Blog

What has age to do with living ?

I was lost in my thoughts when I heard the lady sitting next to me discussing the exact shade of pink she wanted, before that I have not paid attention to her. She was oriental, speaking clear english and looked well in her 60’s. Her feet dipped in water and hands lathered in cream, she was demanding some bubble gum shade of pink for polishing her nails. Actually it was the precision of the shade that captured my attention, I am hardly fussy about anything, least of all make up. She was wearing blue denim dress, hair coloured in brown with golden streaks and was taking keen interest in her pedicure and manicure.

At the far end, another old Brit lady in red and white dress was getting her nails painted in red. She looked of the same age as the lady sitting next to me. Which made me think why is that people abroad don’t change much with age ? Why their dressing style remains same? Why their lifestyle remains same? Why their interest in life doesn’t alter much as compared to us Indians?

We are too bothered about what society thinks of us and our entire life is pre determined by society even before we are born. As a girl you have to behave a certain way, as married woman you have to behave another way, as a mother you need to forget your existence and have to be all compromising and giving, as you age your dress style should sober down, even the choice of colours should change with age. How will a 55-year-old woman look in a denim dress????? Aren’t they meant for teenagers? Your entire lifestyle changes with age whether you want it or not.  And a lot of this is true even for men.

As individuals, when we grow we get exposed to life, we mature so naturally a lot changes within us. Biologically and physically we get weaker with time thus our interest level might dip in physically intensive activities. But if everything around you is going great, will you lose interest in all good things in life just because you are 60???? Like music, movies, dressing up, travelling, friends, parties, shopping, sports. Will you lose interest or are you expected to lose interest?

Role of Destiny

Why is it so difficult to find what you are really seeking? You will find everything but that, it will come so close and you will miss it or it will just walk away. From a very tiny desire to your ultimate goals in life requires hard work. Why? Why can’t you just be destined to have what your heart desire, why is only that particular thing need so much dedication, hard work, while everything else is a cake walk. Ever wondered, why?

I have heard tigers are majestic. When he walks, there is a sense of power and control. He oozes confidence and arrogance. When he is on the road, it’s the man who gives him the way, tigers never change their path. So, we made a plan to watch his majesty in the real life. Thus, started our journey…

Our first visit was to Sariska National Park in Rajasthan. Authorities had recently moved in 4 tigers from another wild life century for breeding purpose. The probability of tiger siting was high because the vegetation was not so dense. It was our first ever wild life safari, so we were super excited and had loads of fun though we didn’t spot any tiger.

IMG_1027

A year later, the lure of tiger siting took us to Corbett National Park in Uttrakhand. Corbett is one of the most wide-spread and thick national park. Man is banned from entering a large part of it to preserve it’s wilderness. Tigers are difficult to spot but in Corbett pretty much everything is difficult to spot besides monkeys as it is extremely dense. So we spotted nothing, not even the regular animals like deer, cows, monkeys, beer, crocodile etc.

Next, we went to Ranthambore in Rajasthan. It is to be noticed here, that everybody who goes to Ranthambore, spots tiger but we had little faith on our luck, so we came up with a master plan. We planned to do three safaris. One early morning at 5.00, when Tiger might just be up for his morning walk. Next, in the evening, when he might just be strolling around in his area checking out female counter part. And if we fail to spot in both, probability of which was very high. We would go next morning again. Now, here comes the role of destiny. The group of tourist who went after us in the morning spotted tiger. The group of tourist who went half an hour before us in the evening spotted tiger. A photographer who was staying in our hotel, who was not even looking for tiger, spotted tiger. A tourist group who was waiting near the entry gate, spotted tiger as tiger came strolling towards the gate. Only people who didn’t spot tiger was, us despite all the earlier planning and multiple safaris.

Back to what I was saying, at times you just have to work extra hard to attain what you want. There may not be a valid, acceptable reason for it but don’t give up, try harder, try smarter

We are not giving up yet, there are many jungles left to explore!

Value Your Daughter to Avoid Rape

Every time  rape happens, first question is about the woman’s character. Does a loose character woman (Whatever that is supposed to mean) have no rights??? Have no self-respect?? Have lost all the rights to her body ?? Have no dignity ?? Have lost all the say in the matters regarding herself??

What defines a woman’s character??

Is it the clothes she wears???

Is it her friends, she hangs around with??

Is it her profession, which at times may require her to spend crazy hours at office?

Is it her idea of having fun??? She might want to dance and drink at times??

Is it her free spirit?? She likes interacting with new people, she is an extrovert?

Is it her determination to put her career first??

Is it her strong determination to find her identity in the world?

What defines it?? And who defines it??

A woman can be any of character, but she still has a say, nobody can accost her without her will.

