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Monday, 18 July 2022

#MondayBlogs :: Fantastic Four #Friendships #Tribe

July 18, 2022 1 Comments


Sometimes you meet a person and you just click—you’re comfortable with them, like you’ve known them your whole life, and you don’t have to pretend to be anyone or anything. - Unknown

It was a sunny December morning. We (I am my husband) took our daughter to her new school. She was about to start her offline school after 1.5 years, and I was worried.

VANI:

We drop off our daughter and then I saw her. Just like me, messy hair, cotton Kurti, no makeup and a worried face. I went to her and started talking. She told me her daughter also goes to the same class as my daughter. And we started talking.
I still remember the thing she told me the very first time we meet…’I am a chatterbox”. And I was like, me too. And the epic chatting marathon started. Vani, is a true friend and an amazing mother.

MANJEERA:

While going to school to drop off and pick up my daughter, I came across a lot of other parents and teachers, who are constantly talking about this girl Name Nyaomi and how naughty she is.
My reaction was why the hell, everybody is gossiping about a 4-year-old. A child’s job description is to be naughty, why do we even expect anything else (read #OpenLetter to Nyaomi).
I deliberately wanted to meet her mother, Manjeera and I did. My first impression was, that she is so educated yet so humble. We became friends, just like that. We talked a lot about how Nyaomi is, and I constantly told her, I was also terribly naughty. Like any other mother, she was worried sick as everyone is constantly judging a 4-year-old with the parameter of an adult. 

KARISHMA:

Here comes the beauty queen. We were going to a marriage function and I saw her in my building lift. We talked for a bit as her son and my daughter are the same age, and they live in the same building. We decided to organize a play date for the kids.
The very next day, she brought me some sambar, wearing shorts. My reaction was…. you wear shorts… a gale lag ja (It’s a long story, read: You are a slut).

Her son, Bunny is the Magic Jappi of our group.


I really don’t remember how and when we all (Vani, Manjeera, Karishma & I) became friends.

It is so difficult to get like minded people and I got three of them.

We are a crazy bunch, shouting, yelling, sometimes crying also, and always in the mood for a party. 

We love our Chole Kulcha, especially me and Vani and while Karishma is on diet, and cursing us.

We had multiple parties, dramas, children fighting, crying, making peace, ladies complaining about our husbands, gifts and so much more.

I can’t thank you guys are enough for being there for me, not judging me for my craziness. 

You guys are the precious gems that I found when I was not even looking, and I was apprehensive to form any kind of bond. You guys showed me that I shouldn’t lose hope to make new friends because of some bad experiences. 

And the best thing about us is that we are not like some mothers who are constantly making their kids compete with each other. We understand that every child has their own strength and weakness and as a group, we cherish and encourage that. 

This is a very rare quality to be found in today’s world, especially when some parents asked me what is my daughter’s rank in the playgroup exam. 

I would like to give a glimpse of our WhatsApp chat:

Vani:

To all the kids I thank you to make me enjoy the child within me
I so much need bunny’s hug, Nyaomi’s energy, And Advika’s unconditional love
If it was not for them, I don’t think I would have ever met anyone.
The three months will be the best for making me fall in love with this city
And to trust in friends again

Manjeera:
Yes true. All thanks to our ❤️ly piyu (that’s me)

Vani:
To Priyanka, I credit you for being the skeleton of this group. Manjeera is the blood to energise it. Karishma gives the neuro electric spark to add a vibe.
Don’t mind my biology.
Am probably the hormones which keep the group sane or insane.

Me:
Please keep the compliments flowing, especially about me.

Karishma:
I am late as usual (That is the thing, she didn’t reply)


Currently, we are in different parts of India, however, I know, I can call them anytime and pick up where we left off.

I can all them my friends for life.



I miss you guys like hell, I miss our parties, I miss the support you provided to me, and helped me in so many ways.

Every one of you has a unique and a genuine soul. I thank God for all of you and the time we spent together.

LOVE YOU GUYS.

As Helen Keller rightly said,

I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light. 




Thursday, 30 June 2022

#RestaurantReview :: Veneto Kitchen & Bar #Food #FoodBlog

June 30, 2022 0 Comments

Piu & I were in the same city together after a long time. So, we decided to catch up over some food & drinks!

Note: This is not a sponsored post. We paid for our own food & drinks there. This post is not influenced in anyway.

Piu & I met up late afternoon at South City Mall with nothing specific on the agenda, but to catch up on the latest in each other's life. We spent some time at the food court with coffee and then went on a window shopping spree. All the walking around made us a bit hungry and we decided to walk into Veneto Kitchen & Bar.

