KARMA

Ever feel like you’ve read something that you need to share?

There is no significant relation to your life at that very moment but it seems like it’s a thought for food for life in general.

When a bird is alive, it eats ants…
When the bird is dead, the ants eat it!

Time & Circumstances can change at any time…
Don’t devalue or hurt anybody.

You maybe powerful today… But remember,
Time is more powerful than you!!

One tree makes a million matchsticks,
But when the time comes,
Only one matchstick is needed to burn a million trees.

So Be Good. Do Good.

Law of Karma

LOVE

Love is patient, Love is kind…
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

STORY 1
Boy met Girl. Girl was terrified of him. She was amused by him and he needed her help. He had puppy eyes and she had a caring heart. Locked in a situation with no probable alternatives. Girl begins to look after Boy with a determination of completing checklists. Before she knew it, he became her home. He knew how to lighten her up and she knew how to make him drool. They went through years of happy-sad, excitement-monotony, calm-distant like a wave in the ocean… effortless. One morning, while she was on a train away from home and he was being his happy self… He was gone, just like that.

STORY 2
She is curves. He is her pool of comfort.
He is always there. She always walks right into his arms.
She has a temper. He has solid shoulders.
He never judges. She is a ball of complexes.
And each night, they meet like the first time.
And each morning they part with a promise of a repeat.

STORY 3
Even at a distance his cologne tantalised her senses. Since her mid teens she spent hours being lost in his world. Smiling at the joys, crying with him through his hardships, laughing at moments of surprise and fun, calmly holding on when she didn’t know anything better, learning something new each time and experiencing more than a lifetime with him… ever since the first time she walked down the corridor, her hand holding him tight, she knew. She knew that this bond was forever. And so it was… just that simple!


A few days back I was asked if I have any love stories that I could share, for an assignment. While I had nothing that could help the person in question, I did realise that there are a few romances that I’ve been nurturing since a while now.
Here are my atypical love stories, in which I have invested just as much as I do in my human relationships. That’s right, in all the above stories the girl/woman is me. The male counterpart changes in each one of them.
The first is about Bruno- who walked into my life on his little fours and years later left us with no time to prepare.
The second one is about me and my mattress.
And the last one is for the love of books (think physical books and not soft copies).

Now quickly go and revisit the stories above if you thought love was all about two people. Love is actually an emotion and it is on us to feel and associate it with people places and things, which have an impact on us, which require us to put in an extra effort and sustain that commitment.

Our Greatest Fear

As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, handsome, talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us. It is not just in some; it is in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we consciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Marianne Williamson

Written on the inner side of a hardbound notebook in which I collect ‘Favourite Quotes and Words’ since years now- these above lines are often read, often ignored and often taken for granted. But most importantly, these words have been the first thing that I read when I open this book for a place to hide in or a place to find answers. They were never land picked by me but I carry them around as an invaluable gift.

If you allow them, they will lift you up on some very gloomy days. If you soak them in, even for a moment, they will lift that weight off your shoulder. If you believe in them, they will show you a mirror you often forego.
And trust me baby, they will have the exact impact that you permit them to. Or they could also be just words when you want them to be.

Being

Raavan laugh softly. ‘Because it’s very easy to counsel people that they should be calm and centred. But no one tells you how to do it!’

‘I’m sure you’ve been told that the only way for the mind to find peace is by learning to be calm and centred.’
‘Yes,’ said Raavan, rolling his eyes.
‘Why did you roll your eyes?’
‘I didn’t mean to. I’m sorry.’
Vedavati laughed. ‘I didn’t say it was wrong. I just asked why you did it.’
Raavan laughed softly. ‘Because it’s very easy to counsel people that they should be calm and centred. But no one tells you how to do it!’
‘Exactly. That is the problem. People keep thinking that they have to do something to achieve that state. Be successful in their profession, perhaps, or go on a holiday, or make the right friends, or find a different spouse… But even after they make the change, they find they are not calm. So then they think they have to do something more. Something different. It’s a never-ending cycle. Basically, calmness and centred ness are always elusive because people assume they have to do something, gain good karma, to get there.’
‘So, the problem is with our focus on karma?’
‘Yes. It’s very difficult to be calm and centred if your entire focus is on that. For karma is action in the hope of something in return. Like, if you give charity to someone, you expect at least respect in return. It’s a transaction. And if the result of your actions is not what you expected, you feel let down and become unhappy. Even worse, if the karma you get in return for your actions IS, in fact, what you expected, you discover that the happiness you derive fro it is fleeting. If dissatisfaction is guaranteed, how can you find peace of mind?’
‘How?’
‘Simple by Being what you are meant to Be. By staying true to your Swatatva.’
Raavan leaned back. The beauty of the logic filled his mind.
Vedavati continued, ‘I’m not saying we shouldn’t focus on karma. Without our karma, we may as well be dead. But karma should not be the centre of our lives. If we truly discover our Being, our Swatatva, and live in consonance with what we are meant to be, then everything becomes easy. We don’t have to try hard to carry out our karma. Because we will not do anything in the vain hope of something else. We will do it simply because it is in consonance with our Being. With what we were born to Be.

