Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I am from happiness.

Sometime last year, I came upon a little slice of joy on the www.

It's an online magazine called She Loves. You can find it here and you're bound to spend a while there, browsing through everything. The love just jumps off the screen and envelops you into a ginormous hug of warmth and caring.

So when I read this post by the Editor, Idelette - it made me think. This one, right here.  
It made me want to write. So write I did. It was one of those writing times...which makes you go over who you are, your entire life...and in a matter of a few words, make up the puzzle that is you.

I am from good times.

From books and friendships, love and long chats over coffee.

I am from a Dad who gave his little girl a book all wrapped up, to gift mum on Mother’s Day. Mum had chosen it herself.  From many small, inexpensive Christmas gifts. Beautiful marbles, that sparkled like no jewel ever could.

From school breaks and bus rides home, filled with chatter and laughter.  From singing, saving for holidays and big family weekends.

I am from silence and prayers.

Moments of willing God to sort out the unthinkable, take the pain away, make a situation better.  Of silent, often tearful thanks, for mercies granted.  From learning that God, is above all else; my friend.

I am from strength. I am from fear.
From the brave pack of lions and lionesses that taught me that there was nothing to fear, except fear itself. Only roads to explore, lessons to learn.

I am from defining moments.
From watching my husband hold our little girl for the first time. The world became a better place. The world became a scarier place.

I am from desire. Constantly wanting more, working for it, praying about it.
I am from happiness.
With mum and dad – singing, praying, eating, holidaying – together. From an only child with no brothers and sisters…to the quiet confidence of knowing that I have friends who are family, who are angels, who are mine.

I am from the hand that held mine and asked to hold it forever.

I am from a thankful place. For the life I was born with, the life I am living and the life I want to lead.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The truth about becoming a mother & holding on.

It's not easy to write your own truth.
It's honest, real and raw - the bare, naked reality of the moment.

Becoming a mother changed my life.
And yes, its a million and one, beautiful moments. I generally write about those.
But in the middle of that lovely carnival of fun and riot of color, there is that one dark, frightening ride, that people tend to walk past and pretend isn't there because no one really likes it. But it's there all right. And it’s scary.

So here it is. My honest attempt at telling you my truth. As messed up and beautiful and cluttered and crazy, as only the truth can be.

It's the reality that I'm beginning to understand a lot of new mothers face. Where you're almost always sleep deprived. Nights of constant rising, rocking and feeding, take their toll. Times when you hold a crying baby in your arms, in complete and utter despair, wondering how on earth you'll ever be able to figure out the problem.  Worried that you'll do something wrong and your mind races at break-neck speed, to the unthinkable. Moments spent watching a sleeping angel - will you be able to do right by this little person? Dealing with the personal guilt of having to go to work, leaving your baby at home. Work pressure which has always been manageable, but suddenly, coupled with the new 'I'm a Mom' phase in your life - it's all too much. A solid kick in the stomach.

You read about hormonal changes that take place when your baby is born. You never think it could happen to you. But it does. It may not be extreme, but it's there.
The fire breathing dragon; that is the baby belly. There are tons of ways to lose it, but not enough available hours in your day to make it happen. You read all the right online articles, spout all the motivational speeches to yourself that you can – and you suddenly have that moment where you think, “Man, who am I kidding?”

You know you have the unconditional love and support of your family and friends. You constantly pinch yourself to remember that. But unfortunately, this is a battle you fight on your own. This is your Goliath.
It's a struggle to remember who you are in the middle of everything. In a matter of months, you're not so sure anymore and you give it everything you've got to hold on to some semblance of normalcy, that part of you that can hopefully rise above all the uninvited drama.

No, these are not excuses. It’s just the truth. People who know us well, will know how many times we’ve said in the last few months, as new parents – that people need to talk about the stuff that happens when a couple moves on to this stage of their lives. It’s beautiful and life altering and you forget the pain, they say.
I agree for the most part. It is beautiful and life altering. But there is pain. There is pressure. Nervousness, anxiety, fear, anger, misery – that all comes too, in varying doses. Call a spade a spade. It helps sometimes.

The good news?
It passes. Quicker than you realize. You’re not the only one. Ask for help. From family; above all.
To all the moms out there who’ve gone through any or all of the above…I feel you.
And it’s normal. Hang in there. It’ll pass.

A soul sister of mine (she’s my Pink Chili) recently quit her job to follow her passion. To say they're good at their craft is an understatement. They're constantly learning, experimenting, brain-storming. They call themselves Candid Kama Photography.

