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Gone Too Soon

Today I’m writing about something that shook me to the core. I am writing about this after more than a year as I wasn’t ready to spell out those moments yet. I am not sure if I’m ready yet, but recently I read somewhere that we just have to begin it – however hard it may seem. I lost someone and I was grieving, and I’m still grieving over the loss but I have started to accept the loss. There are moments when I wake up at midnight with a cold sweat, hearing her voice in a dream, like she was alive and well and laughing out loudly – my little sister. I prefer to call her my sister and not reduce the hurt in anyway by spelling out ‘cousin’, because we were actually sisters who just happened to be born to different mothers.

My sister was a rebellious soul. She was the cowboy in our group of 4 sisters. She used to be the loudest one and the roughest one when it came down to fights or sports or whatever. The fact that me and her elder sister purposely left her out of our games used to be funny for me, but its not funny anymore. There are things I wish I had told her, when I had the chance. She was loved, pampered and cared for by everyone in her family, and she was her mother’s favourite child I secretly believed. Whatever she wanted, she fought for it and got it. Generally, she was the type of person who speaks out her mind, to whomsoever it may concern. My whole childhood up till the age when I got married, I had spent most of my vacations with my cousins in their home – running around, playing and when we grew up, we had discussed about boys and gossips and what not. I thought we had all of us figured out, we knew each other, we knew our paths, our dreams and aspirations and I believed that till this happened. I learned the hard way that we don’t know what is going on in other people’s minds; however close they are to us.

The last time I saw my sister was on her wedding day. I waved goodbye to her as I left her wedding reception – she was looking beautiful and happy and she was holding hands with her husband. That is the image I want to hold on to. The beautiful bride, the lights and the music and feeling of joy. I want to believe that she slipped and fell from the fifth floor, because it is too painful to think that she did it herself. Its too painful to know that she might have been alone, or battling through something which I couldn’t help her through, or the fact that I haven’t checked on her as much as I should have. My pain is absolutely NOTHING in front of what her parents are going through – they have no escape from the pain, and it hurts more when I see them, the hurt and the frustration of not having any answers. I wish nobody would have to go through this pain ever. Earlier, I wouldn’t have understood this, but now I am a mother and I would literally die rather than living after the loss of a child.

Life goes on. People will start to heal; time will heal the most difficult wounds. But I don’t believe there is a cure for what her parents are going through. There is a voice note in my phone which she sent telling about the tapioca dish she made, and I listen to it often. To hear her voice, to remind myself of the pain, to NOT forget the hurt and the loss. Each day I remember her at least once – I don’t want her to be forgotten – EVER. Whatever happened, I don’t know and maybe I will never know. But I want her answers, so I believe I will meet her when my time comes, and I will give her a whack on the head for leaving us so early without meeting my little girl.

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The Namesake – Jhumpa Lahiri

Often, when we start reading a new author, we take some time to warm up to the writing style. It has been like that for me since childhood. The first few pages are some sort of invisible probationary period. Even though this was my first book of Jhumpa Lahiri, from the first page onwards I felt like I have been reading her for years. The narration was slow, smoothly sliding from Ashok to Ashima to Gogol to Moushmi, and then back to Gogol. The relative ease with which the author changes the narrator, without actually changing the narration is exquisite, something which I could marvel at and aspire for.

The book revolves around the strange name given by his parents to the protagonist – Gogol and shows how much he hates his name through adolescence, promptly changing it officially as he reaches 18 years and once changed, quietly missing the name given by his parents. I could perfectly relate to the teenage issues when the protagonist goes through a phase where he is actually ashamed of his Indian parents and upbringing in front of his American girlfriends. There are times when I resented Gogol, the main character of the book because he was so ungrateful to his parents. But things took quite a turn when Ashok (Gogol’s father) dies just like that and after that incident we see him engulfed in sadness and remorse that our heart literally aches for him. The way his relationship with his mother and sister evolves afterwards is depicted beautifully, spreading warmth throughout our mind.

