Shades of Life

“Life is a series of family photos in which you keep moving to the rear until finally you’re a portrait in the background.”

On a serious note, yes, as the polite tag of ‘seniority’ is thrust upon people, the world becomes increasingly irreverent to their relevance; and many retire and retreat to the rear, searching for dignity and solace in their confined corners.

In a lighter vein, unable to resist the temptation to be in the limelight, I keep elbowing my way from the rear; and I do so wearing dark shades, tinting my greying life colourful. And my portrait, though in the background, will be a sought after possession for Rayban.

One must look stylish even when one is no more. 

Solitude of Social Distancing

Due to the prevailing norms of social distancing, people are suffering from isolation anxiety and fear of solitude. In this context, following extracts from Pablo Neruda’s Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech are enlightening:

“There is no insurmountable solitude. All paths lead to the same goal: to convey to others what we are. And we must pass through solitude and difficulty, isolation and silence in order to reach forth to the enchanted place where we can dance our clumsy dance and sing our sorrowful song — but in this dance or in this song there are fulfilled the most ancient rites of our conscience in the awareness of being human and of believing in a common destiny…

Our original guiding stars are struggle and hope. But there is no such thing as a lone struggle, no such thing as a lone hope. In every human being are combined the most distant epochs, passivity, mistakes, sufferings, the pressing urgencies of our own time, the pace of history.”

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GOOD FROM THE EVIL!

CORONA VIRUS: A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE

The fear of corona virus has slowed life resulting in forced idleness of various degrees. Not only work is affected, we can’t even pack off to a holiday destination. While we practice hygiene to ward off the dreaded virus, the unexpected leisure is the virus-sent opportunity to think and act, to teach and to learn.

Nothing is more important than helping children become better and responsible citizens. Of course, top priority now is teaching them cleanliness and protecting themselves from getting infected. But let us also give them our time to inculcate values, and to develop positive attitude, hobbies and habits.

We can utilize this time to nurture in our children values such as kindness, empathy, tolerance and respect for others and their views. This will build their character. Let’s tell them the importance of reading to widen their horizons and to deepen their understanding of life and times so as to develop a positive attitude and world-view, and to think deeper, broader and universal. Let’s present before them the pleasure to be derived from creative hobbies such as painting, writing, and other arts which help them to explore and to imagine, to delve within and to dive without. Let’s expose children to household chores and dignity of labour, and make them respect workers, maids, drivers, cooks and others.

Let’s show them by example value of money and savings, of considered spending and intelligent choices; to teach them basics of money matters such as writing expenses and keeping those within budget. Let’s convince them to avoid wastage of every resource- money, food, water, electricity, and to reuse, recycle and repair, and to be kind and considerate towards the environment. Children imbibe and emulate what they see. The mindless spectacle of stream of parcels delivered daily at home by Amazon and others makes their impressionable minds to think that  there is endless supply of easy money.

We must teach them by example that what matters is not materialism but goodness, knowledge, intelligence and being humane.

If we can give these life lessons to our children, I believe we would have given them the ultimate gift. The corollary benefit is that while teaching our children, we too will learn to be better human beings.

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WHEN FATHER DEPARTS !

Dreams and memories of father waft into my nights like puffy clouds… sobbing memories, crying dreams… descending in hordes. Memories which keep me awake; Dreams pulsating and alive; Emotions overwhelming n choking. Memories of his infectious laughter, his magical touch and that naughty twinkle in his eyes… memories which beckon, dreams which whisper… tiny tendrils of tender thoughts… maudlin eyes tired of crying at times, but remembrance always wet…

With age he mellowed and sparkled like a fine vintage wine, yet father was a child. Innocent in his maturity and playful in his seriousness, he kept the child within around too. Father was full of life and gave so much of himself and his love. He didn’t preach goodness, but showed it in his methods n manners. Fond of small little pleasures, and with impeccable taste for finer things, he was neither greedy nor a hoarder, nor was he casual in his words, approach and life-style.

Father gave his best and looked for the best in others. He stood tall but never made one feel small. He appreciated all that is good and beautiful and left the world a little better. So very humane, father was among a few good men, a rare breed. He lived and died on his own terms… with dignity and grace, and in his own inimitable style! I grieve that he is no more, but am thankful that he was.

My unspoken bonding with father was such that there was little to be said between two of us. His silence was eloquent, eyes spoke volumes, and his smile or a raised eyebrow conveyed it all. Feelings ran deep and our understanding grew without trying. I wish I had held his hand more often and little longer; I wish I had hugged him whenever and wherever and for no reason; I wish I had sat by his side silently watching the sunset, sun or no sun; I wish I had stolen more of his mornings, afternoons and evenings; I wish I had drunk and devoured more of him… oh, how I wish!

Father went away, but will always be with me. He lives in my laughter and cries, in my joys and sorrows, in my sky and universe, in my days and nights. He lives in my thoughts, my emotions, my feelings. He lives in my breaths, my memories and my moments. I bask in the warmth of his love, I shine in his reflected glory.

After he departed, people thus console and counsel: life goes on as it keeps flowing like a river. But as Heraclitus said, no man enters the same river again…for it is not the same river and he is no longer the same man.

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Life Abbreviated !

Brevity is the soul of wit, but reduced to abbreviations aren’t we at our wits’ end?

Bitter or sweeter….communications are shorter n smaller. As they swarm all facets of our life, abbreviations, acronyms and initialisms confuse, confound and control, but there is no escape.

As men appropriate by playing GOLF (Gentlemen Only Ladies Forbidden), undaunted ladies have moved from FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) to JOMO (Joy of Missing Out).

