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I am unique

I am a housewife

and I am proud about it

and no no one forced me to be one.

In case you wonder what happened to me suddenly, let me put it straight; I am fed up of the Women’s day messages. Yes, I am a woman that too a housewife, But I have not sacrificed. I mean every other message that I get talks about the sacrifices that woman make. Maybe I have but so has my husband. Most of the time, he is the one, who holds back his wishes, his wants for our sake.  My sacrifice if any must be minimal. You may say that I am lucky. Maybe I am. I have not been abused, my wishes have not been sidelines,  my voice has not been subdued, And I do not think that my rights have been subjugated.

We just lead ordinary lives. Each respecting the other and adjusting to the numerous demands of life.

Yes I am the first one to wake up and the last one to sleep. So is it a sacrifice? I don’t think so. It is just that I can take a nap when I am free. The rules of time do not apply to me much. When I decided for marriage, when I decided that family will be my prime responsibility, it was my choice. A choice that my husband did not get.

Yes I am lucky. I haven’t faced discrimination. As a youngest child, my parents had gathered enough experience to understand that I was an individual in my own right. I was given the same opportunities as my brother got and sometimes more. The only restriction that I had was that I had to be home before dark. Well I never had the need to stay out late for that matter.

As a wife my opinions are valued. As a daughter in law I may have faced prejudices but my family has always stood beside me providing the moral support which I needed.

Today when I balance my home, my child’s education, seva I don’t feel I am sacrificing anything. Because whatever I did was my choice. A decision which I took with my eyes open and a heart full of love. I wanted to be the backbone of the family, the one whom the others could confide in. I wanted to be there when they wanted me most. You may say that it is in my gene…the slavery, the ready to be ‘the doormat of the house’. I don’t think so.

Whatever we say it is the woman who makes up the home, she is the caregiver, she is the planner, allocator, and in many cases the one who looks after the financial planning too. The men may be the bread winner but it is the woman who runs the show.

Then why brand woman as people whose rights have been compromised or the ones who don’t have a voice. Many like me don’t run offices nor climb mountains but we build lives. And no we don’t yearn for a day or some declaration. We are just happy looking at the values we have built up.

 

Yes there are many who face odds. But for those; is it necessary to cry out and declare the entire human race as one who compromise on womens rights and needs. Is it so necessary to circulate the sob stories. Is it necessary t brand the males as predatory?

I am unique. I am special and no I don’t need a day to tell me that

 

Right or not

‘Now sit here quietly, thinking of nothing, till you become normal’, said my mother, making me sit in a corner of the kitchen. The kitchen had a ‘courtyard’. It had a big guava tree. One which my brother and father climbed. Yes, we sisters never tried climbing it. Before you jump to conclusions about our patriarchal society and how girls are not on par with boys, let me inform you that no one stopped us from climbing that guava tree. We were just interested in the juicy fruits, the climbing part was left to the boys.

I sat in the corner fuming and fuming, till all the steam sizzled out. No one came to pacify me. No one bothered to ask anything. Like a pressure cooker automatically cools down, I did too.

‘I am hungry’, I said. ‘lunch is ready’, she said. And that was it. No mention of the incidence to anyone, no violence, no drama.

In case you wonder, what had happened……I had just learned about ‘rights’ the previous day at school. About how we all have rights, how to exercise them and how to demand your rights. My teacher Mrs. Choudary was a wonderful person. Each point she made would be etched on our minds. I still remember her teachings some 30  years later.

And so my experiments with ‘rights’ had started. I demanded that food was prepared according to my liking because having nutritious food was my right. I demanded that I get a good book to read because getting a good education was my right. And so on. All was fine until I demanded a hair cut. Mother said no. In her opinion it had to grow a little more so that it could be cut evenly. That was it, ‘ I started my monologue on how my hair was my property and it was my right to get it cut. My mother had had enough of the nonsense and thats when she dragged me to the corner of the kitchen and made me sit.

I tell you sitting alone without thinking or doing anything can be therapeutic. It calms you down and lets you think.

Moms know best they know how to handle their child. My mother knew how to take care of me. She had various ways to handle me. If I cried too much for petty things, she would wait till it was dusk and then lock me out in the courtyard. No shouting, no beating. 5 minutes and I would be normal. She stopped teaching me when I was in second standard. She just said, ‘It is your life. If you want you study or you can always become like me’. I looked at her routine. She got  up at 6 not sleeping till 11 in the night. She was our cook, washerwoman, data bank, cleaner everything and decided that studying and getting a job that paid was better. She sure knew how to deal with us.

So the rights issue was withdrawn. I had a good meal and a good nap and peace reigned.

Next day, Mrs. Choudhary began the class with a ‘so we learnt in the last class, what are rights, today we will learn about our duties. For there are no rights without any duties.’ And she again gave a wonderful class about duties, what are they, why we should do out duties and how without doing our duties, we cannot demand our rights. And I was filled with remorse.

