Monday, 29 August 2016

Motherhood.


          C H I L D R E N.
   People are always so curious about this particular area  of our life, isn't it? A married couple has to face this question from time to time. When some of us reply in the affirmative, the response is,
       "You do? Wow! Aren't they a blessing?!"
But, heaven forbid if one was to reply in the negative! The instant reaction is arched eyebrows that hit the roof, indignation writ large on the face and eyes that bore holes through your conscience, asking you,
         "NO? You DON'T have kids!? WHY? Don't you like kids?"
       It fills the couple with such guilt, as if they have committed sacrilege, or some such thing! God help such couples. Especially, the woman.

      It is a matter of great concern for the society if a woman hasn't had a child. An avalanche of whys and wherefores follows the woman everywhere she goes. Her replies, which fail to satiate people's curiosity, are followed with counterarguments that can wreck havoc on her psyche. Her decisions are then  dissected some more; a sadistic pleasure derived out of the entire exercise.  Finally, after having had  their fill of fodder for gossip and discussed the minutest details of the woman's life, life gets back to normal - for the society and for the poor woman.
      Maybe they find greener pastures and leave that woman in peace! I know. I have been through the entire  roller-coaster ride of being interrogated, ridiculed...Ugh! Now that I am way past the childbearing age, I am able to live in peace. Another reason why I am living in peace is, I brought home a dog and brought him up as my child. Of course, it had its own set of teething troubles. For, when I did get him home a decade ago, there  began another round of questioning.
      "Why an animal?Why not adopt a child?Why not make use of the latest fertility treatments?Who will be your support in your old age?" Aargh! As if it made any difference in their lives that I brought home an animal!
        It amuses me, the kind of reasons people come up with! Do they really worry who will care for me in my old age? As if every child cares for his parents when they get old. A countless sad stories we have heard of children literally throwing their parents out of their own homes...I don't even want to think about it!
     It is the most personal matter - childbirth - and it should be left to the woman to decide if she wants to have any. It definitely will not make her incomplete.  It should not! A woman is complete the way she is! Yes, there's this notion that making use of the ability to give birth to a child through one's womb, is being thankful to our Creator for His blessing. But, not putting that womb to good use is not going to hurt the Creator's sentiments; He knows why we do what we do!
           I wonder when the day will arise when decisions as intimate as marriage and having children will be the concerned person's prerogative. It can be stifling following societal norms when the heart isn't ready for such momentous decisions. There could be reasons why someone would prefer staying single for the rest of their lives, or why someone might decide to give up the thought of bringing a child into this world. It's their life, why must the world  bother?
        Just let people be!
     



   







Sunday, 28 August 2016

Why whisper, when you can be carefree? #Period Pride

                 I had my first period at the age of 12, and today, as I sense  menopause peeping from round the corner, I remember a statement made by a professor way back in college:
                       
                          "Celebrate menstruation! It is what makes you a woman!"
 
         Golden words, those, considering, we women hate this thing we would like to think of as  an affliction! When I first learnt about it, I wondered if only women in our country suffered from it! Hilarious, I know, but in my day and  age, innocence still existed. With no Internet to illuminate us with information, we were too naive to understand life and her ways.  Discussing such taboo topics with elders was considered to be strict no-no. Mother did advice me on what I was supposed to do if something "went wrong" in her absence. But, Dad was not to be consulted as he had no knowledge about anything of the sort!
          I would often wonder when I would be rid of this monthly trauma, and so once  badgered mother to tell me when I would become a free bird.  She muffled a laugh, wrapped me in her arms and enlightened me  that my periods would be my companion for more than half of my lifetime! I almost fainted.
          Mother would recount tales of how  women from olden days were treated  during those few days  of the month. They would have to stay in an outhouse, or some dark and dingy room all by themselves and their plates of food would be pushed towards them through the door left ajar for such tasks, lest they "touched" someone and contaminated them.
         They were forbidden from entering temples and kitchens, for they were impure. And if by mistake they did brush past someone, then that person had to have an immediate bath!  I was aghast at that piece of news! I also found out how certain practices  existed when I was young. Maybe they do so now, too! Maybe the way it is considered a taboo and has laws pertaining to behaviour during those days,is the reason why it  is looked down upon as an exasperating issue  rather than just another bodily function.
        Some years ago, mother had invited some guests at her place and some religious rituals also had to be performed. I was on my period precisely at that time, but I decided to keep mum about it and help mother, lest all the work fell on her shoulders. As I went about completing the chores, I wondered why God, who created us, would consider His children to be impure because of something He Himself had blessed them with! How could our God be so petty? I confessed to mother a few days later fearing the worst. But, mother was a lot more progressive in her views than I gave her credit for and accepted my views proudly! I wish every mother would be like mine.
        I  know that I am hurting sentiments by saying such things; I am aware how strongly some people feel about it. I have also read about some "scientific reasons" behind these so called laws. However, treating periods as a natural physiological occurrence, like urinating, would be a lot more sensible, isn't it? Also, discussing it with girls, as well as boys, when they come of age, and making them aware of the various eco-friendly products that can be used during periods, would help create the awareness it so deserves. Doing away with age-old laws and  assuming a  more progressive outlook will help the  Naari lead a better and a happier life.

