|A| is for Alluring Forest Walks: #AtoZChallenge2017

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Ahoy Amigos! Welcome to my Travel Epiphanies for A-Z Challenge 2017.

**Drum Rolls** please :-))

Woaah! The curtains have finally been drawn open to the much awaited A to Z challenge 2017. March 2017, has been a month of working on the theme, learning the processes with the help of my rock solid co-bloggers, downloading the badges, stumbling upon new fellow bloggers, a very grand opening with the theme reveal wherein so many bloggers from across the globe stopped by to read and graciously comment. I received one of the best views on my blog and about 45 + comments, since I started off in December 2016. Spending innumerable days wracking my brains and taking a trip down memory lane and writing the posts got me all nostalgic and boo-hoo-hoo at times. Sigh! And how can I forget the immeasurable task of finding the pictures and  pre-scheduling the posts. And the d’day is upon us, finally.

The next 26 days I will take you on a journey that will be surreal, bizarre, refreshing, memorable, magical and nail-biting; as I dig into my treasure trove of Travel Epiphanies. These epiphanies are my intuitive perceptions and revelation on life, some spiritual and some surprising in their simplicity; epiphanies that struck me during the course of my travels. Come join me today as I take you on an Alluring Forest walk.

A is for Alluring Forest Walks

June, 2013, Madikeri, Coorg District, Karnataka State, India

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Jaunt to Nilgiri’s Nishani Beta

Madikeri is a quaint little, charming town, nestled amongst the wild Western ghats; known for its lush coffee plantations, dense rainforests, the meandering Kabeni river and the cascading Abbey falls surrounded by spice plantations. We made an intensely memorable trip to Madikeri, in the summer of 2013. Madikeri is not the atypical tourist destination and that’s on our key agendas when we are travel. Who wants to take a break from the bustling city life to land up in an over crowded, touristy hub! We usually love travelling as a family, the DH and the two girls, now 8 and 18; in tow. We mostly like to skip the usual touristy and sight seeking activities, and savour the quiet, and the all-encompassing mysticism of nature.

The Taj Vivanta where we spent five blissful days, is a lush, sprawling 180 acre hilly estate in Madikeri with a rich and diverse populace of fascinating flora and fauna, thereby making it a truly enchanting getaway. Each misty, wet morning we were greeted by our new alarm clock; The Whistling Thrush that would nudge us awake with its melodious singing.  I will talk about this symphonic, winged wonder in another of the A to Z posts.

One morning, after a delicious spread of local breakfast and copious cups of the local filter coffee, we armoured ourselves for a hike to Nishani Beta (beta in the local language translates to Heights) up the Nilgiri hills. I say armoured, as we donned leech socks and galoshes to avoid the unrelenting, blood sucking leeches. As we trudged down the forest tracks, we were greeted by a band of tree frogs, hornbills, parakeets and cicada that played a medley of mellifluous music. And the leeches, well they drew Oooohhhss and Ahhhhs from all the hikers, as they stealthily kept slithering up our galoshes.

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The Bicoloured frog waits to be loved

Our forest walk was turning out to be more alluring than I had anticipated. The gorgeous bicoloured frog sat huddled among a bushy shrub, flaunting its beautiful colours. This brave guy, despite being in the wild was not averse to human touch. My younger one & I gently petted him and then we proceeded to walk through the misty hills. The breeze became stronger and stronger and a gust of wind blew, unabashedly flirting with us, and almost trying to topple us over. Head over heels yes! There were innumerable wild blue berries that we plucked and bit into; the juicy, tangy flavours merging with our taste buds. The Nilgiri Hills which literally mean Blue mountains get their name from the Kurunji shrubs that flower purplish blue flowers once in twelve years These shrubs lay scattered across the entire hilly terrain. The strikingly blue colour of the hills is attributed to this mass flowering species ‘Strobilanthes kunthiana” called Neela Kuruji locally.  The pink and white varieties of kurunji shrubs that flower once is 3 or 8 years also cover the hill.

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The deadly Kodopokki nest

As we walked through the dense foliage we sighted a deadly bunch of Kodopokki ants that build nests that resemble bee hives. We were told they feed off dead snakes, insects and other fauna, and are completely disinterested in anything sweet or sugary. The forest fauna also included enchanting cobra lilies, orchids, cinnamon trees, pepper bushes etc. The Rufus woodpecker was busy gathering it’s lunch as it furiously pecked on the Kodopokkis nest. Since it was monsoon we did not sight any deer, bison, hog or leopard, but we were told that a pair of eyes were always watching us from behind the bushes. And chose to be afraid or not, those belonged to the leopard!

