Going The Theatre Way To Bring Positivity In Life

“I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.” ~ Oscar Wilde

And indeed with its live presentation, the artists connect better with their audience, leave a lasting impact by its tradition of living in the present, transparency and immediate gesture or word.

Mime

Initiated in 1961 by International Theatre Institute, the World Theatre Day is celebrated across the world on 27th March.  With an aim to generate interest and awareness of this important medium of art in future generations, an yearly message by prominent stage artist, translated in more than 50 languages, is conveyed to the theatre fraternity and read to thousands of spectators.

Art For Wellness

The performing arts are known for creating an atmosphere that enhances wellness and grasping quality of children. The visuals tend to engage the imaginations of children and make them understand better. The right kind of cultural stories and influences also promote a feeling of security, responsibility and happiness quotient. This may prevent children from going astray, feel neglected or abused and from becoming violent as some studies claim, especially the under privileged children with low income families.

French Philosopher and Mathematician Blaise Pascal, has rightly said : “Imagination…creates beauty, justice and happiness which are everything in this world”

Across the world many institutions have resorted to involving children in music, mime, painting, ballet, dancing and plays to express themselves. The performing arts  aid in driving away the inhibitions of young children. The children gain confidence by exploring the medium fearlessly.

Mime

Researchers from the School of Social Policy Practice at the University of Pennsylvania, over two years have found that low-income New York City residents with more access to cultural resources experienced better education, security and health outcomes. The study  showed a 14% decrease in cases of child abuse and neglect, an 18% decrease in the serious crime rate and an 18% increase in the number of students scoring at the highest level on standardized math and English tests compared to low-income communities with fewer cultural resources.

Many Indian institutions have included theatre and performing arts as tools to engage kids and motivate participation especially for under privileged children. The Child’s Play India Organisation provides Music lessons and instruments for under privileged children in Goa.

Salam Bombay Foundation also works to promote this among the children in its educative programmes. With an aim to keep the children in school and lower drop-out rates, an experimental Play ‘Eka Dhotrachi Gosht’ – a production by theatre students from the Academy has held several successful shows across the country including performances at the National School of Drama, New Delhi.

Recently a group of students of Stanford University, Stanford Talisman, interacted and performed along with Salam Bombay Foundation’s Academy of Arts students thus giving the children an international exposure and a hope of dreaming big.

Stanford talisman

If theatre and performing arts could be utilized in keeping children aware and away from a life of crime, what else could be better than that? World today is in dire need of compassionate souls, less rage and more happiness and love…

“The object of art is to give life shape”~William Shakespeare

Salaam Bombay Foundation: Creating Better Lives


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Salaam Bombay Foundation

Salaam Bombay Foundation

Sushant Khetle started working as an apprentice with SIEMENS for advanced technical skills program after completing Mobile repair course in 2014-15 through vocational training course Skills@School initiative by Salaam Bombay Foundation. He could earn Rs 7100  as a trainee and contribute towards the family income. “The course at Salaam Bombay Foundation, guided me towards a career in technical trade. I always wanted to learn about technology and the course helped realize my dream” says an elated Sushant.

Amreen started to train in hockey at the Sports Academy of Salaam Bombay and is hopeful of making a name for herself. Kavita Sonar too played hockey at state level and earned few scholarships to continue her education. She works as a salon manager and attributes her growth to training at Salaam Bombay.

These are but a few examples of underprivileged children who could break the shackles of poverty, ignorance and social pressures to emerge winners from circumstances.

Those of us who were fortunate enough to be born in families that raised and educated us to stand on our feet today,  might take things like school, access to clean food and water, shelter and clothes granted. But it is those who are deprived of such basic things that are guided and helped by the Salaam Bombay Foundation.

The foundation believes in ‘A child in school has future‘.  And with this faith  the NGO works with kids from a young age when they are most susceptible to give up on school.

salaam bombay

The Salaam Bombay Foundation not only steers kids in right direction by making them understand the importance of education but provides guidance in various vocational fields besides basic education. It also tries to involve kids in initiatives related to health thereby making the impressionable minds understand perils of unhealthy, undernourished and addicted life.

