Torn

 

They say as you get older you evolve and mature, grow more sensible and do the right things mostly.

Well! I am not so sure, recently I suffered a heart break.

No, I did not fall out of love or any such romantic relationship, me and my partner still going strong.

I fell out with my best friend, the friend that I had since my high school days, we went through college, university, jobs , marriage and having kids. It was a long haul.  We always dreamt of living in the same city and meet often to discuss our woes, shop or crib!

After our respective marriages, we were torn apart, living in different cities, sometimes different countries. It was not easy to meet at all, let alone planning it. New age technology kept us connected, through Whatsapp, Facebook etc.

However, technology cannot replace human interaction, it shielded the fact that we both were evolving and changing. Sometimes this change can only be taken in stride when there is a physical interaction.  So, there we were quietly evolving without the other person not being aware. After all, we cannot mentally be in high school forever, life has a way to force upon certain changes.

By quirk of fate I landed in the same city as my friend, I was quite excited that finally we would be able to meet, have that ubiquitous coffee and share our woes! The move was extremely taxing on me , as now I had a family and their requirements also needed to be fulfilled. I texted ahead to let her know my arrival and in fact had a lengthy conversation before I made the move. She knew I was in the city and had my number. Days flew by as I tried to settle in and create a home for my family, it is a tough job in a new place where you hardly know a soul.

Everyday I expected a call to come through empathising with me, it never came, she never bothered. Well, I could have called up too, yes! But by the time i was ready to make that call, with my kids settled and their needs taken care of, it was already four months. Not once did she call and by then I was severely hurt, too much, to realise she did not want any contact from me. That friend whom I had loved with all my heart just did not want me in her life.

It’s been a further 4 more months since then, my heart still pains and I do not enjoy living in this city. Too hurt to make new friends, too hurt to even try!

Maybe there was something, maybe I should have called up, there are too many of those.  What however, I learnt from this episode is that, all relationships come with an expiry date, the sooner we realize that the better our today will become. Today let us meet that one friendly face with a smile, who knows tomorrow she might not smile back.

All this when one is supposed to be matured and sensible. Adulthood!!! What is it after all?

 

 

 

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The Daughter

Eyes wide, she stood clutching her mother’s sari.

Unwilling to let go.

Unsure of her surroundings.

Loving hands took her in, smoothed her hair down.

Tears however, poured fast and furious.

Fast forward a few years later, she is a bright, confident and a bubbly girl.

She is full of stories, and character.

She loves to sing at the drop of a hat.

She aims to be a vet.

The hands that took her in then, shaped her, gave her an identity and aspirations.

She was now the future, her family was looking at, to save them from grinding poverty.

She was a daughter.

Such are the examples of transformed lives, if everybody is given a chance, an equal footing.

Times have changed and yet our mindset towards girls are mired in the Victorian age.

They are still epitomes of family values, an object to be parted off with, by paying dowry, her virginity still an issue of immense importance.

As Durga descends on Earth, one more time, we welcome the Goddess, signifying power and strength.

We draw energy from her.

How about taking a step back and revering the girl standing right next to you, or in your home, by giving her a chance to live, to aspire, to dream and not be treated any differently

The queen

She was the queen.

Strong.

Beautiful.

Powerful.

Confident.

She was his world.

The kingdoms clashed and the war raged on.

Envy, jealousy, hatred, revenge….

Strung together on a single thread.

Separated the queen from his prince.

Rest as they say, history was created.

Lives were lost and battles were won.

Love, is the key, the doer and the reason.

Strange this emotion.

Unsolved yet so important.

 

 

shallow

 

It was a shallow sea,

the floor was visible, the fish could be seen,

the plants waved back.

Life imitated nature,

lacking depth, leaving nothing to imagination

clear, obvious, out there!

Shake out, or fall off on the wayside.

Nothing left to identify the mind, which once had clarity and confidence.

join the flow or get out of the way!

The message was loud and clear.

Small Celebrations!

