No Sins in Cousins

Relationships are relative; relatives relate, but reluctantly.

But the creatures called cousins are exceptions.

Cousins cross the coast of blood-relationship to become friends. A class apart—where friendship frolics, and relationship lurks in the shadows.

Cousins combine the best of both. They give us what we love in friends, shunning what we dislike in relatives. In “cousinship”, the theory of relativity falls flat.

Cousins do not weigh us down with relationship’s expectations. With cousins we are free as fun, buoyant as bobs, and light as laughter.

Cousins neither con nor control… they console. They do not count or concoct… they connect. They are neither caustic nor cumbersome… they care.

Aren’t cousins cute… albeit crazy?

(Dedicated to all the cousins and their wives & husbands)

S I S T E R

‘Sister’…the word echoes and evokes all that is good and beautiful.

Sister gives us love akin to parents, shares strength of a brother, and brings happiness like a friend. She is our go-to person – in joy and in sorrow. She gives us her shoulder to cry on, stretches her hand to pull us up, keeps our secrets like her own…sister is our ‘man-friday’ in woman’s clothing.

Sister is a person for all seasons. A selfless soul, she gives all of herself and more…mostly unseen,  unsaid, and unacknowledged.

Some sisters laugh and slap our backs, some hide their smiles and slap nothing; few offer ‘kadha’*, others snatch and finish off our beer in a gulp. Aren’t they amazing?

Good that we can’t choose our sisters, for we will not have any others.

Our sisters paint beauty and create joy in our lives.

(I write this on behalf of all my bros and friends, and dedicate it to all our Sisters: sisters born to our parents, and sisters who left their homes to make our homes).

* Kadha: an Indian herbal concoction

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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.

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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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