Friday, 29 September 2017

It’s Kindness And Not Alcohol That Matters For Bonding

(This article in no way denounces alcohol consumers, it is just to highlight that human values like kindness, open mindedness empathy, sensitivity are often put on a back burner in the process of bonding and making relationships. It is usual to give undue importance to appearances and be carried away by the superficial attitudes at display) !

What on Earth shall I wear for the birthday party? Shall I sport my usual trousers paired with a formal shirt? Will I look outdated and uncool and will people form opinions about me based on the outfit I am wearing? What if I am labelled a misfit? An ultimate party embarrassment? Will I cut a sorry figure and be a bad example for my daughter? Why do I have poor sartorial judgement? These were some questions that swarmed my consciousness as I got ready to attend a neighbour’s child birthday party just two months after I landed in London.

New to London, I was yet to explore the myriad shops and malls adorning the city like beautiful accessories complementing a woman’s looks. I continued donning the apparels bought from India which were simply party-contrary. Even going to the nearest grocery store saw me reaching out for a formal dress. My wardrobe would warm the hearts of the office goers, offering them an array of formal wear to pick. Whereas I myself would be dejected at the sight of a drab me in an official suit.

‘It has only been a couple of months since my arrival here and I am not sure about any shops offering quality products along with great deals. It will take one more month to get familiar with everything in London. The host will understand me especially when both of us share similar roots deep down in India’, I reassured myself while my toddler made funny faces at me mocking my confusion.

Decking up my daughter with all the finery while I chose a humble outfit for myself made me happy for her. Her excitement made me smile and forget my anxieties at least momentarily. My daughter can embrace new surroundings and absolute strangers with ease. She gets along with new faces as though she has known them for ages! Whereas I think the other one is an alien from a different planet altogether. However, sharing my life with my daughter has rubbed some of her qualities onto me. As I behaved with my hosts like how my daughter would, little did I know of a problem awaiting me like a lion waiting to pounce on its prey!

Birthday celebrations in India are ubiquitous and I have never been unfamiliar to the excitement and euphoria surrounding any party accompanied by its usual cacophony and colour! However, little did I know that alcohol and non-vegetarian food would pose a moral dilemma for me. Not a meat eater and a staunch teetotaller, I began to wonder if I was being a spoilsport and started blaming myself for being such a ‘party-dampener’. Having never known the smell of alcohol let alone consume it, I was clueless of my next move.

Everybody around me was comfortably sipping and enjoying the drink while I looked like a cat on a hot tin roof dithering and confused. Do I join the gang and booze away to chatter and freedom like the others did? Freedom from restrictions and thoughts that stopped me from enjoying the party, freedom from self-doubts and negativity that held me back from realising what I can actually be. Can this glass of what several people consider as elixir also be an antidote to whatever invisible force that was holding me back and pushing me behind from doing what my heart desired. ‘Gel in, Vidya, the voice in my head screamed. ‘Grab the glass, you will feel welcomed. 

I wanted to feel welcome and didn’t intend to be a party embarrassment. As I stood there without a glass in my hand and not indulging in any non-vegetarian fare, I was not taking any moral high ground and making judgements on those who thoroughly relished their moments. I respected their choice to be and do what they believed in just like how I felt about my own beliefs and decisions. My own family members and friends drank and made merry and I have accepted them wholeheartedly. I have also seen a couple of them losing their lives to cases like ‘hyper-drunken mania’. So, can’t life situations reciprocate my earlier acts of kindness? Why should I be rejected for upholding my convictions?

As I dithered, a sudden flash of awakening struck the deepest point of my being. What guarantee do I have that I will be accepted by them just because I decide to flaunt the intoxicating solution in my hand and then clanging the glass amidst boisterous cheers? So, I decided to live my beliefs and values that I have so far been adhering to. Deciding to say no to drinks and a non-veg menu, I wore my attitude on my sleeve, to be true to myself and yet be comfortable. Instead of choosing alcohol that I was unfamiliar with, I choose kindness, courtesy, joy and laughter to bond. Presto, it worked! And I learnt my important lesson. It’s not alcohol that is needed for bonding, rather it is universal human values like kindness, love, respect, confidence and compassion which the society recognises and values!

If you are honest, kind and enjoy chatting as well as relating with people while being comfortable and confident in your own self, you have indeed arrived and been accepted! More important than sharing a drink with a fellow party attender is the kindness and joy you exude in another’s presence that matters. The fact that you welcome and rejoice his/her company is not just reassurance for the other person but is in fact the only essential for bonding and making relationships!

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Kids Definitely Lighten You!

Feeling stressed out, depressed, lazy and dull? In need of some counselling and looking for a therapist? Stop worrying and start spending time with kids especially toddlers and you will be surprised at their uncanny ability to calm your nerves and lighten you. Initially the naughty kids may give you a tough time but as you get familiar with their tricks and pranks, chances of you getting smarter and outwitting them are higher.

Kids hate self-absorbed adults. Adults immersed in their own activities oblivious to the happenings in their surroundings are loathed. Displaying a cold and stiff demeanour is a big no. Rather, children would like you to be light, enthusiastic, crazy and witty like them.

