Tag Archives: faith

Only disappointment

It is only disappointment. Alas, it dessicates the life in your spirit. If you let it, that is.

Thankfully, like many frustrating things, disappointment comes with a choice. You either let it devour you, or force it to lift you up on its shoulder and let you climb on to the other side of the seemingly insurmountable wall. Easy? Hardly. Continue reading Only disappointment

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Only disappointment

It is only disappointment. Alas, it dessicates the life in your spirit. If you let it, that is.

Thankfully, like many frustrating things, disappointments come with a choice. You either let it devour you, or force it to lift you up on its shoulder and let you climb on to the other side of the seemingly insurmountable wall. Easy? Hardly.  Continue reading Only disappointment

Of birds, pinks, and full circles

My parents came over to visit us for a week and a little more. During my occasional walks with them, I remembered I’d been wanting to take pictures of the numerous birds that inhabit our neighbourhood and show them to you. The desire is like that of a child saying, “Look, I can see that! Can you?”

A few days back, I did take the camera, but was able to manage only a few pictures that are postable here. Perhaps I’ll ‘win’ some more in the subsequent days and post them, too.

A family living close to us has placed these earthen vessels on their wall for the birds to feed and drink water from. Mornings and evenings, a huge flock of parrots comes and satiates itself. This picture is only of one of their kind, but you get the picture!

Right next to this parrot haunt, there’s a silver oak tree (it looks horrifically chopped because people chop off the tops in winter — it helps the tree, and provides firewood for homes). This big guy was looking down right at us, we thought. My mother told me to take a picture of him, too. I had my doubts that it’d come. Backlit setting and all. But she insisted, I took the picture and lo, we can even see his eyes!

Ready to move on, I saw this dried vine with its gourd-fruits. We use the dried up innards as loofah. Do you? I thought it’d be interesting to show you. My current loofah is about to say adieu, but then I have a spare one, otherwise I’d have been aching to climb up the electricity pole and get a couple of them. Climbing is such fun, I’d have done it without any fruit at the top. But then, sensible people would stop me. For all of these reasons, I took a picture instead.

Talk of sensible. This one had his back to us and didn’t show any intention of turning around, but then my father said something and he turned!

And gave us and eyeful, too! Sensible indeed.

This bird has been intriguing me for two years now. My internet search tells me it’s a magpie robin, but his call doesn’t match the recorded calls I downloaded. Whatever the bird, this one is elusive.

I had to walk around the tree to get more than his butt for you.

Here’s another, sitting on one of their favourite perches. I wonder why, when there are so many beautiful ones to choose from.

Isn’t it amazing how the most incongruous of things can flourish together? This never ceases to amaze me. Of course they don’t always succeed in coexisting, but whenever they do, it is nothing short of a miracle of effort, I feel.

I itch to know names of things. Animals, birds, people, flowers, plants, even microbes. I look at these blossoms and remember I don’t know what they will turn into. Pears? Plums? Peaches? Apricots? And then I remind myself that it doesn’t really matter.


As long as I can continue to look at their glory, and enjoy it, it probably doesn’t matter.

Especially when I go closer to the tree to take a close-up, and the family’s dog fails to feel welcoming.

As we walked on, my parents kept showing me this and that. Things I know I’d have overlooked. Birds I’d have ignored. Like these pinks without double petals.

Or these beautiful finches. They’re finches, I think. But then, what’s in a name? My father kept whispering “look at these pink ones here! Look! No here, on the hibiscus bush.” They were so far away and so difficult to see, I’d have missed them. 

Or missed this raven, whom my mother pointed out and said, “Why ignore him?” Why indeed?


Some associations remain for life. Like this woodpecker. We’ve learnt to call him Woody Woodpecker because of the story my father used to tell us when we were children. Whenever we see this bird, it’s always, “Woody!”

We were nearing home after a longish circuit of the residential colony, when we spotted parrots again.

Not just parrots, but a whole colony of them. Chattering, preening, jibing. These are a different variety. They have rosy heads. But they talk the same language. At least I think they do.

