Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Journey.

Stride after stride I tread, Breath after breath I take

The Sun dawns, and serene’s lake

Flowers stop their sway, wind lost its way

Thoughts aren’t gay, Heart’s not making any hay

Long way to go, the destination is still at bay

Miles to travel, before calling it a day

Like a beautiful dream, here he comes

With him comes, a gush of flutters

Eyes shy away , heart thaws

He shines, a volcano of happiness erupts

Flowers bloom, and the Lake is all silver

The sky is dark, yet the path so clear

Long way to go, the destination isn’t near

But the Journey’s now dear, with my “Full Moon” here !

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Joie de vivre !

The right knee is gingerly raised to give the necessary support, the left followed suit while the hands play their part in coming to the desired position. Even before they are set to move comes the collapse. Again flat on the floor, the head turns in right and left to see what has happened. After a second of recovery the whole cycle of the knees and hands coordination begins. They are back to the position, a second of no-motion and then all set for the movement. Collapse again!! The whole cycle is repeated. A minute of wavering and balance act, the limbs move again. Two to three steps forward and collapse greets them again. SIGH!! Repeat the whole process and this time the limbs move a little farther and a little further and a little further finally reaching the destination….

Are you already tired and bored to read this?? I am sure most of you are…but what about the one involved in the whole process?

…she finally lays her hands on her fave colorful toy which when pressed sings out lovely rhymes for her. She beats the toy in ecstasy, gives a squeak of victory and is engrossed watching the changing colors while listening to the rhymes. This is what makes the whole process an ‘Experience’.

Not a trace of boredom or tiresomeness is seen all along…what is the key? ‘Enthusiasm’ is my humble answer.

She creeps under the cot maybe to see why it’s dark there, slips under the computer table maybe to know what those black wires taste like, tries to grab every kitchen item and beats it to death on the floor like an acoustic expert studying some sound. Gosh!! Did I just hear a THUD?? To enthusiastically understand what this high-level stage is and what’s under it, Mugdha creeps vigorously to take a quick peek. And the inevitable happens :-(. A few seconds of loud cry is disturbed taking a definite end at the sight of her favourite toy and a tight hug from her mom. She is back to her enthusiastic world wondering who those two people staring at her are. Our reflections in the mirror excite her very much :-)

I go about diverse experiences everyday and I find each day with a baby is a new discovery, a new perspective and a new joy which can only be beaten by another joy brought about only by them. Call it whatever you want, the underlying secret is ‘Enthusiasm’. Babies are ‘Enthusiasm’ personified.

Whenever I am lost thoroughly enjoying her enthusiastic adventures, I wonder why is it that the elders the once children lost this very special quality as they grew. Even the most painful experience is forgotten by them once the enthusiasm of grabbing something takes over. While the kids learn stuff which makes them productive, constructive, positive and happy, we elders in the name of growing up also learnt clinging to unnecessary things for too long, having mood-offs on and off, seeing only the negatives, and wasting time on useless things. With depression, frustration and stress as our everyday visitors, time waste, mismanagement of things a daily routine, gossip and rumours as our food, we are just surviving and not ‘living’ life. While nature gives us every opportunity to learn, we are “grown up” and clever enough to ignore all of them.

I redirect my thoughts to my own life and think of all the lessons I have learnt. Apart from being good at academics, topping more than a few times in various competitions, I dabbled in painting, music, dance, shuttle and a host of things classified under “Hobbies/Interests”. Now when I am completely at home conveniently calling myself a “house-wife”, I ask myself why I have not pursued any of those gifts to become a master. The answer is obvious. My ‘enthusiasm’ to learn or pursue sometimes wavered, sometimes decreased and sometimes died off.

I don’t waste my time getting into the redundant regretting mode coz I know I still have that “one” thing in me which can make a difference – “Zest for life”. This undying zest for life in me is enough even if I have to begin my life all over again from this moment. Having a baby at home has only rejuvenated me and my zest for life just gets better by day :-)

Monday, June 21, 2010

What's in a Name?

