Day 1 : 10 things that make you (me) really happy

This is a real easy prompt.

It takes very little to make me happy.

  1. Cloud patterns
    When I am really sad or just plain saturated, I look at the sky. The cloud patterns at any time of the day remind me of the vastness of life. They are instant mood elevators.
  2. Twilight in solitude
    Continuing from the above, I like to be alone when the first star appears in the evening; the onset of twilight. It makes me all tranquil and happy.
  3. A rose from him
    IMG_20140307_104955 (1)
    In 2007, when Mukesh Ambani bought a jet for his wife, hostel friends were discussing what kind of gifts they would like from their future husbands. I used to say that even a single rose gifted by the special someone will bring a huge smile to my face. That is the only gift I would expect him to give me. And lo behold, the first ever gift (of his own accord) that Abhijeet gave me before our engagement, was a single red rose! Even now, after years, whenever he brings a rose for me, it makes me feel like the happiest girl in the universe.
  4. Cats
    Real or virtual, friendly or distant – cats of all sorts make me happy, as if I am a kid all over again.
  5. Movies that hold special meaning for me
    There are some movies of which I am very possessive. Border, Chupke chupke, Sarfarosh, Hazaaron khwaishen aisi, Dil chahta hai – to name a few. I can see such movies hundreds of times and still enjoy them like the first time I saw them. If I need a happiness booster, and the TV happens to be airing them, it is as pleasant a coincidence as it can be.
  6. Outdoor activities
    I am always game for some gully-cricket, garden badminton or a quick trek. If these activities are with a competitive person(s), it is all the more fun.
  7. Writing
    Although I am a big procrastinator when it comes to actually putting down my thoughts on paper, I am at my happiest best when I am writing. It is akin to a state of complete freedom from all the worldly worries- the Zen state. I wonder if I can call that being happy. 🙂
  8. Shopping
    I seldom spend much. But when I set out shopping, I spend substantially. The whole shopping activity infuses me with a kind of happiness one can only associate with a school kid getting new clothes and textbooks at the end of May. Be it anything – clothes, jewellery, stationery, home decor…etc.
  9. Day dreaming
    I day dream, like any writer would. My day dreams though are more focussed on improving the self. The kind of day dream where I have established a steady daily routine, my desktop and computer hard disk is free of junk files, my closet does not have any unnecessary clothes and I spend my time only on the activities which will help me further my creativity and fitness – is the ultimate ‘happy’ doze for me.
  10. Starting something new
    I have this philosophy that one should never ever settle down ‘ambition-wise’ after having a steady income, a decent home and a loving family with lifelong friends. That is the base of life, the building however has to be built on it with things that you start doing and gradually excel in. So when I start working on something I have always wanted to do, I feel a sudden rush of happiness which is like a kid heading to school on the first day. (Eh yes, I was one of those rare variety of kids who liked school and did not cry on the first day!)


Be a little loco.
Be a little loco.

Loco means crazy in Spanish. Crazy though is not stupid. Crazy maybe mad but not senile.

When I was in 5th, I used to carry a craft paper, make an origami pen-stand out of it and stick it on the wall near my bench. Instead of drawing pencils from the compass, I just used to reach out for it on the wall. Our teacher banned it after a few days, but it was worth it.

I made a class magazine in the 7th standard vacations and released it in 8th. Neha, my dear friend and classmate, helped me make the cover for it. She is an amazing interior decorator now. We named it ‘Allrounder’. The magazine had classroom gossip, stories translated in English from Hindi/Gujrati Chandamama, crossword (made by me!) and other games and even an editorial! I made two copies, Neha drew the covers on both. I circulated it for 25 paise for 2 days to whoever wished to read it. I planned on giving Neha a royalty fee out of my meagre earnings. Our teacher caught a copy and banned the magazine. The second edition never came out. It was worth it.

Earlier, in 7th, I noticed I had a lot of comics. My Dad’s friend gave me his whole comic book collection from the 70’s. I was over the moon! Still I needed new comics too. My Dad used to bring me comics regularly and I bought a second hand copy every month from the local comic library. They were expensive for a kid like me with no pocket money. (Yes, my parents insisted on me asking for money whenever I needed. There was no fixed sum every month.)

I decided to earn it out instead. I announced the opening of a Library – just that, no name. I put up an office desk, the one with cupboards, in an old empty room downstairs. 5 Rs deposit and 1 Rupee per week for 1 copy. To lure potential members, I announced a sticker free on every membership. I bought stickers worth 15 Rs. The library was going good, with 3 active members and 2 passive members. I had 25 Rs as deposit.

To support my comics expenses, I also started an order-to-make greetings shop. I sold two cards for 15 Rs in total. One day, I was trying to rope in another member by showing him a comic book, when the teacher noticed it. The library was banned. Eventually, the greeting cards were banned. But they were worth it.

