Sunday, June 5, 2022

Social Awkwardness and Anxiety

I have been socially an awkward person for as long as I have known. I can be called an introvert...a socially-phobic and anxious person! It is not easy to put up with me! And it's not very easy to believe it because in an office atmosphere or at social gatherings I try my best and behave as if I am comfortable. Truth be told, I would be suffocating and waiting for the ordeal to end if I have to connect and keep talking to people for long. If I really connect with a person, I talk about anything and everything, but that connection happens rarely. In the recent past ( maybe in new normal) I have a feeling that I actually can connect better only with people who read or write and rest all even if are close to me, I don't feel that spark, the joy or the connect! With writers/readers who mostly are like-minded folks, I won't be standing on the pedestal explaining my excitement, burdened thoughts, anxiety, or emotions! Anyway more on it later.

I just wanna narrate a funny incident which happened in my apartment. I went to a ceremony in a neighbor's house, which is again a big deal to me coz there r groups and then groups and just the sea of people wherever you see. Needless to say it makes me anxious, so anxious that I breathe in , breathe out at times! No. I am not kidding. I always find a quite corner in any social event , specially during family or neighborhood events or functions ! I want to be that wall flower and want every one to forget me. I know some of you must be frowning as my personality online doesn't seem the same! So I sat across the host who is a friend, and managed small talks with few around...the usual.." how are you!? How do u do? Did maid come? How's health? Are u working out" and such.


Even if I am not very outgoing, I am cordial. I try to maintain social dignity and just talk. My daughter so far is a people person - a contrasting personality when compared with me. So in that ceremony, I spot this one woman who is good-looking, has a good smile, and seemed friendly with all. A week before she had some other party at her home …and there was a last-minute invitation ( a phone call to my husband by some other member of her family) while we were all out for some long personal errand. My husband attended the party for a while, once we came back. He is quite social and has many friends among our neighbors! I was engrossed in housework, feeding Zaara and putting her to sleep. I tried saying an audible enough hi and simply tried just saying that we missed your party that day ...such and such...blah blah...I didn't even finish the sentence and I observed that she was plain ignoring me. Ignore as in, I am talking to her...and she glared at me and looked at the roof, at walls, at other people and exchanged smiles with them, etc. much to the amusement of some who were surrounding me :) and I was befuddled! I was trying to recollect if she and I spoke at any time or had any differing opinions or arguments ( in present digital circumstances it is quite a possibility). I had no memory of talking to her ever. I observed that she was talking fine with everyone but me๐Ÿ˜‚ For a while I was confused, analyzed, and overanalyzed the situation, then forgot as I felt clueless.

I had my lunch (that is important ๐Ÿ˜œ), spent some time, and finally left. I went on with my day but that event was poking me in the back of my mind! Anyhoo I buried it.

In the evening we all decided to go to the park for a walk. As we entered the elevator, there were a bunch of kids... playing, shouting, and in their usual high spirits! Zaara knows most of them and two slightly elder kids  (a 10-11 yr old and maybe an 8 yr old) who like her a lot started talking to her and pampering her! The 10-11-year-old girl suddenly looks at me and says:

"Aunty. I wanted to meet you from so long!"

I was puzzled, and asked : "Me???"

"Yes Aunty. I read your blog so!"

An elated me: "Wow ! Really?"

"Yes. I specially read Zaaras posts. That poem and also Zesty Zaara (she was talking about my A - Z posts) - they are just awesome!"

"Thank You so much. I feel awesome too as you read it. But how did you know my blog ?"

" My uncle read it and he showed to me!"

"Oh! So cool."

"Yes Aunty, you should show to Zaara when she grows! She will love it!"

I said Ya definitely, and we reached their floor. We said bye to each other. 

I was amazed by the acknowledgement and calm attitude, a 11 year old showed! Felt surprised by the fact that she could read my blog so well.  I spoke to her with so much ease. I loved every bit of that happy and honest talk.

As the day ended, it dawned on me that I may talk well with only a select group of adults, but I can manage talks with all the kids! The little girl made me so happy and I forgot the awkward moment from my morning!

