Friday, April 21, 2017

World Dancing on Desi Beats

I was 5, or maybe less. While putting me to sleep my mom told me the story of a crow who slowly puts small pebbles in a big jar so that water could rise and he could drink water from it. The tortoise story - where he steadily won the race from the hare - was my favourite. I repeated it more times than my mom to put her to sleep! There was another one where a wise man saved himself from a wolf and a lion by just being smart.

I did not grow up listening to Cinderella or Rapunzel. I grew up listening to Birbal tales and these myriad stories of wit and wisdom, of being a fighter, of Indian values, of respecting others and the environment. I grew up listening to these stories from my mother and my grandmother in a happy and homely environment - a type that can exist only in my country.

Every morning me and my brother woke up early and were spoilt rotten with good home-made food. We were taught Yoga by example because everyone in the family did that. 

Any problem and I was taught to recite the calming ‘Ek onkar’. Repetition of the same calmed my mind, body and soul. 

After coming from school I played outside the house with people from the vicinity. It included kids from castes and socio-economic background different than mine. 

I went to a Catholic school where I visited a chapel with friends every single day. On Eid I went to a friend’s place to devour Biryani and get blessings from the elders in a Muslim household. My help, who lived on the terrace celebrated her daughter’s birthday every year, we celebrated with her too, just the way she liked it, in her house.

These values, this upbringing, those stories – all this has made me successful as a human being.

I am less stressed because I do Yoga every day. I have a hymn to go to whenever my mind wanders. That story of a tortoise, well, I can’t tell you how much it has helped me in being a fighter. I can live and adjust anywhere in the world because of the multitude of people with whom I grew up. 

Such values have made us Indians successful everywhere. You see the list of top CEO’s in the world and you will notice how Indians are in majority. Think of any brand and you will see a prominent board member being Indian. It is not just our food or culture which has made us successful; it is our values, our belief system that has taken us places. 

Because of this, the world is becoming #MoreIndianThanYou think. I have not seen that once but many times.

Now imagine a Desert Camp in the heart of the Gulf land. The invitees include people from the Arab world, numerous Brits, Americans, and Indians. There is a hookah lounge at one corner. A man is teaching how to write your name in Arabic. There is a huge stage. What do we have for entertainment – performances by Indian artists on numerous Bollywood songs till wee hours in the morning. What do we have for food – Chaat, Pav Bhaji, Butter Chicken, et al. No one really cares for Shawarma, Hummus and Belly dancers! The Middle East is definitely #MoreIndianThanYouThink

I walk into a park in Lisbon. A unique concert is going on with participants over the age of 50. They start dancing. Can you guess the song? Jai ho it is! 

Oldies in Lisbon dancing to Indian tunes!
I go to Ibiza. I check events on the local website.  One event catches my fancy. It is being held on a Wednesday in a park close to my hotel. I am just as surprised as you will be on hearing its name. They are celebrating the Indian festival of colours - Holi! And this event happens every month in summers not for Indians only, but for people from across the world. Europe is strikingly #MoreIndianThanYouThink.

The banner says it all!

All of us know about Kajol and Shahrukh Khan striking a pose on Mt. Titlis in Switzerland. You cannot help but be in awe of Hindi signs across airports in the world. Indians have made the world adjust to their requirements and why not!

One of the best examples of India’s growing influence on the world is the recent Lufthansa Airlines television commercial. An England coach tells his players that to win from Indians you have to play like them, meditate like them, eat like them and if need be, dance like them. When you want to fly like Indians, hop into Lufthansa and you will be greeted like them and be fed like them. Well, not everyone is fortunate to be Indian by birth, but if you want, you can become like one!

 The hare and tortoise story that is my favourite is how Indians are taking over the world – slowly and steadily not merely as successful entrepreneurs, leaders or sportspersons, but as successful human beings. I am glad that I am one too!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Bytes from the First Quarter

This has probably been one of the longest phases in which I have not written. Not that I am super busy or my laptop died on me, I’ve just been plain lazy and absolutely uninspired. I also feel I am losing the little bit of intelligence that I have because of the crap that goes on in my head!

So we changed apartments this month. We lived in our last home for almost 6 years. The Boy has never lived in a house for that long and so, he had this greatest desire to move. We looked around and the only house that encouraged me to pack and shift was the one we chose. It’s in a super swanky building which is no less than a hotel, has over 400 apartments, all kinds of facilities that you can think of, including a laundry, salon and a supermarket, and yet feels homely. We are the kinds who love to be outdoors, these facilities should suit us well.

