Monday, 22 August 2016

My never ending affair with Bombay a.k.a Mumbai!!

Bombay has always mesmerized started with Bollywood off course but I still remember the first time I stepped into the city...I was 10 years old...all excited to finally see the place I'v been watching in movies...I had these random thoughts running in my mind like may be I'll spot an actor or a picture with them...take an autograph...I had even planned to tell stories to my friends once I was back :P 

 But as we started to explore the city...even as a kid I could feel that there's more depth to it than what we watch in movies...Bombay or present day Mumbai is not just about the glamour...the soul of the city lies with its people...its culture...its love and acceptance for everyone who wants to live in this city.I know it sounds romantic...a white lie...a rosy picture...but isn't it how you feel about the one you see all the positives and you just try and get along or ignore the darker side ;) 

As I grew up I hoped and prayed that once ... at least once I should get to stay there...and experience the life...and I have to mention...this dream of mine was further nurtured by movies like - "Wake up Sid" - the way Konkana Sen sharma decorates her beautiful lil flat...the ease with which she stays there even though all by herself...the whole calmness amidst the crazy rush in the city...and Mumbai rains...I mean that movie just made you fall in love with Mumbai and for someone like me...It was an assurance that whatever I had imagined so far is going to be just like that.

Well so June 16' 2012 I landed in Mumbai again and this time to was a tough period for me emotionally and I was looking for some respite by living my dream - living in Bombay...all alone...a nice lil place for myself with a lovely window to look building was on a busy road but I didn't really mind the traffic noise through the night...Infact I used to like gave me this comforting feel that I could go out anytime...there was no "Sannaata" to fear...Mumbai was moving 24*7 and I Loved it :) Morning time..sipping tea/coffee sitting by my window...I still can't get over it!!

The best part about this city is that there are so many people who have come from outside that you never feel like an outsider...its like everybody around you is the same...some people know the city better and are eager to help you with exploring it and others like you are equally naive and wont mind joining you. The real beauty is that even if you are on your own...the city takes care of will never make you feel lonely...the people around wont stare at you if they see you eating some lunatic....or like an outcast..and that's such a relief as that simply relieves you of the social pressure to be with people all the time.

Also, a lot of people associate Mumbai with the hep night life...the raving parties etc etc..well yeah thats there too..but its not just about it...there's so much more...I think the calmness...the depth this city has, has been lost under this glam image . The amazing beach side cafes...eating joints...they are crowded yes but at the same time they give you your own you never feel like loaded with people around you.

And if you like solitude... just go to Marine drive and sit there...sip a cup of Chai from a local tea a to people around you if you feel like or just take a stroll...nobody will bother you...I mean that's like heaven as compared to other cities in India at least if I go by my experience.I used to love watching the sunset there...the orange sky covering the beautiful city and the sea reflecting it back...I'll always remember this scene in my mind as one of the fondest memories of Mumbai!!

It's been 3 years since I moved back...2 years since I last visited Mumbai..and all the crap I hear from people who just hate it or have 101 things to say against it...I just have one one thing to'll never know the magic unless you let it happen to you...unless you let go of your pre assumptions and look at the raw beauty of this City. 

From the all Red "BEST" to the beautiful rocky beaches...the glam 5 stars to kick ass wada paaos...crazy traffic jams to soothing long walks... club it with insane plans with friends at midnight and lets not forget the cooking experiments ...this city grows on you.

As Yash Chopra said: "Mumbai is Infectious. Once you start living in Mumbai, I don't think you can live anywhere else"and well even if you manage to live (like me)'ll always miss it like that long lost love...wondering what if it could happen all over again... :)

Friday, 29 July 2016

Being a Selfish Mom and NOT guilty!!

Its been 3 months since I entered this phase of Motherhood - initially it was shockingly different from all the lovely pictures you see on Facebook with mothers cuddling their babies with a big smile...Man I could barely move...forget cuddling my baby post delivery. The entire hospital episode was something i don't think i would want to recall....I mean all I could think about was how come nobody talks about this when they tell you to plan a family...they should also inform you about how painful and torturous the whole process is going to be!

