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186: Little Conversations And Happy Vibes

6 Jul

It was yesterday while at school that it struck me how surrounded I am by different people. While my students put up what was perhaps the best assembly so far this year, I watched on like a proud class teacher would, and felt a connection with them for the first time I think. They picked the very apt, very relatable, very important topic “self-acceptance” and delivered a marvellous job which only spoke to hard work, effort, and a great connection with the subject. As the audience stood in rapt attention lapping up all they had to offer, my kids ladled praises that came their way. Much deserved and worthy of bragging, most definitely.

I’m not a very social person or a very open person. My walls are high, my boundaries very marked. I don’t cross lines and no one crosses mine; not beyond a point i.e. But I’ve been noticing this uncanny phenomenon which has been happening off late that can only be attributed to kids and their ability, to either lovingly or annoyingly, gnaw their way into a person’s heart. I’ve a varied bunch of kids from all walks of life – they’re all amazing in their own way, and equally challenging to handle.

They’ve slowly but surely started inching closer towards me, and I towards them. Professionally, of course. And somewhere in this entire process I’m reminded about just how many variant vibes I’m surrounded by – happy, jovial, youthful, energetic, humourous, beautiful vibes. I’ve been having conversations with myself, telling myself good things, even. Opening up to these youngsters all around me has helped me take these little conversations to another level; to open my eyes and see that there’s so much good energy all around me to sponge off from, to give to, to engage with.

People are strange.

But magic is stranger.

184: Do You Know…

4 Jul

…that everything’s going to be alright? That it never was anything but alright all this while? That it takes a special kind of understanding to feel at peace, to come to terms with life’s ways, to essentially let go?

Do you know that the world conspires to put things together – sometimes with a small prayer, sometimes by its own volition?

Do you know that you’re safe, loved, trusted to be the best and only the best?

Do you also know that perhaps there’s no one better than you to do what you’re supposed to do?

:)

164: 13th June, 2017

14 Jun

13th June, 2017 came just like any other day did. It was a day I wasn’t particularly looking forward to, because we were leaving Bangalore, and it’s always sick to say bye. It’s a day of sorts, and one I won’t forget for some time.

It’s the day that reinforced the grander scheme of things, to me.

I always have been a planner. I plan every single thing. It’s annoyingly boring for many of you, but I couldn’t imagine my life under anyone else’ control, to be honest. Once I got married, the truth of the universe’s ways made itself present to me in more ways than one. Plans just didn’t seem to work, and making plans was beginning to get frustrating because A isn’t an obsessive planner like I am.

As time has proceeded – we’re inching towards completing two years – I’ve learnt with a greater ferocity that life cannot be trusted with your individual, minute, plans. It’s got a mind of its own, and it will conspire to make things happen as it deems fit.

And so we’re just playing along. Yet again.

145: We’re All About A Story

25 May

Yesterday‘s post still hasn’t gone past me completely. Today I found myself sharing Cory Richard’s story in class because it had some connection and relevance to what I’ve been teaching them the past fortnight. And needless to say, everyone sat in rapt attention, heat waves billowing through the windows and all. It reinforced my belief which took root in me the moment I held a camera for the first time – that we’re all about a story; each and every one of us. Of course I’d sound cheap if I said that I’ve always dreamed of doing what today is popularly called HONY. You’d most likely turn around and say, well why didn’t you do it, stupid? or you’d perhaps just laugh in my face and look at me funny, if you were more the blunt types. Perhaps one day when we need a break, I will have something substantial to offer. Someday. 

We’re all a bunch of experiences that make a marvellous story irrespective of how ornately we present it. For once words, fancy gadgets, apertures, camera angles, and privileges don’t matter – just who we are, what we do, and what we’re made up of that counts. It boils down to our innate need to feed our curiosities, our voyeuristic tendencies sometimes, and even just our plain love for stories. Some of us lap it up in the form of books, poems, movies, tv shows, novellas, even photographs and songs, and more. I guess it’s one thing that will always sell because we always want to know, even when we don’t want to know.

This was from one of my favourite visits, somewhere in a town steeped in history, mythology, and a stopped clock.

On our visit to commemorate my grandmother-in-law last year, we stopped by to feed a small settlement that had made its home around my mother-in-law’s generational family temple. And this, by far, was my most prized privilege – having this child speak to me with nothing more than a mouth stuffed with puris and halwa, his eyes, and his smile.

With every street in this mythical town lined with sweetmeat shops, because this is the land of Lord Krishna, the lover of all things milk and sweet, I chanced upon this vendor during a cool summer evening walk as I explored the gullies less travelled. He didn’t have much, and neither did his shop have the sheen of the religious wealth this town boasts of. But he smiled, allowed me to click him, and wished me as I went along. Again, a lot said, with not many words.

