Category Archives: Random Musings

What if Fairy Tales came true?

You know that one dream you have? The one which you want to come true, over all others? The one which will turn your humdrum, boring life into something akin to a fairy tale. The dream you wish every time you blow out your birthday candles or on every fallen eyelash? Yeah, that dream. What if it came true? I have a dream like that. When I have a spare moment or when I am feeling low, I envisage what my life will be like if that one dream came true. The one which I have been wishing for since almost a decade.

But still, it remains as far away as ever… just like a fairy tale! And what really burns me up is that there are other people for whom that dream is actually a reality and they do not appreciate it! Talk about morons! I see other people with such lives and wonder how can they be so blase about it. If they could only glance within my heart, peep within my soul, they would know what a priceless treasure they possess. Sometimes, I feel as if I will spontaneously combust if that dream, really really became a reality. I would be like a real princess in a fairy tale. Wow!

But then again, is my fairy tale life really going to fulfill me? Yes, this unattainable dream has given me endless sorrow and heartache. But…it has also given me so many opportunities. Opportunities which I would never have grabbed had my fairy tale life been handed to me on a platter. This dream has made me better, stronger, wiser. And I think, what will its fulfillment do for me? What will I work for? What will I dream about? Won’t my life become empty at some deep, unfathomable level, if I attained the pot of gold at the end of my rainbow. Hmm… The closest analogy which I can think of is getting to eat the most sinful, delicious, moist, heavenly slice of chocolate cake! My all time, favorite, go to food. What if I got to eat such a chocolate cake at every meal, every single day of my life. Just the thought makes me shudder. Talk about saccharine!

And I think that is how my life would be, if I really attained my fairy tale dream. Isn’t it ironical? When I finally get to live my fairy tale life, I won’t really be a princess, in any way that really matters. I would be complacent, lazy and lethargic. Far better that I utilise my fairy tale dream to push myself ever higher in life. And when the one above thinks the time is right, that dream would come true. If it has to! Till then, I will keep in mind that, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger!”

Life is Beeyootiful!

I have this thing… when I read an uplifting book or watch a movie in which the characters go through the most awful trials courageously, cracking witty jokes and with a smile on their face, I can’t help but think that had I been in their shoes, I would have done just as well or fine, may be just a little worse than them. I would have been brave and beautiful… an inspiration. Come on life, give me my moment of glory! I am sure we all have such thoughts now and then, right?

One of my favourite movies of all time is Life is Beautiful. I smile, I laugh, I cry, the movie ends but the characters stay with me for many a day. I wish I could meet Guido, I wish I could reassure Dora that her husband and son are ok, I wish I could hug Giosue tight. And I wish I could have been with them and been just as brave. But we are not in a movie, right?

But the current Covid climate is just like being stuck in a detention centre, with no way out. The enemy is everywhere, there is no way out. In Mumbai, where I stay, the number of cases seem never ending, each day ushers in higher number of cases and casualties. There are no malls where we can go relax on a weekend, no coffee shops to unwind with friends. Heck, one can’t even go to the neighbourhood park. And the worst part is the uncertainty, not knowing when it will end. People you know, friends and relatives, are succumbing to the dreaded virus. They did everything right but it was not enough. Nothing is enough. There is no hope.

See, how easy it is to sink into depression? You don’t have to do anything, just give up. But great books and great movies never get made on such depressed people. For one thing, there are just too many of them. And for other, who wants to peep into their lives? What good will it do? No, it is heroes who people want to know… people who are brave and beautiful. People who make you feel good just by smiling at you. People who smile and laugh and make your day brighter. People who are heroes. Now is your chance… grab it! Be the hero of your very own movie. Who knows you might just be the inspiration for the next great book or movie?

The Miracle called the Parental Heart

Sometimes, I feel the parental heart is not one of the organs of the human body at all, it is something stupendous, something ethereal. It is the sum of all the virtues which the world can boast of. There is nothing it is not equal to where the child is concerned. From simple things like saying no to the last piece cake so that your little daughter can have it to convincing your grown up son over and over again that you are happy living alone and there is no need for him to disrupt his busy schedule and come down for a visit. And the funny thing is… we all do it. You might think you will never be that kind of person who gives somebody else’s life so much precedence over your own. But just wait till you become a mommy or a daddy; when you hold your new-born baby in your hands for the first time, when you look into its lovely, innocent face, all your declarations will just vanish along with your heart. There will only be place for your baby inside. It is like magic, the best kind of magic.

It makes us something better than what we ever were, something closer to perfect angels than just ordinary human beings. It is something so beautiful that witnessing it makes your heart ache. I recently lost a relative to the Covid pandemic. He was a father. His son was stuck in another country, unable to come see his father. And the father assured him while he was on his dying bed, his son was to not even think of coming back and that he will pray that his son becomes a great and successful man. All this before he died! I can say no more…

Tough Little Kids

Man, we were all such tough little kids. Kids have to be tough.. to take leaps of faith every single day. First time in a bath with hot soapy water scalding you, soaking you from head to toe but still being brave enough to endure it.. and learn to enjoy it. First step of walking on your fat, little legs.. stumbling, falling, crying…but still getting up until you learned to walk like a good little biped. First day in school.. ooh this one is really scary. All alone without mommy or daddy in a sea of strangers, snivelling with tears running down your face! Learning to ride a bicycle or swimming. What is it that makes kids so stoic? Acceptance. I have no way out from this bath, might as well just grit my teeth and go through with it, thinks the baby. Belief. Mommy says school will make me a big girl like her and Mommy is always right. Trust. Daddy has promised he will not let me fall of the bike and I know he won’t.

