The Iron Man

Its 4.30 am and she turns the alarm off. She opens her eyes and her mind starts racing. Tiffin for the two school going sons, cooking, washing vessels, running upstairs, doing the household chores at the homes in the Park View Apartments, an ailing grandmother in the village, an estranged relationship with the husband, a cynical resident in the apartment, all loom over her.

She walks out of the house, takes a shower and a beautiful rangoli adorns the gate of the Apartment. All through the day you see her running up and down, attending to demands, adhering to her daily routine. Sometimes you see a smile on that pretty face, sometimes a frown. Sometimes you see her enjoy what she does and sometimes you see her wish wanting to do nothing. She sweeps, she mops, she washes utensils, she cleans the vehicles, she cooks at some houses, and she arranges clothes in the wardrobe for some. She takes clothes for ironing and some for dry cleaning. She keeps an account of the bills, and recovers monthly maintenance payments from the homes. In the watchman’s absence, she guards the Apartment too. She even helps repair things in the house and feeds the kids, when their mothers are out. She has been doing all this and much more for years now.

“Do my sons speak English properly? Grammer correct aa? – she asks me in something that sounds like a mix of Tamil and Kannada.

“I am glad they go to an English Medium School and can speak good English” She beams proudly.

All that she earns goes to the husband. He keeps an account of all the expenses to be met in the month. Remaining of which he gives it to his folks back in the native. Not his earnings but hers.

Amma, we friends are going to the Mall…Give me 200 Rs.” – The elder son says.

On another occasion he would say – “Buy me those shoes, so what if they are expensive.”

A lady in the neighbourhood once shouted at the son, for being ‘uncouth and uncultured’, this woman came forward. For her, he is her son. She would stand up for him, no matter what. He may have a zillion shortcomings, she would still talk to him calmly and teach him the ways of life, her way . She believes she has done and is doing enough for her children to be cultured. She believes that just the way ‘well to do’ families give their children wings to fly, so will she. No matter what the situation, no matter what they grow up to be, she will love them and will still do the best of what she could for them, even if it means standing up against the world or her own husband.

Today, she is all of 34, works hard like any other woman her age, earns her own money, pays off the debt every month for the loan taken from a family for her children’s education. Her life has been full of hardships and tribulations. Today, she feeds the family. She runs the house like a man. She loves her kids unconditionally. She dreams big for them. No education, just dreams and the will to give the best to her family and expect nothing in return from them. She is a cool and a chilled out lady, cracks jokes, like any other woman her age. She dreams of going on an outing too, but her work does not permit her to. She does not have leaves on a Saturday and a Sunday. She does not go for a movie to the mall. She does not go shopping over the weekends or for a drive in the night, nor a walk after dinner. She wears sarees given by others. Her life revolves around her small house which ends at the very place it starts. That small house is her world, which has a bed, a fridge, utensils, gas and groceries. She does not have savings. She lives each day at a time. She survives each day at a time. She manages to smile and not whine. She is a powerful woman, a headstrong one.

I had read this somewhere, and it is so true for her –

She is a FeMale…..

Fe=Iron,

Male=Man,

Therefore, she is Iron Man!

May be there is a lesson or a two we could take away. It is all about being able to gather the beautiful things than getting hurt touching a broken glass. It is just about living through the struggle and fulfilling your duties and responsibilities. It is beyond crying over a broken nail or a small pimple over the forehead. It is about being okay with things not going our way all the time. It is sometimes about putting the wishes of people above your own. It is about believing that good intent, faith and love is important for a good and a successful life, not just money or degrees always. It is about being able to wish good for someone even when you have nothing. It is about counting your blessings…it is about possessing and showcasing a strong character each time, everytime.

So, ‘Keep walking….good things are coming your way!’ – says the Iron Man 🙂

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21 Signs that you are in love with Zodiac Signs

We all know of the 12 Zodiac Signs starting with Aries and ending with Pisces and know our own as well. But there are some like me who go a step ahead in exhibiting our love for Zodiac Signs. So much so, that we are obsessed with them!

Read on to know if this reminds you of yourself –

  1. You love your Zodiac sign and believe that it is the best of the 12 Zodiac Signs!

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      Image Source – The Zodiaccity.com

  1. Whoever you meet, you can’t help but ask their Birthday, while you mentally arrive at their Zodiac Sign.

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      Image Source – Giphy.com

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Image Source – Giphy.com

  1. You go crazy with excitement if the person’s zodiac sign is same as yours!

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Image Source – Giphy.com

  1. If the Zodiac sign is not the same as yours, you check if their zodiac sign forms the Triangle of Compatibility with yours! If it does, then!

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Image Source – Giphy.com

5. You immediately fall in love with Zodiac Sign lovers and are a part of Zodiac Communities on social networking sites!

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Image Source – http://whatshouldacappellacallme.tumblr.com/page/4

  1. You already have and still keep reading about the traits/characteristics/strengths/weaknesses of your Zodiac Sign!

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Image Source – www.signs-unique.co.uk

  1. You check the Annual Zodiac Horoscope at the start of a New Year!

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Image Source – www.reddit.com

 

  1. Internet, Newspapers, Magazines – You read your and your partner’s and your family’s and your friends’ and even your ex’s zodiac horoscope, whether at home or on a flight!

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Image Source – entertainment.howstuffworks.com

 

  1. You have daily email updates like ‘Your Daily Horoscope’, ‘Psychic Readings’, thanks to your sign ups on various sites on the Internet. You take them very very seriously!

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Image Source – astrocenter.com

 

  1. You still read curiously about the 13th Zodiac Sign – Ophiuchus and check for any change in your own Zodiac Sign!

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Image Source – Giphy.com

  1. You secretly follow the lucky colours, the tip for the day etc. mentioned in your daily horoscope!

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Image Source – Giphy.com

 

  1. The moment your best friend starts dating someone, the first thing you want to know before you know his/her name is the BIRTHDAY, so that you could read their Zodiac Compatibility and present an analytical report to your friend!

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Image Source – Tumblr.com

  1. Linda Goodman is your virtual Best Friend since many a lifetimes, and you have read all her books on Zodiac and Love Signs a zillion times!

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Image Source – www.solsticepoint.com

  1. Agree, you may or may not, but you already have pre-conceived notions about certain Zodiac Signs!

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Image Source – Giphy.com and www.etsy.com 

  1. You have broken some hearts and rejected proposals based on their Zodiac Signs!

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Image Source – Giphy.com

 

  1. You have a habit of checking Couple Compatibility based on their Zodiac Signs!

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Image Source – Giphy.com

 

  1. You get bored around people who have no interest in or any clue, knowledge about Zodiac Signs!

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Image Source – Giphy.com

 

  1. You love Amitabh Bachchan and Ranbir Kapoor all the more after knowing that you share the same Zodiac Sign!

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Image Source – www.brecorder.com

 

  1. You want a tattoo with your Zodiac Sign, because you think it describes you the best!

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Image Source – www.tattooshunt.com

  1. You become the heart of the group when you guess people’s zodiac signs right on the basis of their behavioural patterns!

