DEAR MOM

Dear mom,

I have never written about you. I have written about girls I have liked but never written about you. So here I sit down and type this letter just for you, dear mom. Although I don’t have clear memories of my early childhood and never asked you if it was easy for you to give up your job as a nurse to look after me, to take care of me, help me grow up, I thank you for that. It may have been a difficult decision for you to make I assume, but you still did it for me. Women are hardly asked about the effect of quitting their jobs to care for a baby or look after the family. It is expected of them, so much so that in certain cases if the newlywed wife doesn’t intend to give up her career she is criticized unfairly by others. Of course, things are changing in the present times but men are never expected or asked to give up their careers to bring up a son or daughter. You were so practical and did it anyway just for me so that I could receive your love from the moment I was born.

Mom, we don’t talk much. I mean at least when I compare with my friends talking to their mothers I don’t think we talk much. But I tell you things I would never have the courage to tell dad. I tell you about the girl I like, about the time I went to meet her. You ask me if we watched a movie and I say “no, no”. And I always feel very happy when you ask me to get KFC’s zinger burger whenever I go to a mall. Can I tell you something more? I have many close friends who are women, and also if I wanted to have a sibling it would be an elder or younger sister. Perhaps it’s the way in which women-kind can empathize and sympathize that makes them such amazing people, whom one can easily confide in, and talk about most things under the sun without being made fun off. I have guy friends too who share this trait but they are a rarity.

You know the one thing which is so underappreciated and equally undervalued is the immense hard-work you put in maintaining the home and family. It might seem that you are duty-bound to do it but the commitment and perseverance you show is just unbelievable. I have seen you washing clothes early-morning during the winters, do the dishes, when dad and I either just sit in front of the television or doze-off. I have seen you enthusiastically waking up early to prepare breakfast so that dad can go to the office and I can go to school on time, even though you might be running a fever. You never have any designated days as holidays. Dad has off days at work. I have off days as a student. But you never have. I heard you saying once “we women never have a day off”. I didn’t understand it then but now I do. Especially after you fell ill last Christmas and I had to help out dad with the household work. I realized how effortlessly you do the entire body of work without complaining about your grievances. I know I have let you down, by not providing more help in maintaining the house and share the chores to reduce your workload. But I intend to work on it. Men have so-called “more important jobs” and women are left to do the “unimportant, menial tasks”. I don’t think anymore that women do unimportant tasks. Their contribution is as important and sometimes even more as the husband’s or the son’s. I have to make sure that you have holidays too and that we share the household workload more.

Mom, I love your liking for water-less puchkas and excitement for an occasional “yum-yum chili-chicken”. I love your eyes lighting up for steamed-momos, rosgollas and misthi-doi. I love the sweet mango pickle, our “jelly-pickle” you make during the summers and the kheer you make whenever I return home for holidays. I get so delighted when you prepare “tikhil-asma” and “bairka-asma” and our favorite, though tasteless yet very fulfilling “thappa-roti”. I miss the “osa-dishes” you made when I was small. I used to love mushrooms at that point of time. I miss our walks back from primary school. Mom, you know what quality of yours I love the most. Well, it isn’t just one. It’s your humility, your perseverance, your silent sacrifices without ever making a big deal about it, your quiet stillness and calm amidst all chaos, the way you stay calm and brave even during earthquakes when dad gets all panicky and scampers out of the house like a rat. We both know about that. I have grown up to be a bit like you, mom. I definitely look like you and I have some of your qualities, though not up to your level but I am working on it. And I have so much more to say and write but I will stop here now. I know words are never enough and I don’t say this enough but I love you, mom.

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WHEN VALENTINE’S DAY WENT WRONG

Teenagers wait for this season with a valuable reason in their hearts. 15 years back it was not even in the picture. 14th February was just a very normal day like all other days. But once the colour of VDay stained this 14th Feb it got a different significance since then.

In the first article, I mentioned Valentine’s Day as a reminder to love but sometimes it so happens that even if we are reminded to love we fail or miss the mark somehow for some unexpected reason and we feel sad or hurt about it.

Two days ago when we reached Howrah station, we both husband and wife started walking on the platform to get out of the railway station. My wife walked ahead leaving me behind and I was walking behind slowly and at ease on the platform. There were a lot of people rushing out as well as walking into the station and we lost each other though I was calm knowing that we have our phones with us. A thought came to my mind as I was walking slowly…

Sometimes in a marriage or any relationship, when one tries to go ahead of the other instead of thinking the growth of both together, then they both lose each other for sometime till they find one another after much difficulty.

