Sunday, September 24, 2017

Live and Let Live

Have I become weird or is it totally annoying to wish someone on a Whatsapp group? I feel I will be judged if I don’t wish someone. I feel there are prying eyes on each group who have nothing better to do than check who is wishing whom. 

Just today, there are three people that I have to wish on a couple of family Whatsapp groups, and guess what, they are not even in the group! It is like being pushed to call someone else's phone and screaming so that the birthday girl hears her wish. Do such wishes even count?

When I wish, I really want to wish. I hate being forced. 

On being forced, Karwachauth is around the corner! I have expressed my views on a fast that puts you on gunpoint and tells you that if you don’t fast your husband would die! Really? I have those superpowers? Thank goodness I don’t come from a family that fasts on various occasions believing they will be rewarded for their good Karma just by doing so. How rebellious I would have been in that case!

Forcing someone, passing sarcastic remarks, saying ‘oh, you don’t remember me’ is such a put-off. I am not an awesome person, I am not sweet, and I am certainly not meant to please people around. I am very selfish and I will do what I feel like. Stop forcing me!

I use to hate my mother tell me what to do. She came under my wrath quite often. The Boy understands my trait very well, and so he has never ever told me to do anything. Any ‘order’ is met with such scolding that poor fellow doesn’t ever utter a word. I hate being told to do something so much that even if someone asks me for a glass of water, I hate it!

I can do a million things for a person if I feel like doing it. Putting me under pressure puts the said person in my hit-list. Sarcastic comments go very badly with me and I tend to act in exactly the opposite manner. If I want something, I ask people very politely keeping their comfort zone in mind and having very low expectations of things being done. All I expect in return is being able to live my life the way I feel like.

Is this a rant? No, this is general observation from what I have been seeing around me lately. Only my family and because I love my Boy, so his family, can make me do things. Other than that, I owe nothing to anyone. Infact I wish on Whatsapp groups only because I don’t want our families to get rude remarks on our behaviour, you know, if there was a parent-teacher meeting a.k.a a wedding around the corner.

How people live in a made-up society of I-called-you-for-dinner-so-you-call-me-for-dinner is something I will never understand. The forced give and take is abhor-able. No one wants to do it yet everyone follows the societal norms. You can call me an outcast if you wish, but I will do what I feel like. 

Over and out! 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

The Drinking Game

I started drinking alcohol at the age of six. My dad is a regular whiskey consumer; I distinctively remember taking a sip from his glass and going eww. After that, I took a break for 10 years or so.


My next rendezvous was with a screwdriver from my brother's glass. This must be when I was 17. We were on the dance floor with a few of his friends and he offered me to drink. It is the coolest thing to have an older brother. And some cute guys for his friends whom I refused to call bhaiya!

He then offered me to buy my own whenever we went out dining sans the parents. I was not a fan and this use to be a half yearly occasion which really didn't worry an elder brother.

I made my friends have their first drink from my kitchen when we were 19 maybe. Mom was watching and it wasn't a big deal.I just knew how to mix Vodka with orange juice or Sprite. I did just that and we all had a ball in my pink room. Yes, it was always pink even till when I was 26.  The bravest thing I did was to make myself a drink once while chatting online with the Boy. I can't remember what got into me; I tiptoed into the kitchen at 1 in the night and made myself a Vodka and something. I remember washing the glass nicely before sleeping and feeling super grown-up.

On my last birthday before I got married, I got sloshed with my bestie and saw a movie. It was a laugh riot and the memory of it is still clear in my head. Oh, I think I have a blog post as well - the perks of blogging and documenting my life here since 10 years!

After marriage, drinking became a norm. It was the start of hostel life for me which I never experienced before the age of 26. I was starting to live alone with a boy and with that came weekends, clubbing, bar hopping, exploring the best pubs in town and socializing with his bachelor friends. I got drunk numerous times and had a lot of fun. Why is life more fun after a couple of drinks, I'll never understand. And yes, I never got out of control or lost my mind.

I wrote another drunk post here. Well, ummm, meh.

I am not addicted, but I also don't believe in drinking carbonated drinks without adding a certain rum/vodka in them. If I am with friends, I don't mind beer or wine. I absolutely love to drink with girls because we end up laughing so hard. This brings me to the second part of this post..

To be cont.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Making the Two Left Feet, Right

Have you ever gone a full 34 years of your life without going on stage and doing a little dance? Well, I have. And a ramp walk doesn't count!

