The Prank (Short Story)

Nitu woke up to a bright new morning. This day was special. It was their third wedding anniversary and with a husband as lovely as Vijay, her life has been a musical journey so far. She ran her home-baked cakes and cookies business, which was greatly encouraged by Vijay, an investment banker with a renowned financial services company.

Nitu treated Vijay with a new dessert every evening after dinner and her love for cooking created a magical bond between them.

On that morning of their wedding anniversary, when Nitu woke up, she saw Vijay still lying on the bed. She wanted to surprise him with the gift she made for him with love, a beautiful white T-shirt on which she iron printed the words – “Congratulations to the new Dad to be!”. They had been a busy couple, like any couple of today’s time, where the first few years of married life went in securing finances and then planning for the addition of a new member to the family.

Nitu quickly got out of the bed, tiptoeing to the bathroom. She had a shower, wore a saree in beige, Vijay’s favorite color, opened the T-shirt and stood in front of him, sleeping peacefully. 1-2-3 surprise!! She let out a soft whisper for him to wake up. For the usual person he is, Vijay would first acknowledge her greeting with a smile and would wish her good morning. But this time, there was no response from him. She waited and prompted again. Still, there wasn’t any response. She held his arm to wake him up only to find him lying lifeless on the bed!

Nitu couldn’t believe what she saw. Was that a bad dream? Am I still sleeping?! She wondered. But, no. She saw herself in the beige saree, touched her hands and face, and realised that this isn’t a dream… This was real. Vijay was in front of her, lifeless.

He was perfectly alright last night when they had the dessert together. He said he had dinner at an office party but as he loved Nitu’s sweets, he always saved some space to accommodate that. Due to frequent business travel and client meetings, there are many days he didn’t have dinner at home but after a long day, dessert time was something that both of them looked forward to every night, sharing jokes, making calls to their parents and talking about how their day went.

Vijay grew very progressively in his career. He joined the company as a fresh management graduate and nine years later now, he was the Vice President, managing a few of the company’s key accounts and heading a large team of 250 employees across India. Success didn’t come easy to him. Hailing from a small town in Karnataka, studying and working his way up the corporate ladder came with relentless pursuit of excellence in every task he took up. If hardwork was his fortΓ©, getting the right mentors and bosses was his good fortune.

Three years ago, he met Nitu, who joined the company as an Assistant Manager and reported to him. Upon getting to know each other, both of them understood the way forward. Nitu’s simplicity in today’s world of artificiality and show off, attracted Vijay. Vijay’s humbleness in spite of being largely successful attracted Nitu. They were made for each other, and everybody felt the same. After they got married, Nitu began to pursue cooking and baking and soon quit her job. Both of them enjoyed this move because she loved to cook and he loved what she cooked.

Last night was nothing different. She knew he wouldn’t be home for dinner, so he made dinner for herself. She baked strawberry tarts to munch after dinner and eagerly waited for Vijay to reach home. They had the tarts while they chatted, spoke to their parents and dozed off. Nitu kept her pregnancy a secret because she wanted to reveal it the next day, on their 3rd wedding anniversary, to surprise Vijay.

And… this is the harsh truth of her life today. When she thought of surprising him with the news of her pregnancy, she got the worst shock from him. He was no more…

Timidly, she opened her mobile, only to see a gush of wedding anniversary greetings from friends and family on WhatsApp and Facebook. She couldn’t contain the irony of her life. For the hormonal changes she was going through being 3 months pregnant, this was too much for her to handle. She fell aside motionless.

Vijay opened his eyes to the thud. He rushed her to the hospital where he got the bittersweet news. The doctor said Nitu was 3 months pregnant but she was brought dead as she suffered a massive heart stroke. Vijay’s world came down crashing.

Rewind to what happened the previous night…

Just after they retired to bed, Vijay checked WhatsApp on his mobile phone.

I’m going to divorce and marry again” read his friend’s WhatsApp status. Panicked, Vijay asked him what on earth has happened to him!!

” Ha-ha Vijay! You lost to me, mate! This was part of a Truth or Dare Challenge forwarded by my friend. I was fooled by him just like how you were fooled by me and yeah, now the turn is yours. My challenge to you is – You must act dead when your wife comes to wake you up tomorrow morning and you must record her reaction. Dare?!

