Holiday mood.?? First Choose where!

 

 

 

When planning to visit a new place from across the world the first thing that throws you off is how to get around planning a fail safe trip particularly if you’re traveling with a spouse who is not very tech savvy and doesn’t have the patience to pour over the net himself looking for the perfect itinery.
It’s left to you and your resourcefulness to come up with the ideal plan for travel and stay that suits you as a couple based on personal interests and habits besides the general curiosity to explore new places.
You will be given endless suggestions by friends or agents on where to go, where to stay, what to eat etc but ultimately a successful trip consists of a tailor made itinery based on how you like things not Mr ABC.
With the advent of the internet things are oh so easy but still it’s so easy to be taken for a ride by commission agents or friends with different tastes and priorities than your own. After all someone’s happiness may lie in doing it all in one trip so they can come back and boast of the number of countries they whisked through hardly realizing that they barely got a whiff of the local culture or soul of the place whereas you may be the kind of person who wants to explore every nook and cranny of that exotic country they have flown to with bag and baggage!
Agents get a commission on every sale , every hotel booking they do, every trip they buy for you even if it’s not the best for you. Sitting in an office far away , maybe never traveled to a certain sector , many of them are not in a position to be able to finalize what should be your ideal itinery.. not what worked for someone else .
It’s very important to actually sit yourself down and talk to people about their experiences and take mental notes of what would and what probably wouldn’t work for you.
Ask them how they chose their hotels, flights, train/ coaches etc. how much did they pay for them, was it cheaper through an agent on when booked directly online.
Ask them about the hotels and rooms, the amenities offered and problems faced. Talk about the things to do, or not to do, the precautions to take especially when visiting crowded or shady cities.
Based on this data, compare the notes with people who have put up reviews on sites like trip advisor etc. . Compare itineries from at least 5 travel and hotel booking sites . Narrow down your options in order to select your destination. Is it an adventure you’re looking for or just a chilled out holiday with your family, friends or spouse. Are you a water baby or a mountain person. Does every trip need to be a luxury one or so you intend to spend more on exploring new places than on extravagant hotels and first class airline tickets. Be very clear about your intentions and then finalize the first step of your intended holiday…choose the type of holiday destination that you are in the mood of.

I Lived The Sound Of Music!

 

The drive to Salzburg was another story . We left Vienna at 7am in a comfortable coach that was filled with tourists eager to experience the journey through the Salzkergammut Lake region of Austria dotted as they were with crystal clear blue lake with their drinkable water and parrot green rolling grass plains that were the foreground for gentle hills as well as taller mountains with some peaks still bearing witness to the winter that had just passed. Austria in every season has its own beauty largely due to the contrast in winter and summer temperatures. Winter landscape in the Austrian Alps is aweinspiring while summer is absolutely lovely!!


Our trip to this region would extend to several days as I had chosen to the major part of our holiday rejuvenating and pampering ourselves in this peaceful haven!
Bu it was Salzburg that we would make our home first and I was as excited as a child to witness the home of Mozart and Strauss as well as the Land of my favorite film The Sound of Music. I was annoyingly perked up in mood as I sang every word of the songs from the movie that they played on the coach driving there.
Our Knowledgeable guide kept up a stream of information about the Von Trapp family, the Hofburgs, the royal family of Salzburg and the life of Mozart and Strauss and it made for a very interesting and inspiring drive as I was transported into vintage era and bygone years in Europe.
The mood was set all the way and when we actually strutted down the streets in Salzburg marveling again at the quite imposing and old architectural of the city I had a skip in my step.

We first crossed over the Danube river which flowed under a bridge that connected the two shore of Salzburg . Lovers had locked their love on the grills of the railing and thrown away theikey, obviously hoping to attain eternal love in this manner, something that everyone craves for in this temporary world with its temporary commitments!!

 
Mirabel gardens where the children led by an impish Maria defied all norms and flitted through sing Do Re Mi, Mozart House still preserved with his original belongings , the lovely Old Town, the bridge where thousands of hopelessly romantic visitors had locked their love for keeps, the numerous churches like the infamous 13th century Don Quartier and its gorgeous interiors, the castles standing tall on top of craggy mountain tops with views to die for, the Abbey and Convent which was the location for Maria’s home before she began her tremulous journey with the Von Trapp family.
Austria is a wonder as many other European cities for those who love a holiday drenched in art and culture and history along with stunning locales and backdrops. My camera shutter had to gasp for breath as I clicked every corner , every alley, every facade, every angle relentlessly.


And so continued the next few days that showed us Salzburg and it’s surrounding and our days on the banks of numerous lakes in the Salzkergammut were steeped in wonder and peace and self indulgence, Apple strudels, shnitzels and noodles, goulash and what not were on every menu and I felt like a character in The Sound of Music experiencing my list of favourite things!!


