Beauty with a purpose

Beauty with a purpose

Don’t we all love to judge others? Whoa, yes of course! But, how easy is it to volunteer to be judged? Tough walk all the way, isn’t it?

So far, all my blogs have had fictional characters. No doubt they were inspired by real people.

But this time, I am here to share the real journey of a very real person. Someone as real as you and me. Boy and am I proud that this is the second time, I am writing about her. Meet the effervescent, enormously talented Karishma Chawla Chhabria who has been selected as one of the top finalist contenders for the prestigious Haut Monde Mrs. India Worldwide 2017 -Season 7.

She will be shortly heading to Ho Chi Minh City to participate in a series of portfolio shoots, workshops and fitness programs as a pre-cursor to the grand finale to be held in New Delhi on August 5, 2017.

You can definitely not ignore the most beautiful curve on her, ‘her smile’! It has the innocence of a child and before you can even wonder what the mystery all about her is, she confidently introduces herself as Karishma Chawla Chhabria.

Karishma is your girl next door. She was born and brought up in Mumbai. A very simple and strong values based childhood is what she grew up with. Karishma lost her father only when she was in her early twenties. Such a tremendous loss did not shatter this young girl. She decided to emerge stronger than before. Karishma singlehandedly took up the responsibility of a child every parent would yearn for.

Karishma joined Jet Airways as an Air Hostess when she was only 20 years old. Little did she know then, what a blessing in disguise, her first job was! It inculcated in her a lifelong discipline of aesthetic grooming and nurturing one’s beauty. She has a beautiful yet very meaningful point when she says, “Our body is the temple we’ll be living in until we exist. What better than to keep that temple clean and beautiful.”

Karishma had set up her own training services providing organization, “Get Skilled”, 15 years ago in Mumbai. The fact that it seamlessly continues to be a ‘top-of-mind’ training provider to most Corporates, is thoroughly well deserving.

While Karishma has been engaged in participation and chasing of yet another dream of hers, her pillars of support stand strong in the form of Suraj, her husband and Krishiv, her son.

She is following a strict diet and work-out regime in order to achieve the milestones set forth in the pageant.

The reason why Karishma is participating in Haut Monde Mrs. India Worldwide 2017 -Season 7 is only because, she feels her story isn’t over yet! She would like to use this platform to live her other dreams. Karishma has two primary goals that she would like to focus on in the near future – to work closely with children diagnosed with ADHD and initiate and contribute in substantive ecological initiatives including reduction of carbon footprints.

I have known Karishma since 2008. And I have yet to meet another person with a unique combination of being successful and is yet absolutely down to earth.

Wishing Karishma all the best for Finals.

Please visit https://m.facebook.com/Karishma-Chhabria-Finalist-Haute-Monde-Mrs-India-Worldwide-2017-1048267245309395/ and like the page to get posted about future updates.

 

Guest Blog:The Alpha Female

Guest Blog:The Alpha Female

This blog has been written by Karishma Chawla Chhabria. She is the Director of Get Skilled Training Solutions, an eminent training solutions providing organization based at Mumbai. 

Alpha female…Wow!

Can there ever be a female who is Alpha?

I had only ever heard of Alpha Males.Until I met an Alpha female. If I had one line to describe her, it would have to be – ‘I am sexy and I know it.’

You know one when you see one. Alpha females, like Alpha males have a distinct aura and personality. The Alpha female is confident, sexy, intelligent and dominant. Clearly her description means she’s not every man’s cup of tea or coffee and is definitely an object of jealousy amongst other Beta and Omega women.

Yes u read it right.

There are Beta and Omega women too. Doesn’t it make u think who you are? An Alpha, Beta or Omega

 Here are a few signs you may be an Alpha woman.

An Alpha woman demands it’s “My way or the highway”.

She knows how to succeed and goes for it all out.

She is the decision maker who decides from a myriad of choices in life that must be made, right from which drink to next travel destination to what to do next. She knows how to get her way around and will not hesitate to use people, power, her sexuality or any other opportunity to make it to the top. She is often single because most men aren’t good enough for her. An Alpha female can only be handled by an alpha male. Rest all other men will fail. She’s the popular woman who’s often called a B**** by other Beta and Omega women.

Having said that, her right hand is often the Beta Woman who admires (secretly envious) the Alpha for her guts. Alpha women are mostly found in the Top Management of Organizations and leads places like she owns them. Famous examples of Alpha women would be Samantha Jones from Sex and the City or Miranda from The Devil wears Prada.

