THE DESIRE OF HAVING A DRESSING TABLE

Life is quite unpredictable and one has no idea what’s next. The only thing that is certain about life is its uncertainty. Still, life brings so many beautiful and sweet memories to us. Today I am going to share one such sweet memory with you.

This picture reminds me of an incident when I was still in school. I was studying in the 9th standard. During that time my Dadi (grandmother) was alive and I remember she was quite old. Her face had numerous wrinkles and freckles. She was told that she faced quite difficulties while walking. She had a wooden trunk and also a shabby looking box made up of tin. She used to keep them locked and kept her things into it. Upon being asked what’s inside them, she used to say that she keeps her lovable possessions. At times, when she opened her trunk and box I had a few opportunities to see what’s inside them.

One day when I was done with my lunch and was heading towards our drawing-room, my eyes caught her attention. I peeped inside her room. She was sitting on her bed and her trunk was wide open. She was holding a mirror in her hand and was looking into it. Since her bed was near the window of her room that opened in the passage leading to the living room, I could clearly see how she was looking into the mirror. The mirror was quite old-fashioned and had several dark spots on it. It seemed that somebody deliberately sprinkled some dark colors in the mirror. Still, my Dadi was looking into it. She tucked her loose strands behind her left ear and was observing her wrinkles and freckles. She adjusted her large specs and touched her cheeks. I wanted to ask her why she was looking into such an old mirror in which her face isn’t clearly visible. But then I saw a small teardrop rolling down her cheek and I stopped myself from interrupting her. After some 15 minutes, she carefully covered the mirror in a cloth and tucked it inside the trunk.

I couldn’t stop myself and therefore, one day I asked her about that mirror. She said, “I was seeing how old I have grown. When your grandfather was alive, I used to put kohl into my eyes, tie my hair, put bindi, and look myself into the mirror. I used to ensure if I am looking well. But when your grandfather passed away, I never felt like doing any such thing. After all, he wasn’t there to admire that kohl, a nice bun, bindi, and jhumka.”

“That mirror was a gift from your grandfather. I never had a dressing table and I always wished to have one. I often asked your grandfather to bring one for me,” she said further while taking a deep breath.

“One day he came home and handed me a packet. I opened it and saw a mirror in it. He said, ‘I can’t afford a dressing table for you but you can consider this as your dressing mirror. Place it on your wooden trunk and then you can sit down and get ready.’ This is why I have been keeping this mirror for all these years. I used to keep it on my wooden trunk along with my comb, sindoor, bindi, hairpins, and oils. Though I never had a conventional dressing table, your grandfather somehow fulfilled my dream of getting ready in front of a dressing table by giving this mirror and suggesting to put it on the trunk.”

I don’t know what happened to that mirror after she passed away. But that trunk still stays in her room. The trunk now has her comb, two old sarees and a part of the wooden frame of that old mirror. It stays there unused but full of memories that my grandmother cherished till her death.

UNDERSTAND YOUR KID(S) PERSPECTIVE

No matter how old we grow, our parents will never stop telling us what’s good and bad for us. They will always be on their toes to keep a check on whether their kids are going in the right direction or not. They do this not only because they gave birth to us but also because they consider it to be their responsibility. The same did my parents and they still do the same. For them, I and my brother are still the same babies that they lifted for the first time.

I remember, like every other parent, my father used to say, “You have to be the first in your class and sit in the front row.” Upon being asked, he used to say that this will help you in scoring the first position. However, I was born rebellious and therefore, I did the exact opposite of what I was asked to do. I never had any liking for the front rows and I would be extremely happy to sit on the last bench. To my utter surprise, I scored good marks and was one of my teacher’s favourites too. When my parents said, “See how sitting in the front rows helped you in scoring good marks.” I said that I never sat in the front rows and I scored while sitting in back rows. I don’t remember what happened next but yes since then, my parents never asked me to sit in the front rows.

I understand why our parents laid emphasis on sitting with the topper of the class or sitting right in front of the teacher. But what I think can make things easier for children is that parents can use a different perspective. For example, instead of pointing at a beggar on the road and warning their children to study hard else, they may face the same problems as the beggar, parents can explain the benefits of studying hard. They can say, “Studying and working hard will help you in becoming whatever you want. You can also buy whichever toy car or dress you wish to have.” This is because children at their tender age cannot understand the harsh realities of life. For them, not having their favourite dollhouse, toy car or motorbike is much more painful than we think. So why can’t we do something to make them understand in a way they can grasp easily.

