Category Archives: Honestly

Little Miracles

The tiny sharks* swim right next to my computer here in a sunny, muggy living room. Their scales shine. Some are missing, leaving behind small discontinuations in the flow of things. The only remaining parrot fish has been the longest with us. It sometimes comes to say hello from behind the glass wall. Maybe we imagine it, but its eyes seem to light up, as if it’s meeting an old friend without expecting to. The mono angels are breathtakingly elegant, even as they seem cold and distant.

When I look to my right, their huge tiny world is at my arm’s reach, inviting me to take a quick head-dip and melt away all the cobwebs that my own huge, tiny world washes into my head like flotsam. Now that I am older and meaner, I am less spunky, too. I’ll not pick up a stool and lift up the aquarium cover to dunk my head into their world, even though the prospect is bloody inviting. But I can picture it, and smile.

Though these perceptible, sometimes tangible miracles receive love and approval, it is somewhat tragic that the ones going on inside our heads — all of our heads — are either misunderstood, or overlooked. I have been a witness to numerous instances of human downfalls recently. Some of them have been physical, some psychological, others intellectual and emotional. In short, I have seen fellow beings drowning into temporary or longish or fatal abyss of all kinds. The ones who have made it back to the top and have been breathing since — whether fumbling or sputtering is irrelevant — are the miracle-carriers I am talking about.

My diligent research about how our mind works gives a breath-taking outcome. The innumerable electric signals that pass through our brains every second can get stymied by any one or some of the innumerable parts of the rest of the body. If the signals get blocked or short-circuited because a part of the brain is distended or dead or mulish because some hormone produced somewhere is acting pricey or corny, what’s a body to do?

When you look at your loved one the next time, the one who forgets things or gets angry or sleeps until the cows come home or seems to love the sound of his voice, imagine the little circuits in his brain acting up. The fact that the person is functioning and making use of his or her existence in whatever way he or she can is a tiny miracle giving you the privilege of audience.

The brain directs actions according to your mental resilience. Even if your synapses decide to take a walk, if the rest of you wants to bring them back, they jolly well will. And that is what this achievement is about. When the body is weary and wants to give up because there isn’t any energy available even though it pulses through your body, you make it available. You order it to come and lift your limbs.

There are many such miracle-workers around us. The ones who rise above their physical inabilities and see the sun set. Most of us, however, also falter in spite of this magic in us. We scream, shout, go crazy, lose house keys. But that’s what being human is about.

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*4-inch cutish ones. Although, if my brother were asked, he’d say those that prowl the oceanic jungle are quite fab, too.

More About Me. Thank You for Listening.

I don’t remember hesitating much before writing anything on this blog, so today — this post-writing — surprises me. I struggle to find words and it seems like a defeat. Truth be told, though, it shouldn’t be so much of a surprise because I have been struggling with what they call a writer’s block for what seems like forever. I have written some blog posts, of course, and a few odd emails I think about with a smile, but they don’t satisfy this endless, now-shuddering, now-shivering gong I have going on in my head. It keeps gonging! Write, write, write! it says. I pick up my fingers, my pens, pencils, my daughter’s crayons, even, but nothing seems to work. This damn block is a heavy one.

The character, a woman (surprise!), is a struggler like me. She doesn’t quite know what she wants, she hasn’t achieved much by way of awards and narratable experiences, but there is a fire in her she can’t describe and it keeps her seeking for something that will quench her thirst, if only for a short while. That seems like a workable character for a decent story, doesn’t it? But the story keeps bloody changing before I try to write it! Frustration, annoyance, frustration, annoyance. Arrrgh.

My trusty soundboard for story-writing stuff is busy. Not that had he been around I’d have begun writing, but I could have at least sounded the board and silenced the gong for a bit.

Not all struggle is in vain, though, dear reader. I have scaled a treacherous summit in the meantime. From here, I can see people doing their work and achieving things, travelling to my kind of places, having my kind of conversations, sipping my cup of tea, and it no longer makes me want to pull off my hair and wonder what happened to my existence. I am no longer very jealous. I use very because this summit has hypnotising precipices that occasionally pipe the piper’s tune. But I am generally safe, so I can proudly stand on a steeple (summit, if you will), and cry out with glee — “I look within, you other beings of this world!”

Self-Help for Dummies

Trouble troubles without prejudice. Since no one is spared, I suppose all appreciate a helping hand and a warm smile. You will perhaps not see whether their troubled times are deep or fanciful, desperate or indulgent. My experience shows that when you least expect kindness to bring you back kindness, it does so with such surprising matter-of-factness, that you wonder why you hadn’t tried venturing on that path those countless other times. Kindness heals both ways, always.

Having said that, I am ready to confess that I need help from myself — that would be a win-win situation, would it not? I be kind to myself, and get kindness right back to me in return. This reminds me of an important lesson my mother tried to teach me. She still does try, but is now experienced enough to not waste her breath on it. She used to tell the little Priya that if she respected her clothes and took care of them, they would provide her respect in return; if her books and notebooks got respect, they’d furnish her with the same and more. Loving advice. But slipped right off of little Priya’s well-shampooed — sometimes very well-oiled — hair. As I prepare myself for producing my own set of memorable advices dished out unsought to my little girl when she is old enough to understand beyond “don’t poke your eye, dunderhead”,  I am at loggerheads with the little Priya, who never grew up.

Recently, during a conversation with my father, I secretly revealed to him that I know what ails me. Feeling of inadequacy is a well researched term, and it sounds gravely frivolous enough to my ears. My father, however, gave a very sage response, saying that abundant thought seems to have gone in to come up with such a conclusion, which goes to show that most of my work is already done. All I need to do now is to stop feeling inadequate. Easy for him to say, easy for me to go right back to that last stash of Diwali laddoos. The poor feeling, however, continues to languish — ready to slither out, suddenly serpent-like, and entwine my poor ego until it can no longer breathe.

And that’s what they call a vicious circle.

The idea of walking your own walk without anyone helping you is fast looking absurd and impractical. Maybe those self-help books and videos and guru-talks do the world some good, after all. Maybe it is time to make another confession and say you can’t take another step towards your goal without someone to tell you there is a path ahead, dunderhead.

Or, maybe, you just remember to be kind to yourself, and the rest will follow.

 

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