Thursday, December 8, 2016

The CJ

When I am traveling, even when we are commuting within the city, music is an essential. Over time, when I have traveled either with friends or family, the task of carrying a playlist has often fell on me. And I am quite particular about the playlists. Not to boast, but my co-travelers have mostly enjoyed and appreciated my playlists.

With time, controlling the playlist in the car has become a part of my slight OCD condition (which I think I suffer from!). I feel anxious when I am not in charge of the car music and become irritated when someone changes the ongoing track (especially if I like that track) or play their own collection. In fact, my mood has been spoiled on many occasions because of such instances. Yeah, I know I am sounding like a crazy lady here. But that's the truth.

By the way, I call myself the CJ. Yeah, Car Jockey! Inspired by DJ and RJ of course.

Our car music system doesn't have a remote control. Worse, the controls for the media player are on the steering wheel. When Az is driving, I mostly sit in the front passenger seat (my favourite seat by the way). But sometimes due to various reasons (like older co-passengers or to adjust more people), I take the seat behind the driver's seat. Yeah, even my car seats are fixed and I am uncomfortable in the other seats. Anyways, when Az is driving, I simply ask him to move on to the next track, whenever necessary. But sometimes, there are certain people accompanying us, that too sitting on the front passenger seat, who keep on asking Az to change the track. Really enough to set me off.

When I am traveling in someone else's car and the music is on, I keep calm. And while in cab, I simply put on my earphones and enjoy.

Fortunately, my parents' car's music system has a remote. Last year, when we visited them, I had to occupy the last row seat during a trip. But with the remote, I could easily do my job. When we returned back to Delhi, I realized that I had carried back the remote in my bag. See, that's how seriously I take my job of being the CJ. So please, don't mess with my music.

NB: Actual meaning of Car Jockey.
Car jockeys are people in Indonesia who solicit by the side of the road a random commuter who does not have enough passengers to legally use a carpool lane. The jockey offers to go along with the commuter for a fixed price. This is a way to bypass carpool restrictions requiring a certain number of passengers.

In the United States, a car jockey is also known as a parking lot attendant and is responsible for parking vehicles or issuing tickets in a parking lot or garage.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Becoming Family

Being the eldest daughter as well the eldest daughter-in-law is no piece of cake. From surviving on instant noodles to running a household of seven people, I have come a long way.  Being brought up in a nuclear family, where my father was the only male, I never had to deal with collective unorganized male habits. And  suddenly I found myself in a house with five grown-up male children, who were being used to waited upon hand and foot by their mothers and aunts.

Az's parents, Mom and Dad, stay abroad. The current household consists of the two of us, his two younger brothers and three younger first cousins (one girl and two boys, initially it was one boy). The five of them are students and so it is more like managing a hostel. Thankfully Az is of the helping (around the house) kind.

In the initial months of marriage, I was not working and the girl had not joined college yet. So she used to help me out in many aspects. But when she joined college, she could not help me in the same way as earlier. And with so many boys in the house, the house never looked organized and straight. I realized that I cannot go on like this. If you have watched the Bollywood flick called "Satte Pe Satta", the Indian version of  Hollywood's "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers", you would understand when I say that my condition was more or less like the eldest brother's wife (subdued version). So one fine day, I told the residents upfront that I am not expert homemakers like their mothers and aunts, and cannot keep on cleaning up after them. I would need their help in managing the house. And the sweet devils did oblige, with some push. 

As much as I had to adjust to the new personalities around me, the others too had to adjust to  me. I was not used to having so many men at home and they were not used to having an unconventional woman in the house. I am not really the "sugarcoating words" kind and would rather call a spade a spade rather than talking behind someone's back. So initially, there used to be some awkward moments. But all the kids are well disciplined when it comes to behaving with elders and unlike most families, there has been no rudeness with the daughter-in-law. And gradually, I became mother-cum-sister figure in the house (at least I think so!)

I feel the experience of staying in a hostel during my higher studies, and later on my own after I started to work helped me a lot in settling down in my marital home. But the most important factor was that we opened up our hearts to each other. The second important factor has been open communication. If there is any hard feelings in the house, we encourage each other to come upfront and make up. It is also encouraged that the kids share their problems, so that we can help each other to find solutions.

