It is dinner time and mom has served dinner, some puri (Indian fried bread) and aloo (potatoes). Yummy! After polishing off her food, Mithu demanded some dessert. “Oh, well! There was some chocolate cake in the fridge. Do you want some?”, asked Ma. ‘I am not into chocolate these days!’ That was the prompt reply from a 7 year old.
Mithu stood in front of the mirror and pulled and brushed her long hair. She wanted a fancy hair-do whereas mom did not. Mom wanted to sort her hair out into bunches. ‘No, I need a top-knot, that makes me look tall and thin!’
The Television is on and Mamma and Mithu are watching some programme on buying and selling of beautiful houses. Mithu is just giving her mom company! (That’s how she puts it).
Mom, “Mithu , when you grow up will you buy your mom a house like that?”
Mithu,”You already have a house and if I buy you one , how will I buy my own? There will be no money left!”
Mom,”Ok, so can I live with you, when you buy such a house?”
Mithu,”I will buy a one bedroom house, where will you sleep?”
Whoops! Mithu has her future planned. Mom, is sad for a while as Mithu quickly comes over and whispers “If you don’t mind sharing my bed!”
Life with a bubbly, imaginative, carefree girl is so much fun. It is like stepping on rose petals and flying in the air. Her imagination is like a wing to my set, adult mind. Don’t think its all rosy, Mithu can be annoying too! But that’s something I put up with to enjoy the many flights of fancy I take with her.
My growing girl, my growing love!
Amidst the darkness and light that filled you, you hung on to hope, as you lay your mind on the first sunrise of the new year… and in that moment, you promised your dreams that you would never stop trying… you promised your heart that you would never stop loving… and in that moment, you […]
The year changes again and here we are in 2017. Time flies I realise, as I see my children grow up, imbibe and change each day. It is not evident obviously but a conversation here and a word there does indicate the winds of change. Amidst all this here I stand miles away from my country, in a foreign land where I have a home.
It was more than 3 years ago when we decided to step out as a family and experience life abroad. I arrived with confused expectations and with a certain amount of adventure. Living in a new place is always daunting but living in an unknown place, faraway from home knowing no one, is all the more scary. Well, it was not exactly the case with me, I did know one other family.
The place taught me a lot, made me value certain things a lot more. Instilled some other things in me. Kicked in my survival instincts and made me turn inwards for happiness, comfort and peace. Always being surrounded by family and friends till then, did not help me discover myself, my true likes and dislikes. Craving for random people always to fill up the blank spaces in my life, I was rid of it. Having said that it does not indicate that I don’t need my family, quite the opposite, I need them and value them more.
Living abroad does have its perks and its downfalls and I believe a lot has been said about that already. What I wish to talk about today is the matter of great adjustment. An adjustment, when people here view me and don’t realise that my English is as strong as theirs, maybe in some cases even better, being a non-native English speaker. ‘Non-native!!!’ That word never existed in my vocabulary till now. That adjustment when I apply for jobs in my skill area and meet with rejection every single day. So much, that most people consider switching domains altogether. Adjustment rings in when I am unable to get jokes and participate in a conversation naturally, because I don’t look the part. Adjustment sets in when I have to upgrade myself to fit into a professional role, either by taking a course (which I have already done) or explore something else.
Well, some may state that these are good adjustments and if I don’t do this I might turn into a dinosaur. I cannot debate about the rights and wrongs I can only tell you about the fact that at this age, with already 10 years of work experience behind me, 2 kids and lots of professional degrees later, this situation is tantamount to climbing a mountain with no end in sight. Now, this is just me, rest of my family are fine. Good schools, good lifestyle ensures my children are doing good. There is a saying ‘there are no free lunches’, so maybe I am paying the cost.
I could go back home, yes that would be fine! But I live in a unit and my own discomfort cannot be the single deciding factor. So, now what? So, as the year unravels in front of my eyes, I would wait and work towards another ascent. 2017, I wish you to be the year of fulfilment.
I had a dream to say something,
to make your heart fill up and sing.
Words so lyrical and yet so deep,
that you would hold on tightly and say ‘it is for keep.’
I had a thought to do an act,
that would make you notice the fact;
That I might be able to articulate
the words, that just slips through and thus forget.
The words I speak are not for you
they belong to whoever you choose to.
They express the vision that many deny,
that your thoughts are yours and mine are mine,
you might not like it but it is still fine!
That there are no black or white
all shades of grey amongst which we fight!
The words I say are thus just that, sounds of my soul,
take it or leave it but that’s what makes me whole!
(image sourced from Google)
Mr and Mrs. Sengupta decided to retire for the night. It was a long tiring day, Mr. Sengupta had a tough time at work and Mrs. Sengupta was already half asleep. The clock on the mantel piece read 9 pm. Too early!!
In their bedroom, both switched on their bedside lamps, took out their current read and started reading. Mrs. Sengupta however had enough, she was tired and her eyes were closing. She kept away her book, took off her glasses and tucked herself deep inside her blanket. It was a cold night.
While lying down she noticed she hadn’t taken out her earrings! Well lazily she decided to do it while lying down. The earring was a small, round piece. Her clumsy movements and the earring got stuck inside her ear. Oh, No! she shrieked. ‘Help me Mr. Sengupta, the earring is going down my ear.’