Over the long weekend, I had demanded my rights but had I done my duties. Had I helped around the house? No, Had I studied? No. I asked many questions to myself and the answers were mostly No. Then did I have the right to demand my right?

 

Today when I see various people demanding their rights, I feel pity for them. for they don’t have a mother like mine or a teacher like Mrs. Choudhary. No demanding rights is alright but how many of us have done our duties?

We all demand but what do we give back. Apart from taxes that is. Do we throw that wrapper in the dustbin. Did we answer a question by our fellow traveller politely?  Did we say sorry with a smile when we occidentally stamped someone? Society is not just by others but we are also a part of it. Be the change to demand the change.

 

 

Don’t brand me please

‘The ——– people (referring to a particular community) are all kanjoos’, X said.

‘How can you say that?’, I asked

‘Oh I have met a couple of them’, he replied.

‘I don’t think so because I have grown up with them and they are in no way kanjoos,’, I said.

‘Well there are exceptions’, Y said.

‘How can you say that, you cannot categorize anybody because of some cases’, I said, ‘how can we categorize that Gujjus are like this and Malyalees are like that. Even brothers in the same family are different so how can you categorize people based on their ancestry?’

Growing up in the north I always heard that Madrasis are like this and when I went south, I heard Northies are like that and seriously I am fed up. The blogworld is no better. We freely label people. Why? Because we enjoy doing that somehow we enjoy proving our superiority.

Now that we have become mobile we go and work in other places, we make our home there, we travel but still we have not stopped branding.

When we travel we look at sights and sounds but seriously do we ever try to learn about the customs and the culture about the place. Seldom isn’t it??

All that is for Phd students or for National Geographic channel or some travel show.  We, we are happy with the sights and sounds.

You may wonder why I am saying so? It is only when we try to understand the culture and traditions of others do we truly understand them.

Srila Prabhupada says that when you visit a dham(holy place) it is not just to wash away your sins but to associate with the saintly people there and in turn getting enriched with their association.

Similarly when we visit places it is not just to ‘look’ but also to understand.

The fact is that we all are part and parcels of the Almighty whole and as such we all lesser mortals are equal.  So how can a Northie be superior to a Southie or vice versa.

 

A special day, a special moment

January 17th 2014 was a special day. A day which we had been preparing for the last three years and yet were unprepared for. It was the day we got initiated(deeksha). In case you don’t know what deeksha is.. it means to be accepted by a Guru and promising to lead a life on the spiritual path.

Though we knew that we wanted to follow this path, there were doubts. The main doubt being that were we fit? We had not yet finished reading the stipulated books and that added to our doubts. But Guru Maharaj was coming and it is the only time that we can get initiation here. But we had not filled our papers yet.

But when our Shiksha Guru(instructing teacher) called us aside and said that there was no time to doubt, this was the time that we had to take the step, we began filling the questionnaire.

And since it was as such a late decision, we got just two days to fill in the form and questionnaire. I was still in doubt when I went to give my papers. As I washed my feet before entering the temple, I met R, who said, ‘we were just talking about you’.

‘I hope you were talking good about me’, I joked

‘We are taking ‘aspirant*’ and it is only because of you’, she said.

‘ME?’, I asked.

‘Yes’, she said, ‘ you were our son’s teacher and he used to be so charged up to attend your class that we brought him regularly. He used to attend your class and we attended our class and got interested’.

I stood for a long time in that place. For the last two years I have been taking classes for children. Trying my best to get children attracted to spirituality by fun and games, I had never imagined that it would have such an outcome too.

If I needed a sign to affirm my candidature, this was it. I went inside and filed my papers.

A compliment gives joy, a compliment brings on a smile and a compliment gives confidence too.

Written for National Compliments Day at Write Tribe which was on Jan 24th. Thank you Vidya Sury, I didn’t even know that such a Day existed.

Write Tribe

*aspirant- a promise to be on the spiritual path

500nd old

I patted the child back to sleep and tiptoed my way out of the room. Once out of the room, I hurried to the kitchen when I missed seeing the drops of water on the floor, stepped on it, slipped and fell down. And then I cried. With my knees hugged close to my chest, my head on my knees, I cried.

It is not easy to be managing everything single-handed with a demanding child. It becomes more difficult if you do not have a help and want to do everything perfectly and on time.

The better half came and sat beside me and asked, ‘Are  you hurt?’

I did not say anything. What could I say anyways. The stress was building up and I did not know how to let it go. Looking back I wonder whether it was just too much work or the fact that I was always bound up at home without any outlet.

He helped me back on my feet and asked, ‘Want to go back to work?’.

I shuddered. I thought of running behind deadlines, crazy schedules and a tiny tot and said a vehement ‘no’.

I had been a working woman and my work had never given me any satisfaction so why would I go back  when the kid was small.

When he came back for lunch, he saw me busy on the laptop. ‘What is this blog thing?’, I asked.

