To the newest member of my family…

 

You became a part of my family after putting through much resistance for the simple reason that humans are much more receptive to hate than love.

But you were patient, humble and modest. You won hearts, created bonds, which eventually led to coming together of two families, and you became my ‘BROTHER-IN-LAW’.

When didi moved out to work, I was happy for her. She was to become independent, see new places, and take a shot at life. Though she performed well at work something told me she was homesick and miserable inside. Every time I talked to her, she would sound deeply troubled and frustrated. I was in a state of despair as the only thing I had to comfort her were my words, and words can only do so much when you are in conflict with your life.

It was really painful to know that i couldn’t be with her when she needed me the most, that she was not happy staying away from us. Being the elder child she had many responsibilities, but i didn’t want her to lose herself in the process of fulfilling them.

Things took a pleasant turn when she moved in the same city as you. To my heart’s relief, the gloomy voice over the phone became gradually more cheerful. You stood by her through life’s daily ordeals, did things to put back a smile on her face. She has been a different person since the day you came to her life –much happier, content, and at peace with life. I can never thank you enough for that.

You have become to me the brother I never had. You’re the go-to person in case of trouble, the rockstar of family gatherings, always so patient, so caring, and so helpful.

The bond you two share, keeps my faith in love alive. Because I have you guys in my life, I can proudly say that true love does exist, where two people endure every hardship just to be with each other.

 

Advertisements

BEING SOCIAL

 

social_network1

I come from a generation that has ‘seen it all’. We have had a real childhood without IPads or video games or Facebook accounts at the age of 9. When photographs were actually developed and preserved in neatly organised albums and the only drama in life was about missing crayons.

I’ve known landlines, the piercing dial-tone, and the fuss with extra zeroes. We didn’t have a phone at home. So we would go to STD booths to call our relatives but mostly communicated through green inland letters. I remember my aunt, who loves to talk a lot, would leave little space between words so they were barely distinguishable and wrote in a snug, compact scrawl.

This was soon succeeded by mobile phones taking over the world and sms becoming the new fad. Since then the world has lost the art of taking notes using full, whole words.

Any kind of writing that demanded speed would be shredded into sms lingo. Those times witnessed a lot of reasonably intelligent people becoming vocabulary-impaired.

My sister was in college back then and all sorts of gossips, information and plannings found their way through sms. I would usually wake up in the middle of night to the noise of the ticking keypad. Often she would end up spending more on sms vouchers than talktime. It was pretty normal for a single person to exchange 300-400 messages a day.

Then came a time when I would frequently hear my friends talking about pictures, tags and tagging. I would feel utterly perplexed and ‘out-of-context’ in such conversations. So I enquired the most trusted friend, the one I can afford to be stupid with. She was somewhat less clueless, but not the best person to consult. She told me all these terms had something to do with something called Facebook. So I grabbed my first chance to google about Facebook, and create an experimental Facebook account.

I am always averse to seeking help when it could make me look technologically impaired. So i explored Facebook on my own and discovered how stuff like friend requests, pokes, DPs , posts and tags worked. I went quite silly at first as everyone who’s new to the virtual world does. I posted over-long comments; tagged people in pictures with emotional quotes and got overjoyed when someone would tag me in pictures stating stuff like ‘friends forever’ or some random picture with teddies, flowers, bow ties, and fairies. Till date I am scared to look back at any of my posts dated 2010 (though I believe I’ve got rid of most of it.)

I was most delighted to find my relatives and cousins over FB as I hardly get to meet them unless there is some family function. I talked to them, got to know them better. It felt like there was finally a way to get close to my extended family as living away from our hometown left little scope for long conversations.

FB was somewhat like a fairy tale world which gave me a sense of being close and connected, of getting to know people better.

But then some of the classroom bullies stepped in and made life difficult for me. I was usually a shy introvert and my FB account came as a surprise to many. Some of the meanest lot gave me certain insulting tags (the girl who keeps getting into shit, for example), and I was occasionally mocked when I would leave a simple, innocent comment saying ’nice pic’ on a classmates picture and things would get worse when I chose to hit back. But then they would need help with school-work and convince me that everything was in good humour. It took me time to figure out that I was slowly becoming a punchbag for frustrated meanies .So I restrained my online activities to reading and liking posts and blocked out anyone I didn’t feel comfortable having on my friendlist.

I finally sat down one day and explored all my privacy options so I may enjoy interacting with family and close friends while the privacy settings kept a watch on bullies. I stopped dolling out favours to anyone but people whom I felt secure with.

That phase surely helped me a lot in understanding how to avoid or deal with any unpleasantness online.

