Personal Views

Happy Deepavali and Yummy Food Memoirs :)

Happy Diwali everyone!! Ahem, as the world knows, I am such a busy-Indian-lady and that gives me an excuse to wish everyone a day later 😉 The endless rituals which comes along with these festivals have kept me busy like a bee. But that doesn’t scare me and I love following all these customs and rituals. Following them makes me feel connected to my roots, I feel lots happier, content and enlightened. These festivals bring so much love, joy, peace and warmth in the family that even the slogging seems worth it! Isn’t it? 🙂

This year me and my husband couldn’t go to celebrate Diwali at home and he was very sad about it. Dear husband would be missing the yummy snacks and food my mother-in-law prepares on the festivals. Neverthless, I prepared my own set of food and tried to make him happy, the good wife as I am 🙂

Happy Diwali

All, the kneading, whipping, chopping, sweating, excitement and hours of my super hard work in the kitchen, came out in the form of happiness and loads of tasty food!! Thank God, I could erase some of the saddness from hubby’s face. Yummy food can do real wonders in a man’s life. Isn’t there a saying that the path to a man’s heart goes through his stomach… I know now what that means 😉

Our Deepavali was great. How was yours? I hope you too had a safe and happy Deepavali 🙂 🙂

When the world says, “Give up,” Hope whispers, “Try it one more time”…

“A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.”

How can we overcome depression, a painful emotion that can feel like we are having our insides removed?? When we suffer loss, disappointment, failure, monotonous routines or whatever else the devil’s voice becomes louder than God’s truth in our lives! Depression can be the negative emotion we feel. Many counselors and therapists will agree that anxiety and depression usually hold hands while they make people miserable… Depression doesn’t care about the future and can’t get past the fact that we are hurting so bad right now, right right right now and that is all that matters to me, to you or to anyone who is going through depression!

Yes, I am going through depression. I get it quite badly on a regular basis and kind of cry and get tired and just generally see no hope in the world for myself! Recently I had hope, lots of hope. But it seems to be drying out now. The chemicals in my brain are at war with my circumstances “You shouldn’t lose hope’, ‘Why am I still hoping? When I know things aren’t gonna turn out how I wanted it to be!’ ‘You should keep trying’ ‘I am done, dried and hopeless!’ This is the sound track of my life now a days!! As you know, the miserable have no other medicine – but only hope. So, I am trying to hold it as long as I can!

People like me don’t understand, why and how it happens to them each time? Why are they the victim most of the times? Is it the circumstance or they themselves are the reason behind their depression? Was their expectation from their lives too high?? Didn’t they deserve the fame, the applaud, the success, the happiness, the wealth in their lives? What they didn’t do to achieve that? Didn’t they slog day and night, gave their best and still they were the ones standing in the darkness? Standing helpless, disappointed, heart-broken, frustrated, stressed thinking about the failure they never deserved?? Watching helplessly, things which they deserved, taken away by others so easily??

But then, I understand that life is not easy or straightforward. It is complex and frightening, but I have a God who will stand with me in every step. It is just a shame that so often his people will not. People leave you, demean you, question your credibility, put you down, laugh at you and make you feel bad, unwanted and worthless. But then, tell the negative committee that meets inside and outside your head to sit down and shut up!! The moment someone tells you that you’re not good enough, is the moment you know you’re better than them!! Be proud of it! As simple as that!

When we make mistakes, we have to repent. But here there is no such mistake. It is just a phase. Set in motion a plan to change the wrong thoughts, words or deeds and then move on. If we don’t move on from mistakes, we will have a very difficult time exhibiting the fruit of joy in our lives. It’s time to change our thinking. Remember that – “Good Days have a bad habit- THEY END. But bad days have a good habit- THEY ALSO END!!

Have a hopeful depression. Know that at times it will be unbearable, but in it all, you won’t be alone. Look forward to the time when this hope will bring back all what you have lost, you have badly wanted and you were deprived of! Life isn’t easy, but God gives us truth and hope to stand on. Say that – Yes, I want to grow! I want to grow in love. I want to challenge my situation, my circumstances. I know I will have my day!! I will try, try and try again… Until I succeed!! And you will see how things change. How those people who laughed at you, did everything to put you down, played politics or whatever, look upon you with respect, follow you and expect favors!

Remember that not everything is meant to be solved, life is not a maths problem. Some things can be forgiven, others embraced, some can be accepted, others affected. Come to think of it, very little in life is ever solved. Isn’t it?? Also, the way you are is not the result of what has happened to you, it’s the result of what you decide to keep inside you! The mind is everything, what you think, you become. So, keep hope, more hope and a little more… that things will work, it has to!! If dark days have come, bright days will also come… Not soon but soon enough…!!

