A MODEST HUMAN BUT A GUTSY WOMAN

I have never seen someone that jolly and cheerful as her. It was very easy to know whether she was present or absent in the class. The reason was crystal clear, her loud voice and laughter. I had never seen her sitting sad or tired. She never used to keep people waiting. She used to speak what she thought to be correct according to her. When she used to scold someone, it was more like a loving and authoritative reprimand than insulting. But she never used to leave a person go easily 😛 . She believed in clarifying the matter more than keeping it in a hanging state. In our class, she was known as a ‘Clean Hearted Girl’, having no ambiguity within her. That was something commendable about her!

I am happy that I could relate to her so much because of our similar body structures. Is it necessary to announce that we were thin? 😊

She used to ride a bike much before the ad came up with the tagline – “Why should boys have all the fun”. She was having the fun even before the bike company even realized to make a jingle to sell its product. She was not tomboyish, but a beautiful and flamboyant girl.

She had kept friendship with as many people as possible in the class, unlike other girls. She was quite limitless in knowing and making friends. She was never a shy girl – not to flaunt around though but to keep decent friendship with all. That’s a pretty unusual attitude of hers which I admire a lot. In today’s world, when every feminist is fighting and shouting for issues like gender equality, my friend declared it with ease that she is equal to a man by her attitude and action in various aspects of life. She didn’t have to fight for it or shout for it or even try to prove it, but she lived it with her utter modesty.

No, I am not contradicting with what I said about her previously as not being a shy girl and what I said now about her being modest. Actually, I can put it this way – She was modest as a human, she was gutsy as a girl. And I believe, she possesses the same quality even today, though she had to go through many traumatic life situations in her life later.

We studied together at Utkal University, Bhubaneswar for our post-graduation during the year 1997-1999. We were very good friends when we were in University, but we became close friends only after our studies. Usually, after a certain time in life people tend to lose their college and university friends. Even I did so. Presently, I am rarely in touch with any of my college and university friends. But the best part of our friendship is, we are still friends and in touch with each other. She never forgets to call me to wish on my birthday and Christmas every year. It was she who never let our friendship go, not even after she got married. Yeah, we had lost track in the middle for some time, while we went ahead in different career searches but we found our friendship back on track, after few months of her marriage.

There were quite a few hurdles that she had to cross over in her life – she biggest being, she lost her husband last year. She was utterly broken, she is broken even now, I know it very well. But I also know that she will get over it soon with the grace of God.

We grew in maturity with regards to our friendship, thanks to her. She knew how to own a relationship, a friendship. A few days ago, while talking with her on the phone, she addressed me as ‘Bhai‘ (Brother). And I knew she meant it wholeheartedly.

Dharashree! Yeah, that’s her name. I treasure her and our friendship for a lifetime. I believe a woman like her can bring a lot of change in this world.

Today, when the world around us has so many broken relationships, lost promises and loose-ended friendships, a woman like Dharashree can play a very important role to bring things together and on track. Only a woman like her, can win people, own them and live with all in peace.

A woman like my friend ‘Dharashree’, justifies why we all should celebrate the International Women’s Day again this year in 2019.

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A WOMAN’S POWER TO RECONCILE

Quite staggering isn’t it, how a woman revolves her life around her biggest priorities in a way men seldom can. She’s caring and soft but she is also brave. A little edgy and wants to soar high but can also compromise. She can forgive and forget, trust and love.

We hadn’t met before and perhaps would have never, had it not been for a prank urgent call from a friend that ended up in me ghastly cycling my way to his house, for a reason I’d never find out. And as a consequence of his actions and more for my disregard for the college I was enrolled to, we decided to bunk that day.

It was there that I met Dempa – an abbreviation to save us time from pronouncing her longish name – when she stepped out of her room and greeted us with a smile. I had heard from Rohan that his sister was leaving for Nepal the following week. Therefore, mistaking her smile to be the excitement for a new journey, I gleefully queried how happy she was on starting a new life.

From what I had heard, it was indeed promising to be a new life for a girl, who would turn 23 the same day she would begin her journey towards a new destiny. Dempa worked here in a BPO sector, shared a flat with her still studying cousin brother and was the quintessence of most independent women.

