Archive for the ‘Musing’ Category

New Year Resolutions Are Worth A Rethink

As I sit at my desk to write something on the last day of this year, I realise that I do not care much for New Year’s Eve[s]. Looking around, I see most of the celebrations have boiled down to booze parties and obnoxious dances. These constituents always seem to disturb me a bit, just like the Valentine’s Day, where people are often desperately trying to convince themselves they’re having a good time.

I will be thankful for all the blessings in my life

I will be thankful for all the blessings in my life

I would rather walk a mile out of my way to avoid the company of people who use “party” as a verb.

Also many people attach too much hype and use fancy terms such as ‘new year resolutions’ as if to change their lives for the better.

But change is a constant process and not something that happens overnight. For someone to say that his or her New Year resolution is, for instance, to be a better person is at best hopeful but probably also a bit deceitful.

Many people make New Year’s resolutions ever year but very few stick to them. In fact, within a week or two most people who made the resolution have forgotten what they promised on December 31. However, as the new year is a fresh start [hypothetically], a chance to try something new or give something up, making a resolution could be a sensible way to actually make a change, particularly if realistic goals are set.

Resolutions involve us moving our goals from mere contemplation into more concrete action, my grandfather always said, and hence I am not as averse to new year resolutions, only when I’m convinced I can ‘keep’ them.

So, in 2018, if I have to make a New Year resolution it would be to choose gratitude and happiness over complaining, try reading motivational books, write my blogs, stay away from negative people and thoughts, bring more discipline in my life and work  and experience life as it happens. Most importantly, spend more time with my loved ones.

Which bring me to New Year’s Eve celebrations. I have often wondered why some people are prepared to spend so much money on a celebration. Quite often, the celebration happens in the company of hundreds of strangers and you find yourself, on the stroke of midnight, wishing people you have never seen before or will never see again.

With time, one begins to appreciate true friendship and family a lot more and  enjoys spending time with your loved ones even more. And, in the process, what if we made a resolution to practice more love and kindness to others?

Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” While we complain about the hate and violence that occurs every day, let’s do our part. Love more. Judge less.

Happy New Year. May all your best wishes come true in 2018.

Advertisements

Wings of Desire

My son and his friend were playing in the park recently when I heard his friend call out “Eek, there’s a poisonous fly!” My son looking at it replied, “That’s not a fly! It’s a bee – its pretty and harmless.” It was a proud parenting moment. But seeing children playing amidst nature is today a rarity… as our relationship with the natural world has changed.

Are we raising a generation of nature-phobic kids?

Are we raising a generation of nature-phobic kids?

Needless to say, but in an age of cable TV, Nintendos, Facebook and YouTube, it’s obvious that kids are way smarter than the previous generations. But do they catch butterflies, or go on a country walk or visit a farm, or even climb a tree… Like our good old times, how many parents including myself tell them, ‘Go outside and play’?

Kids stay indoors… and that’s a practice. We do not make an effort to expose them to the natural world beyond the screen.

But aren’t modern kids interested in the natural world than ever before? After all, they watch it on TV, visit a nature reserve with their families. But far fewer experience it directly, on their own or with their friends, and that’s what counts: this is more about being with the nature.

Something very profound has happened to children’s relationship with nature over the last two decades, thanks to technology. There’s no time for kicking your heels outdoors. There’s no time called spare time which are spent constructively in after-school activities, coaching and organized sports.

When we [those who are 40 and above] recount our most treasured memories of childhood play, at least a few would be indoors. Fewer still will involve an adult. As a child, I remember being out on my own and with my friends – climbing trees, building dens, collecting birds’ eggs and frogspawn. As things stand, today’s children will be unlikely to treasure memories like that. But the same parent in me don’t even want my kid to get dirty. So, are we raising a generation of nature-phobic kids?

Not that… then? Stranger danger – of course, the fear of child abduction – is another obvious reason; blame it on media or society… Times have changed. It has restricted free or fun play in the natural world, or outdoor.

Even if i write this piece, i may not encourage my child to chase butterflies in the field as I did. For one thing, there are no longer enough butterflies to go round. As a little girl, countryside was more butterfly-friendly, with plenty of wild flowers in the fields. We thought that was normal. Today it survives mainly in nature reserves.

