WHY I AM ALWAYS LOOKING AT LIFE THROUGH A WINDOW?

Home is where the heart is and everyone’s home has that special place or a corner which is very close to one’s heart.

I too have a favourite spot but it’s at my mother’s place. Yes, no place has been able to beat that spot, not even my own house. You must be wondering what is that spot is, so let me tell you more about it.

My mother stays in a very elite locality of Mumbai and most of the structures there are termed as heritage. Thus, my mom’s residence is old fashioned. High ceiling, big veranda, big rooms and big windows. Our drawing room adorns one such window and that exactly is my favourite spot.

This old fashioned window is far more comfortable and attractive than a french window. Even now when I visit mom’s place that is the place I spend time at.

It is a perfect square enclosed with iron bars and there is a slab built in this window which makes it a sofa or a chair if it is pampered with nice mattresses and cushions but it looks and is perfectly comfortable even without all these add ons. You can just plunge into this window and watch outside. It looks out to the main road which means you will always see a lot of people roaming around, many many vehicles speeding through and lots of shops. We are located on the ground level so that makes it even better to chit chat with passing by neighbours and acquaintances.

I stick to this window ever since I was a baby. My mom would plop me there put both my legs outside through the iron bars and stand behind me. That was the locking mechanism when I would not allow her to feed me properly. My dad would make me sit there and show taxis, buses and traffic lights and that was so entertaining and exciting to me as a child. It was here that I would run to when my friends used to come calling me. Those where the days when landline phones were a luxury which not many could afford. It meant that you needed to personally visit the friend even if you want to say a hi and this was exactly the place where I used to pretend to play many games like office-office, house-house, teacher-teacher etc.

I did not outgrow this window even though I was growing up. The pretend plays were now replaced by secret sharing sessions with my bestie. As we grew older further, it was this place from where we would watch out guys (bird watching). It was this place where we would easily spend an hour chitchatting unplanned, only because my friend was passing by and I spotted her exactly at that time.

A cup of ginger tea tastes even better if I am relishing it at this window. And the drizzles of first rain feel more refreshing when they barge in through this window. The windy weather in the evening and the rush of a cold wave is even stronger when we open this window. This place makes every season more beautiful and adventurous.

This window has a very special place in my heart, and why not? It is this place which has absorbed my silent tears when my heart was broken the first time, it is this place which is a witness to my lovey-dovey talks with my husband – be it on phone or in person. It is this place which reads my mind and calms me down whenever I am worried or upset. It is this place which helps me seek solitude and it is this place which soothes my soul.

In real words, I see my whole life through this window and I always will.

Even today, whenever I go to my mom’s place I jump to sit by this window.

Which is your favourite place?

THE SPACE THAT BRINGS A GLOW TO MY FACE

A view of the world outside, a sneak peek into the hustle bustle of everyday life, gaping at the pitter patter of raindrops, welcoming the first rays of the morning sun, gazing at the full moon while basking in its cool beams – a place that offers me all this, is the space I enjoy in my house. A seat or a bed by the window – that’s my most cherished space!

The house where I grew up for the first fifteen years of my life (in government officers’ quarters), had a window in the bedroom that faced the rear of another building, but gave a diagonal view of the road outside. That is where I loved to sit on rainy afternoons, enjoying the sprinkles of rainwater that trickled in through the railings, watching people scurry along the way to escape the lashing rain, observing the rainwater flow down the walls of the nearby buildings all the while savouring the chill that had enveloped the environment due to the rain. On hot summer afternoons, when the windows were shut to prevent the heat from making its presence felt in the room while my parents rested, I stealthily kept a few inches of the window open so as to continue reading my story books – only to have my mother shout that I would spoil my eyes by reading in less light!

The house that we moved in to next, where I spent the next ten years of my life had a window next to my bed! In fact, I had chosen that space giving the bed space next to the wall to my little sister. The gentle cool breeze that greeted me through the window in the early mornings and evenings was enough to refresh me for the rest of the day. I loved waking up to the greeting of the soft sun rays in the mornings. And, the silvery moonbeams beckoned me to stare at the pearl in the starry sky as myriad thoughts crisscrossed my mind before drifting off to sleep.

