Thursday, 1 March 2018

मेरे अपने



आज आसमान मुझे देख रहा है, 
सितारें कुछ ज्यादा चमक रहे हैं, 
मेरे अपने जो उनमें बसे  हैं!
शायद वहां रहकर खुश है!

पीछे रहना बड़ा मुशिकल काम है!
रोना चाहकर भी हसना पड़ता है,
सिर्फ यादोंमें जीना पड़ता है,
मेरे अपने जो मुझे देख रहे हैं!

आप वहां खुश रहें यही मनोकामना है
हमें देखते रहे यही आशा है
हमें छोड़कर जाना शायद होना ही था
लेकिन आप हमें अधूरा छोड़कर चले गए! 

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Lunch time


A recent visit to a Customer located in an IT park made my day! The office buildings, their landscaping and the overall aura of “world class” set up was nothing less than impressive,  but it’s a part of another story! What left a mark on my mind for a very long time was the ‘lunch time’! We went to a local road side restaurant that served Biryani! The food was delicious, but again, that’s another story!

My Uncle and I had to wait for 30 odd minutes to get a shared table! While waiting I couldn’t help but notice the group of people waiting as well as the lucky ones who got the tables. It was a crowded and a chirpy place with an equal number of men and women! In my almost 12 years of working life, this was the only first hand experience where I saw men and women in equal numbers.

On our way back, without even knowing it, we started discussing this observation as if it was a scheduled agenda! Looks like my uncle and I have a strong a telepathy! His working life of over 30 years had the same experience. He added that in the field of Banking and the likes, you do see women more but they are just at clerical levels. All the top designations are headed by men!

In our society, a lot is said about women empowerment, but very little is done. I feel that IT sector has played an instrumental role for this empowerment. IT sector is probably the only sector where men and women get equal number of jobs opportunities, salaries and designations. It is the only sector which does not claim that "it's a Man's job or just a Woman's job!" It is a place where there is equality in every sense of the term!

- Hinjawadi, Pune to Nashik (February 2018)

Thursday, 29 June 2017

7 extremely useful baby products mothers can use

I was a fan of baby products way before I became a mother. The love for them continues even after I became a mother.  Here are the 7 baby products I use and totally recommend!

  1. Wet wipes - Nothing wipes off the makeup as gently and safely as a baby wet wipe! 
  2. Baby oil - I use it to clean my ears, cracked legs (I have a terrible dry skin) and sometimes even face! 
  3. Baby nail cutter - It is super convenient with a strong holder and perfect for those tiny cuticles! The little magnifying glass comes handy for checking the corners after cleaning! 
  4. Baby ear buds - I agree that ears are self cleaning and you should never put an ear bud in them and all that. But sometimes the ears itch so much so that I am tempted to tear it apart. Baby ear buds are life savers during those moments! It DOES NOT push wax inside! It can easily remove it instead because its tip is really small! And the damn itch can be calmed down with ultimate satisfaction! 
  5. Baby shampoo - Excellent cleaning agent for combs, make up brushes, make up sponges and of course manicure wash. 
  6. Diaper rash cream - Women who use sanitary napkins with wings sometimes get sever rashes! Using diaper rash cream just the way we use it for the babies not only cures it but even prevents it! 
  7. Baby tooth brush - Perfect sized toothbrush for applying lip scrub, black heads scrub and removing that excess liquid from your mascara. 
Have you used any of these products? If yes, do you use it for something else? Also, do you use any other baby products apart from these? If yes, please share them with me. I would love to try them! 

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Acceptance


While growing up, I have always been exact opposite of socially accepted* levels in school, college, career, and in every other choice I have made. It was so against the acceptance levels, that I fought body image issues through out my school and teenage. I was trapped in the vicious cycle of self doubt till the mid twenties. And I think I surprised myself, let alone others, with my ability for lacking confidence till the early thirties! That does not mean, now I am a super confident person! But those who have confidence issues, will know, from lacking confidence to knowing that you lack confidence, itself is a great progress! 

It isn't difficult to guess how hard self-acceptance is, for a person who's always tried to fit in and then disappointed oneself over and over again. It becomes a cake walk when you stop trying to fit in! And here's what I have learnt the hard way, the difficult part isn't actually the action to stop trying to fit in, but in making that decision! It is extremely hard to tell yourself "It is okay to not be like ---!" That is where you need the courage, the foresight of the consequences of your choice and really knowing that by choosing the other way will make you happy!

Once it is your choice, you don't need others to accept it. Plus, it was a choice for happiness and not fitting in! The feeling of fulfilment can never make anyone regret that choice. You see, how the cycle of doubt transforms into the path towards fulfilment? So instead of saying "I don't care!", it is better to say "I do care! --- For myself!"

