Getting to know you

Summer’s here and although I had no real plans to take off to cooler planes,a situation presented itself and though the plateful of work I had on my hands made my head say no, the Sagittarian in me jumped at the chance and I found myself packing my bags for a short and much needed break. 

Landing at Brussels like I have number of times before but this time the presence of  extra security personnel around brought back  the recent ugliness experienced by the airport. 

I tried to shrug off the sadness and enjoy my holiday. 

Beautiful sunny skies, with fabulous cool weather and the endless patches of greens in all their varying shades welcomed me. I requested my driver to let me sit up front just to feast my eyes on the unrestricted vision of the endless trees, ‘the woods’ , they always make me smile and take me back to many a fairy tale.  


My driver was rather amused by my interest in the vegetation, something the locals take for granted, but do enjoy. Each garden has a different style and avenues with rows of trees lined with pink cherry blossoms or white flowers like snow flakes. 

Bye bye stress, hello holiday! 

The Gods were kind with clear skies allowing us to make a quick trip to neighbouring Netherlands. The cheese market tickled our noses and taste buds alike, and the fields of tulips felt like carpets rolled out by the heavens for us. We even had rain and hail for a few days which was a treat for one whose city only offers the seasons hot, hotter and hottest.


And finally as all good things come to an end so did my holiday. Back at Brussels airport we stood patiently in a temporary tent to check in our bags. Reminded again of the deadly attack,I couldn’t help marvel at how they had picked themselves up and continued with life ,while they simultaneously  repair the damages caused. A gentleman in line with us began to chat. He was from Ecuador, and we discussed how we were adviced by our friends respectively  against travelling and how it’s not possible to live under fear amongst other things. Saying goodbye to the new friend guiermo, we walked on to our respective  gates at the terminal nodding at more smiling faces.


They say travel is the best teacher, and the one thing that has struck me on this and recent holidays is that people around the world are getting more aware of ethnicities, of different races, different cultures, and more accepting of each other.


 More people are becoming friendly, in the small town of Gouda the Hollander selling cheese, struck up a conversation with me and I realised she wasn’t just being polite, she was genuinely friendly and wanted to know more about India. Our German  steward on the aircraft couldn’t stop raving to me about how beautiful Iran is and the scarves people wear around their heads. There is a surge of pluralism in the world. All along I have noticed people getting friendlier, and more vocal about not approving or understanding the crazy terror attacks in today’s world. 

This vocalisation of condemnation is slowly bringing about a sense of oneness in the rest of the world. A oneness that’s transcending colour, class, race and creed.

I see a mix and blend of cultures coming about, and a more tolerant, kind and caring form of humanity beginning to emerge, maybe there is , after all a silver lining to this dark terrorising cloud, maybe one day we’ll bloom together like a field of tulips individual, but one! 


Is it my imagination or maybe I’m just a dreamer, I don’t know ,but I know I’m not the only one ….. !

Dear Drummer

a message for a young enthusiastic prodigy in the neighbourhood. . . . .

Dear drummer of the mount , we hope you’ll hear our plea,

“It’s started”,animal-muppet we think, as to work , we take our seats,

When everyday you pick your sticks ,and your drums you start to beat!

 

Your rhythm, let’s be honest, although not so divine,

practice we hope in time, will help to make it fine,

beating  the barrels for  endless hours at a time,

we pray should  give you chops,  that will eventually be kind.

 

Dear drummer we appreciate ,  your sense of dedication,

But once in a way maybe you could indulge in a permutation,

For it never really hurt, to have a variation,

maybe  sometime you can throw in a metric modulation?

 

Music they say is a healer for the soul,

But the notes from this ghost, are leaving us for cold,

Please dear drummer  spare a thought for the old,

We do tire of hearing the battering so bold.

 

We do wish you the best, and hope you stand loud in every single test,

And eventually pocket a grammy , when you are one of the best,

But until then dear drummer, could you sound proof your room,

So when you beat another, we need not hear the boom,

Let’s restore the peace and quiet, for most and many,

In our queen of the suburbs, good old Mount Mary!!

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Wheatish

You’ve heard of black,you’ve heard of white, you’ve probably heard of yellow skin too but ‘wheatish’, I bet that’s one you haven’t heard of .

I remember this term being used for me as a kid, specially as my sister  has light skin the comparison of ‘beauty’ was constant. From growing up as a person believing brown skin is not pretty with the constant feedback from most Indians, the first time  I began to  realise and appreciate my skin colour was when a stranger in Italy asked me where I got my tan. And although we didn’t speak the same language she did manage to convey the ‘colour’ was very nice. 

‘Wheatish’,I think back now , what a ridiculous term!

