Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The year of cliché’s

Few things in life happen by accident.

And most of the great experiences are the by-product of years–if not a lifetime–of thought, hope and love.

2013 was one such experience. Temporal, timeless and a bucketful of clichés.

Thinking back, I lived the year by Maya Angelou’s words. Clichéd? Maybe.

“I've learned that making a "living" is not the same thing as making a "life." I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one. I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I've learned that I still have a lot to learn. I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel

People, all kinds of them walked into my life this year. People from whom I learnt how to, people from whom I learnt how not to, people who inspired, people who hurt, people who taught me to laugh, people who pushed me towards something, people who pushed me away, people who taught me to be courageous, people whom I fell in love with, people who fell in love with me. That’s when I realized that there was this picture of me in their heads, a picture of someone I don't know yet. She is not the chubby girl with bad hair. She is someone new, a blank slate they have named beautiful. That is what I am now: beautiful. Beautiful, with this erasing of history.

This year I learnt that, loss is inevitable. When you lose something, it breaks your soul. You live with memories of “could-have-beens” and “what-ifs”. Unnecessary questions plague your mind. Every tiny situation finds its way back to the root. Hurt. Guilt. And an unexplainable feeling of emptiness.

I also learnt that there will be a better tomorrow,  something beautiful will come along, a time will come when the memories seem faint, the sun seems brighter and the love seems warmer. 

This year, I understood myself, every nook and cranny, in every black hole and bright spot -

“Kavya Gowda is crazy. She doesn't know how to behave with all the apples and oranges. She doesn't suffer from her eight million short-comings, she loves them! Kavya loves dogs, food, people, words, being barefoot, Dr. Seuss, colors and has far too many books for her own good. She is strong and kind, loving and ruthless, sensible and free spirited, seriously fun and “the-best-conversation-you’ll-ever-have”. When she's not speaking, you can find her baking, running after her dog, playing with kids, devouring a book, planting crazy ideas in someone's head, changing the world and cleaning her room. Kavya is not a Toastmaster to earn a living, she is one - to live. She is a Marketing professional, crazy dancer and a compassionate friend to all. This year Kavya aspires to finally give up on eating too much and will instead spend that time putting a little bit more of her heart on the page."

P.S:  Will you be part of my cliché tomorrow?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Why you should only make promises you can keep...

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

In love with Chocolate...

Chocolate, was the perfect name for you. You lived up to it to the T. You were brown and sweet and put a smile on anyone’s face you knew. We have had many dogs, but you were the best of them all. You were kind, gentle, loving and you made “dad” fall in love with you, which is a big big deal since you are the only dog he’s ever loved. I am stubborn and hard headed, Chinnu is arrogant and impatient, but you, you were the good one of the family, the special one. Mom and dad were always so proud of you.

I cannot believe you are gone, Choco. I will miss your furry four legs bounding down the stairs when you hear me come home, I will miss the look on your face that said “What! You are leaving! So soon.. noooooo, come here I will lick you some more”. I will miss kissing your stupid lil button nose every time I left the house. And I will miss telling everyone what a weirdly great “vegetarian loving” dog you are! The pigeons and crows who ate from your bowl (and you patiently let them eat to their fill) now hanker around looking for you.

I can still feel the soft velvet of your paw, the tickle of whiskers, that warm rasp of tongue as you decided I needed a bath. I miss the gentle rumble of your purr, the comfort of snuggle times, the silkiness of your fur. Here I sit looking at pictures of you, and then remember how you hated a bath, that you loved tomatoes, and boiled vegetables was your idea of heaven. I just can’t get you out of my head. I feel the tears start, and I try to tell myself that you're okay. Yes, I say, there are warm breezes, sunshine, butterflies, and green grass where you are. The other dogs are there with you, so you're not completely alone, wandering and wondering. I hope you're running through the water you so dearly loved to play in here. 

If I could, I would reverse time, so we could once again share the happiness and love. I wish you had stayed till little Ks were born. I always wondered how you would behave with the babies around. You would be the perfect godmother, protecting them and letting them sleep on your belly and pull your tail. They would have grown to love dogs and you would be their first love. I can barely see through my tears to write this. You brought light, life and joy to me. I cherish the memories of your love and trust. One day, we will all be together in the sunshine, warm breezes, and green meadows. Until that time, you are missed....and loved....always loved.

This is for you:

Remember the time when you were so small
you couldn't even pick up the rubber ball.
You fought that ball from morning to night
it made us laugh, you were quite a sight.

Remember teaching you to sit and stay
we had such fun since you didn't really obey.
But you kept at it with test after test
and proved to us that you were the best.

