I think, therefore I write

Tag: Non-Fiction (Page 2 of 3)

The hobbies that I never thought I’d have

There are certain hobbies of mine which I considered to be not-my-cup-of-tea when I was back in college. I considered them to be too docile for my tom-boy nature. But as I grew up, I realized that there are better reasons to do them than to shrug them off. Kolam* is one such thing. I was absolutely disinterested in this art when I was growing up and was thinking I’d paint a permanent kolam in front of my house and be done with it, like many people in Bangalore. But things changed when there was a sudden interest in trying a few simple kolams which led my house owner to appreciate it and ask for my help during the Pongal* season. That was when I realized that my kolam was good enough for people to give a second look.

From then on, I started taking more interest. I am still no pro, the main reason being my shaky hands. I cannot draw a straight line without a scale and that has been the case ever since I remember. And the uneven ground in front of our house does not help either. So doing this is kind of out of my comfort zone but I am trying. Here are some kolams that I felt came out rather well for my attempts.

This is the Pongal kolam that started off the whole thing:

IMG_20150114_202128

A very amateur attempt

These are some of the daily designs I try out:

DSC00983

Deepam designs always catch my eye

DSC00985

One of my favorites

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DSC00989

Curved lines are still not my forte

DSC01039

A bigger challenge I took on a Sunday and I was rather pleased with the result

There are many more better works but I couldn’t capture them as I was rushing to office in the morning after spending a good deal of time in their making. Anyway, this is one hobby that I thought I’d never take up but it made me eat my words. Now I am cribbing that once I move into our flat next month, I wouldn’t have enough space to experiment bigger designs as there is only so much lobby space in front of the flat. 🙁

A couple more unconvincing hobbies are making their way up my ladder but slowly – Cooking and Crafts. Cooking is something I try to enjoy but end up not sustaining the interest. It’s like an on and off relationship. But what I do sustain is making interesting by-products out of ordinary and sometimes boring dishes. Like Dosa and Sambar is very common for us, but I make a Dosa Lasangna out of it by layering them and adding the Sambar like a sauce and then adding some toppings like coriander, nuts or tomatoes. Here’s a click, it is not very clear that it is a lasagna because the dosas were very thin and were only 3 layers. Needless to mention, my photography skills are still scraping the bottom of the pan.

DSC01056

Without the toppings

I have just started taking clicks of such things I do, so I don’t have more, But I have tried this Greek Yoghurt Sandwich and I also make a variety of sandwiches with common items like mint leaves chutney and tomato chutney. I make an Indian Pulav with Carrot, Coriander, Peas and so on. I am planning to do more of this.

Again, Crafts was something I never thought I’d venture into. In fact, I thought I didn’t have a single crafty bone in my body for so long. But after seeing GB’s artworks, I was overwhelmed with desire to make something that beautiful. She also cooks so many awesome recipes that she posts on her blog and her food blog. Some dishes have made me crave that I had an ounce of her talent and interest in cooking. Anyway, on seeing her art works, I started researching on some easy to do craft works and stumbled upon paper quilling. It is relatively easy for a beginner to try and so I did. I made a couple of cards for my friends  for their birthdays and it turned out that I did have some craft sense in me.

craft

The first birthday card I made with quilling

As I am trying out these new hobbies, the only thing I am running short of is time. And I don’t know how I am gonna indulge in gardening too when I move to our flat. I am planning to have a few plants in the balcony for sure.  But I must say, amidst all the crafts, cooking, blogging, work, attempting new kolams and packing and planning to move into our own place, life is pretty awesome 🙂

Until later 🙂

*Kolam– It is the rangoli that we make with dots. Some call this as Rangoli, but I was taught that free hand designs and coloring was rangoli.

*Pongal- It is the festival that we celebrate for the harvest season by offering it to the Sun god.

Forlorn beauty

I had written a post earlier about how we tend to forget what a marriage is beyond that wedding day or maybe once the honeymoon period is over. What pushed me to write that post was the number of people I met, who were once love-struck and couldn’t stay away from each other even for a minute yet turned into zombies living the routine once the wedding was over.

When I was writing that post, my thoughts ran to the marriages that we see in the elder generation, maybe consider a couple of generations back – Your grandparents. What about them? They never had a choice, for the most part. Their parents decided the groom/bride, the date, the location of the wedding and then how to live after the wedding too. All they were told was to do their job – which was to show up as told and live as told. Once the marriage was over, the man was to take care of his wife, procreate and continue to provide for the wife and kids for the rest of his life. While on the other hand, the woman went about the house, turning it into a home, satisfying the needs of the husband, and then the kids as they came along. Such was their life.