The sun was getting ready to set. But it would take at least an hour before it did. Thankfully, its light lit up the tree and the parrots just right to give us a beautiful picture.

Now that they have left, and I look back on those ‘walks’ I’ve walked with them, I feel grateful for all of those sights they’ve shown me. It is uncanny how parents have the power to show in the most tacit of ways. As I prepare for a little one of my own soon, I realise the baton is getting passed on. Or duplicated. For parents never really stop giving, do they?

Of old lessons

Originally posted on 30 September, 2010

When in doubt, run to friends. Their station in life or the grades they got in school regardless, they will come up with responses that light up your life. Serious, concerned, pertinent answers or witty, in-your-face humour. Years back, I ran (virtually) to friends, implored them to help me remove the cobwebs in my head. I take life too seriously, you see. It becomes a humongous task to not analyse my contributions in my own life. This particular situation arose from the doubt that I was probably being too impatient with humanity in particular and myself in general. So, I did what I feel most comfortable doing. I wrote. And sent mails to a few friends who I knew would be honest. The following is an excerpt.

“I am introspecting again… It’s like spring cleaning…. I need your feelings on this. It may seem strange, but I’d like to know my faults/weaknesses/what have you. I am terribly uncomfortable with saccharine praise. Is it possible for a person to do things and not make ANY mistake?… There needs to be a not-so-nice bit in people somewhere.  All this praise makes me feel unnecessary conceit… I look for validity of all that we see around. I want to believe. In compliments, smiles, expressions of approval. And try as I may, I don’t see any validity. It’s a lonely place to be in.

…Cynicism makes me dizzy with fear. I am alone here in this world, usually. Loneliness is the last thing any of us chooses, right? I fear spending my time peeping at the world from behind a veil made of cocksure I-am-okay-by-myself attitude. … that loving is a lonely thing to do. And it is such a sorry plight. I am scared, because I have stepped into this threshold of accepting loneliness as the only way out of an insane desperation in search of something that is so wonderfully wholesome, that it overwhelms you for the rest of your life.”

(You must grant me bravery. Now that I am reading these words after a gap of seemingly zillion years, I admit I must’ve been quite a character back then. Who spring cleans the nice bits? Why analyse when you can live? Whatever. It was back then.)

And they wrote back. And lit up my life. Good Samaritans, all.

Don’t lose your spirit trying too hard!

OK just don’t sound so cocky when you answer calls. You might scare people away.

Forcing humility or self-evaluation has no value attached to it.

Conceit is not a problem as long as it is not apparent.

Talk because you want to, because you want to share. And there shouldn’t be the feeling of wanting to say the right things to get approval.

Each one’s emotional investment in a relationship can never be to the same degree as yours.

You simply have to be able to open your mind and speak.

I honestly believe that even though we lend power to everyone for the way we feel..at the end of the day we believe in ourselves through other’s eyes because it’s convenient. It’s easier to blame others than one’s own self.

Try doing things for some one else. Unless that coincides with what you want  to do too, it’s a strain, you have to push yourself, things don’t go right, everything is generally miserable because we are trying to go against nature.

…..and you definitely don’t need their (people who don’t know better) adulations.

Anything they don’t understand, they just idolize and antagonize.

I see the shelves at bookstores crammed with books on improvement, and how to live a better life… everyone seems hell bent on trying to teach the world how to live and how to improve (and wonder of wonders, the reviews point out that it actually works for people!!) I say this again – I’m not evolved enough to understand how I can improve by accepting parameters set by people whose views on life, and whose beliefs are probably poles apart from mine.

What we have to learn is  that every minute we live is important . Everything we do, think, see, taste, smell, blah, blah is important.

Look for peace within you. If you are not calm , no amount of love from the outside can be a balm. You are your own disease and your own medicine.

Well, phew. That’s a lot of lessons in a short time. Begone, unnecessary ‘introspection’! Reading and re-reading this (and all the other stuff they wrote) reminded me of the importance of simplicity.

