Thursday, July 26, 2012

Is It So Hard To Find Happiness?

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We bring to you our very first contributing writer Pritika Khera.

Of what we know of her, we could easily bet that she is a sunshine girl with the kind of vibes that make people happy if they are sad, happier if they are happy, and smile if they have forgot how to. She is the girl who loves bangles, dancing, and her friends. She is the person you would want to have around you because her cheerfulness is incredibly contagious. 

We leave you with her thoughts on happiness...

I have heard people say that happiness is hard to find, but is it really that hard….???

What is happiness? Maybe how we define this word is the answer.

Happiness is something that brings a sweet smile on your face. It is something that brings a tear in your eyes. It can be a snorting laughter or a sweet smile through blushing cheeks. Happiness is what we call Khushi in Hindi.

But, is it really that hard to find this Khushi?

I believe no. I believe finding it is as simple as the belief in God. If you believe in happiness no one in this whole wide world can make you sad.

And I found this answer today while coming back home from office in the same small RTV bus named 'Prateek' that I take from office everyday. I know it sounds like a guy’s name but no, it's the bus I travel in. Although I take this bus almost every evening but it was a special journey today. People who travel with me in the bus were also the same yet something was different.

May be the belief….The belief in happiness that I just talked about.

Yes, I could see that everywhere today. That happiness on everyone’s face. Be it the teenage girl sitting next to me smiling while talking to her boyfriend; a woman  sitting across from me who met her old friend after a long time; a group of old friends who were gossiping and giggling, filling the bus with sounds of laughter and positiveness all around; or the man on the last seat of the bus who swung left and right on every turn the bus took.

The best part of today’s journey was offering my seat to a  5-month pregnant lady . The charm and the glow that she had on her face was incomparable. Everyone seemed to be happy today as I wished to find that happiness even on this boiling and humid evening, because today I realized that I should believe in finding my happiness in the happiness of my loved ones or even strangers.

realized happiness is so simple to find in small things, things that may or may not be connected to us. It is we who decide what we want from life, how we want to spend this day which we call present, a gift.

And, at the end of my bus journey today, I must confess I noticed the bus’ namePRATEEK—meaning symbol, which too sounded funny to me. It made me smile once again.

You can spill your thoughts, advises, opinions, blunders, and wisdom on the pages of  Oh! Dear Giggles. Write to us at

Saturday, July 14, 2012

For Every Villain, There is Another One.

I read a news story on Yahoo News this morning. And the following is my reaction to it.

A village panchayat (a village council) in the Baghpat area of the state of Uttar Pradesh (India) has found an interesting way to tackle incidents of harassment of girls. 

It has issued an order that women below the age of 40 are barred from going to the market unescorted. (Because yes, there has never been an incident where a male escort was beaten up and the girl was raped; Because yes, the men in the villages don't need to go to work. All they need to do is take the women to the local market. However, if the men do need to go to work out of necessity, the women should be wise enough to know that they should lock themselves up. Because yes, women over 40 have never been raped. And mostly because, women do not deserve to have the right to free movement. Because women should be responsible mothers, daughters, daughters-in-law but they should never be treated like adults.) In a way, it's a good idea because anyways, the crowd in the marketplace will never come to the rescue of a girl who is being harassed. Why get ourselves into the mess for a random girl? It's not that she's someone I know. I'd rather discuss about the incident later with my kind of people over a cup of tea or while traveling in the metro. It's a good way to pass time. Oh, and you know what we can talk about: She was harassed!! Why did she go there alone? What time was it? She should have known better. Was her T-shirt too tight? She must have provoked him.

The Panchayat has also issued an order that people who would enter into a love marriage and people helping them do that will be ostracized from society. Great! Love is the reason for all the problems in the world. If we could only nip love in the bud, the world would be such a better place to live in.

And yes, who can forget about mobile phones. They've barred women from using mobile phones too because youngsters talk over mobile phones and fall in love. That's three in a row! Great job. (Because there is no right way to use a mobile phone. Because when you are actually harassed, when somebody is actually following you, a mobile phone that allows you to call up for help is the biggest evil. Ah, yes. An instrument. Not the follower. The biggest evil in today's world is technology and not the mind that has evil intentions.)

They say for every villain, there is a hero. Here, for every villain, there is another one. You don't get to see that often, do you?

Interestingly, the article on Yahoo ends with the line -- But the panchayat also decried the practice of dowry, calling it a punishable offence.

