Tuesday, June 30, 2015

3 day Quote Challenge - Day 2

There are umpteen travel quotes but this one by Robert Prisig in "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" is something to reflect upon.  We spend the first half of our lives in finding out our purpose on this planet and the second half in using the gift that we have to realize it. There's an interesting analogy that can be drawn between this journey and scaling a mountain. The change of landscape at each increasing level in the mountain is a reflection of the skill of adaptation and survival with increasing hostility of conditions. And the way we scale it- be it the pace or the amount of rest that we need to take in between bouts, differs from person to person. If we wish to reach the top only for some self gratification, we are bound to lose out on all that life on the sides can teach us. Following this, we would keep on wanting to scale higher mountains not realizing that we will continue to feel shallow unless each footstep is lived as an event in itself and not just as a means to an end. Does this mean that goals aren't important? Of course not. "There are no sides without the top"- so have a goal and embark on the journey, just don't rush it but live each step at a time. 
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Monday, June 29, 2015

3 day Quote Challenge- Day 1

Such a simple thought, yet so defining. The moment you understand this, the way you look at life changes. You take cognizance of the role you play in the larger scheme of things and it is this potent mix of power and responsibility that makes you understand your worth. No one is isolated; choices made and actions taken by each one of us chart out an all new course that history takes. Had Archimedes not decided to take a bath or Newton not acted upon his urge to take rest in the garden, we would neither have been able to traverse within the continent cut across by oceans nor explore life beyond the realms of earth separated by space. These are ordinary men who are hailed as extraordinary only because they believed that "nothing is insignificant". Whenever you seek a reason to believe in yourself or what you would love to do, the time would be ripe to whisper these words to your heart.  

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Monday, June 22, 2015

When is "silence" really "golden" ?

In one of the sleepy and low profile by-lanes of Chembur (Mumbai) lies a building named "Disha". The sign boards that lead to it remind you of those discreet ones on country roads, ensuring in a way that only those who are there to find it end up finding it and to the rest, it is sheer ignominy. The gate is perennially open in urgent need of some fixing at its hinges, much like those who traverse through it. Whether you came up there alone or were brought there, whether you are in a quagmire of love, work, pregnancy or old age - the initial despair for feeling the need to come this far to a psychiatrist's clinic despite many known gradually gives way to a comfort of not being alone among the peer group of unknown. When your eye meets that of another waiting in that compound, the pain gives way to a smile - both acknowledging that perhaps "silence" was not all that golden for us - we don't mind paying to be heard- for the real gift of expression is only realized when someone else has the gift of listening.

While it is considered a virtue to be able to measure thoughts before putting them into words, the pressure built around this has the capability to perpetually mute people. Those who profess the importance of silence should understand that for tranquility and equanimity that it seeks to bring in life, it is also vital to clear out the noise of the person you listen to. Not all that a person says needs to make sense, for who are you to adjudicate on another's sensibilities. Not all that is spoken to you needs to be acted upon, for who are you to make another feel dependent. Not everyone has the same emotional intelligence, the same circumstances or the same priorities. In spite of having the locus of control within you, there will always be a time when you feel the need to be listened to. Perhaps, that's why some may go to the wilderness or pray- for even in that passivity, there's a comfort that conversations can be as long as you need them to be without the fear of being judged and the path to clear out the mess comes from nobody else but within. But what if that doesn't work? It's a shame if they are quiet when they want to scream, if they keep it to themselves for the fear of being misunderstood later. Not all will have the courage to walk alone through the gates of "Disha". Fear those whose muted life pushes them to seek refuge in alcohol, drugs and in the worst case, death.

There are 1000+ new stories on Facebook everyday but whose story are we a part of from start to end? There are 100+ "i am doing fine" conversations on Whats-app but who among them has eyes welling up every now and then , feeling the need to connect to us? " There's not a worse sight than an amputated spirit", said Al Pacino in the Scent of a Woman. I cannot help but wonder if our misunderstanding of "silence is golden" adage is somewhere creating one.

Tangy Tuesdays

This article has been linked to #MondayMusings  (June 22,2015) on WriteTribe

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Friday, June 19, 2015

Why I don't look for my dad in anyone else?

