitting in the audience watching me, clapping, with pride in her eyes – I’m going to wear this very watch.

For me, this watch is more than just an accessory – it’s like Mamma’s watching – reminding me that her blessings are always with me, with us, no matter what. It’s like Grandma’s ‘WATCH’ing.

And I’m really grateful she gave us so many things to cherish, but among all of these I will be forever indebted to her for three things specifically:
1. A truckload of fond, dear, loving (I’ll fall short of adjectives here) memories that gave us the best childhood.
2. A spine of steel that taught us to look straight in the face of adversity and never look down. And also to walk with our heads held high, no matter what situation life throws us in.
3. Third and last – this Citizen Quartz Watch – because it’s a constant reminder – Grandma’s always Watching.

Happy Birthday, Baby!

Hellooo people! Don’t ask me what I’ve been doing all day today –  (apart from work, of course, where I had a tonne of writing to do!) – I’ve been singing – When you’re happy and you know it, Clap your hands, Click your fingers and whatever else the song asks you to do! And the reason’s pretty obvious, my baby’s turned ONE today!

Along with the work and singing and other nonsensical stuff, I was also busy with revamping the look of my website – Birthday hai, naye kapde bante hai na? And well, I know I’ve been changing the look of my website quite a lot over the past year (can’t help it, no theme that WordPress offers agrees with me – I mean, c’mon, can’t they create something that suits my taste and personality?!). And when I finally found a theme that ticked all the check-boxes, I got to know that my website doesn’t support that theme – yeah, I rolled my eyes. Sheer injustice. -_-

And if you want to know to what level I was annoyed, just ask the WordPress Support Team – I chewed their brains for an hour – with them trying to explain me what has to be done, and me not understanding anything what they trying to convey (Technologically handicapped that way – don’t understand much of it – I myself don’t know how I managed to set this website up! 😛 ). I finally gave up and decided that I’ll choose some simple theme and customize it myself – which took me quite a while, and here I am – with some time off to write a post to commemorate, celebrate this day – which is very close to my heart. Because this day is when the writer in me was born – and this is no lesser than the day I was born! ❤

I’ll take you through how it all began –

Writing a blog was always on my bucket list – a dear friend of mine (Thank you, Kalash ji) even got me in touch with his friend who already had a blog, so that I could figure out how to go about with it. This was way back in 2015, when I was in first year of grad. Imagine, after three years of hesitation, struggle, wondering if I’ll be able to write, and maintain a blog – I finally decided to give it a go. 🙂

And I really didn’t know what the response would be – and I seriously wasn’t aware about the effort and guts this takes – but I think I kinda fared well. 🙂

When I was in the “NO ONE READS WHAT I WRITE” phase, I always had two of my biggest fans by my side – Ma and my sister. “Write for yourself – don’t bother about who says what”, said Ma. My sister, she said keep writing, don’t bother about the likes and comments- that’s what I do – even now. So yes, a big thanks to the only tinkas this writer has when she is besahara!

Of course, as a writer, when I put up my thoughts on a public platform, I won’t deny that it all comes with a hint of nervousness and excitement at the same time. What will the feedback be? Will they read? Will they like? These questions keep clouding my mind – even as I am writing today’s post!

But yes, over the past year, with around 15 posts in my kitty, I can now say that I’m now becoming comfortable with writing – more importantly, sharing my life with the world.

I honestly hadn’t thought I’d be up for this commitment – I’m that kind of a person who keeps flitting between things – but I’m glad I came through it! I know now, that if there’s something that I can stick to without getting bored or tired, it’s Writing!

And well, as far as my blog is concerned, I’m very very proud of it. (Not to be bragging or anything, but yes, I’m a proud Mama!) So much so that at times when I’m bored, I keep reading, re-reading posts! It may sound weird, but yes, I do it. My posts show me how and how much I’ve evolved – initially I didn’t know what to write, but when I see my most recent posts – they mirror my life. And I know that I will never run out of topics to write about till the day I’m alive and kicking – because I’ve realized that my life itself is a big, long and one heck of an interesting story (which I sincerely hope, keeps getting better by the day), bits and pieces of which I would love to keep sharing with all of you.

