Polka Dots and Dark Chocolate

A nice polka dot purse she received on her birthday from her daughter.

The purse looked nice and was appreciated by all – purse as a gift is generally given to ladies.

But what made it special was the – POLKA DOTS!!!

Mom had a fascination with polka dots and the daughter remembered.

Birthday dinner was ordered by the daughter, as she was the one doing the ordering till she went abroad to study.

It was normal dinner followed by chocolate mousse as dessert.

Nice dessert… which most of us like.

Again what made it special was the Dark Chocolate!!!

Dark Chocolate was her mom’s favourite.

No, it was not the polka dot or the dark chocolate that gave a lump in her throat; it was the fact that her daughter remembered such minute details about her mom and made it a point to send her those favourite things from thousand miles away.

And this made my sister’s birthday special – a birthday she will always remember.

Yes I am talking about my sister who just celebrated her birthday yesterday and her daughter who is in Dublin to pursue higher studies.

Life is all about such beautiful gestures and memories.

God bless my loving and affectionate niece.

Love needs demonstration – in whichever way you do.

My sister didn’t need the polka dot purse or the dark chocolate mousse to get reassured that her daughter loves her but this small thoughtfulness from her daughter did make her happy.

The same purse and dark chocolate, if bought on her own, would not have given my sister the happiness it gave her when it had added thoughtfulness of her daughter.

She was extremely delighted and kept smiling all day; her daughter managed to give her the best birthday gift; she made her happy.

I feel ‘being thoughtful’ is the key to happiness.

It makes both the parties happy – the person who thought about the other person and of course the person who is being thought of.

I remember our days in hostel when nothing was online…and we used to wait for phone calls in  phone booth placed in our hostel; parents used to inform via postal letter giving us the call time.

That reminds me of my mom’s letters.

There was a coffee booth in our hostel which used to give coffee for 5 rupees and both my sister and I used to love that coffee. My mother knew it and she would keep a ten rupee note in the letter. And she would write …”run to the coffee booth and get two coffees”, and we would actually do that.  We would run to the coffee booth and take coffee from the ten rupee sent by my mom.

It used to be such an amazing feeling…that coffee bought by that 10 rupee note definitely tasted different; the flavour of my mom’s thoughtfulness and love added to it.

And then when we would go home for vacations, my father would stuff the refrigerator with all the goodies we liked…from soft drinks to cakes to cheeses to whatever we liked.

We felt like princesses; again those goodies from refrigerator tasted different from what we ate on our own; those had added thoughtfulness and love of my dad.

If I look back, there have been so many thoughtful incidents in my life and even today when I think about them, they bring a smile.

My dad making sure I had yellow lights in my room when I went to stay with my parents.

My aunt making that special brinjal veg for me whenever I visit my hometown.

These are just little things that add to the bonding and love. You have to just be little alert to the choices of your loved ones …it could be food preference…colour choice…vacation destination choice…movie choice…how to spend a evening choice…anniversary celebration choice…birthday celebration choice…the list could be endless.

In fact my sister wanted a quiet drive on her birthday and her husband complied by driving down to Vrindavan; her wish was fulfilled and she was happy.

I guess these memories are should be treasured more than the pictures we keep sharing all the time on our FB and Instagrams; my personal opinion.

Life is all about these little little things…and these make a huge difference in your relations.

Little thoughtful acts add to the bonding and love between people.

Do thoughtful acts…do demonstrate love….don’t take relations for granted.

All relations, even the closet ones need nurturing

Wish my dear loving sister a very happy birthday and hope she keeps enjoying her polka dots and dark chocolate filled with the flavour of love and thoughtfulness by loved ones.

Happy Birthday!!!!

 

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Auspicious or Inauspicious

So a constitution bench of the Supreme Court was needed to finally say that menstruation is just a physiological function.  And thus women get entry to the famous Sabarimala.

We are always talking about gender discrimination but wonder if any bench of Supreme Court can deal with discrimination within the same gender. We make noise about gender discrimination but are unable to deal with traditional discriminatory practices. It is amazing that in the 21st century we talk about women being auspicious and inauspicious; how can any woman or for that matter any human be inauspicious.