Anyways..leaving the bad memories behind...lets come to the good part...The baby is cute..great...he may resemble you...bonus points for that...its an awesome feeling to see the baby grow and learn everyday..the chuckles..the first smile...first eye contact...first picture together...these are all beautiful memories to cherish..but there is another side of the story too which nobody talks about. Its not all rosy and I seriously feel that lets be open about accepting that too.

The "woman" is completely overshadowed by the "Mother" barely get time to forget how you look...forget connecting with people and your "ME" time is a thing of history!! we all know...our mothers did this their whole life with a smile...but are we cut out to do the same..and just this and still be happy?? I am sure there are a lot of women who are..and I respect them totally...but I also want to highlight that there are people like me..who want more from life! 

Sadly even today people think that being a mother is like ultimate goal of a woman's life...and thanks to this notion we end up compromising even before the journey starts...wether its leaving your job...taking a break from your job...if you end up looking for a new job post a couple of'll be expected to be super flexible and always available for your baby by your family...and at work you'll be constantly trying to prove yourself bcos you are a mother who is trying hard to focus on work but her mind is always stuck at home ( again...thats wat people assume but we know its not always like that if we have proper support). 

Becoming a mother does not turn you into a saint...contrary to an opinion which people seem to have...that a mother only thinks about her child..has no desire other than seeing the baby lets face it....there is no denying that obviously we would want the baby happy no matter what...and we go beyond our comfort zones to ensure that....infact the first few months comfort zone does not exist for us...but there will be times when you feel like taking a break from this routine and not just to sleep...but to things you like to go friends...catch a for urself...go on a date...we are human too!! So y do people seem to attach this sense of greatness to only makes us feel guilty to indulge in pleasure thinking...Oh am I suppose to be doing this?? Does that make me a bad mother??

Now like for instance...the first few days after my baby...there were times...I seriously felt to just get an hour off and do nothing...i badly wanted a break from being around the baby all the time...but I felt weird too...cos I wasn't sure am I supposed to feel this way?? I am the Mom..and I have an impression of mom's being happy with their kids 24*7...for me it has just been like 14 days of motherhood and I was tired is that even allowed?? And this keeps happening even now...

It took me a while to accept it and be chill about it...I think its ok to take out time for yourself...I think its ok to let urself forget for a while that you're a mom and you need to be responsible all the time...I think this what kills you at times...being the super responsible figure 24*7...the baby needs you..right..but there are others in the family too who can help and I think its healthy for the baby to interact with more and more people. 

There will be times when you may hear things like "How can you stay away from the baby for so long?" or add a little drama and " Maa ka dil kaise maan jaata hai bache se due rehne ke liye" so to all these peope..Maa is also human...she needs to feel good at times and she has every right to enjoy her please do not try to bound supportive...take care of the baby for a few hours and she will thank you Dil se.

The first time i ventured out..alone..leaving my baby behind...I felt guilty...but spending 2 hours out of the house...made me feel normal again...sipping a cup of hot coffee is a luxury for Mums...and it felt like heaven...the peace...even scorching heat of June felt pleasant...and thats when I decided that I totally owe it to myself to have some good time...which means my time off the whole baby business.

 I still have my dreams intact and I'm not going to scrap them... my long awaited Solo night out plan with my awesome uninterrupted gup shup sessions with my mom...and getting back to work...I do not mind waiting..but I do not intend to turn into an ever sacrificing mum......I sound Selfish....yes I am but I am not a tad bit guilty about it!!

Monday, 7 March 2016

I do not mean to dishearten the positive spirit of Women's day - celebrating a long way women have come in all these years - making their mark, standing up for their rights and making a difference to our society...I feel that I am really lucky to be born in this era where we have a chance...where we can make our dreams come true...we have to struggle yes...but its possible.

The reason I selected this image for today is because my day started with a very illogical conversation wrapped in traditions which apply only to women and post that when I saw all these messages about Gender Equality it all just looked like a "Happy Diwali" scenario where we wish each other one day and the next day is like back to like one day we talk about all of us being equal..feel good about it...get some goodies in office...some new initiative to better support women at work...etc etc...but then how are we helping the cause when we are not addressing the real problem i.e. discrimination...n if you happen to believe it does not exist well I suggest you google some facts..right from our homes to work places...its all around you...I'll give you one - "Women on average are paid 24% less than men globally for the same work and they spend more than double the amount of time than men on unpaid care and domestic work". It all starts from home.

