Been some time I wrote something. What with a sweet 'n short 'n hectic trip back home and returning to work (slog!) 12 hours everyday! Yet, I am only too eager to tell you guys about my trip.

To start with, I got a confirmed reservation only in a train destined to Patna! I have always had this fear of missing my train; so, to be on the safe side, I leave quite early for the station...only to reach a couple of hours before departure! And my friends who are frequent takers of train journeys will well understand my plight! The platforms were more crowded that usual and everyone seemed to be joining me to Allahabad! Huh, no wonder! With the holy bath season on, so many sins to be washed off! I checked my ticket for my coach no. It said R2. I asked around where does this coach usually be, only to be told that there is no such coach! I checked the charts...wait, my vision is alright! Aah it was a printing error - it was B2! Nevertheless, it was a sleepless night with the compartment filled with a variety of snoring sounds and a fear in me - what if I keep sleeping and cross Allahabad!

There's a certain nip in the air of your hometown that seems welcoming and yeah...brings in nostalgia too :( One of the many things I miss in Delhi are piping hot jalebis and garam-garam samosas and there's this halwai I head to directly from the station. But alas! They had only rolled open the shutters and were sweeping the floor when I arrived so I had to move on...empty-handed :(((

My home-coming was similar to every other in the past. Oh yes, the lehanga and the black hood wala Tshirt were huge hits! My Dadaji was also content with the bright-colored shirt I got for him (last time he told me that he feels an increase in his blood flow whenever he wears the white and orange striped shirt I got him earlier :).

The day was crazy with my sister hell-bent on going to Big Bazaar for the major sale and of course, taking me along to pay the bills :(. It's strange, but so end up buying all that you don't really need and that's only because they are on sale...and you are will use those some day (?). Cutlery, utensils, dinner set, trays, VCDs, a set of bed sheet and ..... a microwave were all that she made me buy her! Quite less??? Well, you really hate those instant SMS that your bank sends you every time your card is swapped...and they pinch and hurt too :( But that smile on her face was priceless :D

Sunday started with hurries and worries. Shivani was still thinking of what to wear for the function, throwing every possible option towards me and then retreating saying that it will make her look like my Mom. Well, I could only agree with her so I busied myself with checking emails. You know how are those sisters' fights, na? Neither wins, but moods are I play the Didi - assuring her that whatever she wears will look just great! And you think she believes me? Not really! I picked a saree and told her it will look just perfect and she was like - want people complimenting you, right! That saree was the final pick at the end though (I knew it will be!!! :D). I forgot to mention....I caught a cold too the previous's my hometown weather that doesn't suit me now!

Reached the venue and there was Dad, as usual... running around - instructing, ordering, shouting.... That's a custom before every function, and at times, we fear, he might just start pulling at his hair! (No offences to you, Papa). We two sisters were only concerned about our Sarees, jewellery, make up...God... there are so many things we women have to take care of !!! And then, guests started arriving and we were right there brimming over with happiness (don't ask why? After all, that's how you welcome people!) with the customary greetings - Namaste Uncle/Aunty...ji, main theek huin...haanji, Dilli mein job kar rahi huin....and so on (repeated n no. of times). With the gathering increasing, discussions started and the hottest topic??? No points for guessing! Of course, my marriage! It's undoubtedly a subject of national debate! Still single...working...staying in another city? Beta, koi pasand nahi aaya? Well, of course aaya....Shahid Kapur....not bad, eh? The icing on the cake was provided by my school friend (married for 7 long years) who made an entry with her two daughters. 'Neha beta, dekho, kuch seekho isse!' (Mummaaaaa!!! :(((( )

Post party, I was all down with cold and fever. I met a friend soon after and we had some good Cold coffee with salad (now, you really don't want to miss out on the best things in life just because you are unwell...not me surely!). And yes, this sickness also could not deter me from gorging on some (okie....quite a few!) golguppas followed by steaming-hot-melt-in-the-mouth gulab jamuns the next day. Talk about heavens on earth! I was surely there :)

And that was it! A full week of preparation....confirming tickets...loads of shopping...all over in no matter of time :(