The restaurant has beautiful decor and feels very inviting immediately. That's what attracted us to the restaurant in the first place. The seating arrangement did feel a bit close, but the music playing in the background does give some semblance of privacy to the diners. 

Italian Smooch                                                         White Wine Sangria


Since, it was after the usual lunch time and before the expected dinner rush, we were seated immediately and menus were handed to us. We decided to start with drinks. I ordered an 'Italian Smooch' mocktail while Piu ordered a 'White wine Sangria'

As we decided on our food, the staff were really helpful in helping us decide. We both were interested in trying 'Patate Al Forno Due Volte' but the dish comes with pesto sauce and I am not particularly fond of pesto. The staff member suggested that we get the pesto separately, that way I can have the dish without pesto and Piu can have with it.


Patate Al Forno Due Volte (as in the pic above) is - twice baked potatoes stuffed with ratatouille parmesan cheese and pesto sauce. 

I like it even though without the sauce, the dish tasted a bit dry. So, I cannot really fault it. Other than the dryness, the dish was perfectly spiced and tasty.




The winning dish for us was - Vino Bianco.
Vino Bianco is chicken marinated in white wine, cooked with fresh morrel with chilli and garlic, served with garlic bread. Both Pui & I love garlic in our food, and it can never be too much for us. But this dish was perfection. Especially the chicken - it was exactly done and was quite juicy. It was a total delight.


For us though the best aspect of the whole experience was the staff who were friendly, helpful and always around without making us feel crowded. We sat there, enjoyed chit-chatting and enjoyed our food without feeling rushed and well care for.

I would totally recommend this place for a nice meal and a pleasant time.


Veneto Kitchen & Bar
South City Mall, Prince Anwar Shah Road, Kolkata
Timings: 12noon – 11:30pm





Monday, 23 May 2022

#MondayBlogs - #OpenLetter Dear Nayomi

May 23, 2022 0 Comments


Dear Nayomi,


Hope you are doing well.

By the time you will be mature enough to understand this letter, I don’t think, you will even remember me. However, that is not going to stop me from writing to you today.

I hope your mom reads this letter to you or lets you read it by yourself when you are old enough to understand.

I know it seems weird to believe for kids that their parents were also their age once. Like you, I was a five-year-old girl once... lost, clueless and unable to communicate properly, desperately looking for a cocoon.

However, I didn’t get it. What I did get was criticism (not constructive), labels (in the 90s, most people did not know what to call someone who was different. So they just called me problematic, crazy, mad, etc...), and last but not the least, shame and guilt.

People drove my mother crazy with such talks, and most of the time they came from so-called family members and well-wishers.


I feel so much pain to admit this, but my mother was not able to cope with the immense criticism for her daughter, especially, when her elder daughter was the so-called good girl. Hence, what I received from her is beating, shaming and criticism.

And because my mother did this to me, I had no other option than to believe that I was problematic.

This all killed the creative, imaginative kid, and gave born to a very insecure child. And what I did to hide that insecurity, was be naughtier, reject all forms of institutionalised education, try to find comfort in my pain and tell myself I am not good.

It took me a lot of time (around 15 years), to come to terms with my uniqueness, my creativity, and the beauty of my imagination. I accept the fact that I am not like most other people and I love that about myself. And I have people in my life who love me because of all the things that make me different.

I am not ashamed or guilty to be myself. I am straightforward, blunt and have the guts to tell someone the truth to their face.

AND, I will not accept anything less than someone who accepts me unconditionally.

You are very young my dear.

Don’t let those bullies get the best of you, embrace your creativity, and don’t hide behind aggression and aloofness to mask your insecurities.

You have been criticized for things that are not wrong, like the way you sit and talk. You are from a multilingual family, and it is normal for kids from such families to speak a little late as they are coping with two or more languages.

People who criticize you do not want a child, they want a puppet to control and you are no one’s marionette.

I know for sure, that one day you will overcome all this. Embrace your choices, and move towards what makes you happy. You are blessed with an amazing mother who is trying her best to give you the childhood you deserve.

Be you Nayomi, be the best version of you. 


With Lots of Love and Affection,

Piu Aunty




Monday, 9 May 2022

#MondayBlogs - You are too sensitive!

May 09, 2022 0 Comments


Have you ever been told - ‘You are too sensitive’ by people you consider as friends and family? That you over-react to things and situations?

If your answer is yes, then this post is for you.

If you have said it to someone close to you, then this post is for you too!


I went into therapy after I separated from my husband to be able to manage my depression, hyper anxiety and panic attacks. And man, did that open a pandora’s box. I discovered that I am an empath. That is also when someone told me that it is not good to be an empath because empaths give too much of themselves to and for others. That I should seek therapy to learn how to ‘turn it off’. And seek did I… Not to learn to ‘turn it off’ but to understand it. 

