Uncategorized: being childlike de-cluttering life life changing project Lifein2suitcases Pratishtha Durga Simplyfying life Sunita Shrotriya
by Pratishtha Durga
Childhood. So much fun! And then, we grow up and all fun stops. Sad, right? Anyway, one of the highlights of my fun filled childhood was my little piggy bank. Smart as they were, my parents had taught me the basics of saving with a very sweet, simple game. If I saved nine rupees, dad would exchange the money for a crisp ten rupee note. Likewise, coins worth ninety could be exchanged for a handsome 100 rupees note. I loved watching my money “grow”. It was such a satisfying feeling. I would give my post-school ice-cream and samosas a miss, and feed the money to the pig. And all that mattered was the fun exchange between dad and me.
As an adult, you all know of my shopping addiction. It is a difficult addiction to fight, and I mostly do a good job. Today, I have no credit card to my name, I carry a minimum amount of money on my person, so I would not be tempted into emotional binges. And I have started feeding the piggy again. And it’s been fun. Every time I iron some clothes myself, which is quite often, I put the saved money into the pig. Any time I find a stray coin lying anywhere in the house, I feed the pig. So yesterday, the piggy refused to “eat” any more. Today, I took out forty five rupees worth of coins and put in a 50 rupees note. And I cannot tell you how much joy it gave me!
I know it’s a silly game, but it’s fun. Let go a bit today. Do something silly. Do something you did as a child. Eat candy for breakfast, or sleep in late. Make faces and dance all over the house. Eat two ice-creams, or make a mickey-mouse mask. Just do something that you’ve been putting away for long. We all might be dead in 2012, or we might still be alive in 2050. Either ways, having a little fun today won’t kill you tonight.
Uncategorized: India's Independence Day life changing project Life in Mumbai Lifein2suitcases Pratishtha Durga Simplyfying life
by Pratishtha Durga
Make no mistake! Freedom has a price-tag. And it goes as easy as it comes. Decades ago… countless Indian laid their lives for the freedom that my generation so shamelessly takes for granted. A few days back, I received an invite for a “Independence Day Brunch”. A selection of “imported wines” and the choicest “Italian Menu” was how it was positioned. Needless to say, the guest list was full within hours. Also, a few days back, as I sat in an auto-rickshaw, fighting my road-angst and praying to be protected from other people’s road rage, I looked up at a traffic junction. There was a tiny Indian, holding a bunch of wilted roses in her hand, trying to sell it to me for Rs 20, so she could eat. There were no promises of imported wine and Italian cuisine here. No dreams of independence and acclaim. Just hunger and hope.
Make no mistake! Freedom is hard earned. We all are struggling for some sort of freedom. Tied and done in by our own narrow perspective of the world, we struggle constantly to set things right and crib about all that goes wrong. We forget that our world is not independent of the many other worlds around us. The world of the Italian Brunches and the world of the Wilted roses. They are intertwined. As the Brunch crowd toasts their heavy wallets and congratulates themselves on their jet-setting ways, there will be a faint scent of wilted roses knocking on the doors of their conscience. They won’t admit it in. Their world will continue to remain shackled.
Make no mistake! Every generation has to fight for its freedom. To free my world, I have to unshackle it myself. I have to open it to the other world. And have to embrace the wilted roses and the tiny outstretched fingers begging for alms as I wonder how to protect my Jimmy Choos from Mumbai’s ruthless humidity. As that world and my world collide, we’d both lose something and gain something. But at least, we’d both be free.
Uncategorized: Dealing with grief Lifein2suitcases Mother-daughter relationship Simplyfying life Sunita Shrotriya
by Pratishtha Durga
My mother’s name was Sunita Shrotriya. She had dark brown eyes, with a hazel rim. They shone when she was happy, and glistened with a hint of a tear when she was sad. She smiled easily, laughed like a lady, and spoke softly. She was a respected academician, a loving wife, and a good mother. She knew the perfect recipe for every one’s favorite dishes, and kissed away the hurt and pain of growing up. She held us through fever-burned nights, and waved goodbye when we left for school every morning. She loved us, and she was loved by us. But that’s not what makes her special.