And here… this morning, Vijay acted dead, smiling within himself that he was playing a prank on Nitu. Nitu, on the other hand, completely unaware of the whole thing, believed in Vijay’s acting skills and died due to shock. And, she was 3 months pregnant with their bundle of joy buried inside forever…

Author’s note:

What are the kind of pranks/challenges we are falling prey to these days? One brainless person starts something somewhere and thanks to social media and going viral, everyone starts to get involved knowingly or unknowingly. Let’s not spoil our beautiful lives just for the sake of someone’s prank challenge or to satisfy our ego/pride.

Nobody will be affected in anyway if you don’t participate in such pranks/challenges.

Your real life is right in front of you, seeking your attention.

The virtual world is just not worth the attention you give it!

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Dear Doctor, Aren’t You Human First?

Yet another shamefully shocking incident happened in a government hospital in Faizabad, Uttar Pradesh where a new born baby died, slipping from the operation table!

The reason? Allegedly, the doctors and nurses neglected the new born baby and mother, as the baby’s father was unable to pay them money!

In my 6-year long journey as Mom to a special needs child, I’ve interacted with many – read MANY medical practitioners, therapists, lab technicians, nurses, sample collectors, pharmacists and other hospital staff like reception, housekeeping etc… There have been instances where I was asked if I’m a doctor myself probably because of the way I sound, be it balanced or well-acquainted with the medical terminology. My husband and I would have paid more number of visits to hospitals across the country, more than we went to the local park or holidaying. Almost every other weekend was and still is, spent at a doctor’s lounge. Having coffee with my husband at the hospital cafeteria is what defines a coffee date for me.

While I understand and appreciate the fact that my boy is getting treated under the best doctors practising today (given the nature of his illness, which needs a specialised medical team’s intervention), I’ve had my share of worst experiences too. This topic runs in my mind always and as I read this news yesterday, I was forced to put my thoughts to this long pending write-up.

Where are we heading as the world’s self-proclaimed superior race, the human race? Animals and birds are far more superior to us, frankly! There have been beautiful videos where natural incidents are captured by animal videographers. Such videos leave me spellbound. You see hundreds of ants trying to save a few ants stuck in jaggery. You see a healthy dog bringing food for a hurt and limping dog. And we all have grown up with the children’s story where a flock of birds stuck in a hunter’s net, soar in unity and get saved together.

What the hell has happened to us, man! Why are we killing each other for money? And have the doctors stooped down to such a level that they kill their self-respect, moral values and the basic fact that they too belong to our race? They are exposed to so much blood and flesh during college and practice, that… they probably have completely lost sensitivity to human life?

How can such cold-blooded murders even happen at all otherwise?
Many concepts of the medical practice seem to have changed with time. In our land, we said and believed that “Vaidyo Narayano Harih” which means “Doctor is equal to Narayana in Sanskrit or God in English“. Doctors are not Gods but it’s the public that make them feel Godly. We believe that they emancipate us from pain. We believe that they have all the answers. But, isn’t it incredible that they too believe in God? When they plan for a very critical surgery, they say “We will do our best, and let’s hope for a miracle to happen“. When an extremely critical operation becomes successful, they say “God is Great“. So, at some point in time, they too are powerless and must believe in that Super Power above all of us. So why the heck do they forget that they are as human as we are. Why do they trade life for money? Such incidents make us believe in white-collared criminality.

Patients face many difficulties in order to pay for medical fees, diagnostic tests, procedures and for medication. Some of them sell whatever little jewelry they have. Some of them sell their bits of land. Some forgo education and some forgo food. And someone hapless, even sell their organs! I mean, people aren’t so rich in this land to afford the kind of treatment the medical field bills us for. We get the so-called best treatment in private hospitals but they are far within the reach of the common man and those below poverty. Due to the reservation system and political mileages, people in the lower castes still are entitled to free medical service in private hospitals. But how about those who neither have the reservation advantage not are financially capable to afford expensive treatment? The only resort for them is government hospitals which are ideally and constitutionally set-up for serving public. But no!!

Entry into a government hospital equals doors to death today. Private hospitals are no less and they can bill you for a 100 diseases when you go with a minor complaint. As an average citizen of this country, where do I go if I’m sick?

