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5 aspects of my life that top the gratitude chart in 2016

December seems to be vanishing into thin air just the way I had imagined. I can already visualize 2017 hiding around the block ready to jump out and startle me. Year-ends make me nervous and excited at the same time. I wait with child-like enthusiasm for the New Year to begin but there's also an unmistakable feeling of anxiousness, like butterflies in the stomach. On the one hand, it's a fresh slate, a chance to start anew. On the other hand, I'm apprehensive about any new challenges that may be in store for me.

Perhaps, it's the sign of the Universe that asks us to be in the moment and leave our baggage behind as we surge ahead.
As I look back on 2016, my heart is filled with gratitude towards the five major aspects of my life that bring me so much joy. And, today seems to be an opportune day to write that gratitude list because today I complete 6 years of blogging. It seems rather strange (but true) that I've hardly celebrated this day on my blog despite this sp…

To a boy who turned seven

Dear R,

The days stretch on but the years fly past. This is what comes to my mind when I see you, my little boy, who's not so little anymore. You turned seven last month. In so many ways, you are growing to be an independent person and need me less and less. When and how did the baby and toddler I knew morph into this mini-adult who talks nineteen to the dozen and is already a treasure trove of trivia?

"Amma, please don't do it for me. I can do it by myself"   I get to hear this all the time. And, the pride on your face is unmistakable, to know that you are capable of doing all that I would do for you until not very long ago. Yes, this also means you get to hear a lot of follow-up questions like, "did you clean your ear lobes, or did you flush and remember to wash your hands?" and a whole set of sundry instructions such as to use the stairs while going down to play and to come back at a particular time. Talking of time, you now know to read the clock but y…

When paints and pens blended at the #BergerXP Indiblogger meet

When I first saw the invite for the #BergerXP Indiblogger meet, I chuckled to myself. As someone as art challenged as I'm, it felt a bit weird to attend a meet that was associated with painting. Of course, I reasoned, this was wall painting and not the canvas kind. Plus, I was being invited as someone who blogs not paints.

This was going to be my first Indiblogger meet. I was excited even though I had no clue what to expect. I was jittery too since walking into a room full of strangers isn't exactly my cup of tea. However, the last part wasn't a valid concern because it turned out that a lot of bloggers I knew had signed up for the event. Technically, I was going to be meeting them for the first time as well but I had known them for long enough through their blogs and the prospect sealed the plan for me; this was surely going to be a memorable event!

Perhaps, I spoke too soon. For, life managed to insert a spoke in the wheel at the last minute. Ok, don't groan. I'…

Maid for each other: is it a myth?

I slide open the kitchen drawer. The metal clanks as I hurriedly look for the steel lid to cover the soaked lentils ready to be cooked inside the cooker. As I pull out the specific lid, I'm disgusted with how the edges still bear the food stains from the previous day. I quickly reach for a cleaner one, place the dirty one on the clean counter like a carefully collected crime evidence; my mind picturing myself giving an earful to the errant maid.


This is not unusual. I regularly collect such proofs of disinterest and lack of sincerity on the part of my domestic helper. It happens, not too rarely, that I stand shoulder to shoulder with a friendly spider that's crawling rapidly down in its intricately woven web right above my desk in the study. I frequently notice effects of neglect on the corners and wall edges; like the fall colours, they go from a clean white to yellow to finally a dull brown. Only that these are rather ugly and not even half as romantic as fall colours. Even…

A re-cap of a lovely month

The blank page in front stares at me unkindly. The words swirl around the head not wanting to flow cohesively onto the paper. The house is silent and the only sound seems to cut into the stillness is the drone of the borewell machine in the nearby empty ground outside. My mind is in a rewind mode, replaying scenes from the past few weeks. As I make myself my morning cup of coffee, I'm acutely aware of how everything seems shrunk. It's back to the three in the household. Every single mundane task is laced with this-time-last-week recalls. The wistfulness wraps around me like a thick cloak: an inexplicable inertia and I pull it towards myself tighter like one would a warm shrug against the cold wind. The fragrant vapour from my brew warms me up; a smile creeps up at the freshly-minted memories.

