Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Land of the Pharaohs..

Like many from my generation, Egypt was much more to me than Geography or History lessons..amongst the other civilizations that we studied about, this land always managed to come out of the pages and live its story in front of us. The intrigue all the more deepened on reading and later viewing the famous "Death on the Nile". The pictures of the Pharaohs, The myths and legends of the land, The eternal river Nile and the supreme Pyramids were all impressions that left me wanting to someday reach out to this land... to see for myself the wonders man is capable of creating.

Egypt, when I finally reached its shores proved beyond all my expectations. The place is soaked in ageless history, The main city of Cairo, the present day capital is a confluence of modern and ancient architecture, an amalgamation of cultures that have conquered and lived in this country and left footprints for posterity. The Coptic churches, the Roman Towers, and also the Persian Citadel stand tall and majestic along with the bustling modern day city life and chaotic traffic of Cairo.

As I travelled to the various temples on the shores of the Nile, the legends came to life, The pharaohs and their Gods, the High priests and the common people, the sacred offerings made to the Gods filled me to the brim with their timelessness. The carvings on the walls seemed to speak out the tales of a time which was full of romance and mystery. Out of the many stories that are prevelant.. the one that touched me the most was the story of Osaris and his sister-wife Isis. The great and powerful Osaris was treacherously killed by his brother Seth and his body cut into pieces and scattered all over Egypt. Isis hunted down each piece and rekindled the spark of life into Osaris' body long enough for it to impregnate her with Horus to continue the great line of Gods. Isis became the God of love and magic, which actually sums up to motherhood, Osaris became the God of afterlife.

Nearly two and a half thousand years have passed since Alexander the great conquered Egypt, yet images from the myths of that ancient civilization continue to surface, In the 1970s Bob Dylan composed a song on the Goddess Isis, the eternal mother. The US dollar depicts an eye and pyramid - Masonic borrowings from ancient Egypt- and numerous Egyptian companies use names, faces and cartouches from the old mythology to promote their product and services. The monuments and myths of Egypt have since long crossed its shores and spread out all over the world as very well known and accepted figurines.

The land is not just mythical it has a history of powerful rulers and dynasties. Rulers who have crafted out monuments that have stood the test of time like none other. Simple and strong designs, intricate craftsmanship, logical and methodical thought process have gone into creating the temples and the pyramids. The legend of the female Pharaoh Hashteshput is remarkable as a citing of equality of gender in the ancient Egyptians. She ruled the nation for more than 15 years fought battles and defeated crusaders, the temple built by her along the Nile in the city of Luxor tells the tale of this great warrior queen who was later succeeded by her son Thutmose III. Her tomb is in the valley of kings along with the other Pharaohs of the land and not in the valley of the queens which was the usual burial destination for the queens of Egypt. Another pharaoh who knocked at my heart strings was Akhenaten, within five years of his rule, this pharaoh radically simplified the polyesthetic religion of the land and replaced the multitude of deities, with one sole God, Aten. The object of his worship was the bright light of the sun, rather than the sun itself. Akhenaten was a mystic and a poet whose love sonnets to his beautiful wife Nefertiti are still recorded in hieroglyphics. Their importance is much more pronounced as Akhenaten is followed by Tutankhamun(his son in law) on the throne. The most powerful and intriguing image of Egypt, Tutankhamun and his mask of gold... The child Pharaoh who died before the age of 18.

Tutankhamun and his golden mask symbolize Egypt for many, but the facts tell another story, Tutankhamun was a pharaoh, but not the greatest, as he lived and ruled for a very short period, but his story is tender and young, his tomb, discovered very late is full of treasures that tell a story of young love and beauty, of ornaments and jewels, beds and thrones of gold, there are small coffins or tabouths as they are called, inside the tomb of Tutankhamun which show the probability of many still born heirs of this child King.

Ramases II was the self proclaimed ruler of the lower and upper Egypt, the most powerful and the most popular of kings. His staues and temples form the basis of the new Kingdom, he conquered beyond the boundaries of Egypt.He ruled Egypt for more than 66 years. The temple of Abu Simbel is dedicated to him..he stopped just short of announcing his divinity.