It is dark, no moon, no light
Just darkness, a starless sky
The wind blows, the waves break
A single firefly passes by…

Soon the firefly is gone
Leaving me in the darkest of nights
The tiny fly made me anticipate
A sunrise with the finest of lights…

May you be able to forgive. To embrace. To accept. God is with me and you and our lives will be full of sunshine again!! And yes, IT WILL HAPPEN SOON. — Amen

Yes, doing housework is my hobby!

What is a hobby?

hob·by

/ˈhäbē/
Noun
  1. An activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure.


Wikipedia
defines it as: A hobby is a regularly activity that is done for pleasure, typically, during one’s leisure time. Hobbies can include: the collection of themed items and objects, engaging in creative and artistic pursuits, playing sports, along with many more examples. By continually participating in a particular hobby, one can acquire substantial skill and knowledge in that area.

So, after reading this anyone will ask me – “How can housework be someone’s hobby?” Yeah! I know, painting, cooking, reading, trekking, swimming, gossiping, shopping etc. comes in the hobby list. Housework being a hobby is an unheard term! This is sort of true. But let’s see how it became my “Hobby”.

Being a working woman, and juggling between office and housework is really difficult at times. The floors which needs sweeping and mopping, piles of dishes in the sink telling my Friday night tales, washrooms in need of tremendous scrubbing, clothes which badly needs a good wash, dried, folded and put away and all the other household chores are every women’s weekend horror story! There were days when I use to get really irritated, annoyed and angry seeing the amount of work which awaited in the weekend list to be done. It use to drive me crazy! I would not get up early, to avoid the horrendous work pile. I just didn’t want to face the “weekend work monster”. And then one day, while reading through some magazines and somehow going through a post, I got this wicked idea. Instead of resenting my housework and getting angry about all the household chores, I took a deep breath and said to myself that from now on I will make housework as my hobby!!

Now, some of my friends and relatives told me that it is not necessary to do all these work every weekend just like it is not necessary to paint or swim every weekend. Might be I can distribute my work and can do it in alternative weekends or better hire a maid for doing all these! Simple isn’t it? But, I don’t prefer to do either of these. For me, keeping a clean home, just like going for a swim, trek or shopping, is simply one’s preference on how they choose to live. I like to live in a clean home. Arranged cupboards, the fragrance of washed, dried and cleanly folded clothes, washed dishes and an arranged and clean house makes me peaceful and happier. I can sit on a comfortable chair near my apartment window sipping a cup of hot green tea and it gives me immense pleasure to see all my housework done! Keeping a maid might give me rest from doing the housework chores but at the same time will increase my blood pressure and irritation keeping a track of what the maid is doing and how? The amount of stealing, frequency of taking leaves, lies and untideness they show, leaves me restless. I don’t say all the maids are same, but at the same time I can’t deny the fact that most of them are. Formost, I don’t want to get into the comfort of having a maid after seeing ladies going bonkers when their maid don’t turn up and they have loads of work to do themselves.

Coming to my point again, when you start to dig into your housework and it seems overwhelming or undesirable, just say to yourself “THIS IS MY HOBBY” and believe me, it will make a difference in the way you see your work! It has helped me a lot! And, since I incorporated these pearls of wisdom my entire approach to housework has changed. I am a much happier homemaker than ever before.. 🙂 🙂

Generally a person who engages in an activity solely for fun is called an amateur (or hobbyist), as opposed to a professional who engages in an activity for reward. An amateur may be as skilled as a professional, the principle difference being that a professional receives compensation while an amateur does not. But in my case, the amateur (or hobbyist) is the one who will be rewarded with peace, happiness and the most important factor, a cleaner home!! 😀 😀 Apart from that, since you will start enjoying your work, you will also find different and interesting ways to do and finish chores much faster and in a more efficient way. You will search, explore and learn new ideas about how you can reduce the time for each chore. And I am sure everyone knows that a happy wife is a happy life!! If the lady of the house is happy and peaceful, the whole house will be happy and content 🙂

I wish everyone a very happy weekend. Enjoy well and remember this saying by Richard P. Feynman – “What makes your Heart flutter? Do Only that! There is not enough time for anything else.” 🙂 🙂

Rebirth of Gulmohardoodles

Sarhul Photo courtesy: Labella0104 | Pinterest.com

Yes..It’s alive. My blog has come back to life… The rebirth has finally happened!! After nearly 2 months I finally have my blog back!! Trying to sort it out has been frustrating, irritating, miserable and annoying for me. But I’m really happy to say that I stuck with it, though at times I did ask myself whether it was worth doing it, did I really care enough to fix things or should I just wash my hands and walk away like most others??

