The night fell with a silence. There was a slight nip in the air. As I stood in my window watching the quite life outside , I saw the world calling it a day. Somewhere saw a father stroking his baby to sleep , somewhere saw a big screen TV playing news . The pigeons that create a nuisance throughout the day cooing in my window ,fluttering their wings randomly ,disturbing my little one’s beauty sleep, have all settled on the window sill with their necks tucked in. The park next to my apartment is closed and will be back in action the next day early morning.
Remembered those quite old days , when working in a hard-core corporate , used to be home fighting the traffic drenched with sweat and fatigue. Seeing the garden where I felt I could also be one of the many moms out there swinging my child and enjoying his version of day spent. I always used to look forward for this part of the day . I would love to wrap up of the day with my son’s innocent talks on what happened during the day. The dinner used to be a rich one ,not by means of we literally stuffing ourselves silly, but with the light banter that we as a family used to have. We used to laugh our hearts out when our child used to give his version of his seen world for that day. It only generated positivity for the day to come.
Ultimately , its only that however the day is, the night falls and we choose to wrap up our worries, good thoughts and our anxieties . We drift ourselves to sleep with all these feelings and we know that the next day to come will again be a new day,a new hope , a new beginning. I still saw the dad stroking his baby to sleep and felt there he is still struggling to end the day but babies as naughty as they are they choose to postpone the sleep. Only to get that little more time from his dad which she yearned for the entire day. Today the night truly is mesmerizing , all beautiful and all were just getting to retire with their pillows of worries, happiness , togetherness, regrets and anxieties. Some choose to stay awake , some choose to just say.. chill I want to rest come what may be. It is true night is just a beginning of the day next. Sleep well this night!
It has been three months that I lost my grand mom in law(Paati) . The grief and the loss was unmanageable. She carried a legacy of being very kind and affectionate to all who came and met her from far and away. Everyone was blessed by her and were treated royally by pampering them and asking us to serve them with home-made food or snacks. This was a common trait of both the grand moms.A year back I lost my grand mom(Aaji- Maternal side). Both these leading ladies had a wonderful life. Though they led the toughest of the lives but they ensured that the only property they could pass to their descendants was love and feeling of oneness. Our childhood was always made special because of our grand parents. They made us feel special on special occasions like birthdays and result days. My grandfather came from a very poor background but he earned good education of his time and secured himself a job in ANZ Grindlay bank. Aaji came from a very rich family but her father chose to get her married to an equally opposite economic status boy. In todays matrimonial scenario, every prospective bride or groom tries to tick his/her match with the comfort index. By comfort index I mean comforts like an owned apartment , car and a six figure income job.
I never had the opportunity to stay with my paternal grandparents but had heard from my father that my grandfather was very calm and a thorough gentleman who chose to live in his basic minimum needs. Our grandparents didn’t have lavish apartments but managed to house relatives from natives far and close by in those few square feet homes. Wonder how they did it!
I always wanted my grandparents to never die.The concept of death somehow was not applicable to my near and dear ones. Was a bit selfish thinking if my grandparents die , I will lose my childhood and wonderful priceless memories attached to them . When I got myself a job in India’s top brand bank, my grandfather on his death-bed gave all those advices which when I think today make me feel that they were so relevant. On his death , I felt that he died very early. He could have waited. Aaji lived longer to see her great grandchildren. You really need to be fortunate to embrace such a death where your eyes have witnessed your generations living a happy life. My aaji always used to bake a cake on my birthday in her aluminium case and used to coat it with colourful icing and proudly write my name on the cake. She never knew English but she would write my name with so much of perfection, it would be written bright as “Happy birthday Moushumi ” .In her last few days , she ensured she kept giving her bit of advice to us and ultimately she chose to die saying I have seen everything in life now I don’t wish to live and there she was lying in her sweet slumber.
About paati,she was a very pious lady. I remember nurturing her when her disability was evident. Though she stayed with my in laws, we used to visit her almost every weekend and would spent time with her. My husband and his brother were very affectionate towards their grandparents . Had to be because they took real good care of both of them. Before marriage I was slowly getting introduced to my new family. I would wonder,it would be difficult on how I would communicate with paati( I am a Maharashtrian married to an Iyer)but she built such a strong rapport with me by speaking in Hindi.Small episodes of cooking together in kitchen, she asking me to make simple dishes of her choice with complicated names, me combing her .. all this made me feel as if I am being lucky to have such a noble soul around me. Her small stories of childhood mischief’s and her love and affection towards me made me feel that she was not my grandmom in law but my very own aaji.
