Wednesday, November 26, 2014

It has started

Yes! Today I put a to-do reminder on my phone to write a blog post. Somehow it worked! :D

I come here and see a huge list of drafts that never saw the day of light. But I'm not interested in rethinking about those old sparks ;) A huge lot of things changed in my life since I took charge of another new role... "Mother". As taxing it thought provoking it gets. I actually feel as enlightened as Buddha under the Bodhi tree. I probably can't even start describing the feeling of being a mom here (I'll "probably" start a new blog on my pregnancy and motherhood sometime), but today I have something else to share.

I think a woman's life has three levels. Not sure about the opposite sex though.

'Being me' is level - I of life's multi-level testing process. This level is given roughly twenty odd years where a girl has to figure out who she is, what she wants, what she can do about it, where she lives, what her role is in this big bad world, etc., She grows up to be a very logical being, on par with the rest of the homo sapiens.

'Being us' is testing level - II. Here women are tagged with yet another unfortunate being, who was also figuring out his own level - I. In this phase nothing is fixed - Neither time, nor agenda. Every single instance is purely experimental. Mix her emotions, his ego; her talent, his sacrifice; her love, his lust. And the outcome is as erratic too. Also, the plethora of events that follow are most definitely mind boggling. And it so happens that most of the time it is the woman who should understand, adjust and keep going. Afterall, the ultimate goal of this level is probably to maintain the "togetherness". Logic of women in this level takes a big hit as emotions take over at times (most of the times?). 

Then comes the perennial level - III: "Being them'. Now this is the level where even the last ounce of her logic gets completely screwed... Oops! skewed... she makes babies. Anything which works for her baby becomes fair. She starts living her life through theirs. It starts with sacrificing her good night's sleep to comfort her wailing infant at nights, while dragging her disheveled self around the home to get the chores done in the day time. Although my first hand information ends here, I get a feel of how 'demanding' a woman's life gets forever more from now.

But hark! oh lower level sistas... Don't jump the gun yet! Don't judge the life of a woman as a journey downhill based on my analysis here. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Today, when my 7 week old daughter recognized me and smiled, I saw it bright and clear. I felt liberated. I agree that the first few days passed in a blur but now on I'm gonna make sure I celebrate and enjoy every passing day of this level, because the rewards of these tough tests are so precious that any obstacle / difficulty a woman faces by 'being them' is justified. I've just started warming up to level - III and I say 'Bring it on!'... because it has started!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

एक आशा

एक आशा

रम्या सत्यं पोतिरेड्डी

खुली अंधेरी रातों में,
चंचल हवा की आहट से,
अचानक मेरे खयालों में,
एक ऐसा विचार आया हैं|

जभी कोई दुःख आता हैं,
जब कुछ ठीक नहीं होता हैं,
तब क्यों हम हिम्मत खोते हैं?
मन में क्यों हलचल होती हैं?

जवाब पता होने पर भी,
क्यों वही सवाल पे अटके हैं?
"यह मेरे साथ क्यों हुआ हैं?"
बस यहीं सवाल में डूबे हैं|

खोलके आँखे आगे देखो,
रोशन जीवन आगे हैं|
कदम बढाओ... आगे सोचो,
कामियाबी का पथ आगे हैं|

जब हम ऐसे विचार रखेंगे,
हमसे जीवन खुश होगा|
हमसे ही यह जीवन हैं और,
हमसे ही एक आशा हैं|

PS: My prize winning entry for SBH Rachana 2012 :)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Stars in my eyes*

The mysteries behind myths related to the age old traditions of Hinduism never ceased to amaze me. Be it Maths, Faiths, or the marriage oaths. I found seemingly convincing answers to certain definitely out-of-the-world questions. My recent interest in the celestial bodies has led me to the Horse and its Rider.

The Indian Hindu wedding has this tradition of sighting a star named Arundhati close to the end of the ceremony. The groom is asked to point towards this star and show it to the bride while the bride prays to this star. The bride and the groom sure do enjoy this activity much more than sit and chant Sanskrit verses. A proof of which is clear from the collage here below (Thanks to all my lovely wingies, who graciously let me use their pictures for this post).

