When I Die

When I die

Dont cremate me

Give away the mortal remains

For the experiments of Science

 

When I die

Don’t shave your head

Instead remember the beautiful  memories

And let me live on; in your heart.

 

When I die

Don’t follow rituals

For my soul won’t need it

Cleanse your soul instead

And wipe out any hurt I may have given you

 

When I die

Don’t feed humans at the funeral

Its a race that’s let itself down

Feed animals instead

For they silently bore the burden of disasters we created

 

When I die

Don’t cry

Love me now instead

While I am alive.

~ Anuradha Chakraborty Chatterjee

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Shadow Parents

In my late thirties, I feel I have been blessed with the best parents in the universe ( i.e. if we also consider Aliens have parents 😛 ). At 5, I felt pretty much the same. In between there have been world wars, cold wars, civil wars, emotional wars and so on; with my parents. There have been times when I felt I had the most stubborn parents and times when I have felt that I am not worthy of being their daughter. Am pretty sure that my parents too must have gone through a roller coaster ride of guilt and pride, in their journey of parenthood. Thankfully we had my grandparents (maternal and paternal) around. They were the buffer system, as well as the catalyst; switching their roles as per the need of the situation. Grandparents during my times, were the natural bridges between parents and children; loving, caring, nurturing and most importantly guiding us and our parents with grace.

Imagine, during those conflicting years, the growing years, if we had not one but three sets of parents to deal with! And no grandparents!

That is exactly how it is in most cases these days. Confused? Let me walk you through the situation. With both the parents working these days, the children are left with their grandparents (which is very very good and healthy, far better than leaving them alone with maids). This change has prompted a role reversal of sorts, wherein the grandparents have taken it on themselves to be the shadow parents of their grand children. They have ceased to be the lovely, enigmatic, graceful grandparents who used to have endless tales to tell us. They are not to be blamed though, cause our busy schedules and lack of time has pushed them to take on our roles at home.

In all this mix up, it is our children who are suffering. They face three times the pressure of what we did (parents+paternal grandparents+maternal grandparents). Each set is thrusting their wishes and desires on the child. Each set wants to bring them up as per their rules and values, unknowingly creating conflict within the child. Whichever set the child tries to follow, the other sets usually gets offended, forcing the child to learn manipulation and juggling emotions at a very young age.

I say this not as an assumption and nor is this baseless. I say this as a counselor, after having observed this trend and studying the cases that have come to me.

A child needs its own parents; PARENTS ARE IRREPLACEABLE.

A child needs its grandparents and not shadow parents; GRANDPARENTS ARE IRREPLACEABLE TOO.

Lets stick to the roles we are meant to play in our child’s life and gift them a memorable, value added childhood.

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Freedom – A short story

Across the busy dockyard was a dusty by lane packed with rumbling houses, one of them being mine. The mornings and nights were incomplete without the ship honking and loud voices of sailors, ship men, cargo pullers;  not to mention the violent voices of men engaged in brawls. Silence was a luxury, however I quite loved this maddening noise, I would rather like to call it bonhomie. I was the youngest of the three siblings and undoubtedly the closest to mother. Mother, my sweet mother worked hard day and night to provide for us; we didn’t have the good fortune to meet our father, he was conspicuous by his absence. Although mother says he was a good man and leaves it at that, our neighbors have quite the contrary opinion; they opine he was often involved in brawls and was quite a trouble maker.

My elder sister, a beautiful girl on the threshold of womanhood, was the talk of the town. She was immensely beautiful and knew how to use her beauty to get things done. She loved all good things in life and was ready to do anything to get the riches and luxuries of life. Mother tried to discipline her but in vain, she stopped at nothing to get what she wanted. One night just before Halloween, she came to meet us for the last time. She had found a very rich house and she didn’t mind giving up her freedom for the riches. Oh! how I hated that old man whose arm candy she chose to be. Mother was shattered and I couldn’t bear to look at her. As if this wasn’t enough, fate had more for us in store. My brother who was an absolute gentleman and our pride was killed in a road accident, the very road that he has been crossing for years, the very road which saw him grow, the very road that got him home from the docks; were now the witness of his death. We were devastated. However life moved on and so did we. Mother was my pillar of support and I was the only reason why mother lived on. I let mother rest and took on the responsibility of fending for us, slowly we were coming to terms with our life and everything seemed fine.