Egypt cannot be complete without the mention of Cleopatra. The diplomatic and beautiful queen who came to the court of the 54 year old Julius Caeser rolled in a carpet, The love of Cleopatra and Mark Antony is equally linked to Egyptian history as it is to the Roman history, their asociation and romance around the city of Alexandria is a tale of passion and deciet, of careless neglect and lavish splendor. This last queen of Egypt commited suicide immediatly after the death of Mark Antony on 12th August 30 BC. No one knew for certain how she died. They only found small pricks on her arm. Some say she brought an asp to her chambers, smuggled in a cart carrying figs... her body was never found.

Beyond the kings and Queens, Beyond the pyramids, ageless and tranquil, neither rain fed nor born from any glacier flows the Nile... The beauty of its colour and the depth of its floor is vast enough to hold all the treasures of all the pharaonic burial chambers, the mystery of the land is washed clean by its waters and the golden sun arising from its shore each day blesses the pharaohs of the ancient times. Just as the Sphinx guards the pyramids, the Nile guards this ancient land and brings the softness of the queens to the land of powerful pharaohs.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

When life gets blurred.... Read this with your audio equipment on

Jeebon jokhon shukaaye jaaye.. karunadharaye esho...Death is a preoccupation with me.Its probably because as a family, ours has seen many interrupted lives.we have had to let go and stand alone in the cold aftermath of death's finality. As a family we have been brave and strong, gentle in nursing each others wounds, in coming together and re-bonding the flailing spirits. As a family we have managed to move on. We have time and again embraced life.. danced and sang at weddings, laughed at shared jokes, welcomed new members with open arms.. hidden the scars from probing eyes.. but death continues to rule the roost in this family, in me.

The transience of life and the permanence of death is not something that we have read about or learnt at discourses, we have witnessed this in our midst. We have grown from tears to panic, we have researched all there is on fatal diseases, we have worried endlessly about simple fevers and aches, we have turned every headache to brain tumour and every fever to leukeamia, visit to a doctor's clinic has been panic stricken, every checkup terrorizing. Its not death that scares us... its the days before, and the days after, that stay embedded in our souls like fragments of shattered glass eager to renew the wound, eager to bleed all over again.

What have we witnessed that scars us so? Death is a part of life everywhere, all families go through this.. why is it then that death looms larger than life for us? I think it all boils down to the stripping of the spirit that we have witnessed. People we have loved and idolised from childhood have broken down and cried, faith - that no harm comes to good people has been stripped of its honour in the wake of terminal diseases, unconquerable spirits have pleaded, even begged for a few more years, to see their children through crucial phases, unanswered prayers, Gods of stone, unending pain and the shearing of dignity is what haunts the most. Death after all is not for more than a few seconds. But the defeat is timeless!

The fear lies then, not in dying, but in leaving behind untrodden paths, those numerous walks that were yet to be made, the laughter of children, the beauty of their development, the fear is of the pain and dealing with it, of losing independence and humour, of leaving behind a memory fraught in pain and disease of bearing the agony of dear ones arranging for the treatment funds, of being the reason for their despair along with our own.. of losing hope each day, of dying a thousand deaths before the actual hour strikes. What then is my prayer to the power beyond me? When I know that death is truer than life, when I know that pain is real. I ask for graciousness in acceptance, I ask for the light that will be the guiding star to show the way to a dignified end... shokol maadhuri lukaaye jaaye geetshudha roshe esho...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Matters of the Heart.....

What is it that makes a blood pumping organ in our body overshadow the brain..which is supposed to be the crucible of wisdom, logical and analytical thinking? In my case this is so times I wonder If I really do have a brain..or maybe there's been a major role reversal within the organs and I didn't notice..truly, maybe my brain is pumping blood.

As a student when I never got my analytical questions correct I didn't pay much attention.. but now as an adult I really wonder why is my thought process so different from the rest of the crowd? Do I oversimplify situations or do I not see the world as it is? Or are my tints too dark? This is not a self pity article.. definitely not, these are questions to myself? Over the years I have met people who like me have blood pumping brains.. and to tell you all the truth I get so attached to them.. because the world we see through our hearts eye is so much more fun. I have also been tremendously lucky to be surrounded by people who have their brains working perfectly and doing what its meant to. They have time and again warned me of looming disasters and kept their cool as they meticulously picked up pieces that I scatter in my wake.

