Feeling Blessed!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! All of you! I am so overwhelmed by the response to my last blog post ‘When’ Dreams Come True’ that I am still a little teary eyed. So many of you responded on Facebook itself, where I had shared the post, and so many more sent me personal messages and even called me up to congratulate me and ask me for signed copies of my book. And my book isn’t even out yet!

This outpouring of love and genuine happiness on the part of all of you my friends actually had the effect of making me cry. I sat down and wept. I wept out of gratitude. I wept because I felt so humble, that so many people loved me enough to feel happy for my success; to take the trouble to tell me so! I wept because I felt so blessed! So blessed!

And in that moment when I was crying my heart out, I realised that it doesn’t matter if my book does well or not (Of course I know it will :P), but at that moment the fact that so many people were cheering my achievement of a goal, was the greatest OMG moment since the birth of my daughters!

It’s like reaching the finishing line and realising that the crowd is cheering for me. For ‘ME’! And as I look at the crowd, I see lines of my poems in the faces of the people there. And I realise every one of my friends and family has been part of this journey of mine helping me become who I am today, helping me know myself better, helping me write better, grow into myself, till I had the courage to put together these poems to show the world.

When I read my poem ‘Painting over memories’ I see my house in Vashi, with its walls covered in childish scribbles and the friends who shared my life then as a young mother, many of them young mothers themselves.

‘My first day in school’ brings to mind my students and all the teachers I worked with, so many of them who are still in touch with me and from whom I learnt so much.

My family, both the one I was born in and the one I married into is part of almost every poem; supporting me, wiping my tears, helping me get up again, celebrating life with me.

And I realise that this book, ‘Who Shall I Be Today?’ is not mine. It can never be mine. It belongs to everybody who has been part of my life. Everybody has in some way been woven into the poems, bits of my heart and soul.

Writers who inspire me

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From the first time I read ‘Little Women’, I was convinced that I was Louisa May Alcott’s ‘Jo’ in some past life. And when I found out that Miss Alcott’s birthday was on the same day as mine, the 29th of November, I was utterly convinced we were part of the same great soul.  And so there was no choice; I was destined to be a writer. It was my “maqsad” in life, my raison d’etre. I had to write. And I loved it! Right from the age of 12, writing is what kept me going. It kept me sane, through all the rough patches in life. It held me together. It made me live.

Just as every writer has other writers who inspire her, so did I. For a long time, I lived in my fairy tale tower where the writers that inspired me were people I had never met or interacted with. I only read their books and wished, “Wow! I wish I could write like them!”

And then I discovered blogs! And real writers! In flesh and blood! And they became my heroes.

I would like you to meet some of them. Just ordinary people, living ordinary lives, yet so very extraordinary. People you can interact with; comment about their work; exchange emails and become friends with.

There’s  Corinne Rodrigues. I met her through a post of a friend on Facebook. I followed the link to her blog Everyday Gyaan and liked what I read. Corinne gives me my dose of sensible. She gives me caring and love and that warm cup of chai feeling. She appeals to that part of the writer in me that is the mother, the nurturer, the friend, the light.

Then there is The Idea- smithy or Ramya Pandyan. My friend, Steve Yi, suggested that I read her blog and sent me the link. Needless to say, I was hooked. She is completely different from Corinne. She writes about pain, she writes about anger, she writes about growth. Ramya’s writing is hard hitting. She minces no words. She tells it as it is. Raw and no band-aids. And you say, “Yes, I know. I have been there. I wish I had the guts to write about it as she does”

Tejas Harad is a soft spoken 24 year old, whom I have had the privilege of working with. Though he is soft spoken, his writing is not. His writings in Getting Loquacious reflect his passion against the ills in society, be it in the educational field or the socio-political. He is not afraid to air his views. His writings give me hope that the youth still have the fire to fight for the ideals they believe in.

Aamil Syed is another writer I follow. His post on “The meat of a cow and the blood of an innocent”, actually made me get out of my fear induced silence and write my post, “Am I worrying unnecessarily?

Gerald D’cunha is the husband of my friend, Anima. Yet, I started reading his blog when one of his students, who was also my student, suggested it to me. Gerry Sir, as he is fondly called, writes about everyday life. He can take the simplest thing, like an egg for breakfast, and turn it into a lesson for life.  His posts are easy to read and most of them put a smile on my face. (Sometimes he writes about sad things as well).

And so everyday when I wonder about whether I can write, or what I should write about, I just read these blogs and a couple more and then a voice inside me says, “Yes, you can write, about happiness, about sadness, about what you believe in, about everyday things, about things that matter.”

And another post gets done.

Thank you, all of you, for inspiring me, and keep making me want to write more!

Blind Love?

This is a post that was recently published on MissionSharingKnowledge.com. I wrote it because I was so fed up with the reaction of people to Aamir Khan’s interview. Here is a part of it

“I am sitting at my desk reading the various reactions to what Aamir Khan has said and I am laughing, not in an amused way, but in that horrified, “I can’t really believe this” sort of way.

But why am I horrified? I should be used to it by now. Everytime, everytime someone voices their concern about something that is wrong with our country, the brainless brigade is all out for blood.”

You can read the rest of the article here http://bit.ly/1QaFWp4

 

 

 

Wheelchair Wonderings

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Our trip to Bali had been planned over a year ago. My daughters were insistent that a holiday was much needed. And it was true. I couldn’t remember the last time I really had a restful holiday that was just a holiday and didn’t have a wedding or an engagement attached to it; or for that matter a puppy who had to be transported in a train and the subsequent arguements with the railway authorities about keeping her with me in my coach.

Even so, I argued loud and long that I did not have the kind of money for  an international holiday and that India had so many beautiful places that we could visit…blah,blah,blah. And then it happened. My daughters gave each other “that look”. Anyone who has twins will know what I mean. When twins give each other “that look” woe betide anyone or anything that they have decided to pitch their unified will against. And if they are taureans, that will is herculean.

My finances were taken over and a part of my income disappeared every month into some mysterious black hole and I was taught that I could not only survive but could live very well with a little less in my purse.

And so plane tickets and private villas with beautiful swimming pools all to ourselves seemed to have got miraculously booked. (Only later did I learn of the hours that my daughters had spent every night on the internet meticulously planning, what they wanted to be, a perfect holiday).

And then two days before we could leave, I injured my leg. A severe hamstring injury is what the doctor said. I looked at him aghast. Somewhere through my haze of pain, as I lay on that hospital bed, I managed to ask, “But can I go to Bali? I am leaving the day after tomorrow.”

“Two days of bed rest. Take your meds. And use a wheel chair for the trip. Don’t exert and I don’t see why you shouldn’t go.”

Until that moment, I hadn’t realised how much I was really looking forward to the trip. It was just going to be the six of us. My sister in law, her son and his partner, my daughters and me. All the people that I love. So why had I been grumbling so much about it? Why had I been acting like such a whiny kid about the whole holiday? Why could I not accept and appreciate the wonderful job my kids were doing in organising the entire trip?

Why could I not see what my kids could see? That I was burnt out and needed a break. That I needed to stop being the person who had to be responsible for everything and everyone and that it was okay to let others take charge once in a while. It was okay to let others take care of me.

I had had to take the responsibility for everything for so long, ever since my husband and I had separated and then more so after he died. I had got so used to being the one in charge that I didn’t know how not to be. I realised that I actually felt scared if someone one else took care of me. I was scared to depend on someone else to make decisions for me.  But holding the reins of my life so tightly was causing me to fray and tear and maybe that wheelchair was needed to let me know that sometimes it is okay to sit and let someone push you around. Especially when it is done with so much love.