I look at my daughter when she faces something new, something challenging for her. I worry as parents are wont to do. I can see the confusion, the fear in her eyes, the set of her little shoulders. Sometimes she fails, sometimes she gets it right the very first time but the moment passes, she forgets all about it.. she laughs, she plays, she makes an absolute nuisance of herself and angelically goes to sleep. No new challenge keeps her awake the entire night, dreading tomorrow. I look at her and marvel what strength of character she has! But weren’t we all little kids once? Didn’t we all battle insurmountable (for us kids) difficulties every other day and emerged triumphant? What happened along the way?? We grew up, nay, we aged.. in our minds. But when I look at my daughter or any kid for that matter, it gives me hope. Hope that I can be kinder, braver, smarter and my most perfect self. Because, as they say, ‘Once you choose hope, anything is possible’.

Mothers-The Unsung Superheroes

Had taken my kid to the park the other day. She did an entire circuit of all the swings and slides available and quickly became fascinated by a rock climbing thingy which led to a slide. She tried and failed to climb it twice, thrice… Then she somehow got the knack of doing it. When I saw her climb up her last rock up to the slide, I whooped louder than she did 🙂

So, anyway, she was manically climbing and sliding when along came a mother-son duo. The boy was older and taller than my daughter but he seemed to be differently abled. He clung to his mother and cried. He could not get up the rocks. The mother cajoled and instructed him how to climb. She showed him my daughter nonchalantlytly clambering up. But the boy only shook his head and cried. And he really wanted to go on that slide. Then the mother climbed the rock thingy with her son clinging on to her like a limpet and all the time, she cheerfully and patiently placed his feet on the rocks till he made it to the top. I felt so happy and humbled all at the same time. The lady climbed down and stood looking at her son giggling madly as he came down the slide. Really, mothers! The word says it all!!!

Of nobodies and somebodies..

Know those times when you do not have the energy even to cry? Anything and everything seems determined to go against you. Partner, family, job… Seeing some friend’s smiling profile on FB, hearing about your second cousin’s latest bundle of joy, seeing a relatives status update posted holidaying in some exotic place… Everything slowly and exquisitely drags you towards the realisation of your absolute failure in… Failure in everything, of course. Thoughts of ending one life suddenly stop terrifying you and become more tempting everyday. Nothing seems to matter because you are obviously a non-entity. Why bother about putting in some extra time at work, why bother to cook when you can grab a burger, why bother to walk when you can take a cab??? Know this feeling?
And the mind boggling fact is, your life if seen by an outsider would seem exactly the same to him now and before. Why then the puffy eyes, anger fits, morose lethargy, he would wonder. All that has changed is that you have stopped fighting. Giving up seems much less work than working to make things work. When you find yourself spiralling down, ever down, into depression… Step back and take a deep breath. Step out from your daily routine and do something, anything new. Go and meet some old friend who makes you laugh. Go to the beauty shop and get a new haircut. Catch a bus to a place whose streets you have never explored before. But it has to be a new experience. And it has to be something simple and inexpensive. Also stuffing your face with doughnuts and fries when you do this, automatically disqualifies you 🙂
Right, take your time, give yourself time and think about what you mean to do next only after you have smiled and laughed with your lips, your eyes and your heart. Then decide, what next. Sometimes one teeny change is all it takes.

HEALTH SCARE

Some time back, I had a horrible health scare. The first few days, I ignored it… successfully. Then, I couldn’t. What if I really was very, very sick? Worry for my child, my husband and my parents clouded everything else out. Once I had calmed down a little, the cynical part of my brain asked, ‘How come you didn’t wallow in self-pity first?’  “Brain” I admonished “when I am not there at all, how do I even matter?” Come to think of it, when you know your end is certain, most people always think of the people they will leave behind. The same people we hurt the most and so of course, the ones we love the most. But why is it that the certainty that we love them so much, even better than our own selves, hit us only when we come to know that we don’t have that much time left with them now. What if we showed them how much they are loved, how much we care for them every single day? Ronan Keating’s song ‘If Tomorrow never Comes’ catches this feeling perfectly,

If tomorrow never comes

Will she know how much I loved her

Did I try in every way to show her every day

That she’s my only one

And if my time on earth were through

And she must face this world without me

Is the love I gave her in the past

Gonna be enough to last

If tomorrow never comes

Beautiful lines, aren’t they?

