Am running out of titles here!

Shantanu has another trick up his sleeve lately. Every time he kicks me or his dadda, or knocks us down with his head or slaps us, he will very sweetly come up to us while we are moaning in pain and kiss us. Then he makes those dove like eyes and smiles coyly just to add a touching effect. Seriously, from where do kids learn all these tactics is completely beyond me.


Me and hubby were watching this programme “16 and Pregnant” last night. It follows the stories of pregnant teenage girls in high school dealing with the hardships of teenage pregnancy. Most of the episodes end with the girl realising that it was wrong decision to get pregnant and that she should have waited until she was independent and mature. In one of the episodes we watches yesterday, the teen mother said something to this effect, “Sigh, I don’t think I am ready for any of this.” Taking cue, me and hubby also said collectively, “Neither were we, sigh!” I went ahead and said that I don’t think I was even ready to get married, I wish I had waited or I wish I hadn’t got married at all. Hubby said, “me neither.” Then we sighed some more. I said to no one in particular that it would have been great to just have a job and go out with friends and he said, yea and then maybe we could have just lived together, no strings attached! It would have been better yet! 🙂

…and I said, “O”

Such is the deeply intellectual conversation we have!

The other woman

I have been meaning to write this post for quite some time now and this Ganpati festival gives me the perfect opportunity. Yes dear readers, I am one of those who have to deal with the other woman in their lives. Now before you go berserk, let me tell you that by the other woman, I mean my mother-in-law (MIL). There comes a time when a wife realises that she’s not the only woman in her husband’s life, he also has a mother.

What makes me think of her, you ask. Well just about everything. To start with, hubby has been in love with her since he was born and she is the focal point around which our household revolves. So what’s new? Isn’t that the case with every other family? But she is different.

If you look at her, you might notice only a thin person with a frail body who is perhaps subjected to malnutrition and arduous work. That’s true but with a twist. Her physical persona might give you the impression that she is fragile and weak but on the inside she is just as strong. It amazes me to see the amount of work that she can put into a single day. Not only does she cook a variety of dishes a day (in the morning as well as evening) but she also cooks them to perfection. She is a perfectionist. I have developed a taste to many a dishes all due to her delicious cooking. She has told me many a times that she doesn’t like to cook but that doesn’t stop her from going to the kitchen every morning. I guess I mimic most of her cooking methods and processes.

Now before a certain lady in Mira Road starts raising her eyebrows, let me assure you that you are my hallmark for cooking and almost all other things but my MIL comes so close to it that I cannot help but appreciate. Observing the MIL’s cooking is like watching Sachin Tendulkar bat. It appears to be very easy but when you actually try it yourself, it’s very difficult specially the puranpolis and kanavale. You got to see it to believe it. I haven’t seen her complain about cooking, well maybe just this time. 🙂

She has been a stay at home mom, a home-maker from the time hubby was a small child but her problem solving skills are amazing. She isn’t afraid to speak her mind. She is shrewd but wise. She has a solution to your every problem. She has a remarkably adroit memory and can so easily remember where things are kept around the house. She is quick as a wink, fast as a hurricane in the kitchen, serene and calm while performing her daily pooja. She may appear to be flustered and excitable when presented with a problem but underneath she is unperturbed. She believes in god with a passion but doesn’t compel others to follow suit. Her infectious laughter and approachable nature make her a very pleasing personality.

So why am I thinking so much about her today? It’s festive time in India and that too Ganpati. Here, so far away from the family I am missing the festive mood. The house looks like a bachelor’s pad – everything scattered. Back home, I know the house would be clean, the plants watered, the gods adorned with flowers and ornaments – all the MIL’s doing. Her idiosyncrasies about cleanliness and the poise that she exhibits during such times has a celestial charm to it.

That is what I am missing.

The day I had a heart attack

Image Courtesy:

I obviously survived it since am here to tell the tale.

You somehow know it when the time comes. It happened yesterday afternoon. After two weeks of having “me time” while kiddo slept, yesterday I finally gave in to the temptation and decided to nap with my son. Loaded with an entire week’s tiredness, I fell into deep slumber the moment my head hit the bedpost pillow.

