Posted in Christian, Family and Society, poetry, Reflections

Shades of Red

Gazing out at the fiery evening sky brings to mind the words of Francis Bacon, “Let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” Reality wise, it mayn’t be so. Even as the sun rises or sets, we carry over the fury to the next hour, knowing or not. Only when the dust settles quite late, does one realize the futility of holding onto that strong emotion of “anger”. Truth is then, at the moment of restless and fury, that anger was what felt right.

Certain scenarios in life justify expression of “anger”. Own credit transferred to the senior or colleague, inability of the other person to listen, the same error going on complete loop are just a couple of many scenarios that eventually trigger the anger wire. Sometimes it is this anger and injustice that keeps the inner flame burning, allowing one to move on. Yet this “anger” can cause one to combust and burn own self to embers. Such is the power of anger. Contrary to what most say, as per the writing as by experts in this field, often express the opinion that anger should never be stored away or stewed away. It needs to addressed and expressed in the right manner. And finally it needs to settle down, so that one regains the normal balance of own.

“26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil.” (Ephesians 4:26-27)

Like the two edged sword that it is, anger needs to be used in the right manner and also let gone back into the folds of time. Dragging these shades of red, over and over again, makes one lose out on the brilliance and vibrancy of the other colours around us. True that being humane, things happen and one feels the anger. One needs to acknowledge, address it, reason it, use it to better own self but never to feed it, so this beast consumes us from within. If and when this anger festers, give vent to it in private, journal it and pray for strength and patience for the soul to calm down. For taunts and rebukes never help but self-destructs. Hold fast and hold true to the soul, for this phase of “anger” shall too pass. As the anger fades into the night, the next morning shines clear and bright, for a better tomorrow.

How Clear, How Lovely Bright
A.E.Houseman

How clear, how lovely bright,
How beautiful to sight
Those beams of morning play;
How heaven laughs out with glee
Where, like a bird set free,
Up from the eastern sea
Soars the delightful day.

To-day I shall be strong,
No more shall yield to wrong,
Shall squander life no more;
Days lost, I know not how,
I shall retrieve them now;
Now I shall keep the vow
I never kept before.

Ensanguining the skies
How heavily it dies
Into the west away;
Past touch and sight and sound
Not further to be found,
How hopeless under ground
Falls the remorseful day.

Posted in Daily, Random Thoughts, Work

Need to Disconnect

While on the commute back home, after a necessary day of work from office, the traffic lights that go “red” are a welcome break. For that short break is the time for a quick look at the small screen and then switch the focus back on the road. Among the first few steps on stepping across the front door, is to ditch the phone along with the office folders on top of the shelf. This recent habit has paid dividends as far as getting the youngsters over their incessant and constant hungering for their time on the handheld screens of the present “mobile phones”.

Ironically the invention of the mobile phones was primarily to place a call when in motion, or simply put, the ease of access to a voice when on the move. Over the years, the technical point has developed to the ease of access to any information when on the move and not just as pones but as notepads and laptops as well. Though sometimes too much of activity and information can fry the grey cells. More of less, screen devices especially phones have become the “go=to” especially when bored.

“In his phone, Chase had found a place easier to exist in than inside his own skin. That was tragic, because inside the itchiness of our own skin is where we discover who we are. When we are bored, we ask ourselves: What do I want to do with myself?” Glennon Doyle, Untamed

No where in the books of development (at least not that I have read of), is it deemed necessary to keep children or anyone of us mentally occupied twenty-four seven. Sometimes it would be simply good to lie down and smell the grass in the garden. Or to close our eyes and drift to the quiet sounds of nature. Being still is what lets our imaginations grow and inner peace come out from within to the surface. Phones aren’t meant to keep us being busy, but to be connected to the others as and when needed. Regulating the time as per as requirement, is needed, especially as it sets the pattern for the young ones.

With the amount of online schooling, these screen-free moments are needed to bond with each other and to just find ourselves as well as to reconnect with those around us. Having being a part of both the eras, the generation with and without these “walking screens”, both are needed in optimal doses. Technology is ideal to be used in proportion. It was never meant to be antidote for the itchiness within. On the other hand, it is the “itchiness” that helps one to delve within and find their own path of self-discovery and creativity. The temporary respite for the itchiness, as offered by technology, is just that, temporary. Learning to address the restlessness with creativity is what makes us tick in the long run. So once in a while, it feels really good to switch off for a couple of hours each day. Oh the rest and respite of just being with ourselves, is worth it all.

