For my friends…who left

friends 2

The story of our evolution is the story of what we leave behind…’ says Meredith Grey in the famous Grey’s Anatomy.

It was Friendship day sometime back. On the said day Whatsapp and FB newsfeed was awash with cute cuddly bears and mushy posts about our friends with whom we scaled hills & trees and scrapped our hearts & knees. I was thinking about my friends too. Not the ones who are with me today; those who aren’t anymore.

They came into my life, we walked together for a while and then life took us on different paths. Never to meet again or cross paths. With some I’m connected virtually but we rarely interact. No it wasn’t a bitter fight or disagreement that took us apart. It just happened, I let go, they let go. But they have left their imprint on me. I learnt something from each of them and reminisce the time spent with fondness.

I don’t wish to name them, hence will use just an alphabet from their name.

H.

I knew her in GLS school, Ahmedabad whilst in class 2. Yes, this one goes back light years. She wasn’t my friend. I didn’t even like her. So why am I writing about her. She chose me as her friend, her only friend and I did everything possible to push her away. I was friends with Shilpa, the smartest girl in class. Shilpa and I were teachers’ pet and popular. H, on the other hand, was a loner and didn’t perform well academically. In that age we weren’t aware and sensitive, we called her the class dummy. Someone who struggled with studies was labelled stupid and I was no different. I was just as mean as others. H liked me a lot, notwithstanding the fact that I desisted from even sitting next to her. The harder she tried to be my friend, more others teased me fueling my annoyance and disgust towards her.

This went on for three years and then Bapi got transferred to Delhi. Shilpa and I wrote to each other for a while and the inevitable happened. We drifted out of each other’s memory.

H kept writing to me! How she got my Delhi address I’m clueless. I enquired with Shilpa and was informed that H was asked to leave the school soon after I left. Her letters kept coming for nearly a year. I never replied. Why? Because she never wrote her address. Other friends back in school didn’t’ have her address either and she never mentioned it in any of the letters.

Every letter made me cringe with shame and guilt for being so mean to someone who liked me so much. She wrote about the PT period, dance class, debate competitions I won, she wished me happy birthday and so on. She never complained or expressed her hurt that I snubbed her so often. She only wrote about how much she missed me and the school. It tore me every time the blue inland letter arrived. I recognized her scrawly writing. Her letters slanted sometimes up, sometimes down; now I realize she had special needs which were unheeded and ridiculed. As she wrote about how much she missed GLS school and the fun she had; I wanted to crawl into a hole. What fun? We teased her and hated her. I wanted to apologize for being so mean but she never gave me the opportunity to. Till date when I think of H, I just feel so depressed and ashamed.

I hope she is happy and loved in life. I hope she got the help she needed to handle her challenges. I hope she met more kind and helpful people and not the mean bunch like me and Shilpa.

I wish she had considered me worthy of a second chance and had written her address. Would I have written back if she had? Honestly, now at 44, I like to believe I would have but would the 12 year old Kanchana have replied?

D.

I met her in Colombo (2004) when I was lonely and felt I didn’t fit in. With her I felt easy and my stay in the island country sailed through. A qualified doctor who chose to be a homemaker, I loved her company and the pasta she cooked. As a person who’s always hassled & harried that life’s going by and I’m doing nothing significant, D taught me serenity. I don’t think I imbibed much but she calmed me and made my sojourn in Colombo easy. We aren’t in touch since then.

K.

We share the alphabet in our names and that’s where the similarity ends. I met her in Bombay. We couldn’t be more different from each other, yet I learnt so much from her. She was my sounding board for many a writing projects. We have had engaging discussions in her balcony as she puffed in ciggies and guzzled beer. Me the wine aficionado, lover of all things fancy and K – loves whiskey, beer, plastic jewellery & parrot green socks!! My son found his passion in music in her house and his best friend. She taught me to accept difference. I owe her so much. We are in touch but it’s not the same.

M.

I met M in Bombay too, first on LinkedIn and then became friends. He woke me from my slumber. Taught me to feel, breathe and write. He held my hand when I was waiting for the publisher’s acceptance, helping me to keep the faith alive as rejection notes arrived. He taught me to believe in myself and that things work out in their own time. And now I can see that we’re drifting away on our designated paths, away from each other; our ideological differences and life choice too wide a chasm to accept. This is how far we go together.