Blame it on the genes or the planetary positions in my birth chart... I have realized time and again that the world that I see through my heart is not the world as it exists.. Here things are not simple.. here people go about their business and never spare a moment to dream of raindrops and pixies, here friendships are tainted, everything is in lieu of something else, choices are forced or should I say you are forced to make a choice about everything. Parameters are set everywhere, narrow and stringent lanes separating right from wrong, marching people... forgotten hearts.

Just around the corner is my space... where friendships are not bracketed, where being silly is permissible, Where love is not a four letter word, where there is time to play and run and where blue is the sea and not a film category.

There is never a debate within me as to whether to follow the mind or the heart..I have happily let my mind pump blood, and have followed my heart, I have tripped and hurt myself time and again but this has never overshadowed the fun that I have had, The bruises always fading in comparison to the excitement of climbing hills and crossing fields but the ride of the heart is not a steady one..its a roller coaster where you are always looking forward to the next high. I wish I could invite everybody to cross the fence, even if it is for a few moments, to experience the world as I do, to understand that life is probably a little more than a great job and a happening lifestyle.. To give the heart a chance for a change!!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Yeh Tera Ghar yeh Mera Ghar...

Ever wondered when a house suddenly starts to feel like home? A flat in an unknown city, taken in a building that's close to work is how the process usually begins. You walk in the first day and look around you and think.. hmmm.. this is where I will come from work each day, this is where I will build my hopes and see my dreams and more mundanely..this is what will protect me come rain or shine!

The walls are bare and white, the floors cold and uninviting, the kitchen scrubbed but empty, the bathroom dry and unfamiliar..the windows - gaping holes staring at other homes. What does it take to make this space fill up with joy and love? Warmth and music? How does this house become a home? Dear friends it all starts - with a list of things required, made by two fond hearts.

A bed and a wardrobe, a table with a couple of chairs, a TV, a Fridge, an oven and cylinder, pots and pans, bucket and tumblers even a broom and a mop make it to the list. Each day henceforth the stores are scoured for the goods, prices bargained, at times compromises made with a promise tag saying.. later when we have enough we will go for the best, at times giving in to an impulse and taking the budget way beyond the allocated amount. Are these the memories then, that fill up the bare space? The tired, after work evenings of unending traffic to reach a particular store, the cool lemonade sipped while choosing from rows and rows of curtains, the mirth of bargaining for doormats, heaving the supplies all the way chivalrously, the impressed smile and the back rub making the fatigue worthwhile.. the tussle over the brand of the fridge, the kiss and make up night thereafter.. these memories are intermittently linked to each piece of furniture.

Then comes the frills.. the rugs and the shades, the lamps and the frames, the rocking chair and the bookshelf, the Sony wireless Home Theater(ouch).. the cushions, the candles, the fridge magnets - all gifts of love, all giving the house the warmth of a home. Nightlong discussions on the placement of each item, the shared pleasure in finally getting it right, the exhileration of a single wall painted RED.. the counting and recounting of the salary left at the end of each month, the worry of having gone beyond means, the faith of a shared future, the trust of undying love. Are'nt these what make a house come to life?

Now when you walk in at the end of a long day.. the bare, uninviting space of before opens its arms for you.. each corner holds a smile, maybe even a few tears.. each nook has a story to tell, the wet bathroom floor could bring a scowl to your face, the slippers left haywire might irritate you, the strewn magazines might provoke you to a fight..but then isnt this much better than a neat and scrubbed empty space of white walls and bare floors...isnt this a home?

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Have you ever wished for something and got it? Probably then you would know what I feel each time I see Toshali. She is my prayers... in my arms. When I was carrying her I somehow knew I would have a daughter and that made me very happy. I have always felt deeply connected to her.

