Friday, January 18, 2013

And when it rains...

I was woken up twice last night by Nature's son et lumiere show! It was grand indeed. Flashes of lightning, deafening claps of thunder and a steady hail of hailstones beating a tattoo on the roofs of cars parked in the open parking lot. But unlike interrupted sleep on other nights, that keeps me awake and frantically trying to go back to sleep any which way...even counting sheep that turn into goats and puppies, and never allow me to go to sleep because I'm concentrating so hard on the blooming numbers, I was KO'ed as soon as I snuggled back in bed. Rainy nights, winter or summer, are the best sleeping pills for me. I'm sure there are many of you out there who know what I'm talking about.

I'm not a big winter lover. Actually I'm not even a small winter lover. I become an onion with layer upon layer of clothes that stifle me and restrict my movements. No I'm definitely not a winter person. But a rainy, winter day is an exception to the rule. I don't feel so cold, I enjoy myself in the kitchen, at my lappy and my mind unfreezes along with my limbs and their digits.

My kitchen is a place to sing, dance and pour out love. And when it's raining there's so much more happening as I stir, toss, pour, boil, fry and give myself up to what makes me happiest... I'm still talking about food! There's something so romantic about rain...Oye, I'm talking about normal not cyclonic storms and hurricanes!
Talking about storms, I remember once long time back, my brother and I were returning from school when we ran smack into a hail storm. The hailstones were quite big, and though we managed to find shelter it wasn't before we got some stinging smacks from those frozen balls. And back then, I enjoyed it and found it great fun. I enthralled my classmates at school the next day with a narration full of exaggeration and humour.
But through all this I am not unaware of all the homeless people who live on the pavements and the rain only adds to their woes. I feel sorry for them. And the news of patients of cancer and their families making makeshift dwellings on the pavement outside AIIMS, one in particular for the past three years, moves me to tears. But every cloud has a silver lining. A drive by a leading news channel, has got them into proper shelter, provided funds to them and many others in a similar situation via donations.
I am thankful that humanity lives on and like stars in a black sky makes its presence felt across the darkness. As we save for a rainy day, we should donate for a rainy day too. There are many genuine agencies who could take our small/big offerings and bring some hope and comfort to people. They go where we can't and do what we couldn't, through our combined effort.
The day progresses as my mind races to other things. I'll just leave the outpourings for another rainy day!


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A time to introspect, laugh and's another New Year!

Unlike previous years, this year did not see me with regrets or longings for what could have been but wasn't; where I could have gone but didn't; what I should have done or could have done but gave up a step too soon. I surprised myself a bit, honestly, by the new perspective and calmness I had as the year softly and silently slipped into my grateful, content and not-so-perfect life. I was in a place of imperfection with peace, acceptance, happiness and faith; and this made things good.

No one but God is perfect and in our journey towards that perfect love and light, we learn to appreciate more, to find peace in tumultous times, to develop better attitudes toward ourselves, and the people we come in contact with. We begin to accept whatever comes our way...the good and the bad... with forbearance and hope. It all sounds like a dreamer's Utopian musings, doesn't it? I assure you it isn't. This is a seeker's account of her experiences. There is pain, there is disappointment; tears; loneliness; anger; frustration; regrets and all the lows that are a part of life. But once you begin to look through the eyes of steadfast faith, hope and trust that "this too shall pass" the cross is lighter. I believe that God is watching out for me and mine. And as we make progress toward our goal, slipping, sliding, falling, He walks along lifting, carrying, prodding us along. I cast my cares on Him and He takes the burden off. So though my cross is heavy sometimes, the burden is light. My heart is lighter. My mind is less prone to worry and I can be grateful and enjoy my life even when the chips are down.

That's how I walk into 2013!

The new year is a harbinger of new beginnings. Beginnings at new places; new faces; of changed weather patterns with Christmas in Summer and a Winter birthday in the month of May! New language, changed food flavours and new inclusions in my diet. Building a new social circle at this stage, learning conversion of a new currency against the rupee (though I know it's not advisable to compare rates of another currency with the rupee, it's depressing!) but old habits die hard, and that's the truth in this respect at least!!

But I raise a toast to new beginnings, to life and its vagaries. Cheers!

The last five months have been a great time of meeting friends and family, some of whom were long lost relatives, 'long time no see' friends and family members. Weddings and festivals are those celebrations that bring people together to renew relations and catch up with the years in between. So it has been a nice time of laughter and fun as we chatted, gossipped (a bit, harmlessly) caught up with each other, compared notes, gorged on good food, drank to everyone's health, shared our joys and divided our sorrows with sharing and caring.

There was good news and bad from all around the world. And one horrifying incident of brutality meted out to a young girl by a group of animals who walked around in men's clothing, rocked my world. It occurred in the capital and the girl died a couple of days before the new year. The act was horrendous and shook the populace out of its indifference and complacency.  The New Year celebrations were not as noisy or raucous in our part of the city but quiet and subdued keeping in mind Nirbhaya, the young girl whose dreams and aspirations were snuffed out because some men decided she shouldn't live.

It remained at the back of my mind even as I sang and smiled, as I stood by the comforting warmth of a barbecue's embers. It was with me as I hugged my family and wished them well. It sits heavy on my heart because a society that doesn't respect its women and children and whose law enforcement agencies cannot protect them, is doomed.

Good cheer and celebrations have followed me into the New Year. There is another wedding in the family in a month from now. Indian weddings are long drawn out affairs with many ceremonies that stretch out over 4-5 days! So it involves among other things dressing up! Clothes, jewellery and all that bling are some of the highlights of an Indian shaadi. And in the midst of all this I shall be packing, giving away or discarding bit by bit, of what is left of the evidence of my life in India. I shall leave here with fond memories, some captured for posterity in photographs and many more cocooned in the recesses of my heart. I shall go with a fresh canvas to paint a bigger picture, a more complete one with my children and grandchild/grandchildren. A new chapter of joy.

I send out good wishes to all my blog members and hope you have a good year.