Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Of Dreams, Wishes and Curses

Yesterday one of my favourite people told me, "Be careful what you wish for - it might just come is a Chinese curse."
That conversation started me off to write this post...

Well, my birthday (a milestone one this year) is still quite far away (and thank Goodness for that! :P ). But often, when people wish me a happy birthday, they also add a wish that "May all your dreams come true..."
A pretty harmless thing for someone to say, but, it really really gets me thinking when someone wishes me that.

How awful it would be if all my dreams came true!
Well, not necessarily because I would not have any "ambition" left in life (actually, that too, but I would have no complaints with a zero ambition, lazy life I believe ;) )
But it scares me because it means I would have to dream "carefully".
I can't give a free reign to my mind, I can't let it wander into uncharted territories, I will have to think twice before letting it off to unknown places, for fear that it may take me somewhere unwanted - and since the dream will be coming true - I would land myself in some place I never wanted to be in.
I will lose the freedom of dreaming!
Also, most people forget that dreams often involve nightmares. And if some one (or even myself) wants "all my dreams to come true", I should run away as fast as and as far away as I can! Scary, scary, scary like hell!

Which is why I am careful not to wish people "May all your dreams come true", or even "May you get all that you desire". And I never even pray that for myself...

These are scary wishes to make (for others as well as for ourselves!). Wish people (and yourself!) happiness, wish them success, wish them peace, wish them joy, wish them sincerely and wish them well - but for heaven's sake, please don't wish for their dreams to come true...

Which gets me to the something my mentor mentioned yesterday and got me googling for "Chinese Curses"
Turns out that there are three Chinese curses (Click for the  source  )
1. May you live in interesting times.

2. May you be recognized by people in high places.

3. May you get what you wish for.

And like the author in the link rightly mentions, a fourth one - "May all your dreams come true..."

Don't worry, dear friend,  I will never wish that for you.
I will send good old simple, heartfelt good wishes your way for the new year!
Happy 2016! :)

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Of Anchors and Horizons...

Who do you like the most, the Sea asked the Ship :
the Anchor or the Horizon?
The Ship thought awhile, and smiling said,
But ofcourse the Anchor.
For it gives me the Freedom to be free;
The Freedom to be me.

The Horizon will always tempt...
With dreams of distant lands and unchartered realms.
And whilst in pursuit of the Horizon,
There will be times when I need to seek shelter -
shelter from storms and shelter from the unknown.
And then I will always need an Anchor;
For it gives me the strength of familiarity -
and Acceptance and Guarantanee.
The Freedom to be free;
The Freedom to be me.

The Horizon will always beckon...
- and I - true to my calling, will always seek it out.
and steadily, slowly keep moving in the direction of my dream.
But without the Anchor;
I would not have the courage to conquer.
For because of it, I can stop awhile - I can renew, I can rest.
For it always gives me what I need the most;
The Freedom to be free;
The Freedom to be me.

And although it seems counter intuitive,
For an Anchor to be a symbol of freedom,
Strength indeed is oft times derived,
From the most familiar and oft 'taken-for-granted'.
In their own special way, Anchors do make lives enchanted.

And hence I was not suprised;
For when the Sea asked the Ship :
Who do you like the most,
the Anchor or the Horizon?
And the Ship smiling said,
But ofcourse the Anchor.
For it gives me the Freedom to be free;
The Freedom to be me.

~Written on 29th Dec 2015. #Original

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Thou shalt not judge...

Thou shalt not judge
is what you often repeat
But sometimes, just sometimes
Its tough to practice what you preach

And so you judge the traveller sitting right next to you
for no real fault of his,
Just because his belongings seem slightly askew...

Thou shalt not judge
is what you often repeat
But sometimes, just sometimes
Its tough to practice what you preach

And so you judge that friend who's now far far away
Yeah, the one who wasn't embarrassed to join you in singing songs out of pitch
Just because you weren't the first to know she's in love and getting hitched...

Thou shalt not judge
is what you often repeat
But sometimes, just sometimes
Its tough to practice what you preach

And so you judge a super woman colleague who's a real good Samaritan
For a cause greater than the two of you.
Just because she pinged in the middle of a Christie marathon...

Thou shalt not judge
is what you often repeat
But sometimes, just sometimes
Its tough to practice what you preach

And so you judge your little bro who you simply cannot do without
For something you've probably done many times too!
Just because he chose to celebrate his bday with a night out...

Thou shalt not judge
is what you often repeat
But sometimes, just sometimes
Its tough to practice what you preach

And so you judge your well meaning senior who's job it is to drive your project
For something that's just a part of who he is;
Just because his solution was something your logic asked to reject...

