Thursday, 29 December 2016

Revisiting year 2016 - Fashion now has new faces - Acid attack survivors

Acid attacks on women happen all over the world. They are brutal in a peculiar sense because the attacker aims not to kill the victim but to disfigure her and kill her soul. Attackers indulge in this frightful crime and force the victim to live a life of suffering if she survives. In our country, the cases stand out despite the existence of laws and directives to prevent the horrific crime. Even cases involving throwing acid have been on the rise. And here attacks follow a pattern.In an analysis of cases, it has been found that 35% of the incidents cited rejection of marriage or refusal by women.Acid attacks not only physically hurt victims but bring a social isolation that compounds the trauma. However, in this year 2016, I came to read many of the acid attack survivor’s stories which are so powerful and inspiring.


I never heard or had seen how those women face the challenges of their further life which are full of hatred and criticism. But in this year 2016, I found many such women who are crossing barriers and proving themselves no different than a normal woman. They are even setting themselves as role models for others to follow and adore. Today I very well know activist Laxmi who works for the welfare of acid attack victims. At the age of 15 years, a 32-year-old man came up to Laxmi on the street and threw acid on her face for rejecting his offer of marriage. Rather than let it defeat her, Laxmi became an influence peddler inspiring other women who underwent a similar ordeal. Laxmi received a 2014 International Women of Courage award by US First Lady Michelle Obama. In January this year, I read about the campaign ‘Face of Courage’ by fashion Brand Viva N Diva. They signed on Laxmi to be the new face for their designer outfits. Then another example came. Reshma Qureshi, an acid attack survivor, walked the ramp at the New York Fashion Week in September this year. Reshma's life changed drastically in 2014 when, during a visit to her hometown in Uttar Pradesh, her brother-in-law, and his friends threw acid on her face. Reshma's brother-in-law mistook her for her elder sister since both of them were wearing burqas, and that's how the attack took place. Reshma went into depression after this. However, things started taking a turn for the better when Reshma met Ria Sharma, the founder of Make Love Not Scars, an NGO that started the #EndAcidSale movement in India. Reshma became the ambassador of this #EndAcidSale campaign.


There are many photo shoots happening in our country featuring the acid attack victims. Instead of taking professional models professional photographers are taking these beautiful girls as models because they actually define beauty, courage, positivity. So I feel in this year 2016, more and more acid attack survivors came forwards and inspired the world with their fighting spirit and positivity. When these girls say that “their face mirror society”, I feel so pain and so anger. Pain for those victims who, despite going through plenty of operations and surgeries, are still struggling to get their charm back. And anger for those losers who get mad and throw acid only because they are rejected by a woman. Why these accidents happen, why acid is openly available and why anyone has the courage to attempt such a brutal crime are only some of the questions that can be debated for long. But I love that in this year 2016 many of the acid attack survivors gave thumbs down to the people who hate them and abhor them. 

Friday, 23 December 2016

The Lost Art of Letter Writing..

Do you remember the last time when you wrote a letter to someone? Honestly, I can't tell when the last time I wrote a personal letter to someone. My last written communication was in the year 2009 when something was wrong with my SBI account and I wrote an application to the branch manager regarding that. But it's been 7 long years since I have not used pen and paper for writing anything thoughtful as a letter! Why am I tossing around letter writing? Because recently I got a chance to listen to a lady who made me realize that nothing can replace letter writing, although we now have better new age communication mediums like email, texting, Facebook and more.


The lady, Laxmi, is a social entrepreneur and most importantly a family person. She shared that she traveled countries to countries for many years because of her work needs. And during these years, she couldn't meet her aging father with much of time. However, her father did an amazing thing in last two years of his life as he was continuously sick. He wrote letters to his daughter and filled a notebook with his thoughts about her. He addressed the strength and weaknesses of his daughter. He also gave her suggestions for improvement of her life in that notebook. After he passed away, Laxmi felt guilty of not giving much time to her father. But she has letters of her father and those letters changed her panorama about communication. Those handwritten letters still make her feel the presence of his father. Letters have the same, unique yet very known handwriting which is the best font of this world for her.  Laxmi says "whenever I read these letters, I feel connected with my father. This is the same paper which my father had touched and now it is in my hands." How thoughtful is that! Far after we are gone, no one will care about the million texts we have sent. But a letter lasts. 

I got emotional hearing Laxmi's story how letter writing has become special in her life. Letter writing is becoming a disappearing art, a vintage skill. The flow of the pen gracefully etching out one's thoughts into the paper about someone else. I know it is crazy to think about letter writing in this text-crazy world but I miss it.My childhood has seen the charm of letter writing and whenever I recall those days, I get nostalgic. I remember my massi (my mother's elder sister) used to send my mother a letter every month and my mother used to cry after reading massi's letter. The affectionate way in which my massi used to write letters to my mother, was really beautiful. I used to write postcards to my grandfather. It was really fun to write a letter to someone. You wanted to write so many things but space was limited. Still, feelings got exchanged gracefully. There was no assurance when the letter would reach its destination yet people used to write to their loved ones. And receiving a letter from your dear ones was no less than an award which people used to treasure.
I have taken a mission; it is to convince others that handwritten letters should and could make a comeback! Every parent wants kids to inherit good part of his/her life. And I am thinking about passing the legacy of letter writing to my son. For that, I would also write letters to my son which I am hoping he'll read in future.
Start writing a letter to your loved ones, it feels really good, believe me!

How to be productive in office?

“Productivity” We corporate people hear this word every now and then. We are always asked to push towards giving more productivity. But simple it looks; productivity is a hard nut to crack. Productivity is not about working complete 8 hours of the day without taking any breaks. Or stretching your day beyond regular 8 hours and making other envious. Productivity is giving our best in working hours. Having said that, I also believe in having a few extra hours where we can think about just us. But the question is from where those extra hours will come?


