AN UNEXPECTED ENCOUNTER – I

online-publishing-tools
(Image Credit – Google Inc.)

Radha’s fingers were trembling before clicking the “Publish” button on her blogging site. She was a leading blogger and wrote mostly about love and life which naturally drew lot of followers to her blog. Her blogs were often short, simple and oozing with emotions. Her followers would wait for a post from her and today was no different.  She took a deep breath and hit “Publish”.

BOOM… went the post live.

Can Love Happen Twice?

I didn’t think I would ever fall in love again. I know that everyone says that after a heartbreak, but the difference is that I’m not heartbroken. I’m not cynical, or pessimistic, or sad. I’m just someone who once felt something bigger than anything else I’d ever felt and when I lost it, I honestly believed I would never have that again. But… I was 22 then and life is long. And I’m feeling things right now that I haven’t in a long, long time. 

Should I or shouldn’t I?

(Image Credit – Google Inc.)

It was 4 pm – the time when most of her posts would go live. Then she would unwind by plopping herself on a bean bag in her balcony with a cup of masala chai to sip from. She would normally spend an hour in the balcony watching kids return from school, senior citizens stepping out for a walk and looking at the mellowing sun. Not a word said, not a word thought! 

After an hour she would freshen up, dress up in a crisp cotton saree, take her small purse and jute bag and would go out for some fresh groceries. She would always buy some candies on her way back and give it to children playing the society’s garden. All children adored Radha.

In a way, Radha had no family, but in a way, there were so many people who loved her. 10,000+ followers to her blogs, children from her society and their parents as well! She was a friend, guide and philosopher to many but girlfriend, wife, sister, mother to no one. Such was her life!

She would quickly fix the dinner for herself after she returned from grocery shopping and catch up on some saas-bahu sagas on TV. How all ladies love those typical serials and Radha was no exception. Somewhere around 10.30 pm when she is done with all the chores for the day, she would go back and check her post. This was a ritual. Like we say good night to our partner or family before going to bed, she would read the comments to her blog from her followers. It was some kind of assurance that someone in this world is there for her.

However, today she was hesitating a bit. After all, she had posted something very personal on her blog and she was not sure if she will be looked down upon for it. She was curious to know the reaction of her blogger friends and readers to her question but at the same time she felt very vulnerable, she had never opened herself to anyone, never after her heart was broken at 22!

Radha couldn’t reason as to why she had such feelings for someone, but there was very little that she could do, her feelings were honest and deep. She wanted to let the person know what she feels for him but she feared rejection. Not the rejection from that person – but the rejection from the society. After all, her love story was a bit odd indeed. It’s not every time that one falls in love with a person who comments and likes each post that you publish.

Radha had tried to reason with herself innumerable times. She had tried explaining herself that what is the guarantee that the person she has fallen for is a good person? Will he be same age as hers? What if he is goon? Who knows if he has a family of his own and many such thoughts but it was all in vain. She often tried not to think about him for wait for his comments but that never really happened. Radha felt a strong connection. Was it love really? And even if it was, how was it going to materialize?

Radha was scrolling through the comments hastily to find that one comment from that special person.  There were many comments like…,

 “Great Write-up!”

“Go for it Mam”

“Next part of the story please”

“All the best, listen to your heart”

……………………………….
And many more but Radha’s eyes were looking for the one comment from someone special. As the comments were approaching the end, she was a little disheartened that perhaps that special person has not read her blog yet. But wait, that never happens, he is the one who normally comments right in the first hour after the blog goes live.

Just then, a notification popped up. “You have received a new comment from “happygolucky”. Radha’s eyes lit up, a smile adorned her fact and just when she was going to click on the notification…..

Ding Dong, rang the shrill doorbell the moment Radha had gathered enough courage to check her today’s post.

