Best and worst of 2012

Have literally dragged myself to sit in front of the computer to type a few lines for the last post of this great marathon. Seriously, when I began this month with a challenge of this kind, I never thought I would have honoured the commitment. I owe all the enthusiasm to the bloggers who participated in the marathon and who kept the spirit of the challenge alive. And, after living up to the challenge for all the days, giving up on the last even if the body is protesting, is not done.

Listing down the best and worst of 2012 had been on my mind but somehow I couldn't get down to writing it down. So, here I'm before the year ends and to give a befitting sign off for the lovely 31 days of non-stop blogging.

Personally, this year has been quite good for me on all fronts. From taking the debut trip to a place outside of India, to having begun to work from home, (albeit on a very small scale) the year has been kind to me.

When I think of the worst, I can only think of how badly we, as a society, have deteriorated. This year has been the culmination of scams, violence against women and evaporating humanity. Also, we lost a major chunk of our music and film stalwarts in this year.

Hoping that that the new year brings a lot of positivity, for all of us. May we take steps to redeem ourselves and make this world a better place to be in.

Happy New Year 2013 to everyone!!!

Delhi gang rape- Sadhguru speaks (sharing the video)

The girl succumbed this morning. An extremely tragic fate that is unfortunately not rare today. While all of us mourn, empathize, sympathize and debate on what can prevent such acts in future, lets also open our minds to see the larger picture.

Found this on a fellow blogger's page and wanted to share it. Do watch it and share.

Guilty as mothers

*This has been lying in my drafts for months now. I had written it for something that never took off, so now publishing it here. A topic that has been written to death about, yet remains relevant.*

Guilt comes as a freebie with motherhood : for working women (WM) who choose to be stay-at-home mothers (SAHM) once the child is born so also for those who choose to join back the work force within a few months of delivery. The guilt is obviously about the choice they have made-either voluntarily or due to circumstances. The guilt that pangs the heart while leaving a wailing baby with either an aayah or at the day-care or even with grandparents to go to work is something most women in this situation are familiar with. While WMs have to doubly make sure that the child is not neglected, SAHMs do not have it easier either. Managing the house and being in charge of an infant or toddler 24*7 can be nerve-wracking. To add to it is the guilt of not being able to contribute to the family kitty. The erstwhile double income family may also have to make some lifestyle changes to ensure smooth running of the household under a single earning member. A SAHM can face additional pressure (many times self-inflicted too) of having to be the perfect parent since she has the advantage(?) of being with the child 24*7.

In olden times, probably this emotion was non-existent or was not so recognized because women or mothers had a designated and defined boundary to fulfill their roles and they did what was expected out of them. Duties of mothering, caring for the infant or child along with the housework fell into the woman's lap while the man tackled the outside world. However as more and more women got educated and began to spread their wings, a life outside the four walls of a house beckoned them. Soon women began to don their new avatar of the new age woman who juggled a career and a home. In a bid to prove a point, they started embracing the "super-woman" tag with a vengeance and set up for themselves high expectations to execute every aspect of their multiple roles to perfection.

The guilt stems from the kind of expectation that a society has from women. The society proves its hypocrisy by awarding the womenfolk with superfluous tags of "super-women", "great at multi-tasking", while continuing to follow the patriarchal system. It has evolved, albeit, only in welcoming the women folk into the working sector; the responsibility of managing a home and children, however, still is seen primarily as a woman's territory. Although there are good private day cares available for a WM these days, finding one close to her workplace might be tough. Also, not all companies are considerate towards a new mother who will need to leave a little early or at least on time. A SAHM who decides to go back to working full-time after a baby break is not treated at par with her peers and is often offered a less-challenging role or lower paying job.

An attitudinal shift is urgently required if the society wishes to have happier and fulfilled women who are also satisfied mothers. More flexi-time jobs in several fields need to be created to accommodate women undergoing a difficult pregnancy or mothers who want to restart their career when the kid is still young. Companies should initiate an environment where marriage and maternity is not seen as a setback to resource for the company. A day-care within the company premises will go a long way in retaining the female employees. However only this won't be sufficient. The attitude towards women in general also needs a paradigm shift. Home and children are as much a man's as a woman's responsibility. A woman should not be expected to shoulder these completely in addition to being a WM or for that matter just because she is a SAHM and 'is home all day', she should not be expected to be a home-goddess and carry out all the responsibilities. She too is entitled to her personal space and time.

