Friday, August 15, 2014

Show some love

It's that day again, dear blog when a lot of us listen to all those awesome patriotic songs, watch the flag getting unfurled, put a lot of #jaihind statuses, pin up small tricolour batches on the shirts and feel a lot of pride of having born in India. But little do we remember the next day, or that very day, that this isn't love. This is more like wishing a friend on Facebook for his/her birthday, you know the wish, that lacks personal touch or emotion. It's more like convenience than anything else.

 A nation in which you are born has an indelible mark on your life, like may be your parents. With parents, you have your set of differences and skirmishes, there are traits that you dislike but then they are what they are and mean the whole world to you. Unfortunately, a large part of people (including me) that I know or read about do not even remotely care about the nation, that they are born in. It is this thing that we take granted for, a thing that will continue to bear us for even when we are at our ugliest. If only, there was some tiny tweeny bit of fear, of being thrown out of a country, of knowing that I won,t belong here. how would we be. Different? My guess is as good as yours.

I can't even possibly list down the things by which we show our apathy but believe you me, we behave like filth. Like we haven't ever been to school, we haven't ever been taught the good things, the basic things. You should see the street that I cross every day to reach my office, which by the way is less than a kilometre away from Bandra Kurla Complex. When I go in the morning, there are at least 15-20 kids lined up on the sidewalk, relieving themselves, and while I come back in the evening, there are at least the same number of pigs and dogs,trying themselves to feed from that garbage dump. Everyday, I think and sometimes even dream that one day while I am crossing that road, there will be public toilets but then I wake up and find, not as yet. This is still at an institutional level, in some way but there are so many other things that is at our level. Following the traffic light, not abusing each other in the road, keeping our streets, our blocks clean and in general be gentle and nice to other people. How difficult can that be, I think and I think hard, it must be really difficult for if a nation with so much of talent, can't do it, then may be no one can. But alas, that isn't true. It's just that we don't love our nation and the day we will show a little bit of love, a lot will change and change for the better.

Anyway, I hate to end my posts with a low, so I won't, click at the video link below and smile, for change is coming, slowly but steadily.

http://www.storypick.com/can-india-change/

Monday, August 11, 2014

Happy chef!

Oh dear blog, you know how hobbies for kids keep changing over a period of time. I thought that happens because a kid doesn't know what pleases him more, this or that. Playing with the mud or making odd shapes on the whitewashed walls, but then I am not even a kid.  You should look at me, always finding new avenues to do stuff, to make stuff. Almost for a year before wedding, I thought I was in the wrong profession, I was so convinced that I should have been a wedding planner. I was so certain that I was cut out for that. I still in my leisure time, read the wedding blogs and advice the brides-to-be but that's where it stops.

Now, 9 months into wedlock, I am a changed person. And I am sure, all over again that I am in the wrong profession. You should look at me when I am in the kitchen. I am like this person who has been cooking forever, trying new recipes, making elaborate weekend menus, training my cook, I have got my hands full with cooking stuff. I can't tell you dear blog, how much I have fallen in love with cooking. AD is a food lover and the satisfaction that I get after having cooked something special for him is explainable. The joy that I experience when he has more food than what he usually has, gets me straight on the cloud nine. He got me an iPad on my Birthday thinking that I love writing and would blog all the time, little did he know that I will end up only reading and re-reading recipes on this iPad.

By the way, I am right now watching Masterchef Australia and reacting as if my life depended on this. I mean seriously, I am a vegetarian, but I so admire all these people on Masterchef who are making dishes with Octopus and lambs and God knows what. AD dreams everyday that one day I will make butter chicken for him or at least say that I-am-craving for it, get me some. I think these dreams will remain dreams but cooking shall continue forever, for him and for the people I love.

P.S. - I have an apron now, which says "beautiful cook on duty", no points for guessing who got that for me :D

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Super women!

