Day 12 : Write about 5 blessings in your life

1. My Grandparents

My parents have always lived with my grandparents and hence, I was raised mostly in their tender care.

My Grandpa took me out every evening at the Railway Station where we watched trains go by, while I ate the chivda in my tiffin. He inculcated the habit of reading in me, as I always mimicked him reading the newspaper or the novels (from the town library, which was established by my great Grandfather). He used to pickup and drop me to school on our Kinetic Honda, even in his 70s. During our short trips to the school, he used to tell me interesting stories, facts about the WWI & WWII (which he had witnessed) and other such trivia. Till this day, when I go home, he asks about who I am reading and discusses the ongoing news stories. He even knows what Twitter is, at the age of 92!

My Grandma fed me the most healthiest meals, while diverting my attention to the moon – as I was a very fussy eater. She told me all the stories of our Puranas – The Ramayana, The Mahabharata and even the Bhagwat. She is the epitome of contentment and has taught me to be happy under any circumstances. She has even been strict to me, when Mummy could not. On the other hand, she always rescued me from Mummy’s reprimands. She is a friend to me now that I am grown up. We watched movies together…old and new, Hindi and English. She has been my silent guiding light all these years.

My maternal Grandpa and Grandma were a decade and a half older than my paternal grandparents. But even they have left a lasting impression on my personality as a whole. I do not remember my Grandma much, but she was a living repository of old folk songs. She had a song for every small occasion. She was ever smiling. Her English was impeccable. Grandpa was a doctor and the most gregarious personality I have ever come across. He absorbed the most unpleasant shocks with grace and lived each day to the fullest. We were spoilt bad with the season’s best mangoes when we went to Nanihal. They taught me that life is a celebration.

I am blessed to have Grandparents hale and hearty throughout my childhood.

And a special mention to my paternal great Grandmother – she used to tell me – ” Don’t give up on education because you are a girl. Become a doctor, or an engineer.” Born in 1905, she was a progressive lady and had an outlook far wider than her times. I was 10 when she passed away, but not before she shaped my tiny mind.

2. Supportive and understanding parents

With 3 elders around to care for me, you’d figure they didn’t have to do much to raise me. But that did not keep them from lending their unique touches to my personality.

My Mom has always been in the background – taking my daily homework and keeping me focussed enough on my studies. She is the rock of our family. I have never given her enough credit, but she is the one who has taught me to keep my cool when the world is falling apart.

My Dad has always encouraged me in the quirkiest things I wanted to do – like planning to watch a ’99 solar eclipse in ’93 and actually doing so when the day came! You might think it’s not a big deal, but it is. Particularly because it wasn’t the Internet age yet and being in a small town, it was quite difficult to get the glasses to watch it. He went all the way to get a tinted glass cut from a large sheet at the local furniture shop, to keep an off-hand promise he had made 6 years back.

They let me paint my room, they let me and my friends DJ party at home in junior college, they let me keep pets. I could discuss anything under the sun with them.

And they knew when to let go!

After I went to college, they have never tried to keep excessive tabs on me.

3. Wonderful childhood

I had the best school ever and the best teachers ever and the best playmates ever. Our school went from a 2 room Kindergarten, to a former law court and finally to an owned building. Out batch has seen our school building being built. When we were in Senior Kg., we would be taken from the current building (law court) to the new building when it was just a skeleton. We’d be allowed to play for an hour or so and then head back. We moved to the new building in 1st Std. If I have my basics clear in languages, maths, science, history and other stuff, I have my teachers to thank for it.

They raised us like their own children and knew what each of us was up to!

I never felt that I was anything less than the city kids, thanks to my teachers.

It so happens sometimes that school time was so good, nothing extraordinary that happens now measures up to the magical days that were.

A big part of my childhood is the time spent with the younger sibling. When he was a baby, I watched out for him and he was in awe of his big sister. (At least that’s what I think.) Later,we fought, we hated each other and then made up for our fights. We had each other’s back when it mattered. I may have been sort of a bully to him in the those years, but that hopefully did not impact our sibling bond. He graciously included me in his gully cricket matches and humours me still, when I ask him to play a few overs with me.

He’s taught me to share and to be responsible.

If not for him, my childhood would not have been as wonderful as it was.

4. My husband

He’s the biggest surprise of my life. We were class-mates, who connected half-a-decade after school and the rest is history. I am the most ‘me’ when I am around him. He’s a dreamer like me and unlike me, he works on them. He keeps me grounded when I get over-confident and motivates me when I feel I have under-achieved.

The smile in his eyes is all I need, to know that life is beautiful.

5. My brain

Don’t look at me like that! If not for my brain, which has been shaped and nurtured by such insightful, loving, and knowledgeable people, how would I have enjoyed life? I am thankful that I am sane enough and that my dear brain makes my own company enjoyable to me. I am never bored when alone. I can just think of an interesting subject (day dream) and my loneliness vanishes. I am not schizophrenic, in case you are wondering. It aches to learn new things, grasps new concepts easily and goes into zero when I want it to. I hope my brain lasts till the lifetime and I don’t catch Alzheimer’s anytime soon.

Day 16 : Something that you miss

There are many things that I miss. Most of the times, they get auto-blocked considering I have so many things to do at all given times. One thing that I cannot block and often comes to me in my dreams is my childhood.

Childhood to me is till 17, the wonderful 17 years that I spent at home – with the most amazing school buddies one could have.

I miss the quiet afternoons painting in the shade of the giant neem tree in our ground. Though I could hardly paint, I miss the pains I undertook to try to paint.

I miss the starry nights and the once-seen meteor shower where we counted upto 459 shooting stars. They were so near, the stars…

I miss Chunky, my cat. How she came running from about 5 blocks away when I called out from the terrace…

I miss my grandparents’ health. I do not like to see them frail.

I miss being awed by special effects in movies like the Jurassic Park.

I miss the grandeur of the zoo and the planetarium at Baroda – it is in ruins now. As a kid I was left open jawed at the shows, now there is hardly anyone to watch the shows. And the kids are noisy, dabble with mobile phones mid-show – I wish they had the same wonder as our generation. But I am too quick to judge, maybe they wonder at other things now…

I miss being the teacher’s pet. Being scolded and patted on the back, equally.

I miss playing music. I miss reading comics.

I miss being amazed by technology. The first time I handled a computer mouse. The DOS game ‘Carmen’ I played in Computer period…

Mostly, I miss my attitude towards life as a kid. It is there some lucky days; on other days I am forced by grown-ups into thinking like a grown-up – whatever that means, I still have to figure out what thinking like a grown-up means.

There are so many other things I miss…in a good way. But I am happy living on, each day, making new memories, buying new things – that I will someday miss. 🙂

Me and the Jurassic World

I just realized how fans of Star Trek would have felt all this while, when I heard of Jurassic World last month. Funny I had no inkling there was a dino movie in making.

The childhood memories came back rushing. I was 7 when the first movie released. There is a theatre just behind my home (literally! When it was not yet sound-proofed, I could hear every dialogue of the movies showing there. I have been told that it used to be an open theatre and my Dad and his cousins used to watch the movies from our terrace!). They used to extend neighbourly courtesy of allowing the tiny me to watch the show anytime, everyday for free.

Truth to be told, I hated the movie. I was petrified at the thought of the T-rex chasing people in the movie. ‘Cos that was an age when I thought I was with them in the Jurassic Park. It all seemed so real! I think all the kids’ minds augment the CGI effects, till they are below 10. I passed up the ‘watch for free’ opportunity and used to stay only for the scenes where the herbivores roamed tall and free.

Then the second part came. We had gone to watch the movie Border, to the neighbouring district. The theatre there had better sound effects ‘Dolby Digital’! And alas! Border was taken down the same morning and some Lost World was up. Our faces (mine and the younger sibling’s) were worth watching – to have travelled 2 hours for a war movie and to find an English movie up! Those were the days when I barely understood 1 or 2 lines of the foreign accent. The younger sibling was only one when the earlier (Jurassic Park) was released, so he was very curious when we got to know that the Lost World is actually Jurassic Park II. I was hesitant. I had signed up for Border, a war movie – not THAT horror movie again! And they said it was even scarier!! Reluctantly, I stepped in with the family – to 2 and a half hours of sheer horror. The li’l girl’s part in it was comforting though, as I was nearly as old as her – or so I thought 😛

After that, whenever we went to Balaji Talkies – a theatre owned by my friend’s family on a property located at the outskirts of our town (we basically went there to play in the garden, their house was being constructed nearby – so we used to make a half-day trip out of it) – we used to sneak into the ‘balcony’ and watch the scary scenes with open mouths. It was a funny feeling – to be scared to death and enjoy it. Maybe I had grown up. Those were the days when movies ran for months on end. Jurassic Park II stayed for almost 6 months or even a year, enthralled a packed house everyday and the theatre closed down a la the park after that. A fitting end to a legendary theatre of the town. I still remember sneaking in, the guard coming rushing after us and us proudly stating we are the owners or just staring at him till he realised it for himself.

Such was the effect of the movie on our small town that the winning Ganpati pandal that year (organized by my other friend’s grandfather) had a 20 feet T-rex – roaring, walking, and then chasing the spooked and shouting audience. I went there daily and could hear some of the petrified kids earnestly appealing Ganapati Bappa to save them from its wrath!

Jurassic Park III came and went by in a haze. I don’t even remember whether I have watched it or not.

When I was watching the Jurassic World yesterday, it was the first time I thought – ‘Sigh! I should’ve had kids old enough to watch it! Then I could have told them about all the fun I had when I was their age.’

Oh boy! These childhood movie sequels and the nostalgia they evoke!

If you ask me about the movie, thankfully I did not try to analyse the CGI. I watched it with belief. Like I did in childhood. (The only difference being, now I understood each and every dialogue. 😛 ) And I was rewarded. It was a real thrill to discuss memories with the hubby – us having been in the same school! Pity, we never watched the movies together as children 🙂

You should’ve seen my wistful face. And then it gave way to an excited expression – I had just watched a movie which dominated my childhood RPGs- with my husband! These games were not on the screen, by the way, but in actual playgrounds – where we (not me and him, we hardly talked then *sigh*) released the fattest, strongest buffalo and pretended she was T-rex and the winner had to bell it! Later, we added the calves as raptors 😛

Go watch it! You will relive your childhood. Better still if you have kids 🙂 They will relive yours!





Day 9 : Post some words of wisdom that speak to you.

I have always loved Rudyard Kipling’s If. I don’t remember how I discovered it. It was perhaps an unseen poem in one of the school papers.

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

The poem speaks of an inner quality of mind which makes one human. I have my interpretations of it. Please let me know yours in the comment section. We’ll trade notes.

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!)