But I’m an optimist. Though most of us do not have our own riverfront land, we can find a nearby park or a trail. Getting outside and breaking the stranglehold of electronics — on ourselves as much as our kids — requires a concerted effort. And yet it’s worth it to make room for nature in our lives, especially as parents. By spending time in nature with our children, we teach them that we value two things – being with them and being with the natural world.

And just as Lord Byron wrote and I believe: “There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not Man the less, but Nature more.”

Her Inner Voice

The morning sun was dancing off the fresh, green foliage giving it a glow. She leans over the balcony eagerly watching the play of sunlight and shadow. That’s life, often a carnival filled with unique colors and just like the clouds in the autumn sky, these different colors shine and sparkle for a while and then fade away.

Listening to your inner voice

Listening to your inner voice

Looking back she realizes a lot of things. She does not have an answer to most of her questions. But she knows there is nothing called waking and dreaming, real and unreal. What was real yesterday is unreal today, and what is real now will be unreal tomorrow, because tomorrow it will no longer exist.

As she watches the colors that arise and disperse, and looks at the patterns of sun and shadow which form and dissolve she notices how life unfolds from a formless source. It arises from the ocean of bliss, from the joyous swaying of love, and merges back into the space of consciousness.

Will she ever be able to see things as a vast picture composed of countless vessels filled with strange and colorful things, each more fascinating and astounding than the last? What is all this? It is nothing but the dance of your own Self, the supreme actor, says her inner voice.

 

Moon Shadows

The near-full moon shines brightly, bathing the world in a pale unearthly gleam. The village by the lake is a totally different world in the night. Close by, the trees and the huts are covered with a white silvery sheet.

lake drenched in moonlight

The lake drenched in moonlight

All of a sudden a dark big cloud covers the moon and the darkness deepens. The unnerving silence interrupted by the sudden cry of a fox, the hoot of an owl and a rustle in the undergrowth get more intense in the dark. Darkness threw a veil over the village, the lake, the forest and the entire surrounding.

There’s a sweet fragrance in the air. I miss this fragrance often. It takes me back to my grandmother’s courtyard. The moon appears again, making its way through the heavy clouds. Once again the moonbeam falls on the lake, creating reflection in the still water and an unfamiliar magic.

Is this the place where the elves and fairies dance in the midnight? I don’t know yet, but the lake drenched in moonlight has a mystery to it – its unfamiliarity makes it even more magical.

Failing his way to Success

-The sound of the music resonated through the hall, as the little boy was called on-stage to play the guitar. He was his ever effervescent self  as he began playing his favorite tunes with ease. Everything was going alright. He was lost in his world of music… and then all of a sudden, the music faded, the earth stood still…

Behind every success is an embarrassing story

Behind every success is an embarrassing story

He stood mortified in the middle of the stage with his broken guitar string; streams of tears running down his eyes. He didn’t want to see the crowd; he ran off the stage and refused to come back.

She was seated in the audience, helplessly watching the little boy crying, unprepared to deal with the world.

A memory returned to her in that cling worthy moment. Something she had almost forgotten.

Thirty years ago, she remembered the little girl, who went up to the stage one summer evening to recite ‘The Listeners’ and it was not too late before she realized she had forgotten her lines. It was their annual school concert, where everyone was welcome, parents and one extra pass for a guest. She was very excited to be part of it. But things did not go as expected.

She stood on the stage and looked across the hall, knowing it was packed and couldn’t remember a word, except for the first line of the poem. She stumbled over her lines and her mind went completely blank, she froze. The lights were bright on her face, but all she could see was shadows of people.

The cold horror rushed through her as she tried and failed to make her panicked brain work. For a moment, her eyes got fixed on the second row where she could sense her parents pasting a smile on their face. she knew she was doing it all to impress them. She couldn’t take it any longer, and just like the little boy, she ran away, tears running down her face.

She was an adult now, with her own life and she didn’t need to be defined by that awful sense of failure. Yet some memories can never be erased.

She followed him quickly and gave him a hug. She wiped off the slick of sweat on his palms; wearing the best possible smile, just like her parents did. History often repeats itself they say, and it did happen. She felt guilty for not having a backup guitar on stage for his little boy. This embarrassment could have been avoided.

