Be positive, within.

Sometime back, I was in conversation with a friend about negative and positive vibes. We were discussing how people with negative thoughts and emotions tend to disturb our balance more than we realize. We tend to get defensive, start justifying our rationality, which frankly is totally unnecessary. If I am right, there isn’t a need to prove it and if wrong, must simply accept without excuses.

The conversation made me realize, how sometimes in trying to prove our point we cross the line without once realizing how it affects the other. We are too busy establishing our awesomeness we fail to realize the other’s emotions. Freedom of speech should not paramount to hurting sensibilities. If you are indeed as amazing as you claim to be, you don’t have to beat it down – the light will illuminate us anyway. Being intrusive is unacceptable.

Unrelated it may seem but there is a connect.

We as people are wrapped and warped in our own insecurities, there is a need to constantly defend our side of the story. We are what we are, we should be accepted the way we are. Yes, there is always room for improvement. Critiquing needs to also be supported with sensitivity, we need to remember we are no authority on conduct. We should express our views unbiased and with honesty. Everyone has the right to guard their space the way they desire.

How I perceive may not always be in sync with the mood or tone how something is conveyed. Perception is entirely a state of mind at that specific moment. More often than not, if we don’t like a certain someone, the sensible they may say sound totally senseless to us. We end up judging unfair. It is unfair. It is critical not to let our residual impact affect our judgment.

I am not a very spiritual person, but I do believe in the power of positive thinking. If we think positive, we feel it too. On the other hand, when we think all things negative, it starts reflecting in our behavior, our expressions and work. Somewhat similar to how we perceive situations different when we are happy v/s sad. When you are happy all is well with the world and when not the smallest thing can spark fireworks.

It is important to remember the good in our life and stick with it and move away from the constant berating, mocking and inch towards appreciative and happy. So, before I lose the plot completely and go on a different tangent (which I am known to do all the time) I will just say this, you allowed me to show you, how unique and amazing you are. Cheers to you my friend, you make me smile even when there is no reason. Rather, you are the reason for much sanity and balance in life.

You don’t need to look for a reason to be happy, just be.

 

Politics of rape

Rape.
The hush whispers in the corridors of the dark and obscure have now become the most spoken out in the open. Oh no, I am not implying it should be hushed at all. All I am saying is societal dynamics have changed drastically.

Rape means forced against will. An absolute weapon of power play. It’s an exhibition of might as right. The only agenda is violation and annihilation of another human being emotionally, mentally and physically regardless of gender.
There is no plausible explanation – i just see it as unleashing hell. That is all. A living hell from that moment on, till the victim’s last breath. A hell that will not allow them to live a normal life, feel normal and be normal. Trust and faith is shattered for life along with the hope to ever leave the trauma behind. Some learn to deal, accept and move on but most aren’t that lucky. It is not just one person, but a family/community destroyed.
There were always rapists, psychopaths and pedophiles amidst us, just that their boldness has now come of age. Instead of a one odd case coming to light, we have more and more cases springing up and shoved in our face every day.
Our girls are getting raped by priests, police, and politicians under various cushioned blankets of caste, religion, and vendetta. Of course, the most popular being ‘teach them a lesson’. As if life’s lessons weren’t enough we now have men who do not figure in our scheme of things at all, taking the onus to do so.
So of urban legends, it is about in appropriate dressing and stayed out late, drinking and keeping male company. Oh of course, there is no concept of men being friends, it is always the illicit affairs and immoral conduct. So, the moral thing is to rape her and teach her a lesson. Yeah, progressive.
And rural just because, or maybe a sudden erection and didn’t know where else to put it!
Eventually, it does end in feeding either of the demons above and in the process, destroy a person completely!
Now we have to deal with rapes of infants, children and babies.
What is wrong with these people? I mean seriously. When is this all going to stop? The answer is 1. Not until the mental sickness prevails, which, let’s admit will always remain. 2. Fear of the system. Till there is no fear of consequences, there is no stopping them demonic urges. By fear of consequences, I mean not just capital punishment, it also needs to be handled effectively, efficiently and fast tracked. The probes need to be unbiased portrayal of facts and not assumptions.  3. Media needs to stop takes sides and remain neutral.
All the three above, possibly impossible!  So we are back to square one.
I am not a violent person by nature, nor am I the forgiving kind. In this case though, I’d be happy to make an exception and publicly castrate the perpetrators to make an example out of them.
This is just uproar based on those few cases that see the light of the day because somebody somewhere is banking on diverting attention by the publicity gained. There are many more that never get to go beyond the doorstep of the victim for the fear of many unknowns including threats to life.