November just flew by and how! Birthdays, outings, surprises, parents' stay, some more family visiting; our house and hearts were full. So many precious moments had been filed away i…

Lessons I learn from parenting

We are at the table, the husband, I and R, poring over Math sums, word problems that I remembered coming across in a much higher grade than R is in currently. The little guy is restless, as we plod on, tweaking a number here, twisting a question there. His fingers go up clumsily as he counts, miscounts, rushing to arrive at the solution. His eager face falls as we point out that the answer is wrong. Perturbed to learn from us that an answer (right or wrong) needs to be justified by being able to explain the workings, he looks visibly uncomfortable. The session clearly wasn't going down too well with him.

I notice his eyes prick with tears but blinked away bravely. I sense the fear, disappointment, and insecurities masked by his defiant tone. In an instant, my childhood flashes out before my eyes. I signal the husband and we change stances instantly. From anxious parents trying to teach a kid the vagaries of numbers, we relax and reach out to the little human in front of us who is…

Of cultural conundrums and influences

The days leading up to Diwali were marked by the lilting fragrance of milk and sugar simmering away on the stove alternatively followed by the tantalizing aroma of fried crispies filling the house. The excitement and anticipation built up slowly with several rounds to the market to buy crisp new shimmery dresses and crackers. The actual day dawned with the air thick with winter-y fog. The sesame oil mixed with peppercorns combatted the outside chillness, working its way into the recesses of the hair and pores of the body, lending warmth, sheen, and softness. The hot water bath before day-break with a background score of fireworks set off in staccato rhythm in the neighbourhood shook us off the remains of slumber on the D-day; a culmination of all that we kids had been waiting for weeks up till now.

The childhood memories of Diwali come back to me as I'm eager to create similar sentiments for R. As I wait for him to come back from school, I wonder how much of the significance of f…

Purge, prune and get ready

The nooks and crannies have been dusted off. The spiderwebs destroyed before they get a chance to weave their complex pattern at idle corners. The shelves cleaned and re-arranged. The junk has been thrown out without mercy and the outgrown stuff neatly piled into bags to be donated away. I'm methodically and systematically attacking every room and feel a great sense of satisfaction as I step back and admire the results.

Diwali is around the corner and I'm neck-deep in the getting my space ready for all things positive. I believe our customs are rooted in meaning and hence the prescribed ritual of cleansing before the advent of a major festival. The home-cleaning is only symbolic to reflect what we ought to do at a more spiritual and deeper level. We are preparing our mind for goodness to enter our lives, for light to dispell the darkness, for rustiness to give way for renewed energy and momentum.

I find spring cleaning therapeutic. While I pride myself on not being a hoarder …

Of Reflections And Refractions

There's an emptiness, a feeling of floating in a bubble as Dussehra comes to an end. There's a huge pile of things to be tackled but I'm unable to shake off an explicable inertia. I'm preoccupied, mentally jotting down the tasks that need to be ticked off a never ending list; the simplest of the lot and one sticking out foremost is that of spring-cleaning and getting the house ready for Diwali.

The period of a lull after a bout of intense activities is my excuse for the sudden dip in spirits. Yet, I know, that's not entirely true. A part of me is feeling pepped up, going with the flow, checking off the items, doing what the situation demands but the other part grinds to a halt at frequent intervals, non-cooperating, holding on to the present with tight fists and watching it slip away into a timeless zone.

Finally, the truth of life is that no event or situation is constant.

November will be the month of birthdays and also when my parents would visit us, something …

If we were having coffee...

--I'd brew you some lovely piping hot filter coffee, bubbling with froth and aroma, poured out in steel tumblers or cups, if you wish, and offer it along with some crispy savouries. When it comes to coffee, there's nothing like filter kaapi, I might brag. I hope you'd excuse my vanity and sit down comfortably to some light banter and eventually sober down for a heart-to-heart conversation.

--As we settle down and the initial laughter and madness, that is a part of the package when good friends meet, simmers down, I'd tell you how life is currently packing all the paradoxes in the world and shoving them right up my face. It's, in fact, smirking at me right now.

Something that I had wished for is about to happen. I should, then, be elated, right? Well, honestly, I'm fighting bitter-sweet feelings. It comes at a time when I had almost made peace with the status quo. In some ways, a part of me is looking forward to the change but another part is resisting it becau…

The most difficult words to say

Have you wondered about the relationship between an artist and the audience? And, I'm not referring to the successful celebrities and their fan following frenzy. I'm talking about those unassuming people we see in our everyday walk of life. The ones who seem ordinary at the outset but carry a special skill  within that outshines when pitted against the rest.

