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 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 Christian, poetry, Random Thoughts, Reflections

For an Answer

“Part of doing something is listening. We are listening. To the sun. To the stars. To the wind.” Madeleine L’Engle

Reaching home after work, is as always, a mad rush. After the new routine of “outdoor clean-up”, the usual tune is to run the maze between the study table, the kitchen and the laundry. Add to it, is the continuous movements of hands, each doing their own, to just settle the state of the house. Amidst all this, would be the occasional tug from below, “Mom did you see my new drawing?”, “Can I have cake for dinner?”, “Online session was so ‘bo-rrr-ing’ today!!” and the like. The automated response revolves around “how nice”, that’s wonderful to really !” Not to get me wrong, I do listen, but the initial hour or two, is solely to settle the house. Though these thoughts come with regret, sometimes one does wish that the first routine would be just to put our feet, and listen to listen to those young voices around us, and those that are within us.

“It takes a great man to be a good listener.” Calvin Coolidge

As always said and known, listening is a skill that is soon coming to be a rarity or a gift. The notion that no one has enough time has become a common chant, till it becomes ingrained in our minds as a reality. Truth we all have just enough time to do, what should be rightly done, not to do solely as per the dictates of society or profession. Among those “to-do” things is to learn to listen to those around us. Sometimes the big things in life come in very minute and quiet moments.

“Making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding;…” (Proverbs 2:2)

Noise and thoughtless clutter drives one away from own self. Each of us have our own prayers for help. But to feel them answered, one needs to listen and notice. Not everything in life comes with a “clang”. There are those gifts of life, that come best in the quiet moments. Amidst all the clatter around us, as we promise ourselves to listen to the gifts and blessings; life becomes a beautiful voyage wit each day being better than the previous. And this self-discovery is what gives buoyancy to the heart, mind and soul.

And A Meadowlark Sang
Ravindra Kumar Karnani

“The child whispered, ‘God, speak to me’
And a meadow lark sang.
The child did not hear.

So the child yelled, ‘God, speak to me!’
And the thunder rolled across the sky
But the child did not listen.

The child looked around and said,
‘God let me see you’ and a star shone brightly
But the child did not notice.

And the child shouted,
‘God show me a miracle!’
And a life was born but the child did not know.

So the child cried out in despair,
‘Touch me God, and let me know you are here!’
Whereupon God reached down
And touched the child.

But the child brushed the butterfly away
And walked away unknowingly.”
© 1999, Ravindra Kumar Karnani

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 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?’

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

Hazy, but in Form

The usual say, is that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Sadly no one ever mentions, how to get the going part. In short, where or how does the inspiration for the going strike. For now, the skies offer some comfort.

“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go. They merely determine where you start.” Nido Qubein

Have you ever seen the shape of clouds ? They flit, they float, they reshape and they transform. The new game was a chance discovery by the kids. From heart shaped to fluffy shaped pillow like, or the wisps that looks like boots, the skies offer a break from the mundane and the lag of the present. The beauty of the endless forms of white scattered across the dusky or bright to dim skies, show one of the endless possibilities of the world.

“Often it isn’t the mountains ahead that wear you out, it’s the little pebble in your shoe.” Muhammad Ali

While nature has it’s own furies and wrath, the clouds in the skies offer a semblance of comfort in the tough moments. Each time one falls, look to the skies and the answer shall come to the self later. As for the cloudy and rainy days, the skies after may hold the rainbow in the vastness of own.

 

Still I Rise
BY MAYA ANGELOU
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
’Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
’Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Maya Angelou, “Still I Rise” from And Still I Rise: A Book of Poems. Copyright © 1978 by Maya Angelou. Used by permission of Random House, an imprint and division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.
Source: The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou (1994)