Book: RAAVAN- Enemy of Aryavarta by Amish

GLOSSARY:
Swatatva: one’s true self, Being
Karma: the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences (Hinduism and Buddhism)
Consonance: agreement or compatibility between opinions or actions

ECCENTRICITY

Edith Sitwell

Eccentricity is not, as dull people would have us believe, a form of madness.
It is often a kind of innocent pride.
And the man of genius and the aristocrat are frequently regarded eccentrics because genius and aristocrat are entirely unafraid of and uninfluenced by the opinions and the vagaries of the crowd.

Edith Sitwell

How better could one explain this term?
Very often and very loosely have I heard very many people use this as an adjective for two opposites; for the smarts and also for the looneys. How then should I agree with them when I fail to understand their hypocrisy?
Or should I just believe that they use the term for people and behaviours that are beyond them (good and bad), and give due respect to those who dare to emerge on the either extremes of the bell curve of accepted normalcy?

The Circus Elephant

The show stopper for me always remained the elephants. The ginormous and magnificent beings that have ears and noses larger than all and suspiciously tiny eyes.

As a 90s kid, a large part of my summer vacations was making a day out of a trip to the local circus. We’d spend days planning the day; making a group, convincing parents, thinking of the potluck, prepping for the post show games in the garden and actually picking a date- most of which was done by the mothers while we just nagged around.
As trivial as it sounds right now it meant a great deal then. The drive to the venue was filled with incessant chatter among cousins and friends, trying to recall the events of the previous year’s circus, making creative assumptions about everything we wished to see in the current year’s performance and how much fun the immediate future was about to be. There was a large part of this conversation which revolved around the food our mothers had packed, the sandwiches and juices, the jams and candies… no one wanted to talk about the fruits of course.

The sight of a familiar, larger-than-life, multi-coloured, striped tent would automatically have us gushing. Our caps and hats in place and shoe laces tightened, we were like bulls waiting to charge, waiting to find a seat and waiting for the show to begin. Visiting the zoo was one of the compulsory trips on our annual curriculum, but a circus always held a different charm. The animals were the same, but here they were let loose instead of being inside cages and yet they were sources of entertainment rather than being intimidating; funny, isn’t it?
Year after year, the routines remained the same. The monkeys cycled, the gymnasts were on acrobats, the dogs carried baskets of flowers and sometimes fruits, the lions roared, the bikers rode in horizontal circles defying gravity, the masters made the lions act like tamed dogs, the magician pulled out vibrant ribbons, white pigeons and rabbits from their hats.

The show stopper for me always remained the elephants. The ginormous and magnificent beings that have ears and noses larger than all and suspiciously tiny eyes. Unaware of the order of the food web or placement of herbivores in it, to me they were the most powerful of them all. The reason they had all my attention was because despite their size they played the role of a juggler with hats and colourful balls. They stood on two legs over an inverted bucket. They made me laugh and tickled my ribs like the clowns around them.
Why was someone who is strong enough to uproot trees with a whisk of its trunk alone, being so cordial?

The answer of course came much later. Years after I had stopped going to circuses. Years after the use of animals at circuses was declared as cruelty against animals. It came in a lecture when the professor was teaching the concepts of Conditioning, Learned Helplessness and Parenting.

A baby elephant is left in shackles and nailed to the ground for majority of its free time. Every time it tries to break free, it is punished with severe pain around its ankles. With years of trial and error resulting in pain and failure, it learns a lesson for life!
Fast forward many years ahead, as a full blown adult sized elephant with the ability to crush anything and everything on its way, it remains humble. It is humbled by an experience of its childhood. It has the potential yet it undermine itself. Tied down to a spot with just a feeble rope and anchored to the ground using a disproportionately small piece of wood, it never tries to make a run for its freedom and allows itself to be commanded at the helm of a midget stick being pointed at it.

