I sat panting and wiping my face on the chair in my parents house. I proudly checked the Garmin for my walk details. Kilometres covered proudly and the calories burnt. Coffee came as the ultimate blessing. Between gulps and moderated breaths, I heard the front gate creak. Someone came in. I looked up to see a wrinkled face. ..weather beaten with the sun and the frowns and creases a gift probably by the challenges life sets. She smiled. She had a pretty nose ring. It shone but not as bright as her eyes. I smiled back. She asked me about my health…kids…life and stuff. I nodded. I just came back from my walk I said. She smiled.
She put down her basket of jasmine flowers which filled the air with their lovely fragrance in no time. I asked her if she needed some water. She was grateful I asked her for that. I realised not many do….or even take time to talk or reply. Time is short we say….for what sometimes I wonder? Where are we all running to? How far?
She sat down and expertly measured the strand of flowers and put them on the door latch. She wiped her face with the saree pallu. I asked her how many houses she covers in the morning with the basket on her head. She said she doesn’t count. It’s the usual route… the routine doors. The same faces….vacations bring in new faces and old age dims a few she said. I nodded. It’s been years I have been doing this she said.
I have seen her and she has seen me grow up in my parents house and move away to another place when work and other things take us away from our roots. But when I am back here….she still greets me in the same way. She makes me feel I am home. She reminds me of the little girl in that flowery dress with two plaits clinging to her mother’s saree, smiling sheepishly at her.
When she tells me she leaves home at 5 and goes back by 11, I realise the amount of walking she does….with the basket on her head, and the sun shining mercilessly on her face…or the rains pouring relentlessly..or the cold winds blowing on her face. The smile remains.
And in that tiny moment…I realise what a huge fuss I make about the mere walking I do everyday….nothing in comparison to her…a walk which is not optional…but compulsory…a walk that decides her livelihood…a walk that feeds her family…a walk for her future or her kids…and now her grandkids.
I just hope and pray that she has the strength in her and the smile on her face and my vacations linger with the fragrance of her jasmine flowers….till my memory fades me
Nothing excites me than a change of scene. I am an impulsive person. Restless. The same angle..the same look does not hold my attention for long. Oh..that does not mean my married life is in trouble. One person sir..made my choice and he is my calmness factor in my life. The Zen. The Buddha Corner.
So, when I had a chance to renovate our house…I jumped at the chance. It meant so many drawings, doodling, shopping! Time to rack the creative shelf. A tour coming up where we pulled down the dining wall and managed a beautiful room for kids to study. We agreed that it had to be earthy and rustic.
Monday morning. The ever loyal alarm went off in the most annoying and persuasive tone. It took me 5 seconds to figure out from where the sound was coming and another 5 to switch it off. The whole 10 seconds were punched with disagreeing oohs and aahs from my family. I wondered why they were sad when it was me who always got up a good 30 minutes before anyone.
Now, the worst thing that you can do when you switch off the alarm is not waking up within the next 3 seconds. A very over confident me thought that my over smart brain would nudge me and wake me up naturally! Pun intended. It didn’t happen. I dozed off.
Suddenly a jolt woke me up. With one bleary eye, I figured out my son packing his bag. And there was bright dazzling sunlight everywhere. I thought it was heaven. I came back quickly on earth when my daughter threw a chop with her leg on my bladder which was already threatening to burst. I jumped up and landed like the flying Jatt in my kitchen, muttering under my breath, cursing the clock, monday blues(I don’t know why they associate such a lovely colour with depression..but today I better nod).
It was followed by heavy sighs, atta in my hair, motherly nods, disagreeing stares, why didnt the alarm wake me up thoughts, multitasking and cursing under my breath at the same time. Quick glances at the clock and stern ones at the kids followed. It was a riot..a tsunami. Uniforms, lunch and snack boxes, water bottles, reminders for sun screen lotions to be slapped on, plaits and shoes..all multiplied by 2. Sigh sigh…
One eye on the bus and another on the lift..the third..oh wait…I have only two eyes. Let the third eye stay closed…we managed to wave happy goodbyes and forced smiles….phew
Hubby very spiritedly went to the gym. I looked around and saw a carnage that my tsunmais had left behind. I sighed and tried to go through the mad, crazy morning. But nothing was that important and nothing came rushing to my mind…except two beautiful smiles. Two tiny words…Goodbye Ma…tiny rushed wave of those hands that hold my life…and I knew….that was what mattered. I sat with my cup of coffee and soaked in that beautiful morning….the sun smiled back at me
I recently read somewhere that when you have a child, you don’t only teach…you learn as well. Very true. It’s an old saying that ‘Child is the father of Man’. True again. I have two kids and even though as a parent I would like to think that I know all….I still learn a lot from them. To laugh at silly things in life, to forgive and let go, to eat and stay happy, to play with what we have and laugh without a care in the world, to fall and get hurt, maybe cry a little about it…but then get up stronger and wiser. Yes, all this and much more I learn from them.