An anti-tobacco drive where kids  participated with their families in putting up stalls of home-cooked healthy low-cost food and collaborated with government agencies in fighting against tobacco.

When I heard about them I felt happy that someone is trying to make a difference and creating better lives.

I hope to help at least one child in realizing a dream someday. Let us all work towards making someone reach a respectable place in society.

DISCLAIMER: This is not a paid post. I found the foundation’s work praiseworthy and hence this write up. Please check their credentials before getting involved.

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All Women Bike Rally: Reiterating The Women Power

Women have come a long way from being confined to four walls of home. There is no denying to the fact that women are as great achievers as any man…sometimes even better. We have women doing all kinds of jobs which earlier were considered a male bastion and so we have astronauts, pilots, doctors, professors, scuba divers, spies, military personnel and taxi drivers too. A few days ago I read about a Pakistani truck driver who happens to be the first woman of her country and an old woman at that.

Men have tried limiting women in stereotypical roles; they have tried to set rules of dos and don’ts; they have raged, ranted  and labeled women to scare and dominate but women are tougher than that…we soar new heights every day…we scale new horizons every minute…we achieve greater heights every second.

In keeping up the undying spirit of women, Times of India organised All Women Bike Rally on 5th March across 21 cities of the country. Now in its fourth year this event has bagged a mention in Limca Book of Records with the number of women, participating in this unique rally, increasing every year.

Breaking the shackles of naysayers, women of all age groups participated in this fun rally with full vigour. Some rode Harley Davidson and Royal Enfield bikes and many rode on their non-gear bikes and scooters.

I joined in too on my scooty and was amazed to see the sea of women who had turned up for the event.

Ready for a fun ride

I was participating for first time and had no idea how enthusiastic women were in making a statement. Women were dressed in all kinds of attires….the sari didn’t stop them and neither did the traditional ‘nauwari’ or the nine yards of typical Maharashtrian Sari. The younger ones wore western attires and some stuck to salwar kameez.

Decked up in traditional ‘mangalsutras‘, ‘nath‘ and armful of bangles, some even had typical Mahrashtrian head scarf, the ‘pheta‘ adorning their heads.

Nine Yards of sari and pheta for a bike ride

They came in pairs and they came in groups, some advocated social messages of saving girl child and some declared that women were no less…

Biking Divas

Girl power

Age did not deter women to participate either. I was particularly blown over by a granny Asha Patankar of 73 years old who had her daughter-in-law for company on another bike. Not only were they defying the clichéd MIL-DIL equation with their camaraderie but also their enthusiasm was infectious.

MIL-DIL biking duo

The rally was flagged off by the DCP of Traffic Police, another woman of grit. We rode for an hour with bikers shouting on top of their voice ‘Jai Bhavani, Jai Shivaji‘. Traffic police managed to provide an uninterrupted passage for all the bikers throughout the 18kilometers of road.

Rally Route

The event ended on a high note with participants getting prizes for their attire, bike decor and historical character representations. And then there was song and dance too….

I would have preferred if women were encouraged to wear helmets instead of only decking themselves up….after all safety should be paramount concern along with empowerment of women. A rule-abiding woman can bring about change better than a woman who falls victim to unsafe driving!

All in all the event was a fun-filled morning…an attempt to reiterate woman power…that women will never back away now…We have fire in the belly and wind under our wings…

A very happy International Women’s Day to my fellow wives, moms, sisters, daughters and grandmas.

Vijay Diwas

“Tomorrow we start our fireworks”

17 years is a long time but I remember his phone call like it was yesterday. I could literally hear the excitement that he was so trying to mask in an attempt to quell my anxiety and fear that threatened to swallow me.

