May 31, 2010

Day 36: Poem with a body and a soul...

Recently, I came across this poem and I could not control my tears. I don't know who penned this beatiful thing but surely is heart renting. I do not understand why people drink? To enjoy themselves, to forget the complications of life, to be happy!, to get drunk, to satisfy their egos and show-off....
I do not know what and how many reasons can be attributed to driving with drinking.....but I am think this poem should reach to more and more number of people. Therefore, I would like to post it here, so that a passer-by reads this and understands the importance of his and someone else's life...

I went to a party Mom,
I remembered what you said.
You told me not to drink, Mom,
So I drank soda instead.

I really felt proud inside, Mom,
The way you said I would.
I didn't drink and drive, Mom,
Even though the others said I should.

I know I did the right thing, Mom,
I know you are always right.
Now the party is finally ending, Mom,
As everyone is driving out of sight.

As I got into my car, Mom,
I knew I'd get home in one piece.
Because of the way you raised me,
So responsible and sweet.

I started to drive away, Mom,
But as I pulled out into the road,
The other car didn't see me, Mom,
And hit me like a load.

As I lay there on the pavement, Mom,
I hear the policeman say,
"The other guy is drunk," Mom,
And now I'm the one who will pay.

I'm lying here dying, Mom....
I wish you'd get here soon.
How could this happen to me, Mom?
My life just burst like a balloon.

There is blood all around me, Mom,
And most of it is mine.
I hear the medic say, Mom,
I'll die in a short time.

I just wanted to tell you, Mom,
I swear I didn't drink.
It was the others, Mom.
The others didn't think.

He was probably at the same party as I.
The only difference is, he drank
And I will die.

Why do people drink, Mom?
It can ruin your whole life.
I'm feeling sharp pains now.
Pains just like a knife.

The guy who hit me is walking, Mom,
And I don't think it's fair.
I'm lying here dying
And all he can do is stare.

Tell my brother not to cry, Mom.
Tell Daddy to be brave.
And when I go to heaven, Mom,
Put "GOOD BOY " on my grave.

Someone should have told him, Mom,
Not to drink and drive.
If only they had told him, Mom,
I would still be alive.

My breath is getting shorter, Mom.
I'm becoming very scared.
Please don't cry for me, Mom.
When I needed you, you were always there.

I have one last question, Mom.
Before I say good bye.
I didn't drink and drive,
So why am I the one to die?

May 30, 2010

Day 35: Freedom

I missed yesterday. Whole day got busy for some or the other reason and evening was hit by a terrible headache. I never had such a thing before. Oh my God, it was something really bad. Well, back to my space again.

This word 'space' reminds me of freedom. Freedom to express, freedom to think and freedom to react. I don't think I am doing enough justice to the space. I am not free, free by my mind to write (well, to think ofcourse).

Anyways, my hands are still full of the tasks I need to do and the goals I need to achieve. Well, a few short term but would have long term effects. Probably, from tomorrow I would change a few things to speed up the process of achieving them.I think I am still struggling with a few basic things in life (partly because I live alone and don't have any social pressures that are experienced in India) like setting up a routine for sleep times, and for various other tasks that if done on time won't be a burden later. I think I need to work on this again with a new perspective and strategy. Also, need to be make my body more active and sleep less. How important it is to exercise control over these small things...well, still hopeful and tomorrow is a new day! Good luck to me.

May 28, 2010

Day 33: Fete des Voisins

28th May, the last friday of the month of May is celebrated as 'Fete des Voisins' in France. Voisins means neighbours. This is a day where all the people residing in a domain/colony come together with some or the other stuff to eat & drink and meet each other.

It was my first of its kind of experience. I made pakoras with tamarind chutney. I used courgette (zuchini), potatoes and green capsicum for the pakoras. I expected my neigbours would like them as it is an exotic dish for them. Yes, it was an instant hit and were finished very soon. I got to hear comments like 'bravo', 'felicitations', 'tres delicieux' etc. Well, I was happy as my hard work paid off nicely.

However, I could not accomplish the main purpose of the day, to meet new people and make some contacts to enhance further. I saw people who lived closed by each other formed a group and were having chats. I was very hesitant to go further and just say 'bonjour' and start a conversation. I talked to a lady who was born in Paris and told me this does not happen in Paris as it is a big city. Well...

Man is a social animal. He needs company. Often, I feel lonely as I do not have friends like I used to have in India. I miss going to movies, restaurants with friends, driving my kinectic honda, meeting family and relatives, talking to neighbours like family, sharing food with them, & so much. But moving on is life and though I feel nostalgic I have somewhere accepted the fact that the old days should stay in memories and hardly be relived again. Times, people, circumstance, myself, responsibilities all have changed and life never takes an U-turn. Well, I am quite happy with the life with a few improvements here & there, a few smiles now n then and a little discipline, and it would definitely be better.

May 27, 2010

Day 32:

Some people always remain babies for us. I felt it for some time for my younger brother and I was always protective and worried about him (though I am miles and miles away from him). Gradually, I realized if I have grown up, so he too. Everybody has their own struggles and happiness. Today, I am proud he is managing his life in a good way. (touchwood & God bless!)

Tomorrow my youngest cousin is getting married. I am sitting in France and enjoying all the ceremonies/fun/music/mehandi/etc. on phone. I am so much far away from the functions. It is ok, though I feel nostalgic. My cousin is not that young, should say about the right age to be married, but for me she is the baby of the family. I am concerned and thoughtful about her new life and pray all the love and luck for her. She is getting married in another city. To me it is so strange and difficult to accept that we pack her bags, and marry her and come back to our city, leaving her in an entirely new city amongst new people. But, well, that is how it goes, atleast in India.

