Monday, September 26, 2016

Poisonous Elixirs

Speaking to a few people, is like getting to sip the elixir of life. You feel alive, invigorated and all set to conquer the world. Speaking to a few others is like getting to sniff the poison that came from the milky ocean when it was being churned for the same amrutha. (Shiva has this to save the world. A very interesting story). The funny thing though is that, initially, you do not know about the elixir or about the poison. They are both new tastes. How do you know whether you are getting the elixir or the poison?

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Racing to the finish

Sometimes, I feel like I am racing towards a finish line. Running so fast that everything around me blurs. 

Like, one of those pictures in the sports pages, where somebody beats a world record and they have this picture with just them in the focus and everything else out of focus. I do not have time to think, I do not have time to see, I just let my legs lead me. Do I even know what I am running towards? Why? I cannot stop right now to think, because the answer is not what I seek. I am just running, because that is the only thing I can think of doing right now. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Legacy

I got my grandfather's ring today. I wasn't expecting it at all but the moment I saw it, I had to have it, as I was reminded of him. He passed away in 2011. He was a prominent figure in my childhood. We had a friendly relationship and used to squabble over television channels, movie actors and of course food. An orthodox man, he made a lot of allowances for me and my sister and was quite open minded and encouraging. He was a feminist as far as we were concerned and used to take an active interest in my social life, when i was in college.

His health deteriorated as he aged and his last few years were quite unlike the early years I experienced with him.

I can't claim to miss him because my life has changed so much, that even I don't recognize it any more.

But often times, when I see children I'm reminded of all the snacks he used to get us, the comics he got me almost every other day when he went for a walk, the days he would listen to me as I prepared for speech competitions and his enthusiasm to read anything I wrote. He had a good life and in his own way, helped me have a good one too.

Thatha, wish you were here to see it all, but I know you'd have been happy with most things(definitely not the doggies).

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Evolution

You fall down, you get up, you fall down again. Then you try to figure out why you fell. Sometimes, there is someone available who will tell you that. Other times, there is nobody around and you keep making assumptions with the available level of visibility you have and worse still, you never listen to the voices around.
You fall, you rise and you never give up. You can only evolve if you figure out why you fell and try to avoid it. In some cases, that behavior might be integral to who you are, so you can choose something else you want to do and accept that the fall was perceived and not real. In some others, you might become a better version of who you really are.
But whatever it is, fall. Else you are going to be who you are and the way you are, and everyone can do with some improvement or the other. If you think you don't need to, you're wasted anyway.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Systemic changes

We've a grandmother in my extended family, who never had kids. When I was a kid, I was used to my granny telling me that she didn't have any family of her own in a tone that indicated pity. At that time, I didn't question it either. My concept of family and the importance of it was very traditional then. 


As I grew older, I started noticing her in a very different light. She was far not independent, encouraging, had a lot of different ideas and was in general some body I continued to like and pay attention to, even though my relationship with everyone changed over time. I now realize that she was someone who was looked at differently because her choices were different from the traditional ones. In this day and age, her choices might still not be applauded, but they would not be judged as much is what I think. I was thinking about her as I was battling with a few basic questions myself as a few unexpected and expected events unfold in my professional and personal life.

What do we do when there are some ideas that are very different from ours? If the ideas are ahead of their times, they are applauded in the future, but in the present, the person who has the idea and decides to live with it, is the one that bears the brunt of the criticism. 

When you want to live differently in any system, personal or professional, it is never easy. 

Many wage a losing battle and give up. Perhaps they are frustrated, perhaps they are unhappy, or perhaps they even learn to live happily after some point. What works for majority, should have something fundamentally secure that would help anyone settle into it right?

Some garner forces and try to present a uniform front, even if the ones on their side, are united in nothing else but that one tiny idea. Some try to make smaller changes and still go with the flow in most cases.

A handful keep trying to do what they think is right and challenge the system, knowingly or unknowingly. 

This post is a dedication to all those who refuse to give up. I know it looks like you are fighting a losing battle, but perhaps, the battle is what defines you and gives you unlimited joy. Maybe, it is not a battle in the first place, but just a new way of living. Maybe, you are not alone as you think. There are 7 billion people in the world, and somewhere, there is someone else who is going through the exact same thing as you, no matter how unique you think your situation is. 