Indian Air Force was cleared to launch air-strikes against infiltrators on 26th May 1999. The Kargil Conflict which lasted almost three months began early in May 1999 with the Pakistani intrusion and capturing and inhuman torturing of soldiers of Indian Army patrolling the area. The situation escalated soon enough and Air Force was called upon to provide air support to our men in olive-greens around mid-May.

For any fighter pilot worth his salt, being trained in air warfare, an opportunity to engage and thwart the enemy is the biggest high. But while all the warriors of sky at Srinagar prepared for show of strength, the families back home sat glued to television fearing the worst turn of events.

When the Kargil conflict reached its frenzy, I was engaged for almost seven months and eagerly waiting for month of October when I would finally be in arms of my beloved. That phone call from my fiancé, a pilot posted in Srinagar, on 25th May 1999 set the tone for coming days till next two months for me.

No sooner had Air Force struck on the enemy when two aircrafts were shot down by Pakistani stinger missiles with one of the pilots taken prisoner of war and another brutally murdered by the Pakistanis. The news sent fear waves among all the families of pilots participating in the Kargil war.

I can only imagine what the martyred pilot’s wife must have gone through on hearing about her husband’s sacrifice. Though I was yet to be married but the news had made me numb….never had I prayed as much as I did then….everyday.

The day began with newspaper. Only after scanning each and every page would I get on with rest of the day. The most routine work seemed never ending and incomprehensible. I kept checking the wall clock willing the day to end soon….I often thought the clock wasn’t working and would check other clocks of the house to reaffirm that time was indeed slogging past.

We did not have cell phones then. The air base at Srinagar had all but one public phone booth and obviously everyone wanted to call back home to assure their families of their well-being. Every night at eleven I would sit by the telephone waiting for his phone call before calling it a day.

Even during such times he would call up and whisper sweet nothings from the public telephone booth unburdening my worried heart. Everyday I made him promise that he would call me back the next day….it was my way to assure myself that he would be safe next day and talk to me again…

As we celebrate another “Vijay Diwas” for the victory of Indians over enemy, for reclaiming the land, for remembering the brave hearts and for honouring their sacrifices and indomitable spirit, I feel immensely fortunate that my soldier is safely back with me.

Wars are most devastating for the families of men in uniform….the casaulties are merely a number for others….Yes, our husbands, brothers and friends are paid for their jobs…but how many of those who say so will be willing to go and stand before the enemy for same amount of pay?

This ‘Vijay Diwas’, I wish people start respecting defense services and their personnel with more compassion….and not measure their sacrifices and their committment to duty.

I am proud to be associated with these brave courageous men who put their family life and comfort at stake for the service to nation.

May they always win all battles of life. Jai Hind

A journey within…

sai baba“Aarti Sai baba, aarti Sainatha……. (Pray to Saint Saibaba…, pray to Lord Sainath).” I sang along with the monotone chant of the priest which resonated through the garbha-griha (sanctum sanctorum) of the temple of Saibaba at Shirdi.

Shirdi is a small town in Ahmednagar District in state of Maharashtra. Well connected by road and rail it is about 296 km from Mumbai and about 185 km from our city, Pune- a three to three and half hour journey by road if driving by own car. This place is known for the saint Shri Sai Baba, the only saint who is revered by both Hindus and Muslims. His origin is not known but the temple was built around 1922.

I have been visiting the temple as a child with my parents and have seen it grow to its present expanse. I remember the smaller temple of stone, the muddy roads, small shops selling the flower basket for offering in temple, the way-side vendors selling raisins from farms of Nasik, big guavas from Manmad and swarm of scantily dressed beggars pestering for a rupee coin. The temple has expanded to a large complex now with covered area for devotees to stand in a queue before entering the temple. The temple complex is paved and well laid out with water kiosks, donation and sweets’ (prasadam or the blessed food) counters and separate relaxing areas for the devotees.  The shops are bigger, brighter and arranged in a row just outside the temple complex. And the beggars are not to be seen at least near the temple. It is definitely more organised now.

