Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Total Siyappa!

The joy of reading is overwhelming to me. I like to smell the book, to rustle the pages and go deep in the story. I read and start imagining it literally. The characters are all alive and almost there in front of me performing, crying, laughing, speaking, dancing. It is a beautiful experience rather journey…from the first page to the last. I don't have a make-up kit, sunglasses, deo in my jhola but one would always find a book these days. Being in a foreign land where people are marooned in their ipads, kindle’s….always tucked in is their headphones and are surfing the internet…they are VVIP and I am certainly not! I have time to glance outside the windowpane and enjoy the journey, to think about something important or for that matter to do nothing. If possible start a conversation with elderly people on the bus or trains. They are the people who love talking as they never had mobiles, ipads, kindles ever during their days. So anyway I am the least important, lost soul and then no one to talk….I prefer carrying a book to read rather than listening to music. It was in the last week when I finished with a book ‘Baby Proof’ by Emily Griffin. I remember how I was in a hurry and picked this book with no idea how entertaining it would be. Let me introduce to the main characters Ben and Claudia based in the US. They fall in love after series of serious relationships and finally exchange vows. The interesting part of their marriage is they both don’t want children. Simply unconventional. Well this made me think, did I ever have that clause in my mind? Claudia is a well-known writer on a good post and is very happy with her professional life. She thinks that she doesn’t have the gene which generates a feeling of motherhood. I admired Claudia as a woman who is so firm on her thoughts.

How many of our Indian women can say this to their families? If she says so she would be the last person to get married. Everyone would look at her suspiciously as though she has some psychological disorder. Our society has definite plan for everyone. For a girl then doctor, teacher, lecturer, software engineer are the best professions for her. Before she realizes her dreams the relatives (not her parents) start discussing about how grown up she looking and how she might prove a perfect match to XYZ’s son. I know parents and I am very happy to see that they want their daughters to be independent first and then get married. The neighbours, distant relatives try to show their deepest concerns about the wedding bells. These discussions are on peak when one happens to attend a wedding. You always see a group of elderly females sitting and chatting about everything under the sun. Something like this 

A1: With the plate in her hand she says, ‘the food was good but not great. I would have liked if they had some more varieties of sweets. Anyway the couple looks good but the girl should have been a bit fairer. What do you all think?’

A2: Nodding her head and in unison with A1’s opinion, ‘It is not the traditional food. In our times it used to be so traditional and there is no one to come and see if you needed something. No respect these days…I don’t like attending weddings these days’ eating her last gulab jamun she says, ‘I heard that they have given a lot of jewellery and also have booked a flat in the name of bride-groom. Nowadays it is all about money, kaala-gora koi nahi dekhta’.

A3: ‘Yeah true. It is only money that matters. For instance, do you see that girl in the blue dress?’ All of them raise their heads and some also get up to see the girl in the crowd.

A1: Very inquisitively replies, ‘I can see, she is pretty and fair. Who is she?’

A3: Not so happily says, ‘She is my first cousin R’s youngest daughter. I don’t know what she is studying’. I asked her once, ‘she says she wants to do a PhD and then do some research’. Now you tell me at that age who will marry her? She will be 30, her looks will not be so attractive and I also know that PhD’s don’t earn much. Look at the bride, she is 26 years old and is a software Engineer.

A4: After eating almost everything on her platter she says, ‘this is how parents these days are spoiling their daughters. They are giving them freedom and treating like boys. My grand-daughter too wants to go to the US for further studies. But I have warned my son that she cannot until she is married. How can she be on her own all alone?’

A1: Passes on some mouth freshener’s to all and pops one in her mouth. Bending in the centre so that no one should listen to her, she whispers ‘I have also heard that there is some disturbance in between Mr and Mrs P about making a baby. Mrs P has gone to her mother’s place due to this matter and is firm that she isn’t ready for a baby. A growing trend about having children in later stages of marriage. Girls don’t want to be caged in responsibilities these days’.

