No flashy cards…

I was a hoarder for membership cards. I loved to flash those colorful cards around and get points accumulated to my account, not money…mind you 😀

And whenever I bought purse, it was always a huge one. More than looking at space for money, I always checked for the no of cards a purse can hold. And within a matter of seconds I filled up all the card holder space and will carry another separate card holder for all the left over cards. It was a difficult phase to decide which are the important ones to carry in the purse and which can be moved to the card holder.

I’ve this fetish for buying certain things in certain places, ONLY. Provisions are bought in one store of my liking. Even if they provided good vegetables and fruits, I’ll not deviate from the loyalty I had for the small time vegetable vendor in my apartment. Am like that 😉

Jeans are bought in one store, kurtis in another, inner garments in another place…in effect I was always going from one store to another to buy the various things and absolutely enjoyed the whole experience. And in all this going around, I was accumulating points of loyalty!

BOOOOOOOOOOM !

I was jerked into reality and practicality just a few years back, when I started working alongside my husband. Time was the constraint and I had to do all the shopping I needed in one place and at one time flat. I was crying for shopping time, spent alone, cruising the aisles, looking at new products, new brands and all that fun thing. But, that love was getting split and I started enjoying the time spent building the business and learning the nuances.

The bolt came when I tried to redeem all those cards which I had collected for years. While I imagined an amazing equivalent of money for all those cards, I was dumped down from my card-collecting-high-pedestal and made to understand that all those colorful flash cards were for nothing.  The money redeemed was just peanuts. Maybe all these were there when I signed those forms for membership, without even reading the fine print, but I felt disappointed.

I stopped going to different outlets and tried to buy things from one single shop, so that it’ll ease me from getting into those traffic chakravyuhams !

Now a days, I buy from the small time vendor, who brings produce from near his house or a nearby farm. One old lady brings drumsticks from her garden and sells it to me at my office. Another lady makes ghee at home and brings it for selling. Drumstick leaves are gifted by my staff.  There is joy in buying from these people. And they bring good products and you can check the authenticity of the products. The happiness they feel when I buy products from them is immense and equals my satisfaction levels.

There are no more flashy cards but only toothy grins as return 🙂

Day 24 – The “Shawl”story

Just don’t get it wrong – Chennai is not freezing – neither am I in the colder places – nor am I wearing a shawl.  People like me always refer to Shawl as this beautiful Kashmiri one which is used during chiller climates or as a beautiful accessory to a sari or dress.

And then there are others – who refer to the simple dupatta or a stole or a dirty towel as shawl – mind-boggling, I tell you !

Especially in this conservative land, where I live, the use of a shawl is a must, whether you wear a night wear (nightie), salwar kameez, jeans + tee shirt, jeans + shirt, jeans + kurti – anything apart from a sari, you need to wear a shawl to cover your boobs; of course, apart from the basic clothing.  Those people wearing nightie at home, just come down to drop their kids in the school bus in that nightie – Oh ! And covering themselves with a dirty towel which is perfectly defined as Shawl, in this land !

Girls are brought up conditioned by this rule – wear a shawl always ! Cover your chest, hair, face – anything you want.

Boys are conditioned too by this rule – any girl not wearing a shawl is bad – just bad.

I was shocked first, then saddened by the whole damn thing.

During my recent train travel, I met this sweet girl, who was travelling with me. She had come to Chennai for work and on the first day of her job, she wore a sleeveless kurti and jeans. Even if the company allowed the women to wear such dresses, all her co-workers were stunned and started criticizing her and her dress for she cannot wear sleeveless to work – the reason “Idhu Chennai ma” (This is Chennai). She had the shock of her life, as she is so used to wearing such clothes at her place – Bangalore.

But I made sure I’m not affected by this and neither are my girls.

Clothes do not define my personality. PERIOD.

I dislike wearing dupatta…OOPS…Shawl !  I may use it as an accessory whenever I like it but certainly not to define my personality !

