A Comfortable dialogue

Blog by Aarthi Lakshmi

Have you ever been very pleasantly surprised by yourself? Isn’t that kind of very nice feeling? Of course, it very much was, in my case! This is just a small story of myself that might bring a little smile in the corner of your lips. I literally was smiling all the way as I wrote this! 

Let me begin by telling you this: I have made my peace with the fact that am not very good at making conversations except for very few people that am very comfortable with! It will always begin with an obligation to speak but a very, very painfully blank mind which leads to an awkward conversations filled with many uncomfortable silences. 

Not today! I went to a nice book cafe and found myself a comfortable place to sit and started reading the Murakami book that I took off the shelves.  Except for the couple of annoying and loud teenage girls sitting opposite to me, I was in my own bubble.  I would be lying if I told you that I didn’t let out a sigh of relief when those girls left! There was something about their shrieking voices that kept getting to my nerves.  

I know it sounds like an introduction in a romance novel but I had just read too many of them to not leave a mark! So, then she came and quickly sat on the space where those girls left.  I noticed she had a book written by Murakami in her hand too.  I don’t know if she saw me because I was staring at her too long or just because I was sitting opposite to her couch, but she noticed the Murakami book I had in my hand just smiled instantly!  She asked if I had read the ‘Norwegian Wood’ and there began our conversation.  In a few minutes, I shifted to her couch so that we wouldn’t have to talk in a way that the whole cafe could hear. There wasn’t one awkward silence and our conversation was far from over when she realised she had to leave, an hour later we had started talking. We barely exchanged our names but trust me when I say that it was one small perfect conversation. 

This made me realise that I maybe far from an extrovert but I still could share a wonderful conversation with a stranger as long as I don’t force myself into one.  Maybe, just maybe, I am not made much for small banters.  Or maybe, it would take another beautiful stranger to make me realise otherwise!

Money- A Poem

A curse to mankind
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Happiness a fake stage of life
Health not a reality in life
Safety just an illusion in life
Future just a hope in life
We live now for money
Money- A curse to mankind
No time for family
No time to sit and relax
No time to call your parents
No time to take a break
No time to listen to your kids
We want to conquer all
Money- A curse to mankind
Can you give nourishment to your kids?
Can you give love to your kids?
Can you cuddle a little with your kids?
Can you enjoy the nature with your kids?
Who you are rushing to defeat?
Who you want to prove?
Money- A curse to mankind
Pause, rewind a little to see what you left behind
Your happiness, your health, your kids
You bank is full now, but no use for you
No money can buy you health
No money can buy your kids love
No money can buy you companionship
Look around and cherish what you have
Pause a little, live a little, enjoy a little
Money will one day make you lonely
Money will leave you one day
You will leave this world as you come
Money- A curse to mankind
A realization I learned by observations
I am free now and content
You can also be free and content
Once you realize Money- A curse to mankind!

Maya- An Illusion

Story from India
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“What is Maya?”, One day Narada asked Lord Krishna. Krishna knowing Narada, he knows simple explanation will not satisfy him. He needs explanations with experience. Lord Krishna said.

“Narada, walk with me. I will explain what is Maya”.

They both walked for a long time. Krishna did not talk a word. Narada got puzzled by this behavior. However he did not ask Krishna what he is doing. They kept walking. Soon they could see desert land.

Krishna stopped and said

“Narada, I am parched. Could you please go and fetch some water for me? I cannot walk not even a step with out some water.”

“Lord Krishna, Don’t worry. I will got and get water for you.”

Narada left looking for water. He walked and walked. In desert land, he couldn’t find any well or water source. However, after two hours, he found a village. He quickly went towards village. He saw a beautiful young lady by the village well.

“Oh beautiful young lady, could you please give me some water” Narada asked.

“Sure sage. I can.”

Narada drank water as he enjoyed her beauty. He couldn’t take her eyes away from her. He decides to follow her home. He watched her walking in to home near the paddy field. He walked in and saw her father outside cleaning the front verandah.

“I am Narada- celestial sage. I wanted to marry your daughter.”

Knowing Narada who he is, the father did not say anything. He agreed to give her daughter to Narada. Only one condition he put forward.

“One who marries my daughter should stay here and take care of my land and agriculture. I will not live long. Do you agree, then you can have her.”

With out any hesitation, Narada agreed to this condition. They got married. Years pass by, Narada had two kids. He took care of land and agriculture. His business grew and they lived happily. Soon one monsoon, the flood came and took away all his possessions. Narada tried to rescue his wife and kids. Flood current took them away from him.

Narada started crying so loud “Oh lord, how can i live now. My kids, My family, My house… All gone.” he couldn’t stop crying. Soon he felt some one touch his shoulder

“Narada Look around, nothing happened. What you just experience is Maya. It is an illusion. You never left this place. Look, I am here, you are here. You never got married. Nothing happened. Hope you understand now. What is Maya…”

Future of Arranged Marriages in India- Thoughts to Ponder!!!

Blog by Lakshmi.

What is the future of arranged marriages in India?

