"Oh, my gosh!! It's seven already. I'm going to be late today!" He screamed. Panicking, he started to stuff his cleats and jersey into his football bag. My son had a tournament and obviously, he didn't want to be late. "Don't worry, that clock is 10 minutes fast. Daddy keeps it 10 minutes ahead so he can leave for the office in time. No need to rush; take your time." I said assuringly. With a sigh of relief, he muttered, "Thank God! The one in the hall says it's 6:45, so I still have time." "No! Do not look at that one; it is 5 minutes slow; it needs to be repaired." "Good Lord!! Every room has a clock and not one that tells you the correct time." Smirking, he said, "Fantastic clocks but just to decorate the walls of the rooms— none that serves the purpose it's meant for. What a waste! I think I'll just go check my phone or maybe my laptop for the exact time." He was angry, and rightly so. The one thing I never understood was— how does keeping your clock 10 minutes ahead help you get ready well before time when you already know that it's fast by 10 minutes? Unless, each time you forget that the clock is fast. Or maybe you're trying to trick your brain by doing so. I have often seen people do this, and I just don't get it. Somebody in my family once said, "Time is the most over-rated thing in the world." Apparently, that person doesn't wear a watch, and there is no clock in his room. Whenever he feels hungry, he eats; and when he feels sleepy, he sleeps. There's nothing like "Lunch Time" or "Dinner Time" for him. He just goes by his biological clock. It ticks to tell him he's hungry, and it also tells him, it's time for some shut-eye. Somehow, earlier, I never agreed with him; but now, I do. For years I found myself running around the clock with "5 o'clock alarms" waking me up every day. Agree or not, alarms just annoy you, and most of us set early alarms because we know well that we will be snoozing them at least twice. So alarm set at 5 means getting out of bed at 5:20 a.m. From the morning chores, making breakfast, and leaving for the office was a daily, mundane routine. 8:15 a.m. was the morning deadline to leave the house, lest I would be late for the office. Consequences stood right behind the door next to my cubicle, in case I didn't make it in time. The evening rush to reach home in the traffic was equally maddening. On reaching home, first dinner and then, time to hit the sack for my precious 5-hour snooze, the only respite after the long office hours. I call it snooze, as a good night's sleep requires at least 7 hours to qualify as "sleep." I never had any time for parties; I actually longed to talk to friends and chit-chatting, considering my garrulous nature. Time killed it all. I wish it was a 48 hour day to fit in things that I actually wanted to do. Years went by, yelling at my kids in the name of discipline – "It's time for school, It's time to do your homework," and then, "It's time to sleep." In every sentence, it was time which was of paramount importance. My kids were sick of my customary recitation. It was Time that got in the way of every activity they enjoyed. "Get up; it's time for school," interrupted their sound sleep. In my experience, sleep quality is best toward the wee hours of the morning. Alas! There is no choice, but to wear your MUM's hat and do the needful, and be ready to listen to the day's first compliment. "Mum you're heartless,"– was the usual. I don't know about the heart, but my mind just said, "IGNORE." "It's time to do your homework," cut into their playtime, and I was made to see their frowning faces and reluctant gait. "It's time to sleep" just meant that school is ahead, so no more bedtime stories. This "Time" earned me my "MOM the disciplinarian" reputation at home. The kids hated me, and who was responsible? Time, of course. Life is a race against time – We've all heard this several times, but can we ever beat Time? You bet, not, or maybe never. I am chalking out a plan, for my future; at least I do have the liberty to do that much. When I am retired, I'll probably go to a small place, where the seeping sunrays and the chirping of the birds tell me it's morning; when the dusky sunset glow tells me, it's time to head home, and I surely do not want my stomach to be dictated by Time. I want my eyes to close on their own, telling me that I need rest, falling into a sweet slumber of happy dreams. To finish this colloquial Time-piece, or let's say, a Timed piece, I would just say, "Enjoy your 'NOW'– the moment - as that is the only time you have control of, and it's fast slipping away. So make the best of it."
Way to Go!!
Scribbled a few lines for my dear girl on Daughter’s Day.
Neighbourly Resonances and Dissonances
Living in apartments is interesting, but peace at home depends on a lot of factors around you. If you’re trying to work or decide to record for your YouTube Channel, here’s my suggestion; do it at the crack of dawn, cutting a wee bit into your sleep time. You never know when your neighbour’s kid might want to play with his drum set, trying to display his innate skills. You never know when some teenager decides to have a musical night with his amigos. The jarring sounds might just creep into your home like unwelcomed guests disrupting all peace, and sadly, you can’t always shut them out. In short, you have to be careful with the timing; what work can be done at what time.
It was Saturday, and we all had our plans that had been waiting for a whole week. Saturdays are always booked with movie plans, some family time, some cooking, sharing weekly blues and lots of catching up to do.
But it so happened that…
We were trying to watch TV, but we couldn’t. Daddy was trying to listen to some music, but suddenly, his good headphones betrayed him. The little one was trying to make out the dialogues of his animated film, but he simply couldn’t. So, he got a small stool and sat right next to the TV, ignoring my big eyes looking at his unacceptable proximity to the loud box.