So, what happened?? My blog suddenly started showing 500 internal server error. It would neither let me sign in nor would display my site…:( It was really frustrating as I wasn’t able to figure out what went wrong suddenly! And the worst part being the blog hosted from a friend’s server.. which made the matters even worse! I had to be totally dependent on him for every try I wanted to give for my blog’s recovery. But nothing worked out. Huh!

By God’s grace and my good luck I guess, I had taken the backup of my files and database which actually proved like a boon to me in getting back my blog functioning back again!! I was so scared, irritated, frustrated and miserable all these days but kept my fingers crossed and kept on trying. There were days when I literally thought I have lost my blog forever. But, then with mine and some of my ‘intelligent friends’ effort it is back again!! And I AM SO VERY PROUD OF IT!!! Thanks everyone who helped me out 🙂 🙂

Those who remember and who used to read my blogs, I used to have an active blog. I know it’s not exciting or glamorous, but backing up your blog is essential to your blog’s health. Think of it as good blogging hygiene! Do back up your files and plan to make it a regular habit. It will mean a lot.. a lot actually and when you will least expect anything happening to your blog!!!

I have learnt in all these days struggle that whatever tomorrow brings I’ll be there with open arms and open eyes… all ready to except whatever challenges life throws at me! So, here I come back again!! Keep looking for more posts soon 🙂 🙂

Have a great week ahead friends. Be lighthearted enough that you can float above the dark clouds and see the rainbows in your life. May you be bestowed with more light and happiness 🙂 🙂

Happy Sarhul Everyone :)

Sarhul Photo courtesy: Niranjan Kujur | Flickr

“Sarhul” is one of the grand festival of the tribals in Jharkhand and Odisha. This festival is celebrated on Chaitra Shukla Tritiya, the third day of bright half moon in Chaitra month. “Sarhul” is celebrated during spring season when the Shaal/Sakhua trees get new leaves. This festival, is too much related with Shaal tree and the earth and the Sun. In fact this festival is related to the whole of nature!! It is a worship of the village deity who is considered to be the protector of the tribes and the festival is also marked as the beginning of the New Year. People sing and dance a lot when the sprouting happens. The deities are worshiped with shaal flowers. These flowers represents the brotherhood and friendship among villagers. Pahan the priest, distributes shaal flowers to every villager. Rice wine called “Handia” is then distributed among villagers as prasad. Traditional group dance, music and feasting with gay abandon are the highlights of the festival.

I wish that the new year brings lots of happiness, prosperity and success in everyone’s life.

HAPPY SARHUL 😀

Does Hard Work Really Pay??

The Poor CollierPhoto courtesy: Balakrishnan K | www.utopianhere.com

Early Illegal Coal Mining Photo courtesy: http://inficentre.blogspot.in

“Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all.” -Sam Ewing

At a production rate of over 300 million tonnes (MT) per year, India is the third-largest coal miner after China and the US. Until the 1980s, much of India’s coal was extracted from the eastern coalfields (Jharia and Raniganj) in Jharkhand/West Bengal. Now, with the thrust on industrial development, besides intensifying extraction in existing projects through increased mechanization, other coalfields have opened up around India, in particular, the central coalfields of north Karanpura, stretching across Jharkhand (once south Bihar) to the west of Dhanbad, the ‘coal’ capital of India, located on the Jharia coalfields. The Raniganj–Jharia coalfields are still significant, producing about 25 MT per year.

Regardless of this, a major section of jobless people in the mining areas of Jharkhand do not have any choice but to support the illegal trade. They often risk their lives to enter into dangerous mines to earn some bucks to feed their families. It is said that hard work is the yeast that raises the dough. But, when I saw these colliers (koyla cycle wallahs), wobbling and pushing their bikes laden high with stolen coal, slowly making their way through the steep and twisting forest roads on my trip to Jharkhand this time, I saw and felt the pain they go through every single day in their life! They push bicycles carrying huge loads of crudely-coked coal in jute sacks for approx 70kms every alternate day! Their life is typical of that of many thousands of Jharkhand illegal coal miners. The irksome job they do everyday just leaves them with all the tiredness, diseases and a huge hole in their hearts. To grow up here is to know that death, massive and swift, can come at any time.