Do you remember, I said above that – “I was calm knowing that we have our phones with us”. Yeah, Love works as those phones to bring the partners, lovers, families together again. Kalpana said rightly, “If it’s the love it’s always there, just break the monotony to realise the beautiful feeling of being in love“. The moment we lose our track we should immediately turn back to Love and true love never fails.

After walking ahead little more, I saw my wife standing at a point waiting for me to come so that we both can walk out of the station. My co-passenger would not have waited for me, other passers-by would not have waited for me. But it was only my wife who waited for me because we have a relationship and love holds that relationship together like a knot.

Coming back to what I was saying at the beginning of this article that there can be many possible reasons for failing to observe a proper valentine’s day but a love life doesn’t end there with that one particular day of failure. Love is something much bigger and larger than Valentine’s day.

Dear friends! Are you feeling bad that you missed gifting your beloved on this day? Do you feel hurt because your spouse scolded you on this day? Is it hurting for you to find your lover was cheating on you instead of celebrating V Day with you? Are you angry because your husband slept without little love talks with you on The Day? Are you suffering from many hurts that the present marriage has given you and V Day is nothing but a taunt for you? Remember, Valentine’s day might go wrong but Love will never go wrong.

Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.

Love brings joy because God is love (love is not God), who is the source of our joy and happiness.

Stay Blessed!

GEEKY WAYS TO SAY I LOVE YOU

This article will appeal to most of the geeks out there. Here are a few of my favourites. It is really fun to express love in geeky ways.

It is tough for geeks to relate with people since they are low on socializing and do not have much exposure to romance. Nonetheless, girls always demand the guy to show his affection in terms of words, which could be a disaster for a geek. Here are some lines to impress your girl with words.

  1. I love you as much as there are helium atoms in Sun.” This could be replaced with “I love you as much as there are H2O molecules on this earth.” The purpose would be to show a geeky way to measure your love for her. Almost always, when a guy says “I love you”, girl questions “How much?”
  2. My heart is orbiting around you like an electron around the nucleus.” This is another way to simply tell her how much you think about her.
  3. Out of all the star trek movies, I enjoyed the second one the most because you were sleeping on my shoulder and I could smell you closer than ever.”
  4. No matter how much you reject my feelings, I know you will come back to me since Newton said that for every action (of love), there is equal and opposite reaction (of love) and Newton’s laws have never failed the world.
  5. The four chambers of my heart are overflowing with the love for you. Probably that’s why it beats so fast when you look at me.”
  6. The inter-connection of my neurons seems to be broken or is it my testosterone that is making me go crazy for you?”
  7. If I had to give up my mac, iPad, Wii and PS3, I would do that with tears in my eyes – tears of happiness.
  8. You give me enough energy, I don’t need caffeine.”  
  9. I can see high oxytocin in your eyes for me.”
  10. If I was an automobile engine, you would be the fuel to drive me.

As a female myself, I really wanted to help all the guys in this matter because expressing our feelings especially expressing love for someone we love is of uttermost importance. Many times we lose life’s this important battle or stay on the back foot because we fail to express ourselves at the right time.

So, go ahead and express… But remember, don’t use these lines on just anyone to flirt but use them carefully and responsibly for the one you love and care so much.

MONOTONY IS CAPABLE OF BREAKING HARMONY – BEWARE!

A regular scenario:

A woman murmuring angrily and washing dishes “how I wish I haven’t had accepted the marriage proposal, I was blinded by your rosy words.  Every friend of mine is leading a dream life – holidays, gifts, maids – what not and look at me here I am stuck in a vicious circle of breakfast-lunch-dinner-dishes-dusting” and as the obviously upset wife was continuing with her complaints and work ‘Boom‘ a strong sound from another room disturbs her rhythm.  She hurriedly washes her hands and rushes in the direction of the sound, wiping her hands on her sides and shouting “what happened, what now” and suddenly all her angry/complaining tone took a U-Turn to worry.  She saw her husband lying down on the ground as he slipped on a wet floor (thanks to kids getting hyper on a weekend) and wriggling in pain.

Oh! You have to be watchful, you are not a kid anymore. What if I was not around.  Look what have you done to yourself” and the flow continues (in-built in a woman’s genes 😁) while on other hands she was blasting up kids for such irresponsibility.  And she helps her husband to get up and get to a comfortable place. Hurries to get medicine, applies it and sits beside him to comfort him.

All the angst she was carrying disappeared in the air in a fraction of seconds and her love and care for him came to the surface.

It’s a pretty normal scenario we are grown up watching, experiencing in our own lives.  More miles we cross together, more milestones we reach more and more monotony sets in (majority follows the suit) making us doubt the very root of our relationships. But time and again many situations arise that restores our faith in love and determines our strength as a unit – a couple.

