Tag Archives: Philosophy

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.

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. :)

94: Resonance

4 Apr

Today’s all about perfect indulgences…of which some of them are:

 

 

 

 

 

(drifts away)

83: The Magnetism Of Realness

24 Mar

I’ll admit that I’ve been taken over by Jon Krakauer’s work and style of writing. I’m still admittedly hugely absorbed in his telling of the 1996 Mt. Everest tragedy, scouring each word and expression to immerse myself into, not that his work warrants much effort. My experience with this book has been the realest thing I’ve read in the longest time; as if I was there, watching it all unfold in front of my eyes, undergoing the sharpness of each emotion felt by the ones on that expedition. I can’t remember when a book made me feel this way.

As far back as I can remember, biographies and non-fictitious works never called out to me. The only real-life tales I ever participated in were those of Jim Corbett, thanks to the influence his works had on my cousin brother, and therefore on me. I’ve never read Anne Frank, neither have I attempted a biography, no matter how well talked about or moving. They just couldn’t lure me back then. Of course I chanced upon the movie Everest after which I felt drawn towards Krakauer’s book for reasons too mysterious even for my comprehension.

Last night as I ensconced myself in this piece, I was unable to keep it aside, for how could one just leave when members you’ve come to know over so many pages lay in a Godforsaken place waiting to die or be saved? It’s not the drama, the eeriness, or even the incalculable struggle which kept me in my spot, I realised later as I drifted into sleep (talk about letting go and trying not to think!). It dawned upon me that a lot of me connected with the realism of what I was reading. Books come to you, like everything else that’s meant for you does, I believe. At a time when I’ve innumerable questions threatening to exhaust the last stock of my sanity and concrete (or so I thought) sense of self, here came a book that helped me find a path towards some answers, if not give me answers itself.

This strange existentialism that grips us all in myriad ways has its grasp on me too. Where am I going? What am I doing? Who am I? What is my calling? The questions are many, and overwhelming. Some people have their answers because of their sureties. I’m not one of them because I’ve never felt so nomadic before. I’m from everywhere and nowhere, I tell whoever asks me where I am from. Somehow that answer fits my understanding of this question best at the moment. And so the path continues.

Strangely enough, my course of thoughts, actions, questions, and behaviours already seem to have taken a deviation taking into cognizance this need for more realness than the imagined. The gears have changed and it’s a refreshing phase, that’s for sure.

52: Everest

21 Feb

There’s always been something about the mountains that has drawn me to them. It was only till very recently that I arrived at this insight, or even found my answer to this question I was asked in casual conversation sometime ago – are you a mountain or a beach person? This awareness also arose when I was winding my way across a range of them, not so long ago. The arrival of this answer came without conflict or second thoughts, even. It was plain, simple, uncomplicated, and unprecedentedly obvious – I was always, it seems, a mountain girl. It’s astounding how some answers seem to always be around; marked, perceptible, and in plain sight most often. Perhaps it was the role of time which lends this search a hand. Anyway, I had the answer, and I scoffed because it was so unbelievably obvious. A lot of me always concluded that I was a beach bum; after all who doesn’t love the experience of being sprawled on balmy, coral beaches? Heck, my entire idea of romance revolved, and still revolves around beaches, sea sunsets, and sea breeze. Nowhere in my fantasies or desires did I ever imagine wooden floors, fireplaces, snow, and stews! Beaches, it always was. On the other hand, I associated mountains with physical activities, which were predominant during my school-going days. A visit to the mountains always included treks, nature walks, rock climbing, and every single other activity that didn’t spell comfort, excitement, or even happiness to me. For someone who has a fear of heights, as much as she does of water, visits to beaches didn’t enforce any encounters with these fears, as our mountain trips did.

Yes, I was a complete ignoramus even when these weird connections and associations with the mountains were enormously present throughout my life. For one, I do not have a bucket list of places that are imperative for me to visit; in fact, I have just three that I desire to see; of which all of them are related to the mountains. A lot of me thinks it’s some sort of an enigmatic spiritual calling. The more I analyze these thoughts, the greater they pull me towards them. For example, and I cannot explain why, I have this fascination with the Himalayas. This enchantment, I’m certain, stems from no religious foundations, because I have none, when it comes to religion. But there’s a magnetism to this entire experience which makes it progressively inexplicable, and more intense as time passes.

When A first told me about the place he comes from, and consequently over many more conversations we had before and after we got married, the one coincidence that shone out to me was that these magnanimous mountains could be seen in plain sight from his home. I saw it in his photographs, and I saw it in his eyes and expressions. However, whenever I’ve visited home, they’ve either been shrouded or fractionally visible, unlike their usual track record. If I were to lead these incidents on, I’d say that maybe I’m meant to actually visit them at their feet and not from afar. If I was to be spiritual, I’d say they’ll call me when we’re ready to meet face-to-face. If I was serendipitous, I’d lay everything in the hands of time. Perhaps it’s all, or none, or a twisted amalgamation of all three.