My classmates and teachers were all very sweet, but the performances that we had in school required a high level of strength and stamina which I didn't showcase. So while there were concerts every second year, I either stood in a choir and sang (apparently like Michael Jackson, at least that's what the cutest Sir in school said when I sang 'Heal the World'!!) or I watched over kids from Nursery and ate from their tiffins during break time.

Did you know kids bring the tastiest meals and when you are a didi monitoring them, they can give you their life, leave alone alphabet shaped frymes. I even had my favourite kids whom I looked forward to meeting every day.

I had another friend in tow who did not perform because she had too many male admirers in school! She and I became besties and in the duration, I gathered my own share of fans.

Well, I digress.

Post school, I was too conscious. My friends and family were extra sweet and so they never pushed me hard enough to get out of my comfort zone. While I danced on every dance floor I saw, I stayed away from any place that came under public scrutiny. My steps didn't match Katrina, but when I saw Sunny Deol, my confidence went up by leaps and bounds. God bless that angel.

Marriage brought me another pair of left feet in the form of the Boy. While I lacked confidence, he didn't seem to have form. From what I can safely assume, Sunny Deol learnt from him.

Now we have a multitude of friends here in Bahrain. Some are sweet and some are crazy. The sweet ones would go out of their way to make life comfortable for us. The crazy ones, however, don't care about how pleasant all experiences are, they just want memories which can lead to all sorts of leg pulling.

On a drunken night we decided to do a funny mime dance for a friend's party. Since it was a standing performance, both me and the Boy agreed. What followed were some of the best experiences of my life.

We asked a friend to help us out who bailed at the last moment. We then devised our own dance steps which we could perform at ease. However, we were being too simple and it didn't seem to work. We looked for a cheap choreographer, and luckily found one called V.

On the first day, V came and by all means was devastated to see her disciples. While three could do whatever maneuver she did, four of us threw tantrums. The Boy even talked about walking out because he was too confused with every left, right, turn, twist, jiggle... 'I did not sign up for this,' were his exact words!!

We thought we will let fate decide and see how it goes, one day at a time. On the second day, we had come practiced and V knew what she was in for. She taught us simple, cool and funny steps and all was good with the world. We joked, we practiced, and had a lot of fun. It was just a 4-minute jig, and time seem to end pretty fast.

Me and the Boy practiced at home as well. Our confidence came with the fact that we knew all steps! He can make the cutest faces and I can just woo with my, you know, being there!

On the D-Day, we all were nervous as hell. In my gold sequence skirt I stood at the back with the Boy and hoped all to go well. The music started and there was a lot of hooting. Bringing on the Kala Chashma brought more cheers. I just forgot one step. I did not fall (the Boy had a back up plan for that, he said he will start doing Naagin dance if I did fall!).

People came up to me and praised the Boy's cute expressions and my skirt. I told you, I woo by just being there!

I can't think of a better experience. From absolutely zero confidence, to attaining at least some of it, we went a long way in the last week. I thought of the many moments of feeling rejected in school. When we grow up, we can be whatever we want to be. We have a judgmental society that stops us from doing what we love, but that should not stop us. For all you know, that society is unsure of its own strengths and weaknesses and applauds you for your bravery. I can vouch for this because I saw people with confidence crumple a tad under pressure.

And these crazy friends, keep them close. They can make you do things you never thought you could do. They balance the hot and sweet in your life, they bring equilibrium to madness and sanity, they dig you out from your shell pretending nothing is wrong. You think they don't understand you, but they do, in a whole different way. They have that unique ability to change the next 34 years of your life for you.

Like they did for me.

I know, the skirt. The right side even had a slit!
The dance picture has others, and I am not authorized to post!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Hello 2017!

It has been 8 months into 2017, and today is the first day I feel really good about everything. It might change tomorrow because history has proved me wrong time and again, but I am not going to let that change anything about today. Lots happened this year that made me a stronger, better person. Life's lessons, health lessons and personal growth - all at once!

When they say health is wealth, they are not lying. You can buy everything your heart desires, you can own a house, a luxury car or go to exotic destinations in first class, but if your body is not feeling good, you will not be happy in the true sense of the word. We do try to ignore our problems because, well, you can't be brooding over things that can't change, but our heart never feels in the right place. Wealth does help us to cover up our problems and give us temporary relief, but it cannot give us peace.

Oh, too many buts in those two paragraphs!

So I took a weight loss package in the beginning of this year because I have been recommended to lose some kilos by doctors. I did really well and felt proud. However, the plan backfired and with losing weight, I lost a lot of strength. I traveled to India alone and had my worst day when I could not even walk at an outing. It was the lowest low in my life and I was shaken to the very core. I feared my present and the future and did not know what to do.

