Archive | August 2012


Hi everyone. I’d been planning to do another post but I realized that I needed to do something else that was long overdue. And that is – A Big Thank You’ to all who’ve visited my blog.

When I began blogging I was a clumsy user of technology. (I still consider myself somewhat challenged in that department.) And so some of the likes and comments on my earlier posts went unacknowledged. I tried to visit the sites of the people to express my gratitude but would land up elsewhere and would finally give up in frustration. I take this opportunity to apologize and to thank them all.

I also want to thank all who are following my blog. It really feels good to be read and appreciated and I try to reciprocate the gesture as much as I can. Sometimes I may slip up or may be delayed due to lack of time but I want you all to know that I’m ever so thankful to you all for your support.

And lastly I also want to thank everyone who read my posts, like them and put in their comments. I appreciate the time you take out from your busy schedules to go through my posts and share your views.

All I can ask for now, from all you beautiful bloggers out there, is your support and love. Once again a BIG thank you.


Doing away with Clutter

Renovations of the dining and living area of our modest 3 bedroom apartment have finally begun. Have been living with the same look and furniture for the past 17 years except for some minor changes or a new paint job now and then, so we decided that it was time we went for a complete makeover.

The process began with the initial planning of the changes that would be made and things that would remain as it is. This was one major hurdle. As is the case with all married couples and more so for those who’ve been enduring each other for more than two decades, we couldn’t agree on most of the things initially. I wanted a completely new look whereas he just wanted to make some minor alterations. But my motto for a happy married life is-

“Always agree to whatever your Husband says-so he’s happy;

then go ahead and do what you wanted to- so you’re happy too”

So finally I convinced him to see most things my way and agreed to some of his suggestions too. A truce was called and we went ahead.

We selected the various agencies for the work, that is, the mason,carpenter,electrician, painter, etc. and the work began.It was then that, much to my amazement, I realized the amount of stuff there was in all places possible. ‘Amazement’ because I am a ‘clutter hater’ person. I systematically throw away the useless stuff from time to time. And yet I see that clutter has a habit of finding it way back, quietly, into my home and occupying all available spaces. It is also helped, of course, by my husband and daughter who are ‘ clutter lovers’. They, unlike me, hate to throw anything away.

The clutter in my home can be segregated into different categories-

1. Emotional clutter- this includes all things with high emotional quotient. So all the drawings, paintings, made by my daughter ever since  she could hold the crayons, my husband’s first stethoscope, briefcase, gifts from close friends(even those that have fallen apart), a shell from the beach where we went honeymooning, and other such things are lovingly stored away. Even now my wish to change the sofas was met with a lot of opposition by my daughter saying” I grew up on these” until I pointed out that that’s precisely the reason they have to be changed. Believe me, I’ve been declared an unemotional person many a times.

2.Mementos- these include the things belonging to our family or members of the family. I wouldn’t mind if these were family heirlooms, like pieces of jewelry, paintings by the masters, and the likes, but that is usually not the case. But the things that are, I don’t think I can even mention them here.

3.To be used some day- this category bugs me the most. I’ve got piles of unused pens, little jars and bottles, pieces of wood-boards, old spectacle frames, you name it. Though to be honest and at the risk of being exposed, I’ll confess that I do away with them on the sly leaving enough so as not to arouse suspicion.

4.Things that can neither be used nor given away- I have closet full of things that have been either given or gifted to me on various occasions. I have no use for them but cannot give them away either. Some are beautiful and usable but I have no space to display them, some do not fit, some that I can use only one at a time and the rest have to wait for their turn.

5. Simply “Do Not Throw That” category- this can include the most mundane things that I’ve been strictly told to leave well alone, no arguments entertained.

I’m not too sure if I’ve missed any category. But if you have any suggestions please enlighten me.

Every year ‘Diwali Cleaning’ (our annual cleaning similar to spring cleaning) yields a good harvest of all things that I can give away.

I then call the people from an institute here named ‘Blind People’s Association’ who accept, besides donations, things you don’t need. They use whatever they can, sell the rest and use the money for the disabled.

Kills two birds for me- one, I get rid of things I don’t need; and two- feel good about having my things put to good use.