The temple at Shirdi, hosts thousands of devotees everyday throughout the year and though there are covered queue lanes but the number of devotees extend the lane well up to the parking lot. And when the long winding queue finally takes you inside the inner sanctum, you are full of sweat, tired due to the delay, ready to finish off the prayer and move out of the room filled with smoke of incense sticks. The priests also rush you out through the exit without bothering whether your flower basket has been offered on the idol’s feet. And the guard at the exit of inner sanctum forces everybody out shouting loudly in local language Marathi “chala…chala…o, tai…nigha laukar, thambu naka…” (Move…move…O sister! Move fast….Don’t stop!!)

It was August 2002 and we had just received the positive reports of my pregnancy. We were over the moon and I definitely wanted to visit Shirdi Sai Baba temple. On one of the week day we planned the temple visit. It was the monsoon season and weather was pleasant almost every day. The plants and trees all around seemed fresher and had turned a darker shade of emerald-green…. full of life, breathing and soothing the eyes.

Since the journey would take only three hours or so we were not in any particular hurry but still managed to leave home at around seven-thirty with a slight drizzle accompanying us along the route. The road shone black with its dirt all washed clean from the rain. Little puddles came alive as rain drops danced and splashed in them.

We were two young adventurous people, religious just enough to want to visit temple and thank Lord for the wonderful news but not so much as to sing and chant hymns and songs along the way. So, we listened to some catchy music which was in trend then and stopped en-route at the small shack like roadside shops to eat the local junk food, the freshly roasted corn-cob smeared with lemon juice, salt and red chilli powder and the sugary tea brewed then and there on demand. Beyond Ahmednagar, we passed many grape farms where the farmers sold the fresh produce in baskets and small cartons along the roadside. Some little girls dressed in long skirts and blouse also sold ‘gajras’ (flowers strung in thread to adorn hair) of fresh mogra flowers (jasmine).

“O…tai, o mausi…ghya na gajra…..don rupaya la ek… (O sister, o aunty… Please take these floral strings…for two rupees each only)”

I had promptly bought five which was all that she had. The little girl was overjoyed as she had managed to sell all of her merchandise. I still remember her wide grin and curious gaze as I clipped the bunch on my braid.

I had regretted not taking our camera along for this trip because we missed out on so many precious moments… sights that the nature offered and the unadulterated joy of achievement that lit up the faces of simple village folks. Since the devotees are not allowed to take cameras inside the temple precinct so the apprehension of a possible theft of expensive camera from an unattended car in the parking lot ruled our decision of leaving it at home.

I felt quite a satisfaction in making the day of the little villager and with a happy frame of mind we finally reached the temple area. Shirdi was hot as it had not rained there. As we manoeuvred our car into the parking lot, another smaller car with a middle-aged couple and a teenage son, rushed in the parking lot. The occupants were in a hurry it seemed.

The flowers and sweets selling shop vendors always vie for prospective customers at all such temple sites. They yell out the prices of their merchandise to seek attention and almost block the way to steer the customers to their own shop.

“Ya….ya….deva karta phoola ani prasad ghya…taji phoola…shevanti, jhendu, mogra,belpatra….changlya khavya chi barfi….O tai…fakt shambhar chi topli….bagha tar tai ek da..(Come…come…buy flowers and sweets for offering in temple…fresh flowers…marigolds, jasmines and chrysanthemums…milk sweets…O sister…its only for Hundred Rupees ….have a look at least!!)

Since we were not in any hurry so I took time choosing freshest flowers for offering from different shops. A few minutes in one of the shops and I noticed the hurried activity and some loud discontented grumbles from new customers in the shop. The occupants of the small car had landed in the same shop and seemed annoyed with shopkeeper who had allowed us to pick and choose. The woman glared at me so we let them be the first ones to make their purchase. The woman was triumphant on her success and smirked at us before leaving.