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Hippies Dreadlocks?

By the end of this alluring, tropical forest walk, through the awe-inspiring Nilgiris our hair was soaked by the mist and the intermittent showers. The thick lichens and moss, that looked more like a hippies dreadlocks, seemed to stare back at us, amused.

We made our way to the restaurant. I was ravenous and craving some lamb shanks, but totally satiated in spirit and mind.

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Was the Martini contemplating or Yours Truly?

Later in the evening as I sipped on my strawberry martini, watching the light drizzle, I began to ponder on the sheer brilliance with which the forests and it’s inhabitants co-exist. Blossoming on their own and sometimes symbiotically, never letting the other down and simply celebrating each others beauty and differences.That is a feat in itself. Nature always fills us with a sense of rapture and make this world a stunning place to live in. If all of us humans armed with an abundance of intelligence co-exist despite our differences, the world would be a better place. It’s our differences that make us unique. Nature doesn’t compare, or put the other down. It just flourishes on it’s own and sometimes with the help of other natural beings. Just like the Koronji shrubs and lichens, or the Kodopokki ants and the trees. Mankind can flourish too if we love and support each other inspite of our differences. That’s the message the alluring forest walk impressed upon me.

 

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Disclaimer: A short account of this awe-inspiring experience was written by me way back in 2013, on my Facebook Notes, but this post captures my experience in a different format altogether. 

When Gadgets Go Kaput…

                                       #WORDLESSWEDNESDAY

I haven’t written a post on my blog for 8 days now!!! I’m getting withdrawal symptoms. Well, it’s not that I haven’t been writing. I have, but just for my posts for the impending A to Z Challenge 2017. I miss participating in all those fun prompts, but then to gain something you got to lose something.  Last two weeks I’ve had some sort of gadget breakdowns. It’s uncanny how life sometimes throws curve balls your way. When breakdowns happen, they don’t happen as a one off thing, as a series of events. One such example are my Macbook and iPhone going kaput in a span of two weeks.

I lost my little MacBook Air to water spillage, exactly two weeks back. The little guy had been my comrade in arms (literally, as I carried him everywhere I went) for less than two years. He could not be revived. His mother(board) gave up on him and we all know when mother’s give up on their children, not much can be done for them. Sigh! Anyways, I bemoaned his loss for two days and started hyperventilating on how I would manage to work on the much-anticipated A to Z Challenge. The DH had no other choice but to get a new one. I pitched in some moolah as well, and I’m proud of that. We got a good 20 k discount too. Apple is a brand that once when bitten into, one can’t get enough of it. An Apple owner may experience what Dracula did after tasting blood. This despite knowing the fact that it can at some point of time render us bankrupt. I did not manage to get another little guy-that Mac book Air had been shelved, so had to get a big guy. Whoever said, big is beautiful, or not, must have been off their rockers. This guy is a pain to cart, but I think I should not complain and be thankful that I have him at this point of time. Thank god for these not so little, but yes, big mercies!!

Today morning I was out on a ride, no, no not a motorcycle ride, but a cycle ride. In case you didn’t know, I’m an avid cyclist. Spring is in the process of hanging its boots and we were out cycling, biding her adieu. It was one wondrous morning. We were riding to one of our favourite destinations and I whipped up my phone to grab some pictures for an A to Z post. Once I was done, as I started to put the phone back in my armband, it slipped out and came crashing to the ground. To my utter dismay, the entire screen had cracked. The wondrous morning had in a slip of a second, turned into a wretched one! This phone was barely less than a year old.

The Cracker of a Ride! No pun intended :p

“Hell hath no fury when the Demi goddesses scorned,” I thought to myself. Was I paying a price for my technology dependence? Well, is that such a bad thing, considering I’m a writer/blogger? Anyways, who wants to go their. My optimistic side cheered up as I rode back home. I just feigned to bemoan a bit before the DH on the breakfast table, but he nonchalantly ate his scrambled eggs and toast and mouthed just one line in between, ” Get the screen changed tomorrow,” With those words he left for work. I don’t know if he was seething at my carelessness or simply trying to be nice, or indifferent in all probability!

