2015 – The Year It Was

As I sip on the black coffee, rocking back on my heels, on the swing I’m on, in my mind, I’m suddenly blinded by this epiphany that this is the last black coffee of the year 2015 that I’m sipping on. And then I chide myself, muttering what’s the big deal, for I’ll be back here once again, tomorrow & hence that’s nothing to even think about, in the very first place. But the mind, as always, runs riot & goes back to the first day of the year 2015, which is breathing its last, to last just one-two hours more, before it slips away to oblivion. And I’m sharing my #TalesOf2015 with BlogAdda as well.

 

The year had started on special note, no doubt. I have had the first post-midnight New Year call, from none other than my best friend & of course, I was elated beyond anything. Something to look back upon with nostalgia, now that he’s settled back in his life and well, let’s just say, it’d be a real surprise now if I even occur to his mind to be one of the people to be call. Not that I’m sad, because I’m real happy for him. The boy needed this and he got it. Period. Moreover, he and his friends had made my birthday damn special as well (of course, not to forget the fact that it was AFTER I had made his birthday special). Ah, such days. Excellent fodder for nostalgia.

Speaking of my birthday, I got the biggest gift of my life, when this person I was destined to be sister of, reciprocated my sisterly feelings & accepted to be my brother. ‘Twas the biggest gift of my life, considering I’ve always ached for a brother, since god-knows-when, in the lack of having a brother with blood relations. I can’t even express how I marvel at times, how the heck did I even land up being his sister & still have to pinch myself, only to be reminded of the day when it had actually happened (officially, that is), after I tied the rakhi. He is the person with whom I’ve shared my heart & soul with, who knows my deepest fears, my weaknesses & yet I don’t feel vulnerable or feel cowed by the very fact. The person who has shown me a whole different world, has changed me in & out (for better), has damn well made me cry at times as well, something I rarely do, even on my birthday! I can be at my childish best with him & be the world-wise that I am, simultaneously. He can make me happy & sad, like the flick of his fingers, which should make me mortified, right? But I ain’t! Because long long time ago, I’ve dreamt of these days, the days when I shall be loved in this own frugal way of my brother and I will love my brother in my own soul-stirring way. And I gotta stop here, considering I can write pages on him and yet not be done with him. So here’s to you, Mr. Refused-To-Be-Named. I love you & I’ll continue loving you, till the end of my life. You’re the best thing to happen to me and I’ll look back on all the moments I spent with you when you move away from here.

That epic moment when the brother who swore he'd never take selfies ever, was cornered to take one. Sister Power!

That epic moment when the brother who swore he’d never take selfies ever, was cornered to take one. Sister Power!

Speaking of brothers, there’s another little thing that happen to me & quite unexpectedly at that. What started off as a mere concern on part of me for this little brother (not physically… Oops!), turned into a full-fledged one, when he trumped me one fine day, on asking me to be his big sister. And since then, I’ve been exploiting him, yes literally. From hijacking his phone now & often to expecting him to meet my every demands, to having long talks to doing damn well everything a little brother & a big sister does, our relationship has become strong & I hope it forever remains this strong. (I should feel irritated by the fact my family finds him more adorable than me, but then he is actually cute, so!)

Perfectly shows how doting I am, on him.

Perfectly shows how doting I am, on him.

As a matter of fact, two other people also need to be mentioned, in this gratitude list of mine. See the lovely woman in the picture below? She’s the one, who had left me crying (I almost did, trust me), while she got shifted to another city  due to work. And they say it right, that distance makes you realise how much you love a person & love her I do, head-over-heels, since when I don’t even remember. All I know is, she is rightly called as my ‘didibhai’, a term close to my heart & not even accorded to my blood sisters. Today, I confess, dear lady, if I wouldn’t have been a babe, I’d have married you in a heartbeat, for I love you that much. Stay always this lovely.
And to the person who shares the frame, thank you for all this. You started it all, some 2 years ago, and it all sort of kicked off, because of you. I owe to you for all of this, for the social life of mine & way more.

