Sunday, 22 December 2013

Straight from the heart..........8..........(The International Postgrad syndrome!)

Your son’s completed BE, has he not? So, when does he plan to apply for MS?” This is a common question I faced after my son had completed his BE, as if it were the only thing to do, naturally , after a graduation in Engineering.

I have been thinking, ever since my son entered his Engineering College as to why are we, Indians, so hell bent on pushing our children to the USA/Europe or somewhere abroad? Is it really for that education and learning or from a craze of having a child settling down in the USA/Europe or somewhere abroad? Especially because the children, after they qualify, generally do not return.

Many of us will argue here and justify about the ‘quality’  of life, relevant of these countries, but is the life in India so bad that you chuck away the roots of your base existence for all those material comforts, calling your very own country dirty and non-worthy  of  your residence, when you prefer to being second-class citizens with "dignity", elsewhere???......A country looked up to, by the whole world for its sound  cultural heritage and other deep-rooted values??. And is it not from this very country you qualified with the minimum that is required of an MS or equivalent outside?

Long ago, there was an opinion of not enough opportunities in this country. In the time, when we graduated, this arguement still held good, but is it the same today? Are there not enough opportunities and scope in various other  fields as well, which did not even exist some thirty odd years ago?

Under the circumstances, what then is the ‘carrot’ that pushes most of our youth to these countries? I wonder how many of the children, residents for centuries by reasons of their origin,  from these very countries   pursue an MS?  My guess is that more than 75% of their MS revenue comes from Indians!! Does that not speak for the prosperity of our "developing' nation?

And with pride I say, we have Indian parents working hard to meet the education requirements of their children by earning in rupees, in India, and paying in dollars!! An earning made from their basic education in India and Indian rupees!! Not all these parents have an MS themselves!!Infact, these parents are from those times, when there were not enough opportunities in our very own 'developing' nation....They are an example on values worth a mention here ......about how hardwork and dedication can never go wrong!!

Another question that comes to the mind is, are all  MS grads, now settled in the USA/Europe/elsewhere, capable of educating their children in that same way? Especially under the  Economic scenario  which is true of these countries  today? And opportunities there? Are they the same as they were thirty years ago? Inspite of it all, what is the big attraction of a post-grad outside? Sadly, I find, it is more the parents drive than that of their  children,  of pushing the child towards an international post-graduation!

Personally, I am an academic freak myself, with an utmost love for every child  to have the best education, at all costs! But certainly not freaky enough to push him somewhere, beyond his/her wish to acquire somethingwhich would take them away forever from that, which is the really what this life is all about!!

No, I have no wish that they cling on to us for everything......but the bonding with family and friends that they grew up with, the World that they love and was theirs once, the warmth and comfort of their loved ones, that they seek from time to time, the secure feeling of their elders being at a stone’s throw, should they ever need them, all this and more,  should not be lost to them, certainly not for some cold material possessions!

Lines from Pankaj Udhas’s song “chitthi aayi hai.... ..” are  sweet and  powerful, meaningful and they sum up the above just so simply!!

Pahale Jab Tuu Khat Likhata tha
Kaagaz Men Cheharaa Dikha taa Thaa
Band Huaa Ye Mel Bhii Ab To,
Khatam Huaa Ye Khel Bhii Ab To”

“Tuune Paisaa Bahut Kamaayaa,
Is Paise Ne Desh Chhudaayaa
Panchhii Pinjaraa Tod Ke Aajaa,
Desh Paraayaa Chhod Ke Aajaa
Aajaa Umar Bahut Hai Chhotii,

Apane Ghar Men Bhii Hain Rotii,”

Thursday, 17 October 2013

My very own poetry book............7.............Cyclone Phailin

Uprooted trees, overturned trucks,  dead power  lines on pole
Almost  12 million humans tormented,  death numbers  taking  toll
All because Mother Nature, had played her  vital role
In causing Cyclone Phailin to injure every soul!

At  220 kilometres per hour speed , it struck ‘Odisha’ ground,
Damages caused thereafter, no place else  to be found!!
Cos two lakh dwelling houses , two lakhs of agri land,
Disappeared in a jiffy with the wave of the  “Phailin “wand

The Defence forces deployed,   to help out day and night
In evacuating so many,  they had put up a brave fight
Inspite  of  all the valor displayed,  should  efforts go in vain
Or will then, those be nurtured , who  dwell in  grief and pain!

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

My very own poetry-book......6..................The Muse.

In the corner of  an old museum,  lay this very old crate ,
With olden golden artifacts,  and statues  delicate
Inquisitive  was I to see why they  were of  no use
To my pleasant surprise, in it, I found this pretty little  “muse”

Dressed in a robe  of  exquisite fabric,  on her  head a crown of gold
She seemed to be gazing at the violin in her hand, which, however looked old
The bed she sat, weaved in  golden  straw,  the quilt that lay on it too,
The   litte dog that sat beside,  seemed to watch her every move.

I looked up here and there  to see, if someone was around,
Sure now that I was alone, I swung her up, on the ground
How long had she been there now, I started to wonder,
Only   a year or two was  it,  or many years yonder?

Gazing at her intently, I wished to know her tale,
As also of the sculptor who carved this damsel  frail
Which child of Zeus and Mnemosyne, did he have in  his mind?
Of all their nine daughters, which one was of his kind?

Was she the one from  Literature or Science or from Art?
Or  was she  just a “water nymph”  he sculpted part by part?                                                          
Greek goddesses these  Muses are, their  tales as child, I'd heard,
For source of inspiration they’re known,  in myths or in  poet’s words.

Why  does it feel,  standing there , that she may come to life?
Or the  silent hall re-sounding, with her violin strumming rife
Would she walk away from here then,  to where she’s meant to be?
To the heavenly  abode where her  heart  is, to her World of melody?

