Articles: Prose

Hyderabad For Soul.

I am penning this down as I travel back to Bengaluru to get back to another day in front of laptop, with people all around cribbing about getting back after a long weekend. I did not want to delay writing about this trip like I did last year, and had I forgotten all the little incidents and details.

One thing you should know about me is that, if you invite me to your city when I am free, I will not say no. Today, I am so glad for once that my disability to say no, worked very well for me.

Most people like me,  who are in their twenties, are stuck in life situations/ jobs/ relationships that they either hate or have no clue where it is going. We dream of touching the sky, then the reality hits us that a plane ticket is the only thing that will take us away to get us closer to that sky. I don’t make any sense, yeah that’s how we feel almost all the time.

Stuck in such life situations, we usually choose small escapes. Travel. Momentary reliefs. That’s what I also had thought of Hyderabad trip. But this became so much more than just that.

Greeted by warm smiles and filter coffee, a lovely swing that we came to love, Keesara Gatta for sunset, mom made dinner served with love, laughter until late night and crashing on the bed. A perfect first day.

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Second day began with my kind friends waking me up with patience, South Indian breakfast served with warm filter coffee and the morning newspaper all this while soaking in the warm morning sun in the beautiful balcony, then we were exploring the rooftop garden grown with such care, and we also got a chance to plant one pot of seeds each, carrot, radish,  onions, gongura etc. await our arrival the next time. Then, we also went down the memory lane of summer vacations by playing Holi with the colourful berries from one of the plants right ghere and then mosturing our skin and hair with the home grown Aloe Vera. With all that mud and colours there was a need to clean ourselves, shower and freshen up to get ready for the crazy day that lay ahead of us.

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By the time we were all ready we greeted newer faces who were old friends of the household. UNO with rules and new rules helped the ice breaking and then after the sumptuous and delicious lunch we were all set to explore Numaish.

Numaish, as you enter you can see a tide of human beings ebbing in and realise that it is no small deal. Numaish, has everything you need at the price you can bargain for. With all the shopping, bargaining and kepeing track of all 8 people all of us were exhausted and just wanted to get back, but then the magic happens. Giant wheel, I love these rides but this one was really scary. I do not remember the time I did not scream during this ride. But then was it worth it, absolutely! As soon as we had our adrenaline pumping we were ready for Columbus and Cup & Saucer too.  The braver ones amonget us, captured the screams and madness of the rides in their cameras to which became an entrainment after the entertainment for all of us.  Searching cabs, explaining our location to the driver who wouldn’t understand, eventually getting our legs some much meeded rest we reached back to our favourite swing that again was welcoming us very warmly. Tired, but still we didn’t hit the bed immediately.

 

We had our dinner that was warm because, mother.  While the elders of the household went to sleep, we decided to turn on TV to entertain us during our dinner. K3G was on, I would then go on to say dialogue much to the annoyance of my friends. I then decided to finally shut up. Once the movie ended we then went on to watch half of the last episode of F.R.I.E.D.S. All of us soon succumbed to the need of rest that our bodies demanded and fell asleep.

The last day, morning began exactly as warmly as the previous morning. Breakfast, Sun, Warmth, Smiles, Filter Coffee and  Shower.

We then went to Charminar, we met the childhood bestie of one of us and who also joined us with the rest of the exploration for the day. We went on to spend some time at Charminar, click the mandarman instant photograph, drink the yummiest chai and taste the tastiest Pineapple cake from Nizam bakery.

 

Then we expired the chudi market right in front and bought some gorgeous bangles and headed to Paradise hotel for lunch. We reached there by 4.30 pm but then we had to wait for 50 mins after the token, but since we didn’t have time for that we took a parcel and set out to explore a park where we could sit and enjoy our Biriyani.

We found the park, ate till we could eat no more, clicked pictures next to ”LOVE HYD” and got back home to pack & catch my bus back to Bengaluru.

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The trip was extra special because I had no access to Internet, most of us didn’t have. Which made us live right there and not wander else where, talk to people in the room, listen and laugh.

I know though the trip was effortless and beautiful for us, our friend spent hours in making this trip perfect for us. The mother of the household took such efforts to get us the tastiest homemade food while we explored the city. The father of the household created a  perfect setting for us to enjoy, be it the silly bubble fights we had on the terrace or the finance planning help.

This Hyderabad trip was heart – warming. All the people who were in it and who made it happen, thank you! Thanks for asking, I loved it.