Whom to trust when there is lobbying at every stage in the medical domain – right from medical practitioners to pharma giants to diagnostic centres to ambulance service to additonal hospital staff to charged hospital parking to external labs to medical insurance companies to medical device companies to surgical instruments companies… And even to mortuary! Not all, but some of them leave no opportunity unturned and literally suck the life out of the common man, who is dying everyday without being pronounced dead.

One piece of information that does the rounds in public about the medical field… People pray that one must either be healthy or be blessed with a quick death but should never get into the hold of doctors today because you end up not knowing whether you’re actually living or dead.

It’s my earnest request to everyone involved in the medical field supply chain – We always pray for your well-being fully believing that you will ensure our well-being. Please end corruption in the medical field.

There are always exceptions and I’ve encountered wonderful doctors too, but these are far and in between.

Hoping for a better ethical medical community in our country… who don’t just live on patient commissions but who thrive on people’s blessings! Jai Hind!

Are You Too A Victim of Fast Fashion?

Did you ever wonder how come the paper boy and your teenager son or brother look so much like pals when it comes to their clothing ?!

Did you wonder as much about a casual kurti you recently bought and even before you wore it at least once, you would have seen your cook wear it for work (your house) !

If yes, then bingo! You already know what fast fashion is and you’re already a victim of it πŸ™‚

Fast fashion means any fashion or style that looks super trendy, quickly changes and comes very cheap.
If you had to get it done by a tailor with all your measurements and intricate design detailing, you would have had to spend 5 or 10 times more than what you pay for the same fashion that comes readymade!

So, what are the disadvantages of fast fashion if you can look trendy for the cheapest of prices?

1. There will soon be nothing called “your” own creativity or taste. Whatever the big fashion names like Zara, H&M, Fashion BB, Amazon etc dump to you, “their forever preferred customer”, you lap it up!! It’s easier right πŸ™‚

2. Production costs work very cheap for all these big brands, they end up with at least 90% profit margins and that’s why they are able to give you unimaginable discounts and clearance sales!

3. Whatever you buy this month will soon be out of fashion in 2-3 months. It means that you will forever keep buying and burning holes your pockets!

4. Everyone looks like in school uniforms LoL ! Because there are various sizes from XS to XXXL, these clothes practically fit almost every person in the country. That’s precisely what their modus operandi is ! Produce in tonnes and sell for pennies. It’s all about volume sales here!

Once in a while, it can be a good coincidence but doesn’t it look odd when you always bump into someone and realise that they own a similar shirt or tunic that you too own !? Forget about being uniquely dressed. Of course, there is always a possibility of someone else wearing a design that you too possess, but with fast fashion, the chances simply quadruple πŸ™‚

“Truly tailor-made” has become more expensive today πŸ™‚

5. It’s not good for the country’s economy too. More reliance on fast fashion means zillions of machine-made clothing and accessories! It is directly proportional to reduction in jobs and directly impacts the country’s economy and its people’s standard of living.

6. This whole trend of buying lots and lots of fashion at such continuous pace is never good for the environment because due to our growing buyer needs, we are insisting on augmented production! In the earlier days they would get new clothes stitched 2-3 times a year. Due to fast fashion, we literally end up burning money, shopping at least 2-3 times a month!

Can we wake up please? Just imagine the amount of burden we are putting on the planet!

If the above reasons seem a wee bit valid to you, think twice before you order fashion online – Amazon or Flipkart or Walmart or Myntra or Jabong or whatever!

And think thrice before you spend your hard-earned money shopping in malls. Who knows, there may be at least 1000 people at one point of time, buying exactly that piece you thought would look so unique Ha-ha!

One more example of how we see the need to travel back in time πŸ™‚

Back to the days of the good old family Darzi (Tailor) !

The Rose That Never Withered (Short Story)

“We’re shifting the city Rini, I don’t know when we will see each other again”, said Sam, as he gave her the Archies greeting card on that last December day of 2001. Rini and Sam were best friends, both in their late teens and pursuing an undergraduate program in film making.

“The card looks beautiful, just like your smile, Sam. Happy New Year 2002!” replied Rini, admiring the greeting card she just opened. But her happiness was shadowed by recalling what Sam just told her.

“What do you mean Sam? I thought Uncle didn’t accept the transfer….”