Our bodies are our personal sacred space, no one is allowed to touch and feel without our permission.
A NO, is a no. A simple two alphabet word. N O- NO. When someone utters that word out of their mouth, hear it, understand it and respect it. Don’t take it as a challenge to prove your masculinity, instead hear it as a command of guarding one’s space.

This is Private Property. NO trespassing. Violators will be shot, on sight!

Empowered indeed.

Alka paints moi and makes it bestest day ever 🙂 

So the day began with this beautiful painted portrait by my favorite painter Alka, who is my absolute happy sunny spot of all things rainbow!
No nonsensical WhatsApp flooding with bouquets and mad Happy Women’s Day messages (Damn you Hallmark)) could dampen what she gave me today.
Oh yes, like we all believe, everyday is our day. So there is no real need of celebrating and singling out this one particular day, yet I still have something to say.
The truth is my perception of empowerment has come a long way.
Back when we were kids, empowerment was limited to be able to ‘dress up like boys (read shorts and pants)’ be able to play ‘boy games (read flying kites, kanche, gilli danda etc.)’. It also meant we girls could be out loitering till the bro, and having the same curfew time as him.
In college it became the other things, having a drink, going out partying and other regular stuff boys took for granted. Girls just wanna have fun became the cult mantra.
With carrier dawned the right to equality, no man can better me, I was born the best. It may be a man’s world but women runneth 😊
With marriage came the sharing chores. Co-raising the co-birthed, equality at home. Why just me, why can’t etc.
Now, my 40’s have brought with them a new fire to the fight. Right to PEACE and SPACE and UNWIND.
I have been truly blessed to have been born in the 70’s. For I have birthed in the Generation X, boomed Millennial and crawling through Gen Z. The best and worst of all!
I can see where I came from, struggled to find my footing and finally the unsettled nomad in this oh so mad.
I am now witnessing the curse for the teen I have birthed who goes on to raise himself and me in the bargain 😊 truly that is the stepping stone on my empowerment.
For the woman who birthed her only in the late 20’s to coming barely quarter circle 2 decades later, I find myself pleasantly surprised at how my evolution of empowerment has come along, grown with my growth.
Man, woman conflicts don’t bother me no more. I don’t want to get up on a stage and scream for my right to equality or superiority for that matter. There is no fight. I have my own space and that shall remain so.
For me, freedom comes from being able to express regardless of people judging and more importantly for not caring about being judged.
Empowerment came from being co-birthed by a man and a woman. The credit is just not my mother’s alone. I have the best and worst of both in me. I empowered my birthers the privilege of being parents.
Likewise, my son gave birth to the mother in me.
I am so damn proud and honored to acknowledge the men in my life who continue to empower me by loving me, encouraging and inspiring, motivating and letting me be. I am what I am because they remain by my side regardless. I am not saying it was easy, I am saying it was definitely worth it.
I am empowered today because life has been kind enough to give me the best of the best real world stalwarts. My besties. The people who rock my world. The most amazing real world women in my life. My mother, my sister, my best friends, colleagues and in fact every woman who has touched my life and crossed my path.
Most special mention of my virtual world existers. You don’t judge, you stayed real than real, you accept me just the way I am, love unconditionally, encourage wholly and inspire continuously. You are a part of me for as long as I am.

I am what I am. The good, the bad and the very mad. This is me. Except for the 2 exceptional people who brought me into this world, no one has any claim to this fame. At all. They gave this world a spark who chose those who fanned her flames.
I am empowered as I allowed myself to be.

No more, no less
I am a Woman,
True to self, just as I am

What was, what promises to be.

What a year it has been 🙂

Heartbreaks and heartaches. Losing hope, finding faith, finding new and losing old. This year has taken a mile out and given in an inch. It has been a year of discovery, of who and what I am. I am nuts, getting nuttier and will be certifiable soon!

Oh no, not so deep really 😀

Sometimes we go along with our status quos because it is comforting. Comfort is warmth. Comfort is predictability, there is no fear ‘cause it’s all known. Then it stales. You lose passion and motivation. When forced to step out of this zone, there are a million feelings to be felt, experiences waiting to happen and life to be loved.

Whether it is a relationship one holds on to, people you tolerate – whatever the reason may be, there comes a time when you got to let go. I have pissed a lot of people off, made up, got some awesome new friends and won back some long losts.

2016 has been a sieve or sorts. The keepers have stayed on while the takers, moved on. Bonds are deeper, trust is higher and love is greater.

