Work Hard n Party Harder ?

We come across workaholics who sacrifice their health, mental peace, relationships and pleasures that life offers for the sake of excessive work, endless earnings, or both, even if they have gold in their teeth and diamonds in their toes.

At opposite end of the spectrum, we encounter the breed who treat work as part-time hobby at its best, and as a dirty word at its worst. Their priorities are shopping online, shopping offline, partying and more partying. They waste the best years of their lives (when the adrenaline is pumping in full force, and limbs, mind and faculties are at their prime) seeking the fake and indulging in the frivolous. They consider themselves as a gift to the mankind and take people and privileges for granted. When cautioned or counselled, their inflated ego can’t tolerate and they throw threats and tantrums. The close ones give up. The savings, largely ancestral, are blown away. The long rope of time and space thrown for bringing them to senses is used to hang themselves. Atrophy soon sets in, the rot is irreversible, the decay is complete, total and final.

And mind you, both the specimen are mindful of the consequences of what they are doing. It’s mind-boggling, flabbergasting. The fire in the belly is in the wrong belly.  

One deserves when one earns, or at least sincerely tries. Also, all work n no play makes us dull n boring.

So the Mantra ? …..Work Hard and Party Harder !

 

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)

 

Right or Wrong!

The well-meaning agencies caution us against paying child-beggars, but we wish to help them out of pity or to assuage our own guilt feelings; the mind forcefully argues against riding on the dignity and drudgery of the old rickshaw puller, but his plight tugs at the heart to allow him to earn his bread….

In situations such as these, where the heart pulls in one direction and the mind pushes in the opposite, can we, as humans, ever sit in judgment over what is right and what is wrong?

Right or wrong, in the conflict between the conscious and the conscience, I am inclined towards the latter.

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”)

 

Let’s Salute Women !

three women

I received photo of this painting which depicts three women, all carrying water, but in different ways. This triggered a thought: All women, whether young or old, are working women…mostly without salary : ). They work silently and incessantly….. look after family’s well- being, hold the family together …in their own unique ways. Their contribution mostly unrecognized, lack of appreciation doesn’t belittle their awesome contribution.

Let’s salute women!

And in a lighter vein, let me add: Women who aspire to equal men, lack ambition! : )

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

 

Is humanity digging its own grave ?

The outcomes of Sapien ingenuity,i.e., Artificial Intelligence, are unbelievable. The intelligence that we are creating will soon surpass our own intelligence…it is already taking over in many realms. The way even arts, music and myriad finer manifestations of human sensitivities and sensibilities are being appropriated by artificial intelligence, one wonders whether human pursuits will be redundant in not too distant future. I think it is no longer a question of ‘whether’, but ‘when’ ! In the new world when machines powered by artificial intelligence run amok, humans will become history in the human history. Think, Ponder…….

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Morbid Thoughts: The Final Moments- Tryst with the Unknown ! (As immortalised in Anand- “Maut, tu ek Kavita hai….”)

On the edge of Age…
On the cliff of Life…
On the brink of Death…
On the end of the beginning and beginning of the end….
When darkness has devoured the light and spark has gone…
When all seems to be lost forever in the abyss of nothingness…..
When time has timed out and space has shrunk ….
Mind drifts and dithers, confused and confounded,
Desperate to capture life’s journey in few fleeting moments !
Life….a kaleidoscope of colours n myriad hues,
But now all in black n white…nay Grey !
Life….a parade of people, places n peccadillos,
All that is left now is fragile vanishing memory !
Mind lucid no more…..now conscious, now unconscious…incoherent,
It tricks, it teases, it plays games !
Flood of Illusions, deluge of delusions !
A constant subliminal struggle !
And the matter matters not any more !
People loved n loving but are images hazy n distant !
Echoes come calling from far away shores,
But fade away in inaudible whispers !
It’s a different world out there……frightening but mesmerizing n enticing,
Blackest of the black hole !
It beckons, it calls, it tempts, it shepherds….
To the oblivion n beyond !
To keep the tryst with the unknown !

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ARE WE MODERN ??

Divorced from our own thought process…

mindlessly following what is fashionable, what is in vogue, what is in….

to be with it….to belong…

to say it first, to show it first….

only to be slightly ahead of others in point of time !

Craving for appreciation from known and unknown…

Judging ourselves in the light of others’ judgments…

Attempting to impress with inanities,

N easily impressed with the banal…..

too eager to laugh at vapid and the tasteless ,

 simply to seem to be enjoying with others….

suppressing individuality for the admiration of the contemporary crowd !

Being modern is to apply one’s own mind, or mindlessly follow the herd mentality ??

I quote Bertrand Russel in lighter vein:

“ The belief that fashion alone should dominate opinion has great advantages. It makes thought unnecessary and puts the highest intelligence within the reach of everyone…..”

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