Have you noticed these Badass Bollywood mothers

Bollywood is synonymous with the Indian life. Since the late 1900s, the Indian film industry has been churning movies and music which have influenced the Indians way beyond its usual entertainment quotient. The characters and images from the movies have created such a long lasting effects on the Indians psychology that its sometimes hard to separate the two. We have created idols, icons and even Gods out of the Bollywood actors and actresses. Being the industry which creates the biggest number of films every year, it is also recognized today for its realistic and quality content.

Just like some characters of heroes, heroines, villains and comedians which have become iconic because of their widespread popularity since many years, there are some women characters – especially those of mothers which have achieved a place of honor in our hearts for the extremely realistic, intense and sensitive portrayal of their roles. These women – who are actually strong and multitalented in their real lives as well – have enacted the characters with great aplomb and grit. Some of them have been very unconventional and might not be the ideal mothers everyone can worship.  But they have tried to give something new and different which in its own way created their identity. Below is the list of 10 such badass Bollywood mothers. Read and enjoy.

1. Shabana Azmi:

First and foremost who comes to mind for being the most badass woman and mother on the silver screen is the multi-talented and versatile actress Shabana Azmi. Be it the mafia leader Rambhi from the Godmother (1999) or the subtle Indu from Masoom (1983) or the Anjali from 15 Park Avenue (2005) or the recent Rama from Neerja (2016), she has played variety of mothers with conviction and courage. In her real life as well, she has been a consistent activist for the betterment of slum dwellers. She deserves to be the numero uno on the list without any other competition

2. Jaya Bachchan:
She played sublime and calm Hazaar Chourasi ki Maa in 1998 who comes to know that her son was a naxalite. Our hearts cried for her pain. Then she was the traditional, pati vrata, compassionate and affluent maa in Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Ghum. She played the exact opposite, modern, liberal yet again compassionate Jennifer Kapoor in Kal Ho Na Ho. In real life, she is this doting mother who left her career for her kids yet maintained her strong personality. She is our number two badass mother

3. Ratna Pathak:

She was the loud and outspoken die hard journalist mother in Jane tu ya jane na, who kept on fighting with her husband’s spirit. She was truly royal in Khubsoorat (2014). Then again she played Sunita Kapoor in Kapoor and sons and showcased the imperfections and vulnerabilities of a simple middle class mother. And of course only she can be the legendary MAYA SARABHAI. Period. When she is not acting, she is a dedicated theatre artist and she has graciously taken Heeba – Naseeruddin Shah’s daughter from his first marriage under her wings. She deserves a high ranking in the list.

4. Hema Malini:Remember the strong, loud, possessive and power hungry Dugeshwari Devi from Jamai Raja? It was the first time a woman had played a mother in law who rages war against her own son in law. She was evil yet we loved the beauty in it. Then in 2004 she played Maati in Veer Zaara. Even in 3-4 scenes she stole our heart with her love and naughty tu-tu-mei-mei with Amitabh Bachhan and then finally it was Puja Malhotra in Baghban when all of us cried buckets watching her misery. She has been a dignified woman and a single mother in Bollywood when it was not fashionable to be so. She will always remain the most beautiful badass mother Bollywood has ever had.

5. Waheeda Rehman:She was the daayi maa in Lamhe taking care of first Naren and then Pooja. She expertly dealt with the complexities of being a daayi jaan yet experiencing the pain of a real mother. “Tumhare bina to mei khud ko dikhayi nahi deti – na aadhi na puri” says it all. Then again, she was this innocent and emotional mother of three sons – Om Jai and Jagadish which she played with aplomb. Finally there was Rang De Basanti and the whole nation wept when she sung “Lukka Chuupi bahot hui samne aa janna”. The way she has aged so gracefully even with her white hair and wrinkled face, every woman would want to follow in her footsteps. She makes a badass grandmother along with being a great mother.

6. Kirron Kher:Very few people know about the film Sardari Begum (1996) when Kiron Kher played the titular role of a singer and courtesan. It was just her second film but she was able to reach incredible heights with her brilliant acting range. The struggles, the complex emotions and the grief she portrayed was extremely moving. After that she has played numerous mothers in Mei Hu Naa, Devdass, Rang de basanti, Dostana, Kabhi alvida na kehna, Om shanti Om which are totally different from each other and which show her prowess as an actress. She is also an active member of the Rajya Sabha and an extremely beautiful woman as well. She is one of our all-time badass mothers.

7. Dina Pathak:She played the strict disciplinarian mother in Khubsoorat in 1984. When other mothers were busy playing the pati vrata, subservient wives, she was the one who was in control of her emotions and her home. She was strong and also contributed to social work. After that, she played the naughty and confused Mrs. Srivastava in Golmal – a double role and showed her humorous side as well. She has been an important part of the 70s and 80s era and played significant mother roles. She is one of our badass mothers

8. Tabu:Who would want to ignore Tabu when it comes to meaty roles and strong women characters? Just like her other roles, Tabu has played badass mother in Astitva when she chooses to leave her son to redeem her individual identity. Think about Haider and everyone will agree that no one can give justice to the complex and layered character of Ghazala. Lastly – The Namesake and Tabu – Its inseparable. She is the best badass mother of modern times

9. Revathi:
Revathi is one such brilliant yet underrated actress of all times who deserves much more than she gets. Firstly, she beautifully showcased the frustration, angst and helplessness of a mother who has lost her young son in Kargill war in 2003 movie Dhoop. It was an intensely strong film and the control and patience she expressed clearly displayed her skills and her stature as an artiste. Then she was this simple TamBram amma in 2 states and looked beautiful in the traditional avatar. But her most celebrated acting has been in the 2015 release Margarita with a straw playing the mother of a girl having cerebral palsy. She had few scenes but the effect remains forever. She definitely deserves to be one of the top badass mothers.

10 Sridevi:
Finally, no one can beat the beautiful yet confused, simple Maharashtrian mother struggling to learn English from English Vinglish? Sridevi reached a new high in her career with her portrayal of Shashi and the role will go down in the history as one of the most underrated yet iconic mothers of all time. Of course, otherwise also, Sridevi has been a badass mother bringing up her two daughters with strength and dignity.

 

Toddler Temper Tantrums Terrible Twos

Open WhatsApp first thing in the morning and one can find numerous quotes, pictures, messages and GIFs praising and glorifying the “MAAs”. Especially we Indians are a pro when it comes to transforming our mothers into perfect goddesses full of compassion and love. One such message today read something like “A mother always understands what a child cannot say” and I thought it cannot get any wrong than this.

Mothers are just simple, imperfect humans who make mistakes by a dozen every day and learn from them. They are also equally clueless many times and often have to rely on their gut feeling and instinct while handling the children. And imagine if their kids are toddlers going through their “Terrible Twos”, then one can only imagine the pain the mother goes through with no solution in sight.

