Dear Future Husband

Dear Future Husband,
As I start writing this, I cannot fathom my mood. Really. Should I be giggling right now or should my face be scrunched with seriousness. As a typical Libran out to find harmony, constantly juggling with paradoxes, this is indeed normal, let me warn you.
Before I start offloading my mind, do listen to what Meghan Trainor crooned beautifully. The song starts something like this-
“Dear future husband
Here’s a few things
You’ll need to know if you wanna be
My one and only all my life…”

I have been looking for you ever since I gauged the concept of marriage and soul mates. Or let me put it this way, I have been trying to mould you up in my mind since forever. I don’t remember our last life together. Neither would you. That’s fine, I guess. Let God figure out how should we be meeting/bumping into/finding each other. For the time being, let’s find solace in the fact that we shall meet. Somewhere. Sometime. Eventually.
As you’ll know me eventually, I love the desert state. My grandmother, whom you shall only be introduced to through my lustrous memories and loose talks, belonged to the region. Everything, and I mean everything- be it their language, customs, attire, music, food and way of living attracted me. I was determined to marry a man from that state. My granny would laugh it off saying- “You little firefly, we keep a lot of fasts. Do you think you’ll be able to manage that?” This, because I am a foodie. And dreamy eyed, I would reply, “Yes, of course! I’ll eat the ghee laden food thereafter to regain my lost strength.” To which a series of guffaws would greet me. But now the 23yr old inside me brushes that innocence off. All you need to know is that even if you hail from the south, east or north, I’ll be just as fine with that prospect as I was with my earlier fantasy with the west.
Belonging to a family, wherein many of the men are in the armed forces, I had an early obsession with the men in uniform. I still do, perhaps. But I have wisened enough to understand that being married to someone’s profession leads you nowhere, for it’s the person who matters. Still, try and be a man in uniform. Hehe.
I am the kind of girl who grooved to Alisha Chinoy’s Made in India as a kid. Tall, dark and handsome men like Milind Soman were my choice. But now my standards of considering men handsome have altered drastically. I hope you possess an ease of manner, confidence, an endearing smile and a great sense of humor. Trust me, that’s enough to make me drool for you. And oh, yes! Everybody in my family is tall. They would prefer a 6’2” son-in-law for themselves. But even if you are six-ish, it’s cool. Hehehe.
Being a woman with an enormous sweet tooth, it’ll be nice if you could be my partner in crime, when I have my midnight cravings. And though I can’t claim to be an expert cook, I do cook great Halwa. I hope you’re tempted enough to find me now. Haha! But, hey! Do sign up for cooking lessons right now, if you are a hopeless cook. For when I lay my feet up, which shall be often, be a bumblebee and dish out delicious dishes for us, lover boy. Thanks in advance.
I did have a phase in my life when I was considering turning agnostic. Blame the fact that I was the typical English Hons student, out testing new waves in the sea. Haha! Well, that’s not the case now. I now stand a firm believer. And I am utterly secular. You can spot me at all holy shrines. The sufi shrine of Nizamuddin Auliya being my favourite and amongst the Hindu Gods, Shiva, the ascetic being my object of worship and study. As a god fearing person, I believe in the power of good over evil. And in the concept of karma. I have never indulged in unethical acts and I hope you have a clear conscience too. For let me warn you, if you indulge in ethically corrupt practices, I’ll be there to swerve you out of danger and bring you back on the right path. Be moral. And have patience and be content with all that you have. All I’ve gathered from my life on Earth is that everything happens for the best and we should find good in everything. For the Almighty loves you and all we both shall do is showcase our gratitude to him in plenty.
Not to sound snobbish, but I consider myself to be a beauty with brains. And accomplished too. So, it goes without saying, that I want you to be the same. Coming from a family wherein you’ll find army officers, professors, doctors, lawyers all around, I would want your family to match up to mine on that account. See, I would appreciate if you have an independent identity, free from the shadow of your parents. And an identity you’ve worked hard to achieve, not through sycophancy, luck or corruption. Please.
To add to that, I am the only child of my parents whose lived in a joint family. Pretty cool, haan? Yes, I agree. So, I am, you can say, the only child who confirms to many, if not all the stereotypes related to my kind. I am the apple of my parent’s eyes, I hate sharing, I love my me time. And I love reaching my destination by figuring things on my own. I am pampered. My mother would like to term it as “realistic pampering”, though. Haha!) So, I hope you are an only child too. Or an only son. Because, baby, I am bored of large families as of now and I love attention. Though that doesn’t mean I love solitude a tad too much and am a loner. Oh, when you know me, you’ll see I have a large group of friends who are so dear to me. And all of them are gems. Blessed I am, indeed, to find good souls to mingle with, wherever I go. So, I hope you are an outgoing person, with a good old group of chaps you call pals. I would love to be introduced to all of them, trust me on this.
Turning to the fun side, do promise me that we’ll zoom off to visit places all over our country every year. And enjoy/shop/wonder our  hearts out. I am an early riser who loves to sleep. So do join me for a walk every morning and snuggle with me when I hit the bed, noon or night. Oh, yes! I have a nasal allergy which crops up due to pretty much everything. And I am allergic to mangoes, love. Brace yourself for that.
They say, your father is a major inspiration for you when you look out for guys in this wide, wide world. I used to shove this line of thought off, until recently. For I’ve recently found out that if not all, I do have some habits/ traits of his which I would want you to possess. I hope you have a passion for driving, because I detest it. “My daddy strongest” was the tagline I used to swear by as a child. And my daddy was indeed, a sportsperson all throughout his salad days. He still is a fitness enthusiast. He is street smart, good at mathematics, a helpful soul. So please, match up to him in that field. Being a working couple, my parents have given me major relationship goals. Let’s outrun those. But please, don’t be too quiet or reserved, or a little moody, and unlike my daddy, please love taking pictures, of yourself, I mean. Haha! Coming back to the basics, do make me feel safe, loved and inspired like my parents do. But I know you’ll do that. No two ways about it. See, I trust you so much already. To finish my rant now, even if you are not a book worm, that’s okay. I’ll still love you. Just help me clean my bookshelf every week. That’s all I ask. Do care for my books, for they are your future adopted kids too. And please, please, bring in loads of your interests/hobbies into our life when we meet, for it’ll be exciting to be a part of all that.