An Alpha Female will find herself in the most intense relationships. A word of caution here; the intensity is more often from the male. She has men wrapped around her little finger. Most Beta and Omega men will be head over heels with her. Only an Alpha male can keep an Alpha female grounded. They love fiercely and burn with passion. Mind you… These 2 are not a combination meant for marriage.. There will be fireworks and a few blasts too.. Hence very often the Alpha Female remains single. If she finds herself in marriage, she’s either the boss or she leaves someday because one clearly cannot cage an Alpha for too long, even though they think they have. This Alpha Female will Ace all her duties and responsibilities and no one will ever be able to raise a finger at her.

She is the one who you can learn the art of Delegation from.

She may be a Boss Wife; but she sure does love her off springs to death. She is a “Don’t mess with my kid” kinda mom. She is tough on her child, makes sure he/she doesn’t become a prey to any bullying. She is protective to the hilt but not a softy who spoon feeds her child. She makes them ready for the world. You see a child and you know that pup belongs to an Alpha mom – smart, intelligent, wont mess with anyone until he’s messed with, excellent with fulfilling his or her commitments and responsibilities, independent and secured. There can be only one reason for the Alpha Female being vulnerable, when her loved ones are hurt or if they hurt her. The rest of the world doesn’t matter to her too much anyway.

She ends up leading and how..

Most of these characteristics remain the same across the board of Alpha women.. unless there has been a life changing situation like an Accident, Near to Death Experience or Loss of a loved one.

In short, she is madness, insanity.. She is hell and paradise.

You maybe some of this or may be not. What is important is to watch out for an Alpha woman around you or in you… she can be both… Pride and Prejudice. She’s the Leader of the Wolf Pack… you can’t miss her in you or around you… As for me.. I’ve met one up close and personal.. do you want to guess who she is????

The Woman Factor

The Woman Factor

A very ‘Happy Women’s Day’ to everyone reading my blog and/ or celebrating this day – today or always! Agreed that its unnecessarily commercialized and too much brouhaha. And why not? With one lifetime and amidst so much of stress that we all deal with, moments like this one, provide a momentary escape into the world of ‘Feeling good – about oneself or about those around you’.

My heart bled when I read about 19 female fetuses dumped in Sangli in Maharshtra. The same Sangli which boasts to be the native place of the two best singers, Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosale. Lata Mangeshkar has been awarded with the Bharat Ratna award and Asha Bhonsale with the Dadasaheb Phalke award.

Irony!

The Central Adoption Resource Authority(CARA) is supposedly the nodal body for all adoptions inter and intra country across India. I have friends who have been lucky enough to adopt a child within a waiting period of 3 years with support from CARA. Between April to June 2015, child adoption centers across India received 1,241 requests to adopt a girl against 718 for a boy. Isn’t that fantastic?

But there lies the irony. While in urban areas, the mindset is broadening about a girl child, the rural areas are still under the domain of a rigid male bastion. While many couples in India are struggling with issues of infertility, Sangli could have offered many of them a ray of hope. Well, then, ‘Sangli’ is just a name…a name representing many places which are practicing the same thing.

My next question is to Rahul Gandhi. I have never been political or apolitical entirely. But what was that remark about Michelle Obama? Seriously? Had he featured in those stand-up comedian programmes on TV, probably a recorded applause would be all that he would receive. Will someone tell that M.Phil. (Development Economics) Educated at Trinity College, Cambridge University, U.K. to just put a finger on his lips. It reminds me, when I was in Kindergarten Section A and my friend, funnily enough, he was a ‘Rahul’ too….he was in Section B and every day he would return with a bandage on his lips. Punishment for talking unnecessarily. How I would delight myself, if R K Laxman was alive now and created a cartoon of bandaged mouthed Rahuls, Shobha De’s….and their entire clan!

Actually there’s been too much in the news..Kangana vs. Karan Johar, Virender Sehwag vs. Gurmeher Kaur. Tiffany Trump joining an elite law school. And amidst entertaining but sometimes irritating reads, we also read about an all-women crew flight that departed on 27 February for San Francisco and returned at the Indira Gandhi International airport on Friday after flying across the globe. Kudos!

Italy is giving all women free entry to the country’s museums today to mark International Women’s Day!

Am I a feminist? Maybe…or maybe not. But I am a celebrationist. I like to celebrate the parts of life that make me smile.

Meet Dr. Shekhar Gupta. He is a General Physician in Barauni. After giving birth to five daughters, his wife finally bore a son. A male protagonist for a Women’s Day blog? Quite unlikely right? Read on to find out why.

‘Thank God!’ He sighed as he looked at his ageing mother on the wheelchair with the five girls standing by.

‘Hope now you are happy.’

‘My son. God has finally been kind to us.’ She raised her hands in the air as a gesture of gratitude to the almighty. Then she turned around and twitched her cataract affected eyes to spot someone.

