I hate these questions …..

Yesterday, I had been to the bank, to update my passbook. The man in the counter smiled at me and started making small talk with me. I didn’t mind the questions which were out of my personal sphere. Then came the – Is your husband working with ….. ? What is he, in that company ? Here I am, trying to answer those questions with all the patience in the world, while he was waiting for the printer to print my account details. I was praying for the printing to be done fast, as I know the next question that was to be thrown at my direction.

Madam, Do you work ? — Now, what kind of question is that ? I hate this question pointed at me. I get up at morning 5.15am, start packing my girls’ lunch boxes as they leave at 6.45am. Then comes an array of chores like breakfast for me and S, lunch box for S, laundry, buying things for the house, banking, baking (some days), handle the maid, evening snack for the hungry girls, dinner and the list is sometimes endless. I try and catch up with my favourite Nigella’s shows in between, if possible. While I slog around the house so much, I don’t take it kindly to answer that question – Do you Work ? Should I answer a NO, I don’t work – to this stupid question.

Just because he happened to be the person who helps me during long queues in the bank, I nodded my head both ways – up and down and side to side, totally confusing him. While he looked at me eagerly waiting for the answer, I took the passbook and escaped a verbal answer to him.

Are you employed somewhere ? sounds much better.

Another question that makes me really really irritable is – Are you a housewife ? I am totally angered by the way this society forms words in English – housewife???? grrrrrrr. To which I normally answer, I am a homemaker.

If you take up any application form in this country, there will be Name, Address. And under the heading Occupation, there will be options which has to be ticked. Options available are Employed, Housewife, Student, Others. When there is an option for employed, let the other option be Unemployed – Why degrade the 24*7 working women with a word like housewife ???? I generally choose the Others category and write Homemaker in the space provided.

If a man stays at home taking care of the house and kids, will he be branded as house husband ????? Maybe, yes, in India.

I prefer the stay-at-home Mom / Dad tag much much better than this stupid housewife thing which I am living with.

What are the questions which repel you from answering ? Do you get irritated like me ?????

Happiness Journey

As per my blogosphere friend’s request, here I am, blogging about the journey of Happiness through different stages of life – as understood from Dr Deepak Chopra.

Dr Deepak Chopra specialised in internal medicine and was practising in California, before he took up Ayurveda. Further, he started concentrating more on the mind – body connections and advocates self-awareness and meditation as primary factors in both illness and healing.

There is this show in NDTV Good Times called “Happiness – A Journey with Deepak Chopra” which greatly appealed to me. And, this show is aired on Mondays & Saturdays 7.30 pm IST. Generally, 7.30pm shows in NDTV GT are about yoga, meditation and the alternate methods for peace and health.

In this series, Dr DC talks about finding happiness in various aspects of life like – love, work, death etc. The thoughts shared were simple, yet carried a profound meaning to it. I’ll try my level best to remember Dr DC’s thoughts and write them down.

  • There can 101 ways to beat stress like meditation, swimming, yoga and many more. But the most powerful ones are those times spent with your friend / spouse / partner doing some activity, where MONEY is not involved. Play a game of tennis or badminton, walk a few miles – any activity with a buddy is sure a great stress buster. When money is not involved, it brings in great happiness to play with friends and hence greater relief from stress.
  • As Lord Krishna advocates in his Bhagvad Gita, an employee also should live the life of KARMA YOGI. It means that – Just keep doing the work about which you are passionate about, but don’t await the outcome of your work. If you love what you are doing, then the end result should never matter to you. Great musicians, artists have all created wonders – but never with the intention of selling and making money. If it happens later as a gradual process, then learn to accept it. But, the point is, Be passionate about your work, Work more passionately, Never think about the outcome. By living the life of Karma Yogi in the work place, the employee is totally satisfied – you can never find a more satisfied and happy human being at work.
  • The human body is made of matter, as are all the things in this earth. So, why do we think that the human body is destroyed after death ? Matter can never be destroyed. It just exists in different forms. By thinking that the person who died, is existing in this earth in some other form, will bring in some serenity to the mind. Its all in the mind – what you make your mind to think, is what you’ll feel later.
  • When two people meet and talk, each person starts to exist in the conscience of the other. This kind of communication through the conscience is very powerful and intent. It also helps in feeling the other person’s presence, even when they are not near us. This feeling is a great happiness contributor, when the other person meets with death.