With best of my understanding and experience of 8 years in IT sector, I have a suggestion.  Start your morning on the productive note and by the end of the day, you’ll have at least an hour for yourself. And this absolutely doesn’t mean skipping those short coffee and tea breaks. You can take them and still can enjoy a productive day.

Rule 1. Don’t check your email until it’s necessary: Many of us have a habit of checking email as they get up in the morning. Every notification, every attachment and every meeting request we try to check and respond and ultimately we end up getting late for office. Checking emails frequently is the biggest reason for losing focus and getting bored with the office. So do yourself a favor, don’t even look at your phone in the morning hours. If needed, you can jot down a TODO list in your diary and can start your work after reaching office.

Rule 2. Start with trickiest task first thing in the morning: In the morning we generally have a clear and light head so our creative bones work faster. This means eat that frog first which is giving you the biggest challenge.  If during the day, you feel that you have given enough mind over something and it’s still not done, leave it for next morning. You can, of course, discuss this with your boss if the task can wait till next morning. And if he is not agreeing then you can’t delay it. Keep on breaking it. The Boss is always right (you know that)!

Rule 3. Exercise is important: This we often ignore. It’s a kind of habit which is easy to cultivate and even easier to ignore. A daily morning workout is not only good for your body, but also for your mind. It helps relieve the stress points and gives energies in return. If not much then for 10 minutes every day. Get that heart beat racing and fight the day with full power! It boosts your creativity and keeps you fit!

Rule 4: No facebook, twitter or other social media till you complete 3 hours of work: The minutes you open your eyes in the morning, you pick your phone and facebooking gets on. You fear that today might be your friend’s birthday or even your anniversary and facebook can save a lot of your blood. So you check facebook/twitter updates and your work starts right from there. While wishing everyone and commenting on political stuff, you don’t realize that you have only 30 minutes to get ready for office. So don’t get into a loop and set a deadline for yourself. Unless you get at least 3 hours (or at least 2 hours) of work in, do not even think about going near that notification! 

Rule 5: Make your TODOs the night before: Maintaining a diary is always assumed good. It’s the best way to ensure you are on track. Just spend 15 minutes every night to write down things which you are about to target next day. Be it work or other stuff like phone bill payment or calling a relative. No fumbling around then and you can get straight to business next day. 

Rule 6: Most importantly, start your day with wishing others:  Not every day ends on a happy note. We get killing emails from clients and resignation of teammates makes us go mad. But believe me, the world is not ending yet. So start your day with a smile on your face. Everyone in this world is facing his/her challenges and your smile can give someone that little extra strength to face them. So why not giving a free medicine to your office mates. 

Thursday, 22 December 2016

I am ready to change my name now

The number of women changing their names after marriage is decreasing and this is what I have observed.  I also kept my name. Among my friends, only a few of them have changed their surnames after getting married. It’s no surprise I kept my last name. These days, changing the name is clashing with the idea of having own space and identity for modern women. And naturally, I never liked the way women seemed to disappear into their husband’s name. When I got married, I was at the peak of my career. I was dreaming about going out of India and even about settling down in the US. Changing my surname was going to add little paper and official work (affidavit for PAN card, driving license, bank document and passport etc) for us. While registering our marriage when asked the name of the wife, my husband said “Shipra Pandey”. Yes, it’s my original name. Since then, we are man and wife with different surnames.  Although, there was no confusion ever that our kid(s) are going to take their father’s surname.  But with realizing my family responsibilities and realities of life, my career aspirations opted to slow down and I understood why changing name is still important.

Our marriage started on a turbulent note. Initial days were tough, rough and cloudy. There were problems and problems. And my husband, for the first time, made a bitter remark on my name then. I still had my father’s surname and somehow reasons of our bumpy married life were around me and my family. Things were settled in next few months. However, I always had occasional pangs of wondering if my husband, doubted my commitment, or was at all disappointed by the fact that I didn’t want to share his name. And our recent argument confirmed my doubt. My commitments are still questionable as per him. And after close to five years of married life, the reason he gives is again around my surname.  

Although till date, I never faced any problem in having a different surname with occasional questioning by other people. But as I am enjoying my married life, I am more inclined towards changing my name. Even in this blogging space (and in many other), I write with my husband’s surname. With the course of time, I have started feeling that the husband (mostly) takes this as a proof of pledge and liability towards married life if the wife changes the name. But, more importantly, I also started to feel a strange sense of vulnerability and the need to reconnect myself to my husband who is the father of my son and keeper of my lighthouse, in every possible way. Including in name and fame. 


A few days back, I was reading a post and wife expressed her feeling over the loss of his husband. “At least I have his name with me, always!”  If a woman takes her husband’s name or carries her own name can never change her inner self. Changing name can never cast any kind of spell over her. But there are few things we do just to make other people happy. And if any how I have failed to give my husband the assurance that our relationship is important for me, then I would like to correct it right away. If taking husband’s name is crucial to seal the package of our marriage. I am ready now. The sooner the better!

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Emotional weight of being a wife

A few days back, I had a fight with my husband. And as always happens, after a couple of counter arguments, I had to stop. The fight was then dominated by my better half and eventually I was in tears. It’s being four years, I am trying to understand him but I failed and the cost was always very painful. During our heated talks, he asked me if I know the meaning of being a wife. Since then this question is hitting me till deep. Am I not a wife (good or bad is next thing)? Am I not somebody with whom he wants to spend his life? Am I having some problem which is hindering me from being a wife (at least)?

As my profession gives handy, I googled this question, “What is being a wife?” And I found most of the answers/blogs/posts about this topic are written by women writers. The first page of my search result was full of advice from female audience and almost all of them suggest that women need to do more. But one thing surprised me that there was no such post in which any male has given suggestion on how to help your marriage. Or, at least I couldn’t get any on my first search page. I also found out those posts were divided into two categories. First, n things good wives go and second, n things good wives don’t do. I went through each of them carefully but none of the articles can answer my queries. What is being a wife? I have no courage to ask this very question to my husband who has originated it. I don’t want him to raise many other questions around this. I am scared of his questing ability!

