Summer Vacation, Short Story!

—Pngtree—little girl with gray ponytail_4532268

 

<a href=’https://pngtree.com/so/gray’>gray png from pngtree.com</a>

I grew up in a typical middle-class family in Kerala where parents had to toil and work hard to make ends meet. My father was then teaching in a school and my mother was a housewife. Teachers never ended up earning much monetarily – then and even now.  When I write about ‘making ends meet’ mind you, I am from Kerala which means ‘making ends meet’ included sending your kids to the best school in the locality. Education for children and coconut oil for hair was never compromised on. But yeah, unlike the general misconception, we did use shampoo and conditioner after applying coconut oil.

Coming back to my story, expensive education and reasonable standard of living meant no money for vacations. This also meant, I never understood what is meant to go on a vacation as a kid. In my small little world, vacation meant going over to my  maternal- grandmother’s house or playing with the neighbour’s children. So, after one of these two months of summer vacation, the class teacher of upper kindergarten asked all of us about a vacation trip we took during summers. She explained that it can be any trip taken by you with your parents wherein you saw new places, ate chocolates, ice-creams and had lots of fun. The little me immediately ruled out going to neighbour’s house as a vacation since parents never accompanied me. I usually ran across, or my mother passed me over to my friend’s mother over the boundary wall. I contemplated the trip to maternal grandmother’s house. But that was not a new place. I was going there since I was born. In fact, that’s the first house I lived in for 3 months after my mother popped me out. Just when I was about to ask for further clarification, the teacher proudly called out my name for starting the narration. Though confused deep inside, the confident little me swung my ponytail in the air and began my vacation trip with my father to buy nails and a hammer!

The mention of the trip made my teacher and the little smarty pants of the class giggle. Completely ignoring them, I described in detail the ride on my father’s rickety old Bajaj scooter to the town nearby, the beautiful sweaty summer morning, the stop on the way to buy ice-cream, a minor breakdown of the scooter which led to a detour through  a park till the mechanic arrived, our stop at the shop to buy the nails and hammer and of course the final stop to buy some chocolates for the sister. Afterall, she missed out on the trip. The teacher was, I think, in retrospect amazed at my ability to tick all the  boxes as per her definition of a vacation and patted my back!

Once the other kids started narrating their trips to nearby hill stations (Munnar, Ooty), longer trips to North India (Delhi, Jaipur) did I realize that I may have made a fool of myself.

All said and done, I can bet that the 4-year-old little me who went to buy nails and hammer had a lot more fun  in those few hours than what I had during the numerous trips I took around the world during the pre-covid era.

Godse’s scrambled egg – A pre-covid episode!

 

 

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One day when the cook decided to take a day off, the husband and I decided to make Gordon Ramsay’s famous scrambled eggs. After a lot of joint effort and a broken egg on the floor, we did successfully make yummy scrambled eggs. We can vouch for it being the same as Gordon’s, when he makes it for us someday!

The next day, I raved to our cook about our successful day in the kitchen. I noticed she was instantly insecure about us faring well in her absence, but also curious about the new dish. As an aspiring dabba joint entrepreneur, any new recipe is an addition to her database. I managed to explain it to her in broken Hindi and even showed her a YouTube video. She watched it intently and the next second declared it to be a dish made by her family for many generations. Disappointed that my great find was an everyday occurrence for her, and that it made almost no dent in her universe, I went back to doing whatever I was doing.

10 minutes later she barges into my room asking me to repeat the recipe for GODSE’s scrambled egg! Dumbfounded, I for a second, forgot the recipe. For the next hour, I tried telling her that it was Mr. Gordon and not Mr. Godse. I failed miserably!

Wonder how many would be happy to gobble down Godse’s scrambled eggs from her dabba! And in today’s India, she could very well be put behind bars for inciting violence and anti -nationalist thoughts by naming scrambled eggs after Godse!

Prince Charming

 

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I come from a middle class, educated, liberal Christian family. At least that is what my matrimonial profile read. My mother came from a similar background minus the liberal mindset. She kept telling me that a woman is truly liberated when she is educated and independent -emotionally and financially. Making me the ideal woman was her life goal. So, unlike how most mothers channel your thoughts, mine never sowed the dreams of a prince charming, a ‘hum saath saath hain’ family or a destination wedding. They were considered unimportant in the larger scheme of things. Expressing such desires didn’t really make my mother emotional and teary eyed.

