Monday, August 29, 2016

Drifting with the current

I love to plan. I have back up A, B, C, D and E at any given point in time. It is very difficult for me to take life as it comes. That does not mean I cannot embrace change. Usually, I am quite comfortable with change, but I like thinking about multiple scenarios and thinking about what would happen in each one. :)  It is my favorite hobby. 

Recently, I have come to see that even the best laid plans sometimes don't pan out and what happens instead is not bad at all. In fact, some of the best things that happened to me were the least expected. Not even the least expected, they were the unimagined ones. I guess, when you come with plans for your life, you look at only the picture as you have visibility to it. But life is much bigger than anything you can ever see. You cannot truly expect to even comprehend it in its entirety. 

Yesterday, after a particularly frustrating conversation, I realized something - I have built a raft and I have been tiring myself to no end by trying to take it towards a destination, a destination I actually have no clue about. The more I try to go towards it, the more I feel the current pulling me in a completely different direction. Some things in life are worth the struggle, I don't deny that, but right now, I don't want to struggle as I am not sure, if the destination, the hope of something that might happen, is worth losing the present over.

So, I am sitting happily in my raft and letting the current take me in the direction it pleases. I am still alert, watching the current, making sure I am not drifting into some waterfall and falling down to a certain death, (At the end of it, death is the only certainty, but that is not what I want now) and taking in the beautiful views. Living in the present. These couple of days have been calming and already I see a few good things happening. 

Knowing me, I know that some island will catch my fancy and I will start trying to take my raft towards it. Just not today, or maybe this week or maybe athis month. 

Or perhaps build a ship after I reach this destination and conquer the island with the big guns. I don't know what I might do. The uncertainty has its charms and the possibilities, limitless. 

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Small things

I watched TV after a two week hiatus. I saw these really great ads for Havells.
The first one is of a kid studying in the flickering light and this lady sets him up with a light from her house. He feels his book light up, looks at her and smiles.
The second is of a girl standing outside a saree shop alone and asking someone to come soon and pick her up because it was dark. The shop owner runs in SVD switches on the light. They share a smile. I love both these ads. It reminds me how the smaller things in life sometimes mean a lot. Also about how a story can be told in a matter of minutes. Beautiful. Keep it up whoever you are.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Prayers and promises

Can prayers help us keep promises we never made, but should have? Do I need to promise something explicitly to actually stick to a decision? What if, in a two way street, I am stuck one way, because of words never said and because of words said? 
Random thoughts on a late work night. :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A prayer

She was the one that found me. She found me, when I did not know I was lost. She loved me with all her heart and never expected much in return. She gave me solace when I could hardly find it and she was always there, looking at me with those beautiful eyes, full of love and acceptance. Zoya, is becoming worse and I feel so helpless and frustrated that nobody is able to find what is wrong with her. Every vet visit fills me with such sorrow that I just want to go drown myself somewhere.

I dont know what is wrong with her. I am praying that we are able to find what is wrong at least this time around. I want her to get better. I want the dog who used to run and jump and skip and play every day. I am ready to come up with ways to expend her energy. It is heart wrenching to see her lie down wearing a huge t shirt and stare at me with those eyes. 

I am praying that she recovers sometime soon and that I get my favorite naughty pup back. Someone please save us. 

Cure for stupidity

Is there any cure for stupidity? When I am talking to someone who cannot see what is right in front of them and is searching all over the world for it, I want to just scream. I am actually screaming inside while hoping that the voice I am hearing is inside my head and has not magically escaped and found its way out.

I am not mild mannered. However, I have learnt diplomacy. Honestly, early man had it much easier. He/She could just grunt and walk away or throw a club at someone's head. I cannot do that. I can just hope and pray for a cure for stupidity. 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Mental image

Today, I was browsing Facebook(I'm one of those daily browsers who doesn't post much in terms of content. Or so I like to think) when I came across a friend suggestion. This lady was wearing a short skirt and hugging a tree. I couldn't recognize her at first. Later I realized, this was one of my neighbors whom I'd never spoken to, possibly because I'd pegged her as very conservative. Then, I spent sometime looking at the Facebook profile pictures of my friends. I realized something interesting. We all have a mental image of ourselves and sometimes, that might be in complete contrast to how the world sees us. We could be chirpy, pretty, sensible, angry, sexy, youthful, serious, old, patient, impatient, etc etc. We try to portray that through images and in a controlled environment like Facebook, we work on our pictures to express ourselves. We can't always be how we see ourselves to be. But the times we are, we can definitely preserve that memory.