Many of us are raised with the ideologies that a good wife sacrifices everything for her family. A good wife is patient with her husband's quirk. She never nags, flaunts, or demands. Okay, I may not be fitting on each of these criteria but this doesn’t mean I don’t comply to be a wife. I find this an injustice that my husband is asking me this question with whom I have spent my four precious years of life. When for every success of mine, I have given credit to him. When for every problem, I have taken help from him. And when every of my prayers I have wished to strengthen our relationship. However, I feel this is often assumed that relationship problems are meant to be fixed by women with giving MORE. "Wives are the fixers" pattern is one I still find despite we are part of a so-called new generation. 

Everything has changed and got advanced with time but there are few things which are still hanging in between. Like, the definition of a good wife and a good mother.
With increasing emotional weight of being a wife, I often find it suffocating and slaying when I am expected to behave well for whole 365 days. I go out, meet diverse people, deal with problems, get frustrated with my failures and it is possible I fail to understand situations at home. I may behave inappropriately but this never means I hate being a wife. Or, I hate being in this relationship. I have far more value of this thing in my life and I fall for it. But sometimes I am wrong and I expect correction then. However, I don’t like this questing over my commitment for being A WIFE. I am picking pieces when our relationship gets hurt but I need help at times and who better can help me other than my husband! 

Thursday, 15 December 2016

My boy is growing up so fast..

When I faced my family members after delivering my boy, the first thing I heard was “Beta maa pr gaya hai..” It was always being told by many of my known ones that little boys love their mumas so much.  This made me think about a parenting quote “There’s nothing like the bond between a mother and son.” Although the idea that boys love their mothers differently than girls is both silly and a little gender discriminating, but l accepted it as being a lucky woman who gave birth to a healthy baby. And the baby is by chance a boy. I have no brother and because of that, I was really unaware of how it feels to see a boy growing in front of you. I only remember how my younger sister grew with me. May be that is the reason I am blessed with a boy so that I could understand what is the depth of relation between a mother and a son, a father and a son and a boy and his siblings.

Amazingly after my boy joined the daycare (in my office), we have come so close to each other. This might be confusing why after he joins an outside facility? Earlier, for the whole day, my mother in law used to look after him and I was near to him only after my office hours.  That time also had divisions in terms of my household chores and other stuff.  We, mother and son, didn’t get much time to make our bond muscular. However, this arrangement worked like this for almost 1 and half years. After he joined the day care (in April this year), now we spend a good portion of the day together. Thus last six months were wildly affectionate. His love for me has taken a real high jump. He kissed me every single day since then. His kisses were so sloppy and many that I felt rich. He was always so happy to see me as I went to pick him up in the evening from his day care. He liked to hold my face in his hands and give me a kiss on the lips, cheeks and the tip of my nose. 


However, that abruptly stopped a month ago. My son doesn’t kiss me anymore. He is not angry with me, but he is noticeably less cuddly. When I ask for a kiss after coming out of his daycare, he just puts his cheeks on mine, more like how celebrities hug and kiss each other cordially. I tried many times to make him remember how he used to give me THAT kiss. But he refrains. And I respect that, he just doesn't like to do it that way. Now instead of coming in my arms, he prefers rushing outside.

I feel my 2ish-year-old son’s independent streak has emerged now. He wants control over things which are related to him. He wants to eat by own, wear clothes by own, walk by own and struggle by own.  These may be the signs that he is growing up. And boys grow like this only. I have only seen how daughters keep on sticking to their mother’s tummy since long. I only remember how girls want to be sweet and overly affectionate to their fathers. But with raising a boy, I have learned that nothing is permanent in parenthood. Teething is over. Sleeping troubles have gone. And now kisses have disappeared. Perhaps I should be ready for more such things in future which will be less lovey dovey like a kiss or a tight hug. My boy is budding so fast. Still, I am for sure certain about one thing that “There’s nothing like the bond between a mother and son.”



Monday, 12 December 2016

People, please don't say or do these things to a pregnant woman

I still remember the weirdest question that I have been repeatedly asked by others when I was pregnant. “Are you carrying twins?”  This question always embarrassed me and even made me furious at times. When I was in my cool vibes, I took it as a normal way of talking to a pregnant lady. But when I was not in my best mood, I felt offended. “Do I look that big? Twins, are you serious?”  This inappropriate question (at least I think so) was asked by even a lady doctor who did my 8th month’s ultrasound.  I admit I was big, sweaty, and crabby but was that really necessary to make a pregnant lady think that she was FAT?

There are other things which people around me (mostly my office mates) did and I hated that. Still, I was really lucky that those incidences were very few.  Some of my (girl) friends used to touch my belly and ask how my baby was doing. I know their intentions were good but I found that really unreasonable. This belly touching was only allowed and authorized for my husband. He used to touch it and used to talk to my baby inside. Like for every pregnant woman, this was really a special gesture for me. When other people did this, I was grinning thinking in mind how to say DONT to them.

Welcome to the strange world of pregnancy etiquette, where even the most educated and sensible people can lose sight of and spy a bulging belly. There are many ill-timed questions that people ask seeing a pregnant lady. Have a look at some of the strange questions I was asked and what I felt like replying:

  1. Are you pregnant? (YES, else what is the reason of this coming out belly?)
  2. How much weight have you have put on so far? (This is something very personal, it is rude.)
  3. So you want a boy or a girl? (Is that really matter?)
  4. Are you planning to go for a natural delivery or C-section? (That’s none of your business.)

