My middle class sentiments: sensibilities or shakles???

Ah! Today when in the morning, I looked at what my Little one had to announce to the world, I was in for a big surprise! She had announced, uninhibitedly, her love for Simone de Beauvoir and her classic masterpiece “The Second Sex“. And i was suddenly reminded of my first reading of the book “The Second Sex” and identifying with much of the said and unsaid in the book. I realized after reading the book that women all over the world, of any nationality or creed, think in a similar manner. My second acquaintance with the book was when  I was in Hyderabad and my daughter had bought this book and flaunted it proudly to me and her Papa. KS was a bit uncomfortable looking at the title of the book but as he had had me as his wife of a considerably long time so these kind of books no longer surprised him much! Later we read together some of the portions of the book and had discussions about it. But all this happened inside the four walls of our home! I remember discussing about more explicit emotions and feelings during some very debatable seminars but then these seminars were also held inside four walls where like-minded persons discussed such topics. But when my daughter shouted at the top of her voice on Facebook how she loved the book, my middle class sentiments came rushing to me. The dilemma, whether these sentiments were sensibilities inbuilt in my persona during my growing up years or they were the shackles that stopped me from openly endorsing certain things that I would endorse in privacy of select few, be they my family or friends, faced me! Whether I was a hypocrite or only had my real self under wraps and covers which I would reveal to select few, made me uncomfortable. What was this middle class sentiments that had raised their ugly head when I was past middle age, made me think and think hard.

I had to peep, once again, inside the dark alleys of my childhood that took me back to early sixties when I grew up in narrow alleys of Lower Bazaar Simla. Why Simla, and why not Shimla? Because this past that i refer to relates to Simla and not in Shimla. Growing up in Lower Bazaar where we lived in a small house, the first house in a narrow alley, facing stairs. Stairs in Simla have always stood for me as vehicles to reach out–sometimes to reach down and sometimes to reach up. reaching up, metaphorically and symbolically always heralded positive feelings as it meant reaching the Mall from the Lower Bazaar and for any dweller of Lower Bazaar the Mall was the ultimate in everything–even in dreams!

The Mall signified freedom, anonymity and unbridled access to a life of dreams whereas the Lower Baaar meant shackles, familiarity and the harsh realities of real life! Where boys were either brothers or cousins and boy-friends were a creed of romantics that had to be talked about in hush-hush tones. Well, today some forty year later, when I am fifty-four, I can laugh at all those things which were so dreadful to me at that point of time. In our days, only “bad’ girls had boyfriends! If a boy from some other school would know your name you would have thousands of questions to answer HOW?? If your name was mentioned on a wooden desk of a class room, be sure that you were doomed for life as the name would be etched with a blade and nothing could undo the damage to the wooden desk or to the repute of the poor girl! If some boy called aloud your name, be sure to be censured by all the so called “good” girls! The boys in love were seen only in a movies and no doubt that “Bobby” became a hit during my college days! The most romantic of the boys would follow a girl till some distance on the road leading to her home, maintaining respectable distance. And still everybody else would know what was being cooked between the two! The examples are numerous and today might seem funny belonging to a world that has long been forgotten, even by those who lived in that world.

The Mall was the only place where a boy, and that too if he was a part of a big group of boys, could follow a girl,  in a group of girls, maintaining a steady distance! The only boys you talked to were your cousins or at the best your friend’s cousins! Life was interesting, very interesting! It was fun as no one would go to Facebook, the first thing in the morning, to declare his or her liking or love for a person, place or a thing!

That was surely “Love in Shimla” in the real way!

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Sweet memories make a Home a Sweet Home…

When my little one tagged me on a picture on her Facebook account, I was surprised to see a one of the pictures of our home that was taken in the year 2006! One look at the picture and so many sweet memories c ame flooding down my memory lane. All sweet memories of the happy moments having spent together, the quality time that we shared together. Today all my kids are busy in their own life but these happy memories keep us bonded together despite the distance in time and places!

