Mumbai

Dear friends,

I have done a guest post for Vishal, a fellow blogger and friend, on vishalbheeroo.wordpress.com

Do visit him there and have a read.

http://vishalbheeroo.wordpress.com/2014/02/07/guest-post-mumbai-by-zinal-bhadra/

Thank you!

 

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Story of a sleepless night

I am up since 4. Try as I might, I couldn’t sleep. Strange, considering I did feel sleepy. I tossed and turned in bed, tried all positions, various angles, tried sleeping on my stomach, then on my back, then on side, then on the other side, couldn’t sleep. Tried counting sheep, didn’t work. Blamed it on coffee that was had late in the night. Nudged TCG softly, afraid not to turn too much or move too much, lest he should also wake. But he was sleeping like a log. Then I thought to myself, what the heck, let me just wake him. As if he could magically bring back my sleep to me! Nudged a little harder. TCG mumbled something incoherent in sleep, “You are a good girl na? Sleep”. LOL. What??!!

“I guess it’s the coffee”, said I.

“Don’t blame coffee; you were sleeping perfectly well till now. Try sleeping”.

“Ya, what do you think I am doing?”

Mumbles something again, snuggles closer and drifts apart once again.

I picked up my newly acquired iPhone. Checked my what’s app, no messages really from anyone.

“Can you put your phone on Silent please?”

Oh.

But smiled at the choice of his words. Please??!! Even in sleep??! Not bad 🙂

Checked Facebook, no notification apart from one silly request for some Texas Poker-something (Really people stop sending me these FB game requests, please, will you?) Browsed through the photo gallery, checking pictures, reminiscing moments, mentally making note of which pictures make me look fat, and which pictures are hot enough to go as what’s app display pictures.  Very shallow I know.

Still just 5.

Now what?

Checked my Gmail for mails from any of the prospective employers. No luck there either. Thought briefly of the new exciting way I have figured out of approaching prospective employers. More on that, later, if it works. Promise. Filled my mind with beautiful images of me having a job I love, going to work dressed in coats, scarves, boots and all those wonderful winter clothes. You see, in Mumbai you never really get a chance to wear winter clothes, even in winters. Wondered how I would make time for exercise once I have a job? That thought was too uncomfortable for so early in the morning. Pushed it aside, and for once, didn’t let it drag me in to a guilt trap so much in advance.  My friends will be proud of me for doing this.

Proceeded to delete junk mail. Philosophically, wished it was that easy to delete junk from life.  Sigh!

Saw some email notifications of new posts from fellow bloggers, whose posts I simply love reading. Thinking that reading will surely make me drowsy, clicked on the link. Marvelled at how awesome iPhone really, really is. It gave me an option to read in a reading pane, where I could increase the font to conveniently suit me. Have I told you before how strained my eyes are by this overuse of computers, smart phones and the likes? I have started using eye drops to keep my eyes from drying. Anyway, placed a swift kiss on TCG’s forehead for the awesome gift that iPhone is.

Read some awesome blogs for a good 40 minutes. And still 5.45 only.

Rebuked myself for not making enough time to read more. My reading list has been increasing at an alarming pace. Since the wedding, I am really slacking and thinking of this makes me miserable. This is one of my many self inflicted miseries.

Reading food blogs got my brain ticking. I started conjuring recipes and things that I wanted to whip up in the kitchen. I am neck deep into baking, cooking and all things kitchen these days. BIG MISTAKE.  Because there is no one way I could sleep then. I thought of all the exciting ways in which I could bake; mix, match, mash, whip, and add. I got a big adrenaline rush. There was no way I could sleep now.

Thought today I will take a break from crazy job application spree that I am on and made a bulleted list in my mind of things I want to try in kitchen today. Yes, I am pretty systematic that way. Things like lists, plans, new stationery, new pens, superior quality paper excite me. Nerdy, I know. Here’s the list that was decided upon at dawn:

  • Simple tea time cake
  • Choco-chip cookies
  • Hummus
  • Dosa Batter
  • And snack crackers
  • Rawa Dosa

Saw the cool, early rays of sun make their way into the room through the folds of the curtain. Thought it should me more than 6 o’clock but less than 7, because TCG’s alarm hadn’t gone off yet. I was filled with this unspent energy, God knows from where.

