Bite sized philosophy!

Ketaki looked down at the dress chosen for the show. It looked elegant and new except for the slight yellowish stain at a corner. She pursed her lips at the thought of not having a new dress. It was always the hand-me-downs from her much older sister, Revathi. 

Revathi was the cynosure of all eyes. She was also dominating and confident unlike her- a puny and shy girl, thought Ketaki bitterly. Fighting all odds, perhaps, came to Ketaki naturally. Born prematurely at 7 months, the doctors had given Ketaki only 3 months to survive.

But she survived beyond that. She survived her birth, the frequent and unfair comparison with her sister and the skewed affection from people. She was not just a survivor but a brave fighter too. She’d show them all someday. For now, she would nibble at what was being offered to her. Life was tough at the circus.

Picture prompt for BAR

Word Count: 151

Linking the post to the Wordy Wednesday at the B-A-R.

To read more about the prompt and link up your posts, click here 

Being sensitive towards others #1000speak

Social media can be a sticky ground when voicing opinions. Chances of getting bullied and judged by unknown people are tremendous. Harmless comments can get blown out of proportion too. People with or without any agenda target others. Likewise, messages not meant to target anyone are also bashed as being offensive. People love hopping into bandwagons on social media to feel accepted and be a part of the crowd. 

We are all sensitive people, but only when it comes to our feelings. We do not think twice before judging another and saying a nasty word, even to someone who could be a total stranger. Why is it difficult to restrain our thoughts and views? Must we always voice our views, that too in a harsh manner? 

In all the drama that we create daily, either online or offline, we seem to lose focus on the one thing that is very vital to a happy existence: Live and let live. Compassion comes naturally to a human being. You may or may not choose to respond to the call of compassion, but you cannot deny the feeling. Why is it then we become judgmental and put a person down? If you don't have a kind word, choose to remain silent rather than speaking a harsh word.

I'm not saying the entire world is bad. We have innumerable acts of compassion all around us, but these get drowned in the negativity that somehow gets an unfair spotlight. We still have one neighbour who'll babysit our toddler while we attend to a family exigency, we still have one friend who'll hear you out patiently while you rattle out your fears for the umpteenth time, we still come across honest auto drivers (yes, they exist!), we still hear how about a lost wallet was returned to the owner through incredible ways over the internet. So, then, shouldn't we be propagating more kindness and compassion rather than fanning anger, hatred and misery?  

I've, in fact, come across some lovely bunch of people, online and offline, who lend a ready shoulder to lean on, a willing ear to listen and support without being judgmental. Sharing your innermost fears and insecurities becomes so much easier when you know that you won't be judged for how you think and behave. It doesn't cost a thing to nod your head and smile empathically at the one who's brave enough to bare her soul to you. Is it too difficult to say, "I understand. All will be ok"? 

Can we be more compassionate towards fellow beings? You might not know, but perhaps the other person's life could even depend on how you respond. 

This post is written as a part of 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion, where bloggers all over the world are talking about spreading compassion, love and kindness.
If you have a story to share, do link up at – IndiaAmericanMom

I'm the rock

The waves reach a crescendo
the water tickles my feet

I want to jump high
the weight pulls me down

My friends are seasons
we laugh, we play
then they've to go
leaving me

I want to see the world
the sea and the sky
are not enough
I feel
tied down

I then see the sand
hugging me
I feel warm

A weary traveller
rests his head
over me
I feel calm

I sense a purpose
in giving
of being an anchor

I know now
why I'm a constant
why I'm the rock!

Get married again!

Among all my posts, the most viewed and read would be the one on Band Baaja Bride, a reality show on NDTV Goodtimes. The show gives to-be-wed-couples a chance to have a dream wedding: right from getting personal care to having a designer bridal jewelry and attire. The show has completed five seasons since then and has improvised quite a bit with their format whilst keeping the original theme constant.

I've moved away from the idiot box for a long time now, thereby do not patronize any particular show but the shows on Goodtimes still compel me for a brief stopover on the rare occasion when I take a trip with the TV remote. This afternoon was one such time when I watched this show as they aired their closing episode of season 5. What was unique about the episode was that the couple to wed on screen were already married for a decade and wanted to celebrate their tenth wedding anniversary by renewing their vows, in their own words, to recreate the magic that seemed to have gone missing in the humdrum of routine life.

