Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Summing up life..In 15 events!

The mundane routine has taken over so much in life, I am struggling to keep up with the task list of things I usually did for self which could be listed as dancing, reading and writing (In the same order). 

However the below events were written for a friend who was involved in a project. The brief was to write 15 incidences describing our life . Here I am summing it up and blogging it for posterity. 

1986: Born on Tuesday, termed as goddess of wealth by a member of family while the rest of the world frowned with disappointment of birth of a girl child instead of a boy to carry forward the family name.

1988: Welcoming a baby brother, fighting the jealousy for attention, experiencing the love of sibling & overwhelmed with the love of a joint family consisting of more than 15 people living under 1 roof unaware of what life has to throw up yet.

1991: An incident that killed the innocence in the child, expected to act adult when she would have rather preferred being grounded for eating sand while playing instead. Here she was trying to soothe her toddler brother while being a witness to the disharmony in family that changed her life for worse

1996: At a tender age of 10, the 1st experience of mental trauma while she watched her mother lie motionless for 2 days with doctors rushing around. The life never remained a happy picture for years after it. She stood there crying her heart out with a hope that her mother would wake up and make everything better

2000: With teen age came the responsibility of keeping the heart in check with all the peer pressure of falling love or face the truth of infatuation. She silently prayed for her prince to be ready to mount on the white horse, to sweep her off her feet & never ever wanting to turn back at the bitterness that life had served her all these years

2002: Love in the air, there was nothing more she wanted from life than spend her whole time in his arms, gazing stars and never to wake up if it was a dream. Life couldn’t have been more beautiful than the picture that she lived at the moment. Promises of being together till death does them apart, sealed with a kiss is what kept her going.

2004: The joy of 1st offer letter, a full time job at 18, the pleasure of able to afford the luxuries, by her definition which was limited to a goldclass tickets cuddling next to him and never have to worry at the moment. The next moment she lies on bed with her hand on her tummy trying to apologize to the unborn child which will be aborted in few minutes, all she did was plead for forgiveness and request to choose her again at a better time, bidding good bye had never been this painful

2007: The clock seemed to have turned back while she rejoiced being back at grandparents house, being loved and pampered by the family, which had celebrated her birth. She stayed on the generations' old wooden swing, the longing for a loving mother being diminished by the undivided attention of a grandmother which she cherished.

2008: She watched her grandfather surrender to death after fighting tumor. She watched him on bed, pale and shrunk after fighting for almost an year which felt like eternity. Losing the man who told her stories at night and always asked her to believe in her prince charming, he made the fairy tales a part of her and to believe its not the end if its not happy.

2009: A year to be etched in the memory as one of the most memorable and thankful year of life. A full-fledged post graduate degree with an approval for marrying the man who had promised to do so 10yrs ago. The light headed feeling of the marital status sinking in and never to be worried to rush to parents home after a romantic night.

2012: This close to giving up on life. Unable to express why the craving for motherhood killed her each day. Tired of being desperate to form a human being inside her womb, promise to look at the past mistake and hoping life gives her an opportunity to change the course of action for a life to take form inside her. Futile is what people termed her efforts and slowly did she began to agree with them until a miracle happened and she could feel the heartbeats her little one experienced inside her, responding to every promise she made to love the kid while she cajoled herself to sleep at the end of each day with a smile plastered on her face.

2013: Tiny angel who brought happiness in abundance and called her mamma. Holding
her close to her heart and never wanting to let go with that feeling of being content in life. Nothing more did she want in life. Promises are all she got to ensure her childhood nightmare stayed miles away from her precious daughter. An effort to correct everything that went wrong in her childhood by being a doting mother.

2014: Life is full of surprises and mysteries waiting to be lived and resolved, she bid good-bye to the extended family to build her small cozy nest with husband and daughter miles away in an unknown land. Fears gripping at her feet, depression made an entry to make her fear for her own life.

2016: Ringing her 30th birthday at the most romantic city in the world, Paris offered her the birthday present in the form of bring her the good news of her dream job in the land she refuses to call her own.

