Joy of Giving

Ritu has posted the following card for ‘Joy of Giving’ week. Ritu posts Joy of Giving cards every week and we have to follow the instructions on card.

Joy of Giving

I don’t have enough oratory and writing skills to describe Ritu. She possesses a heart of Gold . But you can’t stereotype Ritu. You can’t place Ritu in a bracket. She writes about social issues, she brings the extraordinary battles of ordinary Indians into forefront. She inspires her daughter to celebrate her birthday in an orphanage. She took kids from orphanage to a multiplex where they enjoy movie with popcorn and cola. She is not your usual social worker. She lives her life on her own term and is a reservoir of strength.

I often used to make pot of tea for security guards. I even bought thermos flasks for such purpose only. I used to put thermos at an appropriate place from where the security guards can spot it easily. I remember my niece TP was barely a year old at that time. I used to balance TP and tea-pot when I went out to give tea to security guard.

One day, I was sitting and watching television when TP came towards me and said something to the tune of ‘Gawd’. I was pretty confused what she wanted from me. I asked her to repeat what she was trying to convey. Frustrated with my lack of understanding, Toddler TP forced me to abandon TV and she tried to drag me to my bedroom. There she pointed towards my jacket and told me again, ‘Gawd, cha’!!!! Then it struck to me, she wanted me to make tea, place her on my waist and have tea-pot in my other hand and hand it over to Guard!! How closely kids watch us is sometimes frightening.

Later on we shifted to another apartment. Here too, I used to make tea for security guards on and often. Even today, the guard came and handed me a fancy tea-pot for chai.

Sometimes they get spare milk from somewhere and ask me to make tea. Sometimes they get milk and sugar and ask for tea leaves only. These days, winter has set in suddenly and I try to give our security guards tea everyday.In fact we have 63 flats in our society. If residents of every flat provide guards with tea, their next turn will come after 2 months! But its too much to expect, I think.

I am not an altruistic person. When I do something like this, I have a very selfish reason. I want my surroundings to be pleasant and full of positive energy. Small acts like this fulfill my selfish purpose. Security guards always greet me cheerfully. They are more than happy to help me in our hour of need.

One day my nephew was returning from office. It was quite late, in fact 2:30 AM. Street dogs were getting quite ferocious with him. He phoned me, stating his plight. I assured him, that I will pick him up. But when I tried to start my car, it refused to come to life. I went to the security guard and told him about the problem. He immediately told me not to worry. He narrated the entire incident to another guard. Told him to be vigil as he was going out for few minutes. He took his danda to scare away the dogs and came back with my nephew in five minutes!

Actually Joy of Giving is not for others. Its for you and you only. The joy you get in return can’t be described in words but can be felt only.


Joy of Giving

This simple yet amazing exercise of spreading joy was started by Ritu. She asks her friends to complete a single task within a week. This week she has asked us to say no to showers and use bucket and mug for taking a bath. Read below what she is saying:

This week we have a card that is so easy to follow, any one can do it.

But first, a prelude:

Long ago, taking bath under a shower was considered a luxury. Not only because showers were considered an indulgence but because showers were considered an indulgence due to the amount of water they consumed. A bucket of water was considered enough for a clean, thorough and hygienic bath.

Somehow things changed. Homes with more advanced forms of plumbing became popular. Suddenly it was not enough to just take bath – we needed “rain shower heads” in our bathrooms to replicate the rain that poured naturally… Needless to say, water consumption increased and slowly but steadily through our patterns of water use we started depleting our natural water sources.

Did you know that a 10 minute shower can exhaust 120 liters of water from your tank (@ 12 liters per minute)? With an average of four members in a family, that is almost 500 liters of water everyday; 15000 liters of water a month; 1,82,500 liters per annum.

How can we cut down this massive water consumption without compromising on hygiene? (If I ask my kids they will gladly say “Bathe twice a week!”)

Use a bucket. That’s the card for this week:

To join the Joy of Giving just follow the cards. To know how it started, please click here.


Don’t Treat Your Kid as A Miniature Adult

If I were asked to give a message to parents, without hesitation I would say, ‘Please don’t treat your kid as a miniature adult. We should allow our kids to be kids.’ But we are falling in this trap without realizing that. A kid needs direction, leadership and clarity from parents, not same treatment as meted out to an adult. We can’t have a heart to heart talk with a kid and expect an adult like understanding in return. That doesn’t mean we should not explain things to kids or shun a culture of dialogue and debate. By all means, we should encourage kids to communicate with us on any topic but we should not expect adult like response from kid.

A kid doesn’t have so much experience, expertise and data to access a situation and take right decisions. Here the leadership role of parents become important. We should guide our kids, make them see things in perspective and help them solving a problem. But train your kids to be a leader too. Especially in fun activities. Let them guide you. Do what they told you to do. Let kids decide about their clothes, toys and other matters.

