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185: …

5 Jul

Ma left for Bangalore this morning. The guest bedroom is lifeless, the sheets perfect, the bed made, her purse and bags missing…just traces of her presence left behind every single where.

I hate saying bye; it’s something I despise immensely. Perhaps it’s a good thing I couldn’t get to spend as much time with her this morning since we were all getting ready to leave. As her cab moved along, all I felt was a sense of loss – of seeing her happy, smiling face everywhere; of just being in her solidly strong presence.

Thankfully there was a hectic day at school that took over everything else. I managed to sponge off some positivity from my students as we shared our thoughts and feelings before beginning our day.

She left behind, among pieces of advice, love, strength and joy, this book I almost picked up at a store but kept for later instead – Rabindranath Tagore’s autobiography – which is a keep.

His work is beyond classical and beautiful, something I thoroughly enjoy poring over bit by bit.

“Let your life lightly dance on the edges of
Time like dew on the tip of a leaf.”

144: Inspiring, Everyday People

24 May

I woke up with an unexpected sense of inspiration this morning; once I could muster getting myself out of bed i.e. As I waited for A to get ready, I logged onto Instagram where the source of my inspiration grew deeper and richer. As is with most things social media, a trail sketched itself across the profiles I flitted past till I found what made me stay, and feel like it was a good morning to wake up to indeed. For those of you who have been reading my posts, and for those of you who haven’t, here’s something that has really found a nook in me and settled down very comfortably in the momentum of my thoughts and curiosity – the entire experience that is the Himalayan expedition. I’ve written about it here, here, and here when I got hold of Jon Krakauer’s book “Into Thin Air” after obsessively watching the movie Everest, which, upon further investigation, I found him trashing completely. But I’m thankful for the trail nonetheless. It was serendipitous then, and still is, today, when I clicked on the Instagram radio button and found the magnetism of the Himalayas drawing me to them, yet again.

It’s already been a while since Himalayan expeditions began for the year 2017, with many attempting a successful summit experience during this spring-summer window. Now when I find people talking about this, I feel more (theoretically) knowledgeable and aware. In fact, when BBC confirmed the collapse of the famed Hillary Step the other day, I felt oddly zapped by the new monumental hurdles alpinists would now face; not that hurdles defeat them, and not that the Hillary Step and the peak itself were not enough. Of course it also made me frown in the face of this global-warming destruction we’ve brought upon ourselves, but it seriously seems like we need something more drastic and severe to wake up. Anyway, and moving on, today I found myself following two people who are right there as we speak; and one of whom I found fascinating because of how profoundly beautifully and simply he expressed his thoughts and emotions coupled with the most breathtaking photographs.

Cory Richards; photojournalist at Nat Geo, swirled me into his world of words and expressions in an instant and so effortlessly as well. If my fascination and borderline obsession with the Himalayas wasn’t enough, along came this person who gave my perceptions, beliefs, thoughts, and curiosities a space to free-flow and merge into what was that ray of same inspiration I felt brightening up my morning today. Here are his words that made me feel heard, understood, capable, and not alone.

“Surrender is a funny thing. We do it constantly without thinking…when we board planes, get in our cars, or cross the street. We surrender to each other blindly all the time. Surrender in the mountains however has a unique texture. We stare up, calculate the risk, and surrender to the potential consequence. A decision is made to engage with fear and move with it. Fear is rooted in the future…an idea of something that could occur. In that sense, that which we fear isn’t real. The goal then, is to surrender to both the potential consequences and the sensation of fear. Only when I embrace it rather than fight it, am I able to move through it.”

If there was any fear holding me back, it felt more loose and less destructive. And that’s maddeningly insane coming from a normal, everyday guy, sitting somewhere in the Himalayas sending vibes to thousands of people scattered across this planet of ours. No?

Here’s his most inspirational and true (to him) story on Nat Geo as well, in case you’re interested. Enjoy. :)

110: Girls

20 Apr

I’ve never associated more with a tv show than I have with Girls, especially this time around. Not that I count either this show or me to be excessively and overpoweringly aligned with this twisted concept of feminism, but there’s no rounding just how powerful its impact has been. It’s been my show to savour, to save, to keep right for when I’m really in the mood to indulge myself – because each season has an unfortunate total of just 10 episodes each.

I love the complexity and girliness of it in its entirety. Be it about trying to find my feet, catch a breath, find a breather, make a space for my own self in my own self, maintain my relationships…I found myself feeding off of it more than I have before. Perhaps it’s just the honesty, unashamed, naked, and stark realness of it which speaks to me; which I find easier to associate with.

