Sunday, 24 September 2017

And Then You Will Know



Yes. The time has come to talk about shoes first of all. If you ask me why? Here is the reason. Only when you wear your shoes, you come to know where it pinches and pinches the most. Let me tell you if you don't fix that it will be impossible for you to walk another step. And if you can't walk at all, what is the point of talking about anything else? So, the whole point is to take care of your shoes and they will take care of your journey. Any journey in life begins with small steps you take wearing your own shoes.


That is about being comfortable in your own shoes. But sometimes you need to try others' shoes as well. Sounds funny? Eh ? It should not actually. For unless you step into someone else's shoes once in a while, you become complacent and you start being judgemental about others. Others' behaviour, others' thought process and why others did what they did. 

So what? You might say. Well, it is important to understand others to lead a life well understood by others. To be fair to others so they can be fair to you. A life of understanding is that of happiness and peace of mind.

Reminds me of what Linda Goodman has said in the introduction to her book on zodiac signs. The study of the zodiac signs is to help people understand one another. Why people are, the way they are. What she meant was probably that every person has a different nature which is unique to him or her. Taking the point further, the other factor that goes into the making of a personality is the social environment that one lives in. We could also say that what happens in one's life and how he responds or reacts to it; makes people look who they are in our eyes.

What Elvis Presley sang about long ago is the same thing. Walk a mile in my shoes.......and so on. In a nutshell, he also said that if you try on my shoes or live my life for a day; you would stop judging me harshly. You would be more forgiving, more tolerant and more accepting of people who don't think like you or live like you.

How true! If only we could remember this all the time how easy we would be on others. Life would be more peaceful on this planet if we started appreciating others' philosophy of living while living our own lives as we wish. There would be less of a nuisance of our own making in this world.

Imagine. A husband would be more understanding of his wife. Colleagues would be more straightforward. The students would be more attentive to what their teachers taught. Religions would be more tolerant of one another. Countries would be more cooperative among themselves.

The experience of all great people through ages has crystallized into one thought. Being more understanding and less judgemental would help us live a more constructive life without coming in one another's way. The Bible also says - Do unto others what you would do to yourself.

It is all a matter of perception, my dear. So walk a mile in my shoes and then you will know...


This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’



मित्रता




गले लगाया उसने मुझे 
और कहा,
जैसी भी तुम हो 
मुझे भाती हो । 

तुमने मुझे 
कुछ कम पाया
और जताया,
रंग तुम्हारे फीके हैं,
और कई जगह दरार है,
कुछ करो ।

उसकी दरियादिली,
तुम्हारी नुक्ताचीनी,
दोनों मुझे स्वीकार हैं ।
मन में आभार है ।

उसने मुझे अपनाया ।
तुमने सजग बनाया ।
दोनों से रिश्ता बरकरार है ।
तकरार में मनुहार है ।
मेरे बारे में तुमने 
सोचा तो सही !
ये भी कम नहीं ।

दोनों तटों के बीच 
स्नेह की नदी 
कल कल बहती है ।
दो मुंडेरों के बीच  
जैसे मित्रता के खेत 
लहलहाते हों ।
सहृदयता के सरोवर में 
मानो कृतज्ञता के 
कमल खिले हों ।

विचार और व्यवहार के 
दो सूत्र जहाँ जुड़ते हों,
संवेदना के उस क्षितिज पर 
अपनत्व का सूर्य 
अस्त और उदय होता है ।


Thursday, 21 September 2017

Healthy And Happy In My Own Way



 It's always one thing after the other. No rest.That's life in big cities. Always a mad rush. And for the working women ? No less than a madhouse. Heard of Mumbai Madness ? Ask me !

You have to rise before the sunrise to set the ball rolling. You spin around the house like a top, quickly ticking the morning rituals. Getting ready for the office, helping all others at home to get ready, cooking breakfast and lunch for tiffin. All this in jet speed to catch the train to your workplace on time. 

In the office, meeting after meeting or working at your desk.

Reverse gear in the evening. Immediately after reaching home, you start cooking dinner, help children with their homework and projects and other endless household chores. Not to forget the numerous social commitments as well. Sounds familiar ? 

No wonder ! Wonder Woman is a fictional character mind you ! The Real Woman is caught in a whirlwind all through the day, every day.

