Old

I read Sayesha’s blog, and picked up the title from there. This is my 2nd post of the day as I want to be on track in the marathon. Off late I have realized that I feel much older than say I did a couple of years back. I mean older than my age. Not boring or old old, but a lot grown up. This time I went to my school when I had visited my parents. There was a recent development, the principal of the school is now a guy who was my batch-mate! He is the nephew of our old principal, and as part of family “business” has taken over the school now. It was great meeting him, but felt really weird. It seemed as if we studied in the school like some centuries back. It was result day and all teachers were there, but I hardly knew a handful of them. Most teachers from our time had retired and there were all new faces around. My mother also teaches in the same school and is about to retire in 2019. When I saw the school magazine, it felt so nostalgic. That magazine had carried a lot of my articles at one time…J After leaving school, for many years my mom’s students would come home for tuitions etc., and most of them would know me, as I was few batches senior to them. Now, when kids come, they obviously have no idea who we are- my siblings and I. It feels really old, that we are not even relevant any more. Generations have passed since we left school!

Like, when I see pictures of some of my teachers now- many of them got married when we were in school, and now their kids are studying in professional colleges.  People my age in the colony, are all parents now with kids much older than mine. And then when I listen to 90’s songs, O my God!, it just feels like yesterday when I was going crazy over the DDLJ album, and last year it celebrated 20 years. Someone rightly said that time flies fast. I am already approaching mid- thirties. There are a couple of observations I have made off late regarding age and getting old. Let me share them here:

  1. I have realized that age had nothing to do with your aspirations in life. Or to put it differently, the heart does not age as fast as body. In my heart I still feel 20. No, I am not saying- I still like partying every weekend, or getting drunk etc. But the need to have fun, to enjoy life, to celebrate- that does not come down with age. I have started empathizing with old people a lot more. You still want good things in life, no matter what your age. And I can understand what really old people must feel like- when we assume they have no aspirations or need for fun or they just need to pass their time now. Worst, when we burden them with responsibility of raising our kids, or things like that. We assume, they are done with all fun in life. No, the heart is never done.
  2. I have realized that the only thing that will go with till the end is your health. HEALTH. The most important thing you own and should value. It must be taken very good care of. PERIOD.
  3. My attitude towards parents. This is one thing I am hating most about growing old- that parents are growing older. I guess this is the most I have valued them by far. Till mid-twenties, they were providers and the thought that they would also grow old never crossed my mind. But as my father approaches 70, and my mum 60, I am much more concerned about their health and well-being now. I want to spend as much time I can with them. I have never cherished time spent with them more.
  4. Another very important thing I am realizing now is that- even my time is limited. I mean I had dreams of becoming something, doing a lot of stuff. I realize that if I actually do not start working on those dreams now- it would actually be too late. I may die as a pile of regrets. And that is a big motivation. I have started working on things that really make me happy. I will do a separate post on that later, but now I truly want my each day to count.
  5. Since Kavya turned three and is growing independent, I realize, that spending time with kids is so important. In few years’ time, she will need me much much less than now, and I will miss this. So spending more and more time with her is my biggest priority.
  6. Looking good. I did not want to mention this here, but then why not? I realize, that the “youth” part is slowly going to fade. The downhill journey has already started, but few years left before the lines actually start showing up. I want to pay as much attention to my dressing as possible. I have been a lazy dresser all my life, but I want to change that now. I have joined the #100sareepact (More about that later), and through that I am trying to work on my dressing. I just wish that this effort stays on.
  7. The last and the most important- taking control. I have realized that life is too short to be spent on negative things. So cutting all the negativity should be one prime objective. I only want to be surrounded by people who are genuine and who care. Rest are all noise, and need to be cut out from life. Be it work, family, friends- there should only be space for those who add something positive.

I plan to write more posts on the last point in the coming days. Now I am off to bed. It’s been a tiring week, and more work awaits tomorrow!

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HOUSE MD

I was waiting for the letter H to come in the marathon, so that I could share my love for the serial House MD on this blog. I am 10 years late in evolution, and therefore have discovered House just a couple of weeks back. Its airing on FX these days, and I somehow caught an episode of it while generally surfing channels, and fell in love with it from the very first episode which I saw. Husband has been telling me for long to watch some US series, but I mostly prefer comedy or romedy (romance + comedy), so I never even attempted to try anything new. Last series which I followed religiously was Monk.

