Guardians of Your Health

Living an healthy lifestyle is the most cliched topic for all families over the years. If coconut oil to your hair or a ragi ball to your stomach is meant to keep you healthy, it is the wisdom from our grandmothers. If a peg can keep you warm and healthy during the cold winters, the grandpas up for the wisdom mike.

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Health and being healthy has been on a constant roll for over the years, through the generations where our parents thought exercise will reach the necessary health criteria. The definition chameleoned when our seniors hit the gyms or the posh lady next door chose water aerobics in the pool.

But have you known a secret, of the  people who cook in the house have a power to save you. They are the guardians of your health. If they mess up on one single thing. From the vegetables that is to be washed  to the oil used that controls the cholesterol in your body. The family suffers. The ladies in the house hold up that responsibility in most Indian families.

And we all stand as an yield of the years experiment on us. The food we eat to the computer games that we choose to live in. Everything has overcome a massive change over the years.

Today, the world hasn’t remained the same and so has the beliefs or the practices carried like a mane has been so.

The dominos and burritos took over the ragiballs. The yearlong parties took over the winter pegs. The automatic vibrating machines took over the exercises. Oh right, the facebook scrolling became the new thumb trend for exercise. Phew, but we are still sane to get back to reality.

It’s all about balance.

I have a regime of my own. In a busy schedule that my day is packed with. I still find time. Defining an healthy lifestyle cannot be generalized and for me, staying fit and healthy is about balance.

A good night’s sleep and a morning walk, sometimes replaced with yogasanas for the flexibility starts my day. It is then progressed with a glass of warm milk, stealing the wits of my grandma, using a pinch of turmeric and a bit of crushed peppers during winter.

A daily routine that doesn’t glue me to the incessant calls or the frantic deadlines is something I dream of for my family memebers. To have something that can make you work without being worked up, a job that you like. Or you tend to like the job you already have, period.

You need a healthy heart and a fit body. Walk around often when you have to sit for longer times. Include raw vegetables to a quarter of the breakfast. It has been a blessing to the family. Yes, I will opt for junk foods, once in a fortnight maybe. But the veggies and greens with broccoli and eggs will be a part of the healthy diet. Not every day will be only noodles and omelets. But of the rich culture my ancestors have passed on. With a snack every day, sometimes with green tea or few more times with French fries and deep fried treat to our palates. With the right cooking oil and perfect tissue base, we eat to our heart’s content.

Then the day vapourises with laughter and merry with family and friends. A day with learning one new thing at a time. A day with some time for yourself. Maybe I will sing with my coarse voice or read a book in the shower. Or follow my passion with a bit of writing compensating with a bit of gardening.

That, my friend is a day well spent. That is a day well maintained and being mentally and physically healthy. It is all about balance. You are going to change tracks, we are all going to mess it up but we will find our balance, through and through. Balance has it all.

And finally meet one person after retiring for the day who can take all my craziest ideas and laugh at my serious decisions and put me to a sound sleep as I listen to his healthy heartbeat.

I have a last thought before falling to a deep sleep. It is about the guardians of your health. When Good brands promise you of health, accept it, trust it and use it. Because they hold the same responsibility as the person who cooks the daily food with it.

After-all, if you are healthy, so will your family be. If you are happy, so will your family be. So don’t forget to take care of yourself.

I am joining Saffola #ApneTareekeSeHealthy  initiative and sharing my ways of being healthy in association with BlogAdda.

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The Fly Called Failure

failure,success,motivation,inspiring,definition

Every time in life, when I need to accomplish certain thing. It might be work of great importance to me or as simple as passing on a glass of water. The perception remains the same. I need to be there for my people. The world as such is a mirror and the more I smile, the more happiness I tend to share. But very often we are weighed down by the circumstances or twists that destiny has to offer and we meet Failure.