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Image Source – Giphy.com

 

  1. You are smiling right now, knowing this is so You!

Go chant – Linda Goodman Ki Jai Ho! 😀

The Flower Vendor

This year Health Fiesta is planning to start its operations in Bangalore. So I have been trying hard to pitch to schools here in the city. Today, I had one such meeting in a School closer home. I don’t know if the meeting was good or bad. I do not know if Health Fiesta has any chances there or not. After I got done with the meeting I walked out of the School gate, a little lost, a little confused. Lost, wondering how my professional life would look like this year, secretly wishing that good and only good things unfold….that our hard work pays off soon. Lost in my thoughts, I looked around hoping to see an auto rickshaw, when the watchman of the School tried to strike a conversation with me.

He asked me – “Did you come for college admissions?” in a language which sounded like a mix of Tamil and Kannada.

Since my command on neither is worth talking about, I replied with a smile, managing a broken Kannada, that I was not a student and was there for an official meeting with the Principal of the School. He nodded back with a smile. I started walking ahead and saw a temple in the same lane. I did not know which temple it was. I did not even think before crossing to the other side of the lane. Yes, I felt like going to the temple. At the temple gate, was a flower vendor, a 50-plus feeble man, hopeful that I will buy some flowers from him. I looked at him and nodded in negative. On my way inside, I wondered – ‘What if this man isn’t able to sell these beautiful flowers today? Do they go waste? Will he return home unhappy?’

It felt peaceful and serene inside the temple. I am not a blind follower of religion. For me prayers, temples have been more of positive energy and unseen forces. It soothes me, strengthens my belief and faith in life, situations, people and just everything around. After my prayers, I started walking out of the temple, seeing the flower vendor waiting for me to come closer.

Speaking in Kannada, he said – “Please take these flowers. My wife and I have so much tension. Please. Please.”

I looked into his eyes. I wanted to put a smile on that tired face. I smiled and told him –‘Okay you give me fifty rupees worth flowers’. Joyous that he was, he started putting lots of flowers into the bag. I said – ‘That should be enough. Why are you doing your nuksaan (loss)?’

In reply, he said – ‘No no. You take them, they are so fresh. Do come next Wednesday as well’. I replied to that in positive.

I don’t know if I am going back to that School. I don’t know if that School will sign a contract with Health Fiesta. But I am certain I will see him again. So why not hope that I will get that School too.

That very moment, I felt that the real prayer was not offered inside the temple in front of the God’s Idol, where we sometimes are whining about our woes and wishing for our dreams to come true. The real prayer was offered when this man smiled.The real prayer was offered when I spoke politely to the auto rickshaw guy on my way back home.

I realise, in our busy schedules, we often miss seeing the many flowers vendors around us, the lesser privileged people around us. Being nice to him, made me peaceful, that is what they call inner peace and not really the success or the life we are chasing all the time.

This small little conversation, reinstated and reiterated my belief that life is probably about being a nice human being…contributing to people’s happiness…making someone smile and offering this little prayer everyday. No blessing greater than that. No prayer or deed greater than that. It is about a sense of appreciation and gratitude for the things that are still going right in our lives. So smile, you might be making someone’s day today. Smile anyway, because everyone is fighting a battle they are feeling miserable about.

Hmmm…Did you meet your flower vendor today? 🙂

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Image Source – sketchindia.wordpress.com

……still remain Unchanged!

I see people’s behaviour and I wonder that knowingly or unknowingly, intentionally or unintentionally, life has always been more about how others should or will see it than about how we would have liked it. Yes of course there are some like you and me who keep rebelling against the so-called society norms and have done what we felt like doing without getting bothered about the ‘perceptions’!

It is a new India today…a fresh, youthful India….with so much of talent around…with so many opportunities…India is a super power in the making….but somewhere some things still…even today remain unchanged…..the mentalities, the mindsets I talk about all the time…remains…

“Log kya kahenge” did kill a lot of dreams…..Why is there so much fuss around perception, reputation, image, society? Since the time you are born, there are rules…rules which either the parents dictate or the society does virtually or you do it to yourself. We are kind of shut in a sense even today. Trust me, education hasn’t done much good either…not yet.

Way too many restrictions rule! To start with, the gender!

You are a girl, do not play with the boys. You are a boy; do not play with the girls.

Girls will play bartan and boys will play cricket. If girls play cricket, then – how tomboyish they are and if boys help in the household chores then how girly are they!

You are a girl, you got your periods, don’t touch the pickle, don’t go to a temple. Go to buy sanitary napkins and the shopkeeper will pack it as if it’s a secret box.

You are a boy, you sit and relax, food will be served.

Girls who like boys are bad girls. Boys who like girls are boys. Girls who start dating a boy because they love the boy are ‘off track’ girls, while the boys dating the girls are cool boys.

If a girl ditches the boy for some reason, she is a bitch but a boy who ditches and hurts the girl is a boy.

Girls have to be multi-taskers. They have to earn, work, cook, work, work and work. When the same things are done by the boys, there are praises and accolades coming their way.

Stay with the in laws always…even when the son is away for work. Don’t go to the mother’s place. What will the neighbour uncle say? What if he spreads around rumours of relationships not being right?

Then comes education and career choices.

Girl will be a doctor. Boy will be an engineer. Girl could also be an MBA. That is one example of gender equality today. Those who wanted to become one, fair…but what about the ones who did not want to? He might have wanted to get into the creative field, into content writing, writing poems, singing, dancing, painting, sports, acting, modelling…But maybe or probably because they don’t sound as ‘manly’ or masculine or ‘serious’ for some, the boys land up doing engineering, then following it up with an MBA…by now completely frustrated, they then do jobs which are completely different from what their degrees expected them to do….

“My son is an engineer plus MBA”- beams the father with pride. Does he even know how painful those years were? They wasted those seats and more importantly precious years of college life. All this for the sake of the society and the reputation and the social image.

Apart from Medical, Engineering, MBA studies are the CA studies. Studies in Arts is perceived to be LS (Low Standard). People who study Arts are the ones who scored poorly in their 10th Std is how the thinking goes. Dumb people do a BA, BMS, BMM, BBM. Who would want to marry creative, interesting and cool people right?

“It is my dream to see my daughter become a CA” – says the father. The poor girl attempts like a zillion times and realises this is not for her. She sings…she wants to sing because she loves singing. But singing is seen as a hobby here…a part time activity. The girl is then made to appear for MBA entrance exams. This is basically because otherwise she won’t have a ‘career’!

When does the herd mentality really go?

