Saturday, January 30, 2016

Mischief Stories

If you have little kids, you will agree that unless they are asleep, a little silence is a very very dangerous thing.  

These little guys are infinitely curious, instinctively explorative and blissfully unaware of risk or consequences. 

And they never fail to come up with new and indigenous ways of making mischief. And since they cute by default, you are not sure whether to yell, burst out laughing or click a picture. Ya maybe all three are a good idea.

Here are a few mischief stories I have had the pleasure (and displeasure) of witnessing. .. :) 

  • like when my little brother, once upon a time, decided to play with the matches behind the curtain. Luckily I found him on time.
  • like when my little girl discovered that tattooing her face with black felt pen, half an hour before a party was a brilliant idea for 'last minute touch up'.
  • like when my son discovered how to open the powder tin and covered himself and the bed in it.
Taken a good 4 years ago!

  • like when he also figured out how to open the ball point pen refill from both ends. That did not come off easily at all.
  • like when my little girl decided she would cook like mummy a.k.a pour water from one cup to another repeatedly. Only the bed turned out to be the right height for a woman of her stature... so oops.
  • like when my son decided to scoop our little fish out of the aquarium and after a thorough examination decided it did not look too happy. Yeah right! Catch and release.    
  • And yes when he decided that he could make his own winter wonderland in the living room. All you need is thermocol. And BTW, have you even tried sweeping this clean? Its like sitting inside a 'just shaken' snow globe.
  •  And how can I forget when he decided that the boring beige sofa could use some color. Red  and blue crayons would be perfect.
One classic story is a video of a little boy whose got his head through the bars of the front gate and how his folks were finding it very difficult to get him out. After numerous attempts, the child left his head where it was and managed to squeeze his entire body through to the other side!!

This list is non exhaustive. And though many stories may be similar, I'm sure every parent will have a unique one to add to this list. :D

Friday, January 29, 2016


She swallowed the last one; for once, hopeful; hopeful about her journey into the mysterious black-hole of her soul.

My first attempt at one line fiction. I am not sure of the structure or rules. I was too impatient to check. Please let me know what you think!

I initially titled it 'mercy killing' and , as I feel sometimes for a person suicide is really an act of mercy towards themselves. They feel they are punishing themselves by being alive and the only way to escape that bodily punishment is to journey into the black hole that is sucking them in. 

#flashfiction #onelinefiction #depression #suicide

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

#2016reading - 'Life is what you make it'

Just finished my first book for 2016. Preeti Shenoy's 'Life is what you make it'. 

I really enjoyed the book. The story line is simple and straight forward. Yet at the same time, you want to keep reading. Its about the life of a spunky young girl called Ankita and journey from school to college and post graduation and all the associated fun things that happen until suddenly Ankita loses control over herself and ends up in a mental institution. I think Preeti is fabulous in her observations  and I cannot wait to devour the rest of her books. And in the story, when the main character is diagnosed with a mental disease (that everyone usually wants to sweep under the carpet), it only encourages us to be more empathetic and informed before labelling a person as 'crazy'.

#readingfor2016 #preetishenoy

Monday, January 25, 2016

When the grass is greener... on the other side

"The grass is always greener on the other side"

How many times have we heard this and quoted it?

Did you know it comes from an American song called, “The Grass is always Greener in the other Fellow’s Yard” by Raymond B. Egan and Richard A. Whiting (circa 1924), and the idea originated or rather was expressed centuries earlier by some poet called Ovid. Oh yeah, people have been saying this forever!

I'm sure many of us have that one person who we envy from the bottom of our hearts. That person who has it all. Everything we want. That person who always seems to get what he/she desires. Everyone loves that person and everyone wants to be his friend. That one person who you wish you were.

It could be any one: fellow bloggers, rich neighbours, good looking and always "put together" moms. Everyone we feel we are not.

I think, envy is a very natural reaction. And its OK to want something or want to be like someone else. But unfortunately envy is also very destructive. Envy mostly stems from insecurity and poor self image. The moment that enviable person gets a great idea or performs a task well or is a new owner of something desirable, one suddenly feels threatened, useless, hopeless and defeated. And unfortunately envy thrives on itself, draining one of any positive energy and translating into shorter tempers, pity parties, grumpy moods and all things negative. And yes maybe even it makes one evil enough to suppress and stall the other person's success. No wonder it is considered one of the seven deadly sins!!

