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Its a Taboo!! #AtoZChallenge

Its a Taboo!! #AtoZChallenge

Marriage is all about togetherness. It is about two different individuals coming together, of experiences, of the joys of starting a family, of tears and happiness. And fights too… Yet, when the basis of marriage- companionship and happiness- is threatened, I wonder why the option of divorce is scorned upon in society and considered a taboo.

Statistically, divorce rates in India are far lower than what it is in western counties. Of course there has been a general rise in the trend, but this is restricted to urban-metro cities. When we look at the teeny-weeny villages, tier 2 towns and other rural and semi-rural regions, divorce rates are minimal. Is this because, we Indians are happy in our marriages, and we don’t really have issues of compatibility and happiness, with our spouse?

Maybe there is an all together different issue that looms. Divorce in our country is still a taboo. I picked 5 reasons that were commonly echoed amongst people I have discussed this with. 

Reason 1: The Family reputation

We Indians live in a close knit community. Family, friends, neighbours, society etc… are inter-linked and blended into our lives. Their influences are strong and opinions affect us. Thus, we have grave concerns about any kind of negative opinion they could brew about our family reputation.

Reason 2: Respectable family girls don’t divorce

Absurd as it may seem, a family’s respect lies in the conduct of the women folk. And divorce is look at as an “unrespectable” act.  Walking out of a marriage could put a question mark to the respect the family commands.

Reason 3:  Living alone is not easy. It’s a dangerous world out there

However financially independent a lady may be, living a life on her own isn’t going to be easy. A girl always needs the support of her man. And staying away from him would probably bring in more trouble. She could be tagged as “readily available” and unwanted men may pry on her.

Reason 4: The Social outcasts/stigma

Here is another absurd reason. The concept of being a “Suhagan” (staying married with husband being alive) is upheld high in Indian society. On most social gatherings and festive occasions, “Suhagans” are given importance and are well attended to in comparison to a widow or a Divorcee. Often such individuals are kept away from important rituals.

Reason 5: The question of remarriage

Though our society has opened up considerably to the idea of remarriage, there still are issues that crop up in case of divorcee remarriage, starting with a big doubt on the character of the divorcee. And a divorcee with a child? Well it could just get tougher.

Surprisingly I realized the rules were more flexible for a man if he were divorced!

In a country where we spend enormous amounts of money on a wedding, ending it is scorned upon predominantly because a marriage is coming together of two families. A divorce means a rift or split between the families and not actually the individuals concerned. Even if a relationship genuinely requires a split, it never does make it to divorce- the families just hush up the matter.

Image source: Pixabay

 

Shades of Me! #AtoZChallenge

Shades of Me! #AtoZChallenge

am a woman. Yes you can definitely say that by my gait and shadow. You also know that by the roles I adorn. I am a mother, a wife, a friend, a daughter and a sister. But is this all that defines me? No, I am all this and much more…So what makes me who I am? Two shades I care about the most…

I am passionate about expressing myself through words. Words that could be woven to communicate and, those that inspire others and probably give them a hope in gloomy days. I love the beautiful relationships that make my life, the whole envelope of family bliss around me. It gives me a peace of mind.

I like the feeling of independence. It is all about doing the things dear to my heart, without having to have restrictions. It’s a freedom to the way I want to and not the way someone else wants it. I like the “my time” I create for myself every day. It’s a time I don’t adorn a hat and am just me. When kids are tucked in bed and the quietness of the night makes it easy for my mind’s horizon to expand and explore, I read. I write. I dream.

These are shades of me, the things that make me who I am, and surely all the other woman out there too!!

Image Source: Pixabay

Pictures Online? Exercise Caution #AtoZChallenge

Pictures Online? Exercise Caution #AtoZChallenge

More than a year back, child rights activists in Chennai came across and demanded to shut down two Facebook pages that were in Tamil. The pages were created to attract pedophiles with photographs of young girls with comments full of sexual connotation.

Social media giant Facebook has a policy that does not allow nude pictures, but these pages used pictures of children in full clothes. There was nothing sleazy or objectionable about the images – the photos were the kind you and I would post of our children. So technically it doesn’t fall under the obscenity category and hence the website’s algorithm was probably unable to decipher. Also, Facebook was unable to pick up on these pages because both the page and the comments were largely in Tamil and it is difficult to identify regional language words.

Online predators lift pictures from innocent posts uploaded by young children or their parents. Similar pages surfaced in Kerala too. After several complaints, the pages were pulled down. There were pictures of children from the age of 5 to 15 with sexually explicit comments. The cyber police had forwarded the complaint to Facebook and the page was taken down.

