WHAT IF…

There comes a time in your life, where you like the things the way they are ..but what if things were different? What if going back into my past, I’d change something really HUGEand that in turn makes me lose everything I have today?

What can I say – my TODAY is far from perfect! But then if I have to look at my life in the other way, I look at my life as

“What if my life turned out just the way I wanted it?” I can only begin to imagine

A frequent passing thought.. and at the end of it, I say to myself ‘Thank Goodness’. You think I’d know myself really well, and what I’d be capable of, if I had to have it my way!

A few right choices, a couple of right connections and a whole lot of the sly factor,I wouldn’t be doing the things I’m doing or living in the place I’m living. I would be – well.. Unrecognizable! I wouldn’t be ME. Actually I would be Me, but a different kind of Me – not many of who would like me too much.Image result for time machine

Working in top management

..lording over hundreds of employees working under me

..changing cars with changing trends

..a house that comforts me in every way, needless to say – money would never be an issue.

..married to a woman who looks after my every need – I wouldn’t need anything else would I?

Wouldn’t that be a nice world to live in? Pretty superficial I know but still a very comfortable one, who’s complaining!? I wouldn’t, nor would you – Trust Me! 

Let’s start from where it all truly begins, no.. no.. not birth, but MONEY  The start and End to life. While its all good to have emotions like love, happiness, joy & satisfaction in life, the truth is – that’s not what is enough, we need HARD CASH! and a little extra of it never hurts. I am always on the other side of the fence when it comes to finances, that said, the limitations keep me down to earth and always in check. It helps me understand the value of holding on to something that helps me (with the right purchases) in giving myself a better quality of life.

A story dad would often tell my sister and myself when we were younger. He was Bank manager – Bank of India, Jamshedpur and in a position where he called the shots on many of the things that happened within 4 walls. Often customers would ask him “Sir, aapka ghar ready ho gaya Goa mein?” (which loosely translates as Is your house in Goa ready?) in other words if he could get the ‘papers passed’ or ‘the work done’.. faster or you know…, he would be rewarded handsomely… and that in turn would help in building the house faster. The honest man that my dad was, he never took the bait – and of course the rest is history.

He built our home on Love, Honesty and with every drop of sweat spent at the bank working his ass off (hard work) Life wasn’t as easy as some of us have it now. So while I may personally not have anything to change for myself, or for anyone else in my family, I would like to have seen, what would life have been… you know just if…

Every one of us has an ‘if’ in our life – its normal to have that thought. Some time in my life, I did too.. (not any more)

Maybe you’ve been hurt, maybe you’ve lost someone dear to you.. and we all wish that we could start over or go back and change it all

… but that’s life, we just have one shot at it! Besides, it’s all steps to growing up. We understand that everything we do has consequences.

Life isn’t FuN and games, its way harder to deal with that we can ever imagine. However, life goes on – and everyday gives us a chance to start afresh.

There’s a saying that goes “The apple does not fall far from the tree” if that was my dad many years ago and he has no regrets on how his life panned out, I am his son and while my life has not had the same straight upward curve that his has been – I’m still happy how I’ve turned out.. a little wonky, very unpredictable and pretty average. I’d still give it my best shot and hopefully – some day ‘dad would be proud of me’.

BEYOND THE DOORPOST

There is danger out there, my love
You’re safe in here.

 

Numerous times a day did I hear,
These lines from my mother dear.


Unaware what she meant exactly,
I often sulked dejectedly.

 

The house and the square courtyard,
Was all that I had to myself under everyone’s surveillant guard.

I loved my family,
So dared not march towards anomaly.


But their fears unspoken deep within,
And tears unshed bothered me day out and day in.


Courage had I none,
To venture out and have some fun.


The open skies beckoned with their serenity untold
The lush green orchards how I wished to behold!

There is danger out there, my love
You’re safe in here.

 

Leaving behind the years of tender childhood,
As a young man I one day stood.


Shaking my fist and bellowing loud,
I threatened to go past the ominous doorpost.


Quiet silence surrounded me,
Sad lowered eyes refused to look up at me.

A sudden gust of wind,
Brought traces of noise from outside.


In no time was a flurry of stones pelted on the windows freshly painted,
Gun shots and fire – hearing which my mother fainted.


Hours went by as we stayed securely in,
Hoping it would stop and we would save our skin.

 

The night brought with it a silence so eerie,
I heard my father step into my room with eyes bleary.

