Posts Tagged ‘life’

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!

🤔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?

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!

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.

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..

A cold winter morning.. The Sun peeking through the mist, trying to bring some warmth to the wet & moist earth along with my jittering limbs & the deepest cockles of my heart. I sit in my balcony, soaking up the pink sunlight, with a hot cuppa tea. This has become a steady course to counter cold mornings for me. The isolation imposed by silence, of being surrounded by people yet remaining just with my thoughts, listening to nothing but the white noise of my indefatigable & unrelenting mind and observing the world go by, have become therapeutic. I have the guilty pleasure of snooping into people’s lives and imagining their stories just by noticing a tiny miniscule part of their days from my tenth floor balcony.

What remarkable lessons can be taken from seemingly ordinary existences!

I saw a child, barely five or six, rush to the terrace of his house, directly beneath my balcony, hence the movement caught my eye. He seemed to be carrying something. On closer inspection I saw a couple of rabbits, white & fluffy, snuggled up in his arms. He deposited his cuddly load in a deserted corner of the cold, bare terrace where the two lagomorphs, confused & scared by the intense attention, quickly found warmth in each other. The child stood up and for a while observed the inactive rabbits seeking warmth in each other. He mustn’t have liked the fact that he, the one who owned them, was being ignored. He tried to raise them from their cold & fear- induced torpor by stomping his feet hard on the floor, the sound made the pets snuggle even closer to each other.

The child tried again, this time with huge green leaves, to lure them to activity. And finally, when he couldn’t get any movement out of them, he lifted one and placed it away from its mate. Finding himself alone, the rabbit responded to the child’s stomping by running helter-skelter, this was not only fun for the child but also must have pleased him to see, something he was so fascinated by, respond to him. He began chasing the poor pet from one corner of the terrace to another. After about ten minutes, he got bored of this and chased the other rabbit around. Then, he called on his family members, his grandfather & father, to come have a look at his possessions, the pets. There must have been a child- like innocence and eagerness in this show of ownership. I saw him trying to force feed the animals, scaring them with all his foot stomping and repeatedly pulling & pinching them to show his tenderness and love. As his attention wavered, the rabbits, yet again, found a quiet corner to escape this ordeal. But the child wasn’t done with them. Weren’t they his pets? Wasn’t it their duty to acknowledge and reciprocate his love?

He chased them, played with them, cuddled them, fed them, showed them off to others and yet could not get a puppy like tail-wagging appreciation of his attention and love so he CAGED them.

I sat there thinking. We don’t change much as grown ups. Human love is possessive, protective and limiting, sometimes resembling a cage. We don’t let go of the objects of our affection easily. We don’t set them free & let them come back to us, of their own accord, instead, in order not to lose them, we chain and cage them to keep them safe and with us all the time. Our latent sense of protection and ownership smother the very people we love. Be it as parents, friends, spouses, or well- wishers, we always look out for the ones we love and there is nothing wrong in it. But too much of everything is bad. While ‘looking out for’ is a welcome emotion, setting boundaries and limiting someone’s range out of love, reeks of negativity.

Not everyone is the same. Every species put on this planet understands love and God has given each a different way to express that love. While puppies and dogs have a special way of making us feel loved, adored and wanted, not all of the others can express it in the same way. Same applies to humans too. All of us love but our expression and needs are different. We have been endowed with something that other species don’t have. It is the combination of speech and perception. Why can’t we, then, use it to our benefit and make our relationships happier and more content?

After all, however gilded, a cage is a CAGE..

A seagull was flying over a beach, when it saw a mouse. It flew down and asked the mouse:

“Where are your wings?”

Each animal speaks its own language, and so the mouse didn’t understand the question, but stared at the two strange, large things attached to the other creature’s body.

“It must have some illness,” thought the mouse.

The seagull noticed the mouse staring at its wings and thought:

“Poor thing. It must have been attacked by monsters that left it deaf and took away its wings.”

Feeling sorry for the mouse, the seagull picked it up in its beak and took it for a ride in the skies. “It’s probably homesick,” the seagull thought while they were flying. Then, very carefully, it deposited the mouse once more on the ground.

For some months afterward, the mouse was sunk in gloom; it had known the heights and seen a vast and beautiful world. However, in time, it grew accustomed to being just a mouse again and came to believe that the miracle that had occurred in its life was nothing but a dream.

I was reading ‘The winner stands alone’ by Paulo Coelho today & I happened to come across this excerpt. I realised that the same thing happens with us humans every single day. We don’t even have the excuse of different languages, most of the time, it’s just our perspectives that differ so much. We fail to understand the point of view of anyone other than ourselves. Even if we are shown the other side for a while by a well- meaning friend or acquaintance, we conform to our originality sooner or later.