I think I am lucky to not have a brother...cos atleast i didnt have to face any differential treatment at home with my immediate family as my parents never made me feel any less and I respect that the most about them...though there were always comments from relatives about my parents not having a son...who will succeed the my parents when they grow old..etc etc...I remember fighting with my grandmother over this once...even as a kid it used to hurt when people talked like that...n I wondered what made them think that I wont take care of my parents??

As you grow see the reality staring at you in different forms...and in India if you escape being treated differently at your parents place...just wait till u get married and you'll get an idea of what it means...and it is all done under the wraps of tradition that we dont even object to little things like for eg. when your husband comes back are suppose to make sure he gets something to eat/ is entirely possible that you both entered together or may be you came later than him after work...but will it be the other way round in that case?? I doubt it and I would love to know of cases which prove me wrong as that'll give me some hope :)

N we don't find these particularly annoying as we have seen our mothers do the its good etiquette's as they call it..."sanskaari ladkiya" are supposed to do all this. its tougher for girls who do not work as even though they take care of all the domestic chores they are seldom acknowledged for their efforts and plus they end up listening to a lot of nonsensical traditional crap as they are not earning and should atleast do good things for the betterment of their families.

Moving on to work another incident I remember when I was looking for a job around the time I was about to get married...I was asked this question " Since you are getting married now, you might also plan your family we do not think we would be able to offer you the hike you are requesting for" NOW...fine I am getting married...but who the hell are you to judge when and how will I plan my family..I may not even want to have kids at let me decide...and this is just one example where being a woman your role is used to exploit your career get to hear similar reasons in appraisals too...and back home all you hear should spend more time at need to balance your work and need to prioritize your family now since you're is it only the girl who got married...the guy wasn't there?? Did i miss it...I think I saw him too??  so why give all the gyaan to the girl? I still haven't figured out an answer for this...I wonder If I ever will..

n how can we forget kids...right from discussing the topic of having kids to raising them...its all on the will have aunties you have never met advise you about how important it is to have kids...and why you shouldn't delay it...Imagine you being the centre of attention and random women talking to you about this...n then you just feel like telling mind If i call my husband too...I cant practically get this done all by myself..can I?? :P but no...all the pressure is on the "bahu" to have kids..asap..n the moment you conceive...Ohhh...the real shit happens then...getting advice right from the way you have no life of your own..its all about the kid...and then people say its the most beautiful phase of life...reallyy???  The father has no role except paying the bills may be...that too in some cases is done by women themselves...and no dont you think that he will help you once the baby is will he...poor soul works from morning till night...will he come back and change course not...he may hold the baby once or twice when its cranky n ohhh he would be the most generous soul on earth to have helped his wife... no offense to guys who genuinely share the responsibility of  raising kids...but m referring to the notions we have in our society in general which are prevalent among most families I have come across.

There are still many more issues which I have not addressed here...but it all starts from our own families...I know for sure if I have a Girl in future...I will face a hard time making sure she does not experience any of this at home...n if its a'll be tough for me to teach how to respect women around you and treat them as an equal because there are wrong examples all over the place...and kids learn what they see around...but the struggle will be worth it if I can bring about the change in the mindsets as I aim for.

Would love to close the rant with this really cool message I received from a friend in the morning today...which simply means screw the sanskaars which hold you back and live your life... not just for a day but everyday!

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

"ME" is Amazing - no matter what others say or Don't say !!

Getting ready to go out…putting our best clothes…perfect hair…matching shoes…looking into the mirror you smile at yourself…you know you look fab…but there’s still something more that you want apart from the perfect reflection…a flattering compliment from your better half…n just incase you do not get one…you are suddenly doubting yourself…Do I look ok? He doesn’t like it? Why is he not saying anything? There goes your evening unless you find somebody who can boost your ego enough to bring it back!! Does that happen to you?? It definitely happens with me and a lot of times…nothing to boast of though but strangely even when we know that its crazy to look for approval when we know we don’t have to….we just lose ourselves with these everyday scenarios…looking for appreciation…secretly hoping for it every time we do something new or just do anything for that matter and share with people close to us. We want them to like it – criticism is a No-No – its not what you expect and if it happens..OMG..Did I just feel my heart break over something as silly as a new haircut?

