Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Beware of L - Boards!

       I wanted to write this post right from the day I started taking driving classes but it didn't seem wise. So I held on till finally my driving license came through and now that I am not an L - Board anymore, I take the liberty to write this post.

       Have you read the fiction post I wrote about driving? If not, read it here. Even though the experience was not as scary as it was for my protagonist, it was not anything grand either. Yes, I did love the whole 'I-am-learning-to-drive-a-four-wheeler' experience but in the beginning, it was a little scary. The first day, as soon as I went to class, he made me sit in the driver's seat, told me about gears and clutch and told me to start driving! A shiver went down my spine when I thought of different outcomes that could occur because of this action. Thankfully, none of those happened! But I have learnt one thing - To be careful of the driver's with L-Boards! Why? I will tell you!

       I have been riding two wheeler from a long time. I know legal age to start riding is 18 but I had learnt it when I was 11! That too secretly, without letting my dad know. But that is another story. Riding two wheeler was easy. It just had one handle and riding it was cake walk. But the car? Steering wheel, brake, clutch, gears, accelerator and what not! Think about one and you will forget the other. I even once got so confused and instead of pressing the brake, I pressed the accelerator! Bless the driving instructor for saving me from causing an accident!

       Remembering was one thing. But facing the traffic was another. It was so confusing to get used to the width of the vehicle. In the beginning, I had to often remind myself that I have to be careful about the left side of the car, which is the part of the vehicle I am driving. And then there was trouble when someone was coming from the opposite side. Would I be able to pass within the space? That was another big question. But the worst was when someone was overtaking. They used to zoom in and go to the left and suddenly I used to turn the wheel to the left too, earning a string of expletives from the instructor! 

       The instructor was a headache too. "Don't drive too speed" was the command and if I slowed down "Press the accelerator harder. Didn't you have food" was the response. If I had the car jump on a speed breaker without slowing down or if I as much moved an inch sideways from the track I was going, then I could as well get ready for the tornado of scoldings that would follow! "Are you sleeping?" seemed to be his favorite dialogue. "I can't even manage everything with my eyes wide open. Pulling a stunt while sleeping? No Thank You!" I wanted to say. But I thought better of it and remained silent.

       Before joining the classes and experiencing all this, I used to take the L-Board drivers lightly. If I saw one driving ahead, I wouldn't have taught twice before overtaking or speeding away. But now that I know the pain, I will go easy on them! I know how the heart beats when someone is overtaking aggressively. I know the confusion that clouds the mind.

      You better go easy on them too. Because, you never know when they intend to apply brakes and end up pressing accelerator! Or when they try to give way for you to go ahead and end up smashing into you instead! Well, I was just saying ;)

PS: This is my 200th blog post :) Yay!! Time for celebrations ;)

Until the next post,
Keep Smiling :)

Swathi :)

Monday, 30 March 2015

Snap of the Week #8

Shopping is what I did whole week! This stop at Crossword, Mangalore is my favorite of all. One word - Paradise!

PS: Linking this post to Eloquent Articulation #SnapYourWeek #13.

Until the next post,
Keep Smiling :)

Swathi :)

Friday, 27 March 2015

Mangalore Memories #2

       I wrote yesterday in Mangalore Memories #1 about how I had ended up boarding the wrong bus. As promised, here is the rest of the story.

       I had boarded the bus at 8:30 am, hoping to reach by 1:30pm. But thanks to my high alertness negligence, now I would reach by 3:30 pm. I wanted to get down and change bus but that was not possible as I had already paid for the ticket (That too 75/- extra as it was a long route) So I sat looking out of the window, trying to think something different. Here is how my time went:

8:30 am

       The bus was going in a wrong route! Was this the right bus? What if I have boarded a wrong one? *Check the ticket* Destination is same! Then another thought stuck! What if these people are kidnapping me! I agree, I have a very creative mind to think like this :P Then a cross checking with mom confirmed what was the mistake.

8:45 am

       As the word of my blunder got out, I started getting calls. Mom, dad, uncle, my brother - they all started calling me. Mom even asked if I was sure I mentioned my destination correctly. I was getting irritated and also was feeling embarrassed.  This incident would be remembered every time I would travel somewhere. 

9:30 am

       Once the initial phone calls ended, I tried t push away the embarrassment and decided to enjoy the journey. Just 2 hours extra; no big deal! I plugged in my earphones and started listening to music. As the rock music played, I could feel my mood brightening slowly.

10:00 am

       Just when my mood was getting better, the bus stopped. There was a long line of vehicles in front of us. After enquiring, we got to know that a tree had fallen and thus the held up. It will be a few minutes before the bus could move again! There went my good mood!! To stop my mood from worsening again, I took out the novel I had brought and started reading it.