No matter how happy or content we may be with someone or something, we get back to our comfort zones as soon as circumstances permit. We cherish the memories. We think that all that happiness was an unattainable dream. Sometimes we pine for those lost times and opportunities too but we eventually move on. We get back to our bland, mundane lifestyles because that’s what we are, that’s who we have always been. In the process we lose our real chance at a blissful, different life.

All we had to do was to grow some wings. Believe in the vision of another. Give up the safety of our self – imposed confines, our perspectives, for once and take that leap into the unknown that could have landed us some place idyllic.

Alas! Our human stubbornness has been the doom of many a friendships & relationships. It has been the downfall of many a promising careers & success stories.

Two men looked through the same bars

One saw the mud , the other saw the stars..

True, we are each allowed to have and nurture our own sets of beliefs, our deductions, our logic. There is no harm in seeing things differently. But, differences in opinions are healthy only till they help us grow and evolve. When they start to deter our lives irrevocably, we need to sit up and take notice. We need to shun our prides, apologise and reclaim that little bit of heaven that we had found by some miracle.

Thankfully, there is a parallel reality for all of us. We just have to go through the looking glass and discover our own personal Magic ✨

Just a thought!


There will come a day when you will realise what you actually want. Your search will end, it will reach its culmination and that would be the day you probably would stop reading and writing. Whatever you write thereafter will be a complete thought. Your words will want for nothing. You will have achieved what your soul is so desperately looking for in the written word,” so saying, he smiled enigmatically.


But, I don’t think I am looking for anything in particular. I read because I love to and I write only when I have things to say. Yes, sometimes, I have incomplete thoughts that might need processing. Sometimes, I write things that are raw. I write of emotions, of people, of love, of loss. I write of things that are human. I read things that I find fun or that stir me. I have never thought of reading as a channel to get somewhere, it has never been purpose oriented, merely a means of getting to know stuff,” I riposted.

Ah! But you are young still, you will get there, eventually,” he reiterated.

What is it about thinking individuals that ruffles our set opinions so? It isn’t as if I change my thought process on every word of a book or a firmly stated opinion but both mediums compel me to re-analyse my approach. Sometimes I defer to the books or educated opinions thrown at me, at others I stick with whatever wisdom I have acquired over the years.

I maintain that I don’t read with a purpose in mind. I am neither spiritual nor religious enough to seek answers in mythological text, I am not condemning them or denying their significance, it’s just that they don’t work for me as well as a fictional work with deep rooted meaning does. I would rather read a Shantaram or To kill a mockingbird or Rumi, even for that matter a Brida, to get perspective on life, than to look for solutions in the Bhagwad Gita. I have read that too but probably I did not get it much.

I started writing as a catharsis for my broken spirit. I never felt that my pieces had or have any literary merit. I write because, there comes a time in each of our lives when we have things to say that we can’t express freely, even to the closest of our friends or family. Some keep it all bottled up or lock it all up in the deepest recesses of their minds, some choose art, music, cooking, travelling, gardening, keeping pets, chatting or even socialising to keep that inner voice down. To each his or her own.

I Choose to Write. I can’t, at times, express what I am going through even with my writings, for fear of being judged. I still haven’t learnt how to fictionalize my accounts so that I am finally able to pour my heart out without anyone finding out the trials I am going through. I, forever, dread the query, who is it you have written about in this piece?

Still, I choose to write to attain temporary relief, a sense of calm from my ever accumulating thoughts. I may stop writing if by some miracle I can stop thinking of mundane, everyday things. I am an ordinary being, a human with trappings like love, desires, wishes, hopes, friendships & relationships. I don’t see myself graduating to the bigger questions of life and existence any time soon.

May be, I am missing an essential ingredient. It is probable that I am lost. I may not conform to many things that this world lays down but I am ME. I will own up to my mistakes, I am the one who would take lessons from them. I might repeat some of them but I am content. My energy is my own. I regret nothing. Even bad decisions and failures were necessary. They probably were the most important things in my life when they happened.

I am here to lead a simple, uncomplicated, knowledge – centric life and I feel that I am on my way pretty much the way I wanted to be. I love to wear my heart on my sleeve and won’t apologise for being the way I am.

It was my first job, teaching at my mother’s school. There was a cultural function just round the corner and while making a model for the exhibition or a prop for the stage, I don’t remember which, I had fallen short of adhesive and a colleague of mine had offered me some araldite, which they were using for some woodwork. He had playfully mimed its advertisement, Aralditesticks everything except broken hearts. Since then, I always think of this punch line and the product when I find things broken. 

Time has flown by since those green years. A late bloomer, I, had no use of advise on broken hearts till quite late in my life. By then I had developed my own coping mechanism. I had found solace in the written word. I found peace, quiet and a deep sense of calm in music. A book could cure me of anything that ailed me. So could music. 

