Small Thinking

We take pride in calling 4 walls our home, when we have the whole universe as our abode

We identify ourselves with our body, when the entire ecosystem is a part of us

We constantly carve boundaries differentiating between them and us, thinking we are growing bigger with each smaller piece we carve out for ourselves

One box, One Cupboard, One Step, One Day at a Time

When Amma passed away, a few months ago, there was a sense of overwhelm in the whole family. The feeling was justified because we had not only lost a loved one, but we had also lost someone who had managed the entire house and a lot of aspects of our individual lives. Deep within, we all wondered how we would move on in life without her.

For the first few weeks, each cupboard in the kitchen spooked me. There were so many boxes and bags that contained stuff I couldn’t recognize. I tried to decrypt the contents through touch, smell, taste and even neighbors advice but I wasn’t 100% successful.  I admit that I ended up trashing somethings which days later, I realized were very important. I washed somethings that water should never have touched. For now, I have given up and and left a few things for the next round of decryption. I figured it would be nice for Toyna and Yog to inherit some mysteries as well.

After months, we have the house more or less functional at half its previous efficiency. Sadly, it is not only the stock of goods, the processes and the humans that are performing at half productivity; the machines of our house also seem to be missing Amma dearly. All of them seem to be breaking down one after another, in a vain attempt to indicate that they need better handling. In spite of multiple followups with service technicians, the smoke chimney, inverter and  a washing machine still don’t work, today.

What does all of it mean? Where is the silver lining to these dark clouds?

I see the silver lining in the fact that we have been through 3 months already. We are able to eat decent food, sleep for a couple of hours at night and manage school, work and household chores without a nervous breakdown. We are not doing as well as we were before, but with practice and commitment we will get there one day.

What I have learnt through this experience is that when life seems too scary like my kitchen cupboards, we should not panic. As long as we pick up one box in one cupboard at a time, we will, one day, have the kitchen (aka our life) organized and functional.

In normal circumstances, we always work with goals and deadlines in mind. I have learnt that under extreme circumstances when we don’t even know where to start, we should never think about the end result and a deadline to achieve the same. When the end result seems so far, thinking about it doesn’t help at all. As long as we pick one box in one cupboard, each day, we will have our life sorted out some day. Till then, whenever we miss the right oil or the right pickle in our food, we try and replace it with the love of the family who is still sitting down together on the table.

That’s my silver lining and I hope it helps those who are or have been through a similar loss like ours. Feel free to share your silver lining.

Stepping into Mama’s Shoes, Literally

Toyna rushed down from the steps exclaiming in a “No big deal” kind of way, “Mama, I am wearing your Pajamas today!” I turned around to look at her. Indeed, she was wearing my dark green pajamas! My reaction, “Huh! But why? Where are your own pajamas?”
 
Honestly, this isn’t the first time she has slipped into my wardrobe. She has been doing this for ages now. But till now, she had always either asked my permission to borrow something or hid from me the fact that she took something from my room. Essentially, till now she had considered my things as my property. But today, she crossed that line effortlessly. While I knew this day was coming, I didn’t actually know how to react to this violation of my property.
 
Over the last few years, I have been a quite spectator to disappearing bottles of nail paints, sticks of kajal and odd items from my collection. The first few times I searched all over to trace them back. Now, I just go rummage through Toynas cupboard and retrieve them in whatever shape they are. She knows that I know, but we both never talk about it. Because, even if we do talk, I know she will deny trespassing into my territory.
 
With each passing year, list of things disappearing from my room keeps getting longer. The other day, I was searching for sanitary napkins and realized I was all out. I let out a sigh and muttered under my breath, “At least tell me when you are taking the last one out, Lady.” A few days back, Pavan complained about his disappearing socks. I immediately turned to look at Toyna and got the “no big deal” look from her. She told me to my face, “All your socks have vanished, so I help myself to Papas socks now.” Pavan is at least a foot taller than me and his foot size is maybe double of mine. How Toyna can so easily switch between my socks and his will always remain a mystery to me!
 
As parents, we definitely feel a deep sense of pride at seeing our children grow into our socks and shoes. But sometimes, just sometimes, I have this urge to lock my room and save my stuff. But then being a fair, God fearing, mother I decided an alternate route. Now, when I go shopping for myself, I make sure I shop the same things (appropriate for Toyna’s age) for her. This double shopping did help for a few months, but I have realized that it doesn’t necessarily have to stop Toyna from still peeking into my things.
 