Oh and yes, this journey wouldn’t be possible without all of you, who actually read what I write. I know quite a few people, who no matter how busy and occupied, spare a few minutes to go through my blog and inbox me the feedback. Even apart from those, I know I have a silent following too, who just reads and doesn’t report back. And then I have my friends who will leave back comments on every post – no matter what! Oh, and those who message me – When’s the next post coming up? – when I haven’t posted anything for a while – you guys are the best! To all these people, thank you for being a part of my journey – you are the ones who motivate me to keep writing. ❤

Not to forget the whole lot of fellow bloggers from India and across the world who follow the blog and make an effort to leave back encouraging comments– to all of them, I don’t know you personally, but thank you too! 🙂

If you ask me what the highlights of this one year were, I’d definitely include two things. On the top of this list has to be when one of my articles got published, for the first time on a Canadian website – I felt like I won an Oscar that day – okay wait, not Oscar, the Booker prize! (I still feature in the top 30 articles list on the website – www.obaawoman.com, in case you missed out on it!)

And how can I forget almost winning – take note, almost winning, not won – the Backpacker’s Panda 30 day Intern Trip competition where from over 3000 applications all over the country, mine was down to the top 30 and then to the top 6 – and all I had to do to reach there was write my heart out about my love for travel! 😀

I believe my passion for writing is going to take me places! And boy, I’m thoroughly enjoying this phase which following my passion has got me into! ❤

But yes, there’s still a long way to go – I have 105 organic followers – (the earlier 354 followers were a goof-up by WordPress) but yes, 105 in a year, not bad na? I hope many more join me – which is why I keep telling you guys – share among friends and family as much as you can na? Okay do it as a gift to my baby today! :P. And I hope you guys stay tuned to this journey of mine – and bring in some more people to tune in too!

And for the celebrations part, we’re having a pastry party at home today – little joys in life must be celebrated right?! So diggin’ in those chocolate pastries this evening! 😀

Aaah and a little clarification – for those who were concerned that I misspelt the word ‘Happyness’ on today’s WhatsApp status update announcing the birthday – no I haven’t forgotten the spelling, I just took it out from one of my favorite Hollywood movies – the Pursuit of Happyness. 😀

So, tada people, keep me in your prayers, and I’ll keep you too (who’ll read my posts otherwise :P) and I’ll keep writing interesting stuff and promise me, you’ll keep reading! 😉

And I cannot think of ending this post with anything better than a TAHE DIL SE SHUKRIYA! Love you all!! ❤

Letter-wala Love:

It was a lazy Sunday – with newspapers (Sunday Times, Pune Times and Times Life to be specific), crumbs of toasted bread, a cup of cold, unfinished tea– all sprawled over the floor. Sunday is the only day of the week when we have no arguments over the newspapers – there are three for the three of us – unlike the routine weekday newspapers which are just two, leading to constant squabbles over newspapers in the early morning. So that’s our typical Sunday – you’ll find our heads bent over the newspaper, with the early morning sun basking off our oiled heads!

As usual, I picked up my Sunday favorite first – the Times Life – it is full of interesting articles, with pretty unique and relatable perspectives on many topics. As I picked the glossy newspaper, the first thing that I came across was the interview of Aditi Rao Hydari – a popular Bollywood actress. And then I saw a part of the interview that was highlighted with huge pink quotes – “Love has become a convenient emotion”. This sentence was so easy to understand yet had such a deep meaning and set my thoughts off – and that’s exactly what I’ve written about  – about where I draw my inspiration for true love.