5.       Who is going to look after your baby as you are working? Will you quit your job? (Why should I quit my job? Are you interested in doing babysitting in my house?)
People fail to understand that every person has his/her own defined boundary of privacy. And he/she would not like to get this breached for resolving queries of other people. A pregnant lady might be carrying her first baby and she might not like to reveal how her pregnancy trek is going. On the other hand, for some ladies, this could be their second or third pregnancy and they would feel happy to answer your question. However, my advice for those curious people would be to err on the side of caution rather than plough right in.

I have a list of GOOD question that they can ask rather:
  • 1.       How are you doing today?
  • 2.       Have you decided about the nursery?
  • 3.       Are you taking your supplements properly?
  • 4.       Is your husband excited about coming happiness?
  • 5.       When is your big day planned?
  • 6.       May I help you in any way?

Best would be to just don’t bombard the questions over an expecting lady. She is going through a tough time of her life. She needs a lot of encouragement and motivation. So, whenever you see any pregnant woman, just say “You look AMAZING.” Finally, a word of advice for the stars of the show, the pregnant ladies. Don’t let other people bother you with such questions again and again. Answer them and make them realize that whatever you have is beautiful and whatever you do would be the best, for sure!




Thursday, 8 December 2016

Are we expecting too much from our marriages?

Have you ever felt that your spouse is not the one you wished for? Don’t get me wrong but it’s normal to think that what we expect from our spouses is never getting fulfilled or the percentage is very low. The majority of the couples, who fought for getting married, eventually find themselves disappointed with marriage. And if you ask any honest married person to estimate the number of those that find themselves disappointed with matrimony, this will be closer to 100%. That’s because no matter how compatible our spouse is or how prepared we feel for our wedding, it is natural to experience a discrepancy between what we hoped marriage would be and what it actually is. But why expectations are too high? Why we feel disappointed?

Over the years the relationship between a husband and a wife has been stretched so much. Which means they have started expecting way higher than it can be executed. Hopes from marriages in the time of my mother or grandmother was not like what we have today. Those days people had different people for different needs. They used to talk and share appropriate things to suitable people (parents, sisters, brothers and other family members). Now we want all our needs met by one person, our spouse. Apparently, we are turning too inward towards our families. And as a result, friendships and other relationships are losing importance and being neglected, and people are looking to their spouses to fulfill all their social needs. In past, there used to be very limited notions for spouses. But now we expect our spouses to be a lover, friend, confidant, disciple, bread earner and even an adventure game partner. This kind of pressure to be “everything” for our spouse has become a burden with time. And this might not be the best way to cultivate a healthy, lasting, fulfilling relationship.

Also, we are people of an era which believes in bullet trains and smart devices. We want everything super fast and always up to the mark. We wish our spouses to understand us, our family and our innersole so agile that we never care if our second half is losing breath. Every person is different and the family in which he/she belongs is obviously unique. We want our partners to get adjusted into other’s family and that too without any hitch. We are humans, not a machine part which can be seamlessly tuned. It actually takes a good decade of giving yourself to another person to obtain the true benefits of oneness. And we want our better half to understand us in just one or two years. Not good.

Love is not a day to celebrate every year on anniversaries. It’s a beautiful journey of daily choices to give ourselves to another person. True love is all those maddening daily irritations that we generously and graciously ignore. Ways to earn love from other and getting our expectations fulfilled are intentional sacrifices and selflessness. If we want to stay happily married, we need to give time and ease to our second half to understand us. We also should look outside of our nest for some of our expectations. We are not married to a superhero or a cat woman. He/she can’t be everywhere and can't be right always. True love is accepting our partners even if they are wrong. And a successful marriage needs less expectations and lots of true love.




Friday, 2 December 2016

I stand up for the National Anthem. And I also stand by SC's order.

After reading so many blogs and post which are condemning supreme court‘s order that the national anthem must be played inside all movie theaters, across the country, I want to convey my thoughts in support of this order. On this Wednesday, November 30, SC of India passed the verdict on a petition filed by Bhopal’s Shyam Narayan Chouski, who is an ex-army person, alleged the misuse of the anthem in TV shows and movies. The court also stated that everyone should respect our national anthem and its commercialization and dramatization on objectionable stuff should be stopped. "When the national anthem is played it is imperative for everyone to show honor and respect. It would instill a sense of committed patriotism and nationalism," said the judges.
I believe respecting the national anthem or our flag is respecting the idea of being an Indian. When I was in school, I was taught that standing for the national anthem is giving honor to our freedom fighters who sacrificed their lives for giving us this freedom. So until I was not THAT mature to identify flaws in this standing and respecting rule, I religiously followed this. Not only I but all my classmates used to follow this. Our anthem is not only a song, but inherent in these words is the idea that India was, is and, will remain a great nation.
Now coming to what SC has ordered, I really see no point in playing the national anthem at a theater before a Bollywood pot-boiler is about to be screened. It should be prohibited to play the national anthem in places (like theaters) where standing up could cause disorder and confusion. But if somehow our judiciary thinks that it should be done then it should be done. And we should not have any problem with it. Of course, we are going to sit for next couple of hours to watch a movie then why there is an issue in standing up for 52 seconds in the beginning?
It is widely seen that in our country, people need enforcement of laws. Until they fear of punishment, they keep on doing unethical and inappropriate things. To spit in public is prohibited but people do. To urinate is also a NO NO, still, people do. Cleanliness in an obvious requisite but our PM has to run a whole new campaign for making people aware of its importance. And no wonder there exists people who think they are not supposed to respect the national anthem. OR, it is unnecessary. They take it as a joke that our country is giving us so much and it is our duty to respect it. I know that nationalism doesn’t only mean standing up for the national anthem. But we should have no dispute in giving mere 52 seconds of our lives for showing our nationalism. Hence I don’t consider it as a Nazi order when Supreme Court is forcing people to stand up for the national anthem. However, I don’t want the implementation of this rule at the cost of humiliating a person for his/her physical disability. I wish to get an exemption for folks, who are not doing good health wise, parent who is carrying a baby in lap and elderly people. A law is a law but it is never a digital instruction which can only be either 0 or 1. Robots work on binary instructions (zero or one), we humans are so diverse and critical in terms of applying rules and instruction. So being with this order, I am also in favor of giving relief from this rule to a subset of people, for sure. But again I am against of misusing this exemption window.                                                               

Sunday, 27 November 2016

More than a soul mate for me..

