It’s not complicated…

We live in times where a word or an action drives a thousand more. Communication is seamless and equally seamless are the possibilities of miscommunication. We have perhaps misplaced the comma in a world of instant reactions.

We often miss the ambience of an expression.  We don’t have to necessarily count unto ten to control our urge to misunderstand things, but we can always take a fraction of a minute to look at the backdrop of an ongoing conversation. Only hearing, but not interpreting what’s being said in the light of a larger picture, leads to a jugglery of justifications. No one wins, everyone loses in the end. Wise people either ignore or develop immunity to this syndrome. But when beautiful equations are thrown off balance it’s time to go back to basic grammar.  

Don’t lose my song in the dance of words.
Read not too much between the lines
I don’t write anything there.
As real as the sky above us
is the song on my lips.
A note you didn’t find
is a note I didn’t sing.
It’s a maze with no escape
let’s not go there another time!

Lot of energy is spent in reading between the lines rather than looking at the writing on the walls! We are more concerned about what may be hiding in the shadow while we totally miss what the apparent burst of light is trying to tell us. What may be implied gets more attention than what is shouted from a rooftop.

The pleasure of communication is only when it is received in the same sense as it is conveyed. It is such a simple joy when someone says ‘I get you’.

Abstract #opportunity

What do we think of people who live by the sea and choose to be water-blind? And people who live by rainbows and choose to be colour-blind? Living in closed boxes where our comfort zone is the only window can gradually shut us out from the rest of the world. Unless we open ourselves up to new possibilities, new ways of looking at things, we will only grey, not grow.

Covid has made us to reflect upon life like never before. The books we read, the paths we tread now have different stories to tell. It’s time to bring in the change that might help us an iota to sustain. To unlearn and learn there are plenty of opportunities only if we have the willingness to see.

OPPORTUNITIES ARE ABSTRACT

How do we identify an opportunity?

Opportunities are abstract and don’t make a center-stage appearance under a spotlight. Neither do they come gift-packed and labelled. It requires a genuine urge to find an opportunity whether it is to better our personal lives or professional lives. When we are mentally prepared to welcome an opportunity, we always find one. Maybe not in plenty, maybe not at arm’s length, but enough to trust that there are.

The bigger hurdle is not the lack of an opportunity but not identifying it when there’s one.

Brown Jest for You Box

Victim cards not accepted here please

Many times, especially when things seem like they are falling apart and nothing is going right, we feel deprived. When we look around us it seems as if, except to us, life has been kind to everyone. Every other person looks like a privileged king for whom opportunities are being served hot off the oven. Aroma of success on the tip of his nose…drizzle of achievement on the tip of his tongue…Hmm…people are having it so easy. That’s how it appears.

Time to shake off self-pity and stop behaving like victims of circumstances.

If we resolve to make things better for ourselves, we can change a few things if not everything at once.

Utilise, don’t eulogise.

The biggest hurdle is the same since ages…having an opportunity, identifying it but not utilising it in time. No justification is good enough to explain our laxity. Lest we want to spend the rest of our lives eulogising something we let go, that would have turned our fortune forever! Absolutely no use crying over a lost opportunity. Better don’t lose one.

Once a loser… twice a willing loser

Learn from past experiences. If we are always in a dearth of opportunities and find ourselves often at the receiving end of life, it’s time to crown the blame upon ourselves. It’s easy to pretend we never had a chance to alter anything in our lives. It’s easy to ignore all the inspiration that fairied its way to us. But the difficult part is saved for later, again, only as a lesson. A lesson we deliberately don’t learn anything from.

Let us not be willing losers!  

Thanks for reading and have a week full of unending happy possibilities! Cheers!

lockdown

When we were little kids we didn’t know the dangers lurking around us, we listened to our parents and elders. We trusted them to keep us safe and protected. As we grew older a role reversal became inevitable.

Parents/elderly don’t move around as much, aren’t sometimes aware of the ground realities. This may be because we deliberately keep them away. We want them to have a peaceful life rather than getting entangled in the unwanted hassles of everyday life. Many elderly are fortunate to have a full house care for them.