Cut to 25 years after my birth, the mother’s dream of an educated, emotionally and financially independent daughter with zero dreams of   prince charming and destination wedding has become a reality. The daughter is super emotional about having fulfilled her mother’s wishes.

But alas, twist in the story! There was suddenly a huge uprising and priority shift in the mother’s head. Such uprisings with mothers do not really come with any prior indications or warnings. Believe it or not, she wanted me to find a prince charming for me. The prince charming was never a part of my growing up, so I didn’t know him very well and didn’t actively take part in a search alongside my mother. That said, please do not confuse the prince charming with a boyfriend. Unlike boyfriends, prince charming must be an emotionally and financially independent ‘boy’ from a middle class, educated, liberal, Christian family. He must be from a ‘good family’ and who shares ‘similar’ family values. And yes, preferable to one who has a non-devious mother. Father’s deviousness is mostly irrelevant if he is providing his son a reputable family name and inheritance. Boyfriend on the other hand is someone who makes you happy.

Speaking of boyfriends, I had a few, but clearly not ones who could fit the description of    a ‘prince charming’. I  broke up with them  for reasons not associated with the mother. Nevertheless, mother took all the credit by claiming it to be the work of her gods. The prince charming hunt in any case, was hastily on, irrespective of whether I was in a relationship or not. Since I was not actively taking part in the search, my mother used her well-guarded, sparingly used weapons – namely emotional blackmailing and falling ill. Unfortunately for her, she had forgotten the independent (emotionally and financially) human she had made me into. I wouldn’t give into any of her tactics. She never gave up. She had now turned into the quintessential ‘maa’ who tirelessly worked for the children.

Cut to 6 years later,  I found a boyfriend worthy enough to be introduced at home. The boy was a year younger than me, had lesser hair than an average man of his age which are obviously MAJOR concerns. But I guess since he qualified on all other counts and more importantly the increasing age of the daughter silenced her on these concerns. It was, at the end of the day, a win -win for both of us.

There is really no punchline to this life snippet. However, to all mothers out there who believe in my mother’s life goals, request you to please avoid sudden uprisings as soon as your daughter turns 25. Always remember, even if you do, the foundations you have laid will save her and come back to bite you!

Rapunzel’s Hair

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“Rapunzel had magnificent long hair, as fine as spun gold. Whenever she heard the voice of the enchantress she would let down her braided hair and the enchantress would climb up it to reach the window. She would bring Rapunzel bread and water, but no comfort or love. “

Yes, My mother loved reading this story out to me. Rapunzel had magnificent long hair  which was strong enough for the enchantress to use for climbing up the tower!  Now, little did I know that mother would take the long hair bit in the story so seriously. She was obsessed about ensuring that I have long hair. Sometimes I wonder if this is because of the heavy influence of Rapunzel’s story or because she had terribly curly hair that refused to progress in length. It could also be totally due to the number of hair oil and hair shampoo advertisements on Door darshan or due  to the high demand of women with long black her in the arranged marriage scene.

Nevertheless, she took great pains to take care of my hair. From oiling with coconut oil, to using homemade hibiscus shampoo – she did it all. I particularly didn’t like Rapunzel, or her long hair. She was the quintessential damsel in distress, had to endure people climbing up her hair and didn’t really do anything to help herself. It is so not me! I would rather be the enchantress who could climbed up using Rapunzel’shair!  I grew up as a tomboy, rejecting the curation of traditional womanly charms. However on the insistence of my mother, I always had long hair.

Many years later, on a sweaty summer afternoon, as I was returning from the nearby grocery store, I happened upon  a new beauty parlour   named Cinderella. Since I had some money in hand, and I was allowed a trim every two months, I went into the parlour to get a trim. As I entered the salon, I saw a giant poster of a blonde lady. She had brown hair and blunt cut! I quickly went up to the hairdresser and asked her to style me like her. She agreed to do the hair cut but denied colouring my hair! “You’re too young for that” she said. , Did I mention that I was in grade five?