She took her own sweet time to get into this world, so much so that the doctors worried and almost prepared me for a last moment unplanned C-section. Ultimately though she did find her way out of me. As the nurses brought her to me I counted her fingers and toes and marvelled at the miracle of life. She was truly a bundle of joy. A baby girl made of dreams, the picture perfect pout, the thick black curls and so chubby you could cuddle her to your hearts content.

She being the first born, my energy level and time on hand were both high..and so I could afford to sit up nights and admire my precious gift, sing songs and weave dreams spun in golds and pinks. It is during one of these moments that I first saw her look up to me and smile - a wide, toothless smile that cannot be captured by a camera, a smile of trust and hope, faith and bonding, a smile that told me that this pretty girl in my lap is mine to take care and cherish.

The first time mom is an obssessed mom. Each monthly chkup chart from the doctors visit monitoring her growth was given the importance of board results. every step, every look and every new syllable uttered were a source of pure unadulterated joy and pride. Similarly every fall, every tummy ache, ear ache or just plain lack of appetite made me plunge into the deepest pit of depression. I wonder now, how my baby coped with this obsession. She did so and continues doing so as all first borns have to, for with them like with toshali, the dreams are limitless.

Small wobbly steps going to preschool, making friends, sharing the tiffin, red sweater over a blue skirt, the hairband that struggled to keep her curls in place, innocent eyes searching for a familiar face in the crowd..are all images that never age in my mind..seems like yesterday when she learnt her alphabets. she grew and each passing year made me think what a blessing it was to be a mom. Toshali was the easiest child to deal with as a parent for she never had any complaints. A happy, trusting and lively kid.

With her, we relocated quite a few times, and each time she said bye to her friends I felt the lump in my throat. She was always so quick to notice it and made it a point to tell me each time,'Dont worry mom, I'll make new friends', Her concern and care towards her parents and her grandparents is a defining trait in her even today. It amazes me to see how everytime she has her meals she asks whether I have had mine. She has happily coped with all my whims and fancies till date.I put her into as many activities as possible, never bothered to think if she enjoyed them, if she was inclined towards them.I put her because thats where the other kids were going, making her schedule choc-a-bloc. She always complied, running behind me with her small feet to each and every class learning to dance, to sing, to swim, to play the piano, to sketch and then at home to do the homework. Where I wonder now, was her time to play, to be a kid, to be naughty and throw tantrums. But it was not all that depressing and I would be exaggerating if I said nothing good came of it, Shes now a good swimmer, a great dancer and enjoys to sketch and sing.

Toshali was and I fear will always remain my learning ground, my moulding clay..with her I ran and fell, made mistakes, reached heights, jumped with joy and fell faint with agony..with her I wanted the world and she in turn brought it to me happily. If my second child has taught me to pick up pieces and not give a damn, Toshali has taught me graciousness, love and caring, she has taught me to be fair and in her sweetest way she has taught me that the greatest balm for the human heart is a fond hug and a loving kiss from your child.

Way to go my Princess!! You are and will always remain my motivation to be good!

Sunday, October 5, 2008


I distinctly remember the day I had him..I was not overtly tensed, as he is my second child .Infact I was more concerned about the hampered routine of my first born, Toshali. I felt tired and cranky and dont know why I felt a bit guilty each time I looked at Toshali. It was shoshti..and the city was all geared up for the five days of festivity. I had my small suitcase packed and ready from days before and reached the nursing home at the pre appointed time without any hassle. That particular day when I kissed toshali while she left for school..the only thought that lingered..when she sees me next I will be shared..blame it on the hormonal overdrive or whatever else..sentimentality was at its peak for me!

Unlike Toshali, Soumya entered the world with a lot less effort from my side..guess he was rearing to go even then! Holding him, the first thought I had..hes so light..Tosh was just perfect! Yah comparisions start early!! As a rejoinder to my thought came his deep and stretched out breath..almost a rebuking sigh. The days of the Puja that year passed in a haze for me..I was kept busy trying to make sense of the sleeping and feeding patterns of my new born. I brought him home on Doshomi.