I was calling from the kitchen, asking the rest to be seated for lunch, but nobody heard me. Finally, everyone shut down their devices and sat down quietly, thinking that we can probably enjoy each other’s company at the dining table. But it was not to be. We couldn’t even hear each other talking. The constant drrrrrrrrrrrrrr of the drill machine was the only thing that kept our ears occupied. The unrelenting sound hammered into our heads.
As the drill machine took a two-minute break, the ears were thrilled with some relief, but the mind scoffed at the ears as the shrill noise boomeranged right back into the still hopeful ears.
“A whole Saturday is being wasted; God knows how many holes they are going to drill,” I said. This unwelcomed thought somehow triggered my daughter. Pushing her chair, she stood up and banged her novel at the table and walked off to her room rather briskly. She switched on her radio and put on the channel where she found the noisiest metal song ever to either block or compete with the whirring sound; I can’t say. Little did she know that she was just adding to the din.
The incessant and annoying cacophony of the two variants was too much for us. We had no control over the external element, but we controlled what we could.
“What are you up to? Stop this loud music right now,” I said indignantly.
The music stopped immediately. Now, this was something different. Usually, teenagers wouldn’t even acknowledge the request when asked the first time. Calling them three to four times for anything is standard.
The young lady stepped out from her room and, without a word, whisked past me and headed straight for the balcony. Pouring her lungs out, she looked up and bellowed, “HEY THERE! IT’S A SATURDAY! ARE YOU GUYS TRYING TO MAKE SWISS CHEESE OUT OF YOUR WALLS? DO YOU NEED ANY HELP WITH IT?”
Believe it or not, the drill machine stopped. An apology was also round the corner; the neighbours came forward to say sorry and politely asked if we could give them fifteen minutes the next day.
The neighbours learnt a new lesson – weekends are precious to everyone.
We, too, learnt another lesson – “Love thy neighbour,” but let thy neighbours know that it is a mutual feeling.
If a person has wealth, he can spend it on the luxuries of life. Now, what are the luxuries of life? Definitely, there are specific parameters for things or services to qualify as luxuries. Affording a five-star hotel for stay is luxury; being able to travel with a business class flight ticket is luxury, memberships to prestigious clubs is luxury. If you have money, your wish turns into a command. Your wealth is your key, opening all doors to recreation, enjoyment and a wealthy lifestyle. You don’t even need to utter the words “Open Sesame!”Continue reading “Luxuries Redefined”
Attitude & Buttons
Weird combination, right? What is the relation between the two? Or rather, what could be the relation?
It was just the other day when a friend of mine got infuriated over something. Her anger intensified with every passing minute. She completely flipped her lid. We wasted our energies trying to calm her down. The little gathering meant for some fun and gossip turned into a complete disaster.
I came back home all frustrated, just to find my children quibbling over a television show. Their volumes were high, so were their tempers. They carried on raging, with their teen ego’s unwilling to relent.
At first, I thought of stepping in as the mediator, but I had completely exhausted my energy for one such futile attempt; I didn’t feel like trying another shot. So, not paying much attention to the regular feature at home, I went ahead to shower, the only place for some quality ‘Me Time’.
The psychology of the human brain is quite intriguing. It has no boundaries, and the scope is vast, given that each individual is born unique.
Engrossed in my thoughts, I wondered, if we were born with a few buttons behind our heads, life would be so much simpler. If someone’s angry, just press the ‘Cool Off’ button. If you’re feeling nervous before a stage show, just one notch up on the little bar labelled ‘Confidence’ would do the trick. And the best one would be ‘the Feeling low’ feature on the panel- ‘Are you feeling depressed? Where is your Happiness metre? Let me help you.’
Is it too much to ask? If only God gave us these few pre-set buttons, life would be so much easier, without any complications. If somebody said something harsh to you, simply put your index finger on the ‘Forget’ button, and all disturbing memories get erased, so you can happily move on with your life. To remember things in life is important, but at times, to forget becomes equally important.
No misunderstandings, no need to analyse human behaviour patterns and no unnecessary melodrama or fuss. One press of a button and ‘Voila‘, all the mess is dealt with, in a jiffy. Seek the right attitude with a simple finger-touch. Ingenious, right?
But actually, we have enough machines in our present-day world. There are remote controls for practically everything. From television remotes to car locks, everything works perfectly with a press of a button. With smartphones, we are spoilt for choice. Our whole world, from social life to our finances, is cramped up in this little device. Even the smart lights change colour at its command.
Why another panel of buttons to control our brains? It’ll only make us into a new breed in the clan of robots.
Actually, God has already equipped us with one huge button. It’s called ‘The Human Willpower’, embedded in our brains.
With Willpower, we can overpower our anger and decide not to lose our cool. With our Willpower, we can get over our paranoia and be more confident; it can encourage us and not let any humiliation hold us down. Willpower can help us stay sparkling at all times.