10:30 am

       The bus finally started moving. Yay! But within few minutes, we witnessed an accident scene. A bike had crashed with a jeep. Seeing the rider laying in the pool of blood, I felt nauseous! I couldn't read the book further. The murder mystery in it no longer held my interest.

11:30 am

       I had tried to sleep but couldn't. So I was listening to music again. A guy came and sat at the other end of the seat. The seat between us was empty and he had kept his bag there. After a few minutes, he moved his bag to the other end and sat beside me. He tried to make conversation but I refused to acknowledge him, pretending I didn't hear. But he wasn't giving up. So reluctantly I spoke a few words. But within a few minutes, situation had turned so that I had warned him through gritted teeth that if he tried any more tricks, I wouldn't mind hitting him! He left after that. Phew!

12:30 pm

       Something was tickling my left foot. I bent over and to my horror, saw it was a tiny baby cockroach!! One was on my foot and there were three more wandering around! It was a wonder I didn't scream or stand up on the seat. I just moved to another seat and this time, didn't opt the window seat. What had I got myself into!

1:00 pm

       Mom called to ask how was the journey. Now that she had calmed down, she was making fun of me. When I complained, she said "Get used to it. You are going to hear more once you reach Mangalore" That's when I realized the truth. My cousins were going to have fun at my expense.  I started cooking up excuses.
"I wanted to meet at friend in Chikmagaloor. So I took this route"
"I wanted to see which was the other route, you know general knowledge"
"I wanted to roam some more, before coming here"

       I spent the next one hour thinking about various excuses.

2:00 pm

       I was hungry! The bus had stopped for lunch few minutes ago and they had given 10 mins but I was afraid I couldn't make it back and thus had opted not to go. But now I was hungry. I just had one chocolate in my bag and I was opening it when the woman sitting in the front seat threw up. I lost my appetite.

2:30 pm

       The bus was moving in a ghat section. My excuse about taking this route to avoid the ghat section was void now. The driver was driving like a manic. He almost crashed into a lorry, twice! I clutched the rod tightly to avoid falling off and prayed to God, asking his help to  reach my destination alive and in one whole piece!

3:00 pm

       I had no clue where I was! There was no network either. I was feeling so bad. The conductor walked past me at that moment. He smirked every time he saw my face! I was so angry with him for not telling me the truth before. At that moment, the urge to punch his smirking face was the strongest!

3:30 pm

       My uncle had reached the bus stand and I still had no clue where I was. I was feeling entrapped. I wanted to plead them to let me go. I was ready to even crawl all the way to Mangalore, if that was what I should do to reach there. Calls were coming again, asking me where the hell I was; as if I had a clue!

4:00 pm

       Finally, we were close to Mangalore! The sign board said 10 kms. I felt like dancing. 

4:15 pm

       I ran to my uncle when the bus stopped. I had never felt so free in my life as I had felt when I had stepped out of that bus! "Are you hungry?" he asked. At that moment I could have ate anything he gave but all I said was "Just take me home first. I can't believe I was so stupid"

       I swear I am never going to board any bus from now on without checking twice. Yes, I was ridiculed once I reached home but behind that, I could see the concern for me. So I decided not to use the excuses and let them have their share of fun.

Until the next post,
Keep Smiling :)

Swathi :)

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Mangalore Memories #1

       I had one interesting tiring day today. My day started with excitement as I was leaving for my cousin's home in Mangalore and at the end of the day, I am happy that I have reached. But what happened in between is a different story! One that taught so many lessons to me; of course embarrassing me in the process.

      If things are supposed to go wrong, then they will most certainly go so! There is nothing or no one that can stop them from happening. I guess that is the reason I stopped my mother from coming to bus stand to see me off. If she had come, then I would have boarded the right bus and saved some embarrassment. But as I said, things were supposed to go wrong and I told mom that I would go alone. And thus started the series of events I could have otherwise avoided. Here is what happened.

       I took an auto from home till bus stand and as soon as I got off from the auto, I saw a bus leaving for Mangalore. I boarded it hurriedly and the conductor asked 'Where to?' I said Mangalore and there was a slight shock and smirk on his face. I chose to ignore it and took a window seat in a three seat row as soon as he gave me my ticket. The bus started in five minutes. My uncle had asked me to call and inform him by which bus I will be coming and so I did. He asked the bus name and I just said 'No name. It's a government bus' I could sense his hesitation when he said "Oh! Then maybe you will reach late" I just said I will inform him and sat watching the scenery outside the window. I have been to Mangalore many times, so I knew the route. That is why when the bus took a different route, I started panicking.