Sitting in the big black chair, I saw my jet-black thick hair being chopped off. My head felt lighter with every crunch of the scissors.  An hour later, with a stylish new haircut and a bag full of groceries, I reached home. My mother, who opened the door nearly fainted, and then began wailing out loud. Initially confused, I later realized that she was mourning the loss of my locks. My father and me tried to convince her that it is hair after all, and will grow out. However, she was not ready to accept that I left the fruits of her labor on the floor of the parlour.Believe it or not, it took about a month and a few inches of hair growth, for my mother to come to terms with my new look.

When I think about the agony I went through, I sincerely wish that stories like Rapunzel are banned, and we write new ones for young girls, where the short haired protagonists climb up rocks, mountains and forts to save themselves without waiting for destiny or prince charming to save them!

Mango and me

Mango

 

I have not loved any one thing so consistently and unconditionally like I have loved mangoes. No person, place, animal, thing or experience has kept me hooked on, more than mangoes have.

Mangoes  come in various shapes, sizes and colours. They are not judged on the perfect shape or the colour, but only on the quality.  They tell us nothing really matters as long as you have substance. A true life lesson for humans! Mangoes are also very closely associated with a lot of pleasant childhood memories. My maternal grandmother’s home had more than 10 varieties of mangoes growing in the plot where the ancestral home stood. Mangoes were plucked and distributed not by kilos but by baskets. My maternal grandmother who was a farm owner never believed in selling these mangoes in the market. She believed that this fruit should be shared amongst friends and family. This fruit was grown only to spread love and good wishes. And of course her grandkids got the largest share!  I can give you a hundred other reasons as to why I love mangoes so much.

The husband finds this quite fascinating, and indulges this craving of mine. The maids find it quite unfathomable that the wife devours all the mangoes without saving any for the husband. Big Basket ensures that I get my delivery of mangoes on time. Friends and family never forget to stock enough mangoes for me when I visit them. Any diet I consider, needs to accommodate my mango craving. Else it CANNOT be considered.

This mango fascination led me to categorize the people around me by their relationship with mangoes.

It’s just a fruit!”: These are the ones who consider it just another fruit. I don’t like their attitude but don’t particularly care as long as they do not disrespect the fruit. My husband is one of them, but I still choose to love him.

I hate mangoes!”: What bothers me is that, most of them haven’t even enjoyed a good mango with the right company to hate it.

 “I love them and will tell you which ones the best is!”: These are the worst kind, the ones who discriminate between the varieties. I not only hate them, but also cannot stand their company during season or off -season! Be it about mangoes or about life generally, I do not recommend hanging out with those people who expresses their opinion without really taking an effort to know the subject in discussion.

 “I love mangoes!”: You are welcome into my home and my heart -period.

Writing in the woods – A pre-covid wish!

It has been more than one year of zero blogging. I have been meaning to re-start, but never got to it. I have been writing but procastinating blogging on the pretext of finding the right time. Thats when i realised that today is  my most favourite Ruskin Bond’s birthday. It also reminded me that there is no better day to re-start blogging. So this one is for Mr. Bond!

Wrote this one way before lockdown when I was planning our next trip. Now it seems like a distant dream!

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Photo credit: <a href=”https://www.vecteezy.com/free-vector/kid”>Kid Vectors by Vecteezy</a>

Ruskin Bond in his book ‘A book of simple living’ mentions that he prefers sitting next to the window and writing as the deodar trees watch him. He feels that the trees are his best critics. While I could manage to sit in my apartment, next to a window and write, having those amazing deodar trees watch over me is far from reality. All I see outside is the nearly dead plants from my garden pleading at me for some water. The summer in Delhi does no mercy to these poor things.

The other option is of course to vacation in places which give me the view. So, I tell the husband:

Me: I feel like writing. Can we go to the hills please?

Husband: Awesome, please write. But why don’t you instead of making the long and torturous trip to the hills, sit in the AC room and write to your heart’s content.

Me: Oh! But I need the deodar trees as my critic, which I can only get in the hills – to be very specific in Landour where Ruskin Bond lives.

