Thursday, August 29, 2013

55 Fiction - Whore Woes

She tried hard to please her affluent client, hoping for extra bucks which could feed her family for the next two days.
Her first break from soul selling in 8 months! She sighed in relief as sleep overcame her.
She woke up to find him gone with her new set of clothes, watch and purse.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

A Fuel for Your Time Machine

Nostalgic memories are wonderful time machines that allow us to travel into our own past. What best fuel to drive this time machine other than smell, fragrances and pictures? Land on that old, crumbled and dirtied old picture or inhale smell associated with your past, there you are on a ride which many scientists have failed to build.
The wonderful baby smell!
 One of the very assuring and pleasing smells is that of the baby powder and baby body cream, which makes me feel safe, secure and protective at the same time. I am not sure how others feel, but that is how that smell makes me feel. I do remember holding my fragile new born in my arms, smelling sweetly of the baby powder and creams. I wanted to lay down even my life to protect them, when I realized it must have been the same way my parents felt about me when they held the tiny me in their arms. That is the reason for the secure and protective feeling I think.
I grew up not in apartments but a cluster of nearly 50 houses owned by a single owner and rented out to people of all communities and regions. There were lot of Keralites and Kannadigas. There were people from Andhra, Tamil Nadu, followed by Rajputs. There were some Punjabis, Sindhis, Marwaris, Maratis, and Gurkhas also living there. It was a great place to grow up watching different people, eat different food, dress in different attire, speak different language and celebrate different festivities. It was also wonderful to watch them celebrate the same festivals like diwali, holi or a national holiday in their own unique way.
Those were the days of celebrating our unity in diversity. Back in the 1980’s we did not even know which caste or community we belonged to. We were muslims on the day of Ramzan, Hindu’s on diwali, holi etc and Christians on the day of Christmas. All those great days with history behind them did not have any significance to us.. they just meant fun and entertainment. My parents were liberal enough not to stop us from having fun with our friends on the special occasions.
Kids enjoying chicken on Eid
Every festival had its own smell which spread around our house. During Ramzan and Bakrid, the aroma of the kheer Sheer Khurma would wake us up. This was the time when most of the relatives and friends visited us. All the aroma of food and festival was lost once people came back from eid namaz as the smell of attar spread around the homes; well at least it lasted until the aroma of Biryani would take over.
During diwali it was the sound of crackers burst by our dad that would wake us up which brought the odd but delightful smell of burning crackers. We would fight with dad for enjoying crackers without waking us. We would not touch the breakfast cooked by mom as we had a big stash of sweets to finish off. Dad used to purchase raw materials for his factory; therefore he got many sweets and gifts for diwali from the people he did business with. We got the taste of Gujarati, Marati, Sindhi, Bengali and many other local sweets. His boss would send a huge pack of crackers and sweets too. Diwali was a grand festival in our home. Our neighbors would treat us with payasams and kajjayas.
Holi brought the smell of colors mixed with the dishes being prepared in homes around us. Food was ignored on this day as most of us were either trying to escape being drenched in color or went on attacking spree to spray colors on friends. It was the day of hiding for me until evening when I would slowly come out to taste the great Gujiyas.
Ugadi was one of the biggest festivals celebrated where we lived. All doors emanated the smell of mango leaves as they were decorated with the thorana. We would run from one home to another to watch people eat jaggery with bitter neem leaves. It was fun when our friends refused to eat neem but were forced by their parents to have them as it was an important ritual. The afternoon lunch on Ugadi was a feast and we would be invited by many of our friends. We had tough time deciding whom to visit. Every home would have a lavish spread consisting a special palya, kosambari made of cucumber, moongdal, channadal etc, mango pickles prepared at homes, Sandige, pakodas, rice, special curry, sweets, kheer, hulianna, chitranna and of course the king of the day Obbattu. My sister and I would love having this special treat with our friends.
Christmas was a very special festival as we went to St.Joseph’s convent where it was celebrated in a great way. The smell of hot cross buns, Christmas tree and the ambience of the church always took my breath away. I loved the way the nuns smelt, very mild and pure unlike the strong smell which came from artificial perfumes. We used to get gifts on the Christmas day from our school which meant a lot to us.
Unfortunately gone are those days of fun with festivals. With more progress of our country, people have drifted apart. No one has enough time or enthusiasm to celebrate festivals like they used to in the past. Fresh mango leaves have given way to plastic ones, traditional dishes been replaced with modern catering and we do not visit friends either. The natural fragrances have been replaced with pleasant home fresheners. My dad, sister and mom with whom I enjoyed those days are not with me anymore, but their memories brings smile on my face even to this day. At times when I chance upon a sight or smell the special aroma, I travel in the time machine to meet them and relive the days when nothing was more important than being happy and having fun.
This post is written for the contest on Indiblogger organized by AmbiPurIndia
The days when we were free birds are gone now :(

