All About Me And Life Through Rose-Coloured Specs

Here's lookin' at you, Life!
Here's lookin' at you, Life!

I never knew I had them on – they were always so much a part of me. I suppose they’re a part of my gene inheritance. And I always thought others had a pair on too but I learnt that wasn’t so and I began to realize that some are born lucky and I was one of them. Ever since that self realization dawned, I’ve tried not to take life for granted but be thankful for all I have.

the great green yonder, rows of teabushes up ahead
the great green yonder, rows of teabushes up ahead
A beloved grandfather, missed most at Christmastime
A beloved grandfather, missed most at Christmastime

 Most of our childhood holidays were spent with our grandparents, Christmas in our family home in Kerala and every other holiday up in the tea estates where my grandfather worked. We were four and when my cousins came along too there were eight of us – left loose on the hills, sometimes with packed sandwiches and we were cops, robbers, pirates, knights, whatever we wanted to be.  The hills were alive – with elephants, panthers, snakes, centipedes – Heaven really did lie about us in our infancy. We collected more wild raspberries and strawberries than the cook knew what to do with and we came back with more – leeches. Huge fat ones that grew huger as they fed on you. They clung to every part of you and only salt could shake them off. We counted as they fell off – the winner was the one who’d managed to collect the most. ‘Mum, not fair – he has more than me!’

 Those rose-coloured specs got me sailing through school and college – along the way, there were friends made, books read and digested and pondered over, sometimes argued over. Wonderful happy days that culminated in a great opening in advertising and a career I wouldn’t have missed for the world. Working with and interacting with some of the best minds all over the world just pushes you beyond what you think you’re capable of and it kept me on a perpetual high at work.

The high point of my travels - the Great Wall
The high point of my travels - the Great Wall
Magical Maldives - a Lotus Eater's vacation!
Magical Maldives - a Lotus Eater's vacation!

Gilbert O'Sullivan - an unsung musical genius

The vibrant power of Queen - unmatched!

Work was punctuated with travel and I’m glad I did so much when I was younger. Someday, when my husband retires – maybe that should be ‘if’ – we mean to take a long, leisurely tour through Europe, drinking in the sights, poring over the art, watching the world go by as we laze with a drink in hand – but this time round, not roughing it!

Music has been a part of my life too – no, I’m not a music buff like my husband or my daughter – but I grew up loving the Beatles and two more names that made an impact on me back then were Gilbert O’Sullivan and Queen. When your world’s one pink haze, music in the background makes it complete.

Our l'il one - helping Daddy start a lawn
Our l'il one - helping Daddy start a lawn
our three 'kids'
our three 'kids'

 Marriage? I got my first formal proposal when I was sixteen. Oh, no – not the down-on-one-knee kind of thing. This was purely an ‘arranged’ affair.  My mother who hadn’t lived too long in India laughed. (She’s also known to giggle in the middle of a serious Sunday morning sermon but that’s her!) My father was aghast – he wanted us to study till we reached the level of our incompetence. ‘She’s just a child!’ I waited a long time before I did say Yes to marriage. Because I didn’t want what the others were settling for. Because I wanted more, much more. Because I wanted someone I couldn’t live without, not someone who I could tolerate living with. I was lucky because I got what I wanted – and a wonderful daughter followed. My cup runneth over. Especially with two dogs to add a bit of mischief to spice things up.

We moved some years ago (I still miss Bombay soooo much!) and there was one small cloud that marred those sunny days. The attic where we stored our stuff while the house was being extended got flooded and I lost a lot of my old photographs and almost all the bits of paper that contained all my writing through my growing up years. (You’ll see some of the watermarks on those pictures!) I miss some of the poetry – you never feel the same way to write the way you did back then. But the memories are all there – some things you just can’t erase. Like memories of a brother who died so suddenly. It was always the four of us – it’s still tough to say ‘Three’. My mother’s eyes never smiled for a long time. My father hid his pain. Today, the grandchildren have eased the loss somewhat. To lose one’s child must be the worst pain in the world. 

