Mystic and old

One alley. One story. All I could do was not to spare a chance to walk through the ones that caught my eyes.Walking along with Gau Mata like passer by. Pausing to catch the glimpse of the local Brahmins pass while chanting age old mantras. Witnessed Hinduism by the ghats and Islam in the hood. Meanwhile sightseeing took me to Sarnath among other places. The whole experience vibrated peace. That is how Varanasi treated me for a 3-day trip. Ideally, it is week long trip if you want to really have the much talked about mystic experience of the city. But my ESL life could only squeeze this much break for leisure travel off the work travel schedule!

The aura of the Ganga aarti kept the entire stretch of the ghats lit with a hypnotizing belief that time is always under construction and life is building upon it. Hundreds of people gathered everyday to witness the one-hour long ceremony of showing gratitude to the Ganga. The exciting part is when you realize how all the priests are in sync with each other while performing the rituals. It was so beautiful to watch how so much of effort is invested in empowering human beliefs.

Just when I started to sink in that feeling, it was the moment when I came face to face to the only reality that makes us live the entire life in denial- Death. Manikarnika ghat; it is believed that people who are cremated here receive Moksha or salvation. This riverfront is always seen with fire burning the Hindu dead bodies at all hours of the day. It was one of those mind numbing moments when you are so close to an absolution that you don’t know what to feel. It all seemed too real to be true. Like I landed in a period drama movie set!

Tasting the local food is always a delight of any place. However, as I explored more, I discovered it is a city which is a home away from home for people across the globe. Besides gorging on the heavenly Kachori subzi, cruncy jalebi or scooping rabdi from the cute little pots, I could also spot cafes that served international cuisines with authentic arrangements. Be it a German bakery, an Italian bistro or Oriental food, it took me by surprise! The best however, was the lassi. After a heavy rush of strange numbness from the Manikarnika encounter, I went to this much recommended lassi shop, The Blue Lassi. I have no idea how it got the name, but they sure churn the best ones. Their selection of flavors and styles of preparation left me in awe and definitely pulled me out from the strange feeling to vacation vibes once again!

Spotting Aghoris on and off were confusing moments. I was not sure whether to feel scared and look away or stay fascinated and stare at them. With their creepy sense of fashion, Aghoris drew attention no matter what. Being almost naked in public or covering the body with human ashes felt plain normal for them. Using a human femur bone as a walking stick or wearing human skulls around their necks seemed perfectly fine. Their calm attitude made them seem even more mysterious. It is a different world!

I was always fascinated to hear different travel stories from the people who ever visited this old city. What I feel now is it’s even more fulfilling to see what you hear about a place is so mysteriously true. It was one vacation that I would love to repeat yet again. Such was Varanasi through my eyes!

To all my favourite people!

One of the best things that happened to me this year was my job as a TESOL trainer with the Asian College of Teachers. Now this is quite a big deal for a baby-faced woman like me! IMG-20180720-WA0013 I mean being a teacher trainer where you really need to balance the easy-going attitude with a equal assertiveness is quite a job in itself. Teacher training is anything but way different from being just a teacher. Training a class full of teachers or aspiring ones from different age groups, social and cultural backgrounds is amazingly interesting. And I get to travel places. Like literally, meet teachers from different locations, conduct activities, assess their skill developments, etc., while I get to hop around different cities and try to discover the local ways. The whole program is a 3-weeks long process where we try to understand the requisites of a successful facilitator who would like to teach English as a Second Language. That includes a whole lot of new age teaching methods, brainstorming theories while learning tricks to develop the four skills to comprehend the language- listening, speaking, reading and writing. In between the teaching practices, I make it a point to call for little celebrations. This not only makes the class shake off their anxieties but also lets the all of us to bond well. IMG-20180709-WA0022

Every batch has its own story to share. Each lot of trainees come with their amazing set of ideas and experiences that makes each program a special one. Usually, the batches consist of ESL enthusiasts counting to a minimum of five to a maximum of twenty. It sometimes do get tricky for the fact that there are people from different age groups. Some are freshers trying to travel and teach. Some are looking for a job switch. Some are retired ones with decades of work experience trying to settle with something different from what they have been doing for years. IMG-20180922-WA0011The experienced ones are often the expat teachers or teachers from that specific locations who sign up for the program for a professional upgrade. Some sign up for an extra certificate to add to their curriculum vitae! The list goes on. So as you can see there are quite a lot of different energies that come together for 3 weeks.

