Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Soulmate

In every dream,
Vision -
Hand in hand 
My partner walks
Yanking me toward fun and frolic,
Cake walk kind of choices.
My buddy helps me kick those heels
Of high and lofty ideas.
Waking at daybreak,
Deep breathing, mindful eating.
Or even musing on this virtual dais..
Instead the pal cuddles with me
On the recliner with a morning cuppa.
Piles of noble intentions,
Wait like well trained kids.
Without a tantrum or eyeroll!
This mate of mine
Keeps guilt at bay..
Makes me think I am here to stay.
Those tubes of paint, that blank bland canvasses
That path untread with a high on sweat!
Those unmade calls, unrealized strolls
Their wait indefinite, their plight unheard!
I snuggle up with my fling..
And this shiny screen thing -
Who wants sleep, when the world peeks in?
Inspirations hit like contractions.
To see the labor of love...
The voyuer prevails soaking in the beauty
And smothering the will to create.
High time I thought, I'd banish that dude..
My partner in crime, dear mister Procrastination


Wednesday, January 04, 2017

New Leaf

As mother earth completes another revolution around the sun and my life turns on to a brand new year, I make a  desperate, albeit feeble attempt to pulverize my block into powder and record an entrey in my blog. Fair warning, full stop :-)

Random titbits of 2016

My best friend from childhood visited me along with her family, crossing the proverbial seven oceans. The cherry on top is that our men gel like Fevicol ki jodi :) -  General lesson learnt in 2016 about friends - the ones who love you will be there no matter what! All else are just acquantiances.

I called 911 for an emergency involving my baby that turned one year old a day before. She bumped her head on the hard wood while attempting to standup. She didn't swallow on her crying and did a momentary passout. Self discovery - I am extremely composed in crisis to a point where I wonder if I have feelings.  I am extremely grateful that she did just okay after that and had no concussions etcetera.

I always thought that compatibility with the teacher wouldn't or shouldn't matter, till my first born found the teacher of her dreams this academic year and is so motivated to do her best that she completed her year worth of reading points in her first trimester and got an immaculate report card with straight As. Lesson learnt - I stand corrected and the next time her school sends out a questionnaire to ask input about the kind of teacher my kid would prefer, I would not send it to the trash folder.

I made a piligrimage to Varanasi - the ultimate destination of The Hindu relegion and saw first hand what the hype was all about. Ganges, the river of legends has a life of her own and I was left strangely captivated in the impossibly narrow streets of the city.

The toughest job, officially, is to manage a class of middleschoolers while trying to teach them something as abstract as language arts. It also, somehow , manages to be the most fulfilling job ever.

When I do not react to mushy, sentimental viral videos and inspirational, emotional or tearjerking social media shares, when I don't laugh out loud to half baked, logic defying, trying to be funny movie plots - I wonder if I grew a brain in place of my heart. But then, my occasional obsession of searching for Matt Damon and watching all his youtube interviews, and reading all about him and his wife and his four daughters once in a while acts as reassurances that I am cukoo enough to not turn into a total Howard Roark ;)

I continued to have the attention span of a two year old, in terms of my inspirations to paint on the nine oversized canvasses waiting to be bathed in color and talent (grin) - Ironically, I still refuse to be time bound even while I sense it slipping away. My resolution for 2017 is to also achieve the matching non-botheration level of a two year old.

In 2016, I got to heaviest I have ever been - to a point of ten pounds heavier than the date of my delivery and I am completely at peace with it. But I do nurture a secret hope, which isn't all that secret anymore, to run a marathon.

I let go of all baggage in the bygone year. I lost a few so called friends, some probably didn't even notice that I lost them, but I still did confront my own displeasure in how my friendnship wasn't of much value.  Surprisingly, I have no hard feelings or grudges. Just moved on and closed doors that should have not been. also outgrew my love for bags and didn't buy materials for personal use such as clothing, accesories et al. My kitchen gadget craze shined through reassuring all and sundry that I didn't renounce the world afterall :)

I judged a tad less, smiled a tad more but blogged seldom. Which brings me to the point of this blog...'keep writing' is the formula...something sensible to ponder upon is perhaps lurking around the corner..
Let the hope brew...:)


Friday, December 30, 2016

Recap


Last month,I packed my backpack
And a scrapbook
About Monarch butterflies
To show off during recess.

Last week, my uncle adviced
Never to pick
On those pesky zits announcing youth.
I meddled, anyway - those scars
Telling stories, fresh from days ago.

Last night, I fell head over heels
For a curly haired, large eyed boy
That was so different from me.
I took a chance and said  'yes'to his 'will you?'
It's only last night - but I know I chose well.

This morning I woke up -
Opening my eyes to the mirror
Staring at a mom of two.
Her laugh lines, dulling skin,
Stray greys taking aid of a bright grin
To look like the kid
Bragging about a scrapbook success.

Those things that are so recent
Reduced to flecks in time..
I look back with squinted eyes
And a confused mind...
And suddenly
I gasp..
Life is too short
To even be little!









Sunday, December 18, 2016

Enarmored

I forgot
To be uninhabited
That mundaneness
Called the daily grind
Took over my mind.

Then I met you
Those grey blue eyes
Held me in repose
Like the calm after a storm!
A respite,
In this madness of life.