In this journey we will fail and I assure you that you will not be able to escape it. You go down the stairs, take a right turn and there it is. Your failure waiting to lurk in like a phantom and gobble you up. But the most important lesson we ought to learn is that, the specific place where we fall down has something great to offer us. That lesson will take us forward. That knowledge will be the beacon for the rest of the journey. So get up and start again for you can never escape failure or death. The motto here is to keep moving, just keep your head straight and keep delivering what is meant from you.

But what you need to remember is that, not to take your failures personally. Do not ever abuse yourself mentally or physically over what you lost. It was not you. It was just a stupid decision or an unplanned endeavor or even perhaps just not the road for you. But what lays ahead of you is much more important and of great value than compared to a past or the present that you are succumbing into.

It is the respect that you earn for yourself is what is important. You  must be in a position to thank your younger self. Take that you are in your thirties and hitting the gym. The fifty year old will be thankful to you for keeping his heart and liver healthy. The twenty is old will be thankful to the eight year old you to have had the guts to bunk your classes and reach out for that dance classes.

Creativity and talent are boons that needs harnessing and uplifting. If you shove it away, you can kill yourself but not that person inside you who full of energy, full of ideas and an epitome of positivism.

Fail and fail as many times you want but make sure you rise up like a fire. View the failure to be as mere as fly, let it go. Don’t hang on over it.And that, my friends is taking failure the right way. It is called success. It is all about the ability to  think, talk and do things alike. Keep a promise and deliver the promise and that’s it. For there is a saying

If you hang around the barber shop long enough, you will get your turn for that haircut.

So just don’t quit and keep moving.

” So Until Next-time”

photo credit: William M Ferriter Failure is Overrated via photopin (license)

An Activist and the Last Rain

agriculture,social evils,sacrifice,activist,rain,superstitions

The curtains yielded flowers, white, yellow and red but anything beyond those drapes only had barren brown to offer.

The earth is cracked and dry with no rain to heal. Sometimes lush green is a temporary illusion. It has been three years since it last rained. Children of my family have shrunken with bones stuck out and eyes bereaved of moisture.

The ladies walk miles everyday for the water. It was the worst drought of the decade. And I still think I’m lucky for none in my family have ever complained about it. But today my oldest daughter came in with a face that spoke of drained energy, ailments and dreaded life I pushed them into.

“Father, can’t we leave this place and go find a job in the city?” She pondered.

“And what skill do we have to survive there, my dear? I know how to yield, plough and gather weeds. Nothing beyond it.

“Mother and I can weave,” She sighed and picked up the clothes for cleaning the floor.

I took her near me, she was merely ten, her deep brown eyes had lost the moisture to even cry. Her dusty hairs weaved a story of strong winds and dusty land. Her darkened shrivelled skin made me wonder if she had grown older than she is.

” Where shall we live then, my dear. We have no relatives who would help us. There is no land in the city to plough, only tarred roads and plenty of vehicles. But there, it rains!”

We both knew that we understood life beyond it offers us the chance to realize. But I had to instill the lost faith in her. We were waiting, waiting too long for the last rain. It would make them believe again. Of miracles and life and the moisture in the eyes.

My beloved wife prayed day and night while I stared into the vast skies. And one day, there was a new sparkle in my family’s eyes. A sparkle that was lost. I hurried outside to see if it rained. No, but my family said they heard of a rumor. The rain god had asked for a sacrifice or so the village priest said.

I was taken aback. A sacrifice? For the rain. Pitying their false hopes. It was a social evil.

“Whom are they to sacrifice? A chicken, a goat or a sheep?” I asked her as I munched over the last morsel of rice and potato curry.

“That is to be decided tomorrow, at the panchayat” She smiled.

I felt something fishy. An urge to move out of the village occurred. Later that evening another rumor spread. The family that the gods decided for the sacrifice was ours. It seemed so that we had sinned. The gods came in the dream of the village head-priest. Both our families were rivals from decades.

I  had to leave. It was time. I packed the rugged clothes, picked up my three year old son, woke up my wife and my two daughters. They were all in musky in their sleep. We fled that night.

