The Woman That I Am

Writing on a topic so close to my heart was emotionally draining and that has nothing to do with the fact that I am born a “WOMAN”.  What do I say, except for “I am blessed”!

Born to a fabulous set of parents who have always treated me like an equal, there was no differentiation in my household vis a vis a girl or a boy. Happy and cheerful, my childhood was beautiful and filled with fond memories. I inculcated the love for writing and passion for reading from my dad, whom I fondly call ‘POPS’.  He used to smirk and smile when he caught me reading a novel instead of preparing for my exams. He’s the one who would encourage me to write and fondly take my handwritten sheets and beam proudly amongst friends and colleagues. Those days, when people were not so accustomed to the use of mail and there was no social media, he got my poems and writings printed in his office magazine and also submitted them to various magazines via post mail. He has still treasured them and kept them safe, where my tiny contributions were printed. He’s the one who’s made me “The Woman That I Am”.

My mom has been a friend more than a mother. Growing up, she was the one who made me embrace myself for what and who I am. She taught me to accept my flaws and work on my strengths. One thing she always says, “We can’t have it all, so let’s make do with what we’ve been given and make life beautiful with it”. This is my go to mantra in life and I literally follow it to a “T”. She taught me that menstruating, giving birth and standing up for your own self and achieving your goals and dreams is all possible. She’s one of the nicest and generous people who believe in letting ‘karma’ do its work.  Humanity, responsibility and facing the repercussions of our actions is what she swears by and has made me and my sis proud and independent women with all her values and beliefs. She’s the one who’s made me “The Woman That I Am”.

My sister, who is younger to me by mere 2 years, acts the other way round and is actually my guardian angel, my advisor, my proofreader and lawyer all in one.  She’s the one who teaches me to take life a bit more seriously and to grow up, which I never do ;-). She’s taught me how to be happy in my own company without the need or want to impress others. She’s the most confident introvert I’ve ever seen and the best part is she loves it that way. From reading books together under a blanket holding a torch to dancing crazy on ‘Salman’ and ‘Govinda’ songs, we’ve been movie partners and dates for each other at resto’s and functions. “Been there done that”, would be an understatement with her. She keeps me practically sane, my harshest critic and my strongest supporter; I call her my first child. She’s the one who’s made me “The Woman That I Am”.

Well what do I say about the man I married? No marriage is perfect and we both are living proof to that. He’s the chalk to my cheese, the sun to my moon, the day to my night and so on and so forth, I’m sure you get the gist, but what you don’t know is that he’s been my biggest supporter and best friend when I needed it the most. He’s the one who’s given me wings to fly. He’s the one who loves his daughter’s and he’s also the one who pampers and spoils them to bits. An absolute introvert, he’s accompanied me to all the places I love and that he simply detests, discos and cinema hall being part of them. I’m a water lover and he shit scared of the sea, knowing he couldn’t be a part of my wish list; he packs me off for a scuba diving course and diligently takes care of our girls, not worrying about what people will say. Returning from my trip after having had the most wonderful experience, seeing the three most beautiful faces welcoming me with loving hugs, I literally had tears of joy. My love for this man is mostly unsaid, as I prefer writing them and he hates to read J He’s the absolute example of what a man should be, caring, nurturing, responsible, understanding and full of love. He treats me at par with himself and all the decisions in our house; we take together as a team. He’s the one who’s made me “The Woman That I Am”.

My girls are my lifeline. Probably my greatest treasure, fear and pride all combined. The girls have surely made me more patient and calm, I must say. A hug and a kiss from them at the end of the day make all the troubles worth it. They are my shopping buddies, my movie partners (I am a regular at all Disney, Marvel and DC movies), my stylists, my ranting buddies and most importantly my armour against my hubby, albeit with a lot of bribes. Seeing them is like reliving my own childhood and I truly appreciate my parents even more now. I hope to raise them the way I was and would love them to be strong and confident women, who live for their dreams and passions and achieve happiness and success in whatever they do. They made me experience the joys and trials of motherhood and I wouldn’t trade that for anything in the world. They are the ones who’ve made me “The Woman That I Am”.