Anyway, so I fell in love with House, with the very first episode. For the uninitiated, the series is about a Dr House and his team of three doctors who work with him as inters. Dr House is a genius. At the same time he is also an extremely difficult human being for himself as well as for others to handle. He is rude, sarcastic, too practical, focused to the extent that his human traits are never visible. He is a complex personality. The series shows a new case in every episode which House solves with his genius, and simultaneously it shows the evolving relationship between all the characters involved.

Initially the cases excited me, and slowly my focus changed and I started enjoying the relationship between the various characters more. House’s character is intriguing, but at the same time the equation the other characters- Dr Wilson, Cuddy, Chase share with House and with each other is equally interesting. When I like something very much I am unable to put that in words. Something similar is happening with House. I am amazed at how good can someone be to write such interesting characters, and describe human feelings and emotions in such a brilliant way. The writing of the serial is just fabulous. The dialogues are crisp, everyone says what they have to say. You can see the junior doctors maturing and the equations between them changing. There is a Dr Wilson, who is House’s closest friend. He is an oncologist, and one of the most likeable characters in the series. I just love the way their friendship has been shown. However, like everyone else what I love about the series is House. His character has been written brilliantly! He is brilliant, very good looking, witty (read sarcastic), and all this makes him very sexy!! The fact that his is a complex personality sometimes adds to the mystery, and at other times is plain annoying, but he is just super cool. The three junior doctors with him, Chase, Cameron, and Foreman are three super competitive people with Cameron, the only female having feelings for him. Each one of them are very different characters and I am watching the episodes where Cameron is over House and is set to get into a relationship with Chase. Then there is Dr Cuddy, the dean of Medicine at the hospital, who is a very pretty and confidant, but single lady. She knows that House is brilliant and keeps tolerating his attitude. She is shown to be desperately seeking companionship. House and Cuddy are generally at loggerheads, but House mostly gets away with his ways.

I love how the writer has dealt with each character, their insecurities, their commitment and dedication towards their job, their stressful professional lives, and their emotional sides. Although the pace of each episode is predictable, what keeps the interest on, is their personal equations, which keeps changing and maturing with every episode.

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I would have ended this post here, had I not gone through some videos on YouTube while searching for House clips. I came to know that eventually Chase and Cameron fall for each other and are a couple for some time. That was a surprise, but a good one. I did not like that they had to part, but it was still OK.

Then 2 days back, I saw another clip, where House and Cuddy are shown in love!! And unfortunately they also part eventually. It was some 10 min clip which showed condensed version of their relationship, and to be honest it was a very emotionally charged video. It was too heavy to handle. You know the kinds, which saps all your mental energy. The whole story it seems changes focus, and is more concentrated on House’s relationship than his cases. I personally felt that, given the complex creature House is, to keep the series balanced, it’s necessary to show his practical, case solver side with his eccentricities and demanding personality traits thrown in between. It makes for a good enjoyable episode. But a full dive deep inside House’s subconscious, where his emotional side is all bare, exposing the real person House is, would be difficult to handle. It’s just too heavy a watch. It tilts the entertainment quotient of the series to the negative side, as watching it leaves you with a heart heavy and mind questioning.

After seeing those clips, I am in two minds, whether to continue watching it or not. Or rather, to quickly detach myself emotionally from the series and not think about it too much. I will of course do the latter I know, but I know that somehow it has affected me and my enthusiasm towards the series has come down. Yesterday I was even thinking of skipping it for good. But then I gave in and did watch the entire episode.

And yes, Husband also told me, that Dr Wilson, the most kind and pleasant character in the series gets cancer towards the later episodes…:( Now you know why I am feeling the way I am feeling!!

PS: Hugh Laurie (House) is a British actor. I saw him speaking in pure English accent in some of his interviews. I was amazed. He just sounded like a different person altogether. The British accent is so so awesome..:)

Emotions

Kavya uses the work “scared” a lot of times. The usage has been declining slowly, but between the age of 1 to almost 3, she would say..”Dall gayi thi”, at least a couple of times during the day. She was scared of loud noise (still is, but it iss getting better now), of stranger (stranger anxiety), and pretty much everything that was new to her. Later I realized that she would use that word to even express her nervousness, her discomfort (like when taking bath, while we would pour water on her head during bath etc), or anything which made her uneasy. We would try to ease her out, but I have now seen that her stranger anxiety is slowly vanishing, and with better understanding of things, she is becoming more confident.

