Tuesday, June 30, 2015

I Let My Daughter Groom Me For a Week: Here's What Happened

Pahal's school was off and my blog had conked off so I needed some time to fix it. This led to a small experiment that has now become a pleasant habit and a sweet bond. 

To spare some time for my blog fixing, I handed over my not-so-favourite make up stuff to my five year old daughter. They mostly comprised of lipsticks, kohl and nail paints. I am not a make up person but I like to apply lipsticks or lip glosses (depending upon the mood and the dress), a bit of Kohl and an eye liner. I used to use nail paints but with her growing fondness of my nail colors, nail paints come to play only on special occasions. 

My daughter Pahal, who is not even five yet, is very fond of nail paints and tattoos. She attended her friend’s birthday where she got a water color tattoo painted on her hand. She is now ever ready with a ball pen to scribble ‘dear muma’ on to my palm or ‘dear papa’ on to her daddy’s palm. Worse is when she insists on drawing a pattern and she draws a zig zag maze with flowers on the corners of the hand and she fills the fingers with blue color as if I just dipped my fingers in blue paint. 

Well so that day I handed over all the barbies to her and asked her to do all the make up and grooming to the dolls. She happily spent a day fooling around with the dolls. My blog still needed some time so I emptied my make up tray again in front of her the next day and gave her the dolls as well. 

'No dolls mumma, I want to do make up on your face'

‘No way sweetie, mumma is very busy’

‘It’s alright mumma. You keep working on the lap top. I will not disturb you. I will only apply the make up’. 

I tried to cajole her and convince her but she persisted. Finally, I gave in. 

There I sat in front of the laptop, reading support forums on Google while she applied lip gloss to my lips. She also brought a mirror for me to look at myself. I was not interested in what she did as I badly needed to work on the blog, but I praised her efforts. Little did I know that this encouragement would become her favorite hobby.

Her school was still off and my blog was fixed so I decided to play with her and her make up techniques. We did this fun activity for many days in a row. We clicked pictures on few days, we skipped on many but this is a practice that still continues. Like yesterday when I went for my sixth wedding anniversary dinner, she insisted I take out few strands of hair in front of my face because she thought, ‘it makes me look cuter’ and I gladly obliged. 

On our wedding anniversary day, she pulled forward a part of my hair in the front
This experiment officially began on the day she insisted on painting my toe nails.
She asked me, 'mumma dont my feet look cute?' How could I say no? 
She called it a pattern. I tried to explain to her that two feet should be painted in the same nail paint but she believed, ‘this looks better mumma. This is pattern. Look at my feet. Don’t they look cute?’

How could I call these tiny, colored feet ‘not cute’? I embraced her and from there started the journey of being groomed by my toddler that not only gave me so much pleasure at a personal, motherly level but also made me realize how much weight we women put up on ourselves in terms of body image and appearances. 

I went out to the market with these colorful toes and I felt happy. I was not conscious of my feet because I really thought the different colors made my feet look better and cuter. Though I wondered if someone might stare at my feet but no one gave a look. 

Session Two 

I had to go to her school to deposit her school fee and to buy her new school uniform and books. We went to the school where many parents were present at the counter. Right before entering the school premises, my daughter remarked, ‘mumma, you forgot to apply the lipstick?’

I knew I had not but realized that maybe my Korres Neutral lip gloss had faded in the last one hour. I pulled out my Mac Ruby Woo from the clutch and began to apply when she interrupted, 
‘shall I apply mumma?’

I didn’t want her to but she asked in such a malleable tone that I allowed her. 

Getting a touch up at her school campus

Can you see the red pop up? The pop up stayed on for few hours and later faded naturally
Can you see the red color popping out of the right edge of the upper lip? That’s my daughter’s art. 

I went inside the school with the same lipstick. A woman looked at my face but that was it. I met an acquaintance on the way, we greeted each other. She smiled, noticed the lip color but she didn’t say anything about it. 

We bought the things, got back into the car and came home. No one had said anything about the lipstick.

Session Three

Now I was more confident of my daughter doing my makeup and myself carrying it with ease. So I looked forward to having her on board as my make up artist. 

This day I had to go to buy groceries. I asked her what color of lipstick would suit me today. She answered, ‘brown since you are wearing a brown tunic’. 

I handed my Oriflame brown lipstick to her and she gladly did her job. Just that this time she sketched it outside the lower lip. It looks like as if I have only applied the liner well below the lower lip and forgot to apply the lipstick. 

The only brown color visible is on the lower lip
I went to the grocery store, interacted with the sales woman there and bought the stuff. No one said, noticed or pointed out anything. 

Session Four 

I was now totally comfortable making my face a canvas for my daughter’s artistic hands. 

I asked her to apply the pink eye liner. She tried but instead broke it. We let go of the eye liner (as I didn’t want to take chance with other liners) so I asked her to apply the kohl. This was the first day she applied the kohl on me. She did very well for her age though you can see the result. She painted my nails in one, single color and she applied vermillion on my forehead (a North Indian ritual). This is the over all look. As you can see the vermillion line is way longer than it should be. I generally put a small dot on my forehead right below the centre partition. My baby took it quite low on the forehead. She smudged the kohl near the inner corner of the eye which can be seen in the picture if you watch closely. 

