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!

A PIGEON’S MISCARRIAGE

On opening the door to my residential quarters after a month long absence, I was greeted with a bearably faint musty odour, a thin film of dust on all surfaces, a few cobwebs here and there – signs of briefly uninhabited premises! As I flung open the connecting doors and windows to let the chilly winter breeze do a few oscillations and ventilate the house, I was glad that there wasn’t really much cleaning up to do after all. This relief was about to last for just a few seconds!

No sooner had I opened the door to my bathroom, that I took a step back at what I saw. A pigeon’s nest had fallen from an open vent above right on the toilet seat!!

Well, there was work after all!

As I picked up the twigs, small branches and dried leaves, I looked up sensing a brief movement. Lo and behold! Mama pigeon was cozily sitting on her eggs, having built a brand new nest.

It took some time for me to clean up the mess during which the nesting perseverance of the pigeons was something I pondered upon.

As I resumed official work the next day to be greeted with heaps of pending files, Mama pigeon and the nest was the last thing on my mind!

It wasn’t meant to be that way for long, though.

I returned home after the day’s work only to find the new nest broken (and yes, fallen on the toilet seat, to my great displeasure). Having no other way out, as I started clearing up the clutter, I found a broken egg amidst the dried leaves and twigs.

Who knows what instincts would have crisscrossed Mama pigeon’s mind, having had two broken nests and one broken egg. Will she build her nest again? Will she give up? Will she be able to have any squabs this season? Ah well! That’s the pigeon’s life!

This drove me to think about the countless women worldwide who miscarry their unborns. For every baby that is born there are many fetuses that get miscarried and many still-borns who remain as bars on the tally charts leaving many women to gulp their crucibles of sorrow silently. How many of them get cared for by their partners, family and friends before they heal up – physically and emotionally?

The Mama pigeon’s miscarriage might have stirred up her instincts with probably none of her kiln having an inkling to it. We humans can surely do much better!

IF LIFE IS TOUGH…

Yes, dear life,
I’ll never give up on you.
No matter what you throw my way
I’ll definitely survive the day.

You will always see a smile on my face
For, I believe in living with grace.
I’m not the one to sit and cry
I’ve been taught to touch the highs.

You see,
I’m the mountain girl
who carries the sunshine in her curls
who carries the sunshine in her curls.
To all those who feel like giving up
show life who’s the BOSS, Yes!

MATTERS OF THE HEART

What do I say about where and why my heart takes and makes me do – different things at different places? While doing all of that, not forgetting its primary function of pumping blood through my circulatory system, to keep this bloke going the extraa…aaamile.

Real-life is one thing.. fiction is another. My sister and I were raised on a steady diet of homecooked food and dollops of love, and we were never short of stories – mum and dad had plenty of them-some of which were repeats but we didn’t mind. Today, when they tell us the same stories again…we smile at each other, coz we’ve heard them so many times before – but sometimes it is the stories that keep us going.

And that’s how we’ve always lived.

Growing up in the era of the ’90s, where everything we watched and came across brought a smile to our faces, the lives people lived, and the friendships we stitched, always reminded me that life was good and love was found everywhere. Ever since then I’ve always believed in a romantic story, from watching mushy Shahrukh Khan movies, romancing his love interests in Bollywood to young romances blossom in college in Hollywood, and in my heart of hearts… I’ve always wanted stories like that to happen to me.

Can you blame me if I fall in love with every female character on the show/a movie I watch?

…and that’s where I’ve always remained optimistic, that there is someone really out there, and she’ll be all the things I’ve been dreaming about her, come true – my very own princess, and I’ve been waiting ever since.

A lot of the people I know often say that I keep my thoughts to myself, which is very true. There is after-all time and a place for everything. This week’s theme is all about ‘Direct Dil se’ which loosely translates to ‘Straight from the Heart’from mine to yours.

Isn’t it funny how sometimes, the romantic ones are the ones with no romance in their lives? Keep pondering on that question – this one’s for us single people out there…

..and that’s where I decided the best place to find a good love story was in the movies and books and hence the love of reading blossomed…and so did the writing, and this is where the thoughts are broken down into fine reading.