Positive behavioural change is necessary for one and all. A step, little progress, and growth. Good habits form a good lifestyle. A better individual, a better person. A better family and a better society. And what better way than to learn good things when you are young. The earlier the better.
Keeping in mind the eagerness to learn and the spark to perform that any child is perfectly capable of and believing that education has to be fun, communicative and informative at the same time, Savlon, ITC’s leading hygiene brand, launched its ‘Savlon Swasth India Mission’.
Hygiene is a crucial factor considering kids and their eagerness to explore. Savlon has come up with these very interesting ‘Healthy Hands Chalk Sticks’. Launched on the perfect day, Children’s Day, their motive is to emphasise on the importance of washing hands before meals and how to make this interesting. These Chalk sticks are infused with cleansers like soap, which turn to lather as soon as placed under water.
Chalk and slate board are fun to kids. Hands are used to write and erase the chalk dust. So with limited and quick water supply, access to basic hygiene is a challenge. These chalk sticks make the mundane process fun and interesting and no doubt a benefit to one’s health.
So when learning something when it’s fun and beneficial is a double score. Not to mention the boost to health factor by washing one’s hands before meal being emphasised in a fun way. Savlon scores either ways. And their target of ‘Healthier Kids and Stronger India’is not a dream.
By Shilpa Kulkarni
Image Courtesy: Savlon India
Here is the link address to learn more about this mission:
Its been long that I have written something here. Amma brought a lovely lantern for me for Diwali knowing my craze of artifacts. She wrapped it carefully in her old cotton saree. Once I got home, I unwrapped the lantern and hung it in my balcony. It looked lovely…as if it always belonged there. Then my eyes fell on the saree.
I kept it in the laundry basket for wash. I forgot about it. It was a very old cotton saree. After a few days, I saw it lying crumpled in the basket. I took it out and gave it a good wash. Then I hung it dry. Forgot about it till evening.
The setting sun had thrown its warm and beautiful sunlight all over the balcony. The breeze played with the chimes. I looked up to the most beautiful and nostalgic memory that I have of my mom. The bright yellow saree put the sun to shame. Tiny hand embroidered designs in green mocked my green plants. The bright red thread work on it challenged the redness of the sunset. It blew and danced in the window. I couldn’t take my eyes off it. It seemed to beckon me. It smelled of fresh detergent…but along it that came flooding to my mind childhood memories. Memories of my mother’s perfume…the pickles that she made, the food that she lovingly cooked for us, her standing in her prized garden trimming the shrubs, her curly defiant hair all over her face, the aroma that cuddled me as a baby and I realised that my eyes were wet.
I went to it and hugged it with all the love and warmth a child could seek from her mom. It embraced me back. And I longed for amma who is 600kms away from me. In my native place..sending over all her strength..her blessings and happiness to me. Her daughter.
This saree amma means so much to me. Of all the happiness and sacrifices you have done for your kids. The strong living example that you are. The warmth that your smile brings to us. The firm nod of your head and the stiff upper line that still makes us stop when we are about to do something wrong.
I miss her so much. I long for her. That day I was that little child who yearned for her mom..that touch. I ll visit her soon I know. But till then…I will continue to miss you amma.
It was a routine call with amma. An everyday thing. Today was albeit different. I sensed excitement in her voice. It was unusually chirpy. We must go to Dubai she said!
It took five minutes for me to put things into place. An Alumni meet with her batch mates. Some of them whom she would be meeting after 30 years! Those years, those memories, the talks and the banter, the joys and tears all came running back to her and she managed to rope me in this whole episode effortlessly.
My ever indulging hubby was happy to play the part of Daddy Dearest. Things were as smooth as butter when he assured me that the kids would be fine. It is just for a week he said. I gave in. The next thing I knew was I was on the weighing scales. Now, now before you all jump to conclusions, I was weighing my check in bags. And the next thing that comes to my mind is me pressing my nose against the window pane on the flight wondering at the creaminess of the clouds. I was going to meet amma at the Bangalore airport.