They're currently working on a relatively new concept for this market - a unique twist on glamour. Though it's just at fledgling stage - we've discussed its ears off.  She asked me if I would let them practice on me for a bit. I agreed.

So there I was. After a full day’s work, sans any kind of make-up.
In my full, tired, dark circled, wobbly baby tummy, spotty faced, hair falling, glory.
I realized how naked I subconsciously felt during the shoot. In that white, photographers light, all the bad bits that I was carefully hiding, were suddenly out in the open, flat on the table for everyone to see.
Woman flaws.

It was only later, when I saw some of their shots - that the reality of what we had just done - actually hit home.

It started out as just helping a friend. Practice Posing.
But here's the thing. On the other side of the lens was a new mother. An exhausted, worried, new mother, convinced that all her 101 bad bits which all decided to show themselves at this same time in her life, make her look and feel ugly, un-pretty and undesirable. Who feels unattractive and old, all in a matter of months. And completely out of her comfort zone with all this serious posing. 

But the camera whirred and my Pink Chili smiled and turned the camera image for me to see ... I felt a little light turn on in my head and heart. I saw just a few images...but I saw 'me' again. And I slowly let go of my inhibitions and relaxed. 

I realized it was more than posing. These girls reminded me of who I was on the inside. And that though I couldn't see it because of the little cloud of gloom that seemed to effortlessly follow me around these days, invisible to all human eyes except my own - there I was. 

Just Rose. Only me and my truth. My happy.

It was my Hallelujah moment. That affirmation, that the beautiful part of me that I've been fighting to hold on to - is there. Silently, joyously, waiting to be picked up, dusted and worn again. And I found it again because I subconsciously trusted a friend with the naked truth.
When we spoke about it later - I realized that as a subject and a photographer - it may have been just a project.
But for me and her - the images were more. It was her...but it was me. Soul sisters took on a whole new meaning right there.

I remembered to be thankful for the person God made me. And I remembered to be thankful for the angels that He constantly sends, to remind me of who that person is.

I am thankful for my Ara, who still thinks I am beautiful; in spite of all my insecurities right now. Love.

This is a big year for us. And I’m learning to cut myself just a little bit of slack. We’re getting there - slowly but surely. It’s a huge pot, with a lot in to cook…and when I have trouble blending it all, I’m learning to trust the hands that firmly, hold my own.

Even when it is the tiny hand of our little Princess. 

Till later. 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Bella's Kitchen

Everyone has that one aunt whose house always smelt like Heaven was having a buffet.
Me too. My grand aunt, in fact. 

She made the most amazing potato & mince cutlets, beef fry, pulav rice, prawns…and these were just my personal favorites, mind. 
Everyone in our family has that one favorite dish of hers, that they love. To bits. Drool worthy love. 

I associate some of my most pleasant memories of Bombay, with her and her home. Being the youngest, I was pampered by her. And this is one of the few times I’ll admit it.

1981 - Aunty Bella & me

Whenever I visited her home as a child, there would be a Mango Frooti juice waiting. And Bourbon chocolate biscuits. Why? Because they were my favorites. And she cared.

If we were having a family dinner at her home – there would always be those cutlets that I loved. 
There would be beef julienne - especially for Mum. And Dad, well, he had grown up with it, so he just grinned and enjoyed it all, in that knowing way, "Yup, I told you this was coming!" 
If I was at our home and she had cooked something she knew I would like, it would get packed in a little steel dabba and one of her three sons would get on his cycle and come over - just for me.

She knew exactly what we all liked and she remembered. My family was only in Bombay during the summer holidays – but make our favorites she would. She cared.

Years passed. I went to college. Little changed. 

She still made the most amazing food and her kitchen still smelt like heaven. We still had family dinners and picnics to the beach. She loved to play Bingo. 
Her sons moved around the world and she went around visiting, every now and then. Her boys had children of their own. And they too had their favorite dishes that Nana made.
She was still the same fun loving, happy go lucky woman, ever ready to be part of a good laugh and of course - a special meal. 

The day her youngest grandchild Bianca was born. 

I decided to get married. The first time Dude came to Goa, we visited her home. 
Guess what we left with? A little steel dabba, with mince and potato cutlets. 
We finished them in the car on the drive back home.  