I forgot the little incident and proceeded with the flower basket, coconut and sweets to the temple. However we again met the same couple at the shoes’ deposit counter. And from that moment on an unofficial, unsaid race began……where the woman would give me a triumphant look whenever they did something before we could. I found it quite amusing because it really did not matter to us whether we were the first or the last in the temple but it seemed quite important to that woman.

The temple authorities maintain different queues for entry to the ‘garbha-griha’, one for defence personnel and other for civilians. Unawares of this special facility we awaited our turn at the token counter. Unknown to other people in the temple area, yet again at the two queues for token the silent competition was on. The couple hurried past us pushing and elbowing others to reach the token counter before us.

They managed to acquire the tokens before us and stood in the temple’s queue for civilians smirking at us as we still waited for tokens. It was a real long queue and extended well beyond the covered area. The weather was a bit hot and humid and people fanned themselves with stole, hand towels and token slips. There was hardly any breeze. The patience and tolerance level of the sweating crowd was very low. Even an unintended nudge made people break into an argument.

When it was our turn in the queue for the token we were politely asked by the woman at the counter whether we belonged to defense forces. It was then that we realised that there was a separate queue for defense people to enter the inner sanctum of the temple. I was hugely relieved to know that we would avoid the long queue and because the other queue had only ten others ahead of us. We promptly headed towards the queue meant for defense people which was next to the longer queue separated only by a six feet high iron grille.

As we entered our queue, the eyes of the competing couple followed us wondering how we had managed to move ahead of them. By that time, I also engaged in that absurd race. As soon as I realised that our progress was being tracked by the middle aged jealous couple, I too made it obvious that I enjoyed their discomfort and envy.

Ours was a quick entry in the sanctum. Once inside I sang the prayers along with the priest’s monotone……but my attention was divided and I kept searching for the face of that woman among the devotees inside the sanctum. I had hardly thanked the Lord for the wonderful news when we were ushered out.

Once outside the ‘garbha-griha’ we sat at a stepped platform to the left of the winding queues, eating the ‘prasadam’ of coconut and the sweets. The long queue had by then reduced in size. Coincidently however, our “competitors” were still outside and now stood opposite the platform where we sat. The envy and incredulousness was written all over their faces and they argued among themselves pointing at us in a very obvious way. We saw them too and I couldn’t control myself and burst out laughing much to their agitation. I had not intended to make the couple uneasy or jealous but it so happened that in that unsaid race we won!

In the car, on our way back, we discussed and laughed at the strange competition and the grumbling couple. But, then in a moment of self discovery, I realised that I had wasted away those few precious moments inside the temple at the feet of God when I could have prayed wholeheartedly, in such a useless activity. Indulging in unnecessary teasing, I had forgotten the real purpose of my visit to the temple!

Many people go on pilgrimages sometimes braving extreme cold or treacherous climb up the Himalayan slopes or even ill health with a thought that more difficult the obstacles of journey, more the emancipation from sins and yet there I was……. involved in the absurd and petty mocking game!! How good was it to travel from one city to other and indulge in such a conduct? What had I achieved……. sadistic satisfaction? Was that my aim? Had I not intended to seek His blessings and salvation from all deliberate or not so deliberate sins?

We often meet people during our travels some of whom we remember for years for their peculiarities or for what we learn about ourselves due to such encounters. We remembered the family as ‘pushy and impatient’. On retrospection, I realised that the occupants of the small car had brought out the mean side of me to fore!! They would have made some similar opinion about us too…..

My husband dislikes going to such overcrowded temples where one has to elbow one’s way in to seek blessing of God.  He always suggests that I should thank God and show my gratitude peacefully at any nearby temple. After this incident I understood how apt his opinion was…..

The temple trip also made me realise that though people are individually civilised and well behaved but their behaviour changes with circumstances they face, as did mine. I should give people some benefit of doubt before pointing fingers at them and at the same time I should keep myself in check before reacting to unfavourable circumstances.