Why does this happen? Why do we meet people, walk together for a while and part ways? I think Life gives us friends who play a certain role and when the role is over they move on, we move on.

It’s sad but inevitable. Such is life I guess.

To quote from my novel, which hopefully will be out by next summer:

We meet people and they become an integral part of our life’s journey. And in a way they become a part of our lives. A part of us. They affect us, change us; sometimes in a small way. We promise to remember them. Keep in touch. We don’t lie. We really do mean to keep in touch. But life always gets in way. They slip away from our lives and we never meet them again. But they remain a part of us. In a small corner in our thoughts where we don’t go often, but we carry them with us as we move ahead. That morning when … was leaving the hospital, she was heartbroken with the thought of leaving behind the doctor who had become her best friend. Her companion. Her confidante.

As I walk on, I carry them all with me. Thank you for being a part of my journey. We may not be together anymore. We may not cross paths ever again. But your memory is in my heart.

Happy friendship day. Always.

You signed up with a publisher, then what??!!

confused

So you got yourself a publisher, the deal is signed and the ink has dried…hurray!! Now what?

After weeks and months, hopefully not years of agonizingly checking your mail box for the acceptance email and praying not to see the dreaded reject note; you signed up. Yes!! The moment you dreamt of, wished and prayed fervently for finally came true

Apart from the fact that you’ll want and expect the planet to stop spinning and take cognizance of this life altering event and will want to inform all and sundry about it; life will go on.

Laugh all you want (I know you will), I told my driver, the fruit-wala and the milk man…I’m getting published. On being informed of this, which they realized was a big deal judging by the size of my smile, they promptly asked for baksheesh! I complied. I wanted to hug the world. I was walking on air with a silly stupid idiotic smile on my face that refused to go away.

Anyway, the euphoria never really dies, you just teach yourself to smile a bit less and do the jiggly dance of victory with the door closed; but the real kill-joy is when you realise that the journey ahead isn’t all rosy. In fact quite a few unpleasant bumps await and you’ll encounter situations hitherto unimagined.

Bumps…WTF…I wrote the book, got accepted by a good (read great publisher) now what’s the problem? The problem, my dear, lies in the fact, that in the entire odyssey of the book; the simplest, the easiest and I repeat the simplest part is writing it. Yes, those hours of endless toil, staring at the corner of the wall, chewing your pen, pounding the computer keys till they wobble…that frustrating and oh! so gratifying part is the easy-peasy phase. Getting a publisher is mildly tough compared to what you are now stepping into and what lies waiting for you ahead.

First time authors with stars in their eyes, please wake up. Sorry there’s no coffee for you. Just the cold hard truth. You are below the lowest rung in the food chain. Few notches below ground zero. So that means, it isn’t enough to write the bloody book and wait for the publisher’s nod, you have to walk the long extra mile in building a profile, a public profile, some kind of following that would want to buy what you spent months creating. And you have to gear up to market the book, but that’s for another blog. Don’t want to throw open all the doors in the house of horror. The idea is to lure you in gently and then terrify you in instalments.

So here’s what I was told after the deal was inked…

GET ON TWITTER, BE MORE ACTIVE

I am, eh..huh…not a woman of few words. I realized this about myself, long time ago, hence my decision to be a features writer and not a creative writer at an ad agency. I need a minimum of 500 words (more the  merrier) to express myself. So 144 characters…OH MY GAWWD. Needless to say I panicked. Soon I realized that word limitation wasn’t the only problem.

I’m also what you call…after wise. I can’t think of something funny, something smart in a flash. I always think of a wisecrack later. Twitter is all about being instant. By the time I had conjured something remotely funny to say about an event…it was more than three days old. I’m a writer God damit, I need to write, re-write then re-re-write all over again to express the thought. By the time I did that, the time and news was long gone.

So Twitter is my Waterloo and I am Napoleon. God help me!