Finally, I got tired of cajoling myself to sleep and thought of getting out of the bed; rushing to the kitchen to try out all the exciting things I had in mind. And just as I was thinking to get up, the alarm went off. I sprung out of the bed like some untamed pet who has been let off the leash. And TCG, like everyday, snoozed the alarm and went back to sleep.

Day 4 in New Zealand

Yes, yes I do realize that it’s been a pretty long break and I have been away for almost a month. A lot has been changing in my life; you know being married, changing countries (continents…), getting adjusted, accepted, and acclimatized, being jet lagged, fighting fears, doubts; and finally, finally actually living with The Cool Guy.  Overall it’s been a coming-to-terms kind of experience for me so far. And with this I rest my case, while hoping to be excused for my absence.

I spent awesome 20-days with the rest of my in-laws in Singapore, enroute to New Zealand, while the husband slogged away at work here. What I did in Singapore and how much fun I had is definitely a matter of another post.  And by the way, I am awful at skirting around with a camera in hand, clicking pictures, stopping by a moment to capture memories and all. Ya, ya I know it a rather touristy thing to do. But I just didn’t. Stop whining now please!

It’s just my 4th day in New Zealand today, and I am already writing this post. Not bad, eh? There are things I should be doing; cooking, cleaning, unpacking, exploring, setting up the new home… but I have been guilty and miserable throughout the last month for my disappearing act on wordpress. My conscious kept gnawing at me for being away for so long. So I thought, let’s just first get guilt out of my way. So here I am.

As soon as I set my foot on the soil of NZ, I was greeted by cool, fresh breeze saying hello to me and I fell in love with this place instantly. You know how sometimes we get these premonitions, and before we actually experience something, we already know that we are going to love it. This was one such feeling. TCG was about 5 minutes late to the airport, and just when I started panicking and digging for coins (yes with all that luggage its annoying to dig for small things like coins) to call him, I saw him. A feeling of relief washed over me. I know there was nothing to panic or worry about, but just a day before that, he had been kidding about cabbing it up alone and coming home on my own. And for a moment, I thought that he was not kidding after all.

Wellington, which is where we live, is a hilly city. It’s so picture perfect that it seems unreal. Small, separate, beautiful wooden houses (mostly white) cocooned in the folds of the mountain. It’s cool, breezy and sunny at the same time…just the perfect concoction for someone who has lived in hot, humid weather all her life. People in general are very nice, warm and approachable. Strangers smile at you, wave at you and greet you with a customary “Morning Mate”. And I wouldn’t be mentioning this point at all if it was just one freak incident. Almost everyone who passes by you, smiles at you and greets you.

First day just passed away catching up, resting and lapping up the awesome view that we have from the balcony. Day 2 and Day 3 I was alone. What could we do, a guy has to earn his living! So while the TCG was away at work, I was freaking out in this big house all by myself. That we live in a separate house in middle of the hills and not an apartment (where it’s at least comforting to know that you have neighbors just the next door), added to the fear. I busied myself unpacking, cooking and cleaning and diverting my thoughts. I was almost successful in keeping those unwelcome thoughts at bay. And at 4.30, I walk down these hills to meet TCG below his office at 5. We walk around a bit (which IMHO is the best way to explore a city) and walk back home, which is quite literally an uphill task.

Now, Wellington is a very windy city. Very windy. WINDY. Early morning on Day 3, when it was still dark, we could constantly hear the whistling sounds of the wind. It was scary, just like it is in those scary movies. And there are no fans in the houses here. So no comfort from the slow droning sound of the fan either. There is just pin drop silence. You can actually hear the low humming of the crickets. Every little sound also sounds more amplified.  And it is pitch dark at nights. Since TCG was around at night, I was just about holding up. But during day, when he left for work, the loud noise of wind was just too much to ignore. They were rattling the windows up and for someone who is as uninitiated as I am, it was all a bit spooky (ssshhh…I don’t even want to say it loud and admit to my fear).

If you feel I am exaggerating, check this one random video out. There are many more on Youtube.

