Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Dark D

I saw him yesterday, enter through the doors of the ICU . He rushed in, the curtain separating my Doddas bed blew open and he engulfed her. She clinched her tummy in excruciating pain. In unison both my aunts and my mother, started chanting mantras. All different or probably same, I didn't understand. They three held her-  hands, legs, pressed her stomach and 'she' my Dodda, though in pain, was mumbling gods name herself. Then suddenly he left...
It was as though the counter power of prayer pushed him out of the room. He came back at least thrice in the 1.5 hours I was there. Every time he came, I stood stiff holding back my tears and slowly realising the intensity of the ultimate truth.
It was my first close encounter to the process of dying.
Until the age of 25, I didn't fear death.. then I fell in love. One door of emotion opened up and they all poured in. Yesterday as I returned home from the ICU, I was overwhelmed with fear. As a counteraction I wanted to disassociate myself with love.
I cried all night and realised I cant do it. The dark D will keep doing his work and attack every loved one. Until then, fear and helplessness need to lie low, somewhere difficult to find!  

Sunday, December 4, 2016

LOVE ACTUALLY...

I have always wondered what the actual meaning of 'love' is. Yesterday in our school whatsapp group, there was a discussion on, ' I wonder how you can fall in love only once!'
I agree you cannot fall in love only once. If I could say, I probably fall in love everyday. And when I do so, I really feel good and sleep well.
So I decided to define this feeling through all the attributes that I feel it represents. First is 'chemical reactions'. I believe like we have the universal donor group of O+, some people possess chemicals that universally attract other chemicals. Its already in the DNA. Infatuations could fall under this category.
Second attribute is 'attraction'. This includes all physical features, like eyes, nose, hair, height, color of skin, gait etc etc . Going a level deeper, this could also include qualities that you yourself don't possess and have always aspired to have. This usually falls under the head of 'talents'. A talented person is usually liked and loved by a lot more people.
There are accordingly to me some negative aspects also that lead you to the 'love' feeling. Loneliness - being bored from your routine, lack of hobbies and not having regular healthy human interactions could make one feel the want of 'love' in ones life. Continuing on those lines, lack of sex life , may also lead you to the want of a loved one.
Any of the above attributes, either by itself or in solidarity cannot be called love!  For the simple reason that, so many other 'loves', ( like the mother- daughter, brother -sister, best friends) wouldn't make sense then. The definition of love has to be universal to take in all types of relations and passion and yet make sense to a 6 year old, 16 year old and also a 60 year old.
My objective as mentioned above, is pretty simple; When in love, I need to sleep well: 'no worries, no ifs and buts!' In the process of raising an 8 year old daughter, I have come up with this hypothesis:
Love is understanding and acceptance .
Both mighty words, with a lot of strength and weight attached.
Understanding according to me is the first big step. Once you get on there, a lot of negatives and reality gets thrown at you. Sometimes you just stop there and realise, how wrong things are. The foot doesn't raise to the next step at all. Fear, rules, society, expectations can all act as hindrances to go to the next step.
However like the birds that take flight, with openness and space one probably could go one to the next step. Like getting over the comfort zone, is a revelation; so is also taking this mighty step. When you move from the comfort to the uncomfortable and accept to learn something from it, a magic just happens!
My hypothesis, I believe  holds true for any kind of love : human- human, human -nature. human- art, human - sport, human- books, so on and so forth. So yeah, according to this, I fall in love everyday- with a new piece of music, a new dance step, a new thought, a creative piece of literature I read.
As regards falling in love with humans, I am happy falling in love with my loved ones again and again- understanding and accepting in them something new, everyday!!!!
Love  ....

Monday, October 17, 2016

NO RIGHT, NO WRONG, ONLY CONSEQUENCES!