‘Buddhiya, go quickly and buy pedhas(Indian sweets) for the entire colony and distribute to everyone.’ She took out some money from her secret wallet that she carried with her wherever she went.

Buddhiya was the man servant-cum-compounder to Dr.Gupta.

Four years went by witnessing the loss of Dr.Gupta’s mother, the five braided girls growing inches taller and the eldest almost being eligible for marriage. Bittu had just celebrated his fourth birthday. The lamp of the Gupta family, supposedly the heir to whatever belonged to the family. He had to be flawless, he was a son.

‘How could it happen to Bittu? How could it happen to us? You are a doctor, can you not treat him?

‘Sudha, we gave Bittu the vaccinations …unfortunately!’ Dr. Gupta sighed.

Sudha Gupta wept inconsolably. She was surrounded by her five daughters, who just stood still to make their presence felt.

‘Did you forget to give the injections on time?’

‘No…’ Dr. Gupta knew that nothing he said could make the situation better. Bittu would not be able to walk like every other person.

He stood with his head bent low. His head stooped when he worried and thought of alternatives to tackle a problem. Could a physiotherapist help? Should I take him to Delhi and get him checked thoroughly? Myriads of thoughts bombarded his mind and head.

‘How can a doctor’s son have an ailment?’ Sudha was getting hysterical and that clogged her husband’s mind. He stepped out of the room to see Bittu sitting with Buddhiya and eating a Parle-G biscuit.

Dr.Gupta tried getting his son re-diagnosed and getting the best physiotherapist to treat his son. But Bittu would walk with a limp. It was a fact that made him gulp, everytime the father thought about his son. It hit him more every time his wife passed it as a failure of his medical know-how.

The five braided girls got married and started with their own families. Bittu was in engineering college.

Dr.Guptas hair was all greyed now. It was 8.30 pm and he locked his chamber next to his house and left for home. Buddhiya had left 15 minutes before to help in the household chores.

Dr.Gupta  heard a lot of noises and chuckles coming from his house. He stepped in to find that his third daughter Meena had come over for a few days with her baby.

There were the initial round of pleasantries followed by dinner.Post dinner, the family sat down in the living room.

‘Baba, please advice me on the vaccinations that I need to take for Chunnu.’

Dr.Gupta looked at his wife. He knew that she still held him guilty for Bittu’s vaccine and its ineffectiveness.

‘Err…yes. You settle down. You are here for some days, aren’t you?

The next day morning, Meena was cleaning up the shoe cabinet.

Sudha scolded her daughter for leaving the baby alone and doing such a trivial chore.

‘But, Ma, Chunnu is sleeping. And this is till my home, right?’

Meena’s eyes went to a pair of slippers. The right seemed worn only a few times and the left worn out near the heels, due to application of pressure by the foot.

‘When is Bittu Bhaiya coming home?’ Her eyes lit up at the thought of her younger brother.

‘I hope I can tie him Raakhi this time.’

Sudha’s eyes filled up tears.

‘Make sure you consult a good doctor for your child’s health, especially vaccines, don’t trust your father, you know why.’

Meena stood up and held her mother’s hands.

‘You know Ma, my mother-in-law makes fun of Bittu and says that I have a crippled brother. He is good for nothing and that money is being wasted on his engineering degree.’

Momentary pause.

Little did the two women realize that there was someone near the door, with tearful eyes and spectacles in hand listening to their conversation.

‘I told her that he is not crippled. An engineering degree does not require bungee jumping and hurdles and relay races. It requires an application of the mind. And my brother is an ace in that. Time will prove that.’

She tried wiping her mother’s eyes.

‘Ma, Bittu’s handicap is not Baba’s mistake. I never had the guts to talk to you about this before. No parent will willingly want anything wrong to happen to the child. You are a doctor’s wife and don’t you love and understand Baba enough to know that he would not do it?

There was pin drop silence after she said it.

Then the women looked towards the door, as if there was a sound of someone walking away from it.

A minute later when Meena went to see who it was, she saw that the lamp on the study table in the adjacent room, was on. The prescription pad was open and tear drops had moistened the top page.

The next few days saw a sea change in the Gupta house. The glum was replaced by joyful merriment. Bittu arrived two days later and Raksha Bandhan was celebrated with great fervor.

It was 8th March and the rail tickets were booked. It was time for Meena to return back. Before she left, she did a customary bow and feet touching of her mother first and and then her father.

‘You were a little girl, the other day…as you stood on the grills of this verandah and said Babababa…non-stop till I left for my chamber.(Pause)Thank you!’

He hugged her tight as if she had released a big burden from his shoulders. What he could not explain to his wife in so many years, his daughter did.