Just a couple of days ago, I was getting ready for office and was pretty sure that Narayani would be looking out for all the signs and usual changes in my activities to realize that her mother would be leaving her shortly. Yet, I made sure that she was not around when I changed and while leaving, she was tucked inside her Dadi’s room. But my bad and I forgot my keys inside the house for which I had to come back and when I did, there she was looking directly at me realizing in a fraction of second that mommy dearest had fooled her and was leaving her for full day. A split second of pause and suddenly the entire house was reverberating under the noise impact of her tantrums. She was wailing, shouting, throwing things around, kicking on the floor and no amount of consoling and comforting was proving to be any help. I was in two minds – whether to go to the office or not. Encouraged a little by her Dadi, I somehow freed my hands from her grip and left her – crying in her Dadi’s lap. I was just contemplating what just happened in the lift but the moment I reached ground floor, my mobile rang and I could just hear her Dadi asking me to come back in the middle of her loud wails and cries. I had no choice. I called by boss and informed her about my leave. I went home and clutched her to my heart. Almost 10 minutes after she stopped crying, I could still feel the minute hiccoughs which were coming up frequently.

It was after her second birthday when my daughter started throwing tantrums regularly and at unexpected times. I ignored them initially thinking them as some random mood swings. But when it did not cease even after two months, I smelled the turkey.

It just took me two days to come to the grand realization – The Dreaded Terrible Twos have arrived.

The next two days were spent frantically reading information and preparing myself mentally for what was to follow. After going through many of the stories of other moms, I finally felt that I could handle this. This was pretty common. But one week down the line, I realized the vanity of it all – no information, no knowledge, no preparation can be enough to prepare you for the “Terrible Twos”. At such points I felt terribly ashamed of the insufficient and absolutely inadequate child-rearing resources I had. In spite of tons of information and so much of support and love available at home, I was left helpless, incompetent and completely drained of my energy to handle the psychological and emotional upheavals of my tiny, little toddler. Through this entire roller coaster, I realized that the toddler is going through a metamorphosis – its apparent that the mother has to go through “hers” as well. The theoretical knowledge is not enough, she has to appear for the practical exam as well. She can do as many mistakes but in the end she has to pass without “passing out.”

It is almost six months now since my daughter started the drama. And I am now pretty much able to sustain it without having a nervous breakdown. Based on my own experience, here are some of the batons which I learnt all through the way to ensure your sanity during these testing times.

  1. It can last longer than you think 

Children in the age of 2-3 are going through a major psychological growth by learning and understanding their feelings and emotions. They are easily overwhelmed and frustrated when they are unable to express themselves correctly. They are even trying to make themselves accustomed to routines and even a slight change of environment can make them lose it all. So, the time taken by them to actually assimilate the entire influx of new emotions can be varied and it can last as long as two years. Be prepared and practice patience.

  1. No logic will work. Accept that.

Yes. Try console, comfort, bargain, negotiate, love, scare, do anything when your toddler is all wailing and shouting. Nothing AT ALL will work. Because the kid is not in the state to accept any more external stimulus. His mind is blocked. You have to let it pass. Period. The best you can do is hold him near to you as much as possible and assure him that whatever happens you are with him. If you try and scold him or leave him alone, he can get even more aggressive. He might also feel abandoned. So it’s important you be with him. Some experts also suggest to avoid eye contact and ignore his wailing completely. Your instinct is the best judge.

  1. Dont take the “guilty” trip.

This is especially applicable for working mothers as they can immediately get into the “this is happening because he doesn’t get enough of me” mode. The guilt, remorse, self-cursing etc etc all follows after this. Please stop. It is not your fault. In fact it’s not a fault at all. It’s a phase of every child and it’s normal. You have to understand that you are doing the best you can and will always keep doing it. What the kid is going through is necessary for his emotional and intellectual growth and in the process if you have to be a little practical and “cold blooded” it is ok. You are not actually depriving him of any of his righteous love and your company. Just hold on to your patience and practice meditation and you will be fine.

  1. Expect the unexpected.

So when you think that you have completely prepared for your trip to the super market and feel that there is no chance the toddler will throw a fit, you are in for a huge shock. The tantrum can happen anytime, anywhere irrespective of whatever preparations you have done. And it can last a tad bit longer than usual and no amount of bargain can work for sometimes. Yes. I know. It can be a nightmare – first to calm down the kid and then to deal with the embarrassment. But this is how it is going to be. You just cannot predict it and honestly there is no reason to get embarrassed whatsoever. Just think that majority of people in that supermarket have been parents themselves and they will quite identify with you when you try your best to get a hold of your baby. So just relax and put all your energy in pacifying the kid. Take him out at a comfortable, quiet place for some time and if required, even cancel your rest of the trip and go home.

  1. It will not have any negative behavioral impact on the kid.

Many mothers fear that this stubborn and adamant behavior in their toddlers might continue way till they become older. Some are even scared if their kids have any major psychological issues. But try always remember that this is just a phase. Like teens, like midlife crisis, like menopause, this is one of “Those” phases. And it will eventually and definitely pass. So do not take any of the toddler’s behavior to your heart and enjoy the phase. Even if it’s a tad bit tiring, it is a time when your kid is learning so many new things and experiencing phenomenal growth. So as much as possible, be a distant observer and relax.

 

The first beat of courage

Dear Gauri Atya,

I have been planning to write this letter to you since long. However, I could not muster enough courage to express my views about something so personal to you. In fact, we haven’t even talked about it yet like we talk about all the things under the sun. I have known this horrifying aspect of your life only through my Aai.

But today was the test of my patience. And I know it was end of your’s – when you came home in the morning uncalled. It is not in your nature to do something unplanned, impulsively. Whatever I have seen of you since my birth, you have been the most disciplined and organized person I have ever seen. I have learnt the meaning of punctuality, sincerity, consistency and hard work more from you than from my own parents. You have been my idol, my confidant and often my strength. And you know it well. But today – I saw my idol fall from its altitude, crumbled; with broken strength and shaken confidence.

I could see it coming since last many days – Aai mentioned it to me a couple of times. But I refused to discuss it further. Somehow, my heart did not want to believe that YOU – my brave Atya could succumb to the torture and abuse at the hands of your own husband. You have portrayed the graceful yet strong “Naayikaa” on the stage millions of times. You perform the perfect “Durga”. How could you be a helpless weakling in front of an unworthy, insecure man like the “Mahishasuraa”? You are the “Mahishasurmardinee”. And somewhere I hoped that just like the Durga, you could fight this and come out victorious. But life, it seems is not a dance composition.. The real Taal of life is made of some unpredictable Matra. 

Do you remember, 10 years ago during one of our dance classes, I had asked you why you looked so pale. It was the first time, I had seen you crying privately on the terrace. I was in my early teens and I had just started to observe and realize that everything was not so hunky-dory between you and Prakash mama. You just dismissed my question and put on that strong and cheerful façade on your face again. Sometime after that, I could see a blue mark on your arm. I asked you what it was and you told me – a fifteen year old girl – that it was a BURN MARK!! Seriously??? More than feeling sad for your pain, I felt undeserving – I was not worthy enough for you to tell me the truth.

