Swimming in an ocean of thoughts.....

Ask me no questions and i shall tell you no lies :)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Cast off & disbanded..? ...a sorry tale! ~ Mindfull musings

"Dear readers,

(This post is just a short tale of my life until now, which has been suddenly filled with not so good moments. To be precise, it is a time when I am stranded, and am unsure on how to react.) 

It feels weird but can’t help feeling this eeriness that has suddenly crept into my nerves right now. It feels strange, sad and quite unacceptable. And.....what am I talking about? Well.....have you ever felt neglect, all of a sudden? Have you ever felt abandoned, all of a sudden? Have you ever felt unloved, all of a sudden? I have been feeling all of the above in the past 5 days. Definitely, who does not feel that way when circumstances go awry and time goes bad? I guess, am no different. And now, with no energy to think sanely, I just feel like rewinding time to reminisce a few memories from past to make myself feel better.....

.....I remember having come into this beloved home of mine in 1984. Back then, I was quite an apple in everyone’s eye. I loved crowd a lot and especially kids. Kids have this trait of getting along well very easily. They are so impressionable, amicable and so pure. In fact, I have always been the happiest in their company. And to sum it all, let's say, days of youth are always worth remembering. And back then, I was a beauty. I was definitely a cynosure of people's eyes and have been so for years. Never a day passed, when I was not woken up and greeted a very good morning with a smiling face, or was not put to sleep without a love filled good night. In times to come, I evolved into an urban kind and I definitely had it high flying. As a matter of fact, when you are given so much importance in life, you feel blessed, happy and content. There is nothing more one could ask for. There was always a lot of love and care in this home that made me oblivious to any emotion of the other kind. Even when I fell sick, I was tended to, immediately. Love can work wonders. Sometimes, even while you are sick, love cures half of your ailment. And my body was no exception. It has always responded and still responds to love like magic. For me, just an acknowledgement of my existence and achievement is all I need to live life in full health and with a peace of mind.....

.....But then, something happened. Peace of mind suddenly became a misnomer and here I am giving a piece of mind about what has happened......Around 5 days back, I suddenly fell in a trance.....I felt someone squeeze my throat and then, there was a sound - 'cluck'. After that, everything went blank, though my sub conscious mind was taking a note of whatever was happening. What I felt was a sudden drop in my pulse rate. And in that debilitating state, I still remained oblivious to the cause. What was even more shocking, rather than surprising was, not one soul had come and checked me, as to why I had not gotten up. The sudden shock of abandonment combined with the physical pain was so excruciating that my thinking had reached a dead end. Suddenly no one was bothered, or rather I could not see much around me. Too many cryptic thoughts were taking shape and one of them was chiding me, 'More than 2 decades of your existence in this home, your contribution to this family in their hours of happiness and gloom alike, your sense of companionship in all good and bad times is being repaid with what? Absolute indifference.....?' 

The pain of having to co-exist with friends-turned-strangers is so insanely cruel.....Have the inmates of my beautiful home really forgotten me? Oh God, Please don’t let this be.....”

P.S: The pain stricken narrator of the above post is my 26 inched SONY television that broke down all of a sudden on 26th October (Dot on the day of Diwali). 

And I felt like giving it a piece of my mind too.....

“Dear Television,

We do miss you a lot. Well, off late we have been availing your services day and night non stop that somewhere down the line, we just took you for granted and failed to take a notice of your already deteriorating health (your Start Button has been giving undue problems for the past 1 year, which my mom had told me time and again not to press too hard). And you know me well. I seem to have this dangerous combo of forgetfulness and compulsive disobedience, that I precisely did what my mother had asked me not to do. And so on the day of Diwali, I pressed your start button so hard, that you just choked until you couldn't blink with that white light of yours! Yes, you did not get up. Or rather, let me put it this way, you have been in a vegetable state for the past 5 days. Now, don't give me that dirty look! I know, I am the culprit but what I did was definitely not an act of deliberation. I can vouch for that. What made me reply to your 'heart-wrenching', 'sympathy-seeking' post, is that I have been going through a lot too, ever since you went comatose! You perhaps, have no idea how much you are being mourned here, and how much I have been reprimanded/taunted/thrown dirty looks at, persistently for making my mother miss that exclusive ‘Solomon papaya’s Pattimandram’ on Sun Tv (on the day of Diwali), the regular Asianet Star Singer programme (on weekdays) and the musical programmes that are aired on DD Podhigai every morning. And there, my dad has already started using my quota time on Internet, saying I have been the cause of his not being updated with his Sensex news on NDTV Profit and that he could have done better with his share market and mutual fund activities, had I not pressed your 'Start' button so hard. And now, if you want to know if I have missed you in any way, I probably would have, had not I been treated with so much of scorn and taunts for making you sick! Of course, someone truly named you an Idiot box.....