Going to different places and training teachers has its own perks. Firstly, it’s a different culture. I go to train the teachers on how to teach English as a Second Language. In the process, I get to learn the local lingo of that place from the teachers. That’s quite an exchange now! The lunch breaks usually become the perfect excuse for me to try the local food. IMG-20180620-WA0009Sometimes even home made, if any trainee decides to bring their own food. Fridays are usually wrapped up with assignments to be completed over the weekend. But much to the tensed faces, there is always a hidden happiness as we often plan to meet either on a Saturday or Sunday. May be for a movie or may be, just out and about the town. Or may be some local attraction. That’s how I kind of end up with way too many guides taking me on a tour around the cities!

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The farewell…..

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Lunching and touring before we resumed class….

 

Breakfast meet before class!

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I believe life gives us way too many chances. We are too busy complaining to understand the signs. The signs to grow, think and become a better person. To nurture the ability to see the world from different perspectives while I keep adding chapters to my life. And that is not the end. Meanwhile I train, I learn so much.

The social and cultural knowledge is just a teeny tiny bit of it. It only gives me the strength to think that there is a whole wide world beyond my world in my head. It gives me a chance to grow and feel the existence of different ideas. Someone rightfully said that there is no end to learning. If only we learn to see the world according to the changing air around us, it will be the best gift that one can present himself or herself.

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Happy holidays!

Oh well it’s December! Few days left for Christmas and to celebrate yet another New Year. As the world gets busy with the festivities, I am here travelling, training and reminiscing my festival. My city during Durga Puja. Now, the dates are not the same every year but majorly, they fall sometime during September and October. It’s quite a week-long festival with each day having its own significance. Skipping the mythological backdrop, if we come to the new-age views on the festival, its is more than just worshiping the Goddess. Mostly, you might think I’m trying to talk about the whole idea of wearing new clothes, eating all the possible delicacies and not missing a chance to hop around to visit the marquees where the Goddesses are celebrated. Or may be, the fact that festivals let you come together with family and friends to celebrate. It is more than that.

Every year on January 1st, Bengalis look up the dates of Durga Puja. It adds meaning and a chance to look forward to the year ahead. It marks the occasion of many things. For some it means to happy for leaves from work and go see their families. For some it is to plan and buy clothes while there is a sale way prior to the festival so that there are more clothes on their set budget! For some it is an experience for the first time. A first after getting a job. A first after getting married. Or started dating. Or an addition in the family. Or after they parted ways. For some it is about planning a getaway around those days with their loved ones. For some it is a first without family. And for some it is the last festival.IMG-20181202-WA0073

There is always something old and eventful (if not life changing!) about those days. This is the thing about festivals. Keeping aside the togetherness and the celebrations, it keeps us rooted to ourselves. Our inner self. The bustling streets speaks to a lot of our silent thoughts. At one point through all these, we try to find reasons to believe that the world is a good place to live in. It takes us to those lanes where we used to be way different from what we are now. How things changed. Good and bad. How your decisions and choices made you surround yourself with your present reality. How you have fallen in and out of love. How we thought we will not be able to move forward in our lives without the presence of something and someone.How the definition of festivals and holidays kept changing with time and plans. But here we are now, counting days to let go and gather new hope.

We human beings as we age and things make to start sense, we grow three faces. the first one is what we try to project ourselves to the world around to continue being the social animal. The second one is what we try to make ourselves believe about what we might be or at least wish to be. The  third is the one that is  the most honest face and the one that we avoid and hide from ourselves. Our inner self. Every moment of our lives the second and the third faces are fighting numerous wars to find that winning spot in our minds. Like you know the times we look at ourselves in the mirror and we think we are ugly. But if you look deep down it is not the face. It is the lack of feeling content of what you have and being jealous of others makes us look ugly.

It is just like the festivals. The first one is like all the celebrations that we see around us. The ideas of  indulgences change with the time to fit in. What stays with us are those little moments of reminisce where we found happiness for something which did not have a facade. That is just like the third face which now struggles to keep up and stay as a stronger memory than the new ones which are more fresh.

Everyday we keep disguising our needs with what the world wants to see in us. For that we keep counseling ourselves into thinking that we are valid. We fight the social stigmas and shaming by tricking ourselves into a standard idea of perfection.  At the end of the day, it is just you on your bed. The deep breaths before you fall asleep. That little moment of silence in your mind before you doze off. That is when you find your inner self with an answer that if you are happy or not!