2017: She stands tall, gazing at her reflection, chaos in life she smiles and repeats ‘You have lived the worse nightmares, you survived all of them, you will survive everything that life has to offer and ensure being thankful when good times knock at your doorstep coz its always around the corner waiting to be found and lived’

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Orish life..Its Grand

'If nothing ever changed, there would be no butterflies' 

At 30 I still look forward to those moments which gives me butterflies. 2 years ago on this day, I head to airport with the 2yr old baby in my arms dreading to take the 16hr journey all by ourselves. Given the only abroad trip I had ever made to in life was Thailand on work with the whole team (Yes, it was purely official trip and I did not watch any strip shows)

After 2 years, now when I look back, I am thankful that my husband introduced us to this life. The first few months or 1st year was spent crying my heart out, guilt ridden habits and confessions, suicidal thoughts and urge to give up on marriage and rush back to India. 

Now I am thankful that I tackle my emotions slightly better than the past 29years. I also realised your career is not location dependent if you are determined and never stop aiming for that dream to come true, no matter if others call it delusion. I am in a happy place.

People still drop their jaws when I say my husband chose Ireland over Seattle, they do tell us we have lost our marbles. Given the fact US scares the hell out of me with regards to racism and safety, visiting 7 countries around Europe in the last 2 years, Ireland and Irish people stood out the best. You will realise only if you meet them once. Even today I am thankful when my flight lands in Ireland and I see those smiling faces who would always say 'Its such a lovely day' no matter how crap the weather is.

Irish taught me how to be grateful for everything you have, no matter how silly it sounds to others. Each day I step out, 90% of the people I come across would smile and wish you. I have met some amazing people, made few friends for life. I had immense support from those whom I hardly known for few weeks. I still get to hear that I do not fit the bill of typical Indian, I was recently told I swear way too much for an Indian standard (Oh do they know me!). I could never ask for a better country after India to call home. The people I interact on daily basis also informed me I have developed the Irish accent (Not complaining)

There are times when you do miss being away from people who would be there for you, after all there is a reason why you call them your support system. The last couple of months when health took a toll on me and I felt I would remain bed ridden for life, I wanted to run home but I wouldn't have been able to even make it to airport. Guess that is what makes you stronger, you fight your own battles.

Ireland brought us closer as couple as we were left with only with each other to tend to our wounds, joys, celebrations or disappointments of life. Given you head home at 5, no work mails or call and you are forced to spend weekends at home, the family grows closer. I doubt I would have ever been able to spend the quality time with my daughter in India the way I could do it here, the stage where I get to rejoice her every new learning and unlearning things. A typical weekend is spent watching animated movies, baking cakes together, each meal consisting of laughter and unlimited hugs and kisses. Its rare you would have to host people or rush to someone else's place as guests, which you would start being thankful for in life gradually.

Does this make me want to settle here for life? May be yes, may be not. Or I love my street side chats way too much to live on potatoes as chakhna post retirement. I would love to head back, but I do believe another couple of years in Ireland will help me turn into a better and humble person. I am sure the Irish love and affection would rub off on me and I would come to terms of loving everyone equally without being subjective of their origin or attributes. I am sure it will be Grand!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Give it all

This post is very close to my heart. Initially I thought I should write about us, about women, about appreciating being a woman! However every time I post a pic or a staus, many like them, few comment on them and few even text me to say they are happy for me and  how perfect my life is.

Well sorry to burst the bubble, my life has never been perfect. Yes, I have been on exotic holidays, moved abroad, dress up everyday as if I am will be walking on the ramp any moment. But, its not hunky dory life.

Apart from my childhood, which I would say was no less than nightmares at times, it contributed to what I am today. No, I wouldn't discuss my trauma and attribute everything to it and cry my heart out. My hardship days as a kid was a reason I wanted to be a strong headed woman, yes I did attempt and I am still not sure if I ever could be tagged under that title.

