Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Sinful Bliss

They say that the time period between engagement and marriage is one of the most exciting phases for a bride and groom to be. I wasn’t feeling any different from the day we celebrated our Platinum Day of Love. After being in a long distance relationship with Adi during our courtship period, I felt the urge to meet him and get to know him better before I could feel confident about him. Who would have imagined that a couple who got to know each other through a dating platform like, Aisle ended up getting engaged through a horoscope match also. We both had decided to bury the Aisle secret and go ahead with the regular proceedings as it pleased our parents. Once a relationship clicks, who cares if it Aisle or Bharat Matrimonial. Our relationship was chugging like a steam engine, thanks to those miles that separated us. True love doesn’t get diluted with distance but we were yet to discover it. I tried my luck at job opportunities in Bangalore where he was staying so that I could get to know him more before we were officially engaged. Adi helped me in finding a paying guest accommodation which was close to my work place. I wasn’t happy staying at a place which was far from his house; but he being the more practical one said, ‘Dia, in Bangalore, if you want mental peace, make sure you stay close to your workplace. Do not risk your precious time in these crazy vehicle clogged roads. We can meet on weekends when we can spend quality time together.’
Our story from courtship to being engaged and then getting married was a strange one because our lovable moments always had something to do with food. I used to fear at times thinking it could affect our health but we balanced it well just as we did with our relationship. The first day I set foot in this city, Adi gave me a surprise welcome with a bouquet of twelve roses.
‘These are for those months which we have known each other for,’ he said squeezing my hand. 
It was extremely chivalrous of him to receive me at the railway station at 3:00 AM on a Sunday morning when half the city was sleeping. Probably he was equally excited to meet me. I had put on my worst look that morning. Which girl would meet her date for the first time sleepy eyed and dull? He came close holding the bouquet and we embraced each other for the first time. It wasn’t an awkward feeling at all. It felt as if we had known each other for long. As we sat in the car and picked up our conversation from where we had left on the phone last night, he decided to take me to a coffee shop knowing that I like coffee. I was wondering if there would be any coffee shop open at this wee hour. We were lucky that a Café Coffee Day was open. I had never seen a CCD more beautiful as this; A small garden café. We had to wake up the poor server boy and ask him for piping hot Café Moccha which happened to be our favourite. As we sat in a cosy corner by the table in the garden sipping on our coffee, an aroma of the feeling of first love wafted into our souls.  How could I forget that morning, as we sat with our hands entwined, sipping the nerve soothening coffee at the crack of dawn looking at the crimson sky and enjoying each other’s company! It was certainly a date to remember. Freshly ground coffee beans have a magic in them. The aroma is strong enough to mask any form of fragrance that lingers around. It did wake me up my brain from its slumber only to register the precious moments of my first date with Adi. I finished my coffee quickly and looked at Adi sipping the last bit from his mug.
He caught me staring and asked, ‘Do you want some more?’ Just for the sake of having the last sip from his coffee mug I took it from him and relished it till the last drop. The after effect of it was something which I had never imagined. The next moment, warm lips, smelling of coffee had engulfed mine and before I could open my eyes and realize what had happened. Adi was standing by the car waiting for me to get in. The motto of CCD is true- ‘Anything can happen over coffee.’
I had to spend the rest of the day in tidying my room and setting up things. My first date was a very short one but the feeling that I was going to meet him again in a few days got my hopes a bit high thinking that our relationship was getting a chance to blossom.
My thoughts were all over the place the entire day. I was physically doing the work and arranging my room but my heart was with him. I could still sense his lips on mine and the smell of coffee that hit my nostrils when he came close to me. It was having an intoxicating effect on me and I did not feel normal until the next day when I had to rush for work. Our long distance relationship continued even though we were in the same city. We waited for the weekend so that we could spend more time with each other. It was exciting to plan for the weekend as soon as the week begun. Weekend outings in the city were just a pretext to meet and get to know each other better. We tried to go for movies that interested us, visited book shops where we could read or discuss about our favourite books over a cup of coffee or tea.
We were the so called foodies. That was the first among the many other common likings that we had. Although, the cuisines that either one of us liked were not completely the same but in a way we were able to discover our love through food. Initially, we spoke only about our favourite dishes, likes and dislikes but when we were together it was exciting to try out something new. It is said that food has an impact on the brain directly. The gastronomic delight one gets after having their favourite dish is equivalent to feeling loved by someone.
At times we took more time to decide as to where and what we should eat than discuss about each other. One evening he took me to an Italian restaurant that served the best vegetarian menu in Italian cuisine. Each date was memorable and had its’ own charm in our lives. Our pleasant as well as bitter-sweet memories were linked with food as it formed a vital part of our relationship.
While dining at the quaint and beautiful restaurant Adi asked, ‘Dia, do you like cooking?’
I have heard that men want to know if their would be partner knew how to cook but I had never heard such a question. It made me feel that this man had a liberal mind set. I smiled at him and instead of replying I asked him, ‘What about you?’
‘I love to eat and serve with love,’ he said with a sheepish grin.
‘Wow… I guess I have one more reason to love you. When do I get a taste of your culinary skills?’ I asked giving him a gentle nudge.
He gripped my hand and held them inside his strong, warm fist. ‘You are invited home anytime my lady.’
Our conversation about meal plans vanished into thin air when the food arrived at our table. A glass of Sangria, cheesy creamy pasta and jazz music in the background with Adi in front of me made me feel that I had conquered the world. The combination of wine and pasta was enough to sooth our palate. As I took small sips of my wine and took few spoons of the creamy pasta, I felt different. The combination of vodka, cheesy cream sauce and wine hit my palette and I felt my head was heavy. I could hear what Adi was speaking and was also replying to him but there was a sort of vaccum created because of which only his words seemed to echo in my ears. I was talking to him but not in the way my normal self would do. I think I was high on alcohol and cheese. How could one get high after having pasta and wine? Later, when I read the menu in detail I realized that this pasta sauce had generous amount of vodka and when combined with cheese and wine it makes it stronger in flavour and its action on our system also is enhanced.
 ‘I can feel my head reeling Dia,’ Adi said putting his arms around my shoulder firmly. He needed me and I needed him for support. We had to take a cab and reach home as Adi was not feeling comfortable to drive. I could only remember the pasta and the wine when I recalled about that evening. We got tipsy together for the first time. There were many such firsts in our lives. But again the same feeling of parting and waiting for another week made the experience painful. It gave us melancholy but at the same time we had a hope to meet each other the next week.