The story also narrates Gogol’s adventures in love, and how at each stage he finds women who feels right to him at the time. We can resonate with the jitters and butterflies in stomach and quiet contemplations of adolescent love, and heartaches and lost love. It was ironic that he ends up marrying an Indian woman, and that they were set up by his mother. We can see Gogol coming back to his Indian roots in the long run, after years of loathing them as he grew up in the US. The relationship between Gogol and Moushmi bloomed beautifully and I was kind of disappointed when it ended. As the book ends with Ashima leaving America, we get that nostalgic feeling of leaving a hostel room after many years which we hated at first and became a home away from home. Melancholy feelings surfaced as he takes that book to read finally, his present from his dad – Nicholai Gogol’s short stories. There is so much depth in that moment – the unspoken feelings, the regrets, the guilt of not connecting with his father more when he was alive, and all those beautiful memories. As Gogol tries to connect with his dead father through the book which he gave him, why can’t we connect with our living parents when we have the chance? Why don’t we make them happy, agree with them more and stop acting like we are too complicated for them to understand? After all, we were/are their lifelines, why don’t we make them our lifelines?

‘The Namesake’ is an ordinary story written extraordinarily – it is an art in the form of a book.

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How long do we stay in?

This question has been in my mind for the last one year. Exactly for a year after COVID-19 started spreading its waves of destruction across the world, I was the perfect mother hen. I ordered everything online, didn’t go out unless its absolutely necessary, and even if I did go out, I doused myself in sanitizer and handwash and a full bath on top of it all in order to ward off this uninvited virus guest. All in the fear of whatever happened in Italy, in some parts of North India – unable to breathe – that is a really scary way to die. What’s even scarier is watching your loved ones suffocate. Even though my taste buds dreamed of hot Fulka rotis and spicy Chilli Gobi (occasionally they dreamed of McDonald’s burgers and French fries), we never risked our favourite thing to do on weekends – eating out. We kept vigilant, reading the news and keeping ourselves informed of all the gory details of things happening in the world.

Things started changing a bit when I got pregnant and there was the absolute need of going to the hospital for monthly check-ups. First time we went to the hospital, I was too scared to be near other people – I was literally warding off corona virus with my imaginary wand by running away from crowds. That thing is not completely possible when I am visiting a doctor in a big hospital, I started saying to myself. Slowly we started having a tea and snack from the hospital cafeteria and later we graduated to a nearby vegetarian restaurant. Slowly I began enjoying the hospital visits and began to wait for the next check-up eagerly. Its true that man adapts, heals and overcomes anything – whatever fear or trauma. We were slowly progressing to how things were before COVID when the second wave started. Around the same time, my third trimester started.

Work was a very good distraction; I could lose myself in my work – finding out bugs for an application that is going to be used somewhere in the US. But the morning news was always increasing my anxiety to the peak. Thousands of people dying, everyday I could see at least one pregnant woman’s news of death following delivery complicated by COVID. I imagined my children without a mother, my husband slowly moving on in life with another imaginary woman and my children living life miserably. I hated myself for going to pregnancy when there is a pandemic going on. I was absolutely terrified of leaving my elder son. I was often in tears after reading the newspaper everyday (mostly due to hormones as I say to my husband now), and my husband told me not to read news everyday if I can’t control my fears. Anyway, the second wave started waning slowly and we were still safe. I gave birth to a baby girl, becoming a mother for the second time. Honestly, I was still worried when the doctor and nurses touched me or the baby, the fear of contracting COVID-19 seemed to have taken hold of me by roots. After one week from getting discharged, we didn’t contract the virus, thanks to Almighty. That seemed to boost up my confidence so much.

