Posted in Family and Society, Life, Personal Musings, Random Thoughts, Reflections

Paradoxes of Time

“Silentium est aureum”

Over the weekend, with the entire family in the neighbourhood; it was quite refreshing and entertaining to exchange the various events, stories and happenings over the past few months. Listening to my cousins as they had regaled us the best parts of their college life; it brought back the memories of the younger days. From the days of classes, fun, music, dance, parties, sleepovers and all nighters to the present day of work, colleagues, time schedules, planners, pending household work and rambunctious toddlers running around the house; brings to mind the sharp contrast between the two lives. While in the younger days one had longed for the company of friends and fun; the older we grow, one longs for the occasional or frequent peace, quiet and solitude for a while. As the famous Latin proverb goes; Silence is indeed golden.

“We sit silently and watch the world around us. This has taken a lifetime to learn. It seems only the old are able to sit next to one another and not say anything and still feel content. The young, brash and impatient, must always break the silence. It is a waste, for silence is pure. Silence is holy. It draws people together because only those who are comfortable with each other can sit without speaking. This is the great paradox.” Nicholas Sparks

Time has a huge list of paradoxes. Remember the younger days of sleep overs, gate crashing parties, Goobers, lemonade sprees, stuffing one self with kachoris, pizzas and the long list of the “forbidden” as well as movie nights over the weekends. These days, although one has the freedom to enjoy food, friends, parties, music and entertainment to the maximum, without the constant nagging and laying down of the rules; when in excess life feels mundane.

Over time, as our personal trends, habits and favorites change, alter or get refined; certain relationships tend to get overlooked. The ships that once had anchored us, may be lost due to bad navigation or the storms that we encounter. One might put them down to “growing up” or the transition phase. Unfortunately when caught up in the silence later; the feeling of guilt, regret and remorse run through as common thread leaving behind fond memories laced with guilt.

“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.” Frances Hodgson Burnett

To not let the set-down of remorse, guilt and incompleteness happen, one has to only look around and view the world from far. To enjoy the pleasures of nature, we need both the new and the old. The presence of the ever present flowers, plants and the green with comfort of our friends, family and good shoes making our walk through life more comfortable and memorable. To enjoy the garden, one needs both company and solace at the right time. Learning to put the situation to use at the given time is one of the arts that life has taught us and will keep on teaching us through its’ own time.

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Posted in Daily, Random Thoughts, Stories Around the World, Work

To Believe It or Not !!

” “Coca-Cola is launching three flavours of its Zero Sugar brand featuring avocado, sourdough and charcoal.”

Imagine the consequences of the taste buds and the senses after an episode of experimentation with these flavours. And here’s how the flavours were described.
• Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Avocado – Forget smashed or blended, this new flavour infuses the subtle, creamy undertones of amazing avocado with that great Coca-Cola Zero Sugar taste. Both delicious and nutritious, this gorgeously green pick-me-up is guaranteed to make your socials grow.
• Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Charcoal – Cleanse, refresh and revitalise with a Zero Sugar supercharge. Loaded with activated charcoal, creating a smooth and rich flavour, this miracle in-a-can pairs-perfectly with your favourite Instagram filter.
• Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Sourdough – Crafted with care, superbly sour and bursting with fermented flavours. Packed with crumbly goodness – so you can start the day in the right way with a mouth-wateringly good snap of this wild-yeast infused Zero Sugar treat. “

For the readers of the above news on the Daily Mirror online version last year, had resulted in a frenzy of whether this was true or was it an “All Fools Day Prank”. Being mixed with the “true news” of the society, food, travel and living sections; it wasn’t easy to ascertain whether one was going to really taste avocado, sourdough or charcoal in their drink.

“The first of April, some do say
Is set apart for All Fool’s Day;
But why the people call it so
Nor I, nor they themselves, do know,
But on this day are people sent
On purpose for pure merriment.” (Poor Robin’s Almanac, 1790)

One of the days dreaded the most, especially at work, school or neighbourhood, is the first day of April, where the day is pretty confusing for each hour goes by the wait of “being pranked”. Each day this year, from social media to official meetings, one is always second guessing everything. As for pranksters, its’ a day of freedom, fun and revelry.

Yet when the prank is actually the truth, one may feel a bit razzed. For instance people who celebrate their birthdays on April First have always been questioned, even though they are speaking the truth. Remember the headlines that state “the African continent can split into two” after an enormous crack appears. Well, it’s actually true for a large crack, several miles long and growing accompanied with seismic activity had appeared in south-western Kenya causing the Nairobi-Narok highway to collapse. Researchers have attributed this to activity between the tectonic plates in Earth’s crust and upper mantle. Today the rift still continues to grow and an expert says it’s evidence that the continent is breaking apart.