The weekend after that was New Year's Eve. Adi had invited me home to join him and his friends in the celebration. I had never attended a New Year celebration party till date. It had always been spent with friends or family either watching the New Year celebration programmes on television or cutting a New Year cake. I was a little hesitant in going to his place and being with his friends but because his friends were also bringing their respective girl friends’ along, I felt a little confident about the whole idea of a New Year’s celebration. The apartment where he was staying with his friends was a beautiful one. It was the first time I was entering a house where only men stayed and I was feeling awkward even thinking about it. As expected, the house turned out to unusually neat and tidy. It was mainly to welcome the girls I assumed. Once the other girls also started joining us I was able to be my usual self. Apart from Adi and the other friends, there was music, good food and creative homemade cocktails made by one of Adi’s friends. I spent more time in observing Adi around with friends than talking to anyone much. In fact, his friends were too excited to know about our relationship. That’s how our conversation continued. I felt a little relieved seeing that Adi was his normal self when it came to being with me and his friends. It was one of those concerns I had which had instilled some doubts in me and made me feel a little hesitant about our relationship. Not that I had an option to step back. . It was only one additional reason to feel happy about the person with whom I was slowly falling in love with.There was no dual personality that he adorned at least in front of his close ones.

We waited for the clock to strike 12 and welcomed the New Year wishing each other good luck and happiness. Adi’s friend threw a challenge at us saying that as we all start our countdown to welcome the New Year; with each count we should have one shot of Tequila. Since there were 10 seconds left, we were all forced to have 10 shots continuously. I think, that was enough for us to not be our normal self for that night. Adi still seemed a little sane but, I wasn’t. I became extremely quiet and I went with the flow not knowing how to react. I was never used to having alcohol and 10 shots were not something which my body could take. Thankfully nothing happened to my health but I swore that day that never in my life would I have so much alcohol. I have never been so quiet but it made me calm down so much that it was difficult even for Adi to accept me that way. The celebrations were almost about to end as none of us could stay awake because of the overdose of alcohol. Amidst the confused discussion that was happening whether the girls should go to another apartment and stay over for the night, Adi took his chance and stole me from the group.
The next moment I was with Adi in the terrace. The dark sky was illuminated with brilliant colours of the firecrackers. The chaos caused by the crackers was loud enough get people out of their beds and celebrate the New Year. But, for some reason I was at peace at that moment in the terrace as I stood close to Adi admiring the lit up sky. Adi pulled me close and gave me a tight hug. He cupped my chin with his hands and lifted my head up so that his lips could meet mine. Our lips smeared with salt left over after the tequila shots engulfed each others. The strong smell of alcohol and the taste of salt against our moist lips made my stomach churn with desire. That day was one of those very firsts when I saw the most romantic side of Adi. The most passionate kiss to begin with and the firecrackers in the sky made me feel like life were a fairytale.  I had to push him away just to breathe and absorb myself into that moment. We did not speak but our eyes gleamed reflecting the bright colours of the sky.
Realizing that it was quite some time that we had spent in the terrace, we both rushed downstairs just to make sure the others did not realize our absence from the scene. I had to go with the other girls to their apartment to stay over for the night. I had no heart to leave Adi and go but I had to. He had left a desire burning inside me and I needed to wait till the next day in order to extinguish the fire.
I wanted to text him and describe to him about my feelings but did not have words to do justice. My head was reeling with passion and my palate was burning because of the strong shots of Tequila. It took liters of water to flush out the intoxicating effect of the alcohol from my system. But how was I supposed to stay normal after what Adi had done to me? All I could remember about the previous night was the strong salty kiss which lingered in my senses throughout.
Every time I met him I felt a strong sense of attraction towards him. I was slowly able to gain confidence in him and felt that getting engaged to him was not a bad choice at all. The long distance courtship had taught us trust more than love. Love, was something we were discovering throughout.
The next morning I did not wake up with a headache but instead wasn’t able to talk. My throat had a severe congestion and my voice had become hoarse. I texted Adi about my condition and he reached immediately to take me to the doctor. The doctor advised me complete voice rest for three days.
‘How am I supposed to select our marriage ring this way?’ I wrote on a chit and showed it to Adi.
‘Don’t worry, I can do the talking. You write to me in a piece of paper as you did now,’ he said handing over a small note pad to me.
Immediately after consulting the doctor we went hunting for appropriate rings. Since, we were travelling together from the same destination Adi took me on his bike. It was one of my firsts again. The evening breeze was just perfect to go on a bike ride. I sat as a pillion holding him tight and all those romantic songs kept playing in my mind. I couldn’t speak, so every time he wanted to know if I was doing well he would look at the rear view mirror and ask, ‘Are you feeling alright?’
‘I would tilt my head to the side so that half of my face could be seen in the mirror and give him a smile with thumbs up.’
The weather in Bangalore was supposed to be equally unpredictable, just as the traffic on the roads. We were about to reach the jewellery shop when out of nowhere dark cloud hovered above us and the weather was indicating towards a thundershower. To make matters worse, we were stuck in a traffic jam which could easily take about twenty minutes to clear. As expected, within minutes is started drizzling and by the time we crossed the signal it was a heavy downpour. We were completely drenched. Not knowing what to do I slid even closer to Adi and held him tight. I also felt slight shivers in my body.
‘Dia I am going to park the bike here. We can wait there till it stops raining,’ Adi said pointing at a petty tea shop where there was enough space for the two of us to stand. I was in desperate need of something warm and a hot ginger tea that we had in that shop was all it took to open up my senses and give my throat some warmth and relief. The combination of heavy rain and ginger tea has always worked wondered to sooth the throat. I couldn’t talk but that day I learnt the art of communicating with Adi through my eyes. Probably he understood how much I admired him for the care and concern that he was showing for me. Ginger works perfectly in soothing a troubled throat. Despite all the throat pain and the doctor’s advice not to talk, I took the courage to whisper in Adi’s ears, ‘I love you.’  Before he could scold me for talking I sealed the irritation with a peck on his cheek.
We couldn’t get our rings that day but because we were drenched completely and I was more prone to fall sick because of the existing infection, Adi took me shopping and also promised to take me to his house in the evening. ‘I hope you are feeling better after the tea,’ he asked rubbing my forehead and caressing my wet hair. After asking me to rest for a while he vanished into the kitchen. His friends had gone out for a movie so I felt even more comfortable in lying on the sofa and slipping into a short nap. I was woken up by Adi with a bowl of Pongal and chutney.
‘You made this?’ I exclaimed in my hoarse voice forgetting that I wasn’t supposed to talk. I saw a hint of anger on his face but it faded soon seeing me happy. I was having the home made pongal after almost months and I wonder how Adi knew exactly about that. The softness of the rice and dal with a hint of pepper and a dollop of ghee on top made me feel even better. My nose was watering, my throat was burning from inside because of the ginger and pepper in it but it had served the purpose. I was slowly being relieved of my throat pain. My eyes almost welled with tears as I was finishing the pongal. I had not only found a future partner in Adi but I had also found my parents in him.