Although new-age husbands are trying to shoulder these responsibilities, thereby giving the woman in the house the right kind of atmosphere to fulfill her personal ambitions, the change is only just a speck in the spectrum. In most average Indian households, the wife comes home to cook a meal even when she has been out all day slogging at work. The husband gets to relax and unwind with the T.V.. Even in a joint set-up the working woman is expected to 'do her bit' after work and also 'make up for the week long absence' during weekends. It is not unusual that the WM draws flak for leaving infants and toddlers at a day care to go to work. A SAHM on the other hand has all the more reason to be taken for granted. The "what do you do all day?" question - having undercurrents of condescension- is directed more towards this section downplaying all the work she does. Either way, she is forced to justify her choice and take appropriate steps to conform to rules of being "a perfect wife/mother/woman".

A society that is sensitive towards women and her needs is how I envisage an evolved society. Since women are making successful foray into areas erstwhile considered a man's field, isn't it time that men made some attempts to take over areas that are (still) considered a woman's area?


No trip to Bombay is ever complete without gorging on the yummy chaats. The sweet, tangy and spicy pani-puris that melt into the mouth, and the perfect mix of ingredients that make the bhel, sev and ragada explode into a delectable and myriad mix of spices within the mouth, transporting you to a different world of gourmet, is simply an out-of-the world experience.

Eating chaat was a matter-of-fact affair and never taken so seriously while I lived in Bombay. Only after I moved cities, did I realize how much we take smaller pleasures for granted and how special an experience this was to become. Only a few cities offer the perfect chaat experience and only people like me who have moved out of these cities to reside in certain other parts of the country that simply cannot match up to the standard, can feel the void in the gourmet world.

Initially, I'd filled with enthusiasm upon citing a chaat shop in these cities and would help myself to the similarly worded dishes. Alas! none has so far matched my expectations, not even coming close to bearing a faint resemblance to the masterpieces. Especially, the pani-puris. The puris of the gogappas or pani-puris cut a sorry figure, with neither the shine, size, crispness or the texture that is its essence. The pani too is a sad concoction without the distinct flavour that tingles the nostrils with its spice. The sweet and tangy chutney made of jaggery, dates/tamarind is never added unless specified and even then it's not the same.

In short, after a few disastrous and disappointing chaat escapades, I've now become wiser. My heart no longer beats faster at the sight of the chaat-corners. I completely avoid eating pani-puris and for the rest of the chaat-variants, I have reset the expectation bar to a much lower level.

Thus, when I am vacationing at the parents' house, visits to the chaatwallahs are mandatory and I make it a point to schedule more than one visit to stuff myself with all the flavours and carry back the memories that can be relished and cherished until the next visit.


Tom and Jerry live!

Watching the Tom and Jerry show live isn't half as fun as watching the animated version on T.V. Especially, when the bickering begins as soon as you open your eyes and you are longing for a peaceful cup of coffee with the day's paper. R and S are surely the human forms of the (in)famous pair.

Without the partner in crime, the individual brats languish in quiet boredom. Once the two meet, it is chemical explosion of a different kind. They have to replicate what the other is doing, notwithstanding the collateral damage or the semblance of general peace being shredded around. Added to the mayhem is the echo effect provided by the younger brat repeating every word uttered by the older.

Equipped with equal amounts of mischief quotient, one pulls the leg of the other with the sole intention of creating ripples in the otherwise calm atmosphere. The other takes the bait too promptly, as though programmed to perfection, and all hell breaks loose.

And, then at sometimes, they play with so much love and maturity and that you can't help being amused, go 'aww' and smile, while at the same time wait with bated breath for the moment when the situation would be reversed unceremoniously

When they are united, it is tough to keep cool and when they bicker you'd wish that the earth swallowed you up so that there is some silence at least there!

Isn't this the exact script of the Tom & Jerry show too?

A different Christmas

An exposure to a festival that is alien to your native religion comes primarily either through friends or a common institution, like the school, that introduces one to all cultures alike.