When I finally confided my health concern to my husband, he urged me to go show a doctor the very  same day. On my way to the doctor, a thought came unbidden into my head, ‘If only there is nothing wrong with me and I could just go out for a walk or an icecream even with my family’. A pleasure so routine and commonplace that it hardly counted as a pleasure anymore. But now I wished for it with all my heart, as if it were the greatest treasure in the world. I am sure we have all had this feeling. The remaining space in my mind was occupied with all the things I always wanted to do but had never got around to, for some reason or the other. I had never gone snorkelling nor joined a power yoga class nor learned the piano nor visited the thousand and one places I always wanted to visit. Why had I waited so long to do all those things that I loved to do? And you know there wasn’t a single thought in my head for any of the people whom I loved to hate. What a sharp contrast to my mind’s routine playlist!

Fortunately, I soon reached the doctor’s place and even more fortunately didn’t have to wait long in the waiting room, driving myself mad with worry. The doctor heard me out calmly, examined me and declared me… PERFECTLY FIT!!! Thank you Doctor, I stammered again and again. I floated out of the clinic as if on wings. The world outside was dark with thundery, icy cold rain but I had never seen a finer day. Life is beautiful and my life…THE VERY BEST!

Quest for a House

I have an uncle who has lived in a rented house since the time he got married. He started out on rent because his father’s house was too small to hold one more person, even a petite woman like my aunt. ‘Just a year on rent and then we will buy our own house, however small’ was what the two thought. He was a bright young man and he swiftly prospered in his career.

Two years later, the couple began looking out for a home. They were going to have a baby and they wanted the baby to be born in their own house. Unfortunately, the boom in property prices was much sharper than the growth in his own income. They could only afford a matchbox of a house and that too in a not very nice neighbourhood. ‘Our child won’t even have room to crawl’ my aunt sniffled. My uncle was besotted with his wife and so against his better judgement, he gave in. They moved to a more spacious rented house, the baby was born and everybody was happy.

The baby was now a bonny three-year-old boy and he had a teeny sister all of ten months. My uncle had been promoted and he was determined to take the plunge this time around and buy his very own house. Then his father died and his mother and unwed sister came to stay with them. His father’s house was grabbed by his unscrupulous uncle and his mother had come to him, penniless. He sighed and rented an even bigger house to accommodate his growing family. Time passed, his mother died, his sister got married and his children grew up. All in a rented house. Oh, he was doing well in his job and his wife also gave tuitions to kids at the house. But they had got used to living in style, to eating in a restaurant whenever it took their fancy, to seeing their children attending fancy, exclusive schools… They couldn’t give it all up for a house. And that too a much smaller house than what they had got used to.

Two years back my Uncle died of cancer. He could have been saved but the family didn’t have the money for the hospital bills. They didn’t even have a house which they could sell or where they could live. The family now stays in a humble rented house in a remote neighbourhood. The son is a bright young man with big plans. ‘Wait just a year or two, Mother and then we will buy our very own house’ the son assures his mother earnestly. His mother looks at him, sighs and two fat tears slowly streak down her cheeks.

When wishes shouldn’t come true..

Have you ever wished anybody the worst? We all do that at times, right? An impossible boss, an infuriating relative or just someone who always hurts your feelings… Somebody should hurt them or that they should have a fall or an accident even! We can’t help having such thoughts and at times even desperately hoping that they come true. Some people just have that effect on you. But what if such wishes really came true? What if something really happened to that person because you wished it to?? I do not think I would be able to live with the guilt! The other day, I had visited a hospital and was waiting outside in the parking area. Just then, the hospital doors swung open and a couple of people stepped out. There was a young woman barely conscious, crying silently. A young man grimly supported her towards a waiting car. There was an old lady wailing, tottering in a daze, with a handkerchief covering her streaming eyes. They had just seen death! The aura was so powerful that I couldn’t help the sudden tears that came to my eyes. At that moment, I prayed to God to never accept any of my wishes which asked for something bad to happen to someone. However, much they deserve it. Its one thing to imagine but the reality… the reality is something else entirely. I would not want anything like that on my head, ever! So, I decided if there are people for whom I cannot wish well that is fine, they do not deserve to be in my prayers. But I will also not wish harm to them. They are just not worth any space in my head. What do you think?

The ‘joy’ of giving..

Okay, I know this title makes it sound as if I am going to launch into a tedious, goody-goody sermon but don’t worry, I won’t. But I can’t help puzzling about this topic at times. The other day, I ordered a couple of pastries to give to our household help. I gave them to her with a smile. She nodded, took the box and smiled back. End of story, right? But I saw her when she left our house. She was holding the box very carefully so as not to upset the pastries inside. I imagined her going home and handing over the box to her kids. I could almost see the grin the little boy gave to his mother as he took a huge bit. I could see our maid smiling as she ate the last tiny piece of cake. And I felt joy! Now, I feel happy when I dig into the moist, chocolaty Death by Chocolate pastry at my favorite patisserie. But that happiness pales before this one. This joy is more overwhelming and somehow it lasts much longer. It’s as if God has deliberately fashioned us this way just so as to ensure that we do our bit to help those less fortunate than us. What do you think?