Caged Freedom

This poem of mine was published in the Freedom (August) issue of Tamarind Rice. Check it out here.

She woke up with a jolt
And was asked to clean the floor
Her tiny hands working swift
Doing chore after chore

The kids she helped dress
Were in orange, white and green
She wondered what was special
Definitely something she had not seen

As she polished the elder one's shoe
A tiny speck smeared her face
The innocent tots squealed and giggled
A choking gut was her only embrace

Her fragile body moved slowly
As she packed delicious lunch
Stuffing them for the others
Never daring to grab a munch

After the crowd was gone
She grabbed a fallen flag
Cleansing it on her dress
She sneaked it into her bag

This act caught the mistress' eye
She then beat her black and blue
Thief, thief she yelled and said
Slaps more and kicks a few

Discretely she wipes the tears
Her lips parched in thirst
The unkempt head spinning a reel
Emotions waiting to burst

The kids came back with joy
As she nibbled on a meager meal
Chores still she had to finish
Absolutely no time to heal

She looked up at the calendar
Trying to understand the date
Two years since she was here
Clearly with a broken fate

Fifteenth August made no difference
The store room was her kingdom
Days and months passed before her
But none brought her freedom

~ Soumya

The Third Person

Ever realized that it always is a third person who ruins your peace of mind? Or creates arguments between you and the people close to you. The third person comes out of nowhere with an age old plan to wreck everything for you. Simply because they can't stand your happiness. Or simply because they are jobless. Don't fall prey, beware of this species. Because this is what they have in their mind.

Life never was kind to me
How can it be for you
I shall strive to ruin it
Leaving room for nothing new

When I'm not happy
How can anyone else be
Everyone is content with life
Why is it not me?

I can't stand your joys
I shall convert it to sorrow
The smile that you have today
Shall be gone tomorrow

I shall spin my magic web
Fill those around with poison
I'm just doing it to ruin you
With absolutely no other reason

While you are being taken care of
I'm ignored and left to rot
While you are blessed with comfort
Unhappiness is all I've got

My family is strewn apart
Yours still remains close knit
My gaze shall come and terminate
Knocking it down bit by bit

Your people shall abandon you
I shall spread the venom and rumor
You shall never realise what hit you
Fall you shall without any armour

I shall cuss and curse
Stabbing the knife into your back
Destroying your peace of mind
Has now become my primary knack

I shall manipulate the obvious
And do anything to prove you wrong
The happy chorus that you now hear
Shall soon become your swan song

I shall poke my voodoo dolls harder
Breaking everything between you two
My vibes shall find you everywhere
I'm the third person, with nothing else to do

~ Soumya

All is Well - A Smelly Affair

Migraine is a dreaded disease. I personally believe that I can bear any kind of pain apart from that of a headache. My migraine attacks feel like a boulder has been tied to the back of my head weighing me down by blessing me with yellow sparkly hallucinations. And I got my first migraine attack at the age of seven. On getting tested, the doctors told me that I have an awesome sense of smell and some of these smells act like a trigger for the attack. Damn, blessed with a sharp nose and a painful problem. God sure was smiling at me and Murphy, grinning. So most of my childhood was spent in smelling something faraway with accuracy (believe me, I once smelt my neighbor grating fresh carrot) and avoiding some smells that caused me an headache. So when Ambi Pur asked me to write a post about the nostalgia associated with smells, I knew I would have the longest post. 

Smells of course come with cart loads of memories. I call it the universal Pandora's box, as you never know what you will smell next and why. The most common smell during my childhood was that of my dog. He smelt furry and mild, with all that dog powder my dad sprayed on him every morning. The minute he galloped his way into any room, the room was instantly filled with his fragrance. His towel, his bowl, his leash and his blanket all smelt the same. It was a stress buster for me. After school I would go and hug him and sit as we both enjoyed our respective biscuits and horlicks. His smell would make me forget all the tiredness of school and the stress of the homework that followed. Its been 12 years since he passed away, but his smell still remains. We have changed the house he and I grew up in, but his things still emit his fragrance. All you have to do is close your eyes and breathe in, you can then see him wagging his tail and jumping all over you. Nothing ever will come close to this memory and this smell.