I always felt I am lucky to have witnessed such living legends.They have ensured that they drench us with their love and affection and we will ensure we pass on this legacy to our children. Paati passed away on the day prior to Ganesh Chathurthi and it felt as if she chose the time to die.She waited till she saw my husband, called out for him and breathed her last.It was as if we all had to see her go peacefully. My grand parents died peacefully without any struggle. On their death day they asked for bathing even when they were immobile , they chose to don the best clothes which they had kept in separate on for their last journey. As if they knew they would be dying on this day. All these souls were clear when to call it off ,when they were truly satisfied and when they would say very happily – I will be no more. So very obvious was their last few hours and so very clear were they about they calling off their life and inviting death. Today I feel , they all have truly rested in peace. They all chose the moment of death, they all chose to lie sound and we all said to them- “Thou shall rest in peace”.
Come December and we look forward for closure of the year . It is this time of the year when we think and review our achieved goals or agendas.Also,December is a time to go for a short trip. As rightly said ,one should plan a vacation every six months.I feel its the best time of the year to visit places in India. There is generally a cold wave in most parts of India. We cousins decided we go to some close by destination so that we don’t waste time in travelling . I suggested we go to Bordi, a small town just 3-4 hours drive away from Mumbai. I have been visiting Bordi since my childhood. I still remember getting off the shuttle train at Gholvad station. The railway run chai stall had those glass jars having sweet nankathais, gluco biscuits and mini jeera butters . We used to binge on these dipping them in hot piping chai celebrating our good old times. This time we had travelled by road so the fun part of travelling by train was absent. I kept visiting this place off and on as my friends parents chose Bordi to be their town to reside. My cousins were totally clueless about this place. Hence the inquisitiveness was high and so was the excitement. We chose to stay at Ashwini Gardens which is located in Borigaon in Bordi.
Bordi is a small town which is located approx 25 kilometers from Dahanu located in Thane District, Maharashtra. It is known for its chickoo orchards and lavish Parsi Bunglows. We started from Mumbai around 5.30 pm and drove down for 3.5 hours approx and touched Bordi around 9 pm . I could see no phenomenal change in the town as we drove the roads. Bordi had a tinge of influence of gujarati lifestyle. But marathi was the language which you could use for communication. The streets were calm like any small town which switches off after 8 pm. The next day after a sumptuous breakfast we decided to head to the beach. To our disappointment the patch of the beach where we chose to settle was badly littered. We wrapped up early from the beach and headed back to Ashwini Gardens. Must acknowledge staying at Ashwini Gardens was a wonderful decision. The road parallel to the beach has some new schools and colleges coming up. We could see young kids walking it up to their institutes. Parallely, we could see a group of school girls cycling on the road. The 1970’s scene of a bollywood movie with the fleet of girls headed by the heroine cycling boisterously flashed in my mind.It was Christmas and we could see group of boys and girls hanging around on the beach road.It was my nephews birthday the next day and we were hunting for a bakery shop in Bordi. Finally we reached Gholvad station and found a bakery shop. The shopkeeper gave us a few cake pieces to taste such that we could freeze on our flavour of the birthday cake. Bang opposite was the Gholvad station and lo! memories of the hot chai and jeera butter flashed in my mind again. But my stomach did not permit me much to go ahead and relive the experience.Due to the excellent weather one can feel the tickling of taste buds and ultimately you end up putting on a few more calories.