The dude and the lady. With Me, of course.

The dude and the lady. With Me, of course.

Speaking of the major events, 2015 has been a good year for me, as far as hobbies are concerned. Reading story books, crafts-making, photography… Which reminds me, of the next best thing that happened to me this year. This little, close-knit photographers’ group that I made this year. Taking pride of the fact that I’m the only girl of the 7 member squad, they have seen my weirdo-best. They have been through my moods (even  going to the extent of threatening to add me minute to minute, in case of an  event I happen to leave the group. Which, in fact, is proven. Also, frustrating given that everyone in the group has been made an admin, except Me. Which also makes it cute, but I of course, don’t admit for obvious reasons). In short, they have made me live again, keeping me comfortable to being my honest-and-blunt self, to belonging true to the boyish character that I am of & they supporting me in whatever I am. I can’t thank you all enough. I cannot love you all enough. I cannot tell you all enough how much of a solace you all have been, especially in the bleakness I lead my life in. Thank you. Thank you. And even more thank you.

The Gang.

The Gang.

Academically, well I’m into Masters now & I guess, it’s my call to seriously study now, something I haven’t done ever. But then, it’s not my fault that the story books tempt me like that seductive mistress, unlike academic books which is like this boring, tedious, cranky wife. Sigh! Achievements… Well many. I cracked my first job interviews, gave up on a lucrative job offer in exchange of higher education and almost made it to being an Airforce Officer, till the time destiny thought I should take a break & my dreams as of now remain unfulfilled.

Now the resolutions part. Well, I got a surprise in there & I swear, I myself am surprised as well, for there’s been no year that I haven’t got a single resolution. Yes, you read that right. I got no resolutions this coming year, because I intend to live it. Just be the way I am & crank it up further by doing everything it takes, to make me gasp out of lack of breath & till my muscles scream for a break. I’ll continue falling in love, getting heart-broken & then love some more. Because this world could do with some loving & I especially got no complaints with getting heart-broken, given that, they give me my precious poems. Sounds shrewd? Can’t help! In fact, 2015 has been real kind to me, as far as writing poems are concerned. I’ll continue being everything I am and be some more. I’m sure I’m rambling, but then, that’s because I’m content with myself. Happy with the one I see in the mirror. Content and happy, but not satisfied enough to lay back. Nope, not happening that.

As an ending note, just a few days ago, my phone got a cerebral attack & gave me a coronary, when I found all my writings, chat histories, wiped off, after doing the factory reset which I was forced to. I’m proud that I’ve been holding my composure quite well, as if my life hadn’t just been washed & grinded & hung over. Why? Because I took it up as a positive note. To ring in the new year on a clean slate. To have nothing left behind me. To have nothing to cage me in.

Happy New Year, everyone. Let’s live our life, once more.

 

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Crafts… Anyone?

(I am participating in the ‘Ready For Rewards’ activity for Rewardme in association with BlogAdda.)

For starters, I’ll make a confession. In all my school life, I have been horrible (with a capital H) in crafts. I never managed to do them and I used to reap grades in ’em only because my family, especially my parents & my siblings had saved my reputation of the topper being a failure in crafts. It had saved the grades too. So imagine my surprise and shock when I discovered my talent in crafts years up the lane, now that I couldn’t earn those grades on my own. Gah! Life, I tell you!
Because of this activity ‘Ready for Rewards’ on part of BlogAdda, I’d surfed through the website RewardMe and I literally had to stop myself from putting the phone and rushing right away to create some crafts. There have been some brilliant articles in the section ‘Crafts‘. Do have a look at it.