The next more prominent smell that I remember is of freshly grated coconut. Being a mallu, this was an unavoidable smell. When my sister and I used to return from school by 4 pm, my mom would prepare this quick snack for us to eat. It was simple. It was flattened rice (poha) mixed with powdered jaggery and grated coconut drizzled with a little milk so that it all comes together. The smell of freshly grated coconut is awesome in itself but when combined with the ingredients mentioned above, it becomes magical. The smell would reach my nose just as I reached the corner of my street and I would come running home, to devour the poha. It was nutritious and filling. At times mom used to add a tiny bit of cardamom powder to it. And when she did, it was pure heaven.

I developed a reading habit before my teens. Before I was thirteen, I had finished all the Enid Blyton series and was on the Sidney Sheldon series. My school library did not allow us to borrow "those" kind of books during 8th grade. With the meager pocket money I got, it was difficult for me to buy them. Even the pirated versions. So when an old library was to be shut near my house, I gathered all my savings and walked into it. They were selling the old original copies of books for 20-30 bucks. I remember buying seven of them at one go. So, carrying a huge bag I walked into my room. As soon as I opened the first book, I was transported. To a land far far away. The smell of old books and the contrast of the yellow pages are divine. No new book delivered to your doorstep smells the same. Even today, I still pick up old used novels to read. Nothing to do with the expense, its all about the feel good smell that comes with it.

When they demolished the house next door and were rebuilding it I developed a new habit. To lick wet brick walls. I used to play on the streets till dusk and when the workers left after spraying water on the freshly erected walls, the earthy smell filled my nostrils and my friends and I used to run back there and scrape out little segments of brick from the walls and eat it. It gave us goose bumps to do that. If nothing was there to scrape out, we would be content in licking the bricks to get our high. Soon, the bricks got replaced by cement blocks and the smell slowly ceased to exist. Then came the sand mixing machine and a new addiction started. The smell of wet soil. Thankfully I was just content with the smell and did not try to ingest it.

Also, there are some smells that brought out the inner demon in me by causing me severe headaches. Even after being almost cured of migraine, I still can't stand these smells. Tomato ketchup, capsicum, fish food, the smell of sweet shops (yeah, I get a sugar rush just with the smell, that causes a headache), the smell of almost all flowers, hair oil, cooked cabbage etc etc. If I mention all of them, then it will become a series of posts.

A smile at times, else a headache
Such are the memories associated with smell
The brilliant memories that come with it
Somehow makes you feel 'All is well'

This post is part of Indiblogger's Smelly to Smiley Contest sponsored by Ambipur

Check out Ambipur's Facebook page here.

~ Soumya

The Honest Post - Phase 5

Read Phase-1 here / Read Phase-2 here / Read Phase-3 here / Read Phase-4 here

It always is a nice feeling when someone repeatedly keeps telling you that they love you. But also it can be a burden when you are uncertain of where you yourself stand. I was busy answering questions within myself that I did not have the time to think about Cal's 'Will you marry me?' question. Well, honestly that was all I thought about each day, but chose to ignore it because I did not want to commit to something at that point of time. I was very happy with him, and I did not want to put a name to the relationship. I have my own fears. I felt that it would jinx the current whatever that we were in. This was January 2012.

Things went on smoothly for a few days and I was happily basking in the happiness when Cal reminded me of the question. I did not know what to say and asked him to give me sometime to think about it. Cliche I know, but do you have a better answer? He nodded with a smile and dropped me back home. And me being me, went into an extreme thought shell for the night. There were a lot of questions in my mind. Is this happening too soon? What if it won't work out? What if he hurts me? What if I hurt him? Is this what I'm looking for? Am I ready for another relationship? How different will this be? Marriage? What on earth is that? And so on. Absolutely no need to say that I did not get a minute of sleep that night. Thankfully the next day was a Saturday and I could afford to have puffy eyes. Cal sent me a cheerful 'Good Morning' message and brought back the smile on my face. I agreed to meet him in about two hours and went to get ready. En route to meet him, like always, I checked Twitter and Facebook on my phone. While scrolling I saw a status from him that said, 'Take your time, but make sure you don't take too much time'. That minute my heart broke into a million pieces, thinking what the hell am I doing to this guy. I decided to tell him the truth, that I was not ready for a relationship. Instead of keeping him waiting. Yes, I had made up my mind.

