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.