I think as part of hobbies, everyone who thinks they can or cannot make things, should have a go at crafts. Firstly, it tests your patience. No matter how many times you fail at some difficult crafts (like origami) and you will fail because as easy crafts might look, let me tell you from first-hand experience, that serves just as a disguise. Crafts keep getting harder and harder and you gotta keep going at it. Till you have clinched it. As they say, the fruits of patience are often sweeter more.
Secondly, it shows off your own unique perspective of looking at the ordinary things, giving them a new meaning. When you’re able to do that, it kind of gives a new confidence in yourself. In being able to give your own meaning, in creating your own piece of work, the joy and happiness that comes with it, one just have to feel it.
Thirdly, it is so much fun to work with crafting materials. It is almost like playing, except that here you can create amazing stuffs and show them off to your friends and relatives. Most importantly, you can look at them back in wonder, many years down the lane. (I know I will, with wet eyes. *sniff sniff*)

 
So, long story short: Give crafts a try, at least once in your life. I bet you’d be addicted to it. Like I am. Though if you’re a night owl, then forget about your sleep, like me. But the glitter in your eyes and the satisfaction on holding your own work will put your dark circles to shame any day. Worth it, as they say. I say the same.

Me-Time, Any-time!

(I am participating in the ‘Ready For Rewards’ activity for Rewardme in association with BlogAdda.)

I read this article on the importance of me-time for a couple in the section of Family Life on the website RewardMe, especially if they’ve kids or a highly-strenuous job. While the article was very good (and the reason behind this specific post that you’re currently reading), however I’m of the view that not just for couples, but in general, it is really important for every individual to have at least some me-time slot in their otherwise busy lives.

Here’s why I think so:
1. Often in the busyness of our lives, we lose the connection with ourselves. Especially people who are stuck with boring jobs or which do not do justice to what they can actually do (which might be lot more), for them, me-time is really important. To remind themselves who they actually are and not lose sight of their talents.
2. Speaking of talents, all of us have or had, at some point of our lives, some hobbies which in course of time, have been long forgotten. Mostly due to lack of time (and I even have people around me, the homes of whom, are used only for sleeping at night by them, for a mere 4-5 hours) and consequently lack of energy to do anything more other than the job which saps their entire energy. As a result, these hobbies die a slow, gradual death. A shame, really.
3. Me-time slot, however small it can be accommodated, should be, for the fact that it really revitalizes ourselves with renewed vigour & energy. Let’s face it, doing something that makes us feel nice and not enforced upon us (like something called job does) can turn on the mood like anything.

 

So, how can this me-time slot be allotted and by what?
1. Spend some time alone. That’s the quintessential theme of me-time. Spend sometime away from the chaos and the hectic schedule of your lives. Not with your friends or your family. Just you and yourself. You’ll see the time spent is worth it.
2. Reviving hobbies are a brilliant way of spending me-time. Gardening, writing, exploring new places, stamp collection, drawing, painting, crafts, you name it and there are as many hobbies as we can make.
3. The important thing being lack of energy even if some time can be allocated, in that case, there’s only one mantra: You do it because you want to do it. Not because you have to.
Me-time slot in our lives are worth the minute and energy spent of our lives. Live ’em.

ZUMBA – THE CRAZE

(I am participating in the ‘Ready For Rewards’ activity for Rewardme in association with BlogAdda.)

BlogAdda has in the past made me visit several blogs, sometimes for inspiration and sometimes out of admiration for the same. Because of the ‘Ready for Rewards’ activity of BlogAdda, I’d to surf through the articles of the website ‘RewardMe’ and as a result, ended up finding some pretty good articles to read through. 

No, I wouldn’t call myself a fit person. That would be a very gross lie and I’ll end up being ashamed of myself. I just happen to take a little bit of walk everyday, take the oath of keeping up my exercises (let me tell you, I never have been able to do justice to that vow of mine) and remind myself not to have forbidden pleasures like chocolates (yet end up having something related to chocolates when visiting a cafe/restaurant). Long story short: I’m not at all fit.

