Nov 28, 2010

Love Because...

“I love God because God loves me.”

Quite honestly, to me, the above statement sounds twisted.

What if I found out God did not love me after all. Does that mean I would not love God anymore?

My elders did not teach me how to pray. There was no method. I had to stand in the pooja room and put my palms together just like everyone else did. And then wait till everyone stopped. That was all there was to it. As a kid I would recite a few 'mantras' my Grandmother taught me, and everyone would go like, “Awww.. how adorable!” No one really cared what the mantras meant anyway. In a way, I am very very grateful for this. I guess it is because of this that I have no opinions, and because of this that I can be open and honest about certain things.

As I grew older, I tried asking for things. Eyes closed, palms together and I would make a list in my head. First rank, new shoes, pretty bag, make my parents proud.. and so on. After a while, it felt fake. If this is really God I'm talking to, I figured, what's the point of asking? If 'God' was right here, in front of me right now, I should be so overwhelmed that I would go crazy with tears... not remember that the guy I have a crush on should notice me! It all seemed so petty to me. So I stopped asking.

I then tried to think, “God, I love you.” That thought made me feel sort of empty. Sure, I knew what love was. I loved my parents, and just a few of my friends. Not even all of them. And strangers, I was sure I didn't love any of them. So what was it about God that I should love, I questioned. Should I love because of the good life He/She/It has given me? Well, that would be gratitude, not love. Besides, would I not love if I had a bad life? No, there was something missing with this concept of loving God, something was just not right to me.

And so for a long long time, at every festival and every temple, where I had to put up the farce of closing my eyes and putting my palms together, I thought of nothing. Absolutely nothing. I had nothing to say to God, and I was honest about it.

Today, things are different, life is different. My perception is very different. Today, I don't even bother going into a Temple. Most of the times, I don't bother putting up any farce. Today, when I have my 'eyes closed, palms together,' I am still blank. But this blank is not like what it used to be. This blank is beautiful. This blank is bliss. This blank is absolute and all-encompassing. This blank is Love.

Overwhelming love. So much that if I were to open my eyes and find a stranger beside me, I could hug them as I would hug my own. So much that if I were to find a tree before me, I would be in love with every single aspect of it. I would love every flower, every grasshopper, every vegetable and every rock. I once saw a cat hunt a chameleon (something I would normally be disgusted at) and felt nothing but love. Love for creation.

Love. Not Because. Just.

Nov 13, 2010


Today I felt compassion within me for a few minutes.

It happens to me only about every once in a while. And yet, when asked about my biggest strength, I can only think of compassion.

I thought today about how small I am. Insignificant. Ordinary. Un-special. No, not in a self-deprecating manner. More like, in a realistic manner. Sure, the human race has been really great and is capable of a lot more. It's amazing how far we have come in terms of science and technology and arts and all that. But is it really fair for me to use the word 'we?' I have no part in man's progress, personally. I am a mere spectator, the user, the consumer, the audience. My contribution to this world, humanity, this universe has been and most probably will always be nil. This is me being honest. This is reality. My lifestyle is focussed on my survival and my well-being, not on contribution. Just like millions of other people.

So it got me thinking, what is it that I could even be capable of contributing, if I ever decided to contribute. I have no great special skills. Not a scientists mind, not an engineers, definitely not an artist's. I am not rich to give away money, nor am I influential to make other people give away money. I do not have enough knowledge to impart to children, atleast nothing that Wikipedia cannot tell them anyway.

Give I can, only of myself.

So I was walking on the street today, looking all around me. Suddenly people didn't seem like people to me. Suddenly, each person I looked at seemed like this intensely vulnerable being with layers and layers of protection about them waiting to jump to self-defence should anything attack them in any way at all. Some through violence, some through hateful speech, some through fake cheer and laughter. Suddenly I was being mirrored in everyone around me. Same core, different exterior. Suddenly, I was emptied of all judgements. Suddenly, I was full of love.

It all lasted a good two minutes. Suddenly, I then lost it.

This is my meagre contribution. Like the small, pitiful gift of beaten rice poha brought by Sudama. I wonder if there is a Lord Krishna lurking around somewhere to see some value in this.

Oct 31, 2010

Getting him talking!

This is something I wrote a year ago...

Today is a significant day. A revelation has been made to me that could alter the course of my future happiness. I’ve managed to make a discovery of something that has eluded me for some time now and probably many other women as well.