This is how it goes on and on. I experienced such questions often during PhD. One of my distant cousins came to me and said, ‘Why are you so obsessed about PhD? Leave it, get married and complete it from wherever your husband takes you.’ I thought of explaining her that I can’t leave my 2 years of work which I have already invested. Rather than to anyone, it is a self-commitment and I have to stand by it. I just smiled at her and said, ‘Relax Di, I will get married before your daughter does.’ She gave me a strange look and I almost remembered that song..Naa Jaane kahan se aayi hain, naa jaane kahan ko jayegi…yeh ladki!!
After being married for 4 years I was on the train to Solapur from Pune and I met a group of ladies – conservative ladies. They started talking to me.

L1: ‘Solapur ki ho?’
Me: ‘Haan. Mummy-Papa Solapur mein hain aur main Pune mein’.
L2: ‘Sasural Pune mein hain?’
L3: ‘Shaadi ko kitne saal hog aye?’
Me:‘Sasural Ajmer ka hain. Shaadi ko 4 saal.’
L1: ‘4 saal ho gaye aur abhi bachcha nahi? Kuch problem hain kya? Doctor ko dikhaya?’
Me: Awkwardly replied, ‘hum log abhi padh rahe hain. Bachcha nahi chahiye.’
L2: ‘Shaadi ke baad jitni jaldi hoga utna acha nahit toh bahot problem aate hain. Meri Bhaanji abhi    treatment le rahi hain. Tumhe Doctor ka naam aur address doon kya?’

They were feeling so pity for me and desperately wanted me to have a baby. If they were magicians I would have had a baby in my lap at that very moment....Aaabraa Ka Daabraa and Choooo...lo bacha aa gaya!!

But will they be coming for babysitting when we would be off to our labs for the whole day? Will they look after when the baby is ill and I have experiments running the whole day and night? Will they cook for our baby when we sometimes managed to live on the canteen food? Will they pay the expenses as we managed our lives with a limited stipend? 

To my relief my phone rang and I walked away from there leaving my reserved seat.

I don’t know why people in India are so concerned about anybody’s personal life? Times have changed and we have to change. Why there are a set of rules for woman? After marriage the first thing they want to know is the ‘good news’. It is sane to know each other first and then plunge into the next responsibility. Marriage and parenthood should be out of desire and not by chance. We all at some point of time are influenced by social pressures in every decision and I am no exception. One of our very good friends here doesn’t’ want to go back to India as they are always driven mad by the question of baby.
A woman has every right to stand by her opinion. The society can’t chalk a plan and now reformation is needed. Live your life all lovely ladies before plunging into any new relation. Sing and publish an album, write a novel, trek Mount Everest, go camping. When you feel that you have done everything that you wanted and are ready for this BIG step…STEP IN!

Remember:  What seems Conventional to us now was Unconventional long ago!

