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AtoZ Challenge 2018

AtoZ Challenge 2018ParentingWoman Empowerment

Unwarranted Extravagance on Wedding Ceremonies – #AtoZChallenge

posted by Anupriya April 24, 2018 0 comments

“Everything about last night’s wedding ceremony emanated opulence. Isn’t it?” Smita remarked as she propped her back on Sharman’s shoulder.  Last night they had attended the wedding of the sister of Sharman’s colleague and thereafter had a Saturday night out at the night flea market, shopping for decoration pieces for their home.  They were now enjoying a lazy Sunday afternoon post a late brunch. Sharman was watching his favorite sports series on the television while Smita picked up a latest release by a popular mythological fiction author. But Smita’s mind kept running to the wedding function she had attended last night.

The venue was like straight out of a Sanjay Leela Bhansali movie. Decorations were abundant with colors and the choicest of accessories complemented by artistic lightwork. The garland exchange ceremony of the bride and the groom was set-up on an elevated revolving stage fitted with torch lights and flower pumps. It had felt like the Gods themselves had descended to bless the couple. It was not just the decoration, the food was galore. Continue Reading

AtoZ Challenge 2018Motherhood

Tears of a Childless Mother – #AtoZChallenge

posted by Anupriya April 23, 2018 0 comments

Amrita woke up at her regular time and realized that no one had unlocked the main gate of the house. She frowned as she cocked her head to look out as it was very unusual for her mother-in-law to be late. By this time everyday she would usual leave for the cow shed to collect milk.

Amrita hurried towards her mother-in-laws room to check on her and got her fears confirmed. The old lady was down with fever.

‘Please ask the domestic help to go and get the milk from the shed’ said the old lady in a semi asleep state. Amrita nodded to her and instead of telling her maid to go and get the milk she decided to go herself instead. Morning air would do her some good to awaken her mind.

At the cow shed she saw that the milkman was still milking the cows to give her the daily assured amount of milk for their family. Amrita often thought very irritatingly of her in-laws insistence on getting the milk from the cow shed. ‘This is the only cowshed left in the area. This too shall be shut very soon. Why can’t we switch over to packaged milk’ she had often argued. But to no avail. Nevertheless, as she sat in the waiting area overlooking the cows being milk in the traditional manual way, she kind of cherished the moment. Such antics, our kids will never be able to appreciate. Lost in her thoughts, she was brought back to the moment by a loud mow of a cow.

And there she saw her.

Mrs. Kedia looked nothing like her age. Her supple and clear skin and stiff and lean structure, made it impossible for anyone to believe that she was nearing 50 years of age. Everyday, around the same time in the morning she would come to the cowshed and feed hay to the cows with her own hands. Amrita saw that while she patted the cows one by one to feed on the fodder, she whispered in small sentences in the ears of the cows. It was as if she was having a meaningful conversation with them. If the neighborhood was to be believed, she had been following this routine like a ritual each day since last 15 years.

Amrita had heard Mrs. Kedia ‘s story from her mother-in-law and had wanted to throw up at the grossness of her situation.

Mrs. Kedia’s first born saw the day of light for just a month when he succumbed to chronic fever. The family grieved the demise for a couple of months, but rejoiced the news of her pregnancy only six months later. And this time there was double reason to celebrate, when months later she gave birth to twin boys. The household was bright with lamps and colorful bulb lights to celebrate the arrival of the twins.

Life was bliss for young Mrs. Kedia as she reveled in her fast growing twins. Time flew away in an eye’s blink and when the twins were 5 years old, she realized that she was expecting once again. Mrs. Kedia prayed to god that she be blessed with a girl child this time. Her family would be complete then. She spent her days, praying, working on the home chores and taking care of her twins, who were now going to school.

A couple of months later, Mrs. Kedia frowned for a couple of seconds, but did not really complain when the mid-wife brought a little boy-bundle of joy in her lap. But her heart went out for her husband’s younger brother’s wife, who had three girls and had medical lost all hopes of conceiving again. She looked at the tiny bundle of joy in her hands and then looked up to her sister in law. She tenderly signaled her to come near her and passed on the little boy wrapped in white cloth in sister-in-law’s hands. The mother of three girls looked on in disbelief. Her wide eyes questioned the implication of her elder sister-in-law’s action.

Mrs. Kedia smiled and nodded assuringly, telling her sister-in-law without words that she knew what she was doing. She understood how difficult life was for her younger sister-in-law. In those days society considered a woman incomplete if she failed to bear a boy child for the family. She was only insuring that life would be easy for her sister-in-law. Everyone else looked on appreciatively at her benignity, and the younger Mrs. Kedia fell down at the feet of the woman who had blessed her with a boy child.

The kids began to grow in a joint household, but the young Mrs. Kedia could not keep up her promise of gratitude over the years. She became more and more possessive of ‘HER’ son and did not like it when he addressed his taiji as ‘Badi Ma’. She snapped at him whenever he threw a tantrum that he wanted to eat with the elder boys what his ‘Badi Ma’ had cooked. One day the insecure mother declared  that they wanted to move out of the joint household and live separately.

Mrs. Kedia though hurt did not object and thought it only logical that the boy stayed with her mother without causing her any agony. She smiled sadly at her sister-in-law’s decision and got on with life.

Life seemed to be taking a smooth course untill tragedy struck Kedia household once again. And this time it came with a double blow. Mrs. Kedia had gone to the neighborhood to attend a ceremony while the boys decided to stay back and spend the evening playing. They went to the terrace to fly a kite. Some time later, a kite got stuck on the branch of the tree that was seemingly just at a hands distance from the concrete fence of the terrace. One of the twins, decide to go bold and smiled daringly at his brother telling him that he was going to get the kite back.As he climbed up on the concrete fencing wall of the terrace to reach out for the kite, he lost balance and fell down. The other twin looked down in shock. After moments of remaining numb, it occurred to him that he must run out to call his mother. Back then mobile phones were not common enough. Their father did have one, but he carried it with him for work purposes. He ran urgently towards the neighbor’s home across the road where he knew their mother had gone.

As he thought of his brother lying in a pool of blood, he ran mindlessly ignoring the speeding bike that was approaching from the end of the street.

The entire neighborhood looked tearfully at the double tragedy at the Kedia household in the form of bodies of two young boys that lay covered with white cloth. Those who heard the news, rushed the Kedia house expecting to hear heart rending wailing of a mother who had lost both her kids in a blink. But no! everyone was disturbed by the composed demeanor with which Mrs. Kedia sat at the corner. Tears refused to give away from her eyes that were set on the lifeless bodies of her sons. Relatives tried to bring her to realize the catastrophe that had hit her life by shaking her vigorously. But to no avail.

Mr. Kedia agonized by the possibility of losing his wife to the tragedy tearfully walked upto her and cried inconsolably while holding her hands. People who had witnessed this felt their blood freeze as they watched the couple who had suddenly turned childless. But Mrs. Kedia did not yield. Instead she held her husband’s hands and rubbed them trying to comfort him. What she said next has become a folklore for everyone present in the house at that time.

‘If this is what God has planned for us, we are nobody to question his will. And if he had planned to inflict pain in my life in this manner, I refuse to give in and shed even a single tear to impart him any satisfaction. Our 15 year old sons will remain alive in my memory forever. You too must not fear anything. We have a life together. Let’s not pain our sons’ souls by crying over them. Their onward journey will only become more difficult.’ She hugged her husband who was crying breathlessly.

Life continued for the Kedia household thereafter. Mrs. Kedia kept herself busy with more religious engagements like the one she practiced by spending time with the cows at the cowshed.  The gwala at the cowshed had once told her mother in law about a dialogue he had had with Mrs. Kedia.

‘Sister, why don’t you ask back for the son you had given to your sister-in-law? She still has her three daughters. You will not remain childless once you have him back.’

With a determined expression, Mrs. Kedia had replied, ‘If it was for me to bring up that kid, impulse would not have caused me to give him to my sister-in-law. He isn’t a property or a donation, that I can ask back for. And who knows, the reason why he is alive today is because he is being brought up by a different mother. I don’t even want to think about his destiny, if he were to grow up with me.’ She looked on at the cows with affection. Her eyes glistened with unshed tears that had become a part of her.

