Build Your Own Rainbow

Childhood is the time when we are most active , bubbling with energy , stress free and with all the time in the world  playing and bonding with friends .  As we grow into an adult the scenario slowly changes and it is a mixture of fun and stress of a different order be it about academics, one’s looks , peer pressure, relationships,  career, marriage  , learning new skills , adjustments , childbirth, raising kids, taking care of elderly  and the list is really long .

Especially women in India have to make lots of adjustments and for us the twists and turns of life and age sometimes makes us ponder over the uncertainity at many stages.

In the journey of life at different stages of life, there does come a time when one is not sure about the future, a fear somewhere resides in some corner of the mind, yet life goes on. One tries to do what one thinks is best at that point of time. And when ones wishes are fulfilled its a nice, beautiful feeling.

How many women  can resonate well with the fact that we tend to put everyone else ‘s needs before our own . Priorities change with time with family commitments and raising kids that time just flies ahead juggling between home front and work front .The fact that when kids are a little older and need us a little less as their circle of friends widen is the time which allows us to pursue our own goals, hobbies & passions which had taken a backseat.

So just stop for a couple of minutes & think, ” what is my oxygen mask” ?

Do things that are highly energetic and reflective. Spend some time in nature and enjoy your surroundings, have a chat with a good friend , watch films, do exercise , yoga , dance , pen down your thoughts, feelings, listen to  music and sing along to your favourite song,  travel, read, rediscover a hobby or a creative interest , just something you enjoy wherein you are so involved that there is no room for worrying about anything else. Spread your beautiful wings and fly to all the places you wish to be.

Do what you enjoy and fly and soar up in the sky and be perched on the throne like a “Queen” and rule your life and life will open new doors for a better you.

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Life is a box of ……

Bombay is a city of dreams. For me too it was, it is.

Although Politically its called Mumbai now, for me it will always be Bombay- as that was how it was called when I moved to this city to build my dreams.

I spent nearly two decades in this city. I came to this city as a young girl in my early twenties when I got a job. This Metro city has a magnetic effect. Whoever comes here  gradually falls in love with the city inspite of it being called fast paced. She takes into her arms every one who comes to her , and gives an experience of  warmth, struggle, love, independence, exposure and the various other ingredients that are required to experience life.

Its a city for everyone- for the rich as well as the poor. I have always felt that she has a beat, a rhythm, a pulse to her. She is a city who never sleeps.

She gave me – my first job, my first house, my first love, my bundle of joy , friends, an experience and exposure which taught me so many things in my life.  As I started loving the city immensely there came circumstances because of which I had to relocate to another city. I think relocation is not the word- uprooted would be an appropriate word.

My heart was torn. I felt very sad too . Although I moved to another city which is equally very developed but my heart does not belong here.

This was the time I came across the book ” who moved my cheese”?  by Dr Spencer Johnson and it helped me to deal with change in life, It taught me how to adapt to change, how to look at life beyond the comfort zone.

Well, after moving to another city, I try to look at the positive side that the city has to offer me. I did learn couple of things here . I just hope change leads to something better and I manage to fall in love to the new place too.

For my blogger friends who understand hindi- this is the song which is very apt for me when I started my life after marriage in Bombay

” do  diwaane  shahar  mein,  raat  mein  yaa  dopahar  mein
aabodaanaa  dhoondhte  hai,  ek  aashiyaanaa  dhoondhate  hain”

Hope and Uncertainty go hand in hand. This term ” Uncertainty” is definitely a heavy word.  In the journey of life at different stages of life, there does come a time when one is not sure about the future, a fear somewhere resides in some corner of the mind.Yet life goes on. One tries to do what one thinks is best at that point of time. And when ones wishes are fulfilled its a nice, beautiful feeling.

Sometimes it does happen that, what one may think is best for oneself , God does not think that way, as HE has a different plan chalked out and when that happens , its a tough time. Hoping against hope one has to tread the difficult, dark path waiting anxiously to see the light ahead in the tunnel of life.

I am always reminded about the time when we come to a fork point in life. Which path to choose be it career, studies, spouse, house, relationships, relocation to another city/ country , medical issues , etc  sometime tear us apart giving stress . One then follows what ones heart/head/or others say with the cloud of uncertainty hanging over the head, leading each day with a SECRET desire that all turns out well with no REGRETS of the decisions taken , and with the LOVE , support of  family at HOME, friends, associates, we TREASURE we take each day as it comes.

I strongly believe that “LIFE IS A BOX OF UNCERTAINTY AND HOPE”.

Whenever I have faced UNCERTAINTY in my life . I like to remember these lines that I came across once to give me comfort

The water falls from the hills,

it never thinks it has fallen,

it rises to run as an Unstoppable river.

Life is not about falling.

It is about rising at every fall

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

FOND MEMORIES OF CHILDHOOD TRAVEL

How rightfully it is said that childhood memories remain with us for a lifetime .It becomes a part of us and we hold on to the good memories with great fondness.