We as WOMEN, have sailed in smooth waters and encountered rough seas, but that only made us more strong and capable sailors. I believe each woman is complete by herself, without the need and approval of anything or anyone. All we need to do is stand up for our own self, encourage and appreciate our fellow humans (man, woman both) and show the world, “The Woman That We Are”.

“This post is a part of ‘The Woman That I Am’ Blog Hop #TheWomanThatIAm organized by Rashi Roy and Manas Mukul #RRxMM. The Event is sponsored by Kraffitti.”

THE DECADE GONE BY

So, when i take part in a humongous blog hop themed “Decade” initiated by 2 lovely souls Rashi Roy and Manas Mukul, i am in a dilemma, what do i write about?

I am an 80’s born child filled with nostalgia and memories. I have had a great childhood and enjoyed the liberties and privileges as offered to a middle class child in a democratic country, pun intended. Fun, laughter, jokes, life was filled with them, till adulthood happened. I realized that i had to suddenly grow up and be on terms with the reality of actual life, mind you not the ones depicted in books or shown in bollywood movies, life is literally “bahot hard”. Luckily enough I got to witness a new millennium and since then I’ve kept tabs on the decades that followed. The sole reason being to introspect and reflect on life and the way it’s headed. 2010-2019 was a journey full of ups and downs in my personal life as with the world and our country, in particular. Let’s take a walk down memory lane with me and reminiscence the decade gone by through my eyes:-

Promotion: Well, I was officially promoted to the title of Mother of 2 in 2014, with the arrival of my 2nd angel.  Life’s been all topsy turvy since then. Crazy routines, sleepless nights, got separated from a joint to a nuclear family set up and learning the ropes how to do so single handedly with an infant latching onto you and the other fighting for your attention. Before you ask, yes I do have a husband, who like most of us will agree, is actually the biggest of the babies.

Boom in Online Portals: A writer by self admission since childhood who likes to dabble in poetry, quotes and short stories, I was ecstatic to have discovered online platforms which gave us amateur writers the great tools for blog writing. For me it was my release from everyone and everything where my thoughts took precedence over everything else. I am an environmentalist and nature lover who tries to follow and adapt to various conserving ways, e-reading being one of them.  I do miss the smell and feel of the books, but I’d rather sit under the tree and enjoy its shade and e-read than read physical books made from paper when the glaciers are melting and we are facing threats of global warming and extinction in the near future.

Focus on Girls: Living in the 21st century with most of us now educated, the focus is still very much on girls. Right from female infanticide to their sale for marriage (dowry), being tortured and killed for giving birth to girls, being leered upon in streets or big corporate offices, nothing has much changed for us, probably has gone from bad to worse. With the number of brutalities on the rise against women worldwide, we sure need to teach our sons first to respect women. As a consequence of which the gender divide is an equally alarming problem, where patriarchal homes want a “woman” doctor to deliver a “son” for their wives/daughters. Ironic na…let’s not even talk about “Nirbhaya” and “Asifa” and the endless list of faceless and nameless women, I’m sure you get the gist.

Corruption: Right from politicians to top business houses, from the cops to the local grocer, everyone has started looting people in the name of business and how? There are serious trust issues now. When an advert claims “buy one get one free” or the word “sale”, I know for sure there is someone out there trying to thug us and laugh at our foolishness. Trust is a term left for history textbooks and to search in a dictionary.

                All in all the last decade was mostly dark and depressing with a sorry state of affairs not just in our country but globally as well. Trump succeeding Obama, could there be a better example. But we surely need to learn and adapt and try to overcome the negatives with positivity and love. That can be started at a grass root level, by “US”.  Instead of learning to divide ourselves on the basis of religion, gender, creed or caste, let’s all come together as good humans first and make this world and our country great, in the truest sense.

