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Nostalgia---and Facts Of Life!!!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Yesterday was India's 62nd. Republic Day----and the beautiful vista of the City Lutyens built lay basking in the Winter Sunshine!!!Attending these Celebrations in person was a dream that so far hasn't been fulfilled---and as Time runs out fast--it never will be!!However thanks to the improved Powers of Communication the next best thing is sitting at home and seeing it live on T.V.---and of course the warm and cosy comfort of avoiding the biting,shivering Cold if the morning is grey and foggy in Delhi!!!
This brings to mind my biggest regret as a child---of being a girl---hence could not enlist in the Army----though my inspipiration was The Rani of Jhansi---a Warrior Queen who fought against the British in 1857's War of Independence---termed by them as "The Mutiny"!!To negate the fact of being an "Abala" or weak female, I became a Tomboy---lifting weights,climbing Trees and generally gaining an ability in Athletic tastes and prowess--anything Boys could do I could do better!!!Being an active participant of Athletic Team in School,climbing up into the higher branches of the sturdy Neem(Margosa) and Mango Trees in the Garden was my Passion with a capital P---many are the idyllic hours that I spent sitting in the fork created by broad branches of my favourite Trees---swaying gently with the Wind and feeling like some Fairy Queen---surveying the World so far below me from my lofty perch!!I loved the Solitude---the peace and quiet away from my mother's constant admonishments and my siblings' bickering was God sent---and so this is where I spent entire days in my Winter and Summer Vacations---being confined to the house only when it rained---how I hated that!!!
Not just that--I became an Outdoors person---accompanying Daddy on his treks in the Mountains-----this made me strong and wiry and despite being so thin and slender I could lift the equivalent of my body weight with ease!!The Solace of the Mountains---replete with Forest and Pine scented Air, the perfume of heady Wild Flowers,the soft babble of the Brooks and Streams and eating the wafer thin Sandwiches for Lunch on the banks of a clear Stream---seated under the shade of a shady Tree in Summer---or soaking in the warm Sunshine seated on a warm Rock or Boulder on sunny days in Winter----the Serenity of the scene was heavenly!!Daddy taught me so many things about Nature----one of our favourite pastimes was to lie back under the deep Blue Sky---and look for different shapes in the Clouds sailing above us in companionable silence---broken only to excitedly point out a Dragon or an Elephant or some other Cloud formation in the Sky!!On most of these jaunts we'd also be accompanied by Jeanneret Uncle---the younger cousin of Le Corbusier---and then we'd also discuss the names of the many Wild Flowers that grew profusely around us.He was a fount of Information and he taught me to listen to the Bird Calls in the Forests and identify them correctly----he also got me expensive and informative Books as Gifts during his European Holidays home---a world of information about the different species of Trees,Birds, Flowers and Regions----he took great paternal Pride in my geekiness as well!!
We lived near the Raj Bhavan---the Governor's Residence---and I simply loved being awakened by the Bugle each morning---as the National Flag was hoisted up and would wait with bated breath for the notes of the Bugle again each evening signalling the Flag down----can still recall the magic of those silvery notes dissolving in the descending Dusk----treasured moments for me even today!!
Till August 1965,War was a romantic thing---but I saw the vicious ugliness of it when Mummy volunteered in the Red Cross that year.She was a member of the Volunteers who went daily to the Hospitals to help out with the Nursing of these wounded Soldiers---and since they needed to send letters home, the older children like me were drafted in too----strong men reduced to to scraps of humanity----it left a very deep and lasting effect on my 12 year old mind!!!I've written letters home for some who were missing an arm or a leg---but there were those who had lost both arms or legs and worse still---all their limbs completely!!It was their cheerful Fortitude that jolted me and taught me to see beyond my narrow walls---it taught me the meaning of Life and Living---this lesson firmed my Spirit and today so many years later I still following that lesson I learnt then---Life is never fair so one must always take the blows dealt out by Fate on the chin and accept the inevitable with Fortitude.Only by accepting it can one really come to terms with Reality and move forward---because till The Almighty decrees our Deaths we have to live---and doing so with a smile is the only way to do it!!!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MAGIK0731 2/1/2011 1:56PM

    WOW! Are you a writer? You painted a great picture for someone who has never been to India but I felt what you were saying.

