Posted in Daily, Random Thoughts, Work

Need to Disconnect

While on the commute back home, after a necessary day of work from office, the traffic lights that go “red” are a welcome break. For that short break is the time for a quick look at the small screen and then switch the focus back on the road. Among the first few steps on stepping across the front door, is to ditch the phone along with the office folders on top of the shelf. This recent habit has paid dividends as far as getting the youngsters over their incessant and constant hungering for their time on the handheld screens of the present “mobile phones”.

Ironically the invention of the mobile phones was primarily to place a call when in motion, or simply put, the ease of access to a voice when on the move. Over the years, the technical point has developed to the ease of access to any information when on the move and not just as pones but as notepads and laptops as well. Though sometimes too much of activity and information can fry the grey cells. More of less, screen devices especially phones have become the “go=to” especially when bored.

“In his phone, Chase had found a place easier to exist in than inside his own skin. That was tragic, because inside the itchiness of our own skin is where we discover who we are. When we are bored, we ask ourselves: What do I want to do with myself?” Glennon Doyle, Untamed

No where in the books of development (at least not that I have read of), is it deemed necessary to keep children or anyone of us mentally occupied twenty-four seven. Sometimes it would be simply good to lie down and smell the grass in the garden. Or to close our eyes and drift to the quiet sounds of nature. Being still is what lets our imaginations grow and inner peace come out from within to the surface. Phones aren’t meant to keep us being busy, but to be connected to the others as and when needed. Regulating the time as per as requirement, is needed, especially as it sets the pattern for the young ones.

With the amount of online schooling, these screen-free moments are needed to bond with each other and to just find ourselves as well as to reconnect with those around us. Having being a part of both the eras, the generation with and without these “walking screens”, both are needed in optimal doses. Technology is ideal to be used in proportion. It was never meant to be antidote for the itchiness within. On the other hand, it is the “itchiness” that helps one to delve within and find their own path of self-discovery and creativity. The temporary respite for the itchiness, as offered by technology, is just that, temporary. Learning to address the restlessness with creativity is what makes us tick in the long run. So once in a while, it feels really good to switch off for a couple of hours each day. Oh the rest and respite of just being with ourselves, is worth it all.

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 Family and Society, Personal Musings, poetry

Out of the Cliche

If anyone asks a guardian, what would be one of the biggest drawbacks of the current global scenario, minus the pandemic in itself; among them one would be the absence of schools. The loss is felt more acute, if the child is from the primary classes or below. Though on the other hand, these “online classes” become an eye opener for the guardian or parent as far as the teaching beyond the books is concerned. And yes there are no cliches. If a boy wants to paint, it is fine for te safety of home is there, ad if a little girl wants to build a Lego car, let her do it. The stereotypical boys-cars and girl-dolls to draw, doesn’t really take a place in the freedom of their home. Yet sadly, the camaraderie between their own peers, the social play takes the back-stage.

“A tree stands strong not by its fruits or branches, but by the depth of its roots.” Anthony Liccione

Through all this, both parents and teachers once again realize the what a child should really learn. Though the online learning pressures mount up, one of the saving grace is that it can be done in the child’s own time, despite the hassle of striking the balance between “study screen time” and “fun screen time”. The parental regularity of seeing not just their ward, but all the respective students score charts isn’t a chance occurrence these days. In short the gentle reminder that education is not just in but also of the classroom and beyond the books, is a must for these days.

Whether a spectator, competitor, enthusiast, discoverer or experimenter; as long as any child indulges in their interest, imbibing in a love for learning and interests in and beyond the books, that’s all that matters. Each of us have just one life. To live it true to our own self by the right morals, beyond the projected image of society is a gift and blessing in itself.

Confessions of a Born Spectator

One infant grows up and becomes a jockey,
Another plays basketball or hockey,
This one the prize ring hates to enter
That one becomes a tackle or center,
I am just glad as glad can be
That I am not them, that they are not me.

With all my heart I do admire
Athletes who sweat for fun or hire,
Who take the field in gaudy pomp,
And maim each other as they romp,
My limp and bashful spirit feeds
On other people’s heroic deeds.