       The route was that of Bangalore. I asked my brother who was chatting with me on Whats App whether this was the right route. He had left a week before and when he said it wasn't, I started to panic. I checked my ticket and sure enough, it said Shimoga to Mangalore. Then what was wrong? Mom called at that moment, reading the message I had sent saying I have boarded a government bus. As soon as I picked the call, she started shouting. "Don't you know it takes a detour? You will have to sit for few extra hours before you reach! And the ticket amount is more too! Ask the conductor and tell me what time you will reach!" So that was the reason for the different route! I asked what time we would reach Mangalore and the conductor said 3:30 pm! Two hours more than that of a private bus! It was just a beginning of the dreadful series of events that would follow. I braced myself and looked out of the window, trying to find at least something positive in the whole situation.

       What happened next? I will tell you tomorrow ;) Right now, all I can tell you is it will be fun to read!

Until the next post,
Keep Smiling :)

Swathi :)

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Snap of the Week #7

With Tattoo and Mehndi competitions going on in college, the artist in me is Rejoicing!

PS: Linking this post to Eloquent Articulation #SnapYourWeek 12

Until the next post,
Keep Smiling :)

Swathi :)

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Variety is Good

       Every morning, my day starts with something like this:

Me: Mom what's for breakfast?
Mom: (Says something like fried rice, chapati or Idli)
Me: (A little irritated) Why do you always cook the same things? I am bored of it. I won't have breakfast today.
Mom: (Gets angry) I wake up early and cook so that you can have breakfast before going to college and this is what I get for it? It's all my fault! I should let you starve every morning. That's when you will learn your lesson. (This goes on... until)
Me: Okay okay am sorry. Just give it to me fast. I am getting late!

       Don't get me wrong. I love my mom's cooking but I am just bored of lack of variety. Every morning the same thing. Who wouldn't get bored? I am already! She says I will long for these very food next year when I go to hostel and I know its true. But right now, all I want is something different and yummy for breakfast in the morning! 

       I am not alone in this one. Me and my friends are on the same boat. That is why we take tiffin boxes and exchange it in college so that we can eat something different. But it has been going on from four years and that too is getting, well yes, boring! That is why I am waiting for an invite from Guptaji's Home

       You know him right? The one from Kellogg's. I am waiting for an invitation from them. Recently, I bought a pack of Kellogg's corn flakes so that I can have it for breakfast in the morning. It was a welcome change from my previous attempt of having just milk and biscuits. That used to make me too hungry in the middle of the day and I couldn't concentrate on classes! Then I bought Kellogg's corn flakes and I so love it. 

       But I hardly know the recipes as Guptaji's wife knows! I just throw in some flakes, milk and any fruit that is available, mix it and have it for breakfast, while mom stands staring, waiting for me to complain about it too! It's tasty too but at Guptaji's home, I tell you! His wife knows over a 100 recipes! Can you believe it? 100!! I can spend my time there without complaining about the lack of variety for breakfast. May be I can take my mom along so that she could learn those yummy recipes too. Then I would never have to argue with my mom every morning! It is a win-win situation for both of us. All I want now is an invitation to Guptaji's house to make my mornings happy and yummy.

PS: This post is written for Kellogg's - Aaj Ka Nashta.

Watch more videos here.

Until the next post,
Keep Smiling :)

Swathi :)

Monday, 23 March 2015

A Reader's Take - The Grand Theme Reveal!

       I just can't believe it's already been a year since A to Z challenge!! Gone is the girl who was still a newbie in the blogging world, unsure if she could survive the challenge. I absolutely loved the thrill I got from participating in the challenge last year and completing it successfully. I have even met some amazing people through this challenge. So, this time I am back with a bang for more. 

       Last year, I had selected the theme 'Flavors of Live' and had written about emotions. I had selected one emotion from each letter and had written a short story or poem about it. This time, I wanted it to be something different, something more challenging. So, after a lot of brain storming, I and my friend Nibha decided on a common theme with different approaches. So, are you excited to know about my theme? Red carpet and Drum rolls please!