Granted, why I am an empath doesn’t have a glamorous backstory to it. In fact it is downright sad. But what I now say is, Empathy is my super power, and no super hero ever had an origin story filled with rainbows and unicorns, neither is mine.

Being an empath means that I feel strongly and deeply. Not only that, I also absorb the energies around me, whether positive or negative, and often lock it in my body. At first, it was extremely difficult for me to understand what part of what I am feeling is my own and what part of it is something I am picking up from the people around. I struggle with that still, but I am trying to learn to control it, so that I do not have to feel overwhelmed and exhausted all the time.

It took me a lot of therapy to understand that being able to feel deeply and strongly is not a sign of weakness. My feelings and emotions are my own and nobody has the right to tell me what to feel or how to feel or how much to feel. 

In the past have been told that I am too sensitive and that I over-react far too many times. 

Sometimes from a well meaning friend who wished me well, but mostly from people trying to gaslight me (and succeeding) in order to avoid taking a look at their own actions. To the point where I started taking it as a personal character flaw and beat myself over it till I was exhausted. I started wondering if it would be so much better if I did not care at all.

That is, till I was was prescribed anti-depressants and I spent a week feeling nothing. 

When I am happy, I feel that strongly too. I laugh. I dance. I celebrate and I am loud. Nobody complains then or tell me that I am over reacting… because everyone loves to have a good time. Yet, when I feel sad or hurt or betrayed, I am told I am being too sensitive and over reacting because it is too much work to even consider that I am human, I have a heart, may be hurt and I have a right to feel however I feel.



Photo Credit: Brighter Places

If you are someone who has told people that they are too sensitive, take a moment and consider… why does it bother you that someone cares and feels?

Take a moment to stop and think what you are really doing by invalidating someone’s feelings.

I want you to think why do YOU feel the need to invalidate someone else’s feelings and what does it actually do for YOU?

Chances are that you are avoiding to take a look at you own behaviour or statements.
Chances are that the sensitive person in your life is absorbing your energies and putting it back up as a mirror to you.
Chances are that you are the one who doesn’t have the capacity to understand what you are putting the other person through.

Maybe, it is time for you to take a look inward rather than outward. 



For those of you who have been told these gaslighting statements, remember that empathy is not a bad thing. Being sensitive is not a problem that needs to be cured. We need more of it in the world - the feelings, the understanding and the want to help instead of stone cold indifference & destruction.

If someone says these things to you, look at it for what they are. BIG RED FLAGS. The person saying these things maybe saying these to make you doubt yourself so that their actions are not closely looked at. They may even be manipulating you unknowingly - but that is what it is in the bottomline - manipulation.

Being a sensitive person in today’s world is a blessing to the rest of the population. We understand exactly. We care. And we are human. 

So, next time someone tells you that you are too sensitive… own it ‘coz you feel and care when others don’t. That makes you a much better person. We could all do with more understanding and sensitivity!





Monday, 25 April 2022

#MondayBlogs :: Have you ever been a tourist in your own city?

April 25, 2022 2 Comments

 


I was born and raised (for most parts) in Kolkata. Yet, I did not know that Jorasanko Thakur Bari, the ancestral home of the Tagore family, was just an hour away from my home. I have never been to Kumartuli or to the Marble House Palace.

Yeah, we tend to take it easy, thinking we have all the time in the world to explore these places as they are so close to home. Do we though?

As someone who spent a good part of her life in Kurseong & Darjeeling for school & college… The hills are my second home. Yet, the first time I rode the Toy Train was in my final year of college when my group of friends made it a part of our day out. Joy rides on the Toy Train was what tourists do, not locals! Yet I had never been to Gangamaya Park or Rock Garden or Batasia Loop. I had never been to the Dali Monastery or Ghoom Monastery or Tinchuley Village. Till date I have not ridden the North Point Ropeway which a stones throw away from where I lived for 3 years during my college days.


Last year, when I came to Darjeeling, it was after 13 long years and it took a friend visiting from Siliguri for me to finally visit the Gangamaya Park and the Rock Garden. I was surprised how near it was and sad that I had not visited those places before. Since pandemic wasn’t over yet back then, I did not venture out of the town much.

This year though I have made it a point of going out on most Sundays and visit places that I haven’t been to and some places that I wanted to revisit. So far I have been to Lamahatta, Mangpoo, Mirik, Kurseong and finally made a trip to the Dali Monastery and Batasia Loop.

Each of the places I have visited, whether on my own or with someone, has surprised me and I kept asking myself, why the hell I hadn’t visited these places before. Limited finances of student life did come to mind, but we spend hundreds in a day to watch a movie and splurged on cold drinks and popcorns - amount of money that would have been sufficient to travel to these places in those days.