Arrrrgh….!!! This old man!” spoke Radha to herself. She knew it was none other than the old man who stayed in the apartment on the next floor. Radha would get annoyed with his daily requests for ice at 11 pm but never denied because she pitied him really. He was all alone, old – must be around 65 yrs. His wife had died 25 years ago and his son had left him alone after he moved to the US for higher studies. He never looked back, never! Did not even invite his dad for his wedding. The only help he offered some years ago was to put his dad in the old age home where he can be taken care of. This had completely shattered the old man but because he was the man of mettle, he chose to live on his own. He didn’t mingle much with other society members but he would often seek help from Radha in the form of some ice for his daily drink.

Advertisements

I WISH HE WAS STILL THERE….

While I am largely happy and content about my life there is one thing that I wish was different.

How I wish my father-in-law (fil) was still alive. We lost him when we were least prepared. His demise shook us to the core.

I got to spend only about 2.5 years with him. Its a very small time but we had bonded so well. Needless to say, he was the fatherly figure for me. Very calm, poised and full of cultural values. His energy and enthusiasm at the age of 73 would put youth like me to shame.

I have a sweet tooth but the family I got married in to prefers savoury food except my fil. We were the partners in finishing all the sweets and desserts at home. Even if only one piece was left we would always eat it half half. I love eating chapati with shikran (banana roughly mashed in milk and a dash of sugar). Almost every night we would share shikran and on the days when the veggie was not my preferred choice he would silently go get a banana and keep it in my plate without claiming his half portion. He used to often say that ever since I got married he got easy access to sweets because of me 😊.

There are many fond memories about him in my heart. No words can really describe them. It was destiny’s tough call to take him away from us and only if we could have done something to stop this wrath of fate. There was so much to learn from him but unfortunately I got very little time with him. I would cherish foreever those 2.5 years spent under his wings with lot of love and care showered on me.

I and my husband were quite young then. We were just settling down in our careers and married life. Unfortunately all that my fil saw was our struggle. Struggle to climb the corporate ladder, struggle to have our own baby, struggle to raise savings. How I wish he was still there when we over came all these struggles. How I wish he was still there when we bought our first car. How I wish he was still there to congratulate us when we finally started getting promoted at work. How I wish he was still there when Aarnav was born, his happiness would have known no bounds. Sometimes I wonder how he must have felt to see me transform from a carefree naive girl to a matured women who eventually learnt to care for everyone and everything around her.

Its been more than 7 years that he left for the heavenly abode but there is never a single day that we dont miss him. I remember few months after he was gone, I was supposed to join a new organization. On the first day, the auto that I was travelling in passed by the hospital where he breath his last. Tears welled up in my eyes and how I wished he was still there with us to bless us every time we started with a new venture.

How I wish he was still with us when we had be able to tell him to relax and let us take over all the responsibilities. But only of it was in my hands!

Even though he is not with us in a physical form he will continue to be in our hearts forever. I am sure that he is watching on us from up above. And I know he is proud of us.

Baba, we miss you.

I AM WHAT I AM!

I am amazed to know what people think about me. Lot of times, many people tell me that till the time they didn’t know me well, they thought I was a complete snob, held too much attitude and I appeared as someone who won’t talk much! While some tell me that since the first meeting they just felt so comfortable with me and love my way of communicating and they appreciate how easily I can get along with an infant to oldies effortlessly. So contradictory right? Talkative or not, snobbish or humble, I am what I am!

Let’s talk about my physical appearance. I am fat. Lot of people say that on my face. I am body shamed every single day by someone or the other. But hey, I am what I am! I could be fat, but I have a beautiful heart and decently intelligent mind.

Let’s talk about my dressing. I am more comfortable wearing kurtas. So I am often considered to be a “behenji” but hey, who said simple is not beautiful? Behenji or not, I am what I am!

You know I am the types who prefers to laze on a couch with a book in my hand or may be watch some TV. I do not enjoy pubs and parties. That makes my social status as “boring”. Not many friends like to hangout with me but I have a few who stand by me in my most difficult times. Boring or no, I am what I am!