How I see myself has changed so much over the years that sometimes, it doesn't make any sense to me at all. The girl from 5 years back, might actually find me quite irritating now and the current me is finding that funny. I wish there's a way to plot mental image evolution. If only I can look into people's heads and see how they see themselves. It will be fun.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Ornery vs. Ordinary

Every time I read the word ornery, my brain usually replaces it with ordinary. I don't understand why that happens. Given that one means bad tempered and the other just means something average, I often wonder.

I remember the first time I read the word. It was when I was reading William. Someone called him an ornery boy. Anyone who has read William knows that the author uses a very colloquial way of writing. But still, ordinary did not sit well in that sentence.
I found the meaning and I did remember it.

Perhaps because I knew ordinary first, it still doesn't register. Maybe I should try using ornery in more sentences and let it stay in my head. Hmmm

There are days

There are days
When a lobophile hates words
There are days
When a foodie starves, willingly
There are days
When conversations seem pointless

There are days
When nothing makes sense

There are days
When the pain makes you forget
Every single pleasure

But these are the days
That exist to remind you
Of all that's also good in the world

For you can't identify the light
Without the darkness
You can't value love
Without the pain
You can't value words
Without the silences
And you can't value companionship

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Eternity

I've been rereading Sophie's world. This was one book I absolutely fell madly in love with when I was very impressionable(sometimes I think I still am). Anyway, reading it makes me wonder about eternity. Are we all just forms that come together, because we're what we're perceived to be? If there are no perceptions, if there are no judgements, how would we be? How much of our physical form is inseparable from our mental view of who we are? Would we look different, act different if we thought of ourselves differently? Given that even millennia are meaningless when we think of eternity, can a few seconds actually be equivalent to millennia?

These are all random unrelated questions, but perhaps they are related, in that they all came from me in this exact same order.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Surprises

I am in love with valparai and sethumadai. We ended up here when we least expected it and this trip has been such a revelation. I realize how much more I can do and see what all I can possibly do with life. When you least expect it, life throws surprises your way and if you're ready to embrace it, you get rewarded in ways you never thought possible. A wise person told me, you might not get what you want, but you'll get what you deserve. That's what I believe in too and if anything the last few days have reconfirmed that belief. Life is beautiful.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Paths

Yesterday, we were planning a drive from Cochin to Madurai(that didn't happen). There were two routes shown in the ever efficient Google maps. One was ten minutes longer. I was thinking we should take the one that took less time when I noticed the distance. The one with ten minutes more was actually almost 100km longer.
At that point, every person thinking of going and looking at maps has two choices. Go through a more scenic route, that will slow you down, take every minute as it comes, crawl along watching the world. Or go through a faster route, with speed as your constant companion and good roads egging you onwards.
Both the travelers will reach the same destination and even at around the same time. But it depends on the person as to how much they'll enjoy the path. Someone who wants the beauty will derive great joy from the scenic route. The time wouldn't matter as the experience that would matter to them was the immersion.
Someone who thrives on the speed and the easy roads will love the second path. Put them in the opposite paths and reaching the destination will be the only joy they derive. If they have any energy left that is. Sometimes in our enthusiasm to reach a destination, we forget the fine print. Sometimes you don't even realize there's a fine print. Life is funny that way.

