Monday, September 28, 2015

Chalk Art

Have you ever walked on the sidewalks and noticed the colorful art little children make on them? Isn't that beautiful and reminiscent of our own childhood? Below I have written a haiku on that based on the Haiku Horizons haiku prompt - between

Sidewalk lies-
Between two houses-
Of chalk art

Image Source here

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Would love to hear from you, folks!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Wise Old Words.....

Underneath the happy countenance is a sea of wisdom that sprang from a life lived to the hilt.....
Image Source here

Advice comes in a variety of ways, from a variety of people. Sometimes solicited, sometimes unwarranted, it can make or spoil one's day. But good advice stays for long, and sometimes for good. Coleridge, the famous English poet has rightly put it words:

"Advice is like snow - the slower it falls, the longer it dwells upon, and the deeper it sinks into the mind."

Words of wisdom are like the foundation of a good building. The edifice cannot be strong without a good base, and wise words act like a sturdy support and prevent it from falling to pieces. We all have had our share of good as well as bad guidance. I am going to share here three chance meetings with complete strangers. The conversations almost always ended with a message, just like it happens in short stories with morals. All conversations revolve around children, and in all three instances, the people I met were probably grandparents in their lives.

1) On on my walk back from my son's preschool, I chanced upon an old couple. The lady was blind. The gentleman had gone looking for their's doctor's address. The lady was feeling scared and I remember making her sit comfortably on a bench nearby as we waiting for her husband to arrive. When the husband came, he was all ears to my son and his friend. He watched the two kids running around and told me in brief his own story of becoming a parent. The couple had been unfortunate for having lost many of their kids before birth and only one daughter, their loving daughter, had survived. The gentleman told me to observe and celebrate each day of my child's growing up. He said, "Give them all your love, for they grow up really fast." The words touched my heart as I thought of the moments the couple might have spent on her daughter and their unborn children. I thought about my own parents who had given me such a good life. And I looked at own son running around, growing up. He was born only yesterday and here I was taking him to preschool. As I write this, I realize that he is in big school now and has a sister who is two. Time really flies and they do grow up fast! 

2) Another trip to the park to let my little one expend her energies. As she tries to overcome her fear of swings, an uncle who has come with his grandson observes us. He notices that I am talking in my native language although I am in a foreign land. He starts talking and we discuss a few things. He talks about his own country and mine. He talks about America, about the safety women enjoy here, about the integrity of people living here. Then we talk about education, about culture and about our language. The discussion leads us to a point where I say that learning your mother tongue is important. And then uncle says, Yes you are right. Mother tongue is like our root. It tells us where we came from.' And those words stuck to me. Although I had not given much thought to it before, I realized that learning one's language was the beginning of an understanding of one's culture. It was the first step towards attaining consciousness regarding one's identity.

3) A trip to Walmart with my son who happened to be in a sulky mood and with my daughter who was whining for a bike. My husband was at the check-out counter. A gentleman came and said hello to my son who responded in not much of a proper way. I ignored. The gentleman asked my son how many toys he bought today to which my son replied, "None." "Oh, that's great. Do you know how many toys I had when I was your age? I had just a cardboard and a pencil. It was my spaceship, my pirate ship, my rocket, my boat, my castle my house, my everything. And I played with my imagination....." As my son stood dumbstruck at the thought of not having a toy, the gentleman went on to explain how things were different in his times and how this cardboard and his imagination helped him develop love for rockets. Even today, he told us, he belonged to a club where they made rocket models. The words that he spoke still echo in my mind - A cardboard box and a pencil and lots of imagination - that is what they should play with. I remembered Einstein's words "Logic will take you from a to b, imagination will take you anywhere.'

Being a mother of two, I cannot just forget these lovely reflections by complete strangers. They were all people touching the twilight years of their life. And they shared with me something that would help me steer my way through the journey of motherhood with love and care. Upbringing is a huge uphill task that weighs heavily on a parent's mind. It is not just the right education, but also the right conduct of life that we ought to teach our children everyday. What the three gentlemen shared with me were ruminations that would guide me in many ways as I bring up my kids.

“I am participating in the #SachchiAdvice Contest by MaxLife in Association with BlogAdda.”
Also linking it with #Monday Musings on WriteTribe 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Secrets of the Night.....

Image Source here

Tonight's moon
whispers to me of secrets
Phoebe hides...

This Haiku is written in response to Carpe Diem Haiku prompt - tonight's moon. Please click here to read some wonderful pieces the writer shares personal favorite is the one by Paloma.

Do share your thoughts on my attempt.

Phoebe is the goddess of moon in Greek mythology.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Laughter after.......