On the outside, it does look like a programmed life without any bugs – Even if there was ever one, the bug was quickly pushed aside with such deftness that there was never a second thought about how to live life. However, when I look closer, I see a different version than the one that we imagine their lives to be. Somewhere in between getting acquainted with a stranger and settling down in life with him/her, there blooms a sweet romance. They wouldn’t call that romance and would rather call that understanding and fulfilling one’s duties. However, I would insist on calling that romance to do justice to what they manage to build in the span of their years together.

For the sake of painting a better picture, I am giving an example here – Adit’s maternal grandparents. They had a beautiful marriage of 60+ years (I am not sure of the exact number) until recently when grandpa passed away. I have witnessed their relationship up close, even if it was only for a few months. I still cannot comprehend the enormity of what they shared. In all those years of getting to know each other and forming a routine, they had added a little more care and respect all along the way. The understanding that comes with knowing how he likes the food and the respect that come with what she needs to run the household without being told explicitly. They followed an impeccable discipline which they passed onto their 4 kids. Towards the last few years of his life, Grandpa’s memory started failing him and he had turned into a child who would ask the same question over and over. And grandma would answer the question every single time, with the same smile on her face and in the same soft tone as she always does. When he forgot things like his food and medicine timings, she cared for him as she would for an infant. When he threw silly tantrums about the clock not working or the TV behaving weirdly, she patiently told him that she will get them repaired and she did. Every single time.

themetapicture

When you see such people, it just reinstates the faith in marriage even for a person who doesn’t quite believe in the institution of marriage. They have been through it all, seen it all, and lived it all. Together. When a man is 60 years old and in a marriage, we do the Sashtiapthapoorthi*  to celebrate their time together. But would any amount of celebration do justice for a marriage that has lived for 60 years? I have often wondered why the celebration is centered around the man’s age rather than the age of the marriage he is in. Their marriage spoke volumes of trust and faith you could have in your spouse. The mutual respect shines through all those years, unblemished. Witnessing this kind of a relationship which shines with love that was never acknowledged by anyone left me in wonder. When they, who had no choice about their life partner, built such a beautiful marriage, why are we struggling to hold up a relationship, when we have all the choices in the world? Why is it that couples of this generation stand in line at family courts, when they were the ones who chose their spouses?

love-story-old-love-quote-together-Favim.com-542203

Marriages live beyond the lives of the people involved and tell their tales. Even after grandpa passed away, grandma lives in that same house with his memory for company, refusing her children’s requests to come live with them. The forlorn beauty that meets me every time I visit grandma and see the garlanded picture of grandpa is something that inspired me to write this post. And the same melody I hear from their silent love is what inspires me to love more and live more.

*Sashtiapthapoorthi is a matrimonial celebration when the man reaches 60 years old. The base for this tradition is to revive the memories and taste of the good old days for the old couple when they started their marriage because with time, they get used to living for their kids than for themselves.

Until later 🙂

Image Credits: All the images used were picked up from Google search

Are you suffering from a boring marriage?

Not all marriages are exciting and romantic, does that mean we dismiss them as a failed marriage? I don’t think so. Such marriages maybe a boring one that had lost its glory in the mad race which follows a set milestone path – Get married, Excel in work, Earn loads of money, Buy a house, Procreate, Live for the children and so on. It never ends really. We have seen so many of our previous generation marriages that follow this path without flinching or so much as a care for why they are doing the routine so meticulously. We could have seen this with our parents too. But somewhere in the looking out for each other and striving to build a strong foundation for their off springs, they found their romance and the purpose of their relationship. I still cannot fathom how they did this, but more on that in another post.

However, what ticked me off to write this post is the attitude with which some of us from this generation take marriage. The married couples now, anywhere from 1-5 years of being married, they made me wonder. I am generalizing here, pardon me for that, but I have seen many people, men and women alike, think of the relationship journey to be complete once the marriage is over. They fight, cry and put their lives at stake for getting married to the one they love. But once that sacred knot is tied and the honeymoon period is over, everything is set and the accomplishment gets its closure. They fall back into this routine of working for 5 days, chilling out for 2 days a week and then the same thing all over again. The little surprises, the sweet nothings, the crazy love messages all fade slowly over time. To have a real conversation that didn’t involve paying bills, buying groceries and financial planning for the future becomes a challenge that is more daunting with each passing day.

Both men and women are to blame for this, for it takes two to make or break a relationship – be it marriage or any other relation for that matter. I have seen some crazily love struck men turn into someone who has a relationship only with their mobiles or laptops after marriage. They don’t bother to help the wife with the household work, even when they can. That’s purely out of habit. Eventually, the same woman who had spent so much time dressing for her guy and planning the biggest surprise for his birthday now does not have time for him. She gets neck deep in the routine of running the household and balancing her career at the same time. She does not let go of certain things to prioritize the time spent with her husband.