Posted in Family and Society, Personal Musings, poetry, Reflections

Strength in the “R”

Joining the toddler and the preschooler in their allotted screen time (“Paw Patrol: the Mighty Pups”) this time was the only option when the adult mind wanted a bit of “large wall screen time” too. Though for me, the entertainment was mostly in the commercial breaks, which happened every twenty minutes or so. What caught the attention of yours truly was one of the ads, which features the entire family calling out the mother. Surprisingly, the elder of the two children addresses the mother by her name. Putting this in context of the Indian culture, it is kind of surprising. The thought persisting in the mind then, was why didn’t the script include the elder child calling the mother as “Ma”. Be it a joint family or nuclear family, the need of respect is drilled into the mind from a very young age. Maternal or paternal side, aunts and uncles and even grandparents are addressed by the local language as “mausi, thai, bua or dada, dadi, nana, nani and the like.” Whichever way it may be, each addressal is done with a lot of respect.

“Children are educated by what the grown-up is and not by his talk.” Carl Jung

As always, the learning starts from the base at home, ie, the family or the home we were born into. When circumstances are beyond own control or when social factors play a big role, growing up is difficult. Those times, the base thoughts include those of providing sustenance or living each day with the hope in tomorrow. Yet, even those days teaches the growing minds a lot of things. These young eyes watch the elders as they deal with difficulties, life and the issues that crop up more often as well as dealing with crisis. When respect goes out of the window, it goes out for the future too.

Ironically to stay happy within oneself, the human nature revels in being acknowledged by their fellow being. For that, respect for the fellow being and society plays a huge role. Each one of us hopes to earn respect form the other, but for doing so, one needs to know how to give it first too. On the other hand, “being respectful” doesn’t mean being a door mat. Respect (not same as own gain) includes for the self, others and for the world around us. Which is which ? It comes to the self with practice, humaneness, a kind nature and being true to the heart, mind and soul.

Even when things go way out of sync; pray, count to twenty (or even a hundred), breath, hold the tongue, smile, be polite with respect and things will fall into place. The order, priority and sequence depends on the self; albeit this is learnt slowly over the years, starting from the crib. As adults, we need to live by example and not words alone. Hence, let the importance of the letter “r” be taught in the manner such as to bring a smile on the faces around the young growing minds of the future.

R.E.S.P.E.C.T.
By Evangeline

Respect is rarely given to those who demand
It’s a thing best described as something well earned
By the way you treat others; lend an ear or a hand
Or by living your life through lessons hard-earned

Lift up your brother, your friend and your foe
Stand by their side; don’t hover above
Respect, freely given, is a seed that will grow
Returned with a smile, with honor and love

Slander your neighbor with whispered campaign
Cast the first stone with a glint in your eye
Boast of your triumphs, possessions and gain
The respect that you covet will soon pass you by

Be quietly humble of blessings received
You throw them away when thrown in someone’s face
Be honored of all that you’ve worked to achieve
Reap what you’ve sown but with pride in its place

Take pleasure and joy in the life that you’ve earned
Let ego stay dormant on discarded shelf
See all with your heart; opened eyes that discern
Respect can be gained by respecting yourself


Posted in Christian, poetry, Random Thoughts, Reflections

For an Answer

“Part of doing something is listening. We are listening. To the sun. To the stars. To the wind.” Madeleine L’Engle

Reaching home after work, is as always, a mad rush. After the new routine of “outdoor clean-up”, the usual tune is to run the maze between the study table, the kitchen and the laundry. Add to it, is the continuous movements of hands, each doing their own, to just settle the state of the house. Amidst all this, would be the occasional tug from below, “Mom did you see my new drawing?”, “Can I have cake for dinner?”, “Online session was so ‘bo-rrr-ing’ today!!” and the like. The automated response revolves around “how nice”, that’s wonderful to really !” Not to get me wrong, I do listen, but the initial hour or two, is solely to settle the house. Though these thoughts come with regret, sometimes one does wish that the first routine would be just to put our feet, and listen to listen to those young voices around us, and those that are within us.

