Posts Tagged ‘life’

Many of you might remember the old NCERT textbooks which had one page right at the beginning sharing the Talisman propounded by Mahatma Gandhi.

At the time, I didn’t completely get the meaning of his words which are now crystal clear.
What Gandhiji meant when he gave us that mantra was – there are always people more unfortunate than us and that every step, every action undertaken by us should be carried out keeping in mind the welfare of those less fortunate ones.

My piece here lays down no such lofty ideals. I just want to underline the fact that each of us thinks that the troubles and trials of our lives are unique and beyond endurance. But in essence, life isn’t easy for any of us. We just have to make the best of what is given to us.

There are people who are enduring terminal illnesses, there are some who have been turned out of their own homes by their own flesh and blood, others still lead lives of penury and want, there are many who are either too fat or too thin, some suffer physical handicaps others mental ailments, there are yet others who have no talent or scope for education and few who are low on luck despite the degrees, some are financially well off but have no mental peace others can’t make their two ends meet. For some there are marital troubles for others relationships are difficult. Some are in agony because they are childless some worry because they have too many mouths to feed. There are some for whom their sexuality or gender is a cross, they are born that way, others still whose choices society doesn’t accept.

In nutshell, as long as we have human lives, we have desires. These desires are the root cause of pain. The unending want for more create a gloom and unhappiness that is beyond our control. We suffer because we always want something that has not been served to us. We suffer because we constantly compare our lives with others. For us grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. We don’t acknowledge the fact that the grass is greener where it is watered.

We cry and make a hullabaloo about the suffering we have to sustain. We pray to our Gods to alleviate our burdens. We cut corners, we try and cheat fate and hoodwink our destiny. All in vain.

We have been given one life. True, it has some challenges. We each have our crosses to bear and carry but if we do so with a song in our heart and a smile on our lips, won’t it be more convenient and bearable?

In any case we have to live through the entire span of life given to us. Why not face it headlong without complaining and cribbing about it.. Why make it tougher than it already is? We can strive to improve our lot in life, that’s our right and prerogative but there really isn’t any use lamenting the things we lack or the burdens we have to carry. We won’t die before it is our time so why not live it up despite the tests assigned to us.

Think about it!

Advertisements

The incident, I am about to narrate, goes back to the year 2009 or 2010, I was teaching at a residential school then. We had an English department full of experienced and knowledgeable teachers, each more impressive than the next in terms of vigour, zest or plain perspective.

I remember the day like it was yesterday. Some of us were sitting in the staff room carrying on with our respective tasks when Ma’am Santosh Ahlawat entered. I was in awe of her personality. Tall and distinguished, she seemed to be at complete ease in her skin. Her smiling face and radiance gave the impression of a person who had things under control and one who was sure of herself in every way. Nothing seemed to bother her or ruffle her feathers. She had great ideas too. It may seem like my personal ode to her but the fact of the matter is that I didn’t know her well enough and all the attributes, I have just mentioned about her, have only come to my mind now that I have sat down to write.

The only thing that I truly and vividly remember about her is what she told us that day and which has somehow stuck with me over the years. A simple thought but of great import. She had just come to the staffroom after taking an impromptu class with grade 9th. As it was an unscheduled period, she just gave them a random idea, wrote it on the green board and asked them to ponder over it. Her notion, though basic, was extremely profound. On the board she had written – LEARN TO LISTEN.

This tiny piece of sparkling wisdom has stayed with me since then. I keep telling the people or students I come in contact with, ‘to listen’ as much as they can. Over the years, I have benefitted a lot by cultivating this miniscule, seemingly random, bit of virtue.

It’s true that we learn new things only when we shut up & listen to new ideas and perspectives. People feel respected around us if, all we do, is listen to them make their point. We pick up new languages when we listen to natives speaking them. We earn the respect and admiration of our colleagues and subordinates when we let them make their case by giving them a chance to speak. For teachers and parents, earning the trust and devotion of their students or children is the greatest achievement, which is possible only when we listen to them. Not only these practical, day to day things, we also appreciate nature more when we sit quietly and observe its various bounties. We may have gathered and accumulated a lot of knowledge and experience but that doesn’t make us all- knowing.

