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

FESTIVAL OF SUN BATHING

Here’s me, wishing each one of you a Happy & Vit.D rich kite flying season. May you be rich in it!
Go out more often and absorb as much of it as possible.

Watching with bulging eyes and a child’s fascination, I held onto Baba’s finger as we walked down the beach. The turquoise waves were glittering against my eyes and the joy of the beach goers was almost infectious.
“Maybe it isn’t just me. I should find out if turquoise is on the happy colour spectrum according to colour psychology”, I made a mental note.
Almost immediately scrapping away the note; like an inquisitive child that’s incapable of containing her curiosity, I shared my thoughts with Baba hoping to catch an insight. He smiled. Continuing to walk as if he had a preset target in mind. But what was the hurry? We were just taking a morning stroll.
Weren’t we?!
Further ahead on the beach, we reached a stretch onto which the city seemed to have shifted its bedrooms. There were people by the hundreds who were laying there, lazy-ing around against the sub-urban busy backdrop. Spread out on their beach towels, generously rubbing sunscreens onto each other, floating on the turquoise creating an illusion of the black spots created when the eye hasn’t adjusted itself to the sudden brightness.
A few more meters and I could taste the salt in every bead that slipped off mu forehead and onto my lips to a degree that I could go on, no more. Not knowing that it was going to be a long walk, I had neither packed a bottle of water nor a hat; just flopping away in a pair of flip-flops which were beginning to feel uncomfortable in all that sand huh was quickly heating up now.
Holding Baba’s finger a bit tighter I silently signalled for him to stop. But to my amazement he did not just continue to walk he also did not look at me for a second. It was as if he too was silently sending me a message that he couldn’t be stopped. Red in the face with borderline dehydration, a growling stomach and now a slightly peaking temper; I held my ground throwing dead weight on Baba’s fingers.
I’m not sure what happened in that minute. What I saw next is not something I had expected. He looked at me with a child’s irritation in his eyes and then pointed at the sky with the awe of a child at an amusement park. I mean, this was beach and not DisneyLand!
I only understood the situation better after his next set of words, “walk a little more for my childhood’s sake?” Only then did my eyes honestly scan the skies to find the sun changing filters every now and then. There were kites all over. It wasn’t January but May, and yet the sky filled with colour.
And so we walked…

In Northern India, the month of January sees a steep drop in temperatures. The days are shorter and the sight of sun is even more rare. And if you have a chance to talk to the members of Gen X and Baby Boomers, you’ll find out that these freezing months and chilled breezes were invites to colourful kites painting the sky bright.


The kite flying, as my grand parents and parents have explained to me, is an excuse to get out in the sun after all that time of being bundled up under layers of clothing and holed up indoors. It is an excuse to get some exercise and release those chemicals while also absorbing some Vitamin D!

Our body produces vit.D by absorbing sunlight. This ‘D’ helps in absorption of calcium, resulting in healthy bones. Along with osteoporosis, it also reduces the risk of multiple sclerosis, cancer, heart diseases, depression, diabetes and obesity.
One of the easiest source of vitD that is freely available to all of us is the Sun! But with a growing indoor life style, majority of the world population has a deficiency of it (mostly in the developing and developed nations).

So here are some eatables thatch help you gain more vit.D for a better mood, easier weight loss, stronger bones and better lung functioning.
1. Sesame: It is almost second nature to start craving for sesame (til in hindi) as a part of my regular diet just a soon as the winter comes. They could be just roasted, made into energy balls using jaggery to bind them or in the form of dips! They are one of the most under rated sources of vit.D and easily accessible. (I’m going to share a few links with recipes for the same, at the bottom).
2. Milk & Milk Products: Be it cow milk or alternate sources of milk (soy, almond, etc.), they are both great sources of vit.D! Cottage cheese, yoghurt and cheese also contains certain level of vitamin D. Nowadays, there is also fortified milk and milk products available at stores.
3. Mushrooms: They are a delicious source of vit.D as well as potassium. The level of the vitamin varies among the various kinds of mushrooms. Personally, I can add them to everything, right from soups to appetizers and salads to curries and noodles and pastas and rice (just not the desserts).
5. Egg Yolk: Often discarded for its high levels of cholesterol and disliked for its taste, this yellow softness is a sweetheart. The whites contain proteins but the vitamins and minerals are stores away in the yolk, making the consumption of the whole eggs are wiser decision.
6. Orange Juice: While most fruits lack vit.D except for oranges; they are a good source of calcium as well as vit.D. A glass of OJ can provide us with our daily requirement of D!