Yet news like this, practical jokes and hoaxes especially on All Fools’ Day or April Fools’ Day spreads mass confusion (which was or wasn’t the purpose all along). Why this particular day ? The origin behind this day is quite interesting, with various versions and tales trending around the world.

As per Geoffrey’s Chaucer’s “The Cantebury Tales”, New Years’ Day used to be celebrated around April. With the Gregorian Calendar (1582, France) being introduced by Pope Gregory XIII with January 1st to be celebrated as “New Years’ Day.” For those who refused to support this,; they were mocked and sent on fools’ errands on April 1st.

Another disputed association between April 1st and foolishness also comes from Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales (1392). In the “Nun’s Priest’s Tale”, a vain cock Chauntecleer is tricked by a fox on “Syn March bigan thritty dayes and two.” While readers apparently understood this line to mean “32 March”, i.e. April 1, it wasn’t clear if this was the correct inference. The scholars of today, believe that there is a copying error in the extant manuscripts and that Chaucer actually wrote, “Syn March was gon.” Then the passage would have originally meant 32 days after March ( i.e. May 2nd), the anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia (1381).

French poet Eloy d’Amerval (1508) had referred to “a poisson d’avril” (April fool, literally “Fish of April”), possibly the first reference to the celebration in France. In France, January 1st as New Year’s Day became common only by the mid-16th century and the date was adopted officially as per the Edict of Roussillon (1564). Likewise Flemish poet Eduard de Dene (1539) had written about a nobleman who sent his servants on foolish errands on April 1st.

The origin of April Fools’ Day is different in Netherlands, where it’s often attributed to the Dutch victory at Brielle in 1572, where the Spanish Duke Álvarez de Toledo was defeated (“Op 1 april verloor Alva zijn bril”). Another citation in history was on April 1, 1698 when several people were tricked into going to the Tower of London to “see the Lions washed”.

Few authors have expressed the belief that the origins of April Fool’s Day may go back to the Genesis flood narrative, although this hasn’t been verified by Biblical scholars or historians. As written by the Harper’s Weekly cartoonist Bertha R. McDonald (1908), ” Authorities gravely back with it to the time of Noah and the ark. The London Public Advertiser of March 13, 1769, printed: “The mistake of Noah sending the dove out of the ark before the water had abated, on the first day of April, and to perpetuate the memory of this deliverance it was thought proper, whoever forgot so remarkable a circumstance, to punish them by sending them upon some sleeveless errand similar to that ineffectual message upon which the bird was sent by the patriarch”.

Festivals celebrating a day for pranks has been there since the early Roman times, where “Hilaria” a Roman festival was celebrated. As the name suggests, it was a festival of laughter and hilarity where people would dress up in disguises to fool others and enjoy the spring season. Various countries have different ways to celebrate this day. While across Italy, France, Belgium, and French-speaking areas of Switzerland and Canada, people celebrate April Fools’ Day by trying to stick a paper fish on someone (without being noticed); in Iran jokes were played on each other on ‘Sizdah Be-dar'(the 13th day of the Persian New Year, falling on April 1st or 2nd). On the other hand Spanish speaking countries celebrate similar festivity on the ‘Day of the Holy Innocents’ (December 28 or 29) and in Denmark, this day is celebrated on’Maj-Kat’, which means ‘May-cat’ (May 1st).

Either way the chance to play practical jokes and hoaxes on this day has promoted this trend to continue. For there’s nothing more enriching than genuine innocent fun and laughter for the day.

“The maple syrup’s full of ants.
A mouse is creeping on the shelf.
Is that a spider on your back?
I ate the whole pie by myself.
The kitchen sink just overflowed.
A flash flood washed away the school.
I threw your blanket in the trash.
I never lie—I—
April Fool!” (Myra Cohn Livingstone)

Posted in Life, Photography Art, Quotes, Random Thoughts

Practicality of the Rainbow

“Nullum Dolorum, Nullum Quaestum”

Trying something new is always a venture of exciting possibility, realization of dreams as well as fear of which side the balance will tilt towards, success or failure. The best thing about all these emotions, is that its’ a part of surviving and living. Everyone has their own set of fears, insecurities, burdens and pain whether its’ of physical, spiritual, emotional, moral, internal or external type or kind. For more proof, nature holds the evidence.