He pulled out a small drawing that Meena had made as a child. On top of it, he had scribbled ‘Happy Women’s Day to my wonderful daughter’!

‘Baba, what is it that you have scribbled? It is Amoxycillin?’

‘Ha..ha…ha..ha..ha..ha’ Dr.Gupta laughed as tears rolled from his eyes.

’You know they say the worse the scribble on prescription, the better a doctor he makes.’

He pulled out a paper but seemed hesitant to hand it over to Meena.

‘What is that Baba?’

‘Well, hmm…I had made a list of the vaccinations for Chunnu. Not sure if you would like to use it, though.’

She snatched it from him and said, ‘Thank you’.

For the first time, Sudha came up and stood beside her husband as Bittu started loading Meena’s bag into the car. She looked ahead, as her hands reached out for his.

They looked ahead together. Put bygones behind.

So, you see it took one woman to make another woman see sense, pick up the beautiful pieces of jigsaws and recreate the beautiful picture of life.

But most importantly, its not as often portrayed, that women suffer alone. Men suffer too. How would ‘Women’ be without ‘men’…it comprises them. Being a woman is not being gender specific, its all about being sensitivity-specific!

Grass is always greener on the other side

Grass is always greener on the other side

My blog of February is all about food and diet. And all about love too. Have you ever wondered about the strange love-hate relationship between food, diet and love? Sounds confusing right?

Food is our basic need and so is love. We need both food and love to survive. Then what happens, when diet comes into the scene?

Diet is like a racist leader…it creates divide and rule policy among food groups. Examples are no-sugar, no-carb, no-white foods, and the list can go on and on.

It sometimes creates pre-condition for being in love, especially among the youth. Your diet is right, you look good and healthy and are attractive. It even gives you an edge in some interviews.

Allow me to introduce, the three characters of today’s story.

Character 1: Shantanu Chakrabarti aka Shaan. 38 years old and works and lives in Chennai. Married to Simran Kaur for the last 10 years. Love marriage, of course!

Character 2: Jignesh Bhai Patel aka Jiggi. Same age as Shaan and lives in Ahmedabad. Married to Bhawna Ben for the last 15 years. Horoscopes were matched to avoid horror scopes later. Arranged marriage without a doubt!

Character 3: Moatoshi aka Moa. A year junior to the other two. Hails from Nagaland and blissfully single. Now works and lives in Mumbai.

Shaan and Jignesh had registered for a course by Rujuta Diwekar. After 12 weeks of waiting, they finally received a call to meet the reknowned dietician. So, both arrived in Mumbai and after some planning through whatsapp decided to put up in Moa’s bachelor pad.

‘Hey, Bongo! You look like a soccer ball now. Don’t you feel scared of going back to Kolkata?’ Moa joked.

Shaan had a serious look on his face as he scanned the apartment. He was trying to find some space to lodge his baggage.

‘Why?

‘You may get kicked by both Mohun Bagan and East Bengal!’ chuckled Moa.

‘No buddy. I am in serious trouble. It’s been 10 years of survival with rajma chawal and there is more air in me than a soccer ball, I feel.’

‘Hmm’. Acknowledged Jiggi.

‘I tried GM diet and no carbs diet but only for part of the day. When I was not at home. Simran knows to cook rajma chawal only. I yearn for some fish curry sometimes.’

‘There is a diet called the diet by origin. It says that if you continue to eat the food you grew up eating, your body best adapts to it. A plus point of arranged marriage. My wife cooks what my mother used to. Perks of arranged marriage.’

‘Makes sense.’ Said Shaan. Still unable to decide where to keep his toiletries pouch.

‘Its more to do with marrying someone with the same food background. Could be love or arranged.’ Added Moa.

Moa empties a shelf for Shaan and turns to Jiggi.

‘But Jiggi bhai, what’s with that little potbelly? You almost look like a 4-month old pregnant Somalian lady.’ Moa chuckled again.

‘Bro, don’t ask. My business went through a major slump and liquor became my comforter. I used to travel to Daman for the weekend sometimes to indulge in drinking.’

‘How is the situation now?’ asked Shaan.

‘Business has picked up again. Put now the potbelly refuses to go. So, like one day, I read about Madam Diwekar and how she transformed Ambani Bhai’s son. And I got motivated and registered.’

‘You are one lucky chap.’ Shaan and Jiggi said in a chorus.

Moa gestured with his hands, why?

‘You are not married, number one.’ Said Shaan.

‘You can eat your Chinese food everyday, number two.’ Said Jiggi.

‘No digestion problems since most of your food seems boiled, par boiled and bland.’ Shaan added.