Our society gives special privileges to a married woman. From my childhood I have seen married women getting preference in most of the festivals. They are called ‘suhagan’ ‘saubhayawati’ and similar other names. They are considered to have good fortune and auspicious. Fine nothing wrong with calling somebody auspicious. But I definitely have issues where married woman are considered auspicious in comparison to women who have lost their husbands. Some even go to the extent of debarring women who are divorced to be a part of any sacred ceremony. And some even consider childless women, inauspicious.

I remember I was at a wedding few years back where some ceremony was to be conducted where the bride was to be blessed through some ritual. I saw a lady calling out …we need 5 ‘suhagans’ to do this. A lady, very close to the bride had almost reached the stage to do the blessing part, but she was pulled back by some relative as she was not a ‘suhagan’ and she quietly walked back. And the so called ‘auspicious’ ladies did the ritual. I had tears in my eyes and I wanted to react but I could not do anything. Why are the ladies who have lost their husbands, not allowed to participate in auspicious ceremonies?

Shameful!!  Why we allow this hundred or maybe thousand year old tradition to rule our lives in the 21st century. Strange are our ways; if you have a husband you are sacred and if you are without one you cannot perform sacred rituals.

When I think back I have many memories from my childhood where I remember ‘married women’ called to perform certain rituals in a wedding ceremony or other religious functions. It never bothered me then or I didn’t realize what was happening. But now when I see the same person being prohibited from performing the same rituals which she once did when she had her husband with her, it hurts. And then you question: How can the same person who was once auspicious and fit to be a part of any sacred function is no longer called for such rituals if she has lost her husband? The person remains the same.

Atrocious!!!

Now I am not saying that it happens in all families. There are some enlightened families and individuals too but generally this is the scenario.

It is amazing how we function…we do Kanya pooja where young girls are equated with goddess… then the same girl is equated with Goddess Laxmi when enters her in-laws’ family…then the same girl is killed for dowry or for giving birth to a girl child…and the same girl who was equated with Goddess Laxmi and considered lucky becomes inauspicious if she loses her husband.

Considering a woman auspicious or inauspicious becomes contextual.

Isn’t it strange and beyond logic…

Our traditions and rituals are important for us and we all must value them but should we allow them to control us so much that we go beyond logic and reasoning.

 

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You Will Always Remain Relevant

I don’t trust words, I trust vibes. People can tell you anything, but a vibe tells you everything.

Read this somewhere …it made sense as I could co-relate with my experiences.

It was a beautiful morning…

I splashed water on my face and was ready with my walking shoes for my favorite activity – morning walk.

Lovely breeze… little mist in the air…crystal clear environment…lush green lawns…palm trees swaying …no vehicles on the road…absolute treat for people like me who love to walk in the mornings.

The cool breeze on my skin felt refreshing; I walked more than my usual rounds and enjoyed.

With mind full of positivity I walked back and as I entered the hall I was offered my favorite tender coconut water and I felt pampered.

No, I am not at some health spa or a resort….and no uniform clad staff is pampering me.

I am at my co-sister’s home and the lovely gesture was from none other than my co-sister.

You know what; these little gestures from people make me feel loved or for that matter anybody would feel loved and wanted.

My co-sister came into the family good 13 years after I walked into my second home; my parents’ home always being my first home.

Even before she walked into this home, I had made up my mind that I will bond with her. Mind it, I did not even know who would be the girl but still I had this strong desire that whoever she be, I will have great relations with her.

You see, if you have strong positive desire, you will find that things start working in your favour to help you achieve your desire. The same thing happened here; my co-sister turned out super sensible and my job became super simple. I did not have to make extra efforts to maintain good relations; it became effortless.

Hats off to this generation; they know how to manage relations keeping their dignity intact.

Coming to my point, relations have to be built by heart. My father often talked about vibes.

He told me once that you should be careful of what you say or think. When you talk or even think about someone (positive or negative), it easily passes to that person through vibes. If you think carefully you will notice that you enjoy the company of some people more than others. That is because you are getting good vibes from that person.

Recently I had the opportunity of having my cousin in my neighborhood. He would visit us whenever he found time. Now every member in my house including my domestic help used to look forward to his visits. His visits created a nice aura in the house and made the whole atmosphere happy. He carried good vibes which rubbed on all of us.