‘This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

I admit for the fact that it was not “love at first sight” for me when I met my husband. And I know that it never was for my husband. It was not like any fairy tale that he saw me through some window and decided that I was the one made for him. The idea of soul mate seems more suitable for movies and poetries where love eventually leads to becoming a soul mate for anyone. Of course, this is my perception and I respect those who believe in the ideology of finding soul mates. I know my husband since my childhood. But it was not a childhood love in our case. As the time unfolded and our circumstances brought us closer, we realized that it was a relationship more than just an old friendship. And we got married.

Early in our marriage, I and my husband were thrown into situations where we found our relationship slipping like desert. Those days were neither romantic nor easy for us. As life went further, we experienced tough nearness challenges and road blocks. And those days forced us to be very clear-cut and stony. Our initial "ugly love" made us so real with each other which is not at all like we see in movies or on social media. We didn't romance like new couples, we didn't go on frequent dates and dinners, we didn't post pictures on social media and we didn't try to flatter each other.  But 'we were in love' and soon we realized that those few gloomy and backstage moments eventually made us good performers on front site. These moments when we criticized and supported each other, created a strong backbone to strengthen our partnership. Although it was difficult but I don't want to erase those days from my life. They have become part of our love story. From that time, I started looking a silver line behind every ugly moment.


I feel there is no as such definition of who is a soul mate. Movies and stories never go beyond finding a true soul mate. Sometimes happen when a person is so much in love with someone, yet somehow, someway, totally unhappy. There are lots of adjustments, compromises and problems come in syncing love and commitment. We are not perfect. Circumstance can change what we feel for anyone even if that person is the most loved one. So rather than saying that I have found soul mate of my life, I would like to say that I have found a person who can love me even if I am wrong. And He is my husband. This doesn’t mean I always expect him to be cheesy and doing lovely talks. We are in real trek and we face challenges of thinking differently. At times we argue and end our day on a bitter note. But soon we clear our misunderstanding and move on. For me, this is more than becoming soul mates. And yes, it may not feel as fanciful as the movies make it, but according to science, happiness and long-lasting love come with trial and error, ups and downs, and a ton of rewards.





Friday, 25 November 2016

My Love Story

I know my husband, Mr N, since my childhood, when I was 4 and he was 8 years old. We were family friends. But I realized his love for me when I was 26. I guess my wisdom tooth is responsible for it. It came so late.  



We used to live in the same colony and our 2-room flats were also nearby. Because of this, our families used to visit each other frequently.  I remember my mother-in-law used to come to my mother for new designs of sweaters. Mr N used to be an average- looks guy and his dressing sense was like 10 years older than his age. His love for comic books was the first thing which attracted me towards him. Mr N used to collect comics from his friends and used to offer me for reading. I enjoyed this comic reading until I reached in 9th standard. Now comic reading stopped but he continued to come to my house. We used to talk about studies, food, songs and other happenings. We grew together and being older than me, he joined his professional course when I was in graduation first year. That was first time when our communication broke for some time. But my fate was somehow connected to him already so I joined the same course which he did but in a different college. 

By this time he had started his career and was living in Delhi. As my college was also in NCR, my caring father arranged his cell number so that I could take help from him, if needed.  I don’t know how but I started talking to him every day. I was homesick and I found him as my sounding board. I used to discuss every of my problems with him whether studies related or any other. With at most interest, he always heard me, guided me and consoled me when I needed. We used to talk a lot but dumb me; I never realized that he liked me. After completing my course I joined my first job. We continued our talks and now I used to bitch about my office mate with him :) Mr N was eternally with me, like a best friend, best mentor and best well wisher. He was doing well in his career and he moved to US for client site work. Going US used to be the dream of every IT professional and he was living his dream. In between our communication broke for good 2 years but he found me again. Let me admit, till this time I was not sure about my feelings for him. But he had changed a lot. He was smarter and handsome. And I was dazzled looking at his new look (I admit).



Being in different time zones, we used to talk in India night time, like from 1 AM to 3 AM. We were in touch but none of us admitted our feeling for each other. After few months, Mr N came back to India and he started meeting girls as his family wanted him to get married. You wouldn’t believe but I was with him when he met with a girl Roopali. After that, I couldn’t call him with the thought that he would be busy in all wedding preparations. But soon I came to know that he had said no for Roopali. I was relieved, honestly. I was, in fact, happy that he was not getting married. And I was genuinely in love with him 💗💗

But my happiness couldn’t last long and soon I came to know about another girl Maahi whom Mr N was going to meet next. This time his father (my father-in-law now) was coming to be with him. The date was 24 Nov 2011, I can still recall. I was restless like anything. I went to my office but was not able to put my mind there. I wanted to talk to him but I couldn’t. Around 5 O’clock evening, I saw his name flashing on my phone’s screen. Without giving any second I picked up the call. He told me to come at the place where he was going to meet the girl Maahi. I couldn’t deny him. He said he would confirm the time later but he wanted me to be ready for the evening. Finally, at 8 PM, I was there, again wearing the same suit which I wore when Roopali came. I am not superstitious but I gave it a chance. That day Mr N denied for Roopali and I wished the same response for Maahi.