The morning was spent again not writing for the A to Z. I was trying to figure out what could be done to revive my phone. 9:30 AM to about 1:00 PM is my sacrosanct time to write every weekday. A time when I refuse to do anything, but just write! I landed up at the Apple service centre around noon and I was told the phone would be sent to Bangalore and I would only know in about a week’s time. The screen would be changed, if all was well with the phones internal organs, else no, she wouldn’t require an organ transplant but I would have to cough up quarter of a lakh to buy a new phone! Well, for some reason I’m confident it’s just going to be the screen change which in itself will lend me broke for my holiday, but then…Que sera sera!

To placate my frayed nerves I went and pampered myself with some piping hot Khao Suey at my favourite eatery Burma Burma. Later I picked up a funky clothing (read cover/bag) for the big guy (the new MacBook Air, in case you forgot amidst my rant) from the Chumbak store. Maybe that will redeem his big and ugly identity! I suppose so! And in all probablilty force me into liking him a little more. I’m sure he hates me by now, as I use him as a tool to write and then bitch about him.

Ok, so I’m looking forward to this 7 day technology break. I hope to devour some unread books and spend some time offline, engaged in the real world, doing real things. Away from the virtual world that sucks you in with its coquettish charm. It’s time to break free. It’s time to redeem oneself. It’s time to live life, again!

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                      Linking this to my first ever post with Wordless Wednesday.Though excuse the fact that it was less wordless and more wordy and verbose to say the least. 

 

#AtoZChallenge2017- Theme Reveal : {Travel Epiphanies}

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Ahoy Amigos!

So, it’s that time of the year when a whole lot of bloggers are whipping up their pens, or polishing their keyboards, and gearing up with bated breath for the much awaited AtoZ Challenge 2017. I’m a complete newbie to this but I’m so very excited. I’ve written for as long as I can remember; way back in school, then re-starting after years of hibernation and then again falling back and re-starting. I recently chose to take a sabbatical from my professional career as a Communication Consultant and seriously pursue my calling and passion for writing. I must confess that I have never taken any challenge of this sort, ever, and I’m super, super excited.

I’m a travel bug who has had some remarkable epiphanies during the course of my journeys on foot, on the cycle, in the air and on water. A few journeys have been life altering, some lesson imparting and some a sheer delight to behold and savour. Each place that I travelled to, left me not only with its sweet and savoury memories but also brought with it a certain awakening of sorts. Sometimes spiritual, sometimes ephemeral yet surreal. I guess the credit goes to the people, the beings of the universe, the meandering rivers, the indomitable hills and at times just the plain rolling mist. They’ve all left me bewildered, bewitched and thirsting for more.

So this A to Z 2017, come, let’s embark together on this journey of my travel epiphanies, as I spin 26 tales of adventure and realisation and revelation.

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Hey, I’m Just Quirky, Not Murky!

 

#THANKFULTHURSDAY: WEEK #19

CELEBRATING MY 5 WOMANLY QUIRKS

I thank my lucky stars to be born as a woman. And I wouldn’t want it any other way. It’s fascinating to be a woman. We can doll ourselves in the best of attires, accessorised to the hilt and then we can be casual and cool as a cucumber, walking around in flip flops, tracks or shorts, no eyeliners, no blow dried hair. Instead, oiled hair, tightly pulled in a bun, yet manage to charm our way and rule the ground we walk on. Oh to be born a woman! And to be endowed with grace, poise and the delicious curves. I’m one hell of a quirky woman and I love to celebrate all my quirks and eccentricities. It makes me the person I am, weird, zany and bohemian to the core.