Windy City Wellington

Crazy, right? But, I will get used to it soon, won’t I? I am brave that way 😛

So that’s all from me today. Talk soon again.

Who is a Father?

They say that there is no love like mother’s love. That a mother’s love is unconditional and the purest form of love. Truly selfless.

Right. There is no denying that. Scores of literature have been written about mothers, umpteen number of poems, books, stories, songs describe the greatness of mother’s love. While her love is unquestionable and her stature for a child is equal to that of God’s, it’s the father who has always been portrayed as an outsider, as a bystander, as someone who hangs on the fringes and yet he is happy to let the mother hog all the limelight. While mother’s love has been glorified and spoken about since the time of Neanderthals, father’s love has hardly had any mention or any acknowledgement.

So while we continue to love our mothers more than anyone in this world, it wouldn’t hurt really to give daddy his due credit, will it? After all we love him as much as we love our mommy, right? Just that the way mommy loves is different from the way daddy loves; but that doesn’t mean he loves us any less.

A traditional father loved his children no less than a mother did. But he didn’t really believe in expressing. He thought being a father meant being authoritative and being in total control. But that was not really his fault. He was made to believe that way, so he passed on what he saw. He thought being a father meant being in control, disciplining children, providing for them and loving them silently.

Modern daddy has come a long way. He loves his children as unconditionally as his traditional counterpart. But he also loves to express his feelings, and he is not afraid of how he will look like expressing his feelings. He is a friend to his child and makes a smooth transition from being a father to being a friend as per the situation. He likes to keep the atmosphere light and doesn’t shy away from saying his sorrys and accepting his mistakes.

So who really is a father then?

  • Father is the one who loves his children as much as a mother does
  • Father is a one who tries to bring the best food on to the table for his children’s health
  • Traditionally, father is the one who pays for his child’s best education
  • Father is the one who takes you on holidays
  • Father is the one who bears the brunt if any of the child’s needs are unmet
  • Father is that loving figure that cuddles you when you are just a little child, plays ball with you, does summersaults to make you laugh and becomes a clown to see you laugh.
  • Father is the one who pretends to be the elephant and gives you a ride around the house, even after a hard day’s work
  • He is the one who takes you to the fair
  • He is the one who buys you expensive toys and all the beautiful clothes
  • He is the one who takes you around everywhere and drops you to school
  • He is the one who comforts you when mommy decides not to be so nice
  • He is one who provides you comfort, security and shelter
  • He is the one who always has a very special corner in his heart for his little girl
  • He is the one who bothers about insurance and the likes
  • He is the one who plans to marry his daughter off to the nicest man possible and smilingly slogs all his life to afford a big fat wedding
  • He is the one who shares, with a very heavy heart, his daughter with another man.
  • He is the one who loses sleep every night over his girls safety and happiness
  • He is the one who worries about his boy’s profession and future

Yet, a father is always a bystander. His love always is counted secondary to that of mother’s.  But his love, in no way, is secondary.

I dedicate this post to my father and all those to-be fathers. I want to tell you all that you have been doing a thankless job of being a father for centuries. It’s time we all took notice and let you know that we love you as much as we love our mommy.

He is the man,

With a lot of tan,

He slogs in the sun,

To get you the bun,

He plays with you ball,

He doesn’t let you fall,

He gives you the bike,

And holds you while you ride,

For you he cares,

So everyone he dares,

To keep you safe,

With whatever it takes.

Love you, papa.

Someday I will find my prince but my Daddy will always be my King

–       Anonymous

P.S: There always are exceptions to the traditional father and modern daddy categories. So if your daddy, didn’t fit it to the traditional mould, be assured, that I was just generalizing

Why not to be angry?

Hello, my dear readers. I am sorry that I have been away for a while. I won’t say I have been busy.  It’s just that I want to write only when I am in the right frame of mind, and writing about certain topics really calls for a lot of grit.

Yesterday, when I was walking back home from office I passed a 20-something guy who was bellowing into his phone. He was apparently fighting with his girlfriend and seemed to be on a repeat-mode. He kept on saying the same thing – how can you do that (I don’t know what that means here) without informing me? He looked so furious that he didn’t realise that he was on the road, that people were passing by and that he was making a spectacle of himself and entertaining people for free. What triggers such reactions in people? Why people want to control people they love? Why some people want to sabotage their spouse’s freedom and individuality in the name of love? Does love give you power to vent your anger on your very object of love?