I had an Orkut account just to explore how it was different from FB but never used it much.

Then I entered college and discovered people have moved from CRT desktops, keypad phones and uh…..Facebook. The world had moved over to smartphones, sharing apps, Whatsapp was doing what Facebook did to Orkut and I was struggling to keep up with the world armed with my desktop and Nokia x101. People would throw irritated glances when I would ask for stuff to be shared on email or Facebook.

I heaved a sigh of relief when my sister bought me a smartphone.

I no longer had to wait for the radio to play my favourite song. I could watch and re-watch my favourite shows and movies. Memories were instantly shared and preserved through photographs, and homeworks and assignments seemed impossible to complete without Whatsapp.

Whatsapp was the next thing that grabbed my fascination after Facebook. I loved to share stuff, play around with emojis and I absolutely loved the out-of–the-world feeling when friends would change their DPs and status to wish me on my birthday. I had instant access to everyone and everything. Life seemed so easy when I had my phone around.

But all that thrill was short-lived as being connected 24*7 became too much to handle at times. Everybody would expect instant replies, and lying was out of question with the wicked blue ticks around. I would often find myself surfing the internet through the night, and wake up to sore, puffy eyes. At times, I would blow my mind, get offline, put my phone on airplane mode to shut out the world, knowing I would have a lot of questions to answer to later.

I try to do things on a moderate scale now, using messaging and social networking only to the point that it won’t interfere with my peace or sanity so I don’t have to shut out people and feel bad about it. I’ve been there, done that and I know better. The virtual has helped me appreciate the real around me, knowing that it’s getting rare….

It seriously amazes me when I look back at all the eras I have been through. Of all the generations that have dwelled the earth, I think the 90’s will have a lot of stories to tell…… 🙂

THE RIGHT ONES

IMG_20150801_203733

#STORY 3

My childhood was quiet different from the conventional notion. I could never make friends easily. Mostly, the other kids in the class were afraid that being friends with me would make them unpopular. Also, I did fairly well academically, always being the class topper. So, for people, I was either ‘too nerdy’ or ‘too ugly’ to have any sort of friend circle or social life.

I blamed myself for all this.. I always thought I was not good enough to have friends.The solitude took its toll on my confidence and self-assurance. I was a clumsy mess, always nervous and scared around people. Though, I would have my occasional share of popularity when the other kids would get stuck on some assignment

At home, under the unconditional love of my family, I was a totally different person. I would go on talking incessantly. I was as curious, playful, and cheerful, as any girl of my age. I felt most comfortable around my elder sister who would always keep me pampered. She would bring all sorts of colourful flowers and chocolates for me, and gave me all her toys to play with. We would occasionally build a tent out of saris and dupattas, in which, we would spend our summer afternoons, where she would tell me stories and stitch little dresses for my dolls.

HOME, was a refuge for me from the harsh world outside.

Things changed for better when I entered college. I found people who were less prejudiced towards me, and ready to accept me for what I am. Strange things started happening. People invited me for treats and outings, and were willing to spend time with me, something that was totally new to me. I remember the first time when I was asked for an outing by a friend. I asked her in a state of shock and amusement – “are you serious”? But I looked away before she could really understand what I just said. during our first excursion together, one of my friends said that she was glad that I’ve accompanied them.

That was a plain, blunt confession but that small sentence meant the world to me. Finally, someone was happy to be in my company.

Our first outing together is a memory i shall cherish all my life.we just had two scooties but that wasn’t enough to deter these 7 crazy souls. we were all quirky in our own way, with different eccentricities.we chatted for a long time, ate together, created a racket at a mall (we chased each other through the alleys with soft-toys as weapons) . Maybe we were somewhat wrong, because we lied at home about the 2 scooty- 7 people thing, but still it felt good to know about these people with their small habits, one liners, ambitions and their common defiance for norms 🙂

This incident helped me understand that I need not chase people for their acceptance, the right ones would just happen in life, who would accept me for what I am, and would appreciate me for my individuality, rather than thrust their belief of perfectionism over me . At times, you are simply with the wrong people. It helped me believe, that it was possible for me to make friends, to live life, to find ‘unconditional love’ at places other than home.

I’ve overcome my clumsiness, lack of confidence, and regained my self-assurance. I don’t get mad now when someone chooses to walk out, knowing that who are meant to be shall stay.

YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT DIFFERENCE YOUR SMALL GESTURE MAY BE MAKING IN SOMEONE’S LIFE…..

BIRTH

IMG_20150728_205421

#story2

My birth story is my family’s favourite story, fondly retold at every family gathering, which is fairly reasonable as what followed after my birth was a really long struggle of making me survive. My family fought through that phase,with all they had, hoping to save a life that was relying on them.

