Like a river

I flow, not because I know where to go,
I flow because I need to flow.
I’m restless when I’m bound,
I need to find my rhythm, my life’s very own sound. 

Maybe I know where to go, but I’ll also go where the path takes me perhaps,
To explore some newness, an adventure maybe as I run down that steep valley,
and then take the curve to dance, to take the longer way home, to meet someone by chance?

Sometimes through a shady nook, as I slow down to rest;
the forest embraces me, we spend some time and she sighs, “oh stay”
I laugh, gurgle, and I say with zest,
“See those  boulders, rocks, and grassy patches beyond?;
they’ve been calling out to me all day”.

And so I continue through jungles and flat lands,
to smoothen out a rough stone, to water out that young plant,
to touch your life the way only I can.

 

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The only way to experience life in totality is to be open to experiences and to welcome them.

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Small moments of happiness #1

I lie warm in my bed, listening to the wind outside. Its winter now and the mornings have a slight chill. The mist is knocking on the windows asking to be let in before the sun rays make it disappear. I smile slowly and curl further into my quilt.  The biggest reason for happiness in my life, my little daughter breathes softly and deeply next to me. Her form rising and falling gently. I could watch her endlessly I feel.  These moments of peace and happiness are fleeting, and light,  yet so complete and incomparable.

My love that follows no rituals

In India, there are many traditional rituals centred around the well-being of husbands. Wives on these designated days, fast from dawn to dusk without consuming even a drop of water. They spend the day praying for the good health and prosperity of their husband.
The region I come from also has this ritual, but I have never celebrated this day in 17 years of my married life. My husband has never once questioned me. Not that I would do it if questioned, but somewhere its credit to him that he has not had the expectation neither felt the need for it.
Love is a feeling that evolves, or rather has its phases. Some days I love him more than most, other days I could be upset and unhappy with him.
I’ve often thought about my love for him and questioned myself especially on this day (almost every year) as to whether I should follow it? Would it make my love for him greater? Would it make it lesser? Would he like it? Does it even make sense? Will I resent it later? Does it prove a point? I’ve only wondered so far, hence I’m thinking maybe I should just try it the coming year. What do you say? 😉
Here’s something I wrote this ‘Karvachauth’ – the designated day this year –
I’ve often wondered why I don’t fast for you,
Is it because I don’t love you as much as other wives their husbands do? 
But I pray for your well being and happiness all year through.
Your friendship gives me strength, takes away my worries, and I have much less to fear.
Our talks, plans of travel and little celebrations, make the mundaneness of life, a lot easier to bear.
Our challenges, our achievements and limitations, with a little compromise we overcome all of it together.
We may not be perfect, but we understand one another,
I accept you as you do me,
I don’t say it often and neither do you, 
But we know the love we share is true.
We walk together through life – literally and figuratively. The feature image is a picture of us trekking together in Nepal. 

Nature’s call

 


 

The first night at Dayara Bugyal was turning difficult. I had been debating for the past 10 minutes or so whether to get out in the cold and pee. After a glance at my watch, my mind reasoned and won over my complaining body, that I would need to get up as it was only 4 am, and that since it was 2 hours to daylight, it made sense to get some more sleep which was possible only after relieving myself. So I struggled out of my sleeping bag, wore my gloves, zipped up my jacket – cursing my age and the related physiological needs, (watching the rest of the family cozy in their sleeping bags made me more miserable) and opened the zip of the tent. My grumbling mind was stunned into silence – there in front of me, were the Earth and heaven in splendor. The calmness of the moment – is impossible to describe, but I shall make an attempt. 

Day was breaking and while there were no rays of the sun, it wasn’t dark either. The wind was blowing gently and silently across the meadows of Dayara Buygal. A blanket of stillness engulfed the whole universe – the stars were still visible, but the sky was now slightly alight – and the silhouette of the mountain range in front of me was striking. It was a moment like no other. It was as if I had been given the opportunity to watch quietly the interactions of nature – as it stretched and shook herself out of slumber. Slowly, flowingly, gracefully – like a little girl still asleep, stretching out her arms above her head, smiling gently to herself – in the midst of a beautiful dream. I walked out enchanted and somewhat hurriedly with my camera to ensure I didn’t miss another moment of this beauty. And when I stood up silently gazing at the mountain range, and feeling the wind grazing my cheek, I felt PEACE. A moment of calm, stillness like no other – yet not solitude but of oneness with nature and infinite peace.