Bubbles of joy
Sprinkles of water - laughter
after splash....

Image Source here
Written for Haiku Horizons prompt - After

Monday, September 21, 2015

♫♫♫.........I am 500 hundred miles away from home......♫♫♫....

I open the blinds of my balcony to let the sun in. A new day smiles. I look around and see not a single soul stirring. But the day still holds promise, for the verdant view outside makes me feel fresh and meditative. I crave for my hot cup of tea and head towards my kitchen. The clink and clank of pot and pan and finally the water is boiling and the tea leaves simmer in it. To make it pungent, I add ginger and the smell of it makes me come alive. How I love that aroma! Milk and sugar added, my cup is ready. Ah, that first sip in the morning - don't you relate to it, my dear tea-lovers! But isn't there something missing today? Yes, that chit-chat with my mother, that little companionship I enjoyed the past three months when I was in India. Not to mention that wonderful window in my mom's kitchen that let the outside world in every morning. Be it the rickshaw-wallah, the gigantic bull, the holy cows, the throng of vehicles, school-buses picking and dropping kids, or be it some parades or rallies where people protested for their rights , or be it the flooded roads where people stood stalled as their cars or scooters gave way, I saw it all. So today, as I tried to enjoy my tea in my isolated balcony, I reflected on the past few months and decided to write down my thoughts.

Sudoku Mornings with HT and my lovely Bhabhi!

Mornings without newspapers is unimaginable in India. So, with tea comes the newspaper. And with newspaper, my favorite Hindustan Times (HT), came Sudoku puzzles. Those who have had an addiction to these puzzles will understand how engrossing they are. And oh boy, the moment you get it all wrong! So, much to the chagrin of my mom who wanted my attention for a good conversation, I would drown myself into the newspaper trying to solve the puzzles. It was going fine until my bhabhi stepped in and gave it a try too, only to get hooked for the entire span of days I was there. Can you imagine how angry moms can get at this....! I am laughing as I remember mom asking both of us to stop this Sudoku fever. But, we are helpless and see only 1 to 9 all around!

My bhabhi with her daughter....

Image Source here

Kids Smile, Socialize, Smile....

What is it that makes one yearn for that life in India so much? My little kids go crazy as they have helluva good time. With so much love pouring in on them from all directions, they are pampered and spoiled. They become little social butterflies, forgetting toys and cartoons and engage socially in ways that are hard to imagine in US. Some might disagree with my opinion here but I don't intend to generalize. This is my personal opinion and something I witnessed my kids doing. As they added new words to their Hindi dictionary, I giggled at the questions my son would ask hearing songs (What does Ishq barse mean mom....from the song Teri meri kahani from Gabbar!). He finally decided to learn to play the song on his Casio and is these days humming and playing it. My daughter too is infected with the melodious music and has caught on the lyrics. Nani-dadi would often smile at the little aberrations my two year old daughter made while picking up the things she heard from people around her. And not to mention her new-found love for the colorful dresses everyone wears in India - from dupattas to heels, from ear-rings to bangles, she absorbed it all! Bhabhi's mom and my mom-in-law stitched beautiful dresses for her and the way she would sashay in those outfits and reach the mirror to admire herself was amusing and fun watch to watch.

Cookies or Traditional Sweets - What's your pick?

India is incomplete without its myriad rituals and festivals. Feasting with delicacies is so much a part of everyday life there. People flock restaurants on birthdays and festivals, and sometimes, just for some merry-making. So it won't be surprising to find your favorite food-corner completely packed even on week-days! Yes, I was surprised too! But they come to enjoy and enjoyment does not have to wait for weekends. Be prepared to drool over those fluffy pumped-up bhaturas or those crispy mile-long dosas as you wait for your order! Then the vying for exquisite ice-cream flavors (the Popsicles in India have absolutely no match anywhere in the world!) and moong-dal halwa or that oh-so-divine gulab-jamun. Some would say we have all those things in US. Well, it does taste different in India. Give it a try!

Will they disappear if cookies take over?!!! Image Source here
And then during that stay in India came Raksha-Bandhan - a day that celebrates the bond of love between brother and sister. There are mythological as well as historical legends associated with the tradition that you can read here. Markets wore vibrant hues as multicolored threads with beads, mirrors and crystals shone brightly from all shops. The star attraction this year however was 'bajrangi bhaijan' rakhi for kids which I bought for Rs.70. One could see the excitement on the boys' face as they wore it with pride forgetting the festival and remembering only selfie le le Bajrangi! And although much of the things reminded me of the past years I had spent in India, there was one change I saw coming. And that was the invasion of cookies over sweets. I saw people buying baskets of cookies, (Frontier brand played the first fiddle for many, and believe me, there is something special in those egg-less biscuits!) instead of laddoos, barfi or gulab-jamuns. People these days prefer to buy them over traditional mithais owing to the increasing contamination in food-products. (Poor Maggi noodles!). No wonder the Ghante-wala shop in Chandni Chowk in Delhi closed its doors to its customers. I wish and hope that mithai-walas realize this soon and stop adulteration so that some of these sweet traditions don't become history.