A couple of weeks ago, I chanced upon the movie Everest, which I’d been meaning to watch when it released in 2015, but couldn’t. To say that it absorbed me completely and wholly, would be an understatement. I proceeded on to catch this same movie twice more, by chance, I promise, and watched it again. Every watch taught me something new. Every watch felt like it was the first time. Have you seen it? Do watch it. I proceeded on to reading up about it, and about the many auxiliary topics that revolved around it. My search led me to read up about the incident in itself, about the tourist season, about the climb, the experiences, the attempts, the failures…in fact, it was just yesterday when I watched the interview with Beck Weathers; one of the survivors of the 1996 incident who miraculously made it back to the camp after being left to die/considered dead for two days. If there’s one consistent fact that highlights itself, then it is that this range of mountains, has in its keep, a plethora of lessons for every single person who crosses paths with it. The evidence of this is beyond doubt or contest. Of course everything in Nature has a lesson to teach us all, and that’s unarguably true. It’s just about where, when, and via which means, these lessons make their way to us.

I urge you to watch the movie, even if you’re not into the Himalayas, or a fan of the mountains. It’s undoubtedly inspirational on all counts. Yesterday saw me randomly browsing the internet (I actually wanted to shop), when I came across Jon Krakauer’s book “Into Thin Air”, which I now want. He was one of the participants and survivors of the 1996 expedition which took the lives of many; and also has to his name another fantastic work of art titled “Into The Wild”, which was adapted into another movie that moved and worked on me in indescribable ways. I’ve written about it, here. They all speak of life, and most importantly, of its journey.

Someone great did, after all, say that life is not about the destination, but its journey.

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.

If I Could Turn Back Time…

13 Jul

I would find a letter addressed to myself that would say:

– Take care of yourself. Focus on your self. Yes, I would emphasize those two words as much as I could. I would decorate them with stars and sparkles and probably write them out in silver or gold.

– You’re on the right path. If you’re unaware of where you’re going and what you’re doing with your life, you’re on the right path because you’re still walking and have the need to go somewhere.

– Rest your faith in time and its absolute power.

– Surrender to the magic around you. Keep those bags down, stand up tall, and surrender.

– Keep an eye on your health. You aren’t getting any younger.

– But do know that your body is far more capable than your mind makes it to be. Push limits, build inner strength, challenge yourself mentally, physically and soulfully.

– Befriend patience, but stand up and ask or make a move, if you think the wait’s taking too long.

– Learn how to wear makeup, for Christ’s sake! While books, education, staying on the right path and building one’s self esteem is paramount, do understand that makeup is an art and needs to be known too.

– Stop caring so much about what others think. If it feels right, take the dive.

– However, learn to listen when you need to listen. Sometimes we’re so caught up with what we think is right and correct for us that we often fail to see it for what it could really be for us.

– Heartbreak is inevitable…so experience it rather than run away from it. More than your ex, it teaches you things you need to know about yourself.

– Fight. Fight for the things you want.

– Flirt. It helps ease things up sometimes.

– Relax. Life is unpredictable. You don’t want to live it with a constipated look.

– Learn that not every plan, every detail, every circumstance needs discussion and analysis.

– Letting go kills more fears than holding on.

– Embrace and understand failure to master the path of success.

The Puzzle And Its Pieces

12 Jul

With the past few weeks culminating in a very busy weekend, the most I could do come Sunday night was pass out by 9pm and wake up feeling like someone still had that energy-sucking straw stuck in me, the next morning. But when your once packed and routine-filled day suddenly frees up, one doesn’t really know what to do or how really to celebrate this blessing that is free time. And so I let the day flow by languorously, feeling rather odd and out of place; lazily picking up laundry that needed completing, disassembling that growing mountain of unfolded clean clothes that needed folding, and easing into that much needed head massage and head bath, as some sort of consolation prize…because head baths cannot be rushed, you know?

I’ve realised, after all my excited celebration, that it doesn’t rain in this city. Or rather, this city, it seems, is the last to see rain. The clouds just hang around all day like a tease you just don’t want to see anymore – because stationery clouds only mean unbearable humidity. I’ve never, ever seen an unwillingness to just rain and give us some relief, than over here. Of course, the husband says that once it rains, the flooding thanks to the city’s so called drainage system, makes you want to not see water. Oh well.

