My Mother

We all have written the essay My Mother umpteen times in school which probably was copy pasted from some essay book. This is my first genuine and sincere attempt.

The 2nd Sunday of May is celebrated as Mother’s day and my mom’s birthday is on 3 May. Every year these two days just happen by default. But this year, thanks to the pandemic, it made me introspective about my life, my mom and her impact on my life.

I am because she is! Her womb carried me for 9 months and brought me forth on this planet. I could experience life only because she birthed me. Who is this woman who by virtue of birthing me becomes my Aai.. my mom!

I call her AAI. AAtma + Ishwar = AAI Mother is a merge of A Soul and God

My Aai.. Born in 1943 belonged to a very simple, not very well to do but hardworking family. Her father was a tailor and also a freedom fighter. Her mother worked in a spinning mill. Simple living, simple thinking.

Aai narrates lots of memories of her childhood.There was poverty but dignity.There was lack of everything yet satisfaction. Grandparents were illiterate yet educated their 5 kids.

The most poignant memory is of people in her town dying of cholera in 1951. She heard of her friend’s death and was pretty scared she would die too. She, just 8 then, folded her hands and prayed to God ‘Pl God let me live till 60, I will give you all my toys and sweets’. Today she is 78 and on her every bday thanks God for the ‘bonus years’. (I too, thank God for listening to her prayers)

Once she even fought with dacoits to save me, when their house was looted on Diwali day and the dacoits took away all gold and cash and would have killed me as I was just an infant crying my lungs out hearing the commotion.

My Aai.. married in 1962 into a huge joint family of 20 members had to face the usual hardships and restrictions. She wanted to be a teacher or a nurse. But she could do neither and had to remain content cooking, cleaning and bearing with the insults, taunts and brickbats as she was the younger bahu, very meek, naive, vulnerable, soft spoken and came from a poorer family as compared to the others. She wasn’t and isn’t that street smart, rude, outspoken, scheming, selfish sort of a person. She couldn’t and still can’t fight for her rights. She always puts others before herself. She takes joy in making others feel cared and comfortable. She is very prudent, always has strategies ready to tackle problems due to her intuitive and clairvoyant nature. She is a pro in handling finance and kitchen too. Will settle for peace, avoids arguments at all costs. She loves nature, gardening, music, comedy shows, sarees.

All these qualities have been existing in my Aai throughout my life but I had never really given it much thought.

I guess we all are so engrossed in our lives that we tend to take our mom for granted and go about doing our stuff mindless about the woman who is our coach, counselor, trainer, financer, cook, helper, our ‘girl Friday’, cheerleader and our fan too.

Yet, some ungrateful children don’t accept this fact and think ‘what does mom do for me ?..it’s her duty, no big deal! Even a maid can do it.’ Well, dear child the maid may have all the skills of your mom but not the ‘motherhood’.

What is motherhood? Motherhood is another name for devotion.. to love, care, protect, nurture, support..unconditionally, without expecting any returns. Whether a woman gives birth or not, she becomes a mother at some stage. She enhances every relationship with the flavor of motherhood with family, relatives, friends, guests and acquaintances too. Her love, her giving, her sharing is laced with the sweetness of her motherhood. Motherhood is not gender specific. Your dad too ‘mothers’ you at times. I have been ‘mothered’ by my mother in law, sisters, friends, relatives, my husband, my kids and neighbors too.

Due to too much commercialisation of Mother’s day, the true essence of the relationship is lost. It’s not just a celebration with cake, gifts and flowers of the woman but honoring her motherhood, maternal bonds and the influence of mothers in society.

Society prospers because of people. Behind every successful artist, scientist, engineer, doctor and other professionals in society there is a ‘mean mom’. Mean moms ?? yeah.. mean moms !

Well these mean moms.. oh they are those strict one’s who lay down some rules for their kids, eat, sleep, study on time, no chips but only lunchbox meals, don’t believe in child labor laws and make you cook, clean, mop, wash dishes and do other mundane chores, insist on meeting your friends and give details about with whom you are going out, reason, time, no night outs or late nights due to strict curfew time, keep them informed about your whereabouts, can smell a lie from a mile and always insist on telling only the truth, also insist on giving them the account of expenses and savings .. oh these mean moms! All of us missed out on so many wonderful experiences that some of our friends had.. they didn’t have a ‘mean mom’!

