Lock Down Has Actually Opened Us Up – What Say?


From March 16 to April 3, 2020 Belgium is under lockdown. And now extended till 19th April which will be reviewed at the end of the period bringing the lockdown period to 5 weeks in total.  First reaction “Oh crap! Oh China what have you gifted to the world! My kids losing out on school and vacations.  Kids at home + Husband working from home = more hours in kitchen with additional cups of tea. Headaches, panic attacks concerning how things would shape up, constant fear for the family here and overseas are definite bonuses of this quarantine period and pandemic Coronavirus.  And it’s a same picture everywhere irrespective of the country we live in.

But gloom brings negativity, so thought of wearing those witty glasses on to just lighten up the mood and since everything thing under the sun has a flip side so does this quarantine period.  Why not assess them once 😁:

  • No “alarm”ing mornings for a while. Getting up at 8 AM is also a bliss.
  • You can be you, no need to doll up. Pyjamas and flip flops would do and the comfort they provide is the ultimate.
  • Since restaurants, malls and other non essential shops are closed surely you would save a lot . Don’t believe me? Check your bank statements from the time of lockdown 😁.
  • You can surely dedicate few hours revisiting the forgotten shelves of wardrobe. Our old favourites do motivate us to work out to fit in them again.
  • Sitting at home do make us hungry perhaps a little more often but then the free work out sessions in absense of the domestic help will surely make a difference. Trust me it works😁.
  • Marriage albums and CDs bring the nostalgia moments back and never underestimate their entertainment value, mind you! Why the fourth cousin to your twice removed uncle was sulking throughout the marriage, why the cameraman was obsessed with people dining in the marriage, the over excited friends of the bride and groom, the repeated plastic smiles on the dias when the guests come and say Congratulations but they actually meant “Abhi toh party shuru hui hai” (The party gas just begun, just wait and watch) – to recall those moments and stare at your partner and going back to your chores is superb fun.

Oh I am witty at it’s best 😁😎. And here comes the flying pan and BANG!!!! Bringing me down to the earth😁😁.   Let’s talk some serious stuff. No I am not going to  repeat what our news portals  and WhatsApp universities are churning out day in and day out since the outbreak of this pandemic. I am not here to present the skewed graph of economic activity during this period or the economic impact of this inactivity.  Neither I am talking about the soaring numbers of people affected directly by the virus nor I am discussing how the governments of different countries coping up with this situation etc. That anyways need deeper introspection which I am not capable of.  This lockdown period has actually opended up different viewpoints to look and tackle a situation  at the hand:

  • At the end of this period (hopefully soon) many of us would be a better person who understands the concept of Dignity Of Labour. Our domestic helps, drivers, security guards – they are working to feed their families with the utmost respect.  Poverty hasn’t made them take up wrong ways. This is what we should respect. They do work for wages but they do help us make our lives little more comfortable. Isn’t it? Treat them with respect, they aren’t our slaves.  And no words of praise are sufficient to hail the great work our frontline workers – doctors, nurses, sanitation workers, police and army. A big salute to them.
  • We would be better managers.  With services and supplies limited to essentials during this lockdown period the sense of responsible spending is something which I see getting imbedded and inculcated. Leftovers can be turned into recipes but not wasted. While people are facing cuts in salaries due to many reasons wise spending is definitely on cards. And as they say any thing repeated for 21 days becomes a habit, some positives are in offering.
  • For people who are during the normal days far away from the kitchen and just fire away orders will now come to know how much hard work it takes for ingredients to be turned into an sumptuous meals which they dismiss without blinking an eyelid. Respect for those who work tirelessly at home to give us those moments of leisure and comfort – hopefully.
  • Bringing us back to the roots.  As we moved to the cities and got acquainted to the fast moving lifestyle we are accustomed to the words like “automatic”, “instant”, “readymade” and gradually alienated ourselves from our roots that required patience and preparation. This lockdown period has surely stopped us to give us sometime to ponder over many questions pertaining to our lifestyles. We are gobbling up and stopped eating; gulping down but stopped drinking; showing off and stopped celebrating. Have you ever thought why our previous generations (especially our grandparents and even earlier) were happy despite of meagre comforts at their disposal? Why we are raising up our kids with supplements to boost immunity which we never heard of as kids? Our education (read mere literacy) in the wake of being logical and questioning everything has actually made us mock everything we didn’t get a hold of. We mocked our culture, age old traditions (not all traditions are primitive and illogical), simple lifestyle of limiting the needs because scooping out more is our mantra. And this race has actually put us in the line of fire of mother nature who surely has her ways of setting the spoilt brats straight. Her warning to us this time : “Slow Down A Bit, Go Back To Your Roots”. This lockdown period is bringing out positives as now we have family meals together, cooking and eating healthy instead of buying in a jiffy, bonding between generations is building up, the importance of our traditional practices (one petty example : every house in southern India have turmeric laden doorsteps, started decades ago to check various infections from entering the house) is being realised. Surely it’s time to realise the difference between price and value!
  • When we would step out of this confinement period clear skies and waters would greet us. Ozone layer is self healing. Our race to earn has hurt the heels of mother nature really bad. She is cooling her heels now, please wait inside.
  • And yes this would actually open up new avenues of opportunities to those who can think differently. New business ideas are surely going to mark their arrival. Mark my words.