But then, I harbor no ill feelings. You definitely have given me great company back in school days, seducing me every now and then with your action packed thriller movies and programmes full of musical karaoke, even in times when board exams loomed over my head as daggers ready to strike. Yet, I have just been kind enough, preferring you to those crappy exams! So, trust me.....you are going to be just fine. As you know, here in Gujarat, shops remain closed for 5 days post Diwali, until La panchami. Tomorrow as all shops will be open for business, your doc man will be en route soon to get you back to your real self. And please stop acting as if you are already dead! You better not be for that matter! Coz, you are being missed a tad too much and you sure will be pampered once you are back! So, till then take a ....." 


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Changing seasons, nostalgic memories and an adorable present ~ Mind musings

There is quite a lot to the term – nostalgia and especially when it is a season that brings back cherished memories from childhood. Of all the seasons, or should I say, of all the months in an year, I love the ending months or the ending season. Not that I don’t like the others any less, but I somehow love the shades of foggy white dawns, those wee dews and those tranquilizing nights of this season, which are perhaps patent to winters alone. And now in my hometown, as I peek out in the wee hours of dawn, I am taken back to a time.....

.....where I can see a small girl not aged more than 12 years old, in a school uniform cloaked with a blazer and a head scarf, with a big bag mounted on her back and patiently waiting at the corner of her street with her mom, and swaying her water bottle to and fro, making a few chuckling sounds as her mother instructs her about her schedule for the day. The time, I suppose is around 6:30 AM and winters always greet with a dawn much late than summers. Hence, it is pitch dark outside except for a mist frothing in the air that would have made it all the more difficult to differentiate between a night and a breaking dawn, only if it were not for the early birds that had already started their day with a lot of chirping and tweeting. And then, from the turning of the fourth street from where this mother daughter duo were standing, there was some roar of an engine. The next moment, the mother alerted and again patted her daughter and made sure, she had not missed out on anything. In a few seconds, in the darkness before a misty dawn, there was light coming from far away. The source was a pair of headlights. As it neared, the horn blared into the tranquility of the darkness which was fading away gradually. I could see now, that the source was a jeep. It halted at the stop and the daughter boarded in. Before that, the mother planted the usual kiss on the daughter's forehead. The mother then waved her good bye. And the jeep honked off, leaving a trail of dusty white fumes.....The day had dawned by then, with a faint orange light streaking its way from the horizon into the dark blue sky.....

.....And at that very precise moment, the flowing nostalgia from a generation gone by is now intervened by a sweet cooing sound in the present followed by a long cute yawn by my 4 month old son. Yeah, he is already 4 months old and guess what, he has started communicating in his own language with a lot of sweet nothings like ‘waaaa-aaaaa-maaaa…….taaaaa…..tataataaaaa…….paa………paaapapapapapapa…..’ and there is no end to his music which is far sweeter than any melody heard until now. His kick boxing activities have increased by leaps and bounds and he wants to climb on anything he gets a foot over. Off late, he has started rolling in full swing and turns his head left and right perfectly, trying to take a better look at the surroundings, be it flowers, animals, neighbors or even TV, which a few months before were a way too hazy. Everything now fascinates him. And rather it is also the other way round. He fascinates everyone with his irrepressible charm and that billion dollar toothless grin.

Watching a child grow and learn is magic altogether. Every sound they make has a meaning, an indication of their needs, moods and temperament. Of course, as adults we are slow learners and it takes us a while to hang on to the learning schedule. Nevertheless, it is fun and at the same time bliss. In fact, people who don’t believe in God will start believing once they have kids. Every month since they come on board, every day is special, a milestone to reach. From those half closed eye lids to extensive observation, from those unconsciously lopsided smiles in sleep to consciously wide acknowledgement grins when not sleeping, from those crying out of need to much understood cooing and wincing, every phase dawns out the wonders of nature, the mystical ways of the omnipresence.....

I can clearly see the familiar loop of love, compassion and sacrifice taking shape again. The loop of parenthood. However, it is a new loop, filled with untold happiness, unseen challenges and achievements yet to be made. I now see, why that memory of that little girl breezed me. The feeling of having gotten a new role to play in life is now flowing in my veins. And the feeling is incredibly overwhelming. From a cherished childhood to a memorable present, motherhood has always been a journey of a lifetime. Only back then, the mother was a girl and now that girl is a mother. Changes are so certain and permanent. And sometimes, they feel incredible too. No more fuss over some extra pounds gained or some shades of grey on the head; no more cribs over the years gone by, or the moments of outings that seem more less than often; no more frets over sleeplessness and hunger, no more impulsive thoughts and actions......the evolution towards a new role has only started.....

"It is not until you become a mother that your judgment slowly turns to compassion and understanding.". 