And that one hour before boarding the train is the time I feel most homesick! Bidding Goodbye is the most difficult thing to do, especially to my Dadaji. I am almost crying with that lump in my throat...and trust me, he just has to say it once - 'Don't go!' I will just leave my bag and baggage and park right there. No, I am serious. At times, that's exactly what's on my mind. But they never say that :((

Writer's notes:
For my Doctor cum friend - Don't get angry over the golguppa thingie...I did also take the medicines prescribed by you and regularly fact, I still am! Pucca promise:)
For my sister - in case you read this, I am serious when I say you look great in everything you wear...and yeah...that's because you are my little sister :)
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"Now that you are coming next weekend, you can... might as well ... get me a rajasthani know something different that makes me look slim and nice!" That's the first call I received from my younger sister, Shivani, the moment she got to know that I will be home for the next long weekend. I was only figuring out where can I get a 'nice' lehanga for her, when my cell phone rang again. No prize for guessing who it was! It was Shivani again with my brother, Ankit, prompting her in the background, "Ankit wants one of those hood wali Tshirt...and get one in black...he is saying black looks best on him...OK." That was short and sweet indeed :)

It's these little things that surely make you feel you are in demand (that's what a friend said!). On retrospect, I feel that it's these little things that make that bond much stronger. The fact that you stay miles away and meet only on festivals or other special occasions does not, in any way, affect the love and affection you share.

Like one of those days, when I was really down and out, I called my sister. Though younger than me, she had her fundas right - "Don't worry. These things are part of life. I'll tell you what! Wear a sexy dress and go out! When you see all those heads turning, you will feel better! And have chocolates, ice creams...and everything else you like....they increase your happy hormones....and yes, just eat and eat well! Trust me, you will feel better!" This was, indeed, the most practical advice I got at that time! I followed it and I definitely felt better :)

It's even more hilarious to hear Ankit (more than six years younger!) comment on all the pictures my Dad receives as part of his matrimonial quest for me. He mentally compares me with the one in question and comes up with things like - "Yeh toh black and white TV ban jaayegi...or...Didi ko ek stool bhi dena hoga dahej mein...or better still....Didi will drive him to suicide, Papa!" And if ever I do say something like - this one looks fine, he retorts, "Are you sure? I can you even think of ruining this poor man's life???" Now, what can anyone have to say to that! The other day, he said something like this to Shivani - "You have one speed breaker in your life and poor me, I have TWO! And even after the two of you are settled, I know you both will ensure that I see you in my nightmares!!! "

My grandfather calls both of them to be descendants of Kumbhkaran family! Neither will even budge from their sleep until noon...come what may! But then, there are those rare days when they are up at 6 in the morning! One will come to pick me from the Railway station and the other one will wait patiently, making a mind-list of all the demanded things. After meeting my Dadaji, when I enter the room with my duffel, both will be eyeing it with a know-all smile on their faces. And as I will hand out their 'gifts' (they like to call them that), comparisons start... leading to quarrels... to fist-fights...literally! To be honest here, I quite enjoy this, as rarely you get to see such things that you actually took for granted when you were younger...and this is the only time in my entire trip when I feel wanted :(

All said and done, these sweet and spicy moments make all the difference, when there is no need to express what you feel for the other one! Your eyes say it all! For it's only out of a sense of unconditional love, trust and belongingness when your sister trusts you to buy her something in which she will look nice and slim; when you can actually feel the unexpressed fear behind your brother's witty statements for the would-be grooms; when you see their droopy eyes as they kept awake the whole night to ensure that they reach the station on time the next morning! These moments are those that you want to live forever....they make you feel loved and valued! And I, on my part, look forward to their calls with their never-ending wish-list till the time I board the train! They truly make me feel 'in demand'!
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My last blog had people asking me what's wrong with me! Have I shifted gears??? Well....not really. Just that I felt that I needed to express what I felt on that subject and what better way to do it than my blog! And I am humbled with the response I am getting for my blog. Thanks all! Your support will keep me going!

And now, am back to my usual self and my usual writing :) And this one is dedicated to all those who have been writing to me about my blog through comments, emails and SMS. When someone says that they were able to relate to what I wrote, I feel happier. To be honest, I write for myself. I write to concrete my thoughts. I write to re-affirm them so that they are not only part of my thinking pattern, but become a part of my very being.