I think I will start posting pics of Archie (my dog) on Twitter. I’m sure he’ll grab more eyeballs than my pathetic attempt at being smart/funny/sarcastic…whatever!!

START BLOGGING

Get yourself a blog following; was the explicit instruction. What do I write about? Clueless I am. I don’t travel alone, never have. My idea of holiday is a good hotel with great housekeeping and room service with a good wine list, so no backpacking in Leh or jungles for me to tell. My hand is very shaky so no photographs that will leave anyone spellbound. Squint yes…trying to figure what that is but nothing more. Not a hot-shot cook so no tips from my kitchen. My son is 17, if I blog about the woes of parenting a teen; let’s just say so far I’ve been unfriended. If I do the aforementioned he will poison my coffee. So what the hell do I write about?

Hence, I decided to spend my time surfing through some of the blogs by successful writers. I found some good ones, written by those with more than just a flair for the written word. They write about their experience with literary agents, rib-tickling humorous (sometimes tad exaggerated) account of their book launch, literary fests where they hobnobbed with the lit snoots. Really funny and makes for great reading. I clearly don’t fall in this category, as my book will be published in the summer of 2016 (hopefully!) so book launch and lit fests are a long long way away.

Some blog about how to write. These are bestselling authors, so I guess it makes sense for them to pen how to write a bestseller. Mine is yet to be published, becoming a bestseller is a faraway dream. So how am I qualified to tell others how and what to write? The fact that I signed up with Harper doesn’t make me better than others. As a friend very succinctly put it: how did you get harper-fuc&&**g Collins!! I’m just got lucky, bloody lucky. Either there’s someone up in the clouds who loves me or the Gods got worried that the plethora of candles and agarbattis I was lighting on a daily basis would give them a tan, hence gave me what I was groveling for! QED, I don’t want to tell people how to write.

Then there are blogs by very successful writers about restaurants they visited, meals shared with family and other mundane routine chores that put me in coma. Worse, some gave relationship gyan. Gasp! Me no agony aunt. I don’t have deep philosophical thoughts or streams of consciousness when digging into my plate of yummy biryani or heavenlicious risotto. It’s just pure gluttony, bordering on food orgasm. So I don’t see why I should share where I had my last supper with anyone, leave alone the world at large. Neither do I wake up at the crack of dawn to do yoga nor do I cook the morning meal with my husband. No such bonhomie happening in my world. I’m not a rise and shine person. Except when I wake up early to write, I’m at my worst in the morning, even when I do the former I’m still grouchy and grumpy. Clearly I’m not a morning glory. My husband and son keep away till I’ve had my morning coffee and four Parle G biscuits. Till then the only person who comes near me is Archie.

And someone who begins her day with Parle G biscuits isn’t a gym goddess, so no fitness tips from me.

I’m no Mrs Funnybones, smartypants, marathon runner and certainly no relationship advice spouting person.

Oh! dear, this blogging thing is giving me  the chills. It’s proving to be  tougher than writing the book.

I figured write book, get publisher and then just sit back and enjoy the ride. Well, reality seems to be giving fiction a run for its money. I wanted to drown my anxiety in white wine accompanied by pepperoni pizza, till I got hollered by Curly Top (that’s my son). ‘All successful writers are slender with gym toned bodies…look at you.” His harsh words ringing in my ears, I set out to change my handle. MY TWITTER HANDLE…my Twitter handle…good lord what were you thinking??

So all you dear friends please follow me as I stumble and fumble on my bumpy ride. And yes, be kind and laugh at my three days old (sometimes more) humour. BTW… my yoga sir just told me today, “By next year, you will be good shape.” I haven’t quite been able to decide if I should feel angry, insulted or just correct the grammar.

P.S: there are a few more directives that I’ve been ordered to work on but I shall not reveal. for the sake of the writer in you that’s dreaming, for the sake of the story that’s bursting to get out. My lips are sealed.

How I wrote my first book!

woman writing

Innumerable posts are written by established authors on how they managed their corporate life and writing aspirations. Well, I have a job too. Not a 9 to 5 one, it’s 24X7. I’m a mother, a wife, a homemaker and I am an author. Negotiating your way through domestic hurdles is no less of a mine field than corporate quagmires. If you think the boss from hell, spiraling marketing targets and meetings are difficult to deal with; try the domestic circus. It’s no less mindboggling.