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Happy Birthday Dear Son

I owe you son!

You never made me shout or give you advice
There was no need for me to ask you to be nice
You gave me freedom to let you go free
As I knew you would come back safe to me
You never made me worry, nor made me cry
You listened to me always without asking ‘why’
A son like you is the best gift a Maa can get
What gift from me can pay off the debt?
Farida Rizwan

I never exaggerate when I praise Rayyan, in fact I try to make it a little real by playing it down. He has been a blessing in my life, especially in bringing up Farheena. When I asked him today what he would like for a birthday present, my amazing son said he wants to take his sister out to Decathlon and buy her something to play with. That is Rayyan! Happy birthday Dear Son. May God bless you. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

A Sugar Free Minty Chill Pill


Mints have been my favorites since my childhood days. I used have a small container holding the peppermint chocolates available back then. They were quite cheap and were available in just two colors – white and pink. Later on came the mint candies with hole in them. Somehow, I still preferred by old pellets of mints.  As life went on, there were various peppermint chocolates wrapped in flashy papers, chewing gums, mint flavored biscuits and even ice-creams with a dash of mint available in the market. For some reason my heart lay with the original mint candies of the past which were not too sweet or mixed with other flavors. Unfortunately, they are not available anymore.

When Blogadda welcomed me to taste and review the sugar free Minto Ultramintz, I hoped that it would be something of a pure mint which would bring back the memories of the past. When the package arrived, I could realize that this product was going to be something special because of the effort put in the packing and personalizing it.

It even had my name on the package. Someone
who goes out of way to please the customer in such a way would sure make the product is awesome.

As I opened the package I could see a cool 60 extra strong pellets packed in a stylish black tin case which was something very special. It did not look like any of the mint cases I have come across so far. This is done by someone who knows that the first impression is the best impression. By reading about the product from Blogadda I had known that each pellet is made from peppermint oils from France (don't we get good peppermint oils in India?), finest quality menthol and is powered by special cooling component.  I prayed for all of those words to be true because I was tired of the sweetened powerless mints I was coming across. By now my children had gathered around the package and wanted to see what the new product was. We opened the tin case and brought out 3 pellets through a small opening created to let them out by shaking the box and popped in one pellet each. We just had finished some tasty Biryani and needed some mouth fresheners. My daughter saw the small pellet, made a face and asked for more. I told her to try it first and she can have more if she wanted.
PackshotsWonder of wonder the small pellet could erase the lingering taste of spice and onions in a moment and spread the cooling effect of mint all around my mouth. What topped the experience was the taste which was not extra sweet. I just hate sweetened mint candies. Off course mint is cool but Minto Ultramintz was just the coolest one.  I am not sure whether the package was done especially for the bloggers to review the product or the same is going to be released in the market. If yes, than it is going to add to the style. I am sure this product is going to gain lot of export orders too.  Priced at Rs.50/- per box(looks like a big chunk of budget goes into packing itself), I expect to see it soon on the dashboards of car, dining table and off course my computer work table.  My suggestion for ITC is – try to market refill packets of Minto Ultramintz pellets which would be money saver. 

"I am reviewing mint-o Ultramintz as a part of the Product Reviews Program at BlogAdda" 

Some cool entertaining pictures put up on the wall .. find more on
Photo: Nothing else quite as cool as #Ultramintz

Photo: Got more #Ultramintz Bub ?

