When Some we appreciate, Some self-depreciate.

WHEN SOME WE APPRECIATE, SOME SELF-DEPRECIATE.

IS IT THE LOUSY FEELING I CALL ‘GUILOUSY’?

 Under the shower I was seized with an uncomfortable thought- should we refrain from praising some, because some other wise ones take it otherwise? They don’t express it, but the sulking and ruing are in the air; we feel their absent presence… like ghosts.

They feel slighted merely because some one else is delighted. Desperate, they love praise heaped upon themselves, even if undeserved; but recoil in jealousy, if not horror, when someone else is applauded, particularly when that someone is close or known.

Is it inferiority complex? Or guilt? Or jealousy?

Or is it guilt-jealousy combo…the lousy feeling I call ‘Guilousy’?

But how to assuage their hurt? Their deeds or lack of them are so awesome, one can’t voice admiration…for the mouth is agape in astonishment. : )

                      chimpanzee pic: pixabay.com

Silent Musings of Solitude… Being More Human, More Humane & No One But Myself.

I had slowly slumped into sweet slumber in solitude’s shadow; now rising, I see subtle changes in my soaring spirit and style…in ever so nuanced thoughts, feelings, and perceptions.

Confined in shrunken spaces, I have found soul’s landscape is vast and expands forever. Sitting in solitude, I have looked at myself…barebones and naked. I was never a saint and will never be; but feel more evolved, when less involved. Oh, I am changing… and how; yet never, though short-changed time and again.

Now I have more of many that were less, and less of some which were more.

 Now I laugh often, cry frequently, complain little, speak less, love much more and am hurt easily. I am writing a bit and reading quite a bit; I rest more in the arms of music, lose myself completely in the lap of nature, and play plenty with my thoughts. I have always had love affairs with these stunning beauties, now I lust.

Full of faults and failures, but with less of presumptions and prejudices, I am now able to judge less and understand more. Now I search less for motives, and look more for compulsions behind behaviours. I suspect I am growing, but am sure about my ego….it is not.

I am now more at peace being less cynical, less critical; and happier being more content, more accepting of myself and others…as I am and as they are…with idiosyncrasies and imperfections, wrinkles and warts. Now I am better at tolerating the rituals I hate, braggadocio that I despise, and stupidity which I abhor; but I still shun sham, shrew and sarcasm with contempt and disgust.

I have now forgiven those who betrayed me, though can never forget their treachery; for, the tormenting wounds run deep and traumatising scars remain perpetually raw. And my memories reside within me forever, for my soul sucks and soaks deep…every bit, every drop, every ounce…be it nectar, be it poison.

Now I understand it is not necessary to have all the knowledge in the world, it is fine to possess less, and it is OK to stand second or third or even last in life’s lines. But I also realize it is awesome to love and be loved, it is indispensable to have integrity, and imperative not to break the trust…ever.

I had never found fault with frugality, now I see abundance in it; yet paradoxically, the hedonist in me constantly seeks the small little pleasures life has on offer.

I had always missed my family and friends, now I appreciate nothing and no one is more important. Feelings are heavy and moist remembering those in the family I have lost, and light and joyous thinking of those I have; and the naughty twinkle in my eyes now shines brighter at the slightest prospect of back-slapping bonhomie over beer with my friends. I hug unabashedly in my thoughts, those whom I love but dare not reveal; and I hug openly with my eyes and arms all those whom I love and can flaunt.

Now deep within I know it does not matter to miss out on many, but how important it is to hold on to a few who matter; and even as I extract more from life, I now give more of myself to such men and women.

I hear my thoughts echoing in these beautiful words of Pablo Neruda:

“…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….”

As my wondering thoughts trot into wandering feelings flowing into whispering words, I fathom:

My eyes were wide shut, but now I See…

I am more human, more humane, and no one but myself;

As I give more life to time and more time to life.

Picture: Keegan Houser/Unsplash.com                Self Portrait

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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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.

Sri HCS Photograph

BOOKS WHICH SCORCH THE SOUL AND WARM THE COCKLES OF HEART!

Some books compel us to search within and look beyond….. writings which have sprung from deep, uncommon understanding of life and exceptional sensitiveness to human emotions.

These books uplift us and deepen our belief in undying human spirit and its innate goodness…books which have painted life’s unblemished glory and its ugly underbelly, leaving an indelible impact on our world-view and thoughts about humanity, life and existence.

Books which speak of relationships enduring and gone sour….love and betrayal….trust and treachery…. bonds built and friendships forgotten. Books which take us on a journey of commitment and compromise, hope and despair, and triumph and tragedy.

These are the stories of lust, loneliness and longings; of naked needs, dogged desires and primitive yearnings; of dreams shut and shattered. These are the tales of agony and ecstasy, dignity and depravity, passions, perversions and perfidy.

Books which are the poignant tales of the moment to moment uncertainty of survival and struggle to stay alive; of life wasted, lost and regained; of now or never dilemmas; of simplicity of being, complexity of relationships, and difficulty of existence.

These are writings of epic proportions describing human entrapment, its helplessness to accept life on its own terms, and hopelessness to sink its soul and sell its sovereignty.

