MY MAIDEN SOLO TRIP

First experiences are exciting, yet can be petrifying sometimes. There are certain things that we don’t do because we are scared or anxious, but we have to take that first step. It is the hardest, yet we have to just do it.

My maiden solo trip was a bus trip, while I was pursuing my graduation. That wasn’t too exciting to boast about or wasn’t adventurous. Rather, I was happy to travel alone, independently, without any elder along with me. However, I would like to share my first trip alone, with my infant. After the birth of my first child, I went into postpartum depression and had panic attacks, which no one understood, not even me. So, I thought a change of place was all that I needed. I decide to travel alone with my baby from Chandigarh to New Delhi, via train. 

My ticket was booked in an AC chair car and the train usually took 4 hours. I was anxious, but wanted to get away with my panic attacks. It was summer and the train was quite comfortable. The journey started well and my baby also slept after having his feed. However, after 2 hours, the AC of our cabin car stopped functioning and it became too hot and uncomfortable. My baby also woke up and started wailing. Before I could get up and talk to TTE, my co-passengers started complaining to TTE and asked him to at least change my seat as I had a little baby with me. Just after 10-15 mins, the TTE came and changed my seat to a different compartment. I was happy and grateful, simultaneously feeling proud that I could manage uncomfortable time alone, with my little one. 

After a few years, I again traveled with my son alone, this time it was an international flight and I was returning from Shanghai. I used to hate air travel, and now also, I just prefer to close my eyes while flying, as I feel uneasy. Thinking about managing the trip to the loo and pacifying him in a state of uneasiness gave me goosebumps, yet I managed all. 

I also survived another trip, years later!  Alone is still carefree, but with kids along, you feel you have a lot of responsibility. I flew alone with my kids, with my younger one clinging onto me in a baby carrier.

Today, I yearn to travel alone and also go on a solo trip (which I haven’t yet experienced). And, I am eagerly looking forward to make my maiden!

STEPPING INTO THE NEW YEAR TOGETHER

“We heal, not in isolation, but in togetherness”

This quote is so true, especially in the current times, when going out still contains a little risk. We managed for 2 years, sitting inside our homes and managing to stay together virtually. We all hope and pray that the new year marks the end of the scary coronavirus and the world is freed from the COVID pandemic.

We planned a get-together on the very first day of the new year. I met my sister Prabhjot after 2 years, though didn’t feel like meeting her after ages, as we are in constant touch with each other through WhatsApp. However, it was different for our kids, who rarely video call each other. My elder son doesn’t like to talk to his friends virtually. He says that he misses them and wants to meet them, physically, face to face. The kids have really suffered a lot during this pandemic. It feels bad that they missed out a lot due to isolation. 

Yesterday, our sons were super excited since morning and were so happy to meet each other after a long gap. They played, laughed out loudly, danced, and had fun together. Now, they are looking forward to more such frequent get-togethers, and so are we.

Spending time together with family & friends, sharing joy & happiness, having endless talks, and eating delicacies are indeed delightful. With a beautiful start to this new year, I wish the rest of the days are well spent, for everyone. I pray that we get to meet our loved ones often and share the good times, for togetherness is a wonderful place to be in.

Stay happy! Stay together!

MY 90s TREASURE TROVE

As my parents were relocating, I went to my home, early this year, to help them segregate the things that would go with them and the things that needed to be disposed of. For my sons, it became an adventure trip as there were a lot of things that they were seeing or feeling for the first time. 

“In sabka kya karna hai” (What to do with these), My mom asked me, pointing towards a cassette player. When I was in Class X, my dad gifted me a BPL portable Stereo (which had radio and a recorder too), just after finishing my boards. It was now lying in a pool of audio cassettes. 

“Mumma, what’s this? And what are these?” My kids shouted in unison, as they enquired about the cassette player and the pile of cassettes.

I explained them what the cassettes were and demonstrated them how they worked. “I doubt if it still works”, I said as I took one of the cassettes and inserted into the player and pushed in the ‘play’ button. Viola! It worked. This time, it played well, without even cleaning the ‘head’. As an old song was being played, my sons were watching inside the stereo. “Oh! These wheels are moving”, exclaimed my elder son, pointed to the reels of the cassette. I laughed at their amazement and felt lucky too as they experienced a new gadget, which was very different from their Alexa!

My heart was filled with nostalgia as I looked at those cassettes, some belonged to my parents, who used to listen to 60s songs, rest belonged to my brother and me. Some were gifted, some were recorded, yet they were kept safely. After Grade 7 or 8, birthday gifts meant for us were audio cassettes and an Archies card. Ah! Visiting an Archies gallery was like a weekend getaway for us. We used to buy 3-4 cards in advance for the upcoming birthdays of friends and family members.

There was a packet full of cards and letters, along with a few chocolate wrappers. As I showed the inland letters and postcards to my 9-year-old, he was so excited that he wrote a letter to his friend. Though he wanted a postcard, he settled for an envelope one after knowing the fact that postcards aren’t functional anymore.

Chocolate wrappers were my collectibles, I used to keep the special editions ones and gifted ones. Remember the special Perk edition which gave free denim tattoos? I even got them on my pair of jeans! It was fun.

There was one notepad also which had quotes like- “Maggi clubbers are hooked on adventure”, “Maggi clubbers are hooked for fun”. Yes, I was a privileged Maggi clubber. It was easy to get a free membership and free gifts as it required only 5 wrappers of Maggi noodles each. I got various board games, a jumping time-table, a snapping wrist band and a lot more. This notepad is still with me.

