Confessions of an Immigrant-7

Hello lovelies,

I am back with yet another confession and I know many of you were waiting for my update but I was stuck with a Canadian Dynamite called Mid- Term. Finally its over and my Reading Week too. So, now tomorrow I will go back to my college and again back to that studies. But many new interesting things happened in this course of time.

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The latest event being my Cousin’s Ladies Sangeet. This weekend was more than fun, excitement and a roller coaster ride. I really loved the decoration. It was combination of Punjabi and Gujarati culture which I was looking forward to. There was a stall where mehandi keeps, parandi, bangles and some other sweets were there. Everything was from home, starting from scented candles, with stands, hukkas, cushions, colourful curtains, umbrellas. Now umbrella had something different in it. They were stitched with phulkari dupattas which made them look more ethnic. Further, I met my relatives which was an amazing catchup with cousins and family. We danced alot and some of the dance was choreographed.

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Bride’s Mom

Coming to the bridal shower which I had missed was also a great show and I just have a picture of it. I wish I could attend the bridal shower. But there were some props too like ‘Bride to be’, ‘Bride’s friends’ or some ‘bridemates’ etc.

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Sisterly Love

Mid Terms didnt seem like mid terms. We had no holidays and they were taken place in the given periods only and in given time. So, it was not like our Indian system that the exams and datesheets were given, then we used to give exams and go back. We practically had no datesheets. For 2 subjects we had mid term quiz which we had in the class and it was objective. All the papers were objective except the two. But I couldn’t feel like that I was giving any exam. We have to answer in the question paper only so we are not given the question papers back.

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first time gulab Jamun in Canada 🙂

The assignments were interesting but hectic. My group gave our best and we could score well in that. For the first time, I got a chance to compile the work and then only I realised how tough it is to be mechanical and go in a sync when it comes to compiling the work of different people into one. Some experiences are always different, yet it teaches us a new lesson.

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The next best segment was the live concert. I still don’t know who the singers were and my apologies for being so naive. There was a restaurant opening and the customers were given free food and some discounts for the other food if we order. The music just relieved my nerves and I wore a gown.

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with dadi and bua

Life has become fast paced and how time flies, you just never come to know. But slowly things are getting better and I am understanding the lifestyle here. I am still a learner and will surely learn new things everyday.

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Author’s Advice: Life is easy but it is on us, how we handle it, either by complicating it or by just facing the reality and moving on with a positive spirit.

 

Tagged Diaries: The Golden Couple

I know its been a long time since I have updated anything in Tagged Diaries but I was looking for a right time and here I am back with a happy moment to share. Last Sunday my grandparents celebrated their Golden Jubilee and it was a perfect time for all of us. We had a gala time in Batala.

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Perfect Photo 🙂

 

Batala is a small town which is 2 hours away from Jalandhar. The function was scheduled around 12 in the noon and the venue was Grand Way1. It is just 1 km before we enter the main city Batala. My granparents hail from that town and our two most important Dadka family lives there along with their two generations. We have a huge family tree and it will take a whole post to write about it so I am exempting that segment.

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Girls Squad

Iqbal Rai Marwaha and Aruna Rani happens to be my cousin grandparents, as in , my grandfather’s brother. He completed 50 years with his beloved wife and guys, I tell you, he is the most handsome man I have come across and dadi is just a perfect lady to be around our happening family. The nuclear concept of families has separated our families but our whole Dadka family got united at the venue and it was a treat to spend time with happening family.

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Family Photo

As we entered the place, the place was  beautifully decorated and it was just perfect for this sort of occassion. The snacks were delicious and I wont be talking of them as you might shift your focus to the delicacies;)

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Winners 

Mostly such elderly parties are boring but Sareen family’s parties are always intriguing for everyone. The events started with a statue dance for children below 14 and 3 winners were selected. I was one of the volunteer who had to distract the kids. Trust me guys, its a hard job to distract children. It was fun.

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With the most Handsome Man..:D

The second game was for everyone. Some of the questions were asked like Whose wallet has a picture of their better half? and many more. So, those who matched with the things were given gifts. This activity completely hooked us.

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Couple Dance 

The third game was a couple dance in which we got two winners. The couple dance was not at all easy guys. There was a balloon in the middle. Since we people had no partners so we clicked pictures of people performing. I was the one who entered in every game and danced like anything. The happiness was overloaded.

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Blush Blush

Then the last game was to open a chit and sing two songs. So, the words were amazing and everyone sang. The best part was everyone was excited about the events that were to be performed.