Baby Proof, Women’s web inspired me to write this


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Sound of Music

It was Wednesday evening…midday of the week. This is the day with mixed feelings. Monday is gone, Tuesday is gone. Thursday and Friday to come! So it is exactly the middle day of the working week. Happy about half the week has passed and weekend awaited eagerly. At work it was not a hectic day but strenuous though. There are some days when you feel something is wrong about this day…no reasons, no explanations. Took a bus to the station with Emilly Griffin’s Baby Proof and wanted to finish with it.  A long queue for the bus, could see dark clouds clustering but sun peeping through some. In England, mostly it gets sunny after office hours. The weather is predictably unpredictable. Rain and sun play hide and seek and we are helpless left with no choice rather than enjoying this. A girl ahead of me with burgundy coloured hair was actually pepping the gloomy weather. She was on her phone speaking to someone about how exciting her day was and that really annoyed me. A blonde behind was hopefully speaking to her BF about her sport venture and how she plans to go running after reaching home. A group of boys in their jerseys and shorts discussing about Chelsea and I was sure they were football lovers. In all everyone had a happening day perhaps me! I buried my face in the book and last 2 pages-woosh woosh....done with the book. It feels very nice when you finish reading a book almost like you have achieved your goal. It gives you a sense of accomplishment. The bus arrived and I packed the book in my Jhola. I was not hopeful about getting a place on the bus but luckily got a seat. With no clue about what to do I stared staring through the windowpane. It started raining. I wonder how once upon a time as kids we all loved rains and now it only reminds us of inconvenience. The burgundy hair lasso was seated beside me. She took her headphones out and tucked it in her ears. That reminded me of my headphones which I seldom carry as I prefer reading. I too tucked in my headphones almost feeling like a copy cat!
My playlist is not even updated and has all old songs with very few new Bollywood songs. I shuffled the playlist and played the music. The very first song was ‘Naam Gum Jayega’ – a very touching and meaningful song. Remembered how Papa told me today about the demise of one of my cousin who wasn’t very close to me but I always enjoyed talking to her..a very distinct way of taking and cracking jokes she had…Naam Gum Jayeg, Chehra yeh badal jayega meri aawaz hi pehchaan hain…beautiful, melodious. I couldn’t forget Sadhna (my cousin) throughout this song. I did make a notice that the bus was on the move after checking in everyone. Students standing and chatting, I could only see their lip moments but I was in the middle of this beautiful song. The song ended and the bus too stopped at a stop. Ek Pyar ka Nagma hain…maujo ki ravani hain was the next song. Couldn’t stop myself thinking about Ms Nanda (actress) from this song as she recently passed away. Jindagi aur kuch bhi nahi…teri meri kahani hain. How true, everyone has a Kahani to tell, Sadhna too had. Unfortunately she is no more to narrate her kahani. Sadhna’s death news was what made me sad today. She died at a young age with two kids behind. My heart goes out for her kids and right now very annoyed with God’s decision of snatching her away from her kids…so rude, unfair. Anyway the next song was Zindagi ke Safar mein gujar jaate hain jo makaam…and the bus stops at the next stop. The burgundy haired girl walks out of the bus and the seat is taken by a tall boy who has his ears pierced and with tattoos all over his hands and neck. I am back to my song…Phool khilte hain, Log milte hain, Pathzad mein jo phool murzha jaate hain who baharon ke aane se khilte nahi…it perfectly suited Sadhna’s story. After her husband’s death life was never same for her but still she always smiled. Kuch log ek roz jo bichad jaate hain who hazaron ke aane se milte nahi…and yes Sadhna will never come back and perhaps I too should stop thinking about her. She has gone on an eternal journey where she will probably be the happiest. The next song came as a surprise – Mere Sapno ke raani kab aayegi tu....and I was moving my neck rhythmically with the song. I was least bothered if others were seeing me, after all music is to enjoy-set your mind free. I was smiling imagining Rajesh Khanna and the shy, dimply Sharmila Tagore. With this song playing I reached the train station. I thanked the Driver and stepped out. The train had already arrived on the platform and I rushed in before the doors closed. With the train whistling in the song I just couldn’t smile at the coincidence of being in a train with this song. I enjoyed it, loved it…felt like doing a jig like Rajesh Khanna but controlled. The next song was Hoga tumse pyara kaun humko toh tumse hain…another train song and I laughed. Noticed passengers looking at me but to save myself from embarrassment looked out of the door pane. It was beautiful outside. Drizzling, lush green mountains – the patch between Bath Spa and Bristol is amazingly beautiful. Kehte ho ke jaye lekin yeh batlao..jaye bhi toh jaye hum kahan..Beautiful sentence. I love this song more than the Chaiyya Chhaiya. Padmini Kolhapure and Rishi Kapoor’s love is so serene and pure. The next song and rather the last song as the station is approaching. I have to pick A from the nursery. I am excited to see her. Hanste Hanste kat jaye raste…jindagi yun hi chalti rahe…what a meaningful song again. This is life. Smiles and tears, Happiness and Sorrows are a part of life. A rose is beautiful with thorns, a life with happiness and sorrows is a life lived, after a tear comes the smiles, with darkness comes light, with life comes dreams and hopes. Whatever happens is bound to happen. It is better to leave it and move ahead. I didn’t leave Sadhna but I moved on. I had my rest of the day waiting for me. My daughter waiting for. I reach her nursery and the moment I see her…my baby smiles and crawls towards me…the song continued…hothon se bijli chamke jab, jab tu muskati hain, saare hasino se hasin tu ho jati hain…I packed her bag and off we were to our happy home….