How are you supposed to feel when your doctor tells you one fine day that you are becoming overweight, the lipid profile and other values do not look good, so you need to exercise regularly and religiously. 

What do you mean ? Am I not working too hard already ? ?

No, not really. 

What ??? As the minions would say.
Good Lord ! When do I find the time to WORKOUT ? As if I am not overloaded with work already. But then, since it is the doctor's verdict, you can't ignore.

Wondering what to do and how to do, I chanced upon the Saffola #ApneTareekeSeHealthy creative.



Hmmm...That did make sense to me and set me thinking. Slowly I started getting ideas with exercise on my mind all the time. 

An advisory was issued by the Home Ministry. Dos and Don'ts. Because everyone's health had to be taken care of. Not just me. Here you go ! Wanna try ?


I spend a lot of time standing in the kitchen while cooking goes on. Instead of just standing while the gas burners did the actual cooking, I started jogging on one spot, sometimes even flapping my arms. 

Yogasanas in standing postures, sitting postures, while lying down also. 

I discovered that sweeping and mopping the floor burns a lot of calories. So apart from the cleaning by the domestic help once a day, I stopped leaving the mess to be cleared next day. Mess up as much as you want but clean up immediately.

Dusting is a must in the land of Heat and Dust. More is less. By the time you finish one round of dusting, another layer of dust settles down on all surface. So the rule is... shake a leg while you are at it and the music is on...



Extra points for getting up to answer the doorbell every time it rings and to fetch your own glass of water. Get up ! That's the fitness mantra !

I turned all our office parties and social get-togethers into dance parties. That turned out to be a lot of fun ! 

The path from the local train station to my office is lined with lush green trees. I calculated and realized that the time I took to walk from the station to office was the same as the time bus took to navigate through the traffic !

When I accompanied my children to the swimming sessions, I started walking around the swimming pool while the children trained.

On the weekends, I played and cycled with my kids. 

I also made it a point to do yoga mudras and acupressure while commuting. That gave me the mental strength to fight the daily stress.

Eat everything but not too much of anything. Choose wisely. Even the minions patronize the bananas !

Soon it made a difference in my stamina. It took me lesser time to do strenuous jobs. Above all, I felt cheerful all day.

I had learned my lesson. It is next to impossible to find time exclusively for a strict regimen. But it makes life more full of life if you just play along. Behave as if you are a participant in a reality show. Minus the melodrama of course ! 

The challenge is to be healthy and happy. 

Having fun all the time !


I am joining Saffola #ApneTareekeSeHealthy initiative and sharing my ways of being healthy in association with BlogAdda


Sunday, 17 September 2017

The Box



The doorbell rang. The shrill note woke him up from his reverie.

Raghav had been sitting on the balcony watching the shades of twilight. His mind was blank and his heart seemed to sink with the sunset. The doorbell sound saved him from drowning in sadness.

Raghav walked up to the door and opened it. It was the courier boy who greeted him with a grin and handed him a big box. As Raghav retired again to the balcony carrying the box, he wondered who must have sent the box and what was inside it.

He sat down heavily and looked at the box with indifference. He did not feel like opening it. But then he wanted to be done with it, so he started opening it slowly removing all the tape which was all over the surprise box.

As he listlessly did the job he thought how passive and lifeless his life had become after Revati had separated from him. Their only child Reeva was now in the boarding school as her parents tried to figure out what had gone wrong between them and how to deal with it. Differences had overcome the common bond between them which was love. How and why did that happen ? Neither of them had a clue. It just happened and shattered their happiness.

The box was now open. There were many smaller boxes or packets inside. All of different shapes and sizes. What was there in those boxes? Who had sent them? What for?

As he took out the boxes one by one, he noticed they were all sort of DIY - Do It Yourself kits. At the bottom of the box was an envelope. He picked it up. There was a note inside by....Reeva ? Oh ! so the box was from Reeva. What was the need for her to send him this box with a note? Raghav started reading the note eagerly.

"My dearest Papa,

I don't know why Ma and you have stopped living together. What I know is that living away from each other has made both of you sadder than you were before separation. Papa, I do not want to put pressure on you to be together because of me. But I want to tell you all the same that I am happy living together as a family with both of you. Do you think we can give ourselves one more chance ?

