Saturday, October 28, 2017

Knowing my Mother-In-Law..


Mother-in-law..I was never prepared for her!!
2012, I and Harsh were working in Hyderabad, when I'd met her for the first time, during her visit. I was totally worried; as if I am going for an interview, that I couldn't have afforded to lose. I borrowed a simple looking but traditional kurta (top) from one of my flatmates and flip-flops from the other one. According to me, nothing that I already had, made me look good enough for the first impression. Whether to wear spectacles or not? How to tie my hair or will leaving them loose would do..or would it not? I felt shorter than ever!! What if she rejected me just because I am quite shorter than Harsh..all kinds of things that could possibly go wrong, I had imagined already! And finally we met. Me, Harsh and my in-laws; in a restaurant for dinner. Right from where to sit on the table to what and how much to eat, I was being careful of everything. Dinner went well and for the first time I'd clearly figured, from where Harsh had got his taste buds.
Post dinner, when I was just starting to breath a little easier, out of nowhere, Harsh insisted that I should join them to his house for a bit informal chit-chat, in front of my prospective in-laws, leaving me a little opportunity to say a NO. Besides, I had to be careful that they shouldn't have an impression that I was the one who may have not liked them!! Tough situation to be in, trust me! And although, I did not want to immediately risk getting more attention in the first meeting itself; I couldn't say no and I joined them. Now this round of the interview was unplanned! My in-laws were sitting on chairs, and I was struggling hard to manage myself look good enough while sitting on a mattress lying on floor. Of course, my would-be-husband was still a bachelor then - so no beds, no sofas and just an empty room with a mattress lying on the floor along with those exactly 2 chairs in the entire house! 
Everyone was speaking about something. Something about the food, the locality, their experience of Hyderabad city, Harsh's flatmate and at times may be the weather. I just stuck to nodding myself in assertions without even forcing my mind to give anything an another thought. Because, here I was battling with this strange nervousness and a lot of attention from all the corners of this room. Quick and deep eye-contacts with Harsh were the only saving grace! Little did I know about this one more impromptu "HR Round", when Harsh winked me from the corners of his eyes, and whispered me to speak in their vernacular language, "Gujarati". I was terrified further. Speaking in a language, I knew a little about, while having to make sure I do not end up looking dumb on attempting it in the first place. Well, in Harsh's defence, I could speak good enough Gujarati for me to impress them and 4 years of attempting to understand the college gossips were definitely going to be my reference material. Haha!
Luckily, the evening ended on a positive note. I enjoyed talking to her and started to feel a tad bit more comfortable overall. She handed over some of the goodies (sweets, patras, biscuits etc.), she had got for Harsh, for me and my flatmates and with that I'd sensed the very first touch of her love for feeding the kids.
Next day they were leaving, and in return I too decided to gift something and got them a frame of Balaji. It took me more than an hour to decide the perfect gift, trying to not look too optimistic or rather forceful. Today, that photo frame hangs on our drawing room wall and she doesn't miss to mention about how I'd gifted it, to anyone who sees it for the first time.
This was just a beginning of an equation being formed between me and my mother-in-law. My first impression was very positive about her and the family overall, but it was nothing as compared to what I was going to learn in following 4 years of my marriage. We'd started talking on phone occasionally for marriage related stuff, once I and Harsh were officially engaged until marriage and Harsh pointed this later that I had started addressing her as 'Mummy' unknowingly as much, well ahead of time.