And here comes the crazy twist - the girl who honoured me with her appreciation is the kid of the lady who gave me cold shoulder ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜‚ It felt super crazy once I realised it. I mean God has his own ways I suppose! 

The reason I am writing all this on the blog is cuz I am comfortable here. I can speak to myself and share my thoughts transparently with a few like-minded folks. If you are also socially anxious like me, you will understand what I am saying! If I talk all this with some other friends who even after knowing me pretty well, would still say, "Take it easy!" and label me an "OverThinker!"

To some extent they are true, overthinking never helps, but not being mute and sharing thoughts does help...so here I am writing it on my blog! 

By the way for doing what - I was subjected to a cold stare and shoulder still remains a mystery!!๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคช but what is life without a little mystery isn't it? Have you ever been in a socially awkward situation? Are you an introvert? How do you handle yourself in social gatherings?

Do share your experiences :) 

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Ramzan Memories of 90s


As I sit engulfed in the aroma of eid-ul-fir/Ramzan delicacies being made by mom  (Sheer Khurma, biryani, dal cha, dry fruits mix as a topping, bhaji and chicken fry), I am trying to recollect my best Eid memory so far.


Nothing matches the joy of Ramzan spent with my naana naani (grandparents). I vividly remember early and mid-90s, those Eid days when usually our entire family clan reunites. My grandma has four daughters and one son. We lived in the same town Ongole in the closest vicinity to my naana naani and uncle, aunt ( maama maami). All the other daughters were in different cities. Usually, all the sisters and the only brother meet every Ramzan! I used to go there even before a week, to take part in preparations and have fun. My naani used to have a very old sevayya making machine...it is a machine in which you put in the wheat flour and rotate it. A sieve with very narrow holes is fixed to the bottom of the machine from which sevayya would come out....it has to be operated manually! The sevayya is collected on plates and dried in sun. It is also collected on the backside of bowls, or trays. They would look like very thin noodles. Once dried and scrapped it takes the shape of the container, the sevayya is then preserved in huge steel boxes only to be opened on Eid day!


Getting Mehndi/Henna on hands a night before Eid is a beautiful ritual

Even a morsel of sheer khurma is heavenly. The dry fruit toppings ( cashews, dates, raisins, etc) and the grated coconut are mixed together - we call it "chowba" in Andhra. Frankly eating sheer-khurma without this topping is a crime! Ramzan festival date is declared after the moon sighting and hence is celebrated on different days in different parts of the world. In the USA and UAE Eid begins one day before it does in India! Everyone distributes food and gives alms to whoever is in need during the Ramadan month!
Dum Ke sevayya with "chowba" as topping

Sheer Khurma

Once the entire family offers Eid ka namaaz and wish Eid Mubarak to each other, they gather and relish generous bowls of sheer khurma! My personal favorite variant is Dum ke sevayya laden with khoa/mawa....I don't know if it's magic in my naanis or mother's hands but my mouth waters seeing that vibrant orangish-brown colored sevayya with the khoa sprinkled all over it. Another version is Mutton Kheema sevayya for non-veg lovers. Once cooked the aroma would reach the end of the street you live in❤️๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿ˜‹ Either chicken or mutton biryanis are cooked here in Andhra Pradesh /Telangana along with raaita (curd gravy), baingan ka khatta (a yummy spicy baingan gravy) or dal cha (a dal dish)! The lavish spread of food is sinful and you can't stick to your diet just for that day! You must forget your diet regimes and attack the food! Various versions of foods are cooked in various states of India!