       My theme for this year's A to Z Challenge will be 'A Reader's Take'. In every post, I am going to pick a name of some novel starting from that day's letter and use it as the title of my post. To make it more challenging, I have decided to weave a serial story using these titles. Here is the blurb of my story:

       Kayra is the kind of girl who you would fall in love with. With her cheerfulness and enthusiasm, she can make anyone smile. 'Radiator' is what people call her. But something happened, that changed all this. Kayra is no more her bubbly self. The girl who made others' smile has now lost her own smile. She refuses to even talk with people. A worried Mrs. Sharma, Kayra's mother, seeks Kayra's best friend Ayaan's help to bring her daughter back to normal. But things get difficult when Kayra refuses to talk to even Ayaan. Will Ayaan succeed in finding out the reason behind Kayra's strange behavior? What happens when the secret Kayra has been keeping comes to light? 

       'Leave Me Never' is a story about dreams, love and friendship. Join Kayra and Ayaan in their journey to find out more.

       Curious? I hope you are! Come back in April to read more about Kayra and Ayaan. Now, if it is going to be a single story stretched over 26 posts or whether it will be split into half remains to be seen. This is the first serial story I am writing and your opinions matter a lot. Hope to see you all in April. Till then, stay tuned.

Until the next post,
Keep Smiling :)

Swathi :)

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Happiness is...

       In today's world, we all are so busy running after big things in order to achieve happiness that we forget the most basic truth - Happiness is not to be searched for; instead it should be felt. Happiness is not running after big things but often happiness can be found in little things; things we forget to notice due to our busy schedule!

       Last year when I started doing 100HappyDays Challenge on this blog, I realized how small things that happen in our day to day life can contribute in making us happy. From then on, I have made it a habit to write at least one thing that made me happy everyday. Every time I go through that list, it never fails to make me smile.

       Happiness is being surrounded by people who love you. Happiness is family and friends who cherish you and love you for who you are. Happiness is having people who can look past your imperfections and see the real you; people who can even understand your silence and people who can go out of their way just to make you smile.

       Happiness is looking at your book shelf and realizing there are still books waiting to be read. Happiness is falling in love with the characters of the books and living their life along with them. Happiness is reading to quench your thirst!

       Happiness is following your heart. Having a clear goal in life and working towards achieving it. Happiness is when people appreciate your work.

       Happiness is cooking. It is when something you experimented with turns out really tasty and everyone starts asking for more.

       Happiness is enjoying the final semester of college. Participating in different activities because you know it is the last time you will be having fun with your friends. Happiness is giving your best and seeing your efforts getting rewarded.

        Happiness is having that one friend whose level of craziness matches exactly with yours. Having such a friend is the best gift you can ever receive. The world becomes a laughing zone when with them because you cannot stop finding things that make you laugh!

       Happiness is clicking pictures. I have developed a new craze for clicking photos all thanks to Instagram! Happiness is clicking pictures to preserve a memory and revisiting it again and again, reminiscing the happy times. 

       Happiness is forgetting the world and being yourself, not caring what others might think about you! Happiness is letting go of people who hurt you and moving on with your life with renewed enthusiasm.

      Happiness is travelling; visiting places that you love. Happiness is listening to music. Happiness is getting window seat while travelling. The feel of air playing with your hair as you sit by the window listening to the music, I just have one word for it - Heavenly!

       The list goes on. There really is no end to this list of happiness; because happiness is all about the little things and little moments of our life.

PS: This post is written for http://cokeurl.com/96jnc.

Until the next post,
Keep Smiling :)

Swathi :)

A Battle of Thoughts

       Kriya sat in the corner of the room again, hugging her legs tight for she was afraid that if she let go of them, they might take her somewhere she didn't wish to go. She felt like she was at The Edge of the World. One step forward and she would fall forever into the unknown.

       Her thoughts had been scaring her a lot today. There was a voice inside her that was teasing her, calling her a coward for not being able to do it earlier. She had sat at this very place a few hours ago, knife in her hand, wanting to slice through her wrists for she didn't know any other way out of the mess she had gotten herself into. She wasn't scared of the sin she was about to commit nor did she care about the after effects of it. It really won't be any of her business, right? She would be free from all this. The voice was encouraging her, luring her to do it, for it was tired of the emotional pain that she had put it through. The only way to let it all would be to cause physical pain. She vaguely smiled at the logic. She took the knife closer to her wrist and touched the tip to her wrist, applying a little pressure. Surprisingly, it didn't hurt! Instead it felt good; it felt like that was the exact moment she was waiting for so long. 

      She felt the voice inside her begging to finish it soon. And just when she was about to slice her wrist mercilessly, she heard his voice saying he loved her. “Lies” she cried through gritted teeth as his voice refused to stop ringing in her ears. He had claimed eternal love but when the time had come to prove it, he had escaped! He had left her to pursue his dreams. “I do love you Kriya, but I have to go. I might never get an opportunity like this” he had said before flying to The States! Did he consider her so selfish to become an obstacle in his path? Where did all the love go? 

