Monday, March 16, 2015

F.R.I.E.N.D.S.

Friends forever 




When you are married, the only thing you miss the most is being carefree, the laidbackness, or the way we people in Kolkata call it "Addagiri", where you just sit in a coffee shop or your college bench and talk endlessly... almost about anything, even things that don't concern you and your friends.

I would give my limbs to relive those days. Ours was a small group comprising of three girls, from Loreto College, Kolkata. But as fate would have it, we all got separated soon after we finished our graduation. I was married and had to shift to Mumbai. The other one shifted to Gurgaon, and soon even she got married and shifted to London. The remaining one is still in Kolkata (lucky devil).

Like most of the people, even we three had promised to be in touch always. Initially we were in touch but soon our present lives, with its endless demands, took over. Our daily calls became weekly and then monthly. Not that we didn't miss each other, because every time we spoke to each other, it seemed like we spoke almost every day as if we never lost touch. It was more like coming home.

 In March 2013, my friend from London came up with a brilliant idea. She was planning to visit Kolkata in the month of June and she decided to book a room for 2 days in a Kolkata hotel and relive the "Single years". Like a born pessimist, I thought it would never work-out. But somehow things started falling in place, my husband agreed, my in-laws agreed and so did my friends' parents and in-laws.

 On June 5th 2013, I finally met my friends after 8 long years; they were waiting for me at the airport. We jumped like adolescents, hugging endlessly and screaming non-stop. I could feel all eyes on us. Honestly, I didn't care. God had given me two days to relive my life and I was going to and nobody could stop me.

 We checked into the Hotel Park. Our adda (gossips, leg pulling) started immediately. The moment we checked our watch, it was already evening. We visited all the places which used to be our college haunts, from Vardaan Market to New Market, checked out few shop keepers, who we had a crush on... they were balding, paunchy. We couldn't help wondering what we ever saw in them. :D

 We even got dressed and visited Tantra, danced till the wee hours in the morning, honestly who cared we had a room in the same hotel.

Call me, a bad wife and a bad mother, but not once did I miss my son or my husband. I love them, but I loved the time spent with my friends even more. They were good happy times. There are no codes of conduct when I am with them. I am me- the real me.


The two days ended so soon and I didn't want them to. Those last few minutes we spent at the airport, when they had come to drop me off, were the best. We never uttered a word, but the way we saw each other and the choked good byes were enough to tell me that they missed me, the way I missed them. I was as important to them as they were to me. Things hadn't changed. Now these are few feelings that guarantees that you have friends would be there forever. This is the kind of feeling that fills you up with optimism and hope and I will cherish it as long as I live.

Day spent with your friend is a day well spent




For more stories on optimism https://housing.com/.

The picture is from my personal collection

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Am I too old?




I am a 34 year old housewife. I have never done anything that can be considered extra ordinary or bold or even remotely brave. . I have never had a boyfriend or even knew a guy (who was not a brother or an uncle or a relative), I was not even overly ambitious. Most of you, who might be reading this, must be wondering why I am even writing when I have nothing to boast off. Well, I did something which was very unlike me and it meant a lot to me ... I did stand up for a small/miniscule cause.

***

I have never questioned my parents, teachers, in-laws, my husband or even my friends. Not because I was afraid but because I had nothing I felt worth standing-up for. So whatever they decided for me I was cool with it.

My teachers thought I should go for commerce I did. My friends thought that I should appear for Jet Airways air hostess’s interview... I did. I even got selected but my parents thought being an over-qualified waitress wasn't good enough. I happily dropped the idea. My parents thought I should get hitched... I did. I know I sound extremely irritating and boring but that's who I was. Until...

Last year, my son (8 years) came running home and he said he wanted to learn how to play a guitar. I told him he was too young to learn that instrument and if he wanted he could learn Casio keyboard. Like all kids, he threw a fit and like over-zealous parents we got him a Guitar. As expected, after a couple of months he said he was no more interested in that instrument. Honestly, what more could we expect from an 8 year old.

For more than a month I saw that guitar hanging on the wall. Every day I would remove the dust from the Guitar and wonder what I should do with it? One day, while reading a newspaper I found a pamphlet which said:-

Learn Guitar in 3 months
Qualified Teacher
Rs. 2000 /month


I picked it up, carefully folded it and kept it in my drawer. I kept thinking what if I learned guitar? Vikram was off to school, Vikas was off to work and I don't even enjoy watching Television, learning guitar would be a good time pass.