It is also the year I turned the landmark 43. Well, every year is a landmark but this one was special. Special because I am finally learning to let go the unforgiven and unresolved. Not everything in life needs to be resolved, some just have no solutions and no answers. Actually, even if there were, what’s to say that it would change anything? What is the need to always understand or be understood? Why is there a need to continuously prove? To whom? At the end of the day, if I feel like it was a waste of a day then I have sold myself short. There will always be people unhappy or wanting or needing. There is just one me and one life to live. I want to uncomplicate, and enjoy more.

I want to invest in those who matter, close in my inner circle and just firmly leave out the rest. I want to write more, love more and laugh more. There is always always room for more laughter and more life than we allow ourselves to see.

Stop thinking, start living, start loving – life is here now, we just got to know how!

I am the journey
I see life beckoning me

Strength, empowered within.

Everyone has their own definition, their own perception. For me strength comes from many things. Most of the times I end up trying to find it externally but the truth is, the search lies within. To search would mean to evaluate. That is the scary thought, the fear of unknown. The fear of trying to uncover what I do not want to see nor surface. What if I am not the person I believed to be me?

It may come from the one who sees nothing wrong with you and loves you unconditionally or from the one who knows you and still loves you.
From the one who left you for nothing more to give and no more to receive or from the one who never left your side.
From the one who wants to change you for the better as they feel you are capable of much more or from the one who does not like what you are.
From the one who found someone better or from the one who feels you are the best.
From the one who is always your shadow and will pick you when you fall or from the one who never lets you take that fall.
From the one who can never love you back or from the one who never stops loving you. From the one who holds you close or from the one who gives you all the space that you want.
From the one who left you before time or from the one who stays timeless, regardless.

Strength comes from knowing what you are, accepting yourself the way that you are and understand your truths and lies. Every relationship is a risk. Trust, faith, love and honesty will always be at stake. Relationships always teach something, to say a relationship failed is to accept defeat. There are no failed relationships in my opinion. The relationship that have served their due, should and must be allowed to die the natural death. The strength within helps keep the respect and dignity intact despite the loss.

More often than not we try to hold on to what we fear losing, acceptance comes from the inner strength that tells you it’s time to let go. Life seems like a slideshow of memories. We keep making new ones, yet hold dearly the old. We meet new people yet hold close our old. Sometimes trying to find the old in new is probably the worst mistake we make. The old has to pave way for the new. The new of today will be old tomorrow. So maybe moving forward is not such a bad thing after all.

If I hold too close, I may smother. If I let loose I may lose forever, this fear needs to be understood, dealt with and in due course overcome. Strength is knowing when to hold close and when to let go. Maybe it is time to let go.

Move my mountains, swim my seas
Lies within, my strength in me

 

 

I miss you everyday…

BABA

He taught me everything, except how to live without him.

Three years to this day. Three years have passed. Each with its own adjustments. Yet life goes on, and goes well too. With each day, I appreciate more and more what he has done for me. He continues to motivate and instill confidence when I have it the least and need it the most.

In mom’s house, there is a picture of him on the wall. When I open my eyes, it is the first thing I see. It is still rather unnerving to see him there like that. A picture on the wall. It is a painful reminder of him gone, it is still difficult to deal with it. Sometimes I just stare at his picture and can’t take my eyes off him. I remember feeling anger when he left us. Angry for leaving, for missing the still to come milestones, for not walking me through the rest of my life. I vividly remember the final goodbye, doing what needed to be done, calmly going through the motions of the day. I realize it was this anger that kept me sane and functional and keeps it together even today when I feel it slipping away from me.

There is lots that needs to be done. The lunch will be his favorites, memories some spoken and some not and it is also the day I head back home. So we will all be a wee bit wistful as the time for me to leave comes close. Coming home to me does not just mean that I get time with ma and the rest, it is still coming home to baba. He is right here, with me.

The house is abuzz with his memories. It is anything but sad. We talk about him, the things he did, the person he was and the people we are today because of him. There is music and there is laughter and if it hadn’t been this (ungodly) am hour, we would most definitely be toasting life with his favorite malt!

The thought of him brings a smile to me. Memories with him are special, just as unique as the man he was. From birthdays to festivals to family dos, he was always the giver. Without a doubt most generous man I have ever known. No one can love me the way he did. The look of pride on his face, the sparkle in his eyes that I saw for me is my keepsake for life. No one can ever love me as selflessly and unconditionally as he did. Yes, sometimes I am still angry but for the most part I am grateful. Grateful for all that I am today and all that he has made me to be.

