Sunday, December 21, 2014

Just Being Me

As I lay in my bed thinking what I have done
Told the truth to my love, second to none.
Transparency in everything – that’s how I wanted my marriage to begin.
Then why am I made to believe that I’ve committed a sin?

You loved me with all your heart,
Promised - ‘til death do us part.
I vowed to be faithful, respectful and a loving wife.
You are now, and forever will be, my life.

Then why a fragment from my past shook you like this?
What made you so skeptical that you won’t even kiss?

I've told you about Him before - He and I were young and ruthless,
Crazy in love, absolutely relentless.
I thought love was unity of body and soul.
I thought I was smart, absolutely in control.

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t make a mistake,
My love was true, nothing was fake.
We were responsible adults, yet it didn’t work out.
It meant everything to me, yet now, I’m living without.

And then you came, like a prince on a horse,
To begin a lifetime of romance, like a fairy-tale ofcourse.

You decided to wait till we tied the knot.
In our roller-coaster ride, I almost forgot.
I wanted to be truthful, keep every promise,
Shouldn’t THAT be a marriage’s basis?

I believe in God, have love for Him in my heart
Baseless religious beliefs mean nothing to me from the start.
Sex, to me, was a part of love,
A natural consequence created by the Lord above.

I don’t wish to erase it all with a magic wand
But I’m all yours now, I wish you’d understand.

Our beliefs differ, but our values remain the same,
I won’t make excuses ‘coz they all seem lame.
You’ve asked for time, that I’ll give,
I won’t apologise, ‘coz there’s nothing to forgive.

Yes, I had pre-marital sex and it was a big deal.
I was in love; loved how he made me feel.
It wasn’t as if I slept with every other guy,
If that’s what you conclude, then I guess it’s a goodbye.

I’m a loyal, passionate and caring person, that’s how I’m always going to be.
Sex before marriage doesn’t determine my morals, and I won’t EVER let it define me.

This poem is written for a contest on IndiBlogger where bloggers have to give their opinion on pre-marital sex. The entries will be judged by Poonam Uppal who has recently written a book called A Passionate Gospel of True Love : A Mystical True Love Story. You can order your copy here

The last few days - Snippets from Mumbai

It’s a beautiful Sunday morning. As I sit by the window sipping my tea and enjoying the golden rays of the winter sun, I'm thinking of the days gone by. It has been such an eventful month and I just have to let you all know about it.

To tell you the truth, I was extremely skeptical about December. Traveling alone is a huge challenge for me - physically. It might not seem so hard on the outside, but it makes me very anxious. I also know that there is nothing that I can’t do; still, it seems like an uphill task whenever I have to do anything alone.

Anyway, I set on a journey to Mumbai at the end of November. One of my favorite cousins, N,  was about to get married and I wanted to be a part of her big day. Although the wedding was a week away, I went a few days earlier because I didn’t want to be just a guest. I could have easily gone with the Boy who came for the three important days, but no, I took the ‘challenge’ and just went ahead. I’m so proud of that.

As soon as we landed N’s younger sister Meera, who remains my bestest cousin, picked me up from the airport and we straightaway went to have gol gappas! Oh, what joy! The rest of the evening was spent catching up with family members and the usual pre-shaadi merriment.

The next few days went by in a jiffy. N is still pursuing her MD and so, there were quite a few last minute chores. We went for shopping, lunching and random loafing around.

Dance practices have become the most important part of weddings and this one was no exeption. N and Meera are the most fabulous dancers I know. It was a delight to see them dance on Madhuri numbers. But my favourite were a gang of NRI aunts who had come from different parts of the world to attend N’s wedding. Most of them were childhood friends of N’s mother. Looking at them made me feel hopeful. I now know what I would be doing some 20 years from now when my closest friend’s children get married. Till a few years back only relatives were a part of the big fat Indian wedding. As the times are changing, friends have become as important as blood relatives, probably more significant. I’m so glad that I have my share of unconditional love as well..

So we were put up in this luxurious hotel for the main 3 days. The Boy joined in from Bahrain to attend his first wedding in the Punjabi khandaan. He’s an introvert, and for him this wedding was a big pain! His college friends and booze helped him get through these tough times!!


In between all the wedding hoopla came our 6th wedding anniversary. We took a break from relatives and had yummy grub at Taj Land Ends. Since we had a lunch invite as well, we went for 15 minutes to show our faces. There was a surprise cake awaiting us which made me feel so special. Needless to say, I love sooooo many people from my extended family.