I gave back the deposits and used the stickers for myself. I bought one second hand comic book with my earnings (5 Rs mine and the other 5 taken from parents).

Creativity needs craziness :: A painting I made with the name stickers, I bought for the library, as models. Them playing in the day care center was my idea. It was then put on our class walls in 8th, along with Neha's and other people's works. (Dated -23-6-99)
Creativity needs craziness :: A painting I made with the name stickers, I bought for the library, as a reference. Them playing in the day care center was my idea. It was then put on our class walls in 8th, along with Neha’s and other people’s works. (Dated -23-6-99)

In 10th, our science teacher had a pet puppy ‘Rex’ at his home. When we used to go for tuitions, I used to carry him inside and attend the class with it on my lap. Obviously the other students were a bit distracted. Sir politely asked me to leave him outside. I refused. Then he threatened to ban me! He said I would be allowed only if Rex was left outside. I took Rex and sat outside the class, in the garden. After half an hour, he was worried for my marks as 10th is a board exam. He called me inside and even agreed to allow Rex. I smiled, let Rex remain outside and sat like an obedient student should. Banning did not work on me anymore!

In 11th, I had this habit of talking to Chunky, my cat, as if she understood everything I said. I think she even did understand. I did not care a hoot who saw me talking to her. The neighbouring Aunty had banned her from her house, and tried all kinds of tricks to keep her away. One involved throwing a bucketful of waste yucky water on her, if she was anywhere nearby. One day when Chunky was about to go near the house, I yelled at her to come back. She did. I then started talking to her about how she was not supposed to go there and asking her how was her day in general. I heard voices from the other side of the grilled windows. One voice said, who is she? The other voice said (the voice who knew me well), who cares? She’s a bit crazy.

I smiled. That was a compliment.

In my school time, I may have done things which were a little out of box. But then, that is what made it memorable! When I went to college, as I tried to fit into the normal rut, I started to go a tad mad (the senile kind). It ceased only when I returned to my ‘little crazy’ self. The stuff that got me banned and the attitude which was termed crazy is what helped me succeed in life so far – personal and professional.

It brings out one’s creativity, fosters imagination and builds confidence to put one’s ideas in front of the world. The crazy bent also strengthens one enough to rise again from failure of ventures and succeed eventually. Succeed like no one else has…with a knowing smile!

Así mi amigos, estar un poco loco!

         (So my friends, be a little crazy!)


Source : Unknown
Source : Unknown












Project 365 – 2 – Wo kehte hain mera watan

Disclaimer : This post was written before I came to know that Iqbal’s ideology transitioned from having India as a united nation to a pro-partition stand. However, this nazm still holds true, for the Iqbal that saw a free India.

A Republic Day Special this –

Waving with pride

Wo kehte hain mera watan,
ab nahi raha Iqbal ka chaman,
mere zehen me jhank ke dekho zara,
aaj bhi hai wo jazba, wo nazaara,
jab har dil me ek hi baat hoti thi,
mohabbat sirf ek tarah ki hoti thi,
jasbat wahi naye andaaz me jhalakte hain,
jab kadam Dhvajvandan ki or badhte hain.
kehta hai Tiranga dekhkar apni azaad avaam,
bas jung-e-azaadi me nahi the muhib-e-watan,
uss anjaan shaheed ki ilamat hai har wo insaan,
asar-o-rasokh na kare jisko apna rutba-e-hum-watan,
mahej insaan se salook kare jaise insaan………..
zinda hain, kuch galiyon me aise chand bashinde,
jo lautayenge is gulistaan ko uske nayaab parindey,
aur wo kehte hain mera watan,
ab nahi raha Iqbal ka chaman!

zehen – conscious, jazba- emotion, jung-e-azaadi – freedom struggle, muhib-e-watan – patriots, mahej – only, bashinde – inhabitants (here – citizens), gulistaan – garden, parindey – birds (here, the peace pigeons signifying good citizens), nayaab – rare, asar-o-rasokh – influence

The general idea of the poem is

Some claim that India is no longer the land the great poet Iqbal described as Saare Jahaan Se Achha. I would urge them to look inside my conscious and they will see the same inspired emotion reflecting in my thoughts, which was in the minds of people fighting for India’s struggle; as I walk towards the flag hoisting ground. The emotion is love, there was only one kind of love which existed then and it was for their country. The Tricolour looks proudly at the assembled Avaam, it’s free citizens and addresses them saying,”It is not only in the freedom struggle that patriotism manifested itself. They were not the only patriots, the people who laid down their lives in the freedom struggle. The season of patriotism is not over. Each one of my citizens, who treats his fellow citizens with equality – without being influenced by his status, symbolizes the unknown freedom fighters of that era.” There are  exist (even though few) citizens like this, who live in the bylanes of this country. They have vowed to bring back the rare species of such patriots. And they still say, my country is not Iqbal’s Hindustan anymore?!