Featured

My First Blog Post

Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.

— Oscar Wilde.

This is the first post on my new blog. I’m just getting this new blog going, so stay tuned for more. Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates.

BANNED!!!

Newspapers everyday are filled with the news of something being banned or people asking for a ban on something.

Too much traffic ban vehicles, too much plastic ban plastic, too much noise ban speakers, too much merriment ban parties. Ban books, ban movies, ban people, ban animals, ban this, ban that. Banning seems to be seeping deep into our socio-political culture. All of us are a drop of hat away from pronouncing a ban on something. I ban TV for my children when they do not obey.

Banning is easy. To ban ‘it’ is perceived as the most common solution for many real and imagined problems. Banning is, however, a lazy policy, I believe. How can you make ‘it’ go away by banning ‘it’? ‘It’ will be there, maybe hidden somewhere, or swept under the carpet. Banning something will not stop it from happening. It would of course give the legal system more power to deal with it in a different spectrum.

When a ban is enforced on certain behaviour it may certainly have a deterrence effect on it. But will the behaviour be modified? I highly doubt. I believe that the behaviour may actually worsen because now it will be criminalised. On the surface the ban will please a majority of people, but in the long term effects may be unsatisfactory and even unpredictable.

Banning something, I feel actually increases the interest of people in it. It becomes like the forbidden fruit you want to taste. More than that I think, banning something is not the solution. When you ban something you fail to correct human behaviour. You are not holding the person responsible for the wrong, you are blaming ‘it’, the inanimate thing.

I read of ban on use of loud speakers after eleven at night. Loud music disturbs everyone, but we do not realise that when we are the ones celebrating. A ban is necessary because we are not sensitive to each others needs. A ban on crackers because we still do not understand the ill effects of pollution. When we become more responsible and answerable then the need for ban will not be there.

But then there have been bans of the bizzare kind. I found few on the net. I do not vouch for the truth of these bans, but I found these preposterous.

  • LIP-SYNCHING

Turkmenistan bans lip-synching at large cultural events and on TV programming. In 2005, President Saparmural Niyazou banned lip-synching in order to preserve true culture. He also banned opera and ballet deeming them unnecessary. ( source https://www.quora.com/what-are-some-strange-things-banned-in-countries )

  • SCRABBLE

In the 80’s Romanian leader Nicole Ceausescu banned the game calling it “subversive” and “evil”. Luckily the ban is no longer there.

  • CHEWING GUM

Well, in Singapore there is a ban on the import or sale of gum. So it gets impossible for locals to get any. Except if it is medically prescribed. The ban was imposed in 1992 when someone used chewed gum to bring the public transportation system to a halt! How??

  • ALCOHOL ADVERTISEMENTS

In India you cannot advertise alcohol. The ban came into effect in the 1990’s. Many companies have tried to get around the ban by promoting surrogate products.

  • TIME TRAVEL

Not literally. China bans the movies and shows about time travel. Chinese authorities felt that representattions of time travel resulted in frivolous depictions of “serious history”

  • BLACK JEANS

North Korea bans wearing black jeans (among various other things). You can only wear blue jeans. Black is a colour, apparently associated with United States.

  • GAMBLING AT CASINO IF YOU ARE A CITIZEN OF MONACO

Yes! Despite being a symbol of Monaco, Monte Carlo Casino does not allow citizens of Monaco to enter and gamble there. In 1860’s Prince Charles III was afraid that his citizens would lose all their money there. It was perfectly fine for foreigners to do so.

  • DYING IN THE HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT

In United Kingdom one is not allowed to die inside the Houses of Parliament as that would entitle one to a state funeral. Don’t know how they would prosecute you for breaking this law?

  • RUNNING OUT OF GAS ON AUTOBAHN

Autobahn is the federal controlled highway system in Germany and you cannot run out of gas while driving there. And if you do, do not think of walking to the gas station as walking on Autobahn is also banned.