And it has been mostly fun. As all the residents are from the younger generation, there is not much formality involved. We watch movies late into the night on weekends, order outside food often, pull each others' legs and yet watch each others' backs. And with so many people, there is one thing or the thing always happening. Drama, action, romance, humour, games, tears, smiles; you name it and you have it. There is absolutely no dearth of entertainment in the house.

Over the period of time, I am growing as a person. I am also learning to let go of things which I cannot control like having the cushions straight at all times!. Still it is a long way to go. I still lose my mind from time to time. But all's well.  And today it feels as if I have been always a part of the Khan family. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Then and Now #1: Value of Money

After post-graduation, when we started  working, a friend shared that her female boss wore kurtas of some brand called "W". It was actually the first time that we became aware of the existence of such a brand. So "W" became a wish. Even today when I can actually afford, I still think twice before going for a "W" item, even on discount. I would stare at the item, evaluate if it really worth it and then decide. And today, my sister-in-law and her friends wear "W" to college.

Thankfully most of the kids we went to school or college with, were of the same economic class. And frankly, I rarely compared myself with kids who used or wore expensive stuff. As a student, I had one one mantra, "When I shall earn, I will own what I desire". There was a wishlist of small as well big things. Actually I still have a wishlist. Owning a branded jeans or a hair-straightener became a reality only when I started to earn. Today, such things are in necessary items list for the college going girls in the family. 

I tell the kids (whoever is younger than me!) at home that we should not forget where we come from. We should not forget our roots.  I see around me that even kids with humble backgrounds are becoming increasingly brand conscious. There are several factors. Peer influence and media exposure being the major ones. Increase in pocket money adds to the spending power of kids. 

Contrary to kids today, we got pocket money only when we moved out of our native place to study and started staying in hostels. And it was pocket money only in name. It was actually a fixed amount of money every month to take care of all expenses. In my case, my pocket money took care of my basic toiletries, notebooks and stationery, phone calls, photocopies, projects, outside food, minor college event contributions, local conveyance, etc. I used the college/university library and computer centre to the fullest so that I didn't have to buy books or a computer. And I also saved a bit from it to get tiny gifts for the family while going home during breaks. In our times, the aim was to save parents' money wherever possible,  and ask them for extra money only when absolutely necessary. Now I see students debiting all expenses related to basic needs and studies to their guardians. Their pocket money actually takes care of their material desires and wishes mostly. And even after they have been provided for, they still have demands.

For me, there was no pride in spending my parents' hard-earned money to fulfill my personal desires. Today, my pride lies in the fact that I am capable of fulfilling my own wishes as well as that of my parents.  And I am proud of my parents as well as my grandparents that they made me the woman I am today. Fortunately, my close friends are of the same class of society, with similar upbringing. So I had never actually felt the peer pressure of brand consciousness or the need to meet any peer standards. I strongly feel that if one fulfills his/her own desires with his/her parents' money, what excitement will be left for when you can actually buy things with the money you have earned!

When I was a child, I had a couple of pairs of shoes. When Ma was a child, she had just one pair of shoes,  black in colour. And the same pair worked for school as well as other occasions. Deta had walked either barefoot to school (a distance of around seven kilometers) or wearing open rubber sandals. He and his siblings used to get one pair of new shoes during the Durga Puja festival. And if the new pair were small for him, he would rather manage with those (by soaking them in water to stretch them out) instead of giving them back because there was no guarantee that he would actually receive a fresh pair in the right size. During our times, things had changed of course, and we had more than a couple of pairs.  But humble stories like that of my parents' childhood helped to keep us grounded, to remember to be thankful for what we had.

I completed my basic education in small town in upper Assam. For graduation, I went to Kolkata. When I came home during my first semester break, I bragged in front of my granny that I watched a movie with tickets which cost over a hundred rupees in black. I thought she would be surprised at the  cost. Instead she reprimanded me right away saying that my parents are working hard and making sacrifices back home so that I can have a good education, and I was wasting money on movies. Her words brought me back to my senses. So this was the way I was raised. I have been taught the value of money and hard work by my elders and that has kept me grounded.

P.S.: As I was growing up, I remember my parents and other relatives sharing stories starting with the opening line, "In our times,....." And now that I am a grown-up myself, I have started doing the same thing; comparing things how we used to do as kids and how kids do them now. Since I have decided to start my post series called "Then and Now", I am actually feeling somewhat old already. These posts are not aimed at reprimanding today's kids and their value system, but merely reminiscing about the bygone time and to accept that outlook on life changes over the generation. Also please note, you may or may not be able to relate to the post. But if like me, you had a typical middle-class upbringing, you most probably will.