Time bound

If there was no time, what would you do? I thought of this today when I was reading a very interesting article in brain pickings. Removing time from the picture will make life a lot more interesting and definitely more confusing. Would money continue to have value? My concept of money is again, as something that is given to me for work done that is typically time bound. When I was doing all this thinking about time, we missed the route we were supposed to take and ended up taking a different one. Neither of us were perturbed as we were not on a time limit.
Here is where this gets interesting. At work, we all have time limits. You need to finish things in a certain time limit. Else ultimately your company is not going to make money. So how do you tie timelessness with this? Timelessness is your personal choice. You can talk about it, implement it in your time. It isn't that time doesn't exist, it is that time doesn't become a measure of what and how you do. When you are getting something in return for your time, that someone else depends on, you have a choice, to only do what you love and by virtue of doing something you love, time doesn't matter. Or you do it even if you don't love it, because you get that time in which time doesn't matter. You are still bound by it, but not as much as you would be otherwise.
I'm racing against time most of the time. I set SMART goals where the T (time bound) is also a factor. I set it for everything. Including writing. When my friend told me to write with the assumption that everything I write will go into the trash, but the fact that it is going into the trash will reduce the probability of something going in the next day, I was upset. "why should I waste time" I argued with him. But it wasn't a waste of time. It was an investment, a practice. Somewhere along the way, in trying to live my life, I've forgotten to enjoy the process. The path is more fulfilling than the destination, because the destination is just death.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Quirky works

I saw this picture at an arts cafe today. I really loved it. The photographer as well as the models had a quirky sense of humor. When you start watching the world for what it is, you see a million things that you wouldn't have noticed normally..

I love you

I don't notice the birds or the bees
There didn't interest me then
They don't interest me now
I don't see the beauty in unexpected places
There's so much to admire in all that's known
I don't see a brand new me walking around conquering the world
I don't see a gamut of unknown emotions

With you, I see what is, for what it is
And I still continue to observe
And for that, I love you

Means of expression

I keep evaluating new ways to express myself. (Ok, my photography blog has to be updated, i have the pictures, i am just taking my time in posting it) I found this video blogging website someone had recommended to me. 
I tried a couple of video recordings and I actually liked it. Maybe, I will create these journals and store them somewhere so I can revisit it a few years later to see how I sounded. ;)

Expected value

Last night, we were supposed to go to Thailand. We had driven down to Cochin when a friend messaged me a news article about blasts that rocked the country. We started evaluating staying back.

Since I'm an analyst, we decided to look at the expected value. The probability of the blasts happening again near us, multiplied with the value of our lives, subtracted from the probability of nothing happening multiplied with the cost of cancelling/rescheduling our trip. As logical as I claim to be, I couldn't put a value to my life. So the cost of going ended up becoming huge and we cancelled the trip. This got me thinking. We can't rationalize(at least I can't) when there's a perceived threat to our lives, no matter how miniscule it is. Why is that so? Given that there are billions of lives in the planet, why do we all think(me) that we're so indispensable?
Maybe, like my friend says, it's all about wanting to thrive. I can't ever accept that in the scale of the universe I'm a nobody. I'm convinced that even as a tiny particle, I've a role to play. Maybe that's my ridiculous ego at work here. Maybe, it's much more than that or much less than that.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Mirror and shadow

I always thought I was the mirror and you were the shadow,
You found yourself in me and I gained meaning
What is a mirror if it reflects nothing?
What's a mirror if it cannot help you find yourself?
I loved the symbolism and you loved the view..

Little did I realize then, that mirror and shadow we weren't,
But two mirrors facing each other, setting up a million realities
Each as meaningless as the other
And every single one lost forever

The crack in one reflecting light from elsewhere ;
The other facing death penalty unknowingly,
For with the loss of one identity, comes the destruction of another,
Unless new meanings are found and new directions sought!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Embracing the dark

Within all of us, there is a very dark part. This part is seldom seen and acknowledged by us. The whole world gets to glimpse it on and off, (depending on how much you express your emotions). We are often told that it is important to be happy. But I guess the important message we miss is that, we have to be able to embrace all aspects of our personality. The dark, the light, the anger, the joy and the depression. It is not easy. It is especially difficult, if you condition yourself to remain positive. I met this brilliant poet named Arundhathi, who told me, being positive is not about always being happy and cheerful. It is about actually being able to see the different shades of black and still embracing it. It is about being hopeful about life, with all its shades. 

