A Pillion Ride

Walking through the crossroads amidst workday lunch traffic, actively blocking all the commotion around me. I made my way home after completing a long list of chores, on foot to avoid wasting time in vehicular humdrum, thinking of what is with all the rush, what is it with all the chaos, what is everyone chasing, if everyone is out on the streets then what about their homes??
Why is it that each day the crossroad near my house see’s the same rush; on weekdays its in blue and blacks while on weekends the same rush turns vibrant in colour, but its a chaos all the same.

Bickering to myself, trying to come up with reasons and then justifying them, and then looking for a better answer as that wasn’t satisfactory enough- I was stopped mid step. From the corner of my eyes I saw something, something that was out of place. My peripheral vision had been coloured neon and my hardwired and set-pattern expecting brain couldn’t understand why. While I was lost in a new confusion, me sense were flooded by a sound. The sound of a hearty laughter- the kind that just forms in your stomach, rolls up your throat and launches itself into the world like a contagious vibration. It made the hair on my neck stand, in a good way.

On turning back, I saw a child of 5 or 6. It was this child that was responsible for the disruption of a regular weekday afternoon. This child wore a neon coloured overall with the whitest of white shoes and held a pinwheels of fluorescent colours. The person responsible for this child rode a scooter, absolutely unaffected by this roar of a laughter. If he was struggling with navigating through the traffic, his face didn’t show it.

And just like that I realised that I had raised my free hand and was waving at the kid with a smile on my face. The child wasn’t just laughing but also waving at all the strangers that were passing by and had a chance to do so face-to-face as he sat with his back against his riders back. It was when the child and his rider were out of sight and out of my audible distance, I realised that his sound had gained out al the sounds that my surroundings were creating- the honking or motor vehicles, the sound of their engines, the telephone conversations, the barking of stray dogs.

Once again, bickering to myself, I entered my house wondering what the child was so happy about, how musical was his laughter and does looking at things in retrospect really make them easier to laugh about?

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.

THEY, THE TEACHERS!

They are the world!

When the entire world celebrates teachers, I’ve decide to acknowledge and thank my constant teachers.
They don’t bare the title, they play the role. They are unrecognised, they are essential. There are no specific subjects and specialisations but they have all contributed in one way or another.

They taught me that age does not always decide the role.
They taught me that respect cannot be demanded- one has to earn it (age and relationship no bar).
They showed me that just because someone thinks differently than you, doesn’t always mean that either one of you is wrong.
They have respected my space when I wanted to stay alone without confusing me for a lonely person and forced their company upon me when they sensed my loneliness… the difference between being alone and being lonely makes a world of a difference.
They showed me that self worth must not come from grades, qualifications, pay cheques, material possessions, but from within.
They made me realise that forgiving is not easy but it isn’t impossible either.
They have shown me that learning has no age.
They taught me that sometimes proving to be the smartest in the room is the dumbest thing to do as you could be hurting someone with your ignorance of them.
They showed me that being sensitive is a strength and not a weakness, only if you believe it.
They taught me that being caring and understanding of others is a talent in itself and takes practice to become instinctive.
They taught me that it requires strength to say Yes or No, it requires smarts to choose between them and it takes courage to live up to the decision.
They made me realise that nature and our surroundings are our best teachers, only if we’re paying attention and filtering the noise actively.
They taught me that in a fix between two people of different age groups, there are no hard and fast rules regarding who initiates a solution. It is always the one with intent that goes first.
They showed me that the world doesn’t revolve around me and it is better that way.
They taught me that no problem is unique to only me, someone somewhere has been and is going through it with me.
They taught me that the physical distance has no capacity to put distance between two hearts. They will continue to stay connected irrespective of the time zones, with effort and trust.
They taught me that diversity is just that- diverse. Not everything is good or bad, worth or worthless.
They showed me that most priceless things are qualitative and cannot be en-cashed.
They taught me that food feeds your stomach, money feeds your ego and Travel feeds your soul- and we need ALL of them. 

On a daily basis I don’t show gratitude to their contribution as I’m busy in my quest to conquer everything else. 
They are the wheels to my chariot, often un-noticed but the essence of my functioning. They usually come in as small blessings when I am least expecting them and leave with no charade, with no claim for applause.

Who are they, you wonder?

Even I don’t know for sure. 
They are my family members. They are my friends. They are strangers on a street. They are my colleagues. They are the house help. They are bystanders.
They are the world!

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?

Paper Boats

“Could you read this poem out to me?”