In today’s world of Social Media interactions, how much should parents share and how much should they refrain? Most parents embrace social networks as a way of keeping in touch with family and friends scattered across the globe, uploading pictures of their young children. While we shouldn’t let paranoia take over our lives, we have to be very careful when doing so. Bear in mind:

  • Know how much to share. Never give away exact locations, school names and other such details.
  • Understand the importance of not tagging locations
  • Refrain from posting updates and pictures on a daily basis. It could entice someone within your circle.
  • Use stricter privacy settings

With the perversion and pedophilic individuals all across the web, great caution should be exercised.

Image Source: Pixabay
Of Children and their Thoughts #AtoZChallenge

Of Children and their Thoughts #AtoZChallenge

Children have this unique skill of giving the simplest of solutions to the most complex of issues in life. They can give answers to questions we ourselves never really manage to find. It’s amazing to see how innocence can address the complexities of life.

I lost my father in the early months of 2015, after a fierce and unsuccessful tryst with cancer. It was not a fight that was his alone, but it actually was the entire family’s fight. The grief that followed post death was pretty subdued. In fact it was more a relief that the pain and trauma the disease inflicted on each one of us had eased out. Through the months of 2015, despite me settling back into normal course of life, I would stumble upon things belonging to dad and ponder about the good old days.

On a warm Saturday afternoon, I sat in my verandah pondering over thoughts. The warmth of the afternoon sun was a comforting embrace, when all of a sudden my 7 year old propped her head on my lap, staring right into my face. She sensed all wasn’t well and asked me if I was missing grandpa. She had earlier asked me at the time of death as to what happened to grandpa, and where he had gone. I had then told her the usual story that now grandpa had become a star. But, somehow I felt like being frank at that moment and said, “Yes, I am missing him a lot today”.

My little girl thought for a while, held my hand and said, “Mamma, why do you feel sad? Grandpa is here only. He hasn’t gone anywhere”. I gave her a stare. She continued, “See Mamma, he has just become a star and it is morning time now, so you are not able to see him. When it is night-time, he will come out then you can see him”. She didn’t stop there. She added, “Grandpa is seeing you always, but you aren’t looking at him because you are always sad and then sleep in the night. So grandpa should miss you…”

I had a hearty laugh. Not that what she said made much sense to me, but I realized she had found answers in her own convincing way. Answers filled with innocence. It made me feel better and I smiled with an uncanny lightness in my heart.

Over and out to you little girl!

Image Source: Pixabay
The Love for Diary Writing #atozchallenge

The Love for Diary Writing #atozchallenge

Yearly diaries received at the beginning of every year were a cherished commodity once upon a time. In today’s world of blogs, micro blogs and tweets has the good old practise of maintaining a humble dairy taken a set back? Has the love for diary writing died a death just like many other things?

At the beginning of 2017, my husband gave me one of those glossy good-looking diaries. It had been years since I maintained a diary. Of course, I have had ones to maintain expenses etc… but nothing to pen down day-to-day stuff. As a young kid in school I distinctly remember having a diary writing habit. Every night, i would sit at my desk and pen down my days events, what was good and not so good too. I did keep it hiding for years untill I got married. A month or so before my marriage I destroyed it all. And why did I do this? Well.. I just felt I was going to begin a fresh thing in my life, why hold on to the past?

And then I got introduced to the world of blogs. I started posting my usual ramblings, plus things which I was most seriously concerned about. It gave me a good feeling. But somewhere amidst all the blogging, I still missed the dated diaries to pen down thoughts. It was my first step at creativity and expressions.

Diaries are an honest form of self-expression. It is a place without pretence, where you can be yourself without having to worry about anything. And one of my resolutions this year was to rekindle my love for diary writing. Its the month of April, and I have managed to fill the pages with daily thoughts, so far!!!

Do you also share a love for diary writing?

Image Source: Pixabay
Killer is Out There- The Story of Aruna Shanbaug

Killer is Out There- The Story of Aruna Shanbaug

Heard of Aruna Shanbaug?

The case

Twenty five year old Aruna Shanbaug was sexually assaulted on the night of 27 November 1973, by Sohanlal Walmiki, a sweeper at the King Edward Memorial (KEM) Hospital, in Mumbai. Sohanlal attacked her while she was changing clothes in the hospital basement. He choked her with a dog chain and sodomized her. The asphyxiation cut off oxygen supply to her brain, resulting in brain stem contusion injury and cervical cord injury apart from leaving her cortically blind. Unable to speak or walk or have control over body movements, Aruna Shanbaug entered a permanent vegetative state. She remained in this state for 43 years, in KEM Hospital, becoming the world’s oldest comatose patient.

