Tag Archives: Learning

149: A Day In The Lives Of Most Of Us

29 May

I woke up very early for a Sunday. Given that I had to go in to work as well, it felt oddly fine to get out of bed before 7am; after all, there’d just be more time to do the things I’d wanted to do. Sunday mornings, according to me, ought to be spent savouring the best the weekend has to offer – it’s quiet, it’s peaceful, it’s pleasant, it’s the calm you need before the rush of yet another week begins. Therefore, in order for my Sunday to be perfect, it needs to be hearty in a subtle, non-overpowering way. For that, I have always imagined either sipping my tea whilst inhaling the aromas of a freshly baked cake rising in the oven or while digging into said warm cake as I have my tea. There’d also be the ambient sounds of chirping birds, the rustle of a newspaper, the crack of a biscuit or two (though they don’t really feature in this act when there’s cake around), minimal conversation, and perhaps the subtle seduction of a guitar playing in the background as well. I achieved some of this yesterday; except there wasn’t any cake fluffing up in the oven because I’d run out of baking powder and hadn’t bothered remembering to get a new bottle. I sought the company of my blog instead, when I still had tea to drink and was done with my papers.

Today was a different set-up. It did involve the appropriation of my Sunday morning fantasies, except, it looked and felt a little like this; something that may be all too familiar to you as well.

Please note that this is the dream I was trying to achieve – sipping on my cup of tea with A, while reading the newspaper in the ambience of chirping birds and the aroma of a cake.

I woke up and by default put on some water to boil for tea. In the meantime, I got the ingredients for my cake ready, and was just about to start on this process when; and I will use the now atrociously common phrase “but first let me…” (not take a selfie, but…)

…add milk to this boiling water for my tea.
…scoop this cream that’s collected on top of this bowl of milk and keep it aside.
…gather all the cream I’ve been collecting and make some ghee (clarified butter) out of it, since I already have the cream at hand.
…turn the tea off (it was done by then and was listlessly boiling away and becoming too strong for our liking)
…get the process of ghee-making started
…put my cake batter together
…oil my hair so I can let it rest while I have my tea, leaving me with enough time to wash it once tea is done.
…turn the tea back on (it had cooled down by now)
…wake A up, because I’ve become his alarm clock now.
…get our tea and biscuits on the table (the cake was in the oven)
…say hello to my plants which are now outside my house (as A opened the door to get the newspaper)
…read while I have my tea
…but wait, let me Instagram this perfect moment
…skim the ghee off the kadhai (wok)
…enjoy my tea-time. Babska, enjoy the present moment, always.

This is endless. This happens to each of us. This has become a regular feature of my life which, if given precedence over everything else, takes over my ability to do one thing at a time (is that necessarily a bad thing?!, you’d ask), or anything else that I might wish to do (like sleep, for example).

Some may call it the ants-in-my-pants syndrome; I just call it the this-domestication-gives-two-fucks-about-living-life-in-the-moment. Sigh.

Having said that, I did end up having my (still) hot tea with biscuits, as I instagrammed a photograph and then proceeded on to read, while enjoying the ambience of birds, the rustle of trees, the shuffle of the newspaper, and the smell of freshly baked cake and homemade ghee that was bubbling away, all in the company of A. I hope you have a wonderful week ahead, and a great Monday today. :)

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!)

115: The Ease Of Walking Halfway

25 Apr

It was till almost 11pm last night when I finally got up from my chair to head to bed. I knew what I wanted to do in class today, except I didn’t have the means to get it all done. It’s finally time to get into that part of my subject which I find both fascinatingly intriguing and painful to study as well. My mind only kept insisting that I begin this new chapter with either a reading from a book or by watching a movie based on the same book.

I rushed to my Kindle (what a blessing technology is) only to find the book unavailable, perhaps for controversial reasons. A visit to the bookstore was out of the question. Besides, venturing into this heat towards zero guarantees is a risk I wasn’t willing to take. However, some thinking and help later, I had the movie with me, ready for my students to watch today.

They came halfway too, today. Having sacrificed their break to watch this movie made it seem worth my while. I wish I could be there to see them through the end of the movie (I had another class, but they watched the entire thing in one sitting, letting it spill into their next hour). One needs support, answers, closure when you’re dealing with something so real, yet so unknown and new.

