Fear, the Pa Mei of Universe


******High Heavens and Deep Hell********

Paranoia is a state of fear gone rogue. Like the character of Kamal Hassan in the movie Tenali. Well, the movie is a comedy that still leaves me in splits….every time I watch it! How amazing it is to portray something as nasty as fear as something so comic!!

Well, the movie ends. And, the humour ends there.

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And then, fear divests itself off its appealing satire and, reveals its nasty side. Fear of unforeseen situations can be exhausting. It is not something we don’t anticipate. It is always there. But, there are a few times when it makes its presence known better. It shakes your core and, brings you back to the ground and reminds you – ‘Not only nothing lasts forever….Even no-one lasts for ever!

Even as the optimist in self explains why it is important to live the present moment (कल किसने देखा है? ), there is always a lingering fear about how long will good things last…..or worse….how long will we have our loved ones around?
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It all began for me with the demise of my maternal uncle in the year 2016.

I had met my uncle in the same year in June and, my son got so attached with his ‘mama tatha’ that they moved around like inseparable siblings. My own conversations with him were never ending queries on science and spirtuality. He had mentioned how he would get me some good books next time we met.

The next time never came.

Little did I know, that meeting was the last of what I would see of my beloved Lakshman mama.

A part of me has been numb since then. The pain of bereavement was never so severe before. For the first time in life as an adult, I yearned to become a child once again, to feel the warmth and presence of the loved ones that have departed……

It was the first time in life that, a death weakened my hopes and strengthened my fears. I did have cold sweats that year because I felt a warm blanket of support being yanked away rudely. It was as though my perception about optimism and good things in life changed overnight. For the second time in life (first being 2013), I was scared of everything unknown. I was very very scared. And suddenly, I just wanted…all my loved ones around be blessed with good health and happiness and enough time to enjoy it.

The subsequent year, I lost my granny.

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Mum and dad lost their most loved ones within a gap of few months and, I could see how silent they have become with time.

Their silence unsettles me at times, given how jovial they are and, how they pick up fights deliberately with each other…. I realized one thing – Old age comes with its own package of fears too…

But then, my responsibilities remind me why I need to be strong for all of us. Yes, the fear is as alive as before. I will NOT lie when I say that each day, as much as I feel indebted to the Universe for blessing me with good people around, I am also shit scared of losing my blessings.

The fear is real.

But maybe, the fear is teaching me something. It is perhaps bleeding my knuckles and, is preparing me to get past every hurdle that awaits me. Maybe, it is trying to show me that the climb uphill will be arduous but, if I have been chosen to traverse it, I will be trained well enough to endure the pains.

Maybe, it is not ‘Maybe’ anymore.

FEAR……indeed is the PA MEI of the Universe.

The ***High Heavens and Deep Hells*** are those alternating patches on our journey of life. And somewhere, deep down I believe….it is the road to perdition that puts enough misery on our path to break us…is what will also lead us to the very purpose of why we are here, living the life we have got…..

Fear is perhaps not to be feared. It is meant to be understood.

But then no one ever said, ‘understanding’ is synonymous to walking on a tight rope on a stormy day.

There is always a catch! BING!“, smiles Destiny!

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Some writers are immortal.


**An author who lives in my heart**

The first time I chanced on his book was somewhere in the year ’98. I am not sure which year it was. But, I was still a teen in school. The place was some famous book store in Delhi. My dad was on some official tour and, mum and I tagged along. And, all three of us felt happy in the book store for different reasons. Mum was busy scouring through the academic sections so that she could get the best books on Math and Physics for me. My dad who was then under the AOL spell was following the spirtuality section.

I was in my happiest avatar for two reasons,
One, I wanted to read some adult books and my parents weren’t really aware of my thoughts.

And two, i could spend hours reading a book there and push off without buying it.

(Nasty, no? No, actually)

And, this book caught my eye. The title read – ‘In the company of women’. The author was Late Kushwant Singh, someone my dad had once mentioned as one of the few authors who could talk sense in a way that even daggers felt like Cupid’s arrows! I had read a few of his editorial columns…and maybe, I never understood much at that age. But, I loved the way he wrote, regardless.

So, where was I?

And, I took this book and gleefully began to read the book. It did not take me long to figure out that it was definitely a book that transcended all realms of morality and that, my parents weren’t the only ones who would scrutinize a teen for picking that book. Apparently, a matronly bispectacled lady just stepped in out of nowhere while she began going through some books. And, she saw me.

😐😐

That one stare which was probably just a few seconds, felt like the Sun shining directly on my eyes. I promptly kept the book back and, joined my parents like the innocent kid who went searching for Agatha Christe but landed with some book that spelt soft porn! Never mind. I got a book on different types of snakes IN India.

