Riddhika's Blog

An expression of the soul

From ‘I’ to ‘We’¬†

As I sit here trying to write my blog for the nth time in the last few months. I am greeted with a blank mind which refuses to budge. I have felt this emotion at various points of my life, so I believe that there is still hope. I may just be able to write again as I have done so in the past. It is difficult to express feelings about a time period so beautiful yet so complex in a few hundred words. However today I have promised myself that I will share snippets of my journey. Whatever little I can and how ever much I can. I have a commitment to those who ardently read and follow the blog. Countless attempts have been made to pour my thoughts out into this virtual world that I have slowly come to think of as my sanctuary, my sacred space. However, these efforts have been to no avail.  How should I explain to you dear reader that marriage is perhaps the most overwhelming step I have taken  in my life. Everyone said it would be that way, yet it is only when one feels and lives the emotion for themselves, does one realize just how overwhelming it truly is. 

Nitesh and I met through our closest friends and our romance has been every bit the fairy tale I have wished for  since I was a young girl. We were engaged exactly 3 weeks from the the day we believe we fell for each other! If my god would have asked me to describe the sort of human being, I would have liked to marry, Perhaps I would not have been able to describe the man he blessed me with. Nitesh turned out to be a combination of so many things that seem like the ying to my yang. However, please do not confuse him to be a perfect human being. He is just a wonderful human being who is perfect for me ūüôā

Our families were thrilled to celebrate the coming together of the two of us. I suppose we truly celebrate the coming together of two souls in our country. It’s an event that we look forward to and plan years in advance. Marriage is a sacred commitment to most of us.  A commitment we choose to enter into and choose to respect and honour every day from the day we are tied into that bond. It’s an overwhelming feeling when it’s all playing out in front of you and perhaps even more  overwhelming post the wedding and once the festivities end. 
Nitesh and I often joke with our friends, that  try and avoid streching your courtship when you decide to get married. To us, our courtship was filled with moments  of tension and stress in the midst of all the happiness. Despite being engaged, it takes all your positivity and patience, to not lose your patience with each other and continuing to keep the spark alive. Please do not get me wrong when I express this view, however we often consume ourselves with conversations and situations that aren’t important and perhaps aren’t relevant at that particular point of our lives. Yet technology allows us so much access to one and another that confusion prevails sooner rather than later.  While I loved how many bouquets of flowers my courtship was filled with, I dislike how much stress as bride and groom we took on our plate  simple because of just how much we had planned or had visualized in our mind for the wedding. Part of the issue today is that we want what the other person next to us has and perhaps want something better as well ! Creating stress for ourselves in general. It takes a lot to keep reminding yourself that you must want a marriage that is truly more beautiful and more grand than your wedding. 

 However all that anxiety fades away as soon as your life events unfold in front of you.  The excitement is such a special feeling. The wedding felt like my moment of being on top of the world with the person who made everything in life worth living for. Yet nobody told me that every high must follow with a low of its own kind; so on and so forth. 
Post the wedding, I remember sitting as a new bride in a room filled with people who were laughing and chatting and despite all of that, I felt lonely and isolated. Was it normal to feel this way I sometimes asked myself?  I never voiced this feeling , simply because I have never been made to feel anything but  warmly welcomed and loved in my new home. I suppose, leaving behind your parents, your siblings and your home is a depressing and difficult step which no girl can avoid. However, I reminded myself of the things my mother would speak to me about during the years before I was to get married and I recall her breaking it down for me and explain to me that when you enter a new home, if you are making a change in your own life, then the next person or family too is changing themselves and their surroundings to welcome you into their zone, their home and their family. The idea was to constantly remind myself that I could not surround myself and my thoughts with purely my own list of adjustments and changes  and I always had to remember to look carefully at the bigger picture. 

Every time I felt lonely because of the longing for what was known and felt like home, I reminded myself of the first day I walked into our home as a new bride.  On February 5th, 2016; a day after my wedding my Inlaws planned the most memorable Welcoming ceremony for me. I was made to feel so wanted, so loved and extremely special.  A dozen baskets were filled with flowers and  each member of the family joined in and showered me with a dozen  flowers to welcome me as I took my steps towards my new life. Every time I feel lonely, I think of that day, and the love and warmth with which they all brought me home with. When that memory is refreshed in my mind, my promise to myself to love them all, becomes even more firm. I reinstate the promise I made to myself  that I will always shower them with even more respect than I already give them. I was taught that if you give love, you get love and if you respect people, they too in turn will respect you for that gesture and I have never thought of that to be more true than now.  
I truly believe that life can feel like a bed of roses, depending on who you choose to walk the path with and those you choose to journey with. 

Sometimes I question myself about when this human being whom I now call my husband walked into my life and became such an integral part of it?  When did my love for him grow so strong? When did we become so close that all that was once his and mine individually has grown into the feeling of being ours together. Our joys, ours sorrows, our happiness and most importantly our family. 
You see dear reader, we humans are such softies at heart. We are designed in a way that we can love with all our heart and soul and with that love, bonds are developed. The home that once seemed like someone else’s is slowly feeling like my own. 