When things got a bit more messy, I discovered F. R. I. E. N. D. S, the TV show. No matter what I was feeling, however low, anxious or broken, I could watch it and relieve my inner turbulence. 

I have grown since then too. I have realised that escapism of this kind, distractions of these sort have a limited shelf life. It’s not until we face our demons, look them in the eye, think, analyse, accept and come to conclusions, that we find peace within. No person, worth his or her salt, who has ever lived, can escape the challenges that life poses and we grow only when we take them on fearlessly, with an open mind and heart. 

I have recently discovered an ultimate Recipe for Respite – Cooking. It’s something that has kept women going, for ages. It’s what has kept them together. I am thirty seven, and for the first three decades of my life I had no or minimum concern with household chores, no cooking, no cleaning, no house keeping for me. I would instead read. That is the luxury of an extremely efficient elder sister and a doting younger one. Between them, they had the kitchen and household covered. 

I never thought I would ever say that, much less write about it but the kitchen has now become my sanctuary. Whatever my mood, it can be lifted just by being there on my own for an hour or two. In a household full of people and voices, it sometimes become difficult to hear you own self. Cooking gives me that, much needed, opportunity to shut out all other voices and just have a conversation with myself. It’s the most precious ME time I get. Many of my blogs have been thought and conceptualised while Chopping, Grating, Kneading or Peeling. 

Even if I do no thinking while cooking a dish, I end up feeling cleansed, serene and calm once I am through. It gives me immense satisfaction to think up new ways of making the same old veggies. It invigorates my mind, body and soul. I have experienced that cooking not only rejuvenates my mind, detoxing me of stress and anxiety but also relieves me of aches and physical discomfort. The sheer pleasure of making something while I can think and analyse ‘N’ number of topics, is refreshing and comforting.

It’s the place where I, Saute my Stress, Chop at Concerns, Grate Grief, Knead away Knots, Fry the Fears, Boil Boredom, Grill Grudges, Peel Pressures, Wash away Worries, Trundle Trepeditions, Cube the Qualms, Marinate Malice and Malevolence, Bake Benevolence, Chill Certainty, Ladle my mind into a Lull and finally Dish out Determination. 

And the best part is, I try not to avoid my apprehensions, instead I confront them, deal with them as best as I can, accept and move on

I am suddenly out of words so I am gonna give it a rest, until next time. 

As far as household chores are concerned, I particularly pride myself in the kneading of the dough. That was the first thing I learnt and mastered in the kitchen, even before I tried my hand at boiling tea leaves. The process of turning powdery, lacklustre flour into consistent, supple dough, gets me every single time. I am not going to bore you with my culinary expertise 😅 or interests further,  instead would get to the point in a jiffy. I am very obsessive about not leaving any trace of flour sticking to the sides of the trough after I am done kneading. I knead and knead and knead till the trough is sparkling clean. 

As it always happens when I am a little anxious, my thoughts flow in a rhythm of their own. Things as mundane and unremarkable as kneading dough may also trigger a profound chain of thoughts and emotions. That coupled with anything equally regular may result in a blog like this. 

 

How many people might an average person know at any given point of time? And I am not talking of the thousands that we seem to have on social network accounts. I am talking of people who we meet physically on a daily, fortnightly or monthly basis. Some of whom may be a significant part of our day, others still, also as important and relevant even if we don’t see them daily. I have some friends who respond to my good morning messages daily. We may be apart geographically but in that particular instant we are thinking of each other. So, may be a hundred or so people who we are in constant touch with.

Now try and remember how many of them were there when we were growing up or when we were at school or college. The number will dwindle. Rare and special are the people who have the same set of friends and acquaintances in all phases of their lives. As it happens, we fade out of some people’s lives and some people fade out of ours. It’s a completely natural process. Some go away rather quickly others gradually. The ones that just move along as our lives take us places, are the ones that don’t hurt. We treasure the memories they left us with, without even realising that they are hidden someplace inside the maze, our minds are. Someday we come across an old letter or photograph of them or we reconnect via Facebook and voila, the slideshow of memories begin! 

This happened with me today. I reconnected with an elder didi of mine who also happened to have taught me once, long back, and I couldn’t hold back memories. She was the first person I had heard speaking, effortlessly, in English. She had a beautiful handwriting.  Some phrases that I picked up while she taught us English and History, have remained with me ever since. I realised that everytime I have ever used those phrases, I have fondly remembered her. It had become so much a habit with me that my mind could never erase the mental picture of her I carried. Her face had not faded away like it happens with people who drift apart. I perused her profile and found that after so many years she still looks the same – well turned out, smiling, wise eyes, an air of intellect surrounding her that is not limited by the fact that I just saw a picture of her. Though short in stature, her personality looms large for me. I cherish what she gave me as a child. I was at an impressionable age and I am glad that I got to learn from her. I hold dear, her contribution in shaping me, however little it may seem. It is immensely significant for me. Indelible!! It’s true, we never realise how much space we take up in other people’s lives and minds. 

