PACING FOR SPACE

as growing up
I was surprised
and taken back
when
dad asked me
to sleep separately
he said something
something called space
which
I am yet to understand

years passed
and
I had a baby brother
after nine long years
some more years
I entered teenage
mom and dad
were after me
poking into my privacy
checking on me
when I dressed up
overhearing me
when I called my friends
Oh ! is this called space
that I need badly

I became a maiden
and my brother
an adolescent teen
I understood space
by now
very professionally

I was married to someone
who I never met
love is in the air
and
so did I experience
I hated anyone
who invaded our space
we planned our first child
few years after we
cherished the marital bliss
fate had some plans
I gave birth
after a year
to enter
the world of
motherhood
at workplace and family
I forgot about the space
until one day
when I gazed myself
in the mirror

What a mess
have I made to myself
my hair was sticky
with few strands of silver
eyes swollen
with dark circles
and cracked lips
although
I was happy
that our family was complete
I was sad
to see me incomplete
with
dashes and comma

I checked
on my better half
he looked cherub
and happy
as a lark
juggling between
family and work
I lost my space
space where I enjoyed
being just me

love is strange
while it brings us close
it pushes us further away
balancing togetherness
and space
is not an easy task
but
it’s worth a try
the fairytale
does not end
with the words
happily ever after
the real life begins
where the tale ends

at some point
too much of anything
is stressful in life
like a lip-locked kiss
that has to come up for air
love and relationships
need space to grow

have the right space
that does not
stagnate your individuality
let there be some space
to keep the
excitement alive

sync for space
sink not too much with space
let there not be space
physically
breathe for the air
emotionally!

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ALLOWING SPACES – TALK ABOUT IT

Recently I was talking to one of my friends and she mentioned why she stopped going to a certain hair salon. They hired a new hair stylist who wouldn’t stop talking and would continue marketing their xyz brand of shampoo or conditioner or some new hair treatment. She said – I need my space when I go to pamper myself in salon. I don’t like to talk. It made me realize that the space is not just needed in the relationships but also with strangers.

In an attempt to contribute our bit to help the problem of Bangalore traffic, many of us opted for Car Pooling to and from work. It helps immensely in numerous ways. There is an app which helps organize the rides for the passengers and the riders. It is a win-win for all. But still I took about a year to come to a decision to actually use it. Why? Why did I want to go in over-crowded buses which take double the time to cover the same distance? Because I feared that I wouldn’t get my space if I share the rides. I would have to talk to people and it would look rude to just sleep or read or work. However, that wasn’t the case – I realized once I started using this option.

I convinced one of my colleagues to start sharing his car with others. He would travel 20 kms daily all alone in the car. What a waste of space! I would often tell him that. He gave in and started to use the car pool option. However, the next day he came back telling me that by the time he reached home – he had a bad headache and ended up fighting up with his wife. Why? Because there was a lady in his car who wouldn’t stop talking about all the over the world. She talked so much that he reached home with a headache and with no mood to listen to his wife. Well, it happens I said! And we had a good laugh at his expense. Again having enough space even with strangers is extremely important.

Once a year at our workplace the entire team goes to an out-station for a couple of days for some team-building and fun activities. This time we went to Pondicherry. It was an amazing trip. In fact, amazing is I think a less of a word. I noticed and it was obvious that people wanted to be comfortable with the people they shared their rooms with. It was just 2 nights but yes all of us need our space especially when we got this one chance to be away from home and responsibilities and be ourselves.

So, what is this concept of “Space”? It is not a physical area. It is virtual boundaries that we draw around ourselves. For some people these boundaries are too strict and for others these are quite flexible. For some of us these boundaries are very close to us only encompassing us and a little bit of other things and for others these boundaries are really vast that they wouldn’t want to share most of their personal stuff even with closest family members.

I have been on both sides of a conversation – one in which I am complaining “How much space do you really need?” and other in which I am complaining “I really need my space so please stay away”.