In Goa, we have a tradition where the bride to be wears a set of colorful bangles on both wrists. These bangles signify the blessings of your home, elders and good wishes for the new life ahead of you. In our home, my grand aunt was the one who came with us when we bought these bangles and she put them on my wrists herself. She cried, then blessed me and my future. 

19th July 2008 - my wedding day

We lost her last month,  to a disease that only she could fight with a smile. 
She seldom complained, was always cheerful and celebrated her birthday just two weeks before she passed away. She was happy. Surrounded by her grandchildren and the people she loved. She was strong and brave and wonderful - even as she fought her way through multiple visits to the hospital and dreadful pain. 

When we would speak and I would begin my conversation with, "Hello my darling!", I would always get a warm, "Hello my sweetheart" back. I could hear her smile...even when I knew it was hard to do in the middle of tired pain.  

No, we don't only remember the food. We remember the warm laughter and shy grin when any of us said the food was amazing. We remember the care and concern when she told her daughters in law and me, what to eat and what not to eat during our pregnancies. 
We remember each celebration and occasion where she cooked up a storm, making a little bit of everyone's favorite this and that - even when it was a tiny little kitchen in Dahisar to a much bigger one in Dubai. Because she cared. 

Our extended family all over the world remember her cooking. Bella che kaaiiz as my Mum's brother fondly remembered each time they would talk. Her sons friends through school, college and even now - remember. And no, it's not just the food. You know, you see and you feel the love that goes into it. You can imagine the heart that prepared the meal. And you cannot help but love her. 

Goodbyes suck. But memories are beautiful. So you remember the good times where we laughed, sang and lived. But you also remember the bad times where you saw how strong that beautiful heart could be. 
And you realize how lucky you were to have a Bella's Kitchen to go to - at some point in your life. 

Artwork by Joefery Barretto - July, 2013

We miss you, my darling. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Staying in love

Is it possible? Yes.
Is it worth it? Yes again. 
Is it easy?Oh, hell no. 

You try to live each day of your life together; the best way you can. Try to be there for each other as much as possible, even when it's one of those days where you'd just rather retire into your own little bubble. 
Some days it works, some days it doesn't. 

You decide. A hundred things. For today, the future, tonight even. For yourselves, the family, the car, the rent. There's always a lot to decide. 

You learn to share. Everything. The good, the bad, the happy bits, the scary bits. You learn to remember that someone else's plans are your own too. That you sometimes need to make a quick call before you make weekend commitments. Some days you remember, some days you don't. 

You eat together. Whether it's the days when you're both too tired to head home and cook, so it's just a Macs dinner. Or one of those Fridays where you both spend hours in the kitchen, planning an elaborate pasta lunch. You eat together. That's a given. 

You laugh. Together. At each other. Sometimes politely so as not to make the other feel stupid. Sometimes loudly and from the belly, 'coz it's just that funny. Sometimes it's a soft shared giggle. An old memory, an inside joke. 

You care. About each other; all the time. When you're together and when you're not. When you're fighting and when you're not. It's like eating together. It's just a given.

You fight. Damn, do you fight. Loud, yelling, cold wars, frowns, throwing of cushions. You fight. Anyone who tells you they don't....ha ha. Then you make up...and you often forget why you fought in the first place. 

You pray. For your lives, your families, your dreams, your fears. Health, happiness, peace, everyone, each other. 

You enjoy so much. Little things and big moments. You enjoy time spent together, with family and with friends. You enjoy life. 

You want. more. More time, more love, more out of life, more for yourselves. This comes from a good place. 

You believe in each other. 

You remember the good times and allow the bad times to get washed away from memory. You remember how you fell in love and why you chose to be together. You remember the promises you made and try to live up to them. 

And when you remember love. 

Celebrating our fifth wedding anniversary today. 
Celebrating staying in love. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Six months ago today.

Leah turns 6 months old today.
I was a bit shocked when I realised how quickly time had raced by. I can hear all the moms I know telling me, " Enjoy this first year, it's over before you know it!" So true.

I still remember everything like it was yesterday...waking up at 4am on Jan 12th and thinking, "Ahh. So this is it, huh?"
Then waking up Dude, Mum and Dad. Everyone was up in a flash, all equally stressed and excited, but bless their hearts, displaying so much of calm. I made tea for attempt to prove to myself that it was all good, no need to get all worked up, we've got it together! 
We drove to the hospital and heard an old Backstreet Boys song playing on the radio - Quit playing games with my heart. The daddy to be and I, burst out laughing, remembering a close friend who loves this particular boy band and can sing along to all of their songs and be SO out of tune, it's hilarious.