Before you start pitying, I should tell you guys that majority of my friends have been through a phase which would be termed traumatic and unfair for a child to go through. Trust me, none of us brood over those days, in fact we laugh it out and say Oh God, let me try to be a good parent by avoiding such situations to our kids to recall. (Each parent hopes for it and I am sure my parents would have tried their best)

Coming to present day, I have my days where I have cried straight 12 hrs, I have tried to kill self, I have laid on bed for hours wondering why few people are so cheerful (Thanks to social media) while I sulk in my misery. I have a record of breaking utensils, phones and snapping at a drop of a hat. Next day I would probably post a pic with my daughter being all cheerful, where I am genuinely happy. (As if the previous day never happened, I wont remember why I did or what I did at times)

All I got to say is, don't compare your life with anyone over the mere social status/pictures/posts and loathe in self misery. We all have our battles to fight, I have struggled but I know I am working towards it. I wouldn't say its a condition/disease to fight depression.

Honestly I have no reason to be depressed if I had to pinpoint. The last time I cried for a reason was when I wanted to embrace motherhood and mother nature had other plans for me. Post natal depression is common (Yes its real), however I escaped it and got trapped in an internal fight with my own self.

For all those who asked me how I remain so cheerful all the time while I cook, work, travel and be a mother, guess what, I am not what you just see in my profile. Nevertheless my each posts and status are the moments where I am genuinely happy and celebrating life. Just that when I am depressed, I try to stay away, I would have my husband trying to comfort me to understand how I could start loving myself. At times I would have my daughter peeking into the room, watching me sob and ask her father, is mommy not well? My heart goes out to her, I would still remain immobile.

Being a wife is easier than being a mother, you are a wife to a grown man who can fend himself if need arises, whereas being a mother, you are responsible to make someone's life who is looking up to you. The reasons for depression, honestly there may not be one. At present I cant pinpoint what hits me. Earlier I listed being homesick, career, finance as aspects leading to self pity, but its not. I worked on each item on list and I still at times fall back to self misery. At my best, I do commend on achieving what I had intended in life, at my worst I hardly appreciate the people who would go that extra mile to help me recover.

The reason I decided to write this is to let people know, life appears to be perfect until you start living in their shoes (No walking a mile wont help). I am working hard to not fall back to times where I had no control on the emotional state I drowned in, irritated, moody, withdrawn or even suicidal. Thanks to my husband who goes through all this with me, but gives it all to pull me back to life. I am blessed to have few friends who have seen me through this and have given great support in working out to make my life better. After all these years I do have to say I have worked hard on it, long way to go but proud of how a little help from loved ones has helped me to fight it.

P.S A psychological study even proves, sharing joyous posts on social media also helps your mental health. Don't jump to judge those who share their joys which may be as simple as painting nails. You don't have to be sympathetic to strangers but you can always provide the empathy to a fellow human being.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

To be a Man for a day!

Its been more than 6 months I logged into this blog. However the title is a wish list I recently added after an outburst on the house chores.

Have you ever wondered why we refer to words like 'Help'  'Supportive' 'Lucky' when a man does the work at home. No I am not referring ti Ki and Ka kind of situation. I am referring to those mundane chores that await at home after a long day at work. Washing utensils, stacking books, making beds, vacuuming home and so on. Yes, there are chores which kicks you into reality when you come home after closing a sales call, or getting that dream promotion you had an eye for, or you are too drunk and invite people top crash at your place.

 The same chores accomplished by a woman never is appreciated, because its routine. THATS WHAT WOMEN DO! Or like my mom says, 'Oh, come on, men already have so much to worry outside the
house, the least you can do is to give him some peace at home'.  I was brought up with this thought etched in my mind by my grandma, looked up to aunts and mom who followed this rule.

Here I stand, married for 7 years to a guy who knows me for 16years now (Thanks to those milestones, he rushes to kitchen doing dishes and starts folding clothes the moment he sees a sign that I will flip any moment).

I wish to be a Man for a day, only so that those overflowing bins don't disturb me while I peel a banana and have no space to throw that peel, those stacked up plates and glasses will not bother if I have to eat food directly from a container, I don't mind sitting on floor to catch the favourite show because the couch is full of clothes that needs to be put away.