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Boy Who Refused to Copy

When the teacher said, "fold your hands and sit quiet", Rayyan obeyed
no matter what the children around him did.
I trust my son without a single strand of doubt bothering me ever. How did I develop such trust in my boy? It goes to the school days when he was in First standard. When I sent him school, I had told him few guidelines he has follow before he begins to learn and score marks in tests or exams.
1.       Do not lie
2.       Do not cheat
3.       Do not trouble your friends
4.       Don’t call anyone by nickname even if others do
5.       Do not take things that belong to others
6.       Respect everyone
7.       Write what you know
8.       Follow school rules
9.       Be nice to all, especially the lesser gifted children
10.   Be regular with your work
These were the few morals along with others which I would tell him to follow. Scoring marks or topping the class did not matter much to me because not all children are made to stand first in the class. If he had it in him he would do it on his own. But the good behavior and principles can be adopted by every child.
On most of the days we would walk to school and on way he would ask me questions I would answer him patiently no matter what topic he picked up.
I am not sure whether it is the morals we taught him, or there was something absolutely good inside Rayyan, he turned out to be a gem of person. There is not a single person he has come to know who can tell that he has hurt them in any way or said hurtful things to them. In every school and college he attended, though not the topper, he was loved by his teachers for his good behavior and respect he showed for them.
Some incidences stand out in my memory and make me feel proud as a mom.
Once Rayyan was down with fever and could not attend class for few days. The monthly test was round the corner. The tired boy could not study much but I let him write the test. I told him not to bother about the marks. The class teacher who saw the tired child, who was her pet in the class, she decided to help a bit. She told him the answers and spellings of the “Fill in the blanks”. To her amazement Rayyan refused to write what she told him and told her that he will write what he knows because his Mom had told him to do so. He said she had assured him that marks do not matter much. The teacher was both shocked and impressed at the same time.
With his favorite teacher
I summoned to the school the next day. The teacher told me exactly what happened and how much she felt touched by not only Rayyan’s honesty but his trust in his mother’s words. She was worried that it would be difficult for the child to compete and survive in the world that did not follow those morals or principles anymore. She asked me to make him a bit of rough and tough for his own good. I felt proud of my child and it was really touching that his teacher had tears in her eyes when she was talking to me. I could understand her concern because there was some truth in what she said. I also realized that children need to be assured that you will accept them for what they are, so that they will not be under pressure to reach the goal by hook or crook methods. The single event had taught me more lessons about bringing up a child than hundreds of books I read on parenting. Rayyan could not pass the monthly test that term, but I knew my boy had done the right thing. For me he was the winner.
For the trust Rayyan placed in my words, I promised myself that I am going to accept him for whatever he is forever in my life without forcing him live my dreams for me. With the unquestioning trust children place on you, there comes a great responsibility where you cannot fail them. 16 years down the lane, I have kept that promise. It has also helped me in accepting my special needs daughter for what she is. With acceptance of our children for what they are comes a great joy of parenthood.
The perfect student!
Rayyan followed the rules of school and respected his teachers throughout his school days. Rayyan had always followed rules on road, school and office without fail. I realized the impact it has on others when I had to visit his school to pick him up for an emergency. My mom was sick and we had to travel to Mangalore from Byndoor. Rayyan was in school and we decided to pick him from there on our way to hospital. As I entered the school, I was in shock to see all students getting ready to enter the playground. It would take us some time to find him I worried as I entered the campus. Mr. Khan was standing and keeping a strict eye on the students.
As I approached him and mentioned our problem and dilemma of finding Rayyan quickly, he smiled and said, give me a moment I will tell you where he is. He scanned the students and immediately identified Rayyan on the third floor. Surprised I asked him how he did it, when all looked so alike in the uniform. He answered proudly, “I can identify Rayyan anytime anywhere because we have a rule for children to walk in the corridors holding their hands behind their back and Rayyan is the one person who follows that rule even when no is watching. If a student is walking with hands held behind even during the play period, it is definitely Rayyan”. I felt great pride that day, more than what my parents would have felt when I topped my class. Though Rayyan was mildly dyslexic and had trouble with his languages and spellings, he was always loved by his teachers for what he was.
Today, a young man of 21, Rayyan still follows the rules. He has found his career in animation and has been doing great with his new found passion. The short movies, his comics and other work reflect his personality and his way of life. Honesty, Kindness, Compassion, Respect and Integrity have blended into his everyday life naturally.

