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

Share the Light

“We only have what we give.” Isabel Allende

During the floods that had hit my hometown a year ago, it was a difficult time. Some from the community had lost a sizable amount of crop, livestock and trade; others had their homes uprooted and some escaped by an inch. The aftermath saw everyone pitching in, with funds pouring in from different corners around the globe. No one was left alone to pick up the pieces and rebuild again. Everyone, from the community, volunteers and outsiders had pitched in to restore the neighbourhood.

“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.” John Holmes

Connectedness is an essential part of our lives. Unless one learns to help those around him, self improvement wouldn’t be within their own reach. For a person to grow, the environment around him has to be whole. Take a child’s life for instance. His world is complete when he receives the love, care and joy. Then the happiness is spread around him, lighting up the lives around him. Yet when the little one is troubled by any tiny aspect, the whole mood shifts. How different will it be for the adult ?

For one person to prosper, he must be at peace with those around him. The welfare of one person depends not on him alone, but when he learns to help others. Life of one has and will always be measured not by material gains alone; but by the numerous lives it touches with positive vibes. Each one has a pair of hands, to help and be helped. Harmony rests not with self alone, but also with the world around one.

“In teaching others we teach ourselves.” Traditional proverb

Growing Good Corn
There once was a farmer who grew award-winning corn. Each year he entered his corn in the state fair where it won a blue ribbon. One year a newspaper reporter interviewed him and learned something interesting about how he grew it. The reporter discovered that the farmer shared his seed corn with his neighbours.
‘How can you afford to share your best seed corn with your neighbours when they are entering corn in competition with yours each year?’ the reporter asked.
‘Why sir,’ said the farmer, ‘didn’t you know? The wind picks up pollen from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbours grow inferior corn, cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my corn. If I am to grow good corn, I must help my neighbours grow good corn.’
Source:James Bender (Author of How to Talk Well, published in 1994 by McGraw-Hill Book Company Inc.)

Posted in Family and Society, Life, Quotes, Reflections

Pillars that Nurture

“The glory of the elderly is their insight to life.” Lailah Gifty Akita

One of the most awaited events that causes unabashed eagerness of the kids to head to the homestead during holidays, is the time spent fishing with their grandparents. Hand in hand, the kids along with their grandfather and great-uncles head off to the lake in the early morning hours. On some days, there is quite a catch but on other days maybe nothing. Yet the loss of a good catch was negated by the interesting stories and legends narrated by their elders. It was interesting to listen to the recounted versions on the drive back home or later in the following weeks. There are certain priceless things that parents can’t teach their children, at times simply due to the lack of time or different levels of responsibilities cropping up. Those are the times when the gaps are filled in by their grandparents.

“The wiser mind mourns less for what age takes away than what it leaves behind.” William Wordsworth 

One of the benefits of having a strong support system, of family, friends and community is that when one falls, there are hands to break the fall. This support system is like a huge tree with sturdy branches. As a small tree, the few larger older branches support, shade and model the new smaller branches. With their strength and shape, they balance the entire tree, providing sustenance for the smaller branches and reach for the light. Over time the other branches grow large, join with other clusters and support the older branches. As the old branches age, grow weak, die or fall away, the branches above take over their role, supporting the new young branches. A large support system works on similar lines.

“Their dark forms are larger than life, because memories like that grow along with your body, so that adults from our childhood always resemble an extinct race of old gods, still towering over us.” Stefan Hertmans

Unfortunately one of the strong contenders for the time of the kids, is lure of the modern entertainment. As more and more time is spent on “the modern development” of learning through applications, television, social media and the like, under the guise of “modern learning”, the memories and fresh experiences of childhood are often missed. There a lot of things that elders who have lived their lives with integrity, love and dignity can teach the younger ones. Like the experiences their parents had shared with their grandparents, from learning to fish, camp outside, have a good laugh, fun in the garden, the value of a good friendship, respect for elders and all beings, to work hard, to love and live to the fullest at each age of life. The list is long. Cooped up in the mesh of “the modern skills, media and entertainment”, a lot can be missed during the best years of childhood. All the branches of the tree contribute in a silent way. Unless each one as their role played out, the “family tree” fails to sustain and grow new fruit and saplings from it’s seeds or centuries for the future centuries.