We are just few weeks away from yet another year. Yet another time to indulge into celebrations. In the midst of all these let us try to do more things for that third face. Let us just promise ourselves that we will work on ourselves for a happier heart.

Happy holidays!

As Shakespeare said…..

“Seeing is believing.”

Believe what you see.

Your mind sees too.

Your mind sees dreams.

Believe in them.

We talk so much about dreaming big. While kids and their ideas of what they want to be when they grow up are always given attention, little do we understand that these are mere reflections of the lessons learnt in school. Lessons supported with pictures help them to inspire. That little thin book with a picture of an astronaut or a pilot or a doctor gives a new path to those kids to take the first step to dream. To think that he or she can be the person in the picture too. He or she can save the world too. He or she can set a goal. Yes, people it is all about how we picture ourselves that helps us to set goals.

Goals are nothing but your intuition that makes you feel that you can take a stand for your decisions or ambitions. It can be anything. From what you plan to do for a living to daily routines. Everything that you feel strongly that you will want to achieve is a goal.

I used to be quite a social person in my college days. Then I started working. I was still that same butterfly. One who loved being loud and going to parties. The melting make up. The sweaty shiny party dresses (shorter and tighter the better, of course!). The booming music vibrated till all the water from my brain was sucked out and gave me the infamous hangover headache the next morning.  Well it did not matter much then. I was proud of myself, instead. I mean I was the queen bee, hello! 313261_163230623764134_722157495_nBut much that I loved the life I had back then, there were few things which I loved more than all of that. At the back of my mind I always had different plans for myself and this part of my life never tallied with any of my plans. I tried to look for reasons of this dissatisfaction but to no avail.  

I still remember I was in the United States. It was the summer of 2011. I was in Maine. Oh! How much I love that place. The rocky coastline, the Atlantic chill and not to forget the food! I traveled to Maine to visit the village of Ogunquit. I am in love with that part of America. The county feel is too deep to get over it. The suppers by Perkins Cove, the Capriccio festival, the summer beach, the cutest little gift shops, the tempting lobsters and I can just go on. I went there and again played my social butterfly card quite generously. Since I planned to stay there for the entire summer, I had to find ways to live my nightlife with the same zeal. Soon I made friends over there with a high school couple who were locals over there. They introduced me to few of  “my kinda” people and in few days of moving in the new place I was on a roll. Weekends were definitely like what we call now LIT AF!! I started meeting even more people and made my own little kingdom there. Life was good. Awesome!

On July 4th, I went out for dinner in some eatery in the downtown area with my new friends. As we left, we thought of taking a walk a little ahead the downtown area. The weather was promising as hell. It added to the celebration state of mind. As everyone was busy chattering and ranting about their bosses at work, we came across this really old building. It said Free Memorial Library. I have always been a huge Harry Potter fan. As you can clearly see the architecture, it took me straight from the muggle world to the Hogwarts dorms. I just had to get in there. Few of my friends also joined. The rest walked towards the beach. The library goers decided to meet them in a while after we checked the new found spot of real fantasy. And my my, was it a dream? Yes, it was.217748_104242936329570_4830967_n The inside of the building breathed Gothic architecture from all corners. The tall  shelves, the lofty ladders to reach the topmost shelf, the thick Renaissance furniture, the smell of the books. The place had so much of history. It had its own timeline that had so many stories to tell. Suddenly a sign of peace hit me hard. It was a different feeling which I could not unfold for sometime. But it was definitely something that made me visit the library almost every alternate days for the rest of the summer I was in Ogunquit. 

 

The books made me feel pleasant about my life. There was not any hullabaloo or exchange of unnecessary ideas. No hangovers, no headaches. No loud music, no loud talks. Neither did I judge nor was I judged by people. I realized may be this is what bothered me so much. If I am not part of the crowd, the crowd will judge me and I will be left alone. May be the feeling of isolation scared me from doing things that I actually loved. To read. To write. To stay motivated. It was a revelation!229020_104243079662889_3131602_n

I was floating like a fluid body with insecurities and no affirmations. Even after I realized that I need to get rid of my bad habits to focus on my life, it was not a matter of a moment. Let me tell you, the whole shift from that person to this person who is writing the blog took seven years to overcome something which I did not even like to do. Too much of letting yourself loose becomes an addiction and it really does not help to stay motivated. You become lazy to stay motivated and actually look for one goal. From the time I realized that party season is over, I made it point to revamp my thoughts completely and work towards a better life. It was my goal. And I can now proudly say that I achieved it after seven years. There were times when I had no idea what am I trying to do with my life. I cut off friendships and later feel horrible about it. I started to avoid association which did not lead me towards my goal. Sometimes I gave up and went back to the way I did not want to walk again. With the guilt in my mind, I shook off my urges to let that airhead version of me go away. Years went by but I did not let myself forget those seven months that made me realize the type of person I am or I should be if I want be fair to my life. 

