Posted in Life, Personal Musings

The Bend

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going. “

Entering into the “adult phase” of life, the above phrase is something that many of us may have come across. Juggling between university, work and life in general, these words may make their first entry. If not then, maybe while family life and professional life get into their respective modes. Through these words and by general advice, the point highlighted is always to brave against the tide, use own resources or talents and charge ahead.

True that all this is important but a certain undeniable point is, how to deal with it. More importantly, how does one learn to live through it.

“A bend in the road is not the end of the road…Unless you fail to make the turn.” Helen Keller

Sitting back and reflecting, each sunrise to the next holds its own events. Some of these may be classified as occurrences, others as routine, few as challenges which may be easy crossed as a test of mettle while others may be classed as “unavoidable and certain hurdles”. Undoubtedly the classification is something that varies from person to person. In due process, when one tends to classify many situations as “tough” it is time to sit back and take a deep look into our lives, as well as to remember that one is never alone.

Getting a heartbeat is a miracle, living it is a blessing.

If and when “the tough events” happen, the difference lies if one is willing to reflect back and decide whether the situation is really tough, or is it a state of own mind. If the factors tend to the latter, it is high time to take a breath and go for a run, joining in with the rest of the world around us.

“Maxim 36: When the going gets tough, the tough call for close air support.
-The Seventy Maxims of Maximally Effective Mercenaries” Howard Tayler

Eventually things will settle down. All one has to do is to hang in there, and not let those “tough situations” get to us.

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

Contention

Each of us have one of those days wherein, the entire day starts off a sour note. The “what-ifs” and “if’s” plague us to the extent that one may have a couple of hours (or even days) of uncertainty, despair and anguish. While dwelling in it, things never make any sense at all. Later when the dust-storm settles down, things get a little clearer and the realization comes. The latter being that one has to either go with the flow, against or modify it to own heart’s content. The million dollar way out, is how to settle the storm within.

“It’s not always necessary to be strong, but to feel strong.” Jon Krakauer

Looking back, the sudden bout of “going downhill within” quite often stem from our own insecurities. Of whether what we have done so far, was any worth or whether we would be able to follow and do a little of our dreams in the near future. The hard fact is that these feelings are bound to stay and surface every now and then. The trick lies in not letting those “feelings” get ahead of us.

“So how to temper down the storm ?”

The answer never comes easy. But it helps never to forget how far one has come. The roots that we have come from and how far we have made it. Though the journey may hold many more miles ahead, to savour the success of the past and the present, no matter how small they may be, are important. The chart of our dreams need to be looked into again, to find our present standing in the map. Then we fold it, take a deep breath and dig out the shreds of will, strength and courage from within. Finally with one foot ahead of the other, the attempt to is made to find a way ahead. Though the gait may be shuffling in manner, the point is to try and be who we want to be. Not a mold of another, but who we are at heart.

As the phrase goes, “Accept that some days you are the pigeon, some days you are the statue” but the fact remains that one still holds the belief within that they can try. All it lies is not in giving up, but holding onto the flame within. As one reaches to the safe side and traces out those “storm days”, few of which may be buried deep in the recesses of the mind; the sheer survival of those dark hours gives strength to face the trials over time.

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.” Henry David Thoreau

Be Who You Must Be
Diarmuid Cronin

I don’t know where you are on your path
I have never stood in your shoes
I see not with your eyes.
I know not what your purpose is here
In this stage of your evolution
But I feel blessed to know you
As you are not in my life by chance
And you are my teacher
As I hope you learn from me
I pray I show reverence to you
I pray not to judge you
I wish to let you be
Who you are
Who you dream of being
I will just be beside you
And watch you grow
And the day will come for sure
When we will know why
Our paths crossed this way
And until then my friend
Be who you must be

Posted in Life, Personal Musings, Reflections, Stories Around the World, Work

Over-Turn

Whether it be work from home or not, breaks are always a must. Which is why there is always time for a “break”. There is something special about holding that warm cup. More than just a routine, it brings out a fresh perspective with each sip. Be it coffee or tea, herbal, green or black, with or without milk, each cup has something in it.

