The Joy of Giving!

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While I love to shop for myself and buy nice things, the biggest satisfaction I get is from giving to people. It brings me happiness, peace and contentment. I don’t dedicate any special day for giving. I try to make it an everyday habit. Sometimes, I’ll pay a rickshaw driver Rs. 10 extra just to bring a smile on his face, sometimes I’ll feed street kids the food that they ask for. Sometimes I’ll help an old person or a young child cross the road – that is also a form of giving for me. I love to send gifts to my friends and see the smile of happiness on their face.

Giving to people should be something that we follow everyday. It shouldn’t be done on any one special day only dedicated to someone. Make it an everyday habit. Give a smile to a sad looking stranger, compliment a woman on her outfit and watch her confidence soar, thank a man who makes way for you and even better ( this goes especially for us women) – don’t expect a man to make way for you always, hold the door open for you or show you courtesy. Instead, do it sometimes for a man, it can even be a stranger. They will feel happy because rarely do they get to experience such gestures.

Make giving and caring for people an everyday habit. You don’t need any other mood booster or stress relieving activities!

This post is written to participate in the #DaanUtsav Initiative on Indiblogger.

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The Saga of the Under Attack Feminist

When I was a little girl, my grandmother would keep teaching me about everything a girl should be – a girl should be softspoken, she should be modest, she should not have strong opinions and views, she should be extremely tolerant whatever the circumstances and protesting against injustice, what’s that(she still is the most beautiful memory of my childhood days because of the lovely summer memories she created for us). And today when she is no more and I am the exact antithesis of whatever she taught me, she must be squirming or finally she is proud of me?

On one side, I had my grandmother moulding me into her idea of a perfect woman(or wife) and on the other side I had my dad bringing me up to be a strong, self respecting woman who is the epitome of kindness but God help you if you mess with her. I guess dad’s upbringing had a heavier influence than my grandmother’s.

So I grew up to be a strong minded woman who knew what she wants in most things life and could not compromise on the things that most girls are asked to compromise on. In today’s 21st Century, if you are a woman with clear views and thoughts and if you set very clear standards for yourself, you are labelled a Feminist with a screwed up mouth making it sound like a dirty word. If you stand up for your rights and don’t let people mess with you or cross the lines, what are you? Yes, you guessed it right! The dirty word again.

I have been quite used to people calling me a feminist with their nose turned up like they have some dirty smell right under their nose. And I can smell those kind of people from far away. But then some people surprise(shock) you too. They preach about being modern, free thinking, broad minded and believing in equality. They gain your respect and you are truly impressed that here is the WOMAN/MAN of today. And one day they show you your true colours!

A few days back, I shared an article condemning the men who gang raped a woman who was out of her house in the night with her baby. She was in the auto when they threw the baby out of the auto and took the woman to a secluded area and gang raped her. Needless to say, the baby passed away.

Deeply saddened by the crime, I shared a sketch of the culprits that was released with a statement hoping that they are arrested. Most of the people had sad or angry reactions to what I shared.

Then a friend of mine totally opened my eyes to her. Till then, she had always come across to as someone who believed in the emancipation of women. But the truth was revealed to me that day. Her comment – While I deeply sympathize with her, I think she is at fault because she shouldn’t have gone out in the night alone with her baby especially since one truck driver had already tried to molest her. I asked her – how can you even say that? Does she even have to explain why she stepped out of her house or feel guilty about it? She says I agree with you and women’s freedom shouldn’t be restricted. I said – good, then let’s stick to that and not make statements like she shouldn’t have stepped out.

Then she messaged me and started writing a long saga about her ex-husband used to beat her up, yet she never left the house etc etc. I ignored her messages because there was no way I could justify her sentence to myself. Then two days later, she was probably miffed that I ignored her. So she messages me and says that I am far removed from reality and she labelled me as a ‘bra burning feminist’. I mustered up all my dignity and responded – I don’t wish to discuss this with you. Thanks.

So here is a modern 21st Century woman who escaped an abusive marriage with a daughter of her own and is now married to a wonderful loving man for which I am truly happy for her. Instead of fighting stereotypes and working towards a safe world where her daughter can move about freely, she is feeding the dangerous stereotypes where a man can strut about at any time of the day or night thinking that all women are things to be used and abused while women should lock themselves inside four walls to keep themselves from tempting the uncontrollable man. The bra-burning feminist rests her case here!!

