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via Daily Prompt: Unseen Its just as important to meet real people. Folks who are Living and not just surviving given the bare minimum (as compared to a middle class family). Some women I met yesterday belong to a group created by NGO Indus Action to work on EWS education quota awareness.


 They have stepped out of their myriad of excuses, that one usually use, to not do work that doesn’t pay. In the process of doing so, they have created their group self-employment, using the camaraderie shared by the group.

They discussed that need of entitlement to be paid-well for the work they are doing. Not denying the learning they have achieved through the process, they do feel the need to be remunerated for the efforts they have put in. They put up the points related to personal problems, group dynamics and work related queries. They clearly stated the need to be employed, contribute to the financial situation of their family.

What really stood out is the transformation- from being coy and shy at first day of induction to the day of being empowered. They are not looking for freebies, but for employment options that will help themselves and their loved ones to lead a better life.

This is the unseen power of stepping past the line of fear of learning something new. Instead of being afraid of failure, they knew they are not losing anything by learning, going through the hardship of convincing family that they want to move forward and not be held back by the unknown.

This is the true power of stepping forward into the Unseen life of hope and future.

 

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Vision objectified

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Brainwave.”

The best idea that I ever had is to complete my degree after I had my baby. This came at a time that I realized that I could not stall it anymore. Due to my work ethics I was professionally  at my peak. However, there was this nagging doubt that I have cheated myself by not letting my full potential grow through education.

I used this doubt to fuel my idea of “why not try and complete the incomplete”. I had a diploma and it wasn’t enough. It was very common to have a degree/ masters in my work/ family circle. I wrote down all that could go wrong after taking up the task. Things like, having a baby and studying, would it be possible? What if I don’t follow through the assignments? What if I get bored of the course and drop out? What if I quit my job during the course, how would I pay my fees?!

After perusing all that could go wrong, I wrote down all that could go right. The degree will give me a self-esteem. My daughter would be proud one day that she was the reason for this decision. Professionally, I didn’t have to shy away when asked about my graduation. These were priceless for me. Now the only thing that came in my way is the fees. I searched all over the web for courses which is economical and has subjects that interest me. I found BA in English from Sikkim Manipal University, Fee per semester was Rs.2500-,which included books, examination fees and assignment submission. My joy knew no bounds, as the course had all the subjects that I always was fascinated with.

I joined the course. But I did not appear for my first semester exams, my work life was hectic and I just couldn’t pull myself through to get to write the exam. The ugly head of “so what” creeped up. I just couldn’t stand it anymore. I decided that I would go through with this and I wrote two semester together and cleared with A grade. Once it so happened that my husband asked me to forgo an exam, to attend a family function. I stood my ground and I’m proud that I did. Today I have completed my degree within the stipulated time of 3years with A grade.Using this graduation I applied for Teach for India fellowship and have been accepted. “Fellowship” was a word that I thought was not for people like me. This decision of completing my graduation made me the ranks of people Fellowship is for.

Every decision which makes you forsee the hardship that you could encounter is the best decision that you could take. It is the process which forges your mind into steel.

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Housed a home!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Our House.”

The house that I grew up during my childhood was a pandora’s box. Every trouble, pain, sorrow and loneliness was filled in the people who lived in it. But they lived with a brave facade. The house also had the similar characteristics.

I distinctly remember, two bed rooms- interconnected to the living room and the kitchen. all the doors and windows were always open. The long stairs, from the street corner, that led to a small portico, which was connected to the stairs towards the terrace and the bathroom; which was also another way to get into the house through the kitchen. The house had a weird way of showing how you cannot lock yourself up when in trouble, as there are myriad of ways to get into the house or any room.

Everything in that house was an open secret. The kitchen had the best feel of all, as the cooking area was covered with soot. We used to ride the cycle, starting from the hall, through the two bedrooms and kitchen and back to the hall in one circle. I occupied a small corner in the room, where my clothes and books were in an old wooden trunk, with a hand me down tape-recorder- plastered with tapes and a paper to keep the play button down. This room was the only room which never used to leak when it rained.

It had a strange kind of freedom that let you live a life of poverty with complete dignity. I never felt a victim of a situation, though if I looked back, having led a lonely childhood, never did occur to me. Given the meagre rations on which the house was run by my efficient and graceful granny, we always had guests. Every festival and fights were celebrated. Everyone knew everyone. You cannot pass a street corner around the house without someone saying or looking at you with recognition. I studied on the kitchen stairs and on the terrace ledge. My fear of lizards started because of the squeamish creatures lurking on the corners of the thatched bathroom.  Just about everyone came home; ate, slept and lived in that house. I never knew anyone who cringed due to unavailability of basic amenities.  My granny ruled the roost and her word was final – No appeal. She used to sit on a wooden chair at the entrance of the living room which gives a full view of the staircase leading to the house and to the entire neighborhood. Only during night time the main door was closed. Otherwise it was an open house for all.

I’ve seen fights between every family member and friends; but the next day life was as usual. No one would even consider mentioning the squabble. Unlike now, all of them have their own roofs but the shadow of grudge due to an materialistic misunderstanding, exist. The house had a strange power over the people under its roof. I believe, the house had cast a spell of dignity on every soul that stepped into its threshold. I so wish I could live that life again, but to find a house like that would be a miracle. My daughter would never know that lifestyle, which was filled with meager rations, but abundant in human experience.

I loved the house and I still do.

Though my standard of living has improved, I feel impoverished for that sense of community that the house once instilled in me. That house was truly a home for many.

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All is not lost!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Flangiprop!.”

