Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Key to Happiness is Forgiveness

Today morning I got a message from an unknown number, "Hey, I m sry fr whatever I hv dn....." It didn't take me a second to guess who this person was. But I re-checked and yes it was from one of my closest friends with whom I hadn't spoken for over two years!

'How', 'Why' we didn't speak for so long doesn't really matter. But the question which I am putting out here, and have to answer for myself is - Why do we let relationships that matter to us, slip away like sand? Why can't we set aside our egos and talk straight, face to face? We could save each other from all the pain, bitterness, doubt's, grudges... Sigh!

I'll be truthful... that (fated) night I did call him to understand the 'Why' and his reasons. I called him the next day too but he perhaps chose to ignore me, as if our falling out had no effect on him(I believed in this reason then) or perhaps he realized I was angry and somewhere he was wrong and didn't want to deal with me at that moment. Fine! I was pissed. But more than that I was hurt. I cried. A couple of days later I cried again. It was then that my husband said "The key to Happiness is Forgiveness" (Ah! Preachy Mr. Hubby! Well, he was right. All myths shattered. Who said the wife is always right? Right?)

Did I forgive him then? Ummm..not entirely. But I chose to let go (for my sake), to ignore, to not care. One of my biggest character flaws is that - If I feel a person (however close) doesn't care about me the way I do or our perspectives and priorities in life are poles apart, I let go. I simply stop or let any communications between us fade out. This has made me fall out of many friendships - some for the better (Amen!) and few fall outs unfortunately I regret, that were created due to 'misunderstandings'. Like this one!

It takes a lot of effort to apologize. I am so grateful that he messaged me today. Even if it was after so long. And as I typed back " N I am sorry too", I realized "Time doesn't heal, forgiveness does!!"

Photo credits Morguefile

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Act before it's too late!!

He and I share a history long
like, a melancholy song
A journey filled with memories,
collecting beautiful accessories

But somewhere the road diverged
Filled with ego, he succumbed,
Power Wealth lusted, else all forgotten
I could tell the future seemed misbegotten

I don't know why I let him take advantage
perhaps my blind love gave him courage
Mistreat he did, turned me to ruins and ashes
My painful warnings met with loud thrashes

But there were days when he came crying
In his heart he knew, we both were dying
Dissatisfied with life, he'd find solace in my lap
But soon go running back to his caged entrap  

There came a day when my patience ran out
I cried loud - Tsunami somewhere, elsewhere drought
Hypocrite as his nature, he prayed and swore,
Even joined marches, "Save Nature, destruction no more!"

But alas, He was too late!
I had long given up on his and my fate!!

   *Don't just talk about saving Mother Earth. Make the world a greener place. Dot it Now! MakeitbeaYOUtiful*

Linking this to WriteTribe Wednesday prompt  - 'S/He was too late'

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Four Conversations

The Partition of India in 1947 left not a mark but a scar in millions of people's minds, hearts and bodies. A mark, though, it did leave on the writings that emerged after that dark night. When the national boundaries were being redrawn, several stories - of violence, hatred, rape, murder, 'cold' tolerance, dilemma, bewilderment, frustration - were being drawn from this catastrophic event.

A new literature emerged.

From Saadat Hasan Manto's ' Toba Tek Singh' to Khushwant Singh's 'A Train to Pakistan' to Amitava Ghosh's 'Shadow Lines', stories were born and a whole generation, like me, who had no first hand experience of the partition, felt our souls stir by their words. Personally for me, fiction has proved a greater reservoir of truth and knowledge than any history book.

This historic event infused seeds for some great prose and poetry across many Indian languages, predominantly Bangla and Punjabi, Bengal and Punjab being the most affected areas of the divide. Many of us limited in our understanding of these languages and inept at their translations, have unfortunately missed a great deal of rich regional texts surrounding this event.

'The Four Quarters Magazine' which in their own words believe in a "divisible but unified world where all the quarters, the four principal quarters with their composite sub-quarters meet together to form one whole sphere of existence", are giving us - the people from "all four quarters" - an opportunity to revisit few works, few stories, few translations pertaining to this post partition literature. 'The Four Conversations', an event being hosted by the magazine on 16th February 2014 in New Delhi will see speakers from different spheres - authors, poets, translators, filmmakers, performance artists, journalists - coming together and sharing with us their opinions, experiences and perspectives on Bordering, Translation...