I can come up with numerous ways how this critical moment is working the right ways for us. The prism through which we look at an issue at hand matters.  Human race has witnessed many more crucial and defining moments in the past as well – world wars, famines, catastrophes, viral outbreaks like the current one. This isn’t new and isolated. And everytime human bounced back strongly , this shall pass too. For that we need to be selfishly responsible for ourselves and our family, in that way we are serving multiple number of people and the country. And when this time passes we need to strive to bring out the better version of ourselves – compassionate, empathetic, considerate, rejuvenated!

Amidst all this chaotic tense atmosphere the irony of human nature that has come forth is : when people were supposed to go to their works they strongly wished to stay back home and relax. Now when they are supposed and obligated to stay at home for a greater cause they want to loiter outside. Not to abide, not content define us pretty much. On contrary we must be thankful that we have a roof over our head, we are safe in our haven and with people who care for us.

A Request: Wait for sometime to quench your thirst for adventure. This is not the time for all you would buy is pain and suffering in wholesale. And for the rest this quarantine period is no less than a challenge.

Are You Ready To Take Up This Challenge Thrown At You?

Let Me Be Good My Way


silhouette photo of woman holding lights
Photo by Matheus Bertelli on Pexels.com

Originally posted on Candles Online celebrating International Women’s Day

“Don’t climb the trees, you will break your bones and no one will marry you.  Being pretty is very important.

Learn to cook, otherwise you will bring shame to the family.  Your degrees won’t feed the hungry child.

Taking care of children is the responsibility of a mother alone.

Marriage, motherhood everything has a right age.  Everything else can wait.

Don’t laugh out loud, stop giggling. It isn’t good for your image.

Put your family first, your husband and his family is your ultimate destination. Learn to solve your issues or learn to endure.

Answering back, having strong opinions – are big NOs”

Few of the many suggestions and expert advices handed over to us from times innumerable by our well-wishers none other than our society including our own family members.  In short the onus of looking and being good, being responsible (as deemed and defined by the society) always rested on the shoulders of a woman. The placards of a family’s pride and shame are by default under the custody of a woman / girl.  It doesn’t mean that man has not been assigned any responsibility.  But in comparison to those entrusted to or rather forced upon a woman they are frail and fragile. If a man is earning and feeding his family a major chunk of his duties are met. His behaviour and attitude go off the radar of questioning (not off the radar of back biting though).  And this has been the case no matter which country, which culture a woman belongs to. In fact I used to feel that societal pressure of as to how a girl or woman should look and behave is a norm in India which is predominantly a conservative and patriarchal society but when one of my readers suggested me to write about how girls were supposed to behave a certain way in her growing up years and might be even now and she doesn’t belong to India, few of my misconceptions cleared. http://www.corneliaweber-photography.com – reader I was referring to.

Sexism is so deep rooted and far fledged.  Even the creativity of media is not left untouched by it. Few simple examples –

  • A father applies for a loan to send his son for higher studies and to marry off his daughter.  Marriage thus is the highest goal / achievement of a girl’s life.
  • A dusky coloured girl is no good. Fair complexion on the other hand is a matter of pride for the family and she is a winner already.
  • Our movies show how the protagonist will always fall for the docile and coy dame whereas the outgoing, strong, opinionated girl will always be good as his friend only.  She won’t make a good life partner.  Thereby encouraging / suppressing a certain type of behaviour so as to be in good books.