My Life as Written by Myself!

When I was 14 years old, I got it into my head that I wanted to be a journalist. I was very keen on it and was working towards that goal by honing my English skills and writing. But life has its own twists and turns.

My father was an army officer and he didn’t have a very high salary. My brother and I are just one year and nine months apart with him being older than I am. He went into Engineering college and I was in 11th standard that time. When I passed out of 12th, he was in 2nd Year of Engineering. There was no way my parents could afford to send us both to college at the same time. He was living in a hostel and I would have to also as we were in Shillong at that time and I couldn’t join college there. So I had to settle for a correspondence course for my Graduation. I was terribly upset.

Then we came to Mumbai and by then I was in third year of my graduation. So there was no point in my joining college at that time. It was at this time that I started drifting in life. Because of this educational setback, I lost the courage to pursue Journalism. I started working in a call center and worked in this field for many years.

At the back of mind, there was a new dream that had started forming. I wanted to get into being a homebaker. But I lacked the courage to convince my parents because at that time people had very set views about jobs and careers. This was in the late 90’s. I kept working in different jobs and now I have a PostGraduate Degree in PR and I even worked in that field for sometime. But my dream of being a homebaker started getting stronger.

After a major setback in my company, I eventually decided to quit and turn Homebaker. I was past the age of 30 when I took this decision. It took sometime to convince my parents. I did it gradually over a few months.

If I were the Writer of my life story, I’d go back to the time when I finished my Graduation and pursue my dream of being a Homebaker and Chocolatier(my special expertise).

This post is written for the IndiSpire topic on Indiblogger – ‘If you were the writer of your own story – Your Life. How would you have altered it? #choice

Winter Garden – A Book I Can Never Forget!

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About six month back, I have added a new author to my list of favourite authors. Her name is Kristin Hannah. I have read many of her books but the book that left me speechless is Winter Garden. It is a book that touched me to the core and left me teary eyed by the end. What an amazing way to weave a story! I have read so many books that it rarely happens that I just can’t wait to know what happens in the end. With Winter Garden, I couldn’t put it down till I completed it.

Synopsis of the story

Anya has a warm relationship with her husband but had always been a  cold and distant mother to their two daughters, Meredith and Nina and they have no clue why. The only time she came alive and really connected with her daughters is while narrating a fairy tale, till an incident happens and Anya stops narrating the fairy tale to her daughters. They grow up and Nina moves away to become a journalist while Meredith stays near her parents after marriage. It was only when their father dies and has a last wish for his daughters that the sisters come back together to fulfill his wish.

The wish is – To get their mother to complete the fairy tale. A very silly wish, you’ll say. But it has a whole story full of sadness, tears and a heart-wrenching truth. It is a journey of two daughters getting to know their mother and a woman’s journey of accepting her past and forgiving herself.

This is one book that’s a must read for everyone, irrespective of the gender and whether they love reading or not.

The Death of Freedom!

India has completed 68 years of independence. But what does this independence really mean? I don’t see any freedom around me at all.

Whenever a girl is harassed by men on the road, I see the death of freedom.

Whenever a couple is killed by their own families for falling in love, I see the death of freedom.

Whenever I see moral police beating up lovers for celebrating Valentine’s Day, I see the death of freedom.

Whenever I see police arresting adults who are staying together in a hotel legally, I see the death of freedom.

Whenever I see someone insulting me on a personal level because I don’t agree with the actions of the leader of the country, I see the death of freedom.

When I see crores of money being pumped into cleaning the River Ganga while the pollution of the river continues simultaneously, I see the death of the freedom.

Whenever I see a student with poor marks getting that coveted engineering seat on the basis of being from a backward class instead of the student with top marks, I see the death of freedom.

Whenever I see rapists roaming around scotfree while the victim breathes her last in a hospital, I see the death of freedom.

Whenever I read about someone being killed because of Road rage, I see the death of freedom!

Whenever I see people ignoring an accident victim lying on the road, I see the death of freedom.

Whenever I see people telling a girl to not to roam about at night or to dress properly when a guy molests her, I see the death of freedom.

Whenever I see people keeping their house spotless but dirtying the streets without any qualms, I see the death of freedom.

Whenever my government decides for me what I can or cannot eat, I see the death of freedom.