Now some people can or do dance, some people cannot or do not. Some people are fit, some people are, well, not so-fit (like me). What if there is some kind of a combination of these two categories of people and out comes an exciting form? Well, the answer is Zumba. You’ll find the article in this link: Zumba. (It is recommended for one to go through the article first before venturing ahead into my article.)
I’ve always been interested about this dance form. Unlike other dance forms, these not only serves as a basic dance form, but burns your calories in an amazing way. It has been heard from many people, who actually do zumba and are much into it, to make you sweat from and work those places of your body which you didn’t even know existed! Till the day you’re initiated into Zumba, that is. Zumba definitely does bring a new kind of a re-discovery of one’s own body, not to forget, burn those extra calories-translated-into-more-adipose-tissues.
More so, when it provides you a kind of workout where you not only get to work yourself hard but also get to learn exotic dance moves, I don’t think it needs to serve anything more as a stealer for the people! Often compared with Salsa, which is primarily a dance form, I don’t think people like me, who just can’t dance, can ever attempt a pro Salsa. But Zumba, in all probability, maybe. Given that there are different levels of the fitness program (there are 8, according to the article), it also goes on to suit the demands of various age groups. A win-win situation, eh?
However, staying in Calcutta, I find it disappointing that there are so few studios that offer zumba as a fitness programs. In fact, on searching, I found just 2-3 dance/fitness studios who offer Zumba, out of which, almost all the 3 are quite far away from my place. Calcutta really needs to up its ante when it comes to bringing in innovative fitness programs.
I hope the article perks up the interest of the fitness trainees and health-loving people. If you want, there are several other articles up there on the ‘Family Life‘ section of the website RewardMe. Do have a read.

THE INTRIGUING ORIGAMI

(I am participating in the ‘Ready For Rewards’ activity for Rewardme in association with BlogAdda.)

BlogAdda has in the past made me visit several blogs, sometimes for inspiration and sometimes out of admiration for the same. Because of the ‘Ready for Rewards’ activity of BlogAdda, I’d to surf through the articles of the website ‘RewardMe’ and as a result, ended up finding some pretty good articles to read through.
Going through the crafts section was a very natural move and the first place to take recourse to, for Me, given that I’m a crafts-lover. I specifically found this article on Origami to be very informative,  dwelling on one of the most innovative and interesting ways to get initiated into crafts. The link to the afore-mentioned article on Origami can be found in this link: Origami. (It is recommended that one goes through the article first, before venturing ahead to my article.)

I would, however, like to go on to the extent of saying that Origami however intriguing, might also not be the correct first step towards crafts as it needs a lot of patience and genuine interest to begin and most importantly, keep up with. Often people make the very common mistake of wanting to start crafts by some so-called exotic and reputed craft and end up leaving crafts altogether getting disheartened after the initial failures. For people who want to have a proper initiation into crafts, I’d like ’em to start with simple, easy techniques where they can work with cut & glue, which technically aren’t a part of origami.
Origami is a very beautiful craft and if one gets to actually learn to master it, will never be bored when left with just a paper to play with. Though the article does give a very basic idea about Origami, enough to interest a person, the article would have been a lot more exciting if there was one example of any particular origami theme shown how to be created. That would have been an excellent end to an otherwise good article. I, personally, would have loved trying it out and showing it here.
Chastise me if you will, but being a Grammar Nazi (that’s the word for people who’ve the nose for impeccable spellings and grammars), I’d like to point out that there are one or two spelling mistakes, yes, but nevertheless, a sore sight for the eyes. I otherwise have no other objections and would very much be thankful to the writer of the article for bringing in some attention to Origami.
You’ll find similar brilliant articles on the ‘Crafts‘ section of the website RewardMe. Do have a read.