With Soumya I have had to unlearn all my parenting guidelines, none of the tried and tested formulas worked..He has made me realise first hand that each card you are dealt with is different, so play differently. Now I realise that with him around I have grown too as an individual, my mind is constantly stimulated in thinking of new approaches to deal with his pranks, his zest for life and his bullish energy has definitely rubbed on to me..and also I have come to know the joy of having a real good fight head on, crying hard as if the world would end and within 5 minutes picking up the pieces and not giving a damn..A child that refuses to obey easily, helps you to grow..

I look at him and search for times he gives me a glance that takes my breath away with its obvious resemblance..and the next moment he is his own self..the search is futile and I have come to realise that the search is very unfair love him for all that he is..without comparision either to my family or his sister, is his right. His identity is his his pranks, his mischieveous smile, and his 'driving me up the wall language skills' hahaha but what the heck!! Thats the Soumya Card..and I will play him to the best of my ability..

This one is for my Bond..the handsomest hunk in town!!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Best National Anthem

I had no idea that there was a panel that judged National Anthems..but something like that does exist, and its in the headlines these days that the Indian National Anthem has been judged the best. As Indians we are all proud of this fact..but am sure we dont need a panel to tell this to us. I might not be an authority on National Anthems but I can say without a doubt in my mind that each time the first notes of Jana Gana Mana float through the air, every Indian's heart soars with love, respect, pride and bonding to the motherland, such is the beauty of the composition. As a child it was just a song that had to be sung at the begining of each day in the school assembly..we most of the times never got the words right..but the tune even then kept us glued to the spot.

Now as I see my children singing it along with their peers, I often wonder do they feel what we felt while we sang the anthem? Does their heart surge with pride at the ebb and tide of each note? Do they picture the beauty of each state as visualized by the poet? Can they see the lofty peaks, the beautiful rivers, the bounty of nature..or do they just see a land which has lost its way? Ravaged by internal wars and terrorism, everchanging heads of state, Corruption and immoral politics, underpaid masses, record breaking inflation rates, a land which even their parents have given up on!!

We travel abroad and take our kids to the Swiss Alps for the summers, The USA, and The UK fight with The South East Asian countries for enlisting themselves into our travel plans..but as parents we never somehow plan a trip to Kaziranga, or say the temples of the south, we even keep the Taj Mahal on the back burner..saying.."Ohh we can do that anyday" But does that day ever come? definitely our children are citizens of the world..they need exposure, they need to know the different cultures all around the globe..but before that dont they need to know their country better? why not take them to Gujarat and show them how Amul revolutionalized the milk industry? Why dont we give them a chance of being proud of their heritage by showing them the robust farms of Punjab..Why dont we have the courage to take them to Kashmir and show them that this land is worth protecting with your life!! Each soldier standing in attention at the LOC definitely deserves a salute form each of our kids.

Left to the news channels all they will ever hear about our country is negetivity, its upto us, their parents, to point out the beauty of a nation thats still too young to be given up on.. Let them feel the splendour of our nation, to be able to feel proud of the National Anthem, to be able to relate to it, to willingly stand up in salute to a song they sing everyday at the begining of an assembly.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Parenting.. what does this term mean? The dictionary says “Parenting is the process of raising and educating a child from birth, or before, until adulthood”. Personally I feel as parents we fail to keep the process as simple as the definition.

Children enter our lives and fill it up with unsurpassed joy. They are the symbol of life’s longing for itself.. and we are just the channel that life chooses to bring forth this phenomenon. But we fail to grasp this and start to play God. The burden of our thoughts, prejudices and ambitions are thrust on playful shoulders .. believe me these are much heavier than any school bag a child might ever carry! We forget that each child is born to its own destiny ..and as parents we are a mere part of their journey. Isnt this a great feeling unto itself ? Why is there a need to mould an unsuspecting young mind into the cast of our expectations? Why can’t we enjoy witnessing the blooming of the bud unless we have tinkered with it and chained it to wires to give it the shape of our desire?

As a parent I keep forgetting the laws of evolution. As a rule the generation coming forth from us is more intelligent, more capable of surviving in the world to which it is born. Each time I look at my children I am filled with awe and mesmerized by how much there is to learn from them ..and yet the need of being indispensable in their lives is never far. I have to keep reminding myself that my duty towards my children begins and ends with providing them with the stability of a home and the ingrained faith that there isnt a wrong in this world which cannot be made right.