When Emma Bombeck quoted the above lines, it just summed everything a mother would want to say. And, when it is about motherhood, every sacrifice made, every pain that is borne and every difficult decision made in life is worth all the joys a child can give, and mind it, the joys of life ONLY a child can give.....God bless...!!


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Where did those companions disappear? ~ Lost in time

I had these two great companions. In fact, I have known them since long, even before I started going to school. They helped me see the world, feel it, understand it, interpret it, analyze it and act accordingly. They were there when I was happy. They were there when I was sad. They were there when I was zestless. They were there when I had too many moods merging into one that many a time, led me to do nothing else but sit, think and stare at them blankly. They have been with me for the longest time span, irrespective of the changes around. As I grew up, I made many friends, with some of whom, I am still in touch; with some of whom I broke up; with a few, I mended fences and then with a few, moved away unconsciously. However, in all those times, these companions were there, silently watching me, and giving me subtle hints to help me out, but only to be spurned with indifference to their calls to offer help. And with time, the indifference was reciprocated. The distance between us grew so much that I don’t hear from them no more. The void in heart was building up, thought the feeling of desertion was very gradual. And, one fine day they just disappeared! When? How? Why? These questions rattled more often now. Perhaps, I had surmised that they would be there for me always. Or perhaps, I had taken them for granted and so much that I never acknowledged their presence even if it were required. Perhaps, I never put conscious efforts to make their importance known to the world. And perhaps, I drifted away to new friends. Perhaps....aah I still want to self console with some excuse! Damn human nature! Sometimes, when one unconsciously drifts away, the relationship does not sour, it starts to thin. In due course of time, it does not rot, but becomes unfamiliar. And then, one is left wondering, whatever happened…..?

.....Half a decade has passed by. Not that we haven’t met since then. We now meet more often on a professional basis. The personal touch had been lost. When was the last time I sat and talked with them for hours, pouring out my mind and heart to them? Don’t remember……. When…..

I don’t remember precisely the time and day when I had bonded with pen and paper. I also don’t remember when I had started writing diaries…..Yes, that one inclination shone out in my cabinet of undesirable habits that annoyed my parents to no bounds. For me, getting up late and listening to JLO’s I am real, rather than to Kausalya  Suprabatham (much to the chagrin of my mother) was a more preferred way of greeting dawn. Watching late night movies, sleeping in the wee hours of morning, reading Tinkles, Champaks, Reader’s digests and India Today just when exams would be round the corner and then day dreaming endlessly when there would be ample time to catch up with my studies were just some to list here. And in all of this endless nonsense, there was some sense that came out from the companionship I had with pen and paper. Yes, writing somehow helped me complement the brimming annoyance caused by my way of life. Back in my school days and tween years, this one habit had helped my parents curb their irrepressible dissatisfaction at my lousy lifestyle, despite the fact that I was academically above average. And what was our friendship all about? I used to write when I wanted, what I wanted, what and how I felt and what I would like to do in my life. Mostly, my diaries reflected my moods, my reaction to people around and my interpretations of what kept happening around all the time. The companionship seemed eternal then. Little did I know, changes even though minor affect us in a big way…..

And then one fine day I realized, I had suddenly stopped writing. I don’t know when. I don’t know why. I don’t know how. It just happened. Although the writing had stopped, but the realization that it had stopped dawned late. Very late, rather. I still cannot figure out answers. The feeling of having lost these selfless companions, is still sinking in. Or perhaps, mind is playing games and it is not letting the heart accept the fact instantly. Or perhaps, blame it on Internet. Yes, at least there is something to blame upon. Damn human nature again! As I start recollecting the incidents that led to this unceasing distance between us, some bits and pieces are returning back. In college years, I never really had enough time to pen down as frequently as I would, yet managing to write a few notes everyday, which too disappeared gradually without a bang. And then, after college the touch had just vanished without a trace. When I had started working, I felt that even 24 hours a day was too less. And the distance went on increasing due to many other factors. Like, I preferred more outings, more parties and more fun outside to writing diaries. And then, when the paper and pen had moved away from me, or rather the other way round, there is no definite answer. Now, it feels as though they are strangers…..

It is a pain when your friends turn into foes. However, it is greater pain when they turn into strangers not acknowledging your presence as before. And now, self is trying hard…..the letters are not as beautiful as before, the slant of the characters is too sloppy, their shapes no more attractive and with fingers full of undying indolence! Now self tries hard to mend the friendship. It needs them now. It knows, it cannot depend on machines eternally. It now has realized that the feel of pen and paper cannot be beaten by the keys on a keyboard. The realization has struck and now self waits patiently for the companions to realize that there is a chance to this beautiful relationship again…..