Husband: Vaikom Muhammad Basheer, one of the most renowned writers of Malayalam literature wrote his works while he was in prison, in Kerala. He had metal bars, 4 walls and a jail warden to criticize this work!

Me: I guess I will make do with the nearly dead bougainvillea on my balcony criticizing my work.

 

Continue reading → Writing in the woods – A pre-covid wish!

Ayubowan!

It’s been close to 2 years of zero blogging. Have been up to many activities worth blogging! This includes awakened interest in home décor, setting up a balcony garden (that I am proud of), lots of travelling, amateur photography  etc. etc. However sheer laziness and the new found love for Instagram  took up all my time. Today while sipping my cup of coffee and reading Ruskin Bond’s ‘ A Book of Simple Living’ , an ex- colleague messaged me asking for our Sri Lankan Trip itinerary. While I gave her a shortened version through WhatsApp, her request led me to think about re-starting blogging with our Sri Lankan experience. So here we go!

Sri Lanka was not the first choice for our June 2018 trip. We had initially planned for a 2 weeks trip to the North East. But once we reached closer to the date, we realised that the North East involves lots of planning and driving. The lazy couple that we are and thanks to our hectic work schedule at that point in time, we decided to so something more relaxing. The first picture that came to our mind was a clean beach, beer and some grilled fish. No other place matched this dream other than Sri Lanka. The  husband had his bachelors there and I had travelled for work a couple of times to Sri Lanka. We both had seen some bits, but not to our hearts content and just enough to get us longing for more! So we booked our tickets the very next day.

Having booked our tickets, the next step was to plan a rough itinerary. As at all times, I usually make the first draft and thereafter the husband comes up with his changes. Based on a combination of both our interests, we decided that the trip needs a good lazy vibe, exploring a bit of history and some beach activities. The below map sort of summarizes  our trip. We literally travelled across the country and it was worth every bit of it.

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Day 1 upon landing , we directly took off to Galle. While the husband hadn’t seen Colombo, we decided to explore Colombo on our way back. Twenty minutes on the road and the true blue-Indians that we are, we started craving for our morning Chai.Stopped at a small yet neat hotel where we had a cup of milk tea. This led to my first revelation – Sri Lankan tea is best had without milk. A very interesting thing on the menu was Nasi Goreng being termed as an Indian dish. Check the picture below!

Nasi Goreng

Soon after we had our next stop at the high way for a proper breakfast. We had a not so light breakfast. Check out the pictures and you shall know why  I say so!

Food

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We reached Galle in about 3 hours and checked into our first stay for the trip. To our surprise and great joy it’s one of the cutest homestay /bed and breakfast places that we have ever been to. The Stairway which was apparently  once an attic is a little café which has one room which has been rented out. Very minimalistic yet so beautifully done. Most importantly it has a very homely feel to it. Stairway has a limited menu in terms of food, but whatever they make is fresh and yum. Believe me, these pictures don’t do justice to the beauty of the place. We will definitely recommend this place to any couple who wants a quirky comfortable and cheap room to stay in.

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We spent the next two days exploring the Galle, visiting various museums, churches (place of interest for me), checking out the cricket stadium ( place of interest for the husband) and grabbing  a beer  in between ( common interest)  . Talking about beer, shouldn’t forget to mention how much I loved Sri Lankan beer!

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Church – Check!

We also spend our evenings pub hopping at the Galle Dutch Hospital Complex. Do not miss out on the great atmosphere and lovely people. While getting high I managed to steal paper coasters and napkins from each of these places, only to realize that they were more than happy to give me the same. The place has a very easy and laidback atmosphere. Live music, good food, scrabble tables and some great people made us stick around the place till 2 in the morning!

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After spending two days at Galle, we decided to move our base to Unawatuna. Drive to Unawatuna from Galle was hardly 45 min. Once we reached Unawatuna, we were clear about our priorities – beach, fish and beer. Not once did we wander away from it. We stayed at Thaproban beach house. Its one of the best located hotels since its right on the beach.

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While we judiciously whiled away most of our time in the water or reading a book, we did make a few trips. Once of it was to see the stilt fishermen.

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We also visited the home of the great writer Martin Wickramasinghe in Kogalla, Galle. Green and beautiful, a great place to spend reading his books.