I remember having seen a pillow cover with these figures at one of my colleagues home. I was so attracted towards them that I wanted to copy them anywhere on anything. So the first time I painted these little figures was on one of my Dupattas. The suit is long back discarded but I have kept the Dupatta tagged securely as one of  my precious assortments. The Dupatta was done beautifully and I remember my kids weaving stories about the characters on the painted dupatta!

I remember clearly that it was during Diwali of 2005 when all Indian homes get a new look. We had a new distemper on the walls. I saw to it that we had it in earthy pale colour as the kids were planning to paint the wall this time. We had kept it secret from the maser of the house. It had to be a big surprise! So one day we bought the dry paint in rusty brown colour, a pack of favicol and some brushes. A ssoon as KS went to his office, we started with our plan. First thing was to draw a straight line so that the wall painting had some symmetry! What a tough job it was. Everytime we would draw the line and then see it from some distance, one or the other would say that the line was not straight! But later we had a consensus and a line was marked. Another one was also marked so that we had inner area marked for painting. We started drawing the figures with white chalk which was in abundant with me being a teacher!

We just modified the design the way it pleased us. I remember always adding three small figures and saying these are you three. I was so immersed in the painting that it came to represent my life surrounded by my own three kids. I would draw a mother figure and three kids around her. The little one had her own designs and she would at times tell me that I was not being very neat in painting!

We started on a very excited note but by afternoon, we were very tired. My elder daughter was constantly supplying us with hot cups of tea to keep us going. She would be asked at times to lend a little of help in painting some figures. My son, too, would help but mainly it was the little one and I who constantly went on to the end! By evening the painting seemed to come to life and it was a beauty to look at. It seemed as it whole of the room had acquired a life of its own with figures on wall.

we kept on filling whatever space on the painting  area seemed blank. The pastoral life of prehistoric time came to life in the painting. i remember painting a human figure climbing a tree that my little one said looked like a monkey. The thing was that nothing could be erased once drawn, so we had to be very careful. it was creativity along with ingenuity that had its play at our home that day!

And after some eight hours of hard work, the painting was finally completed. And the master of the home had a full laugh watching the surprised transformation of a plain wall!  With a horrible backache and arms ache because of continuous upward stretching of arms for long eight hours, we felt like dead horses! But the sense of having accomplished something worthwhile,working together, was heavenly. We had this wall painting till two years when the next whitewsh cleaned our wall of the precious moments of our life. Pictures of our home, with this painting on the wall, are the only memories that we have today but the memory of the happy time spent together, even today, fills our hearts with a beautiful sensation.

And we spent many a happy moments under the benevolent gaze of the figures in this painting! I am happy that my kids would carry the fragrance of the happy time having spent together. An investment that we had very wisely and lovingly made during their formative years!

The Best Lesson that I Learnt in the Year 2010…

Looking back and reflecting on the year 2010, that is about to become a part of history, I can say without an iota of doubt that it has taught me a great lesson. It has taught me to have faith in God, trust the basic goodness of human beings, the power of destiny, and the law of Karma. I don’t think that by any means it is a small lesson that I learn in the year 2010!

I learnt that survival of faith and human life is God’s will to show us that come what may, His will must prevail. I saw and felt the belief of people in the power of God and felt humbled by their faith! I saw the auspicious signs on rocky terrains as a testimony of people’s faith in God!

I saw life surviving under much trying circumstances. I saw and noticed for first time in my life beautiful small flowers spreading color around dull and drab colourless rocks! I learnt to appreciate that life can survive under most difficult circumstances. I learnt that irrespective of the fragility of survival, these flowers were spreading colour and fragrance to one and all. I saw beautiful flowers providing relief to the tired travellers, the flowers that sprung from the hard rocks. The flowers whose destiny and life could be smashed anytime under the feet of an callous traveller!

