Monday, October 31, 2011

Sweet surprises

Life is full of surprising things. Last Jan, I was in train traveling with a bunch of sardar uncles, who took care of me like their own daughter. They shared home made parathas with me, and when we landed in Ludhiana station, in the freezing winter, took me out to a local dhaba to feed me some more parathas. God bless them. One of the uncles, was so happy that I was a writer. In the train, he recited some shayaris to me..It was amazing. Uncleji, kya kavita hai..I said..Apna email id do beta, he said. I gave him. After I hugged them and bid them adios at Ludhiana station, not knowing when I would meet them, I was suprised to receive email of Sukhwinder uncle. He sent his poem to me...I read and replied. :) I was thrilled! Actually!

Today, I got yet another email from Sukhwinder uncle..Been so long..Beta, I am in Canada with my family..aap kaise ho..I am smiling now..ear to ear..what a surprise. He lost my number and he has promised to call me from Canada. I am sure he will call me..beshak! :) Oh how much I love these people of Punjab! And the sweet things of life..priceless moment!

Introspection after long..

It has been a long time since I have introspected on my life, but when I look back, I feel there are lot of things I have learnt and maybe I have changed people's lives in lot of ways and that makes me feel so much better!

It has been almost two years since I chucked my job as TamilNadu correspondent of Outlook Business. How crazy was I to chuck a job in national magazine? How many people get through it to chuck? But after spending two long years working for the magazine, traveling to the most rustic corners of India, seeing people suffering in abject poverty, lacking even basic medical facilities and then coming back and writing about it, putting it my emotions and thoughts and my writing skills..eventually I thought, yeah I write, but does it impact others? No! To a certain extent, yes! Some stories I wrote did make a lot of sense and put things in perspective. But I was tired, mentally, to answer endless phonecalls from PR people, from boss, my editing team, all of weekend, with no sense of time. I was oblivious of my life. I was so sunk in job that I seldom got time to introspect and then it hit me. And then there was a trigger to rediscover myself and wonder what to do..One, right at the time when I was tired of my job, I was going through a relationship crisis. Everything put together affected me massively and I had decided it was time to move on.

After I convinced my boss, and told him I am not sure what I am going to do next, I breathed hard. For a few months I stayed in Chennai. I traveled and backpacked with my friend, and sometimes alone for about couple of months. It was in Athirampally waterfalls I met a gentleman who was editor of the Week magazine. He just called me to click his picture and casually asked me. I told him I quit my job and was thinking of pursuing environmental journalism full fledged..hey sharada, that's awesome, I am starting a a magazine on the same, why don't you write for me and be a south correspondent. Life I thought! Sure, and I pulled out my card and gave him..I took his card as well. How God shows light and makes you meet people in the most unexpected circumstances of life...

I traveled a lot and cleared my head. My phone remained on silent for long. The PR calls stopped and I was happy without my phone. I truly was enjoying this phase. I got internship at the university of waterloo's environment department, but sadly did not get my visa..but the editor was like..whenever you come to Canada, you can work with me..That was so sweet of her!

It was then I decided to move from Chennai, from the usual city life, socialising, partying..just leave everything and push off to Coimbatore..where my dad lived his best..and happiest..I had anyway quit my job.

I packed up my bags, told my house owner, bade adieu to my neighbor aunty who shed buckets of tears when I left..who will motivate me, she asked..You have to just call me and I will come here. Coimbatore is not far. Hugged her and left. emotions..yup!

After I moved here, I found peace of mind, and developed an interest for birds, started taking care of my house, backyard, planted trees and life was just so good. I did not attempt to make friends. I just needed long days of solitude..My life wasn't planned. No! That was the best part. I never planned my life, but yeah moved along when things work. I create ideas and work out and that is how I live my life. No plans, but maybe I also learnt to be organised.

I spent a year writing bird book, I learnt bird watching, read books on ornithology, discovered nature..End of it, I published a book last year, much appreciated by people! It wasn't planned. I met Priya who edited the book only once and after we worked on the book for a year, we became such good friends that we decided to capitalise on our strengths to start something on our own. That worked too. We clinched a big project and finished it. That was unplanned too!

I became a cat lover..And I realised that love when genuinely given to an animal is reciprocated in the right way..even animals understand true and fake love..:) I am an unabashed lover of cats..I just love when they cuddle upto me and I feel their soft furs..

I published a book, published a story in an anthology, discovered that I am a good creative writer. Two of my short stories were long listed for urban shots' national best seller. Boosted me further. Then I signed a contract with TerraGreen and got into hardcore environmental journalism-exactly what I wanted..I have nothing to complain. I did go through relationship crisis, but I got over it..I am happy to know that the very same people thank me for having changed their lives even today..That makes me feel that every individual you meet, there is a reason, God chooses you to change them, or chooses them to change you..and I have learnt from every single person..No regrets!

Unplanned life is indeed great but I am done with my share of broken relations. I see only me now and want to live to make myself happy and in the process if I can benefit someone along the way, I will do it.

I traveled, I met many people, I learnt many lessons and now I do not know where I am heading next. Life is still unplanned! Very much, and I hope it keeps throwing me sweet surprises!! Always..Amen..and thanks to all the people in my life who have made me what I am today- mom, pri, k, anurag, krupa, divya, mean a lot to me!! Life, thank you!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Rant for the 999th time

I wanted to put it as men rant, just deleted those three letters so that people don't think I am a man hater or a feminist and honestly speaking I am NOT! I rather love being in the company of men, for I always felt they are easy going on life, than women who bitch and bite each other about everything..coming to the topic..I seriously wondered today, why men are men..I remembered what my brother told me -we are practical and we only think problems and solutions, we don't really look at emotional side of decision making. I have seen that in lot many men, and it does hurt me at times, but then what do I do, sit quiet and let them think and form perceptions about my state of mind or express how I feel about what they feel about me...Darn! There is no end to thinking..and for the first time, my usual casual remarks were taken seriously by someone..and it pains to see that..I mean dude, that is how I am with anyone I talk..Saying get lost does not mean =please get lost. It is my state of mind. For once, why can't people take things in a not so literal sense than jumping to conclusions, thinking and acting emotionally. Drat! I am mentally tired and sick of explaining that I joke!! And this is how I joke, its nothing to do with fooling with someone's emotions or giving someone sleepless nights and sitting and apologising the entire day...I need a life..I have my mood swings..I am a woman, I am a Gemini, and I am a writer! So, I can be double, triple, emotional and have greater mood swing than a normal person..But yeah that's me!! What do I do if someone feels that my turmoiled state of mind affects him or her? Move away, try and explain or do what! I don't understand. A time when I feel it is time to move on and speak to my women friends who undergo the same thing and share their lives with me..similar rants or different, but its unburdening of the self..It helps me calm down, get a grip and move on..

Sometimes I go to an extent of thinking- until you are married, people have a problem you are single, when married, deal with a husband, and then a kid and then the in end to individualism and your private space? Why? I mean why? Why can't people just stop admonishing me for not what I am..and stop being judgemental about every word I utter..Dammit it hurts!

I was telling my mom..why get married, oh no! It is a pain, rather go and seek some solitude, lead a minimalist life, meditate in the hills, do good to others, globetrot, and die writing a book. Why make life so complicated!!

Pri, if you are listening, thanks for hearing me out babe! Love you!