Posted in Daily, Family and Society, Life, Quotes, Reflections

At a Child’s Pace

“Let the child be the scriptwriter, the director and the actor in his own play.” Magda Gerber

Every morning, before going off to work, my toddler sees me off before going to his day care. As his centre is close to my work place, the daily morning walk is all of ten minutes only. Yet some days we both take almost thirty minutes to get there by foot; for then we walk at his pace. Walking at his pace involves, stopping to watch the traffic, examine the caterpillar crawling across, collecting the smooth round pebbles near the stream and bringing along the sturdy sticks to his daycare and back to home as well.

“Children are not things to be molded, but are people to be unfolded.”  Jess Lair

At times, the mothers’ pace in me comes to full force, with loud “Hurry up’s”, holding his hand and flying ahead, not stopping to look at the “distractions or landscape”. These situations are later compensated when we go homeward bound in the evening. The memories of “walking at a child’s pace” are beautiful.The warring thoughts in their mind, while attaining their “collectible treasures” of “funny shaped rocks”, watching the pigeons drink the water, seeing the frogs leaping across with various emotions flitting across their faces offer refreshing joy and peace to the adult mind. Leave them in the garden alone, with child safe measures and behold, its’ like watch fountains of joy and laughter explode like hot springs. Watching them ponder and examine what they see, the wonder of seeing the “big cars, JCB’s, buses” on the road (for the miniature toy ones are in their control) and their joy in the simple things of life are treasured moments.

“Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning.”  William Arthur Ward

Living with the speed of a child is never easy for us adults, but when we do, the joy of experiencing the little delights that life offers makes the “slowing down” all the more worth. Over the years, this valuable time is what helps not just our children to grow, but also help us adults to handle the bad days with these happy moments. For the “child’s‘ pace” teaches us to find time to notice the wonders’ of the skies, the smell of the earth and be surprised by the simple but beautiful things that life offers us.

“A child can teach an adult three things: to be happy for no reason, to always be busy with something, and to know how to demand with all his might that which he desires.” Paulo Coelho

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Posted in Food, Life, Quotes, Reflections

Slices of “Strawberry” Summer

“Happiness, I have grasped, is a destination, like strawberry fields. Once you find the way in, there you are, and you’ll never feel low again.” Rachel Simon

With the scent of summer still in the air, one wouldn’t miss the scent of wild strawberries in the fields. With lazy weekends beckoning a walk, it would be a perfect time for some family bonding as well as strawberry picking.

“You can pick wild strawberries with your eyes closed, locating them by smell, for they are two parts perfume to one part taste. An hour of searching might yield a handful if you’re lucky. Wild strawberries can’t be encouraged, nor can they be discouraged: They come to you unbidden and unearned. They appear, or do not, by the grace of the sun.” Hope Jahren

During this impromptu excursion, certain moments get engraved silently in the mind. The rapid passing of time, children growing up fast as well as hectic weeks leaving very less time to unwind, converse as well as simply relax; all highlight the significance in shutting down the media and heading back to nature.

“Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only moment of our life; it might be the only strawberry we’ll ever eat. We could get depressed about it, or we could finally appreciate it and delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our life.” Pema Chodron

With plenty of fresh strawberries to go around, it would be fun to go artsy, creative and add some sweetness to the regular meals as well as desserts. Browsing through the old recipes and brushing them with some “taste of summer” would make the strawberries as well as moments and memories to capture for the later years.

“As our lives speed up more and more, so do our children’s. We forget and thus they forget that there is nothing more important than the present moment. We forget and thus they forget to relax, to find spiritual solitude, to let go of the past, to quiet ambition, to fully enjoy the eating of a strawberry, the scent of a rose, the touch of a hand on a cheek…” Michael Gurian

“It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.” — Laura Ingalls Wilder

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

“Doing Good”, From Within

“How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.” William Shakespeare (The Merchant of Venice)

One of the feelings that man is silently on the look out for, is the feeling of being  loved, recognized or appreciated. One tries seeking it many places, known or unknown to them. When one strives to do something good, kind or be generous by actions, words or thoughts; one secretly harbours the feeling and hope that these would be appreciated, whether those feelings come by knowingly or unknowingly.

“Know you not that a good man does nothing for appearance sake, but for the sake of having done right?” Epictetus 

What one often forgets is that, “doing good” doesn’t come with a tag that says “thank me” but with a hidden code that reveals how much comes from truly within. We can do good or be kind; because we want to or, just because we hope that some one would do it for us when we need it or, for some one of our own who may need it. Whatever the reason may be, unless we do “good” from deep within our hearts, all these would be in vain. For the real meaning of “doing good” would be lost, if it never began from within first.

