Archive for the ‘Musing’ Category

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.

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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.

Life is… Celebration!

It is such a wonderful concept to celebrate life with our different actions. Let’s participate in the joy of life.

Pearls of Thoughts

Motherhood has made me a better person. The statement is cliché no doubt but true! It has not only made me more sensible, motivated and a better manager, but has also helped me see the world with the eyes of a child. That’s a refreshing feeling for sure. As my little one grows up, bit by bit, every day, i could see him get so incredibly excited about everything, and so do I get the energy to participate in the joy of life. It’s fun to be around him and kids of his age.

Celebrating life Celebrating life

For kids the word celebration doesn’t mean ‘grandeur’ but it means life itself! Even eating a whole bunch of different fruits can be like celebrating every piece of the fruit they eat. I’ve learnt over the years, it is such a wonderful concept to celebrate life with our different actions. That is what life…

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That never was…

Her story…

She started coming a little late to office on purpose, so he could see her walk in unapologetically. Though she’d never missed greeting all her colleagues at work, she couldn’t help stealing a glance at him several times a day to see if he’d reciprocated… and when she felt he did, she’d wear a lost look, focusing on her work or not focusing on anything, just exploring the depths of everything.

She seems to move on

She seems to move on

She had known him for some time, but she felt connected to him as if she knew him ages before, and maybe she did … but she couldn’t recall. She noticed a spark every time their eyes met, there’s a smile at the corner of their lips when they spoke.

She felt good any time she spoke to him, whether casually chatting up on office tea session or discussing an important assignment. His sober look, with touches of melancholy made her more curious.

One day, she caught him writing a poem on love during recess, which he quickly said he wrote simply because it felt romantic. “The starting was the most fun though the last stanza never rhymed to my dismay,” he said wearing a smile, shielding something from her.

When loneliness engulfed her, a quiet conversation with him, interspersed with laughter of old stories, a discussion on old English novels and classic cinema, magically lifted up her spirit.

Of course she knew she was not in love… but the more she thought about him, it surely felt something like that – as if she was in the twilight zone.

And then came the awaited evening, when they were having some wine at a birthday dinner, she got an sms. Strangely, it was him. “I think you look stunning!”

The noisy smiles around her seemed blur for a moment. The mood of the evening and the alcohol must have given him the wings to send her a message, she thought.

Before she could reply, he came forward and asked her if she wanted to have dinner next week.

Her face lit up immediately, she wanted to tell him, she was waiting for this perfect moment. but she tried to conserve that feeling, holding it gently in her palm. She hesitantly nodded and smiled while he sent her something nice on sms again to seal the conversation for the night.

—————-

It was a Tuesday night and it was incessantly raining. They drove down to the poolside bistro that looked almost empty. They both looked a little confused, didn’t know what to speak.

They ordered some food and coffee in awkward silence as the waiter looked at them like he had an opinion.

Once they were chatting, she could feel he looked interested and observant; properly listening as she droned on…

Soon they had many things to talk… the places they’d been to,  of everything that was happening in the world at that moment, all the people eating food, holding hands, cosmos, death, making love and of everyday things… the more they talk, she felt  a deeper and spiritual connection.

They kept sitting on the couch that felt like an improvised stage in the corner of the room. Then he took her hand, for the first time.

Some moments of togetherness was like knowing him for a lifetime!  Her heart was burning in his wrists and palms. His hand was perfectly warm, so magical that it was unbearable. When his eyes met hers, she felt her heartbeat everywhere, even on her toes.

But she slowly closed her eyes…

She asked herself again, what exactly she wanted from life… she’d been curious, she wanted to feel something… but they knew they were not meant for each other…

————–

Never did they seek the story left untold – the tale with an abrupt end.

Seasons passed by… till they rediscovered themselves on social media. It was not the same…

They moved on, their paths were different, and they tried making peace with life, away from each other, but in their own solitary world.

The entr’acte…

That Feeling of Emptiness

She could feel the void, a never ending dark void that consumes everything, leaving her with a feeling of nothing… that strange feeling, when she feels neither happy, nor sad… it’s such an empty feeling. There’s nothing to subside her hollow soul that creeps in the shadows, away from any other human life because its emptiness is so consuming it cannot bear to pretend that everything is okay.