Travelling to new places, exploring lifestyles of people their food habits and culture have always been my interest.We can witness varied culture across our states which is enough evidence of our countries rich heritage. Bordi has Warli’s as their local inhabitants. You can see these local adivasis working on the farms as labour hired by the people who own chickoo and banana estates. Evenings were pleasant and there was a cold wave throughout the night. We can soak our brain and soul in immense peace and tranquility of the atmosphere. There are no serpentine traffic lines on the streets, no timelines to rush up with our schedule. Just a peaceful way to spend your day. I woke up everyday with the sun saying a good morning to me. Though, I have this privilege of seeing the sun rise from my Mumbai house but seldom do I stand in the gallery and absorb the energy.We had the opportunity to witness the weekly bazaar of Bordi which is held every Saturday . The chowk which was empty all these days was fully bustling with the local people from far and near places. It was a colorful extravaganza of various spices,clothes,toys. We city dwellers are very obsessed about wanting to eat farm fresh produce. So , my co sister and me chose to pick a lot of leafy vegetables,fruits at very reasonable rates. The produce was very fresh and of good quality.The women selling veggies were adivasis or natives of close by villages.I always wanted my son to witness all this. Kids should know the other part of world which is devoid of cell phones, i pads and laptops. They should know that there is also a a rural India existing which has no state of art technology. The market had a section which was selling dry fishes. I was enjoying walking it up the market as the busy street was very lively and very colourful. That was our last day in Bordi. We packed our bags and the fresh veggies with farm fresh chickoos and bananas and started our journey back home.
I am glad we planned our christmas vacation in this rural not so urban town. It helped us rejuvenate our mind. The beauty of this place is the chickoo gardens and the strong influence of Parsi community. That’s why I call Bordi a sweet basket. A fully loaded sweet chickoo basket. If ever you get a chance to visit this place ensure you take a tour to one of the chickoo orchard and needless to say, savour the sweetness of this sweet basket.
17 miles drive , as the name suggests, is a drive which covers a stretch adjacent to the Pacific Ocean and gives you altogether a splendid experience of nature. This drive covers various spots which are separated from each other at a distance of few miles. The roads were very smooth and we were totally excited to see what this 17 miles drive is all about.
We got down from the car and felt that nothing was speaking as loud as our chilled bones and our nose which turned as cold as ice within minutes we descended from our vehicle. We wore our two layered super warm jackets and proceeded to see the ocean wash the shores with pride. My son , was super elated when he saw the mammoth size squirrels which were very unlike our Indian squirrels . They all came running to him thinking that he had something to feed. He playfully asked them”Hindi or Tamil?”
We walked our way on the shore towards the sea and could feel the cool breeze hitting on us . We then moved to the bird rock and sea lion island. Here the sea gulls occupy an entire hill and the sea lions the adjacent rock . I touched the sand , it was very soft and cold . Tourist would come there cycling and I wondered how could they beat the cold with such scanty clothes?It was a beautiful scene where the ice cold ocean water was hitting the rocks . A painter , a writer , a poet would really get inspired to produce his creative piece on this spot. It was lunch time and we were hungry. So ,what would be more prestigious to have your food by the Pacific ocean? The food was ice cold and we were enjoying the royal lunch. Throughout my tour in California I saw the Pacific Ocean dominating the places which we visited and it had its own grace.It was extremely calm and serene . The visitors have ensured to keep this place equally clean with no wastes around. That’s what was impressive about USA , the cities,roads , streets , parks, all public places are clean.
We drove further down and visited various spots like ghost tree, pebble beach.These places had huge boulders, rocks, trees of ages which have changed their branches shapes due to the constant wind hitting on them. The last and the best spot on the 17 miles drive was of Bixby bridge which was a huge bridge connecting two mountains and the architecture of it was something which will force you to put on your thinking caps. It was build right in the middle of the mountains , the stream of vehicles running on the bridge and below was the white and blue ocean.The bridge was built in 1932 and felt it was just a recent construction . It truly was a romantic place with the huge structure on the backdrop and the ocean gushing between the mountains forming cleavages to seep in. We saw a couple enjoying the beauty and there the guy was on his knees with a ring in hand proposing his girlfriend ! What a wonderful way to propose ! People in and around cheered the couple and congratulated them.
That’s the beauty of the 17 miles drive and the beauty of the Pacific Ocean which continues to impress me . Truly, a filmy experience come true , felt that what if at all our movie directors like Yash Chopra and Maniratnam would have ever visited these Gods creations,they would have made the most of it and thrown the beauty of this place to the masses.
Today we left for New York . I couldn’t sleep last night, the entire two weeks spent were rewinding in my thoughts.It felt just yesterday that we landed in San Francisco. The anxiety levels were floating high in air ,when we began our trip , and we were all set to have a blast. We were lucky that we had my brother in law and his wife ,staying in Dublin, California.