       ‘Everyone is self-centered; it’s just the radius that differs’ said a small voice at the back of her mind. Wasn't she being selfish too, trying to end her life for someone who didn't care enough about her, when she should have been thinking about the others in her life who loved her? She sat there for a long time, her thoughts fighting a battle of their own. She could either take a step forward and end it all or go back to living her life, which was a mess at that time. 'But you could always work it out' said the sane voice again. It was a hard battle but gradually, her grip on the knife loosened as the selfish part was defeated. She stood up slowly dusting herself and wiping her tears, determined to make a fresh start.

PS: Last month, on my Blog's first anniversary, I had written a guest post about Self confidence on my friend Gayu Di's blog - Outside the Kitchen Window. She is a friend I got on Facebook and her writing inspired me to start this blog. So, while you are here, do give it a read. You can read my guest post here. 

PSS: This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Blogger by BlogAdda and Wordy Wednesday #9 by Blog-A-Rhythm.


Until the next post,
Keep Smiling :)

Swathi :)

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Snap of the Week #6

Finally after lot of complaining and pleading, I got three new book shelves done in my room :) Happy Happy!! 

PS: Linking this post to Eloquent Articulation #SnapYourWeek 11

Until the next post,
Keep Smiling :)

Swathi :)

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Friends are Forever

       I was irritated after a busy day. Seminar, project, classes and more work! I definitely was having the worst time. My mood was a mess and anyone who dared to talk to me at that time, regretted it instantly. Because, all I could do was take out my frustration on anyone who dared to interfere in my routine and try to waste what little spare time I managed to get. When I was in such a mood, I got a call. If it was from anyone else, I would have just ignored it, busy that I was. But it was from a dear friend, that too after months! I stopped whatever I was doing and took the call. I walked up to the terrace so I could chat with her in peace.

       "Swathiiiiiiiii" she shouted as soon as I picked the call. I could already feel my mood lightening. "You remembered me now? After all these days?" I complained. Don't get me wrong. I was obviously happy to get a call from her. I was just pulling her leg and she knew it. "If you don't stop complaining, I will disconnect the call" she made an empty threat. I knew she would do nothing of that sort. I could sense she was excited about something and that is why she had called me. So, I decided to stop pulling her leg and let her spill the beans. "So, tell me what is that you are dying to tell me?" I asked and laughed when she complained how I already knew what she was about to say before she could even put it in words.

       It took me back to our college days. We used to have so much fun together. We always used to stick together -  in bus, or sitting in the last bench and making fun while the lectures went on. Playing pranks, scribbling on the last page of notebook, gossiping or going on a shopping spree, it was always the best time when we were together. Friends are like that. They make your life worthwhile. They add color to your boring days and make you laugh when you don't even feel like smiling. In short, they are the angels sent by God to accompany us on earth. Blessed I am to have few such precious angels in my life. It was difficult when we joined engineering in different cities but we had kept our friendship alive through constant messages and 'get together's.

       "Are you even listening to me?" my friend shouted on the phone. That pulled me out of my wool gathering and I murmured a 'Sorry' on the phone. "You were saying?" I asked. "I was saying that I am coming over to Shimoga this weekend and we are having a night out at your place" She almost shrieked it and I had to keep my cell a little away from my ear. Of course, I was excited now. We chatted for few more minutes before disconnecting the call reluctantly with promises to catch up in the weekend. By that time, my mood was already refreshed. 

       I was smiling after a long time. It was definitely a memorable time, chatting like this with your best friend and forgetting your worries. All the complaints of not having time amidst my busy schedule were forgotten. I was already feeling optimistic of finishing my assignments on time to make time for my friend's visit. I had already started making plans for the weekend. After all, what is life if we cannot spend some quality time together with our loved ones.

PS: This post is written for https://housing.com/.

Until the next post,
Keep Smiling :)

Swathi :)

Friday, 13 March 2015

I Have Seen You But...

       Before starting, I want to say that everything written here is as real as it can get and though it is difficult, I will give my readers complete liberty to laugh... at my expense!!! Because, well, the situation demands it! So, here we go.

       Has it ever happened to you that you come across people who look familiar but you can't remember exactly who they are and how you know them? If yes, then welcome to the club. If not, well you definitely won't understand my pain. Because I belong to the first category. 

       It has happened with me so many times that I feel like I have seen the person somewhere but I cannot remember where exactly. I think hard, rack my brain to find the answer and solve the mystery but to no avail! Apart from distracting me and giving me a headache, the quest goes nowhere. The puzzle remains unsolved and the feeling is so frustrating! Imagine how it must be to live thinking your memory is getting weak day by day that you can't even recall a name!