And let’s not even talk about just how emotionally powerful it has been – watching it has brought me to tears on multiple occasions, which took me by surprise to be honest. Sometimes when I’m in the mood to wallow in my own thoughts, it’s been quite a support to turn to. And it makes me sad to have to wait – for the show to get clearance for another season, and then of course for it to begin again.

For now, I’m swimming in this, which has stuck on with me.

 

The best feeling, in rotation with feeling loved, is that of knowing you’re not alone. It’s the removal of that stopper which magically makes everything feel better in an instant. And this is what the show gave me, in bundles. :)

76: Tomorrow

17 Mar

As we sat over chai just sometime ago, conversations about tomorrow drowned me. Plans, and more plans. Before I knew it, I’d been submerged and sat there, twirling my hair, lost in the possibilities of a tomorrow which will anyway come, but with zero guarantees. How do some of us manage to let go, leave it all behind, and move forward effortlessly? Or seemingly effortlessly, at least. Shaking myself away from this futile wallowing, I got up and proceeded on to other more important things.

Today.

Think about today.

Give today your all.

Tomorrow’s going to arrive, but it hasn’t knocked on your door yet.

Today.

Live in today.

Work for today.

But it all still loomed around my periphery, refusing to be gone.

Go write, if that’ll help, I told myself.

I’m not sure if that’s helping, because I have this need to think and overthink till free-flowing thoughts become a trap of sludge that’s hard to get out of. Webs that become stronger, stickier, more clingy.

Leaving tomorrow for a later time isn’t my style, but it’ll have to be for now.

And what helped was this I came across earlier today on FB.

I cannot enunciate the combined power of letting go and the ways of this universe. A lot of me will always believe that I was to come across this today, maybe because I needed it. :)

Here’s more of the most amazing stuff that will do you and me more wonders than we can imagine.

Happy Friday, and happy living in the moment. :)

7: Namaste To Yourself

7 Jan

Here’s a snippet of all things strong, healthy, positive, and progressive. I don’t have role models in my heart’s keep because I cannot idolize people for a strange reason. But if I ever was to have one, it would be her on many counts. She speaks to the person in me, the woman in me. She challenges the cynic and negative in me. She throws light on the realist and wannabe optimist in me, she really does. But most of all, she gives me the space, courage, strength, and hope to believe in myself.

And these words were exactly what I’ve been desperate to hear, which I’m sharing with you, dear reader.

 

It was just yesterday when I came across this most simple yet gratifying concept, and thought – of giving thanks to yourself, always. For someone who berates herself more often than not, criticises herself for not being strong or confident enough – all patterns of the two conflicting versions of myself (one which I really am and one which I idealize myself to be) – encountering this uncomplicated habit was quite uplifting. I mention it in tandem with Michelle Obama’s speech because I believe that every journey, every attempt, and every move begins with one’s own self. And it beats me how a lot of us never give ourselves that pat on our back, that extra glance in the mirror, that appraisal without feeling selfish or self-centred. I’ve no idea what or which day I’m waiting to do this for and to myself. Absolutely clueless.

I’ve shared this image before but cannot seem to find it on my blog for some vague reason. Here it is.

namaste

It speaks a million words, a million thoughts, and a million truths. Namaste to you, and namaste to me too. :)

On another note, I’ve miraculously managed to finish a week’s worth of posts…waow! *happy jig*

And the things I’ve learnt this week are:

Show up.

Start.

Give your heart the mic equally.

Thank yourself.

Have a lovely weekend, peeps! :)

Wealth And Riches

8 Sep

I’m beginning to realise that the one thing that truly makes the world spin and get off its ass and work and just be nimble, is money. I don’t come from this school of thought and neither was I raised to believe that money was everything. Values, morals, hard work, respect and integrity, love…this is what I’ve grown up believing to be the way forward, and consequently imbibing. But it turns out that not everyone’s loci of motivation lies in these seemingly idealistic characteristics. Sad it is, but real it also is.