Each of us has a lot to learn about the blessing that this human birth is, about the people around us and how to treat them, about nature, God, life, our work, relationships, about things that are said but not meant or others that are meant but never said, about situations that we find ourselves in and the tight corners that we have to manoeuvre around, about events that are evident but not real or real but not apparent or discernable.

Our lives would seem inadequate or insufficient in terms of time or length if we decide to pay heed to whatever there is to learn. But if we have to grow, that is the only path to take. Books and success stories can only teach us as much.

We genuinely learn from our environment and that too only when we give it an opportunity to make an impact on us. The easiest and the most pragmatic course of action would be to Listen. Listening is not just hearing but paying attention to not only the words spoken but also to those meant. Listening is not a stimuli for answering or replying or hitting back, it is a stepping stone for comprehension, reformation and change.

Recently, I was reading Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari and I read that the only thing that made Homo Sapiens different from other Humans and animals was the size of our brains. We are the wise ones. Ours is a chosen species. What we choose to do with this life is upto us! We can either stick to the comfortable and stay happy in our ignorance or else venture out of that safe zone, step into the unknown and find bliss that would add meaning to our mundane lives.

Wasn’t it Anand (Rajesh Khanna) who said, “बाबू मोशाय , ज़िन्दगी बड़ी होनी चाहिए, लंबी नही“ Life should be meaningful (big/large) not long (as in years without any real wisdom)

The one thing that we can all promise ouselves to do in our ordinary lives is to be open to learning and that would be possible only when we learn to listen.

Just a thought!

What is the gravest loss a person can incur? Someone frivolous would say- Money, someone with greater depth and realisation about how life runs would say – passing away or passing on of loved ones is a loss that can never be repaired. True that!

But while we are living, we learn to survive with or without people. Even if they pass on, we can find solace in the fact that they loved and cherished us as we do them.

In my very humble opinion, the greatest loss a person can lay oneself open to is the loss of respect, whether it is in the eyes of our loved ones or in our own judgement.

It isn’t rocket science to understand that not all of us are destined for great things, not all of us would be remembered by a multitude, not all of us would earn the celebrity status, few amongst us will earn a handsome living but there runs a common thread between the greats and the ordinary ones, like us.

All of us have one Life and we need to prioritize it in such a way that we make the extraordinary come alive even in the mundane. We may not be a Ratan Tata, an Indra Nooyi, an Amitabh Bachchan, a Lata Mangeshkar, a Mark Zuckerberg or a Steve Jobs to inspire an entire generation but we are humans too and it is upto us to be exemplary atleast to our own children.

I have written time and again about how I look upto both my parents for everything in my life. The way they have led theirs, their experiences and conduct even in the face of adversity, their even temperaments, their integrity and honesty have far surpassed any flaws that are bound to seep into a human character. I am proud to be their daughter although sometimes theirs are huge shoes to fill in.

It’s not always that, parenting goes right. I may not be the most appropriate person to talk about it but I have observed, at close quarters, children losing respect for their fathers or mothers. It used to baffle me because it was a completely alien concept for me. How could one hate one’s parent? Way back in my school days, I had some classmates who rarely spoke about or to their mothers. Being an impressionable child myself, I had spoken to my mother about it and she had wisely advised me not to be judgemental or take sides, better still to mind my own business and not put my nose where it wasn’t required.

With years and age came maturity and a kind of experienced comprehension of human nature. During my teaching years, I came across a couple of girls who hated their mothers. For one it was easily explained – she had a step mom and the girl had never warmed up to her but there was another who just couldn’t tolerate her own natural mother. Try as I may, I couldn’t understand that kind of hatred.

Some years on, I moved back to my hometown to be with my parents and thus nearer to my extended family too. True, it is trying, living with people of a generation that doesn’t understand your reasons and don’t approve of your way of doing things and true, there are disagreements too but at the end of the day, they are our parents and we learn from their experiences. Wherever necessary, we also tell them a better way of handling things. Hate never enters this equation. Not with the parents atleast. But that’s me and my life. Not everyone has the same circumstances.

Today, more than anything, I understand the wisdom behind my mother’s words when she had told me not to be too inquisitive about the lives of my friends and more specifically – never to judge. ‘You don’t know their truths. Not the same applies to everyone’, was her constant reply to my curious wonderings.