I write whenever I feel the need to express ... for somehow, I feel I have lost the ability to express in person. I write spontaneously as am doing now. No post is preconceived. And I feel blessed with having the opportunity to be able to connect with so many people through my blog. Some time back, I had a fear that I had even lost/forgotten how to express through writing, which has been my solace since I was a child. Every time, I tried to pen down something, it didn't work and I left it mid-way. But as I mentioned in my previous post, this new year has blessed me in so many ways and this is one of them. Now whenever I feel the need to talk, to express, I write and whenever I receive a response, I feel I am heard and listened to.

Thanks a ton, dear have no idea what wonders your feedback is doing for me! Wish you all the bestest in life always :)

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Lord Krishna said - "To action alone hast thou a right and never at all to its fruits; let not the fruits of action be thy motive; neither let there be in thee any attachment to inaction."

We all understand that we need to do our karma, notwithstanding the results. Go on, tread our paths with our actions and not worry about what it will bring to us as that is not in our control. True, very true. We need to continue doing our Karma.

This we all understand rather well. In situations when we know not what to do and where to go, we take solace in it and make ourselves understand that the result is not in our hands. But then, there are times when we even relate our inactions to this statement and argue that this is our karma. Is that right? Why do we forget the latter part of His statement - neither let there be in thee any attachment to inaction?

Our actions define our destiny. They lead us to where we are and where we will be. They can make us a king or a pauper. As rightly said - What goes round...comes around. A good deed is rewarded and a bad one punished and all that happens in our world.

Luck, fate, destiny reduce to mere words when man decides to write it in his own terms. Our Gita also says that we can control our destiny if we work and plan hard for what we desire. I don't say that it is, then, wrong to think that we just need to do our karma and not think of the outcome. Instead we need to act in order to direct the outcome. It is our actions that should decide our destiny and not our inaction or fate, that we often term it as.

Nothing is impossible. We can face the biggest ordeals in life, provided we have the courage and the determination to do it. The beginning may be preconcieved, but we have to make the end our own. Leaving everything to destiny is the biggest gamble we play. We may succeed and we may not succeed. God has gifted us all with an intellect...each one his own. And it is our thinking that decides our actions. Why do we, then, ignore this biggest gift from God. It's upto us to be influenced and no one and nothing can influence us or our actions if we so want it.

I don't know what made me write this. But somewhere I feel that we all, at one point or another, blame our fate or destiny, not realizing that it is us who make it. We cry for what we have lost, but we don't reflect on why we lost it. It is in our hands to direct the course of our lives. It is our conscience or our aatman that should direct us ... not outer influences. For how long can you hide behind them? You'd need to look into the mirror one day - the mirror of your conscience.
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There is a tune in the air.... a humming in the surrounding....a song in my heart....and a mysterious smile on my lips. Everything seems to have regained its beauty. There is life around me and within me. There is a new zeal, a new quest to love.

This year has given me the biggest gift. Only 12 days have passed and each of them has been a different experience. Each day has given me something. I will share what I got in these 12 days:

January 1 - A New Year. Started on a sad note. By afternoon, I felt my world had collapsed before me. Everything seemed void...futile.....senseless...even the very breath which indicated that I was still alive. One look into the mirror shook me. No...this cannot be me! I took hold of out of my home and went to Sai temple to find solace. God also eluded me that day. In queue for 3 hours, I could not get to the temple. All I knew, then, was I have to meet Him...anyhow...anywhere. I then went to the temple near my place. I held His feet and cried. And I saw God....I felt Him.....I then knew.....He is everywhere.

January 2 - I told myself - Come what may...I have to get a grip on myself. I went out.....leisurely roamed in markets throughout the day then met my Bhaiya and then a friend. I came back to my place.....I looked into the mirror again. I had made a new friend - Me. I have a company now, which I know will never leave my side.

January 3 - I went to my sister's. I spent time with my niece and nephew. Their innocent smiles, undeterred questions and permeating charm made me forget all my pains. I talked to them....played with them....laughed with them...effortlessly. These two children made me realize that I still had the child in me that laughed and played. I was laughing...genuinely.

January 4 - I went back to what I have always found a great stress buster - cooking. And I enjoyed it once again. I, then, knew that I had to make that effort. I have to help one else can. This realization gave me a new strength. I felt strong...once again.