For me, the most ideal couple that I always look up to is that of my maternal grandparents. They together, were a power couple, one that people still remember till date. And if you ask me why, I have tonnes of reasons to list down.

The first time Papa (as we fondly addressed him) saw Mamma(I’ve mentioned her at many instances) was when she was carrying a bundle of firewood, all tied up and walking towards the courtyard of her home. A distant acquaintance, Papa along with his older brother had come visiting Mamma’s family. The courtyard was full of humor-filled conversations and piping hot chaai. That’s when Mamma walked in from the main gate and made her way to the backyard (where all the firewood is stored – even now). That was right when Papa told his older brother – “This is it – she is the one I’m going to marry”

 Now apart from being the stunning beauty she was, my grandmother was a woman of great skill. Her petite frame would easily trick anyone, making them think she was very naive, delicate and timid  – all of which she was not! And her intelligence was something which was talked about in the entire village – Papa must have surely heard about it all!

So that’s how they got married – and moved to Mumbai to make their lives.

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An old photograph – circa 1961

My grandparents both had diverse personalities – it often amused me how two people, so opposite in nature can put up with each other! But they did – they did it for 45 long years, since 1961 till the day Papa finally passed away in 2006.

Papa was known for his constant chatter and easy-going nature, whereas Mamma for her quiet nature. A known acquaintance, who is more like family and whom my grandparents often visited rightly noted this difference and put it into words – “For every three sentences your Grandpa spoke, your Granny had one solid comeback!” quipped Uncle Shailesh, who was fondly reminiscing those chaai-pe-charcha memories with my grandparents. He also mentioned that their conversations were so interesting to listen to – their banter never ended!

Also, Papa loved sweets – the best of the halwaais in Mumbai were his close friends – and you’d often find Papa chomping on freshly prepared laddoos in their shop (a tradition he managed to continue even when they relocated to Pune!). On the other hand, being a diabetic, Mamma kept herself away from sweets and  yes, she wasn’t really fond of them either.

Papa had this short temper, which flared up at regular intervals, whereas Mamma was this cool-headed person who took things easy.

I can just go on with the list of differences they had – I think I’ll have to dedicate an entire post to that! But I think you got what I’m trying to say here – that’s who they were, two different individuals with one life.

Papa would always tease Mamma – she had a beautiful name- Crescencia (Crescent moon in Spanish) and Papa kept complaining that it was too long a name to pronounce! So he would address her as Cresin (a name which Mama later legally adopted). Apart from Kresin (the C became a K, for pronunciation sakes), he would call her by a host of other names which were homo phonic to hers – and though it would annoy her, all she would end up doing was laugh!

Mamma on the other hand was proud of Papa’s intelligence – she always bragged about how he knew the ‘paun-pada’ or the multiple tables of quarters and how he was the one of the smartest student in his class. She also admired how Papa gelled along superbly well with her family (his in-laws) – he cared so much for my great-grandmother, that she was utterly crestfallen when the news of his death reached her.

What bonded them together? Despite being starkly different, how did they carry on for 45 long years together? Well, they had this mutual respect and unshaken faith in each other. When Papa fell ill, Mamma took over the business reins and put up a stoic front, and kept running the household. Not once did she complain, not once did he question or doubt her. They did have their share of heated arguments, squabbles and bickering  – but they kept it all aside. You should have seen the team they were when some important decisions had to be taken in the family – two sharp brains – quickly weighing the pros and cons of the situation, of the decision and then firmly going ahead with it. They’ve faced some of the toughest times together – but they prevailed. They survived it all. And what was it that lead them through these storms? If it wasn’t steadfast love for each other, I don’t know what it was…

“That’s the palest I have ever seen her” – said Mamma’s sister, right after Papa’s funeral. And though Mamma put up a brave front – we all knew that she had lost what she held closest to her heart.