I was thinking about this sometime back as my mind was occupied with thoughts of cousin getting married in a new city. Outside India too, I have not seen boys leaving their house and going to the girl's place to live after they commit or marry. It is the other way round or they live in a new house which they mutually own. Living outside for some 6 years now, I have understood that I love a place which is between India and Holland (where I have been till last year, for 6 years). I like the value system, the close knit concept of families and the dress-up of India whereas I like the individualism, the non-interference, the no-nonsense life style and the freedom of Holland. I want to balance these aspects and find a place. Well, quite tough! Coming back to marriages, I find it strange that the girls leave their parent's house to settle in an entirely different household with different thought system, action stream, routine, cuture and discipline. How easily the girls at least want to mould themselves. They know it is difficult for them, but they have the will (I must say, most of the girls have this will). I have also done the same but it still gives me old memories where I missed my parents, my own home, my room, each n everything of my house so much, in the initial days but I held on. I was sad missing my family but I never admitted that just to show some courage to them.

To non-Indians, this culture seems fascinating and interesting. To me, it seems so (I am not getting the right word) sometimes wierd, sometimes so part and parcel of our lives, sometimes so strange! But this is what has happened from centuries. It is best to accept it rather than question it. I think I am not questioning anything, but just trying to express my feelings on this particular subject. For the moment, I only wish happiness and good luck to my cousin. I hope in some years, I will feel she has grown up and will stop being a baby for me.

May 26, 2010

Day 31: The art of raising a child

My hands are full with the preparation for French theory driving exam, searching for creche for the kiddie, practising my French, etc. one more thing and all the work spills.

Amongst all this, my mind is often occupies with various questions about parenting. I ask myself and also judge myself if I am doing things right for my kiddie. Being away from the immediate families in India, it is so important for the parents (like us living outside India) to think of many steps ahead for the development of their child. They need to be always on toes. I am concerned if this should be a natural process or a process consisting of various steps carried out with lots of efforts. In India, with the grand-parents (or also without them), there is so much that the child learns subconsciously. But we have to make an extra effort.

Each day, I think what new should I do that my daughter enjoys her day and also learns something each day. She is often full of energy when Shishir returns from office and I wonder what she had done in the day time to take out this energy reserve. She needs to be out with other kids, she needs to run, play with ball, enjoy nature, touch grass/flowers/stones/ much for her to enjoy and make her day interesting. But I am so much engrossed with my own things and evaluations, that most of the times I care for her/feed her/dress her up/play somethings with her/sing her some poems/put cartoons and I am on my own & she on her own. I am tired all day to be involved with her all day. I often ask, am I doing enough and I always have a list of things which I can still do.

I think, raising a child is an art as well as a science. Today, I will talk only about art. It is so much a process full of patience and years of hard work/discipline. It is not easy, it is so full of responsibility and regularity. The colors we offer, would reflect in our painting. Same with a child. A vibrant personality comes up with the vibarnt hues offered to him. A dull canvas would bring dull colors and eventually, a dull picture.

May 25, 2010

Day 30: 'nadi mile sagar mein'

Today our four days stay in the Vesubie Valley amongst the giant rocky mountains,tuning cascades, snow covered peaks and the curvy paths came to an end. While returning from the valley to Nice, the road was accompanied parallely by river Var. It was spread in a very broad area. I was looking out the window of the car and intently watching the running river. Actually, yes the river seemed to run. Like its water was rushing to some destination. I realized the destination is the Mediterranean sea, and on the coast is situated the beautiful and grand city of Nice.

In my mind, my thoughts hummed a tune 'oh re taal mile nadi ke jal me'. I was amazed to see the rushing water, I could feel each wave, old or new from the last point, was running and only running desperately to the sea. I felt each water drop in the river was anxious and excited to merge in the sea and lose its entity. How philosophical, by losing its entity as the river, the river gains the status as the sea.

I could see that in life we all need to rush towards our destination with the enthusiasm, excitement and anxiousness like that of a river to reach our final goal, the sea of our personal dreams and ambitions. In the process, we need to jump and leave behind over pebbles, stones etc. without giving up.

The flowing and running river filled me with a profound thought to rush to my goals with zeal and hardwork and never give up in the middle. This post of mine will be incomplete without this song, one of my favourites:

ओह रे ताल मिले नदी के जल में
नदी मिले सागर में
सागर मिले कौनसे जल में
कोई जाने ...

सूरज को धरती तरसे
धरती को चन्द्रमा
पानी में सीप जैसे प्यासी हर आत्मा
बूँद छिपी किस बादल में
कोई जाने
ओह रे ताल...

अनजाने होठों पर क्यों पहचाने गीत हैं
कल तक जो बेगाने थे जन्मों के मीत हैं
क्या होगा कौनसे पल में
कोई जाने
ओह रे ताल...

-Film: Anokhi raat
Singer: Mukesh

May 23, 2010

Day 28: My first step on the snow mountains

The route to Berthemont les Bains to Madone de Fenestre, Mercantour National Park was as spectcular as the national park itself (which I realized later). We were staying in a gîte near Berthemont Les Bains. A gite is a self-catering accommodations/French holiday home located in the countryside, by the sea or in the mountains. They are completely self contained with one or more bedrooms, a lounge, a kitchen and bathroom facilities. Our gite was in a valley and its pictures can be seen here:!/album.php?aid=171626&id=164932022367. I loved the sight and presence of mountains around me. The first thing I did in the morning after waking up was to see outside the window, just to feel how mountains look in the morning. From the gite, I could see some snow on a few mountains, actually the top was covered with some snow and oh....I wanted to go there and touch the snow.

My wish was actually granted....Shishir read the map and decided we go to the Madone de Fenestre, Mercantour National Park. He drove us to 1903 mts to the Fenestre. It was all mountains, with much more snow that was seen from our gite. The snow was melting and it made such huge waterfalls. I touched such snow for the first time in my life and I was so thrilled. I climbed the mountains for say a little more than half an hour. I was wearing my normal Reebok shoes and not the specially designed trekking shoes so Shishir and other people had already advised to be careful as they are not suitable for snow walking/climbing etc. I just thought to go a little further on the mountain. At the base at 1903 mts, there is a refuge which looks like (picture from internet, as we have not downloaded our photos yet):

It was ofcourse many mountains standing side by side, and trek routes were marked by signs and numbers like as shown in the image below. I didn't have enough time and proper shoes & accessories (neither the required stamina and skills like skiing etc.) to follow any of these routes. So I just decided to walk till a point where I can see ample snow on the mountain. I decided to go on a mountain which showed the most snow on its path as well as on its peak.