I still go to a temple, wherever I see one but now I avoid a visit during the festivities when there are huge crowds and everyone’s emotions and patience levels are stressed thin. During such times I quietly worship the deity at my home where I can connect with HIM more personally, repent for my follies, beg for favours, air my annoyance and thank Him for the fulfilled wishes. It is more peaceful, satisfying and rewarding. My efforts to keep myself calmer always come out in the prayer:

“God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can and the Wisdom to know the difference”

A Better World!!

The day my little baby was born….I was reborn as a mother. And for the first time I started understanding my mother. With every little cry I would fret, spend sleepless hours and pray for her well being. Today my little girl is stepping into adolescence and I now understand why my mother frowned if I made some bizzare choice…

From a mother’s perspective the world is never a safe place for her child! She is worried someone may hurt her child physically… hurt them emotionally…. break their heart…. scar them for lifetime with all the ugliness of the world….

Every mother if given a chance would love to make a new world where her child is safe and happy…I dreamt of a new world too(read my World Remade here).

Being a mother, however, I can not just sit back and dream for a better world and do nothing to give towards it. It is us the mothers of today who have the onus of teaching their children the true way of dealing with life…

I would love to teach a thousand things to my daughter for her safety, her well-being, her mental peace. But a simple question from my daughter, made me realize, how important it was to teach her about work ethics.

A few days back, I was busy designing an invitation card for visiting senior Air Force officer and his wife. By the end of day, I was exhausted with household chores and day long meetings. The quilled design for the card was still in the making  and the card was required for the next morning. My daughter, showed her concern and asked me why I was making such an elaborate design? She told me to finish off quickly and slightly untidily…. so that next time, I would not be given the task and I would be free to rest after daily chores at home!!

I was surprised at her suggestion because I have never left whatever I was doing halfway be it cooking, painting, writing etc. I did not understand from where she got the idea of cutting corners for small benefits!

I sat her down and asked her why she said so and her reply was simple…” Nobody pays so much attention so how does it matter if your work is not perfect? It is you who is getting tired while others are enjoying  the evening!”

I decided that to make world better, first I had to teach my daughter to be a better person. This is what I told her:

“Sweetheart, never think whether the work is small or big…finish whatever responsibility comes your way with full dedication…it might not bring fame or acknowledgement from all quarters but in the end your heart will be at peace knowing that you did justice to the work. 

Do not take shortcuts like bribing  anybody to facilitate your work…because that leaves you in a vulnerable place to be exploited later. Even if you do the right thing, you may not be appreciated but then nobody will be able to point fingers at you either.

Do not indulge in unnecessary flattery to wriggle out of difficult situation, just put your efforts in completing the work to best of your ability …your work  will speak for itself and your ethics and integrity will garner respect for you… and may be inspire some to be like you.

Do what is right and slowly the world around you will become right…A better place to be!!”

Yes, I do believe that for a better world, we all need to work with full dedication and not sham, not cut corners, not bribe, not be dishonest, not be disloyal….. An honest person will be an asset and encourage others to follow suit making the world a little better place.

This post is in response to #MomsForBetterWorldProject

Marriage Woes!!

Published at Women’s Web

Marriage is a beautiful bond between two people who stick to each other through thick and thin even with no blood relation between them. Strongest of friendship cannot break the bond between married couples….this when the husband and wife are equally committed and consider the relation above all….when both of them uphold the vows of marriage to be a friend first and love, protect and cherish each other through all challenges life throws at them.

What if either one abuses the sanctity, the promise…physically, mentally or emotionally….?

Usually the abuse which comes to light is of physical violence, dowry harassment and forced abortions. What mostly does not come out as a marriage woe is the mental abuse, the belittling comments, the threats and not even the forced sexual activity because of the attached stigma of dishonoring the family.

It is no surprise then that the Supreme Court denied to deem the forced sex in marriage as crime….there excuse being “If marital rape is brought under the law, the entire family system will be under great stress”….Do they mean that if such a matter is not raised and we all turn a blind eye towards the issue then the family will not be in stress? Really? Because I believe that a family, where the wife is being subjected to any form of abuse, will always be in a stress whether she reports it or not!

