Bid farewell in style

I guess no one really likes farewell parties! While you are trying to be cheerful and wishing luck to whoever is leaving; deep down, there is this feeling that you are soon going to miss them terribly. I also used to feel the same till yesterday evening. 

Yesterday, we decided to be a part of one of the largest farewell parties in India – bidding adieu to Ganesha, the God, whom we had invited to stay with us for about 10 days. I have usually associated community events in India to stampedes, traffic jams, manhandling and rowdy, drunkard behaviors. I don’t know whether India has changed, or whether I have, but I no longer saw any of this yesterday. 

Come yesterday night and the roads were filled with hundreds of Ganeshas sitting majestically on top of the flower laden carriages (trucks) and preceded with loud drums, colors and people swooning to the music. There was a strong rhythm in the dance, deep passion, and an intense sense of brotherhood that had transformed the night into a loud, mesmerizing party.

As we meandered through the rain drenched streets on our scooter, the energy slowly caught up on me. The biting rain was cold, but it only added to the charm of the night. Not just us, there were thousands on people on the streets, unmindful of the rain and the cold, dancing, hollering, drunk in the passion of the night.

By the end of the eventful trip, I couldn’t help but think what the celebration was all about. It was, after all, still a farewell party! Why was everybody so excited to say good bye to someone so close?

I think the excitement lies in the knowing that though he is leaving now, he will be back soon – bigger, better and with more blessings. The faith in the future even transforms the sorrow for today into a strong reason to party. After all, someone who provides so much, definitely needs to be bid farewell in style.

Happiness

As I went walking today, I was struck by the sound of loud laughter, muffled giggles, tiny feet thumping as they ran on cold pavements and chitter chatter that perhaps only tiny tots can talk and understand. 

I saw a tiny boy, no older than 5, rolling around in a pile of sand, and his friends helping him go deeper and deeper, ensuring not one speck of him was left free of sand. My first reaction was disgust. How could children be allowed to play in dirt till 9 at night. Is no one cared about their health, sleep, education, etc. etc.

A little closer look and I realized, the parents themselves, construction workers at the same site, were too tired to take notice and were sleeping deep in the shadows of the night. The children, of course, couldn’t be happier. They had their perfect playground – tons of sand, bricks to make trains and flyovers, street lights to provide shadows and hiding spots and parents at safe distance, yet not too far.

The disgust quickly changed to a sense of awe. How simple and happy their life was! They didn’t need much to keep them excited about life. And I am sure they had big dreams of buying fancy toys and riding in aeroplanes, sparkling in their little eyes. 

In that instant, I realized, that my daughter whom I had provided everything for, would never enjoy this unbridled joy. She would never know these dreams, because I had granted them before she could even dream them. In trying to give her happiness, I had actually robbed her of the happiness – Happiness which she would have found on her own, if I would have just let her.

Importance of being Important

Have been quite busy lately with boundaries between days and nights, weekday and weekends blurring into a haze. Life has been about juggling priorities and finding what needs the next set of attention.

While I am physically and mentally exhausted, I am kind of excited about this life. Why? -because it makes me feel I am important, like I am working on something big and it needs me to be there in order to come alive. 

I have known a lot of people get this excited about work and honestly, I never thought I would join the same league as well. While I enjoy basking in the feeling of being important, deep down I don’t feel proud about it. It is like enjoying a cigarette for the temporary high that it provides, knowing very well that each new cigarette is burning you internally, permanently.

Why do I consider ‘feeling important’ not a healthy sign? In my opinion, there is a very fine line of difference between being confident and being over confident. Being confident is extremely necessary; being over confident puts us in our disaster path. If I view myself as being someone extremely important, it is a sure sign that I am over confident about myself.

We all enjoy the  feeling of being important for someone; important for a project, mission, or goal which would perhaps fail if we are not there. But honestly speaking, is there anything so critical that would stop functioning if we ceased to exist being a part? I think not. Things might slow down a little, change course a little, but then life will still move on.