R.I.P Sadhna – you will always be remembered as a woman who wore an innocent smile with a wounded heart….

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

'March'ing towards Strength

Recently I watched a few Bollywood movies and something interesting striked me. I noted in the movies Wake Up Sid, Band Baja Baraat, Shudh Desi Romance, Hasee toh Phasee was that the female lead is more composed with clarity of thoughts and aims unlike the male lead who is clueless, confused and erratic. India being a male dominant society, the acceptance of such movies by the society definitely is a positive change. Can we say that the face of the Indian Society is changing with respect to the woman? A society where man is always supposed to be correct is bringing such changes give me a hope that soon will be a day where man-woman will be equal. As a child everyone has always experienced that a final vote over any issue is by the father-I am not against this but it has always been a father’s call to decide over career, studies, hobbies etc and has been going on from generations. I always have a question that why is Lord Ganesha worshipped first before the commencement of any auspicious function/pooja in our families? Why never a Goddess?  We come from a culture where there is a celebration of womanhood in the form of Navratri, Dassera, Durga Pujo, Saraswati Pujo but is this enough? A country that has Kiran Bedi also has a Nirbhaya – a victim of gangrape. She could have been anyone amongst us-what a brutal death and punishment of being a woman! Does only physical abuse hurt a woman-‘NO’ is the answer. The moment when she is considered as incompetent, incapable will definitely hurt her the most.
It is very well known that ‘Respect cannot be asked for but has to be earned’ and hence all the gorgeous, courageous women of India – rise up and get your due. We as a woman have been blessed with enormous strength and we are unaware of this. We carry life and bring it out to the world and this proves that we can do something which is next to impossible. Grab every opportunity to test yourself and this would enhance your confidence. Help each other and make every woman around you realize that we are worth of everything beautiful. Emotion is an inevitable part of being a woman and we should use this positively. It should be a drive to success and not something which pulls you back from going ahead and conquering the world. It is a huge responsibility of the society to give her an opportunity, trust her instincts and allow her to act and then you shall see her emerging with flying colours.
Finally – to all the gorgeous and courageous ladies, let’s celebrate womanhood not today but every day for it is a spirit which will never die and will passed over to the coming generations. Grow strength by strength every day and be able enough to fight for respect and dignity. To all of you who have a woman in your life as mother/wife/sister/friend - encourage her, believe in her, support her. She will never let you down. Treasure this precious creation as SHE is the bestest creation of God.

                                            !HAPPY WOMAN'S MONTH!

