Thursday, October 2, 2014

Kanjak! Then and now :-)

Today, dear blog for the first time, we did Kanjak at our place. You know, Kanjak is a very very special day that I have grown up with. I remember, how mom used to make halwa, poori, chhole, call over all my friends and then used to do small puja. I would get up early, wear new clothes and would be super excited about getting little knick knacks. You know like 10 rupees, dairy milk, hair clips and of course the yummy halwa chhole. There were so many houses that I needed to visit during Asthami and Navami. I, including other girls were the highlight of the day and I loved each bit of the attention. I remember how I was a shy little girl, I used to sit and stand as would the Aunty instruct me, smile coyly and not say much beyond a namaste. At home, it was more fun, I could ask for more money, more chocolates and of course boss around. When I was not as little a girl, I still continued be the Kanjak at my place and I loved the feeling, it was quite festive.

Now, while I am married and all that, my MIL said, that we could do Kanjak. Can you believe that dear blog, how life comes a full circle. While till last year, I used to still get at least a couple of plates of poori halwa to planning how we will do it at our place. Anyway, so we were quite kicked about doing this. AD and I planned each tiny detail, like what both of us will cook, what we wanted to give, how many kanjaks should we call and other related stuff

Since, the last few years I have observed, how my friends and other little girls who stayed close by, stopped coming over and my maid's children, or the car cleaner's girls would come over for Kanjak. We had no clue, where we would get our Kanjaks fromwho would come and grace the occasion. So I spoke to Manisha, (my cook and my awesome company when AD isn't home) she said she has an uncle who has 5 daughters and she would get all of those for the puja. That sounded good, 5 girls, we thought was great. After a crazy morning of running and walking around BKC (we were sweating it out in a marathon!) AD, Manisha and I prepared all stuff. When everything was done up perfectly, AD and I sat and waited for the little girls to arrive, we waited and waited a little more, but no one came. Manisha called to say that they can't come for some reason. I panicked, you know, it was our first Asthami Puja at home and no one came. At that very moment, I heard chit chattering of children, right below our house, I ran barefoot to see, who was there and you won't believe, I found nine little girls, happy and dressed up. I asked one of them to come over to our place for a small puja for 5 minutes, she said she couldn't as they were going for a party! But then I spoke to the lady, who lives on the ground floor and she said she would get them all. What joy, dear blog, we had 9 little girls who came over to our place for Kanjak. AD washed their feet, while I tied the holy thread on their hands, they didn't want to put the tikka on their forehead so we smiled and said that was fine. All of them chatted in English, said they wanted only one poori, and were in general very charming and smart. They were actually going for a birthday party celebration of this one little girl who lives on the ground floor, but before they went, they came to our place. It was so amazing to hear them talk, fluent in English, stylishly dressed, wow, I looked at them in awe. One of them said, she does not want to eat oily food, can you beat that dear blog. I don't think I even knew what oily food meant when I was their age. But it was absolutely great, thank you little girls, for coming over, you made all our cook and hardwork worth it :-)



P.S - They called us, Uncle and Aunty, well life has really come a full circle :) :(

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Women from this part of the world

You know dear blog, we are in an era where our nation is doing so many things. You know like the "Made in India" brand, the spectacular Mangalyaan mission and then that streak which we sometime show in sports. All this makes, me feel so damn proud, may be because I know that nothing comes easy in our country. But what makes me super smug, is the fact that women have come a long long way in our country. I saw this picture below flashing on my laptop screen and all I did was clap in joy. Women scientists draped in sarrees, eyes gleaming with shine, faces radiant with jubilation, what a sight dear blog, what a truly spectacular sight. Amazing is the only word that can describe this.



While a section of society widely acknowledges the contribution of women, it is only a small percentage of our population that actually respects women. If only we could respect women a little more in daily lives, if only we could deal maturely with an actress wearing clothes the way she pleases, only if we could stop portraying them as anti-national if they choose to marry someone from the neighbouring country, only if we could give them the life they deserve. A life of freedom, dignity and equality.

 By the way dear blog,  I watched the movie on the boxing star - MC Mary Kom, while the movie may be slightly over the top and melodramatic, I think it was a story of unbeatable grit and determination.  The sheer hardwork that a young girl puts in to follow her passion can sure inspire millions of little girls. We need more such stories, we need more such sportstars. You remember, Kalpana Chawla, the Indian origin astronaut, whose life was cut short, we need more such lives, lives of inspiration, lives of real women. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Happiness oh happiness! Part 2

You remember dear blog, I had once written that how amazing it would be to have a lot of happy people around. How fantastic would it be, to just feel happy, each day and every day of this life. I don't know when I had written that post, but I certainly know now, that happiness attracts happiness. It comes in various forms, shapes and meanings and all it expects in return is to be acknowledged and wanted for.
It is no great philosophy, that happy is one who is content, happy is one who is grateful and happy is one who opens up while happiness stands at the door and knocks. 

AD and I had gone for a small vacation to Goa, while we were busy doing nothing but being with each other. My attention was drawn towards a few couples, who were caught in their own silent web. They looked perfectly fine, in good health and financially secure but they weren't happy, for some reason. I wondered, why that would be. Why happiness eluded them, why they were too in Goa holidaying like other happy people. There was something amiss, they were certainly on a vacation, their little girls, circled around them and wanted to take a dip in the pool, but the lady and the gentleman were in no mood. Their behavior towards each other, was far from normal.

I know some other people too, who are perfectly fine but a large part of their day goes in cursing and being unhappy about their workplace. They feel that they are badly treated, not given their due and are overworked. I get slightly worried for their mental health and being. You know, if there is so much of negativity about a place where you spend 10 hours a day, it is certainly affecting you somewhere.

I don't have a solution dear blog, neither do I intend to preach about what should possibly be done but I know for a fact, that it is a choice to be happy. It is a state of mind, which tells you that you are doing great. You have a healthy body, an agile mind, a steady source of income and someone who cares for you. And that in my view is more than enough. 


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.