Monday, November 20, 2017

Stay at Home Mothers

Mothers, the best people in the world really. Especially, stay at home mothers. They sacrifice their peace of mind, time, dreams and even happiness just to raise a few brats, who may or may not turn out right! The most thankless job in the world, with no salary, overtime salary, bonus or appreciation. We can't live without them. Doesn't matter how old you are. Working, not working, married, unmarried, pregnant, not pregnant, you will forever be mumma's little girl/boy.

I've been raised by some strong, stay at home mothers. They are excellent home-makers (NOT housewives), have a knowledgable opinion on every topic (be it politics or fashion), they are world travellers (thanks to their respective husband's professions) and most importantly, have a broad-mindedness that often shocked even me, a modern-day millennial.  

The fact that they didn't work, didn't make them any less dignified. They were and still continue to be, treated as equal partners in all the decisions pertaining to the household. Bowing down to the man of the house or living under subjugation, are completely alien to me. I've been raised to have a strong voice, but that doesn't mean I hen-peck my husband.  

At close to 90 years of age, my grandmother lives in a palatial bungalow, atop a hill in Kerala. She lives alone, with dignity and grace. In her hay days she was a terrific cook, has single-handedly raised all her grandchildren and has an excellent collection of curios from around the globe, thanks to my grandfather's sea-voyages. He has Captained vessels of all shapes and sizes, for countless decades and finally hung up his boots in the mid-90s. He was a treasure-trove of stories from faraway lands. He had eaten, seen and experienced things, none of us could even imagine. To say that he was way ahead of his times, would be an understatement. 

I get my competitiveness and never-say-die attitude, from my mother. No goal has ever been too big. No dream, impossible. She wanted to be a doctor or a teacher. Unfortunately, her husband's Army life, forced her to back down. He was perennially being transferred from one postcard-perfect location to another, within India. So she passed down those aspirations onto me. She wanted me to be a lawyer or a doctor. Regretfully, I let her down. I chose my own path, much to her dismay. Of course, I'm subject to the occasional "you could have been so much more" jibe. 

Stay at home mothers, you have every reason to be proud! Chin up and soldier on. Don't ever feel insecure, about that classy looking working woman. She might be great at her job. But you, stay at home mom, are kicking-ass at raising that strong-willed child, bargaining with the kirana store/subzi and dhobi walla (whereby saving all your husband's hard earned money) and converting a brick and mortar house, into a cozy-little den. 

Still unsure about your core competencies and skill sets? Leave your husband and child, alone for one week, kick back, relax and unwind. You will be overwhelmed, by the warm welcome they shower upon you, when you return. 

(Image Source : http://shanghaimamas.org/classified/one-of-the-million-ayi-available-in-august-btw-shanghai-expo-and-lujiazui/)

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Magical World of Make Believe


Us 90s kids, have grown up on a staple diet of fairytales from strange foreign shores. Closer to home, our grandparents regaled us with fascinating stories of war, fought by God-men on golden chariots and horses. 

There were no entertainment channels such as Cartoon Network, Pogo or Nickelodeon. We relied on Enid Blyton books, Nancy Drew, Famous Five, Tinkle comics and read-along Karadi Tales cassettes. We took pleasure in slowly devouring hard-bound, beautifully illustrated, rich hand-painted drawings of our favourite Disney princesses, villains and their prince-charmings. 

When my grandfather invested in a VCR, the siblings and I went ape-shit crazy (for the lack of a better term). Our trips to the VCR tape lending shop, were maniacal to say the least. While they rented the latest Hollywood action movies, I kept bringing home Walt Disney's animated "Beauty and the Beast" movie. 

I didn't know it then, but the 25-30 odd times I watched it, the subconscious message I was imbibing from it was; marry a very bad boy, the badder the better! Needless to say, my teen years were gripping. My parents were exasperated! However, I don't blame those wonderful cartoons, for my foolish hormone-crazed actions. Those were all on me. 

Each fairy tale has a hidden moral to it, if you read carefully and have the patience to peel off it's layers. Cinderalla's 12am curfew, tells children to be home on time or turn into a pumpkin. Snow White's shiny-red apple, conveys the message of never talking to or accepting food from strangers. Aladdin teaches children to never lie or hide your identity, people must love you for who you are. 