I reached HaldiRam and saw Mr N sitting there. He had already told me that his father and Maahi’s family had left. He waved for me and immediately I asked him about Maahi. He was silent for few minutes. Suddenly his phone rang and he stood up for going outside to take the call. With his gestures, he apologized me for going out. I was thinking this must be his father’s call and he would be asking about Mr N’s decision. I was getting anxious. After complete 10 minutes, he came back. Strangely, he was looking relaxed now. I asked him what happened and I swear Mr N’s reply actually shocked me. Ignoring his father’s expectations, he had put thumbs down for Maahi. And then happened one of the best things of my life. Mr N asked me if I wanted to marry him. I was speechless actually. My wish came true. He told me that he had denied his father anticipating my decision. I was in seventh heaven after this. I said a big – big Yes. That was actually “Jab We Met” day for us when we both expressed our hidden love for each other.



My belief in destiny is even stronger now. There was a reason why I was connected to him throughout my life, until our souls became one. All thanks to Mr N, I never got my proposal photograph clicked in my life. Our families already knew each other so our proposal photographs never got shared. Most of the relatives of Mr N’s family had to wait till our engagement to see me. After this lucky day, my life changed and now Mr N is my super technical husband and I am his foolish wife 😊😊 .

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Forward and get good luck in return

A few days back, something happened with me that made my faith even stronger on my thinking about social media. “Don’t follow it blindly.”
Last week on Thursday morning, I woke up and started checking my piled up WhatsApp messages. One message because of its strange assertion made me sore instantly. “Forward it to 5 more groups immediately and get good luck in return. If you ignore, this will cost you so much.”  I really abhor such messages. And similar ones on Facebook where they claim a bad luck if people don’t hit like on them.
Then my morning chaos started and I got lost in getting ready for office along with my son. After reaching office and dropping my son at his daycare, I jumped upon my breakfast. While having it, I was watching the news on TVs which are placed in my office cafeteria. And no wonder there was a single topic flooding on every of the new channel, Currency ban. I want to write a separate blog on how I see this Demonetization. But for the current story, I am sticking to what I thought while watching the news that day. I was actually thinking to withdraw some cash from my office ATM as a day before people were displaying their 2000-rupee note like a trophy after coming out of ATM. I asked few things to ATM guard and finally I was in the queue at 10.30 morning. As per guard, everyday cash comes around 11.30 so 10.30 was the best time to secure a place (a chair) in the queue.
It was 12 PM and I was still standing (actually sitting because cafeteria has a good volume of chairs so everyone was comfortably sitting and waiting) in the queue. Not finding me in my seat, my manager called me for daily update meeting. I replied that I was waiting for cash van. Hearing this, he got a bit agitated and in response, I also got miffed. Rudely I told him that I would come only after withdrawing cash. I never want to mess up with my manager but it happened. And then everyone , waiting in the queue, was informed about NO CASH that day. We were informed that respective bank didn’t give money and that’s why cash would not be coming. Suddenly I recalled that WhatsApp message that ignored and thought “It is big for not forwarding a message.”
I was back to my seat and saw my teammates were grinning. I was not LUCKY to get cash despite I stood there for 2 hours and had an argument with my boss. I resumed my work and some problems started coming in building the code (I am in software profession). Again that silly message knocked my head. “Is it a bad luck incarnated over?” I asked to myself. Somehow the day passed and I was thinking about the nomination which I was about to give for taking part in an interoffice singing challenge. “Should I do it tomorrow as today is an unlucky day for me?”  “Oh.. I have to ask Vandana Ji first. What if she denies?” With all these thoughts I reached home. Vandana Ji is an artist from my neighborhood who takes singing classes.  With so much of mind turbulence and fear of BAD LUCK, I went to Vandana Ji. And she happily agreed. “ Ahh. Everything is fine and my luck is also fine..” I muttered.
When I was getting the dinner ready, my husband came to me and showed me a few new notes of 2000 rupees. One of my neighbors are boys who are working and still bachelors. They had exchanged the old currency for us. My husband had a wide smile on face and he said “How LUCKY we are!! We got our money exchanged without standing in a queue.” For sure bad luck was not chasing me and it never can because of any wacky WhatsApp message. It was my tender mind which connected these dots.
These messages which want people clicking “Like” or forwarding them further only plays with emotions of people. And the superstitious minds of common people many times believe on them. However, I am back on my belief of ignoring such messages. I know deleting them will not make me any less of God believer and will never hurt my friends who send me such insane stuff.


Saturday, 19 November 2016

My Best Birthday Ever

‘This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

Ever since my childhood, I love to celebrate my birthday. During my school time, I used to call my school friends at home for the celebration. My mother used to cook delicious food (Chole, Puri, Kheer etc..) for us. She is the best cook honestly. I used to get new clothes as well and that was all about celebrating a birthday. No concept of cake at all. Actually, the cake was very rare among the families around us.  A few years later my younger sister started demanding cake on her birthdays. She is the youngest member of our family and no one wanted her to feel unhappy so my parents accepted this. And cake cutting used to happen only on her birthdays.  After I got married, first my husband’s birthday came and I celebrated it with so much of enthusiasm. Next month it was my birthday and seriously, I was so excited and curious how my husband was going to surprise me. My husband loves writing and he used to write his thoughts almost every day that time. Somehow I got to read what he was planning for my birthday. Believe me, I was in seventh heaven. He had properly created a list of items which he wanted to do on my birthday. And that list had things started from morning till night. I thought I was going to have a blast this birthday.

Finally, it was 12 AM night. He brought the cake and a card for me which he had place secretly after coming home. He didn’t invite any of our friends because he wanted to celebrate it with only two of us. WOW!! I was on cloud nine and at the same time snoopy about the card. As I took the card out of the envelope, I thought to see it again. It was an “Anniversary Card” :) . Somehow he purchased an anniversary card in place of a birthday card. I didn’t ask anything to him that moment thinking he might feel bad. I didn’t want to spoil his plans which he had made especially for me. My birthday morning started with a rose. Again it surprised me (I knew it because I had already read his planning list). I went to my office and after reaching I noticed something in my office bag. It was a color box. I love crafting so he gifted me a set of awesome color pencils. Everything was so well timed. After my office, I reached home and pinned the card at pin board of our room. When he came from office and noticed that it was an anniversary card, he came to me laughing and told me that mistakenly he brought an anniversary birthday card. I then accepted that I had noticed it only when he gave it to me.