“He had to accept it, Rini. All of us will be affected by the transfer, but that’s the only way out now. Dad thinks Sheila will come out of the trauma only if we change the city. It’s an unfortunate episode but we all want her to come out of it, forever…

************************

Sheila was Sam’s sister, a school girl all of 8 years. Though always a happy girl, she started to show signs of withdrawal in the recent past. Nobody really understood what was wrong with her. Sam entrusted the responsibility to Rini, as he knew Sheila loved talking to her.

Upon pursuing the matter, Rini was able to make a breakthrough. Sheila revealed to Rini that she saw her Mom tearing her hair apart and behaving wierd in front of the mirror. This left little Sheila, utterly shocked. She couldn’t say anything to anyone because after a few minutes, Mom would behave just normal… as if nothing has ever happened. This continued for a month, making Sheila severely depressed. She was so scared of her Mom and stopped eating or going to school. After coaxing, pleading and reassuring, Sheila finally opened up to Rini. And when Rini told this to Sam, he was flabbergasted too!

Sheila cannot be lying Rini, because we clearly see her present state of mind… But I really cannot digest this… What could be wrong with Mom!” a shaken Sam sighed loud.

“Sam, whatever has to happen, has already happened. How do you plan to take up the matter with Uncle?”

“I don’t know Rini… Will you do me a favour? Will you let Sheila stay with you for a few days and take care of her till I ask you back?”

“What will I tell my Mom and Dad, Sam?”

Tell them that my parents have gone to visit our ailing grandfather. It would be difficult for them to take Sheila along and she would also miss school. I’ll ask my Dad to speak to your Dad on phone, once I discuss this with him today“.

They mutually agreed.

A few hours later, Rini received a phone call from Sam.

Rini, hope you didn’t discuss the matter with your parents. Sheila will not come to stay with you. There’s a change in plan. Come to our meeting place right now.”

Rini hurriedly left her house and went to the street’s corner ice-cream shop, to meet Sam.
“Rini, what I saw today… is unimaginable… Dad slapped Mom. I never thought this could happen. Mom always looked happy in the family. Sheila is too young to understand all this. Mom’s strange behaviour and cries in front of the mirror shocked the little one but I never knew the reason could be – Domestic Violence Meted Out By Dad ! I thought Dad would help me to resolve Sheila’s depression but I’m clueless now…” Sam confided his worry and helplessness to Rini.

But Uncle loves Aunty so much. I’m very surprised that he slapped her! Best friends are forever, Sam… Let me think… We’ll sort it out together…

**********************

10 years later… Year 2012…

Sheila was an undergraduate now, pursuing her degree in environmental sciences. She had great craftsmanship and excelled in arts & crafts too, and made beautiful things out of many things. That afternoon, the college Principal called her to his office and informed her that as part of a volunteering project, their college is going to visit a cancer hospital next month. She was asked to take the lead and make greeting cards for their upcoming visit. She & her team made dozens of them, beautifully inspiring ones with profoundly worded messages added to heartwarming pictures. It was an overwhelming scene the day she visited the hospital with her college pals.

Fast forward another 6 years… Year 2018…

Sheila is now 24, leading an NGO that employs underprivileged cancer survivors. They make and ship tonnes of cards to uplift the mood and bring in cheer to cancer fighters across the world. She secured a place in the “Top 25 Under 25 List of Young Achievers 2018” this year, for the cause that she’s working – to bring smiles on the faces of thousands of people fighting cancer every day, with a strong will to defeat the disease. The most inspiring aspect is that her NGO employs cancer survivors from lower middle class section of the economy and gives them a new beginning to their new life.

“It’s such a pleasure to meet you Miss Sheila, You’re in the Top 25 Under 25 List of Young Achievers 2018. And what makes you stand out from your peers is the cause you’re striving for? What is your background Miss Sheila? I’m 50 and it amazes me to see your conviction, balance and profundity in establishing and running this NGO” the news reporter was all set to feature Sheila’s journey for their magazine’s cover story.

I suffered from severe depression as a child. When I was 8 years old, I saw my Mom tearing her hair apart, crying and behaving strangely in front of the mirror. That scene repeated for the next several days and I was too young to comprehend what was wrong with Mom because she seemed very joyful when she came outside of the room. I got scary dreams and couldn’t share my fear with anyone. Rini, my brother’s best friend, pitched just in time and rescued me from the trauma. I could confide in her.

