⚓Anchors⚓

Posted: August 26, 2019 in Life as I see it...
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When I was a kid I used to find it funny when, at family gatherings to celebrate the birth of a child, all adults would gush to the beaming parents that the child takes after one or both of them. ‘He has the exact same nose’, ‘she smiles just like you’, ‘look at the forehead, she takes after her grandpa’, on and on the comparisons went and it was funny to me because a new born looked more like a Primate than a person to me.

As I grew up a little, I realised that babies and puppies are mostly always cute, no offence. Now, where, I could pick up and cuddle a puppy, I couldn’t do the same with babies. So, ofcourse, I loved puppies more it seemed.

My younger sister is about five years my junior and it would have been quite logical to develop those feelings of affinity and love when she was born but I was a jealous little prick back then and the only thing that her birth could mean to me was that my father’s attention would be shared now.

So my maternal instincts did not come to the fore until my most loved nephew was born in 2001. By then, I had been in the teaching line for a couple of years and, even then, I wasn’t comfortable surrounded by the kindergarten lot. I just couldn’t handle the tiny humans. I could relate to kids only after a certain age when they could hold their own in a conversation and understand the flow of words.

With age, I have learnt to portray an acceptable level of tolerance for the kids in the family but I still can connect with just three of them- my nephews and an extremely bright niece, who is just seven but seems to be 17 when she argues. These three, too, are more my friends than kids. They call me by my name as I have taught them to and interact with me as if I am a year or two younger than them.

Some would say that this, lack of motherly traits, is what has kept me away from ‘holy matrimony’ and the kids that follow but I just don’t care what people say and how they react to this. Having said that, the truth is that I did not get married and I don’t have kids of my own.

I wish I could say that it has been a loss, only if to appease the majority. But I don’t see it that way. I don’t feel a void in this case because of these three and an extremely important connection with someone who calls me Maa. The four of them have tethered my heart to their own and are my anchors, my reasons to live and carry on despite the struggles. They represent Hope to me. If there is genuine happiness in the world, I get it from this foursome and if there is a selfless bone in my body, I have it for these four children.

A friend of mine keeps quoting a punjabi saying “Apne hi baal te apniyaan hi maawaan” which, loosely translated, means that only the kids, you have given birth to, are your own and that one can neither become a mother to someone who isn’t her flesh and blood, nor can a child be as attached to someone who isn’t his or her biological mother.

I have always differed to agree on this. I don’t know what the future has in store for me. Sayings become popular for a reason. It is possible that at some point in their lives these four precious parts of my heart would choose something or someone I would not be susceptible or predisposed to. But I am prepared for that. After all, it is their life and after a certain point they are entitled to take decisions for their own good. These choices may or may not be acceptable to all the people in their lives. That in no way means that they would love me less. It would only mean that, with me, they would have the liberty to choose what their hearts really want.

I have no idea what good parenting is. I used to feel that having a kid means to have a person who is completely yours for life, someone who is one hundred percent yours and yours alone because you have given life to that being. But it doesn’t happen that way with your biological progeny too. What I have learnt is to control myself from holding them back. My heart bleeds when I see my children going down a path that would bring them grief but I have learned from my own life that no amount of convincing and cajoling would deter them from a chosen path just because a parent’s wisdom says so. Hence, it is judicious to let them make their own mistakes and learn from them. Lessons thus learnt would stay with them longer.

And years later, may be or may be not, some casual observer would say, look at them, they take after you in all but looks. Wouldn’t that be the happiest day of my life?

Human relationships are so weird. Rarely, are people satisfied with their lot in life. We have a mental checklist of what would appeal to us and what will fulfill us. More often than not, we don’t actually find what we are looking for, in a friend or a partner. And sometimes, just sometimes, it all falls into our lap even when we are not actively looking for it.

As a free-thinking and independent woman, what I want in a relationship are deep set values, compatibility, my kind of humour, resourcefulness and a charm that would bind me, would make me feel ‘that special flutter’ within. Good looks are objective.

I have often come across the question of love at first sight and I have constantly believed that it doesn’t happen. You cannot love a person just because he or she is easy on your eyes. Love might not happen that way but connections do happen.

Sometimes there is a certain energy between two people that binds them even at first sight. Try as we might, we cannot stay away from such cosmic energy. There is a reason why people come into our lives. They might not tick all our boxes but with such people we need no further reason to stay. We don’t even have to try very hard. It just falls into place. Effortlessly. That’s how great Friendships are forged. There is no rationality to it. Rationality in the eyes of the society, I mean. People ask questions that go from ‘how can you trust someone in such short a period?’ to ‘will it not create an imbalance in your already existing relationships?’ Some even feel that just because one has been friends with someone for a longer period of time, one has to prioritize them. But human relationships do not grow like that. Certain things are just unexplained.

I have a couple of unexplained relationships in my life. Whatever these two people might do, I can’t stay upset with them for long. I love them both, deeply, in their own unique ways. One is like a progeny to me another a very good friend and interestingly both these connections happened at our very first meetings. There were no denials or dilly-dallying about the nature of our relationship. What these two give me is a feeling of contentment without any hassles. There are no major differences of opinions. Both these men listen to what I have to say and reserve their judgements. They give me space to think, act and have my own opinion on things. Interestingly, both have a very wide world view. They never categorise life and its decisions into just right or wrong. What may be wrong for you, might make all the sense to someone else, is their mantra. I have seen them apply it in their lives and stay happy with the decisions and choices they make. This ability inspires me. It is rare to find even one such connection in life and I have been blessed with two.

May they always stay the same, wherever they go. May they always keep touching lives like they have touched mine. Exceptional people that they are, may they continue to find peace and contentment in the years to come.

I know neither of them would read it, nonetheless, this piece. They already know how I feel about them and they won’t need words to validate it.

I went to watch Kabir Singh a couple of days back and since then I have been itching to write this but have been apprehensive. I am a non-confrontational person and I know, I would have to answer my fair share of questions after I put my thoughts in writing. What gave me courage to finally sit down and write are the makers and actors of this movie. Surely, they would have been aware of the backlash they might have to endure when the film, they had so painstakingly made, hit the theatres.

After all, Indians, in general, are a sensitive audience specially when it comes to moral issues.

Thankfully, there wasn’t a politicised scene about or reaction as to the impact of a movie like this but the reviews said it all. There were people who said that the moral compass of the makers face duly south to have come up with and endorsed such an idea, some praised the performances and yet disliked the message, the constant refrain is – ‘what is the world coming to?’ or the young would emulate the character..

It is a classic case of the chick and the egg. What came first? Cinema shows what is happening in the society, it is a mirror of what we see around or is it cinema that gives birth to unconventional ideas and air them for innocent, unknowing people to emulate? We can’t blame the makers for making something that is already rampant in the society. It is our denial mindset which fails to acknowledge that this, in fact, is the reality in modern day India.

And come to think of it, what part of the movie do we not see around? If it is a negative, toxic relationship we have aversion to then it isn’t all that rare. In fact, it is more common than the common cold. Always has been. There have been other films too that have portrayed this toxicity and let’s face it, we do see it in everyday life too. The boy obsessing over the girl and the girl eventually giving in to the care and attention, overlooking the toxic behaviour, is an everyday phenomena. Most couples realise it later when the initial flush of love and sex wanes. I was amazed at the female character, though. Where do we find such demure girls nowadays? And that too someone hailing from a metro city.