But that was also the first time I could feel the horror – raw, undiluted horror – that something which I only read in the newspaper and heard about from Kaam wali bai is happening to my own dear Atya. I just could not process the information.

When I think it from the beginning, Prakash Mama had a stable job, he was good looking and earning really well. Everyone in the family respected him. But it was nothing compared to what you had always achieved. You were intelligent, ambitious, disciplined and confident. You also chose a creative career and became a dancer. You travelled a lot and received fame and admiration from all quarters. But the epitome of it all – you were extremely beautiful. Compared to that, Prakash mama was just an average man. Average and extremely insecure. And no self-respecting “Pati” or “Mard” can LET HIS WIFE go ahead of him and be more successful. It’s the ultimate insult. Isnt it? I don’t know when exactly the torture started. But the sarcasm, the taunts and the probing questions were always there since the time I remember him.

Just two years ago Aai told me about the “final development” of it all. You were going through menopause. Yet, Mama wanted to “do it’ – EVERY NIGHT. Leave aside caring about your physical and emotional situation, he had often forced himself on you. And that humiliation was frequently accompanied with slaps and bites and scratches.

You danced on the stage – expressing the divine love of Krishna and Radha when at home you were facing the worst kind of abuse at the hands of your own Krishna? You moved to the beats of the “taal” when your vagina was throbbing from the pain of your “betaal” life. You swirled with the music when there was no music left in your own life ? You stood strong in the flood lights when there was darkness in your heart ? You showcased the beauty, grace and dignity when your flesh and skin was turned hideous ??

HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO YOURSELF??

I am still miles away from the complex web of emotions you have felt. Neither do I want to probe you further and make you relive those torturous moments of your life. I even don’t have the capacity or worthiness to console you and make you feel better. But there is one thing for which I can see through you completely. YOUR DANCE !!

You have given me the legacy of your art, your dance – the wonderful, divine gift which has the love to melt stone and strength to break it as well. The exceptional moments when I was privileged to dance besides you, on that stage, amidst the thousand lights, the celestial music and the million beats of our Ghungaroos, I have been inside you. I have felt your each breath spreading warmth, love, determination and power. Your dance is not just spiritual but immensely magical. It has a heavenly healing power. And it just needs that first beat of courage and defiance. Just bring outside that first beat  – lying dormant somewhere; invisible amidst the darkness and give it the tap. And just experience the magic that will unfold. Believe me the “taal” will never end and the music will go on forever. It will be a complete and perfect “Sama” 

Of course, after the magic settles down, I will be standing there, waiting!! To see my “Durga” again and bask it her power.

Waiting with baited breath.

Your niece and disciple.
Saraswati.

This story is created based on discussions with some of my friends and colleagues. But it’s definitely inspired by all those unknown women who deal with domestic abuse on a daily basis. This is not a true story. I have known very few cases of domestic violence. So I would definitely like to read Meena Kandasamy’s book When I Hit You because it’s the best way I can respect the strength and courage of such women and go closer to what they actually felt.

#ALetterToHer

 

Meanings:

  • Atya – Paternal aunt in Marathi
  • Aai – Mother in Marathi
  • Taal – A compact composition of Matras(beats) in classical dance just like the octave in music.
  • Naayika – The female protagonist in classical dance
  • Mahishasurmardinee – The Avatar of goddess Durga who killed the demon Mahishasuraa
  • Sama – The last Matra of a dance composition. But technically its the first Matra of a Taal.

Why there is no end to Kitchen Work?

Weekends are a time for rest and fun for the family. But is it the same for the mother and the woman of the house??

Most of the women will agree with me that they dread the weekends. It’s time for double the stress and double the work. Because when all are busy spending their time idling around the TV or playing scrabble, the mother is busy in the kitchen catering relentlessly to the continuous and fancy demands of weekend food. The husband asks for “garma garam pakode” because its raining outside and the children want their weekly treat of mummy special paratha, pizza, chat, khichadi and what not. There are like millions of rounds of Chai and coffee and to add to it, when its just 10 mins before bedtime there is that last round of ice cream with chocolate sauce. And of course, there is absolutely no end to those soiled plates, pots, pans and glasses which she has to endlessly keep on cleaning to meet the next demand in line.

I really adore mothers who can keep their calm and enjoy during the weekends. Society praises working women who can handle work and home with a fine balance. But please forgive me for letting out a closely guarded secret. Working women just love their offices. Because, even if the work is stressful, it’s their time, its where they can relax and have 10 mins to themselves sipping a cup of coffee with friends.

Just last weekend, I went through one of the most exhausting Sundays of my life. Morning 7 am, I got the first shock of the day that it was going to be a “no maid day”. So a quick cup of coffee and next one hour was spent in jhadu, poccha and cleaning the last nights utensils. After which it was time for Sunday special breakfast. So it was “aloo ke parathe” which took another one hour of preparation time. Of course, after all were full, it was the second round of cleaning the plates and pans and the kitchen platform. Next was preparation for lunch. Thank god for a heavy breakfast, the lunch was light – dal, chawal, roti and simple curry (usually, being in a joint family, the Sunday is elaborate lunch with 2 curries, dal, a sweet, a salad, a chutney, a kadhi or buttermilk). By around 2 pm and a sumptuous lunch, it was the third round (scrub, clean, wash, scrub) and by 2.30, I was profusely cursing all the “wimbars” and “liquid soaps” and “scotch brights”. Not a single product can clean the pots as easily as they claim. It squeezes out all your strength and energy. By 4 o’clock it was time for tea, coffee. Then again the evening snacks and dinner and a couple of extra rounds of scrubbing and cleaning in between. By around 10 pm I was ready to go to the maid’s home, hold her feet and plead her to come back. At 10.30 pm when my nephew suggested that we have a round of ice cream – I SCREAMED !!!

I am often asked, what is your idea of vacation? To that I always say – away from the kitchen for even a day is a big vacation. It is not as if I hate cooking – in fact I love it. But it is the matter of all the ‘supporting tasks” that come with cooking which are a full “no no”. So actually cooking that vegetable pulav and enjoying the flavors is amazing. But what about chopping the vegetables, cleaning the rice and then cleaning the pots after cooking. I remember the hindi saying – “chaar aane ki murgi and bara aane ka masala”.

Can any man sustain the patience in cleaning and splitting the “Palak”, “Methi”, “coriander” every single week ?? I am sure the men will lose it in the second week itself. And what about peeling the “muttar (green peas)”, the pomegranates and the father of all – the garlic ?? YOU JUST CANNOT IMAGINE THE PAIN !!