That love at first sight
Was'nt a thing of  storybooks,
Afterall.

The connect was instant
As it was intense.
My being swam
Into the vastness of your irises.
I held you close to heart.
Your reassuring warmth
Relating tales
Of unconditional love.
It was a bond, meant to not be!
Alas, the mundaneness comes in again.
This time around,
My heart just sank and settled
Into the pool of your soulful peepers.

I left, dejected..
But in hopes that your ocean of love
Finds the right companion -
While you walk away in glee
Wagging your happy tail
Taking the trail
Leading Home.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Lessons





When the famous Magician P C Sorcar came to our small town in the late eighties, all and sundry were kicked into a frenzy at school. We gaped at those mystical lithograph posters plastered onto all plasterable surfaces on our way to school in wide eyed awe, wondering what it would be to go catch him live. This wasn't your average entertainment that came to town. P C Sorcar was a household name then, like Big B of magic and I recollected segments of his father's recorded videos telecasted in Doordarshan. I knew that our small town was suddenly hep and happening but wasn't sure if I'd make it to the bee line to see him in action.

It pays to be in a place sometimes, where everyone knows everyone. The household blasted into roars of triumph when our siblings and I learned that Sorcar was a friend of a close associate of our father and we actually got invited to see the show lounging in the best seats of the auditorium, smack dab in the center of first row. When the show started with the curtain rising and a flood of disco lights and loud music, my heart thumped in resonance and excitement. It was a borderline over stimulation to my single digit nerves, but I was so engrossed in the world of magic that each and every frame of that evening etched into a perfection of memory on my impressionable mind.

Mr.Sorcar made a grand entry with all the crew in a gaudy sherwani, turban and exaggerated makeup. I probably stopped to blink while devouring all those visuals to a point where I still can recollect most of the two hour show in great detail. He placed a pot on one side of the dais and emptied it into a bigger tub at random intervals. "Oh, the water of India ' he would exclaim once in a while, jog to the side and empty the pot into the tub. Each time, the pot would be full - magically! - There was a grand finale where he performed the last act of his dad before he passed away and I felt fat tears dripping past my cheeks. But the one item that really made a permanent impression on me was the act where he called for volunteers on to the stage, blindfolded himself and made them write on a chalk board. He would respond appropriately to all writings, drawings and signs written on the chalk board with witty answers,   and perfect doodles. When a young woman wrote "Alas he is dead" he wrote back with impeccable timing "Who? your boyfriend? " while the audience burst into peals of laughter. What really struck me was the speed and perfection with which he made drawings. He drew a caricature of himself around a little cross symbol one volunteer provided on the board.

Bang. The etching happened. I absorbed each visual with mechanical precision and came home and tried imitating him and thinking that I did quiet a good job drawing quickly like him. from that day, a part of P C Sorcar's speed of creating seeped and pooled permanently into my psyche. I started believing that everything creative had to be impromptu, free hand and fast as lightning.  It delivered good results most of the times but when one is vying to be fast, there is a constant adrenaline rush that happens in the background, like you are competing with yourself in a rat race.  I diligently did all my creations in first draft glory, be it a story,a poem, a painting or a drawing. Even when I cooked, I had a part of me that tried to do it fast...chop chop chop. Stir stir stir. Though there wasn't any outward evidence of my rush, I did it subconsciously and somehow, at the end of every creative endeavor I felt a shortness of creative breath, like I just stopped running. Sometimes, I looked back and convinced myself that my quick creations are how creativity is supposed to be - uncut, un thought and straight from the gut. Till I realized the after effects - sometimes a regret of not having done a specific part better or not having completely enjoyed the process of its creation.

This summer I cooked an elaborate meal as a part of some annual festivities. Just like Sorcar's magic, something clicked inside me when I started the process of preparing a buffet of nine time consuming dishes in one go. I relaxed, took a deep breath and concentrated on what I was doing than the process of being done with it. I finished my cooking in my usual record time, with zero physical or mental strain and then had some more energy left to move on to more creative projects during the course of the day. Suddenly what I learned almost a quarter century ago dissipated into an absolute calm and peace of the cathartic experience of doing the stuff that I enjoy and chose to do. Ironically, all these years, I refused to put the shackles of time, routine and daily grind on my life but I did in a very minuscule way, incorporate that very shackle into the little things I did. Perhaps I enjoyed that raw, unedited phase too, but now I feel a sudden calm and meditative experience settle into even the most gross and mundane things that I do on a daily basis like changing a diaper of carrying the trash out. Many thanks to Sorcar who gave me a moulding experience of my childhood years and to nature's own magic of ripening over time,  I finally experienced it first hand, the fine line between knowing and understanding :-)

Photo - From my hotel window by the Westminster bridge - a partial view of the London eye :-) Summer of 2013












Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Catching Up

It is tricky, this time thingie. Specially when you do not have a constraint on it. You stay at home, cook, clean, wash and repeat and all the things that you wish to do fade into a blur in the background. Lately, I had been making a physical note of things in my planner. Yes, it is an upgrade from my mental notes or at least that's how I want to look at it, without making it feel like a downgrade due to part time remembry loss(grin). But, little does it help - thanks to the free style day I choose to live and the best friend that lurks in the background, whispering hypnotic slogans to keep putting it off.