There are instances of alcohol and drug abuse (I am calling it abuse because the boy nearly kills himself with an overdose) in the movie along with excessive smoking. Now, all these have long been considered evils in the society and also a threat to one’s health. But has that stopped anyone from using them? They are openly available in the market. They are addictions and thus the manufacturers and governments know that people will buy them, come what may. I should be candid in saying that they are in fact a major source of income to the government, through the taxes. It is not that the young would start smoking, drinking or resorting to drugs if they fail in love. The modern day Devdas is a myth. People drink and smoke because they want to. It has always had this added image quotient of ‘looking cool with it‘, attached to it.

Anger issues and a devil may care attitude which the male lead portrays is not to give a certain edge to the character, it is in fact a flaw that many of us are dealing with. As a teacher, I have seen it a lot in the students of a certain age. Some mellow down, others don’t. The language used also has become an everyday part of our lives. The abuses that are hurled around, the gaalis are something that the young don’t even notice because they have been using them for years now. Some of them have actually become terms and phrases of endearment among friends.

If it is the operating or performing surgery under influence or ethics of a doctor that worry an audience, then it has been dealt with convincingly in the film. The character, himself, takes the moral high ground by accepting that he is an alcoholic and that although he hasn’t brought any harm to any of his patients till date yet he would take the punishment or penalty of putting them into danger by merely handling them in such a state.

The content of the movie was a surprise to me, because rarely have Hindi movies been so explicit in dialogue, language, wit, state of undress and mannerism. There is no inhibition in asking for sex or ‘physical help’, as the actor puts it or counting the number of times that a couple has been intimate with each other or, for that matter, the hero explaining to his dad the meaning of ‘personal space’ reminding him that he, the father, had got married at the age of 23 and he, his son is still unmarried at 28. So, he should actually understand what personal space between a girl and a boy would mean. Some might find it bold but the boy also confronts the girl’s father when he catches them kissing on the terrace saying that had they been married and he been his son-in-law, the father would have walked off giving them that space. For the first time, I saw an acceptance of the physical part of any romantic relationship, not only in the characters of the movie but also in the raucous crowd of spectators gathered there.

I was surrounded by a youthful crowd during the movie and they bawled and hooted as much on the intimate scenes as they did on the sudden appearance of a bearded and cool- looking hero or his motorbike, for crying out loud. I did not hear any gasps of surprise or scandalous hawws from the audience on such scenes. The idea wasn’t alien to them, atleast not to most of them. I found myself laughing with them. I am middle-aged, to say the least, but I could appreciate the wit embedded in the dialogues too.

All because it is a Hindi movie, the makers had to give it a happy ending and that was my only disappointment. It was unconventional and yet so refreshing when the hero doesn’t even blink an eyelid when he sees the pregnant heroine and it comes naturally to him. It is not even a question in his mind. He has already accepted the child as it is her flesh and blood, not bothering about where the sperm came from! But then to appease the moral sensibilities of the audience, who cannot be kept out even with an ‘A’ certification, the makers twisted the story and Indianised it. It was, infact, their love child she was carrying and she had been living on her own all these months.

Barring this minor hiccup, I had fun watching the movie and I loved the performance of Shahid Kapoor and am totally taken in with the music of the film.

May more such movies be made without the fear of them corrupting the society. If we believe that such movies corrupt the society and if the impact of a movie can be so obvious then why don’t we improve as a society when we see virtues there? Why don’t we emulate the good? A movie is a movie. The purpose of its creation is telling a tale, entertaining people, and ofcourse raking in the moolah, for it is business too. Let’s not place the responsibility of making or breaking a generation squarely on its shoulders. The decadence of a society isn’t solely due to its art, but its art does reflect what is seen in the society.

We have already stepped into the 21st century and made our individual decisions as to how we want to lead our lives. What a person does in his or her personal life shouldn’t be a cause for moral policing, judgement or interference by anyone.

There is a dialogue in the movie that ‘one should not be so free-willed in a democracy’. I think it is time to challenge that!

Life has been good. God has been kind!

True, there are ups and downs in any life. One may be the tiniest of insects and face challenges or the king of the jungle and yet life may not be smooth. We, as humans, have more faculty to deal with problems that come our way because God has bestowed upon us the power to think, analyse and then act accordingly. So, all in all, when I look at my life objectively, I don’t find things to complain about, not even the ones that bother me because in the larger picture, the blessings far outnumber the trials.

I have made it a habit to be grateful for whatever I have, small or big. That has given me contentment. The fact that regrets are out, makes me see people and events as experiences. Some might be good, others bad. Who cares! As long as we learn from them.

Out of the many things that I feel grateful for, the most important it seems, is the chance to feel and witness the extraordinary things that ordinary people might do. I have been fortunate to have worked in an atmosphere where rarely did I see people shirking their duties. Everyone was dedicated to the institute and the work culture was relaxed yet disciplined. Nobody needed to be told twice. A task once entrusted was sure to be completed without a hitch, and if there was one, it was solved by putting our heads and energies together. No wonder I remember and miss that place even seven years after leaving it. The people I met there have become mine for life.

Such is the charisma of great team work when everything moves like a well-oiled machine. I thought that is a rare phenomenon. We couldn’t expect the same ambience everywhere we go but I was pleasantly surprised to come across nearly the same energy in the most unexpected of places.

My father was recently diagnosed with chronic kidney disease and after months of battling it with drugs, he is now on dialysis. We live in a small town but we have a state- run dialysis centre in the government hospital here. We were told it was good and moreover it would be convenient for us because we had to go there twice a week. I had seen how state- run things were managed in other sectors and hence was apprehensive. After all it wasn’t a one time thing we were getting into.

What I hadn’t expected to find, was a team that any organisation could be proud of. Led by a young yet exceptional doctor, these people make things look so easy. Their camaraderie is reassuring. They are polite, humble and hard working. I sit there for four hours, twice a week and observe them deal with panic situations with a calm that belies some of their ages too. There is nothing more magical than watching ordinary humans turn into paragons of virtue & goodness by dint of their knowledge and confidence in their training.True, they must be working there for years now but that hasn’t made them complacent. In fact, I had not seen a more patient, meticulous bunch of healthcare workers, until I met them. Each one is so adept at his or her work. They seem to have each other’s back as they carry out the same tedious and monotonous tasks day in and day out. And they do it with a smile on their faces and a spring in their steps.

I see them transforming into heroes everyday. Their countenance changes, it becomes shiny and sparkly. There is a confidence in their gait that allays the fears of their patients and a light in their eyes that says- We are here. I cannot help but smile with them. Their energy is contagious. All they want to do is help people. They do everything possible to minimise the suffering of their charges and what is most commendable is that their trainings have made them humble. The impact that their empathy and compassion have on a patient is enormous. An easy smile does it for us.

Something that could have been a harrowing experience, if the health care providers couldn’t care less, has turned out to be pleasant. I won’t say that we look forward to these two days of the week but these people and their mastery over their skills have definitely made it worthwhile.

They won’t read it, I know. But I am grateful to them for being themselves. For them, it is all in a day’s work, for us it is a debt that cannot be repaid. May God bless them with good health always.

My mother always says that the character of an individual can be gauged only when you live with them as truly as purity of gold can be measured only on testing it..

“सोने के kasne से और इंसान के basne से पता चलता है…”

True, may be!