Beautiful eco park, serene little hilly village, and popular tourist traps - but they all had breathtaking views and a serenity that I love but miss in my city life. To take a day and be out in the nature was refreshing.


Now you may say, ‘but DD, I live in a metro/city and it’s all a concrete jungle, where do I find nature here?’

Well, I know I will try and visit the places I have lived an hour away from all my life but literally had no idea of their existence before when I go back to Kolkata. A museum, an author’s birth place, a zoo… whatever it is, I encourage you to go out and be a tourist in your own city. See the places you haven’t been to - unless you do you will not know what you are missing (or not missing). Try to see them from an outsider’s point of view. If nothing else, it will break the monotony of your routined lifestyle. The shopping malls, the movie theatres and the restaurants are not going anywhere. 

Try and be a tourist in your own city/town!




Monday, 11 April 2022

#MondayBlogs #ProductReview :: Wakefit Mattress Protector

April 11, 2022 0 Comments




Wakefit mattress protector protects the mattress from accidents.


About The Item:

The mattress protector is waterproof and protects the mattress against any liquid spillover by a kid, pet, or regular usage. Doesn't contain PVC, vinyl or phthalates.
Terry cotton layer on the top provides a smooth feel and keep the sleeping surface cool. It absorbs all the natural moisture and doesn't let it seep through the mattress.

Material Type: 200 GSM terry cotton surface with TPU film 
Elastic for tucking in the corners. It has a Polyester lycra casing with an elastic strap, making it easy to hold the protector with the mattress.
Easy to care: Wash it gently in the washing machine

Purchase Link: Amazon


Disclaimer: 
This is not a paid review; I have purchased this product with my hard earn money and using it for the last 3 years.




My Thoughts:

This is a real-life saver. I am using it since my daughter was 2 years old. If you have kids, you will automatically know the amount of torture the mattress endures. 

Water and milk spillage is a regular event, apart from that, occasional nature's call accidents.

Any good quality mattress is expensive without any question and getting it professionally cleaned is also a headache and more taxing on the pocket.

Hence this product is really helpful, washing is very easy, washing machine cleaning in Regular Wash.

I got the king size, however, it is big, even if I got the queen size, it would fit the king size mattress perfectly.


Final Verdict: 

Very good product, value for money and long-lasting. Worth buying. 




Monday, 28 March 2022

#ProductReview :: Bajaj Vacco - Roti / Chapatti / Khakra Maker

March 28, 2022 0 Comments


The Product from BAJAJ VACCO has been crafted to make rotis / chapattis / khakras. 

About this item:

The roti/chapati-maker has been made of the tubular element. The Tawa has been made of food-grade Teflon-coated non-stick aluminium. 

Tawa Size = 20.26 Cm approx. 8 Inch, Box LxBxH = 30.48 x 22.86 x 22.86

The roti/chapati-maker is safe having a heat-resistant handle. 

It has a totally shock-proof body and is fitted with ISI marked lead and 6 amp. plug.

It has a pre-determined (fixed temperature) automatic cut-off feature which cuts off the heat supply and regulates the temperature. 


Purchase Link: Amazon


Disclaimer:

This is not a paid review; I have purchased this product with my hard earn money and using it for the last 1.5 years.




My Review:

I do love to eat roti but am terrible at making them. I heard many negative reviews for roti makers in general. I was tempted to buy a roti maker multiple times, but due to the negative review effects, I didn’t buy it.

Finally, one fine day, I ordered this from Amazon, thinking, how bad it could be. Even if it’s horrible, I can return the item.

To my surprise, it is quite good. The process of making chapati is a little tricky, the dough has to be wetter than the traditional way. There are plenty of videos on YouTube, where you can learn it, as I did.

As the roti maker is concerned, it is awesome, it is really shockproof, as in the building I stay in, there is a history of electric shocks. The roti size is decent and four Rotis will easily satisfy one person.

The time required for making Rotis is also considerably less than the traditional way. 


Final Verdict:

If you are good at making Rotis the traditional way, this product is not for you, but for people who are not good at making Rotis, this is a lifesaver. Especially because you don’t have to clean any extra vessels. 

Purchase Link: Amazon




Monday, 21 February 2022

#MondayBlogs - Walk Away... #Gaslighting #Survivor

February 21, 2022 0 Comments

 



What does it feel like?

To be told that what you experienced moments earlier, never happened.
To be told that everything is only in your head.
To be told that you were being too emotional.
To be told that you were over-reacting.
To be told that you were the one forgetting things.
To be told that you were not good enough for anything.
To be told that you were too stupid to ever succeed.
To be told that you were a waste of space and a terrible drain on resources.
To be told that you couldn't take a joke after constant body shaming.
To be told that it wasn't their intention to hurt you while repeating the same thing for the 100th time.
To be told that it was your fault that you were hurting.

