Her secret….

He observed that she had turned secretive and mysterious. All his gentle hints, probing and leading questions didn’t lead anywhere. What was she hiding? Had she messed up the finances again? But everything seemed to be in order. Or had she damaged something he cherished? A quick check and then a detailed one showed that wasn’t the case too. Had she found somebody else? Is that why she looked so happy and startled so guiltily when he came across her suddenly?

He swung between outrage, anger, depression and plain old sadness. Finally, he decided to set his pride aside and beg her to stay with him – he didn’t want to know her secret. He just wanted her in his life. When he said the same thing to her, she was so surprised  at first that her mouth actually hung open for a long time. He thought that she was not convinced and so spoke a lot. When she finally got over her surprise, he was disconcerted to see her break into a belly laugh, which threatened to never end.

She finally confessed her secret – she had decided to finally work towards her passion and had signed up for an online class on high school biology. She hid it from him because she was afraid he would scorn and tease her. After all, she had just turned 57 last month but had never mentioned her goal to be a botanist!

Note – set a target for 200 words – however have exceeded that. Need finer editing skills. 🙂

 

Escape from the world

It had just not been her day. She had woken up late – a bad start. She had rushed to get her chores done before dashing off to work. Her day was super busy. She missed lunch and made do with copious cups of tea. Her boss and co-workers contributed their bit to make the day worse. She literally watched the clock, praying for the day to end quickly. And then, she had a bad commute home. Completely frustrated and depressed, she decided that she didn’t want to stay in this world any more. It was painless and quick and she  found peace and happiness – when she escaped …. into the pages of the humorous fiction novel she had purchased the previous weekend. 🙂

Note – set myself a target to complete a blog post in 100 words – overshot it by 21 but that is ok for a start – I guess.

 

The mixed bag of parenting

Your child’s birth is not just her or him entering the real world,

It also marks the day you step into the whole new universe of parenting.

I don’t know if we can call it a promotion,

Since it calls for a lot of trials and experimenting.

 

Every stage of the child’s life is a discovery for them.

A learning for you, a lesson here and a practical course there.

You learn not to panic when he falls off the cradle,

You understand not to shout, when she tears down the stairs.

 

When the routine of vaccines and head shaving and ear piercing come by,

doctors and other people find it hard to find out who to console first.

The toddler who is quite cool about the whole affair, basking in the attention,

Or the mother, who thinks that she is the absolute worst.

 

Aah – a working mother, welcome to the world of guilt.

For not being there when she gets back from school or for any such thing.

For shouting to get the homework done, for yelling to get the chores finished.

For discipling and time-outs – asking to put away their play things.

 

Starting school seems more of a trauma, than an adventure.

The child cries a bit till it enters the classroom.

Then he forgets to cry in the joy of learning and discovery.

Making friends, having fun and starting to bloom.

 

What about the parent who drops off a crying child?

Their imagination runs riot – the worst scenarios are thought about.

Their son has not stopped crying – they are the worst parents.

Of these two facts, they don’t have any iota of doubt.

 

What about the next step of studies and the various activities and clubs?

Should you help, shouldn’t you – where is the damn manual available?

What is it that you are supposed to do at every step of the way?

Every parent learns the game anew – of parenting or of scrabble.

 

When she goes to high school, when he starts college,

When she starts a job and when he gets married.

What is the time when the parents cease to parent?

When they don’t get so hot and harried?

 

You know – what makes this heart ache so worthwhile?

What makes the world so beautiful, nice and bright?

The toddler lisping – ‘I have the best dad in the world’

The pre teen asking for advice on how to get that project right.

 

The teenager hugging you and saying ‘Love you’

The young woman , flying home every now and then just to visit.

The list goes on, the children age and so do you,

but parenting just goes on and on and on, doesn’t it?

 

 

Thoughts on yoga

You know how it is – we never give any importance to what we have in our backyard. We go searching all over the world for it. Paulo Coelho wrote an entire novel on it. Remember “The Alchemist”? So it is with most of us Indians – we ignore yoga that has been around for centuries and go hit the gym, join a Zumba class, sign up for aerobics, enroll for Pilates and so on and so forth.

I got acquainted with yoga in my late thirties and took to it immediately. With our near nomadic lifestyle, we have changed 4 residences and 3 cities in the past decade and I have had different yoga instructors.