Like all vidais, this one was deeply emotional as well. My aunt, uncle and Meera cried their hearts out seeing one of them leave their abode. Theirs is one of the most closely knit families I know and so, it broke my heart as well. But this is how it works - women get married and leave their parent’s home. No matter how long it has been since they left their home to study/work, getting married and knowing that now they will have to accept and be accepted in a new home, is always an emotionally draining experience. The more I think about it, the more weird this custom sounds to me…

The Boy left after the wedding festivities were over. However, my journey was not over yet. I had to go to Lucknow to attend yet another wedding. This one was as glamourous and as Big as an Indian wedding can get. Although I can keep writing, I’d leave that post for tomorrow! I think I’ll have to post every day now to talk about my last few days. It has been THAT long since I’ve been here.

You guys were definitely missed :)

Friday, November 28, 2014

It's important to speak up sometimes

I’ve always been the kind of person who would put waste products in the purse while in a car. I would wrap a banana peel in a tissue, put peanut shells in a paper bag, and keep waste papers in my bag’s pocket till we reach home and then throw them in a dustbin.

So whenever I see people throwing the waste from the window pane of their car, I feel extremely annoyed. They would want to keep their cars clean, but their roads dirty? It’s an irritating habit that I can’t stand.

When I got married, I saw that some of my new family members had this habit. Being a newly wed, I was extremely hesitant to tell them not to do something like this. I sometimes had to turn my face the other way because I couldn’t take someone adding to our country's mess.

At first I decided to lead by example. I would tell them that I don’t like to throw waste on the road so I keep it with me till I see a dustbin. Although they appreciated my habit, they did not make an effort to follow it. After all, it was too cumbersome to keep the waste!! Really, it’s the ease of sliding the window pane and throwing rather than saving the waste for some time that keeps people from being more clean.

When I saw that nothing was working, I stood up one day and told them how sad it was that they were making their own country dirty. I told them how they blame the politicians for being corrupt and not employing suitable people for cleaning the streets but never took responsibility. I told them how they praised foreign countries for their cleanliness but never tried to clean their own. I said that if they can’t keep a small tissue paper in the car till they find a dustbin, they have no right to complain.

Somehow that worked. Yes, speaking out worked. And they weren't even offended! It wasn’t a crime to tell that it’s important to keep our environment clean. I was doing a good thing but was hesitant to lecture my elders. But then, they’re nice people who unconsciously did not realise what they were doing something wrong. Me telling them probably, like they say, opened their eyes!

Now when they see the Swach Bharat Campaign on television, they tell me how they already keep the streets clean. In fact, they now tell others to follow their league. I’m so glad that I spoke up at the right time.

My next lecture is going to be on the use of plastic! Yes, it’s not a crime to speak against wrong things. Yes, there’s a way we can tell our elders that sometimes, sometimes, they may be wrong. Yes, our voice has a power to change India.

Kyunki bin bole ab nahi chalega #AbMontuBolega.

This post is a part of abmontubolega campaign by Strepsils India which encourages youth to speak up and voice their opinions rather than being forced to do things that they don't want to do. You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter to know more

Sunday, October 19, 2014

An Ode to my adorable Niece

I’ve seen many kids grow up around me. But my most favourite of them all is my 8-year old niece, N.
Now this may sound like self-praise, but this darling is so much like me. She’s sensitive, she’s secretive, she’s bubbly, and she’s a gem to have around. Being the first born in the next generation, she’s also the most loved and pampered of all. What is more, our names are just different by one letter!

I was unmarried when she was born and so, I share a very special connection with her. From cleaning her poop to taking her to school to reading her bed-time stories, I’ve done it all. These were the fun things that I was responsible for. It was my mum, her grand-mother, who took care of her healthy needs. After all, the aunt (ouch!) needs to be the fun part!

I saw my mother take care of her from the very beginning. She made sure N was massaged properly as a kid. Every family has a history of diseases. We were very careful she had none of our bad genes. My mother use to do light acupressure on her tiny feet. Not only her, my grandmother also massaged her legs!

When she grew a little older, they started giving her a regular dose of chyawanprash. Kids carry maximum germs from school and so, it was important to build her immunity. Her snack timings were fixed – a banana in the morning, honey almonds in the afternoon, chawanprash in the evening, and a candy whenever my dad opened his cupboard! She was such a doll that if my mother forgot one of these, she would ask for it herself, including the candy, ofcourse.

This angel is now all of 8. She goes to regular singing and piano classes because of her sweet voice and her mother’s love for music. During summer vacations, she goes for tennis and dancing lessons. She makes rangoli on Diwali, draws us cards on every occasion (she once made me a card for gifting her an iPad!!), skips, jumps, sings, dances, reads us stories… the list is endless.

All this wouldn’t have been possible if she was constantly falling sick. If she has a bad throat, her singing suffers. If she’s feeling weak, her love for tennis goes bust. I am so glad my family was pro-active when it came to taking care of the health of a little one. Her roots are solid and so, I don’t think anything can ever harm her now.