I cannot fathom how all the above mess doesn't bother them. You could still catch a glimpse of happiness while they sit and catch up with friends gossiping on a girl who would have innocently liked a guy's post analysing how sexy she has turned out after all these years, while a woman would be cursing to have neglected the simple decor of the house!

No! Taking her out for dinners or weekends, ordering food is not giving her a break (She would still have to come back to those piled up chores and holidays adding to it). IMHO taking up her chores, end to end for a day or 2 in week regularly is giving her a break. Meanwhile ensuring your mom doesn't have to hit the ceiling that your wife/gf has got you in her witch spells.

So did you ensure your wife/gf doesn't wish to be a Man for the day?

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Istanbul...Indeed the home of Turkey

New year's eve may be over rated but I shamelessly accept I am on the list of their target when they promote parties, getaways and other frills.

Since I believe 1st of every year is a glimpse of how you will be spending the rest of the year, I ensure I plan my New Year's eve and 1st of January meticulously. (I just pass a vague idea to my husband who comes out with perfect plan to execute it). 2015 has been wonderful to us with moving away from country and taking few risks.

It all started when I wanted a New Year being away from the dreadful winter of Dublin and we chose Turkey as our destination. As per weather reports few months back it should have been +5-6degrees of what Dublin had to offer. Fortunately the weather gods were not pleased and instead we were welcomed with 5-7inch snow in Istanbul.

S is very particular of where we stay, he ensures we travel less during holidays and enjoy more in the vicinity of our stay. We carefully chose the hotel next to the iconic Blue Mosque which even has the monument Hagia Sohia within 500mts.

We landed in the evening and the unexpected snow ensured we tuck ourselves comfortably and order room service for the night. We had our 5 day schedule in the Evernote which listed a visit to Grand Bazaar for the shopping on 1st day (Yes, that’s the way to deal with women and keep them happy on holidays). The Grand bazaar right to its name is grand in every way. You would need minimum of 4hrs if you have to cover each lane. The colorful lanterns, the nazar souvenirs, the beautiful and royal merchandise for home decor would leave you wanting for more back home.

The 1st thing we had learnt was to bargain everything and anything. Start with a price in mind and stick to it (Almost 50% of the original rate). I had 2 bags full with my choice and S bargaining powers. We had to head back for the New Year's Eve to our hotel so that the cruise we had booked could arrange to pick us for the night.

The cruise is a must, even if not dinner included you need to experience it for the feel of being under Bosphorous Bridge, in between 2 continents and realize how irrelevant our pity issues of day to day life are compared to such sights. We had booked the cruise for dinner, Turkish dance, Belly dance and liquor of course. The cruise ended at 2:00 am and left us exhausted with wonderful memories to cherish.

Morning we had the major parts of the trip to cover with Topkapi palace, Hippodrome and Basillica Cistern. Being from the city of palaces Mysore, Topkapi palace was a disappointment. The history associated with it was fascinating. The treasure maintained by them takes you back to the times and you wonder of their lifestyle, battles fought, life they lived. For me the swords of Prophet caught the attention, novice in history of the religion and of course the Kaaba pieces of Mecca will enlighten you. We wanted more of it and picked a book on Ottoman Empire to quench our thirst to know more. Time constraint we missed the Harem, place where one emperor had almost 900 women at his service in a given time (Book called Sexual life in Ottoman Society gives in depth information on it). Also you must try the Konyali restaurant at Top Kapi, amazing food with breath taking view to enjoy and relax after the whole walk.

The Basilica Cistern was captivating with the story of Medusa to be covered. To witness a part of Roman love for water storage underground with such marvel will not disappoint you. You can spend hours looking at Medusa pillars and wonder what story she withholds behind those closed eyes. You are tempted to run your hand in her snake like hair and wonder if she was as beautiful as described. (S couldn’t stop referring the book Inferno which ends at Basilica Cistern, sorry for the spoiler).

The day of sightseeing ended with the Cistern, thanks to hours of walking to cover mere kilometers in snow. We vowed to be up early next day to cover the rest of the items on our 'Places to visit'. The place at Arasta Bazaar was the place for us to hang out every evening as it had amazing Hookah cafe with good food. They also have Turkish Sufi dance played every evening so you enjoy the entertainment as well. The energy of the man who spanned for 5 mins every 15mins left me mesmerized and of course the Hookah was the icing on the cake.