There is so much talk about Parenting these days and the topic is so over hyped that this precious experience has become a source of stress to many. If we could have the faith that each child is special then we could probably focus on enjoying the time we have with them ..for it is a short while before they learn to fly! And what could be more joyous than to see them soar and embrace the life they were chosen for?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Rainy days, Friends and some strong coffee..

Certain images stay in our minds forever. It could be a much loved face or an important day of our life or at times a picture captured by the mind's eye while travelling to faraway lands. It could also be an image formed while listening to a story being told to us as children. An image formed by a 5 year old while she listened in rapt attention about the fairies and goblins, about the chocolate house in a magical forest, about english teas with hot scones and buttered sandwiches and the neverending beanstalk, whatever these images maybe they fail to remain just so..When they come back to us in the present, they bring along with them the smell of that particular sheet we were under while grandma recited the stories for us, or the fragrance of the signature talc she used after her bath..or even the smell of the fear mixed with anticipation we had felt as we waited for our board results. All vivid, all personal, all as non-fictional as the person right in front of us.

One such image that I hold close to my heart is that of a rainy day. A lazy and langarous afternoon in a house by the sea. Cosy and warm.. in direct contrast to the downpour outside the window. The heavy rain blurring the landscape. The sea, the towering waves, the sky, The not so distant cliffs, the rain all becoming one to the eye. Sitting by the window in that house, with a cup of coffee, a book, some music and a loved one. The rains splashing the windows, the faraway glint of the lighthouse beckoning lost ships to safety, the laughter at a shared joke, and the smell of nescafe. An image of love, of comfort, of trust and image of a 'happy place'.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Early Days and Acknowledgements....

I was born an only child to my parents in the year 1973 on an overcast day in July. It was not exactly the lap of luxury..but I was fortunate to have had a very comfortable upbringing. Maybe its a wee bit early to write about the 'early days'..but then there are certain facts that need to go on record for posterity..and one can never predict when memories start bordering on fantasy. So here goes..

As a child and a young adult my life was highly influenced by my much so that, for me nothing existed beyond him. He was the axis around which my world rotated. My thoughts, impressions and the way I look at things even today is definitely rooted to this point of axis. Today as I acknowledge the importance of dad in shaping my thought process. I realise that my mother, by being just herself has inculcated in me whatever discipline I possess.

Having never had any siblings of my own..I was and still am very attached to my cousins..and as birds of the same feather flock together..I was naturally drawn towards one of them in particular, who is also incidentally my single male cousin from dad's side of the family.Needless to say, my teenage years were filled with shared visons of an idealistic world, dreams and flights of innocence. Holding onto him I treaded everywhere from thin ice to the deepest of woods, he gave me the courage of flight and the loudest pure laughter. I acknowledge here the very important influence of Mikidada in my life then and now.

At a very young age I lost my was an event that maybe I have not yet come to terms with in many ways, apparently things seem ok but if I travel within I know that there are layers that I refuse to look in the eye. At this juncture of insecurity and misplaced trusts..I was immensely fortunate to have Bablididi and Bikramda(famous as BDG to the IT industry)figure prominent in my life. The words that have in a way shaped me..are from Bikramda, "keep yourself so busy and occupied that you have no time to think , an idle mind is truly a devil's workshop" even then it didnt sound like a quote to me..coz I knew that my mind left idle can really be dangerously foolish. Those were very stimulating times especially for a small town girl thrust into the midst of the making and breaking of comapnies, and the founder of those very events as a personal guide and mentor.To have on one side this dynamic personality moulding me and on the other side the practical and inborn wisdom of bablididi..constantly nurturing and keeping my fears at bay..maybe this space is too small to acknowledge their love and continuous support to me..but it was important for me to put atleast something on paper.

At this very point My Uncle(my Dad's elder brother) and my Aunt also played a pivotal role..they have taught me that its ok to fall as long as you know how to get up and get going..also they have given me the faith that no matter what we do..we can never be beyond repair and beyond the love of our family..two very important lessons imbibed thru everyday gestures of love and care..I am so fortunate Kuttijethu amd Mejoma..for being there for me always..

