MY WORST DOWNFALL…!

For those who know me well, can completely relate if I say, I attract embarrassing situations like a magnet!

Whether it’s tripping inside my own room or while climbing up the stairs in public or saying just the wrong words at the wrong time, or just talking out-loud, I’ve mastered the art of awkwardness.

I can write endless stories on embarrassing things that have ever happened to me but I am quoting this for now because again for people who know about me are aware of the fact that I am prone to falling and I wonder, I have yet to break a bone.

I was in high school then and I just changed my school from all girls to co-education, and for those of you who had been in my shoes, must know how difficult and nervous that makes you in real world or should I say in boy’s world. I never talked to any boys apart from my cousins before that and my friend list were filled with all girls since childhood.

As is ‘normal’ with that age, I wanted to make a good first impression on boys and finally make friends with them.

As I reached my class I saw a boy too cute for that age sitting on the seat designated to me by class teacher in the first row. I was obviously on cloud nine and thanked my stars. I played ‘cool’ throughout and we really seemed to hit it off. I was really enjoying our short talks in between the classes which were entirely different to what I used to talk about with my ‘girl gang’ and even before I knew I had butterfly’s in my stomach and I was literally staring and smiling at him all through the day. Yes, and by the end of the day he became my first crush!

Blame the 90’s film makers, I played and re-played a scene in my thoughts:

As the bell  would ring, I will start to walk out of the class, will reach the door,  I will turn back a bit, will give him ‘that look’ and flash the pearly white smile, flip my hair playfully and walk out the door, keeping him thinking about me all day long.  I felt no less than an actress imagining all this at that time!

As the bell rang, I shot up to play that scene in real!

I was the first to the door and I opened it, turned back just a bit and caught his gaze, gave him that look with a smile and HE SMILED BACK AT ME!

It was a Win-win! I was thrilled!

But being the Klutz that I was, my foot caught the door, then I hit myself in the face with the corner of the door and I head-planted onto the concrete right in front of him. I do not use the phrase head-planted lightly, as for unknown minutes I was unconscious and as I regained consciousness I could feel the pain and blood at the back of my head.

As I came to senses of what had happened, I saw him standing there offering to help with a concerned look, he was the one that helped me to the Emergency room and I felt like dying the entire way there!

Not to mention I avoided him for days after that incident!

P.S. he did became my friend later that year! 

What I learnt from that incident and several others is, its always best to brush off fleeting moments of public humiliations, as they definitely don’t define ‘you’ for the rest of your lives!

Well, you can surely take this advice from someone who has been there and done that!

(PICTURE CREDIT: GOOGLE INC.)

THE ROAD TO HOME – IX

Anger washed away in the rain along with any obligations. Sagar could see he had been a real fool carrying someone else’s garbage for so long. He couldn’t undo what has already been done but he could definitely do some right.

He knew he will fall short of words if he met Samar in-person and was unsure of what he should do.

Next morning, he saw his mother wrapping chocolates; it was the same chocolate his brother dearly loved before he left the house. He knew, she is going to meet Samar.

Who are you wrapping these for?” Sagar inquired

Oh! Nothing, it’s our neighbors grand-son’s birthday party, we are going to attend that

After a long pause, Sagar replied “Let me do it, while you make coffee for me, Will you Mother?”

Yes, ofcourse son.”

Years after Sagar, was making a conversation with his mother, she was delighted and immediately got up handing over the wrapping paper to Sagar.

Sagar took a pen and paper and started to write,

Dear Big Brother,

Thank you for teaching me at a young age that I’m not the only one that matters. You’ve always given me the reality check I needed the most!

Whether it’s been to share the TV remote with the whole family or when I would act a little self-absorbed, you’ve always told me to get my head straight and think about the bigger picture.

You could so easily just tell me I was wrong and you also knew how to pick me, sometimes by consoling and sometimes by teasing me and making me laugh. If someone hurt me or even said something remotely hurtful, I knew you were there to defend me in a second.

And while I’m thanking you, I should probably apologize for everything I put you through.

I never was able to express this to you, and will never be able to after what happened that eventful day. Something in me died when I heard the word ‘step brother’, I felt betrayed, furious, doubtful but most of all I was deeply saddened of the thought of not being your own ‘brother’. I felt someone just snatched away the dearest part of what I had, of what was my ‘own’.

It is hard living up to the expectations that mom and dad have because you set them, but I also don’t mind because that means I have a really amazing older brother to be proud of and to look up to.