As I was climbling high, I saw streams of water as a result of melting snow. They all were gradually leading their way to one or the bigger waterfalls. I actually touched the sheets of snow, solid and white. I also saw a group of deers, chamois in French, lying lazilly on the snow or eating grass. I also saw sone mongoose (nevla) running in the snow. They all were quite far but I was happy to see them at least.

As I went up and up, the sight of the cars parked near the refuge became very faint and at one angle disappeared. I was all surrounded with lofty mountains, with snow, rock, trees and streams of melting snow. I every now and then saw some people with abundant accessories (skii rackets/trekking shows/big backpacks stuffed with relevant things/windsheaters) coming down or going up. I also talked to a French guy and asked how far the peak from that point where we were having the talk and he told me it will take 4 hours to reach there and he pointed at my shoes and said it is dangerous as the snow is like an ice cream up there and the mountain is getting steeper. Well, I just headed a little more up and took a view down/left/right/up. was so majestic. I felt the mountains calling to me. At the same time, I felt I was getting crazy and obssessed with climbing and the mountains itself. It was so beautiful but I could not go further but I promised myself to improve my stamina and one day come back to this place to go to the top and touch the snow there.

May 22, 2010

Day 27: Trip to the mountains

Our bags are packed with a lot more stuff than usual. We are going to spend a good 4 days at the mountains in Vesubie valley in France. It is around 50-60 kms from Nice. We have booked our accomodation in a small fully furnished house/gite so had loads to stuff to eat/prepare in our bags.

I am looking so much to breathe the fresh mountain air, sink in me the loftiness and the rockiness of the mountains covered with plants and snow, relax with a book on the terrace of the accommodation, and do nothing. Will be posting my experience and details on the following days.

May 21, 2010

Gulzar's 'Sparsh'

कुरान हाथों में लेके नाबीना एक नमाज़ी
लबों पे रखता था
दोनों आँखों से चूमता था
झुकाके पेशानी यूँ अक़ीदत से छू रहा था
जो आयतें पढ़ नहीं सका
उन के लम्स महसूस कर रहा हो

मैं हैराँ-हैराँ गुज़र गया था
मैं हैराँ हैराँ ठहर गया हूँ

तुम्हारे हाथों को चूम कर
छू के अपनी आँखों से आज मैं ने
जो आयतें पढ़ नहीं सका
उन के लम्स महसूस कर लिये हैं
- Gulzar

Day 26: I feel blessed when I hold you....

"उभर रहा जो सूरज तो धूप निकलेगी,
उजालों में रहो मत धुंध का हिसाब रखो"

I happened to visit some blog today and found these lines in a poem. Just loved it. This is like the Sun radiating positive energy to me. I really felt the rays entering my mind, my skin, my eyes and my feelings. Wow...just loved them.

Today I wanted to write about one of my favourite Indian poets, Kamla Das and how I happened to write about her. We had her poem 'middle age' in sixth or seventh standard in school and from there I have loved her. Though now, I can better understand and admire her words and feelings. When I started searching for her work last year (through and on internet), I found she is no more, I felt bad and sad. I think there are a few poets in India who write so well (well, I don't know many but have read a lot of poems by different Indian poets but for me Kamla Das in one of the gems Indian literature world had).

Well, I don't have this poem in the post, I searched it on internet but could not find it. I will return to this post and include the poem when I would have found it. The poem is about middle age mother who is still in love with her adolescent son just like he is her baby but the son is growing and too busy in his world to notice her mother's affection. The mother is more like a person who is ready with the foods and clothes. The poem is so beautifully written that the feelings come before your eyes like a reality depicted in front of your eyes.

I happened to think of this poem a few days back when I was holding my daughter who is just a little more than 2 years now. I felt so blessed while holding her. Yes, there are a few moments in the day, when I hold her I feel extra special and extra loved. May be it is mutual affection and love that we share at that particular moment. I feel so proud to be a mother at such moments and feel that my angel is responding from her heart. But at the same time, a thought makes me sad. It will be a few months/years and then I would not be able to hold her. She will grow into a young girl, say 5 years or 6 years who would not need to come in her mother's lap every once in a while. This is natural, but then I am very much going to miss my extra special feelings which I feel each day. Kids grow, we grow and life grows. Things change for everybody and we all move on with to a new plateau with our goals, wishes, affections and relationships. But never moves on some memories that are stored and locked in our hearts. And the emotion that I feel while holding Avni will always be one of them in my life.

Lots of love to you, my angel. God bless you with all the fine things of life.

May 20, 2010

Day 25: Observation

I had an observation about me today (well, I had this earlier too a few times). if I know what can occur in the next few minutes, may be within a short period of time say half an hour, I roll that movie in front of my eyes and accordingly change my behavior. Actually, if I feel I will be going to say something in anger or irritation, I try to analyze if I am doing it right or at least I am in the right position to do it and if I feel no, this what I will be doing is wrong, I immediately calm myself and decide my course of behavior. I decide my body language, my words and of course my action. And I am right...I am saved and spared from being unreasonably harsh and irritating.

I have experienced this, now for a few times, and it has given me a lot of peace of mind as I behave good after this analysis. I was wondering if we knew what is coming next, we can be so well prepared and behave rationally. Or at least why not think and analyze for a few minutes before behaving harshly. I am also not doing it but thinking to give it a try. I am sure to be more peaceful in the coming days.

May 19, 2010

Day 24: A fun day with Avni

Today we had a fun day, me & Avni. After having breakfast, we went to her room and I gave her a balloon. As we are trying to teach her colors, I asked her color of the balloon. Right now, every color is somehow pink.(Fully girlish!) Suddenly, I had an idea. I gave her many balloons and told her that we have a party in her room today. To my surprise, she started keeping her toys in their boxes in order to make the room clean for the party. We tied the balloons on a thread, hung it on the wall. Then we cleaned the room, kept her small car & roads carpet in the center of the room, her toys around it. We also pasted some glow stars on the various places on the walls, I also made her do this by her tiny hands. She enjoyed every bit of it. I also took some pictures afterwards of the room, and she readily posed in one of them for me with her photograph smile (ya, actually she tries to smile for the photograph, I must admit she has her natural smile more beautiful than this one).

