New age shopping.

New age shopping.

                “I have nothing to wear!” I exclaimed, as I stood facing  my wardrobe, inspecting the heap of outfits I had grown bored of. Hubby sat on a settee behind me, with a book in hand, pretending to be deeply engrossed in it. Exasperated at his ignorance, I snatched the book from his hands and tossed it aside.
“I said, I have nothing to wear for the party next week! When are you going to find some time for your wife? Take her shopping? You just don’t care about me anymore!” I went on with my barrage, as hubby sat silently, watching me with an amused look in his naughty eyes. Finally, when he could take it no more, he spoke.
“Have you finished? May I say something now? What were you dreaming about when I proposed a shopping trip last week? And, now,you very well know how busy I am going to be the next few days, don’t you? So, why don’t you go by yourself?  Take my credit card, and go splurge! Splurge to your heart’s content, wifey!” he tried to flirt, forcing a smile on my lips. The idea did seem tempting. I mean, it’s not every day that  hubby can be in such a good mood, so as to hand over his credit card and ask me to go wild!  But, then, one look outdoors and my  enthusiasm evaporated.
I pointed at the sky and made a face, wincing at the sweltering heat. How could anybody think about going shopping in that heat? Pat came the reply from my quick-witted partner, ” Why do you need to travel out there for your shopping, when you can get it all done from the cool comforts of your own home? Haven’t you heard about shopping from home? Online shopping? Duh!”
            I smiled sheepishly and blushed! I really hadn’t given that a thought. How foolish of me! As I sat there, lost in thoughts, hubby came up with some more helpful ideas about shopping at the  online megastore, Flipkart, his favourite  shopping destination. He also began telling me  about the fabulous  27coupons,  a coupons and deals distribution platform, which catered to Flipkart. That meant discounts on a variety of items, right from men and women’s apparel, to accessories, to books, you name it!
I was on cloud nine!  Just imagining going crazy in this new ‘mall’ gave me a high. My mind was made. The next day, with hubby  at the office and the house to myself,  I would switch on the AC, recline on my bed and go shopping! I quickly began preparing my shopping list. It would definitely consist of stuff to be bought just for myself. For once,  I would be totally  selfish. Umm, maybe, I would gift hubby a watch, to thank him for his tremendous help and his amazing ideas.
         The discount coupons would mean an opportunity to shop more, or, shop till I drop! And, shopping online would mean freedom from lugging heavy shopping bags from place to place. My cargo would be delivered at my door step,  flawlessly, and in record time,  to be flaunted at the party! Oh! Is this what he meant by that ‘shopping trip’? Aww, isn’t he such a darling?
         

In search of happiness.

In search of happiness.

   Happiness.
                What does it mean to be happy- unconditionally happy – in a life fraught with sadness? And, where do we find the happiness, to cheer us up, motivate us, to keep moving ahead, in spite of the adversities that besiege us? I used to wonder – I still do – as to, how can one be happy, when there is not a single reason in life to be happy about?  I remember, every time I had to face life at its darkest, I would succumb to the despair, to its pressure, and crouch into a shell. Fear writ large on my face, I would lose the will to smile. I looked for reasons to smile, be happy about, but failed to find any. Maybe, I looked in all the wrong places.
              Mother, who has been through some very tough times, would always say, and still does, that we must be happy, always happy, unconditionally happy. The  life that we have been blessed with, is sure to have problems, at some time or the other. And, there is nothing we can do about these problems, except fight them with all our might. But, at the same time, we ought to be thankful for all that we have, and, well, be happy! Things could have been worst!
            And, pray tell me, where do we find this happiness, when all around us the problems of life lie, magnified to scary proportions? Pat comes the reply,”Honey, happiness is that tiny cloud, which shields us from the scorching sun rays, giving us a few moments of respite, to stop and breathe, before we resume fighting our battles!  You really don’t need to look far and wide for that tiny cloud. It’s right there, in front of you, in the simple things that you so conveniently ignore!”