“Be happy, noble heart, be blessed for all the good thou hast done and wilt do hereafter, and let my gratitude remain in obscurity like your good deeds.” Alexandre Dumas(The Count of Monte Cristo )

One woman baked two tortillas every morning. One for family members, and the second, additional, for the casual passerby. The woman always put the second flat cake on a window sill, and any person passing by could take it. Every day, when a woman laid a cake on the windowsill, she offered a prayer for her son, who had left the house to look for a better life. For months, the mother knew nothing about her boy and always prayed for his safe return.

Soon she noticed that a hunchback came every day and took the second cake. But instead of the words of gratitude, he only muttered: “The evil that you do remains with you, and the good returns to you!” and went on his way. This went on day after day. Not receiving the expected words of gratitude, the woman felt deceived. “Every day this hunchback says the same thing! But what does he mean?”
And one day, being especially irritated, she decided to end this. “I’ll get rid of this nasty hunchback!” She said to herself and added poison to the second tortilla. But when she was about to put her on the windowsill, the woman’s hands trembled. “What am I doing?” – she thought. And immediately threw the poisonous tortilla into the fire, cooked another one and put it on the windowsill. The hunchback, as usual, took the cake, muttering the constant words: “The evil that you do remains with you, and the good returns to you!” and continued on his way, unaware of the emotions raging inside the woman.

That same night someone knocked on the door. When the woman opened it, she saw her son standing in the doorway. He looked awful: hungry, thin, weak, in torn clothes. “Mom, it’s just a miracle that I’m here! I was just a mile from home, but I was so hungry that I fainted. I probably would have died, but just then some old hunchback passed by and he was so kind to me that he gave a whole cake. And he said that this was his only meal for the whole day, but he sees that I need her more than he does. ” When the mother heard these words, her face turned pale and she leaned to the door so as not to fall. She remembered the poisoned morning cake. After all, if she had not burned it in the fire, her own son would have died! It was then that the woman understood the meaning of the words: “The evil that you do remains with you, and the good returns to you!”

Moral of the story: Strive to do good always, even if no one appreciates it now.

“Every time you do a good deed you shine the light a little farther into the dark. And the thing is, when you’re gone that light is going to keep shining on, pushing the shadows back.” Charles de lint

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

Treasured Memories

“Childhood means simplicity. Look at the world with the child’s eye – it is very beautiful.” Kailash Satyarthi

The joyous days of fun, laughter and treasures are something that time or age can ever erase. For parents and guardians, having children around brings to mind and memory of their days. As children, they try to make out and see the best of everything. While it may be because they haven’t yet caught the cynicism and attitude of the world, the gentleness of children brings joy to the dark days.

“Imagination and invention go hand in hand. Remember how lack of resources was never a problem in childhood games? Shift a few pieces of furniture around the living room, and you have yourself a fort.” Alexandra Adornetto

Yet what happens when they grow up ? Caught in the modern paced world of consumerism, materialism as well as ambition; along the lines the simplicity of childhood is lost. As parents, care givers, guardians and nurturers of the future generations, care should be taken that in the modernism that we surround ourselves, children shouldn’t lose out on their best years of their life, their childhood. True that academics, cultural and sports do matter; cultivate their talents but let them do what they love. Forcing them into a mould from the very early days, breaks them from their very essence.

“One of the luckiest things that can happen to you in life is, I think, to have a happy childhood.” Agatha Christie

Roaming the lanes, exploring the backyard, learning how a frog leaps or why some plants creep and others grow tall, how the wind pane moves and the like are what engages their attention or interest. Their talents of dance, music and ball do matter; but let them pique their inquisitiveness as their minds grow. Draw the lines, set the limits but never curb their rightful curiosity. Let them grow and treasure the memories of their childhood; for its’ their right.

“If you carry your childhood with you, you never become older.” Tom Stoppard

In childhood, when we were immortal,
Were our wealth countless.
Each pebble was precious,
Life – well-dressed, as if on stage

Even fragments of broken dishes
Once again came to life in the mystery of a miracle.
There was no more beautiful doll rag,
It was not sweeter trickle krinynnoy.