It’s true. I’ve finally been able to figure out what it takes to get a man talking about his feelings. Tried, tested, and it works. Surprisingly, it turned out to be something that I never expected, and something that women are not used to at all. Silence.

Yes, silence. And that’s all there is to it. Just give them a dose of their own behavior and you wouldn’t believe how much they can talk. Agreed, it’s not easy. It’s nothing like talking with your girlfriend. It’s easy to get us girls talking about problems and feelings. We just ooh and aah at the right places, empathize or sympathize with each other and we’re feeling so good in no time at all. Apparently doing this to a man is nothing short of murdering any little inclination that he might have in him to talk.

Ever seen in movies how men are able to pour out their guts to bartenders who serve them a drink and say nothing at all? Well I just found out that all we have to do is be that bartender. Want to get a man talking? Then be a man, not a woman.

Men don’t appreciate empathy. And they certainly don’t want any measure of our sympathy. They don’t want any of that ‘Oh my poor baby’.. or ‘you could have done that, you should have said that’.. or ‘I understand what you’re going through’.. All they need is someone to listen silently with no advice or judgment and they will be more than happy to share everything that’s inside of them.

And once they’re done sharing, we must not start with.. ‘so how did that make you feel?’ type questions. Such statements confuse them because they really are not as in touch with their feelings as girls are. So they try to give an answer and fail, then get put off and stop talking completely. Men share in bits and pieces, as and when it comes to them. And the interim needs to be filled with drinks, or a watching a game, or a filler conversation about technology, gadgets or current affairs. And so, one by one, we need to collect the pieces of the puzzle, put them together and there we have it, the whole picture.

So it all sounds good. But does it really work, you wonder. Well, it does. It does! I tried it today and it worked beautifully. I was on the phone with my partner and asked him how his day was. He said it was all fine except for one small incident where he lost his temper at some random annoying character. I asked him what had happened and there was silence.

Normally, in such a case I would have asked him if he wanted to talk about it, assured and reassured him that I would understand, that I was on his side no matter what. I would have made a little speech about how concerned I am about his health and temperament. By the end of that, all I would get was a ‘I don’t want to talk about it right now.’ So dejecting right? But not today. Today was different. Today I said nothing. He said there was a minor incident at work and all I gave him was an extended ‘Ohh!’ and then silence.

I waited, even though I was quite skeptical about the whole thing. I was sorely tempted to start persuading him to talk but I resisted. And then finally, out of nowhere he started to tell me what had happened. He told me everything. Every. Single. Thing. It was just awesome. I know I should have been feeling bad for his little incident but I was secretly rejoicing my wonderful discovery and newfound success. It was the most wonderful feeling I had had in a while. So then he was done sharing. And what did I do? I did not give him my 2 cents. I did not judge. I did not comment. Just kept silent for a while and then started discussing the launch of Windows 7. Now if I was talking to a girl this would have been a terrible, heartless thing to do. But to my amazement, he jumped topics instantly and was with me. It was incredible. I could tell that he was enjoying talking to me. I could make out the difference.

22nd October, 2009. I finally figured how to talk to my man. And how to get him talking.

Oct 28, 2010

some words to myself...

you think you're sane but are you really?

you think you've got it all figured out... but have you really?

wake up, wake up.
don't you sense the urgency?
don't you smell the ecological disaster in the brewing?
do you really think this comfortable life goes on forever?
do you really think this lasts until the end of time?

don't you see that you are in denial?

what can i do to break your dream?
what can i do to burst your bubble?

this is not a time to reproduce.
this is the time to save those who have been reproduced and left to rot...

think, think.
sleep not.
awake and think.

Oct 23, 2010

Khalil Gibran

On Giving

You give but little when you give of your possessions.
It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.
For what are your possessions but things you keep and guard for fear you may need them tomorrow?
And tomorrow, what shall tomorrow bring to the overprudent dog burying bones in the trackless sand as he follows the pilgrims to the holy city?
And what is fear of need but need itself?
Is not dread of thirst when your well is full, the thirst that is unquenchable?

There are those who give little of the much which they have--and they give it for recognition and their hidden desire makes their gifts unwholesome.
And there are those who have little and give it all.
These are the believers in life and the bounty of life, and their coffer is never empty.
There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward.
And there are those who give with pain, and that pain is their baptism.
And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue;
They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space.
Through the hands of such as these God speaks, and from behind their eyes He smiles upon the earth.

