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Finding roots

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The flowers beckon me. It’s a new place….everything is new but the tree makes me feel at home. Growing up in a small town with lots of greenery all around, my mind had always yearned for a place where I could stretch out of  my balcony or window and touch a leaf.

past month has been hectic. I have left the place I called home for the past 15 years and moved back to  my motherland. A land which has transformed drastically and now has little resemblance to my memories. But still is a place which is my own.

As I take my son along familiar routes and explain to him. He looks at me and says, ‘You love India a lot don’t you’. And though I pride on that; I know how he feels. He has left the only place which he called his home and is struggling now to find his roots. My heart aches for him but i know that one day he too will feel the same love that I feel for this country which is ours.

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Bidding adieu

Yesterday someone asked me for the name of some book….I tried hard to remember it but could not. Maybe age is catching up but then I remembered that I had mentioned it in my blog and so came down here and started browsing. And then memories came flooding by. How active I used to be. I remember there used to be at least a 100 posts a year.

Yes, priorities change. when Searching self was born, I was doing just that…’Searching self’. But then when I found my true calling the writing reduced or rather it moved to other avenues. But when I read through my old posts I was inspired. Am I a narcissist….who knows; maybe.

But then there are people who have been writing blogs for quite a long time. I really admire them. Consistently writing for a long time is really an art. Some of them have evolved into professional writers; maybe that helps.

2016 is about to end and a New Year beckons. Personally there will be a lot of changes. I just hope that everything happens smoothly.

So here is wishing you all a Very Happy New Year and hopefully lots of writing in 2017

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

 

Stranded!!

It was a Monday that day too. It was a day when I was at home, at peace and enjoying my leisure time. Browsing through sites, I felt at peace when there was a knock at the door. I got up to find Shamina at the door. Shamina is an old lady about 60 + working as a maid to my  neighbour. ‘Did madam leave key with you’, she asked.

‘No, but you have a key, right?’, I asked her back.

‘Yes but I forgot to bring it….Its alright I will go back home and bring it’, she said.

‘Where do you live?’, I asked her. She mentioned a place quite far.

‘You’ll walk?’, I asked.

‘Yes, no buses ply on this route’, she said and turned.

‘Wait, I said and picked up my car keys.

She sat silently by my side. ‘Where does your husband work?’, I asked.

‘I don’t know’, she said and remained silent.

Some days later I met Sheetal my neighbour on the stairs, it was not often theat we met and so started talking. I told her about the day Shamina forgot her keys.

‘Oh, Shamina is my strength’, Sheetal said, ‘You know how often Ricky falls sick. It is Shamina who looks after him. ‘She is very silent and sad, why so’, I asked.

‘She had a daughter who was detected with leukaemia at the age of 12. eventually she died. Her husband left her soon after that taking her passport with her. So she is left here stranded’, Sheetal said.

But surely the embassy can help, if you want I have some friends in the Indian Ladies Association who can help’, I said.

But she does not want to go back to India. It seems that her family outcast her when she married against their wishes. Anyways her parents have died and her brother does not want any relationship with her, so where will she go’, Sheetal said.

Visions of people stranded like her rushed through my eyes. In addition there are those who came in the ruse of a better life but discovered otherwise. The laundry wallah who is a graduate and came in search of a job but was tricked into signing a contract for ironing clothes. By the time his contract ends he will be considered useless for any other jobs. The road cleaner who thought it will be fun to be in a ‘foreign’ country and pooled all his resources to come here only to sweep roads in scorching summers and freezing winters, for whom even a samosa ia a luxury…. The rag picker ho picks up cartons from the dustbin. He has forgotten his mother tongue or his birth place. The stories are endless.

So many stories like this all around…..

I wonder how many Indians actually live here. For there are countless, unaccounted ones…

 

The worried and the worries

The Indian community here is always in a frenzy. The middle class is worried about tomorrow, or to be more precise, whether they will have their jobs tomorrow while the upper class is worries about which vacations to take. of course to spend the moolah they earn.

Of course there is another worry too. As the residency permit laws are strict and no one can get citizenship, parents have a different set of worries. Whether the children will be able to adjust in India? Understandably children raised in the confined and protected areas of Bahrain have problems to acclimatize back in India, both weather wise and otherwise.

The parents of girls have some more worries, how to protect their daughters. I understand their worries. If I had a daughter I would myself become a bodyguard for her. I keep a hawk’s eye on my girl-students, I have to, aren’t they my responsibility in the premises of the Institute.

It sometimes amazes me how we change. Just a decade and a half ago I was carefree, daring and well……. free. And now I fret even if a single boy is extra cordial to a single girl. Have I changed that much or have the times changed.

I remember the boys in my class thinking of me as proud because I was independent and kept my stand and of course kept them at arm’s length. I remember slitting a mans wrist slightly because he was acting smart in a movie theatre, I remember kicking a man on his shin because he was trying to touch me in the train…there are numerous other examples but today I am scared. Why?

I remember once I was homesick. I was working in Mumbai and my parents were coming to Mangalore to attend my grandmothers first death anniversary. I just decided to visit them. Of course I would not get train reservation. So I took a bus. The bus was su;posed to be delayed because of the monsoon but it reached right on time at 4.30 in the morning. Everyone got down, me too. The conductor asked me if anyone was coming to pick me. I looked around, there was nobody, so I said no. He hailed a rickshaw, noted its number and made me sit with my bag. Ten minutes later I reached home. I became a star of the moment for having dared to take a rickshaw in the dark of the night/morning. But then I explained about how the conductor had helped me. My parents were proud. Proud that finally their daughter could manage alone.