My life as I wish is a combination of so many Hollywood movies I’ve watched;

…a little house in the woods, a quiet town, friendly neighborhood, a job that keeps me happy more than stressed, a partner who is no-frills with a pet dog for the complete family. Enough money is earned to live a simple life. And if we lived in a town that snows, even better – nothing like sitting by the fireplace to keep warm on a snowy day. Even writing this down feels as if, I’m already there…

My heart pines for the simple life, no-frills no fancy. I was never cut out for all that we see in the world today.

I fell in love with stories, then with the language …and to see it used in the movies and written in print is like spreading love to all that I touch.

Words are like magic when used to narrate life’s memories, wishes, and dreams. So it is no wonder that I ventured out into writing, I write for the love of writing and not as a profession, because, as I know it, Love originates from the heart, and where the heart is involved, money does not find a place there.

As in all my favorite stories: there are moments in life when you’re not quite sure what’s going to happen next, new ideas, new people – and that can be challenging. It’s how we meet those challenges, NOW that is the exciting part.

…and what I do now, THAT is my story and no one can change that. I am a part of this beautiful ongoing story; my reader, my well-wisher, and my friend, YOU all are a part of this magnificent story in the making.

I am not even going to ask you “What is your story?” because I want to play a part in it.

SOME SPECIAL CONNECTIONS …

This Saturday, me and my father visited the RTO office. He was due for his DL renewal. While he was talking to the agent and getting his paperwork, I couldn’t help but peep into the Yonex shop that was nearby. I informed my father that I would be back in a few mins and requested him to wait there if at all he finished his work early. Slowly, I walked towards the small shop. It is hardly 15 feet by 10 feet store with huge posters of P V Sindhu. There was a display of all kinds of badminton rackets. However, I wasn’t interested in the rackets. I was searching the other side of the counter for a salesperson.

Meanwhile, one of the sales representatives approached me asking, what I was looking for. It’s not ‘what’, but, ‘who’ you should be asking, I slowly murmured. While I was lost in that thought, “Aastha, is that you?“, said a voice. “Thank God!! Yes, it’s me. But, how did you know it was me from behind?”, “Ah, that was because I was watching you in the mirror”, he said. “I am so glad to meet you after so many years. I have come here a few times, always wondered if you were around, but, never really came inside. I wasn’t sure if you would remember me before I walked in”, there was no stopping to my talking. “Of course, you and Ali used to come to buy rackets and shuttlecock cans. You always insisted for the feathered cocks”. “Yes, true. This was our regular store back then”. “So, what are you looking for now?” he asked. “Honestly, I came here only to see you. Sorry. There was no intention to buy anything”, said I. We laughed talking about so many memories.

It felt like yesterday all those instances happened, yet, it has been more than a decade or even more. Time just flies was the thought I had. “How did you remember my name?“, I asked him. “That wasn’t because of you. It was because of your father. He bought a badminton racket from me once. It was one of the first makes of lighter ones from Yonex. Immediately after buying the racket, he wrote your name on the leather cover. I asked him who it was and he said that’s his daughter’s name. Later on, you came several times along with Ali, but I had no clue you were Aastha, until one fine day you came along with your father. I connected the dots. I could have been wrong too. BTW, how is your father?“, inquired he.

“Oh, he is right here, renewing his DL”, my eyes lit up while saying that. He insisted on meeting my father. We all had coffee together. Though my father did not remember him, he certainly remembers visiting that shop. The conversation went longer than I expected. That was a heart to heart connection.

Before I met him, I had so many thoughts in those few mins while I was walking towards the store. Is he still there? How he would be? How did covid affect his business? Is he still the owner of the shop? and so many other thoughts. The only hope was to meet him and feel good about it. I wasn’t expecting him to recognise me either. Yet, the conversation with him made me so happy.

Me being who I am, let me tell you, I wouldn’t have made an inviting gesture to start a conversation back then. I would just walk into the store, make the purchases and return. I don’t remember talking about anything other than why I was there, We don’t even realize but, some connections we make have so much impact on our lives. Though we don’t call them friends or family, those connections are still very special. They enlighten us when we remember them. At some point in life, those people were meant to cross paths with us and for good. We never know how such a connection can make us happy in future. 