Life of a collier starts early around 3:00 am. They pack their tiffins and leave their home by 3:30 am. Reaching the colliery and mining the coal takes around 4-5 hours of tough hard work. They have to finish this as soon as possible fearing the police raids. But it doesn’t stop here for them. Once the coal is mined and is taken out, it is packed in large sacks and is then tied on their bicycles. Each collier travels 70km approx carrying around 1-5 quintal (1quintal=100 kgs) of coal every alternate day. The sacks are heavy and their body is thin… The hectic job of dragging these bicycles for so long takes a minimum of 12 hours and a maximum of 24 hours depending on their strength. They pant: they rest, they chat: they smile: they sing, they laugh… its certainly not a bed full of roses for them. Carrying so much weight for such long hours, affects their lungs the most. Most well known is a condition called pneumoconiosis, which is the name given to a group of lung diseases caused by the inhalation and retention of dust of various sorts. It’s also called industrial dust disease. In miners coal dust is to blame and the condition is also known as black lung disease or anthracosilicosis. They are also very much prone to diseases like Tuberculosis (TB), emphysema and chronic bronchitis at a very early stage of their life. It is not surprising that most of these colliers die in their early 40’s and 50’s. A day of hard work, mining, carrying, selling takes a toll on their body, mind and heart. They work a day and are not able to move the next day. Their body gives up! But they have to survive in this cruel world. So, they rise again and repeat the same story every alternate day! All these hard work and at the end of the day what they earn is rupees 500 – 1800!

Indira Gandhi once said –“My grandfather told me that there were two kinds of people: those who do the work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group; there was much less competition.”

Similarly, my father told me a very interesting story about them this time. He said that there are often police raids for such illegal activities and people who are caught are severely punished. But this time, the DSP did a strange thing which changed the perspective of these colliers towards the police totally. Generally, during such police raids, they catch the colliers who ride bicycle as it is easy to catch them riding on vehicles. The bigger mafias who carry such illegal activities in big trucks, bikes and other vehicle for carrying coal, generally escapes. They have a big group and somehow they get the news and it doesn’t take much time for them to fly away on their respective vehicles. But these colliers who carry the coal on bicycles are not able to do so and hence are caught easily.

So, this time when 10 of them were caught, they were stopped and were asked to drag their bicycles to the police station. When the DSP saw this, he ordered some of his policemen to drag the bicycle instead as most of the colliers were old men. Surprisingly, none of the police man was able to drag the heavy bicycle for more than 10 steps. They were badly panting and were not in a position to move the bicycle an inch more. Seeing this, the DSP said -“Young people like you are not able to move these bicycles for 70 meters, think how these old men drag it for 70 kms every alternate day! Think about the real hard work they do just to buy two meals per day for their poor families. If you really wanna do something, catch hold of them who carry this illegal trade on vehicles. They are the real culprits! He let the old colliers leave.

Now, some of you may ask.. if it is illegal why they have to do this? Why can’t they search for some other job? When they are aware of the risks of coal mining why can’t they save themselves? The answer can be many. But the main answer is unemployment and illiteracy! These people are generally very less or not literate at all since most of them start helping their parents at a very early age. The age can vary between 4-12. Often, they aren’t allowed to go to school as they have hungry and sick people at home to feed and cure. Medicines are expensive and the food prices have increased. They can’t opt for other jobs as most of the shops need a literate worker. They can choose to work in fields which they generally do during the monsoons as the mines get filled with water and it is not possible for them to enter it. But what they earn is maximum 120/- per day for 8-9 hours of hard work according to the going Jharkhand labor rate. So, even if they work for a week what they earn will be 840 rupees. Is this sufficient for a family to survive in today’s economy? The answer is a big NO! The income doesn’t even compare, so it is clear why someone with no employment opportunities would choose this work, despite the dangers.

These colliers by no means want their children to follow their path. They want them to study and become a “BIG MAN“. So that they don’t have to do such hard work and they too can have a good life! They can support their families better. This leaves me with the thought that does hard work really pay? Just for their sheer strength, determination and endurance (despite back-breaking experience), I admire them, if not endorse. In their context I guess the saying: “If hard work was the key to success, donkey would have been the king of the jungle” is absoutely correct!! To me they are the real HE-MEN, rather than COAL-BLOODED HE-MEN!! I hope some day their dreams come true and they lead a much more healthier and happier life

Amen..

You can view the sad story of this koyla cycle wallahs beautifully captured by Sophie Gerrard here.

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