Indians unfortunately have a complex to anything white and will bend over backwards to oblige a white person. I have witnessed this in shops where all the salesmen suddenly wanted to sell to one white customer and the rest of us were left to fend for ourselves and ,in our school where we had a Dutch student for 1 year, she probably never had such a big fan following in her life before or after our school. This would never have happened to a dark skinned student even if she was a foreigner. 

I remember when one of my friends told me what a great guy my husband is and ‘so fair and good looking’ too. Cy and I still laugh about how an approval was based on his skin color.

We are a nation obsessed by fairness. In India fair=good looking. A car could’ve driven over you face and smashed in all your features but if you are fair, you will pass the test. The evidence of this is in the sale of fairness creams, the marriage ads in the matrimonial column, where a only a fair bride is invited to apply. A trend I have noticed over the last 40 years. 

When one of our’s is attacked racially in a foreign country we cry foul and yet with the recent attacks on the African students, in our own country some of our ministers have made  generalized statements as to the illegal activities undertaken by all the kids.(should’nt he have condemned the acts instead of generalizing ?) It’s so sad and shameful when I hear the foreign kids say they feel unsafe and are generally treated shabbily due to their race. Which many did on the news channels.

When in college I remember my own college mates passing degrading remarks when dark skinned students passed by, in Hindi no less,so they wouldn’t be clobbered by their bigger sized prey. I always thought this so pathetic ,to be mean to another just for their skin color. Once one tall,well built, student (who obviously knew some Hindi)turned around and asked ‘kya bola?, ‘ the bullies were hoping the ground would swallow them by the looks on their faces. That was one punch I would’ve been happy to see . He didn’t deliver, I’m sure because he is a guest in our country and decided against it.

We speak of being highly cultured but what happens to all that culture when we divide and further divide on class and race? Our culture teaches us ‘atithi devo bhava ‘ (guests are like god) and yet when they are black we don’t like them?! Hypocrisy to the hilt! 

As a kid my father always said to us ‘only if you accept your own mistake can you improve on it’. 

After hearing of the Tanzanian students attack and more so of the rickshaw driver spitting on one students face instead to returning his change, the fact that racism is deeply rooted in us is a fact we need to accept,IF ,we intend to change our attitude and tap into the humane side of our culture where we learn to accept all as our equal and respect everyone for their worth as a fellow human! 

  
It’s high time we peeled the fairness mask off our brown faces and made a few corrections in our mindsets. 

deja vu

new-year-clip-art

So it’s almost time for me to start dressing up for another theme based party to ring in the new year .

I asked the kids if they wanted to accompany me to the party, yes, we generally have family friendly parties, where all ages are welcome.

while my young man has plans of his  own, the young lady decided parties are not her thing, but not before asking me a few questions, “is the party with your usual bunch of friends?” yes.” what are you wearing ? oh is it another theme? i bet you guys will meet ,chat, play some games, music and food? “yes, yes,yes i replied. “Just like all your other parties!”, she said.

yes i replied with a laugh, and travelled back in time mentally revisiting most of the new year’s eve parties, i’ve celebrated. She had absolutely hit the nail on the head, not only had we been celebrating in quite the same way even the people hadn’t changed much.

As kids we celebrated with our parents, music, fun laughter and food, the highlights of the evening. Now we celebrate in much the same way with spouses and children adding to the core group, and the parents join us sometimes.

Abba, eye of the tiger, illusion are some of the retro songs that make it to the soundtrack no matter what.

the initial awkwardness and not being able to dance at the start of the evening  where small talk  together with drinks begin to go down, and help bring out our inner micheal jackson’s. Suddenly there’s lots to talk about and it’s upto the dj to get things going. A game maybe to get the party going? it’s 11:30 and everybody worth his two left feet has to be on the floor. We all dance right upto the point where that all familiar track mix begins to play “it’s the final countdown”, and as the whole group begins to count down 10,9,8,. . . .and on 5 the fireworks outside go off, and everyone checks the time, wondering whether  to count on or start wishing. After all the feverish wishing is done and everyone around has been wished, we dance that first slow dance with our dearest ones, (some of us whose spouses might be at work start wishing feverishly on the phone, or pile on to the group hug slow dance going on beside us or decide to get another drink. 30 mins into the new year, we begin to realise the new year is here to stay, if the phone lines are jammed we can wish others the next day too, (along with responding to the emails and messages)and now 12:45 we’ve done it, we’ve brought it in at a legitimate party (unlike that one time we were stuck in traffic on the streets and swore to never let it happen again), it’s time to relax, and suddenly there’s an anticlimactic feeling, as we all realise our taxes still need to be paid, school still sucks and there’s work to be done and if we mix our drinks,we will have a massive hangover.

but then again that’s life and without the rain we won’t have a rainbow now will we. . . .

so predictable as it is, it’s time for me to put on my dancing shoes, and as i do, i hope you have a wonderful evening too!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the SPIRIT of dusshera

In recent times we’ve seen disharmony amongst communities more than ever before and religion takes the blame.

