Saturday, December 31, 2016

Another year. Another post. :) - Wrap up 2016!

I read somewhere, that a year changes you a lot. Its true. Its slow and its steady, but it does change you. The past few years have perhaps changed me a lot, but 2016 was the year that in all probability I accepted the changes in me.

When I started 2016, I was under the impression that it would be another 2015. 2015 had been awesome. 2016 at best can be termed as a mixed year. And it was. My wish for 2016 last New Year was very simple.

I wanted madness, magic and not much of the mundane.
You could say I got what I wanted, in short bursts. :) But definitely not in the way I expected.

I wanted more of the journeys, more of the fun and more of joy.
Travel was at a minimum this year, but on those short travels fun was had and there were some unexpected moments of joy.

I created a bucket list at the beginning of 2016. It was filled with some regular stuff and some out of the box stuff. 
Out of the 19 odd items in my bucket list (most of which involved travel :-/) I completed 8 items fully and 2 items in half :P  so can we  make that 9 items in total? Not good enough. I know!
I, however, struck one major item off my bucket list. Sky diving :D :D  While it was fun, I’d much rather do the bungee again. :) I have no idea why I felt that way, because sky diving has been on my list for the longest time. There just wasn’t that same satisfaction as completing the bungee. :)

There were a lot of lessons this year. Some of which made me cynical, some which has left me smiling and some which I have taken to heart and resolved to work upon. :)

You know, I always feel and this year it has been so much more stronger, that the world was a much simpler and different place when we were kids. Or maybe we just weren’t exposed to the harsh realities. For 2017, I am very skeptical of making wishes, of making a bucket list. I am not really sure why.

This coming year, I hope I am much less judgmental of everything in general. I hope I don’t cause anyone any sort of hurt, either through words or through actions. I hope I finish up whatever tasks I take up and I hope I do them to my satisfaction and not just as a half-baked measure :). I hope to read more, travel more, become a well rounded person. I hope and wish I give my family and close friends, the importance that they deserve. I hope to realize and cherish the small blessings that life passes my way.

Just some basic wishes. :) some minor ones, some major ones. But all around just the fundamental. 

For a change I am craving the mundane than the unusual. And I hope the ordinary turns into the extraordinary.

Wishing you all a Happy, Prosperous and Joyous 2017. Peace out! :)