Work doesn’t get done unless there’s moolah dangled at the end of a stick; that extra bright orange carrot everyone wants a bite of and fast, and lots of, to be sure. Money makes you powerful, indispensable and supreme apparently. It’s ironic though, that something as fluid as money, rarely promises to stay – in whichever form. I remember my grandma telling me this story? about Lakshmiji, the Goddess of Wealth, back when we used to keep each other company till late at night – her with her stories and writing, me always thirsty for another story, another anecdote. It goes like this – she told me to remember that Goddess Lakshmi always visits everyone in her own way and in her own time; it’s just for us to become aware of her presence and her gifts she leaves behind. In the midst of this never ending search and thirst for wealth, she can cross your path in two ways – one on her vahan (vehicle) which is an owl, and the other when she comes with Lord Vishnu; The Protector and Preserver, The All Pervading One. Her visits with her owl (called ulloo in Hindi, also colloquially used to denote a fool), while overflowing with all the riches and more one could ever dream of, can also render one useless and bereft of everything else that makes a human being holistically rich; thus leaving her benefactor poorer than they could ever imagine. Her visits with Lord Vishnu however, indicate the provision and arrival of wealth that is hard earned, valuable, clean and perennial – one that would arrive to stay.

Deep stuff, eh?

No wonder we used to stay up nights – she because of her perpetual insomnia, and me because of the wondrous tales I’d get to hear in bargain for a quicker snooze (grandparents sleep faster while telling stories, it’s true). Such a fantastic give and take.

I just called her up to get my sketchy recollection of this story fixed, in fact. Great treasures and luxuries we’re blessed with, if you ask me.

Writing helps me. From what was turning out to be a day which promised to be irritatingly annoying and wrought with obstacles, because this world runs on money, I’m ending this post feeling richer than when I began writing it. I guess this is what it all boils down to; and this is how deep-rooted my upbringing really is. What a glowing reminder of the riches we have in our own capacities and ways, this was.

It also brings to mind those moral science books that were compulsorily enforced upon us as tiny tots. Whodathunk those big worded, large-font sentences would make their way past a pig-tailed child with a triangular-shaped hanky pinned to her, right through the pages of time to her memory?

Maybe I’ll stimulate and address this irritation another time – for right now I feel richer than I have felt in a long, long time.

Learning About Love

16 Jun

It looks like I’m in the mood to write today. There is a tonne of work to be done and it’s not much of a surprise that it’s been kept aside, yet again. It’s a fact that I’m a procrastinator and that working under pressure seems to be the fuel I need to finish a task and to achieve a goal. But how much pressure now feels uncertain given how I’ve wasted my time away instead of doing the things that need to be done. And I’m not even talking about that pile of clothes which needs folding and hasn’t been approached/tackled since forever. It’s good to not care sometimes, because you want your spouse to help out with some of the housework before you end up doing it all without leaving any for them to do. But at the moment, it’s more about not caring than about implementing spousal domestication – haha – because I’m stuck at that ‘thy mug brimmeth over’ feeling since yesterday, which I wrote in my previous post.

I actually came here to write about this love business because I guess it’s a good time to tap into this aspect of life when one is feeling peachy and rosy and unperturbed by that pile of laundry, unwashed vessels and other more important tasks at hand. It’s a good time to forget about priorities and talk about love, because the pessimist in me used to firmly believe that love is for fools and that love makes us weak and foolish. No, I’m not judging anyone for being in love or for showing/feeling love…I’m just a very normal pessimist who prefers to prepare for that dark cloud rather than bask in the glory of some golden sunshine, happy honeybees and chirping birds, as it were. It’s no surprise who the fool here is, but never mind.

But, because that coffee from yesterday has been so elevating (ahem), I only see blossoming roses, chirpy birds and that stray honeybee today. It has also brought me to write this post and so I shall begin…sorry for the massive digression and thank you for your patience if you still are reading this post.

I’m no expert in love and never have been, as you’ve read and gauged so far. But over the course of the last few months, I’ve learnt the following about love and about learning to love. Of course, the journey of discovery and enlightenment continues and I have a long, long, long way to go. But here’s what I’ve figured, so far.

*********************

Love is when you’re bloody pissed off with the person but still manage to do the things you know will make them happy without hitting them on their head.

Love is being able to express your feelings, thoughts and emotions without being judgemental or without judging.

Love is frayed hair, bushy eyebrows, forested hands and legs and no makeup that elicit responses and actions that make you feel normal.

Love is also having to state how funny, terrible, not presentable the other is looking when required.

Love is being able to fall asleep to that snore you found too loud to begin with, unless of course you’re too tired to care.

Love is about learning when to let go and when to hold on.

Love lies in communication.

Love is about acknowledging the small things we do.

Love is a big fat argument or fight that settles down in a calm and practical conversation.

Love is comfortable silence.

Love is grilled chicken and vegetables and love is certainly a well-made sandwich that is savoured in silence.