         Now, as I reflect upon mother’s words, I laugh at my ignorance and smile at the array of joys that I have been blessed with, that have the power to fill my life with happiness, giving me respite, ‘a chance to breathe, before I resume fighting  my battles.’  How stupid could I have been, to turn a blind eye to these simple joys that have the potential to give me immense happiness !   Yes, simple joys. Nothing complicated, nothing too frilly, just plain and simple…the things that actually fill up our lives with happiness, but, which we are pathetically ignorant about.
         Cliched as it may sound, but, I find utmost happiness in doing something for somebody. Giving my time to my family and  my friends, makes my day! Their happy smile says it all.
         Spending hours, reading old, hand written letters, which I exchanged with cousins and pen pals, all those years ago, takes my mind away from issues that bother me no end. The innocence and the charm of adolescence has long since lost, but, it’s memories fill me with happiness every time I bring out that yellowed  bundle of my teenage scrawls.
          Making a call at mum’s, and hearing her voice (which is exactly what I wanted to hear) takes away half the pain. Her comforting words,  which act as a balm on my frazzled nerves,  give me incomparable happiness, cheering me up instantly.
          A surprise phone call from my bestie, followed by a long heart to heart chat, can lift up my spirits, like no other spirit can!
          When Chikoo, my pet dog (and my constant source of happiness) with his large chocolate brown eyes and a tilt of his head to a side, asks me,“hey girl, what is it that bothers?” I melt! A walk with him in the cool evening breeze, to the accompaniment of nature’s orchestra, clears up my mind, leaving me in a happier mood.
         Opening the refrigerator, and finding a lone bar of chocolate (and no one around to share it with!) gives me happiness!
         Hubby, returning from grocery shopping (yes!), and bringing along a chilled bottle of my favourite fizzy drink…that gives me happiness!
       
          Simple, aren’t these? But, with a lot of potential, to put back the smile on my face, the spring in my step, cheering me on, to face those little hurdles and surge ahead with renewed zest!
     

 

‘We’ – ceased.

‘We’ – ceased.

                     ” I miss you; I  miss us,” I whispered, as I sat on the bed, watching him pack his overnight bag.  The three-day long weekend had tempted him and his buddies to take a short trip, “to recharge the batteries,” 
                    “But, what about us? We haven’t been anywhere in ages! You are busy all the time, either with your job, or with your friends. Do I even have a place on your priority list?” I asked, and instantly bit my tongue.
                    “Don’t you start that again, now. Don’t spoil my mood, okay? Do you even know how I manage everything? Do you have any idea, how much of stress I have to undergo to maintain my position? I am tired, okay? And, I need a break,” the last sentence spoken in the cold tone, that said I dare not argue anymore.
                   I kept mum. When was the last time we had taken a break, just the two of us? When was the last we had spent some time with each other? There was hardly any conversation between us anymore. Where were we heading? I had tried my best to adjust to him, to life with him, but, now I could feel myself failing, miserably. Did we even have a future together? There was really no point talking about it right now, or any other time, for that matter. How he hated discussing these things! Life, for him, was a business contract, where there was no place for emotions. Just his luck,  that  he had a wife, who invested emotions in everything she did, every relation she had!
               Every time I tried asking him for some time – for some of his precious time – I was met with the usual: I am busy. I have meetings. My friends grumble they don’t get to meet me as often. I am tired. I am stressed out. I have problems at work. I am not in the mood. I am bored.  Every thing revolved around the ‘I’. Did ‘we’ even exist?
         
             He zipped his bag shut, took one exasperated look at me, and walked out of the bedroom. I stayed on the bed, exhausted, drained of any emotions. Drained by the sacrifices, the adjustments, the loneliness.  Never had I imagined our life turning out like this; my life-partner, letting go of the hand he had promised to hold, for the rest of his life. But then, never had I ever realised, that everyone is self-centred; it’s just the radius that differs.
            I lay down on my bed, lost in thoughts. The tick-tock of the clock, the whirring of the air conditioner, the outdoor noise, all keeping me company, as I slowly drifted off to sleep.

The above post has been written for Wordy Wednesday.

This week’s prompt: Sentence prompt: Everybody is self-centred; it’s just the radius that differs.
This week’s prompt comes from blogger-writer and B-A-R member: Shilpa Garg.



A house of our own.

A house of our own.

                  “I dreamt we bought a house,”  I would tell hubby, every once in a while, knowing fully well that it would lead to an argument.  Residing in a rented apartment  as opposed to buying a house, used to be the topic of argument between us for quite a long time, where he was all for the former, whilst I wanted to have a roof over our heads that we could call our own. But,  didn’t the famous writer Mr Coelho say that, when you want something, and wish for it with all your heart, then the entire universe conspires in helping you to achieve it? Well, that is exactly what happened! We bought a house, our own house!