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Wow

After all the games, the cake cutting ceremony along with the ring exchange took place. The Dj tuned the music to romantic songs.So, this beautiful couple was blushing. The love was in the air and it sounded so cute. In all this, we guys were busy hooting.

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Blushing Couple

Then their was some dance for sometime and later on the lunch was scheduled. Again the food was sumptuous. I was hell tired and exhausted because of dancing like a maniac that I couldn’t duff more of food. I tasted that cutest cake. It was out of the world. After that, it was a time to say goodbye and we all were so nostalgic with happiness overpowering our faces. We met our relatives, cousins, distant ones. It was a perfect party. The bestest part was the family dadka picture. I am blessed to have such a huge family and I wish we could get back to olden times and stay together always. Our hearts are together.

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Asli Dadka Family ..:P

In this tagged diaries, I will give my grandparents ‘The Golden Couple’ Tag. Stay tuned for more such updates and I promise, I will come back soon with amazing tag for a special person. Till then Like, comment and share this post, so that I can do some bhangra.

 

 

 

Book Review of Knitted Tales

Knitted Tales by Rubina Ramesh is a collection of short stories that has some deeper meaning. In these short stories Rubina has taken us to childhood, matured level and to extremely above all level. It is a journey where we feel mixed emotions overpowering us after reading every story.

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The cover of the ebook perfect as it says knitted which can be in form of a web. This gives us a positive touch. Further, The title is perfectly chosen as surely, these tales are knitted like those grannies knit the sweaters of a baby.

Stories at a glance:

A Secret in their Closet: This story talks about reincarnation which is believed in India where one comes back in another form. This is a heart touching story where the child reminds her parents of their sin.

Betrayal: This story is of a married couple where the wife betrays her husband because of his evil deeds. This talks of illicit relationships but in other way the reader might feel that the wife did the right thing.

Chiclets: It is a story with a deeper message of where the author talks about discrimination on the basis of race. The way the mother and child handles the situation in a positive way is the rest of the story.

Forgive Me, For I Have Sinned : This story highlights a topic that is treated as taboo in India and many other countries. It is considered as a sin if a brother falls for his sister. The use of epistolary technique adds essence to it.

Lolita: This is a story of the struggles of Lolita whose life changes in a bad way where she becomes Lolita, a sex worker from Lalita.

No Regrets: This is beautiful story of a husband wife whose dull life becomes interesting when the husband accidently reads the chat of his wife.

SuvarnaRekha: This story talks about Honour Killing where two lovers are not from caste are forced to commit suicide.

The Little Godmother: A Beautiful inspiring story that can change the minds of the people. This reminds us of Cinderalla’s story as we have that anecdote in it.

The Missing Staircase: A suspense story that keeps you in thoughts. It reminds us of our childhood and the memories shared woth our grandparents. It also give us a bit spooky feeling. A perfect role of stream of consciousness could be noticed.

The Other Woman: This story brings tears in our eyes. It is written from the point of view of the child which has its own essence.

Daddy, Hear Me Out : A story that reminds us of the time when we were struggling to do something and that calling in our life totally changed our life. The same happens in this story.

Cliffnotes: This is a complicated story which might confuse you but has a deeper meaning, if you get the knack then you get the story.

The author has beautifully expressed her feelings by taking up different sets of stories. The way she has handled such serious issues with an ease is appreciable. Many people might criticise her because of the unusual stories and their combinations, also the taboos dealt here but I feel atleast she dared to talk abot them with a different perspective and we all should respect her thoughts. The way she added the hindi words and their meanings in the end are the best as it is of great help to those readers who are naive to Hindi.

Grab the ebook from amazon: https://www.amazon.in/Knitted-Tales-collection-Rubina-Ramesh-ebook/dp/B01M6UV0DK?_encoding=UTF8&keywords=knitted%20Tales%20by%20Rubina%20Ramesh&qid=1482319730&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1

About the Author

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Rubina Ramesh is an avid reader, writer, blogger, book reviewer and marketer. She is the founder of The Book Club, an online book publicity group. Her first literary work was published in her school magazine. It gave her immense pride to see her own name at the bottom of the article. She was about 8 years old at that time. She then went to complete her MBA and after her marriage to her childhood friend, her travel saga started. From The Netherlands to the British Isles she lived her life like an adventure. After a short stint in Malaysia, she finally settled down in the desert state of USA, Arizona. Living with her DH and two human kids and one doggie kid, Rubina has finally started living the life she had always dreamed about – that of a writer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mr Xavier’s Guitar- Guest Post

So here is the next guest post by the author of Encounters, Sumana Khan. Lets read what she has to tell us about music.