The Blue mosque is captivating with its enormous structure and visibility of the minars throughout Istanbul. Be it winter, summer or spring the monument is beautiful throughout the year. We were well prepared to cover our head with Hijab/Scarf as per the norms Kiddo was excited with the new hairdo. The crowd chattering inside takes away the peace which I prefer in places like Blue Mosque. The walls have that tinge of blue with a couple of blue colored tiles in the ceiling. The whole set up of low lights for visibility takes away the charm of the mosque. I personally feel if you need to appreciate the beauty of the mosque the low lights needs to be banned for good. You finally make it through the crowd of tourists who often forget to keep their slippers in the blue plastic bag provided and you regret the missing 'No Shoe policy' followed at temples.

Haghia/Aaya Sophia on the other hand is calmer (Probably because you can walk to the next floor and get a panoramic view of the 1700yrs old monument. The number of years is good enough to visit this place and you realize its not easy to restore them with do and redo of the artwork. It was a church during Byzantine times with the painting of Emperors donating to Virgin Mary and Christ. I found that amusing given we criticize people or wonder how desperate are you to be seen with celebrities in present times. Apart from that you can see the altar which has the Allah and Christ next to each other scribbled across the interiors of the monument. This has to be one of my favorite places in Istanbul because it triggers everything you have learnt in terms of religion. The history of how Constantine and other emperors evolved in this monument will be eye opening. (P.S I did feel like keeping an idol of Ganpati in the pic to make it picture perfect but I let that go: P)

Now, THE PLACE to visit while sightseeing Istanbul and which did indeed got me to drop my jaw was Dolmabache Palace. Take all the synonyms for the word Grand or Royal and this palace should define it for you in pictures. Just rushing through 4 rooms, 4 halls and 4 chandeliers along took 4 hrs, Not Kidding. The Harem (Place specific for women in the family) confirms the least importance given to it. However the grandeur of the interiors, the decor is fantabulous. It is believed the construction of this palace left the emperor almost bankrupt and you will agree why when you visit this palace. The obsession of Emperor to showcase the European style, the art of Venice is depicted in the palace throughout.

Amidst enriching ourselves with few wiki pages on history of these monuments we did squeeze in time for a relaxing Hamam at Cagaloglu, which was rated as 1 of the 1000 places to try before you die (In 2007). Nevertheless it was peaceful and royalty experience when someone else scrubs and gives you a bubble bath just before you turn 30! Of course after I ran through the celebrities list who has visited the place, I can say I did take bath on the same stone as Cameron Diaz (Or had my ass on the same stone as hers).

Apart from this we did barge into Hard Rock Cafe which was rated the best in the city and a must try (P.S if you have tried the place in India you can skip it in Istanbul for no novelty in menu or food). For the same we skipped Takism square and Galata tower because we were drunk hard at HRC. (No Regrets)

I have summarized my trip to Istanbul and hopefully will visit this place, rich in history sometime in summer of my lifetime.



Tuesday, November 24, 2015

NRI..The Non-Repairable Indians

Hello there! Its about to be an year I moved to Dublin and fall into the category of so called NRI.

The other day someone asked me how can I be an NRI if its just been a year, they had assumed that an NRI would be someone who has gained the citizenship of other country! Thank god its not right and I still have a long way to go for it.

Let me tell you that as a kid I though the best part of NRI would be the access to different chocolates you would have. The moment I hit puberty, the bubble burst and I wished to never leave my country. It was time when girls were getting married and I was being nudged to find a suitor who qualifies as Software Engineer (The trend then). People were excited when cousins and distant relatives found suitors who were software engineers because they were prospective NRI relatives in the making.

Fortunately I did get married to a software engineer who has no ideas in pipeline to be an NRI! I was more than happy. A tad bit irritated every time someone asked if we are pursuing the companies which would give us the opportunity. We often discussed why all the fuss?