Here is the deal. I am sending both of you a couple of DIY kits. I have been very upset in the last few months. So are you. Both of you. The difference is that I am in a school. So I am still learning. Learning the tricks of the trade ? Well ! You could say that. One day our class teacher gave us an assignment which was a kind of DIY stuff, an assortment of all sorts of things. We were asked to create something out of it. Points for the originality of the idea. 

It was fun Papa. The results surprising. Every one of us had made something we could be proud of. The teacher said, " That was the whole idea children. What you have in life is what you make of what you have. "

That's it, Papa. All of a sudden it struck me. Life is a box of assorted Do It Yourself toolkits. Not everything is to our liking. Whatever it is, it belongs to us. Life provides the stuff. The ideas have to be our own. We can do our best and make out of it what we can. And have fun while we work on it.

Perhaps, it will not be a perfect situation. But Papa can we not try to have fun together working on our own things to do ? You and Ma know better of course !   

If life is a box of individual assignments and assessments, can we not try to figure it out together ?


This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’


Thursday, 14 September 2017

अपने मन की भी कहना



नदी में बहते पानी
सरोवर में खिले कमल
पहाड़ों पर जमी बर्फ़
खेतों में खिली सरसों
बच्चों से भरी स्कूल बस
पुल पर से गुज़रती रेल
कच्चे पक्के घरों
शतरंज के मोहरों
सियासती पैंतरों
किस्मत की लकीरों
अपनों की बेरुखी
पुरानी चोट की पीर
वक़्त की बेअदबी
झरने सी हँसी
जानलेवा रूप
खिली खिली धूप
सामाजिक मसले
रिश्तों के पचड़े .. 

और ऐसी तमाम बातें  . .
इन सबके बारे में लिखना ।

जब सब कह चुको ।
वेद पुराण बाँच चुको,
तब एक बात,
बस एक बार,
अपने मन की भी कहना ।

Sunday, 3 September 2017

The Window Seat With A View




Those who travel in Mumbai local trains know that getting the window seat is like hitting a jackpot ! And a bigger jackpot if one gets the window seat in the direction of the wind ! Specially in the hot and humid weather ! More so it is a heroic deed if you can achieve this feat in the peak hours or office hours !

Well, coming to the point ! There is more to a window seat than just being a comfortable seat for a short nap or for relaxing by listening to music and reading a book. There are groups of daily passengers who sing in chorus all the way. In the ladies compartment, there are other activities also like knitting, chatting, sharing snacks and even chopping vegetables for the meal to be cooked soon after reaching home in the evening !

I commuted on the Harbour Line of Mumbai locals for more than 20 years ! A daily affair ! Going to the office in the morning and returning in the evening ! One usually catches the same train every day meeting the same passengers daily. You just notice some people and watch silently, you exchange smiles sometimes and you become friends with some who may be sharing the same thoughts or interests. For many years, I also was part of a group of like-minded people. We used to share seats by turn. Singing was a favourite past time. Quite energizing in the mornings ! In the evenings, most of us were tired so we ended up either taking a nap or talking to the friend sitting next to us or standing opposite us. Or sometimes, just looking out of the window. 

Looking out of the window of the local on Harbour Line ! Many would exclaim in wonder ! Goodness ! What's there to look out at ! Everyone knows that on looking out all you can see is the dirty slums and the open drains ! Nothing scenic !  Add to that the pathetic signature smells of different stations ! Alright ! But is that all ? No.

In the mornings, it is rejuvenating to feel the fresh and cool wind on your face, part of the way ; before the foul odours start flowing in. When the train crosses the bridge over the sea, watching the soft sunshine playing with the waves and the fishermen's boats dotting the vast expanse of the sea while the singing group chants stotras, has a calming effect on you and sets a positive mood to embrace a new day. 

As the train moves on, you can see flowers blooming on the plants growing in a solitary tin can. It brings a smile to your face. Beauty finds space in an already cramped shed like home. Wait ! Home after all ! Because only a home can offer you room when there is hardly any room at all !

When you are commuting back home in the beautiful evening twilight, you are reminded of what Emily Dickinson wrote, "Tell all the truth, but tell it slant." The orange tinge of the sunset waves goodbye to you. As it becomes dark, one by one the lights switch on in the apartment windows of buildings in distance and in the slums very close to the tracks. You wonder about the activities going on in the flats. May be those people have already reached home or may be the people at home are waiting for others to return from work and watching TV. 

