My Foe and I – coexistence, a fait accompli


Only if wishes had wings,

The world would spin on my toes..

And, if pigeons had gills

I might be floating in a surreal realm of incredible dreams…

But then, what if wishes had wings…..

There are a million thoughts buzzing in a human mind. No two minds will think like clones and no! Similar thinking is not synonymous with cloned thoughts. Every thought will be unique in some or the other way. But then, how much do we remember those then-clear-now-blurred thoughts from childhood that never saw the dawn? Thoughts do not die. They just fade into the background after a while. A few interesting thoughts that came to me during my school days were – One, Getting an autograph from then Defense Minister George Fernandes (I admire him still), getting a pair of wings to fly and then, perhaps proving to the world in some or the other way that I will end up becoming a vigilante no matter what. Apparently, the first two that I mentioned have remained thoughts resting in the back burner. However, becoming a vigilante, remained an ambiguous thought cum dream at many stages until I had my Eureka moment – I was meant to be a vigilante in word play, perhaps…..just like sliding a jade pin through mushy bananas! (**Winks**)

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Cut back to present, a stingy thought nefariously parades as “Am I successful?” –  The reason for such thought is so vague. And on more occasions, it is appended with a question – “at what?” Now, that is the opposite of vague. Because, the words ‘at what’ flip the whole damn staircase to the top of pyramid. It is like standing in a maze and not knowing where to go with all the goodies we believe we have been blessed with.

About the thought defining success – I would say – I have been moderately successful in surfing past some rogue waves in the ocean of life, of which a few almost caught me by the leg and drowned me (Like, I almost died but, I survived!) and, a few that made me feel like a wise woman in hindsight! (Who likes to admit “I have been a fool!”) Apparently, success is a mirage. And, for every pair of eyes on this planet, the mirage appears not only different but also variably distant. It is like a race against time (RAT) and not people (I have a deluge pent up on RAT – My new found foe) After all, life is a tight walking rope for each one of us there. It is that surf board that each of us surf against the rogue tides with all that we have got. For some, the finish line ends far early and, for a few, it is a drag that takes longer to finish!

So, while a gazillion thoughts are compounding in my tiny head, I could see a lot many people around going through similar draining phases of stagnancy. Yes, women are vocal about their junction phases unlike men. For me, the reason to move to another junction in life is to seek growth, wherein not just professional but personal too. And, the past few months have been extremely edgy and, I would walk for a longer time in mornings just to maintain my sanity. There were those moments when I stopped, took a deep breath and prayed to the Universe – “I want us to evolve. My family seeks a new cuisine for our souls. We need new battles to fight and win. We ought to make new mistakes too. We cannot make friends wherever we go, but we do not want to make any foes either! But, we need to evolve. And, to evolve – we seek new innings given we have overstayed in the current phase of our nomadic lives!”

The Universe is a guarded machine with an indulgent heart. At times, it tests you to an extent that while being pushed to the wall, the wall begins to crumble through you, with you just entering another room with four walls! Do I sound like Alice? I do not have “Eat me” cheese cakes. But, I do have faith just like Alice, that somewhere there is a window waiting to open for us. And, this is something I learned from a newly made foe at my home – The feisty rat!

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I thought I hated lizards. But no, I don’t hate them, just that I dislike them. Well, at least I don’t dislike them as much as I cannot coexist with them. And, I sometimes speak to them and tell them – “Dude! Roof crawling is allowed only for ants! Please do not mistake my kindness towards you for complacency!” I think, being vocal worked despite the son and the hubby branding me “Mad!” And then, came the army of black ants, white ants and, very small ants that did go overboard in acknowledging my kindness! They went ahead and unearthed heaps of sand in every room while I sat and gasped in horror – “Seriously?”

Apparently, my sensitivity towards lizards had already caught a rat’s attention and, that was the last straw to be pulled for me! A rat has dug its way into the wall of our garage that opens up behind the cabinets in our kitchen! If Lord Rama had known that rats did pretty much good with making tunnels, the monkeys would have known what competitions do to human beings! (not that they made a tunnel, they made a bridge – I know!)

Now, yours truly is a faujan and, so that you know our homes are animal friendly with crumbling walls, seeping roofs, weeping bathrooms and wooden cabinets – a platter for rodents! But as long as we are with our better halves, we learn to coexist with reptiles and amphibians as well. Mother Nature protects us and so, no complaints! But that said, kitchen is one place I want the creatures to know – Off Limits!

So, where was I? Rats, yes! And so, this rat has been driving me mad. It has chewed away wood, plastics, left my steel and aluminium containers scarred for life and, apparently chewed away the insides of the mouse trap but not before escaping it unscathed! Given that we are moving to a new place in a couple of months, I clench my teeth and repeat to myself – “Narayani! Just a month and we will be out! Breathe! Live and let live” Well, the mother in me doesn’t allow me to, you know why! There is practically nothing I cannot keep in the most comfortably placed cabinets only because they are as comfortably accessed by the rodent! However, I am managing and I can still manage to say – “All is well….All is well in this feline’s home!”

But, cribbing rarely helps anyone for that matter. Maybe, a one time crib helps. And then, the repetition of cribbing begins to accumulate like grime in a drain pipe. The thoughts are stuck.

So, there are a few things the rat, my feisty foe has taught me through the past couple of weeks, with absolute intent to disintegrate my sanity, besides taking the ownership of my home –

  1. One – Keep doing what you have to, even if you are stuck in a bubble. You have to keep those arms and legs moving. You got to keep the routine alive. And, you got to dig deeper into your problems to seek the roots. Only then, can you find the point where you can saw off your problem.