After she broke my eye liner, I gave her Lakme Kajal because she insisted on grooming my eyes

Can you see the smudged kohl and the longggg vermillion line?
This day I went out to buy a dress for my baby from a nearby market. Again, as expected, no one noticed or said anything, let alone making fun or mocking at me. 

Our sessions are still going on. She sometimes dresses me up and makes my hair but I do not document it. This is not an experiment any more, it is a sweet mom-baby play time with each other. 

This little exercise has taught so much to me as a woman. While I roamed in the market with smudged kohl, smudged lipstick and childishly-painted nails, I was the one who noticed my own make up. No one else cared about my lipstick, kohl or the nails. 

She refused to paint my index finger. 'Mumma, it has this mark. If I put color, the mark will not be seen'
No one actually cares, I feel. It is just us who unnecessarily take up so much of burden upon ourselves. We bury us in the deep pile of expectations of looking good, dressing right, perfect makeup and fit figure. This over expectation, when no one out there takes even a slight notice of these, is absolutely ridiculous. We need to stop doing this to us and to others. 

I had an awesome time with my daughter who was so pleased that she got to play the controller and reverse the role with her favorite person. She could control my looks, makeup and my dress. She feels accepted and loved when she asks me to do a certain thing and I willingly do it. 

As a girl, who would grow up to be a woman in an even more competitive world, I want her to understand that beauty standards are bull sh*t. There is only one thing called personality which comprises up of who you are as a person. Looks is just how someone sees you and that totally depends upon the other person how he or she sees you. 

I also want her to know that there is no set parameter of beauty or even make up for that matter. She popped out my lipstick from one corner and I still carried it. I still looked beautiful to her and I was still me. She painted my nails in different colors and it only made me a little more cheerful for some unknown reason. The only criterion of beauty is the one that we set. If we don’t set a standard, there can’t be one. 

I want her to accept herself fearlessly when she grows up without any prejudices, inferiorities and complexes. I wish her to become a woman confident of herself who can walk around baring her soul on her sleeve and who gives a damn to what others think about her beauty or looks. She can be what she wants to be and she can look the way she prefers to. For this, I had to set an example. I hope I did.

I hope you enjoyed reading about this small experiment. Please share it by using the buttons above. Your friends will like the post too. Thanks. :) 


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

What Is So Special About Mummy's Home?

Right now I am at my mother’s home. My sister and I came here day before yesterday and we will be spending five to six days reliving many of the old, past memories and creating new ones. 

Last night as I slept on the same, twenty years old bed and slept peacefully, I asked myself a question this morning - what is so special about this house? What makes it different from the rest of the world? Why is it that we always say 'I am going to Mummy's home'?

I am not a homesick person. At the age of twenty-two, I left this home of twenty-two years to work in a MNC in Bangalore. That was in early 2004. Since then, I never got a chance to live here. I stayed in this home for many weeks and even months at stretch but I haven’t lived here since then. Still, I always long to come back to this same place, sleep on the same bed, use the same things and lean against the same walls. It seems this home has adjusted itself to my needs and wants and wishes. The bed's mattresses fit so well on my back that it has now formed a trough in the middle, the almirah seems to have created unlimited space for my increasing wardrobe and collection, the kitchen knows exactly my taste and preference and the terrace is the place that well understands my need of some silent, me time. 

MY shelf that has only my photos and things I collected from different places
A day before coming here when I announced my plans to Sanjay and told him that I was going to home, he teased me saying ‘your home is this. That is not your home anymore’. 

The moment he said it, my heart twitched a bit. And I pleaded, ‘don’t say that. For me, that will be my home first.’

He asked, ‘explain, how. This should be your first home because you have created it’.

And I answered, ‘exactly. This is my home too because I created it. I built it emotionally. But that is my home too because that was created for me and my siblings and mommy by Papa and also because I created that home too with my past emotions and memories’. 

A metal painting I made when I was about 12 years old
My sister and I often discuss the reasons this place always draws us to itself. We both live a rather independent life in Delhi. We sleep and wake up as per our wish. Okay, she does not because she works and she has to follow a routine and when she comes here, she is on holiday so she can sleep till late. But I do have a luxury at my home in Delhi. 

My home in Delhi runs under my supervision. I decide the time to sleep and I set the morning alarm clock. I decide what will be cooked and how things will be arranged. It is my institution and I head it. I hardly have a restriction here and I absolutely love living here mostly because I don’t breathe under any pressure. I am liberated after marriage. 

My home in Meerut resonates with pressure, even today. My father wakes up at 5 am and so we all have to wake up too by 7 am at the latest. We can not watch TV for long because Papa does not like it. We can not move things around because Mummy is used to the things at their places and she does not appreciate if we try to arrange things our way. We can not even change the crockery of the house because Papa loves simplicity and Mummy is always in favor of comfortable, easy to clean things. My sister and I do not have to liberty to do things our way here or to change the existing set up in any way. 

Park right outside our home in Meerut
We still do our bit by helping Mummy in arranging the shelfs she finds difficult to reach and we change Papa’s phone’s and laptop’s settings when he feels stuck somewhere. But that is it. Now even we (my sister and I) do not feel the urge to force our opinions on things and layouts here because we know and understand that Mummy and Papa have now adjusted themselves to a new daily routine and arrangement and we do not want to disturb it in any way. We simply want their comfort, that is it. 