Out jumped Mr.Sengupta , just like James Bond to the rescue. He dipped his fingers, to no avail, all the while managing to keep his hands steady as Mrs. Sengupta kept on howling loudly! As if someone had died.
After a short while, which seemed like ages to the petrified Mrs. Sengupta, the earring was out. Phew! Mumbled Mr. Sengupta.
‘That’s all for today, I have had enough!’, saying he turned over on his side, switched off the light and tucked himself inside his blanket.
Mrs. Sengupta, chuckled to herself and thanked God. As Mr. Sengupta shook his head and prayed that the rest of the night passes by smoothly.
Mimi was hungry, she was back from school and it was snack time.
Mom had made some Parathas, Mimi loved it.
After polishing off some, it was time to look at her Barbies!
There were 20 of them, all in various stages of getting ready for a party.
Mimi looked carefully surely ‘Elsa’ and ‘Milly’ looked tired.
After having a brief conversation about their health,
she rushed down to discuss it with mom.
Mom and Mimi discussed at length, on the condition of Elsa and Milly,
they looked tired and dejected, Mimi stated.
The solution Mimi proposed was simple….
‘I think they need to eat some Parathas!’, with a glee in her eyes.
Mom thought that the Parathas were too big for them,
so Mimi suggested that they should be small like a dot on a plate.
So there, mom made the dots duly rolling and frying them.
Mimi carried them upstairs for the very tired Barbies.
After a couple of minutes what followed was a sweet song.
Mom was chuckling to herself.
When Barbie had a Paratha, what followed was a sweet song!
The place beckoned each time she sat on the bus and passed it.
The smell of the place filled her senses.
The gleaming lights, shelves filled with books, quiet interiors
was a delight to witness.
However, what attracted her most was the smell, a musty, lingering smell
one that promised stories and secrets.
Hours could easily pass by just standing in one corner, with a book in one hand
and the smell creating an aura around her.
The shelves were all categorised as fiction, crime, biographies, history etc…
She always stood in front of the fiction shelf
each book title enticing her to enter the land, yet unexplored.
Dramas, love, passion, life, all trapped within those well-thumbed pages.
It was the most serene place where excitement brewed in every corner
It was the library!
She stood by the door clutching a bunch of wildflowers in her hand……….her new dress splattered with mud and her face grubby.
She wants to gift them to her most beloved person, she is all of six years old! However she is scared her new dress is spoilt, the only one she got during this festive season, she had strict instructions to look after herself!
Her eyes are a mix of confusion…..love, sadness but the foremost being rejection!
He loved recitation and even though he was an amateur, he grasped the opportunity to recite verses at events!
He proudly posted his first public performance on the social media. He then checked the site every second, if possible, it had only been 5 minutes since the post was published.
Already his head hurt, his eyes were glazed and his palms were sweaty from continuously holding the tablet. There were no likes yet!
He was disheartened, he shuddered at the prospect of rejection!
She was new to the city, she wanted to make friends. She had met a few people at a social gathering, at the community hub.
After work she would like to catch up for some coffee and meet some people. Hastily she texted a new person, inviting her to join her at the cafe!
A whole hour had passed since that text, she checked her phone frequently! She felt sad and lonely. She did not like being rejected!
Snippets here and snippets there…..
Of all the human emotions that we have, the fear of rejection looms large. It plants itself early on in our lives and grows into a tree by adulthood.
With time however, our ability to be patient with another human being lessens. The onslaught of the internet has severely decreased our span of attention, limited our inability to give ‘TIME’. We quickly feel rejected and unapproved.
Yes! the key is time…….
Image sourced from Google*
In Hinduism Durga Puja is the worship of the mother goddess. It is celebrated each year during the months of September/October. In Bengal ,in India it is a 5 day festival where the Goddess is worshiped as a destroyer of evil.
She arrives at her mother’s house along with her 4 children Lakshmi, Saraswati, Kartick and Ganesh.
At her feet lies the demon god Mahisasura.
Mythology states that Mahisasura was wreaking havoc on all people on Earth. So the people all prayed together to the Goddess to destroy the evil and protect them. Thus arrived Devi Durga, resplendent on a lion, bearing weapons in her ten arms. Mahisasura at that point realized that his end was somehow near. Yet, there was fought a bloody battle , where finally the Goddess slayed him and he lay at her feet.
Each day of the Durga Puja has a significance related to this tale.
On the 6th day, Sasthi, among prayers and rituals, she is decorated with all her weapons, to signify her readiness for the battle.
On the 7th day, Saptami, the Goddess is invoked with special prayers to give her life and more strength and power for the battle. The significant among them is the ritual involving the banana plant, Kola Bou Chaan.
On the 8th day, Ashtami, the demon is killed by the Goddess, hence it is the most significant day of the festival. The highlight being the ‘Sandhi puja’ which is is conducted at the meeting point of the 8th and 9th day. In this puja 108 diyas are lit and amidst constant beating of the drums and blowing of conch shells a special prayer is offered.
On the 9th day, Nabami, grand aartis are held with various festive items like mirrors, conch shells and fans.
Finally arrives the 10th day, Dashami, it is time for the Goddess to return to her husband Lord Shiva, in Mount Kailash, along with her children. A time to bid adieu with a solemn promise to meet again next year.
So, as we gather to celebrate another year of such festivities, it is opportune enough to recall or understand the underlying meaning of the Pujas. It is a reminder for all to curb their animal instincts and live together in peace and harmony.