My favourite, after meeting the child, was stopping midway and running across wheat fields to this. The irony is that we come from the same land, the same lingual roots, but couldn’t communicate with language as I was so confident we would. But then, on she went, in her own striped shirt with her bundle on her head, off with a smile that just the two of us shared with each other.

I’ve come to believe that we really are a bundle of stories, each with a different fingerprint, and a legacy that is ours and ours alone. And we all do fall asleep to these stories, unaware that grandma’s tales are yours and mine and each other’s equally.

For more pictures from this trip, please visit my post here.

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. :)

143: The Twists and Turns of Adulthood

23 May

Today just wasn’t the day for me to catch a few winks in the afternoon. The internet guys called me a couple of times even when I’d asked them to kindly call and visit my sick internet connection only in the evening. Then the security guard rang my doorbell to tell me to remove my plants from my balcony, which I already had, and which I pointed out to him as he spoke to me. The painting labourers who are giving our building a facelift then decided to knock on my door with empty plastic bottles, to tell me that two balcony chairs needed moving. And then the maid arrived. So there really were just about a handful of minutes that I could dream during, post which I remained in bed slurping a creamy kulfi and a TedX talk by Shah Rukh Khan sent to me by S. Happy belated birthday, S! I figured she sent me this link because I dig the guy at some level. He really is a witty genius, okay! Anyhoo, I savoured what was left of my afternoon, in the self-obsessed but also tasteful compilation of experiences that were SRK’s.

The one thing in his speech that did catch my attention is something I’ve been becoming aware of off late too. And it is this concept of autonomy in drawing our own definitions of our experiences. It was just yesterday while in conversation with P that I mentioned the exact same thing –  that we’re so habituated to this “unchangeable” and “rigid” concept of authority without realising that we’re now at a place of authority too. Perhaps we always had the right to our own authority, but it remained unrealised and therefore untouched. It’s in the small things, and consequently in the big things; the latent ways in which we accept definitions of right and wrong formulated by others, and make them our own.

We’re at a place where if we don’t respect our own selves, no one else will, is what I said to P last night. It’s a new baton that I’ve come face-to-face with and am intrigued by. I truly believe that you and I are here, because we’re worthy by our own merit and judgement to be here; and that we have an equal hand in setting boundaries and making rules that work for and with us. Gone are the days when I remember standing in school or college, just waiting to get out and take control of my life. But somewhere down the line, and thanks to this humongous baggage of “no questions asked”, it started to feel like I was living by others’ ways and rules. I find this platform especially relevant today when I have so many looking up to me, hoping that I have answers, control, and some semblance of stability. Moreover, I find it an intriguing path to walk down, dotted with sharp turns and ridges that are waiting for me to trip and fall, or to trip and fly.

This is really the best time to be alive because there’s no telling time than this, that what you do is yours and yours alone, in all your selfish and self-obsessed glory and necessities. It’s a struggle, but it’s most real too.

131: Glorifying Busyness

11 May

has been one of those ideas my mind has toyed with for a long time now…you know, the kind of busyness that seldom allows room for anything else to show face even? that kind of preoccupation where there’s no scope for anything else. It was something I’d wished desperately for especially last year when I needed an anchor for myself and the straying frays of my mind. I have that today, thankfully. Except I’m left with time to really.do.nothing.else. when I’m in the throes of this busyness I so wanted. Not even the time to breathe, forget sit or drink water or even grab a bite.

Which sucks to be honest. There’s nothing more uncool than this feeling of running against time no matter how smartly you’ve tried to schedule your work.

I’ve been on this self-preservation drive for a while now. Nothing can or should or will come before those things in my life which need to take precedence over everything else – my health; my mental, emotional, and physical stability; my time; my relationships; my peace. It’s coming at a cost unfortunately; sometimes in the form of either staying back to tide my plate over or just losing some chunk of work or money, or both. It’s always about weighing those options against what you can and are willing to compromise and compensate with. Each of us have our own circumstances, our own journeys, our own experiences to help us draw these boundaries the way we do.

Back then I remember wanting this because the combined force of leaving home, adjusting to a new life and a new place, apart from the various hoard of responsibilities that came rushing my way, made me want to seek cover, an escape, something to find refuge in. Work has helped me find that solace. And now that I have it, it’s a balancing act of propelling this busyness with glorifying the simpler and more important things in life as well – in groundedness, in stillness, in quietude, in being able to clear my mind when I want to, in being able to live in the moment, in finding my zen and thriving in it, and allowing absolutely nobody else to encroach into my zone of zen.