Are you by any chance thinking that, this is all cliched and it almost happens with everyone in the beginning days or may be years? In fact, it may have happened to you as well. To put across the complete picture, let me share that, even after a little while into the marriage, I used to be scared with thoughts of someone else attempting to make decisions for me. Understanding the rituals and the expectations of the new family, leaving some of my own behind was a dreary thought. But, I had no idea how much was I blessed until I started to spend time with her. She invariably takes equal care of me, if not more, as Harsh. Even a little gesture of helping her is immediately acknowledged and appreciated. Having grown up around families with typical Rajasthani cultured background, my whole perception was built around the stereotype that, doing household chores at in-laws' house was a married woman's so called "default" duty, but who gets appreciation for that? Well, I do!
Be it family trips or a weekend together, slowly and with time my perceptions towards "living with a mother-in-law" started to change.The stereotyped image of living at in laws doesn't hold true in my family, and every single day, I thank my luck for that.
My mother-in-law is a strong and confident woman. She is the glue that holds the family together. Having a strong influence on the family, she has set a very good example, in my eyes, for being not just a perfect wife, a caring mother, a disciplined teacher, a diligent principal but truly an "Ideal Naari". Those daily soap's protagonists were just fictional characters in my mind, until I'd known her.
I once told her on one of her birthdays that she is an ideal woman that I have ever come so close to and to whom I look up to, and she responded saying "Thank You, Dikra(child). That is very generous of you to say that. But I wish that I had a daughter and I could still love my daughter-in-laws equally, that would have been a real victory for me." And yet again, I was totally impressed by her humbleness!
I can keep narrating a list of incidents, that shaped my perspective of hers. Trust me, I had entered the family with a whole different school of thoughts and societal fears.I was always on a high alert, avoiding to hurt someone unintentionally. But, I had not imagined meeting someone like her, who would impact my school of thoughts after my father so much. So much, that I would start the journey towards discovering my own feminine side and becoming more sensitive & mature overall as a woman. Being a mother's pampered child gave me a little space for development in those areas earlier. Whether it is her surprising us on Valentine's Day, with our poster on the cover page of a newspaper or planning to buy a birthday gift for us..whether it is cooking not just my husband's favorite dishes but even mine when I visit home or making sure that everyone in the distant family interacts with me or kind of likes me.Whether it is being of a person, who cares for the female students in her school as much as her own daughters, or somebody who is, even at this age, so excited to take leadership commitments and initiatives for good things in life.. she does it all with grace.
Dear Mummy,  This is not a blog post to just simply praise you, it is rather an effort of letting the people know, that an exemplary woman like you exists, a mother-in-law like you exists. An effort to break stereotypes. An effort as a woman myself, so that any new bride entering into an unknown family, gives a fair chance to understand her mother-in-law, rather than starting off with some age old beliefs...After all, a woman indeed is a woman's best friend!! You are a true inspiration and a role model as a woman for me and I'm sure for many other people out there, who have gotten a chance to know you personally and for the students who have taken education from you.You once quoted, "Find reasons to be happy", while sharing one of your life crisis experiences.This in itself shows how much positiveness you carry within yourself and also for the people around you. A term, mother-in-law, which in itself refers to "law" i.e. a system of rules, in it, is never a daunting thought for me, because of what you are, who you are! It is a pleasure to be your daughter-in-law, who takes additional efforts, to make this an affectionate relationship, not based of some societal norms or 'laws', but based on honest emotions.
You make me proud and you make me feel cheerful with your presence. Now that your 32 years of professional journey is nearing to its retirement, I and our whole family wishes you the best, with all our hearts. We wish that your upcoming journey is even more exciting, blessed and fun. We'll always be next to you, to celebrate this new phase of life. Wish you a happy retirement!