Reason beyond monotony:  When we mark the beginning of our relationships (committed ones, marriage or otherwise) we are set out to discover each other – likes, dislikes, mood swings, characteristic traits and much more.  This journey of discovery and self-realisation is always interesting. And definitely with an ample amount of Romance sprinkled the commencement is always colourful, bright and interesting.

But things take a different turn (not a U-turn necessarily) when we know each other really well and responsibilities of providing a safe & secured future occupy our priority list.  Efforts to thrill, surprise or cajole each other definitely take a back seat.  Perhaps sometimes we take each other for granted as well when it comes to the “Romance” part of life.  A petty example: a boyfriend reaches his girlfriend at her short notice leaving everything else at the helm of fate.  But when the same person is a husband and additionally a father can’t do the same thing unless an emergency is awaiting his attention for he is working to shape a better future for his beloved family.

Well, I won’t start off again on concepts of Love-Romance-Responsibilities, boring, right?

But Monotony has to be broken. For a simple reason – too much sedimentation of monotony could push love into the darkness of oblivion which is present but not obvious.  And that’s the point where harmony in a relationship is at stake.  Monotony in a relationship is one of the reasons resulting in issues like infidelity, extramarital affairs because “New and Undisclosed” always attract.  Comparisons and fall outs could also be probable outcomes of a never ending uninteresting routine.

How to break monotony:  I am not a columnist working for a magazine answering questions concerning relationships but I have few things in my mind (thanks to observation & experience) that I want to share, might come handy someday 😊:

  • Revisiting past is important to rekindle the lost giggles. Watching photographs, DVDs, a small talk over a cup of coffee about the treasured memories can help a lot in bonding again and again.
  • Quality time together.  Not necessarily expensive holiday trips but a stroll hand in hand, chirping or sometimes saying nothing just letting the golden silence sink in to dispel the disturbance caused by the clutter of words resonating in mind.
  • Cooking, yes you read it right. Cook your partner (oops I mean for your partner 😂😂) for the way to the heart is via the stomach. On contrary, you can also skip to cook sometimes, for the first step in breaking the monotony comes from breaking the schedules and anyways online ordering is so easy, use it, folks!.
  • Sharing chores often helps two ways – reduces the work stress and more time spent together in disguise, productively too 😁.
  • Gifts (though not a great supporter, yet won’t reject it completely) do work wonders.

Always remember one thing: Romance may fade over a period of time but love doesn’t.  If it’s the love it’s always there, just break the monotony to realise the beautiful feeling of being in love.

FIRST LOVE ISN’T LOVE-FOREVER

Valentine’s week is going on and people are ecstatically celebrating it. No doubt, it is very special. It is not that you can celebrate love only when it is Valentine. But the idea is to dedicate a few days of the year, for the one you love. If you ask what is love, you will get numerous answers. However, I am not going to define love. All I know is, love has no single definition because it never exists in one form. For example- we feel love for our parents, friends, siblings, nature, country, our partner and for many other things. In whichever form you feel it, there’s something in common. And that is, love is kind and you can love only when you know how to respect. Owing to the fact that without having a feeling of respect, you won’t understand the value of people or things around you.

We have seen in movies and read stories, first love is meant to be eternal. Some people are really lucky to have their first love turn into a lifelong bond or say marriage. Those who do not belong to this category are not at all Unlucky. Why? Because those people get another chance to find the best fit for them. I have seen and heard, people crying over their breakup; stating, it was their first love and they won’t be able to fall in love once again. Okay, this might be true in some cases. But it is not necessary that first love has to be forever. If you think, when you fall in love for the first time, you have found your soulmate then you are probably wrong. There’s no such soul which is similar to yours. Nonetheless, we find someone who feels right to our soul. And it is not fixed, you will find “that right person” in your first love.

When I was in school, I had a friend who was in love with a guy. The guy too loved her. They both used to steal glances at each other and did all those things which two people do when they fall in love. After one year, I saw both of them used to have frequent fights and were irritated by each other. I asked them to end the relationship as they both were not happy. They used to say, it is their first love and so they can’t break-up. Every day they would be in stress and couldn’t focus on studies. They started to lose respect for each other and therefore, they accused each other of every little thing. My friend used to say, she won’t be able to love again if she breaks up with him. However, they broke up and trust me, now both of them are happy. They both have found their perfect match. And I am happy for both of them.

If in a relationship, you are not happy and it is not working out, even after numerous efforts, then you don’t need to carry it on your back. Everything changes over time, even humans too. So, how can you decide that the feeling won’t change? Yes, it would remain the same only, if two people decide to make it eternal. For that, you need to give unconditional love along with commitment and respect. And loving someone unconditionally is not a piece of cake. It involves a lot of dedication and honesty within you.

There will be a time when you will have arguments but what matters is how do you overcome it. And if you can’t, then there’s no point in sticking to such a relationship. It is okay if your first love didn’t work out. Maybe you didn’t meet the right person or maybe both of you weren’t matured enough to hold on. So, don’t be disheartened. Remember, good things take time.

Concluding, I would love to share one of my thoughts,

“Someone broke your heart
and left into pieces?
Don’t cry over them.
Instead,
make a beautiful mosaic.”

CHANGE YOUR PERCEPTION OF LOVE

First things first, I am primarily focusing on Love between a Man and a Woman as a Man and a Woman that “could” culminate into life long togetherness. So other forms/facets of love not bothered here on this page today.

14th February is round the corner and something really obvious and repetitive going to happen. Ask me, I will tell you.  Television channels airing the same old “brand ambassador for romance” movies with a caption “Love is in the air, come experience it“; prices and sales of the greeting cards & flowers moving in the same – North direction; malls painted (well, almost or figuratively) in hues of pink, purple and red; girls planning how to react to the surprises they would or could get whereas boys demanding appraisals to meet the expectations of their fairer counter parts when it comes to surprising them. Have I missed on any point?  Yes? Let’s catch up then 😉.

And surprisingly it is something that I have noticed over a decade or fifteen years period(approximately), there’s been a transition in the very idea of how Love is perceived or looked at. The deep, vast and varied characteristic trait of Love has been reduced to a one-dimensional and shallow concept of Romance.  There’s a huge difference between Love and Romance. Few points of difference in a bird’s view:

  • While love is about staying together in thick and thin, romance commences when you are thin (read petite and svelte) and starts suffocating with extra pounds gained.
  • While romance demands regular surprises being in love requires absorbing shocks together .
  • Romance is more or less about flying sparks whereas love is about staying rooted with strength.

Well, that was preachy, isn’t it? But a truth indeed. Unfortunately with generations ascending Love and Romance are used as synonyms more often.  There’s an upward spurt in the number couples being rebels without a cause just because it’s more adventurous and they send a statement across and equally rapidly increasing number of fallouts after entering into a committed relationship (read marriage), growing number of couples giving a try to “live in relationships” because of their commitment phobia or simply lack of trust in their “Love” towards each other.  Thumb rule to be understood: To be romantically inclined towards someone it’s enough to know the good things only but to be in love forever you need to accept the negatives too.

And this is what is missing in love stories spun off late.

What could be the possible reason behind this shift? I am possibly too immature or possess little knowledge to talk about the infiltration or influence of one culture on another, so I won’t start dialog on that note.  What I see is the huge impact of electronic media in the form of films and television.  Love at first sight, sugar-coated talks, all perfect people, pleasant surprises, glossy images – this is what influencing young minds.  And by young I mean as young as 15 years. Shocking yet true. People started believing what they see onscreen, they imitate them and strongly desire to live their dream of a perfect relationship as portrayed on big or small screen.  But soon gets a reality check once the honeymoon period (not literally 😂) is over and responsibilities make in roads into a relationship.  Adjustments and compromises which a are part and parcel of relationship underlined by love are a big NO-NO in romance influenced by romantic films and novels because only one person among the two have a say or prefers to have a say.  And fights/ disagreements are considered to be bad omens and ironically we grew up our parents, grandparents, uncles-aunts having disagreements and arguments.  Because having arguments is not a sign of receding love.  On contrary caring even when you have a tiff with your partner is Love.  For instance I have seen couples not on talking terms yet the wife communicates without words that she has cooked for husband as she doesn’t want him to go hungry and husband acknowledges her efforts by persuading her to take medicines on time as he cares for her health (can safely call it my story 🙈).  This is Love in true sense, at least for me who belongs to old school. There might be no expensive gifts, holiday trips, sugar-coated words yet there’s priceless bond!

Something really disturbing:  Not everyone will agree with me with my idea of Love and Romance and there could be a possibility that I might have let some misconceptions breed within me.  You are always welcome to challenge my ideas in the comment section 😊.  So coming to the “serious” issue, as I told films are having an impact on the very idea of how love is perceived, I stick to it. Our films have relentlessly promoted stalking as a tool to woo a girl and some cheap disgusting ideologies like “If she says No it’s a Yes”, “Her silence is acceptance”, ” If she passes off smile then she is trapped”.  Unfortunately an entire brigade of young people are taking these cheesy lines of their beloved stars as gospel truths often resulting in some gore incidents like rapes, acid attacks, eve-teasing, stalking and much more.  Responsibility to curb such mentality lies with parents as to how they groom their kids positively about accepting others’ decisions, right education and of course the brand ambassadors of hypocrisy (read actors) should think socially & responsibly before endorsing anything onscreen.  May God gift them some sense.

