As 2010 comes to an end, I realize that I have grown a little more, biologically, physically, and also, psychologically and emotionally.

And I have grown up, not only with the help of the food I eat, the experiences I have gone through but also with the help of certain people I have met in my life.

So here is my gratitude to all those people:

1. My mom: For always worrying about me. Yes, we have a lot of problems. Yes, I do think she doesn’t understand me and she doesn’t even attempt to. But overriding all these problems is the fact that she is, anyway, worried about me.

2. My Aunt: She stays in London….miles away…but still leaves an impact.  She is not really my mom’s sister, but she has always treated me like I am her daughter. She has advised me, she has listened to my incessant cribbing, she tolerates  my tears even when she comes for short visits. She has taught me to not be judgemental. She has taught me to keep my self-respect even in the direst of times. Somehow, she has always convinced me to see the right way for myself, and convinced me enough. So, here, I thank her for all that she has been doing for me.

3. My so-called best friend: She took me into the amazing world of books. She taught me how to ignore the negatives in people and appreciate their positive qualities. Yes, even though after calling me her best friend for 14 years, and ditching me when I needed her most…I thank her. I thank her for the above. And I thank her for teaching me that sometimes people let you down..and so never to expect too much from people. To make yourself confident and capable enough to stand on your own feet.

4. My real 2 closest friends: For the very obvious reason of staying put by my side in my best of times, and in my worst of times. For advising me, for laughing with me, and for crying with me.

5. All The People Who Betrayed Me: For teaching me the real lessons of life. For bringing me down, so I learnt to pick myself up once again. For telling me that the world is full of people like them and I need to keep my eyes open. For teaching me how to recognize, avoid and deal with such people.

6. My teachers from Junior school: For helping me learn, grow, get up when I fell and supporting me when things had gone wrong.

7. My uncle: For being there for me and my mom. For always lending a ear to my mom’s problems and helping us when we really needed it.

8. My mom’s closest friends: For being there for us when we needed them. For making us laugh even in the most serious moments in life. For looking after me when mom would go to work and there was nobody at home.

There is my gratitude list….it will perhaps get longer as time goes by. But it will never get shorter. That, I know.


The beauty of the past

“Memories are wonderful things, if you don’t have to deal with the past”

Something about this quote from ‘Before Sunset’ really draws  me towards it. I do agree with the first part of the line, but it is slightly difficult for me to agree with the second part. Indeed, memories are beautiful things, but are they only beautiful if you don’t have to ‘deal’ with the element of the past that they carry with them?

5 years down the line after my dad left me, I still think about him. The relationship that I had with him and the realization that I no longer share that kind of relationship with him, or anyone else anymore brings tears to my eyes. But I still cherish every moment spent with him, I cherish fondly every moment that I spent with him. His memories are still beautiful, despite the fact that every time I think about him, the bitterness of the separation and betrayal strikes back.

I think it has something to do with the fact that how one has accepted the past and if one has learnt from it in a positive way. Past memories will remain beautiful if you know that the past is now PAST and if you have moved on. I have accepted that dad has gone and he is never coming back. Till the time I had a hope he might come back, the memories were unpleasant. Now they are just memories…something I will carry with me all my life.

So, taking from my experience, I think it is important to learn from one’s mistakes. Every thing that happens has a reason. Even if we dont see it now, we will see it, perhaps 10 years later. We cant prevent a close relative dying, we can’t avoid doing mistakes, trusting the wrong people sometimes, but we have to learn that there is a reason that that particular relative left our side, we have to learn that every mistake teaches us a lesson. The important thing to do here is, remember the lesson the mistake has taught you. And everytime the memory of that past event is rekindled, remind yourself that it taught you an important virtue of life and the art of living. And that is how life is…..

So, to conclude my article, I would like to revise the dialogue and say “Memories are wonderful things, WHEN you can deal with the past “.

A Little Honour

Every year, diseases like dengue, malaria, chikungunya and other tropical monsters take a toll on Delhi. People fall ill, some die, some survive, to remember the pain.