And what about the sculptor,  the one who carved her  charm
Was he still  somwhere around here, or had he come to any  harm
If only could I meet him someday,  for over an hour  or two
To hear his tale of this creation and give him his deserved due!!

(C) Archana Tambe

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

My very own poetry-book......5..................In retrospect!

Watching  the evening Sun on the beach,  one  cold wintry day,
My thoughts drifted to the past, in a soft and breezy way
Some memories so vivid and clear, some so dull and hazy,
Enough though to paint before, a picture bright and rosy!

With schoolbag in her hand and hair tied in pigtails,
Off  to School and friends she went,  to share her girly tales,
where a  life she lived and thought, was her centre-stage,
Oh what a time that it  was, what an era, what an age!

At every  School  event, her participation was a must,
Tried to put on a great show, no talent  she let  rust!
Her strength were her parents,  encouraging to the core
“never will  I let them down,” was something to herself, she swore.

That she was true to her oath, was something she did prove,
Honoured by School  as the Best-student, what more could she do?
But  honour brings with it, responsibility of a lifetime to shoulder
A character to hold upright and never to let it molder

Thus school days  soon  over, College days came on,
New horizons to   conquer,  olds bygone;
To struggle just as hard once more, to ignore power or pelf,
To do  all  those things just as right, to be able to boost herself.

Lots and lots of work then, and  also  lots of play,
Moments were  so joyous, moments  were so gay,
Thus rolled on sweet  Life,  but all good things must end
Once again the” best student,” here,   her onward  “life” to fend

In all these lovely years,  she realizes today,
T’was the family and friends, that helped her make her  way
Pray , who is this girl then, whose tale I am writing?
Gosh, none other than  ‘me’ it is,  with my continued spirit of fighting.
Fortunate, am I not then, to have a family so loving and devoted?
No wonder then, that I stand so tall, with my values so deep-rooted!

Friday, 11 October 2013

Straight from the heart.............7.............(Domestic chore...whose task?)

 Sometime ago, I was visiting some of my friends.  One of the friend’s children a boy and a girl, now  grown ups, working at their respective jobs were in a heated discussion. I have seen these  kids grow and more out of the friendly relation we share, I intervened to find out what their topic of this heated discussion was.  I wasn’t very surprised, though, to learn about it. It was the most common situation seen with the young working couples of today ie in a marriage, which of the two, must take on the domestic chores since both were almost equally qualified, both worked fulltime and both reached home, almost at the same time. And all this, when they are still to begin on family!!!!

I have seen so many of these couples adjust with each other in whatever ways they can, when they live alone ie as a nuclear family but when they are subjected to adjustment in a joint family system, problems start cropping up, as the “lady” in such situation is expected to take on all of the domestic responsibilities, never mind, how much and how hard she works outside of home. Of course, there are some girls who manage all of that and how, some willingly too,  while some others, maybe a little grudgingly, and why not??

Everything in the environment is slowly and steadily changing, so isn’t it time that we too change the age old customs with which a boy and girl were brought up sometime ago? Yes, few of the elders in many such joint  families, today, have accepted this fact and we therefore see that the  older women in many a home, do  try and help out their working daughters-in-law, in whichever way they can!! But still, a major portion of  our Society’s  older generation are driven to believe that whatever a lady may take up to endeavour outside of her home, the domestic chores have been, are and should be, only and only her responsibility. “Sons will be sons and men will be men” is what these people are bound to say. Now whatever does that mean? Today, a girl spends an equal amount of time and effort to acquire the degree that these “sons” and “men” do!!Therefore , she too aspires to make it big in her chosen field of work, as much as  the boy does. Therefore, she not only needs but deserves to be helped out by her husband as well as others in her family,in  all the domestic chores!

Having said this this in her favour,   more so, because of need of change expected to be seen  in the  behaviour of present day family system, does it mean it is alright for her to deny all her domestic responsibilities and feign complete ignorance about them? I know of some girls who  take pride in saying that they neither know to cook nor do other house chores.  “I am an Engineer or Doctor  or 'some other professional', you know,” they say (as if what they qualified to be is unique and the only thing required to be done in this life(?)) and therefore I have never had the time to learn to cook or be familiar with any household chores. In fact, I have never done any domestic chores in my home before I was married!!" True that this could possibly have been a very difficult time to manage “educating” oneself both ways, but, sometime later,  would it not be necessary to be as competent and qualified in this 'career'  as much as in a 'career' of their choice?

Aren’t our very basic necessities food, clothing and shelter? Yes, we do have restaurants, dabbas, dhabas etc to cater to our food arrangements as a couple alone, but will this continue even after we begin our family? Would we have our infants and todlers eat  foodstuffs from the outside? Would these “qualified” parents have enough time to learn about coping with these “life learnings” with a growing family, when they  did not seem to have enough time in all their years of growing up?

So then, will the 'Parents' of these boys and girls  insist on these “learnings” without pampering their “professional education seeking wards” ?? Because, as I see, it is not only the  children but also the parents who have a casual approach towards this attitude of their “work shirking” children. Instead of downloading domestic tasks on their children from a very young age, they protect their wards from even getting exposed to them. I know of some people that find it weird that a child has to be taught to   shop for the daily vegetables and groceries. They feel that asking their child to do a domestic task will put the child off from their studies. Both the girl and the boy children are heavily pampered!!! I think we, as parents are equally responsible for seeing that both our children are brought-up in the same way in respect of everything, be it education or be it the domestic chores! We cannot expect to take stands only when issues wrt the above crop up in their marriage. Today, it is more important that the parents make their wards understand that there is no difference between their boy-child or girl-child, that there are no defined codes of domestic responsibilities, rather “sharing” them together lovingly as one unit will go a long way in  creating a strong familial bond. It is not the “who” but the “how” that will make happy homes.