But energies don’t work that way. There is some kind of hidden attraction that makes us want to talk to someone or know them better. In my 39 years, I have known many people and have friends from different walks of life.

No two people are alike, no one is the same person they were when I first met them. I, myself, have grown into the person I am, due, mainly, to my acquired opinions and experiences. I am sure people who knew me 20 years back would be surprised, if they meet me today.

GROWTH is inevitable. Life puts us through the paces and we learn. If we don’t, we stagnate and that is not good for us and for the people around us.

In a mood for self-reflection, I was pleased to realise that among many flaws, that humans inevitably possess and pile up over time, I have developed two of the greatest virtues – First, I don’t judge people by their appearances neither do I make my opinions based on first encounters, good or bad. Second, I try not to meddle in the affairs of other people, however close. Infact this, being close and thus a well-wisher, argument doesn’t go down well with me at all. I consider these two my paramount achievements in the quest for being a better person.

Having said that, my energies attract a certain kind of clientèle, if you may call them that. Long before Tyrion Lannister made it popular, I have been gravitating towards the troublesome trio of Rebels, Misfits & Shattered Souls. He had a tender spot for cripples, bastards & broken things. I, too, like the ones who are crippled by the choices they made or the ones made for them, bastardized by circumstances and broken beyond repair.

I particularly love the ones who hide their vulnerability behind masks of confidence and straightforwardness. Some might think them to be rude, impolite & uncultured. I find them fascinating. People are not born that way. I, invariably, have this exacting need to find out what made them, the person they are! It gives me immense satisfaction to peel back the layers and uncover the core they are made of.

People haven’t disappointed me, so far!

I may have had some lessons along the way but none that I regret. I have had the good fortune of getting to know some exceptional souls hidden behind the veneer of Rebels and Misfits.

They do not conform to the norms. They dress a certain way, speak a certain lingo, act as if they don’t give a damn and are willing to, in fact, find pleasure in not being understood by the people around them. They are easy to shun, actually. It is simpler to label them as rebels or misfits and then ignore them.

But what I have found underneath are myriad variety of gems. Some insecure in their abilities, others in their looks and appearances, still others in the circumstances of their lives- social or financial. Some hide their grief beneath all the verve, others are lonely and misunderstood behind the joie de vivre. It is all a facade. And I count myself lucky to be able to bring down the walls, they have erected, brick by brick and know these people as no one around them does.

I pride myself on being the unmistakable confidante of many such golden souls and I like to believe that there is always a reason why we meet the people we do. It is as much their healing as mine, and it is all planned by a power that we can’t fathom.

Well, grateful!

Chaos! Chaos! Chaos!

We hear the word and a visual, a mental image comes up! Something that is helter-skelter, without a set pattern, disorganised, broken, shattered, full of din, mayhem.. Almost violent!

That has been my state of mind, more or less, since I last took to writing. So many things have happened. I have tried escaping it all by every mean possible for me- leaving the place, shunning people, postponing discussions, avoiding confrontations. Gradually I realised, escape doesn’t do it. It has to be faced headlong.

Life has taken to dull monotony after the initial shock of things. I would say, the chaos has settled down a little. I have tried making peace with certain aspects, some are still a thorn in the side, but that’s life. That’s what was written. That’s, may be, what I chose, voluntarily or by accident.

I have read a lot in this writing-less span. Not many things have stayed with me, though. It is natural not to retain much when things don’t know where to find a home in one’s brain. But something that I keep coming back to, is a small piece by a fellow blogger where he speaks about time stamps. It is a beautiful write up and something that I wish I had written. I specifically liked it when he wrote that “Happiness is like a glass of wine, it doesn’t last until you have a big bottle of it hidden somewhere.”

How true! Sometimes even in the most loving relationships, happiness runs out despite that huge bottle. We forget to refill it. We neglect to stock it. We prefer to ignore it. We take it for granted until, ofcourse, it disappears. And then we run after it, we want it back as it was, we try looking for shared memories but alas, once lost the same isn’t available! It is not a consumer good offered at attractive schemes in the market.

There are variants ofcourse. But that’s just plain ‘settling for less’. I’d rather look for something completely different instead of making do with the chaotic pieces that threaten to loosen up anytime life jolts them again.

Poets have written reams about the beauty of nature after the storm. The green looks all the more greener, the landscape purged of its grime, the debris all settled into new forms, the sun shines brighter on the newly formed tableaux. The character of the land changes, so does its shape and look.

Same goes for the humans who have had to deal with something life- altering like that. The vista is all new for the one’s who kept their own through it all.

I have changed. Unapologetically so! Looking forward to the rest of my life. Bring it on! After all, don’t the most beautiful rainbows appear after the storms?

Energy doesn’t lie..

I have waited for a week or so, since this realisation hit, to write it all down. I am not an expert on this branch of thinking, I just write what I experience so my account may not be statistically correct. It is at best a point of view, not a point of reference. Having given the disclaimer, I now feel free to share what has been brewing in my mind.

In my humble opinion, people, places, events, plans everything has energy. That energy might be good or bad, positive or negative, dynamic or stagnant, but it does have an impact. We tend to rejuvenate after a vacation or a change of scenery. We can radically change our mood in the company of people- friends or strangers. We alter our perspectives and opinions when we come across fresh persuasive take on things. We react when we are challenged by a new work atmosphere or work profile. That reaction might either be growth or our lack of adaptation. The result doesn’t really matter here. All I am trying to say is that energy of a place, people or an event has the potential to change us as human beings–for better or for worse, that depends on myriad factors.

I have known families who have packed up and moved out to new cities because they were not doing as well in their home towns. People change houses all the time and all of us, whether with a conventional outlook or not, believe that the energy of the house would have repercussions on the quality of life of a family. If we move to a new place and fall ill, most people would say that the new house or city didn’t suit us. Some might also recommend elaborate religious rites to purify and make the place more conducive to living.

It doesn’t take super human powers to get a grip on how these energies work. We, humans, have been endowed with intelligence and logical thinking. More often than not, we realise in the initial stages whether a relationship, a job, a move to a new place, an arrangement, a marriage, a treatment is working or not. But as humans we have also been given an element of hope ( the biggest evil to come out of Pandora’s box) and a belief in perseverance. We don’t leave things or give up on them if they don’t work out initially. We just keep at it, hoping it would change.

This is the approach I have an issue with. In my experience, anything that we have misgivings about even before starting out or in the initial stages, doesn’t really improve with time and effort. We may feel that it has started working if we see a relative difference in the state of things. It may be due to one of two reasons- the realisation may be due to our own efforts and would cease to exist once we stop putting that input, or the change may well be in the way we look at things, that again would be our own adaptability or acceptance of things as they are.

I know there may be varied views on this. As I said, we are taught to be adaptable. We are told that things would not always be according to our comfort or wishes but we trudge along. That’s the way the world has always moved. Nothing wrong with that opinion. To each his own. But for the few who live by the maxim of YOLO, or who feel personal happiness and contentment is important to keep others around us happy, adaptability, as in compromise, is not acceptable.

No one is infallible and if we fall into this trap of disregarding the energies that surround us, we are not naive. We are just what our decent upbringing has made us but expecting happiness in such a scenario would be a little too much to ask. Speaking from experience, I would reiterate that when it comes to people in our lives– whether they are parents, siblings, friends, better halves or romantic interests– we ignore the energies and go about the old fashioned way. We persevere. We hope. We put in an effort. We come to terms with how things will be. That, in most cases, robs us of our peace of mind, our carefree attitude. We refuse to acknowledge ‘the energy’ of our relationship. We turn a blind eye because what else can we do?