“Where there is not community, trust, respect, ethical behavior are difficult for the young to learn and for the old to maintain.” Robert K. Greenleaf

“Listen to your elder’s advice. Not because they are always right, but because they have more experience of being wrong…” Unknown

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

Beyond the Glimpse

“Look beneath the surface; let not the several quality of a thing nor its worth escape thee.” Marcus Aurelius

The neighbourhood had seen a new couple settling into their recently bought villa. Like all small town neighbourhood, this one was no different. Next door neighbours had visited the new couple, pleasantries were exchanged and information was relayed on to the rest of the community. With the husband’s regular job being certified at the town hall office; the two of them were enfolded into the community social gatherings. A little later, few neighbours as well as the police had observed that lights were always on at the far east corner of the house at wee hours of the night. Follow this up with a moving van making an appearance on their lawn with no adverts on them. When this instance was observed by many over the next couple of weeks; the curiously, speculation and gossip grew leaps and bounds. Yet no one directly discussed it with them. Finally with the boss of the young man came to know about this, questions were asked. Imagine the local neighbourhood surprise to know that his wife was an upcoming artist with her first gallery viewing to be set up in the state capital shortly. With the curiosity abated, the neighbourhood became quiet again.

“Supposing is good, but finding out is better.” Mark Twain

The above neighbourhood scenario was from one of my siblings’ account. Neighborhoods like these are quite common, though happening in various degrees or shades. The adult mind tends to speculate, exaggerate and judge a lot. From people to cars, houses, furniture and many more, opinion are tossed around without any prior research or knowledge. Many a time, these opinions are what is taken for the hard truth. Little does one break the “shell of supposed view” to discover the reality hidden beneath. When these myopic view is perpetually transferred to how one views people, then social life becomes difficult. Each person has their own reason or story to say. It is only when the various versions are heard, does the story have a complete ending. Live and let live. Going by the cover of the presumed and assumed, very often hides the exact reality. When the error made is discovered and rectified, it may be too late to set things back on the right track.

“It’s easy to look back and see it, and it’s easy to give the advice. But the sad fact is, most people don’t look beneath the surface until it’s too late.” Wendelin Van Draanen

A man was exploring caves by the seashore. In one of the caves he found a canvas bag with a bunch of hardened clay vessels. It was like someone had rolled balls of clay and left them out in the sun to bake. They didn’t look like much, but they intrigued the man, so he took the bag out of the cave with him. As he strolled along the beach, he would throw the clay balls one at a time out into the ocean as far as he could. He thought little about it, until he dropped one of the clay balls and it cracked open on a rock. Inside was a beautiful, precious stone! Excited, the man started breaking open the remaining clay vessels. Each contained a similar treasure. He found thousands of dollars worth of jewels in the 20 or so clay balls he had left. Then it struck him. He had been on the beach a long time. He had thrown maybe 50 or 60 of the clay balls with their hidden treasure into the ocean waves. Instead of thousands of dollars in treasure, he could have taken home tens of thousands, but he had just thrown it away!
Author Unknown

Posted in Family and Society, Personal Musings, poetry, Quotes, Random Thoughts

Remembrances over Time

“I believe that without memories there is no life, and that our memories should be of happy times.” Lee Radziwill

With a long weekend break round the corner, it was time to pack off for the stay at the family homestead, where the original family farm was still running strong and where the golden memories of childhood lay. One of the reasons for planning this long overdue stay was for the children to bond with their extended family, spend some time away from the city and live simple, minus the video games, mobile phones, laptops and the like. Although there was an initial resistance, they loved their time spent outdoors with the cattle, gardening, late summer berry picking, early morning fishing and the quiet evening of family games. Seeing their carefree laughter and fun, at times one wishes that they could live their best moments of life once again. That weekend reminded me of the fact that, time only moves forward and ahead, but never backwards.

“Don’t you wish you could take a single childhood memory and blow it up into a bubble and live inside it forever?” Sarah Addison Allen

Most of us have our own cache of memories, some meant for bringing the inner peace during troubled times, some as a solace during the trying days and some that just pop up randomly during self doubt. Like the seasons that change, each one of us make memories every single moment. The innocent “don’t forget to call when you reach”, “take care “, “travel safe” and so on, echo the presence of pleasant feelings when these words surface in the memory. At times, even when the scenarios have changed, these instant memories and candid moments are those which stay on. It doesn’t take much to make each day memorable. A lot of kindness, dash of love, attention and peace, laced with a fresh sense of humour, humaneness and honesty makes treasured moments from each day of life, changing our own lives and those around us subtly and silently.