My parents asked me to score 95+in exams and said this will help me in getting into an engineering college. Trust me, initially, I thought it to be quite easy but then I couldn’t understand why is it so important for me to go into a college. My mom told me going to a college will help me in becoming an engineer and make everyone proud. But all I wanted was cookies, color pencils and regular visits to the zoo. I couldn’t see how becoming an engineer would help me in getting what I wanted. As a result, I decided I won’t become an engineer. Today I understand how going to the college or becoming an engineer could have helped me in getting my cookies and other things.

Let’s take another example. These days young children are often seen holding gadgets and replacing their play-time with YouTube and video games. Parents initially allow their children to watch cartoons or videos on their smartphones, thinking this would keep them (read: children) engaged. But in no time, they (read: parents) often scream at their children, thinking that this way the children will give up on smartphones. However, the reality can be different. Instead of screaming on your child to stop watching videos, you can invite him or her to play football, chess, or any other games. As a parent, you can make your child aware of the consequences with some real-life examples.

I am not a parent and therefore, I might not be knowing what a parent feels for his/her kids. But yes, from my experience, I can feel that instead of shouting, intimidating and keeping vague answers, you can never convince a child. You need to see the world through their eyes and explain them in their language only. They will never understand how scoring 90+ in exams can help them in becoming scientists or doctors and how important it is to get into a good college if you don’t understand their perspective. He/she may do the opposite of what you ask him/her to do.

I am not saying you are doing the wrong thing. But you can do something better by understanding their perspective and explaining things accordingly. This way you will be able to help your children in a better way.

DESI FLAVOURS – THE TASTE OF INDIA

There is no denying fact that food is the best way to win someone’s heart, irrespective of gender. So, a few years ago my mother won my heart by making some delicious recipes. It was so delicious and easy to cook that I learned from my mother, only to cook myself when she is away. So today I am going to talk about a dinner recipe that you can prepare and enjoy with your family members.

The first item in the recipe is ‘Chawal Ki Roti’ which means chapati prepared from rice flour.

For this, you need:
● Two cups of rice flour
● 3/4th cup of hot water
● Half teaspoon salt
● 4 Tablespoon Ghee
● One clean damp kitchen towel.

First of all, you need to boil the water in a suitable container. Meanwhile, sieve the rice flour into a kneading utensil to ensure no unwanted substance will go into your mouth. Now add the salt into the flour. Once the water starts boiling, turn off the knob and add the water into the flour.

Make sure you use a spatula to mix the water and flour as the mixture will be quite hot to be touched by bare hands. Leave the mixture as it until the mixture becomes slightly cool. Now you can start kneading the mixture into a dough by adding little amount of water. Make sure you do not add too much water at once. After you are done kneading the dough, keep it aside for 10-15 minutes after covering it with the kitchen towel.

After 10-15 minutes, take small portions of the dough and roll them into chapatis. Place the chapatis on the heated Tawa. While the chapati is being cooked due to the dry heat, use teaspoons to apply ghee on it. You can skip applying ghee and leave the chapatis dry but applying ghee will enhance the taste of the chapatis and will make them extremely soft.

The second item is ‘Bhindi Ka Chokha’.

For this, you’ll need:
● 4-6 Bhindis (Ladies’ finger)
● One nicely chopped onion
● 6-7 pieces of chopped garlic
● 2 finely chopped green chilies
● 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil
● Some coriander leaves
● One teaspoon of lemon juice

In order to prepare this, you will have to roast the bhindis on the flame after properly washing it. Once the bhindis are completely roasted, peels off their out skin and mash them in a bowl. Add onion, garlic and chilies into it. Mix them properly and then add salt, lemon juice and vegetable oil. Once everything is well-mixed garnish it with coriander leaves.

You can have these two delicious recipes with any daal (lentils) or a gravy item. The above-mentioned recipes are quite simple, yet mouth-watering. The chapatis are prepared in my village after the harvest of Kharif crops (monsoon crops or autumn crops).

In this world of modernity, these Desi flavours of India are taking a back stage, these days. People are more in to fast foods and continental food and many other international cuisines. But sometimes these desi flavours teach us simplicity and humility which is very important for us in our lives. It reminds us our originality. It reminds us of the care a mother or a grand mother bestows upon us. I am happy, I am still so inclined to these simple preparations.