  • PONYTAILS ON MEN

The Iranian government issued a list of appropriate male hair styles in 2010, which prohibits ponytails, mullets and hair that is too spiky.

Was that a long list? I’m sure it can be longer though. The idea behind this was to make us think: Is banning helpful or should we focus on correcting the underlying human behaviour so banning can be banned.

Deepika…

HOW ABOUT A HOBBY !

I was having my morning cup of coffee and was observing my husband get ready for his daily run. I actually found myself admiring him. Yes! A rare occasion, rarer than the sighting of the Blood Moon. He is passionate about running. You name a sport and he’s a master at it. He started learning body weight exercises and now you can ask him anything there is on the subject. His hobby includes astute knowledge about all things electronic and photography. The portraits clicked by him are the best I’ve seen. Okay! This isn’t about me sounding lovestruck. I am amazed at how many hobbies he has successfully developed.

Hobbies! What are they? Is hobby something one is naturally inclined to do. Some how I don’t believe that can be true, as many like me, will be naturally inclined to sleeping. Is hobby something you enjoy doing? That could be it, but does it also have to be constructive and productive? Because I might enjoy watching television. Watching Netflix seasons back to back. Many admire music and love listening to it. They profess that listening to music is their hobby. How is it different from watching television, unless you are creating or playing music? Again that takes us back to the question, does hobby need to be productive?

A dear friend suggested that it could be an expression of a dominant trait. That could partially define why we like somethings more than others and why we are good at certain things. Like my husband is very athletic and outdoorsy kind of person. Oh, I forgot to mention he plays the guitar too and can sing reasonably well. Everyone is bound to have a trait that dominates all others and turns into passion… Is it?

I know many who did have hobbies or two, would still like to pursue them, but are entangled in the daily chores of life. Then there are many others who have developed hobbies recently. Neema, my dearest friend starting sketching and painting recently. She learnt it online and is doing very good at it. In fact she will be holding an exhibition of her paintings pretty soon.

With this I also see a sea of youngsters without any hobby. I think most of them believe “internetIS the hobby. This reminds me of Neil Postman’s book Amusing Ourselves to Deathwhere he writes

People will come to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.

Neil Postman

Also Aldous Huxley in Brave New Worlddepicted a population “too amused by distraction, entertainment, leisure and laughter to realise they have been made powerless.”

Many do not try to build a hobby because they may have a fear of failing or the fear that they may the worst at it. Something that prevents me from joining Zumba classes, because I know I would make a quite a spectacle. So they give up even before they start.

What, then can be our take away on what qualifies as a hobby or on how we may develop one?

  • Most common interests are dismissed as mundane; like reading, watching movies, and listening to music. Don’t bother, I’m sure it counts even if its not original.
  • Even if you cook and try a new receipe in couple of weeks, I think it’s safe to qualify cooking as your hobby. I don’t think only churning a new dish every other day would qualify as a hobby.
  • You may have an interest that is not popular, don’t dismiss it. Even if it’s playing video games which I think can qualify as a valid, (though not productive in tradition sense) use of time.
  • Everyone cannot be an artist. You don’t need to be great at something to call it a hobby. So you like to paint. Go ahead and paint. If it relaxes and gives you pleasure its work as hobby is done.
  • Lastly I don’t think that a hobby has to be the purpose of your life nor does it have to be your biggest passion. You like to do something and can take out time only couple of weeks for it, then that’s good enough!!

Even if you are doing random activities like reading a book, a blog, listening to podcasts, watching videos, I’m sure you will be able to connect a thread through all of these. A common theme that runs through them. You can work on pursuing those. Having said that, I believe it is perfectly okay to not have a specific hobby. Same repetitive activity to be done every time you are free may be too monotonous for some. If, however, you sense you like something go ahead and try it further. You may enjoy it more, once you get good at it. Each activity can have its own learning curve. Don’t give up if its too hard similarly don’t stay in it if it does not give you pleasure.