Monday, October 17, 2011

Someone who I envy and insanely love, at the same time ~ For a special friend

There are many moments in one’s life when one fails to understand the thin line of difference between what one needs to hear and what one wants to hear. I have had many such ones, especially with this special friend who has been with me all time, in times good and bad alike! Her words of wisdom were often what I wanted never to hear and yet, made a place for them in the back of my head. It has been such a long long time and journey for both of us and needless to say, both of us have evolved in a special way in the journey of life until now. We have had together, the best laughs and the worst fights, the long night gossips and day long advice sessions, the long nights of studying and best holidays and in fact, we have been through such a phase in life too when her life and mine seemed to revolve only around each other and none! I do not know what makes this relationship so enigmatic, yet I know one thing for sure. I would not be the one today, so confident, so independent and so tough a survivor without this friend’s help. Yes, she has been with me since my childhood days, school days, college days, when my career graph was just coming up and now, when I myself am a mother. And she is there for me, whenever I need her, as ever. But then, all this time there was lot of envy wth this love factor too. Many a time, I have questioned myself as to why am I not like her. A perfectionist in everything that she is, she steals the show wherever she goes. Sure, I envy her the most, as much as I love her....

.....As time takes me down the lanes of chapters from my childhood chronicles, I realize that I envied almost everything about her. Her intelligence, her soft demeanor, her trim and toned figure (very much unlike mine), her sweet voice (again very much unlike mine), her deep black eyes and her zest in accomplishing everything she undertakes, perfectly used to point out the pinnacle of a life to be led for me, a point which almost seemed impossible to reach for me, back then. In fact, everything about her spoke volumes of what I was not. Back in school days, I remember how instant jealousy used to engulf me, when she could solve a math problem in a jiffy, while I used to take hours, sometimes days to finish the same. And that false ego always prevented me from asking her the solution, even when I knew, that to ask her the solution would be the right thing to do, as it would save my time! Even while we sketched, she was way better than me! Be it painting, playing chess or badminton, be it any sports, be it getting ideas for science projects or be it playing business world, my special friend beat me in all. However, I knew the happy truth too – It was she alone who was filled with utmost joy, when I scored well in my exams or got awarded with accolade in debates and science fests. And that love used to point out my own wasted ego over something baseless in me. That feeling often made me fight with her for reasons sillier than silly and still, all I could get out of her was that smile, that divine smile of knowing, which used to instantly soothe my bruised falsified ego! But then there was no doubt about my love for her. With all that envy, my love slowly turned into respect with time. Yet, the envy remained for long and kept me questioning her every now and then – ‘What it is in you that is missing in me? Why did the Almighty make you so talented and me just some mediocre?’, to which she replied kindly as always, ‘You are always special to me, dearie! You don’t have to be me because you are special and you have talents which I have not. Just wait till your box of special talents is unlocked.’ And then, I patiently started waiting.....

The wait went on. The wait covered my failures when my rock solid friend backed me with a never ending support, boosting my morale and strengthening my resolve to succeed, until one fine day her words ringed true for me and I could feel success in my veins. There, she gave me that look then -'See, I told u so!', with a beaming smile. At least, the inner peace had resumed its reign over mind and heart and I felt indebted to her for the future she had guided me into. But the envy doesn’t end yet, although it has taken a new form now - Acceptance. I know now, I can never be her. She has set too high a standard for perfection in every walk of life. And certain standards cannot be reached in one lifetime. But yet, I would strive to reach some of it in this life......

P.S: So people, if you were wondering who this special friend is, then let me diffuse the suspense. She is none other than the beautiful better half of my father, the adorable mother-in-law to my husband and the silver haired grand mother to my son, she is my best friend, my Mother! 

This post is dedicated for this one special lady who created me; watched me grow; tutored me throughout; quarreled and played with me like a sibling; took my angry words with grace and in turn, gave me only love and affection; took my hand in hers and assured me of good times ahead when times had been insanely cruel; soothed my pains and made me healthy again, each time I fell sick and who has been my pillar of strength all through my life until now. My son is very lucky to have my mom as his grand mother. And sometimes, I do feel I must have done something good in life to get parents as my mom and dad! God bless...!!


Thursday, October 13, 2011

A dreary day, not without a reason..... ~ Mindful musings

October 13th ‘2011, 11:30 PM:

Today the weather has been continually depressing. Not a tree swayed. Not a leaf moved. Not a flower smiled. The Sun had risen late by few minutes. And the dawn had been a silent one with a fewer chirps and tweets. The humidity was all spread like a thick sheet of gloom. Greyish black clouds spread their wings across the sky. They appeared cold and one could not predict if they were going to stay and pour or leave. There was no wind at all, except for a stagnation of air filled with a smog. A moment of dreadful silence! Sometimes, even a stand still moment with no sound can be deafening in its own way. It makes you yearn for the regular cacophony which on any other day could have been a noise more and music less. In fact, the sight outside was so scary, that self dreaded to step out. The Sun was occasionally visible and the Sun rays seemed to be more achromatic than their usual self. Even the thick foliage around seemed to exhibit a pallor which on any other day would have been lush green. The dusk was even more silent. The Sun set and still there was no sound! A day that it has been, a dreary day and not without a reason!