Despite the fact that it’s been 6 months since the wedding already, it feels like only yesterday when we were all engulfed in the thick of wedding planning. Our conversations were consumed by our excitement of what the decor would look like, how the cards would be designed, venues, music, artists, and designers whose clothes we were excited to flaunt. It seems like all of it happened in a blur. Along the way we made so many friends. With vendors who have helped  execute our ideas and visualisations into reality. I feel blessed and so happy when I meet someone who was a part of our journey of planning what was perhaps one of the most important day of our lives. We have shared moments of a time that will forever remain close to my heart. You all know who you are and I cannot thank you enough for being a part of our excitement, our fears and our happiness in celebrating this occasion. A lot of you have started to feel like family! 

Coming to family; Mamma and Papa- Thank you. No matter what I may say, words fall short to express an emotion so deep for all the love and affection with which you have brought me up and with which you got me married. I love you and I am truly blessed to be your daughter. I would not have had it any other way . Raghav, for being the rockstar brother who handled everything with such patience and humility on the days of the wedding. Monisha Massi and Arvind Uncle for being my second parents through and through, for getting me married from Sainik Farms and for always loving me the way you both do. My two Bhua’s, my phuphaji’s and my four wonderful cousins; Nikhil, Aditya, Kabir and Kabeer for being there through and through. 

My Inlaws; for believing that I would be able to tread this path that NJ and I have chosen to walk on. For supporting me through the change and for welcoming me with arms wide open. My sister in laws; Neha Di and Nidhi Di for being friends first and then sisters. For helping me through the whole process of settling into my new home. Truly no fun without the two of you! Last but not the least, my dearest Husband Nitesh; for believing that Ours was the puzzle that would fit just right.  None of this joy would be possible without you! 

As I live each day of being married, I realize that I have taken up a life long profession. My profession entails that each day, I look at the brighter side of life, look at the good rather than the bad, add humor to a tense situation and create an environment which will perhaps negate all of life’s irritants along the way. My job is to create a home and the learning of how to do that comes from everyday experiences! This job has perhaps taught me the greatest amount of patience and appreciation of life in general! 

Why this post you may ask. Why did I choose to share my story yet again with an audience that are strangers to me yet with whom my bond has been as long and deep since the birth of this blog. Someone once said to me that no one posts a picture of themselves crying on facebook, no one shares a moment of feeling vulnerable and emotional on a public forum. The world that we have created around us is one where we share our happiness and our exaggerated moments or highs, yet very few share real life snippets and experiences that perhaps at some stage may help us and give us strength to take the right steps in the right direction.  This is just my way of reaching out to young girls like myself who are perhaps already dealing with such emotions or may do so in the near future.  

Until next time… However many months it may take! 
Yours Lovingly, 
Riddhika 

That Girl

I’ve been wearing a Chuda; a set of Red Bangles usually worn by newly wedded brides in Northern India for about 3 and a half months now. The number of days a girl can choose to wear the chuda varies from 40 days and can also be worn right up to the end of the first year of marriage. It really depends on the girl, the boy and perhaps the two families involved. At least I hope that is the usual case.
Its been 3.5 months since I have been married and I think it would be okay for me to say, that my chuda and I have come to develop a bond. After All, it takes great effort to wear a set of bangles and not be able to remove them, while continuing to find the logic, joy and thought behind this ancient tradition.
I was recently reading an article on a popular wedding website. Its a pandora Box for brides to be. Some amazing advice packed in cyber space. The article discussed how all the traditions in India were primarily expected to be followed by Women. It expressed utter disgust at the fact that a newly wedded bride was expected to wear a chuda, perhaps on some occasions, even wear the mangal sutra and sindoor and other small such indicators that silently spelt it out to the world that the girl was no longer a girl but a married women. Fair enough. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and hence I set out to express my own.
Here are some of my observations about the tradition that I have tried to follow to the best of my ability and along the way faced my own set of issues with.
I am a modern girl, who was brought up in Dubai and educated at a boarding school in India and then further sent to University in The United Kingdom. I studied world Politics and worked with a Private Bank. I am also a proud Indian who was married following both Hindu practices as well as Jain rituals. I am traditional where I would like to be and Modern and practical when I need to be.
I mingle with educated people and yet in so many instances I have been looked down upon because I have chosen to follow a custom that I thought was important to follow and was of some significance to my family and myself.
I keep thinking of why my chuda is special to me and what I have learnt by wearing it this long. The first thing that comes to my mind is the word Patience. My chuda has annoyed me on so many occasions after all waking up to bangle marks on your face is no fun. Yet I had to try and smile everyday when I would see my face. Sweating in Delhi heat with a dozen bangles too is no fun; yet I had to keep my patience while wearing them and not let small irritants come in the way of making my day as glorious as it could possibly be. After all doesn’t life throw many more irritants our way and we have to deal with them come what may. Keep calm, and carry on with your chuda was my logic. Marriage itself requires so much patience and I kid you not; I truly believe that my chuda was part of this learning curve in my life.However what I do find appalling is that while so many people talk about the expectations on women to look married… There is a huge population in our country that openly look down upon people like myself who decide to follow a tradition. Do I not even have the right to choose what I think is important and follow that custom? On many occasions, I felt like simply because I was wearing a chuda I just wasn’t cool enough for the society we live in.
I am so grateful for inlaws, sister in laws and a husband who despite not having the tradition of a chuda ceremony fully supported my desire to wear one for as long as my heart desired.
I definitely thought we were above the age where peer pressure crept kept in.Little did I know it becomes societal pressure soon enough.
We see actresses like Priety Zinta rock their chuda and we think it looks stunning. We see Kareena Kapoor Khan a hindu punjabi married to a muslim man wear sindoor and the tabloids call it hot and classy. However when an ordinary Indian girl decides to follow traditions, we think its ok to pick on them; call them uneducated and naive, and maybe even a bhenji. The most shocking part of this whole thing is that the majority of the people who engage in such conversations are girls itself.
Give yourselves and your mind a break. Engage in more important things and maybe even rethink what you truly stand for!Traditions are good for you! Don’t blindly follow people. Set your own trend and think them through for yourself and try not to force your opinion down on someone else and typecast people.
I am modern and yet I am traditional and no one else gets to decide who I am
apart from myself.