Monday, December 19, 2016

Bhanumathi - The Mahabharata Chronicles #13

They said women aren’t allowed on the battlefield. And yet here I am! Fighting my way through the mounds of dead bodies, the stench of rotting flesh and the cawing of the vultures.
My eyes are weary of searching, my limbs are aching and a sense of dread has caught hold of my heart. I am hoping against hope that he is not here, in this blood strewn battlefield. I don’t think I can see him like this. In my heart, I know he is gone. His fate was sealed that dratted day in the sabha. And yet I hope! Maybe, I thought wrong. Maybe the gods decided to give him one last chance.
Samantapanchaka… I heard a whisper. Duryodhana lies at Samantapanchaka, the winds whisper. Or was it the spies?  I am not sure. I am not sure of anything anymore. I only know now that my feet are leading me towards the lakeshore.
I was but a naïve girl when Duryodhana abducted me. I was scared, cowering inside the chariot of the boorish man who had held me by force, furiously pegging his horses to ride faster and away from the other kings. His ally, Karna, was behind us, fighting the horde that had descended upon us. Once the dust had settled and we had crossed into the territories of Hastinapura, he had all but turned into a tongue-tied prince.
He soon put me at ease, and won over my confidence. Away from the prying eyes, he was a caring husband, a trustworthy confidant and someone who always treated me as his equal in most matters. He always asked me for my opinion, he always confided in me his worst fears. He told me stories of his childhood, of favouritism shown by the teachers, of being bullied by Bhima, of somehow always managing to end up in the wrong place at the wrong time. He told me of his first love, Subhadra, and the story of how it ended.
Over the years that I have known Duryodhana and been by his side, I have only twice walked away from him. Once during the fateful day at the Sabha, when I was pregnant with my twins and the other when war was declared against the Pandavas.
That fateful day at the Sabha, when Duryodhana forbade me to step out of my chambers in spite of what I heard, when my maids told me in hushed whispers what had transpired, and when I couldn’t take the deafening silence anymore, I walked towards the sabha.
The sight that greeted me, shook me to my very core. I saw Draupadi, her hair loose, her clothes sullied and torn, her tear-streaked face and the look in her eyes. At that moment, I was scared. Scared for my life, for the lives of my unborn children and for the life of the man I loved. The man who now sat upon the Crown-Prince’s throne, baring his thigh! I knew not, what came over me. I rushed to Panchali, fell at her feet and begged for my husband’s life as did all the other wives whose husbands had sinned that day. I threw the most repulsed glance I could muster at Duryodhana that day and in that glance, I hoped I conveyed what I felt. I left for my father’s palace the very same day, having no wish to stay upon at Hastinapur.
Of course, I came back after much pleading and promises that everything would be set right. In my heart, I knew that the wheels that had been set in motion, could not stop what had to occur. I still came back because of the man I loved.
The second time was after war had been declared against our kinsmen. I told him what a wicked man, Shakuni mama was. He disregarded my words stating that his uncle was the only one who stood by him all through the years. I argued, cajoled, begged and pleaded trying to make him see reason. But to no avail. There was no way my words were reaching him. Gone was the man, whom I had loved once, who fathered our children, who was a fine and just king, a good son, a loving brother, a caring husband and a trustworthy friend.
In Duryodhana, I now saw a broken man. I saw a man, who was plagued by insecurities falsely planted in his mind, since childhood; who in his weakest moments turned into someone he had no control over. A man, who would lay his life down if the people he believed in asked him to do so and a man who was coerced into doing so.  My husband was a strong man, but he was also someone who was easily influenced by others. He was a fine warrior but only an amateur strategist. And hence, he was someone who could always be taken advantage of.
And now in the far distance, I see him!
Broken. Shattered. Vulnerable. Helpless. A far cry from the man that I knew of.
This image of him, I cannot bear to see.
In my mind, he will always be the swashbuckling prince who abducted me at my swayamvar. He will always be the shy gentleman, who knew not what to do with me once he had gotten me back to Hastinapur.
And in my mind, he will always be that man who walked down the path of unrighteousness and never found his way back. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Amba - The Mahabharata Chronicles #12 - Part 2

Dusk had now turned into night. And yet, Shikandini, was entranced by the clearing and couldn’t move away. Everything seemed so familiar and yet nothing was clear. She found a smooth rock surface under a tree and sat down. She closed her eyes, in a bid to clear her mind and almost as if she had done this before, crossed her legs into the ‘padmasana’ pose and started chanting Lord Shiva’s name. The rhythm came to her naturally, the breathing settled into a regular tempo and she submitted herself completely to the consciousness.


Amba sat in penance invoking the warrior god, the commander of the devas – Kartikeya. He was the only one she knew capable of defeating Bhishma. Days passed, months passed, and years flew by. Amba’s austerities soon forced Kartikeya to reveal himself in front of her. She fell at his feet and beseeched him to defeat Bhishma. Kartikeya smiled. He gave her a garland of blue lotuses and told her that whoever wore the garland would be able to defeat Bhishma. Overjoyed, she thanked him endlessly and set out on pursuit to find the one warrior, who would wear the garland and fulfil her revenge.

Amba walked high and low, visited multiple kingdoms and yet, none dared to wear the garland. At the very end, she turned to Drupada, mighty King of Panchala. When he heard who, he had to fight, Drupada refused her, stating that he wished to live and not die. Enraged, Amba threw the garland at him, which he deflected, and it ended up atop a pillar in his palace.

Without a backward glance, she left the palace.


Shikandini opened her eyes. She was seeing things much clearer now.

She heard a noise nearby. No doubt, an animal. She stealthily approached it and was horrified to see a Yaksha caught in a hunter’s trap. The Yaksha, Sthunakarna beseeched Shikhandini to set him free. Taking pity upon him, she freed him. He thanked her and before running into the forest, told her that whenever she needed help of any sort, she just had to beckon him and he would be at her side.  

Still in a daze, about what she had witnessed during her meditation, Shikhandini walked towards the palace, wearing the garland.


Bhishma. It was amusing how one man could have changed the trajectory of her life so easily. She thought of his lean body and his toned arms. He wore his battle scars proudly. There wasn’t a man who could defeat him, she had heard. When Vichitraveerya had rejected her, she had thought Bhishma would man up and marry her. After all, she was in this situation because of him. But he hadn’t.