That's my niece and my son on Raksha Bandhan...

Me with kiddos at Kingdom of Dreams, Gurgaon

Nation's Tallest Tiranga and Making of a Smart City

Town Park in Sector-12 in Faridabad has become the proud owner of the tallest Tiranga. As we passed through the park an umpteen number of times, the Flag stood tall and filled us with pride. And then came the announcement of the Smart City projects from PM Modi. While everyone hoped that Faridabad too would get shortlisted for the smart city, I thought of the small changes people themselves could make to change their city to the city of their dreams. Small steps like sensible garbage disposal, like reduction of food and water wastage, like following traffic rules even when no-one is watching, like respect and regards to the person next door, like hearing and acting on consumer complaints at once - don't you think these little actions can make a huge difference? Allocation of funds from the government to make the city better is definitely a good thing. But those funds cannot change temperaments and raging angers of people who live there. Take for instance Gurgaon whose face has completely changed over the past few years. But people behave recklessly, roads have improper drainage which adds to commuters' woes during monsoons and traffic seems like a hungry monster raising its scary face every day. Mismanagement and passing the buck are two problems that need to be dealt with and each individual can make a difference.

Mobile towers are becoming common-place these days as the smart-city's failed connections and call drops irk and agitate customers. There are speculations on whether they pose a health hazard. And as people debate with half knowledge on the subject, life goes on. Will there be a day when internet connectivity becomes smooth and accessing websites, paying bills, submitting and getting response to one's queries, esp. on government websites , becomes a cake-walk. I hope so. And I also hope that during my next visit to India, I am able blog effortlessly and without any interruption!

Image Source here

Reliving mom's childhood through her memories

Those who know me also know that I wish to write a book on my mom. So during this trip, I spent moments pestering her to narrate details about her childhood. As she went on a joyride thinking about everyone from The Flintstones to the Beatles, I pictured her in a Romanian street swinging to the tunes of Podul de Piatra, a rhyme she learnt and has remembered to this day. The rhyme is a song of promise and hope. Children see that their stone bridge is broken. Instead of feeling sad, they decide to build a new one which will be even more beautiful. I am sharing a link from YouTube that I found and showed her too which filled her with child-like delight.

It was with such pleasure that I made her hear songs that had been a part of her long long ago. She remembered Joan Baez, a popular American singer of her times and went through an extensive song list of the singer on YouTube. Her young heart fluttered at the tune of Michelle by The Beatles and her girlish self sparkled in front of me at the tune of I want to hold your hand.

A slightly old pic of my mom with my son....

The trip that lasted for three months had so much to offer - countless little moments that made life worthwhile. As my kids built their little worlds around those who loved them so much, I basked too in the warmth that I felt emanating all around. These were times I will cherish for a long time, probably until I make another such trip and feel blessed in the company of my loved ones. There are miles in between us now. And I find myself humming another song from my mom's childhood, which coincidentally enough, my niece has been learning these days in her school....I am five hundred miles away from home....

This post has been selected by BlogAdda for its Tangy Tuesday Picks!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Love that hurts....

This post is in response to the Blog-a-rhythm prompt It hurts no more provided by Rajlakshmi who blogs here.

Image Source here

No, there is no storm outside....No winds have wrecked their fury on the mighty trees or the tiny plants of my garden. They stand there, blooming, swaying gently. But something broke last night. 

What was it? 
Oh, yes of course - my heart. 

Did you hear the smashing, shattering noise that came from inside? 
I doubt you did. 

You came as you always do. You were confident in your gait, assertive in your demeanor. 
You always thought I would never find out.

But I did.
I discovered the mark of your infidelity.

You denied.
I cried.

You blamed me for making it so difficult. We were never meant to be together.

What about all those past years spent together?
Five long years - tedious, cheating years!

If only you had eyes to said.

So that was my mistake too?
Yes, you cling like a creeper. You always do. I tried to break free.

I thought it was love....that kept us together....
Why that sneer?

Oh so there was no love....
Then I guess we should part....

It hurts no more
To see you go away....

You were never mine...
I shut the door as you walk out...

Walk out of my life, my heart
My bleeding, weeping heart

You think It hurts no more
It hurts even more....and more....and more....

Would love to hear from you!