It’s strange, how the extremely monotonous and tiring task of dishwashing has skipped out from the collective conscious of the entire Indian society. Because we in India are privileged to keep a maid to do this inconsequential job. Isn’t it? Where there are numerous brands of washing machines, why aren’t there even a single popular brand for dishwasher? Of course, considering the foods we eat, it will be almost impossible for even the best dishwasher to clean our stuff. Can any company claim to clean the tea making pot left with the remains of “chai patti”, “malai” and sugar stuck to its surfaces? NO. It requires “TAN KI SHAKTI AND MANN KI SHAKTI” both in liberal amounts to achieve this feat and only an Indian woman can do it. Period.

Similar is the case with pots in which we have made “ghee”, “khichadi” and “curry with a rich gravy”. Add to it the number of plates, bowls and spoons women have to clean only because we Indians make our curries and dals with liquid gravies. Along with cleaning the pots, the other task which takes center stage is arranging them in the shelves and trolleys which requires another half an hour everyday – more if there are more rounds of food on weekends.

Majority of Indian women can afford a maid now a days for many of the kitchen tasks. Some are privileged (and rich enough) to afford cooks. But only a woman knows that its not enough. The maid comes just ones a day and the kitchen (plus the woman) works round the clock. There is a limit to how much can a woman hand over to the maid at one time. For the rest of the day, it’s the woman and her kitchen all the way.

I have seen people (especially men) asking women what do you do in the kitchen – you have a maid for everything. At such times, I just sympathize with these women. People just don’t understand that the work in the kitchen is so regular and so varied, that a woman cannot get completely free from it.  If sometimes, she does delay or leave it, she is instantly labeled as lazy and careless. Isnt it?

So, my dear ladies – what is the solution to this never ending kitchen ka kaam ?

  • Ignore it – NO
  • Delay it – NO
  • Hire a full day house help – Cant afford it.
  • Take the husband’s help – Sounds good. But its risky as they might shock us with some unexpected extra task.

I think there are some ways by which we can achieve a good balance. But before I share them, let me just cut my aloo for the dinner. !!!

A day with Johnson and Johnson and BabyChakra

India is a country of traditions, bonding and loyalty. Since times immemorial, we have celebrated our family culture and the strong connection within. Many of our habits and things have been passed on to us from the generations within our family – our grandparents, our parents then to us. Since childhood itself, some things are intrinsic to our homes. Johnson and Johnson is just one such name we are fiercely loyal to and which is common to almost ninety percent of the Indian babies.

Since the time I remember, whenever there was any new addition to the family, the first question was “Johnson powder laya kya”. So much so that, we rarely thought of babies and the Johnson and Johnson (JnJ) separately. I often wished to meet the makers of these products I loved so much. Till now, the makers of this hugely popular products were alien to me. But thanks to BabyChakra and their collaboration with the JnJ, I was thrilled to be a part of the Best for Baby event organized in Pune.

BabyChakra is the leading parenting and mother’s platform which has achieved huge success in a short time with their hard work and dedication. JnJ is one of their major collaborators. So it was a delight for me to attend the Best for Baby event when I got the invitation. Of course, when I came to know that it included many of my dear blogger friends, it was even more exciting.

Recently, we all had also read a lot about the JnJ losing a case in the US and that its products contained cancer producing elements. So I was also expecting to get clarifications on a couple of questions which were formed in my mind.

The event started well on time and it was an extremely cheerful environment full of enthusiastic mothers and children. The ambience was beautiful and they had made sure that it was children friendly. The staff from BabyChakra was very friendly and to add to it, we were asked to freely use our phones. No restrictions no rules, just fun.

We were shown a couple of informative videos which explained the journey of BabyChakra and the humungous work they are doing. The host Deepali was the ideal enthusiastic, jolly and bubbly woman who made sure we all were involved in the program. All of us moms were divided into group of five and we had to do couple of activities together. In one of the games, we were asked to squeeze the liquid from a wipe into a test tube while in another, we had to actually wash some clothes in a bowl. We all felt like children once again and enjoyed the activities to the fullest. Not just this, but after the activities, we also learnt how JnJ takes high level of care to develop and produce their products.

Later Deepali explained, how due to absolutely false reporting in the media, there were some misconceptions regarding Johnson and Johnson and how the safety, trust and happiness of the customers is the highest priority for the brand. I agreed with her completely, because her statements were not just convincing but they also had a detail research and proofs to support her claims.

We were happy to know that the good, old, dear brand of our childhood has not yet changed and we would be able to use all the products happily. The entire range of new baby products recently launched was also highly useful.

All and all, it was a great event and at the end of it, I was fully satisfied and happy. I would recommend all the other mothers to go ahead and use the JnJ products freely. Also, please go through the below links to know more about the new range from Johnson and Johnson and also know about BabyChakra.

https://www.youtube.com/user/JohnsonsBabyIndia

https://www.BabyChakra.com

 

 

 

Private Security in India and the life of a security guard 

Scene 1: 

I go to a friend’s house and the security guard asks me to write my name, address, telephone number and the flat number and the name of the owner whom I have come to meet in the register and provide my photo identity card. When I refuse to give my mobile number I am asked to call my friend to let me inside. I wonder how we functioned before the invention of the mobile phones.

Scene 2: 

I go to a mall and at the entrance of the premise the security man asks me to open my bikes’ “dikki”. When I sarcastically ask him to check if there is a time bomb in it, he snaps back with a snide “aapne rakha hai kya? Agar rakha hai to bahar phodo. Andar mat le jao”. I am stunned and curse my bad timing. 

Then I go inside, at the entrance of the building, another security man asks me to remove my scarf, hand gloves and sunglasses. How does wearing sunglasses constitute a breach of security, I don’t understand. Again I am frisked by a woman security guard to check if I am carrying any weapon (imagine in a commercial mall where I am going to purchase bread and eggs.) I am scarred may be after a couple of years, the same woman might ask me to remove my shirt in the name of security check. And finally, now this is the epitome, my handbag’s chain is tightly locked with a plastic runner because I might steal something small and put it in my bag from inside the mall. Haa !! Who says “Atithi devo bhava” ?? 

Scene 3: 

I go to my office. Every single day I flash my identity card, at the entrance gate of the building.  I scan my handbag, my tiffin bag, then provide my laptop pass and land up at my divine destination – my desk. Not to mention the CCTV cameras installed at every 5 meters to keep a watch on me every single minute. 

Scene 4: 

My blood boils when in my own society at the entrance of my own apartment, the security guard asks me “Madam gadi ko sticker lagao. Nahi to entry nahi milegi”. I feel like smashing his head on the wall. But alas, I obediently go to the security office and get a sticker for my bike, gulping all the “beep beep” words. 

At all these places, the one extremely worrying factor is the attitude of our hard working security guards. Has anyone ever seen a happy and pleasant guard with a smile on his face? Fat Chance !!! 

