Monday, June 16, 2014

Love You, Oh Daddy!

Once breathing under your wings, I started strutting about on my own, creating my own world with someone I loved...Yes! I'm happy in the world, 'My World' but dad you are missed each day...a couple of days spent with you after thirteen years of marriage were truly great! 

The way you cared for every little thing we might need...your happiness seeing us gratified...the early rising together and sharing a cup of tea...your listening to my stories and extracts from my novel with rapt attention like the roles were reversed for a while...your picking up the random threads from past and chewing them with me again...your standing in front of me n my kids with a pen and paper ready, asking for the things we would love to have...your moistened eyes when you realised we were to go back to our own world...your anxiety how time was going to hang heavy upon you once again when we were gone... 

Love you oh daddy! 

Pahal with her daddy..

I take a plunge into my childhood and...would love to get lost... 
I gradually lose hold of present... 
Oh..h! I am connected to my roots again! 
A hundred thousand discordant threads of glimpses, 
visions and vibrant pageants, come colourfully alive... 

I'm no more the so called adult, 
lost in the labyrinth of frustrated dreams and aspirations, 
broken pieces of hope or brows crossed in cares... 
I am...I am your doll again... 
The daddy's doll... 

Look! I'm swinging in your mighty arms, 
screaming with a fearful delight as I'm about to touch the ceiling!!! 
You giggle, I giggle too. 
We laugh and laugh until we have eyes welled up with tears. 
I cling to your heart, once I'm back to your arms, 
with my little heart throbbing, still unable to calm down... 

You hug me tight, 
redeeming me from the childhood freight. 

''I'll never let you be hurt." 
You re-assure. 
Once again your kind eyes, 
my crazy mind allure... 

Yet another sight coming back to life 
as I'm cycling, 
and you running after. 
" Hold on! Hold on!
I am there. 
Don't look back! 
Just dare!" 
While I, scared yet holding on, 
replenished by your unseen presence,behind. 

The dark moment, 
I doubted your presence, 
I always had a fall. 
This happens today also 
Oh daddy! 

Another unrolling itself, 
before my nostalgic mind, 
when I cover your eyes with my fragrant henna palms. 

You giggle like a child too, 
kissing my designed hands
"Wow! Isn't that lovely? Know what my sugar plum? 
This dark colour shows my intense love for you." 
Yes daddy! 

You loved me so intense that, I can feel still your presence. 
Whenever I'm stuck on the course of life, 
you kiss my brows and wish me luck.

I owe you daddy, for the love and care. 
I owe you for what I am. 
I owe you for what I am ever going to be... 
Love You Oh Daddy..

Note: The post today comes direct dil se from Maya. You can read her previous posts here and here. Please show her some love. She truly deserves it. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Going A Little Slow..

Hello All, 

How have you been? (I want to know and I am waiting for your responses in the comments). 

I have been doing good but very busy which is why I am not able to update the blog regularly. As many of you know I have left Andaman and moved to mainland along with family. Sanjay is going to join in Delhi very soon. I am at my parents' place right now and as soon as we find a house, we would begin setting up our 'home'. 

In the meantime, I have several other assignments that are pending and need my immediate attention. It is these assignments that are keeping me occupied and not letting me concentrate on Womanatics. I have my MA project, NET exam, setting up home and pursuing a few other interests waiting for me! 

I wish I could spend more time on the blog but sadly that is not happening. 

So today I have decided to bid adieu to my beloved blog for a while. The blog would stay active and I would post an article a week. But unlike earlier when I wrote thrice a week, I would now write weekly once. I would increase the frequency when I get into that state of mind when I can devote most of my time and energy to the blog. 

One section that would keep going on is 'Ask Womanatics'. I get lot of emails from my readers and I would keep answering them. This precisely means that I need you guys to keep the blog going!!!! 

So, if you have anything that you need to talk about, share some of your secrets or just need a friendly, candid advice, please do not hesitate to shoot an email to me. You can find my contact details from the contact page. 