Vibes are actually the feeling that someone or something gives you; a distinctive emotional quality or atmosphere that is sensed or experienced by someone. It is the vibes that you send people (positive or negative) that work as energy that pulls people towards you or warns them to keep their distance. All of us are throwing energies all the time and therefore if you wish to build good relations make sure your energy is positive towards that person. It is a good idea to focus on positive vibes while negative ones are best ignored.

If I talk ill about somebody behind his/her back and try to be sweet in front of them, somehow my true feelings get conveyed while if I nurture good thoughts about somebody and then even if I don’t display any gestures still the good vibes get conveyed.

Recently I heard somewhere …what you can’t say don’t think….and that is I guess the mantra for happy and healthy relations. But I guess being human, it is not possible always. The world is full of people with different mindset and perceptions, nothing right or wrong just different. So there are bound to be conflicts and differences. The best we can do I guess is to appreciate the positive and ignore the negative as per our perceptions.

Vibes come from heart and are truly genuine.

I talked about my co-sister as an illustration because I remembered my visit to her place but like her I have many people in my life with whom I feel great. And for the little rest – because it is just not possible that the whole world will love me, there are bound to be people who will have grudges against me or I will have grudges but then I read a lovely quote recently –

‘I don’t hold grudges, you just become irrelevant’.

I intend to enjoy my life with people who love me and try loving those who love me a little less and hope I remain relevant in the lives of people who matter.

So my dear co-sister I intend to keep you always relevant in my life.

 

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Tomorrow is not promised…All you have is TODAY

What is unique about celebrating birthdays of your loved ones who are no more physically present is that they will not age anymore.

And today I celebrate birthday of my dad who is not physically present any more and still his presence is always around. People can’t be there forever, but yes we humans are greedy and always yearn for little more. I too wish I had little more time with him.

Questions remain unanswered…many queries….doubts…

Sometimes I feel if I can make an application to the almighty saying that He clarifies the time each soul has on this earth so that we know exactly how much time we have with that person and sort out all our issues…everything within the time frame allotted. This way maybe we will not miss out on anything. Because once the person is gone, he can be never ever seen again…Some mystery…

I read somewhere … Birthdays – we celebrate life but how do you celebrate birthday of someone who has no life.

If death is mourned birthdays have to be celebrated; though absence of physical presence does leave a sad thought. You can no more sing for them …Happy Birthday and end it with Many More.  When a person is no more they stop growing old in spite of their birthdays happening every year but their birthday still belongs to them. Our relation does not end with the person gone; we continue our relationship and therefore we continue celebrating their birthdays.

I celebrate the birthday of my father every year.

On this birthday of my dad I thank him for so many things which I took for granted in his lifetime but now I realize the worth and his contribution in shaping me the way I am. And I am proud to be his daughter.

I thank him for –

  • Passing me happy and vibrant genes which keep me upright under any situation
  • Believing in me – he once told me “nobody can write better than you” – that was father’s love speaking but I took his words literally and till date I move with my head held high. Doesn’t matter what the world thinks…if my dad believed I was best then I am. Period.
  • He asked me once to read ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’ which I read almost 4 years after he left us…wish had done earlier, I could have had some more discussions with him.
  • He inculcated in me the habit of being active all the time for which I can’t thank him enough.
  • He taught me to keep people around me happy which he himself did beautifully. People who know him can vouch for this. I guess I am yet to reach that level. Though I keep trying…

You know sometimes people around you may not like you and judge you. They have their own reasons. Sometimes it bothers me and I go in my shell.

But then I remember my father. If he thought I was a beautiful person/soul then I am. Period. Let the world think what they want.

Whenever negativity around me bothers me I just have to close my eyes and I can feel him smiling standing behind me and endorsing the beautiful soul I am. This works like magic for me and I am back on my feet.

The biggest lesson – believe in yourself and believe in people who love you…because people who really love you will never judge you and people who don’t judge are the people who really love you.

We don’t know how much time we have with our loved ones…so focus on people who love you and people whom you love…time is limited so don’t bother about the rest.

I am human too and I too often judge people around me but soon I get vibes from my father and I try to correct myself. My efforts are on…

We all come with an expiry date – remember this every moment so that we can cherish every moment and be grateful for the life we have.

My dad had so much life that even without his physical presence we can feel the vibrancy around. The life and positivity he had continues even without his physical presence. No death can take away the aura his soul had and that is the reason that we smile as we celebrate his birthday without him.  The capacity he had to make people happy while he was alive continues even in his absence. The aura is strong that it will keep us going all our life.

