I look at myself in the mirror and love the way the dress fits me! I know I’m right because the moment I walk out of my dresser my 7 year old son says “Mom, you’re looking nice”with admiration and love in his eyes . My 12 year old daughter walks in with a,”cool dress- I also want!” I roll my eyes at her and smile in triumph!

“I’m ready”, I call out to my husband. Only to be reminded by my daughter that ,”Mom!! Dad has taken the present and is waiting in the car already!” I rush .

We walk into the party 45 minutes later, my husband juggling the traffic.After a much shaky and bumpy ride ,precisely 3 minutes before we would have walked in, should he have driven more smoothly.:)

Even that could not dampen my spirit to party . Normally, I’d slip into bed at 9.30 pm sharp, but some Friday nights are different! This one sure is!

The party is hosted by our friends who supposedly claim that they know how to party .So much so that they hashtag their party nights with random people as “We are the Party People” (whatever that means!) ,So tonight,I’m curious to walk in to learn the art of “partying hard”.

As we’ve arrived just in time , the party is in full swing with just about everyone who was invited turning up.

I look around for my friend, the hostess, who I can spot near the far end of the room. She looks really “happy” and as I walk up to her, after the usual pleasantries, I see her husband walking up to her with a wide grin. I don’t like him much so even his grin is almost annoying. He admiringly came and stood beside her and then slyly pinched her arm and whispered something in her ear.

She flinched, her smile faded away almost as soon as he walked away followed by a sheepish look because she saw that I had witnessed that exchange of emotions. She hurriedly walked away too.

After ten minutes of meeting everyone else that I was familiar with , I take my glass of wine and spot my friend , the hostess ,walking towards me . She looks like she has cried, so I give her the questioning look , offer her my drink which she gulps at a rather huge pace for wine but I keep mum for her sake and she blurts out that he’s told her not to drink any more alcohol for the rest of the evening so she was disturbed.

The party stretched into the wee hours of the morning with great food and alcohol flowing as if tomorrow was the end of the world, some of the obviously over drunk people were dancing on the tables , some reeking of alcohol and smoke repeatedly asking my husband why they’ve not seen us recently with him replying them with the same answer over and over again of being too caught up with work and other obligations, some almost falling ,spilling on other people, some women with their shoes off and their heels in their hands begging their husbands to leave .

When I could not bear it anymore, he caught my eye and decided it was time to leave . I rushed to say bye to my friend who was back to dancing with others and having a visibly good time . She was upset that I was leaving “so early” although I had promised to be the last one to walk out that evening . I gave her an excuse of my kids calling up and she let me go .

I sat in the car and as soon as we shared the usual comments about how nice the hosts were and who all we had met and spent our evening with , I was lost in my thoughts.

It exasperated me that although discreetly,he could pinch her arm in public unapologetically , restrict her from drinking at their own party and feel so masculine about it .

What is it with these men who think their only way to proving their manhood is by physically abusing the woman in their lives ?

Why is it that they are very proper in public with other women but can’t treat their own wives well ?

What is it that drives a man to yell at his wife in front of other people , even if they are close friends and get away with it without apologizing ?

What is it that they think it’s ok to be sloshed and flirt with other women but their wife can’t drink at all ? What kind of men are these .

And what is it with those women who let their man do that to them.

Aren’t we as women supposed to feel complete in our own way?

Isn’t the Real man supposed to empower us by making us realize our own potential and appreciate when we succeed and encourage when we falter just as he expects his wife to do so?

Isn’t he most masculine when he helps his wife clean up after guests have left instead of abandoning her to do so alone?

Isn’t he a real man when he can tell by the look in your eyes that something has been bothering you ? Isn’t he manly enough when he attends school PTM meeting with you ?

I broke out of my reflective musing when our car shut down in the driveway. We walked up to our room and he turned and asked , “is everything ok? , you seemed unusually quiet on the way back?’