Now, now, now, while I am still figuring out more of how you will have to be, you continue being you. Add on to your accomplishments. Work hard. Party hard. And wait for me. For I’m just around that corner. 😉

“This blogathon is supported by Woo, The most popular match making app in India with a base of over 3.5 million users.”

Memorabilia From The Mountains…

One day, while Instagramming, I found out that one of my all time favorite writers, Ruskin Bond, was to be honored with the lifetime achievement award at the Times Literature Festival. Excited, I glossed over the schedule and made up my mind to visit the venue, for even a glimpse of him would be an once in a century moment for me.
I had always known that he lived in Mussoorie and it so happened that my plans to visit this beautiful place went haywire. Every damn time. Meeting him at his bookstore, and getting my books signed was a dream I had cherished since a long, long time. But as they say, all in good time. I had a good feeling that I shall grab that much awaited chance to see him. Being the talebearer that I am, it becomes compulsory to  narrate the story of how I got introduced to my other favorite author, Vijaydan Detha. One day, in 2013, I read a headline in a newspaper daily about his passing away. He, the “Shakespeare of Rajasthan”, was in the running for a Nobel in Literature, but missed it. I had watched the star studded movie Paheli, which was based on his short story- The Dilemma. Being a lover of anything and everything that belongs to the desert state, I was hooked to the news. But before I could reach upto him post the reading up of his work, it was too late. Otherwise, I would definitely have met him.
So, when the news of Bond coming over to the capital city hit me, I had made up my mind. And the next day, I reached the venue, which was Indian Habitat Centre, one hour prior to the scheduled time. I waited and waited for over an hour post that, but there was no sign of Mr. Bond. Hungry and on the verge of exhaustion, I marched to the food court. After having sinned for gluttony, I went back only to find a long queue. And on further inquiry, my suspicions were confirmed. He was indeed there! Even the snake like line did not deter me from my goal. Armed with two books, one being my supplementary reader from fourth standard, the first book of his I had laid my hands on, the other being a collection of his work I had bought in the book fair two years back.

I took the former with me, and gave the latter to my friend, who inspite of not being a book lover, was forced to stand with me in the line, for carrying two books to be autographed would have looked outrageous. I found many people, with no knowledge of his genius, buying the first book of his off the shelf (For Penguin India had put up a stall nearby), and standing in the queue for book signing, just for the sake of it. That irritated me. But in hindsight, it gives me peace to think that even if they read and discover the great writer now, it would be a blessing for them.

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Who’s scared of the bouncers? 😉


As I finally met him, the wrinkled smile greeted me with a warm hello. I went weak in the knees, handing over my copy to him, I muttered nervously, “This is my first book of yours, Sir. Thank you for gifting me an amazing childhood,” I added. His smile broadened and he signed and gave the book back to me with a thank you. And in that moment, I became the child who had, after throwing tonnes of tantrums, got his favorite toy/candy. And also,  I was enlightened as to what makes writers great. It’s their humility and delight in indulging their readers, to be frank, which puts that prefix before their name. For Mr. Bond respected his readers just as they loved him dearly. With the twinkle in his eyes, he acknowledged everyone around. And I muttered to myself, while clinching my treasure and going back home- Ek tha Rusty. 🙂

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Look at that smile he gave me while handing my book back. Awwh! ❤

Love for teaching. Yes, it exists!