Whenever I see a girl supporting the archaic rules meant for the subjugation of women, I see the death of freedom.

Whenever I see a woman getting her son married for the second time because her daughter-in-law dared to give birth to a daughter instead of a son, I see the death of freedom.

Whenever I see a bridegroom and his family walking out of the wedding because the dowry was not upto their standards, I see the death of freedom.

Whenever I see people bathing lifeless statues in temples in litres and litres of milk while so many starving people exist in the country, I see the death of freedom.

This is not #RealIndependence and this is not the India of my dreams or of the people who want to see progress, prosperity and happiness for their country.

Together – The Journey of Friendship

You could be heart-broken, may have lost out on that long-lost promotion, may have had a bitter fight with your parents or you may be just feeling lost in life. Whatever be the situation, there is one person who will always stand by you. In different people’s lives, they are different roles. For someone it will be mother or father, for someone it will be their spouse who is their shelter in difficult times, for someone it could be someone completely unrelated to them(they can’t even call that person a friend, because it will be too small a word to describe the importance of that person).

For me, that person is my dearest friend, Andrea. She came into my life all of a sudden. I am definitely sure that God sent her as my Guardian Angel at a time when I was completely broken and shattered. I had been in love with someone for two years and he had even asked me to marry him, however eventually we split up because his parents were dead against the relationship and he couldn’t go against them.

At that point in my life, I felt my life had come to an end. I didn’t know what to do. On the next day, I went to work and she was the new team member in my team. We started talking and eventually I ended up confiding in her and broke down. Have you ever felt a stranger becomes closer to you than anyone else you know? That’s how it was with Andrea and myself.

When I opened up my heart to her, she didn’t spend sympathizing with me or telling me how bad she felt for me. She presented the objective view of the situation to me, comforted by saying that I did my best and I should be happy and if things didn’t work, it is because they are simply not meant to be and there is no way I should blame myself for the end of the relationship.

That one day spent #together with her gave me the courage and strength to move ahead with optimism in life.

However, it is also countless such moments spent with her that are valuable and more precious than anything else in life. Those days spent #together in a coffee shop discussing our crushes, work problems and family issues, going shopping together and appreciating or criticizing each other’s choices, simply spending quiet time reading together, standing by each other through the toughest of times even when the entire world is against us, being each other’s courage even when we lose our own, believing in each other even when we lose confidence in ourselves – each moment is priceless.

The saying is so true – for most people a Home is a person not a place and for me that person is Andrea. I hope that when we are old with no teeth and hair, we are still Together in this Journey called Life.

If I don’t find my soul mate, what I would love best is to find a home to share with this friend/sister with the help of https://housing.com/ and always have someone to turn to in bad times and celebrate good times with.

5 Things I Thought I Would Achieve By 25!


Top post on IndiBlogger.in, the community of Indian Bloggers

When I was growing up, I had a clear plan of the things I had a clear list of the things I would achieve by the time I turned 25. Here is my list.

1) I would be highly educated.

2) I would be working in a top organization with a cushy salary at a high post.

3) I would have built my dream home in a beautiful city.

4) I would have met the love of my life and would be happily married.

5) I would have travelled to my dream location,Switzerland.

At the age of 36, I look back at this list and though I have not achieved many things in this list, I have understood the things that truly matter in my life. Love, laughter, friendship, living each day to the fullest, compassion towards others, being grateful for the blessings that I have instead of regretting the things that I don’t have. I have learnt to enjoy my present and not worry about the future, work and play to the fullest and I am happier than I ever thought I could be.

Ten Things I Want To Do Before I Die


Top post on IndiBlogger.in, the community of Indian Bloggers

All of us have unfulfilled dreams, unrequited passions and desires in our hearts. I am a very imaginative person and I never curb it because dreams are only fulfilled by those who dream.

So here is my #LifeDeathBucketList for Indiblogger’s latest Indispire topic.

1) Travel to each and every corner of the world, preferably alone and if I have someone with me, it should be someone who has the same thirst for travel that I  have.

2) Write a book – It will be part autobiography, part fiction. I will write a simple and a touching story which will touch the reader’s heart and make them want to read it again and again.

3) Open a Cafe cum Book Shop: It will be one of those sunny and cheerful places where people feel rested and comfortable, not feel like they are being rushed to leave and empty the space for the next customer.