Love lies in honesty, no matter how hurtful it can be.

Love is a tight hug that you may or may not have asked for.

Love can sometimes be found in irritating the other. Sometimes.

Love lies in acceptance.

Love also lies in constructive feedback and sometimes, criticism.

Love is about being blatant.

Love is about being no-nonsense.

Love is about being firm.

Love lies in kindness.

Love is a talk you really needed.

Love can be found at the end of a scream, if you care to listen.

Love can also be found in the voice of silence.

Love definitely lies in insurance policy nominations.

Love sometimes lies in unforeseen possession.

Love is a walk like none other.

Learning To Unlearn And Relearn

29 Mar

Isn’t that what moving forward is all about anyway? It’s astounding how these simple concepts are gems we store for later, more intellectual conversations and situations, oftentimes overlooking their importance in being applied to life every single day. I’ll speak for myself at least. I cannot remember a time when the necessity to unlearn and relearn something wasn’t used and just what a life saver the flexibility to do so, is.

But I admit, I never imagined the need to do the same to other more crucial facets of my life, my functioning, my relationships, my perceptions, and my wellbeing altogether. Perhaps it was the luxury of living with family all my life which made me so ignorant, until now, when I’m not living under the same roof as them, and have a lot of my shit to figure out on my own. Where did this shit land up from anyway, I wonder, because the last time I checked, all was dandy, all was fine, all was the opposite of sandpapery, if I may.

I haven’t been hitched too long, but it has taken me faster than I fathomed to figure out that – not everything will go your way or as you’ve been used to, and you’d be foolish to expect it. So here I am, trying to unlearn and relearn a lot that I had conveniently assumed I was a master at. How presumptuous of me.

To be more specific, here are some things I’m currently learning, unlearning and relearning:

Not all close relationships are the same and therefore not all close relationships can be handled the same way. You may want to say du-h! at this point in time, and perhaps you should, because I thought otherwise.

Nobody, no matter how close to you, is the same as anybody else…so responses from x are very highly likely to be different from y, even though you behaved the same way with both parties, at the same time, in the same place and under the same circumstances.

In connection with the previous point, time plays a major factor, as do priorities. To elucidate, person y may not necessarily be forgiving to you for stealing a slice of bacon from their plate the second or third time around, unlike earlier times when they didn’t really care about bacon as much. Perhaps they’re really in the mood for bacon and don’t feel like sharing, perhaps they love bacon unlike their previous preference, perhaps they’re saving it for somebody else, perhaps their bacon sharing priorities have changed – always give room for consideration. Also, point to note – it doesn’t really mean you’re loved any less. It just means that time and priorities change everything sometimes.

(Fine example, Babska. Fine one, indeed!)

Not getting a reply, especially via SMS, especially when you’re used to this form of instantaneous gratification in that category, does not mean you are not loved or cared for anymore. (Big learning!) This may make you want to run back and thank all those lovely people who actually make the effort to respond to you when you want them to, which is usually instantly, right?

Responses to a situation which you imagine are natural and instinctual even, may not really be natural to the actual person whom you’re expecting that said response from. I always imagine my husband to respond to certain things in ways that I am used to because that is how my family responds to me in those situations…but seldom are they the same, or rarely is there a match in these responses. If it matters that much, and as hard as it may be for one’s ego, it does help to spell out how you expect a response to be rather than let the waterworks flow some more and still not get what you want. It’s true.

Your comfort food or ideas of comfort food may not be comforting (at all) to somebody else. Be prepared to compromise on that sort of thing or make two meals or eat alone – whichever is worth battling over. Yes, the heartbreak on learning that my husband doesn’t really care about khichdi too much was a hard one to take.

Again, your idea of cleanliness is definitely never going to be the same as anyone else’s. I think that’s a universal law of absolute crappiness, if you ask me. If you’re used to things being xyz, somebody else may be used to abc, while another person may not be used to the concept of cleanliness at all. Who can say? It’s a tough one.

I guess the basic premise of all this unlearning and relearning is the fact that A LOT of what you imagine or expect or even plan in your head has a 99.90% chance of not being the way you want it to be. I’ve fought many a battle (only to sound dramatic) because when you are so removed from what is known to you, or away from the norm of how things are done, or even disconnected from a certain routine, the friction can sometimes be too painful. Sometimes things go our way, and a lot of the times, they don’t.