I have always felt dear blog, that we are a very restricted society,  a society that has clear boundaries about should and should not. Children are taught at an early age, about what they should do, how they should talk, what they should be when they grow up, what they should give importance to and so on. It is little that is left to the child for the decide or hope for. People like me who conform to most of what they have been told, have it easy and the rest, only God save them.

Over a period of two decades or so, the boundaries have become slightly more flexible, rules a little less stringent and are we grateful about it. You bet.

I have been closely following the Commonwealth games tally this year and I feel ecstatic. We have women wrestlers getting the gold glory for us. Isn't that amazing, I mean in a country like ours, to grow up as a woman and then take up wrestling. Wow! While this itself is a big big feat, the a lot of these awesome girls come from the state of Haryana, a state with an abysmally poor sex ratio.

You know dear blog, when I went to St Stephen's to study, I knew that there is a certain percentage of seats reserved for students with a sports background, how I used to feel, that they have it easy. Little did I realise, that they have it more difficult than any of the other kids who got to study at the prestigious institute by scoring high marks. For they did, that was only little appreciated by the society at large.

While I feel that we have come a long way and there is hope for women and sports, it is disappointing to see how little we speak about them. How the victory and glory they bring soon gets relegated into the background. I wish we would talk more, give them more encouragement, make them brand ambassadors, put up their hoardings for they truly make us proud. Wrestlers, boxers, squash players, shooters, all of whom keep the Indian flag waving high.




Thursday, June 19, 2014

Heroes of the war!

When I used to be based in Delhi office dear blog, I had this person cross me many times. Short, straight faced with a loud voice. I sometimes said a casual hello to him and at other times didn't. For no reason, at all. I don't know what I thought about him because may be I didn't.

I met him again today, here in Khandala where we were going through this case study about Kargil War. It was about this one particular day when Captain Rakesh was asked if he was up for moving towards Kargil. The impeccable Captain that he was, he answered in affirmative. The case then described in vivid detail the preparation, Captain Rakesh's actions, demeanor and the troop which he was leading; towards a terrain that was not just difficult but most hostile.

This person who worked on the same floor as I did, went on to explain further about the Kargil war, about the realities which only the soldiers and their commanders go through. The more he said, the more I felt indebted to the countless soldiers who laid down their lives for the nation. The person went on to create imagery about the warfare, the strategy, the tactical nuances and the million emotions that he went through during the war. It was an unconventional war, a war for pride, a war for reclaiming what was rightfully ours.

My eyes welled with tears and my body got shivers while watching the 10 minute clip which he presented. What would it be like, to be there, for hours and days together; in midst of firing, enemies and death. My imagination fails me and so do my words. The person said there are no runner ups in a war, you win it all or you lose it all. It was clear by now that the person in front, the same person who I saw working on my floor is the Captain Rakesh Sharma, one of the heroes of the Kargil War.

Captain Rakesh Sharma fought all odds to restore the honor of the nation. He came back victorious and the nation celebrated. He was awarded with Shaurya Chakra and rightly so for his valor was outstanding. We applauded emphatically and he said humbly, "my biggest pride was that none of my soldiers ever died, I promised myself that and I lived upto it".

What strength of character dear blog, what an amazing feat to achieve. I felt so small for having passed by him so many times without acknowledging who and what he is. I chided myself but couldn't keep myself from reaching to him. I congratulated him for having done something so admirable and spectacular. He blushed and said.. It isn't spectacular, just normal. 
What humility, what a sense of purpose!
Take a bow, Major Rakesh Sharma, you make a billion people proud.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Ego behind the wheels!

I hate driving dear blog and I hate it since the time, I started driving. It isn’t a particular incident that I wish to narrate neither is it some kind of fear or phobia. Its just been on my mind for a few months now and I never came down to writing about it, because I thought it is kind of trivial. But well well, when have I last written about things of great importance so I might as well write this one too! You know what I particularly dislike about driving, strange as it may sound but it is the ego. I just hate the blatant display of huge bloated egos on the road. I have experienced so many times, with others and myself. How shamelessly people conduct themselves on the road. They honk, they abuse, they threaten for absolutely nothing. I don’t remember the last time, the same people who honked like no one’s business  to have shouted in a mall or abused in a fine dining restaurant. It is something about roads in our country, that people feel it’s okay. I have never been genuinely smiled at by a fellow driver on the road let alone sighting a waving hand! It was in New Zealand that I saw people on the road, calm, composed, happy and waving all the time. I almost disbelieved their gesture but then that is pretty much true. All our great tirade about culture, language and respect goes swooshing out of the window when you are here, behind the wheels.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

New new newwwww!!