 Just when you think you’ve hung up your working boots, there opens the door to a great new world. My foray into cyberspace has meant three happy years. I’ve learned so much – and it’s been the young and sometimes the very young who’ve taught me. Strangers, sometimes with just usernames – and they are so free with their advice and suggestions.  For some of them, I’m an Agony Aunt – they’re on my gmail chat and they know I’m always around to console them when they have girlfriend trouble. It’s the least I can do for all that I’ve got. Add to that a handful of really wonderful clients and you’ll see why I’m so grateful for the cards that Life has dealt me. And it was one of those clients who introduced me to HubPages…..

Those rose-coloured specs – I’m not taking them off, ever!

 


Thanks to last week's Hubber of the Week, Aya Katz for nominating me.

You can read her All About Me hub here.

More by this Author


Comments 81 comments

ColdWarBaby 7 years ago

Very personal and very inspiring. It would seem you are indeed blessed.


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

Shalini - That was a great read, beginning to end. Thanks for this personal history :)


wabond profile image

wabond 7 years ago from England

I would have to agree with you. Do not ever take off your rose-coloured specs.

Unfortunately i was brought up to "face facts" and be "realistic" and in following this way of thinking I found that I would get into ruts and get stuck in a reality i didn't enjoy.

It has only been later in my life that i have questioned the concept of trying to be realistic and realised if i want to live a better life then i would have to question the so-called reality i was living in.

It is certainly a fact that successful people are bold enough to, "dream the impossible dream". I have come to realise that people who live in "a fool's paradise" are not fools but very wise. The real fools are those who live in a "realistic hell".

William Bond


countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 7 years ago from Washington, USA

WOW!! You had a nice journey so far. I felt very sad when I read about the loss of your brother it is simply unimaginable. I hope you do make that Europe trip soon. Great hub!!


2patricias profile image

2patricias 7 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

What a lovely Hub! Thanks for telling us your story. I'm all for Rose Coloured Specs, and wouldn't be where I am now if I hadn't been blessed with a pair. You are right, optimism is a blessing. I don't think that someone can will change their general outlook.

I was very sad to read about the loss of your brother. I lost my sister almost 30 years ago. One result is that I always stressed to my children the importance of getting along and not saying things they might regret. I've also learned to make the most of each day as it comes.


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

CWB: Thanks for reading - yes, I am blessed and am grateful to the universe for it!

Paraglider: Thanks for stopping by and for your comments :)

wabond: William - I appreciate your reading this - yes, it was a reality I enjoyed!

CW: Death always brings sadness - I've learned however, to try and bring back the happy memories - and there are so many of them - rather than the sad ones. And yes, I do hope we have our 'second honeymoon'!

2patricias: Thanks for the comments - I agree - we have to make the most of every day we've been blessed with.


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK

Hi Shalini,

Thank heavens for rose tinted specs! I enjoyed hearing about your life so far, especially your childhood adventures with your siblings and your cousins. I'm one of six myself, and it's great to have ready-made playmates when you're growing-up. It's sad to hear about your brother. To lose a child must surely be the worst kind of loss. It's always such a pleasure to read your hubs, and I'm glad you found hubpages.


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

Hi Amanda - thanks so much for coming by. I'm glad I found HubPages too - and have been fortunate to have met someone like you :)


VioletSun profile image

VioletSun 7 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

What a beautiful person you seem to be... your gratitude and appeciation for life is inspiring! I am sorry for the loss of your brother- my sister lost her teenage son 3 years ago, and the loss of a young one is not easy, has a way of changing life forever. 

Enjoyed reading your hub, glad I am your fan. :)


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

Thank you VioletSun - yes, loss is never easy to bear!

I'm glad I'm your fan too :)


Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 7 years ago from India

Ah Shal...may your life forever stay this charmed. :)


sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 7 years ago from South Africa

Shalini dont ever take off those rose coloured spectacles. They have enabled you to see beyond and have a richer life than almost anybody. Thanks for sharing your lovely story with us. I really enjoyed reading this hub.


NoLimits Nana 7 years ago

What a lovely story you've made of your life so far.Thank you for sharing.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks

Shalini, great hub and a magical telling of your life story! Maybe it's the rose colored specs that make reading every one of your hubs so refreshing!