Remember the great times we had in the past
like when we played hide-n-seek on the terrace, we had a blast.
We'd run and play all through the noon
until the sun went down and it always got dark so soon.

We'll always love you; you were our best friend
we’ll be right with you even to the end.
Always remember the great times we had
and there will be no reason to ever be sad.

P.S: Rest in peace Choco, no more pain.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

To my lil brother, with love :)

When I was 8ys old mom put my tiny hands on her big belly and asked me if I wanted a brother or a sister, I always said ‘Sister!’ Always. With so many cousins around all the time, I was tired of boys. I needed a girl in my life, a cute lil sister whom I could dress up or play with dolls or whatever that is that lil girls do (I never really got a chance to find out).
After sooooo much hoping, one fine day, they said “You have a brother”. I was there the day you were born, I heard the aunts giggle and exclaim how cute you were.  And I remember the first day I set eyes on you. So tiny, innocent, so angelic and I forgot all about wanting a sister. I thought, oh well, this one’s cute too. Might work.

And then, you started to grow up and they made me responsible for y-o-u (what were they thinking!). You chewed up my few dolls, dismantled the radio, hid in places where the human eye couldn’t see, fell and scraped off what used to be skin on your knee, terrified me by climbing trees that you had no idea how to get off of, came home almost too dusty to be seen, annoyed me with silly questions about everything and then argued when I did give you a sensible answer. You were the most insane person I knew on the face of earth! Who else would have a “missing” report filed with the police! And you were finally found sleeping under a huge pile of freshly washed clothes! Or who would catch bugs and put it in their pockets and go off to sleep with bugs infesting the bed! The worst part was everyone thought I was irresponsible! Phew! I had an exhausting childhood chasing after you!

In spite of all your devilish behavior, you were my little buddy, I cuddled you, I saw you take your first step, I carried you around everywhere, and pointed to things and taught you words, lots of words.  So many you were reading above your grade level and explaining to adults your accurate theories as to why the dinosaurs disappeared or why the clouds were formed! You were my secret keeper, my advisor, my best friend, my bodyguard (even at 3 feet tall weighing 20 kilos you would bully the boys who looked at me!). You were my team; whenever you did silly crazy stupid things I always always thought how much I love this lil guy.
And even after these 18 years, that is still so true.

So, now that you are allegedly an adult  here is a list of everything I wanted to tell you. I know you will like some, follow some, laugh at some but ignore most of it. But still, here is the list anyways:

1.      Don't get into bikes/cars driven by people who are drunk or weird.
2.      Understand that your happiness is inextricably tied to the happiness of your family. If they are not happy, then you'll not be happy. You are very lucky to have a loving family. Try to remember this when they get on your nerves.
3.      Understand that the more people know about a subject, the more humble they'll sound.
4.      If you constantly overdo the booze, you'll end up either dying or having to lose respect. Drink wise.
5.      Don't be negative. Whining is for people who want to blame others for their troubles, because it's easier than finding their own way forward.
6.      Never get into a fight with your family and loved ones. Apologize. Make peace. They will not always be there.
7.      Don't be tight with your money when it comes to your friends or charity.
8.      Surround yourself with people who bring out your best side; people in whose company you become fabulous, funny or wise; avoid people in whose company you become boring or sad.
9.      Never Stop Learning.
10.  Never settle for less than you feel you absolutely deserve.
11.  Money is important. Before you spend money, ask yourself if you really need that thing. Savings will allow you freedom to afford what really means the most to you, whether it is to travel, or the freedom to have the career you choose. Stop buying useless things and gifts for people. Make memories instead.
12.  Follow your passion.
13.  It is natural to be afraid. Courage is ignoring the fear and doing things anyway. Be courageous.
14.  Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?'
15.  However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
16.  Be true to yourself, not the person you think everyone else thinks you should or could be.
17.  Embrace your faults. It will only make you stronger once you admit you are not always right.
18.  Get rid of the attitude. Confidence is cool but cockiness is not.
19.  Pay attention to those that matter to you. Spend the time with them while you can. Don't be in a hurry to grow up, trust me, you'll wake up one day and wonder how is it that you're not 18 anymore.
20.  Laugh often. Have fun. Always.

At 18, the world is at your feet. Live, achieve and be happy. This life - is your journey. Make it a good one that you can be proud of.