One beautiful winter morning, on my way back from a stroll, I spotted that ugly old man with whom my sister chose to spend the rest of her life. I tiptoed to eavesdrop, I was shocked to discover that the old man had set his eyes on me and had come to take me with him. Once I saw him and my sister leave, I rushed home. To my dismay mother had suddenly taken ill and she wanted me to leave at the earliest, back then I didn’t realise that mother was on her death bed. I simply couldn’t leave my mother in that state. As the sun set and it grew dark outside my mother breathed her last, she had just one piece of wealth to bestow me with; she said ‘There is nothing more precious than freedom’. As I heard the footsteps of my sister, I ran as fast as I could towards the dock and towards the ship that was about to depart. As I rushed towards it I saw a bunch of stray hooligans staring at me, they laughed seeing my face filled with fear; and told me ‘We aren’t like the human, who cause harm to their own kind, go get a life!’. With a smile on my face and my head held high I walked aboard on the ship and with a meaww and a purr I settled myself and curled my tail as I embraced FREEDOM.

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A Leaf’s Journey (A small piece written by me. Published in Readomania site)

A leaf’s journey

The rains had decided to cleanse the city from dirt, dust, heat, pain, broken hearts and shattered dreams. The dark clouds gathered and roared and then the downpour began,  initially filling the city with the aroma of petrichor, slowly and unwillingly that aroma had to bid goodbye only to be replaced with the stench of rubbish that lay on roads and in people’s mind. She stood there for a long time staring at the raindrops make their way to her veranda. Rains invariably bring back a horde of memories along with them; it wasn’t any different for her.

The first time they had met was at a old and up market by lane of Mumbai, she had barely noticed him, while her friends were head  over heels in love with him. Then they met again, this time at a concert and he made sure she took notice of him. He stood by her side the entire night, talking to her, never letting her go beyond his possessive embrace, it perplexed her no end and she wondered why was she the center of his attention. Perhaps sometimes something’s are best left unsaid…

That night her happy soul had prayed to the sky and the stars and the moon to cement the bond which had formed unknowingly. The morning had brought with it sunshine and light, warmth and life but for some strange reason it had decided to leave love behind. The morning sun helped her see what she didn’t want to, at least not now; her responsibility towards her family for she happened to be the sole earning member. She knew she had to keep going, she had to support them irrespective of how much it hurt her, irrespective of how suffocated she felt at times, irrespective of the sacrifices she had made already. They met again and again and again for however hard she tried she could not rein the urge to meet him, every time she thought this will be their last meeting; until one day when he mentioned he would be moving to new shores in search of new opportunities. She knew then that it was indeed their last meeting, for she would not move with him, she had lives to take care of, people who lived only because she gave them hope and no matter how hard it was for her she would not desert the people who banked on her. He didn’t look back, for the lure of foreign shores was far too strong.

Undeterred she had continued her lone journey, and then one fine day she saw the silver lining in the clouds. She met that man, who was man enough to love her not just for her beauty but for the person she was, and respected her for her personal journey. As she stood there seeing the rain dance on the ocean she read aloud “Leaf’s departure is because of the wind’s pursuit Or because the tree didn’t ask her to stay ”, for the first time in years she felt content and thankful for the wind’s pursuit…

 

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Twists of Fate – A book review