The enormity of this loss keeps compounding year after year and yet at the same time, gently eases into my life with acceptance. The piece of me which is still my baba’s daughter will always be an extension of me and the best I will ever be.

Three years to this day,
Yes it still seems like yesterday,
Look behind and I can see,
Baba you always watch over me.

Mother’s day, everyday…

silhouette-photography12

She was sitting on the steps, oblivious to all the dirt and the dust on them. Last night’s dust storm seemed to have gathered the entire city’s dust on the steps of the house.

Her mother was watching from the window. In the twilight she could still very clearly see the sadness in her eyes and the tears that had just about begun to well up. The little girl missed her father.  Work kept him away most of the days. He seemed to be missing all the important dates in her life. Her first play – she was the proudest pumpkin there ever was, but he wasn’t there to see it, just like all the other times for the first something of her life.

It broke her heart to see her girl so sad.

She decided to make her little one’s favorite nimbu pani and carry it out. While she got busy stirring it up, it struck her. She carried a pitcher of water as well along with a few things from the kitchen.

She went out and sat next to her on the steps, held her baby’s little palm in her hand and gave her the glass to drink,  wiping the little pearls falling down her cheeks from the corner of her sari. The little one gulped it down. The magic of nimbu pani was working. She drank it all up and wiped her mouth with the back of her smudgy dirty little hand. That is when she noticed the pitcher of water and the other paraphernalia ma had brought along. With questioning eyes she looked up at ma and asked, ‘What is this for?’

‘Hmmm, I thought we’d make some mud dough to build daddy’s favorite doll so you can play with him when he gets home. What do you think?’

The little one’s eyes lit up. Playing in the mud was an activity for special days and allowed only before bath time. Most definitely never on school days. ‘Yes please ma! Let’s!’

The sad was gone, the twinkle back. She looked at the little head working as furiously as her hands to shape up what she thought was the perfect toy for her perfect daddy.

It was the moment; she left the little one absorbed in her thoughts and the task at hand. Smiling, she walked back to watch her from the kitchen window, allowing her girl the space and freedom to be with her father.

Years had passed. The little one not so little anymore, was sitting on the very same steps watching her baby make little distorted animal figures from the mud dough, only this time she knew he would never come back, he was gone from where he would never come back. She felt a lump in her throat as yet again a helpless mother watched her from the kitchen window. Shaking her head, she walked to the counter made a glass of nimbu pani for her girl and walked the slow yet determined steps down to where her girl was sitting, lost in sadness. She wiped her tears from the corner of her sari and handed the glass to her. She smiled, with a twinkle in her eyes, as she gulped down the entire glass in one swig, wiping her mouth with a perfectly manicured hand.

The little one had made a puppy,  nanu’s companion, in his afterlife. It looked more a rat, straight out of a horror movie as both the young and the old burst into laughter, making the boy beam from cheek to cheek, fully proud of his achievement. The dog was placed with care next to the little clay doll that still sits proud on the mantelpiece next to daddy’s picture.

It was the moment – the moment just like many others, where a mother held her daughter’s hand, gave her the hope and faith to carry on. A mother does only what a mother can…

You were so I am,

You show what I see,

Without you, nothing there would be…

I am a woman, deal with it.

Growing up has been wonderful experience for me. I was raised by the most awesome set of birthers. They did not read parenting manuals or go surfing for support. They did the best they could, it all came from within and they nailed it, raised three wonderful kids, who are now standing tall and raising their own.

So that being the background, let me quickly share a memory of a lifetime with you.

I was really thin, growing up. A scrawny, wild thing I was. Anyway, I always thought my father loved my sister more. You know she was a pretty, dainty doll kind of kid, and I was ugly. Well she still is the prettiest but that’s another story. So once, on one such heartbroken day, I said to him, ‘I know you don’t love me as much as you love her. I am so ugly and she is so pretty.’ I can still hear my father’s roaring laughter as he replied, ‘You are my prettiest princess.  You have the magical power to spread happiness wherever you go. BUT you can not tell anyone that because then you will lose the power and be ordinary like the rest of us.’ I believed him, still do. That was what this man was. He loved both his girls equally and yet never let  them feel otherwise. He loved us unconditionally.

As I grew older, I realised what this man had done for me. He had given me the confidence to believe that I was the best.

I have seen life at its worst and its best as you all have. I have lost more than I have won. My father was my hero, I lost him 3 years ago, and still haven’t come to terms with it. In fact I am far from it. But that’s all right as someone once said to me, ‘deal with it how you wish, how you see, when you want, and how to be. Do whatever works. As each day passes, it works. It may be slow, but it is there.’