How about you?

I LEARNED TO BE A REBEL

I don’t know if I was a rebel during my childhood days or not but now I am. I feel that some series of incidents have made me rebellious. When I was a kid, my family members would have mistaken my rebel nature for being a ‘demanding-kid’. I wanted things to be done according to my will but obviously you can’t win against parents. Therefore, they did what felt appropriate to them. Eventually, this instilled a feeling in my mind, “When you grow up, you have to show them how things should be done.”

It would be no wrong to say, I learned how to be a rebel. Yeah, that’s true! I learned, it is okay to oppose someone’s orders if you are uncomfortable. I learned, it is okay to be out of the box and pave your own way. Earlier I used to think that being a rebel is totally unacceptable and is no less than disrespecting parents. But then I realized what if I am not happy or comfortable with whatever my parents and relatives decide for me? For example, my parents felt that it is no use in letting me move to Bangalore after my graduation. My relatives too said, “You will be anyhow married in two or three years. So why not learn some household chores to impress your in-laws?” 

I thought – “Will I be doing nothing but trying to impress my in-laws for the entire life?” “Is my education meant only to grab a nice groom and household?” People told getting married to a nice groom will make your life peaceful and settled. In that case, I never felt that I am unstable or I do not have peace of mind. This is when I decided I have to bring out the rebel in me. I stood on my decision to move out of my hometown and do something. As a result, I am in Bangalore right now, living my rebellious life. 

But this doesn’t end here.

My parents and relatives feel that wearing short dresses and skirts will harm my image. Even today they say, “why do you have to wear shorts and skirts? Can’t you wear full clothes?” Honestly, I would have agreed to do so only if, they never saw those actresses dancing and posing in short clothes. I know they are often angry at me as I stay out till 12 in the night but that’s my way of living. I know that being out at 12 in the night has nothing to do with my character or values and therefore, I hardly surrender before them. The one who is involved in some wrong deeds can do it even in the daylight. 

Currently, I am rebelling for making my parents understand that I hate when they talk about me with those whom I hardly know. I am a reserved person, though I do sound like an extrovert. But I do not like it when my parents speak every single detail of my present to any random person. 

I do feel sorry for hurting my parents with my rebelling attitude but then, what’s the point when I am unhappy and suffering!! In that case, I won’t be able to make them happy and proud.

Therefore, I feel being rebellious unless you don’t cause a damage, in the long run, is absolutely fine. Also, you need to be responsible for whatever action you take. 

BRIBE, THE GREATEST CHALLENGE AGAINST JUSTICE

The moment a child is born, he or she is taught about what is good and what is bad. The child gets to know various things from its parents and teachers. Once the child is old enough to gain knowledge on its own through various mediums he or she comes to know of various laws and rules. This happens with all of us. While growing in maturity, we get exposed to things that are acceptable and unacceptable in our society. But then, what goes wrong when someone commits a heinous crime just to satisfy his or her ego. 

The incident which I am going to mention in this story, happened a few years ago in my hometown. Property dispute is not an alien concept in this country. People are often seen fighting with each other and conspiring to shun down their opponents. In my neighboring village two families were involved in a similar case. They were trying their best to win the case and satisfy their so-called reputation. Now let us call the families as family 1 and family 2. The head of the family 2 decided of doing something that would teach a life lesson to family 1. For this, they kidnapped the youngest boy of family 1 and killed him mercilessly. The mother, on the other hand, was searching for her son like anything. Her instincts told her something is not right as nobody couldn’t find her son. 

Four days later, the corpse was found near the village pond and the parents cried bitterly feeling traumatized. For them, their whole world literally went upside down. But for family 2, it was a gala time as they had taught a lesson to their opponent.

Anyways, a case was registered as family 1 had doubts on family 2. But then family 2 took the help of influential people in the area. The case was eventually closed and family 1 was given some bribe to shut their mouth. The whole village was shocked by this incident. The conclusion was when we came to know, ‘the entire system is corrupt‘. The policemen too knew that family 2 plotted the murder  and should have been punished. But they went on to settle the case by accepting bribe from them. 