For now, as the summer sets in I am going to go a little slow. Will spend more time offline. Now that I am in mainland, I now want to give my time to my other hobbies that were put on hold because of resource constraints in Andamans

Keep reading Womanatics! Keep in touch with me! Keep showering your love on the blog! Keep commenting and start sending emails. :) 

With lotsa love for all of you.. 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Give Them The Gift Of Life - Sponsored Video

How would the world be if every child who is born lives a long, healthy life? How beautiful this planet be if we imagine a world free of deadly diseases, germs, dirt and anything that takes away lives?
Sadly, this is a dream too far fetched.

Reality is staunchly different and heart rending.

This video has been doing its rounds on the internet it sure deserves many watches. So click on the video and watch it. It gives out a strong message about life and loss. Please watch the video and share it on the social media using the hashtag #helpachildrreach5.

Every year, 1.7 million children die of pneumonia and diarrohea. Worldwide, the rate is alarming at nearly 5000 children losing their lives to diseases like diarrhoea and pneumonia. These are the diseases that can be easily prevented simply by changing some daily habits. Teach a child to wash his hands clean with a good soap and the chances of contracting diarrhoea are drastically reduced.

Lifebuoy is on a mission to help every child live. To let every child reach atleast the age of 5!

As part of their mission, last year they adopted a village Thesgora in India where they spread awareness about basic hygiene habits and importance of washing hands frequently using a good soap and their efforts resulted in reducing the rate of diarrhoea cases from 36% to 5%. Next place on their list is Bitobe, Indonesia.

This reminds of a practice that is religiously followed in a village in Utari village in Indonesia. In Utari, to celebrate the birth of a baby, a tree is planted. But the place has enormously high child mortality rate, due to which children are born but many of them die even before reaching the age of 5! Thus Utari has many trees but less living children.

The sad tale is most poignantly depicted in the video below that will surely touch your heart. If you have watched the video at the beginning of the post, watch it again. This would just ensure that you have joined hands with Lifebuoy to help children live.

Moved by the video? Here is how you can do your bit. 

1. Watch the video and make others watch it. 

2. Visit or better still, subscribe to Lifebuoy's Youtube Channel and see their efforts in action and their campaigns to save children. 

3. Share the video using the hashtag #helpachildreach5

4. Follow Lifebuoy on Twitter and LIKE them on Facebook

Note: The post is sponsored by Lifebuoy but the views are entirely my own. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

I Know Why The Caged Birds Sing. RIP Maya Angelou

A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer. A bird sings because it has a song. - Maya Angelou.

I had read Maya's articles in various newspapers and online sites and I always felt intrigued by her words. Then I googled her name one day and based on the recommendations, picked up 'I Know Why Caged Birds Sings' book to read.

I finished the thick, 300 page long book in three days! Such was the Maya effect.

I know why the caged birds sing is an auto-biography of Maya that tells the tale of her life from the age of four to seventeen. It is the most profound book of all the seven autobiographical books that Maya has written.

Actually named as Marguerite but nicknamed as Bailey, her older brother and best pal, Maya and Bailey are set out on a train at the age of four and eight respectively, to live with their grandmother (whom they call Momma) and uncle Willie.

During her stay with her Momma, Maya lives a comfortable life as her Momma is relatively wealthy but experiences racism continually. Starting from the school days to graduating ceremony where they are told that Blacks have lesser employment opportunities. As a kid, Maya has to visit a dentist to get a tooth treated that caused her excruciating pain but the dentist refuses to treat her. This happens despite the fact that Momma once had loaned some money to this dentist and he had not repaid it. Yet he refuses to lay his hands on 'dirty teeth of a Negro'.

As Maya and Bailey spend some good time at Stamps (thats where they live with their Momma), they are now taken by their rich father to be left with their mother in Missourie. Her mother gives Maya the ambitions and encouragement to pursue her studies and hobbies but here she is raped by her mother's boyfriend.

A court trial begins and Mr. Freeman (mother's boyfriend) is found guilty. He is then killed (probably by Maya's uncles).  The incident leaves Maya feeling guilty of a person's death and she begins to become reclusive. She almost stops talking but remains close to her brother Bailey.

Maya then comes back to Stamps and there she meets a lady who gives her the gift of books.

Maya discovers herself through the books and then goes on to write her own books that allow her readers to discover themselves. The book ends at the age of seventeen when Maya gives birth to her first son, after having a sexual relationship with a young teenage boy.

I Know Why The Caged Birds Sing is a story of a young girl trying to find her foot in the world. It covers all the experiences that we come across - discrimination, love, separation from parents, insurgency, love, exploitation and sex.