Squeals and hugs and back slaps and nudges galore! A group of 120 doctors! Huge grins plastered on their beaming faces and smile is contagious. Whoever said that is so true. I realized my cheeks were hurting as I had this stupid smile on my face looking at the young at heart crowd hugging each other in front of me. They were parents and grandparents, but in that moment, the time machine flew back into a realm of nostalgia. I felt very old standing there. I was mesmerized by the energy and enthusiasm these people had and I realized we all need to let go at some moment and smile at the rainbow.
They had met and seen each other after a period of 30 long years. The walls were painted with memories of years that had gone by. Bell bottoms and flowered shirts, oiled plaits and skirts, secrets tumbled out of the closet which had some grinning and some blushing. It was so lovely to see that reunion happen right in front of me and I was the adult there. Trying to convince everyone that it was too late and probably time to switch off the lights and go to sleep. I agree, I sounded so boring.
The flight to Dubai was filled with laughter and merriment. The stewardess gave us a knowing smile. The smell of heavenly home made ladoos filled the air. There were happy faces all around me and the seat belt did very little to control the enthusiasm and keep them grounded in one place.
The next week flew by. At super sonic speed. Breakfast at the hotel was fun. Food tasted better with smiling, known faces around. The ears were pampered by native language. Appetite naturally got better. It was a huge family of 120! It sounded like the ‘Summer of 69’!
We went around beautiful Dubai for a week taking in the wealth and royalty the place has to offer. It is a shoppers paradise. An architectural marvel. A place where gold shines a different shade. A deeper luster. Sky scrappers kiss the clouds. The roads a delight. Cars to die for. Where the Police struts around in Bugatti and Pizzas are delivered in Ferrari. And markets and Souks for that extra hop in the step and a dazzling smile. Does the glitter and glamour of gold souk hurt your eyes? Don’t worry, you have an array of designer shades to choose from… for the TLC your eyes need.
Dubai is a city in the United Arab Emirates known for luxury shopping, ultramodern architecture and a lively nightlife scene
The calmness of the enchanting Sheik Zayed Mosque to compliment the roar at the Ferrari World, the greenery of the palatial palaces to the eeriness of the sand dunes, the old souks and the fish nets against the sky scrappers and the gold ATM machines. The old Heritage Villages and the magnificent Burj Khalifa which challenges the clouds. The hot deserts and the cold indoor ski inside the Mall of Emirates.
Sheik Zayed Mosque
Sheik Zayed Mosque
Swaroski Chandelier at Zayed Mosque
Dubai has a wide platter to appease all taste buds and it was a memorable trip for me to see my amma with that extra sparkle in her eyes.
We moved around Dubai in our tour bus. Peeping out of the windows like kids. Singing songs and talking at the top of our voices. Taking in all that Dubai had to offer. Marveling at its beauty and grandeur. The Camel rides and the spine shattering Hummers on the sand dunes. It took me some cajoling to convince ma that our camel was safe and well behaved and was not chasing the other camel! Matchmakers…comes naturally to our parents…doesn’t it?
The Atlantis, Burj Al, Yas Island, Dubai Mall, Mall of the emirates, Miracle Garden, Ferrari world, Emirates Palace are the shimmering gems in the crown of Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Abu Dhabi, Dubai’s cousin is richer and greener when it comes to comparison. Two kings rule these two gems of UAE. The decisions they take are final and they enjoy immense power. But the citizens are happily provided for. Everyone including the king follows the same set of rules that common man follows and I guess life becomes so simple.
When it was time to say goodbye, surprisingly my heart felt heavy. I had made some new friends during this trip, learnt new lessons, spoken new words…it felt sad to tear away from all this. But as they say, all good things come to an end. It was a mushy good bye at the airport where after a week of banter and laughter, we all went back to our lives. This was a dream that I didn’t want to end, but when I woke up I was glad I dreamt about this and lived it.
Cheers to the Batch of 72 which made me realise that age is just a number. The hearts are young, so is life. Live on and dream on…….
Some glimpses of Dubai and Abu Dhabi through my lens
Comfort zone. Everybody has one and everybody wants one. It can be anything. Relaxing, unwinding and comforting. Home Decor is my cup of tea…or lets say coffee…keeping alive the coffee buff in me. It makes me happy, it makes me come alive. It rejuvenates me. My spa therapy.