We reached in the apartment and nothing demanded more than a hot water bath after a days travel.We were not feeling jet lagged but now we had to match our sleeping time with the USA time.
I still couldn’t believe that we were going to witness the astounding beauty of California state. When in school, I had read that California experiences the tropical climate and hence it is blessed with a pleasant climate, a colourful extravaganza of flowers,fruits and cool breeze which soothes your mind , heart and soul.
On our way home from the airport , we travelled on the road which was exactly parallel to the majestic Pacific Ocean. Since the state is close to the pacific it is slightly warm in the morning and temperature dips to make your bones chilled .I does experience summer also.We had been in the month of May and we experienced the warm and cod weather. I don’t remember a day where I would have stepped out of the house without a jacket.
It took time for me to understand the traffic rules here as they sounded extremely complex because I was not on the drivers seat . But was amazed with the discipline followed by the country while driving. The streets stood silent without any horns damaging your ear drums be it a signal or be it in motion. The vehicles halt when you cross the road and they would maintain absolute patience to allow you to cross the road. Passerby’s wish you or smile their way making you feel that this country is certainly has a style statement of its own. The streets were extremely clean and the citizens very responsible to not litter around.
Well, this was just the beginning and I know I more going to continue being impressed in my tour of the USA – the superpower .
After 14 years of being in a banking career, writing has been possession of a hobby which I wish to explore as a profession. In my initial years of banking I always wanted to climb up the corporate ladder and become a highly designated bank official of some repute. As the years passed by I experienced success in banking to a certain extent but was not happy. There was always a feeling fear of stagnancy. Felt that how far can one go in designations? The designations that one keeps climbing are many and the run to climb fastest is never ending. Over the years felt that banking may not work for me as a long term career option. Shifting from a private sector bank to a development of an unexplored ambition was a major decision for me. I had a long possessed dream of writing a book and publishing it. Since childhood I used to participate in essay writing competitions and used to be confident about the content. I was not extra ordinary in my writing skills, but I have always got good marks in the essay writing section of language papers. My assignments have always been a wonderful submission of work done. The words used to flow smoothly and I never found it difficult to jot down my thoughts. In my school days, I used to maintain a diary and it was a souvenier in which I used to vent out my thoughts. I always found writing was within me and now I feel it’s time that I pursue it as a career. They say when you pursue your hobby as a career you always produce a great masterpiece. It is taking me a while to pull myself out from my previous career of banking and putting my heart and soul in writing. Shaping my writing to a career is like beginning from a scratch and I consider my study on creative writing as a stepping stone. I am a management graduate from a reputed institute; writing will be the output of all my experiences that I encountered while I studied when employed.
In my school days I had read books of Mark Twain – Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn and found the culture of writing very impressive. The British and colonial American lifestyle has always impressed me and somehow these influenced my language skills in my student age. Today I follow writers like Sudha Murthy and the youthful writer – Chetan Bhagat. Sudha Murthy’s writing have always touched upon the common man’s life and the language used is so simple. Sudha Murthy, a philanthropist, has always given the best of writing in language which is simple and the reader can follow it very easily. Her stories have always been such which the reader can relate to his/her life. Chetan Bhagat has in every book brought out the ideas of living up to ones dreams. All his books have been exceptions and adopted for making movies which have been a hit. His writings have touched upon passing the message to follow ones passion that’s where success would be the crown that would rest on your head. Both the writers have been very exceptionally well in their academics and that’s what impresses me. I have been influenced by these two writers. If I publish a book I would always present a set up where the reader can relate to and can have a strong take away. No great dictions, no flowery words but, a simple narrative which makes the writing relate with the reader of any age. These traits of both of these writers have influenced my thought process .Writing should be an output of your thought process and that is what I have learnt by reading the books written by these two writers.
The earnest efforts to become a writer are many but one is to follow my passion. I want to witness the evolution process. The evolution process of transforming from diary writing to graduating to a writer. To write is to cause a change and a writer acts as a change agent. The thought was to cause a change and make a difference to myself first, my thought process and then to the outer world
After all I have to live up to my dreams and one day would want my book to be published where the author would boldly read as Moushumi Ananthakrishnan.