Procrastination had really become my bosom buddy and I secretly hope that I have readers nodding silently when they read this, like they relate to what I am speaking about, hoping yet again that the world is not the perfection that my free spirited soul perceives it to be.

So, how do I procrastinate ? Let me count the ways.

One homebound Saturday afternoon, I had this sudden spasm to go buy some art material to finish up my newly redecorated guest bed. Okay, let me rephrase it - My newly redecorated guest bedroom in progress. 'In progress' being the crucial phrase in there. I went and bought assorted canvasses to spruce up my walls. The only down fall is that my painting ideas change by the minute. I look around for inspiration, click pictures, ask friends to permit me to paint their pictures and clutter my storage space on the computer. Once the time seems ripe, once the meals are cooked and the dishes are washed and the laundry is folded and the time vacuum  toddler decides to day nap - I have a clog of inspirations that vie for my attention and I end up doing nothing. Cause wanting to paint a landscape when I open my oil tubes morphs into wanting an abstract painting in the speed of a transformer graphic. Bottom line? The pesky little friend and the whispers that put me in a trance. I successfully put it off without a second thought.

It always is a draw for me when I try to decide between color and words - thus the moniker doodling words I guess. To try and do the 'fair' treatment to my passion for art and writing. I fail to understand how 2016 zoomed past into December while I wait for the dawn to meet the dusk and feel it was a long long day performing my almost full time 'home maker' duties. Days are long, years are short. But the panic hits when in the last month of the year, you look at your blog tally and feel a sinking feeling in the stomach - like the one akin to being broke without enough money :-)

I dilute the passion when I announce my creative pursuits, but here's sincerely hoping that I do a little bit of catching up before December slips away into the abyss of the past.

Anyone there with me? :-)



Photo - Goa, Fall 2013 - one of the gazzilion visual inspirations :-)







Monday, October 03, 2016

Verse

The lug on heart..
Fending ways to cope
 Like wax drips from a Candle..
With flickering light.

Those many inflictions,
Of spoken, unspoken words!
Of spitefulness or its absence,
Plunging into the abyss.

Like the protective armour
Cutting into flesh..
The many nerves that run
Snap here and there...

A lump forms
Griddlelock of  emotions
Choking in the bottleneck.
Some flows -  they just clog
In the gutter called
Indifference.






Monday, September 19, 2016

Travels







Varanasi. Kashi. Beneras...Same old city quiet literally no matter how you choose to address it - a city that is touted as the oldest city on planet, city of Life, city of Death and things between those two events. A city that brought a mixed bag of feelings and emotions based on the stories that floated around me since my childhood. A city that is the ultimate destination of every practicing Hindu.the one that is errected on the banks of holy Ganaga..the river that cascaded onto the Earth from the matted crowning glory of Lord Shiva.

The other side of the coin shows something else..A crowded city, filthy like never before, stinks to high heavens, city of fake swamis begging on streets, city of half burnt funeral pyres that are shoved
into Ganga..And ofcourse, beware of being looted in the name of Holy Father. Quiet the contrast, isn't it? And naturally, my decision to tag along with family and extended family wasn't an easy one, specially when thrown in with a baby and a tight itenary to the motherland. But I caved in, and it is probably one of the best travel desicions I had taken in my life!

I have a very unconventional equation with God. I say God and not religion cause I feel the term 'religion' puts barracades around the omnipresent. I grew up learning from Catholic nuns. I firmly believe in Dargah Sharif of Ajmer and Hanuman, Lord Ram's biggest fan, is an icon that I identify myself with. Vishwanadhji (Translated to 'Master of the universe) the ultimate form of Lord Shiva, resides over the holy city of Kashi. It is firmly believed that if you breath your last here, the gates of the heavens open up to you granting Nirvana. Isn't that enough to prick one's curiosity?

When I spotted lush pastures from the flight's window, a mental image that I had of Ganga ghat blurred into a reality slap. Kashi wasn't to be seen till we travel a good thirty kilometers by car. My hotel window wasn't any different. It showed a city scape..a visual that would have been any generic place in India. I am sure I irked the driver of our rental car with an equivelant of 'are we there yet?' I kept asking him as to when I would get a glimpse of the river, or the Temple's gopuram (Roof/Dome that is tapered as per Hindu archetcture). He just did the Indian negation nod after a few 'We won't be able to spot them' replies.

What followed were self discoveries, soul searches, epiphanies, deep meanings and fond memories. When I visited Vishwanadhji's temple, I was taken aback by the sheer size of his form..an insignificant dome like rock embedded into a 3x3 niche TO THE CORNER OF A 10x10 room. The experience was so surreal that ir just put things in perspective. I travelled miles and miles away from homw, changed flights, means of transport, invested hours of thinking through and apprehensions to be face to face with an idol that blurred into an epiphany of sorts...all that was for a glimpse at something as plain but the vibrations it generated in my being, the warmth it flooded my soul with and the moisture I felt in my eyes snapped in a perspective that only such and experince could impart.

What followed was a yearning to see the Ganga in all her glory. We secured stellar seating to view the spectacle called 'Ganga Aarti' an offering of prayer with an array of lamps. I was lost into a world amid all that crowd and bedlam...a spectacle that etches onto your soul with its aura and the sound of drums resonates in your heart. Ganga is a river that is considered no less than life giving elixir. One dip into her serene waters and she is believed to wash away our sins and cleanse us from inside out. I took a dip and two and three and felt like I stepped out of a hot spring with medicinal properties.