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AtoZ Challenge 2018LifeStyleMotherhoodParenting

The Surrogate Mother – #AtoZChallenge2018

posted by Anupriya April 21, 2018 0 comments

Amrita looked on at the drama unfolding infront of her as she put little Lucky in the high chair and put a bowl of carrot infront of him. She had suffered so much with Niks eating habits that she decided to try out baby led weaning with her younger son. And was she disappointed? Not at all! At 9 months, Lucky ate all the fruits and finger foods on his own. She had to start with use of spoon and bowl with the boy soon. Amrita made a mental note of the same as she looked on at her elder son throwing a tantrum in the lobby.

‘Why do you have to go?’  Nik sobbed as he held on to Sandhya. Sandhya was short enough for little Nik to reach upto her waist and hold her tightly making it difficult for her to move. Sandhya’s toil worn face let out a mild smile as she ruffled 5 year old Nik’s hair,

‘I’ll be back in a day or two, Nik Baba’ she said in an assuring tone in her quaking voice. Her eyes checking out the wall clock repeatedly, fearing she might miss the direct bus to her village.

‘But please don’t go. What if I miss you? And what if Lucky misses you?’ Nik whined his hold still tight across her waist, he looked up pleading at the old lady with smoky grey hair.

Amrita observed Sandhya di’s face and realized that her eyes had become red suddenly. Probably due to the burning of tears that did not come out. Her heart went out for both her son and the old lady. She decided to put the old lady out of her agony lest she might miss her bus. Amrita moved towards her son and pulled him apart from Sandhya and held him tightly in her arms.

‘Nik baby, do you like to go to your Nani’s home in your vacations?’ Amrita continued when Nik nodded in affirmative, ‘Sandhya di also needs to go to her Nani ghar once in awhile. We must let her go.’

‘But I will miss her too much.’ Nik complained.

Amrita hugged her son and patted his back. Pulling him apart she smiled into his eyes, ‘She will miss you too dear.’ She turned towards Sandhya who stood looking at them with a torn expression, ‘Sandhya di, please be back soon. Nik will really miss you too much. Promise him that you will be back soon?’

Sandhya to overwhelmed to say anything, nodded quickly and put her hand on Nik’s head before quickly turning around to pick up her bags and leave the house.

Amrita let out a deep sigh and smiled at her elder son and distracted him with his favorite Cartoon show on the television. She settled back on the couch with a quick glance on the road outside watching Sandhya hurry away with tiny but hastened steps. Her thoughts automatically drifted towards the time she had met her for the first time.

Sandhya had started working in her mother-in-law’s household when she had been a young girl herself and Amrita’s husband Raghav had been as old as Nik. She had since been a permanent member of the same household. Even though Sandhya routed all her earnings for her ailing parents’ treatment, brother’s study and younger sisters’ marriage, she never married herself.

‘If I marry, I may not be able to work and earn as much.’ Sandhya gave a simple reply with a lopsided smile whenever asked the reason for not getting married in her hay days.

When Amrita became pregnant with Nik and was put on bed rest due to certain complications, Sandhya took it upon herself to make sure that she ate the right things at the right time. Amrita almost felt exasperated at the feel of having another mother-in-law hovering over her all the time, and a stricter one at that. When Nik was born, Sandhya volunteered to take care of the boy, while Amrita recovered from her C-section surgery. Even in the midst of the night, when Nik started wailing, Sandhya would pick him up to comfort him even before Amrita got up to check on him.

As Nik began to grow, Sandhya took over the responsibility of his nanny. She would massage him, give him a bath, feed him and play with him whenever she was not busy with other household chores. At that time Amrita had been really relieved, because she planned to join work in a couple of months. The very fact that Nik bonded well with Sandhya and spent a considerable amount of his awake time with her, came in as a major point in her favor, when she put her case to join back work infront of her mother-in-law.

A couple of months back in work, Amrita’s gratitude turned into jealousy when she would come back home and Nik would remain busy with Sandhya completely ignoring her presence. Amrita wished to spend all her time at home with Nik, only if Sandhya would allow that. A tiny squeal from the little one, and Sandhya would rush to sway him into his embrace and comfort him until he was playful again. Amrita today let out a smile of disbelief when she recalled how she had been extremely frustrated at that time. She had even contemplated leaving her job, lest she might lose any significance in her son’s life. She remembered how she had been on the threshold of snapping at Sandhya and asking her to mind her own business while staying away from her child. But better sense had prevailed, and she decided to slowly wean her son away from the old lady.

But during a week long break at home due to an ailment, Amrita observed that the dedication and affection that Sandhya showed towards her son was at a different level.  During those days of forced rest, Amrita realized that the old lady with blood flecked eyes actually did not have a family to call her own. They were her family. She did go back to her brother’s family time and again like this one instance, but that was not because she cared much about them. It was more because she still felt a sense of responsibility towards them and wanted to check on their well-being.

After the leave ended, Amrita felt a new sense of gratitude towards the old lady for loving her son as her own and made it a point to thank god everyday for having Sandhya in her life.  She knew that if for some reason, her mother-in-law or she herself were busy or tied up with an emergency, there was Sandhya di to take care of her son as good as like a mother.  Or maybe even better, Amrita contemplated. These days, when Amrita looks at the aging Sandhya who has slowed down a bit physically, she shudders at the thought when this surrogate mother to her kids, might not be fit anymore to take care of her kids. How then would she manage the household? Or more importantly, how would she ever be able to fill the gap of her absence in her kids’ life? With a little prayer for Sandhya’s long life – her kids’ happiness Amrita gets up and gets on with her work.

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AtoZ Challenge 2018LifeStyle

Religion, Rituals and Marriages – #AtoZChallenge

posted by Anupriya April 20, 2018 0 comments

Amrita considered herself to be fairly religious. That’s because she believed in all religions.

As she adjusted the veil over her head while making an entry into the Golden temple, something inside her stirred. What made the tenth guru declare a separate religion? Was it not further polarization of the society? Who is to be held accountable for the aftermaths of friction between the minor religious group and the parent group? Having grown up in a decade that was recuperating from the consequences of the friction, she had heard enough storied and met several survivors who had hair raising stories to tell. Amrita shook her head and clucked her tongue to wave off the trail of thoughts, lest she be trapped in the vicious circle of Ws and H of circumstances that were and those that are.

The veil kept slipping and she was now getting irritated with the repetitive activity. Just at that moment she saw a boy hardly the age of her elder son, adjust his own handkerchief over his head and tie the ends into a knot to prevent the piece of cloth from flying away. Another thought clouded her mind.

Probably that’s the reason I keep coming back to a Gurudwara. This community has equal rules for all. They do not discriminate between a man and woman by setting different standards. Or that is atleast what I know of. I know for sure that in my religion, so much is imposed as only a woman’s duty that sometimes it feels unfair.

Amrita had often been miffed by the compulsory fasting rules for women in her religion. She observed most of the rituals followed ardently by her mother and mother-in-law, only as a mark of respect for them. But she really did not understand the point of it all. No! She wasn’t an atheist. She firmly believed in THE ONE who worked as the master planner with a blue print of this world. It’s just that she wasn’t sure how religion was connected to god. According to her, religion was the most ancient strategy to divide the mankind for the perpetrators to gain from the division.

“Even if one was to believe that different gods did exist for different religions, I can’t imagine them running a hateful propaganda against each other up in the so called heaven.” Amrita was often spotted thinking out loud her views about God and religion. “More over if all Gods are equals then how does it matter, what practices or rituals I follow or not. Isn’t believing in the fact that a God exists and remaining virtues in my thoughts and actions towards the mankind the most important thing?”, she quipped at anyone who disagreed, which was in plenty.