Just as the “ working wife” will partner her husband in all fiscal matters of making a home, the “working husband” too must do his bit in sharing the domestic chores for the family, not to mention, the children coming in later, must, also be moulded in to contribute their bit and gradually to take on these “true and necessary life learnings”.

Having said all this for and about the “educated and both working” class of the young, let us also not forget the fulltime housewife, the woman having the “ultimate career” of them all!!!......That she does not work outside of home , does not mean that she is any less occupied!  Infact her duties are both timeless and thankless!! She is on duty right from the moment she wakes up till the time she can finally make it to bed and call it a day!! Please do not think that she does not need you all to put in your bit to help her help you each day.

In the words of C.S.Lewis,

"“The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only - and that is to support the ultimate career. ” 

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

My very own poetry-book......4..................Silver bounty

Silver bounty

Have you walked in the dark, on a moonlit night?
With the silver shine making all things bright?
Has the beauty of that moon, ever touched you so
That it completely grips you, from head to toe?
Have you felt like reaching out, to embrace this silver moon,
Whose intoxicating silver charm, makes you almost swoon?
Have you thought of your love, being beside you then?
Or love appearing suddenly, on a quick count of ten?
Has “her” beauty dazzled you so, that you continue to stare?
No pangs of hunger nor thirst,  no, nothing to beware?
Did you gaze at yourself then, or the silver in your hair,
Or the silver trees with silver leaves , silver everywhere?
Just beyond this  road you walk, a silver beach you will see,
Further on, as you go by, silver waves will greet ye!
Priceless than, isn’t this silver, that money cannot buy?
No GoldMarts can display this, its only in the sky!!
No shopping for this silver then, no going on a spree,
This beautiful Nature’s bounty, bestowed on us for free

Monday, 7 October 2013

Storytimes: FB 5 : Straight from the heart ......3..........Fr...

Storytimes: FB 5 : Straight from the heart ......3..........Fr...: Just a few days ago, a young friend of mine asked me to write about how much people were getting addicted to "virtual friendships&...

Storytimes: Straight from the heart............5.................

Storytimes: Straight from the heart............5.................: We had a family get together a few days back. It was a gathering of Moms of almost three generations, should I say?? I love these gathering...

Storytimes: STRAIGHT FROM THE HEART.......6.......(Are we real...

Storytimes: STRAIGHT FROM THE HEART.......6.......(Are we real...: A couple of day ago, I saw this movie named Rush.....Most of you reading this one, already must have seen and read a thousand good review...

STRAIGHT FROM THE HEART.......6.......(Are we really be Masters of our "own will"?)

A couple of day ago, I saw this movie named Rush.....Most of you reading this one, already must have seen and read a thousand good reviews about this movie.  The passion, grit , determination and above all, “a strong will” makes this movie more than just “inspiring”, true,  but after I watched it, what I realised apart from all of this was what was it that most of our Country’s youth of today  and the future of tomorrow, our little men and women, lack!!!! And I find , it is nothing but the power to be the “masters” of their own will and be able to follow and live up to that!!
And all not because they dont have a "wiil", but  because of the a solid family-value based,  strong traditional culture following and an equally responsible social and political environment  which makes up for the Society we live in!!
Every child grows up with a dream of who he/she would like to be in the years to come. Professions coming only out of academics is not every person’s  dream, rather, barring a few,  in that young age one would like to be just anything , that does not  require a person to  have to dig in their  giant-sized, uninteresting  books, all the time........ Not to mention that most of us parents too wish we could let the child just take on their dream and live it.
But in reality, does this happen? How many common children we know who liked to be musicians, dancers, sports persons, artists , actors and so on so forth actually get there? At some point in the earlier stage of life, when we have seen/met them , we have see that passion oozing out of them, for that , which they aspire to be!!! Why then, after some time, is this all replaced by only academic degrees and jobs for most? And when I say this, I am not talking of those few children,  who have the strong  emotional, financial and every other support and backing,  from their immediate well-to-do family and/or friends  neither am I speaking of the child prodigees. I am talking of the "common  child" of a “common man” who works 24x7x365 and who has also every  “right” to his/her own dreams.
So then what really happens that the child has to be dragged back to thinking  not about “living a life” but “making a life” for themselves? My thoughts around it pushes me to draw the following conclusions:
1  1) In India, there is nothing as important as getting an academic degree because , getting a degree means you will surely get a “job” of sorts and that will ensure that you “make your life”, somehow!!! Doing anything different form this “set-code” means taking a very big risk. What if walking on the path of one's choice,  you fail in the eyes of the World, your peers and you  don’t earn enough to sustain for yourself and your family?  Of course, today, due to media exposure, reality shows etc , wherein they   show children participating and winning dance, acting, music, photography,  cookery etc  , both parents and the children are motivated to resort  to other options but the question of  whether this would finally result in carving  “livelihood”  remains like a hundred , nay, thousand dollar question!
2    2)In some rich orthodox families, even  if the child has both a passion and a flair and wants to give a try to his dream, will the traditional families allow them without threatening the child with dire consequences like   being thrown out of the family and family inheritance  or boycotted or some such equally ruthless act. Remember the Hindi classic ,"Parichay" days?
3    3) If  a child does decide to “act” as per their  will,  are the government and other bodies geared with enough equipment to support this dream vide monetary assistance to him/her if and when required at any stage? ie would, they ,at least, provide for the basic necessities for  survival of this child,  as and when required, right from the time he/she starts till the stage he/she settles down in the passion and makes the best of it? Would it provide some kind of reassurance to the parents that there is nothing to fear wrt the future of this child?
4   4)Can “emotional blackmail”to the child  be avoided by the family? In some families a child is not even allowed to join “Defence Services” leave alone, pursue another  line.
y The  point I am making here is , the West where the young (in their early teens  too) are the “masters” of  their own will , unafraid of  what the future will be and living by the day is because the socio-political environmental factors are so very conducive to their approach towards life. The family bonding too isvery different from  her, because it is commonplace for the children,  in the first place, to leave their homes very early and to take on the responsibility of their own life . On the other hand, In our country, we are molly-cuddling children even after they have attained adulthood and the children too thrive in it....They choose to be "adults" or then, "dependants"  as per convenience of which of these suits them best at a given point of time!!!
 Therefore, by and large, in our type of countries, such grit, motivation , determination and passion along with one’s own strong will is found  mostly of those that generally suffer from lack of basic amenities and necessities required to pursue a good education, are put in charge to take care of family at a very early age or lack of food , clothing and shelter or some equally horrendous reason!
I am not saying that a few from the well-to-do families too may not come up with something different  and spectacular, but, in most cases,  it is “one in a million situation”. No wonder then, that we suddenly see a student from the hutments topping in some board exams or doing something equally unexpected of him/her! As for the rest, we find they do exactly what is expected of them, ie the rich and funded class of children graduating from best technical or management  schools abroad, some others taking the age old professions of teaching, engineering, medicine etc etc, which they qualify for, after spending their best years of life with their heads in their books and the others digging into whatever they can lay their hands on, academically to “make a living”