‘It’s nothing ‘ I replied and as I hugged him really tight I said, “thank you for being the Man in my life “!


I put the last set of clothes in the bed box and heaved a sigh of relief , only to be reminded by the huge piles of summer clothes waiting to be put in the cupboard signaling the ardent task still at hand.

I got both the children to start sorting out the piles and keep what still fits them fine and discard what did not . It seemed like a mammoth task as they tried a few clothes initially out of excitement of getting into summer gear and then started complaining of tiredness after the initial furore making the process seem neverending !

I broke out saying that it’s no use buying new clothes and went on complaining about how wasteful it is to see piles of such expensive clothes (some even with the price tags on) only ending up in cartons ready to give away.

My little one looked at the pile with a twinkle in his eyes and exclaimed “mum if we don’t have extra clothes each year how will we give them away to the less fortunate ?!”

I stopped ranting and looked at him . I immediately broke into a smile and said “ you are right! “ with a silent prayer in my heart I thanked the universe for such mercies and continued the ordeal.

We finished the tormenting job and sat down for a rewarding lunch of grilled chicken and Mexican burrito bowl home cooked and sent by a friend.

We retired into our own rooms for a much needed afternoon nap and as I lay in bed I pondered over his insightful words . How fortunate are we that we have the privilege to choose and the abundance to give to those who are less fortunate than us. It is the simple lessons in life that we just forget along the complex journey that we choose to take. It is indeed a blessing to be able to give . As my dad often quotes,”no one has ever become poor by giving”.

The simple pleasure of having come to use for someone else and made their struggle in life a teeny weeny bit less difficult, to see someone smile because of your efforts, to wake up each day and to spill over your cup of happiness onto another person ……

The door opened while I was lost in my thoughts and my teenager daughter walked in excitedly with her phone in hand logged onto a popular online shopping site , shoved her phone brightly into my face and asked , “Mum !! Can I buy this new dress?!”

On the path of my own human revolution , I smiled and said “yes”.

The alarm rings at 6.30 am on a Sunday morning. Even before I could turn to cover my ears with the pillow , he switches it off and jumps out of bed. I doze off only to be woken up an hour later with the soft click of the bedroom door. He’s left .The nagging wife in me frowns- how can my husband wake up so early on a Sunday morning , ruin my sleep and my comfort of waking up to him cuddling me ! BUT instantly I become the understanding friend I am to him and I smile. I wish him luck and try and sleep back. Not being a sports’ freak myself, how can someone be so driven to play a game so dedicatedly and diligently every other week even after sleeping at 2am, I wonder !

It’s his passion ,his love , I know . No questioning that. No wonder he reaches out to play irrespective of how well he scores or does not. It’s a bonus when he gets “man of the match” title or gets to captain his team. More often than not he regrets having gotten “out” too early. But that is a different story….

All of us need that one thing that drives us to our full potential . Not to confuse it with that one special person but actually a hobby, a pastime, and if you are really lucky, it could be your work . It could be anything that works as your “pick-me-up” . That what you like to do irrespective of its awards or rewards it brings into your life . One that we follow with our instinct , one that brings us happiness no matter what, one that makes us feel worthy, one that makes us want to spend time on and feel proud that we did.

It’s that what brings a flight to your steps, gets you to smile more often, brings a spark to your otherwise mundane routine, makes you a better person.

What makes it even more special is the fact that there is no age limit or age criteria for finding it . It could be a childhood yearning that develops into an adult fervor or one that you’ve discovered on your path of spiritual growth along your journey to discover yourself .

Whatever it may be , it’s like fire , it will grow proportionately with the adulation and respect you will give it.

How else can one explain geniuses like Geeta kumari a child bride turning into a National women’s wrestler.

Those that have discovered it are blessed. Those who haven’t , go find it . Whether you follow it by your subconscious inner feeling or consciously imbibe that what you like over everything else . As long as it gives joy and unconditional happiness , it’s worth a try!