A pair of black cobras danced to the tune of a snake charmer in the premisis of KalBhairav temple a deity that is supposed to rule over and keep guard of Kashi. A deity that is one of the many forms of Lord Shiva that assumes the form of a Dog. Countless monkeys played around the Hanuman Mandir, the most spacious of all the temples in Kashi and the Consorts of Vishwanayh have humble little adobes and really dainty forms - a sharp contrast to their larger than life auras as Mothers of the universe.

There is so much to record, and so little ammunition to express them - an experince that is beyond words in the truest sense, that the words that are my creative blocks elude me.

Varanasi is everything they say it is. The Ganga was a earty red hue, with dirty banks and random water weeds floating the edges. The streets looked like mazes, not enought wide for even modestly sized four wheelers. Cows share the streets with pedestrians and clueless piligrims. The main temple is all muddy and wet, perhaps from people walking in with wet clothes after the Ganga dip. But I was  oblivious to all this. My mind was busy looking at the stars, gasping in self discoveries, amalgaming into the omnipresent. As they say - everything we see is a perspective :-)







Monday, September 12, 2016

Irony

Like the blood red rose blooming in the bush
Like the frothy wave licking  the feet
Like laces of snow dripping into water
Like the bright rainbow blurring in the sky!

Like the withered leaf falling to the dirt,
Like the bubbles in stream popping in silence
Like the breeze that gets wisps into eyes
Like the day that dips down into dusk.

Like the sand that slips through the grasp
Like the moments that zoom past like light
Like the cloud that melts into gentle drizzle
Like the fog that fades into the brightness of the sun!


Transient it is..we know, we ignore!
Thinking we are here for evermore.
That is Life in a nutshell :)


Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Reflection

A very dear friend recently pinged me and asked when I was getting out of hybernation. We joked around the topic of my energy and time vaccum AKA the second born, who is moving faster than I can inhale and keeping me on my tired toes. After the conversation, I did realize that I was not even close to hybernating. Infact, my schedule as a mother to a toddler is anything but sleeping away in a cave, oblivious to earth's rotation and revolution. 'Why not dust that blog and stop talking to myself constantly in a blogging tone?' Was the logical query that followed. So here I am, with a stolen moment from my own life, doing what I like to do the most - write :-)

And what do you do when you have a voice over confusing you with numerous titles, topics and tales? Sometimes having too much to say gets counter productive. I have that travel experiences that need to be recorded,  ephipanies that occur around every new candle on the cake and verses, ponders, experiences, raves, rants - the list without an abyss. And ironically not enought time. Darn the alignment of stars that  throw in a block in leisure and a flow in time crunch. So here's to bigtime seasonal dusting and banter with hopes of  catching tiny glimpses of thoughts as the time zooms past in a blink!



Sunday, June 19, 2016

Heart



Manuvering through the slinkest of lanes,
It refuses to stay still..
From one door to the other,
Knocking and scurrying away to next!
Not stopping - this mean menace.

Taking a peek into the translucence of a window,
Bending akimbo to glance through the hallways,
It sprouts wings, dancing in the thin air..
It glides tip toe, racing like lightning
Rest, it doesn't - freeze, it doesn't!

Up until it finds the bloom..
Enticingly spreading its petals to embrace,
It swoops down and gently alights,
And then it devours the nectar of that moment!
Time? It knows not those shackles.

Tending to dreams, sniffing the flowers,
Contemplating the hazy horizons.
Thoughts, sublime captures of life,
It treasures in the childlike heart!
Age? It is oblivious to those numbers.

Those outsides tell a different tale,
They advocate caution..those lines of expression!
Silver slivers play hide and seek
Reminders galore of three plus decades.
Limits? It is blind to those boundaries.


Monday, February 22, 2016

Simply.









Around late spring last year, I chanced upon my future lifestyle Guru. Mary Kondo, the Japanese decluttering diva made her debut in the land of the free and the brave, while I was away on my globe trotting. One has got to give credit to 'the attention span of a toddler' that kicks into moi intermittently, cause that spree of surfing the world wide web landed me before Ms.Kondo..I also had a norm defying nesting phase at that time, right before my baby made her appearance, and in that phase, I did my humble part in economy stimulus and contributed to the rising stocks of Amazon.com by ordering more books than I possibly could read. 'The life changing magic of tidying
up' thus made into my mail box and changed my life, once and for all.

Years ago, I had mastered the craft of reading inbetween the lines..in a good way ofcourse, and eversince, my thinking hardware had been formatted to excel at the same. While Kondo's  'Konmari method' as she calls it made me ruthlessly weed out remotely useless clutter from every nook and crevice of my home, it was a total cleanser of the intangible baggage I carried around in my mind and heart. The end result was a very liberating version of me that got rid of the last traces of the middle child syndrome. I let go of every unnecessary though, every petty hurt and truly experienced an epiphany of sorts. "Drop your stories" - I heard a wise friend's voice in my head - and move on to what sparks joy. Be it what you put on your outside, or inside...my simple life got simpler. It gave me the effects of transendental meditation.

