“If I had to give just one advice to my daughter, I would tell her to always be independent. “, said Chaitra.
She explained, “I know that I will always watch her back. But life can be harsh and I may not be there for her. She must not wait for help in difficult times. Life is no fairy tale and expecting knights and heroes to be your savior is just foolishness. She has to be her own hero. I hope she is blessed with strength and courage to fight her battles in life.”
“This is not my cycle. As my parents won’t give me a cycle anymore, I had to borrow this one from a friend. I live quite far from this place and I just hope none of my relatives see me here.” he said.
Out of sheer curiosity, we asked, “Why wouldn’t your parents give you a cycle?”
He laughed and then answered, “I love doing cycle stunts and they are scared I will end up hurting myself. Little do they know that I want to practice and then become a professional stuntman!”
He proudly admitted that he has mastered various forms of wheelies and stoppies on cycle.
“Although my parents are really scared all the time, they are nice people. They love me a lot, especially my Ammi (mother).”, he said. “But Abu is the smart one. He got one thing correct – He named me ‘Salman’!”, he added with pride.
When we asked him if he was a Salman fan, he immediately did a Dabbang pose and added dramatically, “Meri jaan aur maan, sab Salman Bhai k naam!” (My name and fame- everything is for Salman Bhai)
Little Salman hopes to be a stuntman for Salman Khan someday.
“My daughter thinks I have been a good father to her. I don’t know if she is right.”, said Kumar Uncle (name changed on request)
“Although I don’t need to be certified as a good father or a bad father, I certainly hope that my fatherhood has been enough for her – enough to make her feel that I will always be there for her, no matter what.”, he added.
Kumar Uncle lost his wife when his daughter was still very young. He raised her on his own. For years together, his daily routine remained the same: Wake up early, cook meals, get her ready for school, leave for work, pick her up from school, sit with her while she studies, feed her, put her to sleep, complete the remaining office work and go to sleep. The little girl then grew up to be a hard-working and responsible person. She went to college, scored well in exams, impressed all professors and maintained a healthy relationship with everyone.
“She reached the ‘marriage-able’ age and then, I had to get her married. How could I not? Everybody said I should get her married soon else I won’t get suitable grooms for her.”, said Kumar Uncle. He gave her the best wedding that he could afford. Everyone seemed pleased and he felt assured of his little girl’s future.
“She stays with her in-laws in Delhi now. I have lost my business and most of my savings as well. I haven’t told her that. I don’t want her to worry about me. I have no regrets about all this but sometimes I worry if my little girl is doing well with her family there. Sometimes I worry if that was the right time for her to get married.”, he added as tears welled up in his eyes.
Kumar Uncle is one of the nicest people that we have come across in a very long time. He was, especially, very nice to me as he felt I reminded him of his grandchild who is also named Sweta. He insisted that I sit and have lunch with him. He even gave me candies and fruits.
And most importantly, he gave me one very important advice: Marry only when you are ready, not when people expect you to be married. There’s no right age for marriage, so you must not just ‘settle’.
Abinash Dash Choudhury speaks about his Mother:
It’s 1:45 PM, unlike any other random day, I sit with books and I’ve decided to break for ten minutes. In the meanwhile, I’m taken back in time.
In the afternoons, as mom would cook, she’d first put up the ‘Daali’ (Dal), the compulsory staple food, on the gas burner and withdraw for a quick reading session. She’d instruct me to turn the flame off right after “3 ta seeti” of the Pressure Cooker.
There were days I’d sit and wait, wait so diligently that I’d be able to do nothing else but only count those “3 ta seeti”.In the meanwhile, I’d take a stock of the food in kitchen and guess what we’ll have for lunch. I’d think of ‘lobbying’ as there was still a chance that the menu might change.Then, I’d successfully remember the number and safely turn off the flame. But, then, there were days when it would slip off my mind, I’d be reading or may be writing and I’d forget it completely, or may be I’d remember it at a time where I’ve lost count. I’d feel guilty and start crying! Mom would come up and kiss me. She’d say it was alright.
After years, I could make Dal, all on my own, without any supervision. It excited me. To be able to learn without being actively taught. (Well, of course, it was Mom who taught me!!!) Years later, now, she’d admit, that was how she introduced me to kitchen.
Today, there’s no “seeti” to count, but, yes, I have the “daali” that I can cook.
Wishing her and in fact, everyone else a very Happy Mother’s Day.
Thank you for making us who we are today.
“Do North Indians really think we have no varieties in our cuisines?”, asked our Auto-driver, Munni Anna and we explained that although we aren’t from the real ‘north’, we didn’t really think it was true. “Exactly! We have so many variations in Dosa itself: Masala Dosa, Benne Dosa, Rava Dosa, Neer Dosa, Kal Dosa, Wheat Dosa, Paper Dosa, just to begin with! Then there are so many permutations and combinations with these and also, there are so many fusion Dosas as well: Cheese Dosa and Noodle Dosa, for example!”, he clarified. “Don’t even get me started about other South Indian delicacies now!”, he added happily.
“What is ‘Chaas’ for them is ‘Neer More’ for us. I am sure there must be many other examples. I can’t seem to recollect anything else in this hot Summer”, he added with a smile. “You see, despite all the rivalry, be it social or political, deep down we are all the same but with our own load of flaws though. But who cares enough to be perfect, anyway? So, as long as we have time, why don’t we just smile and stay happy. Everything will be fine.”, he said thoughtfully and we couldn’t have agreed more.
“So you publish stories on Facebook and WordPress? Okay, I will ask my children to have a look at your work. I, personally, cannot do that myself. I am not very fond of this online technology.”, admitted Limu, the Tibetan shopkeeper from Ooty after we introduced ourselves.
“Don’t think of me as a funny old nutcase, okay? But I do find the technology very intimidating and may be, in a tiny sense, evil as well.”, she confessed and then went on to narrate her complaints. “You see, I believe, a computer cannot make us ‘social’. Only real human interactions can. Your ‘likes’ and ‘hearts’ can’t but a hand shake and a hug certainly can. I feel technology tears us more apart and builds a distinct gap between the younger ‘social’ generation and my old ‘un-social’ generation. I find that a little frightening.”, she explained.
And then she started giggling and added, “But I do agree that this technology gives much better photographs. Will mine come out pretty as well?”
After we clicked pictures with her, she gave her approval and then added thoughtfully, “I hope you carry on spreading your good vibes digitally. But more than that, I pray that you meet more people over the course of your journey and make memories worth treasuring for a lifetime.”
Before leaving, Limu made a request: “If it’s not too much of a problem, could you ask more people to step out of the digital bubble for a while and make some more time for the not-so-digital, not-so-social us? You see, we want you all to ‘heart’ us a little more!”
We do heart Limu and all others of her not-so-digital, not-so-social generation. And we hope you do too.
So, why not show them that? Take a break from your smart lives and go make some real memories with real people. We bet you will ‘like’ it!