I have grown up as an educated, honest, disciplined, righteous, responsible, conscientious, God fearing individual. Thanks to my ‘mean mom’. She groomed me too, to become a ‘mean mom’. Am proud of my mom who is such a humble, simple and selfless woman. She isn’t perfect but neither are we.

Do you know whats wrong with the world today.. it just doesn’t have enough ‘mean moms’ anymore!

This Mother’s Day a big shout out to all the ‘mean moms’ out there..

This article dedicated to you AAI..

This entry was posted on May 8, 2021. 5 Comments

DÉJÀ VU ??

Déjà vu, pronounced day-zhaa voo, is French for “already seen.” It describes the fascinating and strange experience where you feel that something is very familiar but you also know that this feeling of familiarity should not be as strong as it is. It is a very fleeting sensation. It may be triggered by a place, person, smell, taste…

Have you ever.. oh..I bet you have experienced Déjà vu. Isn’t it a wonderful experience? You visit a new place and you get goosebumps as you feel hey.. I have been here before but I don’t know when.

It’s not an everyday phenomenon. It can’t be called upon. It can’t be planned. It has its own way of revealing itself.

Sadly like it or not many nations are Déjà vuing.. Another wave of Covid.. Another lockdown.. Streets deserted.. Gardens closed.. Hotels, spa, saloons, swimming pools shut.. Festivals and celebrations subdued.. Educational institutions closed.. Entire academic year students surviving on online classes.. Movement of people restricted to essentials.. Deaths piling up… Human race is under a siege once again..

God forbid.. didn’t we go through this rigmarole in April 2020.. the cursed year! Yeah.. history repeats itself.. but not this way please

As 2020 crawled ahead the affect of the pandemic was subsiding. Did we became complacent.. loosened our guard? Were we in a hurry to forget the struggles, the loss, the pain, the grief brought about by the virus and start getting used to the ‘new normal’? Were we rejoicing too early the victory over the virus whereas it was still lurking in the air?

And as if by some accurate cosmic calculation we are back to square one..

A Déjà Vu of sorts..?? April 2020 to April 2021.. 365 days with 730 painful memories.. for an individual.. for a nation.. for the world.. the wounds are just healing.. the scars are yet fresh

Who failed.. me, you, the scientist, the predictions, the government ?? Human life is much more precious than political conspiracies and leadership egos.

Every life matters.. every death destroys.. is devastating to a family. It’s just become a number game. Which country.. how many deaths. How many recoveries.. which country is good at handling.. which government failed. The numbers and percentages rolling on the screens make no sense to a son who can’t find a bed, a ventilator for his mom or for a father who can’t find space to cremate his son. Hope the politicians would stop the blame game and function as the head of the family and care for its children.

What’s in store for us in 2022?

Another variant of the virus or normalcy ? Only time will tell..

OR

Is it in our hands ..

Let’s not embark on a vicious circle of Déjà Vu..

Mask up..sanitize.. maintain physical distancing.. get vaccinated.. do pranayam, yoga.. its not difficult to control the virus of we learn to control our lifestyle.

Don’t be scared.. be responsible !

Beware….the virus has extended its stay

This entry was posted on April 26, 2021. 4 Comments

YOLO / YODO

YOLO / YODO
I had come across these acronyms longtime ago but hadn’t paid much attention to it ignoring it as a new generation FAD.
But the havoc caused by the pandemic and the death of my near and dear ones made me delve into these acronyms which happen to be two lifestyle philosophies.

YOLO..You Only Live Once

YODO..You Only Die Once

YOLO followers are passionate, adventurous people who love to experiment, want to create their own path rather than walk on the trodden one. They are fun to hang out with.Their mantra is CARPE DIEM.
The YOLO’s take risks, yearn instant gratification, make mistakes, learn from it but keep forging ahead with more gusto for momentary pleasures coz there is the FOMO.. Fear Of Missing Out.

What we do appreciate about them is they have contributed and brought about great novel changes in the fields of food, fashion, travel, music which maybe good but not sustainable.They may buy a new car and spend time and money on its maintainance and boast about it but will completely ignore the wear and tear of their own body.