But I want to tell you something, something that I haven’t told that day, something I never told anyone. It’s a secret locked deep inside my heart since years.

Can we meet?

Sagar

Sagar neatly folded the letter and wrapped it with chocolates.

Ruma came smiling with a cup of coffee and  Sagar handed over the wrapped gift to Ruma.

(Image Credit: Google Inc.)

STOP BEING A VICTIM AND OWN IT!

“She is level-headed and opinionated!”

“She is a feminist!”

I have to say, when it is needed, I have spoken out loud and talked about my opinion though it has created repercussions both at personal and professional level. I have been stereotyped as someone who is ‘outspoken and rude’!

It happened when I took up public health after doing bachelors in Dentistry, despite my family’s wishes for me to continue it and run my own clinic. It happened when I raised my voice on unequal pay scale at office for same positions and prevailing gender bias. It happened when I fought for ‘price for marriage’ and rose against the concept of dowry.  It happens all the time when I have to defend myself whenever I disagree to follow the ‘norms of society’ set for a woman.

“A woman should not work late at night; a woman should only wear certain type of clothes; a woman should not drink alcohol or smoke; a woman should not have male friends once she is married; a woman should do as her husband says or if he ‘permits’; a woman has no life after divorce, she should continue living with her husband no matter what; a woman has no right to property, she is a liability”.

THE LIST OF WHAT A WOMAN SHOULD OR SHOULD NOT DO IS NEVER ENDING!

I have had to speak out quite loudly against ‘gender-based harassment’ at workplace. Just because I am a woman really does not mean that you have the right to belittle me, or making me feel like I have achieved something out of favors by men or by pleasing them or I am not good enough to lead a task just because I am a woman! This happens often in my job and many women face the same issue, and I have had to be strictly vocal about it. People will mistreat you if you take injustice lying down!

MY RAISED VOICE HAS HELPED!

It has made it possible for me to reach new heights in my career and getting promotions much before men in my office. If you deserve something, if you have worked hard for it, you should not remain silent just because you are a woman!

When you raise your voice, you make yourself known, and people know that there is someone who will not back down, who will not be silent. That is why I believe that raising your voice is a good thing. It helps people see others’ point of view, and make sure that they know why there is a need to speak up, especially against injustice.

Most of the time oppression against women start in their own families and are in-built in women. Indian women prefer to depend on their male members for financial and safety measures. Emotional and financial dependence of women gives birth to egoistic tendencies in men with negative mindset. They start imposing their decisions on wife and other female members of the family.

Even the most ambitious women face the injustice at workplace almost at every stage, employers hesitate to hire young women fearing potential pregnancy, if they do get hired the pay scale is always less than males, they fall much behind their male counter-parts after marriage due to responsibilities of family, many women drop out to raise children. Working women, especially in rural areas are monetarily and physically exploited by men either due to inaccessibility to credit sources or due to lack of laws to help protect them. Women also fall victim to social evils like infanticide, inhuman treatment to widows, especially in Northern India, Bengal and Rajasthan or polygamy in southern parts of India.

Women have faced tremendous injustice over the years, often due to women’s own lack of courage to face situation. Instead of silently bearing all the atrocities perpetrated against us, women should raise their voice against injustice; create awareness amongst women about their rights.  Women should channelize their efforts by forming women groups, linking the disadvantaged to NGOs and legal firms and getting heard, by writing and publishing articles, organizing workshops and seminars.

MAKE VOICELESSNESS LOSE ITS WICKED GRASP, GET YOURSELF HEARD!

​TEXTING OR CHEATING?

“Hey! Where are you engrossed? Who are you texting??”

“Oh! Nothing, just an old friend! Was just catching up”

For that half-an-hour or so, you only concentrate on the conversation and it is making you forget your partner’s presence in the same room, it is making you smile, you are praising them, giving compliments, you are enjoying being in that ‘virtual world’.

Your partner gets hold of your chats and is clearly not comfortable and when confronted you simply laugh at them, get angry and mock them for over-reacting. There is nothing wrong in it! That is not cheating after all!

Fine! Let’s have a look at this scenario.

You are at home alone and you invited someone of the opposite sex, to have a ‘conversation’ in the privacy of your bedroom with doors locked.

 Your spouse suddenly walks in! You are immediately guilty.

Clear act of cheating! Right?

Well, what is cheating anyway?

An obvious answer to this is physical infidelity or starting an affair with someone outside your relationship.

