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. 😪)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 me🤬. 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 boy😄. 

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!😀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 décor. 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 décor 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 experience😪. 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!" 🙂🙂


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 tomorrow😝. 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 me🙂🙂 - 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!💖
  • 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.👬👭👫
    • 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 😊💓 Thanks! 
Special thanks to Deepa from https://fictionpies.com/ who lead this initiative and suddenly added me without giving any prior notification😜 but I feel so good that she did it😇. 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)😜
  • Notifications can be distracting. I mostly mute notifications, specially of groups to save the time. I practiced to check only when I want to!🙆
  • 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!😟
  • Dissing gyaan gathered in WhatsApp University - a term coined for all the fake news that is spread via whatsapp.👿
  • 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.😷
  • 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 😆) or what if I am in a compromising  situation😨 I DREAD UNPLANNED VIDEO CALLS !

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

"Vision" - An Open Letter to Every Indian

Dear Indian,

We all love our nation. I dearly love her. She is a melting pot of cultures, has an amazing amalgamation of rituals, tastes, festivals, music, attires, and much more! Today I write to you as a fellow Indian who has been subjected to various forms of secularism and nationalism in the past 7-8 years. Earlier nationalism just meant various linguistic, religious and, cultural backgrounds uniting as one nation . In recent years, the nationalism can be defined as a concept used by certain diplomats to fill their vote bank and fulfill their ulterior motives by uniting the nation on the plank of one religion. Whenever an actual issue erupts in the country your focus is diverted towards a freshly created religious strife! Anti social elements are trained and motivated, actors & celebrities are merely bought to speak the Vile tongue! As so many turn to puppets, I feel helpless. So many foods and so many states in my country...the novel tastes we experience in each place are so magical! We used to stick to our food habits while embracing the others' food choices with dignity! Now we lynch saying meat eating is against the culture, where as behind the scenes are the vultures who feed on your raw minds and control you!  

When questioned about major concerns like economic crisis and the unemployment etc., a fresh issue/diversion is conjured out of thin air and you are under its spell. Historical events which happened centuries back are discussed now to push the current issues under carpet. People who are no longer alive are labelled as the root causes for some issues, the invaders who occupied the nation centuries ago seem to be the perpetrators for some. Ads are banned, names of places changed, syllabus in schools is truncated and many more! As you are blindfolded and lead with hatred, do you happen to see that you are not at all clear about what or whom you are fighting for? As we discuss where a temple or a mosque must be built, we are happily over looking the bigger issues the globe is facing on present day - pollution , pandemic, climate change  and such! As you ignore the farmers issues as a fuss and don't even acknowledge them....as you try to shut up the raising voices  (whether they are youth seeking jobs or students looking for better and affordable education, or the middle class which is burdened with evil tax regime) and then create ruckus over who wears what, who eats what and question about the language (Urdu script) written on the products, it does get tragically funny. Hindu Vs Muslim hatred is sowed in all possible ways in all possible places ➡️ when a sketchy bill is  passed questioning the citizenship of a selected sect of people, when a delivery boy is denied as he is a Muslim... a renowned atta company (iD) is defamed by spreading rumors that it has cow bones and meat mixed - just because the CEO is Muslim dude....when meat is banned in some states just in the festival month of Ramadan citing it is sacrilegious...so on and so forth. 

Our culture that comprises diversified population is staying in harmony since decades. When day by day events occur that pedal hatred, segregate a fellow Indian and you stay silent...should I take that silence as acceptance or indifference???  

source : here

Monday, April 25, 2022

UnChained / UnMachined

Heart does what the heart does. How many of us believe in this ? Well, whether you believe or not, your actions which involve your heart are always fulfilling.

But, in today’s world we are moving in a direction in which everything we do is becoming more and more machine like, monitored, controlled, patterned, and life itself is becoming a mechanical process.

Right from the time we wake up in morning till we fall asleep, we are not driven by the desires of heart but by the monotonicity of the day. In the humdrum of life we are ever forgetting what really our heart wants? We never ask that question!!

As soon as we open our eyes to a new and wonderful day, instead of appreciating and thanking our life, we mechanically scroll through our mobile screens, do our morning chores in anxiety- to which we are used to, we gobble down our breakfast and travel the traffic filled crowded roads to reach offices just in time. We work all day, return home exhausted, have dinner and go back to bed, lying on bed till our eyes are heavy after being glued to mobile screens and.... we finally fall asleep, only to follow the same schedule the next day, the day after and so on…

Then one day we realize that we have stressed ourselves too much and our health as well as mental peace is deteriorating, so in a state of panic we devise a plan which involves a gym membership, or physical exercises, diet plans, yoga and meditation classes and may be a quick vacation.