These are the sagas of sangfroid and sagacity, of righteousness, of character and decency.

Some such books which have moved me are:

  • Roots (Alex Haley)
  • The Book Thief (Markus Zusak)
  • The Good Earth (Pearl S Buck)
  • Goodbye Mr. Chips (James Hilton)
  • To Kill A Mocking Bird (Harper Lee)
  • The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
  • Educated (Tara Westover)
  • Of Mice & Men (Steinbeck)
  • Beloved (Toni Morrison)

         (not in order of preference)

There are quite a few, but these immediately spring to mind.

Such books give us a sense of the whole much more complete…which satiate yet leave us wanting ….and after reading these the heart is light and aroma of goodness lingers.

Please do share your list of such books.

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Guilty are those who impose Guilt !

For hiding their own guilt or guilty-conscience, some people perpetually impose guilt on others…in ways subtle or crude. They swing like pendulum from being extremely aggressive to wearing sorrow on their sleeves. They resort to emotional blackmail, portray themselves as pathetic losers, and sport underdog’s hangdog expression. Else they shout and sulk; throw threats, taunts and tantrums; issue ultimatums, lock themselves, become incommunicado, inflict injuries and abuses on themselves, and leave home food untouched (but hog secretly).

They play victim to victimize. Those who impose guilt are the ones who are guilty. Let’s not be guilty of feeling guilty due to someone else’s guilt.

Guilty Sulking

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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An Ephemeral Creature of Transient Times….I Live in the World of Words i Write!

An ephemeral creature of transient times…

I live in the world of words i write;

Firefly of the future, my soul found wings…

In life lost and stars-kissed light.

            Words echoing from my deepest depths…

            I owe to the one who took my breath away;

            Living now, now dead…

           Neither regret nor rejoice, nothing to say.

Nothing like forever old n forever new…

For not in moments, in memories i live;

Born to die and born yet again…

Nothing to forget yet nothing to believe.

           Past a beautiful lie, Present existential angst…

           Future but an agonized quest;

           Scorched soul sitting on pierced wings…

           Flies me to distant shores, be it dark be twilight.

Nano particle in the void of time n space…

Infinity ensconced in a fleeting second;

Effervescent, enchanting, exhilarating…

Yet, in palm, are life n times ever held.

            An ephemeral creature of transient times…

           I live in the world of words i write;

           Firefly of the future, my soul found wings…

          In life lost and stars-kissed light.

WALK OF LIFE !

Parijat

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My walk outside takes me Inside !             

My walk defines me, my life. It gives me my identity in relationship to others and to the world. It is my mirror…concave and convex….mirroring my soul and the world within. 

My walk has become my search, my quest…..to find meaning, to understand relationships, to know myself.

It makes me reflect, induces my thoughts, gives me ideas. It allows me to peer into myself, look at others closely, and dwell upon my relationships with people, places, events, the world and the nature. It provides me perspective for my life and times. Each walk becomes a journey of life and takes me down the memory lanes. It rejuvenates me… It heals the soul, cleans the mind, repairs the body.

I began walking with physical fitness in mind but along the way walking became incidental and thoughts began to creep in and it became a ritual of contemplation, of reflection, of thoughts…good, bad n ugly.

I have been walking for as long as I can remember. And as I walk, words form incessantly  in my mind and turn into thoughts. And the thoughts overflow….as if my thoughts have suddenly got legs and they run ahead of me uncontrollably, and I am always in the catching-up game.

When I walk, I am one with myself and also one with my family, friends, the world. My walking thoughts take me to places near and far….i think of things, people, places, of relationships, of happenings…. in the recent past or from the deep recess of the past, of times forgotten. Memories come flooding….. Nostalgic memories of love and separations, of laughter & tears, of joy & tragedies, of solitude and togetherness, of times happy and sad.

Walk takes me to my past. Walk travels with me to my future. Walk walks with me in my present. Questions come in floods…what I was, what I am and where am I going….

While mind is on its own journeys, the fresh cool wind caresses and invigorates my body, touches me tantalizingly. When the soothing first rays of the dawn touch me, John Denver sing for me “Sunshine on my shoulder makes me happy…”, and I sing along. Chirping birds, dancing butterflies, many splendoured sky with myriad hues….  the sights, the sounds, the smells…so enchanting, mesmerizing. Oh….how nature touches, teases, teaches !

And the music while walking sounds so heavenly.… paradise lost  is regained by listening to a Beethoven, a Mozart, a Chopin…

My walks also take me closer to the finest minds and the beauty of their written words, their ideas. The greats such as Russel, Huxley, Shakespeare, Hemingway and many more.

In childhood we used to recite: “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” Well, my walk has compelled me to open my eyes early and helped me in controlling my weight, but neither am I wealthy nor wise. The early bird is yet to catch any worm. In fact, I have seen and known many wealthy persons who are perpetually late and lazy. Considering my credentials as a ‘Walker’, I wonder whether I will qualify as brand ambassador of “Johny Walker” and get unending n uninterrupted supply of this famous Scotch Whisky.