Well of course yes!

But what about the gray areas of having an ‘emotional affair’!  Something most of us do almost ‘unknowingly’ like how our mind wanders and pretty soon we are on facebook or WhatsApp messaging someone other than your significant other? Is it fun, a harmless flirting, or is it evidence of infidelity?

Maybe it’s your best friend that you’ve known for years,  or your junior from college, or colleagues, fact is you’re texting them a lot lately. The conversations have gotten a little too flirty (so many winky faced emojis!), you’re in bad territory.

Infidelity occurs much before having actual sex with someone and in today’s culture it can very well initiate with ‘one harmless text conversation’.

You would agree that kissing another women or man would be a huge no, if you are in a relationship but on the contrary sending kiss emojis to another women and men is completely cool in virtual world. How is that not cheating?

The tell-tale sign that you’re possibly cheating is that you feel the need to hide it from your significant other, you delete entire conversation or individual messages, you know they would get angry if they read the entire conversation, so you start blaming them for the ‘not trusting you’.  If you’re trying to hide something there’s the element of betrayal. Not only does this mean you feel guilty, it shows that you’re potentially looking for something elsewhere and you know it’ll hurt their feelings.

The simple fact is that people who cheat, lie. If you’re covering your tracks so your partner can’t catch you in the act, you’re being sketchy and unfair, whether sex is involved or not.

The question many of us might ask is why do people flirt? It makes them feel young and attractive and has the power to put them back on a-game. However, we need understand that this all leads to an ’emotional affair’. It might seem like flirting but it’s not!  Messages that blur the line between teasing and intimacy, or that replace feelings you should be getting from your partner, can quickly violate relationship boundaries, even if you don’t recognize the situation as dangerous.

One of my closest friend caught her husband texting a friend and sharing details about his work life and that he was disturbed and work stressed. Something my friend knew nothing about! She got paranoid and was deeply hurt.

If you look at this from a wider perspective you might not agree for this to be cheating but having a closer look, I would agree with my friend’s opinion!

She told me while I was consoling her “Relationships are about finding someone you can share life with, not just your body, but your emotions, your insecurities” she continued. “I am heartbroken to found out he was sharing his deepest thought with someone else and was keeping it from me.”

Isn’t that true for all kind of relationships? Relationships are based on trust and honesty and the boundaries of being monogamous need to be set by partners themselves.

Key thing to remember is, what begins innocently enough is pushed and forced to its bitter conclusion, cheating. Better to remove the temptation before you cause incurable damage!

 

IS LOVE A TABOO?

Is love a taboo? Isn’t this too strong, a statement for a fragile and most beautiful feeling in the universe? Well may be yes, but ironically it is so true for a society that we live in. Since my childhood there have been quite a few relationships in which I wanted to pour out my heart and soul. But I didn’t or I would rather say I wasn’t allowed as I was preached since early age to give my love only to my children, to my parents, my future husband and probably of own status. And these unspoken boundaries limited my capability to express what’s inherent inside each of us.

Love is often hidden in layers or cramped in boxes and as a word is most hard to speak or talk about. Don’t believe me? Look at these statements:

“Think with your head not with your heart”, this propagates you to be logical and not sensitive. Why is it that bad a thing? What do Abraham Lincon, Thomas Alva Edison, Jim Carey and Nicole Kidman have in common, they all were noted a having highly sensitive characteristics and they did phenomenally well in their field and are admired and recognized as leading through caring for humanity, positive change movements, and self-discovery practices, something that sensitive people are good at!

Let’s take a look at this statement, “This is not your age to fall in love”. Well, what does it even mean? I guess the moment child is born; it develops an emotional bond with its mother. Have you ever noticed how when a child crawls it keeps coming back to its mother? That is Love! So guess, the above statement by ‘experts of society’ remain flawed.

Not agreed yet?

How many of you watch the daily News? Most of you, ever heard of love being talked about in the news channels? Forget about News channels in our own social media accounts how many times do we share thoughts or tweets about love. Remember that couple that we all have on our facebook friends list, so much in love and are always posting romantic pictures. After some point in time, we start criticizing them, start getting annoyed or sometimes even block them. “They were show-offs.” Really? Aren’t we dealing our own fears here?

As a young girl, we had a maid and she had a daughter just my age. As kids, we are the purest soul and never care about the classic obstacle in our mind ‘What will they think! I remember when her mother used to do the daily chores, I used to play with her daughter, and we slowly became best friends, completely unknown to my mother, who was a working woman.