As far as the myth goes, it is said that Sage Vasista's wife Arundhati is a great woman, an ideal wife and the role model, who became a star in the Saptarshi (Big Dipper). When a newly married bride takes her blessings, she becomes as righteous and pure as Arundhati herself.

The seeming reality - This star which the bride groom apparently shows the bride is actually a twin star system and the two stars are called Arundhati - Vasista. It is not that this system is unique for this reason, as there are many more twin star systems in the Universe. But unlike the usual twin stars where one star is stationary and the other revolves around it, Arundhati - Vasista both revolve around each other making it a class apart. So when the newly weds see it, they ought to learn not to dominate but to walk together around each other towards fulfilling the goals of life.

But how on Earth did these saints know about these revolutions ages before telescope was invented? This question immensely surprises me and I haven't found any answer for it.

The real reality - The smaller star Arundhati, better known as Alcor in the Great Bear Constellation (Ursa Major) is a bi-star and is 13.5 times brighter than the Sun and this whole bi-star system revolves around Vasista or Mizar which is actually a quadruple-star, 35 times brighter than the Sun and revolves around Alcor. Though this six star system is not the only star system in the Universe which can rotate in this fashion, it is the one closest to the Earth (about 80 light years) and both Alcor and Mizar are visible to the naked eye.

In ancient Arabic countries, spotting Alcor was the ultimate eye test to every warrior to be deemed fit to fight the war. Many people looked at Mizar as the horse and Alcor as its rider giving it the nick name of the 'Horse and the Rider'. This is the last but one star in the tail of the Great Bear or the handle of the Big Dipper.

My Hypothesis - a.) The bride's father also tested the eye-sight of the groom by asking him to show the tiny Alcor to his daughter.
b.) Aeons ago in a much more greener world, the stars appeared much more clearer and brighter to specifically identify which star goes where.
c.) Our ancestors had much better bodies, brains and eyes as compared to ours.
d.) On the other side of Alcor, there are horsemen who love their wives a lot! (No harm in being a little creative, is there?) ;)

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Back Home at Hyderabad

Often people neglect and forget their blog. But fate has its own way of reminding them about blogging. One such way that fate has chosen for me this time is MMT (Medial Meniscus Tear)... in other simple common plain words... I broke my leg. All through this one and a half month that I was here in Hyderabad, I was extremely busy with packed schedule but what gives me time to write a post now is a broken limb! Life rocks I say!

This is to all those, who have been asking me time and again about how our dubious decision of moving back home to Hyderabad turned out. I'm not so proud about the delay but looks like I have given just enough time to give a comprehensive point of view about the great retreat ;)

As mentioned in the earlier post, I had been anticipating some rough time out here. But fortunately for me, it wasn't so bad at all! This time we have not only prepared ourselves but also prepared our parents to bear with us and cooperate till we feel at home again. I have blended-in very smoothly and it just so happened that I found the pulse and jumped right in without contemplating much. From my observation, the one thing I have strongly noticed here in Hyderabad is that, as long as you don't care... you will not have a care!

Our luggage reached 5 days after we arrived (obviously with stuff missing... like my new D&G Light Blue perfume). I wasn't worried. Guess all that worst-case-scenario-preparation came very handy. Oh yes... I did really tell myself, "All that can go wrong WILL go wrong." The airlines has denied taking any responsibility and also they did not give us any compensation for the delayed delivery of the baggage. One Ms. Anila Reddy working with Emirates India, responsible for this compensation section also made sure that we don't get the compensation. She delayed the responses to my emails so that I overrun the compensation period, making it easy for her to deny all payments. The point I'm trying to make is that, Anila Reddy doesn't take any loss by giving us the compensation, but still she feels proud that she has somehow outsmarted us. Why!?