I am looking forward to opening them up to more experiences with my subject, but in time of course. However, these small joys of working, learning, exploring avenues and potentials of learning seal the deal completely.

114: Manic Monday

24 Apr

My posts are increasingly a review about the days that come and sometimes crash into me or days I mostly walk into with some sense of chaos. I hope to work on that and write more about meaningful things, except the only meaningful things that occupy my mind are that of school and class-related work. It’s something I’m working on.

Before reflecting on today, let me quickly reflect on the embarrassment that was yesterday’s RCB match. I’ll assume they have a menacingly dense grey cloud holding fort right above their heads, because there’s just no other explanation to that. I mean I actually have no words for the joke of a nightmare that experience was. But I’m an RCB girl, and I’ll just have to give my team the best vibes and thoughts I can. FOOLS.

Today was about learning, throwing myself out there a little more than I’m used to, and tackling fear by its horns. It turns out that rushing head-on into a fear sort of dismantles it instantly. I was left feeling victorious, empowered, and so silly for being afraid of something I’d obviously magnified in my mind over the weekend, and therefore consequently wasted so many brain noodles on this stress.

There’s a palpable joy in accountability, in watching someone, even if it is one person, turn to you and say thank you with genuineness. Sense of self and confidence intact, gratitude patches even the most fulfilled souls. Maybe this is what keeps teachers going despite the cruel hell their daily life can be, on an okay day. Maybe it is about being a little more than a forgotten speck whom the world walks past. I don’t know, and I’m not sure.

Meeting students fresh out of their board exams, students I’ve never met before, and students who looked at me as though my being there made a difference to them (even though talking about an exam is the last thing anyone wants immediately after a paper), was an eye-opener today.

Every single day is a new day, and every single day brings forth an opening leaf with fresh lines to read, learn, and cherish.

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. :)

31: One Month!

31 Jan

One month, you guys, I’ve managed to clock a whole 31-day month. Thank you for stopping by, and for your support. I haven’t felt more gratified on this space in a long, long, time. I solemnly hope that this endeavour continues.

There’s actually so much distress all over the world, and I feel very ostrich-like for not engaging (for the lack of a better word) enough, or speaking out, or just participating, you know? Instead, here I am, wrapped in my own world, not oblivious, but focusing on other things that are more in my control. Moreover, I’m at a loss for words and feel a vacuum within me with respect to so much that’s happening all around us. What’s happening in the United States – does it matter? Yes, it does. But in my view, the US of A does not comprise the entire world; there’s far too much that’s already been happening for much too long in many other countries that didn’t choose to be in the state they are in. I just sincerely hope that we can work towards being more tolerant again, someday.

There wasn’t a plan or a fixed post structure I had in mind on logging in, here. Neither did I think I’d begin with matters that are too heavy to digest. But when you wake up to BBC’s banners with the stuff that’s making news today, it’s just a bitter and deeply disturbing taste to begin one’s day with. Too much, too often, and about the same stuff over and over again. It’s hard to wear blinkers, you know? But not all’s lost, and so I’ll hope, and keep hoping. In the meantime, and almost at the cost of sounding insensitive, I cannot believe I’ve written for a month straight. It’s a strange feeling of accomplishment, I’ll tell you.

When I began, the only thing I wanted, more than writing every day, was to inculcate a habit of consciousness and awareness into my space. I don’t mean to say that mindless writing isn’t therapeutic or healthy; not in the least. But making an effort to be conscious and be in-the-moment of what I’m doing, has given me more than I’d imagined it would. For example, it helps me focus on the positives, more; which in turn helps me experience gratitude more, which in turn enhances my perspectives and way of experiencing things, more. This cycle has shown to me, in just a month, and even during my bad days, that I’m capable of channelising happiness and positiveness; that I overlook the many rights that are overshadowed by fewer wrongs; that it’s so darn easy to miss the good stuff especially when they’re so minute and miss my radar because I’m so busy not looking or being aware. Most of all, writing for a month straight has given me something to look forward to; even on those horrendous days when I cannot put my thoughts into words. I’m not certain about what lies ahead, and I choose not to think about it because it’s not in my control, but I do wish to keep this going. Do keep reading and wish me bloggers’ luck, dear reader. :)

On to the other things, here’s me sharing what I’ve learnt so far (they’re in third person, again, because I’m talking to myself, as usual). Apologies, if there are any repeats.