 

  1. Two – There are going to be rat traps. For you, there are going to be invisible traps given that you are born with the sixth sense. So, if you naively walk into human made traps (I am sure you won’t step into it consciously given your high alert antennas that detect my movements), just sit tight. Buy time and plan your freedom. Planning in a pause period is the best. Because there is nothing else to think or do about in that phase.

Point taken, Mr. Rat!

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Apparently, the rat visits have been more sporadic in the past few days. And, I cannot do more than wishing it to go and seek a new home somewhere else…maybe in the woods…..I leave that decision to my foe, given its advantage of its small size and high agility over my extra large silhouette brimming with lethargy!

By the way, if you have any names for this feisty little b(rat), let me know! At least, it would make the goodbyes amicable!

 

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Disconnect to Connect ~ Part 8


An ear to listen and a shoulder to lean in the hour of need, don’t cost a thing!

A few years back, when I was clearing out my stuff at my parents’ place, I chanced upon some hand written letters. I had this school friend who when shifted to a different place after third grade, ensured that we stayed in touch through letters. Of course, the chain continued for a couple of years until fifth grade happened and, academic pressures diffused our verve to keep the connection alive. I am in touch with that friend on FB though. However, we don’t know each other as personally as we would want to. But, for some reason, the letters made me feel good. At some time in life, we both were the best of friends for each other. It was some time, for sure! Past – is  a reminder of how we are merely stations/passengers for people we meet. And yet, such junctions make special memories despite not being a part of present. I still feel warm and fuzzy when I recall those good times, when we made cards for teachers, for each other and for others! Innocence in childhood is like a halo we wear off when we begin to adult. The halo is now replaced by a mask, a shield!

Pretense is a nefarious shield!

It is a dagger that can cut both ways. And, one never knows when it shall flip!

With my inability to be nice to the world, when I am not, I find it more often than not, tough to connect with people I come across. In a crowded room, I would either be standing behind people to not be noticed rather than, exchanging pleasantries smoothly.  And no, it is not lack of confidence. Because, give me a stage and I can talk for hours. But, it is basically my lack of interest to bond! The complexity in maintaining social bonds has only tangled further for two reasons, One – I am more aware of the energies I would like to invite in my life and, Two, I have become friendlier with solitude as it helps me navigate through my thoughts with zero interference.

And, this is exactly why I am averse to keeping connections alive through social media, where we are merely chatting and not connecting. Especially, whatsapp groups are a facade where everyone is happier than toddlers chasing butterflies because their lives are filled with twinkles, sparkles, cotton candies and blue berry cheese cakes!

BULL. SHIT.

So, why am I writing about connections again? Something has been bothering me ever since I came to know of a particular incident in my extended family a few months back. Ever since I was privy to facts given first hand, I realized how messed up and vile humans can be towards each other.

Apparently, there are two kinds of people you CANNOT console whatsoever. Even silence would fail here –

One, those who have lost a loved one to death.

Two, those who have lost a loved one to betrayal!

I am sure, the second one must hurt far worse, because the lady I speak of suffered the second kind of blow! Worse, people she expected to support her in this hour of need, simply turned their heads away.

Sometimes, more than the the antagonist in the world stage, it is the neutral bystanders that are more wicked! Yes, they fan the wickedness after all!

So, while I thought that I am not a social person, my connection with this lovely woman, that has begun to lay a strong foundation happened just a few months back. And, I cannot describe how! Some connections just happen.. even when you have not physically interacted much! And as I pondered over how my heart wept when I heard her shattered voice, despite the fact that we have barely met a few times in the past few decades, with the couple having stayed abroad for most part. I finally understood that this is how the Universe connects us. When you feel someone else’s pain as deeply and, you suffer their agony as much, you come closest to understanding how vulnerable a human can be, how formidable can the same vulnerability become and how, just an ear and a shoulder is all that is needed to give assurance that things will be fine again and, the wheels of time shall turn again.

With her parents resting with the stars, and with a loving sister living on the other side of the hemisphere and, with children having flown the nest, this lady is currently going through the acid test of her life. Drowned in an ennui and, trying to understand why and how her partner of 34 years suddenly left her to be with someone else has been pushing her into a bubble of depression. But, the Universe works in mysterious ways. We had been unaware of the woman’s plight for the past four years and, then her meeting my mum at a funeral, confiding in my mum her angst and, releasing her agony in tears that wouldn’t stop, was a surreal timing designed by the Universe. Destiny’s designs are strange after all. And, it is times as these that unveil how deeply we are connected with our kind despite not being related by blood.

Why did my eyes well up when she cried? I have just met her just four to five times from the time I chose Mr and Mrs VS as my parents! And yet, I couldn’t sleep because her pain wouldn’t let me. What can I do to take her pain away? When will she regain her peace of mind?

This pain is a stark reminder of what we are made of. When the time comes, do we carry the courage to stand by what is right? The answer to that defines the very foundation over which we have evolved. The answer is frightening. But, it is fair! And, tough too! Especially when the person who has wronged the woman is related to us by blood!

Ironically, the world celebrates good times. Perhaps, good times only. In stormy phases of life, these good times hurt. And, people who celebrated these good times hurt more! Because, these very people with sugar coated tongues who celebrated them along slowly disappear into the horizon. And, there is simply none to guide you to cross over the burning bridge.

From the hundred percent of relations we tend to make in a lifetime, we only meet a measly one percent that may not be a part of all our life happenings but, will be there for us when we need them. And, a lifetime is already spent by the time we realize who is who and, made of what.

Everything is hunky dory, We are living the ideal stories with full glory! 

FARCE!