A mornings’ Tale

     Listen to the exhortation of the Dawn!

Look to this day, for it is Life, the very Life of Life.

In its brief course lie all the verities and realities of your Existence.

The Bliss of Growth, the Glory of Action, the Splendor of Beauty.

For yesterday is but a Dream, and tomorrow is only a Vision;

but Today well lived

makes yesterday a Dream of Happiness and every tomorrow a Vision of Hope.

Look well therefore to this Day!

Such is the Salutation of the Dawn.


Beautiful words, aren’t they? Make you wanna go all philosophical and write about all things beautiful and positive about the mornings- how its a  new beginning, brings new hope and blah and blah and blah. That’s the general direction my thoughts were taking when I read the quote and decided to do a post about it. But midway, my thoughts were hijacked by my not so philosophical part of the brain, towards a totally new direction and what that resulted in was this-

I love mornings. In fact, I’m basically a morning person- not the 4:30am  morning person but a 6:00am morning person. Mornings mean, sending my daughter off to school(something that will soon end), drinking my lime and honey in hot water while skimming through the newspaper, mentally noting the news I have to later read in detail and then its time for a round of workouts, beginning with a jog.

When I first began jogging, I would go up to the terrace of my building for the run. I loved to see the sun rise, the birds making their way across the skies in large flocks, to hear the tolling of bells from a nearby temple and later the sound of a band playing march-past tunes(my apartment building is near police headquarters and parade ground). It was a great way to start the day. But after about a year a pair of eagles decided to nest in a tree near the building and they took offence to my jogging in what I suppose they believed was their territory and I was unceremoniously shooed out by a series of aerial attacks displaying their beaks and talons.

I then tried jogging on the treadmill at the neighborhood gym. It was great as far as burning calories was concerned, but I missed the outdoors.

A few months later I discovered that a monument near my home had opened its gates and the walkways of its gardens for morning walkers. Delighted I made a beeline for the place only to discover that I was the only female jogger surrounded by a whole lot of male starers and of course other female walkers too. I couldn’t and still can’t understand what is so amazing or intriguing about seeing a female(who is also appropriately clad in full-length tracks and tees) jog. 

People at times stopped midway between what they were doing- which included, apart from walking, doing push-ups or squats, even an Anulom-Vilom or Kapalbhati Pranayam- just to stare as if I had just landed from Mars- or Venus if you please.But being the stubborn bull-head that i am ,specially in such situations, I continued my daily jogs,pointedly ignoring all the stares.

My luck didn’t last long here either and after a few months the management decided to close its doors to the public for some renovations. I personally believe that they were miffed that I was getting more attention than the monument, hence the action.

So once again I was rendered jogging-trackless. I gave a fleeting thought to, going to the parade ground and using a quiet corner for my runs but the images of shorts and ganji clad policemen doing their daily drills, sensibly, made me give up THAT idea.

Finally I had to resign myself to the lobby of my floor which is a reasonably okay place for me to jog. Its large enough and ogle-free. I get my dose of fresh air and can see the sun rise without having to protect myself from aerial attacks. Guess it will have to do till I find a better place that fits in with all my preconditions. Ciao…

note-the pictures here all are my daughter’s work.

Life of 24 Hours

# London Olympics 2012
**India Medal Tally (G:0, S:2, B:4)
***Part 3

And when the Olympics come around, we are saddened, angry and aghast that we are not able to revel in reflected glory. We are ashamed that countries with one millionth of our population pick up gold medals. These guys have done us in, we say. We believed so much in them and they have let us down.

But the truth is, it is we who let them down. For, we don’t care about them for three years and eleven-and-a-half months. We don’t care about their impecunious circumstances, their heroic struggles, their fight against-the-odds and battles with cynical, self-serving sports administrators heading often corrupt sports bodies.