  1. Different Shades of Eyeliners: I have a thing for eyeliners and I’m always armed with them even during a 2-day trip. I like wearing shades ranging from purple, blue, sea green and black. I got to match them with my clothing. And the former three are some of my most favourite colours. Once a little urchin on the street made a jab at my purple eyeliner,”Oh what’s that coloured thing on your eyelid, it looks outlandish.” She and her bunch of friends giggled and jeered at me, as I simply laughed at her sheer innocence and randomness.
  2. Two Drawers full of Accessories: I love my varied collection of jewellery- junk, in silver, precious and semi-precious stones etc. And I have earrings and bangles to match almost each outfit along with neckpieces and a box full of chunky big rings. I thrive on all this stuff and pick them on my travels to different location. A lot of them are gifted too. I have way too many of these and most of it lies unused bawling in the boxes, saying, “Natz, Use me please, pretty please”  I also like the delicate pearl varieties with the more formal attires. I’m not a fan of traditional gold jewellery, only on very exclusive occasions and festivals when I’m wearing a saree, but that too with a certain amount of subtleness.
  3. Control Freak: The DH calls me a control freak and I get into that mode more so when I’m PMSing. I keep telling people what to do and how it SHOULD be done. He reminds me you are on “instructional mode” these days. Sample this: “Shilpa (My help at home) Kaju ko Blue waley dabbey main kyo rakkha, red waley main rakhna tha na.” (Why did you put the cashews in the blue jar, you were supposed to put them in the red one) “Surf, top wash sirf 1/2 cap daltey hain pura nahi itney kam kapdon kay liye (You need to put just 1/2 cap of Surf top wash liquid, not 1 cap) The rest of the month I could be least bothered what she’s doing. Well, I love this quirk of mine. Yes, it makes me tad edgy, but ensure, my home runs smoothly and things are under check and don’t go unsupervised.
  4. My Home needs to be in Order and be looking Perfect ALL the time: I love to have the dinner table/lunch table/breakfast table set well in advance along with the cutlery-forks, spoons, knives and the uniform set of the cutlery and crockery. No mix and matches please.  Formal yes, but that’s how it is. I also plan the next day’s menu the previous night. I insist on eating my dinner and lunch at the said time, and no missing out on meals. Even if that means overeating. 😛 I also insist on a spick and span home, no crooked cushions or empty glasses, and used plates lying here and there. No slippers and shoes randomly strewn here and there. They go right back into the shoe rack after they are taken off. Did I forget the squeaky clean, aesthetically organised, fresh and fragrant (yes you heard it right) bathrooms? The bathroom fresheners and exhaust are left on. No water on the floor. That’s a must. And yes, the house needs to smell good ALL the time. So we burn a lot of incenses, aroma oils and also use a camphor lamp most of the day. And I shall NOT call this OCD. This is the way a home should be! Call me quirky and I will raise a toast to that.
  5. I’m Goofy, yes, Brave and Experimental too: I goof around a lot with my kids, especially the 8-year-old. I also act very goofy when I’m around my friends. Yes, they have called me Phoebe from FRIENDS but honestly, I don’t mind. That goofiness keeps me young, kicking and alive. A woman does not always have to be prim and proper. The more eccentric she is the more she lives life joyously, so what if tad recklessly. I love to watch horror movies. They are my favourites along with Romedy. I thrive on the fear. And yes, I’m not scared of any creepy crawlies. I have also eaten some. I’m very experimental with my food- Frogs, bamboo worms you name it and I’ve had them. So what if that makes me the oddball out there.

We all were made a certain unique way by the guy up there. So let’s laud these qualities that we possess and learn to revel in them. I’m a quirky woman and that’s what makes me who I am. Cheers to my quirks and to all those quirky, wacky women out there. We are one marvellous clan!

 

Linking this post to Mayuri, TinaDeepa,  Amrita for #ThankfulThursday Week #19

#WordyWednesday : Way Back Into Love

This Week: Phrase Prompts

Jane of all trades

Joined at the hip

Jump on the bandwagon

Just what the doctor ordered

I bustled around the house, coffee mug in one hand and Alison’s school uniform in another. It was the usual Monday morning rush hour.

Suddenly my phone rang. It was Jeff. He gruffed, “Andrea, where is the presentation?” You were to send it to me by 7 AM, it’s already 7:10.” Jeff was a stickler of time. Some of the very few bosses who gave his employees all the leeway and ownership, but at the same time insisted that things be perfect to the T.

“Just emailing it to you Jeff”, give me 5 more minutes, please.”, I said apologetically.

As I hung up I thought to myself, “To heck with 5 minutes!”  “How was I going to manage? I hadn’t even ironed Alison’s uniform as I was glued to the computer all night, working till the wee hours of the morning on that damn presentation.”  I had wanted to give it one quick glance for typo errors before I mailed it out to Jeff, therefore the delay

But Alison had lolled around in bed longer than most days and we were already running late. I threw my arms up in the air in despair. “Why does a woman have to be the Jane of all trades? ” I muttered, exasperated.

Rohit who was buried to his smartphone looked at me and smiled.” Don’t worry baby, let me get this.” He took the uniform and headed towards the ironing board.

Thank God for Rohit, we were literally joined at the hip – inseparable and incapable of doing much without each other. Unlike the stereotypical Indian men, he was as hands on as any woman around. Though I had been forewarned by my Brit girlfriends when Rohit and I were dating. “Beware of these Indian boys, Andrea. They can be a crass lot and typical Mamma’s boys.” But Rohit was a breed apart. After Rohit and I got married I was pleasantly surprised how traditional and caring Indian men could actually be. They sure were breaking the stereotypes.”