Aftermath

  • Aruna’s family abandoned her after the rape when the hospital started insisting that they take her home.
  • A police case was registered as robbery and attempted murder, on account of the concealment of anal rape, under the instruction of the Dean of KEM. It was perhaps to avoid the social rejection of the victim.
  • Sohanlal was caught and convicted, and served two concurrent seven-year sentences for assault and robbery, neither for rape or sexual molestation, nor for the “unnatural sexual offence” (which could have got him a ten-year sentence by itself).
  • On a petition filed by author Pinky Virani for euthanasia, the Supreme Court turned down the mercy killing petition on 7 March 2011. The court, in its landmark judgment, however allowed passive euthanasia in India, involving withdrawal of treatment or food that would allow the patient to live.
  • The nursing staff at the hospital, opposed this petition, and looked after Aruna till her end.

Aruna Shanbaug finally passed away on 18 May 2015.

The case raises valid questions

1) Has our judicial system improved in terms of delivering justice to the rape victim? 

2) Rape victims still face a whole lot of social stigma. There are still families which either disown the victim or worse, get them married to the rapist! In what way is this justified?

Until we are able to answer these, the killer or rapist would just walk amidst us.

Image courtesy: freepressjournal.in
Jigsaw Puzzles Are a Joy #AtoZChallenge

Jigsaw Puzzles Are a Joy #AtoZChallenge

Are you the kinds who enjoy doing jigsaw puzzles? Then you would surely agree with me that these little cardboard pieces can be fun as well as entertaining. What if I were to give you a jigsaw puzzle with 1000 pieces to work on? Would it still hold your interest?

The gift from Russia

On a recent trip to Russia, husband picked up a beautiful jigsaw puzzle of the Kremlin, knowing my love for solving such puzzles. My excitement knew no bounds as I opened the lovely puzzle. However, it was short-lived when I glanced on the reverse of the box. The jigsaw puzzle had 1000 pieces!!! I stared back at the man of the house. What did he have in mind? How does someone go about solving a puzzle such as this, where most of the pieces look almost similar? It would probably take me a life time to complete it.

My first ever puzzle at the age of eight

It was the end of my summer vacation and the first showers of the season had just set in. My parents were looking for a way to get me through the week without me resorting to television. A second hand puzzle was borrowed from an older cousin and was given to me to try my hand at. It contained three hundred pieces, a number that was unimaginably large for a child of eight. I still distinctly remember that it depicted a standard scene of a forest with a few animals, a snow capped mountain and a blue sky. I had absolutely no idea where I should begin from. My father sat patiently with me helping me segregate pieces. We started with the straight edge pieces and slowly moved inwards. And that was when I fell in love with jigsaw puzzles.

Pieces that help you bond

Way back in the eighties and parents being from that era, seldom bought puzzles from stores. It was always beg or borrow from neighbours and friends. I finally received my very own new jigsaw puzzle at the age of twelve, when an aunt returned from the United States of America. A five hundred piece Mickey Mouse puzzle it was, that took me over two months to complete. I still remember how my sister and I would sit huddled, hovering over the pieces trying to put them in the right place. It was an amazing time, when we sisters bonded.

The 1000 piece Kremlin puzzle did get solved

Yes, indeed the Kremlin puzzle was completed over a period of four months. There was a sense of achievement. But more than this joy of seeing it complete, I loved the fact that we as a family would sit together huddled, sans television, gadgets and other distractions. The jigsaw puzzle had actually brought the whole family together every evening. They say puzzles are an excellent activity for keeping your brain sharp. They do challenge dexterity, logic and spatial reasoning. It teaches you to focus and concentrate. But for me, it is nothing but the pure joy of seeing my family together, raking their brains, to bring out a creative side. 

Ever solved a jigsaw puzzle? What was your experience?

Insecurities- We all Have them #AtoZChallenge

Insecurities- We all Have them #AtoZChallenge

“Insecurity is your intuition telling you that something’s not right… either with them or with you.” Charles J Orlando

So let’s face it. We all have insecurities, a bunch of them, at some point in life. We humans do get insecure about relationships, love, success or people. Of course how each one of us may choose to handle it greatly depend on the mental strength we have. But there is no denying insecurity does creep into each one of us.

Here I am in a very unique stage of my life.  A happy one I would like to call it, ‘because I have it all. I have a comfortable home, a dream job and career, and a loving family that gives me all the warmth and care. Yet, despite all the goodness around me, insecurities do creep within.