I used to share all my toys with her and she used to get me ice candies from local ice cream shops all the way from her home, most of the time I consumed my ice candy in the form of colored water. But what matters is the gesture!

It was my Birthday and I had all my friends at my place, dressed in colorful and expensive clothes. As my mother, held my hand and took me to cut the cake, I told her I am waiting for my best friend. “Did I miss calling someone dear? As far as I know all your friends are here?”  “No, I am waiting for Meena”, it was my maid’s daughter name. “You and she can’t be friends, her mother works for us and that is the only relation you have with her, let’s cut the cake.”

As I was cutting the cake, I saw her standing in the corner, she was easy to notice as she was the only one in that party with faded frock, messed up hairs but that always welcoming smile and today she was holding two ice candies as my Birthday gift. I so wanted to go up to her, give her a bite from my cake and tell her how much I love her but couldn’t. The societal block overcame me that day. I lost a friend over a taboo!

Years passed and now Meena has taken over the responsibility of her mother. Whenever I look at her, she still greets me with same loving warm smile and makes me wonder; maybe we could have been friends if society rule of love was not based on our socioeconomic strata. Today as I sit here and think, how can love ever be inappropriate? Shouldn’t we say “I love you” to anyone we want, simply because we feel that way. Shouldn’t we deny the internal and external pressure to hide our feelings because they’re somehow inappropriate?

It all starts early; in schools and colleges we get teased by our friends for falling in love and are often mocked. Why, is it such a bad thing?

How many times have you felt uncomfortable when someone told you “I love you”, be at school, at college, a work, at our own homes. Sometimes we freak out when our parent come and tell us “I love you”. You have thousands questions running your mind, when all that is needed is a simple “I love you.”

Guess we don’t have much choice here either we can continue to live in a guarded way to feel suspicious of love and or we can work to reduce the taboo that love is for us!

(Image Source: Google Inc.)

REGRETS HAVE NO VALUE – III

As Nina entered the meeting room, she stood for a moment gazing round the crowded room. Her eyes fixated on the tall narrow windows overlooking the park in the middle of hustle and bustle of the city, she had spent countless moments, discussing, arguing and sharing love noting’s by the window during their short ‘coffee breaks’. She used to look at him in unconcealed delight and he enthralled her each time, even when they whispered ‘goodbye’.

 “Will you reply to one of my questions” Ankit asked on the day of his farewell looking outside, avoiding her gaze. His pain could be felt in his voice.

“Ask…”

“Why do I need to forget you forever? If you tell me that you don’t love me, I can still live with that but please tell me, are you in love with some else? I will never show my face again!”

Her mind went blank, she tried hard to reason him earlier as well but he kept asking the same question over and over again.

‘Yes!’ Cold as she was, her heart burning in flames.

He handed her a note and made his way out, without even looking at her.

“Here she is! Let us start the presentation” Mr Mathur, her boss a seemingly nice person in his middle forties announced as he saw her entering.

Reality struck her as she greeted him with a smile. The room was full of people standing about in groups or sitting on the damask-covered chairs drinking coffee.

(Image Source: Google Inc.)

When she finished, several praised her succinct presentation. She nodded her thanks and blew a tuft of her bangs in relief. Mr Mathur, was so impressed that he asked her to make the presentation at the Board meeting in Bangalore in a week. She accepted with a slight nod and a humble “It will be my privilege to”.

‘Bangalore’ isn’t this where, Ankit was? She reasoned herself; would I be able to see him, talk to him again? He shifted there soon after he left his job and her. She kept hearing from her colleagues that he had joined the branch office in Bangalore and secretly kept longing to see him some day.

Emotions crowded her again. She wept for hours standing by the window as Ankit left her alone that day.

She opened the note he gave her, it read:

“In this life of rushed decisions, wrong turns and spectacular messes, you were the only person that made me feel right, But guess I was wrong! You proved me wrong, proved us wrong!

Even then if I ever get a chance, even if my life would be impossibly knotted, I’ll try and untangle yours in whichever way I can.”

After a week, she reached the Garden city, and hired a taxi to office. She gave her name at the reception and was directed to the seating area. A quick glance at the wall clock confirmed that she was ten minutes early and it wasn’t until it showed nine ‘O’ clock that the meeting will start.

— Visit Dr. Ashrita Saran’s blog named: Life Images