When I moved to a metro city for pursuing my career, the only requirement that mattered most to me while room-hunting was a window. The room that I chose was one which had windows cover half-the wall on one side. Though it didn’t give me much of a view, due to the pattern of construction, I was satisfied with whatever view it offered.

Moving back to my hometown (we had our own house constructed by then), what I missed most was a window space to call my own! Of late, I have made peace with a window space which stares into a neighbour’s backyard. Watching the squirrels scamper across the backyard, the sparrows and kingfishers flutter and perch awhile on the guava and mango trees, the boroughs of the mango tree weigh heavy with green mangoes awaiting to ripen – gives me immense joy.

A window space gives a free flow to my thoughts, feelings and emotions. Most significantly, it helps me to connect with God away from the din of the household – humming a song of praise or whispering a word of prayer – be it in the serene visuals of nature or in observing the hurry and burry of people moving along the street.

Window space – that’s my space!

MAN CAVE

When I was asked to write on this topic, I had a bit of an idea of what it might mean. But when I resorted to google and started reading the wiki page on this, my reaction to what I was reading changed in the following way –

– Within a few sentences I felt – “C’mon, this is totally bogus. You got to be kidding me that a term like that even exists.”
– After a few paragraphs I felt – “Ok, maybe this makes a bit of sense. It is not as bogus.”
– Towards the end of the article I felt – “Oh God, I too need a man-cave.”

So, now keep reading and figure out what you feel towards this concept of man-cave
By definition, man-cave is a man’s own space. Something that he can call his own where a female presence is not appreciated. The décor of this space and cleanliness (or lack of it) is something that the man is in control of. He doesn’t like or approve of his mother, girlfriend or wife to have any say about how this place should be designed or maintained. It is typically used when a man wants to do his own stuff. It could be something creative or destructive or just time-pass. What he does in that room is also something that a female doesn’t have a say in.

This concept, as I understand, stems from the fact that the woman is the boss of the house. She is the one who decides what colour should be the walls, curtains, couches and everything else that needs to match with this. She is the one who is responsible for the cleanliness of the home; that also makes her the one who is often shouting and screaming and losing her peace of mind when the place is untidy. Yes, we see this happening in almost all the households. This concept arises from the very basic stereotypes defined for a man and a woman.

I am totally for this concept because I feel that there should a place not just for the man but also for the woman to be oneself. A place where there is no pressure of keeping it a certain way, a place where you could do whatever you want to do. I was sharing a flat with 2 girls who are also very close friends before I got married. 2 of us shared the room as well and we hardly ever had any concerns about how either of us wanted to keep the room. The room was always full of stuff toys (mostly pink). And that room had a big thermocol sheet attached to one of the walls where we used to display our earrings. Both of us were extremely fond of collecting all kinds of earrings and loved to put them on a display and every day we would pick and choose which one we wanted to wear. I loved that part of the room.

When I got married, I ended up staying with 2 boys because my brother in law also moved in with us a few weeks after our marriage. Living with 2 boys was so different than living with 2 girls. Within a month, I was missing my female friends so badly but now there was no going back (of course). Sharing the room with my hubby meant no stuff toys and no display of earrings. Living with 2 boys meant too many house parties at the end of which I would only be cleaning up. It also meant that FIFA world cup and IPL matches were the highlights of every year. It further meant that it became my responsibility to handle all the laundry, all the cooking, all the cleaning – in short, I became the woman of the house (which included shouting and screaming and losing my peace of mind over lack of cleanliness).

I wish I knew about this concept then and had a bigger home. I would love to have a room that we both share, but also 2 separate rooms for each one of us to do our own stuff individually. A room of my own which I could decorate in pink stuff toys and my earrings. And similarly, a room where he could play his guitar, play his Xbox or watch “Man vs wild” the whole day.