We made day trips to surrounding counties and towns in a bid to leave nothing out and the towns we passed left a sigh in our hearts!! Bratislava, Budapest, Slovenia were a stones throw away but each city needs a lifetime to experience it to the fullest. What remained common was the quite charm and peace, and the pride evident in their history. The red sloping roofs sitting atop stone walls and encompassed by a bright green backdrop was a colour combination that has tinted my heart forever.

Czech Diaries 2…check!!!

 

 

So we drove on, Heading speedily toward the Czech Capital and on entering it initially it looked like any other modern town. I had almost expected to see a 12th century array of architecture from moment one but obviously like any other city, Prague or Praha as the locals refer to it , had progressed and huge branded showrooms stood on either side of the road, evidence of global presence in this European town.
We did all things touristy…began at the New Town Square with its hectivity and Mixed architectural buildings.

Our guided walking tour took us to the Old Town Square ,treading through typical cobblestone lanes which is something I love about Europe. Inspite of have progressed it has retained its old world charm and history and culture pour out from its ears.

Our knowledgeable guide prattled off a whole lot of interesting info , all of it of course I couldn’t absorb or retain. It I found it fascinating anyway and my fingers barely ever lost contact with the camera button.

The numerous beautiful churches of which some like the  Basilica of St Peters and  St Paul’s, church of Tynem  and St Vitus Cathedral etc are most popular landmarks. Imposing castles spew history and might , Town Halls and museums , bridges and arches..The Charles Bridge flanked on either side by stone and bronze statues, with its multitudes of artists busy rendering caricatures of highly pleased tourist clientele who giggled at the results quite happily was a merry sight. It was extremely crowded and it wasn’t even the peak tourist season yet!

The Astronomical Clock was not only gorgeous but mind boggling! Jantar Mantar’s European counterpart in function but not in style! . We happened to arrive just six mins before the noon hour when the clock strikes 12, led by a skeleton statue depicting death, pulling on the bell to announce the hour , followed by a dozen dancing figures that performed for us as the clock chimed! Every aspect of time related to the movements of the sun, moon, earth, zodiacs, days of the year, seasons etc are depicted on this one famous Prague landmark in the Old Town Hall. And it’s so
We would make our way through the Stoney lanes and the shops selling colorful souvenirs like wooden dolls etc. My fridge magnets had the be bought before we sat down and rested our aching feet. A shnitzel had to be sampled as did a candelini or something which was a very interestedly prepared baked cone made with flour and filled with chocolate and. Vanillas ice cream! Yum!!

And so our totally unemployed relaxed afternoon continued. We sat down on the cobblestone ground with many others like us to listen to a young band playing to a happy crowd who guzzled their beers down and cheered them along. Did I mention that apparently the Czechs are the largest beer consuming community in this part of the world and seeing the groups of people occupying the tables at the adorable road side cafes loaded with enormous pitchers of lager I could well believe it!!

The Variety of humans you encounter amuses you when you’re as unemployed as we were . Their personas,body language, behavior and looks can be a script for many a drama if you studied them for long enough. They sure come in all colors , shapes and sizes..some cheerful some grumpy.. some tall and well endowed , some pouring out of everywhere!! Some old and energetic , some old and amazingly still enthusiastic !! Some high on beer and life, some vacant and sad. We saw them all and passed time trying to attach a story to some of the most eye catching figures!!

And so our days were spent n similar lines until we were ready to go back to our temporary home at the end of everyday tired but happy! I had a big green tick on my list of to-do’s and a big grin on my face to match!

Czech Diaries 1…check!!!

 

 

It was the second leg of our Austrian journey as we drive out of Vienna along the beautiful highway that lead us out Of Vienna towards the Czech capital of Prague. I was as usual awestruck by the natural gift God has handed out to this country also. Oh my God!!!! We’re going to Prague!!!! Have mercy!! Hallelujah!! We are blessed!!

The countryside was wonderful with its gently rolling plains dotted with slanted roofs on picturesque houses that appeared sporadically unless we crossed a small town.

You may have gathered from my earlier conversations with you about my travels that I am a sucker for empty spaces, blue waters and sandy beaches, tall imposing mountainous stretches , serene and green surroundings, rolling fields of emptiness where the grass is king, grape vines cover stretches of ground as far as the eye can see, quaint little houses stand humbly Yet proudly in equally quaint little so called villages that finished before they started..nb pls compare with the villages back home..and of course CLEANLINESS above all.

I learnt from our very friendly and chatty guide who manouvered his Mercedes Benz minivan with 6 of us highly enthusiastic tourists on board, very skillfully, while updating us on the history and culture of Vienna and Austria in general, that popular Austrian wines are produced in this region.

Our Hungarian Guide , from the land of Goulash, named Baalaanj or something like that, was very fluent in English and his accent was easy for my husband to understand thankfully so the ride was fun and comfortable.