At times like these, know it isn't wise to set up a fight
When there's not much that crib chats and ice creams cannot set right :-)
And, thou shalt not judge is what you should often repeat...
Especially when it's tough to practice what you preach...

~Written on 28th Oct 2015 #Original

Friday, July 17, 2015

Random Thought #12

Learn to trust.
Have faith in the 'good'.
Let your default setting for any person be to "trust", unless that person proves otherwise.

~Life Lesson on a Friday afternoon by CG.
Danke girl, you rock!

PS: A series of original random thoughts that are concise...or may be I am just too lazy to follow up with longer text...

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

I remember...

I remember her when I get up, look at my hands and say the "karagre vasate" prayer and the teaching of being grateful for yet another new day - yet another beginning - that she taught us as kids.
I remember the times she taught us - lots of things - simple things about good habits, discipline, to more complex stuff (Well, stuff that seems complex now, in hindsight) - stuff that we never thought would be so important in life...
I remember those - and appreciate how the little things ingrained over the years have made me who I am today - and I am proud and grateful that I have the privilege of being her grand-daughter.

I remember how she used to scold me for being forgetful and absent minded with school books and stationery. The way she disciplined me when I forgot to keep my bag and books at proper places.

I remember the afternoons spent sleeping next to her - she in her warm, soft cotton saree - well oiled pleated hair, and the soft touch of her hands as she ran them over our foreheads...
I remember her soft yet strong voice as she wove stories for us - stories of heroism - stories of Ramayan, Mahabharat, Krishna - stories of Aesop's fables and Hitopdeshi - sometimes stories from her and grandfather's lives - sometimes completely original stories too - extra-ordinary tales of extremely ordinary people. Stories that sometimes still resonate - that I can still recreate from memory when some DejaVu feeling strikes...
The times spent with her have the power to transport me back to childhood - instantly - and create a warm, soft, very very protective bubble around me - a world I can go back to, whenever the real world becomes a bit too much to handle.

I remember how she taught us to appreciate every day "poli + bhaji" for snacks after school and how "poha/upma" @snack time were "special" occasion dishes - and I can't but appreciate that wisdom - especially now - when eating out/eating special food has become so common in my life, that every day "poli+bhaji / varan+bhaat" seems like a treat...:-|

I remember the times she used to cook my favorite "Golyachi Aamti" - the elaborate way in which she used to make the dough balls and fry them (and I used to hover around the kitchen and wait eagerly to sample them) - and then make the dal to put the balls in.
I remember the spicy comforting aroma that enveloped the kitchen when she added tadka  making the "every day" dal that much more special.
I remember the extremely hot, finger-burning "varan+bhaat" and the super cold dahi she used to mix together - hastily - lest I get late for school.
I remember her urge to make us drink buttermilk - every single day.

Ajji and I :)
I remember the evening ramraksha stotram she used to sing in tune as she went about her daily chores - the tune, her voice, still resonate with me - it is my goto strategy even today, whenever I need "peace".

I remember the long iron scissors with which she used to ask us to cut her nails - how she never trusted a nail cutter - and I remember my apprehension and fear of hurting her as she insisted I always cut a little bit more deeper...

I remember how soft her hands are - just like wisps of cotton - and how she says that's because her आई used to put oil on them.
I remember her smell - warm, comforting - with a mixture of Parachute + Hamam + some kitchen masala.

I remember how her eyes light up whenever she talks about her parents - her childhood home - times spent with अण्णा (my grandfather), and the times मावशी, मामा and आई were growing up.

I remember her strength - strength of character - strength amidst all hardships life hurled - strength to not become bitter - strength to keep helping people - strength to not conform to society's views of things - of strength to bring everyone together - strength she gave us, just by being there - a rock solid support.

I remember all this - and a lot more - and pray that she gets well soon.

I love you very very much Ajji :)
You are my rock :)

PS: I had always wanted to write down the thoughts inside my head - ever since Ajji started keeping unwell - but could never bring myself to do it.
The other day, some writing workshop @office gave us this writing prompt - "I remember..." and I decided to finally pen down all those memories floating around in my head.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Stupidus Maximus

Remember the essay we used to have in school, the one titled - "The day when everything goes wrong", well... 4th July 2015 was my very own (latest!) version of it - albeit a funny one :-|
There has been tons of "stupidus maximus" stuff I am responsible for, but this time, the urge to rant gets the better of me - and I've pestered enough family and friends already - so I figure its time to turn to my best-est friend who never ever judges - and always has the patience to hear me out.