We got to the hospital at about 5.45am and Leah was born at 12.27pm. She was perfect. 
We didn't know if we were having a girl or a boy, so when the nurse said, "Such a beautiful baby girl!" .... what a moment that was. Dude and I were lost for words, looking at each other and then at her. It's amazing -the kind of magic a baby can bring into the world.

Dude was everything I needed him to be. Down to the hand holding, singing Baa Baa Black Sheep to me (Yes. No clue why, but it made me laugh!), racing out to give mum and dad updates and racing back in, letting all our friends and family know what was happening, even as far as South Africa - he was the perfect Dad to be and I don't think he was even trying. 

Mum and Dad. So. Much. Love. 
In the days to come, Dude and I would continually be amazed at how our little girl was most comfortable with her Ganma and Ganpa. She'd be bringing the house down one minute and cooing away the minute she was with one of them,. Ganpa calling her his Princess and Ganma singing this to her, a song she still loves and laughs too.

Being grandparents fits them perfectly. Almost as much as being parents does. 

Leah changed everything. 
She's made us think of the future so differently, she's pushing us to become better people. Her smiles and laughs and playful's addictive. In the last six months, I've seen and experienced so much, I wouldn't know where to start. Yes, it's noisy, it's sleepless nights, it's walking up and down singing nursery rhymes you'd thought you'd forgotten.
But it's also splashing around at bath time, her slow fascination with colors, watching her meet people, her giggling when her Papa tickles her and a gazillion photographs. The peaks are so many, you just forget to notice the valleys. 
All I know is that life was good...but somehow, Leah's managed to make it better. 

Oh and the friend who sings the Backstreet Boys songs in that dreadful off key way, thinking he's the next Nick Carter? Leah's godfather. Maybe not so random after all!

I could have written this when she turned one; I know. But then, she wouldn't be six months old. Half a year. In New Mommy Land, that's a lot for a heart to handle.

Six months ago, the love of my life, became a father. The best parents in the universe, graduated with honors, to being grandparents.
Six months ago, my life changed. I had a daughter. I became a mama. I still have to repeat those words to myself sometimes.  Leah became ours, six months ago. Our dumpling of a blessing.

Happy Un-birthday sweetheart.
May you always see this world as the crazy Wonderland that it is.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Learning to hit the right notes.

I was a shy kid in the Third Grade. 
Missing both my front two teeth and too conscious to smile with my mouth open, in front of a camera. So there was a lot of excitement when the shy kid won a school singing competition, singing 'Raindrops on roses.'

But that was it. For a good five years - that was all. There was no more singing or drama or anything else. 
Until I changed schools and my life went topsy turvy.  I could write a book about how that decision changed everything for me. I was nervous and anxious, but Mum and Dad kept telling me I'd be fine. Being all of 12 years old, I was obviously, not the least bit convinced. 

Then, in my new school, I met my first proper music teacher. 
Sharon Tiwari Lobo, this is where you take a bow and we all hoot and whistle for you. *winks*

Each class had a music period, so whether you liked it or not; you sang. And we sang the notes, from the lowest to the highest - even if we sounded like all the neighborhood cats joyously drunk on a single wall at midnight - we sang.  And she would frown, but we'd see that grin and hear the slight lisp in her voice as she scolded us and tried to hide her laughter. 

We would listen as she played each note on the piano and would desperately try to follow the scales. She picked a few of us from each class, to be a part of the school choir. She made us stand right next to her and sing the scales again, just to be sure we were doing it right. She insisted that when we sang the "Ooo's" our mouths had to form perfect circles, in which three fingers could fit; vertically. (Be my guest, try it out.) 
This amused all of us as we tried this 'perfect circle' business.  And when she thought mine wasn't perfect enough, she came over to me and put three of her own fingers in my mouth and I remember giggling uncontrollably after that!

Sharon made the transition to the new school easier. She made me look forward to going to school every morning. And to a little girl, that was a big deal. 
She taught me melodies.  To sing in harmonies, to innovate and make a dreary song fun. To sing with different accents and make a song my own. She made me explore corridors of my voice that I didn't know existed. And she gently pushed me to go further. She had faith in me. 

I found myself participating in inter-school singing competitions. I would look forward to our annual school musicals. The practices, hours spent sitting around the piano getting pitches and tones perfect. Days spent with her - laughing, singing, making this very unexpected friend. 