Absurd ! In this age where name is considered the best and first gift of parents to their children asking such a question is ridiculous! Naming a baby has surely come of age. Gone are the days when children were named after their grandparents or respectable ancestors. Then came a stage where parents included their favourite God's name and after came a phase where parents added their ancestors' names and God's name as prefix which was to be shortened as V.B.S.S...etc to their choice of name. All these make sense to me. Naming your child with some logic and a meaning. And now comes a phase where "Naming" is considered a 'Fad', an attempt to show how differently parents can think and come up with a unique name. The craze to go in search of a different n unique name sometimes crosses all sensible limits to the extent of calling it ludicrous. But NO all these wont cut any ice with these parents. They leave no stone unturned to find a different sounding name and its absoultely OK if there is no rhyme or reason !

I have seen some of these searches ending at a very logical point but some have been utter flops. And what can sound unique to you may not actually be so. My friend named her son "Akshar". When I asked her why Akshar she said it was different. But when I told her that its not unique she admitted that four of her friends also named their sons with the same name. Alas ! She knew it after naming her son. Infact there was a phase wherein every other boy was named Akshar or Akshath or Akshit or Akshay. Add an "A" in the end and you get a girl's name. Another species who tried to sound different and unique went to all ridiculous horizons and came up with the name "Hasanthi". I must say they succeeded coz nobody would name their child Hasanthi. It means a "Fire Pot", in telugu "Kumpati" :O :O ! Disastrous choice I say ! One parent named their beautiful angel as "Swetha" but now that girl is far away from the meaning of her name. She is a dusky beauty :-). I was very fascinated with the name "Rishabh". When I shared the same with my "Operation Namakaranam" team (Yep! I had one who guided me to find an apt name) they rejected it outright. Rishabh, according to them, is an anglicised version of 'Vrshabh', meaning ox. Without even checking the veracity of their opinion I dropped it that second itself. I asked a girl who had a very beautiful name as to the background of that choice . She plainly told me that it was her grandmother who named her and she has no idea of the logic behind it...Pathetic...Grrrrrrr...!!

Well...yeah..I know what's on your mind now. I can already see your raised eye brows asking me how different I tried to be. I had learnt lessons from some of my friends' disasters and so when I started off had a clear idea of my criteria. My criteria was - 1) A sanskrit word 2) Not more than 2 to 3 letters (in telugu, I mean) 3) No too-old or too-posh sounding names pls 4) No Negativity 5) Should give an "Aaha nice" feel when we hear. If its a girl, it should definitely be one of those 'Amma vari names' from the Sahasranamam or Ashtothram. (Yep! I am very religious :-)) With this criteria, my team and me set out our journey ! Then began a series of discussions on some hundreds of names, their meanings, logics etc in some hundreds of gmail threads :D Oh, BTW, Phani was dead against at choosing the name before the baby was born. He feels he should see the baby, get inspired and name him/her accordingly.

One Friday before my delivery my mom suggested a name after her puja. She read it in her daily stothrams somewhere and was very impressed. I heard with a slight nod and said will consider. When our baby was born, I asked Phani if she has inspired him to choose a name and yes he came up with the same name which my mom said. Coincidence, I thought ! On one of those instances where I talk to my baby, I called out different names eagerly waiting to see to which name she responds. When I called out "that" name which my mom suggested before delivery and Phani after she was born, she instantly responded and screamed with joy. Done ! I took it as a happy acceptance and resolved to go ahead with 'that' name. {{If she has any complaints about her name in future, I shall show this as a proof :P}}

Today, June 21, 2010, amidst all her loved ones, our beautiful princess is named "MUGDHA", meaning a beautiful, young, innocent girl :-). Whether we chose an apt name or not, she grows up to her name or not is for us to wait and see...but as a parent I am pretty satisfied with our choice :)

Tons and tons of thanks to Kiran Anna, Sandeep and Mouli for all the help. Do check out Sandeep's excellent write-up on Namakaranam basics at Operation Namakaranam

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

So much for the happy ending..!!