Finally a hobby, I think, should give pleasure. Don’t stress if you cannot follow it everyday. Wikipedia defines hobby as “ a regular activity done for enjoyment, typically during one’s leisure time, not professionally and not for pay.”

Cambridge Dictionary says, “hobby is an activity that someone does for pleasure when they are not working.”

Focus on words pleasure, enjoyment, leisure, and list up hobbies you’ve had or would like to have.

Happy Hobby Hunting!!!

Deepika……

WHEN THE MOUNTAINS SPOKE

A short story where the characters bear no resembles to anyone alive or dead …

Sujata was agitated and seemed a little vexed over the entire trip. She disliked small towns. Sujata was a Delhi girl through and through. She loved dressing up. Even in her office formals she was immaculately dressed. Long well kept hair had a tinge of burgundy. Though not tall her poise expressed both dignity and grace. She loved the fast paced life in Delhi. She as was at ease in local market at Sarojini Nagar as at clubbing. She was bold, confident, open-minded, energetic and independent. So when her office decided to send her to Karu, a small village on the suburbs of Leh she flew off the handle.

“Why does it have to be me? A village!! Oh God!! Small towns are boring. Life seems to be at a standstill,” she rued. She boarded the plane or was actually pushed into it. This is going to be a nightmare for sure, she thought. Delhi-Leh flight was about an hour and a half, the longest one she thought. She was so listless about the entire trip that even when passengers craned to look at the beautiful mountains from the window she remained quiescent, listening to music on her I-Pad. Finally they landed.

She sauntered out of the airport into the cold crisp air. The freshness of the air was what she noticed first. It filled her up, and try as hard as she desired she could not ignore it. She glanced around for the first time and saw gargantuan mountains rising into the sky. Not a blade of grass grew on them . Cold desert! She thought.

But work had to be done and she was keen on finishing it fast. Since her work needed a lot of research, she decided on staying in the village itself, even though the town of Leh had many luxurious hotels.

Driving down she peered at the scenery. It was different from what she had ever perceived. The road on which she was traveling had been cut into the mountain. It was beyond imagination how this feat had been achieved.

Her driver and guide was a cheerful young boy named Sonam Tsering who loved to talk. A lanky fellow with black hair straight as pine needles, was very happy with the progress Leh and surrounding areas were making since the road was made. “Tourists come in all seasons now, that’s why I left studies and bought a taxi,” he grinned broadly at his achievement.

They arrived in Karu, a quaint little village, with mud brick houses. Tiny wooden doors and tinier windows to keep them warm. They were going to be boarding in the home of Daechon Angmo. A beautiful and clean home, a little detached from the village houses. It had the advantage of being at a height that gave an awesome view of Indus river. Sujata was given a separate room at the back of the house so no one would disturb her. She was also informed that she had to stay indoors for acclamatisation, as the altitude was too high. No moving around, specially no walking around as it would not be condusive for her health. “And so it begins,” she thought. “An entire day wasted doing nothing. Why are there even villages in the 21st century!”

With nothing to do she talked to the little children who told her stories of Lamas, and interesting rituals of the monastries near by. They regaled her with tales of frozen Indus river in winters and how they could walk on it. They reminded her to charge her electronics as light will not be available after ten at night, only solar lamp could be used in emergencies. They even told her stories of ghosts and spirits. A loquacious lot she thought, but perhaps it was because very few people visited them. It was only when the lights went out that she realised, she hadn’t touched her phone the entire day nor her I-Pad. She didn’t miss them, or the outdoors.

It had been ages since she slept this early. The next morning she was busy with her work. She went out with Tsering guiding her at every step. He knew his land well and was proud of it. He spoke lovingly about it as if it was a living entity. Her days passed quickly as opposed to what she had thought. She was pleased with how things turned out. She was to leave the next morning.