Remember them and stay strong. Perhaps, you might be happier if you can let go, but letting go, is never going to help you remain happy long term I think. If it could, you would have already done that. Hang in there, the best is yet to come. 

Striking a balance

I am trying to strike a balance.

I claim that there is a range of values between the probabilities of 0 and 1. But in reality, it's easier to take the zero or the one in a lot of scenarios and not even realize it. For eg, x likes me vs. X hates me is an easier stand to take than accepting that x likes me in a few instances, might be neutral in a few more and might actually dislike my ideas in a few more. I'm simplifying my conflict with the most common example I can think of, because the others are difficult to pen down too.

How do you strike a banana? Is balance over rated? Can I truly believe in something if it's not black and white? Philosophically the answer is yes. But realistically, I don't know the answer. Rather, the answer varies by the situation. Perhaps all this introspection is going to lead me down a path of self awareness. Perhaps not.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Graphic imagery

I'm really disturbed by how we let social media get away with anything. In the name of awareness and outrage, this idiot had posted a video of a dog being tied and beaten. I accidentally saw five seconds of it as when I scroll down, sometimes videos auto play. I was very disturbed. Isn't circulating this video as bad as making it? Why do we allow such videos and images to exist? Why do we thrive indirectly on suffering saying, it was so horrible and I'm going to show you just about how? When we certify movies, in the day and age where just about anyone can star in a home made movie, how can we control the violence in it?
Should it just be the job of citizens who'll immediately block it and refuse to let it spread?

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Thankful

It has been a long day. Long week in a few ways, and as I sit down, all i want to do is crib. 

Right then, two cuddly, loving monsters come and lie down on either side of me as I sit staring at my laptop. I want to thank him up above for giving me such unconditional love. 

Thank you for that fine day in 2013 for planting the thought of getting a dog home. It has changed my life for the better and perhaps, also made me a better person (at least in their eyes)

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Control vs. Strength

A very wise person asked me today, if i know the difference between control and strength. Rather, what the difference was. Honestly, I immediately said, "Strength is knowing things will be ok even if they are not in control" 

Do I truly believe that, yes. Do I actually implement it in my life? Not always. Often, I hold on to ideas, dreams, aspirations and even a habit, even though I might not like it, because it offers me the ability to control it to some extent. Maybe, I will be ok if i let go of it. Not maybe, I will actually be ok if i let go of it, but the fear of letting go and losing control over rides my belief, in my strength. Will I truly be able to rise above the obvious and reach a stage where I have control and am strong or even one, where I am ok drifting and accepting that once in a while I have to let go before I swim against the tide towards what I want? There I go again, talking about swimming against tides and controlling my actions. Will I ever reach a stage where I will be ok letting go of control completely and surrendering myself to the will of the universe? Take life, one day at a time? Like one of the sadhus I aspire to be like?

Stepping back

Ages ago, I wrote about knowing the difference between persistence and stupidity. Rather knowing which causes you are going to see a positive impact if you keep persisting and which are the ones where you are banging your head against a wall, hoping it will crumble. 

I am now trying to take a step back and evaluate my life and honestly, I realize that I have been acutely stupid in a few cases. I hate thinking of myself as stupid. :( So, I am trying to firstly forgive myself and secondly accept it is ok to be stupid, even eternally.

When you contemplate, life seems far less scary because you can truly see where you have come from to where you where. For me that picture always brings a smile on my face. Maybe I have a bloated head. But that same bloated head is being constantly banged against a wall and it was the thickness that prevented my skull from being cracked. 

In a few cases where I had to just walk a few inches forward to get what I wanted, since I had  a bleeding head, I ended giving up. And, I did not understand where I was doing what. I am still not sure if I know, but accepting I am stupid has been liberating in a way, so let me figure out how to do what I need to do next. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A world of possibilities

In front of us, lies a world of possibilities. We refuse to see it at times, because we are so scared to open our eyes to it. Most of us walk around with eyes tightly closed. We are stuck in beautiful comfort zones which we created for ourselves, but we cannot truly get out of. We are stuck in nice fancy boxes. They are nice, they are fancy, but they are still boxes. I want to break out and truly embrace the world in front of me. 

