Thursday, November 7, 2013

Standing the test of time

Colours of Love
Pic Courtesy: Google Images

He cradled me in his arms. I cooed. He threw me up in the air. I laughed. I knew he would catch me; never let me fall. On result day, he never returned home without a bar of Cadbury for me. I waited for him, for my most prized treat. He would willingly loose those Sunday afternoon Scrabble games. I broke into a war dance of victory. He watched the news with rapt attention. I imitated, not making head or tail of the reportage. He listened to old, slow, soft and somewhat melancholy melodies. I ruthlessly remixed and sang them in some self-composed high octane. He would laugh at my silly attics. I ran up to him with my henna adorned hands and feet. He smiled indulgently. To the world, I was bride-to-be. For us, I was still his little girl. Daddy. The first man in my life. The man I was in love with even before I knew what love meant. The man against whom I measure every other man who makes his way into my life, even today. As with every relationship, even in this one, there comes a point of intense realization. I found mine after 28 years... I was heavily pregnant. 8 months to be precise. Excited about the newest addition to the family, nervous about the added responsibility and scared of labor... I remember the day so vividly. The beeline of visitors had left. I enjoyed all the attention and the lip smacking delicacies they got for me, but the socializing had left me exhausted. Finally there was only mum, dad and me at home. Dad had a dry cough and while his throat irritated him, the incessant coughing bugged me. I turned on my left and lay on the sofa. Dad sat on the sofa beside me and gently patted my head. It’s a seemingly simple act but the love and warmth that emanated from it was so intense. I suddenly felt peaceful and cared for. It's true. Sometimes a million words cannot do what one touch can. That evening I felt that touch. I felt the love in its purest form. It touched me for sure, tugged the strings of my heart. But it also reached the little one growing inside me. A love that passes down generations. A love, which, like platinum will stand the test of time.
The second man in my life... One with whom I share childhood memories and grown up dreams. We grew up playing pranks, sharing jokes, fighting with each other... Sometimes, we were all set to slit each other's throat. Yet, one wouldn't last without the other. It's what most brother-sister relationships are like. For me, he is a brother to fight for and to fight with. Mum says, when he was born, I was the first one to hold him. Ever since, I've been fiercely protective of him. He knows all my secrets; I think I know his too. He is all grown up yet he is my little brother for me. 2 years 3 months ago when I got busy shopping for him and packing his bags, I was proud... My brother was going abroad to study. With a 3 month old incorrigible infant in my arms, I smiled and managed to do my bit to make his trip comfortable. Life moved fast, there was no time for whispering advice or sharing some quiet time with him. Yet, when he took his step outside the door on that night of August 15, I felt a surge of emotion, a pang of pain in the depth of my heart. He was going far away. Until then, I was the one who went from home. This was the first time he would go, and that too across 7 seas. When would I see him next? How would he manage? What if he needed something? Yes, we have a huge family where he is, but still my brother is 'my brother'. At that midnight hour, love raised its hood for the infinite time and showed me again, that he is a friend to the spirit, a gift to the heart and a platinum thread to the meaning of life.
Life is amazing. The way it works, brings people together and the way loves meanders its way through, weaving us into a relationship. Some years ago, this man walked into my life. It wasn't exactly like waves go dashing into each other or like new blossoms touch each other and spread wild fragrance. It was like meeting just about anyone else... may be at work or a party. Never once did expect my heart to do a cart wheel… and to that effect I was right. I didn’t shy, didn’t blush, no super-fast heart beats… just nothing to bring an indication of what was to come. And then, within a few minutes, a relationship was formed, a bond set and a new phase of life opened. It opened quiet so fast that I couldn’t exactly figure what was happening, except that I was smiling all the time, spent very less time at home, had no inclination to work, wrote innumerable emails and then somewhere down the line, said the three magical words… and even when we exchanged those, it wasn’t like a hurricane of emotions… but was more of a solid grounded feeling; like I would have said it sometime sooner or later. It was his birthday and I had lined up many surprises for him. Late that night I got him to drive half way to a jungle, he of course had no clue where the destination was. His eyes gleamed with joy when we drove into the beautifully landscaped resort. We checked in and walked hand in hand. Inhibitions, fear, shyness had long made their way out of our lives... On that star studded night, walking on a cobbled pathway below a canopy of trees, the moonlight pierced through the thicket and illuminated our path. A whiff of breeze brought with it the heady scent of rose and love filled the air. It was serene, calm, beautiful and romantic. We were at peace. When I suddenly picked up a ruffle behind me, at that late hour, in that deserted place, the noise scared me and I clung on him. He turned back and put his arm around my shoulder. It was reassuring. There was a truth in his eye that said he would never leave me. The touch of his hand said it would hold me if ever I fall. We shared an eye lock, saw each other's souls and were swept by a strong torrent of emotions… emotions of love, of longing, of adoration for each other. Unspoken words made promises of sharing our lives, of sharing togetherness, of being there for each other. We had found the love we yearned for... As precious as platinum, as pure as it too.
Every relationship has its day of love. A moment of realization of the love so deep and pure. I found mine over and over again in these three relationships... Each as pure and true as the other. My platinum day of love with the three most important men in my life... I wouldn't last a day without you!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Power of positive