At times I am a little anxious of talking to people from my own past because try as they might people do change and I am afraid that the mental image I carry inside may not match with the stark reality of what time and space have turned them into. Nevertheless, it is still mighty fabulous to be able to recall so much of our past and people’s role in it, frame by frame. It’s a heady feeling to agnise that just like footprints on the moon, certain marks always remain, clear and incorruptible. 

It is a whole other story with the people we have to leave after a falling out of ways. They are the ones who stay the longest in our minds and hearts. Always at the forefront! They are like the hint of flour left on the sides and base of the trough after the kneading is done. We so want them to be a part of our dough, our life but as it happens with dough, so it is in life. We cannot accomplish the desired inclusion without tempering with the consistency of either. I hate leaving people behind, I would rather disrupt the harmony or regularity of my life than to let go of people that, once, enriched it. But all of us have to take tough decisions at times and that is where the anxiety creeps in. Anyone who leaves, takes a part of us with them. True, we adapt,  but we are never the same again. 

How I wish that keeping people close were a skill to be mastered, like kneading! I could have learnt that and would have never left anyone behind. EVER

I saw an animated episode of the famous Motu Patlu today. These characters were quite famous when we were kids and there was a series of comics of the same name. I remember reading them all. This particular episode I saw, had Motu trying to outrun a pouring cloud. He tried everything in the book and yet couldn’t get rid of the cloud. He tried paddling away on a bicycle and the cloud went with him, he disguised himself as a woman to deceive this cloud, that somehow had taken a liking to him, but to no avail. His friend offered him a vaccum cleaner to suck up the cloud, and yet there it was all the more angry and bent on following him. There was no escaping it. It was an animation and hence had to tickle our funny bones. It all actually turned out to be a dream, just the result of his over fertile imagination. 

But there are certain things in life that just can’t be escaped. Try as we might, we cannot outrun or outsmart them. They are what we call divine providence. Things we have to live with, no matter how. 

The circumstances of one’s birth is one of those things. We cannot choose who we are born to or who we come out as. Our genders, our race, our family, our position with respect to our siblings, are all things that are beyond our control. Some of these things may turn out to be challenging for us all our adult lives. It wasn’t long back that being a woman in India was cause for concern. Women were denied equal rights of life and education. There has been a monumental change in that scenario yet small town India is still not ready to give women their due. It is still an uphill task being a woman here. Even in educated, so called liberal families, the position of the male child is still preferential. The over protective nature of the Indian male, puts an invisible leash on the women of the household. Educated girls are also not supposed to enjoy the same privileges as their brothers. It’s debatable, as always has been, that all such steps are necessary for the protection of our women folk, the fairer, weaker sex. 

What I can’t wrap my head around is the belief that because women marry and leave their parents’ home for their marital household, they have no role at all in carrying forward the name of the parents. Even progressive men feel that they should have a male child to further the clan’s name and ensure longetivity. Where I come from, all virtues of a woman are secondary just because she is a female and all vices of a son are tolerated because he is the one who carries the name of the father. It is hurtful to face this day in and day out. Despite doing everything right, one is still a secondary member of the family. The conservative mindset attached with this social evil is still thriving in our society. 

I may be more attuned to the needs and moods of my parents, I may have a better understanding of things around me, a better disposition, a better social circle, a better way of expression, better reasoning and logic, more adaptability, more tolerance, more moral and psychological strength but I am still not good enough. I am not the son. There are things that a daughter is just not capable of. And that makes all the difference. 

How I wish, it was a dream, I could evade by waking up just like Motu escaped his dark, angry, pouring cloud! 

I never thought I would be choosing this title for my blog, EVER because I have always maintained that regrets are such a waste of time and precious energy. In any normal life, people do things which may either work for them or not. But regretting the ones that did not work out has never been my way. 
I have always owned my mistakes, learnt from them and moved on. Sometimes, my closed ones would agree that, I have been fool  enough to repeat some of those mistakes too. But isn’t that what life is all about? In my humble opinion, life is a blind deck of experiences. We never know what card will turn up next. We just do the best we can. Sometimes our best sees us through while at other times, we learn. 