This might seem like just another motivational story that we come so many times nowadays. I am not trying to motivate or convey any strong message. My point is I kept believing what I saw in front of me from the time I had the library encounter on the 4th of July. I kept seeing myself in a position where I will have time to do things that actually makes me happy. Read books. Write articles, stories, etc. I had to get back to my old self which I was in my school days. I made my conviction even stronger by going back to the journals that I wrote as a teenager. I read through the pages to remind myself how I  always wanted to have a strong voice and engage into public speaking. It reminded me of how I see myself as an author when I grew up. Going back to this good past triggered my conscience. It made me believe in who I am and how I saw myself standing in my life eventually. debo1.jpg

You see this is the exact marketing skill that companies use to sell their products. Industries are flourishing and flocking based on this simple thought. What you see you believe. So it better be a sale-able sight enough to push those exact buttons that makes you need and want that product. And from a life’s perspective, you should always place yourself in that exact position in your mind where you want see yourself. That is like an affirmation to yourself that you can get what you want. 

It’s very basic and not a very rare thing to do. Keep surprising yourself everyday! 

 

 

Life is a ticking timer…

Humans as we say are social animals. We are sucked into this whole galactic feel to please people with a intention of security. Family, friendships, marriages and so on, each relationship has its own vibe and aura. We are all running after these bonds we share because it makes us happy. The shoulders are right there for us when we need them. That peace is not material and it can never be measured. Our world revolves around these beautiful set of amazing people who makes the existence worthwhile. We start taking this existence for granted thinking they are here to stay. And then  a time comes when we grow apart. School’s over. College’s over. Jobs rule our weekdays. Priorities change. Happens all the time, right?

Now if you look into it carefully, out of so many people we meet, only few we remember for the rest of our lives. Good or bad, we cross paths and the memories are unforgettable. We crave for the memories and the thoughts take us away from reality at times. It is so interesting to see that our human minds at times start dreaming so hard that it makes us extend those memories into our unfulfilled or unfinished wishes or promises. It makes us regret the reality. The different lives that join with our stories are sometimes not stagnant. But the depth of bond comes in disguise of attachments. Once the ties are non-existent we start  looking out for options to fill that emptiness. This insecurity makes us look for alternatives and that is when we make superficial choices. This applies for all. Be it a best friend, a parent or a lover. And then comes some other kind of relationships which are special to us but beyond any explanation. These are the evil sweet ones which makes your day for reasons known only to those whoever shares the bond. The inner jokes, the amazing match of thoughts, it is just so damn positive! Finding alternatives to these ones are sometimes never possible.

So as I write this, I cannot help but wonder, why do we even look for an emptiness filler when the void can never be helped? The attachments we share with each person are all different. With love it all grows. We stay because the other one sharing the bond listens to us or does not mind to stay with our imperfections. With time what we do not realize is that when the bond becomes a habit we become control freaks. Now that we are comfortable with the relationship we try to change the dynamics according to our perspectives. Sometimes we call it sacrifice and sometimes this become a tool to sabotage the attachment. Eventually, we start finding the bad in the relationship and we create drama episodes for ourselves! I mean, like why? Are we not paying for Netflix already?

If that person is really a special one and in the long run you will be happy no matter what, why will you even think of ways to get rid of the bond? They made a mistake and repeated the same thing and you got trust issues? Or they stopped listening to you so you just wanna make your life like a social media handle and block that attachment forever? We say “there is no smoke without fire.” All we do is see the smoke and ignore the fire. Rather than finding ways to stay away or finding flaws why not we look into the times we were actually happy and laughing and found ways to keep it alive? I mean yes, there are times we wanna run away from abusive or attachments that question our dignity. This is justified. But this is not the case all the time. Is it?

Hold on to the attachments because time is life!

Learnings and laughters that mattered

We all want a 15-days long vacation where we can be whatever we choose to be. The whole idea of being home away from home, packing the best casuals and flashy outfits. From escaping into fun-a-thon of relaxation to clicking the best Insta-worthy pictures. It is a mental picnic of frolic, culture and indulgence. Of course decadence is summoned according to the budget!

