Clouds ~ The Daily Post Prompt

No matter how much the truth says otherwise, they seem to have a life of their own. Sometimes they huddle up and share some murky secrets, and sometimes they disintegrate stubbornly pretty much like countries form their boundaries. Sometimes they reflect a beautiful crimson hue, and sometimes pregnant and abundant, they show us their dark side.

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Since always I’ve had a thing for clouds. I’ve travelled extensively with my parents all over the country, mostly by road. Enroute, I always found it hard to sleep since there’s just so much to see and absorb about a place. Understandably, when there weren’t any cities, shops or people to distract me, my mind always wandered to the trees that seemed to run past us and the clouds we seemed to be chasing.

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People travelling with me actually thought that I was dense since I was mostly found clicking pictures of clouds of different shapes and sizes as opposed to that of the more logical tourist spots we covered. I am what I am though. Clear skies with minimal clouds, grey clouds that cast a shadow over the sunlight we crave for, or clouds that make the sky their canvas and pattern it beautifully, you just have to look up and see their magic!

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It isn’t for nothing that clouds have inspired many a poets and lyricists. They give us hope, make us believe in simplicity, help us accept change and teach us the most valuable lesson of all; this too shall pass.

This post has been written for prompt Clouds on The Daily Post

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Girls who just have fun

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Paan Masala icecream, Fresh lime soda and Mango kulfi

Some people run into us in the most unlikeliest of places, but what sets them apart is the cutely weird things that we find amusingly in common with them and we connect with them instantly. These women girls are two such crazy and fun creatures. ❤❤

We went to the same gym, at one time. One of them attended the power yoga class with me while the other one sweated it out on treadmills and other fancy gym equipment. Aged almost a decade apart there was nothing much we could relate with one another, except ofcourse the infectious madness! 😀

While extensively debating on working out to Beyonce and other hip beats as opposed to Hindi movie songs and cracking inappropriate and pointed jokes (for twisted minds like us) on stretching during yoga, we became chums. Not to mention the badgering we got from our trainer for laughing away and not paying attention to her. 😛

It has been a while since. The gym isn’t getting rocked by our presence anymore, but we, the incorrigible ones, have managed to keep in touch with each other on and off.

All it needs is a ping on Whatsapp, some quick planning, some restaurant picking (which takes the longest), and there we are meeting up and within moments turning into silly giggly teenagers with complete disregard to our ages, marital status or family problems.

While one complains she will die of hunger, the other one leisurely takes food pictures. While one tries to be elegant, the other one showers her with colourful language. Our worlds are completely different. And yes, the best part is that we don’t judge each other in any case.

Then there are pictures, and so many of them! Posing like this…standing like that…clicking from the right angle…looking in the proper direction…selfies….!! It is almost as if we are trying to realise some unfulfilled modelling dream. 😛 😀

What else, oh, the shopping! Which woman girl becomes friends with another one without raiding a few stores, trying few outfits she doesn’t want to buy but wear anyway or approve or disapprove of each other’s tastes? Female bonding is simple and easy, see? 🙂 🙂

Don’t tell me I’m prejudiced here. I know! 😀

Can you blame me…

….for disappearing, especially when I was out exploring these lovely places and collecting countless beautiful memories? 😀

Being a tourist has its perks, isn’t it? All you have to do is bask into the beauty of a place and take away all you can.

These are the photos from our recent trip to Mahabaleshwar. This was my 4th time there but I’m amazed at how it manages to offer something stunningly new and breathtaking every time!

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Echo Point. With so much fog it was merely used for taking selfies!

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This brawny visitor had everyone's attention. I'm sure he thought we all were being monkeys 😛

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This road was made on Shivaji Maharaj's orders. Left road goes to Sajjangad fort in Satara while the right one goes to Pratapgad fort

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Plato Point. 600 m of plateau with dense forest on all sides. It was very windy and foggy here.