Post marriage and, a child later…..When my husband saw that book, he cringed. He feels squeamish whenever I go vocal about my obsession and fear of snakes, serpents and paranormal. Well, the obsession continues to stick with me. 😎😎

But then, ain’t I digressing by habit?

Cut back to the time post that incident….., I probably read just a few chapters of that ‘blasphemous’ book then and, forgot all about this episode after returning home.

The same year, there was a short story – ‘The mark of Vishnu’ by Kushwant Singh in my English prose. I was addicted to that story and to an extent that, I wished to tell the old man thay the ending was gut wrenching for me. But then, it is the same writing style that made me fall in love with this author because, he writes truth as it is – bold and ugly. One of his books ‘Train to Pakistan’, which I read in some library years back did make my gut flip. But then, wasn’t truth always bizzare? That is what this man has been trying to convince the world about.

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And after all these years, I picked up a book at Kolkata airport. The book was titled – ‘Truth, Love and a little malice’.

I am still savouring the chapters of this autobiography, which evidently became his last book too. And, this book is a revelation on every page. In a world, where everyone wants to appear ‘the messiah’, ‘the holy’, ‘the successful’ , ‘the morally incorruptible’…., this man succeeds in destroying all those myths and notions and, proves that to be oneself the way one is destined to be, is the biggest challenge ever.

Kushwant Singh won his challenge at ‘century – 1’

His obituary to self remains one of its kind – “Here lies one who spared neither man nor God/ Waste not your tears on him, he was a sod/ Writing nasty things he regarded as great fun/ Thank the Lord he is dead, this son of a gun.”

Long live the fiesty Sardar in our hearts!

Reprehensible emotions & Sensible abstractions.


How usual it is for people to come and advise you about how you need to be in your life? It is unusual if people don’t.

Right? Right.

And today, I happened to pen down some thoughts on FaceBook on how locks and keys are an important aspect in our lives. We have a lock for our homes, cupboards, lockers, racks and so on. And, we also remember to unlock them, be our closets to wear choicest outfits or, unlock our passions in the arms of our loved ones or, unlocking our budget savings when we have to book a dwelling et al. But, these locking and unlocking come naturally to us. Maybe, we are at the most primal selves in the above mentioned stances. However, there is one thing we subconsciously lock but never bother to unlock while we assume that we have keys for all our important locks. And that one thing is emotions that come naturally to us when we do not envisage the outcome of events, that play against us while all the time we assumed, would never fail us!

hh

To say NO when it matters, to say what you feel without feeling offended about offending anyone, to pursue what you want by channeling all your emotions into what you love is perhaps the most difficult lock to unlock. It is a battle. Every day.

 

And, I happened to realize what unlocking emotions lead to, when we just give them a chance to express. That is what this post is all about…..

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The start of this year began on unsettling notes for me. With the son embracing his new year with measles, with my dad going through a surgery at the same time while I was very far far away from him, with the fauji husband on duty battling insane cold in some rough terrains and, with me who for the first time clung to her phone as if it were a lifeline because my mother needed my physical presence but, she had to do with hearing my voice, 2018 had a shaky start for us.

And, for the first time in life, I felt the pinch of distance. Those days in the past one month moved like a snail. Sometimes, i would simply sit on the porch of that guesthouse in the far far East and, look up and wonder….why? why? Is there no respite?’

To stare blankly at a mulberry worm or, at the blue sky view laced with the greens of the thick canopy of trees felt like applying a soothing balm on my bleeding headspace. Every time I walked and looked at the snow capped mountains, I wanted to lock the image in my head safely so that i could remember it whenever I wanted…..Mountains have that effect on you…..you realize you have seen and felt the Almighty by the mere sight of them. And along the way, there was this beautifully painful lesson I learned….while I stayed there….

“Sometimes….you just got to wait. You just got to trust the universe. You just got to train your mind to act sensible and, not sensitive.”

How difficult can that be?, I wondered in the years before. In my carefree days, my father used to advise the same at every given chance. However, it is this year I comprehended his words in its truest sense……

How difficult can that be? Answering that feels difficult too. But this is how it felt.

It felt like being stretched to your limits. And, while you struggle to touch the unfathomable limits, you also meet your doppelganger in desperation that would do anything to set things right again. It is as though we all have a selfish side that wants to universe to listen to it first. It is like becoming the prehistoric human who is frenzied about solving his issues no matter how they ought to pan out.

And, it was in that first week of this year, when I was at my lowest self. With an unwell child to take care of, my heart was racing fast because my thoughts drifted towards my unwell father and my strong willed mother who were tight lipped about their state for a long time.

And then, I looked at my son. Despite running a very high fever for three consecutive days, despite having sores deep inside his throat besides the exterior, despite not being able to have food and water normally, the boy was busy doodling. The images were not easy for me to understand. There were animals, trees and, a lot many images that were explained to me later. The rest of the time, we spent watching movies together….and it was as if the boy had prayed to the Universe for Jurassic movies and each day, there was one of the series that would be premiered.