A lot of Amrita and her sister’s rationale towards religion was unconventional because they came from a town which came into inception only post independence and people from several ethnicities had come together and made the town self sufficient.  Though the natives were the Punjabi community, but she grew up in a convent school where her classmates formed a fair percentage of people from all religions and ethnic backgrounds. While they had school organized visits to the church every Christmas, they went to gurudwars with their friends from the sikh community. By the function of the society they grew up in they could never form any extremist view of religion. It was something they enjoyed, but not be defined by. But as she grew up and read about the world around her, Amrita was bewildered by the impact that religion could have on people’s thoughts and actions.

As a child Amrita had been extremely fascinated by mythological stories. “I know I am still guilty of being fascinated by Lord Krishna who is like an epitome of the practical God.’, she had once admitted to Raghav  while they were dating. But the very idea of practicing religion did not go down well with her. The rebel in her also impacted her role as a mother. She hated to push her kids too much towards religious ceremoines at home. While she did not dissuade them from learning the virtues of praying and paying obedience to God and elders, she was extremely against them being overtly involved in the prolonged religious rituals or be exposed to any religion related discussions.

Amrita along with her sister had often discussed the dichotomy of the so called religious elders. One day while at their mum’s place, they were sitting with their mom while she watched a mythological program based on a king’s life who in the age of bigamy, decided to marry just once. Amrita sighed as she told Smita how her mother-in-law too was hooked on to this serial.

Once the sisters had had a hearty laugh, their attention turned back to the show. The plot was showing how everyone had failed to pick up Lord Shiva’s arc and the subsequent entry of Ram (the incarnation of Lord Vishnu) with his brother Lakshman and his Guru to the venue of Sita’s Swayamwar. Though hope and anxiety were evident among King Janak’s family members, but Sita looked particularly hopeful and i must say desperate for Ram to succeed in picking up the Dhanush, a condition put down by her father for anyone who wished to get married to Sita.

At this Smita quipped, “Swayamwar and all is just an excuse. It is so evident that Site is already infatuated or attracted towards him.” To this Amrita added that having read the Ramayana, it is quite evident that love had already blossomed between them by the time things came to this Swayamwar.

The discussion then drifted to the realization that all the major pillars of Hindu Mythology are guilty of propagating love relationships.

Getting back to her favorite GOD, Amrita added, “Lord Krishna’s name has almost ceased to exist alone and he is worshiped along with Radha. Love tales of Radha and Krishna are have been subject to enough adoration as well as discussion. And here, Lord Krishna did not even marry Radha. Yet their love is the epitome of commitment and passion for all who consider him as their deity.”

“And di, do not forget, Lord Shiva who despite being a ‘Yogi’ living an austere life on Mt. Kailash is not devoid of love and passion. After a lot of persuasion and cajoling he gave in to Sati’s wish and made her his bride. Sati re-incarnated as Parvati in another life and her love for Shiva also took her to Mount Kailash where she was successful in pleasing Lord Shiva enough so he would agree to marry her. The story of their marriage and re-marriage and their ‘Grahastha’ life is a well-known mythological legend.” Smita added with excitement, as their mom chose to ignore their ranting and focused on her serial.

“If these Gods were not devoid of feelings of love, passion and endearment; then why is it so that the very same devotees of these deities refuse to acknowledge and respect the existence of such emotions among their kids. Why is love marriage such a taboo in most communities in our religion driven country?’ Smita was flabbergast by now.

“It is so ironic that most of the parents in my religion start to plan for their kids wedding almost from the moment they are born, how and why do they not take into account a possibility that their Ram/Krishna/Shiva may find a Seeta/Radha/Sati or vice-versa for themselves without their intervention.”, Amrita pondered.

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AtoZ Challenge 2018Parenting

The Quest for Perfect Parenting

posted by Anupriya April 19, 2018 0 comments

Amrita was slightly nervous for her son Nik’s first parent teacher’s meeting at school. It wouldn’t have been too much of a worry if she had not known that her son was a hyperactive and aggressive child. She often wondered why her 4 year old son was so restless. Yet, nothing had prepared her for the feedback she received at the school from Nik’s class teacher.

‘We don’t know what comes over your son. He is extremely aggressive with other kids. Although we do understand that some kids are physical more active than the others, yet it is not appreciated. We try and talk to him, but he is extremely unyielding’, said Nik’s class supervisor.

Amrita felt her world spinning around her. She did have a difficult time managing Nik at home too. He would jump around on the sofa, throw things and physically charge at other kids if they disturbed him in any manner. Although she had been concerned earlier, but she had not taken Nik’s behavior too seriously, attributing his behavior to young age and an innate quality of a physically hyper energised kid. But such a feedback from school made the ground beneath her ground slip.

She was trying to do her best while juggling her various roles as a working mom. She spent most of her time, once back home with Nik and tried to facilitate his learning as much as possible. There were days when she felt overwhelmed with the fast pace of her life with no time for herself. Yet she was trying that Nik not suffer from the aftermaths of her hassled state of mind. But now after the meeting with his Class supervisor she realized that she had failed miserably. Nik was turning out to be the naughty tantrum throwing boy that she had had always despised and feared.

Where have I gone wrong with his upbringing?, thought Amrita. As a mother who was constantly suffering from the guilt of leaving his child back to go to work, her demons began to dig at her conscience once again. Shall I give up my job and spend more time with Nik? May be then things will change for better. Amrita went around her day at work with numerous thoughts about why and how of Nik’s feedback from school.

When she shared the reason for her distraction with her a colleague mother during lunch, the mother of two girls approaching their teens told her that everything will be ok and that Amrita must counsel his son and continue to support him while he deals his ever changing environment during his growing years. Amrita smiled back at the encouragement, but did not really feel any kind of relief from within. She reached home in the same volatile state of mind and spent her time with Nik. She was contemplating if she should try talking to her 4 year old, but wasn’t sure how much could she drive home the point she wished to make with him. So she decided against it and thought that she must wait to have a conversation with her husband before proceeding on a course of action.

Throughout the evening, her mother-in-law Radhaji observed Amrita’s distraction. She knew something from Nik’s parent teacher’s meeting was bothering her, but did not ask her anything about it in Nik’s presence. She made a mental note to brace up the topic once Nik was off to bed. Unfortunately for her, she had to leave to meet an ailing neighbor while Amrita retired to put Nik to sleep.

Once Nik was fast asleep, Amrita settled on the sofa to have her daily dose of screen time. While surfing through the channels, she came across a new program on a news channel that was meant to be a helpline for parents. The host was accompanied by a child psychologist and they were in a conversation when Amrita stumbled upon the channel. The words ‘parenting philosophies’ caught her attention and she decided to watch the show.

TV Anchor: So Dr. Tripathi, how do you think that parenting is a larger challenge for the new generation parents?

Dr. Tripathi: Before I answer your question, I must give you some background to how like everything, parenting too has evolved over decades and generations.

TV Anchor: Oh! You mean to say that parenting methods are also evolving like technology?

Dr. Tripathi: Absolutely! The Genration Y parents are of the view that parenting in 21st century is much more complicated than that when they were kids themselves. The simple reason for this is the coming together of the world due to technology. Yet, that’s besides the point. I am talking from the different perspective about how parent attitude on issues other than parenting too is making a huge impact on the upbringing of the kids.

TV Anchor: I must request you to elaborate. I am curious due to your choice of words.

Dr. Tripathi: Ok let me pose a simple question to you. Did your father discuss things concerning your life while you were growing up?

TV Anchor: Uhmm! Sorry mom-dad, but I have to answer this honestly. Not really doctor, I had extremely authoritative parents, who believed in one way communication.

Dr. Tripathi (smiling): Yes! We call it the Instructional Ideology of parenting. This was a very common method of parenting a couple of decades back. Parents passed out instructions to their kids, and the kids followed them without questioning too much. Ofcourse I am removing the outliers, but this was a prevalent trend. But tell me, did you feel good about it?

TV Anchor: Not really! I would see my friends’ parents, who were so friendly with their kids. They would freely talk and discuss issues of mutual interest and even have a reasonable discussion on topics of conflict to arrive at an amiable solution. Looking at the display of rationality from these parents, I often felt that my parents were from stone age.