 

MOMENT OF EUPHORIA

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(This father’s day, I am expressing my love towards my dad by participating in the #HugYourDad activity at BlogAdda in association with Vicks.  Do check out the awesome Father’s Day video as well:

Tugged at your heart strings, didn’t it? )

 

Remember those times when your father took you on his travels, when you were just his knee-high, clutching his small finger, looking so wide-eyed at the big world and at Him, who was nothing less than a superhero to you? I do. Very vividly, in fact. My father, or to be henceforth mentioned as ‘Baba’ (because father feels too formal a term to have him called as), was an explorer of new places. Out of all his three daughters, I was the youngest and always the most enthusiastic and ever-willing to join him in his travails. For Me, He was a superhero. One who knew every nook and corner of my city, an encyclopedia of information. Needless to say, I got the exploring gene from him.
It was during the winter of 2014 that I started exploring new places on my own. Despite being a traditional family, both my parents have been liberal in not coming in the way of my pursuits, of which I’ve been glad over and over again. I decided to start my wanderlust with a trip to Beth Al Synagogue, a Jewish synagogue in Calcutta, which has always been a source of my curiosity. The trip had been immensely successful and had went on to give a huge impetus to my further exploring plans. Parents had been overjoyed as well, though I suspect it was probably because they were relieved that I didn’t get lost!
Next destination was Magen David Synagogue, the largest synagogue in Calcutta. However, the surprise came with the decision of Baba to accompany me. His reason had been to see at least one synagogue as he had no general idea of nor seen any synagogues in his life. (I very strongly suspect even now that probably it was the work of my mom to force him to accompany me and check as to where I actually went!) Nonchalantly I’d shrugged and off we went.
Because he was an explorer himself, the tendency to show around directions to any particular destination becomes overwhelming. Ditto with him, so much so that I’d to pull him by his hand and ask him to just trust me for this one time and let me lead him. I guess it was his paternal instincts ruling, perhaps not wanting to believe that his young child has indeed come of age. That it was his turn to be led rather than lead. Because I was a good explorer myself and knew my way, we reached Magen David without a hitch.
As mentioned before, Baba has never been to any synagogue before (in fact, he claimed to hear the word for the first time and the existence of such institutions in Calcutta) and thus came with an open mind palate to fill in. As any synagogue can blow one common man’s mind and the fact that Magen David was in itself majestic, Baba suddenly became silent, perhaps self-conscious and let the guide fill us in all the details. The overall trip being a massive success yet again and with a very impressed Baba by my side, we left for our home, a journey which witnessed a moment, leaving an imprint on me to make me proud of, for perhaps my whole life.

That historic moment when the father-daughter explorer duo get snapped.

That historic moment when the father-daughter explorer duo get snapped.

The road which we took to for coming back, was extremely crowded and one has to walk really fast, with one behind the other. I was the one at front, Baba at the back. We’d been on silent mode and were walking, when suddenly I felt Baba putting his hand around my waist, as a gesture of side-hugging me. Taken totally by surprise, I slowed down (thankfully, that stretch was quite empty) and looked at him quizzically. Little did I know that the words he’d say would turn a huge milestone of my life. I remember the words verbatim being said, “Now I’ve become old, you know, Anne. It is now my turn to be led by you, my little explorer who has so grown up to show me places that I didn’t even hear of! Now that I’ve experienced it first-hand, I can sit back peacefully and clutch your hands to travel the world. Quite a reversal of roles, eh?”, he’d laughed. The look on his face was that of immense pride. For Me.
I’d been rendered speechless. Goosebumps had run all over my hands, which had suddenly become cold even in that scorching heat. Because I hadn’t been expecting such a reaction for all the life of mine, I just didn’t know what to say! It was as if my tongue had rolled up on its own volition and my mouth had dried up. I gulped and managed a weak smile and tightly hugged him back, as if my heartbeat hadn’t just been stopped for seconds. We exchanged a look which didn’t need any words to give a voice to our feelings. We resumed our walk in the same waist-to-waist way till we reached the metro.

 
It’d been the greatest compliment I could have ever got rewarded with, the moment to be forever etched in my memories and it had come from my prince. My Baba. My Superheroic Explorer.