My husband in a bid to annoy me would keep joking about how there was dampness in the walls here too, pointed out every little bump and pothole however nonexistent they were , kept saying that we have trees and grass in India too so what are u so excited about but I refused to allow his pathetic jokes to dampen my spirits and kept my raptured face focused on the brilliant stuff whizzing by as we drove along!! I even stuck to my guns stubbornly about how even the clouds looked different here..an observation that was met with an obviously disbelieving smirk from my non-believer cynical other half!!
I gave up!!

There is no time I am as happy as when I am traversing a new country, new horizons , checking off another from my bucket list..errr the bucket of course is the size of the 1000 litre sintax tank sitting in agony on our roof back home.

Every little house , every little town I feel had a story as usual. It was quiet uncluttered..sometimes almost too quiet I felt! Were they happy with their simple lives, did they get bored and lonely..were they busy enough or struggling to find things to do? Sometimes there was nothing for miles around..only solitude.

Oh but how healthy was the weather. It rained that day and brought the temperature down and when it stopped , the cool breeze hitting our faces was so pleasant!! No pollution, no dust!! Our bodies almost protested against this fine treatment!! I think they were offended at not getting their daily dose of dust and smog ..the clean hands couldn’t recognize themselves and the unpedicured feet looked too pedicured!! The faces were white!! My foundation and concealer had been rendered unemployed!! The cosmetics in general were quite feeling ignored.. only the trusty eye liner and lipstick had something to contribute to the day! I think there was a political propaganda going on inside my toiletries bag!! Some talk of a surgical strike or coup amongst each other!! I played the farsighted and forceful decisive leader and saved the day by transferring the threatened objects to my back pack and carried them along on my travels! It might have removed them from harms way temporarily but unwittingly made more enemies for them cos the rest missed out on Hungary and Czech and Austrian adventures!! Sigh!! You just can’t please everyone! Or rather , everything!

Just a thought, It’s no wonder the BMW’s, Benz’s, Audi’s, Volkswagens and Skodas are so good looking!! Look at the climate in their home towns!!!

Oh dear, I seem to have veered off topic so back to the road.

The sun was shining again thank God cos I was worried about the photos that had to be taken in good weather! Yes, that’s Another thing I am obsessed about..Did I mention that I’m trigger happy?? I have to document my escapades and since my memory is not what it used to be (my kids will vouch for that!! ), The only way to do that now is to take at least 7000 photos on every trip..that’s a respectable amount!! 😇😇. Makes me feel like I’ve done a decent job!! So having the sun around helps.. at least the face doesn’t look as dismal as the rest of the body!! You can turn it up against the sun and hope it gets blessed as it’s captured before its exquisite backdrops!

So apparently Budweiser, Ivana Trump and the dollar from the Czech word Tahler are the three bonds Czech Republic shares with America.

My mind is obviously wandering too much so On that note I’m going to stop to take in a long breath of this fresh unpolluted Austrian Alpine air !!

My Amateur Tips For Loving Your Travels With Your Love!

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10 unorthodox tips to enjoy your holiday with your partner which nobody will tell you!!

1. Make sure you pack the right type and quantity of clothes specific to the destination in terms of weather and vibe. Nothing can piss your partner off more than landing there and discovering that you don’t have appropriate clothing or end up sticking out like sore thumbs!! This can be extremely exasperating if your partner isn’t into shopping or if you’re travelling in a group where you can’t afford to look as if you’re a total misfit or ignorant. Imagine carrying only jeans to a place where dunners involve fancy restaurants and formal settings. Or freezing to death in cold weather until your partner is forced to buy expensive jackets which were never on the bucket list. Always do a full recci online about your holiday destination and arrive well prepared for all eventualities.

2. Talk about your budget and dos and donts before launching on your journey. This will allow you to understand what the holiday is intended to be like so there is no irritant during the trip. If shopping is  one thing you plan to do, say so and discuss budgets and amount of time to dedicate to the activity. This ensures you don’t end up arguing on the sidewalk because you want to check out that last mall while your partner is rushing to try his hand at paragliding. Be clear about your intentions and then maybe things will just work in your favor cos the good moods may earn you brownie points for doing that extra shopping.

3. Always plan your stay in an area that works for both of you vis a vis the kind of activity you are intending to indulge in. There’s nothing worse than having to travel the extra two hours just to get to the beach or adventure sport Centre when ure already on a time crunch. Neither will it help to stay in cheap suburbs some 100 miles out if you intend to shop downtown or catch some shows and nightlife in the Centre of the town. The travel alone can shake up your budget so don’t actually end up being economical with time or money. Don’t be penny wise pound foolish!!

4. Make sure you get enough z’ssss cos however excited you may be to do everything you can in that new place, you need your rest too to keep the energy and enthusiasm up..particulars if you’ve flown half way across the world and are already tired from the travel. Some people just go crazy trying to be over energetic and then pass out somewhere in the middle of the holiday or end up falling sick!! Nothing better to ruin your holiday plans !!