Now, when you go to gym, the trainer guides you to do so and so exercise counted to a specific number of sets so that your these/those muscles would be built. Eat these many calories and burn these many calories to keep your body the way you want to... he says! Yoga guru would say -  Do  mediation/yoga and you should feel such and such feelings. You start doing all this with diligence as a strict pupil!

And after few days, this all again becomes mechanical. We find ourselves going in circles not reaching anywhere and ever dissatisfied...

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Thank You All, Take-aways and Tips (A to Z)

Today I want to just write a Thank you note to all the fellow bloggers who are constantly visiting my blog and reading all my posts which are not quick or easy reads! Writing short and smart posts is a unique talent which I don't have. I have been always reprimanded by my teachers for my lengthy writing. Whenever I write a huge essay - my ma'am would be happy that I did so much research, nevertheless she used to advise to not strain myself during examinations👀. A2Z is no less than an exam 😆. Anyway without drifting away I want to convey thank you from the bottom of my heart for visiting regularly, reading, encouraging me with your genuine comments! I am not taking names of all the blogs/bloggers but thanks to one and all. It is not easy to write, read others, and to respond to comments! Some have done it all. I never replied to comments. I intend to do so soon after the challenge. Due to time crunch I read the comments and I make sure that I visit all your blogs and it has been an invigorating experience! I know there is still last leg of the challenge but I am taking the advantage of letter T to express my thanks!👍💗


Takeaways from A to Z

I have done a to z challenge in the past in 2013 and 2014. However it was easy then as I was not a mother and also was more energetic 😛but now being mother of 5 YO, it is really challenging to take out time - still I managed to come so far, hence I am patting my back😀. I write and read when she is in day care or when she sleeps. I want to list some of my take-aways from the challenge.

  • I realised the existence of so many poetic forms through many talented bloggers who inspired me to write my naive poems. Writing or reading poetry makes my heart happy!
  • Understood how diligently most of you are working to reach the finishing point of challenge by hook or by crook, which encouraged me on low energy days.
  • Those who are writing fiction, hats off to them and those who are writing Flash fictions - it is a talent of another level. Your posts kept me engaged!
  • Some of us blogger friends formed a WhatsApp group to keep running the blog marathon. More on it on the W day :)
  • I managed to finish reading a long pending book just for a to z.
  • I have not been blogging properly from nearly 5 years so A to Z ended my writers block!
  • I am knowing people from all the corners of the world. It is always exciting. I treasure so many elaborate comments which make me feel my post is completely read! I would love to stay connected even after a to z.
The summer of April month churned my mind and it is literally hot and happening with a to z.💥

Tips for A to Z participants

I am not an expert but still from my experiences I want to share some tips I followed for a fruitful blogging month.

  • If you are really inclined to finish a to z, at least schedule 7 - 8 posts ahead of the challenge in the month of March, suggested by a dear friend Deepa. You won't be exhausted. You can schedule a mix of easy and tough letters!
  • Have a to do list ready. If you jot down the topics you would be dealing, it will be lot easier. My WhatsApp group helped me with it.
  • There is a popular opinion that if the post is short, it would be read. However I believe if your content connects the readers it would anyway be read.
  • If you are very eager to be read (I sure am), make an effort and read others too! I know it's not easy everyday but whenever possible it's good to explore new blogs and always good to payback your visitors!
  • Some are here to expand businesses, to promote their products, ideas, share cuisines, and some have no special purpose...but mostly we all want to be read! It helps to build a network, gain specific readers who would like your blog. It's a tricky process. Needs more than a week to identify people who may wanna read you but I think you can find a pattern and form a fruitful network!
  • Concentrate on your content, then on its refinement, and then maybe spend time to read others. Don't Rush!
  • Spend atleast 30 min - 1 hour for blog hopping. If you have very tight schedule, the minimum you can do is to read who are reading you!
  • It is ok to leave a trail - a link of your blog, but first make sure you at least read the post - get a gist of it and leave some relevant and a good comment (not just a "nice post" comment). Blog hopping doesn't mean blog racing. You can be the tortoise 🐢and walk slow rather than being the hare🐇that gets tired and rests!😀
  • I made it a habit to leave my blogger link as many blogs are in Wordpress and a wordpress login is always asked😾. I learnt how to leave links properly from Crackerberries!
  • For some it doesn't matter if they are read  …that is perfectly ok. We all are primarily here to write and complete the challenge!
  • Try not to miss out any letters. It will be too much pressure when you have to handle 2 to 3 letters at once. If you burn out, write something or anything just to close the day. Many of the bloggers have shared their daily anecdotes or just a list of pictures explaining the story behind, which are very honest and fun to read!
  • Fix issues on your blog, check settings and everything so that people can easily comment. I had to leave many blogs because of their very tough commenting options!
  • No one wants to waste time, so avoid the clutter and focus on your content at least for the blogging month - for easy readability!
  • Don't strain a lot! I strained my hand so much 😔(I have carpel tunnel syndrome and cervical spondylosis) that I reduced my reading list and I am using Google mic to voice type this post. It is a real boon!

