Posts Tagged With: family

10 lines on love

to zoya…

kids-jumping-playing-fountain

little bits of allah

frolicking here and there

spreading sunshine with smiles

telling the world to

“be happy, be joyous

life is beautiful

life is carefree”

holding out their little hands

“come dance with us

let us be love.”

Continue reading

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Categories: around us | Tags: , | 5 Comments

So much to learn!

Today I started my day thinking the first thing I have to work on is the Moved by Love newsletter. But little did I know there were other plans for in store 🙂 I went out to water my plants. I had sown tomato and green beans about a week ago and every day I have been peeping into the seed pots to see if there is anything. Just like didi’s little scientists! To tell you the truth though I love to have plants, I don’t really have a green hand. I have never had a plant growing from a seed 😦 All my seeds till now have only resulted in weeds. All the plants that I have started with a sapling bought from a nursery or gifted from a friend like this mint.

apartment gardening

mint growing in my balcony! The plant was gifted by a neighbour when we moved in.

The now image of the mint would have been even more amazing but while I was away in India, all the people I had asked to water my plants somehow missed and it got water only for a week in those 4 weeks 😦 The plant dried up a little but then picked up again once rains started! I still wonder at the magic rain water has for plants. Continue reading

Categories: Family, go green | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Back in Nani house…

… like it was 25 years ago!

Summer Vacations…. Brings back memories of all cousins getting together at nani house for 2 months;

 of sweet sweet watermelons and mangoes;

of silly and creative games that the 5 of us designed;

of nani finally pulling her hair and asking our mom’s to take us from there 😀

Some of my fondest childhood memories are of those two months spent in nani house. And we (me and didi) keep telling stories of our mischiefs during those two months to Nandini. How nana used to put up a big swing in the quadrangle and all of us used to be on it at the same time! How Bittu mama and mummy used to make a boat of bedsheet and all three of us (me, sonu maasi and chinu maasi) used to sit inside it and cross the imaginary river running between rooms :). Ah! I wish those days, when imaginary tea served in toy cups tasted amazing, would never have ended!

And right now in Nandini’s childhood, we have the opportunity to recreate similar experiences for her and since there are no other kids, the chance to relive our childhood :).

We are back in nani house. Nani has made all the sweets to welcome the gang and nanu brings sweet sweet summer fruits everyday when all we want is a different ice cream for each day :P. But he still tries.

Nani house is so meant to be the big open place with lots of space to run around and create a new problem for nani every second J though this time maasi and mummy are keeping a little tab on them 😛

Every day is a day for a new activity… Making doll house using empty cartons and paper shopping bags… learning gardening and planting new seeds; every day we take our picnic basket out in the park. Some days nanu takes us for excursions outside and also some trekking!

summer vacations fun

Fun times at nani house during summer vacations!

I’m loving it! 😀

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How easy it is to forget …

We were once ignorant. We had to be taught everything. We asked way too many questions. Yet our parents answered them. again and again. no matter how often we asked. They answered them. How easily we forget that.

A friend recently shared this video and I couldn’t stop crying. The video took me back to a similar incident I had with my mother many years ago.

Every time me or my sister went back home, we would get our laptops with us and our mother was very fascinated. Then in between I had shifted to US for a year in 2005 and ISD calls were still very expensive so we told our mom to start using skype and that was her first direct interaction with computers. She was so amazed that she started learning computers all by herself. She even took like a 15 day course on computer basics. This is almost 8 years ago. She would practice at home and whenever she had a problem; she will call me. I would try to resolve her issue as best as I could but in most cases since I couldn’t see what was the problem, I would just tell her to ask one of my cousins who was staying close by.  This continued for months and once I remember I asked “Why do you always call me; why don’t you call didi?”

And then one day, I became irritated. I think I was trying to explain double click on phone. And I said “don’t ask me.. Find someone in Jaipur.” For a minute there was a silence at the other end of the line and then she just said “You know you didn’t come into the world knowing ABCD.”