Rohit and I had known each other for 20 years, married for 1o years. We had been best friends at Oxford and then went on to work with the same advertising agency in London, before we chose to tie the knot. What really connected us was the fact that both of us were chatty and loved having long, animated conversations over nth cups of coffee. We could talk about everything under the sun and still, have more to share.

But in the last couple of years technology had taken over our lives. Though we had grown to love and understand each other more as the years progressed but had so little time for each other. The fact that we both had separate, hectic professional lives, didn’t make it any easier. In the last few years I had become pretty involved with the blogging world too. Writing was a passion, I had recently discovered. It was a way to vent my inner Goddess and Demons. It kept me sane and going amidst all the madness at work, juggling between Alison’s school, extra classes, tennis and ballet lessons, four times a week and of course home.

As Rohit ironed the clothes, I frantically reviewed the presentation and sent it out.

“Alison have you had your breakfast? Almost time for the school van…” I walked to the dining area and saw Alison fixated to the iPad. “Gosh Alison, for Chrissake! leave that alone and get ready please.” Alison gave a cheesy grin, “Mommy, two minutes please, let me finish this Tinker Bell episode.”

“Alsion this is ridiculous. This is no time to watch Tinker Bell. Get ready, RIGHT NOW!” I literally screamed.

We managed to catch the bus just in time. We had almost missed it.

As I drove to work I experienced a sudden bout of gloom. I was thinking of all those times when we would play Anoushka Shankar or Pavarotti in the morning, sit with Alison and have our morning cuppa, while she ate breakfast, chatting and sharing stories about her friends. Though rushed for time, they were mornings not so cramped with technology. Rohit would also share some snippets from the newspaper with Alison. But now he read it online. While Alsion ate alone. I, on the other hand, would either be prepping up for the long day ahead.

Even on weekends, we didn’t play those board games anymore. We sat staring at the screen, watching a Netflix movie. Though together, but sans any one on one engagement. I also used the weekends to write my pending pieces. And sometimes chatting with my friends on the numerous WhatsApp groups I was part of. There was one for school friends, one for college friends, 2 for the relatives, two running groups and so on so forth. Rohit, would also be checking office emails round the clock or posting those silly memes on Facebook. The picnics by the country side were a thing of the past. When we went out for dinner, both Rohit and I being that foodies that we were, we would spend so much time taking food pictures that we could post on Instagram or Facebook. We had jumped on the bandwagon and had become addicted and over plugged to technology.

The internet had taken over our lives and we had forgotten to live for the moment, to look around us, to bond and to notice and appreciate little joys life had to offer. We were living like robots, in a mechanical world.

In the evening when I reached home, I looked at Alsion and said, ” Darling, from now onwards all three of us will have dinner together, minus the screen. And once we are done with dinner we will spend 1/2 an hour watching TV and the next half an hour chatting and sharing about our day. In the interim Mom and Daddy will keep their phones away. We will also resume our old morning ritual of breakfast amidst tea and music.”  Rohit who was rustling up the stir fries in the kitchen piped in, “Yayyy to that! I’m game to just what the doctor ordered.

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This post is written for Wordy Wednesday # 2– March 2017 #BARWoWe

Linking this post to https://blogarhythmblog.wordpress.com

Ode to the Wo(man)?

 

It’s that time of the year when spring has set in and nature is romancing with us wildly showing off its wondrous hues. It’s also that time of the year when women are celebrating their identity and the wonderful being that they are. They are coming together to commemorate sisterhood and all the qualities God bestowed upon them; while he created these Goddesses at a leisurely pace.

Women’s day celebrations have been upon us, a week in advance.

Social media is agog with women’s day messages splashed all over the place. You are being tagged on “celebrate womanhood and tag all the women in your life by posting a picture of you” posts. The blogging community has been writing prompts that honor women. PVR cinemas have a special screening of women-centric cinemas on 8th March. The print and news media are doing their bit too.

But aren’t we kind of going a bit overboard? Or is it the trend to over do everything these days, whether it is Valentine’s day or Father’s Day or Mother’s Day. Though personally, I do like the idea of a day assigned to celebrate something or someone special. But this “celebrate the women” spiel is getting a bit too over the top. My views totally.

Agreed women, especially those in India have been an oppressed lot for many years. But things have changed over the years, and are still changing. Women are receiving their due rights in different walks of life. But suddenly there has been a gender reversal, especially in cities. Women are wearing the pants, and husband bashing is the order of the day.