So, despite this freedom at our individual homes and a little pressure at mummy’s home, why is it that we still feel so attached with this home. I think I have the answers. 

1. Mummy (and Papa) - These are the biggest reasons we come back to this place. I would not enter this house if mummy-papa stop living here. Home is where your parents are. After marriage, a girl hardly gets the chance to live with her parents the way she used to before marriage and she still craves for those similar times. Staying with parents helps in bringing those moments again. It is mostly about Mummy though. You may discuss your job related things with Papa, but you can talk about your mum-in-law only to your mother (or so I assume). You instantly feel connected to your mother after marriage because now you better understand things from a mother’s perspective. 

2. Familiarity - This is what that makes this place the most amazing place in the world. This home seems so familiar. It has been here, at this land, for the last fifteen years. I saw this being built in front of me. I know what went into the making of this house and what lays inside it. In my own house in Delhi, I haggle with small things like nail-cutters and glues but in this home in Meerut, I can immediately lay my hands on such things for they have been put at the same place since fifteen years. Not just my mind, my hands are used to finding things on places here. 

3. Memories - We would never want to lead a life devoid of past memories. This home brings so many of the memories back. Each time we come here, my sister and I rummage through the old trunks and suit cases and we find something or the other related to our childhood and growing up years. These are the moments that we can hardly have in our individual homes. Maybe when we live there for fifteen years, we do get excited the same way on finding a thing related to our newly-wed years but for now, such memories exist only in this home. 

4. A Shared Past - In this home, I have shared my past with others - parents, siblings and even neighbours. In my individual home, I am sharing it right now with my husband and daughter so that I have common, shared memories with them. But right now, my shared past before marriage goes back to twenty-eight years while my current shares and memories are only six years old. 

I think these above are just some of the reasons (that I could think of) why I keep coming back to tmy home, my Mummy's home. I like sitting on the terrace, engaging in un-necessary conversations with neighborhood aunties, sleeping on that old, flexible bed, digging out on old memories and simply lying on mum's lap and indulging on delicacies that Papa brings from the known, tried and tested shops. 

This place - that was my home for almost three decades - that has defined me and shaped me as a person - that has so much to offer me each time I come here - that has seen me grown up from an ambitious, wild young girl to a sensitive but crazy woman - that has given me the hopes, dreams and desires that now characterize me - is my Mummy's home. This will always be my first home, no matter how many individual homes I build in the future. 

I am sure you harbor the same feelings as I do about our Mummy's home. But I would still like to know what is it that makes your home special. Waiting to read in comments. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

And We Complete Half a Dozen of Years of Togetherness

Hi Everyone, 

On June 12th 2015, we completed six years of marriage. I still can't believe it has been that long with Sanjay. It seems like a year ago, literally. They say good times fly fast and they are so right. 

It was June 12th, 2009 when I took the vows of matrimony with Sanjay with the hope that I would live happily ever after and that I would now live a life full of roses, compliments, immense love and happiness. I am lucky to be living a life full of immense love and happiness and compliments too but that is not all. These all come coupled with their own companions viz. arguments, fights, blames and disharmony. 

The Surprise Cake!! It was YUM.. 
So now that I have been married for six years, I can tell you a happy married life is all about living a day-to-day life full of love and arguments, happiness and occasional bouts of sorrows. It is about saying sorry and thank you often. Happy marriage is not about fifty-fifty always, it is mostly about sixty-forty. One partner always gives more than the other. Hardly you will find a marriage where the weighing scale of commitment and service in marriage is exactly equal assigning fifty-fifty to both the partners. 

My marriage, just like everyone else', has been full of ups and downs but the bottom line remains that I want to spend as many as with this man of my life, as possible. 

Want to spend eternity with him
I didn't give him a gift. I had bought a pair of shoe for him but he didn't it so I am returning it. :( But yeah, I did say these lines to him.

Let us do it all over again.. 
Let the winds play with our souls while we hug,
Let the Sun shine bright on our lips as we kiss, 
Let the moon get jealous of the peace we find with each other..
And let the world go round as I dance in your love.

On Our Anniversary, I pledge to make you happy as I smile for myself and I will make you feel loved the most as I fall in love with myself, all over again.

We had a good day. I received many wishes on my Facebook Page and on emails and phone calls. Thank you very much. These wishes make my day extra special.

The day started off very well with a surprise cake and a gift from Sanjay. The best is the card that he gave to me.

The evening was well spent at ITC Bukhara. I so badly longed to go there once. Glad we could make it there this time.

Here are some pictures for you guys to enjoy.

The gifts

With my princess

Ready to be served at Bukhara

Her Cocktail (Blue Lagoon) and His Mocktail (Virgin Mojito)
His Veg, Her Non Veg. (My grilled chicken is on the left :D )

The Family
Hope you enjoyed reading this post. Waiting to hear from you in comments!!!! :) 

Monday, June 8, 2015

How Engaged Are You as a Family?