“This post is a part of ‘DECADE Blog Hop’ #DecadeHop organized by #RRxMM Rashi Roy and Manas Mukul. The Event is sponsored by Glo and co-sponsored by Beyond The Box, Wedding Clap, The Colaba Store and Sanity Daily in association with authors Piyusha Vir and Richa S Mukherjee”

Fault In Her ‘Kundli’

Belonging to an affluent family in Jabalpur, she was born into a fairytale life and literally fed with a silver spoon. Blessed by good genes, she was not exactly breathtakingly beautiful, but with all the designer clothes and fine jewellery, she definitely commanded a second look. Pampered, rich and spoilt silly she was living the life every girl craved for. Her parents couldn’t have another child due to complications during her delivery and they made their peace with this fact and bought up Aarti with all the love and affection they could bestow on her.  They never differentiated with her being a girl and raised her as an equal. She was sent to the finest school and later to the college of her choice. They never invoked their will on her.

Aarti was a bright student and learnt the ropes of business along with her dad in her free time. She had sharp business acumen and loved to help her father at work. Her mother was a beautiful and happy soul. She was a contented woman who loved being a homemaker and showered her love on her family. The three of them together were a perfect bunch. They sat till late nights discussing everything under the sun and the laughter from their home could be heard by passersby on the street.

Due to their growing and expanding business, they travelled from one city to another, and lived the life of nomads. They never missed home, as home for them meant being together.  Their acquaintances and relatives were at times jealous of the camaraderie and happiness in their family.  They often reminded her father that he didn’t have a son and who was he going to leave his sprawling business to and besides Aarti was also a ‘Manglik’ and would have a hard time getting a groom for herself. Her dad smirked and gave them smiles of pity, he laughed at their judgments and poor thinking in this 21st century.

Aarti was offered many proposals from her hometown Jabalpur, but ultimately nothing ever clicked when it all came down to matching her ‘Kundli’. The ‘dosh’ in her Kundli, as they called it, was really heavy and would’ve resulted in the death of her prospective husband within a year of marriage. Nobody dared risk the life of their son, for all the money offered in the world. Aarti and her parents had come to terms with this rejection spree and laughed amongst themselves when any matches came her way. They probably knew the answer and the outcome. They reserved a private smile for each other at the end of the meeting, when all the prospective grooms and their family had the same answer.

Somehow, they all decided to get over with this ‘Manglik’ phobia and look at life positively.  Aarti immersed herself with expanding her father’s enormous business to new heights. Plus, their jet setting lifestyle from one city to another didn’t let them dwelve in the past. Aarti made friends very easily wherever she travelled and was extremely likeable due to her happy go lucky nature. She had quite a few friends of the opposite gender, many of whom pledged their undying love for her. They even suggested eloping and getting married in case her parents didn’t agree due to caste or social status issues. Aarti was too often tempted, but her love for her parents was far more than any guy could offer. She wanted to marry with their permission and wishes. She thanked her stars for such amazing parents, who never pressurized her for anything against her will. She owed them so much. Her parents scoffed at the outrageous solutions and rituals offered by the innumerable pundits and so called relatives for mellowing her “Manglik Dosh”, which would be the only way to get her married and provide their pioneering empire a future heir.

Meeting Nadeem at her management course was a blessing in disguise. He, with his full on happy go lucky attitude and positive take on life, was like a breath of fresh air. Being a Muslim, he didn’t really believe in Kundli’s and told Aarti that everything is prewritten, “Whatever has to happen, will happen”.  She had tears of joy on hearing this and fell even more in love with him. They dated for nearly 3 years and kept in touch after College thanks to social media. Her changing cities and the physical distance couldn’t diminish the fire of love burning within both. He wanted to be someone on his own and then approach her parents for her hand the old fashioned chivalrous way; she couldn’t wait for him to meet her parents knowing they will love him.

Away from all the hues and cry, in a small quiet temple, Aarti took her seventh phera. Her groom put the customary vermillon and tied the mangulsutra around her neck.  Her parents smiled tearfully at their princess. Their beloved daughter was finally married.  Post all the customs, the pandit smiled and put his hand on Aarti’s head and announced that now she is free from her ‘Manglik Dosh’. 

The groom called out to his friends and broke into a celebratory dance with the clapping of hands, as they always did. They were elated on receiving the insane amount of money, in exchange for a wedding ritual. They had no high hopes and had accepted and were contended with their life.  This marriage only meant money and that was surely welcome.