Being a good and obedient student was just the first step he took. He went to be a very helpful and lovable son, an adorable brother, a loving nephew, a very attentive grandson and trustworthy friends. He has been a blessing in life as without him it would have been tough to manage my special needs daughter and also my own cancer. He is my proud achievement and Medal of Honor!

I am sharing my Do RIght Stories at in association with Tata Capital.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Fishy Memories of Romance and Love

One thing I love about contests is the topics I get to write upon. It often takes me back in time, unfolding parts of my life which have been forgotten in the busy routine of daily life. So when Smelly to Smileycontest said “Tell us about the nostalgic memories you associate with different smells or fragrances in your home to win!” I went down the memory lane and started smelling fish and feeling romantic. It is kind of tricky that fish smell should be associated with romance but life sometimes makes impossible happen.
There is nothing fishy in my feelings when I tell you that the smell of Fish (fresh, cooked, rotten or any kind) reminds of my husband and our initial married days of coziness. Though born in the coastal village of Byndoor, I was brought up in Whitefield, since my parents had shifted there earlier for many reasons. I was out of my native village even before I saw my first birthday. Most of the people my parents were associated with were vegetarians; therefore, we grew up eating fresh vegetables and fruits more than the non-vegetarian dishes. My mom was great cook of Biryani, but it was reserved only for the special occasions or when guests came home.
Fish was something which was cooked just 2-3 times in a year due to its unavailability in the place we lived back then. There was just one Malayalee guy who would bring fish on his bicycle. On most of the days my Mom would find it not fresh enough or too expensive to buy from him. I did not care much for fish and avoided it during meals. I did not eat much of any non-vegetarian dishes as they were too hot and spicy for my palate. I was used to eating bland food without much spice, salt or chili.
When I got married to a guy from my native village (believe me, my Mom had found him eligible for me when I was Byndoor and not yet a year old) and shift there, I had no idea what a cultural shock it would be for me. After all I wasn't even moving out of my state. But the place was totally different, especially the food, people and the smell. Though I had been there earlier during summer vacations, we stayed with my Mom who took care to meet all my needs and also cooked the food I loved. Now, I got the taste of real coastal India with all fishes, prawns, mollusks and other weird sea food. There was no telephone connection, cooking gas or running water in the house I was supposed to live in. Though for people living there it was just the way of life, it was shocking and very scary for me. On the third day itself I was regretting what I had gotten myself into and was seriously thinking on deserting the person who had faced opposition from his family, gone against everyone and married me. Somehow, I was pacified by various means and then slowly settled down in the house.
My husband had no idea that anyone could dislike fish or sea food, so he went out of his way and bought all different kinds of sea food for me taste. That was the best he could think beside collecting all kind of yellow things for me, like suitcase, saris and mugs because I had once told him I like the bright yellow color. His enthusiasm, my newly wedded status and also the newly married wife’s love for her husband made me keep quiet and not tell him how I hated the smell and the sea food. Too much of Yellow was getting on nerves as well.
The wedding rituals were done; guests had gone back home and my cruel parents left me behind at the in-laws and went back to Bangalore. This is when the real married life at the in-laws would begin for me.
My husband sensing my desperation and fear of the new environment made sure that he would not upset me. Wonder what he did? He went out and bought some good fish for lunch. BTW buying fish was not all he could do. He also pulled out a carrom and some cards for us to enjoy along with the stories he narrated of some adventures from his life. Those were days without internet and TV, in case you wonder why he did not hook me to internet if he really wanted to express his love. Lucky him, he could get all the attention he wanted from me back then which is so difficult now with tough competition given by daughter, son, blogs, facebook, work and internet in general. According to me, a man is at his best during the initial days of marriage when he ignores all the flaws of his wife and loves her unconditionally which makes it so easy for the wife to love him back.  Those were the good times when I did not have to deal with problems which entered my life later on and those days of initial love were filled with smell of fish all around me. No wonder I do not hate the stink of fish anymore.