Now A runs ninety yards to score,
B knocks the champion to the floor,
Cracking vertebrae and spines,
Lashes his steed across the line,
You’d think my ego it would please
To swap positions with one of these.

Well, ego it might be pleased enough,
But zealous athletes play so rough
They do not ever in their dealings
Consider one another’s feelings.
I’m glad that when my struggle begins
‘Twixt prudence and ego, prudence wins.

When swollen eye meets gnarled fist
When snaps the knee, and cracks the wrist,
When officialdom demands,
Is there a doctor in the stands?
My soul in true thanksgiving speaks
For this modest of physiques.

“Athletes, I’ll drink to you
Or eat with you,
Or anything except compete with you,
Buy tickets worth their radium,
To watch you gambol in the stadium,
And reassure myself anew
That you are not me and I’m not you”.

Ogden Nash

Posted in Daily, Personal Musings, poetry, Random Thoughts

Nest of Own

Over the past two days, there have been sudden bouts of stillness in the house. With a few pairs of small feet running around in the house, such an event makes any parent or guardian, anticipating a surprise of any manner around the corner. Which is maybe why, after a couple of similar episodes, yours truly decided to tip toe and follow the trail. Catching up onto the excited whispering and quiet voices, these little eyes were found trained onto the far side of the barn. After a stern couple of “Shhh!!”, the secret was out. They have been watching a pair of spotted nutcrackers build their nest. As they were surprises and exclamations over this activity, the mind wandered over to their exuberant joy as seen through their eyes.

“Early summer days are a jubilee time for birds. In the fields, around the house, in the barn, in the woods, in the swamp – everywhere love and songs and nests and eggs.” E. B. White

Watching these simple activities reminds one of the safe havens and the joys that we find in our own homes. While the early years of our lives, saw us being sheltered and protected within the cocoons of our home, family or even neighbourhood; the years after a decade and beyond saw ourselves slowly exploring the outside world. Somewhere along the way, we all had left our own nests to make new ones. The initial days saw the streak of adventure and excitement come to the forefront, later on it was the survivalist instinct that helped us keeping on building our nest, finding our own niche in life. Along the way, when the going gets tough; we went back to our old nests to get back on track with our feet on ground. When the home of then wasn’t there now, memories of the best years of our lives is what got us through this all.

Each of us need our nests or homes to find our spaces, rejuvenate and regain our strength after a tough journey or even to celebrate from the successful venture. In finding our homes, each of us brace ourselves through the storms. For the lure of these safe havens, is what gets us through the perceived unfortunate events of the time.

Building our own homes doesn’t include the material comforts alone, but also to encompass the feeling of love and kindness within it. To experiences the feeling of home, is one of the greatest treasures that life offers man. In order to do so, one should brace ourselves and watch the world around us; move ahead and take time to breathe and enjoy the simple gifts that each day offers one.

“To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter… to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in spring – these are some of the rewards of the simple life.” John Burroughs

The Skylark
BY JOHN CLARE
The rolls and harrows lie at rest beside
The battered road; and spreading far and wide
Above the russet clods, the corn is seen
Sprouting its spiry points of tender green,
Where squats the hare, to terrors wide awake,
Like some brown clod the harrows failed to break.
Opening their golden caskets to the sun,
The buttercups make schoolboys eager run,
To see who shall be first to pluck the prize—
Up from their hurry, see, the skylark flies,
And o’er her half-formed nest, with happy wings
Winnows the air, till in the cloud she sings,
Then hangs a dust-spot in the sunny skies,
And drops, and drops, till in her nest she lies,
Which they unheeded passed—not dreaming then
That birds which flew so high would drop agen
To nests upon the ground, which anything
May come at to destroy. Had they the wing
Like such a bird, themselves would be too proud,
And build on nothing but a passing cloud!
As free from danger as the heavens are free
From pain and toil, there would they build and be,
And sail about the world to scenes unheard
Of and unseen—Oh, were they but a bird!
So think they, while they listen to its song,
And smile and fancy and so pass along;
While its low nest, moist with the dews of morn,
Lies safely, with the leveret, in the corn.
– John Clare

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

Trace those Bytes

The ten minute coffee break during the morning office hours serves as an interesting session for not just coffee alone, but an interesting exchange of words or ideas, catching up with colleagues on non-office talk and intercepting snippets of information. Considering the latter, those bits of news may hold a ten-percent truth or just pure nonsense. Which is why, for any piece of information; print is the best. As far as the verbal pass-it-on goes, always consider the true source.

