It was this day around 12 years back when I was cut to part a piece of me from my body and my soul.
Yes, every mother would understand when I say this because the ten months attachment which grows like a part of you and then are placed in front of you as a specimen – here’s your baby!
Even though the umbilical cord is cut, and the baby is separated from the mother, the child is never separated from the soul of the mother. It is that connection which always makes her worry for her child in every thick or thin times.
Thinking that it is 12 years feels like yesterday and the handsome young man that you have turned into is really amazing because my eyes have seen you changing from that infant to this young man Rahi, that you are today.
Your naïve nature and innocence have always worried me because I always feel you are in a dream world and it is true that you’re a dreamer as your stories are also related to a world which we all dream to be in. But the reality is much far from that and hence, sometimes I worry how you will cope-up with the insensitive world.
But this morning when you were telling me the incident that occurred in your class with your friend Mahnoor, where some kid was being naughty, and they were treating other kid like a slave and Mahnoor raised her concern with that kid as not to do but still he did. This made Mahnoor upset and hence she went to tell her teacher about it. Class Teacher took it as kid’s game, and she said if they are fine then you shouldn’t bother. This made Mahnoor feel sad and angry. You as a good and caring friend went to make her laugh and with your silly gesture she did laugh!
When I asked you why? what made you do so?, And your answer was that when Mahnoor gets angry she gets headache and she was holding her head, so I figured something is upsetting her.
No matter how insensitive this world may be my dear Rahi be who you are and never change. Because this is what we need more, and I am sure with your generation things will change.
Wishing you loads of love and wishes for your dreams to come true. The way every day you say, ‘I love you Mom’!, without any reason like a song, each time I thank for having you in my life. We only planned to have a baby, but we had no clue when you will be born and how you would be, but it happened to be on Women’s International Day – March 8th and you a Feminist by nature what can I ask more!!!
Happy Birthday Son, enjoy and yes, eat less sweet hon!
It’s been a long time when time when I was looking for a book by Manto – Saadat Hasan Manto. I had read about him through my browses on poets from Pakistan and his name used to pop-up here and there and when I read about him and his nature of calling a spade a spade, my curiosity grew.
Whenever as a family we go into book store (which these days are diminishing due to all these online shopping), I look for books by Manto or for Manto and no luck! It was last year when we went to India for a family wedding and happen to go around in Bangalore where we were actually looking to hangout at the old Bangalore side which I love it even today as it reminds me of the days when I went to Bangalore in 90s and it makes you feel you’re back in those days where everything has its own pace and there is a peace. No one is racing, we went to Blue Frog and spent some good time eating food, drinks and music…it was heaven.
After that we wandered around and saw this book stall and we just got lost inside. My husband as he was collecting many books, I was looking for two books… one by Manto and the other by Nathuram Godse!
Luckily found both and I am glad that I was able to finish this book as I started reading Manto only after coming back to San Francisco. In between I saw the move on Manto as that got released as well in 2018. The movie I felt good as I had completed 80% of the book and hence the stories were reminding me of how it was written and how those were shown in the movie..!
Now comes to the actual book, yes as I was reading the book from the beginning each story gave me the insight about Manto and his keen observations to smallest things – it could be the wind but how the wind was blowing the curtain or the hair of the girl in what direction and how – thats how detail he is in his description which takes a reader to experience as if its happening to the reader!
“The face is the mirror of the mind, and eyes without speaking confess the secrets of the heart”
I was very impressed with his writing style and as I was reaching each story made me think about Manto. How detail he is? How much he thinks of women and writes about them everywhere it was about Manto in my mind. His language and vocabulary, I was all high with Manto until I started feeling every story is about prostitutes. He used to write for movies but still his story is all about them and how rich people enjoy and what not. At one point to be frank I felt Manto has nothing else to write about other than women who are prostitutes.
“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it” ~ Edith Wharton
But as you read next stories at the end, you realize whether its rich or poor people, women and her status in this society is what he is trying to show – a mirror!
This book actually not only made me curious through out but it also made me to think after I finished the book. I did think about those women from Manto’s stories and also those men and I wondered life at that time and I compared to today and I felt nothing has changed. May be the standard and living styles might have changed based on the generation but ultimately society looks at women as an object, nothing has changed even though time has!!!
I also realized one thing that a point where I felt angry with Manto that he is only writing about prostitutes is also a skill of Manto to bring that anger in me for the women’s sake and I give that credit to Manto. I wish there were more like Manto.