Religion was simply put in place in times where man probably needed direction on a way of life. One that’ll help us balance the gift of material and spiritual graced upon us.

Spirituality itself speaks of the SPIRIT as well as RITUALS.

But over time the lack of guidance and misdirection, has lead to man holding on to the rituals and letting of go the spirit!

Today, is dusshera a day symbolising triumph over evil.

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Ten heads of evil~lust,anger, attachment,greed, pride,jealousy,selfishness, injustice,cruelty,and ego.

Raavan depicts the evils that exist in all of us and Ram the symbol of good a power that also resides within each and everyone of us. Today is the day celebrated where Ram overcame Raavan a symbolism of Good overcoming the bad.

Raavan and Ram are not without they are in fact within!

I hope that along with the ritualistic burning of the Raavan, lightings of lamps (symbol of glowing of the soul)and hanging of marigold flowers(symbols of surrender and strength) ,we recognise our own faults, and the TRUE SPIRIT  of humanity, kindness,tolerance, respect and love for fellow humans  is aroused within each of us and is a reason to celebrate diversity and life itself not just today BUT EVERYDAY!

Looking forward to a happy, lynch free,rape free, kind and tolerant society!!

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mama’s boy-cord extensions

so a few days ago our PM was teary eyed when he spoke fondly of his mother in a world famous interview. This natural emotion was spoken of by many media houses.

It’s so strange that when a person reaches a certain status in society,the fact that he is basically a human being is forgotten and that he too feels as much as every or anyone else.

and  yes, as he spoke of his mother who slaved it out for her young ones, he rightly mentioned so do so many mothers for all their children, why then do so many of these men in our society who hold their mothers in such high esteem not extend the same respect and love to their wives, or her parents, i wonder !?

Many men who proclaim the love for their mothers, completely fail to see their wives for the sacrifices she makes to change and adjust to her  new life with him. She changes the very name she was born with,leaves the security of her home and loved ones to build a new life with a man who may love her but revers only his mother. While the wife may try her best but the curry she prepares will never be the same as ‘mum’s’ and the house she runs is never run quite so perfectly as his mother can. At every step of the way she has to meet the imaginary bar set by the 2010_-_Mamas_Boy_b‘mama’s boy she married, while the mummy’s are happy enough to never cut the apron strings and have someone worship them (because their husbands don’t), the wives begin to pamper their little blue eyed boys. She knows her mother in law will never approve of the way she brings up the children, and that she has to find a fan in her son. This vicious cycle has been the bane of many a household over time. mamas-boy

I remember a friend whose main criteria when choosing a wife was that she would have to look after his mother. He blatantly said he would leave her if she didn’t get along with his mother. I felt like asking him to marry his mother instead, (as one can guess the mother wasn’t getting much attention from her own husband and 69044731306355ffd77922b98found solace in the son’s love, showering him with all her possessions, it worked out well for mother and son), needless to say his marriage eventually went south. I have known of men who choose to sleep at the foot of their mother’s bed until her dying day. Some ladies know all too well of their son’s promiscuous ways but when push comes to shove, blood is thicker than water and they support their sons. All situations are not so extreme and exist in varying degrees where wives and kids live a life of their own, supported by the father financially but living with the fact that granny is king.

Strangely enough, and it is rightly said that  “a woman is a woman’s enemy”, the

"Do I, mom?"
“Do I, mom?”

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mother-in-law daughter-in-law battle will never see the end as up until mum’s can learn to let go of their grown up baby’s hands.

'My children always seem to move back - they like their home comforts.'
‘My children always seem to move back – they like their home comforts.’

Letting go of your child  can be a scary feeling, a feeling of vacuum, wherein the empty nester must now find something new to nurture.

In a land where women are accused of  provoking rape, daughters-in-law are burnt for dowry, where the birth of a baby girl is a reason of sadness, where bringing up a girl is considered a burden, a Mother is one who can turn this around.

family

A mother who teaches her son to respect and love the woman he chooses to be with, who let’s go of the grown son’s hand, only to hold his whole family in her heart, is a mother who will be raising not just her family but an entire society!!

from holiness to holy mess

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As we bid adieu to Ganesha the elephant God, hosted in grandiose for the last 10 days, His farewell is as pompous as His welcome.

While some still try to play the traditional hymns, many prefer to hire the ‘traditional’ (age old) bands belting out renditions of bollywood songs, to accompany the lord’s procession to His final immersion.

Sadly, the harsh reality is that it all ends up as sheer disposal, an inadvertent eventuality.

(WARNING: video is harsh on the senses)

While the trend towards eco friendly idols is creeping forward at a snails pace (for fear of breaking away from tradition), it would be  heartening if guidance were given to people to maybe have a stone or metal idol which could be revered and symbolically immersed only to be stored at home and welcomed again year after year!

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…..purchya varshi laukar ya !