Most of the families have a single child. So a kid is thrown into adult company most of the times. No doubt a kid imbibes the adult behavior and way of talking. Sooner or later the kid start taking and behaving like an adult. You might consider your child smart but the reality is he/she is missing out on a lot of spontaneity, curiosity and creativeness, the hallmarks of childhood. We should allow our kids to make friends with other kids. They need other kids to feel like a kid. These days we don’t welcome other’s kids in our house. It seems as a great hassle. But imagine this, one day our kids are going to step out into the real world and deal with different types of people. Why not start this process early? We should allow our kids to indulge in different constructive activities with other kids. This way they will learn the rules of management first hand. They will learn interpersonal skills and how to manage the resources given to them.

If we keep on treating kids like adults and expect “desirable results” from kids they will start walking, talking, dressing up and behaving like adults. We won’t find big deal till it is confined to behavior. If we treat our kids as miniature adults, they will show the symptoms of anxiety, depression, panic, worries just like adults.

Its totally uncool to treat our kids as miniature adults. Try organizing something with neighborhood kids. My friends suggested that I can throw a dance party with no additional frills. My friends also suggested that I can throw cakes, sandwich or Diwali Cards making party. Kids will learn to make things and enjoy themselves.

I allow my kid to take bath in the balcony in her tub. Sometimes my kid makes sandcastle. Yesterday she made a road of sand, leading to a mall in the balcony. We get drenched in the rain and listen to songs while having lunch or dinner.

Sometimes I try to treat her as a miniature adult but its results were never to my likings. Its impact on my kids personality is not good too. So I try to check this habit of mine and try to follow the way our parents and grandparents raised us.


Being Happy: Learn to Remember

My Grandfather
My earliest memories with my grandfather was of doing Maths with him. He taught me tables, calculations etc. What was remarkable? He never raised his voice or hand on me while teaching. Though he belonged to the old school of teaching but he never believed in spare the rod and spoil the child type of things. Whenever I was unable to understand any problem, he tried to teach me adopting different methods or giving real life examples. Sometimes when he had to go somewhere, he remembered the sums from our Maths book and when he came back, he usually called me and told me how to do further sums. While traveling , he used to do all the calculations of my Maths chapter in his head. I still long for such a fantastic memory and brain!!!

I know my grandfather’s main subject was Sanskrit. He spoke this ancient and beautiful language fluently but he was comfortable with all the subjects. He taught me till tenth class. And his teaching method was excellent. You never feel afraid of asking questions., when he was teaching.

My grandfather had a hard childhood and adult life. He educated himself in the absence of his father. Only God knows how he was able to do that. Later on, most of his adult life; he shuffled between job and court appearances. His army of relatives had gifted him court cases. My grandfather was facing not one, two, three, ten , twenty but 67 court cases!! A lecturer of Sanskrit couldn’t afford Lawyers. He presented and argued his own cases in the court and won 64 out of 67 cases registered against him. When he used to narrate these incidences, his heart was not filled up with hatred for his relatives. He just told me these things as facts of life. I know he had nerves of steel but he didn’t transfer that quality to me. 🙁

In the morning, we often used to fight over newspaper. Who will read it first. Of course, first my Baba used to read, then my father then…. Sometimes when Baba was reading newspaper I used to squat and scanned last page, the sports page. Whenever he spotted me doing that, he often gave the whole newspaper to me to read. My joy knew no bounds at such a grand favor.

Another thing I remember about my Babba is, he always encouraged me to ask questions and never admonished me if I went overboard sometimes. He inculcated in me the culture of debate and discussions and how to look at thing logically.

I often see old people struggling with boredom and isolation. But I have never seen my grandfather getting bored. He had something to read or he listened to the radio. We had vast space at our home. Due to my grandfather, we had most of the fruits and vegetables grown at our place. I remember mango, litchi, guava, peach, custard apple, jack-fruit, gooseberry, papaya, lemon, mulberry and amla trees in our compound. When everyone was taking a nap at afternoon, I used to sneak out and tried to climb each and every tree. If it was laden with fruits, then… 🙂 Due to my grandfather’s efforts, I had the opportunity of having freshest salads in this word. Just before lunch, we used to dig out radish and carrots and plucked tomatoes. During winter season, my grandfather grew potatoes, peanuts and green peas. Sometimes, when we were with friends, we dug out potatoes and made Tikkis. I can guarantee, nothing can beat the taste of those Tikkis. Until, I came to a metro city, I never realized how lucky I was growing up with all the comforts of a city but environment of a village!!! I wish my kid can experience the same joy and harmony with nature.

I remember, when my grandfather died at the age of 87, I was devastated, totally shattered. I was unable to deal with the reality that it was OK. I refused to see his dead body. I never said Goodbye to him. NEVER. But he never visited me in my dreams. That is very comforting for me. It means he went away as a satisfied soul having no unfulfilled desires at that time. Right now, wherever he is, he is quite peaceful and happy.

He was the only person in the world, who loved me unconditionally. NO matter what I did or thought, he was OK with it. Grandfather is the only person in the world who claimed, Whenever I see your face, my lifespan increases!!! When I remember these words, I feel like the most beautiful person surviving on this earth.


Being Happy: Never Let Others Decide for You

If you want to be happy, never let others decide for you. Only you know what is best for you. It is good to have friends and family and their positive influence on our lives. But if you want to be truly happy, don’t give others so much power that they start deciding for you. It is safe if you allow others to interfere in your matters so that when something goes wrong, you can blame them. But if you want to experience true happiness, take your own decisions and be ready to take the blame too if something goes wrong. How can anyone find happiness in such a situation?