It has been quite an upheaval, as I sought to move homes, countries and continents. In this journey as I stuttered and stumbled to find my own in a new place, I had to let go of many things old, some clothes, some trinkets, some fond memories and of course some fond places and spaces.

All throughout constant, was my desire to not let go of my online baby, my magazine Festive Riot. It was started as a part of a conversation, last year in October, and even though it was created as a platform to spread happiness and cheer, in this era of doom and gloom, it stretched out to touch humanity!

In this issue, it strives to do just that, making us a little bit aware, as we indulge in the spirit of celebration. A little way to give back to the world.

Here, I share the fifth issue of Festive Riot.

The path cycled!

cycle

J cycled to work everyday. She cycled everywhere mostly, ever since she learnt how to manage the two wheeler, which was quite late in her life, late by normal standards!

The distance she cycled to reach her workplace was no more than 10 kilometers, not too much, considering she used the traffic-free cycle paths.

The cycle path was lovely, shaded by trees on both sides, sometimes snaking under an overhead bridge , under archways and past green, open fields. It was the lovely part of the city, J loved it. As she cycled she heard birds chirping, saw squirrels crossing the path and an occasional house cat, out for its morning jaunt. When the sun shined through the trees, the whole place lit up! That path was used by pedestrians too, and so there were joggers, walkers and even dogs out with their owners.

However, in spite of all this, the path was relatively quiet and empty, sometimes there would be no soul for a kilometer, the emptiness was inviting, warm and safe. J never felt threatened, frightened, or even panicked when she never encountered another human being for a long time. This was a new feeling for J, she never grew up here, she migrated to this part of the world due to her work.

freedom

She grew up in a busy corner of the world, teeming with people, yet amidst so many, she never felt safe on the streets, in deserted stretches and pathways. A footstep behind would mostly imply someone was following her, the trees on the deserted path could be used by a person with evil intentions. Dusk and eventually night, would imply she had to hurry back home, as darkness gave the man power, to do or to be anything. The woman is never safe.

Ever since she had learnt to step out alone for her college, university or workplace, J observed and understood simple rules of survival in this crowded world. She dressed shoddily to avoid attention, she kept to group travelling after sunset and she always stuck to busy routes. This last one meant she had to factor in that time, to reach her destination. The feeling of insecurity pervaded everywhere, outside the four walls of her home.

J felt frustrated at times and she never understood the cause, just then her workplace shifted her to this new location. It was far away from home, from family, from everything familiar. However, it offered something new, J was always ready for some adventure, the spirit had remained dormant due to being born in that teeming world.

The new place was beautiful, less crowded and offered more. J discovered her new passions, she learnt cycling, she learnt to be herself and more confident. Fear took a backseat, freedom took the forefront, a world of possibilities opened up before her. J was exuberant, her joy knew no bounds.

J knew she was lucky, she had experienced freedom, something rare in the world she was brought up in. The path she took everyday made her realize that over and over again. In this world there are so few places where a woman could feel safe, the cycle path was a piece of heaven.

Sometimes all a woman needs is a small stretch of place where she can be, who she wants to be……………very few are lucky to get that! Most are drowned beneath societal demands, man’s hungry eyes, and prejudices in this world.

Holding hands

holding hands

I walk down the street and the sun is shining bright, I see them, their brisk walk, their grey hairs, but what I observe most is the holding hands! The hands are joined in a confident clasp, secured and yet relaxed, there is no tension. The hands reflect their relationship, the love and security in their autumn years.

I walk into a shop, the shop window had a dress which enticed me in, I see them immediately. They are shopping, happy in each other’s company, a day off from kids, maybe. They are a sophisticated pair, I notice all that, but foremost I notice the holding hands. The grip is firm, exuding power, exuding a sense of belonging, the fingers latched on tightly. The hands reflect their relationship, in control, successful and in the prime of their lives.

I sit in the park, tired after a long walk. Soaking in the quietness of the place, they walk  in, a happy walk, a giddy-feeling walk. I see them in their air of complete seclusion, they are there yet completely aloof to their surroundings, eyes dancing and all smiles, coy ones, seductive ones! They are holding hands, I notice that, the hands are loosely held, fingers interlaced casually, some are free, some are together. The hands reflect their status, young, free and life is calling!