Instead, we spend sleepless nights over whether Chennai Super Kings would make it to the final of the IPL or whether a mediocre also-ran cricketer really did take recreational drugs at some rave…

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My last post on Indian festivals -Rakshbandhan , should have come with a statutory warning-” Festivals Ahoy”. This is the month of Shravan/ Bhadarva,  hence a season of festivals. Today is Janmashtami, the eighth day of waning moon in the month of Shravan/Bhadarva,  the day on which Lord Krishna was born, at the stroke of midnight. This is again a festival that is widely celebrated.   The story of Lord Krishna’s birth is a matter of a complete post and I will leave that out for the time being. What I share today is a photographic post of people’s celebrations. In Gujarat, this is the day for children. A part of the city is cordoned off from traffic and a large scale fair is organised every year. People with kids eagerly looking forward to fun-filled outing throng to the fair. Kids get to wear their best clothes, buy new toys, and eat their favorite ice-creams. Even a daily wage earner, on this day, buys whatever he can afford for his kids. All these years I never went to this fair. Mental blocks again, (it will be too crowded, not safe, etc). But every year my house help would leave early and come the next day with tales about all the fun they had with their kids at the fair. So this year I decided to throw away all my inhibitions and went to experience the celebrations as they should be , in their true spirit. Wishing everyone a Happy Janmashtami   Lord Krishna as a baby in his swinging cot                 some artistic flag poles; really heavy; are carried by many men at a time to the temple

                                                                                                                                                                                    Wares on sale

And now some people pictures                    

Babies’ Day Out

 A Young Vendor

youngest vendor that we saw, really serious about his job

    carved wooden blocks for henna tattoos

  Kids, Kids and more kids, everywhere

returning home with Krishna idol

   a young bride

 boy dressed as Krishna

snack time

some more young Krishnas

                something really heartening to see was that more than 50% of the vendors were Muslims and were part of  Hindu festivities

our daughter(oldest) with our neighbors’ kids

The day ended on a high note when we returned home with goodies for our neighbors’ little kids, and were greeted with shrieks and shouts of delight

 having fun with the wheelies 


Life has always thrown it’s share of surprises at me, some pleasant and some not so. It did not follow my plans but instead decided everything for me.  My dreams were taken away from me only to be replaced by new ones. Responsibilities were thrust upon me that I didn’t think I would be able to handle, but then also found the will and hence the strength and the ability to carry them out. But there were times when I doubted, lost faith, in myself and in what I was doing, especially when the going got really tough or when I thought I was not being appreciated for my efforts, or when I wondered what goals had life set for me. Times like these would be highly depressing, but at such times some serious soul searching would help. One of the things I like to do then is to go out on the balcony of my room late at night when everyone’s asleep and look at the stars in the sky. They always give me a great sense of perspective, a sense that I’m not the centre of the universe. I’m just a little speck in the larger scheme of things and that helps to draw a sense of calm and peace that God has planned everything for me, no matter how small a part of His scheme I may be. Also that everything will happen when the time is right, and no amount of worrying or fretting is going to help.

Over the years, Life has also led me to believe that when it thrusts a particular task at you it is because it thinks you to be capable of handling it. So I like to put my faith in it’s faith in me and just go for it, even if it means going out of my comfort zone. In fact, Life has a habit of throwing me and I would assume, people in general, out of their comfort zone. It is it’s way of showing my strengths and capabilities to me and shake me out of my complacency. So now I try not to say no to any unexpected surprise or challenge that it throws at me, just because I am afraid I won’t be able to handle it, but instead try to find out if I can tackle it head on.

I had a very normal and largely uneventful childhood, in the protective care of my parents. Went to a boarding school for my education. Wanted to be a doctor, but life had it’s own plan for me, and got me married to a doctor instead and I settled down to being a home-maker in a large joint family. Again it was a comfortable and sheltered life. The ups or downs came in the form of health problems (some major ones) for the family members and most of the time the responsibility of taking care of them fell on me. It taught me a lot of things, being a good nurse among others.

The last couple of years I had quite some free time on my hands, what with my daughter now old enough to take care of herself and her academics and almost ready to fly out of the nest. She would often try to persuade me to take up a job and as I liked teaching she often suggested that I should really get going as did my husband. I gave it some thought but was unable to take that first step. As usual, self doubts would raise their heads( I am too old to start something new or I won’t be able to deal with today’s kids and many more).

Then a month back I got a call from my daughter’s old school. They needed teachers and found out from old students’ records that I was qualified for the job. They asked me if I would be interested in joining the school. Realizing that this opportunity was a ‘Godsend’ and once again putting my faith in Life’s faith in me I said ‘yes’.