After postpartum rest, so many days of remaining indoors with an infant and a toddler, I got vaccinated and that seemed to inject me with a new found courage to venture out from home. I started going to supermarkets, textile shops etc (warily though). After one month, we even started going out with our 3-year-old, and he was so excited that we just had to take him out again. For the child’s sake, we took him to parks, less crowded shops and even restaurants. Generally, we all got a confidence that things are going well, no need to be worried about going out if we are careful etc. Even our parents started coming out with us sometimes, that was the absolute reminder that things are slowly but surely coming back to normal. We celebrated Christmas by going out with both kids (the younger one now 5 months old), ate outside and still we were good. Naturally, we went outside on New Year’s Day also. The next day, my daughter woke up with a stuffed nose, by evening my son had a runny nose and by next day he developed a fever and I also had a cold and blocked nose. We never suspected anything COVID related, such was our confidence. Gone were the days when I used to lose sleep when my husband sneezed or my mother-in-law had a cold and I wondered if it was COVID. Yesterday night, my head was almost ready to explode with headache and I asked my husband for some pain balm. He brought something and applied on my forehead. With a sudden jolt I realized that I am not getting any smell. Warning bells rang non-stop in my head and I started trying to smell different things – soap, shampoo, perfume, baby wipes, Vicks, Dettol and even kerosene. Nothing. My mind went blank – in shock or fear or some divine sort of courage, I don’t know.

Guilt took over in a few minutes. I cursed myself for going out with an infant and a 3-year-old to restaurants. My husband was lamenting over how we were going out more nowadays. My brain was planning on how to manage two kids who are sick and myself without taking help from asymptomatic family members which included elderly and weak ones. At the same time my brain was chewing over the disastrous things that might happen if something happened to me or kids or anyone, and how I can live (or die) with that. My super multi-tasking brain was giving me courage at the same time – people have endured worse; children are less affected and we are also normal human beings who are NOT immune to COVID like others. Somehow, we waited till morning and got tested. As I sit here, contemplating whether I am having COVID-19 (which took millions of lives around the world) or just usual blocked nose, I couldn’t help but think that I can’t stay indoors any more. Even if I got the virus or not, I simply can’t live in fear and waste moments of precious life. My son’s happiness as he runs around a park, or the look of wonder when my baby girl sees moving cars for the first time, or the sparkle in my husband’s eyes as he eats his favourite masala dosa from his favourite restaurant – all these are more important than fear of the unknown. Casually but with caution, we will step out. Will you?

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The Sunset Reminder

Once again I saw the reddish orange hues of sunset from my window. The same window from where I had viewed the same sunset, yet it feels so different today. The dust mites on the window sill are sticking to my fingers in a reassuring way. This view reminds me of the person I was before. Before I was engulfed into society’s norms. That wild girl in me yawns in her deep slumber, just reminding me of her existence somewhere deep down beneath many layers of grief and heartache and memories, where she was buried carefully. That person is just a memory sometimes, albeit a beautiful one. The sunset made me full of warm mushy feelings and hope and all those cheesy cliches. Today, I feel nothing. In fact, sunsets are reminders to fold the clothes, take a shower and do mundane household chores. Gone are the days when the setting sun reminded me of stolen glances, love filled conversations, all the butterflies in the stomach, gossips with roommates, and evening walks with my best friends. When I close my eyes I can still smell the fresh grass in our college grounds and the laughter in the background. Maybe this is how we grow old. Things that once mattered the most seems ordinary now. Definitely growing old.

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Am I a Feminist?

This question first popped into my mind when one of my male friends asked it out aloud, many years back, “Nee feminist aano”, meaning “Are you a feminist” as if its a bad word. I denied, as I thought I don’t really know what feminism is, better not to be someone whom I dont know. Later I googled, what feminism really means. As per google, feminism is the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes. Later on during my college days, I was never much interested in feminism even though I felt what the feminists are advocating is right. I wasn’t denied anything at home owing to my gender, in fact I was given more preference as I was a girl. So I was really lucky in that manner. But as time passed on, I really understood what the fuss is all about.

I am going to tell my views on feminism on the basis of two experiences I had, one at home and the other at work. These are not some incidents that just happened one fine day, these are what I experienced over time, with subtelety and it took quite a long time to realize the depth of the issue, how minutely patriarchy is ingrained inside each one of us (both men and women, women especially). This is something which is being seasoned again and again, everyday by both women and men. Even I was supporting patriarchy in many ways, I later realized. It has become that chair in your drawing room, which you never notice but still take up so much space.