Thus, while I agree, that the parents must “gift” our children their life to do what they they“will” to do and not live their life as per the “standard” norms, I must also stress on the point that, then there  is so much else in the environment  that  must simultaneously change to give every parent  that confidence , that whatever the child takes on, there will always be hundreds and thousands of “opportunities” for the child in that sphere, and at no point will the child feel despair or regrets about doing what they chose and set out to do. We, as parents, will always stand by our children in every walk of life, but we cant hold their hands till the end, can we? What  all parents want or ever wanted is the happiness of their children, not short-term but very long-term, ie until till life’s end,  and while nobody other than them would be happier to let the child have their own will. However,  given the present circumstances, they can only hope and pray for a  change of environment, conducive to suit the child’s “will” and hope to see and experience, all of that,  in their lifetime as well!!!

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Straight from the heart............5.................. (Being Mom!!!!!)

We had a family get together a few days back. It was a gathering of Moms of almost three generations, should I say?? I love these gathering where the family catches up on so many happenings from old times (our childhood) vis-avis today. There are also discussions (sometimes even heated.........:)) on the “how’s” of the unforeseen future of their children. The do’s and dont’s that you grew up listening to then and learning to value even today, are once again hammered through you! But the learnings from such discussions have been useful tips to me in “parenting” a profession taken for granted, but, not even understood by many!!! Like I always say to myself, had I worked harder, been more capable of handling the Corporate politics better (which I personally loathe), probably done many refreshers and so on so forth, achieveing a better work status would have been a “not-so-difficult” task, but if I had failed as a Mom,(of course, I mean in my own eyes) I would not have been able to leave this planet in peace.....
So what is this success all about? Success, even in parenting, is different things to different people and therefore people may relate to it differently. In simple words what I mean is are we able to be a “fair” if not a “good” parent ie are we capable of saying ”yes” and “no” to children as and when we feel it is needed to be done for their own good or are we in “popularity contests” with our peers who may think that we are too strict with our children? Do we take cognizance of “their” counsel on how we must “behave” with our children? Is it not enough that since we know our own child from birth (and better in all ways than anybody from amongst them), we will do all to give him/her a good life?
To cite a few examples to share the point I am making...........
There was this little boy whose Mom gave him only Indian balanced diet in his lunch-box right from when he was a little boy. Now, there were some family/friends of his mother who “aww....ed” it, as if it were an issue. The lunch-boxes of their kids always carried junk foodstuff, and their Moms explained with pride(?) that their children did not eat “such stuff” as our little boy here did! Today we see them all grown up and the Moms moan about the children not eating anything healthy as they must!!! If we think about it deeply, are these children really to blame? Why did the Mothers not be a little more strict with the nutrition and dietary habits of these children??Was it to escape from the trouble “they” would have to go through to both make and feed the child that food or from the “nagging” of that child? Yes, It is a very time consuming and boring affair to some, as, every little child is different from the other in so many ways, he/she may be have to be told a story or may have to be actually spoon-fed as he/she ran around, I know , but is it not worth it? Especially since “taste” for anything develops at a very young age? You, the parent may not be the “creator” but you certainly are the person that has the then required influence to “mould” that creation? Health aspects, which come up in life , ages later, are already there today with so many young people .We blame it all on the stress factor alone , but truly that is not all!
Food habit inculcation, alone, is only one aspect of “Being Mom!” There are many others , “material possessions” too, being one of them!!! Peers again.................The second and most important aspect is how you jell with your child ........In other words , are you and your child comfortable with each other in respect of all aspects viz social, environmental and most importantly personal? Are you, as a parent, vigilant enough to notice your child moving away, behaving in strange ways, being lonely or unsocial at home, not “responding” to you or anybody at home, in the way he/she must? Do you actually “go away” when asked to, by a teenager, who wants time alone, like in the West? Will you not go to him/her at such times and get out that , which bothers their little mind because they are “unaware” of their own feelings/reactions and to that so much happening around them?I hear most Moms tell me, “but you know what, the child is not comfortable to do that” and I ask myself, what, why do you even address him as a “child” then? As a parent, I think it is my duty to pursue my child’s happiness and I must go all the way to break into that wall..........I know a couple of Mothers, who go around counselling the whole World but are oblivious of what is happening to their own child! How, I ask myself, can one counsel all others, when one is not even aware of what his/her own child is going through? When we take such trouble to counsel others about their children and so on and so forth, how then, do we miss on that one that means so much to us? Are we blind or do we deliberately ignore that which is easily seen by all others? I know a child is always prepared to easily listen to another person than his own Mom/Dad but that does not happen suddenly! And if it has, it means , somewhere along the way, you missed on being “that friend, philosopher and guide” to your child or have been caught with your own personal agenda too much?? Then there are some others who love to socialise or go roaming around so much that their own commitments towards their own children becomes an “agenda” for them. They are so taken in by the appreciation of the “”World at large” that their “own small World” gets out of hand and I hear things like, “we have so much to do that there is no time for anything at home”. Such people confuse the most important agenda of their life, their child, I guess!!
There are many more aspects which can be looked on at a later day but I will say so much that maybe our Moms and GrandMoms did not make great career women in the eyes of this World but a career that even our generation is not capable of, “PARENTING” was something they did fantafabulously and while I am overwhelmed everytime I think of it, I feel like asking them, “Hey where are your Parenting Workshops please? I want to join and excel still, yet!!” They not only preached but practised all of that for their children to see, disciplinarians that they were!! KUDOS to you gurlz on your super career achievement “Being MOMS!”
And so I conclude In Ron Taffel’s words and Roy L Smith’s words which spell;
“Even as kids reach adolescence, they need more than ever for us to watch over them. Adolescence is not about letting go. It’s about hanging on during a bumpy ride” and that
“We are apt to forget that children watch examples better than they listen to preaching”