In SOML (Story Of My Life), I am never IRL (Me In Real Life). As I DFTBA (Don’t Forget To Be Awesome) coz am 2H2H (Too Hot To Handle), LMK (Let Me Know) DAE (Does Anyone Else?)

Today none is CBGAILY (Caught Between Goodbye And I love You), and in the nano-second relationships it takes no time to traverse from  KMYF (Kiss Me You Fool) to BFK (Big Fat Kiss) to H&K (Hugs & Kisses) to KMA (Kiss My A..).

We are pinned to PINs, swindled at ATMs, and promise of WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) doesn’t give what we see. CAA, NRC and NRP: Some insist AOA (All Of Above) and some shout NOTA (None Of The Above).

I am not JK (Just Kidding) when electronic mirth flows infinitely with LOL (Laughing Out Loud) and we are ROFL (Rolling On the Floor Laughing) and I end up LMAO (Laughing My Ass Off).

Rarely F2F (Face to Face), we are at our laconic best with HMU (Hit Me Up). BTW (By The Way), TIC (Tongue in Cheek) some say ASL (Age, Sex, Location) do not matter for YOLO (You Only Live Once), and so what if you are MIA (Missing in Action).

But not so long ago, the only beauties in mass circulation (whether AM or PM) were OK (which never was), RSVP (which no one followed) and PTO (which none did)    : )

P.S. Though politically incorrect, I suffer from RSS (Reverse Snobbery Syndrome) and now I put FUTAB (Feet Up n Take A Break).

Abbreviations

Sophistication of intelligent minds reflects in the sensitiveness of their souls.

A TALE OF TWO….IN THE CONTEXT OF MY PARENTS

Parents are at Bangalore since mid-November 2019. I tend to their medical needs when they are here…doctors, hospitals, the regimen…and of late I have realized I often lose patience and become irritated when father reminds repeatedly about something. I might hide behind the justification that in the hurly-burly household scenario where 10 humans try their best to remain sane and humane…competing for peace, coping with the pace, jostling for space…nerves do get frayed at times. But what is a family, if not confusion and chaos?

I am ashamed of myself as I compare in my mind and recall how Antima tends to their needs- medical and more at Guwahati…without losing patience, without ever getting annoyed…replies umpteen times… calmly, affectionately…as if talking to toddlers aged two….with love and kindness and a happy smiling face…coaxing them to eat, cajoling to take medicine, persuading to venture out, encouraging to have some fun….. giving them her time, empathy and the warmth of sunshine in the winter of their lives (neither bragging nor blaming, and despite a full-time job and domestic affairs in her hair).

Sophistication of intelligent minds, such as Antima’s, reflects in the sensitiveness of their souls.

Stories such as these must be told…not to belittle contributions of anyone, but for lessons to be learnt…i am learning mine!

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Live n Let Die !

We all sooner or later reach a station in life where we get bogged down with pressures of managing our past or present relationships, business/job, health, feelings of redundancy or irrelevance. I say, insert a twist in the tale…spit out the unsavoury, ignore the unwanted, begin dancing to your own tunes, wink at yourself remembering peccadilloes in Piccadilly/Pan Bazar or Police Bazar, raise a toast to yourself, and sing at the top of your voice Dr. Alban’s “It’s my life”. Let your hair down, love yourself unapologetically, and be a harmless hedonist. Cheers to the free spirit…flowing or otherwise. Live n let die*.

(*the sad feelings)

 

The Dilemma of MIL DIL Duel

{ Just For laughs:  with malice towards none; and the belief that there are exceptions to the rule, and none takes exception to exceptions, and human beings….though animals….can laugh at themselves : ) }

 The eternal MIL DIL duel is a thing of beauty and a joy forever*

 It is that unfathomable equation where perplexity is the constant and reason variable.

 As in all dimensions of human existence, here too the all-pervasive and despicable “law” is the chief culprit. And human beings (assuming MILs &  DILs too are humans despite display of feline feelings, fangs n fervor) have the genetic predisposition to break the law with primitive cries of utter glee and absolute abandon, and indulge in things illegal {not to forget inscrutable and eerie : ) }

 In these unlawful situations where sarcasm adds colourful words to native vocabulary, sulking n sobbing are de rigueur, and the expensive mascara flows smoothly down the dainty tender noses with sweat n tears (Churchill must be turning in his grave), being caught in the clash of the titans is rather unsettling for the sensitive son and the fretting FIL.

 With this rampant affectation of unbearable affection, the son beats a hasty retreat to the nearest watering hole with the farthest friend to forget his failed attempt at prudent ‘animal husbandry, and the FIL flees to his nook with a book of inspirational quotes, look of sorrow, and quivering brow. (Let’s call it his hangdog expression, and therefore, add pleasures of paanparag+, peg or prayers to his survival paraphernalia depending on his worldly or other-worldly fancies).

 Though, in the end it is much ado about nothing (khoda pahar aur chuhiya bhi nahee nikli++), time and tide do not extinguish the raging fire within.

 Age cannot wither MIL DIL duel, nor custom stale, its infinite variety** : )

The Show must go on…..lights never dim….and its never a curtain call.

But, pain will be the occasional episode in a general drama of happiness***, if ‘Love’ replaces ‘Law’ : )

 (with thanks & apology to *John Keats, **Shakespeare, and ***Thomas Hardy)

( + An Indian mouth-freshner ; ++ “Didn’t even find a small mouse after digging the whole mountain”)

 

How to destroy personal relationships and perform harakiri !

Two most obvious ways:

ONE: when relationships become transactional…a selfish calculation;

TWO: when we become so adamant, egoistic, and self centered that even the most logical and common sense suggestions and requests fall on deaf ears.

These lead to slinging matches and fights, breed intense dislike and contempt, and culminate into indifference.

Destruction is total, final and irreversible.