Dr. Tripathi: I would say that your parents’ friends were practicing the interactional approach of parenting, where they encouraged their kids to talk about their life and gave enough space to the kids to have a difference of opinion and try and find an amicable solution. They even shared their fears and shortcomings in their thought process with their kids. This made the kids slightly more understanding and considerate of their family circumstances and made the parent child bond stronger. You would agree with me if I said that this interactional approach of parenting had its own shortcomings in terms of bringing some embarrassing and awkward discussions to the dinner table.

TV Anchor (smirking): I remember, once my younger brother broached up the subject of menstruation among girls infront of my father. I remember that he was quite uncomfortable, yet he tried to take forward the discussion in the most rational way possible.

Dr. Tripathi: Now coming to the current generation parents and the evolution of parenting that I mentioned earlier. The present day kids are more evolved than you or I ever were. Also they have exposure to so much media that their minds are much more sensitive. They pick up by intuition what is going around them and assimilate it within them.

TV Anchor: You mean to say that there are things beyond the words said out loud or prominent actions performed infront of them that impact their personalities?

Dr. Tripathi: Yes. You’ve got me right. The present generation kids absorb every little display of emotion you make in their presence and form their opinion of the environment around them. It strongly impacts their sub-conscious mind and shapes their attitude and behavior. For example: In our times it was a well know adage that what goes around comes around. Thus, people tried to keep their actions clean. But with today’s generation, its not just the actions that need to be clean, but the thoughts too need to be in sync with the actions. Today’s kids are smart enough to pick up contradicting vibrations. So, I like to say that today’s parenting involves parenting by intuition.

Something snapped inside Amrita as she heard what the child psychologist on the television just said. The conversation on the show blurred as she went on an introspection trip. She realized that with too much on her plate with the job, kid and a large family to cater to, she was herself always over-whelmed and on the verge of break-down for no specific reason. A curt reply to her husband, a sarcastic response to her mother-in-law, a snapping comment to her brother-in-laws joke or over reaction to the domestic help for smallest of mistake. These were all indicative of how she was always walking on the thin rope. After listening to what the doctor on the tv show had to say about this ‘Intuitional’ parenting, that even if she was careful about not having Nik witness to her quipping, he probably was picking all her vibrations and was slowly transforming into the overwhelmed kid her class supervisor was talking about ealier during the day. When she resumed the chat show on TV she inferred that the solution was to transcend to a more peaceful state of mind. And the simplest way to do it was to go the spiritual way. As individuals we might not be religious, but spirituality was different from religion. And probably meditation was the simplest way to raise one’s vibration and simplify one’s life. Further testimonials by various parents who had gone the spiriatual way reinstated what the doc had just said.

Amrita sighed as she realized that the program was a promotional chat by a specific spiritual organization trying to promote their meditation technique for parents to improve the relationship between their kids. She waved her hand at the realization she was almost taken for a ride by some doctor who had been paid to say what he said. But later that night when she went to bed, the talk by the child psychologist and her own reaction to what he had proposed reverberated in her mind and she wondered if she really needed to clear her mind and soul of the complicated thought forms for her and Nik’s mental well-being.

AtoZ Challenge 2018Babycare

The Potty Training Saga

posted by Anupriya April 18, 2018 0 comments

Amrita was first advised about potty training when Nik was 1 month old. Surprisingly, the advise did not come from her mother or mother in law. It was her DAD who very diligently advised her on the benefits of starting early. Amrita, who was just recuperating from the aftermaths of a c-section and getting used to the routine of feed-sleep-clean was almost like “Gaffawk”. Her face read like “is it even possible for a 1 month old to understand any signals for potty training?”

‘Oh! Absolutely. Look’ Mr. Gunjal held little Nik in his lap, holding out his legs outwards raising them a little, ‘This is how you do it.’ And he began to blow out whistles. Amrita was amazed when after a minute of whistle blowing Nik actually did give out.

‘I told you.’ Mr. Gunjal said triumphantly, ‘If you are a little vigilant and do this at regular time intervals, in no time your boy will be completely toilet trained.’ Amrita looked on in awe and amusement.

After spending a month at her parents, Amrita came back to her house. She tried following to some extent, what her Dad had trained her on regarding Potty training for Nik. Surprisingly, her Mom-in-law, quite approved of her practices on this matter.

‘We did not have diapers in our times. Had we not been vigilant, we would have two dozens of cloth nappies to wash everyday, for which we did not have nannies.’ Radhaji had said as a matter of fact.

By the time Nik turned 3 months old, Amrita’s Dad called up to ask if she had bought the potty seat for Nik yet. To Amrita’s irritation, the first-time Grandfather did not check on this update just once. He called her almost every other day to check how his grandson was doing.

Amrita would be like, “Papa, Potty seat? He can’t even sit yet.” But her expert Dad replied, “Arre! But the seat has a back support. You don’t know, we had trained you and your sister in the similar manner. And we never had to struggle with your potty habits.” Amrita continued to remain amused and startled, both at the same time.

Tired of his following up, Amrita decided to go shopping and buy a seat. Now a potty seat was something that her mother-in-law had not used with her kids. So obviously, she was very skeptical about the utility of buying it at all. Amrita sympathized with her to some extent because her logic too said, ‘How will this three month old sit on this thing? What’s the hurry for a potty seat? By the time he learns to sit, we can put him on the actual WC.’

Nevertheless, Amrita followed her Dad’s instructions to the T and started using the little seat thingy by putting Nik on it everytime he showed signals of going red in the face which was a signal of sorts. By the time Nik turned 6 months, Amrita’s hardwork paid off and she declared with a lot of pride that her LO was completely potty trained. A feat that left her amazed and relieved both. She sighed thinking how proud her dad would be of her. She giggled mentally thinking how it felt equivalent to running upto her dad for telling him her academic achievements in a different age.

Nevertheless, with a Potty Trained Nik, Amrita had a ball of a time for the next 4 months.

And then one day Nik decided to unlearn everything!

But Amrita did not pay much attention to this reversal of habit by Nik because she had joined back work and thought that when she wasn’t spending enough time with Nik to be able to closely monitor his habits(all included), she must not fret over how her mother-in-law or the maid were taking care of Nik. While at home, none of the other family members fretted about any inconvenience making life only easier for her.

But one day Amrita started biting her nails, when she planned a vacation to her my parents. Nik was going to be 16 months and she was like, oh fish!

‘This boy is going to be a mess in my Dad’s house and my Dad is going to make me feel miserable for not doing my job properly.’ Amrita panicked.

Anyway, she reached her parents place, and by the end of 2 days, she realised it was not only her Dad who was obsessed with potty training. All her mother’s friends, including her sister who visited to meet them widened their eyes in disbelief on seeing Nik in a Diaper. “Yeh abhi tak bhi batata nahi hai?” would be the invariable question. Amrita had no words to express how embarrassed she felt. Every time any visitor shook their head in discontentment, she felt like she had committed a cardinal crime. At the end of exactly two days of feeling miserable, she decided to research on Potty training on the internet. To her relief Amrita figured that the optimum age when the kids can be expected to retain their potty habits is 2 years. Before that kids might react to some signals, but not all kids may be able to keep their call of nature in control. With this new knowledge backed by scientific research, Amrita took a deep breath and patted her shoulder in self condolence.

In the midst of a busy schedule completing house chores, managing a loaded office job and spending time with Nik, Amrita managed to continue her potty training efforts. She was determined that the next time she visited her parents, she was not going to give them a chance to question her dedication as a mother. 8 months later, when at her maiden home, Amrita very diligently made Nik take trips to the toilet at regular intervals. She still had to struggle to justify to her parents why she had to use a diaper for him whenever she went out. After a couple of instances of their objection, she simply thre out her hands and shrugged saying, “Aap logon ke time pe Diapers utne accessible nahi the na. Right now if we have this facility / utility (whatever) why not use it?” Her displeased parents sighed and withdrew. Never again did they say anything about diapers to their daughter.

By the time Nik turned three, Amrita could happily claim that Nik is almost completely potty trained. Almost because there still was this risk of an ‘accident’, in the most unexpected places and circumstances.

Amrita often wonders what’s been on Nik’s mind regarding this little potty training saga of his early life!!!

