Are you upset?

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I am sure at least one out of five of us would answer to this in the affirmative. That is the sad truth about this world. Everywhere you turn, you see and hear things that upset you. 

The common complain is the rise of crime in our country. Early morning news bulletins are covered with them. News spread like wildfire through newspapers, radio and the Internet . Crime gainst men, against women, against children or against animals. Crime against another living thing is considered newsworthy. Prime time shows are set up to discuss the issue. People cash in on other people’s misery. All these upset the common man.

The world is full of nut jobs who make it a bad place to live in. Agreed. How many of these common men do you think know how to respect another individual or how to behave with other individuals in their own lives?

All through the work day, someone is backstabbing someone else , someone is overthrowing someone’s power, someone is trying to displace someone from a position so as to warrant a promotion for themselves. There are many whose sole purpose in life is to make others look bad. They try and cut the abled person from expressing his/her thought, because they know that this can be detrimental to their chances of a promotion. 

It is a cut throat world out there. Even in schools, which are not and should not be part of the corporate culture. It is such actions of cut throat competitions that the children watch and learn. Sensationalising rumours also form a part of the news hungry or gossip hungry world. No one wants to mind their own business. All are running the rat race not knowing what is on the other end of it. 

On the other end there is sheer exhaustion. Sheer disappointment for the kind of life they wanted to live and the kind of life they have ended up with. No success is solely our own. Someone somewhere has failed in their tasks to enable us to succeed and move ahead. That is the circle of life. But when we try to speed up the process, that is when things start to get ugly. 

In short, all through our life, we are upset about something or the other. During midlife we will find most of our compatriots in a Yoga Center somewhere relaxing their troubled nerves. Most of us will be on medications of some kind or the other. We have gained a lot in the past years, and we have lost a lot too.  Happiness, fortune and opportunities have come knocking on our doors. Yet we are left with the feeling that something is not right somewhere.

Many accept it and learn to deal with it. Some learn to live in denial. Everything that comes is papers and news are a matter of their concern. But what happens within their homes or offices,  every single day , is never in the limelight and hence not a concern.

Thank you newspapers and social media for helping us forget what we lack in our lives and giving us an excuse to vent our frustrations without anyone knowing the right reasons behind them. We are truly obliged. 

Inspiration

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Nurturing Mom

Nurturing Mom

When this prompt was announced, I was in a dilemma. Maybe it is weird that there is not a single person who comes to mind when I think about the people who have inspired me. Maybe this may sound like an arrogant disclosure, but I assure you it is not!

I get inspired each morning. When I feel the winds blow, when I see flowers bloom, when I hear the birds chirp away. I find inspiration from the books I read, the blogs that I follow, the Facebook interactions I have everyday and the children I see around me. Some of these young children can really make you wonder if age is the only criteria for gaining knowledge and understanding. Some people are definitely born with a nurturing nature.

I see women struggle to make ends meet. I have seen mothers trying to make a better future for their children. Most of them smile through their misery, while most of  us whine through the day on comfortable beds and sofas and complain about the things going wrong in our lives. I have wondered how these people live their lives with no luxuries of any kind and yet smile their way through life.

There was a woman who used to come in to help with the house work every morning when my kids were younger. It was a time when I was considering going to work and trying to find someone trustworthy to leave my children with. This particular lady was a good cook. She never smiled much, she just did her job and that was it. It is obvious that she has a lot of problems back home in India. Or else she wouldn’t be here working as hired help in houses. Her employment visa was getting over and if we wanted to keep her, we could hire her and get her a visa. This was a long time ago, before the maid visa rules became so strict in the UAE.

She was a strong woman. I mean a well built woman. To be honest I used to be scared of her. But then I knew better not to judge a book by its cover. So I entrusted my just a year old daughter in her care while I sat with my son helping him with his KG homework. I left my daughter in her care for less than an hour. She was listening to news on her radio while keeping an eye on my daughter who was playing in the kids room with some toys.

After the homework was done and the lady went to start on dinner, I picked up my daughter and took her into the sitting room where her brother was doing his colouring work. She couldn’t speak at that point, but she looked sad and was pointing to her right hand. I lifted the sleeve of her top and I saw a black circle mark on her arm. I was furious. When I asked her what happened, she pointed towards the kitchen.

I couldn’t control my anger, I went into the kitchen and confronted the lady with it. She initially denied it, then she admitted it that my daughter wanted to come into the sitting room where I was seated and the lady was so engrossed in her radio news that she just held on to my daughter’s hand tightly so that she won’t leave the room. I didn’t hear my daughter cry, or else I would have run to her. I am not sure how her cries failed to reach me in a two bedroom apartment! I shudder to think if she scared my child into keeping mum!

