TODAY’S SPECIAL: THE URBAN DELIGHT

coffee-rum-edit

Along the serpentine railway tracks lies my quaint little apartment, a building that has seen two decades of rain and shine. There is a stillness in the street. If not for the constant chugging from the other side of the fence, the quietude of the street, leaves me bewitched. My neighbourhood is a far cry from the usual hustle bustle of the big metro city where it is located. Nestled in a corner, the lane is quite an enchanting place, with rows of trees on either side, nothing short of a boulevard. It houses many old buildings that are aging gracefully like an old actress. The buildings, with its peeling paints and withering facade, has an antique semblance to its demeanour.

When I walk down the lane, the mouth-watering aroma of dosas made in sesame oil to theplas fried in dalda wafts out from these buildings and lingers around the lane. The residents are a mix of Gujaratis, Tamils, Marathis and Malayalees.goan food Many of the apartments are mostly occupied by the Goan Christians, who with a charming smile, always welcome you to their homes. These families have passed down their alluring persona to the newer generations too. Even a ride up in the lift to the top floor where I dwell, it is an aromatic adventure. The appetizing whiff of frying fish, currying chicken, sizzling samosas, tingles my nose and teases my appetite. When it is time for Christmas, the entire building smells of freshly baked cakes made from raisins that have been soaked in rum for months. Fresh, traditional Goan snacks, exceptional in taste and aroma, comes knocking on my door on Christmas Eve. A day, I gleefully leave the front door open awaiting the fresh delicacies from next door. Be it Diwali, Pongal, Id or Christmas, food is exchanged among the residents. Amidst the laughter and relishing the flavours from different states, it’s like being a part of single family unit. Religion is reflected only in their names and customs; not in their heart or mindset. They have embraced the maxim, ‘one world one family’ to spread the aura of love and friendship. It is this love and oneness that is being exchanged along with food.

Be it an occasion to rejoice or mourn, food is an integral part of the Indian society. It defines our norms and customs irrespective of the disparate culture. In this milieu, food has been used as a medium to communicate. I remember when I moved in, I greeted my neighbours with hot drumstick sambar and crispy dosas. In return, I was treated with succulent soft doklas  with tangy tamarind chutney. Since then, it has been a journey of snacking different kinds of food in vivid flavours, seasoned with a pinch of love.southindian_food1 If the lunch is exemplified by the spicy flavour then the evening is marked by a unified aroma of masala chai emanating from all the apartments. It’s a mandatory evening ritual in every home, for every Indian. A beverage that has become an elixir to end our day; no matter which part of the globe we reside. A drink that has unified even the Indians residing abroad. Inviting each other for a hot stimulating cup of tea accompanied by bhajjiyas or pakodas, helps them to bond. A concoction that has sparked friendship and sowed unity among us. A habit passed on by the British to which we couldn’t say ‘Quit India’.

Friendship brewed over a cup of tea, lasts longer. Being a newbie in the neighbourhood, I was invited by many families for a rendezvous of evening snacks and sweets. It is this friendship, that developed over a period, had me rooted in this place. The aroma of companionship build over a platter of Gujarati sweets, relationship bonded over sumptuous Goan savoury and the love exchanged over lip smacking traditional Maharashtrian meal, makes it a charming neighbourhood.

My grandma always says, “It’s the seasoning that accentuate the flavour of the food”. I discovered that seasoning is nothing, but a pinch of love!

 

 

 

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esprit libre

 

with no rules to shackle her mind         woman libre

 meandering thru life                                                                        

 heart and soul entwined

fire in her eyes push her to strive

to show the world her strength and fervour

for she is a woman, she is esprit libre.

a dash of confidence, a colour of pride

the beaten track beckons her to ride

but the heart sings a different tune

of the maids of yore who trod on thorn strewn

Path, across the ocean and the mountains far

For she is dauntless, she is esprit libre
 

Rhapsodical rain

rain2I lay myself on the soft green grass

Closed my eyes and let a sigh pass

With the sky as blanket and clouds my pillow

I revelled in the moment under a willow

Just then the first drops wet my bare skin

My parched pores drenched in the sin

Blissfully my soul swirled like a mystic

Prancing around like a rhapsodic psychic

A drug induced ecstasy overcame me

Wonder if this is what the monsoon is meant to be.

 

The I-kids

“a look of quietude has befallen the play grounds,

the serene stillness played merry-go-round,

those pitter patter which trotted the freshly laid lawns are seeked,

bewitched by the gadgets, couched in their rooms, they are meeked.”

With the latest gizmos in hand, the children are lost in the virtual world. This is the haunting reality that every modern parent is facing.  The millennial introduce their children to tablets, smartphones and other gadgets that threaten their cognitive and social development. With both the parents earning exorbitant income, they tend to indulge their children, to overcome their bereavement of time spent with them.

Many revel at their precious little ones’ ability to handle an iPhone or iPad. Some, proudly complain about their kids’ ability to change the configuration of their laptop or mobiles which their expert intellectual mind is unable to figure. Should we applaud or be alarmed?

As a friend of mine claimed that she manages two kids with no help, hence she is left with no choice but to turn to these gizmos to contain her ever hyper son. In such scenarios what should one do? I agree, parenting is no piece of cake or bed of roses, but when one chooses to be a parent, certain sacrifices are made to raise the kids. As my sister often quotes “it’s not kids but adults, that we are raising”. So, it’s not the sacrifices, but what we choose to sacrifice that counts.

Many firms have come out with educational apps claiming to develop and enhance the logical, analytical and comprehending skills of the child. Can’t the child develop all these skills by just playing outside with a group of other children, thereby developing social skills too?