Many of our actions have consequences large enough to change the fate of a person and their self image.
When you compare between siblings or friends, you are always inflating someones self efficacy while deflating the other though the short term agenda was to motivate. When you tell your child that they are not yet prepared, you could be leaving a long term impression about them not being good enough. When you tell your spouse to be more like your parent, you are telling them that they do not compare or provide as well as you have been provided for. When you tell a hurt boy to not cry like a girl, you are forcing the thought process that girls are weak and among girls that boys are stronger. When you ask someone to work on their size, complexion and tan with the intention of helping them work on their appearance, you could be instilling an inferiority complex through discrimination.

There is an old hindi proverb “हाथी के दांत खाने के और दिखाने के और” which loosely translates to “elephants have different teeth to eat and different to show”.
It is the same with our words. They intend something but could have a very different effect.

People

I know there are terrible terrible people out there but listen:

Okay, I know there are terrible terrible people out there but listen:

I also know that there are people who stop and smile at tiny plants growing out of sidewalk cracks, people who laugh so loud that they snort, people who compliment others randomly, people who take pictures of their friends because they love seeing them happy, people who ramble about things that they’re passionate about, people who blush and stutter, people who are kind, people who are warm, people who love and love and love.

There are people who are intrigued on seeing a bird’s nest, people who slow their cars to let the pedestrians walk, people who stop to look at the clouds and smile, people who walk a mile extra to conserve the environment one step at a time, people who pet strays like their own, people who share food with strangers, people who give bear hugs, people who stay up all night with their loved ones just so they do not feel left alone, people who suffer with a simple just to provide two square meals for their family, people who do not like taking credit for things thy’ve contributed in, people who give and give and give.

My Love, there are all kinds of people out there… So wear the tint that you can appreciate and only then start looking at the world. Because, you will only find the kind that you seek.

Guided Choices

In this world, there are things you can only do alone and there are things you can only do with someone else. It’s important to combine the two in just the right amounts.

During a group discussion in a management session, the professor said that he will get back to my colleagues question in a little while.
Then the professor further asked my colleague, “If you don’t mind me asking sir, do you have kids?”
To which my colleague replied with a smile, “Yes sir! I have a son.”
Professor: “How old is he? What is he doing?”
Colleague: “He is currently pursuing a financing course.”
Professor: “Does your son have freedom to make his own choices?”
Colleague: “Absolutely?”
Professor: “Do you trust your son?”
Colleague: *almost immediately* “Of course, completely!”
Professor: “Oh, that’s great…. How did he come to choose his field of vocation?”
Colleague: “By himself, with some council and guidance from my wife and I.”
Professor: “Are you sure you were just a guiding force and not an opinionated person with a convincing fatherly instinct?”
Colleague: *lost for words and drowning in retrospect*

Professor: “… so to answer your earlier question Sir, do you really think you trust you employees and give them freedom to perform when you did not really give your own child the complete freedom to choose what he will be practicing all this life?”


Give it a second before you start thinking or simple let your horses loose. I’m not pointing fingers at the father who wanted the best for his child and calls it his love and concern. I’m not pointing fingers at the Professor who got a bit personal in order to explain a point he thought was necessary to prove to us that just believing is not enough.

Just take a moment and think about the times you’ve made guided choices and now believe that they were truly your own. How often have you just tried to help someone make a decision while what you were sub-consciously doing was letting them know that the universal truth is actually just what you believe to be true based on your awareness… (which is not wrong, but just requires some thought).

Now think, how often have you just heard the other person out.
I know, for a fact, that I’ve made these guided choices and guided people through choices. But I’m also told that I’m a terrible counsellor for someone with a Masters in Psychology. I ask questions, some more questions, and then some more, until a framework emerges. Until a fabric of understanding is woven. Up until there is enough information to create a tailor made answer… Is it bad? Well I’m just indecisive like that!

CONTENTMENT

Its a collection of small pockets of time that we manage to steal for ourselves

The Thesaurus and Oxford dictionary use synonyms like happiness and fulfilment to describe it.
According to Urban Dictionary, it is “The state of mind you reach when you look at your life in all its imperfection, and say good enough”.