So on January 7th 2012, we met on a busy street and I was unable to see him there. I called him and he said that he's waiting at the corner. I hung up feeling really sad that I'm about to break his heart. But I shall be there with him to support him through this I decided. It was not the first time I was doing this, but this was the only time it hurt me to do it. Terribly. Slowly walking down the road, I saw him searching for me in the crowd. As soon as he caught sight of me, his face lit up and there was a wide smile on his face. Something inside me burst at that point of time. I was going to throw away all this in a few minutes. The decision then turned back into a question mark. It was chaos inside my head and just like in movies everything else blurred out except him. I walked straight to him with a million thoughts in my head. He gave me a tight hug and then I forgot everything.

I asked him where we were going. He told me that it was a surprise and that it was his favorite place. I was more than happy to tag along. After a small ride we reached the place and after a small trek up the railway bridge we reached the spot. It was wow, just wow. It was just both of us at that spot and the view was serene. A shallow lake stood in front of us and the sun shone bright casting a wonderful orange tint on the water. The merge of colors were beautifully complemented by the ripe green of the trees around. Behind us, was an unused railway track, and we sat on it admiring the beauty in front of us. He started explaining to me as to why this was his favorite spot and the nostalgia associated with it. After the first two minutes I barely heard anything. The child like joy in his face blew my mind. He looked different. He had cut his hair really short just like the way I liked it. The faint sunlight falling on his face increased his glow that was coming from within. Here was someone so passionate about his life and who wholeheartedly wanted me to be a part of it. That minute I did not know, why was I giving it all away. The question mark was in bold now. My thoughts were interrupted by a prick on my butt and I stood up in pain. A thorn on the track had managed to penetrate my denim shorts and poke me conveniently. See, that is exactly why I was skeptical about getting into relationships. When everything is well, an external force comes and pokes its head in. Not knowing what to do I asked Cal to check. Well, embarrassment was not something I felt when I was with him. He pulled out the thorn and freed me of my pain. Realizing what he had just done, we both burst into laughter holding hands. Heaven was right there, within us.

We then went to our favorite hangout place and spoke at length. All the doubts in my mind were slowly erasing and I could finally see a clearer picture. His words only comforted me and I felt that this is what I wanted from life. Him. The question mark had already begun to fade away. Next we went to food street and gorged on some serious street food. He did not mind the fact that I was eating junk, spilling it all over me. He voluntarily wiped the mess of my face and smiled saying that I was still a kid. He always had his hand around me while walking down the crowded street like protecting me from invisible evils. So here was a man of high intellect and amazing personality with whom I shared brilliant chemistry and dangerous levels of understanding. We had common interests and immense respect for each other. Plus he loved me like there was no tomorrow and was willing to go to any extremes for me. I was crazy about him too. What more did I want? I could not feel the question mark anymore.

The sun slowly set and the sky was enveloped with a myriad of colors. The wind blew pleasantly stopping now and then to give me the chill. He played with my fingers evoking every sense within me. I then felt the butterflies. Next I could hear the violins and the saxophones. This was it. The aromas of the food around created the perfect set.

I held his hand, and whispered into his ear "I hope I did not take too much time."

He looked confused first and then he smiled. "So, will you marry me?" He asked again.

I looked right into his eyes, trying to ignore my thumping heart and said, "Yes, I will."

To be continued.

P.S: To all those who thought that the phases end here, you are in for a big surprise. Just wait for the drama that unfolds next.

~ Soumya

The Unfair Sex

How many of you knew that women are referred to as the ‘fairer’ sex? First, fairer in terms of color and then fairer in terms of letting men live their lives for them. An old saying goes this way.

“mukhyo dharmaH smr^tiShu vihito bhartr^shushruShANam hi”

Roughly translating to “Women are enjoined to be of service to their husbands”.

It’s 2013 and still more than 90% of the population thinks the same. Out of it 40% are women. It is sad and irritating at the same time. I’m not a feminist here, but the point is simple. When both men and women come from the same set of sperms, why the inequality? Now you might argue saying that it’s the man who brings the sperm, hence he’s superior. But of what use is an uncooked bun without the oven? The woman not only contributes an egg but also willingly carries the fetus within her for 9 whole months and endures bone crushing pain in giving the family an heir. Doesn’t that in itself make her superior? I’m afraid not many people think so. Also, she is the only one who knows the exact father of her child. At times, the man does not even know whose child he is raising. So where does the power lie?

The self acceptance of some women that they are supposed to be at least a step below their husbands or brothers is the most painful part. Till date, I have heard of many women being asked to stop their education just so their brothers can get a higher education. And the constant craving for a male offspring has already been discussed here. Why are women considered to be a burden? Why are women a taboo? Why are they called distractions? A zillion people have raised their voice and a zillion opinions were heard, but none good enough to give a woman her right place. That is right next to a man. And if possible, higher.