That moment was as though the Universe was forcing me to think, think deeply over my purpose, how I must battle my indecisiveness  and, how I need to lift myself up when I don’t have people to do that for me physically. And, I took the son’s cue and began to mindlessly doodle in a notebook that I had bought ages ago to prepare some notes….

I am not even sure how time flew. It felt as though the noises in the head fell silent for a while. I wondered if this is what people know as meditation when the thoughts arrive at zero? In all those years when I would compulsively sit to meditate and, do breathing exercises, my mind would feel trapped in a closed glass case with a million fluttering butterflies. And now, when I began doodling, I felt the glass case shatter to pieces but, the butterflies were still fluttering around however in harmony.

If I learned about the incredibly dark powers of fears in the past, I also comprehended the enormous strength in the subject of abstraction. When I finished my first doodle, I had whatsapped it to my husband and my parents. After feeling pleased, both ended up asking me the same question – “what is it, actually?”

And, me being me who did not know answer to that either, quipped – “you don’t have to make sense of things always. Sometimes, just enjoy the chaos and let it be.”

Something I learned from my first grader son.

But there is one thing more I also learned stumbling through the phase….

“You may forget to ask the Universe what you need. That is perfectly ok. But, NEVER FORGET TO THANK THE UNIVERSE LATER when you get the things you need at the right time…..”

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Well, I am with my parents for a while now and, am trying to be more a help and less a pest. I assume, they see me as a help. That said, the juggernauts still lie ahead in clusters. And now I know, I need to channel my emotions somewhere lest they take a toll on my health.

So, when I tried….I have to admit (If I may add a bit of child like pride), that I actually surprised myself. What rambled out of my head fetched me ‘wows’ from many of my well wishers. I really did not expect any kind of feedback because I never considered myself to be an art person at any level. Even during school days, it was my mum who would do the colouring, painting and supw work for me, not because I was averse to it but because, I was horrible with these things then. So much that my mum could not see her only child failing miserably in arts while the only child aced Math and Science! And, after all these years, when I surprised myself with something, I felt I could not thank the Universe enough for making me unlock something that was dormant and NOT non existent!

I do not know where these roads shall take me. But wherever, the Universe leads me to, I have decided to trust it.

As I end this post, I shall share what I felt when I finished my first doodle…

When times were rough, I fell on my knees…….

The paper and pen beckoned me and, they loved me back as me…..

Sometimes, we all need to unlock those emotions to flow like an unrestrained river but, calmly. The results are surprising.

By the way, this is my first doodle. Definitely, it is not the best to a critic’s eye or, even to an amateur like mine. But, this is what gave me the confidence to take my steps ahead. And so, this is what I have decided to share.

my first doodle

P.S: I have made a few since then though they are shared on my page on FB which is not visible to all.. So will be creating a blog for my doodles in future. So, stay tuned. For more 🙂

Words – 100 Grenades with 99 pins.


It was somewhere in the year ‘98 or ’99 when AOL was the new ‘in’ thing. But back then, it was the next big thing after IT. It was some kind of spiritual revolution. Office goers formed the chunkiest sections of this fan club. And, AOL paved way for many spiritual gurus who emerged quite successful with powerful oratory and, ‘enlightenment’ derived from Hitopadesha…Upanishads…Bhagwad Gita….et al. My father was an AOL follower during his days in service. And then, began the coaxing and cajoling. “You should attend at least one of the lectures. It is good, kanna. Why not go once? Just try the experience first hand. Meditation and Yoga are taught with such finesse.” I had umpteen arguments with him and, given my age then, I was absolutely gagging over the entire spirituality shebang! My mum remained distant from the topic as she never really entertained gurujis advocating spirituality. She used to seal the argument with that one powerful punch of a sentence – “How do these spiritual gurus WITHOUT ever having gone through the arduous rigmarole of the term ‘Grihasti’, preach so fluently about anger management, peace of mind and, art of living? I neither understand the guru nor the disciples!” (my mum unlike dad jibes rarely. But when she does, it is like Indra’s Brahmastra! There is no weapon to disengage her sarcasm!)

Words 1

But all that did not stop my father from showing me the pros of following ‘spirituality’. Regularly, he would hand me something written by AOL spiritual head. I used to read. Not because, my father asked me to. But because, I simply loved to read. And in this particular case, I pounced on every article he lent me only to find loopholes in the ideology. Every reading session was followed by a loud discussion on why we both were right about what we advocated for, though the two ‘right’ things were as different as chalk and cheese.

