- Beautiful and colorful butterflies
- Pink roses
- Chocolate chips ice cream
- Shiny glass bangles
- Romantic songs of the Golden Era
- Flying dupatta
- First sip of freshly brewed hot coffee
- A good book (preferably a feel-good romance or a racy thriller)
- Smile of a baby
- Hugging my daughter
- A word of praise
- Bright sunny morning after a week of incessant rains
- A loving touch
- Cooing of the birds
- An indulgent gesture
- Memory of my daughter’s face just after she was born
- A walk on the wet sand
- A deep wet kiss
- Roasted peanuts with jaggery
- A tight, therapeutic hug
- An off-white sari with a red border
- Touch of skin on skin
- Picking up flowers that fell from a roadside tree
- Raw mangoes with salt and chilli powder
- The scent of the fresh mehendi
- A romantic movie evening
- A shared chocolate
- Corn on the cob
- Satin ribbons
- Melody chocolates
- Fresh orange juice
- Pani puri from a road-side vendor
- Childhood black-and-white photographs
- Natraj pencils
- Watching Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi episodes on youtube
- Photographs of breath-takingly picturesque locales
- Waking up to Venkateswara Suprabhatam
- Snuggling in a warm quilt on every winter morning
- Finding money in a jeans pocket or a discarded purse
- Reading a romantic Telugu novel (secretly)
- Buttered popcorn
- Star ice cream
- Cadbury's five star
- Nanna's creative stories on how the rats left sweets for me and my little bro
- Staging dharna at home to make nanna take us to a movie
- Praying to God every evening to make our toy birds real
- My lovely ‘Lily doll’
- Bournvita and Horlicks
- The soft touch of an infant
- Scent of Johnson baby powder, baby oil, milk, the baby scent
- Making love in the rain
- Gudiya ki shaadi and the goodies that we got at my doll's marriage feast
- Birthdays and new clothes
- The smell of brand new books
- Pocket money
- Greeting cards
- Key chains with names engraved
- The scent of the agarbatti
- The chiming of the temple bells
- Delicate anklets and toe rings
- Nail polish, and lipstick
- Kaajal and kumkum spread on to the face
- Amma's rustling silk sari
- Bell earrings
- My first lemon yellow and brown churidaar
- A cute, white, soft, cuddly puppy
- An hour-long oil massage, and bath
- The scent of the sambrani...
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Whenever I hear this song, I wonder where have all my favorite things gone! Each time I end up making a mental list of all things that I love. Or those that I used to love. There was a time when small and simple things were the very reasons of my happiness. These small little things were what made me genuinely happy.
As I now try to recollect something – anything – that makes me happy, I realized how much I've changed… With a surprise I note how I am unable to recollect most of what brings me happiness. Or when was the last time I was actually happy! Why, oh why, did I lose myself and my happy-go-lucky spirit amid the chores of life and the cares of the world! When did this transformation happen… I have no answers now but I’d surely explore and figure it out soon – very soon!
S keeps telling me – Be happy. Forget the past. Move on! How can anyone do it – when they’re shrouded in the bitterness of the past memories, and surrounded by misery! Happiness is not just a state of mind. It's a whole lot of things put together. Happiness, just like love, is such a fleeting thing, an ephemeral feeling. And yes, it indeed is difficult to understand what makes me happy and bring it all back into my life… welcome my old friend with a smile!
Nevertheless, I did manage to come up with a not-so-long list of things that still make me happy – genuinely happy.
Saturday, January 11, 2014
On a beautiful, unsuspecting night, my brilliant daughter started off a conversation on a tangent...
S: Amma, do you know I don't like Ram.
Me: Who Ram?
(I was worried because I couldn't think of anyone with that name. I thought later, maybe it's her classmate or fellow traveller on the school bus! But no, I was surely in for a shock as she elaborated - with logic - why she dislikes Ram).
S: (Rolling her eyes) God Rama of course. Who did you think?
Me: (Breathing a sigh of relief) Nobody in particular. So tell me why don't you like Ram?
S: Because he left his wife and children in the jungle and I think it's unfair that he left them like that. And I feel even we're both staying like that - like Sita and her children - though we don't live in a sage's hut or hermitage or whatever it is called, we're still living in the middle of the jungle and I know how Sita and her children would have felt.
Me: (I was completely taken aback by her train of thought) It's not like that... it's kind of complicated and you won't be able to understand everything.
S: Maybe not. But I understand that what Ram has done is not correct and he was being very unfair.
Me: Why do you think so?
S: Because Ram was staying comfortably in his kingdom in his own palace while his wife and children were living uncomfortably in the jungle.
Me: Hmmm... okay. I see your point.
S: Amma, tell me one thing. Why did Ram leave Sita in the jungle?
Me: (How do I explain all the intricacies of a relationship from a different era, time and age to a 11-year-old without sounding weird or dismissive or oppressive or evasive?) Like I said, it's not very easy to explain S...
S: Why not? There has to be a reason for everything no - you always say so! What was Ram's reason for leaving Sita? Did she fight with him? Did she disobey him? Or did she wear those damn nighties that Ram hated so much?
Me: (Giggling despite the seriousness of the topic of discussion) No S... it's not like that.
S: Then tell me the entire story.
Me: (Choosing my words carefully, I tried explaining in the simplest and safest possible way the reasons behind Sita's exile to forest). You see, when Ram killed Ravan and got Sita back to the kingdom, there were a few people in his kingdom who thought she must also have become a rakshasi because she stayed for so long in Lanka. And once when a washerman scolded his wife about something, she fought back. Immediately he blamed her saying she's also behaving like a rakshasi and it might be because of Sita's influence. And in those days, whatever the king says/ does, it became a rule automatically so when Ram let Sita come back to the Ayodhya with him without any hesitation, that means all the men in the kingdom have to accept whatever the wife says/ does even if she's behaving badly like a rakshasi. And since that washerman was angry he spoke ill of the queen Sita as one who set a bad example for other women in Ayodhya. When Ram got to know about it, he couldn't ignore his people's opinion and being a king he had a duty and responsibility towards his citizens. So he decided to send Sita away to the forest.
S: But that is no reason to send Sita to the forest.
Me: Why not? Ram is a good king and so he has to listen to what his people say, no!
S: He might be a good king but he was not a good husband or a good father. To become famous as a good king, he chose to be a bad husband and a bad father. How can anyone like a king like Ram and make him a God? I don't like him, that's it.
Now I don't have any explanation to beat that sharp logic of a smart child! And with that declaration, she just turned around and slept off leaving me to my thoughts...