“It takes a great man to be a good listener.” Calvin Coolidge

As always said and known, listening is a skill that is soon coming to be a rarity or a gift. The notion that no one has enough time has become a common chant, till it becomes ingrained in our minds as a reality. Truth we all have just enough time to do, what should be rightly done, not to do solely as per the dictates of society or profession. Among those “to-do” things is to learn to listen to those around us. Sometimes the big things in life come in very minute and quiet moments.

“Making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding;…” (Proverbs 2:2)

Noise and thoughtless clutter drives one away from own self. Each of us have our own prayers for help. But to feel them answered, one needs to listen and notice. Not everything in life comes with a “clang”. There are those gifts of life, that come best in the quiet moments. Amidst all the clatter around us, as we promise ourselves to listen to the gifts and blessings; life becomes a beautiful voyage wit each day being better than the previous. And this self-discovery is what gives buoyancy to the heart, mind and soul.

And A Meadowlark Sang
Ravindra Kumar Karnani

“The child whispered, ‘God, speak to me’
And a meadow lark sang.
The child did not hear.

So the child yelled, ‘God, speak to me!’
And the thunder rolled across the sky
But the child did not listen.

The child looked around and said,
‘God let me see you’ and a star shone brightly
But the child did not notice.

And the child shouted,
‘God show me a miracle!’
And a life was born but the child did not know.

So the child cried out in despair,
‘Touch me God, and let me know you are here!’
Whereupon God reached down
And touched the child.

But the child brushed the butterfly away
And walked away unknowingly.”
© 1999, Ravindra Kumar Karnani

Posted in Personal Musings, Random Thoughts, Stories Around the World, Work

Stance on the Slant

Many of us or may a few, may have experienced the feeling of being overwhelmed by an unexpected turn of events. More than the “happy” feelings, there may have been the “feelings of doubt and uncertainty” that reigned high. It’s only in the aftermath, that one realizes that, it was those unexpected turns that brought out the best in us. Or it was the unexpected, that became our saving grace.

“You can’t outwit fate by standing on the sidelines placing little side-bets about the outcome of life. Either you wade in and risk everything you have to play the game or you don’t play at all. and if you don’t play you can’t win.” Judith McNaught

In retrospect, it all comes down to the attitude that we hold within us. The choice lies in either embracing the new, but a strong sense of grit, hope and faith, along with the willingness to take each day as it comes. As we do, one does get the blessing and a chance, to experience some of the best aspects and colours of life.

The point is to embrace these uncertain, unplanned turns and make them into some of the best outcomes. For all this and more, one needs to come out of the sidelines and wade in deep with all the senses in tune and intact. Then the journey will provide new insight into the perceived notions of the old. If so, then the surprise and brightness of the whole new vista awaits each of us.

“A group of prestigious university graduates came to visit their old professor. During the visit the conversation turned to work: graduates were complaining about countless difficulties and problems of life. After offering coffee to his guests, the professor went to the kitchen and came back with a coffee pot and a tray, filled with many different cups: porcelain, glass, plastic and crystalline. Some cups were simple, other ones – expensive.

When the graduates picked out the cups, the professor said:”Notice, how all the beautiful cups were picked out, and the simple and cheap ones were left. And although it seems normal for you – wanting only the best things for yourself, but that is the source of your problems and stress. You need to understand, that the cup doesn’t make the coffee better. Most of the time it’s only more expensive, but sometimes it is hiding what we are drinking. Actually, all that you wanted was only coffee, not the cup. But you consciously picked the best cups, and later watched what kind of cups others got.

And now think: life – is coffee, and job, money, position, society – are the cups. They are only instruments for maintenance and upkeep of life. The type of cup we have, doesn’t determine the quality of our life. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cups, we forget to enjoy the taste of coffee. The happiest people are not those who have the best things, but those who enjoy life and get the most of it with what they have.”

Posted in Daily, Food

Whole and Toasted

Warm, toasted and sizzling; there’s something special about experiencing it. In fact, one of the best parts of the recipes of today, is that they can be blended to make a bit of the “old and the new”. Which is why for a quick snack, quesadillas have undergone a recent kitchen experimentation, though of a more outdoorsy nature.

