Between the mind and body…

Who wins the obedience medal between the mind and body? I am thinking only of normal people. People whose lives are controlled by the two mischievous brats they have raised. It’s an odd combination if the two don’t age correspondingly. That we can control neither is the biggest truth and life’s most important feature. Wisdom lies in gracefully accepting this enlightenment, and also our limitations. All we can do is channelize the energies of the mind and body and churn a healthy brew.

A good fitness regime, as much as our health and age permit, is a basic necessity of our body. Likewise we must have a custom made regime to flush out the toxins of the mind. There’s a way to keep a watch on the body. There are sure tell-tale signs. But it’s the mind that takes a beating. The whole process is abstract. We will never know how, where, when these toxins royally march into our mind. Isn’t it strange that our mind knows how to keep our body fit? It tells us how much we must eat and when we must stop eating and when it’s time to exercise etc. But when it comes to keeping itself fit, it’s rather casual. I am tempted to compare the mind to a slightly older sibling who gets away with a little sermonizing over the younger one, a little monitoring and perhaps some bossing.

The mind too needs to be cornered. The mind needs to know that we cannot play favoritism. The mind needs to find the regime that works best to flush out the toxins. Meditation is one way to drive away the crazy calories of the mind and restore some sanity and peace. It’s quite challenging to bring our mind to behave itself. A proven vagabond that it is, holding its reins takes some real effort. I wonder how such vulnerable mind is tough and ruthless when it comes to overseeing the physical fitness activity. But we are at least half done if our mind doesn’t tempt our body into an unhealthy lifestyle.

The other half is a difficult mile to run. Some days the mind begins to run amok even before the net is cast. It’s such an instinct of the mind to escape knowing well that we are out to fix it. There’s lot of action, hide and seek, and luring, happening behind the closed eyes. That’s the time I realize I haven’t been able to tame my mind one bit. What an embarrassment contradicting the calm and serene outward appearance! I let it wander aimlessly and wait for it to be tired and get home. When it finally happens I feel like a winner.

In the poem, which was published in Strange Horizons, I am being courteous and large-hearted by calling the mind a pilgrim.

My comfort niche recedes
into the mogra mist
homeless, unhinged
within myself
I grow a pilgrim’s feet.
chakra to chakra
greys to gleams
apogees to perigees.
An aberrant sixth demon
has carved her nest
peeled three layers of bark
blued the veins of rootless trees.
In her maya
mazes in mazes
I’m lost
I’m lost.

A restless frog
breaks the pond moon
a thousand times!
I can’t escape
the allure
of the water mirror
It’s not a myth
of the sepia pond
that faces are epicenters
of brewing storms
ripples moving outward
from the ajna chakra
reaching for the ashwatha,
Mired in delphic ponds
I wander
I wander
cities of glyphs

Cosmic drifts
of a pin head universe
frank the homecoming
of the conqueror.
A lotus
of folded palms
for my acharyaa.

Just enough is good enough for the elderly

Enough has been said about how parents spoil their kids, overloading them with tech gadgets, for whatever reasons. At times to compensate their inability to spend as much time with kids, or simply because technology has crippled us so much that we are compelled to fall for them. Most of us thankfully know how much is good enough and necessary to stay connected. Thanks to the kind of world we have created for ourselves, we cannot think of a day without cell phones, internet, laptops and a host of other members of this family. This tech family is the next best thing to being surrounded by real family. Not shooting off on a tangent here and defending how technology has become an inevitable part of our lifestyle. We must accept the reality that we revolve around technology, though technically we are still revolving around the Sun.

But I’ve been thinking of the reverse situation. Children equally spoiling their parents, stuffing them with tech gadgets they cannot adapt to. Again reasons being varied, ranging from providing them safety, connectivity and recreation, or simply to make up for the fact that they aren’t around to give their ageing parents the company they need.

Gifting the elderly a Smartphone while they are more comfortable with a basic phone is still an understandable excitement. But burdening them with devices that are complicated in usage is equal to punishing them. Give them only as much as they can enjoy. Give them only as much as they can take. Anything more will only make them feel miserable. Our idea is to make them happy rather than making them feel inadequate. With depleting energy and memory all they need is a peaceful life and helping hands. The next best thing to being around them is surrounding them with simple tools, things that will make their life easier. If you have done that then that’s all there is to do. The rest might just boost your conscience.It’s a good thing to take the help of technology to improve the lifestyle of the elderly. It’s all fine if you or someone is around to help them out of sticky situations. Else it’s like pushing them into an unwarranted adventure. Your time is the best gift you can give to the elderly.

Not a yacht
bring me a rowboat
sit beside me and hold my hands
let’s gently sail down the memory lake.
My little boy
not a yacht
bring me a rowboat.

Thinking out loud

A wee book of poems, some new poetry and short stories old into writing, rolling a blog felt more like an extension, yet another dimension. I did do some homework, as in browsed and read a number of blogs. One feature I noticed was common in them. Blogs were more about loud thinking.

If genre writings are, say, peeled diced and ready to eat packaged vegetables, blogs are more like plucking them fresh off the farm. Earthier and right from the heart. It’s very subjective, but I relate more to the rawness in presentation and expression than to the spic and span I–challenge-you-to-find-an-error kind of writing. A blog post seems more appealing in a straight-from-the-mind mode. It’s like the excitement of getting your hands on a manuscript before it goes through the grind of publishing. Not to say I don’t have a taste for error free writing or edited stuff. But I can always pick up a bestseller or a favorite author off the shelf to fulfill such a need.