The trail of thoughts that were going through my mind were disturbed suddenly.  You want some more of this? Adi asked feeding me and our little one in the making a spoon of chocolate brownie with ice cream. We were at the same CCD at 1:00 AM, where we had met first. But this time we were sharing a sizzling brownie with ice cream, thanks to the midnight cravings. A spoonful of hot chocolate over soft and warm brownies with vanilla ice-cream was enough to make me fall in love with Adi all over again. 

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Of Love, Luck and Lucky Ali

This is blog post, rather a letter which was left incomplete 8-9 months back. It was initiated when I was back from a Lucky Ali concert in Bangalore. The trail of thoughts started and it was in my draft ever since. I am dedicating this as a WOW prompt  under “A Story Yet Unwritten”. Thanks BlogAdda for bringing this out. 

An open letter to Lucky Ali from a devoted Lucky Ali fan's wife. 

After having attended three of your live concerts and having closely observed your devotion and love for music, I am compelled to write this to you. This can be considered as a heartfelt message. Moral of the story is that, I can't thank you enough for everything that your music and style has given me through my husband. My husband is a die hard fan of your music and he does not miss an opportunity to attend your concerts or to listen to any of your songs that are released. To an extent, his love for your songs and style makes me believe that my husband just cannot like anything artificial. Your songs have influenced his childhood and teenage and continue to do so. Your style has mesmerised him. More so, the kind of soulful music which you compose and deliver has made him extremely devoted to music. We would have seen couples during our teenage dedicate songs to each other with some of your most loved romantic numbers like - Gori teri aankhein and O Sanam....... 
I faced a similar situation in my romantic relationship with my husband too. The first Hindi song he dedicated to me was " Tu Kaun hai......" which of course I had never heard of until then. The song did not have any romantic touch to it but he still kept asking me often during the dating phase of our relationship- ' Tu kaun hai??'

Slowly, I discovered his love for music and fell in love more with his voice. Every time I spoke to him, I requested him to sing a song for me. I was happy then thinking that at least he had the thought of dedicating a song for me. He still has your music albums cassettes, CD's intact. There are days when he keeps listening to your songs throughout in a continuous loop.  He knows every song and every lyrics by heart which is extremely contrary to the fact that he doesn't remember trivial details like dates and events that happen in day to day life. This habit of listening to the same song the entire day to an extent that you wake up humming that song the next day morning, seemed strange to me initially but I have become equally crazy like him now. I like listening to those songs again and again.

My first concert date with my husband was also one of your concerts at the HRC, Bangalore. It was a beautiful and an unforgettable evening that will be etched in my memories forever. We both stood hand in hand, waving at times, singing along with you. Somehow, your songs have brought us closer at each step of our relationship. I see a child like excitement in him when he listens to any of your songs. His free spirited nature, carefree attitude towards life as he sings your songs makes me go back to the 90's. We had received the CD's of your album Xsuie and Raasta Man as a gift for attending the concert. My husband took me for 2-3 hours of long ride in the city at midnight  just to listen to these albums as the car was the only place with a CD player.

While I looked through his old teenage photos I could understand that his dressing style also resembled a couple of yours as it appeared in the album's song videos. Probably, I discovered him better when I looked at all the video songs. I hadn't watched many of them until he told me about them.