Caterpillar. Chrysalis. Butterfly.

Rain. Sun. Rainbow.

Carbon. Pressure. Diamonds.

Pyramids of Giza. Roman Colosseum. Great Wall of China.

 As evidenced by history and time along with nature, showing in its’ magnificent examples, unless we toil and sweat, there wouldn’t be any gain. The key to surviving and taking life in all its’ colours, is to look beyond the immediate and overcome the bad slow and steady. If at times, things don’t go the way it should have, worry but don’t despair. Find the courage, time and hope to improvise for another shot. Just like the beauty of diamonds, pressure has and will always be a part of achievements.

“One that would have the fruit must climb the tree.” Thomas Fuller

Posted in Family and Society, Life, Personal Musings, Quotes, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized

While Evolving

‘You are being presented with a choice: evolve or remain. If you choose to remain unchanged, you will be presented with the same challenges, the same routine, the same storms, the same situations, until you learn from them, until you love yourself enough to say “no more”, until you choose change. If you choose to evolve, you will connect with the strength within you, you will explore what lies outside the comfort zone, you will awaken to love, you will become, you will be. You have everything you need. Choose to evolve. Choose love.’ Creig Crippen

On analyzing the social and cultural anthropology of man, “to evolve” has been a phenomenon going on from centuries. While through some years it was in a drastic manner, the other years would have seen gradual subtle changes. Either way, change becomes inevitable. Yet in the process of “evolving ourselves” care should be taken to not lose ourselves, our principles as well as our morale. For this, few root clauses to keep in mind would include the following.

Identify ourselves and our patterns, gaining insight into both. The latter would help us weed out the negatives and keep the positives to keep our life cycles going.

Restructuring our mentality of our past so as to learn from the good and the bad, never holding onto the regrets as they weigh us when we try to evolve ourselves. Acknowledge the past but don’t let it dictate or structure the future.

Acknowledge our true calling, either profession wise, or what we like doing the most. Take for instance, being a librarian doesn’t mean we have to restrict our inner muse for art or baking, as they may be monetarily unrewarding. Do anything productive that makes you happy and helps you grow as well.

Mankind is not likely to salvage civilization unless he can evolve a system of good and evil which is independent of heaven and hell. George Orwell

Accepting ourselves wholeheartedly with our shortcomings whether the latter maybe physical, verbal or social. We are all made different, and the beauty of nature and creation lies in that. Whether by chance or by creation, just as no two fingerprints are identical, neither can we lower ourselves by scaling oneself to others’ eyes. By realizing that we may be different but unique, we can free up a whole lot of negative thinking and comparisons. Setting standards for oneself doesn’t mean altering or hiding what we were born with. Instead using our given talents and multiplying them is what setting standards and aiming to reach them includes.

Appreciate our fellow beings, for then in the course of evolution we learn not to lost the basic humaneness that is quite often, a missing component these days.

Aim to grow, try to learn but remember to say Grace knowing that our existence in this world is always momentary. In doing so, as we learn to evolve we learn to nurture our gifts and treasures that we were given.

Above all, as we evolve for reaching a particular target or focus; being flexible but surefooted, smart but kind, strong but gentle and honest would help us evolve ourselves with a clear conscience, inner peace as well as quiet strength laced with calmness.

I think the only way for you to grow and evolve is to keep listening, keep moving forward, keep jumping in and trying to experience. Dianne Reeves

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

Through the Toil

“Don’t worry. It will all be alright.”

Very often, we come across these words but though these words are precious their impact varies from person to person, from time to time and situation to situation.

For those of us who hear them, the degree of belief oscillates from disregarding these words to acknowledging them in our heart or simply pass through the words realizing that this is what everyone will say. For those of us who often speak these words, they are said when we may be at a loss of what to say or can truly mean what we have gone through. When it comes from the latter, it genuinely strikes a chord to the person who hears it.

Whichever way or what ever context these words come into play, the fact remains that these words will not change the present situation but can offer a semblance of hope that time will pass through these troubles and we too shall pass this phase. As Charlie Chaplin had once said, “Nothing is permanent in this wicked world – not even our troubles.”

David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the LORD is finished. (1 Chronicles 28:20)

We don’t develop courage by being happy every day. We develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity. Barbara De Angelis

The world when it is turned upside down, is like a niggling wound. We can’t turn away from trouble and nothing will change when we run away, besides getting a temporary respite. Trouble can only be passed through and one has to cross the waters either at that point of time or later.