The first shower of the season came as a shock rather than a surprise.
Being stranded in a place for 90 minutes more than required.
A dearth of connectivity from current location to the closest metro station.
Someone burning a hole in my shirt. An overly bumpy ride to my station.
A cranky kid blaring.
An air-tight compartment packed with staleness burning my breath.
Dirt and other particles staining my bag.
A phone that’s waiting to die on me.
A walk through a smoky, crammed road.
Splatters of muck making me dirty waist deep.
A soiled pair of shoes and frizzed up crown of hair.
Being recognised by an acquaintance who decides to park aside for a little tête-à-tête.
Welcomed home by a guest whose arrival I had forgotten all about.

I walked into the house this evening looking like seven kinds of hell. All the above things had happened on the same evening, within a period of 45 minutes. But there is one more thing that had happened. It wasn’t an event. It was just an underlying feeling that I had through all these events. A Satisfaction of sorts!
Let me take you through the details of these 45 minutes for better understanding…

So after a brief day of work I decided to take a walk through the mall. A browse through the windows and half an hour later I was ready to leave but the climate had other plans and had me stranded for 90 extra minutes. But the drop in temperature was a welcome relief. Once the down pour mellowed down to comfortable drizzles I took to getting wet in search for a rickshaw to take me to the closest station.
Before I knew it there were sparks flying and there was a hole in my shirt. On following the direction of their origin I found a street vendor fanning at coal and roasting corn; such a delight!
Taking shelter under his make shift tarpaulin tent, I shared some corn with the local kids who were more than willing to share their summer expedition tales in exchange for some warm snacks. After a good laugh, Lakshmi (one of the street children) offered to ask her uncle to drop me at the station. His rickshaw was rickety and the cushions pokey, but it was a blessing to find a ride.
Onto the first stretch of my metro, there was ample room and breathing space. Once I switched lanes and hung up on an ongoing call upon seeing the rush, I had to fight my way onto it. Pushed against the wall, two women squeezing me for some extra square feet from either sides and a baby bawling its eyes out and making the already stuffed space grow smaller. The mother earned multiple angered looks as she struggled to shoulder her baby into comfort until someone took notice to the fact that the clothing of the mother wasn’t conducive to the young skin. To distract myself and be of use I offered to hold the infant and we gibberish-ed our way through.
Getting off on my stop and onto the roads, completing the last stretch to reach my destination, I was greeted by a biker speeding over a puddle of water, leaving me amazed at the way he swerved through the crowd. It was a relief to know that my laptop was safe but I knew my pants were soaking wet- can you imagine my comfort at the end of a hot day (imagine me winking while I say this).
The next 400 meters were spend jumping in almost every puddle that I could find and watch people judge me for being immature and crazy… only I knew how good I was feeling and couldn’t care much. Things sure got a bit awkward when a familiar face popped out of a car and asked me to get in. Hopped in and got a ride, left behind a thanks and lots of slush to remember me by. Entered home with a bounce to my step, a nest hair on my head and a song on my lips only for Mumma to show me her signature glare that has the capacity to send me places.
‘Hello!’, came a flying hug with a dejected smile from our guest who had realised all too late the sorry state of my appearance.
Maybe it was the look of contentment on my face that had distracted them from my physical reality…

EXCITEMENT

It is very similar to the exact opposite of itself!

Increased heart rate
High adrenaline level
A feeling of restlessness
A state of mental arousal
Heightened sense of awareness

It is a combination of all the above signs and symptoms that we use to explain what excitement does to us. It could be the little things that make us skip a beat or the prolonged moments that leave us with our hearts drumming in our ear. It is the sweating palms and shallower breaths of anticipation.
It is what one experiences when heading out for a crazy night of fun with friends, also when meeting someone who is a stranger with potential to be more that just an acquaintance.
It is exactly what I experience every time I’m boarding the flight for a trip that I’ve been planning and putting together for quite sometime, also when I sat smiling next to him for the first time with cameras and happy faces pointed at us.

With lack of context it is very easy to confuse these signs between excitement, nervousness and fear.
Ever realise that?
We go through the same set of physiological responses when experiencing excitement and fear, while they are such opposites!
If you try to think a bit longer and dwell deeper, it is easy to see that the root difference is based on the fundamental element of ‘known’ and ‘unknown’.

So the next time you’re scared of something and it is leaving you sleepless at nights and anxious during the day, spend some time and energy in getting to know more and more about it. Because the more you learn the more your brain is likely to make it into a pleasurable and exciting experience rather than a dreaded and feared one.

Here’s to getting to know more and being more excited each day!