Dude, did you seriously think that was going to impress me? Oh, just in case, it wasn't clear- I am mad. Provoked. Furious.

PS: Personally, I do feel the need to have company when I need to go to a certain place but that is not because there is something vulnerable about me or something wrong about the place. But because of reasons so obvious. HOWEVER, it would be better if a need like that did not exist at all. If, men like that did not exist at all. Why should I be locked up, reach home by 8, and completely vanish from the streets while the perpetrators can roam around the city freely at any hour of the day without any fear for their bodies or for fear of being punished for their wrongdoings?

Oh, why do I need to be out after 8? None of your business. Just like my body. None of your business. If you can't help me when I am being harassed, if you don't have the balls to question the perpetrator for his actions, if you tell me "Maana ladke kutte hote hai, magar har ladki ko toh nahi chedte. Tumne hi kuch kara hoga" (Though guys are dogs but they don't mess with every girl, you must have done something to provoke them), then I am gonna KICK YOUR A**.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

I Remember: 25 Years.

I remember not feeling a tinge of loss... because I got everything I asked for. The little he-man action figure still lies in one of the boxes in our garage, sitting silently, pock-marked with scars- his attempt to achieve glory and sacrifice for his country. 

I remember watching the sunsets from the window... sitting compactly on the windowsill- the colors changing from yellow to orange to red... a faint violet rising and pfft... then gone. 

I remember mother calling after us for doing our homework, her shrill yet tender voice beckoning us before the impending night. The pressure cooker releases its withheld steam- one whistle at a time. My mother's anklets jingling... as she walks from one room to another tending to one child and then another. Her silhouette barely visible in the kitchen and yet her presence marked clear. There is mother, wearing a loose pigtail- her black hairs soaked into her skin.     

I remember watching my father walking silently up the stairs, head bowed, shoulders taut, legs a little slow than the day before- another day gone, another day of his youth taken away for his family, his children. Another day added to his countless home comings. Another day when his daughters waited for him at the door, smiling, hands stretched out. Chocolates? Candies? And, there always was. 

I remember the steamy summer nights in a small, upcoming city, drenched in the pathos of religious differences, in the throes of pathetic casteism. The heat rising above the salty Ganges, its waters laid there to be tested for ages. Before and after. 

I remember my parents taking turn in the nights when there were power cuts. A single tattered hand-fan making a chapping sound. We pretended to sleep having woken up a moment after the power cut. The fan taking its rounds as my parents shifted and stirred. 

I remember believing in parents never getting old.  

But, in the fall of 2008, when I turned 20, my father turned 46 and my mother turned 44.

Silent wisps of  silver hair appearing overnight. Getting up early a little too difficult. And, sleeping at a night a little more welcome. The robustness of my father a little too invisible. The shrillness of my mother's voice a little too dull.  

I remember 2009 when our world was still fresh with hope and beliefs.   

I remember 2010 when suddenly we flourished.

I remember 2011 when things fell apart. Lost, found. 

I will remember this moment as they sit and watch another rerun on television. My father in his shorts riding up to his knees, squinting into the flat screen. My mother in her maxi, her hair- still black, reaching up to her waist. 

Together. Like they had been doing for so many years.
For 25 years. 

The very secret of life for me was to maintain in the midst of rushing events an inner tranquility. I had picked a life that dealt with excitement, tragedy, mass calamities, human triumphs and suffering. To throw my whole self into recording and attempting to understand these things, I needed an inner serenity as a kind of balance.” - Margaret Bourke White


“I remember…” Writing Me series!, Bigger Picture Blogs. You can catch up with the best lot of writers here. Bigger Picture Blogs.

Monday, July 9, 2012

birthdays and siblings...

Over the weekend my brother celebrated his 29th birthday. When my son asked him "how old are you?" my brother smiled and replied "not as old as your mom!"

Which is true. 

We are 21 months apart. He is the youngest, I am the oldest. My children adore him. They ask almost daily "when can Uncle Toby come over?" "what do you think Uncle Toby is doing right now?" "Uncle Toby is my best friend..."

When he visits they dive bomb him with show and tell and questions and watch this and watch me and talk to me and listen to this and oh did you know... 

I think he kind of loves it. 

But the other day I had to say "he's MY brother. I want to talk to him!" and then I thought it'd be a great teaching moment to talk about how we are siblings, and my two are siblings, and we get along, so maybe they should see that... oy. It went all wrong and we ended up laughing because I was making no sense. 