In this fast paced world of today, I think this is the only line that makes absolute sense. Education teaches you one, knowledge questions exactly that and wisdom overrides both and lets you chose. 
I ran my second marathon yesterday- 5 k. My daughter ran her first 3 k and my husband ran 10 k for the first time. We did our bests , enjoyed, and ran beyond ourselves, felt accomplished and since we ran with a group of society members , there was a huge sense of camaraderie. 
Overall this whole experience of 'running' though a fad now, is chosen by many for health benefits. As a consequence if you feel young, get into shape, feel happy and also help some cause , it definitely seems like a win win situation; something you would like to be part of. 
So through this whole experience what all did we gain? 
- We got 3 t shirts- more to the list of already many 
- We got 3 goody bags- bags are always welcome, as are wants! 
- We got some gift vouchers  - those that make you spend more. 
- We all collected 3 medals - that cajoles your sense of achievement 
- Loads of ego boosting photos- 'Finisher' , " Champion ' , " I did it '! 

But also, as I ran, and then drove past that road , I noticed 1000s of platic water bottles thrown on the roads. 1000s of tetrapack juice boxes on the ground all over. We had breakfast there in paper plates and plastic spoons, meaning atleast 12,000 odd of them consumed and generated as waste. Charity causes get a small portion of the ticket money if you run for a cause, else it is mostly joint publicity. 

So keeping all the accomplishments on the table, I still didnt feel all that great.... 
This morning, I had a kathak performance at a Cancer and Aids Foundation, where we a group of 5 girls with our Guru performed in front of terminally ill patients. I must have performed in all for 7 minutes. But the smiles and claps I received from a group of 25 people touched my soul somewhere really deep. The feeling that was missing yesterday, seemed to have filled in beyond limits today. 

Was it a feeling that I brought a smile to someone's face, or made someone forget that, that he/ she may not see tomorrows sunshine; make me more accomplished????

Or was it trying to increase the fun filled breaths in someones life more meaningful than trying to increase a couple of years of my own life???

Being extremely thankful for what I already have and having the energy and choice to do what I think and feel is right, I made my choice today. 

In the remaining marathon of my life, I will continue to run towards the truth and reality of giving and run away from just the gaining and consuming of things. 

Again there is no right or wrong.. only consequences. I just like the consequence that makes me happier ! ! ! 


Monday, September 26, 2016

Waning...

'Wane' implies a fading of that which has reached a peak of force , excellence. 

I believe everything like the moon, waxes and wanes...

Like when you wax the floor it gets brighter and more attractive;  the whole waxing process seems to be so positive. Theres growth, so there is joy. Theres joy, so there is learning. Theres learning, so there are achievements. And with achievements, I guess,  also comes the baggage of some attachments . 

Attachments in terms of memories and meaning. Somewhere unknowingly there could also be blend with the whole process of growth and one starts associating oneself with it. 
This association then gets a reason and an identity and somewhere becomes part of you. 

Does close association with people also make this process involuntary? The mother-child relationship, the husband - wife bond, a soul mate friendship.. do they all go through this phase? The feeling of moving forward, understanding oneself and going beyond all take you to such a happy space:) Life seems to be on the right track... 

But the lunar cycle cant be extended ... can it? The waning process cant be pushed forward.. can it? The joy of association cant be held on forever.. and the pain of disassociation cant be prolonged... can it???

How do you then handle the disassociation? What if the reason, meaning, of life start to shake? You know its going away from you. Do you try to supplement it with some other new relationship? Will there be a new growth? It might work for some.. 

But I doubt if it will for me.. When I close my eyes and dwell as in, what is it that is actually disassociating itself from me. I realise, after a whole turmoil of pain and sadness, that there actually is no disassociation. The relation , the memory, the meaning is become a part of me.. and its already transcending to someone/ something else that I continue to do in my life.. 

Grandparents, teachers, friends, relatives, children, all wax and wane with you in life, but I feel there is something of them that becomes part of you during that process and isnt that what continues to connect others who come along  in our remaining life?  


couple of lines from Tagores poem... 
The river runs swift with a a song, 
breaking through all barriers, 

But the mountains stays and remembers , 
and follows her with his love ! 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

FOR-GIVE

Has there been an instance where there is this one thing ( or many things) that irks you in a relationship? You feel ... 'if only.... else we would have lived happily every after' :) 

It could be your relationship with your boss, colleague, mother, father, in-laws, sister, brother, kids, husband, friends... anyone who is part of your day to day life. The irritation is affecting you , and there is no way out. 