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MESSENE 1/30/2011 8:58AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BOVEY63 1/27/2011 1:35PM

    What a beautiful blog! Your childhood memories are so amazing; and loved reading about the treks with your father.
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Your memories of the Red Cross is a great reminder of the sacrifices others have made, and are still making, for our safety and well-being.
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SAASHA17 1/27/2011 11:51AM

    emoticon emoticon

That was emotional for me. i can relate to some of the things mentioned.

Komal you have a beautiful heart and a beautiful way of expressing it all.

Manasa

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ATMANI 1/27/2011 11:18AM

    Jai Hind!

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EACHDAYAGIFT 1/27/2011 10:11AM

    I really enjoyed reading this blog! I wasn't so athletic as you were, but i can relate strongly, anyway. I still prefer outdoor work to indoor, and when I do tasks that in my youth were relegated to men, I feel proud and capable and strong. It is wonderful that you had such strong male influences growing up and that your curiosity and intellect were encouraged and nurtured. I just know I would have liked you when we were children (except I would have been scared of you when you got strong willed!) and I would have been asking you to teach me other languages up in the trees, pretending we were monkeys ( I always had to be pretending something!)
Thanks for sharing another glimpse into your memories...I've missed these blogs!
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*MADHU* 1/27/2011 8:36AM

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National Pride!!!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Every 26th.January my Program is fixed----I watch the live telecast of the Republic Day Parade from the Rajpath--"Royal Way"-----from New Delhi!!!Each morning that day by 9 a.m. I'm ensconced by the the T.V. ---just breakfasted, with a bottle of Water and 2 handkerchiefs---making myself comfortable to watch the Telecast relayed live from New Delhi---my yearly Date with my beloved Country!!
As the Telecast begins with a tribute to the Martyrs of different Wars at India Gate---my tears start flowing----and continue through the awarding of various Bravery Awards---mostly posthumous.It is however the beginning of the March Past that forms a lump of Pride in my throat----and wave after wave of Pride keeps washing over me---this is MY Country---MY People and I am Proud to be an Indian!!!
My Country,My People and My Culture---all are an Ancient unbroken chain which can be traced back to a minimum of 10,000 years.My Country has absorbed the various Cultures of those who came here--both as Conquerors and Guests---and merged with it to form a composite whole-----and always respected Secularity.Today with Pride we can boast of a multi cultural Diversity----ethnic diversity ---but all bonded together as one cohesive Country.Today we are slowly coming into our own---Computer Technology has reached remote Villages---and Mobile Phones are commonplace---I can place an order with my Fisherwoman about the type and amount of Fish I need the next day----it is the cheapest mode of Communication today!!
Today we are a fast progressing Nation---making our mark globally---in Technological Know-How and Medical Expertise----getting many visitors seeking Expert Opinions in both those fields.Of course there are still a few areas which need to be ironed out---but point out a single country in the World where Poverty and Problems don't exist??It is as difficult as finding the Shirt of a Happy Man!!!Our young generation is concentrating on bettering their environment at home and this raises hope in my heart----making me confident of building a wonderful and strong India!!!Jai Hind!!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MILLISMA 1/26/2011 4:49PM

    Happy Republic Day, Komal! I love your pride and your wonderful traditions!

emoticonMary Anne

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ANITAS66 1/26/2011 1:54PM

    I am so proud of our country and what it has achieved. Specially watching the women rising to new heights is so exciting.

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BOVEY63 1/26/2011 12:53PM

    I love reading about the pride you have in your country and its people. The world would be a much better place if more people felt and displayed their pride more often.

Happy Republic Day!


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EACHDAYAGIFT 1/26/2011 12:43PM

    Happy Republic Day!! I love that you feel things so deeply and love your country so much. As an American, it is always startling to reflect on how young our own country is compared to most. Less than 200 years when I was born, which at that young age sounded like a long, long time. Now that I'm 55 and our country is only 235 years old, and I feel how quickly my own 55 years sped by, I realize how very, very new we are. Our oldest historical buildings are a few hundred years old, not thousands. Our customs go back farther, but they did not originate on our own soil. No wonder you feel proud when you think on all that has gone before you in your native land!
I don't know the translation, but "Jai Hind!!!" to you, if it's appropriate for a foreigner to say! I trust you will edit my sentiments if needed!
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SAASHA17 1/26/2011 11:32AM

