My Dream waited for me
While I sat, crouching,
Too afraid to take the leap.
Each fiber trembled
of flight, of freedom.
Of adventures that could be.
And then a small voice nudged,
Go, plunge, dive, jump,
And let set your sails free…
OOOhhhhhhh i have to write today. Mainly for two reasons:
a) i have had no electricity at home for almost two weeks now,so i have not used my laptop in this time (which is also nice). Hence i have not been able to really read other blogs or write properly …except using the WordPress-App , which is great for updates , yet not as user friendly for writing as a laptop. My laptop and i are finally friends again after a two week hiatus.
b) I have not one but two questions i hate. And it would do me good to write about them, and for once and for all close this chapter.
Question 1: Posed in all variations:
Blunt variation: Are you married?
Indirect version 1 : What does your husband do?
Indirect version 2: Is your husband picking you from the station?
Indirecct version 3:
Do you have kids? ( Here Marriage = Kids)
4. So, when are you giving me good news? (yes, its that bad) 5. So when are you giving us sweets ( don’t shake your head in disbelief. People ask this all the time)
5. When will you take some more responsibility? (This one is often posed only by parents and some aunts and uncles. Read: Single= no responsibility)
And every second , oh hell, every person you vaguely know will ask you any of these variations. It could be the usual suspects and even unusual ones like your taxi driver/ ricksha driver or the neighbourhood grocery store owner you know…just about anyone.
Do i even need to explain why this totally makes me want to tear my hair off?
This question is often followed by a talk on how i need to change my expectations, adjust (read: settle for less. More importantly get married), how time is running out. Time is always running, isn’t it? For everyone?
The other thing i dislike: Here in our culture whenever you meet someone after a certain length of time, the first thing you get to hear:
Hi! How are you doing? Look at you, wow! You have lost so much weight! OR
Hey! You seem to be progressing in life (read: becoming fat. Funnily, traditionally becoming fatter is thought to be directly proportional to prosperity or having a “jovial” nature …)
So personally, i have had it with these two questions. I hope now at least some people get the hint.
” Maa” , that’s what a mother is called in Hindi. And I find this word more soothing, more musical and more melodious than other variants . So am addressing my letter to my Maa.
you are right now across the seven seas, and we have not seen each other in a few months and u shall be away for a bit longer . So I feel this is probably the best time to write to you.
It amazes me, whenever I think that my Maa can speak almost eight different Indian languages! Be it the north, south, west or east, you can find one common language and express yourself. What amazes me is the fact that two of those you learnt after you came here to Mumbai!
From Allepey in Kerala to Mumbai at the age of 22 , married to a man who was almost a stranger to you. From living in a house that was right at the beach in quiet and calmness to living in a house right outside a railway station , where every 4 minutes a train thundered by. From land of Malayalam to land of Marathi. How terrifying it must have been for you. From a nuclear family of four in a big house to a joint family of twelve in a two room apartment. How claustrophobic you might have felt.
And yet you made a place for yourself in everyone’s heart and a place for each person of your family in your heart. Like most women here, you too have slogged and sacrificed your life so that we, your children get the best of everything and move up in life. It is because you sacrificed so many holidays , did we get an education that took us places. It is because you woke up each day at 5 am, did we never miss any class or any meetings. I admire your capacity to give.
At the same time I wish that now our horizons have become so different that we maybe share and celebrate these differences. I wish I could , for a day, show you what my life REALLY looks like! That the bridge is strong between us and we can easily cross into each others worlds.
And mostly I admire you for being happy with two weirdoes like dad and me
Home is waiting for both you ! Come back soon!
Daily Prompt: Circle of Five
A writer once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” If this is true, which five people would you like to spend your time with?
In school we often were asked to write an essay on topics such as ,” My favorite Personality”, or “My idol” “Whom i admire the most”. And I used to absolutely not like this exercise. How can one select just one person? I admire different people for different reason and would rather be a mix of their best. Would we not become too uni-dimensional if we just emulated one person and just as flawed? So invariably I would write the same name each time, like all these essay “guides” would : Mahatma Gandhi.
Ironically I would start with him again this time for my BIG FIVE:
I admire the sheer DETERMINATION this man possessed. Almost single handedly he got a “nation” ( i firmly believe India is a huge collection of multifarious groups rather than ONE country in the real sense of the word) up on it’s feet and moving. He gave the world the alternative of showing the other cheek. And for that I love him.
Ach Rumi! You teach me each time I read you, what it is to love and hence to live. The simplicity and yet the sheer elegance in your thoughts/ words have been an inspiration to me. Just like you said, your beauty has set my life on fire.
As clichéd as it sounds, my dad is also one of my BIG FIVES. I have not met a person as kind, as warm and as loving as he is.
He was warm, sharp and founder of almost all the biggest industries in India. He was way ahead of his time and India owes him the beginning of modernization. He was the first Indian to obtain a pilot license issued in India. He showed that you can set up an empire without corruption, without black money.