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AtoZ Challenge 2018LifeStyleParentingWoman Empowerment

The Oppressed Wife – AtoZChallenge

posted by Anupriya April 17, 2018 0 comments

Smita came and took her seat with a thud. Three of her team members who occupied the cubicle with her turned around to look at a hassled Smita who was visibly upset. Gaurav, her junior tried to strike a conversation with her but gave up the idea looking at her furious eyes when she turned to look at him. The air had become so heavy that Yatin, their team lead from the other side of the partition peeped from above to see what the matter was and looked around and raised his eye brows asking if anyone knew any better. Some of the team mates caught him in action and shook their head. Yatin nodded lightly closing his eyes slowly and then opening them again, with an assuring grin. He got back to work with a thought that he’d have to invite Smita for lunch today with him and his wife Anagha. As he watched Smita go about her work in her vulnerable state, he pinged Anagha requesting her to make time to have lunch with Smita and him. He gave her a heads up when his wife agreed to meet them at the food court.

Smita agreed to having lunch with Yatin, quite reluctantly though. Yatin smiled mildly, realizing that one of the perks of being the boss was that your team members could not refuse you when you asked them to have lunch with them. Especially, when the boss had invited his wife too. As Yatin and Smita headed towards the food court, he turned to look at Smita who was still distracted. He had held his patience since morning and refrained from asking the young lady about her troubles. But now it was getting a little too much to contain the issue.

‘So? Had a tiff with Sharman?’ Yatin asked in an undertone. He did not want to be over heard. And also, he did not want to sound like a nose poker.

Smita knew that a probe was impending right from the moment Yatin had asked her out for lunch. She smiled wryly at her Boss’s question. She didn’t know if she could share the real issue with him. She ran a finger across her hair and shook her head while looking up at him.  They saw Anagha waiting for them at the corner table in the food court and as they joined her Anagha stood up to give Smita a light hug.

‘A little birdie came flying to tell me that someone’s ready to blast today.’ She smiled as she led Smita to join her at the table.

Anagha and Smita ran a mutual admiration club never having a mole of complain from each other. Infact they loved each other. Anagha loved Smita for the vibrant young lady that she was. She had seen Smita bloom from a determined fresher into a fierce professional in the last half a decade. And Smita was in awe of Anagha for the balanced Human Resources professional that she was. She delightful to talk to and found reasons to be nice to people. Smita had never met anyone as empathetic as Anagha. She turned to Yatin and silently mouthed a thanks to him realizing that Anagha was exactly what she needed.

‘So am I allowed to stay, or shall I buzz off from this ladies lunch table.’ Yatin asked cheerfully.  Anagha let out a hearty laugh while Smita blushed as she shook her head. A lot of tension from the morning seemed to have already evaporated.

As the trio opened up their lunch boxes and ordered fresh juice, Smita contemplated whether she should let go and talk about what was bothering her. One look at the couple in their late 30s and all her inhibitions went away. She decided to talk.

‘It’s my mother.’ She confessed.

‘What is she upto now? Trying to making you and Sharman go to the doc to get checked-up?’ Anagha knew how Smita’s mom had set them up for an appointment to see a gynecologist when she had come a fortnight back.  She had had a hearty laugh when Yatin had narrated what Smita had told him the next day.

‘No! That matter got settled when dad arrived last week. But ever since she has been sabotaging Dad for everything and anything he says or does.’ Smita exasperated.

‘If he wants a tea in the morning, she quips at him saying why he can’t fix himself up a simple green tea. If he doesn’t she blames him for confusing her by changing his routine everyday.  If he offers to help her in the kitchen, she is sarcastic enough to let him know that he never offered any help when she really needed it when we were young. And if he lets her be deciding not to disturb her, she taunts him for not changing an ounce in all these years.’  Smita threw her hands wide displaying her confusion at her mom’s behavior.

‘There is not a minute of peace at home these days.’ Smita had asked her parents to come and be with her for this month, because it was too cold up in the north and thought that the moderate weather would be good for them. Moreover her dad had enough leaves to expend before he retired later during the year.

‘She is like a live wire 24×7. Earlier Sharman and I thought that she was upset because we refused to concede to her demand to see the doctor. But later dad confirmed that that’s how she has shaped up as a silver haired old lady. Always complaining, nagging and ready to rip you off.’ Smita breathed deeply to calm herself as Anagha and Yatin gave her all their attention.

‘And that’s the reason you decided to become a live wire today at work.’ Yatin stated as a matter of fact as sipped his orange juice.

‘That’s ok you know. Smita, I am sure you have your own touch me not days.’ Anagha created quotes with both her hands in the air. Yatin smiled slyly as he inferred what Anagha meant to say, even as Smita shook her head vigorously.

‘You ladies and your PMS. I think soon I should start a propaganda popularizing CMS – Cranky Man Syndrome. It will give us poor men a reason to be able to behave weirdly for a couple of days every month.’ Yatin said followed by a silent chuckle.

‘No it’s no PMS or menopause. She was over that thing years ago. I don’t know what’s come over her. To come to think of it more rationally, I think she has been drifting in the direction ever since my marriage. Could it be something to do with me?’ she looked at Yatin and Anagha alternately in confusion, as if a realization had just dawned upon her.

Yatin deliberated Smita’s thoughts, as he scratched his French beard. No one could guess from Yatin’s looks that he was approaching his 40s. He was a fitness freak and took keen interest in matters that interested his young team members. It helped him gel in better with them. His team also looked upto him as a manager who really understood their issues and perspective. After moments of deep thought he let out a gurgling sound, ‘Tell me something Smita? Was your mother an oppressed lady throughout her youth? As in, I mean to ask, who was the dominating entity in your parent’s marriage? Your mother? Or your father?’

Smita did not have to think even for a second for the answer, ‘It was definitely my dad. He was a perfectionist in those days. He wanted things, exactly the way he wanted them. He would take nothing but a perfect ten from us in our tests. So yes, he definitely dominated all of us. I must confess that it was quite painful to live in constant pressure of being evaluated all the time.’ There was a couple of seconds of silence as everyone processed Smita’s words. Smita’s shoulders stooped a little as she felt the burden of a stressful childhood.

‘In retrospect, I think it was ok for my dad to be difficult on us, because he wanted to ensure a secure future for us. He was constantly pushing us to be competitive. I am not sure if I would have performed equally well if this pressure was not there. But my mom took a real hit from his all round the clock stern attitude. She was always on her tenterhooks about what might upset her dad.’ Smita was talking softly. Yatin and Anagha had to really pay attention amidst the noisy food court to follow her words.

And then Yatin threw himself back on his chair, propping his crossed hands behind his head, ‘A very dear friend of mine once told me that all those husbands who have subject their wives to decades of oppression must really pull up their belts once they hit their sixties. I did not understand his words then. But I think I now get what he was getting at.’ Yatin was grinning, while the two ladies looked on at him in confusion.

‘Even we havn’t got much of your rambling Yatin. Please explain?’ Anagha tilted her face in annoyance at the web of words that Yatin had built up.

Yatin leaned forward and propped his hands on the table infront of him.

‘As you said, your mother has felt oppressed for years at your dad’s behest. And as a middle class dedicated lady of the house she took in all that attitude from your dad, because she wanted to maintain decorum in the house. A lot of it was due to your sake. I mean you and your sister’s sake. And now that you both are married and doing well for yourself, she feels that she has done her job well and now needs a break from life. And one result of letting herself unwind is this quipping nature. She just does not feel the need to put up with your dad cordially any more. You could say, it’s a kind of revenge she is taking on your dad and the world for making her life difficult all these years.’ Yatin looked on from Smita to Anagha to assess if they got his point. Smita was nodding slightly in contemplation, while Anagha shook her head refusing to comprehend what her husband was saying.

‘And what would you say about wives like me who are always hell bent upon making their husband hen-pecked all the time’ Anagha smirked at her all knowing husband as Smita and Yatin laughed out loud.