Image courtesy: Google Images :)
A million smiles, warm sunshine, a beacon of hope, the ability to transform tears to joy… what else is the power of positive but to touch lives, alter its very course, to bring a spring in each step, house joy in each heart, spread happiness, instill confidence, create an agile and alert mind and give life a new dimension. Positivity- a force, a tornado that can catch you unawares, sweep you off your feet, and land you in a place never thought of. Being as powerful as it is, the journey riding high on positivity can be fraught with immense power, speed and sometimes mind boggling events… yet, the destination is as beautiful as beautiful can be.

Like it does to every single person on this planet, positivity came knocking at my door too. I barely creaked open the door and life has never been the same ever after. Positive thinking has been a mantra in our household… we’ve always believed that if you want something with all your heart, the entire universe conspires to make it happen- a thought that gained firm roots when I saw it work in my own life. It was 12 years ago on a warm summer evening, that this mantra was questioned, shaken and stirred by the raw energy and untamed force called positivity. “Eliminate the cause, the very root of negativity in us. Instead of rubbing the mind with a positive thought, go deep into yourself through the breath, through meditation, and cleaning the system,” He said. I never understood; lesser still did I want to implement. Yet, a mystic force kept me enraptured and the teachings found a way to weave themselves into my life.

Around me I saw visible transformations, street side goons turning into compassionate people, militants laying down arms, drug addicts turning a new leaf without the need of counselling or de-addiction centers and many more wanting to spread the smiles. I gaped in awe as I saw life gaining a new meaning for millions. Through it all, I was blissfully unaware of the makeover happening inside of me. I never really worked towards eliminating the root cause of the negative, yet, years of curdled stresses, fears and tensions were slowly and steadily making their way out of my system. I was smiling more, believing more, fretting less, more composed and definitely felt a peace pervade my very being. Then one day, the dark clouds of gloom made their way into my life, bright student I was, but I had hadn't cleared a few exams. The first time in my life I encountered failure so harsh that I was on the verge of losing a year at college (and that’s almost criminal in the society I was brought up in).

In that moment, I introspected, looked back at my life and saw the transformation… here I was, in a situation where life as I knew it was shattered and all seemed lost. I, however, was far from flustered and depressed. I didn't fervently rub a positive thought in my mind, I just knew that I would be taken care of, that eventually all would fall in place. Here was the transformation in me… it wasn't just about thinking positive, it was about being positive and unknowingly that’s what I had become. At that moment I realized that positive was a force like none other, a force so powerful and unstoppable that you simply had to bow down and let it take charge of your life…

Positive had the power to root out insecurities from deep within, positive had the power to spread sunshine, positive had to the power to gift me an unshakable smile, positive had the power to uncover  itself in its glorious, shining armour within me… positive was the power my guru exuded. Positive was what my Master made me…

Pranaams at the lotus feet of my Master, HH Sri SriRavishankar ji.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Happy travellers ...

We've been smitten by the travel bug. Wanderlust has long taken over us. We can pack suitcases in a jiffy; have a knack of picking up bits and pieces of the local lingo; strike fantastic bargains at flea markets while taking in the sights and sounds of all places new. Essentially we take to the skies at every given opportunity. That's how we are, as a family- ready to undertake a yatra, explore the unexplored, search for soul, see the unseen, connect with people, wipe out boundaries and experience the world as one family. And so, when the festivals came along, bringing with them an extra-long weekend, we simply couldn't let the holiday season go by without packing the suitcases. We huddled in discussion- where should we head out for a dream vacation?