While life is always a rat race, this time lost will never come back. 10-20 years into marriage, we would have become so comfortable with the monotony that things would go about the same way without a blink. But where and when the stars vanished, one would wonder! We are the generation who have come leaps and bounds from where our parents were. We are the ones who explored love as an individual emotion and not just a mandatory feeling that we must feel towards the person our parents married us to. Be it arranged or love marriage, the term relationship got redefined more with our generation’s attitude and thinking. Then why is this still happening?

Small things – A hug and a I love you every day without one eye on the TV/laptop, even a hurried kiss as we rush off to work, a phone call from the midst of nowhere just to say sweet nothings, a little birthday surprise, a sudden shopping spree, a quiet holiday without checking the mail every other minute, a little time entirely devoted to the spouse – even if it is just 10 mins, having meals together at the dining table and not in front of the TV, listening to the rants of the other, taking time to help the other with their work – be it household chore or something else, cleaning up without being told, listening to favorite songs together, a simple candle lit dinner when there’s a blackout… There are so many things that one can do, to say I love you.

rsz_marriage-quote-new

Even the simplest of the things can transform into some of the most romantic moments we have ever had, if only we take the time to notice. For example, I take it upon myself to find something to make from scratch and gift it to my husband. Not just for birthdays, but for every occasion. He has umpteen gadgets and I know he will hoard that a little more, but he can buy that for himself. But the birthday cards, the 365 jar filled with love notes, the key ring with those dangling little hearts – those he cannot buy anywhere, for they are filled with my love.

Love manifests in a million ways and more. There is no need to stick to a routine and forget ourselves. Just being there, ticking our minutes and hours away is not the job of a human being, but of an inanimate clock. We have so much love within, but very few take the time to express and explore. Others just let it gather dust and rust away in time.

In spite of all this, I find that the foundation is mutual respect on each other. The day the respect is lost is the day the marriage/relationship fails. So build on that respect, find that love which we clung to once upon a time. In fact, if we reminisce, we will find that it was not that long ago we felt that the purpose of our life is that single person and that the world revolved around him/her.

It’s time to change and to notice, all that we have been neglecting. Dust ourselves up and live a little more with our loved ones and not just with the gadgets lying around. Let’s be smart instead of our phones being so! Everyone can have a great wedding – you just need money for that, but what really counts is a great marriage.

And a successful marriage requires falling in love many times over, with the same person!

Until later 🙂

Images Courtesy: geniusquotes.org

Bittersweet

I didn’t think that I would be able to do 2 consecutive posts for the AtoZChallenge going on, without compromising on what I want to write rather than what I should write for the letter of the day. And that is the exact reason why I created my own AtoZ series of posts over a year. Yet, here I am writing the second consecutive post. Blame it on the gap between my posts or on my heart’s persistent urge to title the post on this particular topic as ‘Bittersweet’. Any which way, here goes:

***********************

Have you ever loved anyone? Or has anyone ever loved you enough to make you feel like you were the only person in the world? And did you succeed in that love or fail, pick yourself up and move on? Yes, love is my focus here. But it is not above how elating or crazy or blind love is. I am here to write about how bittersweet love is. Yes, of all the adjectives the English language provides us, I feel this one does justice to the feeling. Allow me to recount the experience that inspired this post. A very good friend of mine was in a relationship with a girl from a different religion. They always knew that the religion thing will get in the way from the start but something kept them going. We were all very intrigued as to how they are going to face such a stark difference in this society and make their love a success. They both had very charming personalities and were such a lovely couple too.

In a few months, we had become friends with the girl even though we didn’t share workplaces and started addressing her as though she was his wife. They were confident in their love and we were too. Time passed and the usual pressure at the girl’s house started. She had a younger sister too which didn’t make things easier. The same way, the guy had a younger sister whom he had to marry off before he could even think of his marriage. Well, things happened and needless to say, the only way out was that of a mutual break-up. They opted for that and parted ways with no hard feelings. They tried, cried and somehow managed to move on. As days passed ,I lost touch with them both except for the occasional call or two from my friend. I could never get in touch with her because believe it or not, it gets awkward. Obviously, I got to know her only because I was his friend and so talking to me would invariably loop around him. And many such reasons happened and we lost touch for no good reason. However, I could never delete her from my contacts. Every time I looked at her name, I didn’t just remember her or him. I remembered them and what could have been, a really beautiful life for 2 of my friends filled with overwhelming love.