This is pretty much the cycle of one impacting the other. And sadly it is still working.  Though things are changing to an extent that more and more girls are being given a chance to get educated, to voice  their opinions, to choose their career paths. More laws and perks chalked out to ensure better environment for girls. The average age at which a girl gets married is definitely getting pushed further with every passing decade. What is used to be 18 or 19 now stands at 25 -27 (in metropolitan and major cities of course). A welcome change giving a woman a little more opportunity to shape up things how she wants them. (* note: excuse me for bringing up “marriage” numerous times in our conversation but sadly still the parents feel it is the ultimate motto of their lives 😁).  More and more women taking up careers and  making comebacks, giving their contribution in strengthening the economy is a fresh breath of air.

But one thing really bothers me very much. The tag of a super woman, as defined by the hypocrite side of society (read jobless neighbours, always jealous relatives, ever unsatisfied in laws)  – a woman who is educated, cooks well, earns for the family, looks great, keeps the home spotlessly clean, takes care of the kids, serves everyone in the family with a never ceasing smile on her face and most importantly she never complains or has mood offs, never says NO most importantly. Even the super man has to fight of less number of villains than donning so many hats. As a society we have to overcome our fetish for “Tags of Super”.  This could induce excruciating pain for the person (talking about every woman) with whom expectations are tied up – I meant both physically and mentally. Who are we to judge  someone’s capabilities? This is an important question to be asked at this very moment.  As a society we need to rethink our stand in matters pertaining to a woman / girl (let’s not leave boys our of this 😁):

  • Raise kids equally : it implies two things, mother and father both should be held responsible for a child’s upbringing. And kids of both the genders should be given same set of tasks at home without any bias. A boy can cook and a girl can take care of accounts. Such upbringing would ensure a complete person in the making.
  • Don’t tell your boys that boys don’t cry. Such suppression can be dangerous as they find infliction of pain on others as an outlet to their emotions. Many domestic violence cases have this psychological disorder behind them.
  • Marriage / bearing kids is not the end of the world. Stop thinking about other’s personal decisions.
  • Accept the fact that everyone have their own strengths and flaws. A fish can’t fly and and a monkey can’t swim in water. Your constant critical judgement may fail them in things they do best. They need space, so back out please.
  • Stop making people believe irrespective of the gender that their lives will be meaningful only if they are able to please everyone and fit the “normal” bill. It is the peer pressure many a times that can stop a husband from participating in the household chores lest he will be called a hen pecked husband.  It is the same pressure that makes a woman to continue her broken relationships lest she will be tagged with numerous tags for she decided to think about her freedom.

A woman needs equal amount of respect and space as that of love. She deserves it completely, period!! And I salute to everyone who are leading the path in giving complete support to the women in their lives.

PS: I am not a supporter of third wave of (toxic) feminism that completely distorted the meaning of space and freedom for women and wrongly influencing young minds.  Boozing, doing drugs, having multiple physical relationships, using swear words, manipulating situations and using sympathy / victim card to settle scores with every man in their lives in the name of empowerment is only polluting the already fragile fabric of the society.  Empowerment is about educating and emancipation.  It’s about getting equal opportunities, equal pay, equal rights.  If something is wrong for a man it is equally wrong for a woman too, just because she does it won’t make it right.

Is Violence Only Physical?


Originally Posted On Candles Online.

Photo source: wordpress free photo library

Violence as a weapon have distorted the face of our planet innumerable times. From road rage cases to world wars; from open wars fought on line of controls to proxy wars fought within the boundaries targeting the innocent population violence has a history as old as human civilisation.  The Charles Darwin’s Theory of (Survival Of The Fittest) Evolution found undying patronage in Man, where the sheer want to demonstrate dominance and hold onto power have influenced him over ages and centuries to use “Violence” as tool of elimination of everything and everyone opposed to his ideas, perhaps seeming threat to his survival.  Invasions, mass murders, crucifying the icons / leaders to instill fear, blood and gory – history has seen it all!

