Saturday, August 19, 2017

Thou bittersweet, O motherhood!

Journey of a mother as her daughter turns four ...

A motherhood is 

...a day old clothing
uncombed hair 
before you could blink shower 
pyjamas with smeared hand prints all over
dishes filled sink
a grubby house 
unmade beds 
ever growing laundry
the art of cleaning the same place many times a day and still failing bruised knees 
a tycoon hit looking living room after you return from work 
3 AM wake ups and 1 PM bedtimes when your child is sick 
being on-call 24/7 – no pay and no day-offs 
going from ‘Yuck!’ to ‘Here, wipe it on my shirt'
drinking reheated tea at least 5 times 
reading “The Alchemist” till eternity because every time you pick the book, the apple of your eye decides to poo 
tidying, feeding, talking and answering 
All at the same time.


but...being a mommy   
is about joyful hearts.
is about magical kisses.
is having the entire world in your hands when those tiny hands hold you tight.
is a sink full of dishes but a house filled of laughter
is draining but exhilarating.
is the hardest and the happiest hood ever.
Being mother soothes.
It is about doing it again and again…gleefully!

Picture Credit : Scribbles by Radhika (My mother is in shape!) :D

Friday, May 12, 2017

Make up

Dear therapist,

Thank you for your discernment and for giving free insights every time. For that each time when you say that relying on makeup indiscreetly talks about withered self-esteem and insecurities. Every time, when you recommended me to go out without wearing makeup for a day and see how it feels.

Well, I think it is time to have a look at your prescription all over again.

Makeup. I love using it and I use it just because I love using it, in spite of the fact, that though, as a society we have come a long way in terms of opening up of our mindset and also makeup has been around for ages, painted faces are still judged for using it. I cannot deny, the act of using make up can be cost prohibitive and can fan our sense of vanity. That, make up, can be a luxury, often made to procure by persistent marketing strategies, played by ruthless advertisements.

However, in today's scenario, which talks about women independence and indulgence she should get in unabashedly, I think using make up can speak a lot about her affluence (her prerogative to pamper herself).

So, if we go under the skin on such issues , there are many underlying nuances that come to the fore.

Well, leaving it on that note, as I start penning down... these are some often heard musings, some times overheard.

"Skin damage nahin hoti, roz make up karne se."
"Itna time mil jata hai subah subah?, followed by their pious ‘I don’t get time for these things!’
"Natural looks ki baat hi kuch aur hoti hai!"
"You look pretty without make up", well that's my father, usually. :)
And, lately someone was like " You can't be a feminist, if you use make up so often".
And, best is that when someone says main toh sirf marriages main hi lagati hoon make up.", much to my surprise - marriages! like really! I am not a grammar nerd, but, I think that saying just wedding would have suffice. Ha!

So, today, here I am like,

...2-3 minutes it takes to apply make up and I never found the skill of time management difficult, especially in the morning.

...try good herbals goods, (well, market is flooded with those now), why will you suffer with a damaged skin. In fact if you will worry what others do, you will definitely have one.

...To Papa, and few more, :) I appreciate the compliment, no one can ever find me more beautiful than you do, but I don't put on the make up thinking that I am hideous.

...And, you see the irony is that most of times I get to hear this natural thing by someone who likes the idea of getting under the knife for cosmetic surgeries. And, who knows if they ever went through one.

... I don't like to be framed as a feminist, but Google suggests that being feminist doesn't stop you from doing things which you like, definitely not wait for someone else wedding.

So, dear therapist, It is a choice. Putting on makeup. Same as the choice to decide what to wear and what to eat. Stop objectification of a woman. We don't put on make up to be a eye candy.

Thanks again,
A make up aficionado.



The post credit :

...Never to go astray
Leaving behind the path as black as coal
Memorized has that path, my black eyeliner
It is its favourite path to trail.

                                                ~ Anonymous

Friday, February 17, 2017

Toh ek cup chai ho jaye?

Tap tap. "Tea?" 
Asks rain each time.  And, an old school, preferring tea over any other beverage, I welcome this benign invitation, with open arms, that very each time.

Not just rains, every morning when dawn breaks, a cup of tea beckons me while the world sleeps. An early riser, my mornings begin with preparation of a kind of tea. The kind, which has a carefully crafted scientifically deducted recipe in which I take pride the way these Pepsis manufacturers do. Tea, carries for me reminiscences of my  childhood days, when getting up in the morning as a child, the first thing I would see was my Mummy having her tea. Over the past years, now when I am Mummy to a four year old, my morning routine has changed to a large extent. Amongst other changes is that I've also joined in my mother's morning routine, albeit, sitting at a different postal address. My mornings thinks, and so does my mother, that it is very respectable to do nothing at that first cup of tea. 

And, so therefore love of the tea, travelled with me even after when I left school to pursue further studies.  It remained a daily need in my hostel days, much to my friends' ridicule. In the early mornings of North Campus at Delhi University it was one of the things that felt like home, away from home.