So here’s me, wishing each one of you a Happy & Vit.D rich kite flying season. May you be rich in it!
Go out more often and absorb as much of it as possible.


Sesame Seed Recipes:
Sesame Ladoo (power balls)
Sesame Dip
Sesame Sticks
Sesame Milk
Misc.

Of Myself, To Myself

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a large fortune must be in want of a wife”, said Austen.
And I always wondered what happens to her family after?

Half a year ago, or you could just say two seasons ago, I knew I was to soon shift cities, change my last name, create a new place, make new relations, understand and define boundaries for myself…. re-invent myself.
It is like taking the last quarter of a century’s work and treating it like base work and starting to understand oneself all over again in an absolutely new setting, surrounded by a new mindset, with new house rules and newer house mates and a fresh new perspective of self.

Let’s fast track a bit… and its been a three weeks!
Three weeks of being a wife, a daughter-in-law, a sister-in-law. Mostly, three weeks of being the ‘new one’ with all things new!

In all this newness, there isn’t a single day that has gone by where I haven’t thought of all the oldness.
Every morning. when I touch the feet of my new grandparents, I miss the morning green tea over news paper and some crisp sunlight with the ones back home.
When my new mother cooks something, it doesn’t even take my mind a second to rush back to the cooking of my mother’s hands.
When my new father says something to me, I can’t help but smile at how I have spent a majority part of conversations with baba in discussions and debates.
When I’m setting tasks to do on a specific day and settling in, I know I couldn’t have done it without drawing inferences from the lives of my brother and his wife (who I think of as my older sister).
When they sit and share stories and incidents from their own lives, I can’t help but miss our all nighters where all the cousins sat with junk and gossip, embarrassing one another with childhood stories and the shit storm we brewed as a bunch of hooligans.
As I meet the extended family here, I want to call my aunts and uncles- ones I have back home, and tell them that I’m more blessed than most because of them. I’ve had the luxury of being co-parented by so many. Love by all. Taught by all. Grown up amongst all.
When I see him bump into a friend on the street, I can’t help but wonder when I’ll next spend time with mine; my friends that have been family in more ways than I can fathom.
The times we sat on the swing discussing boys, friends, studies, sibling hatred, out collective dislike for specific vegetables and love for the most random things. Being each other’s fashion guides, trending lingo assistants, discussing dreams and how we’d blow the large bucks that the realisation of that dream would bring us. Our baseless fears and even worse coping mechanisms. Obsessing over coffee and cheese, ice creams and cakes. Reviewing new food joints, sharing music, talking of treks and all the places we’d visit and the causes we will volunteer for and the books we’ve read and the new workout plan that we’ve procrastinated over.

…WAIT…
Before I sound like I’m already venting and am a damsel in distress, let me give you some insight…

At 5 am, with sleep deprived eyes, under the weight of bridal ensemble, in front of at least three dozen pairs of glassy eyes, I had taken leave from all of them- with a twinkle in my eyes and laughter pouring out of my lips. Excited about the new and yet to be experienced, sure of the support from both ends and the unconditional love all around.
I agree, I haven’t felt the kind of warmth I experienced that morning ever before. With me as the point of everyone’s focus and all that intensity making me feel floaty.

Was I in denial? Should I have cried at the end of my single life?
I think not.
I wasn’t pressured into anything, there was a choice and chose this.
I have only grown fonder of the person whom I’m to spend the rest of my life with.
I treat the house as my own and not that of my in-laws.
My birth family will be 800kms away, but someone once said ‘distance makes the hearts grow fonder’… so what’s there to be sad about?
I’m not insensitive. I think of them more number of times than I’ll ever be able to admit. They are the reason behind who I am today.

I’m married. I miss my birth family. I wish to spend more Saturday evenings with my friends. I want those friendly banters with all my brothers and sisters.
I’ll have only so much of it.
I’m grateful. I love both my families. I have more brothers and sisters now. I’m living in and exploring an absolutely new city and its culture. I have more than I need.


According to Atharva Veda, marriage is detachment from my father’s clan because I’m to begin mine; It is my re-birth.


TO make my shift a little more comfortable Zoomin gave me the bst gift ever!

It’s A Start

Just then we knew, we had miles to go and yet in that silence we were already getting better at understanding each other a little better- one laughter at a time.