It is well to give when asked, but it is better to give unasked, through understanding;
And to the open-handed the search for one who shall receive is joy greater than giving.
And is there aught you would withhold?
All you have shall some day be given;
Therefore give now, that the season of giving may be yours and not your inheritors'.

You often say, "I would give, but only to the deserving."
The trees in your orchard say not so, nor the flocks in your pasture.
They give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish.
Surely he who is worthy to receive his days and his nights, is worthy of all else from you.
And he who has deserved to drink from the ocean of life deserves to fill his cup from your little stream.
And what desert greater shall there be, than that which lies in the courage and the confidence, nay the charity, of receiving?
And who are you that men should rend their bosom and unveil their pride, that you may see their worth naked and their pride unabashed?
See first that you yourself deserve to be a giver, and an instrument of giving.
For in truth it is life that gives unto life while you, who deem yourself a giver, are but a witness.

And you receivers... and you are all receivers... assume no weight of gratitude, lest you lay a yoke upon yourself and upon him who gives.
Rather rise together with the giver on his gifts as on wings;
For to be overmindful of your debt, is to doubt his generosity who has the freehearted earth for mother, and God for father.

Oct 16, 2010

Life at the Ashram

A couple of years ago if I had been told about a place in this world where I could find some people who were always happy, some people who haven’t gotten angry for years and some people who work tirelessly expecting no rewards, incentives or recognition, I would not have believed it.

For me, today, this place is a reality near the city of Coimbatore, at the foothills of the Velliangiri Mountains. I am torn between the temptation of wanting to pen down every single experience I have had in this wonderful place, and not doing so in the interest of people who haven’t been there yet.

You see, the first time I went there, I did so with no expectations whatsoever. I did not know what I was to experience at all. I went there neither excited, nor skeptical and made it a point not to form judgments on anything I saw. When a force of great magnitude hits and you least expect it, when you are unprepared, its impact is the hardest. It is only when you let yourself loose and drop all your resistance, that something can truly shake you up.

Maybe this is what worked for me. I was completely bowled over by every sight and smell that met my senses. Sheer tranquility in the midst of intense action… what can I say, except that I was rendered speechless. I always am when I am there. I either want to work till I drop, or sit and stare at the hills forever. I am not myself. I am not anything I have known.

As much as I want to, I think I will refrain from writing about details on the ashram life. I really don’t know how many people would care either way. But for the sake of those who someday hold the possibility of being touched by something profound, I choose to put a stopper on my words. I would like to say this: If you do, by any chance, decide to experience what Isha Yoga is all about, please do so without any research, without any questions. Don’t ask around. Don’t believe what you hear. Experience, first hand. And may that experience live within you forever.

Sep 27, 2010

Last day at Google

I cribbed. I cried. I did not want to do it anymore. Each day was difficult. I was making it difficult for myself. It made no sense to me. I saw no purpose. It did not feel like what I was supposed to be doing. It never did.

Some days I convinced myself that I was only imagining things, that all I had to do was give it my best shot. I then tried. And for a while, I did a good job. Then the same question would engulf me. Is this all I am supposed to be doing in life? The cycle repeated itself.

When I communicated my decision to leave, I was met with mixed reactions. A few congratulated me. A few wanted to be in my shoes. Many told me I was a fool. A fool, to let go of these comforts that no other company in the world provides. It’s true, the benefits are incomparable. I had never been more physically comfortable anywhere else in my life.

A few asked what compelled me to take this decision. For me, this was a tough question to answer. Each time I tried, I came up with a different reason. And the truth is, I still don’t know what drove me to do this. Was it frustration, boredom, laziness or the fact that I now have a somewhat vague but different perspective of life? I don’t know. All I know is that I had this gut feeling that now is the time to move on, and I just went for it. I may have made a mistake. I may be doing the right thing.

I don’t know. It’s a scary thought.

The last day was not easy. It actually hit me that these great conveniences I have gotten so used to in the past 2 years and 9 months will not be a part of my life any more. No more free gourmet food, no more free cab service, no more free massages, no more free gym. I questioned myself for the first time since my decision. “Am I really being a fool?” Will I really be able to do this?