The week that I came here, I made a job at JNTUH at the Directorate of University Foreign Relations. A job that reminds me time and again what a cosmopolite Hyderabad is. I teach English to foreign students, who come to India to pursue their higher studies. Being a CTEFL, this is the coolest job I can ask for at this juncture. The culture shock of my students is in perfect resonance with my RCS and everyday we help each other to be sane individuals in this mad world. This is one place where I can talk freely about US, India and every other country without being judged :D

I genuinely try to answer the questions my students ask me. "Why do Indians honk so much? In my country they would be bashed 100 times for every honk" ; "Why do people spit and urinate beside the roads?" ; "What the hell is this Telangana all about?" ; "Why do you have so many festivals?" ; "Why do people drive on the wrong side even though they know it is wrong? Don't they not know something called a 'U' turn?" But most of the times I end up answering, "Welcome to India!"

Soon after my arrival, I was invited to my friend's engagement. It was then that I realized that my social life back in US was so suppressed that now I forgot party etiquette. I was actually nervous about my dressing, my hairstyle and my demeanor to attend the party. My mom became my savior here and made that transition easy for me. Now I'm part of a ten member Kitty party and I'm loving it! Also, SMS - It is so nice to have friends text me silly jokes and call me for no reason. I was so missing this side of life.

There is a new religion in Hyderabad - 'Pollution' - it has its own purdah system. Every girl and woman of Hyderabad now wears a scarf around her head (with only eyes visible) to hide away their beauty from the pangs of dust and pollution. Some women believe this also keeps them away from eve teasing. Added advantage, nobody knows which girl is hanging out with which boy. Nobody gets identified whatever they do on the roads, on the bikes, in the buses. Everyone looks the same! Too much freedom I say!

In addition to the ridiculously large traffic problem, the unexpected heavy continuous rains in Hyderabad, left the roads in their most terrible form. A piercing back pain soon after traveling is more or less unavoidable as the journey more or less feels like a horse back ride. The weather here has changed so much that a cough, cold, viral fevers are nothing new.

Whether or not Telangana separates, the new in-thing for the students is 'Protest'. Most people know a lot about it from the news. Unexpected Bandhs, postponing exams, delaying results, protests, riots, lathi charge - to me it seems to be a waste of students' time and inability of the government to maintain peace in the state. At JNTU, I see day in and day out how much of students' precious time is lost on a political hullabaloo. Students need to prioritize. I wish they realize this sooner.

Inspite of all this, a number of my Persian and Korean students told me that they love Hyderabad for its people, its spirit and its simplicity. Cheers to that! That is why I call this place... Home!

This was all about the roller coaster experience moving back to Hyderabad from a western country. Guess one has to break my leg to make me sit in one place and finish stuff which had to be finished. So be it!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

R's Reverse Culture Shock

Awkward! Awkward! Really awkward!

In December 2009, on the mention of Reverse culture shock, R said, "Are you serious! What the hell... that is HOME. I will be absolutely fine. I have lived 80% of my life there okay! There is no way one can feel like a misfit in one's own place filled with one's own people. RCS does not exist!" And guess what happened after that... R went HOME.

She came running back to her pseudo nest by March 2010.

It is absolutely curious how one completely rules out the possibility of reverse culture shock before actually facing it. Returning to one's home culture after getting completely accustomed to a different culture is an unexpected blow. It is surprisingly tough to manage. On the other hand, the actual "culture shock" is much more tamable and feasible to handle because of the heavy information exchange that happens on the world wide web these days. People are much more prepared in this aspect and they put in the extra effort to learn about the new culture prior to their travel. Whereas RCS can catch one completely off guard!

Having faced RCS first hand, I can tell... it is a dreadful feeling. I wonder why?

Not too long ago, I came to the US completely aware that I will go back to my real home in India soon. Right from the beginning, I have maneuvered my brain to believe that 2010 is the year. In spite of all this preparation, my first attempt at moving back in end 2009 has not been that successful. It is true that I came back to the US these couple of months for a different reason, but I cannot say that RCS did not affect my decision. There was not a single day when I did not think, "If it were in the US..." [I made sure not to voice this aloud day in and day out because I know the kind of fun made out of such statements and I'm in no way the victim of such jokes.] There were nights where I sat up with the urge to take a flight the first thing next morning. It was a rough patch and it is so not fair to pin point reasons behind this situation. There are way too many factors: open-mindedness, interests, procedures, transport, communication channels, etc, etc. Different country... different people. It just happens!

