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

Finding the “Shade”

“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” Abraham Lincoln

With summer break nearing to an end and summer camps coming to a close, the excited chatter and the melee around were a welcome sight last weekend. Like every year, contests were held and best prizes were announced. Interestingly during the course of events, especially at the award ceremony, the expressions on the faces of many adults, parents or guardians and the like had caught the eye. While kids were happy that they had or hadn’t secured a prize, the momentary disappointment as well loss of happiness on the adults’ faces was a cause for surprise. At the end of the day, the tussle of thoughts were whether prizes do really matter or is the joy of the vent more fun.

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” Mahatma Gandhi

The catch to happiness always depends on how one defines it. One can be happy or sad for the same reason. One can find joy for the moments or consistently ponder over the uncertainty of the next and lose sight of the present. Like there are many shades to a single colour, there are innumerable ways on how to react to a particular situation as well as choose the face of our happiness. Eventually everything boils down to our understanding of happiness in life and what it comprises of.

“Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.” Guillaume Apollinaire

When we react to any event, they are two main faces that can happen. Either we chose to be happy or change the mood such that the events don’t shadow the inner happiness or peace. On the other hand, we can let the sequence of events affect one’s actions, words and thoughts dimming or darkening the mood for the day. What we fail to realize that all the wile, people around us, near or far are affected by one’s own after-effects. The change of moods can start off a chain reaction of words or actions, which in some cases, once said may not be easily taken back. When those affected around us are children, what those young minds grasp and learn from the adult behaviour goes a long way to influence and shape theirs. The next time one cribs about losing one’s happiness; look around and ponder within whether we are solely responsible for it or not. For the actions belong to others, but power of thoughts, remedial thinking and words are in our own court.

“When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.” Helen Keller

What Is Happiness?

So, what is that happiness, people?
Ones answer, “It is to be mingled
With cards, alcohol and flirtations –
And all kinds of tempting sensations.

The others have beatitude’s vision
In money and higher position:
In flattering ‘kindly’ permitted,
And awe of the workers submitted.

The thirds think that it is in actions
Reflecting the perfect relations:
Sweet kindness, good care, attention
And general hearts’ comprehension.

The fourths think that it’s just advises
To meet with your dear sunrises,
To tell her your love and your favor
And go together forever.

And sometimes the meaning is longing
That it is the permanent burning:
The job, dreams and searching enlivened,
The pair of the wings for the heaven!

I think that in all enterprises,
Has happiness different sizes:
From peaks to a lowest mound,
Depending from people around.

-Eduard Asadov, Translated by Yevgeny Bonver, March, 2001

“True happiness arises, in the first place, from the enjoyment of one’s self.” Joseph Addison

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Posted in Daily, Family and Society, poetry, Stories Around the World

A Mother’s Love

“Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children.” William Makepeace Thackeray

Traditionally celebrations honouring motherhood have existed since the beginning. Like the Greek cult to Cybele and the Roman festival of Hilaria, both honouring mothers’ in the form of the the mother goddess in Asia Minor area, Cybele, similar to the aspects of the the Earth-goddess Gaia, the possibly Minoan equivalent Rhea and the harvest–mother goddess Demeter. Similar Christian tradition of Mothering Sunday was started and celebrated mostly by the Church of English, Anglican parishes and the churches in the UK, wherein the fourth Sunday of Lent, exactly three weeks before Easter Day; where people would visit their mother church (baptized church or local parish church or the nearest cathedral). Of late, this celebration also marks as an occasion for honouring mothers’ and giving them presents.

“Youth fades; love droops; the leaves of friendship fall; A mother’s secret hope outlives them all.” Oliver Wendell Holmes

However, the modern Mother’s Day celebrated in many countries as the second Sunday of May, was first celebrated in 1908, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother at St Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia. Her mother Ann Jarvis had been a peace activist, who cared for wounded soldiers on both sides of the American Civil War and created Mother’s Day Work Clubs to address public health issues. Her daughter, Anna Jarvis wanted to honor her mother by continuing the work she had started and to set aside a day to honor all mothers because she believed a mother is “the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world”. Her campaign had set off the tradition of honouring mothers’ on the second Sunday of May.