After a few weeks, Dad decided that we’re to relocate to another city. Though I missed my school and friends, it was a much needed escapade! I felt so relieved at the thought of moving away from the nightmarish episodes. Dad, Sam and I left the place. The flight was about to take off, when Sam looked at me in the eye and said, “Sheila, we will never see Mom again. I want you to enjoy life as you always did. You will make new friends in the new city. You can always keep in touch with Rini. We’re leaving this place for your happiness, my little sis…” I wanted to ask Sam what really was wrong with Mom but I was not mentally ready to take anything more. I just sought an escape, which I already got.

Five years passed by and I was 13 then, in 2007. Normalcy seemed to resume in my life.

On that August morning in 2007, I saw Rini at the door when I was just about to leave for school. I left all the emotional baggage behind and everything flashed before me once, upon seeing her. She hugged me and I felt the warmth once again. Though she’s my brother’s best friend, and someone who’s older to me by 10 years, we clicked so well right from the start.

“Rini, you felt like seeing us finally. Can you imagine how much I longed to see you all these years? Why did you leave us? Parting with Mom shattered us and you too left us at the same time.” Sheila was still glued in Rini’s embrace.

“Sheila, my love, I had to be away on a purpose. You were too young to understand things back then. Your Mom was diagnosed with metastatic cancer and she needed me more. Your family needed strength to let this fact sink in. Your dad, Sam and you had to stay together and to keep going. That’s when your Mom approached me. Doctors have written off her existence in 6 months. She was overwhelmed to hear the news. She had a lot of things to do. Tearing her hair apart and sobbing strangely in front of the mirror, what you saw as an 8-year old girl, was the cancer taking away her life…. When your Dad came go know about this, he was too upset to believe the whole thing, that he slapped your Mom, not wanting her to leave him and the world ! Sam misunderstood your Dad when he saw that incident. He always loved your Mom very much.

Rini handed Sheila a large file. It was signed “To my dearest Sheila, From Mom

As Sheila opened the file, she was pleasantly surprised to see pictures of her Mom with many cancer patients in many skin colors. One thing that captivated Sheila was “their smiles”! Every picture had people smiling, in exuberance and positivity. They all have been suffering so much… How on earth could they let that smile dance on their lips!! Sheila wondered. Mom’s magic, maybe!!

As she came to the last leaf of the file, it read –

I’m not defined by my cancer,

There’s more to me apart from feeling sick!

I felt a strange wave of change in my take on cancer at that moment. The fact is that Cancer affected my Mom and my family. I cannot change this fact for anything. If there is something that I can really change, it’s the way I can help people deal with it. I learnt this from Mom.

Doctors who decided that she wouldn’t live beyond 6 months, was still going strong after 5 years of her diagnosis!! Yes, Mom was still there. My joy knew no bounds when I saw my Mom walk towards me…

A fragile frame with barely a few strands of hair, but her eyes clearly said “We won’t give up, come what may!”

I slowly released Rini’s embrace and hugged my Mom with a gush of emotions… Sadness, Happiness, Helplessness, Hope, Uncertainty, Confidence and Trust ! It was on that day, a 13-year old Sheila decided what she wanted to do as she grew older… And here you see, a decade later, Mr. Reporter – “Fresh Rose Cancer Survivors Trust“…

Let’s strive to make the cancer struggle journey a bold one. They exhibit so much willpower in fighting cancer, can we not exhibit a touch of humanness by saying a kind word and bringing a smile around?

Many thanks to my brother’s best friend, Rini. In this day and age, it surprises me how strong can a bond of friendship can still be!!

My salute to Mom, the strongest woman… A cancer survivor who rewrote what the doctors predicted by her sheer willpower… She remains a Fresh Rose… A Rose that will Never Wither, Ever…

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Author’s note:
This is a work of fiction and I dedicate this to Sonali Bendre and all cancer fighters in the world. My sincere prayers for their speedy recovery.

September 22 is observed as World Rose Day, in memory of 12-year old Melinda Rose from Canada, who was diagnosed with Askin’s Tumour, a rare form of Blood Cancer. Doctors predicted that she will not survive more than a couple of weeks, but she lived six months more. Within that period, she successfully cheered up other cancer patients and their caregivers with her letters, poems, and emails.