But it’s okay, she thought… behind every success is an embarrassing story, a stumble, a setback or a radical change of direction. She promised to him, this would never happen again. Never.

As she gave him a warm hug, the softened sunshine melted down from the clear autumn sky. There was a scent of nostalgia that filled her heart with happiness to always stay hopeful for the future!

The Butterfly Maiden

She was standing there all day, this caterpillar gal. For her, every day feels the same. She holds on to her barren branch, trying to make sense of a futile world.

Her nights seemed longer. Every night she would curl herself around the stem of a leaf and fall asleep gazing at the stars and dreaming of a future where she had a purpose, where her life had meaning.

As dawn breaks, she wakes up and tries again… thinking that she’s reaching nowhere closer to her goal.

She held onto nothing, allowing herself to finally let go

She held onto nothing, allowing herself to finally let go

And then there came a day when she knew that it was over. She couldn’t stand there any longer.  That night she curled herself around the stem of a leaf… and just allowed herself to let go.

Little by little, she used her outer skin to weave herself a shell; to form armor against this empty life.  And once she was enclosed in her dwindling space she allowed herself to fall apart. She held onto nothing, allowing herself to finally let go, dissolving into the quantum foam of endless possibilities.

And in the quiet and the dark of her chrysalis, something took shape.  Her hopes and dreams finally undone from their mundane life; what surfaced was a life of its own that cleaved into an exquisite form.

Then, still damp with the dew of creation, gasping for breath, she moved out of her self-imposed prison. For some time, she lay there still, to spread her wings to dry, basking in the warmth of the sun. She has now morphed into a beautiful butterfly maiden, in her elegant sapphire attire – to set her self free; ready to make her dreams come true.

Life Is a Highway

Life’s like a road that you travel on
There’s one day here and the next day gone
Sometimes you bend, sometimes you stand
Sometimes you turn your back to the wind
Life is a highway, I wanna ride it all night long

~ Tom Cochrane

Mmm, life is a highway I wanna ride it all night long

Mmm, life is a highway I wanna ride it all night long

I love to watch animated films with my nine-year old; feels refreshing… The other day, I was watching Disney Pixar movie “Cars” in which I was fascinated by a scene, where Sally and Lightning McQueen are overlooking Route 66 and Interstate 40. Here’s what they say:

Sally: Forty years ago, that interstate down there didn’t exist.
Lightning McQueen: Really?
Sally: Yeah. Back then, cars came across the country a whole different way.
Lightning McQueen: How do you mean?
Sally: Well, the road didn’t cut through the land like that interstate. It moved with the land, it rose, it fell, it curved. Cars didn’t drive on it to make great time. They drove on it to have a great time.

Their dialogues pretty much sum up our frenetic and fast paced lives and the world where we live in. We are the cars. Our lives are the roads. We can choose to take the interstate and set our lives on cruise control.

So, we are all on the highway of life – traveling at what seems like the speed of light – moving at hyper-speed and checking off our to-do list as if that is the ultimate goal in life. Although it is cliché, we fail to stop and smell the air or say a genuine ‘hello’ to the passer byes.

However, we are at the risk of missing so much that pass by us by because we travel so fast with our blinders on. We are more concerned with where we are going instead of appreciating and enjoying where we are.

There is but an alternative. We can choose to meander and explore. We can choose to take the winding and curving road and truly experience life. It may not take us directly to our destination, but perhaps we shouldn’t be as concerned with crossing the finish line so quickly. Isn’t it really the happenings along our route that make reaching our goal so much more gratifying?

I suggest we take our individual journey down a unique path – Some of us on highways while others on the back-country roads. Sometimes our paths run parallel to one another and sometimes our path intersects with that of others. We are in control of the accelerator pedal beneath our feet. We can choose to fly through life and pass by others on the interstate. Or, we can choose to take the scenic route, slow down to the speed of life, and share our road with others. We can choose to take the occasional pit stop and learn about all the other roads available to us on the map of life.

Let’s not fail to understand, life is a journey, not a destination. Slow down, check your road map, and get off the next exit. There is a winding road ahead that is ready to greet you with new experiences. Make your journey as memorable as possible.