There…its out of the system…and I’m relieved 😉

Musings from the heart

Mathematics was my fav subject
It still is…
I knew the tables upside down
And geometry was so much fun
Algebra, Trigonometry
Logarithms
Oh my !! I used to race them all
In solving the problems and all
I thought this was the world of genius
And I felt part of it
Thinking that this will take me ahead
I walked around with a proud head
I surely felt elated
My ego was suitably inflated
I used to feel like I knew it all
Till a decade back
I realized
That all those functions and theorems
Doesn’t have anything to do
With my present state of life !! Sigh !!

I went behind it too
To pursue it as my course
I jumped into logic
Binary and Hexadecimal
Coding with C++
Till one fine day
When I learnt that
Doing things without logic
Just on the intuition of the heart
Gives me more happiness
And joy !!

And in the process of loving a subject
I left out on many things
Which I would have loved to do
This certainly is not a regret phase
Its just thinking aloud
About not learning those other things
Which I am good at too !!

My dad used to swim well
I could have learnt swimming from him…
I did learn later
But with Dad it would’ve been great !

My mom cooks damn well
I could have learnt straight under her
Instead of learning from her through phone…

My patti was a great entrepreneur
She did so many things from home
It was her necessity
But I try to think of her ability
To manage business so well
Without a B-school degree !!

I could have learnt to sing better
To stitch better
To design clothes better
To do kolams better
To solve that crossword better
To paint better
To bake better
And…
I could have read more books
I could have traveled to places
Than be stuck in the same place !!

I never realized the art of writing
Was there inside me
Till the day I pushed myself
To become a blogger !!

This is just a blabber post
About people missing out
On their passionate stuff
And to realize their true self
The skills they have
With which they were born
We fail to look into ourselves
And see what we have !
We close our eyes
And jump into the sea of people
Who throng those colleges
Of professional courses !!
Without understanding what we are
It is difficult to study engineering
Or medicine or any course !!
Why not take time out to see
How we fare
Inside our hearts
Do we have a singing voice ?
An urge to play an instrument ?
Interested in stars ?
In reading palms ?
Helping out people ?
Talking to people ?
What are we inside ?
What do we like ?
Make a career out of that
And never feel a regret !!

Day 23 – Block out negativity

10-Things-I-Tell-Myself-To-Block-Out-Negativity-1024x576

Recently I happened to watch a wonderful program called “Positive thinking” on Discovery Channel.  And I liked it very much that I’m sharing it here, especially for you, dear girls 🙂

A simple situation – Throwing the basket-ball into the basket.
Audience – About 15 people, who are instructed to give a pre-defined response, for the sake of this study.
Volunteer 1 – A twenty something lady who has never played basket-ball before.
Volunteer 2 – A guy in college who loves playing basket-ball and is good at perfect throws.
Volunteer 3 – A professional basket-ball player, who is part of the Zonal team.

Situation 1 – The three volunteers are allowed ten trials to hit the basket.

Volunteer 1 tries hard to hit as she has never played basket-ball before.
Scores Nil.
Audience goes “Oh no!!”

Volunteer 2 does it with ease.
Scores 9/10.
Audience applauds with “YAY”.

Volunteer 3 does it with ease too.
Scores 10/10.
Audience applauds with “YAY”.

Situation 2 – The three volunteers are allowed ten trials to hit the basket, but blindfolded.

Volunteer 1 tries again.
Scores Nil.
Audience goes “YAY” even when she has not hit the basket, giving an impression of perfect baskets to Volunteer 1.

Volunteer 2 tries and there were misses and baskets too.
Scores 5/10.
Audience goes “Oh no” giving an impression of bad throws and no baskets.

Volunteer 3 does again.
Scores 8/10.
Audience goes “Oh no” giving an impression of bad throws and no baskets.

Situation 3 – The three volunteers are allowed ten trials again after removing the blindfold.

Volunteer 1 starts with a happy frame of mind.
Scores 6/10.
Audience applauds with “YAY”.

Volunteer 2 is quite low in confidence.
Scores 4/10.
Audience goes “Oh no”.

Volunteer 3 does it with ease again and again.
Scores 10/10.
Audience applauds with “YAY”.

Volunteer 1, a novice in basket-ball, has her confidence building cheers from the volunteers, even when she failed to hit the basket when blindfolded.  Her mind is telling her that she is too good in throwing the basket perfectly.  When her confidence levels are good, she gets a 6/10 score after the blindfold is removed.

