FIVE STRANGERS- FIVE LESSONS

 

 

As I flew from the east to the west , little did I know that in those ten days, I would meet five travel companions that would change my perception forever……..

So when you see all these posts about me travelling here there and everywhere, be honest- You must think – ‘Oh she must be having A Damn Awesome life!’

I can’t say it is all untrue but if you are a forced traveller like me then the prospect of packing bags, living out of a suitcase, navigating airports, immigration, customs, maps can be pretty painful.While some are natural, enthusiastic travellers, few are not. Unfortunately I come under the second category. So even though my profession makes me board an aircraft almost every week, when it comes to taking off on vacation, there are days I rather sit home under my rock and switch off from airports, trains, buses and any other transportation, as ironical as it sounds.IMG_2766

My trip to Alaska in July was one such ‘Shall I go- Shall I not?’ kind of trip. Yes, Alaska the bucket wish of every second soul.

And there I was with a cruise in hand and still contemplating until the last minute… should I or should I not jump over glaciers and befriend dolphins?

Besides the prospect of getting a Canadian visa was so unappealing, having heard nightmares of that taking a month; there was no chance I could give up my passport for so long. I had flights to catch and work to do.

Finally after being smart and getting the visa in under a week (no I am not sharing this information) I got myself mentally prepared for the almost 24 hour journey from Mumbai via London to Vancouver, where Celebrity Infinity inaugurated its weekly route.

Awesome Auntyjee- Antijee

So she sat in front of me, 34 K, on the Mumbai London flight. I originally had the one next to her but other old folks mistakenly sat there and so I automatically slid into the one behind without a fuss. Boredom made me strike up a conversation with the young student next to me on landing and as usual I started about my debut book, ‘blah blah, check it out etc. ‘ As the flight touched down, completely oblivious to Auntyjee in front of me for the past eight hours, I saw a white haired tiny entity clad in a simple yellow sari, stand up and clap in glee. For a minute I thought she had lost it, ‘bechari ni paulee kum che,’ (one penny short )I thought in Gujarati.

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Soon I realised the cheering was directed at me, ‘Very good beta.You write books, waah waah you are my Superstar!’

I looked around. Slight panicked. Me? And had this frail sweet smiling woman actually used the word ‘Superstar?’

‘I want to read your book,’ she said with such great gusto that I almost wished I was carrying one in my hand case.

Had my voice been that loud or were Auntyjee’s ears as sharp as an ant’s? Antijee!

‘I will walk with you to immigration,’ she affirmed; ‘It is an honour.’

Ahh vanity couldn’t say no to that. So we started….I wondered if I was in for a monotonous dialogue.

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Before I had time to make up my mind, she threw that budding misconception out of the aircraft door as we disembarked. Quoting the number of biopic books she had read, all in English mind you and the music she had heard, Indian ghazals; I felt like a total villager.

We had reached the lengthy immigration queue when she turned around and asked me if I was married. Ah finally, the generation gap was about to emerge. It had been too good to be true, the previous coolness and wisdom of Antijee was just a curtain that draped a conservative mind. I replied in the negative.

‘Very good,’ she said, bowling me over again, ‘don’t get married. You are saved. Otherwise you will have to sit and pamper a man’s ego, feed him, listen to his nonsense and you will have no time for your ambitions and future awards.’

Then she blinked and hugged me, her fondness for me growing by the minute; ‘But, you must have boyfriends haan, don’t become celibate.’

I nodded quietly , hugging her back. Oh I was falling for her- this little ole fan who had already imagined my future love life and prizes.

Promising to buy my novel, ‘Coffee Days Champagne Nights’, we cleared the queue and then she started moving away slowly, waving at me, her eyes filled with child like wonder.

I had learnt that Antijee was widowed, lived with her strange daughter in law in Mumbai, was visiting another in the UK to help out with her second pregnancy, had books for company and was touching 80! I was on my way to one of the most craved -for vacations in the world,cribbing about the endless wait and the weak WiFi signal on my phone.

Her smile reached her eyes, her three front teeth were missing and yet she came across as if she had it all! And maybe she did.

As for me? I didn’t stop scowling all the way to the transit hotel, digging for a lost mint in my handbag and imagining missing my next flight.

                        LESSON 1

‘Happiness is definitely within. Here and now. It's not having the best but making the most of what you have, already.It has no age limit.  Auntyjee and  I were originally supposed to sit together and we didn't.  But if you are meant to meet someone, you will! No matter which end of the earth or in this case, the plane you were....'


Celebrity Cruises, the luxury line! I boarded excited along with my family.

It’s all ‘hello lovely to see you’ kind of chat from the hundred odd staff on board the Infinity and I was all pleased with the attention until I realised we had to pre pay a handsome amount for daily bottled water.