Actually, he was little apprehensive about getting a birthday card for me so he asked for help to one of his married friends. They both went to the card shop and with his friend’s help, my husband started selecting a card. He was so busy in reading the card matter of inside that he didn’t notice what was written in front, “Anniversary Wishes”. It was super funny. The whole day went very well and with known surprises. Whenever I remember this incident, it makes me smile and feel that “Love is blind” :) But it was the best birthday ever!!


Friday, 18 November 2016

It’s international Men’s day tomorrow

It’s international Men’s day tomorrow. We hear a lot of buzz about celebrating women’s day every year but why not people aware of any such day or they look interested in celebrating Men’s day? Last year also, I blogged about this day but that was very specific to thanking my husband for being the second best man in my life. The first one is, of course, my father. This year, I want to express my thoughts on how the tussle of gender and rights equality is changing the picture of MEN in our society.

On women’s day everything from shops for markets, from offices to online stores, goes pink.  They give discounts and even insurance schemes pop up for the welfare of women. This year in my office, every female employee got a pink rose with a women’s day card. There was even a small party only for women employees. That was really so much! Men might have different interests and pink roses are not their kinds. But where is their recognition? Today I shared with one of my friends that it’s Men’s day tomorrow and her next reaction was “Every day is Men’s Day in India.”  Although I agree on some point that circumstances are bit more difficult for women in our country. But this doesn’t mean the average man don’t face any struggle as the average women fronts every day.

I feel, with chasing equality, we,women, have started hating manhood. And in the back of our minds, we have shifted the blame on men for not getting equal rights (when needed) in society. Women these days try to prove themselves equally able and empowered everywhere as men are. However, we are so insecure that we can’t allow sick or injured MAN inside metro’s ladies coach. Women passengers can  even throw a man out of a moving train for boarding a women’s special train. Was that a fight for gender equality?

The stereotyping of men today has reached to a questionable level, which sometimes looks scary to me. I agree, some of them are still stereotyped. But I find most men having a caring, protecting, helping and respecting nature these days. I know it’s a big point of debate whether men are responsible for the condition of women in our country or not. But with standing for getting my rights as a woman, I also want to stand in support of men’s rights.  We talk so much about the abuses a female child goes through. But very less we discuss the abuses that a male child faces. We assume only a woman is not allowed to get higher education or pursue a career. This happens to men as well. This is cruel that the society throws at men for many reasons which may or may not apply always. On the other side, a common man slaves at work and fights an inner battle to cope up with the targets the society sets for men. And even in relationships, they are getting cheated often these days. As per researches, a married male is killing himself every 9 minutes. I see every reason to worry and get more vocal about the flaws in dowry and domestic violence laws which now getting heavily used against men by wives. These false cases have a sharp rise in last few years. But don’t you think a life is a life, be it a man or a woman?

Since ages, we have been debating over our men oriented society. But this doesn’t mean we should not applaud for our fathers, husbands, brothers or other roles that men are playing around us.  See, it is not about celebrating masculinity. It is celebrating the other half in our lives. Men have an equal part and importance in making this world. There is no need to be overly insecure. Not every man is a marauder around there. A rapist or a chauvinist cannot define who a man is. So let’s celebrate this Men’s day for those men who are good, the men who wish to walk hand in hand, and not go ahead or follow. Let’s come forward and show some love and respect for men. Life would be indeed unreasonable without them.




Why today's parents are educating their daughters?

It is undoubtedly a fact that educated women spend a better life. And the benefits to education are not restricted to being financially strong and living a good life, better-educated women are more likely to have healthier, better-educated kids. So today’s parents are providing good education to their daughters and encouraging them to unleash their potential. However, is this only reason parents are working hard to educate their daughters?
I feel, with a booming economy, increasing groom prices and dowry harassment have become the weighty reasons why parents are trying their best to provide higher education to their daughters. I am not saying that parents don’t want to see their daughters settled and financially strong even when they are not married. But Dowry is still prevalent in many parts of our country. Still, happens where parents claim that their daughter is being killed by her in-laws for dowry. A few days back only I read the news where a 20 years old girl in Odisha was killed by her in-laws and the reason was given dowry. Although, the investigation is still in progress. 
I always believe that every custom made by our ancestors have a reason behind it. So I think in the early days dowry used to be an institution in which gifts and presents were given to a girl at the time of her marriage when she was leaving her parents’ home and join her husband’s family. But, in course of time, it has become a crude reality resulting in female killing, suicide, bride-burning and other cruelties. Strangely due to culture and society pressure, if a girl is not working (not earning money), parents feel low and count it a reason to agree for dowry. On the other side if she is working and is independent, parents raise their voice against giving dowry.  The equation of marriage has become “good education = marriage in good family” now.
I find today’s parents willing to educate their girls and in most of the cases want them to pursue jobs so that they can fight with this evil practice of dowry (and many other). Also, they know that educated girls are less likely to be victims of domestic and sexual violence or to tolerate it in their families. Although a reality is parents often do not directly benefit if their daughter is working and earning money. But for the sake of her future security and peaceful life, they spend all their savings in providing higher education to their daughters. The flip side of the coin is harassment of girls even being in so-called good families. But in those cases, if a girl is educated and aware of her rights, she seeks help legally and doesn’t suffer in silence and waits for better time.
I know people claim that there is a fall in dowry cases now and even false complaints are coming. I am not denying them. However, in this post, I am not trying to judge and comment on how people are using/misusing laws given by the government. I am trying to convey my thoughts why girl education is becoming important for parents, and unsafe-unhappy marriages are unexceptional reasons. For such girls living in an unhappy or abusive relationship seems better than living on the streets without money. And getting education empowers girls to take control of their lives, their families, and their future!  
“The fastest way to change society is to mobilize the women of the world.” — Charles Malikleo.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

A new outlook towards a Divorce

Recently we heard Angelia Jolly splitting from her husband Brad Pitt, using the term “irreconcilable differences,” And I find whole media and a bunch of feminist bloggers going wild over writing about it. “Is this a correct step when you have half a dozen kids? “, “Reason revealed, Brad is having an EXTRA marital affair.” Many more verdicts came out when the crowd saw a celebrity couple getting divorced. While some of them appreciated this step for coming out of a disturbing marriage. Most people scoff them off for using a new-age approach to what is necessarily a dark, painful life event, a divorce.