However, having studied in a Hindu school, and having no Christian friends (except for one, but I only gorged on the sweets and cake her mom made), I was not exposed much to the nuances of this merry festival other than knowing the cursory general stuff. No exposure to jingles, carols or the significance behind the Christmas tree or even the secret Santa. The concept of the secret Santa was something I got to know much much later when I was studying German. In short, Christmas has always been some one else's festival of joy that made no difference to me other than the holidays I enjoyed.

This year, however, has been a little different. The excitement of the marathon bloggers celebrating this festival has been infectious and the better part being, of course, the secret Santa. I loved being the Santee and the Santa. The little play about guessing your Santa was so much fun. It was awe inspiring to see so many of you go out of the way to make your Santee's wish come true. Reaching to someone totally unknown to bring a smile on his/her face is essentially the essence of any festival and I am happy to have been a part of this lovely custom.

Merry Christmas to every one. May the new year bring a lot of happiness and peace to all of us. Let's also pray for a more peaceful and happy co-existence all round the world.


Celebrating a double dhamaka!

Today is my 200th post in two years of blogging and incidentally it also my blog's second birthday, so its a double dhamaka!

Two years of blogging seems like an incredible journey. I've loved the journey so far and would want to continue as much as I am able to. Writing has been a wonderful discovery for me. It has allowed me to explore the various sides to me as a person and with every expression of thought, I've been able to relate to myself better. And, this is just one side to the story. The other side is the treasure trove of reading that is available. The amount of learning I've had by reading so many wonderful and knowledgeable bloggers around has kept me grounded and craving to learn more.

I wouldn't have arrived at the 200th number so fast had it not been for this marathon. I began this marathon with a lot of doubts. I never thought I'd last this long. And, I have only you, the entire team of marathon bloggers, to thank from the bottom of my heart. Without the enthusiasm and encouragement of the team, I don't think I could have found the motivation and energy to post every single day. I know, this sounds like the closing post and it is a little premature for it. However, the occasion demands it and I want to tell you guys how much I've enjoyed your company. The friendly banter and easy camaraderie shared between all of us has been the driving force for me. You guys are lovely people and even more lovely writers- every one of you.

So, lets all rock together!


A letter to my 10 year old self

This week's Write Over the Weekend theme at the Blogadda is to write a letter to a 10 year old and this prompted me to write a letter to my 10 year old self. Ten is a delicate age where you are no longer a little child, yet you cannot understand a lot of complex emotions. An age when teachers, marks, friends and the impression you create matters the most. An age that grapples with being independent and at the same time craving for familiarity and acceptance.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda 

Dear girl,

 This is your 30-plus year old self writing to you. You might think I have forgotten you but the truth is far from it. Every time I look at my present self, I realize how far I've come from being you- a shy, introverted, unsure and under-confident school-kid who'd be scared even to ask the teacher permission to go to the loo. Today, I am a far more confident person, more out-going, who has an opinion on many things, is not afraid to voice her thoughts, is somewhat sure of what she is capable of and is content with having her family and lovely friends to share her joys and sorrows. The transition, although quite drastic, has ensured that I can never forget that part of myself and today I wish you'd known a few things that probably could have changed the way you perceived things at that time.

All the threats about amma and appa sending you away to a boarding school is empty. They'll never ever do that. Though, you might wish several years later that you had got a chance to stay in a boarding or even a hostel, for the simple reason that staying independently teaches some important lessons of life that a protected childhood doesn't.

Marks do not mean much. Education means much more than all those red numbers on that paper. Scoring high or getting that teacher to smile at you does not ensure you of a successful life. Study well by all means but do not value your worth by that report card that seems quite dismal at the moment. It really does not matter if you are the teacher's pet or not.

The move to stay in a different suburb is going to change your life much more than you'd imagined. I know, you aren't really thinking on those lines. It's too early to perceive. This will be a changing point in your life where you'll begin to shed your inhibitions and form sweeter friendships. 

Don't worry about friends ignoring you for what you are not. There's still time for you to understand what friendship means and you'll have many more meaningful ones as you grow. You'd understand that number does not matter, character does.

You'll discover hidden talents in you much later in life. If I tell you that you have a flair for language and will do academically much better in your latter phase of school and college life, do not laugh it off in your head, however, incredible it might seem today.