As usual the lights went out at ten and she lay in her bed thinking of her work and how different Karu and its people were from her supposition. She had clubbed them according to all the clichés. She could feel her eyes getting heavy and soon she dozzed off.

She coud not recall how long she had slept, but she heard a loud knocking at her door. Someone was banging the door hard, it woke her up. First she thought she imagined it as it seemed to have stopped. But a moment later it was louder than before. She reached for the solar lamp which refused to light up, apparently no one had charged it that day. She contemplated whether to open the door or not. She thought it would be wise not to. Even if people here were unpretentious and loving she was a stranger there. Whoever was there, knocked one more time. She hoped someone from the main house would come out, surely this loud knocking would have woken them too.

Early in the morning, after breakfast, she said her good byes. Suddenly she remembered the knocking and asked Angmo as to who came so late at night. Tsering was there too. Angmo and Tsering glanced at each other estorically, but said nothing. The children said no one heard the knock. “You must have been dreaming Sujata didi.” “Really? No,” she thought. There was definitely knocking at her door.

On the way to the airport as they were driving down the same road, Tsering looked at her and began a narrative. He said that building this road was a Herculean task. The ropes were hung from the top of the mountains and the labourers would hang from them and cut the mountain so the road could be built. Many of them fell to their death into the gorge. Their spirits are still believed to be wandering among the hills and want to be let in the homes to escape their fate. Some of them knock at homes at night. Not everyone hears these knocks.

Sujata could only feel goosebumps as she stepped into the plane.

The road ….

Deepika….

Bucket Lists and All!!!

Was watching an amazing movie called The Bucket List, the other day, starring Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson. A beautiful movie that explores the journey of two terminally ill men, doing all the things they’ve never tried before.

This got me thinking what bucket list means for us in life. Of course on the first look it would mean trying all things we’ve never tried before. Mostly all these lists that we make are physical things that include things like

  • Visiting a certain place.
  • Doing something never done before, most people think of bungee jumping, skydiving and the like.
  • Eating a particular food.

I thought maybe on a deeper level it signified something more. I believe bucket lists inspire us to do more, to set up new goals and aims as we accomplish the older ones but somewhere I also believe these leave us feeling less content. It’s like an unending race. To put it in simpler terms there will always be a bigger aim a bigger goal. Is that wrong? I don’t really have an answer. Just musings of my mind and I feel that it can get you into a vicious cycle. It’s like you are on a giant hedonistic ferrous wheel. You cannot escape from it. I think a simple right or wrong can’t answer this question. It will naturally vary from one to another. I, however, believe that we will tend to focus on what’s next and stop enjoying the present moment. The happiness “in now” will be lost in the race to achieve something better, something bigger.

So lets make an anti-bucket list. How about looking back and making a list of things we have accomplished and experienced. Remember these things may have been on your bucket list once. How about going back and showing gratitude for all your achievements like,

  • Graduating
  • First Date
  • First Kiss
  • First Job
  • Going Overseas
  • And so many other things you can be grateful for.

Did this sound too philosophical. A rather complicated way of looking at a simple concept, is it? Okay, lets go back to doing simpler things. Since bucket list is a list of things you want to do, the anti-bucket list should be a list of things you would never do. We may also include things we don’t want to see and feel. If you get down to it I bet your anti-bucket list will be longer than your bucket list. And if you read and re-read it I’m sure you’ll see the reason why you put that thing in your anti-bucket list. Just like we learn when to speak our mind and when to be quiet, I think it’s important to know what you would never do. Here goes my anti-bucket list:

  • I would never ever do any kind of drugs, other than for medical purposes.
  • I would never cheat a person. That’s just not me. I am honest in my dealings.
  • I would never sleep with a stranger, however bold or exciting that might seem.
  • I would never eat raw meat or uncooked sea food.
  • I would never go surfing in the sea because I don’t know how to swim. Haha.