I woke up with background noise and opened one eye to see Virat Kohli on television talking to journalists. Apart from the eye candy that he is, what actually caught my interest was what he was saying . He was apparently defending MS Dhoni’s position in the Indian team when a guy asked him why he was being kept in the team since he was not performing so well . Virat, in his usual no nonsense demeanor, shut the guy off by saying that you are the same people who praise him to heights when he hits a six -showing several reruns of the same -so why question his ability now (?)! He knows his form the best and is doing great -dismissing the journalist and the question with just the right conduct not sounding arrogant at all!
I always wonder how the celebrities handle the pressure of delivering success after success may it be movies,personal life,cricket even raising their kids ,absolutely anything, which catches the public eye !

Performing 100 percent of their capability is one thing and then getting a 100 percent success in all endeavors almost impossible since it even defies the simple law of probability!

Apart from the surreal world of stardom and celebs, I feel, this applies to the our relationships as well .

Does it not happen that we do everything we can in our capacity to bring joy to our loved ones around but one -just one- miss and everyone remembers where you lacked and not the zillion times that u delivered.

How easy is it for us to question the sincerity of others the moment they fall short of our expectations!

The moment we start to expect, we create a preset notion of joy that’ll come our way . so,even if what we receive is higher, just because we had a standard in mind that it may not fit in, we don’t experience happiness.

Expectations from others and what we do are two parallel thin lines drawn together and we must aim to merge them as closely as possible.
On a more profound level ,what we expect from others let’s do that ourselves first . Let us put our 100 percent in everything we do and then raise fingers. A reality check comes when we look within and introspect.

Let’s give margin to others as we would want for ourselves! Learn to “accept” the vagaries of people keeping in mind the regular humdrum and vicissitudes of life rather than “expect” them to act in accordance with the preset notion of norms imbibed in our mind.

So when a friend doesn’t call for a while , why should I complain to her when I bump into her at a party. Why not pick up the phone and just call merely on the whim that I wanted to talk to her!

When my work suffers vis-a-vis my social life on an upswing, I don’t push the blame onto other factors like incompetence of my staff , or other external factors. I just realize and then know where to draw the line.

If I am aiming at improving upon myself as a human being each day rather than in competition with the world, the expectations won’t matter.

As I learn to “accept” I will forget to “expect”!

As we celebrate Navratri and Durga puja these nine days bring back a lot in retrospection.  
My mom always told me that the Navratras right before Diwali were not just fasts for penance. They were a festival that has to be celebrated. 

As I grew up, I understood that these fasts marked a change of season and we observed fasts to get our body detoxified and to acclimatize to the change of food, weather etc.

We pray to the Nine different forms of Goddess Durga and thus observe each day worshiping her different manifestations. 

We, as women, are all in some way or the other,the new age manifestations of the Goddess herself. A woman is capable of adapting herself to bring out that in herself which she is herself not aware of.

She is “Sailaputri” being the daughter of Himalayas when her resolve to get something for herself is unbreakable and she achieves what she determines to get no matter what hardships come her way . She has the power of Bhrama, Vishnu and Shiva.

She is “Bhramcharini” when she knows how to protects herself and can defend herself from the vultures of the society. 

She is “Chandraghanta” when she’s braver that most people can imagine and can fight any demons inside or on the outside .

She is “Kushmanda” when she brings a ray of hope in her life when everything seems to be falling apart at the darkest hour . When she reaches out and encourages her spouse in terms of financial bottlenecks , her kids in terms of study pressures , friends in need of her moral support giving encouragement and happiness to all around her.

She is “Skandamata” when she is in charge of her family and guards it against all evil. She protects and fights for her family , her kids and her happiness selflessly mostly putting herself as a shield to shelter her loved ones.

She is “Katyayani” when she is a daughter to her parents and loves them respects them and takes care of them in spite of all odds. She becomes the daughter that Sages wish to be born to them.