5. Fight the jet lag wisely. After travelling extensively and hearing horror stories of how people pass out even due to jet lag or need two to get into the zone, I realise that the only way to beat it is to consciously change your own body clock to the destination time by sleeping at the correct times… Force yourself awake during their daytime right from the flight onwards by reading a book or listening to music or watching a marathon of movies even if it’s nighttime in your home country. Take the help of a sedative or alternative means to sleep in their nighttime again from the flight onwards. You could ask for chamomile tea or hot chocolate or whatever helps you to drop off .

6. Make sure your stomach clears at the right times. Indian Ayurveda gurus believe all evil emenates from the stomach and it has proved to be true!! Make sure your bowel system is right on point…take the help of fibrous foods, laxatives or whatever your system needs to throw out all wastes and toxins from the body at the right time..preferably first thing in the morning. There’s nothing worse than gases and constipation to mess up your entire holiday.. These will not only give you headaches and bloatedness but will also kill your appetite…what’s the point of a holiday if you can’t partake of the scrumptious local fare!! Not to mention the bad breath which will mess up your bedroom stories!!

7. Don’t throw tantrums, don’t be selfish, don’t insist , don’t be stubborn. A holiday should be something you both enjoy so discuss and agree on the venues, distribution of activities, budgets etc. Whatever you can do together is superb but if for some reason your partner does not want to be a part of a certain activity don’t insist or sulk or deride! Give him his space..you do your thing and let him do his. Meet up later and exchange stories and experiences. He’s not a dog to be dragged everywhere by the collar. And vice versa of course!!!

8. Don’t go wild and ruin things and don’t be dull or a wet blanket either!! Enjoy each moment by giving it the correct amount of attention it needs. Don’t get drunk and embarrass your partner by flirting with everyone in sight but at the same time don’t sit out like a wall flower sulking cos this just wasn’t your cup of tea!! Live in the moment and make it as much fun as you can without going overboard. A long face is guaranteed to piss off the partner and ruin the rest of the holiday!

9. Don’t forget your body limits just cos ure on holiday cos being sick in a foreign country can be scary, expensive and just no fun!! If you know late nights or drinking doesn’t suit you.. Avoid!! If ure allergic to seafood don’t go near that lobster just cos the restaurant recommends it!! If the heats gets to you easily don’t be stupid and forget the sunscreen and hat. Better still go out in the evenings and get your afternoon siesta in order to be charged up for the evening. If you get seasick don’t go scuba diving just cos you want to show off the photos in a wetsuit back home or I’ll spend the rest of the trip in bed moaning and puking!!!

10. Last and certainly one of the most important things!! Do not deny having a good time !! It’s amazing how the mind of men especially suddenly become totally focused on the rollicking time they were going to get in their round bath tub or their private pool or whatever , the moment they buckle their seat belts on the plane out!! It’s as if the previous night in their own beds never happened and the pot of gold was actually at the end of the rainbow !!! If you want the moods to remain romantic and positive give tume to each other when the desire is surfacing!! You will both enjoy the intimacy more maybe cos both are away from mundane routines and stressful workplaces!! Or their are no screaming kids or mother in laws knocking down the romance!! Don’t let squabbles get in the way of discovering each other in a new place , new situation. It will certainly keep the man happy for sure!! Experience speaks!!

 

My Pedestal has Tipped!!

  1. http://www.shanayatales.com/breaking-away-busy-chattyblogs-may-linky/IMG_1668After at least five months I have ventured to foray into the world of active exercise again!! The last time I indulged in this noble activity was in October 😱😱 . I am not proud of it considering my history of activity since school days…4-5 hrs of jogging, PT, tennis, hockey, swimming, softball, netball, cricket..you name it, I HAVE DONE IT!! And that too at school and district level!!

Since then I have tried to keep a steady flow of activity throughout my life!! If nothing else, a love-hate relationship with my treadmill and elliptical trainer or those long walks on blessed Mall Road , the stretch of which ensures you keep walking for a minimum of 45mins to an hour, since you have no choice but to reach home once you have had the bravado to stride out!!…No hopping off the treadmill after 5 mins out of boredom telling yourself it’s enough for the day after a Clap on the back!!

The euphoric state .. mental as well as physical ..of being menopausal and hypothyroidism at the same time is out of the world, believe you me!! You wish you were out of this torturous world!!

Deadly combination..turns you into an almost dried out, fat and aging moody freak, who hasn’t slept in years, doesn’t fit into yesterday’s jeans, feels like she is exploding on the inside while looking exploded already on the out!! Her crankiness would put any industrial machine to shame, her mood swings make those in Disneyland child’s play!! Her hair can now be pinned back with a toothpick and her skin gives competition to the newest embossed crocodile skin handbag on the stands minus the sheen of course !!
Her toenails have crevasses and her finger nails are blue chip..Nothing to do with Silicon Valley!!
She still loves to travel but each part of her body leaves separately!Her bums are going east west while her breasts are headed south!! Her cholesterol and BP is heading north while her libido stays put..doesn’t move a muscle… fear of long untrodden, presently unfamiliar pastures I say!!!
To top it all, did I tell you the state of her memory??… Oh I forgot!!!