Take things one day at a time. This doesn’t mean you don’t think about the future or plan for it. It means you set your goal, and then chalk your path towards it, one day at a time. 

Don’t be afraid of the goals you set. Be realistic and practical.

It’s undeniably easy to look at others reaching their goal and to marvel at their willpower. It’s easier still, to chide yourself for not being strong enough. Know that everyone has their struggles and faces their own challenges on their respective journeys.

Understand that bad days are on the same spectrum of okay days and good days. It’s okay to fail.

Befriend patience.

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

What I’ve learnt is not over the top or even rocket science. It is simple, everyday stuff that’s, believe it or not, quite revolutionary. If I fail in seeing this goal through, I’ll know that I tried and that I learnt from it, the stuff that I did. Hopefully these insights will keep me going, and more importantly, sustain my motivation. And hopefully you’ll continue walking along with me, too. :)

Dear reader, I did intend for this post to be something else altogether, certainly more positive and chirpy, but I cannot, especially today, deny the heaviness that is in me, which seems to want centre stage. I don’t wish to brood or give it precedence over my entire day, and I hope to find the strength to push these thoughts away like I have been for sometime now. However, watching our world fall apart at so many levels is distressing. I’m not sure how many times I’ve used the word hope in my post today, but I reckon it’s also fighting for that centre stage position…and I really hope (haha!) it wins. :)

May we conquer the larger and smaller demons within ourselves and in this world, at large. May we give tolerance its due space on the podium. May we reach out and become more aware, more conscious, more forgiving. And may we learn to live, and love, and to live with love. Sigh. This is me saying ta-ta for the day with the help of one of my favourite people-artists, Molly, from Buddha Doodles. Her work has been hugely inspirational to me.

buddha-doodles_optimistic

Have a lovely day! :)

Being Married

2 Dec

We turned a grand total of one, last week.
(I hope we turn many more years older, together)

With these months in my kitty, it feels like I can write a book about marriage, and on being married. Maybe I will, some day. But today isn’t that some day. Today I’m doing a little bit of what a lot of my year has been like…

That of complete surrender even when I desperately tried clinging on to the me I knew of all my life.

That of finding a newer version of the same old me.

That of learning to love beyond the cliches.

That of witnessing intensely powerful emotions even when all I wanted was to maybe just have an ice cream or do something simpler.

That of watching love, anger, hate, fear, sadness, and a lot of the unknown, collide, mix and interact.

That of understanding what leaving home really, really meant.

That of figuring out what those tears that I cried during my wedding, meant…much later.

That of  understanding compromise and killing subduing one’s ego.

That of accepting oneself and each other at the our best, average, worst, and ugliest versions, respectively.

That of communication, trust, and freedom.

That of allowing oneself and each other to be vulnerable all over again…love cannot embed or germinate in hardened hearts.

That of finding oneself in this merger of selves.

That of automatically loving the other even when white sheets of anger rained.

That of patience and the magic of time.

That of physical touch.

That of expressing and responding to desires.

That of eye contact.

That of sharing; almost everything (and I don’t mean email passwords).

That of comfort even with bushy eyebrows and forests freely grow on one’s limbs.

That of being co-dependent, not dependent or independent.

That of being alone in each other’s company.

That of picking which battles to fight.

That of understanding each other’s personal space.

That of silence.

That of responsibility, oh of responsibility.

That of not giving up no matter how hard it might get sometimes.

The list is endless, all that I’ve learnt, even more so. It’s been a crazy journey of running, walking, trying to catch up, going out of breath, getting ahead, staying in tune. Sometimes I run out of words to describe the experience, and sometimes my emotions get the better of me. I have learnt more about myself in the past few months than any book or words could have taught me. But I know I wouldn’t have come to where I am today without the help of those I turn to on a very regular basis. Knowing you aren’t alone is the biggest booster.

Marriage is a lot of hard work, I was told many a times. And truer words haven’t been spoken.

