Sunday, 27 August 2017

Count Your Blessings #1 - The luxury to mourn

"Count your blessings"

I have been told this by others often in the last few months. 
I tell myself this a lot more often.

I recently wrote a poem on fear (Fear - Quadrille). It was in response to a prompt by dVerse
When I thought about writing on this subject, many things crossed my mind - from cockroaches and rats, to health issues of my family, to the plans of future, and more.

What I zeroed in upon and wrote is that my biggest fear is the words "What worse is possible?". 
A lot worse. I think the answer is a lot worse. 

Since there is so much we can't control... Is there anything that we control? Is control just an illusion?...

Anyway since there is so much that we can't control, the possibilities of what can happen are unimaginable.

When something happens that one needs to mourn, being able to take time to do so is not always possible.
Life takes over - when does it not?
Problems take over and one has to sort out stuff.

The stuff can be financial responsibilities, emotional issues of others, and much more.

The Luxury to Mourn... #CountYourBlessings

If things are enough under control that one can afford to let go of control on oneself and break down once in a while, it is a luxury.

At times what one is mourning is the difficulties which are the result of the loss of a loved one.
Being able to mourn the loss of the person, and not the material affairs... 

It is a luxury, I believe. It is a blessing.


http://www.nimiarora.com/2017/10/count-your-blessings-pattern-monotony-adventure.html


Saturday, 19 August 2017

Little Things, Big Differences #PathshalaFunwala

In an ideal world, Laxmi would not be sweeping the floors.
She is a smart girl about to cross the 16 year landmark in a couple of months.

The sporadic usage of English in her speech is impressive. It impresses almost everyone, because no one expects anything better from her.
A maid knowing a few words of English is wonderful. No one thinks it is in any way needed to help her to, or even expect her to improve.

‘When elders get cozy, youngers don’t put nosy’ – a crazy phrase spoken by Ajay Devgan’s character in the movie Bol Bachchan. What he was trying to convey was that youngsters should not interrupt or interfere when grown-ups are talking.
Anyway, the point is we were watching this movie where the ridiculous usage of English was part of the comedy.

Laxmi was watching also watching it with us.
“Is that what I sound like?”, she whispered to me (in Hindi). “Does everyone laugh at me behind my back? Should I stop trying to speak English?”

Laxmi used to go to school back in her village till about a year and a half back. She used to live with her grandparents there. Then her parents decided to bring her to the city with them.
Suddenly, the carefree school life was gone and she was working as domestic help.

Before she started working at our house, she had been working in the city for about six months.
At times, a random comment from her like, ‘Money is no guarantee that a person has manners’ would imply that she had some not-too-good experiences working in the city.

Once in our house, she settled in quick. Within a year, she had become an indispensible part of our household schedules. And her struggling English speech made us feel proud.

We would correct her once in a while if she made a mistake, but more often than not we are too caught up in our own lives.

When Laxmi whispered her insecurities to me, I realized that we did not expect any better from her, because she worked as a maid. It struck me how unfair it was that her broken, spattering usage of the language and her passion for wanting to improve, did not make us want to help her learn better.

This ad changed things:


I told Laxmi about it. A call to Nihar Shanti Amla's Pathshala Funwala's toll free number 8055667788 changes things.

Now, everyday when I would come home in the evening, Laxmi would excitedly tell me about what she had learnt that day. Right at home, she was learning each day.


At times we forget how little things can make big differences.

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I am blogging about Pathshala Funwala by Nihar Shanti Amla Oil in association with BlogAdda

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Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Underage Driving in Delhi... and my problem with it

My son is 16 years old. When going to his tuition in the evening, you would see him either on a rickshaw or walking. Once in a while, I would drive in my car and drop him there.
It is unusual because almost every boy his age has a Scooty.

I don’t understand my own problems with underage driving.
I know that if a cop stops an underage driver, there could be trouble. I assume money is exchanged to solve this.
I know that God forbid, if another person is hurt by an underage driver’s vehicle, the driver (and the owner of the vehicle) would be behind bars. That’s what the law says at least.

I say that I don’t understand why I have such issues with underage driving is because these facts are known to everyone. Certainly, all the parents in my neighbourhood would know of these.
It doesn’t stop them from letting their kids drive.
My brother is younger to me. He self-learnt driving pretty early. There are stories that are exchanged over family dinners about how he took the keys and reversed the car out of the narrow parking space at a certain age, etc.
But until the day he got his driver’s license, I would not let him drive with me.
Same story as today. His friends drove. He would argue over the futility of not letting him drive. Etcetera.

I don’t think I have driven when he is with me since the day he got his license.

I don’t like driving given a choice. I drive quite a bit. Don’t usually have a choice.

Coming back to my son, he doesn’t argue with me over me not letting him drive. Most probably because I have been telling him for years now that I would not let him drive without a Driving License.
He does mention pretty often in the passing – “Going to tuitions would be easier with a scooty”, “I could have come to the market on my own for this book if I had a scooty”, and much more.

One of his friends recently asked me, “Aunty, why don’t you let him ride a scooter?”
The look in his eye told me that he already knew about my ‘unusual’ mindset.
So I gave him a smile and said, “Just be thankful that you don’t get lectures from me for riding one. You know as well as I do, how much trouble it can get you into. I pray that it doesn’t come to that ever. Now drop it.”
He smiled back.

I am so often tempted to preach to parents and kids about the risks possible.

Years back a neighbor of ours was triple riding with his friends on a bike. No helmets. And they were riding the bike on the wrong side of the road. They met with an accident and he smashed his head on the road.
He almost lost his life. Had multiple surgeries - Brain and Plastic. He never lost all the scars on his face though.

Another story I would tell people if I ever gave in to this temptation of preaching is of my father’s accident on GT Karnal road.
My father drives very safely. I have heard stories of his not-so-safe driving from his college days, but that’s another story for another blog post. I have always known him to be a careful driver.
So he was driving on GT Karnal road near Sonipat. Suddenly two guys (without helmets) came from the wrong side. They were to go to the narrow lane that lead to their village a few hundred metres after riding on this wrong side.
One of the guys died on the spot. It was my father’s driving license that kept him from getting arrested. He had to stay in Panipat for a couple of days after the accident, fought a court case for years, and was finally acquitted.

It is my fear of what if something goes wrong. It is a fear about which we can take some precautions.
And as I tell my son, it is just another two years.

Students in school uniform riding Scootys, scores of these vehicles parked outside schools, kids driving around with an arrogant dare-you-lecture-me look.


I am the one with the problem if I look around me.
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