Q.U.E.E.N in every W.O.M.A.N

The internet, reviews have been flooded with the positive reviews about this recent Bollywood hit QUEEN. After reading the reviews I was sure that I wanna watch it and Kangana is one my favourite actors. It was on Saturday after putting our little princess to sleep we decided to watch it…had to convince Kamendra that it is a good movie as per the reviews…he is a big NO for Bollywood movies. Out of his love and consideration for me he finally agreed to give it a go. With Aadhya it is just not possible to hit the theatres and hence we had to settle for a mediocre picture quality movie available on the internet….I was also baking a cake in the background. So we had cake instead of popcorn and it went well with the movie.
With London thumakda the movie starts and being in the UK I felt a very strong closeness to the song. A typical Indian wedding getto, simple Kangana as a bride and all the hungama around her, the oldies learning a dance to be performed for the sangeet…recalled every moment of my Brother’s wedding. I must confess that I enjoyed my brother’s wedding more than mine. A clip in the song where Kangana’s mom looks at her with teary eyes dancing and then Kangana reciprocates was so touching. I remembered my little princess once day would be a beautiful bride and with a heavy heart I will have to let her go with her Prince…almost felt that knot in my stomach…Ouch! Cake in the background smelt good and the movie too by now was well received by both of us. Right from the first scene I could sense or probably I agreed that how vulnerable a woman is in our society. Leave aside the upper class but it is all about the mediocre thinking our society has for woman. So many written/unwritten rules for her! A guy who once was crazy for this simpleton Rani promotes her to Queen and then on the day of marriage calls it off…why? Only coz he has seen London and feels that his once called ‘Queen’ is unfit for this ‘so fake lifestyle’…god save this guy…such a pity.
Our Queen on the other hand takes it positively and decides to go on her honeymoon which I felt was crazy…but later loved to see the transformation in her. I accept that Indian girls are way too protected since childhood as compared the girls in western world. It definitely is a challenge for us to cope up with this boldness, freedom, individuality. We always think about our parents, family before taking a decision unlike the girls here. I remember how nervous I was when I travelled for my job interview from Bristol to Bath Spa…though I was a bindaas lad in Pune. I have overcome that nervousness but I still can’t cope with the ease these girls have when they do anything. Slowly and gradually I was correlating myself to Kangana as Queen. The way she was shocked when she meets Vijayalaxmi…absolutely admired the intricacy for a girl who has never stepped out of her house without having Chintu besides her to see a bold, loud Lisa Haydon. Queen finally accepts that though she is loud, outrageously outgoing with men, a single mother – she is a WOMAN and has every right to live a life of her own with no set rules. With Indian upbringing she innocently advises Lisa to stop boozing and limit herself from being overfriendly with almost all men..there comes the confusion. How should a woman behave? Does she have a character if she has a child out of wedlock? Is she good enough if she boozes, smokes, is bold, is loud, and goes out with every single man? In reality I too am searching an answer for this but I accept one fact instead of all this she still is a good human being and that counts.
A striking incident when Queen visits an Indian family in Paris. They are so exaggerative and try to soothe her for her broken marriage. Could correlate how they try to be Indians in a hopeless way even though they have been staying in Paris for many years. We almost couldn’t stop laughing loud with the way they cried fake beating their chests and then giving her 11 euros and an Eiffel tower momento. The MIL and DIL discuss if 100 euros or 11 euros and daughter-in-law says that 11 is OK as it is 750 rupees in India. We could not agree more that we are a breed of plastic people with no consideration for a broken heart! Anyway let us move ahead….
After sensing that there is a lot of worth being a woman Queen decides to go to Netherlands and she meets a bunch of men with whom she shares her room! So very unconventional for an Indian woman to even think something like this. She beautifully makes friends with them and not to forget the men of different nationalities are so considerate about her fear and inhibitions…some laughing moments like the Indian French toast in not a French toast. She is amazed to know that she made some lovely friends from different cultures. She meets another woman - Rukhsar- a legal hooker! Beautifully she accepts that a hooker too is a woman and it is not out of passion but need that she becomes a hooker. Earning bread for your family is a top priority. Well how can one be Indian without knowing Indian cooking? Finally Queen ends up making famous gol-guppa/pani-puri/puchkas and does some justice to her home-science degree. Her pani-puris are a hit and win her more accolades. At his point she meets her fiancĂ© who wants her back and probably is sure what to do - dump him. A way to kind gesture of her’s touched me when she thanks him..definitely for the change in her.
At last, she is all smiles with oozing confidence when she walks out of his house. A true Q.U.E.E.N – transforme. She realizes that: It is not impossible to travel if you don’t know good English; there are no rules for being a woman; nothing good or bad defines a woman. A woman has every right to be happy, live freely with no burden and with no ‘tags’. She can have her own opinion. She is ready to live her own life in her own way! Finally nobody helps but it is only you who can help yourself. Shed off your inhibitions and set a goal for yourself - there is no stopping for you.
With the lovely cake and such a feel good movie I slept feeling almost like a Queen there is a Q.U.E.E.N in every W.O.M.A.N

A Sneak Peak in a working mother's mind

Pay It Forward

 I admit that I am a feminist and am proud of being so. I truly believe that there is nothing impossible for a woman and she always comes out as a winner. Women's web is contributing a lot to boost the morale of women and I hope my blog too contributes in the minutest way!