No, I do not want to be placed upon a pedestal and offered prayers. All I want is respect for the woman kind. Why is that, that the kitchen is considered the only safe haven for a woman? And all that is expected of her is to cook, clean, wash, sleep with her husband, get pregnant, have children, take care of them and repeat this entire cycle again and again. And why is she confined to the corner of her house when she is menstruating? At times it is hard to believe that a woman on her period is still considered to be impure and by walking around the house she might bring ill omen to the family. Wow, just wow. Aren't having periods a sign that the woman is healthy and capable of bearing a child. And when she is called the Lakshmi of the house, how can she be considered as dirty? Only thing that is dirty and impure are the thoughts of people.

Next, a working lady is expected to magically have a perfect work life balance. In short, she is expected to rise by 5 am, clean the house, wash the yard, cook, wake the husband, prepare his breakfast, pack him lunch, send him off, wake the kids, get them ready, prepare their breakfast, pack their lunch, drop them to school, come back home, clean the house again, get ready, pack her lunch, head to work, pay all the bills on her way to work, work at the office for 8 hours, head back home, pick up the kids on her way, prepare a snack for them, help them with their homework, await the husband with a hot cup of tea, prepare dinner, feed the kids, put them to sleep, wash the dishes, sort out the menu for the next day, please her husband in bed, try to get some sleep and wake up at 5 am again. Seriously, how many hours do you think she is blessed with in a day?

And she is only supposed to be used as an object for sexual gratification. If she initiates sex, then she is a whore. If she unwillingly succumbs to a man’s carnal desires, then she’s a wife. The difference between the whore and the wife all lies in the male mind. Do you remember that ‘Baby hai busy, no abaadi’ ad from Idea? The very ad where all men try to get sex while their wives are busy with a 3G phone. Sure, that’s what wives like to do right? Watch TV and videos. If the ad had shown even one single woman trying to get her husband into bed, I’m sure the ad would have been taken off air after the first run. Interesting isn’t it? 

Remember that scene in ‘Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’ where a group of girls ask a group of boys to tell them one thing that only guys can do and girls can’t. The guys then take off their shirts in public and the girls screech and run away. Just because women can’t take their clothes off in public, does that make men superior? And who defined this anyway? A man can walk around topless with just boxers and he easily blends into the background. Where as a women in a short skirt or a strappy top is ogled upon. Women should dress decently they say. Why? So that men don’t get aroused and rape them. So let me try to get this right. Women are supposed to dress conservatively as a precaution so that they don’t trigger excess of testosterone in men. After all which man can resist some skin show right? I’m sure Nirbhaya was dressed in a bikini when she boarded that bus. The seven accused should have been let free on spot. Which they soon will be.

And yes, women do need a male company to drop them home when it is late. Or they need a security escort while being dropped in a cab. This is not because the women are weak and helpless. It is because the men around are not strong enough to hold on to their temptations or desires. But will this reason ever be considered? I don’t think so. 

Mother India, we call her with all respect and celebrate freedom like there is no tomorrow. But what about all the other mothers who have been deprived of their freedom. A woman was not born only so that she could be a wife or a mother. There is absolutely no need for a woman to give up on a career to fulfill parenting duties. There is no need for a woman to nod her head for every illogical demand of her husband. If a woman does these, it is out of her own will. You see women are blessed with this annoying trait called ‘maternal instinct’. Be it towards an infant, her husband or her pet. She will do it till the end of time because she wants to. Selflessly. Imagine giving up about 25-30 years of your existence and willing to spend the rest of your life as someone’s helper or caretaker only. Imagine the strength that goes behind such a decision. Isn’t that alone, reason enough to make the woman superior among all living beings?

A woman does not have to dress like a man to get equality. And definitely she does not have to prove something to be considered equal. She is much above a man, she knows it. 

But her stupid heart you see, she prefers to stay content with equality.