She remembered that day vividly.  It was etched in her mind, branded with hot coals. She had reasoned, argued and when it did not work, pleaded, begged, fallen at his feet, asking him to accept her and save her from ridicule. He hadn’t budged. She admired the tenacity of the man in spite of his rejection of her. She wondered what caused a man who was otherwise well-endowed with everything to take up such a terrible oath. She wondered how it would be to tame that iron-will and mould it with her passion. But it was all futile.

And now she was here. Back at the forest. Back at the clearing.


Shikandini was unsettled. She was feeling a multitude of emotions. Panic gripped her. She could not fully comprehend the turmoil inside her mind and yet she was unable to be calm. In flashes, she felt anger yet she knew not for what or against whom. She wanted to return to the forest. She wanted to sit on the stone in the clearing and she wanted to let her mind move of its free will.

And now she was here. Back at the forest. Back at the clearing.


Amba started her penance again with fervour. This time, she called upon the destroyer himself. She invoked Lord Shiva, practicing such severe austerities that soon she was just skin and bone. She was emancipated and she could feel her life ebbing away. Her rigorous penance made Lord Shiva appear in front of her. She prostrated herself at his feet and sobbed her heart out. Shiva heard her patiently. He lifted her up and explained to her that it was impossible for her to kill Bhishma in this lifetime. Amba was shattered. Shiva then told her that however, if she wished, she could be reborn to kill Bhishma. He told her that it wouldn’t be an easy task, for Bhishma was a great warrior. Amba had no second thoughts. She accepted it.

Shiva told her that she would be born as a princess to King Drupada, she will then realize the purpose of her life by means of the very garland gifted by his son, and take up arms to avenge herself. She would lead in the battlefield as a man, and she would be the commander to the forces of Panchal. He revealed to her that she would remember this past life and her thirst for revenge would span lives.

Amba was ready. Let down by men numerous times, first in the form of her lover and then in form of her abductor and whoever else she turned to, she vowed that she, a woman, would bring about the downfall of the mighty Bhishma.  If no man could avenge her, she would avenge herself.  

She had just one thought. She hoped that she would remember everything from this life that she was giving up. All the fear, all the hurt and most importantly, the fury.

With Shiva’s name on her lips, she stepped into the scorching pyre.


Shikandini opened her eyes with a jolt. The purpose of her life had been revealed to her. From now on, all her waking moments would be dedicated to Bhishma and how to bring his end. She summoned the Yaksha and told him what she wanted. Sthunakarna granted her wish. She discarded all her ornaments. She took her sword and chopped off her long locks. She walked back to the palace, filled with purpose.

Years hence, she would meet Bhishma on the battlefield. They would face each other once again and this time he would have to listen to her. She would make sure he did. No oath and no vow could now come between them.

She was AMBA. Reborn as a phoenix does from its ashes. As SHIKANDI. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Amba - The Mahabharata Chronicles #12 - Part 1

She had just one thought. She hoped that she would remember everything from this life that she was giving up. All the fear, all the hurt and most importantly, the fury.

With Shiva’s name on her lips, she stepped into the scorching pyre.


The girl looked around furtively. No one was around. Neither her parents, nor the courtiers, not even the guards. She was prepared this time. Dragging a spear, twice her height and multiple times her weight, she poked the garland. Trying to dislodge it. She poked and prodded for what seemed like an eternity until the garland, fell – right over her neck.

Ever since she had lain eyes on them, she had wanted them. She was curious and a little bit scared, because everyone else in the palace revered it to the extent of praying in front of it. For what felt like a few minutes, she fingered the lotuses on the garland. The never-fading lotuses. A rich blue in colour. Unlike any of the other lotuses she had seen. She patted them with fondness and a sense of victory at her achievement.

Suddenly she heard a rustle. Frightened, she looked around. No, there wasn’t anyone here. Again, she heard it, stronger this time. She felt the lotuses move under her fingers. Almost as if in a daze, she held them up. The rustling grew louder. There was only word that was being repeated. She knew that word. From within the layers of her subconscious, the images flowed. She was caught in a whirlpool of memories. She knew that name.



Not knowing where to go or what to do, Amba sat down by the riverside. Returning to her father’s kingdom was out of question. There was nowhere she could go, none she could turn for solace to. She looked at the flowing river and wondered the course her life had taken. From what she was to who she was now.