Babies and children:
Well maybe am cheating here , yet I know that children inspire me the most. No matter how much you think you know, they know and understand even more. They are straightforward and also know what to say when and where. Loving comes easy to them. So does forgiving. They accept people as they are. Think out of the box. Experiment. Get up easily when they fall down. So call me a cheat if you will, but They remain in my BIG FIVE
This is was an easy one. Really. For me personally there’s one “song” that kind covers most flavors one may get a chance to live in one lifetime:
I salute the thoughts, the power of this voice:
Everybody is free ( to wear sunscreen) by Baz Luhrman
Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of ’97,
Wear sunscreen. If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long term
benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis or
reliable then my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice….now.
Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, nevermind, you won’t understand the power and
beauty of your youth until they’ve faded, but trust me in 20 years, you’ll look back at photos of
yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous
you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.
Don’t worry about the future, or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra
equation by chewing bubblegum.
The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind: the kind that blindsides
you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.
Do one thing every day that scares you.
Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts; don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.
Don’t waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is
long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself.
Remember compliments you receive; forget the insults. (if you succeed in doing this, tell me how).
Keep your old love letters; throw away your old bank statements.
Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people
I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives; some of the most interesting 40 year
olds I know still don’t.
Get plenty of Calcium. Be kind to your knees — you’ll miss them when they’re gone.
Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll
divorce at 40; maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary.
Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself, either. Your choices are half
chance, so are everybody else’s.
Enjoy your body: use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it or what other people think of it; it’s the
greatest instrument you’ll ever own.
Dance…even if you have no where to do it but in your own living room.
Read the directions (even if you don’t follow them).
Do not read beauty magazines; they will only make you feel ugly.
Get to know your parents; you never know when they’ll be gone for good.
Be nice to your siblings: they’re your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in
Understand that friends come and go, but what a precious few should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps
and geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you
Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard.
Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.
Accept certain inalienable truths: prices will rise, politicians will philander, you too will get old; and when you
do, you’ll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble, and children
respected their elders.
Respect your elders.
Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund, maybe you’ll have a wealthy spouse,
but you never know when either one might run out.
Don’t mess too much with your hair or by the time you are 40, it will look 85.
Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia;
dispensing it is a way of wishing the past from the disposal–wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts, and
recycling it for more than it’s worth.
But trust me, on the sunscreen.
I am a little impatient at times . Okay , am very impatient at times. Oh well, might as well admit it: am extremely impatient all the time. Then I rant and rave, yell, be rude, very very sarcastic , bite others and generally display all Godzilla or for that matter any of your typical Bollywood villain/vamp traits. The fact that I have extremely unruly and long voluminous wavy hair that fly all over the place doesn’t help. Medusa or the Hindu Goddess of wrath Durga have strong competition from me.
(the foto looks much kinder than I do at these times)
(foto courtesy: imagine)
This is more like me. Plus being a teacher I can raise my voice, modify my tone to make the other person feel what I want to. And of course am not talking of a warm fuzzy feeling. More like a I – want – to- crouch – beneath – the – sofa or dig- myself – a- hole – feeling.
And then the moment of insanity passes. And I feel terrible. Guilty . Full of remorse.
So I try . Not to loose my cool. I tried to count to ten. That’s over too fast. So I tried to count up to fifty. Too much counting.
I tried taking deep breaths. Didn’t help. Apparently they weren’t deep enough.
Tried to meditate. Too antsy for that at that moment.
Thought age would help. It did. It helped me to become even more impatient with people who i felt were not getting me.
Then one day i happen to catch a look of me when i was angry in the mirror. I saw how ugly I looked. How like a monster . And I knew what I was doing to myself. I was becoming that monster. Which I didn’t want to.
Of course i occasionally still loose it. Then I just hold a mirror , a virtual one and tell myself : it’s ok. Let it be
It is pretty dark in here. Only when HE opens the doors to take something out or keep something in, do I get a chance to soak in a bit fresh air and some light.
Many others who share this small cramped space with me have similar stories to share. Especially the wordsmiths.They have been lying around since ages, waiting to be taken out, waiting to be held, to be turned, to share some stories with HIM. But no, HE favors mostly the colorful ones, the ones HE uses to bring his thoughts to life. Even the thin, the thick, the small ,or the big,or the long, or the short grey ones are preferred over me. Of course, these others gloat about how much conversation they make with HIM, how much HE cherishes each moment when HE is able to realize his vision with them together. They cannot stop telling stories of how they have been lying around HIS floor all day, because he was stuck at a particular point of HIS creation, and how HE kept starting all over again every few minutes or how HE would start with one thing in HIS head but after labouring for hours together, what they would create would differ from what they started with and even more beautiful than what they set out to make. I think what the favoured ones enjoy the most is the fact that they are HIS tools for creation. That they are the means HE uses them for bringing the best out in HIM. In fact through this they are fulfilling not only their destiny, but are bringing joy in the lives of all those HE shares them with. The most blessed ones are the blank ones. They are hardly ever locked in with the rest of us. No, oh no. They travel with HIM in turns. Wherever HE goes, they go with HIM, depending on how filled they are and what HE is creating at the moment. Even HIS friends know them, use them sometimes, share tips with HIM on how HE could make them more beautiful or what HE could do next. Lucky souls indeed these blank ones are.