And I was dumbstruck for some time and then I just started crying… Ever since that day, even the thought of losing patience with her didn’t come to my mind… I am amazed at how much she has learnt on her own. This was more than 7 years ago and I’m still saying sorry to her for that day and she keeps saying she doesn’t even remember 🙂 Mothers are so forgiving! and as her child I was so thankless :'(.

Categories: Family | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Just another story…

“What are stories but a way of helping us see the world and each other better.”

I heard this in one of Pavi’s talk on giftivism and wondering at the simplicity yet the deep meaning of it 🙂

I was part of one such story telling session (it was actually a class on upnishads at Shivananda ashram). When I was going for the class, I was a little apprehensive. I thought it will all be in Sanskrit and most is going to go over my head! But I still went because a friend had asked me to, and I can’t thank him enough. 🙂 And it’s so wonderful that this is the story that started my journey of travelling solo in the mountains and afterwards…

Gopi ji (the Vedanta professor) was talking on renunciation. And he said nothing but share this beautiful story.

Once upon a time there was a kingdom which had a unique way of choosing its king. The ministers will let go of the royal elephant with a garland in the kingdom. The person to whomsoever the elephant puts the garland on is chosen to be the next king. It is taken to be a divine decision by all in the kingdom. Continue reading

Categories: around us, Family, Travel | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Meeting Amma

me_n_amma29/09/2013 Shivanand Ashram, Uttarkashi; 3pm
We were walking from Uttarkashi to Ganeshpur after listening to Col. Ajay where he shared with us few glimpses of the first few days of the floods.
Joseph ji has friends in all corners of the country and he wanted to introduce us to them, so we set out on a walking tour of Uttarkashi. As we were walking, we first crossed the famous Kashi Vishwanath temple. We went in for a quick darshan. Now, Uttarkashi is the abode of gods so temples are a regular sight. We soon came across Omkareshwar temple. The temple had a huge peepul tree in its compound. Since it was afternoon and the sun was very hot, we thought of taking a short break here. Pratyush sat inside the temple, I sat under the tree and Joseph ji, who it seems never needs a break, went down to the banks of river Ganga. There he saw an old lady and after asking her permission called both of us to meet her. I would refer to her as amma from here on.
Amma lived in a tiny room on the steps that went down to Ganga. As soon as we came, she put out a blanket on the ledge outside her room for us to sit, while she sat down. She asked us if we have had food. Even though we told her repeatedly that we’ve had food she insisted on making some lunch for us. “Sab kuchch hai, daal hai, chaawal hai, aata hai. Tum bolo main abhi bana doongi” (There is everything – pulses, rice, flour. You tell me and I will quickly make lunch) 🙂
I was thinking how we get so worried whenever there are unexpected guests at home and here was a lady who had little for herself and is eager to share it all with 3 strangers who just showed up at her door. Such unconditional love!
She obviously won’t have it that we not eat anything and gave me a biscuit packet. I couldn’t refuse it. It was a gift of love. She again asked “kya khaoge” and this time Pratyush replied “maaji gyan khayenge. Thodi baatein sunaiye” (we want knowledge. Tell us something).
Then she started sharing her life with us. Her pilgrimage to the mountains, her travels and stays at different ashrams. She had a smile that reached her eyes and her eyes were sparkling. For the last 40 years she has been living in the room waiting for the time when Ganga ji will take her away.
In between she looked at me and said “tu yahin mere pass ruk jaa” (you come and stay with me) and I sat down with her and I was remembering my grandmother so much. And I addressed her as amma. She held my hands and she started talking about how I should not worry about troubles that come in life because happiness does not come without struggles. And that only when there are struggles will we get closer to God. It was as if she was looking inside me.
She only spoke Garhwali but I could understand everything. It was like she was talking to our hearts. I had one of my most intimate conversations with a stranger, with her.
We went to meet her again the day after and as we were leaving she said fondly “aate rehna” (keep coming).
I am leaving from uttarkashi today and I dont know when I will be back but I say to her “amma I will try”.