It’s all very nice to celebrate the “fairer sex’s’ coming of age, but at what cost? Why are we forgetting equality of sexes? We are going overboard fighting for women’s rights, and putting a lot of energy on husband/man bashing. While some of those good guys who had no hand in persecuting women have to bear the brunt. 

It’s great, women of today’s times have a voice of their own. They are going out and making a mark. Some are trailblazers and forces to reckon with. They have brought about remarkable change in our society. Sudha Moorthy, Indra Nyooi, Sairee Chahal of Sheroes are just a few names that come to my mind when I think of women who have been game changers.

 But why are we seeing a sudden role reversal? Are women getting back at men with vengeance because they are now independent and juggling between being a homemaker and a professional? The tolerance levels have really come down in marriages today. No wonder, marriages are crumbling and the divorce rates are spiking in India.  Why can’t we treat each other equally and have equal rights? Men have changed dramatically, especially in Indian cities. They are juggling the role of a Father, Son, House Husband pretty well. They are equally engaged at home, cooking, helping with household chores and with the kids. So why are we not acknowledging any of that?

Can’t we have a day dedicated to our strong and resilient men too? And if we can’t then let’s remember to celebrate the man who shields us against the rowdy guys on the streets, the man who teaches our child Math and spends hours baby-sitting when we are out for the day with our girlfriends, the man who cooks a meal or two over the weekends, the man who listens to us rant and understands our emotional outbursts when we are PMSing, the man who is our partner and best friend all rolled into one – ready to lend those strong shoulders when we need to cry our heart out, the man who embraces us at the end of a long, stressful day at work and still continues to smile. 

So while all of you are busy celebrating Women’s day, I’d like to give a big shout out to our not always conspicuous, but remarkable men!

Cheers to you too!!!!

Linking up with #MondayMusings http://everydaygyaan.com/let-go-of-heartache/ hosted by Corinne Rodrigues.

Also linking up with #mg http://www.reflectionsfromme.com/mg-link-highlights-living-fearlessly-authentic/hosted by Mackenzie Glanville

 

The 5 Incredible Women in My Life

Celebrating My Women

 

Blessed are women like me who have women who have our backs come what may. In this dog eat dog world, where self-centeredness has replaced goodness, I have been blessed to have met many women who have been my anchors, teachers, guides, friends in distress, friends in fun times and without whom I would have missed out on a whole lot of things life has to offer, or would not have been the person I am. Each of them has played a critical role in making me the person I am. Hail women power!

The women I have mentioned here are not listed as per order, just randomly as my thoughts flow aa I write out this wonderful prompt.

Somini Sen Dua: I met Soms over 20 years back in Calcutta. A gutsy, fiery women with joie de vivre. She used to be my boss in an office I worked for and thereafter we went on to become very good friends. We spent a lot of time bonding, celebrating life and keeping in constant touch. I had left her organisation to join another. Soms proved to be my pillar of support. She gave my thoughts clarity and was one of the key people who was instrumental in helping me move out of a challenging arranged marriage. She supported me through thick and thin and it’s thanks to her that I garnered the courage to walk out of what wasn’t working for me. If Somini is reading this, I would like to tell her, I’m indebted to her for life, for having stood by me when I needed it the most We haven’t been in touch now for years, and haven’t met in a long, long time. But she will continue to have that special place in my heart.

Maa, My Mother-in-Law: This is yet another woman of steel who I would salute over and over again for her resilient spirit, amazing grace, kind heart which is as expansive as an ocean, open-mindedness, grit and determination and ability to stand rock solid for each and every person in dire need. She is one of the most incredible women I know. She defines the true meaning of womanhood in every way. She is a cook par excellence, has incredible knitting, crocheting, craft skills and patience which is worth imbibing from. She is a wonderful grandparent who has taught so much to my kids. She can spend innumerable hours with the 8-year-old; teaching her how to make doughnuts, playing board games, or putting together a new project. As for me, she has been my source of inspiration, rock solid support and a very good friend who I can share my woes with. She has supported me irrespective of any situation with her broad-minded outlook and beautiful heart.