YODO followers are the cautious, conscious and prudent ones.They are always secure and reliable to be with.They take more calculated and well thought decisions, look for security and stability. They believe that you keep living everyday but death comes only once. Just like we try to live healthy, stress free, joyful and satisfied life, we should also endeavor to believe and accept death without any fear and ‘plan’ it. Yes ! To die peacefully and painlessly, you have to plan how to live consciously. They are health conscious and may even prudently plan their retirement life, funeral, last rites, property matters. They aren’t being old fashioned or pessimistic but they learn to live consciously so that they die consciously.

Friends, just like there is an ‘Art of Living’ there is also an ‘Art of Dying’.

Whether we follow YOLO or YODO, when we die what remains are memories of us. No one is immortal but memories are !

So let’s redefine YOLO & YODO!
YOLO.. let’s celebrate life

Let’s live cautiously, consciously, conscientiously and not casually, carelessly, competitively

Let’s make ourselves competent and not complacent

Let’s make a difference in someone’s life with selflessness and not selfishness

Let’s be empathetic not pathetic, intuitive not impulsive, creative not destructive, helpful not helpless

Let’s leave a legacy behind, not of material wealth but an identity, a memory of a wonderful person that you are.

You Only Live Once is a misconception.. you live everyday
Let’s make our visit to this earth as a human worth it.

YODO.. let’s make our exit dignified and not dramatic. Death is inevitable. You may die this moment or after 10 years.

How we die is many a times the consequence of how we live.

The pandemic experience should be an eye opener to all of us to change our lifestyle from YOLO to YODO!

“When you were born you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice”

So which philosophy do you follow..

YOLO or YODO ??

This entry was posted on April 16, 2021. 5 Comments

Pandemic Anniversary??

Anniversaries are an important part of life. We celebrate the day as a reminder of some milestone in our life. They remind us of important events whether we’re marking a birthday, a wedding, a momentous event, or the death of a loved one, an anniversary puts a pin on the calendar to remind us of something that matters to us. Whatever the anniversary, it gives us a chance to reflect on a moment which has left a mark on our minds, a chance to look back over the years since the event we’re marking, and reflect on how it has shaped us.

25 March 2021 was one such day.. an anniversary !
The Pandemic Lockdown Anniversary!
The day when the whole world went under lockdown in 2020 to stop the spread of the corona virus. An unprecedented happening, a once in a lifetime catastrophe..

How do we face this day ?

Does it count as an Anniversary ?

What do we do..celebrate, commemorate, eulogize ?

And as I write this article “I AM CORONA POSITIVE” !

Last year this day we kept hearing of people falling prey to the virus all around the world and we pitied them and thought, oh, it won’t happen to me !
We have seen scores of people being affected, hspitalized, serious, dead!

The entire year we were glued to our TV sets watching with horror, the havoc caused by the virus.

So..have we learnt some lessons ?

PROBABLY NOT…
Why the second wave..
Why are so many people still dying of the virus..

Where did we go wrong..

Has the vaccine made us complacent..
How did I contact it..
I always consider myself as a very vigilant, aware, educated human following all norms..
Down the year did I too experience the ‘covid fatigue’ the ‘lockdown fatigue’ and lose my guard..

Did I take the virus lightly..
Wasn’t I following the safety norms..

All our technological advancement, our AI, our nuclear weapons, our arrogant superiority of human intelligence and even faith in God.. nothing, nothing can help humans if the virus proves to be more intelligent than humans.

When will we stop trying to prove ourselves mightier than nature?
After all aren’t we a living organism just like other organisms ?

Inspite of the pandemic catastrophe, we have seen the year marked by political instability, racial discrimination, elections around the world tarnished by hatred and greed for power, too much unrest all over the world due to frustration and helplessness over the deteriorating life conditions.
Instead of fighting against the virus.. are we fighting against each other ??
Why aren’t we accepting the concept of ‘live and let live’?

There’s no PLANET B for us!!

What strategy should we follow for the next 365 days?

Do we want another painful pandemic anniversary next year ?
Are we going to rejoice or repent?
Time to wake up….

This entry was posted on March 28, 2021. 4 Comments

My Womaniya!