In the evening, I dressed her in the dress she wore on her first birthday, an all frills pink frock. She was very happy also because of the dress and because Shishir got her a gift for her party, a gems packet. We all dined in her room, and only after that the party was over.

I did all this so that Avni gets to see and feel new things-the frills, the pumping of the balloons, a simple thread, the joy of celebrating, learning to clean for a purpose & also keeping the room clean for a longer period of time :-) . Simple things in life give so much pleasure. I was full of joy for her. She danced, sang and had lots of fun in the evening, played music and laughed (touchwood!). I am very relaxed today (so not thinking about things to be done the next day or the improvements pending in life) after spending such a simple yet relaxing, fun, creative and happy day with my angel.

May 18, 2010

Day 23: Varied thoughts

My mind is full of so many thoughts today. This post is going to be a mix of all of them rather my usually long posts:

If somethings don't happen on intended time, they drag and become too painful later on. Important is to realize such things in life early, start making a plan and foremost, keep the determination & momentum. For me, "Keep the momentum" is most important.

I always loved this quote: life is a challenge that keeps on challenging. The love for this quote probably has stuck with the life right now. Too many small things to accomplish before I start aiming at the big things in life. "Why do small things trouble so much?"

Amidst all the hullabaloo of life, my kiddie is my breeze. I just love her so much by every passing second. I Just pray for her well-being today and always. Touchwood!

May 17, 2010

Day 22: Being your own mother!

I was thinking today (like everyday) of all the things I want and I need to do in my life, all the improvements I need to make in my words/actions/behaviours. Suddenly, I felt the need of a magic wand that I whip and things will be perfect. Wow....ethopia!!!!

While all this was turmoiling in my mind, I realized like very often that I need discipline and routine the most. I am being an ant like I posted in my last month's post, but I am also falling down like an ant. I remembered how my mother used to wake me up in the morning around 4 or 5 for studies, for revisions, for completing my fair copies etc, how she manages the house in one perfect circle from one day to the another and on and on. I remembered how my breakfast was always ready and it was me who used to skip it (now I miss it sooooooo much), how my dresses were always found ironed, how the house was always so clean n organized. Oh my God...I realize it everyday how valueable and priceless are the contributions of our parents in our making.

For one time in my life, I would like to take the place of my mother for my own self. Just this time and this will be my magic wand. If I be my own mother, how discipline, routine and organization will pop in my life as if they were never absent. Yes, if all of us become our mothers to ourselves, we are surely going to achieve all that we want to achieve on the path of our goals.

I love you mamma! Thanks is such a small word for the uncountable sacrifices n efforts you have put in, yet it is a small word to express my feelings.

May 15, 2010

Day 20: I wish I could be a movie star

Yesterday when I was at the Cannes film festival, I saw thousands of fans waiting here and there for hours just to get a glimpse of their favourite stars/celebrities. I could only remember this poem I read in my school days and found it to fit aptly to the situation:

I Wish I Could Be A Movie Star

I wish I could be a movie star,
Being photographed day after day.
My name in lights would be a delight,
In a huge big mansion I’d stay.
I’d bathe in milk, and drink Champagne,
Eat caviar, and the best fillet steak.
I’d spend hours swimmin’ with naked women,
Somewhere abroad, in a lake.
And the director would shout out ACTION!
In my first film, I would play a mad nut.
I’d chop someone up with a cleaver,
And the director would then shout out CUT!
When not at home, I’d stay in hotels,
Only the best that money could buy.
I’d have the penthouse on the eightieth floor,
Where the roof would be touching the sky.
Everyone would want to shake my hand,
Tell me I’m great and a wonderful chap.
I’d go on a chat-show to plug my book,
Where I’ll say that it’s great to be back.
And the director would shout out, ACTION!
In one of my flicks I would play a big mutt.
I’d have to dress up like an Alsatian,
And the Director would then shout out, CUT!
I’d have to spend hours reading my lines,
To be word perfect for my first day on set.
I’d have to buy one of these holders,
In which to insert my cigarette.
And I’d have to say ‘Daling’, lots of times,
And throw the odd tantrum at will.
I’d have to become a chronic alcoholic,
And knock back the occasional pill.
And the Director would shout out, ACTION!
In one film I’d play a fat slut.
I’d have wear a set of false boobies,
And the Director would then shout out, CUT!
I’d have to get some mates together,
Mostly white, but also one black.
We’d be in the papers, (Great publicity,)
And call ourselves the ‘Brat Pack'
Hours I’d have to spend in make-up,
As they applied the cement with a trowel.
But when they started to pluck my eyebrows
I’d hit the ceiling and let out a howl.
And the Director would yell out, ACTION!
In my best film I would play a mans hut.
They’d cover me over with planks of wood,
And the Director would then shout out CUT!
Maybe I would manage to win an Oscar,
For that film where I once played a sheep.
I’d pretend I didn’t know that I had won,
And on the stage, I’d break down and weep.
And I’d thank everyone for all they had done,
Even the lad who made us the tea.
My speech would last just over an hour,
Only ending when I needed a pee.
Then the Director would shout out CUT! He’d be pulling his hair in a rage. “Go to the adverts, right this minute!!
“And get that silly bugger off of the stage!!! “
Ya, I felt such a small part of the world. Immediately my world sank to a dot. Totally unknown, averagely dressed up, a person with hopes and dreams like every middle class family, inner weaknesses, laziness, etc all drew me to a fine point of this world, especially the world gathered at Cannes for the film festival. When I saw stars, celebrities, invitees dressed up in their evening gowns & bow-tie suits, expensive cars, red carpet welcome, cameras flashing etc. I felt most of the people there are nothing in front of this grandeur, this starry aura. They are all common man , most of whom wished their life would be like a movie star, and I think imagined themselves on the red carpet draped in an expensive suit or evening gown, smiling and waving.
The Cannes evening made me realize I am nothing, there is so much I have to achieve. This didn't fill me with negative low thoughts but inspired me to work even harder. I often think, the stars had toiled in sweat and labour and they have reached the red carpet only then. There is hardly any short cut to success. They have not achieved their name n fame overnight but it has taken them years before they could reap the fruits of their hard work, determination, strict-physical routine, professionalism and social skills. Well, I don't aspire to be a star but I have my own aspirations and my own sky where I would definitely want to shine like a star. My visit to the festival has made me postive to the life once again!