The world will change. Quite fast and sadly for the worse. You'll regret not learning some life-skills like swimming and karate at this point of life.

You'll also regret not listening to amma's instructions to be more sincere, organized and disciplined in life. You'd shape up well later but you'd also realize that some things are best imbibed when younger.

I know, you want to learn to dance now and are unhappy when amma says its best to concentrate on what you are already good at. You'd realize much later that dancing does not come naturally to you. Age 10 does not let you evaluate your skills objectively.   

Even as I write all this I also realize that life is always viewed more objectively in hindsight than in present and eventually, things will always fall in place as a larger picture later. However, it will be in our nature to think about things that could "have been". After a few years, I might realize that my 30 year old self was probably not all that wise as she thought herself to be and would be writing a similar letter to her then.

So, be good and wish you the best,

your 32 year old self

Top 10 destinations that I'd like to see before I kick the bucket

The theme post for this Saturday is the 'bucket list' and since I'd already done posting about it recently, I'd planned to do a different post. However, I was prompted by some lovely suggestions around and chose to list out the places I'd like to see before I die:

Given the fact that I haven't travelled much as yet, my to-see list is pretty long, figuring almost all the popular (and non-popular!) destinations within India and abroad. Still, I am going to try and list some of the top most ones on my mind here:

1. The top most has to be the one that has been immortalized by Bollywood as the quintessential destination for romance- Switzerland- Once upon a fairy time, I had envisions of myself and Mr.Right romancing in the alps. However the real life situation currently forces me to make hurried changes to the dream. With a toddler now thrown for company (?!), I am forced to re-paint the dream canvas to resemble a more family-ish outing. Well, at least so be it!

2. New Zealand-I've heard lots about this breathtakingly beautiful (and of course expensive) destination. This surely needs to be ticked off the list too.

3. Paris- Of course, the Louvre and the Eiffel tower will have to seen before I am gone for good.

4. South Africa-is it an unusual destination to be on the wish-list? Actually, I wouldn't have thought of it if I did not have my friends moving their base to this place for a couple of years. Since they are going to be there, I am nursing this crazy wish to visit them (actually the place ;-)) while they are there.

5. Scotland/London/parts of the USA-Of course, I am going to be choosing all the obvious locales. I am quite predictable and boring that way. Does having some cousins staying at these places make it more doable? I hope so.

Well, now time to list some desi locations too.

6. Rajasthan- The place is so royal, full of colours, a treasure house of the works of local artisans and great food to gorge on. Soaking in the history by the day, shopping till my legs ache and relaxing on the soft warm sands in the evening, sounds like bliss, doesn't it?

7. North-east-Sikkim/Nagaland- Discovering ancient tribes, exploring the hills, seeking out the monasteries, these are a few of my favourite things :-)

8. Gujarat-I am quite impressed with the way Gujarat has been doing and really want to visit this place to a get a feel of Mr. Modi's development. And, of course, who can resist the brand ambassador of the state when he says, "kuch din toh gujariye Gujarat mein."

9. Leh-Laddak-I love the mountains. I am a bigger fan of this place after seeing amazing photographs from here in the book- The Stopover. I had reviewed the book here.

10. The wonderful temples of the South- I have visited the south in bits and parts and have not really done an extensive tour of the great and magnificent temples. So, this also figures in the must-see.

There is more to the list like taking a cruise, doing some adventure sports like scuba-diving (for a non-adventure person like me, this is adventure), however I'll stop with listing the top most on my mind. More is always welcome, right?

Taking a stroll down memory lane

I took a stroll down familiar lanes. It felt nostalgic, reliving the days of childhood, of a life that seems like a different lifetime; when friends would gather around for an impromptu get-together during a power outage; when summer breaks meant you'd come home only for meal breaks, playing endlessly at some random friend's house.

I took a stroll down the lane where an old house stands. A house that once belonged to my grandparents. Now it is no longer ours. The house where I once frolicked about in carefree demeanour has changed too. After passing through different hands, it feels as though the house has found its worthy owner, one that befits the nature of the people who were the original owners.