Crown Princess of Kashi. The eldest born. Sister to Ambika and Ambalika. Lover of Shalva.

These were the adages one could assign to her. Her life, a fairly peaceful one, her future, a fairly predictable one but in line with what she wanted. She had been looking forward to the swayamvar. She knew who she wanted and she had been ready to garland Shalva, when a commotion broke out. She heard rumours, about Bhishma, who was also attending the swayamvar. She had heard the murmurs and the whispers of jeer directed at him, ridiculing him at showing up at a swayamvar when he had taken an oath of celibacy.

And then all hell had broken loose.


Shikandini walked around the palace aimlessly. Ever since she wore the garland, her father, King of Panchala, seems a little wary of her. He had been keeping a safe distance, unwilling to meet her eye and he kept eyeing the garland as though it may catch fire at any time.

She couldn’t concentrate on her classes, her archery or her pastimes. She had been getting flashes of regressed memories, and things were slowly becoming clearer. She now had another name to focus upon.


She tried asking her father about him, in an attempt to retrieve more memories. The lashing she received in return, shook her to her very core. She had left the palace grounds in a fit of anger, and now upon realizing that dusk had fallen upon her, she looked around to see herself in a forest clearing. She had no idea how she had ended up there, and why it seemed extremely familiar to her.


Amba was at the verge of breaking down. She was now drawing up on the last vestiges of her strength, trudging her tired and inert body from Saubala back to Hastinapura. She had been taunted and rejected by Shalva, on the basis that she could no longer belong to him or anyone else since Bhishma abducted her and her sisters for marriage to his brother, fighting and winning over the rest of assembled kings. The Kshatriya pride in him was slighted, he said.

She was ready to wed Vichitraveerya, if only to regain whatever remained of her dignity. Upon returning to Hastinapura, she found her sisters in wedded bliss, and she felt the same scornful expression emanating from Vichitraveerya, albeit under the reasoning that her heart belonged to someone else. Brushing aside her ego, she now turned to Bhishma, who was watching the proceedings. Yet, Bhishma too, refused her proposal, stating that he was bound by his vow. However, he said she could stay on at the palace. Snubbed, she left Hastinapura.

She didn’t blame Shalva, she only felt disgusted at him. As for Vichitraveerya, he was merely a puppet at the hands of Bhishma. Her wrath was only directed at Bhishma. She was in this unfavourable situation only because of him and his actions. Hell, hath no fury like a woman scorned. Her anger at Bhishma knew no bounds. The burning need for revenge kept her going.

She walked for days, foraging whatever food she could find, drifting along kingdoms asking for help to fight and defeat Bhishma. She passed by riverbanks and forests. At one of the forests, she met sages who advised her to forget the past and appease the higher powers, becoming a tapasvini. She couldn’t let go of her anger, however, she had now found a way.


(to be continued)

Monday, December 12, 2016

11 things you don’t know about me!

This seems like a fun prompt, after 2-3 days of serious prompts.

But it also means that I got to rack my brains to put down something that I probably may not have mentioned on this blog before.

Ah! Never mind, I think I may mentioned most here on the blog.

So random things in no order as such.

I don’t like the skin that forms on the top of milk – the ‘aadai’ or the ‘malai’. This is the reason why I never order coffee in South Indian restaurants. I don’t mind it in tea, probably because it disintegrates pretty fast. Never on coffee.

I used to be an extremely shy kid in school. I never ever wanted to participate in school programmes and would always hide under the desk when the teachers came calling for participants, in a bid to escape. Even then I got picked up to be an angel (oh the irony!) for one of the school X-mas programs, and I bawled my eyes out when they took for us practice. This after the group had a very close friend of mine. Of course, all that changed when I grew up!

I’ll do anything for my friends. Especially the ones in my inner circle If they genuinely need my help for something, or just be a patient listener, or need me to do something for them, I will do it, even when it comes to putting myself at an inconvenience. But only until the point I realize that I am being taken for granted. But for those in the inner circle, I will still end up doing it even after that realization strikes.

I H.A.V.E to read before I sleep. Something random, even if it’s not the book I am reading currently. I find that I sleep better after reading.

