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मैं या नियति?

I wrote this a fortnight ago. Thought of pasting it here to keep a track. Not a very positive one to read, but a part of life. An integral part of the journey. 

ना मेरा कोई धर्म, ना मेरी कोई धारा 

ना मेरी कोई इच्छा, ना मेरी कोई सीमा 
बस मेरी एक नियति, और उसके हाथों की कठपुतली मैं.
ना मेरा कोई संगी, ना किसी की मैं
ना मेरे गुज़रे कल का आज पर असर, ना मेरे आज का आते कल से नाता 
बस मेरी एक नियति, और उसके हाथों की कठपुतली मैं.
ना कुछ नया पा लेने की आशा, ना कुछ अपना खो देने का गम
ना टूटे सपनों का मोल, ना नए सपनों को बुनने का मन
बस मेरी एक नियति, और उसके हाथों की कठपुतली मैं.
हाँ, एक सवाल है —- नियति से….
‘कब तक? इसी तरह….कब तक?’
स्वाति

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The entity called "Maa"

This is another leaf in my bunch of learnings and experiences after coming to USA. After coming here, I got to spend a lot of time with myself. I got to know more about myself, about the world, and it’s people. I realised the true value of so many things I possessed but never valued, back in India. And the most worthy of the lot that I realised the value of … was my Mom!

She’s a normal woman. Nothing new when you assess the credentials. A Teacher by profession, a mother of two kids, wife of an Engineer, a sister of 2 brothers and 2 sisters. 
It’s only when you come a little closer that you get to realise the light of the halo! She’s great at everything that she does. She is a great cook, a great beautician. The students who’ve ever come under her, never forget her. The basics once learnt from her, hardly go wrong. She has great command on language (both Hindi and English) and has a knack for being correct in pronounciation. Her taste for music, dance, home decor, food, color, art, craft…you name it, she has it…is worth recommendations. People come often to get the recipes of her dishes. She keeps experimenting in her dishes and trust me when I say it, we’ve hardly every been disappointed. There have been very few things which she cooked and we didn’t like. Her choice of sarees is unique and beautiful. And, you got to see her when she drapes it. She’s not very pretty or having very manaquine looks, but the saree takes a different grace to itself when she drapes it. I have always loved myself when she dresses me up in a saree. My love and craze for sarees started only when I saw myself dressed in it, by her. People, who never cared to even give me a second look, couldn’t take their eyes off. 
But, this is not something that I realised after coming to US. I always knew it and respected her for that. But, the respect which grew within me was in a different realm…It’s the way her love has dawned on me now that I never saw, never realised. Just like every other elder child of the family, I also had this complex that my mom loves my younger brother more than him. For this, I have given her a real tough time, whole my life. 🙂 And I can’t belive myself now, that I carried it in me, even after I crossed my teens. I always thought that she’s too innocent and naive to know the world. She doesn’t realise the deeper meanings of what she says. Uffff!
Now, I understand that a mother’s love is so deep rooted that no matter how distanced she maybe, she can never get detached from you. There’s no one else on this earth who can have the kind of bonding with you the way she has. It is a knot which can never be broken. The way a mother understand you, knows you, even your  father can’t! The nine months that the mother and child spend together…. they live together, breathe together, laugh together, cry together, feel sad, feel elated…. it’s two souls entwined. It’s a unique thing and it’s magical. It’s another of God’s unique miracles. No one else can be what a mother is to her child and a child is to her mother. I know, it’s biological. Men can be jealous of it. But, it is a truth that no one can refute. It’s an honour, a reward, a woman gets, for being a woman.
  