That strange feeling, when she feels neither happy, nor sad… it’s only empty

That strange feeling, when she feels neither happy, nor sad… it’s only empty

In truth, nothing is okay! She sees people walking around this earth each day, pretending that everything is okay, and it always will be. She sighs…Why we can’t all just admit that we are just hollow plastic dolls with a painted happy face revealing no guilt, sadness and emptiness?

At some stage, she too tried hiding it with a big fake smile, masking it as if nothing has happened, but for how long? She didn’t get an answer.

And now she has learned to play hide and seek with her only companion. It hides everywhere, this emptiness, in the closet, the cupboards and under the bed. There isn’t any getting away from it. Her nightmares seem to help fill it. They remind her of those days… they call it the past for a reason… the bygone, the defunct, really?

She doesn’t know… she’s scared, but she needs it. She needs to feel it now, she needs it to distract herself, from not everything else but, simply, from herself… She closes her eyes gently and curls herself up onto a cushion of nothingness.

When Nehru Jacket Becomes Modi Jacket

While ‘searching’ for a desi waistcoat online for my son (as it’s raining discounts ahead of Independence Day), I made an interesting observation. The search terms, ‘half-jacket online’ immediately throw up two powerful expressions on Google: ‘Modi jacket’ and ‘Nehru jacket’. They take you to the same products – what I was looking for – and some sites even call it the Nehru/Modi jacket.

All these sites display a gamut of this graceful ethnic piece of garment, which has spun quite a long political yarn. Since childhood we have known them as the ‘Nehru jackets’ or ‘Jawahar coat’ and now these have been endorsed as Modi jackets. Welcome to the new India!

Nehru’s trademark is now doing a good job of creating the Modi look, with of course a little ‘twist’

Nehru’s trademark is now doing a good job of creating the Modi look, with of course a little ‘twist’

From different media interviews, we know by now that our current PM Modi Ji has a clear preference for these waistcoats. But for a man with a strong disdain for the Nehruvian legacy, it is but obvious that he will completely ‘tweak’ it and brand it his own. As a friend of mine rightfully said, The ‘Congress livery’ in now the ‘BJP livery.’

…And Modi ji is doing a pretty smart job at this. Just the way he has given his ‘Digital India’ and ‘Make In India’ agenda a global voice, the PM is endorsing these bandis at a global platform rebranding them as the ‘Modi jacket’.

Actually, the (Nehru) jacket’s history can be traced back to Mahatma Gandhi’s call to boycott non-native goods in 1930, when Nehru had given up western suits-which he was wearing till then and moved to homespun Khadi kurtas, thereafter it became his style statement.

A wardrobe twist is a great way for a politician to stand out. Whether it’s the Arafat kafiyeh, Karunanidhi’s dazzling yellow shawl, Mayawati’s plain light coloured salwar kameezes, Mamta Banerjee’s white sareers with blue borders or even the otherwise colourless Manmohan Singh’s sky-blue turban. The little touches finally matter the most. And hence, the same jackets that were once Nehru’s trademark is now creating the Modi look, with of course a little ‘twist’.

Unlike the Nehru times, when these were available in only black, cream and grey, now they seem to be influenced by PM Modi’s choice of colors that are far more flamboyant, ranging from oranges to pinks to yellows. Well, prices have gone up over 50-70 per cent. Never mind, the times they are a-changin, as Bob Dylan said.

Not only for Modi and his followers, anyone who wish to make a political or patriotic statement, these jackets are a perfect fit, especially if it is tailored in khadi. My uncle said once, it camouflages his big belly and the wide hip, that common body flaw in the middle-aged Indian men.

So what’s in a name you may ask… for a section of the people, it will always remain ‘Nehru jacket’ and for others it will become Modi jacket.’

But try to fathom a little… whether you love them or hate them, you just cannot ignore these two PMs of the nation – Nehru and Modi – both with very different political identity – but both bound by a common thread: Their tremendous global appeal!

When India got its independence in 1947, and Jawaharlal Nehru, became the country’s first prime minister, the nation witnessed a new leader born. He was not perfect in so many ways, but he was what India needed at that time. Of the first few things Nehru did right was to set up a Constituent Assembly to write India’s Constitution, and set up centers of knowledge (IITs and IIMs) in a country that has over the decades produced many talented business leaders, heading global companies.

Nehru did drive India’s international profile to a great degree in the post-independence years, even though some of his foreign policies were subject to much debate. But nobody can doubt the international appeal.