Why we allow others to show us the ‘true’ path and ruin our happiness? The flaw lies with us. We want the love and affection of people that’s why we allow them to run our life. It is beyond our imagination that what will we do if we annoy certain people? The mere thought of rubbing some people the wrong way makes us extremely uncomfortable. But the other option also doesn’t grant us peace of mind. We resent ourselves for letting others dominate us, decide for us or practically run our lives for us. Happiness can never be achieved if we keep on expecting approval from others.

Why certain people keep on expecting approval from others? Why can’t you approve yourself with all the positives and negatives? If you keep on asking for certificates from others they will come with a price. The price will be your self respect and dignity. If you are willing to pay such a high price, go ahead and allow others to define you but never expect that happiness will knock at your door.

If you let others decide for yourself, you will never be happy but aways end up feeling like a victim. You will think something on the lines of, this horrible thing is happening to me because of so and so. You will never feel in control and in charge. You will always put blames on others for your misfortunes. A victim never feels responsible for the bad knocks of life. They always held others responsible hence never feel the need to take corrective measures themselves. Imagine, giving so much power to others will be a key to unhappiness.

If you want to be happy, never allow others to make crucial decisions for you. Commit your own mistakes and enrich your life. Once you start taking your own decisions you will come to know what works for you and what not. But if you keep on letting others decide for you, you will loose the chance to know what is best for you and what makes you tick. The greatest outcome of such decisions will be increase in your self confidence and you will have a positive self image.


In Pursuit of Happiness : Learning to Forgive Yourself

One thing I learn today, if I want to be happy I have learn how to forgive myself and move ahead. Right now it seems I have committed a Himalayan blunder and there is no escape. I have to suffer, self flagellate (something I am quite good at) and wait for some mighty weight to fall upon me and crush me forever. That will be so quick and easy. But how to get out of it and forgive myself and start feeling happy again? It is very easy to feel self loathing and feel depressed. The thought never even crossed my mind that I can forgive myself and feel happy again. Sometimes you have to learn the hard way.

Does forgiving yourself comes easy? I am trying and nowhere near it. But things can’t be the way they are. Wallowing in self guilt is one of the easiest thing on this earth. It makes you feel good. Look I have committed mistake and how miserably I am suffering. SO all others have to do is to cuddle me, console me and pamper me. I don’t have to do anything. Will it work and lead me to happiness? Never. If I have to forgive myself then I have to work hard and make life a satisfying and enriching experience.

Acceptance: I think if I have to learn to forgive myself, I will have to accept that I have erred and I have to take stock of situation and feel the damage I have done. I don’t want to do that gladly because I know I will feel guilty again but this time I will accept my behavior and try to access the damages I have done. That will prevent me from visiting that territory again, I don’t want to go through this acceptance of my wrongdoings again and again. I definitely want fewer such types of incidents in my life.

Ask for Forgiveness : This is the next thing I will do. I will ask for forgiveness from those who suffered due to my actions. I will try and listen to their point of views and how they felt due to my actions. I will be prepared to listen to others views, how they felt, what they expected of me and how I messed up. I think asking others to forgive me will also help me knowing that everything is not about I, ME, MYSELF.

Set Higher Standards for Self: Forgiving myself can be easy if I can raise the bar a bit higher. I can definitely do better next time, if I am cautious and aware. So what I did in the past, I can always learn from it and move ahead. Instead of blaming and cursing myself and in the process feeling depressed, I can try and improve my actions. Why carry wrongdoings of past as a burden around your neck? Why can’t I conduct myself in a better way in present and future and feel satisfied and happy?

Don’t Let Wrongdoings Define Me: I think I have committed mistakes, hurt people, been nasty but that is not the whole me. If I want to forgive myself I have to be self compassionate and look for my positive sides too. I don’t want to work upon my self worth too!

Making Amendments: If I want to forgive myself completely, I have to make amendments. That doesn’t mean I have to set the clock back but I have to be careful in future not to make same kind of mistakes. I have to learn my lessons. If I have learned my lessons completely and truly I will not commit same mistake again in future. So I think forgiving myself ends with making amendments. I will certainly mess up again till I am going to live. But I will not repeat the same mistake over and over again.


In Pursuit of Happiness : Don’t Compare

If we keep on comparing ourselves with others that will take away our peace of mind and happiness. Comparing ourselves with others seems like a disease that spread over our soul. People who keep on measuring their cars, houses, bank balance, holidays, jewelery, shoes and dresses with others actually suffer from inferiority complex. If you want to remain happy don’t torture yourself with comparison.

Comparing oneself to others is more prevalent in female species. You have dressed fine to go out and enjoy with friends but someone has dressed up cooler than you is enough to destroy mood. You keep on eying your friend’s dress and accessories on and often. Was it a dress out to kill outing or were you out to enjoy? I often see many females to compare so much that it becomes annoying after a while. They don’t even realize how unhappy they feel if they keep on comparing themselves with others.

There is something about myself that keeps me happy. I don’t know why and how but I have never lost peace of mind over some dress, make-up, shoes, accessories or jewelery that someone else is having. Concentrating or focusing on yourself is the key to happiness.