When we came to Bahrain we lived in a one-bedroom apartment on a food street. The area was constantly on the move with bikers, Saudi hooligans, and foodies alike. After 2 years, owing to a job change, we moved to this massive 2-bedroom on a relatively quiet street. Over the years, this area developed and that street became one of the busiest. We liked the noise. And now, we are in a 3.5 bedroom apartment for just the two of us in a very quiet place. We like the construction noise from the outside and wonder how we will live here once the building in front of us is complete.

Ha! Look at the irony, I always ask for a quiet room on!

This year, so far, has been very amusing. First that month from Health Watchers which was a mixed bag of emotions for me. Then the beautiful month of February when it rained so much in Bahrain and we were constantly outdoors. March brought the move we are beginning to love. March could also bring in some good news we are hoping to find. And April, April will be the much awaited first trip of the year. I’m going to Delhi for a reunion with my besties which would be a first for all four of us. It has been 5 years since I met one of my most favourite friends. She has a kid now which is making the-not-so-comfortable-around-toddlers me feel nervous about accepting her in her new role! The host is my darling, my soul-mate, my strongest support! And then the spunky journalist who keeps us young with her single-hood hookup stories and office gossip. I love all three and can't wait to meet them. Then  I'll spend 3 weeks with my family in my hometown. After  weeks of cuddling up with my niece and nephew, and feeling happy in my comfort zone, I will go to the Boy’s place where he will join. One full month of making memories and doing absolutely nothing - well, I must know what that feels like!

Bryan Adams also happened in March. I felt the best I have felt in years. Nostalgia has amazing power over us. We have grown up with his songs. We all know the lyrics to his songs. I had massive goose bumps while he sang Summer of ‘69. It was like a walk down the memory lane when he played Everything I do. My heart literally skipped a beat in those few moments. And we were in the third row! That is not possible anywhere in the world other than Bahrain. I felt blessed, entertained, amused, mesmerised – all at the same time.

Here’s hoping the rest of March is as good. I’ll soon be travelling alone and we all know how nervous that makes me. I am also looking forward to the other side when everyone I love will be in one country. First quarter has been super awesome, here’s hoping for the remaining to go as planned with a few surprises that will make us happier. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Punjabi Takkar Marriage Diary - Entry #143

The other day the Boy was late from something. I was not informed properly and was super pissed due to some weird mood swings. I gave him a good one after he entered the house and then I went to bed. After a while, when he was sitting in the living room I made him a call asking him to come to the room. I screamed and screamed until I was done being angry. He listened, without uttering a word, because he knew I was going through terrible mood swings.

I take care of the house, he takes care of the bank – we are primitive that way. I hate any interference in the household chores and expect nothing from him. The other day I had washed his hankies and kept on the bed thinking I will fold them while watching TV. He came home from work and wanted to take a nap. Before I could come inside he had folded all the handkerchiefs and wrapped himself in the quilt. I fell in love.

I need constant encouragement for things. He always knows when to keep mum and when to speak. When he speaks, it's always the right thing.

I need a loving and caring man in my life but not someone who is overly sensitive because I hate people who care too much. He is exactly that.

I make him sit and listen to all the gossip I know. He is like a box which holds all my secrets and I am never afraid of them being spilled. It pays to have an introvert for a partner.

He is a goofy kid I could never have. He is the baby I like to mother. He is the Boy I can pamper to bits.

He’s never bought me gifts. He’s put stamps on my passport, he’s driven me around for nothing, he’s eaten what I wanted to eat, he’s gone without questioning wherever I’ve taken him, he’s worn what I made him wear, he’s sat in stores staring at his phone getting bored, he’s made me food he hates to cook…

I am a hard one to handle, he’s done that well without even knowing probably.

I am very confused about love. I don’t know what it means. I don’t understand how it happens. I fail to believe it ever goes. It is impossible to completely comprehend all that love is about. Yet, when I see him, I feel I know love.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Slow and Steady wins the Race

I was quite young when I was introduced to Readers Digest. Every month I use to look forward to reading stories of hope, happiness and encouragement. More than those, I use to look forward to reading quotes. Even in the newspaper, my favourite thing use to be inspiring thoughts that made a mark in my head.

I don’t know if it was those quotes, or my family who never gave up, or my friends who were always by my side to constantly cheer me up, or some genes that I was lucky to get – I never stopped trying. Right from the start I was this exuberant little girl who pushed a tad harder every time she failed. I was always afraid of falling like a normal human being, but in my heart I knew that if I failed, I would get up and start again.