Every family functions as a unit. And in this unit, each individual brings his or her own engagements. In my maternal family, I am more of the emotional back(er) to my family members, my sister is the carer, brother is the support system in terms of doing outdoor chores, mummy is the ultimate loving bone while Papa is the backbone. When we are together, we form one single unit with these dimensions. Others get amazed the way we engage with ourselves in gatherings and also the way we engage with others as a family.

(Pahal, last evening)
Last evening we went to a nearby mall. We stepped out after a long time thinking Pahal needs a change (Btw, she is doing well, she is recovering). After a bit of shopping, we went to the food court. As I waited for Sanjay to bring our meals, I began noticing a small family that was sharing our table with us. It was just the three of them - husband, wife and a young girl of Pahal's age. 

The young girl kept coming towards me, maybe because she wanted to interact with Pahal. Each time she even leaned on my side, her daddy gave her a stern warning - 'baby.. wahan mat jao'.  I told her it was okay but she still got warnings from him. It happened two times. I glanced at the man and noticed his serious expressions on face. 

The third time the baby came towards me, I politely engaged her in a conversation. Her father didn't stop her this time. I asked her what was her name and she didn't answer so her father tried to cajole her, 'bata do.. naam bata do..'. She finally told me that her name was Srishti. 

Her mom was back now after getting meals for her and she got busy eating and thus didn't come to my side. 

In the meantime, Sanjay got back with our meals too. Pahal was on a pram and we two sat across each other forming a small triangle. Sanjay and I together not only fed Pahal and bore with her tantrums, we also talked about lot of things like - the taste of the food, quality, busy-ness of the place, Pahal's changing tastes in illness, the shopping that we did and lots more. The couple next to us was silently eating their food with few lines in between. 

(Pahal and I making fun of Sanjay in one of the family outings)
That is it. This is all that happened. 

BUT this kept me thinking about how some families have their family time but do not have family interactions. I understand to each family his own. But I feel how you engage with others as a family tells a lot about your family harmony and family interactions. 

So often we meet families, where a family member passes a remark in absence of another and when the absentee comes, he joins in the discussion swiftly and gently takes the remark (whatever it may be) positively and carries on with the conversation. Such is the trust that a family has on its members. 

Last week, my sister-in-law was here with her daughter. Their daughter scored 10 GPA in class tenth and this called for a celebration. To congratulate her, my neighbour gifted a pack of chocolate to the young girl and asked for a party. Didi replied, 'we will surely give you a party as soon as her daddy comes home'. Couple of days later, my neighbour was here along with didi and jeejaji. That is when didi said, 'we need to give her a party, so when we are going out?' to which Jeejaji politely and smiling said, 'whenever you say'. 

My neighbour found it so amazing that she mentioned to me, 'you guys have a great family. It is wonderful to see that one spouse commits to something in absence of another and the latter only agrees to it and doesn't question it'. 

(Source: Pinterest)
Her remark made me think. Yes, it is extremely important to have coherence in one's family. This coherence and harmony is what gets reflected when we interact with others as a unit, as a family. 

Sanjay and I have a policy - to never disagree in public. We do though but only when we are with people we can trust and we are comfortable with. In front of acquaintances, we always try to keep one, single line of thought. This helps us in three things: 

1. Aligning our thoughts when we do not know if we should clearly voice our opinions here or not
3. It lets us test the other person. There is absolutely no need to open up your family in front of others you  do not know well. Let only the near and dear ones know the differences and appreciate them. 
You should talk on two lines in front of those who appreciate your individuality and understand the differences. Do not make your differences a subject of mockery and fun for others. This way you are only calling for insult upon you and your marriage. 

I believe in transparency and I do not want to project any kind of image to others but I still take care of what we talk about (as a family) in front of others. Simply because I do not want to give any little chance to anyone to take any kind of advantage of ours or to judge us or to make fun of us. 

As a family, (Sanjay, Pahal and I) represent an small, nuclear family where we practise minimalism (in whatever ways we can), do not indulge in unnecessary gossip or socialising, practise the fundamental virtues of life (honesty, trust worthiness and compassion) and immense love for each other. This is how we are and this is exactly how we engage with others as well. 

Hope you enjoyed reading this post. If it helped you in some way, please share it with your friends and family by clicking on the buttons above and help them too! 

Monday, May 25, 2015

When in Difficult Times, Pray.

We all have difficult times and some seem to be the worst of all. Do you pray in such times? I hardly do. I do not pray in adversity despite knowing that praying helps big time in difficult times. 

Just recently we got hit by a tragedy that somehow got averted but still scarred us for lifetime.

Last week we were on our way to Vaishno Devi from New Delhi. We were traveling by 3 AC compartment in Jammu Rajdhani train. We were eight adults in total and two young girls including my five year old Pahal. I normally do not travel by 3AC simply because its seats a little narrower than 2AC seats. But this time, since we had made the bookings at the last minute, to be on the safer side of getting the confirmed seats, we booked in 3 AC.

The journey didn't start well. A couple that was supposed to travel with us missed the train by a wink. My friend and I took notice of it but we chose to stay optimistic and began to enjoy our train ride.