FULFILLING HIS WISH

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( This father’s day, I am expressing my love towards my dad by participating in the #HugYourDad activity at BlogAdda in association with Vicks.  Do check out the awesome Father’s Day video as well:

Tugged at your heart strings, didn’t it? )

 

For every child, to complete the wishes of his/her parents is a dream. Especially when the whole journey is a hard struggle that you have seen your parents fighting for, just for a better future for you, you know you must try every ounce of your life to fulfil their dreams. We’re three siblings in my family, all sisters and I’ve seen my father (henceforth to be mentioned as Baba, as he is usually so-called by Me) struggle against every odds to ensure we had all the best facilities in our lives, especially in our education. And it had been one hell of a struggle, one which went on to condition all the three of us as better individuals.
It had been just after the results of my class 12th boards. I’d scored quite well and had filled in admission forms in three premier colleges in Calcutta. The spotlight however had been on Presidency University, a premier educational institution which had seen various famous names in every societal sphere as its students. What needs to be highlighted here is, my Baba always have had this fascination with Presidency. I still do not have any knowledge of the reason behind it, but he have had this fascination for years. To see any one of his daughters studying in this university. It was here that the twist and the play of Life comes along.
The twist was, Baba had always wanted to see my second elder sister to study in Presi. A science student who was good in studies as well, Baba had very high hopes from her that she’d make it in Presi. Some unfortunate events and those hopes had got dashed to the ground. The reality that getting in at Presi is indeed very hard, perhaps made it even more saddening. I’m sure he never had any such hopes from me to make it in Presi, although life had some other plans for him.
Baba always have had that typical admiration for the science stream. Though my high-school background had been that of computer science, however arts being my passion, I’d taken the plunge into it after my 12th boards. The convincing obviously hadn’t been easy though, however Baba had went on to agree to it at the end. Because Presi has an entrance exam for the undergraduate degree, which is reputed to be extremely cut-of-edge and very difficult to pass through, add to that my non-arts background and one can have zilch hopes of making it in Presi. I guess it had been mostly God’s grace and a little bit of my hard work that I’d made it to the counselling list!
At last, the counselling day had come and the nail-biting tension of everyone. Because I’d already by then taken the admission in one of the premier colleges, I was a bit relaxed and was ready for any kind of outcome, positive or negative. Both my parents had come alongwith me (They obviously couldn’t have missed an opportunity to set their foot inside their dream university and I was too happy to have been able to give them that!). They’d been fascinated by university long before but now they were impressed much more by the foresight of the university authorities whereby the parents were allowed to sit in the gallery of the entirely air-conditioned Derozio Hall and not left to be stranded outside in the scorching heat, unlike the other colleges. (Doesn’t help the fact that the hall is impressively huge!) The calling of names had been going by at a whizz and finally it was the time for the department of political science. I’d quietly prayed to God to grant me the wish to study in this university, not for me (I couldn’t care less, to be honest), but for my Baba whose dream is this university. And then the name-calling of the selected students began.
It’d been an absolutely numb moment for me and I think for my parents as well, when my name was called. I because I couldn’t believe that my Baba’s dreams just got fulfilled and they for the very same reason too. I heard a familiar voice calling my name from a distance and turned around to see my parents rushing to meet me. I barely can believe now that I could actually rein in my tears to see those pride filled faces of my parents, especially my Baba, who at that moment, was running towards me with his hands outstretched and with a big smile on his face. I managed a smile in return and enveloped myself in his arms in a tight hug. Out of the corner of my eyes, I saw my mother wiping off tears that were threatening to spill, with a smile on her face. I looked up to see tears at the corner of my Baba’s eyes as well and I remember saying to him, looking at his eyes, “Everything is fine now, Baba.” He had simply nodded.
 

 

Looking back, I think I was not just relieved that I didn’t break my record of fulfilling Baba’s wishes, but I’d been grateful for myself that I could give him his dream especially when it wasn’t really expected from me. This shall remain one of the most special moments of my life.