Dr DC’s thoughts and expressions were many more, which I am having trouble in bringing them to memory. Once, I do it, I’ll be sure to write them also.

Finally, our happiness is within us. Nothing outside can affect this happiness within. We are responsible for our own happiness. How we react to situations, how we work passionately, how we treat our friends, how are we treated by our enemies – anything and everything should not affect our inner happiness.

I love being a MOM !

So, I’ve been tagged again, by Reflections. But this time, its something close to my heart and brings such warmth thinking about it, that I am feeling sad that I should write ONLY 5 things I love being a Mom. If I my list goes beyond 5, I am not responsible, its the motherly instincts that have taken over me. OK !

1. First of all, I am so proud being a Mom, as I had created two wonderful lives inside me and when I look upon them now, so grown up (my daughters are teenagers) and taller than me, sometimes I choke with tears.

2. When ever my S starts telling my girls about his childhood days, my daughters call me and ask “Really, Mom ? Is that so?” Even for my husband’s childhood stories (of which I was never a part of), the YES stamp has to come from me. When I point it out to them, they refuse to believe (even now, when they are little grown up) anything, without my nod. That kind of blind belief on me, makes me strive harder to be a better mother than what I am now.

3. The quiet afternoons on the bed, spent with my daughters, listening to their stories about friends, about their ideas of life, silly questions about sex, birth and my attempt at answering those without lying to them – those are such wonderful moments to die for. That is a time of realisation for me, on how much my daughters value my advice. I am absolutely delighted to be a part of their lives in moulding their careers, personality, behaviour – actually I am proud to be their MOM.

4. Those proud moments when my daughters gets appreciated in school for outstanding performance and when the teachers call us up and applaud for being gifted with such wonderful daughters – Oh! I am blessed to be a mother of these 2 girls.

5. When I am being credited for the creative skills which my daughter has inherited, I am elated. Sometimes, I can see that my daughters are desperately trying to do things the way I do. That is another proud moment to be a mother.

6. My life’s best award was given by my daughters, when they go ooh hoo aah haa over my cooking. My little one always says that I should have been a Chef at a 5 star hotel for the way I am cooking or I should start my Cooking Show (like Nigella Lawson). Imagine being placed on par with Nigella !!! My girls favourite slogan goes like – Taste mein best, Mummy aur ….. (whatever dish they are eating right then).

7. Those moments when the girls ask me to repeat their childhood stories – again and again and again – make me a proud mother, but we’ve never got bored with the stories. The best times are also when we look through our photo album when my girls were in diapers.

8. When I being tightly hugged by both my girls, kissed on the cheek and flowered with the title – Mom, you are the best ! This is one moment which cannot equate my entire life on earth.

I think this list might just be going on, as there are many more moments to share. But, since this is a tag, I stop here convinced that Motherhood is indeed the greatest pedestal to be, indeed.

My Lessons !

I’ve been learning a few things in the past few days, which have made me pause and take a different look at life. These insights into life, make us a better human being for tomorrow.

Lesson 1 :

No person or incident can make you less happy in life. The happiness factor depends upon – how you react to the incident or the person.

Scene – Early morning 6.45 at the breakfast table.

My girls are having milk and scrambled egg for breakfast. I am busy plaiting my daughter’s hair. At that time, I hear the horn of the school bus. OMG, the bus has come nearly 10 minutes early. My daughter, reacting to my frenzied pace, started gulping down her milk pretty fast. As I am requesting the bus driver to wait for my daughters, I hear my daughters plea to come and help her. Alas, the milk had spilled on her uniform.

Usual me – Start shouting at my girls for not being efficient in doing things, always being clumsy etc etc. My daughter will go to school with a grumpy face, which might affect her attentiveness at class. The screaming woman in me will be displayed to the hubby dear also, which can spoil his whole day at work.

The New Me – Because of my new learning, I faced the situation in a calm and peaceful way. I smiled at my daughter and said “Its OK, dear. It happens to us also. Don’t worry, I’ll ask the bus driver to wait for few more minutes while you change your uniform”. WOW, Wasn’t that easy ? My daughter will go to school with a big smile on her face. And more importantly, the happy woman in me is flashing the happy smile on my S too. Every body’s day goes off well and I am happy that I’ve been instrumental in that.

Just by reacting differently to the whole scenario, I made myself feel happy. So, its all inside us – how you react is how you’ll feel.