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Spoils of Mahabaleshwar 😛 A and the kids literally attacked it. I steered clear. :-/

In the two days we were there, one day it rained heavily and the other day had a dense fog all day. Whichever way, it was a welcome break from the scorching heat of Mumbai, anytime. Although, to be fair Mumbai did get its due while we were gone. 🙂

We came back two days ago but the vacation mood refuses to go away. I open the laptop to write but lazily give up and watch some movie instead. Typing too seems like a lot of work. How much pain my poor fingers are sustaining right now, imagine! :-D:-D

55 Non-fiction ~ Celebration

Two special occasions, wonderfully coalesce.

Tenth wedding anniversary. Two hundred and fiftieth blog post.

Walking down the memory lane.

Our loving home. The homecoming feeling.

A new family. Extended blog family.

A Jr and Angel. Followers, likes and comments.

Memories and moments. Priceless conversations.

Weaving dreams for future. Jotting the present.

Remarkable surrender. Deeply humbling.

To love or To romance

“Is it really necessary for me to say the obvious? Some things are felt and understood, and stating them outright shouldn’t be important.”

These beautiful sugar-coated words were showered upon me by A the other day when I grumbled (for the nth time!) why he never says (without much coaxing) that he loves me. His logic always was, and still is, simple. We are happily married, have two lovely kids, have no worrisome financial or health issues, have a lot to look up to in life, and manage to go by most of the days without wanting to claw each other’s eyes and hair out. So, in effect, the love is implicit.

Possibly, he’s right. That is, if I think purely from the men’s angle where everything needs to be seen and done rationally. Sadly, women aren’t made like that. When it comes to work, skill or performance we can undoubtedly beat a man at his own game, but in matters of the heart we are still the soft, lovelorn, fragile and utterly adorable creatures God intended us to be. 🙂 😉 🙂

Pardon the nepotism, but I’m going to stick to the case of married women like me. Women love to be wooed, not necessarily with a bouquet of red roses and a horse carriage waiting at their doorstep to take them away to dreamland. Neither does every woman approve of her better half splurging on unnecessary expensive jewellery for her. Being romantic isn’t always limited to physical gestures.

The thing about romance is that it doesn’t essentially involve love. Confused? Let me explain. When a boy likes a girl and goes all out to woo her, it doesn’t always mean he loves her. He might’ve taken a liking for her and probably wants to spend some time with her to feel the organic magic of love or to know whether they have a future. It might or might not happen. That’s pure romance at work.

In marriages, especially Indian marriages, love develops and remains over time but romance goes out the window pretty quickly. While negotiating the many roles a girl has to assume post marriage, her individuality, preferences, likes and dislikes start getting influenced by loads of ‘outer’ factors. What she needs and craves for is an effort to make her feel special.

I agree saying ‘I love you’ doesn’t solve any of life’s problems, but try saying that to your wife once in a while and you will find the lovely smile on her face begin to erase any worries you might have at that point of time. Taking her out on a date isn’t essential, just ask her to leave all the chores for later and to come and watch television with you. Share a sweet or a chocolate with her.

Wait, A does all this. Does this mean he loves me and just doesn’t want to say it? Um, isn’t this just what he said? What am I cribbing about exactly, I seem to forget. Ha ha! 😛 😛 😀

Well, try as you may, you can’t change a person according to your liking, right? We have to find a midway. Enterprising women like me who have incredibly boring husbands can try this. Message him, call him, ping him, do whatever you can, but at least once in a day say something beautifully romantic. His reaction and reply may depend upon how much of a lost cause he is, but you will feel wonderful. 🙂

The Deafening Sound of Music

We Indians are awesome. We are extremely touchy about anything and everything. We can easily create a mountain out of a mole. We can find reasons to defend or denounce anyone without any deliberation. We celebrate our victories with aplomb and don’t shy away from blackening peoples’ faces or burning their effigies when we feel offended. These are so stereotypical that without them we might find ourselves robbed of our identity! 😀

The funny thing is that we are peculiar and unaccommodating even for each other, or possibly even more for each other. We know there are certain things that inconvenience people and are inexcusable, that are harmful for that silly thing called the environment, that can be done away with if we’re willing to compromise, yet unflinchingly we walk our way to personal gratification and public misdemeanour.