My family has grown with a kid and because of our son, our in-laws also live with us. So, the place that I could call my own (woman-cave, maybe) became almost non-existent. My husband moved out a year back to a different city for career reasons. It was a difficult decision and distant marriage really sucks. But one advantage of it is that I have a room that I can call my own now (I share it with my son, but he is too small to impact it in a big way) and my husband has a whole house that is only for him. One of the positive things of a long-distance marriage.

So, man-cave is a great concept according to me. I just want a woman-cave as well.

“I’M IN THE SPOTLIGHT” – DISCOVERING SELF

I remember when I proposed this ‘Discovering Self’ series, in the beginning, everyone was doubtful about what I was talking. But as one or two posts were published one after the other all of the members of my team started to feel excited about their time to come. And soon days passed by with a total of 12 writers answering the questions asked to them by their teammates.

Personally, it was an amazing experience answering 10 questions prepared by teammates, my angels for their leader – Mr Charlie 😛

Summarising the whole series, I want to quote a few of the writers for their remarkable statements. They are as under:

We only concentrate on whom we love ignoring those who are showering us with love. Virtual connections and texting are only making it worse. Physical presence, caring touch, a delightful hug has become a rarity. There are very small things in life we stopped appreciating.  – Aastha

If I could eliminate a vice, then that would be “the Ignorance in human heart regarding the sovereignty of God. – Avinash

I ask a simple question “can I change anything?” If the answer is yes then I must do it instead of sulking in a corner and if no then I should better go to bed to avoid dark circles thinking over spilt milk. – Kalpana

I love myself the way I am. I always have had pampered myself and loved all my flaws. I believe, my flaws are the most beautiful in me. Through my flaws, I get a feeling that I am strong and determined. So, I am not going to make any changes in my physique or appearance… – Prerna

Alone in space!! That would be scary! But if I am to think of such a time, well, first it would take a while to grasp the fact that I am all alone there. Then, I think I would wonder at the magnanimity of the celestial bodies that I would witness all around me and begin to praise the Creator who has created them. – Rajnandini

I question my abilities every day and there is this urge to give up on my dream. But this dream has grown on me and taken hold of me so forcefully that I have nurtured it in my heart like my blood and flesh child. I just can’t afford to give up on it. – Saakshi

I think I’d just sit and laugh. Laugh around people I love and make them laugh. Spend all my time with them and make sure they are happy in that very moment. I think seeing your loved ones happy is the most satisfying scene.Vidhi

In my opinion, no matter how hard we try, something or the other happiness slips away through our fingers. I have no regrets in my life. I believe God has blessed me more than I deserve.Geetmalini

I say no only if I am not able to do what’s been asked. Popularity is secondary for me.Preeta

Even salt looks like sugar. Unless verified, a blind trust can spoil a dish. I have faced difficulties because I easily trust anyone. Bitter experiences in the past have taught me to trust better people over time. – Deepa

I actually haven’t discovered my comfort zone yet. I surprise myself when I do something new. But haven’t really known the boundary of this.Shwetha

I am known to work and live with people who are not easy to work and live with. I can put up with any kind of people. It sometimes is difficult for me but I am very adjusting. I think that is one quality that overshadows my other weaknesses.Prabhjot

I am so overwhelmed by these statements of my beloved teammates that I can’t explain. As Prabhjot said: “I feel like a celebrity answering these interesting questions.” And I want to assure them all that they are not less than the celebrities in any manner. That is why I created a new scroll-down-tab on Candles Online named – “Discovering Self” where all of our answers were arranged as individual profile pages. Please check for the same on the Menu Bar on the top of the site.

To end with, I will quote Vidhi again when she was thanking me for organising this particular event on Candles Online: “It definitely made me think of what exactly I’d be doing in various situations and also helped me dig deeper into my own self.

It is always good to be under the scanner, be once in a spotlight – answering questions and spend time introspecting within our hearts to prove our credibility in front of the people as well as before God.

Stay Blessed!!!

I AM IN THE SPOTLIGHT – Prabhjot

I totally loved answering these questions, I hope you all enjoy reading them. Some of the questions really made me introspect and think about myself. I have been as honest as I am comfortable on a public platform.

Thanks for this opportunity, Chiradeep. And thanks to you Shwetha for asking these very amazing questions

1: How would your best friends describe you?