I don't think I have suppressed anyone's success due to envy. (at least I hope I not!) But I have experienced it in all its glory.  It came suddenly and very soon took over. I was miserable. I was angry. I could not focus. I felt nothing I do will be good enough. I looked at myself as a failure. Why? 

Because I could not be that person. The roses in his garden were more fragrant. The butterflies fluttering about those roses were more vibrant. The fruits in his patch were sweeter. I wanted that grass and that garden and that life. Mine was just not good enough. And it actually made me a lesser version of the person I knew myself to be. The envy grew until I completely made a fool of myself. 

I was so surprised when this happened a couple of times, that I knew I needed an intervention. I asked myself a very simple question: "Why should this other person who I actually admire, cause me to feel so miserable? Why should it make me hate myself and all that I have?" I could not believe that these emotions had so much control over me. 

Then began my research on 'envy' and how to deal with it. Yes, I honestly think the Internet is a solution to many problems :)

And it is true: if you already have a low self image and low self esteem you are more vulnerable to the vices of envy. And I actually tried to sit and rationalise as to why that person is where he/she is and what exactly about that was bothering me. When I looked at it with a clear mind I noticed a pattern in that person's life, I noticed there was hard work involved. Yes some people are blessed with extra doses or luck or that X factor or wealth. But there was also a sincere effort into what made that person successful. And that could not, should not, must not be overlooked.

And I then looked at the patterns in my life. Was I doing what I wanted to be where I want to be?

Envy, very simply programs your brain to think you are a failure and makes you look very negatively at your self. Since you are blinded by the beauty in the other person's yard, you forget to see the soft patch on which you stand. The little saplings between your feet that look up to you for some TLC. You don't notice that yellow flower in the corner of your patch holding its head high with promise. Sometimes the solution is simply to look down and water your patch. Pull out the weeds. Give it some compost. And slowly but surely you will see that the grass is actually '
greener where you water it'.  

Every single day, we will meet people better than us. More good looking, more wealthy and closer to the person we wish we were. But instead of letting envy crush you. Turn it into admiration and then grab a cup of coffee or a bowl of ice-cream and do a case study. It really is that simple.

And then try and figure you what will make you feel better.

If you really wish for that person to break a leg and be stuck in a cast. God help you. :D

But if your true purpose is to become better than yourself, then chin up and tend to your patch!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Sweet savoriness - That first crush

"Where on earth was Asha?", Thirteen year old Millie wondered as she ran up the stairs and down the verandah of Asha's ancestral home. 

She just could not wait to show off her new dress to her best friend. Pink tulle, soft satin and shimmering sequins..she felt  like a princess. She wore the pearls she got for her birthday and the white shoes her aunt got her from the city. If only her mother had not oiled her hair and given her those ritualistic weekend plaits. Ugh! How she hated them. Princesses’ were supposed to have bouncy, 'blowing in the wind' kind of hair that smelled like wild flowers. Not greasy braids.

She loved how large and majestic the tharavadu was. The twenty room mansion was almost 80 years old. But age showed itself only in grace and grandeur. The tiled roof, the open court yard, the soft and perpetually cool red oxide floors, the charming old world furniture, it seemed like a magical place. The numerous rooms and secret chambers made great for mystery games and treasure hunts. 

And today, the Ittys’ were throwing their family Christmas open house which  was a treat for the entire neighborhood. The front yard sparkling with fairy lights, a bright red and golden Christmas star accenting the front entrance, cheerful piano music accompanying the carol singers and the delectable multi-course feast  was worth looking forward to, every year.

The Itty's large and spacious living room boasted of a eight foot tall Christmas tree that was shipped all the way from the States and even the decorations were all foreign. The porcelain figurines, made the nativity scene truly a sight to behold. Omana aunty, Asha's mother had literally barricaded the tree and the Christmas crib decorations with a makeshift picket fence which she decorated with holly and red ribbons to keep curious little hands away from damaging anything. "No Touching! Only seeing"", she cooed melodiously every time she passed by.

Rohit jumped in from nowhere stopping her in her tracks.

Whoa, where are you off to?”

She took a step to the right to get out of his way. But Rohit seemed to have time to tease her and almost immediately moved right in front of her.

Looking for Asha?”

Rolling her eyes she took a step to the left. Rohit deftly followed.

Sighing she took another step right. Without missing a beat he took one too. It was beginning to feel like dance practice and Asha had to stop herself from turning pink. A vivid image of Rohit and her waltzing began to form in her head.