If education is one issue here, then marriage is another. Our life can be summed up like this – Birth, Play, Restrictions, Studies, Puberty, Studies, Love, Studies, Heartbreak, Studies, Work, Money, Love, Heartbreak, Marriage, Money, Kids, their Birth, Play blah blah blah and then Death.

Marrying at the right age is like a National Concern here. The ‘right age’ definition defers, depending on the state, caste, community, region etc. Honestly speaking, marriage is about settling down when one is mentally prepared than about the right age. It could happen at 25 or it could happen at 55. How does it matter to anyone? A 30 year-old unmarried is given a second look and a 40 year-old unmarried man is associated with gadbad! A divorcee is looked down upon…why? Did you live his/her journey to comment on their lives?

Then comes the kids questions. They are not having kids..when will they have kids? They have decided to not have kids..So? Why don’t you have one more? Do you know why they decided not to have kids. Do you know why they can’t have kids?

‘My friends have been asking when will you both give good news?’ – asks aunty looking at the daughter in law. Is life just left to justifying to the ‘friends’?

Another thing being, we always want to follow what the others are doing. Instead of setting trends, we love to follow them for sure.

‘She tied two plaits for her daughter, so will I.’

‘They bought a cycle for their son, so will I.’

‘Our neighbour purchased a new car…which car should we go for?’

‘She has been studying from those other notes, that is why she has been scoring well.’

‘She is joining drawing classes, my kids will join too.’

‘He came first in class, why couldn’t you?’

‘He has a won a gold medal at the state level, why can’t you?’

‘My neighbour’s son went to the US, when will my son go’

‘My friend’s son got a promotion, when will you get’

‘His parents are so proud. When will you make us proud?’

More than the intent, it is about competition, comparison and constantly doing more or better than others.  All this for the social image.

It takes a strong heart for a parent to say – “Go son! Do what you feel like!”…It takes courage to bring up kids in a ‘no pressure’ environment, where their interests and likes are out above anything else.

There are kids out there who wanted to make dance their profession, singing their career and sports their passion. But couldn’t and aren’t able to do it even today….

It takes a strong heart to say – “I don’t care about what others think or say”.

Hats off to the parents who have encouraged their children to pursue their dreams. To the parents who still haven’t done it….We are in 2015, you are making enough money for your family…allow them to fly. If they fly high, feel proud and if they fall, bring them back and allow them to fly stronger the next time.

One more problem. I feel we are very low on self esteem, because we are constantly worried about our image. So we dress up, speak plush English which can sometimes come across as horrendous put on accent. We give way too much bhaav to the people who have been abroad….So, when they visit us during Holidays, we bring the whole house down. We flaunt them to our neighbours and friends. As if life here, the people here and the place itself is inferior from the places they live in. All this for the social image.

Another problem. When we go to malls, we go all gung ho over the brands there. Go to a Phoenix Mills, Mumbai and you will feel poor. You will still go shop and feel guilty later. In the quest of wanting to go and tell your friends that you shopped at a Vero Moda, or a Zara or a Jack and Jones, you do blow up a lot of money. We go berserk when we hear ‘imported’! Spend..do spend. But spend it for yourself, because you wanted to. Not because of the so-called social image.

We have conditioned our minds to think in a certain way because of all this. We are just too worried all the time.

‘What If these people at work are talking behind my back?’

‘What will my friend think if I do this?’

‘I don’t know how to cook, what will they think?’

‘I got a KT in my exams, how will they react?’

‘My friend bought a new car, when will I?’

‘She being a woman, is making her own house, when will I?’

Our actions, gestures, everything has been moulded according to the way people perceive us.

The point being very very simple. All this needs to stop. Perceptions and judgements on dressing, love, sex, career choices, life choices, marriage, religion, caste, creed, gender, sexual orientation, interference in others’ lives, presuming that every girl and boy walking together are dating, not adapting to changing times, discouraging or pulling down people, stereotyping etc. need to stop.

What people say or think should not matter no more. Do what your heart says. Not what the society says. You aren’t answerable to them. They aren’t going to be there when things go south in your life. May the choices be yours. May the decisions be yours. The life is yours, so the way you live it should also be the way you want it. Feel free. You can’t please everyone, accept it. Stand up for something you believe in. It is now or never. Surround yourself with positives. Chase your dreams. Live your dreams and Mute those screams!

Let people keep talking. They have no business other than talking. Who knows they might not be talking at all, maybe it is just in our minds. Why waste time on worrying about trivial things. Like what this quote by David Foster Wallace says –

“You’ll worry less about what people think about you when you realize how seldom they do.”          

The situation and my thoughts remind me of one song right now –

Kuch Toh Log Kahenge

Logon Ka Kaam Hain Kehna

Chhodo Bekaar Ki Baaton Main

Kahin Beet Na Jaaye Raina

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The Womaniyas……!

Yesterday was just another day…routine day…Health Fiesta work, household work, a little chilling out and a little resting, thanks to the terrible cough and not so good health since a week now. The weather, the climate per say has been fluctuating. It is sometimes hot, sometimes cold, sometimes windy and something rainy and chilly. My neighbour kid, Thanya, a five-year old, who I usually play with in the evenings, was sleeping. So, I decided to watch the hour long documentary by the BBC – ‘India’s Daughter’. Lots has been talked about this documentary since the time it was banned in India and yet released on You Tube by the BBC. There have been protests, articles written, posts shared on FB. I wanted to watch it too. The Nirbhaya story was known, but yet I wanted to watch it and I did.

I am not here for male-bashing. I am not here to tell how superior women are and how inferior men are or how equal they are. I am not some feminist or even a pseudo feminist for that matter. I am not anti-men either. I have never had a reason to be. Since the time I was born and till date, I have had amazing men in my life, around me. Whether it was my maternal grandfather or my father….whether it were my cousins or the building friends I grew up playing with….Even today, I have some wonderful men in my friends group, whether it is in our GANG or my college friends and most importantly my husband. I have never had a reason to detest men ever. I do not have a problem with them or the choices they make or the life they live. It is not about being anti-men or anti-women at all. But yes I have a problem with the mentality. Yes, I am anti-mentality today and full of pain and grief within for the way people think about women and for the mindsets.

It is not just the men who are a problem in this country. It is some women too. That being the saddest part, because if one woman cannot understand another woman, then the ‘womanhood’ people talk about needs to be questioned.

I still remember as a kid, my neighbours, who I grew up with, were very happy that their mother was expecting her third child. The relatives of course had their concerns. They were elated, but with a hope that it should be a baby boy, after the first two girls. The third one was a girl too. We kids were thrilled. There was a baby coming home. But the relatives, some of them being women, were weeping, as if someone had died. They were weeping because it was a girl. I remember telling my mother back then – “Mummy why are they crying? Let us go get the baby home. Then it will be two daughters in that house and two daughters in ours.” Wish people could leave things to be as simple as this.