‘And, no potbelly which walks a step ahead of you, but with you all the time.’ Jiggi continued.

‘Ssssshhhh.’ Said Moa.

Momentary silence.

‘The grass is always greener on the other side.’

‘I have been detected with diabetes and now I make a conscious effort to eat the foods which suit my body. I engaged with a personal trainer a few months back and now I continue to follow the exercises that was recommended then.’

‘Boss, where do you get the time? When I return from work at 8 pm, my children want me to do something or the other with them. That continues till they go to bed at 9 pm. By then I am totally drained out.’ Added Shaan.

‘Perks of not entering a family life’ grumbled Jiggi.

‘Now that’s not fair. I am almost the same age as both of you. I did not get the right companion to settle down. And sometimes I miss being a family man. But no excuses is good excuse. What about the mornings? Wake up early and do some form of workout.’ Added Moa.

‘Agree with you buddy.’ Both chorused.

‘You are not your weight’ reads out Moa as he takes Jiigi’s laptop from him.

‘Rujuta Diwekar says that we should not eat oats and other cereals for breakfast. It seems we should not begin our day with boring and tasteless stuff like those cereals. And all this while, we knew that Kellogg’s cereals was the best breakfast choice.’ Said Shaan.

‘Diwekar Madam talks like my Baa. She says you should eat enough ghee everyday. Did not pay heed to Baa’s free advice, now paying up with a course fee.’ Sighed Jiggi.

‘Ha, ha! We never give importance to anything free, unfortunately.’ Replied Moa.

‘Simran is glad that I am taking serious steps to becoming fit and boy, am I glad too. I will take the prescribed diet charts and now will get poha, upma and other yummy food at home. Simran has said, she will also follow the diet…it will be our journey together.’

‘Ohho, too much, love all over again, is it?’ Jiggi teased Shaan.

‘So, guys tomorrow your life upliftment starts. Before you transform into the good-goody students of Ms. Diwekar’s health conscious class, lets smoke some grass.’ Moa suggested with a serious look on his face.

‘You still carried on our little mischiefs from back old Pune college days?’ Jignesh asked with popping eyes.

A momentary pause.

‘Hell, no. Was just kidding!’ chuckled Moa again.

‘More than anything, I remember how I was ragged and asked to treat my seniors to something enigmatic. A local batchmate suggested and helped me out. Then I took you to the joint guy. My first and last visit.’ Added Moa.

‘And by the way, Nagaland folks don’t eat Chinese food.’ Winked Moa.

The three friends laughed and joked again after 8 years. They reminisced over some drink, food and all things good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A little bit of Colgate

A little bit of Colgate

Who doesn’t want to hold on? We do move on most of the times, but sometimes we cling. Cling on to memories, cling on to something, an object. Only because that object reminds us of something, or has memories of someone.

Has it not happened to you, that when you connected with an old friend after 15-20 odd years on social media, you remember those special moments, people or objects that you shared?

I am not going to get overtly philosophical anymore. Instead, introduce you to the protagonist of the following story, Ganga Prasad Shukla.

Ganga Prasad Shukla was fondly addressed as GPS by his colleagues at the SBI Meerut branch. However, when he was working, GPS did not have the more popular meaning, that it has now, that is Global Positioning System.

Shuklaji had grown to the senior most position in the branch and earned a glass walled cabin for himself. From his cabin, he kept an eye on what was happening across the bank office.

GPS was now a widower and 71 years old. He kept himself fit by washing his own clothes, cooking his own food and a bit of gardening. However, his memory had started troubling him. Sometimes, he soaked his clothes in soap water and forgot to wash them. And when the maid, Malti discovered this and brought it to her master’s notice, GPS started alleging that Malti was doing this to get back at him. Getting back for not raising her salary.

One day, when Pankaj, GPS’s son visited him, Malti wanted to submit her resignation.

‘No, Sir…..the ultimate was when Dadu(grandpa) accused me of stealing onions from the garden. He says that I did it because the prices of onions are too high in the market.’

Pankaj’s 6-year-old son, Bunty affectionately addressed his grandpa as Dadu. When Malti joined the Senior Shukla’s house for work, she started calling him Dadu too.

Pankaj signaled her to get back to work and walked up to his father.

‘Father why don’t you come and live with us in Delhi? You can share the room with Bunty.’

‘No beta(son). How can I leave all this, the garden and…’?

‘Don’t worry. I will ask Malti to come and water the plants.’

‘That thief?” GPS became animated.

‘Sssh. Father why don’t you come for a month and… don’t you want to spend more time with Bunty? He misses you so much.’