Which brings me to this main point:

Learning how to not be so much of a control freak, especially in the many areas I can afford to let go off without much heartburn or effort. It’s some nasty business for a control freak to be at a point where no control can be claimed for a lot of things. And I think it comes with these fundamental building blocks of sanity:

Letting go
Acceptance
COMPROMISE
Being selective of the battles you pick
Demolishing one’s EGO

I reckon anybody who can do even one, if not all of the above, is definitely headed down the road of peace.

Before leaving Bangalore to get married, I went about meeting people who really matter to my family and me – many friends, family friends and some acquaintances. Through these many meetings, I sponged off of them as much as I could – their learning, their thoughts, their advice, their words of wisdom. The most humbling and soulful piece of advice I was given was from an acquaintance whose words still ripple on my consciousness every time it feels like I know nothing at all. Dear reader, his pearls of wisdom are as follows:

Learn to be like water which can flow even around the biggest boulders and seep through the tiniest gap…be like water which can meander, bend, take any shape and form…be like water – life-giving, thirst-ridding, sustaining… be like water who doesn’t speak but whose presence is always felt, forever needed… be like water who when she wants, can make her voice heard the loudest and still be calming. Learn to be like water and you will always bear fruit.

Learning: The treasury of wisdom comes from constantly learning.

The One About Time

6 Jan

Snug in whatever warmth I can collect inside my house but surrounded by the constant cacophony of bird conferences just outside, I’m enveloped in a sense of both comfort and newness all in one. It’s comfortable because this space I just called my house has begun feeling more and more like home than it did yesterday, the day before and the day before that as well, and so on. The gushing sound of water right into the sump coupled with the passing of a car’s woofers, from the hustle of kids playing outside before the sun rapidly makes his exit to the slinking of dusk’s tinkling arrival where birds hurry to settle into place and peacocks decide to give their neighbourly explorations a rest for the day, all make themselves fit into that package which spells the clocking of yet another day. The not so distant hum of an aircraft preparing to set hundreds of feet on the same ground it eases itself to land on disappears as soon as it arrives. And that same stillness shuffles her feet to make herself comfortable again. Come the arrival of Time dressed for a show he visits everyday, Evening and Night hold hands and prepare to enthral him yet again, like they do when he visits them everyday, exactly on time and in place – a daily routine with a new surprise every day. For today, my garden flowers have bloomed.

Tomorrow is a new leaf and an undiscovered opportunity, kept under wraps so we can sit back with Today and marvel at her sense of incomplete collectedness. Because there’s always room for more or less, whichever she chooses to employ in her services with Tomorrow.

There’s a reassurance that faith goes hand in hand with security and a love for strength that sometimes overpowers the pride of safety itself. Sometimes. And that Time has his way of walking by your side no matter how newness gleams on his ancient face every single day. Because he’s waiting for me to blossom and burst into peals of happy surprises and laughter when Tomorrow gears himself to hold my hand and guide me to wherever he’s planned I must go.

 

Happy Sponge

2 Feb

It’s so easy to allow anything negative to take over; it’s like we human beings are born to focus on the negative, feel crappy about everything under the sun and then continue feeling sodden because somehow the negative becomes more magnetizing that the positive. Ask the majority and it won’t take us long to rattle away all the crap that life’s doling out to us by the bucketful, every day, every moment. It’s like we’re tuned to focus on the bad, to what, prepare ourselves against our worst nightmares? To build up our walls and secure our guards before we get struck? And then feel crappy anyway because lo and behold, you were so busy trying to be safe from the aforementioned plausible negative that didn’t even say it would come our way in the first place. How’s that for being a negative, lonely loser?

I’ve been caught in that cycle and I have absolutely no idea how that entanglement happened. It’s a battle to stay out of this vortex of blackness that is one’s negative thoughts. It’s a struggle. And it is so tiring. Before you’re out of one cycle, you’re caught in another. Is it really that hard to just let go and be happy? Because it sure feels that much more easy to actually feel happy once you’ve snapped off the crap. It’s the snapping off that spins the negative cycle of what ifs and now whats, in. We crazy thinkers. As if there wasn’t enough to think about already.

Either way, I came across a video of this girl, Rene Verma, at the Delhi Poetry Slam; which has been trending quite so. It’s a video of her rapping an Open Letter to Honey Singh. Here’s the last line she said which I’m using here, because I need that dose of as much happiness as I can sponge off from this universe.

You’re not just the masterpiece, you’re the painter too.

All it needed was this one line said by a girl somewhere in Delhi who was making a point across to Honey Singh.

That’s all I needed for that dose of sunshine to come through. Because really, it is all around. We just lurk too much in the shadows otherwise.