It felt strange to stand outside that house and look at the houses around. The houses are the same but the inhabitants have changed. Every house reminded me of someone, every lane had a story which had me and my friends playing an important role.

I took a stroll down the lane that brought back the memories of the time when my friends taught me to ride a bicycle; when silly fights erupted over play; when everything was forgotten and forgiven the next day.

I took a stroll down the lane of known people. Some faces are the same but the emotions have changed. Some exude the same warmth but some have become strangers.

Having lived in a place for more than 2 decades, it is natural to come back to a storehouse of memories; a mixed bag of emotions, remembrance and nostalgia evoking tears and laughter in different measures.


Will our children wake up to better news?

I am sure most of us would like to raise our children with all the right values. Many of us do go to lengths to see that they do not pick up traits that is harmful to the society in a bid to create a holistic society that is more tolerant and respectful of the other. And, this is urgently needed today even as we wake up everyday to horrifying news about molestation, a childhood gone wrong, tolerance plummeting to lower levels and apathy growing to newer heights. However, I really feel dismal about the future as I observe how a section of adult population thinks and acts, setting a bad precedent for the next generation.

I am a member of my apartment forum- a space for the community residents to discuss issues and share news regarding the gated community. Many a times, issues are blown out of proportion with more people disagreeing about a particular point and taking the topic thread to a very different level from where it started. It is interesting to note how each thread gets almost 50 responses added to it within no time of it being started. Of late the kind of responses to certain issues thrown up has drawn me to realize how actually so many people think alike and respond in a manner that seems to disregard everyone else that do not form a party of their limited circle. It is only the "I, me, myself" stance that echos largely from all the group discussions.

Issues are made out of non-issues. Every small point raised as a suggestion or just as a small concern has 50 other people pouncing on the first person, shooting down the idea/suggestion given, raising other ugly/petty counter-concerns that of course might have been triggered off because the suggestion involved a miniscule amount of inconvenience to them. Just to cite an example: a small issue about having a bus-load of non-resident school children entering the complex premises has been blown out of proportion with concerns like security and petty concerns like road-maintenance, etc thrown in. The initial thread that was started to discuss one thing lead to a series of unnecessary detour on the issue and people really stooping low with their thinking and mentality.

It is appalling and sad to see a part of the society that wants the best things only for themselves and cannot bear to share only because they take pride in being above certain others. The common refrain goes thus:
"I don't care about what others go through. I pay the maintenance and it is my at most duty to see that I do not accommodate even an ant to enjoy the privileges that I get. Mind you, I will not contribute even iota of my time, resources to help the committee (that is set up to see that the community functions smoothly and the privileges offered do reach the people) do its job. I will make all possible attempts to put a spoke in the wheel whenever some changes are suggested because I can't compromise for larger benefit. "

With such an attitude prevailing in a community of just 500 odd residents, is it any wonder that the society at large is going to the dogs? Is it any surprise that the city newspapers have crime reports filling out every page? Is there any hope that tomorrow if I am stuck in any trouble, I can expect help from strangers?

I know, I sound very pessimistic. I believe, there is still some good left and I do hear of positive and heartening reports of good Samaritans but is the 'Good' good enough for the wicked and selfish who seem to growing manifold?

The siblings

R and S, as I've mentioned earlier too, are a deadly combination. In some ways, they are quite alike and in other ways completely different. Both of them have mastered the part about keeping the adults in the house on their toes and tender hooks. Each has its own way of creating trouble and mischief. So, you can imagine how explosive the situation can get when two such minds combine!

Last year R lacked the social-cognitive skill to play along with S. Although he'd want S's company, he was unable to express himself or understand the concept of collective play. However, that is changed this year and it is amusing to see the two converse and pretend play. Of course, he is still a little too boisterous for S and this leads to many a ugly fight and frantic adult intervention.

I see that R gets a kick out of teasing his elder cousin! The more S gets whiny, the more he acts bossy and plays rough! It is a very crazy situation and it takes a lot of restraint and effort on my part to diffuse the tension. On the other side, he is also quite possessive of S and doesn't quite like it when he has to share S with another kid. This side to R was a new discovery for me and I realized it yesterday when S had her birthday celebrations at home. It was a small affair with just a couple of S's friends, also her neighbours, had come over.