For more details on the speakers, event schedule and venue details, please visit here.
Follow the event on Facebook and Twitter

As Vishwajyoti Ghosh, the curator of the graphic novel ' This Side That Side', and a key speaker at the event, said "Partition is not only about the exodus but about the little Partitions that we carry in our heads", so let's meet this Sunday, 16th Feb and clear our heads of the myths, speculations and curiosity of what had happened and instead reprocess, restore and retell the stories that will continue to mark our beings for generations to follow.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

With lots of love

For my marriage sis appeared on the doorstep a week earlier than scheduled. I was so shocked-surprised, I couldn't control my tears. That time she was staying in Mysore. Two days ago she again decided to surprise us all, coming on Ma's b'day all the way from Kolkata. Only this time she included me in her plans coz she needed my help in getting the train tickets booked! So on Friday we sneeked into our own homes after Ma left for school and Pa for office and waited. Yes, we actually just sat and waited and yes blew balloons.

My 100 words on Saturday


Should have seen the look on Ma's face and then Pa's who came in 10 min later :) The young couple already had plans for the day! How were they supposed to know that their usual day would turn out like this! So we had an hour with them and it was priceless!

There was no cake but pancakes! I love pancakes and we have had our share of cakes since last month. Jan and Feb are packed with birthdays and anniversaries, both at my place and in-laws. So I thought why not?? Mom could slice into pancake while we sung 'Hapii-Budday'

The morning is still young...lazily the Sunday sun is warming us up and I am sure you'd like to try these pancakes :) so here's a quick recipe.

Coffee-Choco Pancakes (Recipe adapted from here

1 cup maida (white flour)
2 tbsp powdered sugar
1 tsp sodium bicarb
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp coffee
1 large beaten egg
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 cup milk
1 tbsp oil or unsalted butter
For topping chocolate and walnuts

Whisk everything together in a lustrous batter. Heat a non-stick pan and pour the batter gently as to your liking. In a minute or so tiny bubbles will appear, flip over to the other side and cook for 2-3 minutes and tadaa!

Enjoy this while I get back to the family, the sun and the crazy fun times together!

“That's the best thing about little sisters: They spend so much time wishing they were elder sisters that in the end they're far wiser than the elder ones could ever be.”
― Gemma Burgess

Saturday, February 1, 2014

My Earliest Memory

The whole idea of writing a post on your 'Earliest memories' spiralled about when on a cold Sunday morning, dear Vidya on facebook requested us fellow Write Tribers to cheer her up with some of our favorite photos, as she was down with flu. What started with photo-sharing frenzy throughout the week, the ooooh n aaaah's at some cute infant pictures of our friends, ultimately culminated in this fabulous idea! Thank you Apoorva for tagging me in this fun chain!

Remember how I mentioned earlier that I am starting a new series on my blog 'YOU Inspire', this post is about my earliest memories of my dear Nanaji (Grandfather) who has had such a huge influence in my life and has always been a constant source of inspiration and light.

Tuesdays with Nanji - that's what I would like to call my earliest memory with him. ('Sushh...quiet' - that's for the many lovely memories in my head shouting 'pick-me, pick-me') Evey Tuesday it was a ritual to go to the Hanumanji mandir, where more than the temple visit I was interested in the activities happening outside the worship area. There at a stall, my Grandfather worked as a volunteeer serving the many believers and worshipers, water and prasad. I was so excited to be a part of this do-good! Pouring sweetened water in their cups and watching them bring it to their lips quenching their thirst in the blistering summer heat, wouldn't you say pure bliss? At a very early age, he instilled in us the idea of service! And how! Not by order or force, but by the sheer way of doing. His actions inspired us! To that and many such lessons throught my growing up years and even now, I just want to say 'Thank you Nanaji'!

Today I also have three beautiful guests on my blog. Three daughters who would like to share some of their memories and inspirations of the Man of the hour!

Handing over to my eldest aunt, Alka Saxena.

Papa is a shayar at heart and that is how I remember him. To be able to see someone who has been so close to you in a single role is just not possible. For me papa is basically very sensitive, emotional, caring, loving and affectionate towards everyone and all this unconditional love stems from his shayarana temperament. 

During his formative years the social fabric and values were entirely different from what we see around us today. His childhood and youth spent in chamcham gali were seeped in tehzeeb, nafasat and adab. The pace of life was comfortable and soothing and relationships blossomed in an environment of brotherhood and selfless love. Living in large joint families inculcated a sense of graceful tolerance and unquestioned acceptance of everyone despite their foibles and frailities.