Phew! ok, I almost gave up on this post. How much dependent are we on search engines to give us inspiration to define a word. Aptly mentioned in the prompt to invent a definition. Quite a task.

After screen-sucking to find something close to Flangiprop; I decided to divide and rule,and the result is thus,

Flangi is a place in Iceland. I tried and tried, but absolutely no information from this place in Iceland. I’m sure that selfie obsessed crowd has still not found this location on the World Map. Facebook is yet to be global!

Prop is one that serves as a means of support or assistance.

Flangiprop is a widget which discourages the virginity of a place,person or thing from being foraged by internet. Basically, a thing which is yet to find its place in the internet.

There are quite a few things which is protected by an invisible flangiprop, for instance my granny’s homemade powder recipe.

Thanks to this prompt, flangiprop can celebrate its birthday and Sigh! losing its virginity to internet.

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Tell-tale Terrace!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Ode to a Playground.”

I grew up at my granny’s, with all my cousins, relatives visiting, ever so often. This house had the foundation on minimalist way of life. Be it crockery to clothes, were all the menial that is good enough for one to survive on. I remember absolutely no toys that I had of my own and the only way I could entertain myself is by taking refuge in the terrace.

This terrace has legacy of its own. I have fond memories of my childhood, playing games, dance practices with my brothers and sisters; Studying perched on the small ledge in the corner and just gaping, gazing at the busy crossroads. Having said these, In retrospect, I used to be scared of terrace at night time, as I feared the unknown that exist there. Could be that I grew up with all those stories about kid who lost his life while trying to pluck mangoes from the mango tree that leaned over the adjacent terrace.This terrace and the house, is my time of innocence and coming of age. It has been the place that I knew how much being with everyone, the only one that I could bank on is myself. I learned how to give and not to expect in return, to do and not to dole on the results. My family grew apart and so did the house.

This playground, the pillar of my childhood, is no more a structure. Given the financially stellar location of this house, duly demolished and now stands a multistory building. Which definitely does not have the charm and character that the previous building had.

Only during childhood, that we associate an inanimate place or object, to the feeling of joy and pristine happiness. The before and after of this house, made me record every other house that I have lived so far. But nothing comes close to the effect the terrace had on my growing up days. Always etched in my heart.

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Scaredy to so-what-now?!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Retrospectively Funny.”

I have first hand experience of being a scaredy cat. I have been scared of anything and everything associated with losing. Just the thought of losing anything, be it grades at school, customer satisfaction score at work, losing employees, writing a blog post, and the lists is endless.

Insecurities ruled my life. After I faced a trauma is when I realized how much of life I lost, just being scared of the outcome.

I went through a strange ritual to get initiated into the family I got married into. I was told by my in-laws that we have to get mudras of a specific God inscribed on my hand, as I’m for another caste. Thinking that it would involve a some religious drawings with some rituals, I agreed. The next day we went to a famous temple where such rites were performed. I stood in the long queue, totally oblivious to what the future held for me.

As the queue was closing in, I saw a priest making marks on people’s forearm with two red hot iron rods. That’s when it dawned on me. I was here to get marked for the sins that I had done in the past; these marks were my ticket to enter the new family and finally to be accepted within the family’s descent.

When the hot rod touched my skin, I was numb both at heart and at soul. Its been five years and the marks have still not left me. Reminding me of the moment of numbness that I felt then every single day.

Now its a laughing matter, as I realized I had a choice to say No and I was so scared that I didn’t allow myself to know that I had a choice.

The mudra incident also made me fearless; being a scaredy cat I wouldn’t have, in the past, dared to do something as drastic as this.This was the last time that I allowed myself to be carried away due to fear of loss.

As the sins are purged, figuratively and literally, I have nothing to be scared of. I finally have the last laugh.

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Five,Six,Seven,Eight!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Young and the Rested.”

I felt re-energized the first time, all cousins came together to do a dance at a wedding. I trained under the renowned choreographer Shiamak Davar’s umbrella for 7 years. I had done multiple stage shows. The last time I was supposed to get on stage, the strip turned pink and the finale with team Shiamak was unaccomplished.

At any wedding I was called upon to dance first, followed by others. But I never thought I would get on stage and do a show with my cousins. Being the eldest in the family and living with my granny, I grew up with my cousins. Due to a major misunderstanding all my cousins broke up. But dance brought us together.

To patch up, we decided to do a dance show at a cousin’s wedding. I was the unanimously nominated choreographer. The whole gang of 15, practiced every night at 12:30am for 4 days. Why?! That’s when most of our kids were fast asleep and the rest would join after work. After practice, it was a gossip monger’s sleepover.

I thought sun has set on my dancing. Alas! I never felt so energized up until then. Though staging the dance started with obstacles, but once we got the permission to perform, nothing could stop us. The dance was a major success. Everyone who attended the wedding did not expect such show; every one of us danced with a wide smile on our face. The video went viral with family and friends. The dance steps are still used wherever the request comes up.

Two reasons made me feel very young again. First is spending time with my cousins without a trace of vice. Just sheer joy of collaborative effort. The other reason was I choreographed and got on stage that too Centre stage, once again in my life.

From that day, nothing has stopped me from getting on stage. I don’t back off thinking about what others would say. Its true that when you be yourself and the world does get adjusted to you. Age, marital status and having a kid doesn’t stop me from being me.

It was life’s way of teaching me, when the passion one has is true and is the source of  regalement, things happen. No art, learned from heart, goes to waste. Never put out the flame of one’s source of joy. Life always provides an opportunity to test if you can start all over again. When you take the plunge, you become young once again.

This week I will be performing at my college reunion. Feeling young and rested all the way!

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