*Linking this post to Write Tribe #Period Pride.















   

Monday, 22 August 2016

Just let it go.

               A few days ago,  I read an interesting story by an anonymous writer. It was in Marathi, titled, 'Barnitley Kaju' (The cashew jar). The story is about how the writer stumbled upon an old storybook while rummaging through her cupboard.  The book carried a cute little tale about a  boy and his fondness for cashews and how the tale taught the writer a lesson for  life.

             The little boy loved cashews, so one day he got hold of the cashew jar, dipped his hand in it, and took a fistful of cashews, but, alas, his hand got stuck! Panic-stricken, the poor fellow tried moving his hand this way and that, but to no avail. The mouth of the jar wasn't big enough for him to free his hand that now held the cashews. His grandmother, who was watching the entire scene unfold, suggested he let go of the cashews - that would help him out. Trusting his granny, the boy let go of the nuts and lo, he could easily free his hand! His face brightened up instantly!

         The writer was prompted to draw an analogy between that tale and our life. She realised how, like the little boy, we hold on to our sorrow, anger, jealousy, envy all our life and get stuck in those bitter moments from our past. But, if we were to let go of all the bitterness, all the anger, life would be so happy!

       Really, isn't it that simple a thing? To let it go!  But for us, it's the toughest thing to do!  It's a task we would rather not undertake! We hold on to the wounds inflicted on us by our dear ones, we hold on to the anger and the bitterness and  nurture it all as if  our life depended on it. We allow it to haunt us night and day, gnaw at our insides, till one day it perishes everything - our joy, our peace of mind, our relationships.

      I often wonder why we do it? This fostering of negative emotions of anger and envy and hatred -   not for a moment do we stop to reflect upon the futility of it all! It's not just the others who torture us with words and deeds, we do it, too, don't we? Do we consider how their feelings take a beating when we hurl spiteful words at them? We often get forgiven, you know? But, do we forgive others? Hmm, now that's a question quite tough to answer. Our fragile egos need to be cared for first!

    You know, it's a misconception that if we were to forgive, we would be the weaker ones. On the contrary, if we were to forgive, we would be stronger. Strong enough to understand that everyone makes mistakes, and it's best to forgive and forget. Relationships are at stake, you know? Shouldn't we be treasuring relationships more than our stupid egos? What good are those egos, anyway? But, relationships - ah,  now those are the ones that give us our identities, bring us joy and help us through this difficult journey called life!

   And, life is short. And, uncertain. Will those grudges we hold,  make any sense after our people are dead and gone? It would be futile  repenting for the precious time wasted on senseless arguments
that we had, for reasons that don't even hold any weight, anymore? Words spoken in the heat of the moment are to be forgotten once the moment passes by. Move on, let go. The world hasn't come to an end!

     It isn't easy, I know. But, whoever said life's  a bed of roses? So, just pick up the phone, call up your dear ones, clear up any misunderstanding and resolve old matters! More often than not, it is lack of communication that's the root cause of it all. Let go of the resentment and the hatred and embrace everyone with a loving heart. Remember, we will be receiving that much love in return! Oft-heard words, eh? Well, oft-seen conflicts, too!
    But, really, it's all worth it. Just try it out. You will be overwhelmed by the love and the happiness  you get at the end of it all!
















Monday, 15 August 2016

Time to change.