While we were trying to conceive, I remember hearing a typical advice from family and strangers alike. I was suggested to give up my (very fulfilling and lucrative) job just to focus on getting pregnant. According to them I was not giving enough time to do what it takes to get pregnant. I had medical complications, but which treatment would be applicable outside the fertile window of a women and why would I give up my job only for that one week every month! That made me over ambitious and also someone who did not want to bear the responsibility of raising children. Over ambitious, irresponsible or whatever, I am what I am.

I am someone who doesn’t take people’s unsolicited advice too seriously. Also, i do not worry too much as to what others will say. Because “Kuch to log kahenge, logon ka kaam hain kehna!”

A sculpture takes immense hammering from the sulcuptor before it becomes a beautiful piece. Countless dents are given to the rock to make an expressive sculpture. I consider these “log” as the sculptor and their remarks and opinions and advice as the dents. In short, I take all this in my stride.

Never get bogged down by what people have to say. They will always have something to say and more often than not it will be about how something could have been better or how you fail at something always. You will get to hear very few words of appreciation. So be it. Do not measure yourself with the yardstick of what people have to say. Measure yourself against your own expectations. Try to beat your own expectations from self rather than wasting energy on trying to please people. Try to be a better version of yourself. And never get a complex because of the way people shame you. You are what you are! Focus on your strengths rather than people’s opinions!

Be good, do good. And call yourself good because you wont get to hear it too often from others!

IF TOYS COULD SPEAK…

I tucked little Aarnav in bed and swiftly made my way out of his room. Just as I was about to close the door behind me I thought I heard someone murmur. I was sure that it wasnt Aarnav because he cannot speak whole sentences yet. So who was it?I stepped back to the room and held my mobile phone’s torch in the direction of the sound. I couldn’t believe my eyes….All the toys of Aarnav had climbed down from the toy basket, apparently they were off for a night walk. I was pretty amused at this sight and decided to stay out of their way just to see what they were up to.A motor biker was pretty upset because Aarnav had tried to pull him away from the bike and when he didnt budge Aarnav got angry and threw him away. He said, “Such small fella he is and he hurled me? Like me??? I banged straight on the sofa, thank God I was wearing a helmet!” 😡Other toys continued. “Oh yes, I agree. The other day this little monster wanted me to dance. And he put in the battery cells wrong. Where will I get energy to dance, tell me! I couldnt. So he got bored of me and dumped me back to the basket. Huh..” Complained the dancing elephant. 🐘Other toys also more or less supported the motor biker and the dancing elephant. I sighed! So my Aarnav was a “little monster” in the eyes of toys. Hmmm… after all he treated them like that!My thoughts were broken by a sweet melodious voice. It was a baby doll. She said, “Hey guys, no.. he is not a little monster, he is so cute. I totally crush on him…. ❤” Someone else continued, “I agree. He is a sweet little kid. He plays so well with me. He takes me everywhere he goes. I am his favourite! 😎” It was the rainbow stacker taking pride in himself.Just then my phone beeped and all the toys ran back to their basket. I felt a strong urge to rub eyes and slowly I could see the sun shining through the balcony of my window. Oh! So it was a dream….! I had had a toy dream… I rushed to Aarnav’s room to check if even a bit of it could be true and I saw all the toys neatly placed in the basket. So, dream it was!But on a serious note, have you ever imagined what the toys would have to say? Sometimes I dont like how Aarnav uses his toys and I constantly keep telling him not to throw them. I try to include him when I am gathering his toys at the end of the day so that he understands that they should be placed neatly in their basket and starts caring for them. I try to mend the toys that he breaks like sticking them back with a fevicol or doing some or the other jugad so that he knows that broken toys are not completely useless. I rotate his toys so his curiosity and love for a particular toy never dies. Nevertheless, Aarnav some times doesn’t care about his toys. He is still small, but I have made a promise to myself that I will raise my kid to care for his toys and other belongings.