I have finally decided to keep the doors of my wardrobe and my heart open so that Toyna has free access to them. The only regret is that while she comfortably fits into my things, I can never even imagine fitting into hers. My solace lies in the fact that while my daughter continues to rampage my wardrobe, I can continue to rampage my moms, mom-in-laws, sisters and sister -in-laws wardrobe. I guess, I don’t really have such a bad deal at hand.

 

Happy Teachers Day to my Children

As soon as I got home from office yesterday, Toyna ran to me, hugged me and said “Advance Happy Teachers Day!” I was surprised to hear this. Sensing my hesitancy to accept the title of a “Teacher”, she quickly exclaimed, “You taught me how to walk, how to say my first words. You still teach me how to eat food properly. ” She then paused, waiting for my reaction. I was not totally convinced, so she quickly added to her argument, “Our family is always our first school.”

I smiled at this and my heart warmed up. I accepted the wishes with a “Thank You Toyna!!” and a big hug.

Though I accepted the title of a teacher from Toyna, I honestly don’t consider myself a teacher for either Toyna or Yog. Maybe, my definition of a teacher is different, or maybe I don’t think I am as mature a person to handle the role of Teacher. In my heart, I so wish that she comes home one day and wishes me Happy Friendships day! I would love to be a friend that she loves spending time with, a friend whom she can confide her biggest fears with, and a friend with whom she has spent some of her most fun times.

Coming to being a teacher, I actually think, that both of them teach me a lot more about life, than I can ever teach them. Yes, I have taught them to walk, read and eat. But on the other hand, they are the ones who have taught me to live without any fears, to laugh like no one is watching and to smile till tears line up your eyes.

So I guess, if Toyna was kind enough to think I was her teacher, I should return the same favor to her and wish her the same.

Dear Toyna, a very Happy Teachers Day to you! You don’t know it now, but someday, when you read this, you will realize, how much Mamma learnt from you!

First published on 5th September 2014. Still remains as true.

Power of a Guru

 

I took out 3 hours on a working day to stand in the sun, next to a busy traffic junction, covered in cardboard. I am sure you must be wondering why a sane, educated, professional like me, would do something like this? I did it because I have faith in a single person and his message to save the rivers of our land. Along with a couple thousand more people, I believed in the importance of the cause and the urgency to stand behind it. But even more important than the cause, it is my faith in my Guru that called me to stand up for the cause. I was not the only one standing in the sun. I was joined by more than 6000 other volunteers, in my city, who believed that we need to support this cause. This is the power of Sadhguru.

India has witnessed the Power of a Guru twice, recently. Once this power had the ability to kill 28 innocent citizens and burn down property worth crores. In the second instance, where I joined the movement, this power could raise the nation towards taking action to save our rivers. This power is immense and is vested in the Guru by his/her followers. Since the power is based on faith and trust, it is entirely up to the Guru on how to leverage the power – either for destruction or for creation.

On 1st September, I felt extremely proud and happy to put my two cents of time towards saving our rivers. However, all along the day, there was a nagging feeling in the background. I constantly questioned how the followers of Ram Rahim felt after their actions. Did they feel pride? Did their Guru feel pride in them? Did they sleep peacefully knowing they had done their part? I was sure the answer was, “No”. No one can sleep peacefully after trying to burn their country down.

Since I am a follower myself, I understand the emotions a Guru can trigger. But being a follower, are we so blinded by our love and faith that we place one Human (or God) over the lives and well-being of so many other humans? Which God or Guru would ever preach such form of aggression? Unfortunately, our human mind fueled by information shared on news and social media tends to only remember the atrocities inflicted because of faith. People easily forget the Good triggered by faith. They will, however, always remember and talk about the violence triggered by faith. While my adult, educated mind has the ability to filter information and form my own opinions, I fear for the naive minds of our next generation which are constantly recording the opinions of the (social) media. Incidents like the one in Panchkula will make them question Faith, Religion and above all, the Power of a Guru for a very long time to come.

Along with saving rivers, I request all adult followers to also save their own free thinking.  Please do not be blinded by faith so much that you place one human above others, in any form. No faith will ever preach that.