~ Soumya


At the stroke of midnight
She sat on her bed wide awake
Her parents would come barging in
Carrying gifts and of course the cake

Holding her phone close to her heart
To receive the calls on the first ring
Patiently she sat with a wide smile
Wondering what this year would bring

Last year had been magical
All her dreams had come true
She hoped that this year would be better
In her mind, candles she blew

Five minutes passed and no one came
Could they have forgotten the date?
Not a call, not even a ping
For a little longer she decided to wait

Then it finally dawned upon her
What if she was in for a surprise
She rushed and opened her door
Hoping to be greeted with joyous cries

The room was dark and smelt different
She waited for the lights to come on
Instead a cloud of dust hit her
And then the darkness was never gone

Far away, her mother knelt slowly
Shedding a tear before Alma Mater
A year ago, on this very day
She had lost her only daughter

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

~ Soumya

She's Beautiful

She has never heard of a holiday, nor will she. As I struggle to strike a balance between my professional and personal life, she comes as the most important inspiration ever. She knows every nook and corner of my house, what item is placed where and when was the last I used it. She doesn't complain about the chores put in front of her. No matter what has to be done, I know that she is only a phone call away.

She walks in every morning with neatly oiled hair lingering with the fragrance of the jasmine strung around her tiny plait. As I carelessly wave at her, busy tucked into my newspaper and coffee, she walks straight to the back yard where a heap of dirty clothes await her. Without a sigh or a comment she ties up her saree till her knees and plunges into her “work”. Among a huge pile it is easy to ignore one or two shirts. But her attention to detail and dedication don’t let her do it. Each piece of clothing is soaked separately so that colors don’t mix, they are then soaped, bleached (if whites), scrubbed and squeezed gently. Wiping her hands haphazardly on her saree, she carries the tub of washed clothes a floor up and neatly hangs them to dry on the terrace carefully clipping them so that they are not caught in the wrath of wind.

Next, she walks into the kitchen and directly approaches the sink. Not once cringing about the odour or the quantity of the vessels in front of her, she stands straight and finishes them one by one at one go, without bothering to take a break. I offered her a cup of tea, she grinned shyly and sits down on the floor drying her hands with her kitchen towel. She then fondly talks about her two daughters, one of whom is still an infant. She feeds her in the morning, puts her to sleep and comes in for the first shift of her work. Yes, that’s how she calls it and it is really hard to ignore the respect that comes from within for her as I hear her talk. The elder one is studying to become a lawyer, she says with a proud glint in her eye. As we are immersed in our conversation, her old battered phone rings. She apologizes and goes back to the backyard where she leaves her things. A quick conversation and she is back into the kitchen.

Second shift is full.” She says happily. The smile on her face is no match to the sparking vessels she just scrubbed. Filled with awe and respect I walk up to my room to get ready to go and sit in an air-conditioned office to do my work. 

As I tread the stairs, I hear her humming a song.

This post is a part of the As Beautiful As Your Work contest in association with Womensweb.

~ Soumya

The Green Eye

Take a deep look into the mirror
Do you like what you see?
Are you happy in being what you are
Or is there someone else you want to be?

Ever thought why it is this way
When others flourish why can't it be you?
Everyone sure puts in the effort
But success comes only to a selected few

What gratification in cursing the winners
While your work was only half hearted
Instead of wondering how they did it
Why not put in more effort instead?

Don't try to sneak and peek
When the fault lies in your home
Mind your own business first
Only then it becomes the happiness dome

Concentrate on your negatives
Rather than cursing their joys
When they again succeed in front of you
You may have the words, but no voice

Life no longer comes easy
You have to earn it to live it
Cheating might give you the comfort
But your soul dies everyday bit by bit

Do not hate others just for sake
Definitely not when poisoned by others
They need you because they are minority
Their concern and comfort only smothers

Insecurity is a dreaded disease
Hiding under the cloak of arrogance
The facade only exposes the fear
There is nothing promoting elegance

Understand the facts, don't just hear
See it and only then believe
The third person is known to sting
By passing the truth through a rigged sieve

It’s easy to taint a success story
Calling it influenced and fiction
Do you even know the real person?
Before making your own prediction

Accept the truth, strive to live
Why get entangled in fallacy
Them today, it can be you tomorrow
Don't just thrive on jealousy

~ Soumya

Stranger in the Mirror

She lay still, as he finished his business on top of her. She closed her eyes to let out a lone tear as she heard the door slam shut. Slowly, she woke up and gathered her clothes strewn around. Haphazardly dressed she walked to the bathroom. She gathered some water in her palms and splashed it over her face and then looked into the mirror. It was not a familiar face, it was that of a stranger. Her lips bled from his bite, there were bruises on her cheeks and her left eye was swollen. Her body ached to the bone. She felt a bout of dizziness and spat into the basin. The blood caused random shaped dots all over the white background. She looked back at the mirror and adjusted her saree, feeling naked.