It was one night before Valentine's Day, when he was attending your concert. I was not in the city that time. Since it was our first Valentines Day celebration, he wanted to surprise me at midnight with a special message. He attended your concert, kind of left early from there towards the fag end and surprised me by writing a 10 page love letter. Again, it was one of his firsts and mine too. The happiness in his soul was evident as he wrote about the concert and later described about his feelings for me. I still treasure that love letter which brought us few steps closer to each other. The happy and energetic vibe was evident. Thanks to your wonderful songs and of course the concert.

His adventurous thoughts, the satisfaction he has gained by riding an Enfield, his description about travelling solo to random destinations in Ladakh, happily humming your song has made me visualize the ' Kitni Haseen Zindagi.......' song often. Whenever we go on long drives, either on a bike or a car we make it a point to sing this song or ' Hairat hai.... Hairat hai......' and our journey gets even better.

A recent incident which makes me laugh even as a I type this out. We had been to the theater to watch the movie 'Tamasha' because I insisted that we should watch it. My husband did not like the movie and was ready to leave the theater even before the movie was about to end. The only reason that held him back till the fag end was to visualize and listen to the song ' Safarnama...'. 

Such funny instances keep happening and I believe that the influence your songs have on him are unique. The interesting fact is that they have given an extra dimension to our relationship.

Signing off....

Picture Courtesy : Clicked by my dear hubby @Ydntnphotography.

‘This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Odd-Even story of every household

The Odd - Even rule doesn't apply only for cars plying in Delhi, it also applies to the distribution of household work. The formula is the same. One is for reducing the amount of pollution due to the increasing number of vehicles, while the another is to make life easier for women while taking care of the household. If I were to travel back in time, lets say, fifteen years before there was always an Odd rule followed in a family when it came to managing the household. It was only left to the women to manage the regular household chores like cleaning, cooking, washing and taking care of the family while men only were concerned about the financial well being of the family. They were the sole bread earners. If there were households where women worked too, they not only had to do the regular work any homemaker does but also had to juggle all this with their professional lives. They had to work as a professional and as well as a homemaker. There was no concept of sharing household work equally between a husband and a wife in many households. But, I am glad that situations are not the same anymore. Progress had happened where men have stepped forward boldly against all odds and have started helping their partner with the daily chores at home. 

With the introduction and easy availability of washing machines, like the, completely automatic washing machines, washing clothes became very easy for women. Gone were the days when women had to sit with buckets of clothes in the bathroom and keep scrubbing for hours together. Life became simpler but question here is - Why only women should take the effort to wash clothes? 

Brands like Ariel, who promise to manufacture detergents not only to brighten our clothes and help in removing rough stains but also help in creating awareness to share the load by their creative commercials which are able to drive in a very crucial message. The surveys they have conducted and the creative Ads with strong message have helped many men in realizing the importance of helping out their partner with the simplest of the household work, like doing the laundry. Ariel always amazes us with their beautiful ideas, just like this one. It gives a clear picture as to how even in modern times women have to hold their fortress at the household as well as the professional front. They have multiple expectations to fulfill and they slog hard to achieve their goals. The father's message to his daughter is conveyed strongly yet subtly. 


In the same, way there was an Ad created by Ariel when the #ShareTheLoad campaign began.The surveys showed that men felt it was only a woman's job to do the laundry not matter how busy a woman was with other household work. For that matter even if she was busy working she had to take the responsibility of washing the clothes or locating the clothes for their partner. 



While, Ariel is trying to send a powerful message through it creative Ads which are progressive and are delivering a strong message to everyone, I tried the Ariel Matic for my top load fully automatic Samsung Washing machine. The quantity required is less, and at the same time, the clothes are washed well. I don't need to even scrub the dirty out of shirt collars, cuffs, pockets and sleeves or salwar bottoms. The stains get cleaned easily. Things became simpler when I asked my husband to help out with the washing so that I could dry the clothes once they were done. Initially I used to wait for weekends to wash clothes or would do it when I was back home from work. Slowly, my husband started helping by putting the clothes for wash before leaving for office. If he had time and wasn't getting late for work he would dry them or leave it in a bucket so that when I am back from work I could dry them. Washing clothes became just another routine job for me which never required so much thought process.  Laundry became an even job in house which was shared equally between me and my husband, be it washing clothes, drying them, folding them, giving it for ironing or picking it up from the dry cleaners. We discuss and divide the work for the day so that it becomes easier to manage little things. 

Since we both work we had this problem of grocery shopping. We kept it for weekends so that we both could do it together but at times when the need arose it had to be in the middle of the week. It was always my job initially to make a list and go grocery shopping in days when my husband could not help. We made it even by adjusting our time only for weekends, where we would spend sometime for this. Although there are multiple grocery shopping apps which provide a solution to all these problems but there is a hidden fun in doing things together, as menial as going to a super market and shopping for stuff , except for those days when there are long queues. So, we avoided those stuffy and crowded super markets and instead chose smaller ones which were less crowded. At times, when this weekend plan didn't work out I made a list of the items and gave to my hubby. Whenever he got the time, he would pick up the groceries. Things became simpler after we adopted this lifestyle. In the same way, vegetable shopping also became simpler. We adjusted according each other busy schedule. 

Cleaning the house and arranging everything is still an odd chore in our house as my partner is not too much into cleaning. He does it rarely only when I cajole him to do so but we have tried to even it out by telling each other that while I am doing the cleaning of the house he could help me by cutting some veggies or preparing a light breakfast or brunch on a Sunday morning so that things get done easily. Situations improved slowly and I was no longer feeling stressed out on a weekend. 