Yatin had an answer to this too, ‘Oh! All this gyan I just gave was for the previous generation of our parents. As far as husbands like me are concerned, we need to always remain on an alert. Because if we even try to oppress our tigress wives they may chose to leave any moment. And without any male chauvinistic qualms I admit that I need my wife way more than she needs me.’

And the trio dispersed on this humored but deep-rooted note.

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AtoZ Challenge 2018LifeStyle

Nanu Nani – The Other Grandparents – AtoZChallenge

posted by Anupriya April 16, 2018 0 comments

Amrita was really worked up. She was to travel across the country to her parents in a week’s time and she didn’t know if she could manage the kids all alone. Actually, managing the kids wasn’t the real problem. The actual problem was what she would do if one of them started whining and pinning for their father. She remembered her last visit to her parents when Nik had started wailing within minutes of setting his foot in his grandparents home.  Amrita had spent the next two days in a constant effort to keep him busy and amused before he became accustomed to the idea of spending time with his Nanu.

But now with two kids, Amrita was getting jitters of her lifetime. So much so that she even considered leaving Nik behind with Raghav. Nik could then travel with Raghav a week later. But wait! How could she even consider such a thing? She could already visualize her mother’s wide eyed in betrayed anger and her father’s misty eyes screaming extremely disappointment. Her mom-in-law once told her about how she was not allowed entry into her parents’ home because she had gone alone without any of the three kids. At that time, Amrita was just a new bride and could not fathom the gravity of the situation. She had found it absurd, ‘How can the grand children be so important that the daughter takes on a second place in the priority list?’ she had squealed amusingly. But now she knew better. Rather she knew more.

Amrita and her sister, Smita had never experienced grand-parents love for their paternal grandparents stayed too far away and given their parents’ limited resources, they could visit them only once in two years. And they had never seen their maternal grandparents. They had passed away in an accident even before Smita was born. Amrita knew that grandparents share a very special bond with heir grand children, but had never experienced it herself. Her first tryst with a gravity of this emotion was when her father had held Nik for the first time after his birth. She knew her father to be an extremely emotional man. Also one who was extremely fond of kids. But that day she had seen him hold 5 day old Nik in his palms, his eyes shining with unshed tears he was murmuring sweet nothings into his ears. Amrita realized that could never have fathomed the depth of this emotion from any stories that she had heard or read till date.

She knew that in her parents’ case the craving to be important to their grandsons was intense for one more reason. In his youth her father had displayed an extremely unconventional attitude in having just two daughters and not trying for a third child expecting a son. But now in his old age, when both his daughters were married and the old couple lived alone miles away from both their kids, Nik’s birth had given them an inexplicable hope. One, they were relieved that their daughter will not have the bear the societal pressures of bearing a son for a secure future. Two, they could now have their fill of having a little boy run around in their home which hey had never experienced till date. Well it will be two boys now, Amrita reflected.

Amrita recalled what her mother had told her when she met her after Nik’s birth. ‘I am glad that God blessed you with a son.’ Amrita had glared at her.

‘Oh, for me anything would have been a blessing. But I was scared for your Dad. He would have stopped believing in God otherwise.’ Mrs. Xxx had muffled.

It disturbed Amrita to hear what a mother said. Despite all their efforts to be responsible daughters who tried to be there for their parents as much as possible, her father still was stuck in the age old gender bias. Hadn’t he taken a stand for his daughters years ago, ‘I have resources to responsibly bring up only two kids. I will not risk their education and right to a bright future for my greed to have a son’ She had been so proud of her dad, when she had eves dropped on him having a discussion with her grandparents. She figured they had actually reprimanded him to give in to their wish to have a boy grandchild.  Then why now had he succumbed to the societal pressures? Why had insecurity gotten the better of him? These questions were deep rooted and Amrita neither had the inclination nor the energy to find answers to them. She was too busy planning her trip to her parents the coming week. Her days began with a prayer to keep her kids in good spirits during their stay at Nanu’s and ended with trivia over how she would manage if the kids decided to go awry with their tantrums to go back home.

And the rest of the family just didn’t help.

‘I guess you should have planned a shorter trip. The kids might not like it there.’ said her mother-in-law nonchalantly. Amrita pondered. May be she is infact right. Here they live in a joint family with their cousins and a full house with 10 adult members. And there, it’s just my mom-dad. Should I shorten my trip? But then mom-dad will be hurt. A week in six months isn’t enough.

‘What will you do if they keep crying and ask to meet dad?’ her sister in law took a dig at her. Her already distressed mind was in panic. Thank god, there’s easy video chatting these days.

With clouds grey with doubt and apprehension, Amrita began her journey to her parents’ city. Her time in the airport went as per plan with nothing much to worry about. The only thing that bothered her was the constant phone calls from both sets of grandparents checking on their whereabouts and if the kids were fine.

Later, when they reached Nanu’s place, Nik was thrilled. Lucky had dozed off in her lap during their drive from the airport to home. Once home, Nik walked through the entire 3 BHK house, as if inspecting the space.

‘Nanu, what happened to the AC in your room?’ his clinking voice brought a wide grin on Mrs. Gunjal’s face. Amrita just sat at the dining table enjoying her favorite fennel sharbat and observed that Nik had remembered things from his last visit almost 8 months ago. Her gaze went to her father. He picked up Nik in his lap and begun a conversation with his eldest grandchild.

‘You do remember that there was an air conditioner in that room.’ Mr Gunjal was smiling ecstatically as Nik nodded in affirmative.

‘I also saw that you have put a new AC in Massi’s room.’ Nik fiddled with his Nanu’s stubble, before adding, ‘Can we take that room? I like the new curtains there.’

Amrita turned to look up at her mom and saw the satisfaction that she drew from Nik’s enthusiasm over the recently renovated room. Her mom had got everything refurbished recently to make the room look like a kid’s room. Amrita had found the entire activity to be a waste of money, ‘So much for just a fortnight of stay throughout the year. You could’ve used the money for yourself instead.’ But Mrs. Xxx had gone ahead with her plan, ‘I am sure they have everything they want and need in their paternal grandparents’ home, but we too want to have a share of pampering our grand children!’ she had exclaimed.

Later that night, post dinner when Amrita had almost let her guards down and was ready to retire for the night with the kids, Nik threw a tantrum. ‘I want to sleep on this new couch with Papa’ he started to wail. Any efforts to explain anything to him only led to a higher pitched cry. Nik was on the floor throwing away his limbs and crying incessantly, ‘I want Papa…. I want Papa…’ Amrita took a deep breadth and was about to move ahead to pick Nik up from the floor, when her dad held her hand. He nodded with a slight movement of his chin and signaled to her to let him handle things.

Mr. Gunjal picked up his grandchild in his embrace and took him out of the house. ‘I see that you are missing your papa. But I want to show you something beautiful.’ Amrita realized that he was taking Nik out to distract him with the fireworks outside. Their home was in a locality surrounded by wedding banquets. During the wedding season, it was normal to be able to view fantastic fireworks that marked the celebrations. As expected Nik loved the glittering sky and got engrossed in enjoying the view. Almost half an hour later, he came in giggling with his grandfather and insisted that he sleep with him that night.

Tired Mr. Gunjal settled on his bed and took Nik in his lap, ‘Beta, Nanu may not be as interesting as your papa, but he really loves you as much. This old man waits for long months for you to come and spend some days here. This is all yours and you must learn to enjoy every little thing in this house.’ The old man sighed, tiredness visible in his wrinkled face. Yet his eyes shone with a strange excitement. Amrita felt as if he were stretching himself to make the best of the limited time he had with his grandchildren. He started telling Nik a story about a jungle, but Nik exhausted with the journey had already slumped off to sleep in his lap. Amrita helped him put Nik to bed and retired to sleep herself. She was relieved that kids had been managed well atleast for the time being. She recalled the intensity of fondness in her parents demeanor while interacting with the kids and realized that she had never seen her parents so passionate even about her or her sister. A mild smile played on her lips as she remembered something that her father had said when Nik was born, ‘Don’t expect me to be the same strict old man any more. This is my grandson. You are my capital investment and he is the interest. From a businessman’s perspective interest is always dearer than the principal. I am going to indulge this little boy to my whims and fancies.’