As I  say – after the storm passes, you’re left amazed at yourself, thinking how you made through it.

I came to this world 1 month too soon and the complications involved left me and my mother in a pitiable state. Mom was ill and was receiving her treatment while I had not opened my eyes yet which left my father alone to take care of us. My sister, who was 7 then, had to stay with our family friends,so dad can stay back at the hospital. Dad stood by his family, taking care of mom and constantly watching over me to check whether I’ve opened my eyes.

As my mother tells me with a heavy heart now-“we were really afraid that you wouldn’t make it”.

I had a tiny frame, with limbs of thickness comparable to sticks, and a ‘barely there’ mouth.My parents shuddered to think that I may not survive, that there’s indeed a possibility that their little girl would never open her eyes to the world. After 8 long hours of waiting, I slowly opened my eyes, as dad looked on, awestruck and too overwhelmed to say anything.

My mother recounts that after the delivery, the nurses won’t tell her whether her baby was a boy or a girl. when she inquired them later about their strange behaviour, this is what they had to say “you gave birth to a girl child yet again when you already have a 7 years old daughter, we thought you will be disheartened”. That was my mother’s first taste of the world’s perception of a girl child.

I received intensive treatment for 10 days. I was kept heavily wrapped in thick cottonwool, my face barely visible amongst the IV tubes covering my body used for administering baby food and medications. All this didn’t allow for my mother to feed me, until one day, god conspired so my mother gets what her heart craved for.

The hospital staff discovered late in night that the milk has spoiled. they had no option but to allow my mother to try to feed me. It seemed virtually impossible, but somehow, it happened. The impossible was achieved. This incidence rekindled the hope we were so desperate for.

My sister did come to visit me once but the poor girl, only 7 then, couldn’t bear to see her sister, whom she was so eagerly waiting for, in such a critical state.

The doctors knew my parents would go to any lengths to save me. so,they kept suggesting new treatments and quoted all sorts of diseases and complications to keep them worried. They realised this when a kind-hearted nurse sneaked into our ward at night and revealed the truth.

Father decided to take us home as the roads greeted us with heavy rain and knee-deep water after we had travelled for barely a few metres. We were in a rickshaw. Mother held me close to her and covered me in several layers of clothing so a single raindrop may not touch me.

Their struggle didn’t end as they exited the hospital doors. Much more was to follow –

Tons of medicines, visits to doctor, strict routine care, frequent ailments, but they stood firm throughout, untill they were finally able to grant me the wonderful blessing of life.

I am leading a happy life now, pursuing my dreams, trying to build my future. These memoirs always reminds me that there are a lot of people who had sleepless nights so I may dream in peace. I am indebted to them, and I feel it’s my duty to make the most of this life presented to me by these angels whom I affectionately call ‘family’.

THAT’S OK!

#story 1

Oh no! it’s Thursday again!!!….I scream as I cast a look at the table calendar.

Thursdays always troubled me as we had a two hour long sports period in school on Thursdays.

I dreaded Thursdays like hell…….I was that girl who was always picked last for teams, who gave up way before the finish line, who couldn’t run to save her life.

But this Thursday seemed ten times scarier as a 100m race awaited me. I am bad at sports in general, but I had a particular aversion towards races ,as my excess weight left me particularly slow-paced. I felt so weak afterwards that it seemed like an enormous effort to pick myself up and head to the classroom. yet I failed, each and every time. all this effort couldn’t save me from coming last, being mocked, or breaking down, each and every time.

My head was spinning due to all that tension as i had my breakfast. my mother, being well accustomed to my mood swings, knew what was troubling me. she lifted my face so our eyes would meet, but I looked away from her.

Tears welled up in my eyes. I confessed-“ma! I really don’t want to run the race.it hurts like hell when everyone jeers at me.even coach sir always looks at me with a frown. I don’t think I can take it anymore. I would hide in any secluded classroom,I’ll just lurk behind. that would at least spare me from all this mental trauma.”

The bit of advice that followed has been my source of inspiration all these years-

my mother said with a warm understanding smile-

“you won’t always have your way with life. if everybody doesn’t approve you or you don’t approve of everyone, THAT’S OK, as long as you can see yourself in the eyes when you look into the mirror ”

No this ain’t a fairy tale. i didn’t magically come first, but after all this time i finally accepted myself, and learned to take pride in my efforts. finally I can face the wrath of the world’s disapproving looks and say with a smile-“THAT’S OK”

Sometimes, an-out-of-the-blues hearty confession and a piece of motherly advice is all you need 🙂