But yes I do miss his concern for me, his morning calls, his calls every hour if I was travelling to check my well-being, his worry about my food…and so on.

The concern will always be missed.

Happy Birthday Papa!!!

 

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On Way to Conquer Fatigue…

My guru smiled affectionately. “Tonight you have conquered fatigue and fear of hard work; you shall never be bothered by them in future.”

As I read these lines from the book I am reading these days –‘Autobiography of a Yogi’, I am reminded of my father. He had once asked me to read this book but somehow I did not. I picked up this book after he left us physically, thinking I must do what he asked me to do.

As I read these lines I realized that both my sister and I are already on the way to achieve this goal. Being humans we cannot be perfect but I would say we are 70 per cent there. What has been written in this book was practically taught to us by our father.

He gave us life lessons by setting an example himself.

My father was a very lenient and affectionate dad; I guess all fathers are. We were allowed all luxuries but he was very strict about two things; food and fatigue. We were not allowed to show disrespect to food and neither were we allowed to feel tired. I guess these two lessons have turned out to be sort of lifelong blessing from him.

Whenever we would reach home after a long day or a trip, my dad would immediately take a shower and we would find him ready sitting on a chair. I never heard – ‘I am tired’, from my father. And so we were also not allowed to utter this. We would get upset because we would want to lie down after a long trip but he would not allow that.

In fact I never saw my father go to bed during day time even after his retirement; he would get ready in the morning (formal clothes) and would go to bed only in the night. He was confined to bed only for 4 months when he broke his hip bone. I can imagine what he must have gone through during those days. Painful days which I don’t want to remember today; I would rather talk about the days when he was active and full of enthusiasm.

You see sometimes things can’t be achieved just physically; at times it is a mind game. If you believe in something it will happen and my father made us believe things. He made us believe that our bodies and minds are strong. Belief in oneself gives you the strength and courage to face challenges in life. Often our positive thoughts help us defy limits imposed by our bodies; we can make our bodies do things that we think are difficult or impossible.

By saying the same thing again and again and by setting an example himself my father sort of tuned our minds into believing that, one cannot get tired by doing daily chores. It has been instilled in our minds very strongly. You will rarely hear that we are tired.

I once read somewhere that whatever is infused in your mind creates an effect in the body. These changes maybe too insignificant to be noticed but over the time it does bring a large change in the body. That is why it is said that thoughts are very powerful.

That is what my father did. He kept pushing positive thoughts in our minds right from our childhood. He kept telling us that you can never get tired and today our bodies have got tuned to his thoughts. The thought of being tired doesn’t enter our minds.

My father had conquered fatigue and we are trying to reach his level though little difficult to reach where he was, but we are glad that he at least put us on the right path. Such strong was his desire and will to prepare his daughters to face the challenges of life that at times I feel that he still regulates us, if we deviate.

He trained our minds as well our bodies to be strong and I guess he succeeded. Today both me and my sister remain strong and are able to face challenges with positive approach. We carry his teachings as his legacy and hope to continue our endeavour of conquering fatigue and fear of hard work.

To conclude I would say that we are all humans and all tend to get tired…the difference is all in the attitude.

Today on this Father’s Day I thank my dad for giving us life lessons practically.

I can almost hear my father saying this to me what Sri Yukteswar said to Mukunda … you have conquered fatigue and fear of hard work; you shall never be bothered by them in future…

And when my father says something it has to happen.

And there I go ready to face the challenges of life with my dad walking beside me.

Happy Father’s Day Papa!!!

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My mom’s reaction to off-shoulder

My sister is the stylish kind who loves dressing and follows her heart…I admire her spirits and style.

I am the simple variety, not very comfortable following style or my heart…

Her efforts to convert me into some stylish chic mostly fail…haha…nevertheless her efforts are on.

In her latest endeavour she bought me an off shoulder top.

She asked me to try it on.

I did and then she started adjusting the neck to give it the off shoulder look.

We were busy adjusting as she kept pulling the neck low when suddenly my mom who was sitting there quietly watching the two of us said…

Why are you pulling the neck of the top, she asked my sister.

She tried explaining my mom that it is an off shoulder top and the shoulder has to show.