Carpet area, 10ft space, Setbacks, Elevation, Amenities and lots of cash – if this set of words doesn’t ring any bell to you, then a warm welcome to a cold “Realty” world…a world of dreams, a world of sentiments, a world of hard money and quirky fate! This world simply survives on nurtured dreams and dies on shattered dreams!

Talking about dreams definitely reminds me of this concept called 'Dream House'. Be it a small space with a single roof or a palatial bungalow, it is called a 'Dream' house when you burn all your savings, have a loan which can only be cleared just before you retire and 'buy' this house which is your 'dream-come-true'. Today a lot of couples especially the newly-wed ones are scouting for a house to fulfill this dream. The moment they set out their journey to find rather buy a house, the novices in them dawn! The realty world to them is dizzying right from the vocab to the wierd ways in which the world runs !!

Dont know where to begin...why fear when Google is here! They take the internet's help as the very first step and begin their search. The internet shows wonders to them. Remember they are realty-illiterates and so they are trapped. They start making cold calls to builders who claim to promise the sky but in reality right from the area they claim to the quality everything seems skewed :(. If the builder says two minutes drive from the chowrasta, he actually means 2kms and more from that point. If he says the price quoted included all amenities, then all he means is just 'lift and car parking'. Dont get carried away by the word 'amenities' it means nothing you have imagined. Even if it includes a big list when you finally start living there you realise everything comes at an extra cost. The list of white lies continues...!! If you are looking for a Gated Community, then the word 'amenities' tantamounts atleast '4 lakhs' If the amount is less than that I bet he isn't offering any good amenities.

The builder is an expert in everything under the sun. He is a vaastu expert, teaching you new fundas of vaastu and justifying why that balcony had to be small or why the hall's shape looks weird, an expert fortune-teller predicting how the government can change in the next few days, how a new road can come, how this area can become a prime area..!! If one construction looks like a train compartment, the other one looks like a school building, the other a non-ventilated den with criss cross compound walls..PHEW!!!

The couples dont compromise in the beginning and keep rejecting every house for one reason or the other. Finally after screwing their countless weekends and their mental peace, they relook at their priorities and thus begin the 'Compromises'. Finally they do find one house and resolve to end their unending search after compromising here and there. They announce to the world that they finally bought a "house" conveniently ignoring the word 'dream'. The routine dialogues being - 'This house is just an investment', 'We had to compromise in the sft area or the distance from the road or look and feel etc', 'we will rent this out.' 'we still have a loong way to go...our dream house will be after 40'...etc etc....Most of the time your house doesnt come in the budget you have set.

Phani & me went around for two months and were almost fed up. When we first saw our future flat, both of us loved it ! But since it wasn't coming in our budget, we just 'wished' it was ours and left the place. From then which ever flat we saw we had unconsciously compared that flat with our future flat. After a couple of visits again and again to the place, a huge fight with the builder vowing never to come back to that place, we finally made it "Ours" :-)

This is just the first step of a series of mentally irritating things..a lot of pain in the form of registration, interiors, carpenters, electricians etc begins now. Do thank me Im sparing you all the painful details here :)

It takes a lot for this happy ending. Dont be surprised if you are acting like a wreck :P. But imagine spending time with your loved ones at a place which you call "Yours"....Bliss ! No wonder home is where the heart is.

PS : I wrote this one a year ago when we bought our flat in June 2009 but obviously it never saw the light of day. Thank you VasuGuns for taking me back to those memories and bringing this out of the shelves with your good news! Congratulations again :-)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Great Expectations !