I had set my own home on fire when I left and put in some bones of the goat that I had sacrificed.

Now that the sacrifice was done, not of my child but of the whole family in their eyes. I fled to the city, where superstitions and sacrifice were dormant. There we made a living. My girls weaved while I helped in construction.

Now, over the years, my first daughter is an activist against all these superstitious beliefs and she stages street plays in many villages. My second daughter whom I spent more time with opened her own classes of organic farming to the city folks. My son helps me in the market, selling seeds and pesticides. My wife was the change.

She met an activist when we fled to the city, and since then, she tried educating my kids, not on the various subjects of physics and mathematics but on what is essentially required to sustain and enrich lives. I fell in love with her again for I had never come across her beautiful and brave mind.

The last rain did occur in my village. It has rained since then, sometimes like a wrath, sometimes soft on the petal. Today my family are returning. My daughters with their powerful voices to change minds and my son’s tactic to a better agriculture will save us. Finally I hold my wife’s hand, she smiled beckoning my thoughts. And I knew, for an instance that I have won in Life:)

That one activist changed the way we live and how we perceive our lives else we would have been weaving on roads or spent my old-age being a mason on construction sites. She was barely seventeen and she worked for the society. Hoping to meet her again, the one who inspired my daughters to fight, the one who filled my wife to stand as our biggest support. Let her live in peace!

photo credit: roseannadana P6030012.bwsm via photopin (license)

Born In My Heart- Adoption

adoption, mother-daughter bond,short story

I heard a whimper at the corner. A silent cry. She wiped away her sparkling tears as they strolled down her pink cheeks.

“Mom, I scored a C minus this time” She scratched the floor below and handed over the progress card.

“Is dad going to be mad at me. Please tell him not to put me into boarding” Her squeaky voice melted my heart. She was adopted when she was four. She doesn’t know that. I will let her know but her tears now had to be wiped.

Not through an ice-cream nor a hug. She needed a letter for a lifetime.

So I made her some hot chocolate milk and smiled at her marks. It was time to grow, to accept the truth. I sit down to write a letter while she sloppily drags herself into her room.

Dear Rithi,

It’s ok, how should I tell you that it’s ok to be imperfect. It is ok if you are going through a bad phase in life. It’s ok to shut yourself up and do nothing. It’s ok to cry.

It’s ok to fail as long you know that you can try again, that you will be able to cross the hurdle.

It’s ok to cry as long as you know that your face would brighten up with a sweetest smile.

It’s ok to fail as long you have faith in yourself to bounce back, brighter and higher.

It’s ok to be imperfet as long as you know that everybody is same as you, imperfect in their own ways, pretty in the most unique way, trustworthy with time and embedded with flaws, as same as you. It’s ok to be imperfect for none in the whole world is perfect.

As long as the truth is known, nothing can be hidden, nothing can be taken away. What is yours will stay so. What is written in your destiny will be fulfilled. And in our destiny was written a beautiful angel. Dear, you weren’t born to me. I didn’t raise you for nine months in my body, but you were born in my heart. We share a bond. You were adopted when you were four and you are the best thing happened to me.

It has come as a shock to you but give it some time and you will see, with that little hope that you squandered under the bed. Life decides to surprise you with the only thing you have always longed for in the most unexpected times and in the most unexpected ways. You were that most beautiful thing that happened to me and your dad at the most dreadful times.

And your C minus is just a grade and I know you are capable of more, or much more any field that your heart chooses. Just one more thing. Come-on, we aren’t going to send you to a boarding school. Who put that idea into you? I need answers lady!

So gather up all the courage and stand back, lean to a wall if you must but just promise me that you won’t give up. Know your stances, make genuine moves and take alll the little things with you, your courage, your sparkle in your eyes and the fear beating in your heart.