“When you look into your mother’s eyes, you know that is the purest love you can find on this earth.” Mitch Albom

To honour one’s mother goes beyond buying ready made cards and gifts. It involves doing something physical and creatively giving a personal touch as handmade simple gifts, writings, remembrances and memorabilia; marking this day, not as a part of global celebration, but more of a personal and emotional nature. For appreciating and honor their mothers through handwritten letters or personal efforts expressing their love and gratitude, would carry a more emotional note of acknowledge the significant effort, contribution and molding they had played in our lives.

“God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers.” Rudyard Kipling

Mothering would be in all senses physical, emotional, mental and spiritual way in which we have learned to trust, lean and rely on, in our early days. While all of us may have not had the best childhood or the perfect “mothers”, celebrating this day by paying a tribute to that special person who had moulded us, would be parallel to celebrating this special day.

“A mother’s happiness is like a beacon, lighting up the future but reflected also on the past in the guise of fond memories.” Honore de Balzac

The yellow moon is sleeping behind the clouds.
I look into the sky, as if in a dark forest.
Somewhere among the stars mom got lost,
And she looks with love at me from heaven.

Somewhere among the stars mom got lost,
And she looks with love at me from heaven.

How many years have passed, I’m still the same:
I never expect miracles from fate.
In the most difficult hour I have a mom,
And she looks with love at me from heaven.

In the most difficult hour I have a mom,
And she looks with love at me from heaven.

If my heart is both melancholy and autumn,
I drive myself from the usual places:
Mom will ask the Lord for me,
After all, she looks with love at me from heaven.

Mom will ask the Lord for me,
Because she looks with love at me from heaven.

Andrey Vasilyev

 

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

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

Choose the “Focus”

“Whenever you want to achieve something, keep your eyes open, concentrate and make sure you know exactly what it is you want. No one can hit their target with their eyes closed.” Paulo Coelho

As the new academic school year starts; curriculum is changed, new texts are bought as well depending on the school year, children are excited to join the tryouts for new school teams or plans are being made for the choice of subjects and career opportunities. During this entire process, the young minds are trying to focus on what they want to do and how they want to do, in the next academic session. Just like in the modern lives, these young minds are learning the art to focus and more importantly to “focus right”.

“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.” Aristotle Onassis

Fast forward to the days of an adult, “finding the focus” has been the daily mantra or mode as we go about the grind. At the work arena, set the priorities, targets and goals, and focus which ones would be achieved. At the home front, one focuses on prioritizing the “daily task list” and deciding which work needs to be done first and at the right time is an art learned well over practice, patience and time.

“Instead of focusing on that circumstances that you cannot change – focus strongly and powerfully on the circumstances that you can.” Joy Page

During the “focus” , many things need to be done in the right manner, from finding the right direction, deciding what to shift our mind, balancing to find the realism of the circumstances and above all, choosing to move forward in the right way. “Which way is the right one?” That would be answered best when we learn from time, experience with the inherent knowledge, wisdom and perceptions that lie within us. The “right focus” is as equal as “finding the focus” for by targeting the “lone black dot”, we may miss the “white landscape” that awaits us to make the change.

“Your destiny is to fulfill those things upon which you focus most intently. So choose to keep your focus on that which is truly magnificent, beautiful, uplifting and joyful. Your life is always moving toward something.” Ralph Marston

The black dot

One day, a professor entered his classroom and asked his students to prepare for a surprise test. They all waited anxiously at their desks for the exam to begin.
The professor handed out the exams with the text facing down, as usual. Once he handed them all out, he asked the students to turn over the papers.
To everyone’s surprise, there were no questions–just a black dot in the center of the paper. The professor, seeing the expression on everyone’s faces, told them the following: “I want you to write about what you see there.” The students, confused, got started on the inexplicable task.
At the end of the class, the professor took all the exams, and started reading each one of them out loud in front of all the students.
All of them, with no exception, defined the black dot, trying to explain its position in the center of the sheet. After all had been read, the classroom silent, the professor started to explain:
“I’m not going to grade you on this, I just wanted to give you something to think about. No one wrote about the white part of the paper. Everyone focused on the black dot – and the same thing happens in our lives. However, we insist on focusing only on the black dot – the health issues that bother us, the lack of money, the complicated relationship with a family member, the disappointment with a friend. The dark spots are very small when compared to everything we have in our lives, but they are the ones that pollute our minds. Take your the eyes away from the black dots in your lives. Enjoy each one of your blessings, each moment that life gives you. Be happy and live a life filled with love!”