Konmari method has a Zen like aftertaste to it. While She was speaking about the material cleanse, I underwent a deeper cleanse that has lived up to the overused cliche in the title of the book. There was a generous dose of supplement  books by great thinkers of my time that enhanced the experience of the cleanse for me, miraculously, all of the lessons fell together at the perfect moment. From Michael Singer's cognitive psychology, Don Miguel Ruiz's Toltec wisdom to Charles Gross, the totally random kid on Youtube culminated my whole soul experience to simply simplify the soul though none of them lectured about it. Sometimes, what you are given and what you have taken do not matchy match . We all seem to be in a chase of complexity...at the end, most of it wouldn't really matter - AT ALL.
It could possibly be my witnessing the face off with mortality upclose around me in the past year, but our lives are too short to be little. Drop them stories, declutter, rearrange and Live :-)



Sunday, February 14, 2016

Verse




He stands tall, magnificient in all his glory!
 He seems to support a whole plethora...
The ones that thrive under his protective shadow.
 His crowning glory, 
Lush and lavishly spread around - 
With one blow of wind,
Heaves heavily.

 His skin has a pattern to it, 
Much like a hide
 That develops a texture soaking up the fierce sun.
His limbs, sinewy as an athlete's. 
 But, is stationary and silent...
 Patience in a palpable form.
 Oblivious to the wounds that are caused to his being, 
He keeps giving! 
Never uttering as much as a sigh.
 Hushed, mute, reticent..
Unconditional till his bones make our bed frames.
 Alas..arrested by his own growth.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Memoir

Her lanky frame lent a drape to chiffons, and on that unkempt monsoon afternoon, I saw a glimpse of her walking with a handmade poncho draped on her shoulders, adding an extra layer to keep the chill at bay. She held an unbrella with a hand while it drizzled steadily and clutched to her her handbag closer to her frame. She looked back, without stopping, to wave back at my aunt. Our eyes met for a fleeting moment. 

That was the first time I ever saw her.

The waiting hall had a somber feel to it. It served a single purpose...to house the folks waiting outside. Some awaited their loved ones emerge out of the treatments - the chemo drips and the radiation chambers. Some simply looked like they didn't bother waiting. Tell tale scars on their skins, painful shadows in their eyes narrating stories of battles, survivals and apprehensions. I saw her again..nothing seemed to have changed outwardly, or perhaps very little. Her chiseled features stood out in a pretty face. Her thick hair was cropped to compliment her grace. In a fleeting moment, I recognised her. There were tears, her frail hand held mine..the warmth it carried tingles fresh in my palm as We speak...We hugged, cried, smiled and strolled down three decades of memories. Lying on the hospital table, she tried to tuck away a lush black wig under the pillow she was resting on. I pretended not to notice it. I feigned normalcy while my mind grappled to make sense of how a perfect looking lady as her was harboring a terminal illness within. She didn't look like she could catch a cold..so vibrant and beautiful her outside was, while something evil wrecked havoc inside..brutally, silently!

That was the last time I saw her.

Her association punctuates my childhood. Memories big and small sprinkle along my growing path. she was in the background as my first decade moulded. She taught me..some lessons in the school campus and some out of it. The fun ones, the tender ones. The ones that form a part of my life's simple chronicles. Those stories that my mom, my aunt and her whispered to each other..the 'grown up woes', the ubiquitous battles of womankind that somehow made way to my innocent, curious ears. Her baby arrived somewhat late on the timeline. 'Mid thirties, poor woman' random people showered unwanted  pity. Even at my age back then, it was quiet obvious to me that she commanded envy from her peers, probably because of her beauty, or her affluence or the looks and career of her Captian husband. When the tiny bundle arrived, her man was sailing on the seas. She took it all with a resilient smile. Sometimes I used to catch her sobbing, specially after she would wait in our living room for painful hours, awaiting the analog phone to screech through the suspense. "Will he or won't he?" when the call finally arrived, the air around us used to ease a bit. I used to catch collective sighs of family members around me that waited with her, for her! Her voice used to break a little , shake a little and once the brief call was over..she used to sit down with her face burried into her palms, sobbing softly, sounding like a new born kitten. " He is safe, he is safe" she used to repeat, wiping her tears, inabsolute  relief. 

She was perhaps my sneak preview into womanhood. She cared for me tenderly. 
Fashion advice, choosing nail polish, talking about crushes, giggles...it was all teeny tiny memories after memories. As I grew up and got married and left my place, I used to see her once in a while, but the connect always happened instantly.

I heard of her passing shortly after having my second child last year. Her only kid barely hit twenties. Her loving spouse was left back to grieve. It rings fresh in my ears, her story about their wedding..her marriage picture placed on her fridge with that flashing joy of a handsome man and an ecstatic bride on his arm, smiling away through the layer of her transperant veil, that bouquet in her arms, held like a baby!  

Beth Esda, their home that was lovingly built. Princy, their bundle of joy! Suddenly, memories of her flood my everyday!