I am blessed with the presence of some persons in my life whose self worth or self confidence is not proportional to the dress or hairstyle they wear. They never bothered about what is in trend, what is in and what is out. They wear whatever catch their fancy but they never forget to wear their self-confidence. They seem content and happy in whatever they have. And that doesn’t mean they are unambitious. But they chose to excel in their respective fields instead of your dress vs mine. They tend to acquire what they want, not what is trending recently.

I just want to transfer this quality in my kid too. To an extent she is like me. I have never heard her saying, I want that toy or I want that dress which XYZ is wearing. I will try to make sure that my young one remains so in near future too and doesn’t get involved in this fruitless comparing exercise.

If you sit down and see the results of comparing yourself with others, you will be disinclined to indulge in this game. We lose peace of mind, we lose friends and their trust, we get distracted from our goals, we set out to do something for which we are not cut out, we waste our energy in chasing something that keep on setting new standards, we lose self worth and self respect. Why not get rid of all the negative energy and be happy instead? Its so easy to say to your friend if her dress is cooler than you, ‘wow! what a nice dress!’ It will make her day as well as yours when you get a genuine smile that reaches to her eyes, in return.


Being Happy : Enjoying Holi with Family and Friends

Holi Enjoyed By All Age Groups

Last few days were quite eventful. We went out a lot and did a bit of shopping for Holi.

It was a pleasure to purchase pichkaaris and colors for my young one. She was so excited to celebrate Holi. Holi was on Sunday and Since Monday she kept on aksing me without fail, how many days NOW?

I like this festival very much. First we can say goodbye to winter, woolens and heavy blankets. The sky seems SO blue everyday without fail. The air seems so refreshing and oh so springy. I like that mezzanine zone when winter has not yet bid goodbye and summer has not set in yet. You can enjoy the best of both.

Apart from lovely weather I love the Holi festival due to economic reasons too. People from every strata of society can enjoy Holi, no matter what their economic status is. Everyone can afford to buy few packets of color. Its not like Deepawali where only the rich and well heeled can show off.

We enjoyed Holi a lot. My kid was out of house since morning and came back only late in the afternoon. 🙂 A total stranger decided to drench me with colored water. For the first time in my life I have witnessed balloon missile (filled with colored water) fights between two households. For a while I could spot nothing else but water filled balloon missiles in the air.

Few balloon missiles landed near me and in our house too. But I was not hit by one. Though I was told that it doesn’t heart but I was skeptical. Last year I used mostly organic ‘colors’ to drench my near and dear ones. Nature has given me those free of cost. I used mud from our garden in ample amount. What can be more organic than that? 🙂 I dragged my young one in mud puddle too. She was not complaining. 🙂

I enjoy Holi a lot. It gives us an opportunity to come out of our shells and be a child again. Holi frees us from our daily sophisticated masks we so painstakingly love to don. This festival unleashes the child in us and provides pure happiness if you don’t try to be a jerk and spoil the spirit of this festival.


In Pursuit of Happiness : Declutter

My pursuit of happiness sets me thinking about decluttering. I want to declutter so many areas of my life. I want to declutter my living room, my dining room, my kitchen, my closets, my book shelf, my mind, my emotions and my mind.

Having more things means more responsibilities. If I keep on stuffing my home with more and more things that increases my responsibility in the direct proportion with the goods we possess. Who in his or her right mind would like to shoulder more and more obligations/duties/liabilities? Having less commodities or articles sets you free from many things and in return brings joy and happiness.

The first thing that we decided to declutter was our credit card balance. No, we didn’t get rid of credit cards but decided to keep them for rarest of the rare cases. We also made a pact that we will do our shopping using cash only. We won’t clutter our credit card sheets with more numbers. It is such a huge relief to know that now we have to make almost zero payments to credit card companies. I think everyone deserves to feel such contentment and happiness.

I want to declutter my home. The way my home looks, I don’t like it. I don’t know why we stash away things for future use which we probably won’t even remember to take out and have a look. I too have heaps of such things. Something tumbles out of one corner or another.
So I have started decluttering. I am doing it everyday. I just want to start small and continue doing it for 365 days a year.

I have kept an unused bucket. Before going to sleep I keep it in any room and start from a small corner. I go through things in that corner quickly and throw it it the bucket. In the morning I give it to our garbage collector.


Its summer now, so I am going to wash all the winter clothes and then store it in two places. Place number one warm clothes will go charity next year and place number two warm clothes will remain with us for our own use. I am unpacking summer clothes too. One set of clothes will go to some orphanage and another will remain with us. I know I will not get rid of clothes only but some of the guilt associated with it.

Decluttering is a great stress buster too. You let o of the emotional baggage associated with it and you feel free and light. I don’t stash away things for emotional reasons. I have given away my little ones expensive toys and clothes to other kids. Its time for others to enjoy those toys and look pretty in those clothes.

Now my younger one is growing up a bit so I will not take one sided decision but sit with her before decluttering her things. Decluttering should be a democratic process and one should not overstep in others shoes.