It also could be an incident, a habit, personal behavior, choice of friends, any such thing. You also might have discussed it umpteen times, but still it continues to bother you. Some incidents could have affected you more deeply than others. And the after effect of anger, hurt, humiliation hasn't gone away yet. Confrontation has been done and you probably have received an apology and / or 'will try to work on it' too. What then?? 
Some problems you learn to deal with , you learn to live with. But I dont quite know how this works. It really hasn't worked for me; probably because I am not doing it right.  When I have tried this, the feelings kept coming back, at the slightest references or associations. It is more of a procrastination technique than solving technique.  You are fine for a couple of weeks, then there is some link up and the damn anger, negative feeling is back. So I am convinced this is not a foolproof method. 

One school of thought says 'you need to get over the sin' , but some others concentrate on 'getting over the thought of the sin'. I personally tend to the second school of thought, since it seems more foolproof.  Now I get down to .. how does one do that? They say 'forget and for give'. But you really never forget. You might forget the good times you had with the person concerned, but the few bad memories stay fresh all the time.. they just dont go.. 
Then how on earth do you forgive without forgetting??? I had to get to the root of this. I didnt want to live my life with negativity cropping up at any random time/ date/ place. 

Like in dumb charades, when you cant explain a word, you break it down... So here too I decided to break the word- 'For' and 'Give'
'For' I knew- I was doing the action for the relationship I held. 'Give' however was confusing. Anyways, I started with whatever I felt I needed to give. Anger, sadness, hurt, guilt, more anger, more sadness, more hurt and more guilt is all I could give. 

So I decided to dwell deeper. When I questioned deeper, I realised, I dont actually 'give' at all. In every relationship I 'give' something to it, only if I have something to 'gain' out of it. When a person is stupid (according to me) I shut off. When a person is boring (according to me) I shut off. When a person is artificial (according to me) I shut off. 
Whereas, when a person is knowledgeable - I am all ears; as I have something to learn. When  a person is funny - I am excited; as I getting entertained. When a person is very energetic - I am in tune; because the energy flows through me too. 

So when do I just give??? Do I even 'give' anything without 'gaining' something out of it? 
OMG, after all this, I am just a very selfish creature! This GG phenomenon is scary !
Kids are certainly out of this whole gamut of gain and give. Thats why they are lovable so universally. So we are born with that feature, but somewhere through our upbringing, growth, education we lose that. 

In management I have learnt- Maximum output with minimum input . You have to gain maximum with minimum to give. But that is for the industry, for the economics to make sense.  It is not for human beings and their relationships?? Is it???? 

I realise it is a humongous task, at the age of 38 to unlearn and reverse the way I look at things. But never the less I am going to try. I am going to try, simply because nothing else is working. Its my last resort to get over the thought of the sin. I am going to 'give ' everything 'for' the relationship I hold and see how far it takes me !

Monday, August 15, 2016

15TH AUGUST!

The day of independence, day of freedom. What is freedom? 

I think in very simple terms, it would be getting rid of something you don't want and making way for something you want. This could be clothes, car, accessories, people, way you utilize time, and sometimes as simple as your 'thoughts'. 

We grind ourselves in thoughts that make so much sense to us, but for an outsider is so insignificant and out of context. So we may even not want to discuss these thoughts with others. There are reasons why these thoughts come and you are more often than not convinced about having them. But what if you want to be free of it and are not able to do it?

I feel there are layers and layers of different ingredients we unknowingly mix, to make up our thoughts. Some of them being- intellect, ego, self pity, fear of getting hurt, vulnerability, self portrayed image of oneself ,  so on and so forth. 

Due to either or all  of the above mentioned traits, we dont move towards that freedom. We hold back and accumulate a lot of baggage. The right- wrong, ram- raavan, ideology ingrained in us since childhood, plays a subconscious part and we behave for some third person to feel good about us!

The question at the crux is how long can you hold on? How long can you live a life in charade? They say old age is another childhood. But why then the mutual feeling of freedom not felt with every geriatric person you meet? Like age and mind have no connection, so probably does the charade and the need for freedom. 