I don’t understand what is so wrong about being a girl. What is so wrong about letting a girl live in peace, to let her live the way she wants to and to let her make the choices she wants to? I don’t understand why such a big deal is made out of her clothes, her way of life, her dreams, her wishes and her choices. I fail to understand why all the rules of life have been dictated to her only. Why is she judged, perceived and criticised all the time. Why is she considered weak and vulnerable? Why is she not allowed to decide what she wants. Why should she run her decisions through anyone? Why are there time deadlines set for her? Why is she supposed to be in the confines of a home all the time? Why is she the only one told to learn all the household chores and be ready for the so called ‘domestic challenges’? Why should anyone declare or decide whether she will make an apt business woman or not? Why does she have to explain or justify if her male friend is a rakhi brother, friend, best friend or a boyfriend. Why should she explain herself as to why she is still unmarried, or why she can’t bear kids or doesn’t want to bear kids? Why should she explain as to why she had pre-marital sex or fell in love with someone? Do only men have the right to feel aroused? Don’t women have the right to? What makes anyone think that it is okay to beat a woman, hit her, slap her? Were they teaching her a lesson or teaching her what is right and what is wrong? Who gave these low minds the right to think so?

Men are called dogs these days….for what is happening around. I beg to differ. Men aren’t dogs. Not all men are. As a woman, I would be a hypocrite if I said I hate men. There are good men and there are bad men. Having said that, I also believe that there are good women and there are bad women. I don’t think my life would be complete without the men in my life. Be it my father, be it my husband, be it my cousins and be it my friends. I love these men and I always will. I am very sure there are good fathers, husband, fathers in law, brothers and friends who exist. I know they do.

Why do people, the so called elders or for that matter the so called ‘educated’ youngsters, have a problem with a man chasing a career dream, while the wife is managing the house financially? Why is there so much shame associated with that decision? Why do those elders shun men who are nice to these women, who understand these women, who give these women wings to fly? Why are these nice men called losers and joru ka ghulams? Why are these men accused of being under the woman’s influence and jaadu tona? Why do these sayaane elders have a problem? Who gave them the right to interfere or comment on other’s decisions and lives? Absolutely incredulous!

Sitting alone with a girl, a school going girl, who considers you a good friend, and changing the television channel to F TV and removing your clothes and sitting naked in front of the girl does not make you cool. You shamed the girl and the friendship. Do not ever do this. Wish you guys could understand that girls are not as naive as you think they are.

So, to all those low minds out there…we will continue wearing jeans and short skirts and the dresses we like. We will go out there study, party, watch movies. Watch movies with the guys. The late night shows. We like it that way. We do not have time in the day; we have ten things to do. We wish to go for a long drive after the movie and wish to return home at 3 am. We want to enjoy weekends just the way you guys do. Take us along and reach us home safely. We want to have good careers just the way you do. We want to earn as much or more. No, we may not necessarily be virgins or pretty or beautiful or ‘the ideal bahu’. For us to be ideal, you need to be one too. No, we may not know how to make round chapatis. The truth is we might be as domestically challenged as you are. Our parents are getting us married to you so that we find a companion in you, to share our lives with. Not so that we come to your home as a slave and do all the household chores and meet all the unreasonable expectations. We want to be with you because we love you, not because our parents were no more capable of taking care of us. Don’t shatter our childhood dreams of a prince charming and a wedding. We wish to take care of you, love you, stand by you and build our home. Let us do it our way. It is our wish whether we want to go out or not. It is our wish if we want to work or not. It is our wish if we want to cook or not. It is our wish if we want to be thin or fat. It is our wish if we want to bear kids or not. It is our wish if we want to have sex or not. Do not force yourself upon us. The institution of marriage did not make us your property; we still have our own identity and our own individuality. Understand the meaning of the word called CONSENT. Please don’t pretend to respect us. Don’t fake it. We can see through you. Strengthen your character along with your academic qualifications! Do not forget, we possess both.

To the entire low-mentality men clan, you guys wouldn’t exist if one woman had decided not to give birth to you. So thank her and make good use of the life given to you. Stop worshipping Goddess Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati everyday, or going to the temple everyday or going to the Vaishno Devi shrine, if you cannot respect the women of your home -the wives, the daughters and the daughter in laws. Do not be too proud of having sons, it does not give you the right to ask for dowry or even talk about it. Please do not stereotype us. Don’t think that a working woman cannot cook good food or manage the house well or the one cooking and doing all the household work everyday isn’t ambitious or does not have a career. To the entire low-mentality women clan, you do not shine bright in your man’s eyes, if you think the way he does or agree to the way he thinks. You may be used to taking crap from him, so continue taking it all your life, but spare us the same. Do not tell us how to take care of our kids; we have been taking care of one of your own. Please teach your sons to respect women, just the way you would have secretly wished to be respected. Try to not have a problem if your son takes good care of his wife or helps her with the household chores. Thank God and feel proud that you did not give birth to a chauvinist. Otherwise that day wouldn’t be too far when people will be weeping because a son is born!

Do not give us flowers, this 8th March…this Woman’s Day. Do not wish us or send us goody goody forward messages on the strength of a woman. If possible, just let us be. Treat us with some respect. Learn something from the men who do. Do better things in life than judge us or perceive us. What you think of us says a lot about you not us. To put it simply, this Woman’s Day…just let us breathe…peacefully….let us live a life that is liberating…free of stress…free of interference…free of pain….free of hatred…free of cynicism….free of disparagement…free of physical, mental and emotional RAPE!

P.S. – Sharing three videos, which I loved – Thank you makers, for these ads/posts 🙂

 

 

 

 

The Two Cities and Me – A New Beginning……

So it’s been sometime…in fact quite sometime since I last wrote, over a year and a half since I logged into my blog account just to rant…I realize now how difficult it was to come back, after having gone for over a year without writing…I had to change the password to the account twice, because I had forgotten it…That’s how long it has been..Ever since The Simple Man arrived in my life, he has been ruling it! Life, decisions, wishes, dreams, perspectives, attitudes all changed with the beginning of this new chapter called marriage, all changed for good. The year has not been a bed of roses…not very easy…but yes it’s been a good teacher.

There was a time, before shaadi when I was so particular about wanting to marry a guy from the same city as mine, from the same place as mine. That had become ‘the reason’ for rejection of so many of those alliances! My father would come home and discuss proposals with my mother in absolute secret codes, in a discreet manner.

“The guy is 5.11 tall, 29, Engineer plus MBA and is now in the USA! He intends to settle down there!” – is what I could manage to overhear! I would fret fret and fret! I did not want to leave Mulund, let alone Mumbai and let alone India!

‘REJECT! CASE CLOSED! I am not going anywhere, I am not leaving this place…I am not getting out of my comfort zone, I want to stay around my parents – I would declare loudly in my head!’