He had come home drunk the last night and had picked up a fight as usual. She had tried her best in comforting him, but he was not ready to listen. He had beat her up mercilessly, before stripping and pouncing on her. And like all the other million nights, she lay helpless giving in to his desires.

The stranger in the mirror had now become familiar. She saw the face every day. She could leave, but she loved him. In spite of all the chaos, he somehow sorted her life. Slowly, she had begun to find comfort in the pain.

She heard the door click open, he was back. She looked at him with all the love she had, thinking all the while that how she hated herself for loving him.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

~ Soumya

Happy Lust in August - Again!

Read last years 'Happy Lust in August' here.

Ah well well, so its August already? Before I gallop in joy about my birthday being three days away, I'd want to ask where did the previous seven months go? This year has flown by so quick. I still remember the December 31st night last year, that Cal and me spent together along with our loyal friend the 'Old Monk'. Its been a crazy adventure since then. Marriage, new work place, new family, new friends, new habits etc etc. I've spent all my time on trying to be a successful part of this adventure that I've not lifted my head up to notice that more than half of the year has gone by. Sheesh, talk about getting lost in living. Well, at least I'm living my own life and not poking my nose into anybody else's. Oh yeah, pun intended.

Of late I've only been writing for contests or on a prompt. Well, I too have been a victim of the writer's block and I resorted to blogging communities to get an inspiration or an idea. Very bad, I know. But like I said above that I've been leading a very busy life for any kinda idea to strike me. After my husband and my BFF pointed out that they miss the writing I write for myself, I decided to take action and do something about it. Honestly, I miss my rants too. But life had other plans. I was immersed in work and concentrating on my marriage. Be it a love marriage, or an arranged, believe me marriage is hard work. You need to work on it every second and the results are more than extraordinary. And I wouldn't trade it for anything else in the world. Its a beautiful process and a wonderful journey and I'm glad I stepped into it quite early in my life. 

So well I'm back here with my kinda posts. For good. And in my trademark style, I'm starting off with an impromptu rant.

~ First the good news. I've been published for the fourth consecutive time in the online magazine 'Tamarind Rice'. I have won the 'WOW' post award from BlogAdda for the fourth time now. My poem 'Lover vs Soulmate' was picked by BlogAdda as a 'Spicy Saturday' pick. I also am the runner-up for the 'WeChat' contest held by Indiblogger and I won the Flipkart voucher. Feels good you ask? Naah.... It feels awesome. No matter how many time you are published or how many times you win, the intensity of the feeling never changes. I'm not the one to take success for granted.

~ Has any one noticed the changes on the blog yet? I've added pages and social media icons now. Can't believe it took me such a long time to figure it out. But I'm glad I did all of it myself.

~ Take a look at the 'LOL Accolades' page and check out my writing achievements.

~ Its funny when certain negative things I write, make it to "Breaking News", but my achievements and accolades are never spoken about. No, not even a whisper.

~ People who understand my passion for writing, appreciate each and every post of mine. And they also criticize me for my mediocre work. Its easy to get offended, but I know they love me and want me to do better. And luckily I have it in me, to appreciate criticism. Thank god, we get to choose our life partner and friends.

~ Day by day, my faith in Karma increases. Also my faith in Justin Timberlake. You see, what goes around, comes around. Okay fine, bad joke. Please don't leave.

~ Twitter is highly addictive. And having my crazy blogger friends there make it more interesting. Seriously, what would we do without friends?

~ The expensive silk sarees I bought for my wedding have been the worst investment ever. 

~ I've totally lost out on reading. The last book I read was Agatha Christie's 'The Unexpected Guest'. And it took me three days to finish the 150 page book. *hangs her head in shame*

~ I've learnt that as we grow up, we need to learn more and more. Also, we need to unlearn a few things to lead a better life. Like they say, discard the old and make way for new thoughts.

~ This sale season sucked to the core. Not one place had the things I wanted and if I liked something it was not on sale. Murphy still visits once in a while.

~ I'm back to my chocolate making. And the husband has taken an interest in too. Hopefully the business kicks of well. So, anybody in Bangalore seeking fresh home-made chocolates, please contact me.

~ I'm this close to starting a food blog, but somehow it makes me feel old. True story. So until then, my recipes remain a secret.