Bad character, loose character are definitions designed by patriarchal society to keep woman in control, in limitations. It is the way of dominating.

Rape is beyond physical exploitation, it’s a way of asserting power, superiority. It is way of telling woman that they are lesser being and can be controlled, manipulated, exploited physically and mentally. And this will continue to happen till the time society changes its attitude towards girls.

When girls are seen at par with boys, things will start changing.

When girl’s education is given equal importance, things will start changing.

When girls are trained mentally and physically to take care of themselves, things will start changing.

When girls are seen as financial strength rather than burden on the family, things will start changing.

When girls stand up for their rights, things will start changing.

When girls starts supporting their family, things will start changing.

The problem lies with every single family in our country. It has to be addressed at very micro level. Attitude towards girls need to change. They have to be accepted in the society for what they are and have to be given respect. It’s not something which can be handled by government alone, laws can be made to punish the culprit but that’s only after much damage would have happened to somebody.

The government can punish the culprit but it’s the people who are creating them. And it’s happening in most of the families, knowingly or unknowingly.

Change will come, when people change. You and I change, and force people around us to change! 

Brave and Beautiful

Standing at 5.5’’ she was a vision in pale yellow kurta salwar, it’s one of my earliest memories of Doon. There are very few people in the world whose beauty and charm can have lasting impression on you, she was one of them. She was kind, subtle, graceful and beautiful. There was sense of calm to her which you can only have, when you are truly comfortable being you. If anybody can do justice to all the coconut / almond oil commercials, it was her. She had long, dense, lustrous, jet black hair right down to her waist. And when she walked, they bounced with happiness. There was permanent smile on her face, which moved effortlessly to her eyes. She was a vision to eyes and soul!

It was the time, we used to live in different states. Little did I know then, that in the future we will share the same house. She moved to Delhi and we moved in together. We spent more then a decade in the same house and she remianed as beautiful and graceful as she was ever.

 

Much time has passed since then, life has moved to a different dimension. What define beauty is, it’s ability to stand the test of time. What define a person is, his/her ability to stand the test of life. She was always beautiful but today she is an epitome of beauty and strength as she looses her long, lustrous, jet black hair to radiation fighting brain tumour with a smile on her face, which still reaches her eyes.

We all know she is beauty made of steel and will come out of it stronger and better then ever.

Kamna. Beauty and grace with resolve of steel, which no destiny can beat!

 

Living the Romance

 

Sun is setting across the ocean. Sky is a melange of varied intensity of red, orange, pink blue colour. Waves are gently caressing the shore and  merging back into the ocean, where they belong. Wind is gentle and warm. I have just arrived in the Tanjung Rhu resort on Langkawi Islands, soaking in this breath-taking view from the lobby which opens to the ocean.

JPEG image-4DA2BA878BA7-1

The ocean is calling, I walk to the bar, pick up a glass of Bordeaux and start walking on the endless pristine white beach which now is changing colours in coordination with sky. I take my flip-flop out and start walking bare foot, waves lovingly stroking my feet, my blue dress is swelling because of wind and is getting soaked in water, it doesn’t care. It seems to be happy with the light playful touch of the wind. My lips are singing in joy as red wine kisses them warmly. My body sparkling as the gentle wind is drying the sweat off. I am feeling heady walking into the beautiful unknown. Some where far, somebody is playing, Claude Debussy, ‘Clair de lune’ on the piano. The sound is sugar to my ears and is taking me to a far off fantasy land where the world is at peace and there is romance in everything!

When are you really alone?

When are you really alone?

When people leave you?

When faith leave you?

When excitement leave you?

When belief leave you?

When ambition leave you?

When dream leave you?

Or

When hope leave you?

When are you really alone?

People can be substituted.

Faith can be rebuilt.

Excitement can be achieved again through different means.

Belief can be aggregated.

Ambition can be restored.

Dream can be renewed.

But how do you get hope back??? What does it take ?

Love!

Love is a very tricky business.

It happens when you least expect it.

It happens with whom you don’t expect.

It is confusing.

It is killing.

It is devastating at times.

It is divine.

It is liberating.

It is exhilarating at times.

It breaks you, but it makes you.

Love is a very tricky business !!

Angels Are Not In Heaven, They Are Around You!

It was pouring last night. Rain drops were filtering through the palm leaves and falling on the dry concrete land. At a distance some where, koel was calling out to her partner, weather was romantic, moon was playing hide and seek with the clouds and the breeze was making soothing sound. When the weather is so fine you must enjoy it outdoor, so we took umbrellas to guard ourselves from the rain and walked out on the road. Humans are strange beings, we want to enjoy the nature but on our own terms. We want to enjoy the rain but not get wet.