Oh yes! My teenage years were absolute bonkers. My parents pushed all the wrong buttons with absolute pleasure to ensure I did the right thing. And that is how I was hooked to reading newspapers and political magazines like Outlook and India today since my fourth grade. It had so much to feed discussions and arguments, you see? And, I was like that debate magnet! I just wanted to prove the whole world wrong then. Don’t ask what it was. Age or hormones, I am not sure. Well, you see I am again digressing by habit. So, where was I? Spirituality. So, my father assumed that I was averse to AOL only because I found its reviews ‘diabetic-aly’ sweet (I wanted to write diabolically, but then, no ill feelings to be harbored). Since, my father was reading many books on the subject, he badly wanted me to see what he was seeing. Unfortunately, the generation gap played in my favor. I couldn’t and, wouldn’t budge so easily.

And then, another spiritual guru came along. This man is a learned man and, he hailed from Bangalore and, ran some kind of school cum home for special children. He was conducting a workshop in Baroda and, without asking me, my father enrolled me in it. I was furious for two reasons.

  • One, I wasn’t asked.
  • And two, he shelled out 1000 rupees for two day workshop and, I could see a beautiful dress I saw in a show room slip out of my hands.

That morning, I was to travel with father’s friend and his daughter to Baroda for that workshop. I became a couch potato with absolute conviction, not ready to move my bum a bit. And, my father could not understand why I was being so stubborn. That morning, anger crowded the air. My father almost lost his cool when he saw me still not ready to catch the train that was to leave in fifteen minutes. Finally, mum took a break from her chores and told me categorically“See! I am not into this spirituality gig. But then, you both are fighting over such a measly thing! Look, Narayani….If not for yourself, just attend the workshop for your dad. Atleast, you will meet new people. You will make more friends. What is the harm? You aren’t losing anything. Food and shelter is taken care of.”

I suddenly caught the sound of new people and, new friends. Although a seventy percent of me was still unwilling, a thirty percent of me started pushing through. And so, I decided to go. And, it is not some disciplinary workshop. It can’t be that bad.

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Surprisingly, I enjoyed the workshop to my heart’s content. The man was a wonderful orator. (Before I forget, I have to thank my father profusely for enrolling me in this workshop. Because, what oratory means was comprehended by yours’ truly for the first time….and, I won many Inter school debates after having attended that workshop)

Coming back to this event that I speak of, the way this man conducted meditation and yoga was absolutely amazing. Sitting with our own yoga mats and, doing meditation in a crowd of over hundred people, I was a bit taken aback by the energy dynamics. Just imagine, a place like railway station or, an airport or a school. Even twenty people are enough to create a noise that tests your Eustachian tube’s resilience. And here, there was pin drop silence. I gather, I could almost feel what meditation is like. Absolutely comfortable in one’s own skin. If one had to take effort to point out noise, there was just this soft breathing of fellow meditators. That is it.

The two days flew away in a jiffy. I was floored by the man’s command over English. We also danced towards the end on some MJ tracks. It was cool. It was a fresh beat to my otherwise mundane routine music. To dance mindlessly, make new friends so easily and, to be oneself with no pressures in a crowd that had people of all age groups was something I cherished for a long time after I came back.

So, I came home with a resolution – Meditation and Yoga are happening every day. No matter what.

My father was visibly impressed. My mum was as usual nonchalant about my sudden bubble burst of enthusiasm. And, I was mighty pleased with self.

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Two days later…..

Two days post the workshop was all it took to throw me from the fluffy clouds of meditation and serenity into the daily grind of academics and, more academics.. And, all my calmness dissolved into the molten lava of all the pending class work.

I couldn’t meditate the way I did there. I couldn’t bring myself to do yoga like I could do there. And, I ended up comparing every experience with the one that happened there. Frankly, I felt miserable. I craved for an experience there.

So, what was there in that workshop, that was not here at my home?

I will get to that part later.

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It has taken me about two decades of life experiences to understand that words are 100 grenades with 99 pins. You never know how the one without the pin shall explode – In your favor or, against.

Words are those bursts of flavor that kiss your palate and, make you crave for the zest. They are like those pipes containing Hash.. that once puffed, will drag you back into a world that plays your senses sensuously. They are those strings of connection that seek a certain energy band to fit in. They are the most powerful weapons that man has. The fact is, some men know how to invest in the power. While, some fall for the con their own tribe weaves.