Her name had a prestine tenderness to it. I can get a whiff of its fragrance even today. Sometimes, the name defines the person. Aunty Jasmine, we didn't believe in the same God nor we were tied by blood, but you will live on with me, within me - summing up a sweet part of my childhood.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Nouveau




The year passed like a rollercoaster ride. Just when my senses got  used to a violent swing in one direction, the nauseating spin took me into the opposite motion. There was loss, light, numbness and then some serious soul searching. Virtigo like imbalance caught me unprepared but then who said life is fair? Or just when you pass the verdict of 'guilty as charged' for being brutal, it gives that ray of hope, penetrating through the dense foliage of life's lessons. It sparkles like dew on lush green leaves, it takes and gives. Amid all this circus of survival, things come to a stand still...things like writing blogs and sketching images. But recorded or not, they scroll through the grey cells begging for a form. Thus, the dusting of deams happen and chronicles of mundane life take form in virtual words, marking the beginning of Nouveau.
And life goes on...




Sunday, April 12, 2015

Day 5 - E for Exams - E for Evolve

As a child I took exams very seriously. The most serious of those that came my way were the class X board exams. I was raised in the most typical of Indian middle class settings though I was exempt from being put through the pressure of doing good in examinations or the pain of being compared to the neighbor or cousin that scored more than me in Trigonometry. As a result I was exempt form the anxiety to be on top, or so I thought ...until I brought it onto myself. Don't they say it takes a village to raise a child? So the proverbial village made me realize early on, that my self worth and my appraisal in the world would be wholly and solely dependent on one thing - my mark sheet and my position in the class room, based on that mark sheet.

I looked around and realized the heroes were the ones that got top ranks, attended the best schools and had degrees that graced before and after their names as ostentatious adornments. What if someone made it through the Engineering and Medical entrance?  Please make way and worship the path that they walked on. What if they made it to the Indian Institute of Technology? - Give them the Noble prize, put their picture on your altar and pray that your kid (or you) would be fortunate enough to follow them. In short, our worth depended on our academic merit and all we needed to set our lives and cement our self worth was to rake in as many marks as we could in the examinations that determined our value as people for the rest of our lives. 

Thus I toiled. Buried myself deep into the books and dreamed day and night to get the top mark in the school - how couldn't I? Wasn't that my purpose in life? - I did all I could, never watched TV and worked more that I played like the Jack that was a dull boy! I topped my board exams, basked in the inflated ego that followed when all and sundry praised me to high heavens and thought I got it all figured out - this life and the way to live it! Up until I didn't.

My now self, on retrospect would love to tell my then fourteen year old self a thing or two about life, living and scoring top grade in exams. It was for the fortunate evolution process my heart and soul went through. I look back and let out an empty smile - how over rated that whole circus was? How naive it is to make our lives revolve around out doing, out shining and constantly comparing ourselves to others to  validate our own achievements. 

Life is about wisdom and not knowledge, about compassion and not intelligence about living it our way and not outdoing the people around us.

I am all for achievement, ambition, accumulation of degrees, making it into gifted and talented lists, attending ivy league schools and earning big pay checks. I just hope that someone tells my generation of parents and this generation of kids that happiness, worthiness and contentment in life comes independent of all these things. That a person could have the most elaborate degree but could be an emotional idiot, an arrogant individual and our self worth is definitely not determined by our accomplishments.

Let's stop and smell the roses, take it easy - cause every little child in the world doesn't need to become a neurosurgeon, a space scientist or the president of USA - it is very important, however, to be comfortable in our own skin and be compassionate and reasonable human beings. The chances of kids succeeding and giving their best, probably works out better when they are given the right instructions to life and living.

Don't force achievements - they are utterly overrated!




Tuesday, April 07, 2015

C for a Cluster

There was this porous, spongey material...often occurring in shades of creme and white - often adorned with a luscious layer of richly colored fluffy stuff. There was the occasional rose, molded out of edible material and color that stained the tongues and teeth in an inexplicable shade of gaudy pink. Sometimes, the shading was coveted and gaped at in the mirror with a strange awe. It tasted more like a chemical than candied sugar, but that didn't deter us from claiming to want it or eat it.

 There were layers and layers, literal and the not so, to the simple pleasure of devouring a piece of cake and how it enticed me every single time I lay my eyes on a piece, though it was occasional. The usual birthday, the Christmas cake or the New year one. That's it? - yes, just three definite occasions and then the bonus, rare and random ones.

Cake continues to be a great draw for me - and sometimes I wonder if all the idioms, expressions and adages were coined just keeping my awe for the yummy treat! -

Now, that was a pice of cake, making this entry into my A-Z journey, but no, it won't be all!


                                                                      **********


Clueless and confused, I embarked on a journey with my husband, shunning my small town roots, to this land,  to Golden California. Ever since, this had effortlessly replaced my little idyllic town on the banks of a perennial river, somewhere in the lush lands of South east Asia.  I look at the ocean, the numerous shades and genes of diversity that color this land, the magical allure of Golden gate bridge, the steely cold pangs of the Pacific that lick my feet with their froth every time I take a stroll on the beach and feel the crunch of Sourdough on my taste buds, I feel a part of my very existence merging into this piece of land....

If C has to denote something, it has to be my home sweet home :-)



                                                                       ***********

I have a friend - almost a family member. But not the one that is typical to either of these groups. He keeps me company, humors me, flatters me and makes me giggle to myself in moments of my solitude. I look for resemblances, for matching points of view. I watch him in awe for the way he articulates and  simplifies truths of life - for his math atheism. For his unconditional bond with an imaginary friend. Calvin can easily make a place in my family tree...he could be one of my ancestors, he could be one of my offsprings - heck, he could be me! I banter in elaborate vocabulary - Calvin does that! I question the need of calculation and arithmetic (ditto, Calvin) He has replaced voids caused by realtime folks, he pops in my mind, hallucinating around my senses, offering me life advice. If I am Remy the rat, He is Gustav, the chef that acts as my guide.