After check in, I volunteered to dive in to get some H2O supply for the next few days from one of the bars as the various bars were the only hubs where you could swipe the pre paid card at. Assuming it to be the most buzzing, I handed it to a steward at the poolside deck only to be informed harshly that we allowed only one mini bottle at a time per swipe. This rule sounded completely insane. Firstly the concept of paying for water sucks after you have paid through your pants for a trip and secondly his arrogance called for immediate action…I was now seething like a pressure cooker.

Rattled and clueless about how to handle this angered situation on the very first day of our trip, I went over to the common food court to find a manager to whom I could complain to. I started to climb down the staircase, back to my room on the eighth, cursing under my breath about the miserable place I was going to be stuck in for the next seven days; it wasn’t a hotel that one could swap; we were in the middle of the Pacific Ocean! The only way to get to land would be to jump or swim .

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Dog sledding with the huskies

View from Icy Strait Pier

 

 

In great irritation, I dropped my key card between the landing of two floors. A dusky hand reached for it and handed it over; ‘Are you okay?’ Mr Spectacles inquired.

‘No I am not.’ And observing that he was in some kind uniform I started the vent……..

 

                  The Cruise Director

Mr Spectacles, ended up being the Cruise director (as if pre scripted) and found my whining endearing. (especially after I threw the 'I am a famous author from Mumbai' card) He lead me down to the coffee shop to calm my nerves with caffeine shots, arranged for unlimited water to be sent to our rooms, volunteered to arrange a book reading and basically made sure I never had an unhappy moment for the next seven days. 

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Lots of other fancies like champagne, strawberries and chocolates followed in the days to come, all compliments of our new friend and his tribe; the week went by under the spell of a tooth fairy that woke me up on the other side of sunrise with surprises galore that included royal treatment from chefs, casino hosts and room  managers.

                           Lesson 2

The cruise director Bosco teaches me that no matter what happens, any messy situation can be saved by kindness and going out of your way for someone selflessly. And most importantly it confirmed to me the age old quote that every 'not so great thing' happens for a reason - For if it hadn’t been for that insolent barman setting me off into the wrong direction, I would have never bumped into over- generous beings, who took it upon themselves to change the course of  our holiday and make it a memorable one....

                     Tony the silver fox

Ketchikan was the last shore- halt of the ship. Some of us set out in a private boat as part of the shore excursion.  I was in a rather bad mood. I had issues over the phone the day before with so and so and now nothing seemed okay. So while the rest of the cruise enthusiasts’ were oohing over whale hooping and seal spotting I was skirting around corners. I didn’t see the point in clapping for sea mammals when my own life appeared to be a sea -full of questions.

That’s when a lanky man whom I had noticed chatting with the rest came toward me. I thought he maybe the boat owner and probably worried about my lack of participation.

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Tony – The message that came through!

When he informed me that he was the man in charge of the coffee, I was taken aback for he had an important air that almost said that he owned the boat.

He laughed ‘I live in Mexico and come to Alaska in summer; I got kicked out of my old job so this is my first day here. I have no clue what I am doing …’

I smiled. I didn’t know what I was doing there either.

Couple of lost peas in a pod we were- Americano Tony and Bhartiya nari Kainaz

He asked me the what, where and how, sensing my willingness to talk…

After being impressed about the author bit we went on to the part of the crew bit. ‘So you travel all around the world as a job? That’s the luckiest thing I have ever heard pretty lady.’

I snapped; ‘I get a bit fed up of holidays; I want to be more grounded. Been there, done that, you know…’

He stared at me for a good ten seconds, the cool Alaskan wind blowing on our faces. For a minute we forgot where we were and who could be over hearing us.

‘No I don’t know. When you get to my age young lass, you will regret that you haven’t made the most of your fantastic life.’

We both took refreshing pristine breaths.

With a ticket in your pocket, fire in your heart and legs that can walky- walk ..there is no excuse in the world that should stop you from discovering every inch of the globe. And until you do, I don’t want you calling it quits.’

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Aye Aye Captain Tony.

Lots of people have told me the same thing in different ways, mostly family and friends. After all, my job gives me the luxury of super discounted air tickets which sounds like a fantasy to most ears.

But if there was one epic moment that I could say that changed my entire view of my job and my life style, it was that moment.

I returned on board the cruise and booked my next travel destination, online.                             

     

                         LESSON 3

Tony taught me one very crucial thing that day: ‘Make life count. For each day is a gift. And while you're at it, teach your heart to crave adventure once again....'                      
(And within a month I was travel writing, blogging and even travel -shooting. And even though it may not be my ultimate thing; I think it’s a close second.)

          Girl with the nose ring

That same day as we were returning to land, I sat next to a girl on the ferry who looked as if she were travelling on her own. Inspired by Tony’s earlier rebuke I decided to smile and culturally integrate myself.IMG_2768 She seemed like a student so I assumed the conversation would be short and inept. As always, I was wrong. I love India. I have been there and volunteered in the slums.  It is my dream to go back and teach poor children.’