First day after everything was settled; we as a newlywed couple were left alone to do whatever we wanted. We decided to listen to songs and play some card games in our free time. I had always been a loner kind of person who enjoyed books more than company of people. For once I was very happy to have company of a person and spend some alone time with him which was kind of shocking. So, there I was not an abnormal woman after all and I could fall in love too. After spending some cozy times playing cards while listening to some soulful bollywood oldies, I was feeling a bit hungry. I did not know what to do in the kitchen because the set up was completely different. There was a hired woman who was managing cooking,  so I was shooed off by her until everything was ready. 
It was all about fish, fish and more fish....
Lunch was served. The rice was different. It was the boiled rice with big brownish grains. I loved white rice :( . There was fish curry which was called Khatta Salan, fish fry and spiced fish.  My husband watched me as I ate my lunch, and he must have felt proud that he bought all that fish so I could eat it as much as I want. I was in a dilemma whether to please myself or him. For some reason I decided to please him and pretended to relish the fish. Wrong move! True love makes you blind, dumb and stupid. The dinner was served and we had fish again for dinner. Shocked, but still not finding my voice, I ate a bit of it. Next morning I could see they were cooking Dosa. I heaved a sigh of relief. Breakfast would not have fish served. Only if I knew how wrong I was! Dosa was supposed to be dipped in the famous fish curry. I gulped down the dosa carefully touching just its tip to the fish curry. Afternoon the lunch was served with fish, dinner was with fish and another day began with breakfast which was served with fish curry. 3 days went by and I suffered in silence, which was very unusual for me. I am one of those people who cannot suffer, and even if they have to suffer they make a lot of noise about it. Newly wedded brides do change a bit for those initial married days I think. At least I was behaving differently from my usual ways and eating fish day in, day out without making noise. The time between eating fish was strewn with some love, romance and games with my husband. We did not go out anywhere much other than places nearby and in hotels the good food meant fish dishes. By the end of the first week of our married life I could feel a burning sensation in my tummy and I started to throw up.
My worried husband asked me what was wrong. I said I don’t know and that is when people started throwing suspicious look towards me. OMG! Couldn’t a woman vomit without pregnancy? We went to a doctor who told me that I suffered from tummy upset and asked me whether I had changed my eating habits. OH YES! I said. The excessive use of red chili, coconut and other food had played havoc on my digestive system. With some medications and advise from the good doctor, the problem was temporarily solved. I started eating light food and took it easy after that but there was no way I could escape from the smell of the fish. Everyone ate fish, fish and more fish there. Every home sent out the smell of fish being cooked through their chimneys. Thus was life in Byndoor.
Now I do cherish eating fish and also do not hate the smell of it because my heart (or mind) has got it associated with those happy married days of my life which was filled with new clothes, carefree days, new people to meet, new places to visit, new found intimacy with another person, fun, love, games and loving husband who attended to my needs. Even to this day, I cannot eat fish day in day out like many people do in my native place but I do not hate it either.
Life is never a smooth ride always. Things began to change with birth of children, cancer, work in another country for husband and other problems in our lives. The carrom was stored away in the attic, the cards were dispersed and there is not much alone time for us now. No more do we sit together and listen to old melodies from bollywood, share jokes, make future plans and just talk and talk without arguing or debating over topics. I cook the food I want to and I am not forced to eat fish every day. Unfortunately with the absence of fish curry, there has been loss of those good moments of our lives too. Those moments were something I cherished back then and to this day they do bring back kind of soothing feeling in my heart.
Whenever I cook fish at home I do find solace in its stink. Even though Ambi Pur can chase away all the fishy smell from my home, I do allow it to linger on for some moments as that takes me back to the happy times like some kind of time machine.

This post is a part of contest Smelly To Smiley Contest on Indiblogger by Ambi Pur 


Rayyan Lost in Laptop

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