Small things

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  • Work this quote from Winnie the Pooh into your post: Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart. 
  • Write your thoughts, a story, a poem on your blog. It is necessary to use the phrase in your piece.
  • Try to restrict the word count to about 500 words.

Image credit: Loren Javier

I could hear his footsteps coming from the living room. I tried contemplating my next move. Should I hide under the bed or behind the door? I had to be very quiet lest he’d know where I was. My hand scraped against a sharp edge of an old rusted almirah. I whimpered noiselessly in pain.

As I lay under the bed, beyond the noise of my throbbing heart I could hear nothing now. I didn’t know where he was or what he was doing. Had he noticed I wasn’t in my room? Was he looking for me? My vision was blurred from my tears. The blood from the scrape wound on my hand had dried up.

Suddenly the door opened and he came in. I could vaguely see something long in his hand. I was petrified. Was he going to hurt me? I’d been a nuisance in the morning; had accidently spilled water colours on his important papers, spilled tea over his clothes and hidden the car keys while he looked around for them everywhere. He’d been very upset with me, but had said nothing.

I wish Ma didn’t have to go to tend to my ailing Granny for a week. Our temporary babysitter had gone for the day too. If anything happened to me, how’d anyone know about it? I could feel something terrible was about to happen to me.

Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart. It was my guilt of having done something wrong and my fear of facing its consequences that filled my heart right now. I didn’t even realise I was hungry.

Just then, Dad bent down to look for me under the bed and looked visibly relieved to find me there. Smiling, he said, ‘Hey buddy, see I got you the cricket bat you always wanted. Wanna play? But first tell me, what’re you doing here?!’.

This is part of the Write Tribe Wednesday Prompt # 7.

Write Tribe Prompt

My Rainbow of Seven Years

Cheeni Kum

I absolutely fell in love with this Sugar Free Romance which was like a breath of fresh air after many in-your-face love stories which titillated at best. It was a refreshing concept with a refreshingly odd pair of Tabu and Amitabh Bachchan and I just had to see the movie. Both of them, as expected, were at their charming best, while the beautiful songs were an added bonus.

One might find it baffling as to why I’m talking about a 6-year old movie now. Easy. It lays down an ideal setting for the right tone of this post and what I’m trying to say through it. One can even say I’m using its tune to make my song more relatable. 😉

What makes the movie very special to me is the similarity between A and the character of Buddhadev Gupta played by Amitabh Bachchan. ‘Mush’ is a four-letter word they certainly find quite tiresome and superfluous and can give the finger (without giving it literally) to the person who expects it from them. Also, they don’t know how to woo a girl even if they like her desperately.

Expectations, if not met with, lead to disappointment and remorse. May be that’s why much earlier in my marriage, or even before it, I knew that making great expectations from my husband wouldn’t be the best idea. Everybody needs to be given a chance to display some spontaneity, right? Unpredictability and enigma in a partner somehow make him all the more loveable and sexy, is what I feel.

As different as we might be, I have yet to discover completely what it was that led me to fall for this tall, handsome and not-interested-in-talking-unless-you-initiate person. We’re as different as chalk and cheese and more often than not have little interest in what the other person likes. While I like to roam around and explore, A finds the comfort of his couch too good to let go. I’m all for spicy food while he likes sweets. I don’t like romantic movies while he does. Basically, I’m everything he is not, and vice versa.

Yet, I go weak in my knees every time this person flashes that sweet smile of his (which is also a trap at times to make me do something for him, which I otherwise wouldn’t). I like it when he calls me from work to check if I had my lunch or if A Jr threw any new tantrums. I like it when he agrees to come out with us for shopping even if he’s tired or bored. I like it when he gets angry when I walk on the road mindless of all the traffic, holds my hand and walks with me. I love the way he’s protective towards me yet gives me the freedom to do and be what I like and want to be. 🙂

Sweet as he is, A can be a real jerk at times too. I can never forgive him for making me watch movies like Saawariya, Matru ki Bijli ka Mandola and Kya Super Cool Hain Hum while he dozed off midway in the movie! He’s an expert in emotional atyachaar and uses it for his advantage shamelessly. He and I might be saying the same thing, but he has a compulsive need to prove that I’m wrong. He’ll offer to make a meal for us but make me promise beforehand that I have to eat it irrespective of the taste or consistency. And the worse, when I’m being hopelessly romantic he has to spill cold water on my mood, anyhow! Hmpf!!