This may not apply to many but holds true for me- When I go to consult a doctor, no matter how accomplished he/she might be or however highly recommended, I cannot put my trust in them if I don’t get a positive vibe. I rely on energies. I can’t remember the number of opportunities I have had to let go because I cannot work for someone whose aura doesn’t draw me in. Miraculously, I don’t regret any of those decisions. I am confident that I wouldn’t have been content had I compromised.

I have also observed a shift in the energy with the giving up of certain habits, routines, places and people. It is rare that if one huge part of our lives is in turmoil, due to our insistence on holding on to something or someone, another part would flourish. No, it won’t. The negative impact of such a vibe would block all the good that other aspects of our life could have. And if at all there is an ouster of this negative energy, everything else also starts falling into place. The moment we decide that we have to get out of a situation that is holding us back, we start to grow and recover. We don’t have to go down guilt trip just because we ended something to improve our own lot. We don’t have to explain or justify our actions to people who would criticise us any which way. We are here to lead our lives to the best of our abilities. We are not here to please others. Keeping our own selves happy isn’t being selfish.

Lighten up. Trust the Energies. Make your own path. It isn’t necessary that the well- trodden one is the right way to go. Infact there isn’t any right or wrong here, just choices.
As Robert Frost rightly said –

I have taken a sage friend’s advice and decided to write about boundaries today. The topic itself is limitless but as I write just about human behaviour and quirks, I might as well deal with it, my way.

Boundary as defined by the dictionary is the greatest possible degree of something or the line or plane indicating the limit or extent of something.

I want to speak about the ambit of human giving, be it emotionally, physically, economically or spiritually.

We are all aware of Daanveer Karna from the epic Mahabharat. No one, as giving as him, has ever walked the face of Earth, it is believed. He never thought what it would cost him to give up what a seeker sought. His ability, of selflessly pleasing every demand made of him, is legendary. Those were simpler times, moreover such men exist in mythology. Drawing a parallel are the Indian women of years gone by. Steeped in customs and bound by social norms, they never thought of their own needs and being. Their lives revolved around the men in their families – fathers, brothers, husbands & sons.

It is not the same nowadays. Thankfully, it is not the same. God has created human beings to be equal and hence our emotional and psychological requirements remain the same no matter what gender we are born with. Today, more than any other time, we need to set our boundaries.

Anyone who has been in love knows that boundaries don’t generally apply to certain relationships. Won’t we do anything for our parents? If we are closely knit with our siblings, there is nothing we won’t do to take them out of a tight corner. Our lives are so entwined with those of our friends that we recognise it as our responsibility to give them anything in our power to make them feel better. Our partners, better halves & romantic interests get the best part of us. Anything that’s ours is theirs for the taking.

I feel committing wholeheartedly to any relationship is a very special thing and mostly we have our Rubicons or points of no return. We cannot go back to being what and how we were with somebody, once we cross that line. Once we reach that plane, our happiness and sorrow, our mood swings all depend on the person we are in love with. They basically have the remote control of our lives with them. If they are happy, we are elated. If they are down in the dumps, we keen over too or sometimes we try and pull them out of the pit they find themselves in. All in all, they become the centre of our very being. This situation isn’t fair to either party. There might be a thousand different things happening to us, requiring our attention but we always prioritise them over everything else. Everything takes a backseat when the axis of our lives is in doldrums.

We consider all this normal. That’s how families have always been. That’s how romantic relationships have fared through time. That’s how human beings show that they care. I am no different. This happens with each one of us.

Having agreed to all the above, I would reiterate the wisdom of many these days, that self-love is important too. The longest relationship we have had or are going to have is with our own selves. No one, absolutely no one can be with us from the start to the finish. All that stays with us is our own body, heart and soul. The least we can do for ourselves, then, is to pay attention. We cannot keep ignoring what pleases us, just in order to keep others happy, however close they might be. I know once we reach the point of no return, it is difficult to think of ourselves first, to peel our attentions from nurturing, caring and tending to others and look after ourselves. It may sound downright selfish too but we cannot pour from an empty cup.

Self care is important. Healing is important. To put ourself first, is important. It’s only when we are strong, decisive and whole that we can care for others. So boundaries are important. Setting boundaries don’t make us less compassionate. Infact if you feel miserable, depleted and used then that compassion is killing you. We can have compassion for others without actually losing ourselves in the process. Saying no, when you really want to say it, is all right. Saying ‘it is fine’ when it isn’t is not okay.

One has to draw a line, erect a wall, not to keep people out but to protect oneself from the blows. Blows that inevitably come when we love or interact with someone. Setbacks, quarrels, disagreements, different opinions, misunderstandings are all a part of this life. They may test one’s reserve, they may try one’s commitment but they rarely end a true relationship. These are just hiccups. But even while going through them one has to care for oneself. If there is less happiness and more compromise at the end of this trial phase then it is preferable to make your distance, lick your wounds and move on. We don’t have to tell the people we love that we care. We won’t have to try and make them believe that we do. They would know it and they would acknowledge it and reciprocate and that’s when we know that compromises are okay too if at the end we feel loved and recognised.

💫On Healing💫

Posted: October 17, 2018 in Life as I see it...
Tags: , ,

Do you believe in Karma? As Indians I know, most of us do. ‘What goes round comes round,’ is the theory our lives revolve around.

It has been a year full of upheavals- physical, emotional, financial and any other ‘al’ that’s possible. So what begot them? Is it just the move to a new space or the lack of religious peity? Is it the negative energy of the new place or the evil eye cast on us by seemingly well meaning friends and acquaintances?

Why blame someone or something for one’s ill-fortune? I believe we reap what we sow. No one is bad in his or her own perception and decent people don’t go about planning to harm others with their words, actions or existences but try as we might we cannot please everyone and even without meaning to, we end up bringing grief to others. And grief thus brought, counts as a debit on one’s account. It is all checks and balances from there on.

We do everything possible to cast off the negativity. We mostly give in to the tried and tested method– Religion. Sadly, we have been brought up to fear God more than we respect and love Him. So we fall into the trap of the self- appointed faith healers, the one’s who claim a divine connect and we perform all sorts of weird things that normally and rationally we wouldn’t. We hear stories of how such practices brought about a change in other people’s lives. And we are tempted to try each one of them. Getting a havan or a special pooja done on an auspicious day is just the beginning. There is weirder stuff we all are acquainted with. Feeding the strays on a particular day of the week, feeding them specific stuff, eating something or abstaining from somethings come next. Then enters woodoo, black magic, tantras and mantras. We do everything and we believe in everything when the chips are down. Even my writing against them would be considered blasphemous by my equally rational family who have been bowed down in having faith in such stuff.