Ever wondered why ?? Because they are in one of the toughest jobs in this country.  It is always easy to blame these helpless people for the security lapses. It was a national news when Rasila Raju from Pune was killed by the security guard. Of course murder is an unforgivable crime, yet isn’t it necessary to understand the background and the psychological reasons why these cases happen?

Majority of security guards in the tier I cities are youths from poor rural families who cannot afford education and have to start earning early in their lives. They come to cities in search of employment. Mostly, they stay in shared and rented accommodations. Many times 8-10 people share a one room kitchen apartment (half at night and half during day) to save money. The work shift usually stretches beyond 12 hours. No proper breaks for food, unhygienic sanitation, insufficient rest, changing shifts, lack of medical help, meagre salaries and most important, heavy physical exertion in extreme weather conditions all leads to huge resentment and frustration. It is no surprise that these people are irritated and angry most of the times. And especially when they see rich people working in AC offices or shopping in fancy malls every day of their lives – one can imagine their misery. 

The private security industry in India is valued at INR 40,000 crore in 2016 and is expected to become INR 80,000 crore industry by the year 2020, says the Grant Thornton FICCI report – Private security services in India. The report further says that the private security industry in India provides employment to more than 70 lakh people and is expected to further generate 50 lakh jobs by 2020. The report also highlights some of the challenges that the industry currently faces. The PSAR (Private Security Agencies (Regulations) Act, 2005 enacted for the private security sector (PSS) is not yet implemented uniformly across the Indian states. In March 2017, labor minister Bandaru Dattatreya said that the Centre will fast track the process of according ‘skilled worker’ status to security guards of this country. This will entitle them to a minimum monthly wage of Rs 15,000 and Rs 25,000, respectively. Hopefully, it will bring in some positive changes. 

So, what can be the future of security in our country ? Is it really worth it ?? 

Firstly, in the name of security, we are creating a distrustful, obsessive and paranoid society for ourselves which is leading to more insecurities. Secondly, we are not empowering enough the actual people who are entrusted with our security. The guards don’t trust us and we don’t trust them either. PAH !! 

Finally, in spite of the humungous measures, there are multiple loopholes which can be breached if someone seriously intends. Bomb blasts happen, terrorist attacks happen, people die in spite of the whole gambit of security. Period.

Just yesterday, the man at the billing counter of the mall forgot to remove the magnetic pin from the new kurta I purchased. But shockingly, no one at the security noticed, neither the alarm went off. I realized it when I reached home and now I have a more difficult task of convincing those people that I did not steal the kurta and snapped it out of the mall when no one was watching. Strange. Isnt it ??

Security is necessary, of course. But its time to make it more people friendly – for both the customers and the guards as well. But it will take a long time for that to happen in India. Till that time, 

Order everything online 

Buy a home theatre and watch movies at home 

Don’t go meet friends, just call them and chat on whats app

Work from home 

Choice is yours !!! 

Why do sons abandon their mothers when they start earning ??

Shalini was looking at her reflection in the huge antique mirror of her exquisite family suite at the Taj Vivanta resort, Goa. The Satya Paul designer saree, a gift from her son Nikhil looked nice on her though she would have much preferred the traditional Maharashtrian Paithani. The makeup was something to match the designer saree and good enough to hide the wrinkles on her face. The jewelry and hairstyle were in sync with the saree and the overall style of the wedding. But all this paraphernalia couldn’t just camouflage the layer of grief on her face.  It was just a few hours before Nikhil would take the wedding vows with Natasha. And Shalini was yet not sure if she was happy about it.

She had felt the same way some 10 years ago, when Nikhil had got admission in BITs Pilani for Computer Engineering after his HSC. Everyone in her family was ecstatic but Shalini was the only one anticipating the evident pain of separation with her son. It was Nikhil’s first flight. But was it also the beginning of the drifting apart ??

Nikhil, born five years after Shalini’s marriage had always been an intelligent child. Being the only child, Nikhil got pampered from his father Bhaskar, grandparents, relatives and friends as well. But Shalini very consciously ensured that the pampering did not go to his head. She gave him an honest and balanced upbringing and always taught him to be respectful and considerate of other’s needs. Even Bhaskar was a mature father who explained Nikhil the value of his culture, tradition and family. Together they made sure that Nikhil turned out to be a modest, disciplined and intelligent boy well connected to his roots.

Nikhil excelled in his studies and was one of the merit students in SSC and HSC in Maharashtra board exams and also secured a seat in the prestigious BITS Pilani College. Bhaskar believed that they had good colleges in Nagpur, why to go to Pilani so soon?? Even if Shalini believed it herself, she thought its Nikhil’s life and she should not come in the way of his dreams and ambitions. So Nikhil went to Pilani and both Shalini and Bhaskar bid him good bye with heavy hearts.

The first few months were extremely painful for Shalini, yet she curbed her feelings thinking that Nikhil is happy and pursuing his dreams. When he returned for the first time during vacations, it was like Diwali – the festival of lights and happiness. Shalini spent all the days cooking and feeding Nikhil all his favorite dishes. Nikhil, starved of home food, gorged on it and also took back a bagful of snacks with him to last for a couple of weeks.

A couple of years passed by with similar excited vacations. But later Shalini realized that Nikhil was not happy when he visited. He usually spent his time on internet or working on some assignments. The three four week’s vacations were now short for just 4-5 days and those also were less frequent. Shalini sidetracked her doubts and supported Nikhil thinking that its tough to manage the difficult curriculum. She didn’t push him much now on the phone calls. Even the calls had started to reduce in time and after the initial pleasantries, Shalini realized that Nikhil would get irritated if she asked something trivial about his life, studies or life in general.

After the final year, Shalini thought now Niklhil would at least get good time to spend at home without worrying about studies. But Nikhil was immediately placed in an IT company and had to join work in one week. He didn’t make it to home and Shalini cried for the first time in four years. She felt Nikhil was drifting away from her somehow but she didn’t know how to pull him closer now.

Nikhil’s new job was extremely demanding and being a fresher, he had to give his hundred percent. Shalini wanted to be the emotional support for her son. Yet whenever she called, Nikhil would be irritated and didn’t share anything with Shalini. “Just leave it Aai. You will not understand” was his standard reply. At such times Shalini wanted badly hurt. Yet she kept mum and decided to give him his space. She was somehow hopeful that her son will come back to her when he was in a better state of his mind.

Days changed into months and Nikhil didn’t visit Nagpur for two years. Nikhil was transferred to Singapore now on a long term project. Shalini was proud of his achievements but she was shocked with Nikhil’s changing attitude now. Whenever she talked about coming back to Nagpur, Nikhil would unabashedly say that he doesn’t want to come back there. “What’s there in Nagpur? Its so hot and dusty. Besides, I don’t have any friends left there now. I will get bored. Why don’t you come to Singapore Aai?”

At such times, Shalini felt extremely lonely and abandoned. Why has Nikhil become emotionally distant from her? Was she a bad mother? Has she missed out on her son’s emotional needs and sensibilities? What exactly she missed out? Or it is the same with all the other mothers whose children have high dreams?