TAKE IT WITH A PINCH OF SALT

Advice is very common and most of the time free too, right? We have no shortage of advice regarding anything under the sun. Every second person is ready with a set of advice for you! I am the 7th (6 Candelians have already given you advice this week 🙂 )

Don’t worry, I am not going to bug you too much but yes, I would like to share some virtues (I choose it to call it virtues and not advice) which I find very useful and I try to practice it.
1. Cry if need be:
Yes, it is alright to cry! Irrespective of the gender one must cry once in a while because it releases all the pent up emotions which slowly poison the state of mind. All that matters is that after you are done crying, wipe off the tears, gather yourself and take on the big bad world.
2. Laugh till your stomach aches:
When was the last time you laughed till your stomach ached? Ever seen a child laugh? How pure and innocent laughter is? As we grow up, we somehow tend to forget this kind of laughter. We are often done just by smiling and many times we don’t even do that. I know, life can be hard but don’t let it take a toll on you. Find a way to laugh the real laughter, you like rolling on the floor types.
3. Express Gratitude:
Most of us lack at expressing gratitude, don’t we? I consciously practice this virtue and I see it’s a ripple effect. I thank the auto driver every day, I thank the shopkeeper each time he drops the groceries home, I thank the postman when he delivers my mails, I thank the delivery guys from shopping portals each time they deliver my order. Thank your colleagues, thank your team at every available opportunity and you would be amazed to see the difference what a small thank you can make.
4. Appreciate:
It is very easy to blame others but very difficult to appreciate. You never know what effect one compliment may have on someone! Make an effort to appreciate others, talk about their good things. Appreciation is a great motivator
5. Accept the Failure:
Failure is a part of life. And it is absolutely okay to fail. It is okay to fail at something others are able to do very easily. It is okay to never be able to do something. It is okay to scoreless in an exam and it is okay if you do not have a high paying job. None of these things define you in entirety. It is just a part of you. No failure is worth enough to give up life for. No failure is big enough to slip into depression. No failure is big enough to break relationships, provided, you are able to accept it with grace.
Taking your leave with a very motivating quote from Harper Lee (Author of ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’)
“Many receive advice but only wise profit from it”

MY FIRST DATE WITH MR. HUSBAND

 

Ours is a typical arranged marriage. Both the families met, the would-be bride and groom stole glances at each other and then done! Shadi Mubarak ho! Oh, they did allow us to talk in private (in the other room) but all eyes and ears were on us though. We made the biggest decision of our life in those 45 mins.

Two days later, we mustered up the courage to meet all alone, obviously, it was a secret meeting. So I was supposed to see Mr. Husband outside Mc Donalds at Andheri station. Those were the days when smartphones were not introduced in India and there were no smart calling plans either. So the last we spoke was when I left from work. My cellphone battery was low and I had jotted down his number on my hand. As luck may have it, I got stuck in the infamous traffic in Andheri and I was delayed. What to do now? My cell phone had died out by then.

After 30 mins delay, I reached the venue only to realise the he was not there. I felt so embarrassed but heck, I had informed him that I have left late from work and he understands the traffic conditions here. I was contemplating whether he had left already? Also what started scaring me was thoughts like he being very strict or particular and he might assume me clumsy because of this incident, then it had be so difficult to spend my entire life with this man!

Cut to the venue, so strolled back and forth around the point we had agreed to meet but there was no trace of him. It had started raining by then and the rain and the overall embarrassment had taken the best of me. Finally, I gathered enough courage to call him up but my phone had died already. I spotted a public phone only to know that the number I had jotted down on my hand had been wiped off already. Gosh! Could there be anything worse?

I was almost in tears, partly because of the fear about what he will think about me and whether he will reconsider his decision of marrying me and partly because I was totally overwhelmed by the happening of events. I could have planned better, isn’t it?