Trupti Jamalpure-Sharma

It is 10 pm on a Friday night. The weather today has been extremely bright and sunny which is not very British. British food and whether are two horrible things. I couldn’t stop laughing when I read about a board chalked – ‘handmade sandwiches are available’ in a bistro. Aren’t sandwiches handmade always?   I remember the first year when I read the huge posters, banners, and billboards flashing about ‘The Great British Summer’. I smirked at how an Indian could believe that Great Britain too has a great summer...so anyways, A (daughter) and K (husband) are in deep slumber. I finished the house hold chores and rubbing some moisturising cream between my palms and spreading it on my forehand. I walk to A and gently stoke her hair, feel her soft cheeks and give her good night kiss on her forehead.  I walk to the hall and crash sloppily on the sofa. A makes her presence obvious with all her toys on the floor. I see at her soft toys Snowy the rabbit, Poppy baby leopard (it looks like an owl though) and Browny the dog. I am too caught at their big wide open eyes and can see that they are missing A. The next thing on my mind is to clear and tidy up the house but then I want some boost/kick to do that. I drag up to the kettle and make some tea and sit back on the sofa with knees touching my chin looking at the vapours from the tea making different shapes and disappearing in the air. Simple pleasures of life-having a cuppa of tea so peacefully. I don’t remember if I have had a peaceful morning tea, breakfast, lunch and dinner ever since I have become a mother. It is a waste of time to think on when was the last time I did so!
With sipping my tea and resting my head on the sofa I start thinking - being a working mom was by choice to me. I have always liked to be working but things change when you have a baby. Once upon a time a free bird, awesome college days, bunch of friends going for window shopping, lazy weekends, treks and sometimes simply doing nothing everything seem to be a dream after a baby. The baby is your world. I admit that I was so confused about taking a full time job and I bet same is the case with the entire working mother’s class. Being independent is definitely exhilarating but it comes with demerits. I remember the first day when my baby went to the nursery. I almost sat on a bench on the lane besides her nursery absorbed in my thoughts if this is the right thing for her. Am I dumping her? This fight within me was on and on for several months. I regret not being able to spend time with her but career too is important. A good professional life gives you an identity. I could never correlate with girls sacrificing their careers for family unless they came from an extremely rich family (some or rather many would disagree). For me it is not about money but I do love being a multifaceted person. It gives a lot of meaning to my life and I definitely would want my daughter to be like me. I am brought to present by a beep on my mobile…it’s an email. I read the mail and then walk to the bedroom to check A. She is sleeping and looks gorgeous, innocent and an angel. Smiling I am back to the sofa. I put on some music – hindi oldies. I love songs by Rafi, Manna De – classics. I am in love with this time, the musical time. In between I too doodle with the ongoing song. I have sipped through half a mug of tea and happen to gaze at the wall with A’s picture on it. My baby-My life.
I wonder from where a woman manages to get this drive, courage and determination of being everything-a wife, a mother, a sister, a friend, a colleague, an employee etc. I have grown up reading that motherhood completes a woman and now I agree to it. She wants to master the art of being perfect in every relation and every role she plays. This disorder of being perfect is frustrating. In the bargain of being perfect does she ever realize if she is happy? A friend of mine told me long back that one should never try to be a superwoman. Unable to master and be perfect is so human after all no one is perfect. At this point of time I realize what it takes to be a superwoman and I am glad that I am not. I wake up every morning with determination that I would achieve everything on my agenda but as the day progresses I sometimes hit a low. I am exhausted, I miss A, I start seeing her pictures on my mobile, I curse myself for being selfish to have her left at the nursery, I want to be an efficient employee. In this I totally forget what about MYSELF? I feel miserable if I can’t cook something for dinner. I want to pack a healthy lunch box every day for K. I want to be Annapurna and see that we eat well. Finally with his help I manage to end my day with cooking some fresh food and I feel content. It does take a lot to be a mother rather parent. I see K is such a tremendous support to me. Our success is not ours as it always depends on several factors. I owe my success as being a working mother to A and K. They have understood me through this journey and I appreciate this.
The ‘Me’ time is very rejuvenating. Don’t give up on doing what you like. Being a wife, mother should not stop you from doing what you want. Keep up your hobbies as they will always freshen up your mood. It is OKAY if are selfish sometimes – don’t carry the guilt of any decision. Caring about what people will say? Remember people will always have something to say on your decisions. They can’t take control on your life and decisions. I believe a happy woman makes a happy home. It is sensible to change with changing times. I finish my cuppa and come back to present. This ME time was very healing. I felt so relaxed, healed from the exhaustion and stress. The sound of music had a soothing and calming effect on me. In this time I spent with myself I was transformed from a working mother to a mother and wanted to go back to A – cuddle her, kiss her and wanted to tell her that I am blessed to be her mother. The icing on the cake was the weekend with more time to spend with her…I decide that when I am a mother I will not try to be a wife, an employee or anything else. I won’t stress myself to be a superwoman…I love this change and I am more at peace with myself.