She started talking about this with some of her friends and sisters whose children were also learning or working in some other cities. But unfortunately, apart from sharing and crying over the fact for a couple of minutes, anyone couldn’t do anything else in this matter and Shalini was left with dealing with her pain all by herself.

After almost five years that Nikhil shifted to Singapore, he called to inform Shalini that he had found his life partner and wanted to get married. Till now Nikhil had shown total apathy towards getting married and repetitive attempts at asking him about it had failed miserably. So the mere thought of his marriage relaxed Shalini and she didn’t even feel like asking about the girl. Finally she felt happy after a long time and started the preparation with great excitement. She was also hopeful that may be she would establish the broken communication with the help of her daughter-in-law.

But that never happened. Nikhil never arranged for any meeting between his mother and his fiancé Natasha nor did Natasha ever call Shalini. Neither there was any meeting between the two families. Nikhil didn’t want any engagement. Before Shalini and Bhaskar could even start any discussion on the topic, Nikhil declared that it is going to be a destination wedding in Goa at the Taj Vivanta hotel. Even Bhaskar was deeply hurt by Nikhil’s behavior. Bhaskar wanted to have a grand wedding in Nagpur will all of their 500 relatives and guests. But Nikhil had declared “Only 50 people. Not a single more”. The wedding shopping was done partly in Singapore and partly in Mumbai. The little excitement and happiness that Shalini had felt also evaporated when Nikhil didn’t even call her for shopping. He directly told her to do away with their own shopping in Nagpur. It was the most painful day of her life – she couldn’t understand what she had done to not even get a consideration in her own son’s wedding preparation. Heartbroken, frustrated and sad, she somehow dragged the days to the wedding.

Finally it was the day of the wedding. Looking at herself in that antique mirror, she realized the hopelessness of her situation – she had somewhere lost her son. He had become independent and grown his own wings. The small and modest emotions of his parents did not matter to him anymore.

Even while thinking this, she could not fathom where exactly she went wrong. If given a chance, would she change anything in her parenting? She didn’t know the answer. She realized that she has now become an older generation – one with irrelevant values and rusted thinking. The thoughts she had were no more relevant to her son. In the process of holding on to the roots, she had forgotten to grow herself. The designer saree, the make-up, the hairstyle couldn’t hide the modest middleclass Maharashtrian woman looking at her so clearly.

She was a misfit – an outsider. Nikhil did not connect with her emotionally anymore, because even if she loved him so dearly, it was not enough to understand the emotional upheavals and turmoil he had gone through in his formative years. She was not able to support and console him as per his needs and that had driven her away from him.

She could now remember many of the incidences when Nikhil had tried to express and share his experiences and she had dismissed it because she wanted to ask him what he wanted to eat. Even during his vacations at home, when he tried to explain her the various subjects, topics and tests he had to take in his college, she had told him that she doesn’t understand it. She wanted to make up for all of it and talk to her son before his wedding, but she realized that it was too late now.

Finally, she went ahead with the preparations and the events with a sad heart and an artificial smile. Everything was beautiful and perfect and all seemed to be enjoying the wedding except herself. Both Nikhil and Natasha looked beautiful together and when she looked at Nikhil, she could see a beautiful spark in his eyes, filled with love and affection for Natasha, something which he had for Shalini some years ago. She was extremely happy for her son, if he is so happy with this girl, definitely she must be good. Finally, it was time for her to let go of her emotions and attachment to her son and move on in her life.

After five days of festivities and events, it was the day when Nikhil and Natasha were to fly for their honeymoon. Others had already left and it was just the six of them left – Nikhil, Natasha, Bhaskar, Shalini and Natasha’s parents. Shalini went up to Natasha and asked her to take care on the trip and keep in touch. Natasha also smiled back and hugged her and asked her to visit Singapore whenever Shalini was free.

At the airport as Shalini saw Nikhil’s flight take off – she felt a strange sensation in her heart. Her journey of motherhood had not yet completed – the climax was just starting to open. She now had to walk back on the path she had walked so many years ago when Nikhil was born. She now had to start untangling her sentiments from her son. She had to unwind and had to free her son. Just giving wings to her child was not enough, now she had to let him take his own flight. And at the same time she had to learn to just watch from a distance. It was going to be the most difficult test of her motherhood. But she was prepared to try.

Vaishali Restaurant Pune- serving crap food yet earning in gold


If you have lived in Pune for even a fortnight, chances are that you have visited Vaishali restaurant on FC road at least once to relish the traditional south Indian snacks or the famous SPDP. This cozy eatery, established in 1951 has achieved a place of honor and affection in Pune’s history and culture since last 65 years. Along with Roopali and Amrapali, Vaishali form the trilogy of restaurants built by Mr Jagannath Shetty fulfilling lacs of appetites on a daily basis.

I was pretty apprehensive of eating out at Vaishali last week, due to the obvious crowd and waiting period. I had my old parents and a hyper active daughter with me and at around 8 in the evening, I thought it foolish to go. There would be no place to even put down a foot and the actual time to eat would be extremely long. Yet, I decided to take a chance and asked the cab driver to take me to Vaishali.

The initial 5 mins were as expected, we had to stand in the already crowded tiny corridor looking at random faces entering and exiting the place. Plus, for the initial 2 mins, I kept searching for the manager/waiter/anyone who would provide us the table. In the entire chaos, I managed to find couple of deserted chairs for my parents and once they were seated, I went checking for a table – my two year toddler in my arms. After asking a couple of cleaners and then the customers (I think !! ) I finally managed to get hold of the “manager”.

Me: “Sir, kiti vel lagel ? 4 member ahet” (How much time it will take? We are 4 people).

Manager: “(In the obvious polite Puneri Marathi) Vel lagel. Thamba jara (Wait a min. It will take time).”

Me: “Ok. Naav tar lihun ghya.” (Atleast write down my name)

Manager: “Mi sangto na. Thamba jara” (I will tell you. Wait for a while)

Me: (Thinking there is no point in arguing with a hard core Puneri dukandar) OK. Sigh !!.

I was still unsure how will he identify me correctly when the table is available and with people entering the already crowded place at a speed of 2 people per 10 seconds. Not in a position to let go of a single chance, I kept on lingering nearby the manager, throwing curious glances at him once in a while – so that he doesn’t miss me.

My daughter was getting restless by now and my hands had started to pain with her weight. I took her a little aside to show her the fishes in the fish tank. Almost 30 seconds of the fish view and I heard the manager shout “Oh madam. Ya na loukar ikde (oh madam, come fast)”. The absurdities of life !!!