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It’s funny how some people just peep into your life…you know they kind of stand at the doorstep, have many conversations, and before long, ways part; leaving you with a warmth that will remain inside for a long, long time. That’s how I know Mr Xavier.

My first job had taken off – but before it could touch cruising altitude, it dived and crash landed. It was a small, vibrant team and most found their way out without any problems. I stuck on – mainly because I had no clue about ‘what next’. In such ‘no clue’ moments (of which there are many) – my policy has always been ‘no movement is movement’. Yeah, I’m the greatest worshiper of inertia. So far, I’m alive…so that’s good. It was weird, a bit depressing even – the silence that had befallen the once boisterous workplace. I think only a few of us remained; perhaps 3-4 of us; we moped around quietly in our corners.

I think Mr Xavier was hired around that time, mostly in an administrative role. He was an elderly gentleman (maybe in his late fifties) with a quiet, unassuming demeanor – a small man with hair neatly slicked backwards, wore specs with a largish frame. I almost always remember him in one of those sleeveless sweaters – maybe the a/c in the office troubled him. On most days we’d exchange a polite hello and make small talk about Bangalore. I think he stayed somewhere near Frazer town…so we’d talk about BTS bus service and stuff like that. He had a deep bass voice – clearly meant for a choir – it rolled about the quiet office whenever we spoke.

It so happened that one afternoon, as I sat intently programming a query, the power went out. It usually took a couple of minutes for the backup to kick-in, and it was only then that I realised I was alone in the office. Well, I mean Mr.Xavier was out there in the reception area – but my other colleagues had left. I figured I’d leave too – but it was pelting rain outside – and that meant the buses wouldn’t stop. The backup came on, and I decided to finish my SQL. I heard Mr.Xavier sniffling – poor man, the weather and the a/c must’ve aggravated his sinus, I thought.  I brewed a cup of tea for him, got myself a coffee and went to the reception.

Mr. Xavier quickly wiped his eyes and without looking at me, he said a thank you. I figured he was running a temperature and asked him to leave for home. Of course he was in no shape to take a bus. Maybe I should dash outside and engage an auto for him. Or at least go to the medical store round the corner and get him some Crocin. Mr.Xavier shook his head…as if shaking heads would stop me from doing what I wanted to do. ‘No, I am fine. Sit, have your coffee,’ he said. His voice shook. It was only when he spoke that it hit me – Mr.Xavier had been crying.

I fidgeted. Should I leave him alone? Seeing anyone cry makes me uncomfortable…but seeing an elderly man cry is absolutely unnerving. For how long had he been crying? Sit, he said again.

I sat on the sofa facing his reception desk, fidgeting some more. I eventually asked him if there was anything I could do to help him. He shook his head a couple of times. ‘I lost my son.’

At first it did not sink in – the ‘lost’ part. And when it dawned, it turned my insides. I did not want to listen to Mr Xavier. I did not want to see his face twisted in so much pain. I did not want to see his dripping, bewildered eyes. I did not want to hear the tremble and quake in his usually comforting voice. No, no. I was 25. All this happened on another planet. In my world there was only music and stories and turbulent romance.

But Mr Xavier continued. It had happened a couple of years ago. Mr.Xavier’s son – my age, or slightly younger – had met with an accident while returning home one night. His friends had shifted him to a hospital – but he could not pull through. Mr Xavier’s boy never came home. He was a brilliant boy, Mr Xavier told me. Very intelligent, was training under a CA if I remember correctly. He was obviously the pride of the family.

Mr Xavier spoke and spoke. He relived the night he got the call over and over again. He spoke of all the ‘what if’ scenarios. He spoke of sitting in the police station. He spoke of one inspector who treated the bereaved family with much kindness. He spoke of his wife, his younger daughter (and probably another younger son). He said he was sorry to have unburdened on me. ‘You are still a child,’ he said shaking his head. I wanted to tell him to talk as much as he could – but I did not find my voice or words. As a father, he had to hold it together at home. Yes, he’d lost his son – but he still was a father – he still had his two other children. His wife had almost collapsed – it was only now that a dull sense of normalcy was returning. The daughter was in her second year pre-university. Life had to go on. Mr Xavier had come out of retirement to become the breadwinner again. Even so – how difficult it is for a man to grieve. Society and culture puts so much burden on men – as if they have lesser tear glands and steel hearts that can’t be squeezed when faced with such terrible situations.

