DP Challenge

The Harry Potter Christmas Tree Project

Sithiram

This year we welcomed Christmas with a Christmas Tree constructed with books. What’s more, we decided to try and create a #Harry Potter Christmas Tree. Here are some of the highlights.

View original post

Advertisements

How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard

Sunday mornings all over the world are meant for leisure and absolute abandonment. But here in the Middle East, it is the first day of the week for the public sector employees. Our weekend falls in Friday and Saturday. Not that I’m complaining, my husband who works for the private sector gets just Friday off.

So here I am on a cold Sunday morning at crossroads, ‘To snooze or not to snooze’. If I snooze and miss transport, there is no way I can get to office on time. Annoyed at the prospect I toss the sheet and stop dead at the unfamiliar sight. This is not our bedroom… The haze lifts and I realise we have fallen asleep on our couch. Kooorumpf…kaar…kaar. Hmmm. He is asleep. He sounds like he is on the set of The Fast and the Furious movie, but he is most definitely asleep right here on our couch.

My Ji is from a small hill town in India. Absolutely gorgeous, just fresh

Photo Courtesy: Arun Joseph - thatphotocompany

Photo Courtesy: Arun Joseph 

air and greenery all round. Nice people, small town gossip, loyal friends and a cozy family. Moving to the Middle East was a big step for him. The scorching heat and culture shock was monumental. They say big challenges can either make a man wiser or send him away shallow. If you get to know him, there are three things that would stand out. He is painfully honest, passionate in love and unbelievably patient.

For these very same reasons he has been hurt unfairly by shallow pretentious jerks who hide behind a veil of lies and deceit. Every time I ask Ji to expose these frauds, he merely states, ‘That is not for me to do. It is for people to find out’ and I cry in frustration ‘It is ok to be a jerk to other jerks’ and he calmly replies ‘People who love you will stick by your side no matter what. People who don’t are not worth fighting again and again for!’ Argh!

On the other hand, there is still the child in him. Like all other men I suppose. Remote controlled cars, Ferrari Racer on I pad, 45 mins to use the toilet… the whole deal.

What makes me want to wake up next to him for the rest of my life is the fact that I will never get tired of aspiring to be like him. Like a strong oak that is patient, generous, wise, playful and always watching over you; I know his love for his family will stay firmly rooted for ages to come.

Watching him sleep, my mind flashes back to last week’s party where our eyes met across the room, Ji picking up three squealing little nieces all the same time, the girls shrieking in delight, their hair ticking his nose, he was happiest to love, to be loved and at his happiest he looked for me.

Padding slowly to the bathroom, I hear him stumble straight to the kitchen not wanting me to miss breakfast. Can we just take the day off and go back to the couch… maybe turn back time? My job is interesting and I like going to work, but, just need more ‘Ji’ time.

He looks at me and sees his soul mate, a friend, a fellow traveller. He thinks I’m beautiful and likes my crazy incoherent blog. Ji is proud of my talents and interests (which are limited to being a good language coach, cooking the perfect steak and trying to make a difference in the world). He makes me happy, he makes me blush; he makes my heart race and stop. He simply takes my breath away.

I wonder if I’m selfish to love him because I know that all the happiness in the world could be squeezed into the small hazel pool of his eyes and my reflection in them.

Thank you for the prompt WordPress!

Vacancies

Children play carefree

Monsters glare from the shadows

Angels wanted – apply

My 100th post – Haiku dedicated to Bachpan Bachao Andolan – Save the Childhood Movement.Their mission is ‘To identify, liberate, rehabilitate and educate children in servitude through direct intervention, child and community participation, coalition building, consumer action, promoting ethical trade practices and mass mobilisation.’

Image

They have rescued 82808 children from from bonded labour and slavery since 1980 till today. Watch their video that went viral recently here

I wanted to write a bigger article, but, wordpress inspired me with the Haiku Challenge

Unplugged…

Have you been bitten by the FB Bug? Do you have the Ville Virus? I’ve had both and I survived.

Facebook was slow to take off. People signed up mostly to play Farmville. Boy did I sign up for that one! I ploughed, watered, harvested, shopped, helped my neighbours, built fences, repaired and god knows what with the precision of a navy seal. Confident in my abilities to keep track of my farm and with more contacts than the CIA to help me harvest, my days and nights were spent in utter Farmville Heaven.