We spend our times wondering whether or not we did the right thing. Or whether we received what we deserve. It can become an overwhelming whirlpool. Getting out of it requires much more than the knowledge of swimming. And some don’t even know that.

In such situations, skepticism may become necessary. Cynicism, however, is just hogwash.

(Skepticism – it is undesirable to believe a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true.)

(Cynic is one who “shows a disposition to disbelieve in the sincerity or goodness of human motives and actions, and is wont to express this by sneers and sarcasm.”)

My leanings towards a lonely road of disappointment at the moral and emotional inadequacies? They were curbed.

I have believed (and thankfully still do) in living and letting live (one friend did point out some enlightened souls like Mr. Axl Rose who believe in living and letting die). In the path of leading such a seemingly indifferent life, I may and do encounter times when I want control. Control things for the sake of love or self-preservation or both. But as long as my own harmless existence is not threatened, it is suicidal to want to be in control. As long as I remember to sip from my own wellspring of soul-wisdom from time to time, things normally turn out just fine!

A Saturday trip to the Eternal Land of the Yogis

Lakshman jhula -- the bridge joining the eastern and western banks

Well, not just the yogis, but pretty much everyone.

Neha, my friend of a number of years, is in Rishikesh for almost two months to learn yoga from a visiting teacher from France. Since it is just an hour’s drive from Dehradun (where I live) I decided to pay her a visit and see the historical town. Finally.

Rishikesha, meaning Lord of the Senses, is one of the thousand names of Lord Vishnu, the Preserver in the Hindu Trinity. The town today justifies the name in many ways; it preserves several kinds of sensory experiences, and propagates them. If you are a seeker of divine presence; a practitioner of yogic forms for a more fulfilled life; an enthused wader of the waters of the sacred Ganga at a place where she leaves the laps of the Himalayas to embrace the hot plains; a lover of cheap hallucinogens; or an intrepid traveller interested in trekking, mountaineering, river rafting, Rishikesh has it all for you. And more.

The town — its air, its dust, and indeed its waters — has the ability to make you see divinity, if you let it. At least that is what many people believe.

The Hindus come here to see their beloved Ganga in its final mountainous avatar, to pray at the famous Triveni Ghat, and visit the numerous temples. As most Hindu pilgrim sites are wont to, however, the river bank, the temples, the ghats, all nurse suppurating wounds on propriety and respect. This might be one of the biggest mysteries in this land. We uphold propriety and respect for others as the supreme virtues, and yet have precious little to show for it. Waste lies all around, people defaecate and urinate at the most inappropriate of places and allow the animals to do the same, shop-keepers throw their discards on to the road sides. No nook, no cranny is spared. Not even the ever-loving, ever-patient Mother Ganga.

Curious People from the Worlds Afar come to seek a kind of peace they feel only India can provide: by way of its ancient, mysterious wisdom, or through its sometimes happily lax policies for weed. Some pick a wave from the veritable tsunami of ashrams and schools offering courses in yoga, meditation, ayurveda, and many more concepts most of these schoolists know zilch about, and ride it. (The ones knowing something worthwhile normally don’t accept pupils just like that. And most don’t make inflated promises on signboards in front of their dilapidated huts.) Still others take their yoga mats along the banks of Ganga and sit and try to meditate. Its enormously normal-looking waters promise a quietude they don’t seem to find at any other place. And then, there are those people that mostly inhabit the Tapovan part of the town, who are living an extended rush of the 60s.

Rishikesh is a heady mixture of everything you’d want from a quickie vacation. Or, more accurately, a mixture of things you might seek and things you are bound to hate. My time there was spent catching up with an old friend, who is sure she has found what she was looking for most of her life — yoga. It challenges her, fulfills her, settles her. She is happy. As are the many I couldn’t help noticing even as I drifted in and out between conversations with Neha and with Rishikesh. There are people running booming businesses by milking spirituality; some are seeking their long-elusive dreams. All find some connection with whatever they wish to get connected to.