It’s been on our mind to explore our homeland, India, so we simply struck off international holidays. At any rate, a mere 4 day international holiday wouldn't satiate our greedy eyes which love to feast on new sights. It's the onset of the monsoon, the earth bathed in its virgin beauty and heady petrichor spell magic. We ran through our individual travel bucket lists and boarded many flights of fantasy. We bummed around on the beaches of Orissa and Tamil Nadu, ambled about in isolated island caves in Andaman, trekked up the Western Ghats in Karnataka and Maharashtra and ogled at the marvellous Brahmaputra. We soon figured that we wanted to go everywhere, there was simply so much to see and do.
That's us wanting to go here & there and everywhere!
(Pic courtesy:
That's when mummy intervened. She brings in a semblance of normalcy when we go over board and is our guiding light in moments of madness (both good and bad). She is the devout type and so when she spoke about Shrava masa, (the holy month of Shravana peppered with numerous festivals) we weren't sure where this was headed. Our travel hopes were going to be dashed with the impending festivals, we thought, when she broke the good news. "How about we all go to Kashi," she said. She beamed, thinking about getting darshan of Kashi Vishwanath ji, S smiled at the aromas of heavenly food wafted into his nostrils and his stomach growled at the mere thought of the place, images of intricately designed, opulent Banarasi sarees rustled in my minds eyes. Together we dreamed of sitting at the banks of Ganga ji and setting lamps afloat. How could we say no to multifaceted Varanasi? We jumped at the idea. Kashi it was. We were going to Kashi!

I have children at home, a 2 year old tornado of a toddler and a 7 month old inexhaustible infant. They are quite a handful, to be honest. Top that with household chores and the million other things a work-from-home mom has to do, you'll know that I have my plate topped up. And so, I did what motherhood has taught me to, place a call, order online, basically delegate the hard work to someone who does it willingly and does it well. It's the best way to be stress free and happy. I was clear, I wanted to a happy traveller, not worried about travel, stay and food and so, as always, I reached out to They are proficient, the yatra people. All it took was a 5 minute phone call to plan and book our trip; within a jiffy, in my mailbox sat our flight tickets to Varanasi (Kashi), cab details and hotel booking confirmation. Now, all I needed to do was pack and get ready.

A hassle free vacation is a happy vacation, for sure. But what adds zing to the zest are those special moments that stay etched in memory forever as smiles you can't forget. Our vacation started exactly like that. Having seated belted ourselves and ear plugged the seeping children, the flight had just moved onto the runway of the Bangalore International Airport, when a dhoti clad, red and white chequered gamcha donning grandpa cleared his throat and chanted a loud jaikara, "Har Har Mahadev!". His family and travel companions accompanied him in this chant and a smile spread across many lips. My almost asleep daughter joined in the jaikara complete with throwing her hands up in the air. Our vacation cum pilgrimage had begun.

At touch down, there was a cab waiting for us at the airport. Driving through the ancient temple town and epicentre of Hindusim, it seemed we'd entered an era unknown. We were so taken in by the mysticism of the place that when we walked into a plush 4 star hotel, we were pleasantly surprised. Even as we were settling in, Varanasi showed us that in it, opposites and extremes co-exist.

Holy mantras reverberated in the air; we soaked in all the good vibes as we walked towards the earthly abode of Lord Shiva, the Kashi Vishwanath temple. Every Hindu worth his salt knows about the temple and its significance in the scriptures. So, finding a beeline of devotes and faithful’s that too in the month of Sharavan, dedicated to Lord Shiva, came as no surprise. What caught our attention however was the number of foreigners who stood outside the temple gazing longingly, some even with a hint of reverence. One of them walked up to us, looking at the kids, said, "you are so lucky to be here, this is the birth place of Om." Not like we needed affirmation from elsewhere but hearing that made us feel so good. As we inched closer to the sanctum sanctorum, the hustle bustle of activity increased, the jaikaras got louder as did the pushes and shoves. In the few seconds we got in front of the jyotirlinga, time came to a standstill. Yes, we were jostled. Sure, people were chanting praises of The Lord of all worlds. Some of the offerings of bilwa patra and Ganga jal even found their way on our hands and head. Yet, waves of peace and clam overtook us. From all the sights and sounds outside we were inexplicably drawn inwards. Shiva made his presence felt in our own hearts. In that moment, we felt light as a feather, free of limitations and bondage, innocent, complete and happy.

A few steps away from the temple, the scene changed, as did the mood. Myriad lanes abuzz with outlets selling novelty knick-knacks, tourists bargaining, loudspeakers blaring the latest Shiv bhajans, the aroma of deep fried sweets and savouries wafting from small eateries... everything to titillate and appease the senses. After gorging on lip smacking chaat and delightfully decadent rabari, we topped it off with a special thandai. They say, bhajan aur bhojan main sharmana nahi chahiye and we followed that to the last letter. Who could be happier than a well fed Brahmin who has just had darshan of the divine? Almost in answer to that thought, we put down our kulhars (traditional handless, unpainted, unglazed terracotta cups) and saw 4 of us sporting thin white moustaches. With a belly full of giggles we walked on to drown ourselves in the opulence of the finest sarees in this world- Baneras silk sarees.

