11 Things Every Woman Should Write Down.....

There's no better way to celebrate the rich, full life you've lived so far—and the big, bright future ahead—than telling your story!

The ever diligent Shilpa (Yo that's the word I associate with you, Shilpa) has tagged me in her post to complete this very interesting list complied by Oprah  -  11 Things Every Woman Should Write Down Before the Year Ends!

Go on, read my story so far...

1. What Younger You Would Like About Present You

For having a 'life' .. a life beyond the every day rut of living. A life revolving around books, friends, blogging - how these simple things make a huge difference to the quality of life!  Another facet I am truly proud of is the fact that I am somebody many would think twice before picking a squabble with!

2. The Watched/Read It List

Courtesy Goodreads, today I have the complete  list of books I have read through the year and a even bigger list of "to-read" books. Go on, visit my page to see what's on my bookshelf this year! Though I have managed to read only 34 of the 50 books I signed up for, it was a beautiful journey of books this year!

As for movies, I already have a list of movies I am hoping to watch the coming year !

3. The Mistake You Never Want to Make 

A mistake I was very close to making, but then as usual the fate had the last laugh! To bring a child to the world for sake of society and not cause you want to bring a child into the world. I see many couples popping out a child within a year or so of marriage - its almost as if producing a child is the one and only obligation in marriage! No child really deserves it.....

The irony though is that today I am more than ready to welcome a child into our life but we have been having no luck in conceiving one :-/

4. Your Ideal Outfit

Am sitting at home writing this post in my comfy PJs ... indeed my ideal outfit ;). But on a serious note, I would love to have more of western formal attire in my wardrobe - well blame my 'personal shoppers' (read my sis n Sabs) for the lack of it :-P

5. A Deep, Dark—Shhh—Secret

Let it remain that way huh ;)

6. The Most Unexpected Compliment You Ever Got

This must be somewhere in grade eight or so. Nobody until then had ever complimented me for my "looks" - instead in their foolishness had made me an awkward and conscious teenager. So it was a pleasant surprise when my class teacher signed my autograph book complimenting me on my radiant smile . I still remember the exact words she wrote! Haa the difference a simple compliment makes to a teenagers psyche

7. That One Quote

When life hands you a lemon make lemonade (or better still get some tequila!).

8. The Best Surprise You've Ever Had

Must be indeed the peter pan of my life - my husband. He truly lives up to the adage "Like father, Like Husband" ;). What more can a daddy's gal want... especially considering I  married him a couple of months after I lost my daddy!

9. Your True Happiness 

Lies in the small things in life....

 The simple pleasures of reading a good book, watching a good movie, of traveling, of rustling up a good meal together and of good times! By no standards do we lead a fancy life - I dream of traveling around the world, of a better home, of a decent bank balance and a complete family. But as my peter pan says "It's the journey, not the destination, that really matters"!

10. Your Favorite Failure

For having ditched the damn software engineer job. Funnily I was good at it, but always knew at the back of my mind that it's not what I want to do! Today my job doesn't pay me half as much as a programming job would have -  but  I know, I have made a change for good! Though honestly there are times I regret it -  for the extra penny it would have paid along with the foreign assignments!I Am still optimistic that time will erase this teeny-weeny regret a day soon!

11. An Amendment to the Bucket List

Ho the slacker in me would love to slash out a few items in my bucket list - to read and write Malayalam(my mother tongue), to give driving another shot among other things - but lets leave the list as is for now - shall we?

An interesting questionnaire rt. I will tag Cory who originally shared this list with us.... I am sure she will have a v interesting story to share with all of us!

With this, I bid 2013 a warm adios and welcome 2014 which am hoping is a more happier and fruitful year......

Dreams – Festival of Words – Day 7

Started from Memories – Festival of Words – Day 1
Contd from Here

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”  
                                                                                                                           ~~  Jackson Brown Jr.

Aalamma couldn't help smiling at the bewildered expression on Nathan's face as she walked back to her room! But she knew, he would never believe her staggering-than-fiction story.....

How could she tell him that she was the one who had set off the the singing recitals in the cafe down the road or even the fact that she called this home stay her home a few decades ago! Would he empathize that the "pent house" he discouraged her from taking is where all her happy childhood memories with Nanny were preserved till date and that she would have paid any ridiculous amount for that  ancient copy of "Pride and Prejudice" cause the cover page carried here dearest Dada's writing.....