So I casually asked my husband. Though he was cool with it... but he asked me “Aren’t you too old to learn Guitar?"

I knew I was too old, I knew I wouldn't be able to muster enough courage to attend that class.

Next day, like always I was dusting my son's room and I saw that Guitar - neatly kept inside a bag - hanging. Around noon, after all the maids had left, I carefully lifted that Guitar and walked out of my home. As I stood waiting for the lift, Mrs, Mishra - my neighbour got out of the lift.

"Vikram has his guitar class, right now?" She asked.

“No, it’s actually me who’s learning to play a guitar.” I said proudly.

“Aah…good. But...” I knew what she was about to say. I almost chorused it with her" don’t you think you are too old for it? I think you should do something that suits your age, may be yoga, classical music or even dancing.” She said.

“I always wanted to learn guitar. I think I am going to give it a shot.” I said politely

“Fine all the best.” she said and she left.

As I walked towards the class I saw my reflection on a car window, salwar kameez clad female carrying a guitar surely looked funny and weird, but I continued walking because I desperately wanted to learn. The moment I reached the class, all eyes were upon me. The teacher was somewhere in his late 20’s.

I sat beside the kids; few even greeted me “Hello aunty”. Well I don’t know if playing guitar was easy or not but learning with children.. None of them above 14-15 sure was difficult even somewhat embarrassing. I learnt a lot that day .It was real fun playing a guitar. It felt good even liberating to some extent. I felt bad when the class ended. As soon as I got home, I finished my house work as fast as I could and I got down to practicing my guitar. Yes, it was MY guitar now.

***

I have been learning that instrument since last 3 months and I think I am pretty decent at it. I practice almost every day. Finally I have found something I am passionate about... maybe a little late in life but I have found it.


You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it – Benjamin Mee in We bought a zoo. 





The post is written for  https://housing.com/

The picture used in this post is take by me. 

Friday, March 06, 2015

.... and I love him very much





And I love 
him very much........


My son, Vikram, he is my love, my undoing, my headache and my stress reliever. I always thought I was definitely not a mother material. I was utterly reckless and extremely irresponsible.
 
The moment I held him in my arms for the first time, I had super mixed feelings. I was excited... but I was nervous more. I was holding a wrinkly small weightless thing in my hand. What if I drop him? What if I unknowingly hurt him? What was I supposed to do with this thing?

It was nothing like we saw in films, mommies so happy and so ready for a baby. I knew I was not. If I could have my way, I would have pushed him back in my womb. He was safer there than in my hands.

Vikram was born in the month of June- a month where there is no sun just water everywhere. After almost 21 hours of long labour, I finally got him out. On the fourth day I returned back home, just to realize he was a pooping-peeing-crying machine. Within 3 hours all my mother's home made nappies were soiled. My husband and I had no energy left.

Soon my genius husband came up with a brilliant idea - Diapers. He immediately ran to the medical shop and got Pampers. The moment he wore pampers... for the first time I slept for 4 long hours, without even waking up once. Days were smooth thereafter, nights were smoother.

Vikram would sleep peacefully as Pamper would keep him dry all the time. Whenever he would wake up he was always ready to play. There is no one thing I could point that made him laugh. He was a happy-go-lucky kid. He found empty boxes to toys to chewing shoes to songs like "Pappu can't dance sala" fun.

I would like to specifically point to the above mentioned song, whenever the radio played "Pappu can't dance sala" he would start moving his hands and legs frantically- he still dances that ways. Apne pitaji pe gaya hai :D.


Thank you Pampers for making my motherhood fun and giving me a lot of memorable moments to cherish.







This post is return for Pampers  http://www.rewardme.in/tag/Pampers


Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Happy Ending





Prologue

Last year was a difficult year for me. My father-in-law had been in and out of the hospital or should I say ICU. The story that I am going to tell is about a woman who I met in the hospital waiting room. She had lost her husband a couple of years ago. She was there for her father, who had suffered a stroke. Blame it on my mentality or just blame it on the way I was shown the world- I thought may be her father was stressed looking at his widow daughter with two sons, trying to make the ends meet. That's what widows do, don't they? Trying to make the ends meet. Her life story was an eye- opener and I am still reeling under it.

