Saturday, 23 February 2013

My life as a "wanderlust"... The Beginning...

When I was a little girl, my parents took me to an astrologer in Kolkata, India, where I was born.

The astrologer couldn't predict anything much, except that I would keep travelling throughout my life.

My mom, who is a bit of a non-believer, found this prediction very annoying. Of course I would travel, in fact, I would grow up travelling, because of an evident reason:  my father had a transferable job.

Since my birth, thus, I have been travelling.

 Mind you, many a times, when I was younger, I have hated it... but slowly I embraced it. 

It was as if I was born to travel, go to different places and then again move on.

I like to think of my like as a river. I know it sounds philosophical, and my readers would go..."ohhh...nnnoooo.... spiritualism and stuff..." but it's true... a river, never returns from where it starts it's journey.

It has almost been the same way with me, though I did return to the place where I was born, for a few years until I set off again.

These days, living in a place, for more than five years at a stretch, has become an anathema to me...

I like travelling... not at all for the thrill of adventure, but just for the plain, simple fact, that I get bored, living at one place all the time. 

I would like to tell you my story... it's a story of a girl, who was born in very ordinary circumstances, and her destiny turned her life to be extraordinary.

I know a lot of you know me personally and of course, I do not strike you as an "extraordinary person" in any way. Yes, I am probably extremely ordinary, but the travels I have done and the people I have known have been extraordinary indeed and I like to believe (even if it's in my mind), that I have lived and I am living a very extraordinary life, not because I am different but because the people I have known, and the places I have gone to, have been different.

As I tell my story, I would like you to be a part of it.

If you searched within yourself, each of you would discover an "wanderlust" in yourself.

The place you are in now, did you ever imagine you would be here?

What brought you here? 

Where would you be in five or ten years from now?

Do you know the answers to them all?

Mark Twain once said, "Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than, by the ones that you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour, catch the wind in your sails... Explore, dream, discover..."

Reach deep within yourself, bring out your wanderlust stories and relive each moment.

I welcome you to my journey and hope I will get a glimpse of your's too.



Thursday, 14 February 2013

Why Each of Us Should Celebrate Valentine's Day??

February 14th is here, and yes, the news papers, the TV, your friends in the virtual and in the real world, the shopping malls around you, and even the radio, is peppering you on how "swwwweeeet" is V-day, how to declare your "louuuvveee" if you are single and have your hearts set upon someone, if you are already dating or married, how "lucky" you are and so on and so forth...

In India, especially, February 14th is a controversial day... on one hand, there are political parties claiming that this is a "western invasion", on the other you have the popular media, the Archies and Hallmark stores, and the shopping malls, going all out, to encourage you to declare your "lloovvuuee" for your significant other...

And if you are single, Lord save you... You are really treated as an outcaste, how dare you be "single" on Valentine's Day... throughout my life, from the time I realized the meaning of Valentine's Day to the age of 27, (I began dating the man I married, at 28)...so... from 15 years of age till 27, I dreaded Valentine's day... yes seriously... I almost hated it....and till date I have never celebrated February 14th as "Valentine's Day"

Well God has always been really kind to me, and I believe I have divine blessings, my only brother, who is also my best friend, decided to be born on the 14th of Feb, which arguably spared me the pain of being treated with moans and groans, which many a single people are showered with.... so exactly what I did all through these many years?

 I celebrated Valentine's Day, with all the paraphernalia that goes with it, and I managed to remain single and happy, HOW...??? well, this is exactly HOW????

Many, many years ago, when people didn't know cell phones existed and Facebook was unknown, and of course Archies and Hallmark hadn't made their presence felt, the world, and particularly India, didn't know the "real meaning of Feb 14th"... and then came the onslaught of Western cosmopolitanism and yyyeessss Feb 14th was Valentine's Day, and YOU HAD TO BE MADLY IN LLOOVVEEE WITH SOMEONE  to celebrate it, and yes it has to be celebrated....so boys and girls who were lucky and pretty and dating and in 'loouuvee", found it to be an ideal day to celebrate their love publicly, which conventionally they wouldn't dare to show...

Well, that left people like me... alone, and particularly on this day, very, very vulnerable...

I recall a hilarious incident, well it looks hilarious now, back then when it happened, it was, painful...

This incident took place in Jabalpur, a small town in Madhya Pradesh, India. I was in Stnadard 9th, which you all would know, is an age where "Valentine's Day" mattered supremely to all of us... there were a few girls in our class, these girls, weren't the smartest, but they definitely were really pretty and they had guys drooling all over them... I was on a pretty good terms with this gang, part of the reason was,  that I was the only "smart, fat, nerd" who helped them with homework... So, anyways, these girls, were planning a party and needless to say, I was't invited... but the worst part is, the guy I had a secret crush on, he was, and of course, the next day, I had to hear all the "fun" that they had... and it seemed that my "crush" had, had the most fun....!!! I was almost in tears, that entire day, from the time school started till it was over, and all of us had to bear the smug smiles of this nasty crowd, because of course they really celebrated "Valentine's Day" the way it ought to be celebrated, whereas we, well it was just a normal day for us...

Well, that was the beginning, every year, while I was growing up...some "really cool" people would have these "secret parties" where they would have "lots of fun" and I was never, ever invited to even one of them....

By the time, I reached college in Mumbai, I had realized something very, very important... there were loads of "ordinary", "not so good looking", "single", people like me, and the best part was, these were actually the majority... they never got invited anywhere, their respective "crushes" were people who seemed from another world, and they never had the courage to declare their unspoken emotions....

I realized, that these were the "real, normal, people"... not the ones, who went around in gangs, shared some sort of secret knowledge, or had the coolest guys drooling over them... and from then on, the importance of Valentine's Day, changed entirely for me... it had always meant my "brother's B'day, but now I began to celebrate my individuality too... it's difficult, but once you know, you are really the cool, normal, sane person here, you actually tend to be powerful... I began to buy things for my brother, myself  and my parents on Valentine's day, and I partied with my "girl gang" and we really, actually, had awesome fun... of course, we still had our respective "crushes" but we had miraculously stooped taking them seriously...

The problem is Valentine's day is actually a "day to love", its meant to a be day to love people, not only your significant other, but also your siblings, your parents, your grandparents, your best friends, your pet dog... it's meant to be a day when you show your love for anyone and everyone who is important to you.

Unfortunately, Indians, or  at least the vast majority of Indian media and the people who get affected by such media have got the entire thing wrong... Indians youngsters, even now, except those who are in metros, take the day to be a day only meant for your respective lovers... I grew up in a small city of India, and even now, this attitude persists and unfortunately, our media penetrates it even more...

I am married now, and I love the man I married, but even today, Valentine's day remains a day, when I can show my love, not only for my husband, but also for those around me, my parents, my brother, my friends and even Shar Rukh Khan...

Celebrate February 14th, my friends, celebrate it for yourself, for people you love, for those who love you, because in a world, where violence and hatred is a norm, I am immensely glad that there's a day only to celebrate "love"...