It must be after about an hour’s sleep that I felt heaviness in my chest. I dismissed it from my mind and went on dreaming about paani puris and vada paavs that I am missing here. But the pressure only kept increasing. 

Suddenly I found it hard to breathe. I started sweating in my sleep. I found it hard to wake up maybe due to excessive hogging. Alarm bells sounded in my head and I wondered how would I contact my husband and who would take care of the kiddo till that time.

I had also become immobile. I was not able to shift to my side, nor raise my hands. Was it a paralysis attack? I shuddered in my sleep.

When I got a tight slap across my right cheek I let out a contended sigh imagining it must be the emergency medical team who had come to my rescue miraculously. Afterall it’s UK, must take much less time to travel than in Mumbai. Someone from the team must have slapped me wake me up. They must be using some emergency medical procedures on me to restore circulation of oxygen and blood to my system.

I would be alright again in some time. I sent up a silent prayer. Somehow I couldn’t hear any commotion. Isn’t there like a whole big team coming across in such situations?

Only after the second resounding slap across my right cheek again, did I open my eyes to see Shantanu sitting on my chest with his hand raised to slap me again. 🙂

Of Bias and Perception

“We don’t gel together”, I taunted my husband the other day.
“Okay!”, pat came the reply.
“You don’t try to understand me, you don’t realise when am serious and when am not. That’s my pain.” I told him in mock anger.
“I really do and I try hard. Some things are best left unsaid. You need to understand that”, said the husband.


What does it really mean to understand someone? Does it depend on how we communicate with them or does it depend on their perception of our-self? Our actions, words and behaviour are interpreted differently by different people. But how is it that they truly understand what we mean to say? Some people do not have a problem with this. They are the heart of their group and everyone wants to be with them. Whereas others are boycotted and everyone thinks negatively about them. How can people collectively feel the same about someone. Who is it that is perceiving the other in a wrong way?

Can we control how people will perceive us every time we communicate with them? It is only about how we communicate? No, it also depends on our body language, how open and frank we are. It most importantly depends on our past experiences and our attitude. A person with a positive attitude will take things positively and tend to ignore the bad stuff or negative vibes. A pessimist will see things in black and find negative things in others and in every situation. This is the basis for making or breaking relationships.


We also tend to have a cognitive bias. Cognitive bias is the distortion in the way we perceive things and it is almost always negative. While in personal relationships it is the emotional bias that we have against another person. We highlight the negative things in a person and tend to ignore the positive things. This creates a negative image of that person in our mind. Then no matter what the other person does, we see it from negative perspective.

It is not possible to have a blank and open mind every time while talking with others. It is important to identify this problem in the relationship and work towards solving it. It may not always be that the other person is perceiving us wrongly. It may also be because he or she has had bad experiences in the past in the given situation. If these perception and communication problems are not solved or nipped in their bud, then the relationship will get to the level where each is misunderstanding the other and there is no real communication taking place. This leads to ego hassles, broken or no communication and torn relationships.

Cognitive Hazard

In such a case it is easier to focus the negative attention on the person rather than on the problem or issue at hand. We are inclined to attach the behavioural attribute of a person to the person himself and start attacking the person. Whereas the behaviour and the person are different. A person has different behaviours. So we should try to detach a wrong behaviour from a person.
We need to see things rationally instead of having a selective perception – our tendency to see only what we want to see and not what is actually out there.

We are happy when people understand us easily with no effort from our side. But what happens when they start doubting and invalidating us? That is the time we start to analyse the relationship and start building a strong base with trust, love and honesty.

Life without fish is no life

I was raised in a family where the male members didn’t enter the kitchen or it was limited to making tea or having a glass of water. The grocery items’ shopping also was divided between my mom and dad. It was not that my father or uncles didn’t like to help out or anything. It was just that cooking and shopping for food items was considered quintessentially a woman’s affair and the men in the family were generally disinterested or even indifferent to what went on in the kitchen.

So, after marriage, it came as a delightful surprise to run into my father-in-law in the kitchen on a regular basis. Here, I realised that cooking was a family affair, quite literally. Right from deciding what to cook and what to buy, everyone discussed vehemently. But it was distinctly steered by my father-in-law. You see, he is a foodie; especially when it comes fish.