This is for you :)

I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart)
I am never without it (anywhere I go you go, my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling)
I fear no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet)
I want no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
Here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart)
~ E.E.Cummings

P.S: I love you. I always will :) Happy Birthday lil man :)

Monday, April 9, 2012

My Bucket List :)

  1. Reach my ideal weight and maintain it. 
  2.  Build a snow man. 
  3.  Run a Marathon. 2012, 2013 and 2014 - 10k!
  4. Go on a cruise trip.Go to every continent
  5. Get all the pages in my passport stamped.
  6. Go scuba diving without puncturing an ear drum. (du’h)
  7. Visit Disney Land!
  8. Visit the TajMahal.
  9. Make a quilt with pictures of loved ones like in the movie “stepmom”.
  10. Have my picture in the newspaper. 
  11. Eat everything I ever wanted to, without guilt and grief from anyone. Hahahahahahahaha
  12. Save someone’s life.
  13. Learn to ice-skate.
  14. Learn Bharatnatyam without a care for anything.
  15. Find a job I love.
  16. Go up in a hot-air balloon.
  17. Get re-married in a white flowing gown
  18. Sleep outdoors watching the stars. On a dark night in June :)
  19. Do Bungee jump and Skydiving.
  20. Take pictures in a photo booth with husband and kids and make a HUGE scrap book.
  21. Get a tattoo!  2014 Birthday :)
  22. Go to a costume party all decked up. Last year Toastmasters meeting!
  23. Take my family for an all paid super vacation.
  24. Touch a dolphin. Singapore Trip 2013
  25. Learn to swim. March 2012
  26. Be a strict vegetarian for 30 days!
  27. Learn yoga on a beach 
  28.  Help someone in real need  don't ask don't tell
  29. Sing really lame, lousy and loud in a karaoke night at a friend's home party long ago
  30. Go wild in Rio de Janeiro carnival
  31. Witness the grand migration safari of animals in Kenya
  32. Go to a big ass theme park and go on every single ride! Even the silly ones!
  33. See the great Himalayas in person (even if I don’t climb it)
  34. Ride a camel in the desert!
  35. Experience Weightlessness
  36. Be the one
  37. Watch my brother fall in love
  38. Take a solo trip somewhere. August 2013 - Singapore
  39. Fall crazily, dangerously, and hopelessly in love  :)
  40. Write poetry people do crazy things sometimes :)
  41. Do something really really extraordinary so that all the other things on this list seem like no big deal.
  42. Become a mother November 2013 - got Romi :)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Summer Scoops!

Life is good. There is the new found husband, the new job, new office, new people to get bugged with. Basically, life is happening. But, lethargy unfortunately, is taking precedence over all this. Hence, the less frequent posts!
Anyways, can you believe SUMMER is here!! I have always loved summers. Most people look shocked when I say that, but I do. Really. The reasons, I have always stated as (a) Mangoes, (b) Mangoes and (c) Mangoes. But here's a revelation. The principle reason why I loved summers was “Summer Vacations”! Two and a half months of blissful laziness, no school/college, no getting up early, no deadlines, no time-tables! Oh, such was life! Post the evil “work life” began; I do not have summer vacations! Instead I will be slogging it out in office and definitely not be sleeping at home, sweet home. And that thought is depressing, to say the least. In sweet memory of the summers that I loved, here's a list of things that made me fall in love with it:
  • The huge family gatherings where all my cousins would come to my grandparents’ house for the summers.
  • All kids sleeping in one row on joint blankets (we were at least 8-9 of us) because we refused to sleep in proper rooms with fans and beds.
  • Waking up at 5am to go on long walks with Grandpa and then feed sparrows on our way back
  • Evening/morning walks, started enthusiastically as daily routines, gradually becoming a twice a week event and then, once in a blue moon event!
  • Making sure we had ice-cream every day after lunch.
  • Also, ate lollies or cone ice-creams from the street cart fellow!
  • Mangoes and chilled Lemonades with extra sugar.
  • White Cotton shirts with shorts and slippers.
  • Hot afternoons spent in dark rooms, with closed curtains, a loud whirring fan, wind zipping through the hair.
  • Lazy days spent watching afternoon soaps on TV.
  • Curling up in a corner, reading novels, till eyes start to water.
  • Writing spelling tests on all the huge words read in the novel and acing them ( yup, my mom was famous for her “summer-tests”)
  • Renting cycles for 30mins every day! (Nope, I never owned a cycle, dad always thought Il fall off of it and die! *did I mention he’s a daughter neurotic*)
  • Nights on the porch peppered with idle conversations on latest household gossip.
  • The failed attempts at making Kulfi, throughout the season. By the time we mastered it, the season would end.
  • Random movies on Star Movies and HBO, watching repeats of shows on Star World.
  • The 4pm snack - a mixture of all random eatables found in the kitchen, mixed in uneven proportions, smacked generously with ketchup to hide the inability to conjure up a delicacy. It was always tasty nonetheless.
  • Long showers with the gardening pipe, watering the garden if water was left, the smell of wet mud, washing the face a zillion times!
  • Home-Made bubble blowers!
  • Random hobbies that were forgotten about by the end of the vacation. List includes Painting, Guitar, cooking, philately, sketching, cartooning. Yeah. Needless to say, none worked.
  • Most of all, Mangoes! Heaps and heaps of them. All summer clothes had yellow stains!
P.S:  I will go spend my pseudo summer trapped in the office air conditioning. *sigh*