Continuing the legacy of my coincidences with Vasudha, here I go writing about the great expectations we have when we are ‘expecting’ ! Sailing in the same ship and having reached the same port she crossed a few days ago I now completely understand and identify with every feeling and every sentiment she expressed. It feels so natural for us to feel the same vibes when we reach this particular stage of life what with the whole world and us acting so predictably when it comes to some ‘Great Expectations’.

Whoever must have coined the term “Expecting” to mean ‘to carry’ or ‘being pregnant’ must be repenting big time now. When it was actually meant to be ‘expecting a baby’, it is now seen as a saga of endless ‘expectations’ from a poor soul carrying another poor soul !

These great expectations usually begin with the world inquisitively enquiring about our gender preference of the baby. If you want a boy, they praise how nice it is to have a girl and vice-versa. And once the session on the gender is over it moves on to the looks of the baby. In my case, my world wants a Jr. Phani with those dimples, a cousin wants a Jr. Haritha with all that energy, yet another aunt comments about the dark complexion of the recent new-born of some relative and emphasises why I shouldnt be ignoring 'Saffron'. Another friend expects me to have lots of fruits so that the kid is chubby n smart. And how can I forget their predictions about our baby becoming an MBA like the mom or an M.Tech like the dad!!

I dint act any different. I had my share of expectations once the excitement of expecting began. I expected to have a boy who is fair n smart like his dad and active n talkative like his mom, tall like his mama and chripy like his pinnis. I expect him to grow up as the naughtiest kid breaking every object he can lay hands on, biting every hand that pinches his cheeks and hitting the moment people of my hate-list come closer :P !! There's more to this expectations list. I expected to have someone who goes to school without a tear, loses a pencil a day, opens the books only to tear away the pages, has a fight everyday with the big bad boys and has the guts to say NO to his teacher. Despite all this, he should be a true mamma's boy and a gud son to his mom! I expected to have a super whizkid who would be another Gates or an Amartya or an MS or a Leonardo or atleast our own Prabhu deva excelling in some field. If nothing happens he should atleast be an IITian like his dad :P. Phew !!

Now when I am entering the last month of my pregnancy, I look back at all of my great expectations with utter disbelief and laugh at myself. There is an eerie sense of calmness and stability and I am all emotional about the arriving bundle of joy. If only the world asked me to take 'Saffron' coz it acts as a good blood purifier, if only they advised to take lots of fruits coz they increase the body's resistance etc...the fact that they are linked to the baby's beauty and their expectations is very sad !

It is natural for us to expect the "best" possible outcome in whatever we do but now I feel its more important to smilingly accept any outcome as the "best" one ! Obviously, I cant expect to grow lillies by planting a rose plant :D

What if my baby expects to open his eyes to see an Aishwarya as her mom?!

I just pray that both of us accept the coming bundle without any expectations and with all his/her positives and negatives. His/her mere arrival itself should be a joy to us. I hope a day comes in future when people ask me if my child is an MBA or an M. Tech and I proudly say that he is following his heart, pursuing his dream and living life with passion. {Is this an expectation in itself by any chance? :O}

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

So you have a Bun in ur Oven..??!!

“Woow!! Great news, congrats !”
“Hey that sounds exciting…u r about to enter a lovely phase of life !”
“Wow take care dear…Im soooooo happy for u !”

You feel out of this world and made to feel as if you are an angel fallen from 7th heaven! The hype and the excitement make you believe that you are indeed entering a wonderful phase where you are going to live life Queen Size!! Enough! I have been one of those poor gullible souls who imagined all the nice things about getting pregnant. The over excited world around us highlights only the happy things and blissfully ignores the not-so-happy parts! To have a green chilli after you are made to enjoy your fave dessert is really painful ! At least the other way round would have helped us to lower the expectations.