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What does the future of arranged marriage look like in India? With a younger generation becoming more and more involved in the decision making process, is the future of arranged marriage something that will be fading away?
With globalization and the internet in our lives, things have changed. People have become aware of the world and the culture of other countries and they are now much more open to the idea of love marriage. With the rise of social media and the changing tide in the country, a lot of people have started questioning an arranged marriage’s relevance in the modern day. In fact, a recent survey suggests that over 90% of the youth today would not be comfortable with an arranged marriage. Why is that? The survey says that the reason why today’s youth would not be comfortable with an arranged marriage is because it leaves no room for love to blossom. The survey has been out for quite a while now and it seems that it has sparked a lot of debate among the Indian youth.

Are arranged marriages really as bad and unacceptable? I don’t think so. Anyway, I’m not here to start a debate on arranged marriages. I’m here to talk about arranged marriages in today’s world and their relevance in the lives of millennials.

What does modern society say?

If arranged marriages are really bad for modern society like the survey suggests, why is there still so much talk about arranged marriages around us? Why is it still so much in favor? Why it is still widely practiced in India?
Well, for starters, it’s a tradition and we all should respect it. It’s not a bad thing. One thing I’ve noticed is that the youth of today is more understanding and open to the concept of arranged marriages. It’s actually pretty thoughtful of your parents to want to make a good match for you and to try and protect you from heartbreak. A lot of my friends are open to the concept of being introduced to a stranger and getting married to him or her. I’ve seen a lot of positive feedback from the people of my generation.
There has been a huge evolution in the process of arranged marriages. There are different and innovative approaches today for groom/bride selection, engagement parties and marriage ceremony. A lot has changed from what an arranged marriage was in our grandmothers’ times. Today, it is more of a mutual decision between families, than an outright arranged marriage.
I’m sure the traditional arranged marriage is still very much alive in India. It still exists in Indian culture and the younger generation are pretty okay with it too.
When people think of arranged marriages, they often think of a marketing gimmick for matrimonial sites. But it is much more than that. An arranged marriage is a serious commitment and it will stay strong in the future, too.
The idea of arranged marriage is as old as time itself. In the Indian subcontinent, they are still a popular practice, and it is only getting more popular with the passage of time.
There is no doubt about the fact that arranged marriages are here to stay…

In conclusion, be it love or arranged marriage, all that matters is the life ahead of the couple. So, as long as you stay together refusing to give up on each other, all marriages will end up being perfect…

Reminiscing Home.

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A Blog by Aarthi.

Doesn’t festivities filled with colors and joy scream home generally, even to those who aren’t pretty sentimental? This made me wonder, what do we actually miss when we say that we miss home? The building made of concrete, cement, marbles and what not? The building that gave a roof to our closest relatives for most part of growing up, irrespective of whether they were beautiful, kind, mean, loud or straight up annoying? The sheer abundance of tears, fights, joys and secrets it has witnessed does baffles me!

But, isn’t there more to it? When you plan a change, you prepare yourself to bid adieu to the things you love. You bring your yourself to come in terms with the big things. For instance, how small / big the new house relatively is or how congested or quiet the new city is! But, we forget to prepare ourselves to missing the kind neighborhood woman who always remembers to specially make you a piece of eggless cake during Christmas and how her baking fills the whole neighborhood divine!

I once read an intense poem in my school about a poetess visiting her abandoned ancestral house where she had lived with her grandparents as she was growing up. That poem stayed with me but I still dread to even think of my home as an empty, abandoned place where snakes moved! Maybe am the one who is too fragile or too attached to those pieces of bricks and mortar!

Every place that I have ever been to, has always given me a piece of itself to carry forever in exchange for a little piece of me. But, trust me, home remains special despite the imperfect shared history. Do you want to know the irony? I don’t like the concept of borders and believe that the sense of patriotism is overrated! How comfortably hypocritical! At the end of the day, what can I say except that am just a human being with highly intellectual ideals yet with a sloppy grip of them in real life. But, aren’t we all just flawed? Aren’t we all grappling to find a balance between what we consider ideal on paper and how we actually choose to live our lives? At least that is the belief that lets me sleep peacefully at nights.

I sometimes tell myself that the home is not what I miss but the people who lived there and memories of them. That I could have met that neighborhood woman anywhere. But, the fact remains that I didn’t meet her anywhere else and no better food at Christmas makes me crave less for the piece of bread she always made! Also, whenever I pass through her house , it still reeks of her warm baking smell that she had let the entire neighborhood bask in, long after she had gone.

If there is one thing that I could wish for, I would love to be a warm memory in the mind of at least one stranger, who adores telling the story of me repeatedly to people who are already annoyed at how many times they’ve heard of my story!