       Still, it is all fine. Yes it is hard putting pressure on my brain cells to remember and fail. But that is not the worst part. The real problem starts when the person about whom you are trying to recall, identifies you and comes forward to have a little chat. All you can think of at that time is what if they find out you have no clue about who they are!

       It happened with me once that I was waiting for college bus. A girl in burkha came and stood by me. She was someone I was certain I knew but didn't know how! I had seen her few times in our bus already and each time our eyes met, she used to give me a smile. I used to do the same, all the while wondering who she might be. But that day, I was out of my stock of good luck. She came and stood by me and started a chat saying "Hi Swathi". Her voice indicated she was happy to talk. Now I had no way of escaping. Still, pretending like I was equally happy, I started talking too. We spoke about how college life is and about lecturers. I was beginning to relax thinking that my secret would be safe and my ignorance would go unnoticed. But it seldom happens that everything goes as planned. Soon one of my classmates came and stood by me and asked who it was referring to the girl I was talking to!

       Now I was in a fix. If she had asked me later, I would have told her I didn't remember her exactly but she is someone I knew. But now that she had asked in front of the girl, what was I supposed to say? I looked at the girl, who was smiling beside me, having no clue about the confusions going on in my mind! Internally cursing my classmate for putting me in such an awkward position, I blurted out the first thing that came to my mind. I said "I know her from school" It turned out that I was right because she nodded and said "We travelled by same auto during primary" Okay. So half of the riddle was solved. I thanked my lucky stars for coming to my aid. But as it happens, my classmate wasn't the one to stand quiet. "Won't you introduce me to her?" she asked and winked.

       Suddenly the whole plot became clear to me! I had once shared it with my classmate that I had seen this girl somewhere and I don't remember who she is. And now the idiot was having fun at my expense. Why didn't I remember it sooner? I could have steered the conversation to a different topic and saved myself from the embarrassment. But glutton for punishment that I was, I had totally forgotten the incident just like I had forgot the girl's name. Without having much choice, I turned to her with a sheepish expression and said "Err, the thing is, I forgot your name" Her expression was worth watching. If you chat with someone for a long time and then tell them you don't remember their name, I am sure you will get to watch such an incredulous expression too! She kept looking at me to see if I was joking. Did she expect me to say "Ha, Come on! I was kidding"? So sad for her, because I wasn't going to say that! Instead I said "I know we were school friends but I forgot your name" I know I shouldn't have said it but my wicked classmate had put me in such a position where I had no chance of escaping. The girl on the other hand, when she saw I really meant what I said, turned away and was about to leave. "Ayesha wait. I am sorry" I said. She turned back and said "Idiot! I thought you really forgot my name! Such a drama queen you are" I let out a sigh. The bus came, saving me from further embarrassments.

       Now, let me tell you a secret. I really didn't know her name. The thing is, I read in a school where muslim students were very far and few. In school, the only names I knew were Ayesha and Fathima. So, I just tried my luck and it worked out! Now, I wouldn't try and imagine what might have happened if she wasn't Ayesha! God save me if I get struck in a situation like that ever!

       After that incident, whenever I see someone and feel I have seen them somewhere but don't remember where exactly, I maintain a good distance from them till I remember. Well, I just don't want to take risks anymore! I love myself very much to end up with a purple eye or something!

Until the next post,
Keep Smiling :)

Swathi :)

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Snap of the Week #5

Happiness is receiving the Author's Copy of your book. My second book as a contributing author :)

PS: Linking this post to Eloquent Articulation #SnapYourWeek 10

Until the next post,
Keep Smiling :)

Swathi :)

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

International Women’s Day #MakeItHappen

       Last year we were going for art classes during our semester holidays. The instructor there was a middle aged man. He had a happy-go-lucky way of speaking and it helped him to mingle with all his students effortlessly. His mannerisms attracted students and the learning environment was good. Well, that was till we found out the truth! What would have happened that would make me think otherwise, you might ask. I will tell you two scenarios.

Scenario 1:

       Once during class, sir told us about an incident that happened when he had been to bank the previous day. There was a guy who was misbehaving with a girl in the bank. He had stood behind the girl in the queue and as the queue was moving ahead, he started behaving ill. The girl was getting really uncomfortable but she didn't utter a word apart from cringing when he touched her. Our dear sir, after seeing this, informed the security person in the bank about the incident and the guy was given an earful and was thrown out.

       We were really impressed when we heard about this. We felt that there are at least some people who have the courage to stand up for others.