When I was driving back to my home, to my reluctant-to-let-me-go husband, and to our ever-welcoming dogs, I thought it might be a good idea to tell you about this ʻstrange placeʼ I had heard about, and have now seen. A few hours is of course nothing to gauge a place, but people and places radiate vibes; they either feel good, or bad. Rishikesh, despite its strangeness, felt good. Give it a try some day. It is one of those cliched things — you can hate it, or love it; but it never allows itself to sink unnoticed.

This is the only place around the Lakshman jhula, Ram jhula area where Ganga warbles a little. Everywhere else, it is calm and quiet, like it is for the rest of its journey through the plains.
Another view of the river, Lakshman jhula, inhabitants of its banks and aspiring rafters
An unsure woman, taking a dip in the water sacred to a billion and more
This man was standing with his arms spread wide over the water for a long time. By the time I could decide to take a picture, he'd begun wringing a piece of his clothing
For a long time, I kept looking at these rocks and thought they were elephants taking a welcome bath. I need new glasses. And while you are looking at the faux elephants, try not to see the waste on the hill-side.
One of the big ashrams with a lot of promises
Just about to hit the partially 'white' waters.
Lakshman jhula -- the bridge we took to go for 'the best meal in all of Rishikesh'
Neha, taking a picture of me as I took one of her
Two of the many places for seekers of wisdom of all kinds
Mother monkey, keeping an eye on the people, for the good ones throw goodies
So that they can then pick them up from the bridge floor
But their best performance is as rope-sitters. Windy weather doesn't threaten their perch one bit.
I don't know why he was rubbing these bamboos clean, but he was.
I heard this sadhu saying "Thanks" as we walked past.
The first thing across the bridge is this. A very 'India' place. Every corner has a bit of its very unique identity. The sign on the round-about under the statue of Lord Shiva says "Please take off your shoes before you climb."
This modern dude didn't flinch when I "shoved the camera at his face", as Neha put it.
One of the many fascinating shops, selling Indian-ness
This beautiful building is reminiscent of the ideal architecture for this heat. Most houses are now a silly mixture of confusion. Sad.
Finally, The Little Buddha Cafe aka Buddha German Bakery. We had awesome Tomato and Garlic Bruschetta and Watermelon juice. Rishikesh is a strictly vegetarian, alcohol-free zone. But such places do offer tuna and Ganga-trout, and eggs, too. And pot, should you be brave enough to ask for it.
A glimpse of the ghat, the place where people gather to pray, to bathe.
Seekers of something, all.
But these boys know what they want, now, don't they?
He looked like the sadhu who thanked me for taking his picture. But then, all sadhus look the same.
This photographer stands underneath a lemonade stall umbrella. No takers for either. The signs warn of many things,including photographers like him: "Please check the photographer's credentials before allowing him to take your picture." Another sign reads "Please only give food materials to the monkeys at one side of the bridge. Do not harass the monkeys. Put the food only at the stipulated places."
A man posing as 'monkey-god' Hanuman. He tricks passers-by into putting a tilak (vermillion on the forehead) and then demands money.
My favourite thing in the whole trip. These bright orange Hanuman car-ornaments. They promise all that is good (and beautiful, I think)
But this young man looks completely unimpressed...

Intent is everything.

If I can get up in the morning with a feeling of excitement about much to do, I know I am doing good. Many times, the much-to-do is unexciting in more ways than one, but if I can accomplish the difficult task of seeing beyond the unexciting and looking at the consequence my action is expected to have, I will be able to still feel that very-welcome excitement. For even the most unpleasant tasks, if done with the right intent in mind, (seemingly) magically result in something pleasant.

A total recall

I have been thinking quite a lot about the land of the Bhils and Gonds – the tribals of the region of India I have my roots in. A long time ago, it seems, B and I visited a section of it, and fell in love with the greens and the browns and the blacks of the place. I’d love to, someday, write about it. But today, I am so full of the memories, that all I can do is post some pictures and reload the page over and over again through the day to keep looking at them. Why post them and not see in my personal gallery? Well, posting it in the blog has an added advantage of pretending I am storing it in a diary. And I was a religious diary-writer as a kid.

