Dear Dad Diary!

Indian wedding is a sea of endless emotions.

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On one side you are ecstatic at marrying the one guy who knows you inside out and can race your heart even in a crowd of endless people. But, at the same time, the pathos of leaving behind a family that made you who you are, the father who held your tiny fingers and shaped your ideology, belief, career, and character; the mother who nurtured you selflessly, stood like a rock when the rest of the world started to disintegrate and of course, the sister who was always your partner in crime, who was privy to all those dirty dark secrets and who nursed your heart when it was first shattered, who took all those endless trips to the mall to pick the perfect dress and who indulged in all your whims – you leave all of this behind only to know that your father will no longer be your morning alarm, your mother will no longer be the breakfast in bed service and your sister will no longer be your tissue box.

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Yes, the adventure of a new life awaits but on my wedding day, the tears didn’t stop, not once, because the emotions were flowing like a river that had more water than what the banks could hold.

The emotions were on a high like the sky which pours as if on a mission to submerge every damn thing.

Leaving them behind, I felt a part of me break as if someone took away me from me.

My husband held my hand, comforted me, gave his strong shoulder to rest the wobbly heart but the tsunami of tears didn’t oblige. It still ached for that strong arms that held me when I had first fallen, it still ached for that sly smile mother gave when she knew I was up to mischief and the twinkling eyes of the baby sister because she knew even before I said what we were up to.

My husband is a patient man, he understood what I wanted and that regardless of the depth of our love, this was the pang of separation that had set forth the stream of endless tears and he did what I needed but didn’t realize – his shoulder and our entwined hands. The sobs started to ebb as the eyelids dropped and off I went in the land of dreams, still courting the childhood I had left behind.
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1.5 years later

One and a half years have passed since my wedding and even today, a day doesn’t pass without me talking to my doting dad, darling mum and of course, the angel sister.

Today is one of those days when the memories have resurfaced much stronger. We have all grown in these years and made adjustments to the new schedule. I have settled at my in-laws’ place but on some nights, I want to cuddle up in bed, next to my sister and giggle without having to worry about waking up to the alarm. I want to sleep in my father’s lap as we reminisce all the old moments that are now gold.

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Daddy dearest, the memories are flowing too strong.

There’s no occasion but the desire to meet him is on the rise. I call him up and then disconnect the call even before it goes through because somehow I know I will break down on the phone and he told me a hundred times that he can battle the toughest challenges but can’t bear the sound of my tears when I am not close enough for him to give me a magical hug.

I know exactly what would lift my spirit and I dig my laptop to find this precious gem.
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This is not just a Selfie.. it is so much more, a million emotions wrapped in a single canvas of brilliance. There are a hundred reasons as to what makes this selfie a cherishable moment.

It was taken less than a month after my marriage as my father had come all the way near my in-laws’ place to surprise me. He told that he had gone too many days without seeing my face and he just wanted to once look at me and hug me and lock the memories one more time. I had smiled and cried and had NOT known what to speak.

We stood there amidst a crowd but for us, it was just the two of us – the dad and daughter duo. My sister stood right beside not wanting to break the moment.

He took me to one of my favorite restaurants and then to much of our surprise, he took out his phone and said, “what do you guys call this – selfie right?”

I and my sister looked at each other puzzled as dad struggled a little and then wham went the click and voila here it was – papa’s first selfie.

I knew he was missing me terribly and there was a part of him that regretted the time we would have to part all over again. I had always been the one to click a selfie and post it on Facebook. He found that nagging but he did both of it and once again the tears flew but I quickly hid them because I knew this moment was more precious and something I would always hold on to.

There are a million books that glorify the love of a mom and daughter but this selfie alone epitomizes the bond between me and my father because he is the one right in the world full of wrongs that can set every curve straight for me.

As I keep on tracing the contours of this picture and courting old memories, the phone buzzes one more time.

‘Papa’ it reads and I know that despite the 1.5 years of marriage, somehow our hearts are still connected enough for him to know what I want even before I tell him.