GPS softened up at the mention of his grandson. Bunty had some speech delay which was detected. But GPS brushed the doctor’s diagnosis as utter nonsense. He spent 3 months with Bunty. When Bunty had picked up words faster in those three months than the first 3 years of his life, GPS felt a sense of achievement and returned to Meerut.

Before leaving Delhi, he smirked and commented to his son, ‘Go and tell that children’s doctor that his diagnosis was utter bullshit. God knows where these so-called specialists, charging ransom and don’t know a thing, crop up from. His father must have paid donation and…’

Pankaj did not disagree with his father, as he was silently indebted to him.

‘I tell you, handling a child needs a lot of time, love and patience. And that doctor does not even see a patient for more than 5 minutes.’

‘Father, we are getting late. Do you want to miss the train?”

‘Ohh, no, no. let’s hurry.’ He quickly went to the room where Bunty was sleeping and tugged in a Rs.50 note in his hand. That was his goodbye blessing for the little boy.

‘One minute, let me check if I have taken my silver glass.’

GPS had a silver glass, which was like a child to him. He loved it, cleaned it every day till it sparkled and even talked to it when he was alone. He could not imagine a life without it. GPS’s mornings used to start with a leaf of Tulsi (Basil) and some water in his silver glass. He had even named his glass ‘Chandu’.

‘Is Bunty ok?’

GPS was wondering the purpose of his son’s invitation.

‘Yeah, he is absolutely fine.’

So, GPS decided to go to Delhi to be with his grandson more than anyone or anything else.

Cough! Cough!

‘Son, the pollution levels have gone up looks like. Haven’t they started some alternate days’ scheme…don’t think that would make much difference, though.’

‘Hmm’

GPS was greeted by his daughter-in-law, Neetu, who usually spoke less and his grandson. His face lit up when he met Bunty.

Dadu was shown his room, the kitchen and the washroom. He needed to know the areas which would feel his presence every day, without fail.

‘So, Father, Bunty will return at 2 pm. Please open the door for him. The cook would have kept his food ready for him.’

‘Oh, don’t worry.’

GPS had missed his morning Tulsi water tete-a-tete with Chandu because he was in the train.

He completed the other rituals. Cooked some khichdi and proceeded for bath and washing his clothes.

‘Big Sir, I have finished my work. Please lock the door.’ Said the Cook.

GPS locked the door and continued with what he was doing.

He was a stickler with his meal timings. So, sharp 11.30 am was time for lunch.

He always gave a minimum of 15 minutes for the initial part of digestion. Meanwhile, he picked up a newspaper that lay on the table.

But he was extremely tired from the journey. He dozed off.

He woke up startled when it was 1.45 pm.

‘Still 15 minutes for Bunty to return. Let me take Chandu out and clean that chap. He will be ready for tomorrow morning.’

GPS beamed with pride, when his silver glass shone after the cleaning ritual. Just like a father would be, to see his child, neatly and well groomed.

He unzipped his bag, took out Chandu and kept it on Bunty’s study table. Then he tried to take out ‘Silvo’, the liquid cleaning agent that he used for his silver glass. He groped every corner of his bag. Next, he took out all his clothes just to be sure if Silvo hid in between his clothes. He had forgotten that the cleaning agent had got over two days ago.

‘Sigh! How will I clean Chandu now?

Just then he remembered, that his wife used to clean the silverware at home with a little bit of Colgate.

He used the teeth cleaning twig, called ‘Daantun’ and Bunty used some fancy kids’ toothpaste.

So, GPS decided to check Pankaj’s bathroom. He found the rescuer, the cleaning agent for Chandu. Colgate toothpaste it was!

He reached for a toothbrush and happily started cleaning Chandu.

Ding dong. Ding dong. The doorbell bell did not seem to stop ringing.

GPS flummoxed and rushed to open the door.

Pankaj stood with Bunty.

‘Pankaj beta, all ok? Did you go to Bunty’s school to fetch him?’

Pankaj seemed infuriated.

‘Papa it is 2.30 pm now. Bunty kept ringing the doorbell for long. He then went to the neighbor’s house and called me. Luckily, I was in this area meeting a client.’

‘And what is this mess on your kurta?’

GPS looked at the mess he wore on his sparkling white kurta. It contrasted.

‘Papa, all I asked you was to open the door at 2 pm for Bunty. Can we not depend on you for this one little thing?’ Pankaj’s voice reflected irritation.

‘Beta, I was only cleaning Chandu in the bathroom and did not hear the doorbell.’

‘For a petty glass, you made my son wait outside for so long?’

Silence.

Pankaj walked up to his bathroom and lifted his palm to his forehead as a reaction.

GPS had used the Colgate toothpaste, but forgot to put the cap back. And worse, he had picked Neetu’s toothbrush.The grey coloured mess that resulted from the cleaning, was all over the wash basin.