I scanned every person who had taken shelter from rains under the shelter of Mc Donalds but he was nowhere to be seen. With a very heavy heart and eyes full of tears, I turned back and started making my way to the station……

…… and then some called out my name loudly… ADITIIII… I turned back at a lightning speed and I saw a man waving at me from near Mc Donalds. He was grinning from ear to ear and took quick strides to reach me.

I was staring at him in disbelief and with no memory of who he was…obviously wondering if it was the same guy I had agreed to marry two days back. Yes, you got it right, I DID NOT RECOGNIZE MR HUSBAND.

He was standing right in front of me all this while, he was watching me search for him from one end to the other of the premises, he saw me going to the phone booth and coming back without calling him, he saw me staring at every person out there trying to look for him and he was merrily having fun! He couldn’t contain his laughter and was only short of rolling on the floor laughing and poor me I didn’t know whether to cry or laugh.

Now, I can’t stop thinking how better it had been if smartphones had already arrived in India by then and I could have had his picture on my phone but anyway, the phone had died out so the whole universe was in tandem to put me in this embarrassing situation.

So that’s how my first date with Mr. Husband was. And if you are thinking whether he reconsidered his decision of marrying me let me tell you he didn’t! He said he was looking for a joker in his life and I am exactly that.

This was 10 years ago. Today I continue to be his joker doing silly things and making him laugh.

WRITING MY HEART OUT

Writing has put me to ease, always! Be it expressing my feelings in a better way or just venting out my feelings writing comes to my rescue. I started expressing via writing at a very early age. I was 13 yrs when 3 children from our school died in an accident while on their way to school. That was the first time I felt the need to let out my emotions through a poem. That poem was a tribute to those kids and it was so well received that the principal of our school had put it up on the notice board for days together for all to read. Those were the days when there were no school magazines or anything alike, hence the any of your contribution getting displayed on the notice board was a huge achievement.

Writing is therapeutic for me. I write when I am sad, I write when I am happy and I write when I am overwhelmed with my own life. I prefer to write mostly because you are always able to edit what you have written, unlike the words that you say. So writing my emotions out is the safest bet for me because I am dead sure that it is not going to hurt anyone.
Writing heals me you know. When my life had hit the rock bottom, it was writing that I resorted to. From poems I moved on to write about social issues, then short stories and then microblogging at Instagram. I let my distress make a way out of my mind through each blog that I posted. Every blog of me, every story that I wrote has a true part of me. This was a major catalyst in my life. It helped me tremendously when I was fighting infertility for years together followed by undergoing very difficult fertility treatments. I wrote about my loss – a loss that no mother is able to take. But writing it out gave me the strength to move forward.
I took to Instagram recently. Over there, I write about my IVF journey and I feel so good when some women reach out to me just to tell that they look up to me as a role model and hope that they will be able to overcome infertility like me. Some ping me to ask about infertility doctors and some others ping only to pour their heart out. I am so blessed that God has given me this art which helps me touch a distressed life and provide comfort or motivation to them. I am also working on creating my own website and I am hoping to put up such content there which will make a positive change to women like me who crave and pray for having a baby. Wish me luck with that!
I wanted to do a career in writing but the accounting bug bit me and I turned in to an accountant now punching numbers to balance sheet and P&L day and night and words only playing on my mind all the time.
I can not end this emotional outpour without mentioning about two people. I met two wonderful people who took my writing interest to the next level in the form of blogging. Those two people are none other than Savio (he joined Candles Online recently) and our very own Charlie. The encouragement that I have for from these two is incredible. So a big big thank you to Savio and Charlie for being a constant support and a critic. You have always helped me improve. And all of you – my extended blogging family who take time out to read my articles and blogs, I can’t thank you enough! Your likes and comments on my post cheer me up to no extent.
I would like to take your leave with a very inspiring quote from Maya Angelou in her book, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings –
There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
Happy writing guys! 🙂