The book is written in a very simple, flowing language that it grasps you in such a way that once picked up, you won't put it down.

The writing is poignant, poetry like yet real. The pages smoothly take you through the years passing by as you try to live through the times, yourself.

Yesterday, Maya Angelou passed away. The world has lost a literary genius.

When it comes to writing about women and the atrocities they face from time to time, there are two authors that I salute - Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison.

I have already reviewed Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye, which is another masterpiece from a legendary author.

Maya's demise has left me in a state of brood. We all have some sour experiences in life. This is same for everyone. But some make a life out of them while some make a misery. Maya made a life, an enormous life. 

An accomplished author, a singer, a poet and a noted writer, Maya taught some important lessons to the world through her writings. Most important of them all is this one -

Doesn't matter if Maya belonged to a relatively wealthy family. She had gone through some of the life's most difficult situations and that could have marred her spirit. But it was her will that led her to succeed. Not just as a professional but also as a person.

About the book - If you want to read something that inspires you in the most subtle way, I Know Why The Caged Birds Sing is the book to be picked up. 

If you wish to purchase the book, please buy it from the link below. It would take you straight to the Flipkart and I would get a small token of your support. 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Book Review and a Lesson For Life - Thirteen Reasons Why

How many times does it happen that you say something to somebody very casually and she takes a big offense? Or others blame you for their unhappiness no matter how small or irrelevant that sounds to you? 

I recently got very upset with my best friend and couldn't talk to her properly for months. She kept explaining that she didn't say it intentionally and that she didn't mean it the way I took her statements but nothing gave me respite. It was only after her apology that I calmed myself down and we are back to normalcy (that's the good thing about good friends, the friendship doesn't fade away with time). 

The book Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher is one such book that tells you how our lives are intwined with each other and how, unknowingly and unknowingly, we impact others' lives in more profound way than we can imagine. 

I ordered the book from Flipkart after having it recommended by a list compiled by a voracious reader online. I love reading memoirs and this one is a memoir too so I got onto reading it as soon as I got my hands on it. 

The book is about a fifteen year old young girl named Hannah Baker who commits suicide. Before killing herself, she leaves six cassette tapes in which she records her voice and explains the thirteen reasons why she committed suicide. She records the tapes, packs them in a box and gets them delivered to all the people who are responsible for her act. Each person who gets the tape has to pass them on to the next person in the list and the chain has to continue until all the names in the list of 'thirteen reasons' receive the tapes. 

We read the book in the words of Clay Jensen, a young boy who also receives the tapes from Hannah. He is not sure why he has received the tapes and listens to all of them to find out how and why he could be a reason for Hannah's death. 

Hannah explains all the thirteen reasons for her decision to end her life in the tapes and also talks about her agony and mental pain. 

The book takes us through the journey of a young girl in a new school and traverses across the various small yet murky incidents that take place in her life that can mar any young individual and particularly an adolescent woman. 

As we begin the book, the initial incidents do not seem to be so grueling only because we know such things happen everywhere. But as we progress further, we find out how every single incident during that time fueled Hannah's desperation to end her life. 

The book does not involve any plot or murder scheme, instead it is he journey of a young girl in a new city, new school that bullies her from the day one. Typically, we expect a teenager book to delve into the topics of competitiveness, job placements, high scores and finding one's foot in the world but Thirteen Reasons Why looks at the smaller but most crucial aspects of life - friendship, trust and dignity. 

In the first few days of school, Hannah kisses a boy who later spreads the rumor that Hannah is easily available. Another boy then compiles a list of who's hot and who's not girls in the class and circulates it. He deliberately puts Hannah's name in the hot list and writes her best friend's name in the not list thus creating a rift between the two. 

Before killing herself, Hannah decides to seek help and anonymously drops a note about suicide for the prospective discussion in the class. The faculty and the students fail to actually help the note-writer and instead take it as a strategy to gain some attention which deeply affects Hannah. 

There are many more such incidents in the book that have prompted her to take such a drastic step. The narrator Clay is also on the list because he tried to help Hannah but he didn't try enough. 

The book is a compelling read. Once you turn over few pages, it becomes hard to put it down. You want to finish it soon to understand what really went inside Hannah's head. 