To see how words affect human beings, just go through the Internet. You read a fiery post and, it starts creating chaos in your mind. You read a psychology post, your mind starts to relate to it. You read about the chakras in your body, you start identifying with the methods to improve the state of your chakras. You read about some experience of a person that resonates with yours, you are filled with exhilaration that you aren’t alone. Well, it is not how the mind plays you. It is about how words play our mind here. Our feelings and emotions are string tied to words we let into our mind. Study a particular kind of books, and the mind ought to get trapped in ideologies of that particular subject. It is a very natural phenomenon. The same applies to people who preach about spirituality. Those words seem to take away pain, stress and other uninterrupted emotions for a while. Men and women conducting workshops to mentor people about how to manage lives with zero stress precisely know who they are dealing with. They impart their knowledge in a way that the crowd feels as though they have been deprived of this wonderful piece of information for so long. They feel so indebted to their mentors. Nowadays, it is not just the ‘gurus’ but even retired corporate employees who have taken up this gig and, are doing an amazing job lifting spirits, imbibing sense of community and, bringing in the power of prayer chains. I have deep respect for all those who are doing it with a genuine intention of instilling brotherhood in people. Did you know FaceBook has become a one stop complex for healers and mentors. That said, there is no free lunch. You got to pay if you want to heal.

I understood why I felt miserable a couple of days after that workshop. “You got to pay if you want to heal” – This is exactly what I comprehended within a week after that workshop I attended.

And, this is exactly the point I want to break away from the façade of inspiration for two reasons.

  • One, I fear being overpowered by the urge to un-follow myself and, follow someone because, the momentary workshops de-stress me for a short while.
  • Two, I have come across real life people who are healing people without mentioning a thing on FaceBook and Twitter. And, it is only after knowing them I have understood how difficult it is to take the road of less fame and, still put your heart and soul into healing people.

As for the fame savvy spiritual healers who conduct fabulous workshops for people, I have a few earnest questions (trust me, I am seriously trying to understand):

  • Can you truly feel the pain that you haven’t experienced ever?
  • Is controlling pregnant fears of mind synonymous with running away from reality by simply diverting your mind for a particular time window so that, the fears don’t overwhelm you?

I am sure there are going to be countless answers and explanations laced with science and logic. But then, I shall yet remain unconvinced while you answer both the questions in affirmative. While I shall take time to go through answers and prerogatives, I would love to share what makes me come up with these questions.

How can you possibly cure someone of a pain that you don’t know of, just by some healing art you learned and, was convinced that you can control your mind? No offence here because, I believe in Reiki and, very strongly. What I don’t believe is, people learning it by doing a course. To know how powerful your mind is, you must be conscious of what it is capable of turning you into when you cross over to the dark side. So, have you met the demons in you? If you haven’t, you cannot preach about the bright Sun without understanding the experience of Eclipse! That level of consciousness where you are able to visualize your own other half that you are hiding from the world, is a terrifying prospect to unveil. But, it cannot be ruled out. Because, time decides how the odd shall engage. In or against your favor, is not in your hands, friend! If you have watched the movie Ice Age : Collision Course, there is a scene where Manny and his entourage enter the land of healing crystals and, things are unbelievably hunky dory with animals stuck in their ever green youth and, with waves of optimism flowing like a perennial river under the rule of their top man – Shangri Llama, the leader of Geotopia, an epitome of serenity. It is only after the asteroid attack, the reality surfaces. Shagri Llama gets angry too!

Is controlling pregnant fears of mind synonymous with running away from reality by simply diverting your mind for a particular time window so that, the fears don’t overwhelm you? Having battled a serious medical condition that introduced me to dark fears of life besides gifting me with some life long side effects for life that I believe I am strong enough to endure, I can assure you that there can be no better mentor than fear. Well, how you face your fears is something you cannot learn from any guruji or teacher. You just have to do it yourself. No crash course in holistic healing is going to enlighten you more about your mind than your own dark fears, fears that you fear to embrace.

The other day, when mum and I were discussing about this topic (this is one of the few topics that we agree upon), I asked her how she has dealt with the bleak phases of her life without approaching anyone? For my readers, let me tell you that my mum is someone who is made of steel. She was married off early. And, the first ten years of marriage (before I was born) was not a cake walk for either my father or my mother. With extended family to support, my parents had it tough. And it was in those years, my mum suffered health wise and, slipped into coma for a month post my maternal grandfather’s demise. When she emerged from that period, she found that her nails and teeth had deteriorated. She had lost a lot of weight. And, the worst moment came when she found her left leg struck by paralysis. To take every step ahead, she had to lift her left leg physically up and then, place it down. The doctors said she cannot walk normally ever in her life.

One year, people! One year is all it took for this woman to gather her will power and determination to making that leg walk! If you did not believe the reel life Beatrix Kiddo wriggling her piggy toe after thirteen hours of conscious paralysis in Kill Bill series, then you better believe the real story I am narrating here! And boy, she walked and how! I still cannot match her pace when we go for walks together.

In those years, the doctors also mentioned that she will never conceive. But then, she did. I was born exactly ten years after they were married. And, I came with my dad’s cherubic face and my mum’s curly hair!

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I asked her once – “How did you find strength in those days? How?”