Really? India? One of the farthest points one could think of…and that’s where she wanted to return?  She looked barely 18.

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She turned out to be the cute boat guide’s girlfriend and I found out that they both shared the common dream of teaching poorly kids; she was even pursuing a course just for that. It almost seemed unreal.

I wished her the best and gave her my email. ‘If you make it let me know.’

‘Do you also volunteer?’ She asked me, her eyes wide in hope; ‘So many needy people in your country no?’

I muttered a lie, quite ashamed, ‘Sometimes…’

And exited gracefully.

India has billions and some one special from a remote island of Alaska had big plans for our country while most of us don’t!                         

                         LESSON 4

                  'Wake up wake up wake up. ’


                   

          May – the Phillipino caretaker 

As I took off from Vancouver, I was slightly sad; not only was I was leaving all of nature’s grandeur behind but I didn’t get a business class seat.

But I had met such amazing human beings in my last week that I was now determined to zip my mouth and make positive changes- and that meant accepting a less than ideal travel situation, to kick start my new resolution.

I was squeezed in between a young man and a young lady in the B seat, just ahead of the economy toilets. Every restroom flush through the darned night was ringing in my ears. I tried to not let it affect me.

It would soon be over in ten hours. I would be back in London in my friend’s room where I would take an afternoon nap before my flight home to Mumbai that night and she would spoil me with desserts and goodies in the meanwhile….

Two hours before landing as I opened my eyes, I couldn’t help but smile at the girl next to me; she had slept soundly all night….

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She and I made small talk and I learnt that May was originally from the Philippines but had met her British husband on a dating site many years ago.

She had gone to Newyork on a mini break with her cousin via Vancouver. It sounded fancy and I thought to myself maybe her clothes and struggling look were just the result of tiredness…for Manhattan sounded bit much.(Yes I am the queen of false assumptions, shame on me)

She then gave me a watery smile, ‘It was my first holiday in ten years. You see back home in the UK, I have a husband who suffers from this illness. Through the years, one after the other, all his body parts began to give up. I look after him all night and day… he refuses to stay in a hospital or with a nurse.’

I drew in a sharp breath. Sensing that the story was going to get sadder, I patted her hand, lightly.

‘I work in a care home at night, to make ends meet and in the day time I care for him. I don’t even know who I am anymore. I don’t remember my last hair cut or even my last cup of tea I had in peace without him calling out to me to either clean him up or give him a glass of water. I saved every penny for this trip. If I didn’t go on this holiday I would have had a complete break down.’

I wanted to tell her that she didn’t need to justify her mini splurge to me, that she deserved a break as much as the next person did but I let her carry on….

‘My family in Philippines are very poor. I can’t walk out as I have nowhere to go. My ten year old daughters are ungrateful and refuse to help in household chores. They rely on me for everything. I am almost forty and have no idea how long he will live…he is my husband but I don’t want to do this anymore. I don’t love him like I used to. Is it wrong? Am I a bad person to hate him? Am I a bad woman to wish that ……?’

She looked away. I knew what she was thinking.

I spoke to her gently but firmly, ‘You are only human and still a woman.  Sometimes, you have to put yourself first …..’

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‘How is that possible? I am just a caretaker; this is my identity. The only thing I have to look forward to when I reach home is washing up strangers and then arguing with him…..I don’t want to.’

‘I wonder if I will ever be happy?’

I didn’t know how to answer that, all I could so was chant good wishes.

I shoved  hundred quid in her hand, ‘Please go treat yourself. Not your kids..just you.’

‘Don’t insult me.’ She said though she wasn’t offended; ‘You have done enough. I feel better…it’s off my chest.’

I bid her farewell as we both went our different paths at Heathrow.

I gave my number just in case. I had a feeling she wouldn’t text. I was right.

                  LESSON 5

'Some forming friendships are just momentary. You take some, you give some, you learn some, you feel some....

And as I left her with well meaning wishes, she presented me the gift of gratitude.

While only hardships awaited my trapped friend, I was thankful for my own freedom and my friend-colleague Bini who was waiting in her hotel room with my favourite edibles, a welcoming smile and open arms…………

And I was grateful for the several wats app messages that flooded my celly as soon as I switched it on; even silly forwards that usually bugged me. They made me feel alive!

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MASSAGE…in a bottle

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It took a threat, an expiring gift coupon and the power of ten horses to pull me to one of the best spa treatment in Mumbai . 

I recently discovered that I am a type A personality. (there are mainly two types A and B, c and d have recently been thrown in .)

After being perturbed for a bit, I realize that like most personal epiphanies, I am not alone in this one either.

So I have made peace with the fact that worrying, stressing, chasing goals and time lines is part of the game. Getting bored, upset and even frustrated with imperfections in others and myself, in non anticipated delays and uncertainties; non deliveries of promises and intangibles, all comes as a package deal for the ‘A people.’