Toes curling to hold onto the sand, taking support- placing one foot in front of the other. Breeze gently whistling through my ears, humidity causing perspiration in my strands. 
The sweet noise of dragonflies closing their business day and probably hustling back to their families. Fleets of big and small fishing boats racing against the setting sun from a day long adventure on the sea. The sight of a decaying tortoise, laying on its back at its final resting place- fishermen said that it had been washed ashore in this state the day before, maybe the century old limbs had given way, we’ll never really know. Crows scavenging to their hearts content. Little crabs running around while being camouflaged by the sands, avoiding being trampled by foreign feet. Roaring waves meeting the shore and parting like a lover kissing goodbye.
The comfort of a setting sun, the warmth of a loving arm, the music of a carefree laughter. What more could I have asked for? Briefly closing my eyes, I sent a quick prayer, paying gratitude for everything that I had in that moment. A simple evening of no frills, the sanguinity of a blazing but soothing sun, a new and promising life, a companion.
Taking unsure and short steps towards the waves and watching it pull the land from under us. Holding onto each other for support and giggling like little kids at our smarts in the moment. Letting our funny bones being poked, tickled and worked. 
Just then we knew, we had miles to go and yet in that silence we were already getting better at understanding each other a little better- one laughter at a time.

Coming A Full Circle

On completing a year!

We have all learnt that a circle by definition is a closed two dimensional figure with has no edges and no starting and ending point. But the circle that I’m about to talk about has a well defined starting point. This circle is my journey from the point when I rode high on an impulse of starting a blog with no theme or planning in mind to today when that night and the conversation that led to it are always going to remain a story I love to re-tell.

In the summer of 2018 I took a trip to Manali. This trip started with fifteen strangers huddled together for some camping and hiking and a week later we were all friends with stories and thoughts exchanged. While I was busy being lost in myself and absorbing my surroundings, there was someone who was taking notice of my repeated moments of rush to scribble something on my notepad.
Fast forward two months, and I see a link in my inbox with a message saying you should apply for a certain creative writing retreat. Thus began a late evening soiree of youtube videos on creating a blog to digging up old notebooks and scanning the last pages for a half decent piece of writing.

With 52 weeks and 52 posts behind me, I know I have some more clarity than I did that evening. But I’m still as clueless as when I had started. But between the beginning and now, a lot has appeared, disappeared, grown and changed. While the words “I would like to be the first one to receive a signed copy of your book someday” seemed like a good motivation with not a single freckle of reality, but today I do imagine a book in the future.

Speaking of travel, perspectives, mental health, simple living and just simple pleasures… I have also found a more constructive and grounding way of thinking for myself. On some of my blue days, it’s this platform that has made me realise that I’m not the only one. Talking about little insecurities on such a large platform is difficult, but the acceptance and responses have made me realise that I’m starting a conversation that’s much needed.

A principle that I’ve stuck to since day one is that I’m going to keep my truth honest and naked. So, in order to write about being responsible towards the environment and nature I made sure that I was switching to more sustainable habits such as bamboo toothbrush, metal straws, reusable water bottles and menstural cups. Talking about health only happened after I had personally quit sugar and observing intermittent fasting and found cost effective ways to support the habit.

Of course, there have been weeks when I have just disappeared with no word. But the love that some of you have shown by just dropping a message and asking if I was doing fine got me back onto it. Life has been quite a wave of change in this period; from being someone who was travelling once a month to being engaged- I like how @thehazywhisperer remains a constant that I’m proud to call my passion child, that I’m nurturing and growing all by myself.
Somedays it has been my venting space and some other times it is my reason to try something new. Somedays I’m drawing satisfaction from the fact that my words have brought support and a smile on someone’s face and some other times I have spend hours scratching my head and putting my education to use by spreading the word on a larger scale.

So, I’m just trying to find the right words to say thank you to each and every element that has gotten me here. I’ve started conversations and become a more attentive listener because I’m always wondering what new thing can I learn and which alternate perspective can I bring forward and share with you guys!


A humble gift request on turning 1: Please do take a minute to share what you think about my work so far & do you feel a connect and if yes then how. Your feedback is the fuel to my engine of things, do be generous 😉
Write back through comments,
via email (thehazywhisperer@gmail.com)
or on instagram (@thehazywhisperer)

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

SERENDIPTY

A Fortunate Mistake

Understood as a ‘fortunate mistake’ or a very good coincidence that leads to something pretty awesome.