* Social acceptance has very little to do with personality traits and individual talents in general. It evaluates a fish by its ability to fly and a bird by its ability to swim; making both feel like losers! 

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

At the gym...


Gym changing rooms witness more funny moments than steamy scenes. This is true! I can say this with my own experience for over ten years at different gyms from different cities. So all those Photoshop-ed images that show big biceps and perfect cures, wearing sexy sportswear, staring into the mirrors, is really not true! Well, there is a lot of skin show, it is a changing room after all! But it is no where close to being steamy and sexy! At the most, it can be described as sweaty, smelly and extremely embarrassing at times. From free falls in the bathrooms, to wearing shoes without socks or worse crying every time the regular underwear itches while exercising, the list is endless. I agree these are not funny moments, but if you are an onlooker, they are really hilarious! (Still laughing!)

Okay, so coming to the point, it all boils down to poor packing of the gym bag. I know I know, I am selling the packing list as if my income depends on it! But it really is the root cause of all the crises at gym! Here is my list of gym bag essentials that has never failed me. It might help you to become an onlooker to these funny moments and be a life saver for the ones in trouble (Except for the underwear of course!)

My gym bag essentials -
  1. Dry fit t-shirt and track pants
  2. Sports bra and sweat absorbing under wear
  3. Socks 
  4. Gym shoes 
  5. Post work out jacket
  6. Napkin
  7. Gloves
  8. Water Bottle
  9. Hair band
  10. Deodorant
  11. Snack box (post workout meal, I usually have whey protein shake or a fruit)
  12. Laundry bag 
  13. Shoe bag
  14. Wet wipes
  15. Moisturizer
  16. Sun screen
  17. Face powder
  18. Lip balm
  19. Prickly heat powered 
  20. SOS medicines (I am a chronic asthmatic patient. Totally recommended for those who have chronic illness)
  21. Towel (Only when I am heading for the steam room)
  22. Shower slippers (Only when I am heading for the steam room)
p.s: The trick to not lose your valuables at the gym is, to not carry them to the gym! ;-)

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

The Closet

I was standing in front of the closet exactly after a week. This was the biggest closet in our home and it belonged to my grandmother! A closet full of beautiful sarees collected over 80 years! Each type of saree made in India was there in this closet. Everything was arranged neatly on hangers, in plastic see through tubs and drawers. On many occasions I had helped her, or better yet, interfered in her closet arrangements. And if I may take the liberty, it helped her organise the biggest closet in our home to her exact requirements.

Unlike the common belief that living requirements reduce with old age, I have observed that it is not so. Of course, one’s needs might reduce but the requirements become more and more specific with old age. My grandmother required light weight sarees, woollen socks, cotton blouses and Nivea moisturiser that came in a white coloured jar. Now if we count, these needs are very few and really basic. But they are extremely specific! Anything other than that, DID NOT WORK! I did everything in my scope to ensure these things were always there in her closet! Due to her short height of 4 feet 11 inches, everything she needed daily was kept in the first 3 shelves from the bottom. A stool was kept near the closet just so she can access the shelves above her height. Which she never used by the way, because she had substituted me as her stool ever since I grew taller than her! I grew up in a joint family, so this isn’t a rare thing! Those who have lived in one know better that junior family members usually get substituted with a lot of things. Favourite ones are utility things like massagers (I am a ‘pro’ at it now, with all the practice!), earphones (Repeating everything in a loud voice, that includes jokes! Seriously!), reminders (The only way to ensure medicines are taken on time is, to hand them over on time!) and of course ladders and stools!

My grandmother’s closet looked very different than it did, just a week ago. In fact, I was the last person who saw it before closing it for that week. For a while I was unable to understand how can a closet untouched for a week can look so different? But how could it look the same? My grandmother was gone and she will never open it again! She won’t ask me to pull out things kept in the top shelves! She will never rearrange it! The closet was dead with my grandmother! I was holding the same bag that I packed a week ago and I was staring inside it for what seemed like infinity! It was me who packed her bag, which she happily took and headed for the hospital with a broad smile on her face! She was supposed to come back fit and fine! But she never did! I wished I could turn back the clock and bring the wheels of time to a stop. Stop myself from packing, stop her from going to the hospital and stop her from dying! Stop everything at the point where she had a broad smile on her face! I wished, how I just wished for that one thing! I swear I would have never packed her bag had I known this would be the last time I was packing her bags. All this time, it was clear in my head that death is not in our control. In fact, it is the only certain thing in everyone’s life! Her time was up and no one could do anything about it, let alone me! On the brighter side, she was gone in a week and didn’t have to suffer a prolonged illness. A fit woman like her would have been miserable had she been bed ridden. But still, it hurt so bad that she was gone!