Behind the wheel with an iron jump
into the future, boys ran away …
Old books, rare films
Were kept, were loved …

We, that we had a taste of the earthly paradise,
Were not surprised by the promise of another …
Believe me …
In childhood, when they were still immortal …

L. Znakovskaya

Posted in Family and Society, Life, Personal Musings

Affinity, Soul and Time

“How will a person know, Selina, when the soul that has the affinity with hers is near it?” She answered, “She will know. Does she look for air, before she breathes it? This love will be guided to her; and when it comes, she will know. And she will do anything to keep that love about her, then. Because to lose it will be like a death to her.” Sarah Waters (… the author of Affinity)

Boy meets girl, by chance. Sparks fly but not much more after that. Fast forward years later. Lady meets a gentleman. Sparks fly and the fire is lit. If not, years on, an elderly man meets the woman of his dreams. Both old, yet sparks fly and the fire is lit. Forever or not, only time will know.

The above scenario may seem familiar. Our story or the story of someone we know or have heard of, may resonate with certain events as written above. What strikes one most on looking back, is the affinity between the two souls, no matter how far away. While “reel life” dramatizes the whole concept to “first look of pure love”; real life can range in varying degrees from mutual acceptance or comfort to instant attraction or the deep feeling of being complete. It varies from person to person.

For some “soul affinity” strikes instantly; while for others, it does not arise suddenly. Love with all its’ due respect, doesn’t arise from nothing. Where there is a fire, there are sparks. True love grows from a small sprout, of respect and admiration for a person, to love, affection and friendship comprising of pleasant moments through the attention given to each other. Love encompasses knowing the other; respecting the differences as well providing empathy, care and attention. Once experienced, its’ a feeling best described by emotions, memories and moments, more than the words that one can say.

“Love is the affinity which links and draws together the elements of the world… Love, in fact, is the agent of universal synthesis.” Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Posted in Life, poetry, Reflections

Essence of Man

The other day, we had heard some disturbing news of a close friend of the family. Although we had kept in regular contact, little did we realize that time and circumstance can be so cruel at times. Disease, disaster and death; these events are never in our control, although man tries his best to master them.

The events of yesterday brought to mind, the words of Yevgeny Yevtushenko’s poem, “People”. Each of our lives is like a map, with a course, evidence and impressions that we leave behind when we finally end our time. While time is never in our control, the route that we take along with the diversions, destinations and rest stops is ours alone. Decision, choices and changes are always in our hands, hence using them wisely is what we can and should do.

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” Barack Obama

People

No people are uninteresting.
Their fate is like the chronicle of planets.

Nothing in them in not particular,
and planet is dissimilar from planet.

And if a man lived in obscurity
making his friends in that obscurity
obscurity is not uninteresting.

To each his world is private
and in that world one excellent minute.

And in that world one tragic minute
These are private.

In any man who dies there dies with him
his first snow and kiss and fight it goes with him.

There are left books and bridges
and painted canvas and machinery
Whose fate is to survive.

But what has gone is also not nothing:
by the rule of the game something has gone.
Not people die but worlds die in them.

Whom we knew as faulty, the earth’s creatures
Of whom, essentially, what did we know?

Brother of a brother? Friend of friends?
Lover of lover?

We who knew our fathers
in everything, in nothing.

They perish. They cannot be brought back.
The secret worlds are not regenerated.

And every time again and again
I make my lament against destruction.

Yevgeny Yevtushenko

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

Communication Fillers and Gaps

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” George Bernard Shaw

One of the recently circulated video on my social network pages, shows a social experiment in which four queues of employees are made to stand, with a message being conveyed as a sequence of actions likened to starting a motorbike. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FH_7F3KI8yg)

Unfortunately as the message, in the form of sequence of actions, were passed on, minor alterations were being added on, which eventually resulted in the last person of the queue mimicking the actions that were no where close to the initial sequence or message that the first person had initiated. Although the video may seem hilarious at the end, on reflecting later, the lack of communication as well as the errors in the message being conveyed, understood and repeated are alarming.

“Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success.” Paul J. Meyer

At every walk in life, communication is what brings man apart from other living species. Knowing how to convey ideas, bring about changes as well discuss and share various aspects makes human life meaningful, interesting and enriched. Yet when thoughts are shared wrong, with each one modifying the truth as per one’s short-lived understanding, thinking or viewpoint, the real sequence of events gets distorted, destroying the harmony and peaceful thinking.

“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.” Peter Drucker

Each time we come across any information, words or actions, thinking about them before e repeat them elsewhere would go a long way in maintaining one’s own peace and harmony. The process of adding one’s own bit to the real sequence of events, when not understood the right way, can do significant harm than plausible.