I have loved Mumbai, not because I know the place or the city too well. I still don’t! I have loved Mumbai, not because it is a business hub, or because of the Marine Drive/The Town, that people associate the city with, or because of its fashion trends or the soaring rates of the dream properties and homes or because of the Bollywood celebrities who live in the city!

I think I love the city for something else. I love Mumbai because I was born there. I love Mumbai because all my people, my loved ones, my family, my friends still live there…I love the city for its warmth…the people there exude warmth! I love the city because I grew up there. It taught me to be confident, it taught me to travel alone by the local trains when I knew absolutely nothing. It held my hand, when I was lost! The city gave me some failures, but the city gave me success too…be it with academics, career, friendships, relationships etc…and yes the city gave some very good Chaat corners, some mouth-watering Pav Bhaji and Puri Bhaji 😛

I still don’t know how to take someone around the city. I still don’t know what places to suggest to people if they want to hang around with friends. I still don’t know which are the best eateries in the city. I am as stranger as a newcomer into the city. Even with the simplest instructions given to me, I can still be direction dyslexic! The truth is that my world has not revolved around the city; it has just revolved around those few favourite people in the city.

But then, there came a time when I was ready to leave this city…to go to a new place, a new city, meet new people, make new friends. Suraj came down from the US before the wedding and Bangalore was the place we were going to live in! Bangalore, a place where I did not want to move to, a place where I thought I wouldn’t survive without the local language, a place where I thought people wouldn’t be as warm as the Mumbaikars.

My friend, who is a father figure to me – Hari has been a blessing! God’s gift to me can say! I owe this year to him…this phase to him…From moving into the same house that he lived in back then, to managing everything in the house and in the city wouldn’t have been possible without him. Life got easy in Bangalore for Suraj and me just because of him…I cannot thank him enough. Heating up food and watching some good movies wouldn’t have been possible without the Microwave Oven and DVD Player gifted by my brother, Santosh Anna. The home during festivals wouldn’t have looked as beautiful without the bedsheets given by my sister/mamma – Sandhya. My parents have been the biggest support ever, so has been my extended family, uncles, aunties and most importantly cousins and friends. The faith, the optimism, the belief, the encouragement that they have extended and still extend is beyond expression.They helped us make our home! 🙂

My work, my career, my venture with my three other partners – Health Fiesta still continues to be in Mumbai, for which I kept traveling for, which I am still travelling for. Back in Mumbai, it’s all about work, spending time with family and friends. Here in Bangalore, it’s all about managing home, trying to get work here, trying to manage the Mumbai work, making our family, living together, sharing the struggles, the dreams and embracing this place as our own. It has been a city that liberates me; I have been living here without being perceived wrongly, without being judged, without being misunderstood. Far off from negativity, cynicism and criticism.

These days, on Facebook, I see a lot of my friends going or gone abroad either for studies, for pleasure, for careers, for settling down etc. They post pictures of their visit there. They post updates from the International Airport Terminal sharing details of the place they are visiting and the names of the restaurants where they are dining…Friends are making trips abroad, seeing places, experiencing new things, meeting people from different cultures and backgrounds, looking all chic in their new avtaars….their ‘Lives in…’ reads different countries and different cities….and here I am, in Bangalore, finding joyous thrills in seeing and admiring rangolis adorning the home fronts, signifying welcome to the Gods. Here I am, feeling excited about eating breakfast at a certain Vasudeva Adiga’s in a certain R T Nagar, feeling very sophisticated and stylish having a fun night at a certain Arbor Brewing Company at M G Road…and extremely pleased about seeing some real good themed restaurants here.. Here I am, welcoming people home, waiting for cousins to come here…so that we could have some fun..Here I am, fascinated looking at the row houses, wishing to live in one of them one day. Here I am, enjoying the super cool weather and the greenery with trees on both sides of the road, both of which, Bangalore is so famous for, enjoying the lit up Vidhan Soudha, seeing the Cubbon Park, buying Bangalore fridge magnets and luggage tags from Chumbak! Here I am walking down a certain Commercial Street and Brigade Road, clueless about where I am heading to. Here I am, enjoying the bike ride seeing that India Flag flutter near a certain Sankey Road. Here I am, appreciating some amazing graffiti that adorn the city walls giving a feel of an open art gallery. Here I am, becoming close friends with Suraj’s friends…waiting for friends who will come back here from the US and NZ. Here I am, walking down the narrow lanes of a certain New BEL Road, with a Reliance Fresh bag, after some grocery shopping. Here I am, praying everytime I see a temple…Here I am, visiting different Schools for my work, traveling to places I haven’t heard of, with the help of a GPS. Here I am, cooking different dishes with the help of recipes on the internet and feeling proud of myself, drawings rangolis and cooking full-fledged meals during festivals. Here I am, dusting and cleaning, ensuring everything is clean, neat and tidy always. Here I am, appreciating a city which carries an old world charm and culture while embracing the new culture, wherein both the traditions and modernity co-exist. Here I am, taking pleasure from the cold breeze blowing in the balcony and through the windows in the evenings and the nights. Here I am, teaching my neighbor kids – Hindi and seeing a lot of young students/people around! Here I am, using the sweaters I never used in Mumbai. Here I am, totally unfazed about people’s anger with the auto rickshaw guys, as I do my bit of lecturing them about ‘honesty and sincerity’ in my version of Kannada! I do speak the language…very well actually…just that people don’t seem to be understanding it…He he..Here I am, unperturbed about the bad traffic people are complaining about. Here I am, trying to get my work here, trying to replicate my business venture in this city. Trying really really hard…..and here I am praying and wishing bad that Suraj becomes a multi – billionaire with his ventures in this very city. We both are trying the dangerous waters here, hoping to come out successful!

I realise today that Life is all about making beautiful of what we have in hand. It is about living today! It is about finding happiness in the little things one does. It is about letting go off things that didn’t go as per ‘the plan’! It is about not being too rigid about ‘the wish list’. It is about making new wishes, seeing new dreams everyday, every minute. It is about being flexible and taking life as it comes. It is about living a simple life, but a good one. Happiness lies in simple things, so one needs to rejoice that. It is all about a little effort to get that perspective to appreciate the little things that life gives you. It is all about Hope. Faith. Belief. Resilience.

My love for the two cities stays and always will….One has my people and one is my home. May that city keep bringing in love, support, encouragement and much more and may this city help us grow, love, create beautiful memories, and cherish more! Here starts a new chapter…a new blog…a new year…a new beginning and a new Me! 🙂

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The El Amor of my Life….My Simple Man!