As a freelance features writer for the past two decades I figured juggling home and writing should be child’s play. Right? Wrong. As all freelancers will tell you work is sporadic and one has long spells of nothing to do but make cold calls. More than hard work, it was a fabulous excuse to stay away from the kitty party gang in the building.

When I started writing my first novel in Jan 2014, I soon realized I had stepped into a hurricane. More like the eye of the hurricane. And by this I don’t mean sorting out characters, fleshing out the story and etc…I mean dealing with people at home alongside spinning the yarn. If you think conference calls, board meeting and monthly targets get in way of the sensuous scene you are itching to write; try dealing with the local plumber, carpenter or worse, courier fellow who decides  to ring the  bell just when you sit down to write the scene that’s  been playing in your mind since morning.  And the reason you couldn’t write it out isn’t because you have an office to go. It’s because… (pause, take a breath)…the maid bunked. Tiffin boxes had to be packed. The dog had the ‘I need to pee’ look. So you tell the idea to hold on, (I jot it down on my mobile phone notepad. I don’t depend on my memory.) At least with the job you bring home a pay check but being a housewife is a thankless job. To have to shut the laptop because the washing machine isn’t working, the presswala has misplaced your husband’s black trouser (yet again) and the kid needs new sketch pens to do the school project; it can turn the most benign person into a serial killer. I wanted to kill. All I wanted to do was write, why was the universe conspiring against me?

Here’s what I did to get the book out of me…

EARLY BIRD GETS TO WRITE

It took me eight and half months to finish the first draft. I woke up at 5 am, made a huge mug of coffee and wrote. They say the first novel just gushes out of you. It’s true. I couldn’t sleep. So decided to write rather than toss and turn in bed. Also, I told myself that this is the most important thing I’m doing and I don’t want to get to it at the end of  the day when I’m brain dead having dealt with maids, grocery shopping and etc. The family – husband, son and dog – wake at 7. So I wrote.

EVERY PLACE IS A WRITE PLACE

From 5 to 7 is only 2 hours and that’s not enough if you want to have the first draft ready in 8-9 months! Even when I’m not writing on the laptop, I’m writing. In my head, throughout the day.  As I walked Archie (the dog). Waited in my car at the traffic light. As I chopped the salad, stirred the curry and sometimes while doing the groceries. I would keep thinking about the scene, the characters, the dialogues, how I want to change them…I would quickly jot few things. Sometimes I would lean against the shopping cart and write out an entire scene allowing other surprised shoppers to go ahead.

I stopped watching TV. I met my friends less, much to the irritation of some who thought I was avoiding them.

TACKLING HOUSE GUESTS

Just because I’m writing the story that doesn’t let me sleep, eat or breathe…doesn’t mean relatives wouldn’t visit. And they will want to go Lajpat nagar for shopping, Dilli Haat or even the nearby mall. When this happens, deal with it as an adult. Lie and run!! The freelance thing I mentioned in paragraph two came in handy again. I shamelessly pretended to have a string of meetings for the day. I packed my laptop, sat in a café and wrote. I found one where my friends or family weren’t likely to turn up at and hammered away at the story.

HUBBY DARLING!!

Now this one is tricky to deal with. Just three words: indulge, indulge & indulge. Help him focus on a hobby. Encourage him to learn a new instrument, if he is musically inclined. Find groups in the neighbourhood where men play football, cricket and push him in that direction. Golf is a great option too. He will be up at crack of dawn and return by 12, dog tired; while you write.

When sports or music didn’t work out for me, I nudged him towards the ultimate man toy. He bought a Harley Davidson. I gave him the thumbs up as he tried on ghastly leather jackets, helmets, foot gear, even a skull printed scarf and what not. All the while telling myself (under breath), “Keep quiet, woman. He will be out every Sunday from 5 am to 11. Sometimes he will be gone for overnight trips. Think of the number of chapters you can write if you had the whole weekend to yourself!” Bless you Harley!!

MOM DEAR!!