The call of nature forgotten, I reached for my camera and tried to capture what was possible or was this the real call of nature? Take a look at the pic I took.

Morning Blog

Visible are the Srikanth peak and Draupadi Ka danda. Dayara Bugyal is a 4 day trek in the state of Uttarakhand, India


 

 

I am grateful


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I am grateful,

for my experiences, my connection with nature whatever it is,
my love for travel, my love for art, for the rustic, the tribal, the earthy,
the mountains, and the sea, the rivers, the glaciers, the pine n the trees,
the thatched roofs, the local food, the dialect, the local language, my local friends…
they all remind me of my local connect.
the warmth of my friend, the hugs and the kisses,
the warmth of my house, the tenderness of by spouse,
the thrill of discovery as I travel,
the excitement of adventure, the anticipation of new connections,
the happiness of laughing on the streets as I explore them in unknown lands,
the anonymity, making me bold and reckless.
I travel to lose myself, I travel to find myself,
I travel to forget those I know, but to know more about those I don’t,
I travel to know the other world, but end up appreciating my own,
I travel to seek, I travel to give as well
I travel because I love being in a flux, to be moving, to have my energies moving,
to find who, what I don’t know, but every time I do, I wanna come home,
and then again, travel again.
I love my life, my house, my spouse, my kids, my friends, my work, my parents my in laws, myself, my body, my hobbies, my relationships,
I love my attitude, my company, my artisans
I love my routine, my exercises,
I love everything, my life – I love you and I’m grateful to/for you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

India is my country & I’m a proud Indian!

This post took a while to complete and is a week late, but still something worth sharing.

Date 16 Aug, 2018.

Through the day yesterday, I listened to patriotic songs and found my eyes welling up every now and then.  It made me wonder why. Through the year I didn’t do much for the country, though I thought about it a few times here and there. Why didn’t I think more about my country? Why didn’t/don’t I contribute more actively to its growth? These questions kept coming back to me – How we Indians think of India and what our feelings are for her? Is our patriotism for real?

Usually on 15 Aug, there’s a movie on TV about the freedom struggle, the sacrifices made to free our country and the price paid for it. This year there were movies like – Parmanu, Dangal, Toilet etc. A refreshing change for sure.  These movies are more about fostering pride in being Indian, about wanting to bring about change. These movies indicate it’s time to change – the struggle for freedom is over, now we struggle for recognition, for being proud. We might be slow to change, we might not be as developed in our thoughts – the gender bias, the caste bias, the money bias all remain, but we can and should still be proud of our country. Only if we are, will we strive to become proud of it. We believe in working hard, studying and gaining knowledge,  we have a great sense of belonging, strong family traditions, we have a vast diverse culture, thousands of food varieties, dance, music and folk art forms. Yes, we struggle with our population, it makes resources scarce, which is the cause of most problems in our country – infrastructure inadequacy, corruption, filth, poverty but we are all to blame for it – who else? And we will need to work on it.

Coming to the more important point – how do we make ourselves proud, how can we foster and bring about a feeling of national pride? A feeling of belongingness, a want to do more for the country? In my opinion the starting point is our schools – we have to get our children more involved in the success of our nation, we have to go beyond just getting them to sing the anthem. We have to get them to do more community service. Wouldn’t community service bring about the feeling of brotherhood? Of wanting to help your fellow countrymen in need, of wanting to keep your country clean, of working together for a greater common good? When you volunteer for an NGO, and work for them – you’ll find your feeling/ and the time you spend thinking of your fellow human beings growing – you’ll find your thoughts changing to how can I do more? And this you can channelize to help our country.

Stand up and sing the anthem when you hear it in the movie theatre. It’s a controversial topic I know, but you’ll feel different singing it than just standing there. Try it.

I’d love to know and hear more ideas on how we can work on this feeling of pride. How can we make it grow? How can we influence our children? Looking forward to some ideas/comments.

Yes (ad) minister!