But what if the 'Manjolika' in you gets shaken once.. What if she is in full spirit .. and its the durgashtami night?! What if all the negative energy culminates??  What if you go over the board?? The worst nightmare comes into action and you do what you would in your purest self, going against all norms and beliefs you have led your life until now. 

The fear you confront eye to eye! The pain you go through, accept the things you cant see happening, tell aloud that you are not great. Make it known that you are not always right. Let go of whatever you feared would leave you. And just be...

The Avni comes alive! - the real you. The 'you' who is sans fear, who is okay with everything, who feels one is just a being, who feels things are happening through 'me' and not by 'me'. The one for whom, there is not just right and wrong. The one who knows the difference and can see it better now. 

There is a calmness now.. there is a thoughtless phase now..  isnt that an amazing feeling?

 Wouldnt that be real freedom???



Friday, July 1, 2016

YOGA AND ME

My journey with my self started in June 2013. After trying all modes of medicine for my ailments and my body callings, I took to yoga. Something my father kept telling  me all my life, but I never paid heed. A friend of mine introduced me to this art, and started being my mentor. Initially it was like any other art form I have tried learning - the aches, the pains and the need to push and get it right! And of course, the universal unwritten one being, to do better than the neighbor next to you :)

After a while, I moved from just wanting to impress, to a mode of my body wanting to express itself. It was a subtle, slow, transformation.

Today after 3 years, I may not have yet mastered any single pose, but yoga has started influencing a lot of my thought process and hence my life. Heres some of that summarized .. learnings of a novice..

(W) hole circle- Everything seems to be connected. Or rather, when you connect things, it makes sense. Then there is no concept of waste or unwanted; there is a wholesomeness.

Any aasana you do, if you connect the body from head to toe, there is no strain on one single part. The ache and pain of a particular muscle is mostly because, somewhere the fundamentals aren't strong enough.

Fundamentals- back straight, tail bone in, thighs and knees pulled back, chest open, lower back differentiated from upper back .. so on and so forth. If all this is in place, the connection too gets complete. This value system needs to be practiced every moment for smooth functioning!

- Inside Out - Initially when I started yoga- the mat, my outfit, the venue, the noise outside, mirror to see myself- were all needed and important. Today I realize if the values are fundamentally strong, none of the above really matters. The flow of energy and enthusiasm and control is from inside to the outside!

- Imperfection - Not every part of your body is perfect. Some aasanas you do easily, some not so easily. The imperfections exist and we don't need to hide them .

After 3 years, I realised my lower back is actually immobile!!! It needs a roaming SIM installed in it :) We realise and we work with that part. All the concentration is to bring it back to action, so that we can move on.  Acceptance that we have to work on it and also acceptance that we cant do without it - both gets thrown at your face.

- Independence - When I say , there is a connection, in the same breath I could say there needs to be independence. Every organ has its part to play and needs to learn to stand on its own. The abdomen needs to hold its own burden and not sit on the pelvic bone just because it is more comfortable.
Any perpetual dependence especially due to comfort can make the connection stink. Everyone stands on their own , yet they need each other to complete the whole !

- Openess - This is my all time favorite! A simple action 'stretch' .. has loads of repercussions. Stretch your hands, stretch the back, stretch the calf muscles, .. they make space for so much to enter into you. The vastness of the body, opens your mind too. The smile after your yoga session, is not only because you accomplished something, but also because you are ready to take on all the more!
The composition of the body being 70% water, starts behaving like the ocean, when you inculcate the vastness within. It can take any shit, and still keep the waves coming!

- Let go - Last week I realised, when I do the final pose, I am holding my breath. I feel thats the maximum I can do, I can achieve. Why then do I hold my breath? I think its like the many things we just hold on to .. to make it last. But the catch here is, if you let go, if you breathe.. you can stay longer in the pose! It is that simple.
The ultimate reality- 'breath' is so involuntarily exercised by us that we dont realise its importance. Its like the invisible mothers hand in the household, no one realises it, until its gone!
If we concentrate on the breath and let it go, even when we have reached the limit, the limit suddenly goes a little more ahead. A new personal best :)

My journey continues, and I hope to keep questioning and finding answers on the way. Thank you to my mentor, friends, and my father for this beautiful self journey!