In my childhood as we used to have all the five families (most of the years) united at my grandma's house, it was always noisy, and filled with food, fun, and laughs! After offering namaaz and consuming loads of sheer khurma and spicy kheema sevayya as breakfast...we would wish eid Mubarak by hugging one another. The hug feels warm especially when exchanged with granny and grandpa. Then comes the ritual of "Eidi" a process where you demand gifts or money from elderly members of the family. Some give money easily and some tease you, asking you favours or reprimand you to do chores to earn Eidi. Once one of my uncles made a fun proposal..."whoever gives me 50 rupees, I will give them 100/-...and I will give only 50 Rs/-  to those who can't give me 50!" Hearing that all the kids flanked him giving away 50 and snatching 100. After all 100 means a lot in those days...an ice cream, spicy chat and maybe purchasing a fun game! My smartness kicked in and I got a very bright๐Ÿ’ก idea๐Ÿ’ญ. In that crowd, he couldn't recognize who was who. I joined the loud boisterous gang demanding money and took only 50/- saying I have no money. I returned in ten min saying I have 50 and gave his 50 to him and took 100/- ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ He couldn't realize it was me who had already taken 50 from him! The noises and banter continued till everyone was satisfied with their rewards and gifts.

Monday, May 2, 2022

A to Z Journey - My Reflections post


I actually got busy with work and Ramzan festival is around the corner, but seeing every one doing a A to Z reflections post, it perked me up to do one too. I have already done a Thank You post which is as good as reflections...which surprisingly received lot of love! While writing it I felt may be I am rambling a lot....but then some of those points seemed useful to many bloggers which made me super glad. "My long posts and wrist pain haven't gone waste"- I felt๐Ÿ˜Œ. A to Z woke me up from a deep non-blogging slumber. Its like I woke up startled from a nightmare and I started penning down whatever came to my mind freely and unapologetically. Some of the posts written by me - Vision - An open letter to every Indian , Bemused, Covidiots were all highlighting the current situations and challenges. Not all may find them good because we have varying opinions among the World/Country citizens, but I am glad I could pen down my unfiltered thoughts through A to Z. When I started I was quite doubtful, shy and scared as I am blogging after a long break but everyone's comments encouraged and motivated me to continue writing! I mostly wrote about covid life and my daughter diaries during A to Z.

Following list covers all my A to Z blog posts  - now that I skim through them, I feel mystified that I could pull it through (ofcourse my friend and my mother contributed guest posts) ! ๐Ÿ˜‡๐Ÿ˜‡

This year was quite enriching because I have read a lot. When I finished challenge in past years (2013, 2014), we did it as a very small group and had no time to read from Master list. This time I had time to experience various writings, understand various walks of life,  challenges they faced, their accomplishments, failures, poetry, fiction, reviews, technology, foods, travelogues and much more. Aaah! It was like I experienced a ocean of blogs - each wave carrying its own flavor , its own authenticity. I loved the following blogs for their honesty, passion, fun quotient, emotional values, research , presentation , detailed analysis and much more. It was like I walked in to a human library.  To me interaction is the key. Whoever could interact seamlessly, I connected well with them!

Some blogs from my A to Z reading list:

Following are Top favs. They are quite interactive in their writing, be it on their own blogs or while sharing their views on others blogs๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ’“!

  1. https://fictionpies.com/ (Flash fiction based on books she read . A strong story established in very less words)
  2. https://crackerberries.wordpress.com/ (Became a fan of her spontaneity, her humor, her passion and the efforts she took to share others' blogs is commendable)
  3. www.hdhstory.net/storyblog ( MY MOST FAVORITE BLOG - UNIQUE letters written which highlight all real events both current and historical)
  4. https://liveandlearn-tossandturn.blogspot.com/  (Spontaneous posts , An interactive blog for readers)
  5. http://benchsnotebook.blogspot.com/ (Day to day anecdotes. Quite a fun blog)
  6. https://kalpanawrites.com/ (Wonderful travelogues)
  7. https://matheikal.blogspot.com/ (political satires. Something I read never before. Non-chalant writing)
  8. https://soniadogra.com/ (Beautiful and soulful poetry)
  9. https://thedreamgirlwrites.wordpress.com/ (Loved her fiction and style)
  10. https://waffle-with-wendy.blogspot.com/ (Conversations of Alice and Wendy - which you should not miss)
  11. https://thethreegerbers.blogspot.com/ (An interesting Starbucks Coffee story)
  12. https://moondustwriter.wordpress.com/ (A Sci-Fi account of the Ukraine war and tragic events. Must read)
  13. https://planetpailly.com/ (Quite a favorite blog. Gave me an idea to write my X post. A space blog which would make your imaginations soar)