Lets start with the work experience. I am a person who started working in a MNC after marriage. Thankfully, my husband and myself work in the same company, different projects. I made many friends, many were happy for us, some were jealous, some were indifferent – all these never mattered as long as the attitude remained civil. Some just assumed I got the job on my husband’s referral, some were finding it difficult to believe that I got into a project without any recommendation from my husband. As I corrected them (I’m sure they don’t believe it), I felt the victory over three interviews for getting into that project just faded a bit in front of the husband factor. Nevertheless, I moved on. The interesting factor being, all these assumptions were made and communicated by women only.

All these were silly issues, still the bigger one came when some indirectly told me it doesn’t matter what performance band or hike you get, your husband is earning. Like this job is some sort of a hobby or time pass for me. Why in the world would I not mind getting rewarded for the work I do ? Instead of thinking how much we are earning into our family, why can’t I be just any other employee inside office? I was really stumped, seeing that even in this 21st century, people have such petty thoughts. Things got even worse after I joined back after maternity leave. The fact that a woman has many important roles to play in her life – of a mother, a wife, a daughter-in-law is known to everybody. Some might even be lecturing their wives/daughters on all these. But when a female colleague has to go a bit early as her infant is sick, all these people wrinkle their noses. In such context, they compare how other mothers are leaving their child in day cares and how come she doesn’t do that! Is she too stingy? Is she making an excuse to leave early?For all such losers, I just have one finger to show and one sentence to tell – just bother about the work she is doing!

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Image Source: Google

Next, the slightest hints of chauvinism at our homes. I am from an upper middle class family, married into another similar family. My in-laws are really supportive when it comes to me working, leaving behind my baby and skipping many household chores and I’m lucky that they are having such forward thinking. In fact, my father-in-law gives me driving lessons and always encourages to learn more, work hard, earn more and save plenty. I strongly believe they get this forward thinking from their education, their career (both my in-laws are retired teachers from Government service), their experiences and the books they read. Still it stinged a little bit when my mother-in-law told me she used to like the boys in her class more than the girls. It stinged a little bit more when when my father-in-law told to be extra cautious while driving nearby vehicles driven by women as they are mostly careless drivers. And it stings the most when all of them including my own parents treats and appreciates my husband like a war-hero when he looks after our baby for one hour, and I’m not even sympathized after taking too much strain in taking care of a naughty toddler. Of course I am happy that I have a husband who helps me, a family that supports me; but these slight nuances stirs the feminist inside me. These are nothing to be worried about, but just look at the normalcy of such feelings. The patriarchy is so smoothly blended into us.

Life has to move on, that too happily. So we just close our eyes to such small matters and concentrate on the positives of life. Well at least we have a job! At least we have a supportive family. Atleast my husband is not a person who wants a post graduate homemaker. So I am enjoying all the good things in life. Or am I overlooking these because I know this can’t be changed?

And Yes! I AM a feminist.

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Evolution

Have you ever wondered about evolution? I’m not talking about Darwin’s theory, rather I’m talking about our own evolution from a scrawny teenager to the man or woman you are today. Its always a great timepass for me thinking about the changes that happened in me over the years. Right now, as I’m counting the months till I’m into 30, I am thinking about my own evolution very often. Recently, I met a school friend after so many years. In fact I met him for the first time after school. We saw a few times afterwards, and after the first day of awkwardness it was heartwarming to find that the wavelength still exists, we were those scrawny teenagers at heart.

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My friend casually stated how much I have changed, from the girl who used to come to school with oily hair and big glasses to lipsticks, contacts lenses and fashionable/presentable handbags. Later that night, I thought – is it the appearance only that changed? Hell no! I am a completely different person now. I’m not sure if many people feel so, but thinking back I never liked the old me. Apart from bad fashion choices, I made a lot of bad choices at that time which very badly affected my education, career and life paths. Even though I turned up not so bad in life there are times when we regret making certain life choices – that train of thoughts starting with ‘If I had done so then ‘. Even though I loved my school life, I don’t miss that life. I’ve seen so many people getting nostalgic about their school life, but the only thing I miss about being in school was the ample time we had for doing things we love, the music practice sessions, the teachers. But friends – No. I know it sounds strange, but its true. I don’t miss my school friends. Sounds pretty messed up, right?