Monday, February 20, 2012

Gym for dummies

Every morning, as I work out, I need something to distract me from the monotony of the cross trainer, or the Treadmill. More often than not, the music does the job, and I try to match the speed of strides to the beats of ‘Anjaana Anjaani’. But there are times when they play ‘ Tere mast mast do nain’, or ‘Tum jo aaye’, or even ‘Tujhme rab dikhta hai – slow version’ (seriously!), and then your mind needs something else to keep it off the timer which seems to be ticking in slow motion. So I decided to observe people. And categorize them. This can benefit all of you too, and the next time you think you cannot take anymore cycling, distract yourself by bucketing your gym-mates under these categories. Good fun, I tell ya.

The Big Guys - These are the guys are Gym instructor look-alikes, who you can also confuse, going by the amount of time they spend in the gym. These guys are harmless, almost. See, they are veterans, and their days of using the Treadmill, the Elliptical trainer, or any of the calorie burning devices are long gone. Those are for the I-am-trying-real-hard-to-burn-those-10-kilos minions like me. And the 5 Kg dumb-bells that certain people struggle to do ‘3 sets of 15’ bicep curls, are well, probably pretty toys for them. They will come for a couple of hours, pick the weights our kind don’t  even look at, use the bar-bells which we use for hanging our towels while working out, do a lot of grunting along with the lifting, walk around huffing and puffing, and then leave. Harmless, like I said. Except for perhaps the ego.

The Dainty  Damsels - The purpose of this category to join the gym, could be:
1.      I have too much time on hand.
2.      Gymming is so cool, so let me try it.
3.      Everyone’s seen me in formals, let me show how I rock tracks and tees
This category is a minority, and has a high turnover ratio. You will always spot a couple of these in the gym, but if you try to spot them two weeks later, and they wouldn’t be the same individuals. They wear 3/4ths showing off their delicate ankles, have their hair high up in a pretty pony tail, wear loops in their ears, and in all, look like they have walked off the gym sets from a movie, or some workout video. Perfect. Only, they will walk for 10 minutes on the Treadmill at Speed 5, then have some water, then try the cross trainer for 5 minutes, drink some more water, and then leave. They return the next day, and do the exact same things, albeit in a new and fancier outfit. A couple of days later, they disappear, probably because they run out of clothes to wear, that no one has seen.

The Yakkity-Yak kind - This is a slightly, ok make it very, obnoxious category. While they can be sub-categorized into the ones that actually workout, and the ones who don’t, the main defining element is their love to talk, and talk loud. So much so, that you can actually hear them over the ‘Dabangg’ title song. They will walk to all and sundry and 1) Comment about what they are doing wrong 2) Ask them why they have been irregular 3) Talk about how they have been really busy at work or 4) sing. I know singing isn’t talking, but these kinds, in the absence of a pair of ears to listen to them, can go to the extent of generally talking to the air, or like I mentioned singing, very loudly, along with the Music system.

The I’m-too-sexy-for-my-shirt kind - The gym for them can be defined as the place which has mirrors all around. That solely describes their purpose for the visits. They will walk around, and observe their anatomy from every angle that the mirrors provide. They flex their (non)existent biceps, groom their hair, raise their eyebrows at themselves, smile, frown, and in general analyze their looks. This constitutes 80% of their schedule at the gym. The remaining 20% of the times, they lift weights, and then check out their biceps in the mirrors. Yep, pretty much that.

The Torture bearers - ‘Bas, aur nahi hota!’. Ok, we’ve all been there, done that. At least I have. But I usually try and keep these declarations of ‘I’ve had enough’ to myself. But not everyone. Not these guys. They will push themselves for the crunches, do more lifts than they find themselves capable of, and with every additional number, and you will see a change in their expression. They scrunch their eyes, they grit their teeth, and they resemble to a great extent our very own Bollywood hero who has been tied to a pole and is being battered with a baseball bat for not revealing the secret to that invention which can destroy the world. And after every few counts, they let out a very audible groan. So much so, that after a while, you start smirking, thinking about how really strong you yourself are.