The language is simple and easy to understand. The narrative is impressive and grips you in way that as you read the book, you imagine Hannah's character and every person and place she mentions in the tape. 

Reading about a young teen's distressed state of mind and how several small incidents coupled together to bring her to the state of suicide. Along with this were few times when Hannah herself felt guilty of not being a good citizen, particularly when she meekly watched a drunk girl being raped and an accident claiming a life. 

The real change happens in Clay Jensen's life who is so moved by Hannah's story that in the end, he goes forward to say hello to a girl named Skye who has been developing suicidal tendencies just like Hannah. 

The way Hannah was able to change Clay's mind and heart after her death, the book also leaves profound effect on its readers. 

Poem by Jay Asher in Thirteen Reasons Why; source:
After reading the book, I went into an introspection state where I looked back at my life and wondered how many times have I hurt others by saying or doing silly things. I also thought about other people who have deeply hurt me during school and college. There were students who made fun of me for silly reasons. The guy who once laughed at me when I couldn't pronounce a word right and the guy who compared my compared my complexion with a fair girl. There were girls who laughed at me (and other such girls) for no funny reasons. Thankfully I had many friends and a very supportive family, so I never thought about suicide. I was quite happy with life. 

But what if I didn't have good friends? What if I felt utterly alone when I was being laughed at? 

On the other hand, I also looked at the way when knowingly and unknowingly I also hurt others. I remembered how, when we were kids, I made fun of my sister once in front of my entire family and she cried a lot later. Now, as a grown up I feel ashamed of my act and can't even gather the courage to say sorry to her. 

The picture below tells how the author Jay Asher got the idea of the book. 

The book has reminded me to be a good human being and to just think before I speak. I would now take extra care and be more sympathetic towards other people.

Isn't it ironic that we need books to remind us that we shouldn't be rude to people and that we should practice kindness throughout plus we shouldn't ignore people for no reason? Sure, it is but as long as we learn to do better things, I am okay with wherever I learn from. 

I would highly recommend reading Thirteen Reasons Why. It is a must read. You might find it a little childish as it deals with high school students but if you go into a little depth, it does change your mind. It is a must read because it helps you to become a tad better human being. 

To purchase the book, click on the link below. It would take you straight to the Flipkart page.  The book is right now available at a small discount. 


Monday, May 19, 2014

True Story: Why I Can't Wish 'Mother's Day' To My Mom This Year

Hello All, 

I read this touching message on a friend's status update on Mother's Day. I was very touched when I read it and it seemed more poignant because it was so heart felt. I asked her if I could put it up on my blog and she readily agreed. You can read the message below. It comes from Payel, whose mom's letter I published on the blog sometime ago. You can read the letter here. Off to Payel now. Also, don't you think she should write a blog post for us? If yes, let her know by pouring in the comments. 

Mother's Day

Payel with her mom and granny

Every Mother's Day I put up a status just like you all saying just how lucky and fortunate I am to have mom in my life, how she is the single best thing that ever happened to me and how I want to make her feel so very special today. Every year, just like a million other lucky sons and daughters, I wait eagerly for this second Sunday of May. This year, however, I have been dreading this day. A part of me is secretly wishing, mummy doesn't login to Facebook at all today. That somehow in her Sunday chores, the day just whizzes by and she fails to notice. Alas! That won't happen. Thanks to our invasive media, social and otherwise, the countless advertisements would take care that nobody, absolutely nobody gets past today without noticing it's Mother's Day. And yet again with some teeny weeny hope, I pray, she fails to notice. For this Mother's Day is my mother's first without her mom. And no matter how much love her kids, her husband, her dad and her brothers shower upon her, it will never add up to what she misses - today and everyday! 

A mom's love can never be replaced and the emptiness it leaves in your heart when she leaves is there to stay. I can hardly imagine what its like to wake up one day and know your mom is gone. Forever. I know it's the eternal truth but I don't want to imagine. And I hate to say it to you all, but this truth of life is universal. My truth here is no different from yours. And though Mother's Day definitely isn't the day to prepare yourself to brace this, but it certainly is the da to hug her just a little tighter, smile for her just a little brighter and say those three words rarely said to a mom anymore these days - 'I love you mom'. I love you very very much, mummy. 