Volunteer 2, a good player, loses confidence when the audience booed him during his blindfold throws.  He felt that he is not playing well and that showed in his third attempt without the blindfold.  His mind was feeling low when he heard the “Oh no” from the audience, thereby he got a low score of 4/10.

Volunteer 3, a professional player, always scored the same, irrespective of the audience approval or disapproval.  Her scores remain almost the same and her confidence levels are not based on what the audience say.

Now, my dear daughters, here is what I wanted to tell you, from this simple study…

In life too, there will be always some situation or other, where there may be a lot of criticism from people around you.  Do not let yourself down, based on what others tell you – like Volunteer 2.  Block the negativity that the people around you are giving.  Rise above it all and show them your true self.

You should feel good about yourself and what you do and have that supreme confidence that what you’re doing is right.  Then whatever negative comments that rise around you will not matter to you.  Just block those negative comments out of your mind.  In effect, block the crowd that makes the negative comments and focus on what you need to do in life.

I know….I know…I’m on an advice spree…but I just had to share this with you girls 😀

Month of ramblings

Day 20 – The art of letting go

I remember very well the freedom I enjoyed as a teenager, the trust by my parents and grand parents on me and along with that the wonderful thing called responsible freedom. All the freedom I enjoyed in studying what I wanted to, in going out with friends, in bringing home friends (both boys and girls – 3 decades back it was a huge thing), on deciding whom to marry and when to marry – everything came with the tag of responsibility. No one spoke about that to me, but it made the freedom appear more valuable and I could take much better decisions.

I wanted to study Engineering and my Appa said yes to it.
I joined in the same Company where I did my final year training. My Appa was OK with it.
In that Company, I was dealing more with the Hardware concepts. When after 3 years, I decided to shift to software, I just quit the job one fine day and came home to tell my Appa. He just looked at me and asked “What next?”  He didn’t even raise his voice to ask Why I left that fabulous job !!
I decided to study further and my Appa supported it.
I got into a software company and my Appa was happy for me. And it was this job that made me the happiest. I thank my stars for such supporting parents, who actually didn’t criticize when I listened to my heart.
And when they wanted to get me married, Appa came and gave me the freedom to say yes or no to it.
Not only my father, my mom too has been great supporters of my decisions. They accepted me as who I am then and still accept me with all the changes that has happened to me so far.  That acceptance has given me the ability to do things as my heart says and not do things as dictated by parents or society.

And this acceptance can happen only if we, as parents, learn the art of Letting Go.  What it actually means ??

It’s a beautiful art where we as parents are attached to our children yet detached in many ways.

Teach them cooking, be there to see whether they are being careful about not getting burnt. But allow them to do it. Without trying it on their own, they can never learn. Every child knows its going to burn them, if they are not careful. A small scar today can teach them much better things than our protective “Oh no…don’t touch this or that” !!  The cooking is just an example.  As far as possible, allow them to make mistakes when young and when we are around to support them.   The lessons are learnt better that way.

Let Go of that super-protective instinct that might sometimes choke the children. As a young mother, I was paranoid about so many things. I’ll be scared to let them cross roads on their own. I was scared to let them go out and play alone. I used to tag along. And whenever I sent them alone, they used to come home hurt.  That used to increase the paranoia I was feeling.  May be they were getting hurt as my mind was constantly thinking about them getting hurt without me.

Realizations hit later in life and I was no different.  The moment I started believing that they’ll be fine without me, things started to change. I wanted them to travel to school by public transport and learn the routes. And for that I’ve left them to go on their own.  If I keep holding them with me, they’ll never learn.  Learning the routes and being alert on the road are things which we learn by actually being there and not by sitting at home, totally protected.

And as parents, we just need to instill in them a sense of morality, a sense of what is good and what is wrong and then be done with a job done well. If we keep monitoring them, at every stage of life as to what they are doing, they’ll start doing it behind our back. Let them be. If I have set a good example of being morally responsible, then I’m sure that my daughters will be morally responsible too. After all, my genes do dwell in them 😀

We need to be attached to them by sending out love, strength and support and yet be detached in allowing them to fall and make mistakes and keep going on and on, without getting scared of making mistakes.  This is such a huge lesson that I learnt.