Well to get back to the topic of exercise, I don’t think I will garner enough sympathy if I don’t mention and use as an excuse for shirking my daily huffing and puffing schedule, the osteophytes or spurs as they have alternately been christened, on my feet!!!
Woe is me..it’s like been beaten to the ground mercilessly and then being trodden upon on top of that!!! As if the menses-less, thyroxine-less problems weren’t enough, my body’s natural response to injury appears to be the formation of stalactites and stalagmites..in my bloody feet!!! Can’t we have contained them to those exotic mineral abundant caves on some remote part of this planet?? No!! They had to make their appearance between my toes and in the heels for company!!
Much as the excruciating pain limits my activity and reduces me to a bumbling useless lump of lard, that’s actually the least of my dilemmas!!
The most heart wrenching , ruthless, torturous and soul-reducing phenomenon that has been the aftermath of all this is actually the pain I face when I open the doors to my pride-of-place shoe cabinet, lovingly adorned with 100 plus footwears of all shapes and styles…..stilletos that compete with Burj Khalifa and pointed toes that were the inspiration for the Concorde. Close toed, open toed, strappy and silly, sturdy and sensible, corporate and boardroom, slutty and party-type…I have them all!! All shades, all hues…I don’t match shoes to outfits..I match outfits to shoes and that’s the Gospel truth!!! My friends will vouch for that!!
The pain that grips my soul, tears out my heart, reduces me to a whimpering wailing banshee is unparalleled when I realise that I may never be able to wear half of this lineup again!!!
The bodily pain I may live with, sans the shoes, I cannot!! They are my alter ego, they define me, give me stature and confidence, put a slippery skip in my step, dance in my toes! Without them I am a shadow of what I can be!! A mere mortal destined to roam this earth on flat feet forever!! Not the towering Inferno in my mind blazing on , but the washed out post-snow melting slopes with skis on my feet!!
Now I shudder as I eye platforms or clogs or foamed flats at a shoe store instead of this sexy Lubes ..I am ashamed of myself for I am now vitally considering and trying on footwear which were once below my dignity and had no right to co-exist in the same world as me!
Despair!!
But I guess as some wise man once said..”What you resist, persists”!!

These Goddamn spurs..cut them out of me or be dead trying!!! For the life of me I can’t understand who gave them the right to invade my body and destroy my life without permission!!
Lesser women rant and rave about life and PMS…greater souls like me have to something more magnanimous to berate…TMS…i.e. thyroid, menopause, spurs!
God give me strength!

#ChattyBlogs

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Give Them A Chance!

It’s high time we stopped trying to perpetually give our children advice as per our knowledge and experience  whether required or not cos times have changed and so have experiences and circumstances.
We need to move with the times, accept the new , throw out the old. What we learnt from our experience may not be the ideal solution to today’s problems.
While we slept, the world moved ahead, new inventions were made, new solutions devised accordingly. They don’t need our answers , they have Google, they don’t need to be hands on and work like donkeys. Technology has made the toughest scenario more accessible and they know how to use it. Everything is online and they are online too unlike most of our generation.
We walkd the mile to get a small task completed. They have telecom and technology to do it in a fraction of the time and effort .
In fact maybe we should stop giving advise all the time. Just befriend them , act like dinosaurs and take advise from them. After all we have used our brains and resources to do our best for half a century. Now let them use theirs and figure it out for themselves.
Our ancient ways may actually be hampering their growth in this fast moving world and we may actually be doing them more harm than good by forcing them to see things our way!
Have confidence in their ability and your upbringing, push them to be independent and learn the hard way. Don’t force your ideas onto them for they will only resent you for it, not thank you. Be their wings, not the knife that cuts them down. Learn to say” Ok go ahead, I trust you to do the right thing ” instead of “Listen to me because I know Better”!!!
Remember, they have access to much more knowledge and advancements in this world than you do.
Learn to let go!! They make make mistakes or do things different from you but they will thank you for letting them find their own way in life! No one wants to live your life as you did, they want to live their own lives their way with their own experiences. Don’t be an obstacle in that journey. Hold their hand and walk alongside. Be the child not the parent for a change but be be available to them when they genuinely need you… to hold their hand, guide them. Lend them a shoulder to lean on. Laugh with them, assure them of your support forever and ever.
Just step aside but dont fall behind..keep pace!

A Letter from Every Parent to Every Kid!