                 Of course, choosing the right one was a tough job. So many things had to be taken into consideration. Its vicinity, its nearness to my work place, availability of all the local amenities, and of course, the most important one: the loan! But, as I said, the universe was indeed conspiring in making my dream come true. Everything fell into place, just like that! We found the perfect house in a cozy little housing colony, far away from the madding crowd! And, I was  on cloud nine!
               Shifting the household items, setting up the house, decorating it just the way we wanted to (without the decorator’s meddling) took up quite some time. But, in the end, we were happy, contented and at peace. It was the first major achievement for the two of us. Well, buying a house is not a child’s play, is it?
             However, as all things come to an end, the excitement, the novelty began to fade as certain realities began coming into focus. For instance, our area had frequent power cuts, or load-shedding, as we call it here. The moment the mixer-grinder would come out of it’s corner, the power used to bid us good bye, leaving us frustrated at all the plans for an elaborate meal getting fizzled out. Then would begin the endless wait, testing our patience and our sense of humour!
            Another major glitch was the unavailability of a scheduled transport system for me to reach my work place. I would wait for hours on end at the bus- stop, waiting for a miracle. At times, my prayers got answered, and at others, I was left fuming and fretting at the pathetic planning by the governing body. Hubby was totally against getting a two-wheeler, as he worried for my safety on the beastly roads. 
           Ah, but, we decided to give things some time. Time  surely is  the healer. We began  learning to find our way out of problems. Slowly and steadily, things began improving. Life began improving. The major step we had taken proved to be the right one! Our house, our home, which we had bought with our own hard earned money, proved to be a blessing. It had been a big change for us, but, a good change, for sure! And, as the saying goes, all’s well that ends well! We decided to #StartANewLife and we succeeded! 
       

                 

My dear bro.

My dear bro.

                 The silence was piercing. She stood with her head bowed, her eyes fixed on a spot on the ground. Her chin quivered as the tears began to fall, one by one. I turned to look at him, stunned at the words he had used, the moment he had chosen. I found it hard to believe how cruel he could be! Just when every one of us cousins was having a good time, enjoying the annual get together during the summer vacations, he had gone and ruined it. For her. For my dear little sister.
               I moved towards her, wanting to reach out, wanting to support her, wanting to give him a piece of my mind. How could he? And, all that drama just because of the subjects she had chosen for her graduation? Unbelievable! Was it such a big deal getting into medicine or engineering? It was her choice, her life! What right did he have to ridicule her for her choices? He sniggered, wanting to activate a chain reaction from all those gathered around. As expected, a snicker escaped his son’s lips. I glowered at the rest of them, silencing them before they joined in.
             I stood behind her, holding her by the shoulders, and bent down to whisper into her ears. 
” Avni, you are going to ignore people’s jibes, because that is all they are capable of doing. You will do what you find fit, what you choose to do, and what interests you and you alone. And, the next time someone tries to put you down, you are going to use every iota of guts that you have and show them their place, whoever they may be. Do you hear me?”
            I could feel every eye in the room, looking at the three of us, wondering what would happen next. I knew for sure, he would not retaliate. He could only roar at the meek ones. Like my sister, who, being the quiet one, seldom  responded to the barbs aimed at her.  He seemed to get a sadistic pleasure out of making a mockery  of people, whom he found unconventional. Oh, it was useless trying to make him look at things from a different perspective!
         My thoughts now turned towards  this stick of a girl standing in front of me, her head still bowed. How I wanted to shake her out of the fear that  seemed to have  engulfed her! Why couldn’t she speak up? Why couldn’t she just care a damn about the world and follow her heart, confidently, fearlessly?! She needed an earful, too. Oh, yes, she did! She had to change. There was no way in hell she would survive in that big  bad world if she would tremble like a leaf everytime she was hit by a typhoon. 
          My mind was made. The end of this summer vacation would see a changed Avni — bold, courageous, no more the rabbit she had always been, but a lioness who could not just roar, but also shred to bits anyone who dared get in her way. I grabbed her hand, pulled her out of the gathered crowd of kids and took her on a long walk. 
            

 The above post has been written for Wordy Wednesday.
This week’s  prompt: Phrase prompt: Shadows of silence.
This week’s prompt comes from B-A-R member, writer and blogger, Rajlakshmi Boruah.