It’s my own creation, my own discovery, my own salvation to attain in this glorification of busyness that’s gotten us all spinning past scooting days on a calendar, completely unaware of time, space, or even ourselves.

This is an effort, and one I’m working hard at. Or that’s what I’ve promised myself and the dark circles I’ve brought upon myself, among other things.

*clinks her glass full of iced tang at the one you’re sharing with her*

Here’s some music therapy along with some iced tang therapy for dark-circled men and women who need a minute to be still.

 

 

Peace and namaste to you.

128: Wisdom

8 May

Sucking on this ice lolly rather whimsically, I can’t help but think of this prayer that I once used to begin my workday with back while working at a rehab.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

This Serenity Prayer was just another routine thing I mumbled back in the day; a formality, a must-do, a not so crucial thing that didn’t really make a difference to my life. I didn’t know, and I couldn’t have cared less. I was there to do my work, get the job done, and get my ass back home from that all-male rehab which wasn’t the most pleasant of settings I imagined spending my summers in. But it was the need of that hour, and it was to be done minus much preoccupation.

Today is a different time. It’s seven years later, a long enough period for a lot to have happened, even if one was inert, existentially or otherwise. This has been a recurring thought to me off-late – to let go, to let go, to let go in absolution. I haven’t inspected the fear of letting go in absolution; no I have not. Neither have I bothered looking over the cliff to see the view and/or the fall. Like many things universal, this cliche is definitely easier said than done. But I’m fighting hard to not just try. And each day for a while now, has been exactly that – a reminder to work towards jumping off this cliff.

Sucking on this rather comforting lolly, I wish to, by action, also tell the world to go suck it.

I’m taking what’s mine and I’m walking away – go suck it.

I’m drawing my lines and you nasty, line-encroacher you, can go suck it.

I’m not going to care, and you can go suck it.

Watch me make 50% become my new 100% while you, my dear universe, can yes, go suck it.


This has made me feel better, strangely. I felt like I’ve left what’s unnecessary and jumped off the cliff. Or maybe that’s the soothing comfort of the ice lolly speaking – the sheer blindness of denial. Whatever it is, I’m feeling better already – a little less of me is preoccupied with things that really don’t matter (which I thought really did), and a lot of me is urging to fight this battle as hard as I can.

I hope you had a more fruitful Monday. Have this ice lolly, and suck it. Trust me.

(PS, thank you for stomaching the rant. I owe you!)

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. :)

90: The First Quarter

31 Mar

Shake me by my shoulders because we’re here on the final day of 2017’s first quarter. It’s been a whole three months since 2017 was born, and it’s been one whole month since I started working again. I mean shake me by my shoulders, will you? A lot of me feels like I’m floating dangerously away from this sense of time because it doesn’t feel like we’re starting the fourth month already. Four out of twelve. If I was better at math, I’d have quickly put in a shockingly dramatic stat to calculate time years like we do dog years. Assuming a year was equivalent to a hundred human years, we’ve just finished turning 25. Birth – 25 in a whizz.

If I were still sitting on my comfortable chair with my legs strewn across a beanbag underneath my table at my erstwhile and very corporate job, I’d be having those EoQ (End of Quarter) terminologies giving me some serious stress. I would be checking if my goals were met, if I exceeded them and by how much, if I fell short of them and by how much, and basically be figuring out the fireworks that ensue come the closing of every single darn quarter. Of course, there’d be the necessity to brag (which is a very okay and a very done thing in the world of corps) which would add an extra layer of discomfort on what is otherwise an already discomforting time for everyone. And if competition is a big thing, because of course it is, then you’d probably be either soaring or fuming if it mattered to you. This isn’t a dis, just a peek into what it feels like. This cheekiness and extreme orderliness has taught me more than my scepticism and conscience initially allowed me.

Either way, what I am trying to say without bragging or being annoying and in anybody’s face, is that I made it to 90 days! One whole quarter of blogging every single day. Three months of highs, lows, and plateaus. Countless moments of attempting to be novel. More moments that made me question myself and this entire challenge. But even more moments which gave me the strength, faith, and balls to carry on. On looking back, it’s been a whirr to be honest. There’s a lot I don’t remember, a lot that whizzed past me in what is a blur of days and expressions, but there’s this constant drive to continue, which I’m stumped to say, comes from within me. I promise I didn’t know of its existence. But it’s what gets me here, every single day, come immense procrastination, laziness, or just plain old randomness. Over and above everything else, it’s taught me about discipline, showing up, being present, and just about being aware, observant, and grateful.

And I swear, it all counts. :)

Also, happy Friday!