Pankaj saw the reason for all the chaos and mess, sparkling as it stood on the dining table. He walked up to it, picked it up and banged it hard on the floor. Chandu received a big dent.

Pin drop silence followed.

GPS walked slowly and picked up Chandu with shaking hands.

He mustered up some courage.

‘Beta. Please book me a ticket in today’s evening train.’

Bunty walked up to Dadu and hugged him tight.

‘Dadu don’t leave me and go.’

‘Dadu has to go back. He is old now and making big mistakes.’

Pankaj had calmed down a little by then.

‘But Papa, why is this silver glass so important to you. Is it more important than us?’

‘Beta.’ Paused.

‘Chandu has been with me ever since I was a child. It nourished me with water when I was small.It still does and it is my duty to take care of it. My father, your grandfather had bought it for me. And my mother used to give me water in it every day. It is through Chandu that I feel connected to them even now.’

GPS turned his back and proceeded to the room where his bag lay. Tears rolled down his eyes as he hugged his silver glass close to his heart.

The old man stuck to his word and returned home with his silver child.

ReNew Year

ReNew Year

Hail Decemb”re”! The final month of the year.

Decemb”re” because we consciously or otherwise, all of us(included), spend a major part of our time in this month reminiscing, reanalyzing, reflecting, realizing, realigning, reassuring, relive – the list can go on and on. And why not?

What does Decembre have in common with an airport and a tunnel? They all signify there is hope ahead, an end of a journey and hopefully a better one ahead. You arrive at an airport, there is a journey out of it towards the city or town. You depart the airport, you are skyward bound! When you go into a tunnel, as you traverse through the darker journey, there is an illuminated one you travel towards.

If you follow formula racing, you would know that a pit stop in a race, is the point where the racing car pauses to refuel. At this point, often a car’s tyres and damaged parts are replaced and the front wings are adjusted. The car is guided into the pit by a Lollypop Man because he holds a similar shaped “stop/ first gear”sign. Decembre is our Lollypop Man!

Even the television channels telecast programmes of what has happened through the year. Reflection!

When I look back at the road I travelled on this year, it was a year successfully completed with a book published and my new avatar as a “Blogger”. Reminiscence!

A friend of mine was unable to land himself in the right job opportunity, after struggling for the last couple of years. He is beginning to flourish as a photographer. Realizing and Realigning! That was his journey from the last Decembre to this one.

Made a new friend and relived her happy moment at the launch of her first book. Relived!

As a matter of fact, I was thinking of including it in my “New Year’s To Do “list – make a new friend, become friend with an absolute stranger. Realized even strangers have many things in common with us. Including a desire to become friends with an absolute stranger! Realization!

And that is why I would like to call it the Renew Year! A new year repeats itself every year….a harbinger of resolutions, hopes.

Meet Amrita. She is very successful in her career and a single mom. None of which she ever dreamed of becoming, as a child or as a young girl.

If you saw her, she would definitely remind you of the actress Tina Munim. There is an enigma on her visage, a poise in her graceful looks and a mischief in her dimpled smile.

She looks the same as she did 9 years ago, except the little crow’s feet lines which have formed near her eyes. She dabs a little of No.7 Lift and Illuminate Triple Action Serum. It immediately tones up her face. Makes her feel better and in control. In control of her slightly ageing-skin.

She picks up her mobile again. Opens a message from Girish. Her ex-husband.

With the mobile in her left hand, she turns to look at her 8-year-old, Aadya. Aadya moved a little and kicked the Dohar( a Jaipuri quilt) which had covered her legs.

Amrita knew it was futile covering her daughter. She would kick it on and off. But that never stopped her from trying to protect her daughter, from the cold. Amrita was very possessive of Aadya. A daughter born from a week of marriage. Girish and Amrita were married for exactly a week.

They had been in love. Contrasting backgrounds created the reason. Both were rebels in their own families.

Girish was an Aiyar and loved eating non-vegetarian food. He was the lead drummer in his school and a person, most girls secretly gushed at. He had a lethal combination of looks and talent.

Amrita Banerjee was attractive. She was not slim, nor did she have a good figure. But her charming face kept all the attention focused there. Though girls in her school used to wonder “why”…why do the boys in the neighboring school go head over heels for her. Amrita often overheard all the gossips about her. But she did not care.

It was an inter-school fest where Girish met Amrita. Cupid struck and before long love blossomed.

Eventually, Girish pursued engineering at a premier college while Amrita enrolled for a hotel management course.