In Pursuit of Happiness: Count Your blessings

Today I read somewhere: While you are busy waiting for the best of your life; the rest of your life passes away. That’s why I want to stay happy everyday by just doing one thing that makes me happy. For the past few days, I was unwell. So most of the time I was doing nothing except taking medicines and rest. Naturally I was unable to do much that makes me happy. So I couldn’t continue writing about my experiences.

Today also I am not feeling at the top of my health but something made me realize why can’t I simply count my blessings? It is not necessary that I have to ‘do’ something in order to be happy. I just counted my blessings. And doing so definitely brought a sense of calm and serenity.

Counting your blessings opens up a new vistas. It makes us feel how we take our day to day well beings as for granted and termed it as a usual day. If we watch our usual days closely we will feel gratitude, happiness and sense of serenity.

Today I realize that my friends and family are safe and sound and healthy. No one is bogged down by any major emergency. Today I realized that all of my friends and family had went on with their daily chores and did whatever was required by them to the best of their ability. Today I am thankful for the relationships in my life and the love and affection that come through these relationships.

Today I am also feeling blessed that all of my family and friends are safely tucked in their beds and enjoying a goodnight sleep peacefully. If you are able to picture this, you know how blessed and happy you are able to feel.
Today is devoted to my family and friends. Thank you for being in my life and enriching it by your actions and thoughts.


In Pursuit of Happiness: Day 15, 16

The thought that every passing day we are moving away from our friends and family prompted me to be as happy as possible. The thought that after some time I wont be able to spend time with my loved ones urged me to cherish their company and spare them unnecessary hurts by me due to foolishness.

My young one was sick for the whole week. We all were tired after few days and tiredness is accompanied by boredom and monotony. But what to do when a child is sick and it has to be protected from too much activities and excitement? After a while, story books, coloring and cartoons lose their charm. I along with my kid needed change but in a protected environment.

We all know that camping is the best way of spending time with family and friends. Camping brings us closer to the nature and teaches kids many fun activities. Knowing or unknowingly we try to get closer to mother nature. I heard no one saying, This sky is so boring, This tree is so monotones, I am sick of looking at this pond/river/sea, I dont like the feel of breeze on my face. Viewing sunrise or sunset is so uncool? I think no one has head such sentences in his/her entire life.

Why nature has the power to decrease our stress level? Probably we are a part of nature and not of concrete, girdles or mortar probably thats why we want to connect with mother nature. Or a mothers lap is always soothing and secure thats why we want to revisit nature. Though experts offer some other explanation. Richard Louv, author of Last Child In the Woods (Algonquin Books, 2005), says there is a connection between nature and rates of attention deficit disorder (ADD), obesity, and depression in children. The more time a child is outdoors the happier and healthier they can be. Young children and adolescents both benefit from spending time in nature frequently.

But what should I do? I am almost surrounded by concrete jungle. Should I wait for the kids vacation? Should I wait for the right, day, right time, right place, right vehicle, right tour and travel package? These options are very palatable but completely impractical at this time. I was fanatically thinking of new ideas. Then I remembered that my nephew had built a house in the terrace for his little sister. So whats wrong with my balcony? NOTHING.

So I set up a camp right there with my young one. The whole process was so exciting and pleasant. I fished out some old unused bed sheets. Tied it at three places to make our tent and threw in lots of cushions and pillows to sprawl upon. We did take our pets along with us. They too should enjoy camping in the balcony. A nice breeze was blowing and sky was looking so blue and unspoiled.

If you want to do something why wait. Just go ahead and do it and be happy. 🙂

Our Camp With Pets
Our Window
View From The Balcony - Not Bad at All!

Being Unhappy: Day 13, 14

For the past two days, I am not happy at all. No one can be, if he/she is in my shoes. I am not even thinking about being happy at all. That is the least of my priorities. Some days are like that. You have to accept that you can’t be happy no matter what.
My young one is quite attached with me. I know she depends on me a lot and feels very uncomfortable if I am not around for a long time. But for the past two days she is sick and I am feeling terrible. First it was nothing serious but usual cold. Then she started coughing and has fever too. Still not a cause of concern. I gave her the usual medicines and she seemed OK.
Last night her fever started shooting up again and just for the heck of it I told her to open her mouth. And my worst nightmare came true. She is again having laryngitis. Last year the problem got so worst that she was hospitalized and was in hospital on her birthday. When she was discharged from the hospital she was OK but after a while developed worst side effect of antibiotics. If there is God somewhere, he took pity on us and decided to bless us with our young one’s company.
She is suffering from laryngitis again is enough to give us nightmares. We were out in the middle of the night with doctor’s prescription to buy the medicine. To our horror we visited almost all the existing 24 hour open chemists’ shop in the city and we couldn’t find the medicine.

We came back home feeling disgusted and in the midst of all this chaos my daughter was sleeping peacefully at the back of the car. She didn’t have any fever. To out utter relief she didn’t have fever in the morning that means she is not having infection. We don’t have to Give her antibiotics. The doctor prescribed the alternative medicine for her throat. Above all she is not suffering from laryngitis.
What gave us the breather was the homeopathic medicine suggested by my father which worked wonders for the kid. I have to write another blog post on my father who is the walking and talking encyclopedia. 🙂
Right now It so comforting to see the kid plying with her pets and her laughter is echoing in the whole house. Today she applied some Vaseline on the Guinea Pigs and got reprimanded suitably. Seems happy days are back again.