Hi Sexy!

In loving memory of my dearest Nani. May you rest in eternal peace. We Love you and miss you terribly.

As I sit back comfortably and begin to type out this blog post, I am surrounded by the sound of birds chirping, the river flowing, singing a song in its sweet melody and nature that takes my breath away every single time I stop to look around.

Im in Kullu. In my maternal home and as our grandparents once said their gift to their grand children. Blessed would be the correct word for a gift as beautiful as this and a legacy as emotional and memorable as this. Many happy and sad moments have been spent in this house in Kullu. My earliest memory being from the time we returned from Dubai to live in Kullu, immediately after my grand fathers demise. That was in August 1994. Times in between then and now have been a mix of extremely happy and extremely traumatic and difficult times.

Through it all only one thing remain constant and the love for whom and from whom only grew in plenty. Our beloved nani.

On Monday, September 28th, 2015 she too passed away and moved on to the next chapter. Our idea and thought of the constant has now changed. The pillar of strength suddenly gone. I find our family looking lost, and confused. It is normal and natural I am told. At Least she went away peacefully. But why must she go is my question? Why couldn’t we have her with us a little longer? I get no reply.

All of 5 ft and a few extra inches here and there, Sneh Prabha Mehra was definitely a force to reckon with. Chaar Bhaiyon ki Ek Behen! ( One sister to 4 brothers) She was so brave and so strong! My nani was a tough cookie. She did her MA and B Ed to become a Hindi teacher, heading in a direction which would soon become her life long passion. She married my grandfather in her mid 20’s, at a time when such an age was considered slightly older than the usual norm. She learnt how to drive a car, and it is with great pride that I can now say she probably drove herself somewhere till 2 days before she passed away. She knew her mind and hated being dependant on anyone. She always told us that she wanted to pass away in Kullu. Kullu to her was home. Its where she was happiest. Little did we know that she would take us by surprise, and do exactly that.

Words fail me at a time when all I want to do is pour my heart about what nani meant to us. How she looked after us as little children. Her habit of waking up at 5 am every single day! Her lovely mathis and the yummiest shakar paaras. All gone away to soon. Her detailed explanations to any questions Raghav and I may have asked. Her infectious laughter and the way she would pipe up and say “Don’t Tell me Riddhu!” When I told her a story or an instance she could hardly believe! And the way she would later say “I tell you” whilst narrating one of her stories! Oh Nani, You left us a
Little too soon. I still had so many stories to share with you!

Who is going to tell my children how their mother and great grandmother braved the floods in 1995 in Kullu Valley. Or make everyone laugh about stories from a time when I was so thin that my school skirt almost fell down in class!
Who will walk into my room before the wedding and ask my make up artist to put on a little rouge and Kajal! Nani, you ditcher!! You left us all too soon.

I always thought your daughters were so brave. Managing everything on their own. It didn’t quite strike me, that their mother was a step ahead. Living alone in Kullu, with such dignity! Only a strong lady like you could have done it. Whilst cleaning out your cupboards, I sat with mamma and Massi in your room. I couldn’t help but remember the times when we would sit in the same room and you would get angry with me whilst teaching me. You would then use your index finger to hit me on my knuckles! Nani, It didn’t hurt when you did that to me, but I knew that was as far as you could let your temper get the better of you. Your small Little fingers trying to hurt me on my knuckles! What a sight!