Monday, May 23, 2016

A visit to my friend!

I have known him as a caretaker, entertainer and giver. I have found solace in him, at various stages of my life. There's always been fun and reflection. He has the power to take away whatever burden you brought along with you , all you had to do is to concede in him.

I grew up with him, but didn't  think much about him like the numerous things we take for granted as kids. Anytime we had visitors, we planned an evening with him. We used to have so much of fun! He just let us be and made us unwind. Elders also became one of us. It was a strange unifying feeling. 
Like most entertainers, he never discriminated. Color, language, education, family background, knowledge, they all meant nothing to him. His breath bought one and all together. 

He had a path he followed and you could visit him anywhere along that path. On one such new location, I visited him this summer with my family. My parents, sister, my niece, my daughter and me. Location - Kapu, a city in South Kanara district, State Karnataka. 

Appa's friend had built a beautiful architectural structure where we stayed for the night, which had all the 5 star amenities to the tee. The kids were excited- the bed was high, there was a huge mirror, hot water was available, there was a unique bell and to top it all there was AC in the room!  Perfect summer vacation abode. 

But I stood there staring at my friend whom I had known for a very long time but who appeared so different today. There was little silence, and a lot of music. There was no orchestrated opera, but entertainment with both dance and drama. Awestruck by him, we maintained a distance. But the kids couldn't wait. At around 5.30pm we went to visit him. He was so energetic that as we moved closer to him, we moved closer to each other. It was a magnetic effect. My daughter held my hand, my niece her hand, my sister my niece's hand and my father my sisters hand. He bonded us through the thread of care and concern. 

Kids were on their annual holiday to visit the beach. But he seemed like the 'ocean' today. The waves that lapped our legs usually, today lashed our faces!

It was full moon day. The day the soul mates met after a month. 
The ocean and the moon. 
He could no longer carry alone all the burden that people left with him, and wanted to talk his heart out to her! There was heartbreak ,there was loneliness, there was remorse, there was anger, there was ego, there was jealously, there was death .. All he had to share with her, all he had to cleanse himself off! 

But she wasn't to be seen. The damn clouds hid her from him. She tried with all the power she had . He roared, cried and was furious from here. The night saw thunder, lightening and all illuminated magic. They both orchestrated a big bang from either ends. The ocean grew his chest open. The waves were a size I had to look upto.  One could feel the agony of both of them yearning to meet and be in each others arms; but today the world around just didn't seem to want them together. 

I had a disturbed sleep with all the anguish going on outside. Morning I woke up to a still disturbed ocean. I walked by him, just to be there ..like the upteem tiimes he has been there for me. 
I hoped he calmed down soon, I hoped he became approachable soon, I hoped he could be just the beach soon ! 

Before I left, one last time I looked at him. A thought just went past; was he actually any different, or was it just me!