Distance started creating cracks in their relationship. They talked less, communicated lesser. Each interpreted it in a different way. Amrita understood that Girish was busy with his academics and hence. Girish understood it as time’s course of telling them to move on. He had flings and several. But just as he cheated, he got cheated upon too. A blow made him look back, think within. He reached out to Amrita. Amrita picked up from where they had left off. Love letters resumed.

Girish got the best offer of employment on Day zero. He proposed to Amrita formally. Amrita said yes.

The couple had some difficulty in getting the families to agree. But on both sides, they knew they had rebels to deal with.

It seemed to be a perfect love story. A Tam Bram marrying a Bengali beauty. There was opposition. Isn’t a love story supposed to be complete only if it has stiff opposition? At least, that’s what we grew up seeing in movies and believing.

Girish and Amrita chose a destination wedding at Goa, followed by a honeymoon at Seychelles.

And just when the story could wind up with “and they lived happily ever after”, Girish dropped a bomb…he returned alone. He had only his Delsey suitcase for company. And Amrita, returned separately…..hurt and broken but not quite aware what she specifically carried with her.

Nine months later, she became a mother to a baby girl.

Her status changed to that of a single mom.

Amrita’s mother had the harshest reaction, when her daughter returned back to them sans husband sans a wedded life. But she gathered herself and decided to be the rock support her daughter needed.

Amrita immersed herself at her job at Taj, Kolkata. Aadya grew up more in the laps of her grandmother.

Aadya looked like Girish. She constantly reminded Amrita of what had gone terribly wrong in her life.

The first couple of days at Seychelles was as blissful as could be. They clicked selfies everywhere – right from the beaches, to the restaurants to the bed where towel swans welcomed the couple on their honeymoon.

The third day, Girish was a changed person.

“What’s wrong, Girish?”

“You are wrong. Look at you. You are fat. All those tires. Even the bikini is ashamed.”

Momentary silence.

“But I have never been thin. You knew me this way, always.”

“And you have no ambition either. How could you leave your job?”

“Huh?”

“I always wanted to have a smart and attractive wife.”

“So why did you marry me? You are the one who came back.”

Momentary pause.

“And, I put in my papers only because they did not have a suitable role for me at their Delhi office.”

Girish turned his back towards Amrita, his left palm reaching his forehead.

“It’s over!”

He hastily reached for his things, packed his bags.

Amrita sat down in stupor.

She still does it sometimes. Was it her mistake re-accepting Girish…

When she learnt about her pregnancy, her gain after the biggest loss of her life..she reached for the small jar of Paroxetine, the anti-depressant medicines her mother was prescribed. She had taken one and was about to take another, her attempt to forget or flee from the new big problem.

Her mother saw and almost made a Superman like dive and snatched the jar. What followed was a slap, incessant tears and Amrita tightly holding her mother at the waist. Just like she did when she was a small girl, when she did not know how to deal with a problem and worse, when she did not know how to tell her.

Amrita looked at the message yet again. Girish wanted to come back again. After vanishing for 8 years, he had developed a strong yearning to meet their daughter Aadya.

Amrita clicked on her FB profile pic. She now had short hair. She thought she still looked the same, when she was in a relationship with Girish. Only a streak of hair undecided if it should turn full grey. And that did not bother her.

She zoomed in the pic. For a change she was wearing a sleeveless black dress nicely teamed with stilettos. Of course, they were borrowed. Her colleagues convinced and coerced her into them, last Christmas.

Amrita had immersed herself in Handloom kurtas and salwars, after Girish left her. The loose clothing protected her from prying eyes and further body shaming.

She always felt good when she saw that particular photograph of hers. She wondered if Girish had seen it and hence trying to re-establish the relationship.

Amrita clicked on the friend request and the message Girish had left for her on the messenger.

Girish had developed double chin. She scrolled down. Relationship status showed Single.

Aadya coughed in the background.

Amrita decided to reply back to her ex-husband.

I can’t fathom why after all these years you want to meet our daughter. Biologically you are her father, so I can’t stop you. But while you were away and I struggled to juggle between a career and being a mother, Santa gave Aadya, a very loving father. I would like you to meet her…..my mother! My mother has cared for Aadya, yes that’s what we call her…..So, even if you want to introduce yourself as the father, it will only further confuse our child.But if you insist, I will not stop you.Before I conclude, sorry for not being able to accept your friend request. We both know, that we were not even good friends, else we wouldn’t have parted ways the way we did.

<Enter>

After a long time, Amrita smiled. Her phone rang.

Amrita had been selected as the new Head of Operations at the Taj.

She updated her app. Leaving for Spain – with my girl gang.

She sat in the car. When she had just rolled up the pane, a familiar hand touched the pane…and the pain. He tried to stop her.But she looked ahead.