The moment S's friend, lets call her X,came in and S showed a preference to play with her, R began to act all crazy. He was extra rough with X by falling all over her, pulling at her dress and generally making quite a nuisance of himself. X is made of tougher material herself and was hardly perturbed but S was quite upset with the whole change in the scenario. Things got out of control after a while and I had to intervene and pull R out of the scene. It disturbed me also to see R behaving in such a manner. Later, it was my bro-in-law who sensed that it is was perhaps the jealous streak that led R to behave such.

Sibling bonding can surely be awe inspiring and nerve racking at the same time!


A day of remembrance

Dear Friends, fellow bloggers
I am one of the blogger who is taking part in observing silence for the innocent victims who lost their lives on Friday’s shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary school, Connecticut.  

When I heard the news, I was shocked beyond words. The mind is filled with questions that probably no one has an answer to: What made the teenager commit such a gory crime? Why did these children have to bear the brunt of whatever went wrong in Adam Lanza's life? Why did innocent little ones who were still living their blissful and worry-free lives have to meet such an horrific end? Above all, what was HE doing?

As a parent, I shudder to even imagine the calamity that has befallen the parents of these children. My heart and soul goes out to them. Also to those moms, wife, grandmas, friends who lost their lives doing their duties as teachers and staff of the school.
We, as bloggers, choose to observe a day of silence, to mourn the lives that were brutally cut short and to offer our collective support and wishes to the parents and families. You are in our prayers.

Of joy rides, fun times and childhood

I am back to childhood times, thanks to R and S, my niece. This weekend was full of joy rides for the kids and going back to fun times for the adults. There is a small lake near our house which has been turned to a small amusement park for kids with some boating and other small-time joy rides thrown in for a very reasonable fee. So, that was our outing for Saturday evening. Popcorns and excited and joyous laughter from the kids made it a very happy affair and my sister and I had unadulterated fun by reliving our carefree days through our children.

We woke up early on Sunday morning, had an early breakfast and headed off to another popular amusement park near by. The kids totally freaked out on all the joy rides. R frolicked around the well-maintained park areas meant to relax under chickoo trees that made a lovely green and cool canopy. It was amusing to see him run after crows in a bid to catch them! S and he had a rocking time playing around in the mud and making the most out of the few rare times when interference from the adults was a bare minimum :-)


Stream of sunlight penetrating from the thick foliage.

 R relaxing on the charpoy.

 A Baya bird's nest.

A village scene carved out at the amusement park.

A dinosaur park- a sad one at that-had statues of different kinds of dinosaurs placed like in a sanctuary. There was also some sound effects thrown in for good measure to make it seem real! However, the effect was quite contrary to probably what was planned.

 The source of the blood curdling noises..LOL!

So, that sums up our weekend fun time. Hope you guys had a great weekend!
Happy Monday :-) 

Sunday Fun-day

I decided to do a meme for a post today. I made a fusion of some questions from here and here at Sunday stealing.

1) Do you tend to hold grudges against people who have done you wrong?
umm..not really. I might rant and crib when the wound is new and hurting but eventually I tend to move on and forgive the person over time.

2) What is your astrological sign?
Do you want to guess?..many of you know it already..but the others can take a guess. Lets see how many of you get it right :-)

3) What's the last thing you purchased?
err..nothing apart from the mundane grocery stuff.

4) Did you have a baby blanket? Do you still sleep with it?
I do remember the blanket(s) I had as a child but I don't think I developed strong affinity towards them. I wasn't/not a person to have a sleep toy/blanket. Interestingly, R loves his blanket and cannot/will not sleep without it, however warm the weather might be!

·    5) Have you ever tried to cut your own hair? If yes, how’d it work out?
       Oh, yes! Once I cut off the front portion of my hair to make fringes. I was in the tenth or eleventh grade I think. Well, I don't want to dwell too much on how it turned out. For the hair freak I was, 'am surprised that I even ventured to do that. I pretty much held those spiky bits in place with a clip till they grew back in length!!!

·     6) Have you ever sleepwalked? 
I      I don't remember having sleep walked but apparently I have spoken, even laughed in my sleep. At least that's what I heard from people when I woke up next day :-)

7) You can only have one of these things: trust or love.