How beautiful you looked on my engagement Nani! In your beautiful sage green suit, and braided hair bun! I knew you liked Nitesh and were happy to see me happy.I wish I had hugged you a little more that day.

As we clean the house, we find every corner of it flooded with photographs from various times of all our lives! You held on to each memory so beautifully! Thank you dear nani. For Everything. For no matter how much I may say, it will always be too little.

We are blessed to be your grand children! Blessed that I in particular got to spend maximum time with you! You will always be our sweet special choti si nani. I realise that your with us, and you look over us all the time, maybe not in the physical but constantly embracing us in your loving care and guidance.

You look after yourself and enjoy that much awaited date with Nanu!

To anyone who is reading the blog today, I have only one message for you. Grandparents are just too special. They are the first people one learns unconditional and selfless love from. The bond you could possibly share with your grandparents is very different than the one you may share with any other human being. Their time here is quite limited.. So pick up the phone, ask them how their day was or whats happening.. And maybe even call them Sexy..!

I have attached the link to one of my nani’s favourite ghazal Aye Jazba E Dil- Nayyara Noor¬†. I do hope you all enjoy it as much as she enjoyed singing it.

With fond and precious memories,

Always,

Riddhika, Aditya, Raghav and Kabir

Dancing to the rhythm of Life..

Traditions are something I am proud of and something I personally enjoy putting in an effort to keep them alive and kicking. I think I have inherited this trait from my mother. She loves keeping traditions alive and puts in a lot of effort to ensure we do things as they were done by our grandparents years ago.  The birthday (prelude) post has become a tradition of some sorts in the few years since I started the blog, and I enjoy reflecting on my year whilst writing the customary post! Although the birthday is still two weeks away, its amazing how quickly another year has almost passed by and with it  brought so many wonderful memories and some not so wonderful experiences as well. I would like to believe that I am becoming wiser but I highly doubt it!  The only wisdom I think I have attained this year, is the wisdom tooth tucked away in the right corner of my mouth. A slight throb in my lower jaw, constantly reminding me that wisdom is a painful experience no matter what!

Its amazing how quickly time seems to be flying! I know that my best friends will be upset when they read the blog..and say your not old Riddhika! But I will say it anyway…The second half of the 20’s is a scary ride to be on.Its like the drop whilst on a roller coaster..you know it will eventually come along, but one is so anxious to face it!

The highlight of the last year would undoubtedly be, having my brother back home with us. I think I may have learnt how to live with him finally. We have become friends now, and we have at last cross the phase of competing; for attention, for love and over our egos! Its quite a nice feeling. My mom, Dad, Raghav and I spent some happy times in Dubai this year! Our cousins from America visited us and we spent some good time together! Our annual trip to Kullu to my grandmothers house was as always filled with a whole lot of fun, good food, long walks and lots of card sessions! We are now looking forward to being with our Dad’s side of the family in Goa later this month! Should be madness!

Apart from that, the two best friends are finally engaged, which has been very exciting. I think my feet still hurt from all the dancing at their engagement parties! I don’t know how I will survive their weddings later this year. ¬†Seeing two of your closest friends finally find their partners is such an overwhelming experience! Its really nice when their partners in turn become part of the circle and part of all the fun! Family and friend circle growing larger indeed.

Personally, I think I have done half of what I had set out to do, but I think any progress is good progress. Slightly more confident in speaking my mind and allowing people to not walk all over me this year. Experiences teache you to value yourself more. I enrolled myself in a hot yoga challenge and completed 14 consecutive days of Bikram Yoga in November. I think that was a true test of my willpower! I wanted to give up so many times, but I stuck it out and I am very glad I did. It helped me calm down immensely in my practice. ¬†My happiest moment is perhaps having completed both the Dubai Holding women’s 5 km run and the Standard Chartered 10 km run in the last one year! I have never felt happier than I did crossing the line on those two particular days. I’ve set my mind to training for the half marathon for the next season!

Thanks to a few very special individuals, I realized that my blogs reached far more people than I had ever imagined they would. I was encouraged to write often, and I appreciate the constant support and encouragement I get for my writing. You know who you all are, and I can never thank you enough for just being a part of my life.  Its extremely kind for you all to take time out of your day and spare a few minutes to dive into my world. All of it makes me believe that there must have been a greater purpose for me to have started this blog in the first place. It truly is my sanctuary in the midst of all the chaos.

I think the wisdom tooth brought in some wise thoughts into my mind..I decided that I needed to do lots more classes, learn so much more from what life had to offer , and in general engage my mind far more than I did.¬†I was introduced to a program by a ¬†former colleague from Barclays called The Rhythm of Life. ¬†A 12 day program which incorporated a few breathing exercises , meditation and a few talks on how to effectively set a faulty system back into place. Lack of time, commitment to a program as long, and general lack of will power contributed to my excuse for delaying something of this nature. With Ramadan on in Dubai, I decided that there was no better opportunity to invest into myself then the holy month. So I set out to attend the introductory session on a friday evening… That in itself is hardcore for me! To put in the effort to go somewhere on ¬†a holiday..takes effort! ūüėÄ So you can just about imagine my josh! So impressed was I , that within the first 10 minutes of the session, I had mentally decided that this was it, I had to do this program, and gain some perspective.