Mummy & Me 
                                      
ખૂબ ખૂબ આભાર,
તમારી નાની વહુ
દિશિ

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Moments

It's been 6 days without Dwiref. He was out of town, on his yet another business trip. Nandini used to feel lonely a lot earlier, with time she had learnt to enjoy the company of books and herself, along with her job that kept her busy mostly. 4 years of marriage and they have had several instances of distant arrangements, owning to work responsibilities. But both were committed to their work equally and were equally respectful towards each other's work.

It was raining heavily in city since past 4 days. Nandini was sipping her green tea, sitting at her office desk. She looked outside the glass window and the weather took her by its beauty. This mesmerizing view lead her to Dwiref's thoughts and suddenly she remembered his text message that he'd sent few days back, while on his trip. It was an old ghazal he had shared with her. Something he happen to listen on his trip and found out soothing to his ears. She immediately searched across for that song and added it in her special play list named "Parivash". He named her so, years back, on their very first date. It means beautiful like fairy.

She was now listening to that song in loop. As if each and every word was coming from him..

"Mere rashke qamar, tune pehli nazar, yu nazar se milayi maza aa gaya.."
(O my envy of the moon, when your eyes met mine for the first time; it was wonderful.)

She instantly recollected the very first moment her eyes met with Dwiref's, when they had known that they had become more than friends. Her heartbeats went up with amusement and music volume went higher with excitement! She didn't belong to the office or that chair any longer. 

With a blushing face and waiting eyes, she moved towards the calendar,

"4 more days to go", took a deep sigh, slowly moving her chair back towards the glass window.

While she was looking outside, taking a ride down the memory lane, she noticed  the lyrics.. It went like this..

"Aaj sahrao main, ishq k gaon main, "baarishe" gir k aayi..maza aa gaya.."
(Today, in the deserts (of my heart), in the village of love, there were heavy rains; it was wonderful.)

She chuckled while making sure no body had noticed this whole transformation of hers. Whilst swaying her head slightly, she had a thought popped up, "How amazing is that True Love for someone never dies..nor does the feeling.." She was as eagerly waiting for Dwiref to return as she would have done years before and she was assertive that he was equally waiting to be home.



"With You it's Different"


Sunday, July 9, 2017

Trek to Hampta Pass - June 2017

This year January, me and my husband decided to have a different experience for a vacation; and that was how we had planned our first trek, Trek to Kuari Pass at an elevation of ~12500 feet. It turned out to be amazing and thus the next one had to be an another trek to Himalayas.I am going to keep this very crisp with some beautiful images from the trek in between. So let's begin: 


Why "Hampta Pass": 

Situated at an elevation of about 14280 feet, Hampta is one such trek that will give you all kinds of terrains in Himalayan valley. You get to see lush green & vast meadows, snow covered mountains, forests surrounded by huge trees, rocky paths, the beautiful Chandratal lake and the Beas and the Chenab rivers flowing all along the way. This is one of the most challenging but beautiful treks of Himachal Pradesh. If you are willing to cover the best parts of Himachal Pradesh and are ready to explore your limits, this is a must trek for you.

Highlights of each day:


Day 1: Campsite at a really pleasant location, next to a flowing river and surrounded by beautiful mountains. Very manageable temperature in regular clothes.


Day 2: Crossing of a river. You will have to remove your shoes. Temperature of the water is somewhere around 4-5 degrees. Again a beautiful campsite, i.e. Balu ka Ghera, next to a flowing river and you would be closer to snow for the first time. Our entire trek group went for a walk around and also kind of had a little picnic kinda fun on one of the mountains covered with hard snow. 


Day 3: Trek to Hampta Pass. The most rigorous & demanding day with stunning views. Snow covered mountains to be hiked. You climb around 2000 feet at once in a day and in the second half you will descend on rocky mountains (the toughest part of the trek) and you get to slide one of the mountains at the end for quicker descend. Also you will be given crampons to walk over the snow. 

Day 4: Crossing of a river with freezing cold (2 degrees) water. Crossing of a Glacier at steep angles - you can see the heavily flowing river downwards. Again you will have crampons for your support. If you are lucky, you will be taken to Chandratal lake via a 4 wheeler from your campsite, but w
e got stuck due to 2 sudden major landslides.The campsite was a pretty famous destination of HP i.e. Spiti Valley. 

Day 5: For us, crossing of water flooded roads (due to the landslides and melting of glaciers). Rohtang Pass! And the trip back to Manali through the cloudy roads. 



When:

Hampta Pass trek opens in the month of June and continues until September. During the initial days of June Chandratal lake is closed, however post mid June it's open to visitors. We did this trek in the last week of June and we could witness all sorts of landscapes. We were lucky with the weather, such that although it used to rain heavily during the night hours, during the day time of trekking it never rained enough to hinder our steps. Otherwise, I wonder how could we have descended on those rocky mountains avoiding falls. :O


How:

Our last trek was via Trek The Himalayas and it was a pleasant experience throughout. This time due to rigidness of the dates, we had to go with Renok Adventures. Although the trek was mesmerizing, their services turned out to be huge cause of disappointment throughout for many of us. So, I would personally not recommend going with Renok and instead you can go with TTH or India Hikes. For any details about Renok, please comment below or message me personally.