Clichéd as it may be though, its true as always. Opposites attract. All said and done, seven years have gone by and we’re still like a newly-wed couple; exploring our relationship and growing in its shadow. We’ve given each other the warmth and stability we always craved for. For the world we might be husband and wife but we’re much more than that for each other. We’ve learnt that it’s not necessary to like each other all the time and it’s alright if we don’t. Seems like I’ve finally found maturity, yes? 😀

Cheeni Kum, possibly, but I’m diabetic for too much sweetness. My life’s perfect the way it is. 🙂 🙂

When the unexpected happens..

I’d been anxiously waiting for this day. Today my sincere efforts of the last few weeks were going to bear fruit. All those sleepless nights spent in anticipation of this day would from now on be fondly remembered as an exercise in longing. The intelligent and stunningly beautiful new trainee in our team, Rose, had finally agreed to go out on a date with me! 🙂

I knew she’d give in to my charm and my relentless pursuit sooner or later. I know girls love to be wooed and paid attention to, and I had been generous on both fronts. This was the same girl who couldn’t bear me standing in the same room with her, and now, well. Round one belongs to yours truly. 😀

I saw her striding down our office corridor in the morning today. She looked ethereal. I tried to soften her up for our impending date but apart from the quick pleasantries she didn’t seem much interested in talking to me. May be she wanted to keep our little outing a secret and not make it to office-cooler gossip. Smart girl. 🙂

By evening I started getting a bit edgy. Not only did she show no sign of fondness towards me, she even reprimanded me for being responsible for the delay in her making reports! Was I disturbing her? I saw all my dreams for tonight slowly crashing in front of my eyes. What and why was all this happening? 😦

As I was getting ready to make yet another unsuccessful attempt of trying to remind her that we were supposed to leave in 15 minutes to avoid being late, I got the call. I wish I could ignore it, but I couldn’t. I tried to find my voice as the person on the other side told me, to my utter shock, something I couldn’t imagine in my wildest dreams.

My wife was at the reception waiting to go with me for the date I’d planned so meticulously. Apparently, she’d been pleasantly surprised when she was informed about it in the morning, by Rose.

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Image credit: http://mrg.bz/LsH3I1

This is part of the Write Tribe Wednesday Prompt # 6 on Corinne’s blog.

Write Tribe Prompt

Isn’t Child Marriage an oxymoron?

The bride and groom were bored; with the thousands of rituals involved in a marriage, with the heat and overdressing, with hunger and most of all with their questionable role in it all. They had no idea how they were supposed to conduct themselves and didn’t know if blushing would be appropriate or not. All they did, like they were told to, was look down and bear the whole agony silently.

After all, who would they complain to? Their own parents were marrying them off even before they had reached their teens, and the whole world was participating in the celebration. No one even had a fleeting thought of trying to stop them from doing this injustice with their kids at such a tender age. The kids could do nothing but agree, out of fear, blackmail or love.

This is not some particular wedding I’m referring to. I’ve always pictured this is what might be happening with those poor kids on their wedding day. Isn’t it? 😦

Child marriages are still rampant in the place where I come from, but I can’t thank God enough for sending me to a family where such foolish customs are scoffed at. It is said that your wisdom lies in differentiating between good and bad and accepting only what your heart feels right. Giving in to the pressures of society or following certain custom or tradition blindly isn’t just wrong, it is downright criminal.