Straight from the heart......4 ............(Trekking too much...the how come?????)....

A recent question that I thought worth answering (by sharing here) to all those that asked about how we manage time/effort/money to trek so much and so often. We have always wanted to do so, but what you see today and and getting there in our circumstances, ha really taken that much time to get there and how..........
Sports in my school days meant only the physical education activities conducted by the School teachers or the then available indoor or outdoor games in the halls/grounds of such educational institutions or some sport gymkhanas. Badminton, Table-tennis, carrom, cricket, Athletics, football, hockey, base-ball, throw-ball and similar ones, being the most popular games to play, then! During those times the likes of today’s famous gym franchisees like “Talwalkars”, “Gold gym” “Solaris” “Endurance”, not to mention a hundred others strewn across all cities today, were never thought, seen or heard of!! So in my school times “adventure sports” , trekking, mountaineering etc were almost ruled out.............Of course , College gave us the chance to participate in NCC, which gave us an interface to airgliding, para-jumping etc, but in a limited capacity!!
Sure, trekking did exist to an extent, but going out to faraway destinations with strange people was ruled out by parents (more due to their peers than anything else!!!!). I remember my mother being in awe of her superiors in the family and was always careful of not offending anybody!! So that anybody pointing an accusing finger at her for going against the “said and set” way of life of children, was nothing she would have tolerated. So whatever trails/treks were arranged by and from Schools is all we were allowed to go to..........
I was both a voracious reader and a dedicated sportswoman at that time......Actually enjoyed reading about anything and everything that I could lay my hands on........though, it had to depend on book libraries and not search engines or So also, was with sport that was easily possible and affordable!! All in all, we did easily “do-able” things.
One got to read a lot of books /articles on geography and hence dreamt of places one wished to travel......But yes, these could only be dreams then, as travel was an expensive as well as a complicated affair, especially if you meant long distance travelling. So in those days, we made the best with whatever was available and inspite of it all, was very happy to be doing that much.
Time flew fast and I was now married.............
Marriage brings with it a lot of responsibilities. In the beginning, between the day to day juggling of home, work-life and family-life, not to mention other innumerable other commitments/responsibilities of a then joint-family, sport and travel took a backseat!! We worked our way through life and with the salaries of those times (some 22 odd years ago), managed to save just enough for any unforeseen contingencies apart from running a home and family with its forest of relatives and friends.... Anything extra for a long-distance lavish travel was not affordable...... Still, being a hard-core sports enthusiast, I used to reserve an hour of my day for an aerobic activity, which I love, even today!!!We also did some weekend spend in the places near to Pune such as Panchgani/Mahabaleshwar, nearby kokan spots, day outings etc!!
Slowly the days went by and the responsibilities grew bigger(if not larger). We are a very big family and therefore a lot was expected in terms of celebrations and giveaways at the innumerable family functions , not to mention the monies to be kept aside for expenses that were to be assumed for my son, his education and other extra-curricular! Saving up for making a home on our own(which is I assume is every person’s dream) too, with no monetary help from anyone, also took a chunk of the money earned!!!
So by such time, we, as a couple, thought , we were ready to do our thing, in terms of affordability angle, work commitments had taken their toll and so planning beyond tomorrow was always out of the question.......Also work circumstances were such that my husband had to not only travel but also stay in another town for a couple of years......Thus rolled life and so in the time when we had loads of our other friends and relatives travelling, trekking etc, we both were struggling to make our time/effort and money ends meet.....
Then, I always dreamt of doing so many things. Sometimes, I even felt that I may never have the time left to do the things I want to do, but nothing is permanent and that phase of life ended too!
Suddenly my son was a grown-up , working individual and I decided to call off “working for money” way of life!! Money, how much ever earned, is always less, needed and welcome but for me , now, my life priorities have changed. Now, its mostly about my time for me, ie. the time has come for me to take life one day at a time!!! 
Finally I am there and for the last couple of years, I have been doing what I always dreamt of doing.................working on and off, trekking, travelling, just lazing, reading , writing, counselling the young, doing workshops I like.....the list continues and I hope for this time to last for a long stretch!!
So people, there u go.......................
Reaching here has not been really easy and therefore I value this newfound free time very much!! 
I know that some of the people would say that just because I could manage it, it may not be possible for all. The reasons for saying this may be not only both the ‘health’ as well as the ‘monetary’ aspects, but some other binding responsibility of an elder or a young person, either dur to old age or because of their being physically/mentally challenged , demanding a 24 x 7 x 365 days attention span...........But I don’t think this would be true of all my fellow-readers here, and if one concentrates more on keeping good health by giving oneself some time to do any kind of physical activity of one’s choice(and it need not be something you have to pay for); such as an hour of walk and/or some bending-stretching excercise at home, you will all be able to do much more than I could ever dream of!!!
For those of you who are not bound by circumstances beyond your control, I would say, It is neither the time or money that takes what you feel upto; (cos travel can be arranged within those constraints) but, It is merely your strong and determined will combined with your good health which will take you a long way and help you undertake all that you wish for and much more!!
So to all of you there.............”Happy trekking!”....cheers....