There is a deluge of tweets, whatsapp messages , complaints and jokes about the growing and festering emotion that parents share about the lack of empathy they suffer at the hands of their children. How “our generation is the last to have listened to both the gen before them as well as the next gen”, how kids today have no respect or time for their elders.
Rants about kids being insensitive, rude, brash, selfish, materialistic, indisciplined,shirkers who are comfortable living off their parents in terms of money and comfort.
Complaints about how the oldies are struggling to earn inspite of all their old age limitations, rising at dawn , while the pampered kids wake at noon demanding attention, food, drink and money as if they are doing the parents a favour by simply being there!
Objections about how the youngsters can find time for their friends and to party whereas the odd meal, movie, holiday or simply a sit down chat session with the kids eludes the yearning parents who have so much to share but not the listening ear that they long for!
To be seen with a mom is uncool, to watch a movie with the dad is belittling, to enter a restaurant with them is the epitome of disgrace!!
A little peck on the cheek is met with an indignant push and shove away from them, the idea of a photograph/selfie with a parent is met with such derision as to suggest that they have been asked for their bone marrow or to sacrifice their very soul while shedding their dignity along the way!
The rants continue endlessly on social media, phone calls, web pages and early morning walks in the park. The elderly are worried, worried about the lack of morality, respectfulness, responsibility, sensibility….”These boys don’t do Peri Paina any more!! What are their parents teaching them?The girls dismiss their mother’s pleas to spend time with them at home or on that elusive shopping trip ! For their friends they have ample time and energy!!”
So continues the endless trail of retribution!!
One tries to switch side of the coin and reminisce on the truth of said situation. There is no doubt this is a fact that almost every parent is dealing with today! “Ghar ghar ki kahani “, the old women sigh and shake their heads in derision as if accepting the Gospel truth in submission!
I try to see it from the youngsters perspective but don’t arrive at any conclusive answers! We are from a generation that barely ever thought about rebelling, retaliating, talking back, ignoring the elder’s command, questioning and arguing!! Not that we were brainless or cowardly but more because we were brought up to believe that our elders should be put on a pedestal and no matter how incorrect or ridiculous we may find their theories or behavior, ‘Mum’s the word’ !! Good children don’t argue with Gen above! Case closed.
Logic defies why our kids are so different from us…call it more exposure, influences from cultures around the world, the growing desperation to ‘keep up’, ‘fit in’, ‘surge ahead’, ‘never say never’. A confidence in their ability,(misplaced in some cases), to outshine the others, beat down the competition, shut up those who protest, shoo away those with alternate experience, trample upon those who may know better and the quest to make a quick buck is actually a rampant disease..one that is taking away an open mindedness and humility that the youth need to steer their way through an increasingly difficult life…they refuse to be steered or aided in any way, refuse to accept sound advise, refuse to admit they may have been misled by their lack of knowledge or experience!! There is nothing wrong with acknowledging the help of those who have been through it all for it can be a blessing, a shortcut to skipping all the steps in life that could be an obstacle to growth, an avenue to get to their goals faster with less heart ache!
On the flip side I really do admire how smart our next Gen is..they are so much more confident, exposed, global and savvy then we were at their age. What we have learned along a journey culminating in the greying of our hair, they have already learnt with the help of our WWW and an over zealous social life and tons of cans of beer! Maybe that’s why they mock our dinosaur ideology, crush the idea of taking it slow, trash the stupidity of taking advice from those who did it differently!!
Maybe they have a point in their own way cos every Gen has his own can of worms to open, his own battle to fight, a different breed of enemies, a whole new legion of weaponry!!!
Maybe we are not able to keep up or enforce our supposedly lax ideology on them…our attempt to instill in them some caution when it comes to spending and business, socializing , boisterousness , over confidence or disrespect may be met with derision but that’s cos we also have to learn that they are young adults with much greater abilities than we might give them credit for. As a parent we need to listen to them and hear them also…not just dismiss their every idea with a disinterested shrug saying ” I know better”!! Many a time they really know better and it’s time we accept and acknowledge that!! Speak to them, know their minds, listen!!!!
So let this be a prayer from every parent today…and stop the complaining!!!

“My dear child
I brought you into this world , without consulting you , as you so often point out ,and my entire life has served to make you as comfortable as possible under the circumstances…we were not the richest, boldest, or the most informed …savvy we may not have been but honest we definitely were…. honest in our endeavors to bring you up well, shelter you and protect fiercely. We fed you first and ate later, we dressed you first and then draped ourselves in pride for you. We taught as well as we could.. a lesson in morals a la Gen above coupled with what we thought you would need to learn as growing children..we fanned you all night to keep the mosquitoes away, we fought those who sought to tell us what we should or should do for you if it wasn’t in your best interest! And we learned along the journey to today!! Many lessons may be awry or incomplete but we did our best…it may not be so in your eyes but believe me , we went all out!! We continue to learn and imbibe even today, very often from your maturity and sound remarks…we have evolved as humans along with you, as much because of you as due to the rocks life threw at us!! For you are our treasure, our ‘raison d’etre!
Love us or hate us just don’t ignore or write us off!! We need your time, understanding, respect and the fierce desire to scale the walls that exist between two generations! In return We pledge to give you your due as the smartest young people we know…To overcome the drudgery of fighting different ideologies and accepting the best from each in order to live and grow in unison!!
Lets laugh, travel, eat, talk, sing, dance, argue together…not alone! For in spite of our differences we are one!! Just like two sides of the same coin, we cannot exist without each other. Years down the line, when your kids call you a T Rex we hope to laugh together at them!!