We kept adding things like these to the list and tried to adjust timings in our own way, which would help in managing a household in a better way. At times I do feel that there are so many such household chores that are distributed in an Odd way at home but we manage to identify them by talking about our individual troubles and sort them out.  Solution to these small problems is always simple, we just need to search for means to even out the odd chores. The list is endless as work keeps changing at different stages of life of a couple. All we need is a supporting partner who could sit and talk and also help in finding a solution to these odd troubles.

I am taking part in the #LaundryGoesOddEven Challenge by Ariel India at BlogAdda.'

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Happy Holi #Buranamanoholihai


Whenever I think of holi it is always the beautiful colours that I see on a white background. Since I have spent my entire childhood in North India where Holi is considered as one of the most important festivals, I have been lucky enough to get holidays and enjoy the festival with friends. The usual Holi celebration would be to go out during the day and play with friends or sit in the balcony and watch others play holi. When we were kids, we loved playing with gulal ( powder colours) and mixed it in a bucket full of water just to pour on everyone who passed by from the balcony. There was also a fear of even going out during Holi because someone or the other would come and apply colours. Those days we were not even aware of clicking pictures during holi so I do not have any pictures to remind of the beautiful days but the memories that I have had in celebrating holi with friends is amazing. Mom would keep a separate bucket where I could mix colours with water, dad would come along with me to the local market and buy colours and pichkari ( water spriklers) or balloons ( later to be filled with water). I always loved having a minimum of 5 different colours. It was just an amazing feeling just to keep everything ready the previous night. I would hunt my cupboard with mom just to find an old dress which could be dirtied with holi colours. Mom would ask me to dab my skin with numerous amount of coconut oil before going out to play holi. It was not the end. When we were kids we had a specific time to come out and play. We feared the elders who would play holi with paint mainly, the silver ones. There were many beautiful faces hidden behind the golden, silver and green paints. I am feeling excited just as I recollect those beautiful memories. The entire day would go in just playing holi, spraying colours on others, pouring buckets of colours water on each other, even from the balcony or use those water guns to spray coloured water even when we stand in the balcony, look down and talk to each other. The entire row of houses and from top to bottom had holi colours dripping, in our apartments. There were many notorious ones who would deface the  newly painted white walls with the colours and instead all the innocent children would be scolded for these acts. It is mostly in the month of March so it would either clash with the annual or board exams but no body wanted to miss celebrating holi. I remember the last holi that we played in school after my 12th board exams. We skipped the actual day and instead celebrated the last day of exam by playing holi outside the  school premises.   I did not wash that white school uniform with holi colours for days together just to keep that memory alive. 

Once the celebrations of the day were done with, mom would be ready at home with enough soap and gram flour so that one could get rid of the colours easily. Despite spending more than an hour cleaning up, we would end up with some red or green marks behind the ears, on the finger nails and also in the corners of the forehead and around the neck. Those signs actually made one feel proud when we would go to school the day after holi. It actually spoke about the amount of time one has spent playing holi. Evenings, we would get dressed in fresh clothes, preferably white or light colours. Since in our culture holi was not a major festial, we would go to other's house who had invited us for dinner. There would be 7-8 invitations from the neighbourhood and I never wanted to miss even one house. I went to each and every house with my parents where they would welcome us by applying powder colours ( gulal) . We would be treated with one of my most favourite delicacies like Dahi Vada', Katahal ki sabzi '(Jackfruit) , Mal pua, Puri', Pulav, Chole, Gulkand Sherbet/Nimbu Pani and other sweets. These delicacies still happen to be my favourite. We would spend time meeting friends and talking to everyone around. 

Slowly as I grew up and went out of my hometown to study down South in India, the effect that holi had on me started decreasing. Although in college I have played holi a lot with friends and I can vouch for the fact that it was a crazy holi celebration that we had, but nothing like the holi celebration of childhood days. We at least got time to celebrate holi during college. Now, after having started to work which is also in South India, holi celebrations have reduced. We do not even get a holiday for holi. But this time I have decided to celebrate Holi in a way just as I used to do in childhood with my friends. In order to bring out the fun of it mom and dad came home during holi and my favourite Dahi vada and Katahal sabzi will be made at home. 

I’m pledging to #KhulKeKheloHoli this year by sharing my Holi memories at BlogAdda in association with Parachute Advansed.”

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Memories of life


Memories that we create day to day with all our loved ones are really precious and nothing but those beautiful moments that we have shared with each other are the ones which will always remain. Capturing them in our mind and through the camera helps us in framing them in a way that can never be erased. We might grow old and at times feel that memories are going faint due to the aging of the brain. That is when memories in the form of photos, videos and physical albums and memoirs help us in making those age old moments alive. People come and go in our lives as we grow up but 'Life Partner' is the one who is always with us through all phases of our life post marriage. We spend the maximum time with our partner after our parents. As the going says,' I would love to grow old with my partner.' 

I can image one such day when we both have grown old and we recall those beautiful moments of love and togetherness that we have etched together. To think about this is itself exciting. 