“The only thing more frustrating than slanderers is those foolish enough to listen to them.” Criss Jami

The thought to always trace the source of any news is important. As early as Aesop’s fables tell us, one’s character is defined by the daily lives they lead. Pole do change, the bad habits get thrown away for developing better ones but the essence of one stays almost the same or better if considering a positive change. Like if one knows that a colleague has the tendency to hype up things, take those details said at a lesser face value. Just like a wolf won’t eat any oats, know that the horse won’t eat red meat either. So for any source of news, look for the face and facts lest the one gets trapped in the mire of lies, confusion and errors. Knowing this and doing so, will help maintain their sanity especially when the news rendered is weird and disturbing. With this, office or even social life will definitely be handle-able during tired, dull or dreary days.

A tricky old wolf once entered a farm,
And seeing oats growing, he put on his charm,
So, calmly pretending that he meant no harm,
He spoke to a horse in his stall.
Sir Horse, I do hope you are comfortably fed,
But in case you are hungry and famished instead,
There are oats by the ton in one field, he said,
And I ate none so you’d have all.

Now the horse knew quite well that the wolf hated oats
And cared nothing for horses — or cattle or goats,
And in fact was well known for attacking their throats,
So he couldn’t resist ridicule:

Sir Wolf, he said, Don’t think me over-suspicious
Were I to suspect there was something malicious
In your lying claim you find oats delicious.
BEGONE! Do you think me a fool?

Aseop’s fable: (The Wolf Fails to Deceive the Horse)
MORAL: Before you believe anything, consider the source

Posted in Life, Personal Musings, poetry, Quotes

Priceless in Time

Attending an official meeting as a replacement for my colleague lead me to board the local train for getting back to the office. For once, there wasn’t a hitch in the schedule. So here I was, waiting for the train and scanning through all the pending mails, messages and the like. With no one breathing down my neck and no crisis looming, there was time to reply back to messages, update with friends and to return that missed call from a distant cousin. All that happened in a matter of minutes. In the aftermath, it felt good; catching up to those around us, being in contact with the old group of friends and reminiscences of the good old days. All it may take could be five minutes.

“The best times we’ve had on earth are usually with those we love.” Van Harden

When one views a fresh day, it may seem that one has plenty of time. As a big bunch of hours, it’s towards the middle of the day when they get rapidly deleted that then time becomes a small amount. From that set then, five minutes may seem a lot. But in those five minutes, much can be achieved; for five minutes isn’t huge.

Five minutes to talk to siblings. Five minutes to play with the dog, just to throw the ball. Five minutes to hug your better half and wish him or her a good day. Five minutes to play blocks with the toddler. Five minutes to catch up with a colleague who was recently transferred from your section to another. These little five minutes, though may be spent of doing more important things like work, domestic chores, cooking and the like are those very five minutes that help to make precious memories, which are hidden in the recesses of spent minutes but serve to be priceless in due course.

“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.” Harvey MacKay

Though time may be precious and valuable; in itself it has no value. Cut off from the social and personal ties that keep us going, time may cause us to drag each day. Time needs to shared with all. For such time spent is more fruitful, than solely devoting it to one segment of our lives alone. At the end of our time, it is those cumulative five minutes of love and care that create treasured memories to help us face the trying times. True that one must hurry when one should, but to be too busy to note that one is being cut off from the best parts of life would be akin to cutting off own feet. To share time is an art that we all must indulge in, for all it takes is a simple matter of five minutes.

Time Is
by Henry van Dyke

Time is
Too Slow for those who Wait,
Too Swift for those who Fear,
Too Long for those who Grieve,
Too Short for those who Rejoice;
But for those who Love,
Time is not.