This year, in the summer of 2010, Delhi faced the worst outbreak of dengue fever in which numerous died. Yes, probably even hundreds. The newspapers were too timid to admit the numbers. The official number of  dengue deaths  probably never went beyond 10. But I know….I know because 2 of my friends succumbed….they fought and fought..only to lose.

I believe that every soul on this earth does smothing good. Even the worst of criminals deserve a little honour when they die. In the case of my senior in college: he was probably one of the best people I knew…one of the best that I will ever know.

He was the typical sweet, helpful kind. Ever-so-bright and smiling, Kinshuk would hobble towards us every morning in college and greet us, never letting us feel like strangers in this new place. We were in the first year and he was in his second. He guided us, he inspired us. one day before the exams commenced, he texted us all to wish us good luck, and to remind us that the real tests of life have begun.

Yes, he was right. The real tests had begun. It is a test for us to remember him and his memory. To remain inspired by that bright smile and brighter personality. I dont know if I will be succesful…but I do know that I want to try my best to become like him. A friend-guide to all the poeple I know-close or distant.

Here is my little ode to him. Thank you Kinshuk for coming into my life. Wish you would have stayed longer.

I miss you…

Only So Far

I never knew you quite well,

but I knew you enough

You touched a chord,

and that is what matters

Its amazing how wonderful people can be

and heartbreaking when they leave thee.

But how far have you gone?

I wonder…

only so far as we think

for the world you have entered

spaces unknown,

where the line between hell and heaven

comes into view.

But me, I think you are still

trapped within the walls of my heart

unable to take a step out of it.

It is perhaps the body which decays

perhaps the soul which travels,

but the memories, the emotions

never go away

unless we

push them into the far corners of our minds.

But with you

this is going to be difficult,

every step I take,

everything I do,

I will try and get some inspiration from you.

So that someday I too become

and feel a person as lovely as you

So that one day people

remember me for that smile

as beautiful as yours

I will never push you out of my heart

that is not a promise

that is a binding,

a compulsion

because it is not easy

to forget someone

who leaves a mark, teaches you

and changes your life forever!

I will miss you! But how much I wonder!

After all you are in my heart

you are only so far as I think you are

A treat for the nose, is a treat for the soul

It has just stopped raining and the air is filled with a fresh, clean smell of wet earth. There is a cool, light breeze that carries the fragrance of the grass and earth with it and fills my nostrils and overpowers my senses. The first word that comes to my mind is “YUM”…

It is amazing how certain smells can really invigorate us, clear our minds of all staleness and bring a certain calmness to our frayed nerves. The smell of wet mud after the rains is one of those heavenly smells that I always look forward to after the gloomy darkness in the skies goes away.

And what better than to get a whiff of hot pakoras, the ever-popular rainy season Indian dish immediately after the rains. Or even that spicy aroma of Maggi just off the stove.

Better still, the warm and comforting vapours of ginger-basil tea- the perfect recipe for a congested nose and a bad cold.

That sense of upliftment I get when I hold a cup of hot coffee in my hands lasts for hours. MMmmmm…..that smell….my nose starts to tingle just thinking about it.

Its wonderful how certain smells evoke wonderful memories too….the smell of vanilla immediately brings back memories of walking down the streets licking on an icecream in my childhood days. The smell of ghee and gram flour invokes memories of my Grandma making me tins and tins of Besan Laddoos. The smell of wheat reminds me of my mom making me rotis for dinner and sometimes, even of that walk in the fields while on a camping trip.

The smell of chocolate takes one to another world altogether. And each person is transported to a different realm of imagination. For someone, it might just be a sweet reminder of the numerous birthday parties (same with butterscotch), for the other it might take one on a lustful journey, for me it is the perfect mood-lifter when things go wrong and nothing seems to cheer me up.

Oooh…food and memories have such a deep connection. And a pleasant one too!

What are your favourite smells? What do they remind you of? Do tell me!