A list without Calvin under the alphabet "c" is complete - Never! And nothing can leave me more content than listing him among my coveted possessions.


Concluding the 'C' is the Calvin fan from Charming California, consuming crumbs of creamy cake.

Ciao!

:-)

Monday, April 06, 2015

Day 2 - B for Banal

And now the real challenge starts - of making the title appear a little 'trying to be modest' - and if the challenge is failed - advanced apologies! And yes, sorry for making this an arbitrary one and starting the first two sentences with a conjunction:)

As far as I can manage - no Verse this time around. I don't want the easy way out. The elbow grease, the trying hard enough, the putting in required effort et al come into play. If I am doing it anyway, why not do it the right way? So here goes another dose of prose - (well, just a bunch of non poetic blah blah to be more precise but the rhyming of dose and prose was kind of irresistible.) On retrospect, I should have made this blog about just that - Blog! I should've no?

I keep saying Ten, but I am close to being eleven years old in the blog world. Just last night, I did a stroll back the memory lane into the recent past and was humored by my own thoughts and bits n pieces of ideas. Was a good idea, this Blog thingie. It really does give me a place I call  my own - sometimes conveniently forgetting that, albeit a small chunk, I do have an audience. If anyone of you, writers, non writers, thinkers, non thinkers are wondering what it would be like to have a blog, let me tell you, it is like having this 'resort' on cyber space, where you can be yourself and go on a vacation from the toxic world. (And at free of cost to boot) Yes, we do live in an overload of all things - good, bad and ugly. The space to introspect, create and reflect is as pious as our body. So blog equals to body on a very figurative perspective - an alternate being where you could choose to be your own critique, shrink, friend, philosopher, guide etc...and the beauty comes in when you have others peeping into the world of yours.  I keep saying this - who knows? An offspring might discover you generations down - in your now seemingly insignificant banter. So folks, if you are cogitating on a blog of your own - jump the gun, right now! (and keep at it, that's the trickier part)

I could go on and on when I call it Banal - but I are going to be considering - I mean, I am going to be considerate - to myself of course ;-) And save the Banal stuff and recycle it calling it Cliched, Dull, Everyday, Hackneyed, Insipid...(you get the drift don't you? ;-) in the coming days of Alphabetical blogging!
But like I said, all that matters is keeping at it!

 Please keep company - most kindly! :)

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Day 1 - This and That

A very ardent supporter and well wisher of mine pinged me a couple of days ago, reminding me of the A-Z challenge that had become a tradition of sorts in my blogging journey for the past four years.

" Well, you are not too late yet, don't rob the world of your thoughts" the encouragement went on. And tell you what? - that qualifies as an answer to one of those 'What's the nicest thing you'd heard about yourself' questions! -) So, for obvious reasons, revived by the pleasant nudge that came my way, I decided to give it a try my own way - cause I was too self absorbed to realize it was April and too condescending of my own works to realize they'd be missed :-D

So, here I go, trying my shot at blogging each day of April - Ironically, Sundays were supposed to be days off - since I am doing it my own way, I thought it would be a good opportunity to keep at the daily writing and upping my blog count for the year - and of course, I did rule out the 'block' as imaginative in my previous ponders - so all the more reason to bounce back! Thus Sunday becomes the day one.

If you had any idea of how my previous attempts at A-Z went, they were hard core - picking one alphabet a day and trying to feign a verse with that themed letter. Honestly, verses come easier to me for some reason - they are less demanding of format, grammar and flow, and I effortlessly pick a few words, tie them up with a thought and an exaggerated dose of artistic liberties and call it a day! - A couple of years, I did the group blog thingie - it was nice. Now who doesn't like the ego stroked and cajoled and after all that "I am not ambitious' banter, it is a fact that everyone likes a kind word thrown at them once in a while - nothing succeeds like succulent words of appreciation. But somehow, the introvert kicks in violently and I retire back into my snail shell of being alone and being left alone - which are by the way, not as depressing as they sound! Alone and lonely are separate words with separate meanings. A wise soul once told me that if you like your own company, you can never be lonely! - I know, this reeks of self absorption, but if it simplifies your life - why not??

Technically, I should be blogging about something with the alphabet 'A' - I was majorly attracted to blog about 'assumptions', as I see the world runs on them - on your assumptions, on mine and the ones that our neighbor and his brother has about you, me and the world in general. If there is one single, solitary thing I'd like to work on to simplify life - it would be the caution in making assumptions. They somehow shut the 360 degree view to things, narrowing the view to a sentiment that might or might not be true. It further complicates our thoughts, our reactions, our reasoning and at a deeper level - our lives!

This thought is something that can't be skimmed through in a rush, so I thought I'd blog about 'Ahem' - not the 'ahem ahem' - like clearing the throat, but the sanskrit word 'Ahem' as in "I" - the big bad and ugly 'Ego' in other words! It is startling how my nine year old has one, slightly larger than her 4'5" frame and I do see it occurring everywhere, age and gender no bar! But then again, how can I really confine the vastness of the subject in one simple entry? I cannot! Can I?