I recently lost my uncle to brain haemorrhage. He was too young to have left us. As the Hindu tradition goes, we were there,  paying our tributes and condolences, giving support and strength to the family for twelve solemn days. Even in the midst of all that religious and social bustle, I had a feeling that the real test of strength and perseverance,  for the immediate family will begin after the customary rituals got over. After all, they would have to face empty rooms, an empty chair at dinner, the disposing of clothing and other day to day stuff, the inevitable pictures and memories that lie strewn about in any household, even the food would remind them of what he liked best or how much he enjoyed his little indulgences. 

Days have passed and today, as the societal norms dictate, we went to see them all again. To let them know that we are there for them in their hour of need. I learnt a valuable lesson from my grieving aunt because, make no mistake, her grief has just begun. She has a life time of solitude ahead. While recounting some of his last days, my aunt couldn’t control her tears and word after word of regret, of unfulfilled dreams, of a life lived in a way that left so much incomplete, so much to want for, poured out of her

She spelled out the toll that a public life takes on a family. She told us how he was always there for people who approached him for help, how he would ignore his health, his meals, his family for public recognition and to make a name for himself and leave a legacy behind. How he wanted to leave behind his humble beginnings and strained against things that kept him tied down. She told us how that made him irritable and ignited a latent anger in him. 

As I sat there listening to her say that “he kept running all his life, we kept fighting- I, to keep him healthy and he to challenge life and destiny despite his health,”  I couldn’t help draw similarities with my own father. He also keeps so much to himself. 

I realised what a waste of life and opportunity we all make if we fail to acknowledge and appreciate the people who have always been there for us. In our bid to outdo ourselves, we tend to ignore our closest confidantes, the very people whose unwavering support has been with us throughout our journey. They have stood by us, albeit quietly and may be not in any extraordinary way. They have just been there, believing in us, depending upon us, feeding us when we are hungry, soothing us when we are in a turmoil, laughing with us when we can find no humour in life, sometimes laughing at us when we started to take ourselves too seriously, the ones who kept us grounded. We take them for granted. 

If this is not a cause for regret then nothing is. We don’t know what tomorrow might bring. We cannot change what happened yesterday but we have complete control on what is happening now. We need to get our priorities right. We need to pay attention. Instead of hurting the people closest to us by our blatant neglect, we should take sometime to recognise their efforts in our life, to be grateful for their presence. Most of all, we should communicate. Yes, speaking up is important. We have to put it all into words, sometimes. We cannot leave things UNSAID, not with people who are so close. True, we understand each other when we are this close, we can interpret each others’ silences but it doesn’t hurt to say it once in a while. 

If we are hurt we should let them know, we should share with them our disappointments- in them, in ourselves or in life, in general. We should let them know if and when we are happy, what act of theirs made us so. Our anger, resentment, grief, pain, should be passed on to them as much as our moments of glory, success, joy & contentment. Sharing a life doesn’t just mean living in the same house, providing for each other in the physical or monetary sense alone. It’s being there for each other emotionally, that is more important. 

Our family, friends, our inner coterie deserve the best part of us. The part which is unspoiled by worldly considerations, the part that is pure and brutally honest. None of us is going to make it out of this life alive. So, let’s just make sure that we don’t leave any regrets behind. Finding people who genuinely care about and love us, is rare. Let’s make it our life’s motto to cherish them above all and make our time on this Earth,  worthwhile because the day we kick the bucket, it’s these people in whose hearts we will live forever. Let’s give them reasons to love us beyond life & death itself. 

I went to the general store the other day and decided, on an impulse, to get a different brand of tooth paste for myself. It was weird and at the same time exciting to add it to my cart, after all, for as long as I can remember, I have been using the same brand of toothpaste, the same red color, the same taste. This morning while finally opening the new tube of shiny yellow green paste with cooling crystals, I felt like an adventurer out on her maiden voyage into the unknown.. 

Hilarious as it may sound, most of us don’t venture out of our habits and comfort zones even for something as mundane as a new kind of toothpaste. It’s not brand fixation that keeps us tied up, atleast not in my case. It is just the comfort of the familiar. 

Sadly enough, consumer products are just an example of what we are doing with our lives. I cannot speak for everyone, neither can I generalise (I hate to generalise, as it is). But I have to write about what sparked this seemingly unremarkable or ordinary sounding thought process. 

I read quotes like – “Life isn’t supposed to be lived in one place.” – and being a thinking person I understand how right that is, both geographically and intellectually. One has to travel, one has to explore, gain new experiences, let go of the things and people gone by.. One has to grow.. And people don’t grow while being confined to their comfort zones. 

One has to try different things, be different people in order to find what one actually is. Experimenting, juggling choices, failing, learning in the process- Everything is important

While I know all this theoretically, I have never dared to try my luck outside the protective cocoon of my family. I cannot remember a time when I wasn’t told what to do and how to do it. A set of instructions were always provided no matter what I decided to do. I understood quite early in my life that simply following the instructions provided, would save a lot of bad blood and complications. I did not know any other way to live. 