I have always associated the word journey with a “Train journey” since for me as a kid holidays meant visiting our native place and the journey to the native place down south meant travelling by train for two days.

Today as I am keying in , once again my mind is flooded with the beautiful memories of travelling by the great Indian Railways. I loved to watch the changing landscape as the train chugged from one state to another. The dry arid regions, the lush green forests, the changing terrain, rivers flowing with current,the dry river beds, farms with crops swaying in the breeze , the night sky with millions of twinkling lights from the houses all visible in a single journey of 2 days!!.Isn’t this someway similar to the changes that occur in this “journey of life”?

As a young girl I would love to watch from the window the view after the sun went down and the night set in . As the train would speed ahead , no change in terrain would be visible except for the tiny innumerable lights that dotted the land ( light bulbs from houses) with cool air touching my cheeks. I would wish for the view to continue without a change. But that is not possible. Similarly only the good times cannot continue in life too I guess.

I spent my early growing up years in Allahabad and Delhi. Those were the days when vacations were meant to be enjoyed, play outside with friends instead of attending summer camps. We were actually like donkeys set free without any burden of studies during the entire summer holidays.

I have very fond memories of my summer vacations when we would visit our relatives house and Thatha, Patti & attai’s ( Dada, Dadi & Buaji) home in South India. Travelling by train all the way from Allahabad or Delhi to Trichy involved changing trains at Madras , ( I would not prefer to write Chennai but would instead write Madras as that is what it was called then!) and taking another train for the onward journey to Trichy. It used to take three days to reach our grandparents home.

As kids the “chook chook gadi ” travel excitement would commence the day the tickets were booked. We are three siblings and we would immediately announce as to “I will sleep on the upper berth” . The one who announced first would always want the upper berth . There would also be announcement of ”  window seat for me ” !.

The ticket used to be of thick cardboard and small in size , ( like the one that pops out in a coin operated weighing machine in a railway station ). It was also a time to look forward to weighing oneself in the coin operated machine at the station and read the forecast with an actor/ actress pic on one side. That card that would come out of the machine mentioning the weight will be preserved by us!!

A surai ( earthen pot) too would be a part of our luggage . Travel was by normal non ac coach and we never ever felt of cribbing or grumbling about the heat.. Amma would carry idlis with molaga podi smeared on it, lemon rice,tamarind rice, curd rice, vadams ( homemade fryums) and pickles in a stainless steel carrier. The food used to be consumed in the order of their shelf life . From the second day it was food available in the different stations that were bought. Water was refilled in the surai in a station. When we drank water Amma would say” please do not sip the glass”

We never bothered about using a hand sanitizer, dettol soap or mineral water. Life still went on without any illness.We would play a game of cards, ludo, snakes and ladders . The co- passengers too would become our friends and play with us. A bonding happened during the course of the journey.

I loved to watch the changing landscape as the train chugged from one state to another. Somewhere without our realizing it a learning process was happening simultaneously. We were actually visualizing the physical features of the land , be it plains,rocks., rivers, plateaus, valleys,vegetation and like a sponge every detail would be getting lodged in our memory.

Even we learnt about food, snacks, fruits that were special to a particular place when the vendors would hop in to sell their items at different places. It was also a learning about the different outfits worn by different people in India during our journey from north to south or even vice versa.

Getting to learn how to use the Railway timetable book was fun. We would keep asking Amma and Appa as to ” Which is the next station ?  We learnt about big stations being called as ” junctions”.We would pass by tunnels,rivers, thick vegetation. , bridges.Throwing coins into the river was another fun activity that we looked forward to.  The innumerable trips up and down the ladder would be so thrilling when trying to reach from one level of berth to another.! Amma would say ” Be careful, lest you break your bones at the begining of the journey!!. “

It was a time to bond, learn, spend more time together , play, watch the world outside.The ” Jayanti Janata express” ( Allahabad to south) and ” The Grand Trunk Express” ( Delhi to Madras) have left their imprint in my mind.On nearing Madras , we would sing the song ” Madras nalla Madras” & would keep asking Appa as to how much more time was left for Madras central station to come.

Our relatives would be waiting at the station to receive us and would give home food packed for our onward journey to Trichy. Sometimes it even meant changing station in Madras.We would bid goodbye to the surai in the train itself which had helped us in giving chill water to quench our thirst in the summer heat. From Trichy it would be a bus or bullock cart to the village where my grandparents stayed.

“Tea” sounded  this way ” chaaya , chaaya ” & also for some soft drinks it would be “coool drinks , coool drinks ” with a tring tring sound made by the bottle opener on the glass bottles.! There is lot to write if one starts remembering the travel experiences by good old Indian Railways !! A Coolie also was an integral part of our journey as we would always lot of luggage . Having graduated from trunks & holdalls to suitcases & now with further graduation to strolleys , a coolie’s assistance in carrying luggage is not availed by everyone anymore. He would walk fast with luggage on his head and someone was required to match his steps to trail behind him.:-)).Amma would say “Keep an eye on him as he will walk fast” . Searching for our name in the chart stuck near the door of the coach was another thing to look forward to! During teenage years apart from our names one would also try to look at the chart to check if someone of our age group or a youngster was a copassenger!!