Lesson 2 :

Being grateful in life, for all that you have, is the secret to happiness in your life.

Scene – Prayer before bedtime, with my girls.

The regular questions which I face are – Is God hearing our prayers ? Can he understand, if I ask for an iPod, and give it to me ? How can he help in my studies, when I can’t see him ? And many more like this.

Usual me – Pray to God with a sincere heart and he’ll grant all your wishes. By encouraging my daughters, when they are asking for more and more things, I’ve enabled them to understand that the keyword is – keep asking but ask sincerely.

The New Me – The new order in my home is this – Prayers at bedtime are not meant for asking for things, instead they are for thanking God for all that he has given to us. I am insisting on my girls to list 3 things everyday, for which they are extremely thankful to God. Also, I make them write down those things. Eventually, they’ll come to understand that we have so many things to be happy about in life.

I hope that I am imparting a great lesson to my children to follow in their lives, for which I am grateful to God. By being grateful, I found the key to my happiness.

Are you a good parent ?

This happened to one of my friend’s cousin, say S, who is just about 17 yrs old. She is very calm and quiet, refusing to mingle with others. When I enquired about her, I was told that she is undergoing psychiatric treatment.

OMG ! I was saddened by the whole story !!!!!!!

When S finished her 10th standard, her parents put her in junior college to do her 12th board exams, in the maths and science category. So S joined the hostel to stay close to her junior college. But after an year of her studies, S felt that all the studies and preparing for the entrance exams are just too much for her and she requested her parents to come and take her back home. But since she had already finished one year of studies, her parents tried to convince her that everything will workout fine. And then came the board exams and it was such a bad luck for S as she failed to get selected to any of the prestigious engineering colleges in the city.

Now, her parents decided that S continue to train in the junior college, so that she can write the entrance exams again and may be she’ll be selected in any of the engineering colleges in the next year. It was at this time, that S requested so many times that she doesn’t like to continue the studies. But in vain, the parents never listened to her – her problems – why she doesn’t want to continue.

The result – S is under depression – of the severe order. She now wants to break away from everything. So, S had been advised psychiatric help and is now under medication. She is so dazed because of the medication that she doesn’t communicate with anybody. Now, she is undergoing training for meditation, to channelise her energies.

A very confused, depressed little girl – all thanks to her parents.

My questions are

  • Is it justified that the parents always tell (or probably force) what their child has to study or do in their life ?
  • Why are the parents (so called matured adults) so much obsessed with this engineering or medicine courses ?
  • Whatever the parents were not able to do, when they were young, can they force it on their children to satisfy their inner self ?
  • Don’t the parents need to ask the child, if they are willing to do a particular course or more importantly – What does the child want to do in life ?

Why don’t we give freedom to a boy or girl, who is 16 / 17 yrs old, to choose whatever they want to do in life ? I am not denying the responsibility of the parents in the whole decision process. The parents can guide them, give them inputs, help them to choose from different options available – but never force them to study a particular subject.

In today’s world, there are so many ways to satisfy the soul. Starting from a beautician, fashion designer, an artist, an author, a lyricist, an environmentalist, dancer, singer, journalist, animal welfare worker, potter, chef – you can be anybody you want. The satisfaction that is achieved by working on your passionate goal is just something that words cannot describe.

Not everybody who is born on this earth can be an engineer or a doctor. It is total absurdity to think on those lines.

This request is for all those parents who come across my blog – Please allow your children to be what they want to be. Don’t ever force your children to study a particular subject or take some course – just to satisfy your own inner desires. Be there as a guiding light, a beacon, for your children. Support them with all your capacity.

Already, in this world filled with scientific gadgets, we’ve lost the so called innocence in our children. Now, lets not lose our children to the confines of depression.

Shiamak – a hype ??????

I had been listening to reviews by various people about the Dance classes run by Shiamak Davar and all of them vouched that its a great thing to do.

As a new branch was opened near to my home, I enrolled my 2 daughters for Winter Funk, last year. Alas, our bad luck, the show was cancelled due the Mumbai terror attacks at Taj. Since my girls were totally disappointed by the cancellation of the stage show, I decided to enroll them for the Summer Funk, this year.

The classes began on 25th Apr and ended by 9th May – that was a total of 15 classes of 1 hr duration each. The show was held on 10th May, which turned out to be quite a disappointment for me. 38 batches from various branches in the city, performed for nearly two and half hours. But only 2 or 3 dances made their way into my heart.