The kind of upbringing they had, expressing love was never a part of it. They never expressed, never gifted each other anything, nothing material – it was just pure love that was based not on show off, but on deep respect, understanding and affection for each other – which reflected in their actions. Their’s was love during a time when it wasn’t convenient – when letters were a mode of communication, when being away from each other meant almost no interaction at all. But they survived and thrived, setting an example for me, for us.

In our times of status-update love, it’s all about fake display. Like I keep saying relationships have become essential to validate existence. More of a pass time, no one’s bothered about the other’s feelings and emotions. It’s indeed difficult to find, to create, to build a relationship that my grandparents (and probably even yours) had. 

 In our instant generation, where everything from noodles to messaging is quick, is it going to be possible to find letter-wala love? The slow-paced, take-your-time, be yourself, I’m always here for you kind of love?

In this status update-wala generation, is it wrong to expect letter-wala love? Is letter-wala love still in fashion? Or is it like letters, gone, outdated and long-lost?

Some questions are always left unanswered……  

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To those who made a difference :)

I didn’t want to begin this blog on a negative note – but I cannot deny this fact either – the last few years of my school life were pathetic. I don’t have any fond memories from those years, apart from a handful of friends, whom I still hangout with.

Further, junior college. It was fun. I had finally got out of the suffocating atmosphere in school. I was myself in junior college. And it was a lot, lot better than school. No wait, it’s wrong to even compare both – because, junior college was liberating. It had set me free. And you can’t put a price tag on freedom. It’s priceless.

And then heading to senior college, I discovered a completely different side to myself. I was at my best in my graduation years. And I can quite confidently say that those who met me in senior college would not relate to my earlier version at all. I took up everything that came my way – right from heading events to ultimately becoming the Ladies’ Representative. The last two of my graduation years were the best – because they had brought out who I truly was.

But through this journey from school to junior and then senior college, the one thing I will always remember are my teachers – those who made a difference in my life.

And today, I will be telling you all about my teachers who genuinely made a difference in my life. There were teachers who taught me what was in the book, and then, there were these angels – who went beyond books and managed to leave a long-lasting imprint on my mind with their words and actions. And I remember and cherish the latter, much more than the former. I’ll be narrating some very specific incidents which I remember very vividly. There were defintely more incidents, but these were the one’s that touched me the most. To all those angels in my life, this one is for you.

I have to begin with you, Miss Aileen.
“Take 10 demerits and fly away” – (all KBians will relate well to this)
On seeing someone ruining their paper sheets in art class, these were the words which would echo in the class. And the laugh we all would have!
But Miss, you were much more to me than that. Every time I receive a compliment about how well I gave the presentation, or that I don’t have any stage fear, my mind immediately drifts back to kindergarten – and flashes of how you would make me me stand in front of the whole class and sing the song are right in front of my eyes:

“Que Sera Sera, whatever will be will be
The future’s not ours to see
Que Sera Sera, what will be will be…………..”

At that age, I would sing it so confidently, just the way you had taught me to.
You wiped away my stage fear even before I got to know what it meant. And Miss, I cannot thank you enough for this.
And of course, you did teach me the right song – the lyrics (which at that age, I didn’t understand at all)  are such an encouragement whenever life comes to a chaotic standstill. And I know I can just sing away my worries!

Miss Nisha, you had the gentlest, kindest soul. My second mother, in school. After the wonderful things my sister told me about you, I was very much eager to enter into secondary school just because you taught the higher classes. And just like my sister, you took me under your wings too. I will forever cherish everything you taught me. You will always hold a special place in my heart – for nothing specific, but for everything! After passing out from school, I realised you were the teacher I was going to miss the most. I remember how the last time I’d met you, tears rolled down my eyes – you meant that much to me. And how quick you were to give me a warm hug saying, “Baccha,I will keep you in my prayers always”.