Scenario 2:

      Two days back, I met a friend in college who was taking the same course this year. We were chatting casually and I asked how her art classes were going on. She seemed uncomfortable by the question. I asked her if everything was alright? She cringed and said that she would never lay her foot in that building again! I was shocked by the animosity radiating from her. I asked her what the matter was. She seemed reluctant to answer. But after asking for few more times, she finally told me that she had discontinued classes as Sir behaved inappropriately. I was shocked when my other friends confessed the same too. 'If you were in an all girls batch, then you would see his real side' was all they told me.

       The person who claims that he did the right thing when he helped a girl in the bank, does the same to other students in the class! I was shocked to find out! If he can see the girl in the bank being uncomfortable, couldn't he see his own students cringing away when he tried to appear casual and touch them? I have understood one thing. People who speak a lot about right and wrong, are not always those who do the right thing. Saying the right thing has become a trend. When you say something good, you attract people. That is the best marketing strategy. Say the right thing and people will start looking up to you. But what about practice? Is it not necessary to follow all the good things they say? Are words just that - mere words to be spoken but not converted into action? Do they think that if they say good things, their dark deeds will be nullified and the world will become a good place?

       It disgusts me when I come across such people. It disgusts me when I have to converse with them in my day to day life. And it disgusts me the most when I see them talking about women's rights and the men's duty, while in reality, these very people are the ones who rob women of their freedom. These are the ones because of whom the women have to live in fear; the very chameleons who hide their true nature behind their pretty words.

       There is no need to send feel-good messages on Whatsapp and Facebook about women's day and about how precious the life of a woman is. There is no need to fake rage or pity on social medias when things go wrong. Because they are just going to be words. It may earn some likes and some appreciation. But it will not change anything in the real world. If you do want to bring the change, then take action. Respect the women around you. If something is going wrong, raise your voice in real rather than showing your support just in the virtual world. Take a pledge to change the way things are and then #MakeItHappen.

PS: Linking this to the B-A-R's International Women's Day - #MakeItHappen post.

Until the next post,
Keep Smiling :)

Swathi :)

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Starting a New Life

       Sometimes it is so difficult to move on. Everything will be going on normally and when you think life cannot get any better, it takes a drastic turn and you end up being hurt. Same thing happened with me few years back.

       M was my best friend during school. We always used to be together. No matter what, we used to stay together, pull each other's leg, fight for silly reason and then patch up sooner. There was nothing that could come between our friendship. Our classmates used to envy our friendship and teachers used to praise it. In short, we were the best of friends. But everything changed one fine day.

       There was a certain someone who, jealous of our friendship, did everything to destroy it. We never used to fall prey for her tactics but don't know when it changed. Maybe we started taking each other for granted or maybe our bond grew weak over time. But the damage was done. Due to one small misunderstanding, our beautiful friendship was ruined. I tried to make up for it, tried to clear the misunderstanding but M would take none of it. Her mind was set and there was nothing I could do to change it. In her view, I was the one at fault.

       After trying my best, I decided it was time to move on. I had did everything in my power. Now it was up to her to believe me or not. I embraced the change. It was difficult in the beginning. I was used to having her by my side all the time that without her, life felt incomplete. But slowly, I accepted the fact. She was gone and there was nothing I could do about it. When I accepted that, life became a little easy. Each day was a challenge. Whenever I saw friends hanging out together, I used to remember her and I would feel weak again. But over the course of time, it just became a dull throb at the back of the mind.

      Initially, I was reluctant to make new friends. When you are hurt once, it is difficult to trust on anyone again. I started keeping to myself. But soon I realized it was not going to help. Life is nothing if you don't have friends by your side to share all the little happiness. I slowly started coming out of my shell and began to interact with people again. I made new friends and life started getting beautiful. 

       Now when I look back, I don't regret my friendship with M. Instead, I am glad that it lasted for that long. Because when it did, it was the most beautiful time of my life. Yes, it was difficult to cope up with the change when we stopped talking to each other but still, it was totally worth it! Some changes are good because they teach you so many important lessons of life.

       This post is written for housing.com.

Until the next post,
Keep Smiling :)

Swathi :)

Friday, 6 March 2015

Snap of the Week #4

There was Rangoli Competition in our branch and I and my friend had fun participating in it :)

(This is the full design)

PS: Linking this post to Eloquent Articulation #SnapYourWeek 9

Until the next post,
Keep Smiling :)

Swathi :)

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Lesson Learnt from a Kid

       It was vacation time and I was excited. I had planned a trip to my cousin's place and I was looking forward to it. It had been a long time since I visited her and it made the trip all more exciting. We had so much to catch up on and so many secrets to share. So many shopping trips to make and so many places to visit. Barely containing my excitement, I packed my bags and set out for her place.