As far as the slums are concerned, you can see everything inside when the lights are on. Long ago they must have stopped bothering about that. In a small space, there is a small TV,one cot,and racks lining the walls. On one side the clothes are stacked. On the other side is the gas stove with food cooking on it and the very few clean and shining steel utensils neatly stacked in the racks. Somehow, it impresses upon you a sense of orderliness amidst all the chaos of slum life. Is that what you call the zest for life ? A lone bright flower smiling in a tin can .. clean tiles and shining utensils in a very poor home .. all defying the stench growing out of the open drains flowing right next to them. So why do we keep complaining about so many things all the time ? It makes you think.

Thank your stars if you get the window seat and you can look out of the window to see things you may like or you may not, things that will make you uncomfortable and things that will stay with you all your life ! Make your choice !




This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

       

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Happy In Any Case

Those were the days. I used to wake up with the sunrise. My bed was at a vantage point. Near the broad window. Every morning the soft morning sunlight would pat me gently and the birds on the trees outside my window would strike a cheerful chorus. And I always fell asleep looking out at the sky with the stars twinkling at me. Between the two ends of morning and night, the day was filled with the drill of going to school, homework, meals, roaming around the garden adorned with flowers of numerous colours and sitting on the steps gazing at the long winding narrow road which connected our house with the main lane. I just sat there and looked as if I was waiting for someone to come.

Such was my life. Except that it changed a little for a few days. Someone did come down from that road.

One day I saw a cycle rickshaw heading in the direction of our house.A boy much taller than me with brownish hair sat on the passenger seat. There was a trunk near his feet and a school bag like sling bag on his shoulder. As the rickshaw drew near, my father came out to receive him. As the welcome ritual went on, I eyed the boy suspiciously and thought about why the boy came with a luggage and if he would stay with us long. Suddenly, my father turned towards me and introduced the boy to me. " Partho, this is  Neel. He is like your elder brother. He is going to stay with us for some time. Come on take him to your room and make him comfortable ! " 

I nodded and glanced at Neel who looked at me and smiled. Somehow, that smile allayed all my fears of a sabotage and invasion of my room's privacy. I clicked him okay mentally.

There was hardly any conversation that day as he took bath and settled down in the room....took his meal and went to sleep.

Later, my father told me that Neel's father was a military man and he was missing in a war. There was no one else in the family to take care of him. My father was a friend so Neel was going to stay with us till his father was traced.That kind of melted my heart. 

Neel hardly spoke but he always smiled at me. He used to go for long walks and would never part with his sling bag. One day I asked him if I could accompany him on his walks. He smiled and nodded consent amiably.

That day I saw the sadness in his eyes as he looked at the flowers and foliage growing around and explained things about them. Later, we sat down near a pond.Then I asked him, "You must be missing your father badly. Are you very unhappy ?" He thought for a while and then smiled at me saying, "No. Hopeful."

I admired Neel for the way he dealt with the complicated and scary situation. The first lesson I learned from him was to be always hopeful. Thereafter, It became a routine for both of us to wander and observe. To be happy in our surroundings. To wait and to hope.

Neel told me stories and poems he had learned at school and from his father. We talked about everything under the sun. He taught me to make useful things from scrap lying around. I actually loved to think of him as my elder brother and did not want him to leave ever. At the same time, I wished and prayed earnestly that he would soon be with his father.

The prayer was answered. It was time for Neel to leave. The day he was preparing to leave, I was both sad and happy. Happy for him. Sad for myself as my closest pal and actual brother was leaving. 

I was sitting on my bed trying to be brave holding back my tears. Neel sat down next to me and put a notebook on my lap. He said, "This is for you. Whenever you feel like talking to me, write in this notebook."

Neel went away. After one week, when I was missing him badly, I opened the notebook to write. On the first page, Neel had written...There is a Swedish proverb I learned at school - "Those who wish to sing, always find a song."  Whenever you miss me, look for me and for happiness in all the small and beautiful things around you. Life is a journey of discovering these keepsakes."

That was the most precious time and keepsake experience of my life that taught me to be happy in any case. I wish I could turn back the clock and bring the wheels of time to a stop. Be with Neel always.But since that is not possible, I go on living and discovering joy all the way.


नमस्ते