This weekend, I scared myself with the kind of poetry I was writing. I never knew I could write something like that and in a way, embracing the dark has set me free. Perhaps, I will post it in my blog or I will get it out as a book. I dont know. I just have to make an effort to write. (One reason the blog has been relatively inactive is because I have been writing poetry that I don't post. :)

Sunday, August 07, 2016

A weekend to remember

For the last couple of days, I was at the Bangalore poetry festival. I seldom try to approach or interact with celebrities as I have preconceived notion that they might be too busy. But this weekend, I spoke to quite a few and their attitude and encouragement made my day and hopefully will remind me to stretch my limits.

I was watching a panel which had Vasundhara Das. She sang a Spanish song and I was so moved by her voice. The whole room was transported to Spain when she was done. I didn't understand a word but felt an array of emotions. After the session, I walked up to her and tried striking a conversation. Surprisingly, she was very down to earth, easy to talk to and cheerful. She encouraged me to follow my dream of singing mentioning that age can never be a true barrier. I also took a photograph with her, which is going to end up being on my desk some day.

Then, there was a session with poet Arundhathi. I was a volunteer at the fest and had interacted with her on Saturday. She had such grace and poise, so I wanted to listen to her talk. Her poetry collection was also quite awe-inspiring. There were a few poems in it that inspired me to reach out to the darkness within and actually write like I typically would not. I spoke to her after her session today and the conversation was quite enjoyable. Some day, when I get my poetry collection out, she would have definitely played a role in inspiring it.

I also met some wonderful regional poets - Mr.Sachidanandam from Kerala and Ms.Kutti Revathi from Tamil Nadu. They had quite a few revolutionary ideas. The former's poetry about Mad men and the latter's about tigers made me just stop in my tracks. The best part, they were open to talking about it with a nobody (Nobody in literary circles right now)

The whole experience was mind blowing. I was so inspired to write. (I have been writing a lot of poetry that I have not been posting in my blog. It was also one of the reasons I wanted to go to the festival)
I am really inspired to seriously evaluate my writing career.

Organizations like Atta Galatta are doing a great service to the creative scene in this town and I am thankful for them. This was definitely a weekend to remember. 

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Fear of the future

I guess everyone, goes through a stage in their life when they keep seeing a million options and they don't know what is going to happen. Each road seems either as good or as bad as the other.
I've a very strong fear of the future now. I don't doubt that I'll face it, but I'm scared of the changes and how the transition phase is going to be. Maybe Mars is in retrograde or something right now. Or I'm just as imaginative as ever and creating scenarios when there are none.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Rediscovering life

Sometimes, you think you know yourself well. What you want, where you will be and how you will be. Then, you go through some crisis(often self imposed) and are left questioning and rediscovering a new part of you, that you never knew existed.
Recently, I fell in love with life all over again. It happened in a strange place, in the middle of a museum hall. I was looking at the painting of Irises by Van Gogh. I'd never thought I would fall in love with painting and look at it in so much detail. It was magnificent.
The story behind it was also interesting. Van Gogh painted it when he was in an asylum. Isn't it strange that something so beautiful was created out of an in built frustration? Not strange, amazing rather. How connected is life, if Van Gogh's breakdown all those years ago helped create something which woke me up from a slumber.

Habits

It is really so easy to fall into a habit. I think the human mind is conditioned that way.  Sometimes I think if you'd followed routines in the times gone by, predators would have figured it out and eaten you up. So you could not have had a routine necessarily but you could have a few habits. (my excuse for those times I'm not punctual)
Sometimes, once we break a habit, no matter how comfortable it was, it becomes very difficult for us to get back to it. You feel bad, as you remember the joy the experience gave you and are actually sad too, knowing it's never going to happen again.
I'll take a moment, to remember a few habits- good, old, interesting and bid them adieu.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

When you least expect

Sometimes in life, when you least expect it, something so beautiful happens that you are left wondering if it was real, or if it was just a dream. Something unexpected and quick.. It leaves you wondering and questioning all that you know about life. 

Given that life is about the moments that take your breath away, I want to take a minute to thank him up above for those surprises, that make life well worth living. Thank him for reminding me time and again, that no war is lost until the final battle is fought and there are beautiful things waiting to be discovered if you drop preconceived notions and embrace life..