And this is what I want to say to you -- all these years you have been a hell of a mom to me, but it's my turn now. I know I can never match up to Dida (grandma), but I try everyday. Everyday, I wake up and I try to be your mom. And though I will never quite get there, I hope it's making a difference. 

I am not scared anymore that you may wake up and notice it's Mother's Day. Infact, I hope now you wake up and login to Facebook first. I know tears will roll down your cheeks as you read this message, but I also know they will land on a beautiful smile - Happy Mother's Day!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Ask Womanatics: Boyfriend Treats Me Badly

Question: There is a time when you dont know where to go and whom to reach out to. Hence, I am writing to you. 

I like a guy, my family knows about him and is against him for common petty reasons like family background etc. He is 22 and I am 24. His family is okay with us. My problem is not my family's opposition but my boy friend' behaviour. He is short tempered and always vents out his anger upon me. I love my parents a lot and for him, I have to fight and stand up against them which makes me emotionally upset as I know I am going against them. I reach out to my boy friend for emotional support but he instead gets angry, shouts at me, says stuff about my family and finally stops talking to me. 

I literally have to beg him to talk to me and its not always easy because many times he says some really mean things. I have a double whammy here. I fight with my parents for him and he doesn't acknowledge it and instead says many hurtful things. When he is angry, I keep silent and silently bear what all he showers upon me because I know if I utter anything, it will come as more hurtful to me. I send him multiple messages and call him relentlessly but he doesn't reply. 

The result is that I withdraw from everything and everyone. My work suffers and I am left in tears. 

I understand his behaviour as well as I know he loves me too. 

He is sweet and caring and loves me but he is very moody. His mood swings a lot and that creates the problem. Biggest issue is that when he is upset, he just refuses to talk and that creates a void for me. He just blocks all modes of communication. I beg him to talk to him. After legions of calls and messages, he responds. When I explain him the issue in detail when he is ready to listen, he understands, regrets his behaviour, says sorry but he repeats it again. 

The condition is so worsened now that I am always in a fear about how he will behave next time. 

I can't leave him. I don't want to leave him. But I also can't tolerate his bad behaviour. I don't want him to leave me in drain when I need him the most. What should I do? 
                                                                                                                      ~ Helpless Lover

Dear Helpless Lover, 

I would ask you to re-read your last lines couple of times and then ask yourself - do I want to be with a person who leaves me alone when I need him the most, that too in the very initial years of our relationship? If this is how he is now in a time, when people are mostly swooned by new found love, how would he be couple of years down the line? 

I am quite sure you would get an answer that you wouldn't want to accept because you say you don't want to leave him. 

My suggestion - leave him immediately. Not just for yourself but also for his welfare. 

(Pic Source: Cosmopolitan)
One, he is too young. He is just 22, a recent college graduate. And this mostly explains his erratic behaviour. He does not understand things the way they are. 

Two, though you sound matured but not enough matured for I can see you pushing your own life in a wrong, sad direction. 

How do you know he loves you? He sends you gifts on V-day and your birthday. He says 'I love you' to you several times a day (but when he feels like it, not when you need the words the most). He has told his parents about you. You guys have become intimate and now you have made yourself believe that he loves you and would be guilty if you decide to leave him.

Is there any other reason that makes you feel loved by him? I doubt. If there is, please let me know for the reasons are very important. 

He withdraws his non-existent emotional support the moment you reach out to him. He says mean things to you (even if its in anger) which means that he does feel what he says. He doesn't care if you need him or you want to talk to him, he talks to you when he wants to. He does not care for your parent's sentiments and he does not mean it when he says sorry. 

I now have major doubts if he loves you at all. I think you two are just adamant to make it work even though you are not sure if its worth it. 

I would suggest you to reconsider your decision to be with him at the first place. Second, give more time to yourself to know what kind of life and a life partner you want and are worthy of.

Love is that understands. It lets you be you. It is always there when you need it.

If at all you still have to be with him, then talk to him and tell him that his unreasonable behaviour will lead to a breakup. 

I would also suggest you to become a little more emotionally strong. You do not have to leech onto him for support. Do not make yourself so vulnerable that others begin to mistreat you and then  blame you for it. 

You deserve much better. Remember to hand over your precious life to someone who knows it true worth.