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Chicken Stew.

Today was a usual Sunday. I woke up late, decided I can study today’s lesson also on my own so skipped classes. I couldn’t get myself to travel to the other side of the city to meet my friends so made excuses and settled down well again on my bed. Parents came up with cheerful way to speak to me about the same old topic and I dodged the same and was mentally preparing myself to find ways to run away to another city as quickly as possible. I sat on my bed with ‘akki roti’ for half an hour watching yet another emotional episode of a Korean drama with subtitles, dreaming of the day when I can understand the language without them. The episode ended and also my breakfast, let me correct myself not breakfast, let’s call it ‘Brunch+Evening Snacks’. That is when the magical moment struck me.

I remembered about the chicken stew my neighbour had very kindly left it on my table for me this morning. I quickly hurry to the table to make sure my sister hasn’t finished it even before I got to taste it. I’m relieved to see the white parcel filled with ‘Chicken Stew’, I get a plate and a spoon to taste this dish. And what do I taste!!!!

This ‘Chicken Stew’ is the best one I have had so far. The coconut milk, the yummy chicken perfectly cooked and even the ginger. I dislike ginger in any dish, but this one is just beyond delicious. If you are a Malayali or if you have tasted the ‘Stew’ that is often served with Appam or Idiyappam and love it, then this beats all of those amazing ‘Stews’ you have had. The perfect blend and the amazingly enchanting taste of this ‘Chicken Stew’ will remain in my taste buds and memories forever (whatever forever means)! 🙂

Chef at ‘Lungees’ restaurant, keep up the good work! 😀 Happy Sunday Everyone! May your Sunday have yummy surprises like mine had!

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Life, my way.

Hi there,

It has been sometime that I took an effort to write or post anything on this blog. Maybe that was because I was too busy writing stories & interpreting the data, that I forgot I need to write some for myself. So bear with me because today’s rant is longer than you would expect, also now would be a good time to stop reading this and move on.

Okay,  as you have decided to listen to me here it goes, today there was some banter at home. It all began with the latest neighborhood news (also read as gossip) that was being debated at home.

I should have just shut up for once, but no, me being me had to barge in and give my parents a piece of my mind on a topic that suddenly popped up amidst the debate, which was however, irrelevant to the incident that started the debate in the first place. You might ask weren’t you discussing the incident in the first place? Yes, but you know like most discussions in daily life begin somewhere and transform itself to something completely different from its original self, sometimes with people even forgetting what the topic of discussion actually was.

So, that happened even today. The incident transformed itself to the topic ‘Arranged Marriages and Love Marriages’ . Believe me when I say I have nothing against arranged marriages. Absolutely nothing against it. Just that I cannot see myself trusting a stranger after a single meeting and agreeing to live together for eternity (whatever eternity means to each ~ 1 year, 5 years, 15 years, 25 years?).

I take my own sweet time in selecting my close friends. There goes a lot of years of my belief in them till I can actually share my secrets or thoughts with them. I value my close friends a lot, not because I think they will be there for me when I need them but because they were there for me when I couldn’t trouble my family with my issues. They were my rock, which is why they are even called my close friends in the first place.

Anyway back to the topic, I see my cousins and friends whose marriages were fixed by just the respective ‘families’ meeting each other and one was even fixed before the girl and the guy even met! Isn’t it ridiculous? I cannot believe that this actually happened!  The ‘families’ were very educated to begin with, not economically backward or anything of that sort. It is commendable that they had that kind of faith in somebody they didn’t know at all.

I know people who believe that a marriage can ‘fix a person’ (whatever fixing means) even if that person is abusive or is a horrible human being. So then where do these people go? Ah you guessed it right, of-course ‘arranged marriage’! The reality is well hidden from the view of the other person till they cannot really do anything about it. Factors that determine a match in an arranged marriage as I see around me are: Money (Salary for men and family status/property/gold for a girl), Working Status, Conventional good looks of the girl (If she is not rich, by her I obviously mean ‘her family’), Cooking Skills (For a girl) etc. to name a few. Oh I forgot the most important thing to the list, personality! just kidding, I missed adding the horoscope (if the family believes in it)! When a few of these factors on list get a tick, the family unanimously agrees that the other party is a perfect match and they lock the deal.

After the wedding, once the truth is out and it fails! Even then the family believes that what can fix the situation is again (no points for guessing) – marriage, the second time.