Miss Juliet, you made it a point to narrate one short story with a moral everyday in class. 4th class I remember. You did it – every single day, without fail. Every day began with a new story and left us with a moral, with a value that we were going to carry ahead in our lives. Although I don’t remember every story you told us, I sure know that the values are etched in my mind and heart forever. Thank you – the morals those stories gave are a treasure trove that I proudly carry around everywhere.

Miss Pradhan – an inborn artist with a marvelous talent, and the best Marathi teacher –I loved your art classes. I had lost touch of the creativity in me over the years in school, but in 8th, when you were our art teacher, I changed. Your encouragement, the personal touches you gave to improvise my paintings, your tips to improve my art work – all helped me realise that my creative side wasn’t dead, it had just fallen asleep! And you successfully managed to wake it up! And I cannot thank you enough for that.

Miss Nazira, apart from being the fantastic Hindi teacher you were, I very well remember something you’d said when I needed it the most. The Student Council for the year was announced and I was a bit disappointed at not being nominated into it. I brushed it off, saying it didn’t bother me. But when a classmate taunted me over it, it hurt. And you probably noticed the hurt in my eyes– which is when you told me this :

“Beta, dekhna, zindagi mei har acchi cheez apne samay par aati hai.
(My child, everything good in life comes at the right time)
You deserve something much better than this. And you will get it.”

And years later, when I pinned up my Student Council badges in Junior and Senior college, these words echoed in my mind – exactly the way you said it. And then I knew what you meant. You may have forgotten these words, but they are something I’m definitely carrying with me for the rest of my life.

Moving on to my junior and senior college teachers – I can go on and on writing about them, which is why, I thought it best to write about them in the next post.

So stay tuned and catch up with the next post! See you then! 🙂

 

So here we go…a little about me… :)

Well…for starters…I’m a convent school survivor! Not only school, even junior college..(though I have to admit that junior college was better). And as of now, I’ll be graduating in the month of July from one of the best institutions of commerce in Pune (BMCC).
Don’t ask me about my future plans! In a confused state of mind..its like I know yet I’m not sure…best, chuck it for now..
Umm..what else should you know about me?…uhmm..okay
I’m fluent in five languages (English, Hindi, Marathi, Konkani and German).I’m a proud polyglot and its something that I love bragging about! And I share the exact polyglot status with my sister, so we kinda have a secret code language!:p And man, its fun!
I loveeee to read! I’m not a geek, but a voracious reader who won’t notice anyone’s existence when there’s a book in hand. I can read anything and everything that I lay my hands on with an enviable speed (don’t miss the smirk on my face here! :p). But novels and poetry..they’re special…they are food for my soul 🙂
I’m a singer too – professionally trained in the art of bathroom singing. And I also love listening to music..its my stress buster :).
I’m extremely creatively inclined. I like drawing and painting. My pallets and brushes and colours are what I call my “Weapons of Mass Creation” 😉 Sometimes the Poetess in me also awakens 🙂
Photography is something that I’m passionate about. I’m a living proof that you don’t need a DSLR to win a photography competition!
I’m trained in Taekwondo (A Korean martial art form) and I love playing Badminton. Also, Swimming! I’m a hard-core Cancerian and a Aqua-holic water baby!! 😀
Apart from this, I’m a child at heart who finds happiness in the smallest of all things 😀 (Raindrops on Roses and Whiskers on Kittens kind of person) Also yes a chatter-box whose jaws ache if shut for more than half an hour.
I would list myself into the Ambivert category-I love having lots of people around me but after a while I’ll start questioning the existence of everything around me.
And If ever you need an example for a living Paradox..you can safely go ahead with my name.

And I have a sweet tooth ( or should I say sweet mouth? Coz I can gorge on sweets unapologetically at any moment 24/7 365 days of the year!)
Okay this needs a special mention: The above mentioned me , is a loyal FRIENDS fan :D. Suits follows closely.
Oh and yes..I’m a conscious and vocal feminist…who believes in equality.
Lastly, writing is my passion…join me on my Boho-journey…and you’ll see! 😀bb4