I want to close by saying thanks again for reading my posts with patience. Thank you all. Wish you a wonderful April.

I am participating in Blogging from A-Z challenge 2022  and this is my Day 20 - 'T' post.

Blogs you may wanna check out:

https://robztobor.blogspot.com/ (new discovery. A gem of a blog)

https://ladyinreadwrites.com/ (bful poetry)

www.lillian888.wordpress.com (honest and engaging topics)

https://artismoments.blogspot.com/ (again brilliant poetry)

Friday, April 22, 2022

S.P. Balasubrahmanyam - A tribute

S.P. Balasubrahmanyam aka SPB or Balu is a predominant play back singer in India, who had been singing since ages majorly in Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Hindi and Malayalam films. My heart refuses to refer to him in past tense. His death is one of the many shocking deaths during COVID to me. S.P. Balu's voice has that magic to please you, tease you and lift your spirits in no time, or just make you sad in a matter of seconds. He reigned the Tollywood for many decades and I remember listening to him even before I knew much about movies, music or songs! Not just singing , he also does dubbing, mimicry and has acted in many notable films. I realized he has great acting skills too - He acted as dad, as a supporting actor (guest appearance) and also as a main lead in some of the movies.

Breathless singing by SPB - from a movie "O papa Lali"

Among his many movies, some thing I recently watched after his demise - Mithunam stole my heart. I was in tears by the end of the movie both due to the movie premise and also the empty feeling of losing him. You should watch the movie to understand what I am saying. It is the story of an old couple - S.P. Balu and Lakshmi living in a remote village all alone trying to make the most of the last chapter of their lives, missing kids almost every day and dreading the occurrences of any mishaps! The love and bonding of husband and wife is worth watching. SP Balu's voice gave life to all Kamal Hassan's movies dubbed in Telugu. I still don't know how actual Kamal Hassan sounds. I have always heard him only in SPB's magnetic pitch! There is a movie Dasavatharam in which Kamal plays ten roles. I believe SPB has voiced all the ten voices using his mimicry skills. Watch the video below I stumbled on FB recently... He says how he managed the voices (it is in Telugu)! The video is blocked on blogs - You can watch at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eo_OZDVsB1g.

SPB is equally adored even in Bollywood. He gave voice to Salman Khan. Sang almost all his 90's songs and it used to perfectly suit Salman. No Indian can ever forget Maine Pyar Kia, Saajan or Hum aapke hain kaun - the block buster hits of 90s, in which SPB sang many beautiful songs. In some reality singing show a singer subtly mocked his Hindi pronunciation as there is a hint of southern accent while uttering few words. Whatever may be the accent, you cannot deny this multi talented legend. His voice can woo a woman, make a child smile, make you feel immensely lively! He has won many awards, rewards, broke records and wiki says he entered Guinness records for singing over 40,000 songs. I majorly heard him in Telugu and I play his songs in one time or other on every waking day! There are many hindi, telugu, and tamil songs which are my favorites but some song which I can remember at this moment in hindi is :



Yesudas and SPB - an energetic show

The combination of him and Ilayaraja or Maniratnam or A.R.Rahman or Yesudas is sure to create magic for the listeners/viewers! It is told that he contracted Covid during a live performance. I really hoped that he should not be effected badly.  Heartbreaking is a less intense word to explain what I felt the moment I heard of his demise. My entire child hood, teen and young years are laced and packed in his tone. He has such a soothing pitch. His voice fits all the stars - language no bar. This is a song he sang explaining the corona situation - https://youtu.be/ovXDz9EP84c (a powerful song. You may play it if you understand Telugu!).