Everyday…
For months…
For years…
For close to a decade!

At first I fought. I took it up as challenge. I tried to prove them wrong. 
But how does one fight something that is being planted in their mind and doesn't actually exist? How does one win a challenge that shouldn't have been placed at all? How does one prove something that shouldn't need to be proven in the first place? 
And how long does one have to fight (alone) and keep proving things?

I am sure I knew the answer while growing up. But then I fell in love - Yes, Blindly! - and lost my way in the tornado that my life was. Constantly working. From the moment I woke up, till I crashed into my bed.

Working (from home) a job, handling a household and shouldering the responsibility and welfare of 6 other fully grown adults, day after day… Working up to 18 hours a day to deal with everything (and never less than 12 hours a day) to be able to take care of all the responsibilities that were suppose to shared by your life partner, (yet you find yourself handling them alone) - 7 days a week and 365 days a year is bound to have some effect on a human being. Everyone knows that, right? Apparently not everyone.

Cooking, cleaning, meetings, and promotional activities - constantly laced with comments and rebukes that aimed at reducing the family nurturer, the 'ghar ki Lakshmi' in to something less than a sentient being still happens in the 21st Century.

All that along with intermittent love-bombing!

You go into a shell - the survival mode. Always being prepared and trying to reduce any chances of triggering another round of 'how useless you are tirade'. You start to dim that spark, that is so eternally you, so that every one else is under the spotlight while you hide in the shadowed corner. You do not let the spotlight be ever on you - even though it is your story, your life! Shrinking into a ball, not taking up space and yet making it easier for people to kick around.

And should you dare to question it, i.e., if you still have some semblance of self left, and ask why - the society around you (some even in guise of friends) will gather to remind you that all you are good for is to keep your mouth shut, adjust and compromise. A 'failure of a being' has no right to ask questions. You only get to continue to try and prove your worth in exchange of being 'allowed' to breathe.


Would you consider stop breathing if that is the only way to end the hurt and pain?

Many do!

But there is another way… Stand up, break the invisible shackles and walk away! 

(read invisible shackles as: expectations forced on you by those close to you and the society; the constant self doubt drilled into you; the crippling fear you feel; the unshakeable belief that you cannot make it on your own; the anxiety of how could ever do anything right on your own; the mind blowing concept of what will people say… in short - whatever it is that is holding you back in a life that is slowly sucking your spirit out.) 


It is hard! The hardest thing you will probably do... When you finally have had enough, and realise that staying on will eventually kill you, much before your time; and when other people will reiterate that all you can do is stay and compromise. Try and remember, that there ARE people who will support you and help you... So, keep at it till you find someone who'll throw the life jacket when you are drowning. And then, swim... swim for the shore - your life!


And it starts getting better almost immediately.


Its been over a year since I walked out… And, now all I know is what it feels like…


To be told that you are strong.
To be told that you are a heck of a fighter to have survived.
To be told that you are worth more than ten of them.
To be told that you are loving and caring.
To be told that you have a right to take up space.
To be told that you deserve to have your needs met.
To be told that you are inspiring.
To be told that you have an amazing sense of humour.
To be told that you are a responsible person.
To be told that your are a logical and practical person.
To be told that you are loved.
To be told that you are seen.
To be told that you are cherished.
To be told that you are wanted and desired.



It is good for your body. It is good for your mind. AND, it is the most liberating thing for your spirit.





Monday, 14 February 2022

#MondayBlogs - Under the Moonlight - Part 3

February 14, 2022 0 Comments

NOTE: Anything that you recognize in this story belongs to J.K.Rowling.

This is the third installment of the fanfiction. 



It was in his third year that James and Sirius started acting funny around him. He could tell that they were talking about him behind his back by the way they would whisper every so often and stop talking abruptly whenever he walked in on them. Dread filled him up again as million questions started to seep into his mind once again. Did they already know or were they just suspicious? Should he tell them or let them find out on their own? Would they understand and accept him or would they judge and abandon him. He kept on having internal fights with himself about how to handle the situation. A part of him wanted to confide in James and Sirius. After all they were his best buddies. If Lily could understand, they could too. If she could look past his monstrous side, they could too. Right? But then another part of him was still too scared to open up. Lily was exceptionally compassionate about everyone. She had a way of seeing the best even in the worst specimen of human kind. No one else could be expected to have the same level of compassion. James and Sirius were different and may not see things in the same light. He was sure that he would not be able to handle their rejection. So much so, he was sure that he would prefer the rest of the world’s disgust rather than see them turn their backs on him.