The night was long with stories of attacks ghastly,
Of lives lost and families ruined.


Of women violated,
Kids killed and mutilated.


The reason for years of safeguarding,
Now clearly stood at my face staring.

 

Clutching my blanket close to myself,
I looked at my father’s retreating poor self.

Blood seemed to gush from my veins,
And the brain threatened to hold the reins.

 

Sleep eluded . . .
Thoughts crowded . . .


As the clock struck six,
I tip-toed down the staircase.

 

Looking back at my loved ones,
Would weaken my resolution.

I looked ahead and opened the latch above my head,
Taking a deep breath I slipped out . . .

 

Beyond the doorpost . . .
Into the darkness that my mother had guarded me against, the most.

There is danger out there, my love
You’re safe in here!

 

 

(P.S. Written from the viewpoint of a youngster in a violent conflict zone of war and extremism)

INTO THE LIGHT

The day I was born you called me princess,
You laughed when I cooed, you jumped to see me stand,
You held my hand when I fell and fell,
You were my first teacher and saw me through good and bad.

You saw me grew, but to you, I am always tender,
You cried for my pains and overwhelmed by my tiny success,
You drove me to school and “kiss me before bye” was your rule,
You were so thoughtful and cheerful, and to you, I am the most beautiful,

I was a naughty child and confused girl who frequently needed an aid,
And you were always there to guide your little mermaid,
Never know what’s trouble cause of your care,
And you gave me many memories to share.

When all the hope seemed to be gone,
You were my shining beacon and gave me strength to carry on,
Many times you embarked on official trips leaving me sad,
But when I am in your arms, I am always glad.

You enriched our lives with your care and love,
And for which I can never express how much I owe,
To help those in trouble, you always had a way,
And your job got a special pay.

Till that unfortunate day, everything went so well,
And I never knew even the meaning of the word HELL,
If I knew that would be the last day, I would see you walk out of the door,
I would have hugged you more and more,
Since you are gone, I tried so hard to show nothing is wrong,
But deep inside I know without you how I can never be strong.
I yearned for your hug, your words and your kisses all these days,
And I tried to speak to you one more time in a million ways,
That uneventful night I heard you cough,
But little I know that’s the end of my laugh.

I never had any bitterness for God in my heart,
But now, in my life, I still struggle for a new start,
All I wanted to see you step out of that hospital my dad,
But all those doctors failed attempts made me mad.

It was hard to accept that you will be missed,
But I felt your skin so cold as I kissed,
I heard people saying “its okay he became old’’,
But how can I ever say that I lost my “precious gold”.

Days months and years passed since you left,
But the pain in my heart never left,
Each day I kept watching the infinity,
And living each day with uncertainty.

I asked God for your love again, one last miracle,
And I kept waiting for the answer from the oracle,
There was always dawn after dusk,
And little I know, I just needed to ask.

One fine day, I felt your tender touch again,
And I know it was the flutter of an angel’s wings,
God answered my yearning prayer,
And again He made me happier.

Now I know I am being watched and not alone,
All the sadness and despair is gone,
Dad, you never failed me before,
And from now on I will never fail you for sure.

As a father, you gave me life, strength, happiness, and everything,
And I won’t let it go for anything,
One day the world will sing about my success so loud,
And I am sure that I will make you so proud.

CHILDHOOD: A TREASURED POSSESSION!!!

#Mischievous acts #Classroom bunks! 

#Own Cricket rules! #Bicycle stunts! 

#Story telling! #Friends’ fan following! 

#Stealing sweets #Shaktiman Sunday Series…. 

Oh…how fast I grew up, those tiny shoes I threw up! These are the taglines of my childhood memory lane…

Being one of the youngest sons of the family, throughout my childhood I had to tolerate my elder brothers and sisters – their monarchical rules, their CIA spying to my parents, especially my Di (Elder Sister). I am still confused as to what fun she got whenever my father punished me in the past.

Somehow she was also right because I was behaving like an angel at home and church but was a spoilt-brat outside. I can never forget those punishments from Papa but the best part of the punishment was – every time Papa will punish us, he will take us (mostly me and my younger brother) to the sweets stall and used to give us lots of sweets to eat. Whenever Papa punishes us we were sure that we will have delicious sweets outside. 