October 14th ‘2011, 12:00 AM:

A new day is about to begin. The sky is pitch black and there is not a sound yet. There is a creepy feeling that the unseen elements in the sky above want to say something! And then, there is a roar from a place above and beyond the scope of sight. Looks like the sky is now preparing to pour down.....

….. Dear rains, looks like you just forgot to say a good bye! And now self understands why you had been in such a mood for the past one day. But then, you don’t have to upset yourself so much! You will be here some other day, some other time, in the next year! Isn’t it? So take a chill pill, dear weather :)


Beauty of ageing.....Nature's way! ~ A perspective of life

Whenever self sees advertisements on how to get a fair skin, how to shoot down extra/healthy pounds and how to battle the ageing factor, a plethora of questions always clog. Is being dark or dusky that bad? Is being healthy or a lil fat too unattractive? Is ageing such a shameful thing that it has to be camouflaged somehow under the thick layers of fairness and anti wrinkle creams? Not that self wants definite answers, but it quite gets amusing when people go insanely crazy over battling the ageing factor. People today, prefer to undergo painful cosmetic surgeries to a painless ageing that is nature given. Is there an ingrained fear in today's world, fear of growing old? Self ponders, what is so bad about it? After all, everything ages and everything withers with time. Trees grow old, a few insects like mayfly have a lifetime of a day, some flowers wither away in a few hours, and yet all of them accept nature’s three laws of birth, life and death with grace, except for human beings. Man does not just want to live long, he wants to live long and still be looking the same for all times to come like the chalky white Edward Cullen (the 110 year old vampire!) from the Twilight series……

Fear of ageing.....?

It is often strange that, when we are born, we all wish to grow fast. From infants to toddlers, from toddlers to school going children and then from school going children to rebellious teenagers, the urge to grow into adults gallops by leaps and bounds. And then finally, when adulthood arrives at one’s much awaited behest, all of a sudden, that urge to grow (on a spiritual level), to evolve, to age dies down silently. Particularly, people in the age group 20-30 would either bluff about their age or fear to touch 30 and prefer to be somewhere between 22-27 for a while that extends their actual birth year. (Yes, self knows this distant cousin of hers who has been claiming to be 23 years dot for the past 5 years, despite being just a couple of years younger to self who will be hitting 30 in the next couple of years!). And then, this lot of people who still feel that they have not grown much and like to be considered as teens, feel that age hampers fun. It hampers their physical attributes that add up to their attraction quotient and put them out of a league, they assume is only for people who look young perpetually! But then, why must people get so freaked out at this natural process of ageing? Self continues pondering.....

Man's way or Nature's way.....?

If one has observed in shopping malls, there is always some cosmetic brand advertising their products, by even giving a trial version of their products for free. Yes, self has been one of those cosmetic fans who actually believed all that was said and promoted. And way back then, self had been such a cosmetic maniac. It took 3 complete years to dawn on self about how much it has been spending on the cosmetics only to get little worth and more problems. Yet, people always get swept away by the aroma and scents of cosmetic products which add on to the color and tone of the skin, even if only for a while. And all of it based on one undying assumption that ageing can be stalled. In all of the above attempts on how one should look, what should be the skin color, how to keep the hair from greying and how the body should be kept toned, one always forgets the soul, which a dress called body clothes. It too needs to be in good health. And how will it be in good health when all the attention is riveted on the dress part alone? Everything just seems perfect in the glassy pinky glossy world of anti ageing/anti wrinkle/cosmetic world. However, the real beauty lies in the real brown and dusty world outside, where things happen only one way and that is the nature's way!

Food for thought.....

A man's life is defined by the phases he outlives. Each phase comes with its curve balls and each phase brings some change in his appearance, his personality and his approach towards life. And it goes without saying, each phase has to be accepted with grace. Apparently, a man’s life is like a pyramid, when it is about age. The pinnacle of this pyramid is fixed, however NOT for all time and for the same life through out. So while the dress called body is kept in good condition, so should the soul be in good health too. Instead of relying too much on costly and frequent aroma therapy followed by spas and beauty treatments to temporarily bring a glow on the face, it is much easier to follow a few tips at home. Drink a lot of water, eat healthy and walk a few miles everyday. Economical way to keep your skin radiant, body toned and head cool! And even if there were a few wrinkles that show up on one's face and a few shades of grey that shine on one's head, they better be treated as laugh lines and silver strands that give more of a grace and radiance to the ageing factor, rather than treating such changes with contempt and fray. Just remember, even our earth which is more than a billion years old looks beautiful with its shades of blue and green only after having aged so much. Rather it has evolved from a brown sphere of gases and volcanic activity into a beautiful planet of land, oceans and life over the years! Just an analogy, folks! Nothing more, nothing less :)

As I end this post, I remember my favorite idol Audrey Hepburn’s quote:

After all, ageing is like vintage wine. Gets better with time and best when old! Enjoy while it lasts ;)


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Superstitions, blind beliefs, irrational fears..... ~ A perspective of life

Please note: The below post is a sole reflection of the author’s thoughts. If you are antagonized after reading this post, apologies for the same. Sensible comments and arguments are welcome.