      Umm..tough question. There is no love without trust but love can grow if there is trust. So my pick is trust.
     8) Which of the five senses is most important to you? 
     Do we even use all the five senses??? and..whatever happened to the sixth sense?

·    9) Would you be a more successful painter or singer? 
I    It has to be singer because I cannot draw or paint even to save my life.

     10) What's a song that always makes you happy when you hear it? 
      Well, there are many but this one comes to my mind presently: 

    You guys are free to take this up as a tag..will be interesting to read your versions.

The new chapter of my life

I ran. Fast. Out of breath. Lungs bursting. Legs hitting the earth. I thudded up the path, around the corner, right up the stairs and reached the door. I flung it open and .................

...dashed inside.What met my eyes was something totally unexpected. My jaws dropped and my limbs gave way...

A few months ago: 

I had met him at my friend, Sakshi's house. He was handsome and had an air of royalty around him. I did take an instant liking to him despite myself. He seemed a little aloof but my friend winked at me and assured that she knew him really well and it would just take a few meetings for him to be friends with me.

I was not too sure. Rather, I was not sure if I wanted to be friends, just yet.

I had my own apprehensions. He and I belonged to completely different environments and I was not sure if I was ready. However, I decided to go with the flow. Sakshi was a dear friend who understood my loneliness after I'd lost my family to an accident. She made sure I was doing well and called me over every now and then to her place to bring me out of my shell. Sure enough, he'd be there too on all occasions, stealing glances at me when I was not looking. Only, I was looking too, from the corner of my eye. But, that he'd never know. Or did he?

The ice began to melt and then one day our eyes met briefly. In that instant we felt an instant bonding. It was a magical moment for me. He seemed like the perfect soul who'd understand me and introduce me to a new world of love and compassion.

With each meeting, our fondness for each other grew. Sakshi was right. He was only reserved to begin with. He had a way of knowing my feelings. The day I felt low, he'd sense it and try his best to cheer me up. On other days, he'd be at his mischievous self like a toddler trying my patience! The moments spent with him were the best moments of my life. I longed to have him in my life. I knew he felt the same. He was like a ray of sunshine in my dreary, lonely life.

Cut to the present: 

I was getting ready for my usual morning walk and of course the now routine visit to meet him.  As, I was about to leave, I got a call on my cell. It was Sakshi. The next few lines she spoke sucked the air out of my lungs. He had met with an accident, she said. Please come fast. She lived just a few blocks away from my house and so, I ran.

I ran. Fast. Out of breath. Lungs bursting. Legs hitting the earth. I thudded up the path, around the corner, right up the stairs and reached the door. I flung it open and .................

 ...dashed inside.What met my eyes was something totally unexpected. My jaws dropped and my limbs gave way...

A crowd of friends and well-wishers gathered around me and sang,

"Happy Birthday to you....."

An awesome cake waiting to be cut and right beside the table was him, thumping and wagging his tail in joy. Yes, Alex, the handsome German shepherd, who was supposed to have met with an accident, who I had grown to love in these months, was alive and kicking, eyes sparkling as though he knew all that had transpired.

Before I could give vent to all the thoughts running in my head, Sakshi quipped in defense. 

"I am so sorry for all the misery caused. I wanted to give you an apt present for your birthday- an anchor, a reason to live for. But I also knew your reservations about having a pet, so wanted to test the waters before handing over Alex to you. The past three months were a trial to see if you two could gel together and today, I have no doubts of the fact that you guys will make great companions. Alex is indeed your birthday present."

 Tears of joy streamed down and I couldn't thank Sakshi enough. But for her, I could not have begun a new chapter in my life.

At three

At three, R

 -is a total chatterbox, rattling off longish sentences which may or may not mean much. It is funny at times to hear him string difficult words together only for the sake of saying something.

- asks a 100 1000 questions every few minutes. Why is so-and-so going there? Whose car is this? Why is it not moving ahead? Why did the signal go red?... and so on...