Meanwhile the social connectivity options were growing by leaps and bounds. Facebook helped me find long lost friends, connect with fellow bloggers. Facebook made me clear my conscience once a day by helping spread knowledge about sick children and dead war heroes. My faith was unwavering as I feverishly tried to share divine messages in fear of being smitten by the wrath of God or trampled under a rampaging dinosaur. Some friends and family I met used to say “I’m not very interested in Facebook and all” and then they signed up let’s just leave it at that.

At one point of time, we realised that though there are billions of people using it for connecting, sharing, caring, playing and all that, it was quickly becoming an open forum for airing dirty laundry, hate wars, like begging, trolling and a mass of seemingly mundane and shallow things that people really don’t care about. Getting to updates that mattered from family and friends was suddenly next to impossible. Obstacle courses of FORWARD OR DIE, SHARE AND FIND TRUE LOVE, trolls and memes and all other kinds of trash stood in the way. Posts were pushed far back and at one point people just lost the damn will to do the drill. My friend’s adorable babies are sandwiched between a crude boob joke and a video of a guy being run over. Seriously, what were you thinking?

Blog posts from friends are pushed back by stories asking me to LIKE if I respect dead soldiers and COMMENT if I have a heart. Of course there are free psychotherapy sessions going on and a million other app updates on the side as well.

So I decided, it was time to do something about it. It was harder than spring cleaning. All the apps I didn’t use – blocked and updates deleted. Trollers are mindless ‘sharers’ – muted. My friends and family were put in proper groups. Double profiles were deleted. Many shocking discoveries were made too. For example, my husband Jose and I discovered the creepy IDs of someone that was being used under a false name just to make ‘friends’ and we shall leave it at that too. Argh!

Facebook is a wonderful medium. There is something for everyone. But too much of something just tends to go over the top. Even conversations between friends went from interesting to “Did you see that pic I shared on Facebook and his reply to that and no wonder she didn’t ‘like’ that and I think they are having problems and remember that video with the dog and the train”… I can see some of you saying, ok ‘Aamish woman, what are you getting at?’

We seem to have taken a social networking medium and made it the centre of our lives. Some of us can’t take a leak without posting it on Facebook. Others battle to see who has the most popular life. Breakups, fights, ragging, racism, depression, hate wars … it’s all there. And then there are the sensitive ones taking offence at harmless jokes and kicking and screaming bloody murder.

Unplugging from Facebook brought me back to blogging. Being Freshly Pressed motivated me to keep writing. Jose and I started picking up books to read that we had previously cast aside. Our discussions and debates have gone back to our widespread areas of interest. When we meet friends and family, there are many things to discuss because we were not a part of every minute of their lives. So we actually had stuff to talk about rather than the so out- of- fashion line ‘yeah I read your status on Facebook’.

Courtesy:thatphotocompany(dot)in and UNPLUGGING!

Courtesy:thatphotocompany(dot)in and UNPLUGGING!

We still visit social networking sites to wish people, check photographs and join interesting discussions. We post pictures of important occasions and things we wish to share. But a social networking profile is not what we are defined by. We don’t begin sentences with “I had shared this on my profile”

Absence of the frenzy of posting the smartest, wittiest and other superlative degrees of useless information is a welcome relief. Now I know what is meant by ‘social after self’.  People around us have been wonderful in adapting to the change. At first they looked at us like we were weird and crazy with a sprinkle of Flintstone dust… But now, it is wonderful to visit people and go – “So what’s new?”

Unplugging from Facebook has made me realise the massive positive impact it has had on our lives. It has also made me thankful that we haven’t sunk into the quagmire that its unbridled usage may create.

Of friendship and hope

It has been so long since we spoke that I’m concerned. If anything’s the matter I trust that you will let us know so it can be resolved.

You know how to reach me, us or…

Take Care 🙂

Hands shaking, she hits the ‘send’ button and feels her throat close, enveloping the light

around her.

‘Message sent View or undo’?

She blinks trying to get her eyes to focus. Undo… Dear reader,  if only it were that simple, you and I would have found a cure to cancer . If only she knew what the hell there was to undo. (more…)

Seeking Zen

Hmmm keeping an even keel. I thought there was no such thing as an even keel 🙂

Courtesy: ask dot com

Courtesy: ask dot com

 

Come to think of it, I’ve been struggling to find a sure fire way to balance life. 

