Posted in Personal Musings, Photo Captions, Photography Art, Reflections

Take your Pick

“To do or not…right choice or wrong one…”

This refrain often comes to the subconscious mind, often at the oddest of moments. At times it may be on-the -spur of the moment, other times it may be in course of experiences the sequelae of events which have been set in motion by the action of the years previous or beyond, by self or even by those around us. In short, there is always an inner nagging feel of “what if’s” especially when the tide goes against one.

What do we with the choices we have ? To choose or not ? Was it the right or wrong one ? Which one is more or less hard ? Is it possible to live a life without crossing certain lines (not those of self or intentional harm though)? Is it possible to experience life without any risk ? Is life always hard for me ? Is anyone else in the same boat, with me ? Is it just me ?

As these thoughts run rampant in the mind; the hope that the true choices will eventually work out, is what keeps the mind and heart sane. As they always say, life isn’t a bed of roses. Where there are roses, there are thorns. To smell the rose, one needs to learn how to settle the thorns (which is an activity worth it’s weight more than gold). How to choose to settle the thorns, makes us experience the beauty of the bloom. So what are we waiting for ?

Choose but be wise about it. Though this hindsight comes over time, one needs to start away. Like Newton’s third law of action and reaction, there are always pros and cons. Yet above all that, follow your instinct, heart and soul. As they align, the mind falls into place and things pan out. Balance mayn’t always be there but trust yourself and bloom. The beauty of the rose always withstands the thorns of life.

“The lotus is the most beautiful flower, whose petals open one by one. But it will only grow in the mud. In order to grow and gain wisdom, first you must have the mud — the obstacles of life and its suffering. … The mud speaks of the common ground that humans share, no matter what our stations in life. … Whether we have it all or we have nothing, we are all faced with the same obstacles: sadness, loss, illness, dying and death. If we are to strive as human beings to gain more wisdom, more kindness and more compassion, we must have the intention to grow as a lotus and open each petal one by one. ” Goldie Hawn

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 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, Personal Musings, Photography Art, poetry

Out of the “State”

When in the mood for a stress release, the all-time favourite is to lose own self in books or literature of any kind, from novels to online reads and the like. Though on some days, it mayn’t work, among the options of Netflix, Spotify and so on; one of them is to observe the toddlers and above at play. From trying to make buildings to antics of monkeys to get the kite stuck in the low branches of the tree or the swing, the tedious hours gets a fresh turn. As far as perseverance is concerned, children to do know quite a bit about it, especially when the cookie jar is placed way up the top shelf or the aren’t in the usual place. They don’t stop till they get those delicious crumbs on their dress.

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” Socrates

Bad days will come, but how long they stay, the impact they leave and their effect, all depends on own thinking and state of the gray cells within. If and when those “bad times” govern our thoughts, all hell breaks loose. And when they don’t get the upper hand, the rays of light filter trough the breaks among the black clouds and eventually the brightness stays on and spreads ahead. The point lies in how eager one is to get the cookie jar. When one falters, learn to pick up own-self with help and inspiration from the world around us. Eventually we do get to it, no matter how hidden or how high the jar is placed. It all boils down to what, how and when we think and in doing so, just believe and charge ahead.

“It’s All In A State Of Mind”

If you think you are beaten, you are,
If you think you dare not, you don’t,
If you like to win, but you think you can’t,
It’s almost a “cinch” you won’t.

If you think you’ll lose, you’ve lost,
For out in the world you find
Success begins with a fellow’s will;
It’s all in the state of mind.

Full many a race is lost
Ere ever a step is run;
And many a coward fails
Ere ever his work’s begun.

Think big and your deeds will grow,
Think small and you’ll fall behind,
Think that you can and you will;
It’s all in the state of mind.

If you think you’re outclassed, you are,
You’ve got to think high to rise,
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.

Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man,
But sooner or later, the man who wins,
Is the fellow who thinks he can.

-Walter D. Wintle

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