Every banker's child probably understands the harrowing time fathers have managing the year end closures in March. Somewhere in the midst of the loads of messages and calls that my dad made each day,each hour to check on me while I was counting my last days in my marital home, I mentioned to him about my annual company day that was being held in mid March. Not wanting to return back to an empty house, I had enrolled myself for a multiple of dance performances for the annual function that gave me a chance to stay back in office longer. The thing about annual days is that they are also "bring your family" days. It hadn't struck me yet that may be I would miss the privilege that year. But then I had forgotten that I am too special to miss out on joys like these. So Dad jokingly quipped, "Missing out on you performing a Rekha's Salaam-e-ishq is not something I can afford to regret about. And there needs to be someone to protect you from the audience going berserk. I am catching the next train from Baroda to Mumbai". I didn't have to say anything and in spite of the work load, there he was- cheering every time my face popped up on the screen- a man so proud of his family always that you can never imagine being alone.

It is in the self revelation of his imperfection and not perfection and in his failures and not successes that we have understood the greatest lessons of life. His lack of focus due to which he had to discontinue his M.A. (Eco) in DU and pursue it further in Sambalpur University, his nervousness that couldn't get him past the RBI interview, his inability to understand the suffocating creativity of a housewife, his frustration of not being able to balance work and personal life are all stories that I have heard from him. His innocence in elaborating his own follies and the pride in elaborating our achievements underplays what he has made of us. The man handpicked rotten vegetables (what else will be available at 10 pm) and took her to the same movie "Sharaabi" thrice in the year (what else would be available on Housefull Sundays without pre-booking) but he ruled his woman's heart (to name a few) with his simple "Thank you ", fascination for her poetry and indefatigable support (even vocal sometimes) for her decisions. He couldn't ever make it to my PT meeting but he compensated for it by waking me up at 4 am everyday to practice Tables, Mental Maths and listening to my lesson memorizations all through the night during ICSE. His fundamentals in Economics are crystal clear and till date, he spends hours discussing the subject with me. My dad never wrote the Scale 3 bank exams since his passing the same would mean a promotion. The promotion was not an opportunity for him to advance his career but a ticket for transfer that would take him away from his family. We are all so self conscious and self obsessed that I wonder how a species like him has managed to survive on this planet.

If you have a father like him, you will understand why the idea of manipulating dads as shown in certain recent ads is not cool. If you have a father like him, you will understand why the movie "The Pursuit of Happyness" is on your all time favorite list. If you have a father like him, you will understand why it is impossible to find him in anyone else.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Yup, you heard it right ! I don't wish to be a mom........

I am an absolute hit with kids. Right from amusing them with my rendition of "Lungi dance" to disciplining them to get their cursive handwriting perfect, I love it all. I have been almost half mother to my brother who is 9 years younger to me and almost mother to all the men who I have loved in my life. Even with such credentials, I have to say that I don't wish to be a mom. This is not a "I am a rebel" statement from my repertoire but something that I strongly feel knowing very well that my biological clock is ticking away and that such an irreversible stance is inviting not-so-friendly judgments for a lifetime.

A lot of people think that those who haven't had a great childhood are the most probable ones to think on these lines. I beg to differ on such an assumption. I have had a fairy-tale childhood with the most progressive parents anyone could wish for. To such level is my respect and admiration for them that I can't think of making them my role models lest I end up being a total disaster. And specifically about mothers, for umpteen reasons, I don't see myself being able to emulate an inch of what my mother does. I am far from being selfless like her to throw the best birthday party at the time of recovering from a surgery or stay away from my husband for lending stability to my children's education. Taking a life risking boat journey with my partner from Tierra Del Feugo to Antarctica is just one among the crazy travel plans I have. Though being with family is one of the experiences I cherish, I can't find myself planning all my holidays around them as my mom does. All mothers had dreams of their own which they either gave up or went slow on so that their children chased dreams of their own. But as much as I know myself, while I will be thrilled if someone close to me succeeds, it can never take away the angst for not being able to do things on my bucket list.

Picture this. I consider life to be a book that each one exclusively authors. There are editions that mark your maturity in perspective through life, sections that are based on experiences of reading, writing, traveling, learning a language/a musical instrument, teaching, laughing and crying at the same time, saving a life, emerging victorious through grueling pain, being loved by a lot and being hated by even many more. The important people in your life are the ones with whom you exchange manuscripts before all your books hit the market rack. No ones story revolves around the other and yet you share life with them effortlessly. I am lucky that the people I didn't choose- my parents and those I chose- my friends and partner- love me for being honest to this design. Motherhood is an irreplaceable experience and life is incomplete without it. But we are all are going to miss out something in life, aren't we? And that's why we have people and stories . While I learn how mothers changed destinies of their creations, I will reveal to them the joy of creating mine.

Continue reading Yup, you heard it right ! I don't wish to be a mom........