This made me sit down and ponder at the following things, which could have been done in a much better way.
– It sadly showed that there were not enough rehearsals, to achieve that perfect finish on stage.
– During the 2 weeks of dance class, first week is spent on choosing a song and in the second week we are made to run between tailor to tailor for getting the costume done. Don’t forget the prop – that should also be made ready. At least, they can guide us to a good tailor. Nah ! Its all for you to find out and get it done.
– For the amount of money they charge us as course fees, there could have been more classes for rehearsals and to achieve a good synchronisation among the dancers.
– In a group of more than 25 people dancing on stage, only those in the front row do the dancing part right. Sorry, the ones in the back row take it easy on certain steps.
– I also found so many steps repeated among many groups.
– On the whole, I had spent for the classes, the costume and also for the tickets to watch the show by my daughters.

Shiamak seems to be a better businessman than a dancer was my overall impression. The proof is the number of branches they have opened so far.

The only satisfying thing in this whole episode was that my daughters had great fun, enjoyed dancing and also gave a stage show. Shiamak was also present to add glamour to the whole show.

The hype created around this Shiamak Davar Dance Classes were so much, that I expected a much more better performance, better choreography and better costumes. And because of the high levels of expectations, I was hit with disappointment. Some of the costumes were really in need of re-design. I think that lot of consideration should be given to the costume while designing, so that the dancer is totally comfortable in that dress – only then the moves will be done to perfection.

I think I satisfied my daughter’s wish to join this dance class and perform on stage. I am happy doing it for my daughters even though I am not convinced about the whole thing.

Simple pleasures in life !

Today, I had been reading a very interesting article in the IE, about the simple pleasures in life. The author had went to describe how it was more pleasurable to read a novel in the train and in the side look out for the next snack that will be doing the rounds. He had also explained how he is unable to enjoy such things now, as our lifestyle has changed dramatically.

This clicked on my thought process.

Oh ! how many small, simple things made me happy when I was young !!!!!

I am very fond of train travel (even now). When I was young, me and my sister went along with our aunt to Ahmedabad (my uncle used to live there). The journey was 2 days up and 2 days down. And it never bothered us as to what we’ll do for 2 days in the train. We played a multitude of games, befriended a lot of kids in the train and had so much fun. The best part was we both sat and wrote down the name of every station we crossed / stopped. And we cross checked it while travelling back home. That’s one train journey which I’ll never forget.

My grandmother (my dad’s mom) holds a special place in my heart ( I think not only mine, but in all her grandchildren). She has such soft hands that I’ll be waiting for the weekends, when she’ll oil massage my hair and body. That afternoon nap after the bath, was my favourite. She also allowed me to sleep on her lap or shoulder ( in our households, the grandparents are into so much of rituals and customs, that they refrain others from touching them). My grandmother was an exception. She found ways to twist rules, to make us happy. The best part I remember about her, is the way she used to make small balls of curd rice and put it on our palms to make us eat, all the while fabricating such wonderful stories. In the center of the curd rice ball, she’ll press a little with her finger and in that, she’ll pour a little sambar or keep a piece of mango pickle. Oh ! It tasted so delicious, that all of us will be gobbling more than we could possibly eat. I’ve still not found anything that equated that simple pleasure of eating curd rice, from the hands of my grandmother.

Me and my sister have this rapport for talking on for hours together, without getting BORED. We can talk about anything, but over a hot cup of tea. When both of us were in our teens, we had spent so much time chatting that we were oblivious to the world around us. This is another of life’s simplest pleasures which I treasure.

Oh ! This blog will be incomplete if Md Rafi is not mentioned. This genius’ voice is such a soother / stress buster / call it anything – that I literally worship him. Such is the versatility of his voice, that he can sing any number – duet, solo, sad song, gazals, almost anything. Listening to him / his voice / his songs was the top most in my list of simple pleasures in life. I still listen to him but nowadays, it has become a rarity, with two teenagers behind me all the time.

There are so many to this list and I am deeply thinking about them all, which might continue in my next blog. But till such time, I am glad to have listed a few of those things which made me so happy. I am smiling as I write this and I will be very happy to write more about these simple things.

I am praying to God at this juncture, for everybody to relive their simple pleasures, as they give more meaning to life than materialistic things.