Thursday, 29 November 2012

For the big man with a very tender heart

For a very long time, my blogger friend Mahesh Iyer who blogs at Memories has been pestering asking me to do a post on my favourite quotes. Finally I am at it. This post is for him - The big man with a very tender heart. This post is also a thank-you post for the wonderful readers of this blog. I cherish each and every one of you :)

"The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson -
“Even boredom should be described with gusto. How many things are happening on a day when nothing happens?” 

- Wislawa Szymborska -
"Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity."

- Henry Van Dyke -
"Behind the facade of image and distraction, each person is an artist in this primal and inescapable sense. Each one of us is doomed and privileged to be an inner artist who carries and shapes a unique world."

- John O' Donohue -

"Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly, and most underrated agent of human change. Kindness that catches us by surprise brings out the best in our natures."

- Bob Kerrey -
"Try to make at least one person happy every day. If you cannot do a kind deed, speak a kind word. If you cannot speak a kind word, think a kind thought."

- Lawrence G. Lovasik -

"The way we communicate with others and with ourselves ultimately determines the quality of our lives."

- Anthony Robbins -

"Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer."

- Rainer Maria Rilke -

"Have compassion for everyone you meet, even if they don't want it. What appears bad manners, an ill temper or cynicism is always a sign of things no ears have heard, no eyes have seen. You do not know what wars are going on down there where the spirit meets the bone."

- Miller Williams -

"I know there is strength in the differences between us. I know there is comfort, where we overlap."

- Ani DiFranco -

"When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too."

- Paulo Cohelo -

"Our life is composed greatly from dreams from the unconscious, and they must be brought into connection with action. They must be woven together."

- Anais Nin -

"Love leads us into mystery where no one can say what comes next, or how, or why."

- Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg -

"Do more than belong: participate. Do more than care: help. Do more than believe: practice. Do more than be fair: be kind. Do more than forgive: forget. Do more than dream: work."

- William Arthur Ward -

"The only way love can last a lifetime is if it's unconditional. The truth is this: love is not determined by the one being loved but rather by the one choosing to love."

- Stephen Kendrick -

"To think creatively, we must be able to look afresh at what we normally take for granted."

- George Kneller -

Hope you liked these cherry-picked quotes, of which many have been posted to my Facebook wall. Please feel free to copy the quote that you liked and related to. I would be happy if you could add your own favourite quote in the comments' section. Mahesh, does this make you happy?

Image 1: Internet 
Image 2: Internet  
Image 3: Internet
Image 4: Internet
Image 5: Internet 

Thursday, 22 November 2012

It takes thirty plus three and a few months

Some posts don't allow you to rest. They nag, demand attention, try to hijack the stray vacant minutes until you finally allow yourself to write what it dictates to you. The present post is like that.


Mothers are strange creatures. They seem to have super-human abilities, solutions to the mundane worries that threaten to sabotage the peace of the day, quick-fixes to flush out the extra salt from the food and a zillion other practical stuff. Inspite of doing all this, the smile on the face remains and the facial appointment is never ever skipped. Phew! I never realised all this until I got married. Marriage always turns everything upside-down, opined my friends in the days when I wasn't married. And, like every single woman who takes pride in brushing off nuggets of wisdom that comes with experience, I never was quite interested in tales of being married. But I did listen, out of respect and warmth that comes with friendship.

But the tales, which turned out to be hard core facts hit me hard once I got married. And, when I say hard core facts, I don't mean the 'space' problems that every modern couple like to rave about but the teeny weeny things that often go unnoticed but still have the ability to mar the smooth flowing of the day's rhythms. Like many individuals who read theory and start every argument with abundant dosages of feminist philosophies with an extra dash of attitude, I had my share of mother-bashing and other things which I will refrain from sharing. Today, I realised that my mother is quite practical and sensible when it comes to certain things. And, marriage being something that you learn on the job, nothing can prepare you for it except the marriage itself. No matter how much one reads, listens to experiential stories and watches videos by marriage experts, nothing will tell you about the last minute hassles, niggling doubts about the right way to go about something and other stuff.