My mother definitely not approving, said what kind of dressing is this where you need to expose your shoulder?

My sister laughed and explained my mom about the trend but my mom was not convinced though she didn’t say much.

Imagine all our childhood she dressed us in clothes stitched by her where she would cut the neck just as much as was needed for the dress to slide down our heads.

And today her daughters pulling necks…haha…

But that doesn’t mean we have forgotten what all she taught us; the values and lessons she taught us on how to be a good human being remains intact till date and will follow to our graves too.

My mom belongs to the school where she loves dresses which do not expose much….she is the kind who believes that hair is supposed to be black and not red and of course is supposed to be kept long…it’s a different story that both her daughters don’t fall in the idea of her hairdo….there goes her efforts of oiling and maintaining our hair…as we chopped it…hahah.

But wait before you judge my mom as old fashioned – she may have her preferences pertaining to clothes or hair but her broader outlook towards life is something to be admired. What we are today is all because of her upbringing.

She inculcated in us values, which became a guiding force and life lessons for us.

She gave us lessons about standing straight in life in all situations.

She gave us the most basic yet important values – she taught us to value people, food and health.

I often hear people talking about fair and dark skin; but thanks to my mom both me and my sister till date can never make such a comment about anyone because our level of judging people goes much beyond complexion and looks. I don’t remember any discussion on colour of skin during my childhood and my sister will vouch for it. It’s a different story that when our parents started looking for grooms for us they had to look at us with different eyes to check whether we were fair, dark or dusky; important query from the potential groom’s family.

Whenever we would go back home from hostel I would expect my mom to tell me that I looked weak and thin; it seemed all mothers say that even to their plum kids. I have always been little overweight and the struggle to manage weight continues. But my mom instead of telling that I looked weak she would tell me — you need to exercise and take healthy diet…your weight has to be checked; and I would feel so disappointed. Her constant reminder to check my weight at least made me conscious and I make efforts to maintain ideal weight.

She says even today – Destiny has its own way…it can be harsh too at times…but do your part…do what best you can do to take care of yourself.

Coming to food…You serve any food in front of us and we will relish…there is nothing that we don’t eat. Meal times were considered spiritual at our place. My mom told us at every meal that food is ‘Annpurna Devi’ (Indian Goddess) and that got inculcated in us very strongly. Till date she tells us …food on your plate is blessing from God, so have it in whichever form it comes to you.

Imagine gulping karela(bitter gourd) with a smile….torture of third degree….

But today I thank my parents for that torture…we have learnt to respect food.

Coming to education my mom wanted best for us, but my father being in transferrable job we were often in small towns where schools were not as per my mom’s standard, something she regrets till date. Some cities we got good schools while some cities did not have good schools. We managed our schooling studying in almost 8-9 schools.

Since my mom was not very happy with our schooling she decided to send us to the best university. She enquired and found out that Delhi University is the best. So she made up her mind that we will pursue college in Delhi. Period. She had to struggle with my dad to be able to send us to Delhi. My father was not very keen to send us to hostel but it was all because of my mom that we got good education in Delhi University. Good 7 years we studied in Delhi – all thanks to my mom.

Discipline was another factor with which my mom used to be strict. She was like – early to bed and early to rise. She still says…stay with nature…if you go against nature, nature will take revenge…..Though I try to follow her advise but sometimes I deviate but then I make sure it doesn’t reach her…even today I am little scared of her if I go for late bath.

What I am talking about may seem trivial things….but these are the things which help you develop your personality. You learn to value food…people…. health…relations…

You learn to value Life.

What we are today …the values….the habits….our education….it’s all because of my mom.

I believe all mothers are the same…they want the best for their kids.

She supports us in all we do …only she can’t understand why one needs to pull the neck of a lovely top and make it off-shoulder…hahah.

We believe in her values though we love wearing off shoulders at times…

I did not get much time to spend with my mother-in-law but the little that I saw; I could see similar traits in her.

Anna Jarvis trademarked the phrase ‘Mother’s Day’ as she noted that…”Mother’s” should “be a singular possessive, for each family to honor its own mother, not a plural possessive commemorating all mothers in the world.”

But today I salute all mothers …because mothers are all same.

Happy mother’s day to my mom and all moms.