Then why do we give so much importance to being important? What do we get when we are important? Is it possible to still achieve the outcome we want, without the success of the outcome hitting us high in the head? I guess, it is all related to how important we think the outcome is vs. how important we think we are.

Blue Tongue

Toyna: Mama, do you know how we can know if someone is lying
Mama: How?
Toyna: If you are lying your tongue will become blue, if you are telling the truth your tongue will be pink.
Mama: How do you know this?
Toyna: I was joking with my friend in school and she told me you are lying. I asked her, how did she know I was lying. She told me – because your tongue is blue.
Toyna: Mama, now you can know if someone is lying to you.
Mama (thinking): I wish!

Good and Bad

Story time yesterday – I offered to read about fairies or princesses, but had to give in and read about dinosaurs and giant tiramasus (not sure if I still have the name right). 

As we learnt about how life started in water and moved to land, we read about  a number of alien looking creatures. She had a number of questions, as always, about each one of them. One question remained common for each – did he kill other animals for food, or did he eat plants and trees? I realized based on the answer to the question, she would quickly jump to the conclusion – Oh! so this dinosaur was really bad because it used to kill other animals. And similarly – Oh! this dinosaur is so cute because he used to only eat plants. 

I found this co-relation pretty surprising. After all, I have never tried to analyze good and bad in terms of what we chose to eat. I had some difficulty in trying to explain that everyone who eats meat is not dangerous and bad. In fact, both she and me are meat loving animals ourselves! 

Long after tucking her in bed and sitting down with my own thoughts, I could understand where her thought process was coming from. The world around us has created so many stereotype characters around us. We have villains who are ugly, fat, loud voiced and who normally kill people. We have heroes who are always good looking, charming, and who end up saving people.

Whenever we come across new people, we are constantly trying to fit them in one or the other stereotype. If they don’t fit into any, it means we have not really understood them as yet. I find that sad, because by bucketing people into categories, we are also bucketing our interactions with them into “to have” or “not to have” categories. 

Imagine, if we didn’t have buckets and everyone was considered safe to interact until proven crazy. Unfortunately, in todays world of crime and fear, what we are teaching our children, is quite the opposite. They learn that everyone is bad until proven good. They are taught not to trust anyone and not to talk to strangers. I am not sure whether we are truly protecting our children by killing their hope and trust.

Words – written and spoken

It’s the middle of the night, and sleep as usual is the first thing on my mind, but the last thing that seems to be happening. As I am tossing in bed, wondering how long I need to wait before my mind gives in to the needs of my body, I am woken up by the sound of my phone. Buzzz! I know that’s an SMS and I am wondering who else is as crazy as I am, to be awake at this hour. 

Turns out, it is a close friend just checking on how I am doing. As we start exchanging messages, the conversations get deeper and more closer to the heart. I guess, it is the hour which is having it’s effects on us. In the middle of the conversation, I think I should just call and talk, but then I am not sure if I can say things over phone, which I am so comfortable typing into the white screen of my phone. The message exchange continues for another 15 minutes before we finally manage to wish each other good night. 

In bed again, my thoughts much further from sleep now than ever before, I am wondering why is it easier to express deep emotions in written format than in spoken. I remember my earliest memories of writing a letter to my mother, telling her I was “sorry” when I was too scared of telling this to her in person. I also remember telling my first “I Love you” in writing to my best friend, years ago, something that I could probably not have said in spoken words then. Till date, I find it easier to express my thoughts on a paper, or on a screen than I can in spoken words. 

Is it only me, because I have been bitten by the writers bug? My hunch says, No. I have a feeling, most of us out there find writing about an emotion easier than talking about the emotion. Somehow writing creates a little distance between the speaker and the listener, and it is easier to express yourself in that distance. Or perhaps, when we write, we have an opportunity to complete our thought process, have our complete say before we are interrupted by the thoughts of the other. Or is it that when a written message is read, it is no longer coming from the person directly, but is coming from the piece of paper or the computer or the phone. The medium again creates the space for the speaker as well as the listener.