Every time I open my treasure trove, I cherish these mementos and recall those golden wonderful years. I am happy that I have a lot to show my kids, rather than just to tell.

Preeta’s Collection

DIARY OF AN ONLINE SHOPPER

He is a great companion. He is always there with me. He goes wherever I go. He helps me with cooking and fixing almost all my problems in a jiffy.  Whether I want to watch a movie, go to a particular place, I just take his help. He never gets tired of my shopping (you read it right- NEVER). Nor he raises an eyebrow whenever I talk or chat with anyone. My kids go gaga to see him, though I don’t like if they get close to him. He had been my saviour many times. I just cannot imagine my life without him. And, before you come to any conclusion, just hold your horses.

I am talking about my smart pal- my smart phone. Yeah, life has become hell lot easier since they have entered into our lives. No one did ever think that these smart phones would impact so much and will become so endemic, especially during this pandemic. 

So, my favourite apps would be the shopping ones which help me every now and then. Amazon, being the most sought after, for most of household shopping, then Flipkart; Myntra, Nykaa Fashion and Firstcry for exclusive clothing. Nykaa for make-up and cosmetics and 1mg for medicines. So, in short, my world revolves around online shopping. The best part of shopping online is that you have the ease of choosing many products, shop instantly or build up your cart till you are ready to pay. You also have the access to the other apps and you can compare the products and deals and discounts too.

So, for me online shopping is simply the best choice and my favourite pastime too. I am also an e-window shopper. Who doesn’t like window shopping after all! Wink! Wink!

Stay safe and shop online.

RESOLUTION DISSOLUTION

Every year I make many resolutions, 
But steadily they all come to their conclusion.

When a child, I pledged to top my class,
And after a month, ended up saying Alas!

Then I grew up promising to limit my TV time,
But, the title of couch potato was all mine!

Once I considered saying no to sibling rivalry, 
But could not take up the idea of chivalry.

I gave up chocolates at the dawn of a new year, 
Again, my determination did not adhere. 

At one time I affirmed to regularly exercise,
Although not sticking to it was no surprise!

Time flew and so did my each resolution,
Keeping them for good was only a delusion.

Finally, I told myself-
These resolutions are not for me, 
My will is not strong enough, so let it be!

And now there is just one resolution I make
Not to make anymore for heaven’s sake!

A DAY DEDICATED TO TEACHERS

Teacher’s Day- a day dedicated to our loving and respected teachers, which fills our hearts with nostalgia as we remember our unforgettable school days. Making cards, role-playing as teachers, playing skits, singing songs, and performing dances for our remarkable teachers used to be the whole day program. Celebrations remain the same and still continue. The only thing that has changed that now we help our kids in wishing their teachers, especially in the current pandemic situation, where the school is online and we, as parents, are now more involved in our children’s school activities. 

Last year, my younger son was supposed to join a formal school, but due to the pandemic, everything went online. So, I composed a poem, ‘My Formal School’ on his behalf, for his teachers:

My formal school started online,

Seeing new teachers, I felt so fine.

Writing letters, learning numbers,

Singing rhymes and dancing too.

Thank you, Teachers,

Learning is fun.

I love online classes

And I love you too!

For my elder son, where the teachers were facing teething troubles of online classes, I wrote the poem, ‘My Teachers In Pandemic’:

Am I audible?

Can you see the screen?

Are the new challenges faced by the teachers,

In this pandemic routine.

Ma’am, he’s hitting me!

Ma’am, he’s not letting me write!

Has now changed to;

Ma’am, he removed me!
Ma’am, he’s chatting, which isn’t right!

Screen is the new blackboard,

Scroll up and down the data stored,

Correction on screen is so difficult,

By the end, eyes strain as a result.

Yet, you managed all,

Thank you, my teachers,

For taking so much pain,

Your hard work and efforts are my gain.

Being in the teaching profession myself, I know how much hard work, both mental and physical, is required. But, in the pandemic, the teachers have really showed up a great deal of patience and I salute their spirit. Hope the challenging times end soon and the new normal is over with the beginning of offline classes.

THE SEARCH ENGINE SAGA

Do you know what is Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis?

Even I didn’t until I searched the web for the longest word in dictionary. Yes, and I am sure you will have googled it too! That’s what we all have been doing in the smartphone era and will continue to do so. 

Search engines proved to be an easy access to all the information, that too on our fingertips. All information here refers to the mass- good or bad, positive or negative. Sometimes we get the result in just the top results, else it is like manually searching for a particular tree bark in the jungles of Amazon. Last year, we all were so paranoid with the new pandemic causing disease that ‘coronavirus’ was the most searched word on Google in 2020, as expected.

As I also mentioned in my old article, “When In Doubt, Just Google”, getting information about a particular thing is easy and can be misleading also. When I was expecting my first child, I got chickenpox, that too for the first time in my life. The doctor told me not to worry, yet I searched all over the internet about what all negative effects it can have on the foetus, getting all the more anxious and restless. “Stop searching the net”, my brother warned me as he explained that whatever information the search engines have are given by the users only, citing that if he had a headache after eating sweets, he would mention it on any XYZ website and when a person like me would come across, he/she will believe that if I eat sweets, I will get a headache.

I recently gifted a dictionary to my 9-year-old, as I realised that I was setting up a bad example of using the search engines too often. ‘Creative search’, using your mind is better than an ‘easy search’. So, now if you hit that search button, just pause and think if it’s really needed or not.