A couple of days after I became a mother, an elderly lady came up to me and said, “he will teach you as much as you will teach him”. As the months pass by, I can appreciate how true that really is. In our … Continue reading
If you are open about your life, you will undoubtedly receive a whole heap of unsolicited advice. Most is from a kind or concerned place, sent with love and good wishes, and I send abundant appreciation for that advice, even if I don’t always choose to follow it. Then, of course, there are the moral policers who are waiting to say “you’re wrong” or “you’ve made a bad choice”.
There are several things in life which are undoubtedly wrong, hurting people or inaccurate math for example, but the things I’ve been criticised for, told I should change immediately, are my personal choices. Life is complex, nuanced, layered and everyone is different. What is wrong for you, might be right for me and vice versa. I believe that people should have a choice. If everyone followed the same life path, life would be pretty boring (and kind of cult-ish).
It’s not only my choice in husband or my choice in home I’ve been told is wrong. It’s my choice to learn from and experience my husband’s culture and religion. I would say to anyone with the opportunity to experience another culture or travel to a distant land, grab it by the horns! You don’t have to change who or what you are, but seeing life from a different perspective will inevitably open your eyes and shed your preconceptions. You don’t always need a plane ticket to broaden your mind, simply stepping out of your comfort zone can trigger an inner revolution.
When I was younger, I really wanted to be religious and have faith, and I was kind of jealous of those who did. I yearned to know an absolute truth, I wanted a guaranteed, tried and tested, path. I spent several years reading about Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism and Kabbalah. Some parts felt intrinsically right, others didn’t. I’ve since come to peace with the fact that I don’t fit into a religious label. I’ve realised that if God was powerful enough to create a universe, surely s/he would be able to lay out more than one path towards her/him. I have learnt that for me to feel aligned with something higher, I need to stay close to things that make my soul sing.
I remember in school, we had to do a test to discover our learning style, whether we learnt best by hearing, seeing or doing. The teachers recognised that we all learn in unique ways, they used the results of the test to customise their teaching to maximise our potential. I think this applies to life, we are all unique, following different paths. Sometimes we make mistakes, we learn through trail and error, but it is our unique path, our choice.
I remember so vividly sitting on the London underground on the first night I met my husband. I looked at him and thought ‘this is my husband’. Somehow, I already felt like his wife even though only a couple of hours had passed since we … Continue reading
1. Diversity of faith, culture and traditions.
2. You can wear flowers in your hair for no reason.
3. Sarees, beautiful and elegant silk sarees.
4. Hundreds of colourful and thought-provoking festivals.
5. Temples which bring tranquility into your life.
6. That thick layer of cream on top of the milk you get straight from a local cow.
8. The smell of incense which wanders around homes, shops and temples.
9. The soothing sound of the honking traffic in the distance, when you are indoors (if you’re in the middle of it- not so nice)
10. Chai from chaiwalas, so sweet and thick.
11. Alphonso mangoes, a taste of heaven!
12. Wild peacocks dancing.
13. Big, fat, juicy lychee from North East India.
14. Feeling gorgeous and grounded whilst wearing a bindi.
15. Watching baby monkeys from your bedroom window!
16. Watching aunties ride side-saddle on two-wheelers with their splendid sarees dancing in the wind.
17. Fireworks, a day rarely passes without seeing a firework.
18. Paneer, soft and delicous.
19. Gulab jamun (or what I like to called them, gulamb jabons).
20. The charming sound of glass bangles chiming.
21. Little girls with perfect braids waving from school buses.
22. Warm monsoon rains.
23. Looking up and seeing flocks of green parrots fly by.
24. Feeling the sound of dhol(drums) vibrating through you.
25. Majestic wild tigers.
26. Coconut water!
27. The smell of fresh mehendi.
28. Lotus flowers everywhere; art, temples, sarees and even in the waters!
29. Hugging holy cows.
30. The loudest thunder imaginable.
31. Curious street cats.
32. Pani puri!!
33. Pooja/Puja (prayers)…
34. …especially Durga Puja!!
35. Hot climate! Rarely any grey drizzle!
36. Villages during Diwali, the animals painted pink!(?)
37. Holi, the festival where people are painted pink!!
38. So much to discover, around you and within in!
40. Autorickshaws- who needs rollercoasters?
41. You can visit places mentioned in Hindu mythology (for example, Ramtek).
42. India is unique, there is no other country in the world like it!
43. Tumeric beauty treatments which make you look a little Simpsony for a while.
44. Silver anklets with bells on.
45. Grandma’s coconut barfi.
46. Eating with my hands and it being completely socially acceptable.
47. Standing for the national anthem in the movie theatre.
48. Fearless, gorgeous and adorable children!
49. Endless possibilities.
50. Most importantly, I can wake up every morning and see my husband by my side.
What are some of the little things you love about India or the country you live?