This might come as a surprise to most men. We women are usually perceived as nagging and irritating. It is usually believed that wives always want to keep a tab on their husbands and their activities. So obviously, it is also notion that wives suck away all time and energy from their men, so much that husbands have to lie to have some “me” time. But this notion is wrong. Women too need their space and “me” time. Maybe a little lesser than men but we need it or maybe even not.

My husband loves to travel alone and I used to get into arguments with him quite often. “Why can’t you take me also?” And he would say “next time, I promise”. And I would just nag away irritated and angry. Whenever I would complain about having a horrible time – he would suggest “Why don’t you go and travel?” and I would be like “With whom?” He would realize then that I do not like to travel alone. I would love to go out in a group or with him where I have somebody.

This is just one example of where we land into a conversation of having space.

I have a 3 year old son and as I can see he simply doesn’t have the concept of having his own space. Probably he is too young for that. He always wants somebody with him when he is sleeping or watching TV or playing or reading. I am eager to see at what age he develops this concept. And probably I would relieved also because then I would get my space as well with him.

Communicating about having our own boundaries or space is most challenging with our immediate family members. But all the happy families eventually learn to talk about it and appreciate each other’s need to be themselves in their own spaces. This journey isn’t easy. It just depends on how much trust and security is in relationships within the family. Every individual is unique in needing his/her space and also communicating about it. Always having a clear communication about the needs and respecting each other’s needs is all that is needed to allow the right amount of space in the relationships.

ON THE BANKS OF TEESTA

On a January winter morning,

The gossamer mist engulfs me.

It carries me away in the cold air,

Above the tiny ever-growing city buildings

And gently lowers me on the banks of Teesta, the mysterious green river.

I see footsteps on the white sands,

Once they were mine,

It’s been a long time since I walked on them.

The kids blow balloons and frolic around,

The silvery water gushes past the huge boulders,

My mother warns me not to go into the water,

I am a good boy and I listen to her.

I have always been cautious of the river,

Buses have fallen into it, people washed away never to be found-

Adrenaline pumped teenagers have been drowned by its strong currents

But I never blame Teesta.

We have to respect the power of nature.

I recollect how Teesta’s beauty captivated me,

The serpentine contour, the murky green surface,

The forested hills rising on either side of it,

Rocky hills, Strong hills, Old hills.

We jump from rock to rock carefully balancing ourselves,

My curly haired-crush moves deftly on the rocks.

I am rather tentative and worried that I will fall.

I am so in love with her.

We don’t have smart phones to take selfies,

We don’t need one as we are lost in nature.

I can smell the chicken-masala wafting through the air,

My feet can’t stop tapping to the rhythm of the song,

All of us hold hands together and we dance in unison,

Our faces, look happy, all smiles, at least for a day,

A day worth the wait,

Picnicking on the banks of Teesta.

The mist disperses as the sun comes out,

I am brought back to the present.

I retain the smiles and the joy,

The times have changed, and picnics are no more regular.

People throng the malls more than the serene riverside.

I stand on the bridge and look down at the green waters,

They flow where they have to as life goes on.

IN CONVERSATION WITH AN UNINVITED GUEST

The other day as I was about to enter the house my attention was caught by an uninvited guest at my doorstep.  His presence did startle and disturb me.

Me: “Excuse me! Who are you? What are you doing here at my doorstep? You are surely not invited by anyone.

The uninvited guest with a wicked smile replied me: “Hi, I am Weed, Green Weed and always uninvited and unwanted but that never deterred me from making my presence felt. I am omnipresent 😂😂😂.

His answer was not as straight as it seemed which I discovered later. And my questions continued…

Me: “Aren’t you ashamed of yourself? You know that you are unwanted and still so boisterous about your identity.  People tweak you, trample over you, throw you out and still you have no self-respect that you keep coming back. Why?

Mr.Weed: “There’s a valid reason for my presence for the almighty never creates anyone without a purpose. When I put up in your garden/farms or at your doorstep, I instil a sense of fear in you – fear of weak walls of your beautiful abode, fear of brazen and unkempt garden making it sore to the eye, fear of an unhealthy crop.  Henceforth I rekindle your love and  draw your attention from time to time towards your materialistic possessions. So look at the larger picture Honey!  I am not as useless as you think, I have a purpose attached to my being….