Insecurities aren’t positive emotions

Insecurity is a form of fear.  It may just begin from a single thought. But let this weed grow and trust me, it could stem into negativity, which may just be tough to shake off from your mind. I often get insecure about my relationships, that I may lose my loved ones, and I wouldn’t have them around me in my life. Another insecurity I have is towards my health. What if I have to face bad health towards the end of my life or, probably suffer a slow, painful and lingering death instead of a quick sudden one?

An effort to overcome insecurity

To overcome insecurity, one must develop a focus on building mental strength. It is all about being courageous and learning to accept the ways of life. Despite all the insecurities that creep within, what works for me to overcome it, is distraction. I keep myself busy; I work, exercise and tire my body and mind. It works wonders and I am soon able to brush off those negative thoughts. Of course they do come back again. But, I try to never let them bog me down.

What are your insecurities and how do you overcome it?

Of Excesses and Being Economical #AtoZChallenge

Of Excesses and Being Economical #AtoZChallenge

“Economical”- the dictionary explains this word as being efficient and prudent in the use of resources. Surely, the essence of this word may not make much sense to many in today’s generation. We are what you would call a generation of excesses. 

We buy more, thanks to the influx of online shopping portals and far too many brands and stores. We trash more, very often without blinking an eyelid. No wonder our closets are almost full to the brim, with clothes that we might not even wear. Not to forget the overflowing garbage bins in our cities that are loaded with trash of all kinds- plastics, synthetics, metals and others.

Growing up days

But things weren’t like this a decade or so back. Life was far simpler, with fewer wants and needs. Growing up in the eighties and nineties, I witnessed my mother being prudent in many a ways. Shopping was restricted to festive times and, when a need actually came by. Things were trashed only if it had been used to its fullest capacity, and not because one was bored of using it. There was always an attempt to recycle and reuse.

Books from calendar sheets, pots and pans

Way back then, calendars would come with a blank side. At the end of every year, she would cut out the sheets into appropriate sizes, and pin them up to make little notepads. These pads would be used by her to jot down household expenses, menu plans, shopping lists etc… Old jars and bottles would be cleaned inside out, and then painted with poster colours. Seeds of little flowering plants would be put in them, which would adorn our garden wall. At the end of every academic year, the remaining pages from our notebooks would be ripped out and stitched together make a notebook. We would use these notebooks for rough and maths practice at home. She was excellent in sewing and would use scraps of old cloth to make rugs for our home.

Ever heard of recycle and reuse?

Mother believed in using everything to its fullest capacity. She was economical and avoided generating much of waste and trash. There were two concepts that she stressed on- recycle and reuse. It was only when an item had become totally unusable, would she actually discard them.

So how economical and prudent are you? Do you put that effort to recycle and reuse stuff lying around at home?

*Image Source: Pixabay
Dad’s Watch- #AtoZChallenge

Dad’s Watch- #AtoZChallenge

Dad’s watch has become my most prized possession, since the day I cleared out his closet along with my mother.  As the two of us, rummaged through his personal belongings, I picked up his watch, an old self-winding piece that had stood the test of time for over sixty years. And just seeing, touching and wearing that watch brought back a flood of memories and feelings.

Going through the dead man’s closet

If the death of a loved one is heartbreaking, then going through that person’s personal belonging post death is equally heart- wrenching.  It took mom and me over six months to clean out dad’s belongings. Through the entire process of sorting, there were moments when mom would shed tears and look around her, as though she sensed his presence around. There were memories of him as we spoke of bygone days together, and finally there was that moment when we realized we must simply let go.

And we must let go

We began sorting out his stuff into “keep”, “throw” and “donate”. But by the end of the day we had realized that the box marked “keep” was almost full, whereas the other two boxes barely had items. We didn’t want to let go, and surely wanted everything that once belonged to him- an old pair of socks, a worn out shirt, an accounts ledger in his handwriting, a pair of shoes which would seldom fit any of us. There were innumerable other things such as coat buttons, comb and hankies. Finally, on seeing the pile that lay in front of us, mom decided that it didn’t quite make sense to hold on to each and everything that belonged to him. It was best each family member picked up one item of Dad that they liked.

Time is surely eternal

Of all the things that lay in front of me, I picked up Dad’s watch. An old self-winding watch, it belonged to my grandfather and Dad had picked it up when grandfather had died. At that moment, there was this sudden sense of calmness that seeped through me. The watch on my wrist, I felt the need to let go and move ahead in life. The watch had witnessed the vagaries of time. It had moved on from, death to life, to death. I realized, the only thing eternal in this universe is time. And surely years later there may come a time, when the watch shall pass hands yet again, when my time shall end.

*Image Source: Pixabay