If not this what is the solution then? I believe the solution lies within us. One has to go through life without judgements, sans the feeling that ill things happen to me always. We have to have faith in God and his sense of justice. He wouldn’t give us a burden too heavy for us to carry. Yes, there may be hardships but just like good times don’t last, bad ones don’t either. Life is a mix of both. Our problem is that we don’t rejoice in the good times, they are taken as a matter of right while we whine away during the painful periods. Pain is inevitable. Whether it is loss of health, wealth, mental peace, a loved one- everything brings us pain. As humans, we just need to learn to accept what is given to us. We will start HEALING, the moment we realise that it is just life with its ebbs and flows, its triumphs and sorrows. No one else is responsible for what we face in life. It is just our actions that beget reactions. No amount of guilt can make life easy but acceptance can. If we recognise where we went wrong, we need to accept it without guilt, rectify it if we can, take a lesson and move on. There is no use crying over spilt milk. We can’t undo our actions, however digital we get. We can just correct them and learn from what transpired. We are humans and are bound to falter in life but that shouldn’t stop us from growing and experimenting and living.

As for religion, I have always felt that spirituality is much more important than being overtly religious. Then again, to each his or her own. Believing in God is important but a Punishing God is just the figment of our imaginations and a very popular one at that, specially in our society. God doesn’t work that way.

Healing has to start from US and our unwavering faith in the goodness of life and judiciousness of the Almighty.

Hugs can heal. Listening can heal. Being there for someone can heal. Music can heal. Words and actions can heal. A kind heart can heal. It is the super power of us humans. We can Heal.

I don’t know why but I am reminded of Rudyard Kipling’s masterpiece of a poem- ‘If’, so I would leave you with that.

If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;

If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

https://youtu.be/sxKJqmBh8M4

🤔The Query🤔

Posted: August 6, 2018 in Life as I see it...
Tags: , ,

Years ago, as a child, I remember being herded into a Saint’s presence along with my mother, siblings and scores of strangers vying for the hallowed vision. I recall my confusion at people coming up with questions for the enlightened one and he seemed to be at ease answering them. My mother didn’t put up a question and we left, having benefitted from the ‘darshan‘ alone.

Some years on, when influenced by my immediate circle of friends, I was fascinated with astrology and palmistry, ( I am reminded of a phase when I bought and religiously read books on the two disciplines), I went to a celebrated astrologist of my city, someone who had the reputation of always ‘see’ing through to a person’s future. After an initial analysis of my lines and birth chart, he prompted me to ask questions. I was in a fix. What should one ask? One who believes in karma and one who takes all decisions of life in a precise, calculative, no-nonsense manner, how should such a person ask someone for speculative guidance to her own life?

A lot of water has flown under the bridge since then. Life, responsibilities, challenges have matured me from that moony eyed romantic to a pragmatic skeptic. I have read voraciously all these years and tried looking for answers to life in the written word.

It is true that the question of what lies in the future troubles us at times but it can be fathomed through our educated guesses. What we sow, so shall we reap!

There is a query, though, which I find unsatisfactorily attended to in most books I have read or by people I have spoken to.

Every human being has to play various roles in this life. We are sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, friends, lovers, husbands, wives, parents, grandparents, professionals, homemakers, neighbours, relatives, citizens; all folded into one multidimensional personality. What I fail to come to terms with is- Which identity to accept? Most of our multiple roles have a tendency of coming into conflict with each other, time and again. We find it difficult to keep all our ducks in a row. We are rarely able to provide a semblance of order to every aspect of our life. A little bit of management is all right for everyone and it doesn’t induce a lot of heartache to relinquish control over or give up on certain unimportant duties, chores or even relationships. But this choice is nearly impossible to make when two or more equally significant parts of our life are pit against each other. It becomes herculean to accomplish everything at once. If we try to put one decision in effect, we sometimes lose another. How do we strike this balance?

I have read that one should learn to put oneself first, that one cannot pour from an empty cup, that one’s happiness attracts all the positive energy and gets things done, that when we are happy we can make others smile too. But these lessons look good in print, I have never been able to really put them into practice.

So, if I have to raise just one query of a ‘holy see’, or a ‘guru’ or any life coach, I would want to know how to perceive myself, so that at least the people and situations important to me in life, won’t suffer? I would ask them when to give in and how much of me to surrender?

I make it a point not to write anything while I am into a book and to be honest, I can’t think of anything worth writing other than the subject of the book I am on, while it lasts. But we come across so many things in life that need addressing and more often than not, the solution to those are rarely found in books.

I take a class of English language communication with a senior group and recently one of the group members came upto me and told me that he didn’t think the class was working for him. It wasn’t as if the subject matter or delivery was difficult to get. It was just that he felt a lot of hesitation in front of his female counterparts. He was specific that his fear of or inability to interact with people of the opposite sex went beyond the classroom even to the social sphere. He conceded that to stay abreast with the world today, he needed to lose this shackle. I had noticed such fearful tendencies in other group members too.

I applaud him for having the courage to accept and discuss the leash that bound him, with me. I got thinking and realised that without actually registering, we make habits of certain things. Most of our mannerism and the way we carry ourselves in our lives, come from the things which may not be taught verbally at home but are observed and ingrained passively.

I find this hesitation and inhibition a regular feature of life in small town India. Rarely, have I come across families or parents who have managed to give a broad minded upbringing to their kids. The fear of speaking or performing in front of a gathering or group of people from the opposite sex is more common in adults than in children.

As we grow older we get more and more negatively conditioned at home & in the society. The gender difference, that cannot be denied by anyone in our small city lives, comes in the way of living freely. Even Co-educational institutions try and keep the two sexes in separate columns. In classrooms, we have separate rows and columns for girls and boys, in sports there are separate teams, for cultural functions, girls prepare a separate piece and the boys stay in their own spheres. Out of school, parents don’t allow friends from the other sex to mix up with us. Together, the schools and parents, condition a child so negatively that after an age even brother-sisters and cousins feel awkward around each other.

Do we think that keeping them separate like this would solve all the gender related issues and crimes that we come across in newspapers daily? In my humble opinion, if we stop them from doing anything, they would definitely want to go down that road. And mind you, when they do, it will all be hidden from parental scrutiny.

Isn’t it better parenting if we move with the times and acknowledge that on reaching teens our children require knowledge and guidance on this issue? Won’t it be preferable if our kids have the confidence that whatever it is they feel about anyone, they can share at home?

We were that age, not so long back and we cannot hide from the fact that human body and mind undergo a lot of change in our teens. Raging hormones are not an issue to be pushed under the rug and the solution is not to get our kids married young. We conform to the social traditions and maintain a steady gap between us and the kids in their growing up years. That ensures a fear and respect that fathers think they deserve but isn’t love between parents and the kids more important? Does maintaining distance from our kid, when he or she is growing up, make us more respectable in the society or is it just an exercise for boosting the self? To keep up that facade of respect and fear intact, we arrange marriages for our children without even asking them whether they wish to get married at that age or whether they have someone they would like us to meet as a perspective life partner. Limited by inhibitions, most children do as they are told. No wonder then, that we have such soul less, unhappy marriages wherever we look. Life becomes a compromise for both partners concerned.

Our children fear us and in the absence of any kind of guidance from us on matters related to sex, they turn to the next best option- their classmates or seniors, who have had a similar upbringing. But even that is passé now. Like everything else, the children find answers on the internet. Do you think that information, thus gleaned, is healthy for a balanced mental growth of a child?

Such trends don’t bode well for us as a society. I agree, things are changing but we still need to earn that confidence of our children if we want them to confide in us. We should be grown up enough to give them choices. After a point, a person can be a judge of what is right or wrong for him/her. Believe me, the values that we so painstakingly inculcate and grind into our children day in and day out, will stay with them when the time comes. We should have faith in their decisions and our efforts invested in them. If we don’t stand by them, when they make life – altering choices, who will? Unless we give up this medieval thought process that programs us to control every aspect of our child’s life, we will not be able to bring up confident, decisive, content, happy individuals that our children should be.