To quote Angelina Jolie , “I do believe in the old saying, ‘What does not kill you makes you stronger.’ Our experiences, good and bad, make us who we are. By overcoming difficulties, we gain strength and maturity.”

Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” (Mark 5:36)

Instead, what we can do is glean hope from others and the Word of God as we travel through the storms and tempest. While we wish courage to all who have trouble, I wish compassion for all those who had trouble and passed. She was with you so that you would not forget about her and feel sorry for those who are today in what you once were and wept.

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:58)

Posted in Christian, Daily, Random Thoughts

Words To Remember By

The value of life lies not in the length of days, but in the use we make of them… Whether you find satisfaction in life depends not on your tale of years, but on your will. Michel de Montaigne

As Ralph Marston had said, “If you so choose, even the unexpected setbacks can bring new and positive possibilities. If you so choose, you can find value and fulfillment in every circumstance.”

Are we important ? 

We often stumble across this thought at our various stop points or crossroads in our life. Sometimes the feeling that we are of no importance in this world engulfs us. Yet despite the pep talk we give ourselves, there will be days where the feeling that “we are not worth a story” haunts the inner recesses of our emotions. That is when we have to remember a few things.

When we may think that we are not at all important in this world. Remember that someone drinks coffee every morning from their favorite cup which you gave them.
Someone heard a song on the radio that reminded them of you.
Someone saw a picture or message from you and smiled.
Someone read the book you recommended to him and plunged into it.
Someone had chuckled to themselves while waiting at a traffic light thinking of their good times with you.
Someone remembered your joke and smiled, returning in the evening from work.
Someone keeps the notes you have written, the messages you had sent, the emails that you had forwarded or archived the conversations and emails for rainy days, to live the hope they recieved on reading them.
Someone now loves themselves a little more, because you had given them a compliment.
Someone thought of you while shopping in the grocer’s knowing how much you loved their cookies.
Someone misses the good old days where you were a part of their circle.
Someone suddenly remembers the parking space, the directions or guidance that you had given without a second thought.

There may be many more instances that we may not even be able to think of, where others have often thought of us even we may have merely met them just once in our lifetime. Never think that we don’t have an influence on anything.Our traces, which we leave behind, even with small acts of kindness can never be erased.

A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love. Saint Basil

Posted in Daily, Family and Society, Quotes, Random Thoughts, Stories Around the World

Helping Hands

“Non nobis solum nati sumus. (Not for ourselves alone are we born.)” Marcus Tullius Cicero

The difference between each person lies in their behaviour, outlook, attitude and approach to life. While collectively we can label one group “selfish” and the other group “kind”, the difference between both is well illustrated in the story below.

Chopsticks

A woman who had worked all her life to bring about good was granted one wish: “Before I die let me visit both hell and heaven.” Her wish was granted. She was whisked off to a great banqueting hall. The tables were piled high with delicious food and drink. Around the tables sat miserable, starving people as wretched as could be. “Why are they like this?” she asked the angel who accompanied her. “Look at their arms,” the angel replied. She looked and saw that attached to the people’s arms were long chopsticks secured above the elbow. Unable to bend their elbows, the people aimed the chopsticks at the food, missed every time and sat hungry, frustrated and miserable. “Indeed this is hell! Take me away from here!” She was then whisked off to heaven. Again she found herself in a great banqueting hall with tables piled high. Around the tables sat people laughing, contented, joyful. “No chopsticks I suppose,” she said. “Oh yes there are. Look – just as in hell they are long and attached above the elbow but look… here people have learnt to feed one another”.

Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you’ll find one at the end of your arm… As you grow older you will discover that you have two hands. One for helping yourself, the other for helping others. Audrey Hepburn

One of the simplest things in life is to lend a hand. On some occasions we hesitate doing so without knowing the complete picture, for fear of the repercussions in the society and world, where we can held accountable even if innocent. On those instances, only our gut instincts can help us. Yet in other scenarios, we tend to be lazy and keep our hands buried in our pockets or under the blankets. Ironically we realize our mistakes only when we need help desperately. Helping hands doesn’t have to start big. Even small gestures like cleaning the room, helping an old lady at the grocer’s, giving up a seat in the bus for elders or pregnant mothers, mowing the lawn without being told to do so are all be simple acts to initiate the feel of being helpful. After all, There has to be a purpose of the creation of two hands.

“Somewhere along the way, we must learn that there is nothing greater than to do something for others.” Martin Luther King Jr.