Thanks also for introducing me to Gilbert O'Sullivan. Ive never heard of him before, but his music, from the sample, seems like something I would like.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks

Oh, and I also loved the picture of your daughter and the dog!


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

FP: Thank you, thank you!

sixtyorso: I do hope I never have to - and thanks for becoming a fan :)

NoLimits Nana: Thanks for stopping by!

Aya: Thanks so much for reading! I love Gilbert O'Sullivan - I hope you do too - unfortunately, he was a one-hit wonder in the US with his song 'Alone Again, Naturally' - very few have heard of his other songs.


vitaeb profile image

vitaeb 7 years ago from Shenandoah Valley, Virginia

Shalini, you are so brave, honest and inspiring sharing with us the essence of your life. Your rose colored view is really in my mind your way of expressing gratitude. This is what optimism means to me. I too lost a dear one, my son when he was only 19. He comes to me often, in my dreams and reveries, and often even in my waking times. He comes in many differen't ways, and has been coming since his passing in 1990. In a strange and beautiful way, he has helped me remain connected to my rosie eyes. Thanks for giving me this chance to share myself with you as well.


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

vitaeb - thank you for reading. I'm sorry to hear about your son - words are never enough to console. I'm glad you keep the door open for him to come by and connect.


TheMoneyGuy profile image

TheMoneyGuy 7 years ago from Pyote, TX

A very Great Hub,

It was just what I needed, I started out having a rough morning, now I am smiling.

TMG


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

Thanks so much TMG :)


Netters profile image

Netters 7 years ago from Land of Enchantment - NM

What a great story. You were a lucky little girl.


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

Hi Netters - I appreciate you stopping by and reading!


Dottie1 profile image

Dottie1 7 years ago from MA, USA

Such a beautiful collection of memory through your rose coloured specs. Glad I stopped by!


kirubaharris 7 years ago from Chile

Shalini, great memories.  Yes I remember things like that from Sri Lanka, Ceylon at the time.  It brings back memories of yester years and makes me smile.  Great hub cousin.


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

Dottie1 - thank you :)

K - brings back the ol' times, huh? :)


Laila Rajaratnam profile image

Laila Rajaratnam 7 years ago from India

Enjoyed reading your story,yes my childhood too was very similar! Shalini,which part of Kerala did you spend your vacations?Sorry about your brother and your daughter is so pretty!Finally we get to see you!!:)


Melissa G profile image

Melissa G 7 years ago from Tempe, AZ

Yours is an uplifting and inspiring story, Shalini, and I'm glad you chose to share it with us! Thanks for the glimpse into your personal life the photos of your beautiful family! I love the pinkish tint on your avatar also. :) I'm glad you've been blessed with such joy and abundance and have gained such a wise and refreshing perspective on life.


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

Laila - I appreciate you coming by to read - thanks! It was Trivandrum.

Melissa - couldn't resist 'pinking' it up LOL - thanks as always for reading.


goldentoad profile image

goldentoad 7 years ago from Free and running....

Shalini, I always enjoy your hubs, this one was set up excellently, I am really impressed by the honest writing and the flow.


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

Thanks goldentoad - and thanks for always stopping by to read my hubs :)


quicksand profile image

quicksand 7 years ago

Hi Shalini!

I envy your grandfather because he has pleasant looks ... and also a cute little grand daughter! :) :) :)

It is always interesting to keep in touch with yesterday. Your hub was interesting indeed!

I will be checking this one often for updates!!!


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

Hi quicksand - I'll convey the message to him LOL - and thanks for the compliments - my head it is a-swelling :) Always a pleasure to have you stop by!


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

Dear Shalini, It's delightful to get a glimpse into your life -- so exotic in some ways, but parallel to my own in many others. Now I see where the intelligence and the wisdom behind your posts comes from! Mostly, I wish to thank you for the uplifting tone of your story. Great reminder to me (and all of us) to celebrate every gift that life gives us. Think I'm gonna go buy me some of those rose coloured specs (or ask Santa for a pair). Cheers, lovely lady, MM


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

Mighty Mom - so glad you stopped by - thanks! I love the way you light up a hub with your posts!