Finally happy to get my place of honor, I as good as dragged my old parents with all of our shopping bags to the table. The table was one in the interior of the hotels with those cushioned velvet seats. My father – an old fat man he is – found it impossible to just slip inside. I had to push the table almost a foot backwards to make enough space for my dad to enter and sit. Plus the daughter was shouting excitedly. The entire confusion had already made the neighboring customers to throw disapproving glances in our directions – the Puneri attitude again.

Finally, we settled down and I could lay my hands on the menu. May be it was the hunger prangs I was feeling inside my stomach or the irritation of the last few minutes – I was really disappointed with the menu. Only south Indian, chat and sandwiches? No north Indian dishes, no pav bhaji, no Chinese? I thought like many of the other restaurants we have in Pune – Vaishali might also have a mix of different Indian cuisines. But the list of limited items on the menu already killed a part of my appetite. But then Vaishali proclaims to serve some of the best south Indian dishes. So we decided to order Vaishali special masala Dosa, cheese onion uttapam, the famous cutlet and SPDP and finger chips for the daughter.

I must agree, the staff was very fast. The moment I ordered my food, the waiter there almost snatched the menu out of my hands. Of course – owing to the unbelievable crowd, its natural they want to get over with the customers as fast as possible. Order once and for all. No second orders. Guess I was not aware of this system and asked the waiter to give me back the menu. We might order some soft drinks later. He did, with a typically Puneri “These lazy “eatoholic” people !! ” expression on his face.

 

Thankfully, the food arrived shortly. And we started with the anticipation to savor the famous and delicious Vaishali food. My enthusiasm here as well received a huge jolt. To start with, they “sprinkle” finely chopped raw onion on the cutlets. EWW. That already was a huge turn off. Plus, it was served with the south Indian coconut chutney ?? WTF !!! Cutlet, deep fried and crispy, can be best enjoyed with a ketup or to some extent a veg/cheese dip. But here I was having what can be called as the “south Indianized chaat” version of the veg cutlet. On the very first bite, I thought I was chewing on raw beetroot and onion– with the amount of beetroot and carrot used, it was nothing remotely near “veg” cutlet. Somehow, I managed to nibble on a couple of morsels, but the taste of chutney killed the remaining of my interest. I just couldn’t have another bite.

I thought of trying the famous dosa/uttapam to at least provide some energy to my empty tummy. But there again was the same story. Dosa was crispy, yes, but the potato curry – extremely oily with half cooked onions. The sambhar was – to say the least – spiced colored water. I have never tasted sambhar so sweet with such thin consistency. And chutney – best not to comment.

After enduring such attacks on my taste buds, I couldn’t feel like tasting the uttapam. And that proved out to be good decision. My mom confirmed my apprehension – it was no good. It was a mix of oil and sugar. No taste. I thought at least the SPDP would be a saving grace. But to my utter disappointment – it turned out to be the worst choice of food. What I tasted was just SWEET CURD. Nothing else. No sev, no batata, no puri. The final straw in the leg, the finger chips arrived – not fresh and crispy but cold, damp and oily again. There was no salt, pepper – nothing at all and my daughter didn’t eat even a single piece.

My parents were unhappy, my daughter was cranky and I was angry. My evening was ruined and I was still hungry. Yet, I suggested we order some juices or shakes to end it on a sweet note. But looking at the expressions of my parents and the prices on the menu, I decided against it. We asked for bill. It came, and with it, a group of 5 people – who were supposed to sit on our table after we get up. It took around 60 seconds for me to swipe the card, put it back in the bag, pick up my daughter and start walking out. But even those 60 seconds seemed unwelcome for the over enthusiastic group of friends waiting for their turn. Sigh !!

Well to each his own. I know thousands of people love Vaishali food – obvious from the crowd seen there. But I felt extremely let down by the entire experience. Its really hard for me to understand what exactly people enjoy at this place.

  1. There is no originality – the sambhar was nothing near to the original taste of any of the four south Indian states – I can pretty much distinguish between the authentic taste and a fake one.
  2. There is nothing new at all – Since the last 20 years I have been visiting Vaishali, the menu hasn’t changed even a bit. No new additions, no changes or twists to the existing dishes, no experimentation, nothing to look forward to in fact.
  3. The crowd is not just irritating, but utterly disgusting. It’s extremely rude to wait in front of the table when people are already sitting or about to leave. As if they are eating on one of the restaurant’s charity event. Why hasn’t the management devised a strategy to manage the waiting people yet? There is a huge space in front of the main entrance where a good waiting arrangement can be done. Or maybe the owners consider it as their USP that customers will wait there, in spite of all the inconvenience.
  4. Finally, in spite of being one of the favorites of the hard core Punekars, I find this place extremely impersonal. It works as a factory treating the customers as products. I would anytime prefer the smaller and cozier Roopali.

So, I am sure now a lot of flak is waiting to come my way – I have hurt the sentiments of many of the Vaishali loyalists. Yet, I guess a little criticism might turn out to be what the restaurant really needs. I am a big optimist. Next time when I go to Vaishali (and I will) I might just order a coffee and feel happy. Cheers.

 

 

12 Myths about men and the real facts every woman should know

dad

Men always say that it’s impossible to understand women. True to an extent. But ask a man if he has really and actually made an effort to understand woman?  After the initial embarrassment of being caught off guard, he will first try to get a very intelligent expression on his face, try to explain his “logic”, “method”, and “study” behind making such a statement and after realizing that no one is getting convinced, will shrug off in a “angur khatte hai” style and say, “No use making any effort darling. Even Einstein couldn’t decode women. Why should a simpleton like me even bother”.  Women, see the point ??

The fact is – men are strange creatures. They love their women, but they love their cars and gadgets more. They like to talk big but know that they suck at the actual work.  And for them, boozing is the solution for almost all the problems. They play along the myths so diligently created by the society and try to fit into the “politically correct” image expected out of them. Sooner or later, the women (optimistic and sentimental creatures they are) realize the absolute lie about it. It takes a huge effort on their part to accept the facts, work around them, support the men, make them successful and still get their perks. Nothing can be truer than the age old saying – there is always a woman behind every successful man.

Below are some of the biggest myths about men which women have successfully decoded after years of observation and patience. Yet, almost all the women are smart enough to not expose them but use them intelligently to their advantage. After all; there is no fun in being smart but losing out on all the goodies. So women play dumb which ensures that they get the lifelong supply of expensive gifts and those foreign holidays.

Disclaimer: If you are a man reading this, please take it with a pinch of salt and accept the truth – at least to your own self.

Myth no 1: Men are strong.
Fact: Damn lies. Men are just big bullies and know how to put forward their point. And that’s all about it. Period.

Myth no 2: Men are dependable.
Fact: Ask a woman who asked her man to fix the leaking tap two months ago. It might be still leaking and the man doesn’t even notice. Nothing can be left to the man – not even looking after the milk kept on the stove. Its sure to get spilt because the man will have all his attention in Virat Kohli’s batting. Men are as dependable as the Indian meteorological department.