Rose day brings comfort to cancer patients with handmade roses, cards and gifts from known and unknown people all around the globe. It is the time to get self-awareness as well, in order to make your life happy with a healthy lifestyle.

Let’s imbibe healthy food habits and a natural lifestyle to keep cancer at bay. Let’s make beautiful memories for those who are fighting cancer. Let’s be empathetic, human and do whatever little we can, to their families in their difficult times. Jai Hind !

Hottest Teachers? – Is TOI A Newspaper or A Toilet Paper?

I write this in full gut, awareness and disgust. TOI is Times of India – Arguably, the largest circulated daily newspaper. It’s reach is widespread and people who read it are mostly people who get carried away by Bollywood news updates. It pains me to even dedicate a blog post on this topic but there’s a dire need for me to raise my voice against it, for the knowledge well-being of my fellow citizens of this land.

What is the significance of September 5th ?

I’m 32 years old and anyone around my age group would agree that we all used to get dressed as teachers every year on this day, wear sarees/ kurtas/suits to school. Wearing no uniform was wonderful! We would all give a break for our teachers who would sip their tea and snacks “officially” in school while all of us took turns to teach class subjects. We would have skits, song and dance performances. We would leave school happy and with sweets in our hands.

Generations before us had even more reverence for teachers. They would carry rice and homegrown vegetables for their teachers who would get paid very meagre salaries.

Being a Teacher was regarded as a very noble profession and was never commercial in our country. A teacher literally owned the student even after his/her class hours were over. A student too had utmost love and respect towards the teacher, no matter you’re heir to a business empire or you’re a rickshaw puller’s son.

My mother was a teacher and the district’s IAS and IPS officers’ daughter was her student for 2 years. I remember how my mother used to be treated by that student’s mother who was an IPS officer and her father who was an IAS officer. (I won’t take names)

We all are aware of why we dedicated this day in celebration of Teachers and Their Service to Our Society. It’s the birthday of one of the greatest teachers this country gave birth to – Dr Sarvepalli Radha Krishnan.

I was disappointed, frustrated and in deep anguish when I saw the picture added to this blog. It was an article published by the Times of India titled Hottest Teachers of Bollywood, in celebration of Teachers Day.

Disgusting piece of news I read ever!! I wonder if it’s newspaper or toilet paper and I say this in full confidence to bring out the article writer in public and ask him/her if they ever thought for a moment before publishing it? What is the role of print media today? Shameful!

We are killing our heritage with our own hands by keeping silent and letting ourselves into deeper ignorance.

Request you all to share this story in your groups and condemn such distasteful and unhealthy write-ups by media majors as large as TOI.

Do You Know Why We Believed in Doing These Things? Part 2

This is a sequel to the compilation I made in Part 1, if you didn’t already read that!

Have you always wondered why we wear Kumkum or why we break coconut in front of God? Why do we wear gold or Why married women wear silver toe rings? Why pregnant women were advised and gifted bangles or why Hindu cremation rituals were prescribed to be done by sons only? Read on…

Here are some more traditional beliefs that I have heard of and have always asked why we needed to follow. Justifications came from experienced elders, clubbed with a bit of my questioning/logical sense. Feel free to add in the comments below if you know of any such beliefs or practices, and the reasons behind following them πŸ™‚

1. Why do women wear Kumkum?

Well, in the ancient times, it was not women alone who applied Kumkum on their forehead. Men equally used it. The main raw materials used in the preparation of Kumkum are Turmeric, Lemon and Sesame oil, which kept them free from infections and kept the “third eye chakra” or “aajnya chakra” very cool. That is the exact place where bindi has to be placed… on the forehead and between the eyes but not between the eyebrows like we’re doing these days. However, in the name of trend, we chucked off Kumkum from the forehead and started using stickers made from cloth/plastic which actually doesn’t serve any of its intended purpose, as originally prescribed in our Vedas. Also, it’s not true that only married women have to wear Kumkum. In ancient India, even little girls wore it.