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The best of course was our mini trek to the Jungle Beach. The beach is a little secret known to everyone ! Having walked for 2 hours through a small forest, we reached on of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen. White sand and blue waters. What a sight!

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My description about Unawatuna is not complete without talking about the amazing food we had. We stuck to fish, prawns and crab at every place we ate. While we tried may preparations, the best is grilled fish in butter garlic sauce. The taste of fresh fish caught hours before in this preparation is definitely to die for. Believe me, the picture below does not do justice to the fish we devoured in less than 5 minutes.

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If you fancy stepping out for lunch from your hotel do visit this little café/BnB called ‘Bedspace’. The husband found this one on Lonely Planet. Since he swears by Lonely Planet, we had to go there. We didn’t regret one bit. The lazy vibe and the amazing, fresh burgers are to die for. Your favorite book and their amazing music and food can help you spend the afternoon in bliss.

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Sri  Lanka apart from being known for its amazing beaches is also known for its precious stones. We also visited one of the mines. While it is very touristy, if you want to really see how they are made fit enough for our jewelry and may be buy a few, do visit one.

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On our way back from Kogalla, our driver took us to a beautiful  café by the sea sea side which served the most amazing crabs I ever had –Mamas Coral Beach Hotel. The husband was never a great fan of crabs until then, but my enthusiasm and the tasty crab that was, made him a crab lover too. The crab came with the freshest salad I have had in a few years. This along with  beer made for a lovely lazy sumptuous meal.

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The view from the café is also to die for. Check this out!

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Food experiences in SriLanka is never complete without the traditional Sri Lankan thali. While we kept having it throughout the trip, the best was the one had in our next place of stay- Sigiriya.

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Speaking of food, one must also definitely taste the fish sambol and the ginger ale made in Sri Lanka. I can move to this country just so that I get to have it every day!

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So, as I mentioned our next stop was Sigiriya. Historical places always intrigue me, so our long trips always include some. What interested us was more that this civilization is way older than Machu Picchu. Sigiriya is an ancient rock fortress located in the northern Matale District near the town of Dambulla in the Central Province, Sri Lanka. According to the ancient Sri Lankan chronicle the Culavamsa, this site was selected by King Kasyapa  for his new capital. He built his palace on the top of this rock and decorated its sides with colorful frescoes. On a small plateau about halfway up the side of this rock he built a gateway in the form of an enormous lion. The name of this place is derived from this structure —Sīhāgiri, the Lion Rock

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The Gardens of the Sigiriya city are one of the most important aspects of the site, as it is among the oldest landscaped gardens in the world.

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2 hours of climbing and cribbing got me to the top of the rock and the view was to die for. Check out the pictures.

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We had booked hotel Sigiriya Village, since it was recommended by a friend. What a place. Even if given an option to change all our bookings, I would never change this one. It is one of the most beautiful, organic places I stayed. Nestled in a forest of about 100 acres, the place has little cottages places in between 100-year-old trees. The staff were super friendly and the ayurvedic spa is amazing. They have a lovely dining area with live piano recitals ( Hindi Songs included) . Ideal place to have a glass of wine and enjoy in the lap of nature. As soon as we reached, we had a grand Sri Lankan thali as lunch.  Soon after that we set out to see the Sigiriya rock.

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The next day we were joined by two of our friends and we were sure that the trip is going to be a super active one from that moment!

We set off to Trinconmalee . The reason to go to Trinconmalee was the husband’s wish  to do snorkeling. June being off season was not suitable for it on the west coast. However the east coast had weather suitable for the same water sports. We drove directly to Nilaveli Beach Resort. Nilaveli and Trinconmalee, unlike the west coast are not  touristy places and don’t have many shacks or eateries like the West. Upon reaching the hotel, 4 of us quickly changed and ran to the beach and we were thrilled to see the calm sea. This one looked straight out of a Maldives or Seychelles. We spent some time in the water and occasionally visited the shore for our bottomless long island ice teas. Another great find was the amazing long island ice tea that this country made. No hotel or shack disappointed us.

