Swimming in an ocean of thoughts.....

Ask me no questions and i shall tell you no lies :)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Mothering Today – Changes & Challenges

This post is an entry to 4th Annual International Women's Day Blog Contest conducted by www.IndusLadies.com


Motherhood is wonderful. Motherhood is challenging. Well, it is wonderfully challenging. It is a phase that makes a woman, a woman of substance. A woman's life takes a turn ever since her womb starts brimming with life and activity. She is her child's first friend, first teacher, first guardian and the first contact with the world. From the time a woman conceives, she becomes the cautious lioness who tends to herself with all care so that the life growing inside her is hale and hearty. She spares no efforts in preparing herself and the life inside her to enter an uncertain world with a certain confidence. She becomes her husband's backbone, her child's world and her family's honor. She emerges from motherhood stronger, versatile and perceptive. It earns her a respect, an esteemed respect for a lifetime.

Coming to present day, motherhood too has evolved with changing times. Mothering today has only made a woman stronger as she battles this male dominated world with an indomitable will to prove, to survive and to show the world that, a woman despite shouldering the domestic aspect of a household, despite having the herculean task to bring up her children in the right way, still manages to balance her personal and professional life perfectly well. If one takes a quick look at mothering in the yester years, one will realize that it was a full time job way back then. In those days, not many women were motivated to study or work. However, as the world evolved, as times changed, as certain courageous mothers set examples by becoming successful entrepreneurs, sports players, teachers, doctors, lawyers and what not, it has given a new lease of life to womanhood and motherhood both. Notwithstanding that, a modern mother's achievements have never stopped her from being the doting mother to her children, the loving wife to her husband and the matriarch of her family. But that does not rule out the underlying fact that mothering today has become more demanding than before.

Mothering today is not easy. In what we call the fast world, babies grow fast into toddlers in a blink of an eye. And toddlers, suddenly become children, as one fine day, they start asking a lot of questions, some of which leave a face palm expression on our faces. In an uncertainty ridden world where unsuspecting perils knock at the most inopportune times, it is a daunting task for a mother to prepare her child to shield herself/himself from the lurking dangers of a rotting society. A mother today may not be reading out stories or excerpts from epics to her children, but will be constantly preparing her children on how to stay away from strangers and how not to get lured into traps set by miscreants/abusers/the demented of our decaying society. Precisely, a mother of today has to force her child to grow up sooner than expected.
Mothering today faces challenges on the academic front too. Education today, thrives on marks more than on knowledge. So, a mother has to make sure that her child manages to run the race with confidence. She fights hard to spend quality time with her child when not studying by making sure he/she is comfortable on the social front. And talk about social networking! It is an extremely challenging task for a modern day mother to keep a tab on her child's activities in the virtual world (which is no less dangerous than the real one). 
Unlike the ladies of yester years who married young, mothered young, gave a second thought to career and evolved in the shadows of their better halves, the women of today have a different approach towards motherhood and life. Today's mothers also contribute towards ensuring a security for themselves and the family, besides being just the homemaker. Today even, mothers who are just homemakers utilize their free time by working from home part time or indulging in new hobbies that fuel their passion for things they love doing. And I feel, that is a lovely change in the modern mothers. Today's mother is the perfect role model for her child. She walks that extra mile with her spouse to make sure, her child has a secure future in this world where standard of living is touching greater heights. And most importantly, she shoulders that important responsibility of making her child understand the mammothian efforts that are invested in every penny earned, considering that today's children were born in much better times.
In the times I grew up, we did use words like generation gap. But then, generation gap meant a gap of 20-30 years between two generations. Today, it is barely 2-3 years. And that is when I realize, how much the world has changed. I was more innocent in my younger days than my son (a toddler now) will be in his coming years. As as a mother, when I ask my mother about how difficult it is going to be, bringing up my son, she replies, “Every challenge is relatively difficult with time. In our times, our challenges appeared colossal to us. However, now I feel your challenges will be more difficult than ours. In the times when you grew up, there was no Internet, no misleading advertisements and no influence of the virtual world. So, it was easier to get your attention. For me as a mother, life was supposedly easier without these deterrants. But then, every generation outgrows the subsequent one. So do the challenges. And life was never easy and will never be. So just keep sailing. Only make sure that you control the sail of your boat.”
With that said, I believe, mothering today is a challenge that will only keep getting tougher and tougher with time. Just that we mothers have to make sure that we control the direction of our children’s' lives till they are mature enough to lead their own.

Cheers & God bless...!!


