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 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 Daily, Family and Society, Life, Personal Musings, Reflections

Just those “Five”

“Wait for five minutes…when the sliced onions turn golden brown, pour the sauce and saute.”
“Five minutes more…I’ll switch off the television after this episode”.
“Snooze”. Five more minutes.

Reality and time are a formidable combination, especially when they turn events to be one of the life-changing moments. Every now and then, they snatch the net that holds our fall or by saving grace, they stretch the net to break the fall. Either way, their significance is not to be underestimated. In just “five” minutes, they highlight the balance of life, that we humans need to find and attain. Whether it be five, more or less; time always brings the one on the highest rung on the ladder down with a thud, or help us to grow our wings slowly.

“Balance suggests a perfect equilibrium. There is no such thing. That is a false expectation…. There are going to be priorities and dimensions of your life; how you integrate them is how you find true happiness.” Denise Morrison

Sticking to the universal “five minutes”, one can feel or do a lot of things in that time. When time is a whole bunch, those five minutes seem a lot of time. But as the second whiz by, it becomes too little.

Or those five minutes can be mean so much. Five minutes to talk to our parents. Five minutes to play wit our pet. Five minutes to sing a raucous song with the kid, or admire and share in their drawings. Five minutes to hug our better halves and show much much they fill a part to makes us whole. Five minutes to hold hands and walk under the night sky. Five minutes of shared words, whispered conversations and fears, and support.

Those five minutes is what pulls us through our worst moments in life. Those five minutes is what makes one smile from the heart, even though they may not be near in real. Those five minutes become the most important thing to us. In a way, “those five minutes” pale in comparison to those endless hours of “important meetings and projects”. In fact, “those five minutes” become the safety net for the inevitable fall that one may make when the carpet is pulled under our feet.

So let us all have those occasional “five minutes”; to be on those important things, the ones that matter the most. For those five minutes of “simple things” will last for an eternity, or expensive than eternity and more.

Posted in Family and Society, Personal Musings, Stories Around the World

Threads to Hold

Ever had the experience of a sudden recollection of a chance acquaintance or an old friend, popping out of the blue into the mind and lingering on for some time; or maybe, those of our near and dear ones. Perhaps this rhetorical question doesn’t really need a reply.

Memories or moments. They confound us or make us smile, or just dig up those old restless feelings buried knowingly deep in the past. Come what may, they do stay on, and sometimes they may be all that is left behind.

“People leave strange little memories of themselves behind when they die.” Haruki Murakami

In own respective fabric of life, one may hold multiple threads of a prominent colour for another, or vice-versa. Whichever way it may be, it is these memories that sustain us and help us face with the absence of their real voice. It is these memories that share and support the self in the challenges of the days of now. To feel the unwavering support of their souls, it just takes a wee little of time to embrace the present or the previous memories and thread them into the happy fabric of moments. Many a time, is these little things that we need that keep us going.

The Making of a Memory
One can’t predict when or where they will come from; those memories that stay with us a lifetime, and never fail to bring us warm fuzzy feelings. My husband had just finished loading his car; made one lap back through the house and then into the kitchen. ‘I guess filling my thermos is all I have left to do, and then I’m off.’
Down the drain went the hot water that had been warming his thermos. With a very nostalgic look on his face he softly said, ‘When I filled this with water earlier, I thought of your mum. In fact, anytime I fill my thermos I think her.’ ‘Oh honey, that’s so sweet. I know she’s watching and listening right now with a big smile on her face,’ I responded as tears began to brim my eyelids. ‘You know, I never fill my thermos that I don’t think of her, and I always smile too.’ The tone in his voice was so tender as he spoke of my mother who is no longer with us.

Years ago we had been visiting my parents, and the morning we were leaving my mother watched as Jerry began to fill his thermos. Being the ‘coffee drinker’ in the family, he’s always placed himself in charge of thermos duties. Mum then casually offered up a tidbit of advice. ‘Jerry, if you would fill your thermos with hot water and let it sit a while, your coffee would stay hot longer on your drive.’ The look on his face was priceless as her simple suggestion sunk in. Well of course it would! It only makes all the sense in the world! Who wouldn’t know that? He dumped the small amount of coffee already in the thermos, and ran the tap until it was at its hottest; then refilled with piping hot water. After pouring himself a fresh cup of coffee, he sat down to enjoy a few more minutes with mum, and to discuss this unique new idea.

Words of wisdom from a loving mother-in-law made an impact that will never be forgotten. When spoken that morning, Jerry didn’t realize he would always hear those words ringing in his ears, or that they would bring a smile to his face time and time again. And Mother would never have dreamed her words would be a treasured, and everlasting memory in the heart of her son-in-law.
The ‘fondest, lasting memories’ don’t necessarily come from ‘major moments’ in life, the making of a memory simply happens.
(Written by Kathleene S. Baker (Source: Internet))

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

Standing Strong

As the downpour continues unabated for more than two days in a row, getting across the lawn to even close the gates at night are a hassle. From hopping between the deep pools to stepping on the stones laid across the path and below the tall branches laden with green leaves breaking down the torrential downpour to drips of rain. Though the skies are mostly laden with gray, the mornings are spent on assessing the visual damage across the fields and lawn. The scene of dead branches and a tree split by lightening, brings about the dark reality of life to surface.

The cycle of life as one may call it. The birth of life and the scene of destruction. Nature has her own way of showing her love, the cycle of balance and the end of an old or on the other hand, fresh beginnings.