The jury will please note that a sincere attempt to list events in chronological order has been made.

Here they are:

  1. Writing poetry – that red diary went with me everywhere
  2. Burning written poetry – that red diary just went away
  3. Working for social causes – a positive channel for all that rebellious energy, but eventually burnt out
  4. Reading voraciously – anything except romance was welcome. I read everything from Dostoevsky to unpublished regional authors…
  5. Lazing around in coffee houses (Cafe Coffee Day) – with friends, so nothing exciting really came off it like writing a book or witnessing a fist fight (wait I take back the last one)
  6. Road Trips – there is something about an open road and a mo
  7. torcycle… just soaking up the warm sun and insistent wind till your soul feels as light as feather and you wonder when it will just slip away to join the clouds. Till you feel the world slip by taking your baggage with it, till a smile starts to creep up from the bottom of your heart… till a friend pulls up and grimaces at the stupid expression on your face
  8. Blogging
  9. Playing Farm ville on Facebook
  10. Rediscovering the love of writing
  11. COFFEE – The tried and tested method that has worked for me is to just unwind with a cup of coffee on a weekends (in UAE the weekend starts on Fridays).My hair looking like tumble dried cat fur and wearing unflattering pyjamas, I stumble out of bed and stagger into the living room and to the balcony it’s obvious he deliberately left a trail of coffee aroma. How does J manage to take my breath away every single day? Maybe I’m a sucker for his goofy grin and sparkling brown eyes, . You’d think it gets old or boring… It’s the one thing that tilts my world the right way up. Coffee with a heaping dollop of the husband.

So in retrospect, whenever there is a need to unwind people usually find an outlet. You know it is time to discover your soothing agent when you just don’t want to wake up in the morning and go through the day.

In my case it is on days like yesterday… there was no problem getting to work and all that, I just left my phone in the freezer – Go Figure

The Three Friends Song

The Three Friends Song. That’s the topic I ended up with after scribbling down ten words that came to mind. (Friends, Gum, Water, Tired, Song, Life, Books, Work , Three) This has been one of Daily Prompts most creative challenges.

Here is my article with a haphazard rhyme.

The Three Friends Song

Walking down the crowded street

I smell chaos and decay

The putrid stench of a loveless world

People cowering in dismay

I seek a simple light to turn to when it gets too tough

Someone to cherish, to laugh and fight with and make up

A person who’ll walk with you when others shall point and jeer

To spoil and laze around with, I seek my other musketeer

Cut the Crap Karen picks me up and shakes me up

“You gonna mope all day?” she asks with her damned half full cup

Dusted off polished and primped, we’re feeling pretty good

These two friends set out to live life as properly as they could

The tide of life swept them along, tired as they got

Of pleasing every person and giving everything their best shot

Sit back Jack found us with baggage and a frown

He bid us put our feet up, just let our hair down

Checks and balances are important, but there’s so much more to life

Than being a mother a husband, or some body’s wife

“We need another friend” I said, “to complete this circle”

“Your fierce love and loyalty” they said “round off this miracle”

Message from Beyond…

Weekly Writing Challenge: Mind the Gap

Dear Reader,

Hope you are doing well.

By the time you read this, the tulips planted on my grave will probably be dead. Feel freeto replant them. If you can pitch some money for a few rose bushes as well I would be glad.

My name is Posta L’Ter , I belong to the great family the L’Ters. In my time it was a great honor to belong to the L’Ter family. We ruled the cities and suburbs alike. We were always accompanied by uniformed escorts. People used to gather outside their houses to receive us. The Famille des L’ters  descended from The Royal Family of The Mails of Communesbrugh. You used to see our royal cousins De Cards gracing functions and social events. They always dressed in bright colors, wore expensive coats and their visits were treasured for eons.

Our extended family by marriage were the T. Grams and sons. They were our foot soldiers if you will; running around checking up on people now and then. Courtesy was not their strongest suit. People often lamented over their insensitivity and we would soon follow hoping to soothe their hearts.

We existed with dignity, pomp and splendor. We took great pride in our customs.