During the conversations this aunt and I had over the past few months, I could always see our whatsapp groups abuzz with messages, poems and a lot more as if our worlds are shining gay and bright. Being optimistic about life and, sharing good anecdotes is one thing. But, being indifferent to someone’s misery is something else.

Sometimes, you don’t have to cross continents to help a person who is seeking to be heard. Even a call to that person would mean as much. Because, contemplating on whether to even knowing what the other person is going through, is a moral ambiguity. And, if you question yourself before doing the right thing, you have already chosen your nasty side! It is as if, you watch a person battling hell and you just won’t help the person because you either feel it is not your problem or because, you are indecisive about taking the right side. I am not sure how this effed up ‘theology’ should help, should the same morally neutral crowd, God forbid, suffer the same fate, or worse? Food for thought?

ds

An ear and a shoulder are the two lanes that connect people.

The ear to listen and the shoulder to rest gives comfort far greater than the warm fuzzy blankets during winters and, starry cool nights of summers. That comfort is sometimes the medicine needed to heal the pain a soul undergoes.

Coming back to whatsapp world, everything is hunky dory here in all groups. Life goes on, they say! Yes, it does! The mask on the face says – Fake it till you make it!

Social media bonding is shallow. What is more comical is the fact that people do not feel the need to call people up and wish birthdays and anniversaries like was the tradition decades back. Sometimes, the Happy Birthday is reduced to a HBD! I am no good at remembering dates and, I do not really wish people through messages unless, I do not have their number. And, I may sound rude but I really do not wish everyone. Not because, I don’t want to, but because I do not know people that well enough. But that said, I do pray for the world each day, and that includes strangers beyond close relations!

Strangely, we live in a world where a smart phone appears to bring families closer. Sadly, it is just appearance. Because, many things are falling apart beneath the charade. Rather, things are toppling like a deck of cards. Today, I recount what my father’s friend always emphasized on – A good relation or NO relation in the real world and, there is nothing in between!

I agree. Absolutely.

And, this termite called pretense must die. Only then, will one know that empathy carries greater powers than being consciously blind to people’s miseries! All it takes is an ear to listen and a shoulder of comfort to feel the pain hidden beneath those camouflaged smiles and glassy eyes. No money, peeps! All it takes is, some courage to stand by what is right and fair!

For this,

Dear Pretense,

You. Must. Die.

Disconnect to Connect ~ Part 6

Diamonds and gold.


When we are diamonds, why look for gold?

dg

A few months back, my son had attended a birthday party. I asked him how it was. He told me it was awesome and that, not only did he play a lot, he also had a lot of cake sans the cream. There was a sudden rush of happiness surge through me as he regaled me with funny moments from the evening. And then, all of a sudden he asked me – “Mum! I haven’t given a party yet. A birthday party, rather! Shouldn’t we give too?”

I sighed. I knew this question was going to come up any time soon. And, I am glad it did! At least that is one heavy weight off my chest as I was in no mood to refuse him one when the time came. Well, the real reason that we haven’t given a birthday party yet is because, his birthday falls in the month of June, the quintessential vacation period of the year! But that is not the only reason, we haven’t thought about it. Rather there is more to the reason for this thought –

To think like everyone thinks.

To act like everyone acts.

To be like everyone is.

To do what everyone does.

To celebrate like everyone does!

And, we decided to break that cliche. Because, we had a few things in mind.

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I have been raised in an upper middle class neighborhood. The only two birthday parties I ever had was, one in grade 1 – friends were invited at our place, balloons and cake and games were the regular ingredients and it was a normal party; The second – my parents took me and a couple of my close friends out for dinner in grade 3. And that was it.

In later years, my birthday celebrations never had cakes. One, I did not like them and two, there were better things I could get in place of cakes and parties in the same budget. The second point was more appealing. My parents got me nice outfits, took me out to fine dining restaurants and, I got amazing books as gifts. With every year, the gifts would take other forms such as a business world game, an electro-magnetic kit and even, a trip to a good place. I think that helped me grow as a person at a very early age wherein the knowledge on politics and science kicked in early.

Hubby on the other hand, had far humble beginnings and given his tough innings in his growing years (my FIL became a widower when the hubby was barely 11 years old and, my FIL never remarried), the hubby firmly believes in leading a simple life and, spending on the right things at the right time.

And then, given the similarities in personalities, it is no wonder to the world why my husband  and my father get along well, with limited conversations and deep understanding.

Coming back to my take on parties, the husband and I do not understand the idea of extravagance in it. Yes, if there is a real close group of friends, a party idea seems appealing. And, our idea of a party would just be amazing food and fun filled games. Or maybe, an outing to a nearby place where there would be more interaction. The only part I don’t get about a party is the amount of manpower and money that goes in producing a décor that does not have a purpose beyond the event. To me, it is an absolute waste of time too. But then, it is just the way I see it and, it may not concur with what the rest of the world thinks.

So, coming back to my son’s question, I ponder deeply over it. Yes, he will have his birthday parties. And, I shall invite his friends home too. And our idea of a party would be just what we have thought about – scrumptiously made home food and, some good games followed by a good movie. I am not sure when that shall commence but, I am sure as parents we will create the space he needs with his peers.

And then, a couple of days back, yet another incident happened. The son went to park and found, that boys of his age were not there. The elder boys wouldn’t include him in football and, there were toddlers with whom the son did not want to play. Apparently, he was returning back home within 30 minutes.

I asked him – “What happened? Why aren’t you spending enough time in the park?”

And, he said with a sad face – “I don’t have friends here. I mean, the big boys are playing football and they won’t include me. I don’t see a point going to the park.” Given that, he has a notorious gang of friends in school, his expectations from the park did seem quite high.

I made him sit on my lap. He is on his way towards seven and, he has outgrown my lap. And yet, there are days, when the son feels the need to hug and vent his feelings out. There is no greater comfort than resting head on the father’s shoulders or, hugged warmly by the mother. It was time for me to word wisely. And this is how it went from my end.

“Listen, you need to first know that, everyone you meet is not going to be a postage stamp in your life. They are passengers in your train. So, if you start giving people more importance than you give yourself, you will be disappointed. Plain and simple. Disappointed to the core. If you do not make friends, then it is not a bad thing entirely. It means, the Universe is telling you – Befriend yourself first! If you aren’t finding the right group, it only means you are destined to deserve better. And so until then, sprint along the path, make some muscles and, give your body the exercise it needs. And guess what, you will be strong as your daddy!” The words – “Strong as your daddy’ did the magic.

The son goes to the park these days. He has started doing the monkey bars, hanging upside down and indulging in all the muscle building activities. And, he does play when he gets the time. Apparently, he chooses his friends and, that is a good thing he has inherited from his father – to be selectively social.

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I guess, the Universe has hidden messages for each one of us. And, we all need to pay heed to those whispering notes and take ourselves more seriously than we do. Letting some one tell you that you are not good enough is not an issue. Reacting to it by either succumbing to it or totally antagonizing the person and the words he said, is. And this is exactly why the words from the movie Help bring the deep essence of loving oneself –

When Abigail tells the neglected white kid –

You is kind. You is smart. You is important.

She surely meant the world to the kid. These words carry magic. Sheer magic. And, these words unlock a dam of potential in a child and adult when they are lent at the right time.

Unfortunately, we live in a twisted world where words and actions are misinterpreted and misunderstood. And, there is no straight road to our purpose without tricks that ease our pains along the journey. And no, these tricks are not shortcuts. They are those tiny baskets of energy drinks that we must seek when we need to recharge. And currently in my journey of parenting, I am trying to get that point to my son that – All that glitters will not be gold and, real diamonds shall often be found among the humble, simple and earthy elements of the Universe.

He is still a child who has just learned the art of fluttering with his wings. And, I am sure he will not be learning about life in a day. He will have to search for diamonds on his own. As a mother, I can only guide him about how to call a real from fake. Or maybe, he will eventually figure that out too, on his own. 🙂

And so, I will have to place a stone on my heart and watch my world stumble and bruise himself. I will have to see it and let him evolve on his own terms knowing how much this process will hurt me and him. Because, even a butterfly has to endure the pain before the first flight. And then, we are many notches up in the food chain. We shouldn’t be complaining in the slight! Well, my friend – in parenting that ought to be the most difficult part.

Umm.

Disconnect to Connect ~ Part 6


Struggles are meant to be difficult. Some are gigantically unnerving. And, they are all meant to be beaten when the time comes, when the moment of courage takes a leap perhaps!

Have you ever felt a shiver run down your spine when a spider weaves a web? I wouldn’t necessarily call it a shiver, but a tingling sensation that I do not take kindly to. Let’s say, as much as I detest spiders, I also have a certain form of respect for them. Considering, we are sworn enemies of each other, with me being the more intimidated of the two, I have always felt like a ruthless assassin whenever I gaze at its weaving abilities awestruck and, yet waiting for the right moment to squish it!

Believe me, my home is infested with spiders. And off late, the spiders and I have entered some kind of territorial truce, which I am sure none of us are ready to keep up with. Well, let’s say – we are in a ‘pause’ period, with my sworn adversaries busy recharging themselves and, with me reflecting deeply on the challenges and stumbles I am encountering on a day to day basis.

ddd

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And when I am not writing about spiders, I am doing a lot other things of which one is writing this series disconnect to connect! But of late, I have been wrapped by a strange disgruntlement, call it the ambiguity of acceptance that I am unable to shake off. And so, I am returning to this self introspection space more often than not…

…..It is strange that you feel like doing nothing when there are heaps of tasks to be done and, when you are actually away from everything with the intent to do nothing, there is a sudden surge of “I am going to take the world by storm. NOW!”. So, I am currently tiding that gargantuan wave of extremities that often swing between heightened euphoria and, never ending ennui. The fact that I loved the job that I just quit because, it was keeping me up for hours before my laptop, taking a toll on my health eases out a part of my stress because, I know – Good health is a priority any day. Well, that is just one part of rumble strips I am crossing over i.e fighting the ennui to get off the boredom box! But there is a lot more to the boredom than that. Maybe the ennui has risen from the fact that I am either stuck in a home that is more friendly with spiders or, in a place that I feel I have outgrown. I can’t pin point which of the two affects me more. Sadly, they both do in varying degrees.

And then, there are people. The last three years may have made me a little more asocial than before, but for good reasons. And so, watching people, their words and actions have become a hobby I cannot seem to de-addict from. Given that I have finally arrived at a phase in life where I am not intimidated largely by people or their actions (little to medium, yes), I feel a lot better after understanding people on why they are the way they are or, why they do what they do and all the blah!