After dinner as everyone settled into their seats, Sanjay took it upon himself to sleep with Pahal on the upper berth. About 1 pm in the night, we heard a thud followed by weeping. I immediately knew it was Pahal and so I got down from my middle berth, picked up Pahal from the bottom of the train and held her in my arms.

By then everyone had got up. We all tried to pacify her but to no avail. She was still weeping hard. My heart immediately realized that she was in extreme pain as she was not crying or screaming like she does when she gets hurt. She was weeping, with pain.

I held her tenderly and began stroking her but that also didn't soothe her. The mother in me instinctively knew her baby had a problem. So I asked her, 'where is the pain'? She pointed towards her leg. And Oh My God! I saw her swollen, broken leg right in front of me. I felt her broken, twisted, hanging leg on my palm. I could instantly feel the difference between her two legs and then I screamed, 'Pahal has got a fracture. We need a doctor.'

Pahal's fracture 
Sanjay jumped out of his seat, picked her up from my hands and got down off the train.  We decided to leave the train and head to the hospital in Ludhiana where the train had halted. The other family traveling with us also got down at the same station. Vaishno Devi was not our destination any more. The best available doctor in Ludhiana was.

And then I saw the Angel - a young man waiving at us from the other end of the platform. He is a doctor (known to our friends traveling with us who had called him right after the accident) who had come to pick us up from the station and to take us to the hospital.

He promptly helped us with everything. We got the X-rays done and thankfully, it was only the shaft bone in the thigh that had been broken. She was fine otherwise.

We stayed in Ludhiana for two days, got her leg operated and then brought her back to home. She had been badly missing her home.

Now, a week after the accident, Pahal is home. Happy and chirpy as before but still in pain, bed ridden and a little upset with her broken leg that has made her life confined to one room.

Sanjay and I have also re-gained our sanity a bit and now we are reflecting upon few things. First, it was our foolishness to let her sleep on the upper berth and that too on the outer side, even if she was insisting upon it.

(Source: Pahal on her way to home)
Second, it was my mistake to let Sanjay take charge of the situation when I know that Pahal has never slept with him. She sleeps with me and that too when they both could have slept on the lower berth.

Maybe it was a jinx that had been cast upon us or a bad omen we were carrying with us (our last two trips to Vaishno Devi were also cancelled. First because the area had got flooded last year and second when Sanjay couldn't get the leaves and we had to cancel the tickets).

I normally don't introspect over things but this time I can not get my mind off it. Why only Pahal? Why a five year old had to be punished for our foolishness? She didn't even want to sit on the upper berth, we made her sit there. Why didn't we listen to her instinct? Why did I, her mother, not know instinctively that my child was in danger on the upper berth? How could I not wake up from my reverie just a moment before she fell down?

These are the questions I am constantly seeking answers for.

Though I am extremely thankful to God for making the accident as least hurtful as possible. I shudder at the very thought of what could have happened if she had fallen upside down or had hit anything on her head or if she had got hurt on her head directly.

I am also very thankful for our stars that sent the guided angel our way that night. The doctor who stood by us throughout the night, arranged the emergency doctors and helped us with the best he could.

I remember I had begun to tremble the moment I lifted her up in the train. But my baby was brave enough to carry on with her excruciating pain. She gave me the strength to carry on with her. She gave me the power to pray.

A friend of mine once told me about two decades ago that she had never seen me praying in difficult times. Only after she had mentioned this, I realized that she was right. I could never pray in darker times. I pray when I am happy. I thank God when I am fine, when my family is fine. I so often fold hands and thank God for bestowing his blessings upon me in good times.

But in bad times - I just get blank. I can't pray. I can't ask for his mercy because I somehow feel that he is the one who has given us this grief so how will praying help?

I have learnt this lesson now.

Praying helps. It answers some of your questions. It heals your mind. It reminds you that life is bigger. It makes you realize that what you think is not always right. Prayer brings power. Prayer brings angels.

As soon as we got down from the train, Sanjay began walking along with Pahal and I walked behind them. I was only walking physically because my mind was racing elsewhere. I felt totally helpless when my baby was silently screaming with pain and discomfort.

That is when praying came naturally to me.

I prayed to God for Pahal's well being. I asked God to be little kind to my daughter. I requested him to reprimand me for my sins but spare my tiny being.

I wished for Pahal's safety. That moment, she being alive and out-of-danger among us was sufficient for me. That moment, I forgot all about our vacation plans, my job plans and my family issues. All I needed and wished for was my daughter safely living with me in my home.

As soon as I asked God for some help, I saw the angel, the doctor.

Now that the accident is over and also averted though it has left some scars in our lives, I sometimes brood over how and why our lives take some turns the way they do.

Each incident that occurs, each act that we do, each word that we utter leads to that ultimate critical consequence. 

Sometimes I feel we get disillusioned by the consumerism and materialism that has engulfed our lives so badly that we lose touch with the basic things like our instinct. Such incidents remind us our worth. They make us realize the importance of connecting with ourselves first than others. 

Even though I practise minimalism and simple living to a good extent, I also lose my orientation and become bewildered. There are times when I completely ignore the most important aspects of life in the view of some frivolous but attractive things. 

Seeing my daughter on the bed has helped me in getting my focus back. Each day with greater will power and immense strength, she teaches me the true meaning of moving on. 