The 80’s and 90’s saw a generation glued to the television set. Slowly the trend has changed and the obsession too. One may ask so what is wrong being technologically advanced? Well everything has its pros and cons. As parents, one must see the two sides of the coins. Technology is good if it catapults the society into the mode of progression and not degression. By society I mean the individuals, the children who are our future. It should ensure that mankind evolves as better humans and not the other way around. The advancement in technology should help the society and propagate love and harmony.

As a teacher, I’ve observed that many children have developed a stoop because of prolonged gazing over the tablets or smartphones. Bad posture equals laziness and lack TECH 2of concentration. I, also noted that the kids are unable to think out of box. They are fed with information which leads to redundant brain. They have become more materialistic and clueless about priorities in life. Children, who are exposed to such gadgets at an early age, have been known to exhibit behavioural problems. Sleep deprivation, technology addiction, eating disorder, violent behaviour to name some.

Below are some suggestions that could be incorporated with your parenting techniques. Remember they are not the solutions to all the issues as each child or parent is different.

  1. Be a parent. As, you chose to be one-The concept of parenting is losing its meaning in today’s world. Earlier it was the kids who obeyed orders, and now it’s the vice versa.
  2. Give the child importance only where and when it requires. First and foremost is to stop with the indulgence. Don’t keep the child in limelight all the time.
  3. Be consistent with your instructions.  Never waver when drawing rules in the house.
  4. Involve your kids in the house hold chores. Your children are part of the family not the centre of it. They should be assigned chores according to their age. Like picking toys, making their bed, laying the table or taking the trash out.
  5. Set rules like ‘u mess up, u clean up’. It’s very important to make them clean after their mess.
  6. Don’t make decisions for them, but help them to make it. Build in them the ability to decide for themselves even if it means selecting a toy or a dress.
  7. Minimal use of the gizmos. Give a time limit for it. Also, a day off in a week from all electronics for the entire family. Spent the time together playing indoor games.
  8. Encourage outdoor sports activities. It not only builds the physical stamina but also boosts social development. Children will learn to face failure or success in a competitive spirit.
  9. Read a story together before going to bed. If they are not interested in stories then just sit and talk to them. Nothing like a good conversation. Share your experiences of the day.
  10. Let them make mistakes and face the consequences. Never cover their faults and try to protect them. This will make them emotionally strong and teach them to be honest too.
  11. A computer or tablet should be used only if they require it. It should never become the means to drive boredom.
  12. Talk about both negative and positive effects of using the tablets and mobiles. That includes cyber bullying and threat to personal information.
  13. Don’t make internet, the only source to seek information. Turn their attention towards books like encyclopaedia. If you are not able to provide It, well, our old libraries still exist.

You can make a difference in your kid’s life. It’s never too late to start making changes. Let’s raise an ideal citizen, a kind human and an independent and bold individual. Rather than stopping them from using the modern-day gadgets teach them to use it responsibly.

“I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.”___ Albert Einstein.

 

 

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pic courtesy: google

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mammamia

It’s been 12 years since I became a mother but it still perplexes me at every turn. There have been times when I prided at task as simple as making the kids eat their meal and had shed tears cos the kid can’t spell a simple word. Lot of times I had questioned myself, what am I doing?

When I was a carefree teenager with absolutely no commitments, eating off my parent’s money, my dear mother had stated “being a mother is tough”. I had mocked at her and brushed it aside saying it’s no big deal. Little did I know those were the words of wisdom that warned me by an experienced matron.

Well here I am, not with one but two ‘adorable’ kids. Yeah, a title given by family and friends. Children are cute as long as they don’t belong to you. I became a mother with my first born and an umpire with my second. Why didn’t my mother warn about this role reversal? Many nights I had pondered over this. It’s like I am stuck between two warring nations, trying to sign a peace treaty. If I make the mistake of supporting one, then I am accused of loving him more. When I frantically summon for the third umpire, he slips out of the house in the pretext to buy something.

Sometimes I’ve a feeling that the elves are working against me. The neatly arranged kids’ wardrobe are in shambles the next day. The more I clean the house, the messier it becomes. It’s like a hurricane had just passed by. Those times I had wished to be Samantha from ‘Bewitched’ and all I had to do was to wriggle my nose and everything would fly back to their places.

My husband wanted 11 kids of his own to create a cricket team, until our second one started bowling. Living on the top floor It was nightmare. Every day I prayed for the soul, who may be standing underneath our window. Suddenly everything in my house had the ability to fly out. From kitchen ladles to toys to tv remote. It was the ‘terrible two’ phase. I tried wriggling my nose, but alas nothing happened. As Milton said, “Better to reign in hell”. Even hell seemed heavenly to me.

Now, in my glorious age with a more matured self and a sharpened wisdom, a realisation dawns on me. The knowledge that my wise mother had imparted, had all the answers to my questions. May be motherhood is not so easy, but it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. When I get those bear hugs, I love you’s, and raspberry kisses, it makes me want to do it all over again. Not that I will!

Thank u google for clip art.

woman-she is

Then there she is

ready to take a step with her beliefs,

wiped her tears with a fearful heart

like a phoenix she rose from her mottled scars.

She spirited away loneliness for she will grieve no more,

She twirled over her challenges for she will hide nor fold.

Her ebullient spirit ignited her passion,

heaved her sighs to a mad laugh,

peering over the horizon she tightened her locks.

There, she is ready for you

Oh world! Standing amidst

STRONGER than ever

Her unfettered spirit liberated

 when she became one with her mind, body and soul,

for she is proud to be born a woman.