Those are a few things I could think off the cuff. Why don’t you add to the list of things you wouldn’t want to do in the comments?

Thanks for reading. Hoping to see many anti-bucket lists.

Deepika.

UTOPIA!! YES IT EXISTS

Had heard of Utopia early on when I was still in school. Our English teacher told us not to live in a Utopian World and wake up to reality. I remember the class giving her blank looks. The next task for the class was to go to the library ( Google hadn’t arrived then) and search what “Utopia” was. Our librarian was pleasantly taken aback when the entire class shouted for information on Utopia. We found Utopia to be a book written by Thomas Moore in 1516 in Latin. It talks of “a fictional island society and its religious, social, and political customs.” That was our take away as other complicated things were way beyond our understanding at the time. Another thing we found in the dictionary was this definition, ” A Utopia is an imagined community or society that possesses highly desirable or nearly perfect qualities for its citizens.” So to conclude, we were not supposed to be living in an imaginary world but wake up to reality. Utopia, henceforth, for me was something so perfect and beautiful that it cannot exist. Not until recently I would say.

I happened to visit a monastery in lesser known part of Himachal. It’s called Norbulingka Institute. First thing it is not touristy at all and Thank God for that. I walked to this beautiful and yes Utopian place and fell in love instantly. The entrance itself was mesmerising. The alluring water structure makes you want to stand there and feel the soft lapping sound of water flowing through it forever.

The entrance

Entering the gates I was transported into a world well beyond what I had ever imagined. There were gurgling streams running throughout the monastery. You could sit anywhere, close your eyes and just be at peace with yourself. The effect of slow sound of flowing water is just serenely calming. It seems to cleans your soul.

The Temple

The monastery is full of lush green trees. You can hear so many birds chirping and flittering among them. The stone pavements are so perfectly laid that you can almost feel the patience of the person who put them there. Even the stones radiate love.

The pavement and trees

I lost track of time and space while moving around this beautifully hypnotic place. Inside the temple is the statue of Buddha Shakyamuni depicted in blue as I learnt in the monastery. An applique that is about two stories hangs from the ceiling. I walked upstairs to the most peaceful library I’ve ever visited. The scrolls were neatly stacked and the sitting was on the floor with low tables and cushions. There were plenty of windows to allow natural light. Had I known of this gorgeous library I would certainly have brought my books along. Nevertheless, I sat there lost in thoughts of Utopia and how close this place seemed to it. Birds, trees, people, even the street dogs (who are allowed inside) seemed calm. I believe even the rowdiest of being would instinctively be serene and peaceful here. My revire was broken when some students walked in. They were friendly and excitedly informed me to visit the Losel Doll Museum inside the monastery itself. It has over 150 dolls in traditional Tibetian costumes. Only two other places in the world house Losel Dolls, one in US and the other in Taiwan, I as proudly informed. And it turned out to be as attractive as it was described.

Losel Doll Museum

They teach traditional applique work, wood carving and wood painting and thangka sketching. The best part of taking up these courses is you can stay in the institute in what is known as Norling House. Well! I will be coming back for this. Standing inside Norbulinka I felt short of adjectives to describe it. It was exquisite, resplendent, splendid, sublime, fascinating, flawless and Utopian in every sense of the word.

I left the place reluctantly with words from Jason Marz’s song ringing in my head:

Utopia

“Peace in My Heart
   Peace in My Soul
   Wherever I’m Going
    I’m Already Home”
  

NEW AGE ADDICTION

So we are a generation that has seen the transition from no mobiles to all mobiles. Now the mobile is the lord. I remember we had clearly marked “zones”, “areas” for everything. You wanted to read news there was newspaper, you wanted to see news there was TV, you listen to songs on the music system…. now, well there is an app for everything. Ever heard of alarm clock? It was a device we set up each night to get up the next day… now you have the mobile. I still remember the landline numbers of my school friends because we memorised them so we could dial when we needed to call, or wrote them in our phone books. Now you save it in the contacts and forget about the numbers. You search for the name in the contact list. I don’t remember my husband’s phone number, but that’s a good thing. I’m sure he doesn’t remember mine.