Categories: Family, Travel, Volunteer | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

For my new blogging nephews :)

23 September 2013; 6:56 am; Uttarakhand, India
This one is for zaenu and faaiz!
First a very very happy birthday to zaen 🙂
And then I wanted to say I am so so proud of both of you. I had so mich fun going around Agra and Delhi and learning and exploring the Indian history with the two of you. At first I had thought this might not interest you so much but “you guys were sic” ;).
Walking along in intense heat and still listening to the guide with full attention. And also asking questions! enjoyed, loved and learned from your questions :).
And then you wrote about it, which was such a pleasant surprise. I take liberty in believing that amma pushed you guys because of me :D. So I had little role in it 🙂
Love both the blogs:
http://www.instazaen.wordpress.com and
http://www.omgitsfaaiz.wordpress.com
I shall be looking forward to more and more posts there! Writing is important because it takes you far and beyond the physical limitation of space. It connects you with interesting people and it also gives clarity to your thoughts… wish you both all the very best! May all your wishes come true.
Happy birthday to zaen again.
Love you lots
Ashima mami

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And that’s how the story goes…

बस इतनी सी थी ये कहानी…

yaadshehar-yaadon ka idiot box

That’s how Neelesh Mishra ends his story every evening. His show ‘Yaadon ka idiot box’ is the only show that I look forward to, on the radio. The regular FM channels are now just a few songs in between a lot of advertisements. And these days in Gujarat, it’s become particularly difficult to listen to radio as its predominantly mudslinging between Congress and BJP.

‘Yaadon ka idiot box’ is a radio play narrated and enacted only by Neelesh Mishra. The stories are regular, everyday stories from your or my life. The characters live in a fictitious small town called yaadshehar (यादशहर) created by Neelesh Mishra himself. A small town where all of us had once lived. Its neither too far nor too close. It’s in a time when  only Sharma uncle’s house had the telephone in the whole locality and everyone would go to Sharma uncle’s home attend calls. There were black and white televisions with wooden shutter doors (Oh! How I wish I had a picture of our’s). I still remember how mummy used to clean the screen and then close the shutter :). Every night after the prime time shows.

antique black and white TV with shutter

I don’t have a picture of our antique B&W TV, but this one comes fairly close 🙂

I discovered ‘Yadon ke…’ By chance and now, as much as possible, I try to be cooking during its airtime so that I can listen to it without any interruptions :D.

I don’t know if many would remember “hawamahal”, a radio play that used to (& still does) come on Vividh Bharati ( the DD equivalent of radio). Hawamahal is mostly comic story lines and there is a whole cast with different characters being played by different people. Unlike ‘yaadon ke …’ there is no narration.

When we were kids, we lived on the 1st floor and had a huge balcony-terrace. There was a tall eucalyptus tree, extending way beyond our terrace, on one corner. Every night after dinner, all four of us used to sit in that corner, enjoying the night breeze and listening to hawamahal on our antique radio! It was a red and silver color radio set, with three buttons, one for tuning, one volume and one power.

Those were the days of black and white TVs with wooden shutters & no remotes (there was only one channel so no issues of changing channels:)); small radio; one telephone and those were the days when we had time to sit together and enjoy a radio program and not just limit it to drive time.

I miss my childhood.

I miss my childhood, nostalgia

It was so much fun back then!

Categories: around us, Family, Old times | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Lies of our childhood

Never tell a lie (else your nose will extend like Pinocchio!). This was and still is a consistent teaching from my mother. But during this vacation, while trying to make my 5 year old niece eat her food, I realized that our childhood is full of lies.

why I lie to my kids

Oops! I swallowed a seed!

And as innocent we are as children, we believed in them. I don’t remember even once challenging them. Things like don’t eat the seeds of a fruit else you will have a plant growing inside. I still remember on days when I accidently swallowed a seed, I actually used to dream at night that there will be branches and leaves coming out of my ears and nose when I wake up.