So now I’m once again out of my comfort zone. I’m back to school, as teacher, and enjoying the everyday challenge of teaching, of interacting with young minds and hopeful of being a successful part in molding their futures. I know the going will be tough but I want to test my fears and see myself come out triumphant so I can throw a surprise right back in the face of my Life.


This is about one of the most important and widely celebrated festivals of India. When I’d decided that this year I’d do posts about my country I’d thought I would go about it systematically. First I’d put in somethings about Hinduism, then some basics about the lunisolar calender we follow, etc. But before I could really get down to it, the Rakshabandhan Day was here so I decided to do a post on this first.

Rakshabandhan falls on the Full Moon day of ‘Shravan’ month, which is a month of the rainy season. In some parts of the country it falls in the middle of the ‘shravan’ month whereas for the others it marks the end of the said month, depending upon whether the month starts from a Full moon or a New moon.

Rakshabandhan  or Rakhi is a festival of brothers and sisters. On this day the sister ties a ‘Rakhi’ or the holy thread on to her brother’s wrist and prays for his prosperity and long life and the brother vows to look after his sister and protect her from harm all his life. This essence of the festival strengthens the bond between the siblings as they take out the time to visit each other for the Rakhi tying ritual, exchange gifts and sweets and spend time together. It’s fun time for the kids as they get to wear new clothes, get gifts, and enjoy themselves. The young ones forget all their quarrels and fights that they normally indulge in on other days and declare a temporary cease-fire for the day which I’m sure brings a huge relief  to the parents. This festival becomes more relevant where older brothers and sisters are involved who due to their busy schedules are unable to spend enough time with each other on normal working days. For those living in different cities or even countries it’s time for sending those Rakhis via the post or courier services who come up with special packages for the festival, to deliver the Rakhi safely to the brothers.

Exactly how or when this festival began , no one can tell for sure but there are many tales related to the festival.

There is one about king Bali and Goddess Lakshmi. Lord Vishnu(Goddess Lakshmi’s husband) had sent the noble king Bali to the Patal-lok( the underworld) in his Vaman Avataar and blessed him with the same riches that the Gods enjoyed in the heavens. King Bali complained that since he has been banished to the underworld, he would be unable to have his darshan(see him for prayers) Lord Vishnu promised to stay back as the gatekeeper of his kingdom. Many years passed and he did not return to his abode. Goddess Lakshmi got worried for her husband as it would also disrupt the working of the world. She went to king Bali and tied him a rakhi. Bali asked what could he give her as a gift( Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth and riches), she asked him to give her husband back to her.

Then there is the one about Lord Krishna and Draupadi, whom he considered his sister. One day when Lord Krishna was injured in the battle and his finger bled profusely, Draupadi promptly tore off the end of her saree and tied it to the wound to stem the bleeding. And Krishna saved Draupadi’s honor when the evil Duryodhana asked his brother Dushashan to pull off her saree in the presence of a full court which also included her five powerless husbands, the Pandavas. As Dushashan pulled the saree, it lengthened into yards and yards of fabric until he could pull no more.

Then there is another story where,  Queen Karnavati of Chittor sent a Rakhi to the then Mughal emperor Humayun and asked for his help when her kingdom was attacked by the Sultan of Gujarat, Bahadur Shah. Humayun, immediately, set off to help the queen but arrived too late. The queen’s forces had been defeated. She and the women of the fort committed ‘jauhar’ i.e. threw themselves into a burning pyre to protect their honor and the men donned saffron clothes and rode out on a suicidal charge against the enemy.

Every region of the country has many more tales and folk-lores related to this festival. And this is one festival that is celebrated across all religions, because this is a people’s festival that binds them together, brings them close to each other and is not constrained by the doctrines of any religion.

Below are some pictures from last years Rakshabandhan when,after many years, all the brothers and sisters of my father-in-law were able to get together,from all parts of the country, to celebrate the festival. Most of the time one or the other would not be able to make it.

three sisters(standing), three brothers and two sisters-in-law(seated)tying Rakhi

gift time

one whole generation-3 sisters, 3 brothers and 2 sisters-in-law

the siblings