Led by Guruji; Sanjeev Krishnan, Rhythm Yoga Centre is a wonderful learning space, for anyone who would like to get back into the Rhythm of Life as the name rightly suggests! Over a course of 12 days, we learnt some wonderful breathing techniques, yogic postures to relieve some common ailments, and were reminded of ¬†life’s most basic and simple ideas yet the most important ones. Its almost hard to explain the whole program to you in a nutshell, but all I would say is that if you have lost your zeal for life somewhere or you need some fresh perspective and take on things, ROL is a wonderful program to help you get that back!

While our sessions were held for two hours each evening during the week, on one of the days during the weekend, we were expected to be at the centre at 5:30 am, and hit the beach by 6 am. It felt bizarre to be doing something like that, but I am so glad I did. The weather didn’t dull our spirits for a second! We played a few games on the beach to break the ice amongst fellow students and in the process completely let go of any inhibitions that we may have had. This was followed by a wonderful breakfast at the centre itself and then a session on learning how to meditate.

I’m sure many of you think that meditating is so simple and hardly something that you need to learn, however, I do think its a very important concept that needs to be introduced to people in the correct manner. The person teaching you how to meditate has to ¬†do so in an informed manner; with the ability to tackle countless questions, and be open to it.

Guruji, was kind, and patient and went through the whole process extremely well; leaving very happy students behind.

You may ask what changed for me in the physical during the 12 days of the program, the answer to that would be nothing! Issues remain just as they were! However, my perspective on them changed. Mentally and emotionally its made me more aware, and more conscious about the thoughts that would plague my mind, and the emotions and reactions I felt when situations were out of my control. As we were taught, I was expecting someone else to die, whilst drinking poison myself. During the program I decided to to just accept my realities just as they were and let it go, finally feeling lighter in the midst of a lot of turmoil within.

Its such a strange thing, that halfway through the program, most of us had started to feel bad that our time together was ending. We had almost grown into a family sitting together each evening sharing our concerns and our dreams to rise above murky waters as the lotus does.

I have been lucky to have made some wonderful friends during the duration of this course and I cannot thank them enough, for being a part of my journey. Perhaps, there would not have been so much learning if it were any other way. I feel very blessed!

Thank you to everyone who has blessed me in the last year, none of it would have been possible without your support. Its all the love and blessings that help you sail through the tough times!

I think i can finally say this with confidence; I am ready for you 26 !

With infinite gratitude and love,

Always,

Riddhika

‚ÄúLet there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.‚ÄĚ

Khalil Gibran, The Prophet

Between Blurred Lines

Dear Reader,

I hope this blog post finds you well. I am as well as well can be ūüôā

This evening a friend of mine sent me a photograph of his new-born niece. This little girl was perhaps the purest soul I had laid eyes on. For me, this rule applies to all babies regardless of gender. Babies are gods own. Pure in the true form of the word. My friend said to me, “Riddhika, she has redefined life for me by her birth.” I could have only imagined the emotion. Must have been such a beautiful feeling for the family into whose lives, divine light had entered in the form of this angel. So much so that sitting miles away simply the sight of her had brought tears to my eyes.

I wished for her to turn into a beautiful young women both on the physical as well as from within, and to always remember her worth in a world that will constantly tell her otherwise.  Whilst I typed these words out, I questioned myself as to why I would have emphasized the importance of self-worth for a soul so new to this world. So pure, and untouched.  Perhaps, a subconscious emotion had brought back memories of a reality deeply engrained into the minds of most women today.

I would like to discuss a matter of importance with you dear reader. So sit back, relax and grab that cup of green tea, or coffee whilst you hear me speak my heart out to you today.

A few weeks ago, I posted a picture of my self on my Instagram account and wrote beneath it, that if there was one thing I could change about myself, It would perhaps be the the ability to love myself and be more accepting of the way I am made. Of being comfortable with being a Punjabi girl with enough and more flesh on me! I wish we had been taught self love in school. It is a constant effort to remember to love, accept and be comfortable in your own skin. To this comment, I received some heart warming messages from friends from all over the world, reminding me that it was our soul that was beautiful and we just so happened to be gorgeous on the outside too. To remember  to always and forever keep that soul pure!

Our society doesn’t allow us to believe these thoughts for too long though. Our conscious mind is flooded with advertising campaigns portraying the perfect women as one who is perfectly shaped and looks glamorous at any hour of the day. We have started to believe that we aren’t perfect and we soon begin to see ourselves as imperfect. Without realizing that it is in this imperfection, that real beauty truly lies.