She is “Kaalratri” or the Goddess Kali when she forgets her physical being and fiercely fights for her right and protects that what she believes in fearlessly, leading to triumph over all odds and evils in her surrounding. 

She is “MahaGauri” when she is beautiful ,intelligent and calm. When she knows she is a reliever of all sufferings for those who believe in her . She is supernatural. 

She is “Siddhidatri” when she blesses her unborn in pregnancy. Also when her healing touch just blesses her child and all pain vanishes away. When her mere hand runs through the husbands hair in her lap and stress gets busted.  

She is all of the above . 
She is in every woman.

She is YOU. 

It was a lovely spring afternoon almost enticing one to run out of the house and go outdoors. I sighed as I got into the mall mentally making a note to check the compulsive shopper in me,to not enter any shop but the one I had planned to since I had to buy a gift for a friend. I made a quick decision to go walking to the next interconnected mall only because I could feel the fresh spring air in my face. It was that kind of a day!
As I waited patiently for my handbag to be scanned for security check, SHE walked in,smelling heavily of Gucci “Guilty” , and my olfactory acuteness recognizing it in a jiffy made me turn back. I could not help but notice the “fake” Birkin bag and the almost gawky, too-big-for-the-face sunglasses that she wore. Still waiting for my bag to be handed over to me ,I gave a feeble smile which she ignored , eyeing my 3 year old tote bag almost as if she looked down upon my sense of style! 

I rolled my eyes as she hurried jostled past me to enter the mall as if something/someone was waiting for her inside and would die if she didn’t reach in time! As she walked past me I wondered if I should be judging her for carrying a fake Birkin bag in a color that even Jane Birkin would cringe at and Hermes would be probably ashamed to make or should I be admiring the confidence with which she looked down upon my old but clean and definitely real LV tote which maybe out of fashion but is still very functional nevertheless!! I instantly went into the self corrective mode. I don’t have a right to judge her I told myself but the fiercely indignant inner self nudged at me and said neither did she have a right to frown at me in the face!

It’s so easy to set rules and boundaries for ourselves but when we feel helpless with our surroundings sometimes it leaves us distressed. Why did her disapproval matter to me? When we evolve as a human being, we break free from certain standards set by others and incessantly follow our path of righteousness. So when people misjudge, you walk away without explanations. When certain friends back stab you, you cut cords without confrontations. When people value others on the basis of things they own, you run away from them in the opposite direction. When liars lie on your face looking in your eye, you ignore them rather than prove the truth. When people make mistakes, you don’t gauge the extent of their delinquency ,you let karma take its course. 

Because sometimes it’s ok not to be the harbinger of high moral righteousness for the simple reason that the other side is just not humanly evolved to understand it. But most importantly because, Karma is a voice that doesn’t use words. 

It’s always watching ! 

What happens when the soul leaves the body? It moves on but those attached to the person are left bereaved and aching. Those left behind grieve for 13 days in bereavement. They relive the moments spent with the departed person, lament for moments wasted , cherish for what was special and those who are lucky feel no regrets.

It is in such times that you realize that those people who help you tide away these initial days of loss are not there to share your pain or sorrow (because that is your own) but to make you understand the ways of the universe. 
When someone consoles you and walks out of that door to live their normal life (and why not ?! – not questioning that !) they actually teach you that the loss will remain but the crying will be replaced by smiles at the fond memories that you may have created with the person who has left and the ache will be taken over by the satisfaction that you were there for the person and you did what you could towards that person. 
These days of mourning allow us to look within us and understand that we are all different human beings with varied levels of sensitivity. The degree of sensitivity is different because of how much we’ve actually fed our soul instead of our ego. It lies in how we would want the world to perceive us instead of how we perceive the world . It dwells in being able to give what we would’ve wanted to receive in such a situation. 
These days also allow us to understand that the Universe conspires to show us the reality which we normally ignore or overlook while we are busy in our regular lives. It shows us that only by loving the living will we be doing our karma. Because there are signals everywhere and if we ignore them, we shall be going against the law of nature. Even the universe gives up if we don’t accept it’s signals. Being receptive will show us how to unravel a lot within and outside. We also understand how strong we are physically and emotionally. 
It is in such times that you realize that some connections are those with your soul not just the physical you . They may have gone but the memories remain fresh forever as long as you remember them and not just your loss.
But most importantly, these days of mourning actually prove the much cliched saying that ‘life moves on’ because it does… earlier for some later for others but it does……