May 14, 2010

Day 19: My visit to the Cannes Film Festival

The Cannes film festival started from 12th May and will be held till 23rd May. I got a chance to be at this happening place at this happening time, on 14th May. Hundreds of cameras flashing and thousands of stars & invitees coming, descending down their cars before the red carpet, waving their hands, signing a few autographs, spreading a roar of excitement and ooh....this is Shaifali Gupta, signing in from Cannes, France.

I reached the venue i.e. the Palais des Festivals, and stood at a barrier for about 45 minutes before I saw a car passing by. This car mometarily had stopped near the red carpet entrance but was apparently moved forward, so I didn't paid any attention. When it was about to pass, I saw a lady draped in sari and I saw...Oh my God! Aishwarya Rai with her mother in the car. Luckily she didn't have perfect black car glasses. I could see her eye lashes, alas but not the blue eyes everyone dies for....but I saw her. For a few milli, micro (I don't know) seconds, my heart skipped a beat that I saw her.....Oh My God...I wanted to shout with excitement.

After 10-15 minutes, cars kept coming and stars came down their cars, I saw many of them but still didn't recognise them as I am not much into global cinema. I saw Aishwarya with her mother again on the red carpet. I saw her waving her hand to the fans, even giving them autographs. She was standing before me, at a distance of 100 mts or less, and still I was far to shout and say her name or take an autograph or a mental picture of her beauty. Well, it was an experience to see her. I will perhaps never forget.

May 13, 2010

Day 18: Talking and keeping mum....

Do I mind keeping mum when everyone else has something to contribute? Well, the answer is no. I think I am so much used to keeping quiet and just smiling & listening to what everyone else has to say. And I...just a few words in between...! I was just thinking about this and asking myself why. Is the topic not interesting or the company or my lack of knowledge about things being talked about?

Well, there are so many general talks which do not require special knowledge about a particular topic and a lot of people talk a lot in them....why I am not one of them? It is not that I am unhappy with this situation on a whole...but sometimes I feel I should speak. I think the roots of the problem goes to the connection, more specifically to the will to connect. But I think I have the will to connect...then?

I need to think deep what kind of people I find interesting and also I am comfortable with?Do I like to talk about hobbies/passions/jobs/etc....or just chatter and gossip....I think it is a long road for me to discover me and my connection skills.

May 12, 2010

Day 17: Hunting for a creche

Babies need a lot of interaction to grow and dissipate their energies in the right manner. Being away from families, Avni has no choice except to play with us, watch cartoons on youtube & CDs, play with her toys & even talk to them. My heart goes out for her loneliness. When sometimes in a park she gets a chance to play with some kid, she is suddenly very excited. I can feel her joy of interaction and being around other kids. Therefore, we decided to put her in a creche for some hours, a few times a week. But you know, it is all about planning, especially life outside India.

My neigbour (as she is French) helped me make calls to a number of creche and even the municipal corporation that allotes creche and the preschool. She talked to these people and after every phone call told me 'they' are fully booked. Oh my God! was my reaction. I was just dreaming may be Avni goes to a playschool in June and she will be happy, learning new things and learning to be with other kids. But these creche and preschools have no place even for the new session starting from September. I was really pissed off.....but who I was angry/frustated at?

I always knew life is all about planning here. It is something which I hated earlier and still does not fully utilize this concept. But planning, anticipating things/events/tasks is so much important so as not to miss important marks in life. My fingers are still crossed as some creche has put us on the waiting list. I ask God to give me one more chance to be careful next time and be a better planner. I think I have one opportunity coming up before me, that is to plan our summer vacations. I think I am going to write about this next week in a post.

Till then, with fingers crossed....I hope I will be a better(!)/ or atleast a planner for some things in my life :-)

Sonnet XLII: I hunt for a sign of you

Another one from my favourite poet:

I hunt for a sign of you in all the others,
In the rapid undulant river of women,
Braids, shyly sinking eyes,
Light step that slices, sailing through the foam.

Suddenly I think I can make out your nails,
Oblong, quick, nieces of a cherry:
Then it's your hair that passes by, and I think
I see your image, a bonfire, burning in the water.

I searched, but no one else had your rhythms,
Your light, the shady day you brought from the forest;
Nobody had your tiny ears.

You are whole, exact, and everything you are is one,
And so I go along, with you I float along, loving
A wide Mississippi toward a feminine sea.

Pablo Neruda

May 11, 2010

Day 16: Forced learning to Creative learning- the path

A rage takes me over when I feel, "yes, I will do this soon and show it to you". And then I put out all my energies to finish this work I am talking about in rage. I often think do I learn in the process? The answer is sometimes yes, and sometimes no. I think I can come up with two terms- creative learning and forced learning. When a person learns while doing something when he has an obligation (and that too!) in anger/frustation/pain, he is undergoing forced learning. On the other hand, when a person involves himself in a task and enjoys the whole process of doing it by being calm, sincere and open, he is much more creative in his mind and that's when he undergoes creative learning.

I often dislikes being told what to do and how to do. I think this is the case with a lot of people of my and younger generations. And when I have not performed a task (repeatatively), and if I am guided, I get into the mode of forced learning. I do the job in anger and anguish, harming my body and my mind, both at the same time. I should think and understand how forced learning can gradually transform into creative learning. May be need to have patience and take up the responsbility of performing the job with 'responsibility'.
  • Patience is the foremost word for creative learning.
Secondly, the energy that is being wasted in anger and rage, should be noted as 'negative'. It is one energy that does so much harm to the thoughts contained in human mind. We should think of converting this negative energy to the positive one. It is like finding the silver lining behind every cloud. When we are negative about others or about ourselves, we must take a pause and sit down. Yes, sit down and think about your achievements till date, remember the process you underwent to be proud of those accomplishments, and therefore, realize is there anybody in world who can snatch that self-respect you earned from these endeavours? An honest answer is NO. Then, why to lose patience and undermine my abilities just because I didn't perform this time and I am held responsible for this. It shuld immediately be conveyed to the mind that there is always a next time. But always have an attitude next time is there only once.
  • Next time is the last and only time.
But do not stop for the next time to come. During this period, think the reasons why you didn't perform? Was it bodily factors or mental factors or some other reasons? Figure them out, because from there comes the factors that will make you perform as expected.