It was my second visit to Pune. The first time was a wild plan few years ago that ended in nausea. This time it was more sensible. Work trip you know. As heavy as it seemed, I guess with lesson plans I have started to apply the anticipated problems section in my life as well! My biggest back up was this diligent and amazing support, Rutuja. She made my life easy.IMG20190616152841-01

Pune holds quite a lot of history under the rug. It was all about time when I got to experience, well, parts of it. I checked in the city on a Saturday. Just a weekend away from a completely new batch of TEFL aspirants. Rutuja and I planned to use it to our advantage before the pressure got on us. We went to visit this famous fort, Shaniwar Wada. It was built during the Peshwa rule in Maharashtra. Well, it was extended, fixed and renovated over time (just like our judgmental feelings!) The huge doors with spikes, narrow staircases, carefully planned  ventilators were quite interesting to understand. A whole lotta science and architecture!

After the history tour, we went up to Juna Bazaar to explore antiques. Oh my my, it was a long stretch of market with fresh smells from the old times! You ask for anything, and they had an antique for that (till you believe they are all antiques and not junk that is polished to look old!). It was worthwhile. Just be a little careful with handbags and purses. Few passer-bys will be really interested to find out what’s in your bag! Tulshi baug, MG Road are other major markets to hang around for pretty and fun street finds too.

After one week of rigourous enthusiasm to learn the psychology of language learners and how to deal with them, few trainees along with me planned for a day getaway to Mahabaleshwar. As the heat welcomed the party, we went to do the darshan at the Shiv Temple in Old Mahabaleshwar. We went up to the Arthur’s Point where we were hugged by floating clouds  and a warm, wet chill. The walk was mystic! After a couple of hours of “girls just wanna have fun” we drove down to the market area. Mahabaleshwar market has a lot to offer. From Kolhapuri sandals, wickerworks, unusually warm blankets, light weight happy jewelries to amazing cream cups at Bagicha (a must visit), it’s a paradise to for all the impulsive shoppers like me.IMG20190622161059IMG20190622160720IMG20190622150706

As we drove down to the city, we stopped by the Mapro garden for a farm fresh experience. We hogged on some of their freshly produced sandwiches and pizza for din-din. The affordable jams, juices, syrups, jelly candies; you cannot buy enough! It was a major weekend to look back for loads of awesome memories.

They say if you miss out on something, then there’s hope to always go back. I missed checking out the Aga Khan Palace and the Okayama Park from my bucket list. The pilot Pune TEFL program will surely be missed. Not only for the wonderful travel in and out the city but also for the learnings and laughters that mattered. My batch of this 12 enthusiastic ESL teachers. The 3-weeks journey was a memorable ride. Here’s hoping to another one soon!IMG20190701145836

 

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“Coming out” as they say!

“It is always the fear that holds  us back from a truely different life. I guess we judge too soon.” This is the story of a close one who came out recently. And it was a different kind of coming out than what we usually assume when we say that phrase.

Meeting yourself is hard. Speaking to yourself is harder. Introspection with the “I am” self is the hardest. Humans are born imperfect yet narcissistic. We accept both. Oh well, almost! Flaws are deep-rooted. That needs a lot of mind mapping to understand how it all started. And that’s exhausting. On the other hand, being narcissistic makes us feel under control. You create your own barriers by applauding the liabilities. To keep up with the time you pull down others. To keep up with the time there is a constant need of apprciation of one’s physical ego. Both times when we are flawed or narcissistic, we fear time. We fear realities. We fear change. Much to the inventions and discoveries that has advanced thoughts and erased some, one thing that sits in our mind is the fear. Fear of the known. Fear of the assumptions. Fear of going against the conditions and embracing your truth. Fear of being happy. The mask or the facade that we carry along us everywhere is like an airbag that helps us consciously avoid happiness. It is when we embrace the idea of self-appreciation and the exhaustion together, that we can “come out”.

“The problem with our society are not the conditions but the multiple interpretations and misinterpretations of the same. I have always struggled. I am a happy person, you know. My definition of being happy is something that does not fit these conditions of the society. I like smelling flowers. I love ballet. I definitely love shopping. Does that make me any less of a man? And it definitely does not make me a woman. Sadly, there are a lot of opinions about the way I talk, sit, even worse, the way I rest my hands when I stand!IMG-20190612-WA0001 I have always been a family embarrasment because I never took part in sports, I will appreciate my sister’s love for make up and a lot more that does not really follow the norms. I am a man who appreciates and is attracted to things which are considered feminine. And that is not something wrong. Ever. It took me a lot of courage to say that to myself and believe it. I mean I have always been comfortable in my skin minus the label. But I guess, it has been a constant struggle as well. A struggle between self-apprciation and an imposed identity. This is infact, the best gift that I got myself in years.”

