Resilient ~ Weekly Photo Challenge

It stood there quietly, witnessing

The sweat and blood of its creators

The pride and pleasure of its owners

The distinction, yet the comparison

The feeling of being a cheap treason

Enduring years of pain and withering

It is now a spectator of a different kind

The laughter and cameras, it doesn’t mind

At dawn and dusk, it greets its companion

The resilient twosome, go on in unison

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The entrance 

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There are such gardens and ponds on all four sides of the Maqbara

These are the pictures of the Bibi Ka Maqbara, which is located in Aurangabad, Maharashtra. Like with any other historical monument, it too has seen its share of neglect and dilapidation over the years. However, it still is a huge draw for vacationers (Aurangabad is closest to the famous Ellora and Ajanta caves) as well as locals, as you can see in the pictures.

Whenever it is time to switch calendars, good thing or bad I don’t know but counting the hits and misses or highs or lows in any given year isn’t the first thing on my mind. Our lives aren’t subject to change on an annual basis, are they?

Understandably, I don’t believe in New Year Resolutions either. Although, there is one thing that I resolve to do, this year and in my life after this; moving on. Professionally, of late I’ve been blessed with a few things I can rejoice about, but the umpteen setbacks I’ve had on a personal level could’ve been avoided if I had learnt to let go of things, on time. There is a limit to the amount of self-ridicule one can or should take. Anyway, better late than never, right? 🙂

Here’s wishing all my readers, who have in a way become my extended family, an awesome, rewarding, healthy and joyful time, every day of this year and always! Hope you move closer to achieving your dreams and the smile on your face never fades away. Love you all! ❤ ❤

Tears of calm

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Her calm demeanour startled him.

“Are you alright?” he asked alarmingly.

She looked at him, but tears blinded her.

“I hope I misread it.” she hoped.

“What’s done is done, dear.” he said.

She wished she could travel in time and turn it around.

Or, read the newspapers in time for a flat 50% sale.

Steps for career, love and marriage

Coming from someone who is presumed aimless for renouncing all career goals and aspirations for a life of domestication and erstwhile languor, my opinion in this regard may not hold ground with many. Nevertheless, women who believe in not shutting off one side of their heart or brain to converge their focus and energy on something that ‘fits their plan’ would find some relevance with it.

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The first glance at this image will unequivocally garner the same response from most people, “How true!” After all, it is only astute to hanker after financial independence and an individual life that doesn’t depend on anyone else’s existence in our scheme of things. We need to sort ourselves out before inculcating anyone else in our space.

Do our lives go according to our plans every time though? There are those inane things called opportunity and destiny that knock on our door all but once, their intent or preference immaterial. They get hold of us unguarded and unprepared and leave us with little time to ponder over seizing the moment or letting it pass us by forever.

Our life is not a computer whose settings we can alter on a whim and we cannot function like a computer program that jumps from step to step unthinkingly and monotonously without the nagging question “Did I miss something?” dancing on our minds the whole time. Life’s beauty is in its fickleness. Wouldn’t it be unwise to snub something only because we hadn’t accounted for it on the current step we are on?

When we can multitask at home or work, is it implausible to do it in our lives too? Instead of looking at them as steps, why can’t we see them as a mesh that engages and involves all aspects of our lives and places them together in perfect harmony?

True, one can be a late bloomer, Mr. Right can choose to remain in hiding until we give up on finding him altogether or marriage may happen late or not happen at all. There have been examples in the past when someone passed tenth standard at 50 or found love and/or a life partner after 60. Can we predict the odds for any of these things beforehand? Why close our heart to what life has to offer then?

Everything has a time. If these steps are a motivation to invest better and harder in ourselves, good enough, else let’s roll around the mesh and let them congregate and surprise us.

What do you think?

Fishing Mom

When Papa is out of town and the normally achingly tyrant and junk-food resisting Mom is fishing to earn some brownie points from the kids, she takes them out to enjoy the beautiful Christmas decorations and fun activities, lets them goof around for as long as they want and then wraps it all up with a yummy Oreo milkshake treat! ❤

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There were clowns dancing on the ground floor but they just wanted to watch! 🙂

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Here A Jr is playing and Angel is calling her Papa and complaining that she wants the dice. 😛

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The girl came to take the dice from her and Angel chose to simply sleep on it. Not parting away easily, this girl. 😀

Etiquette and boundaries

A is out for a reunion with his college friends this weekend and on the day he leaves, the tube in our bedroom gives away. I’m quite resourceful and jugaadu that way, but, in my opinion, the fact that I tried to do it despite it taking an awful lot of balancing with the help of pillows and/or a stool to reach its height to remove and replace it with my short stature deserves a little round of applause! 🙂

Try as I may, I, for the life of me, couldn’t get the new one fitted even after successfully removing the old one and struggling with the catch in my shoulder. After trying for a good fifteen minutes in the dark (since I couldn’t find the flashlight and I have no idea how to use it on my phone) I decided to call my neighbour for help.

The helpful lady that she is, she came down instantly and, albeit with some visible nervousness, climbed up the stool and started giving instructions like a weary professional ‘Switch off the light button’, ‘Switch off the fan’, “Ask the kids to go out’ etc. I literally had to request an offended A Jr to step out.

Half-elated that we will soon be devoid of the gloomy darkness, I was on my toes respectfully following her orders. Then, it happened. After being convinced that her initial brashness wasn’t helping she asked for a flashlight, which I didn’t have. “Use the one on your phone.” she said. I told her I didn’t know how. She asked for my phone, and I gave it to her.