But in a split of minutes, between which we conversed mostly on why she was leaving and her plans for future, my expression changed. She was still smiling though. I was certain that smile, somewhat forced, hid explodable sorrow. “But why now?”, I asked, recounting my mother, who after losing her husband on a fateful Valentine’s Day four years ago, rushed to the hospital next morning to help a neighbour, who didn’t know what to do and where to take his ill wife. Like really?

These women, they can give reality a resounding check and stand as brave to the outside world while their inner-depth moist with tears and you would never know.

Dempa was a month away from completing one year in the job. That would mean a slight improvement in her arrears, more experience and a higher band (BPO sectors usually have bands that increases with better performance and experience) which will increase her salary. “Because my grandmother is going,” she said. Dempa’s grandmother stays in Kharagpur in the house of her eldest daughter. That is where Dempa grew up alongside her aunt’s two children.

Her parents stay in Nepal. But Nepal has never been home to Dempa. It is only a holiday destination for her. “I find it very uncomfortable there,” she says. “That is why I only travel there for a few days and come back at the earliest. But this time I have to go.” “Why don’t you just drop you granny stay there for a few days and come back,” I suggested trying to find her options.

Rohan once told me that Dempa was the eldest child in her family. She had two brothers. Dempa was sent to India to stay with her grandmother. She would never live with her parents again and apart from a few holidays when one side travelled to visit the other, they would hardly meet.

“No! There is another reason,” Dempa responded refuting my suggestions. “What is it,” I asked, anxious. “My father wants me to come back.” “Ohh,” I said exasperatingly. “Joseph daa, Rohan must have told you by now that I stay with my grandmother since my cradle days. I missed my parents then. My Boju (grandmother in Nepali) has been my only parent. Now my father wants me to spend more time with him. He will support me, he said,” Dempa spoke cautiously.

“Ohh great!! What have you decided then,” I asked. “I will go,” she was crystal clear in her mind. “What about Rohan then? He’ll stay alone?” I enquired and argued. “I have spoken to him, he will understand,” she said stubbornly. All the while Rohan was busy with earphones tucked to ear. He was playing some stupid FIFA game on his desktop. I was frustrated with him. Here was I worried about him but he wasn’t bothered.

“Don’t worry about him. I have already found him another flat. He will spend the final three months of his fourth semester with one of my friend’s family. I know them too well. They have promised to take care of him. He doesn’t have to even cook,” she said reassuring me. “Why on earth did this thing not come to my head,” I thought to myself.

Oh God! Such a wonderful creation. They would think of your well being even before you’d think of your own. You can’t beat them on that. Caring and thinking for others are in their DNA.

Then there was a little pause. I prepared to go home. But she said, “You know… This is the third time my father is asking me to come back.” “What do you mean,” I asked. “You had gone before?” “Yes” her voiced mowed down. “I had gone in 2013 after completing my higher secondary. But he didn’t want me to study further. So I stayed for seven months, fought and came back to India.” 

“Then the second time what happened?” I asked, firmly stuck to my seat. Going home was now out of my mind. This was getting dangerous. She said that last year she had gone again. “But I could only stay three months.” “Why? What happened?” I asked again. “He was about to get me married off to one his friend’s sons. My mother helped me escape from home,” she said, her eyes lighted with perhaps tears.

Dempa…No! Don’t go.” I was already protective. (No, don’t praise me for that. Anyone would the same thing on the count of these incidents.)

“Don’t worry. My grandmother is there this time. My father has also promised me that he won’t do anything as such,” she said again full of reassurance. “But how can you trust him?,” I shot back.

She was willing to risk it. After all isn’t love, bonding and trust the greatest gift of God. A mother’s love couldn’t see her daughter getting forced into a marriage. She acted then. Here was Dempa ready to trust again. Ready to bond again.

But my constant refutes and her unshakeable confidence soon turned the conversation into a heated argument. Then she backed down because I wasn’t willing to. “What if he again does something similar,” I questioned her trust. “He won’t, I know,” she said in monosyllables.

So you have forgiven him?” I asked, hurrying myself to leave without waiting for an answer. I could hear her say, “Yes! Forgiven and reconciled” as I climbed down the stairs having forgotten to shut the door behind.

She was ready to forgive and forget for the third time. At that moment she had exemplified what I had grown up reading and hearing. Of course, I didn’t realise it then.

We met at a shopping mall approximately a week later – the three of us. I asked her immediately, “What is the final decision then?” “I am travelling the day after tomorrow.” She answered.

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: