Disconnect to Connect ~ Part 9


What if unfiltered thoughts paraded as fearlessly as guarded words? That would be the day when freedom will be understood as a responsibility besides being enjoyed as a privilege. But then, will that freedom be good?

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Has it ever occurred to you how chained you are to an environment that sustains you? For instance, would you look squarely at your insane boss and, tell him that he is a cross between an ass and an ass****?  Or maybe, take away your child from a premier institution and, put him in a normal school to see him or her evolve with the masses naturally at his own pace?  Or just, travel solo to a new place and, rent a room in a hostel, spend time reading and knowing people in the place regardless of gender and, see how it works out for you? I guess, none of the aforementioned are the ‘ready, steady and go’ options. After all, we are chained. To devices. To people. To places. Worse, to our own rabid thoughts. No question can be answered without fearing the intangibles. Sigh..

chsh

Lately, I feel not only chained but also restrained when it comes to expressing my views candidly on any media. I have observed over a period of time that people seldom listen to what is being expressed. It is like you see an apple and slowly yet powerfully build an image of an orange and, superimpose it on the apple and, you declare – “No! It is an orange!” A counter view is like a lamb waiting to get itself thrown amidst a pack of wolves! Getting trolled is becoming a serious crime that is not being taken seriously as it should be. Sad, but true.

Talking about trolls, I recently came across an article by a woman who had written about why she doesn’t want her daughter to be influenced by the definition of beauty that is set by contests like Miss World and Miss Universe. Even to someone like me who attempts to first hear out the ‘other contradictory’ side of any conversation, this article sounded outrageous for two reasons – One, the author kind of butchered the hard work and dedication put by our new Miss World Manushi Chillar in about 1000 words. And two, she mentioned about helping her daughter know more about women like Madam Curie and Emma Lockhart. Now, I do not follow beauty contests for two reasons: One, With all due respect to the contestants, the subject does not inspire me and, I choose not to watch only because I have no interest in knowing about how women win beauty contests and two, I do not have the time to watch even a ten minute news given my work schedule that involves – work from home + tasks of a home maker. However, just because a particular subject doesn’t interest me, I will not demean it ever. Why? Because, I am not adequately enlightened about it to judge it. Even if I were, who gave me the right to judge anybody, for that matter? That said, the woman who wrote this piece got almost eaten up by a pack of mad frenzied women who declared her an imbecile parent with an ignoramus head. Hurtful it was, to read what she wrote. But, I was as hurt when I read the comments that followed. Acerbic is an understatement. Why does one have to tear the other person to shreds just because the said person said something stupid? Why? Why can’t people just choose what they read? Why, after all?

So, talking about anything in this world is bound to be scrutinized just the way the old granny across the street watches for worms in the fresh green organic peas that were delivered right from the farm at her doorstep. It is as if only intelligence, rather a measured intelligence has a place on earth and, rest all must be culled. So, is that freedom? I am not sure of that. It is selective right to appreciating freedom only when it fits like hallow for a certain alignment of thoughts.

So, you cannot make a stupid statement without getting poked, cut and bled on social media. And then, stupidity is relative as much as intelligence is. What may appear stupid to you may appear as a seed of a revolution for someone else out there. The same goes for “I follow this” versus “I follow that”. Like dunking oneself into a well prepared meat dish would be a ‘heaven came down on earth’ moment for a carnivore and, a scene of barbaric violence to a vegetarian. The battle between vegetarians and non vegetarians is, needless to say, an ugly one. And, the amount of hate that it spews is better left untold. And just when you thought vegetarians are ‘humane’, vegans came and displaced the former’s sense of ‘righteousness’ and, carnivores went back happily to munching pork cracklings and grilled beacon. They say, the food we eat defines who we are. I DON’T agree a bit with that. I have seen more compassionate non vegetarians with a golden heart than vegetarians who are filled with absolute contempt and arrogance for everything and everyone! Well, the bickering never ends. And, this is just one of the many I feel slighted about. So, where is the freedom of expression in its truest sense?

Like a child trying to fix a square in a circle is already labelled slow and poor and, that is exactly how the world judges. Superficially. Because the world would have predictably failed to see the three dimensional imagery of a home resting on the protrusion of a cliff overlooking pristine blue waters and, facing the rising Sun, painted by the same child.

Anyways, let me come back to why I started to write this post. So, I mentioned something about being chained, rather shackled by ‘What will the world say?’, ‘Am I doing it right?’, ‘What should I do to be recognized?’ and what not! It is as if – good things can happen only in absence of people. Because, the moment you talk about good dreams, good things – the first instinct of people is to pass it on to unknown people and, ruin it. So, it takes an enormous amount of self control to not let the thoughts out unfiltered. Of late, a small freedom of expression attracts a zombie of trolls that shred every ounce of dignity with no remorse. And this is exactly why I don’t discuss issues on virtual media where no issue is understood but, shall be debated with uglier than ugly words and actions.

And, it brings me back again to the concept of chains. Chains of expectations, shackles of pressures and stressful dilemmas do not leave much space for anything creative to bloom. As much as modern day parenting is evolving under the influence of “how to raise the child without spanking and admonishing?”, “Ten ways to engage your hyperactive toddler” and “ways to understand why a child does what he does” et al, it is becoming extremely claustrophobic for children who are confused as to why their parents are chained to devices that tell them how to raise children. Even Bill Gates and Steve Jobs did not let their kids get too pally with their own creations. But, we people are masses that are enthralled with “get, set and go!” structure that is slowly making us forget what it is to go to a bank and open an FD or, go to a grocery store and ask about the prices of everything we want from a pin to a pan! Essentially, we are losing out on basic skills of survival by depending on devices with no semblance of the possibility – “What if Internet crashes one day?”

It is a very scary thought, if you have done some reading on cloudburst in the virtual world. However, I would reserve this topic for another day. Cut back to how we are dependent on the Internet is indeed some kind of a disease that we seem to have started hosting by choice. Only, the extent of dependence is variable. Except for the tribes that live in forests and, continue to live regally in the realm of their own traditions and culture (no matter how misogynistic and patriarchal some of them are) and, people of yester generations who are more inclined towards leading a sedentary life with no complications, we are all chained to a dangerous world that leaves no doors to leave. If you have checked the recent settings of FaceBook, you would know there is no option to delete an account with NO condition. Ok, let me explain further. You can delete the account only after you have clarified that it shall be deleted after your death. In an alternative scenario, you may continue your legacy by choosing a close friend/relative who can memorialize your account after your demise (God forbid). Now, isn’t that disturbing? You can only deactivate your FB account with NO condition, which you can reactivate again when you get addicted again. However, you CANNOT delete it without clicking on “Delete After Death” button! How many of you even read that?

I love FB. You can say, I am addicted to it. I love the beautiful and inspirational quotes that it floods me with, every day connecting me to like minded people who feel exactly how I feel about many things in life. And, I shall be ever grateful to this media for that. Having said that, I also know that if I ever want to lead a life away from the world, away from people and away from sundry that intrusively dictates on how I must lead my life, I would have to let go of this drug, the very drug that let me play with words in ways I never imagined. But, today is not that day. Neither shall be tomorrow. Nor, the near future. But some day, yes.

Penultimate post alert: 

When I began writing the series – ‘Disconnect to Connect’, I have started to understand to an extent as to why we are the way we are. There was a time when my mind got louder with every passing day with my tongue turning into an angry recluse alongside. However, a loud mind with no vent is like a bubble of pain, about to burst. And, this bubble has to be diffused. And, that is how the series began. With this post – I am reaching the penultimate count in the row of ten, wherein all the zig zags in my headspace are now leading me physically to a place I hope to enjoy and love. And, the ultimate post of this series shall take birth in the new place.

Till then, my dear readers – “Stay in good health. Be nice to people. Be kind to people. Essentially, listen to what is being said instead of trying to visualize an orange as an apple. Because, an apple will remain an apple. An orange will remain an orange. Come what may!”

P.S:

Dear Manushi Chillar,

You have done India proud and, I totally loved the way you talked about the highest paid job – that of being a mother. I caught a glimpse of your answer on that two minute news and, I did not watch anything before that, rather I wasn’t even aware of your existence. But, your answer has invoked a deep respect within for you. And, I would be even more impressed as a fellow woman when you complete your medical school as you have said. 

 

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Cocoons to Butterflies, A rumble strip!


I am, at present, snuggling under comfy sheets in a nice hotel in a smog filled city where the hubby has come for his office work. The son and I have accompanied him (as faujis do not have the luxury of spending every day with the family through the year). So yes, this one week (until Saturday) is surely a blissful getaway for me. No household chores, no homework sessions (although I have got work for the son to do, but I wasn’t really going to make him study here, was I?) and no social engagements in the station. This is bliss! Bliss because I am in a space where I can write whenever I want, wherever I want and whatever I want to. And also because, we are spending quality time as a family in the evenings (something which we don’t get to do often).

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So, today I came across a very interesting post by a soul sister as she pointed out how the current generation of kids are absolutely pampered and inept. She further mentioned about the air conditioned class rooms, kids not knowing how to cover their books and a lot more about the ‘ready to use’ culture. And boy, she is so right! I have to agree with every word she let.

Both of us, being the products of 80’s are modern day parents. But, we kind of realized how far we have left the age old parenting means behind. There was a time when vacations were supposed to be refueling stations for recharging our batteries, learning about  importance of families and relationships, learning kitchen tricks from grannies and aunts, playing board games with grandfathers and uncles, visiting new places etc… Today however, vacations are meant to be exotic and they are meant to be getaways, away from our own people so that we can post about it on Instagram! Worse, the very vacations that we took by train in sleeper class in our childhood, undergoing all that humid wafts of monsoon airs gleefully are now looked down upon. I have observed how kids feel when such discussions crop up. It is as if flights earn you more brownie points among peers who travel by trains. It is real, people. The struggle to find a ‘status’ is real among kids.

So, today we speak of air conditioned classrooms, air conditioned cars and exotic vacations. Things we assume our dreams are made of. Are they?

Meanwhile, I see a pattern in my extended family too. While the cousins of our age had a humble upbringing, they fail to follow the same for their own children. For instance, lavish birthday parties, exotic getaways and, too many outfits for one child seem to be the norm. It is here, I am suddenly reminded of the many beautiful moments my mum shared with me about her childhood.

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The lost era!

My mum speaks very fondly of her father – my maternal grandfather Mr. VenkataSubramanian Iyer. She has been a daddy’s girl through out and, despite having lost him immediately after her marriage, her eyes well up even today as a granny herself , every time she speaks about him. It is as if her best memories of her life have been only around her father. She recants how my tatha owned just a pair of shirts and pants for a decade and more so that he could save enough for the family. And, he used to wash his clothes everyday, dry them without a crease and then, iron them with a hot vessel filled with steaming water (the old time ironing means when an iron box was not exactly a luxury)

His teachings that have been carved in my mum’s memories include:

kandhaiyanalum kasakki kattu – Even if your clothes are old and faded, wash them before you wear them!

Koozhanalum kulithu kudi – Even if your meal is very simple, make sure you are clean before you sit down to eat.

Seivana tirunde sei – Whatever you do, do with absolute devotion!

My mum follows these life lessons to the teeth. When I see her connection with my tatha, I truly know why a father daughter bond is so so special. My mum grew up in a joint family. Besides her three siblings (my two uncles and one aunt), the family comprised of her grandparents, her uncle and aunt with their four children and, also one of mum’s aunts (my tatha’s sister) whose husband had disappeared for while. So, it was indeed a huge family with its spicy share of drama, emotions and a lot of love and care. My tatha who was the eldest and, perhaps the proverbial epitome of unquestionable obedience towards his parents, gave his entire salary for the family. Therefore, there were many things my mum and her siblings were deprived of in their growing years. My mum recalls the heartaches she felt when the cousins would have ice creams from outside and my grandmother would eyeball mum and her siblings – “Don’t look up like that when someone is eating!” And, my tatha would pat my mum on her head and explain – “Some day, I will get you all that you want. Someday, I will take you all out just like your cousins are getting to do. Some day, my darling. But that some day is not today. Have faith. Our times to enjoy all that will come too. But, for now, let’s enjoy what we have, right?”

When my tatha built an independent home, my paati moved in with the four children that comprised of my two uncles, my younger aunt and my mum. And, as promised my grandparents ensured that mum and her siblings got ice creams on every Friday. The children had hit the teens. However, they had transformed into beautifully adjusting adults understanding what their parents were doing for them.

My mum explained how adjusting in an environment with the faith that things will turn around comes with raw courage. And it is here, she regales me with the role of my grandmother – Kalyani Paati (who I miss even today). Kalyani paati came from a rich and influential family. Her father was a banker with Lloyds at the time. So, when paati married my tatha in a traditionally arranged ‘stars meet stars’ marriage, she found herself in an environment radically opposite to her Maika. It was a life that began with tough adjustments. But those adjustments became trivial as my tatha was a very loving husband who loved his wife 12 years his junior with all his heart and soul.

I have heard from people how my paati emerged strong post my tatha’s untimely demise, determined to give a good life to the other three siblings of my mother (as mum had got married then). Perhaps, it was my mum who noticed how my paati would shut herself in the bedroom and cry silently for hours, wetting the pillows. Those were tears that never  left that room lest the children’s morale got affected. My tatha paati raised four children, took care of their parents and, lived a life of simple living – high thinking and, importantly left a fortune to their children so that the children and their children have a good life. They may not have led a luxurious lifestyle. But, they left the world with absolute satisfaction that they had raised good human beings. Now, isn’t that the best feeling for parents when they know that their children have done well for themselves and that, they are financially independent and, can take falls with grace no matter what? How confident are modern day parents on that aspect? The question is frighteningly difficult to answer.

Sometimes, when I sit with my mum, I ask her again and again about my tatha-paati (her parents), her tatha-paati (her grandparents) and, the many hilarious chronicles as were passed to her from the storyteller of her grandma and much more. I did not have the privilege of knowing her grandies or mine, except I was lucky to know my Kalyani Paati until she joined the stars above when I was in ninth grade. So, whatever I hear of them, brings me closer to their souls and, I wonder if my grandparents and their parents feel what I feel, like – “Do they miss knowing me as much as I miss knowing them?” or, “How would they have reacted when they would have seen me as a mother?” or perhaps, “What all have I missed learning from them?” et al. (I almost choke as I write this. It is as if they are hearing me. Only that I cannot see them.)

It is said that my tatha’s mum that is, my mum’s paternal grandma was a Math genius and, she never went to school. My mum recalls how she solved algebraic equations and riders but, since she never went to school, she could never explain how she did it. And, she aced aadu-puli attam like a pro and, was perhaps the greatest story teller of her time. My mum, who was one of the few grandchildren who adored her (my great granny was quite a firebrand who ran the household with an uncanny nerve and, handled finances very well), probably inherited her Math loving persona from her granny. All of the experiences my mum shares from her childhood with me, I gather that raising good children and making sure that they turn good does NOT stem from the fact on what parents provide children with. It stems from the fact on how parents let children be unapologetic-ally themselves with comfort of kind words and timely understanding even when the world around tries to seduce them in becoming one among the crowd.

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The thrill in spending trumps the question WHY

As parents, we are drawn towards fulfilling materialistic desires. When kids place a demand, we instantly gear up on how to fulfill the demand. Seriously, how many of us  analyze before fulfilling the demand. We comply.  Almost instantly. Why? Only because we can afford to. We have the money. Damn! Why can’t we spend it?

My husband who has had an extremely rough and tough childhood, with my mother in law passing away at an early age of 38, when he had just turned eleven years old, understood quite early in life that there was a crucial difference between needs and desires. For him, it was a game of survival in his formative years especially when my father in law slipped into depression post my MIL’s demise and, did not go for his job for two years almost leaving his elder son to fend for himself.  (My BIL grew up in a Ved Pathshala down south, getting ready to take up the profession of Brahmins) Those were the toughest times for the husband who was not only dealing with a harsh world outside his home but, at the same was also struggling to understand a father who could not could not tell a dream from reality at the time. Later, times improved when my FIL recovered from the depression and joined work again. But that phase can neither be forgotten by the husband, nor my FIL, nor the neighborhood that witnessed helplessly the four years of darkness that loomed large for the men.

So, my husband’s understanding of the difference between needs and desires was far deeper and clearer, unlike mine. Given that I was raised in a rather luxurious environment with a big home, a garden, a car, a bike and good schooling in a convent, I was oblivious to real struggles faced by people on a day to day basis. So, let’s say our marriage was an enlightenment for me at many levels. Ours is a love marriage. While many in the extended family raised concerns over my decision marrying into a home that was deprived of a female presence for almost fifteen years, my parents knew their parenting has not gone wrong at all because while people pray for good son-in-laws, my parents got more – the Universe gave them a son!

And, how I adjusted in a small home (500 sq feet home) post marriage and, how beautifully my husband adjusted to my idiosyncrasies then, one of which included my poor home keeping skills appended by my tendency to splurge every now and then, is a story that I shall be writing soon about, in near future. So, after seven plus years of marital life (the package now with an adorable son included), preceded by a humble upbringing in an upper class neighborhood during my growing years, I have finally understood why understanding the difference between needs and desires is crucial while we play the role of parents.

Fan is a need but, an air conditioner is a desire.

A ball pen is a need. A Parker is a desire.

Vaseline is a need. A Mac Lipstick be a desire.

Titan is a need and, Edifice be a desire.

Hashback cars be your needs and, Mercedes be your desires.

Comforts are desires. But, companionship is a need.

So, if our kids are unable to differentiate between needs and desires, then as parents, we ourselves are failing somewhere crucially. Without a doubt, we all are doing better financially than what our parents did way back. And yet, our grand parents and parents made fortune better than us. Why? Low cost of living is NOT the only reason. Their understanding of needs and desires was as clear as crystal. They would not spend a penny more on what they felt was not worth a long time. Rather, they spent good money on festivals, families and good food, each of which is needed to sustain good mental and physical health.

Apparently, as adults today, our priorities are reigned by desires. Worse, we fear the flirtatious nature of money. What if the comforts leave us one day, even without a goodbye? Money has always been a butterfly. It rarely stays with one for long. It is like a river. No wonder, we call it currency, right? And, time is another conniving partner of fortune. It only takes an erratic turn in time for someone to go from riches to rags or, from rags to riches! As adults, most of us live in that fear subconsciously. We do not talk about it loud. But, we do harness it and, so give in to many investments like SIPs, mutual funds, real estate et al here and there, while the splurge takes its own course of action from the other hand in terms of shop-aholism, binge drinking and, show off of fortunes! So, how can we blame our children when, we ourselves are chained by our fears of being unapologetic-ally ourselves – the simple beings that came from simple families eating simple food, wearing simple clothes and leading simple lives?

We do not live in peace. We live in constant fear of failures. And that is exactly what is stopping our children from breaking free from their cocoons.

While we believe in freedom in parenting, most of us fail to understand that we are giving a hard time to our wards by not letting them be impenitently themselves while we push them into being perfect, ideal and competitive, without realizing that the word genius springs from Mother Nature’s palette where the oceans are not only rogue and unpalatable but, are also unrestrained and fearless. No two trees grow with the same patterns even if they are from the same family. No two rivers flow in the same direction. But, our reptilian brains cull our intent to understand this truth, a universal truth.

Today, we feel obligated to provide our children with almost everything. However, we are overlooking the ‘if’s’ and ‘buts’ that are nefariously hidden inside the knuckles of destiny. Failures, storms, curve balls hurled by time change a lot of junctions in our journey of life. Are we preparing our children to understand that? After all, comforts are merely tentacles of desires that continue to grow like weeds and that, there is no end to satisfying them. Are we anywhere close to making our children understand the importance of sustenance in a limited pay?

It is difficult but not impossible to lead a frugal lifestyle despite having the fortune to splurge. Fortunately, I have been raised in a state that has more rich people, many of who I know live a parsimonious life. While I have seen and understood class in the richer than rich acquaintances in my hometown, I have also seen in other closer circles (among close relatives and friends) where money and status is flaunted as class. And, my hometown, not a big city but with a big heart taught me just this –

Class is how you treat people regardless of what they have or not. And, it goes notches higher when you add kindness to it.

If we want our children to understand self dependence, humility and simplicity, we have to take the first step and that is, Stop preaching and start acting. Like my dad reminds me every now and then – “Preaching is the biggest bane of human existence. You want your kid to do something, don’t tell the kid. You do. He will watch. He will do. That is it. That is all to it.”

That explains everything. Pretty much. Right?

aa

 

Contempt is more dangerous than silence.


Recently Harvey Weinstein got a taste of how power play comes with a payback clause.  Accused of sexual abuse, molestation, power mongering and all vices against women, the disgraced Hollywood mogul is on his way down, down from grace!

For people who do not know Harvey Weinstein, this is the link. And, you must be aware of #MeToo. Apparently, this guy is the reason why this hashtag has been busy rolling out the skeletons out of closets in such a magnitude. Many renowned Hollywood actresses like Angelina Jolie, Alyssa Milano and Gwyneth Paltrow have come up with strong allegations of sexual abuse against Harvey. While I was scouring through articles on this subject, I was shocked by the comment section. Rather, I was aghast. Why? Because a large section called these women cowards and that, they could have spoken about this way early, saving other prospective victims in the process.

Now, I would NOT call them cowards. And surely, they are no saints. But, blaming them is NOT a wise thing to do, at least at this point in time when things have happened and, there is no way they can be undone. Talking about silence of these women while the same was happening to many women around, it is not an easy open and shut subject of question. Even renowned Italian director Dario Argento’s daughter Asia Argento was not spared.

Countless men and women approach the field of art to pursue their dreams. Many have had to ‘compromise’ either out of choice or compulsion, to ascend the ladder that led to their goals. Many still do. Apparently, they continue to do a lot of damage to themselves in the process. Unfortunately, many keep their lips sealed as they don’t want to talk about it. Even the doe eyed Rekha had a horrible taste of testosterone filled chauvinism at the tender age of 15, when she was kissed forcibly by her co actor Biswajeet and, the director refused to say a cut. Worse, the entire crew cheered the act! Were these perpetrators even closely reprimanded? No! But, the actress was branded a sex kitten and later, a home wrecker! Is it surprising? Not then. And, not now. Sadly.

In the West, French actress Maria Schneider was 19 when she starred in the 1972 French Italian film – Last Tango in Paris and, was a part of a scene she wasn’t completely aware of, a scene of a sexual assault. Needless to say, the actress felt not only violated but also did not get an ounce of apology from neither her co star not the director. Frankly, I lost every bit of respect for Marlon Brando (although he is no more) and, I find it so difficult to believe that the same man played such an enigmatic role in the movie – The Godfather!

And, the question pops up for the women– “Does their silence make them bad women, accomplices worse?”

We will come to that part later.

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metoo

You are not alone!

Cut back to present, my FaceBook was flooded with posts from friends who shared #MeToo with the intent of showing solidarity in standing up against abuse. A major section of people joined in, applauded the act and also, joined in saying that such acts will never be tolerated henceforth. And, a small section came up annoyed at the publicity this hashtag was receiving. A few felt, nothing productive comes from such hashtags and that, women who suffer abuse and join the #MeToo brigade years after abuse are doing nothing but lamenting on their past or worse, garnering attention. Fighting back there and then would have been more productive.

I agree with this crowd but only on the last line. Only on the last line that – Fighting back at that instant is a productive thing to do. Rest, I don’t associate with branding women, especially those who underwent such abuse and were silent during the crimes that happened later. Now, I am NOT an advocate for silence, especially when you have a choice to do something about an issue but you choose not to. However, talking about women who endured abuse while ascending the ladder in Cinema, is contentious. For many successful actresses out there, who have made it big because of their sheer acting prowess, to have undergone these phases would have been the most agonizing moments of their lives, something which they endured unwillingly to reach their goals. It is mighty possible that quitting the industry, killing their dreams and going back to lives they do not understand was not what they believed, they deserved at the time.

Like, Jamie Curtis put it bluntly – “Did I ask for it? I asked for a job. What came along with the job was sexual harassment!”

How many people actually get this statement? Read it and it is simple to understand that no man or woman asks for it, unless he or she is damaged goods suffering from Stockholm’s syndrome!

So, should victims be blamed for suffering the ordeal?

Should they be targeted for silence when, they were battling a war against those who could squish them like houseflies?

Should victims be harassed for speaking up? Then or, now hardly matters for someone who has been through hell and back!

Why did these women endure what they did? 

Frankly, WE ARE NO ONE TO JUDGE THAT!

And, I have great respect each one of those men and women who have come out and spoken about their ordeal in the past few weeks. They at least did now. And people, you need to be more kind. Appreciate these people for sharing their experiences now. Had it not been for such a collective voice of such magnitude, predators like Harvey would have stayed around abusing more victims till he kicked the bucket!

#MeToo has helped if not in a major way, but in a small way. And, any small step towards progress is a large leap! Beginnings are difficult, after all.

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#MeToo

Now, let’s talk about reality. How many times do we really give it back when we encounter such situations? I remember an incident when I was in twelfth grade. I used to stand at the stop at 7 AM in the morning, waiting for the School Tata Sumo to come and pick me up. And, around that time, a guy who used to go to office would walk past me. No, he did not touch me or even say a word. But, he did something that left me deeply disturbed. He would simply stare at me, scanning every bit of me from head to foot. He would throw that lust filled dirty stare till he crossed the street. That was the first time in my life I felt violated without even being touched! Initially, I thought I was overreacting and that, I must learn to ignore it. A week later, I felt miserable and finally confided in my mum. She accompanied me for a couple of days thereafter.

The guy would not even turn his face towards me thereafter. However, I asked my mum – “What if he does it again? You can’t possibly leave me at the stop every day.” And, she candidly replied – “What do you do when you see a stray dog lurking around you, creating a nuisance value? You pick up a stone and aim at it. And, even if you do not throw the stone, it is bound to sense your dilemma – to throw or not to! So, just hurl the stone! And, women have a high pitched voice not just to sing, but to scream at people too. Use it.” In subsequent weeks, I gathered courage and, pretended to be brave by doing an amateurish juggler’s act with stones, while I was trembling within. The pretension worked. The man never looked at me again. Later, my stop changed and, I got rid of the nuisance value. The Universe helped me too, I guess.

The second incident happened when I was in Pune, working with an IT firm. While my friend and I were travelling back to our home by the state bus, I could see a guy filming us on his phone. Given my non confronting nature, I was squirming in my seat until my roommate got up, walked up to the guy and whacked him hard. No one intervened. However, the perpetrator was a bit shocked seeing the dangly girl eyeball him and, hurl profanities! That day my friend enlightened me with these lines – “Narayani! Hume apna dhayan khud hi rakhna hai. Koi ni ayega apni ifazat karne! Samjhi!” 

I am no Beatrix Kiddo or Bholi Punjaban to invoke fear in people. Maybe it is my innate nature to NOT indulge in fights or, ‘giving it back’. Human nature is different for each. Besides, my upbringing has been actually full of sunshines and butterflies, another reason why I was quite rudely shocked by the devilry happening in cities. Not everyone gets the impulse to do the right thing at the right time. But with time, I have found what I can do with my instincts given that I do have powerful instincts about people I meet. I have gradually understood the power of being attentive to energies around. After all, broken adults cannot be repaired and, unlike how rabid dogs are culled, broken adults can’t. Therefore, paying attention to surroundings as much as we do to ourselves helps one keep the guard on, all the time.

While I blog about issues I never spoke of before, I am reminded of yet another incident that happened in the year 2007 when I overheard  a conversation (not deliberately) while I was in the loo. A girl in the next, was sobbing incessantly about the ‘ordeal’ her manager was putting her through. I never got to see her as she left before me. I never divulged about it to anyone, not even to my best friend. But, that conversation did make me realize two things:

One, that You cannot fight this tentacle system, a lone ranger without getting shredded! The least you can do is maybe, post about it on social media, gather likes from like minded people, sign petitions and maybe that is it. The storm that stirred up diffuses as quickly as it came. 

and Two, It is not easy for someone who has climbed the ladder on sheer hard work only to throw it all away because the system is exactly supporting the perpetrators

The point is, fighting evil is simple only on paper. On ground, it is war.

Read – IT. IS. WAR.

It is a war that consumes all of your energy leaving little for you to look forward to. Given the way, our judiciaries provide justice, no one wants to fall in the maze of this battlefield where, the evil seems to triumph all the time. No one wants to get old spending a major part of life and energy fighting legal battles. Whether or not, you agree on it, it is the truth this world lives. A very sad truth indeed.

It is easy for people to advise affected ones – “Fight back!” But, it is extremely difficult for the same people to understand the context of these situations. Each of the survivors are silently enduring scars within. Some of them endure because their lives are interwoven with intangibles that the world is barely aware of. At least, the educated class has the benefit of knowing the lesser suitable options to work out. But, what about those domestic helps that are harassed by the saabs and their memsaabs? The sad part is, they cannot even throw away their jobs, especially when they are the only earning members in the family. And, to engage in legal battles is absolutely out of question for them, especially when their goal for each day is getting the food on table, paying bills and fees and, getting a good night’s rest to work for the next day in good health.

The world is complicated, my friend. Solutions to problems are not written in black and white. And, arm chairing solutions for people whose lives are not being lived by us, from laptop and smart phones is hardly a progressive thing to do. Rather, we can begin with some empathy first!

While we talk about the successful women tribe, the rhetorical – “Why do people tolerate devilry for unaffordable luxuries?”, we shall come back to this question at a later point.

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The monster called BLAME!

Making relations is a very strong urge. Man is a social animal after all. Join a new workplace and you would know that more than the work, it is the people who make you want to work or not in that place. And, most of us give in to that urge only to realize that some of the relations turned out exactly how you did not anticipate. Sometimes, things go awry for a few when they undergo worse – sexual abuse/harassment/emotional blackmail et al. Who is to blame? – is the first question.

Why do we seek something/someone to blame? Why?

This is exactly where we humans make the biggest error in life. This question is bull shit! Instead of finding the point/reason of blame, why not do something constructive at that point as in how to tackle the situation in hand and, how to prevent such from happening in future? Dwelling in self pity and ‘damsel in distress’ mode makes things worse because we are chained by an archaic society that feels women lure men into doing wrong things to them. No, not just us, it is the whole world. Even America has its Wild Wild West, where you do find that women are not treated any different and, in some cases, far worse. So, that is not at all something that should surprise the world. What must indeed, is the contempt for voices that speak of a wrong done to them in the past or in the present. So, this is exactly where restraint in action does the damage. Perpetrators of crime get a free hand in vandalizing humanity because the bystanders do not want to get involved in clearing the cesspool which has an absolute chance of mucking up their worlds too!

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Now, let’s reiterate through those questions on women who have suffered abuse and remained silent.

“Does their silence make them bad women, accomplices worse?”

“Is success so important in life that you end up burning yourself to get there?”

No. Silence doesn’t make them bad women. Sometimes, a bad time or a bad circumstance forces a person to take bad decisions. And, bad decisions don’t make people bad!

Answer to the second, the definition of success is different for each one of us. So again, a goal post for each has a different path. After all, we are all nothing but the choices we make in life! Just that, no one asks for the dark side. It just tags along because, the world has more wolves in sheep’s clothing than sheep dogs.

We are nothing but the choices we make in life.

This is exactly what we are. At the fag end of our lives, what is it that we yearn for, the most? Comforts of life or, Companionship? Ideally, we crave for both. But there is one of the two that we want more in initial years because comforts in life are often reigned by greed. While companionship doesn’t see comfort as a threat, comfort unfortunately views companionship as one!

We all have our choices. Not all choices we make are going to make us happy. Not all choices we make are going to make us successful. But, if a choice stems from fear or lack of courage, then the choice shall surely come with burns and scars. There is no other way but to deal with it in a way that it helps the self and the others to steer away clear through rough patches in life. Because, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how many scars and burns one carries or how many mistakes one made in life. What matters is the intent to do the right thing sooner or later. What matters is the verve to walk the extra mile despite shortcuts trying to seduce you at every U turn. What matters is the courage of conviction to speak up if not for yourself but for someone who is going through a trauma you underwent. And, that is exactly what matters.

After all, people who have been to hell and back will never preach about high heavens. Never.

hh

 

 

 

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!

 

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!