A good read and if you have ever lived near Bombay and Pune and have been close to Indian film industry then definitely it will touch your memories in a way to give that nostalgic kick to you.
I give 5/5 for this book and I want to read more of his books!
“…and it is also possible, that Saadat Hasan dies, but Manto remains alive.” ~ Saadat Hasan Manto
While growing up I never thought I will leave the place which I call as home and hence the thought of blind date with the world is something not even came in my dream.
But as I started going to college and started reading things the curiosity bug bit me too. I often thought of just going to some place and keep traveling because at the end of the day what do you need – something to eat, a safe place to sleep and stay and then keep moving.
“The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams” ~ Oprah Winfrey
I had many times discussed this with my school friends about dreaming of living in a place in a small hut where in the backside of the hut we have some vegetable garden with veggies and in front of the house are the hot springs where we cook most of our food and eat and sleep under the sky gazing stars and my Moon.
I know dreams are so beautiful and when someone says go live your dream – that’s really an action which once taken then you’re on your own.
I also took such a blind date with the world and it was in the year of 1997 when I took a one-way ticket to Toronto, Canada. I had gone through the process of immigration where I got my Permanent Residential visa and I headed to this blind date with Canada where I have no friends and/or family. I will share the journey which now I look back and feel good about taking that blind date with Canada because it changes my whole perspective about how I look at world now.
“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” ~ Jawaharlal Nehru
I remember I had only clothes in my suitcase as I had heard its very cold in Canada and so I landed in the month of April assuming it will be spring and may not be cold. Surprisingly, it was still snowing that year and I had my mixed feelings towards that. It’s beautiful how nature itself deals with all these seasonal changes and how people adapt to it too.
My journey was a struggle in the beginning because when you land at any place which is not your home, you start your bill from that moment. Not only that, there’s a strangeness in the beginning and also cultural shocks which makes you to be more cautious. I somehow made use of the newspaper ads which helped me to get the rental basement space for me even though the job was still far from me. I have met many people during this struggle time and to be frank only Indians took advantage of my situation. Others, they offered help without expecting anything in return. I am not sure if I should call that out but that’s one of the experiences which happened not once but number of times.
People tried to convert me to Christianity, so they can get money from their institution and to me they suggested we will help you with the job, which was totally incorrect, and I am glad I didn’t fall for it. One thing I knew that there are no free lunches so some of the proverbs that I learnt in school did actually help me from not making mistakes.
“Life is an adventure, it’s not a package tour.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
But then in all this, you tend to find yourself safe in the custody of your race and people and that’s what lead me to suffer. The moment I freed my mind from that, I felt a relief and freedom from all tie-ups, taboos and everything. It’s all about your mind believe me. I decided to move out of renting in someone’s house and went to rent a one-bedroom apartment where I had my freedom and independence to live. It not only gave me my space, but it also taught me how to not look to lean all the time.
I found a small job as a part-time cashier with minimum wage, but again it was the mind which said this is not what you came here for and so I decided in 4 months I need to move on from here. And believe me sometimes you go to make your decision from your mind and not heart, because only then you can do things that your heart wants.
One after the other jobs and finally I ended up in a Bank and it completely changed my life, from an HR field to technology field the merge was amazing, and the transition was such that I figured out my actual interest which is people and technology that enables people to do things. I guess the blend of this helped me to move from one company to the other and one place to the other, and now I am in California, USA.
I think we should all blind date with the world, so we understand people and life better. Sitting in a comfort zone can make anyone do anything that they feel is right but actual life is in traveling and understanding the life of different people. So, I love this blind date which made me to marry to traveling :).
It’s true that blind date is not always about happy ending, because many ups and downs are there which occurred in my life too because of meeting wrong people at the wrong time and place but the better lesson you learn and move out from there. Because life always gives you another chance and that’s up to us to see and grab it.
“Life experience is what defines our character, even if it means getting your heart broken or being lied to. You know, you need the downs to appreciate the ups. Going on the adventure or taking that risk is important.” ~ Nev Schulman
As I was getting comfortable with my date in Toronto, I decided to do another blind date with San Francisco, in California USA. Let me tell you, it was not a very happy one. I feel when there is a change, it does bring some turbulence, but one got to hold on to it and stay strong that’s what I did. Initial days I didn’t like US. It was something like I started comparing between Canada and USA. Everything I related it that way, whether its people, place, behavior or even the process in banking etc. I realized I was missing Canada very much because it was my first blind date with whom I fell in love, so the first love is always there as special in my heart. I guess no one will understand that because that journey I had taken alone and every corner of the place, city, people have made an impact on me. It is difficult to not be connected with a place where I started from scratch and built my home finally.