My mother loved Indian scriptures. She had read them all. She had tried to understand them in the simplest way possible, so she could transfer her learning to us. She yearned for a simpler world, where religion will be a private pursuit, rather than a social threat. She looked for commonalities among various beliefs and taught us that God has many names but is just one entity. She taught us to look for the Universe within us.
She taught us, “Tatvamasi”. It is one of the four maxims pointing towards the supreme truth. Literally, “Tatvamasi” means “Thou art that” or “You are that”. It is one of the most profound truths my mother passed on to us. That you don’t need a religion to find God. Atheists don’t believe in God. They believe in no one but themselves. In that, they seek only to find themselves, giving their own existence the same relevance as God. This makes them the strongest believers.
True believers, the real seekers of the universal truth, on the other hand, know that there is no external search to be done. No religion, no rituals can help you find God. Because the final truth, the power of the Universe, of Brahma, lies within you.
So my mother left us with this fact, that whatever you seek, you shall find within yourself. That any search on the outside will be futile. For years, I took her teaching for granted. Seeking my happiness in others. Their opinion of me mattered more to me than what I thought of myself. I did what I was expected to do, ignoring my own instincts and calling. And all it brought me was pain and agony. And confusion. So I am now leaving it all behind and looking inwards for the truth. And trying to find the truth within me. It’s a grueling process, but it must be done. We hide so many ugly truths about ourselves, deep within our heart, where we can never see them. The worst confrontation we can have is with ourselves. And I am gearing up for this final face-off. Scary, but inevitable. Hopefully, my mother’s beautiful eyes are watching me. And she will kiss away the pain.
Uncategorized: Lifein2suitcases Simplyfying life Sunita Shrotriya
by Pratishtha Durga
There comes a time in everyone’s life, when they are given an opportunity to turn everything upside down, and inside out. When life breaks off from its course, and you get a chance to start all over again. Everybody gets that chance. But very few notice it.
My name is Pratishtha Durga. I am a wannabe fashion blogger. I say “Wannabe” because my thoughts are too random, my opinions too scattered, and my style, indecisive. I make a couple of posts every couple of months, and then get too busy, doing nothing in general.
Last year, on 6th October, my life turned upside down, and inside out. My ailing mother fell in the bathroom, and lay there, conscious and helpless, for hours… waiting for my father to come back home and rescue her. She suffered a cranial fracture and a hemorrhage that resulted in a month long painful bedridden stage, finally leading to her demise on 15th November. Her right side was paralyzed after the fall, and a week later, she lost her voice. She must have had so much to say, so many more stories to tell. But she died… unable to speak, unable to share, unable to move. She took her stories, her pain, but left behind a gift that all the treasure in the world could not have bought. She left behind a chance for me to change my life.
For months, perhaps years, I have known that I carry around nothing but excess baggage. I spent all my money on meaningless things, most of which I forgot about as soon as I bought them. As the excess baggage in my life grew, my desire to travel started fading away. It’s common wisdom that if you have to travel far, you must travel light. I had a beautiful wardrobe, I had great books, and I had unusual things to decorate my house. And I had mediocrity. No drive, no passion, no desire to find my own stories and travel destinations. I believed I was happy, and I probably was. But then, more things happened that washed away that illusion. And for a while, life felt fruitless, useless.
I realized that nothing hurts more than untold stories and broken promises you made to yourself. Watching my mother’s lifeless body made me wake up to my life all over again. My mother was a story teller. She could weave stars and constellations out of words and take you places you’d never have dreamed existed. And you could see those stars in her eyes. Her lips would curl up in a faint smile and her eyes would well up with the memories of places she had only visited in her thoughts. I want to go to all those places and more. And I want to discover new stories in new places.
I truly believe that you can start your life over gain, whenever you want. That you can make it what you want it to be. It has taken me a while to start defining what I want from my life. What I truly want is to rid my life of the extra baggage I have accumulated over the years, and only hang on to things that I value the most. I want to write my life’s story all over again. And this time, I want my life to fit into just TWO SUITCASES.
And I want to share my story with all of you. And if it can help you dream, if it can help you change the course of your life, I would be twice as happy. From today, as often as I can, I will be writing posts on what I am doing to make my life different. I will try and give shapes to my dreams, and then I will just go ahead and make them come true. And you all will be my partners on this special journey. I would love to hear from you and get help from you in defining my life’s new course. You and I, we will embark on this journey together. Let’s begin!