Over the years, our singing got more serious. I remember one time, where the then President of the United States, was due to visit Dubai and students from all over the Emirates were auditioning to sing in the choir for the event. From our school, I was one of two students selected to audition. I remember being nervous. So very nervous. She chose an Andrew Lloyd Webber song for me, telling me that it suited my voice. 
Of all the songs I sang with Sharon over the years...this one remained my favorite. In the large music room, it was just her, me and the piano. I learnt to tell a story as I sang and to appreciate my own voice, something I had never done before. She gave me confidence. She made me see music as a friend who would always be with me and from her, I learnt how to create a soundtrack to my life. Even when we would all just be chatting, she'd be tinkling away at the piano, humming something or the other and getting us to join in. 

Shaz, now when I look back at those days,  I realize that you were one of the people who shaped my life. You were more than a teacher back then and I'm so glad that you're more than just a friend now. 

I love the pride I feel when I see you on stage even now and I hoot loudly (Seriously.) when you do your thing. 
I love remembering the songs. Grease Lightning, Consider Yourself, Wouldn't it be luverly *big huge grin* Oh Happy Day, Malaika - so many memories that make me smile.
I loved being able to tell Dude all about you and then getting a chance to introduce you to him. 
I love that I respect you, I laugh with you and I could confide in you. I love that I get to say "She was my teacher and we're proper friends now. "
I love that I grew up and I didn't lose you - one of the best parts of those growing years. The teacher and friend who knew what I could be, before I did. 

I don't really sing that much anymore, but singing with you then - was amazing. 
And I want you to know, that I am so glad, that you chose to become a teacher. 

So here it is. My favorite singing memory with you - Webber's, "I don't know how to love him."
And for all the other non singing memories that we have and the ones we continue to make - I love you. 
And yes, I can imagine you saying, "Just shut up ok!" if I had to tell you any of this, to your face. 

You're a cartoon like that. *smiles* 
Big love. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

We call him Dada.

I first met Dada in the summer of 2006. 

It was a chance meeting with the family that I learnt to call my own in the years to come. I remember Dude taking me through a crowded farewell party, for our soon to be best man. He wanted me to meet Dada first, before everyone else. As I struggled to think of an appropriate conversation starter, Dada gave me a huge, wide-eyed grin and shook hands with me. 
"Nice to meet you!" he said, with a sideways smile at Dude. He spoke to me for a while, convinced he had seen me before. I was instantly comfortable, though I initially found it odd to immediately refer to him as 'Dada', as Dude had affectionately introduced him. I tried 'Uncle' for a few weeks. Truth be told, it just sounded wrong. 'Dada' found it's way into my heart sooner than I thought. 

I learnt that Dada was the one who called a spade a spade. But he did it with a humor only he possessed. 

Dada fried fish in the yummiest of ways. We'd be eating it faster than he could fry it. Lemon tinged, slighty spicy - yum. 

He was ready to be a part of any conversation. Dada loved a good chat. 

Cricket. Dada and all the boys, bonded over the cricket. Yelling, cheering, abusing even - but bonding all the same. 

He said he hated the typical hindi drama serials. But Dada watched them all the same. With his wife. And secretly enjoyed them. 

He doted on his grandchildren. The fried fish, was always for the younger one first, before the rest of us. 

He was fiercely proud of the people he loved. He rarely showed it, but when he did - such a lion of a personality shone through. 

Dada took pleasure in seeing us all at home. It brought a funny smile to his face, contentment perhaps. 

He loved to eat bananas. Random? Yes. But still, very 'Dada', if that makes any sense. 

He was one of the happiest people at our wedding. *heart* He bonded with my Dad over a single meeting. Kindred souls. As different as pears and potatoes, the two of them. Yet they found something to chat about, softly, sitting at the dining table, quite oblivious of everyone else. 

He cared about Dude. Genuinely. With love. From the heart. And I know how that big huge barrel of affection tippled over onto me as well. 

His wife was his best friend. He'd never admit to it, but boy, did we all know it. From morning walks, to chats over the morning paper, to teasing each other over random things, to yelling out loudly to her to come have dinner - we all knew. 

Dada defended you. When you least expected, you'd hear this loud voice booming besides you. 

When we announced we were pregnant, I remember Dada's face. He couldn't say all that he wanted to, I think...but his face seemed to have a 100 thoughts on it. All happy ones. Bless. 

Dada enjoyed a good laugh. Even if it was at his own expense, it didn't matter. But a good, from the belly, laugh.