I realised that no matter what, I can call my mother and she will have something to say that will make me think, "That's it?" Many times, we look for grand ideas and solutions forgetting that sometimes thinking simple does all the tricks. I never imagined that my mother had done so many things - juggling thoughts, schedules, house and work and other small stuff. I also realise that planning though is hyped over and over can never be executed most of times and one needs to have that small doubt that things can go kaput even with detailed planning. You plan the breakfast, lunch and sundry details for the next day and late at night friends drop in. The plan takes a turn but one has to do quick thinking. Sticking to plans then is absolutely absurd. My mother was doing all these things with elan and finesse. Who taught her? Her mother? I don't think so. She was married off very early. She learnt it on the job - by trial and error.

Now, today, after thirty years plus three and a few months, I come to wonder at the life my mother and most of the mothers live and continue living. The sense of balance, taking care of the family and the self, fixing last minute change of plans and accommodating changes in schedules of our mothers is just amazing. I regret those years when I did not get to know her and think along with her. Now when I run my own home and have my own set of burnt toast mornings, I marvel at the wonder of my mom.

This post is for her.

She might not get to know of this post, maybe she will, but this post is from the innermost depths of my married being :)

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

I challenge you to get angry in style

Last night I was watching Casino Royale and reminiscing about the old Bond Sean Connery. Casino Royale is the only recent Bond movie I have seen. I haven't seen any of Brosnan's Bond flicks. Well, I am not here to enlighten you about my history of viewing Bond films but rather a completely unrelated subject which ticked me while watching Craig in action in Montenegro.

There is a scene where Bond seems to be losing money in the Casino and gets completely annoyed. He hurriedly goes to the bar and orders a drink. When the bartender asks him, "Shaken or Stirred?" Bond answers something like, "Whatever dammit" in a very angry and roguish tone. The most stylish and suave agent has lost his cool in a very unstylish manner. Well, that is what triggered this post. Can anyone manage to get angry and yet keep his/her style? While courting a prospective partner, one can be very stylish and wax eloquence but while getting angry, the elan is lost and the speech reveals the person. The same mouth that spouts words of love and verse in grace can curse with an equally strong passion.

One can be passionate about wearing make-up and of course can carry it well while eating, sleeping and even making love but when one gets angry, one just cannot take care whether the lipstick is swallowed while spitting out angry words and whether the hair-do is in place while literally boxing down the rival party.

Uncouth words, poisoned glances, banging the doors/utensils can never even be done in style. Come on, James Bond cannot do it, how can others even try doing so. Probably that's why anger is seen as a potent force that can destroy one's interior and exterior health.

Can you ever think of anyone who has gotten angry in style?

Image: Internet

Friday, 16 November 2012

Stories on a plate

Meal times are usually conversation times, if one is at home and everyone else is also at home. Slowly the first mouthful is swallowed and the stories begin.

You know what happened yesterday . . .

Ears perk up and the mouthfuls become slow and steady. Sometimes, I find it extremely difficult to concentrate on the food and on the equally delicious talk. I love both to bits. Then to add a flavour from times of yore, my mother adds her bits to the conversation that was started by my sister. She adds colour and antiquity to the interesting string of stories. Me, being the teacher starts a string of related student stories.

The conversation flows.

The food slowly but surely finds its place in our tongues. We savour the flavours of the food and the talk.

The plate goes empty. The stories run.

The juices and the remains of the food are slowly polished off clean. The act of polishing serves a double-fold purpose: It cleans the plate and it prolongs the act of eating.

After the plates, it's the turn of the fingers. In between hearing stories that leave us asking for more, the fingers are licked clean. And I don't know why the remains of the food sticking on the plates and the hands are the tastiest bits. The chatter continues non-stop.