You are treated like you are fallen from heaven, but only you know that you have fallen flat & hard in some pits of hunger, continuous sleepiness and eternal tiredness. And while falling you have also thrown some things like your figure, that slim waistline, career and your energy into the ether ! Once the excitement of breaking the news subsides, you are now shut in a silent world where all you can hear is hunger pangs, puking noises and irking smells. You start hating your fave food and suddenly feel like having something which you never wanted to have in your wildest dreams. You begin to hate people and their over dose of advice flowing in from all possible directions. You have no clue why this happens, then that happens. Your number of whys and hows increase, and along with your pills you have to start taking some unpalatable surprises. But one thing you definitely can predict is that your health now is unpredictable. On the flip side, you get into a privileged class. Your laziness in the name of pregnancy is excused, early to bed and late to rise also makes you healthy, being with your mom and getting pampered is acceptable. At office an occasional nap during office hours is forgivable, the hawk-eyed manager is now trying to lessen the stress and burden on you, you can skip that imp all-hands, you are out of the cultural events of the company. All the career-oriented women, you can read all these in one phrase - "Sidelined at workplace". It is both relieving and frustrating !

The world now leaves the excitement and tries to paint a rather real pic of what it is like being pregnant. Now they dump some advice like this is how it will be till your 5th month or so…and let this 3rd month pass I am sure you will be fine. Then there are these emotional aunties who keep telling how wonderful it is to give birth to a baby, how lucky are we to be blessed with that virtue ! Don’t ever react and say what you really feel….that you feel sick, that it hurts and that it is so uncomfortable and so sudden in your life that you are not ready for it blah-blah…!! That blah-blah will make them feel that you don’t count your blessings in life and are an unwise fool. You will also be looked at as unemotional, immature and arrogant too. If you ask me it’s ok to be pissed with it, have that cranky mood of your speak out, vent out the frustration especially to your partner. The husbands are such a lucky lot ! With some minimal effort and a few seconds of pleasure, they have a readymade baby falling on their laps after 9 months.

Wait !

If you think this is it, think again. Like all dark clouds even this has a silver lining. Once the 3rd month begins to end and the months increase, you feel the difference. The sleepiness, the nausea, the cranky moods tend to reduce. Your body gets a lil predictable and you slowly start catching the pulse of it. By the time you are in your 5th month, things look brighter and in 6th you are infact feeling your best. You occasionally feel like humming your fave tune, shaking a leg, are more comfortable in meeting and talking to people, are OK with the various smells and are almost leading a normal life. The only difference being your protruding belly (if its already begun).

Now when things look much better, I get a lil positive about me and my pregnancy. I am enjoying this phase of life when I am treated royally and taken care supremely. If you are one of those lucky ones to have gotten a great loving husband then every moment of your life is all the more special now. A slight movement here and there in your tummy sometimes makes you wonder and keeps you excited ! I have also been lucky till now maintaining my weight, health and that figure ;-). Also our new house, the house-warming and everythiing related to 'our home' kept me in a never-ending excitement all thru. I am also glad that our future kid is partially involved in all these auspicious things (And when did I get soooo emotional?? :O) Even before I know I get possessive about the lil one. Phani and me have occasional bickerings on baby being my best friend or his best friend. Its true that you have advice attacking from all sides but some really make sense. Like reading a book (encouraging silence as you wouldnt have much energy to talk now), listening to some soothing music (loud music irks you like hell), eating at regular intervals (to avoid getting tired), enough rest (enough sleep). These things can actually make your initial months of pregnancy bearable.

This journey of life has brought me to this station (read stage) called Pregnancy. If life is all about the various experiences, then its foolish to not to enjoy each stage thoroughly. After all everything is a passing phase so we should enjoy before it passes off. This is what my journey is till the 6th month. Do wait for the 2nd part of this series to know how I felt about the last stage of my pregnancy and what my mind has to speak then. Needless to say the post will be out only after March 2010. Till then its me the would-be-mommy signing off ;-)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Maids of Honour

Time : Ticking Ten AM
Day : A Lazy weekend

My brush is gnashing my teeth in anger all thanks to my maid not turning out yet. Its weekend and I have the privilege to sleep till 10AM but she is a maid how can she not appear by 7.30?? Be it rain or shine, weekend or weekday, maids ought to be as early in the morning as possible. The world stops for us working ladies if the maid is out of reach. Strange, right !