Easier said than done! In these Corona ridden times making them realize the significance of ‘Corona’ hygiene and ‘Corona’ do’s and do not’s is seeming like a herculean task. We have to strike a balance between panic and precaution, paranoia and preparedness. We don’t want to pass on the distress and overwhelming feeling of anxiety to them, but when we watch the catastrophe it has brought down, especially on the elderly, it’s impossible not to. I am sure some of us are dealing with this kind of situation. The elderly disapproving of the ‘hype’ around extra hygiene habits being imposed, annoyed with all the sanitizing of every bit that comes into the house. Annoyed with restrictions on movements, frequent washing of hands and so on.

There was a time when we felt the same with all the restrictions laid down by parents. It seems like they have turned into little brat kids. So much so that they get away with a little cheating here and there. Breaking a hygiene protocol, missing an interim hand-washing. Our concerns soar at such obstinacy.

Today we stand devastated at the loss and misery Covid 19 is unleashing upon humans. It seems like we don’t know the world we are living in anymore. We are wary of touching anything, seeing anyone. Suddenly we are all enclosed in our nutshells blinking at the television screens, staring at the rising numbers in casualties. Neither we, nor three generations older than us, have witnessed anything like this. It’s understandable when we can’t relate to this whole new world that opened up a pandora’s box!

All said and done we must do what is expected of us. We need to be compassionate and underline the necessity of a scientific approach. The need of the hour is to understand the magnitude of the calamity. Doing everything one can do as a person, family, state and country is what we owe to mankind.

Like many countries we in India are in countrywide lockdown. Except necessary services everything is shut.

Praying that we soon find our world the way it was before Corona and doing what it takes! Please take care of yourselves, your family and your fellow human beings. Let us stay home and stay safe until it’s time to open our arms and doors.

#thinking thursday

Life prompts us to pause and think more often than we notice. We must have the mindfulness to catch the clue. So caught up in racing ahead, so caught up in climbing up, we haven’t paid attention to the bruises that needed timely healing. We haven’t realized how many times we shattered to pieces and life was kind. It gave us time to gather ourselves.

Life’s truth unfolds slowly. A small buzz inside tells us it’s time to sit back and reflect. The buzz snowballs into an urgent need until we can no more ignore. Only when we take a step back we realize we have perhaps been overdoing things and running far beyond we can.

We all have a perception of perfection. That which is always at arm’s length. A little more effort, a little more time and we have it sorted, is what keeps us on our toes. We don’t realize that we have actually arrived at our expectation but we have continued to seek. That happens because we have further pushed our idea of perfection. We have set new challenges, new MUST HAVEs, and the marathon continues. But how far can one run! There comes a time when the body stops co operating with our crazy mind. The gaps begin to show, between what we had set out to do and what we have actually accomplished.

Far beyond our prime time when most things can’t be changed, there’s a need to accept and respect the distance we have come. Standing in the midst of a desert and craving for a handful of sand, sitting by the ocean and craving for water, is a sense that sets in midway. We sway wildly between ‘There’s everything’ and ‘There’s nothing’. And there’s still the elusive perfection taunting us from the tip of some mountain. Be sure, nobody has climbed that to claim how life seems from the top. If someone thinks so they are under the spell of an illusion. Despite the pretence people put on to show off ‘perfect’ lives they know where their shoes bite. Thanks to social media where each one is trying hard to project the ‘perfection’ in their lives to the best of their talents. It needs a deep sense of sanity to look beyond what meets the eye.  

we must remind ourselves often-

The ingredients of a happy and fulfilling and contented life vary from person to person. Insulate yourself from people who claim to have ‘perfect’ lives. Know that behind the ‘perfect’ picture many flaws HAVE been hidden. Therefore there’s desperation to display, in the first place! More the perfection, more the flaws. Remember to never get carried away by another’s idea of happiness. You set the rules, you set the pace, you define happiness and you define success. Look back once in a while and cherish your journey. You have been part of the struggles of your loved ones. You have been part of their lives in their moments of joy. You have shared their smiles and tears. You couldn’t be more blessed than this.