Saturday, April 30, 2022

Zesty Zaara

Dear Zaara,

I am writing this letter just to preserve my feelings for you right at this moment. I am sure a mother's love cannot be explained in a manner which can be understood easily! Most of the times I know I am the bad cop at home and you don't like me teaching punctuality or discipline to you, you don't want me to make you sit to do homework, to force you to eat food, and to not allow to play 24*7...but in this letter I just am trying to say what you mean to me and how I feel. The day I felt a part of my soul reunited with me to make me feel life like is, 10-02-2017. When you screamed in the labour room at about 11:10 p.m. after an ordeal of a whole day ( the day started at 3 a.m. ๐Ÿ˜ช)I was relieved! At that moment I was only happy that I was out of pain and and for some reason I was feeling I would have a boy, so when doctors declared that it's a baby girl, my enthusiasm dampened. Don't glare at me๐Ÿคฌ. I know everyone who is reading this would frown! The only reason I wanted to have a baby boy is due to the fact that girls have to go through all this - what exactly I was going through... and that moment I really wanted a boy, but the second they placed the baby bundle in my hands, I broke-down. It all played in the back of mind, the struggle to have a child, the troubles I faced those 9 months and everything...As you quizzically looked at me and didn't cry at all...I fell in love with you. We did take many pics but missed that moment. I wish to have captured that inquisitive face filled with question marks. You didn't cry much. There definitely was a hint of anger and I felt may be you sensed that I wanted a boy๐Ÿ˜„. 

Taken 40 days after birth!

As we shifted to a normal room, and you kept on cooing and making gurgling sounds …with sparkly eyes and a hint of smile...with zero interest in sleep...the nurses said just in a span of 1-2 days, "the baby is fun, has rapt attention, very observant, and feels like hyper active - we are telling this from our experience," they told. I laughed at their silliness but eventually I felt they were true! You filled such bright hues in my life with your talks, smiles, invented games, songs, dances, silly jokes, stories, paintings, drawings and many other shenanigans! I feel you are braver than me. I cried during your first vaccine shot but you didn't flinch. Seeing other kids crying I was scared but you cried quite nominally! I feel you are strong in all the sick or weak days....I remember some dreadful days and nights when you involved me with your giggles and jokes where as I was super scared ….praying you get well soon! You make friends easier than me. I am glad you are quite opposite in this aspect...yet I observed that you choose those who appeal you quite carefully! They say dance like no body is watching you and I learnt this actually from you! 

Friday, April 29, 2022

You did it

On April 9th, my daughter Zaara had her graduation day! After virtually looking at each other in rectangular boxes for 2 years, it was finally the time to meet in real. The kids and parents were equally excited. I was curious to see and meet everyone in person (after all I attended all the classes). When I entered school, everyone (staff and kids) looked gorgeous in real, was my instant feeling!๐Ÿ˜€Zaara woke up for the first time early in morning and got ready with out Alexa reminding her ( yes at our home we keep many reminders in Alexa to make Zaara do her works...after 5 min for milk, after 10 min homework so on. She finds fun in it.. I find my patience dwindling with all waiting!!). 

Anyhow today I wanna share the glimpses of the big milestone - the completion of preschool!

We were welcomed with a happy dรฉcor. Kids were in great spirits, perked up to meet their friends! I want to write on how they bonded even if the classes were virtual but maybe after the challenge! As soon as they met, they started playing. We felt glad to capture the "offline" moments! 

The fun wall hangings in school are quite motivational and will make you smile!

 
This is the background of the Dias on which kids stood to receive their certificates and assessment cards.
 
More and more hand made dรฉcor all over the school lifted the spirits!