One look at the dirty kitchen sink, dusty floors and messed up dining table, my BP shoots high, my blood boils and my tongue waiting to lash at my maid the moment she will be in. Is it the fear of my laziness at the prospect of cleaning the house which irks me so much? My mind is reluctant for any logics now and is awaiting the maid’s entry to vent out my pent-up anger.

The moment finally arrives and here she comes with a rather straight face trying to cover up all the tension and acting confident. My anger is now overjoyed and I scream my lungs out at her for her unpardonable crime (coming late to work on a weekend) ! She starts her story of excuses, her eyes betraying her and acknowledging the fact that both of us know they are simply ‘flimsy’ excuses. After my screaming and her excuses, both of us are relieved and get back to our business.

A few minutes of awkward silence and my maid tries to strike a conversation with me. The ice is finally broken and after a few more minutes, the friendly banter begins. The work progresses well much to my relief and my maid is also relieved to see me relieved and smiling. When it is time for her to leave, I give her strong instructions that she should be in by 7.30 AM on a weekend, to which she nods and leaves.

It’s Sunday morning 10AM….my brush gnashing my teeth in anger….my maid doesn’t turn out yet…..and history repeats…..!!!!!

Once a human being, always a human being and never a super human being :-) In this journey of life, there is an eternal need for interdependency on one another emphasizing the fact that every human is valuable and yes honourable. If the maid needs us to get her daily bread, we need her to help us with the household chores to go to earn our daily bread. As long as this interdependency continues, even the maids have to be ‘Maids of Honour’.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Food for Thought !

It was a breezy monsoon morning. The door bell’s jarring noise made me rather kicked me out of my dreams to reality! Yes, what I was to experience after I open the door is truly the reality world. The fresh monsoon breeze was simply irresistible. I felt it brought a new life to my every nerve; my senses were thoroughly enjoying the experience and realize life is all about some beautiful small moments like this. “Aah..! Life is beautiful”, I say to myself.

While I was engrossed in my beautiful world, a sight of two kids fighting for a morsel of food takes me to that world of reality! If that morning had woken me to a beautiful experience, the very morning had woken them to yet another fight for survival. The poignant scene of the kids grabbing the left-overs from the dustbin and running behind a wall to have their share stealthily has tugged at my emotional strings! The monsoon morning left some mixed feelings but I move on….

Too much is always too little for these too many hands

The same evening, a strange forward from my friend Raam caught my attention instantly. The subject line read “Chicken a la carte”. For a foodie like me, it was obvious to open that mail instantly! It was a short film about hunger and poverty brought about by globalization. I have received umpteen numbers of forwards on hunger, food wastage etc and this one might as well fall in the same school. But the morning’s incident and the lyrics of the song at the fag end of the video have really left an emotional impression in my heart. The lines which go something like this – “How come someone’s laughter bring me close to tears” were really very touching. Thanks Hey Raam! for sharing this :-)

I don’t intend to preach anything but just wanted all of us to be a lil more careful when it comes to wastage of food. I wanted to have it in my blog as a glim reminder of the pathetic and poignant situations around us.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Happy Birthday "Santu Boy" !!!

All you need is a light heart to fly high :-)

“Friendship isn’t a big thing – it’s a million little things!” – Author Unknown.

Whoever said that must have had a friend like Santosh. A million little conversations, thousands of bickerings, tons of fun moments, a little melodrama, some more nostalgia…well..i can go on and on and on….. All those lovely memories make this friendship sooo special :-)

This guy-next-door, down-to-earth and heavy bodied but light hearted chap is like a fresh breeze leaving us refreshed all the time in his company. He ain’t someone striking you instantly but someone who can definitely make you ask for more !!