I had never learnt to live without my support structure. I had never been to a bank till I was forced to do that, at the age of 27 when I joined a job outside my hometown. I had never travelled alone, never taken a bus on my own, never even purchased my own clothing. Everything I needed was taken care of by my parents and the support structure that they had ready for me. I never thought I could have a say in my own life. I was meek, indecisive and confused all at the same time- a recipe for disaster

Eventually, I rebelled. Because it is crippling, too much love. It is suffocating. It feels like a leash. It leaves too less breathing space for us to grow. It breeds fear, distrust and some degree of lying and manipulating too. I developed a coping mechanism where I didn’t have to share everything I did, at home. I found new confidantes. I found solace in books. Sometimes my coping mechanism bordered on escapism. 

I once told my therapist (actually just a medical practitioner, I was talking to) that I am indecisive. I don’t know what to buy, what to wear, what to eat. I am left flabbergasted when provided with choices. That’s the reason I never order at a restaurant. I simply don’t know what to pick. I never learned to choose. He simply asked me, “Do you drive?” I said yes I do. “Do you ask the one sitting shotgun where to turn and which route to take to reach your destination?” I said, ‘mostly no’. “Then you are not indecisive” he said, ” you have to just convert that ‘mostly no’ to a resounding never”. 

Simple as that. So I started with the small things, case in point, my new toothpaste. I find a deep seated pleasure, now, in breaking stereotypes, the bigger things, none of that silly toothpaste stuff. I dream of taking it further. Life is too short to be left with regrets at the end. 

It is late but it is never too late to evolve, to give oneself a shot at happiness and fulfillment. It’s never too late to BE. 

At War… 

Posted: May 4, 2017 in Life as I see it...
Tags: , , , , , ,

For all those familiar with Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind, the scenario I am about to mention won’t be new. 
It was in this classic that we came across the grit and solidarity of the Southern women, ladies or otherwise. In a much loved scene, that happens many times over, the ladies of the household & neighborhood would sit together in any one of their homes and talk about mundane stuff, sewing or knitting, all the while actually waiting, eagerly, for any news from the front. They would sit and chat and backbite and criticise yet their minds would be preoccupied with the well-being of their men out to fight the Civil War. 

I experienced something like that today when we, my mom & I, visited my uncle’s place. The ladies of the family were all present, putting up a brave front, chatting about routine, everyday things, reinstating their faith in the almighty, serving tea and snacks to visitors; all the while waiting, keenly, for news or update from the hospital, where my uncle is battling the inevitable. 

It’s a war against Death; a war against anything that threatens one’s belief in God; a war for faith; a war for love, for family, for children. For the first time in my life, I hope that faith wins, that God persists, that life sustains..

May he win his battle against an inescapable destiny.. May life triumph.. 

For as long as he is breathing, there is HOPE.. 

Hoping for a Miracle!! 

Need all your prayers.. 

An ambiguous title, I agree!! But it was infact, A Crack that inspired me to crack open the mystery of my mind and take a crack at unravelling what turbulence lay beneath the presumably calm and quiet disposition that I portray despite being perturbed to the very core.

Last night, I was deranged to the point of being depressed and anxious. There might have been many factors attributing to that state of mind. I know I had read something that left a deep impact, an indelible imprint on my mind, may be it were the events, the people around, the presence or absence of some, the sudden realisation of a loss, a mental check and balance of life’s wear and tear.

As long as there is life, there’ll be no shortage of reasons. Whatever it was, it threw me off balance. I had a restless night, a cranky morning and because I had to drive around 300kms, a very tiring journey.

I was exhausted by the way my mind kept churning out thoughts after thoughts, some complete others partial & half-formed, with no seemingly set pattern or precedent attached to them. There was a stretch of road on my way where I drove at about a 140kms/hour, all the while thinking, what if I ram this car into an oncoming vehicle and summarily dismissing the insane idea. That’s how irrelevant things got.

But, you see, the human mind is a tricky thing. It is as layered as it is complex. It poses questions which might not have simple solutions or may be they do but are hard for us to see & fathom. At times, our mind provides resolutions when least expected. I have increasingly come to relate the inner design of my mind to the intricate interlacing of ribs in a spider’s web. I love the term mental cobwebs when used for my confused state of mind. Nevertheless, it would be negative of me to call it a cobweb because while the latter are deserted, dust-laden, abandoned structures, the former serves a tangible purpose of feeding the Creator. Both have an innate beauty. Both, works of art! One has life the other has outlived its life’s aim.