I walk down a mountain, after a long climb onto the top, it was tiring yet exhilarating! The walk down is tricky, a wrong step and I could fall hard, suddenly I hear a shout ‘Help me!’, I turn around to see a hand extend, as a small hand slip into it and the words echo ‘Don’t worry, you will be fine!’. The hands are tightly locked, the small hand completely covered by the big hand, the hands reveal a bond of trust, complete and secure.

This is a saga of holding hands, hands which scripts a million tales and fingers which traces many paths! At each stage the hands clasps differently and each clasp is unique, definitive and so vital. The crucial thing is to have another hand to hold, always!

 

Homecoming

kevin-fernandez-37634

 

‘Home’, the word evokes a thought,

it brings comfort to your spirit and solace to your mind.

‘Home’ for me is where my ma and baba lives,

not because I am still a child but because they alone, live in the house which treasure my childhood memories, they are the only known keepers of little me, the real me!

Ages ago when I was a child too, laughed myself silly, played pranks and dissolved into tears.

‘Home’, where my thakuma lived, my loving gran, her stories shaped my life, her hands caressed every hurt and wiped away every tear.

She is no more but yet she is there, each day as I cook my meals and tell stories to my little ones, never very far away!

I visited my home, time stands still there until broken by a tug at my arm, as my little one wants my attention.

There is nostalgia, memory, little me and little them, there is a confluence of sorts.

There is home cooked food, prepared and served with care by my ma, who still knows what I like best. I get that nowhere.

There is peace and quiet, as slumber descends upon me every sunny afternoon. Something that I don’t do elsewhere!

There is the urge to retreat back into the haven of carefree childhood, not a care, knowing my parents are watching my back. Something I have to do elsewhere!

The mind connects with my heart and soul, and celebrates homecoming!

‘Home’, how much I miss this feeling, now again thousand miles away!

 

Holi

So there was a girl and she dreamt of a world….a world filled with colours and fun. She wanted to be the princess there, have her say, do her thing with no one to give orders and steal her creativity. Festive Riot is one such place , created to celebrate the joyous moments in life, it is already in its fourth issue and the girl is happy. Splashed with colours, this issue celebrates Holi!

What are you waiting for? Click on the link and enter this magical world, full of colours and nice things!

To be or not to be!

brooke-cagle-170002

 

Another Women’s Day and a host of messages flood my cell phone, my mail box and all social media sites. It is almost like wishing someone a’Happy Birthday’ and then forgetting her for the rest of the year! Well, that is how I feel exactly. What is it with all these messages? Women’s day is a time for all women to reflect on their achievements in this very male-dominated world, not simply to wish and smile and acknowledge another person with breasts!

The male stands as a force I believe, because we female cannot unite at all. If we are a mother to a son, our perspective changes from being a woman to being a proud creator of the male! In India, the mentality still persists today and I being a mother to a daughter, have often encountered statements from other women,’Now you must have a son!’…..hell no! Who am I to decide that? Where would the world be without its daughters?

In the office, you can be an efficient worker and very good at your work, but if you are a tough boss, God help you, you are the ‘Bitch’….women don’t want you, the men are ready to find faults! The glass ceiling still exists and a strong woman has to fight alone the entire male brigade, because we the women folk are not united.

We listen to our fathers, brothers, sons and even to ancient, obsolete customs and cultures but we do not listen to the other women! Their cries for help, their injustice, because that could be the reason why a relationship between a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law is still so unnecessarily harped upon. That case is bizarre in my mind, if you have gone through a certain suffering and injustice, why do you want the other woman to suffer the same. This is because we women are not united.

So, as you wish each other ‘Happy Women’s Day’, girl, do you really mean it!? If you do, support her in the office, at home and even on the street. Be a proud mother to a daughter, be a happy mother-in-law to the love of your son, be a cooperative coworker in the workplace. The male can make all the digs they want, but if we are united then nobody can pull us down so easily. Little steps go a long way.