There is a new ice-cream parlour that opened up today around the old church. Ditch your old sweaters and put on the new blue ones I have kept for you! See you there:)

Your Mom!

 

An Orphan with a Family-Transgenders

The dust covered my plain face, emotions hidden, voices unheard, shadowed under the stereotypical judgements, there lies the face of the intruder whom everybody cringes away from. This is the life that I lead. The traffic signal near the showroom is my place of work. Kamala also made a treaty that she would accompany me. She is new to her chosen life with guilt still shafted between her ribs.

The whole day is of continuous honks, lust-filled eyes and many more scowls filled with unruly alienation. I drift from one rider to another, clapping my hands in a peculiar way, signifying that I’m the other kind. Some people ignore me; some others roll down their glasses to give a stare and sceptical smiles, some even mutter a harsh expletive at us. The women doesn’t give an eye contact, they fear my kind. There are good men too, who favour us, giving a share of the change in their pockets to stay away from our persistence.

The time limit we have is of a minute and half, to collect our daily earning and to win our daily bread in one signal and not every rider would sympathise and help us. In this world wreathed with racism, exploitation, bureaucracy, terrorism and discrimination. We fall into the category of the filthy beings whose creation has always been in question over generations. The community of transgenders.

g1

 

The mid-summer sun is seething over my head. The plait that I have braided seems to reach my waists. My red sari shines in the sun, showcasing a bit of my waxed navel and dab of pink lipstick that makes me appreciate my own beauty.

There is a whiff of polluted air that reaches my nose as the signal turns green. Our kind is forgotten like an unwanted tissue. I smile at Kamala who comes clutching her earning from the signal, it is not a decent amount, but we could buy something. Money speaks- it says “Good-Bye” and “Equality” but it never hurts or denies our existence.

From across the dusty hot street, I recognise a car, an effluent one. It is from Mysore, my hometown. I recognise them. The people who were once my family. I am shattered at their presence in this swarming city of Bangalore. It has been two years since I left them. My father, with his strained eyes and tensed forehead is in an exhausted state of driving, he hasn’t changed much. My lovely mother sat beside him adorned with a few jewels she had, looking like a goddess in a white sari, on the rear seat was my younger sister, Amrutha. A shy girl of nineteen when I left her, she is the only person who knows my secret. She carries a bundle on her lap, I squint my eyes only to be shocked that she is a married woman now, and the bundle was her newborn child.

While comforting her crying child, her anxious eyes meets mine as the car halts in front of me. The signal is red. Her surprised confused eyes look for the familiar traits and features in me. Shock had robbed her off her speech. I gave her a smile of acknowledgement, her eyes turned wet, glazed with the shiny brim of tears. She tried to smile but constrained herself, prudent of my old father’s scrutinizing eyes. She searched for the signs of the place confirming my thoughts of her return.

As the signal gave way to move, my thoughts raced through the time, to a time of my childhood. I was five years old. My parents were happy to have a baby boy and because our financial constraints hadn’t got them a chance to celebrate my first birthday in a pompous way, my fifth year was a huge deal. All the kids from my neighbourhood were invited along with their peers and parents, even a few of my relatives joined in for the occasion. There were sumptuous cakes, candles, celebration and happiness in the air. But I waited for the party to end; little boys were mean and considered me a weakling. I just wanted to hide from them and showed great interest to open my presents that were packed in super attractive wrappers.

After much persuasion of the late night wrap up of the party, my mother made me sit on her laps and opened the gifts, with each gift, I whined with disgust and disappointment painted in my vulnerable tears. All of them were the cars, robots, different kinds of arrows and guns. What was I supposed to do with any of them, I loathed them. I hugged my mother and cried for a Barbie doll that the girl next door had.

Maybe it was such an age to look cute that anything I did or asked for was taken to be cute. My mother even abided to my pleas of getting myself groomed with eyeliners, colourful bindis and frocks that my mom stitched especially for me. Everything was considered to be cute, as my parents didn’t have a girl child, like every other mother, she took her time to dress me like one and I swear I enjoyed every bit of my transformation.