In that instant, the opening quote of the book ‘Emotional Intelligence’ came to my mind. Says Aristotle, “Anyone can become angry – that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose and in the right way – this is not easy. And how true.

Anger is a very powerful emotion and it is one primary reason why people destroy beautiful relationships, friendships and lose good people in their life. Unchecked and misplaced anger can lead to a bitter war of words, fight-fight situation, abuse and even fatal physical assaults in some extreme cases.

Some people show anger to show that they are assertive, which in fact has a reversing effect. In fact, extreme anger is the hallmark of the weak. If you are right then you won’t need to be angry and overtly aggressive to make your point. Some people who are authoritative often find their anger spiralling out of their control when things don’t happen according to them, when they can’t tolerate other people’s view points and when they can’t seem to shake off their ‘I-am-right’ feeling.

Everyone gets angry at some times and with some situations and some people, but some people just can’t seem to hold their tongues and in that one moment of anger, they are unable to think rationally and calmly and often end up saying hurtful things that can’t ever be taken back. They may not necessarily mean them, but the way they speak – with gritted teeth and red eyes is enough to hurt their antagonist deeply. In that state of anger, their mind loses its ability to comprehend events and think reasonably and hence their outburst is often exaggerated and much harsher than what the situation warrants.

Why I am writing about this? Because I have seen how anger can spoil beautiful relations. Loving someone deeply or caring about someone deeply does not license us to be mad at them all the time. If something is bothering us, or if we are upset about something or someone’s behaviour, we should not give an angry knee-jerk reaction. While this may not always be possible, it is very much doable. In such situations, we must take a moment and get our breathing under control. We must clear our head and try to reason out if our anger is justified or is misplaced. Perhaps we could pause, collect our thoughts and speak steadily in a calmer manner. Because words once spoken can’t be taken back. And we must not do anything stupid in a momentary fit of anger and bring upon permanent damage to beautiful relationships. Your loved ones will understand that you get angry because you love them, but if you make it a habit of showing your anger through harsh words very often and at even the smallest instance, they will one day grow tired of it. They would stop caring. And then, it’s very easy to get into a i-fight-because-you-fight-harder situation. So to salvage the situation, the best bet would be to calm down, it takes about 20 minutes to return to the state of normalcy from extreme anger, and speak again when you are composed and in a frame of mind to hear their side of the story as well.

When provoked by a situation or people, it is human to get angry. Buy to let anger possess you and get the better of you, is definitely blameworthy. Let your wrath not hurt people’s tender feelings, the very people who love you, who care for you, who work with you. When you see someone is behaving irrational with you and is losing his control on his tongue, take a cue and back out for that moment. Come back and talk to them when they are sober. Let men not think that they can get angry with their women simply because they are men and that gives them that right. That’s a seriously absurd logic. Respect is earned; you can’t demand your women to respect you. And likewise for women. When we are bound in life-long relations, let’s at least try to be co-habitable and pleasant company to be with. And what health repercussions anger has, you don’t need anyone to tell you that, right?

 “The man is not a good wrestler; the strong man is in fact the person who controls himself at the time of anger.”

Some Food for Thought

Few days ago, I had a chance to travel by our Mumbai local after quite a long time. It was crammed and noisy as usual and after a couple of minutes of wriggling and fighting to breathe, I finally did manage to get a place to sit. I had my music plugged into my ears, but the din outside was way too loud to hear the music without risking loss of my hearing. I turned it off and did the best thing that you can do in a train; stare randomly and kill time. Everyone was jostling for space and everyone was pushing everyone, and I sat between two tightly pressed bodies on either side. I couldn’t help overhear what the ladies, apparently two fellow commuters, were talking.

Lady with the yellow dupatta (hereafter referred as L1), ‘It’s really sad, how low one can stoop to make money.’

Restless lady with an irritatingly noisy polythene bag (hereafter referred as L2), ‘Yes indeed. These women have no morals, no dignity and absolutely no self-respect.’