Besides, I always love to share what I think the world deserves to know. So, here goes a collection of memories from a land that has not seen ‘civilisation.’

The creek that gushes close to where we stayed.
A reservoir close to Bhoramdeo, the place where we stayed for the night. The red soil turns all waters into remarkably dirty-coloured entities. But all is beautiful, still. The fisherman promised to keep a fish for us to take home. We couldn't go back to him after our little jaunt at the hills. Our loss. The cow bells came with me, though. In the mind. I can still hear the sweet sound.
The dragonflies, blurred in the foreground were the stars of the season. It was summertime, the worst time to go there. If the worst time offers such beauty, the best should be just that, no?
This kite flew down to perch on the distant guard rail. As if to pose, it stayed there only as long as we clicked pictures. Quite a celeb, eh?

 

Moti of the Baiga tribe. The man we went to meet because people from the world over come to meet him, to seek cures to their ailments. He claims to walk the darkest of forests with tigers and elephants for company, make medicines to cure anything ranging from constipation to multiple scleroris. He claims to have eaten a herb for the duration he didn't want children. Natural contraceptive. 🙂 Pointing at my spectacles, he said, "I can get these off in one day". I'll tell you the outrageous cure, someday. Suffice it to say, I am chicken-hearted. And they make stylish spectacle-frames these days. All the tongues-in-cheeks aside, he has remarkable eyes. I couldn't meet them for long. He kept looking into mine, deep and deeper. It was unnerving.
Child-mothers, all. The local weekly market is quite a draw. People come in throngs from distant villages to buy several things. My favourite among them? The circlet around the girl's (on the left) neck. It's called a sarota. Pure silver, awesome weight. I got myself one. 🙂
Leopard kitten (a leopard cat is a wild cat, but not a leopard). A domesticated devil at a local village. I'd have taken him if the people weren't so attached to him. Such fire in his eyes.
A lotus pond at the Shiva temple at Bhoramdeo. The temple itself is so mind-numbing, I was slightly scared to click its picture, so I took its companion's instead.
This classy lady is off with her bargain of the week - the mahua. A local wine made of mahua flowers. The blossoms fill the forests during the summer season with their heady fragrance. Lotus-eaters would find these a much bigger challenge. People have been known to have fallen asleep the moment they came too close to a tree in full bloom. Or have been attacked by bears who wish to claim their share. Mahua. A heady, fruity, sweet brew.
Not a great picture. Doesn't quite capture the beauty of the fall, but it is important to post it here because a couple of ten minutes after this, as we trekked along the dirt track, we were to have a memorable experience. Since the track was a narrow one, we were walking in a straight line. The leader was a spirited dog we'd found close to the creek posted above. It wanted to come with us, or lead us rather. He was followed by our guide, then B and then finally, me. After a few minutes of walking along, we heard a rough grunt that reverberated not only through the hills, but within our heads and hearts as well. A growl followed. And then a yelp. By the time we'd trundled to the place, all had already happened. The dog was cowering, the leopard was gone. Yes, there had been a leopard ahead in the path, probably sleeping. Our leader was the only one to sight the cat. A rare example of a dog cowering in front of a cat, perhaps. At any rate, the leopard was gone before we could say Dog. All we had left of his presence was the memory of the inimitable growl (showing disgust, probably at the intruders) and the unmistakable big-cat smell. I can still feel the adrenalin. Our leader deserted us immediately thereafter. We never saw him again.

This outing, just a weekend, was an important one. I grew up very far from all these visions and smells and experiences. Despite the lack of familiarity, I somehow felt a part of it all, as I walked these roads. A feeling akin to home. B; a child of lands much beyond these, lands of tall mountains and great lakes, with people so different yet not quite; also, for some strange reason, felt one with the land. I know no better pleasure. Bhoramdeo is the place that brought me closer. To what? To life itself, I daresay.