I’ve always felt this over-whelming feeling of joy when I catch the early morning dew drops trickling down a blade of grass, hear the synchronised singing of the birds, changing shades of the sky, the presence of the sun as well as the moon in the sky or just the crispness of the fresh air… all this while all I wanted to do is to get some running done.
And this feeling, I know, works for my mind the way a good jog works for my body. It makes me feel more awake and ready for whatever the day holds for me.
I also experience serendipity, when I bite into some foods that take me to a happy place with some happy people, not because they created it but because I’ve had the chance or fortune of eating it with them.
Like when I eat a softy or swirl ice cream, it transports me to my childhood where they held a special place (as rewards or/and celebrations). Though, the intention of having one now is to make the heat more bearable and not the transportation.

Odd, isn’t it?
I can think about a 100 such things that fall under this expression. They are all the little things which, if not to explain this beautiful word would have been taken for granted by me.

This word that is generally used to refer to luck and surprising findings, was coined by Horace Walpole in 1754. He adopted the word from the title of a fairy tale ‘The Three Princes of Serendip’, in which the heroes are always making accidental discoveries.
Fun Fact: the old name of Sri Lanka is ‘Sarandip’. And it was voted as UK’s Favourite word in 2000, alongside being voted as one of the ten most difficult english words to translate.

Earth Day

“The Earth Is What We All Have In Common”
-Wendell Berry

Earth Day 2019

Am I about to patronise the day and ask you to be more like a certain X, Y or Z?
NO.

I’m not 24 hours late on expressing my feelings towards the day, but I believe that just about any day on the calendar is good enough to start talking and working towards the earth.


It was pretty recent, while talking to a friend over coffee that we discussed the infamous topic of ‘Believers v/s Atheists’. Let’s just say that I’m more than glad that there was a lot to take back from that conversation and I’m glad that there were no casualties at the end of it unlike most other times. We threw our understanding of the concept at each other and patiently looked at what stuck with the other, lending an open mind and quite lips. The coffee lost its heat while our thoughts ran warm and greased. It is safe to say, I respect her a little more than I did before.

I walked out of the coffee house with a vague sense of satisfaction, even though we did not completely agree with one another most of the time. But there is something that I knew I was about to carry with me for a long time.
I’m not who said it or who thought it, but we agreed that being an Atheist is not the lack of belief or faith in God. But its just the lack of belief in anything. And somewhere down the line we realised that, if our idea of atheism is the parameter, then there aren’t many (any) who are atheists.

If that is the case then who is a believer?
To get to the point, we thought that anyone who believes in the existence of something bigger, stronger and more valuable than themselves in this world becomes a believer.
To ride over examples, someone who values honesty over everything and believes that it is the universal necessity, then s/he is a believer.

Feeling fully comfortable in sharing my thoughts without the fear of judgement or social awkwardness, I admitted that I do not understand organised religions and the competitions they uphold. I still do believe that there is an all knowing and consuming force in the nature which will continue to exist even when we are long gone. And this force is made up of five elements according to my belief system- Earth, Sky, Air, Fire and Water.
While I’m no expert in religion, I respect them all for I have realised that all religions have one thing in common. All the traditions that they promote are, at a grass root level, actually in line with respecting nature. So how could I not?


Remember, we are only above it while we are alive, but these bodies that we love so much are about to spend a larger amount of time under it. Just like our homes above, lets make sure that we create and leave for ourselves a resting space worth our while.

When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.

John Muir

My Kerosene Lantern & My Flies

“Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person that you are”
– Kurt Cobain

Have you ever seen a kerosene lantern?
Have you noticed it burn?
When you light the wick, it glows with a warmth so strong. The glow attracts hoards of flies and moths like kids around a candy cart; they crowd around, buzzing and dancing as if in an a-cappella. The flame moves like an enchantress at the heart of a party. As the enchantress puts in the hours, the gathering begins to dull down and the insects scatter. A dark blanket covers the enchantress that continues to glow, as if unaware of her lost grip.
The lantern is blamed for being a possessive lover who hides away her spirit, refusing to share her with the rest of the world. This love story is, however, one of melancholy.

So busy entertaining and enjoying, the enchantress never realises that the sooth that envelopes her is her own creation.


The lantern is my physical being. The glowing wick is my spirit. The flies, bees and moths are all the people that have come and gone; the ones that have been around.
What’s the sooth then, I wondered?
It is the only proof that stands witness to all the effort, burning and wear and tear that has gone into the process of being me.