If my friends Pallavi, Smita, Gururaj, Naresh and some others made my MBA days memorable, Santosh has made it nostalgic! Thanks to these folks, I have many happy memories to look back in my life..!

Walking with your friend in the long lanes of your college campus is definitely a beautiful memory…but imagine walking around a bunch of crazy dogs and a crazy boy instigating those dogs on you !!! Bhat gave me such dreadful memories !

Gossiping in the coll library is fun but how about seeing your friend having fun with “that” person whom you hate the most??!! Bhat has this knack of irking me!

When all of us are ready for some fun, who else can make me sick by playing only “Antakshari” all the time…blaring the same old songs into my ears??!!

We had such horrible fights and I decided to call Santosh a “history” in my life and the next day I was with him talking about how relieving it was fighting with him…

Whatever said…this guy has all the patience to put up with my impulsive behaviour, a generous heart to buy me my fave pastry on his bday, his dad’s bday, his akka’s bday, blah..blah..blah..,a sweet tongue which never knew what a harsh word was and a caring (yes really caring) attitude towards anybody not just his friends…. All these and more make Santosh a friend you can truly look upto…

One of those precious possessions I can be very very proud of when I look back in my life is “Friendship with Santosh”. I sincerely pray that our friendship remains forever !

Santosh, I don’t know if you know but you better know now that you are one friend I really treasure. Wishing you many more happy birthdays and also wishing that you find your “lady” luck this year who comes singing “Tumse Milke…” (your fave song) into your life….

PS : A special note from Phani – “This guy is still single and is an absolute eligible bachelor….Rush in your applications to my id ;-)”

Friday, June 5, 2009

A Catch - 22 !

Seven Rupees is a BIG Deal..!!

2001 : On a sunny sunday morning I was busy running and catching an auto to rush to my CAT classes. I manage to find one, I get in and out of it in 5 mins. I give a 10 rupee note to the auto boy and he says "No change madam !! I will be around always, you can take the change some other time". I snapped "I am not around always. This is not where I belong to." My heart says "It's ok, no time, forget the change" but my mind (rather my ego) says "Seven rupees is a big deal...let him get a change!" Even before I decided whom to listen to, the auto boy vanished saying the same - "I will be around always, I WILL take the change some other time."

"Seven Rupees is a BIG deal" agreed both my heart and mind "But to HIM more than you" whisper they in unison! Lesson learnt.

But I have only Rs. 750/- !!

2006 : On a dark night around 8PM, I come out of the MMTS station to rush home. Suddenly from nowhere this family of 3 (mom, dad & son) ask me if I can understand Hindi. After my affirmation he goes on to say how he was trapped and brought here in the name of some work. He said he had no money to even go back and his kid hasnt eaten for the past three days.

All my past lessons wake up this time. I quickly ransack my handbag and find Rs. 750. With an upset and an even more touching tone I ask him - "But I have only Rs. 750/-, will that amount be sufficient to go back?" All he said was - "We will adjust, it’s ok." I give that money and have a peaceful sleep (Obviously, I helped a family go back home !!)

That my whole world made a huge hue and cry telling me I was fully taken for a ride and such sob stories are very common is something I would rather forget. After a couple of weeks, I find the same people telling the same story to other innocent prey !! On one side I hear some heavy things like "help the needy", "save one's life", "donations to victims", "social consciousness" et al. On the other side I also hear some loud things like "dont encourage begging", "Even if its a single rupee, fight for it as you have 'earned' it", "No free lunch" and all that jazz.

I am left dazed and confused !

Conclusion : I havent yet been able to take a stand on this till date. The only solution I found relieving is to follow my instinct. If I feel like giving at that moment, I give; else I dont ! But I have made it a point not to give to men (adults) who look physically OK to me to work and earn. If you have a better idea to get me out of this catch-22 situation, you are more than welcome to share it with me :)

PS : Sincerely hoping I haven't ruffled any feathers by raising a socially controversial topic [:P]