Friday, 31 December 2010

Joy and peace as you step into 2011

You have done what you could — some blunders and absurdities have crept in. Forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.
          ~ Emerson

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Monday, 27 December 2010

We have survived . . . We move on . . .

Well, another year is coming to an end. The rains left the roads with potholes and broken wires. The rains stopped long ago but the scars remain. We have survived that. India saw scam after scam where the figures of the scams left us baffled. We survived. Somewhere in the world, miners were rescued. We read and heard the news. We moved on. Aung San Suu Kyi was released after many years of house-arrest. Well, so what?

Politicians squander, people die of hunger, and many many events have shook our comfort-zones. Yet we have survived all of them and look forward to another year. Sometimes I wonder how I can be happy and look forward to another year which will be an exact replica of the bygone year. I keep quiet . . . accept that politicians will loot and celebrities will flash their assets. How does it concern me?

Yet, I look forward to another year, simply because I am alive and able to understand that the things mentioned above are beyond my control. But the hope is that there are things which I can control, like, my spending, maybe my weight! Ugh. Well. Small things bring joy and make the journey into another year promising and engaging. I survive because of those small things.

Well, what do you have to say on this?

Image: Internet

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Imagining you . . .

This is a post I began months ago but did not return to it as I was not so inclined at that point of time. But now after much deliberation, I've decided to jot it down.

For many months now, I have been writing and receiving comments, which gives me joy and makes me reflect. As I read the comments, some make me smile, some think, some delight . . . I just can't stop thinking as to how my readers will respond as they read my posts. Now let me explain, I can imagine some of you sipping coffee and reading posts . . . gently placing the cup down and writing a comment . . . and again sipping the coffee. It gives me immense pleasure to imagine you sitting miles away (sometimes you might be closer to me in geography) and doing whatever you have been doing, and stopping to see your dashboard. Maybe your room is spacious and your computer beside a window. Or maybe your room is small and known as 'computer room.' I have thought of this over and over.

But there have also been times when I cannot savour the posts of my favourite bloggers due to lack of time. At those times, I try not to give in to temptation and  just race through the post for the sake of reading. If I cannot relish the post, I refrain from reading it as well. How we construct our own patterns and thoughts while performing a task, is always a wonder to me. Sometimes the tasks we do are very similar but by doing it in our own way, we lend it our signature.

A few months ago, imagining my readers was my favourite night-time activity, before sleep wrapped me up in her arms and gently led me away. Some of your faces I do not know but that does not stop my imagination. I know your names and so I think of a form and a blank face. The mind is simply amazing. It can contrive anything and colour it brilliantly. Now, I can go on and on about this strange meandering.

At the same time, I would like to know at what time do you like to post and read posts. What is the expression on your face while reading posts? Do you smile? Do you mumble and say, "Wow! That could have been me writing . . ." Do you imagine me as I imagine you?

Image courtesy: Internet

Monday, 20 December 2010


Living in a hostel for the first time and sharing a room with another person has given me new names and roles. I am a ‘roommate’ now. For the first time when she addressed me like that to her friend over the phone, I was flabbergasted. Was she referring to me? I did not intend to eavesdrop but I just wanted to know whether it was me. And indeed, it was me!

I have always loved to refer people by their names and not their roles. So when I was reduced to a mere ‘roommate,’ I must admit that I was a bit unsettled. That’s when I started rationalizing this feature of roles connected to people. It is quite natural to communicate using roles and it is just mind-boggling to know that Susan is not Susan alone but a roommate, teacher, daughter, student and so on. I cannot but think that I am many and still I am me. The whole idea seems so fascinating.

After that long thought on roles and names, I finally came to the conclusion that it is not always possible to refer to people by their names. For example, I cannot talk about my mother by referring to her by her name. I have to tell the receiver that I am talking to my mother and not …. Well, so many thoughts on roles and names.

Now, all said and done, I am your blogger-friend and not Susan. Well, I might be ‘blogger-friend, Susan’ but still . . .

So, what are you? And how do you perceive roles-names and what do you prefer to be known as? I think I can imagine your answers but I will let you speak . . .

Image: Internet

Sunday, 12 December 2010

I almost told her but stopped . . .

Life sure gets interesting with the advance of age. But there are some temptations which one has to avoid with the progress of age. One of the temptation is giving out free advice! Off late, I observe myself in some of my students and young colleagues. My students and some young friends are prone to committing the exact mistakes which I committed years ago. The pattern is the same, the texture is the same and as I notice their pitfalls, I am so very tempted to tell them: Better don't do this! or Maybe you should think about that. But I stop myself. I learned things the hard way and no matter what my seniors told me, I did not choose to heed. I went ahead and fell down headlong and arose.