For you see, I did not leave for another great job. I did not leave to acquire a great degree like an MBA. I did not leave to start a family or spend more time with my spouse. I have no material reasons for leaving. All I know is that what I was doing was getting in the way of where I want to be. And where I want to be is by no means a position of material comfort.

For the first time in my life, I am starting with no idea of where or what I will end up being or becoming. I guess this is what it means to take a plunge in the dark. To make a free fall from the top of the mountain, not knowing what fate awaits you. I guess this is what it means to really trust. Trust your guts, your instincts. Am I a fool? Maybe I am.

My entire life until this point of time, I have spent in the pursuit of happiness. And now the time has come when I want to be able to give myself more time for the pursuit of the truth. Yes, the truth. The whole, absolute, one and only. The truth. I must know what it is.

This is my chosen destination. Will I waver from it, time to time? Yes, most probably I will. I hope I will always be reminded of it. One way, or another. Does this mean I will renounce all else? No, renunciation is not the only path. Not for now, anyway. Does this mean I will not be doing anything else? No, I am still going to take up studies in Psychology, a subject of great interest to me. I will work again at some point of time, the monetary benefits of which I have no idea about. It is just that up until now for me, everything else was mainstream and seeking the truth was on the side. Now everything else is on the side, and seeking the truth is what it is all going to be about.

Jun 5, 2010

Love vs.hatred

Do the actions of a select few warrant hatred towards an entire race, religion or nation of people?
This question has been nagging me for a bit. And the obvious, logical answer that occurs to me is a big NO.

And yet I see hatred around me. Here are some examples of ‘people-in-hatred’ (as I like to call them) I have met and known personally:

1. Hindus who hate Muslims
2. Muslims who hate Hindus
3. People who hate the darker-skinned
4. Muslims who hate Jews
5. Men who hate women and vice-versa
6. Brahmins who hate non-Brahmins. Vice-versa holds good too
7. Andhras who hate Telanganas and vice-versa
8. North-Indians who hate South Indians and vice-versa
9. ‘Good people’ who hate ‘Bad people’
10. Teachers who hate children and vice versa

I am not going to pretend to be a saint here. I have passionately hated as well. Sometimes even the people I love the most, I hate them from time to time.

Sometimes I hate my husband so much that it makes me want to hate all men.
Sometimes I hate my mother so much that it makes me want to hate all mothers.

I think this hate is a natural process. This hate springs from anger and being hurt. Anger and hurt towards the actions of the other person. And once this anger cools down, I begin to realize precisely that. I hate the actions, not the person. I love the person, and I always will.

My Guru says that it’s very easy to love a person when they are long gone, and very easy to hate them when they are right here in our lives.

And yet, we search for love. Our entire lives, we search for true love. We try to comprehend it, to define it. All the while, retaining a huge chunk of hatred within us.

From all the points mentioned above, I reach two conclusions as mentioned below:
1. That which pleases us, we love.
2. That which is unpleasant to us, we hate.

All the while, forgetting this: That which pleases us and that which displeases us have all sprung from the same source, the same hand of the creator, whom we all love… or at least claim to do so.

The hypocrisy of which we are guilty, it pains me. It pains me to know that I am a hypocrite.

In my weakest moments, I form judgments and opinions. In my strongest and most beautiful moments, I find within me understanding and acceptance.

In my weakest moments, I close my eyes. I see:

My husband: he does things from time to time that hurt me. Sometimes we are two opposite ends of a pole. He just cannot agree with me. I judge him. He is cold, cruel. He has no emotions, feelings. How can he claim to love me? I judge him. I hate.

A politician: the greed, the selfishness, the corruption. I see nothing but that, I judge. All the people suffering around and yet this breed of people are unmoved from their motives. I hate, I hate, I hate.

A dictator/A terrorist/A criminal: The highest form of evil in my eyes. They slay the innocent. Where are their ethics, their values? Do they have any? I judge. I hate.

In my strongest moments, I close my eyes. I see:

My husband:
Is a logical man. He does things that make sense to him. He does things that are good in the long run. Feelings do not bother him. I cannot sway him from that which makes sense. I am the illogical one. He is only being himself. I cannot judge him for that. I can only love him for that, for who he is. I see the man, a creation of nature, full of love. I see the wonderful person that he is. I understand why he is the way he is. I can accept it. I fall helplessly in love.