I have seen grown men losing respect, losing face in front of their own kids. They can’t handle the ever increasing pressures of modern day living and give in to vices like drinking to drown their sorrows, gambling to earn an easy buck, borrowing to pay back previous debts. It is a vicious circle. Instead of facing life headlong with grit and determination, they succumb to weaknesses of the body and soul which eats away at their family lives.

Far from being heroes or inspiration to their kids, they become embarrassments for their families. The impact on the children is life altering. They either become copies of their fathers, taking up those vices as their own or end up hating their parent and going against anything and everything they suggest. Either ways, lives get ruined.

This is the problem, but is there any use writing about the problem without suggesting a solution? My solution is simple and has to come from within.

Marriage is not just a social obligation that we have to perform when the time is right, instead it is a responsibility which should be taken only when one is ready for it. Becoming a parent makes one accountable. We don’t have to lead extraordinary lives in order to earn the respect of our children, we just have to make our decisions on the basis of what will be right or wrong for our family as a whole.

Seemingly ordinary lives can also be remarkable if the children come out cultured, if they value their resources, are intellectually & morally sound and most importantly if they respect their elders, effortlessly.

We should give them reasons for that respect. Just because they are our offsprings is not enough cause for ‘demanding’ respect. How we conduct ourselves, goes a long way in shaping the lives and characters of our children. We cannot expect them to outshine us when all we are giving them is a lot of negative energy.

Having said that, we have one life too and at times we also can be reckless and experimental. We may enjoy our little indulgences but responsibility towards our children wins the round, hands down. We cannot drink ourselves to hell at the cost of our family just because we happen to enjoy our daily pint. We cannot smoke away to lala land without a thought about its impact on our family. We may take calculated risks to earn big time but cannot be reckless enough to go beyond our means and set up a debt for our children to repay. That’s not how exemplary lives are lead.

It’s never too late to make amends. If our intentions are right and if our hearts are in the right place then we know what is the most important thing for a person- it’s the love and respect of the ones closest to us. And make no mistake, we have to work hard to earn that. The first step is to acknowledge our mistakes and then try to mend our ways as best as possible. Even if we don’t succeed in bringing in more money or stability to our lives atleast we can be content that we tried our best and that too with integrity.

Wouldn’t it be endearing to be remembered as a good human being, once we are gone? Why just talk about being remembered once we are gone!! Wouldn’t it warm the cockles of our hearts if people look up to us even in life? Wouldn’t it be remarkable to leave a legacy of righteousness and morality for our kids to follow and pass on?

Start making amends today. We don’t know what is in store for us tomorrow.

Where do you plan to go this vacation? How are you bringing in the new year/ your birthday / your anniversary? What do you plan to do in future? Are these the right courses for what you have in mind for your life? Why are you going out with this person, do you see a future with him or her? Have you been saving for a rainy day? Have you ensured that your children won’t want for anything in their lives? Have you made sure that they have a sound financial backing as long as they live?

Sound familiar? The mental checklist!!! The grocery list for life. We have all been taught not to disregard it. We have all been brought up to think and over think like that. We think and think and then think some more. We plan, we propose, we toil, we execute and in the end we have successful lives with enough financial security to last us a lifetime and some of us even go beyond that and take care of our next generation too.

We marry, have a family. Sometimes we fall in love too and then again we analyse whether that (person /relationship) would work in our lives or not. We hold on to it if it fits with our master plan and let go if it doesn’t.

All of it is highly rational and responsible behaviour. We have to keep up the family name, its legacy which is the biggest thing we pass on to our children. It cannot be tainted by impulsive acts or decisions, can it be?

But just for a moment think, what if we could lead our lives without planning ahead? What if, we concentrated more on OUR lives alone not burdened by the family name, or what people would say or what will happen if plan A fails!! We have been brought up to think of all possible scenarios. We have a master plan A, if that fails we fall back on Plan B, God forbid if that fails we either have a workable Plan C or we give in to despair. Assign it to fate. Lose hope. Sometimes we muster courage to pick ourselves up and fight back. Isn’t that what all great success stories, that we keep hearing for inspiration, are about?