I went through certain things that take away your childhood from you, but for some reason I didn't feel bad about it as much as some kids do. At 12, Readers Digest had told me: Every person you meet is fighting a harder battle. At 15, Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul let me know that it was okay to wear a mask. Times of India constantly reminded me to never give up. Sometimes I would lose hope and feel terribly weak, but the Speaking Tree notes on my desk would make me feel grateful for a thousand things I had.

I realise today how important these notes were. Some are stuck in my diary, others are etched in my mind. More importantly, most are visible in my attitude.

We all have to live with the cards life deals to us. They make us the people we are – sore losers or glorious winners. In the end, it all comes down to how grateful you are for what you have rather than sulking on something which was never meant to be yours. Effort – some Pain some Gain – Acceptance - Gratefulness – Effort: that’s the cycle I’ve been following always not because I don’t have a choice to give up but only because I believe in never stop trying.

I may never win; who does really? What I want my tombstone to read is that I never stopped trying, that I was always smiling, that I was the most grateful person that ever lived.

A small victory transpired this post. I took up a challenge and completed it with utmost dignity and perseverance. I feel extremely proud at the person I have grown into. The challenge was emotionally and physically daunting but I did it. There are a million things to learn from it.  Today I want to celebrate that victory and be thankful for the chances that life presents. I'm never going to let this wonderful life down.

Monday, January 23, 2017

High on Life

The other day, the weather was fabulous in Bahrain. When I looked out of my window, I felt like it was a crime to sit indoors. Being a weekend, I pushed the Boy to go out for breakfast. I was not eating because of a diet which I will talk about soon, yet I enjoyed every single moment of it.

After breakfast I asked him for a drive. When we got back, the gloom set in again and so I asked a few friends if they had plans for lunch. I again pushed the Boy to go out for lunch. I had tea, yet I loved every single moment of it.

And then I asked for a drive again.

Sometimes I get so excited, it is creepy. Every single atom in my body is like a living version of Mithun in his white pants jumping to the tunes of some silly song which I can't seem to remember.

The day was not over yet. I pushed the Boy yet again to go a see a new flat for rent that we've been eying. The flat was gorgeous. I came back and got super excited about that. I looked for different things online concerning the flat. I tried to convince another friend to move to the same building. I did everything except, ofcourse, jump out from my comfortable couch!

Being excited, planned and overly optimistic are the three things I take immense pride in. They define me as a person. Somehow I see very less of it around me. People are more gloomy and subdued. I mean a drop of rain in a desert is worth taking out your pom-poms, right? Just sitting out and having tea is not enough!

I don't know if life is shamelessly short or unbearably long. I don't know if my excitement becomes a pain for someone. I like being crazy. That's the exact way of living life according to me. I want to behave like I've just had five shots of tequilla and have no care in the world. Trust me, there is no other way to live.

I end on this short note. Blogging is not on my priority list these days. I've been doing a whole lot that keeps me occupied. I wish to be back soon, with life as I never knew before. 2017 is shining like a Salman Khan's blockbuster on the first weekend. 

Monday, January 2, 2017

Celebrating New Year's

When I was a teenager, my New Year's eve celebration was simple: I would make my favourite cheese on toast, sit in front of the television, and ring in the New Year. My mum and dad slept in early as always. My elder brother partied with his friends. And me, I would celebrate in my own sweet way.

Then I grew up and was cool enough to accompany my brother to parties. He took me with him and I would have sips of alcohol from his glass. My friends still had restrictions, so I celebrated with his friends. They became my buddies and that was fun as well.

Things changed after marriage. Our first new year was a boring one since my in-laws had to shift to a new city on that day. We slept in at our neighbor's house but made *private* special memories! After that we moved to Bahrain. I remember each new year celebration distinctively after that. I also have my favourite ones. I also know that if I would have not celebrated, I would have regretted it.

They say that New Year is hyped up. I love this hype. If we don't put pressure on ourselves to make occasions fun, atleast the world is putting some force. Imagine following the same routine day after day, how boring life would become.

Some argue that not everyone has someone to celebrate this occasion with. Well, this gives you all the more reason to spice up your life. You could have a friend, a sibling, a partner, a neighbour, even your employee, your servant, anyone. There are millions out there who would love your company, you just have to find them.