The good news is that we are literally the ‘A Team.’ In our pursuit of success, we usually end up winning a challenge, a game, a deal or even an irrational argument, by hook or by crook.

My posh cousin Farida probably fed up of seeing me behave as if I am the Prime Minister’s personal advisor, found an opportunity to gift me an expensive gift voucher for a spa treatment at the Jiva -Taj Wellington Mews with an expiry date(very cleverly) just so that I would indulge myself to a day of pampering and relaxation, out of principle if nothing else.

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She had selected the Aroma signature therapy option for me, threatening me to not return to my roots without breathing the entire restorative experience- Jacuzzi, steam, massage, lounge, etc.

Still, I have to make sure all features, manuscripts; documents are not pending and have been sent to respective editors and agents before I chugged off irresponsibly to fairy spa land. (It takes a year!)

(Type A!)

Adding to that, this Paradise peak is an hour and half away from the Suburb where I tent, perched at the other end of town-Wellington Mews, Cuffe Parade is way outside my comfort zone. (This means not on my daily route, almost equivalent to long distance travel and could cost an entire day of productivity)

Come August 2018; it is a week over due but with some light grovelling they agree to extend my gift certificate for another fortnight.

So I over pack my haversack for the enforced but much needed day out.

I carry with me paraphernalia I might need for the next few hours and God forbid in an emergency – 1.Extra undergarments 2. Glasses in case steam room fogs up contact lenses. 3. Extra Lenses in case glasses end up misty. 4. Shorts 5. Bathing suit 6. Two novels (Art of letting go and how to stop obsessing about everything) 7. Two extra t shirts (in case heavy monsoon winds bring storms and unable to make it home) 8. Two combs 9. Two lipsticks (surprise coffee date- what if?) 10. Torch (Power cut in Mumbai due to heavy pour- What if?) 11. Deo stick 12.Selfie stick 13. Brainwave diary (inspiration could strike anywhere- en route/ under massage duvet/ in heated whirlpool.) 14. Two pens 15.Three carry bags (dry, wet, fresh clothes) 16. Face wash (can’t change it for the day) 17. Face cream 18. Mints 19.Phone charger 20. Toothbrush. 21.Perfume bottle 22. Bag of chips 23. Water bottle 24. Earplugs (can’t leave home without) 25. Paracetamols 26. Umbrella 27. Facial swipes 

(Type A – Quantity over quality. Being prepared)

Organised Chaos 

Since I have mixed up the words Aroma and Ayurveda, as I never read small prints, instruction manuals or guidelines, I am now an hour early for appointment and hence have been encouraged to scout around the Mews  and order from the Menu if hungry.

Not one to refuse any form of nutrition, in spite of having a heavy brunch a couple of hours earlier on, I place mine and ask it to be served at the spa lounge which is a floor above .

Now I have ample time to kill so I start exploring the topmost floor, a pool side where I charm two pool boys to click some photographs. He understands my command, making me hold my breath every few seconds prior to fifteen clicks.

Finally he is satisfied, ‘Insta- perfect,’ he assures me; kudos- he can read my mind!

I walk down to the spa lounge, termed as a quiet zone and sprawl out on one of the lounge chairs until my sandwich, fries and coffee arrive.

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Soon I start including pics of my food fest to various wats app groups and promptly receive well meaning advice on the ill effects of hogging and caffeine sipping, just before a deep tissue massage.

Almost forgetting the reason why I am here, I quickly make myself one storey below to original massage paradise five minutes off schedule. The attendant hands me a robe which I take rather reluctantly. Refusing to strip myself of decency, I insist on wearing shorts under the white dressing gown they provide. The attendant explains gently that it is spa protocol, to go almost Full Monty.

I am shy! I can’t do a Sunny Leone I’m sorry!!!!

Personal baggage has been stowed in the safe provided and now realising that my celly is not with me I press the panic buzzer – how will I show off my ta- da ambience on social media?

Then again having a click of me lying on a massage cot in bare necessities was a brilliant idea only if I craved to be attacked by stalkers, trollers and criminals.

Pinning and Posting plan has been cancelled.

The Moment Of Truth

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A sweet bespectacled sincere looking girl therapist waiting in a private den leads me to a tiny tub where I am requested to dip my feet in warm water. She chants something deep but I can’t catch it so I nod and say thank you. (Hope she hasn’t said anything regretful)

It’s all quiet and serene. I can hear my self breathing. Nirvana is around the corner. I can feel it.

I am now asked to put my face into a three quarter donut and lie flat on my tummy on the 10 by 10 flat bed.

I start my chain of directives, just as well, for there should not be any surprises for either of us later on….

Mostly it is about body points and zones that she should not press, tug, squeeze, pull, poke or manipulate. (Lower Spine, feet, stomach, chest, face…..)

She looks quite terrified but nods a quick yes.