What I am suggesting here is something completely different. Something, few have the courage and audacity to take up. I am referring to a Super Plan S, where S stands for SPONTANEITY. What would it be like to live life as it comes? Wouldn’t it be more meaningful if it is led as God wanted us to lead it- without frills & attachments. It would be a great relief if we could start a relationship, a job, a move, an education without thinking— WHAT NEXT!!

Isn’t it enough that we are living it up in the moment?

How many of the ‘successful’ people, we look upto, have lived their lives without compromises? It’s a cliché choice – happiness or success. I am not posing that question here. It is perfectly alright to want to be successful in life. It is great to be ambitious but not the same rules apply to all people.

For me success might not mean money. For me happiness might not mean success. I may be happy in a relationship without a future. I may find contentment even in the absence of high living. I might be fulfilled without a soul mate or in some cases a life partner.

It is different for each person and it is alright for him or her to make those choices without pressure from family, relatives or well meaning friends. We are not going to take back anything from here. Not the money we earn, nor the good deeds we perform.

We are here to keep our Souls happy. We form attachments along the way- some we are born into, others we cultivate but our prime responsibility is to ourselves. We cannot pour from an empty cup. To be able to give happiness, we have to be happy inside. There is no perfect recipe for it which suits all palates. How we find it, nurture it, is upto each individual..

What happens when we first learn to drive a car or ride a bike? After the initial apprehensions, a sort of over confidence sets in and combined with the zest of youth, we tend to forgo speed limits, we test our boundaries, we take chances, we know that we would be able to control the vehicle even at that insane speed. We feel a special kind of independence at being able to do things on our own, a self reliance, if you may.

Once the novelty wears off, it becomes routine. Driving or riding may still be synonymous with liberty but the thrill is gone. Gone is the urge to take unnecessary risk. It merely becomes a means of getting things done. At this stage we are more aware of the potholes, the traffic and the wisdom of slowing down and letting others pass. We are surer and more confident of our skills. We learn how to manoeuvre our ride around tight corners, we become adept at getting by without applying abrupt brakes..

Yes, life is a lot like driving.. Infact it is just like driving!

Look, look, Guttu! Look at the color of her hair”, Mishti, my six year old niece couldn’t hold back her excitement when she saw an old lady with hair as white as cotton wool, nearly the same texture too. I explained to her how a human body ages and loses its vigour with time. She went into deep contemplation and didn’t bring up the topic again until the next morning when we were riding towards her school astride our new activa. We happened to chance upon a fallen tree spread across the whole road. We had to careen awkwardly to make our way past it. She was curious as to what had happened to it. I again told her that it had aged and lost its strength and thus fallen down – dead. She was quick with her repartee, “Aged- just like the old woman we saw yesterday.” I was overwhelmed with tenderness at her innocence and struggled to grapple with the fact as to how the notion of aging would be such an alien and enormous concept for a six year old.

At 38, I myself don’t get the process completely. I do understand the weathered bodies, the sluggish gait, the dimming eye sight, the hardness of hearing, the memory loss, the confusion, the irritability & the failing health. What surprises me daily is the unbent, unyielding spirit residing in those broken weathered bodies, the strength of their spine in face of adversity, the far sightedness, the willingness to hear the opinion of their children, the things that they remember from a life well- lived, the patience and the untiring care they have for the family.

It is as if they refuse to wilt away like dying flowers. The indomitable human spirit puts them far higher on the totem pole than any other living thing.

True, there are moments of despair and helplessness in the face of circumstances, events or even physical disability but I see people rise above them by dint of sheer courage and lifeskills that they have mastered over the long years of their existence. Ailing parents can be as stubborn and uncompromising as children but they have the virtue of experience and forgiveness that gives them an extra edge.

It is obvious that a long lifetime means a lot of experiences- some good, some bad. Some memories are worth cherishing and there are others that turn into grudges and regrets. The idleness and inactivity of old age brings all of that, forth. It’s not just the body that withers, the mind also crumbles and some of us tend to become grumpy with age.