The fish marketEvery Sunday morning it’s his chore to visit the fish market to buy our weekly stock of fish. I wouldn’t call it so much of a chore for him, am sure he feels like a child in a candy store while visiting the market. He will almost buy everything that he finds fresh and that satisfies his taste buds. But at times, he may not buy everything, he loves simply looking at all the fresh fish, peering at the new arrivals and generally watching who buys what and ohh, how can I forget the bargaining with the fishwahllis.

He will then come home with a radiant face and shining eyes, beaming triumphantly while carrying his trophies. It isn’t a smooth ride though, until the fish is cooked. Looking at the huge bags in his hands, my mother-in-law grimaces and what then follows is a long verbal debate (read argument, battle etc. etc.) about how this huge quantity of fish will be consumed over the week and whether anything will go waste. It is always the father-in-law convincing the mother-in-law that the quantity isn’t much and the ravenous family with gulp it down in no time. [We, no doubt hog it like a food deprived family but then there is only so much one can eat.] Poor mother-in-law is then at wits end to make us all eat it before it spoils and loses its flavour. This routine continues week after week on every Sunday. Each knows the other and neither gives in and so it continues.


The fun and frolic doesn’t end here. My father-in-law will then sit down to cut and clean the fish, the entire time explaining majestically, his conversations with the fishwahllis and how he bargained. Applying spices and other masala to the fish is another of his favourite things to do. And he is not the one to get satisfied by letting others do it. Until he applies it himself and sees to it that it is done in a satisfactory manner, he won’t budge. You will see the shine on his face, the spring in his step and the immense pleasure that he gets from doing this act.

Eating the fish then (read savoring and relishing) is only an aftermath. This love for fish, not only the eating part but everything that precedes runs in the entire family of the in-laws.

Govern a family as you would cook a small fish – very gently.
So says a Chinese proverb. What it means is handle gently and never overdo it. My father-in-law has mastered the art at both, quite literally. But come to think of it, he would rather handle the fish than the family. 😛

On Relationships

Some long time back, I was talking with my best friend from school over the phone. Soon after the hi-hellos, we fell back to our routine conversations about life in general and started updating each other about the latest happenings. She was going through her last couple of months of pregnancy and I was preparing myself for marriage. Both of us being highly emotional at this point, naturally, the conversation turned to topics like, love, trust, honesty, and emotions. She then made a statement that struck me. She said, “I think trust and love are just illusions.” I asked her, “Why do you say that?” She said, “Yea, don’t you think? You say you trust someone and believe in them. But just when they hurt you, you feel they don’t care enough and they don’t bother. Then where is that trust that you had in them? So, trust is an illusion.”  Hmmm, now that got me thinking.

Why does it so happen? At one moment you are so believing and trusting in someone and then one false move and you put that person into your black list. Why is it so, that we find it easy to believe the negative and hard to put faith in the positive? We find it very difficult to convince ourselves that the picture that is presented to us is fishy. We come up with our own negative theory and look at the whole picture with suspicion and try to fit it into our own negative theory. 

Well, this is just one theory. This may not be the case with everyone you meet, but for me, few people that I came across, did fall into this vicious cycle of my mind. Once this cycle starts, it is very difficult to break it and come out of it. Even if you try it once, giving the person the benefit of doubt and bang he or she comes back and hurts you more. And then it becomes difficult to see any positive side of that person anymore. This is how you interpret a person build up an image about him.

Few days back, I was watching a programme on National Geographic channel. It was about how men and women choose their life partners. The researcher said that women built relationships based on their memories. Most of the times, we girls just pick up the phone and narrate an entire situation to someone and then say, that is what he or she did and so that is how it must be. I think this is especially true with how women build relationships. We replay episodes or situations in our mind and analyse how each person made us “feel” during that entire experience. That memory or that feel stays in our mind and a particular part of the incidence “stays” with us. So then the next time you interact with that person, you get back that particular feeling instantly and it either puts you on guard or relaxes you depending on that sentiment.

This has happened with me many times, what about you?