- has completed a major milestone- of being completely toilet trained. Happy to announce that we have half a packet of pampers lying unused. Once R began school, he was off diapers for the time he spent in school, later I found the courage to let him off even during the evenings at play. I had decided to stick on to the nights since I felt he is too young for the night times and more importantly I was not ready for the mid-nightly trips to the loo. My husband however insisted that we at least try for a couple of days. We anyway had the plastic sheets and if at all any accidents were to happen, it won't be so disastrous, he reasoned. So, we tried for one night. No accidents. R didn't even wake up to go. We were beaming in the morning. The next night, he wet the bed, of course the bed was saved because we used the sheet. After a couple of ups and downs during the week, he managed to stay dry for the whole night. So far. Its been a month now. So, I am officially no longer a patronizer of Pampers. I couldn't be happier. I am OK if the bed wetting returns in phases; the milestone is reached.

-  loves the company of people/friends. Until the age of 2 or so, he wouldn't really be bothered if he had company to play or not. He'd have his own agenda and be happy to go about it alone. However, now he seeks his friends each day and feels sad when his friends do not turn up on certain days :-)

-is picking up bad habits and dropping them at intervals. Each time I think that he's well-behaved, he comes up with a disgusting habit like making spitting-like sounds to actually spitting at times. The good part is that the bad fit subsides relatively fast. Just that, I am kept on tender hooks not knowing when he may don the bad hat. You can be pretty sure, it surfaces when you least expect it and in front of others!

-has not over come his bursts of energy during which he keeps running around, even about the house, climbing over the sofa and other raised platforms. Especially happens when there is more company in the house and he gets over excited with happiness. Although, it can happen even otherwise. I am not sure if he can be termed as hyper active but he is definitely far more active and energetic than many other kids his age.

-is able to hold his own mostly, when provoked or bullied by other kids. To the extent that sometimes he gives it back coupled with interest on the principal :-0

-is still the happy kid who smiles easily and is quite resilient when faced with disappointments. Touchwood to that!

My wishlist in a nutshell for 2013 and ahead
2012 is already coming to a close. It feels like just yesterday when I had written about how 2011 had panned out for me and what I'd like to do in 2012. This year has been a year of success in terms of having ticked off all the items that I'd planned to achieve. It is a great feeling. Although the tasks itself were not something that had to do with a lot of effort on my part, yet most things did fall in place with the time line I had in mind.

This gives me weird courage to write down my wish list more often. Maybe writing it down really makes the universe consider it wholeheartedly too. This post is not about what I'd want to do just in 2013 but a bucket list of things that I want to do on as a long term goal and a wishlist that may not come true in the near future or even at all.

Read more- I'd definitely want to read more, not only in the next year but also as a long term goal. The more I write and read other fellow bloggers, the more I feel inadequate about how little I've read or been reading.

Travel more- Oh, this an unsatiating desire, I guess! I cannot term myself as a well-traveled person and yet I know that however much you travel, there is always desire for more. This being an expensive hobby too (in terms of money and time), I can only hope to be able to satiate my travel senses to whatever extent possible in the years to come.

Take on more work- This is definitely something that can be worked upon immediately. For now, I'd like to continue the work-from-home status. My observation is, if I organize myself better I can definitely take on more than what I am currently doing. I also want to diversify my work sphere so that I am not losing out on the work experience or the field I studied in, while simultaneously accelerating on the current work front.

Write more- yes, sounds crazy to my ears even as the marathon is wearing me down. I am definitely taking a break after this marathon but I do want to write more and better when I come back. A couple of well-wishers and readers of this blog, apart from the family members, have expressed their confidence in my writing abilities to the extent that they feel I can..ahem..maybe add a book to my name. I am really humbled, flattered and deeply appreciate your good wishes. But, to be honest, it sounds all too idealistic and far-fetched. It requires tremendous commitment, discipline and of course talent, to say the least. However all writers, small or big, nurse a desire to see their name in print one day. So, I start with the commitment to write better and explore different genres for a beginning.

Give back more to the society- There are so many lovely people out there who are doing so much for the underprivileged and society in general. I truly admire them for what they do. I am not going to make a show of pledge here but I'd definitely want to extend a little more of myself whenever I can, even if it is in a small way as to take part in the waste segregation whole-heartedly or minimize the wastage of resources in the household or donate more stuff to the needy.

So, that somewhat sums up my bucket list/wishlist. What are yours for 2013/future?