One day James asked him very casually whether he would be going home that weekend. It was going to be a full moon weekend and thus Remus’s fears were confirmed. Pretending to be absorbed in the book he was reading, Remus had to keep a check on his nerves before replying, “No idea. You know it depends upon my mother’s condition. There’s no way to predict it. Why?” James had simply shrugged and said that they were going to have their first Hogsmeade visit that weekend and wanted to make plans. When Remus missed the trip, he was sure that they would confront him on his return. But his fears were in vain because when he returned, all the duo could talk about was the village. They had even brought him some Sugarquills from Honeydukes, the sweet shop in Hogsmeade. When days turned into weeks and another full moon had come and gone, Remus finally started to relax again. James and Sirius had not confronted him and they even had stopped whispering among themselves. He kept telling himself that he had only imagined it all. They must have been planning some prank that he wouldn’t have approved.

On their second outing Remus was able to accompany them to Hogsmeade. James and Sirius took their responsibility to show Remus around very ‘sirus-ly’. They guided him to every store in Hogsmeade that they thought he would enjoy. Even the bookstore! Then they dragged him to the Shrieking Shack which to their disappointment was quiet. They kept on swearing that the last time they had visited on their way back to Hogwarts, they had heard a lot of noises coming from there. Finally, they settled down at ‘The Three Broomsticks’ with mugs of Butterbeer. After a couple of mugs each, when they were feeling all warm and fuzzy, Sirius turned to Remus, “Don’t you have something to tell us?”

“What? When did I say that?”

“It isn’t what you have said, but it is what you haven’t said yet. That’s some big secret that you are hiding from us Remus. But people are talking. You know the Hogwarts grapevine. How could you do this to me, Remus? I thought we were friends,” said James.

“What’s going on? What did I do?” Any other time, Remus’s insecurities would have kicked in, but at this point he was too relaxed and fuzzy.

“Shame on you, Remus. How long were you planning to keep this from us?” Sirius asked.

“Yeah, did you think that we would not even notice?” continued James. He and Sirius had taken to continuing each other’s sentences recently. “That you can do anything behind our back and get away with it?”

Once again Sirius picked up from James, “It is really stupid of you think that, that James would not notice especially when Evans is involved.”

Remus had been staring between the two of them, “I don’t understand. What are you guys trying to say? Did Lily say something?”

James was staring at him dangerously. “Oh! So its Lily now, is it? How long have you two been going around? Does she even know about your ‘furry little problem’?!” He asked, his voice raising with every word that he grinded out. Remus spluttered his butterbeer.

“Calm down James! People are starting to look around at you. Besides, give the man a chance to explain.”

“You… you think that I am going out with Lily? No way James, she is just a friend. We just study together when… Wait! What do you mean by my furry little problem?”

James and Sirius spoke up at the same time. “Just a friend?” asked James.

“You thought that your affair with the full moon would escape our notice?” said Sirius. Remus, overwhelmed, continued to look at his two friends numbly. Sirius leaned forward and continued in a muted voice. “Look, we have known about your situation for a couple of months now. We were not going to say anything about it.” He gave James a pointed look. “This is something that you had to be comfortable about and so we wanted you to tell us when you were ready for us to know. But James here tends to get hot headed regarding Evans. But that’s beside the point now. We just want you to know that we are not freaked out about being friends with you. We have to do something about it though, but still have no idea what at this point though we are working on some ideas.”

“You are not going to Dumbledore about a new dormitory?”

“No you prat! We are not going to run off to Dumbledore for new sleeping or class arrangements and we are not going to tell everyone about how dangerous you are. That’s a shame though! Imagine the looks on those slimy Slytherins’ faces if we told them that you are going to eat them up next full moon! I can almost see it! Precious!”

“So you are okay about my transformation?”

“Okay?! I personally think its cool! Only wish, you would have told us before instead of us wasting three years to find it out!”

Remus couldn’t help but crack a smile. Only Sirius could think of it as cool. But James’s silence bothered him. So he turned towards him and ventured tentatively, “James, I swear there is nothing between me and Lily. We are just friends. We just study together and that’s it. She has been really good about my condition and has been helping me with the school work whenever I miss classes.”

“So, you told her. But you couldn’t tell us?” James looked a bit cheered up but not completely.

“I did not tell anyone. She worked it out by herself last year and has been helping me ever since. Haven’t you noticed how I don’t ask for the class notes anymore? Trust me. I did not tell her. My parents told me that I could not tell anyone. Ever.”

“She worked it out last year? She is brilliant!”

“Yeah, that she is. So am I forgiven?”

“Sure. So, does she ever ask about me?”