It should always be remembered that past success and past failures both stand equally as a light house. One gives you energy to move forward and the other gives you reasons to move forward. Both are equally necessary for a happy and meaningful life.
  • Past is important. It enables to look to the future while your feet and hands work in present.
I am realizing it is very easy to write and to think than to actually do. So, I think I can sum up that when I am full of anguish, anger, hopelessness and a feeling of revenge, take a deep breath and realize at the very same moment, the forced learning if dealt with consistent sincere effort, there will be no doubt it is soon going to be a creative process for me.

Couple consistency with patience and last time attitude keeping the past in mind.

May 10, 2010

Day 15: Life keeps on rolling....

Strongly feeling nowadays that we just need to keep the life rolling for a certain period of time and then automatically the momentum is gained, turning actions into habit.

The difficult (and lazy) part is this constant rolling. Discipline, persistence, determination and positive energy is so much a part of this rolling, that the rolling is influenced by all of these factors. The universe is made and full of energy. Positive energy, hope, inner peace and contentment are all positive words. We can not experience the impact of positive energy if we have not known what negative energy do to us. It just swaps out the life out of us. It is so important to keep getting a daily does of positivity. I think I must start some meditation. I often think what is meditation. For me, when my mind is devoid of thoughts i.e. I am not thinking anything (does not matter, good or bad, positive or negative) then I feel yes, I am meditating. But the funny and saddening thing for me is the more I try to empty the mind, the more it is filled with thoughts and clutter. But for some people, meditation is not emptying, rather it is filling the mind with positive and inspiring, peace-bringing thoughts. Anyways, the goal is same, to obtain peace and be at ease with yourself as a mind, as a body and as a thought. I will keep posted once I start meditating!

Meditation is one way of obtaining peace. For me, the other ways are getting satisfaction of completing certain tasks I started. Recently, I bought pretty expensive roller blades because I dream of skating confidently and beautifully. But the fear of getting hurt is putting me off from starting it. I have to reemphasize in my mind that once I learn it, I will be so happy and in peace with one of my I think I am going to start it regularly this weekend onwards.

In the coming days, I will keep posting how I let the things rolling and how I am achieving small little accomplishments to make myself a happy and confident person.

May 9, 2010

Day 14: Near the sea....

I went to the beach, near Hippodrome, Cagnes Sur Mer today. I loved the sea today, don't know what was so special about it. In fact, the Sun was missing and also the warmth of the atmosphere was not present. It was not cold, therefore I let my jeans and my shoes get washed away by the waves. Somehow I felt some sort of peace there. I didn't feel it from a long time, so can not term it as absolute peacefulness. My heart was happy and my mind was empty. I didn't think of the n number of goals I am setting for myself each day and just running after them. And that is where, this poem came to my heart:

An empty mind

My mind is empty today
devoid of thoughts
and yet peace too.

An empty mind-
a mark of running away
or a signature of accomplishment
after long tiredness?

An empty mind-
a bucket to pour all
from inside the heart
or a pretense to
hide the heart!

An empty mind-
is it really empty
or just an escape from
all the dreams and goals?

An empty mind-
is it like the silence
of the waves
or the fanthom of their

An empty mind-
is it like the pebbles
washed away by the waves
or the struggle of the pebbles
to come back with every wave?

An empty mind-
is it like the lone boat
in the sea or
the hope of that boat
to catch a living?

An empty mind-
is it always empty
or a trumphet to
coming storms!

May 8, 2010

Day 13: Being a parent!

Babies are so much bliss and this can not be felt just by reading these feelings. They are known and understood only after having them. Many a times I feel I am blessed by having Avni. She is such a beautiful child, much more beautiful by heart. She is adorable! Well, to every parent, their child is the centre of universe for them.

Parenting is the toughest of all the tasks I have ever had and the most 'responsible' responsibility for me. There are no short cuts or tricks to raise a kid. All that is required is summed up in one word: 'discipline'. In one of my earlier posts, I have talked about the essesence of discipline in one's life. I have realized that it's impact becomes much more magnified with a baby to take care of. It all flows down to them. The way we talk, we behave, we conduct ourselves, we dress up etc. all casts a big influence on our kids. Our values and our thoughts shape so much of their initial years, one can not imagine.All parenting experts and guides emphasize the importance of structure or routine. This helps the babies to know in advance what is coming and accordingly their bodies get rest and excitement, thereby channelizing their energies in the right direction. To be honest, now after 2 years we have been able to set a routine, rather a consistent one. It needed us to be structured and disciplined. Tough task it was and it is!!!

Toddlers yet need much more energy channelization as they are at a stage where their mind is full of questions and they want to experience so many things. My angel is now trying every word that we speak and we are amazed how many she can store in her little head :-). It is at this stage so important for us to channelize her leaning in the right direction. We read to her some or the other book everyday from quite some time now and we can see she has developed this liking for book reading. It makes me so happy to see her keeping her book on the lap and busy reading it.

It is so much heartening and joyous to see kids grow. It makes you do your best for them. You never want to compromise. I everyday live by these words by C. Everest koop-"Life affords no greater responsibility, no greater privilege, than the raising of the next generation".

While trying to do my best as a mother, I also realize and better understand my parents and what they have gone through while raising me. I remember and wish I could turn back the times when I have not asked persistently for something(without which I could also have done) and had their money spent on it...Oh! I wish so much to take this back. I remember how we used to celebrate festivals together, buying rangoli colors and new dresses for Diwali, or buying colors for holi and masks & colorful feather caps for Dusshera.....they have done so much at every occasion to make life so happy and enjoyable. I wish I would also do the same for my daughter and be a good parent just like my own parents. I wish I can work harder to bring fun, love and at the same time discipline in our lives so that my daughter never has these things in any less.