“Some memories are realities, and are better than anything that can ever happen to one again.” Willa Cather

“I sit beside the fire and think
Of all that I have seen
Of meadow flowers and butterflies
In summers that have been

Of yellow leaves and gossamer
In autumns that there were
With morning mist and silver sun
And wind upon my hair

I sit beside the fire and think
Of how the world will be
When winter comes without a spring
That I shall ever see

For still there are so many things
That I have never seen
In every wood in every spring
There is a different green

I sit beside the fire and think
Of people long ago
And people that will see a world
That I shall never know

But all the while I sit and think
Of times there were before
I listen for returning feet
And voices at the door”
J.R.R. Tolkien

I Sit Beside the Fire and Think is a song by Bilbo Baggins, which he sang softly in Rivendell on 24 December T.A. 3018, the evening before the Fellowship of the Ring set out upon their quest. Bilbo sang the song in the presence of Frodo, after giving Frodo the mithril-coat and Sting. The song is a contemplative piece, sung by a now-aging hobbit recalling past events that ends in anticipation of hearing returning friends.

“Long as the memory of certain beloved friends lives in my heart, I shall say that life is good.” Helen Keller

Posted in Daily, Family and Society, Random Thoughts, Reflections

Balance the Wheels

“Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike” John F Kennedy

“Crash!” There is a loud sound amidst the silence on the lawn, followed by the patter of a pair of running feet which lands to a stop in front of the door to the patio. Two little pairs of hands pick themselves pick, brush off the lawn grass off their dress, scramble up their cycles and off they go again. As two pairs of adult eyes watched, the little legs slowly gained their balance and restarted their friendly cycle match.

During the initial days when my preschooler had got his tricycle, he was excited and slowly learnt to ride it. Later as he had gained his balance, he had experimented with his cousin’s bicycle. The first few seating’s were met with multiple falls, though with padded knees and elbows scrapes were relatively less. Albeit he had a fear of the bi-cycle for the balance was of utmost importance and anything that upset it was a sure fall. Slowly he had learn to balance himself, yet even today at times he prefers walking downhill with his bicycle than ride it for the fear that he may lose control and fall.

“You are likely to fall when you stop paddling your bicycle. Such is life. As long as you don’t give up, you will never end up failing!” Israelmore Ayivor

Like the preschooler bicycle rides, adults often find themselves in a similar analogy when learning something new, like driving a two or four wheeler, mastering a new cuisine, art or course, learning a new skill and the like. Life is all learning to balance the rides. During the early phases each one of us prefers to take the baby steps as we feel around life and it’s various aspects. Later as the confidence grows, learning to ride the tricycle is the first step. As one matures, we learn to balance on the two wheeler and then we ride our way through the roads.

As every adult evolves at each new phase; one is still bound to stumble around new or unknown corners, rough graveled roads and fall at sharp turns. Despite all the falls, dusting ourselves, picking off where we had fell and going ahead is more important than the fact that one fell. No matter how many security or assurance one receives, we all are bound to fall. It’s picking ourselves up that matters. Like the preschooler who learns to balance the bicycle, one too needs to brush ourselves and turn around after every wobble, stumble or fall. Once we gain the courage to do so, one discovers that life is a wonderful journey with a beautiful view and memorable ride ahead.

“When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.” Arthur Conan Doyle

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

To Hold On

“Life consists not in holding good cards but in playing those you hold well.” Josh Billings

Experiencing the exhilaration of doing something right in the face of silent opposition, underhand criticism or open disapproval is something to remember. Each one of us may have experienced this feeling at some point of time. From the right career choice to change of employment; settling down and establishing their own roots to even the choice of school for own children. Living in the day, today everybody is entitled to their thoughts and comments. Yet the art of living today, lies in knowing what to hold onto, when to hold on to and when it is the right time for a change.