    Jai Hind!!! emoticon emoticon

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Am I Blushing!!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

This morning I got such a wonderful surprise!!!On my Spark Page and on my Face Book Profile I was delighted to discover these "Beautiful Woman" Awards----7 in all---and I was so happy that I ACTUALLY blushed!!!I am very deeply honoured and touched by the Love and Affection bestowed on me by my Friends---but don't know whether I really deserve this!!!A very heartfelt "Thank You" to you all!!
There are many to whom I too want to say this----Friends whom I've never met---whose voices I've never heard---but their sentiments and thoughts have found an echo in my heart and mind---and who have grown to be true Soulmates---people with whom I can truly be myself---without any artifice!!As a child I had many Pen Friends from all over the Globe---but these SP Friends of mine are far more accessible than those----they're literally just a click away!!!This relationship is a Bond--one that has insidiously wound it's way into my heart and become an integral part of my life---I really miss it so when the stupid servers are down---that's when I resemble a fat,well fed Cat pacing gingerly on a hot Tin Roof!!
The last week has been a bit hectic---getting settled in always is--specially once one is back home!!!Getting the Bags unpacked,Gifts dispensed,Closets tidied,Groceries replenished,Bags stowed away-----a million tiring,irritating but very necessary chores---a little trouble ensures a smoother routine!!Add to that a very dear Festival---Makar Sankranti---dedicated to the bounty of Mother Earth---in dispensing a good Winter Harvest of Chick Peas,Ground Nuts,Sugarcanes,Carrots,wild,sour Berries,tiny Sesame Seed Balls made with roasted Sesame Seeds in Jaggery Syrup called "Til Laddus"-----all ceremoniously filled in small Red Clay Pots decorated with daubs of Sandalwood Paste,Turmeric Powder and Red Kum Kum Powder---worshipped with great reverence and distributed to 5,7,9,11 "Suhaagans" or married women---various numbers in various households!!We arrived early morning on the 14th.of January---this Festival took place on the 15th. of January----I had left cash and a shopping list with my trusty Vanita---and so was all set for it---only drawback being the Jet lag!!!
I am really grateful to God for having granted me such wonderful Domestic Helpers Chhaaya Bai,Vanita,Hira Bai---all three of these ladies is worth their weight in Gold!!We came back to a sparkling clean,well aired home with the Beds spread with freshly laundered Sheets and freshly made home cooked Food ready to heated up as and when needed!!!The next morning all of them reported for duty at 10 a.m. sharp---and by noon the Bags were unpacked and stowed away-----everything went smoothly!!!My grand daughter was wondering why we need to go back to India---specially when she's not there!!Guess the answer is that we're too addicted to our creature comforts and too old to learn new tricks----an unfortunate fact!!!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BOVEY63 1/25/2011 12:42PM

    Great blog. You are a beautiful woman and an awesome SparkFriend!
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ANITAS66 1/25/2011 9:53AM

    It sounds like a dream come true to come home and all that work is done. Luxury for us here


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ATMANI 1/25/2011 8:15AM

    Lovely blog. Glad to see you back. Thanks for sharing. I missed reading your blogs emoticon

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SONPARI1 1/25/2011 4:14AM

    You are indeed beautiful Komal and U deserve it! Lucky u to have helpful people around.

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EACHDAYAGIFT 1/25/2011 1:07AM

    No need to blush, Komal! Just smile and enjoy! Glad things are getting back to routine so smoothly. Oh, how I, too, love my creature comforts. I would love to go camping again soon, but don't really know if the pleasures of nature would be worth being away from my comfy bed!