And yes, I am definitely feeling much older now.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Reign of Delhi Auto-Wallahs

As I woke up to the alarm-clock on my cellphone today, my auto-wallah (auto-rickshaw driver) called to inform that he is not well and would not be able to drop me to the office today. I said it's okay and told him to take care. I was grateful that he didn't ditch me at the last minute. I left home a little early as I would have to catch an auto-rickshaw on the road.

I didn't anticipate any problem as auto-rickshaws (popularly referred to as 'auto') are usually available. I waited on the road for some time. Not a single vacant auto came by. A couple of vacant ones came by but refused to take me to my office location. I decided to reach the nearest auto stand. I hailed an e-rickshaw. As my luck would have it, the auto stand was devoid of even a single auto. Once again filled autos passed by while vacant ones refused me. I walked ahead. I opened a cab app on my cellphone on the go and booked a cab. It reached me in under seven minutes. The fare was around thirty rupees more than the auto fare.

Last month the auto unions and taxi unions of Delhi went on strike. Their main issue was the local app-based cab services like Uber and Ola, who offered their services at low fares. They called off their strike after three days. A similar strike happened earlier this year in the month of April. During both times I made use of the app-based cab services.

My regular auto-wallah had been fixated a couple of months back (God bless him!). He doesn't charge me extra for being a regular. There had been a couple of regular auto-wallahs before him for short duration, but they had demanded extra over and above the actual fare. During the month of Ramadan, I requested him to drop me home in the evenings as well and he made sure that I reached home in time for Iftaar. But auto-wallahs like him are a very rare kind in Delhi.

Waiting on the road in Delhi to hail an auto is a nightmare. Eight in ten refuse you. And when they agree, they quote an exorbitant fare and refuse to go by the fare meter. Autos in a stand are the worst kind. They are goons. In Delhi, there is a rule that auto-wallahs cannot refuse a commuter especially a woman. My brother-in-law suggests that I should hop into an auto and ask the driver to take me to my destination. And if they refuse, I should call the traffic police to complain. That is what the men do. But sincerely, I am scared. What if the auto-wallah takes me elsewhere? What is the guarantee of my safety? Once a traffic policeman compelled an auto-wallah to give me a ride, and he had grumbled the whole way.

When an auto-wallah refuses to go, I usually don't say anything and move on to the next. I don't have the time for the heated words. But sometimes when I am infuriated, I say a few angry words. Few times, I have dialled the given complaint number, but I seriously don't know if that helps.

The other day, when I stepped out of the metro station in the evening, it was raining hard. So I could not take a rickshaw. Az usually picks me up from the metro station but he was out of town that day. I saw a couple of autos across the road. I opened my umbrella and went up to them. The auto-wallahs were sitting in a single auto and chatting animatedly. I asked them if they would go. One of them spoke to refuse saying that there was a jam ahead, and they all broke out into a laughter. I didn't understand what was so funny. Unfortunately my internet was not working, and so could book a cab. The sight of the laughing and gossiping auto-wallahs infuriated me. I dialed the complaint number, but it went unanswered. I dialed several times, but alas.

Most auto-wallahs act like ass-holes (pardon the language but can't help it) and they have the audacity to go on strikes. They harass us, charge us inflated fares, leave us stranded on the road, refuse to charge by the meter and refuse to give us a ride. Yet they think they are kings of public transport. Why wouldn't we book a cab? It charges only a few rupees extra (except the surcharge cases), but it comes to our doorstep, it is comfortable, it goes by the meter, it doesn't refuse to give us a ride. When I visited Bengaluru (Bangalore), I saw that app-based cabs are the most convenient means of transport there and they are actually preferred over autos. 
But every coin has two sides. Once, an auto-wallah was telling me that the base fare being low, they are not able to earn enough and they have so many responsibilities. So they are bound to charge extra. I have seen commuters abusing auto-wallahs, treating them like crap. A few days back, there was an incident when a couple of men refused to pay the fare after reaching their destination. When the auto-wallah resisted and insisted that they pay, one of them shot at him. Luckily it was not fatal.