Then came a deluge of ‘apps’ to let you stay in touch with your friends. The very first that I remember was Orkut – heard of it?? Well, it didn’t take long for FB to take over. It became a virtual town and everyone spent cosiderable time there. And then there has been no stopping. I don’t even remember or recognise half the apps that allow you to connect with people. Going through the app store one day I chanced to stumble upon Instagram.

My younger friends were all praises for it and encouraged me to open an “account” on Instagram. The naïve me believed that only banks did that. OK a name was selected and my account was opened. The first thing to do was to select a “DP”…. display picture if you may. I’m not very photogenic and am actually very camera shy. So they nudged me to click a selfie. “Oh horrible”, I thought. “Pout!”, they said, “sorry, that’s not happening”, said I. Finally we managed to get it right, whatever that was. “So I put it up now?” “NO!!! It has to go through filters”. Remove blemishes-check, Remove dark circles-check, smoothen-check, and so it went on till it was insta ready. Finally it was uploaded and to my surprise people actually started following me!! I started receiving messages from absolute strangers telling me their names age etc. Some said they loved how I look… of course I loved the edited me too. Wow! it looked like a dating app entirely different from what I was told it was all about. Of course I chose to ignore most requests .

But underneath all this drama I thought, how desperate the present generation seems for quick gratification and also for approval I guess. You choose a fake image of yourself, fake name, fake identity just to impress a random stranger. I cannot comprehend this. Many of them seem to be living all new lives on Instagram where you present a false image of yourself.

We looked for approval too, we too had crushes and first loves, but as far as I can remember it was by seeing the actual person infront of us, not his edited image. We saw how he moved, spoke, smiled and laughed and that took our breath away. Remember the song Ik ladki ko dekha to aisa laga… See the crux ladki ko dekha.. dp ko nahi. If we liked a person we went and spoke to him… not text. Speaking tells so much about the kind of person you are. I bet all the love stories that are carried on by texting would wither away if they had to actually stand infront of each other and speak. I may be totally wrong though… hopefully.

I fail to understand why people need to put up a front and show the world what you are not? Will hiding behind all these filters actually bring any happiness? Is a lie not scared of being exposed at all times or have we come to a point where we have begun to believe in all that we put out there to be true? I do not connect with this kind of projected images and cannot fathom the reason for others to do the same. What I have put up is all fake I know that, then how am I to believe what you are showing me is true or even near truth.

I think I’m from a world where human interactions still hold good. Love, fight, hate, whatever, it has to be personal. Talking one on one, not texting and certainly not by falling in love with a dp.

LIVING WITH OREO

Oreo!! He’s the baby of our family. Everyone loves him so much that he’s allowed to do pretty much anything he wants. He’s a spoilt brat totally and none of us would want to change that. I don’t think he comprehends that he is not human. Well, he’s not an alien either. He’s our little beagle and he changed so many things in our family right from the day he came.


He makes all of us smile – a lot right from the day he landed in our house in a shoe box. A tiny little thing and all of us were “Aww” and smiling. We smiled when he opened his eyes, we smiled when he tried to walk but slipped. When he ate, drank, even when he went potty outside we smiled. We patted him and smiled, he sat in our laps we smiled, he ran away with our sock and chewed our shoes, we still just smile. He has all of us wrapped around his fingers or tiny paws. We might believe we are the masters but I’m sure he knows he pretty much runs the show.WHEN I WAS A PUPPY

Everything he does makes all of us talk in weird ‘dog language’ so to say. Something like, “Mom just look at this cute little sweet cutie pie face which I want to eat because he is such a bad little dog who is just sooo good and cute and I love him so much…..”. What language is that. Certainly not English, just some long unending sentences because he is your dog and he is just oh so cute.I AM THE CUTEST