The 'visiting home' experience is so different from 'going back to live in your home' experience. I wonder why?

When visiting, one knows for sure that it is not permanent and that after the vacation everything just goes back to normal. Thus making one extremely comfortable about whatever happens during the visit. Also, the visiting party is always the star of the show. They get to do everything their way because they are 'guests' for all practical purposes. But when one goes back to live, it is a whole different story. We try to reconnect to our old persona and feel of things we had earlier and boy... that simply doesn't fit. Probably, the society outgrows the old perspective long before we realize it did. It definitely takes time to adjust the mindset and fine tune it to the current frequency of the new home environment. Re-adapting takes much longer and much more effort. [No wonder my cousins settled in the US, only want to visit but not go back home ;) ]

Nobody seems to understand. I wonder why?

Now this is the dominant of all other effects faced during RCS. People! When you go abroad, native people know you are a foreigner and they understand your disorientation and try to help you out. That is completely absent when you are dealing with RCS. Nobody thinks you would need any help. Even worse, you are expected to know everything because you 'look' like you fit there, ruling out any chance of sympathy during your RCS phase. Life doesn't stop when you are away and though the changes in your family and friends are subtle, the point to note is that people do change. Exposure to another culture heightens your open-mindedness, liberal thinking and cross cultural opinions, which might not be accepted by people back home, making you look like a total misfit. It is frustrating but quite natural. One needs to give time to oneself and people around for everything to fall in place.

Though vanquished by RCS once, I'm giving another go at this in two more weeks. A lot more prepared this time. [Lot scared deep inside! ;) But that is a different thing.] Life flows with different rhythms at different places. I just need to catch the rhythm and fall back into it in Hyderabad and thatz it... I'll be all set!

PS: Be kind to me Hyderabadis... I'm back there for good!

Friday, March 27, 2009


What has happened to me!? I feel a huge change in myself... unexplainable!

I feel like I lost a childhood toy … but surely, I have the memory of the person who gave me that gift with unconditional love.
I feel like I lost the privileges and fantasies of childhood … but I know that I had the opportunity of growing and living free.
I feel as if I miss someone… and I have realized... that it is an innocent little ME that I miss!

I'm gradually loosing my innocence, my ignorance, my carefree attitude, et al. I lost many things many times in my life. But in all that “loss”, today I aspire for the value of “gain”, because I'm growing up... because I now know that it is always possible to fight for that which we love; and because I now know that there is always time to start all over again. May be this metamorphic change in my thought process is all for my good. May be I'd do better if I accept this now than push it off for a later point of time. It is indeed time of realization so I better buck up and RESET!

Reset - it is renewing the hopes in life; and more importantly, it is believing in oneself.

Today is an excellent day to start a new life project. Today, I want to see where I want to go? I want to look higher, dream higher, desire the best! Life brings us what we aspire and that is where I am headed. If we stay on the positive and we strive for it; the best will come in our lives.

Today is the great mental cleaning day. I'm gonna throw away all that binds me to the unsatisfactoy past; all that hurts me. I'll discard everything into garbage; clean my mind and prepare it for my new destination; for I am passionate. We, as humans are capable of hoping many times because we are the manifestation of hope.

I am all set! Lifez calling me to a new adventure, a new journey, a new challenge. Today, I promise myself, that I'll do anything possible to achieve my objectives. I'll trust in life and trust in myself for once.

God did design us with a little button called 'Reset'... We just need a pin-prick! and I just got mine!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Party Maami

Strong wind blew onto my face... What a windy day! Though it looks sunny and pleasant, I'd rather stay indoors to get away from the chilly winds. Anyways, such an awesome outfit a saree makes! Wow... I love the color too. Deep yellowish orange. But imagine managing a saree, out on a windy day and that too with my hair flying in all directions! Thank god! it was matter of just 2 mins between the parking lot and the entrance of the hall. I quickly hurried into the hall looking out for a restroom to set my flying hair straight. Once I set everything right, I came back into the lobby where my husband was waiting for me. Then we entered the Party hall!