As I analyse this strange phenomena I find out there are two reasons. The first one is that I never indulged in fun activities with my school friends like playing games (I wasn’t a sports person..still not), going for movies (parents didn’t allow till I was older), or any others. The second reason – I was that studious girl who felt all these were a waste of time from studies and the only real friends I had were my Harry Potter books. I do have very few school friends who keep in touch, but I guess I wasn’t popular among the famous guys and girls. As I moved from school to college, things changed as I met a whole bunch of new friends who didn’t have any pre-judgements and I made friends fast. The first year of engineering college was so awesome, and I got the taste of what fun real friends are. There was still so many restrictions from my parents’ side which dampened the spirits, but still I was having fun.

Somehow things changed again as so many things happened and again I pulled back from many good friends. Now when I look back, the decisions and choices we make before 20 years are completely stupid. So my real friends for life time came only later – when I was in Hyderabad for GATE coaching and later when I joined for Masters in Engineering. These two phases were real game changers and I still can’t emphasize strongly enough how much I value those days. I realized how much a person’s life changes when they start actually living with friends, away from parents. Had I been in a hostel from my graduation days I’m sure things would have been different. I became more sharing, caring and responsible. Late night talks, gossiping, doing laundry together, cooking together, a whole new family is being created for us and how beautiful those memories are. I’m so happy I evolved into a person with very less friends to a person with some best friends.

Through all the years of my infamous evolution, there was one person who faithfully stood by me through thick and thin. Now when I look back, the only real friend I had throughout was my brother. We were not the filmy type brother-sister duo where brother would cry seeing sister hurt. In fact ours was a more equal relation where he never quite pampered me (though I wish sometimes he had), treated me like an equal, fought with me, made me do my own things. We never kept in touch continuously, but I know when I need him he will be there, whatever happens. Also if someone hurts me, he will encourage me to kick their ass instead of doing it himself. So, whoever I am today, I have evolved the hard way through heartaches, heartbreaks, real friends, fake friends, special friends and rock solid support from family. Quite lucky, aren’t I?

PS: Image source: Google

Rising from the Ashes

We have heard in children’s stories about the Phoenix bird, who rises from the ashes as a new and healthy bird. When I read about this woman – Malavika Hedge, the first thought that came to my mind is ‘Wow, she is a Phoenix’. I was intrigued, and I read about her. The dark side of the life of people doing businesses seems unfathomable to me, the figures in crores of rupees are just difficult for me to process. For a woman to take on debts worth crores of rupees and tackling them along with the grief of losing her husband – that is something to be lauded.

Malavika Hedge was born in 1969 in Bengaluru to famous parents – the former Chief Minister of Karnataka, S.M. Krishna was her father and her mother was Prema Krishna, a social activist. I can only assume how the childhood was in those years, anyway Malavika Hedge graduated from Bangalore University as an engineer. She was married to the Café Coffee Day owner V.G. Siddhartha in 1991 at the young age of 22 years. I read somewhere that she was opposed to the idea of CCD when her husband brought it up, saying that nobody will buy coffee for a higher rate from his café when the same coffee is available for just 5 rupees INR. I can actually imagine how that dinner conversation might have gone, and the brain storming the couple might have done before opening the CCD shops. We don’t know about the love between them, but I’m sure they were a great team.

Every business face ups and down, and piling debts caused V.G. Siddhartha to commit suicide – his body was found in the Netravati River on 31st July 2019. I cannot imagine the trauma she went through on that day – the day she lost her better half, someone who she thought will be with her till their last days. 28 years of marriage is not a short time, and losing her husband to suicide – that must be the hardest fact she had to face. Even though we have children, and we may feel we love our children the most, but we take it granted that our husband/wife will be with us throughout till the end. That morning was the worst morning in her life, the realization that she will not be waking up next to her partner ever again, it might have been devastating for her. I remember reading the news of his death in the newspaper that day, and like many others reminisced about my CCD memories. I went to CCD for the first time with my friends when I was working in Chennai, and I remember the warmth and the cosy seats. I remember clicking pictures with my friends there, making beautiful memories. The aroma of coffee and the yellow lights are still in my mind after all these years. I became a coffee lover after having their coffee, somehow my memories of Chennai is intricately woven with Café Coffee Day.