Let them out. Don’t curtail their innocent freedoms. Let them make friends on the basis of who they gel with instead of on narrow considerations of gender & caste. Let them choose- their lives, their friends, their jobs, their partners & their happiness.

Many of you might remember the old NCERT textbooks which had one page right at the beginning sharing the Talisman propounded by Mahatma Gandhi.

At the time, I didn’t completely get the meaning of his words which are now crystal clear.
What Gandhiji meant when he gave us that mantra was – there are always people more unfortunate than us and that every step, every action undertaken by us should be carried out keeping in mind the welfare of those less fortunate ones.

My piece here lays down no such lofty ideals. I just want to underline the fact that each of us thinks that the troubles and trials of our lives are unique and beyond endurance. But in essence, life isn’t easy for any of us. We just have to make the best of what is given to us.

There are people who are enduring terminal illnesses, there are some who have been turned out of their own homes by their own flesh and blood, others still lead lives of penury and want, there are many who are either too fat or too thin, some suffer physical handicaps others mental ailments, there are yet others who have no talent or scope for education and few who are low on luck despite the degrees, some are financially well off but have no mental peace others can’t make their two ends meet. For some there are marital troubles for others relationships are difficult. Some are in agony because they are childless some worry because they have too many mouths to feed. There are some for whom their sexuality or gender is a cross, they are born that way, others still whose choices society doesn’t accept.

In nutshell, as long as we have human lives, we have desires. These desires are the root cause of pain. The unending want for more create a gloom and unhappiness that is beyond our control. We suffer because we always want something that has not been served to us. We suffer because we constantly compare our lives with others. For us grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. We don’t acknowledge the fact that the grass is greener where it is watered.

We cry and make a hullabaloo about the suffering we have to sustain. We pray to our Gods to alleviate our burdens. We cut corners, we try and cheat fate and hoodwink our destiny. All in vain.

We have been given one life. True, it has some challenges. We each have our crosses to bear and carry but if we do so with a song in our heart and a smile on our lips, won’t it be more convenient and bearable?

In any case we have to live through the entire span of life given to us. Why not face it headlong without complaining and cribbing about it.. Why make it tougher than it already is? We can strive to improve our lot in life, that’s our right and prerogative but there really isn’t any use lamenting the things we lack or the burdens we have to carry. We won’t die before it is our time so why not live it up despite the tests assigned to us.

Think about it!

The incident, I am about to narrate, goes back to the year 2009 or 2010, I was teaching at a residential school then. We had an English department full of experienced and knowledgeable teachers, each more impressive than the next in terms of vigour, zest or plain perspective.

I remember the day like it was yesterday. Some of us were sitting in the staff room carrying on with our respective tasks when Ma’am Santosh Ahlawat entered. I was in awe of her personality. Tall and distinguished, she seemed to be at complete ease in her skin. Her smiling face and radiance gave the impression of a person who had things under control and one who was sure of herself in every way. Nothing seemed to bother her or ruffle her feathers. She had great ideas too. It may seem like my personal ode to her but the fact of the matter is that I didn’t know her well enough and all the attributes, I have just mentioned about her, have only come to my mind now that I have sat down to write.

The only thing that I truly and vividly remember about her is what she told us that day and which has somehow stuck with me over the years. A simple thought but of great import. She had just come to the staffroom after taking an impromptu class with grade 9th. As it was an unscheduled period, she just gave them a random idea, wrote it on the green board and asked them to ponder over it. Her notion, though basic, was extremely profound. On the board she had written – LEARN TO LISTEN.

This tiny piece of sparkling wisdom has stayed with me since then. I keep telling the people or students I come in contact with, ‘to listen’ as much as they can. Over the years, I have benefitted a lot by cultivating this miniscule, seemingly random, bit of virtue.

It’s true that we learn new things only when we shut up & listen to new ideas and perspectives. People feel respected around us if, all we do, is listen to them make their point. We pick up new languages when we listen to natives speaking them. We earn the respect and admiration of our colleagues and subordinates when we let them make their case by giving them a chance to speak. For teachers and parents, earning the trust and devotion of their students or children is the greatest achievement, which is possible only when we listen to them. Not only these practical, day to day things, we also appreciate nature more when we sit quietly and observe its various bounties. We may have gathered and accumulated a lot of knowledge and experience but that doesn’t make us all- knowing.

Each of us has a lot to learn about the blessing that this human birth is, about the people around us and how to treat them, about nature, God, life, our work, relationships, about things that are said but not meant or others that are meant but never said, about situations that we find ourselves in and the tight corners that we have to manoeuvre around, about events that are evident but not real or real but not apparent or discernable.

Our lives would seem inadequate or insufficient in terms of time or length if we decide to pay heed to whatever there is to learn. But if we have to grow, that is the only path to take. Books and success stories can only teach us as much.

We genuinely learn from our environment and that too only when we give it an opportunity to make an impact on us. The easiest and the most pragmatic course of action would be to Listen. Listening is not just hearing but paying attention to not only the words spoken but also to those meant. Listening is not a stimuli for answering or replying or hitting back, it is a stepping stone for comprehension, reformation and change.

Recently, I was reading Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari and I read that the only thing that made Homo Sapiens different from other Humans and animals was the size of our brains. We are the wise ones. Ours is a chosen species. What we choose to do with this life is upto us! We can either stick to the comfortable and stay happy in our ignorance or else venture out of that safe zone, step into the unknown and find bliss that would add meaning to our mundane lives.

Wasn’t it Anand (Rajesh Khanna) who said, “बाबू मोशाय , ज़िन्दगी बड़ी होनी चाहिए, लंबी नही“ Life should be meaningful (big/large) not long (as in years without any real wisdom)

The one thing that we can all promise ouselves to do in our ordinary lives is to be open to learning and that would be possible only when we learn to listen.

Just a thought!

via ” Admit Your Role In A Failed Relationship ” Without Blaming …

What is the gravest loss a person can incur? Someone frivolous would say- Money, someone with greater depth and realisation about how life runs would say – passing away or passing on of loved ones is a loss that can never be repaired. True that!

But while we are living, we learn to survive with or without people. Even if they pass on, we can find solace in the fact that they loved and cherished us as we do them.

In my very humble opinion, the greatest loss a person can lay oneself open to is the loss of respect, whether it is in the eyes of our loved ones or in our own judgement.

It isn’t rocket science to understand that not all of us are destined for great things, not all of us would be remembered by a multitude, not all of us would earn the celebrity status, few amongst us will earn a handsome living but there runs a common thread between the greats and the ordinary ones, like us.

All of us have one Life and we need to prioritize it in such a way that we make the extraordinary come alive even in the mundane. We may not be a Ratan Tata, an Indra Nooyi, an Amitabh Bachchan, a Lata Mangeshkar, a Mark Zuckerberg or a Steve Jobs to inspire an entire generation but we are humans too and it is upto us to be exemplary atleast to our own children.

I have written time and again about how I look upto both my parents for everything in my life. The way they have led theirs, their experiences and conduct even in the face of adversity, their even temperaments, their integrity and honesty have far surpassed any flaws that are bound to seep into a human character. I am proud to be their daughter although sometimes theirs are huge shoes to fill in.