~ Eagerly awaiting my dear friend phatichar's debut book 'Frankly Spooking'. His stories that did not make it to the book have been scaring the living daylights out of me. So imagine the ones that made it. Phew! I already feel the goosebumps. Book a copy here.

~ Being a mallu, I had only two festivals a year to celebrate. Now that I'm married into a Tamilian Brahmin family, there are heaps of them to enjoy, starting tomorrow.

~ TLC is the best channel ever. Followed by Travel Trendz. I can spend days watching them.

~ People with a bad dressing sense need to be shot. People who think they look like God with a bad dressing sense, should be shot twice.

~ People who talk about your past, are the ones who know that you will have a brilliant future. Jealousy it is called.

~ Since marriage, my anger has flown out of the window. I'm as cool as a cucumber now. Obviously I'm exaggerating. 

~ Life's great. Period.

Now to scream about the birthday. Yayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy :D. I'm gonna turn 27 in style with the husband whisking me off to Munnar for a holiday. Am I lucky or am I lucky? 

So the next time we meet I'd be a year older and hopefully more wiser. 

~ Soumya

Truth Slammed

Do any of you still remember the so called 'slam-book' or 'autograph' book. Yeah, that bright shiny book that you used to pass around in school proudly. I studied in a girls convent and like true girls we tried to up each other in having a better looking book. My book looked like bokeh art with swirls of red, orange, blue and green on a pristine white background. The girls envied it but I envied another chick who had just bought a pretty slam-book from Singapore. She had asked her sister who was working there to get it. People thronged around her just so that they could get to write in it. It was huge almost like a practical record book with silver spiral binding. It had a plethora of colors as its outer cover and it pages inside were divided color by color with intricate designs. Damn, how I envied her. My book however was simple and neat. And I had another special book for the teachers. A plain pass-book kind where they happily put in their "All the best". I still remember the beam on my face when my favorite teacher wrote 'Shine like a star wherever you go" in my book. I was the only one who had got these magic words and I was thrilled to the bone. Actually, I still am.

When I look at the book today I feel extremely nostalgic and stupid at the same time. I'm still in touch with some of them and when I look at what they are today compared to what they wrote in their pages I feel amused. Ah, that age of innocence. My best friend for some reason had written "Never break a heart" in her advice column for me. Eleven years ago she had guessed what I would be and well I did not take her advice anyway :P. Page after page I was thrilled, angry, laughed my heart out and felt emotional. My slam book had a question called favorite discotheque. I wonder what I was thinking when I expected people to fill it. My house, the terrace, the bathroom, play-ground were some of the answers. ROFL. I remember writing 'Shahrukh Khan' for all favorite actor entries. Well, at least something has not changed. The best question was 'What would you be in the next 10 years'? My answer then was, to become a successful business woman. Sigh. That still is a dream. The other friends of mine who had written astronaut, doctor, lawyer, dancer etc are my colleagues in the software industry today. Probably ambitions were more applicable then which later got lost in the monotony of today.

The words and choices written in the book might have changed today, but the friendship remains the same. Probably there is a little more tension in the friendship these days regarding how successful each one is or who makes more money. Something which never existed then. Like that highly circulated quote, "I was more happy in the era where apple and blackberry were just fruits". Very true. A treat for friends then cost an average of 200 bucks, with an ice cream and a packet of chips. Today, the budget remains unlimited and the poshest of restaurants is chosen. Feels normal, but when you look back, you see a younger version of yourself licking that ice cream like no tomorrow with pure glee. And friends thanking you truthfully for the wonderful time they had. No place today can make you feel like that. Gifts then were hand made cards and postcards, with cheesy but cute messages inside it. Today gifts are sunglasses, bags and shopping vouchers. But somehow, nothing can ever make up for the written word.

Years have passed but the haphazard handwriting written in those slam books remains the truth. The feelings then remain genuine as you did not know much about the world then to calculate or manipulate. How ignorant were we then? But then again, Ignorance is bliss they say. The most important thing that we lack today. The more we know about the world, the more we fight for survival. Did we even think about these things then? Shopping meant clothes on your birthday and those special festivals. And we were thrilled to wear them on those rare color dress occasions in school. Now, even shopping every weekend still does not satiate. As living improved, we somehow have forgotten to live.

Looking back at the past years, I can only say one thing.

 Those were the best days of my life.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

~ Soumya