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As I pick his call, he told me how he was missing me dearly and then I tell him
about what I was doing to remember the good times.

“You know I just read today about the new Mobiistar brand. I was wondering if you would like their new mobile as your birthday gift after all we all know your selfie fetish. It comes with a promising selfie camera as you can capture a wide 120-degree wide angle shot. Your selfie experience will definitely improve manifold as it has a front dual selfie camera. The moment I saw it, I remembered how I struggled to take my first selfie with you and you girls couldn’t help but giggle at me. Now, the next time we meet I am going to take a perfect selfie which will capture all of us together so that you two devil sisters won’t make fun of my camera skills anymore. Now that I know how to place an online order, I can get you Mobiistar on Flipkart easily for your birthday.”

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I laugh, giggle, cry and do what not because isn’t the perfect life a cascade of too many beautiful selfie moments?
Somehow I feel like I am lying on his lap and laughing like a carefree child just the way I did.

Guess what, I will wrap this post here because I am going home because

“Home is where the heart is.”

I love you, Papa.

 

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Nostalgic Times

Thy inner child,
May it never die
Peep a little from
The drapes that engulf melancholy
The pristine color of the soul 
Blends with the echo of peace
The falling drops on the window sill
Etches a memory locked within
Of paper boats and toothless laugh
Of carefree grins and those free falls
Thou are still a little child
For the hands that fed
And helped you grow
Every time the Lord paints the window
With colors so few but memories anew
One more time, I take a tumble
To the lanes, I left the pieces
Of the puzzle that makes me whole
Incomplete but full in my form
Methinks my inner child
Has refused to grow.
From paper boats to imperfect verse
From toothless laugh to reflecting memories
From carefree grins to subtle smiles
From free falls to stealing a tumble
I grew up and left the lanes
But this inner child of mine
Still takes me back to the times
And I smile and cry
At the beautiful irony of life

 

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PTE – The Key To My Career.

Ever since I moved to the secondary school after finishing my primary education, I had always wanted to go abroad to study. The very idea of studying at some of the top reputed universities with the best infrastructure lured me. I wanted to be part of the top alumni, the kind where I would be inspired to give my hundred percent and sometimes it is a healthy competition which ends up bringing out the best in us.

I had one of my cousins staying at the US and she was studying at the Harvard University. She often used to Skype us and narrated the tales of her universities. I wanted to be the same person. I saw how her parents always spoke of her with utmost pride and I wanted to emulate that.

However, one of the biggest hurdles that would come my way had to be the language. I wasn’t the best when it came to English. With the habit of conversing in vernaculars, I had a strong influence on my mother tongue. Now, don’t get me wrong; I do realize that every language has its own importance and we don’t need to run after one simply to ensure that we are better than the others.

But, when I dreamt of studying at Harvard or likewise, there was no way I would get an entrance with my tenses all going for a drunken party every time I tried to frame a little long sentence. It was later when I was appearing for my board exams that I heard of PTE and instantly I realized that this is precisely what could be my ticket to my dreams.

Of course, my hard work, commitment, and learning ensured that my hold over the English language was quite better but the tenses still sometimes took me for a ride because the present past continuous baffled me and was often one of my worst nightmares.

So, let us see some more details about PTE

What is PTE?

PTE stands for Pearson test of English academic and it is mainly a computer-based language test which helps the candidates in improving their proficiency in the English language. The best thing is that it has an international credibility as there are numerous PTE centers all over the world.

The test is a single 3-hour test and it comprises of a lot of different modules which makes a thorough examination of your English language skills. It is accepted for the study applications by thousand of institutes all over the world and 96% of the UK universities. Some of the top names include

  • AAAR Institute of Business &
    Technology
  • Abbey College Australia
  • Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia
  • British Columbia Institute of
    Technology (BCIT)
  • Capilano University
  • College of the Rockies
  • UNICAMP – University of Campinas
  • Trent University
  • University of Guelph
  • Zealand Institute of Business and
    Technology (ZIBAT)
  • Birmingham College
  • Birmingham College of Business
  • Birmingham Management Training
    College
  • London College of Finance &
    Accounting
  • London College of Information
    Technology
  • London College of International
    Business Studies

As I knew about it, I took up the PTE preparation course and so I got hold of the best online practice materials and started working diligently for it. There were a lot of different packages and I chose the ones that were best suited for me.