Fairy tales are immortal. You're never too old to re-read or re-watch one. The solution to most of our "adult problems", lie in fairy tales. All we have to do is believe.

(Image Source : https://style.disney.com/living/2017/11/04/disney-princess-phone-wallpapers/) 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Bombay


Bombay, Mumbai, Bambai, Aamchi Mumbai; many names one emotion. Warmth, plenty of it. Home to millions of outsiders like me. The city of dreams, romanticised in numerous Bollywood movies, home to some of the trendiest fashion designers in the country and so much more.

To be honest, I hated it when I first moved here in 2014. I was terribly homesick, lonely and depressed. But slowly and steadily, I found my footing. I made friends, I hired two fantastic kaamwali bais and converted a brick and plaster house, into a cozy little home. 

Bombay is a city of hard work and ambition. Starting from my kaamwali bais at home to my boss at work, everyone takes their job very seriously and is professional to the T. Work hard, party harder is indeed the motto of the working class in Mumbai.

I can't pinpoint the exact moment in time, when I began to fall in love with this city. The transition from a hardcore Chennaite, to an almost Mumbaikar has been a slow one. I now dream of growing old here, raising a family and perhaps even rising up the corporate ladder. 

Like every city, Mumbai has it's rough edges. The local train travel and the monsoons are a nightmare. So is the traffic. If you can survive all three, you have successfully unlocked the key to happiness, of living in Bombay. 

Rich or poor, young or old, ambitious or lazy, Mumbai will welcome you with open arms. All you have to do is step into that warm embrace and just breathe. 

(Image Source : https://www.oyorooms.com/blog/exploring-good-old-bombay/)

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Barbie Dolls


My Barbie dolls remind me of all things happy. While I dabbled with toy guns and behaved like a hooligan most of the time, there were occasions the sister and I took out our doll collection. We played "house-house", made tea, put our dolls to sleep, dressed them up, put make-up on them and even allowed them to be a part of the G.I Joe wars, the brothers played.

They were so pretty and delicate. They were our only toys that were kept spick and span. All heads and limbs fully intact. We never looked at them with a remorseful eye. We never paused to wonder, why they were so thin or why their waists were so small. 

Most importantly, we had zero body issues. We enjoyed our food as much as we enjoyed playing rough outdoor games. The reason I harp on this is because of late Barbies have been scaled "realistically". They're fatter, darker, less delicate looking. Why? Can't this generation of children play with Barbie dolls like we did? Why do they even have body issues in the first place? They're kids! 

Until I was 19, I had no idea what a size zero or a BMI was. While that was probably not a good thing, dinning notions of beauty into a child's mind, is not a great thing either. Children should be innocent and carefree. They should believe in fairy God-mothers, Santa-Claus and ginger-bread houses. If they don't, we've failed them. 

Let children be. Allow them to have an imaginary friend and invisible tea, from pink tea-cups. We owe it to them. We owe it to ourselves. 

(Video Source : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1vnsqbnAkk)

Monday, October 30, 2017

The Social Media Farce


Ten dreamy photographs of an exotic location or twenty five perfect selfies, does not qualify for a happy life. Not even close. Never judge a book by it's cover. Your recently married friend who excessively posts about his/her spouse, may not be that happy. Neither is that overly mushy couple, who dangles around on your newsfeed every second day. 

I repeat, never judge a book by it's social media cover. Sadness, heartbreak, pain and boredom are best friends for all. Just because a girl looks cheerful in her photographs, does not mean she is happy in real life. As for that couple who travels to exotic places and posts excessive photographs of the place, have you ever stopped to wonder, how often they travel and why.

Oh and lets not forget the office loverrrzzzz. "What pretty colleagues you have and would you look at the size of your cabin. Wow!", said no one ever. Nobody likes a show-off. 

I must admit, I'm guilty of being a social media addict myself. Of late, I've been trying my best to stop uploading so many photographs (at least on Facebook, otherwise known as digital buri nazar land). 

The world is not a happy place. Divorces, family feuds, murders, rapes, child sexual abuse, eve-teasing, the list is just endless. Why share personal details and put out intimate events of your life, in the midst of this turbulent environment. 