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Special 26 ~ A movie review

It had been a while since we watched a movie in a theatre. The last one was Talash, which we saw in Bharuch last year. Of course, that was after a gap of 2 years. And now after a gap of two months, we got a chance to watch yet another – Special 26, here in Mhow. Akshay Kumar, Anupam Kher, Jimmy Shergill, Divya Dutta, Manoj Bajpai and some new faces in Bollywood have tried their level best to make this film a must watch. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t say it is a ‘must’ watch. May be just one time.
Movie review: Special 26
The movie is set against an 80’s backdrop where there were no cell phones, no internet, no use of computers and no sophisticated devices to track fraud. And so, it was probably easier than today to commit scams without getting caught. And so a team of four con men rob the ‘rich and famous’ off their ‘not so rightfully’ earned wealth and disappear into various states under disguise. And they appear to have a ball of a time disguising as CBI officials or at times, as Income Tax Dept, or even as police. All goes well, until a hawky CBI official vows to catch the con gang at any cost, come what may. And so starts the wild goose chase.
Akshay Kumar, Anupam Kher, Kishore Kadam and Rakesh Sharma are the con team who execute each heist operation flawlessly. All four of them, put together as a team acted with finnese. Kajal Agarwal (who plays Akshay's love interest), though did not have much to act here, looked simple and beautiful as the 80’s ‘Marathi mulgi’. Jimmy Shergill as usual was terrific, though his role was small, yet prominent. Divya Dutta, though a talented actress was totally wasted in this movie. If there was a stunner, then it had to be Manoj Bajpai as the actual CBI officer who tracks down the conmen. He looked ravishingly handsome and was the only one who overshadowed Akshay with his acting. As for Akshay Kumar, I believe he is stereotyping his movies. He must now dabble in new roles.
A multi starrer movie is always tricky. It, most of the time, overshadows the main lead (which of course is a good thing). However, in this case, none of the stars left a lasting impression at the end. The plot is always the life of any movie, irrespective of a starry cast. And Special 26 failed right at that. (I wanted to give one star but considering that there were a few genuinely comic moments, this movie scores one more. As far as music is concerned, most of the songs are good. But when watching movie, they were totally annoying as they took up too much of the movie time)

Rating :

P.S: The movie is loosely based on a real heist carried out on a jewellery store in Opera House, Mumbai on 19th March, 1987, when 26 people posing as income tax officials raided the store.


A Sunday well spent with the wild ~ Second Zoo visit

So, this Sunday was truly memorable. In every way. It was our first trip outside the mofussil town of Mhow to Indore, a city of food lovers and animal lovers too! Which was the precise reason for our visit there. Kamala Nehru zoological park is located on A.B road of Indore between Naulakha and Chaavni. It happens to be one of the oldest zoos with recently captured three white tigresses. And that was enough to lure us into animal watching. But before that, we had to refuel ourselves as we had nothing but tea since morning. So we stopped by the chappan gali of Indore. It was truly a sight to watch out for. There are about 50 + shops selling mouth watering fast food. Most of the crowd comprised of college going students considering the fact that Indore too is an educational hub like Pune. We chose one that was less crowded (when I say less crowded, it means a lil space to accommodate four of us. It was that crowded in each joint!). We ordered three plates of shahi poha, a plate of jalebi, a plate of Idli and three plates of Pav Bhaaji. Only when we started eating, we realized we were totally famished. And the food, I got to say was out of the world. There is something to the culinary skills of Indoreans. They have this uncanny ability to make the most simple foods taste extraordinarily delectable. The shaahi poha was nothing but a normally made poha garnished with finely chopped onions, tomatoes, green chillies, fresh coriander, pomegranate seeds and farsan. Pav Bhaji was quite spicy, yet so appetizing. And with a plate of jalebis the spices were perfectly balanced in our tummies. And after another round of sipping tea, we headed towards the zoo.