What is the purpose of resorting to Violence?  Hitting / attacking someone physically has its core agenda – to hurt, to overpower, to silence, to instill fear – though the intent, the intensity, the reason / provocation differ in every situation.  Physical wounds heal and might or might not leave scars behind apparent to the naked eyes but impact is beyond what we can see.  Petty examples:

  • A 10-year old son is beaten up by his father for being mischievous to discipline him because he believed in the saying “Spare The Rod Spoil The Child”. For few years it did discipline the son, few years later the son pretended to fear/ listen to his father and then gradually he lost both fear and respect for his father. In fact, he lost the fear of punishment for the rest of his life.
  • A child saw her mother being beaten up and insulted daily at the hands of her father so much so that she was killed one day.  Her father believed strongly in patriarchy to dominate his wife but his brutality has left his daughter fearing relationships for her life.
  • In the momentous heat of a road rage a person kills another leaving the family of the deceased bewildered and broken.
  • The brutal attacks of nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki have not only left generations crippled  but has blemished the history pages.

I can go on and on like this.  The mental impact of physical violence is something we rarely discuss or just brush and forget. Irony is that all the laws around the world are formed to curb violence as in the physical nature of it and since the mental assaults are unaccounted for, rarely laws are formulated to address the issue. Even if few are chalked out, the onus of proving the cause and effect relationship is quite a job for a person already hit.

Another Angle: Well since we all care about “Materialistic, Tangible, Physical” dimensions of things we completely undermine and underestimate or sometimes ignore the murderous impact one’s Words can have. The greatest asset a human being possesses is his ability to communicate, and words as a part of that process are really powerful. They can build and destroy with equal magnitude. An instance from lives of innumerable women pinned down by patriarchy: A well educated man who believes he is liberal in his thoughts, boasts of never raising his hands on his wife but would constantly pick on her  -criticising her, demeaning her, mocking her, abusing her verbally and always getting away with, “I was only angry but you know how much I love you.  And I am not like other husbands who hit their wives”.  But his constant banter would leave the poor soul depleted in confidence and shattered. And his behaviour influences others as well to take her for granted, for instance children, in-laws and she herself.  This is murder of the zeal, courage and enthusiasm of the person turning a soul into a lifeless machine. Depression, suicidal tendencies, anxieties and many more mental health complications are a result of such mental assaults.   And since assault is not physical in nature it goes unnoticed, unreported most of the times. In India which is a patriarchal society laws are framed to curb domestic violence cases but the mental assault done by degrading banter is conveniently sidelined.

That was just a drop from the ocean of brutalities words have caused/ could cause.

How not to inflict “mental” violence:  As much as you hate to be a victim of someone’s angst you must be careful enough not to inflict the same pain onto others:

  • If words are silver, silence is golden. Don’t speak when not fit to, lest you put many things/ relationships at stake.
  • Walking out of the heated or uncomfortable moments momentarily might save the day for good.
  • Just put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Don’t spew the venom even if it is  in humour, if you yourself can’t take it.

The mental impact of violence – physical or otherwise needs much more deep rooted discussion. I just tried to bring the required focus on the neglected issue. It requires much more introspection, doesn’t it?

What Is Your Struggle?


Originally Posted On Candles Online

“Life is a book – read it!

Life is a journey – go through it!

Life is a feeling – experience it!

Life is a theory – prove it!

Life is an examination – pass it!”

This is the crap I used to write / practice in the initial days of learning Ms Word of Ms Office package (basic computer knowledge for everyone 😁) and used to feel so great about myself 🤣🤣. And seriously show it to the trainer in the disguise of getting my learnings checked – Look at the hidden writer in me, how philosophical I am (now I am realizing what a fool I was🤣). Well that was back in 2004-05, I was just 19 then. Now you know my age 😉. Old enough to understand what life is about? May be 😊.

It is a struggle for sure that is designed to check your temperament. The magnitude of struggle differ from person to person; situation to situation; day to day.

Poverty, unemployment, illiteracy – macro struggles (countries / economies are in constant face offs with these issues).

Anger, greed, lust, materialistic attachments – struggles of every soul.

But I am not educated enough to discuss anything so deep, serious and profound. So why not open up about our struggles that are no less serious than these 😁.

My biggest struggles: I am sure the list might seem and sound funny but definitely not easy to fight and even sure that all of us without any exception have such interesting struggles:

  • I struggle to keep my eyes wide open from the moment I enter any vehicle be it car, auto rickshaw, train, bus – just name it. This is the reason I refrain from sitting next to my husband in our car because as they say if you sleep sitting next to the driver you will surely rub off your yawning spirit on to him and driving needs utmost concentration.
  • I struggle to keep my diet on track. My taste buds accustomed to Dilli style spicy food (for Delhites its never Delhi but Dilli) salads and health drinks are too bland and boring. And sweet tooth is only aggravating my fight to keep a check on calories intake. But the only solace in this battle is that I am not alone 😉. There’s an entire army of food lovers who are finding it difficult to switch to alternative choices 😁.
  • I struggle to strictly stick to the list of “To Do Things” in a day. Yes, you call it Procrastination and I chose to term it laziness. Being blunt might give enough impetus to fight it😁.
  • I struggle to call a spade A Spade and that got me into soup lot many times.
  • Keeping things and forgetting them and worrying about the things ensuing.