2. Why sons are given the right and duty to perform Hindu cremation rituals?

In ancient India traveling from one place to another took many days. It was the son with whom parents lived and daughters lived many many miles away, meaning it could take days for somebody to let the message reach the daughter and for the daughter to come to her brother’s house, it would again take her that many days. By then, the body would be severely decomposed.

Whatever our ancient traditions were being followed, everything was strongly backed by utmost practicality. However, blindly following them without knowing the reasons has led to all this anguish in the present generation, questioning and accusing our country as a patriarchal society! Let us be open to understand the logic and be more wise than be like the blind leading the blind πŸ™‚

3. Traditionally, why they say babies should not touch anything until 6th month, until “Annaprasan”, the ceremony where officially, the baby starts to feed on solids. It’s said that the baby should not touch books, flowers, mirror or practically anything until this time! I believe the hidden is to ensure baby safety and everyone is the house would carefully watch the baby if such a tradition was kept. Flowers could have tiny insects, books could be heavy or have mold etc. So for all safety reasons until the baby develops better immunity from a new born, it’s advised to stay away from possible things that are trivial to us but could cause harm to a baby.

4. Women wearing a lot of glass bangles on both the hands – Particularly during pregnancy. Another great example of why traditions should never be knocked off as clichΓ© or old-fashioned. Doctors are now admitting that this is very beneficial for the mother and baby as the tinkling sounds help maintain a calming effect on the mother during this most important phase. For the baby, the soothing bangle tinkles serve as acoustic stimulus… Stimulates the baby, rocks it inside the womb in a very gentle way and without the mother making a conscious effort all through the day. She just carries about her work and unknowingly too, she is soothing her baby inside. For the mother, wearing bangles provides continuous feather-light pressure on the uterus that prepares her towards a healthy delivery. How beautiful can our Indian traditions be!

5. Why turmeric was applied at the bottom of the main door in every house ? Now that everyone in the Western countries are also appreciating Indian traditions and practices, this has become a largely known fact that turmeric powder has so many benefits as an antiseptic and antibacterial. However, we are now avoiding meaningful traditions and replacing them with artificiality. Just like replacing turmeric with yellow paint at our doorstep!

6. Why do we wear gold at all?! In olden times people used to wear only gold and silver on their bodies. Tradition says gold must be worn on the top part of the body and silver, on the lower part. This was referred to as “Loha Dharma”. Each metal has a purpose and reason why it’s worn in a particular way. We have always been told to wear gold ornaments in our country because gold in the only metal that works as a natural deodorant πŸ™‚ It keeps odours away and this was the reason why fishermen and their families used to wear large gold rings at the base of their noses!!

7. Why do married women wear toe rings? Silver has to be worn on the feet as per the Loha Dharma. The second toe is directly connected to the female reproductive system. So wearing silver toe rings on the second toe from the time a girl is married is a beautiful way to keep her reproductive system healthy and happy! Jai Ho Bharat !

8. Why is it good to drink water from clay pot? Well, clay pots work as natural water filters, coolers and taste enhancers. Water stored in a pot is free from impurities which settle down at the bottom of the pot in 2-3 hours after pouring in. They are naturally cooled water and they taste heavenly! Though we have a huge refrigerator, all of us got habituated to drinking water only from our pots, thanks to my mother-in-law. They are cleaned once a week. We, as a family, are all pretty accustomed to drinking pot water now and fridge cooled water is something we just can’t drink anymore.

9. Why do we break a coconut at the temple? I heard that breaking a coconut signifies that you’re breaking your ego and negative thoughts in front of God. By this act, you are letting go of all negative energy and commiting to yourself, in the presence of God, that you will be a nicer person than before πŸ™‚

Please share in your comments below if you follow any other beliefs like the above and if you got logical explanations that convinced you!

Follow me for more, if you enjoyed reading this blog πŸ™‚

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Why Make Pregnancy Updates So Public?

Two questions actually πŸ™‚

Is going for pregnancy photoshoots the right thing to do and Why make pregnancy updates so public ?

The recent news of actor Karan Patel and his wife Ankita Bhargava opening up to the media about their miscarriage made me think about this topic. I feel sad about their situation and its not easy for any parents to-be, to take such news. However, there are some pressing questions that we, the millennial generation parents may need to rethink about – Photoshoots and Close Updates.

