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Home is Where the Heart is #AtoZChallenge

Home is Where the Heart is #AtoZChallenge

Home is where the heart is! Surely you must have heard this famous proverb. And that makes me wonder, where exactly is my heart? Is it in the home where I grew up and lived 25 years of my life, the place where I played and spent those blissful childhood days? Or is it in the home I live in now?

Years back….

My childhood days in the eighties and nineties were spent in a palatial bungalow in Bangalore. Life was far simpler then and Bangalore was an entirely different city too. Sans traffic, noise and pollution, the city would be full of blossoming trees. I grew up as part of a big joint family in this large home of ours. I consider myself lucky to have been part of such a huge family that lived together. The home had a huge front lawn and a backyard where there would be a washing stone (I wonder if homes still have those stones, with the advent of washing machines). Growing up was fun amidst grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins galore. We were a total of 15 members in the home and we all shared a common kitchen!!!!!

But as the years passed, the family slowly broke away. My matriarchic grandmother, the old owl of the family passed away. It was like as though the roots of a majestic tree had all of a sudden been cut off. The next gen sought better opportunities and moved to different parts of the globe. The other elders in the family moved on to live with their own children. My father however continued to remain in our home until his last breath. In fact the only thing he wished for, when his cancer was diagnosed as terminal was to be in our home till the end. Dad is no more today. Our good old home in Bangalore stands vacant. What once was a witness to beautiful memories, relationships, joys and sorrows, it is now nothing but a dilapidated old house.

Where am I now?

It has been over ten years since I have left my childhood home in Bangalore. Married to an Officer in the Armed Forces, transfers and movements have become a constant affair. I have moved close to nine houses in my 12 years of marriage. And as much as I put in the effort to make every living quarter I live in seem like home, somewhere deep down that element of emotional attachment isn’t quite there. It’s just a roof under which I live and spend moments with husband and kids.

My heart still lies in Bangalore, though it is now nothing but a mere house!!!!

Image: Calvin and Hobbes-Bill Watterson
Turn That Rule Book Over Women!

Turn That Rule Book Over Women!

Tbar_ww_badegehe numbers sure are intimidating. The corporate world has continually shown that there is a wide gap with regards to women in leadership. This, despite studies quoting that, breaking down gender barriers and including women in top leadership roles, are not merely altruistic for the company, but are also beneficial to society and the nation.

What the rule book says?

Through my early years, I have been hard-wired into believing that taking care of home is a girl’s first priority. I was never encouraged to have a strong ambition (though I do consider myself lucky that my parents ensured I received quality education). Nor was I pushed into playing rough and tumble sports. Yet at 20, I was better than most boys in my class, topping every subject in my stream. I was financially independent at the age of 25, and was ambitious to make it big in the corporate world.

Are societal conditions favorable?

But marriage and motherhood happened and what I did aspire to be, slowly took a back seat. This is probably the story of most young girls. There is no denying that societal conditions are not always favorable for women. There is an element of pressure to get married and start a family, giving just a small window of opportunity to establish oneself. She is loaded with domestic responsibilities, entrenched in patriarchy thus pushing career advancements to the back seat. Surely, embracing leadership roles becomes far-fetched. The ones, who do continue to dream big, often need to put up a tough fight, against the stereotypes cast upon them by society and, the guilt that results thereon- on neglecting the home front and the kids.

Must a woman aspire just marriage than being overly ambitious?

We seem to have a double sided issue at hand here. Where on one side, society’s rule book pins down the woman to the home front, on the other side, women themselves seem to be letting their aspirations be crushed by the stereotypes. What a women aspires is purely her choice. Thus, it is important for one to speak up and be resilient, moving past fears and embracing confidence. This is the first step to take in embodying the traits of a leader, and also the first step towards breaking down gender barriers.

Image source: pixabay
Of Bitter Gourd Chips and Memories

Of Bitter Gourd Chips and Memories

This morning, as I was buying vegetables from the vendor in my colony, a very unusual thing happened.  I glanced at a pile of fresh bitter gourd. Something stirred within me, and in a flash of a second, I was transported back 25 years. I have always disliked this vegetable and seldom buy it. Yet today, it was something else…

Way back in the eighties, when life was far simpler, my family lived in big independent bungalow. I have been fortunate to have grown up as part of this large joint family. The home had a lawn in front, a backyard that had a washing stone (I wonder if these washing stones exist anymore, with the advent of washing machines). Growing up was fun amidst grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins galore. We were a total of 16 members living under the same roof and sharing a common kitchen!! As the years passed by, the next gen sought better opportunities to move to different parts of the globe. My grand mom, the wise old owl of the family, passed away too.  It was like the roots of a majestic tree had all of a sudden been cut.  The other elders in the family moved on to live with their own children. My father though, continued living in the home till his death last year. He had only one wish, when he knew his cancer was terminal, to die in his home.

A mere house now, it still stands tall in Bangalore- vacant! I seldom think much about it. So caught up are we in our daily lives that often we fail to relax, breathe and give a thought to what was once ours.

Today, the pile of bitter gourd took me back there. I remembered the grand “shrardam” ceremonies my grand mom was so particular about. Shrardam is a Tamil name for the function that is done in memory of a departed loved one. It is an elaborate affair, with an array of dishes that is prepared and served on banana leaves, to Brahmins, and then to the rest of the family. It is believed that the departed soul visits the home on that day. One of the dishes my mom used to prepare on this day was fried bitter gourd.

My dislike for the vegetable dates back to these days, when I used to push those fried rings right under the banana leaf I ate on.

bitter_gourd_chips

But my grand mom’s watchful eye would often foil my plan, and I would invariably end up gulping it down with a glass of water. I wondered- why would the departed soul want to eat bitter gourd? Wouldn’t he just stop coming back?

A faint smile crossed my face as these visions crept in my mind today. I bent down and picked up a kilo of the tender bitter gourd.  How I wish I had someone to tell me to eat it today. I came back home and fried them in rings, just the way mom would make it. They still tasted bitter, but there was a magical sweetness to it to today!!!!

Strange how something I disliked could actually trigger a plethora of fond memories.

So have you had an instance where something you disliked brought about a surge of emotions that were pleasant? Would love to know about it.

Image for representation purpose only. Source: www.awesomecuisine.com