Friday, April 15, 2016

A - option

              Other than jeans, tops , blouses... have you ever felt you don't fit into things anymore?? 'Things' could be people, groups, situations, workplace, society you live in.. so on and so forth. What simply was 2+2=4, is now , 2.5, 3 or sometimes 4.5 .. too much to swallow or sometimes, to little to munch. A repeated occurrence of this, could be termed as a phase.
             The Pessimist would call the phase- 'mid  life crisis', the Opportunist - 'a call to search your direction in life' and the Optimist- plain 'maturity'. Either which ways, for anyone who could lend a little time for oneself might confront this phase. A brilliant class of people cover it up with mundane, blind folded repetitive work and show the rest of us how stupid we are! Frankly I envy them :)
             I wonder how our previous generations led their lives. They seem so sorted out. So much at peace with whatever they did/ and are doing. After my 'why' analysis , I derive : The disposables in their lives were minimal! Disposable income, disposable time, disposable resources.. were either negative, zero or minuscule. So the  movement of the middle class kids ( meaning us) to upper middle class or upper class adults has shifted the 'non disposable' childhood to 'abundance' parenthood. And this also catapults us to the'phase' some of us find ourselves to be in .
             Music has always been part of my DNA and helped me wade through the various stimuli life has thrown at me. But my appeal always stopped at the tune of the songs. Now,when I went ahead and confronted the words, I was confused! Why did I like the piece of creation more, the music or the meaning? This confrontation is what this phase of my life brought me eye to eye with.
            Don't know who got there first- me or my husband. But the unwritten pact of being on the same page , brought us here together. This realization let to a lot of discussion. Individually we kept seeking what we loved to do and hoped it would lead us somewhere.
           'Children'  always brought us happiness. The innocence, the cheer, the zest for life, the viral laughter, the underlying principle of being in the moment have been infectious and influencing in both of our lives. Could we then replicate all these virtues without diluting them ever? Could we make more beings who spread love and life throughout and don't get influenced by any vices?
Could money, ego, society, rules, not affect the kids? Could they live on to be great beings untouched by all the negativity? Questions kept growing, answers were tried seeking.
             Amidst this journey, we started growing closer to the basics- the start and end of all- The soil, mountains, rivers, trees! Doing and keeping on doing without asking for gratitude and filling the world with love and peace was the simple mantra of nature.
              On 3rd April 2016, we decided to adopt a child. We decided to take care, to tend to and oversee it until it was ready to give back to the world. We bought 20 saplings! At dawn with the rising sun along with us, we planted the 20 babies near our society we stay in . We have hence been watering them every other night and also asking people to do it whenever they get time. A little bit of time and effort is all they need during the initial days. Once their roots are grounded, they are on their own, unlike humans wherein the process takes atleast 18 years!
            There was an immense amount of satisfaction and joy empowering us. It was a means of expression, of returning, of feeling light and right! The 'phase' could have been an aftermath of just extracting and utilizing ( as taught brilliantly in my 5 years of management education) to our benefit, all that we gather in our life- money, material, resources, energy, relationships, feelings...
But here, with no intent to multiply, gain, return, store, or mere show off, we just gave back.
2+2 was definitely not 4 still, and the equation not exact - but we seemed to give away and gain ahead both simultaneously!


Shubha
April 15th 2016
         




Wednesday, March 9, 2016

THINGS ARE NEVER ALRIGHT!

I, as a child grew up believing in fantasies and still believe anything can happen if you put your mind and heart into it. At 37, I have gone into a reality check of who I am, where I belong and how I have lived until date.
Around 13 years back I met this person who was so unlike me and never thought we would be be together for life.
Today I confidently can say that if I am not with him, I know I am missing something. I wished for this my whole childhood, to have the love, madness, need and feeling of wanting to be one another. When I started feeling it, I thought he was over that feeling in the initial years of marriage and now its a one sided love marriage story..
But yesterday he told me that I complete him .. that we are so okay with each other that we dont know anyone else in our lives.. But what suprised me was, when he said it with a feeling that 'this is not how it is supposed to be!!'

Why !!!! why is that we dont even accept the small perfections in our imperfect world. Isnt it a lovely feeling that a husband and wife can talk anything under the sun, are best friends in all terms, miss each other crazily even if they are away one night. Why is it wrong, because no one around feels the same about their spouses? Why is that you need to think of it like a mathematical equation, where x is dependent only on y and the other variables are not so dependent? Why is it wrong if there is an equation like that? Why is there a fear, because there needs to be some fear in ones life.. that what if something happens to one another, who else do we have ?

I dont go through this feeling, primarily because I dont want to dilute this current feeling. I dont want to just let it pass without acknowledging it. I dont want to again put a cover and tell people that I actually can do everything without my husband or he without me.. but I want to enjoy the joyous feeling of wanting to be with each other even at the age of 40!

Like my 7 year old lives the day to the fullest I want to live this feeling till it is there. I detest taking examples of people who live superficially and have n number of relationships, none with depth, none with openness, none with truth. You can be real with only the relation you are not scared of losing!

So dear best friend, just hold on and enjoy what we share- its okay that others dont have it, its okay that we are crazy and different, its okay that we are content with each other. We earned and require it, so lets hold on and take it all in , which is making us ready for what we got to do in future!!!