Rest of the evening passed by with James grilling him about Lily Evans. Apparently, everything was forgiven and forgotten. It took the three of them and Peter almost three years to work out how one could become an Animagus. Three years of planning, hard work and excitement. Soon Moony, Padfoot, Prongs and Wormtail were found to be running around the Hogwarts ground and the Forbidden Forest every full moon. It was exhilarating and liberating. Remus had to spend his transformations locked up in the Shrieking Shack cooped up, scratching and hurting himself. But it was a thing of the past once they all mastered their Animagus forms. In their animal forms, they could communicate with each other. So instead of being lonely and hurting himself, Remus now explored in the company of his best friends. Even after leaving Hogwarts, they continued the tradition. They would go somewhere away from human habitation, and spend the full moons playfully. When Voldemort’s rule became more and more dangerous, at least one of them, mostly Sirius would stay with him till he had to go underground on Dumbledore’s request. What he had always considered as his curse, his friends turned it to a ‘cool gift’. Where he had been terrified of his transformations before, he started to look forward to them now. His friends kept him company, made sure he did not hurt himself or anyone else while transformed and even managed to turn it to fun! Later he could not even think about why he had been so apprehensive about telling his friends… It only seemed natural that his friends would accept him and his ‘Furry little problem’ and make it their own problem.

Changes in his body brought Remus back to present. He could feel the transformation starting. He desperately wished his friends could be with him once again. Tell him that is was okay to feel and that they would always be together. That they would make sure he was safe. That he had nothing to worry about. His curse turned gift had turned into a curse once again. Padfoot and Prongs would never run with him again. It was just him and his affair with the moon. He thought about Tonks once. What would his friends say about her? Sirius had accepted him without any reservations but would he feel differently about him and Tonks being together? Was it even possible to begin with? Would it be fair to impose his curse on some one else? What would James have to say? Would he be angry with him for not trusting Harry enough? He had failed his friends in so many ways… His last conscious thought before the transformation completed was that his true curse was to be left behind alone. The fully transformed wolf let out howl, into the dark starless sky with only the moon shining through.

The inhabitants of Godric’s Hollow heard a wolf howl into the night sky. They had heard legends about how people had heard a wolf whining throughout the night after the Potters were attacked. But that was fifteen years back and no one had heard anything since then. Tonight, after so many years, everyone heard the howls and the whining. It scared them. Only a little girl looked up at her mother reading her a bed time story and said, “It sounds so sad and lonely.”


Monday, 10 January 2022

#MondayBlogs - Under the Moonlight - Part 2

January 10, 2022 1 Comments

NOTE: Anything that you recognize in this story belongs to J.K.Rowling.

This is the second instalment of the fanfiction. 


As his mother disappeared out of his view, Remus turned to lift his trunk and then drag it along the corridor of Hogwarts Express with hopes of finding a seat. Most compartments were either full or occupied by daunting older students. He caught sight of a couple of students, a boy with greasy black hair and a girl with flaming red hair, leaving a compartment. He picked up his pace hoping to get a seat there. He peeked in first to see only two boys sitting there. “Mind if I join you?” They shrugged and got up to help him with his trunk. Once they were settled, Remus introduced himself. One of the boys said, “I am James Potter and this is Sirius Black. We were just talking about which house we would like to land up in. What do you think?”

“Well, I think either Ravenclaw or Gryffindor would be good for me. But I am just happy to be here and wouldn’t mind which house I land up in as long as I can be at Hogwarts.” Conversation had then flowed freely among the three throughout the journey. When the sorting started, Sirius Black had been the first to be sorted. When he heard his name called, he had turned to the other two and said, “Keep your fingers crossed for me guys. Don’t wanna land up with the rest of my family.” It had taken the sorting hat a long time to declare him a Gryffindor. He had looked both happy and surprised as he rushed off to join his house table. Soon it was his turn to be sorted. He too joined the Gryffindor, soon followed by James. They had been quite pleased to have landed up in the same house as they had already formed a bond on the train.

Quickly they settled down to the daily routine at Hogwarts. He enjoyed his lessons, explored the mysteries of the castle and loved the company of his two friends. Soon they came to be known as the ‘famous trio’ of Hogwarts. All three of them were very good at whatever they did, Sirius and James were well known for their pranks and none of them were ever seen without the company of the other two.  But all the while Remus heard a nagging voice in the back of his mind that kept on telling him that he was deceiving his friends. He felt heavy and tired all the time, as if he carried a ton of lead on his back at all the time. He hated the fact that he not only had to keep things secret from his friends but also that he had to lie through his teeth to them about his whereabouts during the full moon. It was always someone sick in the family or that he had fallen asleep in some obscure part of the castle. If there were too many marks on him, then it had to be from some accident that he had gotten himself into, but never the truth. All the while, letters kept coming to him from home reminding him how important it was that no one should ever have any doubts or suspicion.