Peace of mind

The problem with displaying your anger every time something upsets you is that nobody taked you seriously after a certain number of times, no matter how genuine the reason for outburst maybe. People start thinking that you get upset every now and then for some reason which is silly, stupid or not worth giving thought for. But that is for them. Something which might be of utter importance to you, might be negligent for them. If such a thing happens repeatedly then you are considered a temperamental person who loses his/her cool for no reason at all. Soon everyone stops bothering to ask why you are angry for.

This has been happening quite often with me lately. I canot keep my calm and am put off the very moment something disrupts my way of thinking. I do not have the patience to put things down calmly and explain to the other person, the reason for my behaviour.

Cannot go into more details otherwise the post will become too personal. This post is just to vent my frustration and feel calm!

The party

I had mentioned about this party in a previous post. Now here’s an elaborate version. I wasn’t thinking much about the party as I was disappointed that I wouldn’t get to meet my friends (whom I would have met after a really long time, more than a year or so).  However, I thought since there is no way that am going to meet with my friends, I might as well try and enjoy this party. On Saturday, I decided upon with sari to wear with matching accessories, jewellery and all that.

Sunday, started on a gloomy note, with rain pouring down and leaving the roads dirty with muddy water. I settled on wearing a salwar suit, as my new sari would no doubt be spoilt. I always had a feeling that I suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) as the monsoons made me feel sad, lonely, with winter and spring making me the happiest. Winters always made sleepy most of the time. Maybe it was because of the cold weather. Once, when I was all alone in the house and wasn’t waking up after repeated ringing of bells and telephone calls, my uncle had thrown water into the bedroom through a garden watering pipe to wake me up. Aaarrrhhh…but that’s another story. I digress.

So we were all ready to go to the venue. It was a birthday party of one of my husband’s niece. The entire family was invited. We must be around 150 odd people. The hall was well decorated with doll paintings on the walls, blue and red balloons sticking out from the roofs and along the pillars, and the bright lights and AC (yea, you need it even when it rains) making the hall very pleasant as against the dull climate outside. We wished the birthday girl and mingled with everyone around before taking comfortable seats and sticking to it.

A DJ was arranged. Though I do not have much experience being at discos and DJ parties, I can say this one was very good. The songs, the bass, the volume level, they were all in the right mode at the right level. The songs could definitely not be categorised as children’s songs, the children were still dancing to its tunes. Soon the games started. They were good ones including song and dance, couples (parent and child of course) and some group games.

Mostly the games were for kids and their parents. But soon even the elders were joining them in this gala song and dance and games. At one side, sat a man drawing tattoos on kids’ hands, face, cheeks, and where not. One by one each kid lined up for tattoos and were soon flaunting them to other kids. They were having the best time in the world. Then a huge cake was brought by the waiters and all family and friends gathered around the baby to cut it, all the while singing Happy Birthday of course!
Everyone then dispersed and sat on their chairs making way for the juggler, who came on one cycle tyre, to perform his tricks with rings, balls and sticks. That performance lasted for not less than half an hour. I had heard many stories from my husband that the people in his family really freak out when it comes to enjoying at parties. But this time, I had a live example in front of me. Apart from the kids, the elders were soon losing themselves in the music and dancing. My FIL and MIL also danced and they gave one funky performance at that. Everyone had lost their inhibitions and were dancing and twisting in their own sweet way without a care.

After a considerable amount of time, the group again dispersed, (I think they all were a bit tired physically but were still in high spirits). It so happened that just my two sisters-in-law and I were there on the dance floor at that time. The DJ had run out of songs, I think, and was playing some boring numbers or fillers. Finally, the song Kajara re.. started and the three of us started dancing.

My one sister-in-law has been a professional at dancing and all in the family are aware of her dancing feats. I had never danced in front of my in-laws, though they knew that I had learned dance. Let’s just say, I was inspired with the people around and gave it a shot. Soon, there were three Aishwaryas dancing in their own fashion and method. Slowly everybody sat down around us and watched. We had an audience. People were clapping, there was some major cheering, shouts, whistles, photo clicks and video shoots.

That was very exhausting and refreshing at the same time and it was an experience. What struck me most was the fact that everyone, elders and children had jelled together so well that it was difficult to make out which person belonged to which family. It looked like a huge bunch of people merrily dancing together.