-Dedicated to all the women in my life!

phenomenal woman

I begin with my grandma!

Wonderful ladies they were, belonging to the 19-20th century reeling under the British colonialism. Western philosophy was considered as unacceptable. It was a period when women were just the female gender existing in the patriarchal set up of society which thought that they were doing a favour on the females by allowing them to live and survive. That was also the period of freedom struggle and every field of life was dominated by men. It was a very conservative and traditional society, women had no rights to education, they were considered just as means of reproduction giving heirs to the name and properties of males. Both my grandmas had a tough life. Kids born every year, some survived, some died due to lack of medical facilities and nutrition. I wonder how the woman in them must have faced the humiliation of being treated as a commodity, the embarrassment of carrying a child every year and the hardships of household chores and tending the kids in huge joint families. Their health issues must have been the last priority. With all these hurdles their own personal feelings and desires were probably just negligible or fads and didn’t matter.

The next generation was of my mom and my mom in law, born in the 1930’s and 1940’s. They are the pillars of their respective family. They come from an era which was between the age of innocence and industrialization which changed the lifestyles and mind set of people. It was a society on the verge of transformation. A metamorphosis phase. Freedom was a new concept. Accepting new ideas and discarding the old ones. All the sectors of life like education, health, career, entertainment were opening up for women. There was socio-cultural and socio- economic upheaval. A few sections of society accepted the new ideology of rights and freedom to women but few adamant were still holding on to the old outdated ideology that women were inferior.

My sisters and I belong to the Generation X, born in the 60’s and 70’s. This generation is also referred to as the lost generation. Adapting and adopting new radical ideas of living. The indecisive generation, one foot stepping in new trends of life with awareness about health, personal growth, spirituality, career, but the other foot still stuck in the traditional and conservative mind set. Struggling to find a foothold in the winds of change. This is the best educated generation with a growing maturity towards family and financial planning. Women made a mark in all the fields of life.

My daughter, the Generation Y product. The 21st century Gen Y women are incredibly sophisticated, technologically wise and they belong to a generation which has seen it all and exposed to it all since early childhood. Individuality and personal space is more important than the society Free spirited, having the right to choose, education, career, friends, life partner. Right and freedom to express opinions, to fight for what is right, to stand up for women’s causes, to make their presence felt in the field of education and career which was always male dominated. Right and freedom to choose and decide on personal matters of marriage, sex, children and personal health and happiness.

All the women in my life have molded me and made me who I am today.

My grandmas gave me the values of hardwork, patience and perseverance. My mom taught me to cook, be responsible and understand life as a woman and a mother. My sisters taught me the importance of sharing and caring, fighting and forgiving. My daughter completed my identity as a woman by making me a mother. She taught me the value of unconditional love, the attitude of being free of grudges, stress and letting go. My friends and colleagues taught me the value of camaraderie, trust, confidence and how to smile and laugh through tears.

I have played so many roles in life and undergone so many changes. I have enjoyed the cuddles and kisses as a cute toddler. I am a devoted and responsible daughter, a caring sister, a dutiful wife, a loving mother. Sometimes I am a rebellious daughter, an argumentative sister, an irresponsible wife, an autocratic mother. Sometimes I am just a soul detached and looking at all these roles played by a woman. A woman who bears the burden of all the past and present generations, who has to be and do what is expected of her. She struggles to free the bondage of the generations…. trying to be ‘ME’.

An old Sanskrit shloka describes the six virtues of a woman as follows:

Karyeshu dasi, (work like a slave)

Karneshu manthri, (perform like a leader)

Bhojeshu mata, (cook like a mother) Shayaneshu Rambha, (romance like a lover)

Roopeshu Lakshmi,(beautiful like Goddess Lakshmi)

Kshamayeshu dharitri. (forgive like mother Earth)

But with the socio-economic and socio-cultural changes in a woman’s life the shloka needs some changes too:

Karyeshu Shakti (powerful), Karneshu Gargi (wise woman)

Bhojeshu Annapurna (goddess of food), Shayaneshu Sakhi (partner/ friend)

Roopeshu Ruhi (beautiful soul that touches the heart),

Kshamayeshu Titiksha (patience and forgiveness)

I am Natasha ( exist)…I am Neha (love)…I am Nikhila (complete)…I am Nikita (unconquered)…I am Nirbhaya (fearless)…I am Shreshthi (perfect)

Happy Women’s Day to all my Womaniya on WordPress 🌹

We Work.. Why ??