Being Happy Day 11, 12

‘Survival of the Fittest’ might be true for the external world but its untrue for family. External world might say let the unfit perish but not your family. As a potter molds the clay same way our families shape us. Whatever we face in the external world, we always aspire to be “home” with out loved ones. It doesn’t matter if that loved one reside in a home consists of one room apartment or a mansion.

We humans are born as totally “unfit” to survive in this world. It is our family that gives us that edge to survive in this planet. The irony is that we don’t realize the importance of family till we leave the protective fold. There is an element of certainty even when we are fighting the bitterest battle amongst family members. We know no one is going to leave us.
When we start our own adult life then the fact dawn upon us that how much effort and blood and toil are needed to raise a family. But raising a family is not only hard work it gives us a reason to strive hard and give our best to family. It give us a reason to go back home. No matter how beaten and bruised we are feeling in the night our family gives us enough strength to wake up and put up a fight again in the morning.
Our weekend was devoted to family. We went out to dine and watch movie. I like it this way, the three generations of family enjoying together. You don’t have to open a book or watch a documentary, ‘what happened in our times’ 🙂 My husbands grandfather was freedom-fighter. He didn’t allow his children to watch movies. But the balancing factor came from my husband’s grandmom. How she used to took kids to movie hall and how everything was planned to deceive the grandfather who was in his turn capable of deceiving British. But wives are / were more powerful than British rulers. 🙂
I remember my own father didn’t talk to me for eight years. But still he was there whenever I faced any crisis. Today what I miss most is talking to my grandfather. He used to tell a lots of stories of his times and struggles. Though like a convention family we never went to holidays or movies or eating joints but still I used to spend a lot of time with him. I still aspire to have 10% of will power he used to possess. Another thing that I admire of my grandfather is he never used to meddle in our lives. He himself made his life rich and fulfilling on daily basis and didn’t feel any need to interfere in our own lives.
Here I am talking about normal family not about violence prone abusive families. Nothing can be more miserable than that. The hands that are supposed to rock your cradle, rob you of affection, love and care. Then one has to chose not to follow in the family’s footsteps. Even then life is giving us a chance not to repeat those mistakes in our adult life and live consciously and happily.

But if one had a normal family, try to make most of it. Though it is comforting to think that parents are going to live forever, in reality they are not. So enjoy the precious moments with them.


Being Happy Day 10 : Don’t be Too Nice

‘Treat people the way you want them to treat you’, is the biggest lie on this planet earth and true for Sachin Tendulkar ONLY. If you are not Sachin Tendulkar and treat people nicely without giving them stinkers, they will apply the policy of ‘use and throw’ on you. If you lend a helping hand most of the time, you will be taken for granted. If you go on helping people at the drop of a hat, they will keep dropping you at the drop of a hat.

When I stopped being too nice to people, it actually increased my happiness quotient. Being too nice is the story of my life. Its the natural conclusion that what goes round comes around. So I was actually scared of the mere thought of saying no or being rude to anyone. Does my niceness led me to the path of happiness? The answer is a big NO. Most often I felt so miserable and unhappy. I used to wonder the usual wonder, ‘what have I DONE’ to piss this person off?

Where I live, people tend to behave as they please. If they are in mood, they will say Hi to you otherwise you might be quite invisible standing right there for them. I remember one lady. She came to our house after ten in the night while I was packing for our holiday in mountains. We had an early morning start. She needed to know the house numbers of society kids so that she can invite them for her kid’s birthday party. I welcomed her and did the needful. When few weeks later I saw her in the garden, she ignored me totally. Last year in December, she again knocked at my door and made the same request. I obliged. Now she is back to her usual ignoring self.So if she is coming to my place next time…. 😉

It doesn’t mean I am saying goodbye to my basic nature. But I am certainly going to use my discretion. I am going to pick and chose. Everyone doesn’t deserve my care and attention. Now I too behave in a manner that people think twice before misbehaving with me. Never make yourself too available that people start taking you for granted. Pay attention to your own well being without being selfish.

Having your own personal space is very necessary. If you are not going to create and respect your personal space no one else will. So don’t help people all the time. and learn to say no. Give people opportunity to learn and grow and take responsibility for a while. It will not do them any harm.

People actually have their own set of rules and emotions they care to live by or exhibit. It is a very hard earned lesson but I F-I-N-A-L-L-Y learned it. My good behavior CANT extract good or civilized response from others. Slowly but surely I realized that I can’t control how others behave. What I can control is my own reaction and behavior. That thinking definitely brought me lots of peace and happiness. Taking control of your own behavior and emotions free you from victims mentality too and takes you away from the path of whining and cribbing.


Being Happy Day 9 : Supreme Court Zindabad

The above ad aptly sums up India and Indians.

Hope is the key to happiness. When I look at the conduct of those who are in public life I often feel despair, frustration. anger, helplessness and what not. BUt Supreme Court of India has today given us some H-O-P-E. All is not lost. We are not that helpless. We have a spineless vertebrate s PM. What he does as PM is wait helplessly and watch helplessly and sit helplessly and speak helplessly. HE IS AN EPITOME OF HELPLESSNESS. The cherry on the icing is he terms his helplessness as symbol of H-O-N-E-S-T-Y. Today the Supreme Court of India has given the well deserved long due resounding slap to his pseudo honesty.