Zaara is a good dancer. She loves to make a move whenever she can. Recently a Tamil song became viral - Halamithi Habibo. By seeing  You tube videos she practiced most of the steps. She felt a bit shy but managed to do that hook step :) 


Some how the quality of videos is poor after uploading on Blogger. The kids danced to many other feet tapping songs.  Zaara sang a song - All good friends and jolly company (below) - the lyrics will surely make you feel.
 mixed!

"All good friends and Jolly Company...
 Never mind the weather … never mind the rain
Once we are together
Uff we go again!!"

They sang many other songs which their teacher taught them in the class! 


One more wall poster which made me feel quite mixed. "The Big Kid" thought made me both happy and unhappy !

Just before leaving, I found the following banner which felt so good because the struggle is real. The online schooling which I am not sure would end this academic year or not, is a harrowing experience๐Ÿ˜ช. We all struggled together - parents, teachers, the kids, and some times even grand parents pitched in. They say it takes a village to raise a kid....and in Covid it definitely felt like it would take a planet to raise the kid ! Thanks to Esperanza for personally taking interest in every kid and for cooperating with us at every step!

It was a great achievement for us all. I felt proud for the child and thought, "You did it" in my heart or rather it was more like "We did it!" ๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿ™‚


Ok now even with respect to A to Z challenge, we must say to each other - Yipeeeeeeeeeeeee- YOU DID IT. Just one more day to go. I am breathing in and breathing out, dreaming of the rest I can get tomorrow๐Ÿ˜. Meet you with Z tomorrow! My Z topic brings in lot of zing to my challenge ;) If you can guess what it would be, do share? !

Some interesting blogs you may wanna pay a visit:







I am participating in Blogging from A-Z challenge 2022  and this is my last but one Day 25 - 'Y' post.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Xanadian Mission

Dec 22, 2019

Xanadu Space Ship

"MISSION EARTH initiated. I repeat Mission Earth initiated!" was the loud announcement all over the space ship.

In the space ship, the commander in chief of the Xanadian force, Sir. Gamma Delton called for the daily stand up meeting.

"So Mr. Omega. What's the status? How are we with this mission?"

"So far so good sir. We would enter the Earth exactly in 3 months from now. They don't have the infantries or suitable weaponry to fight us back, so mostly they would surrender!"

"What are the chances to establish our territories at all the planned locations on Earth?"

source : here

"We have fair chances sir. This is the right time to occupy. They are fighting among themselves for many centuries now and in recent past, politicians are instilling more and more hatred in the earthlings!"

"Hope you have done good amount of research before you declare in such a final tone!"

"Yes sir! I heard that people are fighting over religion, the leaders fuelling the fight, many countries are in a retrogressive direction embracing fascism, aristocracy, initiating caste based, religion based segregation, baseless killings, imprisonment for having freedom of speech and much more!"

"But Earth is the best example for humanity! They survived world wars and calamities due to their human nature is what I heard!?"

"Indeed! But now with exponential rise in rage and hatred, they are vulnerable and are believing everything!"

"The plan is to first land in Delhi, India. There are CAA protests going on in the capital city, a weak moment which we can cash. It is easy to occupy."

"Can you brief me the plan!?"

"Very well. We would land in Delhi at PMO,  would initiate a meeting and get our treaty signed. We will give them one week time to discuss and decide!"

"Didn't their intelligence bureau detect our visit?"

"They cannot exactly detect us till we reach earth's atmosphere...even then till we are in the vicinity, it's not possible to detect because of our powerful invisible shield and our intense anti radar system and when we are at least 1000 Km from the capital city of India, we would notify the PMO about our landing. If they sign the treaty which they mostly would, we would have an amicable discussion, make Delhi our Head Quarters, start implementing our rule and establish colonies. Further plans I can brief when we reach Delhi Sir"

"What if they are not ready to sign the treaty?"

"They can't possibly think of entering a war and then winning it - their ammunition would be over in a day. I don't think they would be that foolish. If they resist we will also react. We don't want any killings. To avoid loss of life, we would use our mind control machine, Electro Neuro-Con and hypnotize the public to obey the new rule and proceed with our same plan of colony establishment!"