That was just a glimpse into my mundane yet not trivial struggles. We all have such struggles that are laughed off, ridiculed but they have their own place in making our lives interesting, give us few memories. Won’t you agree? If yes open up about your “Struggles”.

Don’t We Deserve Good Leaders?


Originally Posted On Candles Online

In 2015, I came across a very stupid statement by a person from political fraternity.  He said, “Chinese food, jeans and mobile phones are the reasons behind increasing sexual violence/ rapes in India“. That had me in splits 🤣. On another occasion a head of regional political party said “boys will be boys“, following the increasing rate of sexual crimes. That was cringeworthy and repulsive but not “just it”.  Unfortunately a never ending string of such hateful, controversial, insensitive and senseless comments blaming the victims rather than the culprits are a part and parcel of the politician resumes in India. And our politicians make good comedians too 😁. Let me quote few more politicians (funny statements) before I put across my agenda to pen this article:

“Rings could be banned as if it goes missing, it might cause unnecessary problems. Flowers, I am sure, would not be banned. Anklets should be banned, they can affect boys’ studies and concentration, the clinking sound of anklets distracts boys.” “Civil and not mechanical engineers should apply for civil services.” 

“Darwin’s theory of evolution is scientifically wrong… nobody including our ancestors have said in written or oral that they saw an ape turning into a man.”

“You will get jaundice if you attend rallies of other parties.” 

(Source: different news papers)

They are just very few drops from the murky waters (better read gutters as in that of drainage systems) of ignorance and stupidity our politicians are diving and swimming in.  From outraging the modesty of a woman with their below the belt comments to making a complete fool of themselves with their idiotic statements our politicians have done everything.

So coming to my purpose of writing this article – vent out my frustration, can’t state out more elaborately than this. We are a country of population of over 130 billion who believe in the constitution of our country that confers it the power of democracy.  It awarded us the right to choose among the candidates to be our representatives on national and international podiums and these are the people we chose?

It would be very interesting to know that in India if you are planning to apply for the least possible office job in any government department the candidate must have minimum set of educational qualifications, aptitude, age bar is set after which you are not eligible to apply and a plethora of different examinations to filter the right person for the right job. It’s for the  entry level I am talking about. I myself have given examinations (that I flunked to say the least 🤣). But the handful people we chose to be our leaders – have we ever checked their credentials to be in that position we put them in?

Comically, ironically and sadly for a person to be a politician in India there are no set of qualifications that they must possess.  We have school dropouts as our leaders, the list is so long that I am unable to mention it in this small article 😛 . Few of them never even went to school to begin with. What a shame! On contrary the ability to mobilise the mob mentality, criminal background, nepotism, talking big (only talking mind you 😁), pulling wool out of innocent voters in the name of decade(s) old issues of poverty & unemployment – these are the qualifications that makes out a great recipe for a great politician in India. Livid ? But that’s the truth.

Over 70 years many regulations imposed and passed as laws but one law (or set of laws) that I would recommend or say love to see being reinforced : Transparency as to what is your qualification to lead us:

  • Graduation should be the minimum educational requirement for anyone willing to contest elections
  • Minimum age bar be 25 and retirement at the age of 65. We need young blood and ideas to come in and contribute. Interesting fact: Finland has the youngest prime minister –  Sanna Marin, 34 years old where as…. just fill in the blanks 😁
  • No criminal record. No person holding even single criminal case against him/ her should be allowed to enter the assembly. They should have the same parameters of judging just as any other person vying for a government job is judged upon.
  • VIP culture should be done away with – I know I am wishing too much 😁.
  • Surnames shouldn’t be the passport for wishful portfolios without any proven track record of work. Kingdoms and dynasties are gone but trails are still lingering on. Political clout is just another business for decades now. Proven track record of work at grass root levels should be made mandatory.  It would only infuse confidence of people  about their leadership and future.
  • Do away with undue subsidies and freebies. Every hike in salary politicians demand for they should be made accountable for it’s out of the taxes we pay they are getting paid.