Our reign did come to an end. Our great land was invaded by the Netisans. An unforgiving people they were. Their conquests were brutal, taking over by completely destroying the enemy. Few of us escaped and still managed to survive. Some traitors however defected to the enemy. They married into the Netisans and called themselves E. Mails. They were non-conformists, rejecting tradition, deeper and deeper they sank into a muck of identity crisis, getting on with the world and pure disrespect for the people they visited.

They did not bother to speak to people anymore, rather they just chatted, pinged, poked and posted in a devil-may-care way. They turned people away from the joy of receiving our royal personages, treasuring us and our memories forever. They have invented random alphabet clusters that at first don’t seem to mean anything, like they are threatened with a stint in the dungeons if they use vowels.

The golden era seems to be buried right here with me. The last of the royal MS. Ellie Graph of India was buried here this week at the ripe old age of 160. You may think I’m a bitter, pompous old twit for going on about things bygone. We ought to pave way for innovation no doubt, but a present that is built on the ashes of the past will never attain the true glory that the future could’ve had.

 There is one more thing I would like to tell the youth of today from beyond the grave… Pull up your pants if they get any lower they would be called ‘socks’; and ladies, the skirts you wear today were called ‘belts’ in my time. 

 Yours Respectfully,

MS. Posta L’Ter

Dilapidated Grave No 2

Golden Era Cemetery

Home… Dream Home…

Home — that blessed word, which opens to the human heart,

 The most perfect glimpse of Heaven,

And helps to carry it thither, as on an angel’s wings.

– Lydia Maria Child

It was January 2009, my mother’s birthday was coming up in May. There was nothing special about the year or anything. Owing to mortal fear of my soul burning for ever in hell, I cannot tell you how old she turned that year. My younger brother A and I liked to surprise mom now and then.

When I was in the 11th grade, we surprised mom by inviting her estranged niece over, I still remember the pineapple cake – all mom remembers is her niece walking into the living room. She still can’t remember the cake…

She is a single parent. She balanced her job, running the house, us… Completely brought back to the verge of bankruptcy thrice by people she trusted, she never let her children go without food or education. Our small apartment was pristine, we had nutritious food and went to  top schools in the city. We counted our blessings and thanked God every day.

As we sat thinking back on all the things she had to forgo for us, we realised how blessed we were. The people who stood by her were her friends. They never asked anything in return, they protected her, loved her, supported her, told her off, put up with her and were there for her in every step of life. In doing so they kept her focused, determined and strong. In doing so they also had a hand in creating the beautiful life we have. All these thoughts were swirling around in our mind… So… we made a plan.

It was 11.55 pm; we could hear the air conditioner in mom’s bedroom humming. We had this tradition, every birthday at midnight; A would wake mom up and play this movie he makes using all the pictures he took of her during the course of the previous year. Like a photo memoir if you will…

“Happy Birthday Ma!” we woke her up. Excited about the photos as usual, she rubbed her sleepy eyes, and sat in front of the computer… Picture after picture ran past her and as the screen faded to black A said “Surprise”… And there they were all of her friends, wishing her good luck, recounting old memories, telling her how much she meant to them. A and I had labored over the past two months, gathering information, visiting her friends and filming them, friends from other cities had their videos recorded in mobile phones and e-mailed to us. It was beautiful, she was beautiful, my mother sitting there her humble self, only thinking about what others meant to her, hadn’t stopped to think that she had enriched people’s lives too.

When morning dawned we spent the day with her and packed her off to visit a few churches with her mother in the evening. We had planned to have a surprise dinner in the terrace. So we made some paper lanterns and set up the terrace. She came home to an empty house and called us “Come on up to the terrace ma!” we said.

She was over joyed looking at the paper lanterns and rushed to hug us, but stopped in her tracks. She could make out some other shapes in the dark, dull lit terrace and there was a blur of saris and colognes and jasmine… Pandemonium- Friends meeting each other after a long time some of them after decades, laughing crying hugging and talking all at the same time. I would like to believe we found most of them and brought them together that day.

This is my home, built with tough love, some TLC and a lot of friendship. These memories are my dream home and every single person who touched our lives with love and friendship lives there with us and there is room for more…

Dinner was sponsored by my mom’s cousin. There was ice-cream and cake … maybe there was a pineapple cake, but I can’t remember.

 Thank you DP for the writing prompt!