4) Adopt a child: A longtime dream of mine is to adopt a homeless child who doesn’t have parents to love her – yes, she will definitely be a girl.

5) Find true love – a person who will accept me with my mood swings, independent nature and need for lots and lots of space in a relationship.

6) I want to reach a stage where I support my parents financially without them having to spend a penny.

7) Take my parents on a world tour.

8) I give a lot of value to education, so I want to do my M.A and Ph.D in English Literature – right now, time is a constraint. But, definitely sometime in the future.

9) I have a picture of my dream house in my mind – I will build that one day and it will definitely be next to the sea or mountains where I will spend my retirement years.

10) The dream closest to my heart – Go to Shillong and stay there for a few years again. I stayed in Shillong for a few years when dad was posted there and for me if there is heaven on earth anywhere, it is Shillong.

The farce called Candle March

16th December, 2012 – A girl was brutally raped and beaten and her guy friend was also brutally thrashed and both were thrown out of the speeding bus where they were lying approximately for one hour. No one came to help them in that crucial one hour and they were lying their ignored until someone informed the police and they were rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. That one hour had been very crucial for the girl who could have been saved if she was rushed to hospital in time. And the same people who would have seen them lying on the road and ignored them would conduct a candle march later. 

A true case of complete hypocrisy. A woman’s chain is snatched by speeding bikers and with mute spectators around, a girl is being abducted in a rickshaw and everyone around ignores her cries for help. The girl jumped out of the speeding rickshaw to save herself, hit her head on the pavement and went into a coma. Thankfully, she is out of danger now. A man will openly harass a girl in public with mute spectators around again.

  Once a driver bumped against our car and got into an argument with our driver. Our driver ended the argument and left the spot. The guy followed the driver to our building and our stupid security guards let the guy come up to our house. Our driver had come up and he followed him. He started fighting with us and my sis-in-law was at home with us with my nieces. I told that guy to get lost and do what he wanted to. He pretended to call the MNS from his phone and said he will get our driven beaten up. My sis-in-law got scared and told us to just pay him off. I told him to do what he wanted to and we were not scared. But my sis-in-law just paid him off.

She missed a very important thing that I was trying to teach her. If someone threatens us if we are not wrong, the last thing should we do is get scared and back off. He was threatening us with the MNS. One call to my Complex’s security and he would have been rotting in jail. When you back out when you are not wrong, you are teaching your children who are watching to do the same. And the cycle will continue when they do the same when someone does a crime against them or someone else. The need of the hour is brave people who face up to cowards that the perpetrators of the crime are. Don’t get me wrong. I love my nieces like they are my own children. But the last thing I want to teach them is to be weak women who get scared of anyone who scares them. I am always soft spoken and polite, but God help the person who dares to mess with me. And that’s how I want them to be.

Let me tell you of another incident that happened a few days back. An old lady in my complex was coming out of the bank in our complex after withdrawing money and a young guy came and started trying to snatch the handbag away from her. A lady was passing by in a rickshaw with her 10 year old kid and seeing what was happening stopped the rickshaw, got down and started hitting the guy who was stealing from the old woman and called the police. It was then that the people around who had been mute spectators came and started bashing the guy. A powerful lesson to the guy who was trying to steal from a helpless old woman and most importantly to her son who learnt a live lesson in bravery and courage. I salute the woman everyday.

Let’s take action when the crime is being perpetrated and not when the victim is beyond saving. I end with the saying in hindi that I totally love – “Jurm karne se zyada jurm sehne wala doshi hai.”

Making Others Smile!

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Indiblogger’s latest topic in Indispire is about what I might have done that was good for others and brought a smile to their face. This set me thinking and I was trying to remember what I could have done. Then I got my answer. 

     When I had my heart broken, somehow I became very perceptive to pain in other people. Maybe it was God’s way of helping me heal. In the initial after days after the end of my relationship, I was in too much pain. But 6-7 months later, I was a little more in control of myself and that’s when I started sensing pain in people around me. Knowing how difficult it is for people to talk about their pain, I never asked them about what they are going through. I would do small things to bring a smile on their face – share a joke, say something inspirational, give a warm hug or sometimes just listen. 

    Now, it has become a habit for me. I do this everyday. Whether it is my friends, colleagues, people I am travelling with, I always try to make them feel better about themselves and leave them a happier person. This brings me a lot of happiness, peace and keeps a smile on my face always.