While dealing with her “darr” for so many things I realized, that it is very important for one to understand at a very young age- the different emotions and feelings. Unfortunately, my childhood was devoid of this understanding. It was at a very later stage that I learnt to name my emotions. I still struggle. But I realize that it is very important for a person to be able to know and be able to give names to his feelings and emotions. It’s so important for a better understanding of self. It’s the basic of knowing oneself- self-awareness 101. And it also gives a very comforting feeling, when you are able to give a name to what exactly you are feeling about anything/ at that moment. I am talking about general feelings which we go through at various stages/ times in our life, the slightly complex ones- like jealousy, guilt, great happiness, fear, feeling of superiority, inferiority, inadequacy…Like everyone I have felt all of them, but was poor at naming them. I did not even know that I was struggling to give my feelings a name. Very late in life when I interacted with people who knew their emotions and feelings quite well, did I realize that why some people are more sorted because of better self-understanding. It may sound trivial, but not being able to give a name to your feelings, can be sub consciously very frustrating. It creates ignorance about self, and that’s not a very good place to be in. Especially in adult life, when you go through a gamut of emotions, not being able to give a name to it makes you feel lost. It adds to confusion.

The next step is expression, which only comes once you have been successfully able to identify your feelings.

I cannot find out the exact reason why I was so slow in learning that, because in my mid-twenties, I realized that my sister who is younger to me, is fairly good at it. Anyway, I have used feelings and emotions interchangeably in this post- Wiki gives the following definitions- which sound similar to me:

Emotion: a strong feeling deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others.

Feeling: is the nominalization of the verb to feel. The word was first used in the English language to describe the physical sensation of touch through either experience or perception

Therefore, I want to ensure that I do whatever possible I can to help Kavya understand her feelings better. I certainly do not want her to be like me in this space. I want her to be able to correctly tell and name how she is feeling at any point. I also know that I can only assist her in this. And that I want to do to my best. I have already started talking to her about basic feelings like missing someone. Like we just came back from my parents place, and I know that she is missing her nana nani. So when she talks about them, I try to ask her if she is missing them. I remember once she wanted something badly, and instead of throwing a tantrum she started pulling my hair. This was some 6 months back. Since I could not use a word like frustration, though I clearly saw her frustrated at that moment (She was in a bad mood, so it was a combination of many feelings I guess); I asked her if she was upset and angry, why mama is saying no. I calmed her down in sometime and this lasted for just like 2 minutes, but I still tried talking to her on what she felt.

I am not sure if I am doing this correctly, or even if my analysis is all right. But I am certain, that I am trying to better something both for her as well as for me. And as I finish this post- I realize that this could be the post for both ‘E’ and ‘F’..:)

Connect

I am off FB these days. I do this every few months (every time with a plan to never activate my account again!). The obvious reason being that I become an addict and it saps a lot of my time and energy. Therefore, when few days back I got an article from Husband in Wassap, about Spring cleaning, I deactivated my account as part of the cleaning to clear some mind space and wasteful activities from my day. It’s a big relief. Not having to see random updates on your timeline about who is eating what, travelling where, buying house, reproducing etc etc, prevents the mind from being clogged with unnecessary things. I had removed the app from my phone long time back, but since I am in front of my system most of the time as part of my work, I could never keep away from it for a long time. There are few things though for which it is useful these days- like Kavya’s playschool pics are uploaded on the school FB page. I think last time also I logged back in because of that only. One day I decided that I will remove people from my friends list, who are not my “friends”. Then I will have hardly 10 people left in my list, and with them I can stay connected over phone or mails. Is there any value add with being connected to 500+ people, who are nothing but mere acquaintances? There are some, who I can no more even place. I do not know how I know them, and how they came into my friends list at the first place!! But when I see pics of their wedding or their Holi celebration, I am sometimes tempted to click on the pictures and waste few precious minutes, and many times even make myself feel miserable, thinking how amazing other people’s lives are.