I am amazed when I look at my septuagenarian father. He has had a tough life. He faced the society headlong while in his youth, took unconventional decisions, looked after the entire extended family, made something of himself with little or no help from people around. He became who he is, on his own steam. A lesser man would have given in, in face of all that he went through. But he stood tall and strong and proud all his life. There are times now when he loses faith, thinks of himself as a toothless tiger but he always, always fights back. He gets up, dusts himself off and does what he does best- Dominate.. Age might have slowed his reflexes a bit but his mind stays razor sharp and his eyes miss nothing. After all these years, he still has his exclusive outlook on everything. He is opinionated, strong, honest and an idealist to the core. He calls a spade a spade and doesn’t like to mince his words with nary a bother what the world would think of him. He overthinks. His belief in family and the concept of kith and kin is rock solid, despite the many blows & setbacks. At 72, he is still the anchor that holds our craft together.

For every child his/her father is a source of constant support & inspiration. For me, despite our occasional differences, he remains My Hero, who has surmounted innumerable odds and survived.

And what a life it has been!!!!

Someday Mishti will also know what aging with style and on one’s own terms means, thanks to her NANA..

A cold winter morning.. The Sun peeking through the mist, trying to bring some warmth to the wet & moist earth along with my jittering limbs & the deepest cockles of my heart. I sit in my balcony, soaking up the pink sunlight, with a hot cuppa tea. This has become a steady course to counter cold mornings for me. The isolation imposed by silence, of being surrounded by people yet remaining just with my thoughts, listening to nothing but the white noise of my indefatigable & unrelenting mind and observing the world go by, have become therapeutic. I have the guilty pleasure of snooping into people’s lives and imagining their stories just by noticing a tiny miniscule part of their days from my tenth floor balcony.

What remarkable lessons can be taken from seemingly ordinary existences!

I saw a child, barely five or six, rush to the terrace of his house, directly beneath my balcony, hence the movement caught my eye. He seemed to be carrying something. On closer inspection I saw a couple of rabbits, white & fluffy, snuggled up in his arms. He deposited his cuddly load in a deserted corner of the cold, bare terrace where the two lagomorphs, confused & scared by the intense attention, quickly found warmth in each other. The child stood up and for a while observed the inactive rabbits seeking warmth in each other. He mustn’t have liked the fact that he, the one who owned them, was being ignored. He tried to raise them from their cold & fear- induced torpor by stomping his feet hard on the floor, the sound made the pets snuggle even closer to each other.

The child tried again, this time with huge green leaves, to lure them to activity. And finally, when he couldn’t get any movement out of them, he lifted one and placed it away from its mate. Finding himself alone, the rabbit responded to the child’s stomping by running helter-skelter, this was not only fun for the child but also must have pleased him to see, something he was so fascinated by, respond to him. He began chasing the poor pet from one corner of the terrace to another. After about ten minutes, he got bored of this and chased the other rabbit around. Then, he called on his family members, his grandfather & father, to come have a look at his possessions, the pets. There must have been a child- like innocence and eagerness in this show of ownership. I saw him trying to force feed the animals, scaring them with all his foot stomping and repeatedly pulling & pinching them to show his tenderness and love. As his attention wavered, the rabbits, yet again, found a quiet corner to escape this ordeal. But the child wasn’t done with them. Weren’t they his pets? Wasn’t it their duty to acknowledge and reciprocate his love?

He chased them, played with them, cuddled them, fed them, showed them off to others and yet could not get a puppy like tail-wagging appreciation of his attention and love so he CAGED them.

I sat there thinking. We don’t change much as grown ups. Human love is possessive, protective and limiting, sometimes resembling a cage. We don’t let go of the objects of our affection easily. We don’t set them free & let them come back to us, of their own accord, instead, in order not to lose them, we chain and cage them to keep them safe and with us all the time. Our latent sense of protection and ownership smother the very people we love. Be it as parents, friends, spouses, or well- wishers, we always look out for the ones we love and there is nothing wrong in it. But too much of everything is bad. While ‘looking out for’ is a welcome emotion, setting boundaries and limiting someone’s range out of love, reeks of negativity.

Not everyone is the same. Every species put on this planet understands love and God has given each a different way to express that love. While puppies and dogs have a special way of making us feel loved, adored and wanted, not all of the others can express it in the same way. Same applies to humans too. All of us love but our expression and needs are different. We have been endowed with something that other species don’t have. It is the combination of speech and perception. Why can’t we, then, use it to our benefit and make our relationships happier and more content?