It was quite an eye-opening rather than just a chillout session that we planned!

 

 

It’s still the same snack!

As the year came to an end, I sat there in our balcony with a cuppa noodle. The fireworks seemed to have captivated the peace of the space. The booming sounds  and the echo of the celebration did not help in keeping the calmness alive. The sky looked like a sixteen year old carefree teenager. Full of life, thriving with hope and desire. The partly sparking ashes from the fireworks fell back like shooting stars. It was a madness both ways.

Somewhere in between that hustle, I found a little space where everything was pacified while it was soaked into the festivitities. Ours is a high rise residential right in the heart of the city. If I looked straight outside from the balcony, the sea always gleamed back while hiding stories and secrets in the waves. As I looked down from the twelveth floor, tiny vision of the reckless happiness caught my eyes. The residential committee organized a New Year’s Eve party every year and it seemed like a good opportunity for the all the Sharmas, Desais, Banerjees, Iyers and more to come together and get details about their lives- some show offs, some ups and downs and some philosophies. A buffet  was mandatory with vegetarian, non vegetarian options and desserts. A budget friendly selection of alcohol make shift counter comes live after the midnight when the young lot goes back to their apartments to call it off a day.

The party welcomed the New Year with hope and yet another chancee to look forward to the future. Slowly, the aura changed with the departing childish spirit to a ripple of intoxicated laughs and casual debates about lifestyle choices. All these in just an hour past midnight. Soon the realization set in the party that there is a regular life to live in few hours. Household chores and office talks seemed to tone down the rush in their minds. In the next half an hour, everybody seemed to leave in groups. The fireworks stayed for yet another hour. The sky started to change its colour while the early morning chill began to make its way with the ticking time.

I could not sleep but I was not tired.

“Hey babe, any resolution this time?” he asked.

“This peace. Right here.” I winked.

The apartment was dark as we switched off the lights to enjoy the celebrations from the balcony. It was not an unusual thing to experience a salty chill and not cold shivering weather in Mumbai during this time of the year.

“Would you ever like to leave the city and move out of the country?”

“I don’t know. Would you like to?” I was curious.

“Well, there are always better places. As long as we are together.”

“Stop being so cheesy. Do you remember our first date? It was the evening after our grade 11 final exam.”

“It’s still so fresh in my mind. We stargazed on the terrace of your cousin’s house. The sky was happy that evening. It was mystic summer that year. The sky was exceptionally clear. The stars looked like fairy lights. Some were bright, some seemed to flicker. The breeze brushed our faces while we tried to match the constellations. It was not too long that we were hungry and wanted a snack. We went out in the neighbourhood and bought it from Ashu’s grocery. It’s still the same snack!” We reminisced as I help up the cuppa noodles like a trophy.

The first ray of the morning seemed to interrupt my time travel. It’s the first morning of the New Year. There was an unexplainable silence in the apartment. As I looked back inside the apartment, it has started to light up. The fresh air gave me goosebumps.

“I know I was not talking to myself this entire time. There you are. Happy New Year, Arjun. I know you could find yourself a better place. I am happy.”

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Labor love

Let’s just say…..mid week offs are a surprise that we wait for. Labor day. Wednesday. Hump day. Weekends: we all know what adults are fond of doing. Rather want to do but mostly get stuck with running errands. Sundays are for getting mad and try to believe that it’s Monday the next day. Mid week offs are a little

different. Especially for the on schedule people who’s life revolves around the company laptop.

First of all, even though we know it’s an off day, we have to constantly try and remind ourselves that it’s an off day. Everytime we do that there’s a little spark in the eyes. It’s a planned deja vu!

Second of all, we think of all the favourite things that we like to do. We picture ourselves doing that. Like I pictured myself writing this blog. But if you are a person who’s quite aware of this satisfying thought, you know you’ll end up being lazy (the reason why I chose to write before going to bed); staring at the ceiling, sinking into the feeling that it’s an off day in the middle of the week.

By the time, the rejoice session is done it’s late in the afternoon. Now you wanna get ready for a dinner at your favorite restaurant or watch a movie. Suddenly it dawns on you that the bank is closed. The labors want to rest. It’s not pay day!