It was a winter afternoon like this that she moved far far away from her dearest Niligiris to Panchgani with dreams for her unborn little girl. Sigh! her little girl who has now flown away from cocoon to find her own space n this big big world..........

Today its forty four year since Aalina became Aalama to fulfill the dreams she had dreamt for herself and her little one........

Linking this to  Dreams – Festival of Words – Day 7

And thus we come to the end of story and the WT Festival of Words - what a journey its been!

People – Festival of Words – Day 6!

Started from Memories – Festival of Words – Day 1

 Contd from Here

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”
                                                                                                                              ― Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross

Alina's heart wringed in grief  as the train slowly chugged away from her tiny hill station - a place she's never stepped out of all through her twenty years. She held her hand protectively over her now bulging tummy as if that would save her unborn child from this cruel world... how she wished she had somebody who could hold her hands and walk her through difficult times!

Sitting beside Alina was her Nanny - who at the grand the of eighty didn't think much about relocating half the way across the country just to give Alina another chance in life!  In all her wisdom, Nanny knew that making a clean fresh start miles away from home was the only hope for Alina and her unborn baby to move on with life. It still amazed Alina how her uneducated Nanny pulled strings with local parish and managed to get her a job as a music teacher in a prestigious residential school at Panchgani.

As she absentmindedly popped in the peanuts her Nanny handed her, Alina couldn't hep going back to the question that's been troubling her for past few months - who could be the father of her unborn Child? Could it be Jack the Jazz player at the cafe or Mike the art teacher at the local school or James the holidaying Irish gentleman or could it be the local Muthusaami or somebody else all together!

Aline rued how she let herself loose at the alcoholic binges that followed the musical recitals at the cafe!  When and how did it start including getting into bed with random people she wondered. All the good times ended with a bang a few weeks ago when she found she was pregnant.......

To Be Contd.....

Linking this to People – Festival of Words – Day 6

Travel – Festival of Words 2 – Day 5

Started from Memories – Festival of Words – Day 1

 Contd from Here
Not in a mood to do the touristy things when at Ooty? Worry not - how does a Winch ride across seventeen Kms of  undisturbed sholas and wildlife habitat sound? Or maybe spend the morning with the planters in the Tea Estates - from plucking the leaves to tasting the freshly brewed tea! Or how about spending the evening in company of the Local Toda Tribes - with a free lesson in the famous Thoda Shawl weaving thrown in and even sample their cuisine! Sounds very interesting right.....

 Nathan was impressed with himself for having come up with this interesting iternary for Aalamma. He had been for last couple of days to get her to do "Touristy Things" - sail down the ooty lake or a morning walk in the famous botanical garden. But everytime, she declined it with her characterestic shake of head. "Maybe she is too old to do these touristy things" thought Nathan and in a sudden brain wave came up with this innovative plan - it seemed to him that it would appeal to Aalamma at every level!

So Nathan was pretty heartbroken when Aalamma almost laughed out loud reading his plan before declining it with her now irritating head shake! He was at his wits end - she seemed to hang around the home-stay through the day and in the evening go to a hip-n-happening cafe frequented by the visiting foreign tourists! Aalamma seemed such a misfit in that surroundings that Nathan couldn't just wrap his head around the idea......After all how could a place overflowing with booze and loud music  interest a sedate Indian grandmother!

To Be Contd...

Linking this to Travel – Festival of Words 2 – Day 5

Music – Festival of Words – Day 4

Started from Memories – Festival of Words – Day 1 
Contd from Here 


"I Swear"

I swear by the moon
and the stars in the sky
and I swear like the
shadow that's by your side........

Aalina sighed as she finished another rendition of this soulful song -   her Dad's favourite - to a room full of hooting crowd. She was thankful to her father whose love for music she had inherited. Also it was her only source of bread and butter after her parents tragic death in an air accident a few months ago. Soon she was swindled off her inheritance by "well-meaning" relatives. Thus at the ripe age of sixteen, Aalina had to fend for herself and her old Nanny.

A cafe down the road which was  favourite haunt with the backpacking foreigners offered to pay her a decent amount for evening musical recitals. It seemed a God sent opportunity then - she could do something she  loved and make some quick buck out of it! And the crowd loved her right back - what was not to love about a young chirpy girl whipping out their old favorites........