Though these points seem superficial for a country like India but completely need of the hour. Our politicians (majority) are smart (read scrupulous) enough to divide us and make us concentrate on issues other than development or even instigate hate.  And in this process they are steering clear of any accountability.  And when questioned they either play blame game or have another controversy ready to heat up the TRP markets.  Also given that India is being looked upon by the world don’t we deserve good leaders who work with clear conscience and talk some sense. What say?

Are You Suffering From “I am Sorry” Syndrome?


Originally posted on Candles online

I invited a family to dinner at our place. The lady of the family brought home made cake for dessert.  But I forgot to serve the same and ended up serving a readymade sweet. And when they left I realised (actually was made to realise 😁) what a blunder I had committed. I should have served the cake too, its courtesy and etiquette. And then I was on my guilt trip. I texted her to seek forgiveness. Though she said she didn’t mind it at all, asked me to relax and chill, it’s been a long time now since we spoke to each other 😁 (she is busy with her examinations). What I did at the dinner was completely unintentional; being forgetful was my weakness rather than my mistake. But I pleaded.

And this isn’t the first time when I said ‘Sorry’ for something so trivial. I talk to my friends, relatives and out of no where after I finish my conversations I have a demon visiting me “Guilt” that makes me think, rethink – “did I utter something wrong to offend the person?”, “let’s say sorry before it’s too late” and I don’t relent from saying sorry. In fact I say ‘Sorry’ way too much.  I fear grudges and misunderstandings, hence I say sorry. So much so that I could possibly paint myself as nervous, weak or simply stupid.  If you have to choose a nickname for me “The Sorry Girl” would do just fine🤣🤣.

Too much of guilt or say “false” guilt for every non existing/ illogical/ trivial issue could be as dangerous as self medicating after surfing on Google for few apparent symptoms and assuming that you are suffering from a dreadful illness. Doctors are there for a reason, right? Don’t assume, for it could lead to side effects more effectively than yielding positive results. “Feeling Sorry” syndrome as I call it is something same as self medicating.  When you assume things and go on a guilt trip more often than not, you self deplete yourself. Extreme self consciousness so as to not to hurt anyone makes you go into a shell which equals to lower self esteem and confidence.  I have myself experienced the dilemma very often “shall I ask? Shall I say? Shall I tell?”.  Because I don’t want anyone to feel bad and me either as a consequence to my actions and words.  And this is where I hesitate to say NO (my false guilt of hurting someone being my constant companion).  But now I am slowly realising it isn’t worth it, at least not every situation requires irrelevant deep introspection that shows me as a insensitive human, oblivious to others feelings.

I am not against minding words and actions in advance for it reflects an educated mind. And to be conscious about how others may feel reflects your sensible side. But the question is how much is enough and what is unwanted.  Feelings like Regret, Guilt are as precious as Love and Care to be squandered away on unimportant things.  For instance: You got stuck in traffic irrespective of starting really early so you say sorry and move on. This is how it should be. But if you start analysing what the other person might think of you, how much business loss he might have incurred just because of your delay and start off meekly to please unnecessarily, this is something awkward and uncalled for. This hampers your personality, your image. And this is called false guilt. Your false guilt will let others take advantage of you, period.

Talk and move on! You feel you have done something wrong, talk about it to the concerned person, settle the matter there. Don’t let it linger on your mind for long. If the other person understands your explanation no worries. But if the other person is indifferent, it isn’t your fault, mind you. Remember you can’t please everyone. Then why burden your heart with “I don’t deserve them” tag. Why can’t it be the other way round?

Always remember:

  • Be cordial but not overtly submissive, there’s a huge difference.
  • Don’t nurse ego
  • Don’t be shy to say sorry when you feel you need to, you want to
  • Relationships are important but if you can’t value yourself relationships can’t be sane and equal.
  • Watch out words and actions before they are beyond your control.

Life, experience, wisdom – A sure shot medication for your Sorry Syndrome. What say?

Looking Back With A Content Heart


woman doing hand heart sign
Photo by Hassan OUAJBIR on Pexels.com
  • Did I manage to check every item on my bucket list in the current year ? NO.
  • Will I able to do it in the coming days before I bid adieu to this year? No

Then what is the content about? I am alive and kicking, isn’t it something to be happy about? I am healthy and managed to survive this year without any major health issues, isn’t this something to be happy about in the times where every puff of air we breathe is capable of putting us in direct line of fire of dreadful diseases? My family, my near and dear ones are with me when relationships are volatile and vulnerable, isn’t this something I should be happy about? I have a roof over my head and heart free of fear, is there any happiness greater than this?