My friend asked me, ” How was your first day at office after a year of wfh and lwp? ” and I blurted out, ” I feel resurrected !”

That entire day from home to work and back was filled with ‘deja vu’ sort of moments for me. The metro train and the stations on the way were like long lost friends. People wearing colorful masks were actually displaying patience, tolerance, glancing furtively yet going about their day. I met the office lift man, house keeping staff, colleagues with a lump in my throat. Nothing had changed yet.. so much had changed !

Life before the pandemic lockdown and after.. two different phases of life! In the past one year I had sort of degenerated, lost touch with my productivity, my purpose, my sense of fulfillment that comes from sincere back-breaking hard work. Online ‘virtual’ classes was a different world altogether. I felt so alive, resurrected, standing before a ‘real’ class at last. Feel the vibes, the classroom ambience with ‘breathing humans’.. and that adrenaline rush! What was mundane and monotonous seemed like magical and motivating.
So what was the driving force behind this ‘serendipity’ ? Will it sustain or vanish with time ? Have I found ‘something’ that I wasn’t even aware of?

Does work have so much significance in our lives? Why does going out there doing your stuff, facing challenges with the brickbats or accolades mean so much to us? Why do we hit the snooze alarm yet then drag ourselves out of the cozy bed and take the pains of going to work?

If you were given a salary for doing nothing.. would you be happy? Maybe you would initially have a gala time but eventually you would feel useless and lethargic, wasted and rusted, with nothing to look forward to.

So..Why do we work ? Is it money?? Would Mother Teresa have said so ? Go ask the doctors, philanthropists, industrialists, scientists who work tirelessly .. what would they say?

An introspection :
1) We are social beings
We are ‘people persons’. We thrive on mutual dependence. Frued said ‘Love and work are the cornerstones of our humanness’. We get a sense of joy and fulfillment from social engagement, connection and interaction.
2) We need to have a purpose
We need to have a deeper meaning to life, something to look forward to everyday apart from just getting through the day, and work often fulfills it. A purpose helps you to live a conscious life. The ability to pursue life purpose, fills one up with energy and passion to create a meaningful life.
3) We get a sense of self satisfaction by being productive
I bet you feel great at the end of the day when you accomplish all or atleast 6-7 things from your to-dos for the day. It fills your soul cup with a sense of achievement. By being productive at work when you achieve targets or meet deadlines you get appreciation, recognition, identity which satisfies your ego and self esteem. You know you make a difference to the world and make others life better.
4) We can maintain a standard of living
Yes money is the primary reason but it’s one of the many reasons. We need to work to make money to pay our bills and buy groceries. We measure success in life through lifestyle changes, from good to better to best.
5) We are creative beings
Everything that you are surrounded with right now and things that make your life comfortable, is ‘someone’s thought or an idea’ shaped into reality. You need to keep experimenting. Things and ideas become obsolete as time passes. Necessity is the mother of invention.

Well, then, here I am.. rearing to go. Even if I had the choice to sit back comfortably at home, I would still and always opt to go back to the grind.. do you still want to know why..???

“My father used to have an expression. He’d say, ‘Joey, a job is about a lot more than a paycheck. It’s about your dignity. It’s about your respect. It’s about your place in your community. ‘
Joe Biden

So why do YOU work ??

This entry was posted on February 25, 2021. 1 Comment

THE HOMELESS HOUSES..

As I was strolling on my terrace I stood watching a nearby building being demolished for redevelopment.

Sadly, all the windows were ‘paneless’, entrances ‘doorless’, walls ‘colorless ‘, rooms ‘humanless’.. and houses were ‘homeless’ !!

Is it difficult to build a house or to demolish a house ??
Technically, both are difficult as well as different ! How ??

When a house is being built, it is yet to write a story, yet to become a home, it’s vacuum, it’s space is just like a new book yet to be filled with stories of occasions of joy and sorrow, fear and excitement, feelings and emotions of failures and achievements.