“Communication is merely an exchange of information, but connection is an exchange of our humanity.”  – Sean Stephenson

THE TRUTH OF GAINING KNOWLEDGE

Do you want to earn $200,000, just by signing a contract? All you need to do is fill in a form, share your photograph, and a 100 minutes voice recording.

YES, YOU READ IT RIGHT!

This week among so many news, one shocking news I heard that literally seized my attention – “Now Robots can also work, behave, move, talk, look, and even reproduce babies like humans”.

When the entire world was on halt, we were locked up within our four walls, some of the brightest minds of the present time have developed human robots known as XENOBOTS. They have been created from biological tissues. They are living robots that can move, heal, and reproduce on their own. They were created by assembling stem cells from embryos into synthetic life forms. With the help of supercomputers, 3D blocks and algorithms were developed and then was injected into life. The life that is taken from African clawed frogs and finally it evolves into a child Xenobot. Now, all they need is to give them as many human faces and voices through the voice modulation process. Probably, in the very near future, there will be one man enjoying the Netflix series at home and his Xenobot fighting the nuclear war somewhere 1000 miles away.

It might sound like an exaggeration or some Hollywood story but sadly, THIS IS A TRUTH. Undoubtedly, at the first watch, this news wowed me but it also triggered some basic questions in my mind –

  • WHAT IS THE INTENTION OF CREATING XENOBOTS?
  • WHO CAN GUARENTEE THAT IT WILL NOT BE USED FOR DEADLY PURPOSE?
  • WHY ON EARTH DO WE NEED SO MUCH KNOWLEDGE?

Interestingly, when the scientists were questioned about the intention of creating Xenobot their answers weren’t sufficient rather it provoked some more questions like, WHO ARE FUNDING THIS PROJECT? And for your information, one of the most elite technological military innovation agencies has partially funded this project.

Intention precedes Action. Human desires for knowledge are always intended to accumulate affluence. Because the common idea is the more powerful you are the more secure you are WHEREAS the reality contradicts entirely. Power needs more power to secure it. (Probably, that’s why the affluent ride behind bulletproof glass doors). The higher altitude of power you live, the higher risk of threat exists for you.

Human pant for affluence becomes so forceful that often man exceeds every limit. And the ground of compromising with ethical & moral principles becomes the bridge for the gap between desiring power and consuming power.

In the entire explanation, alongside the pride of affluence, fear, peace lessness, pain, insecurity, loneliness, etc are constants in the life of an affluent. Once my dear brother Chiradeep quoted me, “There’s always a sense of insecurity of losing the top spot even for affluent man on earth”.

The entire reasoning reminds me of the Bible verse written by wise King Solomon, “For in much wisdom is much vexation, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.

P.C: CBS NEWS

BE READY… IT’S GONNA CHANGE

The world keeps changing in fact they say Change is the only thing that is constant.

Knowing that fully well I still resent change.  

I still pick up the baby or kindergarten photos of my kids and exclaim… They were so cute as babies. Why did they grow up? Did I really enjoy their childhood or was I just busy with the mom chores and waiting for them to grow up and be independent?

When my parents-in-law come to stay with me I am a bit rattled for a few days. I resent the change in my routine. Mind you I share a very cordial relationship with them. But just that it takes me a few days to get adjusted to them staying with us. And vice versa when they leave. Again takes me a couple of days to get my mojo back. Do I call it inertia?

I was too angry and distraught when my husband changed his status from being a salaried person to being a businessman. I couldn’t come to terms with the many ways my life got affected. So much changed. Again it’s not that I was blissful in his salaried status we had our share of problems and it was a well-thought-out decision but still, I resent the change.

I have been looking back at the past with nostalgia-tinted lenses and remember only the good part. Not the part where I was longing for a change in my life because I felt trapped in a rut.

Ha Ha I know it’s a classic case of damned if I do damned if I don’t.

So my life lesson for today is, enjoy your present and live it to the fullest. And don’t resist change. Because change will happen whether we like it or not whether we are ready for it or not. I am ready to embrace the change and hopefully, I am better equipped for the lemons life is going to throw at me.