With myriad thoughts still floating in my head, I suddenly remembered about a wonderful initiative I had read about months ago. The subject matter of the organization in discussion reminded me of the far greater issues that the world faced, and how losing my strength to move forward in life, in the face of life ordinary issues, was no longer an option.

Make Love not Scars( MLNS) is an organization founded by a young girl by the name of Ria Sharma from Delhi, India. The organization focuses on  helping acid survivor victims come back into main stream society. The organization looks after the well being of existing survivors that actually want to move on with their lives. These women have ambitions and dreams that they are unable to conquer, simply because despite their own belief that they are worthy, society refuses to give them that chance. Rehabilitation is extremely hard, as India is not yet equipped to deal with the battle of disfigurement. The survivors want to learn skills and then put those skills to use by obtaining employment but society doesn’t let that happen with ease. They question and they taunt, they blame the victim and they stare and in the process they diminish any self-confidence the survivor had gathered being locked up behind closed doors for years to begin with.

MLNS focuses on bringing back these young girls into main stream society and reminding each and every one of us, that our beauty lies within us. To respect and honor that beauty, and never let that pure soul that we were born with fade in the face of these obstacles.

As women, we are blessed with the ability to bring life into this world, to bear pain beyond imagination, and to take our society forward. It is our duty to ourselves to remember our worth despite everything that we may see or be told on the physical.

I promised Ria at Make Love not Scars a special blog post highlighting her organization’s work a long time ago. I never ended up writing it, perhaps because I wasn’t connecting with the emotion at that stage. This little baby’s  photograph stirred countless emotions within me that made me wish for every girl child  to remember their worth in a world that will constantly tell them otherwise , for every women to remember the strengths that she was endowed with, and for each one of us to move forward in life, regardless of what life throws at us.

Please go support a cause that requires a lot of attention in India. Support the cause of empowering women worldwide to believe that true beauty lies in imperfection..

Leaving you with a song which seems apt to the mood of this post. I hope you enjoy listening to it. Louise Armstrong- What a wonderful World.

Thank you Baby A for the inspiration to write again. You don’t even know what a great¬†cause you have helped highlight on your second day in this world. May you spread joy, happiness and inspiration in every life that you touch.

Be grateful for life as you live it, and may a wonderful light guide you on the unfolding road..

Until next time,

Love and light,

Riddhika

Read more about MLNS and their work and how you can support it by clicking on the link below.

Make Love not Scars- Website

http://www.makelovenotscars.org/

Make Love not Scars Р Facebook Page

https://www.facebook.com/makeluvnotscars/info?tab=page_info.tu

Mind the Gap

I was at the mall a few days ago when I stopped by at a kiosk located very close to our own kiosk to simply browse. Whilst doing so, I started chatting with the sales staff and enquired how their work was going and engaged in other such small talk. After our brief chat, I was taken aback by something one of the sales staff across the counter had to say to me. Very excitedly he said , “You know maam, we have read your blog! We stumbled upon it whilst checking out your company’s facebook profile through which we stumbled upon your writing.” My instant reaction was a wide smile, for it was always nice to find out that someone had taken the time out to read what I had written. However for some odd reason, from deep within, there was a part of me that felt very uneasy. I wasn’t sure why, but that question would soon be answered by what he had to say. ¬†He went on to further comment that according to him not everyone would like what I had to say, simply because I always talked about being lonely, about gathering the courage to face all your fears alone and other such stuff. He was of the opinion that we weren’t alone after all. In a world, where we are constantly surrounded by people, how could one be alone in the true sense of the word? I will be nothing but honest with you dear reader, these words took me by complete surprise. Here was a random person, who I had known for all of five minutes, ¬†telling me that my writing was not something everyone would agree with or enjoy going over. I didn’t like what my ears heard. ¬†I felt like he almost looked down on me for believing that we had come into this world alone and alone we must face all our obstacles and challenges and alone we must go!

I suppose he was entitled to his opinion, it is a free world after all! However, for the first time in almost 5 years of writing I felt very judged, and very exposed. I didn’t think his statement was fair. Perhaps I wasn’t used to criticism, but I did feel extremely sad that someone had judged me, when all I had ever wanted was to express and make my readers look within themselves. Not vice versa. I had never put any thought into thinking about who was reading the blog. Who my readers were, their background, their issues and their thoughts, nothing at all. ¬†From the statistics that wordpress very kindly offered every time I posted something, ¬†I could always see the countries from where my readers were, but I didn’t have a clue as to who my readers were, or what went through their mind when they read my work.

I get countless emails from people who tell me how much they enjoy the blog, which truly touches my heart, but this was the first time I’d heard something harsh.. And perhaps that’s why I found it harder to come to terms with it gracefully.