I have faint memories of this one. My sister had written a poem long back, something I find very difficult to do….something I feel I will never do justice to….I appreciate people who write poems and express their feelings, thoughts and emotions through beautifully woven words…The poem was about A Simple Man, the man of her dreams! It had featured in the newspaper tabloid. Back then, I had been fascinated about it. The way my sister narrated the poem was so beautiful that it pushed me into another zone, a trance like feeling I started to feel…It had to, a hopeless romantic that I am. I have grown up to believing all that Yash Raj has conveyed through his movies – particularly Dil Toh Pagal Hai! About ‘Someone, Somewhere is made for You!’ With due respect to all the people, who don’t like him and his movies. Please don’t hate me!

My sister’s favourite line for me – ‘One day you might see yourself with a guy, who is nothing like the one you had wanted or thought of, but will be everything you had ever dreamt of.’ Sealed! I believed it! I could comprehend what she meant.

All day I am busy doing something or the other….whether it is working, chatting with friends, meeting friends, helping my mother in the household chores or just day dreaming…There are nights which are the usual ones, when I make my bed and chat myself off to sleep. Then there are those nights when in my subconscious state of sleep, I see a whooshing blur of human…I know many girls, many of my friends go through this too…Then the question rings! ‘When will I be with the El Amor of my Life?’ Try as I may, I cannot sleep.

He comes into my dreams on many a night,

Seeing Him close, I feel so light…..

Coz the feeling I feel is just so right.

Things start moving faster and I feel ashamed,

But He makes me feel so comfortable,

And tells me that no one is to be blamed.

I wondered if this is why I had waited for this day,

I keep worrying…thinking that I am leading which way,

But this is all that He whispers, coming closer to me – ‘Keep your worries at bay,

Coz all my life I just want to hear you say!’

I got up to see if he was still there, and wondered that my little dream coming true would be so rare.  I wait for that day when I am with the Man of my Dreams, My Simple Man! He will be no one extra ordinary, with no heroic attributes, with no over the top charm! But somehow I feel that the day I decide to walk down the aisle, I will know that yes, this is My Simple Man!

He loves me now and He loves me forever….

That is none other than my Simple Man!

He gets mad at me but is quick to realize His folly…..

That is none other than my Simple Man!

He treats me like a princess and corrects me when I am wrong…..

That is none other than my Simple Man!

He is secure and confident and doesn’t need to control me to feel like a man…..

That is none other than my Simple Man!

He gives me wings to fly and believes that I indeed can fly…..

That is none other than my Simple Man!

His sense of power lies in seeing me happy, making me happy and keeping me happy….

That is none other than my Simple Man!

He knows that I left a lot behind just to make His dreams and mine become a reality…..

That is none other than my Simple Man!

For the world, He might be the guy with a zillion flaws, but for me He will be the perfect one of all…..

That is none other than my Simple Man!

He is a self-made man and is proud enough to say so….

That is none other than my Simple Man!

He is sensitive, He is humble; He is down to earth and is approachable….

That is none other than my Simple Man!

He is weird to many, He does not care much about….and is a gift to the ones who know Him a lot…

That is none other than my Simple Man!

He knows when to be serious, when to be funny, when to be practical and when to be sensitive….

That is none other than my Simple Man!

He loves the elders and He loves the kids too, he respects women and admires successful people too…

That is none other than my Simple Man!

He believes – ‘Ego Kills! So Kill The Ego!’

That is none other than my Simple Man!

Just the way He takes care of everyone, He loves to be taken care of too….

That is none other than my Simple Man!

He seems so real, yet so surreal……

That is none other than my Simple Man!

He seems all tough and strong, but I know that He is very gentle in his heart….

That is none other than my Simple Man!

Every time He holds my hand, a strange feeling passes through my veins

That is none other than my Simple Man!

He knows I look for my father in Him, and He tries His best to not let me down….

That is none other than my Simple Man!

He finds it fun in helping me with everything I do…..

That is none other than my Simple Man!

I must have ignored Him, not bothered too, to give Him another chance…another look,

Waiting for someone else to rule this heart….but look now what He has done to me,

In my dreams, He has pierced my heart …And here I was clueless that He had this art….

That is none other than my Simple Man!

Yes, He is nothing like the man I had wanted to be with, but is all I had always dreamt to live my life with….

That is none other than my Simple Man!

I am happy for all my friends, who have found their Soul Mates. To all my single girlfriends out there -Dream of the Man and you will find yourself with Him soon! To all my single guy friends out there – Concentrate and work on becoming the Simple Man, because there is a girl out there waiting to come into your life and waiting for you to come into hers! 🙂

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Craft Your Health…!

The grass is always greener on the other side! Isn’t it? Everyday, we look into the mirror and wonder and wish for things we are not and do not have. I have known many girls constantly wallowing in insecurity, inferiority complex and doubt, over their ‘figures’! Believe it or not, all women check out the others of their kind. Most of the girlies lose some extra pounds, plainly envying the perfect figures of the other girls. In fact the best of girlfriends envy their so called ‘best mate’ to no end. The thin girls aspire to become a little fat and the fat girls aspire to become very very thin!

‘Her figure is just so perfect!!! The jeans look like they were made for her only! Lucky her!’ – A girl will sigh!

‘My arms, wish they were a little thinner! I could wear my sleeveless tops then! I hate wearing these full sleeves clothes all the time!’

Wish I was a little thin, a little toned up, a little taller, a little this and a little that!

‘I think I am perfect…Just the flabby tummy giving me a problem!’

‘I just cannot do without my daily dose of yoga, and the juices and my protein diet!’

Oh my my! Last time I was 52 kgs, now I am 52.5 kgs! This is bad!!! I feel so suicidal!!!

‘Oh god! My double chin! I am going to look up on the website on what I can do to lose all the flab!’

Another would say – ‘I have a perfect waistline, if only my thighs were as right as hers!’

The concerns, the oaths taken, the claims made are never ending. ‘Gosh! My Weight! I just cannot go beyond 55 kgs! This is it! I am quitting sweets! I am quitting rice! I am going to quit eating junk food! I am going to quit eating outside food! I am going to get up in the morning and start jogging for an hour! I will join Zumba! I will join Yoga! I will enroll into a diet program! I will enroll into a quarterly program at the new gym in the vicinity. I am going to quit eating dinner! Nutritional supplements it is! I am going to quit eating the breakfast! I am going to quit eating! I will starve to death but I will look sexier than that girl one day! Sealed!

I believe it is the cribbing, ranting and sulking that makes women put on weight, than the food they eat. So much stress! I wonder if it’s the girl’s mistake or sin if her metabolism is really good, that she looks perfect, even with a lot of nonsense eating! The incredulous looks that the poor girl can get is horrendous! Thank you Vidya Balan, for giving a breather to this category of women. You made ‘substance’ look hot, indeed!