Thursday, April 21, 2022

R for RRR movie

RRR is the latest movie by Rajamouli which I watched some days back. It was a historic moment for me, not because the movie is of fictional history genre, but because I sat in a cinema hall after 2+ years of COVID life!💛😊

The movie shows the pre independence era of 1920s and the story is a fictional account of lives of two real freedom fighters  Alluri Seetharama Raju (Ram Charan) and Komaram Bheem (NTR) who have same same but different missions. If I write an honest review, I really can't decide if I liked or disliked the movie. There are few bits I liked and few which felt too much over the top for me. May be it is just the outlandish style of Rajamouli. He is well acquainted with grandeur and cinematic brilliance....however just these are not enough to entice everyone is what I felt. The movie had its grand moments. It was a feast to eyes to see so much action executed with ease and great VFX effects! You would enjoy it if you completely 'suspend your disbelief'. 😯

source : here

The story line is good if you ignore one too many illogical occurrences and some loop holes. Ofcourse viewers/fans argue not to find logic as it is a hyper drama flick. The title RRR means - Rise, Roar, Revolt and some say it is Rage, Revenge, Rampage. The director lays strong foundation to what he intends to show - extreme action, drama, emotions, stunts, energetic dances, and everything laced with patriotism. The opening scene of Ram Charan and even NTR were shot quite eventfully showing Fire and Water as their core elements but some scenes even with good effects felt too funny, like NTR fighting a tiger or Ram Charan fighting a mob of 1000s of people, like he is some super hero. It would have been good if some logic was put in to it like why these two heroes possess so many capabilities?!

There are many other such scenes. I couldn't just believe a scene where they save a boy from fire in the water (again poetically director tried to highlight their core factors). I am sure people who love super hero movies would love the scene! Many other fight scenes where they are performing dramatic stunts could have been justified only if some super natural element was added! However it is Rajamouli we are talking about! If Amarendra Bahubali can climb an elephant or pull a chariot easy peasily, may be these people can do what they are doing!

In a Facebook Movie group I am part of, some people have shared crass comments that the protagonists are "ugly". The movie did receive mixed reviews, but both the actors well played their part.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Q for Quarantined!

After dodging the Covid variants for almost 2 years, I finally fell prey to it in the month of January 2022. Just after the pongal festival in South India where we all had a fun 3 days long weekend, the cases soar high and even I contracted during that time. At first my daughter tested positive and I was actually too nervous as kids are not vaccinated. Our doctor was in quite jovial mood because she felt everyone was getting the Omicron variant and the impact won't be serious. She eased us but I still was panicky. Even if we didn't test positive yet, she said we soon will and asked us to isolate for ten days!

Immediate step was to inform maid and our cook to not come. I only felt it natural to inform the apartment mates, even if maids would have spread the happy news😅. I was actually eager to update my fb and WhatsApp status informing the same. It almost felt like not being the odd ones out! I updated and as expected the concerns poured in... Here's the catch! Every one wants to help by a word or an act but they were not sure what to do and there actually is nothing which can be asked!  The real pain is doing the house chores...and none can help you with that! Second or third day after Zaara got infected I too tested positive - symptoms being super dry cough, throat pain, trembling hands, truck loads of weakness.....still we divided duties among us and swept the house alt days and made very light meals if required. We either ordered or my mom being the angel she is, she just sent the food almost every day ! I was surprised to know that this variant or may be others too can be dormant for as good as 14 days!

By 4th/5th day my spirits were really dampened. I really wanted to go out and feel good. Not that I was living any different.. My entire lockdown life was isolated and I lost interest in socializing but I felt quite suffocated by the quarantine label as people would be scared to be near your house!

Some may actually say this to me : here


The ailments I was facing were also nothing different from what I face now and then, barring the extreme weakness... It is possibly due to chores, I thought. My daughter was our mood lifter and even if feeling week, she continued her games, stories, dances and kept our spirits high! I may not have mentioned earlier but she is quite a passionate dancer, yet to be trained. She finds peace in her moves is what I feel. 

I naturally took leaves at work but I did realize that many people who are mildly infected were working and some workaholics even if badly infected continued to work - may be they are bored or may be they find peace in work but I didn't have that luxury, energy or liberty! Omicron was a huge wave washing over everyone is the soon learned fact by the end of Jan! Every one, even doctors started categorically saying that this is end of the CORONA war. It may accept defeat soon! I felt so relieved to hear it!