Today I am really happy that at least there are some institutions in our country that works. Apart from armed forces, Supreme Court seems to be the only institution of the India that seems to work.
This headlines aptly sums up “CVC verdict: Another blow to Caesar’s wife” It says,

“The Supreme Court striking down the appointment of Central Vigilance Commissioner PJ Thomas and his subsequent resignation on Thursday is yet another blow for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and a major one for the UPA government.

The ruling is likely to put the UPA government on the mat and in a very embarrassing position. Not that it cares, but it will definitely be a major blot on Manmohan Singh’s image. This is the third time that the Supreme Court has tweaked at the ears of Singh – the 2G spectrum and the CWG being the earlier occasions.

Like Caesar’s wife, Singh should have been above suspicion in the case of Thomas’. In this case, the Prime Minister is personally culpable.

Remember what Singh said during the Congress party’s plenary session in December last? “Like Caesar’s wife, I should be above suspicion”.”

Hope works as fire for our lives. But we the citizens of third world country is deprived of such hope. But still we find certain people who dares to take a stand and FIGHT and keep our hope alive. Nothing gives me more happiness to write about such persons or institutes.


Being Happy : Day 8

I don’t know what’s the matter with me today. Nothing worked today.

My first priority within few weeks will be to go to bed early. I sleep quite late in the night. And get up early in the morning. I want to change that. I want to feel well rested in the morning. I want to begin my day on a positive note. I want to get rid of that feeling, “10 or 15 minutes more in the quilt.”

Not getting enough sleep is destroying my health and happiness both. It affects my mood too. All the time I keep on fighting with tiredness and try to get some rest at odd times. But it won’t suffice for a normal healthy sleep. And when I was unable to take those odd naps at odd times it leaves me frustrated.

When I am irritable and half rested, it naturally leaves me in foul temper. I have to make an extra effort not to take it out on easy targets. It sometimes proves to be very tiring to keep your temper in check. When I do explode on someone do it give me relief? The answer is yes BUT for a while. Few minutes, hours, days or weeks later, I was attacked by guilt pangs and what not…. Not to forget, that I have to go extra mile to make up with the person who was the target of my wrath.

So an idea hit me, why not get rid of all this unhappiness and grouchy mood by going to bed early and waking up fresh in the morning? I am going to try this and see what happens.I have to rope in my family members and sell this idea to them also. We are all night owls. We all feel so productive and happy during the night. But we pay for this happiness in the morning!

Today for a change we got up early in the morning and what a great morning that was. We had enough time to sip tea leisurely and talk without feeling rushed or guilty. Early mornings are great times for family and normal talks. But it is good only when you have enough rest in the night.
Till now getting up early and retiring to bed early has proved the hardest thing to execute in life. So Now I want to wish all the best to myself. 🙂


Being Happy : Day 7

I again felt the surge of pain in my whole body while I opened up my eyes in the morning. My first thought was what the heck! Why I have to get up and do anything. But I had to. Someone was pressing the doorbell. It was my maid. I don’t know how she manages it but she always procures a smile in the morning when I open the door. Now I know she will offer me a fantastic cup of tea and everything will be aright in my side of the world. I forgot for a while that I was having any pain. Then I put on some music and started doing usual chores.

We had to attend a wedding today. I know her because she is my sister’s friend. At one point of time she was my roommate. A highly charged and unusual person. An idealist to the core. Her wedding was unusual too. She is fiercely independent and self respecting person. Though she studied from one of the IITs but she is not in the rat race of big cars, big houses, big holidays… That reminds me of my sister. Though she is a professional but she too refuses to join the rat race. No doubt both are friends.

My friend is a kind of person who makes her own rules and live by it. And when something turns wrong she never runs to her parents to fix it up.

Like my friend, her wedding was unusual too. She planned everything with her groom including getting the wedding cards, trousseau, jewelery, booking of hall… She and her groom spent their own hard earned money. They both invited their respective parents to attend the wedding. And they came. 🙂

It was a pleasant surprise to see my friend in her wedding outfit. But that day too she was her usual efficient self. More than being part of Ramleea, they were acting as efficient host receiving guests, looking after them and getting photographed. Photographer was running after them wherever they were going. But the bride and groom were looking cute running here and there, hand in hand. 🙂 Parents make you pay for having self-respect.

I don’t know if I know any other girl that will invite me to such an unusual wedding. But we were so happy and proud to be part of such a mature and grown-up couple’s wedding.


Being Happy : Day 6

When I started blogging again, then one thought was quite prominent in my mind, We can’t reach a milestone everyday in terms of finances or career or fun. We can’t wait for few milestones in our lives to be happy. We can’t party everyday. We can’t hang out with friends and family everyday. We can’t holiday everyday. We can’t watch movies everyday. We can’t go for makeover everyday.