Ritika my BFF: Ritika is a beautiful person, inside out who makes every moment in my life count. I love her to bits. And she is one of those few friends I’m so very fond of. We are like soul sisters. The connect I have felt with her emotionally, as a person and the way we live our lives; is something which is rare of it’s kind. She moved to Bombay a few years back. I miss her a lot. But we keep in touch often and meet as often as we can. She has stood by me come rain or shine. And I can’t forget the time when I was dealing with a lot of stuff and she specially flew down to be with me. She is the like the rainbow that appears from nowhere when things aren’t that hunky dory. Blessed to have you Rinks <3

Ma, my mother: This is one quirky woman who makes me want to love her more despite all the idiosyncracies she comes with. She has been spending countless years nurturing me sincerely with all her heart and soul. She is so intuitive and knows each time what’s good for me and what’s not. Many a times in the past, I have faltered and regretted not taking her advice. But she has held my hand through all of that. She is my confidant, and though she hasn’t evolved so much with the times, but I am truly indebted to her for being so caring. Yet I wish she wouldn’t worry so much.  Ma never expresses her love for me in words. She puts out a tough exterior, but it’s those little acts of love that make me love her more. Preparing my favourite Pabda macher jhaal (a Bengali fish curry) Alu-posto (Potato in poppy seeds) Iilsh macher paturi (Hilsa wrapped in banana leaf and steamed) despite her failing health are just a few things that she does to make me smile.. I am notches below her when it comes to her household skills and “perfect to the T” attitude. She inspires me to take my role as a homemaker as seriously as my professional one.

My two daughters, 18 and 8: These two girls are the most precious treasures of my life. They teach me so much each day with their little deeds and their fascinating attitude. I feel we can learn so much from our children. Sometimes I feel they are our best teachers. They teach us patience, the true language of love, through their vibrant energetic attitude of living life in the moment, the forgive and forget thought-process they abide by and so much more. The 8-year-old has taught me to be more diligent. She is a fastidious child who likes to be punctual and not forget to carry what the teacher has told her to. Today she burst into tears because I had missed out on sending her the money for her class picture. Though I wish she wouldn’t get so stressed but I like the fact that she is so earnest in all that she does. Her never give up attitude always leaves me in awe. The older one on the contrary, is my best friend. She and I have withstood the toughest situations that life could throw our way. At times she comforts and looks after me as though she was my mother. She’s an old soul and sometimes I feel she was my mother from my past life. I have over the years learnt to be more assertive thanks to her because that’s the way she is.

The tribe, as I said earlier is larger and also includes my amazing sister-in-law Arti, Leena Aunty, Ravi Aunty,   Dr. Roma, Amma my lovely friends Seema, Vibha, Trijya, Jyotsna, Urja, Ritu, Shilpa, Paiel, Bhavna, Mandy, Ruchika, Mayuri, Rohina, Sangu, Chits for being the incredible women that they are and for being the wind beneath my wings.  I might be missing out on a few names but they stay engraved in my heart and I will always be grateful to them for having touched my life in some very unique ways.

May the tribe of such marvellous women continues to grow so that this world becomes a better place.

 

 

Linking this post to http://www.sirimiri.inhttp://www.tinabasu.inhttp://www.kreativemommy.com, http://www.healthwealthbridge.com for #ThankfulThursday

 

 

Linking this post also to the hosts of #ClickAndBlogAStory Bushra http://www.allaboutthewoman.com and Zainab http://www.slimexpectations.com

 

 

 

#TeaserTuesday: Return to the Little Coffee Shop of Kabul

 

 

“Don’t grieve, the old woman had quoted from Rumi. Anything you love comes round in another form. 

Well, Sunny thought, I’m good with that. As long as it doesn’t come around as a shitload of fog.”

 

 

It’s kind of uncanny I picked up the sequel. But the cover and the title of the book was way too enticing and intriguing to have been left back on the bookstore shelf.

This prompt was initially hosted by Jenn on her old blog www.shouldbereading.wordpress.com. She now blogs at http://alifeunleashed.com

 If you fancy joining in, here’s how:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two teaser sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!
• Share the title and author so other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!

 

Linking this post to Mayuri http://www.sirimiri.in, Ila Varma http://www.varmaila.com and Dipika http://www.gleefulblogger.wordpress.com

Wordy Wednesday # 4 -#BarWoWe- Stairway to Heaven

 

There’s a lady who’s sure all that glitters is gold
And she’s buying the stairway to heaven
When she gets there she knows, if the stores are all closed
With a word she can get what she came for
Ooh, ooh, and she’s buying the stairway to heaven” 

Led Zeppelin, Stairway to Heaven

Anette believed the gates of heaven would welcome her with open arms. She was naive, yet ignorant to the fact that all the sins that she had committed during this lifetime and the previous ones would culminate and meet her at the stairway to heaven or hell.