I am always dancing inside my head. And sometimes, I move invariably to the music running in my head – sometimes. Not always. But always in a public place. :D that’s how I got put into dance class when I was a kid. :P  that’s a story I will say some other time.

I hate French beans. I don’t like the taste of them at all. I don’t mind it in hidden forms, like fried rice or mixed veg (Ok! Not so hidden) but I absolutely hate it otherwise. And even when it’s in a mixed veg, you can find me keeping it aside.

I need to have at least 2 cups of coffee or tea to get my system up and running in the mornings. Not one, nope! At least two. Yep!

I like solving logical problems. Like the ones in excel formulas, or some glitch that others have given up on. Also, the reason why I love puzzles, word scrambles. I also like pottering around things with my hands, like woodwork or fixing broken things. Give me a toolbox and ask me to fix something and I’ll happily do it. Before you ask, yes, I have a very watered down version of my own toolbox, with the necessary stuff.

I hate (H.A.T.E.) lizards. Any other pest is ok – even cockroaches. But lizards are a big no-no! I literally run the other side when I see them somewhere. I even almost contemplated shifting my previous place because of the lizard menace – read low floor, lots of plants nearby! Almost let all the advance rent and deposits go to hell.

I take pretty good care of my things. I ensure that I know where things I need almost always are, and in proper state. I always do things at my own pace when I know there is definitely no sense of urgency. However, if it involves time and money, I will do it even if I am cursing inside my head. Deadlines bring out the best in me.

I don’t like confrontations. I hate getting into fights. I am not too fond of debates. It’s not that I mind it or that I can’t but I’d rather just avoid the whole thing. They just don’t seem worth the pain! But I will do it if you push me once too much. And I will do it with vehemence.

Friday, December 9, 2016

When I’m in pain — physical or emotional — the kindest thing I can do for myself is…

Hmm! That is an unusual prompt. I don’t think I have ever written openly about pain on this blog! I have made the odd references to it on and off but more or less, I try avoiding and speaking about it. Exactly the same kind of thing when I am going through it as well.

The one thing I do when I am going through physical pain (and that used to be a lot considering how clumsy I was!), I turn into a weepy sort especially when I am talking to the folks back home! :P You know, missing home and such :) I get all teared up when I am speaking to Amma or Appa when I am physically sick! At that point, all I really want to do, is just curl up near them and have them soothe and cuddle me.

As for the emotional pain, it’s a whole other gamut. Usually I end up thinking about it so much, make up imaginary scenarios in my head, give myself a migraine and end up heading to sleep. If it’s not too much of an emotional upheaval, I try distract myself and read myself to sleep. Either ways, sleep is a constant. I always believe that sleeping it off helps to alleviate all pain.

There have been times, when I have been so down and out physically, that I have had to have friends doing everything for me. I am truly blessed that way to have friends like family. However, when I torment myself emotionally, I usually try and have my space. I don’t really like talking about pain. I avoid it, I distract myself.

And now let’s move onto some happier things please!! Shall we? :)

Thursday, December 8, 2016

What did you think you'd be when you grew up?

Ok! That’s a good question. Honestly, I don’t remember. And frankly, a little too late to answer this question, I suppose!! ;-) 

All the while, growing up, there were different things I wanted to do. One year I wanted to be a newsreader, another year I wanted to be a journalist, some time in between I wanted to pursue dance full-time, and at other times I wanted to be a CA, you know follow dad’s footsteps and all that. One thing I was extremely clear about was that I would never be an engineer or a doctor. Aversion to science influenced that decision pretty heavily. ;)

But then once I finished schooling and graduation in commerce, I didn’t really have a clue as to what I really wanted to do. At that point I wasn’t very keen on CA, having given the foundation exam and not faring well, the ego took quite a beating! :-/ A lot of my classmates were bandying about MBA, CAT, XAT etc., so I decided to join that bandwagon. Took a year off after graduation, did my MBA preparations (yeah right!) and then got into ASB. And then finished that, got placed and now I am in a job that has nothing to do with what I majored in MBA. Okay! Maybe just a little bit to do with what I studied.

If you still ask me, what I really want to do, I have no clue yet. All I know is, this corporate career doesn’t warm the cockles of my heart, even if it does pay the bills. And currently, I am not exactly gutsy enough to venture into that something that I don’t know for sure. A few months ago, though, when the lines on my forehead were getting a little too deep for my liking, I wanted to call it quits on the corporate front by mid-life, move to the foothills of some mountain and set up a cottage there and be there, writing, reading etc., but that sounds far-fetched even to my ears now. Sigh! But maybe someday, huh!