I raise many eyebrows. Many questions unanswered. A big question mark on their forehead when I buy something. Where are you going to use it they ask… That question to me is infinity. There are endless possibilities to that answer. I smile and walk away. I know and my heart knows.
It all started when I was in Dharwad. A sleepy, beautiful town in North Karnataka. My native place. Known for its mouth watering Pedhas and Jowar Rotis. Chutneys galore. The Matka Dahi or ‘Yoghurt in a earthen pot’.
The morning fog and the evening ragas. Home to renowned singers. They say the soil has music in it. It does. It resonates of the rich culture and heritage I am proud of. In Pre-independent India, Dharwad was a part of what was called ‘Bombay-Presidency’. With citizens fluent in the various regional dialects of Kannada and Marathi, the Dharwad region’s cultural life blossomed with some of the finest poets, writers and thinkers of the 20th century. Hindustani classical music is a genre that inspires a possessive devotion among people from the region. Gems like Pt Kumar Gandharva, Pt Bhimsen Joshi, Pt Mallikarjun Mansur, Pt Basavraj Rajguru, Vidushi Gangubai Hangal, Pt Venkatesh Kumar, Sawai Gandharva shine from the soil of Dharwad.
Coming back to my treasure hunt. I always love shopping for hidden hauls in Dharwad. You stumble across the most gorgeous, rustic pieces in the markets or in ancient homes that have stories to say. Stories of the glorious past with furniture and architecture to boot.
Curiosity took me to a saw mill. Saw dust flying everywhere, workers working with their strong hands, carving beauties one after another. Sweat on their eyebrows and intensity on their faces. Their pain drowned in the whirring sounds of the machine. I saw beautiful wood. Logs, stumps, trees and branches. Teak, Sheesham, Rosewood, Neem and many more. Huge, heavy and royal. I love wood and marvel at its natural beauty. The smell, the rings on it and the majestic barks.
I followed the workers around. They were amused by my childlike curiosity. The twinkle in my eye. I listened with rapt attention about the variety of wood, their traits and stories. I love the majesty of Teak and the smell. I ended up getting discs of Teak, carried them home with sawdust in my head and happiness in my heart. Oh and yes…a little jig on the way.
I don’t know what I am going to do with them. That’s me. The uncertainty and the chaos. The impulsive streak. That untamed spirit is me. The Sagittarius in me. Stay tuned for more.
Creating unity isn’t always easy when everyone around us is different. Yet unity is a commandment. It is the order of Life. And Life has a huge color palate of its own.
Everybody is unique in their own way. Everybody is special. Unity is strength and diversity makes it special.
It is like a box of crayons where all colors are different, but when brought together are as splendid as a rainbow. A grey needs a happy yellow, just like the purity of white needs the passion of red.
God made us all in such unique and special ways that we all get to admire the diversity in each. How boring and monochrome life would be if all were to be the same. Race is different, so is the gender. The background where we come from, the values imbibed in us, our habits, religion, the way we lead our lives, everything is different. But it is a strong culmination of these wonderful traits put together in a cup, when the flavor hits it. It’s a happy storm that can brew in this cup called ‘Society’.
It is no doubt a challenge bringing about all these diverse elements on one plate. Bringing about all varieties on one platter. Absorbing the positive traits and making them strong. Maybe that is why they say, ‘Variety is the spice of life’.
Would a music concert be complete with one instrument? Would the recipe be delicious with one ingredient? Would the rainbow be as lovely with just one color? Would the world be such a lovely place without the blues and greens…even for that matter the greys? The answer is NO!
We need diversity. We need different elements. But yes, they must all blend together beautifully stand united and proud. In their best stone work, the Incas didn’t use mortar. They fit the stones together so carefully that there isn’t enough space to slide a piece of paper between them. This extraordinarily close fit is possible because these master builders were able to see a place for each stone and how it should be shaped to fit the overall plan.
Everyone likes being unique. Likes their own style and their own opinions. But still it is interesting to go in search of people who think different, who are diverse. If one would have been happy with people who thought in exactly the same way, then the mirror would have been a better option, to sit and stare. But we love the window and not the mirror.
The Unique way in which different strands of DNA unite, the same that can create a alpha or superhuman. Two unique souls uniting as one, each different in its own way, yet strangely complimenting each other. Like the rails. Two parallel lines that will never meet, but both very essential for the train to run.
The motto here is to bring about all colorful and vibrant, positive personalities into a whole to make a person that is uniquely you.