Haa those long soirees of never ending music and beer with audience joining in for impromptu jamming sessions were strangely liberating.....

Contd Here...

Linking this to  Music – Festival of Words – Day 4

Books – Festival of Words – Day 3

 Started from Memories – Festival of Words – Day 1
Contd From Here....

 It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters.

 Nathan looked up from his desk, as Aalamma all of a sudden started reading out lines from a random book(or so he thought) she picked from the adjoining book shelf. He was pretty sheepish, when earlier in the day he explained to her that contrary to what was in the brochure, this home-stay did not really have a library so to speak. It was just a random collections of some sleazy magazines that the customers randomly left behind and a few classics which seemed to be older than the home-stay itself!

Thus Nathan was pretty flummoxed when he saw Aalamma's eyes brighten up as he walked her to the partly hidden book aisle. Her eyes almost glossed over as she picked one of the books and started caressing the book as if it was some long lost lover!

Nathan didn't know what to make of it when she almost hugged the ancient copy of "Pride and Prejudice" to her heart and offered to pay him whatever price he quotes.....

Contd here...

Linking this to Books – Festival of Words – Day 3

Food – Festival of Words – Day 2

Contd From Here...

Aalina finished doodling the recipe of her fav snack in her school scrap book.This simple dish - her Nanny's specialty - has  been her favorite dessert from the time she could remember.  Even as a kindergartener, she couldn't help noticing the difference in their daily menus. The sambar, rasam and poriyal her nanny relished was frowned upon by her mom. Unfortunately for Aalina, the pork ribs, steaks, soups her parents seemed to prefer was definitely not her favourite.....

An only child, in this huge palatial bungalow tucked away in the tea estates of Niligiris - Aalina was home-schooled by her parents.They were stickler to conversing only in English even to her Nanny who was conversant only in the local dialect. Aalina wasn't even allowed to be chummy with children of local Tea Planters! The only solace she had were her books that Aalina obviously devoured! When the loneliness got onto her too much, she sneaked away into her Nanny's tiny room in the terrace where the simple yet hearty food warmed her soul. Evenings spent tucking into "Naadan Chicken Roast", sipping the hot pepper rasam as she flipped though her favorite book sitting in her Nanny's Veranda was her favorite childhood memory till date! The fact that it railed her mother, gave the teenage Aalina an extra "kick" to do it all the more

It was a while before Aalina realized that all all this was  a vain and desperate attempt by her parents to hold onto their British Lineage. She couldn't always help wondering how different her life would have been if her parents were alive a few more years......

Contd Here.....

This is part of Food, Food – Festival of Words – Day 2

PS: This doodle is courtesy the livewire of VaayadiPennu

Memories – Festival of Words – Day 1

Holiday and 'Memories' ought to be synonymous.....

Those long walks in midst of tea estates, sprawling around your own 'private' waterfall, walking hand in hand with your sweetheart as the light mist caresses you, trekking up to the hill top for the sunset, curling up with your favorite book at the nook-corners of the gardens , Cold beers to warm you on the crispy cold nights and the delicious local cuisine which spoils you with choice!  Life doesn't get better than this .. does it?

  Thus read the brochure of 'Memories'. Despite the tall promises in the brochure -  the place was  in reality a rundown home-stay tucked away in the heart of Niligiris. Nathan, the manager had his hands full during the weekends when this place was crowded with backpacking youngsters on a shoestring budget. Nathan looked up as yet another tourist walked into the reception door - for a moment he was nonplussed to see a middle class Indian lady in her 60s travelling solo ! He was all the more dumbfounded when the lady requested for the "Pent House" - Nathan rushed to explain that this was located right next to their open-air disc that was open until wee hours of the night and may not be the best of the choices. He even tried coaxing the lady to book into the next door "Murugan Guest House" which he assured her was a better choice for err... a senior citizen!

But all Nathan could do was shrug and complete the check-in formalities for Aalamma, as she was very firm in her choice of room! As she walked up the creaking stairs, Nathan couldn't help wondering why this old lady was so insistent on choosing this rundown home-stay and that too a room on the terrace when he had given her a choice of much more comfy room on the ground floor.....

Contd Here....

This is submitted as a part of Memories – Festival of Words – Day 1