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Mumbai-Kolkata-London. The three cities mentioned in this novel, and coincidentally I have lived in all three of them. It took me completely by surprise to see how well the author has captured the essence of these cities, especially Mumbai. The story revolves around three friends Sharvari-Parizaad-Nandani. Each of these characters are well crafted and are unique, in fact even the side characherts are very well etched. The book starts with Sharvari and her family and honestly I almost felt as if my childhood and teenage years were being replayed. There is one place which mentions Sharvari’s desire to buy a gold bangle for her mother and that is mentioned so subtly yet it draws home an important point – the sacrifices the middle class makes to bring up their children well. Nandini reminds me of the children’s classic story ‘Ugly duckling’, how beautifully the author has crafted this character who evolves as an epitome of true beauty in spite of facing all odds and emotional turmoil. With this character the author successfully points towards a very pertinent issue some of us face or gave faced at some point – body shaming, weight issues and a disturbing family life leading to low self esteem. At this point I must mention that the author did a brilliant job tackling this sensitive issue. Parizaad is a character who will hold you captive until the story ends, and her mother Mrs Tanaaz is truly endearing. Hold on there is more, the sudden disappearance of Pari and her mother will baffle you and the author yet again manages to weave in a small mystery there. Read the book to know more 🙂

The language used is simple and free flowing and thankfully unlike most debutant authors who use abbreviation, SMS language, hinglish; the author sticks to using proper English with impeccable grammer. The book is a page turner and will keep you hooked on to it. The book cover is good and the three butterflies on the cover is a nice way of representing the main characters of the book. The book is a celebration of friendship and life. This is one book that you must pick up for a good read. Kudos to the debutant author Priyanka Naik.

You can get a Copt from the link below.

http://www.amazon.in/Twists-Fate-Priyanka-Naik/dp/9350881004

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Robe, Robe, Robbed!!

Today my son and his friends had a drawing competition event at their school, they had to draw their perception of Incredible India! Now are you wondering what’s the connection between Incredible India and Robe?? Nothing in specific yet a lot. A few weeks or probably a month back I had mentioned in a post that someday I would write how respect and clothes are connected and this is precisely what I am gonna ramble about. We all (barring exceptions) are very particular about our home and we usually keep it clean and protected from strangers and scoundrels, we take pride in our home, isn’t it? Similarly we definitely must take pride in our body and not make it an object to be ogled upon – the operative word here being ‘object’. The moment we treat our body as an object, we are disrespecting it, if our thoughts are our identity, our body gives it a concrete face and the human identity and hence it is an extension of who we are. Clothing and clothing appropriately is a way of showing respect to our self, just the way we wouldn’t let strangers into our house, why would we let strangers have a free show of our body. Does it serve any specific purpose? May be my puny brain is blissfully unaware of it. Many argue that people will de-robe you anyway, in their imaginations, point is let them – that is beyond our control, but why will you de-robe yourself in the name of fashion and feminism (most feminists do not know an ounce about feminism, to some it only means counter attacking men and pitting women and men against each other and THAT certainly is not feminism!) and liberation!

Ask a child of any nation to draw a picture of their mother and father, 99 of the 100 will draw their parents properly and appropriately clothed, even the ones who see their parents in bare minimum, will still draw well attired parents. No one ever teaches children that this is how they should portray their parents but it is out of sheer respect that kids no matter what will always draw well clothed family picture.

As goes the age old saying ‘Be a Roman when in Rome’, and quite so; it is only logical to wear clothes keeping in mind the country and place we live in (again I am not saying that women covered from head to toe don’t get raped, that’s not the point). When I was a kid, we were taught community living as a part of the school curriculum (community here is not a religious community, instead it is the neighbors and the people around us). This helped us know how to behave in harmony with our neighbors, how to communicate respectfully with people around us, what are the things important in making a good holistic society. For some strange reason community living is no more a part of the regular school curriculum and thus maybe we have such a confused generation, miss matched society and mix n match community 😛 , absurd moral policing, and bizarre protest rallies.

Imagine two set of groups, one that has men women dressed in jeans, pants, suits, kurta dhoti, saree, salwar, knee length/ ankle length skirts (women included in the ones wearing jeans, pants). The other group wearing hot pants, see through tops, boxers, net tops, bikini tops, trunks, etc; and the country being anyone in Asia. Honestly which group of people will you look at respectfully? (Be HONEST to YOURSELF).