We never felt the journey tiring or boring. These are memories that are etched in my mind and I cherish them.

At the same time it sometimes makes me wonder if the current generation is missing something like this? Because for them vacations and travel both have taken a new different meaning!!

Travelling as a family was so much fun.Not that travelling now is not fun with my family, kid . But there is a difference- I am a parent now with a kid. The role reversal is definitely very different I believe.In this journey of life I do intend to undertake more fun filled journeys with my loved ones .I can definitely be a kid at heart if not by age to relive those moments of childhood once again!!

Overwhelming

via Daily Prompt: Overwhelming

I watched a movie recently on AIDS awareness. The plot revolves around a few people who are waiting for the results of the blood test of the dreaded disease. The reports of the blood test will come only in the evening. The emotions portrayed by the characters is overwhelming. Initially they are in a state of denial when someone asks them if they are waiting for the report of the ELISA test. Time seems to be heavily weighing on them with the clock seeming to appear to tick at a snails pace. During the waiting period they try to enter into a conversation with each other . They reveal to each other how circumstances put them in situations which make them suspect ” could I have contracted the deadly virus??”  . Evening time approaches and as they await their turn to collect the paper that will reveal the status , there is an overwhelming suspense . The overwhelming suspense has been depicted beautifully both for the viewer as well as in the characters .

The movie made me ponder over the various developments for quite some while. A very different kind of movie. I am talking about a yet to be released tamil movie “Sila Samayangalil” that was screened at a literary festival recently in India.

 

FEAST & SENSES

Around a quarter century back I associated “Feast” with the Sunday “special menu” & alternate Thursday’s ” change” in the dinner menu of the hostel mess.

Over the years I have realized that apart from the taste senses a feast can also be associated with sight, sound ,smell & feelings on an abstract level.

Nature never ceases to delight us. Mother Earth is filled with the most beautiful landscapes that mesmerizes all.The ocean, the flowers in full bloom ,the snow clad mountains, the greenery near a mountain side after the rains, the deep valleys, gorges, cascading waterfalls, sunrise, sunset, rolling hills, dense jungles, sand dunes, the lazy river, pristine beaches, swaying trees in the breeze, the clear blue sky, rainbow, carpet of flowers on the ground are such a feast to the eyes. Every time I get a chance to see them I try to drink their beauty with my eyes.

Once when we were on our way to Ooty , midway during the ascent the bus broke down in the wee hours of the morning . When I alighted from the bus I could see dim light somewhere down the hills & could hear “Suprabhatam” ( in M.S. Subhalakshmi’s voice) emanating from that direction. It was dawn & the view around was breathtaking . I still long for that perfect early morning which is captured in my mind’s eye & ears. A little later we did click pics of ourselves while waiting but we did not try to capture the sight in the camera immediately nor recording a viideo way back in the winter of 1997 was possible in order to capture the sight & divine sound .

Sometimes I feel that technology makes me a little crazy now when I try to click pictures or record videos . I realize how I forget to capture the images in my camera like eyes that God has given !!. Will I really get time in this fast paced world to sit and look at the photos at leisure after a few years ???

An infants smile, yawn, other activities is also a joy to watch. One forgets all the worries of the world and time flies very fast just watching them.

The architecture of man made monuments of historical importance, temples, churches, mosques are also a feast to the eyes.The engineering skills of our ancestors has always fascinated me. Without machinary, lifts, construction equipments there is perfect symmetry in the monuments built centuries ago.

Anything ethnic, handicrafts, handlooms, textiles, home decor, artefacts , jewellery, the riot of colours of the different outfits are also very attractive to the eyes. Even window shopping for any of them gives a feel good factor .

Similarly, some people may find latest gadgets, different models of four wheelers & two wheelers , watches, wild life photography, watching sports, a perfect yoga pose , books (for voracious readers) , old classic songs very fascinating & exciting to watch / experience/ read /hear.

Plants, Bonsai, flowers in full bloom ,well maintained gardens, lawns too are so relaxing and provide a calming, soothing effect to the mind . Off late the jacaranda and gulmohar flowers in full bloom are something that my eyes & heart rejoice in !!

Some people are so nice to be with, we enjoy having them around. They bring sunshine to our lives and are a feast to our souls.

For somebody interested in music , any good composition, note , lyrics are a feast to their ears & they too look forward to attend the performance/ concerts. For a parent / teacher their child’s / students performance is a visual / aural treat.

The smell of earth after the first rains is heavenly.

When it comes to an authentic , well presented food there is an interplay between all the five senses!

Finally beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder and perspective is what that makes all the difference.!