Misha profile image

Misha 7 years ago from DC Area

What a nice hub! Thank you Shalini, you always manage to bring the light in :)


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

Awwwwww Misha - that's such a sweet thing to say - thanks ever so much :)


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA

This is a very positive hub with a good message. I especially liked the picture titled your two kids.


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

Thank you SweetiePie! Actually, the younger kid is the spoilt and pampered one :)


Cris A profile image

Cris A 7 years ago from Manila, Philippines

look who's waxing nostalgic! isn't it nice to have collected good memories to savor for later? nice hub, now you've just made me go back down memory lane...guess it's my turn! :D

PS i posted this before in my response to your comment in my hub on sex symbols but i'll say it again: i notice the pink streaks in your profile pic, nice nice nice! :D


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

Hi Cris - yes, it feels good going down memory lane - pink streaks et al :)

Thanks for reading and commenting!


Laila Rajaratnam profile image

Laila Rajaratnam 7 years ago from India

Hi Shalini..Wow. Trivandrum! Thats where I was born!Its still my fav place and I do go there often as my sis lives there!lovely coincidence!:)BTW,Trivandrum is such a lovely name and I dont much care for the name Thiruvanathapuram.Just my view!:)


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

What a small world, Laila! If it's one thing I miss inland, it's the comforting sound of the sea - and the sea there used to be sooo beautiful! I lived near the sea in Bombay too. And yes, I much prefer the older name - it's like I never can bring myself to say Mumbai :) Old habits die hard!


countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 7 years ago from Washington, USA

Shalini- Even I like the word Bombay better and I grew up in Colaba. What do you mean second honeymoon ( are you discounting Maldives, China?)..LOL


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

Did a lot of my travelling before I got married CW :) Maldives was with family and friends.


RGraf profile image

RGraf 7 years ago from Wisconsin

Very beautiful and inspiring. I don't think a lot of us know how good we had it or have it. I was talking with my mother recently about all the fun we had when we traveled with my Dad. Memories to cherish and pass on.

Thank you for a glimpse through the rose colored glasses.


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

Thanks RGraf for reading - yes, if we look back, there are so many happy memories that are so wonderful to revisit!


cgull8m profile image

cgull8m 7 years ago from North Carolina

Shalini, inspiring read, you have a great journey so far, wish you a great one in the future also. Cheers.


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

cgull - thank you so much :)


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK

Hi Shalini,

I finally got round to reading your hubber to hubber interview, and I just wanted to thank you for your kind words about my writing!


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

You're welcome Amanda - I meant every word :)


Keith 7 years ago

A fantastic insight into one of the most honest, funny and caring people I have met online. Well done Shalini!


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

Thank you so much Keith - and I return the compliment :)


bhoge profile image

bhoge 7 years ago from India

What a nice life you had hope you enjoy rest of your life. Thanks for sharing your memories Shalini


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

Thanks a lot for reading and for the good wishes bhoge :)


compu-smart profile image

compu-smart 7 years ago from London UK

Love the title, story, your pics! what more can i say except! thumbs up and digg

!;)


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

compu-smart - appreciate your reading - thanks :)


ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Hi Shalini, I've enjoyed looking through the world through your rose colored specs. The world can indeed be beautiful even amidst the painful events that occur in our lives. Thanks for the inspirational hub. :-) Glad I stumbled upon this today.


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

Thank you ripplemaker - I love your uplifting hubs too :)


TheMoneyGuy profile image

TheMoneyGuy 7 years ago from Pyote, TX

Thought I would take a peek through the glasses again, I needed the smile. Take care.

TMG


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

TMG - thanks for coming by again - here's to all the smiles you could ever want :)


bgamall profile image

bgamall 7 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

This is a very p;easant look at your success and travels. Thanks for being friends. Gary


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

Thank you Gary for stopping by and reading!


C. C. Riter 7 years ago

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjxFGbToVFM

You're beautiful, so is your family , thanks for sharing. great writing dear


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

Loved that country and western number CCR - thanks - and thanks for reading :)


C. C. Riter 7 years ago

My dear, it is correctly refered to as only 'Country' now days, but I pardon your use of the former. I thought it would give you some pleasure, it is a nive old favorite of mine from the 80's I do believe.