It’s after understanding this love, this bond, that I understand my mother better. I understand her reactions better. I understand her behaviour better. I appreciate her beauty better. I love her ethereal innocence. I can see the eternal and deepest sea of love in her. 
She’s the purest and the truest woman one could have ever known! She never lied ever. No matter whatever the matter is, she handled it with honesty. She didn’t care if it brought a bad-name to her. She didn’t care if her kids sulked or shouted at that moment. She knew that it’s the good of her children that matters ultimately. 
Now, my parents are looking for a match for me. The way she analyses every option, shows just one thing… her love. She hasn’t ever talked to me about it. She hasn’t asked me what I want or what I don’t. But, she knows it all, already. She knows what I want and what I need. She knows what kind of qualities are essential if I have to respect the person. She knows that the person needs to be better than me in mental level, and not just in the rupees he’s earning presently. My father may, sometime drift away looking at the current position of the boy in question. But, my mother never does that. She knows it is nothing but the best that will be, for her child. She will fight out her life, even with my dad, if he differs on this with her. Whether it was in our education, our lifestyle, our rearing, she has given us the best. She never gave it a second thought about which one to chose, when the choice was between us or herself. 
I am glad to be her daughter, and have some part of ‘Her’ in me. 
After understanding the real meaning and uniqueness of her love, I want to give her the best of everything. I want to give her all kinds of happiness that she rightly deserves. I want to fulfil all her small wishes, that she had foregone for me and my brother’s sake, in past. I think it’s the least that we, as children can do for our parents. I am glad to have learnt it and wish that I succeed in this endeavour. 
Love you Maa!
You are beautiful. You are the best.
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USA from the eyes of an Indian

When I was in India and hadn’t known that I would ever go to USA, I was a devoted Indian. I used to debate with people who thought of settling in USA. I used to be staunchly against brain-drain. I don’t say that I would fight or look against the people who thought that way, but I liked to discuss them out of it. So, in a way, I can fairly state that I was never starry eyed about America the way people usually are. I would be lying if I don’t commit that I wanted to visit the place for sure. But, the thought of making a life here never came to my mind. And, that’s the truth.