Times for girls I feel have remained the same. They always had to take care of their safety. But then earlier trust was easy and today it is not. As we move ahead technologically the basic qualities of trust, faith, integrity are all dwindling. Sad isn’t it.

But then I had been tough. Today when I see my girl students they seem to be in a world of imagination, obsessed with their lifestyles and their mobiles. And I worry, because life isn’t that easy or that straight.

So I will keep on looking out for all the females around me, you can do that too.

A single drop

Have you noticed that how people change around you. I mean you change a job, you develop a new interest and suddenly you find the regulars around you disappear and a new set of people around you. You may say that those who left your company were not really your own etc etc but then it is fascinating to see this change and understand human psychology.

As humans it is difficult to accept others as they are. We are looking forever to categorize us and others.

Don’t we say, she is not my type. Or she is too behenji/ she is too forward in her thinking etc.

Why am I rambling all this?

Because I have been experiencing this ‘phenomena’ for some years now.

In an age where it is fashionable to say that I am agnostic or atheistic, I developed an interest in spirituality. And then I came to know that I do not belong. Some asked me, “why? what is there in it?’ And some said, ‘It is alright if you develop an interest but don’t get too involved’

But that is not possible with me. Imagine standing on the seaside and being told, no you can’t get wet.

I don’t blame anybody. If  they lost interest in me, it is a fact that I too lost interest in them. But then I am human, I have to feel a belongingness.

Recently in one o f the lectures, I heard this analogy which gave me a new direction; please read on:

There are three sets of devotees:

One, those who are like dewdrops on the petals of flowers. When the sun rises overhead, the dewdrops evaporate. Similarly such devotees, come, eat, listen. It takes a lot of time for them to absorb facts, most of the time whatever they learn evaporates and so it takes them a long time to change.

Second are those devotees who are like water droplets on lotus leaves. These devotees come; eat, listen and go. Nothing affects them. They will stay on as they are.

Then there are water droplets in oysters. They stay on for millions of years and transform into pearls.

So my wish is to be a droplet in an oyster. Let that water drop change into a pearl. Let my bhakti increase day by day. yes I will be isolated, yes I will be left alone but then finally one day, I will be ready to serve my Lord.

Amen to that.

I believe….(II)

image source:google images

For five years one’s son should be pampered, the next ten years he should be beaten (meaning he should be disciplined) and once he turns sixteen he should be treated as a friend

Chanakya

I am curious to know what would have been Chanakya’s reaction when a certain celebrity and his father partied for long and then the father cleared the road so that the son could ‘run’ his car. You might say that it was good that the road was cleared or else there would have been casualties. True but then why did the father allow the son to get high??

I  mean isn’t there a difference between being friendly and being friends. Does being friends mean to share the same mug of beer or puff  the same cigarette?

Long ago when sending girls to college was not an ‘in’ thing, a girl was sent to do her postgraduate in a far-off well-known college. When she came home for the first vacation, her mother asked, ‘koi ladka mila kya?’ (Did you meet any boy). Obviously meaning that do you have a boyfriend?

The girl’s answer, ‘Ladke kya aloo pyaj hain jo sadak pe mil jayenge’ (Are boys onion or potatoes whom you can meet on the road?)

Apt answer I feel. Later she had an arrange marriage and remained in that marriage.

No, I am not propagating arranged marriage either.

The point I am making is there is a difference between being friendly and being friends. In the first case; the father was being friends and in the second; the mother was being friendly. In the first, the father should have realized that stopping his son from being high was his responsibility. In the second, the mother was gently asking whether her daughter had found somebody.

Do you share everything with all your friends. I don’t think so. Maybe you tell everything to one or two, with others you reserve a bit, don’t you? For all practical purposes it isn’t possible to share everything even with your spouse. There is a little bit you hold back from him/ her too.

So it is with children. You be friends and yet not be. The relationship should be comfortable and yet it should not be that comfortable that you are on back-slapping terms. The sanctity of parenthood should be maintained.

Let me illustrate with an example. As teenagers we love adventures or like to take risks. Lets assume that you filch an apple from the grocers. Not that you are hungry but just for the fun of it. You may go and brag about your accomplishment to your friends but however friendly you are with your parents you would be hesitant to tell your parents. Because after all what you did was wrong.

Even if you go and tell your parents about it, it is the parents responsibility to correct you and tell that you are wrong. Not say ‘wow’ and do a HI5.

Being friendly with our children does not give us the liberty to forget our duty of raising responsible children.

Krishna and Arjuna were good friends. But in his heart Arjuna always knew that Krishna was not an ordinary being and always respected him as a father. And so we see when Arjuna refuses to fight on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, Krishna guides Arjuna on to the right path. And yet when Bhisma attacks Arjuna full on, Krishna takes a broken wheel to fight Bhisma. That for me is the ideal relation between a father and son/ daughter. That of being a friend, a guide and a protector.

Disclaimer: the views expressed here are entirely my own and not meant to hurt anyone.