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We were super tired spent the evening at the hotel and slept early since we had to wake up early the next day. Day began at 5 a.m! And I made sure,  after pleading so much with the husband that it started with a #followmeto picture Smile 

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We left the beach in our super fast boat to see some dolphins and whales. And to our luck and some amazing spotting by our guide Vicky we saw many. Post the same, the 3 of them set out to do snorkeling at pigeon island while I lazed around in the hotel and read a book.I am scared of water and snorkeling is not for me. They did tell me it was amazing and would love to come back again! That speaks volumes.

While we have been having crab all though out our trip, our friends hadn’t tasted them yet. Hence I found out a nice restaurant for our lunch which served crabs. When we asked them for crab, the waiter went to the river below the restaurant, picked one out, showed it live and thereafter turned it into one of the yummy preparations. Mind you that’s how fresh the crab was. Post dinner we had to have a quick nap and then spend the rest of the evening at the beach.

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The next day post breakfast we set out for Colombo. Reached Colombo during lunch time. Trip advisor advised me to go for lunch at Paradise Road Galleries. It was worth it. This place had a different, modern take on SriLankan cuisine.

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Having finished lunch,we did a bit of shopping and then headed to the hotel. Nestled in the centre of the city, the hotel was perfect for us to reach after a good night out. The rest of the evening was spend pub hopping and partying. We ringed in the friends birthday in SriLanka that night and reached the hotel in the wee hours of the morning. Some of the places which are a must visit are Rhythm and Blues, Fern, Republik, Botanic.  Didn’t really remember to  click pictures while we were partying and those I clicked are too blurry to be posted!

The next day was big. We had reservation at the Ministry of Crabs for lunch. The experience was amazing – period.

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The friends left for India post lunch and we hung around for another day before heading back. Some more shopping and lazing around got us relaxed before we enter daily life routines.

Sri Lanka is a must visit for people who loves clean beaches and an amazing stay for half the price you pay in a Goa or a Kerala. If you ask me three things for which I would go back again I would say – beaches, people and the crab!

Pluto and the other planets!

Dil Dhadakne Do is about Pluto and his solar system (family) – the Mehras. As much as the planets have a motion, speed and characteristics of its own, every member of the Mehra family has a life, pace and individuality of their own. However as much as the solar system binds those the together, the concept of family keeps these individuals together under one roof.

Dil Dhadakne Do is definitely set in a strata of society which is probably that is enjoyed by very few in India. However the problems they face are something universal across any society  I think the idea of presenting it this way was great since people who do not want to really understand the issues, the subtle humour, sarcasm and emotional connects can definitely watch this one for the amazing cruise, the beautiful places and the tastefully dressed characters.

Let us discuss the characters and the issues in this so called ’dysfunctional family’. There is a husband and wife (Kamal and Neelam Mehra) who have lost love for each other, but are sticking together since divorce is ‘not acceptable, in the society’. They have a daughter (Ayesha) who is trying to make an unsuccessful marriage work since a divorced daughter may ‘not acceptable in the society’ and who is repeatedly reminded she is no more a Mehra. The daughter reminds us of the son –in –law of the Mehra’s (Manav) who in this century thinks that by ‘allowing’ his wife to work he is a man of today and is professing the concept of an independent woman. The son Mehra (Kabir) is the most common of them all – someone who hates his job and is scared to take the ‘risk’ of following his passion. Delete the cruise, the lovely locales, the super-rich family and these characters sums up almost every other family we see in India.

Dil Dhadakne Do is not my favourite movie of Zoya Akthar, but is definitely a movie to watch out for just to see the way she has dealt with these characters, the amazing narration, the absence of jarring back ground music (which was refreshing), the subtle humor, the even more subtle use of sarcasm, the sea, the adorable Pluto, the fearless Farah and my favorite Sunny!

When it rained

11. https://wordpress.com/post/39816340/new/

2. https://poulosesarah.wordpress.com/2015/06/03/when-it-rained-2/

3.https://poulosesarah.wordpress.com/2014/06/25/when-it-rained/.

4. Lets place this one here!

What if…..

This according to me is the most dangerous phrase in the world. As much as it leads to you to explore the innumerable possibilities in the world, it also leads you to question everything that happened in your life.

What if Lakshmi had not gone for shopping that day?

What if I had not agreed to baby sit so that Lakshmi could go shopping?