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Page from the past

Schooling now a days is like an investment. You invest lakhs of money, stay nervous about the child's development and expect a ROI. However during my days, schooling was neither expensive nor a marathon to run. We learnt and studied peacefully. We didn't have extra classes, transitions, tuitions or surprise tests but we did well with whatever resources we had! I completed my education in a Govt School with meagre facilities but enjoyed the school years to the fullest! 

I was a good student in school and I even secured district 1st in 7th standard board exams....I used to win in many essay writing or elocution contests. I was one of the bright students or so I as told by my teachers!

Today on my daughter's blog I want to just share a small incident from my school life. Our school always had surprise inspections by DEO (district education officer) or collectors or some other VIPs who want to come check the students' capabilities and the teachers' abilities to teach them! On one such surprise inspection, we had a sadist inspector who entered the premises only with an agenda to torture students! His presence was no less than an army general and the news of his treatment spread quickly to our class with in minutes after he entered school!

He started posing very tough questions like - "how many languages are there on a rupee note," or " what does the flag of Chile look like?" etc. I never heard or read such things so far. We didn't have the luxury of googling in those days. On present day I wish so badly that if I had a smart phone hidden somewhere in my bag, I could have answered!

The sadist entered our class. We all were trembling with fear. My heart was racing and I didn't even get that tensed during my board exams.  

He selected some last benchers purposely and they were not able to answer a single question!

The head mistress then shifted focus towards me! 

"Sir! She is the brightest student in the class. Top ranker. Please ask her!"

He started his question attack one by one and I suddenly became mute. It was as if I had bitten my tongue and couldn't get a word out :(

The authority kept on mocking, "so Miss Topper you don't even know this?"

As the bombardment continued, I started shivering🥶 and was almost in tears!

In my mind - I was kicking him, tightly slapping him...

In my ten second figment of imagination in a parallel universe - I was the inspector and he the student and I made him face the wrath of my questions!

source : here

Monday, April 18, 2022

Ode to Warriors

Oh! So boring! To live in confines of four walls.

Closed are restaurants, theatres, closed are the malls!

As we cribbed, felt mundane and exasperated by the sudden shift in scene

There were few humans who struggled to save us from the demonic Covid 19!


If soldiers fought at the borders, the frontline workers fought to put us within borders!

To put life at stake for the sake of others lives, they were no less than warriors!

Without caring for their families, they worked day and night...

As we munched and binge watched Netflix, they continued their fight!


Even the laathi charge of Police didn't instill fear in all.

The Lockdown was a break for some, a time to plan a trip with a pal.

Tiny tots understood and tried adjusting to the new routine - a reality that many adults dismissed!

For some, the picture became clear when one after the other, many succumbed.


For many it still is all a hoax, unnecessary panic created by ulterior groups!

Getting exposed to virus is a myth to them, as they dish out gyaan on the WhatsApp statuses!!

To save such, do our Warriors need to suffer and let Covid take a toll?

Is it worth it to get beaten up for asking humans to follow protocol?


A simple concept like social distancing could not be explained to public!

Essential workers toiled day and night to avoid millions of working from home folks from getting sick.

People lost jobs, economies fell flat, tears flowed, miseries spread, death rates increased!

In mid of all this our frontline angels worked 24*7 unflinched !


I couldn't bear when a doctor bid farewell to his family.

How many lives would have been risked while discovering the vaccine, which some felt is silly!

We cannot follow a simple rule, stick to few doable guidelines and we even fight against them!

Rather than thanking all who strived for us, we find it amusing to blame!!

 

The virus had a new political variant, people formed groups, naysayers created uproar!

Our warriors continued their work and flattening the curve was their only chore!

I thank our COVID warriors for bringing us out of lacunae and imbibing a bit of courage to cope.

As I remember them today and everyday, any prayer or a tribute falls short for the real heroes who in our lives, filled hope!


I am participating in Blogging from A-Z challenge 2022 and this is my O post. I am taking up this challenge after many years as I want to talk about Covid life and the daughter diaries!