But you know what keeps her most active? -  her smile. This 8-year old has an ability to crack a joke at any given time. Laughter, they say, is the best medicine. And it is that which has kept her the way she is – pretty, sweet and the most adorable girl in the world!

And really, it is her that has given our home a new meaning. Our home is a happier place because of her running around and spreading the joy. Love you, my best!

Me with my favorite girl :)
This ode was written for Dabur's contest on Indiblogger wherein bloggers have to draw from personal experience and tell how a healthy child makes for a happy home.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Ghar Waali Diwali!

Diwali – the very word brings so many awesome memories to my mind. I don’t think there is any festival, any occasion, any birthday, any wedding that I cherish so much than all Diwalis’ combined together.

As a kid, I use to stay in this lane surrounded by Marwaris who were over-the-top enthusiastic about every festival! We use to go to their terrace, which was highest in the lane, and burst crackers. Preparations use to start a month in advance with those tiny gun waala patakhas. On the actual day, we use to go to our elder aunt’s house to celebrate the day. Those were the pre-teenage days…

When we shifted to our new place, my brother had grown up into an adult. He had a gang of friends (all handsome guys to my teenage mind!!) who use to come to our place for cracker display at night, KP ki Diwali, as they use to call it. He was like a father figure to them when it came to bursting crackers and setting a scene for festivals. His enthusiasm in life still makes me so proud…

Apart from polluting the environment (as we have come to learn only now), we use to do a whole lot of good stuff also. Mom use to start cleaning the house a month in advance. Dad use to order sweets to be distributed to karigars and clients. I use to buy rangoli color and make a new design every year. And the maids, they use to wait for the day to get their bonus and new sarees from mom!!

Since my father owns a saree shop, we use to do Lakshmi pooja both in the house and at the shop. It used to be like an event wherein I always bought new clothes. It was like a ritual to buy either a suit or a lehnega on Diwali which could be used in the forthcoming weddings. So we use to dress up in bright shaadi waala clothes and go to the shop which was in the centre of a huge market. Oh, the stares we use to attract. After the pooja, dad always gave us envelopes filled with lots of money which was carefully saved and used to call boyfriends after a certain age!

We also use to go to my elder aunt’s shop for the pooja. Their shop was right in the centre of the main road, called Hazratganj in Lucknow. After the pooja, they use to burst crackers on the main road (those were the days of very less traffic). Not only this, the other saree shops in the market use to compete. So a rocket launched from us would be matched by a rocket launched by them. As a kid, it was the most awesome thing for us!

I wish I could go back to those times when someone was there to do cleaning for you, when someone was there to handle finances for you, when someone was there to take care of all the food, etc and you can just burst crackers and make merry…

Although Diwali has changed tremendously after marriage, the euphoria remains the same. Every year, we make sure we go to my in-laws place. I wish we could go to my house as well. But then, my parents have my brother, the Boy’s parents have us. In the last 6 years, we have skipped only twice because of work commitments.  This year, we will be heading home just a day before the big day and frankly, I cannot wait. The whole point of Diwali is being with family, enjoying the rituals, inhaling the fragrance of incense sticks, distributing/hogging on sweets and you just cannot get the same feeling playing teen patti with friends.

We are lucky that we have an easy going office that gives us so many leaves. We are lucky that we can afford the money it takes to go home. It's a blessing indeed to celebrate festivals with family. If you're still in two minds about going, I'd tell you to stop thinking and book your tickets. And from now on, celebrate all your Diwalis' at home. There is no better gift you can give yourself ...

I was reminded of my Ghar waali Diwali for this contest onIndiblogger. Do watch the following video which made me so emotional. I wannna go to my place tooooo!!!!! Damn shaadi!!!! Ok, ok, I will go home for two days post Diwali, so I should not complain :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Trip Report - Athens, Greece

In 2005, I went to South East Asia with my extended family. We were at Changi airport in Singapore when I saw this tall, gorgeous couple using the free Internet kiosk. When they left, I took their screen only to find the girl's mail-box open in front of me. It said that she was eloping with this boy. For me, this was like a fairytale with the most beautiful prince and princess starring in it. They were from Greece.

That was only a year after I had finished graduation in English Literature. Our course was full of stories from the Greek islands. Poseidon, Zeus, Athina... I knew them all. This land fascinated me a whole lot. Although that was also a time when I never wished for anything because of the fear of losing it all, I subconsciously dreamt of Greece being one of the places I could see.

Fast forward 9 years, we planned a trip to the islands only because we had a direct flight from our country of residence! Frankly, these trips were never a part of my agenda till we actually started doing them. And now, we've become greedy. So much so, that we even forsake fine-dining on weekends so that we can save for a good trip! Are we addicted or what?