Today we talk about women empowerment. I don’t need anyone to empower me. I was birthed by the man who held his daughter in his arms and said, ‘you empowered me with the privilege of being your father.’ A father who showed his little girl the power she holds. I am the power I need. I am a woman deal with it, you can’t better me I was born the best.

On my good days I carry him in my smile as I am on my way

Sometimes when I see my failures at the end of day,

I feel him pull me up and brace for another brand new day…

The year that was…

She looked up at the sky, bursting with light, in all colours possible. It was midnight. The New Year had dawned-tearing through the dark, cold winter sky, lighting up everything in its way.

The ice cubes clinked in the empty glass.  The mist of the night reflected in her eyes, it always saddened a tad bit to leave the year behind.The memories running through her mind like a flash back – of the time that was, the rush of emotions, the good the bad, all of it.

The glass refilled, she settled down for her final walk through of what she had left behind…

It had been a very trying and tiring year. The losses weighed her down and somehow, the good seemed left far behind. The pain of the loss, seemed heavy to carry and heavier to off load. The memories seemed to drain with the drink, the clink of the ice cubes indicated another refill.

Sound of music reverberated through the air, the past left behind, the future embraced. It is strange how with the stroke of the midnight hour, perception changes, future looks bright and inviting, the past forgotten like it never existed.

She sat still, taking in the moment. She smiled, breeze brought in a familiar whiff of cologne. He stood in the darkness with a refill, not saying anything. He sat down, looking in her eyes shining in the moonlight. He put her arms around her. He was always there, he always knew what she was thinking before the thought itself. The night had calmed into a comfortable silence. They were out of time and breathed in whatever was left of it.

The sharp ring of the doorbell came with a loud bang of the door. Impatience came screaming through the door followed by a loud scream of excitement. They broke into laughter as he came with shouts of happiness all around. Bear hugs, sloppy kisses and love you(s) echoed through the house.

Lights and songs filled the house, it was the moment…

The moment with a promise of all things good, a clean slate to start afresh, promises made-never to be broken, love unto death, best friends forever, betrayals forgotten, allegiances formed for life and the undeniable power of hope… hope to better our best.

Yes indeed, the newness of the new year sparkled everything bright.

To the past I say goodbye, Another year has passed me by,

With hope and aspirations new, to the year that was, I bid adieu..

New day, new hope…

All good things come to an end, so the popular belief goes.  That is what I felt towards the end of my stay in Pune.

Even though I had decent number of days packed for my visit, it somehow never seems enough. The days always seem to pass too quickly and of course you ONLY start having fun when you are ready to leave.

Like last year, this year also the trip was planned to coincide with Baba’s death anniversary. Therefore the chaos and crisis all had the take a back seat.  This had to be done.

Somehow losing him has made me long to be physically close to ma. Not that she needs me to, it is more my reassurance that she is still with me. The siblings are, but of course an added plus. It is strange how tolerant his passing away has made me. It has also taught me to smile more often, make additional effort and most definitely appreciate relationships more.  Almost a saint I sound such.

I had summed a lot of emotions in the original write up, but let me make this more associative instead.

My baba as I call him still, was an amazing man. With each passing day I feel closer to him. All that he was, all that he taught me has made a better me. His thoughts, his words, his way of life live through me. Many wonder how I can hold all this grief inside and never give in. Au contraire, I mourn the most and express it the best I can. Through my writing I have been able to emote what would otherwise remain bottled inside forever, for this I will forever be grateful to many wonderful people who always encouraged me to write. I remember you saying this ‘how does it matter what you write, what people think or if you are judged. You should write for yourself and be proud of it’. Your stories built my confidence and have helped me to grow, thank you for always being there unconditionally. You know who you are.

I may not be a writer, but then again I also know I don’t have to be.

This trip was also about making new friends, revisiting the old and feeling blessed for the wonderful life it is. My stay made special not just by my family but the extended families all pitched in to make it a huge success. You guys are all amazing; you are my strength and my faith. My boys gave me the warmest welcome back home, so much joy and love and happiness. Who ever said ‘all good things come to an end’ probably never had life continue in celebration such. (Yea, it is my favourite line)

Losing a parent is not about death anniversaries, crying and feeling sorry for ourselves. It is about picking up and move on with happy memories and the strength to see each other make it through.  We have one life, we need to make the best of it.

Who says he is gone, he lives forever through us.

Sometimes in thoughts I hear your sound,

With this faith I live that you are always around…