I came across an interesting piece of information on the internet about a candy store for adults . It’s made like a very “sleek and futuristic” pharmacy and claims to have “sweet relief for everyday pains”.

“What a brilliant idea”,I thought! Imagine finding therapeutic relief in picking up jars of candy! Fun !! If only life was so simple .. but then …is it not?  

So, what are everyday pains? 

Sometimes they are the mammoth burden of social pressures that we choose to carry on our tiny (or not so tiny!) shoulders. 

They are the self inflicted punishments which we give to ourselves for no fault of ours.

They are the shackles of our inherent nature that we go in tandem with and seldom try to defy. 

They are the little white lies that trouble us as we clearly see through those saying them. 

They are the moments when we lose our self esteem at the hands of others who find solace in putting us down to be able to rise up in their own eyes. 

They are the repetitive nature of events that unfold time and again to remind us of the small minds we are sometimes enclosed in. 

They are the grimaces we carry , they are the shame we inflict upon others and let others inflict upon us, they are the guilt we so easily accept in our lives when we are happy almost as if to be happy is sin and to suffer , a virtue ! 

The list is endless but it’s the sweet reliefs that I feel like focusing on. So what is “sweet relief”?

It lies not in resorting to over indulge ourselves in desserts when we are stressed but to find our strengths when we are put down . It is in empowering those around us even when we are being bowed down by others . 

It is when a mother in law breaks the rule of “treating” the daughter in law in a way different from the way she was treated when she was younger and has chosen to be kind and loving to the new bride rather than seek revenge from her for every disgrace that she was inflicted upon years ago.

It is when a sister chooses to love and respect her brothers wife so that it is different from what she was served when she got married.

It is when friends who are going through troubled relationships do not draw daggers at those who are not!

It is when siblings don’t worry about what inheritance they have to share but continue to make sweet memories that they started creating the day they got together!

It is when a loving husband sits on the kitchen slab offering moral support to the wife who is doing the dishes when there is no helping staff at home.

It is when kids pitch in with the mother by helping her serve dinner and clearing dishes and then rubbing mom’s shoulder when she’s finished her hard day.

It is when friends empower each other by not ganging up against one who they feel threatened by but understanding that we all have one thing in common that is “everyday pains” and the “sweet relief” lies in being nice once and reaping the result multiple times because goodness is like an echo which comes back many times multifold. 

Let’s break the vicious cycle of inflicting hurt onto others because we are hurt. Let’s be kind, Lets love anyway, because that’s what should be our therapy for “everyday pains”!! 
P.S. Also, because candy gives me toothache;) 

As I stare out and admire the bauhinia tree and it’s beautiful shades of green, I wonder if it will stay the same in this heat. As peak summer approaches, so does the most awaited summer vacation. It starts with a much needed break from school which turns into a nightmare routine of watching endless television, messy rooms , umpteen play dates and playing virtual sports since it’s too hot to go out!

I remember the summer afternoons that we would spend as kids. All the cousins gallivanting around the safe haven of one house after another, getting into one gate and then getting out of the other connecting house, ravaging through the larder for snacks and munching on anything edible that came into our sight, surprisingly right after lunch when the moms would take their afternoon siestas! The sun did not bother us. We were not worried about wearing sunscreen if we stepped out at 4 pm . We would sneak out of our house with our swimming bags behind our back, get together and go to the club for a swim followed by oil dripping fried sesame vegetable toasts and Goldspots, sign on our Dad’s account and head back. And then when we got back home more often than not, mom would be in the kitchen cooking the evening meal and we would not be scolded until dinner time more so for having left the house door open behind us in the afternoon than for actually stepping out. 