The demise of a long relationship is really a sad step and its effect on kids and other family member is obviously a negative thing. But I feel with time we have advanced over each and every aspect of living except separation from a life partner. As our thinking and lifestyles are getting cutting-age, people are getting open in every matter. They are open in expressing their life choices. Many of them are open about expressing their love (even in public). Some are even candid about their homosexual nature. But we are still old fashioned about seeing divorces. We have accepted “love marriage” as a modern marriage institution yet we are closed about seeing the brighter side of separation in most of the cases.

Divorce is intrinsically hard and I have no doubt on it. But our cultural beliefs and attitudes make it even harder than it needs to be. We often consider the wife bad charactered and rebellious if she is asking for it. We assume the husband careless and freaky if he wants a separation. Guilt, shame and a sense of failure significantly raise the emotional cost of divorce, and that’s why many of the women and men are forced to carry an unhappy and abusive relationship even today. Still, the divorce rate in our country is low. I don’t think this is because everything is brighter in marriages here. Interestingly, divorces granted by the family courts increased in metro cities in last few years. But why this disparity, why marriages have turned more fragile in last five or so years, still not breaking into pieces easily?

The obvious reason is the high cost of divorce, particularly for the wife. Gone are the days when husbands used to buy property/house in the names of their wives. Now everything is his asset and a wife gets very less for living her further life. Though there isn't a fixed formula to quantify the alimony amount, generally it is in the range of one-fifth to one-third of the gross earnings of the spouse who has to pay alimony. This is worse in the case of non-working women. Such women may have nowhere to go after divorce, except to her parents’ place where too she is unwanted, particularly by her brothers, who are claimants to paternal property. The flip side of the coin is wives misusing divorce laws for getting a share in husbands’ property. Court trials which are mostly biased towards wives leave very less room for husbands to prove them innocent in the matter. And divorce being a costly affair, from hiring a lawyer to courts proceedings, goes as a painful business than relieving.

I am completely against on even thinking about divorce on petty differences between couples. But I also feel the society has to get a bit liberal towards divorce as a procedure. If a couple is going towards it, we should not just assume that they didn’t try to resolve their mutual issues. Without understanding the matter, no one should raise a finger over the wife or the husband. We should take a more empathetic look at the end of a marriage. What is your take on it?



Sunday, 13 November 2016

I want those days back..

‘This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

I have plentiful of childhood memories that I can even write a whole book about them. All my sweet and salty memories are around my family and my friends. I often narrate those stories (even repeatedly) to my husband and get nostalgic. What a time that was!

A funny incidence I remember is when I got lost in a crowded fair. It was a village fair which used to be so big that reaching home from there was kind of impossible for a 6 years old kid. I somehow managed to reach my grandparent’s home with taking help from a milk man. He made me sit on his cycle and dropped to my grandparent’s place.  My parents spent whole 2 hours searching for me anxiously there. Phones were very rare those days so they came back to my grandparent’s home hopelessly. I was already there and as Amma(my mother) found me sitting inside, she hugged me and thanked God loudly. I was as selfish as a child; I was feeling happy that I got lost at least for some time. I was on top of the world without even thinking that something bad could have happened to me. All my family members were applauding for me as I managed to came back safely from a huge fair. Everyone was attending to me only which was making my younger sister feel envious.  

My sister, Sona, has always been a jolly girl, always smiling and always looking fresh like a flower. We both used to enjoy a lot during our childhood time. We never had any big fight and till now she is the one whom I miss every day. Sona was little rebellious in nature in her childhood so she used to get more scolding from Amma(my mother). When Sona was in class 7th, Amma started teaching her how to clean utensils. She decided that Sona would clean evening tea cups (only 3) every day. But Sona kept on avoiding it with giving a new excuse every day. Now Amma decided to teach her a lesson. One day Amma cooked pakoras for us. She served it to Papa and me in plates. But she gave 4-5 pakoras in my sister’s palm. When she asked why not in the plate, Amma explained him the importance of cleaning utensils. She said to my sister that if she couldn’t clean them, she couldn’t use them. Papa and I were laughing over Sona’s situation. She had hands full of pakoras but was unable to eat them. She got a lifelong lesson from Amma.

There are many more such tales that I cherish and get happily sentimental. As a child, I always wanted to grow up, but now I realize that broken toys and lost pencils were much better than busy friends and hassles of today’s fast life. I miss all those moments whenever I recall them. However, I would say a part of it is still with me right now in the form of my son. As my son is growing, I am also living my childhood days again.





These few lines are best to explain the time 'when I was a child':

My childhood was the time when I was innocent…
when the world seemed to be fair….
when my universe was around my toys...

My childhood was the time when I lived in dreams…
when everyone was selfless …
when everyone appeared to be a friend...

My childhood was the time when my life was full of colors…
when sorrows never knocked my door..
When smile was gift presented to everyone...

My childhood was the time when love was pure…
when there were no obligations…
when tenderness prevailed... 

My childhood was the time which is long gone…
I get emotional when I go back in memory lane…
That beautiful childhood will never come back but…
I wish the child in me will always remain the same...