Anyway, this was another unique trip because we had another couple with us along-with their 1-year old baby in tow. We had no clue what lay ahead of us, but because they asked us to accompany them, we just decided to go. The Boy told me that they will take care of their baby, and he will take care of his!

Athens was our first city. This city is the birthplace of western civilization surviving since more than 3000 years. The most fascinating thing is that they have managed to retain the homes of people who existed even then. The Acropolis stands tall in the middle of the city reminding everyone of the past. The likes of Zara, Mango, Chopard, Burberry co-exist in the by-lanes depicting the present times. But with all this, every day, there are protests in the centre of the city reminding us that the country has little future. The policemen, however, are the sexiest I have seen anywhere in the world!

Preserved beautifully.

A lot of the Acropolis was under reconstruction, so this is all we could see.

View of Athens from the top

Only if I knew all the history behind it!

The real beauty of Athens lie in it's ruins. If you're not a fan of history, the city will not do anything for you. It has a gorgeous port area where hundreds of ships park for visitors to take a glimpse of this historical delight. We went to lively squares, ate in bustling restaurants, avoided huge shopping areas and drank at the port. I had to push the Boy to see the Acropolis who didn't feel anything even at the top. I, on the other hand, felt like I was in one of my Literature books, living in those times. The climb wasn't easy since I had to convince the guard that I was indeed unable to climb and wanted to use the elevator which was only for people on a wheelchair. Thankfully, he obliged otherwise I would have been deprived of seeing one of the most awe-inspiring things in the world. That would also have been one of my first defeats which would hurt a lot...

The most lively place in all of Athens - Monastaraki square.
The Acropolis is in the background.

Athens port area

Another thing that stuck was a gang of 6 elderly ladies on a very slow Happy Train that took us inside the lanes. These women were in their 70's and seemed like very good friends. For more than an hour they did nothing but laugh. They were not interested in the sights but just living their life. I wish I could understand their language because I was extremely inspired by them. Their group is that one thing that will stay with me and motivate me for the rest of my life.

to be continued.

P.S. Like every trip, we didn't click many pictures because of the Boy's allergy to the camera. So, well, let me show you one of my favorite from Athens. Also, let me clear it before you say anything, I AM SHOWING OFF!!!

Bollywood go take a hike!!!!!

P.P.S As soon I landed back in my country, I saw these results. I think this year is special in many ways :)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A post that goes nowhere

Packing for a vacation is a tricky business. Some, like the Boy, pack 1/2 an hour before leaving for the airport. Some, like my SIL, start packing 3 days before the vacation. And some, like a friend's MIL has a separate set of clothes for vacations which she packs weeks in advance!

Most people are like me - we start packing about 8-18 hours before our journey, depending on the flight schedule. So, like I have a flight tomorrow afternoon, I'll try to pack most of the stuff by tonight so that I can wake up late, bathe and just leave.

I usually go for one big vacation in a year. It is like an annual event for which I even buy new clothes. We never shop during our trips because, one, the Boy hates to enter shops, and two, because we never have the budget for it!! So before leaving, I'm told to buy whatever I want so that we can spend all the money on food and booze.

This year, however, I haven't done much shopping. I have no idea what I want to pack. The temperature is going to be around 20 degrees and so, a lot of skin show won't be possible! You see, our last trip was with my in-laws. I had to be fully clothed with them. So now, I'm dreaming of shortest shorts and skimpiest dresses. Ha! What is a vacation if you don't do stuff that you usually don't do, hmm?

Now here I am, 24 hours before I have to leave for an awesome trip, having no clue what to stuff in. However, I know everything the Boy will wear. He has the privilege of not knowing what is in the suitcase till we reach our destination. He says that I am too bossy and so he leaves the packing bit to me. I think he's too lazy! Also, I can't wait till the nth hour for him to pack and he will pack clothes from another era and then he will not fold them properly and....

Ok, I'm bossy, but it's for his own good.

I don't know what I want to achieve with this post. I've been trying to write since 2 days but have come up with absolutely nothing. I don't want to talk about NaMo or Rajdeep or Bigg Boss. I have a love/hate relationship going on with Karwachauth because, although I love the festival, the feminist in me hates the idea behind it. But I don't want to write about it either.

Oh by the way, I won a prize on Blogadda and was absolutely thrilled. This month, I also gifted a laptop to my maid's daughter in Lucknow. This was from my petite earnings from the prizes I win through this blog. She called me up and said so many awesome things that my eyes welled up. It made me feel better than how I feel when I win a prize :)

Anyway, I think I should end this jigsaw post and bid adieu to you guys. We will be in Greece for the next 10 days and soon after, we will head home for Diwali. I hope I can update this space and tell you all about the handsome men and women I see on the Greek Islands.

Till then, be good.