There can be umpteen examples but I’m tempted to share the one that rings true (pun unintended) with almost all of us. Loud music that essentially accompanies baaraats, religious processions, electoral successes, cricket victories, or any kind of celebration that assumingly deserves public attention and disturbance, is one of the most debated upon but equally ignored concept that we come across quite frequently. :-/

Living next to a marriage hall for the past six years, I probably don’t need to elaborate the constant assault my ears have endured day in and day out. Marriages are happy occasions, agreed, and as much cacophonous as the live band playing ear-splitting music might be, the merrily dancing people in wedding finery are pretty much oblivious to the sniggers and condemning glances of passers by and nearby residents.

Thankfully, we shifted from the marriage hall neighbourhood. Sadly, the apartment complex we live in now has ten wings and there’s some or the other event happening here often. As I understand, the terraces are available to the residents at some meagre charge for celebrations. Can you guess where this is going? *rolling eyes*

Just the other day, there was a function in my building. For lack of interest and information, let’s assume it was some ladies function since there wasn’t a man in sight. There were some eight to ten ladies in heavy shiny sarees and garish makeup dancing away on songs a live band (having more performers than the ladies!) was playing, walking behind them.

It was quite a sight. Hell bent on showing off their dangerous moves yet mindful of their slipping sarees and the flaking layer of cake on their faces, these ladies didn’t shy away from looking around to ensure they indeed had an audience! They literally dragged some unwilling women on the floor and even did the Nagin dance routine! Women are such lovely creatures, I tell you. 😛

Me and the lady living in the apartment in front of us simply looked at each other and sneered, while Angel was having the time of her life dancing away to glory. My attempts at closing her ears with my palms to lessen the effect of the harsh sound were met with prompt jerking off of my hands. Another difficult woman in the making, I’m afraid. 😦

I wonder, is maintaining decibels levels at a permissible limit really that difficult? Shouldn’t the fact that in a residential complex there are infants, children or senior citizens who need calm and quiet influence peoples’ actions? Doesn’t this involve flaunting more than celebrating?

Parenting Scrutinized #MondayMusings

I cannot get through my child’s mind and understand his thoughts. Do I need to take him to a psychiatrist?

I’m not sure whether I’m handling my child properly. May be I can refer a few books which can help me get a grip on it?

I’m not happy with the kind of friends my child has. I wish he would take my advice and choose his friends wisely.

I bet once in a while we’ve all faced such questions and have tried to find answers through channels that many of us have begun to rely on more assertively than we are prepared to accept. And why not? There is extensive literature available quite easily, there are dedicated television programs, there are blogs, there are friends and well-wishers ready to render advice at the slightest hint, and if nothing else, there are professionals who are ready to help us out at a hefty price.

Yet, we find ourselves baffled and anxious many a times. Isn’t it? Even after doing every possible thing we find ourselves less equipped to tackle issues that we face with our children, sometimes on a daily basis. Some of these issues are laughable at best whereas some are serious and deserve intervention.

From my personal experience, guilty as I am of having referred to parenting books et al, at the outset we’re informed that ‘every child is different’ and what works for one child won’t necessarily work for another. Correct. The problem starts when we find that our darling baby doesn’t fit into any of the descriptions the author has put forth and we start wondering whether this was all an exercise in futility. Agree?

However, at times we find that there are matters for which our seasoned parents and relatives too probably don’t have any suggestions. Our situation wasn’t as complicated and competitive like today. Children weren’t forced to step into adulthood with the constant bombarding of sex and related issues, there weren’t enough television channels or mobile phones and/or video games to distract them from people, numbers on marksheets weren’t extremely important or the prices of their clothes, bags or shoes weren’t a point of discussion or envy for them.

It is becoming increasingly difficult for parents to spend some much-needed quality time with their children, and sad as it may seem, there’s a chance they don’t know their own kids all that well. Sometimes the child is difficult to handle or has issues dealing with authority. In such cases, consulting a psychiatrist would probably be the right thing to do, but will it not distance it from his family further?

I’m not anti-parenting, but there are simple things for which I believe we need to dig into our own roots, instead of simply referring to what we’re told. In extreme cases we can anyway get all the help we need. Parenting is a process that continues and changes with every child and every phase. It is something we need to imbibe and learn and personalise for our own benefit. We cannot be told what to do every time, can we?