A politician:
I see a child growing up in utmost poverty. The only thing that works is survival of the fittest. To survive, one has to snatch, be greedy and selfish. That is the only way to avoid starvation and annihilation. The child is powerful. Able to make use of these opportunities, adapt and survive. Selfishness becomes a way of life. A way of life that has always worked.

I see a child grow up in riches. The child of the selfish, corrupt, greedy parent. The parent who has no time for anything but making more money. Growing up in that kind of environment, that’s all the child has been raised to believe. Money is everything. Cleverness and manipulation reap rich dividends. It’s not at all surprising to me if this child grows up as an imitation of the parent.

As this entire drama unfolds before me, I wonder at it all. At how these things happen. This is obviously the will of the creator. I see these children growing into adults. I can understand why they are the way they are. I can accept it. It is circumstantial. I can separate the person from their deeds. I can now love the person. And reject their deeds.

A dictator/A terrorist/A criminal:
I see a child. Father is a drunk and abuses his mother. Beats her up and the child too.
I see a child. Sexually abused at the age of 6 by the caretaker of the orphanage.
I see a child. Sold off into slavery, fingers cut off and is made to beg on the streets.
I see a child. Comes home from school happily one day to find the parents murdered in their own home.
I see a child. Sold to terrorist camps and brainwashed into believing whatever is taught.
I see a child. Living a life of abuse, terror, shock. Forced to grow up several years in a hurry and begin to behave as an adult. The severe mental trauma at a tender, innocent age causes several psychological disorders. In other words, a child whose mind has been addled.
I see a child. With these psychological disorders, growing into an adult whose view of the world can be nothing but negative. Nothing but pain and sorrow. Nothing but becoming the cause of pain and sorrow to everyone and everything around them. To this adult it is now justified. It is the right thing. It all makes sense.
I can now understand why they are the way they are. I can accept. I can love. Yes, even a terrorist. I have it in me to love.

I imagine that in the most strongest moment of my life, I can close my eyes to understand why all human beings are the way they are. Each and every one. I can accept everything. I can separate the person and their actions. Just like taking a cassette tape out of a recorder. I can separate me and my actions. I can see that fundamentally all people are exactly the same as me. It’s their life experiences and actions that make them different. When I put that aside, I can realize that everyone is like me. I know that then, I cannot help but fall hopelessly in love with all of humanity. There can be no hatred. Whatsoever.

Many times, however, I am weak. I am consumed by hatred. I wish I could be stronger.

May 17, 2010

Kahlil Gibran...

On Children

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

May 7, 2010

at the end of it all...

My friend Baba has asked me time and again to write a post on what I want out of this life. What I want to do and where I want to be, and what my plan is. I have always avoided this due to the fear of having to sort through my many dreams and decide what I actually want to do. But maybe the time has come now...

I think a good place to start would be at the end. The end of it all - Death.

Death is inevitable, it has to be done. There is no escape. The question that occurs to me is how to die. I don't mean the exact manner, as that is not in my hands, but how to be within myself during the last moments of this life. The obvious answer that comes to me is happy. As countless other people, how I want to be within myself when I die is – Happy. Other words that come to my mind are satisfied, peaceful and without any regrets.

Now the question that arises is what if I die now. What if I die this very instant, or in the next? Or sometime in the near future? Would all the feelings I described in those words above be going on within me? Would I be able to die without regrets, at absolute peace? Somehow, I doubt that.

Sometimes, a thought crosses my mind. And that is, do I really need to have a plan? Is ambition really necessary? Let me explain why.

When I sit down to practice Yoga, my mind is full of thoughts, feelings and emotions. I’m very entangled with them, as though they were an interesting movie being played in my head. After all, these thoughts are mine and form the basis of my identity. However, on certain rare occasions, I find that I am successful at un-entangling myself from the web of thoughts. It’s like they are a cloud at the bottom of my mind and I’m floating somewhere above them, silent and observing. I am able to separate myself from these thoughts and become a mere spectator. At moments like these, I sometimes experience blackouts. No, I don’t pass out, but these are very tiny fleeting moments where everything becomes black and in that instant there are no thoughts at all whatsoever. It’s like a blank mind. As I said, however, these are very, very tiny microseconds during which the mind seems to stop and everything is blank.