And, in a moment of brief silence, the first person who has had enough tries to get up. NOOOO. PLEEEAAASSSE, we protest. Don't get up to wash your hands. If you wash your hands, the mood and the chain of conversation will break. 

My mother always remarks, "The drier the hands get, the juicier the conversation gets."

The person eventually gets up. Ah, we lose interest. The conversation breaks off. The bits of food on the hands and the plate are viewed with distaste. The magic evaporates. We return to life and that is clearing the dishes away and washing them.

(I guess the same happens even while eating with forks, knives and spoons. But somehow for me, eating with spoons does not create the same magic. I have to use my hands and in the end lick them clean. Wow!)

What happens in your meal times while at home with family?

Image 1: Internet

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Where are the letters I wrote? Where are the letters that were written to me?

In a few weeks' time, I will have a new address. The feeling is mixed. How will my new address sound and will it have a nice ring to it? I hope you get the drift! Sometimes, addresses do have a nice ring, like say, Sugar Land, Texas or Palli Hill, Bandra or say, Poes Garden or even Lake Avenue. I could go on about sweet sounding addresses which sound nice and read nice. But however nice and sweet it may sound, it is sad that some addresses never receive letters promptly. Well, my letters are such and so are the letters written to me by dear friends. I have come to the conclusion that my address does not sound and read well because I have lost precious letters in transit. What happens to the lost letters, anyway?

Who benefits from my lost letters? Where are they? Are they struck in some old and rusty post-office or have they been dumped in some junkyard?

When I was about ten years old, there was a case in the newspaper which reported of a post-woman who bundled up all the letters and sunk them in the common water tank. Ah, what was wrong with her? How can she so mindlessly dump messages of love, success, failure, birth, death, wedding, crush and others into the water tank? When I think of my lost letters, I think of that post-woman. My beautiful purple ink would have been lost in water. Death of letters by water! I shudder to think of my letters meeting such a fate. That's about my letters. What about the letters that were posted to me? I am yet to receive five letters and they were written long ago, sometime in August or September. I took a conscious decision to avoid some friends on Facebook and communicate only through letters. Alas! I broke my self-imposed vow and inquired about the letters. The letters, they say, were posted long ago. Missing in Action/Transit?

Well, is someone savouring my letters? Are they reading it and throwing them away? I am not able to put my finger on any valid reason. Should I blame the inefficient postal system in India? As it is, the news is pretty stale when I receive the letter and yet I relish the joy of the letter but now that small joy has been snatched away from me. Where are the letters I wrote? Where are the letters that were written to me?

I believe that I am one of those rare species from another era who still writes (W.R.I.T.E.S) letters but everything seems against me.

And inspite of all, I am still an optimist one . . . perhaps another rare trait, in these days of pessimism and whining. I wait for my letters. And, please don't write any letters to me until I send you my new address.

Will you write to me and shall I reply.

Image: Internet

Sunday, 11 November 2012

When I was trolled! Please excuse me Tolkien!

To be honest, I knew about the existence of the word 'troll' only after reading The Lord of the Rings by     J. R. R. Tolkien. The other times I came across this word was in Facebook where there are humourous pictures from a group/individual called 'Troll.' Well, I was in for a surprise when I received a text message from a dear friend saying that I had been trolled. "What the heck?" was my response as I was only thinking of Tolkien's trolls. I was not some nasty and stupid troll. Chances that I may be one cannot be dismissed but from middle-earth, certainly not! And then I realised that I was not a troll but there was someone who had trolled me. Get the drift?!

Cave Troll 
So what does this word 'Troll' mean? When I googled this word, I was dumb-folded to find that our Wiki has a page devoted to the word! Alas! my limited and ancient vocabulary did not register this word. I read on with interest and discovered many amusing facts about the word which is touted as 'internet lingo.' I have been using the internet for quite some time now but have never read about the 'troll' word. But what the internet does not have is the word, 'trolled' and so I am wondering if I can add to the already existing usage of the word. The Urban Dictionary defines the word thus:

The art of deliberately, cleverly, and secretly pissing people off, usually via the internet, using dialogue. Trolling doe not mean just making rude remarks: Shouting swear words at someone doesn't count as trolling; it's just flaming, and isn't funny. Spam isn't trolling either; its pisses people off, but it's lame.