Kamala Nehru Zoo, Indore
Zoos have always been fascinating to me. So, it is all in the genes. My son too loves to watch animals, and mind well, wild animals. Sometimes, the way he keeps looking at lions and tigers on Nat Geo, my husband and I get that feeling as if he is going to run into the television and hug the wild cats. Yes, he absolutely loves them. So when we entered, guess who greeted us a long afternoon? Emu, the second largest bird and a native of Australia. When standing, it almost matched my height. I had never seen one before and my son’s eyes were riveted on it. Although I wouldn’t call it a beauty, there is a magnificence in every creation of nature. And emu has its splendour in those clawed feet (Its one and straight long hut shaped feathers (which are often a catch for the poachers). As we proceeded, the second host to welcome us was the Indian rock python. The majestic creature had just had its lunch and so it slowly started crawling out of its shell. After my son’s efforts in grabbing the snake’s attention by a constant hiss hiss sound went futile, we proceeded towards the next enclosure. In a city, perhaps this would be the best place to do some bird watching. And boy, almost all jungle birds have been provided sanctuary here in order to protect them from poachers. We saw mountain parakeets, vultures, eagles, wild fowls, swans, pelicans, country ducks, white peacocks and multi colored love birds. And opposite them, were the rodent family that included rabbits and porcupines. The next were the jungle mammals that comprised of the docile breed. There were black bucks, neel gai (as they call them the blue bull found mostly in Assam and West Bengal) and spotted deers. Among them, the black bucks were truly a beauty. Their horns were shaped spirally and I believe, they are mostly used in making weapons like spheres. And not forgetting to mention, Black bucks are an endangered species. (Remember the infamous black buck shooting case of the 90’s that landed Salman Khan in a coup?)

As we were discussing the black beauty, my son suddenly ran towards the opposite side. Also there was a crowd dropping in there. So what did we see there? Gaping wide and basking in the late morning sun were the most ferocious lot that ruled the roost in the food chain. Ghadiyals, Aligators and Crocodiles (of course, they were in different enclosures) come under the world’s five deadliest. If you just have one look at them, you can be easily fooled into believing that you actually saw nothing, or perhaps, a huge stone slab or even a rock. Another closer look drives the chill down the spine. As the saying goes, the power lies with the one who has the stealth, the alertness and the speed, all in the accurate proportion, these reptiles surely are the incredibles. Then we saw hyenas, foxes and wolves. Among these breeds of wild canines, hyenas are huge (quite huge, actually) followed by wolves and then foxes. Sometimes, the sound of a hyena can be mistaken easily for laughing/gagging sounds of a human. However, among the three, wolves are supposedly most ferocious. It was already past one hour and we took a quick break as we settled under the cool shades of huge banyan trees. It took us a while to realize that all of us were tanned, not realizing it all this time. Later, we proceeded towards the den of our national animal – Tiger. This is one animal that has fascinated me to no bounds. The way it walks, the way it looks through you, the way it corners its prey, it is royal by all means. We saw white tigers and the Bengal tiger. Although it was resting time, we still managed to click them in that little time window. Sadly, there were no lions. (But then, we were content with the tigers, you see :P)
Then, we passed by the enclosures of bears, cheetah, leopards, hippos, tortoises and monkeys. The zoo is well maintained in the sense that animals are well taken care of. There is also a zoo hospital inside that tends to wounded/sick animals. As usual, eatables and plastic items are not allowed inside. Animals are not supposed to be fed or hurt or intimidated in whatsoever way. Ironically, people were littering the beautiful lawn with emptied food packets and plastic bottles. Also it was sad to watch a lot of children hurling tiny pebbles at the alligators and crocodiles. Notwithstanding the fact that they are ferocious animals, yet they live in captivity. That is when I realized, one cannot teach children, the love for animals. It is imbibed if we follow what we preach. Sad, but true that rules are always meant to be broken.

So here comes the end. It was a Sunday and so Indore market was closed. Nevertheless, we purchased a few items from the old market side and binged on kulfi to relieve ourselves from the scorching Sun. Then after exploring the entire old market (taking a note actually for the next shopping trip), we proceeded towards having a scrumptious lunch at JNB restaurant, Indore. We ordered an Amritsari thali and it contained three lachha parathas, one paneer amritsari, one dal makhani, a rice plate, a pickle, salad, a boondi raita and two juicy warm gulabjamuns. And with that, I could say, it was a well spent Sunday indeed. We headed back home with fond memories of the zoo visit. Next, we are planning soon to make a visit to the Jim Corbett National park, considering all three of us are animal lovers, in the sense we love to watch them and not tame them J
So long, till then, stay tuned for more interesting posts to come J

Signing off for now.....