Poetic justice

I am very happy today. No, it’s different from the normal happy state that one usually is in. This is nothing like that. No, am not happy in the usual sense of the term. I am, shall we say, content? or maybe peaceful with everything that I believe in and everything that I have faith in. What’s my reason for being so content and gay?

Well, the incident took place a week ago, right after the day I landed back in Mumbai. In my excitement at returning back, I had not so much as even settled down and unpacked when God threw this delightful surprise at me. Thank you God for listening to all my silent prayers in my darkest hours and the ones when I was happy too. Thank you for answering, for showing your justice prevails.

I am not going to share the actual incident as to what really happened that made me so happy. Let’s just say it involves a few unpleasant events and truths. Let me try to explain without going into the intricate details. A certain individual or individuals had been really nasty, grossly unjust and had totally wronged yours truly a long time ago. It was not a single event, but an accumulation of events even later until the very recent past. One, being a child, thus struck, had been incapable of standing up for Oneself and resisting and holding up against such malice. Over the period, One went through repressed anger, hurt, revenge and eventually turned apathetic towards the individuals. Though, they managed to hurt One through some pretence or the other. However, one managed to sail through, though not unhurt.

Anyhow, over a long period of time now, One had grown indifferent and had not bothered to interfere in their matters thus ensuring One’s peace of mind. Until that fateful day when One was destined to watch the fate of the individuals change for the worse. It was divine providence that One had to witness the outcome unfold in front of One’s eyes, in fact lead them to it. One watched as the consequences lay out and couldn’t help but feel sorry for the dismal dispiriting of the individual’s feelings. But One couldn’t do anything about it.

For once, it was not One’s fault that this had befallen them. One was far away, way out of it all. It was not One’s doing. Oh, but for it to happen in the presence of One. One was at first sorry that this had to happen to them. One even felt a bit sad and sent a silent prayer that let this not happen to anyone else. But then one started feeling glad. One started feeling One had triumphed. One was vindicated. The ones who had done injustice to One were now on the receiving end.

This was God’s justice. One had started gloating over the misery of the individuals. And just then One realised that this isn’t right, to find pleasure in the wretchedness of others. One then analysed into the depth’s of One’s heart. What was it that One was really feeling? Was One really happy to see the plight of these individuals? No, One wasn’t feeling glee at all. It was just the happiness that justice was finally served. What goes around comes around. Uparwale ke ghar der hai andher nahi hai. One rejoiced in the reverence of the Supreme Power of righting the one wronged.


Sometime in the past:

Me: I can’t think about a right solution to this.

My best friend: It’s because you haven’t let your mind think before. You always want someone to provide you with ready-made solutions which you only wish to implement. And if that goes wrong; which is quite possible, since the other person isn’t in your place, then you crib.

Me: I know, but I don’t think I can do this.

My best friend: You think so because you haven’t tried it before. Be independent. You cannot keep clinging to people always!

I have always been way too emotionally dependent on people. When I am emotionally down or when some incident charges me emotionally or when am angry, hurt and upset, all I can think of is to confide everything to my friend/relative or loved one. These people need not be close to me. I rarely weigh the consequences of disclosing that information to that person at the moment. It never occurs to me. I just cling to someone. It’s a weakness that lately my best friend brought to my notice. I visualise myself as powerless, weak, vulnerable and helpless soul incapable of redeeming myself.

I fail miserably to evoke my inner strength. I look around for help and support instead of having faith in myself. Opening my heart to someone makes me comfortable for some time. It is temporary. But then that is never the solution. What can others do about my misery? It is me indeed who has to find the way out. Seeking external comfort makes me weak as I feel less confident about myself.

I remember the times, though few, when I didn’t confide into anyone and resolved matters myself. The decisions made then were more confident, more surer and most apt. Lately, I have been trying solitude and working to sort out my own troubles. I sure do feel better. There is no confusion in the mind. The answers come late, but they do come. It will take a while before I accustom myself to this new way of processing my thoughts. I am the master of my thoughts. I own them. They are no one else’s ideas. Though this way is difficult, it is more original, more intuitive,