Over the period, I went back to visit and be at every place that I lived in, walked around and worked around and after that when I came back to California it was kind of be at peace.
“Life would be pretty boring if I didn’t explore. It’s about letting my ears take me on an adventure to soak in everything I can.” ~ Trombone Shorty
I would like to go for another blind date and I am just going to go for that soon!
This blog is based on the verdict of what Supreme Court has declared on Sabarimala, where they are allowing women of all age to enter the Sabarimala temple.
Those who don’t know Sabarimala can read here and understand about the story of Ayappan and his devotees and believers.
I have a personal connection with Ayyappa and the whole nine yards because I used to go with my Dad to all puja’s and temple visits during those 42 days… ! I remember singing bhajans of Ayyappa during those puja’s such as – Thedi varum kannugalil – which even my North India school teacher’s were fan of and I have sang those during my school assembly as well!!!
So, I have a story too and its very close to my heart. When I say heart, its because it involves my Dad who is a big Ayyappan bhakt and I can vouch how deeply he is spiritual with Ayyappan. My dad Meladathe Chandrasekhan Nair who started worshiping Lord Ayyappan at the age of 12 – very young and today he is 83 years old but he went to Sabarimala for 42 years and walked the sabarimala 42 years from Erumelli to see his Lord Ayyappan’s darshanam (visit). Imagine when he started this at the age of 12, being his daughter how I am connected to all of this. Every devotee who completes 18 years of visit to temple will plant a coconut tree there at Sabarimala and my Dad has planted two of them.
Even before my birth my Dad named me Usha -Ushas and I can see all this is related to Ayyappan because he used to often talk about Usha (Dawn) puja, Uccha (afternoon) puja and Vaighuneram (evening) puja.
Every year my Dad used to take leave/PTO from his work to go to Sabarimala after completing his 42 days strict vritham, when he was bachelor I am sure he could and after his marriage still he did follow and went every year. I remember as a kid I used to see my Mom used to go and stay at my friend’s house and after that she used to come when her menstrual cycle was completed. But my Dad never shy away from his social responsibilities even though he was a Guru swamy who used to take lot of kanni swamies with him to Sabarimala. Being a husband and father of his two children he fully did his duties. He used to take four times bath but he used to make sure he dropped his wife to her office while she was in her menstrual phase and he took care of dropping his daughter to school and rest besides doing puja’s in the Ayyappan temple in Uttamnagar, Pune India. He is a devotee and he would do anything in the name of Lord Ayyappa. He earned things to build a temple for Ayyappan in Uttamnagar, Pune Maharashtra instead of building a house for his family. A very true and faithful human being, I am not saying because he is my father but that’s how I have known him from outside people.
There were landlords/sarpanch’s who have given free land to my Dad to build house but my Dad used that land to build Ayyappan temple. His philosophy is if there’s a will there’s a way and so if there’s a way for his family to have their house they will have. He never believed in things that he got as a gift or bribe, belongs to him – he always said this is not hard earned by my effort so it will not stay with me for long so he used to donate that money which they used to get from their boss to the worker’s canteen and every worker used to enjoy the samosa and tea that day.
An honest man, a believer and family man. I am very proud of my Dad for who he is, a very logical and rationale.
In fact I have been to Sabarimala at the age of 9 when I was in 4th grade. I went to Sabarimala by keeping the vritham (42 days) and then went with my maternal Grandma and cousins. I will tell you I still remember it was a hardship being myself a sports person it was touch climbing those mountains and walking continuously before it gets dark and finally rest in a tent that night. Early morning 4 am you get up to take shower in the Pampa river and then walk to the path of darshan of Lord Ayyappa.
I have been there and done that and after that I have more respect for my Dad because it is hardship and only a true dedicated person would take that effort.
My Dad went till he was 79 and then we as kids being selfish stopped him because we don’t want him to be pushed around during stampede and he probably understood our love and dilemma. But what I want to say is religion, belief is all about individuality and personal choices.
I know my Dad, who is very strict about Ayyappan and the vritham that one must follow. I remember there was one Shekharan uncle who was in Military and came to Dad to go to Sabarimala and my Dad did the puja and he wore the mala to go to Sabarimala but guess what he did drink in between those 42 days of vritham when he was not supposed to. He lied to my Dad but somehow some guilt that it came out and he apologized to my Dad. I remember there were many such stories and it was real not a myth.