"Fine! Hope we are prepared for any kind of surprises, attacks, or disasters!"

"Don't worry sir. We have well trained soldiers. We are ready for any kind of mishaps!"

Days turned to months 

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

What's happening on WhatsApp?

WhatsApp - who doesn't know this name? And who doesn't use it. Except in countries, where it is banned (like China, North Korea, UAE), everywhere else people use WhatsApp profusely! What'sApp became akin to our morning rituals like brushing teeth, reading news, exercising etc. From milk vendor to millionaire every one is using it. It is not an exaggeration if I say my day starts and ends with WhatsApp. Throughout Covid and even now I am in touch with friends, family only and only through WhatsApp. One of my friends kept a WhatsApp status long back - I am not using WhatsApp, WhatsApp is using me๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿ™‚ - at times it becomes true if we lose track of time! I want to list few pros and cons of WhatsApp in this post.

Pros of WhatsApp Usage

  • WhatsApp connected me with friends all over the globe. It helped in rapid exchange of information and memories.
  • In Covid,  WhatsApp was very helpful to find and contact plasma donors, to know about hospital vacancies, food providers, COVID RTPCR testing centers and was a supportive platform to people in many possible ways.✌
  • Making audio video calls was never so easy. There are other platforms and apps but WhatsApp is the easiest I feel. In Covid this was the only way to look at faces of your near and dear!๐Ÿ’–
  • WhatsApp gifs, stickers and memes are very funny and can instantly lift your mood!
a super cute angry baby gif :)
  • I love my school group. I feel connected, rejuvenated and also feel like a child again when I am there! I like my daughter's school whatsapp group which is quite handy to know the updates, understand the day to day activities!
  • WhatsApp groups  are easy forums to have discussions, just talks, have some fun. They feel like virtual hangout addas.๐Ÿ‘ฌ๐Ÿ‘ญ๐Ÿ‘ซ
    • We created a whatsapp group just for 2022 A to Z challenge, and the group is a backbone to me whenever I feel like quitting the challenge. We pushed each other and finally have reached the last leg of the challenge. The group helped me with ideas and boosted me when I felt the heat of challenge. I am voice typing most of my posts of the last leg of challenge due to my ailments and the group is the only reason - I am able to continue the challenge. Our group members are:
PS: Shower some love on the above folks by visiting and reading them when you leave my post ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ’“ Thanks! 
Special thanks to Deepa from https://fictionpies.com/ who lead this initiative and suddenly added me without giving any prior notification๐Ÿ˜œ but I feel so good that she did it๐Ÿ˜‡. I otherwise would never have done A to Z!

Cons of WhatsApp

  • WhatsApp eats away my time! Specially when I have some important deadline to meet, I keep phone silent or away and uninstall the app at times (for digital detoxification). As of now,  I have put phone in airplane mode to finish this post (I am voice typing on phone)๐Ÿ˜œ
  • Notifications can be distracting. I mostly mute notifications, specially of groups to save the time. I practiced to check only when I want to!๐Ÿ™†
  • Just like any other platform, Whatsapp groups have variety of public. You can find Religion crazy folks,  folks who continuously bombard you with their retail businesses and many other varieties. If I am added in new groups, I mostly stay inactive or walk out!๐Ÿ˜Ÿ
  • Dissing gyaan gathered in WhatsApp University - a term coined for all the fake news that is spread via whatsapp.๐Ÿ‘ฟ
  • Some whatsapp statuses suck your energy and can instantly irritate you. Continuous negative or fake statuses, sexist statuses or spreading the mottos like AntiVaxxism or religious chauvinism are some categories! I instantly mute or delete them.๐Ÿ˜ท
  • Random video calls without giving any notice. This trend increased in Covid. What if I am checking mobile sitting on commode (OK I do that sometimes for peace, as that is the only me time during TOUGH days ๐Ÿ˜†) or what if I am in a compromising  situation๐Ÿ˜จ I DREAD UNPLANNED VIDEO CALLS !