Think about a scenario where every single case is dealt in such a manner. No doubt we have an impressive judiciary system with laws to curb criminal activities but what’s the point when one can use their influence and money to challenge the judiciary system and bent the law for themselves… Is the law and judiciary system so weak that money and influence can overpower it and let the culprit roam freely? People may think that it is better to let bygones be bygones. But is this right? There are several cases in our country that are manipulated and closed with the power of money. No wonder ours is an independent nation and is developing at a fast pace, but then there are still some dark areas upon which we need to focus.  

Friends! This hush money is standing as a wall against justice, which we all need to break with force. Are you ready to do so?

I WISH THEM TO STAY HAPPY FOREVER

Children are no doubt one of the beautiful creations of Almighty. The innocence and their mischiefs can be cherished forever. Well, my parents say when I was a kid, I used to ask numerous questions. For that reason, I was quite curious and tried to learn everything around me. My mother says this annoyed my family members at times. Hearing this I thought, “O God! Did they use to get annoyed by my question? How could they?

Well, I understood this after I saw my niece Mishti and nephew Vasu doing something similar to what I used to do (according to my family members). Mishti my darling niece is the apple of my eyes. She is my little angel and I wish to see her happy as always. But sometimes she becomes annoying when she gets mad at her mother or on other family members. The reason why she gets mad is, she gets to hear scoldings from us. At times, she won’t listen to us and will do things that she is not supposed to do. This makes us angry and we eventually scold her. Once you have scolded her, she will stop talking to you, till she forgets her anger. 

My nephew Vasu too does things that will make you laugh. One day while I was talking to my nephew on call, I asked him ‘where is your grandpa?’ He said, ‘Don’t you see? Grandpa is sitting beside me. Eat vegetables then you will see.’ I was amazed after what he said. Not because he asked me to eat vegetables but because he knew eating vegetables is good for eyesight. He always advises me to cross the road properly, though he himself is three years old and can’t cross the road on his own. Also, he will make sure that you are wearing tidy and presentable clothes. If not, he will ask you to change your clothes by saying, “Go change your clothes, otherwise, I won’t go with you.” I love listening to his talk.

Both of them behave like elders and will then give their own adorable opinions.

There are many more incidents and sweet talk of my niece and nephew. I wish them abundant happiness and love. After all, children are no less than real angels.

DISCARD THE INSECURITIES

When we talk about insecurity, it can be understood as an uneasy feeling which can occur when we feel inferior in front of others. This surrounds us from several irrational thoughts and negative vibes. Though we know, we are absolutely fine but when we see others in a better state than us, we might become insecure. 

The same has happened to me a number of times. I remember, when I was in class 7, my shoes became old and the buckle broke. I used to feel so insecure among my friends, though my father promised to purchase a new pair after a few weeks. For me, waiting for a few weeks was similar to an eternity. I didn’t feel confident while standing in the assembly. However, the broken buckle could be fixed but then my toes started to feel uncomfortable, due to a slight increment in my height. Now I had to purchase a new pair else my toes would come out any time. I couldn’t ask my father to purchase the shoes immediately, as he had some financial burden. Though he bought me a new pair of shoes after a few weeks, as promised. 

Not only this, I used to feel insecure while I used to sit with my college friends. Coming from a middle-class family, I knew I can’t afford everything and I shouldn’t have everything even if I can afford them. As we need to save money for the crisis. But the insecurity in me didn’t understand this. I used to feel quite uneasy when I used to sit in the canteen. Though I had money, I preferred to save it. 

Sometimes, the insecurity in me forbade me to hang out with my friends. Even if I wore my best clothes, I used to feel insecure due to my short height. I used to wear those heels to look taller. Sometimes, I felt insecure due to my dusky skin tone and pouty lips. I used to think, ‘My friends are so taller, I look so short’, ‘My lips are not so beautiful as the actresses,’ ‘My skin tone is dusky, I wish I had fair tone’ and what not.

But then I learned, these things don’t matter. All that matters is how beautifully one carries his/her flaws. I learned to accept myself the way I was. Trust me I became so happy afterward. Life seemed to be quite beautiful. Now I hardly care about how people perceive me because I know my flaws make me beautiful and there is nothing to feel insecure about myself. 

I often come across people who feel insecure among people. To them, I would like to say, get over these insecurities. Embrace your flaws and explore your inner beauty. Do not feel insecure about your financial status. Once you discard all the insecurities, you will gain divine happiness and satisfaction. Insecurity will never make you strong as it decreases your potential. If you are happy with what you have, nobody is richer than you.