Being religiously superstitious or superstitiously religious?

Religious fanaticism has always been a verbiage of a tradition or a culture or a society that tries to spread/impose beliefs that barely have a base, most often. And when we talk about religious fanaticism, it is not merely centric about a crowd that spells terror in the name of religion or cries ‘blasphemy’ over every act that it deems unsolicited. Even people who are overtly superstitious and rigid when it comes to religion and generate not-so-positive vibes with their list of ‘Do this or else…..’, ‘Do that or else…..’ are religious fanatics of the highest order. For them, there are a hundred and one superstitions over every single thought, word, act and deed. And this crowd falls NOT just in the communal category which is most often politically motivated to bring chaos in the name of fundamentalism, but in every home and every generation that the common man belongs to! So, why are the grey cells of self suddenly discussing radical beliefs of religion? And not without a reason, has self felt so impulsed to pour out! Yes, the self recently had a brush with a breed like that....

What did the old wives say.....?

In those days they said,

"Lighting three candles with the same match stick brings bad luck.” 

“When a guest takes leave from his host’s residence, the host is the one who is supposed to open the door for him the first time otherwise it would be the last time the host had entertained the guest.”

"Monday is not an auspicious day for shaving."

"A black cat crosses your path, the day may not end on a good note."

And the list is never ending….. So, where have superstitions and blind beliefs come from? Why is religion always one of the prime causes of superstitious beliefs? Why is the poor Almighty always dragged into an arena of warring beliefs that project him an antagonist more and savior less? Well before that, the self wants to elaborate more on the cause of this post, yes the cause being a close relative from down south who had payed a casual visit a couple of months back. The aura of this relative and and her demeanor had made quite apparent as to how a certain aspect of being overtly religious (or superstitiously religious) can create too much of unrest in an otherwise stable mind. For instance, according to this person (who is insanely religious) quite believes that God is someone who will raise his sword not to protect but to war, if the traditions are not followed in a manner defined. And worse happens, when such a person lands in a different place whose culture and tradition converse altogether in a different language with God. So this particular relative started with her unsolicited remarks on the ways and beliefs of self and self’s family (considering self and family have been settled in a different geographical location), citing dire consequences (sources of such statements are still unknown) for such deviation from following one's root culture. Some of her statements were uncouth and did leave a negative vibe behind, making the environment disturbed and gloomy. However, the self has been taught since childhood, ‘Athithi devo bhava’ and the teaching was so ingrained in self, that successfully passing anger management with high tolerance to nonsense was obligatory. So, coming to the crux of this post, what is it with people who are so fanatically religious about beliefs and superstitions (like this relative)?

Beliefs, the affect, the behavior.....

Talking about beliefs and superstitions hounding religion, even self does not totally disagree with the idea/concept of superstitions. The self believes, everything that a society brings along with its existence, the value system, the beliefs, the opinions and the interpretations must have a strong reason whatsoever! And the very origin of feelings in a man is a result of those age old beliefs which bring about altered behavioral patterns in him! But then sadly in all of the above, reason is the only part that is missing in the puzzle of blind beliefs! So, as self tries to search for not-so-known reasons, it would like to share a nice story that was narrated by a wise man, long back. And the story goes.....

Ages ago, there were no schools as those in today's time. But like schools of today, there were Gurukuls. Every Gurukul was run by a Guru and his family and many small boys were enrolled in Gurukul for education. Most of them, pertaining to the infamous caste system were Brahmins. So there was one such revered Guru who ran a Gurukul with utmost dedication and pride. So one day, while he was teaching his pupils, a stray cat from nowhere landed in the midst of the class and started meowing. Of course, the cat was a distraction! Despite shooing it away many a time, the cat always managed to drop in everyday at the same time. So, the Guru decided to tie the cat to a pole behind the gurukul. Once done, he commenced with teaching. Now as time flied, the old Guru passed away leaving his duties of knowledge transition to his eldest son, who was now well versed and well able to shoulder the responsibility of a Guru. So on day one, while he took his seat as a Guru, his eyes fell on the empty pole behind the Gurukul. Something was missing. Yes, the cat! As with time, every creature grows old, the good old cat had grown old too and had accompanied the old Guru to the holy abode. Somehow, the new Guru felt uneasy. Was it the absence of the cat or the absence of cause of his late father’s intention of tying the cat to the pole? So, he immediately asked one of his disciples to get a stray cat. When one of his disciples questioned the motive, the new Guru simply replied – “My revered father had tied the cat to the pole and had started the knowledge transition, so it is a tradition that has to be kept sanctified.” In those days, obedience was highly overrated and so the disciple got hold of a stray cat and tied the poor creature to the pole behind the Gurukul. And from then, cats became a presage to learning. And superstitions began with such small incidents, where the cause and reason remain in oblivion, leaving behind myriad interpretations in the hands of a novice."