Just as a comparison between us and the generations before us,

The previous generations were actually busier than us, doing a whole lot of things. They had limited financial resources, believed in “making” most of the things at home and having no distractions like we have social media today automatically translates to better time management and zero time wasted. This was why they could even raise more number of kids. Our parents generation mostly had 2-3 children and we all had a great time growing up, didn’t we?

Today, it’s about deciding to have no children, or maybe one child. Having two children has become a rarity. So, the pressure of “one child” goes so far for both parents and the child too. Because this will be their first and only child, they want to make it so memorable that they start documenting every detail right from the pregnancy announcement to child birth, celebrating birthdays to school performances and more.

Whilst all of this documentation is very beautiful for any parents (we too do that for both our boys), the big question comes in deciding who all should be updated of your personal life happenings and who is your inner circle. Posting them on Facebook where you may have hundreds and thousands of contacts (are they all important people to know every update of your pregnancy?) – is it the right thing to do?

There is always a strong reason why we have traditions in place for certain things. A woman in pregnancy was generally kept indoors and secure. This was in the best interest of the mother, so that she doesn’t catch infections from outdoors.

But now due to the shooting up of working women, going to workplace during pregnancy has become the new normal (I’m no exception either!). So, we have hand sanitizers, on-the-go toilet sprays and other stuff to ensure humanly possible safety during pregnancy.

Another major reason why pregnant women were kept indoors was because of the “evil eye” possibility. I’m educated, religious, spiritual and a successful corporate professional. And I also believe that Drishti exists. Drishti or Nazar or Evil eye is nothing but someone deeply thinking negative about you and you suffer because of that gust of negative energy. There was an American study and the results were termed as the Placebo Effect, which means that thoughts are so extremely powerful that have even have the power to heal. So, if thoughts are capable of causing healing effects, aren’t they capable of causing harming effects too…? That’s nothing but the evil eye. So, we have science once again backing our grandmother’s beliefs now πŸ™‚

We have a proverb in Telugu which translates to “a man’s strong thought has the power that could even break a stone“. So, is there not a possibility that someone from your circle could be jealous of you, would keep thinking about your good fortune each time you publicly post your pregnancy update?

Medical reasons for miscarriage could be various – high BP, blood thickness in the mother, baby’s restricted growth as it’s unable to get enough nutrition from the placenta, preeclampsia, sudden fall etc… Other conditions like gestational diabetes, thyroid etc are usually detected during early pregnancy and at regular intervals too. To me, medically unexplainable mishaps definitely point towards the negative thoughts circling around us like an aura.

Let’s not debate about anything negative here. Nothing to do with trending keywords and hashtags like #righttoexpression #feminism #patriarchialsociety etc… Let’s not degrade our intellect even further by following the herd. Think on your own.

Science is now proving every small or large tradition we’ve been following for generations in our country. Doctors have realised and proved that it’s good to wear glass bangles especially during pregnancy because the tinkling sounds serve as a great acoustic stimulus to the baby inside. As for the baby wearing Kajal, they prohibit purchased Kajal because it contains lead but they definitely promote using what you make at home (My baby’s paediatrician asks me to follow what elders tell at home and to contact him only if I’m naturally feeling worried). I make Kajal for the baby and me using simple ingredients (all you need is a diya, silver plate coated with some cow ghee). If you want it smudge-free for yourself (not the baby), you can always add some beeswax and the Kajal works just so professional!

All I intend to opine via this blog is – keep certain things private. Everybody wants to be in limelight today and it’s never been easier, thanks to social media! Things seem great until the snow ball rolling strikes a terrible impact and shakes us out of nowhere.

Nobody can ever hide pregnancy, let it be as natural and private affair as possible. It’s not for the world, it’s for you and your immediate family. We never know the intent behind all those likes and comments (Aww… Cutie pie… Looking great… Beautiful couple… Etc) I prefer limited usage of WhatsApp + personal meet-ups and I’m perfectly doing well in my circles. They are aware of what’s happening in my life. And for those who are acquaintances or professional contacts, they don’t really need to know every detail. We must know where to draw a line. What’s to be made public and what’s to be kept private.

Let me know your thoughts people… Differences of opinion are welcome, but let it be a healthy discussion!

By the way, did you read my new story titled “The Mystery Behind The Sick Baby” πŸ™‚

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