With this assurance that her parents will find a way to manage the kids throughout the stay, Amrita dozed off for the night.

I am participating in the challenge of April with #Blogchatter

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AtoZ Challenge 2018

Marriage Heat – Rekindling the Romance – AtoZChallenge

posted by Anupriya April 14, 2018 0 comments

Amrita  rushed into the car where Raghav was waiting for her impatiently.

‘Come on, come on. Hurry up! Sweetheart, we are already late.’ Raghav said adjusting the rear view of his SUV that he had brought just a month back, ‘This is going to be our first night out without Nik and our first long drive in this BIG CAR.’

Amrita settled down in her seat and gave a sideways look towards Raghav, ‘Are you happy for the night out or the long drive?’. When Raghav turned to look at Amrita, he got confused if Amrita was angry or just saying. He was a strong believer of the philosophy that said that, “It was impossible for a man to make his wife happy”. He remembered the times when Amrita had lost her temper over something trivial he had said. In arguments at later moments, it turned out that Amrita had been upset over something he had said without even giving any thought. He often joked after his father, who he thought had no clue of what upset his mother even after 35 years of marriage.

‘Both baby. Aren’t you excited?’ Raghav gave a cautious reply trying to avoid walking on a thin line.

‘What’s the use? It’s not like we are going on a romantic night out or something. It’s a god damn cousins’ get together at Vedic Village.’ With a toddler to take care of and no time off from the baby for last one year, Amrita had agreed to go to this holiday home resort gathering only for the reason that it would give her a break. She badly needed that time off. But she also needed to spend some time with her husband, alone without a wallowing toddler in the background and a snoring couple for in-laws. Alas, that was not to be today. Today she would have to do with the absence of the toddler and the in-laws. Amrita shrunk her nose and confessed mentally that this get-together could be a lot of fun. Raghavs’s cousins were a cool and she really liked some of them. Infact, she liked them all.

‘But I am not regretting. We are going to rock the night. Uhmm?’ she smiled up at Raghav, who was relieved. He too was looking to have some fun time with his cousins tonight. They would chat, sing, dance and play poker throughout the night.  For once since Nik’s birth he would not have to worry about being a responsible father and a considerate husband.

Almost two hours later, they reached vedic village and realized that they were the last ones to arrive. But one look at each other and they knew that they weren’t complaining. Although the way to the resort village was only one and a half hour, it took them 30 extra minutes, because Raghav decided to play naughty and pulled over to a secluded kuchcha road. When Amrita had looked at him in confusion, he had winked and brought the car to halt in a dark expanse surrounded by heavy bushes and trees. There they shared some long minutes of naughty passion in their SUV.

‘I thought you didn’t have it in you anymore’ Amrita was short of breath as she lay panting in Raghav’s arms.

‘You looked so hot in this off shoulder top and this skirt. I wanted to take you at home itself before leaving. But then I got this idea’, Raghav swiped aside a flick of hair from Amrita’s forehead and tucked it behind her ear.

 

Once off the car, Raghav and Amrita walked towards the group hand-in-hand. Nobody noticed when Raghav squeezed Amrita’s hand and rubbed it in manner that tickled Amrita’s passion once again. They both exchanged a meaningful look and parted ways to greet and meet the group waiting for them.

Raghav was particularly happy with this short adventure of theirs. He remembered how they both were so fun loving as a couple when they were studying. Theirs’ was a love marriage. But the post marriage responsibilities and their sense of duty towards their family had taken a toll on their relationship. And it had got even worse after Nik had arrived. His ailing father and an infant in the home had made it impossible to spare any time for themselves. It was even worse for Amrita. She had had to give up her career for the kid and taking care of their parents. They had domestic help, but they could not operate independently. He decided that he would make tonight special for Amrita. It would be a daunting task to excuse themselves from the crowd, but somehow he had to do it. Then an idea clicked and he started to wait for midnight impatiently.

Amrita’s senses were still raw from their adventure enroute the village resort. Raghav’s daring gesture had rekindled their long lost passion and she was assured that the die-hard romantic she had fallen for was still there. He had only been camouflaged by the rut of daily life. She was glad that her mother-in-law had insisted that they join the other’s for this winter picnic. She had assured Amrita that Nik would be fine and the old couple would take care of themselves too. And now Amrita was wondering if she would have any more adventures tonight.

As the night arrived, the young group’s mood became ecstatic. The group comprised of eight married couples and half a dozen single people. The overnight party was a bachelor party for one of the cousins getting married shortly. So everyone freshened up, had dinner and headed to the resort disco to rock the dance floor. Amrita was first reluctant to join everyone on the dance floor. She thought that she was no more in her elements that would enable her to enjoy herself on the floor. But other’s would have none of it. No one was allowed to standby and watch the action. Everyone had to join. Once on the floor, Amrita began to sway to the peppy music and laughed when she saw Raghav gyrating while rocking his head, along with another cousin causing a roar of applause from the group.

After a while the music changed to a slow intimate number and all the couples started grooving to it. Amrita felt Rahgav held him a tad too close for her comfort in the public. Also the memories from earlier that they came rushing back.

‘Are you blushing sweetheart’ Raghav leaned closure and whispered into Amrita’s ear.

‘You bet. I am not interested in this dance thing right now. I just want to elope with you to the end of the world right now.’ Amrita laughed at the ridicule of her own statement. She wanted to run away with her husband. She suddenly saw a change of expression in her husband’s eyes who was looking around as if searching for someone. Then he excused himself and went to talk to one of his cousins. He returned within a minute and held Amrita by her wrist and pulled her out of the disco.

‘Where are we going?’

‘Shhh! Just come with me.’ Raghav was walking out of the lobby towards the parking lot as Amrita looked on in utter confusion.

She understood his intentions when he stopped infront of a bike which she recognized belonged to one of the cousins. One look at Raghav and she understood that he was taking her for a ride. They hopped on the bike and Raghav rode towards the isolated area of the village resort that was a thick tree covered land.

Amrita put her arms around Raghav. As she came to rest them on his chest, she felt his heart beat quicken. She leaned over his shoulder, ‘What will the others think?’ she asked nervously.

‘That their crazy lust lorn cousin is out for a date with this wife’ Raghav replied confidently.

On their way, Amrita spotted a few couples trying to live some private moments in the thick forestation. She was reminded of instances when she had spotted people in an act of PDA or trying to steal a kiss or two in a park or almost in action in places such as the reclamation. She then realized that until today, she had judged such couples and kind of ridiculed them. But today when she was on the similar path, she found all of it so exciting and daring. She realized that she had been so bogged down by her life amidst the kid and family that she had almost forgotten what passion could make people do.

Raghav pulled on Amrita’s hand that rested on his chest, signaling Amrita to lean in closure on him. He knew that Amrita was going through a crazy phase of her life and he himself was so tied with his job and other patriarchal responsibilities that he had not been able to give her any time. But his lips curled up in a smile thinking that tonight he would more than make up for the time lost and give them both some beautiful moments that would keep them going for the coming months. He came to halt the bike and looked around to spot a secluded place with rich bushes and trees to cover them up. He pulled Amrita by her hand and came to rest back against a thick tree trunk.

‘If someone sees us here?’ she asked Raghav as she bit her lower lip as if inviting him to go ahead with whatever he wished to do.

‘Their problem! I am here with my lawfully wedded wife.’ Raghav said before closing in on Amrita’s hollow of the neck. Amrita let out a groan in pleasure as she felt her husband’s hands crawl beneath her top and go all over her.

It was almost two hours before Raghav received a call from his cousin. He told him that Amrita was feeling claustrophobic in the dark crowded disco so he had taken her out for a drive. All this while Amrita felt the hot caresses of his gaze on her. With one last peck on the lips, they both got on the bike and headed to join the group.

Amrita realized that these exciting moments of marriage heat were enough for her to go good for another couple of months. Life would remain as it was, but she now knew that her husband still found her desirable. And that made a lot of difference to her otherwise mundane life.