P.S: Due to closely netted enclosures, we could only capture the images perfectly in our memory. It was tricky to click as it was noon, which is either snack time or nap time for the wild. Hence, we had to wait long for the animals to show up. Yet, I somehow managed to club a few pics that you must have seen while scrolling down.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

And, it is a happy happy day..... ~ Anniversary special

"And that is how the last three years unfolded....."
Anniversaries are special. Anniversaries are ‘THE DAY’. They are those dates in a person’s life that remind a couple of the love and commitment towards each other. And as each anni passes by, the bond grows stronger. It has been three years now for us. And as we complete three years of marital bliss (in husband’s language it is tantamount to peaceful coexistence), it feels amazing as to how this beautiful institution called marriage has churned out the various avatars in us, be it ‘good friends’ or ‘a lovey dovey couple’ or ‘the doting parents’ and not forgetting to mention ‘loving kids’ to our own parents. The journey so far has been great and hope the years ahead continue to give us that happiness and joy. Not forgetting to mention, our egos still battle each other. :P

And on a lighter note, every anniversary has some surprise. For us, it was no light all the night and no water for the most part of the day. Despite all that, we have a reason to smile. Because, fond memories are such that make us happy no matter what. And then our lil devil who defines our life makes our life so blissful and so totally worth living. 

Life is beautiful, is all I can say at the moment.

Cheers & God bless...!!                                                                                                                      


The meet that was absolutely meant to be ~ The Gang of Gorgeous Women

There are things I love doing and then there are some which I wish dint exist in the first place. Well, that is precisely how I felt about a ladies meet (the above, of course the one I din want at all) when I first heard of it. Perceptions. That is so complicated. You never know how it will affect your judgements. But the end of a perception is always good and for good, no matter how, why and what.

So this was my second ladies meet, considering I did not do anything worthwhile in the first one. The second meet was held at the Commandant’s place and the theme for the party was ‘RETRO’ which meant that we gorgeous ladies were supposed to churn out sensual avatars of Mumtaz, Sharmilas and asha parekhs. Needless to say, getting ready for the event was fun. All the parlor ladies were busy with their clients trying to bring out the best in each one. In my case, I chose to drape a simple red cotton saree with a yellow border. Thanks to my maid who gave a retro look even to that simple drape. She even got me a flower so that I could pin it on one side of my mane, but I chose to carry it around in my hands as the flower was overshadowing my lil head :P

And after all the photo sessions and photo shooting, all of us from the course were off to the venue where we were to be present at 4 PM. As the dusk was picturesquely blue with the rays of the setting Sun penetrating the fluffy cumulus and the cool breeze of the evening, our brigade marched with the tambola tickets and raffles clutched tightly in out fidgety hands. The lovely evening was about to begin.

As the sun set, the evening sprang up to life as the vivacious hosts of the meet greeted each one and entertained us with a lot of activities to indulge in, not forgetting to mention here, also giving funny anecdotes now and then. And I realized, there is no limit to the fun ladies can have with their husbands not around. There were games, Tambola, ramp walk and lot of singing and dancing. We just felt that the evening must keep continuing. I, for one, being a mother had some time to herself in a long time. And it felt good to be that way (should be so, atleast once in a while). And how those three hours flew, none realized. At the end, we were treated with refreshments that had those mouth watering snacks every woman would crave for. Pani puris, kathi rolls, aloo tikkis and dahi chat followed by simmering gajar ka halwa and gulab jamun with icecream were something that made us drool over again and again even after out tummies were full. And that is how the awesome ladies meet unfolded.

Now that I end this post with those fond memories, I am reminded of a question a senior officer had posed on a previous social occasion. “Why is there a ladies meet? What is the purpose of it?” There were many answers that came from the crowd, but what he replied made us ponder over the depth of such an idea to bring the ladies together. And he had said, “This meet is not just to bring the ladies of the fraternity together and have fun, but it is to ensure that all the ladies remain together in joy and sorrow. Every lady, as she ascends the ladder along with her husband, takes over a new role where she becomes the guide to every other lady who is yet to adapt to the life of Army. It is a sisterhood that shall last for a lifetime.” And that is so true. Besides, learning about the place and life, we also learn about each other’s talents and passions, likes and dislikes. Cooking together, shopping together, working together and playing together every now and then, gives a sense of togetherness. And after this wonderful ladies meet, I am looking forward to many more good times in this beautiful town, Mhow.

P.S: Some good things that happened on a personal front:

I blogged about something at least after a month and more.
I learnt some basic rules of Tambola. Because in the first meet, I won and not realizing that I won, sat silently watching my prize going away to some one else. So next time, I hope lady luck helps me out a lil bit.

Also, saree draping is fun. I never enjoyed wearing sarees, but now it seems like, you cannot enjoy something you haven’t tried and draping saree is absolutely fun. Of course, I still need help with it.

Also, I am reminded of my post pending on unpacking.....so stay tuned!

Cheers & God bless...!!