Westernisation has affected and influenced us in more ways than we can imagine. What once used to be a simple conversation between parents and their children has suddenly become a round-table conference kind of heavy stuff. It isn’t always about something being right or wrong, advisable or disallowed, or popular or despised. We decide it, for ourselves and our family. Expert advice isn’t compulsory, is it?

Any comments, disagreements or suggestions are welcome. I too am still a learner. 🙂

#MondayMusings

When emptiness fills..! ~ My WOW Prompt

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This post got selected! 🙂

This work of fiction is my entry for the WOW Prompt this weekend by Blogadda. The prompt is : ”The seat beside her was empty…”.

“Next!” the bored nurse barked at no one in particular.

Anu looked at her exasperatedly. Three more to go. She wondered if she was exaggerating or whether she had actually been sitting in that pale-looking waiting room all her life. Ironically, hospitals made her sick and this time around, especially, it had taken all her might to set foot in it.

She wasn’t sure if God was allowing her to bide some time with this delay to rethink her decision. As she looked around in the room she couldn’t help feeling a pang of jealousy. “I’m good enough to do everything on my own, but a helping hand wouldn’t hurt!” she thought enviously.

Anu was in her early twenties and the younger one of two daughters born in a traditional conservative Maharashtrian family. Her father was a strict disciplinarian while her mother was a typical housewife who looked after them. Her elder sister, Sandhya was the ideal ‘good girl’ who always followed rules. Anu wasn’t a rebel per se, but she did manage to sweet-talk her father into getting things done her own way many a times.

Both girls were well-educated, able and made up for the son their family never had. Their world was complete. There was a catch though. They were girls. Their feet were only allowed to go as far as their doorstep and their freedom was tied down to their father’s wish and will.

Sandhya’s forced marriage to the guy of her father’s choice and the subsequent episodes of domestic abuse shook Anu to the core. While she arm-wriggled Sandhya’s husband into divorcing her and brought Sandhya safely back home amidst her father’s stark disapproval, this whole thing left Anu’s own belief in the institution of marriage completely shattered and convinced her of the meaninglessness of love.

…until Ravi turned her life upside down.

Ravi was Anu’s old college friend and a lawyer. He had constantly been by her side during Sandhya’s case and had greatly helped her in getting justice for her. He never expressed it outright, but from his gestures and the attention he gave her, she could make out that he fancied her, probably since a long time. Fresh out of the hellish trauma she had been through; much against her will Anu found herself drawn to him too.

Both of them started finding ways to be around each other. Although it did require their presence, the case became a mere motive. Casual glances soon became intent stares. Accidental touches transformed into deliberate caresses. They were heading into dangerous territory but both seemed oblivious to it. The intimacy she had started craving for, predictably, crossed all boundaries.

Long after Sandhya was back home they kept meeting each other covertly. Anu was proud of Ravi for taking full responsibility of his family after his father’s untimely death. She felt comfort in the fact that he loved her unconditionally. The only time she had ever seen him upset was when she casually broached the marriage topic. His family was paramount to him and he didn’t want distractions. She let it go.

But not for long. Their meetings might’ve been clandestine, but their result was soon going to be out in the open. She was pregnant! The news came as a blow to her. Sandhya was divorced and childless and her father had become particularly difficult for Anu. Her mother, as usual, simply obeyed him. She didn’t know how Ravi would react to it. She didn’t have anyone to guide or support her.

Confused, scared and anxious, she booked an appointment with the gynaecologist. She decided she wasn’t ready to commit herself to a new life, but felt the need to inform Ravi about it. She messaged him and asked him to meet her there, hoping he would take the hint.

Another “Next!” call by the nurse brought her out of her trance. She had been there almost an hour and Ravi had neither replied to her message nor showed up. Just then, a barely one-year old baby girl who seemed to have learned to take her first few steps, came up to her and held on to her hand to avoid falling. Their eyes met and the baby girl smiled at her. At that instant, Anu knew that the fate of another baby, probably waiting for a chance at life, was sealed.

The seat beside her was empty, but her heart was filled with a steely resolve. She wouldn’t let anyone’s wish or presence affect her life and that of her baby. She was capable and complete!

‘This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggersby BlogAdda.’