“Nice dress. You look like cotton candy. With oily pig tails. “ he chuckled.

"Oil is good for.." she started to reason. He would not wait for her to finish. Tugging at her braid, he sprinted off. “She is in the attic with the rest of your gang”', he called out.

Millie blushed more. Few years older and always up to something, Rohit, Asha's brother was usually too busy to chit chat with the girls. 

Photo credits - The Internet (free and reusable images)

She didn't dare tell Asha about the secret crush she had on her best friend's brother. Asha would kill her! 'Thunder Hearts' sacred rule No.1. "Boys are gross!" And yes she always hated boys. They were such a pain. 

But Rohit was a different story. She had no idea when she started feeling all woozy around him. She was always looking for him when she went to Asha's. One glance, even someone calling out his name was enough to send her heart racing.

Tall and clean shaven. Always clad in a check shirt and a khaki shorts, Rohit was not like the other noisy boys. He was polite and gentle. He had a twinkle in his eye and a small half dimple that showed itself every time he started to smile. 

Occasionally he would say something to acknowledge Millie which would totally melt her heart but freeze her body. How was that even possible she wondered.

She could not explain it even to herself. But she felt this sweet savoriness in her heart. In her fingers and in her toes. 

"And he said I looked like cotton candy, right? Everyone loves cotton candy. Does that mean...? "

Blushing, she sprinted to the attic trying to keep up with her racing heart and its sweet secrets. 


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

New year, new look and a better me

Decided to go for a face lift. Something new for the new year. I changed to this clean white background template- its minimalist and  less distracting. Hoping to transport more of my thoughts on to the blog this year. 

Hoping to stick to some of those new year resolutions. I always make resolutions, but I'll be honest- my commitment lasts only for 15 days or less. Old habits die hard. New habits are impossible to form. But now, that's not really true. Is it? 
Apparently you need a minimum of 21 days to form a habit. So all you procrastinators out there, we have hope!! 

I think the trickiest part is to keep going even if you falter a couple of times. 

Reminds me of something my teacher told me in school-
"Inch by inch, life is a cinch. yard by yard life is very hard".

This year for me is about trying to be a better version of myself. And I am so excited I have a whole year to work on it!

So if you have a resolution that you have not been able to commit to and its making you feel rotten about your self give it another try this year. Good luck. 

'The grass is greener where you water it". 



Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The decorated garbage cart - a photo

I finally managed to click a pic of the garbage cart I wrote about it my last post

In fact there were two carts like this..  :)

And they were not roses, but still very very cheerful ones. 

Saturday, January 16, 2016

An unexpected Inspiration

Its hardly a 10 minute drive to drop my daughter to school. But I really look forward to the cool mornings, sparse traffic and all the fresh and 'ready to face the day' faces. And there is nothing like listening to a little child belting out rhymes and in her huggable little voice. (And NOTHING like knowing that you are going to have peace and quiet for the next 4 hours!)
I leave my phone at home, so that both my daughter and I are not 'digitally' distracted- photos, videos, whatsapp, selfies, constant finger swiping... kids are very smart phone savvy these days .:)
But today I wish I had it, because sometimes, there are these moments you want to click, capture and keep forever.
As we were reaching her school, I noticed the local garbage collecting lady's cart parked to the side. Well its not something one would normally look at twice. But I almost stopped in the middle of the road. The cart was empty and she was not there, but there was a little bouquet of maybe 6 or 7 artificial roses tied to the front centre of the cart. It was beautiful and so unexpected. I could not help but smile. Big purple roses- blooming and pretty. It was definitely a photographer's moment. 
I don’t know know if those flowers were someone’s trash or her own personal treasure. But to me, the thought of her wanting to decorate her garbage cart with some flowers was priceless. (maybe I am in a sentimentally sloppy mood :P)
Carting smelly garbage from the neighbourbhood is probably not the best job in the world, it looked like she took one step to give her work some dignity. 
Most of the time we see the garbage cart, we look away or cover our noses. But what would we do without these people? These people who help get the waste out of our homes... and these people who we least expect to get any inspiration from.
There may be some days when we feel like we are carting garbage around or the stink of things are getting to us. I hope we are find a bunch of good and fragrant things to focus on so we can keep on keeping on. :) 
And even better, I hope we find inspiration when we least expect to so that the whole experience is worth it. 

PS: Here is a photo I managed to click later