“There are mornings when everything brims with promise, even my empty cup.” Ted Kooser

Like the cups that hold within it, so do we people, hold something within each of us. Different situations may have different hues and flavours, but we do put something in it. Interestingly whatever these cups hold in them, do spill out. That cup can bring out a smile, or push one into sorrows. When a cup spills over, what is in it is what comes out. Knowing that, let’s try to put something worth, so that even though the cup may tip over, it brings a smile on the faces around us.

You are holding a cup of coffee when someone comes along and bumps into you or shakes your arm, making you spill your coffee everywhere. Why did you spill the coffee?
“Well because someone bumped into me, of course!”
*Wrong answer.*
You spilled the coffee because there was coffee in your cup.
Had there been tea in the cup, you would have spilled tea.
*Whatever is inside the cup, is what will spill out.*
Therefore, when life comes along and shakes you (which WILL happen), whatever is inside you will come out. It’s easy to fake it, until you get rattled.
*So we have to ask ourselves”what’s in my cup?”*
When life gets tough, what spills over?
Joy, gratefulness, peace and humility?
Or anger, bitterness, harsh words and reactions?
You choose!
Today let’s work towards filling our cups with gratitude, forgiveness, joy, words of affirmation for ourselves; and kindness, gentleness and love for others.
Source: Internet

Posted in Family and Society, Life, Personal Musings, Quotes, Reflections

On the Search

Watching the raindrops hit against the window panes resulted in one of those work-from-home days being that one of deep introspection, beyond the daily routine of life. Reflecting on the happenings of the outside world, especially in the society around us; it feels like each of us is on a hunt for something.

Being human, we yearn for many things. From hoping to feel complete with a successful career, the “good life” as deemed by the society and the hope to be with those who make us smile. In the quest for all those and beyond, we forget a couple of things. Society is defined by us, who we accept as ours and those we choose to believe in. It is man, we humans, who make up society. So each of us have a place in it, for it is right so, when the true society is defined by all of us being a part of it. There will be many voices around us, but the choice is ours to make and listen to. The choosing and the listening depends on us; our inner beliefs and dreams.

Caught up in the fabric of the modern society, what one never must forget is to always be human, always be kind. It doesn’t have to be anything big, but something as small as lending an ear, or giving each one of those we love adequate space to not be crushed but near enough to catch when one accidentally trips. Letting the gleam of the silk fabric surround us, doesn’t give one any comfort for the cold rainy nights. Each of us need the other. And so does those around us, need us.

Resonating through each day gifted by time and life, is the feeling of being happy and content. To feel so, doesn’t equate to pure perfection or sunny days around the year. One learns to pick up the shattered pieces of the clay pot and make it into a mosaic for the flower garden. For that is life, to be content and happy lies in being comfortable in our own skin. In all the never ending search for the something better, we are bound to mess up. When the going gets a lot more tough, it is time to reach out for support and reach within to redefine ourselves. Each search needs to be defined to an end, to the real purpose. As far as quests go, being truly happy and content take the lead any time, any day.

“This life is what you make it. No matter what, you’re going to mess up sometimes, it’s a universal truth. But the good part is you get to decide how you’re going to mess it up.
Girls will be your friends – they’ll act like it anyway. But just remember, some come, some go. The ones that stay with you through everything – they’re your true best friends. Don’t let go of them. Also remember, sisters make the best friends in the world.
As for lovers, well, they’ll come and go too. And baby, I hate to say it, most of them – actually pretty much all of them are going to break your heart, but you can’t give up because if you give up, you’ll never find your soulmate. You’ll never find that half who makes you whole and that goes for everything. Just because you fail once, doesn’t mean you’re gonna fail at everything. Keep trying, hold on, and always, always, always believe in yourself, because if you don’t, then who will, sweetie? So keep your head high, keep your chin up, and most importantly, keep smiling, because life’s a beautiful thing and there’s so much to smile about.”
― Marilyn Monroe

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

Unparalleled

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 the 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 Daily, Personal Musings, Quotes, Random Thoughts

DETOUR

While trying to get to work, in order to avoid the regular route in lieu of the heavy downpour wherein the roads were mostly water-logged; the plan was to stick to the by-lanes. Whether providence or thanks to an early start, the early morning hours saw less of muck and rush. Though the journey took at least a half-hour extra from the regular allotted drive time; the end result saw a lot less stress within.