The early days of paradise when threaten to crash down and fall like a heavy stone on the young and shaky shoulders of a girl..its only the family that can rescue the flight...thankyou and God Bless..I love you all


To look back and cherish - a place called home..a place that saw you grow from a precocious child to an adult and enjoyed all the phases in between.. a place full of friends, of laughter and tears, loss as well as victories.. of impulsive moves and secrets shared.. adventures and joyrides, rebuking and encouraging pats - a place we all leave behind..

We travel far and wide in search of our destinies and at times ridicule the peers who stay behind.. we are enamored by wealth, glamour, and the jet set world, and believe me, none of it is wrong.. and yet the best memories are always from back home.. Our minds and egos get satisfied (if ever they know the meaning of the word) as we reap the harvest of our hard work, but the soul's nourishment is from the fields we leave behind.

Does that mean we stand still? Not take a path of our desire and find a place under the sun that is rightfully ours? Definitely not..but the wings of our flight need to have the strength of our roots. Alex Haley, probably introduced us to this meaning of the word "Roots" and by now it has become quite a cliche.. we keep hearing of the European in search of his roots.. but this search is within all of us maybe in differing scales of priority.

As expatriates we all know that the best journey is always the journey home. The heart gets parched like the dessert sand over the year long wait and is only drenched in joy once the flight lands to the place of our origin..for a month we replenish stocks, get busy in buying things, refuelling our wardrobes and larders.. as we go about fulfilling our physical needs.. our inner eye is clicking away familiar landscapes now hurriedly passed by, but to be relived at leisure on the return flight.. Bitter sweet memories of Home is what we essentially carry back to see us through another year of deprivity.

Life goes on and we grow with it and follow paths that have been determined for us in an unknown script.. the strength always drawn from the reservoirs of purity and innocence of our roots. As we all know roots do not grow in a day or a year or even a few live in a place and get to know it and develop a bond that is healthy and fertile takes time..most of us were lucky enough that our parents gave us that time..gave us a place to look back upon and smile..Are we doing that for our kids? are we giving them roots? In our strife towards material gains and prosperity at the shortest possible time are we sparing a thought towards the next generation.. "to look back and cherish..." a blank for them.. or a series of everlasting, nomadic journeys.. lots of mere acquaintances formed.. but no childhood friend..houses of brick and cement..but never a home to build memories this our gift to our children? ..for just a few pennies more...

Celebrate Your Faith...

Its that time of the year again when most of India gears up for celebrating the 10 days of Navratri..Joyous dancing and fasting in Gujarat, where the nights come alive with the rythms of garba and dandiya.At the same time West Bengal welcomes Ma Durga and her children amidst her for six days and the entire state dances to the dhaki’s beat..What does it all mean to our generation? Is it really the rituals that we wait for with anticipation or is it just the fun and frolick..I guess its neither..

Festivals to me and my peers are more about social bonding..about coming together of generations, about revisiting old memories, about dressing up in fineries and pandal hopping..laughter, food gossip and the entire jing bang of festivity infused enthusiasm.I can confidently say for myself that the rituals do not interest me as much as the emotion of those days…I do not believe that God has to be appeased..but definitely the faith needs to be celebrated.

The faith that there is a power beyond understanding and reason..the faith that truth and goodness will ultimately prevail and also, however dark the will eventually what makes us go through our daily grind. This faith cannot be a void, it needs a form that will endear it to us..what better image than that of a mother..for a country which is primarily nurtured by its farming soil.?

So the Goddess descends upon us for a few glorious days and is welcomed by all..the entire nation culminates into a melting point of culture and creativity. what better offering to the goddess than the best of our efforts. Children and adults alike in a riot of colours fill up the streets with gaiety, the aroma of food mixes with the scent of incense, flowers and sandal filling up our senses. For those few days we forget our sorrows and personal tribulations and join every other being in celebrating the Goddess amidst us.

There is nothing religious or ritualistic about this joy…It is the joyous acknowledgement of a deep rooted faith that tomorrow will be as good or even better than what today is or yesterday has been.