And a last demand, to kindly turn off the birds- chirping score in the back ground. It is supposedly therapeutic, one with nature and beauty kind of thing but I don’t think I can handle an euphoric Aviary for a whole hour.

(Type A-  need for control)

That being said it is time for blissful resurrection.

I could feel her little hands hesitating, probably egg shelling on the parts which had been banned from treatment and touch.

‘Relax,’ I tell myself ….’enjoy it.’

‘Detach, recoil, space out…..’

Suddenly I am taken to flash back island where miserable ex boyfriend who had been detached, recoiled and had asked for space resides. He had recently started nasty texting me… the Slime ball!

Pressure is rising. He needs his neck massaged ever so forcefully.

Maybe will send him spa voucher and request such….

Gently, Miss Spectacles asks me to release any tension.

It makes me wonder how many women she must have witnessed trembling and plotting under her deft hands, devising plans to seek revenge at ex husbands, lovers and losers. Countless!massage 11

Rumble tumble, burp– the fries are taking over now, they were so right…. you can’t have a two course meal and a full fat cappuccino before a massage.

‘Let go, divert, think positive!’

I steer myself to a happy place –

Luscious garden, streams, tulips, meadows, trees, meandering brooks, picnic, picnic mat, picnic basket, sandwiches, fries……

Gosh this is clearly not working!

 I’m almost half way into this heavenly experience and I am still not feeling that complete disconnection and freedom.

I try again …I have to make my cousin’s thoughtful gift worth it!

Almost there …yes…. I am bathing under pristine waterfalls, twirling like an abandoned Sufi until I realize I have suddenly become ‘Vikram.’

Tiny Betal has now climbed over my back and kneading it strongly.

(Google – Vikram Betal old TV series)

Gosh why is she striding me? I’m not a horse or  an elephant.

How can I relax with a human being piggy -backing me?

Finally she is off, signalling me to turn over.

Panic buzzer. I start pulling every edge of the towel to cover the important stuff.

Aroma Spa done; the born freebie I am, I talk her into giving me a complimentary head massage.

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Chapter over and the first attendant guides me to the Jacuzzi and steam zone.

Jacuzzi is fun. For like five minutes, until my eyes dart toward the clock every few seconds. (Type A- Sense of urgency and impatience)

Traffic jam.Congestion. Bills to pay.Legal matter pending. Credit card verification. Reply to latest FB posts. Make trendy plan for current you tube channel. Call friend in trouble.

Darn, what’s happening in the outside world? Is it still 2018? What if I had missed a whole  or worse still an important insta update?

I leap up onto dry ground.

Last halt ‘Steam cubicle’ which the attendant refuses to let me miss.

She also looks a tad concerned.

Either I have never had a normal life or I’m slightly off my rockers… For there is no other reason in the world, anyone would inquire about good looking men in the steam room.

‘It’s a ladies section’ she whispers.

Perhaps one had sneaked in. An author’s brain is allowed to hope and imagine anything. It is the unwritten rule.

Middle Aged lady, a regular in bare minimum (or not) is sitting pranayam in the burning chamber.

Thirty seconds and I shoot out of that door, worried about being trapped in forever in an unflattering swimsuit and being excavated at my flabbiest best.

No this wasn’t going to happen in a million years by choice.

 Quick power shower to remove the oils, application of body lotion to make it all look complete, I change thrice unable to make up mind of which T befits the phrase ‘I am the new Diva in town’ .

Matching it with pink lip gloss and silver hoops, I step out into the world that awaits the Invigorated me!

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 55 unseen alerts in two hours.

So Mumbai had moved on without me ….my cousin had been right.

But only this much.

Back to my desk at home, I start creating this blog, checking my f b page, my personal yahoo account and work gmail all at once; stick  four To DO posts it on my wall for the next day, make a hair appointment for the day after, edit summary of a friend’s copy, simultaneously surfing for cures and remedies available for Type A personas…..

Apparently there is none. It is what it is.

We back to square one.

Bless us!!!

All for the Love of Writing

Trrring… Trrring…
Catch Author Kainaz Jussawalla and chart topper author Arvind Parashar in an exclusive chat on the occasion of his new  book release online which also reveals an interesting cover.
Arvind’s first book Kabira was a top seller in November 2015.Since then, his fans have only been growing in width.
Intrigued by the title of his new novel, book one in the series of ‘Messed Up’ But All for Love trilogy…I catch the Dashing Author on a video call, at his pad in Bengaluru, on a relaxed Sunday, over a cup of Darjeeling Tea and latte..

 Hey Arvind, what’s the story? The title sounds quite up my street, if you know what I mean?It is a Romance thriller Kai, this is one space that lacks Indian writing and I hope with this novel and more I can provide that to our readers. 