And me? My canvas has already been filled with someone Else’s dreams. As a matter of fact i am just one of the canvases which holds this other visionaries story.
HE likes to make his own stories though. Is it why HE is not interested in seeing mine? Is this why i lie here month after month, week after week, day after day, ignored, untouched, unopened? It has been almost six months since i entered your life after travelling for over twelve hours from across the ocean and entered your home. With so much love was i given over to you. How joyful i was to know where i was going to live. How naïve i was to think that we would spend a few hours together, and then when you would enjoy my company, you would call your friends over and proudly tell them who i was and how such a wonderful story we shared together. But alas. My dream is just that: A dream. The optimist that i am, i still hope i shall see the light of the day, that my turn will come. That i shall fulfill my destiny of being seen.
I may just be a DVD. You wont create anything new with me like you do in your blank diaries with your thousands of pencils and pens and brushes. But i think YOU forget that i am someone’s creation. Someone has put in the same pain, the same love you do on those canvases. So i hope YOU open my plastic cover sometime soon, pop me in your DVD player and let me tell YOU my story.
(This entry has been inspired by a friend who simply refuses to watch a movie i gifted him around 6 months ago. I hope this helps. The DVDs destiny NEEDS to be fulfilled:) )
Your hair will look great shorter.
Blue really looks better on you than black.
That guy is not worth your time.
She is just using you to get to him. Just forget it.
You need to be more assertive.
Don’t get emotionally involved with people so easily.
i think maybe you should just give her a piece of your mind.
Think a little before you say something.
Look before you leap.
Etc. etc. etc….
How often have we been the speaker and the listener of these and many such words? Friends, elders, foes, teachers, parents, well meaning and not-so- well meaning people around us. People who want to give us a helping hand, people who, well, just like to say stuff.
My personal favorite comes from the story of the wise sadhu (sage, who has earned great wisdom after years of penance. Theoretically. Nowadays television helps. Apparently) and the king.
This king, a kind one, was suddenly attacked by his arch enemy. The king in question suffered a devastating defeat. (Much like the Indian cricket team does so often). He lost his kingdom, his wealth, his soldiers. Practically everything. But he does manage to flee the battle scene and hides in a cave. He is in total despair. He doesn’t know what to do. Should he kill himself? Should he go back and surrender? Each option seemed dreary. While mulling on this he remembered the small piece of paper his Guru, the wise sage, had given him when he became king. The sage had asked him to keep it in his ring and open it only in the most desperate of situations. This advice would give him the solution. So the king opens this piece of paper. On it are four simple words:
THIS TOO SHALL PASS.
The king feels as if a bolt of lightning passed through him. As if the sky cleared up after a storm. As if the sun suddenly burst on in the sky. With new found hope and courage, he managed to gather the remaining soldiers, appealed to another king, who was friendly and won back his kingdom and wealth.
Of course there is a great celebration. The entire kingdom comes with gifts and showers blessings and praise their brave king.
During the day of the celebration of this great victory , the same sadhu comes up to him and gives him another piece of paper as a congratulatory present for the King and asks him to read it. Full of curiosity the king opens it and reads something familiar:
THIS TOO SHALL PASS.
The King experiences the same sudden insight, the same clarity. He rules his kingdom wisely and justly. Late he too gives up his kingdom, goes into the forest and spends the rest of his days in serving the poor, meditating and sharing his knowledge.
I love this story. And each time am euphoric, am down in the dumps, am angry, am elated, am impatient, am nervous, am afraid…i tell myself and others: this too shall pass.
I calm down a bit. And then after a few moments, the feeling passes. The feeling of calmness. The golden words pass out of my memory and i am back to where i was. And then i remember this story again.
I am coordinating and partly conducting a paper theater workshop (with the Papertheater Nuremberg from Germany) for about 40 kids from different schools and between the age group 12-16. The workshop is an auditorium where it is loud, dark, dusty and a bit dingy. There are no microphones. From 9 am to 3 pm we try and teach them basics of Theater, music, and simple German. I also have to organize the food, take care that none of the kids kill each other, tear each others clothes or hair apart. Then after the workshop plan for the next day, answer questions like, if they can wear a black shirt with a purple bow (!) for the performance, if they can come half an hour late…
Then i have to travel an hour and a half to get back home, check my mails, finish other office correspondence.
And then i see this challenge in the inbox. And this was an offer i couldn’t refuse. I am tired, hungry, have no food at home, have loads of work waiting for me. But this challenge i couldn’t refuse. I loved these 10 minutes. Thank You Michelle! This got my brain rolling!