Like everything wrong that has ever happened, I thought that this too shall pass. I tried various things that I have tried in the past but they did not seem to work. I really thought it will never change. In June, we went for a vacation and nothing felt right. It was a beautiful place, I was in good company, the plans worked great, still, I was not cheerful at all.

I came back and met a few doctors. I went online and researched whatever I could. I even made friends with people who seemingly had my condition. I spoke to my friends for encouragement. I spoke to my doctor relatives who spoke to specialists. I saw YouTube videos of conferences held for similar diseases. It was panic and a great deal of it!

To say that I was feeling low would be an understatement. No one knows about it though. Yes, there are things I didn't do. I didn't give up. I didn't not smile in public. I didn't stop enjoying life the way I should be.

Only lately I found a physiotherapist who seems to understand me. Just four sessions with her and I feel better, partly because she told me that I look like a 23-24 year old! Ya, well, I agree.

Now, like I said, history has proved me wrong time and again. That will and should not let me not be happy. There are a few things I fear, yet there are a thousand things I am grateful for. To be honest, it is this gratitude that has kept me going. I do my pranayaam in the morning and thank God for every small thing. Even in these hard times I did not ask for anything because I know it is not about that. Strength comes from believing in yourself and staying positive. Gratitude keeps me positive.

I've not written much this year, I really don't feel like it. Lets hope this will change as well. I haven't even written about my trip to Croatia and Slovenia because of all the lull surrounding it and it depresses me when I think about how I felt there. I have 4 trips lined up for this year and finally I am looking forward to them. There is something else also that I would share in the next post. It is going to be awesome, for me at least!

Until next time, keep smiling and never give up. That keeps you awesome and helps you look like a 23 year old forever.

P.S. I took my first step into middle age yesterday, had to put henna in my hair to hide the white strands. Oh, I look 23 despite that, just FYI.

P.P.S Did I tell you I love my new therapist? 

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Plitvice National Park - A hike to remember!

As someone who is not completely independent physically, Plitvice was never meant for me. That's a harsh line to start with, but that's how it is. Although I was completely in awe of Dubrovnik in the south and taken by the beauty of Plitvice National Park, I had several lows during this vacation which continue to haunt me. I was obviously questioning myself continuously - how can I not like a vacation? And so I tried to have the best time that was possible. Writing about it, well, not so easy!

You see it was not the location's fault. Plitvice National Park has 16 waterfalls and several small ones. One of the most beautiful ones lets you feel its mist when you pass by it. It is no Niagara falls, but here you are on foot and you can stay as long as you like. 

The mountains around it gives the National Park the most beautiful views. You can choose from several routes depending on your ability to walk and hike. I did my research really well. I spent hours over the Internet reading how this area was for elderly. It was not wheelchair accessible so that should have been my first clue about the effort it takes to walk around - I ignored it.

We took the most downhill walk - Route E for Upper lakes on Day 1. We started at 4.30 in the evening so that there are fewer crowds - it was ideal. We stopped a hundred times - I did! We took in all the love nature had to give us. It even rained a bit while we were walking. We were literally walking above the falls and lakes which is so rare in this world.

The most beautiful moment for me - where I could feel the mist.

I am a nature lover. I love to get lost amongst the trees even if there are just 5 of them. So Plitvice was high on my priority list. Croatia is not the richest country out there yet they have tried to maintain this place in all its natural form. There were paths that were uneven clogged by small stones. The wooden tracks were really well-maintained. But there were far too many steps for me. I have never climbed this many in a single day in my entire life. It was hard - very hard, especially at the end. 

I hardy took any pictures and I couldn't do the Lower Lakes the next day because I thought that my body won't be able to take it. Wise decision! 

At the end I was pleased with myself. This route takes 2.5 hours at max, I took 5. But I did it. It was like running a marathon for me. Or climbing Everest. Really, it was! I have to give it to the Boy, I can't imagine anyone else with the amount of patience and love he has. He was there - at every step, every climb, every resting spot - with a smile on his face and a joke to make me laugh. Have I told you he is an angel?

Howeverrrrr, being proud is not good enough! This hike took a toll on my body and my muscles are yet to recover from the fatigue even after 3 weeks. My only fear is what if they don't recover and I have this new low for life? I am trying to do all that is in my capacity to get back to normal - including wining, dining, dancing, laughing and standing on one leg.