Always remember how much we love you and how proud you make us when you succeed or when you pick yourself up after a failure! We are there for you at all times! Just love us ! Don’t write us off just yet!There is many a mile and many a road we wish to walk you upon or be walked upon by you , holding your hand”
All we want is a smile and some respect..in return, all we have is yours anyway”!!!!

Yours lovingly
A parent

When A Mother’s Heart Goes Thumpety Thump!!

 

There’s a strange yet profound feeling of inexpressible joy when you spend time with your children…particularly now that they are grown and independant..flown the nest, adults with a mind and life of their own..adults with dreams and interests that do not stem from what you intended for them but rather from what their hearts and minds and destiny have steered them towards …consciously or unconsciously .
Years ago you were in the front seat clutching them to your bosom as they nestled to your warmth or squealed to be let go off..squirming off your lap to grab at the volume buttons on the dashboard or to grab your not-so-cool sunglasses off the bridge of your nose!
Alternatively, you were busy trying to stop them from having a go at each other in the back seat, wrestling them apart, distracting them with stories , smiling amusedly as the eldest one bullied the younger ones with her pretend-adult ,all-knowing tone of confidence in her endearing lilting voice!
Now the roles are reversed…the joy you feel at the first glimpse you have of them after a long long gap..an unendingly unfairly long gap…is inexplicable!! It just feels as if the sun has risen finally, the Gods are smiling down at you and your hearts beats faster, almost as if it’s trying to leap out from beneath the rib cage right into its rightful place in your baby’s bosom..And then you realise that hopefully it’s already there!!
That first hug and greeting warms you up like melting butter on hot crisp toast! The fragrant baby smell from when you held them close eons ago still lingers in your mind and the waft of these memories bring a smile and sigh to your lips!

The hug which gets over too too soon for us but embarrassingly long for them , makes way for a quick “Come on Come lets go” and you are promptly bundled into the back seat of the car as you watch your kids, now towering over you banter with each other saying” Oh God, she’s back again “!! ,while rolling their eyes in fake exasperation and deciding who was going to take the wheel.
An innocent query from them like “so what’s the plan, when do have to go back”? causes your already unsteady heartbeat to thump even harder while sinking into a crevasse as deep as the Grand Canyon for its too early to contemplate about the return..after all, you are still basking in the glory of having just feasted your starving eyes upon them.

The view from the back seat is endearing! These tiny little adults have moved on…they have a different lifestyle, a new group of friends at work and at play..they are way more savvy, cool, aggressive, worldlywise, beaten, triumphant, scarred, resurrected, open minded and hearted, lavish, conservative, proud, humble, resilient, soft and vulnerable, hard and impenetrable.
They may wear their heart on their sleeves yet fight to protect their emotions from a wayward unseen enemy..they struggle to handle all that comes to them on their plate while preserving the sanctity of their ways , thoughts and upbringing…clutching onto the things they consider worthy and desperately shrugging off that which they consider may weigh them down or hold them back!

They jostle with the music system and fight to control the playlist as diverse as their natures…they yell in exasperation when they don’t like one’s selection and quickly loudly belt out words in sync while doing a jig in the front seats when they finally agree on choice of song! One of them is beaten down when their suggestion is met with disdain while the other keeps playing DJ and dancing merrily.

All this one observes in amusement from one’s spectacular box office back seat, enjoying the bantering, trying to quip in with one’s half knowledge and being told to shut up in no minced words!

Those that we once taught are now our teachers, those that we once held by the hand and led, are now leading us, those that we once ticked off for misdemeanour are now scolding us for dinosaurian thought processes!
Little do they know that one is trying desperately to keep up, to understand, to change and make amends, to upgrade and uplift ourselves, to be cooler, to be more with it..yet we still need to be parents, we still need the instinct to protect and guide as far as we can. We need to be their friends too..feel the need to be needed and wanted amidst all the fast changing scenarios!! Above all ,we just need to be there..for them , with them!!

Amidst all this noise you get the feeling of being infused with life again, like you were just dealt out an intra venous concoction of mineral happiness , protein fortitude and amino resilience!! The grin on your lips is unstoppable! The heart does a fire dance in your chest and you thank God for aeroplanes that fly you to them!!
I guess that’s why we are parents.

Love us or leave us, that’s how we feel about you! We need you to understand us, fit us in, make time for each other in this way, whenever we are able!

We were 20th century paupers when they were little..we wish they become 22nd century royalty in status, ability and thoughts , with hearts of gold, toughness of mind and body , humility of soul!

“How do we tell you how much we love you for we are not wordsmiths! Peep into our hearts and you will be all-seeing”!!

Till then let’s just enjoy the madness of being around these crazy human beings!!

Santa still my unsung hero!