I have been giving an ear-to-ear smile dear blog since yesterday and you would laugh if I tell you the reason. But I am so excited and kicked that I just can't digest and thus here I am writing to you about good things that life brings. So first things first, I got a new role at work, yippie! I have no idea what I am supposed to do, where to begin from, how am I going to meet deadlines but believe you me, I am ecstatic. It's like the way I used to feel, when I would get new books for the next standard, I wouldn't understand anything but the freshness of new books, the feel of crisp pages, the fact that I may be capable of something slightly bigger used to give me such a high!

I have been in a similar role at work for the last four years and the newness is just as awesome as it can get. While this is the happy news at work, there are things at home too, to be happy about. Like boy got me a diary, yes a diary and a swanky pen with which I write. It feels wonderful to be able to use the pen and write random stuff about life and the like in that diary. I mention completely frivolous details about the day but but but it works wonder with the brain. I hope to open it some day and read it loud and giggle. I even wrote on the front page of the diary: Ashish and Neha, private and confidential. And at the cost of sounding extremely silly, I even made small hearts on that page. 

I love all new things: new role, new house, new relationship status and yes new speakers. Did I mention that we are going to buy new speakers tomorrow. On a tangential note, we went to Matheran last weekend. What fun, we did a trek, sat through a magic show, went for a swim, played table tennis. Fantabulous is the word. And we stayed in this really Victorian styled resort. No luxury, no modernities just the basics. That place reeked of such old world charm. We were mesmerised completely and I, as usual was in awe of old couples who too were on a romantic weekend :-)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Chooda, my pretty pretty chooda

It was exactly five months back, that I got up, dressed myself in a nice but not brand new salwaar-kameez. Mom had to convince me for quite a many days before I decided that I will not buy a new outfit for that day. It is believed that a girl should wear old clothes and then give it away but I told mom, that isn't happening. We mutually decided on something which looked traditional. I also wore matching danglers, I tied my hair in a simple braid. When my grandmom, uncles and aunts, Jhai Ji, Chachu, Chachi, Mamu, Mami saw me, they said I looked beautiful and a true blue Punjabi. I liked that. Before, I could talk more, mom called me and said, the ceremony is going to start. I shouldn't delay else we will all get late. I went and sat, slightly nervous, slightly happy for something very real, very special was going to happen. The pandit Ji, said some prayers, did a few things and then I closed my eyes. I was going to wear Chooda, the only mark of a newly-wed, as I understood when I was four. Both my Mamu-Mami, took one arm each and slowly and carefully slided down the maroon and cream bangles. I wanted to cry and I did. A very beautiful Punjabi folk song was sung in the background - sada chidiyaan daa. It was an emotional moment and I lived it, moment by moment. When I opened my eyes, a few minutes later, I saw my arms, covered with handkerchiefs so that I don't see Chooda. I lived through the day, without trying to look at my arms. In the evening, while I was getting dressed as a bride, all I wanted to do was see how my chooda looked. It was pretty dear blog, very very pretty. I touched it many times, moved it whatever space was left in my arms.

I have such sweet memories of my chooda that I can't help but smile; from random people asking in office lift for sweets to old ladies in NewZealand asking where they could buy those pretty bangles. I used to be perpetually in awe of my chooda. Amazing, isn't it, how things become so real, that they become a part of one's identity. Today, 5 months hence I have carefully taken out half the bangles and kept the other half in my arms. Oh! I miss them already. Happy pictures from November, 13 and November 14 2013 :-)