For a commuter, auto is always the easiest to hail an auto on the road. If the auto-wallahs have not been bullies, it is the most convenient mode of transport. I have chatted with several auto-wallahs during my rides. They are mostly the hard-working kind, have dreams for their children, have families and are God-fearing. Several times, I have hailed an auto near an auto-stand and they had put the meter down. And I ask them, "You are not from this stand, na?" They reply, "No. How did you know?" I answer, "You are charging by the meter. These stand ones don't do that". Most of them don't even want to go on a strike. They lose out several days' earnings during the strike and they can't afford that. But such auto-wallahs are bullied by their peers. They are forcibly stopped and abused. But again, when they are not stopped, many of them demand exorbitant fares from commuters, taking advantage of the situation!

Again a couple of weeks back, I left my cellphones in the office cab. When I realised the blunder, I took an auto to go after the cab. The auto-wallah lend me his phone to make the necessary calls. And before I left his auto, he asked me to delete the numbers I had dialled including my own. I was amused and taken by his truthfulness and kindness. I paid him a little extra.

So I am not saying that all auto-wallahs have negative attitude. But yes, most of them are not nice people. If the authorities are more stringent with laws and rules, the auto-wallahs can neither exploit nor be exploited. Also, we the public has to become more aware of our rights and laws. The handful of the honest auto-wallahs are a flicker of hope though. After ten dishonest insolent auto-wallahs, if I encounter an honest and kind eleventh one, my faith is restored. Only if the entire auto community operates honestly, the auto will become the true public's transport.

You can also read my earlier auto-rickshaw post "The Luxury of an Auto Ride"

Read about a woman's account of trying to hail an auto at night here.

Know more about Delhi's auto-strike here.

Here are 5 Ways in which you can Register Complaint against Auto Rickshaw in Delhi.  

Thursday, July 28, 2016

The True Us

A cousin has been nicknamed "mother" by her friends because of her caring nature. But surprisingly she is hardly caring towards her immediate family. A granny used to go to lengths to help relatives and the underprivileged. But she often failed to see the pain of her own children. An uncle is very helpful to all relatives and friends. But at times can be ruthlessly rude to his own mother. An aunt who is utmost soft-spoken to everyone outside but is often bitter-tongued to her own family. An uncle who is a very jolly person and makes people smile, but can be extremely bad tempered at home.

Which is a person's true nature? The side which is displayed to outsiders or the side known at home. Why is it so easy for some to love outsiders rather than your own kin? Or is it much more easier to be unkind in words and actions towards our own family? Or may be we simply take our family for granted.

May be at home, we don't need to pretend to be a perfect person all the time. There is nothing to hide. People around us knows all about our past and present. They know who we are or where we come from. Several of them know us inside out. So it is easier to be our real self. It is easier to vent out our emotions when we are with people we are close to. Our anger, our frustration and our grief. On the other hand, happiness is something which can be shared with anybody nonchalantly.

When we go out and make new friends and acquaintances, we always try to start with a clean slate. They know nothing of our past or of our shortcomings.We don't share parts of our lives that we are ashamed of or those we feel will put us in the poor light. We always make a conscious effort to portray ourselves as a wonderful person, all positive, all smiling. We want to be a person that everyone loves and likes to hang around with. Sometimes even our closest friend would not know all about us.

Every one of us likes to be praised, to be remembered with fondness or even adulation. In this quest, we may tend to look outside home. Overlooking the emotional needs our closest family, we may try reach out to the extended one, to friends and even acquaintances with our generosity. But is it okay to do this? And why do we do this? Do we feel that we are not appreciated (or enough) at home, rebuked or humiliated for simple shortcomings, our opinions don't matter or we are not valued at home? Might be, don't you think?
So it also becomes important that we appreciate our family members, that we don't ridicule at their mistakes but help them to correct themselves, consider their feelings while deciding things, make them feel loved with kind words and gestures. Our actions are all inter-connected, don't we see!

Charity begins at home, they say. Quite apt, I would say. If we are at our best at home, we can be at our best outside rather than the other way round. But easier said than done, isn't it? I can be extremely patient at work, tolerating irritants and nonsensical colleagues. But with my family (especially my husband and sister), more than often I am capable of losing it. May be because they know that I am not perfect, they know that my conscience is clear. I know I can bare my emotions to them unabashedly without being judged. I am a kind of serious fellow at work. But at home, I laugh and joke hard. On a regular front, I am not really very easygoing and a kind of an introvert.