Selfies with daughters notwithstanding, every woman fights the toughest battles with her mother. And I’m no different. Mommy dear called to tell me I didn’t return her call. She called to tell me I don’t listen to her and sound absentminded when she speaks. Then she called to tell me that Riya calls Pipi ten times in a day and Tuki calls kakimoni seven times in a day. Mommy, mommy, dear mommy. What do I with you? What do I do without you? I silenced her with just one sentence. “Ma! I’m dedicating the book to you.” Need I say more!

Irrespective of whether you are a working person or homemaker, single or married, with or without kids; writing isn’t easy. Chasing any dream is the toughest thing in the world. You’ll go mad, curse the world for the injustice of it all, hate yourself for putting your dream before others; and there will days when you will just sit and weep. You will get rejected, you will question if it’s worth it, you’ll fight with your spouse and your kid will complain you haven’t made his favourite lasagna in a long time. But trust me, it works out. I believe life tests you and your commitment by hurling obstacles in your path. The Fiddler on the roof does His thing to challenge you, to see how badly you want it by planting hurdles – domestic, corporate and others – in your path.

So the domestic drama goes on in my life. Maids, plumbers & electricians continue to whip up mayhem. Sandeep cancels a biking trip leaving me shame faced with guilt ruing that I wouldn’t be able to write. PTA has to be attended. Mom has threatened she’ll never visit me again because I write all the time and when I don’t, I run off for business meetings (wink, wink!). The promise of dedication placated her only for a day and half! But I have stopped getting annoyed. I just take a deep breath and tell myself, “This is my day job. Being a mom, a wife, a homemaker. Deal with it and then go write.” If you’re passionate, really insanely passionate about something, you’ll find the time for it.

Harper Collins is publishing my first. I’m now writing the second novel and I just finished getting the living room re-tiled. The bathroom is next. I don’t wait for Life to test me. I take the madness with a tall glass of chilled Chardonnay, then rave & rant…and of course write about it!!

For my friends – new & old

Friendship 1

On Friendship day, this one is for my friends – all of them; the new and the old, those who stayed close and also those who moved away. Har ek friend kuch shikhata hai aur har friend zarrori hota hai. 🙂

 

I have moved cities and have had the good fortune to meet so many people, many of whom are my friends. When I look back and reminisce my journey and friendships, I realize that every stage I had friends who became the support I needed at that point in time. I hope I returned the favour too.

Whilst in school and college my friends were my mirror images. Casual, fun but not uncontrollably wild. At the risk of getting thrashed by some of them, the top of the class brilliant stars were never in my corner and I wasn’t in theirs either. I had friends who like me struggled in the same subjects and broke into similar cold sweat before exams. And not surprisingly, we all fared pretty similarly.

I married early and had my son early too. As a dear friend of mine so succinctly pointed one evening, months ago as we were plonked on her comfy couch sipping coffee laced with Baileys, “Girl you had Rohan in the pre-liberalization era. Even Shoppers Stop hadn’t opened then.” (LOL!!) Yes, I became a mother really early and my friends at that time weren’t single swinging gals who were out pubbing all night long. My group consisted of amazing women who like me had married early and were mommies to bouncy babies. So while we munched on chicken spring rolls from Andora in Bandra (Mumbai), sat in park benches as our tots played in the sand pit; these girls became the pillar of my life. They understood how critical it was to find a good activity class to keep the kid busy all through vacations. It had to be good and not too expensive. Our biggest nightmare was getting the brat admitted into a good school in nursery. I still remember the evening we celebrated when our kids got into AVM, nursery school. Wow!! Even our graduation paled in comparison.

I moved on and so did they. Life took all of us to different cities and countries. Facebook and whatsapp hadn’t happened, so we struggled to keep in touch. We managed. Few stepped away from the thread of friendship. The ones who remained, with them the bond grew stronger.

As Rohan was growing up, so was I. My work flourished, sometimes floundered as is the case with freelance writing. I met more people. Some of them helped me immensely in my work and some of them contributed to my growth as a person and mother. At every stage in my life I had friends who were exactly what I needed and wanted; not necessarily photocopies of me. Some were radically different and thank god for that! But each of them left an indelible mark on me. Changed me, affected me and helped me evolve. Some taught me interesting recipes, some made me a better mother, some lent a shoulder for me to cry on when I needed to and some held the mirror to me.