No, this is no spiritual discourse but the hard truth of life that I am trying to absorb as much as I can.

Coming to what I have done and what I got in 2019, few are tangible successes whereas few others are intangible emotions. How about a sneak peek, come with me 😊:

  • Beginning was superb: January 2019 gave me the requisite impetus to march towards my long pending goal of learning how to drive. I cleared my driving theory test (on second attempt though 🙈).  That really charged me well to take on the next challenge of setting my hands on the steering for the first time in 34 years of my life. That was something!!! (Now I am eligible for provisional driving licence, a step closer to claim my independence 😁).
  • Many first times: I mentioned it many times in my articles that my son is a non verbal autistic child. Every word he says is an ecstasy for us for obvious reasons. Every addition in his vocabulary is a mirror to his development and evolution. And when he said “Amma” (mother), “Nanna” (father) for the first time in eight years of his birth it was an altogether a different whirlpool of emotions for me. For any child Ma, Pa are the first words/ sounds but my ears yearned all these years for that call.  It’s not that those words give approval to the bond we share with our son but definitely they satisfy our  senses. It was during our flight to India. He was seated with his father separately. He was really worried as to where his mother and sister has gone and was constantly nagging the crew asking about me by only mentioning  “Amma, Amma”.  When the crew asked me I was clueless if it’s my son or not.  And when my doubts dispelled I was happy beyond my words could express.  Tears that I hid from co passengers can only explain which  I fail to do it here.
  • Amazing surprise: When our stay in India was drawing to a close I got a sweet surprise.  My brother in law broke the news that they will be soon our neighbours (Brussels and Amsterdam  are just 2 and half hours away) as they used to be four years back.  That’s pure happiness.  Nothing beats the fun and happiness of having family around especially when you are in far away lands.  They have been with us in our thick and thins and my co-sister is an amazing fun loving person to be around.  Looking forward for 2020 winter shopping gal! (She would know if she is reading this 😁)
  • Very important lesson learnt: Throughout my life I heard people saying “Karma catch you sooner or later” (can’t use the phrase millennials use 😁) but this year gave me first hand experience of that. In my growing up years I was upset (an understatement) with my father that he signed up as a guarantor for someone and we faced extreme crunch situations at home because of his action.  My reaction for that particular act of him was very sour.   I  always cautioned my brother, my husband, my close ones against being a guarantor to anyone.  I maintained “if you can help do it but don’t pledge it with a signature”. But karma caught me as I signed a subscription contract of telecom services of another brand other than what we are using now unmindfully (for the first and last time) only to realise few days later that my previous service provider severed my connection and I am left with no contact number. This is after I called the correspondent the next day and declined the offer. But who cares when the signature is there 😔. I got the taste of my own medicine. That reminded me of my folly then. I was harsh instead of understanding his position. Few moments are beyond your intelligence, pragmatism, logic and reasoning, simple. Perhaps I learnt two lessons: what goes around comes back and your signature might not be an autograph but definitely can buy you dire consequences if used without giving a thought. Fortunately no serious damage done this time.
  • I grew: Understanding people, keeping few close ones, confiding heart to them, drawing inspirations from every possible person, accepting mistakes, making new ones and learning from them, able to motivate myself, picking up from shattered pieces and commencing a new stride again and most importantly being happy – this is what I learnt during this year. And my journey is still on for the next year too. Schedule for the journey will be released next year 😁😉.

To be honest I don’t have much to write about but I started believing that life is better lived every moment than to strive hard to create moments. And I lived 2019 with content for I have life and I am growing up every moment.

I am Bound Till….


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I am bound till the time I test the strength of last strand of bond between us. When it gives away I am free.

I am bound till the time my fingers are engulfed by even a single bleak ray of hope. When it is shut down I am free.

I am bound till the time I garner strength to carry on in this lone battle every time I falter. When weakness embraces me I am free.

I am bound till the time I care to repair and iron out the creases from our worn out relationship. When indifference sets in I am free.

I am bound till the time I choose to suffer to make you win in front of the world. When I chose to make my own victory stride I am free.