       To say she was happy would be an understatement. She literally ran and hugged me when she saw me standing in the doorway and pulled me inside her home. We started chatting right away and made plans. The next evening, we decided to go to the beach near her place. I was looking forward to it a lot but due to the rain, we had to stay indoors. With nothing much to do, we decided to play chess to pass time.

       Let me tell you, she is a champion in the game. She has won many national level competitions and can give even the best players a complex. And there I was, just an average player. Though I could play well, in front of her skills, I knew I stood no match! But still, with nothing better to do, I agreed to her pleadings and thus started the game.

       One, three, five! I lost all the games in succession. Well, I had expected as much but still when I couldn't win even a single match, it hurt. Suddenly, I didn't feel like playing anymore. I was tired of losing the game. Still, mustering the little hope left inside me, I played once more and needless to say, I lost; again! Frustrated, I stood up and left saying I want some fresh air. I could hear her mocking laughter following me all the way.

       I stood in the veranda feeling stupid. It was stupid to react the way I did when I knew this would happen. But still, it was difficult to accept defeat. I stood staring at nothing in particular. The rain had subsided into a faint drizzle and I stood there lost in thoughts. A cackle made me aware of someone's presence. It was the kid from the neighborhood. He was barely two years old. She was playing in the garden. I stood there watching her, a smile on my face. There is something adoring with the kids. They can make you forget your bad mood and smile even when you are at your worst. 

       This kid was running behind a butterfly, trying to catch it. I could see she was mesmerized by it and was determined to catch it. But that never happened. She would run towards the flower on which the butterfly was sitting and as soon as she extended her hand, it would fly away. And when it did, she started chasing it again. The chase went on and on. I thought she would get tired of it but nothing of that sort happened. If anything, she looked happy. She didn't know the meaning of losing or giving up. All she knew was doing what made her happy.

       Suddenly, I felt optimistic. That kid had taught me a valuable lesson that day. With renewed hope, I went inside where my cousin was and said "How about we play one more game?"

PS: This story is written for housing.com in association with Indiblogger.

Until the next post,
Keep Smiling :)

Swathi :)

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Learning to be Self-Reliant

       The one thing that my dad has always taught me is to be self reliant. Right from when I was a kid, he made sure I learn to do my things without depending on anyone's help. Be it standing in the queue to pay school fees or going to a class which was far from home; he wanted me to do them on my own. Whenever I asked him to do something for me, he used to ask me "And why can't you do it on your own?" His mantra was "If you want your work to match up to your expectations, then do it on your own. Others' involvement will only complicate things"

       During middle school, I signed up for sports classes in the evening. As the classes were after the school time, I would always miss the auto which was how I travelled. Other students' class would end and our auto uncle would leave at 5. But I had classes till 6. I asked dad to pick me up. But he had office. He asked if I was sure I wanted to join these classes. I remember how pissed I was at that time. I had seen parents coming to drop and pick up their children. I wished my dad was like that too. I had cried a lot trying to melt my dad's heart but that wasn't helping. Finally I decided I would give up trying to convince dad and find a way on my own.

       I started walking back home initially. After few days, I made a demand for new cycle. Once I got cycle, I started using cycle to travel back and forth. I was also assigned the simple tasks like going to market to buy things for mom. I was happy. I could go wherever I want without having to depend on anyone. After classes, when my friends waited for someone to pick them, I could go on my own. That was the first step towards becoming self reliant.

       When we went for tours and we ha to enquire someone about the direction or anything similar, he used to push me to do the task. I hated talking to strangers. I used to have tears in my eyes when I made the enquiry. But that never stopped my dad from pushing me forward. Oh, how I used to hate him for making me do the things I didn't want to do! Little did I know then that he was training me hard so that I can fight my battles on my own!

      But now, I know it. Due to the lessons he gave me them, I can do my work without depending much on others. I don't have to wait anyone to come forward and help me. I know how to be my own helper and my own master. That one lesson of being self reliant has played a great role in moulding my personality. I used to wonder why I can't have someone to take care of me at every step like my friends had but now, they wish they knew how to be on their own like I am! Because, no matter if someone is there for you are not, you can always rely on yourself to be there for you! I can never thank my dad enough for this valuable lesson!

A salute to all those great dads who, instead of pampering and spoiling their children, teach them to be self reliant.

PS: This post is written for HDFC Life HappyHour in association with IndiBlogger.

Until the next post,
Keep Smiling :)

Swathi :)