Some interesting blogs you can visit:

https://brizzymaysbooksandbruschettasite.wordpress.com/

https://lisasgardenadventureinoregon.blogspot.com/

https://reflection-by-ranjana.blogspot.com/

https://thedreamgirlwrites.wordpress.com/

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Netflix and Chill

Netflix became an integral part of my life specially during Covid. I can't thank OTT platforms enough for being the much needed outlets during this new normal. There are many platforms but Netflix is smooth and the best! Even if it feels like there is an entire day to myself if I subtract working hours , daughter hours and other miscellaneous hours - I get very less time to explore new series, movies which continuously are getting streamed on OTT platforms. I love going back to 90s and early 2000s timeline and watch reruns of some favorite shows and series. They act as stress busters to me during tough days. In my post today I recommend my three fav sitcoms/series and have written a blurb for each. 

FRIENDS

(Created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman)

I never gave Friends a chance and when I finally gave it , I regretted just after two episodes thinking how come I missed it all these decades. In school days I was little when it got relayed and may not have understood it much and in our small town we did not have many cable channels as well. However I felt gleeful  that I gave in to the temptation of Friends! I first watched in 2014/2015 and in Pandemic I may have watched FRIENDS whenever I felt low. It just kept me going. The day to day mundane things, emotional and even heartbreaking events are shown in a lighter tone in this show - which gives the feeling that nothing's gonna stop the ongoing life. Every one's demons, personal and professional problems are shown in a raw and realistic manner with a dash of humor! 

You feel good by just seeing how Chandler gets bored in his office or how Phoebe sings whatever may be her lyrics, how Joey just enjoys all his food or how Monica is so organized, makes her passion her profession , how sensitive Ross is or how beautifully Rachael progresses in life. However for a normal person like me in India or to that matter any person in any corner of the  world, it is very tough to live for a decade with the bestest friends and to not give a damn about the  rest of the world. However fictitious this set up may be, it is uplifting. It helps you sail across your sea of emotions.  I actually cried while watching the last episode (for the first time)! It is not an exaggeration if I say F.R.I.E.N.D.S. changed my life for good. It was my savior in Covid.


GILMORE GIRLS

I finished watching the famous Gilmore Girls series recently …all the old ones including the 2016 revival one (life in an year). The series which ran from 2000 to 2007 is a warm, fuzzy and, feel good watch compared to all the latest racy content in Netflix where either a psycho is killing, a zombie is killing, a gangster is killing and there is killing and more killing. If you want to put your mind to rest and feel better you can definitely watch this good old show. There are all kinds of bonds and emotions embedded  in the show... the mother, daughter, grandma, grand daughter...bond of best Friends, worst enemies and so on...with sufficient amounts of quirks and laughs. Lorelai and Rory are unforgettable characters. The stubborn passion they possess to achieve their goals and the book reading enthusiasm of Rory would inspire you!

As I have a daughter too I felt more connected to their bonding. At times it is an explosion of too many words but if you are wordy when you talk (like me😛), you will love it. Later I realized that the series is created by Amy  Sherman-Palladino, produced by Daniel- Palladino - the makers of another fav show The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel . 

BIG BANG THEORY

Created by Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady, this series is just unmissable. A beautiful girl Penny (Kaely Cuoco) moves across the hall from two nerdy physicists - Sheldon Cooper and Leonard Hofstadter. They have only two more friends Howard Wolowitz and Rajesh Koothrapalli. The series is a laughter riot. Sheldon is ultra hyper, highly organized , extremely intellectual germaphobe, Leonard is a calm genius who is pining for Penny but unable to woo her initially. 

Friday, April 15, 2022

Man's Search for Meaning - Review

This is the only book I read during Covid. I some how couldn't manage finishing it in a period close to 2 years. Yes that's how my reading habit deteriorated but I managed to finish reading this book recently. This is the only book I read about life in Nazi Concentration camps. The book in a very balanced tone explains the living conditions of people, suffering, the psychology, understanding their mind, logotherapy and so on.

The entire premise of the book revolves around the fact - "

“Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.”

I am glad I picked this book during Covid - a crisis time, when a will to be active and be happy was actually quite less (funnily this is the reason I couldn't finish the book all these days). As I understood the atrocities of the Nazi camp during WWII, I felt a kind of shame that I can do better than what I was doing.  Victor Frankl himself is a neurologist, psychiatrist and a holocaust survivor - hence his analysis and tips work like magic. If nothing they induce optimism and some hope in you when you feel defeated in life! His theory of Existential Analysis is so unique and made me realise why some people behave how they do . Existential therapy/ analysis helps a person find a way to live by giving inner consent to their own actions. In a way it is an affirmation of life!