It’s not always that, parenting goes right. I may not be the most appropriate person to talk about it but I have observed, at close quarters, children losing respect for their fathers or mothers. It used to baffle me because it was a completely alien concept for me. How could one hate one’s parent? Way back in my school days, I had some classmates who rarely spoke about or to their mothers. Being an impressionable child myself, I had spoken to my mother about it and she had wisely advised me not to be judgemental or take sides, better still to mind my own business and not put my nose where it wasn’t required.

With years and age came maturity and a kind of experienced comprehension of human nature. During my teaching years, I came across a couple of girls who hated their mothers. For one it was easily explained – she had a step mom and the girl had never warmed up to her but there was another who just couldn’t tolerate her own natural mother. Try as I may, I couldn’t understand that kind of hatred.

Some years on, I moved back to my hometown to be with my parents and thus nearer to my extended family too. True, it is trying, living with people of a generation that doesn’t understand your reasons and don’t approve of your way of doing things and true, there are disagreements too but at the end of the day, they are our parents and we learn from their experiences. Wherever necessary, we also tell them a better way of handling things. Hate never enters this equation. Not with the parents atleast. But that’s me and my life. Not everyone has the same circumstances.

Today, more than anything, I understand the wisdom behind my mother’s words when she had told me not to be too inquisitive about the lives of my friends and more specifically – never to judge. ‘You don’t know their truths. Not the same applies to everyone’, was her constant reply to my curious wonderings.

I have seen grown men losing respect, losing face in front of their own kids. They can’t handle the ever increasing pressures of modern day living and give in to vices like drinking to drown their sorrows, gambling to earn an easy buck, borrowing to pay back previous debts. It is a vicious circle. Instead of facing life headlong with grit and determination, they succumb to weaknesses of the body and soul which eats away at their family lives.

Far from being heroes or inspiration to their kids, they become embarrassments for their families. The impact on the children is life altering. They either become copies of their fathers, taking up those vices as their own or end up hating their parent and going against anything and everything they suggest. Either ways, lives get ruined.

This is the problem, but is there any use writing about the problem without suggesting a solution? My solution is simple and has to come from within.

Marriage is not just a social obligation that we have to perform when the time is right, instead it is a responsibility which should be taken only when one is ready for it. Becoming a parent makes one accountable. We don’t have to lead extraordinary lives in order to earn the respect of our children, we just have to make our decisions on the basis of what will be right or wrong for our family as a whole.

Seemingly ordinary lives can also be remarkable if the children come out cultured, if they value their resources, are intellectually & morally sound and most importantly if they respect their elders, effortlessly.

We should give them reasons for that respect. Just because they are our offsprings is not enough cause for ‘demanding’ respect. How we conduct ourselves, goes a long way in shaping the lives and characters of our children. We cannot expect them to outshine us when all we are giving them is a lot of negative energy.

Having said that, we have one life too and at times we also can be reckless and experimental. We may enjoy our little indulgences but responsibility towards our children wins the round, hands down. We cannot drink ourselves to hell at the cost of our family just because we happen to enjoy our daily pint. We cannot smoke away to lala land without a thought about its impact on our family. We may take calculated risks to earn big time but cannot be reckless enough to go beyond our means and set up a debt for our children to repay. That’s not how exemplary lives are lead.

It’s never too late to make amends. If our intentions are right and if our hearts are in the right place then we know what is the most important thing for a person- it’s the love and respect of the ones closest to us. And make no mistake, we have to work hard to earn that. The first step is to acknowledge our mistakes and then try to mend our ways as best as possible. Even if we don’t succeed in bringing in more money or stability to our lives atleast we can be content that we tried our best and that too with integrity.

Wouldn’t it be endearing to be remembered as a good human being, once we are gone? Why just talk about being remembered once we are gone!! Wouldn’t it warm the cockles of our hearts if people look up to us even in life? Wouldn’t it be remarkable to leave a legacy of righteousness and morality for our kids to follow and pass on?

Start making amends today. We don’t know what is in store for us tomorrow.

It was just that sort of a day when you need to remind yourself of who you are and what your core is made of. Actually, it’s been a series of such days end on end.

Being a bibliophile, I try and find answers in the written word. For me, there is nothing that a google search can’t throw up- from books on recipes to countering depression, from what to watch in which mood to what to wear and where & how to travel, from ailments and their cures to the composition and impact of medicines, I find everything when I look for it and more often than not, I end up reading on everything that goes on in my mind. That’s how much words rule me.

So, it wasn’t surprising when I noticed some discrepancies in my general behaviour and reactions, I immediately looked up the reason for the change and found out that there is something called ‘working depression’ & that I was quietly but steadily moving towards it. On delving into the problem further, I found out about (surprise, surprise!) a book- Pilgrimage of Desire by Alison Gresik.

Generally, I don’t read self help books but this is something that all of us can benefit from. I am still on it and I feel better because I realise that we are not alone in this. All of us go through lean patches and we have got to believe that there is a way out of them. And once we are out of them, we shine brighter. We may not come out unscathed but they are just battle wounds, the scars that leave a memory and a lesson.

Years ago, a friend of mine introduced me to the marvel, that is, Jon Bon Jovi and one of his songs that is etched deep into my psyche is ‘Welcome to wherever you are’, the other being ‘Walk like a man’. I may have spoken about the latter in one of my previous pieces but the former is the one that inspires me in my current mood.

I leave you with the lyrics and will try and attach a link to it too.

Happy listening!

Maybe we’re all different, but we’re still the same..

We all got the blood of Eden, running through our veins.
I know sometimes it’s hard for you to see.
You are caught between just who you are and who you wanna be.

If you feel alone, and lost and need a friend
Remember every new beginning, is some beginning’s end.

Welcome to wherever you are
This is your life, you made it this far.
Welcome, you gotta believe
That right here right now, you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be.
Welcome, to wherever you are..

When everybody’s in, and you’re left out
And you feel you are drowning, in a shadow of a doubt.
Everyones a miracle in their own way
Just listen to yourself, not what other people say.

When it seems you’re lost, alone and feeling down
Remember everybody’s different
Just take a look around.

Welcome to wherever you are
This is your life, you made it this far
Welcome, you gotta believe
That right here right now, you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be.
Be who you want to, be who you are
Everyone is a hero, everyone is a star..

When you wanna give up, and your heart is about to break.
Remember that you’re perfect, God makes no mistakes.

Welcome to wherever you are
This is your life, you made it this far
Welcome, you gotta believe
That right here right now, you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be
Welcome, to wherever you are.

Welcome to wherever you are

Where do you plan to go this vacation? How are you bringing in the new year/ your birthday / your anniversary? What do you plan to do in future? Are these the right courses for what you have in mind for your life? Why are you going out with this person, do you see a future with him or her? Have you been saving for a rainy day? Have you ensured that your children won’t want for anything in their lives? Have you made sure that they have a sound financial backing as long as they live?

Sound familiar? The mental checklist!!! The grocery list for life. We have all been taught not to disregard it. We have all been brought up to think and over think like that. We think and think and then think some more. We plan, we propose, we toil, we execute and in the end we have successful lives with enough financial security to last us a lifetime and some of us even go beyond that and take care of our next generation too.

We marry, have a family. Sometimes we fall in love too and then again we analyse whether that (person /relationship) would work in our lives or not. We hold on to it if it fits with our master plan and let go if it doesn’t.