Before Anette could reach the gates of heaven, she had an arduous journey to undertake, through the fiery, flaming roads of hell. It would be a long haul. If she made it through the Deathly Hallows, and succeeded to reach the Pearly gates, St. Peter, the Keeper of the keys to Heaven would be waiting for her with open arms- embracing her and welcoming her inside the paradise. But, that only, if she paid penance for all her sins.

23 murders in just one lifetime, are irreversible. So do you think the doors to heaven will slam on her and she will pay the price by burning in hell?

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This post is written for #WordyWednesday #4 February for #BARWoWe

Linking this post to BlogARythm’s blog http://www.blogarythmblog.wordpress.com

#MondayMusings: For The Love of Ink

Last Sunday I went and got inked. For the fourth time. :-)) This time it was kind of impromptu. Though the 18-year-old had been toying with the idea of us getting inked together for a while now, I had been putting it off each time. I believe you have to be in a certain frame of mind to get inked. Call it adventurous, call it creatively inspired, call it welcoming a new addition to your body or just-for-the-kicks frame of mind. A is in college now, and when she came home over the weekend I asked if she was game. Ofcourse, she was! The weather was perfect to get inked. Not too hot and muggy and not too cold. Bad idea to get inked in the summers. The sweat can mar it’s beauty. 

So off we went on a Saturday noon with her friend who very sweetly agreed to join us and be our saviour, if we were to cringe and cry. Arusha and I both knew what we wanted. I had planned mine almost 4 years back when I’d got my “humming bird” tattoo on the calf. It reads, “Carpe Diem”.  But I was unable to go ahead with the other one as it required a lot of time and this was on a short trip to Banglore, when we were returning from a holiday in Coorg. At that point of time, I believed Delhi didn’t have very good tattoo artists, so I, along with the DH got inked in Banglore. The DH got an Ahura Mazda that trails across his neck and shoulder-blades.

Well, so here we were in Gurugram, sitting at Funky Monkey, the tattoo studio and finalising our designs. Arusha already had the “script” in place. She just wanted two words written in Bengali, inscribed on her heart- “Kee Khushi” which essentially means “How Happy” It was a line my Mom had once said to her as a kid and stayed with her and she wanted it to be right there by her heart, for the rest of her life. Ma and Arusha are very close. Ma spent many years baby sitting and bring her up while I toiled at work.

I, however, wanted a detailed armlet. I have always had a thing for armlets and the design in my head was a wind chime with hanging butterflies. When I, along with Raju and the designer started putting together the final design, it turned out to be a bit different from what I had visualised, but simply perfect. A single medium sized butterfly with strings of chimes hanging out from two pretty creepers. And two small butterflies hovering over the creeper. 

Arusha’s was done in Ma’s handwriting, as she had kept a copy in her diary. It took barely 10 minutes for “Kee Khushi” to be inked on her.  She called her grandma all excited and gung-ho. Meanwhile, we got started on mine. Since the design was very intricate it took about two hours to get it done completely. I cringed in pain off and on, but kept chanting Nam Myo Ho Renge Kyo to ease the pain. Arusha very sweetly like the last time, squeezed my hand and held it tight. She and her friend played some nice music also, to keep me distracted. But then if you want a tattoo you got to live with pain. No Pain, no gain! I hadn’t eaten since breakfast but who gets hungry when you have such an incredible adventure to undertake.

It was 5:30 PM and the three of us headed to Burger King to grab some junk for nourishment. I devoured a medium size Lamb burger which looked more like a XL burger. The tattoo was snugly covered in cling wrap after some vaseline application.

We returned home smug, complacent and pretty much over the moon. I kept preening like a peacock, showing off the tattoo to my DH and the 8-year-old. I’m so glad I finally have my armlet in place. “It’s very pretty”, so says Moi. Just that I’m not allowed to work out for two weeks. A week is already over, and I’m itching to get back to the saddle and cycle my way to the Aravallis. 

My current tattoo signifies, my love for nature, my first two tattoos that were done in Manila are the Ying and Yang. The  moon-stars and the Sun respectively. I am blessed and connected to be one with nature, also through my body art.

Tattoos aren’t for the faint-hearted. It requires guts, a streak of madness and some amount of pain threshold to get one done. But the whole process is fun and worth enduring. After all, it’s like decorating your hair with flowers or adorning your neck with a pretty neckpiece.

Hail Tattoo enthusiasts!!

Linking up with #MondayMusings http://everydaygyaan.com/let-go-of-heartache/ hosted by Corinne Rodrigues.

Also linking up with #mg http://www.reflectionsfromme.com/mg-link-highlights-living-fearlessly-authentic/ hosted by Mackenzie Glanville 

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