Ans: When you say best friends, one name stands out for me – Hina Kapoor. She has been my friend since last 20 odd years or so and we have been close ever since. How would she describe me? She would probably say that I am a little crazy but I am fun. I know she would complain about me for not always keeping in touch with her, but she would also say that she loves me nonetheless. She would say that I have been there for her since ever and she can share the world with me. She would probably say that I am a good listener and can understand her quite deeply. She would claim that she can rely on me for anything at all and knows that I won’t say no to her.

2: Do you think, out of your personal experience, that love can happen between two complete strangers?

Ans: No. Love is a feeling way too deep and holy. It can never happen between two strangers. There have been times when I have felt physically attracted towards men who are complete strangers, there have been times when I have felt very comfortable in a company of a stranger and there have been times when I have felt the need to talk a particular stranger. But none of these positive feelings can be termed as love. Yes, such positive feelings can be a beginning of something as beautiful as love. But love, at first sight, doesn’t exist. Or even if it does – I have never experienced it.

3: What according to you is more precious – friendship or love or both need to be together?

Ans: This question hits one of my sensitive nerves I think. And I don’t know if answering this is really simple. I believe that love for a person can die and I have seen numerous such examples around me when the feeling of love just vanishes. But friendship (if it is true) is eternal. So, I think I would always prefer to be friends with the person I love and I know for sure that even if our love disappears – friendship will remain. I wouldn’t want to be in a relationship where there is only love and no friendship because then I believe the foundation of such a relationship isn’t strong enough.

4: How do you manage stress and depressive state of mind on a daily basis?

Ans: The way in which I manage stress and depression is to cry it out. But it doesn’t work always. So I always had a Plan B to manage it which has been changing since years. When I was a young teenager, I used to put on music and dance. Later when I was in my mid-20s – I used to workout (either hit the gym or run). But I think those were the ways in which I just used to distract myself from the situation. It was my way of just expending all the energy and get so tired that I wouldn’t have any more energy to be sad. Now being a bit older and wiser, I have resorted to meditation. I meditate from anywhere between 15 mins to an hour. It really calms me down and brings me to the right perspective. I feel I have become a better person since I started this practice and I hope I get better.

5: Do you lose your temper and scream or keep the anger inside yourself avoiding the devastation?

Ans: It depends on the person and situation. If it is my husband, parents or sister – I would just let my temper out and scream. Mainly because I know that they are my own people and I can be myself in front of them. But if I get angry at my workplace or with outsiders, I try not to react to the situation at all. I take time off and probably think over it even sleep over it and then try to resolve the situation.

6: Do you hold grudges or you can forgive easily?

Ans: I would say that I try to forgive but it is not always easy. I take time, patience, empathy, compassion and a change in perspective to really forgive a person and move on. Honestly, in spite of knowing that I must forgive – I am sometimes just not ready to forgive mostly because I need a closure to my anger. This is one of the areas where I know the right thing to do but my own fears stop me from forgiving the other person. It is indeed difficult. Forgiveness never comes easy especially when the pain is too deep.

7: What steps do you take when you desperately need some inspiration?

Ans: I read. I am crazy about self-help books. There are some of them which I have read multiple times. Books just tend to have the maximum impact on me. Currently, I am reading a book called “Lady, you are not a man!” by Apurva Purohit. It is all about women who want to make their family and career a huge success. It is a balance that can drive a woman crazy. This book has made me laugh and it has made me cry. There is just so much that I could relate to in this book. Very good insights and tips to not drive yourself crazy while keeping this delicate balance.

Next one in the queue is “Mindfulness in plain English”. This one is about meditation and is inspired by Buddhism. I always have a list of self-help books that I want to read. I use my kindle to its fullest. Anybody is welcome to have this discussion with me, I would love it.

8: What are your guilty pleasures? Do you mind sharing them?