And her answer was as simple – “I listened to music. A lot. I love listening to devotional songs and, I healed. But what I learned is – Learn to trust the Universe a little more than yesterday. God is watching over us. If He pushes us into a hell hole, He will also give us the ropes. Trust that!”

It is years later when an old family friend from Orissa Chapters of my parents’ life visited us in Bharuch and, narrated about the tough times my parents had in the first ten years of their marriage, a time when every couple around them were enjoying the highs of life and youth.

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Today….my father is a changed man in many ways. He doesn’t follow any spiritual guru now given that, he has seen and handled turbulent storms in his life, way more than what many people his age have seen and undergone…My mother is the same tough bird who is very vocal about rubbishing ‘spiritual’ nonsense. Like me, she believes in the power of Reiki. Only not in people who claim to be healers because they did a course.

And, I have become a selectively vocal human after facing my health woes and subsequent fears heads on! Yes, I still get anxiety attacks. I still panic over the 2013 episode. For some reason, my subconscious mind does not let me repress it. But now, I am not as paranoid as I was a couple of years back. Because, I believe that even those fears are signs from the Universe. They are perhaps making me aware of my thoughts, my words and, my actions. And, that is a huge learning curve that I am riding on currently.

Have I made peace with myself? Just to an extent, is my answer.

I still have a long way to go when it comes to conquering my fears and, embracing my volatile side with the same love as, I project my saner side out.

And, that is what spirituality means to me.

To be myself. To be Unapologetic-ally me. Anywhere. Everywhere.

i

When emotions simmer in the mind wok…..


…..anger is the first condiment we want to add!

How many times have you been able to control your anger when the urge to scream your lungs out with the most piercing words was simply tearing you apart?

How many times have you gulped down water so that you could just divert your mind towards feeling the soothing liquid slide down your throat because, even a little diversion is a great diversion from your woes?

How many times have you mentally waged wars on people you don’t understand, and not necessarily hate but, dislike intensely given their lack of empathy and understanding?

How many times have you felt victorious in bringing a person’s ego to your boots in your head because, reality of that sort is simply far fetched?

How many times have you felt disillusioned with all this anger within you because you feel a misfit, a misunderstood human, an angry human?

Anger is quite a potent emotion. Boy, how it plays your mind at times! The most fierce phase of this emotion is when it wants to flow out and, it is restricted. It is like getting that one last high smoking the last cigarette! But alas, it is never the last time.

Because, giving in to anger is like pressing the button for a chain reaction to begin. There is no end to getting angry then.

Because, when the chain reaction begins, even immaterial instances such as a cluttered home, a cranky child, an indifferent elderly and a, half read book rake the hormones within you.

hh

But does that mean, one shouldn’t get angry?

While I have read countless books on de-stress and calming down and have attended a few lectures too, I have realized over a period of time that nothing prepares you physically or mentally for a situation that you haven’t encountered yet. Even if you are encountering a similar situation again in life, you still shall have some new hiccups that you may not have met in the previous one. And, it is an observation that when a scenario emerges with an unsavory change in energies, anger and confusion are the easiest emotional attire for the mind. No amount of energy management or calmness prepares you for situations you never knew, existed.

The past few weeks made me realize a thing or two about harsh times. One, you and you alone will have to bear your cross no matter how heavy and suffocating it is. Two, you will always find a way when you trust yourself alone.

For some good reason, this post decided to tumble out of my head considering how slow the past few weeks went for my family. The way some events turned out in recent past is a stark reminder of how expectant we tend to become whenever we have something to look forward to. And, how disillusioned we become when, we don’t seem to get all the brownie points we wished for.

These weeks also reflected to me, my own emotions and mind map that has been tangled into a tight knot of unfiltered emotions. It is said that when you cross a certain green patch in your journey, you may find some potholes ahead, too many in one patch. And, that is exactly how the year 2018 began for me. It felt as I was jumping over those abysses that were suddenly spurting from no where. Anger became my defense mechanism for my vulnerable side for a while as I couldn’t do what I wanted when I wanted. Also, tt is difficult to stay cool and composed when too much of unsolicited advice comes your way. And that is when, I was reminded of what my dad said to me when I was going through a health crisis about five years back.

 “There is no need to tell people when you are going through a rough patch. One, not many of them will be able to help you in any way. And the ones that want to, might unintentionally create more confusion for you by giving too much of advice which, only adds to your anger. Remember, God helps those who help themselves. Help will arrive in unsaid ways. You just have to trust the Universe. With a lot of patience.”

The way my parents and my husband kept the news of my health crisis then, a secret from the world was simply an act of courage as I see now. When I was going through what I underwent then in 2013, I accumulated a lot of anger towards the Universe for putting my family through a pain they neither deserved nor were prepared to endure. But the same anger also taught me to be patient. It was as though I was being put through a series of pressure tests of the incomprehensible kind where I could almost feel my mind as a separate entity. The mind had gone insane for a couple of weeks in that web of agony until, I hit the rock bottom.