I don’t know if blog posts must be deprived of the polish, but that’s how I like them, more natural and spontaneous. Wandering amidst the posts must feel like walking through tall grass, prickly and tingly up to my knees, rather than walking on obedient manicured lawns. Blog posts, as far as I have noted are breezy in nature. Some blogs talk about grave matters such as mental health, economic and political issues for instance. Not that what’s said isn’t significant or intense but that’s how the content is presented. Not necessarily hitting us in the face and hammering the seriousness of the issues down our heads. Blog posts don’t intimidate the reader. They are more like friends who simply walk with you in your myriad moods and know well how much of them you can take.

When you almost agreed…that inner voice cautions otherwise 😀

I hope you don’t find any contradiction here 🙂
On that note why must I not try my hand at creating a meme from one of the cat pictures from my album! Here’s to my first ever meme! Cheers and have a great time blogging.

Finding the connect

We drive down this road many times. Long weekends, festivals or simply when we’re missing our home in the countryside is when a road trip begins to linger on our mind. We generally start much earlier than dawn break to avoid getting trapped in city traffic. Losing hours even before hitting the highway is the last thing when there’s a long way to go, especially during summers.
As we go slicing the dawn we aren’t surprised to find the busy city hasn’t slept a wink. I wonder whether time rushes man or man rushes time….
Sharing a few clicks of the quotidian sunrise etc. Either you succeed in taking good pictures or you live more in the moment. If you think you have done both then you have lost a bit of both, which is what I seem to have done.

in synchrony…how things must begin
dare to stand out…

the Sun will shine through…
Crossroads are bound to be…
whether it’s taking the road less traversed…
or carving your own path…
it’s all worth it while reaching for the stars!

And like every time I haven’t framed the elusive birds! So many young birds of rare colors and species tweeting away right in the front yard of the house, stirring the monotony of still flower shrubs on windless mornings. I couldn’t cajole a single one into a camera shot for my blog post. There’s a way to professionally take bird pictures. Better luck with them next time.

If we have the time to find something more than the eye can see, then pictures are quite philosophical by default. Isn’t it an irony some of us think philosophy and spirituality, and looking for deeper meanings in mundane things, is something that needs to wait till age catches up? Isn’t it equally fascinating and fulfilling to start early? It’s something we’re basically and naturally inclined to. It’s about making time for these things so we can practice and reap the benefits rather than keeping it away until the eve of our lives. If not, wouldn’t that be like lighting a candle after the darkest night has passed?

I believe what we see, touch, think and experience connects everything meaningfully in the end.

No worries

“If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.”
― The Dalai Lama

We have all experienced it. If we have slept with a worry on our mind, it’s the first thing we remember on waking up. It’s easier said than done- ‘don’t worry the worry until the worry worries you’. There’s always something to worry about. Some people worry about things they don’t need to. But then, what’s the benchmark? What are the issues that have the potential of a ‘glorious’ worry?
If we think about it, everything is subjective and relative. One who is struggling to put a loaf of bread on the table worries about money, while on the other hand a person who seems to have everything under the sun going right for him may worry about an issue only he can come up with!

The above types are somewhat relatable. There are the truly worrisome types that worry about not having anything to worry. As soon as they wake up the first thing they do is dig for a reason to worry. If they are innovative enough there’s always a petty thing that strikes them like a streak of lightening, and they kick start the day with something to worry about, the same way as some of us kick start the day with a glass of warm honey-lemon water. Else, they go about doing their chores, constantly analyzing every other thing that crosses their day if it’s something to worry. If by the end of the day they haven’t yet found anything, they begin to doubt themselves and life. Has life been this kind today! They cannot accept the fact that they had nothing to worry the entire day. They have the ability to turn this stray joy into a worry. That is when we can say they are probably addicted to worrying.

The worst types are those that get cranky and miss worrying about things. Then the types that cross all limits are the ones that hold on to some sort of worry as if they found a straw in a storm. They devote all their energy to worrying as if it were a solution in itself.

I too indulge in this at times. Though I don’t dare call worrying an indulgence! I am just thinking aloud. Honestly I cannot judge for myself which type I belong to. How do we then get over this addiction? To begin with we can pause a moment before slipping into the worry whirlpool, and tell ourselves that worrying doesn’t change anything. Or maybe count one through twenty and wait for the worrisome thought to subside. Double the norm because counting through ten will drag us back quickly into the whirlpool.

If doing these small tricks itself is a worry then it simply means the problem is chronic. Now, that’s what we should be worried about! Or perhaps not!
Have a worry-free day everyday!

for the bougainvillea

These fresh beauties deserved more than quick mobile clicks. But I can try and make it up by accessorizing them with a poem of mine. The poem ‘decode’ was first published in the journal ‘Strange Horizons’.

Flowers don’t lie, he tells me one morning
weaving his words carefully around the kernel.
My question ‘why flowers of all things
doesn’t make a headway through the shell.
His hands were always mud, birthing buds
from all plants that flowered.
His doctrines germinated from little saplings
in big to medium to small earthen pots.
The blooms took all the gravity of his conclusions.
In the backdrop of his enlightenment
the plants, the rooted disciples were too discoursed
to shake a leaf to his sermons
and touching the gaze of a longing breeze, too much to ask.
I remember one face from my childhood,
he said, trimming off a bold shoot
a peeve among the crusties
an un bastardized element among the alloys
took to flower love all of a sudden.
If he had looked into the mirror now and then
he would know there was sunshine beyond the baldachin
he would know the onset of his drift.
I touch the flower faces and wonder
how much of a lesson there is
to learn outside a flower life
how much of sunlight must have cheated him
and caressed the cheeks of his virgin blooms. 
I follow him, studying the niches of bare feet on wet earth
some mornings are about understanding the totems.

- Daya Bhat