It didn’t take me much time to unpack her last bag! Unpacking her bag was in my reflexes, I had done it so many times before! But each and every action felt so different! Of course, she wasn’t there by my side with her narration of “what the trip was like!” I had hit my low point! Probably the lowest ever! The last time I had lost a family member was when I was 12 years old. I am 32 now and even though I have witnessed others mourning and losing a dear one before this, it seemed so different when I wanted to grieve right now! The time between creating memories to only remembering them, seemed to pass so quickly!

I don’t remember what came over me, but I thought of looking at this closet as a summary of its owner. A lot can be revealed about someone by just looking in their closet! She surely lived a fulfilling life even though she was a widow for the past 19 years! A mother of 3 children, grandmother of 4 girls and great grandmother of 2 boys! I could see the subtle signs of all of this stacked in her closet. Little square, black and white photographs of her yesteryears were stored in an equally antique envelope! A stack of old letters written by her late husband! Ah that handwriting, the context of those letters, the time dated before my birth! I couldn’t help but read a few of them at that very moment! It took me to the times before I was born in which I could literally see the lives of my family before me. How they found happiness in writing to each other, something our generation is sinfully devoid of! No one puts a pen to paper these days! One big tub was full of plastic bags, she truly fancied them! I remembered how she loved to store plastic bags and when someone needed one, she never found them! She had this talent of carefully storing things and then forgetting where she stored them! She was a singer, professionally trained for Hindustani Vocals who completed her Master’s Degree in it when her eldest son went to college! Those old notations scribbled during her lessons were neatly filed. A die-hard tailor, I don’t remember wearing readymade clothes till I turned 10 years old! She used to stich everything at home! Knitting was one of her skills that she continued even after she was diagnosed with frozen shoulder at 75 years of age. Her last knitting project was a few sweaters, caps and a pair of socks for her great grandson! All of this was there in one section of her closet. There and then, her entire life stood in front of me before the final curtain was drawn!

One hell of a patient she was! Extremely cooperative and a fast healer. Even during her last hospitalisation, she left our home smiling! Throughout her one week of recuperation at the hospital, she must have endured a lot of pain as it was a heart surgery, but she was extremely silent! She went over the board only once in her life as a patient, and that was on her last but one day! She practically pulled out the dialysis pipe from her body with the intravenous medicine attached to her hand! After that she was declared to be serious and doctors asked us to call the extended family for their last visits. She kept on sinking slowly till the next day when she was declared ‘dead’! She was gone! I am never going to see her again!

My entire family collapsed in front of my own eyes! I was broken just like them but there was one last thing remaining on her wish list. It was her decision to donate her body to a medical college when she would die. I was there to fulfill her wish - a privilege I will always remember till my last breath! I was there when she was growing old. I was there when she was sick! I was there to make her a great grandmother. I was there to involve her in the co-parenting of my child! I was there to pack her bags to go to the hospital to get well! And I was there to take her to the mortuary! I was there all the time and that’s what matters the most!

She made me realize that it doesn’t matter what we do when someone has passed away. What matters is what we do while we are alive and together! The memories we make that will last even after we are gone! Whether we loved in spite of the differences and we cared more than we took for granted! Can we find a purpose in every choice, compromise or compulsion that comes our way? How we should embrace the pit falls and choose happiness in the darkest of times! I promised myself to never forget these lessons!  

One last time I looked inside the closet that was owned by my grandmother, bid it adieu and closed it shut!

Thursday, 9 February 2017

"I am 10 years old" says My Blog


I marked 10 years of writing on this blog today! On this very day, I had gathered up enough courage to publish my first post! It did require courage because I was uncertain about how long I would continue to write! And absolutely certain that I shall run out of ideas to begin writing blog posts! It turns out, these apprehensions were in my head and without even knowing it, I proved them wrong! Ten years went by in a jiffy with me penning down posts after posts that gave me immense delight!

An experiment to explore writing as a form of expressions, has been more fulfilling than I had expected. I used to write very randomly before this blog was created. The notebooks in which I wrote were my only source of confidence to create this blog - a place where anyone from anywhere in the world can read. I have had readers who never knew me sending me mails and commenting on blog posts! This has been nothing less than overwhelming for me! It is an emotional attachment which is more than time tested after these amazing ten years!

Here's wishing you, my BLOG, a happy 10th birthday and many more to come! 

मेरे अपने

आज आसमान मुझे देख रहा है,  सितारें कुछ ज्यादा चमक रहे हैं,  मेरे अपने जो उनमें बसे  हैं! शायद वहां रहकर खुश है! पीछे रहना बड़...