I hadn’t checked it in all this rush for a while and there were some mail notifications on it. To my horror, this lady not only scrolled down to see what it was, but also took time out to read who the mails were from, right in front of me. Alternatively, less than ten seconds into the settings, and she said she couldn’t find it either and handed my phone back. She stepped down, declared, “Let us call the watchman.” and left.

I wasn’t sure if I should lament that calling her for help was a mistake or be furious with the blatant invasion of my privacy. What if it was some personal message from A or anyone else that I didn’t expect any random person to just open and see? We are friendly, agreed, but basic boundaries and etiquettes exist even between spouses! Isn’t that a given?

Anyway, she as well as the watchman turned out to be a damp squid. “Call the electrician.” was his brightest suggestion. Also, he broke the starter while handling and it had to be replaced with that of another unused tube. It was his sheer good luck that I had thrown away the old one, or like I did in my mind, I would make some scary Ninja noises and poses and break it on his head like those Bollywood stuntmen. :-/

Long story and its most plausible conclusion; call it a case of stupendous self-underestimation, but I fitted the tube at last. A Jr and I hi-fived triumphantly for it and my proud boy said happily, “Mamma, you were right. Only you can do everything!” 😀

(Wonder when I said that, but I’m glad my son remembers and vouches for it.)

The Afterlife

We are all aware of that consuming gripping distress that envelops our being when any bad news hits us, be it with anyone. We sigh, we mull, we sympathize, and inadvertently end up asking ourselves (and others) oft repeated questions like ‘What has the world come to?’ or ‘Where are we heading?’

With the ecological imbalance, global warming, mass killings, political turmoil, economic recession, racism and mostly the interminable thirst for power and money that drives people to do the most brutal crimes without sparing a single moment to consider their collateral damage, we can only pray to not be sent away by coming in the way of some unnamed untargeted bullet or explosion.

Is this all new to us though? The world has always been like this, hasn’t it? World history is replete with examples of massacres, both within and outside the magnificent palaces of many a kings, that have lived on in the eyes and blood of thousands of unfortunate ones who endured it all only to be tormented by their ghosts and reliving the disastrous experience with any soul that wants an earful of it.

I’m not a firm-believer of life after death, but I’m not the one to refute it either. We can all ponder and bicker about it, but the fact remains that we are as clueless about afterlife as we are of the time before we are brought to life. Science might defy it with logical elucidations, but paranormal forces aren’t a myth.

It is a different world out there; terrifying, disorderly, untamed, unguarded and merciless. The people, who stopped at nothing in this world to send a whole lot of their enemies in that world, now co-exist with them there. Can Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Stalin, Mahatma Gandhi, Princess Diana, Cleopatra, Alexander, and now Fiedel Castro etc reside together in peace? How?

This question has always haunted me. Whether it is this life or the next, the tussle between good and bad never ends, does it? It is so easy to commit a crime and put a person away, but we often forget that in the afterlife we have to face our fate and retribution. It’s not a choice.

Are one person’s foolish desires more important than a bunch of lives? We are all travellers here, and one person criminally manages to shorten others’ journeys. Does that mean his own journey will never end? Why don’t we learn something from what we’ve seen and witnessed? Are we equipped to face its consequences, wherever and whenever we have to?

Bespoke temptations

When some bespoke insatiable temptations hold all the other senses ransom till they are blessed with their coveted reward and the mind figures out a way to whip up a delicacy that does wonders for a guilt-free weekday binge! 😛

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Here’s presenting a healthy Ragda Pattice option for all the chat lovers out there. I replaced the potato in the patty with raw banana and added soya keema to increase its nutritive value and capsicum for some crunch.

For flavour you can add any spice of your choice. I used onion garlic masala and chat masala along with red chilli powder and salt. Ragda was seasoned with salt and very little garam masala.

Health tip: You can shallow fry the patty to avoid excess oil and replace the sev in the garnish with roasted poha.

So next time your tongue calls out in retaliation for not being offered drool-worthy food, bribe it with something it will fall head over heels in love with (just like mine did)! 😉 😀

Who’s your jug?

This isn’t a review (if it was one, it would probably set a record in procrastination), I mean; the movie has already touched the 100 cr mark. While numbers don’t interest me, it does go on to prove that our audience is now ready to accept mature and usually untouched topics.

The ones who have seen Dear Zindagi already know this, but the ones who haven’t, here’s a little heads up before I get to my point.

Shahrukh Khan is Jug, Alia Bhatt’s friendly and adorable therapist who doesn’t mind bending a few harmless rules while scrupulously maintaining his professional boundaries with his patients. His methods of slowly but surely letting her peel off one layer of her brash and unsettling exterior after another to uninhibitedly accept and move over her pent up emotions like insecurity of losing someone, jealousy, anger towards her parents etc are inspiring, to say the least.

What drives the point home, here, is the fact that they have a strictly platonic doctor-patient relationship that works beautifully in her favour. For fear of having to add any spoiler alert here, let’s leave it at this.

Can someone who knows us, say family, a friend, spouse or anyone we are close to, be our jug without carrying the baggage of our past? Doesn’t our equation with them have some bearing on what they feel about us or our lives? Can we pour the resentment in our heart out to people who are probably, in some way, responsible for it?

Shahrukh’s line in the movie, something like, “Romantic relationships shouldn’t have to bear the burden of too many expectations or relations.” is possibly one of the best I’ve heard in a long time. Does that mean we can have as many jugs as we have relationships too? Do we choose our jugs or someone just transforms into one with time?

Yes, I do have specific people I look up to for specific things. Someone I like to hang out with, someone I like to share recipes with, someone I like to have a heart-to-heart with, someone who I unabashedly vent out to, or someone I remember mostly when I’m in a soup, and so on. A may or may not feature in any of them, and I think it’s alright.

What do you think? Do you have a jug or many jugs in your life?