Living in and out of reality as I chase my dreams sky high.

Monday, 13 January 2014

The First Dance...

Play the song...

This Dance by Five For Fighting
I love this song, I just recently discovered the band Five for Fighting, and this happens to be my favourite song from them, its been repeat all day. Ahh I just love it. In fact it alludes to that first dance...

There was no prince charming, no white gown, no glass slippers, and no center stage.
He wasn't a prince, but there was a  beach dress, bare feet dancing on the outside of the dance floor.
And all this while I still felt like Cinderella!

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Sunday Evening Walk...

This by far has to be my favourite thing to do as a family. Behind our house there is the other side of Gardens by the bay. It use to be quite peaceful before as not many people had known about it before, nonetheless it is still a very nice place to go to. My family and I usually like coming here on Sunday evenings and just walking by the bay, and talking. I feel when you live in the city, everyone is on their own track, and its only on the weekend when we have time to bond. 

Honestly this right here is the best way to see the city skyline! Sometimes when I was stressed I would just come and sit here. Watching the city lights at night was quite calming, and the cool breeze was a great substitute for the hot weather. 

The Bridge to cross over to Marina Barge, and the main Gardens by the Bay.

Something I love is flying kites, I honestly think that its the most calming thing in this entire world. There is a very natural high in soaring so high, I sometimes feel like I am flying with the kite itself.  Its something my dad loved doing when he was a child, and something that has caught on to me and Ayan too.

So Ayan and I just love playing in these water fountains. We are always soaking wet! Its kind of annoying

The food court is so lively during the evening on the weekends. There is so much amazing local cuisine to chose from, well that and a mixture of other Asian food. After all what is really native to Singapore?


We seldom lie down and watch the light show, which honestly isn't that great. But its something my brother enjoys watching so we do it for him. 

I wish I had a better quality camera to capture this beautiful city, but for now this will have to do. 

Saturday, 11 January 2014

It's a Rainy Day!

It rained quite a bit today, the most it has rained since I've been back. I'v been blessed with warm sunny days, but it was nice for a change to be drenched in the heavy Singaporean rain. I've always had very mixed feelings about rain, but I would like to believe that for the most part I've loved it. There is something very calm about watching the rain, but the real fun is getting drenched in it. Its something very childlike, foolish, yet so thrilling. I remember as a little girl making paper boats with my friends and then letting them sail in the small puddles. 

Watching the rain from the window.

Ayan watching the rain

Feeling the rain drops

As I watched the rain, and enjoyed the cool air it brought with it, I started thinking about how much everything has changed in my life. I started to realize how much I've grown as a person, and how I've been able to mend so many relationships that at some point in my life were broken. The rain symbolizes a sort of cleansing. I feel so renewed, so real; I feel wise, and forgiving. I have no grudges, no battles, and no regrets. All this time self pitying myself seems so selfish, when my energy could have been consumed to do better things, and be a better person. All this time fighting my parents seems so tragic, when I could have spent it loving them. All this time wanting to run away, seems so wasteful when I could have spent it living in the moment. Why be somewhere else, when time has called you to be here right now. What has to come tomorrow is not today's agenda. For today your job is to be present in this given moment. 

I put my hands out and catch rain drops, have you ever just stood outside and felt the rain? Have you allowed yourself to go out there and breathe the cool breeze, feel the rain drops, and hear the pitter patter? Have you allowed yourself to get drenched in pouring rain, and dance like crazy. Have you truly allowed yourself to set yourself free? Have you allowed yourself to enjoy the rain? There is something about insanity that provides for a fun time, there is a joy in forgetting and just being.

So forget the trivial things, forgive, forget, and laugh, because tomorrow might be a better day, but there is no guarantee that tomorrow is coming. What you have now is today, so just be. 

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Feel Beautiful!

First Read this article!

LABELLED THE WORLD’S UGLIEST WOMAN: Lizzie Velasquez ‘Knows God Sees Her True Beauty’

Often at times we let our insecurities get the best of us. We let other dictate to us who we are, and let society define us. We all let ourselves fall into the norms of society, and allow ourselves to believe we should be a certain way. Its very easy to let ourselves get suck into this materialistic world, and its materialistic wants. If you allow yourself to be seen through others eyes, then you're doing injustice to yourself. What you look like on the outside isn't in your hands, but who you are as a person is limited to your imagination, and desire of the type of person you want to be. Who defined beauty anyways? Different people find beauty in different things, what might seem unappealing to you, could be the epitome of beauty for another. Its odd to think that you sometimes learn to love yourself when you can see someone who can love themselves despite the fact that they don't have half the things you do. Appreciate yourself a little, because if you can't love yourself then who will? Look at yourself in the mirror at least once a day and admire the beauty that is starring right back at you. After all you are God's master piece, and how can anything that God creates be anything but beautiful?