As I write this, I realize that nothing is stopping me from doing that except myself. So as of this moment, I give myself permission to think beyond the obvious, see beyond the visible and question everything like Ruth, my friends four year old. 

Why should I do this? Why is this not possible? Who do I want to be? The last question is the one I think I will leave open ended for now. For, the world I will embrace might be completely different from the world I know and the person I will become might be someone, I never thought I could be. 

Fundamentally a few things might not change - like my love for reading or my love for animals, but perhaps a few more might change. So I am curious to see how Harini in 2017 views life. The one in 2016 is a lot less scared than the one in 2015 and in general a lot more ready for adventure.(Or so i like to think)

Enforced calm

Today, Bangalore was eerily calm. There was no honking, no traffic blocks and when I took my dogs for a walk in the evening, there were no cars interrupting Laika from crossing the road. This is not the city I know. There was an eerie atmosphere in a way because none of the shops were open. The ones that suffered the most were the bachelors who never cook because they had to stock up on maggi ahead of time and be happy with it. Thankfully for me, I had had a great harvest from the farm, so we had enough vegetables to sustain us. 
Yesterday, I got really annoyed watching television so I avoided it like the plague today. I was quite at peace to be honest. But when I started thinking about why I am enjoying the quiet, I could not really be happy. My city, the one I have made my home has effectively been brought to a standstill by hooligans. Hooligans who are probably unemployed and that want to create a ruckus over an issue. If they really are worried about water shortage, the last thing they would do is burn buses and other public property. To put out these fires, water is being wasted. The exact same resource they are unwilling to share. I sympathize with all those people who now have to work on a saturday. Or those that are working from home. Every single company would have faced significant loss thanks to the unrest. The impact would be felt all over the world. Even if it is quite minor. All for what? 
Should I use my super power (analytics) to predict where and how unrest can happen and how it will spread and come up with a way to prevent it? Is that even possible?

Challenging oneself

Last night, while speaking with a friend, I realized that something I was petrified of, was not actually that scary. Once that realization sunk in, I am actually looking forward to doing it. It is going to be a very different kind of challenge than the one I am used to, but this is going to be something that could potentially change the way I look at life and perhaps, my life itself. 

Is the effort worth the outcome? Maybe yes, maybe no. But is the effort an experience I want? Yes. What matters most to me is growing through an experience that is not necessarily what I am usually comfortable with. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Spreading panic

I guess most of us are aware of the unrest happening all around Bangalore thanks to the Cauvery water issue. I am not really qualified to comment about the row so I will refrain from doing that. 

What irks me is how much of a panic is constantly spread by Whatsapp, Facebook and of course our own media. They sensationalize things so much that you end up thinking that the world is going up in flames. There is definitely unrest, but more than the unrest, there is panic, there is fear and there is unnecessary bias that gets spread thanks to self righteous, supposedly aware people. 

In this world where everyone is married to their devices and blindly trust the messages they get and pass it around, it is so easy to spread fear and panic and mass hysteria. I just received the picture of a headless man who supposedly died trying to save his TN registered lorry from protesters. The incident happened near my office. I am definitely going to have nightmares today. What is the need to share such messages through Whatsapp groups? How does that help the situation? Why are we all so glad to forward unnecessary information around? A TV channel reported imposition of 144 even before the police knew about it. How can media be so careless? Why are we so happy to spread fear? How can I change this? Am I always going to be helpless? Is running away from this place the only solution? 

Lastly, why do we call goons who burn buses and beat up people as Tamils or Kannadigas? They are not. They are goons. They do not represent us and never will. 

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Silences

I love to talk. It is very noisy wherever I am. But recently, I have come to love silences. Possibly because the possibilities for what conversations I could have had in those moments of utter silence are limitless. Those conversations within my head are ensuring that it is never truly silent, but in a way, the silence is deafening. I wonder what I should do now..My silence in the blog has also been driven by this need to not share anything for a change. Things dont change as much as they change..