Sounds good! Any fun moments writing it ?
Plenty. There was a time, while writing the climax, I had writer’s block. It took me two vacations and six weeks to write those six seven pages. See, this is the kind of fun authors have. Another was, when I had lost my notepad that had a couple of chapters in it. Things like that. In terms of the publishers, it is Srishti publishers, who need no introduction. I am so excited to have bagged this trilogy deal with them.
And well …Who or What has inspired you to write it ? (wink)

First of all, it is mostly a stretch of my imagination. Yes, there are certain funny instances in the novel that have been inspired from real life, however the plot and the overall story is pure fiction. A nice cup of black coffee, beautiful landscape and lovely people in my life- good enough a combination to inspire me to think and write.

I have been noticing your terrific fan following across social media?

Fortunately, I have a pretty engaged set of fans / readers on my pages. I love interacting with them. They always inspire me to write. They love my quotes, pictures, live chats and my books. In fact, they have been waiting eagerly for Messed Up! Book.

Where do you think the future of writing lies in the Indian industry?

It is a great space to be in. Indian writing is now more prominent than ever before. We have new readers who are entering that bracket as we now see, reading and writing is being encouraged in the schools and colleges. So far as the writers go, if you write well, engage well with the readers, you will stay for long.

Where is your first launch for Messed up … when do we expect the release? Am I invited?
We shall do in Bangalore, Mumbai , Kolkata and Delhi. The book is out for pre orders already and has been trending in top 50-100 on amazon bestsellers. It will hit the shelves in the month of May.
Of course you better be there …..That goes without saying!
That’s Fantastic… We… will all be there…. Arvind!!!

Stop those bullies now!

Recently I have been coming across too many instances of kids being bullied in school.

Today I am addressing the younger lot between three and ten who may have a hard time expressing their plight or their experiences and how as elders we can reach out to them.

I have also posted at the end of the feature, an interesting link of how older children can prevent being intimidated in school.

For me the definition of bullying is just not limited to a big kid pushing a smaller one or even two kids punching each other. For me it is about the bystanders, teachers, Principals and elders who don’t address it or take a strong stand on it.

I remember as a nine year old child I always stood up to a bully who bullied others. Luckily nobody bullied me, maybe because I was over confident as a child but that didn’t stop me from protecting the dark horse or the timid goose.

Recently one of my friends adopted son at eight came home crying one day, “my teacher said that I don’t belong to you.”

I was appalled. Not as much as the mother of course. When the mother addressed it with the School Principal, she was told that nothing of that sort ever happened. Blunt Denial!

The Chapter at school ended there, for my helpless friend couldn’t pull out the child in the middle of term but it was her prerogative to break this piece of information to her child gently and slowly and no one else’s business. It was too late.

The questions and the sleepless nights that followed were horrifying for the parents.

Another instant where a friends six year old came home from school one day howling that she didn’t want to live because the kids at school teased her about a skin condition. The mother had to change her school at once; she couldn’t risk making the child lose her morale and her innocence at such a tender age.

When I asked what the teachers said, she said nothing! In Fact they had also isolated her in class from games and workshops for the same.

This is my conclusion, that when one kid attacks another physically or verbally asserting his superiority, it is the role of the teacher or an authority figure to immediately intervene and nip it in the bud.

If the teacher is indirectly involved which means not pulling up the oppressor, keeping silent, nagging or taunting the child in class or being indifferent; she or he is an equal participant.

In this case waste no time in pulling them up and the parents of the violator. Playing the good guy or the timid one will not serve you or your child any good.

When parents take admission in a particular school it is not the school doing them a favour, rather the parents giving their prized possession in the hands of strangers in the hope that they would create something more beautiful than he or she already is.

Schools are here to bring the best out in your children; they are the bridges to their adult life.

I would not say that all schools are like this or that; or it is this simple ; for I am aware it is almost impossible for a given teacher to monitor each and every child in a class of thirty and more, all the time but one can prevent it from taking a turn for the worse.

Here are some of the ten things I have collected from parents of children who have been bullied one time or the other, that may help in tricky situations like these :

  • Stop laughing at it or making light of the situation when it happens. Don’t ridicule him or her for being shy or inactive. Teach the child to take a stand. It may be to call upon other friends for help, alert the authority in charge and show courage.

  • Believe your child when they tell you. Always believe your child! Children lie but they are not liars!

  • Address it immediately with the said parent of the child or the teacher involved.

  • If a teacher is nit picking on your child constantly, approach her and understand her point and then say yours. If after that it still continues, take it up with a higher authority.

  • Don’t be afraid to put it on paper and hand it over. That way there is no confusion in what you expect from the institute and what measures you plan to take, if it happens again.

  • Talk to your child everyday for fifteen minutes at least. Seek to understand how it may be affecting them. Do not disregard the child’s role in it; chances are he may have set the ball rolling…

  • Bring forth your point in a kind and justified manner, rewarding him for good behaviour and reprimanding once in a way for disobeying. Make sure it is not in public. There is nothing worse than public humiliation. It is as bad if not worse than being bullied by his/her peers.