Our Willpower is the quintessential attribute for a positive and joyful life. We find a lot of things that make us whine, but very few to make us smile. Let us choose to smile more often.
Think about it. Uncover this button and see the change.
People often talk about their Mothers as the reason behind their success. Especially in India, ‘Maa’ is just not a word. It brings to mind a long trail of words that give this short term a more significant meaning. Maa means care; it means to love; it brings with it thoughts of good, nourishing food. Maa means endless blessings and prayers for loved ones. Maa means a lava of emotions – she cries when she’s happy and sheds tears when sad. In short, Maa means a cosy home. We have poems and songs in praise of Maa, so many of them.
But what about Dad? Why is Dad left behind? A lot of descriptive phrases are associated with this three-letter word adding to his existing colossal image. He is ‘the head of the family’; he is ‘the protector’, ‘the bread earner’ and gives financial security. He decides what to do and what not to do, solving all dilemmas, making life easier for the rest of the family members.
A Dad’s life is tough. If he’s sad, he doesn’t cry, and if he’s stressed, he doesn’t tell. Nobody knows why, at times, he suddenly loses his cool, but he is expected to carry a confident, bold face, always, no matter how nervous he is. I guess he has a lot on his shoulders, though that doesn’t justify his unexplained behaviour patterns.
Whatever the reason, a Dad is somebody that sons and daughters look up to. Nobody looks up to a mom. Who wants to be a homemaker rolling out ‘chapatis’ and doing household chores?
As a child, I often pictured myself like my father, sitting on my office chair behind my huge table with immaculate stationery items. Computers weren’t a part of my dream table as they were not used at that time. It wasn’t until grade ten when I did my first computer course in MS-DOS, Word star and Lotus. Yep, I’m that old, from the days of MS-DOS.
At six years, I had my own little set up that emulated my Dad’s office. I never wanted to lead my life doing endless, thankless home chores, which generally go unnoticed and unappreciated because nobody values them, but definitely are taken for granted. All three meals should be served on time, clothes should be washed regularly and ironed and stacked in everyone’s respective almirahs and other endless stuff, with no Sunday breaks. In short, I was an ambitious little kid who wanted to work outside all of this and I also believed in having lots of fun.
My Dad is no more, but I never looked at him as just the provider or the decision-maker of the house. To me, he was more than that. Simply put, I thought of him as ‘My Papa’. I quite fondly remember him as somebody who loved spending time with his family. We enjoyed his company during a game of chess or carrom. I learnt table tennis from him. He liked watching movies with us. Making a snowman during winters was so much fun with him. Moreover, he was ambitious about me, that I should have a career and be financially independent.
Well, to your surprise, and to my friends’ surprise (those who knew me well), and to my own surprise as well, I ended up doing just the opposite. I was spending most part of my day at home with those never-ending, unapplauded gigs in my musical kitchen. Well, I had to make my choices, right? And yet, I don’t know if they worked well for me. I was composing music with the clatter of ‘bartans’, the whirring of the washing machine and the clanging of the big and small spoons. I made great music along with the humming of the dishwasher. Don’t worry! I made great food too. My mother prepared me well…for this day, I guess. I should be able to take good care of myself and, more than that, take care of others. All Indian mothers are worried about their daughters. They need to go to another house where the expectations will be higher as they turn from daughters to daughters-in-law and a wife and then, a mum. Mothers know well what lies ahead and try to overprepare them, while the sons are pretty much ignored and underprepared in this field. I don’t know if they really care about how much goes into bringing a whole meal on the table, apart from eating it.
It wasn’t really a big deal for me, as cooking was a passion when I was somewhat younger. Making each dish was like a story to me; plating was an art. I cooked well and experimented in my mum’s lab where I often got rebuked by her for spilling the ingredients and messing with her dishes; after all, it was her domain and rightfully hers.
After marriage, everyone loved my food. I even had suggestions from people to open up a small restaurant at one point. But it was a BIG NO for me. The restaurant idea ruins everything for me. I cook for myself and my family, with a lot of love and time at hand. Along with the ingredients, a lot of love and patience go into making it a finger-licking food.
As years have passed, today, I feel just cooking for the family isn’t really enough. Monotony seems to have stepped in, and I feel a compelling need to step out.
Some part of me feels empty. I learned a lot from my mum and practised it, but I undervalued the ‘lessons from my Dad’. That young, ambitious kid emulated her Dad in his office but forgot to keep her Dad’s footprints.
Today, I want to create music outside my kitchen. I call it mine, and rightfully so. Though I am free to mess around and experiment in my territory with my own tools, I wish and long to explore other unchartered territories.
I want to create and, this time, with a different set of tools.
Wish me Luck so I can gather fragments of my dream.
A Father’s Princess
I dedicate my first post to my Dad. He left this beautiful world a few years ago, and on his birthday, this 22nd day of April, I dedicate my poem that I wrote for him.
Continue reading “A Father’s Princess”
Oh Dad, Dear Dad, it’s your birthday today. Never thought I’d miss you so much this day. Actually, I always thought you’d never leave me and die, but the laws of nature, no one can defy.