I was probably 6 or 7 yrs old when we’d gone to our hometown in Rajasthan for my brother’s Jadula (Mundan) ceremony. It is a ritual which till date continues in every household in our community. The whole thing held no significance whatsoever for me at that time. All I did was enjoying. It was a whole lot of fun seeing the desert there, riding on camels and elephants (who cared about a tan then!), seeing people dressed in traditional clothes and women keeping a mile long ghunghat which covered their whole face.

Anyway, when we were travelling to and from somewhere we witnessed, for the first time ever, a young couple who’d just been married. Young here means really young. The groom was around 10 years old and the bride was around the same age. They were dressed in wedding finery and were being taken to the temples nearby for God’s blessings for a good marriage (and I’m sure lots of sons too). I was mildly amused looking at them.

My father disapproved but didn’t say a word since the wedding had already taken place. However, he advised the groom’s father to make sure the girl gets proper education and care. My mother tells me his eyes were moist and he was a tad more kind and loving to me that day and kept mumbling under his breath, ‘Why do these people do this?’. He took a picture of them to show us later. We have that picture till date.

This was my first brush with a Child Marriage or Baal Vivah. Whenever I see that picture I can’t help imagining how that girl must be now, since she was just a little elder to me that time. How must’ve she adjusted with her husband’s family? Did she have a khadoos mother-in-law? Did she have to cook at such a young age? Who told her about menses and sex? Was she given proper education about it? How many kids and possibly other women (her husband’s other wives/girlfriends/keeps etc) might she be having? The questions are endless.

Whatever intentions there might be which made people create such a tradition in the first place; it is nothing less than a slap on the face of humanity today. Violence, early maternity deaths, nutrition problems in mother and child are just some of the major consequences of child marriage. The mental and emotional effects it has on the mind and psychology of the girl cannot be easily gauged.

Here are a few things I’d like to tell all those people who still support it and can’t see what inhuman thing they’re doing with their daughters by throwing them in this fire.

  • Educate your girl. Educating a mother is like educating the whole family. A mother is a child’s first teacher. She can teach him what no teacher can.
  • Give her opportunities. Let her show you that she’s no less than the sons you’re so proud of, may be better. Give her the chance to prove it.
  • Treat her as equal. Why should a girl’s education be stopped for lack of funds? She can learn and earn just as well.
  • Give her respect. Show her that you have regard for her knowledge and understanding. There’s no bigger motivation than this.
  • Stand for her. Nothing is more important for a woman than to know that she has someone to rely on. She needs her family the most. Be there for her.

While my experience was in the state of Rajasthan, Bihar isn’t far behind. Even now, 68.9 percent of the marriages in Bihar involve girls below the age of 18. (Source: UNICEF)

The legal recourse available in this regard is:

  • The Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929
  • The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006

Also,

  • Apni Beti, Apna Dhan (ABAD), which translates to “Our Daughter, Our Wealth,” is one of India’s first conditional cash transfer programmes dedicated to delaying young marriages across the nation.

Even after being addressed by the government, this evil is far from being contained. The reason behind this is simple. It is more of a ‘you cover me and I cover you’ kind of a thing where most of the cases go unreported. Also, the poor economic conditions and crimes against women in states like Bihar force parents into this practice to get rid of the responsibility of their girl early.

Here are few suggestions that I’ d like to give:

  • To take help of locals and try to reach the villages and towns where such things happen. First and foremost, to make parents realise that a girl is not a bigger responsibility than a boy. They must be treated equally.
  • To collect ladies and give them knowledge through lectures and slides. Having gone through this, mothers should be advised not to force their daughters into it and be strong to stand against their families and society for it. Knowledge about hygiene, health and nutrition must be given to girls and women.
  • Road plays and skits to make the point simply but effectively. To use live examples and include the whole audience in it.
  • Highlight the punishment they’ll be liable to. Law can be used both to scare and protect and they should know it. Any case where the offenders got punished must be emphasised.
  • Help of experts from the vicinity. Help of local police officers, doctors etc can be taken so the point is better emphasised and conveyed.  These are people that are in constant touch with them and can work more effectively than strangers from outside.