Yesterday was all about spending time with my family who stays here and with my aunt and uncle who are visiting for my uncle’s chemotherapy. It was a wonderful day filled with conversation after conversation, interspersed with laughter, madness, lots of nail painting, mango snarfing, ice cream gobbling, chai, food, and of course, photographs. There really is no better remedy than finding joy, solace, comfort and love in these small moments. A lot of it involved drawing my uncle out to talk about all that was on his mind – his childhood, his love for food, his stories which eventually led to him speaking about his pain and letting us in on his journey, his battle. It’s a nasty battle and one that is beyond gruelling. But that’s me just skimming what lies on the surface of it all. Sometimes it is important to not shun talking about suffering, pain and hurt. And so we talked and I learned a little more about his journey, his perspective, his understanding – there can be no other way to learn about somebody’s walk than from their own selves.

In the midst of it all, I’ve no idea how time passed us all by. There we were, yapping about the good old times like they happened just yesterday, and here we are now – all of us grown up, our parents inching towards retirement; their faces masked behind the veil of post retirement insecurities and fears, the unanswered questions of what lies next and where they’ll end up – there’s so much we leave unsaid, so much we do not talk about and push under the carpet for that tomorrow which isn’t far away. It really puts things into perspective and makes me look within to see where I stand and just how far I am from handling my duties and responsibilities. It’s real and it’s just around the corner. To not think about it and address these concerns is that sort of denial that’s pleasant to live in – because which child ever wants their parents to grow old? – except it’s that sort of denial which comes with a limited period offer tag. This time warp is an illusion and one that needs snapping out of, immediately.

It really puts our entire life cycle in perspective, especially when faced with the realities that lie ahead of us. They said getting married by a certain time was a good idea and they make sense even now. No, we do not need anyone’s support to get by, because like ma says, humans are born to strive and survive; humans make it through and that’s why we are the species that we are. But to have someone by your side doesn’t indicate weakness or incapability; far from, actually. A time comes when the pieces of this unfinished puzzle start falling into place. All those unanswered whats and whys automatically wither away… I’m beginning to learn that not everything has a verbal answer to it, as I once assumed and very vehemently believed.

Spending time with family and spending time with one’s own self helps put things into place. Whether it’s the continuous circle of life or the endlessly rotating wheel, it’s evident that movement is mandatory. Life goes on and will do. I’m certain no amount of banners, sloganeering and vociferous posts on social media can do a thing about it.

I believe it makes sense to walk on, because time really isn’t stopping for anyone. There’s so much to do, so many things to say, so many unfinished businesses to close and move on from, so many i love yous to say, so many laughs to share, so many kisses to savour…there are just too many things to be done; some good, some unpleasant, some ugly. But the promise of moving on is one that life makes to each of us and it’s an eye-opening one for sure.

*Update – the rains have arrived.

**Latest update – the rains have vanished.

From Where I Stand

28 Mar

Spring has come and gone.

It’s getting hot hot hot.

Too hot to now get out for a casual stroll or even for essentials.

It seems like only I’m standing still and the rest of the world couldn’t be moving at a faster pace.

The air hangs around languorously, still almost, quieter still.

My body is slowly but surely showing signs for the need to align my diet to become more summer friendly.

I will still always be a dal chawal girl and no salad can make me feel otherwise.

Everything looks and feels very certain even in all this present uncertainty. How?

There is no grass to compare shades of its greenery to. I guess it’s a good thing.

I’m not missing Facebook. It’s been 28 days and there isn’t even a hint of wanting it just yet.

From where I stand, it looks like a path for me to walk on has been created, I’m very certain of that. What that path is or how I’m to find it, is what the grey area is. Sometimes this quest for that path leaves me sleepless, tossing about and wondering exactly where it is that I’m supposed to go. Like I said, I’ve never felt more certain in my life even when I’m steeped in my present uncertainties. It was only when I was told by my husband’s friend and his friend’s wife about how brave it really is to leave your all – job included – and just move lock, stock and barrel, did my perspectives on being so harsh on myself change. I’m not as worried about getting a job, because that’s the easy part, really. 

From where I stand today, and while so many things remain unclear, the one thing that couldn’t be more evident is the fact that I can say no to whatever it is that I do not want. Breaking off has that advantage, I’m gradually beginning to realize. When you are at a time and place where all your peers, friends and people your age are climbing the many ladders they choose to climb or are compelled to climb, the rat race suddenly seems even more urgent, more necessary even…just so there is conformity, there is a routine, there is a sense of identification.

From where I stand, it looks like everything is so still and so fast-paced simultaneously. This mind-bend, this illusion is transitory, I hope?

This quote featured on a blog which I haven’t been able to find ever since (so annoying!) made me ease up, breathe better and relax. It isn’t just a mere coincidence to come across something you need to see…there are signs everywhere, and they come to each of us when we’re too lost or too blinded to see…a belief I hold very dear to my heart…enough to find immense truth and gratitude in it.

 Learning: Look straight ahead. Wear blinkers to alleviate your blindness.