But it’s quite the ride if you and your heart are game for it. It’s a heart game; all heart. And it’s beautiful, even when you’ve forgotten to wear waterproof makeup. :)

13 September

13 Sep

Since we’ve moved, we’ve been more or less disconnected from the world at large. With an absent cable connection and no newspaper subscription yet, it’s a strange bubble we’re living in; one where news comes to us in the form of notification snippets that NDTV or BBC slip our way or when we switch on some news via the internet. It’s a rather unfamiliar feeling of knowing only broken pieces of an event or not knowing the event at all, sometimes. In the middle of all this, the Supreme Court gave Karnataka the verdict it didn’t really want to hear and has been fighting against receiving since before I was born probably. My city has shut down, I hear. It’s scary to imagine what’s going on without constantly being tuned in to the happenings of a very angry people fuelled by a very volatile mentality.

I really do believe that there are only so many prayers that can work; that logic is the need of the hour at most times and that these are also idealistic concepts, clearly. There’s nothing stronger than emotion, it seems, especially when it is communally driven. Of course there’s no question about the powerful political undertones that really have steered this to what it has become today. It all just feels like an endless fight that just goes around in a circle stuck in the same place, same time, same mentality. In times like these, I’m hoping for the very best. Maybe some biryani could help. Or maybe not. One can hardly ever tell, these days.

****

Yesterday made me realise in many small and big ways, that you’re required to sell a lot of yourself, for the lack of a better word, to move forward. We call that change or adapting. We call that bartering, give and take, creating new avenues for growth. Never have I felt so conflicted before. Apparently this sort of thing has been around forever; this you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours business. The concept of liberty, freedom of being what you want to be and putting to action all that you speak so openly about, is one that comes with many a terms and conditions; baggage that is too heavy to carry and too volatile to keep down. It is true. You want to stand out, you stand all alone. Except, that standing out isn’t a very welcome thought. As I enter newer paths that I’ve to walk on, it becomes clearer that my options to really be who I want to be, become fewer and far in between. You either fit in and become someone that you never thought you would be, or you find your voice (if at all) by going down fighting for it. There’s apparently no other way, or so I felt yesterday. It’s a damning world, this one.

****

Owing to all this that was doing the rounds in my head yesterday, today feels like I want to just stop and not take in anything; except maybe music. I’m not in the mood for conversations or people or much else. Of course this isn’t really going to help me get to where I want to go to, but sometimes shutting down helps. No words. No questions. No answers to give. The furore lashing in my mind and aimed directly at my sense of identity, or lack thereof, feels too tumultuous to even warrant anything. There’s no room for any kind of accommodation. There only seems to be white anger. And deep sadness. And a heightened sense of loss and loneliness. And so I began my day with music and writing and water. There is also a previously postponed plan to meet a friend which must be kept and seen through, today. Hopefully that may make it all better.

****

Going by how I’ve made it almost a rule and therefore imperative to find positivism wherever I can, I’m always trying to sponge off the little titbits of goodness that are around me. So, in the middle of all this friction yesterday, I lost my FaceTime virginity to a very dear friend. P called me last night to honour the long pending catch-up session we were to have; except she wanted to see my face. To be honest, I’m not a fan of anything face/video related when on a call; simply because it removes that extra barrier which talking over the phone gives you to hide behind. The only time I dove headfirst into Skype was for my Master’s dissertation interview and that was that. But when P called me yesterday and when I reached over to my phone only to see my face, my heart skipped a beat. But the joy in seeing her after years and chatting, laughing, and generally faffing around, was unparalleled. Maybe I need a longer initiation period, but I’m feeling more confident and ready to FT with whoever will be kind enough to FT back with me.

****

Speaking of goodness, girlfriends are a gift and it would be best to keep them closest to you. Really. They’re the antidote, the pretend boxing bag, the mirror, the magnifying glass, the jug of joy and all things good we always need. Also, they’re full of stories, love, and light. The good ones, i.e. In a world that is constantly getting smaller yet more distant, keeping a life private is difficult, yet achievable. I’d like to believe I’m a very private person, whose miserliness on parting with information is directly proportionate to whom it’s going to. We all are like that, I think. I don’t really have a person in Grey’s Anatomy’s context. But there’s the magnificent luxury of calling some, my own. And for now, that’s much more than I have asked for.

****

PS, she arrived just when I was finishing this post but before I could hit publish. She brought a sense of belonging, a stash of memories, a feeling of normalcy, and a book for me, with her. Really, I couldn’t have asked for more.