But I should admit that staying away from giving advice does not come easily to me. I somehow have to say something about "When I was of your age . . ." I know that eight out of ten individuals do not appreciate free advice but still I have to chip in my two bits. Sometimes I try very hard to stop myself. I am compassionate that way. I don't try to imitate my seniors and advice the poor victims. But as one advances in age, there is this niggling urge to offer unsolicited advice.

But don't you think that age does this to all of us. We have walked a certain number of miles and that has made us into what we are. After reaching a point, when we look back we think that we could have avoided certain things. Perhaps when we see children and adolescents about to commit the same old mistakes, it is but natural for us to try and warn them. But somehow the free advice is not always taken in the way it should be taken. Therefore, I refrain. Let life teach them.

Now, I wonder what my readers have to say on this: Age and unsolicited advice.

Image: Internet

Friday, 10 December 2010

Someone told me . . .

Off late, it has been quite hectic this side which does not allow me to post periodically inspite of bursting ideas and reflections. The meanderings go on but the posts remain elusive.

Observing people and wondering about them often proves quite engaging. I especially amaze at the different phrases that are dropped well-meaningly but unassumingly. The use of the phrase: 'Someone told me' or 'I heard someone telling . . .' has become quite common that it is sprinkled rather liberally in conversations. At that particular time it seems quite insignificant but that phrase is still carried over twice and thrice by individuals who again say: 'Someone told me . . ..' How often we just carry forward rumours and as such on and on.

I honestly believe that the art of conversation has many strategies but the most abused, according to me is passing on information without verification. I know that it is absolutely harmless on our part when we pass on something which we have heard as a second-hand information. But it would do no harm to verify our sources and then carry it on.

My students, especially, excel in this art. They always tell me something and when I interrogate them further, I get sheepish smiles and blank looks. It was then that I realised that even adults are prone to this behaviour. Most of the times these phrases might be the clever concoction of the speaker who wants to pass off something but does not want to be associated with it. Maybe it is a device to appear clever albeit till the conversation ends and a few minutes thereafter.

Well, whatever the motive, dropping phrases and attributing that to someone is not as smart. Or maybe it is smart!

Hmmmmm, so did someone say that conversation is an art and one can have the liberty of saying anything? What do you think?

Image courtesy: Internet

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Alas! What has plastic done!

While I was growing up, the corner shop was a vital part of our life. Every now and then, while in the process of cooking, my mother would need something and I had to run to buy that item. The best part of those shops, for my mother, was the bits of paper which were used to wrap the items. After emptying the contents, my mother would settle down to read whatever was printed on that bit of wrapping paper. Since many shop-keepers used newspapers, the wrapper would invariably contain parts and if lucky, full articles. If I was standing nearby, she would say: “You know these small bits of paper contain the best of reading material and you should never discard those without reading what is on it.” And she would go on reading whatever she could manage to read.

I was never very particular about that exercise until I suddenly noticed that we no longer had such small bits of stories (as I would like to call it) as wrappers. The papers were replaced by glossy plastic sachets and packets which had fine lettering printed on it. Then, I started missing those bits of paper. Sometimes the bits of paper would be answer sheets of students with the comments of teachers. It used to be quite interesting to stumble upon such items unexpectedly.

It so happens that whenever my mother used to get these wrapped papers, she would end up reading some beauty/cookery tips or some yummy recipes. My mother always would say: “I must remember to write this down.” But she will invariably forget and often times when she is preparing a dish, she would suddenly remember about that bit paper and rummage the house to find it. Little did she know that the paper would have been discarded by some smart member of the family who would see it as another waste material fit to be thrown away. But as history often repeats itself, my mother would get another bit of paper like that and would want to remember to write it down but would forget and the cycle goes on.

Last evening, I wanted to dispose something and so I tore a piece of paper. But that piece of paper had some interesting tid-bits of news and I ended up reading that whole piece of paper. And since the date of that particular paper would be somewhere in the past, it also carried some element of recollection of that particular day. While I was reading that piece of paper, I silently lamented the vanishing away of those corner shops and their paper wrappers. Alas! Plastic has stolen the small pleasure of reading unexpected stories and experience. And this is not the only thing that has been usurped by plastic . . .

Reading bits of paper, anyone? I am sure we all love those treats which come our way . . .

Image courtesy: Internet


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