I still don't blame the lakes, I don't even blame my health for how I am feeling. I love this beautiful life in all its glory. And I love the fact that I am strong in the mind and happy in my soul. I am grateful for the capacity to travel and I am thankful for having the most patient and most giving partner. Is there anything else we need in life? 

P.S. Since I am not the right person to give tips on these lakes, I would refrain from giving you any. To anyone else who is normal physically - do make an overnight trip to Plitvice Jezera. Do half of it after 4 and the other half at 8 in the morning. The paths are really narrow, and the crowds are humongous. You will love the space and time you get in the evening. Don't make a day trip - that's so boring!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Visa Trivia

When you reach a time in your life when you can travel frequently, that is when you realise the nationality that you have and how it affects your travel plans. You begin to look for countries where you can travel visa-free and feel disheartened when those countries are not in your priority list. India ranks a sad 77 in terms of strength of passport and we have flexible visa options with only 49 countries. Oh, the third world problems!

Me and the Boy have a 10-year multiple entry US visa. We also have a touch-wood-wear-evil-eye worthy 3-year Schenghen visa. With this comes the benefit of entering quite a few countries because, well, when the big Daddy has give you legal entry, who are small kittens to deny you one!

Now America and famous European countries have consulates in major cities. But what happens when you want to go to a place like Cuba which has confusing entry terms and no consulate in your country? They expect you to post your passport to the nearest consulate for visa. Now a passport is something which is more dear to me than my, I was going to say life, but I heard how childish I sound, so, something a little less than that! How could we courier our passport? Can't you just spy on me on Facebook and give me a damn visa! I've found husbands for my friends through that, this is just a tiny entry stamp!

However, in comparison, if you are born in a rich, white country, you are a saint. You can enter several countries without any prior visa stamp. On last count, Americans can travel to 156 countries without a visa, Germans to 158. These are the people who go to Google Flights and don't type a destination city. Google baba entertains them with several options and they can take a flight to the cheapest destination without having to worry about an 'interview' date. The rich become richer and we remain as poor as a church mouse when it comes to travel. See, you will never find any Indian who has traveled to all countries in the world while there are many from these privileged nations who have achieved their target, albeit in a very stupid way. More on that later.

In another comparison, citizens of Afghanistan can go to 22 countries without having to worry about immigration - and I thought we were a much more developed and friendly nation. The difference here doesn't make us look that way.

My cousin who wanted to celebrate her brother's birthday in Croatia couldn't travel because of visa. Vacationers from smaller towns have to take visa appointments in metros like Delhi and Mumbai and travel there several weeks before their actual travel dates just to get a stamp. And imagine the woes of a family member who's loved one lives abroad and is in dire need to travel because of some emergency. Sushma Swaraj certainly cannot help everyone on Twitter.

Yes that's a serious problem unlike mine. But hey, I have other problems, so lets not judge here! I wish to travel freely... that's the only thing that keeps me alive. If the planes were faster, and tickets were cheaper, we would be flying a lot more than we already do. Or maybe not, 'cause the border restrictions will remind me that I belong to a country that is not welcome in more than a handful without legally checking my status. We would then be forced to give up our careers and move to Canada or Australia because somehow these countries have a solid passport and need more people to populate their region. We will get residency and citizenship thereafter and then lead a blissful life. It is another thing that without a job, we won't have the money to travel. But hey, atleast we will have freedom and old-age benefits... oh yes, more on that later as well!

Visa problems have made us alter our next vacation plan and hence the rant. India is a beautiful country with diverse flora, fauna and culture. Our food is next to none and the love in our country is unbeatable. We should be welcoming more people so that atleast the reciprocity rate will improve. I am glad Modi is trying to improve foreign relations, and hopefully that will benefit us in terms of immigration too.

Although India offers e-visa for several countries, reciprocity terms are not equal. In the 70's Indians could travel to countries like England and Germany without a visa, but illegal immigration led to stricter rules. I agree that we jump at the first opportunity of getting a stronger passport, but we need to have some flexibility for people who, atleast on paper, look like they won't migrate.

Since the smart-phone came into the picture, traveling has become much easier. Booking, navigating and exploring has become a cakewalk. Lets hope before my joints start to pain and before we have to use our entire savings on some God-forsaken disease, we will be able to travel freely and more frequently. Border control - are you listening!?

Monday, July 10, 2017

Back, Back Baby!

It's a mean thing to do - abandoning your baby for this long. I mean this blog of course. Hasn't it been there for me in all the ups and downs in the last few years?