When I walk, the mind makes resolutions, action plans…some I act upon, mostly are forgotten. I wonder whether I ‘walk the talk’ or it’s all phantom fantasy of the “ghost who walks”. In my “walk of life”, there is ‘action’, and there is ‘motion’, but not of “Dire Straits” kind : )

Thinking of the people petty and hypocrite, my mind asks them to ‘take a walk’….but never with me. Love the wit of Noel Coward : “I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people I dislike”.

I observe other walkers and joggers and try to fathom what must be going on in their minds. I look at the dogs on the leash and imagine what if human beings were on the leash held by the Dog….. the scenarios from George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”.

I dwell upon the news…..the news about racism, the killings, the rapes, the political buffoonery and chicanery, the climate change:  and how the world is divided over every thing…matters which matter and matters which do not matter: makes me sad and I think about the future of the country, the world and its people. And I think about the fake news… its repercussions….how it poisons our minds and by repeating over and over again how false becomes the truth and truth becomes a lie. Reminds me of a quote I read somewhere: We were all humans until: Race disconnected us, Religion separated us, Politics divided us, Wealth classified us…”

And while I walk, at times I observe the poor, the old and the young… …cold and shivering, hungry and thirsty…..homeless, hopeless the helpless…and I think of the ever-increasing divide between the rich and the poor and why the successive governments have not been able to do something for them. I think of the good samaritans who selflessly extend a helping hand…by a kind smile, by giving food to the hungry, medicine to the sick, blanket to the cold.

And I think of revolutionary ideas, to bring about change in the world…and feel so useless, unworthy and ordinary. 

And I ponder about myself, my world, my being, my body, my mind, habits, wants, desires, role, my failures…but not about success because i have none. I reflect upon the time lost, opportunities not taken…what could have been, what I could have been…

And I reflect on the relationships, …parents, children, wife, siblings, friends…..and the fragility and strength of these. And I think of human nature, its kindness and meanness, the trust and the treachery, and how time heals…slowly but surely.

And I think of life and times, of separation and of death. I think of the people so very dear who drifted away, the people who were close and passed away….my relationship with them, how they influenced me, what I meant to them.

Walking Mind plays strange tricks on my psyche and forces me to think of my death, of my near and dear ones…what will life be without them. I feel utterly sad and miserable. And I wonder whether they think of their own death, and how they face each other, or will face me or each other while facing death. Had written about “Morbid Thoughts” on this Blog earlier. 

And I think of my disagreements, arguments and fights with my dear ones…and end up having a guilty feeling most of the time as to whether I did not do enough for them. At times I feel…I did my best and they are responsible for their lives…..conflicting thoughts indeed !

And in these walks, I imagine what if one very close to someone and always walking hand-in-hand- metaphorically and literally, turned treacherous? What if the good turned into bad, and beautiful into ugly? What if the fragile “Parijat” they admired together and smelt together and gave a handful to each other wilted, because the treachery of the one wilted their love? I recall Longfellow’s: The leaves of memory seemed to make a mournful rustling in the dark…. .  So true indeed !

Parijat

I think of human evolution and importance of walking in it, how we walk, how we differ from apes, in walking and otherwise. This thinking, contemplating walk encompasses all the dimensions of human evolution and existence: physical, biological, anthropological, historical, mental, psychological, philosophical, social, cultural, individual…. The microcosm of the whole world is with me when I walk.

Every day I walk, and every day it is the same…same sun, same trees, same paths, same people, same sights, smells and sounds. Yet every day it is different, every day it is changing…everyday everything is changing. And times are a’changing.  Same is so different and different is so same.

Walk connects me, walk disconnects me. Walk takes me to the people I love and walk takes me away from some of them as I recall their treachery……but does it take me away really…? I feel my walks compel me, push me against my will into the vicinity of their  thoughts..dark, gloomy, vicious.  

And after a walk, I sit on the park bench and close my eyes and control my breath…a sort of very basic meditation where I try to drive all my thoughts away…though I succeed very little…this is the time when I feel at peace with myself and with the world. After this ritual, I tell myself that I am doing my best and there are things which are beyond my control, and very often remember this quote of Reinhold Niebuhr:

“Lord, grant me the strength to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”.

Whereas walking excites the mind, meditation calms. Walking generates plethora and procession of thoughts, the purpose of meditation seems to be to rein in the thought process. In walking the breath runs faster, in meditation breathing becomes very slow. The effect of the two is opposite, but for me both are interlinked and important. One leads to the other. In a way both the rituals compete as well as complement each other, but complete me and my identity.

I fight myself when I walk and I love myself when I walk. I am despondent and desolate, I am ecstatic and exuberant.

The solitude I experience during my walks, then, shapes my attitude towards life and times, about people and places….and myself, my being. And the mind always walks an extra mile.

Walk breathes life into me, it takes me closer to death!

My walk is Walk of Life…everyday, yet I cannot fathom life…What is here and now?…What is beyond and tomorrow ? The search is never complete, the journey never ends, as penned so beautifully by Rainer Maria Rilke:

“My eyes already touch the sunny hill,

Going far beyond the road I have begun,

So we are grasped by what we cannot grasp….”

Parijat