What also happens during these micro-seconds is something else very amazing. I like to think of it as touching some part of the inner core of my being. Something else seems to take control, something that I would probably never be able to explain in words. As this ‘inner core’ is being touched, a sense of total bliss and happiness washes over my mind and body. A small smile begins to play on my lips and soon makes its way to a full-fledged grin. Sometimes, I even laugh out loud, the kind of laugh that comes out of relief and absolute blissfulness. Like someone told me that I never have to worry about anything ever again. All these reactions are completely involuntary. There is something very natural about this state of happiness. There is no effort involved. Sometimes I think this is the state I should be in when I die.

Coming back to the plan. The reason for me to make a plan would be to do all the things that matter to me in life, so that when I die, I can be happy.

Well this is my thought: If I can right now, right here, be sitting in one place doing nothing at all and be the happiest I have ever been, in a state of absolute bliss, then what in the world do I need a plan for?

Something for me to think about…

Having said all this, what would I want to do with my life assuming that I have a long one ahead?

Maybe I would like to work on those fleeting microseconds and try to turn them into something that lasts a few minutes, and then a few hours, and then days, and then something that’s there all the time. It makes sense, really. It’s all within. So I begin from within.

Responsibilities? No, there is no need to shirk away from them at all. That will all go on, and so will this. The only difference would be that instead of me thinking so and so needs to be accomplished for happiness, it would be that happiness is there in everything that is done, no matter what is done.

My guru says that when we stop planning, calculating, deciding and recalculating, when we just stop and let everything go, when we say it doesn’t matter, rich or poor, life or death, comfort or not... when we don’t think any more about how to live life well, when we give up our life to something higher... .. when there is no sense of want or wish...when we simply live and go on with a sense of awareness... Then life unfolds something beautiful for us, and we are taken care of... by life itself.

I don’t know if this is true or not since I haven’t really experienced this. I don’t know if this is a teaching, a philosophy, or a truth. I don’t even know if it is possible to really live this way. But I certainly feel that if life is a blank slate given to me where I am free to experiment as I please, it makes sense for me to at least try and see if this is really true. What do have I got to lose? I’m going to die someday, anyway…

Apr 30, 2010

a woman's dilemma...

As I sit awake in bed, pen at a piece of paper and trying to write down a schedule, my gaze wanders over to my partner. He’s sleeping like a baby, breathing peacefully. Yet, it’s only been 10 minutes since we got to bed. It’s quite a story how I got him to come here in the first place. Around a half hour ago I told him that I had some ‘feedback’ to give him about something he did. Since then, he had been avoiding coming to bed and was dozing off on the sofa. I finally figured out what was going on and promised not to say a word. He then gleefully came in and went off to never land in no time at all…

Yelling and nagging never worked with men. Apparently, honest communication doesn’t go very well with them either. Hopefully, a few hints and reminders later he’ll come around and we’ll get to talk about my feedback tomorrow. Oh, and I really don’t expect him to remember it by himself and come asking for it. I suppose it’s like a goat asking to go visit the lion’s den.

I have given up nagging now. My experience of 2.5 years in a relationship with a man tells me that no good can ever come of it, unless me getting super-upset and eventually stressed-out can be seen as a benefit. No use asking him about it though. My guess is that no man will ever naturally admit that his wife does not nag him. Men have to complain about their wives to their mates even if they have perfect ones. I have no idea why.

My Guru talks about relationships. In a nutshell, he says that all we ever do is try to extract happiness from the person we are in a relationship with. We expect the other person to do something special to make us happy. Of course, the other person isn’t exactly a happiness-giving cow, really. So obviously we are unhappy when we’re all ready with a cup to milk away some happiness all this cow can do is kick us hard in the back-side.

Well, my Guru didn’t really talk about all this cow business, that’s just my bizarre imagination at work. So, as I was trying to say in a nutshell and didn’t quite manage to, we try to extract happiness from the other person. When what we could do is learn to be happy within ourselves without the aid of anybody and simply share this joy with the person/people in our lives.

I mean, who would you rather be with anyway? The Happiness-generating-cow or the person with the empty cup.. or with the backside-kicking cow? Ok that sounds confusing. What I’m trying to say is that we would be better off generating happiness and sharing it rather than trying to extract it from others. Well, that’s what my Guru says anyway..