After putting in my hard work, I finally gave my exam and today I am proud to say that I aced my grades at the Oxford University. I didn’t go to Harvard but nonetheless, I am happy with my selection because I realized that we all needed to seek our own identity rather than blindly following someone else. #Definitely PTE turned out to be the true game changer for me.

Having the right language recognition is imperative or else you feel like despite having the right educational backing, you somehow lose yourself in the rat race called the career.

So, are you going to ace the PTE test today? Check out this video for more details. #DefinitelyPTE made all the difference to my life.

Also, grab hold of this link for all the info you may need to give the right shape to your career by making apt use of this English test.

You Beauty!

The massiveness of nature 
The minuscule existence of humanity
The blend so artistic 
A balance so intrinsic 
As I stand and ponder 
The only thing that resonates is
Who we truly are
Amidst a force so gargantuan
This canvass of nature
Still feels surreal
Did I really behold this
Or imagination took me for a ride
Incredibly amazed
At the colorful trance of white

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Seeking HER!

I was four years old when I realized that I had no home. While kids my age were used to pampering, I learned the hard way round that some of us were meant to find our own stars albeit the journey might be clouded with darkness.

However, every dark cloud has a silver lining and so it was for me. Growing up in a foster home, my mentor Shelley always told me that I was God’s child and God always had something good up his sleeve.

 

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Source: here

 

She taught me a lot of things and showed me the world of endless possibilities. I knew that if I gave my heart to anything, I could achieve it. If I am anything today, the only person I am indebted to has to be Shelley ma’am. I was broken even before I knew what broken meant but she took it upon her to join every shard of mine and make a wonderful canvas.

She took it upon her to train me. I still remember the twinkle in her eyes when she told me, “Asha, there is a lot of me in you.”

I loved the way she could instill confidence in me and today, as I look back, I realized she did what seemed unachievable.

I was thirteen when she left the foster home care and I still remember her last words, “I am never away, you just need to look at the right place.”

 

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source: here

 

I was heartbroken when she had left and once again, I felt like I had been orphaned and lost all my will.  But, I channelized this negativity in the right way and soon began to paint. I painted a lot of things but somehow I never had the heart to paint Shelley. Her portrait was very vivid in my mind. I remember the exact way the lines on her forehead crisscrossed, but I could never get myself to draw her.

When I turned eighteen, I got my first commissioned job. A guy asked me to paint and he paid me a good deal of money. It was then that I realized that my hobby could also be my job and I started working more on it and in another year, I had established myself as a reputed artist.

However, I realized that there was something which didn’t feel right. I could feel an emptiness somewhere like there was a break in the entirety as if there was a hole which wasn’t getting filled.

It took me some time to figure out I needed to seek Shelley. She had gone out of the blue and even the foster care home didn’t say much. Maybe she needed seeking and I wanted to do that.

 

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Source: here

 

I knew I had to travel the world. There was something out there which I needed to see. I would need a lot of money so I decided to first develop my career. It took me another year but I soon had my own brand out there. I became a well-known artist in my city and the paychecks kept coming, my work was exhibited at some of the top meets and there were plenty of buyers.

There were three of my paintings which always exhibited but I never sold them because they were very close to me. One of them was of the silhouette of Shelley and me when I was all of five years old. It was a candid moment; much like that of a child and a mother and one could feel all those emotions in the frame.

The other was that of three hands that entwined each ether and yet somehow they were all separate. It was a reflection of who I was. I had no clue who my parents are but somehow I could feel them within me. The third was that of the Eiffel tower. I had never been there but somehow the books Shelley read out to me was so vivid that I could feel like I stayed there for too long. When I had first drawn it even with my imperfect skills, Shelley had taken one look and said: “one day Asha you will grow to be the painter the world will admire.”