Then, I got this opportunity. I landed in USA. I have been living here since past 4 months now. And, I loved the place, the people, the weather, the law and order…everything about it. When I talked to people back home, in India, I used to be all praises about it. People used to smile and think that the same girl who used to be so against it, is now smitten by the fever. But, I beg to differ. Praising someone or something good in other, doesn’t mean traitorship. It never implies that one has changed parties or beliefs. One should always be open to the good traits of other. Ready to learn new things from other. That’s what I am doing. Following are some of the things which we can learn from America and inculcate in India.
1. Law and Order: The fine of over-speeding or under-speeding is 300$. The fine of getting into the wrong side of the lane is 1000$, on a freeway. The amount of fine is so huge that people cannot even think of breaking laws. This is one thing that I’ve always believed should be followed in any country. People take extra precaution not to break any rule, even by mistake. 
Benefits/ Results: People are so carefree that they can sleep with doors unlocked, at night. It’s not an unusual sight if you find the car’s window left open, to keep the car from heating up while the owner is working inside the company. Since kids see their parents following rules and regultaions, they follow it too. The general tendency is to follow them. In Delhi esp., unfortunately, it’s the other way round.  
2. Cleanliness, health and basic lifestyle: The roads are clean and never broken. People never honk there car-horns unless it’s really an urgent need. Or, something terrible needs to be averted. There are dustbins at every nick and corner and people wait till they reach the dustbin to throw the trash. There are polybags supplied by the Apartment complex management. The bags are supposed to be taken along whenever you take your pet out for a stroll. No littering around. I haven’t come across even a single dog/cat/cow/any animal which is stray, loitering on road- homeless, helpless. The wind here is more clean than I find even in Taraori (a small town near Karnal, Haryana). The spring here is so much more beautiful. I can’t explain. The nature here makes me a skip a heartbeat. This is one of the biggest point where I go weak and have to stop myself from leaving my own country. 
Do you think God was partial when he created this country? No. He wasn’t. It’s the people here who’ve taken care of it. Almost everyone here has a small garden around there houses. Everyone maintains the garden so well, whether by themselves or apply for a gardener’s services. The gardener comes weekly/monthly/bi-monthly to check your garden and ensures that it remains looking splendid and pretty always.  I know, you must be thinking, this all needs money to be spent on. I say that indeed, some part of it definitely needs money but many of it is simply a matter of precaution and habit. If you make it a habit to drop trash only in dustbin then it won’t look like a task anymore. It will become a part of you. We all drive. If we make sure that our cars/bikes/scooters undergo servicing time to time, then we can do our bit towards the environment. I know it means spending money again, but don’t we spend on our near and dear ones? Don’t we spend on them when they fall sick? Then why can’t we spend a little bit on this to ensure a better environment for ourselves and our dear ones. It will save them from so many diseases, in future. Roads are good because they are always compliant with the rules and regulations. The construction company cannot mix cheap material and get away with it, because if caught, their licenses will be cancelled and they will be heavily penalised. Then, the people using the roads cannot overload the road by bringing trucks (where it’s not allowed), thus ensuring longer life of the road and convenience to all. 
One of the things I must mention.. which I really liked about this country is the way of living. Here, there’s no concept of maids. Definitely, you can hire one if you really wish to, but the general trend is to do your stuff, yourself. Before I came here, I had hardly done much in the kitchen, I hardly needed to wash clothes, or even swipe the floor of my room. It was somehow, taken care of everywhere. At home, my Mom used to take care of it. In PG, the landlady took care of it. The laundry clothes, I used to take home on weekends, so they were also taken care of. I know that is an extreme scenario, but the general way of life is not much different. I know that too. At homes, it’s usual, that a maid comes for cleaning utensils. Even if the lady of the house is a house wife, it has become a general trend to keep a maid. In older times, it was the lady who did it for everyone. So, barring one person, others never cared how they got their clothes cleaned and ironed. They never wondered how the house is so neat and clean. The dishes are proper. The curtains taken care of. I mean, the list is endless. Here, everyone does their bit. I truly agree that there are lot of facilities here to do the day-to-day chores which we don’t have in India, but the fact that I want to emphasize on is the need to take care of your work, yourself. It’s a general habit which is in-built in everyone here..right from childhood. Initially, I felt that children are so spoilt here. They behave as if they are equal to their elders. They demand and expect the same amount of respect and equality in all areas, as their parents. They know it, from their preperatory schools that you need to call 911 if your parents hit you. It was all appalling to me in the beginning. But, now, when I look at it, I think it has far-reaching effects. The children become responsible for their  actions right from the beginning. They understand the work and the results completely. This is something which we never get or give in India. I, myself, never understood what “taking care of yourself” means until I came here. Till the time I was near my parents, they took care of almost everything. They took or forced decisions on me. So, I never faltered. There were no failures, no falls, no mistakes. The real-world problems come only when you face the world – alone – by yourself. Children are made to clean their dishes by themselves. Husband and wife share the work of home like equals. Some part the wife takes care of and some the husband. This helps everyone to feel equal in the family. And, brings the family closer. 
Many people say that this liberalisation and free thinking is what has brought America to such a state. Children don’t even bother to ask about their parents. Divorces are rampant and a common part of people’s lives. I don’t disagree. But, I would say that children not bothering about parents is how parents brought them up. Its a parent’s responsibility and maturity to look for complete growth of the child. And, it depends on the time and quality of time, values, thoughts that you give to your child which decides whether your child comes back to you, when needed or not. This, I guess, is parentship rather than the culture. Indians can actually benefit a lot from this because Indian traditions and roots are such that Indian families are more closely bound. If the Indian child is given a little more freedom and independence to decide, at a tender age, then Indians can rule the world. 
If your child comes back to you, then it should be out of love rather than a requirement or a responsibility. Similarly, if you give full space to your spouse, you’ll see a more healthier and long-lasting relation. How much better life would be when the people you love, are with you, because of love. I think it’s about accepting the truth. 
After saying so much, I agree USA has reached here because of the sound economy. For India, it has just been 61 yrs after Independence. But, if we, the youth, doesn’t work to improvise it, then it’ll never change. It’ll remain the same even 60 yrs later.