I was amused at his unabashed boasting about himself and that’s when he revealed some secrets about his parasite siblings residing in none other than “US – The Human Beings.” And he continued…

Mr. Weed:  “See, I can clearly sense that my presence is disturbing and I will be cursed and sprayed with venom which you dearly call ‘treatment’ and my story is put to ‘Rest In Peace’ 😁 but I have step brothers and sisters who prefer to live in disguise and their habitat is the human soul. I can tell you their nicknames, by chance if you happen to meet them – Greed, Lust, Ego, Anger, Pride. They are far more dangerous than me without letting the owner realise their presence unlike me. But nevertheless they never go unnoticed by others. They kill the ability to think and reason logically. They gobble up wisdom and prudence. They shrink the world around to a single point ‘ME’. They weaken the relationships, create a unsaillable rift between people often leaving the host lonely, despised, hated and destroyed. They won’t leave you humane anymore. Our scriptures, our history are evident, need I say more?

Mr. Weed left me pondering on his lecture that he gave me while conversing with him. I realised, just the way we pay particular attention to weeding out process from our garden and building walls so as to keep them healthy and strong we must pay equal attention to weeding out of negatives from our characters. Though we all have variable traces of negative aspects, if left untreated and unattended they will (No question of probabilities but confirming surely) poison our soul beyond repair.

Friends, just give it a thought.

​DOG IS INDEED MAN’S BEST FRIEND

Those two innocent eyes, that wagging tail, all time pleasing attitude is what makes dog man’s best friend.

I was once watching a documentary that stated that dogs have an all-time pleasing attitude because this is their survival instinct. Hundreds of years ago, if dogs wouldn’t have tried to please humans and connected with human emotions so well, they would have been extinct by now. This quality of dogs, have made them survive over ages. This is good information to know and when I saw this documentary, it didn’t make a big difference to me, because till then there was no “Milo” in my life. Milo is my 6 years old female beagle and she is absolutely adorable. 

It was tough for me to agree to my husband and his brother’s decision of getting a pup at home. It would be just an additional responsibility, I thought initially. But as soon as that 35 day old pup entered my home, I fell in love with her. She was so tiny then, that all her 4 paws would rest on my palm. Her hanging ears, innocent eyes, wagging tail made me so much fall in love with her. She would struggle to walk on vitrified tiles because her paws, small as they were, would keep slipping. 

So, what did I really learn from my dog? A lot. She makes me peaceful and humble. She makes me feel so loved and wanted. She gives me a plethora of positive emotions. Of course, raising hasn’t been easy – it is equivalent of raising a child.

She taught me to love unconditionally. 

As a little pup, she used to run after kids and babies as though they would be ready to play with her. No matter how much I would scold her for pooping all over the house or running after the stray dogs, whenever I would come back from office she would welcome me every single evening with her wagging tail and her ever naughty acts. She connects with me and my emotions, she loves licking off my tears when I am in my worst moods and knows exactly how to raise my spirits. She brings in so much of happiness and fun in the house. 

I cannot understand why we human beings use the word “dog” as an abuse. I feel dogs are the most beautiful creatures. They know how to connect with human beings unlike any other animal. They love to please us. No matter how you treat them, they would love to do things to make you feel special. They are extremely playful which makes them so much fun. And the best part is that they are the most loyal of all animals. It is very strange but the very basic emotion of unconditional love that we human beings struggle to show is so very well exhibited by the dogs. And this is what I learn from Milo every single day. 

She taught me how to trust and be there for someone you love

Dogs are supposed to be guards for our homes. This fact is based on a single quality that dogs have – ability to trust their master completely. They amplify the emotion that dog’s owner feels. If a stranger like a plumber or carpenter enters the house, I am cautious of this stranger and just want to get the work done. Milo then keeps barking at this stranger and is far more cautious than me. She will keep running around the house till this person leaves our premises. If a loved one visits my place who I happily welcome inside, Milo showers that person with all the more love. She would sit around the guest and wag her tail indefinitely. No barking and no anger is visible in her behavior. 