Let us all begin our contribution and do our bit by making a promise to ourselves and our society.

I promise to do my best to help get rid of this evil that is plaguing our society for so long.

I promise to expose and report anyone doing this as far as I can.

I promise to make our society a place where our young girls can worry about what dress to wear or what chocolate to eat, anything but marriage.

I promise to help make this place safe and happy for every child.

This is my entry for Indiblogger’s Ring the Bell for Indichange contest. Write the change! 🙂

To know more visit http://www.bellbajao.org/

Thank you all!

This is a quick post just to thank all my wonderful readers.

My blog got its 1400th comment! YAY!! 🙂 🙂

When I started blogging I remember waiting desperately for even a single comment on my blog to find out if people thought my writing was interesting enough to read and comment on.

After all this love and support from you all, I’m all emotional and feel humble.

Blessed as I feel, I hope you keep bestowing your love upon me and my blog like you have till now. Thanks a ton! 🙂

7x7x7x7 Writing Prompt

Challenging as it may be, this is one prompt that one would surely like to do, just for the thrill of it. This prompt has been done earlier by Corinne on her blog Everyday Gyaan and is now on Write Tribe too..

What is the 7x7x7x7 Writing Prompt?

  1. Grab the 7th book from your bookshelf.
  2. Open it up to page 7.
  3. Pinpoint the 7th sentence on the page.
  4. Begin a poem/a piece of prose that begins with that sentence
  5. Limit it in length to 7 lines/7 sentences.

So here goes….

Western society for the past 300 years has been caught up in a fire storm of change.

300 was a movie in which none of the characters ever changed.

Movies show us how to dream and how to live the dream.

Dreams are a window to our innermost hopes and desires.

I wish to fulfil my desire to learn swimming soon.

Swimming is one of the many sports included in the Olympics Games.

We all hope India makes it to the next Olympics Games.

India is my country, and even with all its drawbacks and corruption, I love it.

The book : Future Shock by Alvin Toffler. 😀

Wish I’d ran into a more interesting book with something better to start with. Not sure if I did it right. Braved it, and that’s enough for me! 😀

Write Tribe Prompt

Hi again…my dear friend :)

As I poured my heart out to an old friend of mine (I was meeting her after ages and she just had a super-critical life threatening surgery) who I’d been very close to and lost touch with over time as we chose some different career paths, I felt like I’d reconnected to an old part of me. I know meeting someone from your past can be emotional, but why do we girls always get so teary-eyed? 😦

In her words, and I relate to it completely, ‘I met lots of people and made lot of friends, but guys, they don’t take your places. You’re just irreplaceable.’ Here she meant our whole gang that somehow didn’t survive the test of time as we thought it would. Just to take a cue from this, we found each other’s numbers and reconnected on Whatsapp, and now as a necessary refreshing exercise we exchange tidbits about each other’s lives almost everyday. 🙂

Being an important life of someone’s life is better than being an unimportant part of many people’s lives, isn’t it? I’d rather have a few friends who genuinely feel for me than having tons of friends who’re good enough only to splash their presence on my FB wall. Taking that one step, from virtual to real, is difficult. Even for people who’ve been there with you in the past and somehow weren’t the same anymore until recently, but once done isn’t it pure delight? 🙂

Thanks R….hope to stay this close to you always and hope you recover soon. Really looking forward to having some rocking time with you again! 🙂

Why I Write

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It’d be wrong if I said that I was pleasantly surprised to find that I loved writing only after I started blogging. Even as a school kid writing was something I always enjoyed. I never felt wary of having to write an essay or a letter and never got tired of collecting ideas and developing my vocabulary for them. It was indeed a bonus when my teachers applauded my writing in front of the whole class sometimes. It gave me a lot of confidence.

To add a personal touch to the cards I gave to my friends and relatives on any occasion I loved to add a couple of lines I jotted down for them myself. I always found it easy to emote and convey my feelings through the written word. I was glad that writing gave me a way to express myself, something I never was very good at in reality. I always preferred writing to talking, simply to be more clear and precise.