I’m trying to apply this to my present situation. On the one hand, this might be the only night we would get to spend together this entire week. That’s because he works by night and sleeps by day. No he’s not a superhero. Well he is MY superhero. OK that’s beside the point. The point is that it is kind of upsetting that on our only night together, he’s gone off to sleep. No goodnight kiss, no hug, not even a wink. I did get a hint of a flying-kiss though, or that’s what I imagined it to be. Sometimes men can just tune out. They cuddle when they want to, they have sex when they want to, and they go off into that mysterious ‘men-only’ land of silence where nothing you say gets through to them, when they want to. Somehow I’m getting the feeling that it’s all about him. I’m wondering what would happen if I stop communicating any of my needs to him. If I just stop asking him things or letting him know about my feelings. Would he remember anything? Would he remember that I love going out for drives, or would he remember to take me out for a movie or dinner? What would happen to our relationship if I stopped my practice of honest communication? Would he be in ‘man-heaven’? Would we be having a relationship at all…?

A little voice now tells me that I’m over reacting. So he fell asleep one night. He must be tired... does it always have to be about me? Is this what that extracting joy thing is all about? Am I the one with the empty cup here? It does look like it. As I look into my sad little cup, I feel torn. Between the easy way of just blaming it all on him and feeling sorry for myself, and the extremely tough way of accepting the situation and filling my cup by myself. It’s a very difficult decision to make. On the one hand I want to give him my silent treatment tomorrow and torture him for ignoring me tonight. On the other hand I think, would it be so bad if I just took it easy and let it go. Just give the guy a break. How happy would he feel if I just let him have his sleep without making such a big fuss over it.. After all it’s not like it’s our last night together ever. Is it really so important? Will it be so important 25 years later when we’re old and together and look back at our times as a couple? After all, that is where I want to go with this relationship. And I’m sure that he does too.

Look at him, sleeping like a baby. As a happy, smiling person, I’m able to appreciate it and feel happy for him that he’s getting some good rest. He does work so hard. And I do care about him so much…

Apr 22, 2010

My Looney childhood...

As a child, I was widely hated and unpopular. At the time I remember feeling bad about it quite often. But when I look back at times, I don’t quite blame the people who made life tough for me. If I knew me, I probably wouldn’t have liked me either. Reason? I was a rather loony kid.

Do I regret it now? Not really. I look back at it with fondness. Being a tad demented was actually fun. Even though most of the fun I had was by myself. I was kind of a mellow version of Calvin (from Calvin and Hobbes). Yes, unbelievable but true. Who could hate Calvin?! Unfortunately, a real life Calvin is a lot less acceptable than the one in the strip. And a lot less adorable as well.

I had a wild imagination with no limit whatsoever. Most of it has unfortunately been lost over the years in an endeavor to ‘improve’ myself to socially acceptable standards.

My strongest memory is that of my imaginary friend. His name was Tommy (sometimes just Tom) and he was the size of my palm. Yeah, something like a Lilliput. He was not always with me though. I remember that he appeared only when I wanted him to and I never really poured my heart out to him or anything. I also remember how we had met. I was actually his savior. It was during one of the summers I spent at my Grandma’s. I was looking out the window at the building opposite ours. Someone had tied a thick piece of cloth to the railing of their balcony. It immediately caught my fancy and I wondered why anyone would possibly do that. All that my 6 year old mind could fathom at the time was that it was done to hold someone captive in there. And obviously that someone couldn’t be bigger than the size of my palm. I cannot recollect how I actually got him out of there, but that’s how I got to know Tommy. He was extremely grateful to me for setting him free and agreed to never leave my side. I however, allowed him to have a life of his own, with the only request that he appear when I needed him. I vaguely recall him taking a wife at some later point in time.

The thing about Tommy was that I always had these bets going on with him. He would pop up at times when I was just about to do something and we would have a bet about what I was going to do. Like what dress I was about to wear or which homework I would do first or if I was going to sharpen my pencil or use a new one. Needless to say I always won. And he would owe me a ‘hundred-thousand-million-billion’ whatever (there was no currency attached) in cash. And he would miraculously produce these in tiny little sacks that I would stash away somewhere. Crazy stuff!
I don’t really recall when Tom stopped making his appearances. Just faded away... just like that.