Papa being the youngest in his family has always been the favourite chacha of his neices and nephews and even today all the grand children of the family are genuinely fond of him. I would really love to emanate the same love that overflows in papa's heart. 

Today papa is drawn towards spiritualism and in reading the scriptures but I feel that this heart throbs with mausiqui, which I think is different from music. Mausiqui is the very rhythm of ones pulse, it reverberates the entire being, it requires no accompaniment. No jargon, no noise, it just flows with you and makes you crave for symphony and to be in tune with the music of the cosmos. When papa goes out to pick flowers from the garden for his daily puja he hears the whisper in the early morning breeze I am sure he is capable of hearing the notes that come from the eastern sky! Papa’s ear never fails to catch the first cry of the koel, or the sight of the neelkanth when it perches as a blithe spirit in our garden. He watches with a boyish enthusiasm when the squirrels and sparrows come and nibble the rice and kakoon grains that he sprinkles for them each morning in the garden. Both Papa and Ma love the riot of colours when seasonal flowers bloom in the flower beds, be it the english rose, flocks, crysanthemums, poppies, bela, juhi, hibiscus,lillies,or pansies.I have beautiful memories of going and admiring flowers at the annual flower show held at the Botanical Gardens in Lucknow. 

Papa grew up in an atmosphere when Urdu , Farsi and English were very popular. But I admire his will to learn Sanskrit with the assistance of my Mom (MA Sanskrit), in order to read and understand The Gita, and shlokas fron the Vedas . 

 It is not easy to say how Papa inspires me but I do feel that he is blessed with ruhaniyat , which is rare, it is the grace of God and I pray to God through papa that I be touched by this divinity that he has the privilege to possess. Papa and Mom, proud to have you as my parents. Love you and may you be the constant source of inspiration in my life!   

Wasn't that beautiful, her expressions so poetic! Now my Mom, Amita Kaushiva, will take it from here.

My role models are my parents for they inspire me in innumerable ways. Papa has always shown such amazing grace in showing respect to all elders of our family be it from his side of the family or from my mother's side. The emotional bond he shares with his nephews and nieces and their families is one of sheer unconditional love and at the same time he is equally caring and affectionate towards my mamas, mausis and their families. I have not seen many families who can talk about such relationships. I think i take after him in this regard.

Papa has always been a workaholic throughout his career with the Health and Family Welfare Dept of U.P. Extremely committed, punctual and with an indefatigable approach to work he always made a mark for himself but loved to remain modest. Two instances come to my mind, one when he would get ready for office some good fifteen minutes before time and the other a more prominent one which greatly influenced all of us. It happened one cold winter evening when we were snuggled up in the warmth of our blankets that papa had an unexpected visitor. Suddenly we heard papa raising his voice and ordering that person to leave. Shaken up by that and unable to fathom why this sudden fury we understood later that it was somebody who wanted an undue favour from him for which he was offering him a bribe in the form of a gift. We lived in our humble dwellings and held our heads up in pride for the values we upheld.

Another amazing thing about Papa is his love for music, poetry, dance and places historical and religious. Even today I wait for his call to enquire about a particular raaga or ask me to switch on DD Bharti and listen to some interesting programme. Papa you are my true inspiration thanks for all the small and big ways in which you continue to help me evolve as a person!

This last paragraph, is so true. It is these interests of his, even till date which keeps all of us on a continous path of learning and achieving, be it our creative spheres or academic! My youngest aunt, Anuradha Saxena, has her own sweet account to share. Just the smiplicity of the nature of this memory is so beautiful :)

My dearest memory of Papa is the time the entire family sat down together for tea as soon as Papa would come home from office. We rushed excitedly to greet him, leaving aside whatever we were doing and all of us shared our day...the minutest details. What was routine for us, amazed my friends, whose fathers generally maintained a distance from the children and most of them were scared of communicating with their fathers. Thank you Papa-Mummy, for involving us in every day matters of importance, for the space and the ease of conversations, for not having to think twice before speaking our minds openly!

With that I bring you the very first edition of 'YOU Inspire! Hugs to my aunts and mum for being so supportive and to you readers for being patient!

This earliest memory post was packed with lots! Hope you enjoyed :) Let this chain of earliest memories continue, and I tag the talented and bubbly Jyoti next . As you read and re-read ;) our posts hope you are reminded of your own good old days! Do share your memories here!