Anyway, so the point is, that what is the actual purpose of these platforms like FB? To stay connected? With whom? Hundreds of people whom I hardly know on a personal level. I would want to be connected with family, friends (close and other few), colleagues, ex-colleagues (again, some not all). That’s it! Why would I want to be connected to so many people and be fed constant updates about what they are doing in/ with their lives! Would it not just clog my head with useless information, and make me think about stuff which is not needed. So what is whole purpose of having these platforms? Do they solve any actual purpose? I understand that in a social world humans need to stay connected, but what kind of connection are we talking about?

Even say Instagram. So after I withdrew from FB, I have been kind of active on Instagram (Yes, you can have your big laugh!!). However, being active here had a different reason. I joined the #100sareepact, and since it is happening on Insta, therefore I had to be active there. But fact is, that sooner or later, it also has full potential to be another FB. Following random people for their pictures and again starting that chain of being fed random pictures from people you may not even know. The only good point is that I am still quite restrained on Instagram, and somehow it is not as energy sapping as FB. May be the reason is because here, I can choose to follow people I want. And I have chosen to follow some known and many unknown people who post inspiring pictures. So that comparison streak does not come in, and mostly I am in admiration of what these people are doing or post about. It is kind of a positive feeling, and I am glad about it. However, self-restrain is needed here too, as there are never enough good pictures, and one may get too sucked into the world of pictures wasting lot of time.

I am not aware of any other social platforms right now where time can be easily wasted. Glad. Oh yes, except our good old Wassap. That’s also pretty weird at times. We have a family group, which is a very functional group, where the 5 of us (me, my parents and siblings) share pictures and broadcast information. I have few groups with school friends. Mainly used to forward jokes. I am ok with that as they are good source of entertainment. I deliberately avoid being part of multiple groups, where I have nothing to share with the people involved, and updates from such groups are just plain time waste. But since Wassap is pretty much a messaging thing, so it’s still ok. But honestly, I am the happiest on days, when my phone battery is dead, or the phone is not working..:) I feel so light. I have a landline at home, and my family has the number. So I know if there is anything urgent, they can call me on that. Rest, I do not care…J I know other than them, nothing or no one’s life in the world will stop if I am not reachable for one day (For office I prefer only mails).

I missed Twitter. Man, I do not even want to talk about it. I joined it way back in 2008, it was quite in those days to be on Twitter. What a big time waster! I use to wonder, how do people manage to tweet so frequently during the day? When do they work? And then the pressure of sounding witty in each tweet, because then only will you be popular with Twitterati (I think that’s the word!). I left it soon, and have never gathered the courage to go back again.

I am yet to understand the real purpose of these so called social platforms, and this whole thing about staying connected. I can understand it from the point of view of businesses as it’s a way of connecting with customers, but for individuals isn’t it too much of shallow connections? I am connected to the whole world through Likes, comments and Retweets! I find it strange, and pretty useless too.

I feel, so much of online “connect” can only work for people with very good self-restrain. Those who can control the amount of time they spend online. Which in my view are not many. For rest of us, it eats away on the most precious resource- Time.

Day 20- Those small things and love at first sight

I have realized lately, that 50%-60% of the stress I take at any given moment is due to some very small things which if taken care of properly and on time,  would wipe out the tress they cause. For example, I am working on my laptop, and the battery remaining is around 50%. I know that I need to plug the charger to avoid any loss of data due to dying battery. However, if I procrastinate it till the very last moment when the system starts beeping, I will have uncalled for stress for that next half an hour for which the battery lasts. This stress is totally avoidable. My concious mind does not even know, that every time I am seeing the battery indicator on my screen, it is causing me stress, Just by being a bit less lazy, I can get rid of this unnecessary stress! Yes on the broad front I do have many tensions at any given point of time, like safety of my daughter, performance at work, parents’ health- now these are real issues. Issues that need work and constant attention. However, phone not charged fully before stepping out of the house in the morning, clothes not put in the machine on Friday night itself, not having breakfast, and then eating junk at around 11 am, and later repenting…unnecessary stress. This is totally manageable and avoidable. There are many day to day activities which if not taken care of at the right time lead to stress. Have a marriage in the family, which you know of months in advance, but you wake up only one week before to realize that your blouse with the saree you want to wear is un-stitched. Then you either rush in the last minute and pay extra to get it stitched or wear something else, and later feel bad, because you could not look your best! You got it right..totally avoidable. The fact is that since I am quite unorganized, this happens a lot with me. Off late though I have tried to get better at it, by trying to be more proactive and planning in advance for stuff; but the ongoing activities during the day- like charging phone before the battery hits the red mark! I am still far from proactive. The inertia is too high to get out of the mode of comfort and get up to address such things immediately. And as I write this I realize that the phone battery is about to die, I better charge it now, else I would be inviting unwanted stress this evening…:)