Let’s say, there is enough sunshine and moonlight for everyone. And then, there is enough hell for everyone too. Yeah right! Each one out there is battling some kind of Nosferatu in his or her life and so, what spews from the lips may not necessarily be the venom in the heart! It takes a while to get to that point. But, that point is profound. In life, there are possibly good and bad times and, good and bad circumstances. People are pawns, mere pawns. And, a few draw courage from within and stand for the tribe, knowing it would derail a seemingly known career path ahead. But, they still take the chance and, do what they feel right from within. Because, for this small percent of men, a good night’s sleep filled with peace supersedes sleepless nights of planning appeasements. And then, there are the others, the majority that climb the ladder by all means. For them, kicking out a few competitors and subordinates by crook, doesn’t seem wrong. And maybe, they are not wrong. Maybe, they are just weak. They are weak willed. Because when they look back and measure their journey as to how far they have come, the very thought of throwing all that away to do a good deed seems not only far-fetched and stupid but also, extremely terrifying! Unfortunately, the weak man climbs the ladder. The weak man tastes success that was a courageous man’s due. The weak man sits in a position of power and, he now feels powerful not because he is, but because his position is.

Sadly, the weak man is in a position from where he leads men but, with no idea how to. And, all this while he thought of himself and now, when he has to lead, he has no idea how to inspire. And so, he becomes the nasty grizzly bear that is intimidated by the slightest movement that does not resonate with his.

The above instance is a widely seen case in almost every organization. Fools – that is what the weak men are called. Well, they are not fools. They are scarred by their fears. On the other hand, there are those men of honor, for whom courage to do the right thing supersedes everything else. Therefore, the courageous men face the burns, scars and the stumbles while the weak tread over them mindlessly, oblivious to the indispensable dependencies – the nemesis of a future.

While I ponder over the increasing number of weaklings in position of power, a part of my head space wanders back to spiders. And, there are days when I take a pause before cleaning the cobwebs (can you believe If I say that spiders are relentlessly fighting me to get out of their dwelling soon…and so, they come with far more intricate works of art each day! A sign to the universe that the lock stock and barrel must visit a new place with lesser competitive dwellers.)

Each day, the pause gives me a moment to see why the spider succeeds. He is not courageous. But, he is not a weakling either. However, he is an astute planner with a mountain of patience. He might get displaced. He might get squished. He might be killed by the spray. But, he returns back every single time, making me feel like Commodus the Wicked! And this is what my adversaries are teaching me at the moment  –

“ You cannot fight all battles in a day. You may not be able to finish one battle a day, let alone start it. All you need to know about is patience with resilience. Because, it is important to be a realist before wearing the crown of courage.

Timing is the deciding factor for everything. To know when to dodge, to know when to strike, to know when to gulp down the bitterness, to know when to throw the charade, to know when to walk away and to know, when to seal the lips is what sets apart shrewdness from courage. And that knowing is all that matters.”

And I wonder, what that shrewdness with courage would do? Damn, this world would become a better place perhaps! Or worse, who knows!

Disconnect to Connect  ~ Part 5


Ambiguity of Acceptance – The wait that has begun has to end.

How often do you accept “Life is like that” in one go when a situation not only zombie bites you in the butt but, makes sure that you burn in smoldering flames of regret and ennui for a long long time? Does the acceptance come easily? Or, you use resistance of denial just to buy time to see if, the zombie turned situation could by some brush of luck animate back itself to perfection by an injection of correction serum? Not making sense, right? But then, does life make? Sense?

If life made sense, then Adam and Eve would have remained celibate for eons, given their control over going ‘astray’. Life was perhaps designed not to make sense, rather. Long back, I read in a book that our time on Earth is just a test and, the souls come down to redeem brownie points through sufferings and intolerable cruelty just to ensure that they ascend to higher levels. Like they say, there are seven realms in the Universe with the lowest one for sinners and the highest one for saints. That perhaps gives some kind of explanation to why a new born in a govt hospital is treated differently as compared to the one in a private hospital. It is a reality one cannot run from and, a reality that has absolutely no comprehensible reason for it to happen.

Life is like that. Life is unfair.

life

I can just go on and on about the seemingly unfair challenges life throws at every given chance. But then, that would make me the loudest complain box the world ever had, right? And, I will be absolutely straying away from my vortex of reason. As much as I would want to rant, I would just hold back and recount what my father once told me long before I was married. “Think about how you will get through today. Nalai paadu Narayanan Paadu! (meaning – Tomorrow’s headache is God’s headache. Today is yours. So, heal it)

The statement makes a lot of sense to me even today, though I have not come to terms with it yet. Let’s say a diversion in road that happens all of a sudden still shifts my core and, not for good reasons. No matter how much the mind livens itself with all that pep talk with self on how our lives are like rivers and they shall continue to take diversions unexpectedly, nothing actually does prepare you for that moment when it does happen. Because when the diversion happens and ESPECIALLY NOT IN YOUR FAVOR, it will hurt. And no matter what, you will crib. Believe me, no amount of positivism and faith seems to get through to you when that sudden moment arrives. It all begins with shock followed by denial. “It cannot happen now” is followed by “Why did it happen?” The redundant questions never cease.

But that is just one side to the entire Pandora box. Fears of unknown, as I have known have the ability to make you, break you, braise you, roast you and then toss you on the tides as if you were a ragged Barbie doll! And, those times test your verve in the worst possible manner. And, you still have faith to get through.

Acceptance is not a light word. It carries with it, unbearable weight of fears, perplexities, confusions, and countless rebuttals. And, the ambiguity sticks to it like a glue. And, it is this ambiguity that hurts. It is the dependence on that ambiguity that hurts. It is the chain of bondage that makes the ambiguity more wicked. And yet, the world swears by it.

Well, that is the beauty of hope and faith, I suppose. No matter how bad a day gets, we always wake up with the hope that a new day, a new dawn will be good, or at least better than the previous one. A painful learning process to learn a beautiful lesson, indeed!

The learning of acceptance has begun.