What if I had agreed to baby sit but not let her take the car?

What if Meenakshi had cried a little more like every other time and made her change her decision?

What if she had worn the seat belt?

What if it had not rained so heavily that day making visibility so poor?

What if a Mumbai had shown the so called ‘spirit of Mumbai’ and ensured she reached the hospital on time?

What if the hospital had her blood group available?

What if she had survived a few minutes more just to see Meenakshi and me before her last breath?

What if I had not decided to move out of our house post Lakshmi’s death?

What if I had not requested a lift back home with a stranger from the airport?

What if I had not noticed the same stranger sitting at the window and drinking her tea?

What if Meenakshi had not smiled back at her?

What if the same stranger had not let Meenakshi and me into her life?

What if Meenakshi had not accepted the same stranger as her mother?

What if…………..

The thoughts were just about to wander away when Meenakshi’s giggles brought me back to reality. Mom and daughter came into the room, completely drenched. They seemed happy and in a world of their own. I didn’t feel like disturbing them.

She quickly changed Meenakshi’s dress and gave her to me. She seemed to be not in a mood to change and was longingly looking at the rains outside as if she wanted to go out and get drenched. As soon as my gaze caught hers, she quickly picked her clothes and went to change.

There was a lot of silence between us. But it’s a comfortable silence. A silence we both enjoy. The rains continued.

When it rained

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Somewhere between https://wordpress.com/post/39816340/new/ and https://poulosesarah.wordpress.com/2014/06/25/when-it-rained/.

It was yet another rainy, in Mumbai. The rains make the city a lot dirtier and disorganized than it is. Ever since the monsoon started travel in the city has been difficult. Half the cabs in Mumbai break down during monsoon and the rest get stuck in the traffic. Yesterday had to forcefully share a cab with someone staying in the same building, because of the non-availability of cabs. The lady didn’t seem quite pleased with my request, but obliged. I probably would have never asked a stranger to give me a lift had Meenakshi not been at home. I wanted to reach home and be with her at the earliest.

Sunday mornings becomes useless during these months. I do not get to do my early morning run or go for play tennis. Now days the baby’s cries wake me up in the mornings. Unlike other kids, Meenakshi wakes up very early in the morning. My mother insisted that I leave Meenakshi with her since she needs mother’s love. After Lakshmi’s death, I did think that it was a reasonable decision and did leave her for a few days with my mother. But then I realized that at the cost of getting a mother’s love from her grandmother, she should never lose out on my love. She does not have a mother and she will have to live with it her whole life. But she does have a father and hence she need not live without him. Though I think my reasoning is logical, I do think I am selfish too. I hate to be alone and she brings in life to the house.

The rains continued stopped for a bit and I was worried about my plants. The heavy rains and strong winds end up spoiling my terrace garden every year. I was taking a quick glance at them from the window when I saw my new neighbor across the window. She seemed to be having her morning coffee sitting at the window still – completely lost. She did look familiar but it took me sometime to realize that she was the one with whom I shared the cab the day before. She did look different then– detached and very un-emotional. She did look lost today but not un –emotional. Our eyes didn’t meet and I was glad. It would have been embarrassing.

The nanny brought Meenakshi to me. She looked fresh, lively and all ready to play with me. As always she started pushing the window and didn’t stop until I opened it. She was a free child and loves fresh air, wind and the rains –very unlike me. Her giggles and cries did attract the neighbor’s attention. And I think their eyes did meet. I saw her smiling at Meenakshi and got surprisingly got a huge smile in return– quite unusual of Meenakshi.

Suddenly I realized that I was very similar to Meenashi as a kid. Used to smile at everyone I meet. I was a happy child and very sociable. After Laskshmi’s death I have been socially very awkward. I just feel that everyone around wants to talk about it and hence withdraw from any kind of general conversations. But every minute I spend with Meenakshi, I revive a part of me I had forgotten or rather have been dormant. Old memories re-emerge fresh and new and in a completely different form. Today she taught me to be socially active, just by a smile of acknowledgement.

As my thoughts wandered away she kissed my nose and looked straight into my eyes as though she is reading my thoughts and will lead me to revive those emotions of the past!

My wonder girl!