Monday, May 12, 2014

Tribute to a nation's hero

I didn't know him. I had never met him. But I knew his wife. Long before she became his wife. When she was a bubbly teenager. And then years went by. We reconnected on facebook. I saw her transition from the radiant graduate to a blushing bride to a proud mother and now to be the brave wife of a nation's hero.

Major Mukund Varadarajan(Age 31)22 Rajputana Regiment Indian Army. Killed during an encounter with terrorists in Shopian, kashmir on April 25, 2014. Survived by wife and three year old daughter.

Nothing in recent times has moved me as much as watching this video of father daughter duo sharing a brief singing session. 

At a time when parents are rushing to buy iPad's and iPhone's for kids,filling their little heads with poems on little stars that twinkle overhead, on princesses locked away in high towers, on prince charmings riding away in shining armor, here is a father teaching his little girl something she will treasure for the rest of her life. 

It moves me that the little one will have no or little memory of the amazing person that her father was. That all she will remember of this brave man is what little stories such videos and photographs tell her. That she will regret not getting a chance to show him what an important part he has played in making her who she is.

And to think I was selfish enough to hope to be a single mother. 

The world needs more sons, fathers and husbands like these. Why does fate have to deprive the lucky ones?

Fear I have not, fear I have not,
Even if the entire sky breaks,
And falls on my head

Even if they judge me as the worst,
Fear I have not, fear I have not.

Friday, May 9, 2014

A letter to my daughter

If I was living my life the way I had charted it out when I was younger, this would be the year I am celebrating my daughter's 3'rd birthday. And the reality of how life has actually turned out to be is nowhere close to my plans.

I have been working on giving my blog a new look and also doing a clean up process of my drafts folder here, when I came across a couple of unfinished work. This was my favorite in the list there. 

Every girl goes through a phase in life when she starts naming her unborn children and have conversations with them, conjure up games for them, decide clothes and shoes and colors for them. I was no different either, except for one point. I had taken it a step further and decided to write a letter to my daughter. 

Going through a letter a very delirious 24 year old me had written to my daughter had me splitting with laughter. I am saving that for a later post. But I loved the concept and decided to write a new one for my daughter, after life has taken me through me this roller coaster ride. I certainly hope there will be a daughter to read all this, one day. If not, this certainly is a lot of expert advice going unheeded  (and one heck of an 'awesome mom' gene pool going to waste ! ;) ).

My dear little girl (Leah),

Let me start this by telling you that you are beautiful. And if anyone ever makes you feel or believe otherwise, you don't need them in your life. Don't let yourself be fooled into believing what others think of you. 

Before going any further in this letter, let's get a few points straight out here. If there ever is a competition for the best mummy, I wouldn't even be eligible for an application to it ! At this stage, I am totally clueless on how to get myself along in life, let alone be responsible for another life. But I am hoping that it's one of those magic traits god has ingrained in us women - To be able to miraculously transform into a 'mommy' the minute you hear the tiny heart beat in the scan machine (I will totally let you know how that felt when I get there!). 

But for the moment, I will be the mom who has no idea how to bake a cake or a cookie, who doesn't know the difference between Red and Maroon, who still believes that everything pink has to be girly and everything blue boyish and any other color is to be discarded, who is terrible at sewing a button back on, who still thinks it's awesome to eat Maggi at midnight even if it's for a 1 year old, who doesn't care if the milk is organic or not, who doesn't separate her whites from the colors in the washing machine and well, so you get the picture here don't you? It's going to be a fun mother-daughter life and I am sure we will work our routine out eventually.  

If you are the girl who believes in prince charmings and happily ever afters, let me make this clear to you. There are plenty of prince charmings out there in the world, but not all of them will find their way to you. A majority of them eventually end up losing the way and will be too stubborn to ask for directions. I am not saying they will never come to you, but there is a good chance that they will not get to you by the time you are ready for them. And meanwhile, you will be running into a lot of the other kind who won't be so charming or princely either. Let them break your heart, but never let them break your soul. You will need it when the right one actually finds his way back to you !

And talking about prince charming, of all the men you choose to fall in love, I hope that your father would be the first love in your life. If that man has made it possible to be a part of our lives, believe me my dear, he's definitely got to be the perfect scale to measure any guy you choose to see. I am still a bit hazy on what those traits are, but I am certain that I will know it when he comes my way. The same way you will see it when you come into our lives.

Wear what you like. Even if it's a tattoo (Heck! I might even let you copy my tattoo and we could flaunt it together), but I will most certainly draw a line when it comes to choosing between looking scary or sensible ! The biggest accessory I want you to wear everyday is your smile. I don't want a daughter of mine to charm people with expensive make up, clothes, accessories or shoes. Rather, I would love it if she manages to do it with her sharp wit, smile and a loving heart. It's never uncool to be naive and sensitive. Even if it means you would be tread upon and left behind feeling like a door mat. It takes a strong girl with a big heart to endure something like that. I have been there. Do not resist or rebel. Take it and move on with a bigger smile. It makes the world a much easier place to spend the rest of your days in.