         We celebrate the 70th  year of Independence today. I really wonder what exactly it means to the people of this country! Now, this may come across as  a pessimistic attitude to many, but, really, how much have we really progressed in these past seven decades? I don't want to dwell  upon the multitudinous goals we have achieved, instead, I would like to ponder over the basic philosophy of us Indians that we have so miserably failed to work upon.
        Every soul in India follows a religion from which he imbibes knowledge about how he must lead an ideal life. Respecting one another and working towards building a society where every one lives in harmony, are the tenets of every religion, isn't it?  Everyone who has read their religious text will vouch for this knowledge that it imparts. Then, why do we still have discrimination based on religion, caste and creed? Why the intolerance for the other religion, whichever it may be? Aren't we taught that we all are 'one'?  Our  gods must have given up on us by now; no wonder the chaos all around us!
    And, so must have our goddesses, whom we revere in our temples, but whose image we fail to revere and respect in our everyday life.  'Image', being every woman here, in this country of ours! Everyday,  we read about rapes and violence against women, happening all around us. On days, when I read more than a few such news articles, I wonder if it is  some sort of an epidemic that has spread all over our country?!  Yes, passing stringent laws and punishing the guilty without delay will definitely help. But, isn't it our responsibility to implement  what we learn - we being the most religious citizens of the lot? God-fearing, eh? Are we really so?
     Isn't it time we actually, really, made an attempt to bring about a change - in ourselves? Society will change on its own; it's us we need to work upon first! Work towards embracing, and respecting, each and every citizen of our country - irrespective of their gender, their religion and  their choice of life. Kindness towards our fellow citizens, respect and care for our motherland, and working towards the betterment of our nation as we would for our home, is our duty. It's also something we owe to our past, as well as to our future - the generation that fought for our freedom, and the generation that will take over from us in the times to come.
      Journalist and historian, Khushwant Singh in his book,'There is no god', quoted American writer Ella Wheeler Wilcox, whose simple words are what we really need to follow today.

       So many gods, so many creeds, so many paths that wind and wind,
       When just the art of being kind is all that the sad world needs.

   It may sound cliched, but isn't it a fact, that a change in mindsets and our age-old philosophy is the need of the hour? We harp about it every year on Independence day and Republic day, and yet, we fail to see any substantial improvement around us! I guess, the time has come to really make a solid attempt at bringing about that necessary change - in ourselves - so that one day, we awake to that beautiful day when our country will be in a position where we so want her to be!
   Let us follow a new religion of kindness and tolerance for one and all. Let us  all labour tirelessly for the India we dream about, and, instead of pointing accusing fingers at the laws that govern, the powers that be, take it upon ourselves to reform the image of this country and bring her the recognition and the respect she so deserves! Together, we can, and, we should!
   Jai Hind!



Image from Pixabay.


Wednesday, 10 August 2016

A toast to myself!

     Wow! First of all, a toast to myself!   Cheers! *Clink clink*
     And, now for the post - seven days of writing on prompts that were so varied; visiting blogs and reading up posts that were such gems -  it  was an amazing week, indeed! Amazing and fulfilling.            Counting these seven days and adding to these the past 10 days (7 days of Write Tribe Blogging Challenge  and 3 days of the Cherished Blogfest) would make it 17 days of blogging for me! Now, that's quite a feat, considering I haven't been so regular at writing. But, I have understood, that it takes a whole lot of willpower and the need to get out of our comfort zone (lazing around and making excuses for not writing!) to get down to achieving things you felt you never would! Writing on prompts thought up by someone else, isn't easy. I mean, haven't we all been a victim of ennui? But, when there is an entire team of bloggers and some amazing and encouraging admins to help us, what can we possibly do, but write? Write till we are satisfied with the words we see on the screen, use up our reserves of creativity to bring out some truly inspiring posts we feel proud of - it actually gets easier by the day, this daily writing, you know? And, I am glad I did it. There were days when I wondered what would I possibly write on some particular prompt which was so not me! But, I hung in there, wracked my brains and pestered the Big Guy sitting in the heavens to give me some idea. And, you know, I actually  came up with what I would write!
    So, here's to  my blogger friends who stuck around and kept on going in spite of everything that could go wrong, and to my very kind admins at the BAR - I couldn't have done it without you all!
   Thank you for the wonderful week that was, and looking forward to many more blogging challenges in the future. The badges are lovely!  Feels great  to flaunt them! ;)
Yes! I DID NOT spill my drink!