Later we heard that Malavika Hedge took over as CEO of the company. I wonder what she might have felt, sitting in the chair her husband sat in (symbolically speaking). I had a friend who refused to take her father’s government job after his death – I know its hard, taking the place of someone we lost. We are literally reminded everyday every minute of their loss, and its almost like poking everyday in an open wound with a hot knife. She has tremendous courage in her, that’s for sure. To bring down a debt of about 7000 crores to around 1700 crores slowly but steadily under her reins is no small feat. I read somewhere that she wrote a letter to all her employees talking about the condition of the company and what she intended to do. In all these I see an honest, strong-willed woman who was really committed to her husband as well as their business. Life has to go on, so did she. So did the company and thousands of employees.

Malavika Hedge upheld her dreams, her husband’s legacy. She didn’t falter in the face of profound grief or piling debts or judging people who predicted that the company will not last under her leadership. She gave her reply to all these through her actions, not her words. There is so much to learn from the respectful silence she maintained, the quiet determination with which she handled crores of rupees amidst competitors, without scandals and show off. I’m super impressed at the Iron Lady that she is, an inspiring mother for her sons. People are praising her left and right now including me, that is well deserved; but her story continues. There are lots to achieve, debts to be paid off, lots of expectations to live up to, which has very well increased recently. But I know that she has endured situations far worse than societal pressures. I wonder what goes through her mind as she passes by the Netravati River. I wish she finds peace with any guilt she has, and that she gets a good night’s sleep without bad dreams, and most of all I wish she would believe that her husband would be proud of her. Literally she has risen from the ashes, hats off to the wonderful woman you are!

My Little Teacher

Today I’m writing about the things I learnt from my son, a 20 months old toddler. Often we overlook these tiny humans, but watch closely and we can find so many things to learn from them. The life as a mother is taking its toll in many ways I agree, but its all worthwhile, believe me.

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1. Staying happy

The first and foremost thing I learned from my baby is that you can be happy ALWAYS. If we observe a toddler laughs loudly atleast 10 times in an hour. The giggles, cute little snorts and smiley faces are making the people around them also happy. No matter if they fell and cry, show them their favourite toy and they start smiling through the tears, get engrossed in their play and in a few minutes they forget all their pains. How many of us have tried this? Next time you’re hurt just take up your favourite hobby / favourite show/ call your favourite person/make your favourite meal. Get engrossed and forget the pain. The trick is to distract your mind which keeps focussing on the hurt. You just need to re-focus onto things you love.

2. Perseverance

Often I see my boy trying to pull open that cupboard which is locked with a key. I try to reason with him, saying it can be opened with a key only which I’m not going to give you. Still he tries to open with his whole strength. Seeing his effort, I offer him the key which I know he won’t be able to insert properly in the keyhole. He is happy with the result that I gave him the key. He tries again with full energy. Sometimes he loses interest, leaves the key and goes off. Sometimes he throws the key away in frustration. But he always come back, tries and within days he succeeds in inserting the key properly. The same continues in turning the key and opening the cupboard. Its amazing that the small kid has so much perseverance while we adults are disheartened by our first failure. Keep the fire burning, always come back with full energy. The result will be fruitful, although delayed.