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Coffee – with or without sugar

Every morning after breakfast my husband needs coffee.

I have an open kitchen so he sits quietly on the dining table reading newspaper waiting for his coffee (some luxuries men enjoy…at least my man).

His attention from the newspaper moves to me only when I get ready to add sugar to his coffee.

I like black coffee without sugar and he likes milky coffee with lots of sugar.

Fair enough, matter of personal choice…

Now I feel sugar is not good for him and so I always try to reduce his sugar.

Same thing happened this morning.

The moment he saw me adding sugar to his coffee…

He – Add more

Me – No sugar is not good for you. Take less.

He insists quietly and firmly.

I get agitated…take a heap full more to add.

He directs me …little less

I added more sugar…banged the spoon…with an angry face, kept his coffee on the table…not only that, I banged the vessel also in the kitchen sink….made as much noise as I could.

My husband oblivious to all things happening around him picks up his coffee coolly and walks to his room with a smile.

There goes my 23 years of wasted efforts trying to fix him.

He continues with the same amount of sugar and I continue cribbing every time I add sugar to his coffee…after 23 years he has not given up sugar and I have not given up cribbing…

And our journey continues….

Marriage or for that matter any relationship is not about fixing or getting fixed; it is about living and let live. Talking about relation between couples (especially in India), it is never about just the 2 of them; it is about two families.

Marriage introduces you to a second family. You have one family by birth and another by law – the second family.  The second family comes to you much later in life and it takes time to understand the dynamics of your second family.

Managing relations of first family looks simpler because you have known each other since birth; you have grown together and are already apprised of the entire positive as well as the negative qualities; perceptions are in place…all sorted and accepted. You know exactly how much sugar each need in their coffee and accepted and so no issues.

What needs sorting is new relations that suddenly come to you and are legally binding; not a simple affair for people on both sides. People are different; mental levels are different; backgrounds are different and so perceptions also differ. It is not a matter of good or bad; right or wrong; high or low it is just that …there is a DIFFERENCE… Apart from the differences each individual has his or her own thought limitations – we can think only as per our own level of intelligence and exposure. Efforts are needed from both sides – the new member makes effort to be perceived correctly and even the new family does the same. In fact that is how it should happen; it has to be a 2-way process.

We all make efforts to build relations but instead of accepting the Differences we end up fixing the Differences. If only I had also loved sugary coffee maybe I would have been more open to adding more sugar to his coffee.

The morning episode made me wiser; if I couldn’t make him take less sugar in coffee even after 2 decades of effort, I guess it is time for me to let him enjoy his coffee his way and have my coffee my way so that both enjoy coffee in peace.

The same applies to families too on both sides. All of us want to be perceived well by others; be it friends, family, spouse, in-laws and others. We make honest and sincere efforts to justify our views or actions, but it is not necessary that your efforts are understood or rewarded all the time. You can’t be spending rest of your life trying to put things in right perspective.

You have done your part – right or wrong.

You have already been judged and misjudged.

You have been understood and misunderstood.

You have already adjusted and disadjusted.

Opinions already formed.

So what do you do now… after 2 decades it is time to accept the differences and move on…

Perceptions already formed so no point trying to change them because they will not change. Often your good intentions are misunderstood and other times you are unable to understand the good intentions of others.

So I guess after 2 decades of marriage you sort of get liberated…let me call it ‘Marriage Moskha’, where you just live your life without trying to please or displease anyone. Just be yourself and keep doing your part to the best of your ability. Don’t waste your time and effort trying to explain your view point or justify your actions or prove a point because it will be a futile effort.

I am not once trying to say that I have always been right…we are all humans with our set of faults. But life cannot be all black and white – there will always be shades of grey…issues will always remain …people will always have their own view points which could be different from yours (again nothing right or wrong).

So time to just start living…

You can never make people think your way.

Coming back to my husband if he is getting thrilled after reading my post thinking that henceforth he will get his coffee his way without any hassles, he is in for a surprise. Because my liberated stage has yet to touch our relation; all these gyan applies to all my relations but not him…he has no choice – his struggle for more sugar in his coffee will definitely not end.

Not Now…Not Ever…

Because this special relation cannot be compared to any other relation and therefore the benchmarks can’t be the same either.

Just celebrated our 23rd anniversary…

And the sugar issue continues….

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