Never have I been more aware of this as I moved to Gurgaon. Leaving behind Mumbai and the comfort of old friendship was far from easy. But once again, I found myself in the company that helped me find my inner voice and give shape to a dream I nurtured for years. I wrote my first novel. I don’t think I could have done this without my new friends. Everything happened so fast, so soon; as though it were waiting for me.

It makes me wonder do we choose our friends or do our friends chose us? Or does life give us the right people for the different stages in our life?

To quote from my yet to be published novel, May be the people we love and feel a bond with are from our past lives. People whom we love through various lives. And may be one lifetime is not enough for love and friendship. So some loving souls follow us and find us in every life. Or maybe the souls find each other. They become the pillars which hold us and our lives together.

Thank you buddies for finding me and holding my hand. I hope I held yours too, when you needed it and even when you didn’t.

 

THE END

 

 

A dialogue between Rohan & Archie

 

It’s a hot sultry afternoon. Rohan (R) has returned from school and isn’t particularly in a good mood. Not because anything awful happened, because the school isn’t Podar, Mumbai. And he misses everything Mumbai sorely. So just back from school is never a good time for R.

For Archie (A) a bad day is when he’s taken to the vet or the salon for a bath. Otherwise for His Royal Highness, every day is exactly the same. An absolute bliss.

R walks in, flings his bag on the study table, chucks his shoes across

R: Hi Dog! What’s up..

A: Hi. U tell me. U r the one who leads the dog’s life. (smirks)

R: (changing the topic)…I can see you’ve got a hair cut.

A: I’m not the only one, ha, ha. But then after you lost the curly top, I knew it would be my turn.(deep sigh!!)

R: yeah! But look what’s she done to your tail…omg…u look..(rohan guffawing loudly)

A: Shut up!! Or do u want me to tell mom to post your baby pix on FB and tag u on it. I’m sure the cute hot chick with whom u whatsapp all night, will love to see them.

R: What the F r u talking about…what hot chick…and anyways, mom’s been unfriended.

A: even worse. She will post it on GGnn moms and all aunties will go mushy gushy over you. And since u r stuck here in this little cosmopolitan village, it would be fun to see the aunties pull your pimply cheeks. (rolling over twice and grinning)

R realizes that he is losing to the dog. And that’s just not acceptable.

R: Ok, wanna play ball. Let’s get the red ball.

A: rolls his eyes up and down and woofs…what do I look like…a dog. I don’t play ball. Just switch on the frickin AC, it’s bloody hot. (he looks up at the AC, whines and wags his tail). I’m going to sleep while u crack trigonometry.

R: holy cow!!

A: I knew u wd forget. The big fat walrus is coming today and he’s taking a test. U r going to fail. U r going to fail…wot fun. And u wouldn’t go to college and thank god for that!!

R grabs Archie’s face and looks sharply into his liquid brown eyes. What do u mean? Why don’t u want me to go to college?

A: with u gone, I will be the sole target of mom’s love and attention. She wouldn’t have you to fuss about. Do u know how much she embarrasses me in the poo park? Gawd!! The names she calls…and yesterday she was making the sound to help me crap. It’s so embarrassing. I don’t need audio help to shit. The bitches were laughing at me. But no, mom had to say loudly..archie good potty. Good potty!!

R: I feel you bro. She gave me the family sandwich hug and posted it on FB.

They both flop on the floor. Rohan picks up the trigo text book and stares at it ruefully while Archie cuddles up closer near his knee.

Mom, from the other room… “OMG!! Just look what I found. Rohan!! I found the cute pink T-shirt that I bought for u when you were 4. Archie!!!

A and R look at each other. A scrambles for cover. R is now rocking with laughter.

A: Brother! U need to help me. She is going to make me wear a pink Tee and tie blue ribbons on my head…Rohan this isn’t a laughing matter. U know mom has issues.

R: almost choking…how do u know, she has issues.