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There’s nothing that’s taken India by storm in the last couple of years as much as Whatsapp. Everyone’s on it – right from the harried mom coordinating with the dabbawala, to the maid who sends chutti notices on WhatsApp, to the super mom who juggles her job, and instructs the tutor of the kiddo, and orders groceries from the corner dukan, to corporate biggies sending out emergency messages. The self employed being on it is a no brainer – most of the business happens on WhatsApp didn’t you know? 80% of my biz happens on WhatsApp, to resellers and buyers, from docs doling out medicine lists, to nurses, school principals to millennials, and centenarians, septanarians and even 7 year olds!! Every message has to be read instantly and reacted to. There’s a video to share, petitions to sign, recipes to circulate, products to be sold, lame husband wife jokes, those envy creating pics to be shared, FIFA matches to be discussed and lately child kidnapers to be warned about!!! Gosh – just about everything is happening on WhatsApp.

And so there are millions of groups around – a yoga class group, a tuitions group, a resellers group, an old trekkers group (that’s still active), and finally the most important one – the parent teacher association group, that brings together all the parents of each grade of my child’s school. It’s this group that is the subject of dissection today. I’m sure if you’ve been on such an important group, you’ve all had your share of MIQs (most imp questions) that you ignore at your peril – where parents discuss the portion of an exam to be held the next morning at 11pm, to the bus conductor having a cold, to a teacher’s incorrect correction, to a happy bday message, a good morning and good day message, an exhibition message, and of course to the most important ‘ who’s so and so’s mom’ questions 😉

The discussions are stimulating to say the least, everyone has something to say, even if it is ‘I agree’, or ‘yes’, or “I not agree”.  Fights and disputes are common, and we’ve all learned to accept these messages/queries/arguments with a pinch of salt. So I was a tad surprised when a mom in a group of the school WhatsApp got upset when another parent requested that bday messages to her child be sent personally and that the group need not be the medium for the same. She went ballistic and unbared her fangs/ unleased her writing prowess – she reminded everyone especially that particular parent that she was the one who had created the group as admin; indirectly reminding us all of her power. She then accused the parent of being jealous of her child, that her child was more popular than his.  She then proposed an election where the other members had to vote whether she was right or the other parent was. The irony was that the voting actually took place and she LOST! Can you believe that? She then quietly went into exile, meaning exited the group – I say credit to her. To be able to do that quietly, after all the fanfare?! On the whole I found the situation hilarious, but it reminded me of the power the group admins wield or think they wield!

More recently, a new PTEM (parent teacher executive member), who is the one point contact between the school and the parents, was appointed for the new academic session. The Whatsapp group members enthusiastically welcomed her (about 400 of them) and I’m certain she would have read each congratulatory message, and to be honest a little worried that I didn’t do the same (I’m certain there had been an emergency that day) and possibly she may have made note of which parent still hadn’t wished her – ouch! That would certainly hurt my prospects of making it to her good books. Well, I’m just as certain that she’s a wonderful lady, forgiving and mature. But wait, she’s not the heroine of this piece – the old PTEM seems to be having difficulty in adjusting to new scenario and I feel for her. Everything that the new PTEM puts down, the old PTEM has taken upon herself to rephrase and provide an explanation for. After all, weren’t the parents used to her style of communication for the past year? With every such message she sends out a disclaimer that she’s the erstwhile PTA and her name should not be used anywhere. The new PTEM thankfully seems relaxed & cool and takes this quietly without getting into power struggles. I really could feel the pain of the erstwhile PTEM until, one day the old PTEM suggested that we have sub PTEMs for each division, who would then convey parental concerns to the head PTEM – parents could write to the sub PTEM who would take matters further; and no surprises she self appointed herself as the sub PTEM of her child’s division. With much reluctance, I put an end to the suggestion the minute I read it stating clearly that I would communicate directly without any further layers. What was this? The making an organization of PTEMs? I guess its not surprising that people find it difficult to let go of power or to not misuse it. Controlling information is a huge responsibility and gets you in a power position for sure. And its heady – it will go to your head, if you allow it to. 

She backed off, a little hurt obviously, with her standard disclaimer that it was a suggestion and she was doing it to help the current PTEM since messages could go up to 400 a day. I said , thank you but no thank you. Thankfully, I got more ‘I agrees’ to hers.

 

P.S: WhatsApp has now however decided to empower its administrators some more – there’s a new feature that’s being rolled out to enable only the admin to post messages one way. God save us lesser mortals or should I say – God save the admin!

Would love to hear your WhatsApp stories as well.