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Do you believe in love at first sight? I do when it comes to clothes..:) specially sarees. Saree is something, if it does not catch my eye in the first instance, its very difficult for me to like it. Generally its the first glance, in which I select my sarees, whether it is the colour, or the pattern, or sometimes just the fibre, that I fall for in a saree. For K’s bday last year, I went to a shop for a saree with my SIL. We saw a very beautiful saree at a store, and I loved it that very instant. However, since the color was a bit on the lighter side, SIL suggested that it would not suit the occasion much as it was K’s first bday, and the saree looked a little less gorgeous! Did I mention, that I am not very great at confidence on my own choices..:( I went with her to another shop, and there we were going through other sarees the shopkeeper was showing. Since I kept saying no to almost all of them, he asked me directly..” Madam, what do you have in mind..It seems you already have made up your mind as to what kind of saree you want, and therefore you are not considering other options!” (Honestly I was surprised, either he was great at analysing his customers, or it was too obvious in my behaviour!). However, after many sarees, he insisted I drape this bright yellow one; while I did not like much, but on everyone’s insistence tried it. Somehow, in the showroom light, it looked great. I bought that piece. Though I still had this thought somewhere in my mind that if I had more money, I would have selected that other saree as well..:)

I wore that saree for K’s birthday, and many people complimented as well; but till today, I have the image of that first saree in my mind, and I still feel that i should have gone for the first one!

Similarly, yesterday, I went to but a saree for an upcoming wedding in the family. I went alone, as I shop best when alone, else I get confused by the choices of people with me. So I went to a couple of shops, and finally entered this shop which had some good stuff. He showed me many sarees, I tried a couple of them, and when I was almost about to give up, my eyes lay on this beautiful tomato red saree under the counter. I immediately knew, this was the one I wanted to buy. I draped it, checked myself, and made up my mind in less than a minute. Just to ensure I was not being impulsive, I left the shop and checked out a couple of other shops, but all this while the red saree hovered in my mind, and I knew I had found my choice. I came back to the same shop and picked it up..:)

Here are the pics of the two sarees I had liked earlier..I really loved the black one, but black is considered inauspicious in our marriages, and therefore had to let it go.

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And here is the one which I finally bought..:) I could not take a picture with this one draped as mobile data was slow and I was not being able to send these pictures to husband..:)

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I am glad this time I stick to what I loved at the first sight..:)

PS: Pls pardon the way I have edited the photo as I do not have a better application than MS Paint on my machine for picture editing…:(

Day 17- Memories

Today I am a bit nostalgic. A bit sad. My naani passed away last year on 31st May. I loved her a lot. I went for her antim darshan to my native place in Uttarakhand. Here are a few pictures I clicked of/ from the house, where I have spent almost all of my vacations as a child. This is a place I LOVE, more than any other place in this world, even more than my parents home.

This is the pooja room. It has pictures of many Gods along with our ancestors, right in the front is the picture of my mother’s grandfather and great grandfather. This house is a very peaceful place, because so many elders have offered pooja to Gods right from the time this was built some 55 years ago.

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These are the views from the front balcony of the house. The pink house you see, once use to be some old government office which was defunct. We children use to go there in the evenings to play. It was a scary looking building in white and blue. then some wealthy ranger bought it and converted it into this beautiful looking house. I just love this house. Also the narrow path which is seen below the pink house, is the way to another very old house, that belongs to a reputed lawyer family. As a kid , I use to sit in this balcony and dreamt of having a house like this of my own..:)

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Another favourite pass time was to stand at this window (of the room where I use to sleep with my naani), and look outside. There was no net on the window earlier, and it was only the horizontal grill. The view was more clear, and I would spend the whole afternoon sometimes just sitting here and observing the world outside, when everyone else in the house was taking afternoon nap…:) These trees are also recent, earlier the whole area was very clearly visible.