Sadly, as time went by writing took a back-seat. Machines and numbers became more important and the writer inside me felt suffocated. The time that should’ve been utilised in creating something meaningful went in fathoming silly equations and ratios. All those poems that kept forming inside me remained unwritten, until one day their ink dried up. I confess the realisation that I wasn’t able to write anymore was harsh and painful.

There was a lot I’d gone through before blogging happened. I’d married and also become a mother. My career had taken off and suffered an early retirement. I had the responsibility of a baby, with no help and no friends. I was coping up with the frustration of not having a job, even though it was done voluntarily. I was feeling like my life was going down the spiral, very fast. Just then, blogging came to me like a blessing in disguise.

I’ve always been very fond of reading. Investing time in reading, according to me, gives returns over a long period of time. Reading blogs was a very novel and different experience for me. Not only did it give my thinking a different direction, but also encouraged me to contribute something from my side. Some wonderful, some average and some disappointing, there were all kinds of blogs to see and learn from. Writing, like a long-lost ally, came back to me and this time to keep me company forever.

What I liked, and still do, about blogging is the freedom it offers us. I can flaunt without caring, crib without being judged and rant without being stopped. I can talk as much as I want and don’t need someone to listen to me always. I don’t need to be self-conscious or coy. I can share things here that are difficult to share with anyone else otherwise. The real me, who usually stays hidden behind a tough exterior, can come out here without the fear of being hurt.

The thing about writing is that it can never be dishonest. Now, here I’m not talking about journalists or interviews or those bloggers who write only for others. People like me who write just for the joy of it and who’d rather make genuine blog friends than simply collect more followers, take our craft and blog quite seriously. There are times when my blog’s been dormant for a long time, but it’s also true that it’s always because of some reason beyond my control.

Some things however are best done the conventional way. I believe that a personally hand-written note still goes a long way. I’m still a sucker for greeting cards than e-greetings and love to make cards for people I really care for. I’ve just appeared for exams where there was a whole lot of theory, and it was nice to know that I don’t mind writing even now. Typing doesn’t have the same charm.

I’ve been told many times to try and take writing professionally. I never did take that advice for two reasons: firstly, I don’t think I’m that good, and secondly, writing is better off as a hobby to me. Currently this is the only place where I write what comes to my mind and what my heart says. I mentioned sometime back on my blog that I want to make my blog a positive place for me. This blog is what I come to when I want to see and read what good things my life’s made of. The wonderful people that I’ve met through my blog are almost like a part of my life now. They know the nuances of my character better than many people, is what I feel.

I’m glad I took Pinsy’s advice and took up this prompt. This is in response to the The Writer’s Post Thursday Blog Hop # 80 on Corinne’s blog.

Thanks Corinne for being such a wonderful motivator! Loved doing this. 🙂

Write Tribe Prompt

A few words on what has gone and changed

What can be more hurtful than going to your hometown and not being able to find your way about? Well, this thing happens with me a lot nowadays. The urban concept of big shopping complexes, retail chains, supermarkets etc have changed the very face of my once quiet and peaceful city.

Added to it the woes of the known-turning-into-unknown areas and this poem came to me, just out of the blue. Guess it was forming itself somewhere inside me all this while…

जिन गलियों से मैं हर रोज़ गुज़रती थी 
आज उनका चेहरा नया और जुदा है 
ऊंची इमारतें आ गयी अब वहां पर   
खेलते हुए जहाँ मेरा बचपन गया है 
नुक्कड़ की वो छोटी सी कैंडी की दूकान 
बड़े से एक मॉल में कहीं खो गयी है 
रास्ते बढे और बढ़ी गाड़ियां भी 
मंजिलें न जाने क्यूँ परायी सी हुई हैं 
भला है आगे बढ़ना, बड़े सपने बुनना 
और उससे भी भला है उनको सच करके रहना  
पर तरक्की के साथ में जो पीछे छूट जाते 
ज़रूरी है उन सौगातों को सहेज के रखना