Myth no 3: Men love women.
Fact: This is the biggest lie. Men just love the idea of a woman’s availability. They love the mystery, they love the challenge. They chase the woman around. Even embarrass themselves to impossible limits impressing the woman if she is playing hard to get. Once they win over her, love vanishes. A smart woman makes sure to never let the man realize the intensity of her love. She knows that once she has succumbed to his love, it will evaporate instantly.

Myth no 4: Men have an insatiable appetite for sex.
Fact: This is a really overrated aspect of men’s personality. Of course men don’t think about sex all the time. How can they ??  They have far more important stuff to think and discuss. Like world peace, India’s new policy towards Trumps America, the result of next assembly elections, the size and weight of A B De Vilier’s bat and what not. About sex ??? Ummm … What they actually have is the urge to release the semen, just like their urge to pee. They are the happiest if it can be done within 2 seconds.

Myth no 5: Men donot suffer from menopause.
Fact: In fact many of them do. Think about men in their late forties or early fifties. They are no more the young and dynamic studs they used to be and they have still not achieved anything anywhere they dreamt of. They live in the nostalgia of their youth and understand that they are not going anywhere with the future. They are emotionally down, sexually down and socially in the club of “Old”. They try to get solutions to their problems from strangers. Why do you think Dr. Mahinder Watsa made a fortune out of a newspaper column?

Myth no 6: Men care about their friends.
Fact: Depends what is called as caring. If you think a man will help another man who has just slipped on a banana skin to get to his feet – forget it. The man will be the first one to laugh the loudest – even if he doesn’t show it. Men secretly envy their friends who are richer, smarter and more successful. Also, most of them get a huge kick if that same richer, smarter and successful friend lose or make a fool out of himself.

Myth no 7: Men are generous and like spending on extravagant things.
Fact: Exactly opposite. Men get a heart attack almost every time the women show them the monthly grocery list, or the children’s school fees or the shopping bill. It kills them to part away with their money even if it’s meant for their ailing parents. Men, in fact go to extremes to hoard money. Uncle Scrooge was a man, remember ??

Myth no 8: Men are expert at handling stress.
Fact: Of course. Because they secretly love it and thrive on it. Men feel stress is directly proportional to their success. They make it a point to show off the level of stress they are handling on a daily basis. More stress means more success, you see the point ??

Myth no 9: Men don’t cry.
Fact: The fact is, men are not programmed to acknowledge pain or grief as fast as women. If they do face some emotional emergency, the first thing they think about is the immediate change of plans. So even if there is a death in the family, the first thing they will think of is – I will miss the client meeting on Thursday. Better reschedule the flight and save the money. After that is done, alcohol is the next sure shot solution to every pain in the world. One quarter of whisky and everything is fine.

Myth no 10: Men can understand a woman’s feelings.
Fact: Utter rubbish. Men, right from the primitive ages didn’t understand women’s feelings. They hunted and procreated in a mechanical way. They take life as it comes – in a mechanical way and don’t feel the need to understand women. They just do a good job of pretending only because the new age man is expected to “behave” and “think” and “feel”. The only real feeling they have is “Hunger”.

Myth no 11: Men love their home
Fact: This is true only till the age 7. After that, boys stick there because they don’t have choice. Why? Sociologists will tell you it’s the old hunting instinct. They just cant stick to one place. They constantly complain about the dust no one else sees, the smell no one else smells and the food everyone else loves. Basically, it’s the feeling of remaining bound to same place, same environment, same people which they feel as a bondage and want to get out as early as possible.

Myth no 12: Male bonding.
Fact: There is nothing in the world called male bonding. It is in fact male BOOZING !!

 

Feeling nostalgic about your childhood ? Make it a thriving culture today !!

aaji

I was driving today to the office through an old residential colony. It is one of those localities where time seems to have stopped with its quiet neighborhood and houses with vintage British style construction. Huge trees spread on both sides of the road and delicate creepers covering the footpaths make it a different world in itself. When I passed from under one of the neem trees, leaves were falling down with the cool breeze. How I wished I could just stop for a while and catch some of those.

I remembered my childhood. I come from a small city called Akola located at the center of the country and I was one lucky girl to have lived my childhood when nature was synonymous with life.

Rains were welcomed with a great fervor and getting drenched and sticky was a pride. Cycling to the school through those muddy roads was like climbing the Everest. Heavy rains ensured a “chhutti” to the school sometimes and the day was spent watching the drops gliding through the window glass, navigating the paper boat through the puddles and throwing pebbles at the frogs. And imagine at night, classical music playing on the radio mixing with the “rup rup rup” sound of the downpour outside. Heaven !!

The beginning of winter was synonymous with fresh harvest. Every day was a feast munching on guavas, berries, raw green gram and sugarcanes. Afternoons were spent encroaching someone’s backyard, climbing trees and plucking guavas. Rustling of leaves was music and a cool evening breezes were accompanied by orange sunsets.

Spring was the best time of the year with the trees shedding their leaves preparing for the scorching summer. Catching the falling leaves while walking home after school was one of the most loved game. Summers were hot and sweaty but that did not stop us from running around the colony picking raw mangoes. I just can’t forget grandma bathing all the kids in the open courtyard with the copper bucket and the jug or essentially the “Loti” used to pour water over your head. Even “Lifeboy” was a divine perfume.

There were also those monthly visits to the “Village”. The small festivals and events celebrated as per the family culture and traditions were awaited. The scent of soil mixed with cow dung was the finest fragrance one could ever inhale. And the aroma of delicacies cooked by mother were the greatest appetizers. Dogs, cats, cows and birds were a part of the family. And the farms, the field, that drawing water from the well with the rope was a part of life.

Today, when I think of myself, and things which made me, my childhood plays a vital role. It is because of those treasures and memories I lived as a kid, I get that strong sense of belonging to my hometown and my culture. I bring with me a unique flavor of my region which helps me stand out in a crowd. But today when I think about my child, I feel sorry that she might not get the same treasure I acquired. Being a part of today’s cosmopolitan global culture, everyone is losing that little distinctive country flavor. The relation to nature today is just restricted to minor gardens in our housing societies and a couple of vacations to hill stations. In the times when global warming and pollution are a constant companion, isn’t it imperative to make our children realize how they can uphold their culture by taking respite in the nature?

I guess, we need to plan for more and more trips to our native towns and villages and that too for longer durations. Rather than living in posh hotels, live with relatives or small home stays. Let our children explore the qualities of living in harmony with nature and form their own memories. Let them get dirty while playing in the mud, let them fall down and get up while climbing the trees, let them roam through the farms and get bitten by ants, let them play with the cows and dogs and make mud forts. Its only when they have some retentions of the place and life, they will start understanding and valuing the rich cultural heritage they belong to. While having a modern vision for the future, they will have their feet firmly grounded to their soil. And only through this we can ensure happiness.

Let us make our childhood part of our child’s life. Let us not make it a bygone era, but a thriving culture.