Be positive! The most important ingredient we all need to serve up a knockout dish!

Sunday, 7 August 2016

A promise to my best friend.

                It's Friendship Day today, so what better occasion than this to make a promise to my best friend, to love her and cherish her for as long as I live!?  We - my bff and I - have been together since the moment I was born. It's some years now,  since I learnt about her significance to my life. To begin with,  I am my bff - my best friend forever. I do have friends, but, it's me, who is closest to me!
       We often fail to realise our own importance in our lives. We cherish our family and our close friends, but seldom do we cherish ourselves. Our contribution towards our development along this journey rarely gets the desired credit.  The people we meet during our journey, and our experiences with them, leave an indelible mark on our psyches. We evolve into better versions of ourselves thanks to those experiences, to those people, but, do we realise that it's  our own efforts due to which  we metamorphose into what we were destined to be?
      We always depend on others for our happiness, seldom realising that it's us on whom our happiness depends! We will be living with ourselves for the rest of our lives, not people, who never last throughout this journey!  Shouldn't we care for our own wellbeing than rely on others for the same?
       So today, I make a promise to myself to love and care for myself, be considerate towards myself, treat myself with kindness, the sort I deserve.  Be more forgiving, and  accepting,  of my shortcomings, knowing fully well that no one here is 'perfect'.  Of course, my dear ones will always hold a place of prominence in my life, but, I will position myself on top of my priority list. People will come into my life and move away, but I will always be here - with me, for me.  Taking care of myself is therefore a necessity, isn't it?



 *Today is the last day of  the Bar-a-thon at Blog-a-rhythm. It has been an exciting 7 days of blogging and blog-hopping. I hope you had as much fun as I did! 

*Today's prompt: Promise to (yourself /someone else).

*Team Orange Tango. 



Saturday, 6 August 2016

Live and let live.

   
      Kavita had been sitting motionless for hours now, deeply immersed in her thoughts. The impending arrival of the prospective groom to 'see' her had been driving her to despair.  Pleading with her parents for some more time had been a futile attempt, leading to a worsening state of turmoil. Thoughts of rebellion and defeat rose simultaneously within her, sending her deeper into the chasm of desolation. But, giving up was not an alternative for her now;  building up a fighting spirit was what she needed to concentrate on.
 
    "They will take one look at me and reject me outright. The kind of genes I have inherited will ensure that! And, after they have gone, and my folks tch-tched about my rotten luck, life will get back to normal. And, then, within a few days, I will move out. Anisha has waited so long! We have waited so long. Our dream for our future together...it will all come true one day. Dad and ma will never understand, never agree. They will, of course, put their foot down.

   "No way!" they will say. "We don't want a daughter-in-law, we want a son-in-law, for heaven's sake! Are we living in America? All this gay and lesbian business is for those foreigners, not us Indians! And, it's a disease - this 'thing' - don't you know? Our daughter, a lesbian? ! Chii! What will people say?They will spit on us! They will throw us out of the community!"

     "Blah, blah, blah...they will go on and on. But, I am not going to pay heed to them. or the society, or anybody! Screw them all! it's my life, my happiness and I will fight for it, fight for my rights!"
 

     Kavita sat knotting and unknotting the end of her dupatta, her heart beating faster with a strong current of revolt that now ran through her. Her mind, engaged in all the wishful thinking had washed away the fear of all these days and replaced it with a courage that left her emboldened!
   How she yearned to be with Anisha - her love, her life! How she hungered for freedom from the closeted life she had been living all these years! She would not cower in fear anymore; she would give it her all, till the very end!
 
  Will her dreams come true? Only time will tell.

*And, only time will tell , if the countless Kavitas and Anishas the world over will be able to live the life they have dreamed of. Our "normal" thinking society that frowns upon homosexuality, thinking it to be a disease, needs to learn to embrace life in every colour and accept people along with the life they wish for themselves. Just live and let live - it's that simple! 


 *I am participating in the Bar-a-thon at Blog-a-rhythm, for an exciting 7 days of blogging and blog-hopping. Do join us with your posts and have a thrilling week! 

*Today's prompt: Wishful thinking.

*Team Orange Tango.