L1: Exactly, how can you sleep with someone for money? It’s unimaginable to me.

L2: How can anyone choose prostitution as an option for making a living? There are hundred odd jobs these women could do to earn a respectable living.

L1: And because of these women, there is so much filth and dirt around us, the dark secrets of the city, the hidden alleys which are frequented by men who don’t think twice before cheating on their wives, for few minutes of their filthy pleasure.

L2: I would rather die than resort to those means, if it ever came to that.

L1: And I wouldn’t want to associate myself with any of these women, in anyway possible. It’s way too below my dignity.

L1: Anyway, to each his own. Did you see that movie Rowdy Rathore?

They continued their conversation but my mind had wandered off by then. These women seemed educated and respected, yet I was appalled to hear how shallow their views were. With all due respect to L1 and L2, who were nice respectful women and who had opportunities to choose a respectable life, they still didn’t have a right to talk about some other women without getting all their facts cleared. I didn’t like the tone of their conversation, or even their attitude, for that matter. Who were they to give character certificates, and who were they to decide who should die and who should struggle to survive. And had they ever bothered to get the other side of the story?

We live in a dynamic society and the societal labyrinth is as complex as complex can be. Just like in a food chain, everyone is playing their part here. Think of it as a movie, where everyone is assigned a role, however small. But until everyone plays their part to perfection, the movie is not quite complete.

Before we ridicule prostitutes and write them off as a mere speck of dirt mark on society, take a moment ladies, and realise that they might actually be doing a favour on us and to the society. If not for them, the other respectable women in the city might probably be living in the constant fear of being raped. If not for these women, the labourers and the drivers who are rarely home and always travelling and who are notorious for frequenting brothels and prostitutes would be roaming around freely looking at every woman as just a sex object. If not for these women, thousands of horny men who have no other option to satiate their hunger would be objectifyng every woman that crosses their path. Imagine what would happen if no body was playing that part. The balance would be disturbed and the repercussions would definitely show in some other part of the society.

So L1, you have an option of not sleeping for money, be glad, count your blessings and don’t sleep.

And L2, you would rather die than offer yourself for money; that is easier said than done. Be grateful that you never had to choose that. And if these women are valuing this wonderful gift of life above everything else, and are surviving by whatever means that they deem best, it’s their bloody right to choose LIFE above everything else.

By saying this, I am not advocating prostitution. I am not saying that we should honour these women with medals or that we should all befriend them. All I am saying is, at least let’s be tolerant of them. At least let’s not talk about them as if they have no more dignity than an insect. These women would have been at some sort of crossroads in their life when they decided to take up this profession (which by the way is very legal in many nations and rightly so). They would all have a story, they would all have been utterly helpless or out of all options to choose this. Many might have been forced into this by lecherous men and pimps. Many would want to go back to their old lives but they are unable to see any way out. Agreed, some women would do that out of choice, for money or for other reasons. So just as L1 rightly says, to each his own. Their life, their worry. Why should we also take away that little benefit of doubt as well? There might be reasons: lack of education, no opportunities, no guidance, they might be shouldering family responsibilities and feeding hungry mouths. In fact, we should salute their spirit to live and their desire to make best out of whatever life offered.

Not all human beings are good, just like how not all prostitutes are bad. We are a judgemental lot. No really, many of us are. We, Indians, love to jump to conclusions. We have always loved to compartmentalize and classify things/people into the boxes we have created in our mind over the years. These boxes have been created so that we can conform to the societal norms and common practices. So that we can all live together in a civilized, regulated society. And that is how it should be ideally, no arguing that. As long as these boxes or norms are aiding the progress of the society. All is well till we are able to do so. But hell breaks loose when we are not able to put those things/situations/people in to one of those boxes. When something doesn’t adhere to the normal, acceptable standards, it’s funny to see how we react.

My only urge, through this blog is, never rush to judge someone. Because we don’t know what life that someone is living or what situations that someone is facing. We hardly ever know the other side of the story. Thinking good, healthy and positive thoughts about others conveys nothing but your own positive disposition towards life.

Some food for thought, isn’t it?