Day by day I float my paper boats one by one down the running stream.
In big black letters I write my name on them and the name of the village where I live.
I hope that someone in some strange land will find them and know who I am.
I load my little boats with shiuli flowers from our garden, and hope that these blooms of the dawn will be carried safely to land in the night.
I launch my paper boats and look up into the sky and see the little clouds setting their white bulging sails.
I know not what playmate of mine in the sky sends them down the air to race with my boats!
When night comes I bury my face in my arms and dream that my paper boats float on and on under the midnight stars.
The fairies of sleep are sailing in them, and the lading is their baskets full of dreams.

– Rabindranath Tagore

During a sweltering summer afternoon, my younger sister- who sometimes is an adult but mostly a teenager, walks upto me with a book of poetry held loosely in her hand. She sinks next to me on the bed while I continued watched the fan over head churn and spit warm air around.
With her head rested on my raising and falling stomach and cotton stripped pyjama clad legs hanging lazily off the bed, she asked out of tired curiosity “Could you read this poem out to me?”. While a bit agitated, I agreed as there was nothing better at hand for me to occupy myself with.
There were no conversations that followed. Just the two of us, lost in our own lands of thought, counting the boats we have sailed to no specific destinations and longed for a response from the universe.
With a decade between the two of us, after a year of this summer afternoon, it still amuses me how age truly is just a number and how I (even now) continue to dwell in my own child-like fantasies hidden under the drapes of adulting.

Note:
1. Shiuli: also known as night-flowering jasmine and coral jasmine
2. Child-like: when an adult continues to have (nice) qualities of a child such as innocence and trustfulness

RESULTS

How you define success has a lot more to do with your feeling of achievement than the result itself.

With a huge number of teenagers and early adults receiving their scores in the present month in the month of May, each summer carrier the potential of transporting me back to a time when I faced the same fate.
I stood on the edge for hours a together, waiting for the fruits of my labour to be announced. Pondering if I had made silly mistakes. Fretting if I had not given my cent percent. Pulling at my inability to vividly remember what had been asked and how well had I tackled each shot.
And just as the time grew closer I started listing down all the reasons why this was important for me. Everything that had been told to me with the intent of motivating me suddenly started feeling like an extra pound on weight on my shoulders. Slowly it stopped mattering whether I had done a good job, what made me more nervous was whether I had done a job better than my counterparts. Oh! What a badly timed downward spiral it was.

Today, after a decade of receiving my higher secondary results and looking back at how far I’ve come from that day I have understood one thing.
Its not the percentage or the grades that have made me who I am today. It is what I chose to do with myself inspite of the grades that make me the person I am.
By no means am I saying that it is okay to not do your best, but it is essential to push yourself to the limit and then a little more, then the results you achieve should be accepted with open arms. Because somewhere, only when you know you have given it all that you got is it possible to not feel let down by yourself.

There are young adults who brand themselves based on the scores and parents who differently treat their children through comparison with others and then there are educators who segregate kids based on their memorising power.
This remains beyond me.
I have been a top scorer who through sudden turn of events struggled through high school to just float through the rest of my school life. I cannot and will not lie- it was difficult and sometimes even traumatising.

How did I survive?
My parents were my story of inspiration and my heroes. Even though they kept pushing me to work harder, sometimes through more harsher ways than the others; they made sure that I knew that they meant well. They were sensitive enough in their pursuit to know when I was reaching my limit.
But the inspiration was the fact that, two individuals with limited means and even more limited education, have been successful in creating a happy family, wealthy relationships and a respectable living. Through my childhood to early adulthood I had witnessed a wavering graph but most of it was growth. I had grown up seeing their humility and acceptance of their shortcomings while working hard each day with honesty and happiness.
Somewhere, I had started to believe that in is my character certificate that holds more weightage in life than my school marks certificate. But I also knew that if I could not improve one then I would have to work double hard with the other as I would be pushing a cart on a single wheel rather than having the support of both.

Today when I talk to my younger cousins and other students, I tell them only one thing:
Everything is equally important, make sure to create a neat balance. But don’t worry if you are falling short in one area because there are other areas which are your points of strength and can be used to your help with a little bit of faith and some confidence in yourself and the world.
Just make sure that you know where you place your happiness and that you use the right parameters to measure it. Sometimes even the most expensive car cannot buy you the contentment that a cup of tea being shared with well wisher.

The Tale of The Medicine Man

And just like that, baba walked away with a satisfied smile, after sharing this little tale with me.