All these and the words of Herman Hesse come to mind, on seeing the scene of chaos. Though fast forward a week ahead, the colour of the fresh flowers and the shades of varied bright colours across the fields, show how much beauty and revival is possible, once the mess is cleaned up. Likewise, our lives be so. After every fall, we pick ourselves by self or with help, clean up the mess and move on. Staying in the flow, eventually we will reach the point where the rainbow ends.

“For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfil themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farmboy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow. Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.

A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.

A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live.

When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. Let God speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent. You are anxious because your path leads away from mother and home. But every step and every day lead you back again to the mother. Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.

A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one’s suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home. Every path leads homeward, every step is birth, every step is death, every grave is mother. So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.” Herman Hesse, Bäume. Betrachtungen und Gedichte

Posted in Family and Society, Personal Musings, poetry

Out of the Cliche

If anyone asks a guardian, what would be one of the biggest drawbacks of the current global scenario, minus the pandemic in itself; among them one would be the absence of schools. The loss is felt more acute, if the child is from the primary classes or below. Though on the other hand, these “online classes” become an eye opener for the guardian or parent as far as the teaching beyond the books is concerned. And yes there are no cliches. If a boy wants to paint, it is fine for te safety of home is there, ad if a little girl wants to build a Lego car, let her do it. The stereotypical boys-cars and girl-dolls to draw, doesn’t really take a place in the freedom of their home. Yet sadly, the camaraderie between their own peers, the social play takes the back-stage.

“A tree stands strong not by its fruits or branches, but by the depth of its roots.” Anthony Liccione

Through all this, both parents and teachers once again realize the what a child should really learn. Though the online learning pressures mount up, one of the saving grace is that it can be done in the child’s own time, despite the hassle of striking the balance between “study screen time” and “fun screen time”. The parental regularity of seeing not just their ward, but all the respective students score charts isn’t a chance occurrence these days. In short the gentle reminder that education is not just in but also of the classroom and beyond the books, is a must for these days.

Whether a spectator, competitor, enthusiast, discoverer or experimenter; as long as any child indulges in their interest, imbibing in a love for learning and interests in and beyond the books, that’s all that matters. Each of us have just one life. To live it true to our own self by the right morals, beyond the projected image of society is a gift and blessing in itself.

Confessions of a Born Spectator

One infant grows up and becomes a jockey,
Another plays basketball or hockey,
This one the prize ring hates to enter
That one becomes a tackle or center,
I am just glad as glad can be
That I am not them, that they are not me.

With all my heart I do admire
Athletes who sweat for fun or hire,
Who take the field in gaudy pomp,
And maim each other as they romp,
My limp and bashful spirit feeds
On other people’s heroic deeds.

Now A runs ninety yards to score,
B knocks the champion to the floor,
Cracking vertebrae and spines,
Lashes his steed across the line,
You’d think my ego it would please
To swap positions with one of these.

Well, ego it might be pleased enough,
But zealous athletes play so rough
They do not ever in their dealings
Consider one another’s feelings.
I’m glad that when my struggle begins
‘Twixt prudence and ego, prudence wins.

When swollen eye meets gnarled fist
When snaps the knee, and cracks the wrist,
When officialdom demands,
Is there a doctor in the stands?
My soul in true thanksgiving speaks
For this modest of physiques.

“Athletes, I’ll drink to you
Or eat with you,
Or anything except compete with you,
Buy tickets worth their radium,
To watch you gambol in the stadium,
And reassure myself anew
That you are not me and I’m not you”.

Ogden Nash

Posted in Daily, Family and Society, poetry, Reflections

Add them Up

For one to realize the frailty of life versus time given to one, scanning the first few pages of the newspaper is enough, or just listen to the morning news hour. For some who thought they had time, there wasn’t any. Whereas others have been blessed with a second chance, good or bad, only time knows the final outcome. Through all this one realizes how blessed one has been. In fact, these thought bring out the true meaning of what “we have never realized”.

One never realizes how blessed one has been with a job or any form of employment, till the day the wages stop coming and the money is out of hand. One never knows the gift of a family, unless they come back to an empty set of rooms with no voices, but only those of the media. One never realizes how much they were blessed with their own path to walk and friends to visit, until they are forced to confine within. Instead of realizing the simple gifts of time and life as a whole, we crib that theatres are shut, malls are out and we are all stuck.

“Life’s not about expecting, hoping and wishing, it’s about doing, being and becoming.” Mike Dooley

True that life may put one in a bind at times. Yet for every things there aren’t just one or two but many sides which can be explored. While we crib about what we may have missed out on, learn not to lose out on what we have right now. if one had to truly measure up the gifts we have been blessed with, the list made would put out the “so called better things” out with a whiff. As time shows us how fickle she can be with life, let each day be a highlight of the gifts that she offers us, put to use and not left behind in the chase for the perceived better.

How Much Would This Cost?
Courtland W. Sayers

One midnight deep in starlight still
I dreamed that I received this bill:
…………..In account with life:
Five thousand breathless dawns all new;
Five thousand flowers fresh in dew;
Five thousand sunsets wrapped in gold;
One million snowflakes served ice cold,
Five quiet friends; one baby’s love;
One white-mad sea with clouds above;
One hundred music-haunted dreams
Of moon drenched roads and hurrying streams,
One June night in a fragrant wood;
One heart that loved and understood.
I wondered when I woke that day
‘How much this would cost if I had to pay?’