Originally as per the Mexican cuisine, a “quesadilla” is a tortilla (flat circle of cooked corn masa) warmed, softened, folded in half and filled with the typical Oaxaca cheese, cooked on a comal till the cheese is melted and gooey. Usually cooked without any oil, had with green or red salsa or chopped onions; these days the fillings can be as varied as own choice. From cooked vegetables, like potatoes with chorizo, mushrooms, epazote or even different types of cooked meat (chicharron, tinga of chicken or beef or cooked pork) or even as simple as avocado or guacamole, chopped onions, tomato, serrano chiles and cilantro. In essence, a quesadilla is simply a turnover food, or a “special Mexican version of the portable pie”.

Modifying the quesadilla with pizza toppings to make the “pizzadilla” or even desert quesadilla with chocolate, butterscotch, caramel, candied fruits and the like, are just an eye-opener to the versatility and ease of turnover foods. Likewise the breakfast quesadillas are also made, using ingredients such as eggs, cheese and bacon. Trying to modify the recipe to a bit of the local Indian cuisine, the tortilla was substituted with a roti (wheat) and stuffed with paneer(Indian cottage cheese) and shredded chicken.Alternatively certain recipes substitute the wheat base with chickpea flour or even a combination of all-purpose flour and rice flour.

Making a blend of the Old World tradition and New World foods; these recipes bring not just a feeling of goodness with the meal, but also a wholesomeness to it. Somewhere along the lines, amateur food experimenters, too have added their little bit to the food culture around the world. And that brings a feeling of content, warmth and happiness, along with satitey; an experience which brings a pleasant feel to the end of any day.

[1944]
“Quesadilla (Tortilla Stuffed with Cheese)
Take fresh tortillas (bought in a Mexican store), place generous piece of Monterey cream cheese (or American cheese) in the center, and fold it over as you would a turnover. Pin top with toothpicks to hold. Place in hot, ungreased skillet and cook lightly, turing often until cheese is melted. Delicious with refried beans.” Elena’s Famous Mexican and Spanish Recipes, Elena Zelayeta [Dettners Printing House: San Francisco] October 1944 (p. 35)

Posted in Life, poetry, Random Thoughts

One to Experience

The stillness of the noon hours was a rare experience, more so when it is a full house with pitter-patter of feet and paws, along with the continuous yells, shouts and thumps of the ball outside. Though the chance of a siesta beckoned, the caution and wariness of the absence of the noise stayed uppermost in the mind. Which is why in stealth mode, the silent steps stopped outside the pantry. Cookie jar, empty (check) and the rustling of paper and crunching. With the steam levels rising, before the stern words could come out it was the proud announcement that “mom, tea is ready”. It was to be stern then on. True that the kitchen was a mess, along with jammy fingers and crumbs on the floor. But as always said, it is the thought that counts.

“We want someone to love us, but in fact it’s more important that we love!” Joyce Meyer

Love comes in numerous forms. From the morning cup of tea made ready after a long night or work from home experience shift to the blessing of a few hours of domestic respite to the unasked help in the garden, love comes in many different shapes and sizes. One never realizes its’ true form, until one looks back and reflects on those good feelings within. Love can be noisy as well, but also transient and fleeting. It can be true or false, fake or real as well as an apparition or “an effect of the moment”. Though underlining through all these forms, one needs to give to experience it.

Such is human love, to experience it’s true form, it needs to be shared from within the heart. Such love is always meant to be caught, treasured, experienced, shared and brought back to life for the dark and dull moments. May we wish each other to experience such moments in the days, that we breathe the air around us. For what is life without such an emotion, futile and hopeless; but with it, so full of that inner happiness and peace.

Want to tell you about love?
But not about the one that passion, debauchery, disorder,
What kindles us a fire in the blood
And makes us commit folly.

I will tell you about another love –
When you come home from work in the evening,
And at home all of your relatives, all of your own,
And behind the threshold, care is taken off.

Such a love I wish you friends,
To always rush home from work.
It can not be found in a single moment,
But you can grow with patience and care.

Margarita Fortier