I want them to have what we have. 

We were best friends growing up. Confidants. Playmates. Yes, I might have tried to sell him a rock from our gravel walkway for his only two dollars... but mostly we got on just fine. I remember conspiring to stay up all night in sleeping bags on Christmas Eve, only to fall asleep just as I'm sure things got interesting around the Christmas tree. Riding bikes together to the library across town. Adventures when I started driving and we could go off the two of us for real. We crossed a state line and laughed like crazy, wondering what mom and dad would think. We were always in cahoots. 

This is the summer of getting along for my children. They are 5 and almost 3 {21 months apart...} and can spend hours either playing together seamlessly or they spend the day at each other poking and taunting and driving each other mad. 

I remember having those crazy at each others throats days with my brother as well... but they were the minority. 

But then, I don't really remember when I was 5 and he was 3. There's probably a reason for that. 

Watching my kids and their relationship unfold is fascinating. Complicated. And utterly silly and hopeful. 

{and now... I have to cut this short to end a stomping screaming match of wills upstairs.... oh yes there's a reason why we have selective memories from childhood!!}

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Rain is a Beautiful Thing

A couple of days ago, the city experienced the first rain of the Monsoon season this year. The weather is still rainy. It's a good feeling. 

The kind of heat that the city of Delhi faces during its summers cannot be cooled by the air conditioners at homes or in cars, or by ice creams or water parks. The city needs to drench. It needs to soak its sun-tanned feet in the rain water. In moments when needed, rain is a beautiful thing. 


I was out, without an umbrella, when it rained a couple of days ago. Like everybody else, I rushed towards the metro station that evening. While I was rushing, I noticed a few cliche rainy day scenes.

People hurrying to find a place under the roof of the near-by bus stop. 

Fruit-sellers hurriedly wrapping their fruit baskets. 

A guy running past me.

Cars splashing muddy water as the drivers drove through puddles. 

This was not how I was going to experience the first rain of the season. I slowed down. I decided I was going to enjoy it. Though I knew I could not spread my arms, look up at the dark sky to feel the raindrops on my face, and sing or laugh in the middle of road. But I did not want to rush anymore. Because the rain did not annoy me. Because the cool breeze did not make me lose my mind. I had always been somebody who enjoyed rains and I wanted to continue to be that somebody. 

The best thing about rains is that they bring a smile on your face and you don't mind the cool breeze tangle your hair. And because suddenly romance is on your mind, all you start to wish for is for that one person to be there with you; to walk hand in hand in the rain, or to find a shelter together and giggle all the time until the rain stops. 

Rain makes me feel like I am beautiful.

Like I am relaxed.

Like I am happy.

Like there is somebody right out there for each one of us.

Like it's Paris or Rome. Because love is always in the air when it rains. 

Weekend Wishes.


Happy weekend.

What are your plans this weekend?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

I Missed Home.

The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.- Maya Angelou

The sojourn is over. It was exhausting. Contemplative. Confusing. A hurt on the ego.

But, the good thing is that it is over. 

I missed home. 

I missed the compress of my bed's mattress- its conformed, subtle, honest stability. 

I missed the knowledge of my room- how I know every corner of it, how I could point out at an object in its very place. I missed the comfort of the settled dust that seems to crop up every night, gathers up a little more. I missed the familiar pattern of the dancing motes in the single ray of sunshine that enters our drawing room. 

How every fallen hair gathers itself among its compadres in one corner, putting on solidarity, mustering more courage.

Or, how every little act transforms itself into a self-composed display of synchronicity.

I dwell on these things when I am away. I dwell on the little glow-in-the-dark stars that line my bedroom ceiling. How they stay there pointing to me a simple, well-guarded fact that here is now. In this place, in this moment, in this time, in this person- that is me.

Above is the shuffling of the last furniture that finally finds a place in a home.

Below is the rustic familiarity of an alien home, one could never relate to.

On nights such as these, I wait and watch. I wait for a tear to creep its way because this missing makes me want to hold on to everything that composes my life. And, I watch everything that surrounds me- every little book in its place, every furniture stuck in time and memory, every person- the same as before.

It is not so much that I love everything about this place- this little shack of a place that we have come to acknowledge as our home. But, it is more of the feeling of lack of origin... when I am away.

No one else's bed could have the right amount of bounce.

It is as simple as that.

No one else's home could have the exact wall patches that have formed in my room over the years.

Some things just belong to us. And, we belong in some things.

No wonder, I missed home.