“Focus is a matter of deciding what things you’re not going to do.” John Carmack

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

Language or Jargon

“It’s a strange world of language in which skating on thin ice can get you into hot water.” Franklin P. Jones

Living in a house with teenagers still in the family, one becomes an expert with short forms and abbreviations. In fact, one of the advantages (or disadvantages) of messaging and texting in the present day, is the use of less words, more of “emojis” and short forms that enable us to “save time”. Ironically what has happened is that we have forgotten how to spell correctly, speak in complete sentences or deliver a message without sounding garbled or hunting for the right words midway.

“When you lose a language and a language goes extinct, it’s like dropping a bomb on the Louvre.” Michael Krauss

Running through the official emails as well as personal ones’, the distinct difference in the style of writing, expression of words as well as use of “emoticons” highlight the official from the personal. Yet sometimes on rereading the mail, one has to very often guess the meaning behind the emoticons. Shifting between “smileys” and “dancing girls”, everything can be classified broadly into good or bad. In a way, words like adjectives, adverbs and similes have become almost extinct. Looking at the initial days of man, I guess we are back into the language of “expressions, hand signals, sounds, mono-, bi-or tri-syllables and garbles” just like the primitive ancestors.

“Losing the language means losing the culture. We need to know who we are because it makes a difference in who our children are.” Dottie LeBeau

Moving with the times is important. Hence striking a balance between the “cool” and “official language ” is a must, for us to convey complete and whole messages, before we lose out completely on our own sense of language, speech and words.

“At any one time language is a kaleidoscope of styles, genres and dialects.” David Crystal

“… once upon a time there were synonyms: “good, beautiful, valuable, positive, outstanding, excellent, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, lovely, seductive, wonderful, cute, amazing, stunning, fantastic, magnificent, grandiose, irresistible attractive, fascinating, enticing, attractive, incomparable, unique, enticing, amazing, entrancing, divine “, and so on and so forth. And what? – left only “cool.” Less often – “cool” … ”  by T. Thick in “Hope and support”

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, Personal Musings, Quotes, Stories Around the World

To Care and Nurture

“Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.” Margaret Mead

During my early years of university, attending classes and taking care of my infant was difficult. Unwilling to put my infant son in a daycare so early, I had turned to my parents and in laws for help. Besides stepping in completely and covering during my classes and training schedules, as my child grew under their care; their happiness and joy were marked to be seen.

“A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.” James Keller

One of the oldest concepts of family has been their since civilization. Besides belonging to a fold, family helps and takes care of each other. The sociological concept of “nurture” has been widely studied and debated with the “nature” concept. Real life examples are present in our daily encounters, once we look around and observe.

“To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.”
Unknown

Caring for someone or nurturing them helps not the nurtured but also the nurturer. Besides giving new dimensions to focus on, the health, happiness as well as life for both becomes more meaningful and joyous. On the days that one in bone-tired, dejected, weary and worried; taking care of someone decreases the problems and gives the fuel to move on. Caring for others brings many closer, not just relationships by blood but also fragile relationships which become stronger out of the mutual love, respect and care for the other.

“I feel the capacity to care is the thing which gives life its deepest significance.” Pablo Casals

An old fox lived its’ last days in the zoo. Old, decrepit and shabby. When a couple of young foxes were left without their mother. And the young foxes were hooked to the old fox, as they were left without a mother. The decrepit fox began to take care of the little ones. The caring instincts were involved. And the old fox became younger, fluffy and energetic. She gained new youth and health; lived very well for several years, until the foxes grew up and became independent. (Source: A.Kiryanova)