Monday, January 18, 2016

The bundles of joy in my life!


My eyes did not move away from the arrivals for those 40 minutes after I got to know that the flight from London had landed. I knew the immigration and other formalities would take time but still, my eyes waited only for her. My sister was finally coming to India after 9 months since Myra was born. I hadn’t seen her in about two years but I was most excited about meeting my nine months old niece, who I only saw on video calls. She was born on 14th of June, 2014; the day I understood the true meaning of love. A sense of family I never realized better before. Myra- Indian citizen, born in London and brought up in New York!
I finally saw my brother-in-law walking outside. My eyes still searched for my sister and I saw her holding Myra. I went running towards her. “I’ll hug you later!” And I grabbed Myra from her. I hugged the little one tight as close as I could. I couldn’t believe myself that I was finally holding her in my arms. I looked at her and right away, I fell in love. She was looking at my face, still figuring out who this over excited lady was. Then she looked at her mom (my sister) and realized I wasn’t her and started crying for her. I felt a little disappointed, but then I took all the efforts to give her all the comfort and love she wanted to consider me a part of her family. Her acceptance had become so important for me. Seeing the possibilities well up in their eyes as you spend time connecting with them is absolutely priceless. And those were the best moments of my life that I shared with her. We played peek-a-boo and all kinds of games that made her giggle.
Then came the day when we had to part our ways again. This was the worst. I was trying hard not to cry in front of the little one, knowing that I won’t be able to see her again for a longtime. She was smiling as always and waving me goodbye, too innocent to realize. I hugged her for the last time. That’s the day I realized how much better a hug feels when it comes from arms that can barely reach around you!
We continue to Facetime again. I still love the connection I share with her. She took my name recently in the cutest way possible. It is the cutest thing listening to a toddler trying to figure out how to make the sounds of your name with their newly wielded skill of speech. The way she calls me “Neaa Massii” (not a typo) and naming alphabets like I for “Ilooooo” (instead of Igloo) with the widest smile has become my favorite since that day. I try teaching her as many things I can. It makes me feel every bit the cool aunt being a part of helping her develop a rich life full of passions. With her is the most special long distance relationship I share! Something I’ll treasure for lifetime.


She is the daughter of my eldest sister, and unlike with my other sister; I shared the whole journey with her since the day when she got pregnant. I was with her when she went for her first ultrasound. She showed me a picture of the ultrasound and I had no idea what I was looking at. She pointed out at the various points explaining which part of the body it was. Not that I understood much that time, but all I knew then was I was super excited for being around my sister through this journey of hers. And that is what I did. I was around to see the transition of belly size from size 26 to size 36, from weighing 50 kgs to 70kgs! When she threw up for initial months even to smell of food, when she experienced her first baby kicks till the day she left for the hospital to deliver the baby.
I remember it as clear as day. It was my first day at my new workplace, when I heard the news. I remember sitting in the office conference room, getting done with all the joining formalities and I got a call from my mom, “Neha, it’s a baby girl!!” I shouted with excitement at the top of my voice, “What, it’s a girl!!” And all the other colleagues sitting with me in that room started looking at me. The look on their faces was as if I had a baby myself. (Yes, I know doesn’t make sense but well that was the look!)
It was a Monday and I was traveling to the hospital from office in the cab. I remember thinking that it felt like the longest drive ever! It was such a rush of excitement that I had never felt before. The whole ride to the hospital I thought about how I was going to hold the new born. I ran towards her room and opened the door. I instantly was so captivated with the baby smell all around the room. I stood there in amazement. I was ecstatic. I cleansed my hand using as much sanitizer I could use. I went and stood beside her bed watching her sleep. I was so anxious to hold her. She was wrapped up in a clean blanket, and looked so pure like an angel. Bundled up like a little bunny as if she was still in the womb. My brother-in-law set her in my arms and I couldn’t believe she was finally in my arms. I stared into her brown little eyes and knew instantly that I would love this little one forever more than myself.