Such is the kind of world that we have started creating for ourselves and hope we have more such wonderful moments to celebrate in our life span together. Some of the best moments spent with you, Yd are dated right from the day we started talking over phone and chatting on Google Talk/Chat/. That was the only way in which we got to know each other. Had it not been for the wonderful Airtel and Google's services we wouldn't have got to know each other so well. The way we used to manage this long distance for the years before we could be together. Those little and big fights over multiple misunderstanding on the phone, those lovey-dovey talks overnight and hanging up only to realize that we have spoken for about an hour and those restless days when we had the urge to meet each other and spend time  but we couldn't. We cannot forget any such moments when we used count days just to meet each other for few hours. Those sudden surprise visits which we made added extra love to our relationships. We actually understood each other and slowly developed a mutual trust. Even when we were in the same city, long distance did not stop. We still had to walk that extra mile to meet each other on weekends despite the busy work schedule and also travelling distance within the same city. Staying far away in the same city was certainly better than staying 400 kms apart. Despite health issues and the distance we stayed strong and fought all those tiny-weeny obstacles and finally tied the sacred knot only to be living together in harmony. Life in any form is not a cake-walk. We have to put in effort whether we are together or apart. After a lot of difficulty in adjusting with each other we moved on to the next level of managing to live with each other. Two years passed that way and we have started etching our memories on so called time canvas .  

We started travelling more together, started venturing into wedding photography and exploring places together, gave our imagination wings and let each other lead an independent life despite being together. 

No relationship is perfect, just as ours. It is the beautiful memories that we have created and are going to create together, that will be taking us forwards. We have and will be having small and big discussions and disagreements but I know when we grow old it would be fun to relive all those moments. Hoping for a bright and a beautiful future together as partners forever. 

I have made a small scrapbook of the sweet and beautiful memories that I have shared with my husband from the beginning using HDFC Life : 

“Share your #MemoriesForLife like I’ve done at BlogAdda for HDFC Life.”

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The beautiful vows


“I’m blogging about the kasams I want from my man this Women’s Day with the #SadaSexy activity at BlogAdda

An open letter to my partner and best friend for life

Dear adorable partner,

You are well aware of the fact that we both are not the type to celebrate days like Women's Day, Father's Day or Mother's Day or for that matter even Valentine's Day on 14th February. We have our own way to celebrate our love and relationship. 

So , when I got a chance to write about some 'kasams' which I would like you to take I went blank for a sometime. Not because I do not have anything to tell you, but I have a longggggg list......

'Are you scared?'

Eh!!! Just kidding!

Foremost, just be sweet and loving as you are. It takes a lot of effort to find someone who is so kind and adjusting like you. Keep that funny, jovial yet irritating nature of yours intact always. I get irritated with it but still, I love those tantrums that you throw at times just to find that angry look on my face. 

It is too tough to come back home exhausted after a day's work and then immediately make tea/coffee for both of us. It would be great if you could make a warm cup of tea/coffee for us and let me relax a bit. 

I know that it is too difficult for you to come with me for shopping when I want to buy some clothes only for you but I would appreciate it if you would let me shop for you at times and if you do not like anything please let me know. I am ready to get it exchanged for something which will suit your choice instead. I am also new to knowing your choices so it will be difficult for me to understand your likes about clothing so easily. 

Please try remembering stuff by making a to-do list so that you do not have to put that much stress on your otherwise tech occupied brain. :-) Life will become much- much simpler for you as well as me. I would have to put in less reminders. 

Take the kasam to join hands with me for living an active lifestyle. I know you have lot of work in office and your eyes cannot be set off the computer system and mobile. Kindly take an hour or so off the gadget and relax. No matter how late it gets at work, please have dinner on time. Do not come home and have a heavy dinner meal if it is after 9:30 PM. I am always worried about your health and if you keep following unhealthy schedules like these it can cause disturb your metabolism. 

Take the vow not to stress yourself more by seeing the traffic pile up on the roads each day as you go to office. Everything is a part and parcel of a developing city with multiplying population and decreasing space. Here, only the patient and the cool minded survive. Just, let go off the traffic stress. 

Try making an effort to understand what I want because the complicated woman that I am, I would always expect you to understand my point of view without me voicing out my opinion. I know you are too smart to do this :-)

The last and the most important thing is just  be with me always and stand strong by my side. Together let us create such an environment in our family and for our future generation, where equality shall prevail. Men and women get to share the load equally. Be that feminist for me. 

Lots of love,

You ever demanding wife.  

#ShareTheLoad- Spread equality

Most households are of the collective opinion that doing any household chore, especially laundry, is a woman’s job.

This was the state in every family a generation ago but the current generating is striving for a change and working towards equality in sharing household responsibilities between men and women in a family equally. We all learn from what we have been seeing our parents and other elders practice in our family. I am writing as a woman who is in her late twenties and here, I am talking about what was the situation 10-15 years back. If one observes closely, in those days it was expected only from a woman to manage a household whether she was a stay-at-home wife/mother or a working woman. The balance of work was never equal. It burden of household work bent more towards women. A woman was expected to work at home and complete all the household chores at a stipulated time and also was given an option to pursue her career at her own choice and risk without letting the daily household routine be affected. The situation was such because women were trained to be this way by their parents. The word 'expected' was always used while bringing up a daughter. It was all done to ensure that the family in which the daughter is married into does not get a chance to raise fingers at the parents' upbringing. 

I am glad that that this concept is slowly getting diluted with education and awareness among all sections of society. I will still be blinded if I do not acknowledge the fact that any change that happens in our society for good is initiated at the urban population level. Such messages do not reach the rural population easily, where discrimination is still prevalent.

Learning, for any growing child begins at home and if things are taught in the right way, they can go a long way in moulding the thoughts of a child. Children are very naive and they accept anything that is told to them during childhood. For example: If a girl child is taught at home from childhood that it is only her job to wash clothes, sweep the house, cook in the kitchen , welcome guests and do everything that her mother has been doing, she will follow the same until there are some major thought processes that changes in her. If she is exposed to a world full of open minded people she might be quick enough in adapting to the changes in modern society but if she still sticks to the old school of thoughts that have been ingrained in her, she might teach the same to her daughter when she grows up or expect her son not to participate in any household related activities. The cycle will continue and so will be the baseless old tradition. At this rate, even education cannot bring in equality. 