When we left for the day – the mela at the bus stop did not bother me. It usually was the case on rainy days. The footboard travel did not bother me either. These problems all looked too trivial. I’d grown up a lot more in those few hours.

After that day, Mr Xavier and I had our tea together almost every afternoon. Some days he’d talk a lot about his son. But most days he’d talk about his daughter or something else. I remember once we had a detailed discussion on rasam. He insisted that without a pinch of garlic, it is no rasam. I swore by hing and mustard seasoning. By the end of the unresolved debate, at least I was very hungry.  When Titanic was released, he told me his daughter has gone bonkers over Dicaprio. He said day and night, night and day he heard only ‘my heart will go on’ and that it was quite a relief to sit in office. I laughed. He asked me if I’d watched the movie. I said no and kind of changed the topic. There was no way I’d tell Mr Xavier that a friend and I decided there was no point in watching a ship sink, so we watched The Full Monty instead.

One restless day, there wasn’t much work to do and I prowled about the empty office like a man-eater. Mr Xavier must’ve got bugged with the stomping and asked me to work on some physics problems for his daughter. I think I made the office boy buy a notebook and in no time, it was filled with motion physics equations. Mr Xavier laughed. He said I could make more money selling exam notes. Maybe you should write a book, he said. So we chatted about books and music and instruments.

So what if you can’t sing? You must learn at least one instrument, he said. You won’t understand now, but if you can make music, you will always have a balance in life, he said. Any new idea excites me (even now) to ridiculous levels. After a detailed discussion, (so intense that it seemed the world would end if I did not have SOME instrument in my possession by that evening) – we settled for the guitar. Mr Xavier laughed so much when I suggested saxophone. He chose the guitar over the piano – because guitars were more accessible and portable. So will you come with me to buy the guitar? We can go right now, I urged. Leave it to me, he said. Guitars can’t be bought like tomatoes.

Ten days later, as I sat in front of his desk for the usual afternoon coffee, Mr Xavier, the smooth operator, brought out a guitar that he had hidden behind the table. Oh what a delightful, hysterical surprise it was!  He’d asked someone in the Bangalore School of Music to get it made. For once, I was absolutely speechless. They’d packed the guitar in a neat cloth case with a pocket to hold a couple of plucks and a tuner. The guitar is tuned, Mr Xavier told me, with the widest smile I’d ever seen on his face.. He’d even brought one of those slim books with large representation of the chords. First you learn to read the music. Then you practice the chords. Now, it is up to you, he said, still smiling. That evening, the bus ride was something. Someone even offered me a seat – and that was unheard of.

I bought some books, and did practice…in secret…since my previous disastrous engagement with vocal music is legendary in the family. I’d return from work and sit on the terrace, read the chords by street light and go plink plonk.

Eventually my firm closed down. I got a job that took me to another end of Bangalore. Soon work expanded to fill every waking hour. I kept in touch with Mr Xavier sporadically – greeting him on Christmas mainly. Travel finally cut me off – from Mr Xavier and the guitar. I did take up the guitar years later. The new teacher said Mr Xavier’s guitar was perfect…just needed to be restrung. But the personal bereavement in my life meant I would not touch the guitar for a long, long time.

It’s been over fifteen years since I met Mr Xavier. I bet his daughter has found her Dicaprio and Mr Xavier is a proud grandpa. We often view courage as something heroic – involving saving lives or taking lives depending on which side you are. But this …what Mr Xavier showed…is courage. Grief is the worst acid – it can corrode your soul and just suck you in. Losing a child is unfathomable. Yet, even that darkness – to bring a smile on someone’s face – that’s courage for you.

I’ve got to finish this business. I’ve got to make music. As a good friend tells me, I owe it to Mr Xavier. And Mr Xavier if you are reading this – Thank You.

ABout the Guest

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Sumana Khan was born and raised in Bangalore where she pursued a career as an It consultant. She currently lives in the Uk and is a full time writer and student. She holds a Master of Letters in Creative Writing from University of Glasgow and is pursuing her M.S.c in Psychology. her website is http://www.sumanakhan.com. ENCOUNTERS is her second book.

P.S. Also read my review of her book Encounters :

https://captivatingmode.wordpress.com/2016/05/17/book-review-encounters/