Sitting at the Dashashwamedh ghat under a star studded sky setting sail leaf boats with small ghee lit lamps, was a deeply spiritual experience. The sight of mother Ganga has an over powering effect, the millions of brightly lit lamps floating along her waters seemed like sparkling diamonds on her veil as she meandered through the city. Her waters have a deeply cleansing effect, washing away our sins and carrying a message of hope and purity. Sitting there late into the night, feeling the cool breeze against our face, staring at the full moon and sparkling stars and hearing the celestial sound 'Om' in her waters was akin to finding a lost treasure.
As we took the cab to visit nearby places, a sight greeted us at the doorway to Kashi. It is a memory like none other; one that left us with tears in our eyes and a smile on our lips. Entering the city was a funeral procession and followed closely by a wedding party. Both adorned with flowers, loud music and an entire entourage. Once again, the all-encompassing nature of this sacred city was revealed. A place where people want to be born, a place where people hope to breathe their last. Be as indifferent to it as you may like, but the vibrations of the city are different. A place where hundreds of thousands of people across faith, age and many other differences come together and speak the language of prayer.

What could possibly make anyone happier than to see, that no matter how filthy the lanes of the city have become, the hearts of its inhabitants are clean. No matter how contradictory it may seem, the opposites peacefully co-exist here. And while deep into the night there are stories of people going high on drugs, one can see people intoxicated in devotion all day long. Spending time in Kashi is like living through millions of magical moments strung together on a river bed of belief, love and hope. So lost was I in the mysticism and history of Kashi that had it not been for, I would probably never gotten back in time or even worse simply not lost myself enough in the wonders of the place while dealing with logistical issues. As usual, had fulfilled its promise of creating happy travellers on a happy holiday.

We got back to the buzz of Bangalore. Back to office deadlines, long hours at the computer screen and of course steaming hot idlis. But we never really got back from Kashi, cause the city in all its glory resides in our heart and the Kashi yatra will be looked forward to over and over again.

PS. This post is my entry to 'Creating Happy Travellers’ contest conducted by IndiBlogger and under the topic: If you could take your family or friends to any place on the planet, where would that be and how would you make your trip the happiest one ever?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Not so verbose me :)

One fine day, a rather verbose me decided to try something new... twitter fiction. Tell a story in not more than 140 characters... a single tweet story. Much to my own amazement, I actually managed! and whats more, I even won the first place in the Word Weavers 2013 Contest... Yippee!!!

Here's what I dished out... and now, I look forward to your comments!

Twitter Fiction (Pic courtesy: The Guardian)

  • Grief- death. Gain- property division. Hers- discarded utensils. Fate she thought. Silver shone through on washing them. Fate she laughed!              
  • A deep look at all sights & sounds familiar. A long breath. Once inside those magnetic doors, he would fly across many seas to a new life.                    
  • She had beauty & bounty- like summer clouds. Her sister had neither. Her kids like dark rain clouds, showered love & joy on all.                                             
  • They had the gems. We had the skill. The jewels glittered & blinded morality from their heart. All was well until human nature meddled.                                  
  • A ear piercing scream. A wail. A blur of activity. Million watt smiles. Boxes of sweets. A new life was born. 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Hop on & sit back!

2 years is a lot of time. Well, that depends on how you perceive it. Sometimes it moves grudgingly, dragging its heavy iron clad feet and yet sometimes it fleets away like a bouncing spring cloud in a gust of breeze. Life assumes many shapes; in my case it went from heavily convex to an attempt at plaining out- to heavily convex again and now, a frantic attempt at flattening itself straight. Life gives in abundance; for me it packed many gifts in 2 pocket sized bundles- Shivapriya & Guruprasad. Life takes back; from me it ruthlessly & hastily snatched away Dad; taking him back to the source and leaving us incomplete. Life teaches us all the way, I'll start with midnight snacking and move on to an uncanny, uncharasteristicly clam demeanour titled patience.
Well, to cut a long story short, there has been a flood under the bridge since I spoke to you all last. So much so, that I could write many novellas just based on what I've seen and been through over the last 2 years. While I was caught up in this madness, there has been a part of me left untended to, ignored but definitely not forgotten- this blog- which unfortunately wasn't able to keep pace with what life had thrown me into. Now, however, I am back with a vengeance. Am back to make you laugh & cry, to take you on my little escapades, to entertain you, to enthral you, to journey with you on this voyage of self discovery.
So, hop on... Let the adventures restart!