And of course he is the smartest dog that there is. Period. No other dog is as smart as him. He shakes paw when he likes, he sleeps on his bed when he likes, he plays fetch when he likes. See he has a mind of his own. He’s smart and does only the things he wants to do.I AM THE SMARTEST

Another thing ALL pet parents know is, you can’t avoid your pet sleeping on your bed. Sooner or later he’s there. I kind of feel lonely if Oreo is not curled up at my feet or not sleeping on my legs.THAT IS MY BED

The greatest benefit I saw was when my children learnt compassion. They don’t shout and scream at him like they do at each other. If he chews their shoe they are quick to react “I left it there, it’s my fault. I left it where he could find it. Poor Oreo is not at fault.” If he tears off their favourite book, “Poor dog must have been hungry. You can’t blame him. You are not feeding him enough.” They never ever hit him. Wish they showed the same compassion to each other. They’ve learnt to treat street dogs better as well. They no longer hurl stones at them and stop others from doing the same.WE ARE FAMILY

All of us have learnt to let go too. Not only let go of our physical things which he continuously destroys, but let go off our anger too. He just destroyed the pillow and the cotton is all over the place. So you chastise him, he sits in a corner, and you clean up. Then you look at him and feel guilty for having shouted at the poor cute little dog. You hug him, rub his belly and he curls in your lap and everything goes back to normal.HOW DO YOU IGNORE THIS ♥️

My children have become more responsible. My son comes back from his football game early because he has to walk Oreo. My daughter put things away because she does not want Oreo to choke on them. And none of us can bear to leave him alone more than a couple of hours. We begin to get uneasy thinking what he must be thinking when all of us are away. Him wagging and jumping with joy when we get back is worth everything.

Oreo is a little miracle worker. Because of him we now watch all cute little dog videos and laugh and enjoy. Every cute look from him (believe me there are many) makes you stop all work and run for the camera. Eventually Oreo owns more space than anyone of us. He makes you fall in love more and more everyday because that’s what he is. All love !!!OREO😍

NEW MOM

New Mom is a term I hear all too often for ladies who’ve just become moms. New Mom!! hmm…. I have 2 kids yet I still think I am a new mom. Why? Well I’ve never been a mom of a teenager before. I’m pretty new in the area. Actually it seems I’m from the pre-neolithic age, when my son tries to explain things to me. He uses terms like ‘at your age’ (duh… am not that old), ‘in your times’ (Whaat… my times were not a millennia ago…. it’s still my time!!).

                   I’ve read over a dozen parenting books and about double the amount of blogs about the same topic. But I feel so new momish when it comes to parenting them. My little one is a little version of me, just ‘littler’. She’ll argue, roll her eyes and never ever give an iota of importance to anything I say. Those books teaching me how to talk to my kids seem to disappoint. I am shouting and screaming all day. Anyone listening outside my door must think a howling witch has taken two innocent children hostage, just like in Hansel and Gretel.
                 The books tell new moms to be calm and patient, to handle your kids with panache. Well !! Probably they don’t have two kids screaming and shrieking trying to prove which one is correct, and you are shrieking to stop all this shrieking. Get my point. I am a new mom in this shrieking game and don’t know how to end this without yelling.
                 Now these two angels lighten my world and I feel ever so happy when they are asleep. Please God let them sleep for 2 hours more, I promise to make ‘halwa’ for you. These two make me turn into everything I promised I wouldn’t be when I am a parent. I’m yelling, doling out empty threats, trying to discipline them and then screaming at their father for not paying enough attention.
                 New Mom, of course I’m a new mom when it comes to getting them to eat a decent meal. “Oh! It’s dal again. What sabzi is it again?” “Can’t you make something ‘achaa’ ?” What in God’s name is achaa. Dal is achaa. I’ve been eating dal all my life. You bet it is achaa…. very achaa. They even want milk and fruit to be interesting. “Go grow an interesting fruit and share the fruits of your hard work with me”, I yell in my head.
                           Parenting advice comes pouring like torrential rain when I go out with these two jostling, pushing, shoving and poking each other by my side. Friends, neighbours, vendors, maids and drivers, all give me ugly glares like I’m a rouge alien who has these two angels in pain day in and day out. I am supposed to feel proud to be a mom, but all I feel is tired, drained and sore throated, who has to deal with “I hate you” at every step.
           But would I have it any other way I wonder sometimes. Perhaps not, because that one hug before sleeping is like a dose of opium which dulls my senses momentarily and makes me happy to have these two as my own little pixies.