Our diverse values and emotions must be bound together with a common aim of making the world a better place. No matter how different our energies are, they must be channelized in a positive stream. In the projects we do, the actions we perform and the way we work. Unique. But definitely united.
So, being Unique is God’s gift to us. Getting United is what we can offer the world. Think about it.
One afternoon when I needed a bit of jazz and was almost killed by boredom, my mobile beeped. There were some pictures sent by a friend. I sat up immediately. Felt blood rushing to my face…my heart beat faster. There in front of my eyes, were beautiful, aesthetic pictures of a beautiful home. I hadn’t met that someone yet, but I knew we would click. My type…was my first impression.
My friend asked if I wanted to have a tour of her house. I never told her that I already had my shoes on. Next day morning she said, and I sailed happily through the day, looking forward to the encounter….a friendly one.
“TING TONG”….the doorbell screamed. A tall, attractive lady with stubborn locks of hair opened the door. My eyes are super fast in scanning things trust me. Especially when its home decor. I took in her house even before stepping in and fell in love with the earthy tones and the aesthetic appeal.
I did say Hi…did I before barging in?
Meet Pratibha. Her beautiful house is a reflection of what she is. Grounded, simple and earthy. She runs a playschool in Mulund and believes in simplicity. Bringing outdoors inside the house is her magic mantra and home decor her forte.
She has heirlooms passed on from her great grandmother and polished and preserved by her.. and every piece in her house has a story…..
Homes are made of love, dreams, hopes, laughter and personal touch. Pratibha has beautifully implemented all these in her lovely house. End of the day when you go home, calmness and serenity are what one expects and this I guarantee from Pratibha’s house…..Keep inspiring.
Here is a tour of her house..through my clicks…
A warm welcome with a lovely pic of Buddha
The picture of Buddha was picked up at BKC and the plant holder used to hold antique handis and pots….how innovative. Pratibha belives in simplicity. To her, her grandmother’s handi is as pricless and loyal as any high end artifact.
This lovely breakfast table from Fab India is light, mobile and gorgeous. Smart buy!
The warm living room.
Flanked with a ladder Pratibha brought and painted, wall shelf from fab India holding lovely brass antiques, Gorgeous cane lights that bring the room to life, and the swinging chair to swing away the blues. Clutter free is what I thought when I entered her home, beautiful!
This stunning chair is from Mother Earth…rustic, charming and comfortable. Sitting royally in the Living Room.
Restored floor carpet, hanging proudly as this window blinds.
Throwing away old broken things are easier… but bringing them back to life is a challenge that she loves and excels in. Like this wooden floor carpet. When it threatened to give away, Pratibha rescued it by turning it into this lovely window blindsin her bedroom.
Antique cupboard shining in all its glory and splendour in the guest’s bedroom
A gorgeous settee from Mother Earth….vibrant! Jazzing up the bedroom!
Great Grandmother’s priceless gindis flaunted proudly on shelf from Fab India
A lovely open kitchen…full of aesthetic appeal and timeless beauty. The huge mirror reflects the beauty in its own style.
Home is where the heart is…and I see the love and passion she shares for home decor and I see it being reflected everywhere in her home. Happy reading!
‘You are growing up. Growing up real fast. Physically, mentally and emotionally. You can reach up to things that were on the top shelf. You can run faster. You can speak better, think better. Your eyes have that added twinkle, your smile is more mischievous….that single dimple shining on your cheek is more impish….we all have one..that’s our lineage. You run your hands a lot in your hair when you talk. You get annoyed too soon when I don’t understand you. You walk away easily, when I try and talk to you. I know…you are growing and fighting your own battles. We all did. You tap that foot a lot more, impatiently. You shrug those tiny shoulders a lot. Tiny? I know…..
You get embarrassed when I hug you in front of your friends, you take away my hand when I run it in your hair. The spikes won’t stand you say. I nod. You find their jokes more funny. You want to spend more time with them. You find everything reasonable about them. You are growing up, I know….
Your eyes are red. Your head hurts. Your tiny palms are burning(They will always be tiny to me…..always..those tiny palms that once tried to pluck off my nose...sniff sniff). You look at me and I know you need me. I sit next to you….and you lie down on my lap.
Time stands still. I know you will be ok. I have taught you how to fly. You have wings and one day, you are going to. Fly well and conquer the skies, chase your dreams.
You are sleeping. Your body cuddled against mine. Hot.You will be ok. You ask me to run my hands in your hair. I do. Then you look at me and say, ‘Ma, I love you.’ And I know…Life is good….