I shudder thinking about the future generation. I really hope they rise above this superficiality, because we've failed. We're social media crazed addicts. There's no going back for us. 

(Image Source : https://interlinc-online.com/blog/?p=2940)

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Beaches, Dreamy Beaches


I love beaches. Nope, let me correct myself, I am obsessed with beaches. They remind me of all things happy. Some of my best memories, are from spending countless hours on beaches. Shanghumukham beach in Trivandrum, reminds me of my grandfather and the countless vanilla ice-cream balls he has bought for me. On the days I was too cranky/greedy, he would take me to a crocodile roofed restaurant opposite Shanghumukham and buy me a deep fried chicken cutlet that was larger than my face. That roof by the way, was crawling with kids because it was a steep A-shaped concrete green slab that had a "crocodiley" texture.  

Kovalam beach, also in Trivandrum, brings back a flood of childhood memories. My siblings and I didn't need a reason to go play on the beach. We would spend countless hours, wading into the sea until a giant wave hit us right on the bum and made us "drown". In the early 90s Kovalam was so clean. The sand was white, the waters were crystal clear and you could pick up seashells right from the sea-bed. While the brothers dunked each others faces into the water, I would quietly pee around them, with an all knowing smile.

Besant Nagar beach in Chennai also holds a special place in my heart. The minute a college-day ended, I would pick up my best friend from her college (Anna University) and we would ride to the beach. We would plonk ourselves in the Barista opposite the beach and would spend countless hours "girl talking". If that beach could speak, it would probably cry a river (sorry Justin Timberlake). We had young adolescent issues just like any other hormonal-crazed teenager.  

Juhu beach (although I've never been there more than 4-5 times in my life, thanks to my non-beach-loving husband) also has fond memories. It reminds me of home. And, the husband and I have taken long strolls on the beachfront, whenever he has been in a good mood. 

Beaches give me a sense of belonging. If it were upto me, I'd live underwater forever like Ariel. I'd build myself a dome shaped glass house and keep staring at the foliage, whilst munching on my freshly fried shark, swordfish, basa, shrimp or crab. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Ungoddess

My face is up here, press wale/paneer wale/paper wale/medical shop wale/sabzi wale bhaiyya. Following me like a puppy inside the gym and gaping at me with your havas bhari aankhen is not going to get you laid (sorry for sounding so crass, but when the issue at hand is so disgusting I will not mince my words).

Married, unmarried, short, tall, fully grown adult, pre-teen, teen; doesn't matter what age group, marital status or body type you fall under. Have boobs? Will stare. While some men do it obviously, some are more subtle, aka male colleague at work, male boss, male client, hell male watchman at work even!

No roadside romeos/inside your fancy office cabin romeos, giving us the "come hither look" and staring endlessly at our chests are not going to get you a date, a decent conversation or our respect. 

The "stalk her endlessly and annoy her till she falls in love with you" tactic, works only in Bollywood, Mollywood and Tollywood. In reality, such advances only builds fear in the minds of women.

While we're on this topic, I might as well share my thoughts on the new fangled, supposedly "cool" phrase invented by young, single, millennial men; "Friendzoned". There exists no such thing! What about the million women in the world who have been rejected by men? Forget about creating nonsensical terms, you will have no idea about the broken heart she is nursing. You know what we call that? Self respect. Dignity. Maturity even!  

No, I'm not a femi-nazi (before you jump to conclusions). I admit, there are some psychotic women as well who stalk, bully and create havoc in men's lives. The woman is not always the victim. There are plenty of good men in the world as well. 

Unfortunately, the ones I come across in my mundane day-to-day life, turn out to be the road-side romeos. And while I try to explain to my sleepy, work stressed husband about one particular joker at my gym, I'm thwarted with "But look at what you're wearing!". This from my IIT educated, smart, intelligent, 21st century husband. 

I sighed in frustration, quietly slung my gym-bag over my shoulders and battled yet another day of smirking and incessant staring. Such a pleasure being a woman, no? "Prem se bolo, Jai Mata Di" indeed. 

(Image Source : http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-hyderabad-281-eve-teasers-caught-by-she-teams-in-one-year-2139682)