It’s such a hard truth of life. The feeling of not getting paid on the first day of the month. Like you have got no option but live your life in denial that it’s yet to be the pay day of the month. What becomes harder is even when you have a decent money left in your account, you’re mentally struck by forced poverty. Sometimes, we become impulsive and decide to spend the rest of the money in the account by buying things we absolutely start regretting the very moment we decide to purchase it.

In this entire time we forget to process that it is a day to celebrate work without working. The other days you build up an organization from desk to desk. So take some time out and feel precious. Be content! Overcome the feeling of hard luck with hard work in mind. Who knows may be you actually end up enjoying the day without doing anything and you find it productive!

Have a blessed day.

I used butt twice here but issa fact!

It is never about “I see it, I like it, I want it, I get it.” Life aint Grande enough and money doesn’t come with an insurance!

You do not have to always end up with assholes. You just have to wait for the moment when they get exhausted. Once they are tired of travelling around, they gotta park the car! Till then practice the art of doing the right things for yourself instead of looking for The Right One.

Get your facts correct about feminism. It is not cool to be one of those rebels on social media who posts a selfie with a long empowering caption while you slurp on a popsicle in that picture!

Do not follow the reality TV crowd. It is better and totally ok to find out your strength at 25. Live in your self-made reality. Your butt ain’t a Kard!

Do not explain parents about your lifestyle choices. You give them culture shock. Understand their share of discomfort when they see you applying a highlighter. They  know it’s a stationery item. They just want to be heard. From a millenial to another, there is something called traditions. Like it or not, you eventually fall for it and you become like your parents even when you are not one.

It is ok to show off your boyfriend/girlfriend as long as you know its worth showing off. Plus, you gotta have an escape plan if he/she is unpredictable. Sulking makes you sore with offensive sarcasm.

Make up one’s mind. If you think getting cheated is bound to happen to you, stay out of it. Do not play safe and try to demean the other person’s lifestyle choices, most importantly, family and friends. In due course you become what you are scared of.

Have some gratitude over grievances please! I mean, imagine a life without butt. You cannot stand all your life! Feel thankful for every little unsung thing around you that helps you experience emotions everyday.

There will always be one creep at work. Be it a sub-ordinate or a supervisor. They will always play with words. They will always play the victim card and be shameless at the same time. It does not matter if you are being diplomatic. When you feel trapped and wanna talk about it people will only recall that  you did smile or did not show any discomfort when the creep was around. That job is not the end of the world and you do not need to be privileged enough to think like that. Most importantly, if your diplomacy or silence is because you do not want a bad appraisal, then do not judge a gold digger!

It is perfect to be a wannabe. I mean you gotta be something or someone right? You only discover yourself through absorbing whatever that comes your way.

Namaste!

 

 

Inner voice of a not-so-old ESL teacher trainer!

“Here’s to another day of training a mixed group. Let me give them the benefit of doubt until they can no longer benefit from it.”

“Shut up, ABBA songs have more common nouns to play with than any of your favourite Cardi B song; abort mission. It’s Happy New Year everyday!”

“I should speak fluent Baby Boomer lingo. That way training is experiential and Gen X will be under control.”

“Classroom management or conflict management? If only ego was a talking parrot.”

“The projector screen is the gateway to my off duty personality. I hope I changed my laptop wallpaper to some mature philosophical jazz about winning.”

“You are not here to hangout with Gen Z. Or may be after the training is over. OK, stop being so partial.”

“Remember, never say “this is cute“. These are just flashcards!”

“Trainees want to know more about you. Sometimes these are just clever distractions. Mystery than memoir is the key, sweetie.”

“Wow! This is a great group photo. I need to caption and post it on Instagram……can’t wait till the class is over….aarrghhh!!”

“Be pragmatic and idealistic. This is real life and not Romedy.”

“Is my outfit of the day trainer enough?”

“1/4th prep and 3/4th theater. Do not switch the training fractions.”

“If only the Great Vowel Shift was sensible enough, the orthography would have made more sense.”

“It is /ju:/ not EWW!”

“You thought you know it all? Dear trainees, let’s take a modal verbs pop quiz!”

“For Freaking Vowel‘s sake, yes you have to know what are labiodental fricatives.”

“Yes, NO is a diphthong.”

“Suggestopedia, do not suggest. EVER!”

“I love my job.”

 

 

Kochi-ll!!