I am not sure why it happens, but I am certain it happens to quite a few of us. I am glad, therefore, that I love to write and it just shows that I will never need to hide my emotions just because I was not able to talk about them. 

Baggage

Started my evening looking for something I thought would be so easy to find. As I opened a drawer full of stationary items, they clinked and danced to the swoosh sound of the drawer. As they came to a rest and the dust settled down, I realized there was no way I could find the stuff that I was looking for, in that pile of clutter. I took a deep breath and decided to sort some of it. The first most important thing I found, were external hard disks (HDD – the ones we use to take backups of our computer systems). I discovered we own 4 HDD in total (not sure how many TB of data that adds up to).

Since these are extremely important, I had to find a nice, safe corner to keep these. The drawer in question, was already overflowing so I had to find another place for these cherished items. As I opened the cupboard above, I was surprised to discover more data lined up neatly in two shelves full of CDs. My first thought – when did we buy them; the second thought – I wonder what is in them? The third thought – I don’t have time to go through all these right now, so will have to store them safely somewhere else.

To find a place to store the CDs now, I scanned the series of cupboard doors peeking at me from behind their silver handles, daring me to open them. Each door was brown in colour and identical to the one before. It was extremely challenging to go back memory lane, trying to remember what could I have possibly stored in so many of them. I started hoping I would find some hidden treasures, or even a stack of money, that I might have kept in and forgotten. That would be a good reward for the effort that I was about to put in.

Well, I might as well would have wished for the Moon, because obviously I was not going to find it in those cupboards. What I found instead, which equally surprised me – two full shelves of FLOPPY DISKS! Hmmph was the only sound that came from me and the earlier thought 1,2 and 3 repeated all over again in the maze of my mind. I opened a few more brown doors, found some other amusing stuff and decided reorganizing those had to wait for some more time.

In the end, I rearranged the shelves of floppy disks, stacking them closer, tighter and virtually without air. In the same shelf, in front of the floppies, I squeezed in the CDs, and by the end of an hour long effort I had created for myself, a brand new home for storing the HDDs. By then, I was out of time, energy and most importantly patience to do any more reorganization. Having closed all cupboards and dumping the stationary back from where it originated. I went out to get some fresh air. Of course, by then I had completely forgotten what I had started searching for in the first place.

I learnt something new today

I made some mistakes and in the process learnt something new today. While I am not proud of having committed mistakes, I am pretty excited that I have learnt something new in the process. Since I have started looking at mistakes as opportunities to learn, I am no longer scared of failing. Failure is just a way of knowing that I can do better. 

I think for most of us, the fear of failing is not as big, as the fear of making a fool of ourselves in front of others. We can afford to feel bad in our own eyes, but if the world looks at us like that, we are not able to digest it. If you think about it closely, it is quite weird. Couple of reasons:

  1. We worry so much about others, as if, these others do not have anything better to do than think about us the whole time. If we just realized, the amount of attention they ever give to us, we would never be so worried about what they think about us.
  2. It is we, who have to live with ourselves for the rest of our lives. So it is our opinion of ourselves which should matter the most. 
  3. Even if others opinion was to matter, wouldn’t they be proud to know that we have learnt something new today. Why focus only on mistakes without counting the outcome.
  4. Many a times, we just think we made a mistake without truly knowing whether it was a mistake or not. We set so high standards for ourselves, that we continue to fail against those standards, even when the rest of the world does not see it like that. 

In the eyes of some, this blog might be a big mistake. Perhaps all my writing thus far might seem like a mistake to a lot of people. It doesn’t feel like that to me and hence I keep writing. Nonetheless, if someone was to give me feedback, I would be glad to learn and improve. Will I ever stop writing because some folks out there do not agree with my line of thought…. ah ha.. I guess you know the answer!