Coming back to my muddled thoughts and the sudden stroke of inspiration or light it received. While driving at this outrageous speed, a small pebble flew and hit my car’s windshield leaving a miniscule yet discernible CRACK on it. The tracery or the form that emerged right before my eyes had so much visual conformity with the spiral, orb- like way a spider spins its web or to be precise the plight my mind was in, at that particular moment, that instantly all my attention converged onto it. It was like a giant jigsaw, with all its pieces finally falling into place.

Straightaway, I mellowed down. Something had clicked into place like the right key for the lock. I was perceptibly more relaxed, pacified & at peace. I could finally, comprehend & make sense of my disquiet and conceive a way out. The cloud had cleared, rightaway. The spectre of doom that so overshadowed my reason, had lifted. I realised the fallacy of my conduct & thoughts.

I realised that life is for the living and that it will go on whether the people you love or choose to be with, stay or not. It will not stop even if there are errors in your judgement. You will continue to breath, in failure or success, alike.

Crumbling in the face of disagreements, inconveniences, losses or discomforts is easy. What is tough, is holding on, being courageous and letting go!! What is commendable is making something of yourself against all odds, controlling your mind & heart, not the other way round!!

Contemplating is wise & logical. Overthinking and suffering due to that, isn’t. ‘What ifs’ bring nothing but chaos. Whatever happens, happens for the best. I know it is a cliché but there is always something better, hidden in the ways of the universe. Losing hope and sanity is not an option. Last but not the least, ACCEPTANCE is the way to go. Once we accept things as they are, there is a lot less pain, a lot less expectation and a lot more forgiveness.

It was Rumi who said, “A wound is the place the light enters you.”

Leonard Cohen developed it into an anthem that goes like this~

The birds, they sang at the break of day
I heard them say – Don’t dwell on what has passed away
Or what is yet to be
Ah, the wars they will be fought again
The holy dove, she will be caught again
Bought and sold and bought again
The dove is never free
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in

We asked for signs, the signs were sent
The birth betrayed, the marriage spent
Yeah, the widowhood of every government
Signs for all to see
I can’t run no more with that lawless crowd
While the killers in high places say their prayers out loud
But they’ve summoned, they’ve summoned up a thundercloud
And they’re going to hear from me
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in

You can add up the parts, you won’t have the sum
You can strike up the march, there is no drum
Every heart, every heart to love will come But like a refugee
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in

Ring the bells that still can ring

Forget your perfect offering

There is a crack, a crack in everything

That’s how the light gets in
That’s how the light gets in

That’s how the light gets in.

I came across these beautiful lines on the internet today and couldn’t resist sharing.. If I put my heart into it, I can give a million other reasons Why to Write but I guess these lines pretty much sum it all up.. 

Write because you want to communicate with yourself.

Write because you want to communicate with someone else. 

Write because life is weird and tragic and amazing. 

Write because talking is difficult

Write because it polishes the heart. 

Write because there is a blackbird outside of my window right now and oh my god isn’t that the best start to the day? 

Write because you’re trying to figure yourself out. 

Write because you might not ever figure yourself out. 

Write because there still aren’t enough love poems in the world. 

Write because everything is not always talked about. 
Write because some things are left unspoken. 

Write because it calms your soul. 

Write because it rests your mind.

Write because you don’t have a friend who understands.

Write because you have a lover who understands.  

Write because words are necessary to paint the unnecessary things in life. 

Write because words don’t go wasted. 

Write because life is too delicious to not be tasted.

Write because no one can ever understand your messy mind.
Write because there’s a lot of poetry and songs in your heart.

Write because your words can strengthen someone’s life and yours as well.
Write because you have a lot to say and nobody is there to listen to you.

Write because words can feed your soul.. 

Write so that All is not Lost… 

I choose to love you in silence

For in silence, I find no rejection.

I choose to love you in loneliness

For in loneliness, no one owns you but me.

I choose to adore you from a distance

For distance will shield me from pain.

I choose to hold you in my dreams

For in my dreams, you have no end.

-Jalaluddin Rumi

Endings are always painful & difficult. Be it anything. Any relationship, habit, time, custom, tradition, thing or trend that ends has once been a living, thriving part of our life, growth or routine. A definitive conclusion or how things play out is, thus, a significant part of our lives and needs to be written about.

It would be the most logical assumption that the end of another year has brought about such ruminative notions to the fore. In a way it is correct. One tends to sit and contemplate on the year gone by and the trials and triumphs that it brought along in its wake. Yet again, year ends are neither times to lament nor celebrate, as a year is just Time, it is constant, eternal. Time doesn’t end. It is just our reactions to the situations it presents that constitute the very framework of our being.