Years passed, and even now when I have an extended family, sitting for chai is a daily ritual that gives the family some much needed time together. 

However, if you have experienced it too, a cup of tea can best be enjoyed all by yourself too. Honestly, for me it has been one of those few best company when I just want to clear my head. And the amount of times it has sat with me through my exams I've pulled, makes it my saviour. 

So, everyday I see love around me over a cup of tea. I see it in the evening over a cup of tea with my in- laws. I see it in my husband who makes an effort to ask me how my weekdays went, over a cup of tea on weekends. I see and feel the love for myself, while sipping it alone. 

Any tea lover would know exactly what I'm talking about. 

Toh ek cup chai ho jaye, and as you relish a sip, just think over, "Why a biscuit when dipped in water forms bubbles ?"
Real thinking happens on a cup of tea, at times. I told you.


Picture credit : Google

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Hoi polloi treading the alleys of Meerut

She is many things – a nurturer, a confidant, an amateur writer, a career woman. But at the moment that she watches her father sitting near her, she is just a daughter !

Rusted, cracked, gone parched over the years 
The wall still stood strong.
Withered, stooped, dried over the years 
The tree still rooted strong.
Dusty, monotonous, breathless gone over the years 
The clock still run strong.
Wrinkled, freckled, turned salt and pepper over the years
The mane still shine strong. 

The city which a daughter calls her hometown
There lives a man who possesses no brawn. 
A man who amongst the hoi polloi treading the old lanes of town 
embodies the tress, the tree, the clock and the bound.
For the face that still stood strong and is one in a million! 
The man whom his daughter calls Papa.

The daughter who wallows in neither prejudices nor chauvinism 
But with a demeanour festooned with steely aspires and confidence to the brim
Attempts each day to tread the footprints left by him. 
Hopes alive, that one day , she too will be remembered for a heart
that cannot be  easily forgetten amongst the hoi polloi treading the old lanes of Meerut.  

Smile adorns her eyes in the morning sun
Seeing him ruminating,
He, a few golden rays relishing.
She turns around once again, and ponders,

The ageing wisdom, it takes years and not a day,
You will have to wait, she says.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

What I Know For Sure by Oprah Winfrey : What the book told me and what it did not

Few excerpts from the book :

 “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is ‘Thank you,’ it will be enough.”

“In the word question, there is a beautiful word – quest. I love that word.”

“Nurture yourself often so you will have more nurturing to give to those who most need you. It is the airplane oxygen-mask theory : if you do not put on your mask first, you won't be able to save anyone else.”

So, reading this book has been a five-star experience, nothing less than eating a pizza overloaded with tons of cheese. In fact, reading it was near to what I call “visualising a miracle”; it made me think wide on a subject which was, unbeknownst to me, hidden inside my heart. The question of being the “real me”.

And, the pertinent question is, does it really matter that I remain elated all the time? Am I supposed to smile ear to ear all the time? Or chat non-stop? Or seem radiant? Or wear messed up eyeliner once a while?

I am not one might call a gregarious person. I am okay with that. Because that does not make me a “dispirited person”. Not that I don't have my state of euphoria and ecstasy and excitement but the state is like a short-lived jugnoo. Brightest in its life span, with decreasing luminosity.

Jubilance, passion, anger, shyness, calm…I feel so much more than just being happy because that is me. Bewildered do I feel, annoyed do I feel and so do I feel irritated at times. I work like a dog and I feel power- hungry. I don't smile a lot. Or talk to my friends on the phone often. I don't like animals (actually pets). I don't like it when they mix chocolate with almonds or peanuts. I don't like rom-coms. I don't feel impressed or get pleased easily. I like to be on my toes all the time and love to work on challenging assignments often. I laugh at jokes sometimes, if they are funny enough. I get angry at inefficiency and sometimes I am furious with people with no reason. When I love someone, I love her/him with all my heart. I sense a lot of things. I am willing to tread difficult paths in order to do something which excites me.

Am I happy when I do all these? Well, I am not unhappy either.

So, why do people write about being in a state of eternal happiness all the time? To remain sugar coated happy always is not we are supposed to be. We can't understand the importance of bad times that way. Without going through the mixed emotions of passion, jealousy, displeasure, we would not be able to appreciate the beauty and tranquility of something called happiness.

We are human; why can't we happily embrace the bulges and pits of life with grace? After all, happiness and joy should not be a destination; rather a milestone which, we can encounter periodically on our way. Utmost happiness, I guess, lies in that only, and not to showcase fake happiness all the time.

And ,well, Ms. Winfrey, thank you for enriching me with your writing. I am more grateful. I am more curious. And, I nurture myself more now.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Jaipur, the cultural melange...

“I have meetings to conduct. We cannot plan a trip.”
Me: “Come on Arun, It’s our wedding anniversary. A day or two, what do you reckon?”