Ok fine! We women aspire to be thin. Even the thin girls aspire to be thin! Guys are no less. They come with a different obsession of their own! Gym, jogging, oats, bench-press etc etc is all you can hear from the so-called ‘health conscious’ guys! Whether they are genuinely wanting to be healthy or are wannabes in the making, trying to impress people around and the girls especially is not known. Nonetheless, they are making an effort which is commendable. Yes I agree, the perfect hour glass figure looks good on the girls and the lean, six-pack abs looks good on the guys! My point is, consciousness is good, obsession is bad! Just ease out!

Contrast this to the other category of girls and boys! This category loves themselves so much, that you tell them about losing weight and they take offence! This category believes that eating anything and everything anytime and every time is their birth right! You talk to them about working out or exercising, they will manage using up all the possible expletives on you.

‘I am overweight??! But I wonder how! I hardly eat anything!

‘I have always been a fat baby, even if I try losing weight, I will not be able to!’

‘Both of husband-wife duo look good together, one fat and one thin would look so ugly na! We are made for each other!

‘Walking? Jogging? Running? Gym? Just no time for all this yaar!’

‘Lot of weddings in the family! I will ‘diet’ from tomorrow!’

‘You guys at Health Fiesta, make people quit eating na! Not my cup of tea! I cannot quit my love for eating!

‘Sanma! I am just not losing weight! What to do!’

If the former category was the one which will starve to death, the latter is a category which will die one day because of over-eating! I believe both the categories are wrong to be a part of. One needs to have a balanced diet, not just to lose weight but for a good health. It is not just about being obsessed about your physical outlook or about brimming in pride over your blown up physical outlook. It is about being able to celebrate your health each day so that you do not have health problems later in your life. The people who starve/do not eat well and the people who over-eat, both will experience bad health one day. It is all about being an in-betweener! It means you eat little of everything. It means you should be conscious of the proportion in which you eat. Eat what you like in the right proportion, knowing and being aware of what is good for you and what is not! Along with that, regular exercise can help you keep your weight at check, boost your mood and stamina.

It is not about popping pills to lose weight or having supplements or going for surgeries! Our medicine, the cure for everything lies inside our kitchen…the natural foods! Then why not have those over the artificial methods? It is not about cribbing over going for Yoga, early morning. It is not about secretly checking your weight on the scale, and seeing no difference. Let go off it! It is just a number. There is no point if you stuff yourself with something, which you are momentarily enjoying but may have to refrain from eating tomorrow due to health constraints. Instead Eat Right! Feel Good! Think Good! Stress Less! Sulk Less! Crib Less! Sleep Well! Work Out! Be Patient!! Be Happy!! You can be all that you always wished for! 36-24-36 aspiration? It will be for sure! A Hrithik Roshan kind of physique? It will be for sure! There is no science to it, but purely dedication and determination that got them where they are today! Craft your Health! Create a Health Map of your own! Today! Only you can! Just in case, you need help, then come to HEALTH FIESTA! 🙂

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The Peace Restored!

There are many things that we do just to make someone happy. There are many things we do out of obligation, compulsion and constraints.  There are many things we do because it is the call of the hour. But there are very few things that really make us feel good and restore the peace within us. There is at least that one thing….the instinct within us that triggers in us a sense of beckoning…something that clears the cloud of cluttered thoughts. A place where your thoughts belong. If you are there, doing it, then everything seems right. You are happy again! There are many things that liberate me. Dance, definitely being one of them. But, I wondered what is it that calms me and soothes me…things I hate yet love?

As a kid I loved being in the water, be it in while taking bath, where I passed my time playing with the water gushing out of the tap, or while filling balloons with coloured water during the festival of Holi, or admiring the waterfall or getting wet in the rains. For the fun of it, I had even stepped into the pool in a water park during one of our picnics from school. No kidding, but I had almost drowned in 3 feet water. I just could not get myself up. Did I start hating water then? Yes, I did and strangely, over the years, I have not been able to overcome my anxiety and apprehension about swimming and reinstate my love for water completely. The partial overcoming that I have managed to do is only because of my love for beaches, the sea waves and the rains! Ironic, as it may sound, I hate water as it scares me to no end, but it is the same water that soothes my soul to no end. Strange!

I realize at times, that in midst of our daily busy routine; we forget to appreciate the nature, the beauty that adorns us and our lives. Our wishes, dreams, fears, joys, expectations, our thoughts precede our actions and we ignore the natural bounty around us, something we earned without any effort. Each day, each morning brings us something beautiful and something new. Years go by. Seasons keep changing, each season having its own charm, its own exquisiteness.

My place of love and interest is my balcony/my window. It opens to a garden facing view. Years back, there were no high-rises around, which stand tall today, blocking my view of the mountains. How beautiful these mountains looked and still do during the rains! The scent of the mud, the sound of the rains splattering on the window, the feel of cool breeze and rain drops on the face….You know it is the end of summer! The end of the frequent baths in the day, wearing sticky clothes, the sweating brows and the unrelenting sun bearing down. The first rains bring about a serene surrounding, with everyone from the people to the birds to the animals to the trees shivering from the cold winds and the raindrops pricking like shards of glass.

The thunder, the lightening, the hot bhajiyas prepared by my mother! The rains take me back in time, the time when summer vacations are coming to an end and I used to be busy enjoying the ripe mangoes, waiting to be back in school, wearing new rainy sandals and a new raincoat! They remind me of those times when I used to draw designs with the rainwater on the window, when I used to throw the umbrella in the air and played in a puddle of mucky water with my friends. As a teenager I felt ultra romantic seeing couples walking together closely under a single umbrella….And till date, I associate Rains with Love and Romance. Stepping out in the rains is indeed a hindrance, getting wet now, does make your hair go rut! Rains do cause a lot of havoc and chaos in Mumbai! Love it for its beauty, hate it for the inconvenience it causes, it is a part of our lives, now and forever. I hate them at times, but I still love them. As I finish writing this, I so want to skip the month of May to avoid the scorching heat. With due respect to my friends, who will celebrate their birthdays in May!

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Another place of love and interest – Beaches! The soft sand beneath the feet, the winds blowing, the salty-sandy feeling..The sticky feeling, where you feel like you had a salt bath, and can smell and taste like nothing but salt! Once out of the beach, you yearn to go for a shower. I despise it many a times, but nonetheless still love the beaches! Threatening as it may look, the trees from a distance, sustain their tranquility, and I feel carried away with the serenity of the winds that beckon me. God is indeed an artist! Nature is indeed the most beautiful thing He has ever sketched! I happened to go to a beach over the weekend, a place I never regret going to. It has always been an overwhelming experience every time I have gone to a beach, be it the beautiful beach at Ganpatipule or the Bogmalo beach in Goa or the many many beaches I have been to in Mangalore. They personify beauty and serenity. It is a deep wish within to see all the possible beautiful beaches across the world. Beaches, I have seen only in the pictures till date. There is nothing more beautiful than the way in which the sea waves come ahead to kiss the shore, no matter how many times they are sent away. They come back to touch your feet gently, moisten the sand and go back. The waves at one point look so intimidating that you feel they will absorb you in, and the next moment you experience the beauty that would compel you to become an artist.