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Once upon a time there was a Santa… in my heart , all around me…in spirit.
Growing up in a place like Kenya where all religions lived under one all encompassing roof, I got to choose the religion I enjoyed if not the one I was born into.
I studied the Bible, attended Sunday Mass, sang hymns like a native, celebrated Eid and Christmas also, not cos I was a Christian or Muslim but because my friends were and it made no difference to me.
I have grown up believing in GOD..not a segregated one with some ten thousand names, but the one Universal force that I prayed to every night lying in bed or kneeling by it cos Enid Blytons characters did it that way. I knew as a kid that I had to talk to someone, thank someone and request someone…and that someone was an intangible force they say is all around us even if not visible to the naked eye..and I believe them.
I don’t feel less religious if I don’t cover my head and seek sublimation at every occasion in front of a statue of God in a mandir cos I feel I don’t need to seek him there alone.
I sat and watched in awe as my young friends dedicatedly read their namaaz so sincerely like clockwork, not understanding what they did but respecting their beliefs and admiring their sincerity, impatiently waiting to be doled out generous helpings of mouth watering biryanis, sevaiyan, and I forget what not else!!
But what I enjoyed most was Christmas.. I guess one of the biggest influences in my growing years was the world of Enid Blyton and Disney , initiated, introduced and encouraged by my readalholic parents!!
I wanted to believe in Santa like the famous five did, I wanted to understand the spirit of goodness as Uncle Scrooge learnt, I wanted to see the Jerrys hug the Toms of the world just cos it was the season of love and forgiveness…
I aced all the hymns, watched the proceedings in church while gazing in admiration at the structure and ambience . I lit candles and partook of turkey and pudding with my Christian buddies…I hung up my school socks knowing that I would find them overflowing in the morn!!
The red, white and green colors all around me brings a smile to my lips even today… I believe there is a Santa in the North Pole..I refused to eat reindeer in Alaska cos I thought I was doing my old friend Rudolph a misdemeanor!!….
I want to knock on doors and sing hymns for smiling folks who hand out goodies…I want to sit on a fat Santa’s lap and ask him for the gift of happiness for my family…I want to sneak out of bed and catch him as he slides down the chimney shouting Ho Ho Ho!!!
I know I have been good so I’m sure he’ll come this year too!!
My babies grew up too soon so they couldn’t be conned too long into believing the tooth fairy put that crisp ten rupee note under the pillow, or that the Easter bunny left that box of chocolates on the mantelpiece, or that Santa was pleased with them and knew exactly what to put in the long red stocking borrowed from my daughter and hung by the bed!! Sad!!! I wish they still believed!
We watched Christmas themed movies every year on the huge bed in the living room with oohs and ahhs from the littles ones warming my heart all over again! I believed and I wanted them to believe because something about the myth of Santa gives you a strange kind of happiness and assurance that something good and fun still exists!
I missed the days when my kids and I decorated the arocaria tree in the garden with silver bells and little stars and paper strings much like what we saw on tv and watched them fight and laugh gleefully as they did so…!!

But today I felt young again!
I felt like my little babies were still shorter than me and still full of mischief and madness cos today my son brought home a six foot tall Christmas tree replete with all kinds of cute decorations to adorn it and the sight of it made my heart soar again! I wanted to give him a tight hug but he ran for his life like he was being ravaged!!
I admonished him playfully and quickly got to work singing jingle bells in abandon while he slapped his forehead in chagrin and shook his head in dismay at my antics! All he did was rant that he may have made the gravest mistake of his life bringing home the tree if I was going to behave in this exasperating manner while taking photos of my idiocy!!
As I stepped back after a while to admire my handiwork, singing even louder oblivious of the threats from my son that sounded suspiciously like he was contemplating wringing my neck on Christmas Eve, a disturbing thought crossed my mind..it was the 24th already and Santa as to leave with his trusty Rudolph and company in an hour!! What if he didn’t have enough cash to get the toys ready on time cos of the demonetization! What if the Elves couldn’t get all the goodies loaded onto the sleigh on time!! Oh horror of horrors!! All the little kids of the world would have been good all year to no avail! If they weren’t going to get their gifts this year they might just as well have a more exciting time being crude and brash and misbehaved for all the good the abstinence did them!!
Soon better sense prevailed and I heaved a sigh of relief as I realized rupees must be redundant on the North Pole..they probably use Euros or Dollars or something unpronounceable there, I’m guessing!! Thank God!!
So get ready kids, Santa’s on his way …Jingle Bells Jingle Bells!!! Go to bed dreaming of a White Christmas, snowmen, Partridges on pear trees, Three wise men tramping down a dusty path enroute to a certain manger wherein lies a harbringer of peace and hope….. and the promise of our friend St Nicholas!! The morning may make your dreams come true!!
Next year I want to spend Christmas where it is celebrated the way it should be, where the decorations are as they should be and where Yuletide is engraved in the places heart and soul! I’m not choosy..USA, UK, Canada, Australia, Europe ..maybe even Iceland!!!….feel free to choose….India done…the rest of the world awaits!!!
Santa you listening???  My Babies..are you???