Pay it forward:

I pay it forward to my mother who is my first guru. She taught me to read, write and be a woman of substance. Also to Father who always believed that daughters outshine sons.

I pay it forward to my little daughter for making a proud mother.

I pay it forward to Bapat Madam for making me know my potential.

I pay it forward to all the females who have contributed to what I am today...Thank you Ladies..Love you!

Nagapanchami without Radha

Life is just a celebration indeed. We always are on a look out for an occasion to make our life more liveable, something to look forward. Life is all about living together and cherishing this togetherness ever and forever. We meet so many in our lifetime and some of them etch a place in your heart. Such are the memories of Radha. My Aai (mother) had hired Radha since she was roughly 12-13 years of age. Radha's father wanted her to work in our house so that she is under constant supervision of my Aai. A father always wants the best for his daughter as he is unable to provide her good schooling, living but the best he can do is provide her an opportunity to learn good things working amongst good families. For me and my brother Radha was just Radha-our friend! She was a family member to us. The first thing after we came back from school was to look for Radha-chat with her. She used to keep our shoes back in the shoe-rack, bags back in the cupboard, our uniforms and socks for washing. She did this all so dutifully and we loved her to an extent that in the evening we always wanted her to stay back with us. Sometimes she would and sometimes not - depending on my Aai's permission. The next day morning sharp at 7.00 am there used to be a knock on the door and there she used to be smiling and ready to regain her duties. She used walk with us till the gate or bid bye to us from the balcony till the sight of us disappeared. She was a family to us, a friend and someone to confide in. 
Today it's nagapanchmi, the first festival on the commencement of Shravan according to the Marathi Calendar. As per my knowledge this is the festival for women and it's celebrated by playing swings and local games like Phugdi, Pinga and sing some songs. Fun and Magic are in the air and it's so enjoyable. Newly married females visit their premarital households to celebrate this festival. Today I am far away from my home but did the 'Naga-pooja' by drawing two Naga's with the kumkum and prayed. Just like it happened in our childhood. A day before to Nagapanchmi my Aai would get Mehndi, bangles for me and Radha. Radha used to get a pair of earrings and extra money which I never got. In the evening we both used to draw some weird designs (tattoo) with the mehndi which looked beautiful after donning the color on the next day. We never had school holidays on this day but if it was Saturday/Sunday she would take me to the fields in the morning  and if it were weekdays we left to play after the school hours.After the pooja, Radha used to take me to the fields near her chawl where huge Banayan and Mango trees were a delight to watch. Everything so green and fresh with the winds blowing. The swings were tied to the strong branches of these trees and all the girls played it turn by turn by singing some songs. Radha and I played the swing a lot. I was her responsibility so she treated me with great concern and affection. She used to request her friends to give me a chance out of turn. Her friends used to agree to do so and this would bring a smile on my face and the sense of pride about Radha that everybody listens to her. She is too good! We played Phugdi where the partner's hands are held in a cross and the two of them just twirl clock-wise/anti clockwise. The day used to be great fun and I never wanted to go back home. The fun and freshness this brought to the soul was splendid. 
Radha stayed with us for 6-7 years. Whenever she was ill or didn't turn up for work, I used to go to her house on my cycle to see her. Sometimes she used to come with me. I used to assist her to get the wheat flour, vegetables on my cycle. She used to assist me to the swimming pool and always asking me to dive or jump from height when she saw other girls doing it. She used to sit besides the poolside watching me. I used to cut the vegetables under her supervision. She taught me to make Jowar Bhakri's which she had learnt from my Aai....:) I have immense memories of Radha. She had joined us to our Go trip...this was her first outing ever. She was thrilled and we were happy that she's gonna be with us. Such are the endless memories of Radha, still so fresh and vivid.
Radha is no more amongst us. The news came as a shock and it was very saddening for us. She was born on Hanuman Jayanti (on the day lord Hanuman was born). Well on every Nagapanchmi and Hanuman jayanti, I remember her with her fond memories. Today outside my window I see huge green trees, gardens and it's Nagapanchmi today but those days are gone and precisely you are gone. Wherever you are Radha, you must be busy giving happiness to everyone around you. May God Bless Your Soul....You'll Always Live In Our Memories. These memories that I have written is a dedication to you....Miss You!