But the question is why? Why do we need people to approve of the way we look or the way we are and by approval I mean – appreciation in any form – and if say somebody doesn’t then does that make us any less or the other way round? Honestly it does kind of make us vulnerable to thoughts of self doubt..especially when it comes to our partners – we tend to get extra sensitive about it…but is it really worth it? Attaching all those emotions when they can be hurt in a jiffy??

You may think I’m exaggerating when I say that…but without realizing at times..we have been into such scenarios and its later that we understand how much we depend on somebody’s liking for the way we are and when its not conveyed often. We learn this lesson multiple times in life – “When you start giving too much importance to someone in your life – you lose value in their life”  - its like the law of marginal utility – when you have anything in abundance, you derive less satisfaction from it as compared to other things - And we still do it again and again and again…only to realize it is the ultimate truth.

I guess it all starts with the moment you suddenly make someone the center of your universe…you want to do everything together or for him/her. Everything happening in your life is about that one person – what he/she likes, what their plans are etc. and you start losing out on your own self. Its good to love without anything holding you back but that does not mean you need to depend on that one person so much as to your very own existence seems questionable when they are not around?

So why bother what others think – and why not just be happy and content with the way we truly are – as a person – a normal human being with no superpowers…yeah so what?? That’s me J 

I came across this lovely post on Facebook and it’s a must share and certainly recommended as a daily dose for people like us :D

“Hey You!..YES..YOU. STOP being unhappy with yourself, you are perfect. STOP wishing you looked like someone else or wishing people liked you as much as they like someone else. STOP trying to get attention from those who hurt you. STOP hating your body, your face, your personality, your Quirks. Love them as without those things You wouldn’t be YOU and why would you want to be anyone else? Be confident with who you are, Smile J. MY Happiness will not depend on others anymore, I am happy because I love who I am, I love my flaws and I love my imperfections. They make me “me” and “ME” is pretty AMAZING!!”

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Bouncing back from that gloomy phase!!

All of us get into that zone where everything around us seems very uncertain...we suddenly are surrounded by the dark grey clouds of DOUBT and we feel where are we heading??It can be in relationships, career, friendship or anything else and I am sure as life progresses we tend to have frequent visits by these not so welcome clouds of Doubt and it makes us feel really low at times.

Adding on to the misery are the times when you do not know who to share it with...simple reasons...either you have discussed it too many times with your close ones that they just shun it off like some irrational thing you keep talking about...or you genuinely fail to express it the way you feel it...the second one happens with me a lot of you just end up fighting these fears on your own but you know they will reappear. We cannot actually blame others too since they are not experiencing this anxiety so its difficult for them to comprehend it as the indifferent face I would make if somebody keeps talking to me about football -  in which I have absolutely no interest or knowledge about.

So we just tend to blame our choices or the choices made for us...we blame our destiny or the people around us for making us feel that way...but nothing really heels us from inside until we decide to do the heeling ourselves. I remember this beautiful dialogue from the movie "English Vinglish" that sometimes the other person does not even know how you are feeling - then how can you expect him/her to help you...that is the time when you need to help yourself - n that is the case most of the times.

As a student I remember a lot of times I felt low...bad grades....changing dynamics of friendship...and obviously what next after school....there were endless things on my mind and I had no clue how to deal with it...I could never really confide into my friends or parents about for them I was just being indifferent to these things...but I wasn't...I was struggling to figure out my way to deal with it all...and this happens even now...with different people and scenarios...we all are vulnerable at times and that probably is the hardest period for us to cope up with...the people closest to us are still unaware about whats going inside us...n these are the times when we need to bounce back...and one thing that really works for me is Movies :) and obviously any past memory where you have overcome such a phase and probably given your best that saying "we tend to deliver our best under the most painful scenarios".

There will be the rainy days when the world will seem unfair and grey
You'll miss the sunshine around you, the happiness and play
But they'll make you stronger and wiser than any of the sunny days
Making you believe in the light from inside, guiding your way!

So do not let these gloomy phases take over...fight them and bounce back with a BANG!