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Musical Memories!!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Music is my soul----it helps keep my mind on an even keel---while I love Ballads and sad Songs I prefer the livelier Tunes---best pick-me-ups in the World!!!I grew up in the Radio Age---and my constant companion in all my waking hours was the Radio---the Short Wave fading in and out would play all the latest Hits of the time.Specially during the hot Summer nights when we slept out under the Stars on our Terrace---drifting off to sleep---lulled by the Music washing over us!!!
On our recent trip to Target I came across a very beautiful Wooden Musical Box---it was a complete Music Player--with arrangements for Records,Cassettes,Cds as well as a Radio and Voice recorder.This equipment also had the ability to convert Cassettes into CDs---which would have been such a boon for me--looking at the dozens of Cassettes that I've painstakingly compiled to suit my personal taste---unfortunately it was unpractical to carry back home---'coz previous buys have brought home the fact that mundane things like Voltage,Climatic conditions(Humidity etc.) cause terrible problems---resulting in disappointment when the item refuses to work!!!
The solution to this is access to the Internet's Juke Box---Youtube---of which I'm fast becoming an addict!!This wonderful Portal is taking me down Memory Lane in style---I'm meeting so many of my old favourites----beginning with as far back as the original "Musical Cowboy" Gene Autry besides Bing Crosby, Jim Reeves,Pat Boone,Fats Domino,Nat king Cole and "Ole Blue eyes" Frank Sinatra!!The heart throbs of my youth are very much there and these days I'm indulging in Gluttony---which won't give me any Indigestion for sure----plenty of Elvis,Cliff Richard,Nina & Fredrick,Glen Campbell----The Beatles,The Platters,The Kingston Trio----I'm so spoiled for choice!!!Whatever the Music it does set the mood for the Day----and then I dance the day away!!!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MAGIK0731 1/20/2011 11:52AM

    Its funny how music can set the tone for anything and help us through bad times yet add a certain flare to good times. What would we do without music?

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ATMANI 1/20/2011 9:55AM

    emoticon

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SAASHA17 1/19/2011 3:23PM

    what would we do without Music?

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RAIN454 1/19/2011 3:10PM

    Are you sure you're Indian? lol..kidding...but always amazing when I hear ppl in India relic on American classics...i am so naive to think that you guys grew up just listening to Bollywood greats like Mukesh and Lata and that fabulous bunch. Music is therapy for me...and love to workout with it!!

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ZANNACHAN 1/19/2011 1:23PM

    A post after my own heart! I love music and have music on when I'm doing just about anything--except sleeping, because I can't *not* listen to it and so I spend hours lying there listening to music. I listened to the radio all the time growing up, so it's kind of funny but I have no patience for it now! I hate the advertisements and for a long time--though this has changed--I couldn't find stations that carried music I like. But now I have an ipod which is kind of like having my own portable, private radio station.

Have you ever used Pandora? I haven't used it much myself, but I've heard wonderful things about it. It's kind of like an internet radio, only it tailors it to you. So you pick a song or an artist--say Frank Sinatra--and it selects music based on that choice. And you can tell it "no more of this artist" or "more of that one" I think to tailor it further.

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BOVEY63 1/19/2011 12:54PM

    I too love having music around me, and have the radio on all day at work as well as music blaring throughout the house when cleaning. I even wear a headset when shoveling.
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Back Home---Refreshed and Recharged!!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The last 3 months of 2010 were great---first a Holiday in London followed by the Vacation in Los Angeles---feted,treated and cossetted by both our daughters in turn!!!All this change helped us both to really relax and unwind---result?A rejuvenated couple---feeling AND looking fresh---and raring to go!!!
While the London Holiday was a short one---well it's just 8 hours away---so a hop,skip and jump from home----more easily traversed than the trip to Los Angeles---two 9 hour hauls and then a 4 hour one---besides waiting in Transit on Airports---the journey takes almost 26-28 hours!!While on the way the anticipation of meeting the children spices up the long haul---it's on the way back that we're a bit disheartened---miss the children till our routine sets in---then we're back to being on our own again!!
This was the first time that Sayali wasn't in the United States.Earlier our route used to be to Atlanta where we'd clear Immgration and Customs---we always travel Delta-----and then a short flight--- earlier to Rochester(NY) and later New York---cutting our flying time considerably.We'd then fly out to Los Angeles from Sayali's place and back----resting for a few days before returning home.This time we had a long flight from Atlanta to Los Angeles and back---very tiring!!Besides the flight took us via Amsterdam---the Customs and Security took a while because they were very thorough---which made the Transit---however comfortable the Lounges maybe---the wait still seems even longer!!
This trip our grand daughter was clinging more to us than earlier---she goes off to College in 2012----so if she's nearby she'll drop in on the Weekends---if not then maybe a short visit to see us then---she's already in tears over the situation way in advance!!Just last year she couldn't wait to get her Permit to drive----now she wants to become a child again and stay protected and pampered-----it's difficult coming to terms with oneself these days---specially for teenagers!!As for me---age has taught me to take things as they come---crossing my bridges only when I arrive there---why worry about them in advance?Our grand Daughter was vehement in denying my age---"Aaji you should wear make up---and vibrant colours---why don't you get a haircut too???" she asked---so that sort of woke me up from my stupor!!I began making the effort to look smarter---Sudhir has seen me totally dishevelled with sleepy and puffy eyes each morning for well nigh 40 years now---but getting fulsome Compliments from him does make the day brighter----still!!
So while I'm skeptical about my lasting power---I begin with great Vim and Vigour and then after a while the enthusiasm beens to fade and wane and finally I'm back to telling myself that what does it matter as long as I'm comfortable being me!!!Now I don't know whether that's being comfortable in my skin---or plain laziness!!However---for the last few days I've been dressing pretty--wearing my Apron while cooking to keep my clothes looking band box fresh minus spills and stains---got out my jealously guarded hoard of Perfumes---so smell like a veritable perfumerie----a different one each day---wearing Lipstick at home these days----gives me a real kick each time I glance in the mirror----catch myself peeking and preening more often-----I may as well have lots of fun while this phase lasts!!!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PARM01 1/22/2011 3:34AM