These issues are real and very common but we read and rant about them, discuss about  them for few days and till another such thing happens we forget about such news and carry on with our lives silently thanking our stars that something like that has not happened to us!

And what if there is no physical intimacy between a married couple?

Recently, in the capacity of an air force unit’s commanding officer’s wife, I had the misfortune of being privy to a diametrically opposite form of abuse in marriage. The husband, in fact, never even realized that his behavior was the cause of his wife’s distress!

This woman came to me with a unique problem, one that I had never heard of earlier ever. She wanted me and my husband as the head of unit, to intervene and persuade her husband to have physical intimacy with her. The couple had been married for good ten to twelve years but they had no physical intimacy due to which she had not conceived and was being taunted by her in-laws and neighbors in village as infertile. For years she put a lid on the matter, bearing the brunt herself. The reason that caused her final breakdown was that her in-laws had started planning a second marriage of the man in hope for a child!

This woman’s husband was involved with some religious group which practiced abstinence from sexual activities. For no fault of hers, she was being subjected to such mental agony. Her request was simple that her husband should be ‘ordered’ to spend just enough time with her to impregnate her. He would be then free to return to his way of life with the religious group. She reasoned that if she could bear his child no one would blame her of infertility and they could continue to live under same roof with same indifference as past twelve years of marriage.

This poor troubled woman wanted to be held in her husband’s arms, wanted to be caressed, kissed, and passionately made love too. But she had been denied, for all those years, of any conjugal bliss. Her mental state was such that she looked gaunt and much older than her 35 years of age.

I was stunned to come across such a situation and was little unsure of how to address the matter. Both of them were counseled privately and we wished them well.

But will this be considered a crime… a mental torture by society and court or not? Or is it best for all to look the other way and let the family deal with this issue on its own too? Who should a person going through such a situation turn to?

In the recently released movie ‘PIKU’, the protagonist subtly mentions the sexual gratification as the need of women. People refuse to recognize that a passionate love-making is as important in a woman’s life as it is for man (however that does not mean at all that a woman can be raped in or out of marriage at the will, whim and fancy of man!).

Is it not the time yet to discuss such issues instead of caste and religion? Have we not come a long way yet to let women speak out about their desires? Is it not right yet for a woman to demand physical satisfaction from her partner in a way she wants?

Let us grow up and talk freely about issues relevant to humans without making it into something gender related. Unless men understand that a woman’s body is not a toy for them to be used at their will….unless the women have autonomy on their bodies, thoughts and desires…there will never be any justice…..rapes will keep happening…and women will keep curbing their own freedom!

Yikes!! You are Forty!

Ialarm clock still don’t believe I am forty! Well so what?

I still don’t hear the alarm bells going off even though  some friends keep reminding me….

Well, you are forty now! The clock’s ticking”

I don’t feel any change in me….my ambitions are same in fact even stronger now! My likes are same…more defined may be…..my energy is same ….more channelized now. My dislikes are same….I speak up now!

I am comfortable of my shape and size more than I ever was….. so what if little love handles have appeared where my lissome waist once was! My hair is still black with some greys at temples, my skin still doesn’t show any signs of wrinkles (thank God!)….I have always worn spectacles and eyesight is as good or bad as it was earlier!

Am I wiser, quieter, more responsible….I don’t know!!

What I know is that I pray for satisfaction in whatever I do…. for lifelong togetherness with my spouse…. for being always there when my kid needs me…. for dreaming big….. for more courage….

Its downhill journey now from here. How does it matter if your sari is in disarray? How does it matter whether your eyebrows are made or your lipstick is not the right shade? How does it matter if we don’t look attractive?” they say…

Why? I choose not to be bogged down by such thoughts….

Why shouldn’t I dress up if it makes my partner give me a second look? Why shouldn’t I entice my partner with a little bold color on my lips?

Why should I think about the lurking monsters of age and make my today depressing? Why should I age before it is time? Why shouldn’t I make the most of it while time is still on my side?