Their first year and a major part of the second year had passed without any incident. James and Sirius had accepted that his mother had a weak health and that he was accident prone. Remus had stopped being on the edge all the time until something unexpected happened. It was a Sunday, James and Sirius were in detention with Professor McGonagall and he had been out on the grounds alone. He had chosen a spot by the lake that was out of the way from most of the student. He was sitting there reading a reference book on Potions when Lily approached him. They had gotten to know each other over the time they both spent in the library. “Can I talk to you for a minute Remus?”
“Yeah sure. I was just going through the reference book that Professor Slughorn suggested. I am sure you are already done with it, right?”
“Yes I finished it yesterday. But I wanted to ask you about something else…” Lily drifted off uneasily. Remus noticed that she was awkward and was fidgeting.
“What is it?” he asked soothingly.
“It’s kind of personal. I don’t want to offend you or anything. You don’t have to talk to me about it, but…”
“Come on Lily, what is it?”
“Its… it’s just that… I have noticed how moody and edgy you are before you have to go away. You come back covered in bruises and scratches and that you always have some emergency during the full moon.” Though she had started awkwardly, Lily rushed through her words as if that would minimize the impact of her words. Remus tensed immediately and looked away from her. “I have done some research and everything points to one thing only.”

Finally someone had figured it out. How long would it be before everyone else came to the same conclusion? Or would Lily just run screaming and warning everybody? Eventually the news would spread. First the students would start to avoid him and then their parents would complain and object. Then Dumbledore would be left with no other choice but to send him back home. His parents’ dream of seeing him have a normal life would break. Would they think that he had not been careful enough? But most importantly, how would James and Sirius react when they found out that their friend had been lying to them all along? That they had been sharing their dormitory and living with a werewolf pretending to be their friend?

“Remus…?” Lily’s voice broke into his trance. He noticed that he was gripping the potions book so hard that his knuckles had turned white. He dropped the book as if it was on fire. “Remus, I am pretty sure about my assessment. I just wanted you to know that I know it. You don’t have to carry this burden alone, you know? If you ever need any help, please, do not hesitate to ask me.”

He had been expecting screaming, running and horrified tones. Instead, Lily spoke in such soft and compassionate voice that it took him some time for him to register what she was saying and even longer to actually process it. “What??” he asked bewildered.

“I said that if you ever need any help, you know where to find me,” Lily repeated in a kind voice. “I mean, James and Sirius are not the best note-takers.”

“You know? How long have you known? Don’t you find me revolting? Why aren’t you running and screaming on the top of your voice to warn everybody?”

“Come on Remus, I knew you before I worked out about your problem. I know you wouldn’t hurt anyone, not even a fly, if you can help it. And, when you can not help it, I am sure that the staff members are taking every precaution to keep you and rest of the students safe for those times, aren’t they? “

“How long have you known?”

“I made the connection at the beginning of this year and then did a lot of research. But I have been absolutely sure for a bit over a month now.” There was a hint of pride in her voice.

“For a month? And you haven’t told anyone yet? Why?”

“Obviously because you want to keep it a secret. You haven’t even confided in your best friends. They seem to believe your cover stories at their face values. And I don’t blame you. From what I found out, people are too prejudiced about it. They judge people for something that is not their fault. As long as the concerned people know, who am I to divulge your secret? I know that the teachers know because they try not to attract attention to your frequent absence. If any other student missed half the number of classes that you do, they would be in huge trouble – especially from Professor McGonagall.”

“It really doesn’t bother you that once a month I turn into a monster? That if people are not careful enough, I could end up killing people – even my own family and friends?”

“Like I said, it’s not your fault. You did not choose this for yourself and you cannot be held responsible for your actions after you transform. What matters is who you really are. You are a brilliant student, a loyal friend and you are always so good to everybody – even to someone like Avery! That’s who you truly are Remus. You are an honest person with a good heart. Don’t let other people’s blind prejudice dictate how you look at yourself. You.Are.Not.A.Monster,” Lily concluded with emphasis on the last words.

That was the day that had instilled true hope in him. Hope for a normal life, hope for true friends and hope of complete acceptance. Lily Evans had done that for him. Remus had gone ahead and answered all the questions that Lily had about Lycanthropy. From then on, whenever James and Sirius landed themselves into detention, which was pretty often, he would spend time with Lily. She would always have a copy of her notes ready for him whenever he missed a class. Having even one person he could be completely free with, was a great feeling – as if a great part of the burden lifted off him. He would still feel guilty sometimes for not confiding in his best friends, but at least it was better than before.



To Be Continued...