The ‘Run-Forrest-run’ category - Their aim – weight loss. And that’s it. Their schedule... enter gym, target 1 – Weighing machine, target 2 – cross trainer/Tread mill. 45 minutes later, you see a sweaty individual, with a drenched Tee, and a pool of sweat under the machine used. This category has selective vision, and they refuse to acknowledge anyone standing behind them for however long, waiting to use the said machine, until their timer strikes the stipulated 45 minutes – 1 hour. This category is one of the few who actually take the dietitian seriously. And usually you will find others timing their visits to gym to suit (or more clearly, avoid) schedules of these individuals.

Visitors - This category in all probability enrolled when the gym was inaugurated. Mainly because, it existed. Once a month, they have a sudden guilt trip of how they do nothing for physical fitness, and they visit the sacred gym. A couple of days later, more important ‘work’ comes up, and they disappear again. But they ensure that their enrollment is justified by making these scheduled, if not frequent trips. These guys will actually know and talk to the big guys, more so because they have known each other for a long time. If you see these people, and happen to ask if they just joined, they will respond with a ‘No-no! I joined a year ago! Yeah, been a little irregular’ with a very annoyed expression on their face. If you are regular enough, the next you see them would be the next month, around the same time.

Me - Of course, I saved the best for the last. Well I still do not know what category I belong to. I cannot be called regular, 5-6 days a week is the maximum I seem to be able to do. In the gym, I am anything but dainty, my hair is never in place, I sweat like I have the whole Arabian sea inside me and needs to get out, and I seem to have picked my rattiest (albeit super comfortable) tees for gym. I do not talk while working out, because, honestly, I cannot. I am too busy being breathless to be able to get words out of me. I dislike the mirror in the gym, because I think it makes me look fat, and I believe the gym mirrors are so to motivate people (yeah, someone told me, so?). I already mentioned that I keep my face devoid of any expression, and the only sound I am capable of generating is that of wheezing. I love running, I love weight training (no I am not psycho, I love eating too, that’s the problem!). And I am assuming that my 5-6 days a week status does not categorize me as a visitor either. So, whoever does not fall in any of the other categories falls under the ‘me’ category.

P.S: The Husband falls under the “Boxer” category, and I dare not describe that!!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Marry-Go-Round-5 : Dreams

We like to think we're fearless, eager to explore unknown lands and soak up new experiences, but the fact is, we're always terrified. Maybe the terror is part of the attraction. Some people go to horror movies. Dive into dark water. And at the end of the day, isn't that what you'd rather to hear about? Slow rides make for boring stories. A little calamity. Now that's worth talking about.
Like me, I always thought weddings were fun, with some music, lovely food, good friends, everyone making merry, dancing, and laughing. Well, what I did not consider was the extent of calamity involved! Make-up, pujas, crazy aunts, even crazier grandmothers, friends hovering around to make you beautiful, high heels, back ache, loss of appetite, stupid arguments, clash of cultures… phew! The list is endless! It takes you a week to recover from a two hour ceremony and a 5 hour reception. 
The real fun kicks in post the wedding. Adjusting to being the new person in the house. Being the only coffee drinker in the family. Learning to pick up your own coffee cup. Pressing your own clothes. Not screaming at anyone because you cannot find your own hairpins. Giving up the TV remote (forever). Sharing your bed. Coordinating loo timings. Keeping everything in your room spic and span (yourself!). Not throwing tantrums whenever you feel like. Being in a good mood all the time because 5 other people will be worried if you are grumpy. Most of all missing everyone and everything at home like hell. Getting confused about which house to call your home.        
But, there is always the bright side. 
Married life is good especially if you wake up and are asked ‘You want to sleep for some more time?’ Snuggle and go back to sleep. Discovering that hugs are romantic. Extremely romantic. Feeling proud because for once in your life you served tea to someone else. Learning to cook. So many more people to talk to. Speaking broken Tamil and being the laughing stock of the house. Impromptu dance sessions. Sitting on the terrace with Boxer on those quite evenings. A mother-in-law who forces my father-in-law to pluck fresh Khus-Khus from the tree every morning because I love them. A sister-in-law who is this constantly chattering lil’ sister I never had. And a Grandmother-in-law who is always on a mission to feed me with everything she finds!
Married life is good. Very good. How often does someone get to wake up with a person you love so much. Someone you love in a really, really big “pretend to like your taste in music, let you eat the best piece of chocolate cake, sit with you the whole time when you are sick, forget everything when you smile, wake up early in the morning just to make you tea” kind of way. 

P.S: Dreams. They all come true. In some weird twist of fate. They all come true.