A long time ago, in a village of modest means, there arrived a medical emergency that the local remedies could not fix. For the love of the ailing member of the community, the members responsible agreed upon sending a bullock cart to request the doctor from the adjacent village to pay a visit. The ailing member seemed to be spending his limited supply of breaths, very soon.
The village that was accustomed to believing that they are one huge extended family, was desperately waiting for the bullock cart to return. They were all waiting at small distances from the furthest end of the village to the bed side of the suffering, each trying to provide comfort in anyway possible.
However there was one man that sat aloof from the rest. Seemingly unbothered by the events of the village, seated on a high branch of a sky-scraping tree. Many swore at his dis-concern and some swore to isolate him once they had averted the crisis at hand.
The kids ran from house to house, to and from the furthest border of the village. Screaming heavy breaths, raising dust clouds and earning applauds from all the others. There was chit-chat of concern and prayers that could be heard on every street and alley. There were complains about the absence of any signs of the return of the cart with the doctor- every eight to ten minutes, which soon increased the volume of the over all chit-chat.
Suddenly there was a loud horn blown that silenced the co-habitants and got them back to a decorum of sorts. In a matter of few seconds, the little border guards saw a large cloud of dust raising and charging at a galloping speed. And just like that, the cart with its guest traveller sped through the lanes and alleys with all the villagers making way for it.
A few hours and rushed supplies later, the suffering had received due attention and the sufferer was resting his illness away. And as a matter of principle, to keep their word, the adults began to look for the one who showed no concern. They ordered him to climb off the summit of the tree and receive the judgement for betraying the community in its time of need.

As he was dragged to be publicly humiliated and receive his verdict on misconduct, the sound of claps and applause began to vibrate through the streets, everywhere he passed. By the time he reached the townhouse, the venue of verdict, he was announced as the ‘Miracle Man’!

And the ones who were willing to think beyond miracles understood that it was no miracle that he knew exactly when to sign the horn. He just was sitting on a higher place, with a longer range of sight- because of experience and knowledge.


And just like the Horn Blower, Baba walked away with a satisfied smile, after sharing this little tale with me.

I had been troubled with a decision and he had been asking me to listen to my gutt and have some trust in him. While I continued to say that I trust him with all my heart, I was still full of little doubts of uncertainty. While the situation increasingly stressed me out as I felt like a deer caught in head lights, who seemed to have lost her better judgement. On seeing me breakdown and complain that I couldn’t make a call instantaneously because the complexity was over whelming and the consequences to the decision would have the magnitude that I had never yet faced. I had complained that he was pushing me too far and not being understanding of my situation.

After watching me go on for a while, when he saw that I had calmed down a bit, he sat me down and combed his fingers through my hair. Applying calming pressure on my scalp and shared this tale with me. Without having to blow his own horn, he left me with something valuable.
He smiled when he saw that I had begun to connect the dots. He walked away when he was sure that I had begun to understand that the higher branch was symbolical of a higher level of wisdom that had come with a combination of knowledge and experience, not just a higher level of a hierarchy through age and power.

PROCRASTINATION

This one is special. It is an act that I often rely on. I’m not sure where it stands on the B&W scale, but it has helped me sometimes.

This one is special.

It is an act that I heavily rely on; is it a good thing, I’m not sure.

PROCRASTINATION

‘the action of delaying or postponing something’

it is a habitual and/or intentional delay of tasks despite its side-effects…

This means, to ignore doing things until the last minute or just avoiding them altogether. The idea of putting away a to-do list until the very last minute, giving task the chance to move from important to urgent before executing them.

Why is this word important?

Well, I procrastinated on writing the weekly post. I had known from a while that the fourth week of the current month was going to be tightly packed and also the fact that I am expected to give WW4.

And instead of attending to this important task when I had the time, I let it sit until the last minute aka I procrastinated. And here I am, now writing it when its developed a sense of urgency, instead of just importance.

This word is important to me because I’m acknowledging a behavioral pattern that I have and trying to address it. For me, the act of admitting to ones fault is the first sign of growth (In my head I’m hearing each reader say “More power to you!”… that’s me hoping)

While it seems all bad because I tend to sometimes under-perform in comparison to my potential. I miss out on time that could be used to improve the presentation and save me some last minute sprints. But, I’ve realized that procrastinating has its own small benefits. I don’t spend too much time planning the smaller things and don’t get the chance to sweat them either. It makes me a fast thinker who usually opts creativity to deal with the time deficit. It makes me live in the moment.

Guess then, I just need to learn to segregate tasks on which I can and cannot procrastinate!

Do you procrastinate as well?

Please do share your experiences and hacks of dealing with it.

Bonus: There are people who identify themselves as PROCAFFEINATORS.

These are the people who cannot get started with their day, work or life without first having their caffeine fix. Its a dependence of sorts.

PS: WW= Weekly Word