(Source: Pahal and I during our last vacation)
She said to me last night, 'Mumma.. my birthday is in August. I may not be able to walk by then but no worries, I can cut the cake by sitting on the chair. We do not need to walk to cut the cake. Isn't it mumma?' I heard her and hugged her. This is the passion for life. 

The other day she said to her daddy, 'Papa.. every day I see the same dream that I have started walking but it is not a true dream.. it is only a pretend dream' and she began laughing (she uses the word 'pretend' for things that are not real). Her daddy only blamed himself a bit more after feeling her misery. But there she taught us what longing is and how longing does not mean sulking. 

I pray for my daughter's earliest recovery and I hope she gets to walk on her feet real fast. It breaks my heart to see her in pain like this when the young girl does not even shed a tear out of pain but I can see and feel the twitches on her face.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

8 Unique Birthday Gifts for Your Wife That Will Make Her Love You More

Woman plays varied roles in a man’s life. She can be sister, mother, friend, colleague and sometimes all in one in the form of a good wife! Wife is someone who stands by her man, no matter what. She supports, loves and encourages her life partner. So it is important to show, how much you love and appreciate her presence in your life. 

Birthday gift options for wife

Most of the husbands get confused about what to give to his beloved wife either for her birthday, anniversary or just to show her how much he truly appreciates her. It is something impossible to fathom, what to give your wife or partner especially someone who plays multiple roles in your lives. So to ease your mental burden, I present you some unique gift ideas for your wife’s birthday. 

Season terrarium necklaces

(Source: uncommongoods.com)
Like the multitude roles that she plays in our lives, you can always gift her season necklaces if she is someone who loves nature. The seasonal terrarium necklaces allows her to carry the various favorite time of the year, may that be summer, winter, autumn or fall. It is filled with dried greenery and semi-precious beads enclosed in an 18K vermeil-capped tube to capture these seasons.

Recycled glass globes

(Source: uncommongoods.com)
Recycled glass globes, One of most innovative and unique gift that you can give your wife. The glass globes can be presented to any of the women who play an important part in your life. This can be presented to sister, mothers, wives, friendship etc. These beautiful glass globes sport a vibrant splash of colors, making it beautiful, unique and eye-catching. These come with plastic hand tag to hang them wherever they please.

Row Boat Salad Bowl

(Source: uncommogoods.com)
This is for all those women, who are always making special dishes for us and always taking care of us especially if they are about design. You can present her with a Row Boat Salad Bowl with serving utensils. It can create a wow effect during the next dinner that she hosts. The aluminum bowl takes a look of a rowboat, with wooden plants casts for its hull. The oars serve as serving tools carved with sheesham along with rosewood. 

The define Bottle

(Source: tuvie.com)
For those women, who love to be on the run and are always health conscious, the Define bottle is a perfect gift. The define bottle allows them to enjoy healthy infused water on the go. They can place fruits or herbs in the lower compartment and fill the top with water. The built in strainer keeps pulp for clogging in the spout, the freezable base keeps it cool. This can fit the car cup holder and the strap keeps it accessible on the run. 
Make Up Clutch

(Source: ponikuta.com)
For those women, who live out of the bag and are constantly running from one meeting to another. Get her a perfect make-up clutch, which can hold all her make-up and accessories that will convert into a clutch as well. This clutch is washable and made out of quilted nylon and water repellant. A specially designed lip around the bag ensure that their make-up does not roll of the counter. 


(Source: handpresso.com)
We all lead hectic lives, most of us live on either a coffee or tea to get through our days. Our caffeine intake is something that is very important to us. If your spouse or partner is the kind of person who lives on caffeine to get through the day. You can always gift her a Handpresso. It is a portable hand-held espresso machine that pumps up to 16 bars of pressure. It can make espresso, cappuccino, Americano and latte. All it requires is some hot water and ground coffee.

Tuck Device Rack

(Source: amazon.com)
For those special women in our lives, who are technologically driven. Gifting them a Tuck Device Rack which can hold all their gadgets. The Tuck Device Rack is a sleek storage solution that can keep laptops, tablets and phones off the counter and nightstands. It is made out of metal, rubber and plastic and can be cleaned with soapy water. It has perforated surface which makes it easier to hold wires and cables. 

Jeweler in the dish washer

(Source: jewelerinthedishwasher.com)
Women usually own a lot of jewelry. A woman without her jewelry is not complete. Cleaning the jewelry takes quite a bit of time and effort and sometimes even money. Jeweler in the Dishwasher is a box created to hold your jewelry and put it in the dishwasher to get it cleaned. All it requires is it be put into the dishwasher with a little detergent.

Women need expression of love, attention and care. These little yet sweet and considerate gifts show the how much you care for the women in your life. 

I understand gifts may not necessarily express the love, care, gratitude and all your feelings to her but a surprise gift like any of the above is surely going to make her happy. And if you are lucky, she will love you even more! 