There is an inspiration for you. This lady inspired me in more ways than one. Anyone who rarely smiles is definitely not someone you want around your kids. If your instincts tell you not to trust someone, follow it. After that incident I decided to care for my children on my own. I didn’t look for another nanny after that.

My mom was a good student in school. She was majoring in Botany at a college in Thrissur when she got married. She was more capable than any one at that point in time to work and make a career for herself. She would have definitely made a wonderful teacher. She was an amazing athlete in school too. She was good at basket ball and she was quite a champion at shot put too. But she chose to leave all that and take care of us three girls. In this part of the world getting help was next to impossible in the 1980s. She grew up in a house with three to four maids doing all the work for her. Here she was doing all the work and tending to three daughters and their needs. She managed to give us good education and also got us married to respectable people in the society. All with the salary that my dad brought home. She still strives to do her best to help the three of us and our families as much as she can. My dad is with her in everything she decides to do. Together they are the best set of grandparents a child can ever have.

If that is not Inspiration, then what is? They have not accomplished wonders in their lives. But they are miracle workers in our eyes. Lives which seem so perfect from the outside, need a lot of work to survive on the inside. They believed in not showing to the world the pain that came their way and not flaunting the gains either. A perfect balance and a well lived life. I wish we could give them something in return. But they don’t want anything from us. They don’t need anything from us other than love and respect. Not a difficult task at all considering how loveable and adorable they are. 🙂

Written for the Festival of Words 3 Day 5 @ Write Tribe : An Inspiring Story 

I'm taking part in the Write Tribe Festival of Words -3
Photo Courtesy : Cherished hearts at Home

A Bird in Hand

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A Bird in hand

A Bird in hand is worth two in the bush. 🙂

Yesterday was a not one of the best days of my life. I have not been keeping well for more than a week now . It is my diet and exercise routine that is playing havoc on my “very much used to Sedentary life style” body.

Whatever the reason, it has brought my zest,  for a slimmer body and healthier lifestyle , down to the bare minimum. I rather have a non headache day than look my slimmest best. Maybe by the end of this week I might get used to the the new lifestyle. Or maybe not. Only time will tell!

Written for the Write Tribe’s Saturday Prompt

The prompt: Write a hundred words without thinking – just free your mind!

100 Words on Saturday - Write Tribe

My Earliest Memory Posts

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Just like I did, my friends at Write Tribe too shared their Earliest Memory under this beautiful logo. 🙂

My Earliest Memories

My Earliest Memories

Here is the complete list of Earliest Memory Posts. 🙂 Do read them. They all are fun trips down the memory lane. 🙂

You can also find them on my Pinterest Board. 🙂

My Earliest Memory

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My Earliest Memories

My Earliest Memories

I was barely 3 when my parents shifted from Chennai to Kerala. It has been told that I was the naughtiest child in the colony in Chennai. Apparently I had a boyfriend my age and we used to create havoc in the house when we were together. (Please, we were 3. Kindly refrain from indecent thoughts at least once in a while!)

I am told we tilted buckets of flour onto us and looked like white ghosts one day. When my sisters recounted these incidents to me, I could actually remember them. I remember the helpless anger on my mom’s face. Obviously, rice flour is of great importance in a Malayalee household! I think my mom’s Murukku was (world-)famous in our colony. I somehow remember her making those round and round designs onto a white cloth. She was always beautiful, but she looked most beautiful when she was not angry! This I remember too well.

My mom’s anger is (world-)famous. ( It’s my memory and I am allowed exaggeration) . If my sisters were foolish enough to commit mistakes, she would give them the silent treatment. That is worse than the shouting matches I have with my kids at home these days. Imagine how many less throat infections I would have had over the years if I had followed her footsteps! SHE JUST WOULDN’T TALK to us for days together! My sisters always envied me, because she always spoke to them through me during those times. I guess I was the youngest, sweetest and cutest always. (Again, I am allowed exaggeration).

My first memories revolved around my Grandmom. My mom’s mother. We stayed with her for almost two years in Kerala before shifting to Dubai. Our ancestral home in Palakkad was a typical “Tharavadu”. I remember running around in that huge house from Thallam (Dining Room) to Adukala (Kitchen) which was the center of the house. On both sides were verandahs and rooms on two floors with a staircase on each side to access the respective rooms. If my memory serves me right, that house had 8 bedrooms excluding the grain rooms and the rooms in the attic.