    Enjoyed reading your blog. emoticon

Comment edited on: 1/22/2011 8:02:45 PM

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ZANNACHAN 1/19/2011 1:17PM

    I have missed your blogs but I'm so glad that your trip went well! One good thing about skipping New York--you missed all the snow that they have been having lately!

I love traveling--once I get where I'm going, but flying is exhausting to me. And your trip was a lot farther than anything I've ever done! The longest trip I've had was to Scotland--about 12 hours with the lay over, more when you count getting to the airport, through security, landing, getting baggage, going through customs, etc. It's amazing how much time, especially with layovers, flying can take! A trip from Detroit, Michigan to Merida, Mexico--which I did a number of times--could be as short as 6 hours and as along as 12.

Enjoy the phase you're in! I think that when we take a little extra time (though I should in full disclosure say that as I type this my hair is in messy french braids and that I'm wearing workout clothes, as I'm planning on workout soon) to make ourselves look our best, we tend to feel better about ourselves. It's a balancing act, at least for me--I resent it when I feel pressured by other people to wear make up when I don't feel like it, or to dress in styles I don't care for. But knowing that you look good can help boost your self esteem and self confidence.

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MILLISMA 1/18/2011 6:21PM

    Have missed you and your blogs. Sounds like you had a wonderful time despite the travel time. I have a feeling that you are very comfortable with the person that you are but it is fun to add a few "finishing touches".

hugs....Mary Anne

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BOVEY63 1/18/2011 5:43PM

    So happy that you had such a wonderful time with your family and came back with such a positive attitude.
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Looking forward to hearing from you more now that you're back home.
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RAIN454 1/18/2011 1:00PM

    Welcome back, Komal! I missed you and your blogs!!! I used to grab a snack and read your beautiful, intricate, and entertaining stories so looking forward to "snack time" again...lol.
London is like one of my favorite places...always wanted to live there for a year...so jealous you got to spend some time there. LA is fun..did you do any shopping? Glad you got to spend some quality time with everyone!
Take care!

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SAASHA17 1/18/2011 12:00PM

    Welcome back Komal...U were missed:)

Well glad ur trip went well:) Well dressing up everyday is fun for urself too:)

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EACHDAYAGIFT 1/18/2011 10:57AM

    I shudder to think of that journey. I would have to be drugged and packed in a crate, I think. My longest flight was to Hawaii, I think about 12 hours total, and the stress of that was enough to have me shuttling back and forth to the bathroom and praying the fasten seatbelt sign wouldn't require me to stay in my seat. Lets just say confined spaces, crowds, and my anxiety issues don't play well together!! I know what you mean: the trip back home is worse, without the excited anticipation of the destination. Glad you got to spend such a nice, long time with your daughters and granddaughter. Is she thinking of going to college in India?

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MESSENE 1/18/2011 8:36AM

    So glad your trip went well, sound like you had a emoticontime! emoticonGlad you have back too! emoticon emoticon

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SONPARI1 1/18/2011 5:31AM

    Welcome back Komal, missed your blogs all these days. Good to see in gr8 spirits...looking forward to all your travel tales :)

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