After watching this Ted Talk, and reading extensively about her, I realized just how trivial my securities are. I use to believe I was truly ugly, but I have two eyes, a nose, two ears, two hands, and two legs. I'm perfectly fine, there is nothing wrong with me. Also if I bring myself down, then how can I expect anything from this world at all? At times its hard to love yourself, but you're the only one who can truly love yourself. So here's goodbye to those insecurities, and a hello to confidence. I would be foolish to think that I am anything but beautiful, after all I am God's masterpiece and so are you!

Thursday, 2 January 2014

A cup of chai: The gateway to India.

Its been months since I've had garam garam chai. There is something very delighting about traditional Indian tea that too made by your mother's hands. I sit by the balcony enjoying some delicious salty, and spicy snacks. There is something about this evening that reminds me a little bit of India. The India I knows starts at Chembur and ends at Nerul. As I sip my chai, I fade deeper and deeper into the memories of Mumbai and what little I know about my birth place.

The journey starts from the airport to Chembur, the long airport ride to go home to Baba's house. Baba would come with my Apeen mummy (My Aunt), and Raheem uncle (our driver) in my aunts car to pick me up. The long ride would be spent smiling, talking, and looking out the window. There was always so much to look at, the people, the shops, the billboards with Bollywood actors. Once we reached home Ajja (Grandmother) would wait for me at the door to welcome me in. I don't remember even once that she wasn't at the door. It was always a welcome with warm hugs, and the first thing was to eat. She wouldn't let me go without eating, but I didn't mind eating because her food was always a treat. I would walk into my room, which was always kept as I had never left. The walls remained the same, it had the same smell, and that little room held a sign of my existence. A proof that I belonged here in this home. After an hour or two of rest I would walk into my grandma's garden. My grandfather sitting on his chair reading the newspaper and drinking his chai. I remember going to the garden and sitting on my grandfather's shoulders and eating raw karela (bitter gourd), odd isn't it that something so bitter had so many sweet memories attached to it; then he would take me on a round of the colony. I would sit on the swing that was in the garden, I remember sitting on it at night time and talking to Apeen mummy as she put Neeha, (My cousin) who was then a baby, to sleep. I would look at how tall the coconut trees had grown and remembered how every 2 months or so my granny would call someone to take down the coconuts. I remember drinking chilled coconut water right from my garden. Something that is quite a privilege living in a city like Mumbai where there is no space for people let a lone a coconut tree. As I walk into the kitchen, the side of the doors still had the markings from when I was little. Baba would mark on the side how tall I had grown each month. I remember the Sunday afternoon Biryani feasts, or the Eid celebrations. I remember Vanta Maushi (the maid), and her daughter Sangeeta, who would play with me when I was little. I remember the evening walks to Sonia aunty's house, and the amazing snacks she had prepared for us. I remember my childhood friend Shreya and all the masti she and I would get ourselves into. I remember when Baba would come home with jellabies, and other treats. Or the walk to the samosa wala to buy yummy and hot snacks. I remember the terrace, and all the fun that we had up there. One of my favorite things was going up there with my grandma while she put things there to dry. I remember blowing up the kiddy pool and inviting the whole neighborhood for a splash. I remember waking up early and running into Mubina Aunty;s room and watch her glam up before she went to work. I wanted to be just like her, poised, and treated like a queen. I loved watching what she would wear next, and how she would do her makeup. When she would leave, I would reenact  as if I was her, and I would brush my hair with her hair brush. I would wear her bangles, and wear her heels, and if by chance her makeup was on the dresser I would examine it. I knew never to touch it or I would get in trouble, but I know that as a child I had once or twice tried her lipstick but only with my younger cousin sister. I did not have the guts, the way she did. She and I were quite the trouble makers! We would play with our kitchen sets, and pretend like we were teachers wearing our mummies dhupatas, and of course troubling Seema didi (my older cousin), as I grew older I became closer to Seema didi, and she and I would go out for movies and dinners.  I remember it all so clearly. 