What to Carry:

Now this is a very important thing to keep in mind, while packing and loading stuff for this trek. We made a mistake of over-carrying stuff that we dint need at all and which added to the burden on our shoulders at the same time caused us the constant space management issues - which is anyways one of the things you learn to plan, as you trek more and more. Hampta valley in last week of June is not that cold rather it is simply windy. So instead of carrying too many layers of warm clothing, make sure to carry wind cheaters + rain coats. The other very important thing which one should consider in this trek are the shoes that you are wearing. On most experienced people's recommendations who have been to Hampta and based on a lot of research done by my husband (Btw he is really good at it ;)), we'd bought Quechua Forclaz 500 high (cost - 6k) for this trek and they were totally-totally worth it. In fact the shoes proved out to be our biggest saviors on days involving more excursion. You have to step on rocky terrains and walk on river stones a lot of times during this trek. Your shoes will be your best friend in this trek and if you fail to carry good ones, be ready to walk in wet shoes and the weather won't be in a mood to let them get dried. So here's my quick must have list: 

  • Windcheater & Raincoat/Poncho
  • Forclaz 500 High shoes
  • Suncap (It's sunny during daytime and you mostly would be walking around 12:00PM)
  • Sunglasses 
  • Hiking Pole (This will take care of your knees while descending..Also make sure to follow their exercise regimen to avoid random fatigues or injuries) 
  • Woolen cap (To cover your head & ears while hiking to higher altitudes) 
  • Quick dry track Pants - to save yourself from staying cold longer
  • Socks (Even cotton socks would do.You might need Woolen socks for the day, you are going to hike the peak/pass)
  • A very good sunscreen (SPF 30 or more and make sure to reapply it every few hours). Please don't ignore this..Me, my husband and my brother - all 3 of us got tanned badly on the areas where we were a bit lazy and ignorant on regularly using the sunscreen. And as soon as we moved back to the city the skin started to flake. It was a slow procedure and meanwhile our skin looked quite grubby. People might wonder if you have gotten any disease or something. A good, high SPF sunscreen can save you from this embarrassment and keep your skin safe from sunburns or frostbites.   




Reaching Manali:

If you are traveling via Mumbai like us, you can either take a flight until Chandigarh or Delhi and then take a state transport or private bus from that place until Manali. Personally, I would advise to take State Transport buses to reach Manali. First of all they have good AC Volvo buses plying on this route and secondly but most importantly, these buses are much more punctual and less prone to any end time license issues, unlike Private tour operators have, causing delay in reaching Manali.  


Hope this information helps you plan your trek better. My closing words would be - "One cannot discover new oceans unless one has the courage to lose sight of the shore."  Treks have turned out to be the life altering experiences for me, have evolved me into a better person and I suggest that one must try one trek in his/her lifetime for sure! India is much more beautiful than what we may know of and Himalayas are truly the paradise where you experience the nature at its best. 




Happy Planning & Happy Trekking,
Dishi :)

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Perceptions - As we grow, we build more and more, should we?

We all know that our first teacher is our mother. When a child is growing up, the difference between right and wrong is defined by his mother and slowly by the other family members. The initial 1-5 years of upbringing are very crucial and this is the time when a child learns the most and roots of those lessons are the deepest ones.

Every couple is different and so is every human being. Scientifically you can say that every pair of DNA makes a unique DNA.Every quality which you think exists in your nature, and to which you strongly stick to willingly or may be you are stuck with it unwillingly, has some roots to your childhood observations of surroundings and to some extend also your upbringing. A certain behavior is not developed overnight, it takes years of repeated observations, analysis and implementations in ones real life. If you think it is okay to lie once in a while, it is because you have seen people doing it and getting away with it. If you think it is okay to shout and be vocal about your emotions or to just shut off the outside world, well that's because may be you were surrounded by such people.. To what extend you engrave that habit decides whether it is going to do good or harm to you! It could be your dearest family member or one of your best neighborhood friend. The instinct starts building from there on. The nature, habits and the PERCEPTIONS about things, people and how situational behaviors work around us. 