Recently, I happened to look at her name as I was scrolling through my contacts and saw her profile pic. It was a pic of her with her husband on her wedding day. I paused for a moment and tried to swallow. I couldn’t. My heart felt so heavy. I was wondering why I was feeling so bad about this when they themselves have moved on and started a new phase of their lives. And it’s been like a couple of years since they broke up. Still I was not consoled. I continued to stare at her profile pic and her smiling pose. A 1000 questions raced through my mind – Is she happy? Can you move on completely from such a wonderful love and that too the first one at that? Does she remember the happy times with him and us? It would be very judgmental on my part if I expected her not to move on and marry someone else and I understood that perfectly. I never judged either of them for one moment. They had their reasons and even more who am I to judge them for deciding that what they thought would work out was a mistake? They were very mature about it and parted without hurting anyone except themselves. No, that is not my problem. My problem is the what-could-have-been. My problem is because of religion, the concept of love took a hit here. Ironically religion claims that the basis is love when it is taught to all of us. What we miss out is that love comes with conditions – love another of the same religion. same community, same caste, same status. But that love which was crushed didn’t come with  conditions, it was just simply beautiful and bittersweet.

Until later 🙂

P.S: I know I missed out on the Action Replay for March but there was nothing eventful except work during March and I didn’t think it would as interesting to you as it was to me. So the post for that series will visit you at the dawn of May.

An alternate angle

Everyone in the blogging world knows about The April AtoZ challenge, it’s been doing the rounds for quite a while and a lot of people take part in it. All the while, I watched as a mute spectator. I spent a lot of minutes wondering whether I should take part in it. But then who am I kidding? I honestly don’t have the time and I don’t want force myself to write some random post and title it even more randomly so that the title starts with the letter of the day. No offense to the challenge and the bloggers who are participating (who by the way are dishing out amazing fiction for this challenge) but such challenges are not for me. Yet.

As I was mulling over this, another idea struck me and I tweeted about it. Obviously, the AtoZ post concept is appealing but the challenge of posting one every day is what takes the fun out of it for me. Why stuff so many posts in that 1 month just for the sake of it? I will do AtoZ posts on my terms. I have a lot of things to write about and as and when the idea for a letter strikes me, I will tag it under this category and write on it. This will be in the span of a year, that way I can repeat this multiple times and have fun with it. So here I am, writing the first post of AtoZ2015.

*************************************************************

“Decide on one soon na?” I begged hubby who was flitting between Domino’s and South Indies for lunch. Hunger makes me cranky and I lose all reasoning as time goes by. Knowing this well, hubby blindly decided on Domino’s. As we were entering the outlet, we saw a boy, in 12-14 yrs age range begging the customers for some food. His face and mannerisms rang a bell. I have seen him often in front of this Domino’s outlet begging for food and I remembered feeling disturbed by the irony of a child begging for food outside a restaurant. It’s a common thing that restaurants will have a lot of edible left overs but still the boy’s hunger was not met by any kind soul. At the same time, my hubby pointed out that a lot of people beg stating that they are hungry but refuse to take food when provided and insist on money. I had experienced such stuff too. This caused a dilemma in me. I couldn’t think straight because of my hunger and decided to be selfish and satiate my hunger first.

Soon we ordered a variety of dishes in no time. On second thoughts, I felt that we might have ordered more than we could eat. I shrugged the feeling with a “Who cares? We can always take home if there’s much left over.” As I was eating through the delicacies on my table, I couldn’t help but glance at the boy through the glass doors. And I kept wondering why life is so two-faced. On the inside of the glass door sat people like me, relishing the food and A/C that they could easily afford and outside was a poor boy in the scorching heat begging for food. I couldn’t bear it. I quickly took the box of Taco Mexicana I had ordered and poured out a glass of diet coke I had ordered and went out to the boy. I was skeptical if he would accept food instead of money but was relieved when he did.

Having relieved my guilty conscience, I ate my lunch happily, paid up and left. As I came out of the restaurant, I found the same boy begging again. I was wondering if what I gave him was not enough but I could see that he had not finished eating whatever I had given him in the first place. I got angered that my act couldn’t stop him from begging and maybe I couldn’t even if I give him more food. I left the place in a huff in a helpless state. But my mind kept going back and as my mind calmed down, I could see the rationale behind the boy’s act.

I provided him one meal. He might have a family with many mouths to feed. Even if that’s not the case, who guarantees his next meal? Who ensures that he doesn’t get beaten up by the mafia whose business is making children beg and take the money for themselves? Without knowing anything about him, what makes me qualified to judge him? The fact that I have provided him a single meal? No!

The situation looks entirely different from the boy’s angle. That alternate dimension or perspective is something that we often forget. What does it look like when you are the one getting the raw end of the deal? That angle is something that will make us shudder and thank our stars that we are not there. Yes, I can do an act of kindness but that single act might not change someone’s life altogether. Such people are fighting the battle of survival.

I resolved that I will never judge anyone like this again. Yes, there is a possibility that the boy falls into the category of greedy beggars insisting on money when offered good food or those people who beg to make enough money to get drunk or high or things like that. But there is also the alternate possibility of him having a family that depends on him, him being an orphan who has to take care of himself at an age when children should be pampered and protected. And I will respect that possibility, however low it is.

Until later 🙂

« Older posts Newer posts »