Wow, if this is what you call ‘adjusting’ and if this is the requirement for a society to function as a unit, I am sorry but I would rather be an outlier.

I appreciate that you can do it, but I personally cannot come to terms with the above arrangement. I am happy it works for you and that you are delighted with your marriage. I sincerely congratulate you on finding your life partner and creating a beautiful family in the traditional way. I know you enjoy being the Sanskari bahu/ beta and a loving mother/ father to the bundle of joy you will soon have, I am also very glad to see you smile.

But, I am not as trusting as you are. I take time to believe in people, sometimes many years. I have a small bunch of close friends who became important to me only after years of going through situations and life together. My parents remarked today, let’s see how long these friends you have will stay by your side, for all the importance that you give them.

Let me clarify, I have never expected that my friends will stay by my side forever. I am an adult and very well know that everyone has a life to live and would hate it if someone would stop living their life for me. I have also not been able to give to my friends or family, as much time or effort as I would have liked to. So how can I expect others to do something that I am not able to? But does that mean that the value of people in my life would change or decrease because life happened along the way? Absolutely not! I treasure people for what they have been to me not for what they have to offer in the future.

So, I do not believe in a marriage which means settling down. I do not want to ‘settle’ for anything. I am very sorry but I have no intention to cook for a family or a stranger that I do not know, which is an unsaid or said part of the business deal that an arranged marriage is? I do not dream of the big fat wedding. I have no fascination for the expensive dresses or jewelry that make you feel important for a day. I do not want to move into anyone else’s home and won’t. I adore my parents but then do I want a marriage like theirs? Absolutely not! No, I cannot see my parents as the perfect couple. I do not want to live their life or anybody else’s.

I want to live my life on my own terms. I will take my decisions like I always have. No, it is not because of ‘arrogance’ or being ‘spoilt’ like you would label me. It is only because I cannot see any equality in the ‘arranged marriages’ that you speak of. You might say that love marriages are also not above these things and they are also equally vulnerable to such things. Yes, they most certainly are. But isn’t a known devil better?

I do not know of whatever ‘Love’ really means. But if marriage isn’t at-least as equal as friendships are what is the point really? A legal document to cement something that in itself has no standing? Is that really the requirement?

If I ever want to be married, it would be because I like that person (and vice-versa) not because ‘families’ like each other. It would definitely be because that person would most certainly be my best-friend and my closest confidant (and vice-versa). It would be because it is actually a partnership of  equals (not a relationship of a slave and a master). It would be one with mutual respect and trust. I would not even want a marriage in the first place, this is the basic for even a relationship.

But for now and the years to follow, my career is my focus. No, just having a job is not what I mean by a career. I will not adjust or settle for anything less than what I expect of myself. I might fail miserably but I will never give up. I will keep fighting till I make it. No, I do not want to live the timid and well – behaved careful life like you want to. I will take risks,  cry when I am hurt, take pride when I succeed and strive harder everyday.

Do not emotionally manipulate me saying that if I live the way I want to I will have no one by my side or that you cannot adjust to my way of thinking. Do not tell me that I will not be happy with all the things I expect from my life I will always need something you have to be happy in my life.

You should take pride that I can think or decide for myself. You might have years of experience and you speak with the arrogance that I haven’t seen life the way you have. I might sound rude if I tell you that you and I have had very different experiences so far, you have only been through the ages that I am in (not lived my life) and due to which you think you understand my life. I cannot even say to a 5 year old that, I know exactly how they feel, because, I do not. Me and that 5 year old have had absolutely different lives and different struggles and belittling anyone’s life because you think you are older is ridiculous. You think I haven’t had struggles or that your struggles were much greater compared to mine, because, I didn’t think it was necessary to share my experiences with you for your mental peace, and mine. Reflecting on it, I think I should have. It would have shattered your beliefs and confidence. Still I won’t, as hurting you is not my intention.

So, your life is very much your own project, please feel free to give it any happy direction that you want but, once for all, please understand that my life is not your project. Let me have my own opinions, moments of blunder, choices and power to steer anyway that I choose to. I would be very grateful if you would stop forcing your opinions on me, because I won’t hesitate to reject them and it will eventually end up hurting you, not me.

Yours Sincerely,

#Arrogant & #Spoilt

A new beginning.

I have been wanting to write for a long time now. Starting from the new year, so many things have taken place in my life in this short span of past two months that now I do not know what to talk to you about.