As I had been an orphan all my life, my worst fear was being alone. When I decided to take a trip to the world to seek not just my mentor but my inner soul too, I realized I would have to take this journey alone. It was unbearably hard for me but I had to do it as I felt my inner voice urging me to go ahead.

I still remember when I took my first flight to Dubai, I kept my eyes shut the whole time. I was not afraid of flights that I was afraid that there was no one there to hold me.

It took me seven days to adapt to my plan of going solo. I went to different countries, met various people, spoke to them, took their ideas, saw their perspective of life and in every country, I drew something; taking a part of theirs and making it mine.

I didn’t know where exactly to find Shelley. I had taken my first trip to France via Dubai because, in my heart, I felt it would be Eiffel tower where I would meet her, but when I stood there, in front of the Eiffel tower, I realized it wasn’t Shelley who was lost here. But it was me.

There was a part of my gypsy soul that was locked here and standing in front of the massive structure, I took out the canvas and drew the monument that somehow manifested my emotions.

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I went to as many as fifty-seven countries and I haven’t found Shelley yet, but you know I kind of found her too. I realized what she meant when she said I am never away you just need to look at the right place.

As I stand in an exhibition with only my works and a tale that traverses from one country to the other, there is a little of Shelley everywhere. She is there peeking from behind the Burj Khalifa, she is there as a shadow beside the Eiffel tower, she sits with her back facing the camera near the leaning tower of Pisa. She is there on the white sandy beaches of Greece and she is there holding my hands in this auditorium where there is no one but me and my works.

She never left me. Shelley made me who I am. She gave me the wings that helped me fly the world and I found not just parts of her but even parts of me all over the world. I realized I was meant to be an explorer. I had a gypsy soul and it took another gypsy to find that out. I know she too is out there traveling, exploring, and helping another Asha open the eyes to her dreams. She is like one of those angels who are born to direct and then they fly into the world helping another lost lad.

I have art centers in all the fifty-seven countries now where I went. It is set to help people like me who feel they are broken but are stronger than strength. An artist lives even when he dies. Shelley lives in each of my painting and every person I met in my journey of traveling the world while being open minded, lives with me in my mind.

Being open-minded to the world taught me that in order to live, you must feel and love the world. Let the soul speak the language you may never understand and the canvas would be filled with colors that would make even the blinds smile – because the world is beautiful and so are you!

Lufthansa Airlines recently launched a great video talking about #SayYesToTheWorld. Here is the beautiful video and here are more details about their campaign. 

 

Beach Please

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I am more of a hill person rather than a beach but this one on Goa – The Morjim beach was a true beauty in ways more than one.

 

The endless blue water, the wide horizon, and the soothing sea – what more could one ask for.

Yesterday.

Yesterday. 
More than a word, it speaks volumes 
Of the zillion memories made on 
Nights short and long 
It takes you back to the time 
When you slept caressing
The pillow you called your own.

Yesterday. 
More than a word, it speaks volumes 
Of the carefree times when you didn’t bother 
Thinking of the what ifs, why’s and how’s 
It makes you nostalgic of the times 
When you were still figuring 
How to figure the meandering 
Lanes of life.

Yesterday. 
More than a word, it speaks volumes 
Of how life smiled even when it was pouring 
Of how you wore it all because 
Nothing looked gloomy, not even the murkiest nights.

Yesterday. 
More than a word, it speaks volumes 
Of those tiny starts 
The leap of faith 
The endless promises 
The little moments 
The eternal memories 
The eyes with a hundred emotions 
The lessons you never knew you would have to ace 
The people you never knew you would have to leave 
The places you never thought would become surreal 
The moments you never knew would become rare 
The words you never thought that would get stuck 
The passion you could never imagine would fade 
The poetry you never thought would once turn to prose.

Yesterday.