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Isn’t it amazing that after months of anticipation, tartness, upheaval, suddenly you feel a change. From a very abyssal zone, you sight the gate of a paradise you’ve been longing to camp into. It was one such day for me. After a long gap of four months, I went back to teaching. And I cannot even begin to describe how satisfactory was that. Almost therapeutic.

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This July, was, undoubtedly one of the most stressful yet adventurous July of all the ones I’ve seen in my life on this planet so far. It kept me on my toes, took me on an emotional ride, gave me beautiful memories to cherish all my life, and colleagues you could die for. I had enrolled myself for a coveted English language teaching course called CELTA. Big deal. Yes. It gave me goosebumps. For the course was known to be “a boot camp for English Language Teachers.”
After learning numerous worthwhile methods in CELTA and successfully implementing them in my teaching practice, I came out a changed person. English is, undoubtedly, a link language. And it comes with a colonial baggage, so to say. And if you are teaching this particular subject/language, the mango people are ready to put you on a pedestal. Yes, that is the amount of respect and attention it gathers. Post the course, almost the whole bunch of us course mates went back to their teaching jobs, or were hired accordingly. I, on the other hand, had decided to sign up for a Bachelor’s in Education. I was clear on this even before July that I have to get this particular degree in my kitty, for it is a pre-requisite in case you wish to land up as a teacher in a school anywhere in India. But after the course, going back to academia felt like a lull had been created in my life. I was aching to put my recent learning to use.

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And it did make me go bonkers, for in spite of what I would like to believe, I am somewhat low on patience. November finally came in swashing, and there came an opportunity to finally teach! We had to go for our observation in government schools as part of our course. And I landed up in a girls school for my share of observations. The Principal demanded I take a class for the “failures” (I am quoting her!). Inspite of my shock and disapproval, I decided to ignore that remark and went ahead to do as told.
Coming from a girl’s college, it felt like home coming to be a part of an all female space once again. I decided to teach the class Ruskin Bond’s poem Grandma climbs A Tree. And before I started with my lesson, I told them one thing- Be unabashed. Make mistakes. And laugh at your ability to do so. Only then shall you love the language and conquer it, all in style. And thankfully, they did follow up my advice. And we had an amazing time, learning grammar, new terminology, tackling the blocking vocabulary together, laughing and enjoying throughout. I was confident that they liked me and my style of teaching. Still, I wanted to hear that from them. And when the scheduled one hour class came to an end, they all requested me to continue with the class for another half an hour, before they dispersed. That, my folks, was music to my ears. And my true reward.
On meeting my classmate later in the day, I had a chat regarding the class we’d both taught. He commented bluntly that the situation in the government schools was pathetic. The nonchalance of teachers, their shirking of their duties was disturbing, to say the least. As a teacher of English, I looked at the girls, whom they had marginalized as ‘slow learners’, at their enthusiasm and inquisitiveness, and wondered, if they had got the right guidance like me, right from the start, they would be blooming already. Are they failures, or the system, which doesn’t help them come onto the mainstream and flourish, I wondered. For God knows, they are doubly marginalized, being women. The need to educate them flawlessly is all the more urgent.

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As I was going through the corridors, thinking all of this, peeping into every classroom I passed by, smiling at the girls who wanted to smile and wave at this new visitor they had spotted, just then, my classmate caught up with me and spoke up, as we were walking to sign the teacher’s register- “Will we become as lax in attitude as the teachers here?” I wasn’t surprised. The negativity of the work surroundings had seeped into his very being. I took a deep breath and repeated parts of what my mother, a teacher herself, and a seasoned one, tells me often. Being in the teaching profession for a good 25 years, she has come to believe in the concept of Karma. And through her, me too. She tells me that when she started with her job till now, she’s seen a sea change in the attitudes of teachers, which is the reason why the profession has lost its erstwhile respect. Most of them don’t even bother to do justice to their duty. They all wish to rake in the moolah, but according to me, it’s just not halal. And through her experience, she tells me, if you try and jeopardize the future of someone else’s child, you don’t expect excellent results for yourself then. And she’s seen it herself. Such people don’t have contentment and happiness knocking at their doors often. And internalizing her words of wisdom, I always, always strive to do my best. And trust me, it is a blessed feeling that you get at the end of the road.
Every year on the fifth of September, I wait for her to arrive home, only to sit on my bed, balancing the flowers she receives, reading the bag full of letters, cards and messages her students, spread all over the world send her. And even today, when the students she taught, when I wasn’t even born, pay her a visit every now and then, just seeing them interacting makes me envy her. Now that I’ve embarked in the journey of becoming an inspirational teacher, I hope a make a similar mark as my mother has, in the hearts of millions of students.