‘Huh,’ he said, ‘I don’t know much but everyone seems to be doing that. Why what happened?’, he asked.

‘Reading V didis post, she writes so well’, I said.

‘Why don’t you start writing too’, he said.

Sometimes the heart sees what is invisible to the eye. And in this case the husband’s heart.

And so Searching self was born. It spent its 1st year in blogspot and then it moved on to wordpress because mamma liked using smileys and blogger then did not have that facility.

Initially I wrote tiny tidbits of life, some blast from the past. some spicy happenings. But then the ‘Dil’ wanted more. And I stepped into fiction.

Five years and five hundred posts later, I feel sane. I may not have published a book nor do my followers run in thousands but what matters is that I am still around. Writing has given a direction to life or should I say my life got a life. I am calmer and more peaceful.

I am happy that I made it so far without much networking or marketing or for that matter without much winning too 😉 I rarely take part in contests and those that I have, I have won but once.

I do not know what I will write next, I do not know whether I will write at all but I know that I will follow what my heart says because sometimes the heart sees what is invisible to the eye

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Written in celebration of completing 5oo posts and also because Kajal gave the prompt

Sometimes the heart sees what is invisible to the eye.

for Wednesday prompt at Writetribe.

Write Tribe

Thanks Kajal the prompt just fitted into my scheme of things 😉

My angel

My first visit to Moda mall and I was excited.

image courtesy: google images

I moved my gaze up and looked at the structure with its fans. The summer sun reflected its rays. Without sunglasses I was temporarily blinded but stepped into the foyer and banged on the door. Maybe the sensor of the automatic door was not working properly, but it opened after I banged on it. A bunch of guys laughed at me. I felt ashamed.

My little sister rushed in at that moment, held my hand, made me stable; all the while glaring at the guys and then we marched in.

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A real life incident which happened some years back. The only fictional part is that it was my hubby who held my hands. I do not have a younger sister and it is always my better half or the son who hold my hands while I keep banging on things or doors 🙂

Written as a part of Writetribe 100 words on Saturday. The prompt this time My little sister.

100 Words on Saturday - Write Tribe

 

Reflections II

Read Reflection I here.

There is a lot that one can learn from the younger generation. Though I would like them to be a little less self-centered, what I would like to imbibe is their aloofness, well a little bit at least.

‘Do you really know these many people?’, I asked my niece when her friend list went a little above 1000 on a social network site. (Don’t know the present figures, might even have crossed 2000) ‘Yes, you know’, she said, ‘school friends, college friends, tuition friends, friends met in random places like bus and temple and so on’, she said. ‘I just manage contact with them, a hi there, or like a photo and that’s it’, she said. Now I really like that attitude. Be friends and yet remain detached. Nice… no heartaches, no expectations. People like me get attached and then get hurt fast too.

Children can be your best teachers too. The son came up some months back to me and said, ‘Amma, you taught me

yajna-sistasinah santo  mucyante sarva-kilbisaih
bhunjate te tv agham papa ye pacanty atma-karanat’ (B.G. 3.13)

‘Yes’, I said, ‘So?’

‘It means the Lord says The devotees of the Lord are released from all kinds of sins because they eat food which is offered first for sacrifice. Others, who prepare food for personal sense enjoyment, verily eat only sin. Isn’t it?’

‘Yes,’ I said not understanding where the conversation was heading.

‘Then why are you not offering whatever we eat to Krishna before eating’, he said.

I was stumped. Yes, I had taught him that shloka myself. And yet I was not offering food before eating. Practice what you preach, right? Yet even after learning, understanding, I had not been following it. It is so easy to be lazy or wayward and so difficult sometimes to practice what is right.

We may attempt to practice humility, forgiveness and yet when there is an argument with the spouse, forget all. Why is it easier to be humble and forgiving to others and not with our own. Is it because we set very high standards for the ones who are very close to us, but are we/Me upto that standards?

The verses 18-19 from Chapter 12 of the Bhagvad Gita come to mind

samah satrau ca mitre ca tatha manapamanayoh
sitosna-sukha-duhkhesu samah sanga-vivarjitah

tulya-ninda-stutir mauni santusto yena kenacit
aniketah sthira-matir bhaktiman me priyo narah

One who is equal to friends and enemies, who is equipoised in honor and dishonor, heat and cold, happiness and distress, fame and infamy, who is always free from contamination, always silent and satisfied with anything, who doesn’t care for any residence, who is fixed in knowledge and engaged in devotional service, is very dear to Me.

Now the first point equal to friends and enemies is tough. I mean can I really behave equally with friends and the others. Or can I behave normally with people who have hurt me in the past….I really do not know.

Satisfaction and silence is not easy either. Heat and cold… that is tough for me who longs for winter in summer and for summer in winter.

There is still a long way to go, a long path to be better, a long way to understand what is learnt.

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And with these thoughts I end 2013 and begin 2014, to a year of new discoveries and new learning’s. Have a blessed year ahead.

HAPPY 2014.