And that’s precisely why clothing is directly related to respect.

I hear a lot of people say ‘Bring up your boy’s well, teach them to respect women’, this a cliched line and I have heard tons of celebrities and pseudo celebrities say this. But isn’t it also necessary to bring up the girls well? Shouldn’t the line say ‘Bring up your children well, teach them to respect fellow human’?? And finally this is indeed Incredible India and like every other nation this nation too has its good and bad, so while we are a nation at work (read trying to progress, trying to shed bias and superstitions) let us take a closer look at ourselves and figure out if we indeed have any beliefs and thoughts or are we blindly mouthing the words we hear on air, all in the name of modernization and end up living a superficial life.

I end my blabbering with this – Before we pounce to de-robe the nation, community, world, society – Please robe thyself and don’t be robbed of thy self-respect!

Here’s a fun song 😉

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The Royal Bengal Detective

Source: The Royal Bengal Detective

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Eeww the Remedial classes

If the mother happens to be a chatter box does the son become a chatter box by default… Or is the clue hidden in the surname ‘CHATTERjee’… hmmm well my offspring has a chatter box for a mother and the surname too 🙂 thus he has a super potential to keep on chattering. And to be honest, I hate it when he chatters a little less. So today he gets down from his school bus and starts blabbering about the events that followed in his school, and then comes the highlight of the day, he reveals that one of his classmate has to now attend remedial classes. Just incase you thought that the little one was upset for his friend, well you are mistaken, for he was delighted that his friend was sent to remedial class, for my son perceived a remedial class as some sort of a puncture to ones prestige (which certainly is not the case, a remedial class always aims at helping students get better), and given the fact that this very friend has been gobbling up his tiffin for a couple of days , he was delighted that GOD himself was punishing his friend by sending him off to remedial classes. Kids can have weird logic at times and its hard to counter them!

Trying my best to be a good mother and impart good values to my offspring, I tried explaining to my son about these classes. Making it clear to him that going to a remedial class doesnt make someone a bad student, instead its a way or an opportunity given to the child to better themselves and who knows they might just manage to become class toppers if they take these classes seriously. Trying to make him understand why a student might not be faring well in studies; I gave him various reasons my peanut sized brain could think of. I told him, many a times the parents may have money in abundance but might not be well educated, in such a case the child due to lack of proper guidance at home, may end up with low grades; to which my son replied “Ma that means one doesnt necessarily have to study to earn money, is money more important or studies? I will work accordingly”. Clean bowled!! Pretending to ignore his question, I gave him yet another example, told him that many a times when both parents are working and busy with their professional life, it becomes difficult for them to spend time on a day to day basis with their children, in such cases though the parents are educated, due to lack of time they are unable to provide guidance or teach the child on a regular basis. As a result the child may have doubts regarding studies for which he needs help and the remedial classes will provide him just that. After some thought my son replied ” Oh I get it ma, GOD and his parents decided to punish him for the wrong he did to me, and thus they conspired together and packed him off to remedial class”. Stumped!!!!

Well I havent given up yet, and while I try to improvise my case and present it to him again tomorrow, I leave you with a drawing made by the little brat. 🙂

Pushkans tiger

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Lost in transition……………………

While the citizens of the world are thinking on important issues like refugees, climate changes, falling economy, the minuscule me wants to take sometime and think of the journey of a person, more so of a woman. (Me being a woman am obviously going to look at a womans journey 🙂 ). Firstly I have a strange question to ask – Why is it that when a daughter is born, we immediately associate her to wealth or lack of it and like wise when a son is born why do we associate him to being the torchbearer of our legacy or family?? Why cant we rejoice the birth of a new life and pledge to take care of it under all circumstance instead of already setting the stage for building pressure of different kinds as life slowly progresses.