I used to consider all this as normal until I realized the actual difference. Any house I have been to I have never seen the men in the family welcoming guests with a glass of water. It is always a woman who is sent to the kitchen to bring in water or snacks. I have never seen a father ask his son to clean up the table after food but I have seen a father telling his daughter/daughter-in-law to clean the table after food. Simple things like these never irked me until one day I realized what was equality. The exposure that I got in this external world when I came out of my home like cocoon made me see things differently. 

After a hard day of work a husband and wife come home but it is expected only by the wife to make tea or coffee. In fact, even if a woman is not well she has to do the cooking although her husband is free at home. Thanks to my independent family which never forced me to learn any household chore just because I was a girl and I had to learn certain skills in order to earn a good name in another family after marriage. Although I had not seen any men in my family enter the kitchen but I was always amazed at their skills of sharing other household chores like washing clothes , drying them, ironing, giving them for dry cleaning, sweeping the house or participating in regular household cleaning. I was amazed seeing my grandfather do the same at the age of 90. He even used to help my grandmother by arranging a matters for her to sleep in daily and also to fold it and put it back neatly at night. I have also seen him stitching clothes at home and also voluntarily wash clothes and dry them, not only his but for the entire family. I always though it was his hobby and left it. Just when I saw this Ad and read about the  Ariel #ShareTheLoad campaign did I realize there was so much work shared between my grandparents and parents. The only exception to this rule was doing the kitchen work. For that matter, I have never seen my dad switch on the gas stove till date because he is never comfortable with it but I have seen him attempt that these days. I always thought washing utensils and cooking was a woman's job but when I see men coming forward to cook and wash the utensils I feel that equality is spreading. 

When I saw few things being shared equally in my house, like sweeping and cleaning , I also expected the same from my husband but I never realized that each person has a different school of thought and has been brought up in a way things have been happening in his family. Although my husband has been too adjusting and helpful, I had never seen him share the load equally. There are still few things which he feels I must do it and the it will take a long time to change those nitty -gritty things. In the initial days of marriage he did expect me to do everything for him, right from taking his clothes and putting in the washing machine or even washing his socks. I felt weird initially because I was not ready do them all by myself always. I expected him to #ShareTheLoad for the simplest things like, keeping his tea/coffee cup or used plate after a meal in the kitchen sink after he is done with it or helping me wash the clothes- even if it was as simple as putting in the washing machine, drying the clothes, cleaning the house, folding the dried clothes and arranging them or even washing utensils. I did voice my opinion which made him feel a bit weird in the initial days. I realized then that the problem was deeper that I had thought. It was the way he had seen things at home. The generation we were being brought up in was different. A son was never asked to do the household chores or help his mother until he was sent to live in a hostel where he had to be independent. While, only a daughter was asked to learn all the household skills, just to find herself in a better position in another family she would be wedded into. 

When I understood the root cause of this disagreement I voiced my opinion and discussed with him about my expectation. He was too patient with me and heard everything that I had to say. I wondered at times, that a man who was used to doing things independently could be so dependent on a woman for simple household chores after marriage? Men generally start comparing their wife to their mother after marriage and the case was same with us. It took time for me to explain to him that I could never be like his mother or for that matter even my mother who would do everything on her own in house and never expect help from her husband in doing the household chores . I decided to ask for help in sharing the load. Things became easier for me . 

My husband seemed so different after I discussed with him about this. In fact, he is the one who strives to make me feel comfortable by sharing the work with me these days. It took time for us to come to one single page when it came to sharing household work but we slowly are managing to pull through an inculcate equality by sharing the load at home so that our child does not have any such pre-set notions. Irrespective of the fact if we have a son or a daughter, we have decided to teach them all the skills required to manage a household. It is completely upon a husband and wife to start practicing equality in the house so that the children can learn from them. If a child is taught from the beginning to do every work independently and the division of household work is never gender biased the child will grow up to become an individual who will never be able to discriminated the household work between a man and a woman.

As responsible parents we must not stress only upon our daughters' to learn household work and at the same time we should also not keep away our sons' from doing the regular household chores. If a daughter is asked to learn to wash clothes and cook, a son must also be asked to do the same and should be taught by parents to help out his wife in the household work after marriage.

When a girl is going to another family after marriage as parents it is our responsibility to teach a daughter to adjust with the new family and consider the other family as her own and take up all the responsibilities. For a change, as new age parents who have a son, we must teach our son to respect his wife and share the load with her so that life becomes easy for her. Relationships work only when each partner puts in equal effort, in the same way a good household can exist only when both partners contribute in maintaining it equally. 

This Ad! is just a brilliant one from Ariel. I happen to relate to this so much because I have seen many small changes in my dad post his retirement and post my marriage, when he has come to stay with me. Even my mother is surprised seeing changes in my dad. It is a highly emotional one but conveys the message in the most beautiful way. It is so important for us as parents to teach the right things to our children so that they can become a responsible individual who knows how to treat the opposite sex equally. 

Sharing a small instance that happened at one of my relative's place recently. An educated and a new age mother-in-law tells her daughter-in-law on the very first day after marriage, ' You listen to everything what my son tells you, obey him and do everything that he likes. This is what my mother-in-law taught me, I am passing on the same to you.' 

The daughter-in-law stood still. She would certainly have felt irritated when she heard this but she couldn't reply back considering it would be disrespectful.