Analyzing the rationale.....
So that was one example that explains one of the many beliefs, where the interpretation stayed alive with the reason buried in oblivion. And that perhaps also explains to an extent as to what a society follows is merely those interpretations that have evolved over time, that have changed from time to time, that have been re-interpreted many a time and finally misinterpreted! Apparently, blind faith follows suit. Just for instance: in Hinduism, Lord Shiva is projected as a very powerful God. Down south, there is even an extended belief concerning this deity, which states ‘Anyone who tries to take even a particle of earth from the temple of Lord Shiva will not be spared for generations to come.’ Well, self presumes that this belief became widespread in order to put an end to planned heists. And so the belief may have had the good intention of preaching that 'Stealing is evil’. Unfortunately along with this belief, came an unwelcome enemy - fear! An irrational fear has been ingrained deep in the person who thinks in literal terms of the calamity that could befall, should he even accidentally bring along even a particle of mud from the temple.  Yes, man often falls prey to such fears without questioning or understanding the motive. There is yet another example self would like to state here: the never ending meaningless war between the Iyers (devotes of Lord Shiva) and the Iyengars (Devotees of Lord Vishnu) in South India. Years ago on a temple trip, self was greeted with an appalling sight inside a temple that housed both Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. There was this particular crowd which covered its face with a white cloth to prevent even an accidental vision of Lord Shiva. Ironically, both Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu reside in the same temple in harmony till date. However, their disciples beg to differ! Same culture, same religion and yet so many baseless beliefs that are enough to create a divide! Although it is disheartening to see so much of foolishness afloat, such incidents define the meaning of ‘being religiously blind, frantically superstitious and instinctively foolish’

To fear God or to love God?

Well, it is never wrong to follow a belief or superstition as long as the reasoning is clear and unsolicited opinions and ideas are confined to one’s own mental frame. What gets the going worse, is when the beliefs are imposed on simple minded people around, followed by a blackmail. People have been mowed down by ‘fear of God’ so much that, 'love for God' has disappeared into thin air. Besides, people who are submerged in their world of beliefs and superstitions based on reasons unknown to them and often taunt the others around for not being 'religious' as themselves often mask a dual face. Perhaps, for them going to temples every day and doing Pujas as described in the Holy books is just a way of redeeming self from their doppelgangers that often harbor their darker side. And then, is there any meaning in following holy scriptures  by the book and at the same time, spitting fire on people around? There cannot be any redemption for acts of deliberation.

What is religion after all?

And finally coming to the cause, religion! What is it exactly? A way of life, perhaps! And if it is so, it should never be forced on people, especially children. Living in a society, bringing up a child and setting examples of harmonious living can never be done by imbibing fear or forcing someone to be a believer, by threatening with dire consequences. Of course, fear is a necessary ingredient in a human make, but its responsibility ends right after alerting the soul about good and the evil. Not more, not less! In fact, people who patronize in the name of religion are often those who have been at the receiving end of superstitiously religious extremities. And then, why cannot a religion be simple? Simple to preach and simple to follow? Why is it always hidden behind a dark cloud of baseless beliefs that often block the wider perspective of life, a human mind could explore? Why should a religion preach fear in the name of God? There is no end to some contentious topics such as these. Yes, if one has a rational explanation for his beliefs, self bows and accepts the truth with all humility. But otherwise, life could have been much simpler, saner and lively, if only people learn to adapt, coexist amicably and go on with the flow of life, without creating fences of fear, hatred and arrogance mixed with ignorance. After all, there is something called destiny which is out of control of religion, superstition or man. It decides and we act. Isn't it? ;)

P.S: Here, self would like to recollect an incident that happened years ago. The television set at home was not working and it had to be repaired at the earliest. So, self was taking it to the shop for repair. However when driving car on the road with the television set in the back seat, a black cat crossed the road and the car came to a screeching halt. Apparently, the vibe went off and a creepy feeling whispered that the shop may have closed down. And the instinct turned out to be true. So, with a dejected face, the television set came back home the same way it left home some while ago. But then, something happened! Just for the heck of it, self again connected all the wires and switched on the television set. And lo behold, it was working! So what about saying a few words of thanks to that black cat? What say! ;)


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The wait that started, has to end ~ Mind bubble

4th Oct '2011, 11:15 PM:

Again self is in one of those hoarse moods. It is one such time when self craves for some ‘silence of being alone’ that is often an uninvited yet pleasant guest, which at any other time would have been the ‘silence of being lonely’, an uninvited and a deadly pest! And in present, silence seems to be the only companion self could turn to, to hear from, to get comforted. The moods in the earlier part of the day had just started to swing and now are oscillating at an incogitable rate. And the self cannot quite figure out the current state of its mood, except for the awry feeling that is an ungodly conjuncture of fear and faith, insanity and rationality. The feeling is never ending, like the blackness of the bottomless oceans and like the unceasing distance of the sinking sun from the shore. Either way, the depth and the expanse of this mind bubble remains unfathomable.....