Since that day, all of my free time is hers. I am amazed at how fond I am of both my nieces. It has been such a new experience for me. Her innocence makes me feel like a little kid again. My relationship with my sisters is unbreakable but the relationship I have with my nieces doesn’t compare to the ones with my sisters. Whenever I am with her, I feel like a kid again. It is so exciting to watch her learn new things every week since she is born. It is a feeling I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world.
The other day, we both were lying down on the bed. We were having some conversations only me and her understood. And she slept off in my arms that day. I couldn't think or acknowledge anything else around me. The world seemed to stop, hold its place in time, just for that perfect moment. The connection you feel when one of these precious little people surrenders to sleep, feeling safe with you, is completely disarming. When this happens you have no desire to move, to put them in bed or to do anything else but experience the moment.
Being the youngest in my family, it was very difficult to understand why everyone was always so protective about me. I began to understand how and why parents worried so much about me. Watching this little one grow up stirred up the beginnings of parental protective impulses.
The best feeling is coming back home to them. The moment I enter the house, she smiles in the happiest and most welcoming way. It doesn’t matter how low you feel, how much you screwed up at work, or how something else went wrong; when you see your nieces, all that just fades away and you actually feel as cool as they see you. Their optimism is contagious.
If only there was a way to protect them from heartache, danger or any kind of pain, I will do just that in a heartbeat. 

P.S. Some quotes mentioned are taken from one of the posts on:

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Quarter life special!

Birthdays have always been a BIG deal for me. It’s the one day that is just for you. Everyone gathers together to celebrate! I am not sure what, because just like all the previous years, even this year there was a cake, there were friends, surprises, gifts; but something was different this time.

Maybe because I turned 25 this birthday and now I am on the wrong side of the 20s. Well, doesn’t really sound that exciting to me when I put it that ways.

I recently read something a fellow blogger wrote about the changes she made in recent years of her life, realizing how lifestyle choices have a HUGE impact on oneself. And I surely second that.

I would love to share with you, 25 changes that I made in my lifestyle in last couple of years: 
  1. Replace coffees throughout the day with green tea. And a glass of milk before sleeping.
  2. Eat more greens. I make green smoothies instead. Even better and doesn’t taste that bad either.
  3. Avoid junk and anything unhealthy for my body.
  4. Exercise regularly. Avoid elevators.
  5. Blog more often. Be more regular for my readers.
  6. Practice meditation before sleeping.
  7. Volunteer.
  8. Make more time for family and closed ones. Get together more often.
  9. Analyze. Be a better person. Every day.
  10. Never skip breakfast. Smoothies count.
  11. Smile. At strangers, too.
  12. Read something knowledgeable every day. Magazines don’t count.
  13. Give up on bad habits. I stopped biting my finger nails!
  14. Cook more often. Try a new recipe at least once a month.
  15. Make more time for things you are passionate about.
  16. Face your fears. It’s alright to have them. But don’t miss out on things in life ‘coz of them.
  17. Make the most of the weekends. Lying in bed all day long doing nothing counts. Sometimes.
  18. Learn something from every person you meet in life.
  19. Make long term plans. Work towards them.
  20. Do things that make you happy.
  21. Make a to-do list so you don’t forget things.
  22. Explore more places around the city. Make the most of the time you are there.
  23. Ride safe. No earphones when riding.
  24. Spontaneous is good. But take a while and think of the pros and cons before taking important decisions.
  25. Start and end your day with an affirmation. Feel positive.

Well, these are a few things to list out. Try some for yourself; I am sure you’ll thank me.

Friday, April 3, 2015

BBC Documentary- India's Daughter a "gift" to India?


The BBC Documentary on "India’s Daughter" by filmmaker called Leslee Udwin has been being watched widely all over the world. Though I would like to mention that it surely doesn’t look like a ‘selfless’ act by Leslee. I agree that such documentaries are bread and butter for all the documentary makers. But then don’t mention that the documentary was her “gift” to India.

Also I believe that India surely shouldn’t have banned the documentary. After all it was all just a true story! We should be embarrassed of the ugly truth rather than fighting against the fact that the documentary got made.
Finally, the documentary disclosed her real name “Jyoti Singh”. Her parents were not embarrassed to give out her name in media. They are glad their daughter’s name “Jyoti” denotes “light” and hoped she’ll be an example to the whole world and throw light on this serious matter related to safety for females.

Things in the documentary which had a bad impact were:
1.      It is said that Jyoti Singh (Nirbhaya) was insulted through this documentary. Well, it is as you take it. The documentary was an eye opener. But yes, adding the interview of the rapists and watch the men talk about their sick mindsets out in the open was uncalled for. Overnight, the rapists were all over the news. They were like some celebrities being talked about all across the world.

2.      It is also allegedly said that the rapist was paid for the interview. How could someone pay those rapists for shamelessly accepting the crime and also mentioning that the girl was at fault and that she should just be silent and allow the rape?

3.      The rapist concluded saying that hanging them was a wrong decision and this will only make the other rapists scared of the punishment and they’ll hence just kill the girls after raping them hence forth.

4.      What makes me wonder is how can a person who has been a rape victim (allegedly) interview a rapist and let him talk about the crime so casually. There was no regret in his eyes. He did not feel sorry for what his brother and friends did and what he supported.