It was my millionth time to Kochi last month. It is a thriving port city of Kerala, one of the less exploited yet very tourist-ey state of India. The beauty of this place lies in the fact that it has a perfect blend of city and countryside. The people here makes it even easier. With the huge number of travellers visiting the place every year, the people are always welcoming. From the local auto-rickshaw drivers to the local people around: they are always ready to help a stranger. I was there to conduct a TEFL/TESOL batch. It is a 3-weeks teacher training program. I checked-in my company sponsored accomodation near the Kaloor neighbourhood. It was not near to the institute. That meant I had to travel local. I availed the metro train and oh my my! The metro trains that I have availed in other major cities vs. what I experienced here seemed way different. On the good side of course! It is faster, cleaner and efficient as compared to the metro system of other cities. The ride was wonderful everyday. When the locals could understand that I am not one of them, they would have this inquisitive stare which was quite natural. when the stares used to get too obvious to ignore, it was quite charming to see how a smile from the either ends will always cover for the awkwardness. The universal language always comes handy it seems!

The classes were during the weekdays. So I had a chance to explore the place over the weekends. This time I thought I would explore Fort Kochi. It is a water-bound region towards the south of Kochi. Now if you want to be a tourist you can always hire an Uber. But if you wanna be a traveller and stay local, you have to take the ferry from Ernakulam to Fort Kochi. The ticket is sweet cheap and it is 4 rupees only. There is another stop in between, Vypeen. The smell of the ocean water, witnessing big vessels anchored or sailing along with your ferry makes the ride worthwhile.

I went with 2 of my trainees, Nivedhana from Tamil Nadu and Konika from Arunachal Pradesh. Once we got down at the Fort Kochi ferry point, it was time to hang around and explore. We cracked quite a cheap deal with an auto-rickshaw driver. He agreed to show us around just for 200 rupees for 2 hours. We went almost at lunch hours. So we added a waiting time for him with an extra 50 rupees. We started off by visiting 2 churches back to back- Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica and Saint Francis Church. It was quite interesting to see how the churches operated were so strikingly different. The first one had this commercial touch to make it a mainstream tourist spot while reserving the religious terms. With its elaborate structure and huge open area it is a great spot for social media freaks to get their double taps and followers soaring! Since photography was allowed we did take our fair share of advantage of clicking the structure for our group photo background.

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Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica

Saint Francis, on the other hand, had a very orthodox outlook. Photography sadly was not allowed. The architecture was very gothic and it had a strong vibes of stringent religious atmosphere. The draconian structure also has its historical significance. The famous Portuguese traveller, Vasco da Gama was buried here before his body was claimed by his son and took permission from the church to take it to the homeland.

It was almost lunchtime when we went to our next stop; Fort Kochi beach. We thought of taking a break and grabbed lunch meanwhile. The food prices are quite high, if you intend to eat lunch there compared to transport which is relatively way too less. However, the quantity, taste and the atmosphere are beyond expectations. The shacks mostly serve freshly cooked items. However, this comes with long waiting time before they serve your food.

After we had our quite a royal seafood meal, we planned to visit the couple of other places before we end our sightseeing trip. While we went to the next point, Mattancherry Palace Museum, we checked out the streets where they mostly sold souvenirs. There were spice shops, essesntial oils and perfume shops. The mixture of exotic fragrances and flavours captivated the entire stretch of souk. They sold chestnuts for 50 rupees which you can dip into any oil and massage on your body. Well, it did relieve me from the 80 year old body pain trapped in a late 20’s body. AirBrush_20190216230157 After buying a few souvenirs, we headed to the Mattancherry Palace. The entrance had steep stairs that took us to the ticket booth. Photography was not allowed here as well. So we were left with any option to take home all the memories with us. We just had to sink into the momentary experience. The palace is turned into a museum now where we learnt about the royal family of Kerala, the water route for early trades and international allies. They also had the real-time palanquins and royal household items and costumes preserved for the visitors to see. It was quite surprising to see that how awesomely rich the economy and culture used to be in early days; however, we were never educated about any of  this.

Finally, we asked the auto-rickshaw driver to drop us at the beach where we thought to enjoy the sunset before we left Fort Kochi. And let me tell you, I have lived most of my life by coastlines, very less places defined sunset. Fort Kochi beach is one of those rare shore to boast of a perfect romantic sunset. It was way picturesque. Funnily, we got so carried away and this time when we had a chance to click pictures, it went out of our minds. Guess, that’s what beautiful things around does that to all of us. You forget to freeze time and become a part of it!AirBrush_20190218191702