The one thing I was and still am when it comes to it, is that I was never the ambitious sort. Worst case, my ambition would probably be to ensure that I have enough security – emotionally and financially – and I’d be sorted. So, I think yeah, contentment was the one thing that I always leaned towards. 

Right! I think I am getting a little too preachy here! :P 

Even now, my ambitions are still stagnant, in terms of career and such. As long as it pays the bills, I am good.

As for the rest of what makes my soul happy, I have my diversions! :)

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

If I could talk to my teenage self, the one thing I would say is…

Oh boy! One thing? I have plenty! Why stop at one?

Considering, my teenage was about a decade and half back, which sounds ages back, when you think about it, there are so many things that I would like to tell my younger self. I did that once, a long time back, a tag I think! This one, here!

But let me do this the right way!

Dear Younger ME,
Hi! This is your older, and hopefully more self-assured self, writing to you from the future! I know, Right! BAM! From the future, yes!
So, there are a couple of things I wanted to tell you, so that you could prepare yourself for what’s coming your way. Scared much? Don’t be! It’s nothing radical or out of the box, okay maybe 1-2 things are radical! But I’ll prepare you for it. Not to worry.
The first thing I would like to tell you is stop ‘going with the flow’. Seriously, stop it right now! Stop doing it and stop saying it. There is no such thing really! ‘Going with the flow’ is a term that some jobless fellow concocted somewhere so that people like us use it and feel all self-important. You will never ever go along with the flow, how much ever you say you are! Heck! I am still not going with the flow, much as I say I am! So, don’t say it, don’t think it, don’t do it. Right! Ok? Ok.
The second one is, control your temper. This one, I don’t really need to tell you because you will learn it yourself, no not the hard way, but as part of your self-realization. But I am saying, just in case!
The next thing is, please start practicing a better dress sense. I mean, yes, I know, you think of yourself as a tomboy and you have that don’t-care attitude when it comes to clothes going under the norm of comfort-over-style but trust me, you can be comfortable and stylish at the same time. Yep! That can happen! Note to self - Straight-cut jeans do not become you. They make you look even more boyish, if that is imaginable. And stop wearing collared tee-shirts. You are a tomboy. Not a boy. Add more colours into your wardrobe; black and greys are not the only colours you see. And if it’s possible, try to start liking the colour PINK. You’ll be surrounded by it at one point in the future. And also, learn how to drape a saree, much before you are thrust into the unfavourable situation of looking at a YouTube video and learning. You have a much better teacher at home – our mother! Oh, and while you are it, why not just get a full wardrobe makeover? Okay! I think I have said whatever I have wanted to, on this subject. This one is never going to happen! I know! Fashion disaster that I am! :-/
Coming to the serious stuff, there are going to be times in the future, when you will feel like you are breaking down, mentally, physically and psychologically. No, you are not a loony-bin and you won’t ever become one – at least until you are 32. See what I did there ;-). You will have plenty of good times outweighing the bad, but these struggle periods while they are far and between, will be extremely trying, for you as well as for the people surrounding you, thanks to the pig-headedness that is a part of your character. I just want to tell you, it’s not a bad thing to give in, and accept failure at times. Put aside that ego. Put aside the thought of being a failure. It’s really not such a bad thing to accept that you are a failure in some things. Take multiple stabs at it, put in your effort and if it works, well and good, if it doesn’t, never mind, there will be a reason for why it didn’t work even after all the effort. People will say stuff, like this was not enough effort and this isn’t how things are done and all such sort of nonsense, don’t take it to heart. They are not the ones dealing with it. YOU ARE! And, you know your threshold, the best! Lots of things will happen during your 20s. In your case, they will be the tumultuous twenties. Don’t give up, even when you feel like doing so. Appa, Amma and Achu will be there all along the way with you, supporting you and keeping you together. You’ll lose people you thought were going to be with you for the rest of your life, you will learn what it means to be without having anyone to confide in, and you will learn what loneliness is. But, you will also learn how to be more independent, and find people that you can be as sure of as you are of yourself, and most importantly, YOU WILL GROW and learn that being alone is not really such a tough thing! Hell, after a point you will start craving for this solitude at times. I am not telling this to scare you or to put you in a spot. These are things that happen pretty commonly, which you will learn soon, I am telling you this because, the sooner you learn to accept things quickly, the better life will become.
Oh also, before I forget, you have a penchant for drama. No, by that I don’t mean that you do drama in the future (I know you are a drama-queen NOW!!), but that you will attract drama like nobody’s business. But then this is pretty normal too! Everyone deals with drama all the time. Some, a little more than others. I don’t have to really tell you which category you fall into. Even if you don’t like it, deal with it. Learn to handle it. Word of caution – don’t try to avoid it. It will find you and you will have to tolerate it. Don’t worry, it’s not going to be that bad!
I think this has already turned into a long enough letter. Ultimately what I really want to say is this. You are a strong girl, no, not physically. You know what I mean! Mostly I think it is your stubbornness that gets you through. But, there is no denying the fact that it takes a lot to break you and this is something that you should be proud of. This is one of those things that will define your individuality and the person you are or rather will be. You’ll learn it as you go. See, the thing is, everyone is different, everyone has their own set of competencies. As do you. So, don’t lose heart and don’t try to become someone you are not. People who like you and want to be with you, will do so because of whoever you are. Don’t fret too much about it.
Be who you are and try to better yourself at that. At the end of the day, the competition and the comparison is going to be with just yourself.
I am really really proud of where we are and the journey that has been till now! It’s been a good ride so far and from here on, I hope it is as awesome as it can possibly be! :) :) 
Take care, love you. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