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

It's a great song - and thanks for telling me :)


k@ri profile image

k@ri 7 years ago from Sunny Southern California

Very touching story! I am really glad you waited for true love, not just friendship! (or someone else's pick...seems so unlikely in USA, although I knwo it still happens.)


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

Thank you k@ri for reading - yes, I'm so glad I waited too :)


blondepoet profile image

blondepoet 7 years ago from australia

This is such a beautiful read thanks so much for sharing part of you with us. You are an amazing person. XX


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

Thank you for reading Deb - amazing is what you are :)


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

My brother just died and I was looking for something uplifting to read and your hub came along. Right time, right place and simply lovely. Here is to rose colored glasses forever!


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

I'm so sorry to hear Peggy - it's never easy losing a sibling - there is a lifetime of memories that come rushing in. Thank you for the kind words :)


sabu singh profile image

sabu singh 7 years ago

That was really an excellent piece Shalini. Guess it will take me some time to go through your work. Looking forward to it.

Your memories of the hills in Kerala brought back memories of my own schooldays in Simla. We too played cops and robbers (but more often Cowboys and Indians thanks to Hollywood with the Cowboys always being the "good" guys) and chased snakes - can't imagine it now but I distinctly remember when a group of us ran after what may have been a krait and chased it down a hole in the ground. But that was then.

Thank you for this great read. I especially liked this - "Because I wanted someone I couldn’t live without, not someone who I could tolerate living with"


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

Thanks for reading Sabu - life was so uncomplicated back then, wasn't it? I think we tend to worry a bit too much about the consequences of all our actions today.

I guess so many of us need to be so grateful for having found the right person, don't we? :)


trish1048 profile image

trish1048 7 years ago

Dear Shalini,

This is a beautiful story. You have indeed been blessed, and I so love your photos, especially the ones with your dad and grandfather.

I too am sorry for your loss. I cannot begin to imagine how devastating that was, as I've never lost a sibling or child.

You are a very strong-minded, optimistic person, and I can feel the love you not only hold within, but that you so freely share with our HP community. We are blessed to have you here.

I was so surprised to see Gilbert O'Sullivan here. I also used his one famous song in my hub, You Know You're Alone When. So sad, but beautiful, to me, anyway.

I was never a fan of Queen, although they did have a couple of songs I liked.

I've traveled quite a bit in my lifetime, but have never been to Europe, and probably will never go. I have developed a profound fear of flying ever since the World Trade Center tragedy.

Thanks so much for sharing this heart-warming story :)


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

Oh Trish - thanks so much. You've made me all teary-eyed. It's been a pleasure to have found this space and met so many of you virtually.

You could sail there, you know. It isn't enjoyable flying when you're scared doing it. Europe really is great and not to be missed :)


trish1048 profile image

trish1048 7 years ago

Well, I have a confession to make. I'm also now afraid of ships. I went on one cruise which was quite lovely. We did have turbulence one night and the ship listed to the right and left for several hours. It gave me flashbacks to Titanic LOL. My late hubby had a small fishing boat that I used to go out on, but I always hated when we went out to the ocean. We once went out on a very lovely day and a storm came up out of nowhere, and we had to be rescued. So, I think it's highly unlikely I'll ever visit Europe in person.

Didn't mean to make you teary-eyed. But I'm with you, I love HP.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

I think you see life through your own eyes, not through the rose colored specs. Your vision is pure of heart, full of joy, accepting of the fragrant flowers as well as of the lemons. This Hub of yours was a delight to read.


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

Trish - the great thing today is that you can be a virtual armchair traveller too - and it really is a great option. It isn't worth going through the agony of getting there with fear and tension. A client I used to work with hated air travel and every flight he had to do was so painful and tense for him! A cruise could be worse because you're stuck there for much longer.

Sally - thank you, thank you. I only did it because it used to be mandatory to do an 'About Me' hub as hubber of the week :)

Thank you, both of you special people, for coming and lighting up this hub!


jiberish profile image

jiberish 7 years ago from florida

It's refreshing to read about someone's life in a possitive light. Keep those rose coloured glasses on, it's inspiring.


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

Thank you jiberish - appreciate you stopping by!

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