I also imagined that my home was filled with ghosts, room-wise. There were the kitchen ghosts, the bathroom ghosts and ghosts for each bedroom. They never mingled much with each other and mostly stayed in their respective rooms. And they each had their characteristics. The bathroom ghosts were always having a party in there until I came in. The moment the light was on and I stepped in, the party would stop and they would all rush off and stand in corners. That’s because they didn’t want me to see them and get frightened. They were rather fond of me, you see. So no matter how much I tried, I could never see them party. The bedroom ghosts were a bit meaner. I had to take their permission before I entered, and there was a specific manner in which it was to be done. I had to stand with my toes in line with the carpet lining and switch on the light. At no point was i to step in before this was done. And in the few seconds that the tube light was flickering on, I had to quickly ask for permission to enter. If all was done right, I could enter safely and no harm would be done to me. I don’t remember much about the kitchen ghosts though. They didn’t make many appearances I’m guessing.

I remember hating most of my early childhood teachers with a passion. And I’m pretty sure the feeling was mutual. I just never saw the point of copying stuff from the blackboard to my notebook. It was the dullest work ever. Invariably I would start daydreaming or talking to people around me and never completed my work. The ‘stand-up-on-the-bench-with-your-arms-raised’ punishment was a regular feature with me and I would routinely find myself up there at least two to three times a day. A teacher once got so fed up of me that she made all the kids stand on their benches and they couldn’t sit again until I finished writing. I don’t remember much of how that ended but I seriously doubt if that made me speed up at all. Distractions were ever-so-common with me. I once sat at an exam, read the questions, realized I knew the answers, started writing, but never got around to completing it. Why? Well, I think I was so bored I started dreaming about making a mud house as high as me in the playground after the exam.

Oh, and for some reason my stuff would always turn up in the lost-and-found cupboard at school. I was quite well known with the school janitors for that and they would routinely take me there to check if any of the stuff was mine. Precious or not, I never seemed to have a value for things and if in my possession, they were almost always as good as lost.

There was a time when I was severely dehydrated due to playing all alone in the playground one summer afternoon. This is the desert sun I’m talking about and therefore unimaginably hot. My mother went ballistic when she realized I had been swinging in the park all day. Little did she know that it wasn’t any ordinary swinging. I was actually trying to decipher secret messages from the sun. There would be funny shapes every time I started into the sun light and then shut my eyes. All my wonder and curiosity was aroused in what these strange symbols could possibly mean. Was I meant to discover my life’s purpose in those messages? He he, well the only purpose they did serve was to have me puking and in bed the next two days!

And then there was my experiment with the paracetemol tablet. No, I didn’t swallow it. That would be another story all together. This perfectly round, white little object to me looked extremely promising and I was certain that I would make some great discoveries out of it. I started out with a stolen tablet from the medicine box, a pencil and notepad. No way was I going to let my amazing findings go undocumented! I remember trying to crush, powder, pound and dissolve it, make a paste of it, feed it to dolls and many other carefully noted pointless experiments before concluding that it was, well, nothing but a boring tablet.

The mirror was an object of great fascination for me. On holidays I would lock myself up in my room and stare into the mirror for a very long time. Not at myself but the things around my reflection. I was always so sure that there was another duplicate world on the other side, just waiting to spring to life the moment I looked away. So I would wait and wait and then pretend to turn away and quickly turn back to catch something. But, of course, I never did. As I got a bit older this activity evolved into role-play before the mirror. I would stage elaborate plays with me being the script-writer, director and the actor playing all the characters. My favourite one (also the one I enacted the most, invariably) was the lost-princess story. I would wrap my towel around my face and make it look all scrunched up. I was the lost princess who was cursed into the towel-face and wandering alone in the woods. Only true love’s hands could untie the towel to unravel my hidden, ethereal beauty. One day, I chance upon a handsome, thirsty young man to whom I offer some water and then, predictably, the towel is eventually undone!

And so the stories go on and on. There are ever so many that I can only remember shreds of, like stuffing onion skins up my nose, gulping down a bottle of nasal drops so I could be done with them once and for all (both these events landed me in the emergency room), giving all the kids in my kindergarten class real haircuts at break-time (that made me very unpopular with the parents)… I’m sure there are several more that I have totally forgotten. All I can honestly say is that I truly, truly feel very sorry for all the kids and adults (the adults, mostly) who had to put up with the crack-pot that was me.

Having said that, someday I’ll have kids of my own, and I sincerely hope that they turn out to be just as loony as i was, if not even more.