Slave- A Poem

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My heart screams,
You have it…
My mind says.
I don’t feel it…
My heart says.
Look around…
My mind says.
My heart says.
Try hard…
My mind says.
My heart says.
My mind says.
My heart says.
Slaves of modern age…
We live…
Really, we don’t.
Slaves of life…
Enjoy a little.
Follow as it comes…
Slaves still a reality…
New forms…
One day you break free,
Door to heaven or hell…
Still a mystery…
Till then a slave…

Pain- A Poem

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At least once.
Love someone,
To know the pain.
Of existence…
Of longing…
Of loneliness…
Love hard,
To know you.
Your boundaries.
It is not yours.
You live with others.
To write stories.
To rewrite the ones…
Already said many times.
Mistakes create and forget,
To make more mistakes.
Love is poison…
Pain is pure…
You live to enjoy the pain.
Of love and loneliness.
Love an emotion…
Yet to conquer…
Thirst to love always linger.
Pain is like labor pains,
You forget once you find love.
Again to create more pains.
Passionate love quench thirst…
Thirst returns in time…
Wander again to find love.
The pure pain.
In everyone’s life….

Re- Birth – A Poem

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Dear bird, will you come to me with love notes
Where is my love bird to sing my heart notes
Words I noted from my heart with heartbeat rhythm
Tears filled eyes ready to overflow
My songs and my life songs slave in pain
Will you fly in to me as thousand petals
Temptations flare in me alone with out restrictions
All dreams shatter in time with pain
Far away nice breeze move away with out touching me
Body pains with out experiencing calmness
Heart shivers with out any peace in sight
Tear petals slowly caressed my cheeks
Searched all over to find calmness in life
Hoping to feel a breast with milk
To feel again as a baby with no pain
To sleep one more time with out stress
To feel once more that loving touch of mother
Lullaby from neighbor house marked a scar on pain
Tear soaked pillows gave some coolness for burning heart
Fell asleep to see the bird in dreams filled with kisses
Danced to my tunes for me in dreams
Heaven, I felt for a while just to realize
Not my life
Just fantasy we see in social media
Realize people, social media paints only fake scenes
Life, a complex phenomenon
Open your eyes wide and see around you
To realize life is beautiful for you
Tears dry up once you see through
Live your life, not others.
Heart will melt and sooth you in time
Like a mother, nature will embrace you
Lullaby from neighbor house will enhance you
Love bird will fly in as thousand petals
Breeze will touch you again to re birth as human.
Silence around you will become mystical tunes
Start to live again…. Heaven.

If you love my creativity, Please give a chance to this fiction novel full of twists and surprises. Journey of a woman who fought against societal pressures of low caste and upper caste divisions. Her struggles to stay alive. Her fight against injustice…. Enjoy reading.

Unwanted Contemplations!

Blog by Aarthi

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Brace yourselves for a couple hundred words of my unwanted contemplation! Anyways, most often than not, we dwell so long into these contemplations about how things could go or about how things should have been. The thoughts about how better off I would have been if only something hadn’t gone wrong could be so endearing and so depressing! But, I would like to contemplate on a much more boring subject of reading habits before the advent of our omnipotent and omniscient Android phones! Please don’t miss the point so much that you get into Android vs Apple battle in your mind right now.

One could easily say that the choice of books or the range of diversity between the authors to read from is much wider now than the pre-internet era! I use the word ‘era’ because those times before the internet seem so surreal to have been such recent past! I started reading at a younger age and trust me, I have been to library so much as a kid! But, as an adult, who needs a million reviews or recommendations before choosing to read a book, the era of pre-internet keeps amusing me!

My father was an avid reader in his younger age and he was the one who aggressively pushed me into reading. But in reality, his reading pool was incredibly limited! He preferred reading Tamil books and genres which were more intellectually stimulating! Today, if you ask google, it would instantly give you at least a ten author names that could fit in his reading profile but his reading extended not beyond the few names that his friends or a local library could lend, in addition to the weekly magazine of political commentary!

Despite the complaints about overwhelming amount of choices that we’re bombarded with, it isn’t at all easy to give up even a little choice. This made me wonder about the few names that I could content myself with, if given no other option. Wonder how that ended? Like the hours-long search for a movie to watch in Netflix, just to realize that you don’t have time to watch a whole movie before you could get a bare minimum sleep that would get you through the work on the following day! Sorry, I like my never- ending choices too much to give up on a few!

Letters- A Fading Phenomena

Nostalgic Poems

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Sun shined through windows
Tired eyes yet energetic body
Soon the letter will come from the one
I was waiting for two weeks to read
A few lines only… Yet an emotional roller-coaster
May be a distant relationship thing
These days, no one really knows the feeling
Of holding that letter every two weeks
Yet, the reply from four weeks ago
Knowing the reality the reply of the letter 
I just send will be two weeks wait again
No phone calls
No text messages
No face to face calls
Just a few words filled with emotions
Written in their own handwriting
Some had smudges with tears
Some had smile all over them
Imagine the face when you read
Imagine the sound you hear through words
The feeling not so true to new generations
Patience not known to new generations
Two weeks to convey love is a taboo nowadays
Remember those were the sweet memories we cherish
Those were the true test of love
Ping.. A text got send
Next second no return text
End of the world for new generation
Time to stop, reflect yourself to realize
What is love?
Back in time read those letters
Will bring back the true bonds we created
Sitting in two corners of land
We scribbled with passion to fill our love
In to two little pages or a post card
Send away to wait for four weeks 
Two weeks one way and to get reply
Love get stronger and stronger with longlines
Enjoy the dreams we create while letter in transit
Imagine the emotions when they read the words
The best time of our lives
Letters in transit…