“The really happy person is the one who can enjoy the scenery, even when they have to take a detour.” Sir James Jeans

Throughout the drive, the running thought was how bleak and unpredictable the morning plans can be. Life in a way, behaves more or less that. Each of us may encounter varied manner of hurdles or waterlogged roads. Some may offer a way out, others fore us to stop and ask for help; while there may be those routes wherein we turn back the way we came and go a different way thereon.

Facing all these blocks, one must never lose sight of three basic things. Among the many basic tenets, few stand out distinct. To always stay strong and aim to survive. To make the best out of any given situation or scenario. Smile, no matter how bad things may get to be, face the hurdle with a smile. For that simple smile within may give us the needed courage and strength to go on.

“Dead-end roads don’t mean you’ve come to your end, just means you need to take a different detour.” Anthony Liccione

Dead ends, detours, deflections or digressions, no matter how small or big they may be; they do crop up every now and then. Whether one likes them or not is irrelevant, for all these are a part and parcel of life. The trick is to never let them to us. Not just knowing that, but believing in it and acting on it; helps one to take the next step forward. All it takes is a keen pair of eyes and clear thoughts.

Ironically some of the detours that life takes us through help to redirect us back to the right track, or onto the true path which may be way off from what was perceived previously. It is only in hindsight, that these realizations may come to light. To experience this, requires one no to be completely bogged down, but to get up and run along with the flow. Eventually it will all workout. Till then the main purpose is to survive the fight, move on and get to the better days ahead.

“If you are faced with a mountain, you have several options.
You can climb it and cross to the other side.
You can go around it.
You can dig under it.
You can fly over it.
You can blow it up.
You can ignore it and pretend it’s not there.
You can turn around and go back the way you came.
Or you can stay on the mountain and make it your home.”
― Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

Posted in Food, Stories Around the World

Of Crisp, Soft to Crunchy or Curls

With snack time being in the savoury category for the past one week (courtesy of the fresh crop of plantain and cassava), the urge to indulge in something sweet was running quiet strong. For the change, it was “churros” that got the pick and making it at home, was quite an interesting experience.

Predominantly a choux based snack, made of fried pastry dough; “churros” are synonymous to the Spanish and Portuguese food traditions. Made from flour, these thin spirally, knotted or neat, long or thick pieces of dough (all purpose flour or wheat mixed) are more of a breakfast tradition, had dipped in champurrado (chocolate based atole) or hot choclate, dulce de leche with sugar sprinkled on top.

Tracing their origins, the making of churros were credited to the Spanish shepherds, who had fried the dough of flour, water, salt with a little butter and eggs, as a substitute for fresh bread. Interestingly, the name churros was adapted from the ridged horns of the native Churra sheep, which kind of resembled the ridges on this snack. On the other hand, some food historians state that the Spanish churro is an adaptation of the Chinese pastry “youtiao” whic was pastry fried in oil with their shape being as two long conjoined breadsticks. As the legend goes, the “youtiao” was brought back to Iberia by Portuguese explorers. From therein, the distinct star-edged shaped took root and the dish became famed for its’ sweetness on the breakfast tables across Spain and Portugal. With colonization and spread of travel, churros soon found there way to the Americas, both Norht and South; and gradually across the globe.

As with all popular dishes, churros too have been adapted to their indigenous cuisine. Known as calientes in Andalusia, these pastry dough are fried as a continuous spiral which is then cut into portions. The delicacy and art of these lie in the thick and soft centers. Another variation is made with a thinner dough and smooth non-ridged surface (no star shaped nozzle on the piping bag). For filled, straight churros; the Cuban cuisine has made with fruit fillings like guava; while chocolate, vanilla or cajeta (caramelized goat’s milk) are the preferred fillings across Argentina, Mexico and Brazil. Alternatively churros may be had glazed with sweetened condensed milk, rolled in cinnamon or other sugars, or made savoury with a filling of melted cheese. From being made straight or bent into the typical “U” or other shapes, churros can be had as a meal, snack or party dip.

One of the best parts of churro, is their ease and simplicity in the make and style. For a quick snack when getting out of the kitchen isn’t an option and minimum stock of “packaged snacks” in the pantry, “churros” are a go-to option during the days like this. After all, it just comes down to pastry and sugar; missing out on a try would be a miss at the chance to travel down the food lane, not worth the miss.