May 7, 2010

Day 12: Is life all about....

Is life always about improvements?
Is life always about acceptance
and change,
and again change and
Is life always about struggle
and weighing its results,
how far I made and
how far you went?
Is life always about my anger
and the desperation to
move forward?
Is life always about
graphing the slope and see
how better I performed?
Is life always about
moving n moving?

May be today when I write these lines, I am questioning the destiny of my life. My heart and head is filled with anguish, anger and perhaps, suffocation too. Why this is so when I know I am not moving enough to answer all my questions that my head asks my heart and the ones that my heart keeps on asking my head? is full of so many questions ....and I have to find the answers. The irony is, life is moving so slow and my patience is running out. I wish, I could make my life run....

May 6, 2010

Day 11: Let me wander today....

Wow....having a cup of ginger tea while I am writing this post. Good combination....self expression and my favourite drink....

It had been a bad day. It has been raining in France for last 3-4 days and we are caged inside. Today, however the Sun didn't show it's face but at least the rain ceased and so I decided to be out as soon as possible. Me and Avni packed our stuff to go to Antibes and enjoy the square & even the icecream in somewhat cold weather. I also visualized us sitting in the toy train that goes from Antibes to Juan Les Pins, in 40 minutes. It should be so much fun. Well, but the day for us was already decided and we waited for the bus for 40 minutes, it didn't arrive instead sent a few showers of rain forcing us to go back home and feel bad & cranky.

All this brought a bad feeling and at home I just laid down myself on the couch watching Indian Idol. But the music there also didn't bring peace to my inner hullabaluu. I thought....oh God! why I don't have my driving license....and the regret of not obtaining it in Holland etc. all came to my mind. I was more sad now. Just then, my heart sang a poem which is exactly the theme of this post:

Let me wander today,
all alone,
in the green fields,
blooming flowers,
smelling lavanders,
humming a tune.

Let me wander today,
not aimlessly
but mind full of thoughts
reflecting direction of life,
guiding me each step
one by one
to that one goal
I am looking for.

Let me wander today,
away from all the obligations,
from all routine chores,
free to do something new
just on my own
all alone.

Let me wander today,
to search for a reason
for my existence
for my thoughts,
and for my battle
with myself
and this world.

Yes, let me wander today
all alone
and when I come back,
there is a smile on my face
hope in my heart
and a fire in my mind!!!

I don't know what wandering I am referring to in these words but it is something I am longing for. Perhaps, longing to be something and somebody.

May 5, 2010

Day 10: Opening up

Is opening up oneself before others okay?

Whole day I kept on thinking about this. 'Opening up' essentially means that a part of inner you is reflected in your words and actions. The consequences of opening up can be said as the two sides of a coin. It lets others peep inside you and therefore, you make them free to decide an opinion about you based on the real information provided by you about your own self. Secondly, it makes others open up themselves with you, and it brings an air of ease in the commnucation. a few hours.

May 4, 2010

Day 9: Connection

A man is a social animal. He needs to live in a group. He needs to interact/communicate/express/talk to be alive. In other words, he needs to connect with the outer world.

Recently, I have noticed I am getting into my shell. After moving to a new place, it is being difficult for me to open-up. Well, I must say this is not due to the moving. When I go back to India to visit the families and friends, I am not myself. I am lost in my own world, and to my surprise I don't know what this world comprises of. I am silent but not that silent that someone notices I am being different. But, I know I am not me. Most of the times, I do not have anything to talk to. I am not that out-going but at the same time I am not reserved too. This is a gradual change, I must say which is eating me gradually. It is not an overnight thing. I am sure I must do something about it.

The problem I see is connection. It is so important to connect. This is readily seen in the presence of so many social and professional networking sites. More and more people are joining them everyday with varied thoughts in their mind, may be to find old friends or to make new, to find a new job or just inform others about their status/skills/whereabouts etc. In some or the other form, everybody is trying to catch the 'connect train'. I am also there on some of these sites, but for me is it real connection? Some of my friends and people I know, are benefiting from them very much, but I miss something.

I realize for me 'the surface things' do not matter. There has to be something deep inside. But at the same time I must realize that basically the connection starts from the surface and then goes to the depth. And during this process, there has to be an effort, consistent effort. More than that, I think there must be a will to connect. Is it that I have the lost the will to connect? I think, no it's not that. May be I have become too particular and I am stuck to the image of my old good friends/places/interests. Life is a box of choclates and one never knows which flavour he gets. I must understand the characteristics and the goodness of each flavour and enjoy it than relishing dormantly on the old flavours. Life never proceeds backwards, it moves forwards and so must I.

There are so many books written on how to connect- both personally and professionally. I think in the coming days, I have my hands full with one more goal, to understand how I can be a good communicator. How can I develop interest in other people than remaining in my own shell and seeing the world from there? I am sure to pen some more posts on this topic because I have to learn so much and while I take this learning experience I am bound to write my mind out.

May 3, 2010

Day 8: Life is made of small things...

Yes, life is a made of small things that are capable of giving big happiness. It is just a matter of realizing what these small things are and how you can achieve them.

Last year, my husband showed me a movie-'Bucket list'* . It is about two people who are ill and their lives coming to an end decide to make a list of the things they want to do before they die. The movie appealed to me and I thought one day I would make my bucket list. It is more than a year and my list is yet not ready. Today, I think the time has come and I feel passionate inside to make it. While thinking of all the possible things, I realize I do not want big things or big money in life but still these things may give me so much happiness. I think one's bucket list will always be incomplete till the time he is dying. Everyday with one or more realizations and experiences, there can be an addition to this list. My list for now goes like this:
  • Take up the job I want. I think my list should start with acquiring the understanding of what kind of job I want to do.
  • Learn one Indian classical dance and join a group/troop for some years.
  • Take up the Masters of Arts in English Literature.
  • Buy myself a 'red' Santro car.
  • Be a terrificly confident car-driver.
  • Read 'Ramayana' and learn most of the 'chaupayee' by heart.
  • Learn a lot of bhajans and to be able to sing them beautifully with 'ras'.
  • Buy myself a diamond ring.
  • Learn skating and be able to skate confidently & beautifully on the Hippodrome Cote d'azur beach.
  • Be a professor.
While I am writing (and feeling) this list, why I am thinking what is possible and what is not, today? If I have a wish, I should just see what I require to fulfill it and not analyze it now whether I would achieve it or not. That's what the whole point is. The bucket list enables us to see what we aim and wish in our lives, and when we achieve them we are sure to get some happiness. It equips us with some enthusiasm and determination to make something of ourselves, to make the life as we want it to be and not the other way round. For example, if I wish to climb the Mount Everest, I should think the possible ways to achieve it, starting from acquiring a good stamina.