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This is the picture from the back side of the house. Once upon a time, this space where two logs are lying, use to be a sort of terrace farm. My naani use to grow greens here. It also had a orange tree, small citrus oranges..

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This is the building of the Government Girls Inter College (GGIC) right opposite the house. There is a field in front of the white building, where BTC  training was held every morning. I use to wake up by the drum sounds the teachers use to make. ..:) The GGIC campus is huge, and very beautiful, there are many buildings situated at various levels. This also use to be our play area in the evenings after the school was over. From the other side of the building we could see the state highway on the mountain on the opposite side, and buses use to look like toy cars trading their way up the hills!

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This is the town, very crowded now, this concrete development has happened in the last 10- 15 years. Earlier it was much much sparsely populated with very few cars (I guess hardly 3-4 in the 90s), and two wheelers. Today, I am told, that people do not have space to park their vehicles, everyone owns one.


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And lastly, these are the pictures I took on my way back. This is Alaknanda river. My naani’s asthi visarjan was done in the same river. I have few pictures of the exact place also, but I do not feel like looking at them again.

Sometimes it feels unreal that she is not with us. She had been around since the time I was born, so she felt like a constant in my life. I had never lost a loved one before, it feels very empty at times.

May her soul rest in peace and if re-births happen, may she get all the health and comforts she could not get in this life.

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Day 7- Radio

We never listened to radio in our home. This I am talking of my parents home. There was a radio of very old model, which my nanaji gifted to my mum in her wedding, but by the time we grew up, it was mostly defunct, and barring when I was really very small (in nursery I guess); I do not have any memory of it being played at home. In 1990 I guess, my dad bought a 2 in 1. Yes this is what a cassette player was called back then. this was only used for listening to cassettes, and I do not remember ever playing the radio on it. (there was no FM back then, and Akaashvaani was never that interesting!).

I actually listened to radio when I moved to Noida in 2004. I was here for job, and since it was a very low paying job, we did not have a TV in our flat. I was sharing the pad with two other girls, and one of them had a small radio, with a wooden frame. I still had a Nokia 3315, which did not have radio in it. So I would get a chance to listen to FM on my way to work, whatever the bus driver played, and then in the evening after coming back from work, at home. Before going to bed, I would listen to the late night edition, where they played old Hindi film songs. It was a beautiful experience. It was a daily ritual for me, to listen to “Purani Jeans” (this is what the program was called), before dozing off. I remember, they would play this song almost every alternate day, and I would never get tired of listening to it…it is one of my all time favourites:

After an year in Noida, I moved to Chennai for further studies, and radio was gone from my life for another two years (The hostel in Chennai had a 24 hours internet, so those two years were dedicated to sitcoms and movies!). I again began listening to the radio when I moved to Bangalore for job. While commuting the headphones were always on, and I would savour the latest music on FM. Somehow, when I moved to Delhi 5 years ago, FM suddenly vanished from my life. the work here was so stressful, that I would never switch to FM even while commuting. We did not have a radio at home, so practically, I lost all touch with music on radio. When i switched jobs, I was a given a Blackberry from office, and though I would do a two hours commute each way every day, I did not have the option of listening to any FM. BB is a totally professional phone with no radio!

All this while, I always missed the presence of radio in my day to day life. While one can listen to music on a music system also, or these days through a pen drive on a computer/ in a car as well, but there is something about listening to music on radio that none of these experiences can match. Radio lets you go with the flow, you can just relax and listen to what is being offered to you, rather than channelling your mind and deciding what to listen to. There is a different kind of fun in that. You set your mood according to the song. You do not know what is coming next, and that keeps the interest on. Sometimes a totally forgotten number would play, and you are transported to a different world altogether; sometimes something dhinchak would play, and for a moment you are relieved of all your tensions. That is the magic of radio. It creates for a good background while going about your household chores. The mellifluous songs, just fill in the empty spaces and you feel you have someone to give you company. For me, its a big stress buster. And I got back this happiness in my life, when a month back, husband bought home a new set of speakers, which has radio as well as USB port in it. When I switched on FM, I realized that I had been missing such an important thing in my life. These varied genre of songs throughout the day, give me so much happiness. The sound of music has made our living room so much more lively. The first thing I do after coming from office is switching on FM. The music starts, and so do my household chores, all in sync with the beautiful music in the background!