However as the world conspires into something you are not yet ready, we had to move to Dublin. The number of congratulations couldn't compete with the advises that followed. However everyone presented a rosy picture of moving abroad. The quality of life, quality of food and the impact on one's kids' upbringing!

I was more nervous than ever, other than giving up a career there were many things I wasn't prepared for. As feared I did not enjoy moving! Everything had to be learnt, many things had to be let go.

What irks me is a forward which went around, on how much you are being paid for each profession
in other countries compared to India. What they forgot is, I would pay 200 times the price for few stuff like coriander, I would end up paying 2000Rs for a one way cab ride to work, I pay Starbucks coffee rate at a coffee machine at work. I would pay my Indian annual salary for a month's rent to stay in 2 bedroom house. Or every doctor visit I would be paying 3000Rs for consultation

Few examples for those who assumed being paid in Dollars or Euros is a cake walk for leading a comfortable life or going on exotic family vacations or parents assuming the kids earns in foriegn currency so they can never have any concern on spending few lakhs every visit.

However there are few things you appreciate in moving away from India. The appreciation for small things in life, thankful for all those friends who did hang out with you every week back in India, the time you get to spend with your family without worrying about the traffic. (P.S applicable to the place I live), the nature which always surpises you with its beauty with every changing season.

The ultimate goal has to be making the best of what you have and where you live. Appreciate what the country has to offer in terms of living, because few countries might even restrict you on living at your terms.



Saturday, July 18, 2015

Mannat.. Belief.. Gratitude .. Bajrangi Bhaijaan inspired!

I have been a typical Salman Khan fan. I can watch and vouch for all the nonsense movies he comes up with. 

Today it wasn't different when I stepped out with my 2.5yr old daughter to watch Bajrangi Bhaijaan. Both of us are on paracetamol for 3days now and running with 102 degrees fever, guess the Fan Thing started with me ecstatic every time I saw Salman on screen and now Sia can't hold back her excitement of watching him on screen. 

Past few weeks/months I am still trying to cope with changes in life, I draw support from family and friends whom I left behind 1000s of miles behind. These days I break down at a drop of a pin, I can't stop complaining about every small issue which also includes the unpredictable rain of Dublin! 

Bajrangi Bhaijaan just got me nostalgic of what mattered the most for me couple of years back. I could trade my whole happiness for the experience of motherhood. 

Married at 23, I wanted nothing but being a mother at 24. I have no subtle way to put across how torturous my obsession had been on my family and friends. My health refused to give up to my wish while I battled the agony of even spotting childrena' clothing line in a shopping mall. I could sob for hours at the mall, break down every time I saw a woman begging while she tied a baby to her waist. I only had 1 question, why not me??

I wouldn't call myself religious, I still quote the reason of psychological than religion when people ask why I don't try meat. I don't preach religion, nor do I judgle people on caste. 

This has been my opinion since childhood, hence the belief of Mannat applied to every shrine across, from Tirupathi, Mantralaya, kukke, Ajmer Dargah, Haji Ali or St Philomenas church. I did not miss even one asking for my wish to be granted. 

I am educated, I believe in science. I believe in scientific reason justifying the religious practices, however a belief which keeps you going, which lets you live with hope can't be harmful. 

My Mannat across all the above shrines was the belief/faith in a magical wand that would go round and make my wish come true kind. 

There was no other joy I wanted. Most of them felt pity, while few suggested adoption. It's not just the kid in my life that mattered, I wanted to experience the precious 9 months of creating a human inside my womb. I did not give up. My family, my husband, my in laws watched me go crazy at times when I broke down and yet supported me to stay strong.. My inability made me more guilty of the void in my life. 

It all seems a distant past now when I see Sia sitting next to me and shouts 'mamma Salman Khan'. I suddenly realised how did I stop living the joy I wished for constantly across all this shrines. How did the biggest joy of my life took a backseat while I started cribbing on mere issues of life. 

Guess it's time to be grateful, for the n number mannats which fortunately co incided with my health to make my wish come true, thankful to all those who stood by me during my worst and continue to wish for my best. 

Small joys are meant to be cherished while being grateful to the joy which was unexpectedly thrown at you. 

A revelation indeed!