The idea in itself is not new as per Hindu tradition. There is a ceremony, called Shashtiabdapoorti, wherein a married couple renews their wedding vows as the husband turns sixty years of age. However, the point is, why wait until the man turns sixty? And, let's not get into the battle of 'why not when the wife turns sixty'? The crux is to take the essence of bringing back the spark in the couple's relationship.

Life is getting busier, faster, more stressful and the odds of the couple drifting apart much before that is a scary reality. Think about it, once the wedding euphoria slides off, the couple is faced with the daily pressure of balancing work and life like the hands on the clock; they meet very briefly during the every-day marathon. A few years into the marriage,  kids and a couple of EMIs thrown in, all the intimacy, romance and togetherness goes flying out of the window.

Isn't it then a great idea to review and take stock of the relationship every now and then? It doesn't have to be as dramatic as to appear on a tele-show or even anything grand. Simply, take a vacation to a place you've never been before. Do something you've never done together before, like say, scuba-diving or even a salsa class. Challenge your limits and break open that shell all over again. Re-discover that magic. And, it isn't a bad idea to get married all over again to mark a special anniversary.

Seriously, very few couples have their  actual wedding completely under their control and live up to it every moment. You can seize the opportunity to re-chart your wedding day that way you had imagined, buy new jewelry and clothes, look relaxed, have the natural glow on your face without the first-time anxiousness and revel in the comfort factor shared with the spouse in the true sense.

So, are you game to renew your vows?

A letter to all the to-be-brides

To all the to-be-brides,

Marriage is considered as one of the biggest milestones in a person's life in our country, especially in the life of a woman. The idea of having a fairy-tale wedding at a dream venue, with the most flattering jewelry and gorgeous finery has been exploited to death by most film and Ad-makers, not to mention the subtle and not-so subtle diet of a beautiful princess marrying the handsome prince most of us are fed upon since childhood.

All this naturally puts in a certain amount of expectation-depending on our personality-we have from our wedding day. We certainly want to look and feel our best and cannot imagine a bad hair day or bad-skin day. That would be nothing less than a catastrophe. I thought so too. But, let me share with you my story.

I had about 6 months of time between my engagement and wedding and, but of course, I started on a disciplined regime of looking after my skin. Well-meaning advice and tips began to pour in and I carefully sifted through it all and followed a routine that seemed right. I never had a great skin so to speak. I had suffered and recovered from acne bouts, pigmentation and skin allergies a couple of years ago and hence was all the more determined to keep all of this at bay. Yet, despite my best intentions, much to my horror, I had the worst kind of acne break-out just a month before my wedding.

I rushed to my dermatologist even as I knew that any kind of medication (internal or external) will take at least 3-6 months to show any visible effect. I was aghast and heart-broken, to the extent that I had an episode of black-out due to sheer exhaustion and stress! I hated to look at myself in the mirror. I'd pour my heart out to my then fiance (we stayed in different cities) and fearfully prepared him for the 'disaster' he was about to meet on our wedding day. He never understood the fuss and kept assuring and re-assuring me that he won't be disappointed or shocked to see me, and how I looked on our wedding day really did not matter to him. Of course, I couldn't be convinced and assumed that he was saying these things only to mollify me.

I prayed for miracles and applied all sorts of application that promised an acne-free skin within a week and such-like. Of course, no miracles happened. The medication I was on worked slowly and it didn't really make much of a difference outwardly. I put up with all the stares and sympathetic questions and advises from people around. But, my family and the one person who was to matter to me the most in my next phase of life, stood rock solid behind me. I'll never forget one thing that my sister told me, "Wedding is just a day's affair. Marriage and it's dynamics begin only after that. Do not stress so much on that one day that you miss the fragrance of the days that are to follow."

I guess the look says it all!
Indeed, I found a great friend in my husband who supported and loved me unconditionally ( and continues to do so) from day one, pimples and all. I learned that it did not matter how you meet your spouse, how you get married, how you looked on your wedding day, how many compliments you got, or how happy the guests were. The real test is how both the spouses handle their share of joys and sorrows, how they approach their differences and how much of inner cleansing they undertake to make their bonding free from ugly marks of distrust and misunderstandings.

So, my dear brides-to-be, take care of your looks but do not become obsessed with polishing the outer self so much that you fail to prepare your mind and soul for an enriching journey.

Take care, because you are worth it!

This post is a part of #GarnierPureActive activity at Indiblogger. 

and because this post also defines a woman for who she is from within and not on the basis of how she looks, I also link it to the #UseYourAnd activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette Venus.