In a separate episode, I was told told by the person concerned, that they were the biggest fan of my writing and were fascinated by me, because what I wrote about most others dare not discuss in public and my thoughts defied the norm. I voiced the fears of many. Everything was raw, real and organic. It seemed our connect purely stemmed from my writing. I was so touched by these words. It felt good to know that people connected with me through my writing and my thoughts. It was perhaps one of the nicest things someone had ever said to me. However, as the fascination continued to grow with ‘the Riddhika’ who wrote the blog, I soon realised that ¬†Riddhika as a soul and as a person with a heart and feelings had lost her value; simply because her value would always be equated to being able to make one look deep within. ¬†I began to feel cheated… I felt sad and I felt like my writing had become the basis of my identity or was at least being confused for it. I don’t want to be an object of anyone’s fascination. I think many things, write about them, believe them and live them day in and day out, but like everyone else reading this blog today, I feel humane things. I breathe the same air, my heart beats, my brains ticks, I lose my patience, I feel extremely happy, and extremely sad and countless other emotions just as everyone else did. The word fascination soon started to make me feel small, because I realized that just like children are fascinated with toys and ¬†get bored with them just as quick, I had become someone’s fascination, which they too would soon outgrow.

My blog and I shouldn’t be a reason for your judgement or fascination. My blog is the expression of my soul. Its somewhere I like to pen down thoughts and feelings. I have always hoped that my readers will look into their own life and their own soul to work my thoughts in a positive way into their own existence. If anything at all, ¬†I wish for it to be your inspiration! If there is anybody, one should be judgmental or fascinated by, it should be yourself!

I am so fascinated by myself that I have a whole blog dedicated to what I think, what I believe and what I feel. Self obsessed in the true form of the word. But I’m my favorite, and I have to remind myself this everyday. Else how will anyone else believe it?

I hope you too will find it in yourself to consider yourselves important and precious enough, that you will always remember to look at the divine being that is within you and listen to what it has to say. Do not be fascinated by me , for that defies the purpose..for then I am nothing but an object.

Think not about what you can take from this world,  but of what you can add, give and leave behind!

Until next time, be free, be mental and as someone once taught me.. love unconditionally!

Leaving you with a track,  the love for which I have rediscovered after a long time.  I hope you enjoy it too. Arjiyaan- Delhi 6

Buckets full of love,

Always,

Riddhika

Bittersweet Symphony 

A long time ago I wrote about how drying flowers was like killing something you love. Despite it being the natural course of life… I was of the opinion that it was almost like binding it and trapping a feeling in between the pages of a book. Not allowing it to breathe.

However, When I found this today.. I  felt that discovering this just brought back very beautiful memories.  It brought back the sweet fragrance of times long gone, and of feelings long forgotten.

Someone once said to me, that Love changes life, but I think, life changes the perception of love.  

May you always find sweetness in your lives and within yourself. Leaving you with a ghazal that is playing in the background as I write. I do hope you enjoy it. Tum Itna jo Muskura Rahe Ho- Jagjit Singh

With lots of love and infinite gratitude,

Always,

Riddhika

One, two, three..

Counting sheep is a mental exercise used in some cultures as a means of lulling oneself to sleep.

In most depictions of the activity, the practitioner envisions an endless series of identical white sheep jumping over a fence, while counting them as they do so. The idea, presumably, is to induce boredom while occupying the mind with something simple, repetitive, and rhythmic, all of which are known to help humans sleep.

Till a few weeks ago, if someone would have discussed this concept to me, I would have laughed at how silly it was..and then something horrible happened; this alien crept into my bedroom uninvited. Yes, you guessed it right.. ¬†insomnia hit me and boy did it hit me hard in the face! Not being able to sleep till 1 am or even later ¬†and waking up at the crack of dawn now feels like normal routine, without feeling tired through the day. ¬†A girl who once thrived on 8 hours of beauty sleep and would even squeeze in a nap if she could…could no longer sleep in peace for 5-6 hours! Thats like taking pizza away from an italian, chocolate away from a chubby kid, and a bone away from a puppy! in plain simple words; its horrible.

I’ve started Ayurvedic treatment recently for some other minor issues. I was pleasantly surprised at the approach the Dr used whilst discussing how all our illness is correlated. She asked me if I was stressed, to which I replied constantly. I am told I thrive on stressing . So I did not have to think twice before I nodded and said yes I do stress and at every point in life, Im stressing over something new. She asked me if I ¬†drank lots of water and just looked after myself in general, If I thought well, and tried to lead a happy healthy life. I told her about how I normally put in every effort to do so, but perhaps it never was enough.

She said some wonderful simple things, that I rarely hear ¬†Drs tell their patients. She simply said, ‘Riddhika, you are going to have to put in a lot more effort to living well and living happy. In whatever life throws at you, you have to tune your mind to believing that only the best is going to happen to you, and only the best outcome will play out in front of you’. I asked her what I should do to try and sleep. Her immediate response was ‘ Don’t use your phone or your computer half an hour before sleeping.’ Clearly she knew she was talking to a girl who sleeps with 4 apples in her bed; her mac book, IPad, I phone and IPod. She’d caught me! She’d managed to tell me something I didn’t want to hear out aloud! How embarrassing.