But soon, my habits brought a sense of displeasure in the family and by the time I was ten, my younger sister was four and thus she was the pampered baby girl while I was the older brother who would protect her all her life.

But what they never knew was that, I was never a perfect brother or a perfect son they expected me to be, by the age of thirteen, I knew that I was girl trapped in a male body. I was always hygienic and soft-spoken unlike the rest of the boys who parodied the lanes with their super gear cycles and often teased me as a girl. My family unaware of my inner turmoil took me as way too conservative child, my mother always told that I would end up as a gentle man, she never saw the lady in me.

Every Sunday, when the family planned for an outing, I would stay back home to groom myself. I was nineteen back then, the house was abandoned and like every other lonely days. I decided to wear the comfortable clothes that I was attracted to. I took out a sari from my secret box, draped it around me in a perfect manner, hiding the hairy cleaves of my chest, I tried to look feminine. I had scaled off my skin of fake man and adored the dolled up version of me in the mirror. I played the music that a nineteen year old girl in me wanted to hear to and danced gracefully with all the gestures and expressions. All along, I thought of a handsome boy in my class.

“What are doing? Kidding me?” My younger sister gaped at me with grimace and astonishment written all over her face.

I was caught, red handed. Before I could explain, she knew of my sexual preference and probably this incident led her to join the dots of the various years and various incidents that had caught her in a dilemma of my true form.

At first, she hyperventilated, and shook me to get out of my illusion; she took various sessions to make me understand that it was all in my mind and that I was a boy, her brother. She even blackmailed into telling this to our parents if I don’t change my weird ways. I even promised her to get a counselling. But I never did.

Since then, my sister had a close eye on me, whenever I stared at guys or ignored a girl’s company. She would get me back to the real world and the society norms we live in. She never wanted our parents to know of my real fantasies, she made sure to look after me in the instances where I almost got caught. But as the years passed by, I never could lie to myself. I wasn’t a boy and I didn’t belong to the place where I lived. And I very well knew that my parents would only be ashamed and deeply hurt if they ever knew of me.

Hence that fateful morning, I left home with a letter to my family saying that the worldly pleasures didn’t allure me and hence I would be travelling north to attain salvation and take up saintly ways to lead my life.

After more than two years, I saw them again. Amrutha kept staring at me till the red fiat disappeared in the swarm of tiny cars from my peripheral view.

“Girija…What are you staring at?” Kamala, put her hands in the crook of my elbows.

“That was my family in that car” I broke down in the middle of the road, on the median that separated lanes, dust swarming around me, sticking itself to my teary face.

“Girija, sister, please don’t cry, it is our fate. Our choices force us away from our loved ones” She enveloped me into her warm embrace.

“My name is Gaurav, if anybody, most probably if my sister comes in search for me, send her to the old ruins of the temple behind the street” I whimpered and succumbed to the immeasurable agony brewing in me.

The next morning, I kept waiting dressed beautifully in a blue saree, anxiously waiting for my sister.

“Gaurav? Is that you?” A meek, shivering voice crept behind me

I turned and hugged her, almost suffocating her in my death hug.

“Girija, my name is Girija” I corrected her; she smiled at me and hugged me back.

“Of-course, you are my sister that I never acknowledged” she whispered into my ears.

I was left dumbfounded; my sister had finally accepted me.

“I’m sorry, I never believed you sister. How have you been? Why do you beg ?” Her voice quivered as the bundle in her hands whiffed

“I’m doing well and honey, nobody gives us a job because we are different. By the way, you got married and a child?”

“I want you to bless him with your entire heart sister, this is my son. I named him Gaurav” She smiled adoringly at her son

“Amrutha, what are you doing here?” My father who was waiting for her return, stormed in. I thought you got down to meet a friend.