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Peace of mind is important to all of us. It is not really about being in a quiet place, where there is no noise…It is about being amidst things and still being calm and serene…being happy. Yes, one should aspire to make the money, to enjoy his/her life to the fullest. But the most important thing to strive hard for is – Peace of mind. If that is right, in place, it clearly, in the true sense means that you are living every minute of your life to the fullest.

We all have a special place, somewhere in this world, where we self introspect, reflect and share our innermost feelings, thoughts, joys and sorrows to ourselves. For some it their bedroom, lying on which, they feel uncluttered. For some it is their kitchen, where cooking frees them of any woes and worries. For some it is sitting beside a closed one and talking, for some it is going and taking walks on the terrace of their building or on the street. For some, it is sitting in a corner of the room and eating chocolates. For some, it is going trekking or doing adventure things. For me, they are two things – standing at the window and seeing the rains, and another being sitting on the beach sand with no one around. A visit to a beach over the weekend has restored the peace within me, until I go there next…until I see the rains this year…What is that one thing which restores the peace within you?

The Fortune Telling & The Prophecies!

How fascinated and thrilled I used to be and I still am, when someone reaches out to my hands to read the lines on my palms…the lines of fate! Kismat ki Lakeer, the shaayars say! I liked the way the fortune tellers looked intensely into my palms and read out my destiny…my future! Nothing has changed even today….apart from the fact that I fear they might divulge my secrets in front of my parents, just in case they are supermen and I, just a weak and vulnerable earthling!

I still remember, as an adolescent, I loved making a half moon by getting both the palms close and seeing the lines on my palms join, thereby checking whether I would have a love or an arranged marriage. I silently detested arranged marriage back then. ‘Marrying a stranger! No way!’ I used to conclude! I would secretly join my palms in such a way that I would always have a perfect half moon, indicating that I would have a love marriage.

Looking at me, the fortune teller aka face reader had declared to my mother – “She will have a love marriage! You will be not happy about it! She will not study much! She will put on weight later in life!

There was another fortune teller who said – “You will get married in the year 2011! Your love for your husband will be more than his love for you! You will not become a doctor! Come after your 12th standard exams, I will let you know what you will do in your life, pertaining to your career!” But that is something, I will also figure out later! Big deal! – I conjectured.

Another said – “You will keep having new friends all your life! New group, new set of people! You will have a marriage without dowry! You will have a very good looking husband! You will one day make it big in life!”

Did I get married in the year 2011? No, I did not. Did I not study much? No, I just did an MBA, I could not think of doing a PhD…..Did I become a doctor? No, I did not! But strangely, at Health Fiesta, the children in the Schools think I am one! I have put on a little weight already. I have made new friends. I am against dowry, so there is no question, I will let it happen anyway. I do not want a good looking husband, I want my husband to be a good human being. Yes, of course, I will make it big in life, in fact I want to believe I already have! Did I need a fortune teller to tell me all this? Honestly, No!

Worst is that once we are told about our destiny and our future, we carry pre-conceived notions back home…even if our destinies weren’t going that way, we will make choices that lead us there….be it good or bad! This is something I feel is wrong.

The list of prophecies and fortune telling can be never ending. Some excite you and some bog you down. The fortune tellers talk about how long you will live. I wonder if they really know how long they will live. I wonder if they even know what might happen to them the next minute. I have known of cases where the fortune telling has gone all right. But I have also seen cases where the fortune telling has gone terribly wrong.

One case – “Your son will live a long life……deergh ayushya! (long life)”…..Bt did it really happen? No, it did not! The son died battling for life till the end. I believe Life and Death is not in our hands, it is decided somewhere else.

Another case – “Only 19 out of 36 gunn matching….low compatibility, not an alliance to go forward with…” What happened? They are one of the most compatible pairs I have ever seen. Marriage alliances and Love are made in heaven. The gunn does not decide compatibility. The hearts and souls of the two people involved, decide that.

Did I want to believe them anyway? Back then I must have, but years down the line, I do not want to believe what they said. I have realized our future is what we want it to be, not what we want to hear them say. Yes, there are contingencies in life. Yes, there are uncalled circumstances and incidents that occur in life. Yes, there are things that do not go as planned. But I am sure there is an internal strength and a God within all of us that help us overcome it and start anew. I do not think the fortune tellers can do much for us in such situations. I believe we should give some money in charity or to the poverty-struck people than waste it on these people. Being slaves to them and their commands is no solution! If fortune tellers knew everything, then they would be the most powerful people on Mother Earth!

I am sure we all have had our own fortune telling experiences with our respective ‘bhatjis’, having heard some ten thousand versions of our future, to say the least. We rush to the fortune tellers every time there are obstacles in our way….every time things haven’t gone the way we would have liked it to happen….every time we have been scared and skeptical of doing something that we believe in, but are not sure of doing! Fortune telling over career, love, marriage, life and the list goes on and on and on…not to forget the never-ending poojas and the money we are asked to donate, to please the God…..If God had to get pleased in a way like this, then I am sure the beggars would have all gone and got poojas done than worry about earning a morsel for the day.

I believe that our destinies and our future are a lot to do with our own actions. What we achieve in our lives is all because of us and has got nothing to do with our bad stars! Our stars would be good if we do good, think good and wish good. Good actions will reap good and good only. Our destinies would be bright, if we believe we can achieve nothing but right! We do not need fortune tellers to predict if our future is going to be good or bad!

I would rather have fortune tellers in my friends and family, who believe in me, than anyone else. We rather have friends who say – “Don’t worry! You are going to do amazingly well!”, than have fortune tellers say – “The rahu is hindering your performance, there will be obstacles in your life until the end of next month!” I wonder if they expect us to stop trying until then…

My sister said – “You will become famous this year!”, as a part of the New Year resolution discussion exercise! She claimed to be a clairvoyant that night and believed that her prophecies for each one of us in the group will come true. Today, I do not know what will make me famous, but I am surely working towards becoming someone, my family would be proud of one day! Famous? I still wonder! Will I be the next dancing queen at Dance India Dance? Or will I get a call from Master Chef to participate in their show, considering I have started cooking too! Or will my company scale such great heights, that there will be an article written on our success story? I do not know, but I would still like to believe in her prophecy – I am going to be famous!

Yes, fortune–telling, tarot card reading, articles on future predictions, prophecies etc etc, all excite me! I still love reading about them, but deep down I know what I should believe and what I should not..I know that I and only I can create my future….because deep down I strongly live by a saying, told to me by my sister. The quote by William Jennings Bryan says – “Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.”

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