ROAD TRIP TO PRAGPUR

https://articleacademy815164194.wordpress.com/2019/10/20/utopia-yes-it-exists/So we had a warm sunny day after three months of incessant rains and what did my family decide to do? No, it wasn’t sitting in the warm sun and spending the National Holiday being lazy. We decided to take a road trip to the “Heritage Village” of Pragpur in Himachal Pradesh. Of course like everyone else we ‘googled’ and found all reviews to be amazing. We packed our umbrellas, for rains are ever pouring in this part of the world, cuddled in our beloved ‘WagonR’ and drove off. The drive from Dharamshala to Pragpur is indeed very beautiful. The terraced fields with the backdrop of Dhauldhars are the stuff Ruskin Bond books are made of. The villages are still sparsely populated. All along the way we found enough food vans and dhabas so you don’t really need to carry your own food. Small village markets with locally grown fruits and vegetables were a delight.Going right after the monsoons gave us the best of landscape, flowing ‘khuds’, seasonal waterfalls, and vegetables along the road was awesome. So we reached Pragpur after a good two hours drive. All of us expected “The Heritage Village” to be a village enclosed in a particular area, clearly marked for the tourists to see. Well! That was certainly not the case. We seemed lost and drove around to find our first stop Judge’s Court, a 600 year old mansion that has been restored to a luxury resort. We stopped to look around, but unfortunately the staff was not very willing. We moved around the area a little bit but could sense that we were not very welcome. They wanted us out of there. We inquired if they were busy which they did not seem to be, as no guests were staying in. Our request to see the rooms was also declined. Probably it was time for their lunch and we intruded. Well, we moved to see the village further down.

First natural thing to do was to ask people if we were at the right place as we could barely see any buildings as ‘Google’ had described them. Most of them had a sly smile on them telling us ” You are right in the googled heritage village… so?” OK. We asked, where could we see the heritage buildings and houses. Another smile saying “All of the houses are heritage, just move around the village and see the ones that are left standing.”

Right!! That’s what we did. We started walking through the streets. Now it seemed rather rude to pry into other people’s property. We craned our necks to see houses that did look old but whose gates were closed. The ones which were accessible had people living in them, giving us weird glances. The village streets were dirty and we had to shove away the street dogs who were as curious about us as we were about their village.We did manage to find few old houses to click pictures.Next we arrived in a typical village bazar which did look of the pre-independence era, the kind they show in movies. Small shops, wooden doors with iron hinges were fascinating to the kids. But that was about all the village could offer. since there were no plaques or signs telling us what we were seeing and the local people were most disinterested in answering questions of complete strangers, we decided to move further down to Garli, another heritage site.Here we visited The Chateau Garli. An amazingly beautiful place. The staff was courteous as opposed to Judge’s Court. The old world charm exudes from this place. We had our lunch here, which was sumptuous. Also had the privilege of being taken to various rooms and lovingly told stories about them. Beautiful place to relax and unwind and made our trip worthwhile!The water reservoir in the villageOne of the old heritage homesThe Chateau GarliKitchen at ChateauThe restaurant at Chateau

Create your website at WordPress.com
Get started