3. Love unconditionally

As a parent, I have disappointed my baby in many ways. He cries when he wakes up and doesn’t find me near. He cries when I don’t give him my mobile phone / TV remote / other costly items that may get damaged. He cries when I don’t let him spoil freshly laundered clothes. He cries when I scold him / pinch him for beating / biting others. In a day there are so many times when he throws tantrums and the reason behind the tantrum is me. Still he loves me unconditionally. The minute I pretend to cry, he comes running to my arms and showers me with kisses. At night he needs me beside him to sleep no matter how much I have made him cry unintentionally (No mother in the world wants their child to cry deliberately…situations!). His face blooms like a flower when he sees me first after waking up. I cuddle him up in the morning soon after waking up. Now I ask myself – Are we adults this much forgiving? How many days we build up anger before finally forgiving small mistakes? Even after days/months we keep pricking the old wounds. Be like a baby – love without conditions, forgive and be happy in the smallest of things!

4. Curiosity

The one big change that happened in my life after the baby was born is that I began observing nature again. Just a crow on a tree outside keeps my little one engaged and happy for so much time. Slowly I began observing nature through his eyes and good lord, we do live in a beautiful world. In the mechanical monotony of home – office – home routines its been a while since I paused to smell the flowers in my garden, or noticing anything beautiful. Nowadays I’m astounded in the variety of birds around us, and the different sorts of chirpings we hear everyday. Its like I’ve suddenly tuned into a new radio channel. All these beauties I have been ignoring. The child finds all this so entertaining and in turn the curiosity needs to be developed in us also. From my baby I learnt this lesson – I’m now enjoying our nature more, which soothes my mind.

5. Compassion

I truly believed that good manners, kindness all these are to be taught. Turns out most of the people have some of the seeds of compassion and other good traits embedded in them by birth. From blowing kissies to kittens in the cartoons to offering food to crows, they do have concern and love for other living beings. May be they learn from others, maybe its their goodness. When was the last time we hugged our friends? or family members? When was the last time we said ‘I love you’ to the people that matters? Lets learn it from toddlers, lets hug and kiss people who love us ( after the covid-19 pandemic passes of course!) and not take them for granted.

Apart from this, I’m still learning so much from my little one, in fact he is teaching me new lessons of patience, how to curb your frustrations etc with all sorts of mischief and a cute little face. In fact I’m growing along with him – as a mother, as a friend, as a better human being. And I’m cherishing each moment to the fullest because as they say, very soon our homes will be less messy and a lot quieter and the little ones will no longer fit into our laps and we are going to miss them terribly. More like sand in our fists, their childhood will drizzle past, and can never be regained. So be like a baby (pun intended)!!

Dealing with the Monotony

When you watch a happy family enjoying shopping or watching a movie , we may feel like ‘Wow, look at them. They are so happy’. Often we feel the same about ourselves too. Like we are good. We are making some good memories. And in those happy moments, we may feel so proud of the lives we have created for us and our family. The thing about happiness is they just don’t last. Cruel isn’t it? Even a little jape made by any outsider or by someone in your family may spoil the whole balance of your family. And when there is no external factor, sometimes our own inner turmoil may affect the happiness of the whole family.

Dealing With Monotony - Guest Columnists - Parshah

Mostly, the inner thoughts impact women more. This indirectly makes women the problem-makers in a family. The main reason being women are over-thinkers and more sensitive. Another factor being the fact that women are providing more in a family – be it in raising children or cooking or cleaning – in addition to regular jobs in case of working women. These are ingrained deep into the minds of people and that cannot be changed, even though some positive changes can be seen nowadays. Most women never complained in the older generations like our mothers and grand mothers, but today its not the same. Some call it equality, others may call it feminism. The same way a loving husband who helps his wife in household chores is seen as the ideal man by some, and a good-for-nothing-fella by some others.

Coming back to the topic, over-thinking in women may just strike a chord unexpectedly. You are perfectly happy in your life, doing all your chores responsibly and even your husband is contributing as much as he can. All of a sudden you feel as though he can do something more right? Why is the child being so un-cooperating? Why should I be the one to solve his/her tantrums always? Why am I supposed to solve everything for everyone? Its like I’m living for making others’ life comfortable? Who will make my life comfortable? This saga of thoughts may continue to result in fights between couples who were perfectly in love an hour ago. For some it may dangerously lead to thoughts like ‘I am so worthless. Nobody loves me. Why should I keep on living? ‘ . The one thing about our minds – its a dreadful master and a faithful servant.