Note: This post is submitted by Kiran Sinha of the blog http://bestbirthdaygiftsideas.com. You can hop over to her blog for more gift ideas. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

One Night Stand Leads to Love: A True Story

One-night stands are not uncommon nowadays. Anyone can easily have sex with anyone even after getting acquainted for the first time. Sometimes, an hour long conversation with a couple of drinks can lead to a temporary sexual relationship. In other cases, the existence of social media has given more convenient and faster ways to talk about having casual sex. In whatever way it is done, it’s just a matter of consent and indirect agreement between the two people involved. And having a one-night stand does not necessarily mean that the two people have to be in love after.


But, what if a one-night stand bore a surprising gift of life? Will love be possible to last between the two people who just met for the first time and had sex for only one night?

(Source: favim.com) 
Fortunately, for my friend Jennifer and her husband Roland (not their real names), it was not the kind of love they hoped for but it was a love that exceeded beyond their imaginations. Their love story is not the epic kind, but it is something special, worthy to be told. They never knew each other, never even talked as far as they could remember. Until that one night happened, everything seemed to fall into place.

Jennifer was 21 and was working as an ESL (English as Secondary Language) instructor at a private English institution in Cebu, Philippines. She was young and very much in love with her then 25-year-old Korean student Kent (not his real name).

She was happy with how her life was running. She had a job and a boyfriend. But one night, Kent suddenly decided to end the relationship with her. He was terribly worried that his family would not be able to accept someone who is not Korean.

Deeply saddened and heartbroken with the break-up, Jennifer went home to her hometown for a couple of days. She called her friends to have a drink in a local bar that night just to clear out her mind - and heart.

While Jennifer was enjoying her drink with the company of her friends, she suddenly noticed a familiar face who came in from the entrance door. As she was checking his face, she realized that it was Roland, the son of her parents’ friends. She only knew him by face and never had a chance of even talking to him.

And, that was it. 

To cut the story short, Jennifer and Roland began talking and getting to know basic things about themselves. They talked about how close their families were and how they were not able to become friends. They talked until they began a little bit comfortable with each other. At least that was what they both said to me.

One of Jennifer’s friends approached and told them that it was already time to go home. It was already 2 AM and the bar had to close by that time.

As they stood up from their seats, Roland suddenly asked Jennifer if it would be alright to walk her home. Since both of their houses were just a stone’s throw away from the bar, Jennifer agreed to be accompanied by Roland going home.

As they were walking, Jennifer surprised herself by asking Roland if he wanted to have coffee in her house. At the back of Jennifer’s mind, she could not believe that she just invited him in her house to have coffee. Of course, Roland had no reasons to say no to her invitation. So both of them went inside Jennifer’s house quietly so as not to wake her parents who were already sound asleep.

There was an awkward silence that surrounded both of them. Their eyes veered from each other and not a word came out from their mouths.

It was too quiet until Roland gazed at Jennifer and took her hand that was comfortably positioned on the table. He slowly grabbed it and kissed it gently while looking at the puzzled and shocked face of Jennifer.

Jennifer told me that she had no idea what was going on at that time. She could not take her hand back even if she wanted to. But she felt that something unavoidable was going to happen. Was it because they drank too much? Or was it a spur of the moment and she just followed what she had felt at that time?

That night led to a physical bond between them. 

A month after the 2-day vacation in her hometown, Jennifer was already back to her work. Everything was back to its normal state and there was no sign of her wanting to see Roland again after what had happened between them. She did not even have his number. So, it was something that made her peaceful.

“At least I did not build any affection for him at that time. It was a bit difficult for me to be in a relationship after a devastating break-up.” she said.

Just when she thought everything was doing fine, she suddenly felt nervous when she knew her monthly period had not arrived yet.

To confirm her suspicions, she went to a pharmacy and bought 3 pregnancy test (PT) kits. She, then, went to her apartment, a little bit shaken on what the results would be. After four hours of doing the three tests, Jennifer was alone in dealing with an all three-POSITIVE PT results. She was pregnant with Roland’s child.

“I was crying alone. It was so difficult to handle that situation alone. After knowing that I was pregnant, I know I needed to go back to the province and tell Roland about it. I didn’t actually know what to do with it,” Jennifer said as she was recalling what happened.

When she arrived in her hometown, she immediately saw Roland at a court playing basketball with his friends. She went near the court and stood at the side to wait for Roland to finish the game.

As the game ended, Roland saw Jennifer’s radiant face across the court and hurriedly ran towards her. She saw him coming and she was glad to see him after a month of not keeping in touch.

“Roland, long time no see. Dugay na gyud ta wa magkita. Kumusta naman ka? (It’s been a long time since we last saw each other. How are you?),” Jennifer asked.

Roland was very much delighted to see her suddenly appear right in front of hime. “Wa ko magdahom nga magpakita pa siya nako human sa nahitabo namong duha (I did not expect to see her again after what happened to us). I was really happy when I saw her,” Roland told me.

But then, the atmosphere suddenly changed when Roland saw Jennifer’s teary eyes. Roland definitely noticed that there was something going on so she kindly asked her to tell him the reason why she did not seem feel OK.

Jennifer broke her silence and said, Buntis ko, Roland. Ikaw ang amahan. (I’m pregnant, Roland. You are the father).”

Roland had his eyes wide open when he knew about the pregnancy. Jennifer, on the other hand, was a bit nervous about his reaction. She could not read if he was devastated, happy, excited, or whatever. It took a minute or two for him to digest what he just heard until he said, “Sigurado na gyud ka nga buntis (Are you sure that you are pregnant)?”