Dreaming of a White Christmas, and Green Eyes

As an Army child, I had the good fortune of celebrating the festivals of many prominent religions and cultures as long as my father was a part of a large regiment. The entire cantonment got together for the celebration. The mood was festive all around, since the entire community was involved. It not only made us aware of the sensibilities of other religions and cultures, we also got to have a lot of fun doing things we wouldn’t have otherwise done. Being a Hindu, I would never have known to bow down at a Gurudwara or hang the Christmas stockings. Christmas. It is somehow a very special festival. We got wrapped gifts. I got to do what I loved best in household work at that age — bake. And Santa was a dear friend’s father, usually (at every different posting, each new station).

My first memory of Christmas is looking under the community Christmas tree for a gift that had the brightest gift wrapping paper on it. If I remember right, I loved the ones with blue and silver diagonal stripes, or the ones with candy canes printed on them. The gifts weren’t named, of course, because there were so many children. There was no way for giving customised gifts unless the organisers were resourceful enough to employ elves, which, I am certain, they weren’t. But they were generous in their choice of gift wrappers, and I wasn’t complaining. Cotton was the customary substitute for snow. It was strewn on any tree of choice that served as The Tree of the Evening, fairy lights glittered on it and around. And  the manger scene on the side was never forgotten. Thoughtful people added a lot of toy cows and calves on the straw. I loved the eyes of these animal dolls (many had pink cheeks, somehow). I loved the smell of straw. I loved Christmas. And before I forget,  I loved the confetti. It was a mixture of straw and confetti on the floor, usually.

My first memory of caroling is of a much older me. The second school at which I taught had a British heritage. Besides many other things, they caroled on Christmas Eve. This is by far the winner in my list of Thank-Someone-I-Worked-In-This-School. The old tradition  (the school was founded in 1837) was to walk around the campus and come into the School Chapel to sing more. By the time they got around to employing me, the carols were just sung inside the Chapel. Another tradition that remained intact was that  it was the teachers who sang. We were green carolers, most of us. But Val did a good job in training us.  And she included some songs as well. We sang. And swayed. And loved it. We shone those nights. This is where I first got introduced to White Christmas. To aid us in understanding  the ‘feel’ of it (as a musician friend put it), she made us listen to Frank Sinatra’s rendition (or could’ve been someone else. But not Bing Crosby). This song transported me to new worlds. Of white blankets of snow. Most of all, for some strange reason, eyelashes full of snow flakes. The voice haunted me with the dream of a childhood that had seen snow, but never snow fall.  I remember un-snowing strawberries at a place we were visiting. Snow had visited just the previous night. We  were left with the reminders. It was many years later that I could reach the town (another one) in time for her arrival.

White Christmas is probably so important because when I imagine white snow with green, and red things and yellow lights, I can, in a way, live those fairy tales I read as a child. It is such a magical feeling. Unlike many people whom I’ve subsequently heard talking of waking up to a white day on Christmas, I imagined myself standing next to a Christmas tree, wearing a green scarf, seeping it all in. And lo! There’s snow. Falling down on everything, everything holding on to it like a sheath of happiness. Everything including my eyelashes. Soon, there’s White Christmas like no other. The vision is just a thought now, but it is a dreamy, magical one.

Snow obliged me at my husband’s home town, never fear. It wasn’t Christmas, but I can boast a new-found joy. Of having seen the flakes glide down, so carefree, so sure they’ll find just the right spot to rest. Beautiful.

I will wait for the day it snows on Christmas day at the place I live in. Wherever I am at the time. For I will not travel for the experience. It will have to come to me. Like the joy of seeing calf dolls with pink cheeks.

Like the Green Eyes, too. As lil’ Priya, I was sure I would wake up one day, look at the mirror, and see that my eyes had turned green.  Every morning, I’d go and stand in front of the mirror with my eyes closed and open them with the hope that the eyes had turned green. They never did, of course. But I never stopped hoping for it either. Not wishing, but hoping. I enjoyed my daily morning ritual for a number of years. Until I forgot to look in the mirror for them.