Sunday, 15 September 2013

FB 5 : Straight from the heart ......3.........(.Friends n friendships, real or virtual??)

Just a few days ago, a young friend of mine asked me to write about how much people were getting addicted to "virtual friendships" then "real and personal" ones .........She seemed so concerned about losing out on the personal friendship touch, that our generation (her mom n dad's, the present day late forties or fiftties generation) seem to have had!!

Indeed, I thought....every word she expressed was so very true and unfortunately, we, the older generation too, are slowly and surely getting there, aren't we?

I remember the times when there were no mobile phones, no Internet , no Google, no, nothing at all........Reaching out to friends meant meeting and spending time with them personally(not virtually ), either for some sport in parks/gardens or rehearsing a dance/play, playing some indoor games or if nothing, just talking about anything and everything which made/dint make sense in those wonderful times..........catching up with each other was the main point of interest.........oh, those lovely lazy days with those lovely people, our dear friends!!  We did meet at School, but,  that meeting was not enough......we had to meet at each others places or in the park or playgrounds or just anywhere, but meeting each other, was a must...........and given a thought, maybe, it was really because there was no other way to connect..........meeting your best friend  after two whole days of holiday(week-end)  was unheard of! In case it was a "no, not today" from parents, we made excuses of borrowing/lending study books(and this excuse , generally, worked at all times) and went over to friends to just spend some time with them!!! Those lovely days together, talking for hours in the street, or the park, laughing endlessly about nothing, just running along to be with your friends when they needed you the most, sometimes , group-studying or helping a friend in her studies, getting to know her circle of family and near ones and connecting with them too, as your own, going to each other's places for all festivals, get togethers and any other occasions, so many many things shared or just "being there" for them..........oh, even as I pen down, I know I am still only able to do only a little on paper than what I have actually experienced with my friends of young times!!!!
But wait, cos all of that was with PERSONAL MEETINGS , not virtual or through social networks............:)
Those memories will , however, remain with me, for a lifetime.....

The  young ones of today do catch up on each other on an everyday basis but how!!!!!!!

One young school boy , I overheard, telling his friend when asked, "arey where were u yesterday?, I called you but you did not reply" to which the boy answered"dint you see my facebook status?I said I was not available for the next two days as I am going out of town!!" .........FB status? now what was that? A young school going boy will inform his friend who shares his school desk everyday, that he is going out of town, via FB?? What is it all coming to? The other day I met another young boy , who , when asked, if he played any sport, answered, yes, I am the expert in play-station/video games...........Most kids spend hours on FB/other social networking sites, when all they should be doing as students, is fulfilling their academic obligations or dedicating themselves to physical sports, music, spending quality time with friends for common interesting activities........what really concerns me is also the HEALTH aspect of these individuals......when they should be out playing vigourously for building up their physical stamina or strength, they are busy idling away on FB/other social networking sites doing nothing of value for their ownselves!!!From my very own experience I have realised that the stamina building actvity needs to be started from very young ages.......yes, we can attain all of that later too, but with a hell of a lot of effort , both physical as well as monetary, which is so much easy when done young!!! and , of course, the  factual realisation that  the emotional fulfilment and joy that comes out of personally meeting and spending time with friends, which  can never be substituted any any vitual friends on social networking sites and therefore may only be a waste of  one's valuable time!!

I sincerely appeal to all my College-going/working young friends on FB to please arrange your time schedules to meet with your dear friends personally, if only for sometime........The meetings need not be heavy lunches or dinners or expensive affairs, they can just be for sharing even some small silly happenings over a coffee, to involve in some sport or interesting activity or to just exchange a polite "hello"......For the School-going ones, I suggest you take out time for each other for just about anything..........

I want to feel like old times once again,  with housing societies/streets/playgounds/parks  sounding off with noisy, playful children;  children here, children there and children  everywhere !! and for you the mid-younger ones to make and have true friends and not end up like the joke I am concluding this with...........

A man dies............His funeral is arranged by a family member. It so happens that  the turn-out  is only about ten odd  heads................An onlooking outsider asks a senior family member of the deceased, "why have you arranged for a thousand chairs, when the turnout is so poor?" ..........."Because, answers the family member, he had two-thousand facebook friends......"........:):)

Friday, 13 September 2013

Straight from the heart .....2.........(Family time)

Recently, we planned a family weekend visit to family meaning hubby and my only son, who is now a grown-up working man!! I was very excited as we had not done this for  a very  long time......prep for the trip were on in full swing........Sid, my son, who soemtimes works even week-ends these days, was especially asked to inform his office that he would be taking an off  this once, also the same was asked of my husband....Thus, we were ready, all set to travel.

Incidentally, just a couple of days before that we were visiting our friends. In the conversation, this week-end travel topic came up and  my hubby's friend just came up with this question, "what, Sid still travels on vacation with you both?'....he probably meant to ask,  how come Sid accepted going out for a vacation with his parents and not friends or something like that and that's where the idea of sharing "the why" with all of you came to me......

Life, to a large extent takes the course of associations with the past, both pleasant as well as unpleasant.........mostly, the pleasant memories are cherished, replayed by the mind and we wish that we can sometimes do those things, all over again..........I guess , in our case, weekend outings, as family,  are one of them!!!