When we were in primary schools, Papa used to give tuition to his friend’s son at our home every evening. He was quite older to us but was very loving and generous to all 3 of us (Di, I and my younger brother) as we were his teacher’s kids. But he had a very bad habit, he never used to do his homework and everyday he used to be punished an extra 30 minutes to finish his homework. Then, there were only 2 national channels on Indian Television – Doordarshan and DD2. I used to dislike DD2 because it was mostly a news channel but every Saturday night we were too happy because we were allowed to watch movies along with our parents in late evening hours. It was one Saturday evening, my father’s student (friend’s son) was punished to sit till he finishes his homework and it was about 10 PM in the night. The movie was already on but because he was still studying we were not allowed to switch on our television. Out of anger I and my elder sister punctured his bicycle Tyre. As Papa knew that it was done by us, we were punished to sleep empty stomach and were not allowed to watch the movie. And above all the very next day we had to apologize to that brother.

Then punishments were hard for me and at times I used to think I was under British colonial rule, but NOW I am thankful to my Papa and Mumma though they didn’t feel great punishing us yet they never stopped disciplining us in the hardest ways.

“Don’t fail to discipline your children.

They won’t die if you spank them.”

(The Bible)

Today, it is quite difficult for me to jot down my childhood memories…it needs time to recall, it is past, history, so on and so forth but the impact they made, the lessons taught then, are still working in shaping – instructing – living a good moral life based on godly standards. As I grew older I treasure them in my heart just to build my future family based on the principles I was nourished.

“It’s the time that passes by

but the treasures of childhood never passes by…”

ALWAYS A FOODIE, THRICE A COOK!

Food isn’t just nourishment. Food isn’t three times a daily necessity. Food isn’t just needed to live. Food is a culture. Food is a ritual. Food is a passion. Food is happiness for a sulking child. Food is a comfort for someone unwell. Food is family time for a man who worked hard all day. Food is Mother’s love for a son who brought tiffin from home. Food is hope for the poor. Food is a livelihood for the Farmer, for the Milkman, for the Sabjiwala. 

For me, food is the Kachori made by my Baba. The one he used to make when I was a little girl. I was hardly 11 when he passed away, but I still remember the taste. The whole ritual when he used to make them on weekends taking one whole morning and I used to hang around him, bobbing with anticipation and asking him every five minutes when he will be done and give me one to eat. Food is the Cheela my Amma used to make every Saturday for me and Papa and I used to take a bite from Papa’s plate calling it Food Tax. Food is the Aloo Parantha I had in Kasauli Hotel, where we made a secret kitchen in an Ante-Room. Food is the Maggie noodles I used to make with my brother and divided into two equal halves and then fought while deciding which plate holds more. Food is the Rabri from Birla Mandir that my uncle brought for me and I would wait for it eagerly every Tuesday. Food is the Coffee I had with my best friend while we worked on paintings, chatting our way through gossips.

I am a true Foodie in every sense. Not because I am experimental with my taste buds or try to taste all world cuisine, neither because good food makes my mouth water or I try to eat as many dishes as I can when I go to a Buffet. I am a foodie because I believe that food is good when memories are made along with it. I am a foodie in true spirit because I believe that breaking of bread with someone connects you to them on a whole different level. Every meal that is memorable and is delicious is less owing to the taste and more to the company.

I had thrice attempted to cook for my loved ones as a child. All attempts my first. First was the time when I made Chapati for my father. It was through kneading dough to rolling it out in a perfect circle and then making it go round on the stove. With a lot of anticipation, I served it on Papa’s plate. He tasted it and went ‘WOW’ not because it was yum, but because he knew it was my first Roti ever made. He kissed me and hugged me.

The second time was when I cooked Kheer for my Nanaji as Naniji had gone to a party and there were no women in the house. I opened my cookbook and attempted my hand at Kheer for him with an intention to surprise him. I measured everything as per the book and added to a vessel. But the rice kept getting dry and I kept adding milk and sugar. Finally, I made a gooey sticky lump I called Kheer and served him. He gave me Rs 500 as a reward for not giving up and told me it was delicious.

My third trial was for my mother when she was unwell. She hadn’t had anything all day and told she was hungry and couldn’t manage to get up as she had her leg in a cast. That day for the first time I made tea and sandwiches for her. I made it with utmost care and served it to her. She ate it with so much contentment and satisfaction that it brought tears to my eyes. She thanked me which made me realise the joy of doing something for someone.

So this is me the Foodie for you. Every food memory I got is not because the taste was great but because the memory was everlasting. Memories that are like the taste buds, Sweet, Sour, Spicy, Salty, Tangy and at time Bitter.

Bon Appetite!