Ans: Of course, I would love to share them. I hope I have some people saying “me too”. Food is something that I derive a lot of pleasure from. When I am too stressed or feel bored, all I can think of is that bowl of pasta and choco lava cake. Sometimes I think about fries, chips or Maggi. Sometimes it is about ice-creams or ultimate “death by chocolate”. I love eating and invariably I end up feeling guilty soon after I finish it. This is my relationship with food which has caused me to be overweight along with some other lifestyles issues. I am working on it constantly by telling myself that food is meant for nourishment and not for pleasure. There should be other things that I must look forward to pleasure. Food is not the right choice.

9: You got a free pass to do anything you wish without paying a single penny. What would you opt to make that pass worthwhile?

Ans: This is one question that I spent maximum time on thinking. There are two things that I would love to do.

First one is – I would like to use it for travelling to different places but not travel like a tourist and see the world around. I would like to really spend time with each culture and understand their values and traditions. I would like to live with them for a few months, really live their lives and understand their joys and their challenges. Because I think that would really make me open my perspective.

The second one is – I would like to travel to space and experience zero gravity. I know it sounds silly but I have always wanted to do this since I was a child. This is the reason I wanted to be an astronaut. No specific reason for this wish except for the experience.

10: Share about your one strength that overshadows all your weaknesses and one weakness that demeans all your goodness.

Ans: This is the best question in this list. I am known to work and live with people who are not easy to work and live with. I can put up with any kind of people. It sometimes is difficult for me but I am very adjusting. I think that is one quality that overshadows my other weaknesses.

It is very difficult for me to say “no” to people especially when I know that my “no” will hurt the other person. Even when I believe for sure that it has to be “no”, I find it challenging. Saying “yes” in a situation when I should have said a “no” has quite horrible consequences. I believe this is one weakness that makes all my goodness go down the drain.

I hope you all enjoyed reading this as much as I loved answering these questions.

I AM IN THE SPOTLIGHT – Shwetha

Thank you Vidhi for such probing questions. Thank goodness, Chiradeep told me that I have the option to skip 3 questions maximum. 🙂 

Let me answer then right away…

1) What makes you truly happy?

2) What is that one thing you’ll do anything to achieve it?

Ans: Well, I’m going to combine these two questions and try to answer them.

It’s very difficult to find even a ray of happiness amidst chaos. And finding something that makes me happy is next to impossible. 

But speaking of what makes my soul ‘truly happy’ then I would say my kids, my 2 beautiful boys. No matter where they are or what all they do to torture me (they are literally brats) or how much they adore me, they are the best things in my life. Seeing them giggle or laugh out loud or are insanely happy about the smallest things, makes me truly happy. I consider myself to be responsible for their lives and they, thus are responsible for my happiness. And for that, I would literally flip the world upside down.

3) Do you run away from situations or fight with it out?

It depends on the situation.

Mostly I fight with it, for it. I’m not the backing out kinda person. If I know I’m right, I stay put and fight with everything I’ve got. I hate to be held accountable for the wrongs which aren’t my fault. So I stand tall and face it with all my will. But…

Sometimes, such situations arise which are better left the way they are and just run as far away as possible from them because they will leave your soul marred for the rest of your life.

4) When you are sad, do you feel comfortable sharing things or do you keep everything to yourself?

Everyone in this world has their own set of problems. Some share and feel better.

I, for one, am the quiet type. I don’t like to share. I shut myself from the world and hide in my shell, like a tortoise. It’s difficult for the other person to understand what I am going through, and I don’t expect it either. So I prefer to keep mum.

5) Do you believe in the concept of self-love or self-sacrifice?

Ans: Silence is Golden… :p 

6) When was the last time you did something out of your comfort zone?

Ans: I actually haven’t discovered my comfort zone yet. I surprise myself when I do something new. But haven’t really known the boundary of this.

7) What’s that one thing you would do if nobody is judging you? 

Ans: Hahaha… that’s really interesting.

You do know that no matter what you do, people judge.

Anyway, if nobody is judging me, then I would be the real me – Bold, beautiful and audaciously insane.

8) Would you rather roam around clicking pictures or run around with a journal and a pen?

Ans: Ah! A tricky one!! I would say… I would click the picture that would inspire me to pen down the beauty of it.

9) Are you using your time efficiently?