A: dude, she fed me cerelac with the same spoon that she used to feed you. What do u think!! Bro…u gotta help me

R: what do I get in return…

A: I will share dad’s money and the houses with you. U do know they are leaving everything to me.

Rohan faints. Archie tries to hide under the bed but realizes he’s too fat and then dives behind the curtain.

 

Letter to Rohan…

life pix

 

 

Dear Rohan,

You just celebrated your 16th birthday! And there’re so many things I want to tell you. I can see you rolling your eyes at what you think is another mushy gushy note from the heart. Yes, it’s from the heart; how can it not be. It’s from a mother to her son. But this one isn’t mushy gushy at all. It’s anything but.

You are approaching the age when you’ll step into the world alone and chart a path for yourself. You’ll live the life that you were meant to live. Yes, I know you just can’t wait to be free of your helicopter, tiger mom!!

I don’t care if you forget to bathe, cut your nails or hair (dear! God!!!)…but don’t forget the following..

 

  1. Things will go wrong Yes, believe me they will. That’s what life is about. Things go awry. Things don’t go the way we plan and the way we hopelessly want them to. And when they do, I don’t want you to lose hope. Believe in yourself.  Be with your friends, swim, play your guitar or beat the hell out of your drums, take a holiday…but never give up. For as good turns to bad, bad gives way to the good. Things pass. Nothing stays the same forever. So if you’re stuck with a boss from hell. A colleague who takes credit for your work. Get passed over the coveted promotion which you thought was yours. Just hold it together. The uuggh! phase will pass. And while this phase has you in its grip, try to stay away from beer and pizza. It’ll be tough but try.
  2. Opportunities will come all at once, never one at a time. You will have an important meeting to prepare for and the chance to perform at the hip pub …all together. You’ll tearing your hair cursing God why does He have to pile your plate up so much?? Why?? He does this to everyone. That’s why He is called Fiddler on the roof. (watch the movie some day, it’s brilliant). This is just His way of testing you, your capability and your burning desire. How much do you love what you do? How far are you willing to stretch yourself? If you think your trigonometry tests are the worst ever…wait for life to happen. That’s when the real rock & roll begins!! So baby, learn to juggle. Drop a few but you’ll eventually learn. I did too.
  3. Never lose touch with your school friends. They know you, the real you. No matter how far you go in life, how much money and fame you make; keep this bunch close, really close. They will be the rock in your life. And there’s no better camaraderie than sitting down with the school bunch and talking about how shamelessly you cheated in the bio exam. (Yes, I know. Mummy knows everything!). Make the effort to stick to the plan and meet them. Once again, you’ll tested. Your friendship will be tested. You’ll have the networking event that you’ve waited for months on the very day when the gang is meeting. Don’t falter even for a second. Meet the gang. Money and connections will come and go. Friends are for life.
  4. You’ll be let down by the one you love the most. Your best buddy or may be the person you love. I hope this doesn’t happen but it can. We are often hurt by those whom we love the most. And I hope and pray that you are lucky in love, life and friendship. But if this happens, promise me you wouldn’t lose faith. And you wouldn’t shut yourself away. For there’s nothing worse than being without love or friends.
  5. Always dance in the rain! Or cycling will also do. The simple joys of life are often left behind as we grow older. Don’t let that happen. Have fun! Get soaked to your skin. Have chai at the roadside stall. Munch a bhutta. Play football with the kids on a muddy field. Bunk office and spend the day watching movies, reading books or playing music…don’t let go of the child in you.
  6. Don’t stop dreaming and chasing your dreams. Give it your all and then some more. Even if you lose, at least you’d know that you tried and gave your best.

 

And last of all, baby… what I wish may seem odd to you today but someday you’ll understand. I hope you never have a bed of roses. I don’t wish a path strewn with thorns but just enough hurdles to challenge and bring out the best in you. A bed of roses makes one complacent and lazy. No one has ever achieved anything in life without taking on difficulties. It’s only after we’ve fallen that we rise up and run to the finishing line. So every time you stumble and fall, struggle and lose; I will cringe and  hurt as all mothers do; but I’ll steel myself so that you can pick up yourself and walk tall.

Love you now & forever,

Mushy-gushy mummy!