January 5 - The big day! I had been fighting with myself till now. This day, I had to face the outside world....had to rejoin work. I was scared that my eyes will reveal everything. I reached office.....nervous....vulnerable. Suddenly, a voice within me said- The world will see what I show to them and what I show depends on me. I, then, recalled the confidence back in my stride. I promised that no one will know more than I want to share. I have a promise to keep....a promise that I will keep to myself.

January 6 - Days had to be normal again and I had to make them so. Manifesting fake or false was not the true me. I have to be happy to show it...I have to smile from within. Mirrors don't lie and my mirror showed me a face I didn't like. I forced a smile and the face smiled back at me. I did it again and got the same response. Whoa...I had done it. I had seen a pretty me...smiling again!

January 7 - I left home earlier than usual. Entered a bookshop and gifted myself 3 new books. I was happy. I didn't have to wait for someone to shower me with gifts. I can gift myself.... any day....anytime.

January 8 - I cried. And then I stood up, stronger and more confident. I shed tears again....for myself. I realized that my tears were actually washing away the illusion I had chosen to live in. They were silently taking away my pain. They, too, are my friend.

January 9 - Another day for everyone else. A new day for me. A day that showed that life has a comical element and comic timing too. I SMSd to my sister - Life is not only's funny too. She replied - Yes it is and it's great if you have the ability to laugh at it. I smiled and then I laughed. I had that's there within me!

January 10 - Places and people bring back memories. You can run away from them...but for how long? I had the option to stay away from it, but I made my choice. I had to look that fear in the face...else it will not leave me. I went to the place...scared of being haunted with memories... fearful that those memories will break me again. But...that did not happen! I spent my time without any inhibitions. My strength did not forsake me.

January 11 - I met friends...friends who had and have always been with me. The day flew by. I came home and made a list of my friends. I surprised myself again. I was a rich person...for how many can boast of so many wonderful people as their friends? I can and I am proud of myself!

January 12 - I applied kajal in my eyes, smiled and I knew that I have fallen in love again! It is so evident and I'd be a fool to ignore it. I feel good.....I feel elated! And I know that now, I will never be betrayed or left to cry in pain. For who I love will not leave my side ever. I am in love with myself...the new Me!

These 12 days have transformed me and given me a new strength...a new perspective.... a new life. The life I felt was void is back in all its hues and colors. The confidence that had been shaken, the self-esteem that had taken a battering are restored. Now, when I look into the mirror, I see a person who I always wanted to become. And I know I love this person :)
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It's like a sea-saw.....this side...then that. My mind and heart. One moment you are that strong and firm that nothing seems impossible, everything is immaterial and the very next, you feel weak, feeble...vulnerable. Guess this is how life is....uncertain....unpredictable and... unassuming! It takes a U-turn just when you think the road is straight and find yourself caught, tangled and zapped!

It's weird, yet so human. Yet, I feel fact, it's a new and alien feeling. And from here, as I look back, I have no regrets. There may have been things that I could have done better, but surely, there's nothing I did was wrong.

But, there's one thing I am happy about! I still have options and choices to make and I still have my heart and mind to help me make them :)

The options and my take on them:
  1. Cry or Smile? I cry...I need to get it out of my system.....and then there's no holding back my smile....I smile at life, challenging it to come...fight it out with me :)
  2. Hold on or let loose! I do both. Holding on makes me go back to it and then i let loose...rationalizing everything and then, deciding in my favor...for who else, but me, will think what's best for me :)
  3. Stay put or move on? Stay put, if you need to, if you still have faith that things will come around...else....Move on! I am still to make up my mind on this :( ....Am open to suggestions!
  4. Live in the past or look forward? I cherish the past as it's part of my life. And I am now looking forward to see what's next in store for me! Come what may...I am prepared...and better than ever before :)
  5. Shut the world out or welcome it? I am welcoming it yet again....for there's no way I am going to let go all the beautiful things and wonderful people around me. After all, I got just this life to live as myself :)
Have many more similar ones before me and I have decided or am deciding my take on them! And life will continue to throw situations at me every now and then.... after all, that's what life is all about, right? I might tremble...I might fall...I might break down. But I know that there's one thing I will always have with me - Myself! I owe all respect, every smile, each bit of happiness to myself. Losing myself to situations will be to lose my very identity! And I'll never let that happen!