As a daughter you are the apple of your fathers eyes and the darling of your mother, they will take utmost care to inculcate good values and give you good education. Money will be saved by crushing their small desires to fulfill a daughters wish and as you grow a daughters best friends are her parents. A daughter may have many talents and potential to fare well in life, she will have her set of best friends, her likes, dislikes, her own individual thought process. And then marriage happens; all of a sudden that daughter is a daughter no more, she becomes a daughter-in-law and a wife overnight. Men will now start expecting that their wife should eat, wear, think the way they do; all of a sudden the individuality of the daughter is gone with the winds. The wife may be sick but will still keep a smiling face, and no one will ever know she wasnt well, yet when she calls home to talk to her parents, they know just by hearing the voice that their daughter is sick, and the irony of it all is that as a wife and as a daughter-in – law you have to seek permission to meet your own parents or call them to your new house. And then baby happens, which is ofcourse is a beautiful moment. The pride of being a mother, the joys of doing little things for your little one will engulf you so much you wont realise when you ceased to be the woman you were brought up to be. Slowly your life will revolve around the husband and kids so much so that you will cease to be the daughter you once were. And the best of it is when your child will one day ask you ‘Mother whats your favourite colour?’; most likely you will ponder for sometime and reply back ‘My favourite colour is the same as yours’, and if you think its out of love then you are mistaken, for you havent realised it but long back while giving yourself completely to your husband and kids you actually forgot what you loved, what were your likes and dislikes, and importantly who you actually were!!!! And by the time you reach the end of the journey you started, you see that the wrinkles are all you are left with – wrinkles that time gave you, wrinkles that relations gave you, wrinkles that emotions and bonds gave you and yet you will be happy at the end of it all for atleast you did your job well, you built a beautiful family… while you yourself were lost is transition!!

And yet again I end my prate with a famous quote by Tagore ‘ She (Kadambari) proved through her death, that she was living’.

As a passing thought let me mention, I write this post, post reading a very touching novel, so dont you dare think that I am anywhere near to being lost in transition for I am blessed with great sets of parents and in-laws and a lovable child and ofcourse why forget the equally lovable husband 😉

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The Promise to protect no matter what! Raksha Bandhan

As a kid I often wondered was rakhi some sort of pleading, asking the brothers to protect you, for I always knew whether I tie the rakhi or not my brother will always protect me from the big bad world no matter what. Today when I think back, I realise how incomplete my childhood would have been had my parents not gifted me my brother. I was all of five when this little bundle entered my world wearing a black and grey shirt and my world changed from that day on wards. All the fights, secrets, joys, heartbreaks and above all love made childhood, teenage even adulthood all the more memorable. That one bond which i cherish the most, how often have I thought that my brother is my first baby and my own being the second one.

Now when I see my son growing up and so many of his friends who are also growing up as single child of their parents, I twinge with pain, for I know what my son is missing out by not having a sibling to love, care, share and fight. I know for sure these kids will never experience the beauty of a complete childhood. May be that’s why in today’s world its immensely important to stay connected with friends and relatives, for that way these single children will get a feel of having siblings by connecting with their cousins… makes sense??

Interestingly in today’s newspaper I read an article which mentioned that in a place in Kolkata, men tied rakhi to women pleading them not to use section 498A unjustly against any men. Though amusing, but it brings forth a very pertinent point, its not just women who need protection from all the men who ogle, eve tease, rape and thrash her, but its also then men who need protection from the very same reasons, the difference being men usually due to their sky high egos, do not report abuse done to them by women. We as human have reached a rock bottom, wherein we don’t even spare children form physical, mental and emotional abuse. And why forget the old people who are constantly fighting to live with their head held high since we humans are constantly trying to strip them off their dignity.

The entire human race- the good ones, need protection from the evil form of human race. We and only we can protect a fellow good human and thus ensure a better less evil world for our generation next.

I end my prate for tonight, leaving you with a poem by Tagore, which never fails to inspire me.

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