Ans: I think, the responsibilities I have to carry out every day, I carry them out efficiently. Does that mean I use my time efficiently? 😉

10) What according to you is the purpose of your life?

Ans: To answer this… I’ll be taking the reference of questions 1 & 2…

I brought two beautiful souls into this world. Taking care of them in every possible way there is and making them feel proud to have a mother like me, is the sole purpose of my life. So right now, the purpose of my life is to be a good mother. 

In the end, I just want to mention one poem to encourage my readers along with my own self:

Don’t be like the mighty elephant
tied with a meek string.
Know your own strength and
all the wondrous marvels it can bring.

I AM IN THE SPOTLIGHT – Deepa

Discover to be Discovered…

Thank you, Chiradeep for discovering me amidst the million bloggers and giving me a chance to rediscover myself with some thought-provoking questions from none other but you. I am glad to have come out of my protected shell to share the honest me.

1. Do you work according to your emotions or your intelligence?

in a war of intelligence, my emotions always win!

Given a situation, I first become emotional and then I think of a way to handle it with intelligence. There are many instances where I had been emotional. When I had to quit my job to become a full-time homemaker, I became emotional as I had never thought about quitting my job even in dreams. Had I not given a thought of intelligence to keep aside my job for family, I may have missed seeing the smiles in them.

2. Why are you grateful to God in your life, assuming there’s something you are grateful for?

one man’s need is another man’s sacrifice!

I am always grateful to God for what I am now, for the beautiful family and harmony in my life. Some wellwisher’s prayers for my well being is making a huge impact on my everyday life in the form of events. I am always grateful to HIM for making me wake up to see a beautiful tomorrow.

3. What are those two favourite quotes that you relate well?

To gain something, you have to sacrifice something.
Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me. So choose your life and chase for it.

The first quote has been following me since my birth. In every important decision of my life, I have been through a sacrifice to gain something. To share my personal experience, I almost gave up on life when I had a miscarriage at 9 months a decade before. My baby was dying right in front of my eyes. I had a low placenta and the baby fell into the toilet breathing its last. The paramedics gave up hopes when I went breathless. Had I not been emotionally intelligent that day to fight the death, I will have been a framed picture now. I chose to live and chased the death by the grace of God.

4. How long does it take you to trust a stranger?

  all relationships revolve in the axis called trust.
a five letter word
easy to say and write
but with time t
trust also rusts

Even salt looks like sugar. Unless verified, a blind trust can spoil a dish. I have faced difficulties because I easily trust anyone. Bitter experiences in the past have taught me to trust better people over time.

5. How much you value patience in your life?

we clip our wings even before testing the wind

I am not an epitome of patience. To me, patience is “what I have when there are too many witnesses.”

6. Rewards or words – What energizes you more?

life is all about finding people who will notice those little things you do for them and appreciate it.

I love words. I love words of appreciation and so do I love to return them with rewarding words in return for their effort to make me happy.

7. Do you avoid conflicts or like confrontations?

conflict is a battle between you and your state of mind.

I am very flexible, delicate, sensitive, and equally emotional. Conflict is something contrasting to my character. I try to avoid any situation should there be any conflict involving in it knowing it is worthless for an argument.

8. What are those few things that really fill your heart with joy?

sing a song of joy
live a life of love
flashback to see
the child in me
coffee and me
makes me high
and
brings me joy

9. What do you keep under your pillow when you sleep?

they infect you
the more you are in love.
Tears are sacred, aren’t they?

I love my pillow. It has seen me at my vulnerable best and it has whipped my tears when no one else did.

10. What was the last time you cried and why?

our last goodbye was never said

This cold sweat always breaks out on my eye. I cried today morning waking up to see a dull weather, dirty floor, my bird’s poo, washed yet forgetful to line dry the laundry, craving for sweet food and a rumbling stomach. When I realized the reason for tears, I could not help myself but laugh out loud. I went on a hunger strike yesterday and which is why the reason I cried. An emotional person like me will always have a bucket of tears no matter for happy or sad moments.

Patience is indeed a virtue. Thank you for sparing a few minutes of your time to know me.