When I was pregnant and I used to take Milo out for walks, I noticed that she started walking ahead of me. Sometime later I realized that she not letting anybody come closer to me – animal or human being. She was being protective. She somehow knew that I should be helped and she did it in her own special way. Though later on I had to control her protective behavior because it was getting dangerous but I totally got her concern for me.

FB CAPTION COMPETITION – 4

This time entries were very less as the picture was bit difficult to interpret. But those of you who have interpreted it were excellent. You all impressed me so much.

Let’s see the entries:

Sanskriti Khound: Let me be lit like those humans on social media

Kuljeet Saini: Together let’s light up the world.
Preeta Bhatnagar: Sometimes I need to stop myself from working too much!

Kalpana K Vogeti: Plugin and switch on your “Wit” mode and see how otherwise gloomy room lights up.

Nerella Sima Das: Limited light in Bondage.

Drew McLeod: Release me from this prison of useless ideas! 💡 💡

Amiya Kumar: Let me lit the light of wisdom to dispel the darkness of ignorance.

Isaac Mohanty: Let the light be seen by every body not to be confined. 

Subha Smita: Let my courage be my own inspiration..

Sakhi Bansal: My work here is done; it’s time to pull the plug. Don’t worry, I will hang around. 🙃
Preiti Pearl: No one motivates you until you motivate yourself.

It’s a delight announcing the best one which I chose to be the winner of this particular competition… Kalpana’s  caption impressed me more than the others as it tells how our gloomy life can be lighted up with little wit and fun. Moreover, it was really a very WITTY quote so I chose it to be the best.

 CONGRATULATIONS, KALPANA K VOGETI!

 

Note:  The Wining Poster Certificate was set as the featured image of this post and will be displayed on the site’s sidebar. 

FRAGILE: HANDLE WITH CARE – THE CLOSURE

Sanika was looking at him intently as if she is concentrating on something very seriously. Her heartbeats were rapid. She was feeling extremely vulnerable. ‘Oh, how much she needs someone to hold her tight and give her strength.‘ She thought closing her eyes as her mind took her back to those years when both of them were romancing. The first time when he proposed her and wanted to kiss her lips… she was excited and was literally shivering yet she allowed Pranay to kiss her lips, and he made her stable and calm. That feeling was so beautiful…

Arrrggghhhh… what is she thinking…?‘ She opened her eyes wide and looked at the man who dumped her years back and now came with a bouquet of flowers, hoping her to go back to his arms again. ‘I need strength, oh God… I need strength to counter my own emotions…help me… help me please…‘ She mumbled a quick prayer.

What are you looking at? Are you lost in thoughts and remembering the glorious days that we had long back?” Pranay asked enthusiastically. Sanika could not respond to him immediately. She lied when she shook her head. She did think about their past – ‘oh yeah, so called glorious past‘. And then her phone beeped. It was a text from Atul.

Pranay was restless as she looked into her phone and started to read the message:

Sani, I am sorry, I was a bit upset with you a day ago. I screamed at you. But I think it’s okay to have memories and we must live with them but we must ensure that these memories don’t spoil our present and future. I trust you fully and I KNOW you haven’t cheated on me. I just want you to do one thing when you meet him and talk to him today. Yeah, I want you to face him eye to eye. Have a heart to heart talk. That is the only way to overcome your guilt and fear that I could very well feel even when I am here so far away from you. I trust the love between us and I am confident that there is nothing in this world that can keep you away from me. Just go and face him Sani. I wish you the best and trust you can do it without being vulnerable. I will be waiting to hear from you.

“Bingo!!!” Sanika said in her heart as she immediately felt a calmness encompassing her whole being and she didn’t feel vulnerable anymore in this foolish man’s presence.  But when she looked at his over ambitious face she started laughing hysterically. Even the flower bouquet fell down on the floor from her lap as she was in a fits of laughter. Tears came into her eyes laughing. She looked at his surprised and bewildered face which made her laugh all the more….  She felt pity on him and felt she is ready now to face him.

Ar..are you alright Sani?” Pranay asked feeling little weird.

Absolutely I am… I was so desperate to meet you for the moment like this Pranay and it’s so fun meeting you finally…” Her surprising statement made Pranay startled though her laugh irked him a bit.

Now stop that laugh for some time and tell me why you wanted to meet me and who’s text were you reading? Was it a joke that someone sent to you? Are you seriously desperate to meet me… Your Pranoy?” Pranay again weaved flowery dreams in his mind as he asked excitedly.

Sanika calmed herself down and replied firmly “It was a text from Mr. Trihan… Mr. Atul Trihan, the husband of Mrs. Sanika Trihan… not SANI for your kind information… Actually he wished me the best to meet with you Mr. Pranay whatever.

Pranay was choked hearing those words. He was fancying Sanika was the same old girl, soft as clay on whom he can engrave whatever he wants to… He felt a fear for the first time facing this woman – Mrs. Sanika Trihan. He feebly asked, “What did he wished you so?

He wanted me to face the dreamer for good and close the chapter with him forever…” She said taunting him and continued speaking without allowing him to utter even a single word.

I wanted to to meet you, face to face to overcome my guilt, my fear! Ever since you dumped me, I feared of any relationship. I feared that I will never be loved. This fear was so deep that in spite of meeting a person who loves me and respects me to the core, I feared that someday he will dump me. We got married later on. Fear started taking a back seat and guilt started taking over. I was guilty that in spite of having a husband who is just so perfect, I would still secretly think about you often, in ways like, its Pranay’s birthday, oh, this is Pranay’s favourite colour, Pranay’s favourite dish and what not.  After few years, we were blessed with a baby boy. Life was beautiful again. But I would often think about how the things would have been if you had not dumped me. You had made such a deep impact on me. I feared all my life until now that someday, this impact will show up and will spoil my marriage. I was groped by fear and guilt at the same time. To add to the turmoil, I happened to meet you here. Although I ran away from facing you, I was very very disturbed by this meeting. It brought back all the memories I tried forgetting all these years. I couldn’t take this burden for long. And I gathered some courage and planned to face you today! If I am able to walk away from you today, there will be no looking back. I shall be free of guilt of having you on my mind and also from the fear of you spoiling my present relationship. Atul, let me say – My Atul taught me how to stand on my own feet being standing by me all the time and now standing for me even when he is so far away from me… I think you should learn from him the quality of respecting a woman and standing beside her… I pity Tanu who’s husband is a coward and isn’t standing beside her.”

Sanika saw Pranay’s pale face and lowered head. She got up from her chair and walked upto him. She placed her hand on his shoulder and said politely, “Pranay, grow up. You probably never learned anything about Tanu till now. Try to learn about her in a newer way. Though that’s upto you. I have nothing to say about it but I am done with you forever. You won’t be even in my wildest thoughts also now on and I am so happy about it that I could bring a closure to this chapter. Now get up, take this flowers and go away from here.

(Image Source: Google Inc.)

Sanika never even allowed Pranay to respond a bit even as she went to the door and opened it for him to leave right then. He didn’t have anything to say. He was looking lost and pale. He got up, gathered the flower and left without uttering a word or looking at Sanika even once.

Sanika closed the door taking a deep breath of relief and jumped on her bed giggling away as she saw Atul’s name flashing on the screen.

Hey baby, my love… What a timing! Were you watching us?” Sanika joked.

Yeah, I was actually… couldn’t know about him but could feel your heart stable and connected with me. Could you do it my love? Is he gone?” Atul asked desperately as his heart was racing.

Sanika expressed her joy replying excitedly, “Yeesssssss… I did it and he is gone forever, from here and from everywhere.


THE CLOSURE

(Co-authored with Aditi)