FullSizeRender 5

While we were walking and talking, we saw a man walking his dog in the rain. A closer look and I identified him as my neighbour who was walking his dog, Brisky, in the rain. We approached each other and I jokingly asked him, if has got caught in the rain unexpectedly. His reply surprised me, he said, he walks Brisky out every day after her dinner because she suffers from arthritis and walk is good for her. Helps her deal with the pain. I further asked him, why was he getting drenched and walking without umbrella. He replied, because Brisky is getting wet in the rain so he cannot be using umbrella. He feels bad about it.

FullSizeRender 4

It’s so easy to not bother about other’s comfort. It’s easy to provide comfort to others. But it takes a lot of unconditional, pure love to give up your own comfort for others. Men like Shibu, my neighbour, are rare but I am glad I know one!

Pained and Irrational Me

Traffic signal was turning orange, I stepped on accelerator to cross the signal before it turned red. I missed it by nick of time. Impatient, restless as I am, turned the volume up to the maximum while I waited for the signal to turn green again.

A face appeared on the side window, she knocked on the window glass with quivering hands. I don’t give alms to beggars but she was not begging. She looked like a dignified lady, she was selling ‘agarbattis/essence stick’ on the Chirag Delhi traffic signal. It was late in the night, she was probably trying to make last sale of the day. I rolled the window down and bought a box of agarbattis.

When I bought them, I didn’t know if they will ever be used. Unfortunately, they were lit  in front of my father’s photograph, the very next day.

I still cross that signal often. That lady still sells agarbattis there. For very long, I didn’t look at her to avoid evil omen. I was too sacred to look at her, it wasn’t her fault but how do you convince a grieving heart.

Time has healed the wounds. I am not scared of her anymore but I still don’t have courage to buy agarbattis from her. I don’t think, I can ever be that brave.

First Salary. First Learning.

I don’t read newspaper.

I didn’t read it back then. It depresses me to read so much negativity.

Sitting on my terrace, sipping early morning tea, 15 years back, I flipped the page of ‘Times Of India’. I don’t remember why, but I did. In the middle, on the double spread was a Samsung mobile phone advertisement. I clearly remember it was a silver colour mobile phone, you could flip it open from the centre.

I was fresh in college and the mobile phone was new to the world and were very expensive. Those days, even incoming calls were charged for Rs 32 per pulse. So it was just not the handset, keeping a phone was exorbitant. There were only 3 players in the market – Airtel, Hutch and BSNL/MTNL. Idea, Reliance, Aircel was yet to venture. Hutch was yet to be bought over by Vodafone. Mobile phone had a flaunt value since only few carried it.

None of my family members had mobile phone. I had not thought of buying it either till the time I saw that advertisement. There was something about that phone that was calling out to me. Mesmerised, I asked my father to buy me that phone.

My father looked at me and said,

‘If you need that phone, you have to earn it.’

I was per perplexed, I was 18, how will I earn such an expensive phone. I had never worked in my life. So I asked my father,

‘I don’t know what to do to make that kind of money. I am under graduate, unskilled, who will employ me? How will I earn money?’

He explained, ‘If you need things in your life, you have to work hard and find a way to make money, so you can afford what you want.’

That made sense to me but I was still direction less. How will I make Rs 16000 ??? It was a lot of money.

I wanted the phone. It had casted a spell on me, I just couldn’t get it out of my mind. I was ready to work for it, I just didn’t know what to do to earn money.

Then one day, while walking through Bhikaiji Came Place in New Delhi, I saw an advertisement pasted on the wall of Hyatt Regency. They were looking for interns for some job. Since I had little knowledge about anything, I don’t clearly remember for what exact profile they were looking for.

The phone was on my mind so I applied. I filled the form, pasted my picture and dropped it in their office. A week later, I got a call for an interview. I appeared and was selected for the front office job.

Excited I went home and informed my parents about it. Hearing that, they were shell-shocked. They had bigger dreams for me and here I was wanting to work in a hotel for a phone. They didn’t say anything negative. They were more in wait and watch mode.

I worked for a month and got  Rs 12000 as salary. It was a big amount for that time for a 18-year-old undergraduate. I took the money home and gave it to my mother, she returned it back to me and happily asked me to do whatever I wanted to do with it.

I was still short of Rs 4000 which meant I had to work more.

As I was walking out of the house to meet up with my friends, my father called me and handed me Rs 4000 and told me to buy the phone. I didn’t understand why would he do that since now I was working and I could very well afford it in another month’s time.

He said, ‘I was wanting you to understand the value of money, nothing comes easy and nothing comes free. You have to work for it. And since you have understood that you don’t need to work  for money, any more. You should focus on your studies.’

I quit my job the very next day and went straight to Karol Bagh market to buy the phone.

Years have passed but his words are still fresh in my mind. After that, I have never ever asked for money from anybody in my life. I know, I have to earn it!