I saw roots of trees finding a succor from hard rocks which sustained my belief that even hard exteriors had a soft heart inside. These roots of a big tree had found a succor and strength from a rock which had such a tough exterior. The green foliage that grew abundantly on the surface of these rocks strengthened my conviction that if you have will to survive, the Nature will provide the support!

I learnt the undying wish to survive even under the cruel hands of imminent death!
I learn to have faith and spread love and belief. Thank you Year 2010 for being so supportive and caring to me and my loved ones!

Goodbye 2010!

The Unsolved Queries…

21 December, 2010

It has been two years today but the memory of the fateful day 21 December, 2008 is still fresh in my mind. And why won’t it be as it shattered our peaceful life. On this day a call from a complete stranger changed my world. A call informing me about the grave traumatic head injury of my husband. God has been very merciful to us and K S is fine today but the unsolved mystery as to what had happened still makes me sleepless nights.

A Gaze from behind the Gauze…

Sunday,12 December, 2010

Amma was sitting in a chair outside my home. The Sun rays of the morning time made her face shine in a glow that made me fetch my camera. Amma was busy talking to one od my neighbor and friends and she would not look at me or my camera. Recently she has become shy of camera, I don’t know why? But undeterred by her stance, I clicked some pics of her without her knowledge. And while watching the pics I found them to be beautiful  shots as the focus in these pictures is not on the subject but on the dialogue between age and youth, between experience and adventure and between hope and belief!

The iron gauze has acted as a filter to distinguish between the chaff and the grains and I could see a new-look Amma! A new dimensional Amma!

Amma:The Real Source of my Strength…

Sunday, 5 December, 2010

Talking to Amma in the morning and listening to her, full of life, banal details made me suddenly realize that here is the real source of my strength. She always has stood for me and is there when I need her. Her benign presence around me has always filled me up with a new courage. Whether it was when Nidhu, my eldest daughter, was blessed with a baby and I was all alone at Hamirpur to look after her, Amma came all the way travelling a distance of over 100 kilometers on a motorbik eas she could not wait a second when she knew that I needed her. Or whether at the time when I had to go to Shimla to consult a lawyer but could not leave behind Nidhu with a young infant, Amma was there so that I could be free to go to Shimla. Amma has always provided me with strength and courage whenever I seemed to dwindle and weakened!

I know where I have got this strength from. My courage, the stamina and indomitable spirit comes from my Amma! Though I was always closer to Bauji and was always his favourite but looking back I can see clearly that it was Amma who was the force behind even my Bauji.

Like all small girls I, sometimes, would hate Amma as she was so strict with us. She still is a perfectionist and does the things in a manner that puts to shame all the youngsters. Recently I have been able to see another aspect of her courage that makes her the most revered person in my life and I can say loud and clear that the genes that made me so strong, come from her!

Amma, I simply adore you!

Rejoicing the glory of an honorable retirment of my husband…

Tuesday, 30 November, 2010

K.S.. my husband,  after a span of 34 years and about 6 months of having served the department of Animal Husbandry, got retired on 30 November, 2010. And the fact that we have been married for 32 years and 7 months speaks of the fact that I have seen him dedicating himself, soul and heart, in the job that he had undertaken at a very young age! It was a moment of a proud achievement for whole of the family! I could feel how contended it is for the person, and all the members if the family, to attain retirement after superannuation!

I along with my younger daughter was with K S to share his proudest and most sentimental moments of his career. I might write later of my feelings but I had to write something so that the feeling of happiness that I rejoiced sharing the glory of my husband’s retirement, is shared with my readers before it gets stale!

It was a wonderful mix of emotions. If there was a bit of sadness there was more of a sense of proud accomplishment. We missed Ashu and Nidhu, Vikrant, my son-in-law and Aarush, my grandson,the most important member of the family, a lot at this get-together! But one child with us made more than enough to keep us bonded together.

Looking at the pictures I can say with a sense of proud that despite having seen some very hard times, we have laughed together to this Day!