After all, however gilded, a cage is a CAGE..

A seagull was flying over a beach, when it saw a mouse. It flew down and asked the mouse:

“Where are your wings?”

Each animal speaks its own language, and so the mouse didn’t understand the question, but stared at the two strange, large things attached to the other creature’s body.

“It must have some illness,” thought the mouse.

The seagull noticed the mouse staring at its wings and thought:

“Poor thing. It must have been attacked by monsters that left it deaf and took away its wings.”

Feeling sorry for the mouse, the seagull picked it up in its beak and took it for a ride in the skies. “It’s probably homesick,” the seagull thought while they were flying. Then, very carefully, it deposited the mouse once more on the ground.

For some months afterward, the mouse was sunk in gloom; it had known the heights and seen a vast and beautiful world. However, in time, it grew accustomed to being just a mouse again and came to believe that the miracle that had occurred in its life was nothing but a dream.

I was reading ‘The winner stands alone’ by Paulo Coelho today & I happened to come across this excerpt. I realised that the same thing happens with us humans every single day. We don’t even have the excuse of different languages, most of the time, it’s just our perspectives that differ so much. We fail to understand the point of view of anyone other than ourselves. Even if we are shown the other side for a while by a well- meaning friend or acquaintance, we conform to our originality sooner or later.

No matter how happy or content we may be with someone or something, we get back to our comfort zones as soon as circumstances permit. We cherish the memories. We think that all that happiness was an unattainable dream. Sometimes we pine for those lost times and opportunities too but we eventually move on. We get back to our bland, mundane lifestyles because that’s what we are, that’s who we have always been. In the process we lose our real chance at a blissful, different life.

All we had to do was to grow some wings. Believe in the vision of another. Give up the safety of our self – imposed confines, our perspectives, for once and take that leap into the unknown that could have landed us some place idyllic.

Alas! Our human stubbornness has been the doom of many a friendships & relationships. It has been the downfall of many a promising careers & success stories.

Two men looked through the same bars

One saw the mud , the other saw the stars..

True, we are each allowed to have and nurture our own sets of beliefs, our deductions, our logic. There is no harm in seeing things differently. But, differences in opinions are healthy only till they help us grow and evolve. When they start to deter our lives irrevocably, we need to sit up and take notice. We need to shun our prides, apologise and reclaim that little bit of heaven that we had found by some miracle.

Thankfully, there is a parallel reality for all of us. We just have to go through the looking glass and discover our own personal Magic ✨

Just a thought!


There will come a day when you will realise what you actually want. Your search will end, it will reach its culmination and that would be the day you probably would stop reading and writing. Whatever you write thereafter will be a complete thought. Your words will want for nothing. You will have achieved what your soul is so desperately looking for in the written word,” so saying, he smiled enigmatically.


But, I don’t think I am looking for anything in particular. I read because I love to and I write only when I have things to say. Yes, sometimes, I have incomplete thoughts that might need processing. Sometimes, I write things that are raw. I write of emotions, of people, of love, of loss. I write of things that are human. I read things that I find fun or that stir me. I have never thought of reading as a channel to get somewhere, it has never been purpose oriented, merely a means of getting to know stuff,” I riposted.

Ah! But you are young still, you will get there, eventually,” he reiterated.

What is it about thinking individuals that ruffles our set opinions so? It isn’t as if I change my thought process on every word of a book or a firmly stated opinion but both mediums compel me to re-analyse my approach. Sometimes I defer to the books or educated opinions thrown at me, at others I stick with whatever wisdom I have acquired over the years.

I maintain that I don’t read with a purpose in mind. I am neither spiritual nor religious enough to seek answers in mythological text, I am not condemning them or denying their significance, it’s just that they don’t work for me as well as a fictional work with deep rooted meaning does. I would rather read a Shantaram or To kill a mockingbird or Rumi, even for that matter a Brida, to get perspective on life, than to look for solutions in the Bhagwad Gita. I have read that too but probably I did not get it much.

I started writing as a catharsis for my broken spirit. I never felt that my pieces had or have any literary merit. I write because, there comes a time in each of our lives when we have things to say that we can’t express freely, even to the closest of our friends or family. Some keep it all bottled up or lock it all up in the deepest recesses of their minds, some choose art, music, cooking, travelling, gardening, keeping pets, chatting or even socialising to keep that inner voice down. To each his or her own.