Dada valued the little things. 

We lost Dada in Feb this year. There is little to be said for death. 
But I am thankful that we have memories with him, of him, about him. 

One of the phrases Dada often used,the one that made us laugh the most was this - सब साला गेम है - loosely translated, "It's all a bloody game!" He could use it in relation to an actual game of cricket, politics, parking meters, schools, Diwali decorations - anything. And it always sounded funny and it always seemed apt. Now that I think about it, it was usually his final word on the subject. He'd say it with an amused head shake and either walk away or get distracted with something else. The conversation, had promptly ended. 

So I still choose to think of Dada that way...watching us from his lazy boy in the sky, glass in hand, amused with the lives we live and the choices we make. Dipping his finger in his glass and gently sprinkling drops around. 
"It's all a bloody game." With that same, wide eyed grin. 

That's Dada, right in the center of all of us. With the Amitabh Bachchan black hair and white stubble. *grins* We used to tease him about that too and he would chuckle and change the topic. 

All through writing this, I had a little smile on my face...that's what it's all about though, isn't it? 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Don't let this be my India.

A five year old girl was raped in my country.  

Each word is drenched in so much pain, shame, anger and misery. I usually steer clear of politics and the like on my personal space – it’s never been my thing. But now..I am raising my voice.
Because I feel I must and because I know I can. And because if we don’t do it now, each and every time this happens… things may never change.

I raise my voice as a woman. In my country, the government campaigns to save the girl child. It is against the law to find out the gender of an unborn child. Bravo.
But in my country, women are raped every day. The parents of a raped five year old girl, were offered money to keep quiet about the horror their child had been put through. By the police.  It plays like a dreadful horror story, some documentary that you watch and never believe could happen so close to home.
The same government that fights to protect the unborn girl child, cannot keep her safe when she comes into the world – after the initial hullabaloo, the government seems to feign a practiced ignorance. More ‘important’ things happen and the atrocities are swept under the rug.

Women are raped. Girls are raped. A child – raped. Women deserve more. They deserve justice and rights, without news channels playing painful footage and angry debates all day long. Without protests, marches, candlelit vigils. Women deserve more, without having to shout from the rooftops about it.  To be treated with respect from the beginning, to the end. This cannot be immediate, but it is definitely not impossible. Accord them the protection they deserve.

I raise my voice as a mother. Any female who goes through this nightmare , is someone’s daughter. A mother somewhere, feels the indescribable pain of her heart breaking inside her. Anguish at being able to do nothing to protect her child. Anger that the government, seems to be playing too stupid to understand.

Violated at five. Raped, beaten, defiled.

Five. FIVE. Good Lord, five is a baby. Five is innocent and pure. Five is a little angel who still marvels at rain on a school morning and secretly wants a chocolate before going to bed. Five is cruel, wrong, sick. It is complete and unadulterated evil.  

I have read that we must condition our children from a young age, regarding living with equal rights and equal respect. Sure. I am more than ready to start at home. To teach our boys that women are not to be ogled at and teach our girls their worth, not to mention quite possibly jujitsu.  That right from the playground, girls are not to be bullied. I can try and handle the tomorrows.
But is my government ready to take a stand on the crimes against women today? Impose a deserving punishment, given the hideous crime? As my government, this is what I expect you to do. You are the law, are you not? Do these cases not deserve precedence over a film star slated to spend a few years in jail? Do not make a joke out of these horrific events. When we cannot save and protect our children, DO NOT waste my time showing me a plea from members of the film fraternity and the public to lessen or do away with a court verdict. Do not insult my intelligence and mock my sentiments.  

I raise my voice as an Indian. This is not the country I have defended countless times.  This cannot possibly be the government I elected, hoping for a better tomorrow. These cannot be the law enforcement representatives whom we trust to make a shining India for our children. This is not the country I call my own. It can’t be.

The constitution speaks of my rights as a citizen. A right to equality, freedom, my right against exploitation.  Do  you constantly need to be reminded of this? सत्यमेव जयते. Truth alone triumphs.  The truth is staring you in the face.  Now what?

If the government does not feel the urge to go out and fight for the rights of these women – know that as a government, you have failed. We as a country, have failed. Repeatedly, miserably, shamelessly.  Your nuclear power and your armies are worth tosh, if you can’t protect your people from the evil that lies within. Get back to the basics. Honor your people, protect them.  