All of it is highly rational and responsible behaviour. We have to keep up the family name, its legacy which is the biggest thing we pass on to our children. It cannot be tainted by impulsive acts or decisions, can it be?

But just for a moment think, what if we could lead our lives without planning ahead? What if, we concentrated more on OUR lives alone not burdened by the family name, or what people would say or what will happen if plan A fails!! We have been brought up to think of all possible scenarios. We have a master plan A, if that fails we fall back on Plan B, God forbid if that fails we either have a workable Plan C or we give in to despair. Assign it to fate. Lose hope. Sometimes we muster courage to pick ourselves up and fight back. Isn’t that what all great success stories, that we keep hearing for inspiration, are about?

What I am suggesting here is something completely different. Something, few have the courage and audacity to take up. I am referring to a Super Plan S, where S stands for SPONTANEITY. What would it be like to live life as it comes? Wouldn’t it be more meaningful if it is led as God wanted us to lead it- without frills & attachments. It would be a great relief if we could start a relationship, a job, a move, an education without thinking— WHAT NEXT!!

Isn’t it enough that we are living it up in the moment?

How many of the ‘successful’ people, we look upto, have lived their lives without compromises? It’s a cliché choice – happiness or success. I am not posing that question here. It is perfectly alright to want to be successful in life. It is great to be ambitious but not the same rules apply to all people.

For me success might not mean money. For me happiness might not mean success. I may be happy in a relationship without a future. I may find contentment even in the absence of high living. I might be fulfilled without a soul mate or in some cases a life partner.

It is different for each person and it is alright for him or her to make those choices without pressure from family, relatives or well meaning friends. We are not going to take back anything from here. Not the money we earn, nor the good deeds we perform.

We are here to keep our Souls happy. We form attachments along the way- some we are born into, others we cultivate but our prime responsibility is to ourselves. We cannot pour from an empty cup. To be able to give happiness, we have to be happy inside. There is no perfect recipe for it which suits all palates. How we find it, nurture it, is upto each individual..

What happens when we first learn to drive a car or ride a bike? After the initial apprehensions, a sort of over confidence sets in and combined with the zest of youth, we tend to forgo speed limits, we test our boundaries, we take chances, we know that we would be able to control the vehicle even at that insane speed. We feel a special kind of independence at being able to do things on our own, a self reliance, if you may.

Once the novelty wears off, it becomes routine. Driving or riding may still be synonymous with liberty but the thrill is gone. Gone is the urge to take unnecessary risk. It merely becomes a means of getting things done. At this stage we are more aware of the potholes, the traffic and the wisdom of slowing down and letting others pass. We are surer and more confident of our skills. We learn how to manoeuvre our ride around tight corners, we become adept at getting by without applying abrupt brakes..

Yes, life is a lot like driving.. Infact it is just like driving!

Look, look, Guttu! Look at the color of her hair”, Mishti, my six year old niece couldn’t hold back her excitement when she saw an old lady with hair as white as cotton wool, nearly the same texture too. I explained to her how a human body ages and loses its vigour with time. She went into deep contemplation and didn’t bring up the topic again until the next morning when we were riding towards her school astride our new activa. We happened to chance upon a fallen tree spread across the whole road. We had to careen awkwardly to make our way past it. She was curious as to what had happened to it. I again told her that it had aged and lost its strength and thus fallen down – dead. She was quick with her repartee, “Aged- just like the old woman we saw yesterday.” I was overwhelmed with tenderness at her innocence and struggled to grapple with the fact as to how the notion of aging would be such an alien and enormous concept for a six year old.

At 38, I myself don’t get the process completely. I do understand the weathered bodies, the sluggish gait, the dimming eye sight, the hardness of hearing, the memory loss, the confusion, the irritability & the failing health. What surprises me daily is the unbent, unyielding spirit residing in those broken weathered bodies, the strength of their spine in face of adversity, the far sightedness, the willingness to hear the opinion of their children, the things that they remember from a life well- lived, the patience and the untiring care they have for the family.

It is as if they refuse to wilt away like dying flowers. The indomitable human spirit puts them far higher on the totem pole than any other living thing.

True, there are moments of despair and helplessness in the face of circumstances, events or even physical disability but I see people rise above them by dint of sheer courage and lifeskills that they have mastered over the long years of their existence. Ailing parents can be as stubborn and uncompromising as children but they have the virtue of experience and forgiveness that gives them an extra edge.

It is obvious that a long lifetime means a lot of experiences- some good, some bad. Some memories are worth cherishing and there are others that turn into grudges and regrets. The idleness and inactivity of old age brings all of that, forth. It’s not just the body that withers, the mind also crumbles and some of us tend to become grumpy with age.

I am amazed when I look at my septuagenarian father. He has had a tough life. He faced the society headlong while in his youth, took unconventional decisions, looked after the entire extended family, made something of himself with little or no help from people around. He became who he is, on his own steam. A lesser man would have given in, in face of all that he went through. But he stood tall and strong and proud all his life. There are times now when he loses faith, thinks of himself as a toothless tiger but he always, always fights back. He gets up, dusts himself off and does what he does best- Dominate.. Age might have slowed his reflexes a bit but his mind stays razor sharp and his eyes miss nothing. After all these years, he still has his exclusive outlook on everything. He is opinionated, strong, honest and an idealist to the core. He calls a spade a spade and doesn’t like to mince his words with nary a bother what the world would think of him. He overthinks. His belief in family and the concept of kith and kin is rock solid, despite the many blows & setbacks. At 72, he is still the anchor that holds our craft together.

For every child his/her father is a source of constant support & inspiration. For me, despite our occasional differences, he remains My Hero, who has surmounted innumerable odds and survived.

And what a life it has been!!!!

Someday Mishti will also know what aging with style and on one’s own terms means, thanks to her NANA..

💫Conundrum💫

Posted: February 24, 2018 in Life as I see it...
Tags: , , , ,

If we try and hold on to everything at the same time, we lose everything in the process..

How many times have we read and heard it spoken, yet it hurts when it actually goes down.. There is no perfect world out there. Every moment in our lives comes with choices. Sometimes they are simple and easy to make and give us a freedom to go with what suits us best but there are times when we don’t want to take the fork. We want the paths to merge so that we can have it all.

Every writer, worth his or her salt, has a Muse. Whether they know it or not, something or someone always acts like an inspiration or a cornerstone of their writings. They lay the foundations of their pieces around it and weave their magical yarn.

Our words flow when our Muse is somewhere in our minds.

To me, writer’s block comes when I lose that vision or thought on whose foundation my words stand. It’s true that I wrote earlier too but my writings started making sense to me with that presence in my mind. I realized quite late where the word flow came from. There was an extremely dry spell when I couldn’t put my thoughts into any coherent sequence and I quit trying to write for those few months because even if I did try, it came out as a forced effort. Not honest, not sincere!

What that sabbatical from writing did, was another blessing. I found my Voice in the mean time! I found that writing was not the only thing that could be cathartic if you had a willing ear to hear you voice your opinions.

But life happens when you start settling down to change. When you start to get comfortable in the little haven that you have created, BAM! life hits you with a test. And it is cruel at times. It gives you the choice of Either Or.. It’s more of a conundrum than a choice, actually. Either Or exists only when both the choices are hard to give up on. That’s the whole idea behind it.

By some turn of fate, if I get back my Words, why should I be posed with the threat of losing my Voice?

Why can’t both stay?

In a perfect world, they would!