I faced him, standing tall, not ashamed of my identity. Gaurav and Girija, the two faces of the same coin. But I had decided on who I shall remain. My father stared at me, for a very long time. Emotions breaking out in the form of anger, tears, helplessness and finally betrayal. He cursed me to be a shameless scoundrel and that my birth was a curse. He even snatched away the new born kid from my hands.

“Not even your shadow should grace my family” He seethes of anger and dragged Amrutha away from my vision. It was all too surreal. Although I never expected him to accept me, I never uttered a word in my defence. I was Girija now. I had immense patience and a baggage of tears in me.

Kamala smiled as she hugged me and wiped my tears away, this was my story, and every one of us has a story to tell. Ever transgender would have gone through a series of emotional turmoil and out-casted from our own families. We are orphans with families, but more than that we are humans, we have hunger, sleep, emotions and kindness. We need acceptance and jobs to survive in a dignified manner. Next time, you meet one of us, be generous to talk, maybe we don’t want your help but stay by our side while we fight and pick ourselves up.

Ten Reasons Why Women needs Feminism!

Today was just the perfect monsoon evening, with a drumming shower that lasted for a few minutes and a gentle drizzle enough to make the green more merrier, I saw a couple of teens jumping over a fence of the ground on this rainy evening. The first thought that struck my mind was, Why aren’t we doing such things, I mean I love to jump around, climb trees and walk on the sofas rather than the ground.

1.Oh, right, I forgot, I’m a girl and I need to behave like one! Since when do we have rules suggesting to curb all our likes and behave like we aren’t humans. No, I’m just curious about this. I love to play basketball and so do  many other girls but a sense of possible ways that we will be objectified turns all our desires sour.

2.We love movies and watching it in a theatre is even more fun. But, it’s a vehement but, we are alert, always, in a fear that the back seater might intrude our privacy. In the name of crowd, we are groped and handled but the hands are invisible and just to not create any scene we are advised to silently tolerate it or grounded at home.

3.We love to build a career and we don’t want anything to hinder our performance, but we are harassed in the place of work just because we pinched the man’s ego, we are even payed less.

4.We love to dress up well and later blamed for another rape in the country! Can we suggest you not to own anything because maybe you’ll be robbed, or should we suggest you to die today as it’s going to happen someday, you are alive and that’s a blunder.

5.We are pressured to think like a man when we catch them cheating but then we are shamed with words like slut and bitch and are exiled to the well.

6.We are required to always act like a lady when we love bikes, sports, screaming at the top of our voices, going out. Why? because we might take the attention of the guys. Why don’t you lecture them on how to give the freedom we deserve by not objectifying us or belittling us.

7.Oh, yes, with all of the above, we are always supposed to look young because growing old is just the main reason for a man to cheat, only later to blame it on the woman that they are not interesting enough.

8.On what world has a rule been written that if you like us, we have o fall under your feet and say “I do”. No, that’s not happening until our guts believe in you. Acid attack survivors, we become yet we are victimised and shunned, well we have a burnt skin but a loyal beautiful heart but who cares?feminism, human rights

9.We have to work like horses and not even a morsel of appreciation is handed our way, why? Well because it is our duty and we are no one to complain but men can go all insane and drink to their brim, well they have problems, well guys, we are dealing with it in a more mature way.

10.Marrying us doesn’t turn us into slaves, it turns us into your life-partner, well you don’t understand mature things such as this!And I’m talking about the challenges that all girls will, would have or is facing in different parts of the world.  And no, not all men are the same, we can make out the difference! Sorry, you need to explain to us is we ever misunderstood you, for once bitten by the venomous snake, we take the garden snake in the eyes of scrutiny!

So here’s the thing, stop hitting us, we are not the weaker sex but the other sex  and we need the right to live and enjoy, to dream and succeed, to wish and to decide! We need our space and we need our respect! Just the way you do and we definitely need to stop bastardising the word feminism. We just need Equality and a safer planet!

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By the way, I needed lot’s of courage to hit the publish button!