Many Maharashtrians have faith and they did follow the rules and went with my Dad to Sabarimala and they came back and been to a Ayyappa bhakt in Uttamnagar.
All this is good, and now we hear about the verdict where Supreme court says women can go to Sabarimala irrespective of what age they are. I hear many debates on this who are in favor of this verdict and those who are not.
I am a believer and I feel that one should have freedom to do what they want that doesn’t hurt anyone. I never was religious and I know even today I have my sentiments because of my parents. I will respect what they believe in but over the period of my personal experience I am an agnostic and strong believer in humanity as my religion.
People should have freedom to worship or not to worship. It should be their personal choice.
After this verdict was out, I was listening and reading about this but I had my Dad behind my mind all the time. As I see lot of debates and arguments and discussions on the social media. All this and then I thought of my Dad.
Whenever I felt a doubt, I have always gone to my Dad to ask because I think he is a person who thinks rationally and would give his unbiased response after that he won’t tell me what I should do.
So today, I asked my Dad what is his thoughts on the verdict.
His response: “I don’t agree supreme court’s decision about women’s entry to sabarimala temple. Those who believe in sabarimala ayyappa swami they will not enter the temple when they are in the age-group of 10 – 50.”
I responded back to him with love saying, Swami Sharanam and he responded back – Ayyappa Saranam,!
I totally agree, its all about one’s belief system.
If you really believe in God which ever God you will have your faith in that and hence you will follow the rules as supposed to those who don’t believe will not take the effort to do anything.
It’s all in the belief system. Now those who don’t believe and still want to prove something will go and visit ….? Not sure what they are trying to prove!!!
I know that in other parts of the world wherever Ayyappa temple is there women go and worship and there is no restriction so what is this all about?
Is this specific about Sabarimala? Then women who are okay to take that hike during their menstrual period is totally their personal discretion I believe unless there is a separate agenda.
Still, I believe this should not cause any issues to those who believe in Ayyappa dharma sashtav.
Because at the end its about one’s own belief. Those who believe will follow the rules and those who won’t will not take the effort to do anything.
Being an agnostic, I will say let’s live and let others live peacefully, as long as you don’t discriminate between human being all is well and peaceful!
Swamiye Saranamayyiappa !
These days I am in a conflict with mind and heart. Yes, heart would like to talk a lot with the paper which means, I would love to express my thoughts and emotions but then mind tries to manipulate – Why, unnecessarily? Let it be…keep it with you!!!
My heart, which started writing as kid because I felt my pen as my heart was spelling and sharing my views with the pages of the diary that my Dad gave it to me. That was my way to open my heart which gave me the satisfaction of expressing everything and anything and yet I have the feeling of keeping it private from everyone.
Time changed and I started blogging. One should change with time isn’t it? Moreover the way I groomed myself as a kid of 7-8 years old is by writing down everything which made my heart and mind feel very relieved, it is a way for me to relax and be calming.
I remember I used to tell my friends, ‘not to take tension but give it to others’, as a joke!
Few things that came to my mind which I felt I should write so that I get the feel that I shared it and it is out of my system!
1. Judging a person does not define who they are… It defines who you are!
If someone wants to do something for others, it’s their emotions and feelings that they share with – no one has a right to call that out by names. Because every individual has different ways to express their love and respect so be mindful when you pass your judgemental remarks. It let others to think who you are!!! Never discourage others what they want to do if they share it with you that’s because they consider you as a friend and trust you. Don’t discourage them by judging them it tells about you and not them.
2. Everyone is a Moon and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody!
People sometimes due to overconfidence behave in certain way and go too far but when they find themselves in trouble and unable to cope-up with they ask for help. Now, helping is good and when you do that with all good intentions and still if things doesn’t work out or help other to understand then it is better to show them the mirror. The person who actually came asking you for help changes immediately when they feel they’re exposed and makes the helper a fool in front of others and moves on as a hero. The helper looks like a fool!
When the helper confronts the one who came asking for help at the first place, they say he was my childhood friend and I didn’t want to lose his friendship! That’s the justification they give for their act.
One can imagine what they would do to get away with their ego and false image! Here they did this because they know the childhood friend will stop talking and will spread the rumor among all the common friends and the helper will always be there as they will not lose them – a false assumption!
I think the helper should have left them alone to deal with their problem instead of getting involved because the helper is a stranger to the childhood friend and company! One should live life on their on terms and not get involved in other’s because at the end everyone is an individual let them lead it.