1. You book a bus ticket for Manya and Aai - usually you do two separate transactions - for each of their tickets - because their plans are always dynamic and subject to change multiple times. But this time, you decide to be extra smart - you see there is just a single row of side-by-side seats left - and if you book your Aai's ticket first, the seat will be marked as a Ladies's seat and you won't be able to book for your brother (You remember this as a hard learnt lesson :P).
Well, you could have worked out the problem still and done two separate transactions. But then along with extra smart, you also decide to be extra lazy.
And you book their tickets via a single transaction - meaning a single PNR.
Their plans change (as expected!) - and now Aai is travelling alone.
She says matter of factly, "Yeah, just go ahead and cancel his ticket. No Big deal."
And you roll your eyes (thank goodness for voice only calls :P)
"Fine, I'll do the cancellations", you mumble.
What surprise - it seems goibibo cannot do partial cancellations.
Hah! You give the poor hapless guy @goibibo support desk a piece of your mind. (And feel guilty like hell later) :-| You also call up Neeta travels - the girl on phone tells you the same thing.
Cancel both tickets and book a single one anew - she says.
Well, yeah.
Actually, no - too many goof-ups happening all around lately - and you can't afford to risk Aai ending up without a reservation :-|
Fine. Cost of laziness and ignorance about the stupid partial cancellation rules = 500/-

2. You ping GM on a Friday evening and ask if she wants to watch Inside Out. GM has already seen the movie. GM is a super cool dudette. She says she doesn't mind watching it again.
You are excited! Book tickets for two. Amanora. 7.50 PM. Inside Out (3D). All good. Booked.
The date says Saturday, 4th July.
You rebook for Friday.
You flood your friends' inboxes and whatsapp chats telling them what a wonderful movie it is, and they should totally buy out your tickets.
and Wait.
And Sigh.
And wait some more.
And mail some more folks. Crack some PJs about how "10 ka 20" is your new part time job.
And sigh.
And wait some more.
Cost of extra stupidity + waiting + all the sighing = 460/-

3. You see an awesome auto charge paytm feature. You've had an account since 3 years; and you use it so very often.
This time you try to login, you see a double login secure feature at play. You are sent a OTP via SMS (to your old, now invalid Bangalore number)
And you smile. and try not to scream out loud.
This is just not your day babes.

4. You see a bag of veggies near the fridge as you enter the flat on Friday night.
M asks if you have ordered them - you say no - M and you assume A must have ordered. Go to sleep. Saturday morning your cook says "Didi, itne saare mushroom kyu leke aye?"
You shrug, and say A ne laye hai. And your cook being the super-enthu experimentalist - hurries off to make Mushroom Masala. Well, you're not really fond of Mushrooms - but fine - you adopt your "no fuss" food policy and have your lunch.
A walks in, and says she's allergic to Mushrooms.
M and you look at each other.
A teeny tiny voice at the back of your head says something is wrong... :P
You ask the voice in your head to shut up.
A orders Paneer.
Ding Dong - the veggie delivery guy at the door says - "Didi, wo kal wala sabzi ka bag return karna - wo aapke flat ka nahi tha - galati se deliver ho gaya, upar wale flat ne maanga hai unka samaan..."
You and M burst into peals of laughter, and end up paying for the Mushrooms.
Cost of not communicating b/w roomies = 1 kadhai bharke Mushroom Masala + 2 unopened bags of Mushroom no one is keen on eating :P
(Not to mention wreaking havoc to someone somewhere's plans to actually cook those Mushrooms!) ;-)

PS: Well, some things make up for all the stupid things that the world hurls at you.
(You blame the world, although most of the Stupidus Maximus is your very own creation :P)
You are officially a Mavshi now. Your sister has just given you the best-est gift ever!!!
Yayyy!!! You are soooo gonna spoil this little bundle of joy :D
Hugs and Kisses dearest darling nephew!
Love you to the Moon (and back!) ~PuMa :)

Monday, June 8, 2015

Of lines, plots and curves

Sometimes I wonder how life (as we know and remember it) is nothing but a set of "points in time"... if all the decisions we take, every single day, can be plotted, and ultimately (might) fit a (standard?) curve...
Of course everyone's curve will be different/may be even unique.
Although I'd rather people's life curves will be more or less similar ultimately, once you account for everyone's share of ups and downs...

but the point is, will we be able to map out a standard curve out of our life experiences?
Perhaps this is what they mean when they say, "The days are long, but the years are short...?"

The X axis for sure is time. The Y axis can be anything you value : happiness, satisfaction, success, health, wealth, relationships - whatever you fancy to plot.

Will this then, necessarily fit some standard curve?
If yes, can we then extrapolate our life/happiness/success/health based on past mapped points?
And can we then change the future points and the curve if we think we are sloping beyond a 'threshold'?

I wonder...