Finally a petty message for every couple who are and who think they are in Love – for relationship goal don’t imitate any star couple but ask your parents or grandparents as to what relationship goals are; as to what it means and takes to spend a lifetime together. AND LOVE IS NOT AND NEVER EQUAL TO JUST ROMANCE, IT’S BEYOND AND ABOVE IT!

And last but not the least a comic video to show how Love is misunderstood by this young generation:

GUIDELINES FOR LOVE – ARE THERE ANY?

To love and to be in love with ‘that someone special’ is wonderful. However, ‘love’, I believe has been the most grossly misunderstood and misused word over the ages. Sounds quite blunt, right?

In this article, we are not going into the intricacies of how ‘love’ has been misunderstood and misused. This article is about identifying and living out ‘love’ – more specifically romantic love – in reality.

Pre-teen and teen hearts often flutter with words like love, crush, boyfriend, girlfriend, kiss, date and more such terms found in the league. Rightly so! Pre-hormonal and hormonal bodies tune up the mind and activate the neurotransmitters for higher order human functioning, which includes romantic love.

Love is differently coloured in different societies, though it is experienced by all. In open-cultured societies, the identification and expression of love is encouraged. Whereas, in conservative societies, love often goes unidentified and unexpressed in the absence of appropriate articulation.

Well, times are changing and the world is rapidly turning into a huge global village with an impressive amalgamation of cultures, cuisines and couture. And, it doesn’t take much time for young minds and hearts to blend irrespective of certain externally evident differences. Herein lies the catch!

Firstly, do young people today perceive love with the eyes of the media – romance as portrayed in movies, daily soaps, videos or do they really have an understanding of what love is? Sadly, most youngsters label the fluttering feelings within themselves for another person, as love and that is how they embark on an extremely dangerous emotional roller-coaster ride. Love is a state of being; not a mere feeling. Love is not a feeling; it gives rise to certain feelings and emotions. Once this is understood, the mind steers the ship in the right direction. Hence, it turns out to be worth the wait.

Secondly, do young people decide to be in a love relationship for their own sakes or for the sake of their families or society at large? While, this may seem to be a non-issue in open societies, this sure is an important consideration in conservative close-cultured societies – where families and communities play a dominant part in partner selection. In such settings, love is all hush-hush, spoken with low voices and raised eyebrows and feelings of guilt heaped upon the ‘dared-to-have-loved’ people. Hence, it is important that youngsters gain clarity in this regard before they move ahead.

A word for parents

Irrespective of culture, it is important that people are exposed to the right messages and the right role models. Along with providing food, clothing and shelter, it is also a huge responsibility on the part of parents and elders to impart the essential information regarding love life to their children. None can deny that we’ve all been through such phases of lives ourselves. But, few of us were blessed enough to have been able to discuss such issues with parents. As a result, some ended up being confused, some suppressed love, some committed blunders, and some even gave up their lives! Hence, a word for parents and guardians – do be open enough to talk, discuss, understand and guide (not merely lecture) your pre-teens and teens regarding their impending love life while assuring that you are with them, should they mess up anytime.

A word for young people

People in love or waiting to enter into such a blissful phase need to observe, observe and observe. Observe the person you feel drawn towards and observe your own continued state of mind before you commit into a relationship. And once you commit, stay committed despite all odds unless of course, you realize that there is something that won’t stand the test of times. Love is neither a one-night-stand nor a bet to be won. It can neither develop on coercion nor sustain itself by repeated blind experimentation. It takes hard work, but it sure is worth it all.

A Shakespearean sonnet that I had been taught in my undergraduate class, titled ‘True Love’ is worth mentioning in this article. It speaks of the stability of love amidst tempests and changing times. If love changes, then it was never love in the first place. The sonnet reads thus –

Let me not to the marriage of true minds

Admit impediments; love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove:

O, no, it is an ever-fixèd mark,

That looks on tempests and is never shaken;

It is the star to every wand’ring bark,

Whose worth’s unknown, although his heighth be taken.

Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks

Within his bending sickle’s compass come;

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,

But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

If this be error and upon me proved,

I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

A world rich in love and blossoming lasting relationships is definitely a world worth looking forward to!