In our childhood, as far as I remember, family outings were very rare occasions and usually meant going out with family only  for weddings , funerals, thread -ceremonies, other religious festivities and rarely for mere relaxation or sight-seeing or any other enjoyment...........infact, the only such outings during those times were were school picnics/excursions or going out of town for sports/dance/drama inter-school/college competitions and usually accompanied by the team colleagues and managers......there was hardly any time for sightseeing etc..... an outing for just visiting a place to actually see it was "once in a way" kind of an event.
And then, we were always in awe of our parents even during a trip, always mindful of our Ps and Qs, could never behave with the freedom or the closeness of a friend , that, my son shares with me, today!!

So when Sid was hardly 2 years old, we three began our family trips to Panchgani, Mulshi, kashid, murud-janjira, or wherever, to all those nearby places  we could then afford   in terms of our time and money.........Twice in a year, it was GOA (and Sid still makes it to Goa with us every year!!!!) I loved these trips as they gave us all so much time to spend with each other, thrash out stuff,  laugh out together as much as we could, enjoy sport together, thus building our sweet memories for a lifetime.......Never realise how time flew by, but , in this process, we as family have bound in such a way, that, even today, a grown-up son loves to do this vacation with us........Not that he does not go out with his friends, rather, I would say, he is out for 12 hours of everyday with his colleagues/music buddies/ old school and college friends , but he has never denied us our special time together........

Looking back, I now think, that probably, if we as children had done this often with parents too, I would have probably been looking forward to doing these small outings with them, all the time, even as an adult!!!
Yes, we did speak to parents about everything , they were are guides in the true sense, but today, we not only play that role but also the role of "best buddies" with our children..............Today, my son confides more in me than I ever did with either parent and that too with so much ease!!! For me, to confide with this much freeness never ever came easy.....

Such is the "change" in time and lifestyle and so I guess,  our children , however grown-up they be or whatever they otherwise do, they would ALWAYS love to do that small vacation with their parents , their one-time and everytime "best buddies".......I have said it all now, haven't I??..........:)

Monday, 22 July 2013

My very own poetry-book......3................The Wisp.

The “wisp”

By Archana Sandeep Tambe

A sparkling twinkle, a charming face
A bright old  gown, covered in lace,
A battered  hat to adorn her crowning glory
A pearly grin that told her story

She spoke very little and always with a lisp,
But you could never ever miss, this sweet little wisp
Through poverty-stricken and sad old lanes
Houses  shattered and broken window panes
The wisp, she floated, her basket full of flowers,
Smiles and cheers she brought about
She  possessed Godly powers

For who could laugh  in such times
When the World War was to  the fore
Only cries and tears and gloom you heard
As you passed by any door!
But , the petite wisp , she sang merrily
And hung pretty  flowers on doors
Waved to every soul that passed
As she got on with her chores

Sad as they were, they always laughed
When the wisp sang her merry tune
Be it a lady or a man or an elder
Or be it the local prune

Not a morsel of food did she get sometimes
Or nothing to drink either
Dampened never her spirits this
Not close, not even hither

The village children flocked beside
The wisp to hear her tales,
Smiling always,  she did abide
With stories from the Wales

When darkness fell, and when alone,
Yes, that was when she cried
For her lost near and dear ones
For their country, who had best tried
Hungry, ill and tired, late she fell asleep

To wake up to another day, to take another leap!!!

Storytimes - Experience of a relation (topic -friend)

A learning experience!! - short story

Arun and Sahil were good friends…they had been so for a long long time now….much before either was married!! Sahil got to married to Anushka when he was barely 25 .. Sahil was living in Pune with his family where his work was….. Arun lived in another town, but work brought him to Pune… After another ten years or so, Arun got married to Sanaya….In the meantime, Sahil was already “Pa” with their only son Sankalp, being 8-9 yrs old.

Arun and Sanaya too began their married life and with Sahil and Anushka they became a fivesome , doing most things together…..…It was fun ……while the newly-weds  had just started on life together,  and were making the most of it, the other couple, already well ahead in the game now,  had to cope with their joint family, their own work commitments and the most important commitment of them all, their child!! Inspite of it all, the friends always made time for and with each other and thus ran their lives....till their little one came along and it now became a sixsome!!!! The little guy brought much joy into their lives as he started growing up…….the older child had fun walking and talking him around on outdoors and the little one doted on him , too!!

Years rolled and there were no occasions in either homes without the other friend family being present on all of them…….so much so, that they believed to be the extended family of each other…....that did not mean though, that either of them did not have other close friends nor that they did not spend time with their other friend/commitments , but, yes, the time that they had been spending with each other , irrespective of whether it was a weekday or a weekend, whether it was early evening or late night , whether those working from amongst them, had heavy work commitments the next day or anything at all….they were always together and that is what had made the bond so special……. Infact, the couple with the older child even came to be called as “everready” by the other couple since they always kept aside their issues and made time for the other couple!! And thus built a strong friendship bond amongst them…….

......Or so one thought……until one day………when a turn of events (and I call this an “experience of a lifetime” for the purpose of readers), changed that to “NeverReady”…….cos an unexpected event took place, which killed that sweet something between them …..and it was never the same again…..

Arun and Sahil shared their birthday month too……… it was not unusual for the couples  to celebrate their birthday event jointly, most times…It was not as if it was an everytime affair but it was there………, at those other times, when they were to be no celebrations too,  the two friends went to each others homes on those special days even without being invited….Surprisingly, apart from their family members, there used to be none of the other so-called friends during those times…….maybe , either, because those friends were too busy with their own lives or maybe they had their very own other set of close friends then??.........Anyways, so it went with the Arun-Sahil team for many many years until the “experience” happened!!!