Existing will always be an option, but once again, I CHOOSE TO LIVE!
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This one is dedicated to all the women who read this post....It's something I have been going back these days to when I need the motivation and confidence to move on.....Hope it works for you too :)

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ... enough money within her control to move out and rent a place of her own, even if she never wants to or needs to...

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE .. something perfect to wear if the employer, or date of her dreams wants to see her in an hour...

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE a youth she's content to leave behind....

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE .. a past juicy enough that she's looking forward to retelling it in her old age....

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE . a set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a black lace bra...

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE .. one friend who always makes her laugh.. and one who lets her cry...

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ... a good piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in her family...

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE .. eight matching plates, wine glasses with stems, and a recipe for a meal, that will make her guests feel honored....

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE .. a feeling of control over her destiny..

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... how to fall in love without losing herself..

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... how to quit a job, break up with a lover, and confront a friend without; ruining the friendship...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... when to try harder.... and WHEN TO WALK AWAY...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... that she can't change the length of her calves, the width of her hips, or the nature of her parents...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... that her childhood may not have been perfect...but it's over...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... what she would and wouldn't do for love or more...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW.... how to live alone... even if she doesn't like it...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW.. .. whom she can trust, whom she can't, and why she shouldn't take it personally...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... where to go... be it to her best friend's kitchen table.. or a charming Inn in the woods.... when her soul needs soothing...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW.. What she can and can't accomplish in a day... a month...and a year...

And friends, don't forget... you are worth every happiness, every joy in the world. You are most beautiful, most intelligent and the best. Don't let anyone take that feeling from you. For if that happens, it (or the person) is simply not worth it!

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Today, being the first working day for me this New Year, I received warm New Year greetings from everyone I came across; but this one was different. I received it from a friend over chat - hope this year rings out the farce and brings real life in front of you -- and that life turns out to be beautiful :)

The farce - referred to here is definitely part of my blog link. And I am sure that my readers see a pessimist streak in it. But for me, it's not's the way I perceive life and it's my way of dealing with it. Someone once said to me that to him, life is amusing. Likewise, to me, life is a sort of parody. It is the situations in our lives that plot and conceive our reactions. How well you can control yourself in these situations is your way of living your life.

To the friend who wished me - I assure you that I will look for that beautiful life and not wait for a New Year to usher it. I will go ahead to embrace it, to live it and to cherish it and I will surely write that day that Life, after all, is beautiful!
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Before, I begin to write, I'd like to admit that this post is inspired by a blog that I follow religiously. With due credit to the blog and the writer, my post is my perspective on what I read.

With the festive season almost over and the holiday mood now a hangover, we are greeting and being greeted with a cheery 'Happy New Year' from everywhere. The markets seem just too full of it and so does each one of us. Not being too idealistic or pessimist at the same time, I see no change anywhere but in the calender date. And maybe, that's all the New Year is all about! It's great to rejoice and look forward to another year, with new hopes and resolutions, but then, why welcome only a new year, which comes once in 365 days? What about each of the 365 days that make a year? Think for a we really welcome each day with the same warmth and enthusiasm? For surviving a whole year is an accomplishment, but so is living a complete day.

In the holiday season, we try to break the monotony by holidaying, celebrating and so on. And then, we are back to the routine grind of our everyday lives. We are back to our cribbing and complaining ways, back to the stage where everything is so dull and so just the same. We, then, start looking forward to another reason for celebration. Each of those days marked red on the calender are the ones we make plans for. And amidst all this, we actually forget to live the present day.

It is today that we have and we usually take it for granted. Our plans are for special days. Why not make today special? Go and meet your friend today that you have been planning for so long. Enjoy and relish each sip of your morning cuppa; go out for a walk with yourself; surprise your mom with your rare cooking skills for dinner today; smile and hug your dad; spend time with your companion, forgetting the fight you had this morning while rushing to short, try and do all that comes in your mind. Don't leave it for tomorrow. Live this day and live it to the fullest.

So now, each morning when you look into the mirror, while putting paste on your toothbrush, smile and wish yourself a Happy New Day...and make each day of your life special.
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