I Choose to Write. I can’t, at times, express what I am going through even with my writings, for fear of being judged. I still haven’t learnt how to fictionalize my accounts so that I am finally able to pour my heart out without anyone finding out the trials I am going through. I, forever, dread the query, who is it you have written about in this piece?

Still, I choose to write to attain temporary relief, a sense of calm from my ever accumulating thoughts. I may stop writing if by some miracle I can stop thinking of mundane, everyday things. I am an ordinary being, a human with trappings like love, desires, wishes, hopes, friendships & relationships. I don’t see myself graduating to the bigger questions of life and existence any time soon.

May be, I am missing an essential ingredient. It is probable that I am lost. I may not conform to many things that this world lays down but I am ME. I will own up to my mistakes, I am the one who would take lessons from them. I might repeat some of them but I am content. My energy is my own. I regret nothing. Even bad decisions and failures were necessary. They probably were the most important things in my life when they happened.

I am here to lead a simple, uncomplicated, knowledge – centric life and I feel that I am on my way pretty much the way I wanted to be. I love to wear my heart on my sleeve and won’t apologise for being the way I am.

It was my first job, teaching at my mother’s school. There was a cultural function just round the corner and while making a model for the exhibition or a prop for the stage, I don’t remember which, I had fallen short of adhesive and a colleague of mine had offered me some araldite, which they were using for some woodwork. He had playfully mimed its advertisement, Aralditesticks everything except broken hearts. Since then, I always think of this punch line and the product when I find things broken. 

Time has flown by since those green years. A late bloomer, I, had no use of advise on broken hearts till quite late in my life. By then I had developed my own coping mechanism. I had found solace in the written word. I found peace, quiet and a deep sense of calm in music. A book could cure me of anything that ailed me. So could music. 

When things got a bit more messy, I discovered F. R. I. E. N. D. S, the TV show. No matter what I was feeling, however low, anxious or broken, I could watch it and relieve my inner turbulence. 

I have grown since then too. I have realised that escapism of this kind, distractions of these sort have a limited shelf life. It’s not until we face our demons, look them in the eye, think, analyse, accept and come to conclusions, that we find peace within. No person, worth his or her salt, who has ever lived, can escape the challenges that life poses and we grow only when we take them on fearlessly, with an open mind and heart. 

I have recently discovered an ultimate Recipe for Respite – Cooking. It’s something that has kept women going, for ages. It’s what has kept them together. I am thirty seven, and for the first three decades of my life I had no or minimum concern with household chores, no cooking, no cleaning, no house keeping for me. I would instead read. That is the luxury of an extremely efficient elder sister and a doting younger one. Between them, they had the kitchen and household covered. 

I never thought I would ever say that, much less write about it but the kitchen has now become my sanctuary. Whatever my mood, it can be lifted just by being there on my own for an hour or two. In a household full of people and voices, it sometimes become difficult to hear you own self. Cooking gives me that, much needed, opportunity to shut out all other voices and just have a conversation with myself. It’s the most precious ME time I get. Many of my blogs have been thought and conceptualised while Chopping, Grating, Kneading or Peeling. 

Even if I do no thinking while cooking a dish, I end up feeling cleansed, serene and calm once I am through. It gives me immense satisfaction to think up new ways of making the same old veggies. It invigorates my mind, body and soul. I have experienced that cooking not only rejuvenates my mind, detoxing me of stress and anxiety but also relieves me of aches and physical discomfort. The sheer pleasure of making something while I can think and analyse ‘N’ number of topics, is refreshing and comforting.

It’s the place where I, Saute my Stress, Chop at Concerns, Grate Grief, Knead away Knots, Fry the Fears, Boil Boredom, Grill Grudges, Peel Pressures, Wash away Worries, Trundle Trepeditions, Cube the Qualms, Marinate Malice and Malevolence, Bake Benevolence, Chill Certainty, Ladle my mind into a Lull and finally Dish out Determination. 

And the best part is, I try not to avoid my apprehensions, instead I confront them, deal with them as best as I can, accept and move on

I am suddenly out of words so I am gonna give it a rest, until next time.