Being blessed is not about being rich, successful or being in a constant state of illusion of having an ‘ideal’ job/husband/wife/children/family. Being blessed is about getting an opportunity to touch the lives of our loved ones. Being blessed is about gathering the blessings of our loved ones. By loved ones I don’t mean a selfish little world of our own family. ‘Loved ones’ includes all humanity. Being blessed is about BEING THERE for everyone as much as humanly possible.

I am not sure if I took off on a tangent. One of those days when you feel the need to share! Something everyone knows but saying it becomes a compulsion.

star dust

pc-123rf.com

may the stars litter
our paths with glittering dust
life on the threshold

When we lose someone very dear, to death, our minds linger around the futility of it all. The struggle to make it big, the continuous battles with self and with the world, everything comes to a grinding halt. Loved ones who were part of the struggle are left with a vacuum to deal with. It’s a different truth that life throws challenges at us as if we were dart boards, and sooner than later the vacuum fills up. While our loved ones travel up there and become stars, we spread our arms for the stardust. That’s how the dear souls bless us.

Time heals everything. But it’s also true that some wounds leave scars. That nobody has life custom made helps the healing process. Life moves on and it ought to.

gratitude for the inanimate

As we grow older we become more and more sentimental about everything. We cling fiercely to things dear to us. We get teary eyed much easier and quicker than before. We know we have begun to over react but we cannot revert to our older selves. We begin to accept our over sentimentality. We know this new guest wouldn’t leave, and would only get more intimate and is here to stay. We come to terms and look for ways to detach ourselves. We try to avoid being tagged the touchy one. We turn more and more to spirituality and philosophy. We pretend we have begun to insulate ourselves from attachments. I am not absolutely sure if we are in a way deceiving ourselves. We try to strike a balance between how we are and how we are supposed to be. It’s a tough call. On the outside we are these persons who have realized we can’t hold on to things forever. On the inside it’s a tug of war. let go…don’t let go…
Now isn’t it too much if my eyes welled up while I returned home from a home appliances service shop. My blender is my dearest kitchen friend and has seen me in intense pressure times. After nearly two decades it has started showing symptoms of stress. I can see it’s trying to do its best but no, it simply can’t run with the rush hour demands. That’s when I realize my good old friend is ageing like me. I took the blender to the service shop and left it there for the expert to diagnose. Two days and I didn’t hear back. I went down to the shop. The expert looked like he had examined the anatomy of my blender and was ready with his inferences. He said looking half pitifully and half in admiration at my blender,

nobody makes this model anymore. The motor’s efficiency has reduced considerably and it won’t take much load. It will switch off if you don’t use it delicately. I will try replacing the weak motor but it would cost you half the price of a new blender.


I pleaded with him to do his best to revive my blender. He must have wondered why I didn’t want to buy a new one instead.
For the next ten minutes he just listened as I told him how loyal and efficient the blender had been all the while. He had about fifty blenders queued up for servicing, most of them looking overused and exhausted, and in dire need of ‘moksha’. His eyes softened as he turned around and looked at them, as if for the first time someone had made him realize what a life saving job he is entrusted with. He sighed and promised me to get my blender on her feet.
How we develop affinity towards things that have made our lives easy, have listened to us silently, and have sometimes even borne our tantrums! It’s this humane side of objects that draws us into an emotional equation with them.
Curiously I looked up more about this kind of attachment to inanimate things. Anthropomorphism is the term though I am not sure if the attachment becomes more intense with ageing. Of course there are instances where this affinity stretches too far and becomes something of a medical condition. Given we are basically emotional beings I would like to treat this as normal behavior. Moreover the years that make us all salt and pepper on the head must add a fourth dimension to our thinking.

Picture courtesy- Internet (Japan Experience.com)

Hari-Kuyo, a Japanese Buddhist and Shinto Festival of Broken Needles is observed (feb 8 ) annually where a memorial service is held for broken or worn out needles and pins. That’s how gratitude is shown, by gently laying them to rest on a tofu bar.

Picture courtesy – templesinindiainfo.com

Something similar to the ayudha puja an Indian festival celebrated during navaratri/vijayadashami where all implements and tools are worshipped. I am sure my hale and hearty blender will get its share of adulation. On that day they get a break as a mark of respect for the services rendered. One day in a year isn’t too much to ask as against our weekly off of two days.

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!