Right now itself, I feel there is so much I want to do in my life that there is no single minute to waste. I can probably feel the happiness I will feel when I will tick out the things as done from this list. I will keep coming to this post if things are ticked out or there is more to add....


May 2, 2010

Day 7: Discipline- so important yet so difficult

I am realising it from so many many days and everyday so many times that life is all about discipline. It is a never ending process of growing and improving one self. Well, the wish to grow and improve should come from inside, but once it is there it is always there-dormant or active. Therefore, if the momentum, about which I talked about in my last post, is lost, I believe the wish, the craving to get it back still lies deep, most of the times may be sleeping somewhere sound.

If I have to grow, I must wake up my momentum in such a way that it keeps things rolling for me. All this has one key, that is discipline. One has to constantly keep on enforcing himself to do what needs or what must be done to improve, to grow and to feel what a meaningful life is. Yes, discipline lets an individual find the meaning of his life. Discipline makes available abundant amount of time to chart out one's life's plan. It gives so much time to introspect and look inside for strengths and weaknesses.

Nowadays, I am in constant search for discipline for myself. Everyday I spend it unlike the last day in order to achieve something better (even if it is efficiency) at the end of the day. I am determined to reach a point in my life where I can say, "yes, my life is in my control". I think for me, my discipline starts from disciplining my body. A man is often the slave of his senses. The more he surrenders, the more he is asked to surrender. Fat people go on getting fat because they can't control their temptations. A thief hardly stops stealing because he is so much into it. His mind is so much into it. A healthy mind is mostly the outcome of a healthy body. I need to be the master of my body, and not the other way round. It is so difficult. I think the people who have a strict diet or exercise regime would agree with me. Initially it is so difficult to get into that regime, each day, bringing oneself to do some yoga, exercise, eat healthy....all is so hard because I liked the words of my mother- "Aaj kaaya ko jitna kasht doge, utna hi tumhe voh aage sukh degi. Aur jitna aaj sukh doge, utna hi kasht kal milega". How true, but I am waiting....for a good day, when I will ample time to look after my body and my senses, when I won't have any responsibilities to take my time etc.....but dear, such a day will never come. When I know all, why don't I execute?????? I think, I will try again like an ant climbing the wall, and would definitely come back with a post saying 'yes I am succeeding!, yes I achieved it'.

I think, taking control of the body will enable a person to take control of his mind that's going to shape his life further. And that's what is the ultimate purpose of life, to live in a meaningful way.Success, growth, improvement, satisfaction and happiness all comes from a peaceful meaningful life, which is always a result of discipline.

May 1, 2010

My Puzzle

I have always believed and also felt, life is a challenge that keeps on challenging. The end of one struggle is often marked by the beginning of another. The struggle is intensified in absence of a goal, a dream that can be chased, a vision of yourself and a determination to run after something.

Where my struggle lies, is the question before me. Is it the goal or the determination? If I have the goal, where is the determination and if I have the determination, why is not there any goal?

There is a vision for my self which I would like to achieve but where is the tenacity to make that happen? What is that, that is stopping me to move, to work, to work hard and be something that I dream for myself? What is it that stops me from regaining myself what I was a few years back? Things do drift in life (once allowed to drift) and ofcourse with each passing day they become yet more difficult to get back in their natal form. But, the determination, the passion to chase and above all, the goal, the most important, can get things right in , and the drifted things to drift further.

Like the ant who makes numerous efforts to climb the wall, like the bird who makes its nest straw by straw, human life has to be no different owing to the fact they have much more potential in store. Still, the human life takes inspirations from these tiny yet wonderful creatures of God. Why I am not that ant and not that bird? That's the first question I need the answer of.

Life is like a puzzle for me nowadays. Well, I don't know if puzzle is the right word. For each jumbled up piece, I need an answer. After I have all the answers, hopefully my dream comes true and I will be free from my own guilts, complexes and inhibitions, because I dreamt, I thought, I worked and I achieved. The second question is do I have a plan to reach to the stars and the Moon I dream of. So, my next task is to make a detailed plan keeping in perspective the outcomes I want from it. One substep being making deadlines and toiling to attain them.

The third question and a probable diificult answer is to keep the things rolling. It is so critical and therefore so difficult. It requires all the hard work to stop oneself from falling in the trap of laziness and procrastination (after achieving a few results). Momentum, as in physics keep things in motion, same in life it is required to keep the results in place by moving the mind constantly towards persistence and hard work. My past experiences have made me sure of this one fact, momentum is so so important. It just can't be ignored or underestimated. The absence of it will mar any past success and just, the presence of it will make you do wonders, some of whom may be unthought too. Wow, I would like to be in that state....should be amazing !!!!

If I summarize the solution to solve my puzzle it would be decide on a goal or a dream (though dreams are always seen by heart and not decided upon by the mind...well, sometimes it can be different too!), make a plan and work for it keeping deadlines and an ant attitude. And keep the momentum, just never lose it. The presence of the word 'never' itself makes it so easy to lose it.

In this entire process, the fear of failure, the need to justify/defend and the state of doubt will always make the journey slow and ineffective. I have to be convinced about my dreams and the path that I chose to win them. Come what may, I am not going to move and I am not going to fall. Yes, I am going to be the ant, just once in my life and then would keep things rolling.

I am sure, that is what I can call 'life'.