Don't we all know of, in our immediate circles, a master chef, a pitch-perfect singer, a skillful painter, an imaginative craftsperson, a graceful dancer or even someone who's a bit of all of these? These are artists in their own right, some perhaps bidding their time to make it big and some just content being a devotee of art. At different points of time, we could well be that artist or one among the audience.

As an audience, how many of us walk up to the unsung hero and applaud his/her efforts? How many of us generously spend from our tightly-held purse of appreciation without a grudge or an expectation of a ret…

Parenting fears: Is there a right way?

Of late, we are seeing an increase in the number of students taking rash steps on account of studies, unable to cope with pressure and the fear of facing the society, including one's own parents. As is wont with the online space we are quick to take sides and debate the incidents, the merits, and demerits of various parenting styles. A classic case of 'have an opinion, express it'. Yet, for all its faults, the social media also rises in humanity to calls of distress and shows care and empathy as seen in many a case of missing loved ones being found by the virtual human chains.

So, when this delicate layer of goodness within the virtual world is ripped apart by callous attitudes, I feel disappointed and wonder about the future of compassion. The case, in this instance, is a young student who decided to walk out of her home because of low scores. It was not a step taken in a moment of weakness, we learnt later, but of thoughtful, careful planning. The trauma and trouble she…

Of customs and celebrations

August marks the beginning of the festival euphoria in India. As a child, I loved the second half of the year. School days would be generously sprinkled with holidays, the break for Diwali being the longest. The festivities at home were the most-awaited ones. The days leading up to an important festival like Ganesh Chaturthi or Janmashtami would throw the household into a frenzy mode of procuring the best ingredients for a 5-course meal, flowers, and other sundry pooja material.

We kids, of course only eyed the goodies prepared by the grandma and mom, waiting to dig into them. We could not eat them without offering them first to the Lord, of course. Tempted, furtive glances would be thrown at the spread of dishes; a great mix of sweet and savouries. Every now and then I'd loiter into the kitchen and pooja room to see how far the pooja had progressed only so I could appease my growling tummy and impatient sweet tooth.

Wisps of memories cloud my mind filling it with a bright tapest…

Taking the next step

I've been blogging for more than five years now but only for the last couple of years, ever since the blogging community witnessed changes in the way bloggers projected and promoted their blogs, I've been wondering about my position and future.

While I loved to write, I was unnerved by the commitment, dedication, and aggression shown by the new-age, serious bloggers who are brand ambassadors of their blogs in a true sense. It was a new dimension for someone like me who had considered blogging akin to casually journaling random thoughts; solely as a form of catharsis and not really worrying about the impact of the written word on the reader/writer community.

As with any change, I found myself self-doubting, fraught with insecurities and consequently slipping into bouts of non-writing phases or half-hearted posts. I hesitated to go all out there and place myself under the harsh lights of scrutiny and competition. It meant I had to take stock and re-evaluate my present skills an…

When we met Bahubali!

Shravanabelagola lies prettily within a relaxing drive of approx. 180 km from Bangalore. That, it was just a short detour on our wayback from Sakleshpur, sealed the deal for us. I had no clue about the history of the place apart from the fact there was a temple dedicated to king Bahubali. I was intrigued to know more especially having seen the eye-catching visuals from the movie.

We broke off from the clean, wide highway somewhere after Hassan to meander along the narrow but well-laid roads through a small village. Green fields alternated between flashes of multi-hued dwellings on either sides of the road. Soon our destination, the temple, lay within our view.



The husband claimed that he had been to the shrine when he was very young. Apparently, he didn't remember the details quite well. Especially, the fact that we had to set upon an arduous climb to reach the said shrine that was perched on the top of a steep hill! 


As you can see, the climb was a test of our stamina and streng…

Of journeys, digressions and connections

This long weekend break was something that we, as a family, were looking forward to. It came after a long while for the husband who had had a particularly gruelling period at work. Yet, for all the pre-vacation excitement, I was a bit down on the preparation part. The last minute packing rush and a slight overstep of the time schedules as the day made me feel snappy. To add to this, I was supposed to keep one eye on the Google map and another on the road till we made the last exit from the city. (We prefer using the maps without the navigator to save us data and phone battery on long trips )

I generally have trouble correlating the screen map with the actual roadway in the city that never seem to match what with the burgeoning over bridges and one-ways. I'd rather look out of the window and try to freeze the landmarks in my head than pore over a small screen. The husband and I have had many an argument over my role as the secondary navigator but to no avail. And, to set the recor…