So, dear daughter, what is it you want to do in life ?
Do you want to travel a path less traveled ? Have you got the guts in you to keep going till you realize your dream ?  Tell me how you want me to support you – I will.  I’m there for you, behind you and absolutely rooting for you. You go, find your niche, create your dream life and just be immensely happy ❤

Month of ramblings

Day 13 – Heart to heart

Yesterday’s post appealed more to my daughters as they understood the need inside me to say “I say so” 😀  The younger one even called to say that she laughed so much as she recalled those days…he he 😀

But they were also glad and open in admitting that I was strict with them during those years and later became a lot relaxed with them, which helped them to do things better or understand things better. Then, I felt good when appreciated by them for things which I thought were imperfect on me as a mom.

We always got comments like “The 3 sisters” and all, but heart of heart really, we three feel like that now. The girls are grown up now. And the talks have ventured into career, doing things passionately, handling relationships with classmates and other girly stuff.

This handling of relationships – the friendships which bound them to people, are their biggest support system where they can be themselves – its their age group. Thoughts are alike – silly, matured, playful, teasing, happy, sad, angry – everything put into one bundle.   As they keep realizing their own personality and what they want from a friendship, lot of hassles happen in their mind – whether to continue with this friendship or not.  And the biggest thing we need with friendships is patience, if we really want to give it a try.

And I keep talking to them about maintaining such bonds which you can carry on for a long time in your life.  I had lost touch with many of my friends when we shifted out of school, without any proper contact information. Now, with technology’s help, we are all back together.  And I can feel that warmth among us when we meet.  I want them to maintain such strong friendship bonds, which are very essential for our survival.  Solitude is good, I love it too. But I want a circle to fall back on.  These are the small things which I want them to understand in nurturing a friendship.

Now is not the time to say “I won’t talk with you anymore, because you didn’t give me notes to copy” – Those childish days are gone! We are big enough to put ourselves in their shoes and think with clarity.

Not only this, there might be people all around who will be waiting for opportunities to put the girls down, make them look bad in front of their teacher  or even bitch about them everywhere. I wish that my girls are more matured to handle such situations, stronger to deal with the bitches and smarter to take on with the teacher and prove themselves if required.

Last but not the least, I want them to Live the present! Do not worry about what happened in the past – we don’t live there anymore. And do not break your head what’s going to happen in the future. Keep living every day, as if this is the best day of your life. You’ll live to see only best days forever !  Month of ramblings

 

Lighting up lives, this Diwali

As I wrote in my last post on the evading rains of Chennai, the Rain God Indra laughed within himself. Little did I know that He was going to shower the city for 3 days. My God !! Whatta rain…Whatta downpour !! It’s been a loooong time since we Chennaiites had such good rain.

And my wonderful house help Muthu came to work, in spite of the heavy rains. I told her to take it easy today, as it was Diwali and she can spend time with her family.

But, she being she, rang my doorbell, as usual. Along she came to tell the story of what happened yesterday at the other house, where she works (Read more about that person here).

Yesterday, after finishing work at my place, she had gone to that house. They asked her to go and give some things to another friend’s house. The lifts were off, as we had a whole 24 hour power cut. She took the stairs, slipped on the water, tumbled down 3 steps and hurt her ankle.

The thing that made my blood boil was, when she told them about her fall, they didn’t even feel for it. But made her do all the work in spite of the pain.

What kind of people are they ?? Don’t they have any human consideration ?  This is the time of the year, when people need to spread happiness and cheer in the lives of people, who are short of it. And this kind of treatment is no way near humanity.

And then there are people like these, who are changing for the better…we need more people like them. I know how difficult it is to change from the immense drilling of the younger years. But it has to happen for the cause of humanity. I’ve seen such changes happen with my mother and aunt and it amazes and humbles me. I want to be the person to respect them for the work they do and certainly not to disrespect them for the caste they belong.

My Mother Invited Our Domestic Help’s Family To Diwali Dinner And Started A Tradition

Let us be the change…
Let us bring in more cheer to others…
Let us give more happiness…
Let us love more !

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Let us light up lives 🙂