I am participating in the challenge of April with #Blogchatter

Read my AtoZ Challenge posts here

AtoZ Challenge 2018MotherhoodWoman Empowerment

Let Go of a Toxic Relationship – AtoZ Challenge

posted by Anupriya April 13, 2018 0 comments

Amrita first saw it on social media. Various groups of students from various batches from her MBA college were talking about it. Within minutes, she received a message, ‘Do you know anything about it? How did it happen? You were close to her.’

Damn, I was close to her. She was my roommate and a cool one. Amrita thought to herself. She checked her contact list for her co-ordinates. I hope this is her active number. Amrita dialed the number and waited pensively.

‘Hi Amu’, came Ishita’s voice from the other end. There was a calm in her voice, as if she were expecting this call.

‘I just read. What happened?’ Amrita chucked off the formalities and got to the point. Anxiety was getting the better of her. Also, she knew that Ishita won’t mind. They had not been the best friends at college, but they were the coolest roommates that anyone could dream of. They had Maggie together at midnight, enjoyed the mushiest of bollywood movies umpteen times on their laptop together. Their late night tet-a-tete(s) were about everything under the sun. Amrita found it hard to believe that the lean girl who was known as the ‘Chota Bomb Bada Dhamaka’ in the batch had been through hell in her marriage. What forced her to file an FIR against her spouse and seek protection? Her head swarmed with questions as she waited for Ishita to reply.

‘He turned out to be a wife-beating puppet in the hands of her mother and sister. He…..’ as Ishita recounted her story, Amrita’s heart went out to her. With a heavy heart she said a few words of support to Ishita and disconnected the call.

Later that night, Amrita mused over what Ishita had told her.

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That morning Ishita had left from home in a jiffy because of an important client visit and it was safe to have some time in hand when your office was 30 kms away from your home. She was excited about the meeting because the clients sounded very optimistic and the deal if finalized would mean 120% target met for Ishita. She had only been half way through, when her phone rang and Ishita froze. ‘What could it be? God let everything be fine!’ Ishita’s vision almost blurred with anxiety. She immediately took the call else her husband would think that she was trying to ignore him, which would not go down well with him.

“I have some friends coming over in the evening. So come home early and prepare some good food along with starters.” said the voice on the other end.

Ishita sighed, “That’s no problem. If the meeting goes well, then I will be able to leave early today.”

“I am not concerned about your meeting or clients. You should be home in time enough to have starters and a sumptuous dinner ready for 6 people”, he growled on the phone, “By the way did you clean the toilets today?”

Ishita felt a lump of air choke her and she whispered, “No. I had cleaned them just yesterday, so just washed them over with plain water.” Something told Ishita that this was going to get ugly.

“You are such a good for nothing bitch. I need you to go back home right now and do the cleaning. I do not wish to be embarrassed in front of my colleagues”, he was shouting now.

“But I could do that in the evening. I have an important …” Ishita tried to reason.

“Listen to me girl, I have had enough from you. So if you want to spare yourself the consequences tonight just drive back and clean the entire house” A tear rolled down her eyes as Ishita turned around her car to go back home.

Having done the cleaning, on her drive back to the office, Ishita pulled her car on the service road of the highway and reclined the driver’s seat so that she could lay back and relax for some time. That was the first day when the thought of not carrying on with this toxic relationship occurred to Ishita. A honking truck passing by woke Ishita up from her nap. She straightened her car seat switched on ignition and started for her office where on her request her boss had managed to postpone the meeting for 2 hours. She twitched with a sad grin. ‘Even my boss understands my condition. I did not have to give him any explanation when I requested a late arrival to office.’ She thought, “Then why is it that my own husband cannot see what he is doing to his seven month pregnant wife!”

Ishita’s thoughts ran in an endless loop everyday trying to figure out, how her life had come to be such a mess. She had completed her MBA three years back and was earning a handsome 6 digit salary per month when Harjeet’s family approached her parents for alliance through a common friend. Everything was nice and rosy until the wedding. But there on things had worsened beyond imagination. Her in-laws had not been discrete at all in letting her know that they had not liked the gifts conferred upon them by her parents. Very diplomatically they had led Ishita into feeling guilty about the whole thing and manipulated her into agreeing to spend her money on expensive gifts for Harjeet’s parents’ and extended family.

Things did not end there. Harjeet himself was a Management Post graduate and had ventured into a small business of his own. A couple of days into the wedding, Ishita realized that contrary to what had been presented to her family, Harjeet had not been doing well in his business. As a result Ishita was asked to take care of all the household expenses. She was also expected to perform all the daily chores of the house all by herself because they could not afford domestic help.

Initially, Ishita did not suspect any foul play because she being in a sales profession was enterprising enough to understand that life with a start up owner could be difficult and challenging. She was somehow hopeful that things would work out eventually, and thus did not mind supporting her husband financially or in any other way. Though she felt extremely exhausted running around the house as well as fulfilling her commitments towards her highly demanding job, she continued to work 20 hours a day for those few words of appreciation from her husband.

Why despite being educated and financially independent, did Ishita put one with this nonsense of a relationship? That’s because she did not want to give up so soon. Ishita feared that if she failed as a home-maker, people would get back at her parents for giving her a free hand to pursue a high flying career. She did not want anyone to tell her parents that, “See! This is what happens when you let your girls have their own way. They cease to be good wives!”

Six months down their wedding, Ishita declared her pregnancy anticipating that her in-laws would warm up to her now. That her husband would now take care of her and not abuse her any more. But things worsened. The conversations around her pregnancy were full of hopes of having a boy child. Whatever love and care was showered upon her came with a superscript, “We hope there’s a boy in there.” Harjeet’s unreasonable demands at home and consequent abuse became frequent and violent. Ishita’s only hope to have a peaceful and happy marriage now rested upon the child inside her womb. She prayed to God day and night for a boy.

Days passed by and Ishita went to her parent’s home in a different town for her delivery. She was admitted to the nursing home with an alarming pain in her abdomen. Her husband and his family were informed about the emergency. Harjeet traveled 2 hours to the hospital, met her parents, said some curt words about how he and his family should not be bothered again for such trivial matters and left without meeting her. It was for the first time that her parents came to realize about the problems Ishita had been facing in her marriage. They were astounded, but did not say much because they knew that Ishita needed all their support and care at this crucial juncture in her life.

All hell broke loose for Ishita when she was told that God had showered his blessings in the form of Goddess Lakshmi. A month later Ishita along with her daughter and parents travelled back to her husband’s house. She was terrified at the thought of the treatment her parents might be met with. Nevertheless, what could she do? A married girl could not stay at her parent’s place forever.

So what if she was qualified and financially independent! Her success quotient in life would only come from her ability to keep up a marriage that had only bitterness in its foundation.

Upon reaching her husband’s house, Ishita found a drunk disheveled man who seemed prepared to leash out at anyone who dared to confront him. Her parents while maintaining a composed demeanor tried to reason out with Harjeet. They said that this was their first child; they would definitely have a boy for a second child. Harjeet in his rage became violent and attacked her father with the glass in his hands. When her mother tried to intervene, he pulled her back with her hair and threatened her with her life if she interfered. As Ishita watched the series of events unfold infront of her she went numb and felt as if her feet were struck to the ground. She felt incapable of moving and taking any action. But suddenly she realized that Harjeet was moving towards the cradle in which her daughter was lying. It took her a couple of seconds to comprehend that her daughter was in danger. With the force of lightening she ran to pick up her daughter, shouted out at her parents to gather themselves up and run out of the house. Before a drunk Harjeet could understand what she was upto, she shot out of the house and locked the door with the keys that lay in her trouser pockets.

Ishita is running pillar to post for a battle (legal and emotional) that is hers to fight and win, so that her daughter can live a life with her head held high. As Ishita looks over her sleeping angel, she understands now that God did not confer his blessings upon her in the form of Goddess Lakshmi. Instead he sent Ma Shakti in the form of her daughter so that she would give her the strength to let go of a toxic relationship and fight back the injustice she had been tolerating for so long. Becoming a mother changed everything for her.

I am participating in the challenge of April with #Blogchatter

Read my AtoZ Challenge posts here