.....and the self doesn’t feel like talking yet. It wants assurance time to time. It wants certainty be its perpetual companion. It wants to listen. It wants to hear, hear…..that soothing voice which is a part of itself and yet physically distant by miles; the sanguine notes of music which those tiny vocal chords play everyday; the words of wisdom spoken by those rusty pages, which kiss the eyes and soothe the soul; the drumbeats that come from far away at an hour of festivity assuring self of optimism, faith and good times to come.....

.....As self reminisces the music of those endearing sounds, it feels better. The thoughts are now flowing again, like the inexorable river that finds its course eventually, come what may. The stagnation of gloom has diffused. And the clouds of anxiety and apprehension are dissipating away gradually. Clarity resumes by taking over the reigns of sanity once again. Peace descends. Self now waits with utmost patience and optimism, for the wait to end. Yes, the wait that started, has to end and on a good note soon.....

5th Oct '2011, 12:30 AM:

The eyelids feel heavy now, as the vision is shifting from the darkness of the night to the light that is shining from within. As the self continues searching for answers to its questions, a small prayer escapes the parched lips, only to be heard by the unseen guest at every meal and the silent listener to every conversation. That is when the inner voice suddenly quips, 'Whatever happens is destiny. And, whatever happens, is for the good and with a good reason'. Now, the self feels reassured. It can feel its props of patience and perseverance strengthening again..... The night of half moon is clearing way for a breaking dawn that will soon spread its wings of saffron effervescence across the dark blue skies. Till then, all the self prays for, ‘the wait that started, has to end.....’

Lines for the moment:
Silence feels like a blessing when one wants to be alone. And it feels like a curse when one feels lonely. Whoever said, 'silence is golden' probably forgot to mention that it too changes its color.


Saturday, October 1, 2011

34 Bubblegums and Candies ~ Book review

When someone said that , ‘Books are a man’s best friend’, he or she for sure was not lying. Books, like friends maneuver the steering wheel of our lives and help us explore the better (or worse) side of self (of course, depending on the kind of book one chooses to befriend!). And that is, when you pick up a book, read it and at the end of 'knowing each other', you either feel light, motivated, inspired and happy OR heavy, disgusted, remorseful and sad. Aso, the point emerges! You then know better, as to whether the book that you have chosen (or has chosen you!) is your friend or not! Well, books that communicate with anyone and everyone and state in simple words with no outflow of vocabulary and emotions, a good message which otherwise may not be understood well by a common man definitely get me hooked to reading them. And one such book that I read in recent times is ‘34 bubblegums and candies’ by Preeti Shenoy.

If you were expecting a story, a romance, a suspense, some tears, some hearty laughs, some heart touching moments, some naughty moments and lots of twists and turns, I guess you definitely might have been looking elsewhere if only 34 bubblegums and candies were not interpreted the way it should be! Yes, I found all of the above in this book. In short, this book is a compilation of myriad incidents in the author’s life which are quite similar to ones that happen almost with everyone at some time or the other. And there you may ask, ‘What is so special about this book, then?’ So I answer with a question first! How many of us can actually recollect incidents, those particular ones that leave us in rapture, sometimes in confusion, sometimes with doubts, and then at other times happy or sad or blank even and then pen it all in an interesting way? This book just answers it! A cocktail of all such feelings and emotions have been beautifully put across in the 34 chapters of this book (Of course, not without giving a ‘lessons learnt’ at the end of each chapter). In fact, the author has described life as a bubblegum or a candy which she says, is to be relished without following an ‘instruction manual’, but with the innate tactfulness to figure out how to carry forward in life, by laughing at self and at the same time learning from the causes of those laughs.

So here, another question quizzes up! ‘Then, what is so different about this book?’ When you open ’34 bubblegums and candies’, you don’t have to read it as a story. Pick any one chapter and start reading (or should I say relishing?). A very motivating book that it is, it is not some story book or a novel that is once read and cannot be read again in immediate future. This book has been written in such a way, that it exhibits a genuine freshness and lots of good humor, no matter how many times you read it! Every chapter is worth visiting again and its simple language makes it even more reader-friendly.

Dear book lovers, this book is definitely a candid pick! So, happy reading, people...!!