Only fear

It is only fear. Not a big deal, if you think clearly. No, I am not forgetting that when you are afraid, something inexplicable happens to your think-clearly cluster of grey matter. But, strange as it may seem, it is the very key to getting rid of all your angst. Think clearly, reason and drive the vile thing out.

Why get rid of fear? Well, not just because you get tagged a wimp, but also because of darker, scarier places it locks you up in. That should suffice as an answer. If it doesn’t you probably belong to a group of people who believe fear is positive for motivation. Well, not always. And this post is about those other times.

That brings us to the question of how thinking clearly will help. It is very complicated to even begin attempting it, very simple to talk about. I am picking the easier of the two, and writing on how I believe you can stop fear from savaging you.

I have always believed that my set of fears (yes, I admit here and now, there is a set of fears in my secret box) have accumulated over the years because I am too afraid of telling them to get the hell out of my life. They get collected, without my knowledge, mostly. And when I do notice the latest addition, I am too smashed under the load of others to yell “Get out”. What disturbs me the most about fear is what it makes you do, at times. If you look deeply, almost every action you scorn, laugh, scowl at in others (or, if you are brave, in yourself) is a result of some sort of fear. Let me explain with examples. I am told I use semantics, and vaguely, too.

Example 1. Ms. J

Behaviour: Nasty, irritable, hot-tongued

Fear: Afraid someone will someday tell her on her face that she was wrong about her claims that she would make a great entrepreneur. She’s not an entrepreneur. She sits at home and makes life miserable. For everyone.

Connection: She would die before hearing about her failure (a failure possibly only she sees) from others. Preempting people’s reactions, she acts and reacts to imaginary pointing fingers. Frustrated with her fear of failure and consequent embarrassment, she is all set to rock people’s boats before they do hers.

Is anyone interested in rocking her boat? No. Sadly, she’s doing it herself.

Example 2: Mr. F

Behaviour: Constantly ‘in-touch’ with people, volunteering running errands, giving advice, hosting meals.. an endless list

Fear: Of loneliness

Connection: This one is quite simple, really. He doesn’t want to face a moment without ‘someone’ to make him feel wanted and appreciated. He is running around with his bag, collecting camaraderie. Sometimes it does help. Sometimes it makes him an obsessive fool, afraid to be with his own self. The loneliness doesn’t go, because as people say, you must be friends with yourself first.

Could Mr. F shake hands with himself? No. Sadly, he’s more lonely than he ever was.

Fear makes me shudder.

I’ve handled some of my own, mind you. Well, my lily liver is not watery all the way. And the only thing that has helped me get past  these… things is the knowledge that

a. I am afraid

b. I don’t need to be

I may not be much of an expert on this, but this page proves I am not alone when I talk of the importance of points a. and b. above.

So, my mantra for shooing away weeds of angst is taking the first step of admitting there is a certain fear. Of coming early for an appointment, of painting the worst painting of the century, of turning around and seeing my Maths teacher grinning at me.. Oh there are plenty, still.

You see, the moment I accept there is a certain fear, its consequences flash very succinctly in my head. That’s when I am able to (mostly) choose “You won’t get me.” over “Yes, master.”

Yeah. One day my set will be non-existent. I am getting there.

Of old lessons

When in doubt, run to friends. Their station in life or the grades they got in school regardless, they will come up with responses that light up your life. Serious, concerned, pertinent answers or witty, in-your-face humour. Years back, I ran (virtually) to friends, implored them to help me remove the cobwebs in my head. I take life too seriously, you see. It becomes a humongous task to not analyse my contributions in my own life. This particular situation arose from the doubt that I was probably being too impatient with humanity in particular and myself in general. So . I did what I feel most comfortable doing. I wrote. And sent mails to a few friends who I knew would be honest. The following is an excerpt.