Aarti stood there dumbfounded. There wasn’t even a single tear in her eye, just a glazed look. Her Parents, her God whom she worshipped, ultimately were mortals who couldn’t accept a Muslim boy and preferred a Eunuch, for their daughter with a ‘Manglik Dosh’.

Glossary

Kundli: Kundli also known as horoscope represents the position of the planets at the time of your birth. Kundli is used to interpret celestial influence in your life. 

Manglik: A person born under the influence of Mars (Mangala) as per Hindu astrology is said to have “mangala dosha” (“mars defect”); such a person is called a Mangalik (or Manglik). According to the superstition, the marriage between a Manglik and a non-Manglikis disastrous.

Phera: Vows taken during a Hindu wedding ceremony.

Vermillon: In India, a vermilion mark in the parting of the hair just above the forehead is worn by married women as commitment to long-life and well-being of their husbands.

Mangalsutra: It is a symbol of marriage and is worn by the bride until her husband’s death. The word mangalsutra can be deciphered as ‘sacred thread or cord’; as ‘mangal’means auspicious and ‘sutra’ means thread or cord. … It is a yellow thread painted with turmeric paste and is tied around the bride’s neck with three knots.

Eunuch: Transgender, A man who has been castrated and is incapable of reproduction

A Smelly Affair

Tanisha, fresh out of college, needed a place to rent for her internship. The advertisement was like a blessing in disguise. She couldn’t believe her luck when the landlady, Mrs. Sengupta showed her the room in the attic, small, cozy and just perfect for her, besides the rent she was asking was like peanuts. An absolute win win situation for her, except for the deserted locality and the nauseatingly foul stench emancipating from the attic.

“Don’t worry dear, it’s moist and murky due to not being in use, I am now all alone after Mr. Sengupta passed away and hardly visit up here. This was his favourite room and I can’t bear to be here alone, that’s why I decided to rent it out” smiled Mrs. Sengupta, putting me at ease.

“Alright ma’am, I’ll take it”, Tanisha smiled cheerfully. The attic could surely use a room freshener and some adornments, I am going to make this my home for the next 6 months, she thought.

Mrs. Sengupta, was ecstatic, that girl, Tanisha had agreed to rent the room. She couldn’t believe her luck. She looked at her husband’s photo on the wall and shared a smile with him that spoke volumes.

Another full moon approaching, another brunette to complete the rituals. Mr. Sengupta, who was carefully preserved in the freezer in the attic, would finally come to life again. Each girl had a purpose to fulfill and so they did.

Each sacrifice brought Mr. Sengupta closer to life.

They would finally be together again!

My Nation My Pride

A Poem, which is an ode to my beloved country, India on its 71st Republic Day. Proud Indian!

Freedom

To love freely

To choose my religion

To walk the streets as I deem safe

To live.

Seeing

The tricolor

Unfurl against the sky

Makes us value our heritage

With Pride.

Soldiers

Guarding borders

Sacrificing themselves

Love for the nation above all

Jai Hind!

My Doppelganger

#100WordStory

Nothing is the same since she arrived. My husband has completely changed. She has him wrapped around her finger. She totally copies me, right to the stuff that I love be it movies, cakes, chocolates, cuisine and…
My husband!
Material things don’t bother me but my husband is the last straw. He’s also becoming more and more affectionate towards her. I can feel it. The way he looks at her, talks to her.
But when I see them together, I fall in love with him all over again.
He says she is a copy of mine, My Daughter, My Doppelganger.

From “We” to “Three”

Since childhood, Rishika and Rohan, were inseparable. Right from their clothes to their moods,they were forever twinning. Rishika was the feisty one, who believed marriage was not for her, Rohan, a workaholic never had time for love.

One day on their usual walks, they heard her cry. Both lunged towards the dustbin and carefully lifted the near-dead girl.

It was in that moment, holding that angel, they both realized what they were missing.

They now had another partner in crime. Now there was always three of everything.

Their wedding card read
“Ruhani invites you to the wedding of her parents…”