I would be a tad disappointed if I haven't managed to pass on my hair or eyes to you (my personal favorites ;)), but I really really really wish you would share my passion and love for words. It's been my only faithful companion all along (not even your father. He's not been around for the first big disaster in my life, but my blog was !). Having a passion makes a world of difference, especially when you feel utterly lost in life (which will be on many occasions in life). I will try my best to be around for you for those critical times, but I would really love it if you find your own remedy for such times. It works a zillion times better than having me doll out unnecessary advice to heal you. So cultivate the habit while you are young. Read, travel, observe. It would mean the world to me to see you not just as a well-read lady, but also one with great conversation skills and fine taste. Never be a cynic. Give everything and everyone one chance.

You don't need to have it all figured out every time. It's perfectly fine to cry like there is no tomorrow, laugh like it's the best day in your life, dance like nobody's watching, fight like it's worth it all and give up like it never mattered at all. You just need to know when to do each.

Moving on to another pet peeve of mine. I would be very proud if you are fluent in English and any other language you choose to pick. But I will not let you live it down, if you don't read and speak my language - Malayalam. It's your mother tongue for a reason - Your mother. And no daughter of mine is going to look down upon it or find an excuse to not be fluent in it (Trust me ! I am going to have you speak in the Kannur dialect, the same way I do !).

I am here to answer any question for you. I may not have all the answers, but I will at-least try to guide you to someone who will definitely give you the answer. (And I will teach you how to use google :) ! ). There are many things in life that you will have to learn on your own. Like sex or kissing. It's different for everyone. I rather you wait to find it out for yourself, in due time, with the right person, than have me lecture you on it. Just don't be led by somebody over-rating it or leading you to believe it's purely carnal. That's when we initiate our own discussion on it. Same goes for your periods and eventually the miracle of a child birth too. We will be having a very mature face to face talk on this. You will not be unprepared for any of this before your first time, that I definitely assure you. 

My precious Leah, I hope I haven't overwhelmed you with all this. I could go on and on writing to you, but I really do want to save some words for when you actually arrive. And no matter what I may say during our lives together, do know that the day I heard your tiny heartbeat for the first time on that machine was the happiest day of my life. And holding you for the first time was the best feeling in my life (I may say a different version to your father, but that's just to pacify his male ego ;). We women can embrace the truth !.

Now clueless and hope-to-be-soon-rocking mom !

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

I am not rejecting you. I am protecting me !

'So why do I keep hitting myself with a hammer? Because it feels so good when I stop.' - Meredith Grey

That line pretty much summarizes the turn of events in my life over the past few months. But not anymore. And here's why. 

1. I stopped using social networking sites because I couldn't stand getting one more message congratulating me for getting out of my marriage/expressing happiness at not being associated with XYZ family/ telling me how brave I am to have taken the big step that I did/ or on how life on the other side of a divorce is not easy. 

Thanks but no thanks. When I stop responding to your very genuine and carefully worded messages, it's not that I don't appreciate your concern for me or that I am rejecting you. It's simply because I want to protect myself ! How difficult is it to understand that? No, seriously.

As much pleasure as you get in lashing out about my ex in-laws or ex-husband, they are 'ex' in my life for a reason. One of the most critical in that being the fact that I do not want them in my present or future. So talking over and over about them or listening to scores of people talking over and over about them does not serve justice to the beautifully worded judgement copy I got from the Kerala court. I am very certain it said that I am now free to live my life with no association whatsoever to any of the above mentioned parties. Sadly the society seems to have decided otherwise.

I am loving the sunshine. I am loving the greenery around me. I love seeing the smiling faces. I love conversing with total strangers to whom I am just Deepthi and not 'Deepthi the Divorcee'. And heck, if I decide to indulge in the occasional harmless flirting, I do not want to see your judgmental look. I have earned my right to it. I am loving my new life. Feel free to judge me all you want, just don't tell it to me !I digress.

And why am I saying this in my blog here? Because mostly it is cathartic and moreover, I would have loved to reply individually to all my well wishers, but that wouldn't make me sound any less arrogant/air-headed/sarcastic/heartless. I figured it's easier to just get the message out here.

So next time, you want to make yourself heard/appreciated in my life, do me a favor. Talk to me about that great movie you just saw, about that heart breaking book you just read, the beautiful dress you just purchased, call me out for buying shoes or desserts or maybe even just share a cup of coffee with me ! 

I am in love with the sound of my laughter and I would so love to get you to fall in love with it too ..if only you would give me a chance !