The Guilty Mother ~ Part 3


There are umpteen times in my life when I have almost believed that I am not doing things the right way. There have been times when my anger inadvertently spills on my son whose grasping power and understanding of life is far beyond his years. And yet, I would be reprimanding him horribly over his academics. After all, I am the quintessential Indian mother despite the ‘coolness’ I seem to exude in my blog! Anyways, before I give in to my habit of digressing, I would like to reflect on why this series means the world to me.

Someone has rightly said – Thoughts that clog are like grime. They do not let the seeds of clarity germinate. Thoughts have to flow somewhere. And, that is how this series was born. I had to let the guilt ridden thoughts move out to get replaced by acceptance of who I am.  So, while these free flowing reflections continued to give me those tiny bursts of optimism that, I will learn from my mistakes along the way, something happened yesterday. And, I wasn’t prepared for it. The guilty mother syndrome attacked me again.

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Has it ever occurred to you that, life throws pleasant surprises and rude shocks when you least expect them? An outburst of euphoria or, a mighty wave of melancholia is what arrives as the outcome. Both have repercussions that impart life lessons of the highest order.

When Liz Hurley says those lines in Be-Dazzled – “Be careful what you wish for!”, the devil in her meant business. After all, it is the Devil’s job to feed the desires. And so, Elliot Richards learns it the hard way that no matter how and what you wish for, you can never completely be sure of what you really want from life. There is a portion of that contract with the Universe that, the Universe is supposed to fill in. And, that one section changes quite a lot for an individual. It is as if, you are always going to have a web of intangibles that shall follow you wherever you go. And, some of which you will never identify till the time comes. It is like, you fell down the stairs and, you tread carefully the next time. And, it is during that instant when you inadvertently burn your fingers and, you wonder – “Wow! I did not expect this to happen!” That is life. I get it.

And then, there are times when you have to seek out the intangibles and try figuring out ways to uncoil the tangles.

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Yesterday, my son returned home with a black eye. Rather, a swollen left eye. My heart gushed out extreme anxiety and, my thoughts raced at a speed of million miles per second. It is not a sight a mother is prepared for. Especially, watching the gusty yet soft hearted six plus year old looking at you and trying to figure out how the incident need be narrated.

I could see that the patch below his left eye was swollen and, it pained him when I touched it gently. I gave him an ice compress and asked him. Cutting a long story short, he annoyed another boy verbally and got a physical take away from the boy who pushed my son. A hit against the bench probably gave him what was visibly big! I was angry. I could almost feel the steam emerging from my skin. I was supremely annoyed and, my anger could not contain itself. I was almost on the verge of riding away to school on my two wheeler with my son and, give a piece of my mind to the school. And then, the drizzle that had begun started transforming into a stormy rain outside. I took it as a sign from the Universe that, I must first calm down and think first. Think before you leap – is what the Universe whispered to me.

It took me almost two hours to control my own impulses and, finally ask my son in the most calm and candid manner – “What exactly happened and, how?”

Sadly, the son had complained to the teacher who had probably not paid much attention to the fact, given that her period was over for the day as she walked off. So, my son had to move around with a swollen eye for the whole day believing that teachers are too busy to hear him out. This part agonized me intensely. Teachers’ Day just went by, right? And, teachers who are paid to teach our children the rights and the wrongs, the good and the bad, the do’s and don’ts walk away when children walk up to them with issues. This hurt me very deep.

It was a good decision that I did not walk up to the principal and pour out my excruciating angst in the most acerbic manner yesterday. And, a misguided anger that is allowed to run has only burned bridges and, ruined relations. And, this was the first bruise that I was dealing with, after all. I had to address my anger in a way that it was heard in the right tone at the right time. The idea was to jolt the system out of a lackadaisical slumber that it was being watched intently without batting an eyelid.

And so, after unusually staying awake till midnight yesterday, I drafted a letter this morning. I made two letters, one that I sent through my son and the other, through a friend who is also a teacher in the same school. Within an hour, I got a call from my husband saying that he received a call from the school coordinator who wished to speak with me at the earliest. I called an hour later and, was pleasantly surprised when the voice at the other end not only apologized profusely but, also assured me that the teacher in question was to be called and questioned about it. She even told me that I could take it to the principal if I wished and that, the other said boy’s parents could be called and counselled too. It is here, I intervened and explained that I had no anger towards the child that did this to my son. The other boy is also of the same age as my son. They are absolutely in their element when they indulge in mischief and petty fights. However, it is the teacher’s duty to make sure that the children understand the boundaries of their indulgences. And that, is what I have an issue with, these days.

Teachers have to be given a free hand when disciplining children. Unfortunately, the current generation of parents harbor an extremely antagonistic attitude towards physical enforcement of discipline in school. And it is precisely why, children have started taking teachers and elders less seriously than before. It is even more unfortunate that the teachers too have taken a step back and, have resigned to the fact that nothing can be done about it. As long as the pay check fills in monthly bracket, a teacher rarely gives in to retrospection on whether things could get any better.

It is at this point I reflected on my own childhood. A recent post on Teachers day by a very senior lady that I adore, triggered some painful incidents that I battled when I was at my low. This honest voice reminded me about how teachers day also highlights the scars by a few ones that made you feel out of place, miserable and low during the growing years. I have had two odd teachers of that kind and, although I never spoke about them, I still feel the hurt at times, especially for those moments when they have just disliked me because I belonged to a different state. I remember one telling me bluntly that I wouldn’t fare well in her subject in my tenth boards. I went into a depression and, it took my mother 48 hours of constantly feeding me with optimism that, one misguided teacher’s remark should not break my verve to succeed and that, I must prove her wrong by faring well. I still remember my mother’s words – She is your teacher and, life is teaching you through her that life will be unfair and that, you will fall. But, you shall rise too!