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

DIWALI - Making it a Happy one for all around us!

Diwali - my favorite festival of the year...the lights, the happiness and the whole family coming together...and as a Kid I obviously loved the crackers part of fact it was the best thing for me to do on Diwali :) I remember the first year when I decided not to burst any crackers , I was 13 at that time, it was like a big sacrifice I am doing to save my mother earth!! I was proud of taking that step and I clearly remember lecturing a lot of my friends and family members on the same...I think I will always remember that as the first step I took which made me realize there's more to our lives than just pleasing ourselves and it made me feel different :)

After 17 long years, yesterday, I felt I have been ignoring a huge part of the problem. I have to say thanks to my kids in TFI for helping me realize this after all this time. We all get crazy amounts of gifts on Diwali...which we happily either pass ahead or stack somewhere in our homes to be used later and it continues year after year. We spend endless amount of money decorating our houses, buying new clothes, jewelry and what not on auspicious occasions like Diwali and then when we look around there are many more people who are just looking at our houses...smiling...they have none of it but the smile on their faces is brighter than ours!

I see small kids selling diyas and decorative items for Diwali on the roads...yesterday I saw one girl doing acrobats right in the middle of traffic...during a red light just so that some people give her money...its a shockingly different scenario than what we do in our lives. I certainly do not advocate giving these kids money to just make them happy as we all are aware of this beggar rackets operating around and who knows what these kids are left with at the end of the day...but all I wonder is how can we do something meaningful to give them their share of happiness which they very much deserve...we can share our gifts, give them new clothes but that wont really solve the problem...but yes it may brighten up their day and give them the much deserved smile for a couple of days!

All I have is questions right now...and I know that I need to take one step at time to make the situation better..but these images have triggered the process in my mind and I hope to make the festival of lights a Happy one for all around us giving it more meaning and adding value to someone's life :D

Sunday, 30 August 2015

The pursuit of Happiness...

Happiness.... one thing everybody wants...and its like sand..the more tightly you want to hold on to it the faster it slips away from your hands. It surely does not come easy to most of us...especially as we grow up...we tend to see more problems than possibilities...with our mature minds we tend to critically analyze everything...which is not a bad thing but in this process I feel we lose our inner peace as we judge every person, every material thing by its brand, money in comparison to what my peers are earning..its crazy...the contentment we had as kids vanishes...where even a small toffee made us jump around with excitement and we could wait the whole day to just it get it once.

I just had a small lil kid at my place visit us for 2 days and his smile and energy was infectious...he was excited for no reason...happy and jumping around as if he's won a lottery and all of this just because either he was eating his favorite sweet or watching his favorite cartoon...I see the same thing in school too when I watch my kids playing in that limited area of the classroom...sharing whatever food they get from home...the smile when they get a new pencil to work with...the list is endless :) and now when I think of if I am happy...I see no reason to complain...but still I feel I am seeking something...I do not smile that genuinely as my kids do...I hardly get excited about things now..I don't remember the last time i jumped around anywhere out of happiness...may be like 8 months back when i got selected for Teach for India.

While talking to a friend yesterday...I realized we are always craving for that one thing we do not have in our life at that when i was staying by myself in Mumbai...I craved for a settled/sorted life...having a dependable life partner...a warm family environment...and today when I have all of this...I miss my freedom..the randomness of my life there was some excitement....I didn't know where I was heading so there were endless possibilities which now seem very restricted. I can bet if i get a chance today to move out and stay alone 6 months i'll miss my family...and thats what is like a vicious keep seeking what you do not have but you cannot possibly have everything.

We all know it...and we keep forgetting it...keep getting depressed...but we need to surface again...fight that depression and look around...there are millions of people who are an inspiration...the maid in my house...who in last 2 years has barely stepped out of this house but still manages to laugh and smile....the kids in my class with torn uniforms but hearts of gold full of love...they all choose to be happy no matter what happens...if if they have a fight..they do not take more than 5 minutes to flash that killer smile again...n thats what I need to learn :D to let go off things which disturb me and keep the memories which make me smile. 

I do understand what this quote means now:"The secret of Happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less!" - Socrates

I am glad I am on this journey of learning with my kids where I learn more from them than I can teach them :)