30 things that make me smile! :) :)

I like today’s prompt … it makes me feel all nice, warm and fuzzy when I think about these things and trust me it was no easy task to think up of things that would make me smile… I am sure I would have a lot more if I dredge up the energy to think, but some of these materialistic and not-so-materialistic things should do for now…

And therefore, in no particular order ...

Traditions that I have formed or those that have been followed for ages at home. Going back home for a vacation and checking out each nook, cranny and corner for familiar smells and things. Black and white photographs. Random hugs from the back. Dancing and sweating it out and having an ‘endorphin’ high! A very well made cup of coffee with just the right amount of milk and very little sugar. Drizzles on the face while taking long walks. Songs, places, things that bring back bitter-sweet memories. Surprises when you least expect it. A long road trip. Bike rides or car drives where the window is open and the breeze is on your face bringing with it those stray droplets. The smell of old books. Road-side tea and samosas. Visiting temples just in time to see the deeparadhanai and listening to the legends of what made these temples special. The smell of chembakam flowers that brings back memories of Kalam and elaneer! Soft cotton sarees which fall just-so-right. Vatthakozhambu and potato fry. Babies and that baby smell that pervades the room when they are around. Sunsets and sunrises (whenever I get a chance). Subtle word plays. A good book that keeps me thinking about it for the next couple of hours or days. Walking barefoot on morning dew filled grass! Early morning quiet. Big furry dogs. Adventure sports and the high that comes with it. A feel-good movie or a well-choreographed dance performance or a well-sung song! Unexpected compliments. Traveling to a new place, soaking in the sights and the culture. Decade old friendships and the memories associated with them. 
A post well-written.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Three Good Things

I have been asked to write about three good things today.

I don’t really know, what context they mean here, but as always, I’d like to write about the top three good things in my life.

# 1 – The Perfect Support System - FAMILY
I know I have talked plenty about my family over posts in the blog, but I don’t really know if I have said this. My parents have always been more my friends than parents. When me and Achu crossed our teenage years, Appa and Amma took a step back from being parents and started gelling with us more as friends. So, until this day, our dining table conversations are peppered with an all-inclusive set of topics, sometimes bordering on the inappropriate for the dinner table. :P Of course, they still do wring their hands in exasperation over the things their offspring end up doing, not listening to them. The parental force kicks on in full swing on and off during those times. ;) We have stuck by each other, all through the ups and downs and anything important I embark upon, like interviews, fresh starts, and new beginnings, I ensure that they are the last people I speak to. :)

# 2 – F.R.I.E.N.D.S.
Enough has been written on this blog about the circle of friends I have as well. They say friends are the family you can choose and in that sense, while I have had a few hits and misses here and there, mostly, I have found the ones that will stick by me through apocalypses and ends of the world and it definitely is vice versa as well. When friendships span over years, you learn the minutest of things about each other, deal breakers, things that you don’t agree on, distances that exist only in time and not in mind. If you have surpassed all that and your friendship still has the same intensity as it always has been, pat yourselves on the back. It is extremely difficult to cross all bridges and get to where you are and still pick up from where you left the last time, with no awkwardness hanging in the air. The closest friends that I have in my life, I can probably count on one hand. These are the people who will take a bullet for me. And I’d gladly do so for them as well.