Those words have come a long way for me. The hurt remains in a quaint little portion of my heart because, as children, we embrace our teachers as our second mothers. Rejection from them is simply not acceptable to us. But then, leaving aside the two, the other teachers were gems and, it is their oodles of confidence in me that pushed me up the ladder.

Life is unfair, the statement rings true nevertheless.

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Today as a mother when I sent my son in the bus, I felt every ounce of pain and trauma my mother would have felt every time, I cried, fell, failed and bruised myself in miserable ways. But then, my mother is made of steel. When she saw me battling a life threatening condition four years back, I saw the gumption with which she took care of everyone, especially my son who was just two years old then. Her faith that I will return back hale and hearty moved the Gods, melted the Universe and, gave me the will to fight back. Although we do not necessarily agree on everything, I always fall back on my first teacher – my mother when I am lost in tides of ennui.

So while I was gathering my nerves a few days ago after having given a verbal lesson on why my son needs to take care of his stuff in school, an incident happened the same evening and, a new Pandora box presented itself. My son was annoyed with me that I did not allow him to go with the neighborhood gang of elder boys to one of the boys’ homes. Although he hid his resentment, I was hurt that he could not understand my point of view, especially when I wasn’t aware about the boys’ families too. Technically, our clashes have begun. And, his resentment is sure to turn into defiance in coming years. I am aware of that too.

So, when the son returned with a black eye, the guilty mother in me broke down yesterday. All sorts of thoughts made me feel that I wasn’t making him tough or maybe, I am restricting him too much and what not! It is then, my mother calmed me down – “Look! He is not a cotton candy. He is a young boy that will make a fine gentleman one day, given his genetic make. But then, he is also going to get hurt. You cannot stop that. And, you must not. He will face those unbearable moments of confusion when peer pressures will eat into your equation with him. He will be frustrated with you at one point too. Be prepared for that. Deal with it. You will feel miserable about yourself too. It is natural. But you are your own  solution as much as you are your own problem. You cannot get a perpetual good name from your children every single time. Nor can they meet your expectations every single day. It will never happen. So, don’t go after the “I am the best mom” tag. Just be the regular mother and, you will know that complexities in parenting are regular too!”

I guess, I have to learn to accept every moment with the flow. And, I have to start reiterating to self about the importance of faith in myself and in my son and that, as a team we will cross the hurdles as they come, one at a time. The emotional mother in me finally reached a truce with my practical side. And, I hope the truce lives happily ever after. Again wishful thinking, right? Ha! Who can control the fickle mind?

Back to business.

P.S: The Guilty Mother ~ Part 2

The Guilty Mother ~ Part 1

I get that

 

 

 

Disconnect to Connect ~ Part 4


Pregnant fears are meant to scar you, sear you, braise you, grill you and, torch you. How else, will you know what Faith means? 

Ever since I started writing this series – Disconnect to Connect, I feel the noise in my head slowly diffusing away. I would rather put it as – a free flowing river that knows no boundaries. Thoughts need way to move ahead. They are those electrons that need to be channeled in a route that yields purpose. Else, rogue electrons cause havoc by seeding pregnant fears. Oh! Pregnant fear! It is such an underrated demon. We don’t anticipate it coming. We don’t acknowledge its existence. We believe we are brave enough to tackle anything until, the pregnant fear decides to unveil its pawn and checkmate you!

Have you ever been psychologically scarred?

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“Have you ever been psychologically scarred?” – I was asked this question long back. Psychological scarring, I believed, was a hoax. I admit with all humbleness that, I believed it to be just another jargon to add more cautions and red alerts in the health world. And, I continued believing it until I faced the pregnant fears for the first time in the year 2013. For reasons known best to me, this year will remain an important landmark in my life. And, I have been blogging about this every now and then. Not because, I want to brag about it but because, I feel it is my moral obligation to remind myself that life is a gift and, pains and gains are just takeaways that tag along. Yes, I need constant reminders lest the pregnant fears threaten me again.

It is that year that taught me how important our own life is, more than the others’ more so, knowing how the other lives depend on our own well being.

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The war my rogue immune system waged against me…..The day ‘I’ turned against me…..The time, my doppelganger threatened me in the most feral way……… 7th March’13 – The day I was thrown from the comforting cocoon of love, amazement and wonder into a war where I was my own soldier, my own saarthi and, my own nemesis!

While I lay in ICU in March ’13, oscillating between worlds I did not comprehend, I came quite close to questioning God, rather launched an acerbic diatribe on HIM and the Universe –

“Why? Why me? You cannot do this to me! This is wrong at so many levels! You snatched away my MIL when my husband was barely 11 years old. And, do you intend doing the same to my son? You cannot be so heartless! I have my parents to take care of. I have to take care of my husband and son. I have to take care of my father in law. And, you cannot turn your face away now. I have so much to do yet………..”

(somewhere the tirade transformed into kneeling and pleading in the other dimension where I could visualize myself  at the mercy of Universe)

“Please, give me a second chance. I will take my life seriously. I will not take it for granted. Please, my family needs me. You of all must know!”

That was the moment, the nasal twine started disappearing after I had lost my speech and, suffered from a blurred vision. However, there was a far deeper message for me from that night. I reckon now, how silent my mind became when I had cried the whole night facing my worst fears. I came quite close to being pushed off the cliff. That fear of drowning in an abyss of nothingness was more terrifying than anything dark to name. Fear of unknown is like a bolt from the blue. It shifts your core in a split second. It is like a landslide, an earthquake, a tsunami that comes with subtle warnings that are barely understood. I took a year to heal.