There were so many different thoughts running about in my mind for this year-end blog that a few weeks back I did something I had never done before. I jotted down some notes with the intent of using them for channelizing my erratic ideas into a fairly coherent piece of writing. But some things are just not meant to be. I just couldn’t piece them together into a write up. I have always written spontaneously. Planned writing has never been my forte. I write in the moment yet I am going to share my notes here.👇

I am a firm believer in the power of grey. In my humble opinion, nothing is always ever completely white or black. Our lives cannot be classified or arranged in clear spaces or brackets of right or wrong, loss or gain, happiness or pain. Such gradation is just not justified. Yet so fickle is the human mind that we tend to forget the happy moments and concentrate on the losses.

The biggest loss that I had to endure this year was the parting of ways with an important person in my life. It was hard giving up on a relationship that I had come to value more than most. Never before had I fought so hard to retain someone in my life but then, never before had anyone called me Maa and gifted me with an overwhelming feeling of immense love and fulfillment while it lasted. His life choices took him away from me. We drifted apart before it became too ugly for him. But, love still remains. I hope & pray that his choice brings him love, peace & happiness and that the ensuing years guide him to the path of contentment and success. Although he has been a regular, inseparable part of my life and writings for the past many years, this is the last time he will find reference in my blogs because I am of the resolute opinion that if one cannot stay & if it has to be distant, it better not be. No use flogging a dead horse or watering a dead plant, the language is replete with metaphors.


This year, I witnessed some of my very close friends and acquaintances suffering irreparable losses at the hands of fate, destiny, Providence. The void that such a bereavement or misfortune leaves, is hard to be replenished by anything this world has to offer. No words of solace, acts of kindness or passing of time can completely heal the hurt. Yes, with time people get used to living in a certain way because this is life and if nothing else, it is never short on distractions. Yet the emptiness and gaping wounds cannot be palliated by any prescription. Even then, as they say, life is for the living and one has to move on and keep on living for the people who are and who care. None of us has the luxury to sit back and nurse our broken hearts and spirits. There is life to be lived, responsibilities to be carried out and people to be loved & supported. I hope & pray that the coming years give them reasons to rejoice, sooner rather than later- reasons that have the subtlety to soothe these troubled and shattered souls.

Recently, I had occasion to visit my native place and spend some days with my extended family. I always believed that life in the countryside is much simpler, relationships more pure and innocent than their counterparts in the cities. The rustic grandeur of stone paved pathways and dusty lanes crammed with cattle & livestock along with playing, laughing, screaming children held a special attraction for me. The sights, sounds, smells of the rural kind never ceased to amaze me. Their lifestyle, their food and the thought they put into each relationship by dint of being always in each others’ touch, drew me magnetically towards them. Many of these rosy-eyed beliefs of mine were in for a rude shock when I got a chance to spend some time with the rural folk. My mind initially refused to register the terrible intrigues & internal feuds, the constant back-stabbing & back- biting, the ubiquitous plotting & scheming of sub-urban people. It was worse than the neglect most city people come across at the hands of their fellow city-dwellers, on a daily basis because it wasn’t expected in a close knit community spread a little over three kilometers. The degeneration of morals and family values opened my eyes to new vistas of country life. My trust in the concept of family, filial & community obligations and the significance of kith & kin, that my father has brought me up with, was shaken to its very core. To say that the visit was a disappointment is an understatement of giant proportions. It was downright vulgar to behold such deterioration of human character in our own backyard. I hope & pray that in the year ahead, people, there, would realize the flaws, fallacy, laxity & errors of their ways and work towards restoring the bucolic charm of the village.

This year, I was a silent onlooker of the changes my sisters brought about in their lives. I saw my younger sister fight her inner demons and come out victorious at the end. I witnessed her transformation from a broken, tottering person to a strong, self-assured, assertive individual who doesn’t  pay heed to the censure of society. Societal norms and age-old patriarchal maxims don’t govern her life and decisions. No one, but she, regulates what is right or wrong for her and her child. I salute her tenacity in the face of adversity. I, also, greatly admire the never-say-die attitude of my elder sister. She dared to brave and confront life at its lowest and ventured into areas she had never dreamt she would have to go into, with extreme patience and grace. I hope & pray the coming years be kind to them and theirs. I pray for more strength, perseverance, tolerance and courage for these two indomitable, indefatigable and earnest women.

Last but not the least, a special mention needs to be made of two people who don’t  want to be cited in any of my write-ups and yet read them all, word by word. I know the written word doesn’t mean much to you. You are both assured & confident of the bond we share and yet here I am, being grateful to God that I got to know you better and that we have had such good years together. I am much obliged by the love and constant care you accord me. It is, indeed, a privilege knowing you. I hope & pray that you, my confidantes, receive all that you seek in life and that the next year or the years ahead would never leave you wanting in any aspect of your existence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

✨Happy New Year to all readers!!✨

Auld Lang Syne