I don't have any qualms regarding celebrating at home or outside. Though I prefer clubbing, I totally understand if someone is more comfortable at home. I've had so much fun going to clubs, dancing, drinking and following the countdown that I wouldn't want to trade them for house parties. I do that often on weekend basis, then why not go out if I can when every restaurant/pub/club in town has made special arrangements to celebrate?

I believe in celebrating each and every special occasion that comes by. I like the hype. I also create the hype. I buy new clothes, I dress up well, I start looking at deals early on, I ask friends for company, the works. I wouldn't mind celebrating each weekend like this, but we don't do that, do we? Then why not this.

So if you didn't celebrate any special occasion this year in the grandest way possible for you, you're not celebrating this beautiful life God has created for you. Show your gratitude by being joyous. Find your happiness and celebrate. Life's short my friend, but you can make memories and make it longer than it seems to be!

Happy New Year, everyone!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

2016 - The Year That Was.

My life's dreamy. I don't do much, yet I do enough to be happy and content. From the outside it may look like a drag, but look into my heart, and you'd find contentment with just a dash of confusion, because, well, there is nothing worse than a sorted life.

2016 was the same - only a little better than the last year and a tad worse than the year to come. How can I be sure of the next year? - well, that's how cool God is to me!

I count happiness with all the new things I do. Routine fills the gaps between the new things and that's important to feel settled. But new, new gives me excitement, a feeling that I am alive, a hope that I am still young at heart and mind. 2016 was awesome because:

1. I learnt how to Mosaic. Tiles, clippers, grout - it made me tired yet fulfilled. I created a beautiful owl which hangs  on my wall now. Absolutely in love with my creation!!

2. I opened a new Instagram account - coupleintransit. The purpose of this account is to cover the new places we visit - in and outside Bahrain. But you know what, I forget to take pictures before eating, I forget to post pictures after visiting, I forget to like others for them to like me, and I never follow anyone till I really want to follow - all are the makings of a terrible Instagrammer! Lets just say coupleintransit would just remain an extention of this blog and nothing else. I was never into ass-licking and would never be.

3. I read more books in 2016 than I read in any previous years. I'm a lousy reader. If I lose interest early on in a book, I put it away and don't go back to reading anything for months. So this year was special - I might start reading more.

4. I wrote a letter to my 10-year old niece! In the age of technology we have forgotten the love for paper, pen and hand-written mail. I want her to know what it means to write letters, the fragrance that brings you close to the person who wrote it, and something that you can keep in a box and cherish forever, not just mail that goes on the cloud in form of bits and binary!

5. We stayed in luxury hotels for the first time this year. We spoilt ourselves and felt awesome. I hope we can still stay in 3-stars and feel great because, otherwise, with our limited budget, we won't be able to travel as much!

6. We took two spontaneous trips this year - Prague and Dubai. This was so unlikely us. The first was in lieu of the leftover leaves that needed to be used, plus, God bless Fly Dubai, a super-awesome deal on flights. The other was the Boy's conference that ended being my vacation with my favourite cousin in the land of Sheikhs. I loved both holidays a whole lot and they definitely deserve to go in my diary.

7. Planned a very romantic evening for the Boy on our anniversary. Period.

8. Started eating a lot of chicken and eggs - if that counts!

9. Oh, how can I forget, we were the leading pair of a promotional video by a topppp Bahrain Magazine. I don't want to get into details because I was immensely embarrassed!!! We were even featured in the magazine and the Boy was told by many people in his office and otherwise also that they saw us!! We also had a disagreement with the magazine staff and they had to compensate us. This experience would be hard to top for sure.

10. We saw an International artist Live for the first time. Avicii in Ibiza was an experience I would never, ever forget. My feet were aching like crazy after the show, but it was totally worth it.

11. Made a video for my bestie's daughter's first birthday which made a lot of people shed happy tears! I was also reminded that I've been awesome right from teenage - two of my friends still have gifts I gave them when I was 13 and one has passed it to the next generation. I don't know why we don't exchange gifts like these as we grow older. Hmm! Birthdays are special and need to be celebrated. I wish to hug and be hugged on birthdays, gift and be gifted... Oh, i digress!

This year I became a tad selfish because I want to have fun in life. There were times I wanted to do so much but just could not. I became stronger because I exercised a whole lot. I became braver because I traveled alone when I did not want to. I became smarter because I read so much. And, like every year, I became more grateful for all the goodies and for all the sense. Here's hoping to top all these experiences next year and adding more to my gratefulness account.

Much love.