She wanted me to induce boredom into my mind, a half hour before I was going to get into bed. To shut the mind of completely. How easy it sounds. To shut the mind of completely. As though, it were a device that you simply switch on and off. However, I realized that If I wanted to end this phase, I had no choice but to start treating it mechanically. Else, it would get the better of me. And the last thing I wanted was to look haggard with dark circles! I wish for none to have to deal with those horrible under eye pockets! ūüôā

So I have decided, that apart from inducing boredom into my system before I  attempt to switch of for the day, I would also try  and cut the cords from every stress point in my life. Mentally of course. Envisioning myself holding a scissor cutting of all ties with stress points!

My nights are now filled with counting how many sheep crossed over from one side of my bedroom ceiling to the other. Sheer Irony of life, in order to shut the mind off, you must play mind games. Mindlessness in its best form..

I do hope you fell asleep reading the post today..its precious stuff this sleep!

Until next time, Love and gratitude..

Always,

Riddhika

The thoughts of a wanderer..

There’s been a sandstorm in our part of the world today. I woke up and the world was yellow. It took me 15 mins to decide whether to go for my yoga class or skip it simply based on the weather. Despite my mind playing ping pong between Riddhika, You must go and it doesn’t matter.. forget it sort of thoughts , I conveniently found a rationale and decided to skip class today. I told myself it was unsafe to drive in such weather! Lazy behavior. Period.

While so many people were busy complaining about how depressing the weather was outside, some others I know were simply call it romanchak weather (please don’t judge me. This word was added to my dictionary by a friend who has been brought up in Bombay. I blame it on these Bombayites. We all know we Delhiwallahs don’t speak like this. Haa! What a joke this truly is but this is a debate that I will leave for some other time).

Whilst chatting with a friend of mine, I mentioned how I loved the weather to which his response was I can’t see anything outside. I replied saying that was what the point was. All one was supposed to see was their partners face! He clearly thought I was mad…but mental tho I have always been.

Its funny how the weather has such a huge role to play with our moods. We listen to music also depending on the weather. Rainy days call for songs that remind you of happier merrier days or at times, songs that depress you even further! Self inflicted misery! We youtube tracks which will make us sad. Aren’t we smart? Sunny Days remind you of…umm….I suppose even sunnier and happier days! So we almost always listen to upbeat, happy sort of music on a clear sunny day!

However apart from the usual.. to me there is so much more that I am reminded of when the weather changes. The weather always reminds me of people, of places and of an emotion that I perhaps felt in a similar situation at some other point of my life. I miss people and human presence on such days. Im reminded of both good and bad memories of how someone made me feel on a similar day. Its almost like I relive that day if that emotion creeps in simply because the weather and the moment is such.

I remember praying the night before every school day whilst at Sanawar for rain in the morning, just so that we could miss half an hour of PT the next day. I remember having cross conversations across the dorm at 5:30 am, discussing if it was actually raining or just drizzling, to confirm our cancelled morning drill!  Such silly kicks we got out of skipping half an hour of supposed exercise. I long for that feeling of being content with such small joys. I miss the feeling of sitting in dorms and enjoying a hot cup of chai and horrible salty biscuits in school with my jing bang gang! I reminisce  my days at St Andrews when we would walk to North Point a popular cafe amongst friends for one pound hot chocolate drinks or coffee after class, braving not only the cold but also the rain.

I remember hoping on every sunny day in school that we would get a sunshine holiday simply because the weather was great! Anyone recall the feeling of a sunshine holiday? Let me elaborate on the sunshine holiday experience…So on any one random day of the year, if the skies were clear, bright and sunny, our ¬†headmaster would declare it a holiday! They were called ‘Sunshine Holidays’! ¬†I cannot even begin to express the excitement at being given one of those! No classes as a surprise …without asking for it..those were real treats! This is clearly something that only happens at Sanawar as do a thousand other small traditions that make us unique. What a beautiful feeling that was! To be happy and content with so little. Enjoying the sunshine with friends.

I drove back from work with my windows rolled down enjoying my music and the wind…and I realized that I missed having someone around me to share my day with. Why didn’t someone teach me that life wasn’t always about being with someone, but also living it alone. About enjoying it alone. I yearned to share my moment with someone. Which isn’t how it should be. I should have simply formed a little memory with what the weather had created, the music complemented and one that only I was blessed to feel. ¬†In hindsight I feel maybe I did, perhaps thats why I felt like writing about it today.

You see dear reader, the weather simply is.. a reminder of everything that once was,everything that is and perhaps everything that may someday be.

Until next time, I wish you the pleasure of your own company, some wonderful memories with yourself; ones which you may someday cherish!

Infinite love and Infinite happiness,

With grace and gratitude,

Riddhika

P.S- Attaching my current favorite song for you all. I do hope you enjoy it. Judaai- Rekha Bhardwaj and Arijit Singh