Totally displaying my adult ADD, I need to add that the New Yorker really puts my attention span and comprehension skills to test. I do enjoy it when I am utterly it moment,concentrating on what is being said - which unfortunately gets me to the fact that we as humans are stunted in our attention span. We are not as good listeners as we are thinkers and speakers. Note to self - work on listening. As they are not many speakers when I listen, if you discount the little girl that remembers to tell me some random fact about deers (the new non fiction book she's read) for the umpteenth time and makes me wonder how she remembers the fact but forgets that she repeated it enough times to cause brain shut down in me) I decided to work on the concentration skills - which might at some deeper level, inspire a wish to meditate - one can hope, can't one?? And, sincere thanks to New Yorker for driving home that point!

I shall come back, more this and thats' ? The occasional easier ways out in the form of poetry? The desperate 'photo entry' to keep the 'blog each day' sentiment going...I know not what all I'd resort to. But it is going to be a month of putting the 'concentration' on a task to challenge.

I am too laid back for them Challenges, till one is thrown my way! And then, magically - a well hidden program to keep up, pops in and does the trick!

Thank God for forgotten and hidden potential, great friends, true inspirations and the motivation to keep on.

So, after all, A is for an Attempt (yet again) :)






Monday, March 23, 2015

Ponder - Paradigm shift

2014 looks like a fragment of my imagination from where I see it. It is amusing how my brain completely shuts off this part of my world once I am in my homeland. It is as if this home and these streets never existed. And magically, the same thing happens when I get back. It is probably my inbuilt defense mechanism that shuts these things off, making me more resilient and adaptable to the surroundings I am in.

My extended stay back home bought so many things into light - it was an eye opener in more ways than one. Some of the discoveries were made within and some without. Like they say - everything we see is a perspective and everything we hear is an opinion. There isn't the right and wrong like we categorize things - no black and white but numerous shades of Grey. The possible reference to 50 shades is just a sheer coincidence :-)

I was always known to think 'weird' - one of my close associates used a euphemism to tone down the 'weirdness' and called me 'eclectic'. Like I keep reiterating again and again - labels aren't for me. I am as volatile as it can get though the reflections, the experiences and the exposures did frame the core of my insides. I used to despise certain things from this very core - 'common sense' or lack thereof, for example - or Stupidity. Though I categorize myself as 'live let live' and never make 'to the face' judgements in general, I should be fair and admit that I always thought of myself as a practical and rational thinker. This obvious pride often led me on the roads of 'judgement' and undermining the people I thought were below my understanding of having common sense or being stupid.

Go place yourself in a country like India, and viola - you see a totally new ball of wax - one sees many stereotypes, blind beliefs, social taboos exercised with utmost pride - and most of all - the attitudes and the bandwagon effects and herd behaviours are totally amusing. It is said that people who believe they are rational are often more susceptible to cognitive biases and mine was probably the 'bias blind spot' - as in the tendency to see oneself as less biased than others :-) Yes, point made and how!!

I cannot completely take credit to my so called 'well rounded' personality (and no, that's not the midriff I am referring to ;-)) - I spent the better part of my life in the amazingly diverse 'west coast' of the USA and a better part of that better part wasn't spent parked in a three by three cubicle, going through the daily grind. Thanks to the spouse that granted me all the freedom to pick and choose and be myself. Over the past decade and a half, I transformed from this small town young woman into someone that had exposure to several different cultures, works of thought, situations, unlimited knowledge that unfolded on the world wide web, a fresh 'perspective' and not to mention the advantage of aging. And when you arrive with all these tools in tow, to a place like suburban India, it could be a ego inflating and an isolating experience at the same time. You would suddenly appear so larger than life to yourself that every bit of 'ignorance' you see around irritates you.

www.newyorker.com/tech/frontal-cortex/why-smart-people-are-stupid


The silent judgements were masked, the irritation was carefully concealed - but I did end up feeling like I belonged else where and not in the place I chose to be. It probably made me feel like this because I was pumped up with a 'holier than thou' halo effect. Had I been living there, with that kind of environment and people around me, I am sure, I'd have been half this global, progressive or broad in my thinking.

Common sense and stupidity are very subjective. In an Indian household, it is common sense to leave the footwear outside. Just because your American counterpart doesn't do it, it is not a lack of 'common sense'.  Rather - it is not a common occurrence in that particular culture. I remember writing a blog about how 'hating someone with bad grammar' group on a social media website was a little over the top. In the same way, the group shares, the memes, the jokes and the inspiration messages that people share, reflect their own personal preferences. Just because they don't match my sensibilities - I learnt not to disdain them. Guilty as charged - I seldom open or acknowledge any of these links that are shared in my friends' circle. After this Aha moment, I make a conscious effort to go thorough them and appreciate what is seen on the sharing end of the link. I have to admit, my being 'smart' stopped me from doing so earlier.

We are a product of a lot of things other than our own prowess. And no matter how smart I consider myself to be, I am sure I fall somewhere in the spectrum of 'stupid' when it comes to the numerous smartypants out there that inhibit my planet. I have my share of biases, committed a few blunders and brutally judged people for who they are or what they are not.  But once the paradigm shifts, the panoramic view comes into picture.

Dear God, Let me never get too big for my britches! Amen.