In such dire situations where you have so much uncertainty about what would happen the next moment - whether you would move to a better group or die in a gas chamber, gathering so much strength feels impossible but the author says that even in such dreadful moments - one can overcome it by training the mind, by thinking of the future and the people who would be waiting and by just imagining them in their best self. The living conditions of camp, the typhus patients, the conversations, their high - low spirits and deaths are intricately explained!

source : here
The last two chapters of the book - Logotherapy and Tragic Optimism are also explained quite logically and would even work as a basic guide for any psychotherapist as it gets little technical. Some of the events in the book like how you would feel happy by just getting an extra piece of bread, how your watery soup with 2-3 more peas would make your day, how you become thick skinned to the authorities' lashings, punishments and learn to survive - go to show that even in severe conditions you can choose your attitude! People were treated so brutally that they start feeling less human like. In extreme situations when you feel there is no way out,  whatever the author writes helps you to sail through the horror!

“But there was no need to be ashamed of tears, for tears bore witness that a man had the greatest of courage, the courage to suffer.”

The book is so unique as the person who suffered wrote transparently about that suffering and how you can try and overcome it - No words minced. If you really want to find a meaning, hope and optimism in life - I recommend you this book. On reading and knowing the lives of those brave men and women of Auschwitz camp you will learn a lesson or two. There are so many atrocities happening every day, some happen openly and some don't make it to the headlines of TV or newspapers. I hope all such people come out of suffering some day and renew their lives!.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

L for Lockdown

At first when it started, precisely on March 22, 2020 - it was all fun. "Staying at home and working! Is this happening for real?" I wondered. "A virus outbreak - so what? It cant spread that quickly as the patients would be quarantined!" - is what I thought. When lockdown was announced, I felt glad that there won't be run of the mill activities at home. I can be at home, avoid travel, and work at my own pace. Little did I know the gravity of Corona life or impact of lockdown then. 

When my 3+ year old daughter threw the acrylic paint on the bed and started making many modern arts on the walls - I realised that the "LOCKDOWN" is for everyone and every thing and I need to be equipped to deal with it all. In a desperate attempt to shoo the corona away, I too banged the thali (we banged plates, lit the lamps and performed many other tricks)…but Corona was not a sneaky cat to be shooed. It is a stealthy parasite that was as monstrous as the dementor, sucking the happiness out of us! As the monstrosity exponentially increased every day and complete lockdown was announced - the first and foremost mind numbing thought was  -"The maids" not visiting the houses anymore. I always had complaints on maid, that she doesn't sweep the corners properly or leaves the coffee marks in cups - and I have to wash them again, but when she completely stopped coming... I started sensing how tough a maid's job is. 

I had a new found respect on my maid however imperfect her job may be! I can live with that stain in the "kadhai (cooking vessel)" and dust speckle at the bed corner but I cannot do what all my maid does - was my first and foremost self-revelation! So in mid of the whirring of washing machine, banging of the kitchenware, whistling of the pressure cooker, electronic beeps of the microwave oven, and pings of the Office communicator, I started working... and doing it all. 
Situation during the first 21 day lockdown felt something like this

The trends followed by Netizens like making Dalgona coffee, or playing online Housie didn't amuse me. I wanted the normalcy to be back. I was in the the first stage of the Acceptance cycle, which is "Denial" and refused to enjoy any bit of the Lockdown. From anger, I moved to bargaining, then depression, and then in a month I slowly moved towards "acceptance". I accepted that this is how life is going to be for a while and we started dividing maid duties between us at home. 

The Famous Lockdown Dalgona Coffee


 Maid Training - Key takeaways:

 The key takeaways from my self-made maid training are as follows: 
  •  A good habit which I inculcated during "self made Maid-Training" is to wash a coffee cup or a tiny spoon which I use immediately, without postponing the activity. That way the most painful task of cleaning the utensils felt much easier! 
  • Teaching the kid few itsy bitsy activities like folding her own bedsheet or clothes and arranging them in cupboard (though the implementation completely depended on kid's mood swings).
  • The less utensils you use, the less you clean. I realized I can use just one plate and one spoon and still manage a whole day. If you don't dirty the home much, you don't have much to clean :) 
            Note: However if you have toddlers at home, be sure that the mess making would be perennial.
  •  As home became school, and home became office - I bought some mini dustbins which would help in avoiding the littering around. 
  •  Last but not the least lesson was to accept my shortcomings as a maid and work towards the betterment :) 

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Kindergarten in Covid

When I did schooling, preschool was termed as lower and upper Kindergarten. When people were saying PP1 and PP2 in my daughter's school, I was clueless at first. I later realised that PP means Pre Primary and they are equivalent to LKG and UKG!