Midhun's ex-colleague had a son recently and they planned on celebrating 'Annaprasana' for their son on this particular weekend. We were invited 10 days in advance and so were others!

I entered the hall with lot of joy, energy and gala and it took me less than 30 secs to put a blank face! And so was the hall - blank! At one corner I found the father of the child on phone and directing a couple of youngsters to do some decoration. These youngsters were using all their creative grey cells to do the job. At another remote corner were the child's maternal and paternal grandfathers, heartily having a conversation probably about their good ol' times. As soon as the host realized that we are in, he warmly welcomed us. Midhun with all his brilliance went and greeted him and I followed suite. After 'Hellos' and 'How are yous?' the host calls up his house to hurry the ladies up to bring the hero of the show - the Kid. He then whispers gently to both of us in a matter-of-factly tone "Generally here in NJ, all the guests show up atleast one hour later than the time mentioned in the invite!". We looked at each other and sneered, partly because we were bewildered and partly because we were embarrassed. However, we spoke and sat together for some time and then Midhun went and introduced himself to the senior folk there. He immediately engaged them in a hearty conversation regarding their village, politics, news and all possible topics under the sun. I was sitting there watching the colorful decorative items they had brought and anticipating to see the child soon.

Meanwhile another family of early birds had entered. Visibly Tamil! They too spoke to the host initially just as we did. They had a son, about 7 - 8 year old running around the place and having fun. Little later, the lady came and joined me at my table. I would have started the conversation but she seemed to be more curious. Before I said anything she asked me "Are you newly married?". Initially I was surprised at the question because that is not what a stranger would first ask me and secondly, what should be my answer? Me and Midhun have been married 8 months then... would that still qualify as newly married!? I wasn't so sure how to define 'newly married' at that point of time. So I simply said "Yes." She gave a typical 'aunty'ish smirk and said, "Only newly married couples come to parties on time!" and she started laughing slightly. I didn't know what I should react like so I just gave a very hesitant smile to her. She went on and told me about her first party experience after wedding, which was a birthday party where they were invited at 12 noon. The hall was booked between 12noon and 2:30pm. She and her husband went at sharp 12 and rest of the crowd came at 2pm. They then hurriedly cut the cake & quickly had lunch and everyone dispersed by 2:30pm. So thatz when she thought she'd never go early to parties! Today unfortunately they have to leave early because of some other appointment and thatz the reason she came here this early!

She then suddenly asked, "Are you planning for kids?". Bouncer!!! But the answer was out of my mouth even before I realized I was actually answering it!
R: "Not now. Not anytime soon!"
M: "Oh ya! You guys are recently married right! But I think you should go for kids before you start working fulltime. That is the best for you. Else once you start working you need to take a break again. So you have kids now so that you can work continuously later without breaks."
R: "mmm" (helpless smile!)
M: "And also let me tell you this... for first kid it is very easy. Everything happens very easily. But for second one it is very difficult."
R: "So, are you planning for the second kid?" (the most idiotic question I ever asked!!!)
M: "No... actually we tried a lot few years back. Now we stopped!!"
I did not know what I should be telling / reacting / where I should be putting my head!! I went into the blank mode to save any further rapport.
M: "So what does your husband do? .... blah blah... ta ta taaa... te te te..."

And her questions firing session continued. I wasn't obliged to giving her all that she wants to know but she never stopped asking me 'bouncers'! At one point of time her kid asked what the time was and very unscrupulously she pulled my hand to look at my watch. Man! some decency is required here! You don't pull a person's hand to see the time, especially not when you are talking with someone for the first time and that too in someone else's party! One curious maami she was! Our dialogue broke only when the star of the day entered. The child! Meanwhile some more people had come and all the aunties flocked around 'Krishna'.

Finally, I got to meet more people and more kids and had real good time there. Looking forward to more of such interesting parties, to meet more maamis and to get to know pulse of the society :)