On one of my follow up visits, I remember the kind words of the neurosurgeon Dr. Vyas, who treated me –

“Narayani! You have healed to the best of my knowledge. But, you have a bigger battle to fight. You have to face your fears now. And the only way to do it is, accepting that whatever flip happened in your system was a judgmental error of your immune system. And that, you need to stop feeling afraid. Your condition is something like the landslide that happened in Uttarakhand. There is no more reason to it than an unplanned cloudburst or a sudden receding of the sea….., none that I could pin point. After all, what happened to you, happens to one in a million people.”

After all, Dr Vyas acknowledged that I was his first case with that condition and that, psychological scarring would not be abnormal in my case. Later, the husband to make me smile, held me close and said – “Even Amitabh Bachhan suffered from the same condition and, it took him a long while to recover!” Was it supposed to make me feel better? I adore AB. That day, I did feel better. And, AB inspires me no matter how he may have erred as a human. I do love him a lot.

Life is a beautiful gift. And, Faith is such a warm feeling, elixir of life actually. However, you realize it only after you face the acid test yourself. Yes, it takes an enormous amount of mental energy to give life to that word – Faith! And, for someone who has begged the Universe to give a second chance, take it from me – Faith comes alive only after you know how deep you could fall and, the chance to fly was given right at the moment when the foot slipped! That tiny instant of uncertainty is all it takes to build the word Faith!

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2013 unlocked a dam of pregnant fears I never knew, existed. I would be lying if I say I do not harbor them now. There are nights when I don’t get sleep still. Sometimes, over thinking makes me feel worse. Someone once told me that such unexplained incidents scar you psychologically and that, it is normal to get affected. Does it? Maybe. Yes, I have suffered nightmares in the past four years. I am sure they will continue to visit me. Maybe, there is a hidden message in them too, from the Universe. But this time, my instinct calms me down and convinces me – These nightmares have a purpose. You shall discover the purpose when the time is ripe. After all, every cloud has a silver lining.

And, on nights when I am attacked by disturbing dreams led by demons from past, I instantly listen to Kanda Shasti Kavacham and Vel Maral, as suggested by my mother. And, sleep comes after a while. Every morning after that year, when I have woken up, the first thing I have done is thank the Universe for listening to me. I still do. I may forget birthdays and anniversaries but, I will never be able to forget 7th March’13, the day I learned the importance of fears and how, it connects us to the Universe with faith.

In hindsight, I believe there was a sign for me, a bread crumb perhaps that the Universe had left for me. It is a strange thing that when I was getting admitted on that day, the Gulmohar tree in front of my block (in the prev station) was drying up. It was as if the leaves had fallen off all of a sudden. For a strange reason, that image was stuck in my head the day I was wheeled into the hospital. A month later when I was discharged, I came back to see small leaves appearing on that tree. As days passed, many fresh leaves started sprouting. That was the first sign I got from Nature. Maybe, because I discovered the importance of solitude wherein, I could sit and listen to the signals that the elements were sending me.

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Four years have gone by. Ever since, every sunrise and every sunset feels unique for me. They are never the same. Every day, the dawn and dusk emerge with myriad patterns as if throwing a message to the Earthlings– Every day will be a different test.

My eyes still well up when I see a mother monkey cuddling her baby in my garden. Did I ever take time to notice anything other than humans in the past? I am overwhelmed by the sight of a mother peacock trying to test the agility and pro activeness of her babies! There is so much to learn from these mothers. They too get annoyed with their kids and yet, guard them with their lives!

Sometimes, I simply stand for a few seconds on the long walking plaza during morning walks to just admire the lush green foliage emanating an orange-ish yellow tinge when the first rays of Sun fall on it. And, the unexplained chaos in the way the clouds align themselves in the sky seem to throw a jigsaw puzzle at me. In the next station, I need a terrace. I am sure, I will get it!

The treatment I underwent then, had some side effects that I am battling still. But, I am not complaining about them. Because, that day I begged and the Universe relented. I still have a life to sort the battles out. To win shall remain the goal. And Of course, the journey was never meant to be easy. Was it ever? 😉

However, in the past four years, I have also learned to harness my faith in the universe, the elements and the vibrations that whisper noiselessly in our ears. I have learned to listen. I have learned to associate more with what I feel about myself, my surroundings and, the million energies operating around my frequencies. Sometimes, I am disappointed that I haven’t found too many right people to associate with. And at the same, I am also blessed to have the few that I can fall back on without giving a second thought, my keepers after all!

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Every incident as I look back has taught me something along the way. Beginning from tantrums to get into that taxi and not the bus, innocent flirtations in teenage, secret desires in forbidden world that more often than not were quenched in dreams, toxic relationships at a later stage, the unexpected miss in friendships that sank without a trace only because they were the perfect example of shallow advertising, the ugly fights with the loved ones over not being understood, the attack of Myasthenia gravis and the many rumble strips that exposed me to mortal dangers of life without pushing me onto them, but merely brushing them against me! How deep I have felt about everything since then…..After all these years, I finally understand the substantial weightage given to the Universe. It works in tandem with our thoughts, our vibrations, our energies and, our souls.

Once every while, we all need to disconnect with the world to connect with ourselves. Disconnecting with the world is not merely going to a secluded place with family. It also means, disconnecting with the family itself to give oneself the time to understand every thought, every word, every action that stems from the soul. It is important, I tell you. Because, we take our own lives for granted and, we lead the world into believing the same.

Maybe, that is the reason, pregnant fears were born. To make us realize otherwise.

I say – Slay the damn Jabberwocky! But, don’t underestimate its existence. Ever.

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