Was this right? Has any mother ever considered telling her son instead of her daughter-in-law to listen to his wife ? Has any mother ever thought of advising her son to respect his wife and treat her as equal? Has it ever happened that a mother has advised her son to go and help his wife in kitchen and offer her a cup of tea when she is back from a tiring day of work? What values are we passing on to the future generation? Is carrying such values from the olden days really required? As parents the complete responsibility is on us to analyze if we are teaching and preaching the right values at home. A child's learning begins only at home. 

I am joining the Ariel #ShareTheLoad campaign at BlogAdda and blogging about the prejudice related to household chores being passed on to the next generation.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

That Didn’t Fit Right during a wedding capture

I am sure we all have heard of wedding woes but we have never heard of 'Wedding Capture Woes'. Photographers covering a wedding have to be on their toes in order to capture every moment in the right way. To top it all if you are a 'Candid' wedding photographer, you not only have to be one your toes but also have to be eagle eye sharp and lightning fast to capture the delicate moments which a regular photographer would fail to notice. To make things worse, a candid wedding photographer has to make his/her own way amidst the crew of photographers and videographers who keep shuttling along with the bride and the groom and yet get the best moments which none of them would have captured. It is a constant struggle for existence. But, when the client has paid and expects so much from you, one can't really exist. One has to stand out. I have been there and done all of this from the past two years when I decided to read the marital vows with my better half of being a part-time 'Candid Wedding Photographer.' 

So, this was my first official assignment with my better half and I, being a total novice into photography was supposed to cover one of the major events, that is the garland exchange- Varmala/Jayamala along with my husband. I obviously had got enough practical lessons on photography and its techniques but I was still not prepared. Before the event was to begin I sat inside the room wondering what I should wear. I had not decided upon the kind of clothes that I should be wearing while capturing a wedding. Saree was a strict , 'NO-NO' from my husband as he told I would have to run around a lot. I wanted to settle in for a beautiful salwar or an anarkali when he suggested me to choose something simple like, a Jeans and a kurti. The kind of occasion specific fashionista that I am, I did not want to look ordinary. I told my photography partner, ' Look, I cannot wear something that ordinary when I am going to capture a wedding.' Saying this I continued hunting in my wardrobe but at last I took my partner's help in deciding the outfit that I was going to wear. I chose a knee length red tussar halter kurti and decided to team it up with black leggings. The kurti was simple, elegant, because of the colour and beautiful because of the fine embroidery work done on it. Problems with women and their wardrobe do not end here. I had to choose the right brassiere for it. I chose a normal black one which fit perfectly but the thin black straps were peeping out occasionally when I tried to move my hand a bit. Considering that I would have to do a lot of photography and my hand  and shoulders wouldn't be still, I decided to change it. So, I decided to go with transparent straps as there wasn't any other bra which was fitting well with this kurti. I had only one transparent strap which I hurriedly put and took one last look in front of the mirror. It was tight and at times I felt it was hurting me but I had no other option but to go ahead with it. I was not in a mood to change my dress and settle for something different. 

Here I was, at the wedding venue, looking elegant and nothing that could define me as an ordinary photographer. I roamed around with the camera and was feeling quite confident about everything. I was slowly getting a hang of photography. The D-Day's most important moment, Jaymala/Varmala was about to start. My partner had gone to a place near the center stage and taken his position, in order to get clear and close images. I was still searching for a place when I saw all the regular photographers and videographers in a single line , towards the front and close to the center stage. There was just a little space left between them which I wanted to take. Excusing myself from the crowd, I squeezed in and took my place. It was a perfect spot and I could get decent images from there. Well, obviously the other photographers felt strange seeing a girl dressed like this taking photographs like a professional. But the actual fact was that, I was neither an established professional and nor was I going to get extremely great images. I was just trying to capture the best moment with steady hands, without missing even the slightest one. I had to pass my first test which my better half was conducting. It was just the 3-4 minute session which I had to struggle and capture. I had to bend my arms, scoop in between other people and then take my shots without having any other photographer to block my view. Adjusting the camera, holding the lens correctly, keeping my hand steady and concentrating on the focus was a daunting task. It was too much to handle. I sat kneeling down on the floor and kept my camera in a position between two photographers, in orders to get the best image. I stretched my hand a bit to keep the camera in front when I heard a snap. The first instinct was to check with my hand if the camera sling around my neck snapped. Seconds later I started feeling very light at my shoulder region. That's when I realized it was my transparent bra strap that had snapped. Keeping my focus on the camera and the moment capture I sat there crouching with both my hands close to my chest and the camera in front. Thankfully, the ceremony got over soon. I got up feeling extremely embarrassed,without keeping my hands down. The other photographers looked at me strangely seeing me walk away so soon  I tried to act as if I was capturing images and went quickly to the washroom. Oops!!! It had snapped right from the center. I then realized my mistake of not using a proper fitted transparent strap. I realized only that day that the quality and fitting of bra straps is also so important. I tied a small knot to keep the broken strap in place and walked out from the washroom only to see my partner looking at me quizzically. He had a hearty laugh listening to my little wardrobe malfunction.

I decided from that day that I would never wear something so uncomfortable, especially while doing wedding photography. Even it is as delicate as a tight transparent bra strap. #PerfectFit matters a lot. 

'That Didn’t Fit Right’ contest , by Women's Web and Buttercups gave me a chance to write about this funny incident.

Celebrate yourself with a perfect fit. Take the Buttercups quiz @ and get that perfect fit you deserve. Use GYRF10 to avail a 10% discount.