  • Make sure he or she can tell you anything and everything. Do not punish them for being honest even if it is for something you don’t agree at all. Later you can tell them right from wrong. Listen. Don’t judge. Confident children are less likely to be bullied.

  • Make sure he or she is in a positive conducive environment of praise and encouragement, tip off relatives and close friends to pat the child on the back once in a way even if it is for something small as drawing a flower or scoring a goal. Keep him surrounded by healthy play dates and same interest groups that enhance his/her self esteem.

  • Avoid bullying tactics with your spouse, your other kids, your siblings and at home. The child has to feel that the behaviour is unacceptable in any situation at any stage in life.

 

Check out: https://nobullying.com

https://nobullying.com/7-ways-to-avoid-bullying-when-in-a-new-school/

Strictly Come Parsi

 

Parsis ..we are unique and we are loveable !!!!
I won’t say more !
But I must confess that I love being called crazy
It is my U S P!

heyHere are some of the things which according to me every Parsi does or has,  at least once in their life time.
Please feel free to add more …

  1. Every Parsi must have at least walked out of their home once without their Sudra kusti.Naughty !
  2. walkingOK Every Parsi must have burped at least once, loudly in public.burp
  3. Every Parsi must have dreamt of a delicious food spread once at least, after just finishing a huge meal.

eatingdream-food

4. Every Parsi must have at least said once in their life :  “I will never be a vegetarian ”
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5. Every Parsi must have forgotten their topi or scarf at least once before entering Agyari  and had to borrow or pick from old ones stocked on the premises.

6. Every Parsi has a childhood doctor/homeopath, usually some Walla.. who they still want to visit and claim their childhood candies from.

7.Every Parsi loves his Mumma equally, if not more, than his spouse, even on his 25th wedding anniversary!

mom

8. Every Parsi must have sworn at least once in their mother tongue, even if they never use a swear word otherwise. (MC BC Ghadero)

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9. Every Parsi  would have had one favorite grand parent whom they have thought the world off, living or dead.

grandparent-love

10. Every Parsi will have at least one weakness.. if not whisky peg then chicken leg. If not 50 cups of tea a day, then cards to play.

wiskey

11. Every Parsi may have attended a Lagan(wedding)  only to relish the Patra,(meal on a leaf) often forgetting the names of the bride and the groom.

food-fest-wedding

12. Every Parsi must have clapped, danced and rotated on the Birdy dance Song at least once in their lifetime.

13. Every Parsi is related to another with a maximum of four degrees separation.(fact unverified though)

14. Every Parsi has the half conviction or at least a passing thought, that they descend from some kind of royal lineage/ kin.

royall

15. Every Parsi has been called Crazy bawa or bawi at least once, if not more, by their buddies from other communities.

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16. Every Parsi at least once must have got their cheeks pulled or called apple/ mango/ dudh pao in school , functions  or among relatives.

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17. Almost every Parsi can have ‘something per eeda’ (eggs) easily as a meal substitute.

egg-love

18. Every Parsi Has woken up in the middle of the night in cold sweat thinking about the stains /spots on their cars, sofas, side boards, kitchen tops.

watching-car

19. Every Parsi, must have skipped the fire temple, at least once in life on a Navroz or New year, only cause they were a tad lazy to.

sleep

20. Every Parsi has one friend at least, who makes friends with him only for a dhanshak invite at his place.

share-food

 

21. Every Parsi has at least one of these if not more …in their home : an antique car/ bike / watch/ furniture set / tea set/ book/ gramophone / radio / telephone / countless plastic bags.collection

22. Every Parsi has laughed uncontrollably and hysterically even if the joke is not funny or on themselves… !

laugh

Hope you enjoyed the above points … just written for Bawa entertainment !

There are so many more…  please feel free to add yours….

parsi rock

11 Dalai Lama Quotes That Can Change Your Perception

The Dalai Lama has always been quoted in every aspect of life. I find his thoughts simple, heart    dalia-lama-mic-connecting and applicable. Here are eleven of them which would be amazing, if we could all apply them in our lives.

 
  • Be kind whenever possible, it is always possible.

be-kind

  • If you can help, you should do so. If you can’t, at the very least don’t do any harm.

help-the-needy-dont-harm

  • Remember the best relationship is one, in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.

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  • Arrogance can never be justified. It is the result of either low self-esteem or temporary and superficial achievements.

arrogance-acnt-be-justified

  • The true hero is one who conquers his own anger and hatred.

hero-conqures-anger

  •  The ultimate source of happiness is not money or power but warm heartedness.

the_ultimate_source_of_happiness_is_not_money_and_power_but_warm_heartedness_

  • We have to maintain control over technology and never allow ourselves to become its slaves.