Some of the things I love about yoga are:

  • There is no rush – we really have to take it slow on the mat which is a big contrast from our everyday life. The time that we get to just slow down is such a huge boon. Of course I refer to conventional yoga and not power yoga.
  • Our body responds even if we don’t reach the final stage of an asana – there is no pressure to complete. The aim is to be comfortable – everything else will follow. If you cannot do a headstand, there are so many other asanas that give you similar benefit.
  • The rest between asanas is at least as much as the asana hold time – to put that clearly, if you hold an asana for 15 breath counts (1 inhale and 1 exhale is 1 breath), then the rest should be for minimum 15 breath counts, if not more, before we start the next asana.
  • I dont dread pulling out my mat for yoga – unlike the HIIT when I literally have to talk myself into pulling on my shoes. I know that even though HIIT will give me a toned body, the process hurts. Whereas yoga is a breeze – it is more of a relaxation than the burn.
  • It has definitely helped calm me down – from always trying to look at ticking off the next item on the list, I have learnt to be a bit more relaxed. Of course, for a person like me, complete, total relaxation is not possible at all but yes – I have slowed down.
  • I am on the path of learning to meditate – slowly getting better at this.
  • It has driven so many aches and pains away – my chronic lower back pain has disappeared now.
  • My stamina and endurance have gone up.

Now obviously, when there are so many positives, there have to be some cons too. My viewpoint of the cons of yoga:

  • It has become an elite pastime – the fees being charged for regular yoga classes ensures that it will never reach the masses. They need it the most – our farmers, laborers, blue collar workers and other lower income groups – but can they afford Rs. 1000/- a month to attend classes? The amount I have mentioned is on the lower side for yoga classes. What we need is a national movement to spread yoga across the length and breadth of the country – maybe many public yoga Kendra to be set up in residential areas – where yoga is taught to all at nominal rates.
  • The various offshoots of yoga that have come – hot yoga, beer yoga etc to name a few – should be banned. Or we should at least have a patent and say, don’t call it yoga.
  • There are hardly a handful of schools that have yoga as part of the curriculum. Maybe a law should be passed to start the day with a yoga period.
  • The governments could do more for making yoga a way of life than just making sure that our mats are rolled out during International Yoga Day.

I am sure that yoga can be the first step to a healthier nation and can really help cure us of many lifestyle diseases. Here is hoping and praying that our nation wakes up to the ancient art of yoga and get it benefits soon. 🙂

The power to change…

Yupaksh was a young man in his late twenties. He had followed the normal middle class route of doing well in his Class XII boards, getting into a premier engineering college and then being selected in an MNC as a graduate engineer trainee during the campus placements. He went away from home to the big bad city of Mumbai, for the first time when he started working but the homesickness drove him back home every three months. He worked hard at what was assigned to him, intent on satiating his thirst for knowledge. He was now five years into the job and had a second promotion under his belt.

He had made friends at work and Samin and Vishwast helped ease his loneliness in the flat they shared. It was December and a holiday like atmosphere at work because of Christmas. Yupaksh’s parents were on a well-deserved holiday – so he couldn’t think of going home. Samin suggested that they do a bike trip to Goa. It would be carnival time. But, of course, Goa anytime was fun. They firmed up their plans, some food for the journey, rooms to stay in (that was a herculean task by itself – booking rooms during carnival season), mapping their routes, servicing their bikes etc. They decided to take two bikes only so that one of them could take rest by turns and their pace could be maintained. They decided to start on Saturday early morning and reach Goa by evening – spending 3 days there and coming back by Wednesday evening.

Saturday dawned and they started out at 5 am – bright and eager. Their plan was to take the scenic Western Ghat route rather than the boring NH route. They made a few stops for breakfast and lunch and of course, to take snaps and reached Goa by evening, as expected. A well deserved rest and their vacation started in full form the next day. They did the usual touristy things of Fort Aguada, Anjuna beach flea market, Mangesh Devi temple etc etc and had a perfect three days. It was Yupakhs’s maiden visit to Goa and he was floored by it. All too soon, it seemed that their short holiday  was over and it was time for them to get back.

It was on Wednesday morning that Yupaksh shocked Samin and Vishwast by telling them to carry on to Mumbai – he was staying back in Goa. He had decided that he was not interested in the hustle-bustle of Mumbai and his job and wanted to take a sabbatical. His resignation email was drafted – his plans for collecting his stuff from their Mumbai flat were made for a couple of months later – his current plans including searching for a small accommodation in Goa (hotels were too exorbitant for long term stay) and he would use the money he had saved for his initial months. Later, he planned to work on his sculpting, which he had given up because of college and work and earn a living with that.