When an old house is being demolished, the story is already written, every room of the house has memories. The walls have wounds and scars of nails and writings. The living room is witness to the good-bad vibes of parties and family get together on happy or sad occasions. The bedroom has vibrations of sweet love talks and heartbreak tears. The kitchen is blended with the aroma of sumptuous food cooked on various occasions. The corridors bear the resonance of the shrill cries of children spreading cheer and laughter.

The houses can’t complain, can they ? The ruins stand in darkness, desolate, orphaned, witness to numerous memories, now strewn around. They look sadly at each other and bid goodbye to those memories being pierced, pulled, pushed, pounded to rubble, now into oblivion..
…and wait with expectations and apprehension to see a new house budding into a home with new memories and stories.
Every demolition is sacrilegious but a necessary evil to make way for the new !

Thanks for stopping by..

asmi_bharati 🌸

This entry was posted on February 3, 2021. 2 Comments

Yeh Mera India..

Are you PROUD to be an Indian ??
OR
Do you LOVE your motherland ??
Being proud of something and loving something are two different things..
You LOVE something that nurtures you and helps you grow, progress..(mom ?)
You are PROUD of something that gives you a feeling of self-respect by which you measure your self-worth or is a reason for pride.. (achievements in sports, studies, work ?)
So are we proud or do we love ?? Confusing, is it ?
We can’t possibly hate something on which we thrive, can we ? That would be selfish and ungrateful.
Also the country doesn’t compel you to be proud of it. But you can be grateful to it, love it, nurture it just as it nurtures you.
‘Perfectionism’ with regards to a country is just a myth ! There’s always going to be something lacking.
For the majority of us the ‘grass is always greener on the other side of Indian borders.’
But the recent pandemic has shown that every country has the same ‘status quo’.
Some things are surely lacking in India yet we are better off than a majority of under developed countries. Even the most powerful nations of the world are vulnerable.
So chill.. we probably may not be proud of our country but we can love our motherland (even an NRI loves India, though his career takes him around the world ) coz it has given us so much. This is the land we are born in, used its resources, become what we are today and aspire to make a living, grow and prosper inspite of the pitfalls and knowing that it’s imperfect, wanting, deficient and make it a better place to live for us and for our next generations.
No nation is perfect, it needs to be made perfect !

Yeh Mera India..
‘I love my India.

I am proud to be an Indian’

What about you..??

Thanks for visiting my blog

asmi_bharati 🌸

This entry was posted on January 26, 2021. 7 Comments

THE MASK!

I smiled at her and guess what, she just looked at me and passed by.. she didn’t even give a smile..or did she ??

Experienced this ??
Guess what the culprit is THE MASK !

The advent of WEB 2.0 and WEB 3.0 has already created an environment where individuals are finding comfort in using text msgs and emojis to express themselves. The 21st century modern gen can boast of Artificial Intelligence skills but is sadly lacking in Interpersonal Skills! Now you don’t even need to smile, isn’t it ?

The MASK…has probably done more harm than good (apart from creating a barrier between the virus and us)…our face and expressions too are masked now !!

The MASK is here to stay for sometime now. So folks dont let the mask be a barrier..go ahead and express your emotions, feelings.. smile, laugh, voice your feelings, let people hear your emotions even if they can’t see it.
You, me, we all crave for attention, care, love, respect, acknowledgment..we all want to be heard.. let’s hear others too!
MASK YOUR FACE.. NOT YOUR FEELINGS !!
PS: Anyone for Jim Carrie’s MASK ??👺 (you need to place an order with Loki )

This entry was posted on January 23, 2021. 5 Comments

Sky is the Limit !

KAMALA HARRIS
An Asian, a black woman of Indian origin, first ever woman to become the Vice President of the most powerful democracy in the world.. standing besides the White House !!
What a powerful symbol of hope, of all that women can be, do, have in a male dominated society, an inspiration to all the women all over the globe to dream the impossible and achieve it with hard work, sincerity, integrity and perseverance.
Only when the “objectification of women” is stopped, crime against women and gender discrimination will end.
Then the sky is the limit..
Respect ma’am 🙏

Thanks for stopping by

asmi_bharati 🌸

This entry was posted on January 21, 2021. 1 Comment