Lingered a bit, staring at the big cone of ice-cream,
and at the young boy enjoying it……..
His mother hastily pulled him back,
away from her eye, and closed window glass.
The cars revved up, ready to move,
she retreated to the safe harbour of her nook.
Pursed her dried lips in an attempt to moisten,
as the cars raced past hundreds in numbers.
Glitzy, shiny cars — always in a rush,
for more speed, more money, more comforts.
Lifting her eyes against the harsh sun,
squinted at the figure up amidst the mad rush.
The lady’s lips ready to blow the whistle,
alert eyes watchful to catch rule-breakers.
THIS is it!
No more dreams of riding a car,
no more wish to own it.
Controlling hundreds of them
would be more like it!
A slow smile dissolved
in the dimples of the tiny girl.
Brightened her eyes with a twinkle,
as her mind was finally made up!
[Children, even at a young age, are aware of their circumstances. They also understand the futility of dreaming for the impossible and know the importance of aiming for something that could be achievable]
I had never imagined that I would take up an office job — that too, after being only a home-maker for twenty eight long years.
It was not a conscious decision just to break away from the comfort zone. But it definitely was a big step, because it is not easy to take up a 9 to 5 job after spending 28 years in the confines of the four walls.
Someone informed about a vacancy in a science academic institute, and I thought of giving it a try. Almost all the family responsibilities were fulfilled by then, so why not? Of course, only my decision did not count here. I had already crossed 50, so any employer would have thought twice (or more) before appointing someone nearing retirement age. Luckily, they too did not have any issue with a 50+ worker.
Thus started a new phase of my life — balancing household work with an eight hour job. It surely wasn’t easy. The house-work, purchasing daily requirements etc., which earlier I could comfortably spread over a span of 8 to 10 hours, now I had to cramp it all within one and a half hour in the morning and 2 – 3 hours in the evening. This, while managing a demanding job in the 8 – 9 hours in between.
Along with the time crunch, the other major hurdle was commuting in Mumbai’s notoriously crowded local trains and buses, at the peak rush hours. It was difficult, however, I did manage, not for just days or weeks, but for four years.
The job itself wasn’t a cake-walk; it would have been foolish to expect it to be so. Though I had a masters degree in science, I had never put it to academic use. It was not just brushing up my knowledge, but also to learn many things anew. New type of work, new people and to learn and adjust to all this new environment — each thing was a challenge.
At 52, I was the oldest among all (including the employers), yet I was well-accepted by all; but still, there was quite some resistance and feeling of rivalry from a few whose work profile was similar to mine. Some even tried to create trouble for me. But things changed and later we all became so friendly that now years after me quitting the job, they are still in touch with me.
All in all, it was a great experience. I learnt a lot, I enjoyed even more. Most important, this experience helped boost my self esteem.
I would have missed out on all this, had I not taken the risk of stepping out of my comfort zone.
This is the view from the arch of Sajja Kothi (Mansion of Balconies) at Fort Panhala in Maharashtra, India. It looks over the valley floor below and so it was used as a watch tower to detect the movements of the approaching opponent.
Atop the City of Bangalore:
Linking this post to: Weekly Photo Challenge: Atop
The other day I was at the billing counter of the local horticulture shop, when someone rushed ahead with, “Hey brother, give me one packet of ….”
I gave a typical ‘irritated old woman’ look and the stocky, bespectacled youth returned an apologetic smile, “You see, I had finished my purchases and left the shop, but then I remembered ginger-garlic paste….” I moved aside and he bought his spices. Continue reading →
A decorative Jaipur tile coaster and a Malaysian tea-light.
A Good Food Match – Indian Style!
A crisp dosa with spicy chutneys – A breakfast combination that is almost a daily routine in the southern parts of India, but now it is popular all over the country. Together they make a perfect match!
Generally the books that keep you riveted to their pages are — the suspense thrillers. At least, I find the mystery thrillers un-put-downable. But I guess the suspense thrillers are meant to be compulsive page-turners and so, it is no wonder that all these books make a great read.
Truly speaking, I generally remain loyal to my pet genre, not deviating from it towards any other type. But quite a few years ago, someone gifted me ‘Roots’ by Alex Haley.
Just because the book was with me and at that time there was nothing else worth reading, so I thought of giving it a try — and within not time I got hooked to it.
Alex Haley was an American journalist – writer. This book is his research about his family history and his search for his roots which took him to the deep jungles of Africa. This is a saga of how African tribesmen were captured and transported under inhuman conditions to America and sold there as slaves.
One of these was Kunta Kinte (from Gambia), the author’s ancestor, who landed at Annapolis and led a life of a slave on plantations. The story unravels the trials and tribulations of him and his next generations. At times you feel that you cannot go any further and yet, you cannot take your eyes off the book.
This book proved my belief wrong, that only suspense thrillers make a compulsive read. (Later this book was make into a very successful television mini-series)
There were some controversies about the authenticity of Haley’s claim. (Later the author conceded that it was ‘fusion of facts and fiction’) However, here I have commented on the book only as a reading material — irrespective of whether it is fact or fiction; history or genealogy. And in my opinion, it is an un-put-downable read.
(Written in response to IndiSpire Edition #157 at Indiblogger)
One can find anything and everything in the city of Mumbai — except space. And so, a small balcony of the apartment becomes a mini-garden. But during the April of 2016 we suddenly had to lock our house and go away for more than 15 – 20 days. The months of April, May and June are the hottest months in the tropical country and it is not possible for any plant to survive long without water. However, there was no other way out.
We had a fair idea of what to expect and just as we had dreaded, on our return, we found the green patch in our balcony all dried and dead. One of the prominent among these plants was a Hibiscus or Shoe flower plant, which had given us many such ruby red, jewel toned flowers. During its blossoming season, everyday the plant would be adorned with at least 8-10 such flowers. So naturally we were sad to loose this particular plant.
Somehow, we just didn’t feel like throwing away the dried brown stem and thought of giving it a chance. We cut off the dead branches and only the stump remained. My husband had read it somewhere that moisture can be trapped if the cut off stem is covered with polythene. We did that and continued watering the pot through the heat of May.
The moisture was indeed getting trapped as we could see on the insides of the polythene. But there was no other sign of survival. We had lost all hopes but still continued watering it.
By June, it was two months since the plant had dried up, so no chance of any revival. Then by mid June, the monsoon arrived in a full force. And we heaved a sigh of relief – as we detected a slight speck of green on one of the lower dried up branch.
Slowly, very very slowly the green dots started taking the shape of tiny leaves. The entire process, from its dried up state to the appearance of the green specks, was painfully gradual. But the resilient plant did return from dead!
I do am aware that here the picture quality is not perfect for a Photo Challenge. (At the time, the pictures were clicked only to record the process and progress). However, these pictures tell a story of ……….. A Survival — Against the Odds!