My first Blog ever....has to really be something special and it is as its related to a very familiar colour in our life....GREEN!! How does one describe GREEN? Let me think...Lush green farms, a tender green leaf that holds a dew, a playful water stream making its way through the GREEN mountains, fresh GREEN vegetables at the stall. This description feels amazing. A simple word that describes GREEN is LIFE....yes...GREEN is LIFE. It is an indispensable colour which our mother nature has worn or one can say its her favourite colour.
The title of my blog is GREEN is IN and how did this come to my mind? Certainly a part of society really cares to conserve this colour without going loud as our fashion guru's do! Supermodels and some known famous faces show their concern by flaunting GREEN gowns, T's, nail-paints blah-blah. Does it really make any sense? Is the intention properly conveyed by flaunting a GREEN gown or a T or nail paint? I thought how to contribute for the GREEN...i can't flaunt any of these and then it striked me to think GREEN and to write for GREEN.
I don't want to advice anyone nor want to preach anything but this effort of mine might in some way compel you to think GREEN!
Our planet earth is balding. Being a human-being one truly understands the pain, embarrassment with balding but why can't we feel the pain our planet is going through? Its a serious crime that we are committing and declaring ourselves to be a developed race! The conclusion is if we save GREEN we will save WHITE and we will save LIFE.
Now who is WHITE? Due to global warming the glaciers (WHITE) have already started melting.
One can really imagine the outcome if we don't save GREEN.
How can one think GREEN? Keep a track of your day to day activities and the way it contributes to the planet....definitely it has to contibute for the betterment of our planet!

If you can't plant then you should not chop.
Say "NO" to plastics and polythene bags....i know they look tempting, easy to maintain but we being responsible EARTHIZENS (citizens of earth) should say "NO"
The senior members of the family should make an effort to inculcate this awareness in their next generation.
How about gifting your loved ones with a sapling....its a great idea!
A small initiative may lead to substantial change amongst the one's who are unaware. Why not beware and make our planet GREEN.....GREENER.......GREENEST.....:)