3. It’s funny how most people become who they promised they would never be!
When people desire something in life, they make all kinds of promises that they are the best and they are this and that and you trust them and get into the contract which binds you with them and establishes a relationship. Through out you have found that they are not what they promised they are instead they only act in front of you that way.
When Kamala made a mistake and she was caught it became a life-long reminder for her and hence even when she wants to say anything she is restricted because she will be pointed out of her mistakes. But I believe this doesn’t allow other party to keep making mistakes. Whether you smoke or drink is not the question. The question is did you not promise not to and still you continue as hide-and-seek and finally you come out saying this is how it is – the person can’t do anything other than thinking let them do what they want to do, why you want to attach yourself to get hurt?
Lesson is not to trust anyone with anything after all you’re human and with time you will change and you will get tired of wearing a mask all the time! You will have to come out one day so might as well be now than later!!!
4. It takes guts and humility to admit the mistakes. Admitting we’re wrong is courage, not weakness!
I believe we are human and hence we do make mistakes and that is okay. Even when you read the Indian mythological stories in Ramayana, there also Ram is portrayed as the best human being still he behaves disrespectfully with his wife Sita based on what he over heard from his laundry guy, who was hitting his wife saying I am not like our King Ram who accepted his wife even though she was living captivity with another king Ravan. Ram could have set things straight by supporting his wife and by bringing awareness to his people that being captured doesn’t mean you disown your people but he didn’t do that, instead he did what he felt his people in the kingdom would appreciate – the question is, if it was Ram and Sita had to decide will she even think of disowning him? I doubt because women are raised always with the thought that Men can do anything and it’s okay but Women are like a white cloth even a little stain would make it look ugly and hence throw it away!
Mistakes are okay and accepting the mistakes saying, yes I cheated and that is wrong on my part and I am ready to accept any punishment for that. It’s humbling and learning experience for anyone though it is hurtful in heart forever for everyone. Similarly, if other person has done a mistake in indulging with something and dealing with until it became a problem for them to handle then at least one should have the guts to accept that they did that mistake. In fact, they call out other people’s wrong deed and shine themselves. A little sunshine in your eyes can blind your eyesight for a moment, watch out everyone doesn’t have to be that high and famous all time, even the Sun who is so powerful with its heat and light has to set at the end of the day – you’re human and be the one that you preach to all!
This time the trip to India gave some time to read some useful books which enlightens your thought process through mythological stories. And relating it with the present situations, stories and scenarios it helped to understand that, life is simple and one need to keep it light and simple!
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new”
This morning I read Shweta Nanda’s article on empty nest. I applaud her to acknowledge something like this and not shy away because of the celebrity status quo.
Some of her call outs in the article made me think that may be for homemakers sometimes it’s more difficult than the women who have career outside. Homemakers focus, and dedication is all around the home and associated with it and hence when kids go away the void is bigger than what the working women can feel and that is because working women share some space with outside world whether it be with work and with colleagues and friends.
“You will never achieve what you are capable of if you’re too attached to things you’re supposed to let go of.”
Homemakers have to start from the scratch and that itself is a change which could be challenging, one can feel that more in the article.
I also read in her article about “life is flawed, there is no such thing as a soulmate and nothing lasts forever is so empowering.”
This statement made me a bit sad or should I say I still want to believe there is something called soulmate and yes when nest is empty one can plan life with their soulmate, it could be traveling, a peaceful walk/hike or even spending time together doing similar tastes of hobbies. But given that kids have gone and now your partner is also not there then definitely its individual choice that one needs to make and for a working woman she may have many options by choosing a job which gives more travel opportunity or travel to different country and work there as long as you want to stay there and move on to next and so on.
But yes, when you hear nothing lasts forever that kind of gives you freedom and hence it is empowering.
“We have nothing that is really our own; we hold everything as a loan.” ~ Nicolas Poussin
All this tells me is process for detachment and this doesn’t have to be until the kids leaves the nest. It can start early by teaching your kids to be independent early enough to manage their own things with parental guidance.
I often think of those moments where kids will go away, and my heart should not cry or depend on them. Of course, as a mother you will always care for the well-being of your children but when children have left then we should allow them to lead their life the way they want as by now we have raised an adult who will make the decision that is appropriate for them at least.
Basically, it ends up with a task completion of raising kids and let them fly and we move on with another task which should be nourish yourself that gives more happiness and contentment in life.
“If you depend on others to make your dream come true, it may not ever happen.” ~ Dawn