Ar that moment, Jennifer lost her hope of having the father for her child when suddenly, Roland ran and shouted, “Amahan nako, amahan nako, amahan nako (I’m a father, I’m a father, I’m a father).”

Jennifer could not believe what she heard. She was crying because of happiness when she saw Roland jumping for joy.

“I could not believe that he was actually that happy to know that I was pregnant,” she said.

Roland came near to Jennifer and wiped her tears from her face. He said that she should not worry because he would be responsible for the baby. And then hugged her so tight.

That evening, Roland and his family went to Jennifer’s house to talk about the pregnancy situation. Since both families were close to the Catholic Church, they wanted Roland and Jennifer to have the traditional church wedding before the baby would come out.

Taken aback, Jennifer opposed to the idea of marriage because she barely knew Roland. They only met once and never had a chance to meet again before the pregnancy news broke out. But the families insisted on the marriage to avoid being tainted with bad reputation and gossips of illegitimacy. If Jennifer and Roland would not follow their wishes, they would be forced not to support them.

Jennifer went out to ease her mind. She couldn’t take in what their families planned for her and Roland. She felt like it was her punishment for having a one-night stand with a total stranger and for getting pregnant with the same guy.

“I couldn’t catch my breathe. What was happening? Why did it have to end with marriage?”, she told me.

Roland followed her outside a moment after Jennifer went out the house. He saw how bothered she was with the sudden marriage proposal and why couldn’t accept it right away.

“Jen?,” he called her. Jennifer didn’t move. Roland hesitantly wanted to give her a back hug to calm her down. He knew he didn’t have the courage to comfort her that way and only said, Pasensiya na sa tanan, Jen. Pero, wala jud ko nagmahay sa nahitabo natong duha. Kahibaw ko lisod magpakasal sa tawo nga wala pa kaayo ka kaila, pero wala nako damha nga magkagusto ko nimo og maayo pagkahibaw nako nga nagsabak ka sa akong anak (I’m sorry for everything, Jen. But, I never regret about what happened to us. I know it’s hard to marry someone you haven’t known that much, but I didn’t expect to fall for you more after you told me you were pregnant with my child),” he said.

Bisan wala kaayo ta kaila sa usa’g-usa, pwede ra gyud na nato buhaton bag-o ug inig human sa kasal (We may not know each other that much, we can surely do that before and after the wedding). I’ll give m best to make this relationship work,” Roland continued.

With what she just heard, Jennifer slowly turned to him with tears. She wasn’t able to say something after Roland gave a feeling of wanting to be married to her. They deeply looked into each other’s eyes. And for a second, Jennifer hugged him so tightly, a sincere gesture that said, “Thank you.”

Eventually, after a month of wedding preparations, Roland and Jennifer got married at the church in their hometown. Jennifer was already two months pregnant and, luckily, her baby bump had not shown that much yet. They vow a happy married life, filled with love and trust.

“I never expected that day to be a happy and full of love. I never felt contented until that day. I never knew that I can marry a person I just met for a short while,” Jennifer told me.

Roland said that he was already unconsciously falling for Jennifer the moment he asked her to walk home together. It was something that he could not understand but he felt that she was someone he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. Although, he knew that Jennifer would not feel the same way for him that’s why he never tried to stay in touch with her after that night.

Weeks after the wedding, they had their honeymoon. In July 2012, Jennifer gave birth to a healthy and bouncy baby Dee. And, of course, their marriage had been smooth-sailing. Roland boarded on a ship as a seaman, but was able to be with his wife while giving birth. For them, everything seemed to fall into place.

It is already 2015. Their baby turns 3 and they will be celebrating their 3rd anniversary as well. They both mutually felt that they belong to each other. They love each other.

That one-night was supposedly just sex for the both of them. They never thought that it could blossom into a love of commitment and trust.

“Of course, we had doubts of getting married right away. There were times when we thought that it was not going to work out. And we got married out of our own will because I got pregnant. We had our fair-share of struggles and problems. But, Roland took care of me. He constantly keeps on reminding me how much he loves me and that he married me because he loves me,” Jennifer said.

Jennifer loves Roland as much as he loves her. She wasn’t able to realize that until she got married to him. She loves him even more for giving her a beautiful baby whom they love more than anything else in the world.

I asked Jennifer, if there was no baby involved after all, would she still be able to love someone like Roland?

She answered with a smile, “Yes. Yes, I would.”

For those persons who have experienced a number of one-night stands already, they would probably say that it was just sex for fun. It was a way to keep them away from getting bored. But for Jennifer and Roland, their one-night stand was more than just sex. It made them realized that the existence of love can happen even after getting to know someone less than a day, either with drinks or just merely over a conversation of whatever.

Well, some of you can say that they only loved each other because of their daughter. If that’s the case, why are they still together now? Why would Jennifer show me another positive pregnancy test result?

Yes, Jennifer and Roland will once again welcome a new member of their family very soon.

Note: The post above is contributed by Mary from Philippines. 

Mary Josebelle Alusin is Filipina home-based online ESL instructor, freelance writer, and single mother of a beautiful daughter.
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