Everyday of a student or a business tycoon or a movie star or ordinary office-goer is quite dull or drab. Then what can we do make it fun everyday? How to feel content and happy everyday? Is it difficult? Is it possible? That’s how my journey begins. I want to explore the possibilities of happiness and contentment each day in the midst of same dull and drab affairs?

Today I didn’t have any problem to feel happy, excited and content.I had a fabulous hot breakfast with my sister. I know she was going back to her place today so there was a feeling of reverse counting. But I tried to make it up by not thinking too much about it. Why waste present moment of togetherness?

Another thing was, its a beautiful day with lots of sunlight and cool breeze. A perfect day to be outdoors. Its a GREAT opportunity to feel that you are part of vast sky, cool breeze, chirping birds and blooming flowers. Otherwise it seems we are oblivious to the fact that we live in too much harmony with concrete, mortar, girdles, rods adorning balconies and brick-walls, So after breakfast I came out with our pets and little one. I put the pets at a sunny-shady spot and settled down with newspapers. I gathered other children from our society too. They all played nosily and it was hard to remain unaffected by their mirth, joy, enthusiasm and laughter.


Vast stretch of Blue Sky

Late in the evening we went to a flower show where they had a carnival too. 🙂 Should I write more? 🙂


Being Happy : Day 5

Ah! Weekends! How the name weekends sound music to ears. Even a happy feeling creeps in on the Friday evening itself.Weekend means throw all the carefully crafted routine to winds. Weekend means being yourself or breaking free from daily routine. I love it when we go out to visit someone or our friends and family come to visit us.

On Friday night my sister came to our place to spend weekend. All the more reason to be irresponsible because she is there to take care of things. 😉 My in-laws visited us too. So we had a nice evening and some nice conversation. Simple home cooked food acquires new meaning and taste when shared with your family huddled together. TV, movies, eating out everything is forgotten. When three generations are having dinner together you can’t imagine how conversation varies and how stimulated your mind feels.
How friends and family ensures that you are still loved ad cherished no matter what the world out there thinks about you. You can always be yourself and your dear ones make sure that the child inside you remains alive and kicking. How there love and care free us from our daily prim and proper self. How they know intuitively what makes you happy and what irks you or how to pull your leg without being nasty.
I am fond of long walks. When my sister accompanies me, we can walk and talk whole night with a midnight snacks of Maggie noodles. Sometimes, we really greeted morning while walking the whole night around our house. Ah! Those days! Once I remember we cousins were sitting on the road in a circle around 2 O’ Clock talking animatedly. A police-wallah was on the round and he started marching towards us. One of my cousins found her voice and said, “Uncle, we live in this house.” Hearing a female voice, he was reassured that we were not hatching some conspiracy to rob a bank!
I remember how much we shared during those talks. How many jokes we cracked, how many stories we told, how many promises we made, how many card games we played and how we encouraged one another to not give up when difficulties were staring us in eyes and sometimes how many heated discussions we had on politics,sports and society in general.
So when my sister visits me we still try to take those long walks and tell our husbands that we will be back within an hour but we NEVER…


Libyan Crisis : People in Pursuit of Happiness

Today I was in better shape. In the morning I didn’t have problem focusing on positive thoughts and feeling peaceful. I have not burn a CD yet. But I am selecting songs I like.

Today I was watching news. I like watching news and reading newspapers whenever I find time. It is one of the best ways to expand the horizons of your thoughts. Admiring others also gives you motivation and happiness. Today my thoughts are with the people of Libya and Libyan crisis. I am not saying that the events of violence are a source of happiness for me. But their courage, grit, determination, stamina to fight a dictator and their optimism to give a better future to coming generation has certainly left me in awe of Libyan people.

Sometimes for being happy you have to offer your blood, sweat, happiness,past, present and future and what not. These types of traits are not possessed by normal people. Sometimes one generation has to offer themselves so that future generations can enjoy happiness. Libyans are showing such rare traits.

USA has shown apprehension that Colonel Gaddafi might burn oil wells of Libya and order his troops to break the pipelines.But it is not deterring Libyans to fight for a better life and future. A report says, “There, more than 100 people were killed as Colonel Gaddafi’s forces turned automatic weapons on a mosque filled with rebels, a witness said. Still, residents rallied afterward to protest. “

Hats off to their courage and valor. I wish that Libyan people will be able to overthrow this dictator of 41 years and move ahead to a new and bright future. As the courage and determination of Libyan leaves me happy and gives a hope that all is not lost. My heart is also filled with joy that I am living in an era witnessing rare courage and sacrifice.

BUT, what about us? Do we love our children? Sadly the answer is a big NO. We hardly get bothered by law and order, pollution, corruption, price rise, environment, functioning of our leaders, bureaucracy and police. We hardly follow traffic rules and pollution laws. We rarely plant tress. We hardly go out and protest against farmers which use pesticides and spraying alcohol on vegetables and paddy. We hardly acknowledge that we are facing such problems. We feel very enlightened by just educating our kids or sending them to some phoren university. THAT’S ALL.

We too have shown courage like Libyans. But today we don’t have a Gandhi to draw us out of out homes. Today the kind of Gandhis we have can’t even draw us out to our nearest streets, even if it is few yards away. We might be drinking our tea at that time. We can’t sacrifice a cup of tea to for our kids.