Barely three weeks into our new semester in December 2016, I got placed through campus placements. Yes, three of us including me got placed in a company that was perfect for me in every sense. Pay was decent, work wise it looked great and it was a great start to a career.  Everything was perfect until we were told that we should join the company in two weeks. As usual, there was a little bit of panic. Not because I was too fond of my campus but because it meant lesser time with my friends. As the ritual that every student undertakes in the last few days of campus life is to travel to hills and beaches with friends, we planned our last trips too. Our road-trips to Mahabaleshwar and  Murud were wonderful in their own unique ways. We did all the things we should on a typical trip with friends; went crazy, took a zillion selfies, struck celebrity poses on scenic locations, counted the stars in the unpolluted skies, met new people, relished good food, fought with each other over silly things and also enjoyed every minute of it.

I then came back home to join my job. Before that welcomed new year with the craziest new years party I’ve had in years with my undergrad friends. It felt great to be back home, back to my family back to my old friends. On the new years we went on long bike rides in the chilling cold of January winters, had tea with omelette at 3 o’clock in the morning, braved street dogs who followed our bikes and finally dozed off at 7 in the morning only to wake up in an hour to get back home. Then joined work the next day and its been a great run so far. These two and a half months have been very eventful with a lot of learning and  new friendships. It felt great to receive my first salary. Oh it was an out-of the world experience. I won’t be lying if I said I teared up a little to see my paycheck and quickly wiped it off with a tissue. Then bought gifts for the family and relatives with my money. It was a good month, January.

February was a lot of travelling and nostalgia. Traveled to campus for internal exams, did road-trips to wayanad and then to my parents’ ancestral homes both of which was renovated recently in two consecutive weekends. Nostalgia was instantly triggered as I touched the place I spent my every summer vacation till class tenth. My refusal to accept the new changes which came with the shifting of power and changing of times was surprising. I felt like the little girl who ran around the house playing hide and seek, bathing in the pond and enjoying the taste of sweet mangoes from our tree in the backyard. It was disheartening that I didn’t see the faces of my grandparents sitting in the front porch waiting for us to arrive like it was a norm for many years, instead it was the faces of new tenants who were living in the favourite area of the house. We now had a small room and pooja room converted into a small kitchen and a small hall to stay in whenever we visited. It was a logical decision for sure, at least now there are people living in the house which would have otherwise been locked and unused for ages. But it was disappointing for me to not get the feel of big rooms, halls, dining area and the big kitchen that we grew up in. I realised it would have been even harder for my mother who actually spent half of her life here. The house has its charms, it kind of grows on you. I understand the attachment that my grandparents had to the house, it was their sweat and blood. Every plant in the farm was planted by my grandpa and his children.  The mango tree that we adored was now gone, cut and sold off. I do not understand farming or how long a plant is useful but all I know that cutting down the tree just felt wrong, very wrong. I still went and lit the lamp in our tiny temple. It felt right, it felt like summer holidays.

We then went to my dads’ ancestral home which was taken down and now a small house is built in its place. That old one was a beauty in itself. It was over 150 years old, made of mud and in olden style. It had thatched roof and traditional Kerala architecture. It always surprised me how cool it felt inside the old house even when it was soaring 45 degree Celsius outside the home. But then this was to be taken down because it was falling apart slowly. The new one was perfect for its inhabitants, which was one of my dad’s younger brothers and family.

February was a month filled with wanderlust, I had visited all familiar places from my past which had changed in its essence and meaning in many ways than one but still never failed to bring back the feeling of nostalgia.

That was about February, now time to tell you about how March has been treating me. If you ask me March is not as glamorous or nostalgic as January or February. March is reminding me that honeymoon period is now over, everything in life now will take a little more effort and patience to make it work. I worked my ass off to finish my assignments and dissertation of college in time and also manage work. Then there was reality check with the family, me being away from home for three years had made me oblivious to how parents usually work. I had become way too independent to take my own decisions of travel, finances and health but now there is constant interference from my parents on my every decision. They seem to have forgotten I am now a grown up adult and still treat me like a little child. Then there is constant interference from relatives, again who think my life is free to be interfered with. It will take some time to make my folks learn to understand my life and respect my privacy at times when they are most needed.

However, 2017 has been a cool new beginning for me,

 And I look forward to the surprises and challenges that it is yet to bring and the items I am hoping to tick off my bucket-list this year! 🙂