To everyone in the Indian government who can make a difference in this mess we seem to be drowning in, but is perhaps waiting for some sort of divine intervention  – here is food for thought. This woman has been to hell and back. Iron rods, candles, hair oil bottles – you’ve heard these words again and again. In a country as big as ours, there is probably much more happening. Our monsters are slowing crawling out from under our beds. The woman will believe she is cursed, unloved and of no consequence to anyone. She will understand that this is the life she and her daughters will be condemned to live, with no one to champion their cause. She will never be able to love and she will never be accepted, thanks to society. She will rot on the inside and she will die.

Now imagine that this woman is your blood. Your mother, who gave you life. Your sister, who laughed and played with you, tied a rakhi around your wrist. Your daughter, whom you held and vowed to take care of forever when you first held her in your arms.

Harsh? Perhaps. True? Undoubtedly. Do not live in denial.

Take a stand and act. We expect it of you, it is your duty. Because if you wait for too long, it will happen again, make no mistake. And it will keep getting worse.

Let your people know that they are in safe hands. Put actual justice on the table, not compromises. Impose a punishment strong enough to deter these animals out there. Work on a better tomorrow. But for God’s sake, protect your people today.

Don’t mess this up.  There is simply too much at stake. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

A Bit of Blush - For Muzu & Tabby

I have a brother in law who is a fantastic drummer.
I call him my Drummer Boy.

He reminds me so much of Dude all the time, every time - needless to say, I have a very soft spot in my heart for him. So a few years ago, when he introduced us to this girl he 'kinda liked', Dude and I were all ears, open arms - the works.

We met a princess of a girl with a heart of gold. They were adorable together, but we kept our thoughts to ourselves. They had to figure it out on their own, right?! Luckily for everyone, they did just that and made for such a cute couple!

On the 20th of December, 2012, we watched our Drummer Boy and his Angel exchange rings in a beautiful beach wedding. It was, without doubt, my favorite wedding EVER.
Planned to perfection, our bride had gone nuts with the details, opting to do a lot of it on her own. What I loved was that she chose not to bother too many people with her many ideas and creative thoughts. Given a choice, she didn't mind doing it all on her own. But the darling that she is, too many people wanted to help in any way possible, so if she was looking for alone time - ha ha. Silliness.

Dude and I had a taxing time with convincing Muzu that arriving to the ceremony on a Harley, was not the best way to go. Actually, no, that was just me, convincing both brothers that it wasn't the best way to go. Sigh.

One of their wedding colors was blush. And no, that's not pink, mind you. Goodness me, perish the thought! Tabby's insistence on the appropriate use of the word 'blush' became a standing giggle with both our families - gosh, the look you'd get if you referred to the color as pink!! Whether we were shirt hunting, material shopping or discussing things with the tailor - it always had to be blush. *grins*

Which bride would make time in the middle of all her wedding planning and craziness, a month before her big day - to help her 8 months pregnant sister in law get a gorgeous gown to wear? One which would do justice to the sister in law of the groom and satisfy the inborn vanity of a woman?
Tabby did.
She spent hours with me, going over pictures, checking sites, going to the tailor, helping me try it on - such a doll. In the bargain, I like to believe we got even closer - getting annoyed with a random tailor, using hair pins as dress pins, taking pictures of extra large dresses in the middle of lots of giggling and then sending me pictures of a DHL bag when the gowns finally arrived. I ask you, which bride does that? But our Tabby did.

Muzu asked Dude to be his best man. And he asked me to walk him down the aisle. Do i even NEED to tell you how much of an 'awww' moment that was for me? Being an only child, when they asked me to walk with our groom...I felt a little bit of what it must feel like to have a brother. I teared up that day.
And on the wedding day, when we walked down together, I will never forget what Muzu said to me just before he helped his very pregnant sister in law to her chair...."I love you so much."
Bless, bless, bless. Given a chance, I would've been bawling all over his wedding suit. Luckily, I was simultaneously worried I'd trip over the carpet on the sand and create a huge scene straight out of a slapstick comedy routine, so I had to settle for a muffled 'I love you too' and the tightest hug I could manage.
Then I saw Tabby walk down the aisle with her Dad. I remembered all the planning and preparation. I remembered choosing gowns together. And the floodgates opened. We were so happy to be witnessing these two, so in love, beginning their lives together.