Sometime before getting married, I had a tiff with my kid sister. In the flow I said something hurtful to her and she was on the verge of tears. I apologized. But the damage was already done. After she recovered from the hurt I had caused, she gave me a very matured advice. She said, "I know you since we were babies. So I know you well, that you don't really mean the hurtful words you say, that there is nothing negative in your heart. But the people in your marital family don't know you, they don't know who you really are or your heart. So please watch your words and your tone".
The question still remains, which is the true us? I believe when we are in our own skin, we are truly us, with all our shortcomings. And in this self, we are capable of becoming better persons. When we can better our base selves, our extended selves automatically become the best. So yes, charity has to begin at home. Don't you think?

This post has been featured in BlogAdda's Spicy Saturday Picks on 30th July, 2016.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Refreshing Rains

A couple of days back in Delhi
It seems that the rain gods have finally smiled upon Delhi with monsoon eyes. It is now raining almost everyday. After a spell of long hot weather, it is finally much cooler.

I have shared many a times that I am a rain fan. The rains soothes my heart and my mind. Most people I know say that they don't know like rains and that it is depressing. But not me. I feel that the greenery becomes more refreshing and more beautiful in and after rains. Sadly, most of Delhi lacks the lustrous green beauty of nature. My area of residence in the capital boasts of only congested concrete cages, stinking garbage dumps and broad blocked drains. When it rains, instead of the earthy petrichor, it is the stink that greets you. Our balcony looks more greener than the neighbourhood. So the rains here makes me sad and yearn for home instead. But thankfully my office is located in a plush residential area and greenery is abundant. So I am able to enjoy the beauty of nature during the rains sometimes. 

Today in the capital

In cities like Delhi, people dread the rains more than they long for them. A little rain is enough to cause traffic to come to a standstill. Right now I am in the office cab which is dropping us to the nearest metro station. It's just two minutes away from the office. But as it's raining now, I am stuck in a slow moving traffic and it is already been twenty minutes since we started. So I thought of tapping away my thoughts on the move. Two weeks back, I took the road instead of the metro and it had started to rain. It took two hours to reach home, forty five minutes more than usual.

In the month of February earlier this year, it was a rainy morning and I was commuting in an auto-rickshaw in the morning. at several places on the way, water puddles were created. At one moment, I suddenly felt as if someone had thrown a big pail of murky water at me. A sedan car had just overtaken my auto from the left, crossing a big puddle in high speed. It was winter. I reached office all wet and couldn't even sit for a long time. I placed the portable heater on my desk and finally managed to dry myself patch by patch.

Another  rainy morning last year, I saw a family of three taking a bath with the muddy water from a puddle. As I passed them, I muttered a silent 'thank you' to the Almighty.
A few days back
Back home, rains are a part of regular life. We enjoy the weather by watching the rain, playing or walking in it, and savouring different delicacies. When water accumulates in the green house compound, small fishes make way to the drowned lawn. A couple of days back, my folks back home shared that a few small fishes fell along with the rain. Hailstorms are something that also excites us more. As kids, we used to collect hailstones and even eat them. I even enjoy the thunderstorms. 

But this side of the country, people go bonkers seeing the rain. When it rains heavily, people flock their rooftops or gullies to 'bath'. You can even see people rubbing their bodies with their hands as if they are taking a shower in their bathroom. I mean, I never seen people doing that back home. The kids in my marital family defines heavy rain as "nahane wala baarish" meaning one can take a bath in such a shower. And I say in a muted voice, "What??? Why??" Dance, jump, sing, play in the rain. Why bath?

A flower in bloom today in my maternal home garden

Being born and brought up in Assam, I am used to carry an umbrella in my bag throughout the year. But in Delhi, I rarely see people walking in the rain using an umbrella. Women today are boarding the metro all wet, with no umbrella in their hands. This year I am also not carrying my umbrella so as to avoid carrying extra weight. But I think I should.

In Assam, rains came as early as April this year. But again, that is how it is almost every year. Humidity as high as ninety seven percent is experienced. But the rains always come as a respite. Oh! how I miss home during monsoons! Everything becomes so green and refreshingly beautiful all around. 
Leaving you with a video of how rain looks like back home. Not a very great video, but it gives a glimpse of how my home looks like during a spell of good rain. Do share how rains make you feel.