Arun, being the older of the two barely by a year, had a milestone birthday approaching soon! Sanaya was keen on celebrating the birthday together and so she kept mentioning it to Anushka and Anushka was okay with the idea too…….However, life on its  everchanging mode was at work and new things were happening in either friend’s lives......…..Sahil was involved in a new project and was preoccupied with its inception, Anushka did not have  fair weather at her workplace either…….Arun was busy too and  so was Sanaya, training in a new project…..With all of the four being busy in their own commitments, the birthday topic was completely washed away……… much so, that Anushka even forgot to wish Arun or remind Sahil (the always forgetful) , to wish Arun on his birthday !!!

Maybe this was the reason for Sanaya to behave in a strange way in which she did (wonders Anushka, even today!!!!) . She intentionally (and intentionally I say because it was an “all friends” celebration, there were no family members involved and till that day, Anushka and family, believed to be one of their “best friends” too…) did not invite  Anushka and family (whom she told the “whole world” was her “extended family”..........a joke, shall I say??) for a “milestone birthday” she celebrated and that too, only with the,suddenly very close friends from her workside(whom, she told Anushka later, had asked her to drop them)??? Or was there another reason?? Funnily, the next day she called up Anushka and gave some lame excuses for not having invited them; said she had invited only two families and if they(Anushka’s family) had to be called it would be three people too many……………….three people too many???? .........

Now, that came as a real shock!!!!!!! The fact that she had not invited did not seem to matter so much to Anushka  as much as this disclosure…………….Since when had Sahil’s family become three people too many for Sanaya?? Someone, with whom you had spent so many beautiful moments/hours/days,years, who you expected to be ever present when you wanted their company, who never forgot to invite you with their own siblings , when they actually could have done without you, (as they were never necessarily invited  with the Sanaya family siblings around!!!),who were always there for you and you for them, and whatever suddenly happened that made them three people too many?? All because Sanaya came across some others, living in the same town for years, she occasionally met, now suddenly closer because of work or whatever??  What happened to those days of  joint celebrations, forget that, of that so-called “extended family” that Sanaya herself used to go about calling the other couple???  why did all of that vanish so suddenly??People who had been in your life for so many years, your best friends were “not wanted” by you on your “special day”, when all they wanted was to feel a part of your special moment??Could you forget them so blatantly? It was not about the eats/drinks, it was about the feeling that you gave them of  "not being wanted"  on that special day…….and could somebody claiming to be your best friends have skipped this simple yet meaningful understanding of your feelings??? So then, was all the calling only when and because you found nobody else to spend time with????

And know what, until today, Anushka does not know why Sanaya had behaved in that strange way!! But, from that day on everything changed……..Now, Anushka never felt the same comfort in continuing as if nothing had happened……..Sanaya did try to cover up by inviting like old times etc etc, but now, it never felt the same way………for no rhyme or reason, Sanaya had behaved strangely, she had even invited somebody she said she was not so close to,  but,, not Anushka and family; hence, now,  any amount of sweet-talking, caring acts etc;  made no sense, whatsoever………..
Anushka decided to continue being friends but certainly never felt like before as something  which did not make any sense had happened to her from someone she thought were her closest friends, nay, “extended family”??........J….

Sanaya tried to make out as if nothing had happened by making humour out of the way Anushka and family had started behaving, calling them VIPs etc in the presence of other common friends because now they were NeverReady??……..…….she gossiped with her other friends about how Anushka’s family were stuck-up, hard, rigid beings having no sense of humour at all, but never for once thought that they could have been hurt with the insensitiveness she had displayed and therefore, when Sanaya now came up with dialogues like, “are friends only for eating and drinking together?” “should we not call up and let the other know we are ill, or need help or “ or something equally maudlin……all Anushka did was to just smile to herself!  Where was all this “bhaichara” when you did not even remember people you used to always hang around with, is what she thought!!!

For a while, Anushka was so upset that she had misjudged the relation by thinking of these people as her "best friends" ……she felt so disgusted at that she did not want to even associate, socialise or have anything to do at all! But subsequently, as time passed, she decided to try and continue as before, but yes, she had learnt something on that day, which, which she would remember for the rest of her life!! That something she called a “ life learning experience”

She had realized that ;
1)there is never a reason for how people will want to behave with you at different times and for reasons/conveniences best known to them;
2)that, they will expect you to forgive and forget anything and everything they do  unto you, quickly, as if it never happened and continue as you did in the past;
3)that it is wise to never expect anything , even from people you consider your “best friends”;
4)that people who you thought were your “best friends” may actually have other “best friends” and you may be only those that they call on when there is nobody else for them to spend time with;
4)that in whatever way  the so-called friend may call you or themselves in relation to you, it is always your siblings alone, that is you real family and you mean the World to them!!(they would never forget you inspite of anything and that there are no extended families!!People will help you, do you favours and later, put you under obligation by their strange behaviours!)
5)that, if your siblings were to do any such thing to you, you have a right to thrash it out with them and find out the true reasons for their strange behaviours without being judged, and without sudden change of hearts!!! But, you will never know how the others tick……..

So, try and be “real friends” to people who call you friends and be careful when you call somebody your “extended family” cos once you call them that you are under an obligation to remember and carry out the relation in that exact way!!

Thursday, 18 July 2013

My very own poetry-book......2............Melancholy


By Archana Sandeep Tambe

He has finally gone away, leaving me sad and distressed. 
Only to a Boarding School and not forever! 
my friends console me 
I nod my head, I truly understand y'know, I say to them 
But my heart, my soul, the unlimiting tears 
which keep pouring out 
Will not relent! 
For deep somewhere, they being my closest associates,like me - know
That until now, he-my darling son and me shared a very special bond! 
And although this bond shall never be 
the thought of his going 'far away forever’
strikes a discordant note. 
And then what erupts within is but MELANCHOLY!