But what is interesting to me is whether I could connect the Urban Dictionary's definition of 'troll' to Tolkien's troll. Again referring to Wiki, Tolkien's troll is described thus:

Trolls are large humanoids of great strength and poor intellect.

Well, I definitely do see an obvious connection here ;) I will not go into details as you can gather them for yourselves.

You must be wondering as to what prompted this post. The title says it all, I was trolled and the one who trolled me was not a humanoid but a human who I believe, possesses great strength but poor intellect, in the norm of Tolkien's trolls but not from Middle Earth!

A new word is always useful, isn't it?

Image 1: Tolkien's Cave Troll - Internet
Image 2: Wiki Troll-face - Internet

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Some interesting 'phone talk'

For a long time now, I have been steadily observing, rather listening to the words and phrases used by people while referring to missed calls and lost messages. I thought it would be fun to record some of them here and also request you to add to some of these hilarious usage of phrases.

Why didn't you lift the phone? (As if a phone call can be lifted! Hangover of the old telephones which were in use way back when land-line phones were the norm. They are still in use now but in limited households)

How many times I am calling, your phone doesn't pick calls (Has anyone heard of phones having an independent mind)

I saw missed call from you but I didn't call again. Why didn't you call? (Hello, if you see a missed call, you HAVE missed a call and so you have to call back. Duh!)

My tower is cut and I am not able to continue the conversation (Tower is cut?!?!? I think signal or reception is the word to be used)

My tower signal is going (Where is it going?)

Don't walk and talk, the tower will disappear (!!!!)

I am running behind tower to talk clearly (Well, do you have special running shoes?)

Why are you unreachable? Has your tower disappeared? (Missing tower complaint)

After the advent of mobile phones into our daily lives, new vocabulary relating to mobiles have appeared in our daily language. Being a person who is interested in language and its usage, I cannot but help being amused at some of the phrases that are used even by the most educated persons.

You are welcome to add to this list and also comment on them.

Image: Internet

Monday, 5 November 2012

Please let that thought linger . . .

While praying, meditating or trying to concentrate, it is essential that the mind should be freed of clutter in the form of stray thoughts. Better said than done! Often while meditating, there is this one thought that I find so very difficult to let go.

When he strummed the guitar and sang that song, my heart leaped and all that I could manage was a smile. I wished that he could go on and on but then he stopped, looked into my eye and asked me to hum along with him which I couldn't do . . .

The thought doesn't stop. I coerce and beg and try all possible techniques, the thought remains so and starts weaving delicious notes that seduces me over and over.

The song was 'Alberta Alberta' by Eric Clapton. He sang and sang on and here I was breathless and dreamy . . .

Ah, I need to focus on my meditation. Another technique is: Let the thought have its way. But then, will the thought ever stop? 

The song has some wonderful lines such as, "Aint had no loving/ Since you've been gone." Well, it was Eric Clapton's voice but your face and your guitar that you purchased with your own money and not your father's.

While praying, the heart and mind are supposed to be in a state of meditating over the words that are heard. I remember a scene from the film, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind where Jim Carrey does not want to erase some of the happier moments he spent with Kate Winslet and wants to preserve at least one memory. He does not want to let go. Similarly, I struggle hard to let go of that one thought in the form of someone's voice or tone and I try to cling on or rather it clings on to me, threatening to sabotage my prayer and meditation. I plead with the thought to release me.

I might have exaggerated a bit but thoughts are like wild horses, which can sometimes be quite hard to tame and if you are someone like me whose memories often surface with just a tune/glance/smell, then it's harder. Inspite of all that, I like praying and meditating. 

Tell me about how thoughts play havoc with you when you try to concentrate.

Image: Internet


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