Samin and Vishwast tried hard to convince him – brought in his parents into the conversation telling him how disappointed they would be. When that didn’t work, they tried telling him how well he was doing at work. The answer to that was that he didn’t feel alive and happy at work. For once in his life, Yupaksh wanted to take an emotional decision rather than a practical one and there was nothing that could change his mind. Samin and Vishwast went back to their lives in Mumbai, promising to keep in touch.

A month went by, two and then six. Their weekly telephone calls continued. Yupaksh mentioned how he was working in his small space for 15-16 hours to achieve perfection, and Samin and Vishwast told him about how they were working in their large offices for the same time to enhance sales and generate more profits. It was during the end of the sixth month that Yupaksh told them that he had finally managed to sell a sculpture to an European, who had commissioned 7 more. After six months of struggle, discarding hundreds of statues, leaving tens unfinished, hours upon hours of sweat, he had finally made a few sculptures that could be sold. It looked  as if his alternate career was finally taking off. It didn’t matter that he would earn a fraction of what he had earned previously. It didn’t matter that there would be a steady trickle of money now that he had found one buyer.

What mattered was that he was doing something he loved and getting paid for it. What mattered was that he didn’t measure the time that he put into his passion in terms of hours. He measured it by what he created. What mattered was that he was genuinely happy and at peace. What more could one expect in life?

 

Imitation

Oscar Wilde said “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

that mediocrity can pay to greatness.”

Is imitation really so bad?

Can imitation be good or is it outrageous?

 

For argument’s sake, let us consider all the positives,

kids learn mimicking their parents.

Good manners, politeness and good habits,

Sharing, caring and all things of essence.

 

Animals, everywhere the world over,

the ones that have been tamed and trained.

Learn to jump through hoops, sing and whistle,

walruses, seals, macaws, dolphins – just a few are named.

 

How do they learn their tricks actually?

It is a two step process, you know.

The first is just pure imitation,

which gives them a reward or treat, though.

 

An apprentice, a trainee, a person just starting on his craft.

Looks at the master, and copies his teacher’s art.

Once he has mastered the technique and learned the basics well,

That is when he, on a new journey, embarks.

 

A doctor, a lawyer, a professional in any field,

Learns what he needs to know by studying his seniors.

Adapting what they do initially, quite blindly,

Until he creates his own way and becomes an achiever.

 

However, yes, there are cases of people,

who don’t always aim to be winners.

Mimicry artists earn their salaries,

by imitating stars, politicians and public figures.

 

Some writers and poets and painters,

imitating the style, the signature and the tone.

Who want to bask in reflected glory,

Don’t want to develop anything of their own.

 

However, I think this group or section of people,

is actually a small minority.

Most normal people just abhor,

any form of piracy.

 

So, to Oscar Wilde, I might say that imitation

is not always due to mediocrity alone.

It is because a person is new at it and learning,

Until they find a style and technique of their own.

 

 

 

 

Those quirky habits

We all have them (note – this is my way of justifying mine 🙂 ) – those quirky, weird habits that started off during our childhood, blossomed during our teens and are now standing firm like the strong trees, that cannot be knocked over by any carpenter or force of nature.

Here is my list of some of these quirky habits, in no particular order:

  • Banging of foreheads for the second time if we banged heads accidentally the first time – it happens sometimes – right, that both of you look up the same time and bang your heads accidentally. The logical thing to do would be to massage your bumps and carry on with life.  Of course not – first you have to bump heads again – lightly this time – if both of you don’t want to grow horns. This was something that was told to me when I was very young – that scared me enough to start it.
  • Halt when you see a cat – especially a black cat. Wait for somebody else to cross before you do – because obviously you will get ill luck.
  • Never going to sleep wearing new clothes – didn’t you know that whatever you dream when you are sleeping in your new clothes comes true? What if you dreamt that you became bankrupt?
  • Not stepping out for something important in a group of 3 – no explanation for this one. Maybe 3 is a bad number.
  • Saying ‘Shiva Shiva’ quickly if you had mentioned the words snake or snakes in any language after dusk. This is obviously so that Lord Shiva can help control those snakes that may decide to come to you thinking that you had called them.
  • Not starting a book if I feel that I cannot finish it in a day or two.
  • Stepping right inside the house for a glass of water if anybody asks you your destination when you are stepping out. Didn’t you know that you won’t achieve what you set out to do otherwise.
  • Having a lucky pen and a lucky dress 🙂

This list doesn’t seem to be getting over at all – so making a forced stop here. 🙂