Recently over a coffee break one colleague of mine shared a very good example of how people behave differently with different people, unknowingly making a wrong choice for themselves. The first reason for me to start writing this blog post. Let me share it here with you, and for me, you try giving it a thought, imagining  yourself in that situation. 

"Let's say, you are having this huge, verbally ill fight with your spouse..Your kid is sitting silently there watching this jingbang. Suddenly your door bell rings, and it's your boss on the other side, asking for some urgent work to be done. How do you behave??

Gave it a thought? 

Well, it's obvious, isn't it? You would behave as if nothing has happened. Why?? Because your boss isn't the root cause of your anger and you are supposed to maintain a good repo with him/her.

Mmm...Are you not supposed to maintain a healthy repo with your spouse, your kid??"

Well that's a perception we generally have, that it is okay being moody as long as it is family. People even get off their work related frustrations at home more often,  but to the outside world they easily tend to put a different face altogether. The point here is, surprisingly we are not that worried about how people who matter think about us, but we surely do worry about what a stranger thinks. Such a plastic life we all are getting used to of.

That kid sitting there, thinks it is okay to have fights. Tomorrow when he/she grows up and has his own personal life, he might tend to do the same. Now here, probably the other partner is not ready for this. All he/she has seen is a peaceful and amicable communication between people, or may be a different approach to discuss things. His/Her PERCEPTION says that shouting and fighting is unnatural..And that's how things start to change.

Not just childhood but even the adulthood adds perceptions. It appears to be a never ending process. The first source of knowledge to any new exposure,  is your strongest base for building a PERCEPTION in that area. Good perceptions are GOOD but bad ones are very difficult to get away with and they can hammer your relationships, career & YOU. 

I don't know what we can do about it. All of us come across different people, with their burdens of different perceptions, which drive their day to day decisions. Be it going for a small trip, starting a new activity or taking a strategic decision, everyone has this thin layer of these 'set of perceptions' based on which they lay their judgements, take calls, take risks. And perceptions are not only limited to materialistic things, we all have perceptions about people around us. Sometimes good ones and sometimes bad ones. The good ones are the healthy ones, most of the times, but the bad ones generally aren't.

So as a parting note of this blog, I would request all of us to let go off, of those negative perceptions you might be carrying about people around you, about some societal norms, assumptions or habits , and let us give everyone a fair new chance, at least once. Everyone & everything deserves a fair chance at life! Go for that trip you were really scare off, text that one friend of yours - you thought was really mean to you..try this new challenge, you thought you were going to fail at...just put an effort to at least re-verify that your perception towards someone or something is a reality or just something imaginary..Let tomorrow be a blank page, so that you can write a new story!


Sunday, April 23, 2017

A trip to Singapore & Phuket

It was a well ahead planned trip and me and my husband gave enough time to filter options for must do things and must visit places. I would try to keep it short & crisp..Let's try.  :)

Travel Dates : 23rd March - 3rd April 2016
Covered Places : Singapore, Phuket (Thailand)

My brother-in-law & family stays at Singapore, so we rather left it on them to pick places for us to visit in the country & around. And to be honest that decision paid off well!

It needs around 7 days to cover major destinations of Singapore so we had addition 4 days and hence we chose to cover another one of the near by tourist destinations/countries and mark it as checked from our TODO list. After reading a lot of reviews, out of Krabi, Phuket, Bali & Malaysia we chose to cover Phuket, simply because of it's leisure lifestyle and beautiful islands.

Out of all the places we'd covered in Singapore & Phuket,  following are the must visit places there. I am pasting links to my tripadvisor reviews here for your reference :



Hoping these reviews will be helpful planning your trip.

Enjoy!