We had cows and goats in our sheds. Swaying coconut and beetle nut trees in the “parambu” around the house made those swishing sounds in the winds. Different varieties of mangoes and jackfruit trees everywhere. Plenty of vegetable patches neatly planted on acres and acres of land. I used to accompany the help when she fed the cows and the goats. My aunt used to force feed boiled fresh cow’s milk to us every night. I think that is when I  started hating the smell and taste of milk!

Farm House

I remember waiting for everyone to finish off their meals, I would gather all the banana peels and take it to Lakshmi , my favourite cow. She would moo at the sight of me, the help used to say. She knew her food was on its way. The help would then carry me towards Lakshmi and help me feed those banana peels directly into her mouth!

It is an amazing feeling when we try and think back to the very first memory that we have of our lives. It makes everything else around us seem so strangely unfamiliar. As I came out of the thoughts about these incidents, I felt misplaced in this apartment. Miles away from where I was born, and from where I first started my conscious life.

I wish my kids could run around and enjoy those gardens and plantations. That house has been taken down. All that remains are the foundation of the house , the wells and the animal sheds. Most of it in ruins. None of us have the time or the resources to go back and rebuild that lifestyle. I see that desire in my mom’s eyes even now. If there is one wish that I have that I know will never happen, it is to build a farm house there. To lead a life that I had seen with those young eyes at the tender age of 4. Carefree and in the lap of nature and its bounty. Fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, fresh grains, fresh milk and lots and lots of fresh air to breathe.

This is a part of a tag in our Facebook Write Tribe Group.

I was tagged by Aditi.

And I tag Sheethal.

Take it away Sheethal dear. 🙂 

Also adding this to the Write Tribe Wednesday Prompt which I have used in this post coincidently. 🙂

And the prompt “She looked most beautiful” comes from Shiva Kapoor who blogs at Where The Mind Is Without Fear.

Write Tribe
Pictures Courtesy : Sulekha Travels. Visit the webpage to see more photographs of the things I am talking about. Those pictures reminds me of those days. Too many coincidences happening with this post. 🙂

Cut the Cloth

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Cut the Cloth

Cut the Cloth

It was 28th December and we still didn’t know what we were doing for New Year’s Eve! I guess there is a first time for everything in life. As the usual custom, my sisters and I plan up something for the 31st night. Something different from the year before. This is done mostly before Christmas. But December 2013 was not an ordinary December. It was more or less like the moon’s surface. Not at all smooth!

Our brilliant investments before the recession hit, had come to an “impossible to handle” situation. There is a saying that goes something like, “There is no gain without any pain.” Whoever said that must be shot dead! Where is the gain after all the pain I went through for years!

Well, there was no gain per say. But we did cut out our losses. “Cut the coat according to cloth”, I have no idea who said it. But this was something that my dad used to repeat time and again to us. Desire only things that are possible. And if you must desire something out of reach, then you must plan well towards it. Not jump into it with your eyes, ears and brains closed!

Some foolish decisions later , we have come to our senses. Nothing matters more than happiness and peace of mind in the house. Comparisons can stay on FB and cocktail parties. Life is lived in living rooms and bedrooms not on FB or cocktail parties! Finally , Dad’s words have sunk in. But does this apply to everyone? I have seen people make investments and come out victorious and I have seen people fall flat on their faces. So where is the list of correct way of doing investments and savings? I am guessing there is none!

All anyone does is make well thought out and planned decisions, stick to the plan and hope nothing goes downhill. And if we are lucky enough, nothing will. But if we are like me, then everything that can go wrong will go wrong. So for people like me I have the best advice I can give. That too free of charge. “Cut the coat according to cloth”. That is the mantra of my kind of life.

It is said that we should save at least half of what we earn. Save it up for a better retired life. I think all I need is cash during my retired life. I don’t want to run around collecting rents or looking for people to buy the property that I have carefully invested in. I prefer having a bank balance that will be enough so that we can live off its interest every month and a home to live in. Maybe go on a holiday once in a while. Is that too much to ask? But if I save up every penny in the hope that I will travel more in my old age, how wise would that be? Especially since there is no guarantee for life. Is there?

This isn’t the best way to start a new year on the blog. But this is the only way I know. Learning from the past and moving towards a better future. Where mistakes will not be repeated and thus decisions will not be regretted.

What is that one major thing that the events of 2013 has taught you? Would you like to share it here?

On a brighter note, Happy New Year to everyone. 😀

Happy New Year 2014

Happy New Year 2014

P.S : The cake was yummy. 😀 

Picture Courtesy : Cross connection and What My Camera Captures. 🙂