Chembur was only half the India I knew, the other half resided in Nerul.. My mommy's family was waiting for me. I remember how much I dreaded the train rides there as a child, and how scared I use to be to go. I remember eating Vada Pav at the train station once we reached. I remember Tazeen aunty waiting for me by the window, she would wave to me and run down to hug me and pick me up. She would buy a ton of gifts for me. It was always drawing books, and jewelry, and anything that she could get her hands on. I don't remember even once not being given a gift. She loved me, and loves me like her own daughter. If I have a second mother it would be her. I remeber Noorbi mummy's (Granny) spicy and delicious food served hot and fresh. I remember Sameer mama (uncle), and a game of snake and ladders. I remember the evening walk with Tazeen aunty, we would walk to Jhama eat bhel puri, pani puri, sev puri, or sometimes ice-cream, or walk to the hot chips store and buy fresh chips. Every day would be a different treat, and by the end of the stay I had done everything. I remember at night Ahmed Papa would come home with delicious and yummy food from my favorite restaurants. Being his only grand daughter he always pampered me so much. I remember the night rides on his scooter to the pan wala, and then to Sharifa aunty's house where I would play with my cousins. We would reenact the hindi TV serials, and for some reason they always made me play the evil woman. I think my love for acting stemmed from there. One we got back, I would help my grandmother give Ahmed Papa medicine. I remember the walks at night with Tazeen aunty, and mummy on the big slope, and how my mother told me that the slope was built especially for me, it was a lie but as a child I felt special. At night Noorbi Mummy would tell me stories of a prince that would someday whisk me away, and when she ran out of those she would tell me folk stories, and sometimes would sing folk songs, and in a matter of time I was fast asleep. 

I talk about these memories as if they were yesterday, but truth is these memories were of my childhood. These memories were of when I lived there till I was 6, these memories were when I would come for holidays after moving to Singapore. There were always hidden conflicts that childhood innocence would've never understood. But it was better that way, it was happier not knowing the problems. It's been 1 year and a half since I last went to India. I glance back now and everything has changed, everything is different now. I can see now that night...

 I sit in a taxi with my dad going to Chembur from the airport. My grandfather hasn't come to receive me. My grandmother is no longer waiting for my arrival at the door, instead I see unfamiliar people standing outside in a crowd.All I see now is a room filled with people, and my grandfather lying on a white sheet in the middle of the living room. All I remember now is weeping, screaming and howling. All I remember is people looking at me helplessly. All I see now is my grandfather being taken away by men I had never seen before. I see myself running behind him, and people holding me back. I see him being taken into the van and I cry, I howl, I collapse into my aunts arms. My Papa holding me tight and calming me down. All I see now is that the walls in Chembur no longer have the markings of  my height, the garden doesn't grow Karela anymore, and the coconut water in no longer sweet. The swing is broken, the newspaper is still at the front door, and the tea is now cold. The little room that proved my existence now has no trace of me ever being there. I make the trip to Nerul and its completely empty. Ahmed Papa no longer lives for he had left us 5 years ago. I see his specks lying around, his medicine untouched, and the scooter parked. The color of the scooter is now rusting. Sameer mama is on a ship working, and Tazeen aunty has married off and shifted to her own house. All I see now is Noorbi Mummy sitting in a corner and sewing, wearing her old glasses. I've come home to see her, but nothing is the same now. The twinkle in her eyes are long gone, her smile is missing her dimples, and her food now has no taste. She wears dull colors, and sits by herself lonely and sick. She no longer has stories about a prince, and her voice has run dry. I cry seeing a lifeless soul in a living body. She waits by the phone to hear her grandchildren, her son, and her daughters. I smile now because now Tazeen aunty's daughter comes in to fill her life with joy, she waddles around the house creating new memories, bit by bit erasing traces of my foot steps. 

I look into the distance as I sip my chai, I knew a very different India. A India where I was born, a India that was surrounded by the memories of my loved ones. A India where now none of what I remember exists. A year ago my father asked me why I didn't want to visit? As a child I would beg to visit, so now why was I running away from an opportunity? Its simple, I am afraid to accept that the India I remember no longer exists, and whatever memories I have, I want to lock away safely. I am afraid of losing them, I'm afraid of my childhood being stolen from me. I'm afraid to go back and not recognize anything, to find nothing with my name on it, to truly feel like a stranger in my own country. I'm afraid to be lost, and lose my all. I sip my chai, as a tear rolls down my cheek. I guess I'm selfish for not accepting change, for not accepting truths, but all I have are sweet memories and I will protect them for as long as I can, stop them from becoming bitter and going corrupt. I want to preserve the innocence, and the happiness, remembering only the goodness in those days, and the goodness of the people. I take a sip of my tea as I stare into the distance, time and time again I've moved houses but Baba's Bungalow, and Ahmed Papa's flat still remains after all these years. My father tells me not to be so attached to materialistic things, but little does he know that my knowledge of India resides in those four walls. 

I take my last sip of chai now, and I see myself coming home with an award in my hand, and the biggest smile on my Baba's face. I see a younger actress in me standing in front of Mubina Aunty's dresser wrapped in my mummies dhupphata dancing to "maia ya shoda". I hear Ajja calling for me, and me sitting next to her rolling chapatis. I see my cousin sister following me around, as we bring the whole house to its knees, and what is that? I see Papa returning from the Ship. I hear Tazeen Aunty's voice on the phone calling me for a visit. I see my childhood playing again, and slowly it fades in the distance among the chatter, and the laughter, and I hear someone calling "Serene...Serene...." As I watch myself run towards the voice, slowly vanishing, disappearing out of the frame. 
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