PM Narendra Modi too sees Digital India as a tool for the country’s transformation, in a scale where the world looks to India for the next big Idea. Even during his visit to the US, Modi has always promoted the causes of Digital India and Make in India, making these names known globally, besides making a style statement on his jacket.

Nehru Jackets were also popularized by The Beatles in the West in the ‘70s. They went on to become so popular that in James Bond Movies, and even Sean Connery, the Bond himself, expressed his love for those jackets. And now Modi has given these timeless classic (which faded for a while) jackets a revamp and a ‘Modi’ branding.

Changing times and changing names….no big deal, believe many. Modi certainly has brought a lot of color and style to these jackets, and as long as it excites the prevailing weak khadi institutions, we are absolutely fine with it.

Jai Hind!

Whining Of The Dying Planet

On a hot summer afternoon, when I was walking home from college, I realized that the heat was unbearable… and I was feeling thirsty too! I reached for my water bottle but it was empty. My home was still some distance, and all the cold drinks shops were closed. I felt miserable. Walking all the way in this scorching heat without a drop of water felt like punishment.

I moved towards the pavement, struggling to find some shade, but to my disappointment, with all the trees cut down to make way for high-rise apartments, the shade was nothing but an illusion. I looked up in the sky. It was almost 4 pm, but the sun was still burning brilliantly. I wondered where the rains had disappeared! It was mid-July, yet apart from a few sprinkles, there was no sign of rain.

The world around me started spinning

The world around me started spinning

As I walked along, my eyes got fixed on the pond by the park. It was almost dry. This was a great place for us in our childhood. I used to come here with my mother and cousins when I was even younger. We enjoyed the lush green lawns, pretty grass flowers and cool breeze rippling off the surface of the water. But it looked so different… just like me – thirsty and exhausted!

I thought, so much has changed around me and I just never paid attention to it? A few big trees look sad, tired and weak by the heat. It’s as if they have all given up all hope. Looked like, they had accepted their defeat.

A stray dog passed by sluggishly.  After wandering on the streets, it found a minuscule shade on a pavement a few yards away, and sat with its tongue out – trying to cool itself off. A crow flew over my head, cawing in a harsh tone, as if it’s warning of some misfortune!

Suddenly, the world around me started spinning. I could see the dog, the trees, the crow, the thirsty lake, deserted land and the dry, muffled winds – all coming towards me…. They started coming closer and closer, as if they were ready to declare a war on humans. All seemed to echo the same cry: “You are the reason for our destruction…Yes you are the one!”

“No, in fact aaaI love youuuu all…” I said stuttering, feeling nervous. “You know I plant a sapling every environment day… aand I grew up reciting Wordsworth.. spare me!”

My cries were falling on deaf ears. “You don’t deserve to live… you have occupied everything on this planet, not even sparing us homes!”

The thirsty lakes, the dry winds, the barren lands, they all seemed to be echoing the same cry…

“Listen to me, please,” I continued pleading. “ I’m not of them, I’m a member of the World Wildlife Fund too… and often donate for this cause!

Nobody around seemed to care. Everything felt like a whirlpool! The voices started getting louder and it sounded like they were seeking vengeance. “You all will be wiped out …. And that day isn’t far” whispered a harsh, old voice, as if it cursed me, the entire humankind. ”

Hahahahaha” laughed the entire universe! That merciless laughter rang through the thick, warm air.

I closed my eyes and covered my ears with all my strength. I wished the voices would stop.

Are we being repaid with what we had earned! All our deeds would now have to be accounted for. I pressed my ears harder to shut out the voices until I felt a tap on my shoulder.

“Are you okay?” I heard a voice. I turned to see my neighbor and friend Daisy looking at me with a worried expression.

I nodded helplessly, not knowing what to say.

“Okay please have some water. Looks as if you are not feeling well,” she extended a bottle of water to me that was half filled.

I gulped down the water… looked around, everything looked just the same, hot, dry but yes, peaceful.

“Let’s walk home, I said. “I’m feeling okay, thank you…”

So much has change around me and I just never paid attention to it!

I was alright, but I kept asking myself, how long will it be before our selfishness destroys everything and the voices I had heard would come seeking vengeance for real?

If we continue to ignore or remain silent, then yes that voice may be right, “That day is just not far!”