I rejoice I am at an age where I can give a piece of my mind to the twenty somethings….I can advise on kitchen skills….. I no longer need to explain why I was late…. I have the whole house running on my instructions…. I get to decide what stays in and what goes out of house…

Ha! I even get to say “I told you so!” more often….

So “Yay! I am forty…..lets get naughty!!

This is for A to Z Challenge.

H for Home

HToday I am missing my home because I am far far away and will return to my nest only on Saturday.

As a teenage, I could not imagine myself as a wife and mother. I used to freak out even at the mention of household chores…..the cleaning, cooking, dusting, washing. I was careless, moody and rebellious. And I always chided for being so. The more my mother scolded me, more I rebelled (within certain boundaries) and became aloof to things at home.

But, here I am today married for 15 years and proudly claim that I keep my house in a wonderfully neat, clean and decorated. I am reasonably good cook, faltering only at times when I try out a new recipe. I am not averse to washing either 😉 I feel happy when the food I make delights my husband and daughter, when people compliment about my home, when after all chores are done I still find time for my hobbies of writing and drawing.

The house….doesn’t converse, doesn’t smile, laugh….it is so inanimate, yet we miss it !! Why? Does the house develops a heart tucked away under those bed sheets… in the warmth of the oven….in the chaos of crayons, pencils, erasers scattered on the study table, in the pictures hanging on walls, in the scents of aftershave, baby powders, in the carelessly lying wet slippers, sticky reminder note on the refrigerator……..and other such hundred small things?

The house must be growing ears and eyes too….coz it is reverberates with voices of small quarrels, little fights, sniffles, hugs, laughs, scampering feet, jubilant hurrahs, grumbles, passionate moans and kisses too!!

It must be developing hands and arms too coz it enfolds all into a one unit called family, it closes its doors on evil-eyes and keeps the secrets safely locked in its confines.

Yes, house is inanimate but the home is alive….and that is why we miss it because it is the most large-hearted member of the family which stays at one place waiting patiently for us to return.

This post is for A to Z Challenge.

G for Greetings!!

GHonestly speaking, I was so busy since morning today that I never got time enough to think what I would write for letter ‘G’ in A to Z challenge.

It was my daughter’s birthday… the twelfth (OMG how time flies…she was born only yesterday!) and she had made a long list of what she wanted for dinner today and lunch and how she wanted to take her friends out for a birthday treat and a hundred other things !! Phew!! I completed everything to her satisfaction and she has slept off with a happy face!

I remember celebrating her first birthday….it was more for our happiness than hers! She was happy to have her feed and sleep at her regular time. We had to do everything…the cake cutting, the photographs etc according to her sleep timings and her un-cranky timings! Once she was photographed to our hearts content, she slept and the party for adults carried on.

But today she turned twelve….only a year now that she will turn thirteen….A TEEN!! Now I have the difficult task of explaining to her about birds and bees, of mood swings, of developing body, of hormones, of being aware of bad men and their thought process, of PMS…of hundred things which might make her check her carefree childlike attitude, which might scare her of the big bad world, which might make her little apprehensive…..which will make her little guarded…little grown up.

I wish I could keep her childlike and innocent for few more years…to let her be free and bear her worries all by myself but the time won’t stop for me to relish her childhood any more. It is better I let her know what growing up entails.

She is one curious girl and wants to know everything as soon as possible…wants to wear my shoes, wants to do bigger chores in kitchen, wants me to let her be alone at home without a chaperone…she says she is a big girl now and not scared of anybody! But darling girl, how do I explain that I am !! I am scared of everybody and everything now that I have been a big girl since many years now. I am scared for her well-being and safety.

birthday goodies at homeYes! But today is her day and I don’t want to cloud it with my fears. So Greetings!! my little baby on turning twelve. Wish you a very Happy Birthday ! May all your dreams come true and you grow up in a calm, safe happy world! May God bless you!! Love you tonnes sweetheart!