# 3 – Reading and Dancing.
I have my parents to be grateful for both of those, for inculcating in me these things that makes me, ME.

Some of my best memories are those of reading -  those wondrous afternoons of lying down on the huge cool floor in Kalam, turning pages and looking at pictures in those big hardbound books, smuggling the comic books inside textbooks and pretending to be studying, train journeys that start with pestering Appa to buy me a Champak or a Gokulam, Amma lugging big bags of second-hand books, Enid Blytons, Nancy Drews, Hardy Boys, from the old books shops in Coimbatore, my Manni’s library card that I appropriated and ended up not letting her pick up books, the second hand sales at Hyderabad, discovering flipkart and cash on delivery options and now the Kindle. So many books, so little time to read.  

I have my mom to be thankful for the passion I have for dance. She is the one who pushed me those early rainy mornings, to wake up and be ready for the thrice a week classes before school, for those endless waits during my practice sessions for performances, for encouraging me to choreograph on my own, for pushing me to limits, that I would never ever have imagined doing all alone. And you know what, all that cheering and trudging on, have paid off. Today whatever stamina that I have or that I endure is because of those years of training. Today, even if you ask me to go on dancing non-stop, I’d find conviction in myself to do that.

Dancing is my escape route - from the world, from sadness, from frustrations, from stress, from ‘when everything gets too much to handle’. Muscle memory they say, the way your feet start tapping when you hear familiar rhythms, the way your hands move and your eyes express themselves. In my head, I am always dancing, always choreographing. It’s my go-to option when I have tune out during those endless meetings, travel journeys with only music for company.

It’s like how Rumi said –
“Dance, when you're broken open. Dance, if you've torn the bandage off. Dance in the middle of the fighting. Dance in your blood. Dance when you're perfectly free.”,

There! Those are my top 3 good things - What are yours? :)

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Are you a book re-reader? Tell us about a favourite you have read many times.

Guilty as charged on the book re-reading aspect. I always end up reading any book that I buy at least twice.

“If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.”
― Oscar Wilde

And on that count, the books that I have read the maximum number of times, would have to be ‘The Godfather’ and ‘Harry Potter’ series. I have written about both these books, plenty of times in this blog.

‘The Godfather’ has been and will be my most favourite book ever. I must have read it at least a few times short of 100. :) It heralded my reading into the dimension of serious and better books.

I started reading the Godfather when I was laid up in bed after a very eventful appendicitis operation. With nothing to do and not being able to climb the stairs to my bookshelf, I had asked mom to pick up books and give so that I could at least read. Until then, my repertoire was only filled with Sidney Sheldons and Mary Higgins Clarks. Reading ‘The Godfather’ was a revelation. The character and their arcs, the strategies and the mind games, and the final few chapters were simply mind-blowing. And the best of all, MICHAEL CORLEONE. For the longest time, he haunted my dreams ;-). The minute I think about Michael Corleone, the first words that come to my mind are “the delicious icy chillness that filled his brain”. Phew!! Enough said. Michael Corleone, the fictional character, will always be my top most love! :) :)

About the Harry Potter series, enough has been written in this blog about how I started reading the series and how it has influenced my life. Whenever I tell people that one of my favourite series is the Harry Potter series, I am almost always met with a sense of scepticism. Probably they think that it’s a kids’ book. Or that since its fantasy, it is no way connected to our world. Or maybe it has been portrayed as “a book about magic”. Lot of life lessons in there, subtly hidden as part of the overall storyline. Its written much better here, by this blogger.

If you haven’t read either of the books, please do. You will definitely like them, if you read them with an open mind.

I guarantee it! :)

Grahanam - A review!

It has been quite some time since I penned something on this blog, and even longer, since I wrote a movie review. But there is no good time ...