***

Story


It was an unusually warm summer morning. Mr Bakshi, a Vice-president in a Multinational bank had gone for his usual run. He was an over-ambitious go-getter. He was the youngest vice-presidents in the company. He seemed always awake and always on the go.

By the time he returned home, he was panting and sweating profusely. He looked really happy as he ran a mile extra. He always prided in being fitter than most of his paunchy colleagues. He sat to cool himself and drank a bottle full of water to calm his nerves.

Dayananda Bakshi, his wife, a columnist in a local daily looked at him as he kept rubbing his eyes. "What happened? Got something in your eye?" she asked.

"Don't know why everything looks hazy? Maybe I even strained my left hand, there is a sharp pain. Oh, it's going to be a bad day." He said while jerking his hand. “There is something wrong..." before he could complete his sentence he slumped on the bed. His body still and eyes shut. Dayananda ran to him, she did whatever she had learned in her First -aid class, from mouth to mouth resuscitation to pumping his chest. But his body refused move. She didn't know what to do. She immediately called the watchmen and with their help she got Ajay into the car and she drove to the hospital only to know what she already knew. Ajay was no more.

To be honest, in the first month she didn't really miss Ajay. She was surrounded by her in-laws, who had come over from Ludhiana, her parents and well-wishers.But soon everyone left, to resume their lives and emptiness struck - emptiness of the heart and home. She kept wondering, where Ajay go wrong, he used to eat healthy and exercise regularly. Stroke should not be one of the reasons of his demise, but strangely it was. Soon she started searching the net for answers and she got one. The reason was lack of sleep and stress related work. She looked around her 2 bhk home in upscale Bandra locality. "I need to have a house of my own. If you can afford a house of your in Mumbai. you know you've made it." Ajay would often say. He did finally own a house but at a terrible cost.

Reality started setting in, and she had to be practical if not for her, for her children's sake. she had to make tough decisions. She could no more afford to pay the EMI of the house and the car. She decided to sell both. Thank god, the price of the house had almost tripled in last 11 years, thus making it easier to pay the loan and have a comfortable living. His life insurance was a major cushion. They moved to a quiet neighbourhood of Panvel.

After a stressful 6 months, her sons being the only pillars of hope, she decided to take them on a holiday to Mahabaleshwar. It was a nice peaceful holiday, while returning back she saw a woman in her 60's with bagful of vegetables walking home. Children riding bicycles were laughing and having fun. She instantly knew this was where she wanted to be...  away from the maddening crowd.

She decided to leave Mumbai and settle in Mahabaleshwar. That town had good schools and open spaces which Mumbai so miserably lacked.

Currently, she is living in Mahabaleshwar, writing from home and in her spare time teaching under privileged adivasi kids. Her kids have settled in Mahabaleshwar, her younger son who was asthmatic, hasn't had a single asthma attack since they shifted there.  

***

"Why Mahabaleshwar? I don't think they even have a good hospital." Now this is what happens to you when you spend 6 months running after doctors. You ask stupid questions.

"Renu, you don't need a place near hospitals, you need a home where multi-speciality hospitals are not even needed. You need a home where there is fresh air, clean water and open space. You need a home where quality of life supersedes all the superficial material wants. I have learned it the hard way; by losing a man I loved the most."

The story did get me thinking... for a long time. Finally I asked " I think you should marry again, you are a young woman, don't you think you need a man?" I at times marvel at my capability of coming up with stupid questions.

"What do I need a man for? I am still in love with Ajay. I have two boys that continuously remind me of him. One is his splitting image and the other acts exactly like him."  She said laughing.

"One day, they'll leave. They'll move on with their lives. Loneliness kills too... you know."  I said wondering why it didn't strike her.

"Who told you, that you need a man to be happy? The thing I have learned in all this is that you are your very own happy ending. If you are happy and at peace with yourself, that's your happy ending. If there is a smile on your face before you go to sleep that's your happy ending. You are your own Happy Ending." She said. 




The above post is written for   https://housing.com/lookup.

Pic courtesy Pinterest