Get both your hands dirty as you play with your kids making sand castles, prepare to get drenched in the splash pool, drop your inhibitions as you dance and waltz to some music that only kids can enjoy (the ones that play incessantly on Baby TV and Disney TV channels) while you don't see a reason to get excited. Summon all your courage to exert your voice cords as you learn to sing and even begin to enjoy the rhymes your kids croon. Subsequently, you see yourself dropping the heaviness of the world and beginning to enjoy life with child-like excitement and glee. In the company of children, adults lighten up and brighten up with new vigour, wit and humour. All the more reason to be a parent!

My Profile

It is extremely difficult to describe about oneself in just about 1200 words, justifying my stance to  leave the profile box empty. Writing about oneself is akin to a write-up - well-researched, informative with substantial data and content. The profile box rejected my profile at one stroke of a brush announcing my content was too huge to be entered. Therefore, I decided to publish my profile as a blog, as it will enable my readers to know me up front and up close. Moreover, it would strengthen the bond between me and my readers if they are provided sufficient insights about the writer of the blog they take time to read.

With a Master’s Degree in Human Rights and a PG Diploma in Journalism, I have worked for corporate companies with experience in writing/editing product reviews, newsletters, technical content, newsletters, press releases for publication on websites. My educational degrees are closely linked to my interests in reading, writing, researching and in the field of social sciences. I also enjoy travelling and exploring as well as listening to music. A loving and caring mother of an adorable daughter, serving and bonding with my family everyday keeps me busy and content. For instant mood-relief, I travel, explore, meet new people and learn. They energize and motivate me like nothing else!

My exposure, travel and experience with people of diverse backgrounds during the early years of my life thanks to my dad’s job in the government that kept us transferred to different parts of India had in fact instilled in me a passion to travel, explore, learn and grow. Values of tolerance, respect and love for diversity seeped into me naturally. A self-driven person, I also cherish qualities such as integrity, empathy, compassion, ethics, responsibility and ownership.

I have been writing since my school days. My first short writing piece appeared in a local children’s magazine while I was in my 5th grade followed by a poem and a few articles in high school. College again saw me write for a newspaper and I continued to explore my creative instincts through freelancing articles for newspapers and blogging. My blog ‘A View From Home’ was started in 2010 and it consists of contents published in newspapers along with articles on serious and mundane topics ranging from politics, cinema, parenting and subjects that inspire me. The blog also features a few inspiring and motivating videos as well as posts that were written on my Facebook page with further elaboration and more information.

Having born and raised in India, I gradually acquired a deep understanding of the country right from her history, culture, spirituality, music, movies to her cities buzzing as much for their exuberance as for their idiosyncrasy. The resulting impressions reflect in the articles in my blog. Now in London, I live with my husband and a daughter savouring every bit of our life here. Therefore, it may not be surprising to find a few musings about my new home that is London and my first impressions along with experiences about living in this city of diverse ethnicities and multi-cultures as people of different nationalities and religions blend seamlessly and live in harmony. Harmony in diversity is exemplified rather remarkably in London as people go about their daily grind enthusiastically while respecting the traditions and beliefs of people that are different from theirs. While the early birds jog the city to life as they sprint across the Thames river welcoming the day and its bounties, the workaholics are excited about another day in the office brimming with opportunities, challenges, luck and growth! As for leisure enthusiasts, an another day of adventure, novelty and experience beckon them while they look forward to unwrap life’surprises.

‘A View From Home’ is a collection of my musings and reflections recorded and written at home even as I wonder about a suitable topic that would be riveting, informative, empowering, entertaining and inspiring all at the same time! It is a homemaker’s refreshing take on subjects that are both light and serious. A housewife’s perspective is the last one that is sought for, yet it is the most insightful, refreshing and thoughtful out of all, which reflects a certain depth, experience and wisdom unique only to a homemaker!

Getting Life Lessons From My Daughter

After three years of spending time with my kid, although many times I have felt the stress of raising her, exasperation at her endless pranks and guilt pangs following some strong rebukes by me, some of life's greatest and valuable lessons were learnt in the process of parenting. Credit goes to my daughter for effecting an incredible transformation in me. As I enjoy motherhood, a moment of epiphany dawns on me that all that one should do for overcoming negative habits and traits is to become a parent. How easy!

I have never been this active, never felt so alive, and certainly never so energetic and enthusiastic in all my life. My life before my daughter was born was characterised by inertia and nonchalance in everything that I did. Enter she, my lethargy was magically replaced with childlike exuberance and I discovered a definite purpose. A purpose that never existed before now shone brightly like sun's sharp rays on a bitterly cold winter afternoon. Her innocence rubs onto me like smiles that spread rapidly, her enthusiasm fills my heart with a joy never known before and her intelligence coupled with ingenious wit instils in me a vigour and energy so profound to express. I still remember the sleepless nights I endured soon after my delivery, it made me take stock of the situation followed by some lessons in sleep management. First my daughter gives me lessons in sleep management, next in stress and anger management equipping me with strong life skills thereby preparing me for the challenges of life!

Very soon I started to see myself leading a disciplined life with only about 5 to 6 hours of sleep and spending the rest of the hours in teaching her, playing with her and taking her to some of her favourite parks as well as doing the mundane household chores. As I multi-task and juggle roles with confidence, I thank my daughter for making me stronger!