Next day, standing in the balcony of a hotel, right in the heart of the city, overwhelmed by pink hued huge architecture of Jaipur, we thought that it is good that we did not compromise on our overnight sojourn experience. We could have, else, missed out the warm and exuberant smile of rosy turbaned coolies at the station!

Grandeur is the city, and so is the hospitality. We breakfasted in Rajdhani and they were impeccable in their hospitality. Warmth exudes from the moment we entered the eatery. Ola cabs came to our rescue, we didn't spend much time bargaining on the cab rates. On a suggestion of a local resident, we started with a visit to Albert Museum, only to realise that the museum might only excite an amateur archeologist. It was majestic, however, we could only partly engage ourselves with the monument. Next, we stopped at Jantar Mantar, the same as one found in the Capital. Apparently, there are five Jantar Mantar monuments in India, of which the largest is in Jaipur.

We were exhausted, still, ever heard of a woman who is not balmed by a retail therapy? Jaipur’s shopping centre “Chaura bazaar” stood wide open inviting everyone with melange of colours. Famous for its Bandini work dupattas and trinkets, you would be cruel if you will not carry back souvenirs back from the market.                          

It was the day two, which turned out to be a real winner. The cab dropped us at the Amber Fort, beaming  with pride for having being featured in the Bollywood saga Jodha Akbar, amongst many others. The fort is majestic, that would be a understatement. There is much more to the fort what meets the eye, what with untold old stories engaged in the walls of the building. What was however, intriguing and heart breaking is the culture confined only within the walls. We saw an old lonesome flute like instrument player, resting against the wall, thriving on the coins often given by the visitors as a token of appreciation.

I realised that we have lost 98% of indigenous music traditions – who cares?, other than few talent shows in which only few manage to exhibit their talent. But back home, I did my part to connect with the forgotten music. When we talk about music closer home, Coke Studio is one of the first things that comes to mind.

I downloaded the app coke studio from play store. With the programme thriving on the indigenous   voices, it brought me closer to the unsung heroes. Give it a try if you haven't, having the ease of such music at the click of a finger gives goosebumps.

We were home the next day, only after making a fleeting visit to Hawa Mahal. Sigh! The infrastructure, will take your breath away which you will catch back soon with no dearth of air around coming from windows.  It boasts of having  a total of 953 windows uniquely carved in the Rajasthani pattern and designs!

Well, aftermath of the visit, my bed had no space to rest.
Room was filled with colourful souvenirs leaving no space :), reminding me of famous lines by 
Khalil Gibran,

“ Let me, O let me bathe my soul in colours;
Let me swallow the sunset and drink the rainbow.”

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The tale of a stilettos

So, it all begun that day when my proud and excited owner decided to give her first workshop on Communication wearing me. Little did I know, the admiration with which I had been worn, in that same intensity of self-conceit I would be thrown away in a trash bin. Poor me! I still think I should have been better treated.

The day was bright and sunny, as agreed by my owner too. I just heard her replying back to someone "You know this is the day I have been waiting for ever since. What a perfect weather! , just as bright as I wanted it to be.  I was breeming with pride when her colleague told her, "Anushree, that's a lovely pair of shoes you are wearing. She corrected it's stilettos, actually! 

The workshop went well, but at night, with her swollen and pained feet she couldn't sleep. I heard her saying to the mirror "You are a fool, Anu! Kisne bola tha to wear such sky touching heels."

Sabine bola, she confined, a lady must be groomed. She must be well-dressed. She mustn't look her age. She must dye their hair.  She must be thin. She must wax all that bodily hair off. And , of course, she must wear high heels. 

All the while, she has been forgetting what her father used to tell her ever since she gained worldly senses. "Who made up these rules, anyway. And why, way into the 21st century, are we still sticking to the old notion of how a woman must present themselves to the world? Why do we agree to suffer in order to look good. Why should pain be the price we pay for being admired?"

She thought over it further, "Why do we accept that we must suffer to look beautiful. Why should uneasiness and discomfort be the price we pay for being admired? Why do we fall into Beauty Trap?
The monthly routines to the parlour, attempts to erase a single line on the face; be it laugh lines surrounding eyes or frown lines on the forehead. No, no, no. They must be removed by whatever means applicable. Be it any medicine or for that matter, even laser treatments. Moving from jeggings to boyfriend jeans and back again, just because the trend says.  Saris only work well with trendy blouses (if you don't want yourself to be called a behenji), open-toed sandals if you just had a pedicure, and palazzo pants are out this season, for God's sake.

Yup. She decided she will not suffer at the cost of looking good.

Take her experience.  JUST SAY NO. To all of the above. All you have to lose are your special creams, your stilettos( like she just lost me) and annual subscription to the fashion glossy. 

In return, you will rediscover your self-esteem and worth. Now, that's a trade-off worth its price in golden stilettos.