Most of the women dealing with depression came all this way. I think we just need to show the red signal to our thoughts when it goes down that dangerous path. Its difficult, I know. But definitely not impossible. Atleast we need to divert our thoughts – take up some of our old hobbies, read a book, hum a song. Take a piece of paper and jot down the things around you that make you happy. List out the name of persons who genuinely loves you, even though you may feel like they don’t. Take a break from all the chaos when it becomes too much. Go shopping alone, go to a beauty salon and get your hair done – You’ll definitely feel better. When nothing works, go hug your mother. It all becomes better then. Now you know how your child feels when he/she clings on to you. I’m sure you’ll feel double the energy in doing all those tiring things for your child. Also remember how much your husband cared when you were having the baby. That alone will erase all the hard feelings for him. Converse with love and I’m sure everybody will understand you.

Just put all the negative thoughts that monotony brings into a hypothetical trash box and throw it away. All these are fool proof methods – tried and succeeded by so many people. So, its all about your mindset. Nothing about life is monotonous, we just need to add the colors ourselves. Colors of love, passion, happiness and gratefulness.

Quarantine Thoughts

Often we see some memes in social media starting with ’90’s kids be like’. Well, the complete national lockdown will be something for all of us not only the 90’s kids(or adults). Its the first time all of us are facing such a serious situation. Just before lockdown, I was the kind of person who wanted to sit at home puposefully, but now that I have to do that, I’m rethinking my priorities. We all must, as a matter of fact.


How many of us used to complain of atleast one thing a day ( I have a list of my old complaints) ? We all had that face – ‘Why did the maid take a leave today of al days’ or ‘Why is the damn traffic this bad’ or ‘why did I get this task on Friday’. I’m sure all of us can find so many mundane complaints that used to spoil our moods pre-lockdown days. Now that we have no traffic to beat, nor do we have the maid coming, nor does it matter if its a Friday or Monday, I’m actually surprised – Why did we make a big deal of all this?


Instagram and Facebook are filled with different ways people are coping with the lock down. People sharing workout videos, cooking experiments, people dusting their hidden talents and many are coming up with challenges some of which are too funny. What is a day without challenging at least one person! Reflecting on myself, there are not much changes in my days except that I’m waking up early to do my yoga everyday. Apart from that half an hour, my days are the same – finishing the household chores before my work time. That includes bathing the baby, feeding the baby, washing our clothes etc. Thankfully, cooking department is being handled by my mother. Sometimes I feel jealous of people doing various kinds of fun activities like cooking, painting etc. I even started to paint an earthen pot with some mandal designs ( I couldn’t find proper brushes / paints and can’t go out to buy them even).


On a weekend, I decided to do some cooking experiments. Unfortunately, any recipe I take from the internet there are ingredients you just can’t find in a normal Kerala household. So I read 2 books in a weekend. One was a self motivational book and the other was a fiction by an Indian author. But then I used to read before lockdown also, at night after I put the baby to sleep. So it was nothing new. The new feeling which I had is that I began to miss people. I agree I’m with my family, I’m getting more time to spend with them all that I’m happy for. But I miss the camaraderie that I shared with my colleagues, the cafeteria at office with all those varieties of evening snacks ( which I used to eat complaining about the oil content), oh hell I even miss the long line for tea. Not only office, I miss getting ready for office, going out..who wants to stay in your pajamas for the whole day?
In addition to all this, we have the looming pandemic. On a brighter side, we are safe in our homes, with our family, we have food in our bellies, damn we got a job with salary also. Aren’t we all lucky? So coming back to priorities, the only things we need to worry about are food, shelter and such basic things. There’s no need to spoil a day because the maid took leave , we can live without her also. There’s no problem if we couldn’t get tickets to a movie we wanted to see so badly (good for you, you won’t get any virus from there). We can spend time with our loved ones watching TV also. My point is, we are good the way we are even if we are not doing anything special or instagram-worthy. It’s completely fine if you didn’t make dalgona coffee or watch Money Heist! Sometimes being simple is also special, just try it !