Or don’t go outside the gate alone; there is a baba on the street who takes away children.

The maximum lies were in food items. I used to hate yellow moong dal and love yellow urad dal. To make me eat that moong dal , my mom said it’s chota urad (small urad dal) and after that I ate it.. Despite the fact that I still didn’t like it’s taste, just because it was the smaller version of a dal that I loved I ate it. And this is the lie that I believed in till I went to college and fellow students in the mess told me that there is nothing like a chota urad and that this is moong dal.

Then another one that I remember was for arbi (colocasia). She made me eat it saying it was potato! Though I am proud to say they weren’t able to fool us for baingan, lauki, torai, tinda etc (eggplant, bottle gourd, snake gourd etc) :D.

A recent retort by Nandini (my niece) to didi made me realise not only were we innocent, we were also outright stupid :).

Here’s the incident:

Didi: Nandini sit upright.

Nandini: No. I want to eat like this.

Didi: You should not eat while lying down.

Nandini: Why mama?

Didi: If you eat while lying down; all the food goes in the donkey’s stomach.

Nandini: It’s okay mama. Even the donkey should get to eat.

Lies parents tell to their children

It’s okay mama even the donkey should get to eat!

There was obviously no reply to this one and we all just started laughing. Laughing at her response or laughing at the fact that all through our childhood our mother was able to fool us with this! 🙂

And then there are the bigger lies of Tooth fairy and Santa Claus. Of course these lies were for our own good. I sort of agree to a fellow blogger’s argument that it’s not lying; it’s parenting!

And come to think of it what would childhood have been without the ‘Lion’ who was always hiding behind the sofa ready to leap if you didn’t finish the bite!

Categories: around us, Family, Old times | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Writings from the past

Look I found my mother’s old diary!

I was inspired to write this post after reading Michelle’s Pieces of the Past. They have this beautiful bed and breakfast in Virginia, steeped in history. And they keep adding to that history. I always love her antique shopping pictures especially the tea-sets!

My find is not as exciting as Michelle’s who found letters that are more than 100 years old. But I found my mother’s old notebook :). I don’t know how old it is; and mummy also doesn’t remember when she wrote that but on page there is a number – 8.9.84 – which I assume is a date, so the notebook is 28 years old.

Yellowed pages, torn edges, dog corners… I opened the notebook with such curiosity as if I’m going to unravel some mystery or learn something new about my mom :). What excited me most is that it has recipes! 🙂 There are recipes like Apple Butter, Mango Jam, Orange Squash, Almond Syrup, Tomato Ketchup… More inspiration for My Weekend Kitchen! Mummy didn’t even remember she had a notebook like this until I showed it to her…actually because of the recipes, she might have lent it to my maasi and it was she who gave me this notebook during my last trip to Delhi.

Mango Jam, Orange Squash and many more…

Apart from recipe what caught my interest were the last few pages where she has done her household accounts..

Monthly household accounts
100 School fees; 100 Bank; 200 Ghar ka Samaan; 162.50 Milk; 45 Dance; 15 Taxi

I’m sure since taxi was a luxury it got mentioned in the monthly accounts and the bus fares did not.. Also I learned that didi used to go for some dance classes (Since I was only 3 at that time, I realized the fee must be for didi). At one place it’s also written ‘Mrs Pareek 25 Rs; Sawairam 14 Rs’ Maybe I should remind her that she has to either take from or give back this amount to them!

With our generation usually maintaining everything in e-documents, I really feel sad that our children will not have the pleasure of finding and going through diaries of their parents that have yellowed with time. That they would actually be saying ‘Look I found my mother’s old blog’!

If you liked this post, you might also want to read my other experiences of discovering old things 🙂

-When I discovered my Grandad’s old journal and learnt that he wrote shayari!

-On ‘actually’ ‘physically’ writing something. When was the last time you wrote at length on a real piece of paper?

Categories: digital living, Family | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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