She joined play group at the age of 2.2 and after almost an year, the pandemic hit. In initial months I didn't even think about her schooling. As we entered June and when we realized corona is here to stay, it slowly started sinking that schooling would be online. "What a disaster it is to get started with her actual academics online!!?!" I thought. I work as a technical writer...and my job demands lot of time, meetings, coordination and, writing of course! All the mentioned activities need my vigilance and utmost concentration. In the online school set-up I had to dedicate myself for 2 plus hours every day to sit along with daughter, make her get used to that mode of teaching and most of the times actually teach her. Kids of her age (she was 3.4 when she entered LKG) are physically very active and dynamic.  They won't sit at one place.

Making such kids sit in chair staring at screen for hours felt like a torture! For atleast a quarter of the academic year my daughter made me study LKG😐. Along with English and numbers, they had pre-math concepts, little General knowledge and basic sciences. She was so bored by online mode that she used to wander around which made me highly irritable! 

"Mamma I will write with marker instead of pencil!" "Mamma su su...(bathroom)!", "Mamma potty!" - some how everything happens as soon as class starts! "Mamma can I get the slate and draw!" "Mamma I wanna do just the activity!"

"Mam I am bored. Can we paint or dance?" "Mam what is your favorite color/breakfast," "Mam my mom is killing me!" - ya she once said even this to her teacher, much to every ones' amusement, but I wanted to go hide in a cave! She was and is quite conversational though and always wants to talk and mingle with kids even if virtually... which is a good sign! While all this disinterest  and demands to do things her own way continued...I had no other way out than to step down, sacrifice my work a bit by being flexible with timings (I work till mid of nights on many working days) and become a full time preschool teacher to my daughter!

As I did things with enthusiasm, I saw a lot of change in her and she started getting adapted to school. Slowly she wanted to write - if not on paper, first on slate... if disliking the pencil then may be with pen...but she felt inclined towards writing as I let out a sigh of relief! I was so glad to see her scribbling A , B, C, D even if askew! She started enjoying the process. Doesn't mean I had a chance to leave the online 🏫 school zone. I always had to accompany her.


LKG initial days

I got cards and charts which would help her with learning. The numbers , small words, seasons , days and many other charts indeed were so helpful! My living room turned class room has all charts plastered on walls. People who come to my house may get confused that I am running a preschool. That's how much I had to transform my living room to pique interest in the baby!

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

J for Juggling

The rooster 🐓 croons, 🐦 pigeon coos and the sparrow chirps!

Oh! It's another day... what day is it? And what may be the date?

I neither can track the time, nor can I track the weeks!

The months come one after the other as I put up chunks of fat in my cheeks!


"Do I have to wake up?" was the uncertainty I had on most of the days!

Just to get on with the day, I needed to invent so many ways...

"Wake up mamma! I need choco milk," echoes a booming voice.

Reluctantly I get up, remembering my 9-5 job that pays!

source : here

Milk tumbler in a hand, tea in another. I tend to the daughter who manages to be "The Flash!"

As the washing machine vibrates, making the racket of a sound...

I suddenly get a thought to write...something very profound!

But I haven't written in ages. The blog with all drafts, is buried in the ground!


As I start working, I hear a shrilly cry in my ear.

I say sorry and mute my conference call, only to learn - her painting page had a tear!

I go back to work with half mind, with daughter always ruling my time.

The new normal is for one and all, your struggle's not worth a dime!


Spacing out, lethargy and, the feeling to do nothing became a frequent routine.

The suggestions didn't help much - Vitamin c, multi vitamin supplements or the protein!

"Depression"- some labelled it so. Is it only due to Covid or was it dormant from long?

Is the new life a reason that it surfaced so strong!?


As I got used to the indoor life at a snail's pace,

I saw that many were productive and were running a race!

To me day after day it felt like life is stuck in a forever limbo...

I hoped for better times while watching and hearing the Covid induced jingo!


The crawling of the 🐜 ants, biting of  a🦟 mosquito and the nimble cockroach 🪳.

Never did I observe the nooks and crannies of my home so much!

As I juggle between work, home, school, daughter, everything in between four walls on a spree.

I imagine myself sitting by the sea, sipping a tea, watching a sunset and breathing it free!