And, that was my moment of epiphany.

You need to gulp anger to taste nectar.

You need to hold that anger and, shape it into something tangible.

You need to bring all that anger together and, vent it in a way that it comes out in some form healthy.

Anger, I have learned over the years, is as potent as fear. It is as powerful as fear. It is as enlightening as fear.

It was that year 2013 and this, 2018 when I realized how potently the mind is controlled by anger and fear of unknown. Mind in itself is such an entity that works like there is no junction to take a pause. It has so much to give. Unfortunately, it does not have too many vents. Somewhere in our body, there are energy blocks that force us to go into a shell and, remain listless till we wait for the phase to pass on, which becomes slower with the whiff of that thought and attitude. It is as if the mind and the body work at diametrically opposite paces. And, that lapse in their coordination results in anger over self, people and the situation.

For instance, when a maid ditches you without notice on a day when you need her help the most is one of the common examples of intense anger towards a human whose standard of living is way below yours. Or say, you gave a responsibility to someone and, that someone did not care two hoots about it…Or, when you are not only NOT appreciated but, are depreciated for a good work…..or when, you want your child to finish a given work, but the child simply doesn’t do it NOT because the child is incapable but because the child doesn’t want to….There are umpteen instances in our daily grind that are priced examples of this lapse.

But does that mean, we shouldn’t get angry?

I, for one would never advise the ‘no anger’ concept. Like gulping down a glass of water may soothe your tongue but not your mind. It is all about channeling that anger. And that my friend, can never be taught. Do you want to learn how to control your energies? No human can teach you that. Because, you are born with the knowledge. To unlock that chest of knowledge, life gives you experiences that put you to test without preparing you. And then, when you have sailed through that phase and, heave a sigh, you realize – “Wow! How did we all come this far?”

But wait, life is like that. When you just sit back and pride yourself over having won one battle from the millions to win or lose yet, life already begins to set the arena for subsequent ones!

Your life is your best teacher. Do NOT let anyone tell you otherwise.

 

Blood and water.


Is blood thicker than water? It is. But it is the water that leads us home when blood forgets the feel of the flesh. Because….. it is not how you enjoy the dawn but how you embrace the dusk, that matters. And, that is all that matters.

There are always times in our lives when we know what exactly fair weather means. No, I am not talking about fair weather friends. I am precisely cornering the term – “Fair weather”. The season when happiness overflows like honey from a golden hive is such that, everyone seems to be a good Samaritan. Well, in good times, everyone is. Isn’t it?

And then, when the thundering typhoons invade life with no warning or perhaps, an unseen one, everything seems a blur in the subsequent times. And, there is no anticipation for help and yet, the blood craves for soothing words of its own tribe no matter how distant the flesh is.

The last week was perhaps the slowest for my family. It has taken my mum an insane amount of courage to get through what she did. With my father ailing for a while, and with me more than 2000 kms away stationed in the mountains of the East, my mum had probably seen quite dark times in the past week. But then, with good family friends and, her dear sister and her husband who lent moral support throughout the week from South and with me, speaking to her for hours telling her constantly that dad is going to be fine (despite being on the verge of madness myself), and with me calling up my dearest friend Nav and, my adorable cousin sister Chitra akka and venting out my emotions, the week passed slowly. That week, I sat inside my room surrounded by mountains and a thick canopy of greens and, pondered deeply over the intricately woven intangibles of destiny.

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I was to go a week before to aid my parents and, destiny was busy having its own agenda. And when, I had just decided on the dates, Measles happened to pay a visit to my son. And, the son and I sat inside the home for a cold week post the New Year while the husband was out of town for work. For me, things couldn’t get more uncertain. Every day, the conversation with mum would break me while I comforted her with all my strength and words. And, with the son having the sores of measles right down to his gut and with my father in a very bad shape far away, I almost lost my appetite.

The sight of food made me gag. No show on Comedy Central could bring any smile given the fact I couldn’t go out either. Drinking water seemed an effort as my thoughts constantly drifted towards the well being of the man who created me.

And, there were those times in the day when I would just sit on the porch and look at the mountains. Every single time, I prayed to them and, constantly prayed to make my father well again. To hear his steel like voice is an assurance for me always. And, the prayers continued.

Time suddenly felt like a black hole. It just kept sucking me deep inside. Nothing seemed to be moving fast. For some it seemed that my parents’ idea of leaving the beloved town and shifting down south was not working in their favor. For some, it felt that the idea of moving soon was the best solution. And, the suggestions were never ending.