Do I like who I am today? Of course I do!
Am I the perfect version of who I wish to be? Well I am the version that I wanted to be sometime ago. Now my plans have evolved.
I once read somewhere:

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; Remember what you now have was among the things you only hoped for.

-Epicurus

Why is it then that the work that was put in to make me- me, shows itself in the form of a layer that also sometimes suffocates my light?

I’ve always been a people person and yet it burns me out from time to time. For the first time I recently heard myself ask a friend, “Have you ever stopped to consider that maybe Social Media is just Media. There is more to my everyday than what I choose to put out there?” While it did give me a false momentary celebrity air, but it spiralled down on me just as fast. I realised that I was losing touch with myself and becoming irritable. I realised that the line between my primary and secondaries was getting blurred.

To my own surprise I was at ease on realising that I had been pushing myself. The road to this realisation had un-timely outbursts and un-necessary emotional breakdowns for over a week with highly confusing actions, the realisation itself came as a moment of comfort. As if my body was showing signs, like the sooth in the lantern, that I’d burnt myself well and needed some cleaning.

What followed was pretty much me pampering myself to comfort through music, food, sleep and everything else. I spent a couple of days being everything that I needed, un-bothering by the social code of conduct.
Took a day off work with no other plans for the day. Got into bed a little early and stay there a little longer. Stood under the shower and let it all out. Painted my toes an electric purple and spent time moisturising. Didn’t indulge in small talk or conversations that weren’t helping me. Looked at the moon and tried counting the stars till my neck hurt. Ate by myself. Played with the strays. Watched movies in languages that I don’t understand. Played dress up in the middle of the night. Re-read parts of books, just because. Said ‘No’ to polite tasks. Listened to groovy dance music at the crack of dawn. Ran alone. Called up friends whom I’ve not heard from in a while. Laughed until my eyes spilled. Wrapped fairy lights around my body and sat with a tub of my favourite ice cream to watch F.R.I.E.N.D.S. re-runs.

And just like that, with a little effort and time, the glow of my lantern has begun to return. The weight of the sooth is lifting and I feel more at ease with myself. Finally able to feel my thoughts flowing and more in tandem with my surroundings. Ready to be with people and feel entertained by the buzz of it all.
It is a small amount of time invested in cleaning which is going to last me quite a while and has also earned me some added comfort. If I had to do the math, I’d say I’m looking at some great returns on investment.

Don’t waste another minute thinking that you’re failing when really all you’re doing is growing.

-Chani Nicholas

Hey!
The last few days for me have been all about thinking, re-thinking and sometimes over analysing. I wouldn’t say it was all dull, grey and dark but there sure have been showers of gloom. It was this period of looking at myself that had me sharing this piece.
If you’ve read it till the end and felt like you understood what I’ve been upto, then maybe you have been there, are headed there or are there right now. Treat it like a cleanse, it makes you dirty and uncomfortable but you only get out better; so hang in there!

cảm ơn

A language is more than just words, its an entire culture.

Sleep deprived, queued up for immigrations, holding a cup of iced espresso and filling out my form… *clang*… someone dropped their metal water bottle and it rolled to my feet.
I pick it up in my daze and look for its owner. In under a minute a middle-aged woman walks up to me and asks for her bottle. Even before I knew what was happening, she had bowed down with the most genuine of smiles and whispered “cảm ơn“.

It was a day later that I got to know that she had said Thank You!

It wasn’t something new to hear from someone or a stranger for that matter. Like, on offering my seat to an elderly gentleman on the bus, on sharing my pineapple plate while hiking up a hill under the sun, helping with the directions to a place I’d just visited, allowing a toddler to mess with the travel tag on my bag or just hiring a taxi service to go from one town to the next.
But somehow, the expression felt far more humbling and heartfelt this time.

My trip to Vietnam gave me a perspective that I’d taken for granted for all these years. Its not about the words that we speak, its about the way we speak them that makes the difference.
To say something as simple and common as ‘thank you’ but with a smile, some respect and a little bow- it hit a home run every single time!

Some facts about Vietnamese that could interest you:

  • It has five dialects- Northern, North-Central, Mid-Central, South-Central and Southern Vietnamese. They are mutually intelligible
  • It has three different accents and the tone can change the meaning of a word
  • Modified Latin script is used to write Vietnamese
  • An estimated 90 million people speak it, making it a great foreign language option to study