“Just dream big. Go for it. There’s nothing holding you back. You can have ups and downs, but if you believe in something, keep the faith; keep fighting. And don’t let people put you down.” Geraint Thomas

Moments of self doubt, despair and insecurities lie within each one of us. Sometimes it may be evident, other times brimming at the surface or hiding silently beneath. Overcoming all those occasions lie in holding on to their own root beliefs, dreams and practicalities. Knowing that convincing another is to be done only when required. In fact it took years for the layman to believe that the earth was round, although the idea of spherical earth had appeared in the Greek philosophy with documentations of Pythagoras (6th century BC). If such a simple though took years to be approved from then by the mass public, convincing the whole world around one would result in lost time and opportunities. Hold on to own true self and things will work out.

“Moments never stay, whether or not you ask them, they do not care, no moment cares, and the ones you wish could stretch out like a hammock for you to lie in, well, those moments leave the quickest and take everything good with them, little burglars, those moments, those hours, those days you loved the most.” Catherine Lacey, Nobody Is Ever Missing

Hold On…
A Pueblo Indian Prayer

Hold on to what is good,
even if it’s a handful of earth.

Hold on to what you believe,
even if it’s a tree that stands by itself.

Hold on to what you must do,
even if it’s a long way from here.

Hold on to your life,
even if it’s easier to let go.

Hold on to my hand,
even if I’ve gone away from you.

Posted in Daily, Family and Society, poetry, Quotes, Reflections, Stories Around the World

Sliver of Hope

“Once you choose hope, anything’s possible.” Christopher Reeve

While awaiting scholarship and university acceptance for higher studies, volunteering in the cancer ward at the city hospital for brownie points was one of my interim jobs. The experience during those three short months was enlightening and had a paramount influence in the later years of my life. Seeing the faces of different years, from the young adult to the elderly as they underwent the various stages of their treatment be it chemo or radiation or both had a wide range of emotions running across them. While there was disbelief, despair and regret at the initial phases it was the acceptance, hope and the will to survive that had surfaced as the treatment progressed. Although some responded and some didn’t, it was the will to try and the hope for better tomorrow that gave the will to live today.

“It is because of hope that you suffer. It is through hope that you’ll change things.” Maxime Lagacé

Carrying those memories towards the later years of life, one gears up to face setbacks and disappointments of life with perseverance and will to go on. What drives the person in the face of all odds, is the promise and hope of the future. In fact, hope is really a special, wonderful and marvellous gift from God, Time and Faith. Although hope may vary, bend around the corners, twists to a very thin segment and hides from plain sight, it never breaks or vanishes as long as one never forgets it. When the darkness, doubt and despair set in; it is hope that sustains one, giving a reason to go on, courage to let go and move ahead. Instead of giving up or sinking down, it is hope that helps one to stay afloat and survive.

“I dwell in possibility.” Emily Dickinson

While one needs to sustain and nurture hope to get out of tough times; sitting simply and twiddling doesn’t help. Instead combine fortitude, strength and courage with a heavy dose of knowledge, foresight, will and hope to go ahead and face the situation. Although one hopes for the best, preparation for the worst scenario should be made. Refresh the hope and the will to survive, then event he darkest corner would light up.

“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.” Nelson Mandela

If you can look at the sunset and smile, and find beauty in the colours of a small flower, then you still have hope.
If you can find pleasure in the movement of a butterfly, and if the smile of a child can still warm your heart, then you still have hope.
If you can see the good in other people, and if the rain breaking on a roof top can still lull you to sleep, then you still have hope.
If the sight of a rainbow still makes you stop and stare in wonder, and if the soft fur of a favoured pet still feels pleasant under your fingertips, then you still have hope.
If you meet new people with a trace of excitement and optimism, and if you give people the benefit of the doubt, then you still have hope.
If you still offer your hand in friendship to others that have touched your life, and if receiving an unexpected card or letter still brings a pleasant surprise, then you still have hope.
If the suffering of others still fills you with pain and frustration, and if you refuse to let a friendship die, or accept that it must end, then you still have hope.
If you look forward to a time or place of quiet and reflection, and if you still watch love stories or want the endings to be happy, then you still have hope.
If you can look to the past and smile, and when faced with the bad, when told everything is futile, you can still look up and end the conversation with the phrase … ‘yes, but ….’ Then you still have hope. (Source: vk.com)

“Hope is a good thing, maybe even the best of things, and good things never die.” Andy Dufresne (Shawshank Redemption)