My rain posts:

Friday, June 24, 2016

Silent Kindness

So we are at the end of seven weeks of kindness. Focusing on kindness and being kind all these weeks had been a kind of spiritual experience. Doing something kind for someone and not telling them or letting them know, is another heat-warming experience. And when that person realizes what you have done for them, their expression on their faces is no less rewarding. I am really glad that I chose to take up this challenge.

After my last week's reflection post, a brother tagged me in a post on FB that said, 
"Overloaded doses on kindness has led to the world we encounter, a tight slap straight onto the cheek can save the planet in more ways than imaginable. Just make sure you have enough muscles/authority/power/lobby."

His remark made me reflect on my behaviour. For me, my world is my family on both sides. What would be the consequences if I lash out at people around me at home when I am angry/annoyed/upset with them? What would be their reactions? Would they still like to talk to me or start to avoid having any kind of conversations with me? Would a tight slap (literally or figuratively) save my world or hurl it towards bitterness? I know, in many situations, it is the stern word that works and not kind ones. But I believe the stern word would work effectively only if the concerned party holds you in respect (triggered by kindness and humanity) instead of spite or fear (triggered by muscles/authority/power/lobby).

What do you think?

I am taking part in the first ever Kindness Challenge (2016) hosted by Nikki from The Richness Of A Simple Life.

The weekly prompts:
Week 1: Start you day with kindness
Week 2: Observe kindness around you
Week 3: Focus your energy on being kind to others
Week 4: Focus on doing something kind for someone
Week 5: End your day thinking about kindness
Week 6: Think about someone that inspires you to be better, kinder, gentler
Week 7: Do something kind for someone and keep it to yourself

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Fart Thing

I am sure that since childhood, you have seen men farting unabashedly. They might be the men in your family, friends, male co-passengers in public transport or random men. They are mostly excused for their demeanor and seldom rebuked for it. In case of men, farting is as natural as speaking. After-all farting is absolutely a man thing, isn't it! Farts are discussed, analyzed, reviewed and even nicknamed. But what about women?

As a kid, I actually believed that women don't break wind (a better word for fart, now that I am talking about women); that it is a phenomenon applicable only to men. Then I slowly grew up. I observed that women who broke wind in the presence of other women were ridiculed and made fun of. Breaking wind in the presence of men is still an unknown phenomenon. So I learned that women are not supposed to break wind in front of anybody. Another social dogma.

I have no brothers of my own and have grown up with only one male in the house, my father. And he farts all the time. I share my marital home with five males and one female. So farting is usual business here too. But I have never seen (heard, felt, smelled, whatever) any female relative or friend, or any acquaintance for that matter breaking wind openly; except for the sudden bouts of foul smell in the women's compartment in the metro sometimes. But I do know women who burp ferociously. So it makes me wonder if women have learned to channelize their flatulence upwards instead.

In our societies worldwide, behavioural as well as habitual aspects are categorized as masculine or feminine. Snoring, sweating, burping, farting, smoking, drinking (in most cultures) or swearing/cursing are an absolute no-no for women. Which cultured lady does all of these? But they are perfectly okay for men though. On the other hand, tears, physical weakness, fear, gentleness, caring nature, household chores are considered unmanly. In fact not smoking or drinking is considered unmanly.

Fart/Breaking wind is defined as "a reflex that expels intestinal gas through the anus" (Noun) or "expel intestinal gas through the anus" (Verb). So, it is a natural phenomenon for all human beings. The only difference is that while a man does it outrageously and openly, a woman has gained more control over it and wait for moments when she is alone or in a crowd where she will not be heard or pointed out.

I was recently reading an article where a woman was sharing how her husband rebukes her if she accidentally breaks wind in his presence, while he did that all the time. Readers remarked that her husband is ridiculous, arguing that couples who fart in front of each other and laugh about it are not pretending about anything and have healthier relationships. There are other articles where it is said that women who fart unabashedly are real women and that they are not oppressed by social norms.