This year has been tough. Although I like challenges, I am finding it hard to look at the bright side. Socially I am doing supremely well; you know, putting up pictures of the vacation, laughing out loud with friends, the works. I like that part of me but internally, internally I am struggling to find peace, hope and happiness. Oh well, it is not as bad as it sounds. Let me not be so melodramatic!

You see, when I refuse a friend to go to a mall, that is where I draw a serious line. That is where I know I am really not feeling well. I did that yesterday. It was hard, refusing to go and shop, window-shop and just enjoy good company - ah, only I know how I did it. I looked at the whole world on the Internet just to get over that trauma. I planned all our vacations for next year as well!

But this planning, it lets you down sometimes. I went to Plitvice Lakes in Croatia last month. I read everything to the T. I planned, I asked around, I made sure I would be fine. Heck, I even bought a stick so that I am not completely relying on the Boy. Damn you Internet, you betrayed me for the first time. My day in Plitvice was the hardest day in the fun movie that is my life! I struggled with every step, every hike, every simple walk. I did not regret it one bit - it was an achievement in every way. I even told the Boy that now I can feel how marathon runners feel. Yes, the simple hike in one of the most beautiful natural parks was like that for me. I rejoiced in my victory.

The days that have followed have not been so joyful. I am not allowed to tire myself out. And this time, I took advantage. I squeezed my muscles like Indian moms squeeze out the last bit of toothpaste from the tube. Now my body is use to being treated like how Indian moms treat their sons, sooo...

To cut a long story short, I've been down but not completely out. I have learnt that old people in this world have become immensely fit and so I cannot Google about their experiences and feel I will be able to manage. I even find some women in their 70's so sexy! No, no, I am not kidding. Watch Grace and Frankie on Netflix and see how to age gracefully. Jane Fonda is 80 years old and she can give a few 40-year olds a serious run for their money. I am totally inspired! You must Google her aerobic videos - they were a rage in the 80's!

So coming back to meee - I'll be kind to my baby now. I'm planning to write a whole lot in the coming months. I am not sure how I will document my vacation because I did not enjoy it so much and I don't want to brood because I hate to be that person who cribs! I will show you the rosy side and you will love it. I leave you with this amazing picture the likes of which made me take up the challenge I was never meant to:

Where the woods are lovely, the waterfalls are serene and the Boy makes his usual faces!
Plitvice National Parks, Croatia.

Friday, June 2, 2017

House of Cards Season 5, Episode 1 - The ruthless Underwoods are back and how!

The elections are just two weeks away. Democrats and Republicans are at their best. Everyone already has their favourites. Each wants to win. Each wants their side to win. And they will all do anything to achieve what they have set out for.

That is the undertone to the first episode of Season 5, House of Cards. Devious plans, wicked plotting and planning, making shady alliances, fake speeches, evil gimmicks… you get a bit of everything in the season premiere. 

The first plan by the Underwoods is to obviously do some damage control that was done by Tom Hammerschmidt’s revelations in the previous season – of corruption, murder, and what not by the current President! To deviate from the same, Claire goes on to tape an anti-terrorism speech for the nation. Frank asks Congressmen to declare a formal war against ICO, the series version of ISIS, to show the country his stand on terrorism.

 Meanwhile, the innocent Jim Miller’s killer, Joshua Matterson, is all over the news. His mother is interrogated by Claire who leaves no stone unturned to bring this reluctant mother on her side. Frank Underwood tries to woo Jim Miller’s family as well, but the consequences only make him a little nervous. Once again Claire takes control and he confidently tells the world that they have nothing to fear, which of course, is yet another vicious plan to attract the naïve citizens.

Oh, what a team!

It is eerie to watch that fiction is indeed matching what is probably going on in the Trump era. The strict policies stated by Frank resonate with the recent immigration ban in America. His ruthlessness matches with the one of the current U.S. president. How long will reality match the storyline, only time will tell.

Going forward on #HOConZCafe, it will be interesting to watch the Conway’s and how they respond to the Underwood plots. Will they be able to reveal to the world how he dealt with the killer of Jim Miller? Will the crimes reported by Tom in the previous season be justified much against the wishes of the Underwoods? What turn will Thomas’s relationship with Claire take? What role will a NSA hacking plot have in this season?

It is guaranteed by the first episode that this season will be more ruthless and compelling than the previous ones. You can watch all the deceitfulness on television as Frank Underwood is coming to India with the television premiere of House Of Cards Season 5 on Saturday, 3rd June, 5 PM onwards, only on Zee Café!

I, for one, will surely be binge watching!

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!