I am surely not against the documentary. In fact I have seen it and it is quite informative about the whole incident in the 60 minutes film. But there are some things which shouldn't have been included in the documentary. 
Although, banning the documentary is not the solution to the cause. Instead let people watch what sick mindsets some people have. If we don’t face it and realize how are we going to try and change it?

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Day 15: Top Ten Favorite Songs

Choosing favorite songs is one of the most difficult tasks for me since my favorite playlist changes almost every week.
Though there are a few out of these which have always stayed. So to name a few on my head right now, I would say:

1. Inside Out- Bryan Adams
2. Truly Madly Deeply- Savage Garden
3. Sham- Aisha
4. With Or Without You- U2
5. Tum ho- Rockstar
6. You look wonderful tonight- Eric Clapton 
7. Your Body Is A Wonderland- John Mayer
8. All Coldplay songs (Totally!)
9. Lifehouse- You&Me
10. Patakha Guddi- Highway 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Day 14: Your favorite memory as a kid

I love this picture.
I remember we bought the first ambassador car and I was all excited for a drive in the new car. Also am wearing my favorite tee, my typical "Heee" smile with that naughty look on my face.

I look more like a guy here though. But I totally love it! :)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Teach For India - Round II

Based on my online application I was shortlisted for the telephonic interview which was the next step in the selection process. I received an email on the 18th of February from TFI confirming my candidature to the next stage which was a telephonic interview. And to my surprise the interviewer was himself a Fellow (2012-14) who was teaching, in a school in Yerwada, Pune. My telephonic interview was scheduled on 20th of February. I had butterflies in stomach but I knew all I could do the best was to be myself and it would be just fine.
I was to get the call between 9:00PM - 10:00PM IST. My work timings are 12:00PM - 9:00PM IST so I rushed back home as soon as my shift was over. I opened my laptop and kept the TFI website open; my TFI application file was open and a bottle of water beside me. I played an episode of FRIENDS and waited calmly for the call, munching on to a snicker bar (Intake of sugar is always good to keep one energized and calm). To my surprise, the interviewer did not call till 10:00PM. I was a little tensed then, but I calmly opened my Gmail account and sent my interviewer a mail that I did not receive any call in the time slot allotted. And then I just served myself some food and sat down for dinner; just then I got a call from an unknown number. I find unplanned telephonic interviews extremely crucial, but then I just took a deep breath and answered the call. First, he very politely introduced himself, and then apologized for the delay for the call, narrated a bit about the whole Teach for India movement. Also he informed me that he will be typing down every answer of mine and thus, to spare him few moments after every answer.
During the interview, I firstly listened to every question asked carefully and then took a moment or two to collect my thoughts and then answered confidently. I got quite some time since he also took a few moments to type down whatever I said.

The questions he asked were pretty obvious. To mention a few of them;
1) Why do you want to be a Teach for India Fellow?
2) Why Teach For India and not anything else?
3) Narrate an incident where you displayed your leadership qualities.
4) What qualities are you looking forward to develop within you at TFI?
5) What goals would you want to achieve in the two year of the fellowship?
6) How would you like to manage your classroom differently than the others?
7) What qualities or values would you like to bring within the kids at your school?
8) What will be your short and long term goals are TFI?
9) Narrate a situation where you managed some problem or any situation by yourself and also mention if you succeeded at doing so and how you felt about it?

And few more, I don’t exactly remember. The interview went on for about 45minutes. At the end, he asked me if I had any questions to which I inquired as to how many applicants have been invited to the second round and how many final fellowship offers does TFI intend to make this year. He told me that TFI has no specific number as to how many offers would be made or so, TFI strictly goes for quality. Also, he told that there were approximately 35-40,000 applicants this year and about 7-10% is offered fellowship.

My interviewer also informed me that I would be getting my results in a fortnight’s time and roughly after a week, I got this message from TFI confirming my progress to the next round - Assessment Centre.

The message:
Dear Neha,
Congratulations! We are delighted to invite you to the final stage of our selection process for the 2014 Fellowship – the Assessment Center! Our process is highly selective and this year less than 30% of all Applicants have reached this final stage. We were impressed by your leadership, achievement and commitment to this movement.
The Assessment Center is an opportunity for us to meet you in person and to find out more about your experiences and interest in Teach For India. It is also a great opportunity for you to meet us and other like-minded Applicants.

I badly want to be a part of TFI and when I got the mail confirming my admit I was screamed so loud, my roommates almost freaked out! The last round to go now, this will be happening around mid-March. Fingers crossed!! :)