“I am introspecting again… It’s like spring cleaning…. I need your feelings on this. It may seem strange, but I’d like to know my faults/weaknesses/what have you. I am terribly uncomfortable with saccharine praise. Is it possible for a person to do things and not make ANY mistake?… There needs to be a not-so-nice bit in people somewhere.  All this praise makes me feel unnecessary conceit… I look for validity of all that we see around. I want to believe. In compliments, smiles, expressions of approval. And try as I may, I don’t see any validity. It’s a lonely place to be in.

…Cynicism makes me dizzy with fear. I am alone here in this world, usually. Loneliness is the last thing any of us chooses, right? I fear spending my time peeping at the world from behind a veil made of cocksure I-am-okay-by-myself attitude. … that loving is a lonely thing to do. And it is such a sorry plight. I am scared, because I have stepped into this threshold of accepting loneliness as the only way out of an insane desperation in search of something that is so wonderfully wholesome, that it overwhelms you for the rest of your life.”

(You must grant me bravery. Now that I am reading these words after a gap of seemingly zillion years, I admit I must’ve been quite a character back then. Who spring cleans the nice bits? Why analyse when you can live? Whatever. It was back then.)

And they wrote back. And lit up my life. Good Samaritans, all.

Don’t lose your spirit trying too hard!

OK just don’t sound so cocky when you answer calls. You might scare people away.

Forcing humility or self-evaluation has no value attached to it.

Conceit is not a problem as long as it is not apparent.

Talk because you want to, because you want to share. And there shouldn’t be the feeling of wanting to say the right things to get approval.

Each one’s emotional investment in a relationship can never be to the same degree as yours.

You simply have to be able to open your mind and speak.

I honestly believe that even though we lend power to everyone for the way we feel..at the end of the day we believe in ourselves through other’s eyes because it’s convenient. It’s easier to blame others than one’s own self.

Try doing things for some one else. Unless that coincides with what you want  to do too, it’s a strain, you have to push yourself, things don’t go right, everything is generally miserable because we are trying to go against nature.

…..and you definitely don’t need their (people who don’t know better) adulations.

Anything they don’t understand, they just idolize and antagonize.

I see the shelves at bookstores crammed with books on improvement, and how to live a better life… everyone seems hell bent on trying to teach the world how to live and how to improve (and wonder of wonders, the reviews point out that it actually works for people!!) I say this again – I’m not evolved enough to understand how I can improve by accepting parameters set by people whose views on life, and whose beliefs are probably poles apart from mine.

What we have to learn is  that every minute we live is important . Everything we do, think, see, taste, smell, blah, blah is important.

Look for peace within you. If you are not calm , no amount of love from the outside can be a balm. You are your own disease and your own medicine.

Well, phew. That’s a lot of lessons in a short time. Begone, unnecessary ‘introspection’! Reading and re-reading this (and all the other stuff they wrote) reminded me of the importance of simplicity.

We spend our times wondering whether or not we did the right thing. Or whether we received what we deserve. It can become an overwhelming whirlpool. Getting out of it requires much more than the knowledge of swimming. And some don’t even know that.

In such situations, skepticism may become necessary. Cynicism, however, is just hogwash.

(Skepticism – it is undesirable to believe a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true.)

(Cynic is one who “shows a disposition to disbelieve in the sincerity or goodness of human motives and actions, and is wont to express this by sneers and sarcasm.”)

My leanings towards a lonely road of disappointment at the moral and emotional inadequacies? They were curbed.

I have believed (and thankfully still do) in living and letting live (one friend did point out some enlightened souls like Mr. Axl Rose who believe in living and letting die). In the path of leading such a seemingly indifferent life, I may and do encounter times when I want control. Control things for the sake of love or self-preservation or both. But as long as my own harmless existence is not threatened, it is suicidal to want to be in control. As long as I remember to sip from my own wellspring of soul-wisdom from time to time, things normally turn out just fine!

Hope, as it survives

Living a difficult life could almost be compared to getting up from a sleep laced with humidity. Sweat and leaded head might make you realise you were better off asleep. But the wooziness also brings with it an unexplainable breeze of hope. Breeze! The sweat dries, the heaviness vanishes. With all different kinds of weather you know that when one is here, how can the other not come?