Dude won't admit to this, but he stressed and stressed over his Best Man Toast.
He didn't need to, though. He tried to keep it as macho as possible, but brothers will be brothers I suppose, and the emotion crept in, along with the memories gone by, dreams for the future and typical elder brother pride.
And yes, it was peppered with basketball, Metallica and even Metallica lyrics. He was proud of Muzu. And I was proud of him. *smiles* 

We got a chance to spend time with Tabby's family. Love.
Such special people, so much love and genuine affection. In all the laughter, hugs, special moments - we became one big family. It was like we had always known each other, there was no pretense or awkwardness. Plus there was the bonding over the 'blush', all at Tabby's expense!

Dude & I watched Muzu write his reply to the toast, listened to their wedding special the day before the wedding, convinced him to get a facial, so many tiny, seemingly insignificant details. But such precious memories.
From suit and jewellery shopping, walking around Meena Bazaar for veil material, meeting tailors, planning bridal showers, hours of whats apping, rushed meals together - it was all so special. More so 'coz Button was with us as well - it brought the four of us so much closer.

It was a beautiful wedding and couldn't have been more perfect.
Dude and I were so happy to be a part of it all. And I know there will never be a time when we don't speak of it without a hard to explain warmth touching our hearts.

Perhaps it's not the ideal thing to blog about. But there was no way I could fit all this on a card. Or share the moments with you all. Perhaps it's just our way of telling the new bride and groom how very loved they are.

One of their wedding colors was blush.
Pink will never be quite the same again. *heart*

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Mommy knows best. Someday, perhaps. 

That's a full sentence all by itself, up there. 
Heck, that's an encyclopedia, a never ending truth, a lifetime. 

Dude and I have been recently blessed with a little dolly of our own. My post isn't about her though. It's about a few of the amazing things I've learnt, seen and experienced in the few days since she came into our lives. 

For instance, today she had her little baby feed and then it was time for the all important little baby burp.
(for my parent readers, you know what I'm talking about. For my non parent readers who made a face just now and think I've crossed over to the other side - I haven't. Keep reading. This is important. I kid you not. Gas, as luck would have it - will happily fill your initial parenting days. ) 

Back to the burp. As I held her and continued a conversation with my own Dad, my mind drifted. I thought of Dad holding me as an infant and trying to burp me. I realized how completely dependent on you, this little bundle in your hands is. That adorable little burpy sound is one of the few bodily functions that she can actually carry out at this stage. And so you hold her and gradually take her through it, slowly, so she doesn't cry, get messy or scare herself. I thought of Dad going through all those feelings. Then I fast forwarded to my wedding day...and tried to put myself in Dad's watch the little girl you burped; walk down the aisle.
Man. I don't know about you, but it made me a little wide eyed. That's a whole new level of sentiment that I didn't even know it was possible to feel.

Dude is a Baller. Has been one since I've known him and he's one of those typical 'boys'. Basketball, basketball, basketball. Then he plays the video games that are jam packed with cars, guns & shooting. He watches the movies with the violence and previously mentioned cars, guns & shooting. He's nuts about any and all sports and religiously sticks to all things boy.
Then Dude became a little girls Daddy. 
He's walked with me through a baby store, stood in front of racks of girly, pink, fluffy clothes, held a pink blanket up for me to see and asked, "This is nice, right?", started singing lullabies and asking about soft toys.
For those of you who know him, you'll understand what a bunch of 'No way!' moments these are. For those of you who don't, picture He-Man suddenly deciding to help the Powerpuff Girls plan a picnic.
Becoming a Daddy changes everything for a guy.
Bless. In the words of Salt 'n Peppa - He's a mighty, mighty good man.

All my life, my mother has been my best friend. And since motherhood knocked on my door, I've realized that she is still my greatest teacher. I suddenly see, all too clearly, the countless things she did for me as I grew up. I watch her hold my daughter and see this insane amount of love...and I begin to understand how much it takes to make your daughter, your friend. I can only hope to be able to do the same.... I am learning from her still.

The future looks like it's full of challenges and rainbows and dirty diapers and baby smiles. Truth be told, I am a little nervous...but when I look at these amazing people around heart goes all fuzzy and I sometimes feel it may burst with all the things I'm feeling...but this, is apparently what parenthood does to you.
And what a ridiculously glorious feeling it is.

Have lots to write about (and no, it's not always going to be about parenthood) so promise to do so in a somewhat decent, timely fashion.

Here's a Stevie Wonder song I've been singing for a while, for my little humming bird.
One of those oldies that suddenly, like almost everything else; has new meaning.

Till later.