I personally believe that farting in presence of other people is only a case of etiquette. If it is considered manner-less for women to fart in public, it should be true in the case of men too. If little girls are taught to control their farts till they are alone, little boys should be trained similarly (instead of being amused when they do that). But I also know this is not going to happen in ages. As long as we are alive, we have put up with men farting around us pathetically. And the only thing we can do is cover our noses or hold our breath.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Kindness Inspired

When we choose to look at and acknowledge kind people around us, it becomes possible to be inspired. There are many people around me that inspire me to be better, kinder and gentler. The most dear to me among them are the following:
  • My maternal grandfather: He is the most gentle and soft-spoken man I have known in my life. I have never seen him shouting at anyone and he is always kind in words and behaviour towards all. 
  • My maternal grandmother: She is ready to help people at the drop of the hat. She goes beyond the call to help relatives, friends and people who are less privileged than her. She never thinks twice about giving away her own stuff in order to fulfill someone else's needs.
  • My mother: She has taken after her father when it comes to being kind in behaviour, words and thoughts. Even when someone is being unkind to her face, she is not able to answer back with harshness.
  • My parents-on-law: They are ever ready to help people around them, be it relatives or mere acquaintances. In several cases, even before they are approached for help, they do it. They have been supporting several families in various ways in whatever way can over the years now.
  • My husband: He has taken after his parents and always stands with a 'happy to help' banner. But sometimes he really goes overboard in his kindness acts much to my as well as his parents' annoyance. He always tells me, "There is always a better way to say things", and practices the same.

I am taking part in the first ever Kindness Challenge (2016) hosted by Nikki from The Richness Of A Simple Life.

The weekly prompts:

Week 1: Start you day with kindness
Week 2: Observe kindness around you
Week 3: Focus your energy on being kind to others
Week 4: Focus on doing something kind for someone
Week 5: End your day thinking about kindness
Week 6: Think about someone that inspires you to be better, kinder, gentler
Week 7: Do something kind for someone and keep it to yourself

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Gratitude For Kindness

Ramadan started earlier this week. So the challenge activity of appreciating kindness in our lives everyday was perfectly in sync with the spirit of the auspicious month.

In the past week, I appreciated and at the same time thanked the Almighty for the kindness surrounding me in various forms:
  • I am not being able to contribute towards the preparation of Iftaar (breaking fast at sunset) meal as I manage to reach home just in time for Iftaar. It is the kids (younger siblings) at home who are doing it as a team. I am not forgetting to appreciate or thank them for their efforts.
  • My regular auto-rickshaw agreed to pick me up from the office in the evenings as well and thanks to him, I am able to reach home in time for Iftaar. 
  • Loving and supporting families (maternal as well as marital)
  • Most caring husband
  • Good working environment
  • A brother-in-law getting me mango-shake and sister-in-law suggesting me to eat a banana at Sehri (early morning meal before starting fast at sunrise) 

Read my Ramadan posts, The Gift of Ramadan and Humbled By Fasting.

I am taking part in the first ever Kindness Challenge (2016) hosted by Nikki from The Richness Of A Simple Life.

The weekly prompts:
Week 1: Start you day with kindness
Week 2: Observe kindness around you
Week 3: Focus your energy on being kind to others
Week 4: Focus on doing something kind for someone
Week 5: End your day thinking about kindness
Week 6: Think about someone that inspires you to be better, kinder, gentler
Week 7: Do something kind for someone and keep it to yourself

Monday, June 6, 2016

Being Kind

With the rising temperatures in Delhi (maximum temperatures around 45 degrees Celsius), it is difficult to keep one's cool let alone be kind. I personally don't do good when I am in the kitchen and dripping with sweat in such extreme weather conditions. That is the worst time to have a sensible word with me. Nonetheless, I tried hard over the weekend to be calm and not to lose my cool.

In the past week, I was kind to others by:
  • Holding the elevator for a person who was rushing from a distance to get in.
  • Doing dirty laundry which was piled up by the boys over many days.
  • Doing a task myself which was assigned to someone else (but connected to me) as that person was having a really busy day.
  • Remembering to water the plants.
  • Not cursing my boss when I had to stay back in office for two and half hours due to a last moment task.
  • Complimenting a friend when she wore a dress different from her usual style.
  • Being courteous (Read more of it in "Being Courteous")
  • Not being harsh on the new maid who didn't report on the day she promised (or a couple of more days after that!)
  • Being polite to obnoxious co-passengers on the metro.  

I am taking part in the first ever Kindness Challenge (2016) hosted by Nikki from The Richness Of A Simple Life.

The weekly prompts:
Week 1: Start you day with kindness
Week 2: Observe kindness around you
Week 3: Focus your energy on being kind to others
Week 4: Focus on doing something kind for someone
Week 5: End your day thinking about kindness
Week 6: Think about someone that inspires you to be better, kinder, gentler
Week 7: Do something kind for someone and keep it to yourself