I am bound till the time I decide……

***This is applicable to everyone who is making silent contributions in their lives yet never credited sans any gender bias ****

Recipe For Being A Good Neighbour


 

smiling man and woman sitting beside door
Photo by Wendy Wei on Pexels.com

Originally posted on Candles Online

When we talk about the delicate issue of RELATIONSHIPS our discussions hover around bonds between spouses, friends, lovers, parents, in-laws too. But the most immediate relationship is often given a miss or rarely finds a mention in that list – Neighbours.

I think I don’t have to reiterate the importance of neighbours when there’s a commandment  in the Bible itself- Love Thy Neighbour!

Who are Neighbours? Rather who are good neighbours? Or what are default neighbour settings? Door bell rings, ding dong- “Hello can I borrow one cup of sugar? Do you have a glass of milk? We have guests at our home can we send them over? What is your son doing? When is your daughter getting married? Hope we haven’t disturbed you. Hope you were not busy.  How dare you let the speck of dust from your home flew to our gate?”  Yeah this is how a standard neighbour behaves 😁. Yeah I grew up among such amazing neighbourhood where people’s interest always lied in other’s business. In fact during my 10 years stay in Belgium I missed such intervening neighbours (😉 pun intended). And whenever I visit my brother in India the same void is fulfilled by his neighbours who always make sure that they never miss an update from what is happening within the four walls of his home 😁. I love that, I enjoy that.

Well, this was a dose of humour. But relationship with neighbours has a serious tone to it.  My father used to say “Neighbours are very important in our lives. Our friends, our relatives all stay away from us. It takes time for any information  to reach them and eventually for them to reach us. When problems, traumas, disasters strike us it’s our neighbour that attends us first”. This made a mark on my mind permanently. We often talk about Society but that’s our neighbhours and a cluster of neighbourhoods that comprise  our society, isn’t it? So cordial relationships are so important for a robust society.

On innumerable occasions I have seen my father reaching out to help neighbours without holding grudges (also fortunate enough to have had neighbours who stood by us in our thick and thins). Having seen him take a stand for others I understood that relationship between neighbours is as delicate as any other relationship that we cherish and vouch for.

How to be a good neighbour?

  • Don’t try to peep in their lives through the creeks in the walls: We all have encountered such neighbours I am sure.  But too much intervention in personal spaces serves only irritation and agitation. We live in times where people need space from parents and spouses then neighbours should behave accordingly 😁. Please don’t worry too much about the gold your neighbour buys or their kids’ education or marriage. They can take care of that.
  • Don’t hold grudges: Ususally people hold grudges for trivial issues like ” they didn’t invite us to their son’s first birthday party, we were not informed about the promotion Mr.XYZ got” and this comic list goes on.  This is human nature. But you will be called human only when you act human. When something goes wrong with your neighbour, when the need for help arises in your proximity you should act instead of taunting.  You might not be able to offer financial assistance often but then your presence also counts amidst the crises situation.  Think about it!
  • Use your tongue wisely:  Tongue is a powerful weapon. It can heal, it can hurt. We all know how and what I mean so won’t go into an explanation mode. Spreading rumours, gossiping, using foul language, talking nonsense and inflicting pain and fear are signs of the rotten mentality. Stay clear of this in both directions – neither be a spectator/ recipient nor a participant.  Use your words to soothe a person’s grief, to boost confidence, to support.  Be a good person, period! And remember Karma always catches up.

A warm greeting, a gentle smile, a sound advice (only when asked 😁), a steady hand stretched out to help – And here you are  –  A good neighbour.  Be it, Be the change you want to see and people will not only love you but might possibly follow your footsteps.

And not to miss cordial relationships with neighbours is important at all levels be it buildings or countries – just saying 😁😉.

MEN ARE HUMANS TOO


Candles Online

A day such as International Men’s Day makes us stop on our steps and give a deep thought to men. Women do need that extra bit of attention because all the world over, be it in developed or developing nations, they are the oppressed lot – in different but many ways. However, men are calling out too – their voices being doused by the stereotypes and mutilated by the rigid societal frameworks that have defined gender roles.

The theme for International Men’s Day 2019 – ‘Making a difference for men and boys’ made me think whether any difference is needed for men and boys, and if so how can we (men and women) contribute towards it. Some stereotypes definitely need to be revisited to be modified.

#Men are supposed to be strong

What does ‘strong’ mean exactly? Well, in the context of men, ‘strong’ means physically, emotionally, financially and socially…

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