My parents have had it tough since the past one year. Mum lost her elder sibling and my dad lost his mother. Both demises happened within a span of six months. The agony of having lost their loved ones took a toll on them, physically and mentally. For mum, her elder brother was like a shade of a banyan tree. Lakshman mama, as I fondly remember him, was a vivacious and a warm human who spread light of knowledge and wisdom wherever he went. Unlike his younger brother who is an extremely successful person on professional front, Lakshman mama for some reason chose to lead a very simple life with little expectations and, almost no care for luxuries much to my mum and aunt’s chagrin. When I last met him, his twinkling eyes and luminescent smile stuck like a portrait in my head. I still remember him just that way. But that said, his departure surely broke my mom somewhere within. And, time seemed to pass until another news shook us. This time, it was my grandmother who had decided to take leave. My father has become quieter since then.

Cut back to present, post my father’s recovery, the calls poured in. Good wishes were passed on. And, I saw my mum lost in thoughts. I instantly knew she missed her elder brother and, sometimes the tears just well up all of a sudden. Because my late maternal uncle had once told her that should she have any trouble, he will come running for her. This conversation happened somewhere a couple of years back. And somehow, she becomes emotional every time she remembers our last meeting with him. We all miss him. And, we miss him very badly.

Strangely, most of my mum’s childhood chronicles consisted of her younger brother R who was at that instant in time closest to her. It is said that R and my mum were inseparable and that, they were the perfect partners in all the shenanigans kids do at that age. Whereas Lakshman mama and Paru chitti weren’t the proverbial siblings then. Mum smiles today and quips – “It is funny that I don’t even have as many vibrant childhood memories with Lakshman mama and your chitti as much as I have with R and later in life, it is the siblings with whom I never bonded much became my pillars of strength! Strange are the ways of destiny…..” 

Well… that is the best thing about both my mum and dad. They have never ever mentioned anything unsavory about their sides to me, anything that would force me to opine. And so, I could judge my own affinity to bond based on the vibes I gathered from everyone related to them. For instance on the maternal side, I am closest to my mother’s sister and her husband. As ironical as it sounds, I don’t think I could have had a better sibling than my aunt. My mother and her sister are like ice and fire respectively. And, as much as I disagree with my aunt on many aspects of life, I totally love and adore her. It is like knowing that you can actually love someone unconditionally despite the fact that, that someone is absolutely capable of bringing out the devil in you! Oh yes! My aunt can make me look like Cruella De Vil at any time and yet, I cannot love anyone more than I love her….Well, that is probably how aunts and nieces are, or say, some exceptional pairs are! Lakshman mama who is now probably reading out stories from Bhagwatam to cherubic little angels in paradise, was my favorite among all the uncles. Well, one could say that I could speak to him about anything without being judged. The thing about him is, that he appeared too simple. For someone who clings to status, fame and class, he would have come across as a nobody. For instance, take the first look at him and, people would either get charmed by his simple smile or, may get intimidated by his very simple tastes in life. I guess in the family, both kinds existed with the intimidated one being more in numbers. I for one, respected him ever since I knew the myriad ways his brain could think and analyse. Trust me, the man was a genius from another world! Even if Lakshman mama did not do much on his professional front, he left for paradise as a good human, a brother who called up his sisters often, a father who doted on his son and as a husband who ensured that his wife would not suffer after he left. Well, my mum recounts that a whole community there came on the doorstep and mourned….It was as if he became more alive after he departed!

It was only after his demise, it dawned on me how vain most of us are. Why? Most of us judge people by their bank balance. Greater the assets, higher the education, the man definitely must command more respect. Isn’t it? Well, atleast I have no ounce of respect left for men who make and break family ties based on status and money.  They are better deemed non existent. And it is here, I feel that gems like Lakshman mama aren’t made any more. Sadly. My mum and aunt do feel the loss of a brother deeply and, I know there is no way I can pacify them on that ground.

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And, my father still misses his mother. A few weeks after she passed on, my father would sit and stare at his phone. Everyday he spoke to her on phone for almost 20 minutes. And now, that time of the day is like a time hole that can never be filled. Well, my granny too had a grand farewell just like my Lakshman mama. In her last few minutes on Earth, she told her children that my grandfather had arrived to take her home with him. Although I spent very little part of my life with her, her demise did leave a vacuum in my head. Old is gold, they say. And, our elders are diamonds. We understand their presence only in their absence.

We all miss our loved ones far deeply after they are gone. But the map of destiny is surreal. Rather, bizarre. Because, we shall never know who we feel the most comfortable with in the sunset phases of our lives. It is not how you enjoy the dawn but how you embrace the dusk. And, when you look back at what have you earned in life, it is not the money or castles you earned in a lifetime that shall count….it is how you touched people’s lives in unsaid ways is what shall leave your legacy burning bright for ever. And, that is all that matters.

All. That. Matters.

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