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  • The more you are motivated by Love, the more fearless and free your action will be.

love-over-fear-motivated

  • This is my simple religion. No need for temples. No need for complicated philosophy . Your own mind, your own heart is the temple. Your philosophy is simple kindness.

simple-religion

  • Judge your success on what you had to give up in order to get it.

judge-success

  • Our enemies provide us with excellent opportunities to practice patience, perseverance and compassion.

    harry-snape-enemies-but-friend-in-desguise

dalai-lama-peoples-leader

Valentineship

So who said Valentine’s day is only about the other half? If that was the case then most of us would be roaming clueless for the rest of the year.
So today I think about the people around us who give us a reason to celebrate this ‘International Love Day’ all year through.
The Real heroes of the Show!
Friends, friends, and friends ….!
gdggt

A word that is grossly underestimated and slightly overly used.

 Without adding too much to the introduction, I would like to present to you the the kind of friendships that I have personally come across in my
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life that go beyond gender equations, romantic illusions and unnatural expectations.

And I am certain that you all will be able to draw parallels to your own lives, from it, in some way or the other.

(I have categorized them not cause I believe they can be put under ‘A’ specific column but it’s just easier to share.
Of course they are all entwined together and over lap each other, playing their unique roles in different phases of our lives)

 

The OLD TIMERS
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Oh they are the ones that you know forever.
The ones who have literally seen you in your nappies and climbed trees with you .e
They may lose touch with you over the years but they will never lose heart.

They know your family, your school embarrassments or your college goof ups.
They go beyond FB and Insta. They are your hooks when the world gives up on you.
Cause they still believe in who you were, before the world told you how you needed to be.

They gently remind you of those larger than life, youthful dreams, which you seem to have forgotten. They still bring a smile on your face long after the moment has faded away.

The SUPPORTERS

jutfuhrdyu
They are by far the ones who stand with you through thick and thin.
They are the ones you can call up at 2 am (well that depends on who’s on their bed) but you get the gist.
They will buzz to check up on you often if needed or meet you for  a coffee, even if they are drop tired.
If long distance, they will send you regular messages, making sure you know they are around.
They are the ones who believe in your far reached goals, even more than you do and would root your cause when the time comes.
They are also your relationship pegs…when partners, things, careers, other pals around you let you down, they restore your faith that some bonds are made to last and don’t change with time or whim.
The SECRET KEEPERS
tjtj
These buds are the ones who keep your darkest secrets and don’t judge your indiscretions. Keep them close to you, cause they know too much. And of wwagawgtfcourse because they accept you the way you are..bag, baggage and all!
The FLATTERERS
w3gydry4w
I adore this strange group I call friends; they may not be there on a 24 hr basis and that’s quite alright. But they will think the world of you. They will tell you that your lipstick is a lovely colour even if its smudged all over your face and praise your singing skills even if you croak.
Though some may argue that false flattery must be avoided, I think this group is very important for your self esteem. It is always nice to have some fans….even if it seems superficial; so long as it brings a smile to your face, what the hell!!!
Drink in the compliments….
The PARTY GOERS
mknjknbj
No, they may not end up being your besties forever but they are a social life saver.
These buddies are your de-stressers on a serious day and that missing fun element in your routine. They make plans to hang out, chill and groove.
They are what makes your FB page look glam and your life appear more exciting than it really is.
Their names may change with time but the memories you make with them, the crazy and outrageous escapades you have together… are stories you will be telling your grand kids someday.
They bring in a refreshing transformation even if temporary and come with their own formula of positivism.
 
The WIND BENEATH YOUR WINGS
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These pals are you silent hearts. Their contribution can seldom be measured, for they do it without any condition or fuss. They are happy to stay in the back ground, whilst you learn and grow. But when you look back on your life and think of the ones who genuinely stood by you when the chips were down, who gave you that extra love without you even asking for it, who made you fly when you couldn’t even see the sky…it’s them!
They are the tiny gifts around us whom we forget to give enough credit to, amidst our busy lives.

 

 

The CRITIQUES

awege
Aha! My least liked group, these energy drainers are the ones who only poke on your faults; they have nothing much to say that adds value and will make you feel like a loser, if you let them.
Personally I delete them immediately if they over stay their welcome.
jhtjhtru
I wouldn’t even count them as friends if I didn’t see the silver lining.
Which is-They make you adamant to prove them wrong!
Their constant negativity makes you look at the brighter side and be grateful that you are nothing like them.
The SEASONALS
ss
 These are the beings who have literally fallen from the sky at the right place and the right time, into your lap! You two, really vibe on a different level and then mostly without warning one or both of you simply drift away.
But not before you fulfill some kind of purpose with each other- either a priceless lesson to be learnt or enriching one other with some timely advice, joy or hope.
These connections are not always meant to last a life time but ultimately they Fit into the grand scheme of things.
erhhshy images
The fact of the matter is that Valentine bunnies may come and go but good friends make the ride easier, happier and more meaningful.
Now….Don’t you think it’s time, you tell them that?