The days we did not go to the club for swimming, we would all gather together and get wet under the sprinklers in the garden or directly by the thick black garden hose. There was no difference between our bath water and drinking water. I clearly remember drinking water from the garden hose!  

Those were simple days.Evenings were spent playing carom board or strolling in the garden while the elders talked over tea and biscuits! Ah, that childhood seems to have gone by too soon….

As I notice my kids fighting over the remote for the second time in the day, I put down my book, get up from my chair, and turn off the motherboard and ask them to go out and play. It’s only 5.30 pm, they both screamed in unison (laziness is something they are definitely in tandem with each other) “it’s too hot,Mom!” We have a heated conversation (aka argument) for about 3 minutes and eventually (as usual) I win and literally throw them out to play in the driveway – the only place they can play in, since the nearby park is infested with mosquitoes and other people’s guards and drivers. 

I run back into the kitchen to quickly make some lemonade and send it out. I take a deep breath, look outside and wonder if I’m being too harsh as a mother . The beautiful bright pink flowers in the garden glisten in the evening sun and shine on, and I know my little flowers er my kids will be just fine! 

My experience 🙂 for the past eight months with Buddhism 
When I was a kid , I would see my mother pray for almost an hour every morning . Apart from fasting on random Mondays ( so that I get a “good” husband ) . I didn’t do much . I remember fasting all day , cribbing how difficult it was to only eat sweet stuff all day and waiting for the clock to strike 12 midnight ,keeping my cheese sandwiches smothered in mayonnaise ready so that I could pounce on them! I did not know I was doing anything wrong , I had full faith in my faith ! 
When I got married my mother in law prayed everyday for an even longer time . I remember she took me to her little temple and handed me a religious book and asked me to learn the prayer . I could not , I still don’t know it . I resisted . I just could not understand how reading a few lines from a prayer book made me a better human being . For it was in my actions that I had to show my values and take responsibility for my household . 

Am glad I did just that . Accepting and loving my new family was my faith , my religion . 
 Eight months ago , when I started practicing Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism, I was a complete mess . On the outside , I should have been happy since I had it all – a lovely family , financial security and independence that most women crave , but on the inside ,what was lacking was inner happiness , the freedom to be happy when everything else around me didn’t feel so right ! The practice has given me that and much more ! 
my faith in Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism came with logic . It came with experiencing the Mystic law in everything I did . I chanted and I got the wisdom to handle situations and adversities smoothly . Initially Circumstances did not change but my outlook to them changed . I chanted for everything from my kids doing well in school to victory for my friends , their jobs satisfaction , their children , victory in our family settlements,

Harmony in Family relations and saw positive results . I started with my daimoku for gratitude everyday for all the beautiful things in my life ! All the things I had taken for granted became things I was greatful for . 
I’ve always felt that I don’t have a very strong “friendship karma ” . I always lamented about how my friends who I was fiercely loyal to ended up back stabbing me ! When I started the practice , I thought of improving my friendship karma . I made the Gohonzhon my friend . Not only did it become my friend , it became my philosopher and guide too ! Each time I would chant , I forgave those who I felt had wronged me , understood that I had completed my karma with them and it was time to move on . They don’t trouble me anymore . I learnt that I have to continue being the loyal friend that I am , but because of the practice , now I’ll only attract my tribe ! People who will support and empower me . I’ve made some awesome friends ever since I’ve got into the practice . I got the wisdom to choose my friends . 
My greatest victory has been in rediscovering my passion for writing . I write poetry and a blog . It just liberates me . I feel so much lighter, happier and although I do face daily challenges , My determination is to strive to polish my soul everyday by chanting in sync with universe and to follow the Mentors guidance in every sphere of my life and reach my goal to be happy at all times 🙂